Independence Valley Road Race and Piece of Cake

I’m finally back.  Although it’s not Kennettron 5000 right now, more like Kennitta 0.50.  But I’ve got over all my sicknesses and injuries for the entire season.  I’ve decided that I’ll have no more of it!  

IVRR was an epic race, and not to use the term lightly either.  It was by far the worst racing conditions, or best depending on your preferences and % Inuit heritage, I’ve ever seen.  It sat at a nice 33 degrees the entire day and snowed, sleeted, and rained on the quickly thinning field throughout the 80 mile course (mainly snowed).  Two steep little climbs and a strong as hell field helped weed out all but the strongest (myself included).  I got dropped on the last lap on one of the hills and came in 15th I think, with only 18 total finishers out of 50 or 60 starters from what I heard.  It was miserable.  I couldn’t see on the descents because my eyes were cross-eyed from fatigue and snow blindness, my fingers could hardly budge the break levers, and I must have weighed about 40 pounds extra from all the clothes I was wearing that were saturated with slightly above freezing water.  It was awesome.  Probably the coolest race (literally) that I’ve done in a long time.  

I got a ride with Chris and Karey up there to the desolate and barren wilderness of Washington, and we all huddled back in the car after our races and drove home with hot chocolate and the heaters blasting the entire way back to my house.  We ate a big dinner of vegetarian pizza and bbqed chicken made by my mom, then watched some 2004 Giro d Italia before some serious sleeping action.

Waking up the next morning was tough.  I was super tired, and had just been dreaming that I had looked at the clock and had seen that I had hours before I had to get up.  Feeling content and happy, I went back to sleep (still part of my dream). Then my alarm went off and I had to get up (not part of my dream).

But things got better from there.  We were shockingly surprised and happy to see dry pavement outside.  And it stayed that way all day.  Despite my silent wishes for more snow. HA.

Chris and I raced at 10 in the morning with teammates Kenji, Joe (who placed 5th), Brian, and Jim.  As you may know, the Piece of Cake Road Race is entirely flat, hence the name.  It was windy though, and my legs were a bit lagging from yesterday so it wasn’t quite a piece of cake.  More like a piece of pie.  A big thick slab of hot apple pie with figs and a thick crust.  Pretty tasty actually, and filling too.  With plenty of cinnamon on the top.

My back was hurting like a hurt back for the first couple miles, and unfortunately that’s when all the moves of the day got away.  A group of 3-5 and a group of 14?  as I sat back in the pack.  But I got in a good race anyways and started feeling better on lap 2 with the endorphins kicking in.  I attacked and drilled it at the front for two laps straight, causing havoc for the guys at the front of the peloton trying to work in unison.  They were a bunch if whiners if you ask me.  “Get the f– out of the gutter god damn it.” They yelled as I went all out in the cross wind sections in the gravel of the side of the road.  “You trying to bridge up to the break all by yourself?” as I got reeled in from one of my solo moves.  “What the f–.  Stop messing up the pace line!” as I purposefully tried messing up the pace line as I attacked, using the teammate up the road excuse.  I don’t know what their problem was.  If they want to race like the bunch of sad silly sally’s they seem to be, they should think about downgrading to the 5’s.  Anyways,

With a lap to go, I sat in the pack and chased down breaks and such, saving some energy for a good lead out for Kenji.  With a couple kilometers to go, I found him and got him on my wheel.  I moved us up to the front and hammered it with 500 or so meters to go, a bit to early I think.   I should have waited for about 10 more seconds.  I dropped Kenji off with a little over 100 meters to the line, and he took 4th in the pack sprint and 19th overall (some of the break away guys had gotten dropped).  I finished a measly 29th out of only 38 finishers from an original field of 70, but was happy with the race anyways.  It was a great weekend of training and it gave me confidence that my fitness will return shortly.  The power is there, it just needs to be coaxed out a bit.

Back Update

My back is feeling much better.  I haven’t seen a doctor yet, and I’m pretty confident that I don’t need to anymore.  I’ve ridden the past two days and feel super slow, but my back is continuing to heal quickly and it already felt more comfortable on the bike today than yesterday.  Hopefully my fitness returns quickly too.

Home early

My back wasn’t going to be good enough to race on by Thursday, so I came home early to rest it and see a doctor this weekend.  Ironically, today–the day I returned–, is the first day that it’s felt pretty good.  The pain is still there but much milder than before.  With the sickness and now the injury, I guess I’ll be having a slow start to the season.  But I’m sure it will all work out just fine in the end.

