Tuesday, June 29, 2010

thank you mr. adams

here is a picture i nabbed from someone. it is a picture of a track in italy that is no longer functional (obviously). it is a great reminder that tracks are not just a wood and concrete.... but rather are programs, people, community, and work, and a lot of love.

tracks are the people who love it enough to raise the flag up at every event....
or organize the dingy storage container....
or show up a race they aren't doing just to cheer...
or teach beginner classes, promote races, and run training sessions....
or spend a saturday making a concrete podium....
or spend four hours sweeping the apron...
or make sure all the rental bikes are in working order...
or make a run during a blistering hot sunday to get ice for everyone...
or check all the waivers to make sure they are signed....
or tell people about races on facebook...
or give someone a ride to a race...
or make a new person feel welcome....
or lend someone a wheel or chainring...
or give someone help at a race...

there are dozens and dozens of people that make my home track, hellyer, what it is today. but today i specifically want to thank rick adams for all he does to keep the track program up and running. without promoters, we'd have no races - and rick keeps the hellyer calendar full by having a race every wednesday from april to september so all of us locals can have fun beating up on each other after work mid-week. not to mention, he hosts one of the few big track races in the country so us locals have the opportunity to race against the fastest people across the country (and world) right at our home track. not to mention, rick puts on a number of saturday races...and is treasurer for the board of directors, and i am sure does a million other things.

my first year of racing i don't think i ever saw rick race himself, as he was putting on so many races. my second year, i traveled to the soulless track in LA (i'm not talking about encinco) to do a race, and who did i see but mr. hellyer himself, rick adams. *every single time* he stepped off the track he exclaimed: "isn't bike racing fun!!" with his eyes twinkling. i mean, *every single time.*

that is how we all feel on wednesday night track races, when we slog back to our car, completely exhausted. "isn't bike racing fun!!" ...not quite sure how we are going to fall asleep and then get back up early for work after all those crazy tempo, snowballs, chariots, points races with sprints every 3 laps, and whatever else rick has up his sleeve.

so, thank you, rick for keeping our track going. thank you for all that you give. and thank you for setting an example for us to follow. you certainly aren't the only one, but without you things certainly wouldn't be how they are. thanks again.

Monday, June 28, 2010

caption: athleticism

friday night i raced the track with the p/1/2 men. a "P" actually did show up. and that would be ben j-m. he thought it nice to heckle me why i am riding my nice wheels.... uh, cause you are here? pschaw.

anyway, it was pretty hard. i can't remember how long the first scratch race was. all i do recall, is looking at the lap card and seeing "26" and thinking: oh shit! but i hung in the whole race, unlike john simmons, who dropped out, which means i beat him. me and simmons have a battle of sprinting for like 15th place..so i always like to keep track of where he is. anyway-- it settled down with about 12 to go and i moved up a bit with 2 to go and then the pace slowed a tiny bit coming out of turn three, so i figured i was going to hit it and lead out the sprint. that was pretty fun, and it even landed me 8th place. i could have sworn to god someone took a lap in that race, but i guess not. i guess i was a bit blistery eyed and not all that aware.

the points race was not as bad for me. that is probably because i was in the pack and didn't take a lap like all the cool kids. anyway, i didn't score a point, and simmons did pass me in the final sprint. the miss n out was a big disappointment. i made a bad move. like i always say in the miss n out... i'm doing good, until i'm not doing good. but super fun friday night again! but, shit, riding with the men is exhausting.

well, anyway, the next day i super tired, and for that reason we decided to be over ambitious on our bike ride... going on some crazy stupid long hilly 4.5 or 5 hour ride or something like that. we went up morgan territory, then through the winds of livermore. michael took this opportunity to turn the screws and make me cry. then we hit some shitty section of suberbia going through dublin and i really lost the will to live. we had about 2 hours home, up some more hills and into more headwind. so we stopped at the chevron station to pick up some junk food. $10 can buy you a lot of calories.

