Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Snake Alley Criterium

Our first of the 4 days of racing was the Burlington-Wapello-Burlington Road Race. It's a Pro 1/2/3 event with 130+ riders and a virtually flat fast 85ish miles. Not much to tell here other than we just wanted to survive this and move on. We did, and other than picking up a really good quote, there is not much to tell.

Second race day, Snake Alley Criterium.
This was my first focus race of the year and I wanted a good result. It's a tough course in downtown Burlington, an L shaped criterium.

The challenge is a 75' rise that takes you to the lower end of Snake Alley.

Snake Alley a 276' long brick road built in 1894 has 5 switchbacks that rise 60' with an average grade of a 12.5%.

Nathan mentioned to us that we needed to get a good start and that it is a full on sprint to the Alley. In his suggested tactics he advised to ride the lead group vs. trying to attack and get away.
Upon arriving in Burlington we drove straight over to the Alley to scope it out. I was anxious to pre-ride ASAP, must be the mountain biker in me.
On Thursday we took a drive to see the RR course and had a lot of time on our hands in the afternoon before heading out to join the local Thursday evening club ride. While my teammates enjoyed a nice afternoon nap I jumped on the bike for a little scouting expedition of the Snake. I got in a couple of good runs up the Alley, but I did not know the whole course.
After the club ride we went over for a quick lap on the course. We did one as a group, but I had a hard time talking them into a second. Fortunately I was able to talk a local rider into going one more round. I needed to try a different gear selection and get a reference, without company to pace off of, it would have been just another lap.

Our big day arrived and we were ready to rock after a great pancake breakfast. We found a spot near the Start/Finish and set up the Vellum Cycles tent all pro looking. VERY COOL!

First off were Joey O and DDR in the 40+ race. Both were going strong and as much as he complained about the hill DDR looked pretty smooth going up.

Next up was all 4 of us in the 30+. The start was fast and furious and I found my self not wanting to kill it on the run up to the Alley. I found myself hypnotized by the rhythm of bricks and started moving up at a methodical pace. A little punch over the top and I was closing on the group containing Joey O and DDR. It became a cross race minus the dismount in no time. OK, I know how to do this, jump from group to group and don't let off the throttle, up hill, down hill or on the flats, just keep it pegged. By lap 2 I had come across to the leaders containing Nate and 3 or 4 others. They slipped away on the climb a little, but by gunning it on the decent and peddling through the corners I was back on. Nate was sitting cool and letting others do the work, this slowed them down a bit through the Start/Finish.

Too Slow, Let's Go! I came up even with Nate and offered a wheel and to kick up the pace. Instead Nate played it cool and made others chase me. By corner 1 I was loose with a Trek VW rider. I grabbed his wheel when he came through, but he was really flying on the Snake. Two others came up and we kept the hammer down for the rest of the race but could not pull Trek VW boy back. We battled it out for several laps, but with one to go the Merc rider let a little gap open up to the Mesa rider. I chased on the downhill, but this time the Mesa rider was loose. I put in my best decent and forced the Merc rider to chase. He caught on to my wheel, but I jumped hard with two corners to go and second kick to the line holding him off for 3rd. Nate picked up best of the rest for 5th.

Photo credit:

My third race of the day was the Cat 3 and roughly 70 starters, mostly all fresh. My legs were feeling the burn of the MTB Cobble Stone Climb and the 30+ race. Needless to say I was in almost last place going into the Snake. Same game, ride steady at full throttle and jump from group to group. I would catch small splinter cells on the flats, wait a few pedal strokes then attack. My pace on the Snake was enough to move into the money with about 8 laps to go. I managed to battle my way up to 10th by 4 to go, then my hammies decided to rebel. The heat and previous races were starting to take their toll. Once caught by a solo chaser I found respite in his draft and stretched out the legs. This managed to shake out the cramps and hold on to 11th, and an "in the money" finish after a final surge to the line to hold off a group of 3 chasers.

