Friday, April 17, 2009

Bmoney's wintry skyline ride

Decided to head out and see if there were any random groups taking off... not too much planning put into it. no doubt I was riding solo through to Great Highway where I stumbled upon my first (and only) "dude do you see that" moment where there is no one standing next to you ... The moon was just hovering right above the ocean on Great Hwy where you could see some insane(!) surfers shredding some soft right shoulder breaks. It was truly a site and wanted to just kick it there for the rest of morning .. moving on I could see a light or two in the distance of riders rolling off in the distance ... I quick thought of I should chase them down which quickly went away after I realized I was already red lined from a lack of riding.

After hitting the last peak I noticed a rider in front of me and was able to close the gap; pulling up on Julian (whom is the rider who told me about sf2g about a year ago) We rode together until we hit some rollers coming across Skyline which he subtly reminded me that I have not been riding that much by easily pulling away at any degree of slight incline.. mind you the only way I caught up to him was due to him stopping to take a picture of the sunrise...

all in all a good ride though it was blistering cold. I got to the office in Menlo and the temp gauge read 38... solid ride... but might be waiting till it gets warmer before I head out again.... I am a wuss.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lina's race report

No I sucked. :(

Ok here comes the race report. Menlo Park crit, a 1.4 mile course with six turns, one pretty treacherous bit with first a sharp left turn, then a sharp right just after. This was my first race, so women's cat4. I would guess there were maybe 60 participants in the race.

I was pulled from the race 26 minutes into it. :( I got a bad start standing at the back already at the start line, and soon found myself being the last person in the pack with the mentor, with a few people already dropped behind us. Damnit! It was cool to see that even though I usually struggle to hang on to someone's wheel at 26 mph, it was a lot easier in a pack even though I wasn't even close to anyone's wheel! But, the corners got me, and after a couple of laps I was falling behind. A couple of other women were falling behind at the same time and we took up the chase together. I was convinced we'd make it and we were getting closer, but after a lap or two the pack wasn't visible at the corners anymore. Damnit!

The three of us pedaled on though, working hard together, and I admit that I was kind of relieved that I only had two people to worry about in the corners (in addition to myself, a big worry indeed ;). I learned a whole lot during the race though and was doing significantly better at them towards the end (and it's FUN to take corners at a speed where you're pushing your mental boundaries ;). We had a mentor going alongside us for quite some time, encouraging us to continue and collaborate. Every time we went past the audience we got lots of encouraging cheers. :D We must have been high on the list of cheers per capita. I was so disappointed when we got pulled! The three of us hung around for a bit and talked. We definitely could have been more organized in our chase, we took way too long pulls each time, often half of the lap. It somewhat broke down in the corners too, whenever I tried to take a pull close to a corner it always broke down because the other women would get out of it faster than me so I tried to take many of my pulls on the long straight bit with headwind (fuck conserving energy! we just need to catch up no matter how!) since that seemed more efficient for the group.

I didn't really know what to expect from my first race but when we got pulled my average speed was 21.6, not a speed I had expected to be pulled out of the race for... But, apparently this happens a lot, and I'm going to try to work on my cornering and being comfortable riding in a pack 'til the next race. I've signed up for a circuit race in Brisbane at the end of the month, and am on the waitlist for the Bariani road race in a couple of weeks (not that I know how to get there - is anyone with a car an extra space going? :D).

Despite the disappointment at being pulled, it was a lot of fun and I can't really dwell over the disappointment too much since I'm busy thinking about how to improve and hopefully I'll do better next time. And thanks to SF2G for being awesome and getting me into biking! :)



> No I sucked. :(

You didn't crash. That's step 1. Next is finishing with the pack.

> I was pulled from the race 26 minutes into it. :( I got a bad start > standing at the back already at the start line, and soon found myself > being the last person in the pack with the mentor, with a few people > already dropped behind us. Damnit!

Been there, done that. I had done a bunch of the EB Crits where things start out more mellow, and road races where things start out super mellow, then showed up for the Merced Crit. By the time I finished fiddling around with clipping in I was trying to close a gap and dodging riders already off the back, and was dropped. 10 of us chased the whole race, amazingly we caught the pack with 1 lap to go when the pack started getting cagey. Never happened again though - in short races you need to be ready to fly at the gun.

