Friday, June 29, 2007

Somebody's Listenin' - Babcook Memorial Stage Race


From Team Kaos's president
and Dave Babcook Memorial Stage Race director Marco Vasquez ...
In an effort to grow the sport of cycling among women in the Midwest, Team Kaos is proud to announce that the prize list for the Women Open stage race has received a substantial boost.

We have a $885 allocated for your category including cash prizes for the top three places in each of the three stages and top seven overall.

The attached Excel spreadsheet has the complete payouts for the stage race.
In the past we reacted negatively to the lack of women attending the races and in turn the attendance became worst. We recognize our mistakes and look to re build the trust and fields that this important category deserves.

Please receive our invitation and take a look at all the amenities we offer all our racers women and men alike.

We hope to see you and your team mates at the 2007 Dave Babcook Memorial Stage Race.

Please pass this on to your fellow women racers.
Ladies, please consider reserving July 28th and 29th for this race and show your support for promoters and teams making an effort grow our divisions.
For more info call 402-680-2928.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Patience is key


Patience is key
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
1st attempt at bar wrap. Harlequin on the waterford

DARPA brought us the Internet, now this...

As a fan of flesh/machine merge tech ***, I think this is pretty cool.
-----------
Can cyborg moths bring down terrorists? - Times Online: "The creation of insects whose flesh grows around computer parts – known from science fiction as ‘cyborgs’ – has been described as one of the most ambitious robotics projects ever conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), the research and development arm of the US Department of Defense."
------------
*** Yeah, I've always thought if wreck some part of my body and they have to put on spare parts, I wouldn't want them flesh colored, I'd rather expose the plastics or do something in a brushed metallic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SUPERWEEK with XPLANE/Team Revolution a GO!

St. Louis Revolution: Something's Cooking...: "So, we're all excited about the idea of Team Revolution picking up a couple of super-strong Cat 1 and 2 racers, each with their own strengths and tenacity. Sydney Brown and June Upshaw have been devising their plans for Superweek and now we're glad to join in. "

Mental preparation for training

There was an article on Pez, I think,
about mental preparation for racing AND for training.
I was struck by this when I read it because I realized I hadn't really been doing that at least not in comparison to what I do for racing. Since then, I've tried to think about what my training ride was going to be like and use all the same techniques as I do racing like visualizing key aspects of the workouts and planning strategies for success (start a rep at the low watt end and end on the high), etc.

Take intervals for example. These are so valuable for making one faster and stronger, but they can't be approached in a haphazard way and the more you do the harder they become and the more fatigued you get the more challenging it is to maintain your mental focus. Consequently, I've started viewing interval days as intensive training for mind and body.
  1. Visualize making the right motions to hit the numbers
  2. Practice keeping the target watts for each set, the recovery times, the number of sets, etc. in mind as a preparation for keeping racing strategy and tactics in mind when fatigue sets in.
  3. An opportunity to practice suffering management techniques. Some people focus on the pain, others distract themselves from it. I haven't figured out what works best for me.
Anyway, I expect you can tell I'm excited to get out into the heat and practice what I'm preachin'. Not really, but the truth is that you can modify your attitude and that is often
enough to get you through whatever it is you have to deal with.

Rachel Heal's Report

This is a great read for getting a picture of what it's like to race something like the NVGP, which I hope to do next year.
-------------------------
www.RachelHeal.com/Nature_Valley_Grand_Prix: "Nature Valley Grand Prix

Nature Valley Grand Prix is a 5 day 6 stage race with a time trial, 3 crits and 2 road stages. Having only managed 1 1/2 stages last year before food poisoning got the better of me I was hoping for a much better experience at this years race"

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Superweek, Gateway Cup & Team Revolution


Talked to Carrie Cash and it looks like June and I may get to race with Team Revolution for Superweek and Gateway Cup. This would be super cool for a variety of reasons:
  1. Revolution has a GREAT team vibe. The rapport among these women and the positive environment these women create at races and their events helps support and grow our sport.
  2. Both June and I can race with them. I felt bad that insisting on my position on the Badger issue messed up the plans June had for Superweek. Now, not only do the two of us get to race together, we get to be at least 3, since I don't know if Katie Weber will be there. If she and Mindy were there, that'd be a full-fledged team about. Thrills and chills!
  3. Carrie Cash knows about rodeo. I was a sissy barrel racer, but she was a roper. Guess that's why she did that MTB downhilling for a time. Yowza!
  4. St. Louis Revolution is an all-women's cycling club, committed to creating and supporting women in cycling. This is a mission I try to carry out to some extent here. Part of me is just sure there are so few women in racing and on bikes because they simply don't know how fun it is and of how much they are capable. So, the opportunity to support this effort in a couple of races excites me.
I'll keep you posted .....
Ponca a win. Busted another helmet up tho with a poor line thru a bad washout. :(

Friday, June 22, 2007

06-22-07_2033.jpg


06-22-07_2033.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.