apart from the amazingness of this consumption, was the visual image. bikes, spandex clad, strewn out on the gas station sidewalk binging on junk food. the visual image for anyone buying gas must have been remarkable. i wish we had a camera, because i would love to have a picture with the caption: athleticism right under it. for those of you who are health conscious, let's review:
donnettes: 430 calories; 18 grams of fat
half twix bar: 142 calories; 7 grams of fat
starbucks 13oz drink: 290 calories; 4.5 grams of fat
total: 862 calories; 29.5 grams of fat
frittos: 480 calories; 30 grams of fat
half twix bar: 142 calories; 7 grams of fat
starbucks 13oz drink: 290 calories; 4.5 grams of fat
total: 912 calories; 41.5 grams of fat
next day, sunday, was beat the clock time trial. fun event, for sure. it was a blast riding my road bike on the track during the warmup! it was a hot day and some fast times. i was happy to get a best time in the 200m, with a 12.8. this was cool for me because i had never broken 13 seconds. it just goes to show you: stop sprint training and you get faster. after i got my time, i made sure to text message annabell, carlos, and stephanie something along the lines of "12.8 sprinter bitches". to which the replies included:
  • not bad for a ROADIE
  • yeah, but how are the sprint rounds going?! (well, i didn't have sprint rounds, cause it was a TT day, but had it been a tourny, that would have been on point)... and my favorite--
  • about time you broke 13! btw, i'm 46 yrs old. (yeah, point taken, AB)
next was the 500m, which went shitty. it was perhaps my worst start since 2008. i feel like i say that a lot, but this time it really was. then my legs felt loaded the whole time and i never got on my pedals. i think this was a good lesson to cool down and warmup more between sprint efforts. next was the 2k, which i went out to slow on. last was the 3k, which i went much faster on, and had a big personal best again... so it was good to start and end the day with good news.

but, kuddos to the day goes to lala! man, that girl is getting faaaast-- she got a 12.7 in the 200 and then 39.5 or something like that in the 500m. really impressive-- so much fun watching her! i am excited to see her times go down and speed go up for the rest of the year. this also means that any mass start race i am in with her is going to be super hard so she gets dropped early. ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Testarosa Velodrome Challenge

The Testarosa Velodrome Challenge (formerly the American Velodrome Challenges) is one of the highlights of my season. It is one of the biggest track races in the country and draws on talent from across the country and even across the world.

Being a woman track racer, we don't get many opportunities to race in large competitive fields with other women, apart from nationals and a couple of other large track races in the Northwest over the summer. Add that to the fact that this one is at my home track -- and that it was one of my first races ever (where I got to match sprint Jennie Reed 3 years ago!)-- I was hoping to do well.

My first race was the keirin. The sprinters especially came out ready to play: Dana Feiss, Jen Featheringill, Tela Crane...not to mention the 2009 Australia Scratch Race champion, Laura Mchaughey, US Scratch race champion Shelley Evans and a number of other enduros who can sprint faster than the sprinters. My first heat, I was racing with Jen Tripplett and Shelby Reynolds. And what is there to say other than I got 3rd, and top two advance. That was a bit of a bummer, but the good thing about keirin racing, is you can race your way back into the final through the "repecharge". The girls in my rep heat were overly aggressive in the moto windup-- swinging out of the sprinters lane and bumping. The dudes got DQed for this, but not the chicks. I just made my way to the back, because it wasn't worth sitting in the wind for that. This meant I was just going to have to leave them in the dust. When the moto pulled off, I made a big run over the top, got a huge gap and soloed in for the next 1.5 laps. So, I was back in the finals. It was Featheringill, Feiss, Mchaughey, Evans, Tripplett, Reynolds, Crane, and me. I drew the pole, which mean I would be obligated to the moto, but my teammate Brian gave me a sissy throw ;) - so I ended up way back. This wasn't good for me, as I have difficulty knowing how to ride from the back in the keirins, but I made my move to early, and then got stuck wide in the wind and couldn't come over, so ended in 7th.

