Yesterday marked my long ride ever, coming in at approximately 139 miles as a part of the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. We headed out to the beach (Lincoln City) on Friday evening and stayed in a suite at the Inn at Spanish Head thanks to team president Jim who served as sugar daddy for the evening. [...]
Archive for July, 2009
I went with an impulse decision and signed up for the Portland Twilight Criterium taking place next Friday evening.
45 minutes of tight corners, narrow roads, fast racing, big crowds downtown (the Pearl) Portland, and a huge purse to encourage people to ride harder.
I’ll be racing with Derek and Robin from Team O, and between the three of us I think we’ve got a chance at doing something. This will likely be the most intense criterium I’ve ever done. I’m already getting nervous, but I’m also really excited.
Insanity. Stay tuned.
My blog is a leading indicator of my overall emotional state.
That’s something I’ve noticed about myself – I write much better when I’m feeling passionate, accompanied by positive or negative emotions. I also feel inspired to write more under those circumstances – in that way the name of the blog is very fitting. I suppose the take-away there is that when I’m very even-keel, the blog is boring. Like lately.
Six months of traveling, working, seeing the country, meeting people, learning constantly – both about myself and others. Lots of emotion. Lots of introspection. Lots of writing.
A four month job hunt filled with plenty of ups and downs. Combine that with excessive free time, and lots of interesting writing results.
Now? Now I’m just plain content. Perhaps too content. A job, a place to call my own, financial independence. Lots of riding my bike. I need to stir up a bit more emotion in my life, because all too often it’s just not interesting without. I do plenty of interesting things, but I’m not necessarily passionate enough about any of them. Except cycling. Definitely plenty of passion there.
So regardless, the blog will probably continue to be boring in the immediate future. If that suddenly changes, it’s probably a good indicator that some larger shift in my life is taking place.
I laughed when I saw this ad on Facebook today:
Cyclers, huh? You’d do well with your spammy ads if you actually took the time to learn the terminology.
I’ve spent lots of time recently hanging out with “cyclers” who also happen to be good friends. On Sunday I went to spectate and photograph the Vancouver Courthouse Criterium, which resulted in some good photos in harsh lighting conditions.
This was also handy, since I’m working on Chris Swan’s website – I’ve got many more pictures to work with now. Oh, and it’s his birthday today. Happy birthday Chris!
Chris and Karey stayed in town a night longer, so last night we also went to Hot Lips Pizza in the Pearl. Good stuff.
Finally, I was sad to see Jens Voigt crash out of the tour today – but I can’t believe he’s only got a broken cheekbone and stiches after his horrific crash that came out of nowhere. The video is pretty painful to watch.
Goodbye, incredibly annoying creak. I guess I should have come to this conclusion a while ago, but my bottom bracket was shot. I finally isolated the bottom bracket as the only possible source of the noise – and it was bad noise. I’m not sure why I let it go so long, as it drove me crazy while riding. I’m sure it drove everyone else crazy too. It’s not good when I’m embarrassed to crush the pedals because of the horrid sounds my bike would produce as a result. The bottom bracket had 3000 or so miles total on it, and at least 1500 since last overhaul. That’s quite a bit more than the expected usage for one of those Dura Ace bottom brackets
– known for having a pretty short life.
So I finally bought a new Ultegra bottom bracket
and a new chain while I was at it. I rode this afternoon over to the velodrome to watch track racing, and it was amazing to be able to power up the west hills silently. I went with the Ultegra because they have a longer life and I’m avoiding putting too much money into the race bike at this point. The race bike is about to become the rain bike.
Which brings me to the exciting part. I’ve decided I’m saving up over the winter for a new race bike for next season. Here’s what I know so far:
- It will be carbon.
- It will likely have full SRAM Force.
- It will be fast.
I’ll have to see what sort of team deals I can get and such, but I need input. What should I get? A Cervelo? A Specialized? A Felt? An Orbea? A small brand? I want something that fits my personality – proven and reliable, but not the same old Trek everyone else is riding around.