06-22-07_2031.jpg


06-22-07_2031.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.

06-22-07_2017.jpg


06-22-07_2017.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.

06-22-07_1558.jpg


06-22-07_1558.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.

Next year, baby, next year.

Nature Valley Grand Prix - Table of contents: "Nature Valley Grand Prix" women's results

*Everybody* went to this. Emails, blogs, phone calls... "are you going to nature valley???... blah blah blah. Women's crit on day one had 114 pro/1/2 women start. Wow. I can't imagine.

The coolest thing is though that as I look through the results I can see women I've met and had a chance to hang out with. Pretty darn cool. Hope to be there and ride with them next year. Find out more about this race on the festival home page.

PONCA: 4 hours o' fun

Takin' two of my favorite guys camping and mtb'ing
this weekend up at Ponca. Em made it sound like
so much fun, that we decided to go.
Hope to see you there if u ride the fat tires.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Been released.

I will no longer be riding for Lincoln Industries/Lemond in any capacity because despite the perception that LI/Lemond is a road team because of the road frame provision, the policy is to require the LI/Lemond kit no matter which discipline the rider participates in. Of course, this means that riders wishing to do 'cross, mtb, or have a TT bike, must provide their own.

Being chronically short on cash but willing to work hard and race, Rob Pennell, Badger Cycles, offered me a custom MTB bike and 'cross bike to wear the kit. I thought so long as I raced well and a lot on the road, meeting the required number of races for LP, that it would be OK to wear the Badger kit in the other disciplines. This led to some conflict and I am now free to seek other road sponsorship opportunities.

While inconvenient and certainly not planned, it's probably for the best and it may give me a chance to ride with a women's team yet this season. I don't know how this stuff works and perhaps changing things up mid-season isn't feasible, but since I was already riding alone, I'm used to it and will use the rest of the season to become a better racer and hopefully hook up with a women's team for '08.

Order of jelly legs coming up


Order of jelly legs coming up
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Intervals for breakfast

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

So you think a MTB century is long?

Great Divide Race Updates: "Great Divide Race Updates"

'T aint nuthin' Check out the guys racing self-supported over the great divide.

My SUPERWEEK partner - June Upshaw




Well, I'm all signed up. Gonna race the Pro/1/2 races at Superweek July 14-22. This is on the NRC calendar, so I'm sure that means lotsa 'toughs' will show up, so I'm looking at it like an intense training camp where learning one day can be put to immediate use the next. The very best news, however, is that I'll have a partner in crime. Yep, that's right, June Upshaw, formerly of Kenda, has joined Lincoln Industries/LeMond for the rest of the '07 road season. HURRAH! I am DEEELIGHTED to have such speedy and experienced accomplice.

I met June at the Iowa City Road Race and despite her plain no-team black jersey and shorts, her muscular development, air of confidence, and riding style gave her away. Before we even lined up, I'd decided to keep an eye on her during the race. This turned out to be a good choice because June's aggressive hill attack triggered the winning breakaway and I was on it in a flash. After the race we had a chance to talk and we hit it off pretty good. Her upbeat, and that's an understatement, attitude and aggressive racing style ought to compliment my own and I think I can safely say both of us are excited to combine our strengths and see what we can get done.

(June topping Snake Alley. Photo by Steve Daggs. www.cyclingphotonews.com.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Diagnosis: Dehydration

I went into the Lumberjack with a clear plan:
  • Get a good start
  • Pick up and consume at least two bottles of perpetum and two gu packets per 2hr lap
  • Keep heart rate between target rates
  • Bring home a trophy
Well, that clear plan hit the granite wall of reality.....

The night before the race, I prepped all my bottles and filled in my support crew (my mom and my cousin Kyle) on how to refill, but I forgot to tell them about the Elete and I forgot to put a dose bottle in my jersey (big oops.)

Next morning we arrive at the race, park, check in, etc. I adjust the rear wheel and everything rides fine and after the riders meeting we head out onto the paved road for a about a mile I think so that we don't enter the singletrack in a huge bunch. I positioned myself towards the front, slipped up through the pack and got a great start. Then, all the sudden, my bike comes to a complete halt, threatening to pitch me. I jump off and look at it. What could be wrong?! What am I gonna do? Turns out, the rear wheel had fallen out of the drop-outs. I fix it and tighten down the skewer, remount and pick up the pace to regain my position. I make it back up, it happens again. It was during one of these times Danielle pass me. I fixed it again, this time tightening it as tightly as I could and again chased down a group of guys I would catch and lose several times.

How you might ask? Well, I'll leave it at this. If you're going to race a mountain bike, it's a good idea to keep one around and ride it once in a while between races. In short, I spent the first two laps learning to ride my bike again. It must have been hilarious for the guys. I'd catch 'em, get impatient, pass, biff. Rinse, repeat. :D Lots of wasted energy tho, which would come and haunt me later.

