Thursday, June 28, 2007

#296- my first wed night track race!

#296 is my track number for the rest of the year. I was hoping I would get a number that would spell out something cool like, like bad or ass.... but this is all i got




oh well....

Anyway, I figured out all the logistics, and made it to the track wednesday night. that had me getting up at 5:15am, borrowing my friend's car to get to work super early, leaving here early and commuting 1.5 hours to San Jose - bah! I hate driving! This was a pain, but so worth it! Track racing is really, really fun. It was so much fun even though I really sucked ass in the races!

I got to the track at 5:30. And who did I see but Angela! Her and her husband biked there to watch! SO NICE! Angela is great and so supportive of women's racing. She just met me a couple of months ago on Tuesday night, and has been so kind and encouraging me with racing. Seeing her really put me at ease! THANKS ANGELA! Can't wait for you to join me!

I started warming up and said "hi" to Mary Maroon. She is a really fast track woman and super nice. She gave me some pointers on what to do to warm-up, and said "I am so happy I am here to see your first race!" She is extremely genuine and kind. On the cool-down/warm-up between races she also gave me some pointers which was cool. From what I've experienced, so many woman are really supportive and encouraging of new woman to try racing. This is cool!

Okay, now to the actual racing! (Sorry about all the touchy-feely crap)

There were 16 people in the "C" race, mostly dudes. We did four races: miss 'n out, point race (4x3), 10 lap scratch, and points race, 5x4 (unscored).

Miss 'n Out:
This is an elimination race. Each lap, the last person to cross the line is eliminated. (Until there are three people left; then they race for third). My plan in this race was to stay near the back, but not at the back (obviously). I wanted to draft for as much and as long as possible. To my surprise, this was easy! In fact, everyone was letting me take the inside of the track even! Shorter distance and a draft?! How am I so lucky? Upon lap 3 or 4 (yes, there were 16 people in the race), I hear "Number 296". That was me. Out. I had managed to get an awesome draft and box myself in, so I couldn't sprint to the line on the outside. Lesson learned. Stay OUTSIDE on the Miss 'n Out. Only fools get boxed in.

Points Race: This was a 12 lap race, every 3 laps people who were the first 4 across the line got points. These points add up for overall winners. I was a little bummed I got out so early in that first race, so I hoped to do a little better in this one. I figured I wouldn't sprint for points until the third round, hoping the front people would be a bit tired by them. Nope. I did better in this race, but not good enough to get any points. But at least managed to stay with the main pack throughout. I need to figure out better positioning for the sprints and where I should make a jump. I think I'll try to jump early, cause I don't have a great jump.

Scratch Race: This was a "normal" 10 lap race, first across the line wins. I wanted to do my best to try and stay near the front. I did this pretty good for the first 6 laps, within position 3 or 4. When I would get near the front I would just pull up the track to let someone else pull. This was working well. Someone jumped and I missed it for a second, so I was just off the draft. Karla was behind me and went around me, then I caught her wheel and was hanging on the back of the pack for the rest of race. I finished at the back of the main pack, I think I got 7th or 8th place, which wasn't enough to score points, but I was within striking distance at least. I was pretty happy with this. This was my best race of the night. Karla told me afterwards that if I lose contact with the pack, I should pull up the track, let the person behind go by, then hop back on the wheel and get a "free ride" back to the pack. This was helpful advice!

Here is me sitting in during the scratch race

Look at that person in the upper left corner. That's me! This was the sprint of the scratch race. I wasn't close to placing, but at least close to the front pack. (Way to go Karla on 4th place!)

Points Race 20 laps: This was another points race, but was 20 laps, sprints every 5. This was a combined B/C race. I stayed with the main pack approximately 4 laps, then got dropped. The were flying and I missed the jump big time. There were 3 people between me and the main pack, all spread out. I figured I'd try picking people off to get closer to the main pack, in case their pace slowed down and I could bridge up. I bridged up to the guy in front of me, drafted him around the curve, then passed out of the curve and bridged up to the next guy. I did this two times until I got to the last guy (before the pack). We took pulls for the rest of race. I thought we were going pretty fast. The last lap, he really picked it up-- we were about to get passed by the main pack. Now I know that if you get passed by the main pack you get negative points. I was confused why he was sprinting when we had another lap to go. Anyway, we got passed right at the finished line, and then I booked my last to "finish my race". Only to realize upon "finishing" my last lap, that everyone was off the track-- the race ends when the main pack everyone behind me was off the track. I felt pretty stupid. Then I found out the negative point rule and it all made sense. Oh well.

