Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wenatchee Omnium Report

Hey global audience,

I'm a little sleepy right now, so I'm posting my race report that I sent out to the team verbatim. Boom!

Lang was a faster bike racer than me this weekend, but he's running from the law somewhere in California right now and can't type a race report when he has one hand on the wheel and one gripping his balls.

In attendance at Wenatchee were me, Lang, Tyler, and, for Sunday's RR, Tiny Alan. On Wednesday, the forecast was 0% chance of rain, but by Friday, that had been updated to "Orange Terror Alert." I went ahead and packed on Wednesday because I like to plan ahead, so I neglected any warm clothing in my righteous certitude.

TT: The organizers also like to stay ahead of schedule, so the 10:50 estimated start times were revised to 9:45, ruining some peoples' day with missed starts. Well, we didn't let that ruin our day. We let bad legs ruin it. Colin 17th, Lang 21st, Tyler 36th (missed start [day ruined]). Sammy J won. X

Crit: Rain!!!! BANG!!! Langer takes the hole shot yeeeah! Wait, why is he going so slow at the front? I have never seen someone jumped by so many Canadians at once! Ruh-roh I think Lang and Tyler are dropped. Tokyo.Drifting.Everywhere. My legs hurt. X

RR: The road race was the same as last year: 14 miles flat leading to the 11-mile circuit, of which we did 4 laps, then 4-miles to the finish. Lang was our go-to guy, what with all the hills. He had been talking nervously about Strava profiles all weekend, so we wanted to make sure he could set a good time up the climb. I went ahead and did the early break thing, getting in a move with Ian Mensher (KR) and Zach Garland (H&R Block) right from the get-go. With a small field (35-40) and a lot of people looking at each other before the first time up the hill, it looked like we could get a good head start on the hill without having to totally gut ourselves, plus it would put me in a position to help Lang when he caught us up later in the race. The three of us worked hard until we had about a minute on the field, then rode steady until the hill, at which point our lead had ballooned to 3:00. Garland the Canadian was much faster on the hill than the combined 13 feet and 350 lbs that constituted his company, so he took off while Mensher and I traded turns up the hill. Our gap to the field fluctuated between 2:00 and 3:30 over the next two laps, while Garland extended his lead on us to a few minutes.

According to Lang, the field was aggressive the first time up the hill, whittling itself down to 8 riders by the top, growing on the descent as riders chased back on. The disorganization in the field helped Mensher's and my gap stay up, as we were riding steady. Second lap was tame in the field and our gap stayed at 3:00. On the third trip up, Davis Shepherd (Greggs) put in a dig early on, and Sam countered him, at which point, the field a'sploded for good. Mensher and I were treated to a reality check as first Sam, then several Canadians, picked their way past us, emerging from, and disappearing into, the thick fog that blanketed the hillside. I was already pretty screwed (see note at "Time Trial, Lack of Power in"), but when Lang came past with a Garneau rider, I dug deep to keep them within sight. I caught them up on the descent, and started riding, trying to pull back a little time on the next guys up the road to give Lang a chance at catching them on the last lap. I offered Lang a handsling at the base of the hill, but Lang is an average Cat 4 on the track, so he opted to just pedal hard.

On the last ascent, Lang and the Garneau rider took off, while I went into survival mode. Lang worked his way through some of the guys up the road who had gone deep to stay with Sam's first acceleration, and soloed in for 5th. I got caught by a couple more Canadians midway up the hill, but kept schlepping myself to the top. I pulled back their minute advantage during the flat run in to the finish, attacking the eff out of them as soon as I caught them, coming in for 8th. Tyler rolled in for 11th, with Tiny earning himself a coveted omnium point with a 15th place showing. Zach Garland soloed for 50 miles to take the stage win, with Sam taking 2nd and the overall.

Definitely an every-man-for-himself kind of race. It would have been a lot better if we could have every-manned up and won the crit or gone faster in the TT, but I think we did what we could with the legs we had in the RR, plus the rainy weather slightly delayed Tiny Alan's slow descent towards skin cancer, so you can't call the weekend a total loss. Plus Lang is pretty sure he set a new strava record or whatever. Special thanks to Tyler Stearns' parents for standing in the feed zone in the terrible weather!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Good Legs, Bad Luck

Hey Everyone (Jake),

The title of the post should have you saying "uh-oh" and shifting in your seat at the surely uncomfortable tales in store. Well, I've been wanting to have an uncomfortable conversation with you for a while, so here goes.

We'll start with Cherry Blossom where I had a super ride. Preface: the last few years, I've started riding in February or March thanks to my 'successes' as a swimmer at Whitman. While becoming the 9th best all time 200-yard backstroker at a small, middle-of-the-pack DIII swim program was nice, it also meant that I developed bigger guns than Kennett!

Note that my former swim trunks are my current recovery tights, as seen in this recent photo:

These backstroking guns meant that I climbed like a fat kid on the bike. Climbs I have been dropped on include the small hill before the big hill at Elkhorn day 1, the small hill before the big hill at Elkhorn day 3, and the small hill at the Gig Harbor Circuit Race (no big hill available). This is just a small sampling, but suffice it to say that if you can get dropped on a hill, I probably got dropped on it. Well finally I stopped swimming, and instituted a type of trickle-down economics, whereby my arm muscle trickled down to my legs.

Metamorphosis complete, I signed up for a bunch of races with small and medium size hills in them. First, I didn't suck at a hill climb at San Dimas. Then I didn't suck on the hill in the road race! I was bulging with optimistic juices as I headed to Hood River for Cherry Blossom with Steve, who also stopped climbing like a fat kid. My big breakthrough was Sunday's Orchard Run Circuit Race, a real "slobberknocker," I'd been told. Steve was a fancy boy and got in the early break, which turned into the leaders group when things a'sploded on the last lap, while me and Logan Owen hung out and made selections. Fully expecting to wind up in no-man's land at some point during the race, I focused on digging real deep on the big paved climb and the long gravel section each lap to stay with the GC group, until at some point I realized there were only 12 of us left. I was so brazen at noticing this that I think I told Morgan Schmitt that he was a pussy if he couldn't drop me. Well on the last lap, he drop me. I drooled and stared at my front hub for a while and wound up 13th on the day, 9th overall. Very happy.

(things a'splode!)

(where's my blossoms?)

(I was wheat-fed and gravel-trained in Walla Walla for 5 years.)

Cherry blossom capped off a good block of training, so I settled down for some R&R before Walla Walla. Now that you're all happy for me, here's what's happened since:

April 9: Volunteer Park - Crashed on Ian Crane and led him out as apology
April 10: Olympic Valley RR - Crashed out!

April 15: Walla Walla - Good...
April 16: Walla Walla - ...Better...
April 17: Walla Walla - Mystery Stomach Flu!!

April 30: Eugene Roubaix - Wait...why do you guys race your bikes?
May 1: Vance Creek - Srsly, flatted out of the break?

May 7: Ravensdale - Mystery Stomach Flu!

It hurts cause all those races, I felt like I could pick up my legs with my hands and use them as baseball bats, but sickness and bad luck got in the way. I guess the silver lining is that it's nice that bad luck is the limiter, and not bad legs. Still, I'm all itchy and want to make like Krogg.