After the first lap, Danielle had two minutes on me, but I was feeling good and caught and passed her on the second lap, but things started to sour a bit about halfway through the third lap. I started feeling crappy and despite Cory's reminder to not worry about Danielle but to drink, drink, and drink some more. I didn't. There just didn't seem to be lots of good places to remove my water bottle and drink. And it honestly didn't occur to me to slow down and just take care of the engine. But by the time I hit the aid station, I knew things were bad and I downed quite a bit of liquid there and a granola bar before riding off. Then I heard a squeaky bike behind me. I asked, "You want by?" and a woman's voice answers, "Sure," in a way too perky of a fashion.

Damn.

I let her pass and grabbed her wheel. I figured if luck is with me, maybe I can hold it until I feel better, but every bump was making feel like my body was going to shatter. My feet had been sliding in my shoes just enough to irritate the nerve endings of my big toes and they hurt so badly I could barely concentrate on the trail, let alone take my hand off the bar and drink. All the while, Miss Perky Voice, aka Danielle, is talking to me.

She asked, "So, do you like road or mountain bike better?"

I said, "Road. Definitely road." However, I was thinking, "I hate mountain bikes. I hate trails. I hate bumps, and I especially HATE trees." See, they make me claustrophobic, flickering past my eyes, blocking my view, pushing in. All the while, I was feeling worse and worse. I would see Danielle grab the tube on her wingnut and drink and knew I should have done the same, but I didn't. I just didn't think I could take my hand off. I snatched a few sips, but it wasn't enough and a particular switchback forced me off my bike and I nearly collapsed. I walked the bike up a bit and then just felt like I needed to lay down. So, I put the bike to the side of the trail in case someone came along and crumpled.

The INSTANT I did, the forest alarm went off.... WHoop whoop whoop ... large mammal about to die! Yum!!! And I was swarmed by gnats. I didn't know if I cared about the bears anymore, but I couldn't handle gnats up my nose. So, after deciding crying and cussing would use too much energy, I stood up and began to walk my bike up the trail. It must have been a sight. Dirty, so unhappy, walking on the outer edges of my feet to spare my toes, and wondering if I'd even make it. The only solace was that even moving very slowly was enough to keep the gnats off. At the top of the hill, I remounted my bike, put it in the granniest of gears and finally made it back to the start/finish line.

I entered the area, but couldn't think of where to go or who to tell that I was done with this race. I didn't even think to go over to the aid station. I think my mind had slipped. All I could think about was laying down so I headed for where I'd left the cooler and my mom. She was looking for me because I was so late getting in on the lap and a man pointed me out to here. She quickly came over and I pretty much collapsed. I felt so bad. My head ached, I wanted to puke, I was cold, and I couldn't think of anything other than wanting to sleep. Thanks to mom, though, I managed to get ice on my toes, 800 mg of ibuprofen and some perpetum in plus a gu packet down my throat, then I asked her to put her jacket around me and I curled up in the grass. A kind woman gave my mom a folded up towel for a pillow. I think I slept or passed out for about 10 minutes. When I came to again I felt a little better and had some more to drink and a banana and began to consider the issue of quitting.

If I quit, I'd have to post it to the blog. I'd have to tell people about it, and I knew they would all give that little pause before they followed it with some variant of "you'll do better next time". Do you know what I'm talking about, or am I the only one that hears it? That moment of silence that sounds like, "Are you sure you couldn't have dug any deeper? Are you a quitter?"

Anyway, as much as I dreaded going back into those trees, any way I looked at it, DNFing sounded worse than even crawling the 25 miles of trail.

As I sat on the cooler, I saw people I'd passed heading out for the last loop and as the minutes ticked by my condition improved and shortly after Skip headed back out I decided to rally.

I told my mom I'd ride the inner loop and if I felt horrible, I'd stop after that. I thought I'd try and catch Skip and then ride with him. Maybe I could finish with the help of a friend's company. I then put on my shoes, strapping them snug to prevent sliding, stepped back on that bike and rode back out onto the course 37 minutes after I'd come in thinking I was completely cooked.

As I rode, I kept feeling better and my speed increased. I picked up a lot of people and made up 12 minutes on the third place woman, but I needed 22 to catch her (if I remember the sheet correctly). But, I wasn't thinking about that while I was riding. I was thinking about that little girl in Tulsa whose arm I signed. That really spurred me on. I kept telling myself it wasn't about winning any more, so much as finishing in good form. Not a quitter. Look adversity in the eye and step up. That's the kind of person who signed her arm.

In fact, I came close to titling this entry, "permission to fail," because until I let go of the "win" mentality, I was so crushed at how I'd messed up my chance that I could hardly think about riding. At the moment I decided that didn't matter and what was most important was finishing and being a sporting part of the race, things started getting better and I even began to look forward to attending the awards ceremony, which turned out to be a lot of fun.

