Monday, June 30, 2008

Hyde Park Blast Criterium

We timed our mid summer visit to the wife's parents house to coincide with the Hyde Park Blast Criterium in Cincinnati. My Cat. 4 race was at 7:15pm. There was a downpour around 4pm, but the course was fairly dry by the start of my race. I wasn't able to get a good warm-up because there just wasn't any place to ride without dodging cars. I chose a 150 meter section of closed street and rode up and down it about 10 thousand times. The course was a 1km loop with a 180 in Hyde Park Square at one end and a steep little side street climb and then a decent before heading back toward the square. There were 50 racers at the start.

I didn't get a great start because I missed my pedal, but over the first 3 laps I was able to move up to where I wanted to be. I felt like I was working pretty hard and I am not sure if it was because I had a bit of a cold, or because the climb wasn't allowing my HR to settle down. Either way my avg HR was at 88% of max which is higher than normal for me unless I get in a break.

There was a selection of about 15 riders with 3 to go (I heard the announcer say that, I didn't actually count us). I found myself pulling on the front on the 2nd to last lap. I let someone else pull through and took 4th wheel for the last lap. We went hard up the climb and fast on the decent, but then the leader slowed a bit. I started moving around on the left with 300 meters to go. I saw two racers moving fast on the right. We ended up with a selection of 6 with 150 meters to go. One rider was fast and was obviously going to win. I came around on the right and got by two and thought maybe three, but the results showed me in 4th. I honestly thought I got 3rd, but the camera doesn't lie. I raced as hard as I could for the way I felt, but I am still disappointed. Oh well.

This photo is with about 50 meters to go. I am in blue and white. I came past all but the guy in blue white and black in the middle.

My biggest fan.

I had a training incident last week that still gets me worked up thinking about it. I was coming to an intersection on my lunch training route. It is a light with two straight lanes and a right turn lane. The light was red. I was in the right turn lane because I was turning right. As I approached the light I heard breaks squealing and looked over in time to see some asshole in a pick up pulling a boat about to hit the truck in the lane to my left. So what does he do?? He hammers the wheel to the right coming into my lane and runs me off the road with his boat trailer. I was pissed, but was reasonable at that point. I rode up along side him and yelled, "PAY ATTENTION!" He said "FUCK OFF" and made the right turn on red. I yelled, "PULL OVER MOTHERFUCKER BECAUSE I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR FUCKING ASS!" He hit the breaks and swerved over. I unclipped and had a smile on my face because I wanted to kill the dude. When he saw me about to dismount he took off. I chased him hoping I could catch him at the next light, but wasn't able to get there in time. I am usually pretty reasonable. But if you almost run me over and then tell me to fuck off, you better be ready to throw some hands.

Here is #5 on the list of "Top 5 Sprint Finish Crashes." This one is mild to soften you up for the carnage to come. Here is Tom Boonen crashing at the end of the 2003 Ghent-Wevelgem. This piece is cool because of the camera work from behind the sprint. The others in the sprint are: 1st - Andreas Klier (Telecom), 2nd - Henk Vogels (Navigators), and 4th - Alberto Ongarato (Domina Vacanze). Boonen got 3rd.

Monday, June 23, 2008

AT&T Austin Downtown Criterium

Saturday was the AT&T crit which was pegged as one of my goal races for the year. My race didn't start until 4:40pm, but I went down early and checked out some of the earlier races and had lunch. There was a downpour during the Women's Open race which caused some accidents. By the time I raced the course was dry except for some water still in the gutters.

There were 72 racers on the starting line. The race started fast and stayed fast. I didn't get a great start, but within 5 laps I had moved up to where I wanted to be which was in the top 7-10. About 1/2 way through the race a rider opened a nice gap and we let him maintain it for a while. Me and another racer were able to close the gap. I then found myself off the front by about 30 meters or so. For a split second I thought about trying to get away, but then decided that there was too much time left and the pace was too fast to realistically succeed, so I came back to the pack. On the last lap I didn't get myself where I needed to be before the last corner and ended up finishing 9th. I am disappointed by that result because I had such high expectations for the race. But, I am going to keep a positive outlook and have already begun to focus on my race this coming weekend in Cincinnati.

Here is a low quality video my wife shot of us chasing the rider off the front. The gap is pretty small here. I am the rider at the front of the chase in the blue and white.

