Monday, June 29, 2009

Tour de Grandview

The race I love to hate, but I will go back every year!

Title sponsorship was not found for this year’s event so it was down to only one day. Too bad. Grandview has always welcomed us. They really get into the race and make it a great atmosphere. Hopefully, next year we will see the return to two days racing.

If it’s Sunday, it must mean the hill. Tough course. The weather was not bad, a bit breezy from the west. Warm, in the mid 80’s, but humidty went down since a front passed thru right before noon.

I really did not go in with high expectations. My goal was to ride better than last year. While I was better prepared than last year in terms of riding more, I really havent raced as much this year as I had hoped. Crits.. Hate em. But it’s part of racing, which means I gotta do ‘em.  (Gotta make that weekly crit series!)

I went in feeling rested. Legs felt great during the ride up and the warmup on the coarse. The hill even felt good! As usual for Masters, a strong field of about fifty riders. (I gave thought to racing in the 3-4 race. If there had been strictly a Cat 4 race, I would have opted for that.)


To say this was an interesting race, for me, is an understatement. At the start, I fumbled around getting clipped in (one reason I have to do more mass start races). Got clipped in and settled in at the back of the back, and was with them until the first climb. On a positive, I was able to stay closer to the field in this years race.

I was involved in a Tortoise and Hare race, literally. There was a guy entered who was riding a relaxed street bike, upright bars, and bar ends which he had to take off to start the race. I will call him Mr. Tortoise .Mr. Tortoise , if you read this. I apologize for calling you this. I only do that because I don’t know your name. And I apologize for my ego issue

As we know, cycling has it share of egos. Sometime I feel I’m not taken serious when I show up on my $1000 bike, although I’m sure there are many more valid reason (#1, there really is no reason consider me a serious threat!).  Some guys can be to judgmental.  And I have to say, I was thinking the same thing when I saw Mr. Tortoise .

On the second lap, the race began. I was on the flat, rough section on Goodale Ave, pushing 27 to 30 MPH, when Mr. Tortoise , with his unique riding style, came flying by me as we turned onto Broadview Ave to make the climb. As he was passing, I screamed “WTF!” I showed my frustration (Again, I apologize to you, Mr. Tortoise, who’s name I wish I really knew. I have to say, on hindsight, it more out of respect than frustration. I also apologize to any families who might have had their kids in the vicinity)


I managed to beat him up the hill, but I knew what my race was. Forget the field. I wasn't going to get back in it, and I had my own race. As for the field, it got pretty strung out. And there were a few more guys dealing with the same person I was. And I think there frustration level was way more than mine.

This was my race for the next 16 laps. I was thinking that for the spectators they were able watch a second race, and wondering who they were supporting. I suspect it was Mr. Tortoise against the aging and slowing Mr. Hare. (Actually I think he was older than I am). I could take him up the hill. Making the turn from Broadview to First, there was a pretty stiff headwind, which slowed me down. I could get some distance on the turns and downhill on the back side. But more times than not, I would see him fly by me on the Goodale stretch. There were a few laps where it did not happen, then just when I think I established a lead…here he comes.

As we came to the line to start out last lap, I had about 10 feet on him. I kicked in the afterburners and rode as hard as I ever had. I almost lost it on the downhill and turn onto Goodale Ave. That hill really hurt on this lap. But I wasnt looking pack, I was assuming he was on my wheel.

Turns out, I had about 20 to 30 yards on him. After I crossed the line, I soft pedaled wanting to catch my ole nemesis, and my new hero, to congratulate him on his race. I have to admit, if we had come down to the finish, and we were neck and neck like we were on so many laps, I would have had to relinquish and let him cross the line ahead of me.

I was pleased with the effort. I was in better shape than last year. I  rode much harder. Thank you Tortoise… I salute you! For me, you have given new meaning to the notion “It’s not the machine, and not the motor. And I did finished the grilled crow that was given to me on a silver platter!


Thanks to the promoters, the officials, volunteers, and the fine citizens of the great city of Grandview (thanks for the hospitality once again!)

Can’t wait for next year!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ohio State Time Trial

Got up early yesterday to drive over to Versailles, OH for the Ohio State Time Trial. Thanks to Roger Bowersock and all the volunteers for a class event. And thanks to the really neat village of Versailles for having us!

I went over hoping for a better ride than I had two weeks ago at Groveport. For me, personally, it was worth the drive.  I finished with in 00:53:15. This was definitely my best time trial effort in more years than I can remember. (24.9 pace)

Nope, I didn't set the course of fire, but I came away pleased in knowing that I gave it all I had, and somewhat pleased with the final result. Though it was not even closed to placing in the Masters 50-54. There were a lot of low 40’s in that group.

I still believe ultimate TT success goes to the the motor and not the machine. And while I may sound bitter and jealous low budget racer, there is no such thing as parity when it comes to time trialing. (OK, I fess..I am jealous. Severance package coming soon..if I can find a job with money coming in…that could be fun money for me to help stimulate the economy of my LBS))

I rode my Fuji Roubaix Pro:


The only changes for me were Mavic Cosmic rims from the late 90’s (not aero), aero bars, skinsuit, and aero helmet. Guestimating I had about 1500 bucks into the total package.

Now put that against bikes that cost twice as much, weight about 3/4 of what mine weighs. Designed to slice thru the wind.Let’s be honest. While it does come down to the motor, how could I really be competitive against machine AND motors like that.

I was proud of what I personally accomplished yesterday. For me, it was a great effort , especially considering I was not a prepared for it as I should have been considering the time that has been available for training the past six weeks. I gave it all I had. That’s all I asked for.

But at the end of the day, it’s frustrating to see that lack of parity that exists. If I hadn't been out of racing so long, I probably wouldn’t feel this way. Although its been just over a year since my non triumphant return, in a way, I still feel like Rip Van Winkle. I’m still in awe of how technology improved while I was asleep.  And how training has evolved from guess work and/or heart rate monitors, to power meters and high tech gadgetry. (Which I will avoid, I dont have time to sit in from of a spreadsheet crunching numbers. I can do that when I go back to work.)

I really appreciate the non-aero division of the Groveport Time Trial. And while I was riding like crap that day, it did level the playing field. And I think it would be great for more promoters to add that category to their time trials. For all of those who are in the same boat as me, or for all of those who may want to compete, but have the attitude of “What’s the use?”

OK, I’m done with my b*tching and will  jump off my soap box. Still, personally, I had a great day yesterday and had a efing blast

On to the Tour of Grandview next weekend. Then looking at the July race calendar.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

State RR this weekend

Just submitted my entry to the state road race this weekend.

I’m not as well prepared for it as I should, but what the heck. This will be my first road race in about eight years

Monday, June 8, 2009

Groveport Grand Prix Time Trial


It was a disappointing effort. My time was off one minute from last year. One difference, I did have some aero equipment last year. I’m not a high budget racer, so my aero equipment is limited to aero bars, aero helmet, and skinsuit.

This year, I raced in the non aero (stardard) division. I was really glad to see them have this division. It leveled the playing field for me, or at least it should have. Unfortunately I wasn’t as well prepared for it as I should have been.

I’m out of work and have plenty of time to ride, but I’ve been playing Mr. Fixituper and working on some home improvement projects. That changes today.