In case this post displaces the one I just wrote, I’m letting you know that I just posted one about friday. It isn’t that interesting though. For the men’s B race report, see Ivar’s blog.
Beware, this post is long and may require reading in multiple chunks. I’m hopping to have pictures of this weekend and other races/events once Ivar tells me how to post pictures.
Tony and I drove the cargo van and Ivar, Luke, Mike, Orion, Takuya, David Kuhns, David Heritage, Karey, Kallen, and will were in the passenger van. The ride up seemed to never end.
Will, Tony, David Heritage, and I shared a room Saturday night. Will snores like a pig. It isn’t that typical loud breathing type of snore, which is what Tony does, Will’s snore is something more animalistic. It sounds like a loud snort, followed by a disgusting gurgling noise, and then silence. It isn’t a constant snore either. Instead, he lets out two or three pig squeals every minute or so. Between that and Tony’s phone making static noises all night, I didn’t fall asleep for a long time. Plus I was super hyper from eating a handful of cookies in the hotel lobby.
The road race was hard. It was windy, rolling hills/flat, and hot. It may have only been in the mid 70s, but it felt like 90 in the sun. The only clouds present were clouds of smoke from crop burning. Apparently, all the farmers decided to burn their fields on the same day. The last thing I need when my lips are chapped, my face, legs and arms are burning in the heat of the sun, and my mouth feels like it’s full of cotton, is to be sucking in breathfulls of ash and crop smoke.
The road race went great. It was windy, and the crosswinds made even the people sucking wheels at the back suffer. It was hot, which made people dehydrated and tired, less willing to chase breakaways. And the few hills that there were made the calves cramp and the quads burn.
Unsure of how crappy my legs were going to feel this weekend, I started the first breakaway about 10 minutes into the race. I went at the top of a hill after an acceleration by Adam Cadez. Ben (from Washington State University) and an OSU guy joined me. I did very little pulling. We were caught about 5 minutes later. I sulked back into the pack, already feeling fatigued. Uhhhhh, my body is dead from this week’s workouts and the Willamette SR. Or so I thought.
By the middle of the first lap, Adam Cadez and a WWU (Western Washington University) guy went up the road and got over 30 seconds on the now dwindling field. People had already begun to fall off the back due to the heavy cross and head winds. Ben went to the front and began pulling. He did this, off and on, for about a half lap and gained back no time on the two man break. At one point, while back in the pack taking a breather, annoyed, he asked: “UofO and OSU, do you guys like racing for 3rd place?” I said no. And continued to sit in the pack.
But I couldn’t resist the front for much longer and I eventually went up there to help him out. David Kuhns and Orion took a couple pulls, but basically Ben and I did all the work to catch the break away, which took a full half a lap to catch. Each lap was roughly 25 miles–for a total race distance of a little less 80.
When we caught them, Western Washington (the dominant force in all of these collegiate races) began sending guys off the front, one by one. I chased a number of them down. Stupidly, I chased a break down that included my own teammate, Orion. He was not pleased. I apologized and explained that I thought I had a gap on the field (which was true).
A couple minutes later, another WWU guy, Phil, went off the front on the main climb of the course. I went after him. Adam went too, but later told me that he stopped short of catching us because he didn’t think that it was going to be the winning break.
When I caught up to Phil, we started heading down hill, and he wanted me to take some pulls. I said I was tired and he got mad and shook his head, probably cursing me, but I couldn’t here because of the wind. I told him that he should have plenty of energy to pull both of us, considering that he’d been sitting on my wheel all day long as I chased down breakaways.
But after a couple minutes of rest, I was ready to pull. We traded off taking hard pulls every 30 seconds to a minute. Very quickly, we had built up a gap large enough so that we couldn’t see the peloton. “OK”, I thought as I took a pull into the headwind, pushing somewhere around 360 watts, “only two and a half more hours of this.”
I think it ended up being more than two and a half hours. We took even pulls for the next 40 miles, but when it came down to the last 15, Phil began taking short, slow pulls. By now, we had been told that the peloton was 5 to 10 minutes back, and that a three-man chase group was 2 minutes back. We began slowing down, but I was worried that the chase group might be coming onto us fast, so I didn’t want to slow down too much. As it turned out, the gap between us and the chase group continued to grow, so we were safe after all.
I began thinking about the finish–I had been thinking of it the entire time–but now I was planning it out in my head. I would attack on the last little hill with 1KM to go. I had noticed that Phil was hurting going up the hills, so that was my best bet. “Yeah,” I thought to myself. “On that last hill. Hehehe. It will take him completely off guard and I’ll be so far out ahead by the bottom of the hill that he’ll be too demoralized to even TRY to catch me. He’ll never be the wiser.” It didn’t quite work out that way, for Phil had a plan of his own.
I elbowed Phil to come around me after I had just taken a hard pull into the headwind. My heart skipped a beat when I heard the bone-chiling “snap snap snap” of his shifters. He went by me in an all-out sprint. I stood up and began shifting, and in my excitement I accidently pulled on my break lever. It wasn’t a race losing accident though. I caught him fairly quickly and sat on his wheel. He slowed way down. And I continued to sit. He slowed even more, anxiously looking over his shoulder at me every 2 seconds. I just sat. Then I rapidly shifted up “snap snap snap” and he freaked out and took a couple hard cranks on his pedals. I chuckled to myself and just sat there. I did this again, and got the same reaction. I shifted up one more time, but this time I bolted past him. I looked back and saw him struggling to get back on my wheel. I continued driving the chain-rings as hard as I could. My gap grew. I sat down and hammered away. The final hill was approaching. I was dying. The wind was insane. I got to the top of the hill and started heading down it, the wind almost keeping me at a stand still. 1km to go. I looked back as I headed up the next little riser. He was on my wheel. Shit. I don’t know how long he had been there, but once he saw me look back, he charged past me. I fought to stay in contact. I got back on him, lungs and legs burning. He looked back and saw me. I didn’t wait, and counter attacked him at the top of the hill. He grabbed my wheel. I slowed down. He sprinted, I caught him. I sprinted, he caught me. He sprinted again, this time with much less force. I grabbed his wheel easily this time. There were only 300 or 400 meters to go. I was sitting on his wheel when he charged again. I accelerated with him, no trouble at all–Im not saying I wasn’t tired though. And to my great joy, he kept going. Maybe he thought I couldn’t hold his wheel or something, but he kept at it for a good 20 seconds. With 100 meters to go, I shifted up, passed him with ease, and won. Orion was in the chase group and took 4th. David was between the chase group and the pack–by himself–and took 6th. Mike and Takuya did not finish. Everyone was pooped. By the way, I pooped 6 times on saturday. That’s approaching a PR.
Team Time Trial:
This post is getting long so I’m going to have to leave out some detail. After a couple hours of recovery, we (Mike, Orion, David, and I) had our TTT. Tony and I blasted Robot Rock from the van’s speakers as we all set up our bikes. If nothing else, UofO will be known for its amazing taste in music. We blasted Robot Rock, Rob Zombie, and other great stuff all weekend, before, during, and after the races.
I was feeling pretty good during the TTT, and I ended up pulling for the majority of the 13 mile out and back effort. Going up the false flat, we maintained around 19 to 20 mph. On the way back, we did 30 to 35mph. I was in my 53×12 for a lot of the last 6 miles. I wish I had my power tap for this part because I know there would have been some cool data. We took 3rd place, which was only 18 seconds of first. Damn it, I KNOW we could have squeezed out an extra 18 seconds!
As Tony and my van left the parking lot, we blared Cheryl Crow’s “Im gonna soak up the sun.” Not only is this an amazingly awesome song, especially when listened to while on full volume, but it was very relevant for the day. Most of team look like lobsters. This is the beginning of the biker tan line season.
David, Will, Tony and I had mexican food for dinner. I farted all night long while Tony and Will snored. Poor David.
Sunday: The crit from HELL.
This was the most sketchy crit I have ever done. First of all, it was on a black top parking lot in a high school. It was hot today, hotter than yesterday and the slick, oily pavement almost made crashing mandatory. Most of the crashes happened at the 180 degree corner. The C men had four or five crashes. The B women had maybe 3 crashes, the B men had about 7 or 8 crashes, and the A men had 8 or 10 crashes. I completely lost count. Oregon people who spent more time inspecting cracks in the pavement at an ant’s eye-level include: Will, Ivar, Tony, and Orion. Tony’s crash was the worst and he was the only one incapable of getting back up on the bike and finishing the race. I was taking pictures of the B men while they went around the 180 degree corner (secretly praying for a good crash picture), when I heard a loud slam to my right as body, bike, and pavement met as one. I looked over and saw a rider lying on the ground, writhing in pain and moaning like he’d broken both collar bones, his femur, his back, and all of his teeth. It was Tony. And he is a baby.
I don’t doubt that it hurt, going over the handlebars and landing on your back, but the way he was rolling around on the ground, I thought that those might be his last few moments of life. The paramedics came and bandaged him up after I drug him off the course. He reminded me of a small child who sees that has a cut, waits for the blood to appear, and then starts screaming in terror at the sight of it. Once the child has a bandaid, the whole ordeal is over and he goes back outside to play. After the paramedics came and bandaged Tony up, he appeared to be magically healed. Tony, if you read this, don’t even TRY to deny any of it. I have plenty of pictures of you rolling around on the ground one moment, and then smiling in the next.
The men’s A crit was fast. As usual. A 3 man break got away fairly quickly. I pulled at the front, killing myself trying to catch it. But I made no real progress. Another 3 man break went away and Adam and I pulled like crazy. That was pretty much how the first 30 minutes went. Then I got tired and retreated to the back. I can’t corner very well, and would lose 2 or 3 bike lengths to the wheel in front of me each time while going around the 180 corner. At this point, I decided to just treat it like a workout and re-prioretize my goals to A: not crashing, and B: just finishing. I made “not crashing” my number one priority right after a WSU guy went down directly in front of me. I braked but couldn’t avoid running over his hand. I finished in the pack after a number of failed attempts at breaking away. All of the UofO A men finished in the pack, which had been lapped by 6 guys.
The drive back home took forever. I drove the cargo van the whole way since Tony’s back was aching, plus he drove all the way up to Warshington. We made a stop in Hood River for pizza at Tony’s parent’s house, which was some of the best pizza I’ve had. They also fed us on the drive up.
We got home at 8pm and are all very excited about getting up early and going to class tomorrow morning. NOT.