Here is the sprint at the end. The rider who won did so convincingly. I come through close to the fence in the blue and white.

The pro races were fantastic. The pro women tore it up! Cheerwine worked their asses off for Kelly Benjamin to get her the win. Coming around the last corner for the sprint KB was first but just off her wheel was Tina Pic. I said, "OH SHIT this is going to be good." Tina Pic just wasn't able to close it down. Our local hero and Advil-Chapstick rider, Jen McRae (wife of Chann McRae) finished 3rd.

Kelly Benjamin, Tina Pic, and Jen McRae on the podium.

Liz Hatch from Vanderkitten.

The men's race was awesome as well. The pace was incredibly fast and with 5 to go there were 5 Toyota guys on the front trying to set up Ivan Dominguez for the sprint. However, coming out of the last corner, Alejandro Borrajo from Colavita somehow got through and held on for the win. Top three were Alejandro Borrago, Henk Vogels, Ivan Dominguez.

Fast Freddie Rodriguez and Rock Racing were in attendance.

So now to Rock Racing. I think it is great that they are providing major sponsorship for these large crit events such as Austin and last week in Harlem. I think in a way they are bringing some excitement and some flair to the US scene. However, can these guys form a solid race team? Their showing in Austin was pretty weak. Bahati's 8th place was their top finish on Saturday. They stuck around for Sunday and two local studs managed to take the top 2 podium spots. Tyler Hamilton was in contention for a while before crashing and flatting. So, can Rock Racing take some individual talents and form a solid US racing team? So far I say no because the results don't nearly justify the investment being made. Your thoughts?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday Night Crit Report (6/19)

I raced the Cat 3/4 Driveway Criterium last night. The goal was to go out and get in some good intensity in preparation for the AT&T Crit on Saturday. It was almost 100 degrees at start time which was kind of shitty. But it is Texas in June, so that is just how it is.

There were 50-60 racers at the start. I found myself about mid pack through the first half of the race and then started to move up. With 3 to go I was sitting 4th wheel. I moved up to take a pull on the uphill section and then tucked back in again. On the last lap I lost a few places going into the tightest corner of the course. My teammate attacked hard on the downhill section on the last lap. Nobody reacted because they thought he would be caught on the uphill. He wasn't caught. He held off a hard sprint to win. I finished 12th. Not a bad result for racing against the fastest Cat 3s in Texas.

A few pros who were in town showed up for the race. Kyle Wamsley from Colavita won the P/1/2 race. Rahsaan Bahati from Rock Racing was there racing, but looked like he was just getting in some work in preparation for Saturday.

Here is a picture with around 3 to go. I am in the blue and white.

And finally to put an end to this horrible idea. Here is #1 on "Top 10 Cheesiest Songs of All Time That You Probably Like But Won't Admit It." Anybody who says they never cranked this song in the car and sang at the top of their lungs is full of shit (maybe with the exception of Blue). Here is Lou Gramm and Foreigner with "I Want to Know What Love Is."

Monday, June 16, 2008

University Oaks Crit Report #2

Rather than drive to Dallas for The Matrix Criterium this past weekend, I decided to go to San Antonio for the second race in the University Oaks Crit series.

There were 50 racers at the start including The Guz and another guy from my team as well as a few strong Cat. 4s from Austin that I am friendly with. The race started out smoothly. I stayed close to the front for the first half of the race. About 1/2 way through the race the bell rang for a preem. I was sitting 4th wheel coming out of the turn onto the finishing straight. I was easily able to get by two of the guys but a friend of mine from Team GS Tenzing would not be denied and took down the preem. Oh well. With 9 laps to go I jumped on the wheel of a guy that came to the front who seemed to want to set a fast pace. After 1/2 lap I looked back and we had a gap of about 60 meters. I was surprised because the guy wasn't attempting a break. I came along side him and told him that we had a good gap thinking his reaction would be "GREAT! Let's roll!" But he seemed surprised and mumbled something. I could tell by his reaction that he wasn't up for the effort, so I decided to try to go alone. I took off and after 5 laps of solo pain, The Guz was able to make it across and we put down 2 more hard laps. We were caught just before the line with 2 to go. I was able to recover enough to get in the sprint to finish 7th. Not a bad finish, but not a win either. It was a strange way to have a solo break because I wasn't planning on going solo. The opportunity presented itself and I simply decided to try. One of these weeks I will get the timing right and a break will stick. Unfortunately I have no pictures this week.

