Sunday, April 25, 2010


Woke up and couldn't get a noise out of my throat for several minutes other than expectorating. Once a sufficient amount of green crud was out, I could speak again, of sorts. Ugly. Not racing was right, though incredibly frustrating.

Not having ridden today, I do plan on riding this week, despite the illness. Big hours. Training plan has been revised as such:

Monday, 1230pm: Ride to Hideaway Bakery. Eat pastry. Read a book. Ride home.
Tuesday, 10am: Ride to Hideaway Bakery. Eat pastry. Write case notes. Ride home.
Wednesday: Recovery day. Possible easy ride to Hideaway in the early morning (10ish).

Sounds tiring. I'm sure I can tough it out though.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Toughest Man Alive

Cherry Blossom hasn't been so hot. I woke up sick Wednesday at 4am and have been going downhill ever since. Yesterday's first stage was fine, and I just finished in the pack. Today though I was struggling to hold position and missed some gaps, but ended up rolling in a group that finished ~30th places - except that I hit a rock with 50k to go and tore my nice Continental Force tire. No wheel car in sight. Some nice people up on the hill that I walked up to offered me a tube, but that wouldn't help. I waited for other fields, and the rest of the 1/2's eventually went by in small groups. After a good long while, I just hitched a ride back to the start with the good samaritans instead of waiting any more and doing 50k in the Gorge winds alone, way, way behind the last guys on the road. The crit wouldn't do me any good and the TT is pointless at that point anyways. Better to go sleep for a few days and get healthy again. This is the first time I've been sick back-to-back like this in a long, long time, too - after spring break's illness this is just frustrating as hell.

But the story of the weekend is James, from Lifecycle. He raced in the 4's and was involved in a massive crash on Stage 1. It sounds like the 2nd and 3rd guys in the front group crossed wheels on a descent and took out 20-25 guys or something. James went down. He cracked his helmet pretty badly, got massive road rash, and broke several fingers and messed up his wrist. He finished the race, riding another 25 miles. Mike and I were at the finish as he came in and he told us all about his crash. We asked him if his hand was messed up, since it was swollen and bleeding and his fingers looked like he shoved them onto a belt sander. He nonchalantly said:

"Yeah, looked down and these three were pointed off to the side like this. I pulled them straight so I could keep going."

He had bone chips in his wrist, broken fingers, and clearly dislocated knuckles. He pulled them straight and finished the race. No big deal. He was worried about having busted his new helmet. Shattered bones? Eh, 'tis just a flesh wound.

Watch out for that guy when he upgrades. He is tougher than nails.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Table Rocked

No pictures. But there were some Guinea Fowl by the side of the road for 2 or 3 laps. Really, really big and fat ones. They looked delicious. So did the herd of elk by milepost 85 on I5 on our way back up. Mmmm. That reminds me that it's turkey season - anyone have some private land they don't mind me shooting a 12 gauge on? I'll bring the carrots and potatoes if you have a crock-pot.

Table Rock RR was warm. Sunny. I got a tan. Matt got in a break for a very long time, I patrolled the sharp end of the main group all race long, closed some gaps and got on some wheels but tried not to ride on the front. We didn't go very hard most of the race until the last time up the 5k climb, then we went kind of hard, and the break got caught, so I got to play at the top. Created a 10 man selection in the headwind and then ended up somewhere in the "sprint" up the 1k climb at the finish. Throwing down on a hot windy climb 60-70 miles into a race - reminds me why I train all winter. Exhilaration in the acceleration, bike racing rocks.

Sunday the UO team went out to ride Mt. June and the 39x23 sucked at the bottom. 5+hrs on the bike after Azul and I took off on our own and short-cutted our way home via hwy 58 - we got more tan. The lines are coming on. Eugene has three seasons: Winter, Wet, and Nice. Nice season feels like it's just about here. That's when we forget that we ever rode with fenders and dig the sunscreen out of the depths. The miles pile on and the gardens start to grow and we get skinny on fresh veggies and long hours, wondering how we ever survived Winter. I did just over 400 miles this week - and it feels so good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yes, we have no Onions

We went to Walla Walla last Friday and I didn't even buy any onions. Or eat any of the "famous" Walla Walla Sweets. No, I brought all my own food and bought no more than coffee in that little town in the windy, rolling hills of Washington.

