Monday, June 30, 2008

Not much going on...

Right off, there's not much going on. No racing till the Omaha Cycling Weekend followed by a week of racing at Superweek come July 12-20th. Until then, I'm focusing on getting ready to move and just enjoying my bike a bit.

On that note, I picked up my Jandd laptop case for the racks on my commuter. It's a nice piece of equipment with locking hook mechanisms that give you little more confidence your expensive technology will ride safely. I have to say, I'm a Jandd fan. Every bag I've used from them stands up to hard abuse and works well.

I've also been using a nifty online service that takes your phone calls or txts and transcribes them into text you can route elsewhere. I use it to add events to my Google Calendar and items to my grocery list. Up next... being able to easily phone and have the trascription text'd to my sons. The service is Jott.com and it does tons of stuff. I've only begun to scratch the surface.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sponsors and your purchasing decisions


I've mentioned several times about how your consumer vote is your most powerful voice and wonder how you allocate your funds if the options are "cheap," "local," "organic," "green," or "cycling." For example, I often purchase Colavita olive oil and basalmic vinegar because of its support of women's cycling. I even tried Cheerwine soda now that its available in select local areas. How about you? Do corporate cycling sponsorships figure into your purchasing patterns beyond the ultra local of your own club sponsors?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thanks Hulu. I needed that?



My friends Bernie and Tammy got me to give hulu.com a go after hearing me bemoan the lame state of Internet based TV and film interfaces. Eight episodes later, my 14-year-old is a full on A-Team fan.

Oh, and I was awarded NUMBER ONE DORK this morning... by a guy who's building his own chain mail armor, so that says something. Talk about status. Must have been my fantastic tan lines at the pool yesterday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Of peacocks and fresh rash


Peacocks
One of the key reasons I often give for commuting via velo is that one gets to see the things you'd miss in a car. On the way past the zoo this morning, I got to see the pure white peacock in full fan. Is that what you'd call it? So pretty I had to stop and gaze.

Fresh Rash
I skinned my knee yesterday thanks to an inadequate front end lift onto the bike path. I didn't realize the wet grass was hiding such an edge. Also sporting fresh rash is MWC's Eric. He didn't give details beyond it happened on the way to work. And suffering a great deal more than rash is my friend Jen Greenberg (left) who spilled hard during a crit up north this weekend. She broke her jaw and now enjoys her vegan diet through a straw, but says she's good to go for Superweek mid-July. She's tough. The picture is by Roger Meadows. Check out his Tulsa Slideshow.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Haircut


Haircut
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Nick's girlfriend cuts his hair

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New local shop


New local shop
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
With my upcoming move. The cup will be my local coffee shop

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nature Valley 2008 in the can

General Classification: 43rd (goal was top 50)
Cat 2 standings: 8th
Best performance: Time Trial

The Nature Valley Grand Prix was quite a deal. Although I would have liked to have done better on the steep climbs the last two days, they're not something I've been practicing, so I'm really not that disappointed. The one part of the race for which I practiced specifically - the time trial - I did well (28th in the stage), and still have much room for improvement.

I am gaining such an appreciation for the TT. It requires one to know oneself and capabilities to a degree the other disciplines do not. Obviously, crits and road races can also be played better if you know your capabilities, but really they're more like that one joke....

Two guys are in the woods and they see a bear. The first sits down and puts on his running shoes. The other says, "What the heck are you doing?! You can't outrun a bear."

"I don't have to beat the bear. Just you," says the first.

In contrast, when TT'ing, you have no idea how well others will do, so every time you must give it your all. When I first did them, I thought they were boring, but now with a little more experience, I enjoy settling into the rhythm and feeling for the boundary between max output over the distance and anaerobic failure.

I also like road races over crits. The latter are exciting, but the drawn out game of the former hold greater appeal and seem to suit me better as does the stage race format. Despite not having done much mileage given that our team's schedule is primarily crits, I felt I held up pretty well over the week and if I were to alter my training towards stage racing instead of criteriums, I might be able to really improve my performance.

So, all in all, it was an excellent thing to have gone and done. Will I do it next year? I don't know. I would like to, but we'll see. I'd add more details, but I'm tired and have a lot of work to catch up on. Make it a great day - or not - it's your choice. (My son says that)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

That hill just killed me - GC 37th, Amateur/Cat 2 - 6th

Dang. Fell 16 places all at once - puts your gut in your throat like a plummeting elevator.

That hill was a killer and letting a split open between myself and the group I was in - devastating. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there's anything I could have done differently to have prevented it. I suppose I could have rocked my body weight back and forth a little faster. I might have got a little stiff. It's so hard to remember technique when pain permeates your being.

Today will see more climbing. We have 12 laps up another vicious climb with a screaming descent. Ugh. I guess I'll look at it this way --- 12 opportunities to practice my climb and 11 to steel my nerves, then it's over. I can go home.

