Asia Cycles

Racing, rides, and rants.

Quiz Yourself on Women’s Cycling

Check out this awesome quiz by Amazon on a Bicycle to learn a little bit more about women’s cycling. 

NOW Bar Criterium // USAC SoCal Cup #6 // June 8 // Costa Mesa

My first podium placement at a CBR criterium. After about 7-10 races (not sure) it was such a relief to finally be in the top 3. Moriah Swan won 2nd by less than an inch! If you look at that first photo, on the far right, you can really see how close we were.

Race Report // My 1st Omnium at the Velo Sports Center // Friday Night Racing // Carson, CA // May 30th, 2014

My goals for this omnium included staying with the pack and being cautious. I signed up without any knowledge of the competition, but knew that most of the girls/women had done the three Friday Night Races before this final event of the series. I was the least experienced racer by far, having only trained (not raced) on this track maybe two or three times.

(My First) 3K Belgium Win and Out

This race was such a confusing mess for me. I thought that simply understanding how it worked in my mind was enough to secure some kind of placement within the actual race.

For those of you that don’t already know what a Belgium Win and Out is or for those of you that haven’t Googled it yet, here’s how it works. Once the race has begun and after a specified number of neutral laps are ridden (we rode 11), a bell is rung and the winner of the next lap (our 12th lap) wins 5th place and exits the track. A bell is rung again and whoever wins the next lap gets 4th, the winner of the next lap gets 3rd, and so on until 1st place is won.

My strategy, once again, involved staying with the pack. I wanted a better placement than 5th, so therefore planned to hang back until 5th, and maybe 4th had already been taken. I ended up not placing in the top 5 at all. Once the first bell had rung the race became a whirlwind and I ended up not having a clue as to where I even stood. My first mistake was not knowing how big the field was. I thought there were 6 racers, including me, but there were actually 8. I also hadn’t thought to count the laps ridden after the first bell. Instead I tried to find my ground and base my current position on whoever I was riding next to.

The race ended before I could get a hold on anything and as I slowed down to meet the boyfriend (shutuplegs) as he entered the apron for his race, I flat out exclaimed, "What happened???" I walked down the ramp sheepishly, awkwardly, hoping no one would notice how perplexed I felt.

8K Points Race

Since I felt so out of place (pun intended) from the last race, for the 32-lap points race I chose to feel it out. I just wanted to see if I could keep up with the other racers’ attacks and maintain the endurance to finish in the top 5 (as if it were just a scratch race).

However, in the event that I felt strong enough to attack, I quickly learned that riding second on the black line is a great way to get yourself boxed in. You’d think I would know this from all the racing I’ve done at the Encino velodrome, but I realized I’ve really only participated in shorter sprints, pursuits, and other individualized races over yonder. When you’re in this position, those riding on your right are apt to get really uncomfortably close to you. More than once I felt forced onto the apron, yet instead of moving I just yelled “Stay! Stay! Stay!” or “Stay?! Are you serious???”

Trying to hold such a position was certainly a lesson in closeness; when you’re forced to keep your cool riding less than an inch away from another track cyclist, when there’s absolutely nowhere to go except out, as the inevitable G-forces press your whole rookie existence into each turn. I thought about crit racing and how this experience might actually help me maintain more uncomfortable closeness on the road bike.

I felt much more accomplished in this race than the first. Although I hadn’t won any points, I was proud that I had kept up with the attacking group and had kept my cool.

5K Scratch Race

I was excited for the 20-lap scratch because these races are a little bit less about strategy and a lot more about endurance, conserving energy, and sprinting to the finish. Despite my high hopes, hilarity ensued as I crashed out most of the field by riding too slowly during the neutral lap.

I left the rail first and attempted to lead out, when halfway into the first turn I felt my rear wheel start to slide and my body begin to fall to the right. It was such a slow fall. When I first felt the slip I thought, "Oh, so this is what it feels like to ‘crash’."The following clanks and thuds were minimal, everyone was okay, and we were able to start our race again. Several people told me that it wasn’t my fault, which were kind enough words, however I knew if I had been riding a little faster my bike wouldn’t have slipped. Lesson learned.

During our second attempt at starting the scratch race, I spent a lot more time in the front, fearful of going much slower than whatever slow speed had caused the slide. During one of these laps I pulled up track, only to have the entire field attack. I was way above them at this point and watched them quickly form a pace-line. Luckily, I was high enough on the track to use its “down-hill” momentum to latch onto the back before they got away.

The last 3 laps were about gaining momentum and the last lap and a half was an exciting all-out sprint. I was able to stay with the lead group and finished 4th.