Stick a fork in me, I am done! Image scan of Burlington's local newspaper "The Hawk Eye", more write ups about the race and EMC/Vellum Cycles at

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Photos from Iowa

Just a couple of photos to wet the whistle. I'll have some reports of our escapades shortly.

This first one is of Joey O winning the Melon City Crit. after being launched into orbit by DDR.
Teamwork, California style.
The rest are random shots of Snake Alley.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Very odd things to say

"The arsinest has oddly shaped feet"

"The human torch was denied a bank loan"

"Your mother has cross referenced the Aquatic Dare Devil's claims of overheating"

" Your feet stink, but there is a fresh bottle of wine in the kitchen"

"I like to start fires in other peoples kitchens"

"People like me because I am polite and rarely late"

"Bicycle racers like to ware flaming shoes"

"My shorts did not finish the beer"

"I have many leather bound books, but I have not read them"

"I read somwhere that women's periods attract bears"


"Where did you get that jersey... the toilet store?"


Friday, May 19, 2006

East Bay Cyclists Customer Hotline

1-800 EMC-Vellum

"Please press 1 for Spanish"

"I am sorry that is an invalid number"

"Please press 2 if your call is concerning results that have been posted and finallized"

"Please press 3 if you are a club member"

"Please press 4 if you are calling to become a club member"

"Please press 5 if you are not sure why you are calling"

"I am sorry, that is an invalid number, please try again"
"I am sorry, that is an invalid number, please try again"
"I am sorry, that is an invalid number, please try again"
"I am sorry, that is an invalid number, please press 6 if you would like operator assistance"
"Please press 1 for Spanish"
"I am sorry that is an invalid number , please try again"

"Thank you, please choose from the following options"
"Press 1 if you have never raced a road bike before"
"Press 2 if you have raced, but only a few times"
"Press 3 if you are an X-Pro something and decided it's time to race with old farts and kick the crap out of people who have jobs and families"
"Thank you, please select from the following 3 options"
"Press 1 if you have never ridden in a group before"
"Pres 2 if it's May and you just caught the Giro on OLN for the first time and thought bike racing was cool"
"Press 3 if you are over 40 and have less that 2 years of actual bike riding under your belt"
"Press 4 for all of the above"
"I am sorry that is an invalid number , please try again"
"I am sorry that is an invalid number , please try again"
"I am sorry that is an invalid number , please try again"
"I am sorry that is an invalid number , please try again"
"Le nombre que vous avez atteint est non plus long en service. "
"Verschwinden Sie Exzentriker!"
"Nosotros no tenemos plátanos hoy. "
"Thank you, please click here for more information"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I want a recount!

It just freakin dawned on me that I'll be able to race 40+ in 08'

DAMN IT! How did that happen?

Wait, are you sure? That can't be right. I am like 22 or something, I am sure of it, see here is my Metallica CD collection, like brand new. OK, maybe 30, but who put these strands of tencil in my hair?

Uh, oh, it's Wednesday May 17th 2006 and I think mid life crissis just struck.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cool and Not So Cool

As I was thinking about something that is...uh...Not So Cool, it made be take note of somethings that are Cool.

Cool is:
  • Sitting by the pool with my lovely wife holding Ronnie and chatting casually with a good friend while Dyllan swims.
  • Having Joey O. tease me about being a neurotic mess when it comes to chosing bike equipment for the next day's race.
  • The post race recovery ride with two good friends.
  • Fixing my wife's cleats before she goes off on her morning ride.
  • My wife going out on her morning ride.
  • Having my wife tell me she feels like she lost power with the new cleat adjustment but she took an hour off of the loop she does.

Not So Cool:
  • All day parties with people that I have nothing to talk to about.
  • Superficial conversations because there is nothing to really talk about.
  • Getting interested in a topic of conversation only to be interupted in the middle of a flow of conciousness by a superficial topic.
  • The person I was talking to becoming more interested in the superficial topic than continuing our conversation. (Yeah, fine, Ehf You too)
  • Anniversaries of people I have nothing to talk to about. (I am happy for you, but why do I need to get drug into your train wreck? 40 years, 100 years, 500 years, what's the difference? Same problems, different day, and nothing being done about it. Happy Gawd Damn anniversary here is your present, can I go now? I need to get back to the things that are cool (see above).)

