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Monday, March 19, 2007

i'm such an a-hole sometimes

First the good ~

Bike racing this weekend was pretty hot on the local-yokel scene. For those who didn't swim down to yet another Fresburg trip and do the big-NRC-cashout Visalia races, there were the Sacramento Golden oldies up in the delta.

i love these races.

- - -

Shame call itself out now as I can't really be too specific in tossing out reportage on the races. For example, I watched the juniors criterium at Landpark ... but can't tell you who placed. I'm kind of biased, anyway, because I usually just look for my favorite Disco Junior, Micah Herman and tell him to get his ass off the front.

But, what i can say is that junior riders seem to get faster each time i see them race.

Or for the women's Landpark crit ~ I can tell you that the Bellas were on the offensive the entire race, and riders like loraleen and some tall drink of water in a CRC jersey chased and chased and chased to bring it all together for a field sprint.

I can tell you it was some scandanavian delight who won the field sprint handily, but don't know her name.


I'm a bad reporter.

- - -

And, i'm an a-hole.

It's no wonder guys think I'm on drugs. At Landpark I had my peacock feathers fluffed out and poking the other boys in the eyes. Plain and simple, i wanted to ride 110%. I wanted to suffer and suffer and then pour more suffering on that. The way home from work Friday nite I had seen a hawk carrying a field mouse in it's claws, paralleling me in its flight, proudly showing off the fresh rewards of a late afternoon hunt.

I knew Saturday would be a good day.

But then, on the pre-dawn drive to Zamora for Sunday's road race, a pale feathered owl turned awkwardly across my headlights and i felt a small constriction in the stomach. A foreboding feeling of a strange day to come flooded over me and i just had to shrug and bite down to accept and let it happen as it would.

- - -

Zamora/Bariani is a road race held on exposed, slightly rolling hills northwest of Sacramento. Like any good Belgian affair, this is a race that should be determined by wind. Wind ... that field shattering force that acts as much of a factor in the outcome of races as can long, alpine climbs.

But harder.

Because when you're guttered out in a long line of grimacing riders, pegged at 33mph, riding that sliver, just that sliver of open pavement left for you to survive on ... you're concentrating on more than just pedaling. Your mind has to be on the wheels in front of your wheels ... will that rider blow and open a gap? Will that rider crash and send us all into the fencing a few feet away? When the course turns south, how many riders will get shelled out as the speed goes to 40+mph in the tailwind. Will I be able to close it to that lead group?

But if there is no wind ... than it's just one long criterium.

And that's what this year's Baraini/Zamora road race was. And we Safeway boys only had 4 riders out of a 90+ rider field. But, we banged against it with everything we had. We attacked, we covered moves, we snuck and hammered and kept pushing against the chasers until finally, FINALLY in the last 9 miles a move went away with da'PAB (aka, Jeff 'the glitterboy' Poulsen) in it. It took us an entire race of never giving up, suffering like dogs to finally get a move away.

Because that's how we ride.

The break was not making huge time. Sierra Nevada/Specialized missed it and I think Rozek about single-handedly kept the gap from going above 30 seconds. CalGiant Strawberries put in a big move up one of the rollers that finally snapped the DiscoGeezers into decision mode.

Disco had 10 riders in the race and 3 of the best sprinters in Laberge, Angermann, and Carpenter - but they had Hellman (their TT and climbing specialist) in the break of 8 up the road. When the gap was still only a handful of seconds, I saw Disco's Roemer give the "thumbs up/thumbs down?" question to his teammate Metcalf about whether they liked their chances in the break with Hellman against our BagBoy. They couldn't decide.

But, after the CalGiant assault up over the roller - the DiscoGeezers went into full chase and started to bring back the break. But, they weren't organized. Metcalf did the lion's share, but Roemer, Wiesel, and Anderson didn't gel tight around it and we were able to slot safely into 2nd or 3rd wheel too many times ... throwing off the efficiency of their chase, opening gaps for them to jump around.

As we approached the final KOM point, marking less than a mile to the finish, the Disco chase had brought the break back to a few seconds. It was agonizingly close. The break was tired and struggling up the last short hill. But luckily, the Disco chase died about halfway up the incline and the rest of the field swarmed around them, but stalled a bit as no one team took responsibility to chase hard over the final hundred meters of the climb ... if they had, the break would have been caught.

The slight reprieve after the riser, a short downhill breather, saw the break put in a hail-mary surge that pushed the gap to the field up a few seconds. There was a chance it would survive!

I could see Jeff up in the front, putting in a pull. Then, Morgan Stanley's Oliver dug hard as the final kilometer bit into veins.

In the pack, Disco's Angermann came storming up the right side with his teammate Laberge in tow. I tried to get on his wheel, but Mako's Derdenger had it tight and I had to slot back a couple more riders.

"Shit, this is going to be close."

I pulled out of the draft and rode up to Laberge. I pulled in close to him, just to distract him and mabye get in front of him, if he'd let me. He did. So, now it was Angermann chasing hard, a rider behind him, me, then Laberge.

A few seconds later, I slowly, ever so slowly let the gap open up to the rider in front of me. This was with about 7-800 meters left in the race.

Is it a ruthless tactic? Yes. Is it a shitty tactic? Yes. Would I be pissed if it was done to me? Yes.

I gapped off their sprinter in under a kilometer left of racing. And predictably, he went ballistic. He grabbed my jersey and did his best jersey yank and shove, in the end opening up another few feet of gap for him to cover instead of the bike length if he'd just have jumped around me to begin with.

Yeah, it's not a tactic I would normally use. But, flat out ... we'd suffered too hard for this race and I was playing a devil card. I'd have been pissed if it were done to me, too. (oh, wait ... it's done to me almost all the time in breaks ... hmm).

So anyway, he slots back up to his leadout and I switch over to the Sierra Nevada chase that takes over in the final couple hundred meters before the turn that shoots you down 350m to the finish. SN goes nutz in the chase and I tip my hats off to them for putting it all out on the table. The pack gets to the tailend of the break in the final meters, but Jeff has enough gap to hold it off for another Safeway win. Hardfought. I pulled out of the sprint at 300m to go because I'd been spoiler to the chase and those guys deserved whatever placings they could get for their efforts.

And so, a few minutes after the race, i'm rolling back to the parking lot and here comes Laberge riding up and he grabs my helmet and starts yanking my head back and forth. Now, I know sprinters and I'm already starting to laugh a bit about it with a "well, get it out of your system, Dean" ... but then he rips my head around to face him and yells, "you ever do that again and I will KILL you."

... i flipped.

I have no problem with a guy getting pissed at a tactic. I have no problem with a guy needing to blow some gas and even laying hands on me, if it's not going to endanger other riders.

I understand boy-juice.

But, you say that to me - and you've just crossed the line. So, I wanted it played out right then. And, I'm ashamed of it. I blew my top and wanted it all escalated and stupid. Luckily one of Dean's teammates jumped in and did his best to quell and then a course marshall came over and told us to scat and cool off. I turned and left and was immediately ashamed of blowing such a display of stupid boyjuice.

Ah well ... i did need some more motivation to train harder.

- - -

Luckily, there was still racing to be had and I was able to hear how PROMAN's Tracy Ford won the field sprint in the women's 1/2/3 event. And i was able to watch a fantastic sprint finish for the sold-out women's 4 event, where a mirror'd TriFlow girl hung out a valiant last few pedalstrokes to win it, with a brave Bella Bunny nabbing an absolutely satisfying 4th.

And i even got to chat a bit with the world famous Panda, and hang around Aligato's minty-mobile, and relax in the sun with my girl and my best pal.

so, in the end, the owl only controlled the morning.


'cuz the afternoon belonged to the cute and furry creatures of play.

54 comments:

PROMANgirl said...

If you have pulled the Owl card, you are being asked to use your powers of keen, silent observation to intuit some life situation. Owl is befriending you and aiding you in seeing the total truth. You cannot hear Owl when it flies, but its prey definitely knows when it strikes, for its beak and talons are razor sharp.

Found this, a bit fluffy for a monday am. Don't be so hard on yourself. Sounded like a well crappy moment, shame on you Dean!

jAndy donka-donk said...

Man this masters stuff is getting better and better. Done kill each other off just yet, 4 more years and I get to join in the fun....

You guys are way more interesting than all the "cunts" in the wannabe-pro's races.....

m said...

I noticed the woman who won the sprint in the 4s. Riding a celeste Bianchi Eros with a frame pump and Missing Link water bottle.

Sweet!

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

hawks and owls as portents...

that doesn't sound very eastern.

more western.

like from the people of SD....

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

What a twisted attitude on that Laberge fella. I'da flipped, too. That kind of threat never seems idle to me, and I hope he's ashamed for throwing it around.

I love the Panda cookies! Featured soon on a blog near you…

Panda's gotta remember to preen before mobile bloggertunities.

Velo Bella said...

I saw a dead half eaten bat next to the toaster

and a smooshed opposum only idenfiable by the big ratty tail

I need new omen creatures

Elis said...

Half...eaten...bat?

I'm torn between asking how it could have possibly gotten by the toaster and just sitting here with the shudders. Ack.

Velo Bella said...

the toaster = my Honda Element

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Oh thank god. But still ack.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why such organizations like the disco-geezers would tolerate such behaviour.

... silence is always golden.

Nome Agusta said...

Makes me wonder if my incident wasn't a ripple affect of the pushing and shoving a few bike lengths ahead.

Personally I think we need to all have more respect for when a team is trying to set something up. In other words not bumping someone off a teammates wheel when there is something obviously taking place by design. I got pinched off of Nate's wheel as we were setting up.

Maybe we all just need to have a little more respect for teams working together and play off of it instead of disrupting it.
It might make the game a little safer and more fun for all. It's supposed to be fun, right?

There is assertive riding and there is aggressive riding, how about we strive for the assertive and get rid of the later.

X Bunny said...

the no-glitter list is growing

velogirl said...

mr. chicken levers is picking on miss mirror? or is that a compliment -- she's cool enough not to worry about what folks think. she actually debated about the mirror. she's really only ridden tandem until recently and thought it would make her feel more comfortable so I told her to keep it on. after the race she mentioned that she didn't really use it.

of course, women being women, there were a couple of racers who kept mocking her during the race and told her it was illegal (which it isn't) and that she should drop out.

thanks for taking my bottle.

Chico Cyclist said...

Wow. That's whacked. So, did you end up PABing him???

Velo Bella said...

We all thought that it kicked ass that the mirrored VG won.

Marian's comment of "sweet" above pretty much describes it for us.

I think that the pic is up there makes the compliment obvious. But I sometimes see things too obviously.

Nick said...

"I pulled out of the draft and rode up to Laberge. I pulled in close to him, just to distract him and mabye get in front of him, if he'd let me. He did. So, now it was Angermann chasing hard, a rider behind him, me, then Laberge."

O.K. I'm kind of new to all this but at that point in the race I would have left you out in the wind to fend for yourself, thinking that the thing you discribed just might happen. I am under the impression that while a bit shady, it's a race tatic and you were doing what you needed to do to help insure the best chances for your teammate up the road.

Gee sounds like racing... not dirty racing.

Grabing someones jersey in the heat of battle shows a lack of class and respect,lest you take some guys down with your behavor. I can understand being upset from getting duped but that's no reason to endanger your fellow racers. No exceptions.... most if, if not all of us have to work on Monday....right?

Dirtpickle said...

That's racin..that's why we race..that's the whole point of the fluid chess game. Your tactic was correct, and but you knew he would get pissed. Not life threatening pissed...but pissed non-the-less.

Most teammates don't have the sense to gap off a sprinter when the shit is going down at the end of a race.

The whole jersey yank/ shove is really dangerous as someone could have been really hurt. Their is no excuss for that.

I would have just laced you water bottle with a laxative at the start.

Troy Walters said...

I don't understand what you did wrong. Why would that guy let you in front of him? And, once you got there, what did he expect you to do? Were you supposed to start furiously chasing Jeff? Something doesn't add up.
I can understand his attitude if you tried to ride him into the ditch, but this doesn't make any sense.

