Friday, February 15, 2013

pan ams - uncensored

i am not really sure why i wrote this title, as i really don't have anything to censor in the first place. but, maybe "uncensored" will result in a few extra clicks.  just for the hell of it, i'll throw in periodic cuss words, so my title isn't completely false advertising.  *#&%$  (be imaginative ... or choose your favorite cuss word)

and, if you are lazy and don't want to read - listen to my podcast with angela aldrich of norcalcyclingnews.com - i tried not to be boring on air, but to be honest, i think i am much better on paper.

background bull*#*@

it has been awhile since i blogged, so i'll give a bit of background to the pan am trip.  i was pretty jazzed to get the nomination.  i had done well there the year prior (in 2012), but i sucked pretty bad at track nationals this year.  i had crashed at crit nationals and had some nagging hip and leg pain, which i was pretty much in denial about.  anyway, i was slow and it sucks losing, especially after you've won before.

the picture pretty much sums up how i felt at nationals.

blah blah blah i took october off the bike.  i started a winter garden because i guess you can do that in the bay area.  (note: now the garden is very big, and if i wasn't sick i'd walk outside and take an update picture, but that is like 30 steps away, so i don't want to).

now i have lots of yummies in the garden....thanks to michael, cause he is the one who waters it.  i just take credit for it.

in off-season, some people are psycho and can't go for one day without exercising.  that was not me.  i am totally awesome at being a sloth.  i credit my ohio genes.  michael always calls me a union worker - clocking in and clocking out of my workouts. (i don't see what is wrong with this; you can always count on me to get my *#(@! done!)   anyway, in my time off i did absolutely nothing but talk to my plants for a couple of weeks.  i gave up stretching and hydrating as well, and ate french onion dip cause it is awesome.  i really like french onion dip.

when i started biking again, it sucked.  i was so bitter.  my leg still hurt and i almost threw my bike into a ditch, but that would have been a bit dramatic, so instead i threw some temper tantrums.  my destiny was clear --  i had to become one of those crazy hippy bay area people...  i started yoga.  i got acupuncture   i went to the chiropractor.  got some body work.  i even tried positive thinking. for real, i was out of control.  but, for reals, that &#*%# worked! and in a few weeks my leg was feeling good again.  it felt great to feel pain from going hard, not just that persistent nagging pain.

i was feeling good and we had a USAC track camp in janaury that was going to be selector for the panams.  luckily, i rode pretty well there and got the spot.  like i said, i was really excited to get the spot, as i was not so great at nationals this year; it felt really good to be back on track and feeling good.  anyway, after camp, i stopped roadie training and began trackie training. it was only a couple of weeks before panams, so i knew i had to improve my track mental skills too.  michael got mevictoria pendleton's autobiography for christmas, so i practiced my intimidating stares.



mexico city

after getting into mexico city, the adventure began - where the #*@(! is the track?  

like a bunch of idiotic gringos, we left the hotel and instead of getting directions, we saw a sign on the road that said "velodromo" and followed it.  we walked, went over some train tracks, walked some more, and proceeded into uncharted territory.  we arrived at the velodromo... that is, the outdoor velodrome of the 1968 olympics, and also a subway stop, called velodromo.  we were at the wrong velodrome in mexico city.  walked, walked, walked and finally made it to the correct one.  sprinters (especially boy sprinters) hate walking.  anytime i complain about walking, michael always tells me how gino bartali would walk for hours after a tour stage.... so i have learned not to complain about walking so i don't hear that story yet again.

we built up our bikes, and i hopped on the velo for a short spin.  i wanted to get on the track (not my rollers) so i could get used to it.  mexico city is at 7,600 feet, so that is pretty high.  it meant for some fast times.  it also meant for some strange sensations in the mass start races when i didn't recover as quick as i normally do.  

the velodrome was really hot in the late morning/mid-day.  there were these skylights, so natural sunlight could come in. but then it was sometimes high 80s during the morning sessions.  that is very hot, especially when there is no wind or circulation inside.

math, b*@(%#es

trackies LOVE geeking out about gears.  "what gear you in?" ..  "i need a bigger chainring, so i can use the 15t, cause that is the most efficient cog" ... you can go crazy mad talking gears with trackies.  it is kind of awesomely hilarious....especially if you just talk @*#($ and don't really know anything, like me. 

while gear talk is annoying, i have been around long enough, to know i need to pay attention to it.  long gone are the days of choosing one gear and staying in it for every race...like i used to.  before i got to mexico city, i did some serious dorkage research figuring out my gears.  let me explain....

the first day of racing was the individual pursuit.  figuring out my goal pace was a bit hard, because a) last IP i did i was injured and stunk, so i really had no clue how fast i could go, and b) the times were so different at elevation.  before the race, i made a big spreadsheet with people's times from the previous world cups editions, compared to that at the last world cup (which was in aguicalientes - which is at 10,000 feet...so somewhat comparable, i thought.) i was trying to figure out the the time differential between pursuits at sea level versus elevation.  to my comparison charts (which really was waaaaay too small of a sample size) it was somewhere between 6-10 seconds.  then, i guessed my current pace in LA, figured out my average cadence.  then i figured out my estimated goal pace at the track in mexico city and applied my optimal average cadence, and thus figured out what gear i should run.  DORK ALERT!  

my gear: 98" for the IP -- that is an %*#*ing big gear!

the racing

anyway - the pursuit went like this.  i went out *#@(*#ing fast, and then hit the wall like i never have before.  the thin air may make for fast times, but it also leaves you with some serious oxyogen deficit, especially if you don't pace well.  the last three laps, i had a serious case of the dizzies.  in track, the pole lane is marked by a black line on the bottom and red line on the top...  those last couple of laps, i was seeing six different lines, when i knew there should only be two.  when i finished, it took me a few cool down laps to stop as my senses were not all there.  ben told me i had a 3:36, and i was stoked, as that is pretty fast, even with my elevation calculations.







this photo is taken definitely before i started to see quadruple!

i made it into the final and was going to be racing maria calle for bronze.  i raced against her in the qualifier; and she had beat me, just in the last lap... i was leading the whole race.  so, maybe if i paced better, i'd be able to win the bronze medal.  i warmed up and was ready to go, then got the "cut it" sign from ben.  she was sick and scratched from the final.. so i got the bronze uncontested.  cool to win bronze, but would have preferred to race for it.



next day was the team pursuit - i was riding with lauren tamayo and ruth winder.  it was super awesome to get to ride with both of them.  lauren went to the olympics and won a silver medal, so it was a huge deal to ride with her in this event.  she was so helpful in giving advice and pointers to ruth and i.  ruth, i have known for years from racing in norcal, so it was really special to get to be on a team with her.  our qualifier went okay, and we made some adjustments for the final; we were racing venezula for bronze.  they won the final, but we had a much better ride than our qualifying.  it was a great experience riding with lauren and ruth and we'll all be getting better at this even in the next couple of years.




third day was the scratch race.  spoiler alert - i won!  lauren tamayo was awesome and i counterattacked off her, and took a lap.  that is the short of it.  the exciting part though, was my mechanical!  after a few laps solo (as i was taking the lap), i started to hear it - my srm speed censor.  (we'd moved it, as it wasn't picking up... but i guess the used electrical tape wasn't a good idea)  it started of mild enough....whoop whoop whoop, clanking on that 1 million dollar disc wheel.    i just kept going, because what was i supposed to do?  as i re-integrated with the pack, it started getting really loud, Whoop Whoop Whoop.  there were 20 laps left to go in the race, and i had just taken a lap, and all that needed to happen was me to finish and no one else get away, and i'd have won.  and there i am, with this speed sensor rubbing on my wheel!  all i could think of was either the wheel exploding or that censor getting stuck in there.  the the rumbling really started to get even louder WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP - everyone could hear it.  i was never given so much space in a track race.  i was white as a ghost for those twenty laps.  with about 8 laps to go the WHOOP just stopped.  i knew the sensor had fallen off and was just dangling there by a thin wire, and i was just hoping it wasn't going to get caught in the seat stays.  when i saw bell lap, it was such a relief.  i rolled off the track and think i was so rattled about the sensor scare, that it didn't really sink in that i was pan american champion.


the podium ceremony was super cool.  the rider from colombia had a 5 minute conversation with me (in spanish) about something.  i tried to tell her i didn't understand, but she seemed so happy to be conversing with me, that i just faked it.  i also got a sombraro which was super awesome.

here is a video nate koch - thanks nate!

i came back to the hotel room and was totally jazzed to be pan american champion.  i check my email and this is the first thing i see in my inbox:



for real?  &#*@$ you, strava!  and #&%*#@ you julie silva!  jesus, i only got 3 medals at panams.  had i stayed at home to train, i would have had DOZENS of strava medals.

anyways...

day 4 and 5 were the omnium.  i think i am more fatigued writing this blog post than doing 5 days of track racing, so i am going to speed it up.   in short, i got third.  like any omnium, there were ups and there were downs. getting bronze is cool, but it is way cooler to win.  third place does not get a sombraro.  

flying lap

some omnium mass start race

omnium pursuit - i know it was the omnium pursuit, because i always put on more and more rocktape as the week goes on.

 omnium pursuit

 omnium podium

now i am home from mexico city, and of course i am sick.  it isn't super bad, but enough that it is annoying and all i want to do is lie in bed... that slight fever, congestion, and cough.  it makes me unhappy to be sick, but at least it gave me a kick in the pants to get this blog post rolling.

huge thanks to all the usa staff and riders!  ben sharp was super awesome and helpful all week.  ruth and lauren were so awesome to ride with.  missy and maddy were great roommates.  travis smith and jamie staff were so helpful, and kevin, nate, and matt were awesome to be around.  thanks all!

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