Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Goin Blue Collar @ Sisquoc

Saturday, April 19th ...
Well, time to race, only number 3 in my very short rein of madness ... standing at the registration table anxious both to register and to see cat4 finish since I know Peter will be vying for top 3 spots ... OK, go sign the waiver ... then a GASP from the "audience" basically all the other cyclist watching, and "carnage" in cat4 finish, I mean something went way wrong and dust and bikes and at least a couple people were tumbling and it was fast. Hmmm, maybe today would be a good day to stay upright I thought when Eric leaned over and said is that Pete, it was just rolling in after the major spring, their finish was sketchy, I think someone dropped a chain ... OK, this sport is not for wussies.

Race starter calls out Cat5 pre-regs, since we now have a second group "the public" .. we roll-out and the someone sez "here comes the other racers", and proceeds to say "get ready, go" and were off ... that was sweet, no time to even hang and get all fuzzy ... And then Brian B and Brian H are leading us out and Eric K is also looking strong, wow, I think, we may do something here. Lap1 is all about Chicken Ranch as the first break occurs with one rider going out front 100yds and I'm thinking ..I can bring the Brians and Eric up to him no prob and so I wheel out of my comfortable 10 position and bridge the gap for my teammates and now by Sisquoc, Brian H is still in it and giving me encouragement, "go Rick ya", on we go to Palmer, Cat Canyon and the feed zone when we hit Dominion to climb I'm psyched and what the road if full of the other group, and me being a gentleman and single , it was the Cat 4 women I honor yellow line and try to make some groovy eye contact and realize, the married guys and cheeseballs are all off the front as I meander through the "girls". So, four of us are several 100 yards off the back and guess who bridges again, moi. I had help as one other rider pulled through with me and by Start finish line we are one again with peloton.

LAP2: fast and just in the group with no big deals ... Eric and I get to hold a conversation and I inform him the Brian's are behind in the second group and we were on our own ...

LAP3 (our last lap): ... the excitement is building and a rider goes off right about the start/finish and is looking strong and who responds, no not me this time :) , but my teammate Eric K and I'm thinking again, SWEET! So, I'm on his wheel in number three position and we are cruising and as we hit the roller on Orcutt Carey Road I am feeling, well "intoxicated" and I hammer up the little tilly hilly and I am on the leaders wheel and BOOM: I'm hammering over the top and hit it and jump past the leader and get a couple hundred yard lead (@ 24 mile mark) by Foxen Canyon I'm out of saddle and pouring it on and getting what seems to be the biggest lead by any rider in the race for as long as any rider and think, can I hold this? No! So I manage to get reeled in right about the town of Sisquoc .. when one of the riders behind me said (to let me know I was caught) "nice shorts, your teammates must love riding behind you ..." because I sport TEAM Chicken Ranch large size with major stress fractures on my seams and hiney is poking, you get the pic, when I reply "not as much as you do pal!" and then proceeded to hit it and stay out front well on to Palmer (@ 27.5 mile mark) but as I let up the whole peloton let up and the original dude who broke on Lap1 was off the front and I said "that's trouble" and I was right ... no one reacted and I was ready for a beer by then. I was wishing Dan R was in the race at that time! So, I stayed in front until the feed zone and the bumps ate me up so I knew I was in trouble .. when I got out of the saddle to climb on Dominion road is was OVA and my legs were cramping so I sat down fast, unzipped my jersey and hung on in the back of the pack and watched the race from there, including Eric K doing his best to hang but it looked like we both had "rookie fever" and we grateful for our 2008 season as a CHICKENS ... when I wheeled over to congratulate the winner. I hear "gratsi" instead of "thank you" and think, OK Italian ...EPO :)

... in my mind I rode the most aggressive and in Eric's words .. "Rickydude, you had some great TV time out there!" but I also rode like the fool that writes this spew (get me out of your spam filter!).. next year I'll win a Cat 5 stage for us and hope to have Eric K on my wheel for #2 ... if I can stay healthy!

I rode blue collar all year in a white collar sport and I LOVED it!

PEACE all and meet Peter S and I for a brew at Hollister B.C. once we bust a move on what day next month!!!!!

Love, RD

Rick Martz

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blinger & Gabe @ Sisquoc

My depression has finally worn off enough to do a race report. As some of you know, I had trained and focused on doing well at Sisquoc. The idea of the top 6 guys splitting $300 worth of merchandise motivated me beyond my imagination.

This weekend Gabe allowed me to set the schedule. Thus instead of arriving 4 hours before the start of the race, we arrived 1 1/2 hours before the start so we could have a relaxing warm up and pin our numbers. Gabe took offense to my last write up so this weekend he arrived with one small bag, one cooler, and no extra wheels. He left all his lubrication, extra food, pillow, and extra chamois cream at home. I think he was trying to starve me so that I would realize how good I had it at La Mirada. It worked.

While warming up I felt I was on a great day. You know the feeling when the cranks turn over really easy. I felt for sure I would win the race and take the first place prize (floor pump) home. To digress, it was this race a couple of years ago where Pops Larsen and Flood came riding into the finish together. They were teammates and coming in for 6th place with no one around them. Seated and dribbling in, at the last minute Pops jumps out of the saddle and beats his teammate Flood. Now granted, this is not the TDF, but still? Nipping your teammate at the line?

In the 4,000 emails that went out about this after the race, someone asked Pops if he really needed the 6th place prize which was a multi-tool.

In one of the great email comebacks of all time, Flood wrote, "Pops is a multi-tool."

Anyhow, we line up for the race and I think there were 70+ guys in the 3's. I also heard the 4's sold out and the other fields seemed larger than usual. Randy decided to upgrade to CAT I that morning so it was only Gabe and I. I love the staging area. The stuff you hear is unreal. First Gabe spots a guy on a 2009 Specialized. I ask Gabe how he knows it's a 2009 and not a 2008. Gabe says, "Because the Specialized sticker on the seat tube is filled in instead of being outlined." Holy shit. I had $5,000 Lasik surgery and I couldn't see that. Clearly we were outgunned as people were already on 2009 equipment.

Then each guy who is fit and tanned must go through the litany of medical conditions currently afflicting him. It's amazing how many people are either: (i) sick; (ii) just coming back from being sick; (iii) planning on getting sick; or (iv) haven't trained for this race.

The race started and it's a 6 lap affair over an 11 mile course. There's only one real climb on the course but some nice rollers. We put my 13 year old son Charlie in the feed zone with bottles for all. For those of you who have never received a "feed" from Charlie, you're missing out. He's a boy-scout and he loves bike racing. There is no one more serious and customer service oriented in the entire feed zone than Charlie. Grabbing a bottle from him is like a lifeline. He was wearing a Little Fred Leprechaun Bike Jersey just to top things off.

On the first time up the climb, it felt pretty hard. There were lots of strong guys and I thought uh-oh, this might be harder than I imagined. I then started thinking about last year when I had a lot of trouble finishing CAT 3 road races due to my fitness. I decided I better be mellow and conserve energy if I wanted to finish. Great state of mind for a bike race.

Couple of laps later, we get to the base of the climb and I shift down to my small ring and drop my chain. I probably could have predicted this. It's never happened to me before in a race so you might ask how I could predict this? Well, I was looking at pictures of Cadel Evans' bike from the TDF and he has one of those third eye jobs on his seat tube. So I've been cruising the web looking for one but not wanting to spend $3.95 on the wrong part, I held off ordering it so I didn't have one on my bike. Plus I probably should hold off for the 2009 model. I hear the plastic is .05 grams lighter.

So now I find myself at the bottom of the climb, chain off, dismounted, and unable to put the chain back on. As the peloton rides away from me, I think to myself this would really suck to not finish. So I jam the chain back on and remount. By now the peloton is quite a ways up the road and I see Gabe drift to the back and look back at me. I throw it in the big ring and begin the chase. However this is CAT 3 racing and not the TDF so as I start to bridge up, I get behind the follow vehicle carrying the spare wheels. Instead of helping me bridge up, the guy pulls across the double yellow and into on-coming traffic in order to deny me any draft. It was one of the safest driving maneuvers I've ever seen in a race.

Anyhow after a bit of a chase I got onto the back of the peloton. In reality, it didn't take that much effort and guys were blowing out the back and getting dropped. It was kind of like playing Frogger as I weaved my way through the carnage. In retrospect, instead of being bummed and dejected for having to do that effort, I should have taken solace in knowing I had enough form to chase the pack down even as guys were getting dropped. Gabe then paced me back to the front of the pack where I had been riding pre-chain incident. After a couple of more laps, I was all recovered and ready to go for a mediocre finishing spot.

