Monday, June 20, 2011

First Race in the US

Ah, we now have internet at home! Took only just over two months to get it-- welcome back to American style customer service!
But things are settling in: Got jobs, got the apartment, got phones, a gym membership, the obligatory Ikea items, and I even have a new favorite training spot. Above is the Panasonic at Golden Gate Park's Polo Grounds, which features what is basically a big velodrome. It's an oval just over one kilometer around with just slightly banked turns. It's perfect as long as there aren't too many baby joggers and dog walkers around.

And got this guy (above). Buster's been waiting patiently for us to return from Japan, and probably he is what I missed most about the US. Him and burritos.

Last Saturday was my first "real" race in the US, meaning one sanctioned by USA Cycling. The "Festival of Speed" time trials at Hellyer. I did flying 200 and the dreaded kilo. This is the 200 above and below.

The 200 was my best yet at Hellyer, a 12.34, which tied for best time, much to my surprise. Seems a long way from my best 200 of last year (11.65 seconds), but I'm learning that the time on its own is fairly irrelevant. What matters more is, where did you do it? The Japanese tracks are just faster. But I'm making better and better friends with Hellyer.

The kilo was another matter. First time doing one on Hellyer so I didn't really know what to expect. I tried a bigger gear than I've used before (50x14 for 96.4") as an experiment. Seems it worked well for the 200, but for the kilo, I think it was too big. I'm just not strong enough to start that gear properly, so I think I lost some time in the first lap.

I'm also still just plain afraid of Hellyer's shallow, bumpy turns, and I know I'm not reaching the peak speed I'm really capable of. Time was 1:12.53, which was the best time. So I shouldn't complain, it's a win in my first race, but still the time is not what I'd hoped. I've been aiming for a 1:08 this season, and 1:12 is a looooooong way off that.

Here it is, the first number I've pinned on since, oh, 1992? Nostalgic. I'm glad so glad to still be doing this sport!

The Kachimamori still works on the other side of the Pacific! I should start selling these things...

Nice sky at Hellyer. I think it got near 90˚ that day. I was burnt to a crisp three hours later...

The numbers. Read 'em and weep!

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