Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who Is Cervelo Trying To Kid?

Cervelo has launched a new S5 aero road bike whose P4-inspired shape is said to save nearly 40 seconds over a 40km course at 40km/h relative to the already slippery S3.

So this is the new S5 Cervelo "Areo" road bike. The instant I looked at it I thought, "That's a P3 with more of a slack head tube and seat tube angle." I mean look at the difference between the two! It's like the S5 is the "comfort" version. I'm know I'm wrong. But the S5 looks like a love child between these two bikes. To funny...

The only thing that looks different to me it the head tube shape, the fork and rake (Which they would have to change to make the geometry work anyway).

So they took the head tube and fork off the P4. Changed the angle of the rear triangle on the P3. Slapped them together. Tweaked the geometry to work correctly. And called it a day.

I wonder if they'll call me in as a consultant on their next project? I think I could save them a lot of time. Just give me some scissors and some craft paper....

Rubber side down,

Big E

Pringle Creek Race Report: Fall Down, Go Boom

Showing off my "good side" after the crash.
This was a big race for me. I didn't really say it before I guess because I'm superstitious. I didn't want to jinx myself (See how well that worked out?). But this race was one of my main goals of the year. I've been trying to peak for this. And all in all I think I was pretty successful (Until the end.) in that. I wasn't ever out of the top ten. I was shadowing the three guys that I thought were a threat (One of them won. The other got second. I don't know where the other one was. So I guess my instincts were right.)
And then it happened....

Coming into the final lap I was fifth wheel. Exactly where I wanted to be. On the guy who ended up seconds wheel. Waiting and biding my time.

There is 180 degree corner on the course that's off camber. And almost every lap I would hear guys clipping a pedal on the inside as the tried to keep going. So I knew that was a dangerous spot. But I got through that with out any problems. I was following the wheel of the guy in front of me as he was setting up to bank the next corner when a guy came on the outside (left) of me and, without looking, darted across the front of me. Knocking my front wheel out in the process.

I landed straight on my left ass cheek. Then, with the inertia I rolled forward onto my left shoulder, elbow and head. Creating a perfect tripod as I skittered to a stop.

The cleaning process.
Now I must take a moment to apologize to any women or small children who where around me at that moment. Because the constant flow of profanity that came out of my mouth for a solid 10 to 20 seconds would have made a long shore man blush. It just pouring out of me like someone speaking in tongues. It was pretty impressive. Even by my standards. So if you were there. "I'm sorry."

Anyway, on with the story.

When I got done with my vocal performance. Steve was already out of the mechanic car and was checking my bike. He made sure it could roll. Got the chain back on. Then asked if I was ready to go. I knew I wasn't badly hurt (I.E. broken bones, that sort of thing.) So I got up. Steve gave me a push and I rounded the next corner.

Scrubbing my knee.
As I did that I saw one of my teammates waiting, looking back. It was Thomas. There are moments in a person's life that mean a lot. This was one of them for me. Thanks Thomas....
As I rode up to him, he asked if I was alright. And I said, NO. Not so much that I was hurt physically. But I was PISSED! I was out for blood. Had that guy been there right at that moment. Or even been tangled up with me in the crash. I would have thrown down right then. I've only been to that point a couple times in my life. It's a place I don't really like to go. But I was definitely there.

Another lovely patch.
As we finished up I saw Hollie and some friends on the road side looking at me. I rolled up to them and really started to access the damage.
My ass cheek was hanging out of my skinsuit. The shoulder of it was shredded too. My helmet was cracked in several places. And the plastic had burned off where it had made contact with the ground (A great reason to wear one. I wouldn't look good with a trashed noggin). My gloves were torn in a couple spots. But my hands were okay.

As I was there. The guy who crashed me rolled up. And he apologized up and down. Said he felt really bad and hoped I was okay. Well that kind of deflated my rage. I knew even at the moment that the crash happened it wasn't on purpose (I would have seriously jumped into his shit if I even remotely thought he did it on purpose.). And after all it is a race. Wrecking is just a price you pay to play. That's the bottom line.  So I accepted his apology and shook his hand.

After the initial adrenaline rush came down. I was starting to hurt so I headed over to the medic tent to get checked out. I got set up with the "deluxe" road rash kit.

I then went and collected my stuff and went to the car where Hollie was waiting for me.

