Friday, July 23, 2010

The ice sock

At Boise Twilight Criterium and Idaho State Crit, Eric and his teammate Matt were rolling around the course looking like hunchbacks. Temperatures were high, so they had ghetto ice vests consisting of a sock with a bunch of ice in it stuffed down the backs of their jerseys. Eric said it made a huge difference.

At the Miller Motorsports Park crit on Thursday, it was hot, so I decided to try the same thing. It worked wonders. The ice lasted most of the race, but even after it was gone, the wet sock stuffed in my jersey still seemed to cool things down.

Not sure if the ice so close to my brain made me stupid, though. They raced us in a combined A/B flight, and when A flight teammate Spence went on the attack on lap one, I followed the group that went after him. Then after we had a gap, the other two guys decided they didn’t want to put in the effort to chase and fell back. I decided to continue bridging to Spence. I thought to myself “what are you doing? This is a 75 minute race. You do not want to be in a break for this long. And if it’s not going to stick, you don’t want to be here at all.” The two of us worked together for about 8k. If you can call Spence pulling 80% of the time “working together” that is.

After we got caught, the pace stayed high, but none of the attacks seemed to stick. We were all together on the last lap, with Spence on the front and me right behind. Spence attacked, and I stayed put. He got a bit of a gap, but being last lap and all, it didn’t last long.

We were racing on the outer track, which was set up so that from the final turn, we had 1000 meters of arrow-straight, pancake-flat tarmac to the finish line. We were doing 50kph+, which was just fast enough to discourage solo flyers. I was tucked in about fourth or fifth wheel. It was a perfect leadout.

With just over 200meters to go, I started my kick. I had good acceleration and got a gap right away. They never caught me. It only took 38 races, but I finally got my first win of the season. Mike H., who was also rocking the ice sock, finished 3rd. Steve won the circuit race at Capitol Reef last Friday, so Saturday’s crash notwithstanding, it’s been a good week.


  1. Congratulations on the win!

    I can believe the ice sock helps. Lower body temp should improve performance when it's hot out. I read about a study that found a measurable performance increase drinking slushy ice water versus just ice-cold water (the slushy stays cold longer in the gut).

  2. Nice win Mark. 38 races....Damn.

  3. the ice sock...doesn't it make your back muscles tense up or is it THAT hot.

  4. i use the ice sock all the time, but i stuff it down the front. i like your way better, can't believe i've been doing it this way for so long.

  5. Wahoo! Nicely done.

    I like how I say that when I have no idea how anything is done in bike racing.

  6. Nice work man, not only on the win but for competing in 38 damn races.