Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gila Stage 0

BSV is on the road to the Gila. We're rockin' out to some GnR while we
take in the sights and Rob spills Vitamin Water on his lap. The road
feels like it's never ending, but the company is great and we look
totally pro with Blue Sky Velo logos plastered to the door.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Primus Mootry Criterium

The first race of the season is in the books. If it would have been in Denver, there is no way I would have gone, but I decided to jump in on the action yesterday for no other reason than the close proximity to home. The race, a criterium, was held around the Thule building just outside of Boulder. The course was oval shaped with only one 90-degree turn and about as flat as they come. With no technical turns or hills, there wouldn't be much to break apart the pack.

Coach K has been pounding into our pea brains the importance of riding as close to the front of the race without sticking our noses in the wind too much. I was determined to heed his sage advice and lined up in the front row. Blue Sky Velo teammates Dave K., Dave T., Kevin G., and Steve C. lined up close behind.

Coming from cross, I'm unaccustomed to calm starts, but this one was just that. We rolled away from the start line and everyone was looking at each other waiting for someone to make the move and stick their nose into the wind. About a quarter of lap in, a guy jumped the right side and got things rolling. I quickly jumped to third wheel and sat in the slipstream of the rider in front of me. The first 15 minutes of the race pretty much stayed this way.

I think boredom was starting to set in as people started to try their hand at taking a flyer. I had thought about the merits of such a move before the race in terms of trying to animate things, but after watching three or four folks try to get away and how quickly and easily the field brought them back, I decided to hang tight and conserve energy. As the race wore on I started having to spend more and more energy trying to stay close to the front. Because the road was so wide, it was easy for the group to swarm from the sides. One minute you'd be in front and the next you'd almost be at the back. I only spent one time in the back and it was enough to motivate me to get back to the front as fast as possible.

The last couple of laps really heated up and I had enough to stay with the group, but there was nothing left for the sprint. Kevin G. even offered to get me into position for the sprint, but I just didn’t have enough to get on his wheel. Sorry Kevin. It was nice to get out with the other boyz from the team and stretch the legs and see where my base fitness is right now.

Only four more months until cyclocross begins!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cat 3 men 1st and 3rd at Deer Trail RR

70 miles east of Longmont, there's a little town called Deer Trail. This morning it snowed, rained and the wind blew gusts of more than 35 mph. Talk to the racers who rode in the morning for their Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) blown-apart experiences. The afternoon races brought less precipitation, slightly warmer temps and sometimes blue skies. The wind never died down though. The race was 65 miles with a little over 6,000 ft elevation gain, 4 turnarounds (see map of race here) and did I mention the wind?

PodiumCloseBut for Barry Schmidt and myself, this was our best race EVER racing together! Not really because we posted top numbers for the season (sorry, geeks can read about the numbers down below), but because we won the race!

Barry took 1st and I got 3rd after a 55 mile, 2 1/2 hr break in which we were two of the strongest riders. The break (the first and ultimately only one that mattered on the day - very rare in a SM3 race) went about 1/3 of the way after the very first turnaround in Agate. We started with about 13 guys and although at first I didn't think it would stick, once we passed the 35+ it became obvious that this just might have a good chance, so it was Game On! It also helped that most of the big teams had representation in the group and since it was a narrow road and strong headwind behind us, those teams helped keep the peleton under control.

The first 1 1/2 hours was chaos with half the group riding at different speeds than the rest. As we dropped guys the group got smoother and faster because there wasn't so many hiccups. I realized pretty early that I was one of the strongest in the break, but kept that under wraps and tried to just ride smooth. I do have to admit I did a lot of talking and even yelling at a few of the guys who were totally messing up the paceline and slowing us down, gapping and just not contributing. I felt bad for yelling, but one of the main guys I had been talking to thanked me after the race for the tips and help. Hopefully others didn't think I was just been an a-hole because I certainly wasn't trying to be. I just really wanted this break to work and it was obvious we had a good group, we just needed to work together.The last 20 miles I did a large percentage of the work along with a guy from Echelon. Our group was down to 7, but it was obvious most were either too tired or too smart to put in time at the front. Since we had two BSV guys, I told Barry to hang back so he would be ready if we got caught and for the final sprint. So I drove the front. After a couple hard uphill pulls, we dropped guys and were down to 4.

