Monday, August 25, 2008

Page Valley Road Race and Product Reviews

You know how blogging goes. When the race doesn't exactly go as planned talk about something else or just wait a long time to blog about it.

I felt like I had great legs, until a couple of km from the finish. Then the twangs of cramping started to creep up on me. Course was hot and hilly. I just didn't have it for the final hill of the multi-lap 11 mile circuit. Ended up in 14th place. Good position, bad it goes for another road race.
I'm going out to San Diego for about 10 days. Bringing the bike, and I'm going to ride some good mileage. That should help to get me some great legs for the final road race of the year. Hopefully can have a good hit out that weekend.

So now for the fun stuff. I have some new toys.

1. Rollers from These things are awesome. I have done VO2 Max intervals on them, and they feel so much better than riding on the trainer. The rollers are in the pic below. No I don't ride with an aerohelmet indoors on a regular basis. This was just to get some photos of my aero position. Notice what a difference it makes to make sure the helme is oriented correctly. Probably going to make a few changes to try to be even more competitive in TTs next year. Rollers are a little hard in the aero position, but Emotion Rollers from Inside Ride have these protective bumpers on the side, so you don't fall off. THEY HELP LOTS!!! Maybe it is a good thing I have a helmet on while learning how to use rollers...ha.

I will have to post some videos of these rollers when I have a chance. They are totally amazing; they are unlike any other rollers I have ever seen.

The BIG BIG BIG News? Look at this picture!!! What is new? Hints:
  • Its Red
  • Its Black
  • Its Carbon Fiber
  • Its pretty much awesome!
  • Its fully equipped with Dura Ace

This is from Saturday's pre-race tune up ride down at Hains Point. I met up with Lindsey and her friend Caroline. They are both training under Paulo Sousa . They should both turn some heads this fall. Look for Lindsey and "The Slice" to dominate in Dallas, Vegas, and Clearwater. Rumor has it that Caroline (photographer) is planning to dominate on a Cervelo in Hawaii. I can't argue with that bike choice!
So my previous post had one picture. This one has two. I'm still a technological dinosaur compared to today's teenagers, but I'm working on it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Bat

So here is a picture of the bat that was killed by my aerobars last weekend...

Legs getting some nice rest today in preparation for Page Valley Road Race tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

This past weekend was the Tour de Millersburg, located in the beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The 3/4 race consisted of a 12 mile out-and-back TT on a flat road, an up and down 1.5 mile criterium loop of 13 laps, and a 54 mile road race. Coming into the race I really wanted to do well in the overall GC.

Before I describe the racing too much, I have to describe the wonderful homestay we had with the King family. The Kings are a traditional Amish family. Pennsylvania Dutch is the primary language spoken by the family at home, although they speak great English too. Their home is a 160 acre farm where they harvest corn and alfalfa. In addition to those crops, they have cows, horses, miniature ponys, a golden retriever with 10 pups, and 8 wonderful children.

I drove up to the race with Mike Githens of IMI. He lives just down the street, and he is truly one of the strongest Cat 1 racers in the area. He is a great resource for learning about the strategy of the sport of cycling.

Mike and I really enjoyed staying with the King family. We were treated like kings ourselves! In their garden, the Kings grow sweet corn, and they have beautiful grape vines. We had the best corn ever, and we had fresh squeezed grape juice each day. Our meal on Saturday night was amazing. The chicken, fresh from a neighbor's farm, was the most savory poultry I have experienced. Saturday night after dinner we sat around and talked. No Olympics! It was awesome. Mike and I read some childrens' books to the younger kids; I think they really loved that. Deep down inside, I was quite pumped to be reading the Berenstain Bears again!

Overall the King family really made the weekend awesome! The road race went directly in front of their house. They embraced the race 100%. On Sunday all of the extended King Family gathered at the house to watch the road race and cheered whole heartedly each time the various races came by their house on the 18 mile circuit.

Thanks to the King Family. I hope to come back and to stay with them again next year!

OK--to the racing.

Saturday I got my P3C off the roof rack only to discover a bat had flown into my aerobars overnight when we were driving. The thing was dead...smooshed right between the bars where the stem clamps to the basebar...gross!

I got in a good warm-up, and the TT went well. Averaged 362 watts for 26 minutes. That gave 27.8 mph avg and was good enoug for 4th place. I did some cda calculations, and it looks like I'm about as aerodynamic as a parachute.

5 hours of rest til the crit.

The 1/2/3 race went first. Githens had won the TT in 24:50. He killed that race. His team did an awesome job in the crit, and Mike was in a great position coming into the final turn. He overcooked the final turn and went down. Yikes. Fortunately he was OK, but he lost a lot of points in the omnium.

