Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LA or bust

Friday evening, 7pm

Alicia, Hanan, and I piled into Karla's beautiful little Toyota Echo. One bike in the trunk, three bikes on top-- with poor little Hanan's bike stuck in a loose rack. But Karla is ivy league, so she knows how to use old tubes as bungie cords and got things secure. The car ride started on a downer, as I blabbed on for about a half an hour about serving on jury duty this past year & my disgruntled opinions of the criminal justice system...but after I got that rant off my chest, we had a lovely time with truths, lies, discussion question, and rockin' out to Power Ballads.

Around 1am we arrived in LA. How shocked were we when we saw that Hanan's bike was totally crooked and being held up by resting on my bike's handlebars and the tubes we tied to the trunk. Nothing was broke, so we were really lucky. We hung our bikes on the coat rack, so we took this picture cause we thought it was pretty cool!

In the morning, we had the crappiest continental breakfast known to man. We had to figure out how we were going to fit 4 bikes in the Echo. We figured 2 on top and would see if we could fit two frames in the trunk... which we did, amazing! We went to a coffee house my friend suggested. It was pretty awesome and there even looked like there was a makeout room in the back of the coffee house. But, alas, it was 9am and there was no one there to make out with. Alicia picked up a celeb trash magazine from the trash can, and we had a glorious time sitting in LA sounding like LA girls talking about trashy fame. Apparently Lance Armstrong is dating someone else. Poor little Ashley. She should have known better; didn't anyone tell her that older men with kids could just be using her so his child will have someone cool to take to show 'n tell? But I digress.

We drove into the ADT center and it has all kinds of sports stuff (soccer, volleyball, etc). But cause we were going to the velodrome we got free parking cause no one cares about track racing. Little league soccer even has to pay $6. Ha! Jokes on you. (or was it on us?)

In the parking lot we saw Jen, Marc, and Dash! It was great seeing them before we got inside and I was really happy that someone as an experienced superstar like jen coler was there!

There were all these banners on the outside- it was pretty sweet.

when we walked into ADT i kinda felt like i was at a big basketball arena, with all the shiny wood and banners. it was pretty overwhelming and official.

if all that bling bling wasn't enough, you then you see that bank and wet your chamois.

word to the wise, if you don't want your pulse rate to be pushing 200 before you even change into your biking clothes, don't look down the banking. it is like standing on the roof of your house and thinking about jumping off for shits.

the session that they had for certification was for women only, (called LOTS, ladies only track something.) it wasn't much at all like our Saturday session at hellyer. here, we got a talk about track protocol, etc., and then it was pretty much open track. if you had questions, you could pull over and there were people to ask you stuff, or people to mentor you, but other than that, it was just pretty much rolling around.

the apron at ADT is big, and for good reason -- you really need to be up to speed. i guess you need to be at 18-20mph so you don't slip down. so, basically, you roll around the apron a couple times, and hope no one slow is getting in your way. then when you hit a straight, you just mash the shit out of your pedals and pray to god you got enough to get your around that first curve.

just getting on the track was a challenge and made me a bit nervous-- i just kept going so fuckin' fast cause i didn't want to slip. it was weird, you could sometimes hear the rubber on the wood. i just kept on the black line for a long time, until i braved it to go up to the blue stayer's line. shit. the stayer's line is usually where you go when you want to slow down and be a lazy shit. no way, jose! you had to go even faster on that line! so, there i was, killin' myself just trying to stay upright. well, i got tired after about 30-40 minutes of this, so i got off and chatted with this guy who is with ADT about some stuff. then i got back on, and let me say the second time around was much easier. i could go slower and felt much more comfortable. then i got in some pacelines and practiced going up and down, up and down. this was really different than hellyer cause the swoop down was so much faster! i'd time getting back on the wheel "right", only to find myself with a lot of speed, so i'd have to swoop back up again. this was just going to take some time to get the timing right.

this is the only picture i have of us riding the track; this is karla and jen. i think alicia has more pictures & i'll add those when i get them.

the women's session was done at 2. and the training races started at 3, so we had a bit of a break. they let us stay on the track, so it was great to have a bunch of time to practicing swooping up and down. i went up to the rail... and by up to the rail, i mean about 4 ft away from the rail... and then swooped down, and that was the coolest thing ever! it was like a roller coaster ride and i could feel my stomach drop. then i got into a paceline with some really fast men and sucked wheel and we were going so fast you could feel the g-force pulling you into the center of the track! it was rockin'!

