Monday, May 11, 2009

Track - Notes and Stuff

A pic from the first race at NEV. Since they were taken by the Cambridge Bike crew, they prominently feature... the Cambridge Bike crew. However, here's the one I like:

Second wheel in the Unknown Distance race. Dying a thousand deaths. From here.

The key here is that the bell ringer is taking the picture. That means we aren't sprinting for the finish on this lap. Cambridge has a guy up front, another one on my wheel, and the picture is during the two laps where I didn't pull, just before the bell rang. To recap briefly, the guy at the front didn't want to pull, I didn't want to pull, and when he pulled up, I went up too. The third guy (another Cambridge rider) went by, dragging the fourth rider with him. Then the two of us dropped back down, at which point I was sitting in fourth. I managed to win, though, and it was my only win for the night.

The day after the NEV day I woke up feeling sore. And I mean sore. I hadn't done so many sprints in a day in forever. My whole body was sore. Legs, sure, but also arms, shoulders, sides, neck, everything. I figured that this was a good thing because I've decided that this is now my pre-build up to the 2010 Bethel Spring Series.

Eh... what?

Yep, from May 2009 until about October 2009 I'll be focusing on building form for the winter. Then, after a proper winter break, I'll be ready to build on this pre-form form so that I can kick some serious bahuniaks at the 2010 Bethel Spring Series.

See, I figure I regressed so much in form that I'm in that "Year 2" of the "3 Years to See How Good You Are". That's the theory that it takes three years to get to your first serious racing plateau. Since my 190+ pound days in 2003 ("Year 1"), I've rarely gotten down below 175 (end of "Year 1" type form). Now that I'm semi-consistently below 170 ("Year 2" form), I hope to build on that and get into some "Year 3" form.

For the record, that would be consistent sub-160 pound race weights.

Anyway, to build this pre-form properly, I'll be doing a local group ride on Mondays, the Tuesday Night World Championships, and the track on Wednesdays. If I can find a race for the weekend, great, but, believe it or not, I feel the weekends are less important than the M-Tu-W rides.

The reason? I end up riding about 2-2.5 hours on each of the M-Tu-W rides. This is an enormous amount of hours for me.

In contrast, I rarely break an hour on a weekend race. If I'm doing 6 hours a week, that's a huge improvement over my normal weekly schedule. This would go a long way towards building pre-form form.

A nice thing about the M-Tu-W rides is that I don't need any special equipment to do them. Race wheels? Optional on Tuesday, and the only wheels I have for the track bike are, well, race wheels. Mondays are definitely training wheel days, although I may venture out on the carbon DV46 clinchers just because I can.

The track racing, last week, was the first day I actually rode my first M-Tu-W triple - I didn't do the Monday because I thought it'd rain (it didn't), and it really did rain on Tu and the promoters cancel if water sits on the tarmac.

The track, though, worked out. And I'm happy because it's really fun racing out there.

Having said that, my track bike is a bit lacking. I've lamented the wrong gear I have and the lack of any "nice" wheels, and I'm working to remedy that. Not for this week, but maybe for next week.

On the way home from work the other day, I dropped by the local bike shop and ordered a few front axle/nuts combos and a Surly Fixxer. This should increase my track wheel repetoire by two or three-fold - TriSpokes front and rear (Fixxer and one front axle set), a 440 front wheel (another axle set), and a light tubular front wheel (yet another axle set).

I ordered a lot of front axles for some reason.

But wait, there's more!

Today, after the ride there, I also ordered a few chainrings. That'll get me the lower gear I need - a 48T and a 49T to complement my 50T. Then, after noticing a crankset costs the same as a chainring, I canceled one of the rings and got a crankset instead, as well as some BB cups.


I just realized that I may have to rethink the order since I may not need to get the crankset because I can use my 135mm BCD Campy arms. But if I do that I'll need to get 135mm BCD chainrings. And get an Italian threaded Campy 102mm square taper BB, which costs as much as three of the 130mm BCD chainrings, or, more precisely, two chainrings and a whole crankset and bottom bracket from SRAM.


I think I'll leave the order as is. If I get good at track racing I'll deal with any equipment deficiencies then.

The rest of the bike is fine. I made a few changes before the first race. One significant thing was that I swapped the seat and post for a slightly more durable, slightly heavier Titanio saddle on top of a Thomson post.

The Thomson post is a story unto itself. Last year I learned the hard way that my frame takes an oddball 26.6 mm diameter post. Since I thought it took a 26.8 mm post, I ordered one. I thought I remembered it took that size because, frankly, it couldn't have been a 26.6 because that's an oddball size.

When the 26.8 came in, it wouldn't fit. The frame, naturally, took the 26.6 oddball size.

So, in a fit of despair, I left the post where it was. In the blue car. Which I then garaged for the winter. So 4 or 5 or 6 months later, when the blue car finally rolled out into the sunshine, I found my expensive 0.2 mm mistaken Thomson.

Then, I saw a bike forums post that made me sing. "Can I put a 26.6mm Thomson into a 26.8 frame?"

I immediately offered to swap posts. But the poster didn't have the post, he saw one on eBay. He offered to buy mine, and I sold it to him for $54.95, shipped (I paid retail for it, at my own insistence, so it was a relatively big loss for me). After PayPal's cut, I got $53.03 or something like that.

Since the eBay listing looked sort of dead, and it had been sitting at $10 for a while, I told the original poster that I'd give him the difference if I got it for, say, $20.

I told my boss at work I needed to buy this post, and I need to snipe the auction. Since I've done the same for the store (in internal corporate auctions), she smiled and let me play the game. I stood around anxiously at the computer, refreshing constantly. I decided $55 max, and got ready to bid that (it sat at about $33). My boss covered the front and left me alone.

Then, with 2 seconds to go, I pounced.

Bam, bid, refresh.


I bought the post. And, with shipping, the post came out to $52.98. Five cents off what I got for the 26.8.


Now my karmatic post holds a slightly heavier Titanio seat, one with proper titanium rails. I've changed the bar and stem, too, in order to unweight the front a bit.

Really, though, my bike's the same as before. Same heavy frame. Same rear wheel. Same cog and chain. But it doesn't matter. It's a track bike.

Anyway, until the ordered parts come in, I'll feel like a little army that's lacking a few vital pieces. When the supply line finally connects, though, I'll be ready to do battle.


Suitcase of Courage said...

Love the military metaphor at the end. Perfect.

Aki said...

I like that one too. Actually something for/from my pet project.