Saturday, February 26, 2011

Early Season Funtime OBRA Land!

Hello Global Audience!

Last post I left you with a dramatic and cryptic statement about how seemingly good advice and medical treatment actually harmed me last weekend while racing in Oregon. Today you get to find out why!

First, a Cherry Pie Report. I drove over to Portland on Friday afternoon to stay with Whittie Zac Strode at his place in East Portland. Zac has been living with Ben Chaddock, and has been getting back into riding seriously for the first time since 2008, when he was a senior at Whitman. In '08, Zac and I had to petition USAC to let us race at collegiate nationals, which they did, grudgingly. And boy did we deliver! Zac was our top finisher in the road race (47th), with me hot on his heels in 56th. He got dropped in the crit, I crashed out of the crit, and we got DFL in the TTT. Such were also the humble beginnings of Mr. Chaddock (although he did pull out a top-30 in the crit).

While driving through the gorge, I put my Volvo over 200,000!

(i <3>

(more pics taken while driving)

When I arrived, Zac was already cooking up some pasta with friends, and after some om-nomming, we went for a nerve-calming limo ride (standard race prep).

(I farted in the limo, and denied it.)

In the morning, me and Z-man drove down to the race!

(I missed this ritual.)

Chris Parrish and Dan Bechtold were also at the race for HB, so we met up and talked strategy. Chris suggested "racing selfishly and making sure one of us wins," but Dan's and my strategy of "be aggressive and play off each other" won out. We figured Chris would have the best legs up the short stairstep finishing kicker, so me and Dan were on break patrol. It's a pretty short race, and quite flat, so while the racing was aggressive, no move got more than about 45 seconds. Dan and I worked to pull back a big-ish move in the last 10k, which we caught with about 1k to go, and Chris did his thing from there. We wanted to focus more on hard racing and learning to work together than on results this early in the season, but Chris' 2nd place was a nice bonus.

(Starting some shit on the first lap.)

(Chris' Finish)

Sunday was the TT! I had snatched the team's Cole TT Wheels a few days earlier, only to find that the glue was cracking and the Vittoria valve stems were missing. After some TLC, I got them all dressed up and ready to race. Booyah! The Jack Frost TT was a 12.1-mile course near Vancouver Lake. I pounded a litre of coffee before the race and I was good to go.

I'm all about litres of coffee nowadays. Oh yeah! The cryptic statement. So Thomas at HSP helped me with the tubular gluing and David Tupper gave me a back massage in Walla Walla, each of which probably made me go faster, but each of which also contributed to my downfall. Corner 1 of the course had a set of cones funneling you into a line set by the course marshals. The thing was, it was a bad line. The cones set you up all the way into the shoulder, making a very tight kink of a turn. I could see that I would have to slow down quite a bit to stay in the cones. The thing was, it was a time trial, and I wasn't so interested in slowing down, so I stayed in the aero bars, popped out of the cones, and took the fastest line through the corner. It probably saved me about 2 seconds over the alternative, but the 30 second penalty with which I was slapped more than negated that. Oops. Good thing I could see what my time was anyway and there were no prizes. Interestingly, 25% of the Cat 1/2 field got the same penalty, including Dan Bechtold, who went about 15 seconds faster than me. The legs and the new TT position felt good, and it was sweet to be so close to Dan, since he's got a reputation for his engine, having won the TT at Cascade in the Cat 2 field last year. Avid readers may remember this as the race that I didn't take so seriously.

So there's that. Good way to close out the off-season. Today was supposed to be the Frostbite TT in Everett, but it got snowed out, so it's a roller interval day! Workout plan: Modified Hegyvary ride -- ride until 1) I can see myself in a puddle of sweat or 2) I am hot enough to do snow angels, whichever comes second.

(aww hell no jigga we been on the rollers all week!)

New riding tunes:

(How effing adorable is this?)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oh, Walla!

Last week, I got to take a road trip from Seattle to Walla Walla to Portland and back. The last few weeks, I've been training pretty well, after quitting my job as a bicycle pizza delivery rider for Snoose Junction in Ballard. The work was fun, and it paid well, but working three 5p-1a delivery shifts on Fri-Sat-Sun isn't the best for training. My schedule had me either delivering pizzas, sleeping, eating, or training. Trouble was, if I got the amount of sleep I wanted, there wasn't enough time for training, and if I got the amount of training I wanted, there wasn't enough time to sleep. Something had to give.

On the plus side, my coworkers have a great sense of justice.

(sux to be Mark Hobson!)

Snoose makes some premium Italian food, and I highly recommend Sunday trivia night at 8:30, MC'd by Sean DeTore of Mixtape kind-of-fame. He is hilarious sober, and even more hilarious when he is running trivia night.

So anyhow, I've been back on the bike, whistling as I rumble around the Snoqualmie Valley, nourished by a steady stream of cupcakes. Just so you know, I party:

(Custom gemstone cupcake from the Royal! It pays to know someone in the cupcake business.)

The cupcakes keep me motivated to ride hard.

So I disembarked for Walla Walla on Wednesday, and quickly realized that the theme of my trip would be: clouds. Exhibit A:

(Seattle being engulfed in clouds)

Once I was through ruining everything by snapping pix in traffic, I made my way eastward. Coming over Manastash ridge (or was it North Umtanum?), I was shrouded in such fog that I could only see about 20 feet ahead. More clouds! Still, it was safe, since my station wagon only goes about 50mph up hills lasting longer than 15 seconds. I took out my camera to snap a shot of the milky void, and by the time I could initiate fake-shutter sound, this is what I saw.

(I already regret using the term 'milky void' in the last paragraph.)

Cloud theme continued in Walla Walla when I went for a little spin out Cottonwood Rd. These clouds look fake.

(Just like Vanilla Sky, except I didn't get to bang Cameron Diaz)

Walla Walla was the business! I pedaled, drank the freshest of coffee, and even got to see David Tupper for a massage before leaving town. David is a physical therapist who sponsors the Whitman cyclists with his expertise and skills, and he has the hands of an angel, if the angel were an RPT. He worked on my back for an hour, and then praised MY generosity when I gave him a ride to a meeting he needed to go to. Here is a stock image of Tupper (l) from 2009 collegiate nats.

Also while in WW, I got to glue my first tubular tire. I had picked up the Hagens Berman TT wheels before I left, only to find that the front tire was coming un-did. So I stopped in for some girl-talk with Thomas Broderick at HSP, and he gave me a pep talk about making tires stick to rims. Now look at it!

What a beaut. In my next post, I'll talk about racing, and how Thomas Broderick's advice and Dave Tupper's massage actually hurt me at the Jack Frost TT this weekend. Suspense!