• no stomach for it

    by  • March 10, 2008 • race coverage • 10 Comments

    i suppose there’s a lot to be said this morning, but i’m finding words weighted heavy.

    The weekend was beautiful … warm lazy Spring peacockin’ her feathers for any taking time to notice. Me and the woman made our way up to MenloPark on Saturday to do a bit of goofing off at the VeloGirl’s GrandPrix. It was a good time, but there were waaaay too many falls out on the course. And i think we had our PA mic a bit high in volume as the sound kind of ricochet’d around the corpo-cash-in-a-box distribution buildings that hovered around the start/finish area.

    ah well.

    The course at Menlo will need to be revisited for next year. On paper, it’s not bad at all … but, the reality of bike racing is that it’s a delicate teeter-totter balancing act between making a course safe enough, but also dangerous enough.

    womensofmenlopark.jpg

    As many remarked yesterday, if a race doesn’t have a few “technical” elements to it … folks tend to lose concentration of being safe first, fast second. That’s why i heartily approve of the renovated LandPark crit course up in Sacto. I remember a few years back when half the SierraNevada team went down on a straightaway as guys in our pack forgot that you don’t get safety for free, you’ve got to actually work for it.

    But when the courses have some nice turns or safe chicanes to put a little bit of fear and RESPECT for the course into riders .. well, i have to tell you ~ the crash rates fall significantly. (pun ‘erific mondays!) So, hopefully next year will see some changes to the Menlo course so that we can have a “safer” course by making it a …. little less safe.

    there were some great efforts out there all day. My personal favorites of the MenloGP were ~

    Seeing Cathy Morgan of the RoaringMeeces bridge back to the pack with a couple of heroic TT efforts.

    Going NUTZ when SaraClatterB went on a beast of an attack and then NEVER gave up after she got trapped behind a crash, chasing strong all day long.  that’s fun-meter pegged to 11, mon amie.

    Relishing the vainglorious 700m launchpad of a sprint from Janelle Kellman … and then watching her realize a bit too late that she prolly only has a 500m sprintright now … awesome.

    Cheering myself hoarse for VOS hardman Ernesto Gallardo go back-to-back in his races with the 45’s AND 35 1/2/3’s … and folks, he’s 60 years-young.

    And of course, watching a cat3 men’s race THAT HAD NO CRASHES IN IT!!!

    yeah baby.

    Visit the Tower District

    towerdstrict.jpg AHunter and I hopped the caffeine express over to Fresno for one of my favorite crits of the year. We arrived just in time for me to yell myself hoarse(r) for the junior’s event.

    The Howard crew was in effect and just rode superbly at Tower. Curtis put in a stormer of a solo-effort to punch away from some very strong riders in the pack. Notably, Lars Mommner from CalGiant Strawberry was very, very active in trying to pull back Curtis. But, Lars is more of a dirt scoundrel, where I’ve seen him put in some kick-ass efforts. It’s good to see him banking some road miles to improve his riding all-around. Good work young man.

    katrinarocker.jpgThe big excitement came on the final lap of the Junior event ~ Curtis’ lead was secure and it was up to the pack to fight it out for the scraps. Katrina Howard (and yes, we can’t stop mentioning that she is not even a teenager yet!!!) put in a KILLER attack and jumped away from the pack like a woman possessed. The acceleration young Kat put in was extremely impressive … and, she was able to dig deep and ride well over a kilometer at full-gas to hit the line 2nd overall, and winning her age group.

    Just wonderful to watch.

    Unfortunately, i had some heavy legs on Sunday and after being a hooligan heckler for most the morning (and getting in a nice 12 minute warmup), the 35+ crit wasn’t much excitement for the crowds as all i could muster was riding around for a bit and trying not to crash myself.

    The SierraPacific mafia were in effect full-force and they played their cards pretty well, placing 3 of their strongest in the break of 5 (Easterling the class, Joel the drumbeater, and pretty-boy Bosch) with me and RogerBennett of MorganSpinely tacked on as token competition.

    There was a decent amount of hecklery flowing from the crowds as they urged me and Bennett to get our heads out of butts and bring back the Boschinator who we’d let jump out to a manageable few seconds off the front. But, heavy legs and the heavier anchors of Joel and Easterling behind us kind of took the oompf out of our stroke and we never really closed it to Bosch.

    I didn’t mind … too much. But, the spring is starting to wind down now, and with daylight savings here … it’s time to start really shifting this season into gear.

