Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Racing - 2014 Circuit Francis J Clarke

Today for some reason I was a bit more relaxed than on other weeks. I think part of it was the staff - the race was going really smoothly and I felt like things were under control. No craziness, no weirdness. Regular problems I can handle, the weird ones stress me.

The bike, ready for battle.
Custom Tsunami frame with a custom Steelman Bikes stem.

I brought T-shirts to the race. I bought too many, I think, since we need to sell almost 200 shirts to break even. The girls at registration did their best but I think I'll have a separate post on the t-shirts this week.

Anyway I wanted to take a picture of the bike with the t-shirt and there it is.

Some trackstand battles between the Series leader and his teammate.

I wasn't the only one feeling a bit better in the warm sun. The Cat 3-4 Series Leader was horsing around a bit, doing a track stand battle in the waiting area by Turn One. I left before someone dabbed so I don't know who won. It showed the team's spirit and camaraderie though, and helped demonstrate their tightly knit team. They've been super impressive each week they've raced and they definitely deserve the overall lead.

Rolling to the start.

Today we got a moto ref "on a trial basis" if you will. They have to do some races for practice so this was this moto's practice. It was so good that I think the federation should do a free moto for a field or two for all promoters, to give them an idea of what a moto can do for them.

Junior wants a hug before I race.

Before I got to the line I looked for the Missus and Junior. I'd spent a bit of time with them before (maybe that's why I was less stressed) and I knew that Junior was getting to the end of his tether. The Missus would leave with him before the end of my race so I wanted to say bye before the start. Junior wanted to hold me so I gave him a hug and said bye softly.

Following an early counter move.

The guy to the left will win the race, I think the guy up the road gets second, and the guy in blue, near the yellow line, third. If I could have looked even 30 seconds into the future I'd have killed myself to stay on the wheels.

Normally I sit in and such but today I felt a bit of energy in my legs. I got to the front and decided to fly the colors a bit.

I ended up pulling for a short bit.

When I say "a short bit" I really mean a short bit. I pulled a little, pulled off, but no one wanted to pull through. So I pulled sort of slowly until someone finally decided to go around, aka sort of attack. That brought a bunch of riders around me and I could get back in.

I'm still standing.

I had the legs to stay near the front for a lap or two more and then I did my customary slide to the tail of the field.

The Series Leader noticed me and commented that it was nice to see me out here. He's the nicest guy, a tribute to his team, a great spokesman for the sport of cycling, but he's so strong he didn't realize that I've been out here racing "against" him, just I've never actually ridden next to him because I'm always way back.

I grinned to myself after that comment because that's about when I went backward.

Waving to Junior.

I wanted to wave to Junior while on the bike. It's hard to pick out a particular rider in a field and I wanted to help him out. On one of the slower laps I took the chance and waved.

He was looking at me with total concentration, furrowed brow. I could tell his brain was working in overdrive, trying to figure out what was going on. He doesn't filter things like we do so he'll pick out a logo on a wall of product. His non-filtering works against him when he's trying to pick out dad in a field of cyclists - I think he has to look at every rider, at least every rider that has red on him.

Random lap, moto ref to the left.

The moto ref tooted the moto's horn a couple times. Regardless the racers were much more careful about the yellow line. I really liked it, having the moto ref looking after us.

Random lap, close.

I chose this picture because the rider close to me was moving ever so slowly to the right. I wasn't sure if it was intentional but I realized it was when he got really close. This was the closest I got to someone in the whole race. A non-incident.

During the race four guys eventually went clear. One guy blew and got dropped - the other three lapped the field. In the field many of us had no idea until the spectators started yelling, "They're right behind you!" The dropped guy time trialed ahead of us, trying to get his 4th place.

A lap later two Sixcycle guys went to the front, towing another NY rider with them, the third break racer. We'd gotten lapped.

With all the Sixcycle guys streaming by, with other guys jumping on their wheel, I had no idea how many lapped us. Maybe 4, maybe 6? I assumed it was 6 and that all the points were gone. This settled me mentally as I could focus on doing a sprint with no pressure.

2 to go.

Two weeks ago I had a good sprint, partially because I started in good position. I decided that I'd try to replicate that effort. Joel, my teammate to the front right of me, was looking to move me up so I stuck on his wheel.

