Tuesday, June 27, 2006


There are some shows on the Food Network that I like, and then there's the ones that just make me laugh. Emeril Live falls in the latter category. The guy get's an applause break for *everything*. "Kick it up a notch" - Applause break. Add some "gah-lic" to something - Applause break. Do anything with alcohol (just mentioning alcohol is adequate) - Applause break. If you played a drinking game where you took a shot for every applause break, you'd have alcohol poisoning before the show is half over. The audience must leave that show with swollen, bruised hands from all the clapping.

Dupont, WA

We've been debugging an issue at work for the past couple weeks and yesterday we got to the point where we can't make more progress without getting our supplier involved. I somehow drew the short straw, and I hopped on a 6:30 flight to Seattle this morning. Yes, 6:30AM. I got up at 4AM for work. Yawn. If I can stay awake, maybe I can update my LJ.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dead Dog Stage Race

Another weekend, another race. This time it was the Dead Dog Stage Race in Laramie , Wyoming.

The race almost got canceled due to a wildfire in the area, but instead of canceling it they decide to change the road race a bit. I commend them on their ability to make things happen, but my race category really got the short end of the stick. Normally there is some serious climbing in this race, but they the modified route caused all of the significant climbing to be removed. I rode in the lead group fairly easily most of the time. On one of the rolling hills I got gapped off behind some slower people and had to chase really hard to get back into the main field. That took a lot out of me. About 15 miles from the finish we hit another roller, and I ran out of gas. It's so frustrating to see everyone pulling away from you. I worked with a couple other people, and we lost about 5 minutes on the leaders by the time we finished.

There were two stages on Sunday: a criterium and a time trial. My criterium start time was bright and early at 7:40AM so I had to leave my house a 5:30 in order to get there in time to warm up. Ugh! I didn't get a chance to preride the course beforehand, so I was pretty cautious at the start. Before I knew it, the whole peloton was stretched out in a line and that line eventually broke. From that point on, I sat in with the chase group and tried not to do too much work so I would still have some energy at the time trial.

The time trial was a 10 mile effort along a breezy, rolling frontage road. The short story is that I flatted on the way to the turnaround point. I didn't realize that I had flatted and when I fully committed to the 180 degree turnaround, my wheel came out from under me and I crashed. There was no wheel support on the TT, so I was kind of stuck 5 miles from the finish line. Eventually borrowed a wheel from a volunteer. I rode the final 5 miles with a borrowed wheel, and I carried my flat one in one hand. It was an interesting ride back.

It was a pretty crappy weekend of racing for me. This is really a race where I should have been able to do well. I'm annoyed that I got dropped on the road race. I'm annoyed that I wasn't aggressive at the start of the crit. And I'm annoyed that I pretty much took myself out of the race with a flat in a TT. I'll look forward to doing better next year. :)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Hugo Report

Saturday was my first big road race of the year - The Hugo Road Race. As far as courses go, it's not the most exciting, but it's one of the few long road races of the season (62 miles). Hugo is located about an hour and a half east of Denver, which means the race is hot, windy, and relatively flat.

Last year I didn't even pre-register for the race, so I figured I would be fine to register the week before the race this time. Apparently there are more cat 4 racers in Colorado now, and the field was full by Tuesday afternoon. I was bummed because I was going to have to race in the "overflow" group instead of with the main field. But it turned out to be pretty fun, because I find it much more enjoyable to ride in a pack of 30 than a pack of 100.

As expected for a road race, the pace was pleasantly slow for a while. The course is flat to downhill for the first 20 miles, so it seemed like people we waiting until we got to the rolling hills before making their move. Well, just as we about to get to those first hills, we had to stop on the road. There was a really bad crash in a group that was in front of us and there were emergency vehicles blocking the road. It was really strange to stop in the middle of a race and get off the bike, but it really worked to my advantage. As we were standing there, I noticed that my front tire was a little squishy. I had just enough time to replace my tube and get the tire back on the bike before we were riding again. What luck!

I tried to make a move on one of the hills just to mix things up a bit and see if a few of us could create a gap. That didn't work out so well. What would happen is that the group would get strung out but nobody was willing to get to the front and help keep the speed up. There was a feed zone at about the halfway point of the race and someone put in a good attack. It's not against the rules to attack in a feed zone or anything, but I consider it pretty bad form. People are busy reaching for a new bottle, so it's difficult to respond to the attack. I decided it wasn't really worth chasing, so I sat in the draft as other people took up the lead. Another person countered to bridge up to the first attacker. The first person eventually petered out, and the second went on ahead of him. It was very frustrating because this group was terrible at riding an efficient paceline, so I just kept watching the race leader get further and further away until he was out of sight. Of course, it didn't help our cause any that he was getting a sweet draft from the lead vehicle while the rest of us were riding into a headwind.

There were several small attacks throughout the rest of the race, but they were all pretty easily covered. As we neared the end of the race, my leg muscles started cramping up. I really need to figure out what's causing that, but it makes it extremely difficult to pedal. I couldn't really contest for the sprint because I couldn't get out of the saddle, but I did manage to pass a couple people who popped on the way to the line. I ended up in 6th place, which is a pretty good finish for me, and I had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Picture from crit

Here's a picture from the crit last weekend:

You can tell my level of confidence in crit racing by the fact that I'm wearing my plain black shorts instead of our team shorts. If I go down and tear up my team shorts, I can't order more until next season. :)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Life at the back of the pack

I did my first crit of the year today. In fact, it's probably been at least a year since my last crit.

I don't like crits. It's a lot of riders navigating a tight course at high speeds, so of course crashes are likely. And I can personally attest to that, having lost skin on two occasions last year in crits.

My goal for this crit was to finish safely with the main field, and I'm happy to say I accomplished that. I was at the tail end of the main field for most of the race because my "crit confidence leve" wasn't high enough for me to try and mix it up with the big crowds. :) Maybe next time. I can tell my fitness and bike handling skills are much better than last year.

Next weekend is a 60 mile road race.

Friday, June 9, 2006

20 minutes

I rode in to work this morning and I finally made the 6.7 mile ride in less than 20 minutes. It was relatively cool this morning, and I was just hitting all the lights right. A construction worker even stopped up traffic in a 1-lane section so I could pass through without stopping. Average speed was 21 mph.

Early in the season I decided it would be a good idea for me to get down to 140 lbs to help improve my climbing. About the time I finished up my weight training for the season I had hit 140 which I kind of figured is where I'd stay. I weighed myself this morning (on the same scale) after my ride in to work and I'm down to 132 now. Wow. I guess it's a little easier to shave off the pounds later in the season when I'm doing more hard riding.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Garmin GPS Cyclocomputer

A little while ago I got a Garmin Edge 305 Cycling computer. It's a cycling computer, heart rate monitor, and GPS unit all in one. It's pretty fun to get a map and altitude reading of all my rides. It also has some other fun features like a virtual partner to race against, and programmable workouts and courses. I'm still playing with the various online software, but here are a couple links to a ride last weekend: