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Report Date:
Thursday, 8 Jun, 2017
Report Date:
Tuesday, 30 May, 2017
Fresh off cat 2 upgrade. 83-mile road race is the standard now. San Marvelous was this weekend and I decided to give it a go. We drove with Freedom in the morning. All equipment was ... moregood and nothing broken, weren’t late. Awesome! Freedom was going for the cat 3 race. Michael Sheehan and Nick were in my race. Both professional cyclists. We had about 20 people start the P12 race. My goal was to stay with the pack. Apparently, smaller races are actually harder. It’s counter intuitive. But it’s true. When you have a lot of people you can just hide & suck wheels in the pack, but when you have 20 people when half of them drop in the first lap there’s nowhere to hide, single file and you are in for 80 miles of pain.

In a normal cat 3 race the first half of the race everybody usually chills in the pack and the second half is where the action is. Not in this race. From the gun. The guys attacked for a whole lap, as many times as it took, until the elastic broke. Nick averaged 336 watts with the 700 watt attacks for the first 26 minutes, once we made the turn, and he didn’t even get into the break. And that was just first lap warm up. It was brutal. This is how it works. You have guys launching like a missile from the back. Some people hesitate then someone decides to chase and the pack stretches out. Once the guy is caught somebody else goes and the process repeats until a break establishes. And they did it 20 times. I chased couple of those and even went to the front myself. Soon I realized I can’t do it for 80 miles so instead of chasing first wheel I would chase 3rd or 4th wheel. At one point, I got caught in the back and had to bridge - pedal to the metal for 40 seconds. Luckily, 3 guys Sheehan, Das Wow & CCR got away and 7 of us started the chase. That was the end of the first lap. Out of 20 guys only 10 remained.

The next 5 laps were pretty much time trial / break-away pace where the guys would echelon for the whole time. 5-20 seconds pulls in the front. We were rotating. It was 6 of us. 1 guy dropped after deciding to smash it up the hill. That was super stupid. At about lap 4 I realized If matched their watts I wouldn’t make it the whole 80 miles so I started chilling more and more in the back and skipping pulls. At the same time, I was trying to eat those shot blocks I got in HEB. Never again. GU Gels work for me Shot blocks made my stomach cramp really bad. I felt like puking. It was horrible.

Lap 5 we managed to catch Michael Sheehan break-away. 1 das wow and 1 CCR guy that was with Michael dropped so now it was 7 of us. All that remained of the race.

Last lap was again like the first. Constant attacks and lulls. But nothing would go. I guess people were tired. They are human after all. It all came down to an uphill sprint. I decided to go. Managed to get of out the saddle for probably 50 meters then had to sit down. Every pedal stroke was a cramp. Real Pain. Managed to get 5th of out of 7 guys that finished. I stayed with the pack. All I could ask for the first race.
Report Date:
Sunday, 14 May, 2017
Report Date:
Sunday, 7 May, 2017
Report Date:
Sunday, 7 May, 2017
Last Sunday I wanted to race with my bros Freedom & Alan. This was our first cat 3 race together. You know, special occasion type of race. We got to the start late as usual (not ... moremy fault this time) and barely made the race. I had time to put one or two pins in my number before the race started. And was trying to put another one at the back of the race with one hand. No dice. Just pricked myself. I need to work on my fine motor skills.

Anyway, the goal was to try and help Freedom and Alan since I was thinking for sure my wheel wouldn’t last till the end. I just got those new 62mm Reynolds tubeless wheels. But I didn’t put sealant in the front tire testing to see what would happen. Well, without sealant it loses about 20-30 psi an hour. Unfortunately, I found that out too late on Sat night and all the bike shops were already closed. So, I asked Jake to give me his CO2 during the beginning of the race since I didn’t have a baggie. Thinking I would top it off during the second lap. We tried to get it out, but it’s not so easy when you are in the middle of a race. We gave up. Chased back on.

It’s was a 55-mile flat windy race. 2 loops. Perfect for plus size dudes & dudettes. During the first loop, couple miles in, 2 guys went ahead and the pack didn’t react. Fine with me. I was happy & preoccupied, sitting in for the whole first lap probing and waiting to see what would happen to my front tire. It was super windy and chill pace if you knew where to find the sweet spot to draft to avoid the wind.

