Sunday, February 25, 2007

2007 race number one

Sunday, 25 February

Time trial. Tandem. Drive time to crochet. Does bike racing get any better?

My 2007 season started today with the Frostbite TT on the oh-so-familiar River Road between Lowell and Snohomish. As expected, the wind was out of the SE, so headwind out, tailwind back. And, as remembered, this is a smooth, smooth road, which meant tons of spray on my backside and feet because TT bikes have no fenders. But, as noted, no dirt...or, at least, no unpaved sections.

It was a pretty uneventful race. No major snafus. It still feels odd to leave a race without results, but there were "sorting issues" (and we all thought technology was supposed to make our lives easier). So not only do I not know how I placed, I don't even know how many women I was competing against. The good thing about that is I don't yet have any evidence that it's time to retire. That'll come soon enough, I'm sure.

On my single bike, I kept trying to tell myself that I'd worked harder trying to hang on the back of a group on fierce training rides on this road. That worked for the first part, which I figured was going to be the hardest because it was most directly into the wind. The one tiny short drag wasn't as bad as expected; I don't think I shifted at all until the turnaround. And after I turned--wow!!--I shifted up about 3 gears and rode all the way back in my 55x13. I was so proud of myself for (1) remembering to bring my watch and (2) remembering to start it with my one-minute guy. Next week I'll have to try (3) remembering to stop it as I cross the line so I know my time.

We got a really good (hard) start on the tandem, but I missed the sound of the disk wheel. O.A.D. turned us around just fine on the narrow-ish road, and then we were able to chase down his teammate, Paul. My position as stoker is head down and elbows tucked in out of the wind; I let myself look up when I thought we were at about 1K to go--and we were about 100m from the finish! Somehow, we didn't get any of that great tailwind boost on our return, so our speed didn't go up and we rode in the same gear both directions.

Kudos to Rob and everyone at PSB Racing for starting another fine TT tradition on a course we all love to ride hard on. 120 riders at a brand new race is an accomplishment. And thanks to the WSBA officials for standing out there in the bitter cold and wet.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A new baldy

Friday, 23 February

There are some fine people in my life who are bald, and there's about to be one more. Kenny Williams has teamed up with the St. Baldrick's Society to raise awareness and funds to cure kids' cancer. His role in this team effort is to get you and me to contribute money to a worthy cause and to shave his head as a gesture of solidarity with those kids he's trying to help. You can get all the details on his "space."

Since you're probably going to laugh at him when he shows up at a race in March with his helmet 2 sizes too big because he's lost his curly locks, then the least you can do is make a contribution!

Two-track Oregon ?

Friday, 23 February

OK, so it's a long way from the introduction of a bill to the building of a velodrome, but you've got to start somewhere. Oregon could have TWO new velodromes:

Funds would come from lottery proceeds. I guess I'll have to buy a Powerball ticket next time I'm south of the border.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Saturday, 17 February

I did the FRM team ride today, riding tandem with Old As Dirt. After 65 hard miles, we roll into Snohomish. OAD teammate says, "We could go antiquing!" I say, "And carry it all home on the back of your bike?" And OAD says, "Isn't that what I've already got on the back of my bike?"

Apart from that little quip, it was a nice 90-mile ride today...except that we keep getting dropped on the climbs. I guess that's what happens when your stoker is an antique.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Stoked does the track

Ides of February

Sorry to make you drop your coffee cup in shock over that title above. What it really means is that I just donated custom, handmade StokedHats to the MVA auction. I didn't see any Axley items in the auction catalogue, but maybe PruDog is working on a secret model just for the MVA. I'll just assume the rest of you are going to support our velodrome by going to the auction and picking up some good stuff. If I'm lucky, nobody will want a hat by mid-March and Old As Dirt won't have to do all the driving to races this spring while I'm making somebody else's hats.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Done in the gym?

Lincoln's Birthday

Are you done at the gym for the winter? Think again.

Do you think you can quit lifting weights now that the road racing season is upon us? Think again.

Cycling is right up there with swimming and sitting on the couch for what it does for your bones--or, rather, for what it doesn't do for your bones. Whether you're male or female or not, whether you're 25 or 50, if you spend a lot of time on a bike, you also need to spend some time actively working to maintain your bone density. Year 'round. You don't have to put 493 pounds on the leg press or look like Arnold. But don't stop the resistance training, the high-impact routines. Your bones need to be jarred, so that when you really jar them--say, when you slip running down your front stairs to get a package from the FedEx driver--they are strong and not brittle.

So keep up with those weights. Run some stairs. Load the OBRA truck once a week. But don't just go sit on your bike and think you are the picture of health. Odds are, someday you'll fall off your bike, and that's when strong bones can make the difference between bruises and breaks.

OK, off my high horse and back to the latest, top-secret StokedHat.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Backseat driver

Saturday, 10 February

OK, so no one else thinks tunes in your shorts will make the training better, either (see below). But I assure you that training does go better on a tandem. Thanks, Sal!

Today I finally had a legitimate excuse for the backseat driving I am prone to do on a tandem: my captain had no clue where we were or where we were going (he's not from these parts). Fortunately for him, there were lots of long straightaways (E Lake Samm, Issaquah-Hobart, May Valley [mind the grates!!!], etc.) where I mostly shut up or blathered at someone else. It was a gorgeous day--58 degrees when I got home--and a mostly mellow ride. We took some long pulls and had to chase back on after a couple of spots that were hard to navigate on the tandem, and about 90 minutes after we got off the bike, I realized that my legs were really tired for a mostly flat 59-mile ride. One thing I love about riding tandem is that perceived effort is LESS than the amount of work you really do. Having tons of fun getting a hard workout: who needs music in their shorts?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Whose idea was this?

Friday, 9 February

The March issue of Outside magazine starts off its section of reviews of "the best gear, tested" with a full-page feature on the Pearl Izumi Vertex MP3 Bib Short. A "flash-drive player fits neatly into a rubberized port in the middle of your back, with integrated push-button controls on your thigh." And you gotta love the fact that your shorts will be Bluetooth-enabled. 512 mb. $500. I don't even know where to start on this one.

Tandems&hats: what else?

Friday, 9 February

OK, so it hasn't exactly been the best week ever. But it started with a warm date with my nearly under-age tandem partner at a place of his choosing that couldn't have made me happier (obviously women are NOT hard to figure out). Tuesday night I got to ride with a tandem newbie at the CycleU TT; he got a rude shock when he tried to suddenly stop pedaling while we were warming up because I kept pedaling ("it's worse than a track bike!"), and then got payback by trying to wear out the 12 and 13 cogs for the 14 minutes of our TT. But we had a good ride. And maybe, just maybe, there's a tandem ride in my tomorrow--but stokers are the last to know.

Last night I gave away my latest hat and the recipient seemed genuinely thrilled. I am now at work on a top-secret design that might be revealed by, say, Ohop. There's just a little thing called work that might get in the way.