Let me know your suggestions in the comments.
Everything and nothing new to update on. Life is work, play, and bike racing. Most of the play is, not surprisingly, bike racing. I’ve raced a ton this year. I go into every weekend thinking “oh, I’ll just take this weekend off from racing” only to find myself halfway across the state flying down the road chasing an attack. I’ve raced enough that the pre-race nerves are gone.
This weekend it was the High Desert Omnium in Bend. I went partly just to relax and have a quick weekend getaway, but that can only be achieved to a certain extent when you’re packing three races into two days.
First up was a criterium on Saturday early afternoon. I attacked a few times, bridged up to a rider off the front and then got caught, missed the winning move (which countered an attack that I had been a part of) and threw caution to the wind and jumped off the front of the pack with a lap and a half to go. I got caught with about half a lap left, and was gassed for the sprint.
My time trial was pretty decent. Up a hill for 4 miles, then right back down it. My time would have been good enough for 3rd in the Cat 4s, but I can’t think that way anymore. I took 12th of 21 in the 3s. Not bad, but very average. I feel the need to get faster.
The road race was great. Everything I had hoped the 3s would be that the 4s weren’t has been realized. The 3s race. Like, actually race. Not just a hard group ride and a sprint at the end. We spent the first 20 miles attacking each other at the front trying to shake something out and get a group up the road. The attackers then got tired, and we had a nice little casual group ride for about 5 miles. Then it was back to attacking and chasing some more. We drilled it pretty hard up the second climb. The pack nearly split several times into a strong headwind headed for the finish. I played my cards wrong at the finish and chased an attack that I shouldn’t have. I burned my last good match that I should have saved for the sprint in that chase, and came in 15th. Overall a very solid three races, but just out of the points each time.
One of the other racers dubbed me most aggressive rider, which was a nice compliment. What I need to do now is set my next goal to work towards. Otherwise I’ll just keep dinking around in races without something to work towards. Granted, attacking, causing chaos, and putting the hurt on other riders is great fun – it just usually won’t produce results in the end. I think my remaining goal for the season is centered on Eugene Celebration Stage Race in late August. The goal: top 10 GC. We will see.
The last Tabor race is this Wednesday. I’ve got something interesting up my sleeve. We’ll see if I can pull it off. And yes, it’s a stupid idea. It’s more fun that way.
Here are some of the photos I took of the July 4th fireworks display on the Portland waterfront. Enjoy.
I felt like crap tonight at Tabor. I wasn’t particularly tired, I just didn’t feel good on my bike. So when the race started I was struggling to hang on in the back – more mentally than physically. I went with the whole idea that when you’re feeling bad you should attack. So when a prime lap came around I went off the front of the race before the base of the climb and easily snatched up the prime. I won coffee. Too bad I don’t drink coffee. Then the unexpected happened. They called another prime back-to-back – and I actually heard what it was: $20. I got to the top of the hill and still had a decent gap on the field, and I had a decision to make.
When they didn’t catch me by the top of the hill, my mind was made up: I had to try to stay away and go for the second prime. I knew this meant my race was probably over, whether or not I won the prime. I pushed hard into the downhill and into the headwind leading up to the climb, and still had a decent gap on the field (maybe 100 yards). At the base of the climb my heart rate was 200. Halfway up it was 203. Coming around the final corner before the line a racer jumped free of the pack that was bearing down on my trying to chase me down. Coming up to the line my heart rate was 207. I was way past blown up. The other racer took me on the line by about a bike length.
Knowing there was no way with that kind of massive effort that I could recover in time to rejoin the field, I tried to anyway. But I simply couldn’t get my legs working again up the hill in time to catch back onto the pack.
Race over. Now the only thing left to decide was whether I wanted to roll in in last place or simply not finish. I chose to finish off the race.
Hey, at least my prime streak is still alive. 4 in the last 4 races.