Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Devonport 2

Day 2 of Devonport looked alot like day 1, but colder. Cari smacked some women around, the Malaysians are too fast for thier own good, the hometown boys had the killer start marks and won the wheelraces and we stayed pretty consistent. Despite illness and lack of speed, I kept within .03 seconds of Kelyn and kept my head above water in the wheelraces.

It's pretty clear now that if I head to any World Cups next year I'll need a few weeks or a month in a warm place with an open track. Cari is already planning a pre WC/carnivals training session in Melbourne next year. There's talk of a Melbourne house for US track racers similar to the Belgium house for US cyclocross and road racers. Seems like that would be the key to carrying over form and pushing each other on to bigger things.

So instead of obsessing about the minor details of a bunch of races I didn't win, here's my moment of the day: I'm sitting at the car, winding down after a wheelrace heat and a shabby looking guy with a loaded touring bike walks over and starts talking to Cari. Turns out this guy is named Ward, is from rural Iowa, and is riding his bike around the world with his wife. Ward used to own a bike shop back home, and one day he and his wife decided that this huge world tour is something they wanted very strongly to accomplish. So after the kids went to college, they sold the shop, sold the car, sold the house, sold everything and bought 2 touring bikes and a plane ticket. Now 32 countries and 3 years later, they end up in Tasmania at the Carnivals, talking to Americans for the first time in months. Ward is probably one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. The idea of dropping the common social constraints of the "american dream" and following your own damn dream is incredible to me. The nerve, the vicious determination involved! What a pair of originals. So we got some pictures, talked for a while and went on our separate ways. If you want to keep up with Ward and Jacky check out From The Benches Of The World.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Devonport day 1

This weather is crap! Woke up this morning feeling absolutely miserable and listening to the rain outside. Still 5 hours for the skies to clear before racing starts, but the news this morning is all doom and gloom about the weather.

The first day of Devonport was actually quite good. Since the carnival is split over two days, we only had one UCI race to do on top of the wheelraces. That UCI event would be the kierin. I was feeling pretty good about myself after yesterday and my goal was pretty clear: figure out my round and do nothing wrong. Once again it was 2 go through with a stacked field, so saying "I want to qualify" would be like hopping in my truck and saying "I want to drive a top 5 in a F1 race." So I started at the back and watched everything shake out. One of the Malaysians was trying to push Perkins off the track (despite perko being twice his size) and they were inspiring the rest of the field to get amongst it for the first few laps. I was rolling at the back with a small gap, watching everything shake out when I saw one of the Kiwi kilo riders swing just a bit too high off Azizul Awang's wheel and I fired off a good one and took the wheel from him. So here I am, 2 to go, motor pulls off, I'm on the wheel of the fastest guy in the race thinking "SWEET." One to go and I'm actually entertaining the thought of sticking to Awang and maybe me sneaking in for a second place. Then he jumps. It's not like I missed it, I could see him winding up for it. As he stood up and jumped, I stood up and jumped. And as I jumped I watched him accelerate away so fast it didn't even seem natural. My brain had a bit of trouble grasping how fast he was traveling. Either way, I made it to mid-field and he made it to 4 bike lengths off the front of the field in about as many pedal strokes.
Just before he jumped.
The lightning wheelrace went much better. Not much you can explain about such a short race. Just making it into the finals is an accomplishment in itself, as every heat starts with 25 and only the top 3 go through. The Devonport oval was being whipped by an offshore wind all day, so the homestraight was a stiff headwind. I went out hard, caught the front markers, hid from the wind and went with one of the kiwis in the last 100m to grab second in the heat and make it through to the final. Kelyn made it through his heat as well, so we were both in the big show off the same mark. Starting off 55 in a 1k handicap is a tough mark. You're pretty far from the frontmarkers, and at the same time, if the scratchmen catch, they'll have a full head of steam and you'll never have a chance. So the challenge is to keep it fast enough at the front to overtake the guys off 150 and keep the scratchmen behind you, at the same time saving enough for a sprint. Tough to do by yourself, so you have to split up the work. As the only one of us who's been on the track doing sprint work in the last 2 months, Kelyn was drafted to do the finish, while I would do the bitch work in the first 700m. We were off to a decent start, caught the frontmarkers reasonable quickly, I hit the front at full noise with 500m to go and pulled off at about 150. Somewhere in there Kelyn lost my wheel, but still managed to snake by for 3rd. Only 2 of the 5 scratchmen caught, and they would be the two in this picture:

Lightning Finish
So overall, the day went well. Made enough money to have a decent New Years Eve and raced smart. It took until the last day at Burnie last year for us both to make a final, so things are looking up.

Devonport day 1

Sunday, December 28, 2008

slinging spew at the silverdome

At my darkest moment yesterday; legs seizing, lungs full of fluid, couldn't breath, head spinning, I reeled toward the bathroom and came across a sign that it could always be worse. One of the Malaysian sprinters was doubled over the toilet, wretching the last little bits of his breakfast into the porcelain, making this horrible howling sound like he was being stabbed by some invisible torturer while it was all happening. He had just been very publicly smashed by Shane Perkins in the sprints. Immediately I feel better.