Danielle got her trophy and even with my breakdown, I ended up 4th and there 21 or 22 women registered for the race. I also won a raffle for the first time and got a teeshirt. Then, my crowning achievement for the day..... two tires.... how? Arm wrestling, of course. Ha! No, it was pretty funny. They had a couple of guys arm wrestle and there was lots of cheering and hoopla, then someone, I think Anne, poked my arm and said they wanted some women up there. She was getting ready to go up, but as an athletic strong-looking blond stood up, so did I, and Anne let me go. The blond flexed her guns as she walked to the table and looked pretty tough, but I've lifted many an alfalfa bale and done some arm wrestling in my time.

(Thx, Danielle, for the pix!)
We locked hands and the bout started. My strategy was just to hold her until she got tired and then go for the kill. It worked like a charm and two Kenda 26" tires were mine. Now, I just have to figure out what to do with 'em.

All in all, a HUGE thanks to my mom, Kyle, Cory, Skip, Danielle, Mike, Janet, Kris and EVERYONE who was a part the Lumberjack 100. I learned a lot and am definitely heading back north next year - stronger, smarter, faster. So look out. ;)

Homemade pie


Homemade pie
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
ia exit 267

Time for a break


Time for a break
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Gonna stop for pie here

racing updates #5


Gabcast! racing updates #5



Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lovely morning


Lovely morning
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Erik and i have breakfast

06-14-07_0728.jpg


06-14-07_0728.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Basil and jade

06-14-07_0726.jpg


06-14-07_0726.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Chives thyme rosemary

06-14-07_0724.jpg


06-14-07_0724.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Lettuce oregono lavendar

Deck garden


Deck garden
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Always room for a water garden

Monday, June 11, 2007

4-D format for bike racing

This weekend I visited with a guy
whose daughter races barrel horses heavily
and one of the topics we touched on
was (National Barrel Horse Association) NBHA format which we both thought might have the potential to address some of the issues we face as a state with small bike racing fields.

Problem: In Nebraska, and probably other sparsely populated areas, category driven races end up with super small fields. This leads to a mixing of categories, which in theory, shouldn't be much of a problem, but which really seems to affect they way strategies and tactics play out, and doesn't really solve the core numbers problem. For example, in Norfolk this weekend, there were only 8 of us in the men's 1/2/3 combined.

Solution?
This same problem used to affect barrel racing when it was divided into rider age categories and the number of barrel races dwindled to the point where good races were hard to come by and when you found them, only an elite level horse and rider team could hope to win anything for their efforts. Then the NBHA came along with a novel way to address categories and payback (winnings) called the 4-D system.

4-D stands for four divisions and it works like this:
  • 1st Division: These are the riders with the fastest times. ·
  • 2nd Division: These are competitors who ran ONE-HALF (1/2) SECOND or SLOWER than the OVERALL fastest time.
  • 3rd Division: These are competitors who ran ONE (1) SECOND or SLOWER than the OVERALL fastest time.
  • 4th Division: These are competitors who ran TWO (2) SECONDS or SLOWER than the OVERALL fastest time.
The biggest benefits are as follows:
  1. One doesn't have to be an elite rider or have the elite level horse to make a little money. One can compete from beginner to expert on solid but differently talented horses. If you don't have the fastest horse to win in the 1D, you might be a regular winner in the 3D or 4D. Because everything is based off of the speed of the fastest horse that day, there's no categorization or accusations of "sandbagging."
  2. Horse and rider age independent. All entries go into one cash payback pool with percentages being paid out to each divisions placings.
How would this work in bike racing?
I'm not sure on the division time splits or how many divisions there should be, but I think that could be easily calculated from race results collected over a season. One might also want to have two races to divide the raw beginner from the more experienced, for the sake of safety. But from there, you could combine everyone and perhaps have a much more interesting race for the following reason:
  • Everyone is motivated to be as fast as they can be b/c they don't know what the divisions will be until the end. Moreover, the faster the divisions pay a little more than the slower ones.
  • The lack of categorical division would allow teams to use more members for the races and thereby hopefully employ more of the strategies and tactics used by pro teams.
  • By not having to have prizes for so many different categories, perhaps the divisional payback could be richer and not be so top-heavy (mostly going to the elites with mere medals or tokens for the slower folks).
Drawbacks
  • How to keep track of lapped riders. Maybe this isn't such a big deal b/c they manage to do this now, but I don't know how.
  • Too many riders in a field. But, this could be addressed with multiple races. If you fill one field, say a 50 rider limit, just run another race, or divide the total number, so you have two good sized fields randomly divided, then the final prizes are still time-based.
OK, I've put the idea out there... what are all the holes?

Last in everything

but I still got paid.

Yep. You heard right. Last in everything. I raced with the cat 3 men this weekend and the only ones to show up were the two that beat my state TT time and a guy from Minnesota. (That's how it came to be that I was both last and got checks.) Morgan also had a great TT, beating my time by nearly a minute, and I'm thinking that if I want to get good at those, I'm going to have to do more than wrap my helmet in aerodynamic cellophane. I might actually need to practice this TT'ing. So, kudos to Morgan.