    But let’s remind ourselves ~

    dorkalert.jpgof how much we put ourselves to risk with this obsession of ours, this bike riding. i know there is no justice in us having to work so hard in protecting ourselves … but, we have to.

    we have to work very, very hard to protect each other. Let’s go about doing that.

    safe courses, safe riding, and the only suffering is what we ask of ourselves on the bike.

    – the desire for speed and thrill and adventure … and we protect our own.

    we can do it.

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    10 Responses to no stomach for it

    1. chatterbox
      March 10, 2008 at

      Hernando – thanks for working the mic on Saturday – half the fun of the race was hearing your commentary all the way around the course! You helped me stay motivated to stay on the rivet in no-mans land with my LGBRC workmate Lisa.

      yeah, the crashes. sigh. I think the early season mix of ‘up-and-coming’ fitness and less-than-sharp handling combined with what appears to be a simple course (turn 3 specifically needs a little more respect on the approach)…well you get the idea.

      Thanks again! Good times.

    2. March 10, 2008 at

      thank you again for making the race GREAT on Saturday.

      Eric (CR), Katherine (EMT), Hans and I have been putting our heads together to see what might have changed this year with the course. The fields were the same size. The course was the same (but no wind and no wet pavement). The only physical change was the truss and width of the start/finish.

      The number of crashes was about the same but the severity was much more traumatic.

      And the crashes occurred all over the course so we can’t even pinpoint one location as being at fault.

      Early season, high fitness, low skills, high adrenaline, low attention?

      I have an idea for an added loop for 2009 but it will depend on our ability to move the start/finish and parking/registration areas to the south end of the course.

    3. Hobbard
      March 10, 2008 at

      Olaf the Great,

      Was your name still scribed in oh so not permanent chalk when you raced? As I admire the size of Rasmussen’s legs and wish mine were that muscular, chalk graffiti is my specialty.

      I tried to write it outside the primary lines to ensure a wee bit o’ Longevity.

      Ed

    4. March 10, 2008 at

      Interviews

      Pontificates

      And what was it with the guy from Santa Cruz who did not know who Sabine Dukes is?

      Fun times on Saturday. But you could have sent me some of your secret power formula when I got detached from the field; either that or a cold beer :-)

    5. the joker
      March 10, 2008 at

      his secret power formula is flower power with a pink and white bubble thong…

    6. March 10, 2008 at

      I loved everything around the race except for the crashes too. I just felt the bad mo-jo in the air especially after the wreck in my M35+ 3/4 race that occurred right at the start/finish line. So here are some suggestions…

      1) If the start/finish line pinches, bring back cones or barriers about a 100 yards from the line. This will make the funneling effect much less severe and potentially help.

      2) I like the idea of making the course a bit more technical. Like said, more technical the better (at least in my perspective).

      3) Maybe put out a few less primes and see what happens if there are more attacks and breaks that stick. Might not be too popular, but a suggestion nonetheless.

      BTW, after the crash in my race, I went to the officials and said, “DNF me…I’m done”. I raced last year when 5 laps were put back up on the board after a crash and I didn’t want to participate in the chaos. Call me chicken, but I had my wife and 2 young kids watching; I didn’t want them to take daddy home on a stretcher. I think the kiddos were spooked too as they had a front row seat to the carnage at the start/finish line.

    7. March 10, 2008 at

      I had a lot of laughs while listening to the impromtu interviews and the funny comments just cracked me up! I had a lots of laughs and I needed it that day – thanks!

      I like the one where you mentioned something about a break, but a the back of the pack. I still laugh thinking about it – ha ha!

      hope you do more of it, it sure make the races really fun to watch…:-)

    8. March 10, 2008 at

      I was near the front when the 3/4 crash occurred. It started when a rider sprinted past another and banged the other’s left arm/shoulder. This promptly caused the bumped rider to swerve right and at the barriers. His weight was also thrown forward as he tried to brake and recover but I could tell he wasn’t going to make it. I was lucky enough to be clear middle so I yelled “crash” to give folks a heads up and punched it to be sure I was clear. I didn’t look back as I heard that awful clang and crash of metal rising behind.

      Note, the guy that was bumped was holding his line and there was plenty of room to pass him. The guy that bumped him should think real hard about that move he made.

    9. Ed
      March 10, 2008 at

      I was one of the riders involved in the crash near the start/finish area in the men’s Cat 3/4 race.

      Does anyone know how the other injured riders are doing? They seemed very badly hurt and I am concerned for them. It was a terrible crash.

    10. March 11, 2008 at

      i’ve not heard anything yet, Ed.
      .
      glad you’re ok. nasty crash, that one.

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