Monday, April 28, 2008

Peel Out Criterium Race Report

Sunday I did the Peel Out Criterium in San Antonio. I was woken up at 6am by a huge storm that was dumping hail in buckets. I was actually worried that my windows were going to break. It was crazy.

After seeing this falling from the sky, I was wondering if I should bother going to San Antonio at all. But since my race was at 3pm I figured I would go down and hope it cleared up. It did clear up but the wind was blowing like mad all day.

The were only 25 riders at the start. This was by far the smallest field I have raced in all year. The course was on the San Antonio Police Academy high speed driving track. It is a 0.7 miles course with long finishing and back straights and a few twists and turns in between. There was supposed to be another crit in San Antonio on Saturday that was canceled. I am assuming that racers from Houston and Dallas decided it wasn't worth the drive for one race. A lot of racers from Austin didn't show up as well.

The ref started the 60 minute race and within 200 meters two guys attacked. It was an easy place to attack because there was a 30 mph tail wind coming through the start/finish. The attack died as soon as they hit the back stretch which was back into the wind. The wind was almost comical. Coming through the start/finish all you could hear were gears buzzing and silence. When you turned into the wind it sounded like one of those hand driers in a public rest room. After a few laps I found myself at the front leading into the wind. Not exactly smart, but nobody wanted to do any work. This happened a few times early in the race. I was doing too much work. They announced a preem of two bottle cages and some other crap. I worked hard to get it but in the end didn't. The effort put me in the red and I tucked back into the group and stayed there for the next 15 minutes while I recovered. At about that time a single rider attacked into the wind and was able to get a good gap. With about 15 minutes left in the race it became evident that we weren't closing the gap on this guy which was probably 175 meters. I went to the front and pulled hard for a lap. Another guy took a pull. I took a pull. The other guy took a pull. I looked back and everyone else was just sitting in and not willing to do any work. Realizing that what would probably happen is that I would use it all up and get trounced on the last lap, I decided I wasn't doing anymore work that would benefit others. If we caught the guy great, if not, we would all be racing for 2nd place. At the start of the last lap it was obvious that we wouldn't catch the attacker. He took a chance and made a big effort and it would pay off for him. The pace was fast through the start/finish for the last lap. As we reached the end of the straight and turned right into the wind, everyone came out of their saddles and hammered the pedals. I wasn't in an ideal position sitting in around 10th. About half way down the back stretch the pace slowed as everyone started looking around to see who was willing to do the work back to the line. I saw a gap and shot through it. I was now in 2nd place. The last two corners before the finish straight were a left and a right. I cut the inside of the left tight just like I wanted to. I came over to the right side to cut down the inside of the right but not quite quick enough and a rider got through. I made sure no others came through. At this point I was seeing all blurry. My effort was totally maxed out. We came into the finishing straight and I sprinted as hard as I could. One guy got past and I finished 4th. Overall, not a bad race despite the wind.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thursday Night Crit Report (4/24)

I made it out to the Thursday Night Crit this week. They have been adding new sections to the track which is mainly used for auto racing. One of the new sections was used in the crit for the first time on Thursday. It features a fast down hill that goes into a sweeping high speed turn at the bottom before heading back up the hill into a hard left corner. After pre-riding the new section I knew it was going to be a great addition to the course.

I did the Cat 3/4 race with an estimated 40 other racers. I was in the front row for the start and got off decently, but not great. From the start line the riders go right into the sharpest turn on the course which when run in the direction it was on Thursday is a hard right turn. There was the typical congestion going through the corner, but once through there it smoothed out and opened up. After about 5 laps I was sitting mid pack. I took an outside line coming up the new hill section a few times and found myself crowded up onto the cement berm on the inside of the left turn. It wasn't a big deal because you could roll over it pretty easily, but later in the race I chose a better line. In a few more laps we started passing the lapped riders. At this point I noticed that a group of 4 riders was off the front. They were the usual Cat 3 suspects. They never got off the front very far, but were never caught. After two more laps on the way up the new hill I was able to get on the wheel of a Violet Crown rider who decided to attack. We flew past the chase but after turning left at the top of the hill I lost his wheel and was sucked back into the chase. He wasn't able to make it up to the break and eventually he was back in the chase as well. It was a nice attempt by him though. The next thing I knew there were 3 laps to go. The pace picked up, but nobody was attacking. On the last lap I was feeling spent for the most part. I finished near the back of the sprint for what I guess was 20th or so. Not a great result, but not bad for not racing in a month.