The track races were really fun! Karla was especially helpful and kind, giving me a bunch of pointers. She used to race at the track in Minnesota and is sick strong. She also lives in Oakland, which is unarguably cool. She also gave me some great pointers for my first crit at Fremont. Also, I met Angela's teammate, Katie, who was great to talk to. She didn't race Wed night, but will be racing soon. Exciting! It will be nice to have more women out there. Racing with guys is okay-- if I was faster I guess I wouldn't mind so much...but that just means I need to work harder to get faster, and be a smarter racer! The women there were fast Cat 2 racers-- so that isn't quite me. I am glad someone told me that, cause I just thought I was sucking big time!

I was pretty happy with my performance last night, even though I didn't place. What I was mostly happy about was how comfortable I was in the pack and moving around in the pack. With more practice, I think it'll get even better.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

mount diablo

Sunday I biked up to the Summit of Mt Diablo with my friend Michiko. Lucky me, she is training for a hardcore mountain biking extravaganza in Costa Rica, so after the Summit we got to go back up to the Ranger station. That is more climbing than I have done...well, ever. It was a great ride and with great company! I really love riding with Michiko. Even though she could kick my ass with only one foot clipped in, she still lets me come with her-- always talking me up hills with funny stories, cheering for her "team" on rides (that is, anyone wearing a red jersey), giving me descending tips and other free coaching services, and providing excellent company. That, and she rides a hot-t-t-t steel bike, understands the importance of ride pimping, and can TT up Tunnel in 0:00! (These are all very braggable qualities, and I list them because I can say I say I know and ride with someone this cool.) Anyway, the ride was great, and Michiko let my slow butt draft her all the way to Pleasant Hill BART cause I was too tired to bike back to Oakland.

I hear today that a Cal cyclist, Corinne, passed away. She was hit by car on the corner of Olympic and Newell, after biking home from a ride on Mount Diablo. Here is the newspaper article and a link with more information. I did not know Corinne, but my condolences go to her friends and family.

Hearing this really hit home, especially because I was riding in the same place that day, and I'm around Corinne's age. Personally, I don't think there is anything to say about drivers and cyclists or whatnot. It is just sad. Very, very sad.

Often I think, if only I improve my skills more I will be safe on the bike. But there are those things I can't control, just as there are many things off the bike I can't control. My time here is unexpected. I can just be thankful for the present. On Sunday, I am thankful I had a beautiful ride and wonderful conversation with a friend. I am sure Corinne had a great ride that morning/afternoon as well. Sadly, this death will not be the last of a cyclist. The ride is a beautiful thing, and if my life ends that way, at least my last moments were spent doing something I love.

Corinne, family, and friends, I am very sorry. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Today we completed 40 sprintervals! Sound like a lot?


We did 4 sets of 10 sprints, headwind/tailwind. I was a bit worried when we started cause people weren't slowing down much between laps. I figured I'd pace myself so I could finish, which I did. It was great having Angela to sprint with! Actually, I was pretty surprised that I felt okay and did so well. I thought 30 was a lot harder, maybe that is cause we didn't have a recovery lap with those. Also, I made sure to eat really well and drink a lot before, during, and after. And guess what? It is the next day, and no bike hangover! That is the real measure of success.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

track TTs

So Today I went to Hellyer for Track TTs. I was kind of nervous cause this was the first time I was riding my new bike at the track, and the first time I was doing time trials ever! The organizer, Warren, was really helpful beforehand and gave me some good advice about gearing, what to bring, and what events to try.

First, let me say this (i'll explain later):
  • Track riding is so much fun!!!!
  • Track people are so nice!!!
I was a bit nervous before my 200m cause they said my handle bars were loose, so someone tightened them. Then before the 500m, Keith was nice enough to tighten my headset and make sure I was safe. I really, really appreciated that! It was also cool to see Joe Fineman, cause I had met him in the fall when I was riding with the Duros. He gave me some good advice and yelled at me during my races. Also, there was this super nice women, Cece who gave me a bunch of pointers before the events and afterwards. She was especially great because she gave me one thing to think about for each event and was so nice! I also met some other people from Oakland, some of the Montano Velo track team, and a guy who builds frames in West Oakland. The organizer, Warren, was also so nice. Now I am just rattling on about people, so I'll get to the actual events.

I did three events: 200, 500, and 2000. I had no clue what to expect or what to do- so I'll just give you my ill-informed analysis.

Flying 200- I wasn't up to top speed at the start, so I needed to accelerate both sooner and faster. Also, I didn't take a great line off the banking and need to stay higher longer. I had a 14.56, so that seemed pretty good to me.