Next race was the points race. I ended up 5th in this race. Okay placing, but I was a bit bummed with how the race played out. It was 40 laps, with sprints only every 10 laps. Such few sprints really changes the race. Hanan from PB&Co got off the front and the pack was hard to motivate chasing it down. I went really hard for the 2nd sprint, and that is right when Jen Reither from VK bridged up. They ended up lapping. In the last sprint, I got to sprint side by side with Shelley Evans to get 2nd in the final sprint. That was pretty cool! Had I won that last sprint, I would have gotten 3rd overall, but you can't be upset getting 2nd to one of the fastest women in the world. Anyway, as I said, the race wasn't really as fast as I would have liked, so, I came back for day 2 really ready to tear it apart.

Saturday was the Miss n Out and Scratch race. The Miss 'n Out is my favorite race. I think it has it all... it requires good fitness, positioning, saavyness, sprinting ability, and plus it is exciting for the crowd. And when you are a whore for racing in front of crowds, it makes it all the best. There were a lot of girls in the race, so I wanted to make sure to stay out of trouble so I didn't get out. I set pace at the front for most of the race. This is hard, because it really tires you out, but better that than getting accidently eliminated. I was pretty confident in my fitness, so I stayed up at the front. When we got down to just a handful of riders Tripplett started drilling it in the pole lane, and we were lined up single file behind her. This was great for me, because I could draft, and I knew no one was going to be able to come over 3 people. The last three were me, Mchaughey, and Tripplett. Coming into bell lap, I attacked. Hey, team name is "Bell Lap!" Laura ended up coming around me, but I got 2nd!! That was super exciting! Also what is funny is the Women's Beginner Track clinic I put on funded the prize money for the race-- and then I got 2nd. So thanks to everyone who came out to the clinic!

Last race was the scratch race. I was in much better spirits after the miss n out. My goal for the scratch race was to make it as fast as possible to drop lots of people. This was accomplished. Attacks and counterattacks went off left and right. I can't remember many specifics, but that was probably because I was going apeshit in the race. I felt great and could recover so fast and just keep attacking. I had the fitness to be in every single move off the front and also had the positioning and pack awareness to see all the attacks as they were going. This was a really exciting for me. There was only one move I missed-- and that was because we were lapping some riders as an attack was going off, and then I had to bridge up. Anyway, with 4 to go Ruth Winder attacks off the front, and I go with her. It was a great move, but unfortunately Mary Ellen Ash started chasing up immediately.... right with Laura Mchaughey on her wheel. It was a bit of a bummer, but Ruth and I exchanged pulls, but I knew we'd be caught and we were at 1.5-2 to go. I stayed near the front and led out out the sprint again at bell lap. Wasn't probably the best idea because this time both Laura and Jen came over me, but I held on easily for 3rd place.

Well, that was my long TVC report. Overall, I was really happy with my racing (especially day 2!). It was a real breakthrough race for me. I knew I had made a huge step this year with all my improved fitness from road racing, but at this race I got to see that play out racing against some of the best track riders in the country. I am excited to get some more speed and power work in this summer and ready to contest some more track races come summer and for nationals.

Here are some awesome pictures from the most wonderful Garrett Lau! Thanks!

me & laura mchaughey in a sprint in the points race

miss 'n out
miss 'n out podium

bell lap on scratch race.... just cause the team name is bell lap, doesn't mean i always have to lead it out....

scratch race podium

Friday, June 11, 2010

match sprint? pschaw.

