Saturday, August 30, 2008

Travel Time

Headed South today on our way down to San Jose for Master Track Nationals. Guy Tucker and I are making a big old road trip out of it and are so excited! We have a 13 hour drive ahead of us - but should be powered by lots of entertaining conversation on our journey.

Last night I raced track despite the looming and dark clouds threatening to sputter out rain. Even the forecast was shady with a 70 percent chance of precipitation. But low and behold we skated the weather and had a full night of racing even though it was down into the 50's by the time we got out of there.

First up - a scratch race. We had 18 guys show up - a pretty good field but not nearly as big as previous week's where they had to split the fields in half. Cucina did a great job of sending several of their guys off in a flurry of attacks - none of which lasted though. It's so much fun being part of a group that is really into racing. I didn't set myself up well for the finish but still managed 10th.

Next up - the Keirin. Top two advance to the final, 3-4 go to a constellation round. The motor wound us up to speed - sputtering here and there and completely stopping on the second lap, nearly crashing our entire field. I played this one smarter, taking second wheel and waiting for the jump to keep me out of the wind. Coming into corner 4 it was looking like I might not make it - but then I pipped two guys at the line to make the final. YES!

Keirin final - pulled the first position. Ian gave me a massive throw (thanks IAN!!!) and I easily got on the motor just past corner 1. It's easy sitting behind the moto and just letting it wind you up to speed. Once it pulled, I swung up track to be out of the wind for the remaining 600m and tried seeding back in, to no avail. I sprinted hard for a mere 5th.

Last but certainly not least, and much to my surprise because I thought we would be rained out, was a 30 lap points race. My instinct was on. Mark Coppa took a big flier in the first sprint lap - with me nestled nicely on his wheel. I got points in all sprints, with the exception of one. I even out sprinted Mark, much to his surprise, for 3 points. All in all I ended up 3rd. This consistent placing is going to get me an upgrade into the 1/2 field. YIKES!

It was a late night last night after Burritos and beers with Jamie and Christine. I slept in though until 7:30 and then started packing. Guy's trying to find a hitch for the bike rack for the back of his pimp mobile - and then we're off!

More stories to come from the road...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Always looking ahead

This photo was taken by Diane Boursaw for Wheels in Focus. It really captures my season - leading the charge and always looking ahead into the next corner for what may come.

And always study your enemy. Look at their weak spots - figure out the way they move and then ATTACK! (Ok - maybe I've been reading a little too much into "Book of Five Rings...")

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The groundwork has been laid...

Two solid days off the bike. No gym time - no motorpacing. Just actively seeking the best way to stay off my feet and enjoy my free time before the leaving for San Jose on Saturday.

Of course the yard needs some attention, the house could be cleaned, the basement needs to be finished - but my day will be filled with laying on the couch reading a trashy romance novel and dozing in and out of sleep. FABULOUS!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Out Sprinting the Rain

Life is sometimes like a rain forecast. You do your best to avoid it and hope for the best - but sometimes you just get soaking wet.

I'm on the flip side of an epic racing weekend and survived. As mentioned, it kicked off Thursday with a solid motor pace session (thanks PAT!!) where I could barely summon up enough energy to climb up the stairs to our house.

Follow that with the typical Friday Night racing - where at first my motivation was down and I panicked a little thinking I would have to live up to my omnium performance from last weekend. The first race, a win and out, was formatted ass backwards and I placed 10th. A quick little chat with David F. and I put my game face back on. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy miss and outs? It's all about tactics, pacing yourself, finding small holes to shoot through and staying out of trouble. I found myself in the final 5. But this time instead of going with 200m to go - I waited until coming out of corner 4 and then "go-go-gadget-rocket-legs!" to the finish to out sprint all but one guy. Our last race of the evening - a 30 lap scratch was a lot of fun. Brad attempted to do a big lead out for me with 2 laps to go - but a RCR guy got caught up in the mix and then decided to sit up with 150m to go. Punk! So it became a mad dash for 5th. But I'll take it! And I placed 4th in the Omnium!!!