With 1 1/2 laps to go, Seth from Platinum snuck off the front with another guy. Going up the climb the 2nd to last time, I expected the race to explode with a chase. It didn't happen. I was just sitting in spinning up the climb. Very little effort needed. Another 3 guys bridged up to Seth so now the break had 5 guys. I still sat there spinning using little effort. This was the point I should have made my move. However fear, mediocrity, and uncertainty took over the day.

As we went through the start finish line with 1 lap to go, Gabe rode up to me and said he was going to try to bring the break back. I was unsure of how much effort he had left in him as he was only on a 2008 model frame and I expected guys up front to be on the 2009 models.

All kidding aside, Gabe rode straight to the front (at this point we were probably down to 45 guys) and hit it. We were drilled single file. Gabe continued to hit it. He completely sacrificed his chances in order to try to bring the break back so I could contest the sprint. We started to nudge closer to the break and a couple of miles later Gabe was still on the front! Drilling it! It was awesome to see.

Gabe dropped back and as he slid past the peloton, numerous guys congratulated him on an enormous pull and a huge effort. But wait, it wasn't over. As we twiddled along on the flats before the climb, Gabe went up to the front again! Now we're something like 60 miles into the race and he's gunning it a second time. Again we nudged closer to the break. I started to think that Gabe's efforts would pay off as at the bottom of the climb, the break was in site.

Gabe dropped off as his work was done for the day and I prepared myself for the explosion that would take place on the final climb. I moved towards the front and waited...and waited...and waited. No explosion, not even a ripple. I made it up the climb with no effort. Again, had I been using my head, I would have ridden hard, attacked, at least broke a sweat. I kept waiting for others to take the initiative as I thought they were stronger than me. It turns out they were just mentally stronger.

From there it was more mediocrity as the 5 guys stayed away and I rolled in for 12th place. No floor pump. Not even a multi too.

We drove home and I swam with the kids, jumped on the trampoline, went to dinner, and saw a movie. You may ask why I give this much detail? Well, after a 66 mile road race, one should be wasted. However, if one rides like a scared pansy, then one is not tired and has a full night's activities. Woke up Sunday morning fresh as a daisy but skipped SLO. No one else was going to be riding in my race so racing alone did not appeal. Instead I went to World's where I actually rode harder than in the Sisquoc race. Go figure.

Thanks to Gabe for his Herculean effort and to my son Charlie for always being there in the feed zone. I am convinced more than ever that it is better to use your full effort and not finish, then to sit and claim 12th...


The Secret Is French Roast!

Truth really is stranger than fiction.

My first California Road Race did not turn out like I had planned at all. I signed up for the Cat. 3s to race with Blinger and Gabe. The morning started innocently enough, except that I ran out of French Roast coffee beans and was forced to use some Italian Roast coffee beans that I don't really like. Carson Blume had graciously offered me a ride to the race and we enjoyed good conversation the entire way. Life was good, except for coffee bean situation.

My race was scheduled to start at 10:35a.m. At 10:30 a.m., they called the group up the line. I was number 264 and I looked around and saw numbers 232, 240, 248....."OK".

The official was quick and mentioned the yellow line rule and that we were racing 7 laps. "No we aren't" I said to myself. "The flier said 6 laps." Oh well, I'm sure he just got it wrong. "Hmmm.....Blinger and Gabe better hurry up, we're about to start." A few moments later, we started and a few moments after that, the attacks started.

It was fast. Very, very fast. The attacks didn't stop either. I was in the mix and actually made it into a break and we were riding away from the group - until a couple of guys intentionally sat up, causing a split in the break. I didn't have the gas to bridge the gap, so I went back to the group. There were a dozen or so more attacks made by guys who wanted to be in the break but by then, I was in the red and I could not respond. Then we hit the climb. I'm sitting about 6th wheel at the base and "BAM!" - guys are flying around me. I'm clawing, scratching, and doing everything I can to stay with the group. "Man, this is the fastest Cat. 3 race I have ever seen" I said to myself. Suddenly, I am now at the back, or what was left of it. 15 or 20 guys were dropped on the climb. Not pretty. "Where is Blinger and Gabe?" I thought to myself. I asked the guy next to me if there had been a crash on the first lap and he said: "No."