Thanks for reading.

Rubber side down (And I mean it, damn it!)

Big E

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brison's Videos #2

This and the other video were the guys fooling around in "Basic Training".

Rubber side down,

Big E

Brison's Videos #1

This is the practice run that he took the digger. It happend literally right after I stopped recording.

This is Brison's first timed run. He looked good.

Twilight Crit #2

Thomas, Adam and myself went down to Eugene for another round of the Twilight Crit Series last night. It was a lot of fun.

The weather was great! The wind wasn't near as hard as last week and the temperature was in the upper 70's. Really couldn't have asked for better conditions.

As like last week the Eugene teams were out in force. With Life Cycle by far having the largest numbers (I think they had 10 racers). But Paul's, Blue Sky, and Hutch's were all there in multiples.

As we drove down there we discussed some team tactics. And like last week I figured that something with most of those teams represented would maybe be given enough leash to have a go at it. And if that didn't happen we could try for the sprint at the end.

The race started off with several attacks going with in a few laps but none were successful.

I had a go with one other guy at about lap 10 (Out of 25 laps.). But it was obvious they didn't like that and we were reeled back in within 2 laps. Another went on the prime lap which Thomas covered. But unlike last week that wasn't the winning move either.

I always find it interesting what can make up a winning move. Sometimes it can be one guy. And the entire group will hunt them down like a dog until they're caught. And others times a move with 6 strong guys in it. People will look around expecting someone else to do the work. They aren't necessarily trying to be team players either. Its a weird dynamic that I still can't figure out. Anyway...

There was a noticeable change in pace with about 8 laps to go. Two guys were off the front. But not by much and it was pretty obvious that they were going to be caught as soon as the pace picked up for the end. So the group kinda hung them out there to dry for a while.  I must admit I was getting kind of nervous before the catch was made. But I guess I was just being paranoid.

With about 6 laps to go I was stuck on the guy who had won last weeks race like a sucker fish. He had looked cool, calm, and collected all night long (Just like last week.) So I figured he was the guy to mark.

Thomas was near me as well looking strong. He was trying to get into a position to lead me out in the sprint. With about 2 laps to go the speed really started to pick up. Which I think everyone was expecting.

I was doing my best to stay right on the winner from last week. But on the third corner he went to the outside through a window in the group and I couldn't follow. Then Thomas and I got separated.

The previous winner accelerated out of the final corner. And I was boxed in some what. It's one of those situations that I had to "re-start" my sprint. Which only took a second. But in racing, that's all it takes. I passed a half dozen guys on the way to the line. But last weeks winner won again. 

He's good. Someday I'm going to figure out a way to beat him.

So I ended up 5th. Which I'm pretty happy with.

Thomas got 14th. I guess once we got separated he backed off the gas quite a bit. But he did great. Every time I race with Thomas I'm impressed by his ability.

Adam did awesome too. He held on and finished with the field to finish 28th. That's a huge improvement over last week. And I'm sure he'll keep improving with each race.

The average speed was 24.1 mph  for 17 miles. For those of you interested in some numbers.

The next race is this weekend on Sunday here in Salem. It's the Prinlge Creek Circuit Race (Formerly known as the Fariview Circuit Race.). So please come and check out some great local racing! There will be great racing all day long. I believe my race is in the morning.  So if your feeling extra frisky please come out and cheer me and the rest of the Cat. 4/5's on.

Men 4/5

PlNumFirst NameLast NameTeam
44452RandyPaschallLife Cycle Bike Shop
54129EarlHazekampCapitol Velo
6T58ScottFildmanLife Cycle Bike Shop
84263SteveTrosethPacific Power Blue Sky
93047JasonFordPaul's Bicycle Way of Life Cycling Team
104227marklipchickLife Cycle Bike Shop
12T19JinHwangLife Cycle Bike Shop
155272KenRodgersOregon Paddle Sports
164260JeffSakacsiWolf Creek Racing-Kendall Subaru
185200DanMahoneyTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing
205362ScottMcCannaPacific Power Blue Sky
257114KristenFauriaLife Cycle Bike Shop
268003AugustFrankLife Cycle Bike Shop
275509RyanGarnerTensegrity PT Cycling
285800AdamBergersonCapitol Velo
295212AlexanderChowLife Cycle Bike Shop
305452ScottRemiroLife Cycle Bike Shop

I'm going to get the video up of Brison's race tonight. Promise. Scout's honor. Until then...

