Feb 4, 2013 Road Race
I can tell that I’m getting old by the starting time of my race. The Cat 4 old guys (M45) race didn’t start till 12:15. It was so nice not having to leave the house early in the morning, or having to wait around the starting line freezing cold at the crack of dawn. The only issue I encounter starting so late was the drive to the parking/registration area. The Organizer had you drive in on the same road the race was on. Arriving so late half the groups were already flying on the course. Have you ever tried to passing groups of 50 cyclists on a blind curves? Kidding….
Pre-Race was pretty typical. Visit Port o Potty, Registered, pin number, warm-up on the trainer, re-pin number, and shoot the breeze with Teamie Mark King, and Ex-Teammate John Berg (Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team). Bill Brier was already hammering it on the course.
Before the race I couldn’t believe how calm I was feeling. I think it had to due with my Achilles Tendonitis issues which has been plaguing me for the last few weeks. I figured if it hurt too much I would pull the plug and call it a day, so why stress. This relax feeling went always as soon as I realized my front derailleur/shifter issue which came about right before the start of the San Bruno Hill Climb was back!!! Oh no.. I had zero time to fix it, so it’s all about the Big Ring today…. Lucky the course wasn’t too hilly or with anything steep which required a small ring.
This year’s M45 Cat 4 race was completely different than last year’s Cat 5 race. Elite Cat 5 was blazing from the start to finish. This year’s race was rather slow, with little action, and no one willing to work at the front. No attacks or breakaways so most of the time we promenade as one large group. The only thrill was watching the motorcycle Ref bark at racer for passing over the double yellow line. During their conversation, the dude somehow took a spill. His team mates turns his head to watch the action, and he goes tumbling too. All this is taking place right in front of me!! The guy is bouncing along the asphalt and I’m trying to avoid him, and his cart wheeling bike, and trying to keep my composure and cause the situation any worse. Fortunately the hole between between rider, and his ride stayed open long enough for me to go straight through unscaved…
During last year race, the speed on the return leg to the finish increase twofold. I figured since the pace was so slow, and heading into the wind, the same result would happen. So I started making my way to front 5. Afterwards getting there I realized that nothing was happening beside bitching n complaining about who is going to work. That’s when I made a critical error, and drifted back in the pack. Feeling strong With 2K to go it was time to put the hammer down, but was stuck in mid pack. Mark and I were riding side by side block in. Two many riders, and not enough room, and that motorcycle ref in tow.. @$@#!!!.
200m to go on the uphill finish. Riders started to die on the vine. Small opening started to appear just large enough to squeeze through. With the finish line approached to soon, I was able to work my way up to 9th and Mark to 5th.
Overall it was a good day. Perfect weather, good roads, didn’t go down, Achilles didn’t hurt too bad, and the Team got two Top 10’s…
Jan 7, 2013 Road Race
I’m really excited to start racing in 2013 and i love climbing so this was a great way to get going. No better way to ring in the new year then to race up a mountain. The course is about 3.7 miles and about 1100ft up. The first half is about 7-8% up Guadalupe Parkway before the turn into San Bruno Mtn Park, and then 8-10% up Radio Rd to the top. Temps were chilly but not too bad low 50s and the winds were coming out of the south about 5mph at the bottom and 8-10mph at the top. Teamates racing that day were John Lem 45+4s , Cynthia Wang Jnrs, and Darryl Leung E5.I meetup with my brother at his place in South City to swap wheels and get my shifting dialed in. Headed over to the start around 9am, got ready and warmed up on my trainer. Wasn’t going to go too hard on the warm up just get my heart rate up a bit and spin the legs. I had pretty high expectations for this race since this race suits my style pretty well but with the weather recently I hadn’t really been able to train as much as I would have wanted too. I knew the other guys i’d be racing with were going to be strong. Guys winning this race do it in the 16 minute range so my goal was to do it under 17. I prerode the course a few days prior in the rain and did around 22 minutes so lots of room for improvement.I lined up at the start around mid pack, downed a Gel Shot, whistle blows and we’re off. It was a combined E4 and E5 field with 15 and 35 riders for a total of 50. My plan was try not to go too hard at the beginning and then try to follow wheels up to the top but I knew I’d have to go pretty hard from the start to have a good time. Up the first section i worked my way to the outside and started to move up. Guys were moving over to the middle when they hit the front and soon i found myself at the front of the pack at the top of the 1st incline section. It didn’t feel like i was going that hard yet i was leading the pack on to the flat section before the 1st stop light. There was a slight tailwind pushing us up the hill and the other guys must have been holding back quite a bit. The guy that eventually won my category finally came by me and asked “How’s it going?” and I replied slightly out of breath “Great!”. I stuck to his wheel for a little bit then two other guys came around us and the second guy got out of the saddle and attacked. That was that pretty much the last i saw of them.
