Sunday, June 12, 2016

K-W Classic OCUP: A Familiar Refrain

I like the K-W (Kitchener-Waterloo) Classic for a few reasons: 

It was my first-ever road race, even if it was a completely different and far less scenic course in 2013; it was the scene (sort of) of one of my stupider mistakes; and also because the race runs through Mennonite farm country, and the technical guide has this lovely typo (uncorrected in two years), that asks riders "when passing a horse and buggy please give the horses lots of room and do not make any unseen gestures to the Mennonites". (Like secret gang signs or Masonic handshakes, I guess.) And in truth there were a lot of horse-drawn buggies and black-clad farmers scattered around the course. (On the question of "who looked goofier to whom" I'd the say the cyclists had the edge.)

"I hope I never have to witness climbing that bad ever again."
Anyway, it's a nice course through farm country, with a few rollers and one longer slow climb near the start with a bit of a kick-up. The roads were mostly in OK condition, and a bit damp at first to go along with the regular bursts of manure, and there was a brisk SW wind that made the back half of the course pretty tiring (unless you were in the peloton, of course). The first two laps, that's where I was, happily motoring along at 37+ kph on 150-170W lap average and a comfortable 75% MHR. In lap one I'm in the middle of the pack somewhere; in lap two I'm at the back of the pack but manage to surf my way about a third of the way up. That's because I'm desperately trying to get some cushion for when I get passed on the one long-ish climb of the course, which is what happened on the second time up.

And on lap three, of course, everything goes to rat-shit. Third time up I was too far back in the pack, got passed by everybody like I was riding backwards, and was gapped at the top. Again.

Let me just pause a minute here and speak to the particular, small hell that is that moment when, as an under-talented & over-aged amateur bike racer, you lose the wheel of the main group. They are so close, so tantalizingly close, a matter of 10, 15, 20 metres...  and yet nothing can make your screaming legs push hard enough to cover the wattage difference represented by the Peloton Effect, and latch back on. Better men than I can heroically make this jump. But there's something about being gassed at the top of a dispiriting climb that just crushes the fight out of me. I'm like the left-behind Vietnamese kids on the roof of the American Embassy at the Fall of Saigon, waving helplessly as the last overloaded helicopter lumbers up and away into the burning sky, without them, forever. (OK maybe not that dramatic. But, y'know. A bummer.)*

What drive me nuts is if I were to put out the same power numbers I get while riding the resultant  shat-out-the-back time trial, inside the peloton – I might be in the thick of things. And actually do some racing.

Because here's how it looks:
Lap One: 16:44, averaging 37.2 kph, 150 HR (75% max) and 151W; cool; perfect.
Lap Two: 16:33, averaging 37.7 kph, 162 HR (81%) 171W; up a bit, but totally manageable.
Lap Three: Rat shit. 18:34, 33.2 kph, 177 HR (well over lactate threshold, uh-oh we know what comes next); but with an average of 205W. 205 watts inside the peloton probably means I'm chasing down a break or something. But on my own, it's just downhill from there, the laps getting slower, the HR climbing, and the power diminishing – but even on the last, slowest lap I averaged more power – 173W – than I put out on my fastest lap. How fucking stupid is that?

The culprit? that bloody climb. The difference? 5 seconds. Hawkesville Hill climb #3 was 5 seconds slower than climb #1 (1:42 vs 1:47). And that was the insurmountable gap. Climb #4, gassed and out of the peloton, was another 20 seconds on top of that. And it's a bad downward spiral that only got worse. The guys in the thick of it, on the other hand, had pretty consistent times up that climb (+/- 1:40), every time.

As ever, I found another guy to ride with for the last few laps (Kevin Gibson, Waterloo Cycling Club, high five!), so at least I'm getting good at recruitment. But even then, when he wanted to race in the last couple of hundred meters to the finish ("It's a race after all," he said, and I totally agreed, goddamn it) I couldn't even muster up a decent fight to the line.

So I gutted it out and finished, which is its own kinda victory (mostly I was driven by not wanting to be the only guy on the team showing a DNF when we posted results on the club Facebook site on the following Monday). But I will admit I was dreadfully envious of my teammates who were in the thick of it til the end, and got to talk about it afterwards. I'm kinda done with moral victories.

This I think is the nature of races in Ontario.  Really, all it takes is to be 5 or 10 seconds slow on one of those climbs and it's over. For me, anyway. So, at least I know, unequivocally, what I need to work on. And I have the Flyers' own racing & training guru, Warren Shiau, on the case helping me out with workout suggestions.

In short: Hello, Brimley Hill!

* A small homage to the late, great Spalding Gray there. Anyone familiar with "Swimming to Cambodia" will know what I'm talking about.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Steve Bauer (Niagara) Classic: Effingham Still F-ing

The venerable Niagara Classic was re-christened The Steve Bauer Classic this year

Which was a nice touch and a tip of the hat to a local guy who was only one of the greatest cyclists Canada ever produced. Steve himself was fully in attendance, running stuff and presenting prize vegetables at the podium ceremonies (the lead sponsor was a hydroponic farm company, prompting many to comment that the prize pack might have benefited from some other type hydroponic vegetation along with the admittedly gorgeous sweet peppers); and if he had a hand in changing the finish to the top of Effingham, I would add that he's not only a great cyclist, but also a sadistic bastard.

We also got some nice team results on this one, with Dan Donovan coming in 2nd and Mike Fawcett 11th in M3; Chris D was 27th in E4; Nat Wise got 5th in E3 Women (in her first race!) and Molly Mac got 19th.
Dan gets 2nd (w/ manspreading from #1)

Different day, same result (64th of 70). 
As for me, I'd like to make excuses on this one and I have a few; like: I had a crappy night's sleep, there was a long delay to the start that killed my warm-up, and (yet again) I ended up starting too far back in the paddock, and so had the feeling that I was pretty much beat before it even started. That is exactly the feeling that beats you on a hill, and there were six climbs of Effingham on tap, so I was feeling the dread of the pre-beaten well before the horn went off to start this one. At least the neutral start really was a neutral start (unlike the lemming stampede of previous years), with everybody gathering at the foot of Effingham, wheeling neutrally up to the top, and then starting from there.

According to Strava, the climb on that neutral start was my second-fastest time up Effingham. Which is a good indicator of how the rest of it it went.

Nat (left) receives the Ceremonial Vegetables
If there's one single lesson I've learned from my meagre racing experience, it's this: The peloton is the place to be. Lap One, it's great, I'm in there in the mix, but on the first Effingham climb I skidded back in the pack, but stayed on. On the second Effingham climb I had almost no cushion of riders to pass me and still stay in the pack. I lost contact near the summit of the hill, and watched helplessly as the last guy attached slowly wheeled away from me down the long, fast, back side of the climb. No way to catch up; I'm gassed and the peloton travels way faster as a group on downhills. Crap. Here we go. It's only Lap Three and and it's another goddamn time trial.

"C'mon. That's not a hill. That's a bump."
However, the other thing I've learned is: I'm probably not last. Which means there are likely a few other losers who have also been shelled out the back, and it's possible to get them working together and make the whole thing less painful and ignominious. So I didn't hesitate to take charge this time (unlike last year's fiasco riding with two goofs who didn't know what a paceline was). So when I tracked down two other riders, I got us organized rotating through 30-second pulls, and made introductions, and it actually worked pretty well. (Bauer was standing on the road halfway up Effingham on one of our climbs, and as the three of us struggled past him I have to say he looked decidedly unsympathetic to our plight. Just sayin'.) One of my crew bailed on the last lap for some reason, but the other (Renson Clouden, Independent, shout-outs) stayed with me til the end (actually rode away from me on that damn climb to the finish), and there's no doubt that we both did better as a result. And y'know, there's some fun in that kind of instant camaraderie.

But that damn climb...
OK I'm gonna do this bastard race one more time, next year. For my pride, if not for the vegetables.
And I'm gonna come prepared.

Mid-Week Crits: Facing My Critophobia

The first race I ever considered doing was the Springbank Crit

...back in 2013, the year I joined the Flyers. It was near the end of the OCUP season, and late enough, I figured, for me to get my fitness somewhat up to speed. (HA. Little did I know.) Anyway, one of the more experienced racers on the team, Jorge, just looked at me and said, "No. You don't want to do Springbank as your first race." He was a laconic guy and a bit of a hard-ass, and said no more, but then I looked into it and realized a) Springbank was a criterium race (had to figure out what that was) and b) on the Ontario road racing circuit it's known by nicknames like Bloodbank and Crashbank, and a good few terrabytes of YouTube is taken up with crash footage from the race. One of those clips from the M3 race is described by the poster as "Lovely sunny day, overshadowed by the scariest race I've ever been in." That was the 2013 race I was told not to try. OK, thanks Jorge, good call.

