Thursday, August 30, 2007

Leroy TT 08/30/07

Pacing, quick plans, adapting on the fly and overcoming. Is this why I love Time trialing so much? I am not great thinker really. I mean you wont hear me quote Macbeth or Emerson at that perfect moment when a profound quote is required. But I do love arriving at the time of a TT and then its Showtime baby!! Its time to warm-up and listen to your body and see if its saying good legs, bad legs. Then its looking for clues to the wind and feeling and comparing this night with other nights. Its looking at the speed your carrying without trying and guessing what speed that will be at threshold.

Man I am realizing I am making a pretty big deal out of a training TT, but that is just it, training is when you put all your planning into action and to try things, push the envelope and see how you do. That is a pretty big deal.

I can feel that we have a wind thats only about 5 to 10mph and its blowing from the north. Its pushing me on the out a little, but its not much. When the right hand turn is made and the course starts to head up its a true tailwind. This also means that on the usually very fast 3 miles in it will be a tad slower and I can feel it.

The plan is to go a bit harder on the out than last time on 8/2 to make sure I capitolize on a cross wind thats gonna push me along, but very important not to go so hard as to blow up into the wind on the in.

So I am off and as expected I am going quicker than last time. I am bouncing above and below threshold, but maintaining a higher pace all the way. So as planned I push a bit harder, but again, pace!! In fact approaching the turnaround point I am 3 mph quicker up the rollers. I go 16 seconds faster to the halfway point than last time. 24.4 to 24.9mph a 0.5 mph increase.

On the in I am disregarding wattage completely, but when I do see its its pretty high, but my HR again is a few beats too low. No bother, its a lot cooler tonight and maybe I am still a bit tired. I am pretty sure I am going as fast as last time so I am confident a new record time for me is in the works (and maybe a course record?). The 2 mile then 1mile markers zing by and if I havent said it 20 times already its WAY COOL to be rolling along at 32mph on the clipons listening to the wheels and the wind rush by-oohh and loud gasping sounds, control the breathing too.

It turns out I was slower on the in to the tune of 8 seconds from the 2nd. I'll need to do some analyzing of data mile by mile to see where I lost time, but I sure felt like I was flying. I fly past Jim at 33.1mph in a time of 17:05 and 26.9mph ave speed. I have bested my previous time by 11 seconds and averaged 5 more watts and 0.5 more mph. I dont break anything but my own best and Matt Weeks 16:45 remains safe.

My last mile tonight was 0.3 mph faster than last time so maybe conservng energy paid off for blasting the last mile. But again, I will analyze more data to see where I was underperforming to see where I can chip away at those 20 seconds.

When I spoke with Matt I told him that his time was unreal and its gonna stand for awhile and I feel even more strongly tonight. I know what its gonna take to go 20 seconds faster and it wont be easy. Jim paid me a nice complement and thats that when he sees me coming he says I a look really smooth and fast. By comparison other fast guys look more powerful, but all over there bikes. Being what I call quiet is somethng I strive for. Nothing moving that doesnt need to be as any extra movement wastes energy and causes more drag.

So the planning paid off and I have gone faster with more watts then last time. I lost time on the in, but that could be as much weather as effort (as was the increase of speed To the halfway point). Did I say I love time trialing? I do.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Snake BIte at Westlake

So I miss Westlake last night as I just previously mentioned and my teammates have an awesome night. Going for primes and winning one, racing against the best legs Ohio has to offer and taking it right to them over and over.

I have been pushing and maybe lately berating just a little bit my very strong team mates that they have what it takes to take it to the Baldesares and Hopkins and Batkes. It was great to read John Ehrlinger's blog and see that they rode aggressively and got off the front so many times.

Way to go SBR (John, Gary, Rick, Chris, Dave)!! Sorry if I sound like I am trying to take even just a tiny bit of credit for this, I know its bad manners, but its definately a "I told you so" kind of moment for me.

clearing the mud

The mind is a terrible ting. Or is it a minds a terrible thing to waste? Either way my mind was telling me to get on the bike and ride, but to not think. Is that strange? I find that after awhile my mind starts to rebel againts itself and it needs to be allowed to run free and have some fun.

I do this by having zero objectives on a ride. I chose to skip Westlake for two reasons. One was to not be tempted to go all out because I have a Time Trial on Thursday and two, I just didnt want to have to be decisive, at all!!

So I join up with the club ride and just open up the throttle here and there with some stomps on Old Mill, Sherman, etc. but mostly I whine and complain and joke around with all the boys. I find that this kind of riding though maybe not good at bringing about any sort of positive training adaptations sure is good for the soul.