The next lap was more of the same: fast, fast, and more fast. At this point, I realize that I don't have the legs. These guys are really strong and I am in trouble. I cannot believe how much faster the Cat. 3s are here in California! A lap or so more (I can't remember, my brain was oxygen deprived and was not fully functional), I look over at the guy on my right and he has tatoos all over his face and I remembered thinking "that was weird". Then it hit me! "Oh hell, I've seen that guy in VeloNews!" Uh oh! A couple of seconds later as if on cue, Ben (Platinum rider, we talked before the race) drifted back, looked at me and said: "I thought you were racing the Cat. 3s." I responded: "Yeah, I thought I was racing the Cat. 3s too!"

Well now, it was obvious at this point, even to me, that this was indeed NOT the Cat. 3s. "What to do, what to do?????". "Well, I'm here, I might as well hang on as long as I can." Sometime later (I truly have no idea...) we catch the Cat 4s. It was ugly. Our lead car took us around the Cat. 4s - IN THE FEED ZONE!!!!!!!!! The Feed Zone is the most dangerous place on Earth on a normal day, but this was insane. About that time, a white pickup truck (why is it always a pickup truck?) was coming the other direction, horn blazing, and he wasn't slowing down. I truly thought I was going to die. It was pure chaos. We were able to merge into the Cat. 4 group, but then we had to extract ourselves and by then, the guys in the front punched it up and over the climb. I chased, and chased, and chased. and chased some more. People were everywhere. It was pure carnage. When I started getting very dizzy and my field of vision was narrowing, I figured that it was time to admit defeat. I hate getting dropped, I really do.

Four or five of us re-grouped and chased like mad men. The gap was coming down (wishful thinking probably) but when we hit the short steep hill between turns 1 and 2, it was clear that even if we caught them, it would be at the base of the climb and we would be so blown that it wouldn't have mattered......So, that was that. Shortly thereafter, the Cat. 4s caught us, we sat on the back with a big 30-50' cushion, and rode in. The funny thing is that the Cat. 4s were unknowingly "running sweep" for the Pro/1/2 race. Half a lap later, one of the guys that was chasing with me says: "I see a bunch more our our peeps....." I look up and indeed there was. By the climb, there was probably 20 Pro/1/2s in the Cat. 4 bunch. Too funny.

After it was all over, I was asked: "Are you going to race in SLO tomorrow?" To which I responded: "Not in the Pro/1/2s I'm not!"

Moral to the story No. 1: As my father used to say over and over and over: "Preparation is 9/10ths of the Conquest." So boys and girls, make sure you have the proper coffee beans for your espresso machine on race day! It can make a world of difference! :-)

Moral to the story No. 2: Apparently they will let just about anybody race with the Pro/1/2s! heck, I don't even thing registering is required!

I love a good story, even if it is "on me." I'm still shaking my head over the comedy of events today. Oh yes, a truth really is stranger than fiction!

Randy Tinney

P.S. - I like to think that I am at least of average intelligence. But then again, only two weeks ago did I figure out that the Chicken Ranchers are a bona fide, U.S.A. Cycling-sanctioned club!

Our Lady @ Sisquoc!

Hi Everyone!

Well, I survived Sisquoc. It's the only race I've done 3 times (2 years ago, it was my first race, after only owning my bike for <1 month). I don't have a lot to show for it, results-wise, but I do feel better about my fitness this year than last year. I raced the 1/2/3 race, and I did get dropped, but not until the 3rd lap this year, and I felt MUCH better about my climbing :-). I got gapped due to being behind a girl who had a rubbing brake, and I wasn't quite smart enough to notice the gap until it was too big to close. Oops. Then, although I did use all of my descending skills, hitting a top speed of 48mph, I couldn't catch back on. Anyway, I finished feeling pretty strong, at least until I tried to get off my bike and my hamstring cramped like nobody's
business. Ouch. I got 19th overall, out of a starting field of >30.
Only 24 finished, however...

Anyway, I don't have the exact results of the other Ranchers, so you'll have to wait for their reports. I do have to point out, though, that not only are chicken ranchers fast bike racers, they are great teammates. On the way to the race today, I ran over a nail and put a hole in my CAR tire...and by the time I got to the race it was well on its way to flat. Randy, Brett, and Mitch all helped me change my tire (basically not letting me do any of the work, but letting me get my hands dirty so it looked like I did), and Gabe and Blinger supervised the job :-). So I was happily on the road home without incident.

I was going to race tomorrow, but the thought of getting on the road at 5am is really unappealing, and with a work deadline looming that i forgot about, I might not see you in SLO tomorrow....and go to Worlds instead.

