fear and crashing; on the road

A few years ago when I first picked up mountain biking as a sport, and not just something to ride on rail trail and doubletrack, I fell constantly!  It was sort of to be expected and I put a bunch of geeky looking pads on and dealt with it.  Over time I ditched the knee pads, chest protector and full-face helmet for XC type trails.  I still fall all the time, and when I do it's usually pretty hard, but I seem to hurt myself less when I do so.  As my interests/involvement have shifted to also riding more and more on the road (I could write more about that, but I'll save it for a different time) I started to think about the consequences of a fall more and more.  You hear about people dying, you hear about people falling and missing large portions of the season etc.. you hear of carbon bikes shattering. Of course, you always hear about the sensational stuff and I was aware of that but that didn't mean I wasn't scared to go down on the road.  It was certainly on my mind in my first couple road races and crits!

Sunday I went down for the 2nd time in two weeks and the 3rd of the year.  The fall I took in the Royal was pretty tame as I was on a slight uphill and only traveling around 12 mph, but the other two were pretty much the real deal and took place at 20++ mph (Devin said his GPS shows a speed of 37 mph just before he went down).  I certainly could have broken a collarbone, taken a chainring to the neck or otherwise greatly injured myself!  However, in every case I got up and finished the ride/race, did whatever riding/racing I had planned the next day or the day after, my carbon bikes (all previously repaired by me, mind you) all survived with minimal damage.  My right foot and left wrist both kept falling asleep in the crits yesterday and it's uncomfortable to sleep but falling hasn't quite lived up to the fear.  

What's my point?  It's sad how many people avoid road racing because of the 'danger'.  I know I was certainly warned about crits by many people before my first one.  I think this is sad.  Get out and race!  You probably won't fall.  If you do you will probably be ok!  I think falling on pavement is generally scarier than it is harmful.  An example:  I used to play local level coed soccer...  we played about 20 games a year.  Every single year someone on my team did their ACL, every year multiple people received serious concussions.  Because of 'the fear' a ton more people still feel more comfortable playing soccer than being in a road race.  If you are a road racer, mountain biker, gravel rider, or just a cyclist you are doing us all a disservice if/when you make any other form of cycling sound overly dangerous.  



Any day that whole combination makes sense is a good day!   Lucky and I got out Wednesday morning to shake off the Royal and see what we could see.

My calendar called for rest/relexation through the whole week and then to race the Memorial Day crit in Waconia.  Basically, just commute all week, ride the mountain bike a couple hours and see how I felt Monday.  Last year the Royal had left me weak for almost a full 3 weeks and I have respect for that recovery.

However, some things came up and I wound up being off the bike completely Thursday, Friday and Saturday so I got to thinking that I'd better get on the bike Sunday if I wanted to be able to race well Monday.  One thing led to another and I was in the Lester Prairie road race.  I wasn't sure which category I'd race in, but I decided to go.

First, though, I was off to Lanesboro on Saturday for an epic canoe journey.  Shockingly, 18 of us got organized to make the trip and 9 boats hit the water right on schedule.   After a couple of hours of lazy paddling and hijinx we started to notice dark clouds... then we started to notice all hell breaking loose from the sky.  Chaos ensued.  We beached on a skinny, 3' wide patch of sand and waited out the worst of it.  Then we got out back out there despite the lingering rain.  Laura was cold and we wound up more or less dropping the group and just hammering the next couple hours.  Truth be told I really enjoyed the time we spent alone, working together to get out of there.  At some point the rain stopped and it was pretty great.

Sunday dawned bright and early and the weather was calling for mid 90 degree temps!  I decided to do the shorter, cat 3/4, race in order to stay out of the heat a bit.  My goal was to win and to try to do so without working too hard.  The weather was HOT but I managed it ok and kept thoughts of the Royal cramping out of my mind.  Once again, as at Durand, there wasn't much organization in the race.  Not enough teams, not enough people with clear plans etc..  At one point two of the guys I considered as real favorites in the race got up the road together by at least 250 yards and I was forced to give solo chase or consider the possibility of watching them ride away the rest of the day.  Luckily I was able to make a clean break and close the gap in a reasonable amount of time.  Of course, as soon as those in the main pack saw that move they upped the pace and made it all futile.  The only other 'action' was when on the back side of the first lap I dropped off the lead purposefully in order to pull a friend up.

