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for all my friends · riding

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april_10_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-1

april_10_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-2

Firstly, I have no idea why isitup.org is telling me my blog is up when I can’t even log into the back end.  I’m typing this via e-mail, and will hopefully be uploading it in the near future.  Damn technology.

Anyway, the crowd was a bit smaller this time around at the track.  I drove 280 down to get to the velodrome, which was seemingly faster, until I was caught up in traffic down in San Jose.  Still took me an hour and 45 minutes to get down there, same as 101.  Upon arriving, I registered and pinned my number to my side.  It’s pretty convenient just having one number for the entire season, I have to say.  Lots of familiar faces out today including Fergus, Marc, Tim, Uri (Chica Sexy), Jake, Al, Zach, and Gabe (BRITEsport).

Scratch: The wind was pretty heavy on the beginning races today, but died down a bit as the night went on.  I was playing catch-up for most of the race, and landed somewhere near the back at the end of the 10 laps.  Not ideal, but at least I was hanging on…Could’ve definitely done better, oh well.

Tempo (Snowball): This time around, it was 10 laps, but each lap, the amount of points for the first rider across the line went up as the laps kept going.  1 point for the first lap, all the way up to 10 points for the final lap.  The pace for the first couple laps wasn’t too bad, then started picking up in the middle, dropping riders off the back.  Again, I was stuck in no man’s land, fighting the wind to get back to the main group.  Failed to gain any real momentum or make any moves near the front.  As I rode around the warmup track before the miss and out, I saw Zach make a sick move on the 8th lap of tempo, scoring 9 points on the 9th lap, and almost holding the lead into the 10th lap.  Unfortunately, he was nipped at the line.  Sick power move though, I need to do more like that from the outside of the track.

Miss and Out: Last week I was the first rider to get pulled.  This week, I made it 3 laps in before getting pulled.  Progress, but barely.  Personal fail.

Points: 12 laps, points every 3rd lap.  The pace for the final race was much more intense than previous ones, and I found myself off the back a couple times.  Should’ve definitely been passing slower wheels on the outside, but somehow, got caught behind one every single lap.  Somewhere in the middle of the race, a guy just sat up for an unknown reason, which just caused a bunch of riders to swerve around him.  Then on the 2nd to last lap, someone’s front tire rubbed another rim, with both riders almost going down, but somehow keeping it together.  Definitely could’ve been a bad accident…

There was two accidents that occured when I was there.  One cat5 rider touched his front wheel to someone’s rear and went down in turn 1 – accident didn’t seem too serious.  Then on the p/1/2/3 miss and out, a rider went down on turn 3 – the ambulance came to see that the rider’s injuries were tended to, but I don’t know the final outcome of his injuries.  I just hope they weren’t too serious.

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april_3_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-1

april_3_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-2

april_3_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-3

The track is awesome.

It’s 11:02pm but I’m going to type this up quick before I forget all the funny details.  Huge turnout at the velodrome, a lot more than usual, I heard.  The Cat5 men’s group was 20+ riders deep, and there were 4 categories total: Cat5 men, juniors/women, Cat3/4 men, and then the P/1/2/3 men’s group.  $15 for 4 events: scratch, tempo, miss and out, and points.  I showed up a tad later than most because I was stuck in traffic for quite a long time.  Apparently 101 isn’t the best way to get down to San Jose on a Wednesday.  Definitely taking 280 next time…carpooling if possible.  Anyway, after showing up to the track, throwing on the shoes and helmet, I was off to warming up.  Spinning around near the edge of the track seeing a ton of familiar faces: Fergus, Tim, Steve (Chica Sexy), Gabe, Zack (BRITEsport), and more people I’m forgetting.

Scratch: 10 laps, first rider across the line gets points.  I was not in the best position for the scratch, which was my own fault.  And soon I realized that most of my effort through the short race would be dodging slow wheels and riding up the track to pass people.  It was a lot of fun though, first race of the day, definitely a good opener.  Lots of weird movement from some people, which made riding and passing a bit hairy at times, but no crashes, so just a solid experience either way.

Tempo: 10 laps, sprint points every lap with the first rider getting 2 points, second rider getting 1…?  Again, a race where fighting for position is key.  About halfway through the tempo race, I realized that I was (again) getting caught up with slow wheels, and (again) spending a lot of energy to catch faster wheels up farther in the bunch.  No crashes, no complaints.

