Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Its Not About the Race

Last Saturday was the UCLA road race in Pearblossom, CA. It was about half the driving distance as the previous road races this year and it was nice to leave my house when the sun was already up instead of an hour before it thinks about coming up. I feel like this route through San Bernadino in becoming more common to me.
When I got there I checked in, got my number and went back to the car to get dressed and warmed up. I brought my trainer to warm up on, but the road looked pretty nice to warm up on and Tim and Justin from Bike Religion didn't bring trainers so I rode with them to warm up.
Our race started at 9:30 am. About 1/2 a mile from the start the big long climb began. It was a 2.6 mile climb averaging 6% grade! I stayed with the group up the hill. On the descent my legs felt stiff and it was hard to get them to flow. They weren't really tired, just locked up. The downhill descent wasn't very twisty and nobody was being jumpy downhill. It was very mellow. The last 5 miles back were pretty flat. There wasn't much wind either which made for a nice ride. On the second lap, going up the climb I started to fall back. I probably could have held on but I didn't want to fry myself and I thought I would get back on the descent because the field went down it pretty mellow the first time. Well that didn't work out. From then on I was chasing, about a minute behind the rest of the race. Another rider and I worked together for a while. After a few miles he dropped off. I kept catching up to riders and passing, only to find out that they were chicks from the Women's field. Still that kept me inspired that I was passing someone. On the long straight stretch leading back towards the finish I could see the field and I thought I was catching them. I probably came within 30 seconds at one point, but then lost that again on the climb. Third and last lap to go. When I got down the descent and turned east I could see the chase field behind me. There were probably 15 guys in it. I was motivated to stay away from them. I didn't want them to catch me and couldn't stand placing any lower than I already was. I knew that if they caught me I'd have little chance in the final sprint. The short climb into the finish came and they had gained a little on me. Now there was a break of 3 riders coming after me. I kept the power on and crossed the finish line about 50 feet ahead of me. I placed 28th. I had hoped for at least a mass finish, but that didn't happen. Even the lead group was pretty spread out. 1st place finisher Tim Eaton crossed the line about 50 yards ahead of second and just rolled across. The rest of the field was scattered. The tough climbs certainly showed who could climb well. This race felt more like a ride than a race because there was so much climbing and people were very aggressive. Everyone stayed calm and didn't make crazy moves.
For now I am going to take a break from races for a few weeks. I need to get out on the Saturday Canyon Velo long ride and put in some strong effort there. A problem with racing is that your training and mileage can suffer. Its only February and I want to be ready for States in June. For me cycling isn't just about racing. Most importantly its about having fun, making friends and enjoying their camaraderie, and stayed fit and healthy. The Saturday ride is one of my favorites in cycling, and I'm going to enjoy that for a now. In March I'll do the annual Solvang Century. That is my favorite ride and a ritual that I don't miss. Its more significant than a race, and we ride it like a race, because to me a fast 100 mile ride is more than a 45 mile race. Its tougher and more meaningful to me.
I'm an athlete, I'm a racer, but training must come first.
Happy tail winds, see you out there!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mt Baldy weather conditions

I just rode GMR today, all the way up to the ski lifts and then down Mt Baldy road. I left Glendora at about 1:30 pm. The weather was about 75*, so I just wore a Jersey, no base layer. I also decided to risk it and not bring a vest. The temperature was perfect going up as well as along ERR for the most part. There were a few chilly parts in the shade a couple miles before the descent into Baldy village. Also along ERR sporadically in the last 5 miles the road was very damp in patches, probably snow that melted today or very recently.
VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE. The drinking fountain at the post office / fire station is broken. It sprays a small stream of water straight in the air and it's impossible to fill a bottle! Plan accordingly.
At the ski lifts there were about 30 cars and people going up the lifts with skis and snowboards. I only saw a small patch of snow on the side of the road. From ERR I could see a small amount of snow at he very peak  Maybe there was snow at the top of the lifts too. When I descended at about 4 pm the sun was setting and the temperature was around 60. Descending was just a little chilly, I looked around for newspaper to stuff in my Jersey, but didn't find any, I did ok without a vest or gloves. Didn't get too chilly at all.
That's all for Mt Baldy conditions update!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Boulevard Road Race Report 2013 : I'll never quit