So I've sort of had a phobia of crits ever since. There are a few of them in the OCUP schedule, and not racing them really cuts into the available menu of races in the season. The Mid-Week Cycling Club here in Toronto runs a weekly Tuesday-night crit series that goes from late Spring through the Summer, and I had never got up the gumption to go try one – even though it's perfect race practice. But surrounded by the newly invigorated Dark Horse Flyers team, I decided to give it a shot. I figured if it started to look too hairy I'll just bail. No need, it turns out. Great race, lots of fun (very well organized, shout to the Mid-Week crew), and like Calabogie, I got a 00:00 finish (19th place). Which for me is practically miraculous. But super fun to be in the mix and actually racing; I even took a brief flyer off the front because for once I was actually in a position to try it. Cool.

Cornering at the Mid-Week Crits, without incident.

Keep Calm, and Ride Crits
So while I remain wary of crits, looking at this and Calabogie, they may be my best bet for the elusive single OCUP point. But that is probably for next season. And in retrospect, I'm jealous I didn't race Springbank this year, as this year's Flyers had pretty good, non-crashy results there, including an awesome win for Molly Mac. In the end, I will get to it, but probably not before I get to a certain level of comfort in racing. Which is getting a lot better; I feel a lot more loose and relaxed in the peloton, and the pre-race is much less tense. Once I get to the point where I'm chill enough to get my breathing under control, I think I'll be there.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Medical Profession doesn't get (old) athletes

Not in my experience, anyway.

Three years ago I did an early-season 8K running race. I knew the course (The Spring Run-Off in High Park) and had run it a number of times. I wasn't really trained up for it, it was just a way to jump-start duathlon training (back before I figured out that the bike was the part I actually liked). Of course, my plan to just go out and jog it went out the window pretty quickly, and I went way too hard, but I wasn't really suffering.

With about a km to go I'm wondering about how I'm going to deal with the long uphill finish, and I look at my heart rate and it says 230 bpm. Now, I have a somewhat high max heart rate for a guy my age (around 200 bpm), but that was fucking crazy. Either the HRM was screwed up or I was about to become one of those middle-aged guys who mysteriously drops dead on the finishing line. ("Yeah, it was so weird, he seemed healthy.") I immediately slowed down (but not totally, I didn't want to completely wreck my time), but I'm still around 220 bpm when I cross the finish line & stop my timer. But I sat down and in 2 or 3 minutes it was back down to a less frightening 130. And I feel fine. So WTF is going on? Have I got some weird tachycardia? Is this dangerous? And more importantly, what in hell are my HR training zones supposed to be?

Not the heart of an Olympian, apparently.
So I alert my my doctor, who thankfully is not keen on having his otherwise healthy patients stroke out on him, and he sent me to a cardiologist to get checked out. Unfortunately the cardiologist turned out to be a Scottish lady in her sixties who was about 5'1" and clearly knew her way around a haggis.

What's more, she seemed to harbor some bizarre, deeply-rooted animosity towards recreational athletes. When I explained why I was there (to figure out if I have some genuine, life-threatening problem; and if not, what are the implications if any for training) she said to me, "Why would you want to do that?"
"Well, because I want to get faster and do better in races," I replied.
She looked at me like I was some kind of simpleton and said,
"You're not 18, you know; and you're not going to make the Olympics."  I suppose she was so used to focusing on just keeping people with bad hearts alive that she couldn't conceive of somebody with a good one wanting to optimize it. Like I was being greedy, or something.

"Get off ice, bra. And the couch."
And maybe she's right, maybe I shouldn't be bothering her unless I'm willing to spend my whole life doing the sort of shit that's guaranteed to line me up for a slew of interesting cardiovascular dysfunctions that she can treat and bill for. Like, y'know, smoking on the couch all day with bags of Doritos and litre bottles of Coke, watching reruns of Dog The Bounty Hunter.

Or maybe she just didn't know. Doctors hate that. Certainly she didn't tell me anything useful at all. But if that was the case, say so, refer me to someone who does know and don't waste my time.