Day three on - a circuit race in Carnation. This was our team race - so although I didn't get home until 11:30pm the night before, I was up and at em' at 5:45am to help set up the course and course marshall for the early races. I was pretty pooped by the time we raced - but summoned up enough energy to be a contender in the final sprint. I had been warned by multiple people that it was a long sprint from the final corner. But that didn't stop me from trying to do a 500m sprint to the line. I glanced down and saw 35.6 mph, then 34... then the 200m line and thought, "oh shit!" and then watched Morgan pip me at the line. Dang! You'd think I would have learned by now. Oh well. It had been a while since I've done a road race.

Day four - Sunday. Woke up to beautiful blue skies but with a threat of rain in the afternoon. I packed a rain jacket just in case. I met up with Linda and Christine near the University Bridge and we made our way down to Seward. It took me a good 25 minutes to warm up the legs and spin out the garbage locked in them. Self doubt lingered in my head - but my body was ready for the challenge. Attacks continued lap after lap - until a 5 person break made it up the road and Liz was in it. The rest of us were content with sitting in waiting until the gap proved substantial enough before we made any moves. Liz did well - placed 2nd in the finish and I won the pack sprint for 6th. All in all - an excellent day on the bike despite having four days of heavy work. Things are on track for nationals!

On the way home, I encountered rain showers though and was soaked from head to toe by the time I rolled in. Sometimes you just can't avoid it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

working it

Bring on the Keirin cut jeans - I could barely walk up the stairs to my house last night.

The first 30 minutes in tempo was agonizing. My head started playing tricks on me, "back off! You can just pull over and do this in two sets instead of one. Who's going to know? You're already half way there - only one more half to go. Every revolution is getting you closer to your goal - both immediate and long term. 99 bottles of beer on the wall.... oh crap! I lost count of which lap I'm on. If I can just make it to 60 laps - I'll be solid. What? I'm only at 37? Sheebus."

And so my inner dialog continued. Until finally - I found myself at lap 59 - and DONE!

Let the true workout begin.

Like a one-two combination punch, those two breakers broke me yesterday. The wind was crazy - super solid on the home straight, nice on the back straight. You were either on the gas or recovering. No happy medium. Add a motor that as soon as it would round corner 1 into 2 - would start accelerating and you have a recipe for one big old ass whopping.

The first set was brutal - I felt like keeling over and dying afterward. But miraculously I lived - and fortunately got to do another one. I think the first set is always the hardest. The second one your legs are really open, as well as your mind and body to give it another solid effort. 10 minutes whizzed by.

Another 5 minutes of rest - without the puke feeling. And last on the list - something that sounded innocent enough but proved to be wicked hard.

10 laps at 25 mph, then increase the mph by 3 every two laps, in your pursuit set up. By the end of this exercise, my legs were so pumped I could barely walk.

That's what I'm talking about.

It's been a while since I've finished a workout and had barely enough energy to walk up my stairs and sit down on the couch. I was wrecked. We headed to Quinn's - my new FAVORITE restaurant and had some amazing protein filled portions (wild boar sloppy joes, potato gnocchi with rabbit (lip smacking good!) and lamb-knock-your-socks-off-main-course.

Not quite the sushi I had been hoping for - but a taste that will have us going there again and again...

Now on tap for the weekend - Friday night racing, followed by a Carnation road race/ aka crit, Seward park and chilling with some friends! Ah the life of riley.

Work hard. Play hard. And don't forget to have fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lord help me.

On tap for today - 30 minutes in tempo. Immediately followed by 2 sets of Breaker intervals in my mass start bars, any gear of my choosing.

Then 1 effort in my pursuit bars. First 10 laps at 25 mph, then every two laps increase the pace by 3 mph for two laps and go until failure.

If you hear on the evening news, "Woman in Redmond passes out from exercise exhaustion..." you'll know who it is.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Friday Nights at the Track

For those who don't know - I began track racing in 2005. I started it the same year I started road racing and had immediate success. I remember the first time I lifted my leg over the rental bike and did my first revolution at Marymoor, I knew there was something special.

That year I qualified for Elite Track Nationals and decided to go. A very green rookie but with a can do attitude - I headed down to LA with Ryan, R. Miller, Molly, and Leif to compete. In the 100 lap points race (the longest race I had done to date) I risked it all and went for a sprint lap - won it, then got shelled from the race. I still remember feeling amazing though - and looked forward to coming back the next year.

I have had great teachers along the way. Ryan Miller taught me the majority of what I know to date about racing - and instilled in me a sense of killer instinct and ability to read a race. Little did I know that what he first taught me three years ago would start surfacing a few years down the road.

Each year I would plug away at racing - diligently attending my track workouts, hitting the gym to build strength, pedaling through the cold wet winters. On the track I raced with the Category 3 men - often missing the breaks and getting shelled from the group. Reminiscent of boxing and getting punched in the face by 14 year olds - and after each bout, would get back in the ring to keep working at it. Each attempt was stored in my mind - and regardless of outcome - I would constantly strive to master those skills.

Then last season I pulled my hamstring. To be honest, this was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. Sure it was a bummer to be down and out for 6 months - but it also allowed me to recognize the importance of maintaining a strong mind and focusing on the mental aspect of competition.

Flash forward to the current season. Early season races were a disaster as far as results are concerned - but mentally I was making a HUGE progression in my warrior status. I approached each early season race with an open mind - knowing my existence is not measured by my placement in those races; it is measured by my willingness to lay it on the line and try my hardest. And suddenly, about 1/4 of the way through the season, it started to click. My mind and body aligned and I found myself with the lead group. I can't tell you how thrilling that was.

Just when I was starting to get a hang of my new position - track racing started up. With the renewed confidence and fitness I gained on the road - I applied it to the velodrome. This coupling guaranteed immediate success.

The past four years I often think back to my first Elite National point race. I use it as a measure to see how far I've come and how far I have to go. Racing with the Category 3 men on Friday Nights is also a good weekly measure of that progression.

Flash forward to this past Friday. 26 men (with 2 women) lined up at the rail. It was really warm out - with ozone levels higher than they've been all year. The first race, a 10 lap tempo, was tough - with points awarded to the first two people across the line on every lap. A good strategy is to either go off the front early and obtain as many points as possible - or sit in, waiting for people to tire, then plan your attack and hit them hard and low. Unfortunately this didn't happen - but I managed one point, putting me 10th.

Our second race - a Miss and Out. The team plan was to get as many Broadmark riders in the front as possible to box everyone else out. But after a fast neutral lap - only a few riders were in the front. I maintained a tempo pace - putting in just enough effort every lap to stay out of trouble. Next thing I know I was in the final 5 - with young Miller on my wheel. I tried to give him a lead out for the win - but just didn't have enough GRRRRR to come around.

The last race - a points race - was my best showing by far. And something I am really proud of. I was able to out sprint the guys for a 5 points and maintained excellent position for the final sprint to place 3rd! Can you believe it???? 3rd place!!! Which boosted me into 5th for the omnium!

For the first time ALL season and for the first time in the past 4 years - I finally placed on the podium against the men AND won some cash. How cool is that? Now... onwards and upward to Master Nats and Elite Track nats.... I'm really looking forward to that points race. :)

The Calm Before the Storm

This past weekend I was off the bike for two days for the first time in months. It's my last breather before buckling down and dialing in my speed and agility before nationals. Not only did it allow me to rest my body, but it also allowed me to rest my mind and regroup.

Balance is always important - and easy to forget when you strive toward something every day in every way of your life. I think it's essential to take breaks before your body or mind forces you to to stay sharp and focused when it matters.

And like a well timed gift - this morning I read a couple of passages from the "Book of Five Rings" that hit the spot.

