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for all my friends · January 2011

January 2011

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

1-30_early-bird-crit-4

the forecast was right, it rained about 5 minutes after I took this picture.  the course in fremont was absolutely saturated with water while we were doing the clinic.  today’s overall lesson was getting comfortable with moving through the pack during a race.  the mentors in our group focused on rotating from the back to the front of the pack – riding in a box (though our shape was more like a long rectangle), smooth turns through riders to get to the front of the group, and pace-lining.  and as soon as our lesson was over, the rain started coming down a bit harder.  then as we lined up, it picked up even more.  many of us had rain jackets on, covering the numbers on our jerseys.  I planned on removing my shell before the race started but the weather was looking so grime that I decided to keep it on.  no worries though, the race official said that since this race didn’t really count, it was okay to have our numbers covered – thank goodness, because I wasn’t about to remove 6 pins from my jersey to re-pin my number on my jacket.  I don’t think anyone else wanted to either.

anyway, the race started, and steve took the front.  his tactic seemed rather straight forward: ride fast to keep warm.  I followed him up to the front, but knew that this wouldn’t be the break that’d split the peleton.  of course, two laps later, the break formed – a huge chunk of 10 or 12 riders broke off through a turn.  the group I was in was only 3 deep, zach was there chasing with us.  a couple of stragglers came up from behind us and our group got a bit more help.  we chased and chased, lap after lap, but the break was gone.  we made the best of the situation and continued to ride hard with the riders we did have.  one of the guys in our group made a small break on the bell lap, and we caught him just before the second turn.  on the last sweeper he sprinted early, and hard – zach and I started our sprints early as well, in an attempt to shut him down and beat him to the line.  he ended up finishing about a bike length ahead of us, and zach was next to me, about an inch behind my front wheel.

the wet weather wasn’t ideal, but I was glad there weren’t any accidents.  my crit riding is getting a bit better, little by little, which is really nice.  I’m definitely grateful for the early bird crits since they’re paired with clinics and mentors that point out the more technical points of racing.  all of the clinics and races I’ve done have taught me a lot about riding, and about my own abilities.  it’s also humbling being able to ride with riders with such talent.  props to the guys that made it into that break – daniel, steve, marc, and tim – you guys rode strong.  it’s more motivation for me to continue riding and training hard.

on a more random note, I’ve been reading jehovah’s witness zines at the laundromat.  their topics fascinate me.

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cal aggie crit.

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woke up early this morning to pack the car for the cal aggie crit in sacramento.  it felt weird driving up on highway 80, and not having skies in the back seats – it’s been a long time since I’ve gone up that way, and an even longer time since I’ve touched the snow up in lake tahoe.  anyway, after 90 miles of singing to myself on the dark pre-dawn drive up, I arrived in the small parking nook where the registration booth was.  luckily I showed up when I did, because the lot filled up within minutes, and overflow parking was quite walk away.  there was a low fog that saturated everything with a mist, the ground was saturated with water (see above picture).  I didn’t get a chance to pre-ride the course, but I remembered how the course layout looked from the flier.  in the shot above, you can see the first sweeper turn off the start/finish line.  the road straightens up for a second, curves right more, then abruptly corners left, then right, another smooth left, another sharp right, and then relatively straight to the line.  the back half of the course was technical, and the wet didn’t make it any easier.

luckily, no one went down in the race, and I had a great time keeping pace near the back of the bunch.  I soon realized I just didn’t have it in my legs to make it towards the front of the group, it would’ve been sketchy if I made a move as the bunch was slowing, or coming through a turn.  I stayed comfortable, and in control, trying to gain more pack riding experience and the overall pace of the crit.  it was challenging, but lots of fun.  I was glad everyone kept their tires planted (oh, besides one guy who busted a tubular tire through the first lap…yikes).  jason, steve, and marc were all there too, and worked from the middle of the bunch towards the front.  congrats to them for placing high up, out of the 50 that raced!

tomorrow is the early bird clinic and crit.  we’ve been fairly fortunate over the past couple weeks as far as the weather goes.  tomorrow is suppose to rain though, the forecast says 70%.  not sure if I’ll risk it or not, but if I stay home I’m almost positive I’ll regret not going.  after all, a little bit of water never hurt anything.

1-29_cal-aggie-crit2

G’s in the corner of this picture.  oh, and fergus was there to race in the 3’s, good seeing you, man!  hope you did well.

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daily.

1-27_daily

back on the bike tomorrow in preparation for the crit racing weekend.  surprisingly, I have the day off, the first one in weeks!