The weekend was not without some successes, however. The TT actually went pretty good despite a mechanical putting me on my clincher for the front, a non-working speedometer, and a blown corner. I was able to ramp up to my threshold heart rate and keep it there, which is how I blew the corner on the backside. After turning the corner, I was so focused on getting my HR back up to target that I failed to take the robust tailwind into account and all the sudden I looked up and lo and behold another corner to be made. Too fast! Too fast! Yikes! So, I just rode through, stopped, turned around and got going again in the right direction. Then with about 4 or 5K to go, I took my HR up two more beats and held it to the finish where I crossed the line feeling very much like puking and passing out. And this my friends, is considered a proper and successful TT. I have read that if you sprint at the end, you've held too much back, and I have been told if you don't feel like you need to puke, then you didn't ride it hard enough.

A few hours later, I started the 64 mile road race with the men 1/2/3s. My plan was to hang as long as could, do what little I might for my teammate who won the TT, and finish the race. The 32 mile loop had a long section into the headwind and many formidable hills. I made it through the first loop mostly OK. On the backside, I very nearly fell off and didn't get back on, but I managed to chase back and my teammate, Marc, waited of the end of the pack just enough to give me a little shield from the crosswind to make it back onto the tail. I held there until about a quarter of the way into the second lap. At that point, there was an attack up the hill and I stood to go with them, and what felt like a bajillion electrical currents shot through my legs and then there was nothing but a heretofore unexperienced level of pain and no power. So, I let the small pack go, shifted down and dug in to finish the loop by myself. However, when I topped the hill I saw my teammate Mike had fallen off the end too and I sped up a little to catch him. His legs were blown too and he'd decided to save what he had left for the next day's crit and so waited for me. I caught up and we rode the lap together, making it much more bearable. So, Saturday hurt, big time, but was a success because I found out that I *can* push my legs and my heart a little further than I thought I could before.

Sunday, I was coughing more (stupid cold) and felt so tired that I'd decided to ride as long as I could with the group, but if I felt bad or started coughing, I would just pull off. So, I hung for a few surges and practiced my corners for an hour. There was absolutely no point into stressing my body further, especially since Lumberjack is next weekend. Speaking of which, if I'm still coughing by Thursday, I might not even go to that. Superweek in mid-July is a big priority and I'm NOT showing up there with bronchitis.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Signed up to suffer w/ the 3's and have not been disappointed. Dreading the crit a bit

Thursday, June 07, 2007

DUELING TIME




Pistols? Nah. Doesn't hurt long enough.

The Norfolk race is officially more interesting. Mogan Chaffin, aka "Time Trial Queen" is gonna lay it down Saturday to protect her hometown record. However, this year I think I can take that bit of Kaos and knock it into order. What's at stake? Well, a recovery beverage of choice, of course. Care to up the ante?

The Straight Dope Mailbag: How long are colds contagious?

Keep your cold at home:
The Straight Dope Mailbag: How long are colds contagious?: "The mode of transmission is presumed to be by direct contact or by inhalation of airborne droplets, or indirectly (and more importantly) by hands and coming in contact with anything contaminated by snot or spit from an infected person. Shake hands or use the telephone right after that sneezing secretary, then touch your eyes, and you've got it, babe. Depending on the specific germ, the incubation period is between 12 hours and 5 days, usually 48 hours.

To answer your question, the common cold is 'contagious' between 24 hours before onset of symptoms until 5 days after onset. Like everything else this varies depending on the organism, but that's a pretty safe estimate. This period of communicability was determined by taking nasal washings of experimentally infected volunteers. There is also the possibility of healthy carriers, though this appears to be rare with rhinoviruses."

BG Phone Home: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!

BG Phone Home: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!: "The wheel chair of a 21-year-old man became lodged in the grill of a semi truck as the vehicle pulled out of a gas station. The semi then began driving down Red Arrow Highway, with its new and unusual hood ornament still attached."

REJOINING THE LIVING

Whew. Almost feeling like myself this morning.
Missed the Early Bird Ride, but hope some other gals went
b/c the weather is perfect. Yesterday's evil wind seems to have taken a hiatus. I'm going to ride today - not hard, but maybe long. Hopefully this will prepare me for racing this weekend.

We're headed up to Norfolk and I'll be racing with the men's cat 3. It's kind of cool because this particular race marks the point in time when I decided to become a racer. Last year, this was the second road race I'd ever been in, I didn't have any clue. A few of the cat 4 guys (esp. Don R.) were kind enough to let me ride their wheels during the road race and told me where to be. I rode my steel Bridgestone RB1 to a near victory, until Morgan C. caught on the Kaos train and blew by me at the end. I also got out-sprinted in the crit and dusted in the time trial. Seems so long ago, but in reality it's less than 12 months. Still clear as day tho... being mad and frustrated at getting beat but resolving to study up.