500m- Standing starts are hard. In fact, my arms are still sore today from them. It took me awhile to get up to speed and I need to work on that. My time was 43.99 (yeah, that .01 seconds!). I think I'll like this event a lot if a work at it.

2000m-The first lap was hard, those standing starts killed me. I had no clue how to pace this, so what I did was just count to 8 a couple of times of lap and tried to make sure my pedal strokes didn't slow down. I was pretty surprised this actually worked well. My first lap at 34+ seconds, and then the rest of my laps were 30-32, so I was pretty consistent. I finished tired, but think I could have went some faster. I had a 3:10, and I definitely want to break a 3:00.

All in all, I was pretty happy! I came in 3rd in all my events, but that doesn't really mean much. What I really want to do is improve next time I do them. Track is fun and I am excited to ride faster and learn more!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

meet my track bike!

Today I rode my track bike for the first time! The frame is a DiBernardi from the late 1990s. This was Erick Le's track frame that was too big for him. He gave it to Fred, and Fred to me. About a month ago, I built up the bike with Fred. While I did everything, it was all with supervision, and I don't know if I could remember how to do any of it again. But regardless, I am happy I put it together!

Anyway, today was the first time I road it. (Other than around the block a couple of times) I was still kinda sick from the sinus infection, so I just went to the port of oakland and twiddled around with Fred. The bike is awesome, but WHOA the gears are BIG! I have a 46x15 on it (which is about 82"). My other fixie was a 39x15 (about 70"), so I could really feel the difference. I don't know how i am going to turn these pedals.

Riding a new bike is really hard. I was hoping she'd feel perfect instantaneously, but not so. It just takes sometime to get to know each other, so I am being patient. I think it is just that I feel so comfortable on my Gunnar now, that it is hard to get used to a new bike -- especially one with really low handle bars that is fixed. Anyway, I will try to ride this bike one more time before the TTs at Hellyer next week. But, I am not too nervous for those, because it is just really just practice!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

sick for pescadero...

Today I was supposed to race Pescadero. I was pretty excited cause I went to try the course last Saturday, and I felt pretty good on the downhills. Anyway, Thursday I was feeling kinda sick and Friday it got worse-- sinus infection. Now I am on antibiotics. I am kinda bummed cause this was going to be my last road race this year, because I want to focus on shorter stuff for the track. But, there is always another race, so not that big of a deal.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

sprinterval hell

On Tuesdays, I have been going to Fremont for Sprintervals. They have been awesome and so helpful! Larry Nolan has been kind enough to organize a practice for a bunch of people and teaches us good sprinting form, helped up discover our strength and weaknesses in sprinting, given us exercises on leading out, coming around, bumping, and all sorts of other cool stuff! Everyone is so nice and it is great to meet other bikers! I have had a bunch of fun biking with Angela. I can also tell I am getting faster! The funny thing about sprintervals is you don't usually get tired until the next day, when you get a really bad bike hangover-- fatigue, grumpy, and starving. Even walking to the bathroom seems like a chore.

Today I have the worst bike hangover ever. Thus far, Tuesdays have been hard, but definitely doable. Usually I like to sprint with Angela -- who is awesome and has been so helpful giving me tips! There are also sometimes other women there who I can sometimes keep up with. And if no other women are there, I can usually count on a couple of climbers who I can at least stay within striking distance from, or draft off of for a little bit.

But today I showed up and it we me, Larry, and three guys. First, I looked at their faces and thought: "well, maybe i can hang." Then I glanced down at their quads and almost pissed my pants. These men's quads were about as big as my head. I knew I was in trouble. Then I find out we are doing 30 sprints! 30 sprints straight -- no breaks, headwind/tailwind 30 times!! Larry told me to draft and keep up with the guys, but the thing is within a half a pedal stroke those monster quads were already 8 feet ahead of me! So that meant a night of sucking wind (not sucking wheel!) The guys were really nice and went slow between sprints so I could catch up and then get blown away 29 more times. I don't know how I finished or how I made it back to BART. Anyway, long story short is today I feel like ASS.

Friday, June 01, 2007

tunnel road PR

Thursdays after jury duty, I have go up and down tunnel road. I do intervals going up, and then practice my descending, timing myself down. (Yes, I know downhill is technically a mountain bike race....) My downhill TT started at 9:20, starting my clock at a drain right after Grizzly Peak. That really sucks. But over the weeks I got faster, and last week I popped out a 7:48. I was pretty happy with that, but that probably still sucks. Anyway, today on my last time going down, I could tell I was nailing it. I couldn't wait to see my sweet time. At the bottom when I stopped my watch, it just as I had thought: 0:00. I totally defied the space-time continuum. Sweet.