Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Joseph Sheehan RR

Been busy. Working a lot & getting a ride in when I can. Rides seem faster, work seems slower.

Anyway, Sunday was my first true road race since I did Froze Toes (30mi) one time back in 2000. The Joseph Sheehan RR up in Leavenworth KS (50mi)... I spent the past few weeks mentally preparing for this race, visualizing how it may go down, and it pretty much played out to my expectation. I knew from Spring Flings that I had decent enough legs to chase down most any attack, but not good enough legs to go on my own - knowing the Cat 4 competition. So the plan was to sit tight and hang on and be there w/the front runners when we hit the final long hill to the finish.

Let's back up to the start: It was cool & windy out of the NW, and our course fortunately headed west then north for the first 25 miles. In-A-Tub/Cycle City had 8-9ish riders in a field of 31, so I knew they'd pretty much control the race up front with any other given team only having 2-3 at most. Bicycle Shack had me, Kyle and Mike Saif. Knowing Kyle's stronger & been tearing up the hills & sprints, I liked our chances with the hill finish. In-A-Tub guys pulled most of the first half of the race. Once we made the turn, as expected one of them took off up the road with the aide of a 16mph tail wind. This stretched out the field nicely and busted a few off the back finally, but several were easily able to hang on until we hit Atcheson. Once we made the turn back to the South and started the long hill out of Atcheson, a couple SKC riders (a fast junior racer - Cameron Rex & teammate Tom Bondurant) mashed it up. I about lost it here, hurting bad, but knew (& hoped) there would be some sort of recovery point at the top. These guys had to be hurting too I hoped!!! Once we peaked it was down to six riders. Kyle, me, a Monster drink jersey, the two SKCs and one other. I can't believe no In-A-Tub guys made the break! I was sure they were saving one or two of their fast guys for the trip home.

After a couple rollers, Kyle got the group organized to work together to maintain our advantage, and we rode the last 20+ miles at a nice tailwind clip in a rotating paceline. Monster Energy guy sat out a couple pulls leading into the final stretch, so I was hoping for him to be tiring out, but figuring he was just saving up the legs. The final hill seemed to come up quick with the speed we carried back, and Kyle made the first move- a little early he admitted, since he thought the line was closer. But a strong jump nonetheless. This got me out of the saddle a little sooner than I wanted but I figured I sat up most the other climbs and I was hoping my standing-climb muscles still had a little reserve to get me up to the finish fast. Monster drink guy hopped on Kyle's wheel and they rode away as the hill steepened. I sat back down and found a gear I could motor at my pace since there was still a ways to the top. I hung in 3rd until 150yds or so and the two SKC guys came around me. I caught a wheel for a moment but cracked hard when I stood up to sprint again. I finished 5th & Kyle 3rd (Tom B of SKC took the win in a well-timed move). Great, fun race! I missed the money by one position, though.

My next planned race isn't until June so I know that I just need to work on hills & sprinting & hills and sprinting. Looking forward to back to back weekends of the Tour of KC and the Tour of Lawrence. Then it's cyclocross season!

Ride yer bike!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Perfect Storm

Woke up at 5am this morning to ride. I texted my buddy late the night before so I didn't give much notice, but since I hadn't heard back I figured it was going to be a solo. Normally I pound the SNOOZE if I find out my option is solo... but I have another race on Saturday so I needed to get a good effort in.

I usually glance at temp and radar to know what to wear and what route best suits a return tailwind, but I skipped all that and just stepped out on the deck. 48°. A little haze over a half-moon waning. Dead calm. I could see two deer in the back field under a faint reflected city glow. Let's do this.

I headed out on the road and ramped up the effort pretty quick. Worked through the inevitable mile#4 gluteus tightening and then I was flying. Headed straight east to Lake Lotawana with only the 20+mph self-induced wind in my face. I looped down in and around the lake and attacked all our usual hills feeling good - but when I returned topside something had changed. For some odd reason I REALLY felt like I was flying back home, just knocking out each little rise like it was nothing. I could see w/o my lights at this point, but they remained on for safety. Looked unusually dark in front of my to the west, but I didn't think much of it since I'd ridden in the dark for 45 min already. Then I made a little jog back to the south and realized the source of my feelin-goodspeed. A whipping flag indicated at least a 10-15mph wind was at my back - now smacking me on the left. Turned out to be inflow from the fast approaching Tstorm to my west. She took a HUGE inhale that made my ride home sheer bliss! Not until I rolled home & cooled down a bit did I realize the storm - the front hit and her exhale switchymarooed to 45mph gusts from the west. Those COULD have been headwinds if I didn't time it just right.

It was a good ride.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Finishing Midas Touches...

Doing some minor alterations to the golden Nishiki Olympic (1977?) dumpster mixte I rescued a couple years back. Some more chrome polishing, final bathe & some bar tape this afternoon... This will be my lovely wife's ride for tomorrow's Tweed Ride. It's going to be a smashingly glorious day for a stroll about town sipping wine & whiskey. :)