To be part of the remaining 85 women - just shy of 50% of the field has been cut or quit - is still an accomplishment and the experience, invaluable.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Still in GC 21st and Cat 2 second


Whew. Hanging on and finishing with the pack last night was all that was needed to hold position. Just checked the results.

Oh, and I want to thank all of you who sent goodwill around 9:44 am yesterday. Knowing a few of you had me in your thoughts helped me keep the power on.

Today will shake up the lists. The Mankato road race will be 86 miles of crosswind hell followed by laps round a circuit at the end, where a big hill will reduce the pack to rubble. At least that's what I've heard. In fact, one of the racers told me last year that when she finally finished Mankato she sat down on a curb and cried, it was so hard. And, this chick is not a whiny one.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nature Valley - Short lived glory

The time trial went well for me. I was 28th out of all the riders in the TT. This was good enough to push me to 21st in the general classification (time over all the races so far among everybody racing) and to the top in the cat 2 competition. That was my moment of glory and I believe I owe it to Marc. First, he had me practice the TT the last few weeks and then he lent me his TT equipment. With the vicious headwind, the specialized equipment conferred a distinct advantage. That being said, I believe I could come to really enjoy time trials. Nothing to think about except the rhythm/pace. It's strangely relaxing, or maybe that's the shortage of oxygen to the brain. No matter. I've really come to appreciate the nuances involved in time trialing and look forward to getting better at it.

My fall from glory happened as quickly as it had risen.

After the stage 3 time trial, I was 21st in the general classification and 2nd in the cat 2's. However, when one of my teammates noticed who was 1st in the cat 2s, she said, "I think she's a cat 1." We looked it up on USAcycling.org and sure enough, she was listed as a cat 1 and the leader of the Colorado crit points. Upon bringing this to the attention of the officials and few phone calls later, we were told that I was the #1 and they gave me a jersey. Another flurry of phone calls, it was reported that her cat 1 upgrade request had be denied and something about Colavita not being a national team or something. I don't know, but I didn't wear the jersey and when I got called up the entire field moved, so although it was kind of nice hearing my name get announced and all that, it didn't really impact the crit situation.

We lined up really early. In fact, I sat at the start line for over 30 minutes and when the race started my legs were as if I hadn't warmed up at all. My excellent starting position was quickly blown and I found hanging on the back end of the main group to be plenty challenging enough. Halfway through the race, my legs came to and I was able to move up, but then they were like a poorly tuned radio, coming in and going out. It was all I could do to hold onto the group. I just kept reminding myself that unless one of the other cat 2s was one of the top three, they wouldn't get any bonus points and I probably wouldn't fall that far in the standings. Of course, I could be wrong about that, but all you can do is all you can do.

Tomorrow should be a better day for me. It will be a long sufferfest where those with slow-twitch muscle majorities should fare better than in the blistering flat crits provided nutrition is managed and dehydration avoided. My plan is Hammer Nutrition's Perpetuem. You can mix it as strong as you want, even to the consistency of goo, and it sits well in my stomach. I don't much care for the "Orange Creme" taste, but it's not terrible and taste isn't the point. The point is to keep the machine running to the end. I'll also use Elete electrolyte tablets and lots of water. According to my teamie who's done this thing before, the finishing circuit has a monster of a hill that shatters the field. In case you didn't know, these road races finish in small towns where at the end of an exhausting road race you have to do a 5 lap criterium. Blech. More news later. Must sleep now.

racing updates #32


Gabcast! racing updates #32

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Safety is Sexy

Get your shirt now and help support this campaign. Always remember, you look hotter in a helmet. :)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Norfolk RR and Crit

As always, I really enjoyed racing in Norfolk. The road race is tough being as this year and last it was hot and the hills large, most everyone was cramping, myself included. It started up my calves on the backside of the 2nd lap and totally seized up the inside of my thighs just as we went to fire it up for the finish. I pulled out of the starting field sprint and slowed my bike enough to grab the guard rail of the bridge and get myself off the bike and onto the ground more gently than a crash would have. Quite alarming. I thought I'd experienced cramps before, but this was a new level of understanding.  After one of the support crew helped me stretch out my legs, I got back on the bike and pedaled in. Still managed a 4th place finish out of the 7 of us registered for the cat 3 men. I probably shouldn't have launched the 3 attacks I did, for they were pretty expensive - energy wise - but at the same time, they're good to practice so that when the time is right, the attack comes naturally.

The next day, after finding out it was only $10 to register for a 2nd race, I decided to do both the women's open and the subsequent men's 1/2/3 race.  I figured I would just take the women's race easy and then spend whatever was left on the men's race. Of course, things didn't go as planned. One of the women registered, Sarah Bickerstaff, is a cat 1 who lives in Omaha now and who did the Spring Classic, so I didn't know how tough she'd be. Also, Morgan Chaffin was there and even though she's been spending her time on triathalons, she's a good time trialist and not one to let get away from you.