And as a side note: while you're at it, maybe try not to bring your own issues to the office.

Anyway, in the end that experience is what led me to becoming a cardiovascular lab rat, which was what it took to actually get a confirmation, from a sports-focussed research cardiologist, that I was fine, and didn't have to worry about my heart blowing up in the middle of a tough climb.

But it seems to me that the medical establishment has lagged way behind a large societal shift from people staying walking-the-dog active to accepting the idea of people being seriously athletic much later into their lives. (Holy crap you should have seen the unbelievable folks in the 65+ division of last-year's Grey County UCI World Amateurs qualifier. Why medical science isn't all over these people is a mystery to me.)

For a profession that thrives on heroic measures to keep people alive (if not healthy), you'd think the implications of of all that would be a bit more intriguing.
Apparently not.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Calabogie Boogie: OCUP #2 2016

The usual first OCUP of 2016, Good Friday, was iced by freak weather

and I was OK with that; I did a recon on the course the week before, and that damn cowpath out of the Ancaster Fair Grounds looked like, well, a damned cowpath. Potholes and ruts in the crappy pavement, and only one very narrow strip of "asphalt" left in the first sharp corner. It looked like a recipe for a lot of mangled carbon fiber and associated body parts, some of which could well be mine.

So it didn't break my heart that Calabogie turned out to be the first race of the season. I had never done it before, but had heard it was fun. 800 kilometres of driving to get there & back, but worth it. And it was indeed a great day and a great race.

DHFlyers at Calabogie
Gregoire, Dan & RB: practicing podium faces
Having never ridden the course before, I went in taking the first few laps to get a feel for the course; and also to see what the pace was going to be like (fast but manageable) and how my legs felt (OK, a bit stiff). I'm never sure what kind of shape I'm in going into the first race, but I had seen some nice gains at The Cycling Gym recently (+30 watts in my latest 20 min TT test), so I hoped it would translate into being able to stay with the pack all the way. I just wanted that +00:00 after my name.

The one thing that has really been driven home by my limited racing experience is you have to take whatever space opens up, and if you aren't moving up in the peloton, you're moving back. And from what I had seen in previous results and seen in various YT videos (thanks, Seb Zdyb!), it was pretty clear to me that (in M3 anyway) breakaways don't work and it comes down to a bunch sprint. Though it was fun to see Dan D take a couple of flyers to see who was paying attention. (That's where the team name comes from, in case anybody was wondering.) It was great to have DHF teammates in the race, for a change. It really added to the fun to see the Dan and Gregoire up in the mix.

No plan survives contact with the enemy
So my plan going it was to surf the peloton as much as possible, and keep myself somewhere around 15-20 deep in the pack for as long as possible, and see how I held up. The only data I looked at the whole race was my HR and total distance, which helped me keep track of which lap we were in. (There were a few guys who missed the surge at the end because they didn't realize we were on the last lap). The HR was crucial for effort management, and I was able to keep myself just below OBLA (onset of blood lactate accumulation, or lactate threshold, or whatever you want to call that point where suddenly you breathe a lot harder and things hurt a lot more) and pretty much keep it there until the last lap when things ratcheted up. (One of the big benefits of working with The Cycling Gym is I now have a pretty good grasp on my numbers.) The real challenge for me is trying to develop some kind of race sense, and understand what's going on around me better. That's most likely a lifetime project, but every race seems to make a little more sense to me. In any case, I'll never be able to count on strength; to have any success I'm going to to develop some Fausto Coppi-esque treachery*.

The first few laps were about gauging the effort (can I maintain this? what if it cranks up?); the next few were about learning where I could get free speed and manage the effort to stay in it, and taking a few runs up the sides. And suddenly there were two laps left and I have gas in the tank; hey! I can take a run at this! It was actually kind of shocking. A bump in the final turn threw me off my pedal stroke for a beat or two and might have cost me a couple of places, but I wasn't happy with my sprint anyway. Felt like there was no real kick in it. Then I looked at my Strava data. Looking at my max speed (51 kph) and cadence (111 rpm) and the way my power dives down as I spin out, I realized that I didn't get down to my 11 or 12 cog. Checking my gear calculator app and most likely I was actually on my 14. Brain cramp. So better sprint technique would certainly have helped. (And maybe another gel 20 minutes earlier to help with the brain sugar.)

