We’re having summer weather in spring, which is pretty typical. It’s always warmest in the spring and autumn months for some reason, but foggy every single day in the summer. Either way, I slept in after a packed weekend of staying up way too late – figured I needed to get back into the rhythm of things with a run at lunch. It was really nice out along the Embarcadero, tons of people walking everywhere. Hope this weather keeps up!
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Ran out to the ballpark at lunch. More running stuff en route to me since my running habits seem to be more consistent than my riding. I also was able to get out of work at a decent hour, and stopped by the shop to drop off my carbon tubulars. Should be good to roll in the near future!
As previously mentioned, it’s been hilariously windy all over the Bay Area recently. It seemed to die down a bit as the night went on, but for the most part, turn 2 was the windiest section of the velodrome. Either way, today’s races were set up a bit differently than the 2 previous weeks – Larry Nolan wasn’t there as a race organizer, and things were delayed quite a bit even for the opening Cat5 race. 19 of us were on the warmup track for a long time. Lots of familiar faces out today, but there seemed to be a bit less people in all the groups. Either way, Tim, Fergus, Uri, and two other guys from Chica Sexy were out, as was Alex, Josh (not Jake), Percy (who has his 3rd kid on the way, ballin’), and a new guy I met today named Mario, were all in attendance.
Scratch: 10 laps. Alex went off the front for the first 4 laps, but was eventually caught. I was watching everything go down from the back. Muscle Milk Cat2 road guy apparently took the win.
Miss and Out: I had better positioning this week, and was at the front for about 2 laps before people started coming over the top. I think I lasted about 6 laps? An improvement over last week’s 3 laps, and the first night’s 1 lap. Maybe by the end of the season, I’ll give myself a real opportunity to actually race.
Points: 12 laps, points every 3. On the first sprint, the whole group pretty much exploded. I was caught off the back, which was stupid, and rode to catch up to the main group up ahead. By time I caught back up, there was another sprint for points, and the group started riding away from me. Not ideal, so I opted to just exit on the back straight. Or I could’ve just continued to race, knowing I’d probably never catch up to them. Fail.
Snowball: 1 point for the first rider across the line on the first lap, increasing in points per lap, 10 points for the first rider across the line on the last lap. Somewhere in the middle of the race, the group began to split. Two riders were off the front initially, but I guess they were brought back. I was somewhere near the back riding horribly, as usual. In the closing laps, the pace started getting all fast and such, and on the bell lap, I was basically off the back of the main group, watching everything go down.
I really need to ride more, haha. Fun times, either way. Definitely glad I made it out. Also, in previous weeks, the commute has been 2 hours and 15 minutes, whether it be 101 or 280 straight down. Today, I took 280, 85, 87, and then a series of streets to get to the velodrome, and it only took me 1:45. Proud day.
Ran out to the ballpark and back for lunch, and was able to step out of the office a couple times to get some fresh air. Too much time in front of a computer makes me feel like I’m being lazy, so walking around helps. Side note, it’s been hilariously windy lately – I’m hoping it’s going to die down soon, because yesterday, it hit 50mph+ along the Marina Greens.
I’m waiting on tubulars to come in so I can get this wheelset on the track:
Not bad for the price.
Went for a spin around the city today. I guess the CycleOps heart rate strap wasn’t really any better than the Garmin one, because it was reading above 105% max for a pretty long time before it normalized. Hopefully that won’t happen again, but I’m pretty sure it will…
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.
5k in 19:50 was a decent enough pace to take the win.
So before I get into the actual race itself, I’ll mention that this even was first introduced to everyone at work as a company-wide team building type event. I figured it could be fun to see a bunch of people outside of the office, as well as run in a timed event. People could sign up as walkers or runners – the only difference was that the runners were timed. I’ve never run a timed event before, so I was slightly worried about intensity and pace. Worst that could happen is that I’d hit my max and just fall off the aerobic cliff.
I showed up a bit early and wandered around for a second before seeing my CEO, his wife, and his sister. We stood around for a while before 3 of my other co-workers showed up. I asked if they wanted to run together or not, and after being in agreement that we’d run our own pace, a horn sounded. It had begun. I was in the back of at least 150 people, and started getting worried that I was way too far back to make an impact. After fighting towards the front for about a minute, the pack was thinning out. We made the turn towards the gravel path on Crissy Fields. It wasn’t a closed course since the race was so short – we were paced by a cyclist…and as it turns out, I knew the guy too. Hank from Team Mike’s Bikes on his Specialized Venge – it was pretty funny realizing it was him as I was running.
So after a couple minutes, I passed up the guy in 2nd place. 1 more guy in front of me, so I played it as if it were a crit. Saved my energy, caught his draft, and followed his stride so that he couldn’t hear me (not sure if any of this helped at all, I just thought it’d help my morale). Hank kept looking back at us to make sure we were still following. I saw the turn around point in the distance, and knew that’d be the time for me to make the move to pass him. Either that, or he’d finally notice I was behind him, and he’d throw on the burners, dropping me. The turned around point came, I took a couple deep breathes and started increasing my cadence. I came up beside him, passed, and pressed on. The masses of runners/walkers started coming from the other direction. I followed the path of Hank’s bike, and saw the faces of my co-workers, and heard the encouragement of passing people.
There was no one else behind me after a couple minutes. I saw a speck of green slowly catching me. We made the right turn, cutting through a path next to trees – this 11 year old kid was reeling me in from a distance. The burn began settling in my lungs and my stomach began turning – the limit. Time to hurl? Maybe…
My stride started getting sloppy. I saw the start/finish in the distance and peaked behind me to see where the kid was. He was getting closer, but I had enough of a pillow to savor crossing the line. 19:50 on the dot. Not amazing pace, but good enough for me. My co-worker and I walked through the city to get back to the BART station, and I finally walked home.
Falling to sleep last night proved to be quite the task – basically impossible. It was strange because the fatigue was setting in, and I was physically tired from racing/driving, but it was really hard just resting and sleeping. Woke up this morning feeling okay, and decided to go for a run at lunch to get some fresh air. As it turns out, caffeine does wonders. I had never taken a sip of coffee or anything remotely related to caffeine before, until one of my co-workers gave me a cranberry Red Bull. I sipped half and started feeling a funny sensation on my hands thinking, “Ah yea, it’s kicking in, time to run”. Normally, I probably would’ve started fading after a mile or so, especially after running yesterday afternoon, then racing at the velodrome, but today I maintained an okay pace above my average fatigue speed. Slowly sipped the rest of the can through the rest of the day, but it was an interesting venture into something new. Probably won’t be having Red Bull again, but wouldn’t mind exploring caffeinated drink options for the future (not coffee or energy drinks, though). Apparently Cytomax powdered mix has a bit of caffeine in it (“Herbal lift”), so that might be something to consider.
Working late sucks, though. At least the project was cleared at 9pm. Time for sleep.
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.
Ran at lunch today, and went for a couple short walks so I wouldn’t go crazy sitting at my desk. Same old. Wednesday night track racing is just around the corner. The Optimo is geared at 49 15 now, since I took the 15t cog back from my spare wheel. Pretty excited!
Side note, this morning it was raining like crazy. It cleared up in the afternoon, just before more clouds rolled in, and then cleared away once more to some windy weather. Strange springtime stuff, but typical nonetheless.