I finished 6th out of 15 in E4 and around 12th out of 50 in the combined field. My official time is 17:59. Strava says I did it in 17:50. I checked John’s time as well since i know we’re pretty similarly matched and what do you know. We have the same exact official and strava times as well. Crazy. My take aways for next time are: Don’t go so hard out of the gate. Follow wheels as much as possible but try to go at a pace you can sustain. Train harder. I lost quite a bit of weight towards the end of last year which is great but it’s time to make more power. Until next year.
Henleyville is on the outskirts of Corning up by Chico. Drove up late Friday night and spent the night at the Corning rest stop. Got about 4-5 hours of sleep and headed over to the course 5 minutes away around 6:30am. Checked in at Reg, kitted up, ate breakfast, prepped the bike, drinks, food, and was ready to go at 8am. No teammates at this race and most of the fields were pretty small which was probably due to the location and how late in the season this race is. E4 was supposed to start at 8:10 but there was only 4 of us in E4 so the official gave us the option to combine with the M35+4s which we did. The 35+4s were 12 strong so much better then 4. Since we combined with the old guys we’d only do 3 laps(54 miles) instead of 4 laps(72 miles) and started a little later at 8:30.
Race started and we were off. The course is super flat, 18 mile loop on farm roads(a bit bumpy in spots and a few potholes), one small hill(more like a roller) where the feed zone is. The start/finish is flat. They originally had planned to have the finish on a hill on one of the side streets but they ended up changing it to just be at the start line. The whole race was pretty slow except the finish. There were only 2-3 occasions where the speed picked up higher then 22-23mph. A few guys got dropped but caught back on when we slowed down. Didn’t seem like any one wanted to work except one or two guys. I ended up at the front a few times. I wasn’t going to put too much effort into pulling the pack around so I pulled at around 21mph for a few miles and then went to the back. We passed the Women’s P/1/2 field on the 2nd lap, got passed by the Mens P/1/2 and M35+ 1/2/3 fields right before the finish. We got neutralized once after being passed and for a while were only doing 18mph after getting the green light again.
Heading into the finish we were still going pretty slow on the finish straight. The finish straight is about a mile and a half straight stretch. The last group that past us was still visible in front of us and some of the guys were saying they might interfere with our finish. It almost felt like we were riding neutral because of it but as the finish got closer that group sped up and was a none issue. Since we were heading into the finish pretty slow around 21mph i was able to move up to the front. I was third wheel when we hit the 1k to go and then all of the suden everyone swarms to the front and starts to take off. I lost quite a few spots but was hanging on to the pack. The 3 other E4s had huge sprints and moved to the front. I could not hang. I found myself on the outside of the pack. The guy next to me really wanted to get out and almost crashed into me. I let him out since he seemed a bit dangerous and he proceeded to crash into two other guys at about the 200m mark. Pretty scary mid sprint probably doing about 32-35ish. The pack blew up after that, I made it around the crash safely and rolled through the finish 4th(unfortunately it was out of 4) in E4 and i think 7 or 8th in the group.
I was pretty satisfied with the race(got a nice T-shirt out of it) after DNP in the last couple of crits. I know i’ve been getting stronger all year so I just really wanted to have a decent race before the end of the season. Had the finish been on the hill I think I might of had a better shot as I am not much of a sprinter. My form seems to be coming together more as a climber so i’ll probably be training more towards that during the off season. Other then seeing guys crashing while in an all out sprint the race was enjoyable.
The following report it’s about my race @ Winters on 08/25 (I know kind late), I went there w/ lots of excite after all It’s have been almost 2 years since my last race in the 2010 GoSF, as many of you have been watching me @ the TNT I’m still on the work to get on a perfect racing fit,My category was the Cat 4/45+ which was full and there where lots of teams w/at least 3 riders (Me=0 teammies).
