Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Racing with the Old Guys

So here's my race report. This was my first massed start race since last August's Manhattan Beach GP. It was also my first 50+ crit. Anyway I was more nervous than usual and when the race started I realized the I was in the small ring and had a bit of trouble clipping in and shifting to the big ring (nerves?). So I ended up at the back of the pack and fortunately the first lap wasn't too fast. Got settled in and started to try to move up and realized that the back half of the pack was pretty squirrelly. I guess there were a lot of Cat. 5 guys out there. Watched several near crashes. So I was trying to stay on good wheels just to stay safe when we got to 3 to go. Saw someone starting to move up on the left and I jumped on his wheel just as he decided to jump back into the pack. Since I had some momentum I kept going and fortunately, there was someone going on the right. I jumped on his wheel and we caught the 4 guys who were already up the road. Unfortunately, the pack was right on us when we hit the front straight. I got back into the pack and watched the finish since I don't do criterium field sprints.

Managed to stay warm between races and lined up on for the 40+ 1/2/3 race. This race was much faster and I was content to hang at the back and get a workout. Was feeling good for the first 30 minutes but when 5 to go came up I was just hanging on. After getting 4 to go, I was behind this guy who opened a gap and by the time I got around him I was off on the back straight. Saw 3 to go and decided to drop out. Maybe that was a good thing.

Regarding the motorcycle incident, this is what I heard. The was a crash near the exit of turn 2 with 2 to go. A motorcycle cop stopped at the accident and had his bike sticking out in the lane -- apparently to protect the fallen rider. Well with one to go, here comes the pack and a couple of riders ended up creaming the motorcycle. I ended up riding by becuase I didn't see my buddy ride by after the finish and I thought he might have been involved. One guy, who apparently hit the motorcycle was face down on the grass and pretty beat up. He was conscious and talking.

So that was my day. 40 miles total at 26 MPH.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sub-Freezing Time Trial

The unusually cold temperatures that have caused severe crop damage in California also greeted me and two of my Lightning Velo teammates at the Tom's Farm Time Trial in Corona, CA, on January 14th. Jim Brashear, Pat Baker, and I arrived at the parking lot for registration to find that any moisture on the ground was ice. Jim's vehicle showed a balmy 29 degrees F on its thermometer.

After registering, setting up the bikes, and warming up (to a degree) we made our way to the start line only to find that a water main had broken on an adjacent hillside flooding the road just past the planned start. Officials moved the start down the road but we still had to cross the muddy stream on the road.

I'll just report on my personal result. I wasn't last. :) I was at the end of a string of riders who were within a minute of each other and I was 2 minutes slower than the second place rider. I won't talk about first place.

I wasn't totally disappointed since I was still not 100% health-wise and I hadn't done any time trial training since the summer. Now I have less than 9 months to achieve my goal of a sub 1-hour, 40 Km time trial before I turn 50.

BTW, this was my first race as a 50+ Master.

Friday, January 12, 2007


...the year started out in such a promising way. Had a very nice 74 mile ride on New Year's Day and have ridden ZERO miles since. We went on a short vacation to Palm Springs and when I got back I started coming down with some type of flu (as noted in my previous post).

Now, one week later, I am still not 100% and tomorrow's Saturday ride is in jeopardy because my throat is still not great and the weather will be quite cold (for SoCal). I am going to try to race(!) in a short time trial on Sunday assuming that my health -- forget about my fitness -- doesn't get any worse.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Last Post for Today

You may be wondering why I have been so prolific in my posting today? Well the simple answer is that I have been sick. The new year started nicely with a 74 mile ride through Laguna Canyon on January 1st. A short vacation to Palm Springs was supposed to lead into 3 days of riding.

Unfortunately, what felt like allergies in Palm Springs turned into some kind of a virus (cold, mild flu, ???). So I've been sitting at the laptop all day and into the night updating the look of this blog and updating our web site.

Hopefully I'll be well enough for a short ride tomorrow.

Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Mesa (Photoblog Post #4)

I went to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands with my in-laws the day after Christmas. It was my first extended visit since they restored the inlet to the Pacific Ocean and I was very pleasantly surprised to see how well the restoration went.

The breeding grounds for birds was greatly expanded and the paths were improved. Even though it was mid-day and cold (for Southern California), there many wonderful species of birds on the "grounds."

So, at times, local government, big business, and environmental activists can reach enough common ground to make the world a bit better for our children.

Will we ever learn?

Well, USA Today, published another article on Jan. 5, 2007, that shows how little we understand the competitive advantage held by Toyota. GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner notes:
"I like being No. 1, and I think our people take pride in it," he told a small group of reporters at GM's headquarters. "It's not something we're going to sit back and let somebody else [Toyota] pass us by."

If Toyota does pass GM, Wagoner said he would not be pleased.

"It won't be a happy day for me, but I've lost basketball games before in my life. You get ready and you learn and you go back the next day, and that's what we'll do," he said. "We're going to fight to keep the position, and if one day we lose it, we'll fight to get it back."
Meanwhile, the Toyota spokesperson notes:
Toyota isn't concerned about becoming No. 1 globally, said spokesman Irv Miller. The company is working to keep its quality high, focus on customers and roll out its new Tundra full-sized pickup, due next week, he said.

"A perceived sales challenge for global leadership is not something we're even thinking about," Miller said.
Once again, Toyota clearly tells everyone who cares to listen that they have a strategic, rather than a tactical focus. Don't worry about the game when you can win the season. How much further will GM profits fall, just so that they can sell more cars than Toyota in 2007.

Toyota employees are proud of the fact that they continuously improve the quality or their cars and speed in which they produce them.

Where I've Been