Finally, we could see the finish line. The road was nearly flat with a strong NW crosswind. With 1km to go, I looked back, saw Barry and I were set up perfectly, so I guttered the other two into the yellow line... and with the strong wind, that did the job. Barry took the cue and jumped, laying down a perfect Boonen-esque sprint. He didn't look back for 300 meters, but when he did he had the gap and kept it right across the finish line. Although my job was done, I still wanted to get 2nd. So, when one of the other guys jumped, I worked hard to stay on his wheel. I caught it and then the 3rd guy jumped past him. I grabbed his wheel, but was not able to come around and by that time we were at the line. But today my place didn't count - the fact that Barry got 1st made it a perfect race!

DeerTrailRR_BreakFor those of you interested in checking out the power file, go to the TrainingPeaks Power File Viewer and you can download the file into your WKO+ or just look at the numbers there. (If you want to see the GPS file of the ride, check it out here: TrainingPeaks GPS File Viewer

I spent 35 minutes at Anaerobic Capacity and 25 minutes at VO2max. The cool thing was that I only spent 27 minutes of that above Zone 4 HR, so I kept my heart rate at an average of 162 for the race. The goal of course is not to have super high numbers (although that of course helps). Instead, its how long you can keep your top numbers. And if you can keep those high numbers with a low HR, that's when you know your fitness is getting better.

My CP 5 sec of 1,322 watts was establishing the break, then my 2nd spike of 1,084 watts was going into the final sprint for the line 55 miles (2 1/2 hours) later - both places where I would have wanted wattage spikes. In between it was pacelining with headwinds, then tailwinds, then crosswinds (depending on the leg of the race we were on). During the break, my Normalized Power was 294 watts for the 2 1/2 hour break, and my Average Power was 20 watt less. That difference proves the value of the draft you get from a paceline and from working smoothly in a paceline where you don't have surges that sap your energy.

Oddly enough, the only top CP numbers I set today was the CP 5 sec setting up the break. The other CP numbers (463w - 1 min, 350w - 6 min, 317w - 20 min, 309w - 30 min) don't quite make the season's top 10. The fact that both Barry and I have been training using Hunter Allen's pre-built Training Plans this year has got to have something to do with our fitness this year and ultimately with today's success. But bike racing's not about setting peak numbers - its about winning! And that's exactly what we did today.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Springs

the crew of killaz gettin' tha game face on.

We had a great big crew head down to the springs this weekend. The racing was intense, and a good tune-up for the gila. Best of all, we had one of the worlds best photographers and soigneurs, Marty Caivano, along for the ride. She's the one responsible for all the great photo's you see here, post race massage, and general good time.

Saturday AM saw some of us wake up and go through the agony that is a hilly Time Trial. After a night of not sleeping and hacking up a lung from being sick all week, I was not in a happy place as I wriggled into my skinsuit. However, the bright sunshine and some punk rock brought me out of the coma. the race was about 12 miles, and the start took me over a few steep hills. Nothing like laboring the TT bike at 10 miles an hour, getting passed by my minute-man, my 2-minute-man, my 3-minute-man, etc. The uphill effort was rewarded with a sweet, long downhill... topping out at 45mph. nice. I took it easy across the flat section, and then took it easier on the uphill finish, rocking out a 37minute time. I think Jeremy went 31 minutes, and my 9-minute-man just nipped me at the line. No worries, though, as we cooled down by riding back to the car and got to focusing on the real fun of the weekend...

...the downtown crit. We rolled onto the course and checked out the scene; a pretty straightforward course with a fast downhill sweeper, a steep uphill, and a couple of long straights separated by a 180 degree u-turn.

First up was the 4/5 crit, with a suprise showing by Steve Capstick and Dave 'Killa' Kilmoyer. Also in the mix was Mike Dancel and Ryan Lewandowski. Of note, Dancel whipped up on the youngsters earlier in the AM during the collegiate races.

Mike bringin' the heat

Steve "these are limited-edition Oakley's, so you betta recognize" Capstick

Overall, the 4/5's looked mean out on the course as Jeremy, Stuart, Jose, Kevin, Isaac, and myself warmed up. Once their race cleared out, we headed to the start line... it's business time, and we were all wearing our business socks. We clip in, light the fires and burn the tires. Stuart is rockin his first crit, and is up front checking out the lay of the land.

Stuart Love in Blue Sky, head to toe.

The pace picks up quickly, and I put my head down to stay in contention. I try to stay near the front to keep Jeremy, Kevin, and Isaac out of the wind, but I quickly realize that the "3/4" category is cat 3 with cat 4's getting spit out the back.

Rob and Jeremy showing the peloton how to grow sideburns.

My head is down as I blaze up the sides of the pack on the downhills and into the headwind, trying to maintain contact.

Kevin surveys his fiefdom.

Rob getting drawn-and-quartered by Kevin and his tyrannical regime

Eventually, I see the 5 laps to go sign, and the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the light is coming from a freight-train bearing down on me, carrying a full load of lactic acid waiting to drown me. I lose contact on the headwind section and take a deep breath as I sprint for all I am worth to regroup. I make it to the field on the downhill, only to explode on the climb. I look up on the finishing stretch with 2 to go and see the race leaving me. I keep my head down and am relegated by the fact that without any saps in my way on the corners I can finally test out my new wheels.

Hammer is down, even if i have already been hammered.

So, I roll across the finish line without any fanfare or hoopla, but I am spent and it feels good. The crew is hanging out and it turns out Kevin rocked 3rd, Jeremy 5th, and Isaac hunted the pack on the last few laps like a wolf in the hen-house, so all is well.

Back to the hotel for showers, then it's off to Dancel's pad for some BBQ and beers. The feast was totally worthy... complete with chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.

We sleep like the dead Saturday night, and warm up like zombies on our trainers in hurricane force winds on Sunday AM. The race starts neutral down a long hill and past a gnarly crash in the pro-field. Stuart, Kevin, Isaac, Lee, Jeremy, Kyle and I sit near the front for the first half a lap until the climb. Stuart pulls the ripcord. I follow suit. I ride 30 miles on my own in the wind, savoring my enervit and gatorade. On the final lap I wait for Stuart to catch back up and we put in a hard effort on the final climbs. We punk a couple of fools coming into the finish hill, and Stuart lays down a sick lead-out for DFL. I come around him and we sprint it out, even though Jeremy is back at the car fully changed and waiting to go get mexican food for lunch. Thankfully someone stuck around to watch us--Marty and Jose are on hand for moral support.

All in all, a good weekend of getting humbled by the competition. Gotta keep it together for a few more weeks, get healthy, and turn it on for the gila.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Great Weekend for BlueSkyVelo Colors

I met a guy out on the road on Saturday who jokingly asked, "is everyone on your team Polish? what is this 'blooski velo" anyways?

Well, with how many 'blooski's' there are in the races, on the roads, on the trails and even just hanging out in the stylish new Felpe Trainers (get yourself one today at the shop - they rock!) the Colorado Frontrange will never be the same... Here's a few of the weekend's Blue Sky Velo exploits - many reports I'm sure I'm missing (what mountain bikers, triathletes, group rides, etc happened).

It seems Isaac Dancy and his SHWIT (Steep Hills With Isaac) group ride on Sunday was a serious endeavor leaving everyone 2,000 - 3,000 calories empty. And I know there was at least one mountain biker out in the hills (check out Mike Bernhardt's blog). I'm sure there were a lot of other BSV colors flying. I can't repeat them all (not for censorship reasons, just because they are too many and I was only in 1 place. But there've been lots of good reports on the Blue Sky Velo Yahoo group. If you are a BSV'er, make sure you read your email to hear what's going on and if you're not, well, there's always room to join the club!

Whether you're on the team or not, keep on eye on the Recent Top 10 Results box on the www.blueskyvelo.com homepage. Even though this is only the 2nd week of April, Blue Sky Velo is really flying the colors on the race scene!: Kirk Nelson got 1st at the Lake Havasu Triathlon, Ryan Lewandowski got 5th at the Mad Cow Classic, Max Arias got 8th at Koppenberg, Leanne McAllister got 3rd at the Running of the Lucky Green 7k, Horatio got 3rd at the Frostbite TT and I got a 2nd in a MTB race. And now for this weekend:

Haystack TT and TTT:

  • Great Blue Sky Velo presence - both cheering on the side of the road and racing.
  • The SM4 TTT and the SM3 TTT both got 3rd in their respective categories.
  • In the SM4, 35+, Kyle Fredin got 2nd, Horatio got 4th and Chad Elmendorf got 8th
  • In the SM3's, Barry Schmidt got 8th and I got 10th
  • Greg Hall got 2nd place in the Citizen's category
  • Max Arias got 9th in the Juniors 15-16 category
  • John Schimpf got 8th in the SM4
  • whew! that's a lot of top 10's
  • check out a couple pictures of the SM3 TTT squad here
  • And for the geeks in the group, here's a TT power file to digest:
  • http://www.trainingpeaks.com/tny.aspx?a=sw&key=c5ii2Gj%2FKuQp1im9tc%2Bfo%2F7e8u1zg05B
    • feel free to dowload into WKO+ to analyze further
    • I was able to keep the recommended 49/51 split both by time and by distance and by power which made me very happy and honestly with where my fitness is at right now I don't think I could have done much better (course that still only netted me 10th place :(
    • Comparing my Normalized Power to Barry's however its quickly obvious how important to a TT aero equipment and position are - he recorded a faster time and used less energy (15 NP watts) to do so. arrrgh!
    • Regardless, I posted my peak 5 minutes of 334 watts and peak 20 & 30 minutes at 324 watts

AST/Tokyo Joe's Criterium:

  • Mike Dancel deserves serious props cause he raced and quickly got pulled in the early morning SM4 crit, but decided to "just keep trying" and he came back for a 2nd race later in the day and not only finished, but got a top 25 out of 75 guys.... lesson to us all - the only way to get better is to keep trying.
  • Speaking of getting better - Jose just moved up to the SM3 field and raced his first Criterium in the new pack yesterday. Here's a picture of him right in the mix - great work Jose!
  • Joseinthemix
  • Barry Schmidt and I also raced with Jose and had great fun trading breakaways back and forth or just hiding 5 back from the front.
  • Here's a picture of Barry in a break
  • BarrysBreakaway
  • I managed to get 4th in the race which I've got say feels pretty damn good being the best I've placed yet in a SM3 race of any sort. And although it was a 30 mph sprint, it just wasn't quite fast enough. Kind of entertaining to see us going in circles - check out the file: http://www.trainingpeaks.com/tny.aspx?a=sw&key=c5ii2Gj%2FKuR%2FHwLmkRMnDAy0%2FrxSrEz8. Hoping that this points to what will be a good season. And with the great SM3 teammates I've got this year, I guarantee it will be a good season for all of us.
  • Jeremypedalingthrucorner

Group Rides:

  • Besides all the other groups rides I heard about, a few of us (Suzanne, Barry, Rob, Jose and myself) took off from Golden after the AST crit and explored a new canyon up towards Golden Gate State Park. If you haven't been to Golden Gate State Park or riden/driven up that road, you've missed an incredible part of Colorado's front range. With steep pitches up to 16% and sustained climbs at around 10% its not just the scenery or the view of Denver that makes your heart skip a beat....
  • For those of you who have Garmin Edge or Forerunners, you've got to try this: create a course in MapMyRide, export as a .tcx, import to your device as a Course, then start the course. So much fun to
    • watch the elevation profile and know exactly where you are on the hill and how far you have to still climb before the top
    • very helpful to switch to the course map view to make sure you're taking the same route at the Y in the road as the riders who are up the road out of sight
    • entertaining to watch the % grade and realize that what feels steep... really IS steep. Today's climb had up to 16% grades and a lot of 8-10% grades
      • topped out at 8,738 feet with 4,040 feet of elevation gain over the 23.6 mile ride.
    • Finally check out the post ride file here: http://www.trainingpeaks.com/tny.aspx?a=sw&key=c5ii2Gj%2FKuQPvjVqVh9fB18%2FBHi9867d
  • And wow! don't those new kits look HOT! not to mention functional - the wind vest wasn't too hot, even with the gallons of sweat that poured out of my helmet at the top of the climb, but zipped up it kept me warm descending back from 9,000 feet and out of the snow and ice.
  • IMG00123

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Haystack TTT

A couple photos of the Cat3 train!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Better Ride Training Camp for Mountain Bike Team

