Monday, August 14, 2006

What did I learn this weekend?

Marc posed this question as we cooled off and had a bite to eat after his race. Having had some time to think about it, here's what I got:

- Be aggressive. A good defense might keep you in the top bunch but an aggressive offensive may win the race. I know this one in theory -- heck my dad has been pounding it into my head for years, but it takes a while to build the confidence to apply it. During the KC crit I finally began to feel some confidence and attack a little. Ended up being out in front nearly the whole time, but was feeling strong so kept hitting the pace hard. In my mind, I kept thinking of how much time Jon Randall spent out in front at the Norfolk crit and that gave me confidence to keep crankin' it. It also helped to see Marc on the corner - helped me stay strong and represent.

- If an experienced racer like Marc is there and offers to ride the course, listen up. He rode the course with me and offered some suggestions like what side to take and some warm-up suggestions. I did what he said and it paid off big time. On the downhill switchback, the other women in my group had their brakes clamped down, but thx to the advice to stay left, I was able to sweep around the curve, which opened a gap. This followed by an application of power made the others have to work harder to stay on my tail.

- No brake corners. The crit was another chance to apply what both Tim F. and Marc had been telling me..... be aggressive in the turns and stay off the brakes. Tim told me a while ago that women tended to play it safe in the turns and that if I could learn to no brake 'em, I'd have an advantage. So, between practicing that on the street and working hard to hang with the MWC crowd in Wilderness, my turns have really improved and effort paid off hugely this weekend.

- Race to win. Watching the cat 1/2 men is always informative. Got to watch a break and then a failed attempt to catch it. When the break happened, Marc jumped to the front of the group to try and start a chase group, but unfortunately there were no takers. Had he been joined by some guys, they might well have been able to sweep up to the breakaway group. By not joining, the guys in that group basically resigned themselves to racing for 10th place (at best) and doomed Marc to the same fate 'cause one person alone cannot catch a breakaway group working together. So, if I am in a race, and see a break happen that I'm not on and don't have a teammate on, I need to jump out there immediately and see if I can get something going, 'cause I am racing to win, not just to place. Moreover, if someone else takes that lead before me, I need to pump it up and immediately help.

- Teamwork is key. This was the first race where I really got to work with someone else, and boy was it fun. Shari and I were both lacked teammates so we hooked up to work together and rocked it in both the road race and the crit. How it happened: I checked out the chicks I was racing with and looked for the most conditioned physique and then watched her ride the first lap. My plan was to get up beside and convince her to make a break with me. Shari had decided to do the same with whoever came off the top of the devil hill first. So, 'bout midway the second lap we were parallel and I said, "let's go," and after confirming we'd made a deal, we started makin' some good time and opened a gap the other gals couldn't close . We were also able to catch the bulk of the women who started 30 sec before us. . If you don't have teammates, make a friend.


Oh, and I've decided I love sports photographers. They're always making you look good. ;)

Cliff Drive Classic
1, 2,3,4

Overland Park Crit
5,6,7,8,9,10,11

11 comments:

munsoned said...

That's really awesome Syndey. Tour of KC was always one of my absolute favorite races of the year. The fields are big, the courses are tough, and weather's always a factor. It's quite impressive that you completely dominated your first time at this race. It took me 3 years to get into a top 10 spot and I was elated.

You show great character by winning so handily and thanking others for advice to help you. It's great to have you on our team Sydney. Hopefully we can get you on a lighter Lemond bike so you can really let loose for the last few races of the season.

-Mike

gravy said...

So did Lincoln Plating give you a big bonus for winning?

What did I learn this weekend? I learned I'm perfectly happy braking into the corners at wildernest. Putt putt putt...

sydney_b said...

thx Mike, but the men's fields are so much tougher. I can't imagine how much more experience would be required to figure out how to handle a field of 70+. The cat 4 group was a 100 or more, it seemed the course wouldn't be big enough.

Sci~fi, I got a bonus ... a hearty 'good job' and a huge relief at not being an embarrassment to the name on my jersey. Oh, and it's ok to brake into the corners so long as you're powering out. ;)

cominatcha said...

At LP(highly flammable gas under pressure)our bonus is you get to hang with the most positive, constructive, encouraging team around.
Cornering 101
When you go through a curve most of your traction is being used up by the curve. The faster you go the more traction you use.
Your tires are a critical part of your riding. Good tires that are properly inflated are the only thing between you and the road.
Remember SMOOTH equals COOL :)

podunk said...

Nice writeup. I'm glad you shared your lessons like this -- gives me time to re-read and digest.

Bev said...

Professor Brown, congrats! Very impressive! Even we mere bike owners enjoy your accounts and pics and seeing what the sport can mean once one has donned a skin suit.

monkeygirl said...

Wow, Podunk is right, that is a great write up. I cannot learn enough fast enough, I am pretty much rethinking every biking goal I have had. Congrats on a great showing, see ya at 6.

Dad said...

I think it's nearly always pretty much the same in competition whether it be football, rodeo, track or biking. Take control of what you know and can effect. You are in control of your conditioning, your knowledge of the game, your equipment, your will to discipline the mind to block out the pain of exhaustion and the fear of pushing the envelope to that point just shy of crash. Winning will always be the difference between fear and courage! When all else is in question, be fearless and charge!!

Good job of rethinking your runs...*S* Congratulations, kid!!

sydney_b said...

thanks dad. You should know I hear your voice on every turn ... "Look! Look! Look!" and even if I'm tempted to look elsewhere, my eyes stay on my line 'cause i know everything else will follow if I drive for that point. Thank you for your encouragement and all the years of training.

podunk said...

I think this picture captures the 'look! look! look!' moment the best.

CD said...

Sydney-

Great job in KC. Those are not easy races, so you should be very proud of your success. I wish I could have been there to witness your performances. And I'm glad that you have joined up with LP-LeMond.

By the way, I'm probably the one teammate you haven't met yet. Career and family obligations haven't allowed me to be part of the scene this year, but I hope to be back someday.

Christian