Monday, March 01, 2010

Helmet Cam - 2010 Red Trolley Crit

Earlier this year I did my first ever SoCal race, the Red Trolley Crit. The text report is here.

The visual one is below.

A few notes.

First, since I sat up in the last lap, I didn't bother checking the results. However, it's abundantly clear from the clip, and also the raw video, that I never argued when I found myself on a particular rider's wheel. His number: 556.

Just before I finalized the clip (I finalized it four times as my computer kept crashing and losing stuff each time), I learned the results had been posted for the race. I searched for 556.

He got 4th.

It was a tough, tough race, especially closer to the front, and to pull off essentially second in the field sprint (the first two riders separated themselves from the field), that's pretty impressive. I just wish I followed him just a few more laps!

Second, I point out a couple minor "events".

The first involved a rider that swerved in Turn 1 with no apparent need. The rider in front of him went through okay but he swerved a foot outside very suddenly. You can easily see the resulting ripple effect. One of the things about racing is that you can't arbitrarily swerve while riding in a group. If you made the mistake of picking the wrong line, you have to pay for the consequences. Ride through what you should have avoided.

It's possible to move your wheels laterally without moving your body, but, again, such moves should be made within your little bubble of space. Your responsibility as a rider is to make such a bubble as small as possible, meaning you feel comfortable with others close by.

Once you arbitrarily violate other riders' bubbles, you become dangerous.

So that's the first bit.

Another is a tail wagging acceleration. If you look around at the other riders, it's not totally necessary. This particular move wasn't dangerous, but you just have to watch out because the rider's bubble gets bigger.

The third and fourth events involve the same rider, I think (he looks the same). The third involved a very minor impact with yours truly. I put it in the clip because the rider didn't mean to hit me, he just moved over a bit much and hit me. I wasn't sure after that "event" if I'd maybe made a mistake.

However, later, it became clear that the rider wasn't comfortable in the field. That's the fourth event.

After I finished the first few edits, I contemplated removing all of the "event" sections. I didn't want to necessarily pick on someone. But then a couple people pointed things out. Friends mentioned that if I ever had constructive criticism for them, they'd welcome hearing it. And one pointed out that I may save someone else's pelvis by helping others become safer, smoother riders.

The riders in question are obviously strong because they were in the race, but with some work on riding closer in the field (and more smoothly - like #556 actually), they would probably see a huge, huge jump in race performance.

And racing would be more fun, more safe, for everyone - them, the riders around them, everyone. It's a win-win. So I included the events.

Third, I've gotten a few requests, probably from participants, regarding when I'd have the clip uploaded. Each clip uploaded represents a good 5-10 hours of editing, probably more. I think this one has approached 20 or 30 hours due to multiple reviews of the entire raw data So I'm sorry that the clip wasn't up a week or two ago, but I wanted to post a clip that I could defend from any (objective) criticism.

And speaking of which...

The "ghastly" music (one viewer's comment, and my brothers love that term, they really get a kick out of it) is all stuff my two brothers did with their bands. Some songs in my brothers' repertoires date back 20 years, recorded in a bedroom on a 4-track. Others were recorded in the highest end studios. Both were trained in the classics, have a deep understanding of music theory. They used their knowledge to write or play songs that, at first glance, seem pretty simple. But if you were at our household while they were practicing scales, memorizing chords, and quizzing each other on a "ghastly" sounding keys (their favorite keys were usually "something flat minor"), you'd understand just how much work went into their music.

I may have been a Cat 2 violinist (All-States and such), but they were much, much better than that. I find their music inspiring and still play their music regularly on the trainer, in the car, and have been for many years. I wish I could use more of their songs but unfortunately the song needs a certain rhythm, and they didn't record too much other genre-stuff. Too, many of them aren't G rated (in words or in theme) and other ones are a bit too out there.

Finally, just so everyone knows, any mistakes in the clip are mine.



Yaniel said...

Great video. your comments really add to it compared to other race videos were you're trying to figure out whats going on. I enjoyed the music too, really went well with the racing. Can't wait for more.

Aki said...


I'm not the best video editor (video part) but I think that the videos work with the text. Without a "storyline" it's just a confusing jumble of bike racers.

Music, well, like I wrote up top, it's my two bros, and I really like the music.

I got a new Contour HD self contained unit so I hope to have a better variety of courses - not all of Bethel or New Britain. Red Trolley was a nice opportunity for a new course.

I'm also experimenting with a Mac - better presentation in iMovie vs Windows Movie Maker. But I'm still figuring it out, which is why I don't have the two cool (training ride) descents I recorded on Youtube yet.

MajorMantra said...

Great video, I really appreciate the commentary. I want to start racing soon and this kind of thing gives a great insight into the whole business.

Aki said...

I was debating leaving in the "criticisms" or not, but I decided to leave them in to help both the individuals (so they can see the results of their actions) and so other racers understand why they should ride a bit better.

BTW, as a note, #556 has applied for a Cat 2 upgrade. And although I had him pegged as a Masters (due to his seemingly immense experience from what I could tell from his riding) he's apparently a college student.