Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bow Down to the God of Watts

For you TT geeks and powermeter freaks (I'm both), I was amazed at reading this:

The ability of this guy to hold this amount of power in the TT position is amazing. I checked my power file from the last SJBC WS ITT and for the same duration of the race I was only able to hold 411 watts. Larssen was 70+ watts stronger (486 avg watts) and 30 pounds lighter (170 pounds). Scary!

More details here:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Me & Ballard Canyon

A few weeks ago our race team spent a great weekend down in Solvang. On one of our rides we came down from Los Olivos to Solvang via the last half of the ToC TT course on Ballard Canyon Road. For me this part of the ride came after doing repeats up Mt. Figueroa so I was able to enjoy the scenery of the canyon and the various vines in the fields.

Riding down this road I couldn't help and think what it would be like on a TT bike. I'm really interested to see how the riders take the short descent after the small hill at the northern most part of the road. When I came down the descent on the road bike I had to shave off a bit of speed on the sweeping left hander since there was plenty of gravel in the roade. If the pros can take this corner at speed and in the drops then I'll be amazed.

The rest of Ballard is like a TT'ers dream. Slightly downhill with plenty of opportunity to get some serious speed built up. The pavement is ok, but if they put down fresh tarmac it would be unreal! Something like a 55x11 combo would be perfect if there's no headwind. Anyway, coverage on starts here in the next hour so let the fun begin.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cantua Creek RR M35+ 1/2/3 Report

I was really looking forward to this race as I had a win here last year (different category) and was stoked to race with my teammates. We had a small group, but it got more interesting at the start line as the officials decided to add the four P/1/2 guys (their results picked separately) into our group since their numbers were so low.

Initially I thought about attacking on the beginning descents from the start/finish line, but I waited until we crossed over the first I-5 overpass. I took off and got a nice little gap. No one was attempting to come across so I decided to back off the pace. A few minutes later I was back in the pack chatting with teammates. No other riders/teams were attacking, so I just sat in and noticed how strong one particular P/1/2 guy was (Kevin Klein). If you don't know Kevin, he raced last year with Rock Racing. More on his antics later...

After the first turnaround there was a slight slowing of the group and I attacked again. This time a couple of guys jumped on my wheel. We ended up having 5 guys (including Klein) in the group. But for some reason these other guys couldn't figure out that we needed to paceline to stay away. I guess they had forgotten this skill over the winter. Klein was real pissed at a few of them for not getting their act together...nothing like having a pro berate you!

As we got caught Matt took a flyer. I stayed at the front and kept the pace reasonable so it would give him a chance to get away. As folks came around me to pick up the pace I stayed in the top 10 to keep an eye on things. Matt was able to extend his break and was up the road for a long time.

We hit the hill pretty hard and got mixed up with the 3's. Matt was caught too as we sped up the hill. On the descent things were pushed because we wanted to get separated from the 3's. Some AV/Webcor guy was riding next to me from the 3's so I told him to get his butt to the back. I'm sure he didn't like me telling him this because he sure was enjoying his free ride with our group.

Back on the flats I attack again. My other attacks were at 90%, but this was 100%. I figured it was going to be guts or glory. I knew somebody was on my wheel, but not sure who or how many. After about a minute of pain I feel a tap on my hip and it's Klein! I'm gassed, so I can't tell how many people are in our break. Klein rotates through, then a few others, then Daryl and Matt. Damn, we've got 3 guys in the break of 9. Sweet! We pushed it real hard for the next 30 minutes to make the break stick. When you have a pro in your group you gain a new appreciation for their strength and speed. On several occasions Klein would give menacing looks to people who weren't pulling hard enough. Thankfully I didn't receive any of those glances.

With about 3 miles to go Klein attacks the field, and Matt jumps on his wheel. I was at the front of the pack hoping nobody was going to chase. Knowing how strong Klein was riding I wanted him to drag Matt to the finish line for the win. Matt looked back at me and I mouthed, "GO, GO!!!". I don't know if he could interpret what I was saying, but a few seconds later our pack decided to shut it down.

At this point Klein was feeling frisky so we just let him roll off the front and get his P/1/2 win. I had to laugh because one of our breakmates didn't realize who he was and he was killing himself to stick with him. Back in our pack it worked out that Matt and I were on the front as we hit the hill. I was feeling pretty fried but knew that I had enough to put some hurt on the pack for some part of the climb. I hit the first hill hard and the second hill harder. On the short descent people slowed so I hit them again.

As we hit the final hill I blew, and so did my chain! Poetic justice having my chain drop as I physically blew up. I got things fixed and noticed that Matt was dropped. We rode together up the final hill hoping that things had gone well for Daryl up the road. We crossed the line together.

I was more gassed than I thought I'd be for the race. Our break stuck, I attacked enough to probably be labeled "crazy" or "stupid" by some (not that I care), got a top 10 result and I had a great time with my teammates. For you powermeter geeks, my normalized power for 2 hours of racing was 334 watts.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Adrenaline Rush

As a kid and throughout college when it was game time, my palms would get damp and I knew it was game time. With cycling I don't get that same reaction, but something that I would rate as more powerful. ADRENALINE!!!

This usually happens on the start line, but it's become more of a frequent thing when I start looking at upcoming races and registered athletes on I'll begin by looking through the different categories and the come to my own. Browsing through the riders gives me a sense of what's to come, how different tactics might play out and whether or not the race is going to hurt...or REALLY hurt.

My mind gets wrapped up with all these details and triggers off a massive does of adrenaline into my system. I feel like I've just ingested ten espresso shots via an IV! My mind starts to race, fingers want to freak out on the keyboard, and the butterflies start a mass migration through my veins. Pretty cool if you ask me but it freaked me out the first time it happened a couple of years ago. Good to know it still happens even when I'm just browsing around at my non-priority races for the spring.

Valentine's Love, aka Cantua

I don't know how I scored on this, but I actually will be racing at Cantua on Valentine's Day. I'm sure it helped in the discussions with the home social coordinator that I won my category last year and I had to at least see how I would fare this year. Nothing like kicking off the racing season with other 35+ 1/2/3's who want to kick your teeth in while your nose is catching the savory fragrances of Harris Ranch.

It is true that the SJ crit is going on locally, but don't get me started on that whole thread. Others have said enough around the promotor jacking up the reg fees and such. I actually won't be around SJ next weekend and the trip down to Cantua from my in-laws is actually just as close. And, I have more affection for Cantua than I do for a downtown crit at this moment.

So what's in store for the RR? Well, it currently looks like a relatively small field made up of SJBC, Morgan Stanley and AIAGE (not sure who they are...). Some friends from other teams are in the field as well so at least there will be some nice pleasantries over coffee and crumpets as we roll down the starting descent.

Now for the weather, last year was perfect. Sunny and chilly at the start but it soon warmed up and became a perfect day. I've got a feeling in my gut Saturday will be quite a bit different. Anybody showing up with a new kit that has white on it will probably want to bring along some Spray'n'Wash just in case they want to keep that jersey looking minty clean for the rest of the season. As for me, I don't mind my race kits getting a little dirty and grimy as the season progresses. It reminds me of the races and good times (or bad depending on the situation).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Comcast, You're Killing Me!

All I want to do is cancel my cable service and keep my business-class internet service. I've been transferred four times and then I was told I would have to call a different number because they couldn't help me. I call the number and find out that the person I'm dealing with is only taking my info down to create the initial "request" and that somebody will call me back to continue with the request.

C'mon Comcast, how hard is it to turn off my cable?!? Really!