At 3:00 our training races started. We met this guy Kelyn who used to live in the bay area, and is a sick track sprinter. We knew he was from the bay area cause he had on at los gatos jersey! Anyway, Howard from Momentum cycling was leading our session. We would start with a motopaced 40 lap warmup, that got progressively faster. It was probably one of the worst pacelines I was in, probably much to my own fault-- the yo-yo was incredible, probably a combination of the new people, lots of us (i.e. me!) not knowing how to pull off behind the moto properly, and I think just the tight curves really whip you around more than at hellyer, so it is much harder to be consistent with speed. anyway, the pace got bitchin' fast, and at 8 to go i didn't know if I'd be able to finish the warm-up. Then it got faster and I was just hanging on the wheel in front of me for dear life. Then it was my turn to be behind the derny with 4 to go...except i never really got behind the derny. I was right on the wheel in front of me when it pulled off, but then the moto picked up again, and there was a gap from the pull off, and i did everything i could to close that shit, but the moto was just going faster and faster, and i felt like such a douche bag for getting dropped behind the moto in a warmup. i felt real bad for the people behind me. i pulled off after my lap, only realize only 4 people were behind me. so i didn't feel so bad.... as apparently this warm-up was like a survival of the fittest.

anyway, the races started and we had about 9 or so in our group. 5 Hellyer ladies,Tara a Southbay Wheelman woman, Howard's daughter, Tara's son, and someone else who I can't recall. we started by putting these red helmet covers on w/ numbers (instead of race numbers). i thought they were kinda cool, but i guess some people thought they were dorky.

We started with a Miss 'n Out. I love this race, mostly cause I like to be the devil. But I always screw myself over with this, so I thought I would try a new role today. I got first wheel and set pace. This was great until the 4th sprint, when I let Karla swoop down from up track right after the sprint to take first wheel. This was dumb; don't ever let that happen cause 2nd wheel is trouble! And especially on a 250 track...the laps come quick. And especially on a track where you have to go 18-20mph to stay upright. There is no slowing down a ton and then popping around the back...(cause if you try, you'll slide down!) so, I just watched myself get boxed in and was annoyed for my dumbness. But, then I got to cheer and see Karla kick butt in that one and win.

Next was the scratch race. This was weird cause we did the races with a moto pacing on the stayer's line. This added an interesting element to the racing! You could take laps off the moto. Someone jumped off the motor early, but no one who I was worried I figured I'd let it go, but then Tara from SBW chased it, so I wanted to get on her for sure. Then we took a lap on the moto and the race was on. I had a great time in this race, and did a pretty good job picking wheels, especially in the last couple of laps, so I could contest the sprint and get 2nd. Jen Coler the mad women took first, and Karla third. So that was Hellyer sweep, baby.

Last race was a points race. It was only 24 laps-- and only sprints every 8 laps. That wasn't a lot of sprints. We stayed on the moto and took pulls for the first 8 laps. I wasn't in a great position on the moto when I was supposed to pull off, so I jumped really early for the sprint-- like 2.5 laps early. Whatever. I came out here to kick my ass, so may as well make some ballsy moves. I had a gap, but right at the line got taken and ended in 4th-- but at least that was one point. Normally I don't care about that first sprint, but with only 3 sprints- it was important. Then we had a break of 4 people and were moving around. Around lap 13 we were coming to take our lap on the moto/field.... but I wanted to wait so we could eat up points. I tried yelling at the pack, but I was in last position and no one heard me, so we lapped, but didn't get back on the moto. With 1.5 to go, things were getting a little chaotic with some people on the pole in a paceline and some on the moto- and they were kinda side by side at this time. The paceline on the bottom was passing someone ahead, and I was in a sweet position, cause, if I could attack and maneuver around this slower person getting lapped, I'd totally leave the paceline and moto kinda blocked in for a second. Anyway, I did this and easily held the sprint for 1.5 laps and got 5 points on that one. So that made up for my dumb effort for the first sprint. Then we rode more and more- and I was in bad position with 3 laps to go in the paceline, so with 2 to go, I was in front, but didn't want to pull off cause I'd be in bad position, so I thought I'd try to razor it. I was doing pretty good, except Tara was holding me close on the black line, half wheeling me back, and in a really good position to take the sprint win. If I had an ounce of comfort on this track, I would have flicked it a bit to the red line, to slow her down...but not a good thing to try when you have questionable control and familiarity with new banking. I got 2nd in the last sprint, and 2nd overall in the points i was pretty happy with that. especially cause i am out of shape.

the folks at ADT were great. Julia Cross was really accommodating. Bob, John, Ted, and Howard were so great too. Howard talked with us a bit after the race and told us Hellyer women we were "safe and smart" riders. He also gave us some feedback, but all in all, he thought we raced smart, so that was good. We talked a bit about AVC, and he remembered me from when I match sprinted Jennie Reed. He told us some funny match sprint stories of Jennie's at T-town. He also said his son is "very picky about velodromes" and like Hellyer!

