Sunday, July 29, 2007


Yesterday, July 28th was the one year anniversary of me gettin off the couch and back on my bike. My oh my what a year its been. Endless hours over the winter in my basement on my trainer and finally too late rediscovering cross country skiiing (just in time for Chapin Forest to thaw). The anticipation of my first race at Mid-Ohio in April.

Also, joining Snake Bite Racing team and our team dominating a couple events at RATL with team tactics and strong riding. Then barely 8 weeks after starting racing I upgraded from Cat.4 to 3 and in one of my fist Cat3 races I missed the break, but my group lapped the field in a crit at Mill Creek.

After the spring races my coach and I started to concentrate on the State Time Trial and Road race. Both were the ultimate challenges as the State TT was on an ever rolling course on a wet morning. IT was hard to find a rythm, but I went faster than I expected. The State road race was a 73 miler on a 90+ degree humid day on open roads and 5500' of climbing (some think it was even more than that). I dehydrated and then bonked on the last lap after making the winning break of 4 guys, but managed a 5th. Next year I wiill bring a suport person for bottles like when my brother did it for me at the 114 mile State Road race so many years ago.

Now as the anniversary has come and I feel my form is at the best its ever been I am looking forward to some hilly road races and a winter of Cyclocross (I have never done it before) and some more cross country skiing.

I cannot wait for this building year to become the base and build from it for 2008. I hope to be lighter, stronger and even faster.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hampton Hills-TRuxell-Akron 2-man TT

Thomas Domonic of Color Me Safe Racing (a Cat2) and I hooked up for this 2-man Time Trial hosted by WWW.SUMMITFREEWHEELERS.ORG The race was very short at 7.45 miles (I had 8 miles on my odometer and have read others had 7.85) with 5 flat fast miles then a fast turn onto Truxell road and then steadily uphill and rolling uphill to the finish.

Warm-up went well and I finally remembered to bring my trainer and stayed warm till our start time. Ahead of us were about 6 teams consisting of 2-man teams (on seperate bicycles)and Tandems and one team behind us. The Spin team DNS's due to tire problems.

Technically we didnt use any aero equipment, except I wore a skinsuit and td stayed in a tight undershirt. I also taped over my watts on my bike computer and forgot my heart rate strap, not that I care about HR over such a short distance. It worked out great too-more on that later..

We rolled off with td taking the lead. What an idiot I am-I rolled out in my small ring, but I got it sorted and we were off. We decided on longer pulls and just come around when your rested or pull off when your tired. td is in my mind one of the best riders in the area soI knew it would go smooth. td said he wasnt feeling his best afterwards, but he was still pulling at 27mph and then I'd take my turns and as soon as he was in my small draft I would try and step it up and usualy had it about 29 to 30. Its funny when I guy doesnt have his best day-but can still pull at 27 to 28mph!!

Unfortunately I left td to pull the rollers so I started to make shorter pulls on rollers and let momentum take me past. The first 5 miles flew by in my mind and we averaged 27.5mph and I averaged 271 watts. We made the fast turn onto Truxell where the pavement was brand new and we immediately could feel the uphill, though gradual starting to slow us down. There were actually some pretty steep short rollers on truxell and I started to pump up them knwoing that we only had about 1 mile to go.

I gapped td a bit over one of them and soft pedaled a short bit and we were back together. 7.45 miles went by and no sign of the finish. Luckily I still felt great and just kept hammering while td came by over the last roller and the finish was in sight. td was pulling hard now and I sprinted to get along side at the line so wed maximize our time.

The last 3 miles uphill we still averaged 21.9mph and 315 watts. We crossed the tape with the fastest 2-person team time of 19:29 and 25.0 mph. The only one faster was a Tandem team and they clocked in at 19.25 seconds...only 4 seconds! The course record was set in 1997 by Rudy Sroka in 19:08 (solo) so I think our time was very respectable and if I am not mistaken, this was the first 2-man TT event so maybe td and I hold the course record (for now) for a 2-person team?

My only question is the course distance. Were previous records set at a distnace of 7.45 miles and if so-we crossed the 7.45 mile marker in under 18 minutes. But I would assume the start finish have not changed and its just the difference in odometers.

I also equalled or improved some of my best average power figures from 5-minutes to 20 minutes without using Power or HR so even though this was a 2-man effort, I still think I went very well on percieved exertion. I looked at only speed and distance on my computer. I was averaging about 300 to 318 watts on my pulls on AP road so exceeding my FTP a bit, but considering there is coming out of the draft to pull which spikes the power a bit-I 'd say I was about perfect. A bit high is okay because one,you get a short rest in the draft and two the race was very short.

