Friday, April 24, 2009

From rent to MORTGAGE

Today, my wife and I purchased a house. Oh well, I guess my bike budget is now totally blown. At least now I will have my own little bike shop/storage/workout space.

Now go and enjoy this great weather we're having and to those up in Ephrata racing, good luck!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Syn-Fit Crit Cat 4 Race

Gorgeous weather today! The most efficient race check-in ever. It was like a commercial for Apple. "Need to check-in hundreds of bike racers at an office park an app for that." "Need to shrink a line of 20+ folks for the port-a-johns...No app for that." I still think the EVO people did a great job today and I very much appreciative for the race they put on.

I felt pretty good in the race today. My goal was to not really do too much work. I didn't have one of the biggest or strongest teams there so there was no point in me sticking my nose out into the wind for no good reason. I felt like the wind really was the equalizer in this race. It didn't look like it was as bad as it was until you put yourself in it. Throughout the race several guys tried to get away, but nothing ever remotely stuck. I wonder why that is. People make comments that we're Cat 4's so breaks almost never stick but is that really the case or is it simply a matter of fitness? Anyway, nothing stuck which was very good for me because I always want the races to come down to a field sprint...and it did, so I'll skip ahead to the last lap.

I saw Bike Rack start to form up their train as we came through the first turn onto that backstretch and I figured that they would be fresh because they didn't put too many people off the front today, and I knew especially since I hadn't seen Sam most of the race he was in the back staying fresh. I also saw more NCVC guys coming up to the front and I knew to watch them as well because they had people everywhere in the race and were looking pretty strong. Now I have a different strategy than most during the last lap. I like to fall back a little bit because it helps me see easier what's going on so I can better make predictions about which line to take or whose wheel looks good to follow for the sprint, and with Bike Rack guys coming up on the outside and some NCVC guys coming up this was easy to do.

As we started to approach the last turn, Bike Rack had at least a train of 3 guys at the front, but to me it seemed like they were starting to slow down. I started to yell that they should keep up the tempo so we didn't end up getting swarmed coming into the last turn making it harder to sprint. Essentially I was telling them what they needed to do to give me a good leadout, wink! wink! Coming through the last turn I was sitting 4th wheel. I told myself during my warm up that as soon as I got my bike upright after the turn, no matter what place I was in I was gonna start my sprint and that's exactly what I did going past the 3 people in front of me for the win. I made 60 bucks which more than covered my entry fee and the cheesestake I bought with some of the money on the way home.

Carl Dolan tomorrow, two races 3/4 and 4/5. See you all out there.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Protect Your Dome! Helmet review: Bell Sweep

The Bell Sweep R

My favorite helmet. I have 2, one in black when I'm feeling stealthy and the other in white, that I wear in most races. I've tried other helmets, but they tend to all make me look like an extreme dork. I like the way the Specialized S-works helmet looks on others, but when I try it on myself, it makes me feel like I'm rockin' the Kid 'n Play high top fade.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tyson's Corner virgin no more!

I was really looking forward to doing this race for the first time. I had been hearing a lot about it in years past, but never got a chance to do it. After not getting into Walkersville on Saturday, which I now consider a positive, I was definitely ready to race again.

I tried to warm up on the trainer but we really aren't friends and after about 2 or 3 minutes I had to get off and decided to just warm up on the street. I got lined up and the race started. I felt pretty good at the start of the race. My strategy was to stay within the top 10-15 throughout the race, and hope it came down to a field sprint and I figured with my level of fitness right now that shouldn't be too difficult but lately, Bike Rack has been all over the front at the races so far, and this race would be no different. I love the challenge these guys offer and even Evo got in on the action a little bit. It sucks though that most of my team was no where to be found during the race and if you could find them they were no where near the front. The whole time I only saw one teammate and that was with 2 laps to go. I feel like as a result I end up doing too much work throughout the race which makes the finish that much harder for me.

But, I'm getting way to far ahead of myself because within 2 laps of the race, there was a crash behind me that saw our race neutralized and sitting at the starting line for 15-20 minutes. There obviously were some eager beavers out there. We found out that instead of racing for 60 mins., we would now be racing for 30 mins + the 8 that we had already done. So after a long break we restarted and it was more of the same. Rack would send a guy up the road and then patrol the front trying to make sure their guy stayed away. We would eventually catch him then another one would go. It didn't look that smooth all the time but you could definitely tell what they were trying to do. I guess it doesn't have to look nice as long as it's effective. There were a couple other teams that tried to get away but we would bring them back as well.

Fast forward to lap last. Down the long sweeping turn I sitting about 5th wheel from the front. All of a sudden, to my right I see Kyle Jones comes flying by with a string of I don't know how many other people on his wheel. In my head I was thinking I had missed the train but by the time we got to the final turn to go up the hill we had caught up. I was now sitting at about 20th. I was told that this wouldn't be that bad of a position going into this hill because people would blow up before we got to the top. I took this advice to heart, and like they said people starting popping one by one. I found an open lane to the outside and just stood on the pedals. I ended picking off quite a few people who were going backwards and ended up crossing the line finishing 5th. I'm pretty happy with that result. Half way up the hill I thought I was gonna puke so I started coasting just a little bit and when nothing came up I started sprinting again, this was the difference between 4th and 5th for me. Of course I would've loved to win but I know going uphill is the worst for me and will be something I'll have to work on before Carl Dolan. I guess I'll be throwing in some uphill sprints into my training. I cannot sprint uphill. I thought I was doing pretty good until I saw this DC Velo guy come flying by me like I was standing still, he didn't last all the way to the top but still I would love to be able to sprint like that going up hill and take it all the way to the line.
After the race I was jonesin' for some sweet corn fritters and a chicken quesadilla, so after watching the women's race I headed over to Cheesecake Factory with my number 1 fan, the wife. And at the end of the day, I took my $25 in race winnings and me and the wife went out to Cold Stone Creamery. OH YEAH!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Bike Racks

The Saris Thelma 2 Bike Rack
This is my rack of choice and will forever be my rack of choice. No cloth straps or metal bits. Super simple to use and install. Put the bike in, pull the two ratchets tights and go. You can't beat that! It also folds flat and out of the way when you're not using it. You also can't beat the durability and reputation of the Saris product.

Looking forward to Walkersville...NOT!

It sucks that I didn't make it off the waitlist for Walkersville this weekend. What sucks even worse is that it looks like no one from my team made it either. Guess I'll be walking around the Tidal Basin looking at the same cherry blossom trees this weekend. I normally don't complain about races registration or race organization but it seems to me that if you have a whole team that doesn't have any representation in a field (in 2 fields actually) then something is wrong with the process. I look at the Cat 4 AND 5 list and no one from my team made it in the race. If it were up to me, I would at the very least try to make sure as many teams as possible, that wanted to be represented, were represented in any given race. If that means limiting the amount of teams members from one team that can be in the same race then so be it. It's like they do at Bike Jam with the pro 1/2 race. I won't rant and rave and take out my anger here though because I plan on doing that at Tysons, on Sunday, with my bike.