Thursday, May 28, 2009

Diagnosing the Problem

In my last post I recanted how much I was disappointed at not doing well at RFK. A personal favorite course for me, and not just because of all the great memories I had of the 3 day all access VIP passes I enjoyed at the ALMS/Speed World Challenge event, The Cadillac Gran Prix of DC back in 2002...

...that the place was built for. It's not often in life a gearhead like myself gets close enough to touch a Le Mans winning race car...

...or hang out near the podium or in the garages...

...or stand 5 feet behind William Shatner with his VPL showing thru his Sparco race suit...

...during the Celebrity Race (His female driving partner wrecked the car on lap 1, effectively canceling celebrity race. He was pissed).

But I digress...

In the two races at RFK I noticed sharp drop offs in performance. Like one moment everything is A-OK and then boom! Nothing. I am chalking this up to a lack of short intervals training. Being fat at RFK is a non-issue. The real issue was not being able to repeatedly go with the accelerations and recover from them.

Monday I took off the bike completely, even though the PPTC Memorial Day Metric from Southern High School was on. I wanted to rest. Tuesday I was one of 3 to show for the D'ville ride. The weather was perfect for a mudder like me. So I had a good z123 ride. I felt great when I was done.

I spent all day Wednesday debating about doing Greenbelt or doing easy laps around BWI airport and taking pictures of airplanes.

I waited and waited for the announcement of the impending cancellation of Greenbelt, but at 3:45, it was ON and I said what the hell. That started another internal debate about doing the B race and suffer or do the C race (which im not really supposed to do) and maybe suffer a little. I made up my mind in the parking lot and signed for the B like the big boy eternal Cat 4 I am.

I lined up with my teammates, pretty nervous about how quick I was gonna be shot out the back. The race started and off we go down the hill. I had a good start and quickly let gravity carry my fat arse from the back to the front of the pack before the corner.

An there I sat for the next 5 laps. Never far from the top 10. At that point I was feeling pretty confident that I had nothing to worry about. Then on lap 6, it all fell apart. As we hit the little steep pitch by the parking lot entrance, it all went away. I went out the back faster than creamed corn thru a goose. It was like someone turned off a light switch in my legs. I decided to not panic and jump back in the next time they came around. Well they came, but it was neutral since the A race caught the B race and I was on the wrong side of the road to jump in. I had to jump on after both races went by and chase like a mofo down the hill to catch the back. Well that's not a good way to start a new set of laps. And 2 laps later, OTB again, only this time I decided to just keep going since there were only 7 left to go. I got caught one more time by the A's at the top of the hill and let them pull me all the way around to the bottom of the hill. I got up the hill and rode till the B's showed up again and got in another lap or two. With two to go I was on the back of the B race and when they surged up the hill, my legs said "no way buddy" and started cramping. I rode the last 2 alone.

I finished 2 laps down, but I was much happier at the end of the race than I was on Sunday at RFK. I don't know why. I guess I didn't expect much at Greenbelt and wasn't as let down by my lack of performance. I went home happy with a renewed sense of purpose and a new set of objectives to remedy the problem.

Every week, just keep going until I cant go. Maybe by early July, I'll have it in the bag.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Inspirational Photography II - The Evolution Of A Final Sprint - The RFK 3/4 Race Finaly

After I was OTB and out, I got a good spot for to take some photos. Something I havnt done at a bike race since I started officiating. As you can see, I'm a little rusty or I would have not backed off the zoom so hard mid way thru the sequence.

In this sequence Stephen Wahl, D.J. Brew and Jose Nunez duke it out for top honors. You can see Stephen leading it out ahead of DJ. Jose is hidden behind DJ until he pops out to the left. Stephen had the lead right up to about 10 meters to go, but DJ just barley nipped him at the line. Jose Nunez held on for 3rd.

Note how far back Stephen and Jose were before hitting the final bend.

Great job fellas.



Inspirational Photography - RFK Crit 2009

(photo-Amy Jones)

This one goes on the refrigerator door. I'm hoping it will inspire me to leave it shut and walk away.

I could spend an entire day whining about why I am the suck right now, but it's all there in one picture and whining would be a waste of time, serving no purpose. Look at that fat bastard! If it weren't me in the photo, I'd think this pour schmuck is ready to keel over and give birth to that baby he's carrying. Normally I have no problem making fun of myself, but it's starting to not be funny anymore.

My wife, being the voice of reason and brutal honesty she usually is, is probably right about one thing. I should either stop half-assing my commitment to dieting and training, or give it up racing altogether and just ride with the tourist. I really love this sport, so I think it's time to really put the other half of my ass into it.

The day wasn't a total wash. I turned 46 over the weekend and got to spend the day with my dad who was really great about hanging out all day. In spite of my ego bruising not once, but twice, I had a really fun day.

Thanks Dad!

(photo-Lance Lacy or Paul Bayer, using my camera. Those are Lance's wheels, so ask him about them. LOL!)

My next mass start race will probably be the Bowie Crit, since it's so close to home and 8 weeks away. Plenty of time to get some quality training in. In the meantime, the Greenbelt B race is gonna be for me. If I start now, maytbe buy the last one in August, I may make it thru an entire race without going OTB.

In a more positive note, watch out for the Ducati ST4s screaming around Crystal City in all it's dry clutch and carbon fiber exhaust glory during the Air Force Classic on Sunday. While my racing is going backwards, my officiating career is moving well forward. I got my B moto upgrade last week, so in the words of Navin Johnson...

"Things will start happening to me now!"



Sunday, May 3, 2009

How to look Pro...

...without the years of sacrifice and monk like devotion.

(photo: Dad)

In the interest of full disclosure the pro look didn't help me one iota from getting dropped half-way up the first of the 3 stair step hills a mile and a half before the start/finish in the Turkey Hill Classic 4/5 race.

Because I was looking all pro, I stayed in until I got thrown out. As fate would have it I had photo featured teammate, team co sponsor and all round good guy Brad Phumphrey for company with a few of his Cat 5 racers for a couple of laps after they got dropped in their race. Brad finished much higher in his race than I did in mine. His group was 2nd group in the cat 5 race and there were only about 10-12 finishers in the main Cat 5 group. Me, I probably finished 70 out of 75.

I'm not going to whine here, because it's totally my fault I'm as big as a whale. All I want to say is I love this race and cant wait to have another go at it in 2010.