I moved to the left only to toss my bottle, which I hadn't touched all race. I've started without a bottle only to want a sip of water, but I'm going to toss my bottle earlier if I don't drink from it early on.

Bell lap.

We hadn't gained much position and Joel had spent a bit of time (and energy) sitting in the wind. When things shifted around I had to get to the right to shelter from the front-left headwind on the critical backstretch. Joel, stuck on the left side, ended up stranded.

Backstretch, last lap.
About 550 meters to go, maybe 600.

I've moved more to the right to get shelter. I believe Joel's wheel is just on the yellow line in that shot. I saw the opening to the right but thought someone would come blasting up the side so I decided not to take it.

Still open to the right so I go.
About 400 meters to go.

Of course, 100 meters later, the hole was still there. Maybe I was at the back of the field, I don't know, but I went right and quickly scooted up to a Jordan racer in a white kit, black shorts.

Now shifting to the left a bit.
About 300 meters to go.

I moved to the left a touch, expecting a squeeze to the right, but no squeeze so now I had a lot of room. Again there was a gap to the right but I was hesitant to fill it, holding position instead. This is a tad under 300 meters to go.

The right opens up. The Jordan guy is now to my left.
About 250 meters to go.

The Jordan guy moved left while I still eyed the right side. I wasn't sure what would happen but the left side looked like they were going. I didn't want to risk getting boxed in on the right so I stayed middle.

The Jordan guy moves left, I do too.
Just over 200 meters to go.

When the Jordan guy moved left I did also. The Rockstar Games guy to the left was my outside lane wall - I couldn't move left through him so he defined the left border, the Jordan was a variable, the right curb was my right wall. The middle was good so that's where I went, following the Jordan guy.

The right side jams up.
About 200 meters.

Then the right side jammed up. I don't know if someone blew or what but suddenly the guys came backward. I shifted left to avoid the guy coming back at me, then shifted left a bit more as he tried to get around those in front of him.

Sprint starts to open.
100 meters? 125 meters?

I finally got some space and start to go. Of course It was still a bit crowded, with riders going forward and others coming back.

Sprint jams up.
15-20 meters.

Here a big Sixcycle guy is going backward, one of the two Sixcycle guys that lapped the field, and he's winning the race. His teammate, on the same lap as me, is on his last legs and slowing hard. I'm boxed in and have to wait for the lane to open up. I end up going to the right the Sixcycle guy on the same lap as me and to the left of the guy with the red swoosh on his shorts.

Yeah, there's no hole there but it opens up.

At the line.

Sixcycle to my left, Red Swoosh to my right. I sort of nosed the bike forward but I had very little momentum since I never really sprinted. It was one of those habitual things, a little poke forward with the bars, nothing dramatic.

Relative shot.

I'm glad I nosed the bike forward because I just barely nosed out the Jordan guy at the line. It was only for 9th place, so 5th in the field, but still, ever bit helps. Another 10 meters and I would have gained a few more feet.

In the sprint I went at 700 watts peak (as the right got blocked), eased, went at 900 watts peak (as I got some real estate), eased, then 950 watts (still in the real estate), eased really hard dropping to 0 watts and 5 mph, then did 700w peak and trailed off to the line (snaking between the two riders and then throwing the bike. We never got going, maxing out at about 33 mph, crossing the line at about 23 mph.

I did a cool down lap, very unusual for me, mainly because I was blocked from going to the left to get back to the trailer. Then I  stopped, chatted a bit with the guy that got 4th - he finished just in front of the field - and then headed over to the trailer. My race was done, now it was time to get to work.

One more race here and then it's on to the rest of the season. Yay.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Promoting - 2014 Circuit Francis J Clarke

Ah. Second last Bethel for 2014. It seems like just last week that I was frantically ordering numbers, gambling that the race would happen. Now it's almost done and things seem much more calm.

Saturday I really pushed Junior's limits by making a long trip with the idea of storing stuff in the trailer and not having to bring them down next week, the last week of the Series.

I started by loading the T-shirts into the car - that took up the front seat, one side of the child seat, the foot area of the backseat, and one box in the trunk. I got Junior in the packed car, loaded up the car with distraction stuff, and set off.

The box next to him acted as a shelf so he left his Horsey and blanket up there. Normally I'd be contorting to reach them after he dropped them but this time I didn't have to contort too many times.

We headed down to pick up the trophies from Crown Trophy in Brookefield. I've been using them since the very beginning and they've been very good to me. This year I ordered the trophies before the end of the Series so that was good - they didn't have to scramble to make them.

I got there about an hour before they closed - 1 PM - and the trophies fit in the back of the Jetta just fine. I headed to the trailer to drop everything off. Because Junior was out of "getting into the child seat" cycles I left him in the seat while I quickly threw everything into the side door of the trailer.

Then without any further ado I headed home.

Where I'd basically pack up the Expedition and do the same 90 minute drive back. My phone died on the way down, the charger sometimes does something and then the phone just turns off when it has 0% battery. This has only happened once or twice but of course it had to happen the night before Bethel.

I got to my dad's sort of late. My brother greeted me in the driveway, waving a flash light.


I rolled down the window after my brain went through a few scenarios. The one I came up with wasn't good.

"Is the power out?"
"I tried to call you."
"My phone died on the way here."

"I left you a message." My brother paused. "Do you have any gas?"

Yes I did.

We got the big generator going, the house felt normal (except for the generator running outside), and I ate dinner and plugged stuff in. My big worry was my phone, which is also my alarm clock.

The power went back on a while later and things seemed fine. I didn't get to sleep until just a bit past midnight.

The next morning I snoozed my optimistic 4:30 AM wake up, reset it for 5:00 AM, snoozed it for 5:05 AM, then finally got up. I was looking forward to this day as it was supposed to be pretty warm.

I got in the Expedition.

27 degrees F.


I realized I hadn't bought the little propane tanks for the small heaters. It'd be cold in the trailer today. Ugh.

Trailer selfie.

I kept wanting to take a trailer selfie in the mirror building and finally managed to do it. It's early in the morning, about 6:15 AM, so I was comfortable with taking the selfie in terms of the whole "not focused on driving" bit. I wanted to get one when it was dark and the running lights made for a cool "Mac the truck from Cars" effect, but now it's too light.

I should point out that I ended up well over the yellow line doing it and I would have sworn I didn't move more than a foot off my line. Distracted driving is stupid driving.

We were short a number of helpers so the set up took a bit longer than normal. There were no bake sales, no free food guys, so it was just the table for release forms. No biggie and we got things up and running okay. Mike the camera guy was there so he got his stuff set up fine.

Cat 5 field

I was trying to help out a Junior in his first race ever. This is a good shot of him just in front of the field.

Another Junior

With my Junior (meaning our son) I've taken more of an interest in Junior racing. I realize things about being a parent that I simply couldn't know before. It's changed a lot of the way I approach and think about things, both promoting and not. In the promoting sense I realized that having Junior races is important, regardless of the length or fanciness of the race. It should be low buck for grassroots promoters.

Someone asked me if the Juniors get anything. I shook my head to the negative. He said that that was good. I told him that I figure a $5 entry fee and no "everyone's a winner" makes for a good thing. $3 goes to USAC for insurance so it's not like the promoter is getting much, and the extra $2 is really so we don't have to get as many singles. It costs more to hold the race than the entry but that's okay. When I figure out the costs I might adjust the price up but suffice it to say that the Junior entry fees didn't pay for the registration staff for 30 minutes, that's for sure.

However, for promoting I've realized that the extra half hour is not much to give when it benefits the future of cycling. Giving the Juniors, and really it's the kids, allows them to participate for real. It makes bike racing real, just like becoming a parent makes parenting real (versus just babysitting).

Of course I have the luxury of saying this because time at Bethel isn't that expensive, and it's open ended in terms of time. I don't have to vacate the course by a certain time like a downtown race would have to do.

Moto ref.

I learned that about 30 moto refs got their special moto ref licenses recently. They all need practice so we had one for a few of the races today. It was great having him out there, it really helped tame the whole "Yellow line rule!" screaming that happens on the other side of the course.

I also think the moto ref encouraged folks to race a bit more. I don't know if that's valid or not but it seemed that things were a bit more active. Maybe it was the sun, who knows, but I will seriously consider a moto ref going forward.