Have a great day, and thanks again. It's great to be a Chicken Rancher.

Kimberly Turner

PS. Also thanks to Charlie Zimmerman for his superb feed zone efforts.
He made taking a feed easier than ever.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So, I'm Officially Ticked Off

I just can't believe what a bunch of hacks some of these professional cyclists are!

To find out that someone who won 2 stages in this years tour has tested positive for EPO is just completely disheartening. I have lived through the Landis drama, not to mention Ullrich, Basso, & Hamilton.

I was really getting excited having a mountain biker I had watched race lead the hardest race on the planet. It may be Cadel's year.
I was going in to this years Tour with the idea that this bunch of athletes didn't have any choice but to clean up their cumulative acts. I guess I was wrong.

What's next? Christian Vandevelde and Cadel Evans test positive. Maybe Mark Cavendish is some kind of test tube mutant created to do nothing but win sprint finishes.

Truth be told I started writing this yesterday and still found myself drawn to the T.V. this morning to watch today's stage unfold. It had a little of everything, seeing one of the riders in the break flip off a spectator, a spectacular crash where a bike was absolutely destroyed, and the final sprint where elbows and knees were flying still suck me in.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop from watching the Tour but this last round of positive drug tests is making it increasingly hard to think of myself as something other than a World Wrestling Federation Junkie.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Deer Valley National

So last week I made the (loooong) drive out to Park City, UT for the NMBS race @ Deer Valley. Was able to preride the course on Thurs and Friday and have to say it was probably the best multi-lap course I’ve ever done. Started out with a 7-8 minute climb up an access road turning to single track followed by about 10 minutes of sweet downhill and sidehill single track through Aspen trees. Super smooth, perfect buffed out singletrack. After that another 10 minute or so climb up singletrack followed by another 10 minutes of single track down hill. Out of the 7.1 mi loop, about 5+ miles were singletrack. And oh yeah, it started at over 8k’ and went up to 11k’ so the air was a little thin.

Sat. morning 8 am start brought 60 degree temps and smaller fields than the other nationals I’ve done in Fontana and SY this year. Only 10 guys in my Expert 35-39 group. Gun went off and the usual chaos ensued. One guy took off and had about 100 yards on the field about 200 yards into the race (straight uphill). I figured he was gone or would blow spectacularly. The rest of the field was fairly bunched up. I was in about 6th but only 20 seconds or so from the 2nd place guy. Stayed that way until about ¾ through the first lap when a very large, giant actually, bee flew into my helmet and wouldn’t come out. I had to stop quickly and get it out and was passed by three guys putting me in 9th. I was feeling ok but stayed in that position through the first part of the 2nd lap before passing a few guys at the end of the first climb. Things were still bunched up and was hoping to just maintain and put in a good effort on the final lap. That worked and at the start of the 3rd lap I put in a good effort on the first climb and was able to move up to about 5th. I then saw the 4th place guy and picked him just before the end of the first climb. I was stoked as this would have been my best result by far in a national this year. I then started to see the 3rd place guy about 40 seconds ahead. I seemed to be gaining on him on the downhill and he really started coming back on the second climb. Just before the top of the final climb I was on his wheel and made the pass into 3rd. Bombed the dh and suffered severely up the couple of small inclines before the finish to hold on for 3rd. Ended up about 1:40 behind the 2nd place guy and 5 minutes behind the guy who had blasted off at the start. Later found out he was from CA and took second at Firestone this year, ahead of Chuck Ross (who has won every other race this year) so it wasn’t a surprise that he ran away with it.

Great race and a good weekend. Got in some other rides on the road and mtb and they were all epic. High alpine, great time of year with everything green and perfect weather.

On a related note, my friends neighbor is on the mtb board of trustees for USA Cycling. She informed me that they were doing away with Semi-Pro next year and the categories will be Pro, 1, 2, and 3 with the option for promoters to add a first timer category for larger races. Meaning that this will certainly be the last year I have a shot of any podium appearances sine Semi-Pro and Expert will be effectively combined next year.

Happy 4th and hope everyone is out of the way of the fire!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Local Cyclist Heading To The Olympics, Go Adam!

Hot off the presses, Adam Duvendeck will be joining the Olympic Team in China. Congrats Adam! Check out the announcement about the entire cycling team. Here are some details on Adam