je ne sais quoi

Friday, April 24, 2009

Post #216

I feel like I should have done a "200th post special" but that ship sailed several months ago, looks like. This blog's been around for a while now, and I keep writing in it, but the frequency is starting to dip. I guess it's a product of less racing, more distractions, and too many different communications channels (twitter, facebook, gmail). Ah well! Here's another entry.

This seasons results so far:

16th-CBR Crit #1 Long Beach
18th-Poor College Kids RR
4th-CBR Crit #2 Dominguez
13th-CBR Crit #5 Dominguez
14th-Devil's Punchbowl RR
7th-Chuck Pontius Crit

Not stellar, but definitely not bad. It's come to a point in crit racing where, regardless of form, I can put myself into the mix. It's almost May, and I've only done 6 races. I think I have to go back to cat 5 days to have that low a frequency, but yeah...getting rear ended does weird things. Anyhow, a few races to report on.

The 13th place at CBR #5 was pretty nice. I think it's times like these where all the base training pays off. 3 weeks off the bike, 3 weeks of suffering on the bike, and just like that: good form is back. The race was swell, put myself into a couple good moves. A huge break snuck off the front with 4 to go, and I took 2nd in the bunch (behind Demarchi) for 13th. Nice! If there was no break, top-5 was certainly a possibility.

Next we've got Devil's Punchbowl. The reason I found motivation for this one was my new (used) bike. No, I didn't get a cent from insurance yet, so I've been wheeling and dealing old bike stuff to try to get a new frame. I had the BB30 Cannondale cranks as a foundation, some Sram stuff, and most importantly, a sweet set of reynolds carbon tubulars waiting to go on a shimano/sram equipped bike. As luck would have it, I found a local guy selling an older Six13 in my size for an incredible deal. Fire-saled some stuff, scrounged up some cash, and picked it up.

In a word......DREAMY....and if you factor in the cost and condition and fit, well...there aren't any words. I've always been a light-bike junkie, but am well aware that dropping 50g off your bike isn't going to lead to any performance gain. However...going from 20lbs to 14 and change? That's a huge huge difference. Happy to say I destroyed the 40+ crew fromt the Barry Ride on it's maiden voyage on a Thursday morning a few weeks ago. I'm a jerk, I know. Still hurts not to have a powermeter. I still look down instinctively from time to time. I wish wish wish I could do a 20 minute test one of these days. Gah.

So. 6lbs off the bike and pretty decent form led me to take the start at Devil's Punchbowl. I think I DNF'd here my last two starts, and only really cracked the top 20 once in the lower cats. Tough course, espcially when it's cold and C-Walk sets pace on the first lap. It looked like it'd be more of the same this time, but with a twist. Most of the local only-come-out-to-hilly-road-races scenesters were out in force, but so was Monsieur Floyd Landis!!! Pretty cool to race with the guy, and even cooler because with a guy like that there, everyone waits for him to make a move...and he didn't. At least not at first. Walker attacked, and we sat. Conversation pace the whole way up the climb. Floyd drilled it the second time up, and I barely clung to the back of the peleton over the top of the climb. Hard stuff. 3rd time up I got shelled early, but had some pretty good company in Thurlow Rogers and Brandon Gritters. We caught up to the group right as the descent ended. 4th time was a breeze, with the break gone out of sight. Landis dropped out on this lap. 5th lap, I was shelled. In short, I was annoyed that our peleton/groupetto was moving slowly, yet the guy up front still put us all in the gutter at 8mph on the climb. Mixed some words, and set pace myself, only to pop off quickly and roll in for 14th. Saw Josh Webster get road rashed pretty good on the final corner. Unlucky. He was riding well up until that point. This was also the first race I ever used a compact gear. 34/50 up front, 11-21 in back. Perfect! But i'll never need that much gear (on the low end) for any race this year. I'm back on 53/39 again.

And...........the crit the next day. Chuck Pontius. The finest of the office park criteriums. Shady, a couple small rises, slight wind. Good stuff. I felt springy. Attacked off the gun, and surprise, I was actually marked. Let off a bit, then attacked again from turn 2 right into the gutter. I looked back and there was a solid gap. Put the head down, came through the start finish to the nice sound of a preme bell. Head down, I rolled through for the preme, and sat up. Lots of attacks, and two more premes later, I was back in the bunch. I broke a spoke on my front wheel at some point, and with the caliper QR, was able to roll it without much rub (pretty good considering it's a 16 spoke wheel). A serious break with some fast guys got up the road. I thought they'd be gone, but these guys in green jerseys were pretty motivated to bridge up. So after some driving...I looked back and it was about 10 of us with a solid gap, and the break in sight. We got to the break, 5 to go sounded, and we were already coming up on the back of the field. Weird. There were no games in the break, just solid pace setting. Last lap...saw a window to attack on the inside just before turn 3. Didn't. A guy did, and won. I kept it pretty timid with the broken spoke up front, and rolled in for 7th. Can't complain. But I've got a feeling a W ain't too far off.

Dana Point GP NRC sunday! $15,000! I'll see uz der.


Blogger Steve Weixel said...

Re: " Walker attacked, and we sat. Conversation pace the whole way up the climb. "

Um, yeah, I was just in front of you guys the whole way up through the feed zone and you all passed me right in the corner at the top. I could hear the conversations the whole way and it drove me nuts!

2:01 AM

Blogger Aram said...


Sorry to hear it Steve. Still better than dealing with walker drilling it, I think. :]

7:53 PM


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