PR: Flats Point Per Lap

This week brought another points per lap race. Craig and Michael were there… Michael wanted to try and shred the field, so we were going to let whomever contested get lap 1, and then attack right after that sprint, and try to keep up the counter-attacking every other lap or so. Well, as we rounded the corner for lap 1 (well, first point lap), nobody was attacking… so I did! Full on sprint, and someone came with and then pulled ahead by a few inches to beat me again like the week previous. Blast!

I spent the rest of the race recovering, actually. Michael contested a number and I think placed in the race, but overall not much happened. There was a stiff headwind coming from the west, so every sprint was right into it, and every counter attack was right into it… which really put the brakes on that kind of thing.

Pack finish, but got another PPL point (ok, no season points yet… still working up to that!)

PR CCW Escape Route

Today’s race was sparsely attended after last week’s Crashapalooza. It was raining, and the forecast was LOTS of rain. But, I took a chance after my friend Laura called me out. Got down there, and cold, wet, but not raining. And the sun came out!

There were only 14 Masters, and no Wines guys in the 4/5s, so I raced Masters. Laura was also racing Masters, along with Eric and Greg. Laura told me that she felt Masters was more intense, but same overall speed as the 4/5s. Plus, they did the hill slower. Slower hill? I’m in!
Woof… why do I always forget that Masters rip your legs off? 😉

The 4/5 Escape Route race is basically a “thin the pack sprint finish” race. The pack powers up the hill, then recovers on the flat until the downhill and up again. If you can hang on after the pack gets to the top and the false flat curve, you’re good until the next lap. Preme laps can be tough, as often the pack will sprint up that hill and you need to sprint with them. But ultimately, it’s a semi-sprint finish for people to power up the climb on the last lap.

The Masters… don’t do that. They go slowly up that hill, conserving energy. Then, on the flats… ATTACK! Yes, an attack at PR. Today, even though there were only 15 racers, someone was always attacking – esp. Greg. After the preme lap, I and some others got dropped – or at least formed a smaller group of 4 from the group of 15. We chased for a bit, then the 4/5s caught us, so we drafted them. Then, they towed us to the Masters. Thanks guys!

We did a few more laps, then the end. Greg, Eric, and I were in the lead on the descent, and Eric was giving Greg an OK lead, but Greg had gone too early up the hill and blew up about halfway up the final climb. Tough race, legs were gassed… good stuff.

I drove home in the downpour… yow. Then, came home to my wife pointing out some leaks from the rain. Attic spelunking after a race…. suck-tastic. Oh well, still didn’t crash. Just now need to find a roofer!

An Earwig Lives Up to its Name

Ruben and I did a hilly bike ride today that involved getting all the way out to May Valley Road. We met at a friend’s house in Bellevue because her 16 year old daughter had said yes to an extended bit of afternoon babysitting. (He rode and I drove with Elias and my bike.) I hadn’t eaten since 7:30 this morning, grabbed lunch on the way over and crammed it down around 12:45. Mistake. We left around 1:20 and the food still hadn’t really hit my system.

Within a few minutes we hit some big hills up through South East Bellevue – taking 100th NE instead of going out to the busier Bellevue way. I’m still getting used to the Look pedals and my legs felt underpowered so I didn’t feel so secure on the steep hill we hit, I actually had to get off and walk a bit. Not a great start to the ride.

Once on the Lake WA trail (south) the food started to hit. Ruben commented that he never goes southbound on Lake WA Blvd. I have to admit, the pattern of hills did feel “odd.”

We took a left at 44th Ave NE and went eastbound towards May Valley. It’s a long climb I wasn’t looking forward to, but I made it. I haven’t been out to May Valley Road in a while, and it’s still as gorgeous as ever.

