Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Same times, different day

I went to the track yesterday to enjoy what may be our last warm day of 2006. I knew I wasn't in prime condition for a good 200m time (having raced on Sunday and done heavy deadlifts Monday), but I figured I'd try anyway.

My first attempt was kind of sloppy. I left the rail too early and couldn't hold my line...result? 12.9

My next attempt was much more techinically proficient (still can't hold the damn black line though), but only a tenth faster at 12.8

Then we got to draft the motor. What a rush! Basically the idea is that you get free speed drafting behind the motor, and then he pulls off and you're on your own for a flying 200. Obviously, my time was much faster at 12.1, with a max speed of 62kph. Now if only I could do that myself...

Monday, September 25, 2006

My first 'cross race

I must race better when I don't have any expectations. I showed up at Riverside Park yesterday just planning to do the race and have some fun, and I ended up in 4th place.

Since I had no clue about race tactics, I was planning to just hang back and watch what everyone else was doing. Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans. I came out of the first turn in 2nd place, and held it for the first 3 laps. When I came through the the Start/Finish and saw 2 laps to go, I kind of lost my motivation (everyone told me it would end up being 4 laps total). My 4th lap was pretty slow because I was totally gassed, and a couple guys caught and passed me. I kicked it down for the bell lap. It's really hard to jump over 18" barriers when you can't feel your legs! The guy in 3rd fumbled his dismount before the final barriers, and I almost caught him. He decided to mount his bike and ride up the final hill, and I tried to run up. We were neck-and-neck at the top of the hill, but I still had to mount my bike and I lost too much time too close to the finish line and came across in 4th place. Fellow Loony Charlie finished 5th on his mountain bike, and Ted got 7th.

When I finished, I found out that my front brake was dragging BAD. I couldn't even get the front wheel to do a complete revolution! I guess that's what I get for using cheapo e-bay wheels for cyclocross.

My main focus will still be on track racing, but 'cross is definitely a lot of fun! Especially the beer and pork chops.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Stupid Tubulars

I hate tubular tires. Sure they ride great and are super-light and fast, but they sure are a pain in the ass!

I spent the last 3 days tediously applying glue to my rim and tire, only to screw up mounting the tire! So, I wasted 3 days and ruined an $80 tire, and I STILL have to pay a shop to install my tires!

I'm supposed to go to the track tomorrow and my rear wheel won't be ready, so I'm going to try to install a Surly Fixxer on my Easton Circuits...let's see how bad I can screw this up!

Thursday Night Racing Finale

Well, last Thursday was the season finale at the track (tear :-), but it went waaaay better than I expected, as I finished 2nd overall in the omnium.

The first race of the night was a 10-lap scratch race. I decided just to sit back and hang out to see what was going to happen, but with 18 riders it was getting pretty squirrelly at the back of the pack, so I started moving up with about 5 laps to go. There were a couple failed breaks, and I somehow contained myself and didn't chase. With 2 laps to go, Adam Mitchell and a Flanders guy took off. I knew it was too early for me to go, so I sat in for 1 more lap, then sprinted out of turn 2. I passed about 6 people on the back-straight, and narrowly pipped Adam at the line for 1st.

Next up was the Chariot (2-lap standing start). I was feeling pretty confident going into the prelims (3 heats of 6, with the top 2 advancing to the finals). I got a good start, and was by myself at the front to win by 20 meters or so.

I was feeling really good going into the finals, but the first races must have take more out of me than I thought. I got a terrible start, and came out of the first turn in 4th. Adam was on the front pushing the pace, and I just couldn't get any speed up. I went WAY wide in the final turn, and couldn't pass anyone. Adam held on to win, Ted moved up for 2nd, and I finished in 4th (the official results said 5th, but whatever). I'm still not sure what happened, but the whole race just seemed strange.

The final race of the night was a 40-lap scratch race. I was pretty worn out, and my calves were cramping up from my new position, so my goal was just to stay in the pack and hope for a sprint finish. About 15 laps in, 3 guys broke off the front, and the whole field shattered. Ted pulled me back up to the chase group 3 or 4 different times (thanks, man!) and then flamed out. There were 5 of us chasing kind of half-heartedly. I was trying to stay off the front because I was cramping up, and we ended up getting lapped by the leading 3 with about 6 laps to go. I hopped onto their paceline as they rode by, and ended up in 5th. This was the surprise of the night, because I generally get worse as the events get longer.

Overall, it was a great way to end the season, and a good confidence-booster for only my 2nd night of racing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sub-13 for the first time!

I met Chris Ferris at the track yesterday afternoon to get fitted on my bike and do some sprint work. After an extremely thorough fitting session (which I highly recommend) we did some work on pedalling technique. It turns out I had no clue what I was doing! After 15 minutes of work, I felt much stronger and more efficient on the bike.

Then, it was time for the moment of truth...the flying 200. My previous best time was 13.2 (I've only done 2 of them, so give me a break), and my goal for the year was to go under 13. With Chris on my wheel, I came across the line in 12.83! Damn, I was excited. I know I still have a LONG way to go, but it's really nice to see progress. I definitely need to work on staying down on the measurement line. I was all over the place in the turns.

My second flying 200 was 12.92, but I felt a lot smoother and more efficient. I need to learn to combine the raw power of my first run with the efficiency of the second. I'll keep you posted....

Friday, September 08, 2006

My first race at the 'drome

Last night was my first night of racing at the track. The schedule called for three races: A 10-lap scratch race, and miss-and-out, and a 40-lap points race.

I got to the track early and started warming up, and almost immediately heard the all-too-familiar psst-psst-psst of a flat tire. What the hell does one do with a flat tubular?! Nothing. One does nothing with a flat tubular. Luckily Bob let me use a front wheel from one of the rental bikes and I was back in business.

I knew exactly what was going to happen in the 10-lapper: Adam Mitchell was going to try to lead out Timmer for the win. I was in a bad position the whole race (right on the apron) and I couldn't get out until it was too late. I saw Adam (and a Flanders guy) break off the front, and I knew Timmer was coming soon. Half a lap later, there he went. I finally got out of the group and tried to bridge up, with Ted on my wheel. With one lap left, I flamed out big-time. Ted was able to come around me for 5th, and I held on for 8th with my legs screaming at me. Lesson learned: don't get boxed in!

On the miss-and-out, I really lacked the "eye of the tiger". I really just couldn't get myself motivated. I obviously have a lot to learn, because I kept getting pushed to the outside, so I was breaking wind most of the race. Once half the group (of 18 riders) had been pulled, I conceded that I'd been riding stupid and wouldn't be able to make much of a difference in the race, so I decided to save myself for the points race by dropping back and getting pulled.

What I didn't realize was that we had almost 2 hours before we were scheduled to race again. Knowing that we both had to get up early for work and kids, Ted and I decided to skip the points race and head out early. Well, not THAT was still 9:30 by the time we left.

Overall, I thought it went pretty well. With more experience I think I'll be able to position myself better and make a difference in some of the races.