DNF + DNS = Clip from Contested Streets on Copenhagen

Had planned on racing Punchbowl today, but I did not get my stripped cranks replaced in time. First DNS, Did Not Start, ever. I got my first DNF, Did Not Finish, this year out of the way in February, so hopefully no more of either. Here’s to a surprise day off:


More info from http://www.contestedstreets.com

Conquer the Canyons stage 3 and results

Bike racing lesson 1: At the top of a big climb, if there is a 15 foot gap between you and the lead pack, close it. No matter what.
I watched ten riders turn those 15 feet into a half mile and then never saw them again.
lesson 2: Getting the people you are racing ‘against’ to work with you to chase the front group is nearly impossible.
lesson 3: When riding as fast as you can everything you ever knew about anything is useless. For me anyway. My only thoughts were: ‘Keep pedaling!’ and ‘Don’t let that sketchy guy near your front wheel!’

The course is three loops, each one 7.3 miles with a one mile climb, a 45 MPH descent and some rollers. Barely a flat section. The Cat-IV’s started 3 minutes before our group of 50. Jack and Brian held on to the main pack on the first climb; Brian finished 5th and Jack fell off just before the finish and was 18 seconds off. Our ‘chase’ group was about 12 riders after one lap, then 6 on the last. I felt pretty strong and broke away both times on the big climb, but with no one to ride with they easily caught me on the descent. Both times I caught some Cat-IV’s, but since they are in a different race, you can’t ride with them. Sucks. To non-riders it is difficult to explain just how important being in a group is.
Anyway, our pack finished the road race 3 minutes off of the front group. The General Classification after all 3 stages was Brian 6th, Jack 7th and myself 15th. Not bad. I want to say that this Cat-V was more competitive than most because of the separate ‘beginner’ Cat-V races, but what do I know? The rain held off for the ride home; almost the whole day was overcast and chilly. I ended up with 93 miles for the day. If you count my ride to the unnamed corporate coffee chain for my ‘free if you bring your own mug on Earth Day’ coffee later in the day I did a century.
One more thing. Before the circuit race on Saturday, when I was warming up I rolled past the kids chillin near the BMX demo and one kid had an East Coast Destruction cap on. WTF? ECD are the BMX kids I grew up around and it was obscure back then…to see it now, out here, is crazy. We chatted a bit, knew some of the same people, etc and I told him I grew up riding Posh trails in Bethlehem, PA. I showed him my DIG tattoo so that he’d know, despite the spandex, I’m still down. ha ha. Makes me miss those days of riding BMX trails.

Race, what? Conquer the Canyons Stages 1 & 2

Even after all this time, I am still amazed at how seemingly similar situations on a bicycle can stimulate so many unique feelings. Racing road bikes. A whole other world. Out of my comfort zone. I am 114 miles in for the day and have been up since 5am, so here’s the quick summary:

Riding out and time trial
The randonuer crew, Dan and Michael, were at our place at 515am ready to escort us (how lucky are we?) the 40 miles to Leo Carillo Park on PCH at Mulholland. If riding cross town could always be like it is at 530am…Anyway, after meeting up with Brian and Alec at the world famous Ocean/San Vicente cycling meet-up point we rolled up six deep. First oddity: In between every other parked vehicle was a cyclist on rollers warming up. What a strange sight. The first stage was a four-mile uphill time trial. Individual starts 30 seconds apart, no drafting. I was out of breath 100 yards up. The climb wasn’t all up, so there was time to recover. Fucking hell this was hard! Passed two people, finished tied for 17th out of 50. Jack got 6th and Brian had some confusion regarding his time, so we don’t know.

Riding out to and riding stage two
Due to some confusion with our shit (was cold to start so we had tights, gloves, etc), we rode back down to the start, got our stuff, then road back up and over the Santa Monica mountains on Mulholland the 20 miles to the Circuit race. This is a closed, two mile loop with tight turns. The time, not the distance is set. When time is almost up they tell you, ‘two laps left’. Anything can happen. Category-V, known as public or newbie, is what we are racing in. This particular race had multiple Cat-V groups (over 40, first-timer, etc), we raced in the ‘experienced’ one, though it was still filled with some sketchy riders. It would speed up, slow down, get wide, completely switch up, all at 20-30 MPH. We were trying to work as a team, but would get blocked out. Jack went for the lap-2 time bonus (10 seconds off), but went out solo super early and was caught at the line. It was a dope attempt. The whole last lap we tried to get lined up, but it wasn’t happening. Brian kept pulling the entire group. I tried anyway to get him and Jack set up for the final sprint. From about 8 or 9 deep I popped out to the left and hammered, just before a slight incline. They couldn’t get on my wheel and I ended up pulling out some other people. I held on best I could, but by the time it all unfolded, about 100 yards from the finish, I was spent. Finished 9th or something, but in the pack. Everyone in the pack, except 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, gets the same time.

General Classification
Jack is sitting about 40 seconds off the leader, myself about 1:22. Tomorrow is the 22-mile road race, which includes a big climb. We are stoked.
Rode home 35 miles, real slow like. Stopped and ate burritos. Talked tactics the whole way. Dope.

Mulholland Challenge 112 miles, 12,000 ft elevation

Holy shit, just got the results for this. Two years ago we rode the double century and it was the maiden voyage of the Seven. Last year we rode the entire King of the Mountains series of centuries and had done pretty well. We were amped for this.
Friday night Jack raced the downtown alley-cat criterium and won $187, but it cost him his legs for this. We rode as a group for a bit, then this kid John dropped us and ended up second overall. Brian (Davidson) and I split up after Decker Canyon and I rode the rest of the course alone. Two weeks ago I went out and rode it alone from home, 125 miles in 9 hours, so I knew what I was in for. The start is staggered, and they ask the sub-8 riders to start last, which means you spend the day passing people. It makes you feel faster than you really are. Did my best to stay focused, which is difficult with so much climbing. When I got to the top of Stunt Road, I was not coherent enough to talk to the people at the checkpoint. Brutal. It’s a tough love. This course is so beautiful; it’s why I love southern California. I don’t have any pics from the ride, but since it is the two-year anniversary of the Seven, here’s a pic my friend Kelly took for an upcoming book.
This weekend is my first real road race, a 3-stage, 2-day race called Conquer the Canyons.

40 MPH at 4am in 40 degrees

That’s a first. Another 4am start at the San Luis Obispo Brevet Series and this time we left with the main group. For some reason I thought I would hang on to the guy with Zipp wheels (read $$$) up the first climb. Luckily he knew the descent and told me what to expect, so I held on tight and bombed down in the dark and cold. Eventually Brian would bridge up and we rode the whole day together. The whole day being 18 hours and 251 miles.
Everything is everything. There were only a handful of stores or towns for the first 225 miles of the ride, the organizers had to have water at the control points and even some of these were 70 miles apart. We’d have heat midday on the out-and-back to the Pinnacles National Monument and on the last big climb, up highway 46 out of Paso Robles over to the coast, we watched the clouds and fog roll in, obscure the last minutes of sun and drop the temperature 15 degrees. Brian and I had been riding hard all day, but on the coast, with the fog and darkness and low temperatures, we took it easy. When we finally rolled back to the Main’s house (at 10pm) they had vegan barley soup for us and we sat around and talked for a bit before we went to the van to sleep (luckily I had left the window open, because Dan and Michael got done at 130am and we didnt have a key).
Easter morning (see picture of Brian) we packed up at 630am to drive back to Los Angeles. I was stoked that my favorite coffee shop, Home of the Velvet Foam, was open in SLO.
Now only the 600k is left to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris.