Monday, December 22, 2008

Great weekend for Sheila Moon racing

The last racing weekend of 2008 was a good one for the Sheila Moon racing team.

On Saturday, I grabbed my first podium of the year at Livermore, finishing 3rd in Men's 35+ Bs:

On Sunday, we fielded 5 racers, with Sam Bell taking the honors with a straight up win in Women's Cs:

Emily McLanahan had her best placing of the year, with a second in Masters Women:

The rest of us didn't podium, but May Woo was one spot off in 4th, in her longest race of the year.

Ted Ketai raced a category up, and didn't fare so well, and I chose the wrong bike. A singlespeed was the wrong call for a course that had a significant portion of fast, flat running track. I was hoping the course would be muddy enough that I could laugh at the racers trying to shift their filthy drivetrains, but instead spent much of the race spinning my legs off as the guys with gears just rode away from me.

On one lap, I led Ted down the one fast downhill:

Sam won her race by almost a minute, and was extending her lead by about 20 seconds a lap over the last couple.

Emily had a great race. Her first as a masters racer:

The course had a tough run up. On the first lap, I beat some guy up the first part of it, only to have his bars tangled in my back wheel. My reflex was to run fast, so that maybe I could pull him up the hill at my speed, but after a couple seconds, I realized that would probably be counterproductive, so I slowed down enough to let him untangle us. Every lap afterward, I made sure to get clear of other racers as I hit the run:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Protective Equipment

As I mentioned, I had a pretty nasty crash last month at one of the Central Coast Cyclocross races.

I am still not sure why I crashed (no one saw me start to go down), but I ended up going head first into a fencepost, knocking myself out, and getting airlifted to the hospital. Through a combination of luck and good equipment, though, I was back on the bike within days, and raced again two weeks later.

My helmet, a Bell Sweep, took the brunt of the impact. The straps were gray when the day started. They ended up a dark red.

My sunglasses, Tifosis, ended up with both the frames and the leses sanded pretty thoroughly. Better them than my eye, though! Tifosi is a team sponsor, but these glasses were not team-issue. I actually bought them--and even paid full store price--because I've been pretty impressed with the quality of their shades. I'm even more impressed now that they gave their life for my vision. Now if the company would just figure out a way to keep me from losing my sunglasses, I'd be completely happy.

Here's a sketchy picture of the fallen soldiers:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sheila Moon riders make mark in Livermore

The Livermore series is one of the small cyclocross series scattered around the Bay Area. The races are generally small but well-run, and the courses make the most of what they have to work with.

Three of us headed out this weekend to ride the second-to-last race of this year's series. The day was pretty successful.

This year's Most Improved rider, Kathryn Aaker, scored her first career win in the women's Bs.

Our newest rider, Sam Bell, took 4th in the Cs in her second cross race ever!

My race was somewhat less successful. I managed to grab the wheel of Cycling News columnist, former national team member and Sheila Moon employee Barbara Howe, who was slumming in the men's B race.

We rode together pretty much the entire race, slowly clawing our way into the top 5. Just before the final barriers, the two of us were closely followed by two other guys. Barb swung wide to let me come through (since a top 5 in 35+ B men obviously means more to me than to her). Unfortunately, I managed to catch a course stake with my pedal and pulled it out of the ground trying to free my bike. I came through the barriers still at the front of our group, only to realize that my struggle with the course marking had pulled my chain off my cranks. I ran the last 10 yards, but watched Barb and the other guys ride past me, and ended up a disappointing 7th.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Coyote Point Pictures and report

Julie hands Kathryn her winnings

The big news from the conclusion of the Bay Area Superprestige series was Sheila Moon rider Kathryn Aaker getting 4th overall in the Women's B class. Kathryn was forced to miss a race, but if she'd been able to make all of them, she'd have been in contention for the overall victory.

Fast Arena

Arena Reed picked up 7th in Women's B as well, finishing just off the podium.

May turns the corner

Props also to Moonie May Woo for her Series 10th in Women's C.

Moonies coming and going

Also finishing strong in Women's C were Emily McLanahan (heading right) and new teammate Sam Bell (going left).

Others rocking the flowered skinsuits were:

Davin runs
Davin Pukulis, in Men's B

Ryan charges ahead
Ryan Henbest, Men's B

Ted Ketai, Men's C

Beach run
And yours truly, in Master Men 35+

My race went like this:

My first race after a nasty crash two weeks ago. I had been feeling pretty sluggish as part of the aftereffects of the crash, so I didn't push the lineup. Which meant, of course, that I ended up 40thish out of 50 or so at the start. They called up 20 deep, which didn't help matters, since I'd missed 2 races this year already.

The course is my favorite, I think, with a big climb (and the corresponding bumpy descent), a fair amount of twistiness in the woods, a bunch of paved flat stretches, and the much-famed beach run.

I actually started pretty well, in fact, picking up a couple spots on the paved start and another 5 or so up the first climb.

For each of the next few laps, I clawed my way up a few places, til I was in the low 20s with a lap and a half to go. I was right behind Tim from Roaring Mouse, who's something of a benchmark for me, and I was excited to get around him. At the bottom of the big downhill, though, one of his teammates who was leading the 45+ field jumped in between me and him. On the following stretch another of his team mates from the 45+ got in between as well.

So I came off the beach run with 3 Roaring Mouse guys about 20 meters ahead of me. Over the long flat paved stretch, I pretty much buried myself to get up to their group, and just got there for the turn back onto the grass, at which point, of course, it was not that helpful any more. After we got through the barriers, I saw Tim untangling himself from the course tape on a flat, straight stretch (I found out later that he had given a team mate a push and ended up knocking himself off the course).

I was feeling pretty good at this point, as I was ahead of Tim, and I'd been riding a pretty smooth race up til then with only one lap to go.

It may not surprise you to know that this is when things started to go south.

I first crashed on a slow-speed off-camber left following a sharp down-hill. Didn't lose a place, but it didn't help. What really hurt was when I came off the beach onto the pavement and just, well, fell over. I recovered well and got right back up, but the damage was done. Tim had gone past. To put the final spike in the race, I managed to blow an easy off-camber uphill, and let another guy go by.

Considering my tentativeness at the beginning, and my terrible start position, I should be happy with a 23rd of 51. However, given how much I like the course, and how well I ended up doing, considering my crappy start, I am definitely feeling like this was a missed opportunity...

Still, at least I left this race under my own power!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bay Area Super Prestige #5 - Coyote Point

the fifth and final super prestige race of the season was at coyote point this weekend. we went out in force and not only raced, but nourished our fellow racers with nothing else but BACON HAND-UPS. oh yeah, we had some cyto-beer and clif-beer to give out as well. racing makes you thirsty and hungry.

SPECIAL THANKS: to DUBSTEP DAVE at BIG SWINGIN' CYCLES who got emily's bike back in shape when we thought it couldn't be done. your tireless dedication to our team has made a difference, thanks man!

check out this short video may WOO! put together of the day's fun:

Pilarcitos Cyclocross 2008 - Race #5 - Coyote Point from May Woo on Vimeo.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bay Area Super Prestige #4 Golden Gate Park

the whole crew, and the whole city it would seem came out for the annual golden gate park cyclocross race. this one is my favorite one each year. it's right down the street from our house and the number of casual fans that come out is amazing. let's watch and see some highlights:

Pilarcitos Cyclocross 2008 - Race #4 - GGP from May Woo on Vimeo.

as usual, the fantastic video highlight reel is from our very own MAY WOO!