Saturday is the AT&T Austin Downtown Criterium. This is the biggest race in Texas this year. Check out the Pro Men and Women prereg.

Here is #2 on the list of "Top 10 Cheesiest Songs of All Time That You Probably Like But Won't Admit It." You will associate this song with the movie. Especially the scene when Daniel is defending Kumiko's honor through combat with Chozen on the island of Okinawa and Chozen blocks the Crane Technique Daniel attempts. And I remember my reaction was "NO FUCKING WAY! You mean all you have to do to block the Crane Technique (no can defense) is to put up your hands?" Here is Peter Cetera with The Glory of Love.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Where Did The Weekend Go??

The thing I hate about weekends is that they are too short. Luckily I am on vacation today. We get a day off each year for our birthday. My birthday is Tuesday, but I am traveling for work on that day so I opted to take today off. Before you ask, I will be 74 years old.

I had two great rides this weekend despite the constant forecast of rain. Saturday I trained alone out in the Hill Country. I usually get a late start on Saturdays due to family stuff. It was about 95 degrees during my ride. There is a 6 mile climb up out of the Pedernales River on Saturday's return route. I was baking. I was daydreaming about cold cold water. It was weird. Almost a hallucination. I had eload with me, but that wasn't cutting it. I wanted cold cold water.

Sunday I went with the shop on a 50 mile loop ride into northwest Austin. It was good for some intensity at times because a few other racers like to mix it up. About 6 miles from the end I tried to shift the front and rear derailers at the same time on a climb and my chain flew off and got all jammed up. After I got it loose I had some serious auto-shift action going on. I let the group go and rode home at a cool down pace going CLICK POP BANG BOOM. I have to look at it today.

My rear derailer hanger showed up from Fort today and it turned out to be the wrong one. Figures.

Here is #3 on the list of "Top 10 Cheesiest Songs of All Time That You Probably Like But Won't Admit It." The cheese is getting piled on heavy now. Here are Dionne Warwick and Friends with That's What Friends Are For.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I was in Charlotte, NC the first 3 days of this week. I have one more trip next week to MI and MN and then a few weeks in town. That will be 5 weeks in a row getting on a plane. Sigh.

This sucks. Be safe out there folks.

Here comes the cheese. #4 on the list of "Top 10 Cheesiest Songs of All Time That You Probably Like But Won't Admit It." From 1974 here is John Denver's Thank God I'm a Country Boy.

Monday, June 02, 2008

University Oaks Crit Report

Sunday I went to San Antonio to race the University Oaks Crit. The race was at 8am, so I left the house at 5am. I had to be back to take Angelo to a birthday party for one of his friends at Chuck E. Cheese's.

Pre-reg was light for the race, but there were about 40 riders on the start line. Two teams were very well represented with 8 or so riders apiece. I had one teammate in the race. After a few laps there were two guys dangling out front. I was 3rd wheel and my teammate The Guz was right behind me. I accelerated to close the front two down and Guz yelled that we had a gap. Guz and I took off and blew by the two guys on the front. We tried to get away for 3 or 4 laps but weren't widening our gap. Two other riders came across but didn't work. We held on for another 3 or so laps before it was closed down.

The middle parts of the race were pretty uneventful. As we came to 5 laps to go a few people tried to attack but were easily reeled back in. As we came through for the bell lap I was on the front followed by another rider followed by Guz. After two turns Guz moved past to the front. The other guy took the wheel of Guz. I took his wheel. The field was back just a few bike lengths. As we were coming into the final turn for the long home stretch the guy behind Guz looked back and realized that I wasn't his sprinter so he basically sat up. I thought that was stupid because if his sprinter wasn't there he should try to win the race for himself, not look around to see if he can attach him again prior to the last turn. That opened a gap and Guz took full advantage of it hammering down the straight for the win. I came around the guy who sat up and gave it a go. Two guys got by me at the line ruining a 1-2 for Team Southwest Cycle Sport. Oh well.

The break early in the race.

The sprint at the line. The racer in the red and white is a lapped rider. Guz took the win. The guy on my left got second and the guy on my right got 3rd.

I will post the music video in a separate post since I am sure you are all waiting eagerly. HA!