Miss and out: 19 laps (I think) because our field was 22, with the last rider getting pulled every lap.  Once there are 3 riders left, it’s 1 lap to go until a sprint finish.  In this race, positioning is everything.  I know because I was the first rider to get pulled just 1 lap in – pretty damn sad and embarrassing, but yea.  I had the general idea of the race in my head but all of that kind of went out the window once I saw 3 riders in front of me like a wall, with no where to squeeze in.  I wasn’t nearly as fun watching this from the warmup track, but oh well.  Next time.

Points: 12 laps with points awarded to top 4 riders (5, 3, 2, and 1 point, I believe) every 3 laps?  Again, with pretty bad positioning, I ended up near the back and had to fight on the outer edge to pass up people.  At one point, I was slightly off the front, but got burnt out with 1 to go.

I might’ve gotten tempo and points descriptions’ mixed up.  Someone will probably correct me later.

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march_30_2013_san_francisco_crissy_fields

I’m the first to admit that I haven’t been riding as much as I’d like.  I’m running at lunch sometimes, but even that’s been spotty at best.  I’m putting most of my effort towards my job and have been constantly trying to improve my work.  We’re shorthanded to say the least, and juggling 2, 3, or sometimes even 4 projects is just draining.  I’d love to have more of a balance.  I’d love to come back home to just relax and watch some pro cycling.  It’s been nearly impossible for me to even want to sit in front of a computer after working all day on one.  All my energy has been sapped because of my job.  Yesterday, I almost cracked, but stayed motivated and finished my project at 10pm.  I love the work I do.  I want to keep doing it, learning from all my great co-workers.  I just don’t want to break under the stress.

I’m hoping Wednesday night track racing at Hellyer will help me find more of a balance between work and play.  I honestly miss logging into this blog and writing about whatever I want.  That’s still the reason why I continue to come on and sporadically write.  I’m still alive, I’m still here, and will continue to write for myself, and no one else.  I’m happy to share my experiences through work, cycling, and everything else.  People that have been reading along with me can hopefully sympathize.  I’ve just been snagged away from my passion for a short while, but will always have eternal respect for cycling, running, and endurance sports in general.  I want to keep writing, running, riding, and reading everything I can.  But sometimes sleeping for 9 or 10 hours is more within line of what my body needs to recover from work.  It’s tough, but I’m going to handle it and will come back stronger.  No regrets.

If this doesn’t get updated for another day or so, you’ll know where I stand.  I don’t know any of you personally, but I hope that the balance between work and fun also finds you well.  Have a good weekend.

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march_23_2013_hellyer_saturday_morning_beginner_sessions

Fun learning time at the velodome, once more.  With track racing starting on April 3, and only 1 more beginner session left to complete before being able to race, I was excited to say the least.  Rob rolled by the house with his boy Tye, and we were off to San Jose.  There weren’t as many people at the velodrome as 2 weeks ago, which was nice for a change.  Beth (I think was her name) would be our mentor for the day, and ran through a couple drills after a 40 lap warmup.  The session ended with a 6 lap keirin, which was awesome.  Pretty happy with how the session went, it was lots of fun, and the weather was perfect!

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march_19_2013_san_francisco_golden_gate_bridge

A quiet morning out in Marin, pretty typical.  I don’t think anything cool really happened, other than my legs feeling like utter crap after about an hour of riding.  The other thing is that the battery in my heart rate monitor is going out, or something, so it’s reading all wacky for the first 15 minutes which is kind of a pain.  Hit a bit of traffic on the bridge on the way back, figured I’d pull over to take the shot above.  As the bridge construction mini truck thing pulled away, Rustie called out to me just as I was pulling my phone out.  Good seeing you out!  I’ve been meaning to get out more often, so I’m stoked when I see people I know out riding.

Have a good Tuesday, everyone!

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march-16-2013_hellyer-beginner-session-1

Another early Saturday morning.  Rob came by the house and we threw the bikes in the back and on top of all this chopped wood.  Never know when you’re going to need to stab a vampire in the face with a wooden stake – boom headshot.  Anyway, we headed down to San Jose expecting clear, sunny weather, and what we got was foggy, San Francisco skies.  It eventually burned off halfway through the session.  There were still a lot of riders out, a tad less than last week, but a lot of familiar faces, all of whom I’ve forgotten their names already.  After a warmup, shoulder bumping, some pursuit drills, and pep talk, it was time for the the 9 lap mock scratch race.  No accidental misclips this time, which was a relief.  Definitely fun to get some speed out on the velodrome, but I need to get that 15t cog back on the back of my bike.

