Thursday, July 26, 2007

musings on the tour & wed night racing

I am sure I could write about all the tour drama, but I will save that for jerry springer. All I have to say is it totally blows. I think to become a pro, people should have to display the quality of knowing how to lose and handle it well. Some people are bad losers. Me, I love to get a new asshole ripped open for me. Maybe I am bummed for a little bit, but really performance has nothing to do with me as a person. If people felt comfortable losing with class - while of course working as hard as they can to win - there would be less temptation to cheat. ( Of course for the pros- money, livelihood, pressure from team, "everyone is doing it" all play a part as well.) Rasmussen showed he had very little class when he trash talked his teammate to the press. Trash talking competitors is bad enough, teammates worse, and to the press worse still. If you don't respect what others are doing, you have no problem disrespecting them by giving yourself an unfair advantage. He clearly is very insecure and insecure people are the most likely to resort to doping, as they don't believe in their natural ability/training, and/or have a sense of self-worth tied to winning. My mom always said it best to me: "Beth, there will always be someone better than you." Perhaps people might think telling your child that after a good performance in school or sports is odd, but taught me to reality check at a young age and to really respect competitors. Well, I guess I had more to say that I intended.

Speaking of losing-- Wednesday night racing at the track!

Well, I actually didn't lose, I think I won my omnium...but that it certainly felt like I lost cause I wasn't so happy with how I rode some of the races.

Points Race. 12 laps, sprints every 3. I need to learn to warm up. I totally missed a jump at the beginning cause I was positioned bad, was just sucking on the sprints, and not riding the right wheels. I should have tried to jump early and break away, but my head was in my ass the whole race. Luckily, I managed to score points every sprint. I think I place 2nd in this race, just cause the points were spreading out amongst people, not cause I rode well.

Scratch Race. 10 laps. This was better. Head was kinda coming out of my ass. It felt slow. I attacked on lap 9. Broke away a bit with some other dude. Then he took a pull, then the field bunched up again. I attacked again. Then he took a pull and we bunched up again. I may have attacked a third time, but then I decided I'd just sprint it out at the finish cause things were slowing down when I stopped pulling and would bunch up. That is my own fault for making crappy attacks-- I wasn't accelerating quick enough to get big enough gaps. Anyway, I was on this tall dudes wheel for the last lap. I timed it pretty good- he just rode me around and didn't even try to pull off or get away from me. I started my sprint in the middle of the last turn and beat him at the line for 1st. Cool I won, but I wish I was better in my attacks.

Miss 'n Out. This is becoming my favorite race. Funny, cause I sucked at it the first time. I just rode wheels the whole time on the outside. Then we were down to three. The dude from the scratch race was in front after the neutral lap. I was planning on doing the same thing as in the scratch race, but I already knew I could beat him short, so i thought I would try to beat him long. So at the first curve on I passed him, made a gap on the back stretch and held it to the finish. This was a really good long sprint. Someone told me when I wound it up, I was sprinting really smooth. This made me glad. This was my best race of the night.

B/C Points Race. 25 laps, sprints every 5. Last week I scored points in this race. The week before I hung in. This week i got dropped...after lap 11. I was pissed at myself for getting dropped--especially cause I've hung in there previous weeks. I was in no mans land, and just TTed the rest as a 15 lap punishment! :) Everyone said that was the fastest B/C points race this year, so that was good to know, but I wish I'd have done a bit better.

Well, that was Wednesday night. I think next week I will try to move up the C1 group. (Any thoughts?) Pace didn't feel difficult last night, but that is just cause I am comparing it to the weekend where my ass got lit on fire by all the pros! Anyway, the last two weeks I've done pretty well and think it will be a good challenge to have to work to be in the middle of the pack.

On the ups - I did my quad measurement when I got home-- ready? 60cm. That is .5 cm bigger. Of course, perhaps my measuring is faulty/inconsistent-- or maybe seeing Jennie Reeds quads made mine want to grow bigger.