On the second lap, to my surprise, my front tire was still fine. Great! The pace didn’t really change and the break in the front was nowhere to be seen. At this point, something needed to be done about that break, I felt good, didn’t hit the front even once on the first lap. I decided to rock the boat little bit. Start attacking. Figured, I’ll attack once or twice see if we can get something going. Freedom came along couple times with me, then other guys went to the front and we picked up the pace and the attacks. Freedom was having his own issues with brake rub. So, bad day for him. I went again to the front in the tailwind section trying to inject some pace. All of a sudden I hear go, go, go! I turn around and I see this strong Elevate dude sitting on my wheel and we have a 30-foot gap. Damn, wrong dude on my wheel but ok, he’s strong - so I’ll work with him. I’m thinking we’ll go and make the other strong fellas chase us & tire them out while Alan & Freedom chill and suck wheels. It kinda worked. Alan managed to win the pack sprint at the end.

Back to the break. Our break happened about 16 miles to go and the pack was chasing, keeping us in sight, 30 seconds behind. We kept working & rotating every 30 seconds. The Elevate dude kept motivating me: “So and so many miles to go”. I kept thinking those new wheels really work well. Man, I felt like I got a 30 watt boost to my FTP. Or maybe, it was the old bearings on my 8-year-old Easton’s. Who cares? It works.

We passed through those Texas cobbles once again and I noticed that my back wheel all of a sudden is way out of true. Shnit! Those pot holes! Later I found out that 3 of the non-drive side spokes were completely loose. Good thing I didn’t taco that wheel.

Anyways, we finally get to the final headwind section. The pack is still 30 seconds behind. And I see one solo guy in the front. He managed to drop his companion that we passed couple miles back. I’m thinking we got this. At one point, he was 90 seconds ahead. Now we only have to close about 45 seconds. I actually love the headwind in a break for 2 reasons. First, it’s suits me better. You hammer for 30 seconds then completely rest for 30. Kinda like short sprints. It’s not consistent FTP effort. Second, the pack usually gets really disorganized in a headwind. Nobody wants to pull into the wind, and torture themselves. No good rotation. Everybody is thinking – why me?

2 K to go and we finally catch the solo dude. Wait, What? I look up and see Jonah Norton. Hellloo! I’m happy to see him. He was probably not happy to see us. :/

1K to go. It’s 3 of us. I’m getting flashbacks to the classics I’ve been watching. The pack is nowhere to be seen and I’m thinking. We are almost there! We made it! Let the cat & mouse games begin! Nop! The Elevate dude just went to the front and drilled it. Why? Fine, I’m happy to get dragged to the 200-meter line.

At this point, Johan is for sure spent from his solo massive effort and the Elevate dude just drilled himself. Nothing left to do but sprint to the line. I cross the finish line with around 2 seconds gap. No more cat 3 RR for me. Will upgrade for next RR.

Driveway Update.

I managed to get the driveway 3/4 leaders jersey last series, courtesy of Lucas not showing up. Many thanks to his parents for not driving him anymore from Houston. Phew!

So today was the first Pro 1/2/3 race where I didn’t have to race the 3/4 before. Definitely makes a huge difference. The P123 crits are a lot about position. Unlike the cat 3 road races where the strongest usually wins and crits to some extent. Unless you missed the break.

Here, every single guy is a beast that can handle the bike really well. We had TDF pro race with us today. This causes the bikes to go a lot faster and closer. Especially in the last lap. Whereas in Cat 3 I could somewhat easily get the position that I wanted, here it’s an all-out d$#k punch in the last lap. Super aggressive! If you make a mistake you will lose couple bike lengths in a second. The bikes are so close that if you look back – down you go by slamming into the wheel in front of you. That’s what happened today. Bad crash! 2 feet to my right side. Broken collarbone, punctured lung. Sounded & looked horrible. Catching wheel at 35mph sucks a#@ bigly! I had to fly out to a small patch of grass and then catch on to the field. Heal up buddy. 😊

Back to the race. It’s the speed loop. Last lap, I see Tolley. Great, just the right amount of watts to follow. I manage to get on his wheel as he passes by. I make a mistake on the turn and lose 2 positions. Shnit! 800 meters to go. Sitting probably around 12th. I can’t get a good draft. The guy to my left - won’t let me in. He couldn’t care less. Not scared and won’t let me in. Can’t make him move or get in. Fine! Eating wind! 600 meters to go. Somebody yells from behind. Go Dennis Go. Damn! I’m thinking they want a good wind block as lead out. I’m also thinking that somebody has confidence in me that I can go at all at this point. No idea who it was. We are probably at 36mph now. Cool. So, I go. Sprint! I managed to pass couple guys. The problem is that I can’t put my head down and be aero. We are at around 40mph at this point. Some guys pop. I have to go around some people and see where I’m going. Manage to cling to …. 7th. Alright! Alright! Alright! Pretty excited about it. Top 10 in the P123 is a big deal for me.
Report Date:
Friday, 5 May, 2017
Most intense race I’ve been in. Race started fairly easy. Then, first lap people started trying to break away. Nothing went. I’m not sure why it felt like a 62 mile criterium race, ... morebut nothing could stay away. Maybe because it had all the top dogs (Eli & Lucas the national champs, winners of Sealy & Fayettville from previous weeks, strong dudes from Dallas and Oklahoma). Maybe it was the hilly terrain, maybe lack of wind, maybe the turns, but people would not let anything go. It took me a while to warm up and I started feeling good only in the second half of the race.

At one point around lap 6 or 7, I rolled to the front and did my 30 second pull. Waved the elbow, then the hand. Then I heard “sandbagger”! I tried to go left then right. Nobody would pull through. Fine, I did another small 30 second pull. Same thing, snaking around the road nobody would come through. I felt like that Utah GOP congressman, Jason Chaffetz, at a town hall. Chairs were about to be thrown at me any moment. Honestly, it was not my business to go fast, especially with all those hills. I’m happy to go 10mph and wait for the sprint. Crowds wanted balls to the wall, I didn’t. I was happy to sit on their wheel and wait. That’s the game. Though, I did have to chase 150 foot gap break a lap later.

Lap 8 or 9, I was again chilling in the pack and all of a sudden Eli attacked up the big hill on the north side. Dropped everybody except 4 guys or so. I was a bit boxed in and once I got to the top of the hill they were already 150 feet away. Started chasing and managed to connect at the right turn to the south. At this point the field was neutralized. Actually, I’m not exactly sure when the field was neutralized but I think it was at this point. It was great for me since I could rest, but I still think I could have sat on their wheel as at this point and recover as it was a downhill section and one thing I do well is go downhill. But it was horrible luck for Eli to do all this work and then get neutralized once you get a break going.

Lap 10, learned my lesson, Eli goes and attacks up the big hill again, stretches the whole field into a single line. All of a sudden I hear that sound as if bones are breaking behind me. Crash #1: Up the hill! Now, we started going at a pretty good pace I’m sitting top 10 position. Feeling good. Great place to be.

Around 3K to go. Official’s motorcycle rolls in on us. We are neutralized?! What?! It’s 3K to go and we are hammering it full force. All kind of expletives start flying at the official. I was pretty upset as well. Adrenaline red lining here. P/1 field is passing us to finish. Most of the front pack passed without a problem but now there’s a trail of P/1 “stragglers” and they are not able to pass us quickly. Finally, at 1K to go we are released like a raging bull from a cage. I’m sitting a bit to the side 4th or 5th wheel. Going downhill… All of a sudden: Crash #2 behind me somewhere. Don’t look back! Sounded really bad. 300 meters… 3rd wheel. I’m trying not to sprint and see if anybody will start first so that I can get some draft. I feel like the front 2 begin to slow down. Ohh hell no, I’m not going to slow down I’ll get swamped alive. At this point I was feeling fresh, angry about the neutralizations (even though probably in my favor) and full of adrenaline. The best way to sprint. Got in the drops started hammering with anything & everything that I had. I was passing a bunch of P/1 that gave up. All of a sudden I heard another: Crash #3 right behind me around the 200 meter line. Apparently 2 people we fighting for position behind me. Lucas and the winner of Fayettville. Feyettville dude went down hard…. I cross the finish 4 or 5 bike lengths in front. Yes!