Sarah kicked it right up at the start and I got on her wheel. After the first couple of laps, I was able to slide back a little and Sarah rode off the front. I attacked and bridged. All went to plan until corner 7.  Just before corner 7 is a parking lot with two entrances. They put single cones in the center of them, but I was focusing on my cornering and I saw curb and cone, so scooped the corner beautifully only to find myself in a parking lot. Yikes. Sarah motored on and Morgan quickly bridged to Sarah while the rest of the field followed. I circled my bike and returned to the course.

Dang. Now I needed to chase back on. Morgan and Sarah were working together. My entire conservation plan shot, I kicked it into full race mode, catching the field in a half a lap and making it back up to Sarah and Morgan shortly thereafter. After I rested a bit we started working together. I noticed they both took the corners with care and when I was on the front a little gap would open. Being as I was wound up now, I figured I'd just start driving the pace, especially through the corners, and it worked like a charm. Eventually, both riders came off my wheel and I TTed for a win.

Fifteen minutes later, the 1/2/3 race lined up. I didn't feel like I had much leg left, but wanted to hang in as long as possible. Sure enough the first 10 minutes were painful, but staying in the field was totally doable and I was having fun. Then a train came through. Yeah, train like 'choo choo.'  The race was stopped because one of the crossing arms blocked half the road on the end of the course. We were restarted with the time splits at the time of the neutralization and here's where I made my race ending mistake. Upon restarting, I thought maybe I could catch the group just ahead of us if I really gunned it, so I did and I didn't quite make it and legs went totally anaerobic. Then there was an acceleration and the group opened a gap on me and a couple of other guys. Damn. In about 30 seconds, my legs came back and I started to chase with the help of one of the guys, but although it looked like we were gaining, we didn't have the collective power to close it back up. Then the two Kaos riders off the front lapped us and I saw my opportunity. It was a huge all or nothing gamble but I figured if I could just hold their wheel for a lap, they'd pull me up there. I couldn't do it, but the effort split me away from my chase companion, so I rode a couple more laps alone and then withdrew from the race.  I'd done the lone rider thing plenty in the women's race and I didn't want to go overboard on stressing my legs since I have to race a blistering crit Wednesday night at Nature Valley, but I was happy nonetheless.  I felt confident that if I hadn't made the decision to gun it on the 2nd start, I would have finished with the group, which is a huge improvement over last year.

Twelve months ago, I was dropped at the start of the 2nd lap during the road race and only made about 3 laps of the 1/2/3 crit.  Even though I wasn't feeling well, I still don't think I would have been able to finish with the main group. I remember how the first laps felt and even at 100% last year, I really don't think I could have done it, so I feel much progress has been made and I'm looking forward to Norfolk next year. It's kind of a measure for me because the RR is so difficult.

Look for audio updates till next week. Nature Valley reports will commence Wednesday night. Let me know if you would like to have phone txt updates on Team Rev results.  Email your mobile # to sydney dot e dot brown at gmail dot com

Over and out.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Here comes the rain again...


Norfolk
Great. Strong storms and thundershowers. My plan was to go to Norfolk, camp out and race with the Men's 1/2/3 crew in anticipation of the Nature Valley Grand Prix next week. Last year I did the same thing and got dropped in the road race and in the crit, but I had a cold. No such excuses this year and now it might rain. Sigh. On the bright side, though, it won't be so hot as last year and perhaps I can avoid a sun burn.

Tulsa
I've been late posting about the Tulsa races and the longer I think about them, the more succinct I can be about what I learned. In short, there comes a time when fitness ceases to be an issue, for everyone has form. Instead, the race is about putting the right person in the right place at the right time, which means keeping track of all your teammates and the rivals who may impact your team objectives. Sounds straightforward enough, but is quite difficult in practice, let alone in a race series where multiple competitions are underway at any given time within the main race. Consequently, positioning and rider awareness are my focus areas for the foreseeable future.

Shelter
My dad, a real estate agent for Woods Bros. Realty, helped me buy an immaculately kept little house and I'll be moving in July. It's near a large park and less than 10 minutes from downtown by bike. It's also half a block from the necessary bus route for my sons. Best of all, it has a lovely long back yard with mature trees and raised vegetable beds. Really couldn't be a better fit for my needs. I mean, ideally it would have had higher ceilings and eastern exposure to the kitchen, but direct kitchen to patio access and a east facing porch will have to do. I can already see a little iron cafe table, shielded somewhat by a rose covered trellis where I can enjoy a morning espresso. :)

Food
With the warming weather, I find my cravings run to Thai and Indian, so the apartment has been rather aromatic of late, filled with the scents of basil, pungent sauces and spices. Did a little shopping yesterday and although Thai Jasmine rice is now $18 for 20lbs, that's still a great deal for us, as it's a staple in our larder.

That's all I got for now. Over and out.