Monday, July 23, 2007

pows and wows! - the american velodrome challenge

When I signed up for this big event at the track, I didn't quite realize what I was getting myself into. I knew the Olympian, Jennie Reed, would be there, and I knew that it would be filled with a bunch of really awesome local women like Shelley Olds and Mary Maroon-- but I wasn't aware until a couple of days before when I looked at the registration list that all these other world and national class women would be there like Becky Quinn, Anna Lang, and Carrie Higgins! Whoa! This made me a little nervous, but when you know you are going to get your ass whooped, there really isn't much to lose. I was just excited that I was going to get a front row view of the racing!

The track looked awesome- it felt like the big leagues for sure! A ton of people were there. I even had some of my own fans- Angela, Doug, Lily, Patrick, Alex, Myra, Reese, and Mike! But I was a jerk and didn't talk to them much cause I was a bit nervous. Sorry guys! But thanks for coming! Anyway, here is the race report-

Friday Night

My first race was the Keirin- this is the one where you go behind a motorbike and it gets faster and faster til it pulls off. I was pretty nervous for this cause I watched some pretty freaky clips on You Tube. But, I figured I would just try the race (minus the head-butting trick...) cause that is the only way you learn. I rode very conservatively on this. I just stayed in the 6th position the entire race and didn't try jockeying for position. For sure the last thing you want to do is do something stupid to a world class athlete! I was just happy to be in the race and get an up close view of what was going on in front of me. After the motorbike pulled off, the pace increased. A gap formed between the 4th person and the 5th person. I came around the woman in front of me in the last turn, so I guess I got 5th in my heat, but that didn't really matter cause only top 3 went on to finals. I'd definitely like to try this race again in a different environment. I know I could have went faster and just need to feel more comfortable in that atmosphere. But, I really liked this race. It is cool cause the motorbike does all the work for you getting up to speed, so you don't really have to accelerate at all. Then you just go bitchin' fast to the finish line. I am excited to try it again.

Here is a cool picture of my heat on the motorbike. (I am in the back)

Here is my heat just after the motorbike pulled off.

I think this is coming into the final sprint. As you see, I let a gap open, but I closed it on the straight away to get 5th.

Points Race. This was a really big field. It was a 24 lap points race, sprints every 6. I knew I'd get dropped, so it was really just a question of when. The race was fast. After that first sprint, it got faster. At one point I was all alone, then I bridged up to someone. It took me awhile to bridge up, and then I hung on her wheel for a lap, but I knew I couldn't pull. I was getting light headed, tunnel vision, and a bit nauseas, so I was hoping I could just sit-in a bit longer. The person whose wheel I was on said I needed to pull more and hold a better line. I felt really bad that I was doing so poorly. I had never been so tired before and was disappointed that my bike handling went to pot. The person I was riding with told me next time I should be more communicative that I can't pull, so I can sit in on her while she is pace lining with someone else. I was really happy that she gave me this advice, because I don't really know much about protocol. This points race was definitely the low of the weekend. I was feeling pretty bad about this race. I wasn't quite sure it was appropriate for me to be racing with such high caliber women given my fitness and experience. But I figured the next day was just the sprints, and I could play the miss 'n out and scratch race by ear.

Here is me very tired, but not feeling as bad as in the photo below.

Here is me, honestly thinking I am going to puke.

Friday, post race

Angela and Doug let me stay with them in San Jose that night. Angela was really great-- giving me lots of encouragement. She fed me an awesome dinner, took me out for breakfast in the morning, and packed me a great lunch/dinner and snacks! Thank you so much for all your support-- it really meat so much to me!


I got back to the track in the morning, still a bit rattled from the points race. I just wanted to do okay for my 200TT. I was hoping to break 14, cause I almost did last time. But I totally flopped and was a half second worse, at 14.5. I was pretty disappointed with this... However, doing better wouldn't have mattered for placing in the tournament.