With about 2 miles to go we caught the break and people started jockeying for position etc..  The pace wasn't super high and so there were charges and thrusts of the group going off over and over again up each side.  Nothing was going to stick and so it only made sense to sit back in 6-12 or so and wait it out.  There was no one there organizing a 'proper' lead out and so the pace was slow and chaos was ruling.  Suddenly, Devin O'brien was bumped and hit the deck very hard in front of me.  I was traveling over 30 mph  and had to lock both brakes and steer left as much as possible to avoid hitting him.  I was able to keep it upright and straight enough to not take anyone else out for a bit, but I did eventually go down at 15 or 20 mph.  My injuries are minor but make up for it in sheer number.  Luckily, Devin is also "ok".  Of course, any field can have a crash,  but this definitely left me second guessing my decision to race 3/4.  Al, who I was staying with in Waconia, wound up 8th in the race, despite getting off to a rough start and pulled himself into the money in the overall Omnium (he had a great TT the day before as well, taking 2nd).

After the race Al and I headed down to Maynard's on the lake and settled in for the long haul.  Can't think of a better place to sit outside and recover.  We had a great time watching all the people too.  What a crowd!  After we had finished our second round of food we looked back away from the lake and realized things were going to go nuts.

The wind picked up to 25 or 30 mph, menus and ketchup bottles started to fly, wait staff ran everywhere taking down umbrellas etc..  Quickly all 500? people who were eating, drinking or hanging out on the patio and dock ALL wanted to be inside (which was already packed and had a long wait just for a table).  This time, ABSOLUTE CHAOS reigned.  We watched boats coming in, boats coming out, wet people, drunk people, ridiculous people, insanity.  I wish I had brought a camera.

At that point I hoped that 3x was enough x of chaos as I had plans to race twice today and didn't need more!

Todays 3/4 crit was reasonable.  The goal was, of course, to win.  We kept the group strung out and I stayed in the top 6 or 8 for the entire race.  Then with 4 laps to go I felt an attack coming from someone who I was willing to work with and we both went hard.  I thought it was going to stick...  then CHAOS again.  A car in the course.  The pace motorcycle was stopped, hammering the horn,  was the race neutralized?  Should we stay on it?  I let up and slipped into the main group and started playing for the sprint.  My partner in the break and another rider were getting a gap.  Nothing to do though, had to try to count on the group to close the gap at that point.  They never did and that left me sprinting for 3rd, which i just missed after getting pushed a bit wide on the last turn and having to hit the brakes.

The 123 race was great.  This time the goal was to train HARD.  Took some getting used to the differences in pace and skill-  I made the first few laps too hard because I was braking in the corners but then I realized that I could count on the guys around me to also not brake and things got a whole lot easier.  The laps started ticking off and I had to work pretty hard to keep myself from slipping to the back of the group and staying there.  Near the end of the race I felt good and was able to move back to where I wanted to be.  Then things didn't quite materialize as I had expected and a whole line of riders came by on the left.  All the sudden I felt TIRED and with just about 1.5 laps to go that was no time to realize I was tired.  I tried my best but finished mid-pack.  No chaos this time.

Looking forward to switching back to the mountain bike this weekend.


Royal 162 recap

There is a bigger picture that should be mentioned first.  The Almanzo "thing" was awesome.  So many people were out there having fun, racing, riding, doing whatever.  Plus everything seemed to go smoothly and beautifully.  Congrats to everyone who was out there or involved.

I walked all of Oriole road.  Not just the steep part of the climb or the climb itself.  I walked it all.  I leaned on my bike with my right arm in the aero bar and my left on the hood.  The bike was keeping me upright.  I did eventually get back on.  The final part of the route had changed but I had forgotten.  There were shapes behind me and I hoped they weren't in my race.  I put my head down into the wind.  The stop sign was so far away.  When I got to it, the shapes were gone and I realized that I'd gone the wrong way. The implications of getting lost within sight of Spring Valley flashed through my mind but I ignored that thought. I knew the way from there to the start/finish without backtracking but I had come through 20 miles of this crap and 151 total miles to get there and I knew I couldn't do that.  I turned and coasted downwind, quickly covering that half mile I had just fought for.