Danger: Squirrelzawinski
The sketchy squirrels of Spring
A few other notes: there was def a bit of bumping (especially in the final run in) and a certain amount of sketchiness; I got run into the grass at one point, and somehow I always seemed to find myself behind this one Kurzawinski guy who I was certain was going to cause a massive pileup – dude was like a giant black-and-white lycra squirrel on a bike; getting away from him was half the reason I stayed near the front. (He shall remain number & nameless, but if you were there you probably know who I'm talking about.) As ever, there was plenty of commentary in the peloton on the the inability of some riders to hold a line. (Quite probably directed at me.) Anyway, makes me want to get us out in the race team rides and do some contact drills, soon.

The point after
Bottom line: without question my best race ever. My only regret: 21st is one spot out of the OCUP points... that's all I want... just one lousy OCUP point... in my life... and I can retire happily.

Still: feels like progress.

 
Video by Sebastian Zdyb. He finished 6th. His race videos are awesome.
(I make a brief cameo at 1:15:00.)
Great view of the finish, including Steve Hart's come-from-behind 2nd place.


* "Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill." – Fausto Coppi



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grey County Road Race, May 24th 2015: Suffer Score Festival

This year's Grey County Road Race was a UCI amateur championship qualifier

...which was kinda cool, because it felt like a real pro race. And Collingwood is a beautiful area, so it's a great course. Actually there were a lot of great things about this race. First, it was an age-group race, which meant that my 50-54 cohort actually got to start at a civilized hour (1:30 pm) as opposed to the usual 8:30 AM for OCUP M3 races. That was downright luxurious.

The second great thing was the fact that the over-50s only has to race 86 kms instead of the 130 and 160 km races for the younger divisions. That was quite manageable.

Fanboy detour here
"One day I hope to race Bingham."
The third great thing is that my start wave include Steve Bauer, who was getting back into Masters racing and was looking to nail down a qualifier spot for the world amateur championships in Denmark this year (which he did handily, of course). Sure, he finished 25 minutes ahead of me or something, but I was in the same race as Steve Bauer. Like, easily the best Canadian cyclist of his (my) generation, and arguably the best Canadian cyclist ever. The guy rode with Lemond and Hinault for La Vie Claire, wore the yellow jersey for 5 days with Seven Eleven.
How cool is that? 

Back to the race
Having done a version of this race last year, I had a reasonable idea of what to expect, and it was also helpful to know that the soul-crushing Scenic Caves Road hill climb was not a part of it this time.

As ever, my goal was to stay in the peloton as long as possible; concentrate on moving up and not fading back; and to try be more aware of what was going on around me. Which was working pretty well for the first 15 kms or so. I was comfortably in the middle of the pack until, running up to a climb on Pretty River Road, I got an agonizing chain drop. I frantically spun the chainring trying to get it re-engaged as I ground to a near stop and the peloton flowed by me like a school of mackerel. I got the chain back on the ring just as the last few riders passed me, and though the group was maybe 30 or 40 metres ahead of me, I couldn't claw my way back on. It was looking like another Grey County Time Trial. However, one thing I've come to realize over the last few races is that it's worth hanging on, because eventually the race starts shedding other riders and before long you can end up in some sort of grupetto that can work together to make the end result a little less ignominious for all concerned.

RB + M Scher: Enjoying the aftermath
So I dropped my arms over the bar, put my head down and got on with it. At first I caught up with one or two other riders, and eventually this became a group of about 6 or 7 of us for the last 20 kms or so. I had noticed that I was doing well punching over the shorter hills, dropping a few guys and catching others. At the same time, as we came in to the last 5 or 6 kms, I was starting to feel some cramping and was a bit worried about stalling out on the rather steep uphill finish.

Anyway, about a kilometre from the finish I somehow ended up in the front of a group of five guys. Tactically, completely stupid. As far as I can make out, the combination of exhaustion, low blood sugar to the brain, and the prospect of it all being over really soon made believe that I could drop them on the last climbs. Of course, if I had just looked back for a second I would have seen that they were all happily sitting on my wheel, and they all blew by me on the final climb. Well, "blew by" is an overstatement – everybody was pretty shaky by then; but the bottom line was I was left unable to close about a 5 or 10 metre gap coming up the steep last hill into the finish. Which kinda sucked because it cost me 4 places in the standings. In the end I finished 35th of 46 in my age group.

