Rand Miller said it right: "…the lack of racing in the off-season makes the Early Bird Crits seem like fun." (I know, never start off with a quote).  They are fun, though. EB #2

After seeing the aftermath of several gnarly crashes, I was easily convinced to race with the P/1/2/3s.  This didn't make me any less nervous, however, and so I got right to what I do best when I'm nervous: attack!  After a lap or two, about 10 guys rolled off the front, and then a Specialized guy and one more hit it off the front of that group.  I jumped hard and quickly bridged to them, and we made quick work of opening up a gap.  Two more joined (an old Specialized guy and some dude in a polka-dot jersey), and we managed to get 45 seconds on the field in the matter of a few laps.  Unfortunately, my power at threshold isn't quite up to par with ex-Lance compatriots or Nate English, and I popped.  I surfed around the pack (so so much more easily than with the 4s) and rolled across the line at the back of the pack.  My inabilities garnered the title "cream puff" from the NorCalCyclingNews blog, but, hey, I picked the right move!  At least I've got my head on straight.

EB #3

Early Bird Crit - Ryan

I had planned on riding down from Oaktown with Nole, but after he hangover'd out of it I ended up driving down solo.  Itching to be out in the sun, I got in a good 2.5 hours around Sunol and over Palomares before the race.  I decided my efforts would be best suited for the 4s race today (okay, I wanted to see how I'd match up against some old foes), so I parked it on the grass by turn 1, ate some mashed potatoes, hung out with a dog, and massaged my legs - I call it "coiling."  We lined up, and as I surveyed the field I began to fear for my sweet SuperSix (I call her Kalika - Indian goddess of life/death; creation/destruction).  Shawn said to "get frisky" or something like that, so after watching a few moves get pulled back I rolled up the gutter and dug deep.  I got 20 seconds solo by the first lap, but couldn't manage to recover, and a lap or so later I was swallowed up.  Palomares was laughing at me.  I recovered, watched more moves get pulled back, avoided the sketchballs, and finally heard "2 to go."  As expected, Dolce Vita's leadout train was forming and I began my poaching.  Last lap on the back straight I was in position, and all I had to do was follow the train, hop on the too-early sprint, and bike throw around for the win.  Hooray!