Maybe he was more upset with your "blocking" techniques? I've seen a lot of new riders hear that term and decide that this is football and that they are going to protect their leader at all cost. I'm not sure that's what blocking should mean. Disrupting the chase is different from sitting on riders who try to jump the gap. If 4 or 5 riders are chasing, you should have no problem sitting 5th or 6th and jumping on anyone who tries to close the gap alone.
Is this really happening in your races? Could you elaborate on type of things that happen to you "in breaks?"
I realize ya'll aren't in the ProTour but when I watch races on cyling.tv or wherever, I see one team sending 3, 4 riders to the front all the time to chase breakaways. But I never see riders with teams in the move trying to "disrupt" the chase.

velogirl said...

I was assuming the compliment.....there are always lots of critics when we show up with a big team so I guess I'm a little on the defensive still......

;-)

ps -- could I be 20-something again? please? or maybe just have the legs and lungs of a 20-something? these kids are incredible!

banks said...

Holy Shyte! Is this how it went down?

LeBerge (red faced, frothing at the mouth): You ever do that again and I will kill you!

OV (takes a drag from his water bottle then replies in Yosemite Sam voice): Dems fightin' words rabbit.

Chico Cyclist said...

Yeah, and then you have the whole after-race head/helmet assault thing too. Um, isn't that a suspendable offense Casey??

Sorry - that new official's patch is getting in the way of my common sense.

McSassy said...

Olaf my friend

I would have done both.

I'd have gapped the bitch and blown my top if he layed his paws on me.

And I'm damn near the nicest guy in the peloton!!!!

I mean its not like you hooked him as he did to me last year @ tuolumne.

MS

Chris said...

...bike rasahz is gangsta!

Grey said...

It sounds to me like Dean was mad at himself for letting you in and turned that anger on you. Dean's been racing bikes since he was a kid and is way too experienced to casually let you into his lead-out. If the situation was as you describe (and of course it would be interesting to read an account from Dean) he only has himself to blame. It's just my opinion but dropping off of a wheel isn't a dirty tactic. Using your head to make your rivals work harder is what makes bike racing interesting. Why would he let you in after you've been blocking all day? He should know the score there.

I raced with Dean at NVV for two years and he was always a class act. Very competitive, and the kind of guy who gains respect because he led by example--i.e. trained and raced harder, and smiled more while doing it, than most everyone else. He probably just lost his cool.

Great account of the race.

Velojuice said...

Geezer smack talk is sweet, geezer WWF priceless Nice job this weekend OV

m said...

Dropping something along the lines of: "Don't hate the player, hate the game 'cuz players gotta play!" probably woulda stunned him.

Not that I can come up with the smart remarks in the moment...

nosajpalnud said...

damn - missed some good frickin' racing this weekend

Ippoc Amic said...

peacocks are so cool especially since when they win...and I mistakenly thought our single speed world champ had one on her leg(peacock) but it was single speed logo...

Anonymous said...

Michael didn't risk the safety of the other racers, he didn't cheat, he wasn't unsportsmanlike. He was racing tactically to protect his teammate, and Dean made a tactical error letting him in.

Dean, on the other hand, committed a criminal act against Michael. Twice. Along with putting the rest of the field in danger. He should be dealt with swiftly and harshly. He was lucky a police officer didn't see what he did.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

it's just boy juice.

Dean's a good guy, and it's not like he'd have done anything like that if his kids were around.

I have to disagree ... my tactics were a bit crap. I let a gap open up within a K to go while the chase was ultra hot to my teammate.

yeah, it's not against the rules ... but, yeah it's also bad form.

but, in the same situation. i'd do it again.

because we were outgunned and had bled hard for that race.

Dean was just blowing off steam, and like i said, i can appreciate that. He's a national caliber crit sprinter because he rides that kind of passion to the line. But, he crossed the line when he said that to me. But, i was a complete jerkwad in how I escalated the situation by doing my own verbal flipout ... and I'm ashamed of that and wish I hadn't done it.

but ... i'm still gonna ride his ass of my wheel every chance i get ;).

Dr. X said...

At least the shoes weren't coming off...

Chico Cyclist said...

That's the spirit!

X Bunny said...

i disagree too

your tactic was well-played and while you may think it was crappy, it was what the team needed of you and it put no one at risk

and if dean couldn't figure out that you would do that....did he think you were going to tow him to the line?

and what he did was unacceptable

i don't care what flies out of mouths when the juices flow

but you don't grab, shove, punch, push or otherwise use your hands on someone during the race putting other races at risk

we all got people to go home to

he's just lucky i didn't see it

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

and i disagree that it was a crap move.

and i would have done it in a heartbeat.

and i was there when Dean hooked Sasser.

and this is absolute bullshit about not disrupting a team trying to organize something. You know how often people try to take me off of the wheel of a teammate leading me out? It is part of the game--as long as it is done legally.

and i have a temper too and i lose my cool sometimes.

but i don't do dangerous stuff during a race, i don't put hands on people, and i don't make threats.

Dean was way out of line.

and Hernando is the best teammate a guy could ever have.

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

and i need more girl scout cookies.

Velo Bella said...

Now, you know I will tell you when there's a "honey, I wish you wouldn't have done/said xx"

this wasn't one of those times

sometimes people need it spelled out for them very clearly

that they have crossed the line

I am glad I did not see it as there is a very distinct limit to my otherwise generous patience and tolerance.

and I think I am still pissed about it

Tony Rocha said...

Didn't see it, only read about it so...

But, from the sounds of it, you didn't do anything wrong per the rules. Laberge was probably upset for letting you pull such a prank on him and it got the best of him.

Like PAB, I'm not buying the bad form card either; you did what it took to help get the win for your team, within the rules.

I admire you for rationalizing Laberge's comments as being said in the "heat of battle", you are obviously a nice guy and have a great attitude.

At least it didn't look like this , cause scrawny guys fighting is silly.

And what's wrong with the frame pump and mirror. Hell, if you can win with that stuff, next week I recommend the addition of a large saddle bag or would that be showing off?

Brent Chapman said...

Threats like that are for street thugs. LeBerge can get over himself.

Congrats to Jeff on an Excellent move and holding it to the line.

Watching you two this weekend makes my desire to race the skinny wheels on blacktop come back to life.

Erik the angry said...

Michael.

I apologize for Dean's behavior. I did not hear the first portion of the exchange, but what you describe is inexcusable.

His version of events is slightly different than what you relate, but regardless of what happened, he let his anger / frustration get the better of him. I'm shocked that he used those words.

I hate to be in the position of reconciling a teammate with a friend, but please understand that I will do my best to dissipate any residual tension between you two. I'm also remiss to say that yesterday's episode was not precedent-settting in terms of my experience in defusing conflagrations... and I think you know who I'm referring to (SF).

It's just geezer racin', and we need to invoke the words of Rodney King more often.

We should all have done a warm-down over to R.H. Phillips for a few glasses of wine. If you haven't been there already, check it out next year! Beautiful place.

See you soon, and congrats on a fantastic weekend of racing! You, Jeff, Ron, Mike and Pat should be proud of yourselves.

Jeff

casey said...

Chico Cyclist - Yes sounds like a bunch of rule book violations from dean's end.

108 Pushing or Pulling possible relegation or DQ

105 (c) Assault or battery - DQ form current event, can't ride another event for 72 hours and suspension for up to 1 year after due process

105 (a) no rider may be disrespectful... Warning for minor offense possible relegation and or up to a $50 fine

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

bah, it's just bike racing.

and we all have our skin in tact, families to return to, and jobs still paying the bills.


oh ... better get back to that part.

- - -

angrymann and nolan on the same team ... it's like a crepe suzette of classy sugah cyclin' mancake.

- - -

i, on the otherhand, am all dirty trash trailer pot pie.

but i do smile perty through the decay.

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

i must say that i am VERY curious to hear Dean's account of events during the race.

ever since I heard about what happened between him and olaf, i have been wondering what was going on in Dean's head to make him go off like that. Because it WAS out of character for him, at least in my experience with the guy.

Still, there is no excuse for getting physical or making threats.

And I agree, Jeff A is as good as they come, Larry too. I have tons of respect for the AMD guys.

veloandvino said...