"The warrior attitude is very simple. Focus your mind on your goal, constantly strive to attain perfection, and do not allow yourself to be sidetracked. Think only of winning. You must maintain your own ideals and study properly or your will be sure to lose the Way."

Friday, August 15, 2008


I forgot to mention - day two of the breaker workout includes 10 x 3-5 minute tempo hill repeats. PUKE!

But you know what kept me going after nearly being side swiped by a speeding SUV? The knowledge that a champion is made a day at a time.

Oh - and in the AM I attended a MVA board meeting, followed by a hour workout in the gym. For the first time in weeks -my little mantra I write on the chalk board in the basketball gym wasn't erased.


And as I did my 25 plyo jumps and wanted to quit half way through because of the burn in my thighs and my heart pounding in my chest - I just repeated that mantra and kept with it.

The mind is a powerful thing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Breaker One Niner. Are there any smokies out there with ears on?

Yesterday was one of those make you or break you type of days. And I am happy to report - that today I made it.

The day started like many others - beautiful and warm. One of those nice summer days that you hope stays in your memory during the cold wet winter - and a reminder that life does get dry eventually in Seattle.

And at 1:30 I headed out to the track to do a new workout called, "the Breaker."

Intrigued? You should be.

When you hear "breaker," what images does that conjure up in your mind? Rocky Balboa slugging some dead meat? Submarines going in for the kill? A 50 foot wave carrying a crazy surfer? How about a stunt man in the upcoming G.I. Joe film?

I'm sure it wasn't a spandex clad woman chasing a motorcycle while spinning her legs at 140 rpm, backing off to 115 rpm's and then repeating this cycle. But alas, that was my definition of breaker yesterday.

Try this. 30 minutes of steady tempo. Figure out your average speed during that 30 minutes. Then do three sets of the following: 1 min V02, 1 min tempo, 1 min V02, 1 min tempo, 1 min V02, 1 min tempo, 1 min V02, 1 min tempo, 1 min V02, 1 min tempo. Rest 5 minutes and repeat. It's designed to break you.

And as I mentioned - you either survive or you don't. And yesterday, I survived.

To top it all off - I joined some friends for HOT YOGA. The teacher, Gary, with a somewhat militaristic approach toward yoga, complimented me that I was the best first time student he had ever seen in one of his classes. To which I thought with massive sweat stinging my eyes in the 120 degree room, this is nothing. I just completed a breaker.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sporting a Pant Suit

On Sunday morning I had a great chat with my mother in law, Trish. I was recalling my Friday night racing with the Category Three men. She's always been a strong supporter of my athletic endeavors and has always stressed that although I may train as hard as a man and race with the men, that I make sure to keep my femininity strong. And above all - don't wear a gad damn pant suit to look and act like a man - strut your stuff in a pink skirt!

Dually noted.

When I boxed I used to spar with pink gloves. When I started racing I rode a Pink Kona. And honestly, I found a deep satisfaction of zooming past men on a pink bike. But lately, I've been mistaken as a man by a man.

Since I no longer have a pink bike I've been trying other means to express my femininity. I'm growing my hair out - even have a little pony tail out the back. And last time I checked, there were bumps on my chest. So what gives?

I think the truth of the matter is (and my wise neighbor Jo pointed out) - I've finally been accepted into the men's group and they know that I'm not going anywhere. I'm also a contender for their prize money.

Example #1: Men's Keirin Heats. I have a great start - and am fighting to get second wheel behind Guy Tucker. Sean, from 2nd Ascent, pulls in right behind him and I decide to start putting some pressure on Sean to see if he backs off an inch. He doesn't. And also warns, "you better move back and get a different wheel." A little snippy - but fair game. We made more contact, and I finally relent behind him where a male teammate opened up a gap and let me in. The motor accelerates, getting us up to speed for the 1.5 lap drop off. As it pulls, Guy maintains the 28mph and then pushes it on the back straight, with Sean and I right on his heals, qualifying the three of us for the finals.