Felt lucky to not go down and nobody touched my back or front wheel. Others had worse luck. One guy from Dallas wasn’t moving on the course and had to be taken in an ambulance to the hospital. Horrible & Intense! I've friended his teammate and waiting for a status update on his condition.
Report Date:
Monday, 27 Feb, 2017
Report Date:
Sunday, 26 Feb, 2017
Fayetteville Cat 3 race. Felt great. Got to the start line. It was only 30 something of us in the cat 3s race. In the P12, however, pretty much every pro showed up to race. You had ... moreSheehan, K House, Uhl, Strickland and others. Anyways our race started easy. Sort of. Ok. 5 minutes in, on the first hill, when everybody is still warming up. I’m sitting at the back of the race chilling. 1 guy attacks, ok, then 2 more, then 2 more join. I’m sitting and thinking to myself. This is bad. But I’m still cold, back of the pack, 30 places down, and spangle the dude that got 2nd last time is sitting right next to me. Can’t be that bad? And… we let them go. It’s first lap, I slowly start rolling to the front and start taking easy pulls among other guys. We are not going chase pace but still at a good clip.

I’m thinking, all of the Shama team is here and their main guy is with me, surely, they’ll do a lot of the work soon. I see one of the Shama guys goes off the front and Don chasing him. They get 10-15 seconds and eventually get brought back. Don saying the Shama guy didn’t really do his pulls. I start working a little more but Shama is always breaking the rhythm. I ask what’s going on? And I get the answer: “We have a guy in the break”. Wow. It dawns on me. Their whole team has just been blocking the whole entire time. This is pretty bad. Very bad. First time for me in a swamp like that.

I’m feeling pretty desperate, I’m thinking, if we keep rolling like this then we are off the podium and will never catch the break, which is probably executing a perfect paceline and are all smiles and happiness. Damn! There’s no point saving myself just for 5th of 6th place. I tell Don, don’t work I’ll try to bring the break. Don got over 300 FTP and the best power to weight out of our team for the hill sprint. If he doesn’t work at least we might get that uphill sprint at the end. I get to the front and give a good dig at it for 5 min, stretch the whole field. We get some small train going and then Shama breaks it again.

I try to organize something again but can’t get anything going. At this point I know who the strong guys are. There are only couple of them that are in the front. I feel like by now, I know their FTP and their mother’s maiden name.

Plan B, I go to the first one of those dudes, and like a shy high school girl trying to get a date to the prom ask: “Do you want to on a break with me?” Reply: “Full discourse, I got a dude in the break”. Damn! Nobody wants to dance! I find one guy in the black shirt (the climber) and he’s willing. Good. I start the attack and we stretch the whole field. I try another time with another guy. And another time. Every time, Shama is bringing us in. After a while I stopped caring about bringing something with me and just start attacking of the front, willy-nilly. No go. They mark me and bring me in. It’s as if they figured out my plan after my 10 tries.

Plan C, I got to be really sneaky. I’m thinking I’ll wait for Shama to get on the front in the head wind and then attack from 7 places down. Get a good run at it. OK… Stretch of headwind. They go to the front into the headwind. They have to spend some energy otherwise you’ll just stop and roll backwards. I dig deep… all out sprint into the headwind from 7 places down. Great! It worked! I got a gap. It’s growing. I got maybe 15 seconds… I look back and they are chasing… uphill coming up… I’m trying to keep my power consistent… They are closing in… I crest the hill and they are 30 feet behind. I swerve to the right as if I’m giving up. I look back and nobody wants to close the last 20-30 feet. I’m thinking, they did a lot of work up that hill. I go at it again, this time no response. I see the gap growing and eventually I lost sight of them.

I spend maybe good 15-20 minutes at the front by myself and I’m thinking: what the hell am I doing? There’s a whole team in back and a whole break away in the front and I’m just here dangling in the middle. No way I’m going to time trial to the break by myself. They have over 2 minutes on me by now.

I look back Spangle and the Climber are bridging to me. Great! Ohh the pack is not that far behind. We start working but still not hard enough. We get swamped by the pack.

All of a sudden I see a new Shama guy. He got dropped from the break. Ha! Shama put the wrong guy in the break. They should have put Spangle in there. All of a sudden 5 guys are very motivated to chase. And we start working! Finally! I’m cooked but still… I start working with them and tell Don to stay back. Save yourself. We work for the whole last lap and close down over a minute.

Couple Ks to the finish and the gap is 2 min. I realize we are not going to bring the break in. They have 4 guys vs our 5 that are working. Not going to happen. So, I start slowly ramping down my pulls. At this point I think it’s only 6 or 7 of us in the chase group.