> It was cool to see that even though > I usually struggle to hang on to someone's wheel at 26 mph, it was a > lot easier in a pack even though I wasn't even close to anyone's > wheel! But, the corners got me, and after a couple of laps I was > falling behind.

Not surprising. I thought about saying something on Friday but I figured that filling your head with a bunch of information the day before the race would just screw you up. A large part will be experience and confidence, but a lot of that comes from taking the corners correctly from a technical standpoint. I'm not the best at taking corners in the world (that would be Paolo Salvoldelli) but I'm not the worst.

Here is the turn from Lagoon to Oyster Point.,+Brisbane,+CA+94005&sll=37.676756,-122.413273&sspn=0.1091,0.167885&ie=UTF8&ll=37.689534,-122.392062&spn=0.006818,0.010493&z=17&layer=c&cbll=37.689488,-122.392164&panoid=KyoRe9cBdi8Uo02iprHfgw&cbp=12,59.19236866929448,,0,-4.018404907975458

When you make that turn you should be riding on the white line as you approach - the white line between the two turn lanes! Not the shoulder! (this assumes we are taking it at speed without pesky cars/etc...).  Stay on that line, at speed, all the way to pretty much the stop line, then turn very hard to the right, aiming at just to the left of the stop sign. This drives your line right into the roadway you want to be in.

Sounds like I am recommending a really sharp turn, but if you are on the shoulder at speed, you try to make the same sharp turn except you are in the wrong spot, and the same angle shoots you into the opposite travel lane on Oyster Point. Since you don't want to do that, your only alternative is to make an even sharper turn (not possible) or to reduce speed before your turn - at a lower speed you can make a turn with a shorter radius.

There are several right handers on bayway you can practice on that don't have disastrous consequences if you screw up. The last right hander before we get to Coyote Point (we turn right then go about 150 yards to the rotary-ish left hander) is pretty good. I'd wait a while before really testing your chops on the left hander on the bike path just after we go under the San Mateo Bridge - ask Scott :)

In a crit it's a little different because you can't dive inside into the line of the person inside you, but the whole pack needs to take the turn wide - set up the line and then hold it through the turn. It turns out to not be that hard at the non-expert levels and most of the crashes aren't actually in the corners - they are in the sprint when someone doesn't hold their line there. Really good riders can corner at a level I cannot comprehend - there is a group ride Tues/Thurs at lunch at Great America, that runs as a parking lot criterium. I never make it past 2-3 quarter mile laps because I just can't accellerate into and through the corners like those guys (mostly Cat 1/2) do. Amazing.

Learning this on fast flat corners will eventually filter into your descending skills as well.



I think cornering has almost as much to do with trusting your bike and understanding what it can do as with your technical skill.  I remember maybe 6 months back I did a reverse alpine-dam loop with a couple ex-CAT-2's, and decided to try my best to stay on their wheels descending the long fast bo-fax descent into fairfax. I was convinced in every single turn that I was either going to fly off the side of the road into a ditch or into oncoming traffic, but I held my form and managed to fly through each corner without dying and got a better feel for how many g's it's possible to generate while still holding a turn. Since then I've been much more comfortable on descents, and yesterday while doing the same ride managed to average about 35+ down that hill, while passing I think 3 cars.



Indeed, I heard it was a crashfest out there. Good job keeping the rubber side down. And good job making it across the star line to begin with.  That's one of the hardest steps. A couple of points to add to Murph's excellent technical advice. I can't reinforce how much confidence and comfort matters to your racing ability and the only way to improve that is more racing (and group riding). Even if you start up front at the gun, if you let yourself be bossed around or shy away when people get too close you'll be out the back just as if you'd lined up late (it's a good idea to line up 5 or so minutes before the start, btw, to avoid a bad placement).

On turning, when you get your line right as Murph prescribed you'll end up describing a perfect, constant-radius arc. This means that once you start the corner you don't adjust your line at all which is why he took such pains to describe the setup. Your upper body should remain relatively still (but not stiff!) with your weight subtly shifted to the arm on the inside of the corner. Keep pedaling if at all possible. I've clipped my pedals on the ground more times than I care to remember but I don't think I've ever crashed because of it (well, not in a race anyway). Usually it'll just scare the crap out of you and remind you where the limits are. Having to sprint out of every corner to catch the rider ahead of you who doesn't coast will very rapidly wear you down.

Keep it upright,



Thanks for all the advice and encouragement! :) I will definitely try

to find as many corners as possible to practice on, and building

confidence is at least as important as the technique for me right now.

Feel free to give me hints as we ride - I want to get better at this.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

4/14 FAA (fat-ass-alternative), 7:03 RRR bayway

ride report: one FA (yours truly) and one decidedly non-FA (hobe) enforced the 7 minute rule and made a prompt 7:10 rollout.  lina had shown up moments before my arrival but had deemed a cleat replacement necessary, so did not make the rollout time.  besides, not FA enough. i was being somewhat blindly optimistic that hobe would not lay down the pain.  by sheer luck, and hobe's poor ability to play the role of corpulent individual, he pulled a spoke straight through the non-driveside flange of the rear hub on his brand new wheels. d'oh.  pros: happened right at the caltrain station on tunnel ave.  cons: prerequisite funky 5mm female nipple driver missing. ergo, broken wheel.  result:  -1 rider. so the rest of the ride was solo.  the tailwind was howling, otherworldly, spinout-inducing and sometimes soulcrushing (during the brief moments you have to u-turn northbound in foster city.)  it was one of the few times (being on a fixie) that i could truly say i was being ridden by the bike and not vice versa.  if this sensation alone did not make the ride worth it, the priceless facial expressions of all cyclists (and even pedestrians) in the northbound direction did. ~brian edit: photo of hobinator's borked wheel:
On Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM, Brian Wickman wrote:
I have a vague recollection of owning a bicycle.  Perhaps these recollections are delusions of grandeur.  Let's hope not. Working the reverse psychology here: RARRR INSANE FAST CRAZY PACE.  BLISTERING ATTACK AFTER BLISTERING ATTACK.  PARIS ROUBAIX PART DEUX. No plans to make it for breakfast (food is for mortals.)  Foster City route.  Speed limits upheld.  None of this soccer-mom-dodging BS on Edgewater Blvd.  Fixies and singlespeeds encouraged.

Friday, April 3, 2009

4/3 640 bayway rrr

as the stoker, i feel it is my duty to write the ride report heavily affected by stokerness, so here it goes:

a fine group of ~18 hot cyclists joined at ritual in the somewhat wee hours of the morning, and the benefits of tandem cycling already started showing as scott shared his coffee with me, and in return got to eat half of my banana bread. we headed out and i was trackstanding gloriously every time we came to a stop. i felt like i had mad skillz although maybe i got a tiny bit of help from my captain's foot touching the ground.

going up cortland wasn't quite as painful as it usually is. win! an unexpected side effect was that the tandem was much more comfortable than my own bike so going down cortland or any other piece of crappy paving wasn't as painful as it usually is either. tunnel rd went by pretty fast, and the wind was certainly in our favor this morning. i was trying to see where we were going and make sure we weren't running into other people or anything, which of course was pretty useless as i could do nothing about it. it took a bit of getting used to but hey, if the stoker freaks out about not seeing where you're going, you're still not going to be able to do anything about it so you can't really mess up. so pretty soon i relaxed since scott probably only crashes when he's riding his own bike. as i'm one of them scandinavian commies all this sharing appeals to me, and we only had one bottle cage anyway, so we synchronized our water drinking as well as our cadence.

now what does one do on a tandem by the cyclocross section? while on the dirt i suggested walking up but scott said "nah" and up we went, i suggested we should at least walk down but he said "nah, these are mean brakes" and down we went (in a good way, not the falling over kind of way). it was surprisingly easy although of course all i had to do was to sit on my butt and pedal.

xton took the opportunity to do some wheelsucking behind the glorious tandem but after being taunted did a lead out for us and i think the max speed we eventually hit on the flats was 31 mph. sliiightly faster than i'd be able to do on my own.

people attacking was fun since we could always easily catch up and pass. win! we made it to breakfast at 9:10 or thereabouts, despite a late rollout and long break at the water stop. average speed of 19.9 mph.

as for scott, he's a great captain. thanks! he gets 5 stars.

  • great bike handling, i felt safe the whole way
  • called out bumps in the road to save my ass (literally)
  • rides with a good cadence. of course this is somewhat subjective but he did tell me to let him know if i wanted to change it, but it was great as it was.
  • let me trackstand at all the stops
  • provided a nice view
now i'm gonna go to charlie's and tell everyone how awesome sf2g is and help scott recruit more women for the tandem. i bet the tandem is a great way of getting more women into sf2g.