When I returned to the course Spinner was just coming around the corner.  Thank you for Spinner, I knew I would finish on my bike.  As we rode I mumbled about the 'race' that I had been in earlier in the day.  I told him about how I had cramped.  The 400+ oz of water I had consumed.  My history of shitty races in heat.  How I had thought I had beaten that, but only for 9 hrs this time, not the 10 I had needed.  How much this race means to me.  That it had broken down all day in a way I could have only dreamed about.  My competitors had been isolated alone or in small groups down the road behind me with just 20 miles to go.  I had walked the false flat (or can we call it a climb) leaving the water crossing, oriole, the other places.  The way I had felt when I last saw him-  when I had put my arm around him as I passed near the top of the hill leaving Forestville, told him to ride faster...   that he had seen me near the end, but still before I was alone at the front.  I had felt so good and calm too, just 20 miles to go.  My knee caps had disappeared behind the knots in my legs.  The way I had swung my legs over the bike when I felt a first twinge of cramping but when I had hit the ground both of them locked perfectly straight.  That after it started I had tried to drink all my water, but had solved nothing and left myself with no more water for 18 miles that wound up taking close to two hours.  I had still thought I could win, that I could recover by drinking and resting some on the downwind section.  How wrong I had been.  That I was embarassed but wasn't sure why.  That I had wanted to win for 9 hours and how that felt like it was weeks ago now.  I don't know how much of that I actually got out, but he just sat there and pedaled.

I realized he looked pretty tired himself.  I tried to ask him how his ride was going.  I noticed that he was on a somewhat 'appropriate' bike and that he must be finishing in about 8.5 hours (I had dared to look at THAT screen on the GPS only when I had been considering cutting the course to the finish after the stop sign). 

We turned onto pavement and into the wind.  We took turns pulling.  Spinner isn't he kind of guy who normally drafts anyone.  I think he did it just to humor me.  I needed it. 

My parents were at the finish line.  It probably hadn't been too much fun waiting.  They hadn't been able to keep track of who was in the Royal and who was not which was too bad.  I did not feel well and I had to lay down.  My mom was concerned but I walked to the car with just a few stops to lay down.  I didn't have shoes on and I kept sitting in plants that hurt.  I was bit by an ant.  I got home and watched the Tour of California and was eventually able to drink 20 oz without feeling sick.  I weighed myself..  157 lbs (down 9.5 from the morning) I showered, ate and drank.  We talked about how screwed anyone is once they have lost that percentage of body weight.  I had filled all 3 bottles and camelbak bladder at every available place, 420 total oz!  It was suggested that I practice breathing with my mouth shut so that I don't lose so much water. I woke up a few times during the night and drank more.  .  Today I woke up today feeling pretty good.  I did housework, yardwork, went for a bike ride. 


so what does it mean?

This past weekend is obviously just one weekend, but I keep getting hung up on this-

I lost 25 lbs over the winter.  I had a race I couldn't have imagined having 6 months ago on a dead flat course, I got annihilated on a hilly course. 

So many other factors contribute etc., but it's just odd.

Gets me thinking about training and what seems to work and what doesn't.  How even in a sport that isn't incredibly "mental" you can still get really hot or really cold for long periods of time.  The things you put in may or may not relate to what comes out.  Better capitalize when the stuff coming out is what you want!  Each of the last two years I went through portions of the spring where I was literally depressed and could hardly bring myself to do stuff around the house, let alone ride.  What was different this year?

Somewhat related are all the other things that go into being "fit"-  what you eat, what you drink, how you sleep, how much you ride leading into  your events.  I know what has worked for me in the past and what has not (sort of) but the reason of it is crazy!  On saturday I had a kwik trip breakfast croissant, a take 5 bar, a 6" turkey sub and about 80 oz of diet soda previous to my race...  bet that wouldn't be "right" for most of my readers.  I know when I first started racing I wouldn't have eaten that, just because I would have thought it was "wrong".

Where does it all verge into being superstitious?  I know that it doesn't really matter what kit I wear or which shoe I put on first etc., but are my habits with food, sleep, etc. just as silly?  Is it all mental?  Did I sprint well Saturday then just because I had confidence from Tuesday and the prime and I truly believed that I would?  I guess anyone can do anything they really believe they can do...

Do you feel like you get out what you put in with some sort of linearity?  Do you surprise yourself?


Des Moines Weekend take 3- water works circuit race and breeder's hill criterium

Starting with some photos-  those are of Sunday's Breeder's Hill Criterium.

Tuesday night after Opus Fred Mills and I were talking about the races this weekend.  Mom was at Opus that night watching and she gave me the permission to go race over mother's day without her.

Saturday's race was to be a dead flat 1.5 mile  circuit race and Sunday's was a short crit course with virtually nothing but climb/coast down.  There was no 3/4 race Saturday so I would do the 123 race and just sort of do my best then Sunday I would target the 3/4 race but try to hang on in the 123s (this was my plan anyways).

The Saturday course was exactly as described-  totally flat, totally smooth pavement, basically all lefts in a big loop.  The pace was high but I was able to hang in there for a couple laps and then try this really ill-advised break...

Ok, it didn't seem quite so ill-advised at the time and it wasn't always that close to being caught...

Anyways, we made lap after lap with little real excitement.  Then they held up a bucket o' money and rang the bell...  I didnt' figure I had the sprint to take the bucket, but I figured that this was a great time to get a sense for how the race would play out later and gain some experience (after all this was my 5th actual criterium race) Fred went to the front and drilled it for Brandon and I was able to sit in about 12 position around the back of the lap.  On the final corner a few of the guys in front of me went wide and I cut the corner to the inside and pushed hard. Found myself in 3rd wheel and losing less ground to the bucket winner, Brandon, than I had expected.  Switched back to regular laps and told myself that the 'real' finish would certainly be tougher and more widely contested, still couldn't help but feel better about my chances than I would have thought previous to the race.

A couple guys took a flier with a few laps to go  and got far enough ahead that they were a threat to stay away.  No major reactions for a long time!  Finally, at the beginning of the last lap Fred went back to the front for "team" (I say "team" because it was just the two of them really) Revolution and absolutely buried it!  As he pulled the break in I found my way into about 8th.  This time as the race strung out there was definitely much more fighting for position!  I think I made the final turn between 8th-10th wheel then got into more of a long acceleration really than a sprint.  I was more or less topped out speed wise riding in my saddle and never felt the need to stand and really spin it out.  At one point I had to get on the brakes hard and move right but then I found myself passing people. 

Here are the first page of results-

I was very happy!  Congrats to Brandon for another win and Fred had to feel good about helping make that happen.  Including Woell who rode down with Brandon we, MN, had taken 3 of top 5.

After all that race organization Fred and I had to balance the world back out somehow...   I bet we drove 45 miles wandering Des Moines, almost accidentally heading to Nebraska once, etc. etc. in order to find dinner, some coffee, wildly scramble to find internet in order to pre-register for sunday, and finally a hotel.    At that point we got our bearings and were able to find our way all the way downtown and back to check out a couple of pubs without getting lost again.

Sunday was to be a totally new day.  Beautiful 70-80 degrees and sunny once again.  Did not get lost or even confused on the way to the venue.  Course looked as-described... 

3/4 race started ok, but the pace felt high.  William Rekemeyer got away and I knew all I should do was sit on in the chase group.  A few laps of that-  long climb, coast down the hill, sharp sharp corner at bottom, pedal hard up the small hill, coast/revoer, repeat...  and then there was a lap where I didn't get on the brakes early enough on the long down hill and slipped in the turn and lost the group.  Things turned into solo riding.  Was still riding "in the money" but now the race had gotten very tough!  I started counting down laps and hoping to catch more and more people.  Then with exactly one lap to go I stood up to power over the last bit of the climb and broke my chain.  This was the chain that I had purchased on the way down to Des Moines (Colfax) for that last Iowa Spring Classic race...  it is a wipperman and shows no signs of wear or stretching.  I will switch back to the 7900 I've been running on most of my bikes recently.  Rekemeyer did finish the race off for a strong win!  (he would also do pretty well in the 123 race later in the day).

1/2/3 race was a disaster from the start.  I had completely hit the wall and/or the group was too strong on that hill and too smooth through the tight corner at the bottom.  I was shocked when Fred joined me on the side of the road not too long thereafter and finally when Brandon also was unable to hold the pace with the lead and DNF'd.  Sucks to double DNF in one day, but I'd had an ok ride going in the race I'd really targeted (although not relative to how Saturday had gone down) prior to the chain breaking and it is definitely time for me to get some rest!  I don't plan on doing much other than racing the Royal this week and then recovering the next.


The Almanzo or Royal is coming up fast

At this point I suppose we are all as ready as we will be.  Just need to navigate through the next few days without doing anything that prevent showing up to the line the fitness already there. 

I've not done any Royal preparation since that 200 mile ride a few weeks back and truthfully haven't really gone on more than one or two long rides since well before the Ragnarok.  Last year I think one of the major things I learned was that lots of long rides aren't as effective training wise as hard rides.  I hope that continues to work for me.  It feels weird to always be focusing on what's next before finishing what is already happening, but I don't know how else to try to compete in all the things I have planned this spring.   Trying to find a path where road, crits, mtb, gravel etc. all support each other, and why shouldn't they?  It also makes it real tough to get burnt out or bored.  I've been feeling fresh and eager for virtually every ride all year.

This weekend I'm heading back to Des Moines with Fred Mills (I've heard Krawczyk and a few others are also going) to participate in a circuit race and what is supposed to be a very challenging/hilly/technical crit course.

Hope you have a good weekend!


fixed, fixed?, scattered showers=opus again

Made it over to Milltown Cycles today and got my trainer/backup 29er wheel back in order.  Ben was able to rebuild my existing DT rim with an X9 hub perfectly true etc..

It is most certainly fixed!  Should provide exactly the kind of durability that I need for my "everyday" use rear wheel.

That's the current status of the motor swap.  All the extras have been removed from the motor in the car and it's nearing the point of being ready to come out.  I ordered a bunch of parts/gaskets that haven't yet arrived and then both motors will sit side by side for a while for parts to be swapped to the new one.  This is the fixed?

The weather has been crap for mountain biking.  I wound up coming back to Rochester for the last two days since there was really no where to ride after the deluge.  I've been trying to use the time to catch up on things around the house etc.., but now it's back to work tomorrow and I feel like I've hardly done anything!  Only 3 more dayshifts for me though-  next week will have a totally different feel.

I wound up on the Monday night Bicycle Sport's/RASC group ride yesterday, but dropped out about half way through as the pace was higher than what I really needed.  It has been a toss up between joining the ride or riding the fatbike and I probably just should have gone and screwed around on the fatbike.  In the end I wound up 25 miles from home, alone, with no desire to shift out of the small ring...  not the most fun ride.  The only positive was spending some time on my Royal 162 bike.

Today the weather was spotty with lots of scattered showers...  again, offroad was pretty much out.  Decided I may as well head to Opus again as I needed my wheel rebuilt, needed to pick up a frame to repair etc. etc. which could be done on the way.  Well, I guess it's a bit of a stretch to call it "on the way" but still...

Plan for Opus was to work as hard as I could and try to push it on every prime lap.  Legs weren't really having it, but I kept at it and felt like I was getting the workout I wanted.  I was tired enough to not contest the 3rd to last lap prime at all!  At that point I was wondering if my day was more or less done.  Then a group of 7-10? got off the front with two full laps to go and I could tell that was going to be "the race".  The adrenaline kicked in and I gave solo chase, surprised myself by bridging the gap without pulling the whole group up and then surprised myself again by hanging onto that group for 1.5 laps and beating all but 3? of the guys in that group.  It's just a training ride, but I felt good about it!  Feel like I'm beginning to get to know more people and have a few friends in that scene too which definitely makes it more fun.  Too bad next week I'll be working, but I probably wouldn't ride anyways due to the Royal.