Today was a great day for bike racing down by the border east of San Diego. The.weather was great! It was a significantly shorter drive for us too, coming from Orange county. Apparently I ate something last night or breakfast gave me gas. I kept letting off and Tim would politely role down his window to get some air. I hope he lets me ride with him again.
We got signed in (had to fill out 3 waivers today!) and got our numbers.
As we pinned our numbers on each other, I noticed a rider warming up on his trainer while his girlfriend pinned his number on him. I told Tim, "that's an efficient way to warm up." He was having trouble pinning my numbers because my Jersey is so tight. Tim proceeded to say I should find a girlfriend and bring her to races. Now bib number pinning will be a skill I'm also looking for.
I didn't warm up nearly as long as I should have. I wasted too much time getting dressed and setting up my bike. I spun around the streets surrounding the parking lot for a bit, and then headed over to the staging area. The staging area is actually 3 miles away from the finish and staged in the parking lot which works well since multiple categories are racing simultaneously.
The course is about 22 miles long, our category did 2 laps. The first half is predominantly downhill, with a section of about a mile that is as windy as a mountain road and we were flying down topping 51 MPH. It was a little nerve racking the first time because everyone was bunched up and being blown around by the wind a little bit. It did allow me to move up to nearly the front where I wanted to be. Overall this race was much calmer, mainly because there weren't many TRU Cycling and LaGrange riders there. Big Orange was still there and the one in particular made his presence known near the finish. When we turned north, we had significant cross wind and we started climbing. It ranged from short Hills to rollers, occasional downhill and finally a long hill 3 miles from the finish. Everyone must have known we had a lot of climbing ahead of us because no one went crazy with fast breaks off the front. I wasn't feeling strong on the first lap. My legs felt heavy and weak. I should have warmed up much longer before the start. Also I felt dehydrated. It probably didn't help that I had been drinking a lot more soda this week than usual, and this morning, while I thought I drank a lot of water (3-4 cups) I also had coffee and an energy drink. So the first lap felt like a miserable warm-up to me. But then, after that I felt pretty good. On the second lap I stayed in position 2-3 on the first half and felt much more comfortable. It was a fast descent. We peaked at 51 MPH! The ride back into the wind was a harder pace this time. It was also more squirrely with riders constantly trying to move up to the front. In a race this big its hard to stay up front, so I tend to be content with top 20 unless we're descending like on some of these fast roads. With about 3 to go we hit the big hill. There were a lot of people riding in the warped bike lane moving up, but otherwise people stayed in the vehicle lane. With about half a mile to go, I moved to the front slowly and kept a steady pace. At the 400km sign the pace picked up and so did I. The sprint started about 100 meters out. I stood up to accelerate, but then sat back down to motor it out, I'm not a sprinter. During the ride, even though I didn't feel 100% I kept reminding myself of these two things: Hebrews 12:1b "Let us ride with endurance the race that is set before us." I also reminded myself of my commitment never to quit during a race, always give 100% effort even when it hurts. I didn't finish 1st. It was actually kinda funny, the winner Trevor Kresser was riding rather squirrely and being a jerk on the finishing stretch. As he crossed the finish line he put both hands up to celebrate, and fell over! It was an uphill finish and he wasn't going very fast so he wasn't hurt. It was a celebrity moment. 10 cameras were on him immediately. It was funnier in person. Although I had hoped for first, I finished 20th. But I was happy and satisfied today. I had given my best. Only about 1/3 of the contestants finished in the main field. The others got dropped. I stayed with them all the way to the finish line. They simply out sprinted me. Today's race was the hardest I've done. We climbed 4,100 feet! That makes me feel good.
Now its back to the drawing board; come Monday, its a new week. Ill train harder, and eat healthier. That's how you succeed, adapt and overcome.
Thanks for reading.

13th Annual Boulevard Road Race Results

Results from today's 13th Annual Boulevard Road Race!

Good job racers. This was an extremely difficult course.

Pro 1 Results 1. David Santos (Cash Call) 2. Ryan Eastman (Bontrager/Livestrong) 3. Christian Varley (Node 4) 4. Steven Leece (California Giant Berry Farms /Specialized) 5. Stefano Barberi (California Giant Berry Farms / Specialized) 11. Anthony Canevari (SoCalCycling.com)

Women 1-3 Results 1. Jule Cutts (Velo Club LaGrange)

Women 3-4 Results 1. Tracey Tilton 2. Amy Benner (B4T9 Women’s Cycling Team) 3. Joanie Celso (Skyflash) 4. Allison Jones (Capo VW / Webcor) 5. Athena Countouriotis

Cat 2 Results 1. Andrew Hemesath (Primal Wear) 2. Steven Davis (SPY Giant/ RIDE Cyclery) 3. Tony Brady 4. Taylor Vaccari (SC Velo/MRI Endurance) 5. Alexander Kustyk (SC Velo/MRI Endurance)

Masters 45 + Results 1. Greg Leibert (Big Orange Cycling) 2. Thurlow Rogers (Breakaway from Cancer Masters) 3. Jeffrey Konsmo (Big Orange Cycling) 4. Benny Parks (Jessup Auto Plaza pb Palm Springs Cyclery) 5. John Hall (Big Orange Cycling)

Masters 35 + Results 1. Gary Douville (MRI Endurance) 2. Phil Tinstman(MRI Endurance) 3. Anthony Restucia (MRI Endurance) 4. Derek Brauch (Team Helens) 5. Chris McDonald (MRI Endurance)