Yes, Mountain biking, Fruita, Betteride Training Camp and one local sports bar, what else is needed? Seven of us headed to Fruita, Colorado from April 4th to 6th for a 3 day training camp with Gene Hamilton with Betteride. Blue Sky riders Darrin, Pete, Cindy, John, Dave J, Kevin, and Phil all make the pilgrimage to ride dry tight single track while improving upon our skills and riding abilities. Now, you might say why do I need to learn MTB skills? Well, most of us never really practiced skills, we just get on the bike and go ride--which is one way to learn, but may never improve your positioning, vision, and just overall efficiency with cornering and technical objects. That is where Gene comes in. He runs you through three days of skills, drills, and thrills to help you improve yourself, your confidence, and overall riding. All of us learned something, whether it was from doing a better wheelie, making a steep switchback, to improving your vision by just looking down the trail more, versus your front wheel! Here are some pics to give you an idea of how things went down.

Day 1: Body position, balance, and weight.

Here is the campsite at the State Park in Fruita just before the sun went down. Pete and John braved the cold while the others took refuge in the local Motel 8. The first night down to 20 degrees so the hot tub at the hotel for sure sounds like the better choice!

Here is everyone getting ready in Loma TH parking lot just West of Fruita. This is also where the Kokopeli Trail starts.

Here is the group heading out to work on skills towards the Moore Fun trail, Mary's Loop and Rustlers Trail. All right, now I have to catch up to all those racers!

This turned out to be our manual and wheelie practice stretch. No pics as we were all having way too much fun! Cindy and Darrin are the back two riders.

Here is the group working on visuals--gene was showing us that you remember and more peripheral vision than you think. Its all about trusting though! Cindy looking on as the rest of the group walks their bikes on the drill.

Gene showing about Vision on a turn off of the Rustler's Loop Trail. Basically, do not look at the rock, look way ahead! Pete to the left and Kevin to the right.

Recap of Day 1 with Gene to the right. From left to right: Cindy, Dave J, Phil, Pete, Darrin, and Kevin. This was at the entrance to the Rustler's Loop. Pete and I headed back to camp after this with dinner plans to join the group about 7:30 for a mexican food dinner. The other 5 brave soles headed out Mary's Loop to Horsethief Bench for a quick "3 HOUR TOUR". Pete and I get a phone call around 7:30...ummm we have not gotten back tot he cars yet so we are going to be a little late. All I heard was the someone fell off a cliff, a fwe others wrecked and Cindy's seat post blew up (uh, must be a speed ball!). Pete, Gene and John kept the bar busy while the group slowly trickled in, dirty, tired, and half bonking. What a first day!

Day 2: Cornering and braking skills.

We started the Day 2 out in a local town park right in Fruita. There was an empty parking lot that was perfect for Cornering drills using all sorts of crazy drills around orange cones. Here Dave J. gets a little help trusting being in a true cornering position with his weight over the BB and arms bent, while looking up! Pete and Darrin look on. What you cannot see is that Dave is actually track standing as he got more comfy with the balance.

Here Darrin practices more of the same.

Kevin having Gene find that sweet spot on the track stand with the weigth over your BB.

Here Gene had set up cones in an oval for working on those cornering techniques each of us were practicing above. As you approached the turn, you looked at one cone, as you got to the turn, you looked at the next one, as you were in the turn you looked to the third one. Great practice and gears you up for working on switch backs for sure. There was also some technique in keeping your weight over you BB and not on your handlebars. As you approach the turn, you can also push forward on the inside grip and your bike will just magically turn itself!

Here we are all meeting up at the top of the Kestle run trail off of 18 road at the Bookcliffs. As we ride down this trail we were supposed to work on proper cornering position that we had worked on in the park, but the damn trail is so fun--you have to let it go a little! Gene was not so happy about that!

After a quick fun ride down the Kestle trail we rode up part of Prime Cut to this large rock obstacle. Here Gene was showing us about how to approach this rock and how to get up and over it smoothly.

Here is a video of Gene showing us how its done.

At the top of prime cut is Chutes and Ladders. We did not ride the whole thing which was a shame but we did use th first steep climb to practice braking and position while descending. Here Kevin shows us how its done without locking the rear wheel and leaving a nice rut in the trail. We all rode back over to Kestle and did another run all the way back to the parking lot before heading out.

The 2nd day ended up with a few pizzas at the Tomato on main street and then a short jaunt to the local sports bar--the only bar actually. I think the music stopped when we walked in. Pete could not get served and the local boys seemed intimidated by Dave. On top of that, it was country night with one guy and a keyboard. Welcome to Fruita! If we had stayed any longer and a few more beers, we probably would have made the headlines the next day.

Day 3: Large Obstacles, Switchbacks and more balance!

Today we headed to The lunch loops out of Grand Junction on the East side of the Colorado Monument. These are great spider web of trails that range from the extreme to the beginner level of trails and technical. Here is the parking lot and you can see Gene's big white Dodge mobile that he runs the camps out of.

The rest of day 3 did not copy over..will fix that soon--there are three videos in it so that is probably what is wrong. Stay tuned! JP

Oredigga' part duex

Sunday dawned bright and sunny, and my legs were aching from the 85 mile donut ride the day before. the box of sake from Saturday night helped me get a good nights sleep, so i couldn't complain. I slapped on some new race rubber and jumped in the car for the oredigga'.

this course, while being dubbed a circuit race, was pretty rippin--pulling laps in just under 3 minutes. So it felt more like a crit. I jumped off the hood of my car into my skinsuit and warmed up on the trainer, feeling less than optimal, but stoked on the tight, technical course taking us through the scenic, if architecturally disjointed, school of mines campus.

I roll to the line and check in with the posse. Ryan and Horacio are feeling pretty tore up from big Saturday rides of their own, but are pinning on numbers to get some stage race practice. We line up when called-- a bunch of lycra-clad white boys tap-dancing their way into the street. i score a front row seat. Then the dude tells us to take a practice lap. From watching the collegiate race just before ours, I know that some kid got hauled out by the medic on the "practice" lap, so i get my game face on. Horacio does the same, and gaps the field on the practice lap. Action is hot and heavy at the front, as I jockey for position. Horacio nips the field at the line, and we both take notes to show up for the "practice-lap-podium-and-awards-presentation" immediately following the event.

Horatio hanging tough:

the gun goes off. Horacio is out like greased lightning, and i get to the front for the first downhill. The pavement on the downhill is rugged and off-camber in most spots. I imagine I am driving the car from hardcastle and mccormick through the set of robocop. my theory from years past holds true that cat'4s cannot corner or descend, and i effortlessly slide off the front on the downhill. however, the correlary of that theory also holds true, and i effortlessly slide back into the back on the uphill.

Rob in the lead group:

by lap two, six minutes into the 45 minute race, we are strung out like a runway model*. I hang onto some sort of lead pack, and we shell out guys every climb. I literally cannot stand riding my brakes through the downhill, though, and i slip off the front, only to be re-absorbed in a few minutes. I can tell the legs do not have it to try to make something stick.

Rob ripping some corners:

So, I patiently wait for the one lap to happen when i cannot hang on with the surge on the climb. Sure enough, with about 6 laps to go, I get ejected to no man's land. I have one other rider to suffer with, and we make an attempt to stay close to the lead. It is futile, even though we make time on the downhill, the uphill is just burning us alive. I look back and see ryan valiantly bridging up to me, and we ride together for a couple laps, until he slips past me for the 10th place spot at the line.

Ryan haulin' ass in for 10th:

I come across just behind him in 11th, with a few people on my wheel.

The afterparty:

All in all, not bad for any given sunday.

Nice work to all of you who put the hammer down at the Koppenberg!

*quote credit to Dave Towle.

Over and out.
Marty & Rob

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Oredigger Classic Circuit Race

The race du jour for me was the Oredigger Classic Circuit Race in Golden. It was a 6 corner course with some nice descending, climbing, and high speed cornering on each lap. Horacio, Rob, and I all showed up with 60+ hard Saturday miles in our legs. I consider it good stage race training for the Gila.

We all showed up at the start line in plenty of time to secure a front row starting position. There are a lot of high speed corners, and race director had everyone take a lap to check out the course. So much for my front row starting position because I wasn’t really willing to jockey for position on this parade lap. I ended up in about the fourth row.

At the gun, I saw Horacio and Rob go out hard and take up the front while I did my best to gain some early positions. I hung on in the top 20 or so. We hit the climbing part of the lap and I had to get on the gas hard. Just before the climb there is a high speed corner and people were really braking through it. This meant I had to regain my speed to try and catch up with the front of the race. I was passing a ton of people on the climb, so I know I was working hard.

