Saturday, September 29, 2007

tune in next time for, "a racehorse's life is always on track" or "Those who throw dirt are sure to lose ground."

i surprisingly got some comments about not updating this thing in a timely fashion; please excuse the delay. i'd say i'm busy, but the truth is i'm just lame.

"a racehorse's life is always on track"

Thursday was the last points race. Mike was nice enough to let me hop in his car on the way down, which i was very happy about because the car i am sharing with my roommate is in a sad state at the moment. (hang in there little suzuki swift!)

I wish I could give some insight about my last track race of 2007, but to be honest it seems like forever ago and I remember very little. But I will do my best. It went like this. Tor would sprint really fast around everyone. Then the pace would drop. Then one of the ladies would attack and get a gap. Then one of the ladies would bridge the gap and get the field back up to whomever attacked. Then Tor and Wyatt would sprint around us. This happened for a few laps and Julie told me "let the men bridge that, then counterattack!"- so I resumed my favorite role as wheelsucker and hoped the men would do the work. Julie was very smart this race, cause the women would do all this work bridging gaps, and then the men would get the points. Julie did a great job of getting points each lap, and although I wasn't getting a ton of points, it was good for me to stay close to Julie and just see how she does stuff. The second half of the race was a lot better for me, once I heeded Julie's advice. I could tell I really lost my snap in the sprints this past week, although I felt pretty strong otherwise. I took one win that was pretty good, and had a good breakaway the last five laps, and got a couple points here or there. Of course, there were some sprint laps I was dumb in-- but that is bound to happen. I ended up with 4th, but it wasn't close. I needed to have gotten more points in the first half of the race. After the race, Julie was really awesome and gave me a bunch of pointers on how race smarter and how to position myself better. It was really helpful. Then I had some of Jen's yummy cookies, drank a tecate, and watched maurice and nole tear it up in the B race. The B race was FAST and exciting! Thursday points races have been a blast-- and I definitely think I have gotten better in my position, smarts, and fitness. Thanks Larry for putting these on- they have been great!
there is me eager to start at the front.

...oh yes, and i almost forgot-- although i neglected to post, i did measure my quads and they are 60.75cm

"those who throw dirt are sure to lose ground"

michiko convinced me to give cross a try. what she did not know, is what an uncoordinated clutz i am. the reason i have taken a liking to the track is it is very easy. all you have to do is pedal. you don't even have to turn. so if you can just suck it up that your legs are burning and your lung is going to rip out of your chest- you are fine. yeah, i am sure there is some skill...but it is mostly just learning to ride in a straight line and being gracious and looking over your shoulder, like when you are parallel parking. cross is a lot of skill and super hard! i have ridden my bike three times.

there is me and my bike that is too nice for me.

Ride #1
-- last sunday she took me out to the marin headlands. this was my first time riding in the dirt ever. i didn't ride a bike as a kid, so when i say ever, i really mean it. i was very lucky and got a great deal on a beautiful used sycip bike...but i definitely feel like a lame-o who is riding something about 100x better than what she can handle. it is certainly true that i got an amazing deal, but i am very self-conscious of banging up such nice equipment. and i am definitely banging it up.

anyway, i think michiko was really worried when we first went out. first, she tried to teach me to dismount. but i was so uncoordinated, she made me start trying to coast with one foot. i couldn't do this at all and was wobbling all over the place. i couldn't even coast like a skooter! i think she was worried with what she got herself into. i am a slooow learner. but i eventually could do this, then she had me kick my leg back like a ballerina. then over the seat. then dismount. finally, she let me bike over to the headlands. Eeek! downhills are supposed to be a time when you have fun and recover from going uphill. but i think i was so nervous going downhill, that my pulse was even higher. luckily i made it back with just one gnarly bruise that has been getting bigger and darker by the day.

Ride #2- having ridden my bike once, michiko thought it was a good idea for me to do the fairfax lion "race". i put that in quotes, cause it was not really a race for me. after having shat my pants and nearly suffering an anxiety attack, michiko left me, patted me on the head, and told me: "that is what helmets are for." i attempted to ride the course. i fell coming up to the first barrier...then another time on my "warm-up" lap...which was pretty snails pace. lots of people were very nice to me and tried to give me points, but i was just trying to stay upright, not go fast. a couple people even told me "you do track, you'll do fine." the amount of cross over between track and cross is....well, i would say 5%. (i.e. both use bikes).

well, anyway, the race started and i let everyone else roll out and then i started. i lowered my expectations during my warm-up and thought just finishing and seeing what these races are like would be the best idea. i really didn't want to get in anyones way who was racing. i knew i'd fall a bunch, so i wanted to do that alone and not mess up someone's race. i was very good about hopping off the course when getting lapped 1 (or 2) times.

as for the dismounting i practiced, i only did it about 3 times the entire course. i needed a lot of mental prep to dismount, so that one in the field was the only one i could do. as for all the other times i got off the bike, i did it the old fashioned way...and i was also panzy and got off the bike and ran up just about every hill. as for the actual running, that was FUN and i was good running up those hills. i was sprinter when i ran track, so i know how to pick up my knees....the key to running fast uphill! but everything else pretty much sucked.... the getting off the bike, getting on the bike, and going down the hill. that downhill was a bitch....someone told me to put my butt off the seat, so i did that once and then rammed my pelvic bone into the back of the seat four times. i don't think i can have children any longer. that is fine. i didn't want them anyways.

everyone tells me cross hurts so bad you want to die. i can't say i ever felt like that. mostly cause i can't figure out how to ride the damn bike...so i couldn't ride fast and just had to ride within my means, which at my skill level was a snail's pace. had i gone any faster i would have eaten it more times than i did. thankfully, that wasn't too many. i'd say 2 times during the "race" plus 2 times during the warm-up.