Anyways, its always fun to win and although we didnt win the Fastest Time of Day, we were still very fast tonight. Thanks td!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bad Night at Euro Hill Circuit Race

There was a bad crash at Euro hill on the neutral rollout tonight. A bad shimmy took a guy down on the descent and he took down a bunch of guys behind. Some sliding into a concrete culvert and one guy who went over the bars and clocked his head hard went in an ambulance. Suffice it say it was race over. Lots of bent wheels, broken forks, dented frames and road rash!! I was going 42mph down the hill so it was a hard crash for them. It all happened behind me and I didnt even hear it, but Tom did and said it sounded bad.

After a long delay by the side of the crash Tom and I decided to ride till we got tired and to ride the hill a few times for future races, but on the first lap it started to sprinkle, then rain then a deluge of rain, hard cold wind hit and we were soaked. We were determined to continue, but when we got to the turn there was fast moving traffic and horrible visbility-We would have been crushed by a big truck so we turned around and gave up. I logged 17 miles mostly on warm-up.

It would have been a great race with Delgros, Sroka, Shawn Adams, Moskal, Tris, Tom and I. Some more fast guys , but I dont know there names. But, I dont want to sound indifferent because theres some banged up riders and thats too bad. I do hope they feel alright tomorrow and the guy who went to the hospital recovers without anything major broken.

Tid bits

So July 18th has come and gone. Whats so special about July 18th you say?? Why it was my 15th wedding anniversary!! Is it a coincidence that I quite racing 15 years ago....hahaha!! I wont even go there.

Today is yet another race I ve never been to, but it has a fast descent and a Euro style switchback climb. Man, if you ride bikes thats got to sound good and it sure does to me. But alas it wont stop raining and the threat for continued rain is strong. I for one have no problem racing in the rain (karts or bicycles), but the bike clean-up that night or next day always sucks. This being an evening race means the bike will more than likely sit overnight. Poor, poor old drivetrain.

The chains got close to 4000 miles on it so maybe its time to think about a replacement. I must say Ive never taken such good care of a chain before. I'll try a SRAM chain next and see if it shifts better than an ultegra one. Watching how quickly John was able to fix Bretts broken chain Sunday with a SRAM link was nice too.

But rain is not a bad thing. My wife has grown a green thumb these last few years (whew-she finally has a hobby of her own) and she tells me that rain si good and more the better. Maybe I can teach her to clean a chain??

I recommend if your on your winter or spring chain to get it checked for stretching and bad links. Seems guys are snapping them left and right here and if it snaps at the wrong time, well-it hurts!

What about you-whats your take on rain riding? This is it for me. I'll start a ride knowing it will rain and I'll keep plodding away when it starts, but I just cannot get myself to ride down my driveway in the rain. I never have been able to. Weird thing.

Rain, rain go away, come back another non-race day...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Biathlon?

I have this problem with running, besides that its just torture on the mind. I get the worst shin splints after just one run. Makes me wonder how I can train for a biathlon and why in the heck do I want to do one anyways? I almost have myself convinced its like cross training for, well Cross (cyclocross). The event I am thinking about is the JCB Biathlon on August 26th

Its a 3 mile run, which I think I could train for in a month and of course the Time trial portion at 12.5 miles is right up my alley. Of course Ive never tried to ride after running, much less at TT pace!! And, not to make excuses i have two more important bicycle races to shoot for so in actuality I only have a couple weeks to train the run.

I give myself a 3/10 chance in doing this and thats being optimistic for sure. But its always fun to think of new challenges. I am also looking at the Relay (Team) event so I can concentrate on just the bike!! I certainley know the roads and my TT bike is getting dusty!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back from the Dead???

Here are results from the State Road race. I can tell you that the Gold and Silver medals in Cat.3 (and not just because they dropped me and I couldnt catch them in an all out 6 mile chase) deserved it and congrats to those guy!! One was a Breakaway and another on Saturn of Dayton. The Saturn guy climbs like a mountain goat so keep an eye on him in hilly races. I think his name is David Rich.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Fun Facts from the State Road Race

90 degree temperatures
Time in Z3 31 minutes
Z4 58 minutes
Z5 35 minutes
Miles 74.8
Time 3:42
Climbing 5520'
Max speed 53.3 mph
Lowest speed 4.5mph (BONK)
Ave speed 20.0
Fastest lap 21.6mph (52:59min)lap 3
Slowest lap 17.7mph (1:01:58) lap 4
Bottles used: 1 on warm-up, two tall and one short in race.
Gells eaten: 3
Cliff bars eaten: 1/4
Most interesting sight-smoke coming off of carbon rims on the first descent. "Pee-yuwee" the smell.
Best part of race-bombing the s-turn laps 2-4 just because they were awesome banked corners.
Worst part of race-bonking

State Road Race, an Epic day

There is an old saying that says what doesnt kill you just makes you stronger. Although compared to someone lost at sea or climbing mount everest, I suppose my race day doesnt compare, but it was very hard, hot and long day of sport that I will remember as true suffering.