response to mr. miller

for those not privy to following the norcal cycling blog shittalking scene (mom, sorry i said shit.). let me review.
  1. rand miller expresses questionable interest in racing on the track on facebook.
  2. me, being the nice person i am, asks my boyfriend to write a nice blog post and use his pull to try to find the poor guy a bike. i also told my boyfriend that he could likely guilt rand into trying the track, by being done under the guise of telling rand that he himself will do a track race again. [this was, perhaps, a backhanded suggestion on my part to get hernando racing again. i am sick of beating him in city-limit sprints and celebrating with no one around to see it. i would much rather embarrass my boyfriend in public.]
  3. instead of writing a most excellent blog post like i told him to (i even outlined the bloody thing for him), he instead write a blog post in which he projects his man crush on me. i'm okay with that, but i just want to make it public record that it is hernando sifting through cycling race photos of rand's mullet [RIP] at 1am, creepily smirking at his Toshiba.
  4. then, mr. miller responds and challenges me to a match sprint. [let me finish my chronology, then i have a few words.] but, in short: it's on.
  5. Hellyer, anonymous blogger on norcalcycling, proposes we match sprint at 5pm on saturday, right before warmup at the testarosa vineyards velodrome challenge. let me just say, Hellyer, if you can arrange it... i'll dust that skinny quaded boy.

but, i just want to go on the record as saying: I HATE MATCH SPRINTING!


i tried to like it. i really did. but last year, after losing every single fucking match sprint i did. (sorry mom), i finally decided i was done with trying to be a sprinter. yes, i said i lost *every* match sprint i did at the AVC at hellyer last year. every one at the alpenrose velodrome challenge. and, yes, every one at FSA as well. and after that, i said no more. i'm done.

and now i am challenged. by rand miller. (who is probably going to be a douche and go all kilo on me.) to a match sprint. the race i hate. i really wish it was some race i liked doing, like a miss 'n out; however, i realize that the head-to-head of a match sprint is much more dramatic. so, i will concede. (but just this once.)

to pump myself up for doing my most detested track race, i watched some you tubes match sprints this week in order to channel some bad ass tactics.

if i had any sort of match sprinting skills, i would go all vickyP on him.

what exactly is going all vickyP?

no, i am not talking about posing nude on my track bike. i'm talking about her most intimidating match sprint tactics that make me just watching it on universal sports, shudder and want to curl up in the fetal position and be held.

this is my favorite:
http://www.universalsports.com/video/assetid=5b6609eb-4fd3-40fc-a25d-8e8795325008.html fast forward to 1:45:55. see how she looks straight back for two laps straight. around the turns, on the 45 degree banking. all while scowling. [shudder] that poor russian probably shat her pants.


well, i won't do that, cause i can't look behind me like that and not hit the fence. but, it doesn't matter. i can scowl really good. evidence by any photo ever taken of me while bike riding.

so-- go ahead rand, go borrow a fancy pantsy BT bike with disc wheel and moster gear. me and my 36 spokes will leave you somewhere in turn 2.

see you on saturday, bitch.

(sorry, mom, that was for intimidation effect)

Monday, June 07, 2010

humiliation in chronological order

i need to respond to rand miller, but first i want to talk about myself. my response will come tomorrow.

well, despite a string of road races earlier this spring that led me to believe "yes, i can do this road racing thing!", the month of may told me loud and clear: "go back to the track, bitch!!"

so there you have it... track it is. you heard it first on beth bikes! "i will not do another road race in 2010. i will not do another road race in 2010."

so, how did my utter confidence shattering occur?

let's back up. it all started the week of the sacramento grand prix. as you know, i was very excited about the race. it was a big week for me. i got to ride with pros. and my bell lap team kit finally arrived! i was ready for the big times--- [and by big times, i mean matching jersey and bibs....]

or, so i thought.

fail #1: scotts valley grand prix

the highlight of my race occured in the second number one of the race. i lined up at the back of the pack. i was right behind tibco's megan guarnier. the whistle blew. i clipped in immediately. megan fumbled and missed her pedal. i said: "rookie". she guffawed so loud i could still hear it at turn 1. eat it, megan.

yep, that was the highlight of my race.

i think i tail gunned the entire thing. this wasn't on purpose. i tried moving up. *i did!* but then i ended at the last place again and again. it was apparent i sucked, so i made some bargains with myself to try and give myself little confidence gains: "beth, just try to be second to last around that turn next lap..." then, sure as shit, i was last again. anyway, it was pretty much pathetic how i was mentally incapable of racing my bike that day. i was so disappointed in myself, i thought the only fair thing to do was be sure i was very last across the finish line. it seemed an appropriate day to dfl, given how much i sucked.

the only up of the race was i got some good pictures of me in my new team kit.

unfortunately, i couldn't write a race report for the team blog. a post titled: "well, at least i looked good" with a few pictures apparently wasn't good enough for a race report.... (don't ask my why... that is really the only reason a chick is on a masters men team anyway).

