Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dateline: 20:28, 22 July 2009

I'm eating salad.

That's desperate, at least for me.

The racing went reasonably well, but once again I felt like a total newb. I learned more mechanical stuff, tried to throw my bike at the line (which, in a road sprint, would involve coasting), and I failed miserably at what I thought would be my best event, the match sprint.

Let's rehash.

First, the day started with some chores, like programming two garage door openers, the keypad and the one in the mirror of the blue car. I felt pretty pleased with myself when the door went up and down like magic. Little triumphs make life good.

I also went to clear out all the cat catching stuff from work, and managed to snag some awesome Panera's food (someone brought in a bag of stuff). I fed Grey, spotted White (the fixed male who really doesn't like me right now), and collected the trap, a carrier, and some other stuff.

I realized that I have a pretty solid fan base at work, probably the most supportive non-family (family includes the missus) family. Kim and Jill, the two daughters, always ask me about my racing. Sincerely, not just politely.

"Make us proud," Kim told me one day, when we were leaving work.
"You can win," Jill said once. I remembered that and dug extra deep in one of the Rent races when I thought about dropping out.

Karen, the mom, has always supported my racing, my leaving early on Tuesdays, the Wednesdays off, and even Saturdays for Bethel and Nutmeg. She's also very thoughtful about my whole mosquito thing, and today she gave me a wristband that has stuff in/on it to repel mosquitoes. For the record, while I had it on, I didn't get bitten on that arm.

I think I'll ask her if she has one for my other arm. And maybe one each for my ankles.

Anyway, it was nice to go to work and get all this support, and it set the tone for the day.

I brought the four kittens home (anyone want some kittens?), set them up in their room, packed up the car, and set off.

(btw, I can't believe it. There are mosquitoes in this McDonalds. And I used Active Wipes to clean myself off so I have no repellant on. This may be the shortest post ever.)

As in, "Okay, tonight I raced and then went home, itching all the way."

Okay, I'm just kidding.

I just got bit 4 times on my legs. Arg. And I am not kidding about that.

Where was I...

I got to the track in good time, put my bike together (rear wheel pretty tight so as not to drop the chain like I did last week), and said hi back to a few people that said hi to me. I realized that I'd forgotten my number so I had to get a new one. I didn't have any cash, just some change in the "ashtray", so I issued a verbal IOU to Tony for $3.

Hey, if Arnold can do it, so can I.

I decided I wouldn't kill myself in the Scratch race since I wanted to do some good sprints. I also wanted to work on holding a line when sprinting, so I did a partial sprint and did all the tricks I know to stay down on the inside of the track. I tilted my head, looked at where I wanted to go, and my bike stayed low. Slower than a sprint, but still, it seemed to work.

On the warmup a rider came up to me in familiar CVC colors. She introduced herself (Kim) and mentioned she knew SOC among other people. Apparently she raced last Saturday and Tony told her to come up for the Wednesday A/B races, not the Tuesday C/D ones. I should have taken note of that distinction, but I sort of let it slide.

We lined up for the Scratch and they announced they'd offer a prime.


I needed $3, and if they gave out, say, $1, I'd be less in debt.

So when they rang the bell for the prime, I decided that I'd go for it. I happened to be about 5 back, and one guy kind of went for it, but I came around him and got it. I sat up, deciding to end my race there, but it took a while for everyone to kind of regroup.

Then Kim rocketed out of the field. At some point I totally sat up and went into la-la land, but she basically rolled through and past everyone else. I can't remember how the race ended but she definitely made a good move, staying away for a long time.

I should have taken note, but I was too wobbly to do anything but put a foot down.

I learned I got $2 and some drinks, so I told Tony to apply the $2 to my IOU. I passed on the drinks since it'll be a year or two before the missus and I dig into the martinis I won last week.

Next up, flying 200 meter times. Basically you get up to speed and sprint for 200 meters as fast as you can. This is totally me so I rode around and calculated where to dive down the banking, when to accelerate, and all sorts of planning type stuff.

I watched the Human Derny do a 12.9, shaking his head in disgust at his "poor" sprint. No one else broke 13, although one guy did a 13.00.

I decided I wanted to do a 13.00.

When I got called to go, I got rolling pretty hard. I knew I'd have to jump from some reasonable speed so I could dive down the banking, and really launch hard across the line.

I dove down the banking and POP something clicked hard. My pedaling stumbled a touch, but I kept going. Not really a good jump, but not bad, and I got going pretty good. The final bend came up way too quickly and I drifted way wide. I heard another POP. What the heck?!

I sprinted to the line, pretty disappointed with my effort.

My practice sprint hadn't been enough, and I lost tons of time climbing the track. And the popping noise, similar to a hard shift, distracted me twice.

