Friday, 28 August 2009

Lessons Learned, Relearned and Not Learned

Last night I relearned why it is such a good idea to get a hard ride on your race wheels immediately before a race. Not that the Goon ride is a race, but I switched to a rear wheel I hadn't used in a while (Powertap wheel) and was skipping gears all over the place when we hit the false flat on Ridge. Had to pull over and deal with it, and it turned out that maybe a half turn on the barrel fixed it. Dangerous both for others and one's ability to finish races. The HubRacing lady who was on the ride is really strong. It would have been cool if she was a foot taller since her pulls followed mine all the time. Is the Thursday ride always that much less fast than Tuesday? I don't think I'd ever done a Thursday Goon before.

Wednesday night I continued to learn that while I still believe that there is no fundamental difference between a pack finish of 13th and 47th (those of you who race NRC and such events will correctly beg to differ, but I ain't racing in those), there is a right way to safely back out of a sketchy finish. So far I think that the right move is to decelerate enough to make exponential gains in your ability to respond to people banging into each other in front of you while minimizing the speed difference between yourself and those behind for whom 13th is infinitely more palatable than 16th. There is almost certainly value in passing everyone you can - pushing through the finish, never giving up, etc - but my risk/reward profile can't tolerate it. I'm either at the sharp end of the arrow or looking for the safest route to a post race beer.

I think I learned that I'm not up for 4 hours of driving for one hour of racing this weekend. Not sure. Think so. There has to be an effective formula for that somewhere.

I don't think the housing or financial markets are learning quite yet. Housing still remains historically unaffordable. First time buyers are getting an $8000 gift from Uncle Sam (who is really Uncle You and Me, lest we forget) as a reward for their purchase. I think Cash for Clunkers will prove to have spiked auto sales only to worsen the trough afterward (if only worsening it because of the higher resultant public debt). I think the housing credit has much more potential for harm. It adds to the public debt a la Cash for Clunkers. Worse, it can reheat a housing market that badly needs to cool the hell off. Suppose we attract all these new entrants to the market with artificial inducements. What happens? Sales volume goes up - which has already begun. What follows? Prices rise - which has already begun. What happens next - housing starts, which will begin soon. How long can we afford to give people money (a LOT of it) to buy houses? Well, however long that turns out to be, when we stop, what happens? Volume slows, prices fall, builders go bankrupt again, and banks lose tons (anyone read about the banking sector and FDIC yesterday???). All these people who are upside down on their mortgages? Why do we want to create a second round of this?

I don't like Barney Frank. I think that he is bad for the business of this country.

When I was younger I used to race on a boat called "Stark Terror," which was written on the sides. On the back was written "Sailboat Racing: Endless Hours of Tedious Boredom, Interspersed with Moments of Stark Terror." This is almost directly applicable to bike racing. I find a ton of fun and funny moments in the endless hours part, and the stark terror part, well, I like that too. It's just better when the natural terror of what you're doing isn't augmented too much.


Sigberto said...

2nd paragraph, final sentence. Bingo. Rounds up my 2009 results.

Drake said...

Goon varies in speed on either day. This Tuesday was truly one of the fastest Goons in the latter half of the season. The last Thursday Goon I did was pretty quick too.

Robb said...

typically thursdays are slower than tuesday cuz everybody is resting up for the weekend. that being said, there has been some fast thursday rides. it only takes one. ;)

you should do a post on cash for clunkers and the effects, both good and bad, it will have on the short term and long term. i took advantage of it but think it's not a a fix.