Match Sprints.
#1 Jennie Reed def. Beth Newell.
Well, my first match sprint was against none other than Jennie Reed! At a time like this, there is no point in being nervous cause you know your going to get your ass WHOOPED. So, I was just really excited that I could tell all my friends and family that I match sprinted an Olympian! I told her it was my second time doing match sprints--she laughed at me. I also got my picture with her and a picture of our quads. I need to get my film developed though... so this will come later. Anyway, I knew if she jumped first, I'd never be able to get close to her wheel. So I figured I'd jump, then she'd probably draft me for awhile, then come around me at the end. That is pretty much what happened, and she was easy on me and only beat me by a half a wheel. Not cause I was that fast, but cause she was saving herself for later. Glen told me I held a very smooth, steady line out of the turn to the finish when Jennie was coming around me. I was happy I held a good line, cause I was a bit nervous because of the previous night. Anyway, it was a bunch of fun to sprint an Olympian!

Here is me with a gap on Jennie Reed after my jump. It wouldn't last, obviously!

Here is me and Jennie Reed sprinting for the finish line. Don't be fooled by how close it is. She could beat me with only one leg!

#2 Becky Quinn def Courtney Gertler, Beth Newell, and Alicia Arnold. This was the next match sprint- we were racing to be placed in the final (top 4). We did a 4-up-- that was a lot of us. I rode pretty dumb. I stayed back, cause I figured I'd just hop on whoever jumped. Becky Quinn jumped out of turn 2--I followed her, but left a little gap between our wheels. Courtney was next to me, and I let her slide in. This was really dumb. Anyway, I was in a crappy position and came in 3rd. I knew I wouldn't win this, but I was hoping I'd ride a little smarter.

#3 Beth Newell def Alicia Arnold and Courtney Gertler. This was a 3-up for 5th, 6th, and 7th. I pulled the top card, so I started up high. I decided I'd hang back and I watched Alicia keep Courtney at the wall. This was working great for me, cause I was hiding in the back. At turn 1, I used the banking to accelerate down and made a big gap and held it for the win. So, I got 5th in the sprint...although only 7 people entered. Anyway, I was happy that I rode this sprint well.

Miss 'n Out. There were about 15 or so people in this race. I didn't want to get boxed in, so I stayed out-- working really hard on the long line around the curve. Each lap I was in last place and would sprint the home stretch to not get eliminated. I guess that means I was playing "the devil", so they say. Every time I came around I was expecting my number (#47) to get called -- but somehow I kept nabbing off people who were stuck low. This was an awesome strategy, but very, very tiring cause you had to sprint a bunch and then go the long way around the banking with no draft. Eventually my luck ran out-- but I still managed to get 8th place. I was really, really happy with this, considering how many awesome women were in this race!

After this miss 'n out, Mary showed Alicia and I an awesome place for burritos. Usually a burrito before a race is not a good idea, but I was hot and starving and ate it anyway. I actually only ate half, saving some for later. Eating different kinds of foods before doing sports never affects me, so I didn't notice it at all -- except 15 minutes before the scratch race I really needed to shit-- but no time. (I know, too much information!)

Warming up for the scratch race was really awesome. Mary kept bumping my elbows and trying to knock me. I was pretty pumped cause I felt pretty steady despite her jabs. Then she taught me madison throws a little. This was pretty hard, but really fun to get flung forward. Mary is a lot stronger than me, so she'd really whip me up track. When I'd do it to her, she'd go like 2 feet forward. I'm a weakling. She told me if I gained 15 pounds, she'd lose 20 so we can be Madison partners. The flinging is pretty fun, but the race is pretty chaotic and I definitely need to learn to handle my bike much better before trying something like that! But, regardless, this was another cool thing to learn and practice this weekend!

15 lap scratch race. Despite my bowel issue, I was ready for this race. I lined up on the wall behind Jennie Reed. As I was adjusted my pedal position, my wheel bumped hers. She didn't mind at all, but I still said: "SO SORRY! That wheel costs more than my bike!" She was totally nice and just laughed and said, "No way, do you see this tire." I just laughed awkwardly cause I don't know jack shit about tires... I digress. The race started. I again wondered how long I could hang. I hung in the back for awhile. Then there was a break, and cause I was in the back I missed it. Me and a woman from Team Oakland worked together for the next couple of laps chasing. I never thought we'd catch the group- but we did and I was really pumped. Then about half a lap after we caught up, there was another attack. I missed, but there was only about 1.5 laps left. I just worked as hard as I could to the finish. I felt okay about this race. I was happy that I successfully caught back on the main pack, although I got dropped right after we caught up. But I had never bridged up before like that, so that was a great experience. I was also happy because me and the woman were working well together I think. I was very happy that I did that properly after me doing so poorly in this regard on Friday night's points race.
Here is me at a random point this weekend.

