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Monday, March 05, 2007

need more time

some stuff seen this weekend:

  1. The rise of a new star in women's cycling. Brooke Miller's huge form may sway a bit in the coming months, or it may not. She may improve, or she may not ... but nobody, NOBODY can take away two of the more dominating NRC performances in recent memory.

    Taking both the Merco/McLane NRC openers?

    That is HUGE.

    This woman is patient, cagey, powerful, and hungry. And when we heard her up there on the podium being interviewed, thanking her team and showing respect to her competitors and the organizers ...

    consumate pro.

  2. BJM single-handedly shredded that field sprint in the crit. Yeah, Toyota-United did a hard bit of work to bring back the dangerous 3-rider breakaway. But, on that final lap, it was all BJM ripping the legs off an entire field.

    unfortunately, he had no sprinter behind him. ... DOH! Dominguez gets another big win.

  3. Crashes ~ the Merco Crit has crashes ... period. It's early season and riders pedal above their heads, make poor decisions, and pay for them. That crit is unforgiving. I think the only race during the day that didn't have riders go down was the W3/4.

    The crit is unforgiving, but the road race is just evil. The injuries sustained in the RR are more impact than slide ... and those are the ones that do lasting damage. There was a nasty one in the Women's p1/2 race that happened right in front of us.

    I had broken my chain in the RR while attacking up a little roller.

    stupidity notification: with 4 laps to go in the crit I dropped my chain while pushing through a bumpy corner too hard. It jangled around and must have bit under my tire or something. I had to do the reach down and finger that fukker back in drive-train ready ... but then, never checked it afterwards. ... idiot. I had kinked one of the links and it was only a matter of time before it snapped in the RR.

    Anyway, me and teammate Tony Reid (who had blown out a tire) were standing around basking in the perfect sun and whispering breezes, when up rolled the Women's field. We watched as they crested one small roller and then made their way through the dip to another when their crash occurred. A Tipco rider had overlapped wheels on the far edge of the road ... you could see her fighting to keep it up as she struggled with her body falling left and her wheel traveling right.

    She went down rough and i thought for sure she would be injured more than she ended up, but ... as in most crashes, it's those caught in the aftermath that get the worst of it. Touchstone's Borowski went down hard. It was one of those immediate, "no chance in hell" crashes that drops you right on the asphalt before you can even try and prepare yourself. Broken clavicle. Poor kid. I have to admit, it was pretty scary seeing her face down on the road in those moments after the crash. But, she's so f'ing hardcore, she got herself up and sat out the long, long wait for the medics to come and drive her to hospital ... even cracking jokes during the painful delay. I was impressed.

    There was a very cool nurse from, i believe, the wine country ... who had a size-able gash across her knee. She was waaay tougher than me, though, and just kind of sat there and shrugged her shoulders with a, "bah, i've seen worse." Another rider that was pulled into it had a leg injury that seemed more skeletal than tissue. Total bummer.

    The Merco/McLane races ... hmm, i'm going to have to think about if i'll be attending those next year ... just too many crashes and ... if they can't afford to make the RR's 2 waves, then i for sure won't be there. Those many hundreds of racers all out on the course at the same time is just too much asking for trouble.

    i won't do that again.

  4. In and Out Burger ... it's not Kobe, but christ-on-a-stick that sho'nuff hit the spot after the long weekend in the sun.

    Gorgeous CalyFornYah weather this weekend. And, despite all the crashes and a few bad decisions by some, there were many beautiful exploits out there. Tremendous racing that I want to scribble-crazy about.

    if only i had more time.

    more time!


diskzero said...

I saw you and Tony hanging out on the side of the road as our 3's megapack rolled by. I wondered what was up. Then I saw the ambulance loading up the injured rider from the woman's race. Our pack then made the left turn and there was a crash taking down about six rides, destroying a couple of bike, but amazingly the riders seemed ok.

This race may go onto my do not attend list as well. There were about a thousand hairball moments and I watched one rider physically shove an AMD junior to the side so he could chase down a doomed break. Lame.

That In-and-Out burger became my friend last year during the million or so commutes to the central valley. I think the milkshake is a good recovery drink. You can ask for a large!

Nick said...

Good to see you Mike, sorry to hear about the chain thingy.

What a crash-fest. I just don't get it. I really like these races and all the crashes (3 right in front of me in the crit) it plain stupid.

I feel bad for all those banged up, I hope you friend was ok. Catch you for a rec. beer next time ;)

Anonymous said...

Yeh, Brooke's progress is amazing. I raced collegiate with her and BJM. They have both come a looong way.