I arrive around 7;45′ish and after found a nice spot to park (just around the corner of the start line) and pick up/pin my number all of this in about 15min I have enough time to warm up (thank you Gonzo for borrow me your trainer) my start time was 9:05 and I have about 45/50 min of warming up ,We get a Neutral start about 1.5 of a mile then we get the green light and everybody was having good time (including me) then from 15 mph we jump to 22 then back again to slow speeds all this on a flat section which is running along w/505 freeway We have 5 maybe 6 pulls like this then settle down to a more moderate speed I was happy w/ this speed probably around 18/20 mph and I knew sooner it will be another pulls as soon we hit the rolling sections about 2-3 of rollers shorts but those kind if you are on the middle or the back of the pack it can do some damage fortunate for me I were on the front pack, I survive all this pulls and the burst of speed on the flat section and the last roller just before the climb;by the time We hit the bottom of the 1st climb where is located the Feed Zone legs decide not to respond and sadly I saw how all the pack where leaving watching around me to see if I can spot a rider to work together and get back on the pack I realized there was none but only me My hopes come back again when I spotted 2 riders in front of me and I target them to try and catch them to see if the 3 of Us we can minimize the damage but again my legs didn’t response and felt like they were full of rocks so heavy and can’t find my smooth pedaling by the time I get to the 2nd and last climb I was totally out and riding myself then I remember after this climb Ironically called “The Cardiac Hill” it comes a nice downhill section with a step and very sharp left turn (I heard there were 2/3 accidents here) and then is a long straight line where you can go over 45 mph then is a right turn and from there is flat till the Finish line which is located outside Winters town,by the time I was reaching the 2k to finish my 1st lap (i did 2 laps x 24mi.) I catch one of the riders of my Cat and I ask him to join me and work together He refused telling he was ok with the last place on the race so I decide to leavr him and do my own race which @ this point for me was to try and get my same time for my best lap and same finish from 2 years ago when I close the 1st lap I were up my time with about 5 min but my MexiCAN pride force me to finish no matter what. bottom line is i finished my back on business race about 11 min above my best time from 2 years ago I think it is not that bad since I don’t have any racing miles on my legs,but the disappoint came later when I check the results and the officials put a DNP next to y name (WTF seriously) I contact them to obtain an explanation and until today they didn’t reply back,I do the maths and from 40 racers 19 where DNP that’s 49% of the pack and just 21 riders where able to place/finish the race.
Anyways I’m happy with my 1st race and learn something new (yes I do):
1- Never try a new water bottles: my Clean Bottles 1 was leaking and the other was so hard to squeeze and I decide to throw both of them,thank you Neutral Feed Zone for being there.
2- Log more base miles
3- Drop more Weight still bit “Gordo”
4-Start offseason work outs
5- learn from my mistakes
Any comments are more than welcome; complaints or criticizes are welcome too you’ll never know when those can help you too
Results: I finished
Others racing: Mike B., Chris M. Rey S.
45+ 1/2/3 group B with about 20 racers
Temperature: 80 – 110 deg F
I drove up with Chris M. which turned out to be a lifesaver because after suffering heat exhaustion I needed the rest on the way home. We arrived about 6:30 am with lots of time to warm up, actually too much time. I did close to a 45 minute warm up ride which was too long considering the length and temperature of the race. Last time I did this race was in 2010 when it was one lap. The extra lap and the heat made it a very different and difficult race.
The first lap was active with several break attempts. By the beginning of lap 2 a break of two was 10 seconds ahead and soon were out of sight. The field finally jumped and I missed it. Three of us worked together but then my two friends shutdown so that was the end of our race. The next thing we knew someone turned on the furnace and the temperature quickly rose to 109.4 deg. I was out of water with several miles until the next feed zone. It was no longer a race but a challenge just to finish. Our average speed was dropping fast. We pushed on and eventually made it to the feed zone where it looked like we must have been some of the last on the course. I lucked out and got two ice cold water bottles and one lukewarm one. It wasn’t long before I was out of water again with over 10 miles to go. Somehow I managed to keep going and the three of us finished together. Back at the parking lot Chris was waiting but most of the 100′s of others had already left.
What a race. My lack of training really showed in this race. I need to do some longer riders!
