Thursday, May 13, 2010

It was a cold and wet day at Cherry Creek Reservoir

Wednesday May 12th, as I was working away at my computer, one of my coworkers asked me to turn around and look out my window. The snow was coming down mixed with rain and it looked miserable here in Golden. He joked and asked me if I was going to go to the race since the weather looked so terrible. I just said, “Absolutely”.
Now to be honest I wasn’t looking forward to riding in this kind of weather but I remember a few weeks back when Neal, Grant, Curtis, Mike and I did the team TT at haystack. No that was fun on a whole different level.
Now back to the present. I gathered up my stuff and headed to Cherry Creek at about 4:10pm just incase there was a traffic jam due to the weather. I headed down 6th Ave. the snow stopped and then the rain stopped. It actually looked like it was going to be a nice day to race. There was really no traffic, people were being considerate on the road and all seemed right with the world. Sing Kumbaya here and hold up your hands.
I head into the park and find my fellow blues. I park next to Steve and get out and talk to him for a minute then start my pre-race ritual. Dennis was spinning away and looked to be in the middle of an effort so I didn’t want to interrupt him. This time I am a bit more relaxed since I’m about an hour and a half early. As I walk casually towards the restrooms I see Dean’s Red VW bus with Darren B in the passenger seat. When I get back Dean is getting his stuff ready so I decide enough messing around and start to get ready as well. I look through my stuff and notice I forgot my powertap head unit. That made me nervous so I took a quick inventory: race wheels check, shoes check, number and jersey check, helmet check, ok I can at least race. Turns out I only forgot my powertap head unit so I had to do my warm-up by feel. As Dean, Darren and I warm-up the temperature started getting cooler and then Dean said, “I think I saw a snow flake”.
Sure enough the weather was catching me from Golden. The warm-up got my under clothes wet and I got real cold as I put my trainer and items away. I switch my under gear to some dry stuff I had in the car and head to the line with about 10 minutes to spare. I rode a couple times around the boat dock then headed up to the starting line.
Dean started off 40 seconds ahead of me and Darren 20 seconds. The last week I have felt fairly good on the bike and wanted to have that feeling in a race. Well it happened yesterday. I took off and got up to speed quickly and it appeared just in my jump to speed I cut into Darren’s time. As I turned the first corner I settled in to my rhythm and continued to eat up seconds on Darren. I looked ahead and could see Dean about 10 seconds in front of Darren. I didn’t let my eagerness get the best of me and contained my rhythm. I pass Darren in the start of my personal “second quarter” of the race. Here I ratchet it up a bit. I pass Darren and he encourages me on. I see Dean ahead and he looks like the road runner cartoon character. His feet are spinning so fast all you see is a circle. I pass Dean and see another guy ahead of him. I know that if I don’t go a bit faster now I will be blocked in the turn. I crank it up to pass him before the turn and then settle back to my 2nd quarter effort. In the first turn around I encounter 2 more riders. One I pass outside and the other I had to scrub a bit of speed because of the wet road and painted surface and he had the best line in the corner back on to the main road. I stand here and sprint back up to speed and now I start my “3rd quarter” effort. The trip back I pass a few more riders and before I know it I am on the hill heading toward the lollipop. This hill was tough with the wind in my face I stand and fight the entire climb. It was a very tough effort but I knew I had to hold my speed up. In my mind I tell myself, “just suffer really badly for 30 seconds and you can rest on the downhill”. I get to the top and then my mind quickly tells my body, “You like the speed and pain take it to the 4th quarter here and leave it all on the course”. A car pulls out at the bottom of the hill and I am quickly gaining on it. I look for my outs and contemplate what my plan of attack is. As I get about 100 meters from the car and I think to myself, “I am going to catch this car in the lollipop, he has no idea what it is like to be on a bike in a race with a wet surface and a 180 degree corner. This is going to cost me a ton of time.”
I keep my 4th quarter effort going and the car is holding about 100 meters to the corner. Then the car does something I can not believe. He pulls over to the inside completely out of my way and lets me pass without slowing me down one bit. I slowed for the corner and sprinted out to get back up to speed. As hard as I can I pedal towards the finish line. My legs are screaming at me to stop, I have snot and spit all over my face and really don’t care. All am thinking is that there is 30 seconds left. Spin circles, hold the power as long as you can and man I bet that lady standing on the chair radioing in our numbers is cold. Then the finish line and I am done.
I wait for Dean and find out that for the second week he had a mechanical. When I passed him he was spun out because he could not get his rear derailleur to go below the 19 cog. He still smashed the course and I believe he would have taken the win if it weren’t for his bad luck.
The Blues results:
I was excited to finish fourth overall on the day and only 9 seconds behind Nico and 44 seconds behind Greg Krause.