WORS #1 Iola recap

I've got a couple mountain bike races on the calendar this spring that I'd really like to feel ready for, a couple of new mountain bikes etc. and I'm excited about riding offroad.  WORS is sort of where it's at around here when it comes to competitive mountain biking and I knew that hitting their first race would be a good check up on where I was at/wake-up call with regards to where I would need to be.  My plan was to stay over in Wisconsin after the race and ride more in order to work on mtb handling skills for a couple of days as I knew that would be my weakest point in the race.

The WORS experience is pretty awesome.  There were literally hundreds of people out pre-riding, hanging out etc. and setting up camp when we got there on Saturday.  Where else do you get that opportunity to hang out with the other racers?

There were two more "avenues" just like those FULL of tents.

I found myself a nice spot down in the woods away from everyone else-  it was on a soft bed of pine needles and sandy soil (which turned out real awesome when it decided to rain 2+ inches and I stayed dry and not muddy).

I raced in Almanzo kit but when in Wisconsin I hang out with the Muddy Cup people as that's what team Trevor and Karlene race for.  The Muddy Cup is great and everyone is very friendly, cool to be around.  This weekend Trevor was sick and so just Karlene and I traveled over.  We were laughing because we apparently have "his and hers" bikes...

I was a little bit surprised by how many people "noticed" the bikes.  I was approached by half a dozen people about how "we" liked them etc..  There was also some noticeable "cannondale love" during the race.  More than once someone saw the bike and yelled something positive.

Our pre-ride was one slow lap to check things out and then Karlene went to help with some Muddy Cup and I pinned it for a lap.  I had to slow up once to adjust shifting, but wound up with about 22 minutes flat.  The race was to be 5 laps of the same and I was sort of excited it was to be as short as that would work out to-  figured it would make for a CX like feel.  Little did I know how much like CX it would wind up feeling like...

After the pre-ride we made pasta, soup, s'mores etc. on the coleman and shared a few good beers.

s'mores on the coleman griddle

We heard reports of heavy rain headed our way etc. and all checked the weather before bed.  I even made a spot in the subaru to sleep if need be.  In the end the rains mostly held off until early am and I slept well and dry.

I could hear the rain getting heavier all morning but I kept just rolling over and going back to sleep.  By the time I did get out of bed it was coming down very hard and there was constant lightening and thunder.  I was worried the race would be cancelled.  We found out that it would not be and decided to go check the course out...  what we found was almost constant standing water!  1-3" deep water over EVERYTHING.  Then the citizen race started and any thoughts of backing out went away.

Karlene's race came up quick!  Here was the start-

I made some fine adjustments to my bike with the shifting and also swapped my Bontrager Jones Mud 2.0s onto my spare wheels during her first lap and then went up in the woods to watch a bit.  The atmosphere was awesome!  People were up there banging trash cans, blowing vuvuzelas etc. etc. and I made some fans/cheering section for later!

I felt pretty good warming up but was nervous at the start for sure!   I knew my handling skills were my weakness and that these conditions would only serve to expose that further.  I just told myself to treat it like 2 cross races in a row...

Once the race started all that was forgotten and it was pure scramble.  The fast/flowy course from Saturday night was gone and replaced with conditions I'd only seen previously at Jinglecross.  The middle ring climbs were now run-ups for many of the Elite racers (I found that I was able to ride up some things that others around me couldn't with my mud tires) and the doubletrack was now nothing but mud.  There were even a couple of miles of singletrack at the back of the loop that was essentially 4-6" deep mud.

My start turned out to be pretty solid and I settled in around 25th out of roughly 70 at the start.  I slowly lost sight of the guys immediately in front, but no one was pushing me from behind either.  Then I caught one and two caught us.  Over the next lap and a half I got a good sense for where I was strong/weak...  I was distanced on singletrack where the conditions were best but pulled them in on the climbs and in the muddiest crap.  I fell on the 3rd lap after dropping the group and they all got ahead of me by a bit.  I was pushing it hard to close that ground (and plotting how I would beat them on the final lap/how to use my strengths over them) when I ran over a stick and it pulled up into my wheel...  had to stop...