By the time the Masters were racing the temperatures had climbed into the mid-upper 40s. It still felt cold in the trailer, with no sun warming up the inside, but outside it was pretty warm when the wind didn't strip the heat out from around you. I saw some shorts in the Masters race.

The Intersection

The intersection, with the maximum number of cars I saw today. I was so shocked at how many cars were there that I snapped this shot. You can see that there aren't that many cars. The consistent stream of vehicles makes it tough though. John, our guy working with the police, has been exceptional at Turn One, and he's a key reason the race worked this year. He even sacrificed racing so that he could work the turn - he put working the Series ahead of racing. That's dedication.

Note that it must be warm - one girl has short sleeves.

Here's that kid thing again. One of the guys in the 3-4 race is here talking with his (?) kids. The idea that the girls are here for the bike race is great. To them a bike race is one of those things that happens on Sunday, just like Monday they go to school. Kids that grow up with this kind of exposure to racing will think it natural to jump in one of those races when they get a bit older.

The races went smoothly today, mainly because of the reduced field sizes and the warmer weather. There was a half marathon in town today that went straight by the course entrance so traffic seemed much reduced. The Masters took the brunt of the traffic hit, stopping for 15-20 minutes here and there, so the officials delayed the Masters race 15 minutes. With the normal 20-30 minute dead spot after the Masters we could still keep the last two races on time.

I think the warmer weather helped also because the main traffic generator, an indoor trampoline place, would likely get less traffic when the weather ended up nice. It was a nice enough day, at least relative to our winter, so maybe a lot of kids did other things instead. The idea generated some hope in me that things would stabilize or be okay enough to hold races here in 2015.

We did have way fewer staff than normal, with one family at Battenkill. The son won the Junior 17-18 race so obviously the trip was worth it, and we'll be glad to have them back next week.

With one replacement staff things were a bit tight but enough volunteers filled out the ranks and the races went pretty smoothly. No one yelled at me so that was a good thing.

With the last race of the Series this Sunday a lot of us have hit the beginning of the closure feelings.

"Oh, it'll be the last Bethel next week."

It's pretty amazing how it seems so stressful and tough in January and by April things have mellowed out. For now, though, it's like what some of the GC leading racers have said to me.

"People are telling me I have it all wrapped up but that's not true. I'm a flat tire, a crash, a sickness away from losing the Jersey. I have to race every week 100% because I have no idea what'll happen the week after."

Likewise promoting the races comes first. I have to focus on the logistics, the planning, the various stuff I need to get in place for the last race. So that's this week. Next week, after the last race, that's when I can finally relax.

We packed up everything at the end of the day Sunday and I headed home. I felt pretty warm and took my hoodie off.

As I drove I felt some discomfort on my lip. I wasn't sure what it was - an abrasion? Did I scrape my lip on something?

A few seconds later it dawned on me.

My lip was sunburned.

I looked in the mirror. I could see some pink in my cheeks, my forehead, and above my lip.

It had been sunny today.

I got too much sun.

It must be near the end of the Series.

I cracked the windows open, letting in the air, ventilating the cabin.

It felt like summer was almost here.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Training - Living with Cars

This'll be sort of a road rights rant. It's not "bicycle road rights", it's more a " 'right to use the road' road rant". People, including cyclists, ought to respect the rules of the road, both written and unwritten. People need to have common sense, they ought to be aware of what's going on around them.

I was taught to try and do things the best way possible. I listened to an interview the other day and the (politician) interviewee said some stuff that really struck me. When asked about the legality of something or another the interviewee replied that what happened in that case was wrong.

The legality was vague but he, a former prosecutor of some sort, emphasized the fact that what happened was wrong and it shouldn't have happened.

End of story.

For me one of the daily things that I do, that we do, is drive our cars. If we're going to drive our cars, we might as well drive them properly. That means no lazy steering, where we drift across into the oncoming lane simply because it takes bit more effort to turn the wheel properly.

Just the other day I watched as one of my neighbors almost t-boned another one of my neighbors. The first neighbor was turning left into the housing area. The second neighbor was waiting at the stop sign. The first neighbor was so used to cutting the corner that she almost hit the second neighbor simply sitting at the stop sign. I'm not talking "almost took the bumper off" cutting corners, I'm talking "almost rammed into the passenger door" kind of cutting corners.