My back still hurts

I’m staying with my friends Chad and Dustin (some former dorm roommates) in Costa Mesa.  The weather’s great here.  Seventy’s and sunny and we’ve just been hanging out at the beach all day today and yesterday.  But my back is still in bad shape.  I tried riding today, just around the block, and decided to stay off it for another day.  I can walk OK now and even get in and out of a car without too much trouble, but any rotation sends streaking pain to my lower right side.  The mark on my back from the curb doesn’t look very bad, but it sure hurts.  I took this picture a few days ago, now it’s starting to turn more purple.  I think it will be good enough to race on by Friday for San Dimas.

 

p3140116

Kennett goes down at Murrieta

After spending the night at Debbie’s house on Thursday, I moved to another location.  She and her entire family came down with a bad cold on Wednesday, and we all thought it was best if I wasn’t around to catch it.  Luckily, she owns a vacant condo a few miles away, so she took me and all my stuff over there, where I spent last night and will stay for the next couple days.

I rode up to Murrieta today, only about 10 miles including getting lost, and signed in for the race.  There were 120 riders, and a couple big teams.  Rock Racing, Ouch, BMC, Fly V, and a fair amount of elite teams as well.  The weather was very nice.  Probably in the upper 60’s, sunny, and windy.  I warmed up with some hard efforts, and about 20 minutes to the start of the race, I ran into someone familiar.  He was heading the opposite direction as me, and we both slowed down, staring at each other in disbelief as we approached.  It was Orion, and we both circled around each other three or four times, laughing, before we said anything.

The crit started 20 minute later.  I had made sure to be up near the front, although with wide streets and only four corners meant there would be plenty of opportunities to move up over the next 90 minutes.  Pretty much throughout the race, I stayed in the top third.  A few times I went up and bridged some small gaps off the front, buy that was all I could do before getting sucked back into the pack as 30 or 40 people passed on all sides.  No getting into break aways for me today, I realized.  This was a fast race, but not nearly as difficult as a Belgian Kermess.  I think it will take a little while for me to build the kind of speed I need to be competetive in these fast races, although I was able to recover quickly between efforts.  The endurance and threshold are good right now, but anything above that needs work.

There were some close calls in the field today, riders swerving, wheels overlapping a few times, but nothing too bad.  There were a number of crashes, but I avoided all of them, until the end.  With five laps to go, four or five riders went down ahead of me.  I had plenty of time to react, and swerved between some hay bails that separated that section of road from some oncoming traffic on the other side of the street.  I merged back in after passing the pile up, and actually moved forward a few spots.

A break away of a couple guys had gotten off the front a while before all this happened, and they had over 30 seconds.  There was no bringing them back, but Rock Racing went to the front for the last 6 laps to lead out their sprinter, Bahati.

With one lap to go, I was in the top 40.  Not a good place to be.  I began moving up a bit, but my chances of being up at the front for the finish were slim, especially since Rock was burning off guys up at the front like something that you would burn really quickly in order to make something else move forward at a fast pace.

We came into the second corner and I heard a loud gunshot: the sound of someone’s tire blowing out.  That guy went down, and the two guys behind him went down, plus me.  I saw the whole thing unfold very slowly.  I put on my breaks, watched as the three guys in front of me crumpled and flew to the cement in spectacular aerobatics.  I was launched up into the air after them as I went over the handlebars, very high.  I remember thinking, “damn it, I’m way up here in the air.  This is going to hurt, especially since it looks like I’m going to land smack dab on that there curb.  Yep, this is going to hurt.”  I flipped in the air, and landed just like I had predicted, on my back on the curb.  I let out a loud grunt, my bike fell on top of me, and someone slid into me I think.  Immediately, the EMTs and race volunteers, who had been attending the crashes on that corner all day, got over to us and pulled our bikes off of us.  One guy stood over me and told me not to move as the rest of the pack came around us.  I layed there in the gutter for a few minutes, regaining my breath.  I had the wind knocked out of me, and my back hurt a lot.  Ok, enough laying down, I thought.  And, with help from a race volunteer, I got up after telling the paramedics that I was fine to get up.  They checked me out and made sure nothing was broken and that I could feel all my fingers and toes.  Luckily, my back took 100% of the impact on the curb, so the rest of my body was very minimally damaged.  As equipment goes, I have another tear in my bibs, my glasses are broken again, but nothing a few more strips of electrical tape wont fix.  My rear wheel is completely out of true, but I think it can probably be fixed as well.  And I only have a few cuts on my hands, back and shoulder, elbows, knees, and a small one on my nose–all probably from bikes landing on me as I lay on my back.  The one on my back is a straight line where I hit the curb.  It looks pretty cool.