In Conclusion…

It was an awesome night of racing. I was so nervous but I am so grateful I participated. I’m grateful for the wonderful women/fellow racers who still wanted to talk to me after the crash (haha!), and especially for Ivy, a gregarious 13-year-old going on 20, who was one of the first to introduce herself. I really enjoyed being a part of this community and I’m looking forward to showing up more often.

engine11:

Racing couple #teamengine11 #engine11 #fridaynightrace @brainvacation77 @hugelandmass

Obviously, this required a re-blog. <3

engine11:

Racing couple #teamengine11 #engine11 #fridaynightrace @brainvacation77 @hugelandmass

Obviously, this required a re-blog. <3

engine11:

The last series of Friday night race #lavelodrome #stubhubcenter #teamengine11 @brainvacation77 @kunfuzion @mikethecheetah @hugelandmass

The Engine11 orcas are at it again!

engine11:

The last series of Friday night race #lavelodrome #stubhubcenter #teamengine11 @brainvacation77 @kunfuzion @mikethecheetah @hugelandmass

The Engine11 orcas are at it again!

Friday Night Racing // Velo Sports Center // May 30th

Many thanks to Gus Sarmiento and Steve Cohen for the last three pictures.

Another successful GFUNK. A short and speedy 25 miles.

bicycleart:

Gianluca Fallone – Pista

via

Stoked on these graphics of a female athlete who is not naked or being objectified on her two-wheeled machine of KICK ASS.

She Wolf Attack Team & Jo Celso // Women’s Crit Clinic // LA

She Wolf Attack Team & Jo Celso // Women’s Crit Clinic // Recap

Hairpin Turns

The worst mistake that people make is trying to ride the turn an equal distance around the entirety of the impeding cone. Inexperienced cyclists see the the maneuver as one turn, rather than two. Whether you’re riding fixed or road, trying to take the turn in a “perfect” half-circle only causes you to lose momentum and waste energy trying to gain it back. (see Sticky 1A* for an example of what not to do).

The correct way to take a hairpin, in an effort to maintain the momentum you’ve gathered to arrive at the maneuver, is to start wide, turn slightly, then swing in more aggressively at the apex. You should be leaving the turn closer to the cone than when you entered (see Sticky 1B*).

* That square-thing represents a cone, btw.

Crash Prevention // Cycling is a Contact Sport

"It’s amazing to me how cycling has this reputation for not being a contact sport," Celso said with a slight smirk, "One time two women in one of my races completely interlocked handlebars and kept riding in a straight line until they eventually came apart." A relieving confirmation of my previous rant, Celso explained that in every single one of her elite races she has rubbed shoulders, knocked elbows, and/or grazed handlebars with other cyclists. When this happens, and it will, it’s a simple matter of learning to stay calm, to pedal through the shock, and to hold your line until it’s over.

Celso stood over her frame and motioned with her hands towards her front wheel, “This…is your whole world.” It’s up to you to make sure your front wheel doesn’t touch or overlap anyone in or around this frontal area. "If you hit someone, it’s your fault." You can’t worry about the cyclist that’s next to you or to your right and slightly farther back because if they run into you, that means they failed at keeping it safe.

Pace-lining // Conserving Energy

Are you trying to conserve energy or shake your tail feathers? Whether you’re pulling the pace line to prove something, to show off your endurance, or “hold your own,” if you’re heading up the front for more than 3 seconds then shame on you! Most likely you’ll tire yourself out, making it that much harder to recover and jump back into the draft, compared to a teammate or competitor who was smarter and/or experienced enough to rotate immediately.

Celso said it plainly, “Those that make it to the front and drill the pace line make it impossible for the last person to catch on….a crit is the laziest of all cycling races… it’s about whoever can conserve the most energy and use their strength when it counts.” So unless you know you have the speed and stamina to lose the pack early on, your best bet is to sit in and rotate, rotate, rotate.

Lastly, drafting is an art and a tactic you have to get used to. Riding closely to the rear wheel of the person in front of you means you’re using around 30% less energy and can therefore conserve more energy for the final sprint. Being able to jump back into the pace line to stay on someone’s wheel can make or break your race. Celso says, “1 ft. behind someone’s wheel vs. 4 feet behind someone’s wheel can determine if you’re going to get dropped or stay with the group.” 

Many Thanks

Thank you Jo Celso for coming all the way from San Diego to share your expertise and Susie Lowber for once again leading an awesome S.W.A.T. // C U Next Tuesday Ride!