Friday, February 29, 2008


If you are going to ask, "I wonder if he is ok?" don't watch this.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Catastrophic Failure?

Here is an interesting series of pictures from the race on Saturday showing a crash caused by an R-SYS wheel failure. Or is the R-SYS wheel failure caused by the crash? Run the pictures as a slide show. It is really pretty amazing to see what happens to people and equipment during a crash.
Pace Bend Crash

While it looks like the riders are coming up a hill, they aren't. The photo was taken during the finishing sprint while the riders were doing about 40 mph. The guy with the R-SYS got into the rider beside him and it caused him to jerk his bars sideways. I guess it created lateral pressure on the wheel and instead of the standard taco, the wheel just exploded.

Here is another R-SYS failure featuring Karl Menzies at the Tour Down Under. Karl Menzies Crash. You have to scroll down to the picture in the bar on the left. I know Menzies hit a plastic post, but is it reasonable to expect a failure like that?

Ron, this is a great topic for an engineering mind like yours.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pace Bend Race Report

Today was the Pace Bend Road Race which is only about 35 minutes from my house. Pace Bend is one of the biggest Division 1 road races in Texas. It is held in Pace Bend State Park which contains a 6.2 mile loop road which the race is run on. The race ran clockwise and utilized the full road so there wasn't a yellow line rule.

For reasons I stated in my last blog post, I decided to do the 35+ 4/5 race. The race was full at 75 riders.

The first lap was pretty uneventful. Most people were trying to get their legs and get a feel for the riders in the group. I stayed in the first 25 or so on the first lap. The course was mostly rolling hills with 1 small climb in it. I had driven the course the prior day, but this was the first chance to ride it. I decided the only obstacle that would be of consequence was the small climb which was not far from the finish line.

The pace picked up on the second and third laps, particularly coming through the start/finish area where the crowd was. I guess a few of the riders wanted to get their sponsors some TV time. HA! After 3 laps I was still feeling great. My HR was recovering fast after exerting efforts and my legs felt good.

On the 4th lap the pace picked up and I decided to try to stay in the top 10 riders and was able to do that. A few riders got pretty squirrelly as they tried to move up. I heard some contact behind me and the distinctive sound of broken spokes. Whoever it happened to strung together profanities like I have never heard. Something like YOU FUCK SHIT COCK BASTARD PRICK ASSHOLE. It brought a smile to my face. I mean, come on dude, shit happens.

The last lap was considerably faster. I stayed in the top 5-10 for most of the lap. As we came to the hill which is about about 3/4 mile before the finish, a few riders came up hard on the left and a few at the front took off. They all got to the top of the hill and were spent. There was a rider that got away just prior to the hill and he managed to stay away. At the top of the hill I overtook all the attackers and moved into second place and put my head down and hit the drops. I didn't think I could catch the first place guy. I had a gap on those behind me. There is about 1/2 mile of road which is sort of a dip and then there is a hard right turn and then about a 1/4 mile finishing straight. I had it matted near my red line and went second into the finishing straight. I shifted and gave it everything I had. I could see that the first place guy wouldn't be caught. About 1/8 mile from the finish I could hear someone sprinting up on my left. He got by and brought 5 other riders with him. I crossed the line in 8th place.

I am 3rd wheel in the blue and white. This is just before the finish line.

Overall, I am happy with my performance. 8th in a 75 rider field isn't bad. I still am not in top form, but it is not bad at all for February. I know I don't have a great sprint and that is something that I need to work on over the next few months. Next weekend is another big Texas road race, Lago Vista. I look forward to getting out there again.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Recent Happenings

1) I went out on the Progress Coffee ride on Sunday with about 25 or 30 other racers from Austin. The loop is about 50 miles and is usually at a pretty brisk pace. There is one section of smooth flat road before the store where everyone refills their water at about the midpoint. I found myself in the front of the group with a few local pro/1 men and a woman working hard in a paceline. There were about 5 or 6 of us working. We were bombing at about 35 mph and after about 5 or 6 pulls I was well into my red zone and about to pop. I eased off the back of the pace line and was quickly picked up and passed by a big group. Screw it I thought as I was gasping for air. I will wait for the stragglers and ride with them the remaining 2 miles to the store. I looked back and there was a problem, there were no stragglers. There was just me and I was dropped. "Way to go dickhead," I said to myself. Note to self - be aware of your early season abilities and don't do this at the race on Sunday.