The collegiate omnium this weekend was different than usual - instead of RR, TTT, and crit, it was road race, TTT, and circuit race - the latter being on a rolling, windy course that made the race more than just a series of sprints.

The road race went 5 laps around the racecourse for 75 miles through the rollers and had only one climb on it, a ~1k feedzone climb. But being out in the exposed eastern part of the state, the wind picked up and made the racing interesting.

UW brought the usual crowd of 8-9 racers in a pack of 25-30 and with those kind of numbers, it's hard to fight back. They can pretty much put enough guys into any effort to make it hard for even strong individuals to tilt the race out of their favor. And you have to expect to have at least a couple of them in any break, which is what happened when a break of 5 - 2 UW, 2 Whitman, and me - got away on lap 2. It looked like a good move as that meant that about half the remaining field would be shutting down anything behind us that threatened to catch up. Sweet. Then a lap later some horsepower bridged up when Jake from WSU came across with yet another UW - Davis from Eugene - on his wheel. So now it's 3 UW, 2 Whitman, Jake, and me. We get 1:30 on the field, then 2:00, then UW sits up and announces: "We don't like it".

WHAT?! So we've got a high horsepower break, the field behind us is probably being neutralized by four different schools with my 3 guys sure to be jumping on everything that moves, Whitman and WSU's guys doing the same, and ... drum roll ... the 6 UW guys doing what they always do, and now the UW break is playing silly beggars and trying to get caught by a group that is trying hard not to catch them. Picture that one for a minute.

Well, hauling those guys around in the wind is silly. So Whitman and I had a little chat and agreed that we would prefer to make UW hurt if possible and not to chase each other - so then we spend the next lap alternating between attacking the bejesus out of each other and sitting up. That hurt. It just drained everyone, and Jake just sat there watching us brawl.

Just past the start/finish with 13 miles to go, I rolled off the side of the group and David immediately jumped on my wheel. The rest of the group let us go. So I gave it some stick, flicked the elbow to have Davis come around, and he did. We had a little talk, and to his credit he recognized that working a little was better than getting dropped if his boys weren't going to reel us back. So that's what we did and we went over the feedzone climb, powered over some shallow rollers and turned right onto a false flat downhill and crosswind stretch. That's where Davis cracked.

The kid is built like a pencil and he was sure trying, but I couldn't wait for him and when he fell off, I knew it was TT time. 8-9 miles to go and the guys behind us could see Davis fall off - and Colin from Whitman later told me that was the first time the 6 of them all agreed that they needed to ride. And ride we did - I turned the last corner at 5-6 miles to go straight into a headwind towards the finish with a 31 second gap, and 6 guys doing a team time trial behind me (poor Davis went backwards through them). I felt strong pushing over the initial rollers but the last few k's were all flat and unsheltered, straight into that Walla Walla wind. Oh the burn. I was dying, but so was the chase, and most of those 31 seconds were given away on the home straight - but not all of them. I had just enough to celebrate while the group started to sprint.
Photo credit Blair Ryan - thanks Blair!

Will from the U of O came across next riding ahead of the main pack with Brian from Idaho - the field sprinted some time later.

We got rocked in the TTT, but no matter.

The next day, we hit the 3 mile loops of the circuit race hard. Finishing on top of a short but steep hill, it was bound to split up the group, and that is what it did. Will and I got into the "break" of 10, and with 3 or so laps to go he got off with a little WWU guys and I spent the rest of the race shutting everything down. 4 UW, 2 Whitman, Jake, and some others - I got on every wheel that moved and Will stayed away, just visible up the road but not getting any closer. And Oregon took another W when Will came around his breakaway companion at the line.

So not a bad weekend, and worth skipping King's Valley and the Icebreaker. Because not only did we get to throw our arms up, but 6 hrs of riding in Walla Walla did a damn good job on starting the season's tan. And let's face it, a win is nice, but a tan is a must.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mmmm - Meatballs

There was some collegiate bike racing going on this weekend. First a crit around downtown Salem, in the wind and rain, then a TTT somewhere out who-knows-where in more wind and rain. Today was 6 laps around Hagg lake. I had plenty of go-juice but zero pop - still not firing on all cyclinders after being ill. It's annoying.

But rather than write about any of that stuff that is totally irrelevant, check out what was hanging out right at the entrance to the park, behind the parking permit kiosk:

Now while some people see that as a herd of cow elk, which is not incorrect, what I actually see is this:

Pass the ketchup.