I haven't blogged raced in a while, but on the calendar for today was the Mt. Diablo Hill Climb (which is actually an individual time trial, not a mass start race), and I do love me some Mt. Diablo, so I signed up. And in the last few hours of sleep this morning, I had a new variation on the pre-race-anxiety dream: I was on the way to the race in Walnut Creek, which is 45 minutes away by car, and I realized that I was trying to ride my bike there. Oops, I was supposed to drive there - I'll never make it at this rate, I thought as I turned around and started sprinting for home.
What really happened: I woke up on time, drove to the race, didn't forget anything, and finished 14th out of 21 in Cat 4.
Every once in a while somebody drops by my desk with a news article they think I would find interesting. They'll hand me a whole section of the newspaper, point out the story, and say, 'You should read this.'
What happens next is: I say thanks, put the newspaper in one of various piles on my desk, and then throw the paper away approximately three months later when I determine that (a) I will never read it and (b) I have forgotten which story I was supposed to read.
People, if you want me to read something, email it to me. This ups the chances of me actually reading it from 0% to perhaps 50%. This may seem unfair to you, but hey, I don't make the rules.
On Saturday I raced the Sausalito Criterium - 15 or so laps on a short course with seriously steep hills. After a couple laps I was well off the back, and after six laps I got a flat. With no wheels in the pits I was forced to drop out, which was simultaneously a relief and a bummer - I was having a lot of fun despite completely sucking out there.
So - another race, another DNF. But flatting out is way better than crashing out, wouldn't you say?
Having completed all the Early Bird crits and training sessions, I have upgraded to category 4. Casey from NCNCA sent me a little "4" sticker to put on my racing license.
I took my new status out for a spin yesterday by doing the Apple Pie Criterium in Santa Rosa. On the last lap a bunch of people went down right in front of me. I rolled over a downed rider like he was a speed bump ... ended up lying on the ground along with 6 or 7 other people. Finish line was 400m away and I never made it. Too bad - I was feeling good and in decent position.
I'm bloodied but ok. Another cracked helmet. Bike is fine.
I had a mini-revelation on the way to work today. I took the inbound N-Judah to the end of the line, where it happens to connect with Caltrain, one of our regional commuter rail services. There's a station there that I have always thought of as the "Caltrain" station. And indeed the outside of the station says "Caltrain", but today I noticed that the little signs on the platform say "San Francisco".
So, from the perspective of San Francisco, the station is "Caltrain". But from the perspective of Caltrain, the station is "San Francisco". This seemed like a very nifty trick at the time.
Since we last talked I have done two more practice crits. I was riding strong in last week's race but got boxed in toward the end to finish 15th/50. In today's race I had a much better position out of the final turn and fought my way to a 5th place finish. Probably would have been 3rd had the bike not gone wobbly on me when I stood up to sprint. This is something I can work on.
It's January, and in the Bay Area January means (1) the start of road bike racing season; and (2) rain. I've been doing my best to deal with #2 by avoiding riding in heavy rain, which lately is the only kind we've been getting. On rainy Saturdays I've been (promise you won't tell anyone) going running. Riding to work has been tolerable on wet-ish days thanks to some new rain gear (although fenders would be nice). And I got the Muni pass this month just in case. My very cool employer subsidizes transit expenses (and also some fitness-type expenses, which means that new frame I just bought will be even cheaper).
To cap a year of big changes (new apartment, new job, new sport), I have spent the last three weeks attempting to grow a beard for the first time in my life. This has been a fun but not particularly successful project. I have received little bits of advice from bearded and unbearded friends, from women and from men. I have Googled the phrase "why can't i grow a beard" and then found myself reading, among other things, drdrew.com. It appears that you either can or can't grow a beard, and this has something to do with genetics, but there's not much you can do to encourage (or discourage) the growth of facial hair.
After three weeks of not shaving I have made a slight modification - I shaved the scruff of hair from above my upper lip (you might call this a "moustache"), which has left me looking, well, Amish. Or like an Abe Lincoln wannabe. It looks better, but still a little pathetic. I'm going to give it another couple of weeks.
Incidentally, have you ever wondered why Amish men don't grow moustaches? Short answer: pacifism.