2) I am racing at Pace Bend on Sunday. I decided on the 35+ 4/5 race for a few reasons. The first being that road racing is not my cup of tea (at least yet) and this race is shorter than the cat 4 race by 13 miles. The other is that the race starts at 9:50 rather than 8am. The fields are big for this race and my race is full at 75 entrants. I am looking forward to racing and improving over the Alsatian race a few weeks ago. I will be racing the Lago Vista road race next weekend and will be signed up in Cat. 4.

3) I am on my way to one of the most lovely places in the world to go in winter - Chicago, IL. I can't wait to experience the 20 degree weather and bitter wind. To be honest, the 70 degree days in Texas were getting old. HA!

4) My Cateye computer is on the fritz again and has finally bought itself a one-way trip to the trash can. I have my eye on another computer and will post about its marvelousness soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Still The Best Ever

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Visit From The Old Man

Brian from Michigan, aka "The Old Man", came to Austin this past weekend for some good weather and a bit of riding.

He arrived shortly after the race on Saturday. I flew home from the race and cleaned up and visited with the boys and then headed downtown to pick him up for dinner. We ended up parking on 3rd street and went to Cantina Laredo for some Mexican food. We then headed off to find some live music. We found a good band on 6th street at a bar whose name I can't remember. We hung out there for a while and then headed to the bar at the Driskill Hotel for a few drinks. I then took the Old Man back to his hotel with a plan to pick him up at 11am for some riding.

I arrived at 11am and we headed to Bicycle Sport Shop to rent a bike for the Old Man. The choices were carbon Lemond or Titanium Serrotta. Which did he choose? Come on. Titanium Serrotta. We did a 4 hour rental to avoid the overnight charge so we stayed in South Austin. We headed to the Veloway and South Mopac area. It was a leisurely pace with some good conversation. We ended up with 27 miles.

On Monday I showed the Old Man around Austin and took him out to The Oasis on Lake Travis for lunch. The day was overcast, but it was still a good day for lunch outside. After lunch I wheeled the Old Man back to the airport for his flight to New Mexico. It was good to see him again and we had a good time. Next time will be the criterium in Grand Rapids, MI in September.

I also want to say thank you to my wife who took my share of the kid duties over the weekend while I was racing and playing. You're the best!

The Old Man standing next to The Radillac.

The Old Man chillaxin'.

Putting the Serrotta through its paces.

I suck at self photos. I even suck more at trying to get someone else in a photo as well. This was the best I could do after 3 attempts.

Post ride refueling at Shady Grove.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Heart of Alsatian Criterium

I decided to do a race on Saturday to judge my fitness level and to get some crit practice. The race was at a park just west of San Antonio and drew racers from San Antonio, Austin, and a few from Houston.

I ended up in the back row on the start line because the group lined up as I was completing my warm-up lap. I missed my pedal not once, but twice at the whistle. Totally rookie. I seem to be missing pedals a lot lately and need to figure out what the hell is going on. As far as a race report goes, there isn't much to tell. The race was very uneventful. I found too much traffic in front of me to move up the last two laps. I should have moved up earlier. The biggest problem with the course was that it was only 15 feet or so wide. In other words extremely narrow. There were people in the cinders and grass all day. On the last lap in my efforts to advance I was in the grass at least 3 times and finally just gave up.

I am very happy with my fitness for this time of year. Fatigue was never once an issue in the race. However, the pace was not blazing by any stretch. I actually feel that the race was too slow and that a lot of the people between me and the first place person would have been shed by a faster pace. I know I could have pushed the pace, but that was not the plan for today. The plan was to monitor fitness and get some practice and both of those were accomplished.

I finished 20th out of 38 or so. I went to the Alsatian Crit alone, so I was unable to get any pictures. My next race is the road race in two weeks at Pace Bend.