Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Random News

There hasn't been much going on lately worth writing about... and I've been a bit lazy. I recently spent some time up in Whistler watching the gravity fed version of cycling. For some reason I was even too lazy to let gravity pull my ass down the mountain on a plush downhill rig. I was hoping to rent an XC bike and ride up Whistler, but I think you can be jailed for that.

On the racing front, I've continued to do the usual Thursday night criteriums at Seward Park. I continue to do pretty well and mainly use them to work on my fitness. The season is starting to wind down, only a couple weekend events remain. Of course, after that cyclocross season starts. I'd love to give it a shot, but I don't own a 'cross bike and I'm not sure I want to part with another ~$1g to get one.

I guess the only other item of interest is that I decided to splurge and get a new set of Speedplay Zero pedals. I've only ridden them once, so expect a full review in a little bit.



Sunday, July 11, 2004

Redmond Derby Days

Yesterday I headed to downtown Redmond to take part in the criterium which is part of the annual Redmond Derby Days event. This event has a long history and the city had a very nice setup going. There was a small fair, complete with live music, food stands and rides. The bike races were held on the streets right in front of the festival, so spectators got a great show.

Yesterday was a bit rainy, but things were drying out as I headed to Redmond so I was hoping for the best. Unfortunately when my race started a nice rain was coming down and the streets were soaked. Criteriums in the rain don't thrill me because they make a normally sketchy race and make it downright scary. The streets were in good shape (smooth, not many potholes), but were covered with large swathes of paint (lane markers and stuff), metal manholes and plenty of the little reflective dots used for demarking lanes. So the race was essentially navigating a minefield while being blinded from the spray off the wheel in front of you. Fun!

The gun went off and I did not get a good start. I could not get my foot locked into my pedal and it cost me dearly. The strung out into a single file formation rather than bunching up, so when I got going I had lost a good number of positions. When everyone settled down, the field was pretty well fragmented, except for a good bunch at the front. I was in (I think) the second group back and just settled in for some good racing. Everyone was taking it easy through the corners... it just wasn't worth taking chances. And, of course, since we weren't in contention we were eventually pulled from the race. Ah well..

The whole pedal thing got me thinking. This isn't the first time I've had trouble getting into my pedal quickly. I currently ride Shimano PD-7800 pedals (well, the Ultegra version). They are one sided (meaning you can only lock your foot in on one side) and hang vertically, making them a bit tricky to clip in to. For everything but criteriums, it doesn't matter... you don't need to get started quickly. Criteriums are a different matter, the start is very critical. So, I started thinking that a double sided pedal, more like mountain bike pedals, might be better for crits. The Speedplay Zero is just such a pedal, so I'm considering trading mine in. However, I'm still not sure if it is worth the money (which, after I sell my current pedals wouldn't be too much).

In other news, I decided to mix up my training and do some mountain biking today. I bought a nice mountain bike a couple years ago and feel guilty that it hasn't gotten a lot of use since I got bitten by the road riding bug. So, I took it out to Tiger Mountain and enjoyed a nice Sunday afternoon on the trails.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Need something to do tomorrow?

Check out Redmond Derby Days. There are parades throughout the day and the nation's oldest bike race (supposedly) in the afternoon. Most importantly, there is a beer/wine garden. I'll be in the 5pm race.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Tour Tech Roundup

The Tour brings out plenty of cool new gadgets and cycling technology. Here are are some things to satisfy your gadget fetish:

Friday, July 02, 2004

Upgrade

It's official, I have upgraded from a Category 5 road racer to Category 4. This isn't too much of an accomplishment since it is entirely based on how many events you start, not how you place. Going from 5 to 4 just means you have some experience under your belt. Now, making the next jump requires some actual results.

I think getting to category 3 is a reasonable goal for someone that has a full time job and other commitments. However, I'm not even sure I want to get there yet. I'd like to build up enough points to upgrade, but I'm not sure I'd go through with it (even if you have enough points you aren't necessarily required to move to the next level). Cat 3 races are quite a bit longer and I think being competitive in them would require even more training.

Anyway, if you're curious the rules for upgrading are as follows:

  • 5-4: Experience in 10 mass start races
  • 4-3: 20 points in any 12 month period; or experience in 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top 10 finishes. 30 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade.
  • Need 25 points in any 12 month period. 60 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade.
  • Need 30 points any any 12 month period. 60 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade.


Note the key word above: qualifying. Not all races count toward upgrades. Naturally there are guidelines covering that, see below. The table below is only for men. I'm too lazy to type in the rules for women and juniors. If you're curious, check out the rulebook.

CategoryRoad RaceCritField SizeExperience
5 -> 415 mi10 mi1010 races
4 -> 325 mi20 mi3025 races
3 -> 250 mi20 mi50 
2 -> 180 mi35 mi60 


Finally, how many points are awarded for your finish? Here ya go:

CategoryRace TypePointsPlaces
4 -> 3RR or Crit7-5-4-3-2-11st -> 6th
3 -> 2SR/GC20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-11st -> 15th
RR/SR10-8-6-5-4-3-2-11st -> 8th
RR10-7-5-3-2-11st -> 6th
Crit7-5-4-3-2-11st -> 6th
2 -> 1SR/GC20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-11st -> 15th
RR/SR10-8-6-5-4-3-2-11st -> 8th
RR10-7-5-3-2-11st -> 6th
Crit7-5-4-3-2-11st -> 6th


Terms:
  • RR -> Road race
  • SR -> Stage race
  • GC -> General classification (overall finishing position)
  • Crit -> Criterium

I don't particularly like the fact that your general classification in a stage race doesn't factor in to moving from cat 4 to 3. This means that when I go to stage races I shouldn't worry about any time trials or my overall position and just focus on doing well in the criteriums and road races. Unfortunately, some stage races force you to work hard in all events because you get tossed from the race if your finish time isn't within a certain percentage of the top finisher.

Exciting stuff, eh? :)