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

Pacific Raceways: Flats, and my first crash

Today, July 3rd, the day before July 4th, we had a weird race at PR. It was the flats and fairly benign at first, at least for the 4/5s and Masters. However, the 1/2/3s only had about 25 in the field, and it disintegrated pretty quickly after numerous attacks. At one point, a few overtook the 4/5s (and we went neutral right – meaning we slowed to a neutral pace and let the 1/2/3s pass on the left – as is normal). Then shortly a few more overtook, but yelled for us to go neutral left. Then the 4/5 peleton overtook the combined breakaway as they apparently sat up. This was weird, and at some point people squeezed in while we were going about 30 MPH… and we had some bumping, and next thing you know it’s a 8 person pileup, including myself. Ow.

I’m a bit scraped up, but nothing bad. The bike appears to be fine – I need to retrue the front wheel, and I need a new saddle, but I didn’t really like the one I had anyway, so no big deal. One of the other guys in the pileup may have broken his collarbone – an EMT racing with us took him to check.

2007 PR Crash

Here’s a snapshot of the HRM right before the crash to see what it looks like… nice and dramatic!

Well, as they say, if you race enough, it’s not if, but when you crash. Although I was getting some ribbing about maybe now I’ll shave my legs to make healing scrapes a bit easier… although I’ll have to see if MK will let me. :)

Update 7/5/2007 – The guy behind me was apparently recording… check out the video! Looks like just the guy in front stopped and veered left, and then I plowed into him and others plowed into me. Plus, I did apparently go down on my right side, as much as I thought I went down on my left. Huh!

PR Flats

Pacific Raceways: CCW with S-Curve, and I suck at hills

Today was another S-Curve day at Pacific Raceways. I thought I had some energy, but after my first warm-up lap, I knew I was in a bit of trouble. Just not fully there today. I felt my legs were tired, and I wasn’t terribly comfortable on the bike for some reason. Plus, I managed to forget my HRM, which bugged me.

I managed to hang on for 4 laps I think, then got popped on the back hill. I muscled it out and finished the remaining 5, including one after the rest of the 4/5s finished. More of a pride lap than anything. My back was sore — probably due from a heavy weight lifting day and exercising the lower back — and overall, well, blech.

And I suck at hills. Yeah, I know CCW w/ S-Curve is a rough hill, but it’s basically a 50-foot 90-foot climb… shouldn’t be enough to get me. And if it was just the S-Curve, I’d be easier, but Enumclaw, Ravensdale, and previous runs…. all points to a need to push more on the hill! So, time to do some research and start getting the legs in shape for next season. Yeah, a bit early already, but I’m likely in Europe last half of July, and August is when everything starts winding down. So, may as well look ahead now!

PR S-curve

Pacific Raceways – Flats Point per Lap

Today I raced PR on the flats in a 60 minute point-per-lap race. The difference between flats and flats point-per-lap is that on flats, the first guy across the line wins. In point-per-lap, each lap the first rider over gets a point, and most points wins. This changes the strategy a lot, as there tends to be a lot of sprinting at the end of each lap as well as an attack by the pack to overtake the sprinters as they try and recover.

Some of the other Winos there mentioned how tough the race tended to be. As there were only 2 other 4/5s, I decided to sit in and just go for a pack finish and figure out the race. The race was a bit weird… both preme laps were actually very slow. There were also a few well-represented teams that were clearly trying to work the crowd — the FSA guys as well as Old Town Bicycle crew did well. A few times 4-6 riders from the team would speed up to the front and give one of their guys a great leadout for the point. Zoka had a number of riders there, but they didn’t seem to be working as a team on the win.

I sat in… on the first preme lap, Jamie got a flat and bailed, leaving just Jon and I. I had plenty of gas at the end of the race, so clearly I could have pushed a bit more, but I wanted to make sure I knew what was going on first. Besides, sprinting for the last finish turns out not to matter in a point-per-lap race… it’s at best a pride thing.

PR Flats

Pacific Raceways CCW with S-curve

May 15th – Counter-clockwise with the S-Curve. This is the most technical course at PR. On the downhill, rather than bombing through the “escape route” the peleton rides around a S-curve at the base of the downhill. This requires some breaking and handling, and is great practice for cornering at speed. Of course, for the 4/5s, it’s slow as we all break and then sprint to catch up to the folks who were in the front of the peleton and took the S-curve with more speed than the rest of us did.