That first neighbor is simply doesn't care enough to drive properly. The driver doesn't care that they're crossing the yellow line 10 or 15 feet away from the intersection. My take on the situation is that if you have to take evasive action because someone else is driving properly then you're not driving properly, even if there is no other driver around.

You should drive such that another legal/normal road user would not change your chosen path, and likewise another legal/normal road user wouldn't have to change their path to avoid you.

It means stopping at stop signs. It means stopping when there's a sign that says no turn on red. It means giving "vulnerable road users" like walkers, runners, and cyclists, enough room.

My second ride outside this year sort of demonstrated just how tough it can be for people to drive properly.

Trailer passing me. Properly.

The problem with trailers is that you can't hear them, and unless you look for a while, you can't really see them when they're behind you. In my case I noticed the large pick up truck following me but waiting to pass me. I tried to stay right but there was oncoming traffic so I figured the driver was being careful.

Ends up I was right. When the driver finally passed me he was pulling a trailer. He passed me on the widest section of that part of road - it's a few feet narrower in the previous few hundred yards and the following 200 yards or so. After a stop sign (yes, I did a full stop) it remains pretty narrow.

Having towed a trailer I now know just how much tougher it is to drive with one. Therefore I gave a wave to the driver. I'm not sure the driver saw me but that's okay. If it were me I'd be busy focusing on the next significant road event in front of me.

Impala passes somewhat closely.

I thought maybe I was being picky so I looked up the width of an Impala. It's a touch over six feet wide, so the car would have to pass giving half its width clearance to me. The picture above shows that it did leave a bit more than half its width clearance.

To the curb.

I'm between it and the curb.

Given that I'm more than about a foot wide the Impala passed me a bit closely, especially considering there's no oncoming traffic.

There's no comparison to the closest I've seen, which was on a training ride with teammate and friend SOC.

This is close.
No 3 foot law so no laws broken here.

So, yeah, it's all relative.

I stopped at a major intersection a short while later. It's a biggie - many fatalities here, due to the big hill to the left. They even have a very short, very technical runaway ramp for those big rigs that lose their brakes.

I'm extremely careful here as it's a high publicity place for cyclists (in other words a lot of people will notice a misbehaving cyclist), it's dangerous, and the road isn't in good shape.

Of course what happens?

A cyclist going the wrong way crosses the waiting traffic just as they get their green light.

The cyclist is about center of picture.

Not a good thing.

The drivers didn't do much better.

We have a green. That means the light turned red for the turning vehicles.
The truck (barely) made it into the intersection before the light turned red for it.

My understanding is that if your light turns red but you're already in the intersection then you need to clear it. It's why many people creep up for a left turn even when there's no chance of them making the left. Once the light turns red they can go, otherwise they're blocking the intersection.

However entering the intersection after the light turns red doesn't count.

This Honda didn't make it into the intersection before it turned red.

People will justify running a red. "Well, I was right behind the truck that made it." Or whatever.

I don't want to live in a Spain kind of place where my mom (when my parents lived there) cautioned me that when I get a green light I should wait for the other cars to stop running the red. Typically 3-4-5 cars would run the red before someone actually stopped.

It's the above justification carried out logically. It's not a good justification.

Honda passes closely.

The above Honda was flirting with the 3 foot rule. I don't have a yardstick sticking out to the left so I can't judge. You can see once again that I was as far right as practical. The car has room to move left, even with the oncoming traffic. As the car passed me it was moving in.

The Honda further on - why cross the shoulder line?

Here's where driving properly comes in play. Why drive over the shoulder line? I appreciate that it helps push the sand out of the way. Heck, I do it intentionally sometimes, in certain situations, to help move sand (you should see me when I check the course at Bethel), but never when I just passed a cyclist or pedestrian or any other person on the side of the road.

The car behind the Honda, the silver Ford (?) passes me with plenty of room. No oncoming traffic, wide enough lane that it could even stay on the proper side of the double yellow.

Why pass now?
This is the furthest the SUV came to passing me - I was next to its rear wheel/bumper.

Why pass a cyclist when coming up to a red light?

This is a bit of a head scratcher. I picked the frame where the white SUV got as far past me as it could. I'm not going fast, but then neither is the black car in front of both of us. I'm turning right, on red, as is legal in this intersection, and I am waiting to signal until after this driveway.