Around about mile something flew into Ruben’s ear. At first he didn’t stop, but I made him pull over at a driveway. He was holding onto his eardrum and I could see little legs and antennae sticking out. It was gross and freaky and something out of a science fiction movie. I was pretty sure it was an earwig and those things totally gross me out. Fortunately I had a pair of small tweezers, and he had a light on his bike and I was able to grab one of the thing’s legs and pull it out. I got so freaked I threw both to the ground. But then we couldn’t see for sure if I had gotten it. I used the light and peered in as far I could. Ruben also checked with a piece of wet tissue.

The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. We rode through Issaquah, up Sunset Way/Highline Drive, onto the Highlands. Hills hills hills. I just had to take it at my own pace. On the Sammamish Plateau we continued eastbound for a while, and even detoured onto Beaver Marsh? Road. Eventually we headed towards East Lake Sammamish Pkway but first stopped at a park to refill my water bottles which were empty. I was happy to note that the “hills” on E. Lake Sammamish Parkway didn’t slow me down at all – we cruised quite nicely (or maybe there was a tail wind).

We stopped at the Pete’s near Whole foods in Redmond, cut through Marymoor park and to the 520 trail. I was a little worried about the hill going up as we headed westbound – I’ve only ever come down that hill and it seemed so steep. But I made it up without stopping and Ruben made it up strong! There was another guy on a Trek bike that just totally charged up the hill too. I have to keep reminding me that “that’s not me.”

We wound up going across Northup way to Bellevue way because it was the most direct route back to Elias and the babysitter. I wasn’t looking forward to that hill OR the hill on NE 24th, but I did make it up both and felt pretty good about it.

Final stats: 51 miles. 3 hrs 42 minutes ride time (avg 13.7 mph), 4hrs 27 minutes total time. I am still a little concerned about the speed issue with respect to STP in one day (I’d feel more comfortable averaging 16) but I have to remind myself this was far more hilly than STP. Also the other thing to note was that there was no numbness in my foot. So the Look pedals may be helping.

Flats, point per lap, crashtastic, then Hills, point per lap

Today… um… sucked. But I didn’t go down.

The course was flats point-per-lap – 2 points for first across each lap (except the first), 1 point for second. Highest points at the end wins. Cool.

It was lightly raining. Not cool.

We sped around the first lap, fast… some people were pushing, rest of us were chatting, “Um, first lap neutral, no points guys…” But whatever. Second lap, GO! I was around the top 10ish, positioning myself for a sprint. Third lap, we round the bend, I’m in a good position on the right, and GO! There’s someone leading the main pack in the middle, they start to drop back. There’s another guy on my left. Turns out the pack conceded to us… sprint! sprint! sprint! And he gets me by a hair. That’s OK, first point in PPL.

We sit up and let the pack catch up. As we round the bend for the drag strip, we see that the Masters have crashed. Oof! Neutral through the crash. Sprint again, and then I’m back in the top 10ish ready for another go. I’m nervous on the drag strip, so I’m leading out the third line (left-most). We get to the almost-end of it, and CRASH! I hear bikes falling behind me. I don’t even look… I’m all about maintaining my line and maintaining my bike upright on the slick rubber. We cruise around, some people sprint, but more are looking at the carnage. There’s about 10 of us. Rory or Deanna, who run it, yell “ESCAPE ROUTE!” So the course shifts to PPL Escape Route (HILL!).

Well, with crashes and hills, we’re done. Mike, one of my teammates who made it through the crash, has legs. He pretty much goes off the front up the hill, stays away for 2 of the final 4 laps. Nobody is really pushing things though… two crashes and sprinting after a hill has just taken the wind out of everyone.

Oof… made it, got a point, drove home. Weird, rough day.

PR Flats

Dropped in 10 minutes

Well, that sucked.

I did the Ravensdale Road Race Re-Do… it was canceled due to snow in March, but on a nice sunny May day, game on! I was ready, as were about 62 other people in Cat 4. Good warm up, feeling fine… get to the line a bit late so I’m towards the rear, but shouldn’t be a big deal. We head out, and we’re already doing 21… speedy! Worse, I’m feeling.. taxed. That’s not good. Someone at the head drills it up the hill, which comes after about a 2-mile “neutral” lead out… and I’m dying trying to keep up. That’s not right. The hill crests, I’m dropped with a few others. I notice my rear brakes are a bit close, so I open them up and head on out.