I went up to Sean afterwards - wanting to clear the air and make sure he wasn't agro toward me personally. To which he responded, "That was YOU? I thought you were a dude!"

Dada um dada. Dude looks like a lady!

Example #2: Men's Keirin Final. Same start as the first - though this time I'm trying to get Kevin from Recycled to let me. He's more animated and uses his elbows to push me out quite a bit more than Sean. I'm being stubborn and so is he. At no point did I feel threatened, but I should have continued working down the line. Instead I apparently wanted more contact time with Kevin. He wasn't budging an inch. Neither was Josh, his teammate. Guess what happens when you hang out in the wind for 4 laps and then the motor accelerates to 34mph at its drop off point? Yep. Dropped like a sack of rocks. But at least I fought for it and didn't get to pull the, "come on let me in! I'm just a Giiiirrrrrlllll." Nope. Even Randy came up to Kevin afterwards and said, "if you would have let her in I would have punked you!"

Thanks guys. At least this time I wasn't mistaken for a man.

Monday, August 11, 2008

An Ode to Keeping the Rubber Side Down

Bike racing is inherently dangerous. We travel at fast speeds with little to no skin protection and take corners faster than most would ever dream of, next to and behind other racers. Something can happen in front of you that you have no control over and your immediate reaction can have immediate consequences in your general well being. We are all reliant on the people we're racing with and next too have equipment that won't fail - whether that be a tire slipping off the rim, a head set coming lose at the wrong time, a seat post failing, carbon cracking, etc. And then there's the pilot errors that can happen - coming into a corner too hot, clipping a pedal, breaking too quickly, etc. So each time you line up to race - you hope that everything goes well but at the same time, you did sign a big old waiver from USA cycling saying you understand and accept the danger you are potentially placing yourself in.

So here's to all the races you complete and keep the rubber side down - even though you may not have placed as high as you could have or been in the final sprint for a podium position. In the grand scheme of things - you narrowly escaped injury and should thank your lucky stars. And for those who didn't escape - here's wishing you a speedy recovery!

Friday, August 08, 2008


Every sunny day I thank my lucky stars for having the legs to ride my bike, the lungs to get me from point A to point B and the warmth to keep my joints happy. Summer is my favorite time of year - and I try to make the most of each moment because winter is coming...

So what have I been up to? Riding and honing my sprint. Dave R. showed me a new sprinting technique and we filmed it the other day will motopacing out at the track. And holy SHIT it's fast. The first few sprints behind the moto at 30 were sluggish and it took me a while to come around. Then the last set I used the new method and zoomed forward. Incredible. You can actually see the difference in the sprint. I'm going to be riding like a I stole it!

My other hours have been filled with making Jam in preparation for the long winter and spending time with Bubba. There's nothing like tasting a little bit of summer goodness in the dark months. And I've been resting to bank up for the upcoming Master nationals and Elite Track Nats.

My focus is stronger this year than before - with the reality of what may happen fueling my fire for quality training sessions each and every time I clip in and ride my bike.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Vanishing Point

August 2, 2008

Ryan and Fitz left Seattle at 10:30am heading East on Highway 2 toward the looming Mt. Baring. As they approached the foothills of the Cascades, a mist enveloped the car as they parked near the trail head and loaded up their 50 pound packs full of traditional pro, slings, a bivy sack, dinner and water. They certainly had their work cut out for them.

Their mission - to climb the 1,500 foot route on the North Prow of Dolomite Tower on Mount Baring.

Brian Burdo started developing the climb in the late 1980's and it took him about 5 years to equip the route. He spotted the massive rock, with over 2,000 feet of vertical gain and created a mixed route with bolts and some naturally protected sections that boast a difficulty of 5.12b. The majority of the 14 pitch climb is in the 5.11 range but with a 30 foot roof a couple hundred feet off the ground - it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

Mt. Baring is shaped like a whale. On one side is the sheer rock face - climbing 2,000 feet from the base to its peak. On the back side is a wind blown alpine slope that base jumpers have discovered and created a trail to access the wall. Ryan and Fitz decided to approach it from the back side - and repel down its face. The hike was not easy though - they gained roughly 4,000 feet in four hours. (The pictures you see above were taken on the descent during the nice weather - when they first arrived everything was socked in.)

