Monday, March 22, 2010

Chain reaction

I barely fixed one problem when another popped up and derailed Alistair's hopes of a podium position in the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League. I am happy to say that my Easton crank is working fine, Dura-Ace part and all. I was also able to fix the hub on my HED3 wheel, making it so that we now have a dedicated trainer wheel. Even so, a series of chain mishaps marred our weekend.

This past weekend was the Folsom Challenge. The second in the NorCal series, and Alistair's first race as part of the Oakland Composite Team. Because his mountain bike is now too small, he had hoped to ride mine. Then, during a training ride last Wednesday, he broke the chain. We were forced to go out to Folsom with the 17 inch Specialized.

First I want to remark that the NorCal race was an eye-opener. Unlike the regular road cycling races, that are held in lonely and deserted places, at inconvenient times, this race was held at a prime venue in the middle of the day. It was extremely well organized and well attended. There were spectators too, tons of them, and they were cheering!

Furthermore, the NICA organization -which is separate from USA Cycling or NORBA- appeared to have no trouble keeping track of 500+ competitors in different divisions. They posted real time results while races were ongoing and provided free wireless and 3G access. They had monitors on course to keep track of lapped riders and technical issues. No cheating here!

Because this was his first race, Alistair had to race freshman division and start in the middle of the pack. He did struggle a bit in the first section, which was on deep sand and by the time he disappeared into the woods he was probably as far back as 20th place. Nevertheless he managed to come back and by the end of lap 1, he was in the 10th spot. He moved up further and was assured of a podium spot when his chain broke, forcing him to drop out of the race. That is two broken chains in one week!

He was quickly rescued but visibly disappointed. If he had landed on the podium it would have been a first for Oakland Composite.

In the afternoon, we stopped by the Land Park Criterium and he raced Cat 3 for training. It was a shock to go from the well-attended, professionally run NorCal race to the same-as-usual, ncnca mishmash in the park.

Saturday I ran 8 miles in the hills. On Sunday I rode around a bit on my road bike, but mostly rested.

Monday, 15.5 miles in the hills. It's getting better but we are not quite there (for a PR in Boston that is).

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