I managed to botch the 2nd lap. I was towards the back of the peleton, and let it get away on the downhill so I could zip along with momentum. I’d then catch up to the peleton on the uphill. This kind of worked, but I got gapped on the flats and burned up a lot of energy catching back up to the pack. I was able to stick with it for another lap, but then just got dropped on the next lap. Michael, one of the 1-2-3s, was also riding solo (recovering from the flu), so he gave me and an Oberto junior a wheel for a lap. We stopped at the finish, which was a lap earlier than the rest of the 4/5s, but I was done… just blew out too much energy early on, and the hill took care of the rest. Moral of the story: stay up with the pack, don’t yo-yo on the middle!

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PR S-curve

Pacific Raceways Flats (2nd Time)

May 8th, Pacific Raceways held the “flats” course. This is a speedy flat loop around the course, and tends to have a big field. Today was no different. We raced around the course for 8 laps, or about 40 minutes. At the end of the last turn before the final straightaway, the field squeezed itself into an arrow, with a long single-file line of maybe ten riders. I had swooped around on the outside, and decided to sprint a bit early to either give one of our guys a leadout (a Wino was leading the peleton) or go for it. I had some momentum, and found myself sprinting for the finish. So, seeking a new all-time Max HR, I busted out.

Sadly, about 50 meters from the finish, the rest of the pack caught up and started to pass. I was just unable to hold the speed, which was about 33 MPH. So, as riders passed, I let up, knowing my race was over. I finished with the pack as they overtook me.

So, lesson learned… I can’t hold a sprint for 400 meters yet. Gotta work on that. 😉

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PR Flats

Pacific Raceways – Clockwise with Escape Route

Today I raced Pacific Raceways on the Clockwise route, using the escape route. The main difference between clockwise and counter-clockwise is that on the clockwise loop, there’s a gradual downhill through some curves, and then everyone climbs straight up the hill at the end. It wears riders out pretty quickly.

For some reason, I wasn’t feeling up to racing today… I wasn’t breathing all that well and just didn’t feel well. So I skipped a lap and sat in for the most part. At least I got my $13 worth!

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

Pacific Raceways – Counter-Clockwise with Escape Route

Today I raced Pacific Raceways on the counter-clockwise route using the escape route. This route dips below the flats as seen, and uses the escape route instead of the S-curve. This is a steep hill that ends right after the escape route, and then a gradual hill up a few curves. I experimented a bit with positioning… it turns out for me, the best place is right in front to bomb down the hill, and then gradually take the climb up. I did a breakaway or two, and while I got great lines going up the climb, I wasn’t able to sustain the speed and was caught. I also rode in the pack down, but my mass gave me more momentum than most so I was on the breaks a bit too often.

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

Fun practice racing Tuesdays at Pacific Raceways

Yesterday, I went to my first Pacific Raceways Road Race. Every Tuesday from yesterday, April 3rd, until August 28th, at 7:00 PM (and sometimes 6:30 PM for women & juniors) is a race along the Pacific Raceways course down in Kent. This is about a mile-long loop on a good surface, blocked from most wind. The races are timed, meaning the approximate race time will be stated (last night it was 30 minutes), and a few minutes before the time is up they put up a sign for 2 laps remaining, and on the next lap it’s the last lap — meaning first person across wins the prize! Last night it was $5. Racing for gas money.

There are three groups – Cat 1-3 Men, Master’s Men, and Cat 4-5 Men. I was in the Cat 4-5 Men, naturally, which was maybe 50-odd people. On nights with no women’s / juniors courses (every other week) the women and juniors race with Cat 4-5. For the most part, this race gives people great practice in racing — the pace is fast (25-30 MPH), and attacks and breakaways are shortlived. Teammates will chase each other down, happily. Again, these are fun practice races, not officially sanctioned USCF races.

There are a couple of different courses they’re able to run. There’s the flat course, which is just around the oval. There’s counter-clockwise with the escape route, which adds a big, steep downhill followed by a gradual uphill. There’s clockwise with the escape route, meaning there’s a gradual downhill followed by a big, steep climb. And finally there’s clockwise and counter-clockwise with the S turn, although I’m not sure what that entails.

I’m going to try and head down on some (most?) Tuesdays and get in some good practicing. It’s fun, it’s low stress, and it’s great for learning how to handle the bike in fast conditions. Plus, you can do some really crazy stuff and get away with it. For example, last night I sprinted about half a mile from the end, as I had an opening and momentum and wanted to see how long I could keep it up. Turns out about a quarter of a mile, which sucked for me but gave the guy behind me the win. Maybe someday he’ll give me a ride with all that cash he won.

Here’s a quick map of the Pacific Raceway courses (blue = flat, red = escape route, and green = S curve). Best when viewed with the Aerial option vs Road. Here’s the schedule.

Pacific Raceways course