Here is me at another random point this weekend.

Anyway, this is a really long post-- but it was a really cool weekend!! So many people were really, really nice. Thanks Mary for showing me the ropes this weekend. Thanks Joe for making sure I cool down after every race and giving me pointers after every race. Thanks Glen (i know you love my blog...sorry this post isn't so quirky) for fixing my handlebars with such care and giving me so many pointers and help. Thanks also to all the organizers and officials-- it was a real honor to have been able to participate in this event as a new track racer. I learned a ton and hopefully will put it to good use in the future!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

another night of track hack..

Although it didn't start until the ride home.

Yesterday was a great day of track racing! I can say that objectively because I won a box of cliff bars! I also came in first in the "C2" omnium, so that is awesome. I also feel like shit today, so that is not awesome. Bike hangovers suck. Anyway, to the races--

Scratch Race: This was 8 laps. I jumped before the last lap. It seems everyone always waits for the bell to ring to pick it up, so I moved before that. It worked and I got a gap and won. I think some guy was behind me, but best to look forward and not back, so I didn't turn around. I am not sure how close he was.

3 lap Scratch Races: Here they broke the C2 group in half. The top 2 in each heat would qualify for the final. So, I decided I would do my best to place 2nd in the first heat. We were going kind of slow and I was sleeping and almost didn't get second, but luckily I got a kick at the end. In the final there were only three of us for some reason. Anyway, I totally missed the first guy jump like a ninny. [clarification: he didn't jump like a ninny, i was a ninny for missing it. misplaced modifier.] I drafted off the second guy hoping he'd pull me up, but he wasn't cooperating with my plan, so the last lap I cranked it and caught up to the guy with the gap and almost beat him at the line but didn't. Shucks. Someone after the race said when I am coming out of the final turn I shouldn't "go up track" so much and I wasted time/distance by doing that and maybe could've won.

Miss 'n Out: This was my first track race ever at the end of June, and I hoped not to do as shitty as that (where I was the 2nd or 3rd person eliminated). I learned my lesson to stay on the outside. I was doing pretty good. Right after an elimination (there were 5 of us left) someone I think must have hit my back wheel cause I heard a scrape of my spokes (or something else) and felt something hit my left quad. I gave out the infamous: "woah!" and someone said: "way to hold it," or something like that. This rattled me for the rest of curve and half the straight away, but no time to get rattled cause I didn't want to miss! Phew, another lap - down to 4. I kinda blew it on the next lap; we were all lined up across the line, and I didn't gun it enough. I was bummed because after that we had a neutral lap and would race for the win. Mike told me I should gun it especially when you are down to four cause you get a rest lap after that. Good point! Although I didn't place well on this event, I did much better than last time and was happy I didn't fall even with some bumping on the curve.

B/C Points Race: 25 laps, sprints every 5. This was going to be fast. I thought the C2 group was fast, and the C1s were faster. And the Bs faster still! Ooof. I held on last week, so I thought I'd try for a point this week. I thought the field might break up, so I figured I better go for a point early. As in the first one. With more than 1 to go I made a break, cause again it seemed good to do it before the bell as opposed to after. I was lucky and got a gap and came across the line first! I was pretty happy I got a point. The guy behind me then yelled at me, "Keep going!" I was thinking, "hell no i'm not pulling anymore!" and pulled up track and hopped on his wheel. I was gassed and knew I couldn't hold a break for 20 more laps. We held that break approximately one lap like I figured. After lap 10 sprint I was a bit worried I was going to get dropped, but I didn't. But I wasn't in a good place to get a point for 15. On 20, I was an idiot and sprinted for "fourth"-- I was stoked I got it, until I realized Grey and some other guy were on a break up track, so actually I was 6th. Stupid me. Anyway, didn't get any points for 25 either, just hung on. This was a fun race. I was happy to get some points early and happy to hang on the race of the race.