But there’s at least 1 person running a 50×15, this guy:

march-16-2013_hellyer-beginner-session-alex-lai

Sparkly, almost brand new looking Makino.  Such a big gear for such a small guy.

See you next week, Hellyer.

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march-9-2013_hellyer-saturday-morning-beginner-session

I’ve been meaning to get out on the track.  Actually, I probably should’ve started out on the track rather than on the road, racing crits and road races.  There’s something very fundamental about riding around an oval on a track bike – it just makes sense and it’s not dangerous like a closed street course.  There aren’t any bot dots, cracks in the road, sidewalks, or anything really hazardous to worry about.

So when Rob called me yesterday wanting to know what was up this weekend, I knew exactly what to say.  Hellyer Saturday morning beginner session.  With Wednesday night track races starting in April, I knew I would have to get in my 3 training sessions soon.  Admittedly, I’ve been slacking off the riding a bit, which hasn’t helped too much, but I’m hoping by at least attending the sessions, it’ll keep my mind on the right track (no pun intended).  There were a couple drills and training routines which allowed all of us to get a better grasp on velodrome riding.  I found it helpful to have some racing experience, but riding the track bike on the track just seemed to feel right.  Unfortunately, I unclipped out of my non-drive side pedal at one point, which could’ve ended with me just face-planting into the asphalt, but somehow, I was able to recover and ride down into the apron.  Not sure what happen there…

1 training session under the belt.  So glad to have made it out, big thanks to Rob for driving.

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february-27-2013_san-francisco-golden-gate-bridge

I’ll keep this short, considering I don’t even really know what to write.  Funny thing is that I still thought about all the cool stuff I’d write when I got back home, but all of it seemed to fade away as I put the bike back on the wall.  I did happen to see Maurice heading down into Sausalito as I was riding out, so that was kind of cool.  Now I’m ready to go to work.

Midweek.  Hope everyone has a good day!

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february-17-2013_cannondale-caad5-flat

Not ideally how I wanted to start the morning off chilling around town.  I was riding through Golden Gate park and while trying to avoid a bad section of road, the back tire smack a huge pothole.  At first, I was more concerned that I dented the rim since the entire back of the bike jumped up in the air.  After riding about 50ft more, the hissing started.  Le flat.  No problem, though, I figured I could just swap out the tube, head back home instead of hitting Twin Peaks on the way back.  So after fixing it, I road back through the city.  While waiting at a light, I heard a loud pop.  I got off the bike and looked at the rear tire, it spun smooth and everything.  Maybe slightly under-inflated, but nothing that could’ve made a popping sound.  Then I looked at the front wheel.

Oh geez.  One of the spokes had snapped.  I wiggled it free from the hub and inspected the remnants of the rim.  It still spun, it was just a bit wobbly.  I opened up the brake basically all the way.  Then entire time, this security guard in front of the old gas station was saying things like “Yo man, I think God might be giving you a sign!” “I ain’t ever seen that before, that’s some crazy…what is that even made out of?” “Ight, that thing spins now, but I feel like you’re gonna be good for about 8 blocks before that thing comes apart, how far you live – damn that’s far.”  Nice guy though.  I made it back home, safe and sound.  I gotta get this thing fixed though.  It’s the back up rim for my CAAD10.  Surprisingly enough, there’s more miles on the DT Swiss 240s/HED Belgiums on the CAAD10 than there are on the Halo/Velocity A23’s that are on the CAAD5.  Strange it would break, but I guess it just happens sometimes.

february-17-2013_cannondale-caad5-broken-spoke

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february-13-2013_san-francisco-golden-gate-bridge

I think the battery is dying in my heart rate monitor strap.  It always seems to take at least 10 minutes for it to start reading correctly, which is kind of annoying.  I guess I’ll have to swing by Walgreens later to pick up a CR2032, though I feel as if my previous battery lasted significantly longer.  Anyway, the ride into Sausalito was kind of killed by this big truck that passed me up right before the descent started.  He kind of made up for it by keeping a steady 27mph through the waterfront, offering a stellar draft for a minute or so.  Then the headwind came.  Pretty quiet all the way in Mill Valley, and as I came back around towards the bridge, I saw Travis (BRITEsport).  About a minute later, I saw Steve and Marc (Chica Sexy) heading out for their morning ride.  Completely made my morning seeing them out.  Local racing, local heroes.

Hope everyone has a smooth Wednesday.

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