If someone tries to pass me when it's really close to a stopped line of traffic - there's no law being broken here, just the law of common sense - I'll just repass the car. If someone passes me well before the intersection then I'll stop behind that car, unless I'm turning right on red. I don't want to force someone to pass me again.

(If I'm on a particularly busy road I'll pass everyone waiting at the light, wait until the light turns green, cross the street as quickly as possible, then stop and let all the cars go by.)

In this case I made a legal turn on red after making a full stop. I had a chaperone - a police car sat second in line at the light, right turn signal on. I would hope the officer would have pulled me over if I'd done something wrong.

Approaching a big intersection. Right lane is right turn only so I stay on the white line.

One car turns right through the red light, a legal right on red. I'm going a bit faster than normal since I see the the car turning left (coming towards me) is waiting for me to clear the intersection. I want to clear the intersection as quickly as possible since that would allow everyone to keep doing what they were doing.

There's no law saying I should do that, it's just common sense.

Rolling into the intersection.

The first car is on the road now. Partially on the shoulder (that lazy steering) but the driver had enough time to turn onto the road before I got there.

The Volvo is in the spot where drivers make the decision to stop or go. The white line is far enough back that your vision may be obstructed, so it's natural to move forward to see better.


Car never stops.

Well believe it or not the car kept rolling as I got closer to it.

Technically I could have slowed hard or stopped, but in this case I wanted to let the oblivious driver know that they'd messed up. I couldn't tell if they looked at me, if they saw me, but I was pretty close to them. Remember the helmet cam makes things look further than they are, so the car is maybe 20 feet away.

Hard to miss seeing a cyclist from that far.

I would give them a "jerk break" if they really went fast. Maybe their kid just threw up in the back seat, maybe they're running late, whatever. If they enter the intersection and blast away then I figure there's something going on, even if there isn't.

In the Volvo's case they just rolled into the intersection. The driver had to have been rolling slowly because I  ended up next to the car and I was going about 22-24 mph. Maybe the driver saw me? Hence they were on the shoulder?

Looked at the driver.

I didn't swear or give them the finger or anything. I just looked at them the way I look at Junior when he does something wrong and he knows it. He doesn't need me to say anything.

After the fact I realized a "pointing to my eyes" with my fingers in a v-shape gesture might have been appropriate, one that says "hey, look around before running a red light."

From what I can tell from the clip the car never stopped at the red light. If it did it stopped out of sight of the intersection so there's no way the driver could have made sure it was clear before going.

Volvo passes me. With plenty of room. At a good clip.

The driver of the Volvo obviously felt some kind of shame or embarrassment based on his/her future actions. They gave me plenty of room - even on a super wide section of road they were near the yellow line. They let the car in front of it get some distance before passing me. And they passed me quickly and decisively. So that's good. And I hope that the driver is more aware of their surroundings at the next red light (and hopefully they won't run it).

I spammed the following article on Facebook, through my own FB, the Bethel FB, and the blog FB. It's a good article on group ride etiquette, and it was put up by a cycling advocacy group.

"Changing Group Road Ride Behavior".

Read it.

And stop with the lazy steering.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Promoting - 2014 Criterium de Bethel

I have a sort of resigned acceptance to the whole race promotion thing. I try to do it well but it isn't intrinsically fun. It's sort of like focusing on a project at work and forgetting that maybe the work isn't that enjoyable. You get engrossed in the task at hand, at the goal, and you stop thinking of other aspects of the project, like "I really prefer not to be vacuuming" or whatever the task may be.

Normally it's okay, the behind-the-scenes work, I just slog through the stuff. It's just a chore like doing laundry or the dishes or shoveling the driveway or even mowing the lawn. They're all tasks that you wouldn't necessarily do if you had a day to do anything you want but there's a sense of accomplishment when you finish. That sense of accomplishment drives me.

So it is with promoting races.

I really don't "want" to promote races. If I could just race then I'd just race, I wouldn't do the chore stuff related to it. At the same time though I feel a sense of duty related to promoting races. If I can promote a race and it adds to the calendar and people enjoy it then I'll do it. If things get too busy or hard or the intrinsic return drops off then it'll be time to stop.