It was another great night at Hellyer-- people were all so nice to me giving me pointers. THANKS! Kinda shittin' my pants for this weekend...I thought some non-pro women would sign up, but I figure: "Hey, I've done three "C" races, I'm totally ready to race against an Olympian!" Well, it should be amusing at best. And humbling. After I looked at who was registered, I revised my goal for the weekend. Now it is: "Get a picture of Jennie Reeds quads next to mine."

Michiko told me this is how I am going to win the Keirin.

Monday, July 16, 2007

quad vs. head

I was informed that in the photo from the Diablo TT, that my right quad is 3mm larger than my head. Yes, I do have an exceptionally small head. And yes, I do have exceptionally large quads. But is this possible??? I went into my favorite photo cropping program -- Paint -- and made the following image. I did not in any way alter the size of any quads or heads in the below image. I first did myself, and then as a comparison did Michiko, because I needed a control in the study. If any other cyclists out there are reading this and would like to do a comparison of their quad vs. head size, I would very much like to add to this study. Go ahead and send me your photos.
is that freakish or what?

Some time ago, Michiko suggested that I start measuring my quads. They have grown a lot in the last couple of months. This became evident when I biked to work one day and had a pair of normal fitting jeans in my book bag. They were of the darker color, with a fade in the back, because they were oh so stylin'. I hadn't worn them in about a month. When I got to work, I changed in the bathroom and was horrified that my normal fitting jeans suddenly turned into teeny-bopper tight ass pants, with a paris hilton blue jean fade in the back! I couldn't change, cause all I had as an alternative were some smelly spandex, although they were probably looser than my jeans.
I wish I had a January measurement on my legs...I'll be sure to get that next year. It'll be cool to track throughout a whole season... But, in the meantime, I will start mid-season with some quad measurements.

Here it is (and for comparison sake):
Quad: 59.5 cm. Whoa. That is huge.
Calf: 40.5 cm
Waist: 74.0 cm
I encourage all my cyclist blog readers to keep track of their own quad measurements, post them, and maybe I will be a big dork and make a sweet time-series analysis of quad measurements. I haven't decided the frequency of the quad girth measurement, but stay tuned.

race your weakness, train your strength!

That's how the phrase goes, right?

This past weekend Michiko and I made our way half way up Mt. Diablo. Not cause we couldn't make it to the is just the race was only 10km (6.2 miles). This was a time trial-- by far the lamest of all bike events I have thus far tried, in my humble opinion.

Well, I of course got lost and went down Walnut BLVD instead of Walnut AVE on my way to registration. I warmed up about 10 minutes, which made me so good and warmed up, I was ready to go up Diablo at a pace of like 30mph. Afterall, I am long sprinter, and I was not going to let a mountain get in my way to crank that shit out.

So TTs are funny cause they give you a start time (8:29am) and then you roll down this ramp. This was kinda fun, as I felt quite famous with the tent, holder, and ramp. But then I looked down at my jersey and remembered I had my "sponsors" pinned by my jersey with safety-pins.

Anyway, for 36:01 I went up, up, up. There was very little to distract me. You are all alone. It is really hot. We were spaced out every 30 seconds, so it took awhile to catch people. A couple of junior boys gave encouraging words as I suffered up. I kept looking at those stupid markers spray painted on the road: 273, 272....164, 163....43, 42....21. Anyway, I had no clue how to pace myself, so I just went til it hurt. I think I probably could have endured more hurt, but it is hard to know these things. I've never TTed except once before up Tunnel with Michiko. But I think I made it up Tunnel in like 12 seconds, Michiko in 8 seconds--so this was a little bit harder. Anyway, I digress. I guess I came in 10th of 26, not so great..but what can ya do. Go faster next year. It is something to see real climbers climb--and lets just say: I am a poser.

Ooo, look at that hot steel bike.

So when we got to the top, we saw a bunch of really spiffy things: carbon bikes, really skinny women, and those cool TT helmets. Well, our "team" doesn't have that stuff. We have pimpin' steel bikes, exemplified by the old t-shirt, sharpie sponsorship pinned to our jerseys.