And hey whats more fun then going 50mph down Old Mill and trying to get Rachfal to laugh..."hey whats your name, do you ride this way often..." I guess youd have to be there for that one. But now I am recharged mentally and ready. My legs feel great this morning, they have that buzz that says We felt like you did some hard riding last night, but didnt kill us.

But more importantly my mind is no longer arguing with itself about training vs rest vs intervals vs easy day vs commiting to objectives and on and on and on......

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lead Baboon!!

I just spoke with Jack Sutte via e-mail about his JCB biathlon. Get this, he was lead off course not once, but TWICE and several times he had to check up because the lead car (an officer) was going too slow and he had passed it. Hey, I have nothing against officers of the law, but who in the world did they put in the lead car???

JCB Biathlon Relay Team

You would think with so many competitors at this event that warming up on a trainer wouldnt seem too odd, but I suppose in the world of multi-sport thats an odd thing to see. So there i am sweating my butt off warming up for longer than my actual event as I keep an eye out for when my runner Chris Martino (some of you will know him, hes a manager at Bike Authority) will arrive in the transition area of the Bellefaire school.

The first runner comes in and hes blown everyone away. Soon after some extremely fit looking guys come in like Jack Sutte and get on there bikes and roll out. I also see the first woman come in who sort of related is the fiancee of Mike Vanucci also of BA. Mike rolls in then a bit later Chris comes in. Chris has gone at his own record pace and on a hilly course so thats sweet.

I wait to get his attention which in retrospect was dumb as this is again a game of seconds, but thats ok. We roll out down some side streets and riders are everywhere and I am literally weaving down Milton, Landon, Green and Shaker to go around them. We hit Brainard and they bring us to one lane and there are so many riders in front of me. I check up and then realize the single lane lasts till Gates Mills so I start (using a nice tone of voice-mind you) yelling for a clear lane and reaccelerate. The rollers on Gates Mills arent too much of a problem, but it seems there is some odd winds because my speed donw the rollers is not nearly as fast as I know it can be. Not a straight on headwind for sure, but annoyingly not helpful. In the back of my mind I hope its tailwind home.

We hit the turnaround in a housing complex and when I enter the ~1 mile section I see the leader Jack Sutte coming the other way. This has me hopeful that I am setting one of the fastest bike legs (which is a goal btw) because he left the transition area way ahead of me.

The leg home is difficult as I cannot seem to get my heart rate to move. Its stuck at Threshold and I want it to move up 5 to 8 beats higher and it wont. Its also hard to mantain wattage and of course speed. Very annoying and the wind is still definately not helpful. But on the brightside I am passing very few riders now and its a blast going through every single stop sign and stop light at speed. These roads are my usual roads so its fun to get to do them like this.

I hit my marker for when its time to hammer it home and as I cross I think Sulgrave John Ehrlinger is telling me I am 4th!! Wow-I dont know how many cyclists I have passed, but it felt like a 100 so being up to 4th is awesome. At Green Rd I hear my wife shout so that gives me more speed. Brents instruction to me today was pass every single rider you see so in the last mile I see a rider and I am pushing hard to catch him.

Turns out it is Jack Sutte who had been lead off course by the lead vehicle-how absurd!! I dont have any idea how far he had to go before coming back on course, but my wife said he was cursing like a madman!! I dont blame him.

So in th end I fly inot the finsh area and completely miss the lane to slow down to hand in your number slip-rookie!! Chris and I win the relay team by a huge margin and for what its worth we get 4th overall. My time in the TT was 29:17 I think at 26.4mph. I really thought I could go faster and I think with better legs and less crazy wind its possible, but all in all a fun and very challenging (and bumpy at times too) course.

Will I do it as a true biathlon next year??? I doubt it, but you never know. I dont know how I would fit in 25 to 30 miles a week of running is the biggest problem. Thanks to Chris Martino for being my Relay teammate!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Marshalling and Baclava

Nothing like spending the entire day Marshalling and then going to a Greek festival for dinner. Beer and Baclava are carbs right?? Anyhow I got to seee some sweet racing (sadly in 28 minute long gaps over 5 hours) today as a marshall and the Valley View race is put on with such attention to detail!!

Thanks to all the racers who remembered to thank a marshall!!

11 hours and its time for me to hit the Shaker streets for another time trial (relay team for the JCB biathlon with CHris Martino running) I raised a little money and that felt good too. I will have to raise more money next year.

Friday, August 24, 2007

the curse of Euro Hill CR

Two times to Euro Hill and two times no race. Maybe its Tom Kellers and my fault??? Weve jinxed it? Tonight new and thick chip and seal made in some riders eyes a dangerous situation. A fall on chip and seal at 30mph really didnt seem appealing to me either so instead we were directed to a cool loop. It used Bellus that included 5 corners and a long stretch of downhill rollers at 46mph max speed and on two different streets 11 to 13% short hills that were a real bear to climb. I'll try and mapout the course on Map My Ride for others to use as a training loop.

Heres the loop:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cross Mojination

My buddy Brian Rice said to me recently (he doesnt ride bikes btw) that when i decide to do something I dont do it half ass. I never really thought about it like that. I am sure that this seemingly obsessive behavior doesnt extend to everything in life (thank goodness), but I do hope its part of some other parts of my life like fatherhood. I know that Rice is very good at golf (at least it seems to me-he may disagree) and I can take it or leave it for long periods of time. In fact I bought golf shoes and didnt wear them for a year-so there!!

But the end of the road racing and time trial season is nearing and ALREADY I am looking at September 30th as my first ever Cross race. Man, oh man, is it here yet? How do i concentrate on what I have to do in the next few weeks (including tonights race) and plan for the entire winter? Focus-concentrate boy!! Still some goals to hit this summer!!

Whats funny is i dont like dirt much less mud, I slow down for small ruts and wet roots give me reason to pause and I bunny hopping? Well let say I could probably bunny hop a small bunny-but thats about it.

Well I plan on working on skills and just trying to feel comfortable slipping and sliding and trying to stay upright while turning on an off camber downhill turn (in the mud, while raining and 45 degrees). Come out and watch-it'll probably be quite a sight (and not a pretty one).

I have even practiced dismounts and running and jumping over imaginary boards, ummmmm in my backyard??? Its not a huge backyard either. Ive even bought my tubes and tires for cross already. Brett and John assure me I can ride a bit on asphalt on them and not wear them out before the first cross race. Thats good cause they aint cheap and i really dislike swapping tires any more than I have to (I dont own many wheels).

Does anyone wear elbow and knee pads and shin guards during cross? How about full face helmets, goggles? I already feel bad for the poor soul whos behind me entering a technical section of the course. But lets hope this perverse "no half-ass" attitude to cycling allows me to pick-up some CX MOJO!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Westlake 08/21/07

In a nutshell John E, Tom K and I were in the A race for Snake Bite Racing. Attacks started on lap 2 I believe and were coming hot and heavy. I jumped a few times when I didnt have to and jumped a few times because Tuesday's supposed to be a workout as much as a race. I chased down attacks SBR wasnt in, etc. I told John I wanted to race aggressively, but NOT STUPID because I wanted a top 5 tonight. Although A&F were not there, two TRH (Braumberger and our national Champion Paul Martin were) as were Torelli, Lake effect and RGF (Brink, Chernosky,Martin) among others.

When Paul started sending his warning shots (blistering attacks then sitting up) I jumped at a few, but then the real one went I was recovering and I HAD to let it go. So did Tris, Chernosky and some other heavy hitters. But up the road were Braumberger, Sroka, Paul Martin, Batke and Frueh. Yup-thats the race right there!! As I sat recovering and watching the race go up the road Tom K, John E and Stark Velo's Darrin Kert came up to the font and starting drilling pulls keeping the break within eyesight. Without them, they would have been gone. I too started to take my turns pulling. Tom and John would fade off then come up and take more killer pulls. Man was it impressive seeing them work so hard and at a crucial time in the race.

After John took another long pull I was finally feeling good and when he pulled off I drilled it. I felt bad because I knew if everyone jumped John might go OTB, but he didnt and when i turned around only Matt Weeks had come and we had a big gap aided by Tom in the field.

Up the road was Tris who was trying to bridge solo. It took forever to get close to Tris and then there was still the break to catch. Tris realized he wasnt going to make it on his own and Matt and I were starting to falter. So Tris checked up and then the three of us really started hammering for the break. Tris said we needed to go 28 to 29 to catch them so thats what i did. When we got within throwing distance Tris said "Hang On" and buried it to get us back on. I got gapped, but I still made it after 4 miles of relentless chasing. Now the break was 9 strong and we kept pulliing hard, but no one was attacking till maybe 5 to go when Paul and Tom Frueh attacked us.

So up the road they go and I am still recovering from bridging. But once recovered i start taking these monster pulls when its my turn and I shit you not, I am pulling back Paul and Tom and when I fade off guys are telling me "good pull". But not everyones pulling as hard so we seasaw and on the bell lap we give up the chase. Also, at some point Chernosky has bridged to the break as well. I have no idea where he came from.

