Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This is going to leave a mark...

I think this probably happened so fast that the rider flying in the air didn't have time to react. Hopefully he was able to tuck his head down and take the brunt of the fall with his body.


If you race in the Bay Area you've either had your head in the sand or been completely ignorant if you haven't heard of the Cat's Hill race. For me, I didn't race it last year as it was my first year of competitive racing and I was somewhat hesitant to take on crits. Now with a few more races under my belt and the realization that I like more technical crits I've decided to give this race a shot.

Much like a moth being attracted to light, I feel the need to do this race, if not for more than being able to look back and say, "Yeah, I raced Cat's Hill...and that hill will kill you!". Who knows if I'll like it or if I put it on the shelf with a few other races where I just let them pass by on the calendar every year, but we'll soon find out. It seems like those who love this race really, really love it; and those who don't like it stay far away.

But the best thing about this race is the proximity to my house and the kid's race. Last year I brought the family over and we had a great time. I felt bad for some parents behind me in the registration line because we were the last folks allowed to register. Yeah, if they had this registration on Sportsbaseonline (which is used for about 95% of the races I do for online registration) this race would sell out within 10 minutes! This year I'll go over early and get the kiddies registered.

Even more amazing was the fact that one kid who had the same bike as my son had a mechanical at the start line. I don't think it was due to the little guy putting out 1,500+ watts, but he broke his chain as he was lining up for the start. The father was bummed, but the kid didn't really care too much.

It probably was safer anyway for the kid as the start of that race was almost as hectic as a Cat 5 start heading into a tight turn 1. This year I'll tell my kids, "Use your superior endurance to let the kids at the front flame out in the first 100 meters, then drop the hammer. Kill them with the excess lactic acid spewing out of your exhausts as you blast by!". Ok, probably the wrong strategy, but silly nonetheless. I'll just give them a kiss, tell them to be safe, and make it through the finish line in one piece.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tubular Gluing - Part Deux

After the fun that wasn't Wente RR, I decided to trash my Continental Competition tubulars in favor of something else. Sure, I was throwing away a perfectly good tubular from my front wheel, but when it comes to tires, I'm a fully-fledged believer from the church of fresh rubber. I've had my rear tire get trashed twice on this wheelset with the Conti's and now it was time for something different.

On my Zipp 606's I've been running the Vittoria CX's (21mm on the front, 23mm rear). The 21mm's are easy to find, they're practically in every bike shop in the area if they are selling tubulars. The 23mm I had to hunt down; so why did I go w/ the 23mm on the Zipp's? Don't exactly remember, but it hasn't been an issue as these are some damn fast wheels nonetheless. After finding a pair of 21mm's from my local team shop I continued on my merry way with a handful of glue packs and a pep in my step.

My first experience gluing the Conti's onto my Nimble Fly's was an adventure. I stretched the tires but apparently these don't take too well to stretching. I remember mounting them and walking away with hands of fire. You know, that feeling where all your fingers are flamed and red, and to top it off there's glue all over them. Thankfully the Vittoria's mount much easier and make gluing a whole different (which is good) experience.

One little tip I learned with the Vittoria's was to remove the adhesive from the base tape. For some reason these tires have an adhesive on the tape and I don't know what purpose it really serves. But this time I drove up to Home Depot, bought a file and proceeded to remove all the tape. Sure it took a bit more time to prep the tires, but man, these tires sure sucked up the glue when I lathered it on. Being lazy I left the old glue on the rim and prepped these with another layer of glue.

Like hair, I did the repeat routine then eventually mounted the tires. Much better experience...and it also helps that I had received some timely advice on doing this from one guy who drinks a lot of wine (and can open cans of whoop-ass on fellow riders). This time it was actually fun and less demanding to get the tires mounted.

My allocation for flats during races this season has been met, so here's to some crossed-fingers and good-luck superstitions to hold air in my tires for the rest of the season.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Today...not much fun

Race: Wente RR M35+ 4
Weather: Hot, mid-80's, light wind
Course: 15 mile loop around Altamont Pass east of Livermore
Result: 100/100 (is this a perfect score?)

I got first...first to get a DNF with a flat!

The goal was to hang out and see what some of the climbers were going to do later in the race as this hilly race would naturally spit out the weaker riders out the back. Up the first climb I was in the top 10 and felt fine. Coming down Flynn the climbers were coasting and not really going too fast. I soon found myself in the top 5 and taking a pull on the front. Why is it that climbers can't descend fast? Oh yeah, 'cuz they don't weight 200 pounds.