Life is to Damn short, and it seems to be getting shorter everyday. It's all about finding joy, screw the rest.

I am going to a happy place with my wife, kids, a few good friends, my bike, and bottle of good vino. Everyone else leave me alone!

"and this remote control, and that's all I need"

A Gorillalalala

Here is one for the boys who just did the 24 Hour race.

This photo was intended to be of Billy Clark when we did the 24 Hours of Tahoe a few years ago. Something else caught my attention.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Misc. Stuff to report

Just a quick update on things you are probably not interested in.

As Gianni mentioned Tuesday was a kick ass ride. As in I kicked my own ass. After watching OV tear it up on Sunday I came to the realization that my 401P account was a little under funded.
401P = Pain bank.
After a fair warm up out to Calveras I did some seated accelerations, the attempt is to ride people off my wheel, or die trying. I did get loose, and got caught, and got loose again. I was hurting when we got to the hill so I let The Original JM roll away up the climb. I tucked myself neatly behind Gianni's 3 man chase group and let them bring JM back.
I was all nice and fresh again when we hit the steep section so kicked that sumbitch in the rear for a 40 second acceleration to 20mph, got loose and TTed to the KOM. (Gotta Love the Tuesday Worlds).
On the return everything was all stiff and sore, so I waited until the long pace line moved me to the front of the rotation and I pulled at full throttle until I couldn't hold the leadouts off anymore.
Easy cruise through the Neutral Zone to Sunol and rolled off again on the climb out of Sunol to Northbound Foothill. This time pulling The Original and the resident Back Cracker for a 3 man break through the flats. BC contributed best he could then waived goobye, The Original and I worked the 2 man TT to the final sprint of the day at Castlewood.

Wed: The team's Diablo ride, just The Original and I. Easy pace to the second ranger station then descended down to the North Gate entrance to practice the upcoming hill climb TT back to the Junction. We approximated the start at the Kiosk and time up was 30:20.
TOJM decided to drill it from the start while I eased into the pain. He rode in front of me by about 20 seconds for the first 3rd, with me for the second 3rd, and the last 3rd my HR never dropped below 185 for about a 1 minute time gap back to TOJM.
We were exhausted, and I struggled with allergies the whole day. Nose rubbed raw from tissue, and bonking from rapid fire sneezing attacks (I hate May).

Flowers = Spawn of the devil sent here to destroy me.

The truck:
Nose running like a faucet, and sneezing 30 times a minute I managed to slap a Tacoma seat in after the ride last night. Not a perfect fit, but nothing a BFH and power drill can't handle.
After much slave labor and a new found use for Velo Promo t-shirts the paint looks a little less like total shit. I wouldn't call it a shine, more like a sheen.
Add $20.00 for a set of Walmart Special hub caps, and she is semi-presentable.

BFH = Big Friggin Hammer

Photos to follow (not that you are interested)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Basic Transportation

The straw has finally broken the camel's back. I am parking the freakin Durango and driving this little beater until the technology changes away from fossil fuels.
Yeah, I know, it ain't much to look at, but the oxidation actually comes off pretty easy with a little elbow grease and some cutting compound. Everything seems to function and it has a new head gasket.
Heck, I may even let Groovy stencil some flowers or grape vines on it just for shits and giggles. Maybe I could talk XBunny into splashing a little glitter onto it.

It should also be good for some BLOG material.

I showed my son a magic trick when I brought it home. How to turn a $1,800 pickup into a $6,800 pickup in the blink of an eye. Yep, I stuck my bike in the back.

Now you are probably thinking I have gone mad (that boat sailed a long time ago), but with the Durango being reclassified as a "pleasure" vehicle, this little beater only has a net cost of $5.00 a month for insurance. I'll save that in one race trip.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The word of the day.


Lets use it in a thenance:
I like to have "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" with my morning toast because I like my breakfast to be Incredulous.

Wife: How was your breakfast?

Me: It was unbelievable!