[thanks rob evans & paul duran for my picture poaching. not that i asked you or anything...]

the is the team kit in full body form.

apparently i am happy at the start line. this is funny, because about 7 seconds later, i went from happy to extremely frustrated.

if you want to know what tail gunning in action looks like, this is it. yes, the dopey face is done even while tail gunning.

fail #2: sacramento grand prix

well, i can't actually call this a fail. my goal for the race was not to be tail gunning. i succeeded in that. i was perhaps near the back a lot, but not on the back very much at all. and sometimes i was even in the middle of the pack. and on one rare occasion, i was even in front of the pack!

that was when i went for a prime... but got second.

in a one-place prime.

so, there you have it, fail. but again, i got some sweet pictures of the race. my goal was to race near some pros and get a photo of it, so i am happy to say i got some pictures of that.

dopey face #7,841. looking good, as always.

not last. see, that girl in red is clearly the last one around that turn. or, actually, there is someone even behind her. score! i'm so far up!

here is me, not winning a prime. it looks like i am winning doesn't it? well, that is because you can't see the girl in front of me. (that would be the girl from lithuania) despite losing, they should have given me the $100 because i am from america. she can win primes at the vilnius grand prix.

so this is proof that there are famous people around me. sure, at first glance, it might look like a lot of local riders... but i will specifically point out jessica philips at the front of the picture, the time trial national champion. so there you have it, my goal for the week: complete! got my picture taken behind someone famous! thanks garrett lau for the pix!

thanks so much to the wells fargo team for letting me race with you that weekend. it was a really cool experience! thanks to cody for letting me wear her kit, and susannah for letting me feel all cool and wear her helmet and shades so i matched and felt totally official. also, sorry emily & cody- i forgot to give you candy before the race. it was in my pocket ready to distribute, but i forgot, as i was distracted by the "i chose sram" commercial on the big screen, and failed to hand out the peach rings... then after the race, they were kinda sweaty and gross, so i opted not to hand them out. next time, i owe you.

okay, so fail 2 wasn't so bad. i rode mid pack, lost a prime, and got a picture of myself behind someone famous. but, this blog post is about failing, so try to think of the negative as much as possible. 34 people finished ahead of me. how is that for glass half empty?

fail #3: mt hamilton road race

what was i thinking??? good question. i don't know!

it went like this. it was blazing bitches fast from the gun up the mountain. never did i think i would see a pack strung out single file going up mount hamilton, but sure as shit, it was. i made it to the first downhill section of the climb (there are 3 uphill sections) with the pack. the girl who was drilling it suddenly was near me, so i rode sketchy for 30 seconds to prevent her from going back to the front and setting an unreasonable pace. i pretended like i was playing high school gym class basketball, dodging left and right. then she rode on the gravel to get around me, and sure as shit, there we go again! i made it half way up that second climb, til i popped off the back.

this was pretty demoralizing, because we were probably 13 miles into a 60+ mile race. after a minute, i saw a group of 4 ahead of me that was also off the back. i tried to catch them, but i am fat track rider, so that didn't happen.

then some chick caught me near the top, but she went down hill so fast, i was again alone. here is a picture of me going down the hill like an old grandma. it kind of looks like i am constipated. apparently the girl who dropped me like it was job on the decent wasn't even drilling it, as she could wave to the camera...

i just point that out to show how lame i am.

