Course preview: WCCC Championship Criterium/Slug Cycling Criterium

This weekend, I'm heading to Monterey for the Slug Cycling crit. Hopefully the Wente road race will attract the strongest teams, leaving me with a fighting chance!

My recon work shows that this is a 0.5 mile loop (2679 feet) around an athletic field. The course features four turns, one tighter than 90 degrees, and an uphill finish. I expect it will be fast and furious from the gun, and it will take an early attack and a good position through that last corner to win the race.

Advanced Projects

As always, I'm up to something. I try to only report on things that I've done, not things that are in the works. This time, I have some exciting, though minor, projects in the pipeline:

- upgrades to the TT bike
- a new training bike
- some power meter upgrades
- re-thinking fit on the road and TT bikes
- getting rid of some more equipment

I'll post more about these projects as they come to fruition.


Old La Honda Road in 16m14s

I skipped racing this weekend to hang out at home, do some much needed cleaning, and of course, attack Old La Honda Road. For my record attempt, I pared down all unneeded weight. I rode my SL3 with the Zipp 303s, and removed the bottle cages and bolts. I left my helmet at the base of the climb, and wore the lightest shoes, socks, shorts, and jersey I own. The only weight concession was leaving the SRM on the bike.

I averaged 407 watts for the 16m14s it took to climb OLH. This is good, but not a personal best. I think I could be sub-16 at some point. It is all a matter of pacing. The record is supposedly sub-14: Kalen tells me "Scott Moniger did it in 13:50 and Eric Heiden did it in 13:55", although I've heard elsewhere that Heiden's best was 14:10.


Race Report: Menlo Park Grand Prix, Menlo Park, CA

After some repairs and recovery from yesterday, I was ready for a good race today. Unfortunately, the weather decided otherwise. It was about 8 C in the middle of an absolute downpour. Demoralized and afraid of rain after yesterday, my only goal was to not crash. At least the guys who did race, for once, raced like gentlemen, instead of pushy jerks.

I'm not racing crits in the rain anymore, unless they're part of a stage race or something. They are a waste of time and money at best.

This really seems to be the year of stupid crashes. Rasaan Bahati crashed out of the Dana Point crit this weekend as well.

I'm skipping Sea Otter and the Santa Cruz crit next weekend, in favor of an Old La Honda Road PR attempt.

My goal for this season is to upgrade to Cat 1. To do this, I need to find races that don't force me to race against the best Pros and 1s in California. I'm focusing on smaller races, and stage races with Cat 2 only fields (i.e. Fitchburg and Green Mountain). Once I become a Cat 1, I'll start doing some bigger races for fun, and slowly work to start winning them.

I'll race again in two weekends at the WCCC crit, and the Wente crit. I expect all the teams to be occupied with the Wente road race so I hope to do well at the WCCC crit. The Wente crit will be another Pro-1-2 crit: unless I work with a team, I'm pack fodder.


Race Report: Apple Pie Criterium, Santa Rosa, CA

This was my first race after the big crash in Copperopolis. It had been two weeks since then. I was on edge, as the last crash left my body and my bike in expensive disrepair. All I wanted to do was not crash; unfortunately, I did.

I did two races today. The first was a Cat 2 only crit, the second was a Pro-1-2-3 crit. The course was an office park: dead flat, wide turns, and little opportunity for selection. The weather was cloudy and gray, about 12 C. Everyone says this is the worst winter the area has seen in many years, with cold rainy weather lasting through mid to late April. I guess we brought Boston's weather with us.

The Cat 2 crit felt like a Cat 4 crit: sketchy riding, no teamwork, and no organization whatsoever. I managed to stay in the pack, but skidded out on the last lap. It had just started raining, and I leaned a little too hard into a turn. I was on my Zipp wheels with Vittoria tubulars. I don't like to ride this setup in the rain. The forecast had no mention of wet weather, and the only rain of the day was during this one race. Great. The crash destroyed my Toupe saddle and yet another derailleur hanger.

The Pro-1-2-3 crit was another repeated experience: teamwork from the Yahoo guys caused a split to happen, and there was more sketchy riding with wet roads in the pack. I just wanted to finish - I almost didn't start. At the finish, Filip and I came into contact and Filip went down. Great. I should have guessed that the pro teams would be here - there are two races in Santa Rosa and race pairs tend to attract the teams.

This was a terrible race for me. It was beyond a waste of time - I would have been better off had I not come at all. Jane managed to do well in her races.


Cleaning Out The Closet

Time to clear out the surplus! I've just posted a bunch of extras from the bike room to eBay. Look for things sold by user "jsoltren" for full details, or click here to search for my items. I'm selling some very nice handlebars, a wheel, and countless small items.


Support a Velodrome in NYC!

A friend of mine from back home is polling interest for a velodrome in New York City. Someone floats the idea every few years, but it is always tough to generate interest. Show your support by joining the "NYC Velodrome" Facebook group (dreaded Facebook...), and telling everyone you know.

I think it makes sense to make the infrastructure investment for a world-class velodrome in a major population center. I'd love to see the day where there is a permanent indoor velodrome on prime real estate in New York, readily accessible by public transit. With the number of internationals living in the city, and the spectator friendliness of track, I'm amazed this has not yet happened.