4 Robert Kelly SM Pro-1-2 Vic's Espresso Littleton 0:21:14.14 -0:00:44.13

35+ cat 3
1 Curtis Leschyshyn SM 35+_3 Boulder Masters Cycling Team Littleton 0:21:47.34

2 Dean Sandoval SM 55-59 Boulder Masters Cycling Team Canon City 0:23:12.49
6 Steven Worley SM 55-59 Boulder Masters Cycling Team Boulder 0:25:27.51

1 Dennis Hastings SM 60-64 Boulder Masters Cycling Team Evergreen 0:23:48.86

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Embrace High Speed

The concrete oval is open and six Vics started the training season 5/8, Saturday. It was windy making the home stretch brutal in the big gears, but we all got the work done and are on the way to high speeds again. The team makes an awesome impression on all onlookers, especially when all six are lined out pacing - great look, tight formation, and perfect track technique. I'm glad the first fixed-gear body shock is over - let the training begin!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

45+ Sandstone Ranch Criterium

...But Not Faster Than Bob Dahl...
Representing Vic's Espresso/Peerless Tire in the 45+ open race at the inaugural Sandstone Ranch Criterium east of Longmont were Jerry Greenleaf, Joe Paulson, Bill Simmons, and John Talley. With rain/snow forecast for the afternoon,the Vic's racers were pleased to have partly cloudy and chilly but dry weather for their 12:30 start time. Black clouds loomed over the mountains to the west, but they appeared likely to stay away until after the completion of their 45 minute timed event.

Pre-race strategy discussion centered on being watchful for riders from the Skins team, who had driven successful breakaways from the gun in the last two criteriums they had contested. However, as the blue boys took a couple of warm-up laps on the long rectangular course, it was the sight of Excel Sports rider Bob Dahl who had Joe most concerned, due to his dominating sprinting ability and impressive list of criterium wins in the 35+ ranks he had graduated from last year.

The race was animated from the start, with various riders trying excursions off the front. The blues stayed attentive, but patiently let the larger teams pursue breaks in which their jerseys weren't represented. Great Divide rider Jim Dickerson is legendary for his long breakaways, and when he tried one early on, the Jet quickly hopped on for the ride. JT, Bill, and Joe, moved to the front with the Great Divide riders to discourage an immediate pursuit. Contributing just enough to encourage Jim to keep it rolling, the Jet let Jim power the two of them around the course while remaining within striking distance of the field, which eventually pulled them back.

About half way through the race, three strong riders from different big teams got up the road, setting off alarm bells in Joe's head. Picking his moment when the field hesitated on the front straight, Joe launched from mid-pack to try a solo bridge. Half way across, he glanced back to see that Christopher Stout had jumped on board, and made it across with Joe. After a bit of recovery, Joe started to rotate through with the initial three escapees, but the gap to the field started to come down.

As the field got close, other riders were able to jump across, swelling the break to eight riders. To Joe's dismay, he saw that Bob Dahl was one of the late arrivals to the party. JT almost made it across with another rider, but the break got more organized, and pulled away for good. At four laps to go, the cohesion went back out of the group, and only about half of the riders were continuing to work. Anticipating the inevitable attacks, Joe worked his way onto Bob's wheel in the rotation.

Fed up with the limited contributions from other riders, Jimi Gibson set out on his own, but was reeled back in. At two laps to go, Jim Dickerson jumped out of the group, and the other riders looked at each other to see who would blink first. The duty fell to Jimi, who took up the front again. Jim's gap was getting dangerously large, so Joe pulled through hoping to re-establish a rotation to assist Jimi. No one followed though, so Jimi was soon back on the front, taking it as a personal challenge to try to pull Jim back on the last lap.

With half a lap to go, a rider launched up the side, and the end game was on. Joe fought for Bob's wheel as they approached the second to last corner, where being positioned in the top three was going to be key. Bob jumped as Derek Nichol came to the front, and the two riders fought for supremacy into the turn, with Joe right behind. Coming into the final turn with 200 meters to go, Bob and Derek were bouncing off each other, and Joe backed off in case they went down. Everyone stayed up, but Bob now had a little gap, which opened up as he accelerated out of the turn and down the home straight.

Joe left Derek behind as Bob hunted down Jim (remember Jim?) who was giving everything he had left to hold on for 100 more meters. Bob passed Jim, then Joe passed Jim in the last 50 meters, but no one was going to pass Bob, who crossed the line for the win with Joe now a few bike lengths back in 2nd. Jim held on for a richly deserved 3rd and final podium spot, and JT took the field sprint for 9th, followed in by Bill in 15th and the Jet in 21st.

Faster than a speeding bullet

Yesterday I had the studio set up for a shoot in the morning and afterwards got Joe to stop by for a few set ups. here's one of them.