Friday, August 28, 2009

Right hook! Let down...

I had plans of a nice training ride after work on Wednesday. Best laid plans...

I was riding down a divided four lane road, two lanes in each direction. I was in the right lane, approaching an intersection. In this case, I was trying to take up as much of the lane as possible riding in the center of the lane. When a car pulls along side of me on the left... not completely in the left lane, but pretty close... I figure she has to see me, right? She just passed me.

Then she starts to move into my lane, and I think "she wants to turn right", but I'm even with her door, she has to see me, so she's going to slow down and turn behind me... RIGHT?

Nope. She starts to make the turn while half in the left lane, and doesn't see me. I ended up yelling a few times, grabbing all the brakes I can, and still hit her right door with my bars... I leaned on the car expecting to make the complete turn with her then.

Evidently, she noticed me at that point, and decided not to complete the turn. Instead she ended up stopped at the side walk entrance on the far side of the intersecting street with her front wheels over the curb, and I ended up on the ground next to her car.

Classic right hook manoeuvre (search for "right hook" on the link). I should have seen it coming, but when I'm doing 25+ and she was PASSING me to get to the intersection anyway. I must have instantly become invisible.

The guy driving behind her (and who was following me so he could turn right also) stopped and called the police, and stuck around as a witness. Very cool on his part, and I thanked him for it.

Fortunately, I only have some minor road rash. The bike seemed fine on the ride home, with the exception of the bar tape... and my shorts are trashed. I just need to stay off my left hip for a little while. No grass crashes for me, at least for a week or so!

Not the way I wanted to start getting ready for cyclocross... but it could have been much worse.

Maybe I did need a rest week in my schedule. Ride careful out there.

I just notice a couple new links:
This link took me to
some bike/car accident stats.

How to "not get dropped".

I got out to the worlds again this week. Last of the year, so lots of folks showed up. It was fast again.

I still want redemption and maybe to make into the front end of the split. Kind of in response to crashing out of the one break I've ever made during the second RATL this year... it was really fun to get into THE move of the day. Plus, I need something after getting shelled last time.

So, as the race starts a couple guys go off in search of the lap 1 prime. Dave does some work to bring it back, with no one else helping, and since I was near the front, I did some work also... until Chris Connely jumped. I figured Dave and I had brought the two back close enough for Chris to make it... but he didn't know they were gone, so never finished it off. Oops.

Having done some work I went to hang out at the back to recover. It's pretty sketchy at the back... so I tried to not stay there very long. I ended up doing some yo-yoing between the front and back, and mostly working hard no matter where I was.

With about 7 to go, I was at the back when a group of 4 rolled away. Being at the back sucks because I didn't know who was away, except it looked like the big guys were represented, and the field almost came to a complete stop. So I rolled by Dave and asked what he thought? I didn't hear an answer, and the speed had me roll right to the front, past Paul Martin.... so I started going harder... and then I had a gap!

A gap, now what? No choice but GO! I tried to get across to the 4, and got about half way there in half a lap. Then I stalled, and I saw the other "John formerly of SnakeBite" coming across to me... It took him a while to get up to me and I was pretty gassed by then. So even as he said "let's trade short pulls" I told him I was done. The group had already gotten most of the space back, so I soft pedalled until caught.

Straight to the back again.. and I had to dig really deep to hang on. Then I found out Zak was in the break. I guess it was about then that Paul and the big guns decided to bring the break back.... which contributed to my pain, but I hung on. Shortly after the catch, another group got away with the big guns. Probably 10 got away, though seven made it to the finish. I hung on barely to the end.

So I still don't use the efforts I have at the right time. But this time I managed to hang onto the group. Another nice workout and that should wrap up the road season. It's time to get serious... cyclocross season is now!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The "art" of getting dropped.

I did the worlds again last night. Pretty fun time, except when it wasn't.

We did "17 fast laps" as Chris announced, then told Andy Clarke from RGF to lead us out... so he did with a neutral section "attack". At the start line Andy and Matt Weeks (LakeEffect) had about 300m, and so the race began....

So Spin had Dave, Tom K, Matt B, Brian and myself... being an unrepresented team, I guess it was our duty to pull the break back in. So we joined some other unattached guys, with some help from RGF and Lake Effect to bring it back. After about 3 or 4 laps.

I did pretty well staying near the front unlike last week, even going with a couple of attempts at the next break. Nothing was getting away now though... One nice attempt by Dave got a few of us with a small gap, when Dave flatted while sitting second-ish wheel going into the cop corner. Front flat to, so he just went straight across the road, and hopped the curb. I was fourth wheel, so all I saw was him heading toward the curb... and I heard the rest. Good thing he was on the front, or lots of damage could have been done. Dave survived, and walked/jogged back to get a spare wheel so he could rejoin the field.

As soon as Dave was gone, I thought it's now up to me alone to cover any moves for the team. We were HUMMING along too. I did some work, then drift back to recover and repeat. We got a couple of primes after the neutral break was back. Boy was the pack weird. Nearly stopping on a couple of occasions... so I took a flyer through the tight turn on the back side... digging REALLY hard even though I knew it wouldn't last. I got a descent gap, but nothing huge... when Paul Martin led the field past me.

That was pretty much suicide there. Dave jumped back in the field after the prime and asked why I was sitting at the back.... cause I was dying of course. The pace was still hot, and the field was still all together. I knew I was in real trouble when I couldn't remember a guys name that I've been racing against for about 6 years... hmmm, I've got no name. Not first name, not a last name... nothing. Not good. It came eventually, interesting thoughts when the going gets rough.

With 6 to go, we passed the B field at the start line as they waved off a prime for the next go around. On the backside, some guy in a Mercede's sports car, pulled half way into the lane... and I started to come off. I seriously thought "I wish a move would go, so the pace would lighten just a little bit for me." Not to be... 10 feet grew to 10 yard... to 100m by the start finish. 5 laps to go! Oh boy.

New plan! I'm going to do a time trial. I still had a hope of getting back, but it was a dim hope. I looked back, and decided I would try to hold off the B field for the next 2 laps. Even if I didn't catch back onto the field.

I had about 500m for most of the 2 laps.... and at the line, I about 10 feet. The winner rolled by and I kept it going. I still had 3 or so to go. I did ease up a little, because it hurt. With one to go, I was still looking to see if I'd get lapped. I saw nothing so I thought I might make it... With 200m, I saw them coming... and pulled over to the left curb to watch the finish. That's one way to get to the front of the race... though not the preferred method.

So Bobby wondered what it was like, and I'm here to say... I could have sucked wheels and made it to the end. Instead I did a few too many efforts and paid the price. It's a training race, and I still feel good about the training. I figure that 28 per was about right for the fields pace last night... and I guess I can only do that kind of work at or above my LT for about an hour. Then it was lights out for me.... with a 30 minute tempo time trial effort to finish it out.

So how long are the cyclocross races again? Oh yeah! About an hour... perfect! I will say, last night didn't hurt anywhere near as much as cyclocross races do. One more month until the season begins!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Did the worlds at Westlake last night... well, I raced stupid making loads of mistakes. We had about a dozen Spin guys in the field of about 40 or 50. Here is the list of my sins...

I knew where the back of the race was almost all night... cause that's where I was sitting.

I got up close to the front right as the field was splitting. I saw Derek, one of my team mates was on the move, so I sat up. Yes, I said ONE of my dozen or so team mates. I guess I'm not used to racing with team mates... cause I actually was thinking something about not wanting to chase Derek down. Of course, he was only about 10 feet in front of me when I pulled off... and I may have been able to actually help him had I continued across the gap.

No sooner had I let that go, than I returned to the back marker for a while. Paul Martin was still back there... so I figured we were comfortable. He'd bring the move back with a patented PM 30 per pull. I saw him moving to the front... but didn't follow. Then I watched him jump... and no one was on his wheel. I was still sitting at the back.

A few of the team were then working to hold the gap to the split constant. We had about everyone on the wrong side of the split... and I was still sitting at the back. Then I saw Derek had come back to our group. So... I finally got my head about me, and went to the front to work. We got about 5 or 6 of us pulling, and we were making progress... until they rang a prime lap. We continued to work, and then some guys went for the prime. John Bodell was there for us, but couldn't get around Bob Fernandez. That pretty much killed our motivation to pull, if we were going to get jumped for the primes.

We still managed to keep the split reasonable. Mostly with some help from some unattached guys. All the fast guys were in the split... except Tom Frueh, who had flatted, taken a free lap and was sitting in our group. Well, Tom didn't like our group so he decided to try to bridge across... and a Saturn of Columbus guy went with him.... so I decided to go also. Ah! A decent decision. I made it up to the Saturn guy... just as he blew up. So I came around, and tried to grab Tom's wheel... ever so close.... then Chris Riccardi and another guy came around me... and I still hadn't made it on the wheel. When the three guys got together, the gap started opening. I tried to get the Saturn guy to help. He took one pull, and then said he was done... the whole operation took almost a lap... and I was cooked. So I again went to the back.

They rang another field prime. It looked like the Saturn guy was working with Fernandez to lead him out... and I was pissed enough about the last prime to sit on Bob's wheel...then surf to the Saturn wheel when Bob wasn't on it... It was cool to see how they worked it to end up right where they wanted to be at 500m. Saturn pulled Bob and I to the front... Bob saw me on his wheel so he jumped at 400m. I followed, and start to come around at 200m for a drag race... The head wind was a killer, so I fell back onto the wheel. I guess Bob thought he had it then, so he slowed, and I jumped again at about 50m.... and lost the prime by about a tire width. Stupid, I should have trusted myself a little earlier and made Bob really work for it the whole 400m. As it was that effort had him almost off the back for the next two laps.

I screwed around a little, more... but mostly stayed at the back. And that's how it ended... Everyone thought they could win the sprint for 25th place, I decided I didn't need to risk that...and I rolled in about 200m off the back.

The good news is I rode harder than I would have alone, and I can come back and try again next week. I should remember to bring my racing brain along though. I feel better when I do...

Monday, August 03, 2009

Dog days of summer?

For the first time ever... I was chased by a pack of wild dogs on Friday. Up hill!

Well, fortunately they were not very fit, and the hill wasn't very steep.

I saw the pack of three dogs on the sidewalk to my right... they stopped, and looked at me... then one started to tentatively approach, when I growled at him! URRRRRR. It shocked him(her?) enough to step back in surprise as I passed the pack. Then it decided to follow along.. but not to close. When it growled again, I replied louder and reached for the water bottle... just in case it wanted a little drum stick snack. It was still out of squirt range when it and the two followers wheezed to a stop. I kid you not.

They only ran about 100 meters... fortunately, I didn't have to unleash (HA!) my wicked sprint to out-run them.

Now that July is over, it must be time to start thinking cyclocross!