The funniest thing is that by signing up with the boys, I've signed up to get my butt kicked again. Ha! But I've got my eyes on the upcoming Superweek (International Cycling Classic) in Wisconsin, Tour of KC, and the Gateway Cup in St. Louis. I want to stay immersed in aggressive packs where I have to push my limits to hang. I figure that's the best way to get ready to ride with the big girls (Superweek is NRC so there will be lotsa pros).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

eww.

Eating live frogs, rats "cures tummy upsets"�|�Oddly Enough�|�Reuters.com: "BEIJING (Reuters) - A man in southeast China says 40 years of swallowing tree frogs and rats live has helped him avoid intestinal complaints and made him strong."

Stupid summer code

A Code
I hab sud a stuffy node.

Le Tour du Grand Montreal

Many of the women who recently
did the Tour de l'Aude are now duking it out in Canada.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Tulsa Tough: Riverside

img_0480
"Take a deep seat and a faraway look."
-- Carrie Cash, Xplane/Team Revolution, in reference to the corner of carnage.
(photo courtesy of Roger Meadows, Edmund, OK. Other photos)


After the misery of the Brady crit, I determined to use Riverside and every other road race this season to train and learn. At this level, brute strength and speed doesn't get you very far. You have to be smart and highly strategic, so I made a new plan. Pick key learning objectives to focus on during every race and make a few plans to stick to. Don't wing it. Learn to ask constantly, "why am I in this position right now?" "What am I going to do next?" until this is an automatically running process with rapid fire answers. I think this is the key to becoming a highly effective and consistently performing racer. So...

My objectives for Riverside were to 1. manage my matchbook, 2. keep track of my chosen wheels, and by that, I mean know who I want to keep track of and not let get away without me wheels, 3. monitor and perhaps take advantage of a breakaway opportunity, and 4. Ride smooth and clean, technical-wise. Despite a 14th place finish, these goals were all met.

The race started at 1:45. The top 10 in the omnium were called to the line and the rest of us lined up behind. The whistle sounded and we rode off. The pace was slow. I think because it was hot and we all knew there was a demanding hill we'd have to ride about 20-25 times. I tried to take the outside line on the hill b/c it was less steep and that worked real well for me. I tended to pass people up it and felt it conserved energy.

The back stretch of the course included a downhill then up again into the most technical aspect of the course: A relatively steep descent with an off-camber, more than 90 degree right turn. This turn had spelled disaster for several in earlier races and ours was no exception.

On the first lap, who should go down but one of the most experienced and technically adept riders in the pack -- Catherine Walberg. She hit something or laid the bike too far down and all the sudden she was sliding across the asphalt on her hip. Talk about striking a note of caution in my heart. Egads. She popped up though and headed for the wheel pit or whatnot to take advantage of the free lap and rejoin the race on our second lap.

On our second lap, we come to the descent and behind me I hear the tell-tale "POP" of a blown tire followed by the clatter of a bike. Someone bit it again. This time, we discover it's more serious because an officer flags us down on the backside and makes us come to a stop. We then are told to proceed slowly and in single file where we are stopped again at the bottom of the descent. As we wait we see them carry Pamela Hinton, another highly experienced and competent racer, off the road in a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance. Throughly cautioned now, the official deems it appropriate to do a restart and they call us back to the line and the new race is 50 minutes and I reset my computer accordingly for my plan was to resist spending any extra energy for the first half - NO MATTER WHAT - just as an exercise in discipline. Plan was to keep track of my wheels and monitor people's position, and for the most part, I succeeded in that effort. I did get shoved out in front once b/c I climbed too quickly, but that was ok. I just went slow until someone got tired of it and went in front. Besides, for the first half, a big group of women passed me on that descent b/c I was slowing a lot to practice my line on that evil corner.

Then, with 6 laps to go, they called a preem, and I stuck with Catherine up the hill into the descent and found myself at teh front on her wheel and her going for the preem. This was an opportunity. Maybe I could grab a preem, and if not, then I'd just hit it and maybe I could breakaway. So, I gave it a go. I followed her wheel, accelerated into the meager draft such a whisp of a woman offers, popped around and was a hair too late. Catherine got the preem, but when I looked back, no one had followed. Everyone was behaving just like they had on previous laps where they slowed way down into the headwind. So, I just kept going, hoping Catherine would grab my wheel and we could get something going. No such luck. I ended up on my own, but held it for 3 laps until the field reeled me in on the backside of the course. My legs were hurting something fierce and it was then that I lost sight of my wheel tracking objective. I should have just dug a little deeper and maybe, just maybe I could have held a wheel across the line for a better finish, but maybe not. I don't know, but I do wish I'd made more of an effort. In any case, when I rounded the corner, I did remember to execute a sprint plan. I followed wheels and ended up catching and passing two women for 14th place. Overall, I felt it was a very successful race for me in terms of meeting my objectives. Moreover, by the time I was by myself, I had found my line on that descent of destruction and was sweeping that corner properly and with very little loss of downhill momentum.

