Monday, June 27, 2011

On Being a Cat 3 Domestique, Keith Berger Crit Report

I went on down to Connecticut on Sunday for the Keith Berger Criterium with my friends on Green Line Velo driven by Zipcar, because we like to go around in circles real fast.

When I arrived at the venue I was amazed at how nontechnical the course was, and thus would be "wicked fast guy."

Going into the race the GLV boys and I had big plans to win priemes and take the win as we had 7 guys in the race.

Then the bike race happened, and things didn't exactly work out that way. Early on, Mark won a cash prieme on a 1 lap breakaway as the boys got up to the front to block for him, so that was pretty cool.

That looked pretty fun, so a few laps later I decided I wanted to be in DA BREAK so I attacked at a totally random time hoping that someone would want to come hang out with me off the front of the race, but nobody did and I dangled off the front for two laps before getting reeled back in before the next prieme.

Then I recovered for a while, tried to attack about two-thirds of the way through the race and bridge up to a break, but the cat 3 gentlemen thought that it was not a gentlemanly thing to do and collectively decided that I wasn't going to get away with that kind of silliness.

At this point, the race got fairly fast and all 80 dudes were lined out at 30 mph any time people wanted to get off the front, which meant it was time to wheelsuck my way up to the front.

At 8 laps to go I had made my way into the top 20 wheels along with Hughes and it was time to do my job and KEEP IT TIGHT, because I was a sacrificial lamb and the GLV crew wanted a big old fashioned field sprint. The positioning proved to be crucial four laps later when I saw some dudes trying to attack and Hughes and I were right there to shut that noise down.

At 3 to go, I was on the front and I guy from 5 wheels back goes "WE GOT A GAP, GO!" So, I drilled it knowing Hughes was there with me and I figured we maybe had a chance, and then I peeled off only to see the field was right there, and I decided to just slide my way back into the race on the inside of turn 2. Of course, I got pinched super hard and I decided that instead of cutting deep into the field and causing a crash I would just hit the brakes, let the field roll by and completed the last few laps of the race alone, off the back, knowing that I had done my job.

Mark ended up in 5th, Keith in 11th, and Hughes and I got 2nd to last and last respectfully.

I would call the whole thing a bike racing success.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Pinnacle Race Report

"Man it's rough, I don't know where to start or where to begin" -Patton Oswalt

Which in this case means, I don't know whether to talk about the bike racey part of my Pinnacle experience or how totally amazing the course was. Although, I may just refer you to ROOTER'S BLOG, because his childlike enthusiasm is perfect for describing how totally RAD the course was.

So I'm going to start talking about the race now. GET READY.

First of all, this was round 2 of the Hebrew Cup with the one and only אורי הלבי which meant I needed to go Niv Libner fast to beat him. It was also fortunate that he came up in the same car as me so I could have ample time to psyche him out.

Um, what else..... OH YEAH! There were 6 people in my race, and one of them was this super nice guy named Billy who was wearing black shorts and a blue cotton tee, and Chris Hamlin, pretty much guaranteed that Billy was going to win.

I met some other dudes at the start line and I was really only concerned about beating Uri.

The start was uninteresting and despite winning the hole shot, I opted to sit up because the race was 2 hours not 20 seconds and get faster as the race got longer. Anyhow, I slipped into fourth and then I just rode hard enough to keep Uri behind me. I got to the top of the hill, passed the guy in third who got a flat, and Uri disappeared, which was great. Then I went across the top of the hill and rode down with a huge idiot grin on my face.

Up the hill once again and I saw Fred Howland behind me, and I was "RACING" again to get on the podium. I kept Fred at bay all the way up the climb and made it to the sweet off-camber rolling section at the top of the hill. Then, my gear fell apart, by which I mean, my shifter stopped working. So I stopped, to see what the deal was and got passed by Fred, which sucked.

I eventually got going again, by pulling on the exposed section of my shifter cable to engage the paul in the shifter and BOOM, I could shift with one hand on the down tube and another on the shifter.

I eventually made it to the bottom of the hill, did one more lap and finished up in 4th place, NICE. If I only didn't ruin my bike in the middle of the race, I could have gotten third! After the race I learned that Uri, had not only broken his seat post clamp before the race, but had also broken his chain during the race, and had to DNF, so I won the HEBREW CUP!

And yes, the guy in the Blue t-shirt won, by seven minutes. That was great.

Last note, I figured out the problem with my shifting on Tuesday, when my derailleur broke:

Apparently, it was a little old.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Domnarski Farm MTB Race Report

For the second time this year I decided I need to GET RAD and thus did a mountain bike race, it was out in Central Mass at a farm, I was excited. Dr. PVB and I got a ride to the race from Joshua Robot, which meant I was going to get some Old Man Power from them (combined racing age over 60) on the way to the race, right?

Finally arrive at the race, register, catch up with Uri, who was the top nemesis for the day, as he was the only person I knew in the Cat 2 19-29 race, and was my only competition in the 2012 Hebrew Cup, I tried to psyche him out with my 2.2" wide tires, he had 29" wheels and awkwardness on his side. Then I changed, and said hi to more mountain bike friends that I hadn't seen in months, and remembered it was time to race bikes. Oh, I forgot to warm up, this is no big deal.

I got a front row start, because I race cyclocross and I know that is important for positioning. After the whistle blew I rode not terribly hard in third wheel down the 50 feet of fire road before the first technical section and managed to stay upright and boom, I had won the holeshot, because that is what I do.

And then I just pedaled, not terribly hard, because mountain bike racing is an endurance event, and I was "saving my energy" for the later part of the race. Little did I know that the race started by going up hill for a mile. After about 5 minutes of off the front glory I got passed by a guy from my race like I was standing still, and then a minute or two later by another guy. Ok, 3rd place, I can hang out here right?

Well, no, because after the long climb there was a really long section of fire road where I needed to pedal hard, and for those of you who don't know me I am not very good at that. But I tried (sort of) and I entered the next single track section solo with the hopes that 4th place (and Uri) were far behind me, they weren't.

Soon, I was going uphill again, and I saw Uri behind me and we enter another section of fire road, CRAP. Now I really have to pedal hard. But there was nothing I could do and I was caught by Uri and his big wheels, he passed me, and then crashed. After that, I passed him again, he caught me and then I got a stick stuck in my rear derailleur and then Uri didn't want to wait for me to take it out because he is a jerk.

I fix my bike, start pedalling, and I officially have no idea where I am on the 10 mile course, or what position I'm in and I start with the "I WANT THIS TO BE OVER" thoughts. Then there was more climbing, it was not fun, especially with my 36 tooth single ring up front, I couldn't spin up anything, which meant pedaling hard. I yelled to my legs "MOVE FASTER" to which they replied "uh... no." This was most apparent in the powerlines section of the course which had 2 super steep climbs exposed in the sun, and then a technical super tight climbs in the woods when I was passed by a dude I recognized from the start line.

Eventually, 7 miles in I got to the top of the course and started going down hill, which was great. Like much of the course it was a mix of techinical single track and fast fire roads that had berms and rocks, making it super awesome, I was having fun again. This is when I remembered why people are scared of mountain bike racing, because hitting a tree or rock at these speeds would suck.

Anyhow, after 3 miles of awesome descending (with a soul crushing steep climb in there just for good measure) the race was over.

After washing my bike and putzing around for a while I learned that Uri got 3rd place and I rolled in a few minutes later for 6th of 17 finishers.

I was displeased for a minute because I really wanted a top 5 finish, but the course was fantastic, the weather was great, and I had a good time. Gosh, mountain bike racing is fun!