1 K to go slightly uphill, one of the Shama guys is leading out the train and guttering everyone hoping to keep the pace high to drop dead weight and sprinters. I’m sitting on his wheel. 500 meters to go uphill starts… 200 meters to go…. The climber starts an attack I get on his wheel. I look back and we got a small gap. I’m sitting in a nice draft. I light up my last big fat match get in the drops and do my thing. I cross the finish line with 2-3 seconds gap. The climber & Don got 2nd and 3rd respectively of out the chase.

Got 5th overall and managed to get my entry fee back plus a nice meal. Lesson learned. Don’t let a break of 5 go from the gun and don’t get into a swamp where everybody has a teammate up the road.
Report Date:
Monday, 20 Feb, 2017
My bromance with coca-cola is over. Let me start from the beginning. After Chris Carmichael talk event, Freedom, Trace & I barreled into my house (10pm) for some chit chat & ... moremuscle milk smoothies. 12am, had to drive to Walmart with Dina to get present for her birthday party. 2am, I can finally get ready for tomorrows race. 2:30am, time to glue that tubular on that fixed wheel. 6 hours of cure time will do. This is probably my 25th tubular job and I got pretty good at it. So far haven’t rolled one yet and not about to roll one tomorrow. Ok after laundry, 4am, I’m finally in bed. 6am woke up, put everything in the car, and waiting on the couch for Don. 6:15am, I’ve passed out cold on my couch while waiting for Don. 7:35 am, Expletive! Don apparently been knocking on my door while I was passed out. Luckily, he had his car and just drove to the race without me. I look at google maps. It says arrival time 9:30am. Race starts at 9:35am. I throw all my clothes on the front seat and off I go. Cruise control to 9 mph over speed limit. Dress while driving and trying not to kill anyone. Putting on socks sucked.

Ok. I got to Sealy at 9:20am. Enough time to put cola-cola in 2 bottles, chip and number pinned. I apologized to Don profusely. Hopefully he forgives me.

Race started. First couple miles neutral as usual. Once we crossed the finish/start line, race started. Mother of all side winds is upon us. 20mph side wind. Everybody is in the gutter trying to stay on 2-inch shoulder, sucking wheel and trying not to crash. Not what I had in mind for a warm up. People start to drop and gaps begin to open. I think before we made the turn half of the field was already dropped. 3 guys go off the front and I tell Don don’t worry about it. We’ll catch them in 30 min and it will be 10 guys at the finish at this pace. One of those was true.

Around 3rd lap they are still out of sight. I start to get nervous and try to organize a more cohesive chase. Not going to happen, all we were doing is attacking each other and then slowing down. Zero organization. I guess I did my share of hard pulls and chases at the front. Because! If you are not going to pull, then suffer.

4th lap, every few minutes, like clockwork, the wind is doing its thing, one more tribute is dropped. By now it’s 85F and my coca-cola is getting pretty empty. 10 miles out and I ran out of my dope juice, I’m all covered in salt and feel like an idiot for not taking more liquid or anything else besides coca cola.

We are still chasing the 3 guys in the front but at this point they are 20 seconds in front and they are cracked. By now, every time you do a pull, just flicking your elbow is not enough you have to take you whole arm out and wave at people to do their pulls.

5K to go, the breakaway is caught, I turn around and I only see 10 guys including the break. And my quads beginning to crap. Uh-oh. I try to raise my cadence. Maybe it will help. I’m for sure a dehydrated idiot.

One final effort, I see the 200m line. I think, I’m 4-5th wheel. I’m thinking, if I sprint now, I’m just going to embarrass myself and cramp in the middle of the sprint and crash. So, I’ll just suck wheel all the way to the finish. Texas jersey guy (Charles Krouse) starts the sprint at 200 meter line. Animal chase dog instinct kicks in. He’s already 20 feet ahead. I’m in the drops. Out of the saddle. I’m gaining, alright, alright… passed 2 guys… alright I’m almost on his wheel… couple more feet… I get his wheel on the finish line. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa….. my right quad is completely locked…….. I got 2nd….. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I swerve to the right trying to not crash on my face. Lesson learned, no more coca cola when it’s hot. Back to Gatorade and pickle juice. And, 2 bottles is not enough. No pictures. Broken SD card. :/

Thanks to Charles for the pic.
Report Date:
Saturday, 11 Feb, 2017