Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 recap

Cycling stats compared to 2011:
- 474 miles less
- 20 rides less
- 12:08 more hours in the saddle
- 9k ft more climbing

As far as racing this year is concerned, I didn't get started until May. Two trips to China, plus probably another handful excuses, are to blame.

My biggest accomplishment: at the PG&E Crit, I won a prime lap, and received a 2.47 lbs container of Muscle Milk.

Goals for 2013: TBD.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Recap

So, another year gone by .... 2012 is just a few hours away.

Since my last post on Oct 29, I've spent all of November in China, just riding a mediocre 150 miles for the month. Then it was finally time to dive into off-season. After a few weeks off, and after the pounds kept piling up, it was time again to get serious on the bike just before Christmas. The 155 miles for this week were enough to reach 4503 miles (7205 km) for the year, and close to 2000 miles more than in 2010.

2011 riding stats:

Some racing stats:

Ranked first in my zip code ... awesome.  Overall, not bad for my first year of racing as an old chap.

Racing goals for 2012:
- no Farmville races (Snelling, Bariani, and the like)
- pick flat and fast crits
- and most importantly: don't crash.

Happy New Year !

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sat, Oct 29

Three months and three races since my last blog post:
- Pleasanton Fast 'n' Furious ... this was a course to my liking, flat and fast; finished 14th of 43 in the 45+4 category.
- Central Coast Circuit Race #8 ... third time there, second time in a row 27th; not sure what draws me there as the rolling hills are killing me there every time.
- Sacramento Gran Prix ... same style and glamor as the San Rafael Twilight Crit ... it was 95F and category was a combined 35+/45+ Cat 3/4.  Finished only 49th of 65 (25th in my age group) after almost crashing in the last corner and losing all momentum, otherwise I was in a good position before that last corner to place a lot better.

On today's club ride, I surpassed the 4000-mile barrier:

Next month will be spent in China for the most part, and I hope to get some quality riding done there. You can always follow me on Strava.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sun, Jul 31

Today on the agenda, the Foothill College Circuit Race. I did sign up for both the E4 and the 45+ category. The E4 race started 20 minutes late at 9:35am. The course, a 1.1 mile loop with a total elevation gain of 66 feet, was smooth and fast. The hill on the back of the course was fortunately short enough to not cause any issue for me; hills usually are not my terrain. As usual, I was longing for the end of the race while we were just 1/3 into the race, but then, the remainder of a race always passes by fast. I stayed mostly mid-pack, and had not the power and opportunity to move up even in the last lap. Finished 29th out of 60 starters; sounds worse than it was, as we all completed more or less in one group. The second race was the unusual 45+/55+ mix, i.e. all open, no category restriction. My felt legs felt not too bad, and the average speed was actually 0.8mph slower than in the E4 race. Towards the end of the race I started feeling weaker though but always managed to catch up before the hill. On the last lap though, the pace increased and I got dropped at the climb on the back of the course. I limped into the finish 33rd out of 42 starters. This placing is not great but I was happy to be able to finish two 40-minute races, with average speeds of 25.3mph and 24.5 mph respectively. The lesson I have to apply is to stop trying to conserve energy on the last lap, but go all out for a better placing.

As far as riding statistics are concerned: 633 miles and 30k ft of climbing for the month. Year-to-date-stats:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tue, Jul 26

Another day to forget the cycling shoes at home ... ended up driving to Canada Rd to only find out then that I just got there to say Hi and wish everyone else a good ride. Returned home to do some hill intervals instead.

Almost 7 months into the year, and I'm already at 2300 miles with close to 100 hours of cycling. 4000 miles for the year should be possible.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wed, Jul 13

Just a few days have passed since my last blog post on Feb 26 ...   Racing has been a blast and fun, with the occasional disappointing but also satisfying results.

Two races followed in March:
- CCCR #3: Worked for the team until I blew up, before limping into the finish 27th.
- Bariani: 32nd ... was in a solo breakaway until the first climbs, and lost contact soon after. Rode most of the three laps by myself until I caught and passed some stragglers in the last 4 miles before the finish.

In April, two criteriums before heading off to China:
- Santa Cruz: first race as Cat-4. Technical course, failed to clip in timely at the start, was playing catch up, but it was hard to move up. Finished 25th, but 2nd best of our club.
- Menlo Park: fast @ 25pmh average. Benefited from a crash to finish 9th.

On Apr 16, I left for China, with one of my bikes in the luggage. I got the chance to race with the Colossi Cycling Teams from HK and SZ in the Open Category in the Zhuhai Road Race (57 miles). Finished mid-pack, but was never able to obtain official results. This is China.

After my return from China in May, I slacked for a bit before picking up my training again. The first race in June was the Pescadero Classic Road Race. 46 miles, lots of climbing, which is not my specialty. Finished 61st of 73 riders.