The State course was a very tough 18.7 mile (done 4x for us Cat.3's) rolling course that starts with a gradual climb about a mile from start finish with two signifcant climbs per lap (both under a mile) that climb steadily with steeper pitches at the top. The toughest being at about 14 miles that climbs, pitches up steeply and then levels out and climbs again at a steep pitch. Heres the course profile per Scott Thor: The final 4 miles are the toughest with deep roller after roller all the way to the start finish. But the course never lets up as its always up or down.

Starting my race report on Lap three of four. Dave Steiner my teamate for this race hit it on the head by saying this was a race of attrition. Even though only one attack and breakaway had gone (a solo rider in a green jersey) the course had stripped us of 15 of the 30 starters by L3 even with a relaxed pace. Finally after the climb at about mile 5 a rider showed his card by jumping effortlessly away form us on a climb. He looked like he was just dancing on the pedals. I think he was a Saturn of Dayton rider. An Amcon rider bridged to him and then UPMC (whom I was informed midrace to key off as the strongest rider in the group) jumped and I went across with him.

Finally a group off the front and we started to work together. A Breakaway rider also made the move while I think the Amcon rider mistakenly faded back to the peleton. Now we had a group of four and moving away from the peloton was going to be easy work because the group never worked the first 40 miles. Sadly Dave dropped his chain and never got back on even though he was having a strong race!! I felt great as I prefer a higher sustained pace then the sow/fast/slow. We had a big gap in no time and this remained till we hit the hardest climb at 14 miles. The climber jumped hard and Breakaway went with him. I stayed at my pace even though I wasnt suffering too much and the UPMC rider made a comment he wasnt going to kill himself this early (we still had 22 miles to go). But when we got over the second steep pitch the gap had grown too much to close quickly on the descent and I rolled over the top to wait for the UPMC rider, but damn, I had dropped him and as he came over the top he was slumped over his bars.

SO now theres the solo rider up the road, the two then myself and UPMC spread across the course. I started to chase at Threshold for 5 or 6 miles and got damn close to the two, but never got back on. I was chasing hard too and not letting up hoping for any chance to bridge up. As we crossed start finish and started the gradual climb I could see behind easily a minute and noticed no one was behind me. I had dropped the UPMC rider and consigned myself to finishing 4th and solo. I could still see the two guys up the road, but now just specks.

But then it happened and it happened in a split second. I blew up hard core. The kind of leg sapping, mind weakening blow up. And on this course with no relief I knew it was going to be a long last lap. I didnt think that was going to happen after being just fine chasing and strong all day. Reason? Well one comes to mind which I'll talk about later-dehydration!! So the course went like this, barely turn the pedals over on the hills (I went as slow as 4.5mph on the last lap), just trying to survive. Then over the top, big ring and drop gears down to the 12 many times and just push as hard as I could till the next hill, small rings it at just the right moment to have leg speed to get me as far up the climb.

I had suffered and slowed so much that over the climb at 5 mile mark I saw the UPMC rider coming back at me. He finally passsed me on the descent and I tried to stay on his wheel. That barely lasted a mile and I said goodbye to 4th place. Then later another rider came from nowhere and passed me and he and the UPMC rider looked to hook up-there went 5th place. I was so cooked that even the idea of shelter from two other riders couldnt motivate me to ride harder. Lap 3 had been done at 21.6mph ave speed while my last lap was 17.7 mph and took 9 more minutes to complete the lap!!

I really suffered physically and mentally when we hit 514 the toughest stretch. I thought every single negative thought I could and almost listened to them all. I thought about passing out on the side of the road in a clump, I thought about flagging down a sag vehicle for a ride in and I almost got off my bike to walk up the leg buster at mile 14. But I kept thinking to myself of that brown sign that said 1-mile to go and that kept me motivated even though the rollers were killng me. My back hurt, I had a headache, my right big toe hurt (???), my right knee hurt, my butt hurt and of course my thighs and other muscles were killing me, my triceps were tired from being in the drops trying to stay aero not to mention I was having involuntary muscle twitches here and there.

I forgot to say that I also went flying by the green jersey guy who had been solo for 3 laps and when I went by he turned around and stopped. Amazing so I was now elevated to 5th. Finally the last rider (RGF) passed me coming onto 514. So now I had gone from making the decisive breakaway of 4 to getting dropped by two, passing one and getting passed by three others. IN my head I made myself happy knwoing I was still top 10 in a brutal race, but the math was undeniable. Had I dug deep up the climb and stayed with the two (which I could have, but didnt) I had a bronze in the bag and a shot at the win.

Now its possible to say that I would have blown and I even admit they would have dropped me the last time up the climb on 514, but you never know. My solo chase was all out and without anyone to draft over the rollers, I burned every match!! I rolled into the finish and thankfully Gary Burkholder was standing with a bottle of water. IT was a brutal last hour of racing and possily the worst suffering I had experienced on a bike.

Now not to gross anyone out, but I was a covered in white salt meaning I had stopped sweating. I drank three bottles on the bike, two bottles afterwards, recovery drink, came home downed a beer and another two glasses of water and when i finally went to the bathroom (7 hours after the last ) I barely peed!! Now thats dyhydrated!!

So I rolled in after 22 miles of solo chasing and then unbelievable suffering and beat down every demon thought and thats my victory. And as an added bonus, one rider was from PA so I got 5th place!! SO although I had positioned myself for a shot at the win, I still managed to get 5th while flat out bonked for 14 miles. I have been telling my teammates this last week the harder the race is, the better it suits me, but this was definately stretching it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Red dress or Blue dress?

I have definately been in touch with my female side this week. All week I have been trying to decide on climbing wheels or aero wheels (read-Heavier). Ive been out all week on my FP60 (60mm deep clincher) front and my usual Zipp 303 (38mm deep clincher) with Power-tap. I got to tell you that even up small grades and short hills like Berkshire and Shaker, I dont feel the extra weight. What I do feel is that they are always "wound-up". Thye have that feeling like they want to go and go faster all of the time. But, the race I am testing for is a non-stop rolling course with a 1 mile climb and what looks like a short steep climb on an 18 mile lap (done 4x). ON the flip side are my beloved DT240/DTrr1.1 clinchers. At less than 1500 grams for the wheels they easily take 1 lb off my bike. Inertia changes aside from lighter rims, thats 1 lb less to drag up every roller and climb for 72 miles.

Seems simple right? Go with the lighter wheels, but this darn internet and all its armchair scientists makes this a very tough decision. Some say the aero trumps weight everytime (except maybe a hill climb TT) while others say aero only trumps weight over 30mph. The people in favor of aero can calculate how insignificant a large change in rim weight is to wattage, but how large a % of savings an aero rim is. Its goes like this, a rims weight as a percentage of the overall weight of a bicycle and rider is too small to worry about-in laymans terms. The Weight weenies argue that the aero advantge is of no help while in the group and then only if your solo off the front going above 30 mph. I feel its a combination. Ideally if you were to add 1 lb to your bike with aero wheels, you should take a lb off your bike to compare apples to apples, but thats not possible.

The solution is of course to have a light weight set of aero wheels. For the time being, does this dress make me look fat?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

ice cream

I was riding with John Reade last night and we confessed our mutual love for ice cream. Its funny how with my ride schedule of only 9 to 11 hours a week I dont feel like I have the caloric burn to afford to cheat much. Add to that I now prefer a cone over a bowl, ohhh yummy. Anyways, with the State Road race this weekend and an ice cream filled July 4th I still was able to hit my lowest weight of 142.5 lbs this morning (umm...that was pre-ice cream). I did ride to fireweorks tonight, not that I think I burned off the two ice cream sandwiches, Dortmuner Gold, two hamburgers, beans and weenies, potatoe salad, Ben and Jerry's, etc. I consumed today. Considering JUly 28th, 2006 I weighed 175 lbs and how few LSD miles I put in I am amazed at the weight loss. BUT, I'll take it!!


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Velodrome in Cleveland?? Bring it on!!

If your like me and stumbled onto the fact that there is a small group of Clevelanders trying to establish an Indoor/Outdoor Velodrome and cycling venue in Cleveland, youve got to be totally excited by this. What a great way to spend the winter blahs. At least once or twice a week you'll be on the track and not sitting in front of your almost worn out VHS (or Beta?!?!?) tape of the 1989 TdF.

I must admit that they need help and I havent done a darn thing so maybe I need to be kicked in the butt and volunteer!! Heres a link if your not aware of the homepage:

And a blog:

Sorry about having to copy and paste my links-I'll figure out all this blogging html, blah, blah someday, for now I just like to talk about cycling!!