Ride #3- Sunday, i went to the albany landfill with michiko to practice some more. i ate it twice. once was me being dumb and trying to take a sharp turn. the second time was me also being dumb and getting my leg stuck on my saddle while dismounting, then falling over. when i got up, i looked at my rear wheel and saw some dirt clump. i said: "that isn't helping anything" and wiped it off. then michiko said: "is that shit?" i smelled it, and yes, indeed it was dog shit. i screamed "aaaack" We threw our bikes down and ran across a field to where our water bottles were sitting...michiko squirted some cytomax and chain lube on my hands to disinfect. as for other highlights other than the dog shit, i tried to ride in the sand, but that only worked for approximately 2 pedal strokes til i'd fall.

as for the bruise count, well it is quite numerous. it definitely looks like someone is beating me. i have TWELVE bruises just on my left leg. there are lots more on my right leg (including one my neighbor said "was the size of Minnesota!" it is a good thing i have designated october to be the month of self-loathing.

14 comments:

twinkiepatissier said...

i tried to ride in the sand, but that only worked for approximately 2 pedal strokes til i'd fall.

well, i was there and i know you rode it through once!!

i have been doing a lot of thinking... and am still puzzled how you eat it where there's no obvious reason... you ride through all the technical shit just fine. i need to think more.

twinkiepatissier said...

oh, technical shit above, i meant it as technical terrain and not dog shit.

also, i haven't got your measurement from last thu.

Steven Woo said...

You can only get better.

Lots of experienced people do the mount/dismount with bad form.

The first DVD is pretty good at covering the fundamentals:
http://www.cycle-smart.com/store/#solutions


If you are sliding out in turns, you may want to change your tires or pressure ( or other things, but it's a start)http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/bayareacyclocross/message/1797

Velo Bella said...

thank you for posting. I was going through points race withdrawals because I couldnt be there for the last one. I kept checking your blog for an update because its the next best thing to being there and all.

cross is awesome, isn't it?

anthony said...

we're gonna have to get you some body armour if you keep this crashing thing up... b ride at the port tonight!

lauren said...

keep practicing - especially the mounts and dismounts.

once you have those down you can concentrate on the other stuff and you won't have to "worry" every time you get close to an object.

it'll get better.

you're young. you'll heal fast.

Carol G said...

Hang in there, Beth. I'm sure that, with practice, you'll be kicking ass at cross.

dblrider said...

Beth - Your description of the bruises had me in stitches. Both my legs and my arms have numerous bruises from 'cross - yet there's still a huge smile on my face. I got some respect from the guys at the track on Thursday night with my left knee bruise (the size of Texas!) due to the application of an EggBeater pedal to the knee (I don't recommend this application - it doesn't work well). Then there's the scraped right knee and left elbow, that almost get healed...and then I fall on one or the other again...in training...or a pre-ride. So don't worry - we all suck at 'cross to start...that's the fun part! Just have fun - the rest will work itself out. And i was disappointed that you weren't measuring on Thursday night - I was hoping to officially join the 60 cm club... Next season, perhaps.

velogirl said...

I give it 2 weeks and you'll be winning cx races......maybe 3 weeks!

CyclistRick said...

Hey, 'bag boy' shorts! Somebody got some hand me downs. Great! Ms. Chatterbox had decided to be the hand me down fairy to build up your clothing collection, but it looks like somebody beat her to it.

And what is with the white look? Getting away from the red end of the color spectrum?

Let us know when you will be racing, esp if on the peninsula. Then we can do some more cheering!

Beth said...

CS- yep. safeway is now sponsoring me. i have shorts and a jacket and all sorts of cool stuff to keep me warm! i felt totally cool and official the other day wearing a team kit.

that white jersey is my cool pegoretti jersey i got for $1.50 at a thrift store! i got a pretty sweet ORANGE wind jacket there too. who knew that a bunch of cool cycling clothes get transported to the goodwill at 19th & broadway in downtown oakland?!?

Grey said...

you got a pegoretti jersey for $1.50. i sort of hate you for that.

relative to a lot of the guys i'm racing against, my technical skills are crap. you just have to get good at saying, "oops, sorry dude," or whatever women racers say to each other instead of "dude."

glennzgarage said...

oh… and when it rains.. at cycloX… shorts get wet and saggy. Then when you try to git off the bike, the shorts snag on the saddle nose, but, of course, you don’t realize this until after you’ve attempted to launch yourself. So, perhaps add to your training… skills, to ride with your belly on the saddle, both legs splayed horizontally behind, without laughing…

runjoelrun said...

Was a sad day, the last Thurs day of racing. Fun to give some of the guys send off for Natz.

Any chance of Nolan's idea of winter racing working out?