Sunday, November 05, 2006

Deja Vu All Over Again...

Pilarcitos #3, McClaren Park, SF
Cat: A
Place: 3rd

I had a boat-load of excuses coming into today's race, including, foremost, the fact that I have only done two easy rides since the last Pilarcitos race. In spite of that, the absence of any of the big boys should always present an opportunity to actually win a race, and today I had the opportunity, and, as is usually the case, I completely botched it up.

The course was pretty tough - flat finish stretch (really nice location, actually) and a great run-up followed by a butt-busting climb to the top of the hill. Bumpy descent and a little climb to the big log, then a really gnarly descent to the bottom followed by another tough little climb (which would prove to be my nemesis). Then a little downhill and back to the flatlands where they put like 8 of the tightest S-turns you could imagine (they were actually faster to run if you wanted to).

So...anyone notice how damn exciting the Masters races have been lately? I truly think they're going faster than the A's, especially on days like today when it's just us local hoodlums...I really hope people appreciate how awesome the weekly Masters races turn out with D'Aluisio, Reaney, Myall, Maile, Coates, Kramer, and Howie going at it week after week. BTW Maile rode his Single-Speed to 2nd place in the M35 race which is pretty amazing considering the range of gears the rest of us were using. There is going to be some big-time Nor-Cal firepower at Masters Natz.

Anyhow, our race starts and I slide in behind Pat Rocchi on the first run-up. Pat slides out in a corner and I hit the hill in first and tempo it and hold the lead up to the big log. On the descent I was trying to decide whether to try to hop the log on the first lap, which is generally a bad idea, but I figured even if I messed it up it was all strung out so I wouldn't lose many spots. Did the hop pretty well and got to the top of the hill with a big gap. I wasn't ready to push it yet so I just tried to dial in the sections to the Start-Finish, allowing Brian Astell and a few others to catch me from behind. The hop seemed like such a huge advantage, on the next lap I made the point of riding the front over the top and down the hill, and on the 2nd lap opened another gap and decided I'd be better off alone, and started focusing on riding a clean fast race. Over the next few laps my lead increased and I was probably 30-40 seconds up on Aaron Kereluck and feeling good with about 4 to go. Lots of cheers from friends (like Scott and Gail) and a couple of hand-ups from Julie Barrot and I'm feeling pretty confident.


Photo: Jon Suzuki


...then I botched a shift and the chain goes into the spokes on the tough little climb before the descent to the S/F. ARRGH! I think everyone within a mile heard me... Had a really hard time extracting my chain and lost probably 30-ish seconds and now Aaron and Troy Barry (who bridged up from behind) were just a few seconds back. Then on the next lap I DO IT AGAIN, losing the remainder of my lead and now it's me Aaron, and Troy in front. I still felt in control and we stayed together 'til 1 to go. I lead up the run-up and try to hit it hard on the climb - SNAP! something goes in the rear end, and Troy gets by. Tire is hitting the chainstays and I tell Aaron I'm out and give him room to get by. From then on I just ride as hard as my rubbing wheel will let me, and just prayed nobody else was catching me from behind. Luckily I had a good buffer back to Brian and I was able to hobble in for 3rd.

Aaron was able to outsprint Troy for a great win on a tough course - there's proof that you never give up...congrats to Aaron and also to Troy for a great race.

I ripped the nipple clean out of my rear Helium...trashed. Dammit I just glued those with a fairly permanent tape/glue job. Think I'll try to replace that rim with a Reflex this week...wonder if I can get that Flexus off there...

I noticed there were a bunch of DNF's today so I suppose I'm lucky I got to finish. Not sure what happened to Hernando and Kid Cam, I expected them both to whup my heinie today. Only other noteworthy thing is that Mark Noble didn't show up today so I took over the lead in Series, though Aaron is not far behind now with the taste of sweet victory on his lips...

I really need to spend a little more time on bike maintenance - damn stupid to have such poorly-adjusted derailleurs that I can throw it into the spokes, though I can't say I've ever had that problem in the past. Ugh, and only this morning did I find the time to replace the seatpost that fell apart last Pilarcitos race...now that my head is above water and visiting relatives are gone perhaps I can get the bikes running smoothly again...

13 comments:

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

doh! we thought you had that one in the bag.

ah well ... we don't deserve the glories, anyway.

try and get on that damn bike so you can stick it out for the series win. kerulak will be super motivated and ... gotta say, there aren't two guys I would want to see win that thing more than either of you two.

awesome.

Anonymous said...