Oh, and you should also know that I got news last night that Pamela was released from the hospital later in the evening and is OK.

I also got to race with and meet PROMANgirl who writes the race reports and manages the blog for the Marin County based elite women's racing team in California. She was super nice and this was one of the weekend's highlights along with signing an autograph. Yeah.... I'm not kidding.

After what I felt was a disastrous finish to the Brady crit, this little girl comes up to me with her mom and wants me to sign my name on her arm. I told her I didn't win and maybe she'd like one of those girls to sign. She just looked at me, shook her head, and held out her arm. So I did it and told her to ride her bike all the time so that when she was bigger, she'd fly. So now, when I race, I also think of her and feel like I have a huge obligation to do my absolute best.

I'd also like to thank all the folks I met from the Tulsa area who supported me during the race with their cheers. You can't imagine how that helps when you're hurting like nobody's business. A special thanks goes out the trio who aided my recovery after the Brady crit and who came out to watch Riverside. You not only helped me get my body back online, but more importantly, helped me get my attitude revised for the next day. THANK YOU!

To the young man in the elevator who noticed I had my front wheel on backwards such that the bearings wouldn't roll optimally and who helped me change it, THANK YOU! I didn't know I should be able to read the Bontrager "B" from my bike. Now I do, thanks to you.

TULSA TOUGH is a very well run event and I am definitely going back next year.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Tulsa Tough Brady Crit: Manage the matchbook




The Brady crit was 75 minutes long in the mid-afternoon heat. I felt OK the first 55/60 minutes, but then started to fade. The key reason for this was that I had burnt matches to get on wheels of those sprinting for preems for which I had no intention of securing for myself. I should have just stayed with the group if I wasn't going to vie for the prize. Consequently, on the last two laps I was just spent, losing the focus I needed to stay on my target wheels. But, I think I need better this race of keep track of people for the most part, I stayed in the top fourth most of the race, which was another goal, and most importantly feel like I've finally settled into fast cornering. I nearly biffed it the first or second time through the corner at the bottom of the hill, but managed to pull my mind together, remember the positioning, and let go my brakes from then on out. So, progress. It's a learning year and I need to focus on that. The key objective today is to pick good wheels, keep track of them throughout the race, and spend my energy wisely.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

06-02-07_1326.jpg


06-02-07_1326.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Saddle up program single speeds

Tulsa Tough: Blue dome crit Friday nite

Didn't get as much warm-up as I would have liked,
but didn't think it was that critical because our race
was to be a full 60 minutes. I figured I would warm up the first half then kick it in to overdrive for the second. We line up. I take 3rd row just to remind myself to stay out of the front until later. Troy comes up behind me and says, "Stay off the paint. It's slick." He had done the cat 3's before our race and got stalled up by two wrecks that happened in front of him.

The announcer says "go" and boy do we.

There's some super fast women here and pow, they're off and the pack is stretched out and we haven't even got to the second corner yet. I'm in the back thinking, "Dang, wish I would have warmed up more. Wonder if they're going to go this hard for an hour? Sure is a long ways to the front."

The streets are slick. I apply power and even though I'm seated, I feel my back tire slip around. We take a few laps. Thunder rolls, lightening flashes in the distance and it starts to rain. We're headed into the second corner from the start and woman hollers. Bikes skid and fall. One is sliding into my path. I swing wide. The bike and it's thrown rider continue to slide my way. I swing it wider and miss it by about 8 inches. There's a huge gap between me and the leaders. I put the power on and try to regroup with the others who made it through the debris. I'm nervous and cautious.

I come by Michelle and she emphatically tells me, almost like an order, "You can do those corners, Syd." I obey, pass and target the next, relaxing at the elbow, putting my weight on the outside pedal and taking it harder than any previously. Whew. Made it and gaining. The rain falls.

I hear another wreck behind me. I'm with Catherine and Pamela. They're powering hard to catch the front group. My legs are stinging and I grab their wheels. We take the next few corners. We've got to catch that front group or we're toast. I go to take my pull on the backside. The next turn is into the headwind. Catherine tells me to hit it as hard as I can. I do it and regain the front group. We whiz under the finish line and the announcer shouts two more laps. I think, "Damn that went fast." It's pouring as we round the corner. Lightening cracks. Looking only a couple of blocks away. In front of me a woman goes down and takes a few others with her, they're skidding into my path, I give a scream, but keep my eyes open, unclipping my foot to prevent a wipeout. I don't go down and follow a clear line out of the mess. I reclip and power as hard as I can and catch up with some women.

