Monday, April 21, 2008

Mr Cranky- pants Loves Racing in the Rain

No more Mr Cranky-pants comments coming from my blog. After GBR called me Mr Cranky-pants, I'm starting a new leaf in my postings. From now on its all about the zen and harmony of the race, and about the yin and yang that occurs during the race. And, no more negativity. Yes, thats right, no more comments about sketchy riders and how dangerous the race was.

So, with this harmonious disclaimer, all I can say about Carl Dolan Masters 30/40 race is that "I love racing in the rain". What better way to conserve energy by taking a bath and being able to wash your bike at the same time. No worries about sweat stains since the rain just washes it away.

Here are some yin/yang observations

  • Racing in the rain is a lot of fun
  • During the heaviest rain in the beginning of the race, I could barely see with the rain blasting my face on the long sweeping, super fast section before the hill leading to the finish.
  • Rain made the race really slow, which prevented a lot of riders from getting dropped
  • Legs felt really good even without a warm up. Might have something to do with the slow pace. Only once did I really have to put in a hard effort to stay with the pack after the right hand turn into the super fast section.
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  • Just barely made it through the crash on the final hill. Really thought I was going down as I carved my way through the bouncing bikes and bouncing bodies. (final comment deleted)
  • My nickname for David Fuentes, is Great White Shark. He was riding in the back for most of the race, and at some point he worked his way to front and was gone before you knew it. Anyway, the reference to GWS is that he rides so smoothly and effortlessly and then explodes and is gone in a flash, just like a GWS.
Hope everyone that crashed in the 30/40 race and the Cat3/4 are OK.

Training Highlights

Randy and I did a TT workout along MacA, up Anglers, Falls Rd, Oaklyn, PersimmonTree. We did two loops. When you are not use to going all out for 20 mins, it hurts.

Wed Thrasher Hill Ride
Legs felt really good, and didn't really hurt on any of the climbs.

Thurs Hains Pt
Went to HP for the first time this spring, and felt really good. Worked the front and took some long pulls. Couple times had to put in some long pulls to bridge back up to front group. Didn't contest any sprints. I'm definitely going to try and get down there once a week since its a good compliment to the Thrasher ride. Legs and cardio felt really good. Will plan on pushing myself more the next time.

Mt Joy: do I even remember?

Its been a while since the Cat 4 Mt Joy race, and I'll only post some comments and observations, nothing in great detail.


  • Looked like rain, but stayed dry throughout the race.
  • A bit windy, but not strong enough to make a difference.
  • Climbs were short and not very selective.
  • Some long, fast curvy sections leading into fast twisting uphill sections.
  • Long run out to the downhill finish.

  • GBR taking a short romp through the fields and masterfully demonstrating his cross bike skills.
  • Getting to the front on a down hill section early in the race only to see GBR blast off my right, and I reacted catching his wheel on the climb. We worked together with an Artemis guy, but not good enough to stay away for more than half a lap.
  • Pace not too fast in the middle part of race.
  • Stayed in back, out of the wind for the middle part.
  • Wanted to move up to contest for the finish, but got caught behind another rider with an exploding rear tire and I almost slide into the guard rail. Worked my ass off to get back to the main pack leading into the sprint.
  • A jostling gaggle of riders on the left side leading into the sprint allowed me to sprint up the right side but got slowed up by popping riders. Started too far back to make a difference.
  • 18th place

Monday, April 7, 2008

Walkersville and Tysons ReCap

Walkersville 35+ Cat4/5

5th place (got pipped at the line by two All Americans: Ron Barry and Carlos Goncalves).
Worked my ass off the entire race. This race was a lot of fun.

My goal for the race was to sit in the first lap, see how the pace went, stay out of trouble and counter any attacks as soon as the bigger teams pulled in any attacks. The neutral role out was pretty uneventful and no one went down, the pace was also pretty slow. As we passed through the intersection that marked the start of the course, the pace was really slow, and I asked other riders if we started and they said yes. Fearing a typical Cat4 race, I picked up the speed to get to the front and then kept going. Steve Anderson (DC Velo) came up beside me and said "let's go" as he speed up. For the first half of the first lap, it was Steve, one other guy and myself in a three man rotation setting the pace. It felt good because it felt like racing and not a Cat4 yo-yo fest. The first lap continued to be a high pace as some others joined the pace setting.

