PR: Flats, 39 again!

The 2009 Pacific Raceways season is off! I headed down there to secure my totally useless number, 39, and got it. This way I’ll have some spares! :) Anyway, we did flats, and it was wet (but not raining). 30-ish people, and about lap 5 I was dying. I got dropped, stopped half-way through, and adjusted my rear brake. Seems I was rubbing; need to check the power to see, as flats at PR is the race you can sit in at 30 with sub-100 watts. I was pushing 300 just to keep up, and we were only going 23 MPH or so.

Anyway, I hopped back in, the pedaling was much easier, and finished with the pack. No crashes, OK sprint from the back. Good workout.

Time to true that wheel. 😉

PR Flats

Flats, Point-Per-Lap 7/22

Been off from racing for a bit, so back at it with a fun points-per-lap race. Quick reminder, this format is that every lap the leaders get points; most points at the end wins – not necessarily first guy to cross on the last lap. So it tends to be sprint after sprint, and fairly tough!
Well, it was as eventful as ever. Few teams were there in force, so lots of quick attacks and sprints at the end, followed by sprints after the line to try and break away. The most excitement for me was about lap 11, when a small attack formed. I bridged up to it, thinking I was towing the pack, then realized that five of us were alone. We made it to the drag strip, then 2 people peeled off. End of the strip, a third peeled off, shouting that the two of us had it. We went as hard as we could, and I was leading as we rounded the turn for the finish, but the pack reeled us in a hundred yards from the finish. Alas! I think if the 3 had stayed with us another rotation or two, we would have had it easily, but it was just not happening for the two of us for half a mile.
Finished the race uneventfully; I was fairly spent after that, so didn’t push for much afterwards.

PR: Clockwise up the S-Curve

Clockwise up the S Turn.

The toughest course Pacific Raceways has to offer.

And with a thin crowd on a slightly cold June night.

I’m back from Methow, the knee and back feel fine. Bike looks good. Time to roll.

Clockwise up the S-Curve is the toughest race because there’s a bit of a rise going into either the Escape Route or S-Curve. When going up the Escape Route, the hill just starts a bit before and the momentum carries you up to where the route ends and the normal course begins, so it’s not as much of a huff. With the S-Curve, the length of the curve kills all the momentum, so it’s a slog up that hill. Every lap.

Well, I’m not a climber, but I do it, and surprisingly I’m feeling good the first few laps. I try to lead on the descent, similar to the last time I did clockwise, and that works. I adjust my pedaling going up and try to lead more with my ankles to force my glutes into action. The pack also seems to like to attack right after the hill on the flats, but I’m able to keep up and recover. However, around lap 5, they ring a bell for the first preme. I try to stick on, but as the pack rounds the corner, I’m dropped on the hill. I try and chase back on, but there’s nobody to hop on with. At the beginning of the race, Rory, who runs it, says that after 3 laps it’s confetti – a big pack and sprinkles following behind. Not today… there was just fat ol’ me. Well, and 1-2 other guys, but that’s hardly confetti and not enough to chase. I link up with a Starbucks guy, and we’re chasing on the next lap. We’re passed by the 1/2/3s, and we sprint so we can catch the 4/5s when they get neutralized by the 1/2/3s… but it isn’t happening, and we see it. I do a few more laps solo, then get called on the last 4/5 lap (the pack is about to do it). I head off on the main course, see the 4/5s coming up, and hop into the back for the final lap. I’m able to see Jamie and Kevin from Wines leading it. However, they’re not able to let anyone else work, and as soon as the descent comes, everyone blows by them too quickly. I stick with. Jamie gets ahead, Kevin is struggling. Up the hill, I’m there with him giving him encouragement and trying to get him to push more with his ankles (and glutes!). We make it to the top, exhausted, but done. We link up with Harry, and do a cool-down lap and give some tips on better hill climbing. An exhausting day, but fun. And I felt good…. all things considered!

PR S-curve

PR: Clockwise w/ the Escape Route

Well, with the new ride and wheel good to go, it’s back to PR. This time, clockwise up the escape route, which means a twisty descent followed by a big uphill sprint. My strategy: get out front on the descent, take the best lines, and huff it up the hill so I can catch on when everyone passes me. This works great for the first 4 laps… then, the preme, and I just can’t catch back on the lap after the preme. So I sit out for a lap, and then hop back in the end to at least do the hill repeats. I end up getting dropped again up the hill towards the end… the gas isn’t there. Alas! But it’s a good ride, and I’m loving the new bike. Still gotta figure out the shifting however… it’s rubbing far too much.

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

PR: Flats Point Per Lap, with the new ride!

Well, I finally took out the new bike today – a nice shiny yellow 2008 Trek Madone 5.5 Pro, outfitted with SRAM Force components and my PowerTap wheel. Well, long story short… 7 laps into the flats, and there’s something horribly wrong with the bike. Turns out, the PowerTap wheel isn’t all that true, and it’s getting worse… causing the brakes to rub and really squeal. So I stop, try to adjust the brakes… nope. My bad for trying to true the wheel up the day before. So much for the maiden voyage!