Toward the bottom of the hill my ride was feeling way too comfortable. I had a slow rear leak. At the intersection of Flynn and Patterson Pass Road the rear was completely flat. Game over, and I still had two completely full water bottles. A slow trudge back to the car by cutting through the course via Patterson Pass Road and a yell of encouragement to my teammates as they rolled on by was the best I could muster at this point.

Flats happen, but I was really bummed as this was a race I had been targeting for a long, long time. Next time my evil temptress.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Get on the bus

Just riding down to New Almaden to get ready for the race tomorrow and it was pretty uneventful. However, as the norm in these parts, there was a nice tailwind on the outbound trek with a headwind waiting for me upon my return. After turning around I was going through a slower section of road and a yellow school bus very, very slowly passed me. Knowing that I was about to get hammered by the headwind, I decided to draft off the bus.

Let me say, there's something pretty damn fun about pulling 33+mph behind America's elementary school transportation vehicle of choice! Especially when you're not putting out any effort to keep up. The draft this bus puts out is the equivalent of what a few of my teammates probably get from me when they're on my wheel. I was bummed when it turned right and went its merry way, but the legs sure felt good.

Amazing what you can do with some spare time

The past 4 weeks have been a welcomed break from racing. Not sure I would have thought that in retrospect if you would have asked me to predict how I would feel a month back, but upon further reflection it's been a needed break from the weekend racing.

If you are anything like me and my dedication to training, you eventually can find yourself too wrapped up in the details of your fitness. For me, I'm a technology geek at heart (though with having kids I've moved further to the right of the Geoffrey Moore continuum and have become a technology laggard...see an old blog posts on this) who absolutely loves using the Trainingpeaks software with my Powertap. All the data is fun to chart and watch as you go through your workouts. However, that darn PMC (performance manager chart) is almost my downfall. I hate seeing my fitness slide like a rock when I take rest days, but I know it's best for me to do this from time to time. On a side note, I've been resting more often this season, and it's been very helpful. In fact I might rest today; I've got Wente RR tomorrow, but maybe I should try something different...who knows.

Anyways, I get too wrapped up in the PMC and I did learn something about myself from this break. The PMC isn't the end all, be all to understanding fitness. Here's an example: I came back from the Disneyland/Wine Trip week and promptly kicked the butts of a few fellow work buddies on our regular noontime ride, specifically up the climb on Old Calaveras Rd. Twice in the same week! My PMC chart told me I had lost some fitness, but that's not what I experienced.

Does this mean I'm going to walk away from the technology and become a cyclist who "listens" to their body to determine their training regimen? Probably not, but I will give more heed to what my body is telling me.

Yeah, and speaking of listening to your body, I might take up some trail running as a cross-training endeavor in the off season, but man, that treadmill workout at Disneyland was the worst thing for me. It put me out of commission for about 3 days. My shins were on fire and it wasn't fun.

Ok, so let's try to get this post back on track. After this ramble what I was trying to get to was the fact that being away from racing puts life in perspective. There's so much more out there and I've got to learn to keep things in perspective as the season progresses. I guess it's best to figure this out now rather than in July when baby #3 is due!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Go Green! However, the stereotype of the news reporter was reinforced

After wrapping up my teaching gig over at SCU last night with the freshman, ...oh their innocence..., I was walking back to the car and stumbled upon a Channel 2 KTVU reporter doing her thing in front of the new library building. It was late in the evening and the reporter was practicing her lines before going on live on-camera. I stopped to observe, thinking it was interesting to watch; soon thereafter both she and the cameraman gave me a serious case of stink-eye.

They actually had the wherewithal to ask in a sarcastic tone what I was doing, to which I replied, "Just catching my news live instead of watching it at home." Amazing to watch, but both their noses turned up in unison and they gave off that all-to-familiar "I'm better than you" attitude.

It actually made me laugh out loud! This caught them more off guard and only made their reactions more amusing to me. As I walked away my stereotype of newscasters was strongly reinforced and it reminded me of the Nicole Kidman character in the movie "To Die For".

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lost weekend

I was all excited to get in some good riding in this past weekend with friends before my plans got shot down. No, it wasn't a family commitment or something that I forgot about on my calendar. It happened to be related to a bad plate of Chinese food and it's secret little friend.

I don't know which plate of tasty goodness at the table Friday for lunch it was, but something there gave me a nasty bit of the stomach flu. I've never had something like this before and for a few hours I actually thought my appendix was about to rupture. When it's 4am on a Saturday morning and it feels like your stomach is in knots, your mind starts to think of all possibilities. I even went online to do a little self diagnosis work to just make sure it wasn't the old appendix (which it wasn't). For the ladies, I'm sure this feels like a bad round of menstral cramps; for me, it reminded me of those bad memories when you weren't paying attention and something accidentally got past your groin radar and made contact with the berries. Painful indeed!

