Tuesday, June 14, 2011

River Road TT and Circuit Race: And on Taking Back Ignorant Shit I Never Should Have Said

Race day on the the most beautiful road in the Province. 
I wish I could find where I said it. I am pretty sure I have said it in this blog but I couldn't find it in the quick look I did. I know I've said it outloud many times:

If I am ever to survive a crit, I'll need to do 50km before I even start the race.

There is something rather humbling about doing two races in one day. Beyond the teenage Provincial kids, I was only one of a handful of us old folk who attempted such a feat. And I haven't figured out how to handle the pacing and the effort yet to survive two races in one day and feel strong in both.

It wasn't a ramp start this time, but here I was praying I wouldn't fall over when he let go. (Stefan Isfeld, photo)

The time trial took place along what I suspect is the most beautiful road in all of Southern Manitoba. I am, still, despite my best efforts to get my power up, much more of an endurance person than a short distance person. I can hold a strong threshold pace for a very long time, but a 16km TT  is pretty damn short. So, wisely or not, I did about a 17 km warm up to help me along.

Focus? or Fear? (Stefan Isfeld, photo)
And I had a great TT. My right leg/calf/soleus, which has been cramping on me during big efforts, held me back a bit but I still managed to hold an average speed higher than I ever have before. I have to thank Phil, who along with his lovely wife is quickly worming his way onto my favorite-persons-in-the-universe list as well as into my heart,  for lending me a rear aero wheel.  But I am also pretty sure, leg pain aside, that I could have held that pace for 40 km and not just 16.

The wheel looks pretty sexy on Kermit. 
So I had done 33 km by the end of that race. Then because I had 4 hours to kill before the circuit race, I went for a nice easy spin up River Road from Larter's Golf Club all the way up to the St. Andrew's Locks. I did this mostly to test out the theory that my leg issue is related to the new shoes. So I wore my old shoes and sure enough, no pain. But I wanted to see the sites.

I then proceeded to do unhealthy things.

Like have lunch with Don Cherry and the ghosts of NHL past. 

A little visit with Teemu Selanne 

I remember going to restaurants like this and HAVING to play the Jukebox. Avril Lavigne's "Complicated" right beside, "I fought the Law and the Law Won." Classic. 

The old red Booths. 

The best pre-second race meal ever that was guaranteed to be just as bad for me coming up as it was going down. 

And of course, locals know where I was. What I didn't realize is that there are two of them right around the corner from each other. The first thing I thought when I went into this one is, "Where's the water slide?" Then when I got back on the road to head to the next race site, I saw the second one on highway 44 with the slide right behind it.  All this time and thought there was only one Skinner's.

And what can I say about the circuit race? It was 4 km long and I did a lap of it to warm up which put me at 54 km of riding for the day even prior to starting the circuit race. And of course you have to know I died during the race. And I made a gazillion mistakes. Followed a break I shouldn't have. Killed myself on the chase. I'm cornering better, thanks to Rick and Alter Ego's crit workshop. I nearly allowed myself to get squeezed off the road and instead of getting aggressive back, I backed off and ended up at the back of the group, even though I had pulled where I did purely to put myself near the front for the run in to the finish. I simply don't have it in me to get mean. Then at the run in to the finish, I was at the back at the final corner and lost the group. I was cooked. Then, from a distance, I mistook some pylons at an early road at the finish line and backed off too early. I still managed to not come in last. And Jesse from AE won the race. Young Oliver at the ripe old age of 12 was second. Oliver flattened the whole Cat 5 field in the TT in the morning and was impressive the whole circuit race, at or near the front the whole three laps.

So it was a great race day. A beautiful day. I'm learning a lot. On to the next one, whatever that may be.

I love how iPhone disembodies moving riders. This was the Cat 4 race. All the kids I raced with in Portage (except for the girls and young Ollie), moved up to Cat 4 which makes me even happier with how well I hung on in Portage.

And this is Phil in the Cat 4 Circuit race. Gotta love Phil. He lends me a wheel and I get my one second of fame over him in the TT. I'll be milking that one all summer. Another terrific iPhone photo.
And there's Phil cornering like a pro, in a photo Carolyn must have snapped. This was the last and most difficult corner of the race before the run to the finish.  And I believe that's Aaron, and Willem and national level triathlete Stevie Moore with him.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Falcon "Down to the Wire" Video

I have this new toy and the reason why I got to use it today at the Falcon race was because I am a wuss. I did one trial lap of the Falcon course and immediately decided I was bailing. Injury prevention you know. I could certainly admire the course and see its challenges and merits but it shows nothing if you have to walk half of it.

Sigh.... I perhaps will never learn to mountain bike well, but it also probably won't stop me from continuing to try. I did however learn from watching my own video that it might help to get out of my saddle more often.

I've never seen so many flat tires in one race in my life, by the way. Shredded tires too.

So because my still camera battery was dead when I pulled it out of my bag, I pulled out the Flip Video camera, a similar toy as my buddy Don used in California.  This is a compilation of the best frames, meaning the ones that were not long boring shots of grass with no riders on it, or, as with one frame, a nice long look at Adam's legs as I videoed the ground instead of the race by mistake.

No, really, that was an accident.

I would have liked better music but I couldn't figure out how to plagiarize iTunes as it wouldn't let me steal -- I mean upload -- iTunes songs for the video. I briefly considered resorting to an old 80s trick similar to "taping songs off the radio" using my voice memo component of my iPhone and just taping from my computer. This time instead of my mother screwing it up by poking her head in the door and calling me for supper it would be some act of sibling rivalry or someone screaming: MOMMMMMM!! (which has also happened about 4 times while typing this short entry).

So you get stock Flip Video guitar lick instead, repeated over and over and.......

But I'm sure you care about none of that, so hopefully you've just skimmed all that rambling to get to the meat of the issue. Here's the video:

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Love Affair with Steel

I'm not sure what it is: Nostalgia, looks, or riding a bike that just feels right but every time I hop on a steel bike it has the same comfort as an old worn in pair of jeans. I had a steel bike as a teenager, that could be part of it.  I wish I could find a picture of it. And every time I get on the single speed Masi I commute with, it feels like home. So what you see above is my new Cyclocross bike.

(Stefan Isfeld: photo)
As you know, I raced cyclocross on a borrowed bike last fall. It was a lovely bike too which was slightly too big for me and given how hard and fast that I fell for the addiction of cross racing, I knew I had to get my own.

But here's the problem with finding me bikes. I'm short even by girl-standards. And it proves to be very difficult to find extra small bikes, new or used, and I have this particular buyer loyalty that I adhere too which limited me to Specialized or Trek and neither manufacturer had a bike in my size that could be special ordered at the time that I had the money to lay down for one and I was asked to be patient.

The Masi that I love too
So I went to California because I live in the present and am all about instant gratification and quickly found myself in a spot where putting out $3000 for a bike, if and when they came into stock, was looking to be out of the question. And finding used bikes in my size is even more difficult than buying new. When short girls buy bikes, they don't tend to upgrade very often.

And then a miracle happened, without even looking, I got an email one day telling me about a bike and that it would fit me, and thus brought into my life the Steel Lemond Poprad. And I'm truly in love.

Oh and my favorite bike boy forgives me for cheating on him, yet again, which is the best part. Besides, one of my kids is sure to fit my Mountainbike next summer and Mom will need an upgrade.

Thoughtfully and specially adorned with pink donuts by Dan P. I may not much care for pink but it was the thought that counts.