I checked my bike for damage after the EMT let me go.  He moved on to help out the others EMTs as they called an ambulance for one of the other riders.  My bike looked ok, but I saw that my powertap was missing.  I looked around for it in some weeds, but couldn’t really bend over or walk too much, so some other people helped me.  I suspected it went down the gutter into the sewer, because that’s right where I landed and there was a big opening there.  They checked the opening of the sewer by getting on their hands and knees, but couldn’t see anything.  I waited around in a bit of a daze as the team manager (of the rider who went down hard and still wasn’t up) argued with the EMTs about having the ambulance come.  It was a Mexican team, and I suspect the team manager didn’t want to have to pay for hospital fees, or the rider didn’t have insurance or something.  The EMTs were pissed, and yelled at the team manager asking if “you want your rider to die?”  Eventually the rider got to his feet after 15 or 20 minutes.  I think he was just a wimp.  He had landed on his back on the curb just like me, and I wasn’t crying like a baby on the ground (ahem, Tony Guisto).

Anyways, I got the race officials to open the manhole on the sidewalk with a bent piece of wire and sure enough, after climbing down the ladder, one of the guys found my powertap sitting on top of a large turd.  I thanked them, and started walking, really slowly, back to the start/finish to get my bag and head home.  I tried to get on my bike, but couldn’t.  So I called Orion for a ride home but he didn’t pick up.

Luckily the race director and his wife Jennifer, offered to take me home.  So I sat in their car as they took care of some stuff.  My back was very sore, and my ribs were aching too and it hurt to just sit there.  Orion called back and I eventually got a ride back with him and his wife, although Jennifer thought it would be best if I went home with them when she found out I was staying by myself and didn’t have a way to get to the hospital if I needed to.  She ended up calling me an hour ago to check in and make sure I was OK.  I’m always amazed at how far ordinary people will go out of their way to help a stranger.  Like Debbie finding multiple places for me to stay, the race volunteers for climbing down in the sewer, and Jennifer and the race promoter helping me out.

I got dropped off by Erin and Orion and limped into the apartment, took some ibuprofen, struggled out of my race kit and into some shorts, and walked back outside to ask some guys working on a car if they had any ice.  The got some ice for me and I went back inside and eased onto the air mattress I have here, and iced my back.  Damn, it hurt.  I could barely get up.  After 20 minutes, I walked outside to the hot tub and pool area.  The hot tub felt amazing.  My back began feeling better immediately.  My scabs started floating off my knees and elbows, leaving the murky red streaks in the water.  I transferred over to the pool, which was breath takingly cold.  Dead bugs, grime, and mosquito larva floated on the surface.  I had to pee, but there was no way I was walking all the way back to my room, 30 meters away.  “A little horse urine won’t hurt the dead bugs,” I thought.  I went back and forth from hot tub to pool for an hour and now my back feels much better.  I can walk ok, bend over a little and sit up.  I’m not racing tomorrow, but I’m sure I’ll be fine to race San Dimas next weekend.

I might as well get all my crashes and sickness over with in the early part of the season.  Time to eat my quinoa and tomato sauce.

Te-meh-que-la

Home of Flyod Landis.  City of Old Western scenes, steam engines, and hot air balloons.  According to a mural on a building I’m looking at.

Spelled Temecula and pronounced like above, with the emphasis on the ‘meh’.

That’s how you pronounce it.  Not Temecooola, which is what I’ve been saying.  And I’m here at last, writing this under the warm sun in Old Town Temecula on a park bench.  

My dad and I woke up at 3am this morning and drove to the PDX airport with my bike box, a back pack, and a bag full of sandwiches.  My flight took off at 6, with me lucking out that it wasn’t full (since I’m flying stand by).  I transfered at San Francisco, and made my next flight too.  We landed in San Diego and I found a bus that went to down town, got on it, and asked around to the other passengers if they knew if it went near the Gryehound bus station.  It did, and one woman got off on that stop and showed me where to go.  I walked four or five blocks and got on the Greyhound bus a half hour later for a 1.5 hr ride.  Which brings us up to current time, where the oldies music is playing from the trees as I type using the free internet while waiting to get picked up by my host family, who I found on Craigslist.  I can’t believe getting here was as easy as it was, considering all the things that could have gone wrong.  The race starts on Saturday.  Time to go.  Bye.