After our training races, what to do? RIDE MORE! We couldn't get enough. Me and Karla practiced taking pulls up and down and up and down. But then, I think they wanted to close up, so we took some picture and hit the road....

me, hanan, alicia, karla, and jen with those sweet red hats on.

here is me measuring alicia's tiny 51cm quads. but she is short, so that is actually really good. but check out her sad MV skinsuit. that was when she slid down the track when she got on. ouch. but she is hardcore and got right back out there and tore it up in the races!

here is bob, one of the volunteers at the velodrome with dash!

we met kelyn who used to race at hellyer until he got all hotshot, and is now going to australia to train! he is a mad fast sprinter. his quads were 65cm. now that sounds big, and it is! but, kelyn's quads looked pretty puny compared to some guys out there.... which makes me wonder--- are people in the mid-70s?!?!?!?!

jen rolled it out at 62cm! daaaamn! it is december, i can't wait to measure those babies this summer!

1st and 2nd place quadies-- kelyn and jen.

and dash has a lot of promise-- he was rounding out at 28.5cm. and he isn't even in kindergarten!

at this point, we were kind of exhausted. i mean, really exhausted. we were at the track from 12-6. that is a long time, even with sitting around. so then we got a little silly.

here is me and karla. i guess i think i am spider man.

here is hanan and alicia, finally conquering turn 1 for real!

then we changed our clothes in this thing. pretty cool. but kinda sucky at the same time cause you don't get to see people with their shirts off while changing on the infield.

dash didn't have enough fun at the velodrome and wanted to stay there all night long, so he left the lights on the jen and marc's car. oops. we tried pushing the car and popping the clutch like in little miss sunshine..... but we were really tired from all that riding and couldn't run very well. so we found some guy to get us jumper cables.

here is the really nice man. he was there to watch his son in the volleyball tournament and he was fascinated by our track bikes.

We left ADT after that aventure and went to eat at some awesome restaurant we found. We ate a lot. Then we showered and tried to motivate to go out, but we are getting old.

we had one drink and the alicia fell asleep at the bar. so we left.


The next morning we ate at this awesome restaurant Hugo's. If you are ever near Encino, be sure to eat here! Here is what Karla ate. YUMMY! On the drive to Encino we blasted some AC/DC to pump us up. The race was going to awesome!

We arrived at Encino and quickly found Sabine and Michael. The night previous Alicia and I had spray painted stencils on some a-frame shirts we bought at the liquor store. That is multi-tasking. After much thought, we decided upon "hot for hernandez" above "go, mike, go" on a 3-1 vote.

i don't know what is funnier in this picture, michael's face or hanan sticking her chest out. she is a smart cookie, practicing both to be a bike racer and a podium girl, all in one weekend. when thinking about career options, hanan, don't put all your eggs in one basket for sure. good work.

how excited was i when michael gave me a swobo shirt cause i am a friday hero and all that jazz. he wanted to take a hardcore picture, so i did my best....but it is really hard to look tough when you don't have a camel back.

the race started like this. mike was KILLING IT for like 20 laps. I mean, killin' it. then, he popped. it was actually much more fun when he popped because then he came and sat with us and heckled, and he was mean and very funny.

these men were all bullies. there was this poor young boy who looked 15 who was a lap down, and he kept trying to regain his lap. and just when he started to get within a straight away they would speed up. poor boy.
michael creed didn't like it when michael yelled at him: "the ladies say you are only an 8.6 on give us something michael." and each lap it would continue... "michael, your helmet's crooked, 8.5" then michael started swooping up really high at us. he stuck his tounge out once. then he blew karla a kiss. it was hot. (but not really)

the race was a blast to watch. 400 laps of track riding isn't dull at all. but it ended much to spectators dismay and racers happiness.

then we drove back, which was just as fun as the drive down, although we didn't listen to power ballads. we got back around 10:45pm. that was 52 hour whirlwind for sure. congrats if you made it to the end of this post.


Olaf Vanderhoot said...

but then the moto picked up again, and there was a gap from the pull off, and i did everything i could to close that shit, but the moto was just going faster and faster, and i felt like such a douche bag for getting dropped behind the moto in a warmup. i felt real bad for the people behind me. i pulled off after my lap, only realize only 4 people were behind me. so i didn't feel so bad.... as apparently this warm-up was like a survival of the fittest.

sweet jeesus ... you're crackin me up

twinkiepatissier said...

LA swanky velodrome sponsorship includes the golden arch, what a bling.

velogirl said...

wow! the banking @ ADT is like a freakin wall.

you're good for the sport, Beth.

CyclistRick said...

Sounds liek a great weekend of SoCal fun. ADT looks like a blast; will have to try it sometime. In the meantime I cheered on Michiko at Coyote Pt. in your absence.

How come no guys got 'Hot 4 Hernandez' shirts?

Grey said...

the only thing that could make olaf look tougher in that photo of you two is if you'd taken a marker and made a fake tattoo on his shoulder that said "Tuff Town."

or "Redy to Rumble."

y'know, something like that.

karla said...

I JUST am catching up on blog-reading and found your post. Wonderful story-telling. That weekend was so much fun!

I have to disagree on your assessment that Mike Creed's blown kiss was not hot. I thought it was a pretty special moment that boosted him up to at least 8.8

Can't wait for more track racing trips soon!