Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Video of the Crash

It's shot from pretty far away, so you can't see much detail. If you look closely (very closely) when the announcer says his 2nd "Head's up", you can see me hit the barrier and sort of bounce back...almost like a flop.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Details on the crash

This is the best picture I could find so far, but will post more as I find them...that's me somewhere on the right side of the picture.

Congrats to Matt Smith of Trek/Vitamin Water for the win.

This was a 40-mile Criterium and I was feeling great. Played a bunch at the front and then settled back into the pack to rest up a bit for the finish...I knew it was going to come down to a sprint finish and was licking my chops for it.

So here it is, final lap and I'm sitting top 10 (should have been up a bit further). We came out of the final turn and had a long grind to the line. My sprint was great, I was starting to gobble up positions and would have been in the top 5 or 6 at the end.........

Then two guys tangled in the center of the road up ahead of me (probably about 2nd/3rd), they went down and slid to the left. I tried to avoid it, but it was all very fast and I had to lock up the brakes. The rest is a bit of a flash, but I think I skidded out sideways (rear to the left) and then my tires gripped and flung me hard to the left and I superman'd into the metal barriers. I barely missed the barrier with my head (though, I did crack the helmet) and took the brunt of the impact on my left collarbone. Sort of bounced back out and got nailed by a rider from behind.

I felt ok...tossed the helmet out of anger and then felt my collar bone with my hand...it was crazy swollen (softball) and a medic looked at me and said "broken collar bone". The spectators had some interesting looks of shock as they peered over the (well moved) barrier. They put me in a neck brace and strapped me to a board, gave me a 2 min ride in the ambulance to the ER. I spent about 5 hours there. X-rays showed no break/fracture (SWEET!), but there was a small puncture on the top of my collar bone area (the fleshy part between the two bones. They were afraid that whatever punctured me was deep enough to hit my subclavian vein (see pic below), so they prepped me for a Cat Scan. Luckily, the cat scan showed no leakage, so the finally said it was just a large hematoma.
I'm extremely stiff/sore. My bruising has spread across most of my chest. The swelling has come down a bunch. I'm just happy that nothing is broken and I'll be able to get back on the bike as soon as it's comfortable to be on the bike...as of right now, I don't think I could even handle riding across a sidewalk crack, so it will be a bit, but not as long as it would if I had broken or fractured anything.

Big thanks goes out to Jason Mindeman (Trek/Vitamin Water). He drove me up to the race and stuck around the hospital for the 5 hours I was laid up there. He took my cell phone out to the waiting room and made the necessary calls to inform my family and friends. All this while starving and dehydrated from the race (at least I had an IV drip to rehydrate myself!). Once released, a much needed stop at Culver's took place.

Also, some familiar faces from the Nor-Cal scene (Russ and Greg White) popped in to see how I was doing. Those visits and all the text messages and calls were great. Thanks everyone.

Bodies heal, bikes don't...and my bike looks untouched! :-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Today didn't go so well

Crash just before the finish. I think I did some kind of Superman flying move into the metal barriers. No broken bones though. Haven't checked out the bike yet, but looks ok...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tour de Midwest

Here I am sitting in my parents living room, stealing some neighbor's unlocked WiFi connection...yeah, the p's are running dial-up. Thank you neighbor.

I'm happy to be home, it's nice to just chill out in the house I grew up in. My mom's 60th birthday is this weekend, which is the main reason for my trip...I'm just happy she was born in the same time-frame as Superweek and the Chicago Criterium!

So tonight, after dinner, I'm hopping on the train from Naperville to Chicago to go crash on my old teammate (and college buddy) Eric's couch. We'll be hitting up two Superweek races together (the Racine and Kenosha Criteriums). If you are not familiar with Superweek, here's a quick (kind of comical) blurb I found on the event site:

The Point Premium Root Beer International Cycling Classic is world-class bicycle racing where you can enjoy entertainment that is exciting, easy, and FREE! The races are held on city streets or rural roads so there are plenty of good seats. You can stand inches away from the racers along the barriers near the announcer's stage and the Start/Finish line or bring a few lawn chairs or a picnic blanket and find a comfortable spot elsewhere on the course. Most of the race courses are less than a mile long, so the racers will pass by your location every couple minutes.

Once the race begins you'll see speed, LOTS of speed. In fact, you might be surprised by how many similarities there are between our races and stock car racing! You'll feel the rush of air when the riders pass by and see drafting, jostling, and even the occasional pileup. You'll even hear some of the same terminology.

In addition to the races, you can often enjoy live music, children's races, food, and other activities. However, the excitement during the races never lets up. Our race announcers will keep you informed as the race unfolds and there are many mid-race prizes, so when you hear a bell ring watch for the sprint! After the race is over, come over to the stage to see the awards presentations and get an autograph or two!

Here's my definition: 17 straight days of bike racing in Wisconsin and Chicago.

The Superweek Crits will be a good time. They are longer a normal Criterium at 40 and 45 miles (normal Category 3 Crits hover around 20-25 miles), so that should make things interesting for me...I've been concentrating all of my training around a 50 minute race, these will be about double....

My sister is throwing a 60th B-day party for my mom on Saturday, so I'll be taking a train out to the burbs, party and then train it back to the city to prepare for the Chicago Crit on Sunday morning. Flying back to SF on Monday evening.

The Chicago Crit will be a blast...the city is doing it up right, with jumbotrons and all (not sure if those will be up and running for us amateurs, but they will definitely make watching the Pro race a lot better. Also, the Cat 3 field limit is set at 200!!! Seriously.

So here are the course maps:
Racine, WI

Kenosha, WI

Chicago Criterium

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight

Watch it. Watch it in the IMAX format.


I found it funny to see Chicago as Gotham. "Road's blocked, we're going to have to take 'Lower 5th'" (um, don't you mean Lower Wacker?). Was good to see my old city and makes me more excited for my week back home, which is less than one week away.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lafayette Criterium

Teammates: Dino, Aaron, Carmi
Place: 3rd

Aaron was our first guy in a break...that stayed out for a bit and then it might have been Carmi in the 2nd break...caught. Dino went for a prime with a big attack up the left side of the main straight, he got it and essentially initiated the biggest break of the day. Dino and about 6 others? stayed out for about 15 minutes. Once that was caught Carmi went solo for about 3 laps (his attack was big...he instantly had a 20 second gap - it was impressive) I spent most of the day riding 2nd wheel while a teammate was off in a breakaway.

We were all back together with 5 to go...3 to go and I moved up to sit in the top 10 on Aaron's wheel. Our sprint plan was for Aaron to lead me out to around 200 meters and then me to take over from there. It worked. With about 2 to go, we were in perfect position. 1 to go and Aaron was about 3rd or 4th wheel coming into/out of the final turn. He rocked the sprint and when we hit the 200 I jumped around him and snatched up a spot or two just barely squeaking in for 3rd place.

It was a good day for Active Athlete / Squadra Ovest. Lloyd pulled off a 4th place finish in the Category 4 race at Lafayette. Up in Petaluma, CA, Phil took 5th and Murat 7th in the Elite 3 Spring Hill Road Race.

(just realized I wrote this up and never hit the "Publish Post" button)

Gangsta Rap

We had a Gangsta Rap Party on Saturday night and set up the Photo Booth in one room to see what we could get...

Here's the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mari1ee/sets/72157606145373317/

Me and the roomies (Shawna, Gosia & Stephanie)

Coyote Creek Circuit Race

I'll share the race report from our internal team site for this one...it's a classic.

(Click on it to zoom)

Explanation: Dino was driving, so that's the text I sent from his phone to another teammate that asked how the race went. Love it!

Here's the Garmin data I captured up until the flat tire.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Race Schedule

Up next for me and some of my gang:

7/12 - Coyote Creek Circuit Race
7/13 - Lafayette Criterium
7/19 - Watsonville Criterium
7/20 - Berkeley Criterium
7/24 - Superweek: Racine Criterium
7/25 - Superweek: Chase Food Folks & Spokes Criterium
7/27 - Chicago Criterium
8/3 - Timpani Criterium
8/9 - Carrera de San Rafael
8/16 - Dunnigan Hills Road Race (maybe?)
8/17 - Suison Harbor Criterium
Bunch of Road Races (Cal-Cup)...all "maybe's" (My team will talk me into these...uggh)
9/1 - Giro di San Francisco
9/6 - Benicia Criterium
9/13 - Mt. Tam Hill Climb (maybe)
9/20 - Henleyville Road Race
9/21 - Chico Downtown Criterium

With over 20 races already in the legs this is looking like a LOOOOONG season. I can't wait to decompress!..........and then start base-miles...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Davis 4th of July Criterium

Teammates: Dino & Gabe
Category: 3
Temp: High 80's if not 90's
Place: 2nd

The course was similar to the Burlingame Crit, but opposite direction...5 left turns and 1 right (Somewhat L-shaped). It was in the heart of downtown Davis (UC Davis) and therefore brought out a large amount of spectators, which brings the excitement and energy level up a few notches.

Our plan was simple...there were only 3 of us and we're all sprinters, so we all decided to sit in and only play with breakaways if they looked super promising. The plan worked. I went for the second prime and just missed it by inches...I felt great with the sprint and realized that I had enough juice to begin my sprint before the final turn...this was great to know and I used it in the end...