This picture shows the break with the chase behind. This is coming up the new section of hill.

Of all the pictures this guy took, the only one where I show up well at all is this one where I am in the blue and white on the far left. Oh well. I guess he doesn't focus on the pretty riders. :)

If the weather holds out I will be racing on Sunday in San Antonio. If it is pouring, I doubt I will race. I am not a fan of riding in the rain let alone racing a crit in the rain.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tired Legs

Training has been going well, but today my legs felt like lead. I was really just dragging ass. I mountain biked for the first time in 10 years yesterday and it must use some different muscles because my legs are sore. The temperatures are creeping up in Texas. Today at riding time it was 90 degrees. Soon enough I will be racing in cozy 100 degree temperatures. Fun fun. I am racing the Thursday Crit this week as well as the Peel Out Criterium in San Antonio on Sunday. It should be fun and I hope for good results.

The town I live in, Dripping Springs, had their Founder's Day festival over the weekend. We took the kids down for a few hours on Saturday. It was the typical carnival type event with plenty of hillbillies and rides most caring parents would never let their kids near. Angelo did ride the ponies though. We had some lunch at the festival and I came across this beauty I am gnawling on above. I spared you the pictures of the funnel cake and waffle fries.

I didn't think the train could be too big of a hazard given that it only goes 3 mph so we rode it.

This is the bike I rode yesterday on the trails near Phoenix. As I said, I haven't mountain biked in 10 years. I have also never ridden a mountain bike with full suspension. THIS THING WAS AWESOME! I had a blast. I couldn't believe how you could just float over rocks and washes and ruts with this bike. It makes me want to go out and buy a full suspension mountain bike and get back into it. We didn't go that far, maybe only 1.5 hours, but it was cool. I especially like how you can lock both the front and rear shocks out so you can hammer the roads on the way home. Since I stopped mountain biking, technology has come a long long way.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

2nd Annual People I Admire Post

It is that time again. After thinking hard about the past and the present, the 2008 list is as follows:

Jimmy Rockford - because he showed me that everybody takes a beating sometimes.

Roddy Piper - because anyone who was a guest on his WWF show, Piper's Pit, got their ass kicked. He also was in the best movie fight scene ever in a film called "They Live."

Bill Richardson - because this guy had some great ideas about how to make things right for our country. Unfortunately he can't campaign for shit. He would be a smart VP choice for Obama.

Barbaro (deceased) - because he kept fighting for life right until the end.

George Hincapie - because he does his job well, he does his job "clean" and he seems like a nice guy.

Carlos Hathcock (deceased) - because he was the best US Marine Scout Sniper in history. He had 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam conflict, one of which was at 2500 yards.

Jack Lambert - because when I was growing up around Pittsburgh, PA, he was the baddest muthafucker in town.

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson - because he doesn't duck fighters and beats almost all of them. This picture to me really shows the difference in emotion for all of us in winning versus losing.

Warren Buffett - because he has shown that smarts, hard work, and sticking to a strategy and principles can pay off BIG.

Michael Scott - this one is self explanatory.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Back in Full Swing

Training has picked back up fairly quickly. After two days of moderate workouts I got back on my workout schedule on Saturday. I feel pretty good as far as riding goes. Today is an off day. In fact it is the only off day for the remainder of April. I will probably skip the Thursday race this week to give myself another week to get back up to form and shoot for racing the following Thursday.

The weather here has been spectacular (except for a bit of wind). It is supposed to rain on Wednesday and Thursday, but aside from that, this place has been great. I love living in Texas.