I had good legs in the crit. I went for it on the climb. I thought it was the last lap. I got about 20 seconds on the field. I passed the guy who was out in the break. I rode him off my wheel. I won...crap...there was another lap. I really thought I had won. If only I had sat on the guy in the break's wheel for 20-30 seconds then gone again. Darn. I had a total letdown realizing there was another lap. I couldn't go again. I finished behind the field. The big effort was something absurd like 460 watts for 3:30, and that actually included speeds close to 40 mph downhill...hard to put out big watts down hill. Fitness is good. NP for the crit was also absurdly high. Something like 350 or 360 watts.

The road race was a rolling course. Mike and I really thought our races were going to break up. The 3/4 race ended in a group finish. I tried to break away 3 times. The first time was an attempt to bridge to two guys up the road on the first lap. In breaking away I had my all-time max sprint power of 1283 watts! I used a match there for sure. The next break was following the Coppi guy who got 2nd in the TT. We were well marked though, and he really didn't have the pop in his acceleration to get away that I had. The final attempt was what killed me. On the final lap I bridged up to two guys. I covered the 20 second gap in about 2-3 minutes. Average was something like 420 watts in order to bridge. My legs were toast. We got the gap to about 35 seconds. Apparently that initiated some strong attacks from the group, and they brought us back. No breaks stuck. Our race ended up rolling the course in almost 26 mph for the day. It would have been hard for a breakaway to hold off the group.

My legs were done, but I was able to wheelsurf well enough to stay right in the group. The finale was a 1 mile steep downhill into a hard right hander 800 meters from the finish, one sweeping right turn, then 200 meters to the line. A HUGE part of this sport is position for the finish. With bad legs, I was able to get into position--2nd wheel on the left with about 400 meters to go before the turn. It was full gas into the turn, and I just didn't have the legs to turn the pedals anymore. I got passed, and I resigned myself to finishing with the group. If I had good legs there, I think I could have had an awesome result because of the great positioning I had.

At first I was a bit bummed with the overall result. But I do have some great takeaways from the race.
  1. Great TT Power
  2. Great Efforts in the Crits
  3. Best Sprint Max Power
  4. Excellent Positioning in Finale of RR
  5. Great training and experience
  6. I never crashed!

I hope to do this race again next year and to stay with the King Family.

Long report, but you got 3 race reports in 1!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Learning to rest

Coming from a background as a distance swimmer, I have been conditioned to feel like I need to "do work" on a daily basis. I think this is partially the reason I was always injured in running. Pavement is not nearly as forgiving as water.

In working with Peter Cannell I have begun to learn the importance of each training session. Each session has a very simple, yet specific, purpose. To keep it simple, the purpose is either to work really hard or to recover really hard.

Over the last few weeks I have had lots of racing. I also don't have very deep fitness right now, because this season has been quite segmented until the last 5 weeks. This means I need lots of recovery right now. Hopefully as I establish a deeper level of fitness I will not need to rest quite as often. This week is one key workout on Wednesday, a tune-up on Friday, and racing this weekend. Every other day is a rest day.

Life as a cyclist is simpler. One workout, one purpose, one focus. I like it. Hopefully the rest this week will enable me to get a good result this weekend.

Friday, August 08, 2008

New Direction ------> Road Cycling

The 2008 triathlon season was quite frustrating. Since starting triathlon in 2004, my weakest sport--by far--has always been running. Every time I have worked to improve my running I have gotten injured. The only way to make more gains was by improving running, and I finally became so fed-up with shin splints, achillies pains, foot pains, ITB pain. I was constantly injured or recovering from an injury. Its virtually impossible to make gains in running fitness while still being injured. In July 2008 I decided to put triathlon in the past. My sole focus is now road cycling. I truly love riding, and I love the highly competitive racing which comes with road cycling.

In the last month I have seen a dramatic improvement in my overall moral. Since I only need to train one sport I do not have to spend countless hours figuring how I'm going to effectively train three sports--possibly swimming, biking, and running all in one day. I spend fewer hours training; however, I feel my fitness (FTP) increasing each week. I have more time and energy to devote to work and to friends. I am so happy with this switch. While I might go back to triathlon some day in order to be able to do Hawaii, I don't have any triathlons on my schedule right now.

My sole athletic focus is training and racing for cycling. I'm not going to go back and hash out my race reports from the last month, but I recently completed all 10 of my "mass start" races, so I am no longer a Cat 5; I am a Cat 4...woot woot! While some people love to stick around the 3s and 4s where they are competitive, I want to race with the best amateurs. I have always loved training and racing with the best, so I really want to move up quickly. When a rocket ship blasts off it counts down: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I have begun my roadie countdown. Check back in to learn about the rollercoaster ride of training and racing.