I stood there staring at the "stick" I was holding in my hand trying to figure out how it was made of metal???  Finally it dawned on me that it was a spoke!  Managed to tie it around some other spokes and continue riding.  Over the next 8 miles there were some times when things worked well and others where the spoke was rubbing/wacking my bike really hard.  Good thing I'm riding a repaired bike!  The scratching on the seat stay would have really reduced the resale otherwise!  I guess I should have known better than to ride well used back-up wheels.  I am really glad that I ran the mud tires though-  I would have been a whole lot more exposed handling wise without them!

So-  27th out of 60 finishers.  14 minutes back of Matter in conditions that really separated people.  Overall a good result for me at this point and a really fun time.

40 lb 20 lb bike...

legs after the race-

And remember those nice pictures of the camping area...  here it is right before we left...

Sandwich 50 2012 pictures

I stopped by the Sandwich 50 on my way out of town Saturday.  Tried to get a shot or two of all the racers.  Hope you like them.

more here-

more pictures


C43 swap to 5.0 litre update/shopping for new clothes, size small?

On the flatbed over to Adam and Kala's house.

The biggest part of the puzzle should be dropped off on a pallet over there tomorrow...  a 5.0 litre "500" motor from a newer S class.  Add in my existing Eaton supercharger, the intercooler setup etc. and it will be faster than it needs to be.  I will still need to look it over with Adam sometime soon and order up a bunch of gaskets and such.  Come next month I'll definitely be getting to the races faster than I ride!

I skipped a local TT to deal with getting the car over there but the bonus was that left the rest of the night open to hang out with Laura.  Decided it would be a good time to use my Macy's employee discount combined with some coupons they had just mailed me to get some clothes that actually fit.  Seems even my old shirts are too big these days.  Scary that at 5'11" 165 I'm buying size small shirts and the smallest dress pants/jeans they have in stock...  what does that say about America?  Regardless, you always hear that cliche conversation when women buy new clothes after losing weight;  good excuse to go shopping, time to buy "skinny" clothes etc. etc..  I sort of wanted to be excited but really I was just glad things were heavily discounted, for someone who used to work selling clothes I hate those stores now.


bonus crit- opus recap

My training period for my new lab job is almost over.  Which means that I'll be going back to an evening shift very soon.  Due to the "shortened" BALLS ride and only riding the mountain bike relatively easily yesterday I was feeling much more rested than anticipated.  Decided that I should make it to Opus while I could do so without burning time off even if it didn't really necessarily make sense from a "season" standpoint (the closest thing I have to an "a" priority crit is the middle of July and I've got a lot of other stuff between now and then).   Got excited about going, then realized I would be in a 1/2/3 race and got nervous about going.

In order to help calm those nerves I set some lofty goals for myself...

1.  ride aggressively as possible (and thus avoid getting dropped)
2.  if at all possible hang in there with the leaders and finish in the top 5 on one of the primes
3.  ride safely and in control

Almost got lost while warming up, felt lucky to make the starting line in time after negotiating the one-way road maze.  Wasn't as nervous as expected.  Pace wasn't quite as high as I had expected early on (I spent the entire race with an unreasonable fear that all the sudden the entire field was going to take off at 5 mph faster than I could ride).  Despite that fear I was able to stay in 5th-10th with reasonable effort for the first few laps.  At some point Brandon K. took off up the hill and I thought to myself, "shit, I just rode with him for 6 hrs a couple weeks ago...  why not go join him".  Wound up in a 4 man break where I was clearly the weakest link.  Bell ringing, group closing fast and I was dangling a bit...  let myself get swallowed up.  Crap, that might have been my chance for a top 5!  Hell, that might have been my whole race if I get spit out the back.  Things normalized.  Another prime, feeling good...  holy crap there are soooo many fast guys.  Had to grab a wheel.  Stayed near the front, starting feeling normal enough, not in awe.  Last prime, treat it like it's the end of the race.  Seriously, dude...  this is your race, see what you can do.  5th.  Happy.  Last two laps were a blur.  Fell way back and never really got my lungs back, didn't care.