I picked up some riding clothing while in Europe. Pictured above is my favorite purchase from Bike Palast in Salzburg, Austria. If any of you ever get to Salzburg, you have to visit this shop. It is probably the best shop I have ever been to for road riders. The amount of actual inventory is astounding from frames to wheels to components. They have it all right there in stock.

And finally my procedure for effectively treating road rash:

1) After crashing wash the wound off with your water bottle and hand.
2) When you get home scrub the wound with a wash cloth and antibacterial soap.
3) Apply a generous amount of Neosporin to the wound.
4) Apply a Telfa pad to the wound and wrap with a stretch bandage.
5) Wash the wound and change the bandage for the next few days until weeping stops.
6) After the wound stops weeping, apply Tegaderm until the wound is healed.

Dislaimer: I am not a doctor, so follow this advice at your own risk!

When I have used the method above, I have never had a problem develop. The wounds heal fast and scab free. I didn't follow this procedure on my leg after this last crash and paid for it. Since I was heading to Europe a few days after my crash I tried to speed things along so that I wouldn't have to be bothered with bringing and changing bandages, etc. I put a Telfa pad and bandage on the wound for one day. The would was very weepy. After one day I started coating the wound with Second Skin spray to try to get it to stop weeping and to protect it. A day or two later I started having pain and the wound was still weeping. I then applied more Second Skin and more Second Skin, etc. After a few more days I was a hurting unit. So, in summary, give the wounds time to heal and take care of them the right way. You can clear most road rash up in one week if you stay on top of it.

Have a good week.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Back in Texas

I got home on Tuesday evening. I am very happy to be back at home with the boys. 10 days seemed like 3 weeks for some reason.

Today was my first day back on the bike and I didn't feel that bad. I could tell it had been a while, but it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. I think my body is detoxing from too much wiener schnitzel, beer, and Bordeaux. It is to be expected. My coach wants me to do a few moderate workouts over the next few days. If I feel alright doing those workouts, he wants me to get back on my schedule over the weekend. Hopefully it works out. My back only hurt today when I stood on the pedals. It was a bit sore after the ride, but nothing Ibuprofen couldn't fix.

I went to my doctor yesterday morning for my leg He gave me an oral antibiotic and a prescription cream that is usually used on burns. My leg feels 100 times better already. I knew it was infected. Apparently European doctors only prescribe antibiotics as a last resort for fear of creating super viruses. Whatever. I feel like I suffered unnecessarily. The leg felt fine riding today, except it was a bit itchy. I should be back to normal in a week.

Hopefully I will be mentally ready to race again by the end of April. We shall see. Have a good Friday.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday Update

To sum it up, I am fucked up. My leg ended up infected from the crash at the crit. I will post later on how I think it got infected, but I am short on time now. I went to the hospital last night in Salzburg and they cleaned up my leg and told me I probably need antibiotics, but they wanted to see if cleaning it up would work first. They also told me to come back on Sunday. I told them that I have had many of these abrasions and that this one hurts like a bitch. I am in serious pain and there is an obvious problem. Hopefully tomorrow they will give me some antibiotics so I can get rid of the swelling and pain in my leg.

My back is feeling better, but it is still sore from time to time. I am in a mental crisis as far as training goes. I have not done anything since crashing over a week ago. I went from being in very good form for early season to being infected and spending over a week off of the bike. It is totally depressing. My coach told me just to work on getting well and we can adjust my training when I return. Even so, it just sucks.

Today we did some sightseeing around Salzburg. This area in my opinion is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. I could see myself living in a place like this. However, I want to get home to see the boys. I keep asking my wife about them and Angelo keeps asking her about me. She is tired of being the middle person

The view of the Alps from my colleague's patio.

Someone with my last name has built an ice cream empire in Europe.

My colleague Klaus on the left and his family. They are great people and great hosts. I enjoy visiting them annually.

We went up to a ski resort in Germany not far from Salzburg and had lunch today.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Seeing is Believing

For those of you who didn't believe this Presidential Candidate, shame on you!

I am in Austria at the moment. I look forward to coming home on Tuesday. I miss my little guys very much.