Next up a weekend later, was the Burlingame Crit, organized by our club, Peninsula Velo. This race was to redeem myself, and I was able to finish 15th, and 2nd best of our club. Average speed: 26.0 mph.

July came, and my cycling friend Daniel Carruthers came to visit us. He's a 'semi-pro' cyclist, and we both went to race the San Rafael Twilight Crit and the Lodi Cycle Fest Crits the next day, in our respective categories. San Rafael was fast, finished 30th of 43 in E4. Right after, I tried my luck in 35+3/4 but didn't have it to hang on early on, and dropped out. Please also see Daniel's report of his day in San Rafael.

Lodi was on the plan the next day. Racing in the 35+4/5 category, I flatted early after having been in the top 5, got a new wheel from Neutral Support, and continued the race trying to catch up. Tried to move up in the last few laps, but got bumped twice to my detriment. Finished 26th of 42. Daniel's race report can be read here.

So far it's been fun and I'm happy to have not been involved in any crashes. Hope that this streak continues. So far this year I have raced 17 times this year, including the 4 Early Bird Training Crits in January.  I also hope to be a little more successful in my upcoming races; otherwise I have few regrets.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sat, Feb 26

What a day. Got up at 6:30am to literally ride/rise to the occasion: the 26th edition of the Snelling Road Race. Snelling is probably only known to three groups of people: its residents (all 341 of them), the Google Street View Team, and the bike racing community. As a member of that last group, I headed out the door this morning to take that 100-mile drive to this little town, in order to participate in this 50-mile race. While earlier forecasts told about record-low temperatures and rain, we were actually blessed with low to mid-40's and sunshine the whole day. The race in the 35+5 category started at 12:55pm, with a neutralized ride of close to 3 miles. We rode through that little town, with people waving at us. It felt special, and without sounding elitist, nice to be recognized in a moment like this. Our motorcycle referee continued to guide us out of the town, and then the race was on. In the beginning miles, it started to feel like a club ride, as the pace was not as high as I expected. After a couple of miles, there were some inclines, and this is when I decided to accelerate at a climb. Nobody did follow me, so the choices were "wait" or "keep going". I opted for the latter, and went into cruise mode, and quickly I got a good gap on the rest of the group. It's normally only a matter of time in any bike race, until a breakaway gets caught, so I had no illusions about hanging on to that lead for the remaining 45 miles. The motorcycle ref pulled up to me at one time and said that I got a 20-second gap on the pack. With being by yourself in the wind, and not wanting to waste all your energy in the first of four 12-miles laps, I just waited until I was integrated back into the peloton shortly before end of lap 1. I was still feeling good after this escape. The following 2 1/2 laps were rather uneventful, except for another breakaway of 2 riders that apparently succeeded, until our race was kind of neutralized to let a women team pass, and shortly after, probably Cat1-3 men teams. The women ahead of us slowed down, and therefore us too. The ref neutralized our race to let the women advance. It took several minutes, where we just sat up and cruised, before we were let go just about 2km before the finish. At the last corner, with about 300m to go to the hill finish, I was probably among the top 10, and while I passed two other riders, more others flew by me. As of right now, official results are not available yet, but I think I finished among the top 15. As always, I thought that I should / could have done better, but I'm content with today's achievement.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sun, Feb 13

The 2011 Early Bird Series in Fremont wrapped up today with an actual race that counts towards your ranking. This series of training crits and clinics, held throughout the first several weekends every year, provides both newcomers and more experienced riders alike a refresher on racing skills. We rookies certainly benefited from the various drills, and today was the day to put everything learned into this final race.

The turnout of Pen Velo riders in the 45+5 category was bigger, compared to prior weekends. We had six riders in the somewhat smaller than expected field of 24 competitors. Before the race, my team mates decided behind my back (how could they ?) that they would support me and another team mate at getting a shot at the podium. Bike racing is a team sport, and often, you have to sacrifice your ambitions for someone who might have a better shot at placing well. So it was lucky me today. As "usual", I tried to stay close to the front, and actually spent most of the time in the top 5, with one team mate pulling at the front for several laps. Last lap, last turn, I saw two other team mates zooming by me. I guess I was in awe for a moment too long, before I latched on, and tried to stay in contact with that lead train. Maybe a gear too low, I was pedaling at probably 250rpm (at least that's what it felt like ;-)), and was passed by few other people. These two team mates went on to place 1st and 2nd, while I hung onto 10th place. Goal accomplished, although in hindsight, I should have done a little better. But no complaints, as it was another crash-free race. Only one other team mate in the earlier 30-44+5 category hit the street, after a rider behind him touched his wheel, which took him out. A bent wheel, road rash, torn lycra, and the statement to never race criteriums again, were fortunately the only outcome. It can always be worse.

The next race is in two weeks, the Snelling Road Race, a 48-mile race in the middle of nowhere. This will be a new experience, after mostly racing criteriums. New experience, new fun.