With about 2 to go we (the peloton) let one guy sneak off solo. The pace picked up and I sat about 4th wheel, with Dino on mine...we were looking good for the finish...gaining on the solo rider while conserving ourselves for the finish. As we pulled through the start/finish line with 1 to go, I found myself on the front and just did a bit of soft-pedaling (without really slowing too much) until the swarm began. I pushed hard to not get swarmed and was suddenly sitting perfectly in 3rd wheel...behind a two-man leadout. About 1/2 way through the final turn I heard the big crash behind me... The leadout man kept it nice and fast so that we did not get swarmed and I began to sprint just before the final turn. While we did not catch the solo rider, we came very close to it and it was a photo finish for 2nd place. I got it by inches!

Unfortunately, Dino and Gabe did not make it to the end. Gabe went down hard in that crash and Dino also got a bit banged up... It really sucked because Dino was in great position to have my sprint be his leadout...we could have stacked the top spots. Both Gabe and Dino were ok though, minus a few broken bike parts and some road rash.

Only me and one other guy showed up for the podium shot, so here's the makeshift podium for 2nd and 3rd place...ha!

Even better...This was the 2nd Active Athlete / Squadra Ovest podium of the day...We tore up the Category 4 race earlier in the day...the guys swept up a bunch of primes and then Anthony solo'd for the win! Congrats to our 4's.


Burlingame Criterium

Teammates: Dino, Gabe, Murat, Me
Place: 6th
40 minute race? maybe 45?

The run-down:

Typical Cat 3 race start...few guys attack and back, attack and back. I was able to get out in a break of 3 just before they put up the 10 to go cards. One of the guys was strong and the other was skipping his turns. My mates controlled the front of the pack. A couple guys bridged up...it was funny...all of a sudden there were guys behind me yelling at each other "pull through"...."I just got here..." Good stuff...

Back in the pack with 5 to go...wasted effort, but at least the sponsors got some TV time...riiiight...

3 to go and Russell White did his signature move (attack with 3 to go). A couple guys went with and they had a decent gap. I was near the front...Dino busted around and pulled them back within the final lap. I should have grabbed Dino's wheel because he chased his ass off for most of the final lap (I would have been in great position behind him going into the final "turns")...instead I settled in about 5th. Once Dino slowed up, so did everyone...putting me deeper in the mix. I think I came out of the final curve at about 7th/8th and was able to get up to 6th.

me - 6th
Gabe - 13th
Dino - 14th
Murat - 55th

Napa Criterium

Catching up on this blog...here's the report I did for our internal team forum...

The day in reverse.

7pm+: Richmond --> Berkeley --> Richmond. Blasting Social Distortion from Aaron's 64 Malibu SS to pick up a Chicago style pizza from Zachary's.

4pm: Parking lot in Napa. Drinking beers under the tent while watching the P/1/2 race. Lombardi guy killed it solo.

3pm: Same spot, same beers. Heckling the Women's P/1/2.

2pm: Dino and I wondering the streets of Napa in 90 in search of beer. Almost died of heat exhaustion and thirst.

1pm: 99 degrees. Cat 3 race was on. Dino, Aaron, Gabe, Chris and me. Plan was to get Aaron in a break and then Chris if Aaron's got caught. Coach Jan appeared on the sidelines during our race and was barking orders. Aaron got in a group of about 5 that was off the front. Jan told me to bridge and I did. He then sent Chris up too. We stayed away for about 15 laps, while Gabe and Dino controlled the main group. Announcer was all over us, talking about how we were executing great team tactics. The break was just a bit lazy and eventually died. One guy got away with 3 to go and held it to the line. Aaron took 8th, me 10th, Dino 12th and the rest of us just behind.

9:40am" 90some degrees. Masters 3/4. Dino, Aaron, Eric C. I sat at crash corner and watched the carnage...thinking "Do I really want to race today?" All three of our guys got caught behind a crash. Dino was able to pull Aaron back to the main group, but Clauss (on his race #2 of the day) didn't make that move and pulled out. I believe Aaron was top 10 (7th?) and Dino just behind at 12th. Aaron also snatched up a prime. Both saying that this short course was hell and they weren't sure if they had anything left for the cat 3 race.

8am: We arrived towards the end of the Cat 4 race...last 7 laps and saw 7 crashes (one per lap). Eric and Matthew were looking good and riding strong. I forget, but pretty sure Matthew got 7th? Eric?

One hell of a course. 1/2 mile total. 6 turns and one curve. Turn 6 was off-camber and about 160 degrees (this is where the most crashes took place). It was a very tough course...basically 1 minute laps that included two short 30mph straights and a 3 mph section (guessing). But it was fun.