Saturday I hit one of the low spots that I sometimes hit as it relates to Bethel. Outside it rained pretty steadily, I felt this overwhelming fatigue, and I wasn't keen on getting out there, packing the Expedition, and heading to Bethel.

What I really wanted to do was to get cozy in the warm house, have a cup of coffee, and hang out with the Missus (after she got back from work) and Junior.

Instead I trudged out to the garage and started loading up the Expedition. After delaying my departure as much as possible (hanging out with the Missus and Junior) I finally headed out for Bethel. This year I normally go to the course on the way to my dad's. With the steady rain, though, I knew that I couldn't get much done at the trailer so I just headed to my dad's.

When I got there I was happily surprised to see one of the non-family band members of Linus, URT, and some of the other bands whose music I use in the clips. He, his wife, and two kids were visiting, and so we got to hang out a bit.

I thought of something a rider told me about getting to the course early to get more stuff done before the others showed up. Accordingly I set my alarm for 4:30 AM, to give me an extra half hour.

And then I fell asleep.

I did wake up at 4:30. Then again at 5:15. So much for the extra time.

I headed over to the course (Joel was waiting) and we went about setting things up. It wasn't really raining, just a bit misty, and the wind seemed to be calm. As the rest of the crew rolled in we got into our familiar rhythm and the whole machine started turning its gears.

Tent set up for release forms.

For the first time we set up a tent at the back of the trailer. We anchored it to the trailer and it worked really well. In the future this will be a regular thing in inclement weather.

One thing we noticed was that the water ran into the trailer from the window hatches. The trailer was tilting slightly away from the windows (due to the road crown) and it was just enough to allow water to trickily into the trailer. For the future we'll drop the window hatch down just a touch so water runs off to the outside.

Other than that the trailer seemed pretty good in terms of organization, good enough that I didn't feel the need to bring it home this week. I ditched a lot of the snow related stuff the other week and that helped make room inside.

Outdoor Sports Center, CCAP, and registration.

We had three tents next to the trailer, the first being our registration shelter. We also had the CCAP tent, doing a bake sale for CCAP (and manned by the Junior team), and of course Outdoor Sports Center's tent, the main sponsor of the race series.

Finish line area - tent, officials, camera.

At the finish area the officials had their tent. We had to set up two of the four sides, to keep the spray and wind off of the officials. When we were setting up I realized that we hadn't used the sides since 2009, the last year we were outside until now. It's been a while but the old routine came back quickly and we had reasonable shelter up pretty quickly.

Mike the camera guy set up the camera with its waterproof case. That worked out well also. He put the laptop in a bin on its side, making a 5 sided case that kept the laptop dry. A propane heater kept the penetrating chill out of the tent.

The weather really annihilated the turnout. We had just over 100 racers show up instead of the regular 200-250. On a good day 300 to a record 400 or so will show. Today we had about what we had in the first year of the Series, back in the early 90s.


Of course the wind picked up. A racer called it "the Bethel Triangle" because it's always windy at Bethel. The winds weren't so strong that any tents flew away but I did have a heart stopping moment or two when a couple of the tent legs lifted up. Overall though it wasn't that bad, as evidenced by the prevalence of aero profile wheels out there.

Mist. Break. Chase.

The field chased down the above break but I like the picture so I put it in.


This attack, out of the remnants of the minuscule P123 field, won the race.

The move.

Eneas has been the strongest racer in the P123s this year and in the exposed race this day he demonstrated that strength.

We packed up pretty quickly, with the results process much quicker than last week. With such a small field, with an obvious winner, we were done quickly.

I set off for home to try and catch Junior before he fell asleep. Unfortunately, even with my incredible driving skills (haha), I got home after he fell asleep. This didn't help my mood as I realized I left stuff behind that I needed to bring home.

After uploading the results I decided to call it a night. I had nothing left to give, not at that time.

Monday morning Junior found my laptop as I left it the night before. He tapped away at the keyboard, moving his finger on the touch pad, and clicked a button here and there.

"Okay I finished uploading the results, now what?"

I have to go back to pick some stuff up, I need to do some GC spreadsheet updates (it got all screwy somehow), post the GC, and then it all starts again on Thursday.

It seems like just yesterday that I was stressing about the races even happening. Now we're two weeks from the end of the Series. Incredible.

I'll be there this Sunday, hope to see you there too.