Friday, October 21, 2016

Bike Stolen

On a business trip on Tuesday, I commuted on my red 2015 Fuji Sportif 1.1D (with Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc wheels) from Silver Spring, MD to Chevy Chase, MD. After being told there was no way I would be allowed to keep my bike inside during the conference, I locked it with a big-ass cable lock (dumb, I now know) to a rack at the intersection of Wisconsin Ave and Western Ave. (map:

I checked on it periodically throughout the day, but was unable to get out between noon and 3pm. When I did get out at 3, the bike was gone. I called the police; I called mall security. I put the two together and shared all the relevant details with both: serial number, description, value, etc. Both were less-than-optimistic that I would ever see the bike again.

This was the bike back in June. The only things that have changed since then were the seat (still black, but now a Fizik Arione) and the rack, which is now a Topeak BabySeat II Disc. If you see it, please call the Montgomery County, MD police: 240-773-6700. The case number is 16053593. The real telling attribute will be MY NAME emblazoned on both sides of the top tube, right behind the stem.

For more information about the bike:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

BPTS #13 - 3rd and a prime!

With mommy and babies nestled snugly back into home life (we had a baby girl two weeks ago, surprise!), I got permission to dust off the racing shoes and dice it up with the other B series racers last night. Alastair came to be my cheering section, which was pretty awesome since we had probably the smallest team showing of the season, with only 3 of us out there.

Race was clock-wise, which has delivered me some surprisingly decent results over the season. Clock-wise, as I've mentioned before, requires a standing sprint. I really do not like a standing sprint. I think my race bike's handlebars are too narrow, and I never feel entirely steady.

And I'd ridden REALLY HARD the night before, and was having some leg pains during warm-up. I wasn't optimistic, but I was gleeful to get to play. I even gridded up near the front, which is just a fool's errand at Bryan Park, as the smart folks will just let you burn up in the wind.

The race started with M. Lipka screaming off the front like his ass was on fire, with two other guys chasing. The rest of us formed a solid lead-out group, with M. Barton pulling for the first lap. She peeled off and I got stuck out in the wind for two laps. Then they rang a prime lap. Nobody seemed willing to pull out around me heading toward the hairpin, and dammit I wanted a prime, since I didn't feel like I had a win in me.

So I tried something new: as we came through the hairpin, I didn't hammer it. I gradually raised the pace with a steady hard effort. The paceline held, and by the time someone jumped at the kink, we were already moving over 26mph. The instant I heard the crunch of hard pedaling over my shoulder, I jumped and hammered. We crossed S/F over 33mph, but I edged the other guy by a couple of feet. It worked! And fortunately, he didn't try to hold the effort, allowing us to get quickly reabsorbed and rest.

Smiley grabbed the 2nd prime a few laps as I cycled further back through the pack. Alastair later said he was worried that I was running out of steam, but I just didn't see the point of jockeying for position, and I really wanted to see how much I could move around. I found that from one lap to the next, I could get from the inside lane to the outside, which is not normal. Usually it takes 2 or 3 laps to move across.

With 3 laps left, I spied an outside-line gap just past S/F and lunged toward the front.

With 2 laps left, I got caught when 3 other riders did the same thing. Coming off turn 1, I moved far left to feint an attack and shut down a line of riders behind.

With 1 lap left, I found myself where I wanted to be: outside line, on what appeared to be T. Tharin's wheel. He was 3rd in the line, with 4 lines across, and M. Wierzbicki 2nd wheel inside. As we approached the hairpin, Ted jumped around a teammate, and I followed. Jeers came from the peloton, and I couldn't tell exactly what was the issue, but I moved a bit farther outside just to protect myself in case of disaster.

It was a tactical mistake, and I went from 3rd rider through the turn to 7th, but I stayed clear of the lunatics who typically charge into the corner and have nothing left to climb the hill.

T. Tharin and M. Wierzbicki were clear and in a 2-man sprint for glory, but I conjured up every scrap of strength I could and put down a 3-part stand/sit/stand sprint and got clear of everybody else. I was actually closing on the leaders when they crossed the line, but they were still well clear of me.

Alastair told me later that a rider was just over my shoulder at the finish, but I had no idea at the time.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

BPTS #10 - 5th and a prime!

My crit season ended last night on a high note, but frankly it could have gone better.

Tuesday afternoon was sporadically rainy, so instead of racing, I went and watched the B race with Alastair. While the actual race was uneventful, there was a crash during warm-up and evidently some carnage during the A race.

So I headed into Wednesday with fresher legs than most, and a plan. The plan was hatched after watching a competitor complete a season full of come-from-nowhere top-5 finishes. I'd spent all season near the front, with nothing left at the end, and he'd spent all season near the back, and is wearing the points-leader jersey. He knows something I don't.

So I was going to spend the entire race glued to his wheel, following his actions and figure out when is the time to move up from the back. But on lap 4, he dropped the hammer, and I followed, racing off the front like a couple of wild banshees. As we crossed start/finish, he sat up and looked over at me. I asked what we were doing, and he just smiled and gave a "meh, whatever" reply. No prime lap, just a random flame-out.

Next plan.

I dropped back to the back and circled around for a few laps, easing forward when gaps allowed. By lap 10 I was back near-ish to the front, and I was hearing some shouts to pick up the pace, which is weird, because why the hell would the guys on the front want to blow up? As we crossed start/finish, I heard the marshals say "15 seconds", which can only mean one thing: a break got away when I wasn't paying attention, and is 15 seconds up the road.

That's bullshit, and there was no way I was going to end my race off the front group. Nobody was willing to organize, so I floored it and shouted at the front guys to get on my ass and close the gap. We took away that 15 seconds in 2/3 of a lap, with about 7 guys clear of the field. And they all sat up, right as the prime bell rang. I was hanging out close to the front as we came tearing back up the hill to the line, but nobody was willing to jump. I like free things, so I figured if nothing else, I'd go win a bottle.

And nobody chased!

I even asked the marshal if it was a prime lap. Whatever: the team took at least 2 primes on the night.

I dropped back into the group and looked around to see if my rabbit was moving up, and he was! But on the complete opposite side of the road, so there was no chance of getting to his wheel. I was pinned inside, but had complete control of the inside line.

On the final lap, even as we came into the hairpin at the bottom, I was still able to control the line, and nobody tried any boneheaded dive-bombs. As we came out of the turn, I was about 10th, and we were moving (better than last week, where a bunch of guys basically stopped on the exit). I jumped and my legs felt amazing. The guy in front of me jumped, too, but got pinned right into my line, leaving me inches on the side of the road. With nowhere to go, I had to let off and roll behind him. By the time I had clear space, the front 3 were away, but for the first time I was a legitimate factor in the final sprint.

I really feel like I could have pulled off a solid 3rd place finish, but I ended up with $5 winnings and a gift card, so I can't complain.

5th place in my final crit of the season, following a 3rd place in my final road race. Can't ask for much better in a 40-year-old's rookie season!