I was a bit bummed that I didn’t ride this morning, the monday through friday work schedule has been hectic to say the least.  I’m hoping to solidify my riding schedule next week.

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1-26_rodeo-beach

a rodeo beach adventure this fine wednesday morning.  super crisp outside, pretty breezy but fun nonetheless.  I kept the cadence high, focusing on my position in the drops.  I’ve got two crits this weekend, back to back, and I definitely want to perform better than I have been.  saturday is the cal aggie crit up in sacramento, then sunday is the early bird clinic and crit.  I’ve been trying to ride in the drops more because crit riding is all about drafting, low center of gravity through turns, and explosive legs.  hanging out in the wind is a sure fire way to get tired and fall back in the group.  and I don’t want that to happen anymore.

I had some extra time after rodeo beach, and headed up to the top of conzelman.  the view was epic.

1-26_conzelman

incredibly clear!  I hit a strong headwind on the descent back down to the bridge, but other than that, it was awesome.  I spotted connor, gabe, chas (started tcb courier!), and another guy heading around the first pillar on the bridge as I was heading back towards san francisco.  hell yea, gettin’ it.

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make it burn!

1-25_headlands

I headed out to the headlands this morning to work on my speed.  as mentioned in my previous posts, my flatland ability has been lacking, which has really been a pain in the races I’ve been doing.  I warmed up with a climb up to the bottom of bunker to the top of conzelman, then shot back down to the backside for a routine I stole from travis from freewheel hayes.  it was pretty much 3-4 minute pulls up bunker road, going all out as hard as I could.  I ended up doing 4 hard pulls, making it really burn.  my legs and lungs were toasted, and I made my way back up towards the top of mccollough to drop down the front of the headlands.

and of course, I had to take a shot of this awesome sunrise.  I’m curious to see how my legs are going to feel tomorrow morning…

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kalavinka on carbon.

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I haven’t seen a unique build like this in a while!

picture jacked off sffixed (originally off flickr, but it wasn’t linked in the post).

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1-23_early-bird-crit-3

after a rather sleepless night of tossing and turning, I woke up for the early bird criterium and packed the car for another cycling adventure.  the early bird clinic and criterium was being held in fremont again, same spot, same time.  of course, I ran out of soy milk, so I had to eat my cereal dry.  that wasn’t an ideal start to the morning, but it worked to some extent…food is food!  the car still had gas in it from yesterday’s race out to patterson, so I saved a bit of travel time out to the race.  another realization I’ve come to over the past couple weeks is that cruise control is quite convenient.  it’s one less thing to think about while driving out to a race.  plus, it’s the most efficient way to drive on the highway – constant speed and least amount of fuel consumed to maintain the speed, the equation to a relaxing drive.

anyway, I hit zero traffic out to the race, and got there at around 7:15am.  I registered after some time passed, and started getting ready for the clinic.  today, the mentors went over sprinting.  I learned a ton about technique and cadence, it was a really enlightening session.  key points: keep your head up, sprint in a line, and keep your hands in the drops (bent elbows, of course).  the race was split into two groups since there were 58 registered cat5 racers.  I had steve, jimmy (taleo), marc, gabe (mashsf), zach, daniel, tim (sj fixed) and a bunch of other guys in my group.  the race started and after the first lap around, I realized it’d be another race of playing catch-up.  I kept sliding back in the group, hustling out of the saddle out of turns to catch the wheel I was drafting…it was draining experience, and I wasn’t quite sure how to keep the pace.  one mentor saw me struggling near the back and had some good advice that helped me for the rest of the race.  he said, “you see riders falling back, and riders moving up.  pick a wheel that’s moving up, not one that’s slowing down.”  it’s something that made sense, but somehow it didn’t click previous to his statement.  he kindly towed me towards the middle of the group, and I kept sticking wheels, slowly moving through the group, making my way to the front.

daniel and 2 others broke off the front of the group and were way up ahead.  jimmy from taleo spent most of the laps after that near the front trying to chase them down, keeping the pace furiously fast.  I was slowly picking my way to the front and I saw steve off to my side.  we chatted for a second, and decided to make an effort on the bell lap.  I towed him from the middle of the chase to a nice shoulder off the front of the group.  we passed all the chasers and spearheaded the group along the back stretch.  I was spent though, I pulled off and hoped he had enough in his legs to make it to the line ahead of all the other guys.  unfortunately, he was toasted as well and the group absorbed him as he crossed the line.  and jimmy finished victoriously last.  daniel took the win from the break, the second week in a row, congrats!

whew…tired from a weekend of racing, but damn, it was FUN.  I’ve got so much work to do.  but that’s the best part.

have some dailies!

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yes, a super melon wife cake.  eastern bakery out on grant makes some excellent pastries.  and the owner is my neighbor (support your local!).

1-23_daily2a

chinese new year’s is right around the corner, that year sure went by fast!  I swear last year I was out riding my track bike around the presidio and legion of honor…

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holographic year of the rabbit, obviously.

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wait…that’s a fruit?  hmm…

1-23_daily7

had my brother help me install some hooks into the wall so I could hang my spare wheelsets.  it definitely freed up a lot of space on the ground (thanks, nick).

1-23_daily8

the content wall.

hope everyone had a great weekend.

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1-22_early-bird-road-race

woke up at 4:30am today to get ready for the early bird road race out in patterson.  registration opened at 7am, and the race was suppose to start at 8am, but it was delayed about half an hour or so.  I arrived a bit past 7am and was surprised to see that most of the available parking around the hotel was already taken.  luckily, I swooped a pretty big spot for the car, which gave me a lot of room to set up the bike, and get ready.  I registered, pinned my number and rode around the area to get warm.  lots of familiar faces out today: naveen from metromint, kevin from rhythm racing, jimmy from taleo, daniel, marc, steve (a badass courier from san francisco), joshua from mission cycling, and a handful of others.

there was a staggered start from the line, roughly 5 minute gaps between categories.  a motorcycle lead us out to the road we’d be racing on – the two lanes were paved fairly well, but there was a decent amount of potholes, unevenness, and some water through the turns.  I was with a group of 5-6 riders that pushed the pace initially, but that failed after a mile or so.  the pace was kept pretty slow until the rollers started, maybe a quarter of the way through the race.  riders were shifting up, keeping the pace fast.  I found myself near the back of the group wondering how I got there.  I caught a wheel to draft up to the front of the group, and linked back up with some guys I knew.  the turn-around point was at the top of a 1000ft climb, it shattered the cat5 group.  riders were scattered up and down the hill, and I found myself wondering what group I’d be pacing with on the 20 mile ride back to the finish line.

as I was climbing, I saw naveen and kevin shooting back down from the top of the hill (naveen ended up winning the road race in his category, congrats man!).  the gradient was smooth and steady up to the top, and the turn-around point was a pair of cones, moderated by a race official.  I flew back down the hill to try and snag a wheel to pace with on the way back.  jimmy was in a break of 3 and they pulled several hundred meters on the group I was in.  the guys up in the front of the group were keeping a killer pace, and I kept falling back.  more guys would pass me as I struggled to get back to a wheel.  on one of the turns, I saw daniel at the side of the road, next to a police car – as it turns out, he flatted out, which was lame, because I’m sure he would’ve either been part of that 3 man break, or out riding with us in the chase group.  steve and I decided to make an attempt to catch the break away, so we motored past our chase group to try and catch them.  we were absorbed back into our group, and the pace picked up even more.  I found out later that we were being towed by 35+ cat1/2’s (I really don’t think cat4/5’s should be placed ahead of 1/2’s, since they were obviously fast than our group and motored past.  oh well.)- we ended up catching the tail end of the 3 man break right at the finish line.

I landed 4th, a few seconds right behind the break.  great race, I had an awesome time.  I also learned a ton about riding with a big group, especially in a road race environment.  I also learned that I need to work on my flatland pacing skills – playing all that catch-up really took it’s toll on my legs near the end.  all in all, it felt great to be riding on a road I’ve never been on before, with lots of friendly racers.  time to eat and rest up for tomorrow’s early bird crit!  I’m going to try to ride up near the front of the group tomorrow to practice more flatland.

whew, what a morning.

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hello sf!

1-21_conzelman

I hit up the headlands this morning for some early morning climbing.  new voler warmers work quite well, they’re much more snug than my capo ones, providing a comfortable amount of compression without being overly tight.  there was a bit of wind coming from the north as well, it only became an issue on the turns while descending.  the wind pushed on the inside edge of the bike, which made it feel a bit like understeer.  just have to dig and lean more!

there was also an older guy at the top with a yellow fixed gear with bullhorns.  he descended extremely slowly, down to the backside of mccollough.  I saw him as I descended down, and rode back up to the top.  and as I was coming back up, he was still applying tons of back pressure on his pedals, creeping down the hill…seemed a bit time consuming and boring, I was kind of wonder why he didn’t have a front and rear brake with some brifters.

happy friday!

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dailies.

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