Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 King of Burlingame

Not a King, just a Serf!

What a freaking way to start the season!  Wow did I suck!

I had pre-ridden the course enough to know what to expect and felt I had a good racing strategy. The new section of the race extended the course by 1 mile and added some demanding punchy climbs and I knew not to go through all my 'matches' right away.  Like everyone else, I was a little (a lot!) worried about how the rain had affected the long and multiple wood bridges.  During one wet pre ride, I set foot on one, and immediately wiped out.  Those things were damn slippery when wet!  During the warm up ride, things looked remarkably dry though, and the bridges ended being just fine.
Charlie before passing me.
There was a little pressure at the start, since Charlie (beat him by 14 secs last year), Steve, and Freddie were staring in that order right behind me.  It was my goal to keep them at 30+ seconds behind, and if things went really well, perhaps even take off a couple of seconds off the time split of Rich who was starting 30 seconds ahead of me.
Within the first mile I knew was in big trouble.  I could not get my head into it, and was not ridding clean.  I was clearing things but it was not smooth, nor effortless.  I was banging into things instead of floating over them.  Worse was that every time the trail pointed up, even slightly, my legs would feel sore.  Normally it's my lungs and heart rate that dictate my pace, but here my legs were just refusing to get going.

Steve before passing me!
About a 1/4 mile into the new section, the bike was also not feeling right, and soon enough, on a steep little climb, my drive train completely locked up.  I thought I had dropped my chain and that it was stuck.  But the chain line looked okay.  Even looked under chain rings but things looked fine there too. At this time, Charlie went by! Maybe a stick in the spokes?   But nothing there too! Tried to pedal again, but still the bike was locked.  It took me a little bit to realize that my rear wheel had fallen about 1/2 inch out of the drop outs.

(I should point out here that Friday night I brought my bike to Caster's and Freddie was kind enough to work me right in and fix a couple of things.  He was the one that put my rear wheel back in at the shop, and was racing a couple of positions behind me...hmm...coincidence?  In actuality, he had put the wheel back on and I had asked him to loosen the skewer a bit as it was way to tight for me!  Stoopid me!)

Freddie passed me too!

I got the wheel back on and double checked the tightness.  As I came to the little punchy climbs, my legs had not magically regained their power like I had hoped for and was struggling to make it up any of them.  Soon Steve O was behind me and let him pass.  I tried to keep his wheel but was just not smooth enough.  My hope was to catch back up to him on the fire road climb, but instead just struggled to climb that very easy grade.  As I crested the top, Freddie had now about caught up to me.  He soon passed me and started to create a gap.  As we hit the road section, he was about 100 yards in front so I sprinted to grab his wheel.  I expected to blow up doing so, but instead was suddenly feeling good.  I passed him and told him to grab my wheel.  As we got back onto the trail, I was suddenly felling good. Did I say that already?  My legs were complying and my handling skills was back.  It felt like I had just come out of dense fog. Since I knew my race was over, I was going to try to give Freddie a wheel but after the first climb, when I turned around he was no longer there.  And since my legs were finally feeling like they opened up, I decided to go for it and try to save what ever I could.  I cleaned everything w/ out too much problem and felt good until the end.  Going up the final straight  to the finish line, I even caught a glimpse of Steve before he crossed it.

on my way to suck ville!
I have no idea why I struggled so much at the start.   The most obvious answer is that I really did not sleep much the night before.  Yet I have had some races where I couldn't shut my mind up, and still did okay.  My recovery was fine too.  Last hard ride was on Tuesday, with easy rides on Thursday and Saturday.   The previous weeks could have been the culprit perhaps, as one was spend off the bike being sick, and the next week mostly off  again, since we needed to prepare for an open house.  Maybe it was also too short of a warm up.  I'll have to make sure next year I fart around the parking a lot less before the race and get some nice road miles in right before the start w/ some leg openers.  Post race look at my hr showed that my avg was only 185.  That is really low for me.  Two weeks before I had done a hot lap of this course and my hr avg for the lap had been 192.  I can clearly pinpoint my legs being the culprit in this, but I need to figure out why so that I can avoid doing it next week at the Hopbrook race!

Btw, I have not mentioned my placement or time - cause i don't wanna freaking talk about it!!!! rabbit for next year!


  1. Tapering doesn't necessarily mean taking it easy. You still should be riding some intensity, just not for as long a duration.

  2. Wow that was a lot of excuses. ROFL Just kidding Syl! What no picture of me?? lol Your avg. heart rate runs really high wow how can that be possible that 192 was your avg. What was your spike 215? I would pass out in a ditch drooling on myself if I had to maintain over 190 for a period of time. Better luck next year Syl!

  3. Charlie,

    Hopbrook not an A race at all so I'll try to experiment w/ that this week!


    My max this year was 206! At the prov cx race, I think my avg hr was 196! & my sincerest apologies for not adding a pic of you but you did not pass me! That is however corrected now!

    1. I was just kidding about the pic Syl. I like like the one you chose with me behind the tree. This is just a joke as well. Still don't know how you get your heart rate up that high. You must have a hummingbird heart. lol

  4. Nice, Syl. As you saw when I did the "fun" lap with you guys, my legs had forsaken me as well. I'd much rather blame it on the bike than myself, but I just don't think I was ready... Here's to June through August! :)