Ends up that when you lean a bike left, the chain wants to come off the chainring to the left. If the chain is loose, it'll pop.

No duh, right?

Well, an easy way to test this is to hold the bike sideways so the drivetrain is pointing up, and pedal the bike fast. If it's quiet, it's good. If it clicks and clacks, it's bad.

I did that and heard some regular clicking. The chain was trying to drop off to the inside. Getting the chain tighter would eliminate this.

I went back to the car and tightened the chain.

Before I did, though, I rode up to Tony.

"What was my time?"
"Oh, man, you're just like my kids. 'What's my time? What's my time?' They never shut up!"
"Well? What was my time?"
He didn't even look up from his scoring.

Dag.Three quarters of a second slower than the Derny. And he was unhappy with his sprint.

The time was decent though, and it gave me confidence. Too much confidence. My first sprint was a three up, and I led all the way, trying to keep the pace high, wanting to be able to jump in my 50x15. What I did, in hindsight, was to eliminate my strong point, my jump, and make it more of a speed race.

I learned tonight that I ain't got speed.

So this guy Andrew led out and I couldn't come around him. I couldn't believe it. My jump was worth nothing.


(Say it like what's his name... the Italian guy... DeNiro. He's Italian? Or just talks like a gangster?)

To top it off, the third guy, Andrew's dad, almost got me at the line. I kind of panicked and threw my bike at the line.

Throwing the bike means coasting. On a road bike, not a problem.

Coasting on a track bike means doing a header.

My back wheel came waaaaaay off the ground, but nothing bad happened. Well, it kind of thumped hard when it landed, but otherwise nothing happened.

Total newb.

In Match Sprints there's a "second chance" sprint, a "repechage". I think it's called that, but the mosquitoes are driving me insane, so that's what it is for now.

The repechage was a four up, winner goes on. I decided to play it a bit cooler, and not lead all the way. I can't really remember exactly what happened, but I took the sprinter's lane on the backstretch and held off a guy Mike trying to come around me.

This qualified me for the 3rd-6th race. Kim, having won her first heat (by going from the gun for two laps and winning in a super close sprint), and second in her second heat (thus forcing her into the repechage), was in this race. I think we all looked at her to make sure we wouldn't be caught napping when she launched.

Of course, as soon as she did one hard downstroke, we all jumped, and suddenly there were three guys leading out Kim. What's funny is that she did that one downstroke to get everyone going, and it worked. Unfortunately for her she blasted around us a bit early and ended up leading us out. I couldn't get the sprinter's lane so I got second in the sprint, fourth in the Match Sprint. I think I swore out loud in the sprint when I realized I wasn't going to get third overall.

So for all those sprints I got one point in the Omnium.

We went to the Miss N Out, and I decided I wouldn't really contest it. I tried to lose after a lap, but someone had come off so Tony hollered I was still in. I had already gapped myself off the back so I did a little dig to move up. This caused me to accelerate kind of hard, and because I don't have brakes, I had to move past people as I slowed. Suddenly, unexpectedly, I found myself about 5th wheel.

I started thinking "Maybe", but after a couple more eliminations I decided I'd sit up. I felt pretty wasted, and I wasn't interested in doing another match sprint (the last three guys do that).

When I was getting packed up, Scotty came over and we chatted a bit. I told him I was still making newb mistakes, like the chain popping and the back wheel in the air thing.

From the next car over the guy looked up.

"I saw that!"

Great. I'm sure he'll go home and say, "And then there was this guy, total newb, almost flipped over the bars when he threw his bike at the line. Can you believe it?"


I learned more today. How to adjust chain tension on a track bike. Not to coast. Not to throw the bike. And to keep the Match Sprint speeds low before I jump.

And that I have to, have to, have to, have to work on my pedal speed. Because right now it totally sucks. I may have to lower my saddle a touch. I definitely need to do some high rpm work with 170s. On one of the cool down laps I even daydreamed about using some angle bar to make a frame for my rollers - they way Kreitler made them, the front roller is about an inch too far forward when all the way back, and I end up dropping off the back of the rollers all the time.

Rollers and trainer work, for sure.

I should also get more fit. Lose weight. Get stronger.

Hence the salad.


No One Line said...

Bike throws on track bikes are hard. I haven't quite figured it out. And even the Studs screw it up (see the replay at 3:25).

Aki said...

Holy cow! His front wheel was a foot off the ground! heh. At least it looked smooth. Mine looked totally bad. It would make the "wow these riders are dumb" clips.

Rishabh Phukan said...

Kim is totally awesome!

And as you found out, she's a really strong rider. She really puts the hurt on the women's fields she races in.

She helped me out in my race as well once.