Monday, March 29, 2010

Race Report Injured reserve category San Francisco edition.

I had a plan going in to the Chad San Fran Gran Fondo. Stay away from the pack. Stay away from the cable cars. Basically I was going to try to ride off the front the entire race.

I felt good going in since I am on two weeks rest. But I have no sprint. I broke away as soon as I signed the rental agreement. My plan worked flawlessly until about halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge where I was caught and passed, no big deal, they'll die in the hills. Once the road started to go up in Marin County I gritted my teeth and went all out to pass the group on the climb. Success! I dropped them like they were wearing jeans and riding a rented bike with one arm in a sling. After they cracked I took in the scenery and rode it back home for the win.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Race report.

Michael van Dijken and I were the only HB on hand for this one. Michael had a plan and we stuck to it.

Simple plan, stay up front, try to keep it faster than 16mph and cover breaks. It worked well.

A couple guys went away right from the start, they stayed away for about two laps, when they came back, attacks started. Michael rode like a man possessed, taking long pulls, generally taking charge of the front of the race. On the third lap I took a trip off the front attacking up and over the second hill just as a one-man break was getting caught. I stayed away for only a short time, it was just too windy. I went and hid in the pack to recover for the sprint.

I noticed in previous laps that the finish was downhill and had a crosswind, so I positioned myself on the left to stay out of the wind for the sprint. It worked perfectly, with the exception of I could have moved up a few more positions before the sprint really started. When it did start I passed about 5 guys and was really just getting going, had a lot left in my legs. I got 5th. I could have pushed it and got a better result but it didn't feel safe. Michael finished further back in the pack, a job very well done. He did a lot of work. Bravo!

Then I don"t know what the hell happened. Somebody slowed down in front of me and someone behind me did NOT. We got hung up and I was thrown to the ground. Everything I was wearing was ruined, kit cut off of me at the hospital. Lazer helmet did a fantastic job keeping my head safe. I got a good 2 races out of it. Does Lazer make a clavicle helmet?

Sum total:

van Dijken is a superstar.
I have a broken collarbone, ksyrium and carbon bars.
I have an extra right time titanium titan rxs pedal, left didn't make it.
I love bike racing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Face On A Bus

I was riding behind a bus on 3rd today, when I looked up, and what should I see but Dave Longdon's smiling face on a Seattle PI ad on the back of the bus? Yep, that's our Dave Longdon, the Starbucks rider who was ridden off the road by a careening minivan on Rt. 202.

He's got his pain face on. Go, Dave!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Top 7 Reasons to Dread Replacing Spokes

I've had a run of bad luck with spokes lately, and now I'm two bikes down in my stable. Time to pay the piper and fix some wheels...

Why do I dread spoke replacement so much? It's not that complicated. It doesn't seem rational. But here's why I think I avoid it like the plague:

  • There are always more spoke issues than I thought. Sure one spoke broke. But 3 others are bent or gouged. If I'm going to the trouble or replaceing one, might as well do everything that needs it. But a little job just got much bigger.
  • Rim tape. I hate removing perfectly good rim tape just to get at one spoke. Guess this is just me being cheap/picky. Does anyone spot-cut out old tape just at the spokes being replaced?
  • Getting the right replacement spoke at a LBS is difficult. The bike techs are usually nonchalant about finding an exact replacement spoke when I bring the broken one in. "This is pretty close." Rarely is it an exact match. With a recent spoke breakage on my MTB, on close inspection, I'm realizing this is a spoke I replaced a few years ago, and the butting clearly does not match that on the original spokes. Probably why it always creaked and finally snapped. Sigh.
  • Spoke wrenches. Never found one I really like that doesn't tend to round the nipples. Please someone recommend a wrench they use and like!
  • Spoke prep. Do I need it? I know I can get away without it, but am I making the job harder and will it have less longevity? I think the issue here is that I have never used it, but then I worry that since I didn't use it, I somehow screwed something up...
  • "It takes brass nipples to sell real estate." - Glengarry Glen Ross (sort of). Alloy nipples suck. Never again. I have an MTB wheelset that was obviously built to be light, but never again would I opt for alloy nipples. They are too soft. They round, strip, and crack so easily it's a crime. Maybe these wheels just used the crappiest alloy nipples on the market. But it's brass for me from here on out.
  • Truing. And More truing. I actually don't mind wheel truing. I kind of like it. But if I'm replacing 4 spokes, must I re-true the wheel after replacing each new spoke? This takes a long time, but it seems less risky than replacing 4 at once and truing once. What do you do?
There you have it. As I head to the bike shop this evening, hoping for the best, in the back of my mind, I know it will be painful.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A few of my Latest races

So the race season is now 2 weekends old. I have three stories(excuses) about my performance.

TT#1
The first race was the Frostbite Time Trial in Everett.
Flat 9 mile out and back course that I had high hopes of doing well in. Long sob story short, I don't think my road bike-->TT bike conversion is going to work out. I dropped my chain at 2 seconds until start. I got it back on in 1 second.
I passed 6 people and got passed by 1. I don't feel like I can generate power in the position and I think my brake was rubbing on every pedal stroke. Couldn't get the bike over 28 mph, I can regularly get it up over 30 in practice. Waaaa.
I placed 25th.

TT#2
So, I entered another TT after correcting the brake rubbing issue. 10 miles out and back on windy farm roads. After warming up on the trainer for about 20 minutes I put my tubular rear wheel on and got a puncture 2 minutes before my start. Had to go with my spare wheel. Was able to quickly get the bike up to 30+ but couldn't hold it and maybe I just need to train more on TT/power endurance. I came in 32nd. It hurt.
Picture of my legs crying below.

Mason Lake Road Race #1 48 miles
Sunday March 7th was the 1st real road race, I love road races and that's what I do all the time ride on the road. I fixed the puncture of the tubular from the day before and made a decision to go with it at the last second and lined up. About 70 guys started this race. It is notorious for crashes and jittery early season legs.
It took me about two laps to trust my rear wheel due to the puncture but I figured it would hold and I had wheels in the wheel car. So I finally made my way up to the front and started stirring up trouble, it was like I kicked a bee's nest. Awesome, this is racing. It was on a windy stretch of road with a couple rollers I started to take off up the right side and people started yelling "rider on the right" and people started jumping on my wheel and we started a paceline to make a break but I guess the attack wasn't hard enough. It didn't stick. But it certainly woke everyone up and attacks started coming, I love this sport. I chased down a couple people off the front but always dragged people with me. I need to work on my jump.

So that went on for about a lap leaving us on the last lap. It started to get painfully slow at about 5k to go and there was a wreck in the field ahead of us and we got neutralized until the aid car went by. Blech. I was still in the top ten up front, almost right at the 1k to go sign there was a wreck right in front of me(a beautiful Pinarello Prince) I avoided it and managed to catch back on to the leaders. Awesome, I am thinking I am in great shape for the sprint. At the very last turn, 200 meters to go I am looking for wheels and a guy slammed into my rear wheel and knocked it out of the dropout and threw me into the oncoming lane. I didn't crash. somehow. When I looked back at my wheel I didn't notice that my wheel came OUT. I tried to fix it really quick, couldn't. Had a little mini-tantrum in the middle of the road. Put my wheel back on, caught a couple guys, sprinted to 31st place. I have the worst luck. Vaughn will blame the Pinarello.

Pain face: