Thursday, February 18, 2010

Valley of the Sun wrap up

Valley of the Sun Stage Deux road race

Today the 40+ group got the honor of being the first on the course at 8:00 am sharp. I thought about yesterday and remembered something I forgot all about. As I was setting up my bike on the trainer at the TT, I saw a guy who looked familiar. He walked by in a brown coat and I thought, "That guy looks like Floyd Landis." I looked again and thought there was no way; that guy looks too chubby to be Landis, and continued setting up my bike. Later on that afternoon I saw the same guy again. This time he was not in a bulky coat but was in a Team Ouch kit riding a Phonak bike. I hope this year is better for Floyd and he lands some place. Yesterday Floyd had a mediocre TT and ended up 22nd with a 31.28.
OK back to the stage two wrap up. I got to the race location just before dawn and got ready for the race. Pretty normal routine - bring your wheels to the follow vehicle and sign in. I had everything ready except that the frame number blew off on the way. I had to go get one from the ref.
We were called up to the start line at 7:50 am and got our instructions. At 8 am sharp we rolled out. The pace seemed pretty easy as we headed down the long straight to the first right hand corner. I was about six wheels back and clung to the race leader since he had about 8 teammates setting the pace. When we hit the corner and headed into the wind I figured we would see some fireworks. Nothing! We roll to the next corner and from here I can see the hill. As we take this wide easy corner the pace did pick up a bit but it was not uncomfortable. Next thing I know we are at the top of the hill and the course is leveling out. I look back and noticed we shelled half the group.
We then headed down hill for about eight miles. Next time I looked back I saw that about 20 or more people had caught back on. We rolled to the final corner of lap one. This corner has some speed bumps in the road and then a cattle guard directly after the corner. We all were going pretty slowly here so it was not a problem at all. On the downhill straightaway towards the finish is where some attacks started. I stuck with the leaders group since these attacks took no effort to reel in. As soon as they turned into the wind they were swallowed again. There were about three or four attacks in a row heading to the hill and about two or three on the hill but nothing sustained.
The second lap was a king of the mountain sprint and I just sat in and stayed about tenth wheel. Right after the KOM sprint there were seven guys who attacked on the downhill section. Again the peloton separated and about 20 guys were alone. The seven who jumped were kept within a few seconds and the leader’s team did a good job keeping them in check.
We then passed the juniors and women but everyone held his line and did not do anything crazy. Again the several dropped riders bridged back to the leaders. I rode past my car and tossed my bidons since they were empty anyway.
Taking the final turn and heading to the hill, we were passed by an ambulance and a fire truck. I thought that this couldn't be good. We rode a good tempo up the hill and got near the top. I felt good so I moved up to see if there was going to be a lead out for the sprint. I was about eighth wheel when I heard a guy on a loud horn yelling “The race in neutral!”
I sat up and all of a sudden there was a surge. At this point I lost about five places. Up the road I saw a fire truck and ambulance blocking the entire road. I heard a helicopter coming in and knew someone was hurt really bad. The race staff points us to the eight foot shoulder. Here something happens that I couldn't believe. To my left was a junior (I believe) on a stretcher and not in good shape. Right when we got beside the ambulance and not even past the injured rider there was an attack and then bumping and nearly a crash right on top of the poor injured rider. I had sat up and could hear the emergency staff cursing and saying they could not believe this. Let's all say a little prayer for the injured rider who left the race in Flight for Life. Thank God no further injuries happened. There was some confusion I guess about where the race was neutral and if it was not neutral after the ambulance.
I just got a call from Dean. He felt great during his race and finished with the pack.

Valley of the Sun Stage three Criterium

My race was a little later than the previous days so I got to sleep in a bit. I still was up by 7am and got all my stuff packed for the trip home.
I went to see the results from the road race and noticed I was assessed 18 seconds. Not really sure what happened I asked about the race being neutral. The races after the 40+ were made neutral because of the incident during the 40+ race. He asked me if I wanted to protest and I said no. I will however remember this in the future and will stay up front even if a neutral is called.
The race is a really wide 4 plus lane figure 8 course. It is a pretty clear course with only some elevated reflectors on the back of the figure 8. The race started at a really slow pace but it was fun. Shortly the Barry Lasko team whom the race leader was from took control of the race and kept it fast. When it came to the finish I stayed outside like I had planned and watched the sprint up ahead. I had specific goals I wanted to achieve and I did that. In the end I finished 10th in GC. I am completely satisfied with this finish so early in the season. The antibiotics kicked in by Sunday and that was when health wise I felt the best and could breathe clearly.
I highly recommend this stage race to everyone. It was a great weekend of racing and hanging out with Dean. The hardest part was coming back from 70 degree weather.

Pedal Hard!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valley of the Sun, Phoenix, AZ 2010

I had planned to head to VOS right after work on Wednesday but that didn’t happen. On Tuesday night, the cold I have been battling for about four weeks decided to rise up against me. I was up most the night with a terrible earache and a bad sore throat. I decided to go to work and see if I could ride it out. Everything was good until about 2:00 pm. Then I really got sick. Directly after work I went to my doctor to see what was going on. Come find out I have infections in both ears and left with antibiotics.
The adventure finally started Thursday morning at 3:00 am. I loaded up the little Honda Hybrid with my three bikes and headed southwest for some racing. Soon it was obvious that the Hybrid could not handle the wind drag caused by three bikes with bras on them. I had to stop in Raton and put one bike in the car and take the bras off the other bikes so I could at least do the speed limit. From Raton to Santa Fe was socked in with sections of freezing fog. The outside temperature was right at 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Once I hit Albuquerque the fog lifted and the weather started getting much better.

The drive really goes pretty fast. I made it to Phoenix in about 15 hours. Flagstaff had a bunch of snow on the ground but the roads were clear and dry. The major issue came when I got to about 2,000 feet. My head felt like it was going to explode. The pressure from the ear infections caused me to stop in Camp Verde and take some sinus medicine. At this point all I wanted to do was pick up my packet, get to the hotel to take a shower and hopefully have my ears pop. Finally I made it to Landis Bikes to get my packet. Thank goodness my hotel is only five miles from the bike shop. I honestly had to read lips because I was really deaf at that point. This was the first time in my entire life that I had an ear infection. This is what my wife calls a TKO (Typical Kelly Operation).
My luck started changing.
About 9:00pm my head started clearing up and all I wanted to do was sleep. I took some Nighttime Cold and Flu medicine and was unconscious by 10. I woke up at 5:00 am feeling much better and the pressure in my head was gone. Alas I could hear again. I got all my stuff together and headed out to the Time Trial, about 50 miles outside of Phoenix.

The temperature was 48 and felt great. My start time was 10:55:30 but I wanted to ride the course and have time to get ready without being rushed. I hopped on my bike and went right to the course. The course is mostly flat and I wanted to make mental notes where the little rises were and see if there were any obstructions I need to watch out for. I made it the 7.2 miles to the turn and headed back towards the finish. I had a good tail wind at this time and was moving along quite rapidly. With just over five miles left I heard a pop and then the squishy feeling of a flat. I hopped off and noticed that my bike bag was not under the seat. Bummer! It would take me about three hours to walk the five plus miles and this place is really in the middle of nowhere. After about 30 minutes of walking I heard a car coming. I figured what the heck and stuck out my thumb. Thankfully he stopped and picked me up. I have never hitchhiked before so I guess I can add that to the slew of firsts I have had this trip.
After I got my bike set up on the trainer I saw Dean warming up on his trainer caddy corner from me. I stopped over and talked to him a bit then went to start my warm up. I had the timing perfect and I rolled up to the start about five minutes before my start time.

The start is on a trailer and you roll down a ramp to the course. The trip out was directly into the wind and it was a tough go. About a mile from the corner I passed my minute guy, then my minute and a half guy. At the corner I caught my 2 minute man and headed towards the finish. The trip back is pretty much flat and ascending in spots with a slight cross wind. I remained in the super fast big gear and little ring, traveling well over 30mph. I caught my 30 second man with 2 miles to go and finished feeling awesome. I kept to my plan and didn’t bury myself. At the end of the day I ended up 8th in the 40+ and Dean finished 12th in the 50+.

As I sit here writing this in my motel, I can honestly say it doesn’t feel like I even raced today. I know it is not the abundance of oxygen but the great instruction and advice I have been getting over the past couple months. Tomorrow stage two is a road race with a whopping 470 feet climb per lap. My course is two and half laps - 41 total miles. Dean has the same distance. Stay warm on the ride tomorrow.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Summer Down Under

I've gone through a thermal shock from winter in Colorado to summer in Victoria (Melbourne) - a good shock, sorry to say mates. Setting up a Giant bike rental and finding the most popular and safe routes has been easy - the Aussies are bike crazy. The photos are: sjw out on the beach road, two road signs (one warms my heart, guess which), bike trails make it easy to get to and from roads to ride.

Unfortunately, the weekend is over and today starts the meeting slam. Probably, no sun and ocean breezes from here on out. sjw

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Allow me to introduce a "new" cycling pal to the Women's BMCT: Karen Fienberg.

For those of you who have yet to meet this gregarious and fun-loving creature, rest assured, she's a true reflection of fun complemented by a cycling philosophy designed to enrich her already desirable Rocky Mountain lifestyle.
Please invite Karen on any weekday rides, women's only weekend rides, and she will be invited to join the 1st Sunday of every month Men's Team rides (leaving 5 minute after the men.)

I ride because it is pure pleasure and enjoyment for me. I am a cycling ambassador, spreading the love and joy of cycling - that's why you'll often see me riding in a tutu. I enjoy being part of a sport that has empowered a lot of women in other areas of their lives. I like to think of riding as Cycletherapy.

I have been riding since 1998, although I have some memories of riding my Univega 10-speed out towards Lyons while in college at CU, wearing running shorts, sneakers, and a tank top (no helmet, water, tube, pump). My first ride was 60 miles around Boulder County on a bike borrowed from a friend and I knew I was hooked.

I started participating in MS150 rides, then rode the Elephant Rock for my first century. I remember eating Clif Bars at EVERY aid station (gag) because I was nervous that I might bonk riding 100 miles. Some of the cycling events / rides I've done since then are:

More MS150 rides
Triple Bypass
More Elephant Rock Centuries
Bicycle Tour of Colorado
Ride the Rockies
Mont Ventoux
L'Alpe d'Huez
Col du Tourmalet
Venus de Miles

I love to climb (but you may have figured that out already).

I was the Festival Director for Venus de Miles in 2009 and am the Festival Director for the Vic's Espresso Criterium this year. I love giving back to the sport that has given so much to me.

Remember, a bad day on the bike is better than a great day at the office.
Karen Fienberg

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.
~ John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vic's Meet and Greet Prospect Ride

Hi Blues, Paul here with some ride news;

We will be meeting at the Vic's Prospect location for a show-your-love-for-our-sponsor Vic's St. Valentine's Day team ride on Sunday February 14. Not sure where Prospect is? It's here. We will meet at 9:00 AM (Yes, I know - it's an hour earlier) with Whitey and some of the Vic's regulars who would love to meet the Vic's/Peerless team. So get there, get a coffee, a tea, a treat, top off your water or get rid of too much water and hang out for an while before we ride. Please park in the lot southeast of Vic's behind Solar Village not on Tenacity or Ionosphere. Call me with any questions. Thanks all!

Roses are red
Our team kits are blue
It's Valentine's Day
See you at Vic's Too!!!