Wednesday, August 26, 2009

San Ardo, or How Not To Race!

Hi all!

While Matt was getting himself DQ'd from the triathlon for violating an unknown rule....Sarah and I went up to San Ardo to try our hand at the road race. Let's just say the highlight was visiting friends in Pismo on Friday night :-).

The weather was cooler than usual for San Ardo, which was a welcome surprise! My first negative was not sleeping much on Friday night because I was feeling poorly. The second was getting to the race to find only 7 people in my field. Those of you who know me know that I like to race in BIG fields, not so much in small ones. I guess I just don't see the point.... But I was already there, so I toed the line with the other SIX girls. They all knew each other, they were all from the norcal district. I didn't know any of them. Three were from Los Gatos BRC, 2 from Dolce Vita, and me and one other girl. The race was long. The published length was 63 miles, but in reality, the laps were longer than published, and the total distance was closer to 69....

The first 2 laps were uneventful. I did way too much work, as I just couldn't get my mind around tactics with only 6 others, and no one wanted to do any work.... if they had their way, we would still be out there racing today! On the third lap, two of the girls did a great job of blocking while the other attacked. I had to jump hard to get around the blockers on a narrow section of the course, but caught on, just in time for another one to go. I walked right into all their traps, and they did me in. I blew up and missed the break. I had 18 miles to go to mentally beat myself up over it, and I did. I put my head down into TT mode and motored. I dragged the other los gatos girl with me most of the way around. We caught up to one other girl who was shelled from the break of 3, and then I dragged both of them around. At this point, I just wanted it to be over. I thought hard about giving up the race and jumping into one of the mens races when they passed by....

Right after we passed the town, maybe 1/4 mile from the finish, one of the girls attacked, and I just sat up and let them go. I didn't feel like sprinting for 4th place out of 7, and they knew I had done most of the work. I didn't have anything left to prove, or at least my mind decided I didn't. At least I got a good workout.

I am skipping Sisquoc in the hopes of saving what little ego I have left, and going for broke at the downtown crit in San Francisco on Labor
day! :-) I really am a crit rider.....

See you out on the road,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

S B Tri Race Report/Where's Waldo?

Hello Everyone,

A few of you may have noticed that I'd been riding my TT bike a lot lately. In fact I rode it exclusively for two weeks straight in preparation for last weekends Santa Barbara Triathlon. I had done the long course once before and was anxious to see if I could better my time. I'd done a little swimming and fooled around with some running so I figured I was about as prepared as I was ever gonna be.

THE SWIM: My swimming is not very impressive and I always approach the swim with a "just get me outta here and put me on my bike" mentality. But I actually felt pretty good out there. Amazingly I caught a few people from the wave in front of me, and the fast guys from the wave behind me didn't catch me 'till I was past the halfway point. Goal accomplished. Confidence...High. Time: 31:54

THE BIKE: Usually, this is my favorite part. I'm so slow on the swim that there are already hundreds of people in front of me when I start the bike. It just feels good to fly by dozens of people all along the route. Even if half of them are on hybrids. Right outta the gate I knew this wasn't going to be my day. I hadn't gone a hundred yards yet and I was trying to get up to speed and put my shoes on at the same time. Apparently, I forgot to practice that step in my training and it showed. My shoe fell off...I had to turn around and ride back to pick up my shoe. I was a little embarrassed so I just kept my head down and tried to act like I meant for that to happen and get going again as quickly as possible. Once I got up to speed I settled down and was feeling OK until I tried to shift from my little front chainring to the big one and I realized my front derailleur wasn't working. I quickly realized it would be foolish to try and ride the whole course in the little ring so I got off at the top of Toro and used my fingers to put the chain back on the big ring. I was able to stay in the big ring all the way until I had to climb Toro again so I down shifted for the climb and then when I got to the top stopped again and used my greasy fingers to get back in the big ring for few remaining miles. I tried to stay upbeat but the mishaps were starting to rattle my confidence. I would work so hard to put time on someone up the climb, only to have them pass me again as I fumbled with my cave-man style shifting. "Stay calm Matt! You've still got a long ways to go!" Confidence...Low. Time: 1:28:46

THE RUN: Not much to talk about here. I ran nice and steady felt fine till about mile 6 and then realized my feet were not very happy with me for trying to run 10 miles with no socks on. I tried to block out the discomfort but then guys from my age group started passing me. They'd say things like "good job!" or "lookin' good!" but I knew what they really meant was "GOTCHA! You slow son of a bitch!" My illusions of winning my age group were now destroyed. I almost felt relief when the second guy passed me because I knew I wasn't gonna get 2nd place again! I told myself "It doesn't matter what place you get...all that matters is that you try your hardest big guy!" that worked for a little bit until the pain in my feet was impossible to ignore and I just wanted to be done. I put in a last ditch effort to catch a guy in my age group who had passed me earlier but ended up about 30 seconds behind him at the finish. I was 7th in my age group. 31st overall. Confidence...a little lower then it was when I started. Time: 1:07:24 Total Time: 3:10:15

THE AFTERMATH: I didn't bother checking the results since I knew I wasn't in the top 3 so I went home and took a nap. I figured I'd check the splits online later that night. Well, when I checked the results, my name was missing. No big deal. I figured I'd just inform them of their oversight and they could straighten it out later. My son did the short course on Sunday so after he was done I went over to the timing tent and said " Hey, when you get a chance can you check my results? I seem to have been misplaced." They asked me my number and then to my surprise informed me that I had been disqualified for a "traffic violation". What????? DQ'd!!! I was dumbfounded. I felt like I'd just been convicted of indecent exposure... or like I had just farted at a really fancy dinner and everyone heard. I asked what I did and they said "it just says traffic violation...DQ....sorry" So just like that I disappeared from the results. It's like I wasn't even there...nothing to show for my efforts...except black and blue toenails. I've sent out a few emails but still nobody can tell me exactly what I got DQ'd for. Maybe for turning around on the course to pickup my shoe? Maybe for crossing the centerline while passing? Not stopping at the intersections? Hell, maybe they got the number wrong and it wasn't me! I don't know, At least I got them to give me my time splits so my $150 bucks wasn't a total loss. The cold hard truth is I still had a blast. And I'll do it again next year once my toes forgive me. Joe Coito puts on a first class event and it's worth every penny to get out there and battle with 900 of your closest friends. Rules are rules, and I have to accept that. I just wish I knew which one I broke!

See you all soon,


Thursday, August 6, 2009


'Cross Peeps-

Training starts earlier this year!! Why? For starters, deep down we are all cross freaks at heart and suffer through the monotonous, predictable, and unfulfillingly long road season in anticipation of the real fun to begin. And let's face it, we want to hit the ground running (no pun intended) when the cross season starts so we don't get lapped by Mark Noble (God bless him).

So, with our easily quantified and pansy a$$ goals in mind, we are going to hit up the training over a month before the season starts! We will start with sessions for the first two weeks on Tuesday nights at 5:15PM (Ellwood parking lot) and will then kick it up to two sessions per week in mid August.

The plan is to start off easy for the first two weeks with a focus on basic leg work (how does this monkey motion barrier hopping thing work again?) and bike handling (what is this pesky two wheel drift action in the corners?). We will then kick in the hot laps and Ferren Road suffervals. I will be the drill sergeant and Chief PIA and Steve Bertrand will be my trusted back up when I am in Greece for two weeks working out my wimpy biceps while recollecting the art of excessive beer drinking.

First session: Next Tuesday August 11th at 5:15pm in the Ellwood parking lot. Invite your friends, enemies, frenemies, despised competitors, next door neighbors, girlfriends, boyfriends, heckling spectators, etc.. Most importantly recruit others ASAP. Suffering as much as we are going to suffer together is no fun alone....or without beer.

Pass on the word.

Yours Truly, Gary