Nice report Funke. I think that race was about fitness and not making mistakes. Personally, I feel lucky that I was able to finish where I did with my constant bobbles, crash and a stick that took out my rear wheel. It was a course that never allowed me to push with all of the loose turns. That was my first race against Maile - he is pretty fast.. Looks like you are getting faster by not riding your bike - maybe you should try it for a few more weeks :) ...

Steve R

velogirl said...

You hopped the log? The big log on the run-up? The one that almost went up to my belly button? No way!

Bummer on the mechanicals. I've found even with my RD in alignment, if I over-shift it'll hit the spokes.

The course nearly killed me yesterday but I survived (and picked up some $$$ at the top of the run-up).

brij Lunine said...

Enjoy your blog. And thanks for the note on the masters. I can't seem to get fast enough to get in the coversation, but I'm always close enough to sniff it. Plus I always wonder what if you, Aaron and Hernandez were in the mix.

Best of luck with the next race--hopefully the mechanicals are just coming in pairs,
Brij Lunine

Brent Chapman said...

DNF day for me too.
Knees are getting too old. :)

You looked pretty damn clear when you lapped me.. but AK was locked and loaded waiting for that opportunity that came.

I think AK's look after he won was worth you losing (sorry!).. but he was in shock that he won a race and in a total DAZE.. That was a great thing to see someone who races for years without a win to finally get one. Thats the never quit spirit.

a. kereluk said...

it was a joy and a pleasure john. some of the best gentlemanly aggression i can remember in a race. my heart soared like the eagle when, 3 abreast, you, Troy and I tried to squeeze into the little right hander before the fast downhill, just to our left, hundred feet below, wonderful multi level dwellings perched under a planet of the apes-esque rocky cliff. oh the danger - thank you Frisco!
oh, maybe you can have the gg park grand prix (grand prix paul curley?), like they say in the canyons of mexico were the men have no shoes and eat from the ground, "money talks". but really, i coulda savored it more except for the pain you guys inflicted upon me. but , some beers and victory apple pie aligned my hemispheres ... maybe cycling has'nt completely ruined my life...????
aaron k.
p.s. thank you for kind words of niceness mr. Hernandez!

funkdaddy said...

ov - actually i'd have liked you in the mix as well - after race 1 I thought we were gonna go toe-to-toe, and i'm bummed you've had worse mechanicals...

sr - it's great to watch you race right before our race - you inspire me.

velogirl - yes that log. oh, and i also picked up $5 c/o Boozley's "High Five Preme" on the backside.

brij - i've been seeing yer name creeping up the results this year

bc - yeah but i've never won a race, either :-( i promise if it ever happens to me i'll savor it just as much.

ak - it's great sharing the podium and bumpin' elbows with ya - you won cuz you were rock solid as always. glad you savored the moment. next time the boyz are out of town i wants me a rematch...

Anonymous said...

Hey Funke,
That is cool to hear that we can inspire you. I can say that seeing you come back from your injury and to be so strong is also very encouraging.

I also was forced off of the "dirt" for more than 4 yrs by a bulging disc and sciatica. This is my first full season back and I am always walking a fine line...

It is great to see you be able to balance career, family and injury and still be able to bunny hop! I am envious. Good luck and see you out there.

steve

funkdaddy said...

Oh man, tell me about that fine line - no off-the-bike training for me this week, the back is waaay jacked this week - so much so that i'm on the fence for racing this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Stop bunny hopping then! Before my back problems picnic tables were not a problem on my mtn bike. Now I am cautious with logs on my mtn bike. The cross bike creates even more strain to the lower back. Always try to keep your back in a neutral position. Also the hips are important to keep loose and neutral as well - cycling can really bind them up( but I think you know this). Especially when you crash on them EVERY week like I do! This is my experience and only advice - you will have to learn what is possible/best for you... Best of luck though.

steve

funkdaddy said...

I wish it were that simple. For me, if I can stay on the bike, my back is happy. It was a high-speed dismount that did me in at '04 Districts, and it was Sunday's high-speed dismount into the run-up that's got me groaning right now...

Oh, and I'm fairly certain if I crash just once this year it will be the end of my season.

Anonymous said...

that is complicated -maybe one day we will get a chance to compare notes.

you teach me how to bunny-hop witout killing my back and I will tell you how I dismount to avoid back strains...

s

Brent Chapman said...

Well pooh, now I feel bad seeing you never one a race either...

I guess you have spanked me so many times I figured you won some here and there.

I always have my memories of wins in the C's and that moment of glory I will cherish winning the C's race at districts.. LOL

Nothing since