Wednesday, February 20, 2013

UT Austin Race Report

So the first race is over with. I am a bit disappointed, but also feeling okay about other things too.

The trip down there was okay. I rode with several teammates that I haven't spent very much time with. They were pretty cool, but I wasn't a fan of their music choices. No matter. I should have the ability to avoid that for the next two races at least. We got into Austin kind of late, but the place we stayed was really chill.

The morning of the race we headed out to the parking lot and noticed we had been towed. The lot was half empty, so I was kind of pissed. It's not like there was a need for us to be towed. Anyway, I don't need to stay mad about that. We got the car back in time and got our stuff for the road race ready.

I got dropped relatively early in the race, but they were averaging 26 for the first several miles. Bear in mind this is in D's. They shouldn't be pushing that fast. Those that did and weren't making the newbie mistake of pushing too hard too early didn't belong in D's. There were several such riders. That's not an excuse though. I should have held on for longer. I ended up riding my own race for several laps. I got to chat with a couple of Oklahoma State riders for the second and third laps. I spent laps four and five chasing one guy. I never quite caught him. Luckily I was catching other riders at the very end. That was one of two things to be happy about. The other was that I wasn't last. As sad as that sounds it was how bad I did last year.

After I was done with the road race I was pretty sick of the course. It was 5 laps for us on a 6.2ish mile course. A few hours later we had our time trial, which was 1 more lap. On the first turn of the pedals I felt some pain in my left hamstring. Being the knucklehead that I am I kept going. My team quickly left me behind though. The course had two real turns, the rest being gentle curves. The second turn was maybe a quarter mile to the finish. As soon as I passed that corner I bore down and held my speed at 32 mph to the end. I was having a shitty day, but I was going to end it strong. Several people noticed how hard I finished and told me. Hey, a pity victory is better than not being mentioned at all.

Afterwards we went out to downtown Austin. The first place we went to was crowded and really shitty. We left when we realized we weren't going to be treated well. We hit up a Chinese restaurant, and had some great food and drink. I had some Sesame chicken and Newcastle Brown Ale and a couple of shots of sake.

The next morning we had to get up fairly early for our criterium race. I warmed up, and was okay at half speed, but my hamstring was really bugging me the whole couple of laps that I stayed in. This was the first crit I have ever been pulled from, so it appears my hamstring was a bit more of a problem than it was letting on and/or there are a lot of D's that will quickly move up to C's. In fact, right after our crit the C's were racing. There was a rider from MSU who blew the whole field away in our race, and they made him move up to C's for their crit. He stayed with the lead group the whole way. He doesn't belong in C's either really. He should end up in A's by the end of the year.

As for me, who knows. I am stretching out my left leg taking it really easy here until I feel comfortable. Then I should be putting in a lot more intensity. After the A&M race which I am not going to I should be in a much better field of competitors from my perspective. I'll probably still struggle for great placing, but the next couple of months should lead me to a much better place on the bike. I am also adding in some running and swimming to prepare for the triathlon and half marathon that I am doing over the summer. I shouldn't have any problem training for the tri this year. I know how to do all of those distances without a huge struggle. It's the half marathon that I am a bit apprehensive about. The furthest I have ever ran is a bit over 6.2 miles. I am thinking of putting in a long run day where I run a half a mile or a mile longer than I have before. That seems like a decent plan as long as it's in the middle of the week.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I'm already getting a bit jumpy about the first race, which is in 9 days. I promised pictures of the new uniforms last time, and I have been too lazy to put them up. So here they are. I was skeptical at first about the gray, as one should be, but they turned out really well. The stripe on the jersey and gloves is pretty awesome. The sponsor placement seems much better this year than last year as well. I think the two guys that come up with the majority of the designs for us are getting much better at that.

The beard is about to come off. I will have some friendly mutton chops for the first race, then I'm taking it down to a mustache. I probably won't keep that for long. As much as I love having a mustache, I haven't been clean shaven since July 3rd. I do really like the feeling of having a smooth face, but I wanted to do at least a half yeard. Mission accomplished plus a month and a couple of days. I was only able to keep the beard for 4 months last year and the mustache for 7. I hacked off the whole beard in one day, which was fun, but I felt I could do something more interesting with it. I got a few compliments on my mustache at races last year, and I know the chops are going to get me at least the same recognition.

I've been putting in the hours on the bike, and my fitness is really coming together. Last night the team had a meeting, and we discussed a few things. Getting our team to move out of the C and D categories is the big issue. We have a list of 5 guys who can make it to B's without having too many fitness issues. I am only fit enough to compete at C's this year, but that is a far cry from last year. I'm gonna judge what I need to do based on if I can succeed. If I podium the first race weekend and don't struggle in the other races that weekend I am moving up. The first race is always stacked with guys who are fit enough to move up anyway, so I'm not sure if that will happen. No matter. I'm going to race my best.