Rubber side down,

Big E

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black Rock Flow Cup Downhill Race #2

Yesterday I took Brison up to Black Rock for the second in the series of Flow Cup Downhill races. And he did great! As he always does...

We arrived there at just a little past 9 in the morning and didn't get out of there until almost 6 o'clock in the evening. It made for a long day. I think the guys that put this series on have a very "Fluid" sense of time. But I will say that they didn't seem to make the same mistakes as they did last race. These were a whole new batch. The way I see it, that's progress. It's when someone beats there head against the wall again and again expecting different results. That's when I get really frustrated.

But the fact that we got there early let Brison get a couple practice runs in. Which was a good thing, because they changed the course slightly.  So he hopped on the first shuttle up the mountain after signing in. Which Aaron (My friend who I bamboozled into coming too.) and myself  did as well. I wanted to see the changes and get an idea of the route they were going to take.

As a side note. The shuttle drivers are crazy! They were bombing up and down that logging road like their hair was on fire. I was towards the back of the truck and was getting bucked around like I was in a rodeo or something (I left my ass less chaps at home.).

Once we got to the top all the riders were shuffling there way to the starting ramp to take their turn.

The ramp rolls you straight into a pretty gnarly rock garden with in about ten feet. And not little rocks either. nice fat shin and ankle bitters. I can see why a lot of guys said that was one of the toughest parts. As Aaron and I walked down the hill I was amazed by some of the other trails and stunts around there. A couple of the larger gap jumps made we want to pee a little... I don't know how the riders do it.

I guess it's true what they say, "Take your brain out. Put your helmet on and bomb that way, really fast."

Here's B at the top of the ramp~

And here is part of the rock garden I was talking about~

The photo doesn't do it justice at all. You can only see the beginning of it on the left there. But anyway...

On his second practice run he ended up taking a digger after the road gap right in front of us. I'm not sure if it was just circumstance or if we were distracting him ( I hope it wasn't that.) But he rung his bell pretty good. And as Brison was sitting on the ground dazed another rider came with in a few inches of nailing him. I'm sure that would have hurt a lot more than the actual wreck. But I ran down, he got up and sat on a near by picnic table for a couple of minutes. In the mean time I checked his bike. It was fine and after a bit he was too.

After that episode we went down to the bottom to talk to Tracy for a while. He was catering this shindig. And once lunch rolled around I sweet talked him into a hamburger in trade for a future Guinness (Thanks Tracy!)

The dog's name doing a little "Hoovering" was Zeus. He was very interested in the bacon.
 Once the shuttle headed up the mountain for the first timed run Aaron and I went back up to get a good view at the road gap.

Brison flew by with little problem this time. He looked good, fast and smooth. Although I must admit not really knowing what I'm looking at can be hard sometimes.  I saw a couple guy's fly by at what looked like break-neck speed and their times didn't really reflect that at all. While others swooped on by with little muss or fuss and absolutely killed it time wise. Go figure...

Brison and Aaron hanging around (There was a lot of that.).

We walked back down to the shuttle area to see how Brison's first run went and to hangout while everyone else finished up their first runs. And then we waited, and waited, and waited some more for the second timed run to start.

I guess one of the drivers left without telling the right person so the other shuttle driver had to make a special trip back down for the stragglers. Who of course were some of the guys that were suppose to go off first. Seems like everyone involved could use a lesson in communication. But I digress...

We hungout at the finish line and talked with the guy in charge. It was interesting to see how the timing system was set up. And how they went about sending people off from the top.

Once Brison had completed his second run I was excited to see how he had done.

Its hard to see, but he ended up cutting 16 seconds off his time between the two runs!  That's pretty substantial. His best was 5 minutes, 17 seconds. Good enough for third in Category 2 juniors (After the last race he moved up a category).

He was pretty happy with that. And I must say I was as pleased as punch. He did great!

Great job Brison!
Tomorrow I'll try to get the video up. It takes more computer horsepower than I have at my disposal. Until then...

Rubber side down,

Big E

PS~ I'll be turning the pedals in anger here tonight for the second time at the Twilight Crit Series down in Eugene. I've got a couple teammates going with me.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's A Beautiful Day!

I rode the "Super Beast" into work today for the first time since we moved to the new house.  It's not that I haven't wanted to bike commute. But with the way the family schedules have coincided. There just wasn't anyway that I could have done it. Unless I got something cool like this~

Or this~

Or this~

But I'd rather have this~

Bike Snob NYC talks about the smugness of cargo bikes. And while right at this moment in time they may be the equivalent of a Toyota Prius on the "I like the smell of my own farts" smug scale. It doesn't stop the fact that they are very utilitarian in form and function.

Down at Scott's Cycle and Fitness right now they have the Trek Transport on the shop floor.

And to be honest if it wasn't one size to small it probably would already be in my garage (Stable). I could go and grab our youngest one from his after school program and bound our way down to home. While simultaneously being able to stop and get groceries or "transport" (Get it. Hahahaha.) stuff around.

But since it's summer time and the boy's are out of school for now. It gives me the opportunity to tootle (Yeah, that's right. I used the word tootle.) may way into work.

What a morning it was to do it in too. Man, I don't think we've had that pretty a sunrise here in Salem since the end of last summer.

So hopefully this will give me the impetus to ride in at least a few times a week. And I'm looking forward to it.

On another note. Brison will be taking to the downhill course again at the Black Rock Flow Cup Series this Sunday. I'm sure he'll be kicking ass and taking names.

So there will be a full report and photos/videos come Monday.

Until then, Cape that Diem!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Twilight Crit

So yesterday Adam and I when down to Eugene (The land of organic, locally grown everything. Eugene knows I kid...) to partake in one of the Twilight Crit races. This is a series of races that go on through the summer. They are very similar to the Tuesday PIR series up in Portland. With several distinct differences.

The first being the field sizes. Generally speaking the group sizes at PIR are quite a large. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing. But I prefer the smaller sizes of the Twilight series. At least in a training crit. I'm not out there bumping bars or elbows all the time.

Another thing that I like about this series is that team tactics can (Not always..) actually play a role. It isn't chase down every single thing that goes up the road and wait for the field sprint at the end. The Eugene based teams are usually there in fairly large numbers so if a teammate of theirs is up the road they aren't going to attack or pull the group back up to the break. Which I think is great.

 It brings into play the chess game of bike racing. Who to mark. What teams you should worry about. And what riders aren't much of a concern. It makes it feel like a real race. Not just riding around in circles really fast until the final 200 meters to unleash a sprint.

The final thing I like about it is that the course is about as safe a track as you could possibly ask for in a crit. It's a large D-shaped course that's three lanes wide with very good tarmac. About the only thing you need to worry about are the little reflectors on the road. But honestly if you just relax riding over them is no big deal at all.

As for the race itself. It was pretty fast. 24.75 mph avg  for our race. Which is the fastest crit speed I've ever had.

The attacks came pretty thick and fast for the first half of the race. I went with one that looked like it had the right mix of guys in it but it was reeled back in with in a couple laps.  I was feeling good. I was never really in the red except right towards the end.

There were a few times when I needed close a gap that someone else was letting open. Or even a couple times that I found myself closer to the front than I wanted. But in general I felt like I did a good job of keeping invisible and following the correct wheels.

The winning break went up the road for the prime lap and never looked back. As soon as they went through the start/finish line and just kept trucking ahead I knew I was in trouble. The only team that wasn't really represented was Hutch's but after talking to a couple of their guys it was obvious that they had no real interest in chasing it down. This was all within about 8 laps to go. And seeing their gap grow bigger and bigger I knew they weren't coming back.

So I kept myself hidden and rested until the final sprint and did pretty well. I can't be sure but I believe I was second or third in field sprint.  No one passed me during the sprint. Which was one of my goals. And I'm happy with that.

Adam did really well too. He was in the main field right behind me for the first 4-5 laps and I guess started to slip towards the back of the pack form there.  Once the accelerations started to happen I guess he got popped off the back.

But he didn't give up. Kept chugging along and finished strong.  He wasn't last and all in all I think he was pretty pleased. Which I would agree that he should be.

I got dropped like a stone in my first race too and didn't finish. And there is a big learning curve with crit racing. I can talk about the accelerations and the corners until I'm blue in the face but until you see it and experience it for yourself it's tough to comprehend. But I have good feelings about it and think he'll be mixing it up in the main pack very soon.

The results from the 4/5 race~

Men 4/5

PlNumFirst NameLast NameTeam
24051AndrewNeillTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing
44263SteveTrosethPacific Power Blue Sky
74129EarlHazekampCapitol Velo
95200DanMahoneyTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing
104452RandyPaschallLife Cycle Bike Shop
124260JeffSakacsiWolf Creek Racing-Kendall Subaru
134227marklipchickLife Cycle Bike Shop
145272KenRodgersOregon Paddle Sports
155212AlexanderChowLife Cycle Bike Shop
183047JasonFordPaul's Bicycle Way of Life Cycling Team
225534BrickLantzSLOCUM Race Team
23T62SeungJimLife Cycle Bike Shop
248003AugustFrankLife Cycle Bike Shop
264111JoeLeineweberIronclad Performance Wear
275800AdamBergersonCapitol Velo
295452ScottRemiroLife Cycle Bike Shop
DNF7301BrookeBauerPaul's Bicycle Way of Life Cycling Team
DNF5267LuisPalaciosLife Cycle Bike Shop

I'm thinking I may go down next week too. So I'll keep you all posted. Until then,

Rubber side down,

Big E

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Strawberry Century

Before I get into the wonderful time that was had by all at the Strawberry Century. I wanted to take a minute to talk about Jim Henry's Funeral that took place on Sunday.

It was a lovely acknowledgment to a man who obviously meant a lot to many people.

Some of the Scott's group as well as the Capitol Velo team rode their bikes to the funeral. Which I thought was a nice tribute to him. As well, I would like to recognize both Phil and Thomas. Who staid outside to keep an eye on all the bikes during the service. That was a very nice thing to do guys. Thanks...

If the measure of a man is by the number of people that cared and loved them. Then Jim Henry was as big as the all outdoors. He will be greatly missed.

RIP Jim....

All the photos were stolen... Er, ah, borrowed, from Martin. And were taken by his lovely daughter Xochitl. Thank you!

The annual Strawberry Century event ride was held in Lebanon this last Saturday. And to be honest it's one of my favorite rides of the year. Not only because it gets me out in some areas of the valley that I don't get into very often (If only this one time of year.).  But it's the scenery and the roads themselves that make this ride exceptional.

Hollie looking gorgeous as always. Don't be jealous...

I think there is maybe 4 blocks worth of bad road on the whole ride (I should specify that our group went on the fifty five mile version. Not the hundred. And while it's beautiful too. It's more mileage than any of us cared to do.). All the rest is a butter smooth tarmac that curves and swoops around the countryside like a lovely ribbon. Just couldn't ask for nicer.

Then there is the scenery. If I were to take a snippet of what Oregon is to me.  This ride would probably be a third of the footage. It lets people see a lovely part of the rural valley that can only be accessed by getting off the major highways and freeways. There are fields, streams, lakes, rivers, a couple small waterfalls, and beautiful old farms.

We started our ride fairly early so we never really saw a vast majority of the crowds. Which is nice. It's a double edged sword on a lot of event rides. Because a lot of them are charity based it's nice to see a large participation. But on the other hand it's no fun passing a row of Fred's as far as the eye could see. But timing is everything. And earlier seems to work better for dodging the crowds.

Me doing my level best to suck in the gut...

The weather was good. It was maybe a little cool starting out but once we got moving I was shedding layers at a pretty consistent rate for the whole ride. The wind didn't blow hard until the last ten miles or so ( I was thinking about the 75-100 mile riders having to go out in the flats by the freeway. I imagine it got pretty blustery out there. Poor bastards...). So it was pretty pleasant in that respect.

All said and told a blissfully uneventful ride. Just enjoyed the company, scenery, and the whirring sound of bicycle tires on dry pavement.

I think J's expression pretty much sums it up.

It was just lovely...

Rubber side down,

Big E

PS~ Adam and I are headed down to the Twilight Crit series tonight. To hone our ninja like skills. News of that shall be tomorrow. You've been warned.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We Lost A Friend, Teacher And Compatriot

Jim Henry  passed away yesterday because of complications from his bicycle crash two weeks ago.

I really don't know what to write...

It's always sad when we lose someone we know. It blasts us in the face with our own mortality. And the thoughts that we will never be able to interact with that person again. He'll never be on a group ride again. He'll never be able to squeeze his boy's. He'll never get to kiss his girlfriend. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Especially when the cause of his death is something we all dearly love.