Despite hiking through the clouds and doing quite a bit of snow travel, they managed to find an excellent bivy spot to hunker down for the night. Perched on a wind blown peak and with minimal supplies, they made the most of their red beans and rice in anticipation of waking up and scaling down the wall.

Knowing Ryan, and his supreme route finding skills - or lack thereof (sorry baby!), they were both surprised to have found the edge of the cliff. Although the trail was clearly marked by nylon ties from the base jumpers, the climb itself was not. And with poor visibility, they were unable to locate the first anchor station to make their way down the face. This was mainly due to the mist - and as a paranoid wifey poo - I am SO thankful they decided against trying to repel down into the darkness where who know what awaits you. Not only was it wet, but without proper visibility it would be really difficult if not impossible to safely find the next repel station. Ryan also said when they leaned up along the edge of the cliff, you could sense how long of a drop it was - eerie.

They went to bed fairly exhausted from the 4 hour approach and unfortunately woke up to the same mist shouldering the surrounding rock giants. Several pots of coffee later the weather started to improve - but a 11am start time for 1,500 feet of climbing and repel is straight up suicide. Instead they filled several gallons of water by a small drip from the melting snow near the summit and stashed it for their next attempt.

Carefully and slowly they made their way back down the steep trail. You'd think it would take them half the time to descend such a steep trail - but due to its technical difficulty, it took them the same time to down climb as it did to go up. They did get to enjoy the scenery on the way down though.

Ryan also noted that next time he'd bring better snow travel shoes - the La Sportivas he had on were great for boulder bounding but not so good in the snow.

Across the valley they spotted another favorite hang out - the Town Crier walls at Index. Zoomed in you can pick out some of the best granite climbing Washington has to offer - but zoomed back out makes you realize just how remote they were.

As they made the hike back to the car - they looked back up and spotted their bivy location - the small thumb of rock you see in the distance. To think - this photo was taken from the half way point and they still had a ton of hiking to do.

I was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from Ryan early that evening saying they would be back at a reasonable hour. We quickly made sushi plans (accidentally flaking on my other dinner plans - sorry Jason!) and he conveyed his amazing experience over dinner - with a gleam in his eye with thoughts of going back and nabbing the third ascent of the Vanishing Point.

Monday, August 04, 2008

So you want to be a mountaineer? Yowsa.

Ryan and his friend Fitz attempted to climb "Vanishing Point" a 1,500 rock race that climbs up Mount Barring in the Index area. They obtained beta from Brian Burdo, a Northwest local who has put up hundreds of climbing routes throughout the North Cascades. There's two ways to climb it - one by hiking to the base of the mountain and the other by hiking up the back side of the mountain and then repelling down, only to climb back up.

The left Seattle Saturday morning and Ryan told me if I didn't hear from him by 2am on Sunday night then to call mountain rescue. (Standard issue for when goes out to climb big walls - but still scary nonetheless.)

So onward they pushed- 4 hours up the back side of the mountain - only to be enveloped in misty clouds - proving for poor visibility and no way to see the climb. He said the route was marked by lots of fluorescent ties from base jumpers who make the venture up - and then jump. They carefully climbed up to the edge of the rock, looking down to where they would have climbed had the weather cooperated. But when the sun didn't come out until 11 am on Sunday - their summit hopes were squashed. It took them just as long to descend the steep trail as it did to climb up it - and now they are both hungry to go back and conquer "Vanishing Point." Pictures to follow...

The do's and don'ts

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend while attempting the Washington State Individual Time Trial. Thankfully this lesson was a new one to me - and one I certainly will NOT repeat.