The race was fun, but Strava says I should be dead
I'm not sure what to do with the Strava data. First, my Powertap crapped out about 2/3 of the way through, which was annoying at the time and skewed my overall average. Oh well. But what was interesting was the HR data. My average HR for the whole race was 175; max was 196. According the Strava that was 1:52 in Zone 4 (175-194) for an Extreme Suffer Score of 231.

I'm not sure if this was really good, really bad, or just a demonstration of the outside limits of my capabilities. I know from my work with the Cycling Gym that for me to stay out of the red (under lactate threshold, or OBLA, or however you want to define it) I need to stay below 163 BPM. If I were fitter, I would get the same results with a much lower average HR. More results on less work, basically. I think it means that I'm badly undertrained but with a considerable capacity for over-extending myself. And I wonder if I didn't actually do myself some damage, because my training thinned out a bit after that race; the last month has been pretty low mileage, and I'm only just feeling like I'm getting back on track.

Still. It was a great event to be a part of. And watching the podium ceremonies I especially loved seeing the 65+ guys, whose winning times were a damn sight better than mine. That's my long-term goal: to be one of those gnarly old leathery guys who keep on racing and can still come out and kick your ass.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Niagara Classic: OCUP #4, May 17th

I'm beginning to appreciate the value of a little experience

Not that I have much. But familiarity – returning to a race I've done before –  makes a huge difference. Just knowing where everything is (parking, registration, washrooms...) really takes a lot of the stress out of the equation.

The same can be said of knowing the course. You you what you're in for. Or up against, which in the case of Niagara is the famous Effingham Hill, a poisonously steep, short climb that pretty much ruins an otherwise pleasant ride out in the country. The M3 circuit was 5 laps, which meant five climbs of this delight. I managed only two circuits last year before I called it quits. This time I came in better prepared, and determined to at least finish the bastard.

Bottom right corner of the course: Effingham, you bastard.
Other valuable local knowledge was the that the "neutral" start was not particularly neutral, and that the field basically bombed off the line before hitting the left-hand turn that quickly runs up against the first Effingham climb. So I knew to be as far forward as I could get at the start, and to hammer hard to stay in the pack on that climb – two things I fatally failed to do last time.

So I stayed in the pack for the first two laps, but after the second climb started to slip back and lost contact. I had a few other guys with me but they were young E4s and they didn't seem to know what a rotating paceline was, and the middle of a race was not exactly where you want to run a seminar. So it ended up being awkward random pulls, which was too bad because we might have been able to get back on – for a lap or two the pack was tantalizingly in sight –  if they had known how to get it together. Anyway.

The numbers refusing to lie, as usual
The Strava data is very instructive here: every lap and every climb I got slower and slower. Looking at some of the top finishers' data the main difference was consistency. Some guys hit the same numbers for that climb every time. Mine went from a respectable 1:39 on the first round to a grinding 2:27 by the last. Lap one, the fastest (20:19 at 36.4 kph), was at 170 watts and average HR 160 bpm: perfect, right below threshold. Last lap: 168 watts, 179 bpm, 24:52 and 29.7 kph. Slower, and way deep in the red. The domino effect of not staying with the pack is the real killer.

In the end: 42nd place out of 57, 1:56:22, 15:24 off the winning time.

Solutions? Strategies?
Two things really:
1) get my fitness up so that I can hit more of my max wattage with less of my max heart rate. It's something we were working on pretty specifically at the Cycling Gym. It means training carefully to stay up near, but not over, my lactate threshold (or however you want to call being in the red) for extended periods.
2) improve my climbing. One thing I realized afterwards is I had become biased against standing up to climb, and had sat and ground it out every time when actually it would have helped on the very steepest parts to stand for a bit; if for no other reason than to change up which muscles were being taxed. I've since started to mix that in more on hills and it definitely helps, and there's a bit of a psychological boost to it as well.
3) Both of which are contributing factors in the need to stay with the pack. Every race I'm doing less and less shit-out-the-back time trialling, but I still haven't got all the way to the end of an OCUP race actually in the pack. 

Put those three things together and maybe then I can actually start racing.