Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ronde Highlands Happnin's

No pictures I'm afraid (I know, they're the best part of this drivel, sorry), but the Ronde Highlands was today.

Big thanks again to the Team Oakland crew and Pilarcitos for putting it on, Day 2 was a class act as usual and anyone that comes out to race this tough, tough, tough Highlands course gets a good race in.

I will take a moment to mention that I am continually amazed at the stupidity of the average driver. Or maybe I should say the average driver isn't so bad, but boy oh boy do the driving skills fall off quickly as we roll down the bell curve. I marshaled the intersection at the bottom of the course and the typical conversation with a driver would go like this:

Driver: I need to get in that driveway for Pitco [ed: Pitco is a cut-rate grocery store]
Me: It's one-way only today, and you can't go that way. You need to go this way, 1 mile all the way up the hill, around the top, then back down, and you can get in. But when you leave, you can just come right out. Is that ok?
Driver: sure, ok

... pause ...

Marshall #2: he's slowing down up there...what's he doing?
Marshall #3: oh no...he's not...not again...oh he is
Me (on walkie-talkie): Guys we've got a car that u-turned onto the course and is coming down the hill warn the riders, over

Driver (parked now, right before the apex, while about 5 people yell at them to exit the course where we're pointing): how do I get to Pitco?

Repeat, at least 5 times in 2 hours. Stunning.

Ok, enough venting. We all know drivers are bad, but it makes me feel better to mock the worst sometimes. Thanks for listening.

Back to the racing...what's to say? Started out calm, then got windier and windier as the day went on until it was blasting for the E3 and blowing the tents over for the P12. Anyone that had a calmer race, be thankful :-). The Men's E3 was apparently doing the same laptimes as the Women's E4. So, good on you Alice, you should upgrade (and you too Carol, with your cat4 power) :-) !

We had a big presence but results were hard to come by - I honestly don't think that's a bad thing, we have a lot of guys that are brand new to racing and you've got to start somewhere. I'll give you a cheer for coming out and giving it a shot. Most races aren't this hard, so keep comin'

I believe I did see Brian Johnston working out well in a sprint, but I'll apologize and say I didn't see much else, but it was mostly because I wasn't paying attention as I was having mechanical difficulties or marshaling, or ogling my gorgeous wife who showed up and dedicated her Sunday to the team by marshaling in the gale, and provided everyone else with homemade Power Muffins (strawberry version) that she made last night. (doesn't that rock? That rocks)

Right before my race (during the E4 finish) my rear dérailleur cable snapped, and the SRAM support guys were able to fit new housing and cable with near perfect shifting (!!) right before my race staged. I'd say I'm lucky but those guys are skilled, so it's not luck, just very professional stuff under pressure. Many thanks.

Our race was windy enough that it was a game of who can shirk the most by riding the gutter in the draft up the hill and not working. When go-time came, I had followed accelerations and spurts and such up the hill and I was sixth wheel going into the finale, then apparently I fell asleep. The first three guys jumped for the finish while wheel 4 and 5 (who I was anaerobically fixated on) sat there. By the time I realized the podium was headed up the road and jumped to get them there was a huge gap with a wall of wind in it. I never made it up and instead led out the second sprinting bunch. I held off as many as I could but only came away with 8th, which pushed me down to 4th in the omnium. What's the lesson? In the finale (as in most other times in bike races) don't just watch the wheels in front of you, watch the lead riders and if they're going, START GOING. Even if the guys right in front of you aren't. I'll do that next time.

No podium is not a huge deal except for one thing, no thin mints. This, dear people, is dire. I'll have to find some neighborhood girls now and actually buy some if it's not too late.

After that I sat on the trainer and finished my leg's destruction with some intervals because I'm all diligent and stuff. I was watching John Wilk be all studly in the P12 though and it was motivating, nice work man...I'm glad I wasn't up there in that race today.

Ed Lai asked for the power file today so I'll hook up all you power junkies. You can download it here, fire up your cyclingpeaks and have at it.


teresa said...

Despite the windy weather, it was great to see everyone!

Carol G said...

"I never made it up and instead led out the second sprinting bunch. I held off as many as I could but only came away with 8th"

8th is still great, Mike. Especially considering the course and winds. Congratulations!

Huge congrats to Ms. Racer-Stud Alice.

As for moi, you know what my dealio is with racing. Perhaps if you give me a few race-course suggestions that would be suited to me (i.e., non-technical and no hard-core climbing), I'd be game for doing more than time trials. I'm actually curious to try a road race (seems less scary than crits). My goal for my first road race would be not to come in last. Then, with more experience, I can raise my goals. =)