Mount Hamilton Road Race E5/ Public
Teammates: None in my field but Bill in M45 ¾
Field size 40
This race was a sprint up to the observatory and would be my first time climbing Mount Hamilton. The road surfaces were nice and I had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery because after the fist climb I was off the back. The pace was much quicker then I had expected. By the top of the first climb more than half the pack had fallen away from the leaders. I was able to work to with one other rider who had a similar pace. Two other riders were able to bridge the gap and now I was working in a group of four as we started up the second climb. After sitting in for a while I realized my placing was not going to be very high and so I decided increase the pace of the group, even though I knew I would be unable to hold on if they held the new pace. I was dropped soon after. I found a comfortable pace and stuck with it for most of the way up. I would occasionally try to push the pace a little harder to try and make up some ground on the leaders. The last six mile climb seemed to go on forever and there were many twist and turns before I finally made it to the finish. I finished in 1 hour and 24 minutes which I was pretty happy about. The guy who got first was able to make up 5 minutes on myself. I finished in 15th place.
Race: Mt Hamilton M45 3/4
No teammates in my race. Geno was in the E5 field.
I got my warm up riding to the start which was at 9:20. It was chilly but once we started climbing it warmed up quickly. The first climb was not hard. After Grant Park the green bike guy went to the front and picked up the pace. I held on until the third climb about 20 minutes before the top. It’s too bad I did not push harder to keep with the lead pack. I started descending with one guy but he was taking it too slow. Another guy flew past us so I went faster but I never saw him again. So I was alone until the top of the small climbs after the big descent. Finally about 10 guys caught up to me so I was able to make good pace without blowing too much energy.
I had one hand on the bars fumbling in my pockets for food when I hit a hole and nearly crashed. Fortunately there was no one on my left because my bike skipped across the lane but I managed to regain control.
We had some rotation efforts but there were only a few of us working. After the Junction one guy pulled ahead about 100m. The pace was slow and we were not rotating. I decided to bridge the gap but the pack did not follow. After sitting on his wheel I moved up to pull but he did not keep up. Without really trying too hard I had put some good distance between him and the pack. We still had 20 miles to go but there was a big group ahead so they apparently were not concerned with working too hard. I felt good so I forged on at a strong pace passing lots of riders but all from other fields. I imagined this could have been a perfect break if it were not for the small group ahead of me! Finally I caught one from my group but he was too tired to work with me. With about 5 miles to go I picked up a cat 4 in my race. He had cramped so all he could do was hold my wheel. I did not mind and at the 200m to go I pulled ahead. Not sure how many were in the lead group but I heard it had shattered. I probably finished between 10-20th. It’s too bad I separated on the Mt Ham climb because I really felt good after that.
The ride back to Fremont was enjoyable too. I rode with a few people that were going all the way back to the start.
Other teammates: Gonzalo, Bill, Mike, John L, Rory
Class/Cat: M45+ cat 4
Finishing place: 27/48
Berkeley Hills was the 2nd race for me for this season. I felt like I’m in better shape at this point in the season than last year so I was hoping to stay with field. There were about 50 starters in the 45+ cat 4 group including Gonzalo. The race starts with a 2 mile promenade out to the course and then a gradual downhill run to the first right turn and the first of several short power climbs. Basically, everyone seemed to have the same idea of how to ride this race, conserve energy on the flatter portions and go hard on all the climbs, burn everyone’s legs out and let the best win on the final climb. There may have been a few trying to go off the front but no one managed to get more than 10s up the road before they were reeled in within a few miles of the next climb. The first time up the bears (Baby, Mama, & Papa) I was working hard but was able to keep my place in the pack. I thought I was in the middle but I kept hearing the motorcycle not far behind. Gonzalo was having troubles with the climbs and was getting gapped on every climb. I didn’t think I was going to see him until the end of the race, but he would chase and catch back on just before the next climb, get gapped and chase again. He was in for a long morning!
The 2nd lap was more of the same and the bears were OK and I had no trouble staying with the pack through the S/F line. The 3rd lap the racing started in ernest and the speed picked up on the flatter sections. When we started the bears again the pace was a notch higher on the climb. At the top of Baby bear, I was gapped by about 25 feet to the end of the pack. It may as well have been 250ft at that point. I gave it everything I had on the decent and worked with another rider. We charged up Momma Bear with the pack dangling just in front, but again at the top of Momma bear, we had about a 40ft gap and could not close before the decent. I was gassed but went as hard as I could, even drafting passing cars to try and gain a few more feet but to no avail. When I stared the final climb to the finish, the pack was about 15s ahead. My finishing place, 27/48. Gonzalo finished about 5 minutes later but he was chasing almost the entire race! After downloading the garmin stats and comparing to last year, this race was ridden 1.5 mph faster and I was riding the climbs at about 1.8mph faster than last year. Lessons learned from this race: loose two more pounds, do more hill intervals.