April 25, 2010

Going Below the Bottom of the Barrel

So there I was, in the middle of the 3rd of 4 laps of the Vance Creek Road Race in Elma, Wa today, riding way off the back of the Masters 30+ 4/5s all by my lonesome, battling a massive headwind on a narrow twisty road in what on any other day would be gorgeous scenery, thinking it was time for me to call it a day. I planned on finishing the lap and pulling off. I was not the only rider on the 13.25 mile course as there were actually 5 races in progess-Pro 1/2, then Men 3s, then Masters 50+, then us, and finally the women's Pro 1/2s. I was definitely not ready for this race, and did it because I had never done it as I had always been in Maupin, OR for the DRTT. The course was something as it started and finished and went by every lap a defunct nuclear power plant (with 2 BEHEMOTH cooling towers). It started with a long down hill on a rather rough road, then spent several miles on relatively flat narrow winding roads in open farmland (reminded me of a Classics race somewhat), and then finished with a 3 mile climb on an awesomely smooth road with a kicker at 200 to go. I road the first lap with the group, almost dropping off the back on the descent when a guy in front of me had a severe high speed wobble. There was another close call on the climb when a guy in front of me slipped his chain but I avoided him. I did not have enough to stay with the group on the descent of the 2nd lap, and ended up riding with 4 others in a good group. We separated on the climb but 4 of us temporarily regrouped. I lost them though on the decsent, leaving me alone.
So back to the beginning of my blog. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel. I could hear the whisperings of a pending bonk, and my quads had started to cramp some. I have had to go deep in marathons before, but never like this in a bike race.
I started thinking a lot of why I race. I race not to win but to ride with style and courage.
I learned yesterday that a friend's 4 month old daughter suddenly died a week ago. Fiona came to mind as well as what her parents were going through. My current discomfort was nothing. Marring a crash or mechanical or some debilitating medical condition, tight quads and bending bonk and a headwind were no excuse to quit and drop out. So I continued. I did get passed by breaks in the Womens, Mens 3 and Pro 1/2s but I finished. Feeling a bit raw and empty right now.
But I finished. And that is all that matters to me.
I have gone to the bottom of the barrel and beyond, and let me tell you, it's worth the trip.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

April 19, 2010

A Double Dose

My season to date has not gone as originally lanned, and I am not getting to do a TT festival in Oregon next week as I had anticipated, and I had a bad back fr two weeks almost elminating all riding for a bit, BUT
this last weekend was a double dose of positivity (is that a word?)
I enjoy solo rides as well as rides with my small group of friends. Saturday saw me on a 2 hr ride with a good friend. Gorgeous weather, the opportunity to ride an old steel Gazelle (built for an amateur Danish squad), and evenly matched pulls with a mix of chat thrown in made for a ride I so needed (both spiritually and physically as my scheduled races are really coming now). Todd and I just pulled and pulled and felt so strong. Thanks Todd!
Yesterday saw me on my single speed Specialized cross bike. I was only going to do an hour ride, but the weather was almost perfect (reminded me of growing up in Southern California), and my gf was asleep (not feeling well), and my legs felt good, and I had always wanted to do the 40 mile Mercer Island loop on the bike, so I did!
I knew the ride out and around the island would be doable on the single, but the ride home included a very long steady uphill, and I was a bit concerned over my gearing. However, after a very strong ride out and around the island, I attacked the climb and did it. I was out of the saddle for its entirety but I did it. I am so happy knowing I can ride this bike on this route in the future as I most definitely will ride it more.
Just say this weekend was just what I needed-a double dose!!!!!!!
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

April 13, 2010


Tonight was the 4th Pacific Raceways Tuesday night race of 2010. I had only done one so far (the first one on the flat course 3 weeks ago). My training since then had gone down the tubes, due to weather and a nagging lower back issue. The back was so bad that I decided not to go to Maupin, OR next week for what would have been my 5th straight Deschutes River TT Festival. I also purchased a new Lynskey titanium cross frame and some titanium cross forks with my trip money, but that is another issue. Suffice it to say that I have not put in the rides I needed to this year.
The weather cooperated today and was very pleasant for the Pacific NW=Partly cloudy, wind and cool. My back was feeling a tad better so I opted to go race. The course was "Down the Escape Route" (a 300 meter or so long straight descent on very rough surface). It was my 2nd least favorite course out there and I usually "yo yo" off the back but finish with the pack. O dod crash on te course hard in 2006 so have some residual issues with the course.
Anyway, a nice intimate field showed for the 4/5s and I hung with the group for the 40 minute (8 lap race). No crashes and nice weather meant a good race. I did get dropped on the 3rd lap ("prime"), but reintegrated when I stayed on the back of a small chasing group. I did let the main group go at the end of the small climb at the end of the last lap, quite content with my performance given the last few weeks.
All in all quite relieved to have stayed upright and to have stayed with the pack. I am saddened that I am not going to Maupin in a week, but can't wait to ride my new Titanium cross w/Campy Record 10.
All the best to my teammates.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

April 2, 2010

Spring peepers

I love the sound of frogs in the early spring, Spring Peepers. This is what Katie calls them. As natural as the lengthening days, the wind blows. I keep telling myself that these rides directly into the strongest gusts will make me stronger. I suppose for those of us who live in flatter areas, this is the closest we get to long sustained climbs – minus the ability to stand, doing so turns your entire body into a sail. Today was my first day in shorts since early November as I was proud to be sporting the 53x11 kit. As I spent a lot of time this winter in the basement on the soul drainer, I was glad to be on the roads although once again it appears that they were carpet bombed while I was inside. Sitting on a static bike with uniform resistance is no substitute for the real thing but it allowed me to hang strong against a tough spring companion.