Monday, May 11, 2009

Berkeley Hills / 2

Berkeley Hills Road Race
race: E3
result: DNF (crash)

My goals for the race were extremely modest: help my teammate Ryan if I could, but otherwise, to just hang in there as long as possible. Sickness, travel, and a minor running injury have all worked against attaining any continuity in my training this year: for example, in April I rode one weekend out of four. And it showed: climbing power was a solid 20 watts lower than it was last year. But things were on the upswing: I'd finally gotten a hint of strength this past week. Thanks to Mr. C for the encouragement: I'd take Berkeley Hills one lap at a time.

The first lap it was fairly easy up Mama Bear, harder up Papa. Three more times of this? I didn't want to think about that: just focus on eating, drinking, and avoiding the tail end of the pack.

The second lap things were similar up Mama, then easier up Papa. Sure, I missed the neutral water, which meant I needed it the following lap. Needing water is always a dicey proposition in the chaos of a cat 3 feed. But so far, so good. The thought began to leak into my brain... hey, you might actually finish this after all.

Then after Papa, I have no idea what happened. Suddenly the guy in front of me was going down, his front wheel rubbing against the rear of rider ahead. "I'm going to crash", I thought, and that's what happened. I was on the ground. One guy rolled into me, so I rolled into a ball. No more carnage.

The bike got a few scrapes, but after I restraightened my bars and my shift lever, things seemed relatively okay. Breathing on my right side is a bit labored: a bruised rib, perhaps. I'll need to give that a few days to see how it improves.

After visiting the medical supply box at the feed zone, I rolled down to see Cara, still recovering from her mountain bike crash 2 1/2 weeks ago, marshaling at Happy Valley Road (the base of Papa Bear). After she sent me back up the hill to do a better job dressing my wounds, I returned and scoured the side of the road between Mama and the feed zone for discarded bottles and gel wrappers, in partial fulfillment of my post-ride clean-up duties. I stacked the bottles I found on the curb, for easier spotting, and gathered the wrappers or neutral water bottles for trash or recycling.

When Cara was finished marshaling, we headed to the S/F (picking up a few more roadside bottles along the way) for more attention. Ibuprofin, I was told, for the rib, and careful cleaning for the road rash. By the time I got there, though, Dave Parrish and his clean crew had already left for their post-race circuit of the course. Ah, well, at least I was able to help a bit.

It's frustrating to show for a race and not get the chance to succeed or fail on the bike, instead of off of it. But at least the signals I got from the two laps I was in the race were encouraging.

P.S. No power data... somewhat unsatisfying, but I've got to take my Reynolds MV32-T with Velomax Carbon tire over my heavy Powertap rear wheel in a race like this. Sometimes, it's good to strip down and get basic, anyway.

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