The other day I noticed Steep and Cheap had a great deal on heart rate monitors. I figured I'd use it for my other bikes that don't have power available - as a means to gauge my efforts. After one use on the road I had so much confidence in it - that I decided to use it during my time trial and base my effort off of some numbers rather than perceived exertion. BIG NO NO. It's funny how I didn't even think that basing my effort off of something I NEVER pay attention to would suddenly help my TT ability. Ha! It's actually laughable. And just proves my killer instinct to race is stronger than what some arbitrary number says.

The plus side - I improved my time by 4 minutes from last year. The lame side? I had to fully stop and unclip for these two mutts that looked hungry to bite a passing cyclist 1/4 way into the TT. But all is not loss - it was absolutely beautiful out and I got some great TT training in. And Robin ROCKED the TT - clocking in at 57 minutes for a 40k effort. What a rock star!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Morning After...

My legs feel like lead weights this morning. The only relief is elevating them and just chilling. The prescribed 2 hour TT ride with some VO2 efforts thrown in the mix should help - but it also sounds painful at this point. :)

One thing is for sure - riding this past week after FSA was the smartest thing I could have done. A couple of people I spoke to at the track last night complaining of not feeling recovered despite being off their bikes all week. Often the best thing for you is to keep it rolling - and you might as well throw in a sprint session and a 1/2 hour of tempo work while you're at it. The legs were certainly ready to fire on all cylinders last night against the cat 3 men.

I picked up Chris Hill on the way out East and Lake Washington had some serious white heads from the southernly wind that had been blowing all day. We got to the track in record time (eerie) and noticed there was quite a head wind on the home straight. The turnout was light - especially compared to last weekend's extravaganza but the men's 3 field was still solid. I decided to run a lighter gear and work on some leg speed, which suited me well for the entire evening.

First up - Point a Lap. Positioning is crucial. If you're not in the front, then it takes multiple laps to crawl your way up the totem pole and get back into position. I played this game smart - waiting until guys were wasted from doing entire lap pulls and then coming around them for some points. A mere 2 points put me in 5th - by far my best showing with the fellas yet this year!

Next - a 14 lap scratch race. A break was established early with Hyun in the mix and a few other players. I was in the chase group with Brian - our sprinter. We attempted to join a few times - but the mid race premes kept the fellas away. Coming into the last few laps, I told Brian to get on my wheel and then drove myself into the ground to set him up for a lead out. At one point, coming into corner 2, final lap, he told me to "up" and I couldn't any more. My limit had been tapped. Around he sprinted - securing 5th (after the breakaway) and I felt like I had done my duties. It was great.

Last race - a progressive points. A break made it off the front again- and when I saw it go I told young R. Miller to go - and that was the move! They lapped the field - gaining 20 a piece and Miller pulled in third! Then when the rejoined us, with a couple laps left, I serged to the front and held off all but one guy with 2 laps to go. It was great! I had a great night - 8th in the men's omnium.

Funny - on our way back over the bridge headed to McCormick's for their great happy hour - I thought - that wasn't so bad! I feel great! Little did I know how bad it would be the morning after...

Friday, August 01, 2008

"Practice is the only way that you will ever come to understand what the Way of the warrior is about. Constant striving for perfection of the self through a chosen art is the only path to enlightenment. Words can only bring you to the foot of the path, and to attain mastery and perfection you must constantly strive to better yourself through an understanding of your chosen Way."

(Excerpt taken from "Book of Five Rings" by Stephen F. Kaufman.

Close Call

So the Sea to Ski Highway that connects Vancouver BC to Whistler has been seeing some serious widening since Vancouver won the winter Olympic bid for 2010. The local climbing community in Squamish has been a little hacked off since some of that widening removed some classic rock climbs, just off the highway. The construction crew has been digging up and blowing huge pieces of rock to widen the highway to make travel easier between the two destinations..... all at a cost.

Check out this photo - taken from Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press from an article posted in To think - the bus driver heard the rumble of the rocks and just kept driving through it. Smart man!

Catch the full article here.