Eventually, I got dropped on that climb a few laps later. The braking and surging finally killed me. If I could have made it closer to the front, I really think I could have hung. Later in the race I was taking that corner at full speed, so I know all that earlier breaking was killing me.

Rob and I both came unhitched around the same time, and I spent most of the rest of the race taking the “Rob Love High Speed Cornering Clinic”. Holy crap. Rob can take a corner. As I was behind him, I tried to follow his lines through the corners and it really helped. I even managed to scrape my Speedplays a couple times as I tried to get on the gas early out of the corners.

In the end, I took 10th and Rob took 11th. Horacio’s legs finally screamed loud enough that he decided to listen and join the cheering section on the sidelines.

After a hard race, I'm recovering on the couch with a Belgian Blonde (Ale) and a Belgian Quadruple watching the Tour of Flanders. Those Belgians sure know their beer.

Here's Rob showing you how to take the inside line of a corner like a pro:

More pictures from today's race are on the BSV Photo Pool on Flickr.

Koppenberg Circuit Race

The first road race of the year is always the Koppenberg Circuit Race. With 50% of the course on dirt it seems like the perfect transition from cyclocross season.

After a prolonged 5-hour donut run on Saturday, I didn't have the freshest legs at the start line, but then again, if you peak for Koppenberg you have some serious issues to take to your cycling psychologist -- ie, Kevin. However, I would like to remind you it's not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with your psychologist, or so they tell me at BCH ... eh, more on this later.

The first race of the year is always met with a certain amount of consternation.

Despite the soggy legs, the worst-case scenario for me was that Koppenberg would be a 90-minute workout with the added bonus of an excuse to suit up in the brand-spanking new long-sleeve skinsuit.

Jose and I took off with the 3s at an absolutely frantic pace. We covered the first lap in under 12'30", which is an average speed of 26+ mph. I felt worked but pleasantly surprised at the good sensations and the fact that everyone else was starting to look a little tired. On the back-side climb I rode right up the side of a strung-out peloton with a gushing "who me?" expression on my face. Unfortunately, during the descent back to Costco a couple riders banged heads, leaned on each other, and promptly hit the ground not more than a couple bike lengths ahead of me. I was able to slow significantly, but still had no choice but to hit one of the dudes and take a brief extravehicular flight. I got up, found my bike, and kept on going. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, Jenna assures me the long-sleeve skinsuit was unscathed. I was a little nervous riding with a gash on my shin, but so long as this was a high-quality workout I wasn't packing it in. It's too bad I wouldn't see the front of the field again, because I think I might have been good for a top 10.

Meanwhile, Jose was making his debut in the Cat3s. I can sympathize with the experience, because every time you make a leap it always feels mighty fast! Jose, I promise you that you'll get desensitized to this. Last year after a season of getting bashed in the 3s, I dropped down to 4s for cyclocross season and felt like an absolute stud!

I ended up in the second group on the road, with probably 25 guys ahead. I was riding with guys who got dropped, so I was probably one of the stronger guys. Cat3s still don't know how to paceline or cooperate, so it was too bad that we never picked anyone up, but I wasn't about to embark on a fruitless attempt to bridge. I just sat and waited for an opportunity to attack on the final lap.

On the last lap I rode away with 2 other guys on the climb, and we had a gap that would stick. This was a perfect scenario for me because I didn't want to solo in the windy conditions. The sprint from the final corner is 400m, and of course someone went ... I was sitting 3rd wheel and waited till about 150m, but was only able to come away with 2nd in the sprint. In retrospect I should have waited longer.

After the finish I had the medics take a look at my leg, but they couldn't really do too much for me. Jenna and I then headed to BCH Foothills to get it cleaned out. Three stitches and a few Pumphouse brews later and the first race of the season is officially in the books!

And I almost forgot ... mom always tells you to wear clean underwear in case you end up in the ER ... well, this should be amended for racers to, "Remember to wear any underwear at all!" I hit the road in the chamois this morning and had to visit the ER commando ...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Clothing Sorting

A special thanks to all the troopers who braved cold temperatures and Isaac's insistence to sort clothes in the open air until 9pm!

Your heroes in no particular order: Bill Teasdale, Dan Farrell, Ryan Lewandowski, Joel White, Jose Castilleja, Steve Capstick, Jenna Dancy, Isaac Dancy, Michelle Vercellino, and Dave Kilmoyer.