Next day, I drop it off at the new CounterBalance bike shop, which is where the old TiCycles used to be on the Burke Gilman trail. $20 later and a new spoke, good as new. We’ll get ’em next time!

PR Flats

PR: Return to the Flats

Well, after a month off, I returned to Pacific Raceways for a flats race. The race was… weird. The 1/2/3s lapped us in the 4/5s fairly early (as is often the case in flats due to 6 minute laps and staggered starts), but then had an early break, and the chase group basically gave up. This then caused the 4/5s to start to lap the 1/2/3s a few times! After the first time, we went neutral around the first turn (the big oval on the left), but then they sat up on the dragstrip… so we started to pass them. They didn’t like that, so they moved ahead… but not by much (as in our front was pretty much drafting off them). Then around the start/finish a few laps later, we were passing them and they went neutral, and then in the middle of the pass they took off again. Bit of a cluster, frankly.

I decided to push some sprints up the sides, trying to tow Winos behind to the front. Went up to the front three times (once to the actual front and did a bit of pulling), but for whatever reason the Wino I wanted to bring was busy recovering, so that didn’t happen. Ah well. Went for the first preme, but didn’t have enough on the sprint compared with the other guys who were going for it. Oh well, no Oberto for me! Tried to move up for a chance at the sprint on the second lap, but really didn’t have much left and coasted in with the pack on the bunch sprint.

PR Flats

Pacific Raceways CCR/ER – so that’s what 90 riders looks like!

A sunny day, a 7 PM start. In theory, flats, but due to some work on the drag strip, it’d be counter-clockwise with the escape route. Should be a good hills workout, especially after all the March racing. The 1/2/3s head out… then the Masters. Huh… there’s still a lot of people about.

Over 90 people, to be exact!

It’s just a huge, huge pack. It’s actually a bit intimidating, to be honest. I’m in the middle. The first couple of laps are tough and I’m winded… I’m not bombing down the escape route as there’s tons of people. And it’s tough moving up, as the pack is fast… very fast. It’s 30 minutes, so people are taking it like a crit, and I’m having a hell of a time climbing. I get dropped after the 2nd hill, so I sit up at top for the pack to come around. When they do, I race to catch on the back… and don’t! The pack is moving at around 26-28 MPH, and I can’t catch on for the life of me. Turns out the 4/5s also passed the Masters… just a fast moving pack. I do one more lap, then I’m done. Oof!

Hill repeats. Must do hill repeats.

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

Pacific Raceways: 39 rides again!

An annual tradition started early this year. On Tuesday, Budu Racing started its twilight racing series at Pacific Raceways! Every Tuesday night at 7 (6:45 for the first two weeks) is a quick ~hour long race along the 2-mile track at PR. About a third of the time it’s “the flats” which means a 2-mile loop on a flat course. The other 2/3 are along the back, which have a descent and ascent of some slope, depending on which direction we’re going that week. They’re quick practice races, good to get the legs pumping.

This week, there was a huge crowd — well over 50 in the 4/5s. We just did 6 laps for 30 minutes, but were cruising between 23 and 25 MPH each lap. I finished upper-middle of the pack; I don’t think there were many drops. Did some time pulling, spent some time at the back, busted up a few times… generally worked on cornering and moving within the pack. Good times.

Oh, and best of all – I got #39 again this year. Bit of luck, bit of timing… w00t!

PR Flats

Pacific Raceways – Counter Clockwise down the Escape Route

Well, after a month or so galavanting around Europe, I was back on track on the track – Pacific Raceways, counter clockwise down the escape route. An hour around the track. There was a decent field; a bit small but enough for a good race. I was hoping to make at least half the laps before getting dropped, and that turned out accurate. Around lap 5, the legs started to burn up the hill, and lap 6 I got popped. I chased back on during the flats, but on the next uphill I had no energy left. I sat out a lap and caught back on for another couple when the pack came around again after five minutes. This was actually much better than toughing it out solo… the final laps are interesting, especially the last which feels more like a 2-mile semi-sprint rather than a normal finish. Because of the big uphill climb, on the downhill everyone spreads out and then on the uphill people are already sprinting, as there’s no help from drafting.

Good race regardless… next week is up, which I’ll probably miss, and then the final race in two weeks – flats!


Pacific Raceways Escape Route

Pacific Raceways – Clockwise with Escape Route

In the official Pacific Raceways flier, Rory leaves a clockwise and counter clockwise day open so he can decide on the day of the event whether to use the S-Curve or Escape Route. Today, we were doing clockwise, which scares people away — HILL! And since it wasn’t known to use the escape route, people guessed it would be the S-Curve, meaning BIG HILL! But, thanks in small part to the heat on asphalt, we just did the easier clockwise loop – escape route. This was still brutal, as it’s a big hill about 10 times. I managed to get dropped on the first preme when the pack bolted after the hill – finish line was at the main grandstands where we start, vs at the hilltop. I didn’t feel like waiting out a lap, so I just muscled through, occasionally catching a draft with the Masters or once the 123s. Given how small the field was today, it wasn’t that big a deal.

That’s it for a while for PR — no event next week, and I’m out for a few weeks after that. So perhaps a closing event in August or so!

Pacific Raceways Escape Route