I don't know if they're the leaders or riders recently rejoined from the wrecks. I just know it's the last lap and I need to go as hard as I can. A girl hammers by me, I grab her wheel following her through the last two corners into the straight-away. It's the sprint and as she powers up I just stay on her wheel and do the same. We come through under the line and I get 7th.

It would have been nice to write that I sling-shotted around her, but I didn't. Nonetheless, I consider the finish a success. I kept my head and followed a wheel. It doesn't sound like much but it's progress from the blank-mind stalls I experienced last weekend in Iowa. I can learn this and one day I'll get it together enough to go to max power and keep the brain engaged. Slow down and be fast. Think it through and speed will come.

Later, I got a chance to talk to Catherine and thanked her for telling me to go hard. She said if we hadn't, the front group would have left us in the muck when we hit the headwind and we would never have caught them. Point taken, Catherine.

Today there's a chance for rain and thunderstorms all day, but I've ridden the course and it's less technical than last nights. However, there's a long downhill into the last corner. This means we're going to be flying into it and then hit the sprint. Yowza. Ladies, hold your lines and let's make it a rash free evening. Stay tuned.

(Oh, and Junebug, please email me. Need to talk to you. Email link on my profile page.)

What's a crit?

Chris Roettger,
of Xplane and TeamRevolution,
made this great infographic, explaining the criterium.

06-02-07_0752.jpg


06-02-07_0752.jpg
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Big turn out for the 100 mi ride. Guess there r 2 of these and if done under 5 hrs u get a jersey.

Tulsa Tough: Blue dome crit Friday nite

Didn't get as much warm-up as I would have liked,
but didn't think it was that critical because our race
was to be a full 60 minutes. I figured I would warm up the first half then kick it in to overdrive for the second. We line up. I take 3rd row just to remind myself to stay out of the front until later. Troy comes up behind me and says, "Stay off the paint. It's slick." He had done the cat 3's before our race and got stalled up by two wrecks that happened in front of him.

The announcer says "go" and boy do we.

There's some super fast women here and pow, they're off and the pack is stretched out and we haven't even got to the second corner yet. I'm in the back thinking, "Dang, wish I would have warmed up more. Wonder if they're going to go this hard for an hour? Sure is a long ways to the front."

The streets are slick. I apply power and even though I'm seated, I feel my back tire slip around. We take a few laps. Thunder rolls, lightening flashes in the distance and it starts to rain. We're headed into the second corner from the start and woman hollers. Bikes skid and fall. One is sliding into my path. I swing wide. The bike and it's thrown rider continue to slide my way. I swing it wider and miss it by about 8 inches. There's a huge gap between me and the leaders. I put the power on and try to regroup with the others who made it through the debris. I'm nervous and cautious.

I come by Michelle and she emphatically tells me, almost like an order, "You can do those corners, Syd." I obey, pass and target the next, relaxing at the elbow, putting my weight on the outside pedal and taking it harder than any previously. Whew. Made it and gaining. The rain falls.

I hear another wreck behind me. I'm with Catherine and Pamela. They're powering hard to catch the front group. My legs are stinging and I grab their wheels. We take the next few corners. We've got to catch that front group or we're toast. I go to take my pull on the backside. The next turn is into the headwind. Catherine tells me to hit it as hard as I can. I do it and regain the front group. We whiz under the finish line and the announcer shouts two more laps. I think, "Damn that went fast." It's pouring as we round the corner. Lightening cracks. Looking only a couple of blocks away. In front of me a woman goes down and takes a few others with her, they're skidding into my path, I give a scream, but keep my eyes open, unclipping my foot to prevent a wipeout. I don't go down and follow a clear line out of the mess. I reclip and power as hard as I can and catch up with some women.

I don't know if they're the leaders or riders recently rejoined from the wrecks. I just know it's the last lap and I need to go as hard as I can. A girl hammers by me, I grab her wheel following her through the last two corners into the straight-away. It's the sprint and as she powers up I just stay on her wheel and do the same. We come through under the line and I get 7th.

It would have been nice to write that I sling-shotted around her, but I didn't. Nonetheless, I consider the finish a success. I kept my head and followed a wheel. It doesn't sound like much but it's progress from the blank-mind stalls I experienced last weekend in Iowa. I can learn this and one day I'll get it together enough to go to max power and keep the brain engaged. Slow down and be fast. Think it through and speed will come.

Later, I got a chance to talk to Catherine and thanked her for telling me to go hard. She said if we hadn't, the front group would have left us in the muck when we hit the headwind and we would never have caught them. Point taken, Catherine.

Today there's a chance for rain and thunderstorms all day, but I've ridden the course and it's less technical than last nights. However, there's a long downhill into the last corner. This means we're going to be flying into it and then hit the sprint. Yowza. Ladies, hold your lines and let's make it a rash free evening. Stay tuned.

(Oh, and Junebug, please email me. Need to talk to you. Email link on my profile page.)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Thunder lightening dark and wrecks but this racer kept tires down for 7th. :)
In the rain and the dark.