Friday, August 31, 2007
You've read about Mick winning the M45 3km on Tuesday and hopefully you heard about teammate Rich Meeker winning the M45 Points Race last night so that set up today, the final day of masters track nationals for me to strike gold. This is my 13th journey to track nationals in the past 15 years and the first time I didn't bring home gold.
Boy, will my wife be pissed when I tell her...
No, she won't be upset that I didn't win (in fact, with Rich's win, WE WON). No, she'll be upset that I'm hurt and won't be able to hug and kiss her like enjoy so much. Oh, wait, the drugs are talking.
The short of it is this. We finished the Points Race last night around 8pm but my legs felt great at the 7am warm-up cuz that's the way I train! Fast forward to the 1st event the M40 team sprint with Warren Geissert leading off, Rich in 2nd and me finishing it off. Warren does his usual great start, and Rich and I are tucked in behind his 6 foot 4 mass as he drops us off at 39mph. Rich is flying and we're looking good until we are coming out of turn 1 and Rich hits a couple of sponges, slowing his speed and then coming up track into my wheel. Down I go.
Season ending separated shoulder. In twenty years of racing I've not broken a collarbone or clavicle. Plenty of others have and NO ONE told me it was this painful!
Choices are to suck it up, go to the ER, or wait until Dr. Neal Stansbury is finished racing and he'll see me. 5 hours of pain like I have not experienced before (even when flattened by a triple trailer truck in 1990) BUT this tale has a happy ending. Rich's brother Tony, the savior that he is, drove me to see Dr. Neal who took X-Rays, popped my shoulder back in and sent me on my way. 100% relief. So, dislocated shoulder is a whole lot less painful than a separated shoulder! I'm typing with both hands.
End of the season? You bet. Debbie will be happy with that ;-) Peace out, Larry
Epilogue- the next event for me was the team pursuit. Too late to sub in a rider, I climbed aboard a bike and rode a 1/2 lap just in case we won gold. Why not, I paid for the entry. Anyway, I had tossed my skinsuit and numbers earlier and had Leo fish the number out of the trash so that I could start the race. Rich, Steven Hill and Dan Vogt lost the gold by 3 seconds. A great effort for 3 riders.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Larry's positive thoughts flowed through the aether, and helped me overcome some wicked jet lag and race burnout to win the 45+ 3k Pursuit today at Masters Track Nationals, and to set fast time for all the 40+ 3k riders (30+ ride tomorrow). Thanks, Larry, and everyone else who was thinking positive thoughts!
Two false starts ramped the tension and anxiety before we even got underway (my opponent pulled a wheel, and I struggled with my bike holder). We finally got a clean start, and I rode my usual slow start lap, then ramped my pace up to a nice steady 23.5-23.8 seconds per lap. My recent 2nd place at Masters Worlds TT by 6 seconds was very much on my mind. By 5 laps to go I was literally cross-eyed with oxygen-debt, but held the pace to the end. Time was 3:41.1, which is not my fastest at 3k, but everyone said it was a slow day. Then I sat to wait for 9 more heats to see if I could hang on to 1st. My pulse was probably about 125 bpm just sitting on a bench watching the final heat!
So my 1st Stars & Bars!! Thanks are owed to so many, but Harvey Nitz got me started in this timed event stuff and has brought me a long way. Rob Spear has been such a reliable wrench, gluing tires at midnight, humping all the equipment into the infield at the crack of dawn. Sabrina puts up with more of this racing stuff than is reasonable, always has a kind thing to say when I don't make the podium, and cheers loudest of all when I'm on my game. And Rob Anderson, my reliable training partner, whose dedication is inspirational.
Next up: Team Pursuit on Friday in the 30+ division.
I also wanted to write this note because our team has such a rich history with time trialing. Here are some highlights:
- Mike McCarthy won the UCI World Championships in the pursuit.
- Kent Bostick won the National Championships and went to the 1996 Olympics at the age of 43.
- Tom Doughty was the king of team time trialing, including National Championships and Pan Am Games Gold.
- Wayne Stetina was Tom's teammate for the Pan Am Gold. That's good power for a climber!
- Dylan Casey is the only American to have won both the elite road time trial National Championships and the elite track National Championships.
- Vic Copeland, Glen Hinshaw, Kent Bostick and I have won UCI Masters World Championships in timed events.
- and finally, Leonard Harvey Nitz was a four time Olympian and Pan Am Games Gold medalist. More importantly, he's Mick's coach and I know that he'll bring out the best in Mick.
As best as I can recall Mick has only raced the pursuit 5 times. His first was at the Nor Cal track championships last summer where he was 2nd to a Pro in the elite event and then beat me in the M45 event. He's a natural at this event. Mick has since raced elite track nationals and the Nor Cal track championships again this year. I think he's ready to bring home his first National Championship and I wich him luck!
Lar (flying tomorrow to PA)
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Mick and I went for a short ride into St. Johann in the morning to get our numbers and check out the last km as the 2nd to last corner had an traffic island to avoid.
Since there were 170!! pre-registered for our race we left at noon to ride into St. Johann for our 1pm start. How civilized! :-) Kitty and Cees followed us in the car to make sure we didn't get stuck out there with a flat. Once we got there we waited... With so many riders we felt that it would be important to lineup at the front so we could hit the first climb up front as it was only about 3 or 4 km from the start. BTW, notice how I've gone all Euro by using kilometers. :-)
We ended up standing around for 40 minutes or so getting more and more nervous. But it paid off as we were in the front row at the start.
The climb consisted of about 5 short "punchy" pitches that were around 8-10% for a total of about 300 vertical feet. We hit this hard each time. It required putting out about 1.5 times my threshold power on each pitch. Luckily they were short, less than 1 minute each, but it all adds up. Next was adescending and flat section leading to the second climb. This climb would be a good place to attack over the top except that it is immediately followed by a long descent which makes it nearly impossible to stay away. Next comes some flat stuff followed by another short climb which again would be a good place to attack except that it's followed by a descent. Now you're on the TT course which is mostly flat and takes you back towards the climb.
Anyway, from history and from others who we talked to this year, this course is a hard course to form a break away on. The course isn't hard enough to form aselection and with over 140 strong riders starting there are more than enough guys to chase you down. Did I mention that there were 45 Germans and 31 Italians on the start list? And two American's, me and Mick...
So, to get away required strength, luck, timing and just the right combination of riders. Riders who you don't know anything about I might add. On the first lap I attacked to bridge up to a rider who had been off alone for a bit. When I caught him, he was at the end of his rope so I ended up out there alone hoping for a group to form. No cigar.
On the end of the second lap I attacked again late in the lap. Once again hoping for a group to form. I ended up alone so I just set a steady, but hard tempo and an Italian guy Germano Gaggioli bridged up to me. He yelled at me because I didn't wait for him. Oh well. Right after he caught me we hit the hill and he was VERY strong. I had a fairly hard time following him, but we crested the top with a reasonable gap. Agroup of four came up and things looked good. We got 20 seconds, but then were quickly brought back.
That burned a lot of my matches and I mostly sat on until we got back to the TT course for the final time. I followed a few moves to no avail and then with about 4 miles to go (okay 6.5km...) I went again after an Italian guy who was off the front alone. I caught him, pulled for a while and gave him the elbow wag. He yelled out "You win. You win." Which basically meant that if I pulled us in he would give me the win. I took him at his word (though I would watch him like a hawk) and things were looking pretty peachy. I tried again to get him to pull and he said the same thing, but when I looked back I noticed that we had been joined by four others. Still fairly okay, but guys came up bit by bit and we were more or less all together with 3km to go. It was very hard at that point. My HR AVERAGED 189 for the last 8:30 of the race. Somehow two guys snuck away and managed to hold off the field by 5 seconds. I was pretty gassed but tried to surf the group as best I could and held on for 33rd.
BTW, Mick was also very active and was in a number of breaks so I think we did well, but just couldn't get the right move to work. In retrospect we probably should have kept our "powder dry" and not done much until late in the second lap or even the last lap. But in the 40-44 race yesterday the break went on thefirst lap so you've got to at least be attentive.
Anyway, it was a very fast, very aggressive, very hard and fun race. Honestly, this race is a tough nut to crack. Under the right scenario I could win this race. But that scenario is SO HARD to come by. The odds are pretty low... I guess that's why they callit bike racing!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Mick was 2nd in 25:14 I believe. I was 6th in 25:40. The winner rode 25:08. Mick was faster than Thurlow's winning time from last year, but unfortunately not quite fast enough. I was happy with my ride, but not quite as happy with the placing. I think I gave everything I could have and didn't make any mistakes, but just didn't have as much to give as the five guys in front of me. I knew that since I started 10th that I needed to take the lead when I finished if I was to have any chance of a medal, but was only 2nd at that time. At that point I knew I most likely would get bumped out of the medals and that's what happened. What can you do. You ride hard and either you win or you don't. It was a fabulous experience and the TT course is spectacular.
Mick was the highest placing 45 year old from last year so he started last. Mick looked good coming in and based on the clock we though he was going to win, but alas it was not to be. Still, it was a hell of a ride and from talking to him, he didn't leave anything out there on the road.
Rob rode a low 26 minute time for 12th place after finishing 3rd in the World Master's MTB championships last week in France. (Despite a couple of crashes!)
Tomorrow Rob will do his road race while Mick and I will road race on Saturday.
It looks like Michael Hutchinson from Team Spine placed 3rd in the 40 plus group. They must have some really strong guys as Mike is riding really well right now.
BTW, Austria is SPECTACULAR!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I raced it in the cat 3's and we crawled up that thing the first 2 laps. The finish of the climb on the steep part was fast and guys would attack, but everything came back together going down the other side. The first time up I was too far back, so on the down hill I was at the back. Super scary. I'm used to big crowds after Nats and l'Abitibi, but still, that descent is really fast. Not very technical but fast, and with 3's not very fun. So the next 2 laps I was at the front for the climb and therefore at the front for the descending.
With 2 to go I didn't grab a bottle and I think that's what cooked me for the finish. By the 3rd lap I was really thirsty with no water. I got another bottle from dad, but I think I was screwed at that point.
Going up Patterson the last time I felt really strong. It was weird cause the first part of the race I was not in good shape but as the race progressed I seemed to come alive. The last lap was pretty chill till half way up, then a guy from AC put in some fierce attacks which split things up to about 8 in the leading group. It came back cause no one pulled through and kept the pace high. There was still a good 10 minutes left till the really steep section at the top so everybody calmed out.
Same thing happened at the top. AC man went and 2 guys grabbed his wheel. I was the 4th dude and only one to stick with him. Counter attacks came after he sat down and I was with those. Only three made it over the top in the lead, but with 5 seconds, so back to square 1 all over again.
The climb up the Wente decent was the one that really hurt. No wind and only slight gradient. Right at the bottom I was second wheel when here comes Ace again with another killer move. I was there but he didn't stop the pressure. All the way to the top he drilled it and popped dudes right and left.
I actually got dropped myself right when you hit the last steep part before the top. I just couldn't climb all of a sudden. The same thing happened at Nationals RR going up the last climb to the finish. There were still at least 25 guys left and I had to ride my own pace. I ended up catching dropped riders and passing them to end up in the lead chase group at the top where you make the left hander. That's what happened all over again. I couldn't ride that fast and had to slow down. I passed 3 guys and ended up getting on the group with only one of the 3 on my wheel.
So going down to the finish with that horrible tail wind there where 10 riders in the lead group, 3 of them juniors. Spin, spin, spin your gears gently down the road! Ya, it sucked. I normally have really good recovery time on descents and am ready to rock on the next climb, but I was hurting all the way till our last uno k climb right before the finish. When we hit it an attack was in store for us from Ace. ICCCCCCC was on his wheel and everybody else except the juniors and one guy from Easton. A slow crawl over the top and down to the finish. I out sprinted the boys I was with for 7th. Not bad, but I was getting 7th at Coperopolis, and Wente back in April so I should be winning 3's races right now. I guess time will tell.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
At the start line there were many Giant Strawberries including pro triathlete Chris Lieto. Also on the line was one of my old Sacramento team mates Mike Sayers and two of his BMC guys. And the usual crowd of mutants bent on making me suffer.
The first time of the climb was actually pretty easy due to the hefty headwind coming from Livermore. Those windmills really are there for a reason I guess... With the twists and turns in the road though there was some joking about the need to form echelons at 10mph on the climb. Down towards Livermore, up over Flynn road and then to the fun section on Altamont Pass. Top speed on Altamont this lap was 50.6, max cadence 142. Just so you know, this is not some steep descent, this is a shallow pedaling descent with a serious tail wind.
Lap two, same story. The wind was my friend as it kept the climbers from causing as much pain as they might otherwise. Still, there were some digs and going over the top kind of hurt. Over Flynn, back on Altamont and things got interesting. Lieto made the unfortunate choice of bringing a 11x23 freewheel which left him over geared on the climb. Since he knew his days were numbered he thought that he'd have a little fun over Altamont Pass. Max speed 52.9!!!, max cadence 147. That was actually worse than the climb up Patterson.
Lap three, and life in general was harder. Again, the wind was my friend on Patterson Pass. But this one wasn't too pretty. "Tourette's Kevin" was lurking just underneath the happy go lucky Kevin veneer. Not quite getting close to the edge yet, but I know it is out there lurking. And of course now things are starting to happen. Sayers was out on a grand aventure with one of the Straberries I think and the natives were restless. Flynn was also getting to be much less fun but at least Altamont Pass was a bit more civilized. Max speed 48.7, max cadence 137.
One thing I haven't mentioned is the cross and head wind section leading back to the start finish. Because Patterson Pass, Flynn Road, and Altamont Pass aren't hard enough I guess? Of course it was always just a bit of a cross wind and we were always riding in the gutter looking for protection. After one particularly ugly stretch I found myself at the back as we turned into a cross wind and somebody attacked. Bad time to lose situational awareness! I got gapped and didn't have the gas to chase back on.
Now came the dilemma. Do I really want to go another lap? Can we catch back on? Is this really helping me? I've got a TT tomorrow... What would Kent Bostick Do? (WWKD) We'll he'd probably ride at 30mph until he got back on so I guess I better think of something else. A few of us grouped up and chased through the start finish where one of my friends who had just finished the 45+ race yelled some encouragement. Tourette's Kevin had a choice reply, but luckily he wasn't in control yet.
And again, the wind was my friend as the lead group rode at a civilized pace and we caught up just after the feed zone. John Hunt saved my life by giving me a bottle when the neutral guys had run out. Thanks John! Of course my joy was short lived as things were really starting to happen on this lap. I was spending more time with my new BFF, the 36x26, but the natives were restless and the attacks started. A couple of guys got away over the top and I was in the second half of the main group. We caught back on the descent, but on Flynn Ted Huang decided he wanted to go at a speed that most of us couldn't and he rode away with another guy.
Over Altamont another rider got away on the descent which I guess makes sense as we were "only" going 49 mph, max cadence 137. Tourette's Kevin made a grand appearance. Something to do with morons and riding in the "F'ing gutter" I think. But I digress. On the head and cross wind leading to the finish Dominic from AV attacked and Chris Dilusio countered with Kevin Klein. That was the end for me and I rolled in alone, pretty much wrecked, for 14th.
8600' of climbing says my Garmin
4189 Kilojoules burned. Time for a "crack bar".
Friday, August 10, 2007
Larry, on behalf of the whole AMD-Discovery Channel team
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Racing with the Pro/1/2 guys is much different than racing with masters. With the races being so much longer you must be VERY patient. I told myself that I would do nothing but sit in for the first half (5 laps) of the race. After that I would look for "the break away". "The break away" tends to go not much after half way at this race, so generally it's not like you and sit in until 10 miles to go. Generally... This can make the race somewhat boring, but you must be VERY careful that you don't get lulled into not paying attention. Master's racing on the other hand tends to be more ballistic early on since the races are so short. But the suffering at the end of a long pro/1/2 road race more than makes up for the early "easy" part!
Anyway, an early break went and there was a Giant Strawberry (Salvador Borrego Crum) and a BPC rider in it. The The BPC and GS riders (and there were many of them) sat up and left it to everybody else. Spine chased for a while, but mostly it was status quo. Then not much after half way Jared from Metro Mint and fellow Geezer Nathan Parks of EMC went up the road. They quickly joined the break and after a lap or so dropped the other guys. This put a wrench into the GS plans and on about the 8th lap they started a team chase. I liked that. Steady, hard is something I can do. And steady hard meant that nobody would go ballistic on the Hennekens Ranch climb. So far it hadn't been any trouble, but I was waiting for one of the GS guys (like Mattis, 3rd at elite nationals or Max Jenkins, looking cool in his U-23 national champion jersey) to cause a great deal of suffering on that climb. But instead if was "steady hard" for the last couple of laps. (Steady hard still meant 400+ Watts for 3 minutes on Hennekens though, but at least it wasn't 500 for 2:30!) Life was good.
The pressure of the GS chase sent a lot of riders out the back until at the bell there were 20 or less of us in the main pack with two guys up the road. Going through the feed zone Ted Huang of Webcor attacked. I was in okay position, but probably not as close as I should have been. But I knew that was "the move" so I went after him. Mattis and Andres Gill (Delta Velo) went also. Unfortunately my acceleration was not strong enough and they went by and linked up while I dangled oh so close. I could not close the gap. For this I have much regret... I dangled for a while in no mans land, but I wasn't closing and ended up back in the pack. Thank you, have a nice day, but the race has left the station with out you.
On the last half lap a couple of guys went off alone and stayed away. At the end Mattis and Huang caught and dropped Jared and Nathan on Hennekens Ranch with Mattis nipping Ted in the sprint. We went hard and I had to dig pretty deep on the last climb but made it over and we were sprinting for 8th I think. I had good position and when the time came, I stood up to start sprinting. At that point my legs said "What the HELL do you think you are doing?!?! SIT YOUR ASS BACK DOWN OR WE'RE GOING ON STRIKE!" So I hobbled across the line for 14th place.
110 miles in 4:58:00
9,100' of climbing according to my Garmin.
4400 Kilo Joules burned so it was a festive day of eating afterwards!
* Okay, I actually got 2nd but the winner got DQ'd for an illegal feed. Oh yeah, and he was my team mate!
Friday, August 3, 2007
First off, teammate Billy Innes had a rough July http://whydecaf.blogspot.com/ so that helps me to keep my month in perspective. He went out and raced the San Jose track last night and it looks like his August is off to a much better start!
July 1st- M35 crit in Vacaville with teammates Kevin Metcalfe and Craig Roemer. Vast attempts to break things up but it’s a field sprint. Unfortunately, they both looked to me to close and I wasn’t in a great position to do that but I salvaged 3rd place, Kevin in 12th and Craig in 20th.
July 4th- flew to Philly with Deb (and no kids!) to celebrate America’s birthday in style… pouring rain! In honor of teammate Scott McKinley I snapped this shot.
July 8th- “Never take the outside line” was teammate Harvey Nitz’ advise after I told him of my breaking into the final corner. Drats. Kevin, Mick and I had fun with our attacks but this race was destined for a field sprint so that’s when former-teammate Thurlow Rogers led out his Sonnance-Specialized teammate for the sprint. Steve was the first to the corner, Thurlow peeled off into my shot, but former Cincinnati Bengal linebacker Skip Foley sprinted to the win. I hung on for 4th. Kevin and Mick did a great job loosening up the field and getting me into good position. I just didn’t close the finish like I had dreamed of ;-)
July 15th- Masters District Track- 1st M45 kilo, 1st M30+ team sprint, 1st M40+ team sprint… I’m totally stoked since I spent 11 days of site-seeing in PA, NY and DC and had only been on my new Trek track frame 1 other time this year.
July 20 & 21st- American Velodrome Challenge- I stunk up the masters races (7th, 4th, 7th) and held my own against the elite’s (3rd, 6th and 12th). New to the track racers Michael Hernandez (Safeway) rolled through the masters and helped Ben-Jacques Mayne (Priority Health) win 2 of 3 endurance races. Jennie Reed (Momentum) tore through the women’s sprints, Joshiah Ng (Momentum) ripped through the men’s sprints and Shelly Olds (Proman, and regular Thursday Night points racer) won both of the women’s endurance races. Loads of fun!
July 29th- District Crit Championship in Minden, Nevada. Mick and Kevin teamed up to launch Kevin to the road race win the day before, so I was both inspired and nervous with the team pressure. Teammates Steve Cassani, Wyatt Weisel, Billy Innes, and Craig Roemer helped to lead out Jeff Angerman and Dean Laberge for the team one-two finish in the 35’s crit about an hour before the start of the 45’s race. In my 20 years of bicycle racing I’ve never been so relaxed before. With no teammates, a lame warm-up and racing at 5000 feet I should have been very nervous but I wasn’t. Maybe I finally realized that a crit is a lottery… since I was in Nevada I might as well gamble a little, eh? To line up with 50 guys in a 5 year age group is an impressive reflection on our sport. Assessing the field, everyone was there. Key competition looked to come from former teammate Peter Allen and his Sierra Nevada teammates, Steve Gile and his VOS teammates (Steve beat me to the line at the Wente Crit), Bubba Melcher and Ted O’Neil (Clover), Don Langley and Dan Smith (Morgan Stanley), Greg Betonte and his gaggle of Reno Wheelmen teammates (Greg had just beaten Kevin Metcalfe at Lafayette 2 week earlier). Typically races have one defining moment but this race had three. First of all, Bubba’s teammate shot out to an early lead so I gambled that the pack would not let him go. I won, he was caught. Then, Don Langley, a very strong finisher, soloed off with 12 laps to go so I gambled that the pack would not let him go. I won, he was caught. Then, with 2 to go Bubba attacked with Steve Gile on his wheel so I gambled that the pack still had some chase left in it and they brought me close enough so that I could launch across to Bubba, snag his wheel and beat him to the line. Bubba is such a great competitor and he helps me to raise my game.
Track Nationals in 4 weeks. Yippee! Larry
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Smackee in absentia: Mick Hellman who called in sick
Smacker: Dave "Peg Boy" Bailey
Last weekend in Woodfords and Minden the team came away with four district championship jersey’s. Two in the road race and two in the crit. But who really cares about that when it’s time for the Putah Creek Smack Down? Who cares if you are or aren’t district champion. How did you do at the PCSD? Now that’s an important question…
When I got there, I only saw one car. Dave’s. He was out doing a recon ride. He got back as Craig and I went out to warm up and he informed us that the wind, though light, was the opposite of the usual. The return trip would be the headwind stretch.
I started right before Craig and Dave went about 10 minutes after that. With worlds coming up I wanted to go out full gas to see what I could get away with. I hit the turn around in about 10:10 while averaging 15 watts more than my usual. Unfortunately on the return trip I would pay for it. No matter though, I learned something and my time was still pretty good at 21:21. Craig came in just after me with a 21:27 and we settled in to wait for Dave.
It is tomato season in the farm lands west of Davis. On the way back, about 1 mile from the finish both Craig and I went through a cloud of dust thrown up by a tomato truck coming onto the road. Craig actually had to slow down a bit because of a car that pulled out after. While watching for Dave we saw two tomato trucks heading out. With the riders milling around at the start/finish the trucks took the middle of the road. Dave was forced to slow down in the last 200 meters because he was catching somebody and there wasn’t room to pass with the trucks in the road. I felt kind of bad for him. Until he told me his time. 20:17!!! He took about 27 seconds out of the course record that Mick set a couple of months ago and reclaimed it for his own.
With our trip to worlds, my next shot at the Putah Creek Smack Down will be Sept. 5th. Though the PCSD seems ever elusive, perhaps I can claim a consolation prize at worlds? Hey, Dave’s not going, so at least I’ve got a chance right?
GROUP A OMNIUM (12 Riders) 1) Ben Barsi-Rhyne AMD - Discovery 27 pts 2) Steve Pelaez Adobe/Schwalbe 17 pts 3) James Bandia Webcor 12 pts 4) John Foster Form Fitness 11 pts 5) George Meilahn ICCC 5 pts 6) Dory Selinger Cliff Bar 5 pts 7) Jim Ryan Easton / Specialized 2 pts 8) Alden Tanaka Cyfac 2 pts 9) John Simmons Shaws 2 pts 10) Matt Martinez Garden City 1 pts