Posted by: Travis | April 19, 2010

Race Report: Santa Cruz Classic Criterium (Santa Cruz, CA, 4/18/2010)

On June 13, 2010, Rachel and I will be riding our bikes 80 miles with some friends in the Palo Alto Tour de Cure in support of the American Diabetes Association. I try to keep this blog pretty light hearted and jovial, preferring not to harp on what a rough place the world can be, figuring that most people get confronted with that pretty constantly. I’ve also tried to keep myself from using this blog as a means to leverage my readers into supporting whatever causes i deem worthy of support. However, in this case i’m willing to let it slide. We need your help fundraising. You can find Rachel’s page here, and my page here.  In order to ride we have to raise $175 each. If we have to cut a check for that amount (hell, we might do that anyway), i’ll happily do it because i feel it is so important. Go check out our pages linked above, and if you feel compelled, give what you feel is appropriate. You can donate online, so it couldn’t be easier. You can also donate anonymously if you wish. Thanks everyone for your support.

Race: Santa Cruz Classic Criterium
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Date: April 18, 2010
Result: DNS (Did Not Start)
Course: just under 1.0 mile laps: straight away, down hill right hand hair pin turn, descent, flat, right, flat, right, short (10 ft) power roller, winding road, right turn, 1 city block length climb at about 10% grade, flat and straight for start/finish.
Weather: Cool (mid 50’s) and clear.
Teammates: JD, Martin, Bob

I’ll start by saying that i’ve been feeling really good on the bike lately. My lack of fitness in late February and early March has come back up to where it was in January and gone up a notch (or three). I’d go as far as to say that even though i may not be as lean as i’ve ever been, i’m certainly stronger on the bike right now than i’ve ever been before in my life. The time switch to daylight savings time is certainly helping, as are the structured team workouts and rides that have been starting up the last few weeks. I’m sure my motivation to train hard after being thoroughly embarrassed with myself at Fort Ord a few weeks ago is also a factor. I’ve been feeling good. Really good. When your seeing progressive fitness gains like this, finding the motivation to find time to train, and really kicking your own ass when doing it is about as easy as it gets. I’d go as far as to call it addictive.

Most training plans for bike racing call for 3 hard weeks of building volume and intensity followed by a rest week before starting a new cycle. This is based on an idea called periodicity, which in layman’s terms says that your body can’t handle building training volume and intensity without some rest or it will shut down and force you to rest. Basically, you have to take one step back so you can take 3 steps forward. Your whole season should be three steps forward, one step back over and over again as your fitness slowly builds, then at the end of the season (or sometimes in the middle of the season) you take a few weeks off and then start all over again. What i’m getting at is that it’s been about 5 weeks since i’ve taken a ‘rest week’, and even that week wasn’t much of a rest week. I’ve been feeling so good that i just can’t force myself to take a rest week. Well, i noticed last week that i’ve been feeling a little more sore than usual and recovering from hard rides is taking longer than usual, so it was my plan to race Santa Cruz on Sunday like my life depended on it, then take a real, super easy rest week before hitting it again next week.

Santa Cruz is a course that really doesn’t suit me. It starts off flat and straight into a downhill hairpin turn, fast descent, a couple of flat sections, a 10ft or so little power roller (this isn’t a big deal if you’re feeling good, just get out of the saddle for a few pedal strokes, but if you’re at your limit, this little bump will pop you), a little winding section, then a 1 city block long climb at about 10 percent. One lap is slightly less than a mile at the Cat 4 field would be doing 17 laps. Doing that 1 block long climb 17 times in 40 minutes at race pace? Yeah, not my strength, normally i would run from this course, but i’ve been feeling so good that i figured, ‘what the hell, i’ll kill myself to get a spot in the front, then pedal until i think i’m going to die, then pedal some more, and we’ll see where the chips fall’.

Rachel and i were out the night before seeing the Avett Brothers in Oakland (which was awesome, BTW). We got home and got to bed around 12:30 and i winced and cursed myself as i set the alarm for 5:00am before doing so. Got up, packed up, hit Starbucks, then got on the road to Santa Cruz. Warmed up, Rachel set up shop near the start finish, i got checked in, pinned my number on (actually Rachel pinned my number on, if she ends up not coming to a race at some point, i am oh so screwed), and took a few warm up laps. The course was not as treacherous as i had feared, but it was going to be tough. 5 minutes before our scheduled start time guys started to line up (really!?!), but i decided i would take another lap at a good clip so that my legs would be hot at the start of the race. As i approached the hair pin turn i heard a pulsing snake-hissing sound. SHIT. Came to a stop and my rear tire was losing air through a huge hole in the tread just made my a big hunk of glass. AWESOME. I scrambled to my car in my bike shoes (high comedy) and started frantically trying to change it. As soon as i got the bead off the rim to pull the tube out, i heard the gun go off for the start of my race. Missed it.

Massively disappointed, i threw some stuff around in the car, did some yelling, then i remembered that i do this for fun, changed clothes and went back up to join Rachel and cheer on my teammates, JD, Martin, and Bob.  Martin (the guy who had the victory in the bag, then victory saluted before the line and got beat by another rider last week at Menlo) rode a great race, staying hidden in the pack and popping out for the last time up the hill and sprinting home for the victory (and holding off on a salute until after crossing the line). JD rode a good race too, holding great position for the first half of the race, but then slowly falling back each lap as he ran out of gas. I just don’t think he had the legs today. Bob was hard to see because he wasn’t wearing a team kit, so i’m not sure how he did.

It was frustrating to miss my start today. I guess the cycling gods wanted me to get a head start on my rest week or something. I just wish they would have accomplished it by me forgetting to set my alarm clock or some other way that would have allowed me to get more than 4.5 hours of sleep. The day wasn’t a total loss though. We spent the afternoon/evening hanging out at Mark and Pam’s drinking Shiner Bock (i believe the words were ‘my soul needs this’ as i put the six pack in the grocery basket), eating chips and guacamole, playing with Cooper, and cooking the carnitas that we would feast on for dinner.

If missing my start at a bike race is the biggest thing i have to complain about, i guess life is pretty sweet right now.



  1. […] morning was the Santa Cruz Classic Crit debacle, then brunch in Santa Cruz (poached eggs on wheat toast is so simple but soooooo delicious), then […]

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