Monday, October 16, 2006

Once Bitten Twice Shy

After last week's season opener, when some of us had aspirations of victory, this weekend I find myself taking on the humbling role of "regional racer", bowing to the powers that be - the big boys were back in town...

Frances and I made a weekend out of my Sunday race plans, heading down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with Liam and Rowan on Saturday. Liam (3 1/2) is sure he's going to either be a diver or an astronaut when he grows up - in spite of the fact that he's terrified of water and darkness. Anyhow, Liam's been devouring 1-hour episodes of Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Adventures and I think he knows more about sharks than I do. Speaking of sharks, we were fortunate to get a few good looks at the 1-year old Great White shark who is visiting the Aquarium right now.



What a truly magnificent creature. He's not any bigger than the massive tuna in the tank, but he's a mini replica of the monsters we've all seen on TV. If he's lucky he'll be the 18 ft warden patrolling the waves off Ano Nuevo in a few years - I'll try not think about that next Summer when I'm wavesailing off Waddell Creek and Davenport. As expected we had a wonderful time, Liam running from tank-to-tank and Rowan sleeping and cooing peacefully in his stroller.


Next we drove up to Soquel to stay the night with Dave and Gina, they live about 2 miles from Soquel HS so I decided to do my open-up ride on the course. Hernando was working hard there making sure the course was as bumpy and technical as possible so he'd have an excuse not to race the next day. My theory is that he threw his back out digging the holes that made remounting your bike after the double-barriers nearly impossible. Anyhow, got a pretty lousy open-up ride considering I was more worried about staying upright than getting my heart-rate up. I should have just headed straight up San Jose-Soquel Rd for a better experience.

Stayed up good and late with Dave and Gina and their wonderful friends (mmmmm cookies and beer) and hit the hay around 1AM. I got to share the air mattress with Liam, who for some reason wanted to sleep with his feet on my stomach, back, or anywhere else he could put them. Finally at 5AM I asked him what he was doing, and he whispered "I'm warming my feet, Daddy" and then rolled over and slept for another 45 minutes before he (and I) was up for the day...ugh, the joys of fatherhood...

Sunday we had a nice morning walking/scootering the bike path near Pleasure Point, and were off to the race. We parked next door to the Soquel HS at this huge playground - Liam was sliding down the hugest slide I've ever seen, and I half-wished I could just play there with him rather than participate in the wild ride next door. But I reluctantly made my way over to get my spanking.

And what a spanking it was - a 5 1/2 minute spanking by Barry Wicks...bloody hell. Got on the course while Rachel was making mincemeat of the Women's field. Couldn't really open up there so Cam and I did a little warm-up on the main road.

So, for some reason I felt completely devoid of cornering skills. I could ride everything fine and I didn't crash, but I lost the fast guys on the loosey goosey corners and not on the pedaling parts. Had a decent start and followed the leaders (Barry, BJM, AJM, Justin, Simon) until I started to lose them on the left-hander after the gnarly downhill to the tennis courts. I hit the pavement and was off the back of the leaders and already in the wind by myself (in exactly the same position I would finish). The only noteworthy happening after that was Simon getting tangled up in some netting so I got to ride with him for a lap or so. He almost brought me back to Justin but once again I couldn't hold him in the gnarly stuff. This is a little annoying because I like to think I'm a technical rider, but I guess it's all relative to the guys you're comparing yourself to. Also, I think I need to finally try those Tufo Flexus tires I glued last week - those yellow Tufo's don't seem to grab like they should in the loose stuff. Ah well, live and learn. From then on, I was on my own with nobody that I could see chasing me, and Simon and Justin slowly inching away every lap.

One other thing that was tough about the course was the flow - Lauren (Costantini) said she had a hard time recovering, but I actually felt I had a hard time hammering - after 5 or 6 pedal strokes to get up to speed you rarely needed any more because you were preparing for the next corner, obstacle, or technical section, and the only place you could really open up was on the gravel section. People were comparing this race to Hellyer but I think in spite of the bumps Hellyer was much more flowy - in-between the technical sections you could really peg it. Anyhow, in light of this and my inexplicable inability to corner I lost massive amounts of time. I wasn't alone, as everyone outside the top 7 got lapped! I ended up 6th - about where I expected, but 5:29 down??? Ugh.

Still had a lot of fun, especially hearing Liam (and Frances) scream "Go Daddy!", it made the run-up more enjoyable.

Kudos to the Bellas for a great time.

Oh, and on the way home we made the HUGE mistake of going up Rt. 1. We had forgotten about the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. It took almost 2 hours to get thru town. I was livid - it seems really unfair for a town to virtually shut down a major road like Rt. 1. The boys took it all in stride, though, so we made the best of the situation with a little "family time in the car".

8 comments:

Brent Chapman said...

I heard you grumble something when you lapped me with 2 to go...
I thought the course had some good flow, but when we were out setting it up, I knew that there was going to be an aweful lot of breakup in the flow when we saw the fresh laid gravel and how we had to dodge specific areas to keep the invitation to return open. On my single speed I did get to surge out of corners, but that only lasted so long so the flow worked well for me.

Hopefully some day in the future we can get a location to become available to allow us to really stretch out a perfect course. Its been so dry and dismal the 2 years its been tough to find that flow. Mike and Jeff did a good job, we just couldn't take out the pick axe to fix that back section by the park and let it be. People expressed concern about it and I laughed it off. The funny thing is on the last lap I dumped it in that little runup gully that I laughed at. Im still laughing.

Keep it up Funke. Your day is coming again

linebrake said...

i felt the same way on some of those corners, and my flexuseses didn't seem to be working much magic for me. i always seemed to be tiptoing around the corner at the bottom of the hill and cutting it close. i washed out the front wheel and had to dab on the first lap. i think that's one of those situations where a nice knobby clincher would probably grip better.

funkdaddy said...

btw BC I was just commenting on flow, hope it didn't sound like complaining. I truly appreciate all the time and work you guys put in, and I'll ride any course you lay out, even if I don't excel on it. Thanks for all your hard work!

Brent Chapman said...

haha no problem, I didnt think you were complaining. Its all constructive feedback plus i can claim i didnt design this last one! That was hernandos doin!

we are all in search of the eternal flow... even me, so I know what your talking about.

Its hard to get that smoothness in this dry poop and small localities. I am wanting some good old mud and packed dirt to get some of those corners that you can just rail at full speed and think about how damn fast your gonna hit that next one. Like riding a wave...

Watsonville might just give us some hope for some super flow since we have just a tad bit more room and maybe a chance for some sprinkles.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

btw - that pic of funkJunior is frickin' awesome.

funkdaddy said...

have never done a w-ville course that didn't have great flow. jc is the flowmeister of the fairgrounds...

btw can we ride the run-up, pwease? oh and request #2 for hoppable barriers.

Velo Bella said...

flow is relative

Michael wanted to put three barriers at the bottom of the Soquel run up (the big one)

I nixed that

but I'm not nixing anything that makes the wville run up rideable. Expect barriers. Expect to run.

muuuwwwaaahaaaa

Anonymous said...

not sure how to read "but I'm not nixing anything that makes the wville run up rideable. Expect barriers. Expect to run." well, if you're not nixing anything that makes it redeable - then maybe it will be like last year - some can ride it? that airline security tape before the run-up made it so most couldn't ride it. I liked it like that.