Those races were scary. I am losing my nerve with age and sat up in both sprints.

Seeing people down for multiple laps, multiple times in a crit. does not motivate me. That made me really edgy for the road race too.

Bottom line - the race courses are not selective enough for the field sizes, because there are not enough racers who want to make the race. I guess everyone thinks they are sprinters and they wait. Then they all try to fit near the front at the same time.

Nothing gets me going more than seeing people losing skin and equipment over bonehead, pointless and fruitless moves.

Steve R.

nosajpalnud said...

broken chain - yikes

Was wondering what was happening. Saw you and Martin on the front after my feeble attack was reeled. Told Fbanks you were there and he said nah that was you on the side of the road. Shit that all happened in like 30 seconds.

And yeah that finish was absoultely fuckin' nuts. I saw how fast we were gainin' on that women's group and it looked like we would catch in the last 1K or so. I disagree with Nome's assessment on catching well before 5K - we were flyin but not that fast. My guess is they should have neutralized the women far earlier like at the beginning of the long back stretch or neutralized us 20 miles out. Based on speeds we were carrying it would have been pretty easy to calculate. I think we averaged around 25.5 or so.

diskzero said...

Oh, here is another tidbit of insanity from the 3's field. First, no one would neutralize to let the ambulance by. Then, when it fianlly squeezed past the pack, a bunch of guys jumped on it and drafted it up the road. Classy.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...


Velo Bella said...

Our 3/4 race was full of neutralizations as it was. Probably about 5 of them.

Neutralizing us yet again is not the answer. So many neutralizations just kills our race. Its really no fun. Its not a race for us when that happens over and over.

The only answer is to either limit the number of fields racing or to have an afternoon session.

Anonymous said...

Afternoon session does sound like the best solution with reduced field sizes or split

McSassy said...

I'm just glad its over.

I was scared shitless this weekend and thats not something I would normally attest to.

It was stupid and I'm stupid for doing the 2's race on Saturday. What was I thinkin?

But its all over now and I feel good. Got a bit of cash out of the dealeo also so Mamma gets to go shopping, she's happy about that.......I just wanted to buy beer.


Ippoc Amic said...

olaf is so cool...when the ambulance arrived, he told Holly not worry about her bike and then he rode her bike back to the s/f while carrying his own...classy...

casey said...

" First, no one would neutralize to let the ambulance by. Then, when it fianlly squeezed past the pack,"

How many courses have we lost over time because of this exact same behavior from riders? I know it is at least 6 courses lost because of this exact same thing. Why is it that people in a race think their meaningless placing in a meaningless race is more important that someone with a medical condition that requires an ambulance

Anonymous said...


Olaf Vanderhoot said...

i heard something early on in sports ... but it took a long time to sink in ~

"just because you're fast,
doesn't mean you can be an asshole."

... it's hard not to go all Hobbesian and decry the idiocy of us all.

it's needed, but it's not the answer.

The answer is better education and better enforcement.

We really need to better educate our bike riders/officials/and promoters on what should be done in neutralizations, for both medical and overlapping race fields.

... we've gotta figure out a way to do this.

casey said...

Anyone who has a driver's license is suppose to know that if an emergency vehicle comes up behind you with their lights and siren on you are suppose to pull over to the side of the road and stop. Just because you are wearing a number on your side doesn't give you the right to ignore this basic fact of life. This is basic common sense that shouldn't require education. Not letting an ambulance by has been a problem even at races where the riders are told at the start of the event about this very situation.

Guess I can start the education process here though and point out USCF rule 3B2 rules of the road. Riders shall of their own responsibility, conform to all the traffic regulations in force in the area where the race is held.

Steven Woo said...

The Tibco rider (Yukie) is OK (mostly).
In and Out is my favorite post race food, too!

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

the crit seemed less dangerous to me than previous editions. getting rid of that inflatable arch thing that norrowed down that one turn was a huge improvement.

I wouldn't mind seeing a 100 rider field limit for non-pros instead of 120, though.

The RR: Without wind, that race course is just not selective enough, at least at the distances that the races were being run. One possible solution was brought up by someone yesterday: Increase the distances of most of the races by one lap. Then, if on raceday the conditions are going to make for a harder race (ie wind and/or rain), shorten them back to what was run yesterday....

I imagine this opens up more logistical problems. I imagine that running two flights of races would too. But something should be done.

The organizers of this race have shown that they learn and adapt from year to year (let's hear it for the increased # of port-o-potties in the feed zone!). i suspect that they will take comments and suggestions to heart.

Lastly, I need to point out one major shortcoming yesterday--the women 3-4 had no lead (or folllow, i believe) vehicles. I don't know if having one would have prevented the situation at the finish of their/our (M35+1,2,3) races, but it sure couldn't have hurt.

I really think that situation was handled very poorly....

boots said...

The women 3/4 field had a follow vehicle or two, at least when I blasted by them on my failed effort to escape the 1,786 Cat 2s in our field. The moto ref came up from behind me, and properly neutralized them off to the right.

And apparently 1,781 of the Cat 2s thought of themselves as "field sprinters" and were willing to risk that stupid finish instead of making the race harder and thinning out the field a bit, or making better efforts to get away.

poor teamwork, poor sportsmanship, and a total lack of confidence. An entire field of one-trick ponies. Stupid.

PROMANgirl said...

PROMAN suffered in the crit - with 3 laps to go, crash 2 turns before finish took out niki and kate, 1 lap to go rider crashed in front of shelley forcing her to superman onto her chin and chest, Kristin on her wheel also went down. Shelley went to hospital but a bit of glue and some pain medication sorted her out, she returned to race to a 5th place in the road race. i now have two grapefruits instead of knee caps and a crumpled Orbea. Perhaps i will skip this race next year!

Anonymous said...

"just because you're fast,
doesn't mean you can be an asshole."

What if you are clairvoyant?

X Bunny said...

the women's 3/4 field had no official vehicle at all--a motor from who knows where would come up and neutralize us when a group would need to pass and then go away and no one told us that the masters were even coming at all

diskzero said...


My thoughts exactly on the road race. If the 3s race was 50 miles longer, it would have been interesting. Some guys were tailing off, but another lap or two would have done a lot more in.

X Bunny said...

or if the masters race was longer, at least they wouldn't have been sprinting at the same time as us and it would have been easier to figure out who needed to be neutralized...

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

"Just because you are wearing a number on your side doesn't give you the right to ignore this basic fact of life. This is basic common sense that shouldn't require education."

... Casey, this world has no place for rational thought.

Velo Bella said...

We did not have our own moto. We sometimes had a follow vehicle. Our follow vehicle left us at about 5K to go to take care of some riders.

The moto ref from the overtaking field usually came up on us to do the neutralizing. One moto for the Pro men almost crashed us all out when he swooped into our path and we all had to come to a screeching halt behind him. Never did figure that out.

Almost 1/3 of our second lap was spent neutralized.

Boots must be the CVC rider that came blasting through ahead of the twos.

I don't think any of us had any idea that the masters 1/2/3 were hot on our tails. I didn't even know until after the finish.

I still had a blast racing.

Nick said...

casey said...
"Anyone who has a driver's license is suppose to know that if an emergency vehicle comes up behind you with their lights and siren on you are suppose to pull over to the side of the road and stop"

So true. I have to say this was a question I and others were asking when the ambulance went by with no sirens or lights going at all.

Only the lead moto was honking his horn and it sounded like a bad car alarm going off or something. It was really hard to hear that horn. I don't belive that people were ignoring it on purpose. Emergency vehicles do have lights/horns/ etc.. and if it's an emergncy they should probley use em'.....

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

and hey ... let's give props to Doug F. and all those people making Merco/McLane happen.

focusing on the bad aspects of an otherwise fabulous weekend of bike racing robs us of what they gave.

... beautiful weather, tremendous effort by the promoters to make a festive atmosphere, and hard racing.

~ hundreds of small moments of glory and effort and class.

brought to us by those who dedicate weeks and weeks into putting on the races.

... s'pose i should sent out an email to them in thanks.

Nome Agusta said...

I think OV covered everything with the simple statement of too many fields on course at one time.

That would solve a lot and many of the other problems are nothing more than symptoms of the first.

Velo Bella said...

And Big Bad Bubba's bbq

and the bouncy houses and kids whacking each other with those padded sticks

And that band that kept playing the same 3 songs

And Tommy Simpson on the mic making sure he acknowledged as many local teams as he could

And the entry bag full of candy and apples

and lots of port a potties

and putting Elis in 2nd place!

Benjaminiac said...

thanks for the shout OV, yeah i was doing the leadout with vogels and Ivan on my wheel and until that last lap crash my sprinter, emile, was on ivan's wheel. seemed like the right thing to do, and the crash didn't happen til i was already on the front.

Ippoc Amic said...

marscat gave her candy to a little boy and girl...i kept mine..

Chico Cyclist said...

Olaf - Were those Shimano shifters I saw on your bike???

Man, glad you stayed safe out there....crashes sukass.