Not sure when but Tom (don't know your team) attacked and was looking really strong. I think one other rider went with him but they didn't get too far ahead and the pack wasn't really interested in chasing them down so early in the race. I, for one, wanted them to sit out there and tire themselves out. The pack eventually caught them and at some point in the 2nd or 3rd lap (?)
3 guys got away (a Kelly rider, Manny, and a 3rd) and the pack never could really put in a concerted effort to catch them, plus I never thought they'd be able to stay away for the rest of the race. During the 4th lap, Kelly amassed their entire team at the front and set a not so slow/not so fast pace. I didn't realize one of their riders was in the break and that they were just slowing the pack down to give their rider a winning chance. I got to the front and started working with Lance Lacy and some other guys. When I realized we weren't really gaining any time on the break, I got back into the pack and rested for the final drag to the finish. Last year, I got totally boxed in during the run-in to the finish and this year I wanted to bury myself or at least try to get a break going so that I wouldn't get boxed in.

So, o
n the last lap, I moved up the pack on the outside and as I passed Tom, I said something like "come on". He got on my wheel and I moved towards the front, but once I got there I attacked. Tom, Eric Seidel (Bicycle Place) and I got a jump on the pack and as made the right hand turn up the steep short incline we developed a good gap on the pack. Eric is really strong but doesn't race a lot. He got the front and must have pulled for about a mile. He put in a huge effort. Tom was #2 and
I was #3. I kept looking back and seeing we had a gap and kept yelling encouragement to keep the pace up. A guy bridged up to us and caught us on the little rollers about 1K from the finish. I was the only one of 3 that was able to jump on his wheel. I kept looking back and we still had a gap but we were still pretty far away. With about 500M the dude was fading and I looked back and saw we still had a gap. It was do or die, so I jumped as hard as I could and hoped I'd have enough to get me to the line in 3rd place. This seemed to be the longest stretch of road, and I forgot about the very slight rise just before the finish. I gave it my all, but Ron Barry flew past me with maybe 50' to go and then Carlos pipped by less than a wheel at the line.

I've never worked harder in a race and it felt good.

Tysons Cat 4

Completely different story.
Sketchy as hell and the rain didn't help. I got bumped outside the cones 4 times avoiding riders that couldn't hold a line, had to avoid a bouncing cone once cuz someone rode over it, and almost had my front wheel clipped 4 times. Yeah, typical Cat4 BS. I'm sick of it and the rest of the season I'll be registering for Masters 40+.

Finally met TerribleTerry and Bryan Burns (Haymarket)

My legs were a bit heavy from Walkersville so I sat in the back for most of the race, spun up the hill in my small ring and never felt tired. I could easily move up the climb when I wanted but would get bombadiered on the downhill section and would drift back to a safer zone near the back. The middle was just insane with riders just bouncing from one wheel to another.

3 to go, I easily moved up the climb on the left side and then went hard near the start finish and didn't let up until well past turn #1. I think 3-4 others came with me, but I'm not sure what kind of gap we had. On the downhill section we weren't working well together and we got caught just before the turn leading into the climb. I got boxed in on the inside and lost a lot of momemtum going through the turn. Had to work hard to get the speed back up by then I was towards the back again. Too many sketchy riders and my spidey sense was telling me a big crash was going to happen. Too many guys not holding their line as they bounced from wheel to wheel. I was in the back going into the last turn and was able to sprint up to mid field by the finish line without much effort. Came in 26th.

Tysons Cat 3/4

Although, I felt fine during the Cat 4 race, it was afterwards when I cooled down, standing around in my wet gear, that I realized how F'in miserable it was. I had an hour after the Cat 4 race before my second race in the 3/4. It was during this time that I began to shiver and realized I had dry jerseys and arm warmers in the car but no dry leggings or shorts. I was so cold, I couldn't get my mind around doing another race, so I got out of the wet stuff and watched the 3/4.