I caught a Starbucks guy who had been dropped at the end of the first lap, then we picked up 5 more. The 5s passed us, and then on the end of the 3rd (of 4) laps the women 1-2 break passes us. Then the main women 1-2 sorta passes us at the top of the final hill on the 4th lap… but by now we have some energy, so we stay in the rolling enclosure behind them. It’s fine, they’re mailing it in due to the break.

End the race, I’m 45 / 63. Wow, that’s a third after me? Turns out there was a wicked crash at the descent on the 4th lap. Ben Collins, a pro TT (but Cat-4 racer), was moving up on the left to the front of the pack, and the leader, Ian from Cucina Fresca, clipped him. Huge crash, everyone in front. Ugh…  bunch of Wines guys were there, they went down.

Ah well.

Turns out there were also crashes in the 5s (on the hill), 3s (at the finish), and Masters C/D (on the hill). So, just a crash-tastic day all around! Sometimes, it’s OK to roll in.

Why helmets are important.

Today Chris and I biked out to Redmond and back. This was partially to enjoy the sun and just get the legs spinning for more than the 1/2 hour bike commute, and partially to test the look bike cleat/shoes I borrowed. The ride was great, minus the typical headwind both ways. On both sides of the lake. Seriously. I think the only tail wind I had was going up hill (northbound) back to my house.

Most of the time Chris and I rode side by side, leapfrogging if we needed to go single file. We had an interesting conversation about who should go forward (faster) and who should go slower and fall behind when switching from doubled to single file. We stopped at Redmond Town center for the Starbucks, then headed back. I wound up getting a little tired and mildly drafting Chris on the way home. Some other guy wound up hooking on, and we started a conversation about drafting and safety. He dropped off around Kenmore thanking us for the pull. More safety/drafting conversation ensued.

About 1/3 of a mile from Lake Forest Park Town center, we were behind 2 people (although I thought there had been a third guy between that group and our group of two). What happened next was very quick. One guy went down. He wasn’t sure what happened but he thinks his tire wound up slipping off the trail into the ditch that is on the north side of the trail, he tried to cut back and totally flipped. The guy behind him said he wasn’t sure he had time to go around him (there were others on the trail too) and he had experience with mountain biking and thought he could jump the first guy.

He did, and he didn’t make it. Landed in a total heap, yelled in pain and wound up flat on his back.

Chris and I stopped, called 911, pulled stuff off the road and helped the guy out. Both were cut in various places. I didn’t want the guy to get up until the paramedics arrived, but he eventually insisted – I only let him up because he could move his hands and feet while still on the ground. I helped the other guy clean out his wounds and put band aids with neosporin on (I love the first aid kit I got from REI).

Eventually the fire truck showed up and had to use a ladder to get over the fence from the street on the other side (they really need better access there). The ambulance that arrived after eventually wound up driving UP the trail. They really need to have better access at that point of the trail for just such emergencies.

So here’s the point of all this: The guy who landed on his back’s helmet was cracked clear through and kind of buckling on top. His eyeglasses were broken. His back is hurt.

If this guy didn’t have a helmet on, the scene would have been MUCH different. I hope he accepted a ride to the hospital to get that head of his checked out (they did the quickly on scene neurological exam… not sufficient if you ask me in a case like that).

Chris and I left, knowing that there were folks there to take care of the guys. I was a little worried about the first guy who went down, he seemed pretty shocky about the whole thing, but I’m really worried about the guy who’s helmet was trashed. I think he was in such shock he didn’t realize how bad off he could be… I learned a lot last year from my mom’s brain bleed – a lot about taking head injuries very seriously and not leaving a darn thing to chance.