Sunday, March 1, 2009

Grasshopper training rides 2009... first installment...

grasshopper number one

#1 old caz

i started off behind the peeps i knew were faster than me. there were a lot of REALLY fast folks here…so I was midpack in the beginning.

we started off down the bohemian highway and the group stayed pretty well behaved. my biggest fear was inexperienced riders taking me down in the pack by overlapping wheels or not paying attention.

there was only one guy who i considered to be squirrelly, so i made sure to get clear of him. we rode for the first few miles and i was riding and chatting with dain from WTB for a bit. i was really comfortable next to him because he's rock solid in a pack (and everywhere else for that matter). it was neutral for this part so we were all just sitting in.

as we made the turn and started to head east on 116 i heard a loud BANG and saw yuri from marin bikes pull off to the side with a puncture. bummer for him. as the group rolled on i tried to stay somewhere near the front of the non-super-fast racers. i could see the leaders in the front pulling the group. then the sudden left turn up the steep side road. this came as a total surprise to me and a lot of people had to put a foot down and others got tangled up. i managed to stayed clear and rode the first climb with the woman in the red BMC kit and morgan fletcher. we made the first climb in ok time and then rode the downhill on the other side. i felt pretty good. kevin montgomery from roaring mouse materialized on my wheel.

after a ways on this road rolling up and down we overshot the turn and went downhill about 100 vertical feet back to 116 and morgan and i tried to figure out which way to go and saw the stream of riders behind us going back up the hill so we went off after them finding the turn just ahead. this is where we picked up sara piccalo(sp?) and pulled her along with us through the neighborhood there. the next climb started and i was suffering a bit dragging my ~23lb hardtail up the hill while everyone else was on a 18lb cx bike. blake from team oakland/mash joined us at this point. yuri from pedal revolution appeared here too. the five or six of us chugged up the hill and stayed together most of the way. i was at the back of the group on the climbs but could pass them for the downhills because i was running a front shock and had v brakes. i was sucking their exhaust at the very top of the climb but got by everyone on the next downhill towards the stream crossing. right as i went by blake my front wheel slipped out and i thought i was going down but i managed to save it with a two wheel drift for a couple of feet. i followed kevin down the hill to the water and ran across the cold thigh high crossing that kevin was running ahead of me, high stepping to try to maintain my footing. I felt like I looked like the funny walker from monty python. I’m sure it was completely ungraceful.

at the far side the 18 year old kid from Berkeley, walton was there waiting and looking for blake. he joined morgan and kevin and yuri and i. from here i think yuri took off and left us on the climb. we stayed together here for a long way on the rolling broken pavement and right before the end morgan and a couple of guys got away from kevin and i. i was trying to keep us all together but kevin seemed to be slowing a bit. we kept the lead group in sight but when we got to the road junction we could not see them... CRAP! which way do we go? we shot across the road straight to see if we could catch a glimpse but they were not to be seen. We looked for bike tracks and stopped to get out the map but then, through the trees back behind us, kevin spotted the group of five that had been behind us. we jetted back across the roads and tried to jump in with them but they had organized immediately into a rotating pace line and rode out of sight before we could get on board. crap. kevin and i just spun down the road and looked at the map while we were cruising alone, losing time to the organized groups ahead of us.

right as we made the right hand turn back onto 116 we say two guys bearing down hard on us. we sat up and pedaled lightly until they caught us and we jumped in with them. the lead guy was a monster and didn't want anyone else to pull... he towed the three of us into a head wind at about 24-25mph! DUDE! i just sat back there in the rocket chair and was not even pedaling half the time. i could see kevin was getting more work than me so i traded him places so he could rest more.

we got to the bridge just south of jenner and made the left hand turn and went across. then the left by the market and onto the eastbound start of the final climb. kevin fell off the back and Walton was stopped having a snack. He and i picked up a rider from soulcraft and we rode together for a good long bit until walton and I rode away from the guy. i was starting to fade at the bottom of the climb and ate my last two gels. half way up and i was really feeling bad. i was crashing and starting to burn. i told myself to ride through it but it was only getting worse. then i saw a group of riders catching us. i told walton to go for it as i was slowing him down and he took off. when i got to the really steep pitch i forced myself to get off and grabbed a bag of sport beans from my camelback and got back on the bike and got moving. i sucked down the beans as best i could making sure to get all of them and kept grinding away. i felt really bad. maybe riding only three times in the preceding two weeks was not the best training plan after all! i lost about 10 positions to peeps that were not fading and just kept chipping away it. with about a mile to go to the top it was all i could do to keep moving and my right calf was starting to cramp. i was just hoping i would not have to get off and walk. then, finally, the pavement. i got onto it and it felt soooo good to not be going uphill anymore.

i shifted into my big ring and tried to not lose any more positions. i actually reeled in two other guys that had blown up and were just trying to get to the finish. i made the final left hand turn on to the hardball road and got it going as fast as i could. i saw the group of finishers an sat up, zipped up and stuck my fingers to the sky like i had won. i hope somebody got a photo of that...

then i rode a little farther and barfed a bit off the bike but i don't think anyone saw that. the people still lingering at the finish when i got there were morgan, walton, paul, yuri and some of the dfl guys. i was SO glad it was over.

this coming weekend is the road ride. that should be just as much fun i bet.

1 comment:

Jason said...


you're violating one of the team rules! must wear helmet when on bike and in kit.