Zamora..I thought it was a flat boring race with no wind..little did I know there would be so much wind blowing..
I opted for a long solo cruz to the coast and eureka while my girl was winning her first ever RR! (I suck)

After seeing the high stakes with winning masters races as of late with AMD and Baggers it was only a matter of time before egos, pride, and titans clashed. I'm so sure that this was an isolated incident.

I've been in a hip slinging jersey grabbin contest with Dean before then it was off to the parking lot for a hug. You both are great guys & have tons of skills and next week it will be water under the bridge. A man hug is needed:) Not hearing rules from the rule book.

Hutch

McSassy said...

Hutch you said "man hug"

I like it!

I do have to go back and say while DL has pushed me around a bit (He probly thinks I'm in his way and who knows I might be) in the past he has never even said a mean word to me so I was shocked to read the "I'll kill you"

He has to use his bag of tricks and we skinny non-sprinter types use ours.

Good job, but you still gotta speak up when the time is time.

MS

Anonymous said...

I think that the tactics employed would frustrate all of us. Dean is a very good role model and safe racer. He blew his top, he made a mistake. no big deal. Give him a break. You know how many races this guy has done AND been in the mix where tempers are flairing. and how many of these experiences have you heard about? Not many.

The later comments (after the race) are questionable, but I can say from experience that Hernando is very good at making people "passionate".

Both Hernando and Dean are class acts, but they are very human. I am sure they will both learn from the experience. We all blow our tops.

Race Safe,
steve r

Anonymous said...

I'll chime in on a couple of things. First, if I'm 5th wheel in the group and the guy in front of me has a guy up the road, I'm going to expect him to open a gap. If it was done "slowly" as you decribe, the guy behind you has a chance to come around and get on the wheel in front of you. Now, opening a gap somewhat quickly would be uncool.

Second, the mirror was so money! We were thinking she needed to make a little "gotcha" gesture in the mirror to the 2nd place rider. Seriously, though, that Women's 4 race was pretty darn cool.

Chico Cyclist said...

Yeah, I think Hutch is right. You guys should sit down, have a Pale Ale together, then do the man-hug thing. I'll even buy the Pale Ale, seein's how the SN Brewery's in the backyard here.

Hans said...

Dang, all the fun was at the end and I missed it. That dumb crash at the bottom of the "hill" sure put a damper on my race. At least I got a good workout doing a time trial chasing after the pack.

Wild Dingo said...

I don't know, any threat with the word "kill," no matter what the circumstance, i deem very grave. I shiver reading this story. Its a very sad day when a silly little sport produces such behavior. you probably can attest to this, but there are more of "us" (have fun, be safe, do no harm to others) than "them" (psychos who have no other identity beyond their weekend race ego and would rather hurt someone than lose) in this sport? right? please tell me it is so, or I'll likely never return to racing. :(

Anonymous said...

jAndy donka-donk said...

Man this masters stuff is getting better and better. Done kill each other off just yet, 4 more years and I get to join in the fun....

You guys are way more interesting than all the "cunts" in the wannabe-pro's races.....

Jandy- consider yourself one of these "cunts"-from someone who has been around long enough.

I'll agree with the above comments about Dean. He's just frustrated that he allowed Mike that spot in front of him when it was crunch time. He should've known better. That and he doesn't win as often as he used to...

jAndy donka-donk said...

thanks...

when I have "been around long enough" can I been cool like you?

BTW, when you are bored you can dig around this blog for the Dinuba crit post and edumacate yourself yourself....

Anonymous said...

Fucking Geezer Juice and Drama squirting everywhere. I have heard the "kill" (or something similar) word come out of people on this post. I think 99.9999999% of the time it is used figuratively out of anger. But it is ussually not "broadcasted" to half of the cycling community.

Does not make it right, but get over it.

Hypocrits, angels and sheep all over this site!!!

At least Dean did not spit on him...

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

hmm...

i believe i took responsibility and highlighted my mistakes in this silly little affair. probably a good half-dozen times.

believe all involved have 'got over it' - been more than me who have said it was just heat of moment stuff and then DeanO is a decent guy.


... but, thanks for the reminder little one!

Velo Bella said...

and it appears as if geezer juice has officially entered common vernacular

so thats nice