BB#2 bunch a’ sissies

I woke up at 6:10 this morning and my mom and I drove out to Henry Harrison Hamilton Haphazard Hagg Lake for Banana Belt #2. Apparently no one else did. I’m almost positive there was supposed to be a race there today. With that said, there can be only one reason why no one else came: pure intimidation. I guess the word leaked that I’d be racing, which must have scared off the rest of the cat 1/2 field. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to wake up early, drive all the way out there and race in the cold for 2nd place either (Cherry Pie excluded). But what shocked me was that none of the racers in the other categories showed up either. Yes, the wind I create while thundering by at immeasurable speeds is hurricane force and would surely knock over small children and dogs. But assuming you’re holding onto something, an average sized person would suffer only minor injuries.

As consolation, I was offered a couple bunches of bananas by a scared OBRA official, cowering in fear as I approached.  I devoured all seventy of them immediately and  let out a deeply agitated war cry, setting off an avalanche up in the hills, which is why you see all the snow in the picture below.  I’ll let this one slide, but there better be a good turn out for Piece of Cake.

yes-we-have-no-bananas-002

Where the hell is everyone???

TOC throw down

I guess it’s old news, but I just came across these pictures. Pretty funny.

3313542580_35a4e4b6f1
Michael Rodgers punching a super fan (FRS promoter) who almost caused a crash.

The Yellow Devil shove by Lance Armstrong
38ef3b36ac29d395f3358ceeaf1a368b

cfeecb31e3a4ba934cf202f325bc4d2f

c1c87bcd269ee057fc8dcff6bc0df5e9

c6b4328acf33872feab5b69812e6ba9f

I like how the other riders in the background seem to be laughing.

Where I found the photos:
FRS guy gets punched

Yellow Devil

Murrieta and San Dimas stage races

I just registered for both races.  Murrieta is on the 14th and 15th.  San Dimas is from the 20th to the 22nd.  Like I said in the last post, if you know anyone that lives in either of these cities, let me know.  I have a friend who lives somewhat close to San Dimas, but I have no idea what I’m going to do for Murrieta.  Maybe sleep in a park or something.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

And even more important news: I’m feeling better!

Here’s a list of things I did/used to attempt to get over this cold:

Starting with the things I do anyways:
Tons of vitamin C
Vitamin D
Fish oil capsules
Multi vitamins
9+ hours of sleep a night
laying down for the majority of the day
lots of fluid
lots of food
fruit
cocoa powder

And now onto the things I added when I got sick:
Acidopholus (a pro-biotic)
extra yogurt
blue berries
A huge pot of chicken noodle soup
extra spicy food (cayenne pepper to everything)
kept my room extra warm at night
humidifier
onion with sugar poured on it, left overnight in the fridge
head held over hot water with a towel wrapped around to breath in steam
lots of hot baths
iron pills
extra protein (meat)
bacon and eggs for breakfast
$40 of over the counter drugs
extra hill intervals
wishing bad fortune onto others
clothes washing
salt water gurgling
virgin sacrifice (needless to say it was not Mrs. Brunelle)
naps
willpower
extra sleep at night
skipped work
skipped races
quadroupled my vitamin c
hydrogen peroxide in my ears (for the ear infection part of the cold)
olive oil in my ears to counter the drying out caused by the hydrogen peroxide
rubbing alcohol in my ears to counter the wetness caused by the olive oil
over the counter ear wax removal drops
nasal salt water rinses
listerine
antibiotics
rest (time off the bike)

We’ll never know what did it in the end…

Looking for Host housing in CA

I might do the tour of Murrieta and San Dimas stage race if I can find a place to stay.  The tour of Murrieta starts on March 14th and goes until the 15th.  San Dimas starts the next weekend and goes from March 20 to the 22nd.  I may have a place to stay in between the races, but I’m not sure.  If you know of a place I can stay in either Murrieta, San Dimas, or anywhere close by, let me know.  I won’t have a car, so to get to the races, I’ll have to be within biking distance (no more than 120 miles).  

I’m still sick by the way.  But getting less sick with each passing moment.