So with a week before heading back out for racing (after a month away for recharging the batteries), I get this unexpected weekend of additional rest. Not what I wanted, but in reflection I'll take it. Disneyland didn't really give me any rest to my legs, so I'll take what I can get. I am bummed about missing the SJBC Muddy Dog ride yesterday, but I'll have to do that on my own to see what it's all about. I'm familiar with the paved roads of the ride, but the dirt sections will be new to me.

Now I just need to sync up with the guy who has my carbon tubular tire I left behind at Ronde and I'll be ready for Wente RR.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In the news

My team and what I do just got covered by the Wall Street Journal in this article.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Disneyland detox

I've got to admit, Disneyland was a blast with the wife and kids. Do I remember anything from when I first visited there thirty years ago? Nope, nary a memory. Ok, I do remember the "It's a Small World" ride, but that's about it. Unfortunately for me, this ride was shut down; it's getting some new paint and updates before opening after Thanksgiving weekend. 300+ pictures are being worked on right now, and they're almost ready to share with friends and family.

  • Space Mountain - I was looking forward to this ride, but it didn't do it for me. A rollercoaster in the dark made my normally strong stomach a bit queezy. And it didn't help that for some reason I felt like my head was going to hit something in the dark.
  • The Princesses - Everybody waited way too long to meet the ladies, but Logan thoroughly enjoyed the experience
  • Maliboomer - This launches you from the ground up to around 300 feet while pulling 4.5g's. Somehow Logan convinced her papa (the inlaws came along and had a blast too) to ride with her and I. I'm used to rides that cause your stomach to drop. This ride shots your guts out your backside...thank goodness you're sitting down. And yeah, you then loose your stomach as you hit the apex of the launch and start to fall. Logan had to do this multiple times (me too).
  • Soarin' over California - Take one part flight simulator, one part IMAX film. Put them together and you've got a pretty incredible experience. Tate loved this ride as did the rest of us. Having the larger-than-life IMAX picture taking up all of your sightlines while being suspended on a seat in front of the screen is awesome. We did this ride twice too
  • Walking is tough. It shouldn't be since I'm in shape, but I'm not in 'walking' shape. Next time I'll do some cross-training to get prepared.
  • Convenience is nice. Staying at a Disneyland property makes a world of difference and easily is worth the cost.
  • There is no logic to LA traffic. We hit it both ways. Neither time was during your typical rush hour...but nonetheless there was a lot of stop and go traffic.
  • Bringing the inlaws along was great. Luckily all we did didn't run them too ragged.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


It's been 30 years since I last visited Disneyland. This place is a constant assault of the much going on. But starting my 4th day here, I'm starting to feel comfortably numb to more of it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

It tastes like chicken

I just got done with a hard training ride and my body is craving some protein. I heat up some leftovers from last night (chicken casserole) and pondered this deep thought as I look down at my plate: For my muscles to grow, I am eating the muscles of another animal.

Wierd. I'm hungry...time to chow.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

These guys make me laugh too...

The Johnny Depp version can't hold their own against the original Oompa Loompa's.

Skin tight

Just slapping up this photo because every time I see it on different cycling message boards it makes me laugh.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Is it really the happiest place on earth?

Next week takes me away from the normal routine of my life. I'm taking the family down to Disneyland for the kids' first visit and my return after 30+ years of being away. It was so long ago that I don't really remember much of the experience.

My most recent Disney experience was this editorial piece. Though the article focuses on the lack of mothers for the Disney princesses, what about their fathers?!? When was the last time you saw any Disney princess with a parental figure? Jasmine had her dad back in the day when she was being swept up on a magic carpet and Robin Williams was the genie, but think about it, are all these princesses runaways without parents? Do princesses just fall off some magic tree that shrouds them in bad clothing and then waits for the animated version of Tyra Banks to create a Disney's Next Top Princess experience where the whoa-is-me girl becomes the blossoming princess?

Come on, let's get real here folks. At least Pixar put together a family unit when they rolled out the Incredibles. One of the events planned for next week is to experience the Disney princesses at their breakfast event. I think it might be fun to fluster those poor actresses who are in their princess costumes by asking them some 'real' question: Who's your mom? Where's your dad? Are you an only child like the rest of your princess friends? How come you think a man will be the savior to all your problems? Are there any lesbian princesses?

I think this will make breakfast much more fun.