then i rode alone for a *very long time*. then some girls passed me and said hi, as they were riding in men's pack. then i rode more alone and started feeling like a big loser. then i started cursing my boyfriend for going to the finish line and not the feedzone, cause i wanted to quit, and now i had no choice but to finish. then i started to feel more and more sorry myself. then i started crying. for a second, i had a vision of tom hanks in that 'league of their own' movie-- his stupid speech about no "crying in baseball". then i had a vision of me punching tom hanks in the face and proceeding to my sob fest. then a pack of 6 girls caught me right as i was snotting on myself, so i latched onto them and was thankful i had sunglasses on, so they didn't see me all red-eyed being a pathetic, self-loathing dropped rider.

wow, that is lame.

anyway, the race continued. there was this obnoxious group of guys we kept bunny hopping with. i grew to hate them. as they'd sit up everytime we passed them. going into the finish, we even tried to giventhem lots of space between us, but, then with 2k to go they sat up so much, that we caught them again. wow, they sucked. (especially the dude below.) with 1k to go, i just started leading it out, cause i was pissed off at these men.

here is me scouling at the biggest dipshit of this group. he was the one who kept leading the guys passing us, then sitting up approximate 1 second later. i am so happy my sentiment here was caught on film. lauren hecht then blew by me and all the guys, and i was never so happy to be passed by someone. i wish there was a picture of that too.

so, yeah, that race made me feel like a pretty big loser.

fail #4- memorial day criterium

so much so... that i decided to not even show up at memorial day criterium. yep. awesome, huh?

that is the attitude of a real athlete- quitting!

fail #5- butterfly criterium

i got up at 5am.... for a 3pm start. micahel was announcing, so we got there early. had a nice ride in pacific grove. i chatted with some cat5 guy on my little morning spin as he was cooling down from his race. it was pretty classic.
"that was my first race. it was really hard. i am not used to taking turns like that. i mean, there were some cat 2 and cat 3 guys who were riding in my field."
i guess ben stern downgraded from a cat2 to a cat5 for the butterfly race!

[as you can see, i still feel entitled to talk shit........despite sucking.]


anyway, back to me sucking....

i think i got dropped in the first lap.


first lap.

honestly, i wasn't worried about getting myself gapped off, i figured i would just close it. then we went around another turn and it got bigger. then another turn, and i was definitely off the back. then i chased, thinking i could catch back on. then i gave up.

i think i did 3 laps, then the boyfriend who was announcing gave me the axe sign.

i was in awe. i got dropped. from a criterium. in the first lap.


so i did what any respectable person would do.

i went to my car, covered my face with a sweatshit, and cried like a baby for the next 2 hours.

i won't try to play-off like i took my utter failure well. i didn't. i took it like a 3rd grader.

unfortunately, i still got some pictures of myself. how in only 3 laps your presence gets documented to the world, i don't know. i was hoping to just hide and pretend that this never happened, but no, those photos demonstrate my presence at the butterfly criterium

thanks steven woo for documenting my humiliation.

this must be lap2. when i actually thought i could catch back on. i poached this "unregistered" from KSBW for publicizing my dropped face in your newspaper without my permission.

and here is my laughing... that i am so dropped...in the first 5 minutes of race. laughing from utter disbelief, not actual pleasure.

it's a super big bummer i sucked so bad for this race, because the fields were small, the prize money was $1,000. and i need to buy a washer/dryer.

why can't my life just work out?

well, if you'd like to a snapshot of my life in the last month according to usacycling, you can see how much i stink:

well, i thought writing about my shortcomings would be therapeutic. but actually, this post got me kinda depressed. i am going to go eat some chocolate. oh wait, there is no chocolate at home. so, i think i will do the next best thing and gnaw on my fingernails...

in an attempt to make myself feel better, let me give myself a little pep talk. "beth it hasn't been all bad this past month! [fake smile] track has been going pretty good. [fake smile] road racing is lame. [real smile] no more road racing in 2010. [real smile] no more road racing in 2010. [real big smile]"

okay, i feel better now. perhaps another day this week, i will write about the fun track races.... but not know. i am tired of blogging. this post is much too long already.

and there we have it. road racing: it was fun for a little while. but in the end, track racing is just better.