Monday, January 21, 2008

Fourteen Fabulous Women, and Three Fabulous Men......


On one cycling adventure in Discovery Bay, and the hills of Morgan Territory. Training camp it was, with women from all kinds of brilliant backgrounds on the Dolce Vita Women's Racing team. Who're the men, you ask? The one and only Chad Fischer, of course. The soon to be dad, with his bike in tow, drove hours and miles to show up, and lead, reprimand (in all good ways of course), laugh, and generally kick ass in the director department. The other two men are Jamaine and Bret from Flight of the Conchords. I'm pretty sure this was the hardest I have laughed in a long time.

One of my highlights of the weekend was getting to witness all of my teammates go to new levels with their riding. Whether it was on the bike, or off the bike, development happened. I'm proud to be a Diva!!

Thanks To ALL OF YOU, for a great weekend!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Let the New Year Get Under Way!!

Whew! It was my birthday, my friend John from Wisco rode a Test Mountain Bike in the Early Birds, and hung in there, a bunch of Cat. 4 women raced really well at the Early Birds, some of my DV teammates worked their arses off, and raced very well! Thanks to Roman for the help, holy smokes that was great. Thanks to Larry? Or who was it? I am sure the excitement will continue, but this last weekend was a good one.

Thanks to everyone who celebrated my birthday with me! Thanks to those of you who sent their wishes from elsewhere around the globe!

May everyone who has started racing recover well, from such bouts of intensity, and race smart.

Onward HO~!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

TRAIN, RACE, TRAIN, RACE, Practice the Emergency Stop.

Which will it be this weekend? Hmmm, somewhat of a no-brainer, right? First 'racing' weekend of the season, with stories of last year's broken collarbones, and femurs, and yea, the Early Birds.

Here's the mantra in positive semantics: "I always have my rubber side down," "I remain upright at all times." "I can bunny hop large piles of cyclists".

But, when the mantras don't cut it:

I'll say this: getting out there in the mentoring clinics, before you race, will certainly be useful in the area of reminding the nervous system about the whole going fast and turning right and left thing.

In the event of a mishap in front of you, choose to hold your line...Easier said than done. But, hold my line when I'm about to go down? What? Why is that? Well, when you decide to swerve to avoid someone, or a group of someones flailing in a pile in front of you, you force the rider behind you to T-bone you, or swerve as well. If there's a curb where you swerve, or another rider, then guess what? More people are in danger of going down than might be, if you held your line.

Stopping Your Bike in an Emergency. Remember your front brake has more stopping power than your rear brake. If you apply them evenly, you can stop the bike effectively, very quickly.

Practice slowing down fast, to a strategically applying even pressure to the brakes, pushing your weight back over the center of the bike, hunker down toward the top tube. You can stay upright, while holding your line, track stand for a millisecond before putting your foot down, or before rolling to safety while still upright. Avoiding the whole pile-up by simply braking strategically. The pile-up simply won't be as severe.

So, what about getting hit from behind? Well, take the width of your body from behind: It's roughly between 12-18 inches, no? Maybe a little more for some folks. Then, take the width of your body looking at say, the show-side of your bike, if you swerve to the right: It's probably 4-6 FEET, based on the length of your wheel base. Which 'area' is more likely to get hit by a moving object from any direction? I think the wider one.

So, practice using those brakes strategically....NOT in corners or in response to someone yelling some goofy thing in the pack, or anything, but in the event that you have to save your BOOTIE, and the ones behind you. Say yes to SAFE BRAKING, before knee-jerking to swerve in an emergency. Practice, Practice, practice!

And, I repeat: This is not to be done while the pack is moving forward in the regular cycling direction in response to some 'fear' of something happening. I only recommend this strategy for response to an impending position on top of, or into the center of a pile of downed cyclists, or those in the process of becoming a pile.

Battle Scar from doing in Wrong: Final sprint, slightly downhill, very wide road, 39 miles an hour, tried to go around, go around, go around the carnage, and whammo, front end hits a curb, and there I go...onto the local bike path neighboring the race course in a Superwoman Swan Dive: Stitches in chin from nice friend who was a Physician's Assistant, DNF, no racing for a few days, had to get skull bones reorganized.

Battle Scar from doing it Right: Final sprint, 30+ miles per hour, flat, very wide road, burned a hole in my sew-up, rolled around the pile, finished 25th (and they paid 26 deep...kidding). But, you see, I had my sense of humor intact, simply from the pleasant memory.

Keep The Rubber Side Down.