At the end of the climb, we discussed how we need to get those cool TT helmets...they are kind of expensive though, so we think we can make our own by cutting poster board in a cone shape and duct-taping them on the back of our helmet.

Some say that steel bikes might be a bit slower. Maybe. But they make your calves really hot. Check out this picture-- do you see all that muscle? That is only something a natural alloy can give you. Synthetic bikes make weak, synthetic legs. Empirically. Michiko's legs are way more cut than mine -- probably cause she has a steel fork on her bike, and I sadly have a carbon/fiber fork.

Well, that was our Saturday up Mt. Diablo. Thanks Kenneth Tam for taking our picture!

Perhaps I'll try another TT...but maybe at the track instead. 3km on a track sounds way better than 10km on a mountain.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

track hack

track hack: [trāk hāk] n. to cough harshly, usually in short and repeated spasms, after fiercely exercising on a paved, circular racing course.
Brittany Allen (800m/1500m rock star), introduced me to this phrase during my freshman year in college, when I ran track. After college, I thought track hack was out of my life forever. But last night, it returned in full form, lasting until 11pm.

Yesterday was Wednesday night racing at Hellyer. It was a great time - Angela and Doug came down - it was great having them cheer for me! My friends Amy, Betsy, and Kevin also drove all the way down from Oakland! It was also great to see Karla, Katie, and Dean again. (All who raced awesome!)

Scratch Race: We started this after I warmed up for approximately 7 minutes at too low a speed. Nothing like the first race to whip you in shape. And, man, was it fast. Or at least I thought so. I figured I'd just sit on Karla's wheel the entire time...which is what I did. It was good to see how she moves around and stuff. Well, I finished at the back end of the main pack and was seeded into the C2 group. I was happy I wasn't with the C1s cause then I could focus more on racing rather than hanging on.

Tempo Race: In this race, points are scored each lap. First place got 2, second place 1. This was all until the last lap where top 4 scored. I knew I had to stay near the front so I could score some points. It turned out Grey entered the C2 race by accident, so he was off the front the whole time. That meant it was the rest of the pack working for 2nd place (one point) every lap. I knew I wouldn't score the first lap, so I didn't try and sat in. Then I would go for a point one lap, then sit in the next lap. This seemed to work well cause I could rest up and come around for a point every other lap. I had a really fun time in this race.

Win 'n Out: This was a 7 lap scratch race and then they rang a bell and the first person across won and was "out". Then another lap for 2nd place, then they were out, etc. Well, the pace started pretty slow for the first 1.5 laps. One of my goals for the night was to try and attack, so, although it was really early in the race, I figured I'd try it. I made a pretty big gap and sucked a shit load of wind around and around. I kept looking at the lap card thinking... "I wonder if they ring the bell at 1 and the win 'n out starts then...or if it goes to 0 and then they ring the bell." Thankfully for me, they rang it at one to go. Boy, was I tired from being all alone. I looked back and still had a gap, but Karla was coming up on me. She blew by me to get first, but I thankfully held on another lap to get 2nd. I was lucky a second person didn't bridge up with her, cause otherwise I would have been screwed. Well, I was happy I took control of the race and gave something new a try, instead of just sitting in like I normally do.

Points Race: In this race they combined the C1, C2s, and Bs who hadn't scored points. This meant it was going to be fast. It was 24 laps, points ever4 (or every 6...I can't recall). Well, scoring points wasn't really a possibility, so I just hung on for dear life. Just when I thought I'd be chewed up and spit out the back, the pace slowed. Anyway, I hung on the main pack, and I was pretty proud of that. 0 points, but that was a hard 0 points!

The best part of the night (in my opinion) was during the Tempo "B" race. Three people were competing for points. Shelley Olds just beat Dean for second place on a lap, and right after crossing the line he yells: "aw, you little shit!" It was pretty hilarious. It was cool to watch the A/B points race too--they are so fast! It was awesome to see Mary and Shelley hang in there so well.

