Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Roubaix Mullet Winner - Legit

The perfect merge of American and Euro white trash, 90's cycling fashion, and modern styling.

That's what it takes to win. The bar has been set. Pictures by Boone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sweet, sweet sunshine

Tuesday after Western Washington was bad. I woke up to a serious cold, and crawled to school and back for day 2 of the term, which was spent staring at the lectures through watery eyes and praying not to get called on. Wednesday was worse - the full cotton head made sure I did nothing but sit in class and go home to sleep.

Thursday I felt much, much better. And I decided to try and spin a little bit. I met up with the Thursday nighter for somewhere less than three miles, even after taking a long head start. I was realizing that breathing hard was going to be an issue.

Friday: no ride. Sleep in. Drive up to Portland for the PSU omnium.

Saturday: 9 miles in to the road race around Hagg lake, pulled out. Lungs just hurt too bad. No going hard, no breathing deeply, all a mess. Done.

Sunday: Sit in at the crit around Swan Island, for 55minutes while the group stayed together. My lungs hurt the whole time. 600m to go I took off and stuck for 3rd (2man break up the road). I coughed for 20minutes and hacked up some serious hard gunk.

The whole next week was a disaster. I felt sicker than before even though the mucus was thinning and the exterior symptoms were getting better - the body-ache stuck around a few more days.

This weekend we hit up Central Washington - home of the worst winds in bike racing. And for the first time in two weeks, I actually rode my bike somewhat hard and somewhat long. But no pop, no zing, no legs. And one of the hardest, windiest, most brutal courses I have ridden - the kind of course where you can drill 400w into a headwind on a flat road and barely crack 15mph. Super suck.

The good news is that it looks like we locked up Nationals qualifying this weekend, eating the most points of the D 1 schools in the race, so I'll be buying a ticket to Colorado for early May - by which time hopefully I'll have figured some stuff out and gotten my S&%t back together enough to have some fun and do a respectable ride - mostly, feel good in the legs and good in the head.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

spring break

Oh, the joys of spring in Oregon.

The collegiate race season officially opened with the UO/OSU omnium which used the old state road race course in Elmira for the TT and RR sections. I got there super early after being picked up at 545am along with some other teammates who were being bundled off for various race-day assignments. That meant a 5am alarm and breakfast before packing up two bikes and a whole pile of gear to get out the door and sit behind a registration desk. By 9am all the racers were registered for the whole day, and so I sat around with some others until the A race, at noon. The 63mile race itself went off cleanly, until about two hours in when I stood up on a hill to respond to an acceleration and suddenly felt the super bad, all-over body ache that indicates an impending hunger-flat. I had forgotten to eat. Since breakfast at 5am, I had two nature valley bars at 9am. It was 2pm. I was toast. Stupid. I went back to the start and ate everything that I could find, to stave off a true, day-ending bonk.

I kept my legs up, more or less, until 6pm for the TTT. We ripped through the time trial but didn't do anything particularly spectacular. By 8pm I was home, doing laundry and making dinner. The next day I slept in.

This past weekend we went up to Bellingham and Seattle for the WWU/UW omnium series. And true to the Pac NW form, we got up Saturday morning to 37F and rain coming down on the vans. The road course looked something like Sublimity, but with a little less climbing, and a lot worse weather. And just for giggles, the TTT went off at 9am, so that we all had a good 22minute thrashing in the legs before starting the road race at noon. At least we didn't cool down - just jumped back in the vans and turned up the heat.

I started the road race with 7 layers on the torso: wool undershirt, sleeveless nylon shirt, two poly pro long sleeves, the top of my long sleeve skin-suit, long sleeve jersey, and rain jacket. Feet had two pairs of wool socks, and heavy neoprene booties. Gloves had thick waterproof outer gloves with glove liners. Wool hat. Knee-warmers under full leg warmers. I was not too warm.

Big Dave rolled off with the day's 3-man break a lap in to the 8 lap, 64 mile race. I spent the first 32miles sitting right up front, sitting on anything that moved to chase or to break away, with some help from the other two teammates we kept the bunch from getting a chase group off. After four laps, the field was down to about 15 guys, thanks to the constant short climbs and freezing rain. At this point, the break got up to 5 minutes, and the pack had that resigned look of men just trying to get through the ride unscathed. Starting lap 6, I took another headcount: 12. Our boys still looked OK, at least by relative standards.

I rolled up to Will, asked him how he was doing, then said "There's too many guys here. I count twelve, we want more like five". The finish was on a 600-800m downhill after a short climb, nothing that suited any of us, being all climbers, time trialists, and generally likely to get our butts handed to us in a sprint against most cat 5's. So we did it the hard way - we started to attack. One lap to go it was 6 of us: three now-tired Oregon riders, and three hangers on each grimly determined to sit on a wheel and do absolutely nothing until the end. I cannot blame them.

So, in the end, we all got dusted, but we got dusted by a much reduced field. And dropping guys every lap feels oh so good. 64 miles in 3:05 - not a fast race by any measure, yet the DNF's stacked up high. Normalized power of 290w vs. average of 220w and avg HR 159- I've done worse, but not in worse conditions. That kind of thing is exactly why I skipped the Banana Belts again this year.

The crit the next day was nothing spectacular. Seward Park was nice enough to provide clear skies by the time we took off for the 55 minute race. Again 3 guys rolled off but our game plan was pretty much to chill out, try to get the legs loose, and see what happened. I spent 20 minutes feeling really bad, 20 minutes feeling that I could at least sit wherever I wanted in the field, and 15 minutes jockeying around before the finish. With 6 to go I stretched my legs on the finish climb but couldn't quite break the elastic, and with 1 to go sat near the front and rode the wheels in, with no punch in the legs at all I cruised to 4th in the field. Avg HR 168 for the whole crit (TT's occur ~183).

The legs felt find on Monday, but I woke up Tuesday with what felt like the onset of a severe cold. Now, it is a definite sickness: watery eyes, sneezing, aches, runny nose, sleepy, the whole bit. We're calling it a recovery week until Saturday's road race around Hagg Lake with PSU. Major suck.