I believe that part of the reason there is such a thrill and excitement about bike riding is the inherent risk that is involved. We all know it's there. But over coming that fear and being successful at coming through the other side is, in part, where the satisfaction comes from.

But then something like this brings it all crashing back down to reality.

Cycling is risky. Period.

I know it, you know it, and Jim knew it.

That doesn't make it any less beautiful, fun or scary. It just is what it is.

Christ, I'm just rambling...

I want to yell and scream and tell everyone that we should be more aware. Enjoy more! Love more! Laugh more! And LIVE. Live while you have the chance.

It sure seemed from the small, tiny sliver of Jim's life that I saw that he did all those things. And that's all you can really ask of this life.

Take advantage of it while you are here. Cuz we aren't here long. And you never know when it will end.

I'm sure Jim would have agreed with me.

Rest in peace buddy...

Rubber side down,

Big E

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This Kid Knows What It Takes!

My Uncle sent this to me. And I must say I think it's great. More intelligent words were never spoke. Enjoy!

Kid Gives Speech After Learning To Ride A Bike - Watch more Funny Videos

Rubber side down,

Big E

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Great Example Of What Not To Do

So the Hammer Velo Crit was on Saturday. I rode terribly. Both in the mind and in the legs. The legs were something that I could have predicted before hand. The mind is something that I definitely need to work on.

It all started with the couple of days coming up to the race. I rode really hard on the Thursday night group ride. Which at the time I really didn't think anything of. I never felt out of my comfort zone. But I did a lot of work at the front and some pretty big changes in tempo.  When I woke up the next day I could feel it in my legs. And in my brain I was thinking "Uh, oh".  Because, at least most of the time. I really feel the effects of a hard workout two days later. Let's see... If I did the hard workout on Thursday... Friday... Saturday...

So like I said before. The bad legs were predictable considering. Although you would think that I would know better by now not to do something like that.

I almost had myself fooled during my warm up. But after about 4 laps into the race I tried to cover a break that had gone up the road. And on a slightly downhill tail wind section of the course I couldn't must more than 27 mph. For me, that's a problem. As any of my friend's know, going downhill is what I do best. And when I looked at my speedo to make sure I wasn't going to far in the red and saw those little numbers staring up at me I knew it was going to be a long day.

The second part of what I shouldn't have done was I put in a full days hard work the day before. I have a physical day job. But even after that I went home and took care of a bunch of yard work that I'd been putting off. And then.... (I know, I know.). I staid up late.

So just to recap I did a hard workout right before a race. I didn't rest and take it easy when my body told me too. And I didn't get enough sleep before the race.

Earl = Dumb.

Don't be like me kids....

The mental part of me being a poor example is I let one guy piss me off enough that I didn't try my hardest in the finish (You are probably noticing a pattern between this race and the last one I was in.)

I got into a verbal altercation with a guy about working at the front.  I was just trying to get the guys up at the front to start working together to close down that break that I had mentioned earlier. And for some reason this guy took it personal and asked me why I don't go up there and, in his words, "Fucking pull!". I kinda took exception to that since I had done quite a bit of work out there already. And this guy acted like he was getting sandblasted anything his nose was out in the wind.

Now please don't get me wrong. I don't give a shit if he sits in. I just took it a little personal when he got in my face about the whole pulling thing. I know all this is really petty. And I also know that this is just a bike race for fun. But in the heat of the moment I verbally slammed this guy. Which, like most times when I do crap like that I instantly feel bad. Like I got suckered down to the other guy's level when I should be better than that.

So I sat mid-pack for most of the rest of the race. Fully intent on just beating just this one guy (Like I said before, I'm juvenile.) When he pulled a pretty brilliant (Tactically) move. He went up the road with about 4 laps to go. I instantly had a decision to make. If I tried to go with him more than likely he wouldn't work with me and we would get caught and I wouldn't have anything left for the sprint. Or I was hoping that the group would close him down in short order.

Well that didn't happen.

Instead everyone stared at each other. With in half a lap I knew he was gone.

I can't tell you how pissed I was.

To give him credit, he made the right move and had the conviction to see it through. But that doesn't stop me from being bitter.

With about two laps to go I tried to be in the proper place within the pack for the sprint. But in the last two 90 degree corners of final lap I lost half a dozen places and never regained them.

All in all kind of a tough outing...

But enough of this downer crap!

Tomorrow I'm going to try and make this blog a little happier place. Thanks!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hammer Velo Race Criterium

This is going to be a quick post. I just want to give everyone who read my little note at the beginning of this post from last week. Our friend Jim Henry who wrecked very badly isn't doing very well. He was taken off the coma inducing medicine on Monday and still hasn't regained consciousness. They did an MRI yesterday and I guess it wasn't to good. So please send good thoughts/prayers to him. Thanks.

The Hammer Velo Criterium is tomorrow up in Portland. My race is early in the morning so it's back to my race status of a pee-on.  Getting up at the butt crack of dawn to make to the race on time. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted...

Although I'm looking forward to mixing it up on a new course. I've never done this race before and the anticipation is palpable. Nothing like learning/doing something different to make life interesting.

The only sting about doing this race tomorrow is that a group of my riding buddies are going on a longer ride in the morning. So I had to choose...

And while this wasn't any thing like Sophie's choice~

I still wish I could do both. Meh. What you gonna do?

I'll have a report about the strange goings on this weekend on Monday.

Until then go out and enjoy this one little spot of nice weather. It may be the entire summer. So go and Carpe that Diem!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Brison's Black Rock Flow Cup Win!

Number 3947 is Brison. In his category his closest guy was 10 sec. down.

Please allow me to brag on one of my boy's accomplishments this last weekend. Brison did his first downhill (DH) mountain bike race at Black Rock in Falls City this last Sunday. It was the first race in the Flow Cup Series.

All the guys loading up on the shuttle.
Mountain biking is something that Brison loves to do. I think he likes to ride and race his road bike. But he loves to ride his mountain bike. Especially freeride/downhill stuff. So when the opportunity came along for him to participate in a race on his home course (Black Rock is the closest freeride centric tail system in the area. But he's only been there a hand full of times.) he really wanted to do it. And I really wanted to be there.

Waiting between runs.
His Mom went up with him on the practice day on Saturday. As I had predicted earlier, she was scared out of her mind. Not only at watching Brison fly down the mountain and over jumps. But at everyone else doing the same. I think my favorite quote from her is, "Does your mother know that you are doing this!? Because I don't think she does..." To funny.

Anyway, the race consisted of two timed runs and then they take your best one as your score. There are several different categories. Pro, Cat 1, 2, 3, Women's and Hardtail. By the way , I need to give a shout out to the hardtail guys. One in particular flew down the course at a pace that I would have let loose in my pants if I didn't have suspension. 

The phrase take your brain out, put your helmet on and go really fast comes to my mind every time I see one of these guys go down the hill.

Everyone waiting for the results.
They weird part with DH racing is there is about 10 seconds of real intense viewing as they go by and then nothing... And then 10 seconds, and nothing... It's an old spectacle to watch.
But both times I saw Brison go down he looked great. To my eye's every bit as fast as half the guys there. I mean the Pro's were on a different level but everyone else seemed to my eye's pretty similar.

Once the two runs were complete it took a long time to get the numbers up on the board. I don't know if there was a problem with the tally. Or perhaps some names got rearranged. But what ever the reason it took about an hour and half to get the results up. Which for the guy's racing it wasn't a big deal because they would just take advantage of the shuttle and make a few more runs down the mountain for shits and giggles. But for a pour spectator like me it made kind of a long day. But I kept myself amused with watching the "4 Monkeys" try and figure out how to post the results on the board.

Once everything had been sorted out on the leader board it still took me a while figure out where Brison was in all of it because they just had their numbers up there and no names. But once I correlated (I.e. found Brison and looked what his number was. LOL) the two I was thrilled to see he whooped up on them!

Everyones final score.
He beat his closest competitor by 10 seconds! And during his best run he fell. So Lord only knows where he would have ended up had he not. But I was happy as a puppy with two peters! Just awesome.

He's already made plans to do the next race there that's on June 19th. So we'll how his skills and speed improve with each race.

I'm so excited for him. To cool! :)

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Race Report: Bend Don't Break

So this is the view as I was going over Santiam Pass. It is May 28th right!?

The Bend Don't Brake road race was on Saturday. It's the first race I've done in over a month. Bend is a ways for me to go for a race but I decided to go for two reasons. First, my race was in the afternoon. Which means I didn't have to get up at o'dark thirty to get there in time. Secondly, the course is a reasonably flat. Although not pancake flat like a few people would have me believe. But still a nice circuit for a guy like me.

When I was getting all my crap ready for the trip over there I checked the weather. Even though the weather people were saying that it was a good chance of rain.  The temps and wind didn't look terrible. That was until I looked at the day of forecast. 40 degrees, 15 mph winds with varying precipitous conditions. Oh goody!

When I rolled into the check in parking lot it looked like I might get away with some pretty decent weather. When the sun peaked out from behind the clouds it was actually pretty warm. But as soon as the clouds rolled over it got cold quickly.

I signed in and jabbered with a couple friend's. I saw Craig there and asked how his race went (He was part of a masters race that finished up in the morning.). He said that because of the wind and all the 90 degree corners to look out for a break to go and stay away. I thanked him and headed for the line. Which was about a mile and half away from the check-in area.

We were given the usual spiel about yellow line violations, wheels in wheels out, blah, blah, blah. And we headed out.

Within about 200 yards it started to lightly hail. After about 2 miles it started to really hail. Luckily the ground was warm enough that it was melting as soon as it hit the ground. But I could tell things weren't going to improve much during the race.

The mood of the group was interesting. The peloton was acting like an accordion almost out of the gate. We were either going 18 mph or 28 mph. There was no in between.

Then the hail turned to snow. Perfect...  Luckily that didn't last to long (Maybe a half lap.) and then is started to rain.

I was beginning to wonder why I was doing this. But I had come a long way to race and my legs felt good.  I told myself anything with four or more guys in it I'd try to go.  Well towards the end of the second lap (Of five) it happened.

Now before I get into all this I want to say that, I'm about to get on my soap box. You've been warned....

As this break of about 6-7 riders started to form I was watching to see how quickly they got organized before I bridged. Well they had about 50 yards and were looking good so I was about to jump. In the mean time a group of 4 guys from Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing came to the front and started blocking.

 Now when I say blocking I don't mean disrupting the rotation of the chase. Or sticking everyone in the gutter because of the wind. Or even chasing down anyone who tried to bridge the gap. No, I mean literally blocking the road. Fucking shoulder to shoulder from the yellow line to the white line. And of course there is no solid shoulder to speak of so I wasn't going to risk that. I wasn't near the yellow line either or to be honest I might have risked the wrath of the official and just jumped across there.

I was pissed! What blew my mind was that no one else said anything. I was the only one who was yelling.

Then they started to slow down! Like to 17-18 mph. I couldn't believe that I was seeing this kind of bush league maneuver even in a Cat. 4/5 race. In any other category they would have gotten a bottle thrown at their head (Which I seriously considered doing.). Or worse. It was unbelievable.Their blocking technique only worked until we turned to a wider road with a shoulder.

But by that time the break had a good quarter of a mile on us. I tried to bridge the gap with a couple other guys. Who either were just going along for the ride or couldn't maintain the pace I was doing because the minute I rotated through they slowed down substantially. I kept working at it for a mile or two and it was obvious they were gone. And if I kept that pace up without help I would have popped completely and been done for the day. So I soft pedaled back to the group and sat in the back being pissed and grumpy.

Something I did learn from this experience is to not let a situation like that keep me from trying to race. Because I didn't really contest the sprint at the end. I only put in about a 70% effort in the final push to the line. I passed a few guys. But I certainly didn't put in the effort that I should have. I ended up 13th. Which is better than I thought. Looking back at it. If I had really tried I'm sure a top ten would have been very doable. Meh, live and learn I guess.

Oh, just to pour salt on the wound Total Care's guy in the break won. What a bunch of crap. I don't begrudge him the win. I'm assuming he didn't know what his teammate's were up to in the main group. But that's a bullshit way to win races. They are going to get schooled in the upper categories if they try that. In my mind what they did is no different than grabbing someone's jersey pocket to keep them from racing. It is totally and completely unsportsman like conduct. Period.

Okay, enough of my bitch fest. Tomorrow (Or hopefully later today.) I'm going to write about what proud guy I am. And what a fantastic job Brison did on his first downhill mountain bike race.  You see what I did there? That's called a hook....

Rubber side down,

Big E