Racing actually went fairly well yesterday. Despite the poorly timed cold that has made itself at home in my chest, I managed to ride halfway decent and not look like a complete a-hole. My 200m time was nearly a half second faster than last year with (with no track time for 2 months) and only a hundredth of a second slower than Kelyn's. The depth of field for the racing this year is pretty incredible. Both on the sprinter side and enduro side, seems like it's the who's who of Oceanea. It's a bit disheartening to see previous winners of wheelraces and national champions starting 50 or 100 meters in front of you in a short wheelrace, but what can you do? HTFU. So the even the heats are rediculously quick. For instance. Our 2k handicap heat today finished in 2:08. The final finished in 2:01. Holy cow. Tactically I'm feeling great and I know where to be and when to get there, but my legs cannot match that much speed endurance. So on to the kierin. I lined up with Shane Perkins, Shane Niblett, Azizul Awang, Joel Leonard, and Razil Tisin. 4 of those 5 are current Olympic riders, and Joel Leonard has been doing World Cups lately. So for me to earn my start money, I at least need to put on a good show for the 3000 people in the stands and who are hollering like banshees for anyone that shows some flash. So whaddya do? You put on a 98 inch gear, right turn up to the rail before the motor pulls off, come screaming down and a thousand miles an hour brushing everyone's shoulders to keep them from jumping with you and take off at the front for a lap. Of course I didn't win, but for the first time I could hear the deafening roar of several thousand people loosing thier minds at a bike race.

Of course I didn't win. Or get second. So I didn't qualify. But who cares? The final was essentially a world cup round and I pulled the move of the night in my heat, so who can complain? I've never raced in a 98 before and last year I was getting dropped off the back of every kierin I did here with 2 laps to go.

So Devonport today. I'm hacking multicolored goo at an alarming rate, but f#@& that. Didn't fly around the world to sit in the hotel room and cry about it. As chopper would say...


Friday, December 26, 2008

thanks qantas!

After leaving our bikes on the tarmac in Melbourne, Qantas finally delivered our bikes. After most of the racing was over.
The sprints went by with no rides. As did the keirin and the first wheelrace. Finally right before the feature wheelrace heats were about to go off, Cari's phone finally went off and to the gates we ran. This gave us a solid 30 minutes to warm up, which wasn't so bad. Went for a spin on the road, investigated a little of backcountry Tasmania and got back to the track just in time to line up for the race... and run for cover as the rain started dumping. 2 hours later, with no open track or warmup: "RIDERS TO THE LINE."
All things considered, everything after that went fairly well. After two months of almost exclusive strength training I managed to not completely detonate at any point in the 3k full noise handicap, and simply ran out of gas after a tactically sound race, ending up around 6th with 4 going through.

And that was the day.

Tomorrow is unfortunately a day off. The next day is my favorite track: the Launceston Silverdome. A beautiful indoor board track packed out with tons of spectators and plenty of crazed intermission entertainment. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Christmas with the Starrs was pretty great as usual. Nancy and Rick threw down a huge Christmas Eve dinner for everybody, Rico and the parents threw down some hilariously entertaining argument, everybody threw back a bit of champagne, and I ate so much I was a forkfull of stuffing away from throwing up. The Starrs made Kelyn and I feel at very much at home on Christmas Day. Even got us some rad-sweet presents.

After making both our flights with several seconds to spare, we finally landed in Launceston yesterday. Trouble is, our bikes never made it out of Melbourne. So Latrobe is a hour and a half drive from here, racing starts at 10, and our bike should get to Launceston by 10. Math. Doesn't. Work.
So maybe we'll get bikes by the time the feature handicap heats start. Maybe. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

from LAX

You know what's funny? Sitting in an airport bar, listening to an LA sports radio dj argue with a half-drunk kiwi about whether rugby or football is more manly and violent. I love airports.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

all tomorrow's parties

In 24 hours I will be in LA.


Even though that city is a steaming poo-hole, at least it's about 60 degrees warmer than Colorado (high of 12 tomorrow!), and I only have to be there for 6 hours. Long enough to sneak out of LAX for a greasy meal and maybe a 9 dollar beer. The low here tonight should be a downright tropical 1 degree. I'M OUT! My sunblock, multicolored wifebeaters, acapuclo shirts and speedos are packed. Get me on that plane.

Armed. Locked and loaded. Ready to get reckless. Wreckless.

The UCI sprint series start lists are impressive to the point where I'm so outgunned I'm not even nervous (which says a lot). I'm walking into a gunfight with a knife, but why not? I have zero track time, so my 200s will be less than stellar, but the beauty of the carnivals is the wheelrace. The beauty of the wheelrace is its total unpredictability. You can look at it through an economic filter. To win the UCI sprint series: 500 bucks. To win a minor wheelrace: $1000. To win a feature wheelrace: $15,000. So if I can't even make the sprint rounds but make the right move in one of the wheel finals, there's my rent for a year. Even top 10 in a final nets more cash than my roundtrip tickets. It's like a Vegas poker room if there was a thug with a pipe wrench breaking 1 of every 40 collarbones in the room. The odds are for you making it out clean, but against you making off with any of the house's dough. But luck can change either way.
"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

5 days to go

Till I start my favorite/least favorite journey. I love being in the South Pacific, but getting there couldn't be less fun. Fly to LA and sit there for 8 hours... Just to get on a plane for a 13 hour flight. Gross. No complaints though, I'm just happy to go again and test myself against the wheelraces, now that Kelyn and I have a better idea of what we're doing. Should be interesting to see what I can do after a hard summer and 3 months off the track. Still snowdrifts on turns 1 and 2, so all my on the bike training has been on the BT for the last month...

The good news is that when I get back there'll be an indoor velodrome waiting in Boulder. Looks like the track surface is done and their just plugging away at red tape to get the sucker open.

Open your velodrome! Get me off this trainer! I will pay to ride!

Monday, December 15, 2008

watch this video right now

Presidential Duck

Apparently this guy is a hero in the mideast now. He's my new favorite.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I decided my site needed to look much better than Tuckerman's so here ya go. Now 100% pro-er. Links are all updated, so checkemout.

Sunday, December 07, 2008