Monday, May 14, 2007

third time's a charm!

Berkeley Hills Road Race!

Today I finished my first race! That was very exciting, considering my first race ended on the pavement, as did my second race. Although I had a bunch of stitches and a cast, I didn't let that get me down. When I had the cast, I did some tandem riding with Fred and also learned to ride the rollers. (Rollers are much easier without a cast!) Then I decided I was going to do a crash course in skill building. This included going to a bike clinic, continue roller riding, setting up water bottles in the Mormon Temple parking lot to practice cornering and other drills every Tuesday morning before jury duty, and going up and down Tunnel Rd mostly to practice my downhills. I think I improved a lot in the past month, although there is always more to learn.

I was excited for Berkeley Hills cause I practiced the course a bunch. It started out pretty slow, so I just stayed in the back until things picked up on Castro Valley Ranch. I then tried to stay near the front through Alahambra and when we turned onto Bear Creek. When we started up Mama Bear I decided I needed to make the break, so I did my best to stay with all the climbers. I did okay, and crested just a little behind, but by the time Papa Bear rolled around, I was a good 25m behind. Fooey. I tucked pretty well on the downhill and me and some other women tried chasing. It looked like we had a chase group of about 5-6. But, right at the blip before you hit the damn road, someone in front of me dropped her chain and unclipped just as the Pro/1/2 men passed. In the confusion, I lost the chase group and sucked wind on the San Pablo Dam road all alone. I was hitting it as hard as I could hoping I could catch up, but they kept moving further and further away. Then two women, (Christy) from Eastside and someone else who ended up dropping off later shortly, came up to me. I was happy it was her because I started the race next to her and she was very nice and encouraging. Anyway, Christy and I started taking pulls and we were gaining on the chase group. We especially started gaining when we hit Castro Ranch, and I gunned it up the three hills. I definitely took too much of a pull (as in, all of Castro Ranch), cause when we turned on Alahambra, Christy came around me and bridged up to the group ahead, and I was toast. Lesson learned: don't pull for that long. Anyway, no one was behind me, and it looked like my place in the race was set, but I wasn't going to give up. I decided I'd just go as hard as I could regardless of place. And boy, I am glad I did! When I got to Mama bear my friends were there cheering loudly, which was awesome! I kept pace as best I could. I could tell I was gaining some on that group ahead of me, it looked like it broke up a little. By the time we hit papa bear I actually passed two riders who had fallen off. I was alone for the finish, so I was bit bummed, cause I was looking forward to showing off my newfound sprinting skills from Tuesday night in Fremont... but that is okay!

All in all, I was pretty happy with the results- I came in 14th, which was pretty good I thought. Had I been a bit smarter, maybe I could have done better, but it is all a learning process. Mostly, I was happy that I kept pace and worked really hard when I was all alone. Next race, I need to make sure not to take such a long pull and drink water! I didn't drink anything the whole time, which was really dumb! Monday I was pretty zonked, but that means I worked hard/didn't hydrate properly!

To sum up my too long race report, I want to thank all my friends! Lily, Amy, Lauren, Betsy, Patrick: you were the best cheering squad ever on Mama bear! Mike: thanks for running to so many spots cheering and taking my picture. I should have listened to you when you said: "drink water!" Fred and Don: I didn't see you during the race, but it was awesome seeing you after! Thanks for the support Saturday and throughout! Michiko: I am sorry I didn't take the bottle you had waiting for me. If my other two weren't completely full, I would have. Also, pizza afterwards was great! Angela: Thanks for yelling at me on Papa Bear and chatting with me afterwards! Jim: It was awesome to see you biking up *just* as I was crossing the finish line! Mike C: It was great to have a familiar face right at the finish line! Bonnie: Thanks for coming up and saying hi and seeing how I did. You've been so supportive! Christy: I don't know who you are really, and you will probably never ready this, but thanks for chatting with me at the start line, riding with me during the middle part, and congratulating in the parking lot afterwards. It really made my first race special! Well, that was a lot of thank yous- but a bunch of people were really helpful!

Alright, well, that is my race report. Next up, Pescadero!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

pimp my ride

My bike is totally bling blingin'. So much so that on Tuesday Larry asked me if my bike was new. If you aren't the fastest kid on the block, it is important to at least look like hot shit.

This weekend, I did the bike scrub down and used some Meguiar's car wax, and then finished her off with some Meguiar's detailer. I rubbed in circular motions until my bike was as shiny as my T-zone.

I think it is really important to pimp my ride, preferably all in orange.

  • Tires: I need to get new tires in the fall. I was just checking out Vredestein's website, and saw that I can get the tires I currently have (fortezza tricomp) in all orange (not just orange sidewall!).
  • Match that with some Cinelli orange bar tape - and damn - I'll be the hottest orange thing on the road! Good thing I wear orange as much as possible, as well.

My friend Michiko offered some great suggestions of how I can further pimp my ride. She greatly understands the need to look hot-t-t on the bike. That is why she has a beautiful steel red bicycle, has a red helmet, and wears red to match her bike. She takes it a step further and cheers for other people wearing red ("go team red") when on the road. (This is good for camaraderie, I feel.) She offered the following suggestions of how I can further pimp my ride.

How does one choose a team to join? Color coordination of team jersey's seem to be one of the most important elements. Certain kits clash my orange bike. Having an orange bike is difficult for team kit matching. A white, black, or grey bike would have left me more team options. But, black bikes don't look as fast as orange bikes, and when you aren't fast, it is at least nice to look fast. Michiko found me a couple of team options. (Any other suggestions are appreciated.)

Some believe that time spent pimping my ride (or time spent thinking about pimping my ride) could be better spent training. Maybe. But to those people I ask the question: what good it is to be fast on the road if you and your bike don't look like hot shit? Touche.