Well, all in all, it was a really fun Wednesday night of racing. I think I improved a bit from last Wednesday and happy I got to practice making an attack and get more riding experience. Also, I guess I placed 3rd in the omnium, so I was pretty happy with that. Can't wait to race next week!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

beginner session & sprint tourny

This morning my friend Jason from the Oakland Yellowjackets and I went to the Saturday beginner session at Hellyer. I wanted to go cause Angela and Doug were going to be there for their first session! Yay! It was really crowded-- over 50 people! I was really impressed with how Terry kept things moving along safely, despite how many were there. We did some pursuits, scratch races, handicap races, etc. There were about 10 women there, which was awesome! Angela's teammate Katie was there -- she is real nice! Also, a woman Alexis who rides with Metromint; we had met last fall at Taitt Sato's racing clinic. She really liked the track, so I think she'll definitely be back! Can't wait! There were also a bunch of Montano velo fixie women from Oakland. They were really fun -- it'll be great to have a bunch of women racers. Hopefully we can have a sizable contingent for Larry's point series on Thursdays in August! My highlight of the day was when one of the montano velo fixie women commented on the size of my thighs and how she wanted to see me sprint. I was pumped! Only on the track are comments like that taken as a compliment!

Angela and me- at the track at last!

This is me and Alexis. Why I like track riding- lots of sitting around chillin'!

Jason was really cool to stick around for the afternoon sprint tournament! Katie and her boyfriend Dean were staying around to race too. It was so much fun! Angela and Doug stayed around for a little bit and shared some really yummy quinia, eggplant, and tofu with me. It was way better than the mushed PB&J I had packed for myself. In fact, I think that organic goodness was why I took a half second off my 200 time!

Anyway, I had never done match sprints before, so I couldn't wait to give it a try. We started by getting our timed flying 200. They then seeded us based on our times. When I did the timed events day last month, I remember I didn't start accelerating for my 200 soon enough, nor did I stay high enough on the banking. So this time I started earlier and tried to get up higher. I was better, but I can still improve more, because I was still accelerating on the backstretch after the line. But, those things take practice. Anyway, I was really happy cause my time improved by a half-second! This time I had a 14.08-- so I was pretty happy about that. (Not that I really know how good that is, but it felt pretty fast!)

The actual match sprints didn't go as well, but I didn't expect them too. I lost all four. There is lots of figure out in how to match sprint, and I am guessing it will take years. It is very tactical and all about surprise attacks. I think my big problem today was I only initiated one attack, mostly I responded to other peoples. I didn't really know what to expect, so I just kind of waited back, which isn't always a good idea.

Match Sprint #1
was against someone way faster than me. (It was a tournament, so fast times were against slow times) I should have probably jumped early, just cause I had no chance. Match Sprint #2 was my best one. This is the one where I made the jump. I almost held Dean off, but he passed me just before the line. But I was pretty happy with my jump here and that i almost held it. Match Sprint #3 and 4 stunk. Mentally I wasn't there. Match sprinting requires a lot of concentration; something I had more of in the earlier part of the day. Responding to other people's jumps is something I need to improve upon. It took me a few pedal strokes to realize that Caitlyn jumped, and by then she was way ahead. I think it is hard to stay on top of my game mentally near the end of the tournament.

After we finished these match sprints, Annabelle (a really fast and nice track woman!) showed me and Caitlyn how to do a flying 200 TT. She took us around at 80% and pointed out places to speed up. That really helped and confirmed that I was not picking up my speed fast enough, nor was I staying "high enough" on the wall.

I had a great time at the sprint tournament. Katie is really cool and I had fun hanging out with her and her boyfriend. Also, I met Caitlyn, a really nice woman who rides on Tibco's development team. She was really friendly and it will be great to see her more at the track. She is also fast and had an awesome jump and long sprint! (I raced her for my 3rd and 4th match sprint.) Jason was also a champ and stayed the whole time. All in all it was a bunch of fun, and I can't wait to do another sprint tournament!

