Monday, April 30, 2018

Race Report: Red Kite #7

In which I race with my new team for the first time!

I signed up for this race on a whim, since one of my new teammates (Teammate L) decided to make her return to racing (after giving birth to her first son earlier this year). It's a flat, fast, four-corner (-ish--it's really three corners and a curve) crit, probably perfect to get me back into road racing after more-or-less 8 months away!

We had three racers in a field of probably 40 3/4/5s. Plan was to hang in, see what happened, and wait for it to come to a sprint, at which point I would lead out another teammate (Teammate D) for a glorious win. The finish line for the race was a short distance from the final corner, so positioning into the last corner was key.

Race went off as expected. In general, I've experienced safe, courteous racing out here on the West Coast, and this was no exception! Teammate L led me out for a prime mid-race. No one else really contested it, and I had about a 50 meter gap by the time I crossed the line. So I kept going! A rider from SJBC (San Jose Bicycle Club) bridged up to me, and we traded turns at eye-searing pace. I have never had such an encouraging breakaway companion! She cheered me on, and kept saying, "We just have to get out of sight! Come on! We can do it!" But big team Breakaway shut us down. Honestly, I was grateful when they caught us. My power profile is better for getting away than staying away, and I am certainly not in race shape currently (still training for Dirty Kanza distance).
I think the blue arrow is my prime sprint, and the red arrow is where we got caught.
Teammate D pulled the same trick, taking a prime and staying away for a few laps. But team Breakaway brought her back, too.

With about three laps to go, I maneuvered to the front. I didn't like the moderation of the pace--a slow lead-up to a sprint spells danger to me. So I started ramping up the pace. Teammate D was on my wheel, letting me know where she was and where to move to keep her in my draft. I went as hard as I could on the last lap, but team Breakaway's train was right beside us. I had the wide line going into the final corner, and two Breakaway riders overshot that turn, pulling directly into my line and cutting me off. Teammate D was still able to get around me and them to sprint for the win in the cat. 3. But I was freaked out, and had done my job, so I sat up and pedaled in for 7th place out of 8.

At first I was annoyed about having my wheel chopped coming out of the last corner. But that's racing. And they were 4/5s, still new to criteriums and learning how to corner. Next time I'll try to position on the inside corner. C'est la vie.

I'll have video from this race at some point, but my little action cam has been giving me fits. The video is on there; I'm just having trouble getting it off. Once I do, I'll throw a video together and post it.

Monday, April 9, 2018


I've been nursing along some sub-optimal equipment for several months--gear cables and housing that could really use replacement, but were still functioning well (enough) as long as I tinkered with them constantly. No more! I did a total bike overhaul this weekend; to be honest, it's bleeding over into this week. Here's how the trusty steed looked on the operating table:
Stripped down to his skivvies!
In addition to replacing shift cables and housings, I pulled off the shifters, lubed everything inside, and replaced the brake hoods. I stripped off both derailleurs, examined all the parts for function, cleaned everything really well, and replaced the jockey wheels. I pulled the crankset for a thorough cleaning and replaced my 36-tooth inner chainring with a 34 (I need that compact gearing for the hills/mountains around here). And I figured as long as I had the bar tape stripped, I might as well replace the brake cables and housings, too. I have some fresh Lizard Skins bar tapes on order at my (new!) local shop, Goride Bicycles in Redwood City. The guys there have been very helpful as I've prepared for this process.
Somebody get him some clothes!
Although it hasn't seemed like much of a process--not nearly as bad as I thought it would be! Previous experiences with internal cable routing have led to much sweating, cursing, and banging around with magnets. I guess I've done it enough times to have the hang of it, and all the internal cable routing has gone very smoothly. I treated myself to Park Tool's internal cable routing doohickey, the IR.2, but I haven't really needed it so far. The strong magnet has come in handy, but I have some old magnets from a name badge that would work just as well. I'm not going to say it was a waste of $50, though, because it's never a waste of money to have good tools!

I have a little more deep cleaning I want to do while I have the crankset off. Then I'm going to reinstall everything, adjust the brake hoods and levers to where I want them, and torque everything to spec. Last thing--and best thing--will be wrapping the new bar tape. That's always my favorite part; it feels like a reward for all the dirty work!

Next big project will be bleeding the brake lines on my Crux before CX season!