The big question coming out of the sprint tournament revolves around my bike fit. I thought my saddle was just uncomfortable, but a couple of people (two guys who ride for Webcor/Alto Velo) told me my seat was way too high. As in, centimeters, not millimeters. They said I was hyper-extending and toe pedaling. Before my last sprint, they moved my seat down about two centimeters. It felt really different for that sprint. I don't know if this bike is set up wrong... if I have gotten used to a high seat and my road bike fit is messed up too, or what...but it has me thinking. Are track and road bike positioning different? Should I maybe look to get a fit on the track bike? I am going to see how the lower seat feels on Wednesday (considering I only really did two laps on the lower seat Saturday), re-take measurements on my road bike and track bike, and then think about what to do.

(Pictures courtesy of Angela!)

More Fremont Crit Pictures

My poor positioned final sprint.

Check out those huge quads (and orange shoes!)

Monday, July 02, 2007

fremont crit

Saturday I finished my first crit, after my early bird disaster. I got to the race early to see Angela in the Pro/1/2/3 race. Doug gave me some much appreciated tips on the course. I also saw Karla and Hanan in the race. Great job ladies! Everyone did great and it was fun cheering. My race wasn't until 4pm, so I chilled out awhile and chatted with some folks. Anthony was nice enough to let me borrow his trainer. Thanks!

Then it was race time. I made sure to line up on the left side to prepare myself for the 180. (the race started with a 180 right away). Unfortunately, I was an idiot and slipped clipping in. I got real frustrated cause I rarely slip. Anyway, then I had to play catch up, which was okay because no one gunned it at the start, although I was really embarassed.

I didn't really know what to expect, so my goal was just to stay in the main pack and be at ease riding close. I did that just fine, as the pace wasn't strenuous. I was really happy with how comfortable I felt with all the other riders. I think I did okay moving around in the pack. There were a couple of breakaways, but nothing that got very far ahead.

The 180s were really easy, especially after all my practice. I could have went around them a bunch faster, but I was usually in the middle or back going into them and people were slower in front of me, so I had to brake more than I would have on my own. Although I was near the back going into the turns, I was really good accelerating out of the turns, and usually passed several people on the few upstrokes coming out of the turn, working my way closer to the front. All that accelerating practice with Larry really helped, because I passing out of the turn without even trying to!

Anyway, the race was pretty tame. There were some primes, I wasn't planning on trying to go for any, but I heard Fred yell at me, so I figured I would try one. Sadly, I got 3rd, so nothing for me...but it was good experience to sprint mid race, be a little tired, then get taken in by the pack again.

The last lap, the pace picked up and on the straight away before the left hand turn to the finish, I was in the very back of the pack. I didn't have time to get a free ride to the front, nor did I think I needed one because I wasn't very tired. So I just pulled to the right of the pack, passing most of the pack on the outside. I had to make a wide left turn because I was to the right of the pack, and then had to brake coming out of the turn because there was a group of woman I needed to move around in front of me out of the turn. This was not ideal for the final sprint. Anyway, I started sprinting, passed a few people, but never quite got up to top speed like I do during practice. I like sprinting for longer. Anyway, I ended up coming in 4th, which I was happy about! But, I know had I been smarter about positioning myself the last lap, I could have maybe done better. But, regardless, I was happy that I placed! More than I expected; I had just wanted to be comfortable riding in a pack. Anyway, it was cool to stand on the podium and win THIRTY BUCKS! Whooo!

I had an awesome cheering squad at the race. Fred was yelling, and a bunch of my friends BARTed in too-- Amy, Miriam, Patrick, Paul. (Amy is going to make an awesome soccer mom!) Angela and Doug stuck around, which was really nice! As did Anthony and Karla! Thanks everyone! I was definitely had the most fans. I think there were people yelling my name at each corner, which was really fun...and I am sure all the other woman in the pack were annoyed with this "Beth person".

Because I don't have a team, I thought I'd create my own team kit. I safety-pinned "Shuck's Wheels" on the front (cause Fred's last name is Shuck and he builds wheels), and I put my own special sponsors on the side: AARP and Geritol.

Paul took a bunch of really cool pictures- those are to come. But, until then, here are a few I saw online on the NCNCA website.

Here is me in the back after my crappy start.

Here is me about to move up after my crappy start.

Here is me in the pack. (look for the hot-t-t orange bike!)

Here is me going around the 180

Here is me with my AARP and Geritol sponsorship .