So onto the bell lap and were coming into the S-turns, Rudy pulls off and then Matt Weeks drills it at 30mph steady. Thats exactly what I wanted and I am sitting 2nd and with the 200m sign approaching and wheels on my right and left i can see out of the corners of my eye I go first. I know I will get passed, but I figure when your not blessed with top end speed its wisest to go early and try and gap those whos position is bad. So after a short bit I think Chernosky and Braumberger go by on my right and left like rockets and I am hopeful that I will stay 3rd in the bunch giving me 5th place (in the money and in the points), but Rudy motors past and I sit down and spin to the line.

So I got 6th overall and missed top 5 by a few feet. All in all an awesome and fast race. Brent is working on my sprint and its helping for sure, but still a long way to go. I would have to say from my pulls in the break that the TT portion and maybe my recovery have really stepped up this last month.

Afterwards there was some good bench racing and coulda-woulda shouldas and it was fun to be in on the action. Jeff said I road super strong and could be a Cat.2 which was cool to hear. I'd like to hit some Cat.3 only races and try and get some top 3's for the experience and for sure the points, but I wont get that chance till next year.

Average power (259 watts) was 2nd only to the State TT and normalized power was definately at TT pace (277 watts). We averaged 26.1mph including the warm-up lap and slow first lap and race distance this week was 16 laps or 32 miles. I think this workout will really help in building some speed for my last few Time Trials before I hang that bike on a hook for a set of 700c knobbies and mud.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A little rain dance

Finally got my butt out at 3:30pm today for some wet riding. Of course as usual it felt great once out past the traffic. Did some sprints and fast riding to spice up the ride. With any luc this front will move on and I can race at Westlake tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cry baby!!

ugghhh....7am, 60 degrees and raining. DoO I really need this ride today? I pumped up the tires on the cross bike but came inside and I am crawling back onto my bed (cycling cloths still on).

Maybe later I'll try again.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Buzz, buzz, buzz

What a feeling today. Like walking on a cloud. Sounds awfully dramatic-eh?? Just happy and yeah-I went and ate a big fat juicy hamburger, homefries a beer and topped it off with a warm brownie and vanilla ice cream and crushed Oreo cookies. Yummy!! I still cannot believe it really. But dont pinch me-Ive got the powertap file that proves it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

TOP Truxell TT-Solo 08/16/07

Goals-my goal tonight was to set fastest time of day if at all possible on a 2-man TT night. But I was solo because Thom my partner from last race bowed out. So I got myself psyched up all day for a solo effort. I also wanted to nail a 19 minute run by myself as well. The course record is 19:08 set in 1997 by my friend Rudy Sroka. Last race Thom and I went 19:29 losing to Ed Delgros and Janie (sp?)on a tandem by 4 seconds.

All day I watched the weather and waited for the NW 10 mph winds to move to the south, but it never did. Also, it was still humid so there was the double H whammy-headwind and humidity. But I still thought maybe a 19 minute run and maybe ftd, though there were some fast guys and woman in pairs tonight.

On the warm-up I didnt feel the course was so fast on Akron Peninsula road so I had planned to run it as fast as I could while still saving some for Truxell where I planned on just turning the hurt index to high and leaving it there. Also, again I planned on racing on speed and Perceived exertion, not Wattage. I didnt cover my power tap, but I didnt watch it (most of the time) either.

Having done the course once before and pre-riding 6 miles of it today I set aside landmarks all the way down A/P road. Go hard here, conserve here, maintain speed here, let speed drop here.

The start was as practiced and I settled into a good pace and HR was good. At my first marker I cranked it up and got up over 30mph so I started to think maybe a 19 minute run was possible. As the ups and downs went by my legs felt quite good even though I was in quite a bit of pain as usual.

The turn on Truxell came and I went through it fast not wanting to lose momentum on the false flat of about a mile till the first real uphill. Again, speed was better than expected at 26 to 25mph. The first hill came and I shifted several times and when speed dropped to less than 23mph I finally popped up off the clip-ons and started to pump away. This went on and on up and over the winding road.

As is my style I didnt take breaks on the backsides of the rolling uphill and just pressed on. I was catching a few pairs of riders so that helped keep the motivation up. Also once on Truxell I turned my computer off Heart rate and went to distance. At about the 7 mile mark I really started to try and pour it on, but to be honest I was pretty well pinned. Then I switched to time and watched the seconds hit 5, 6, 7 and up. I looked up over the roller and didnt see the finish and said, well there goes the course record. As I pushed over another roller I saw 30, 31, 32 tick by and started to think, maybe I can make this a 19 minute run, but wheres the damn finish?

I was really pushing for everything I had now and as I watched the finish line approaching and time counting up 57, 58, 59-DRAT!! NO 19 minute run, but hey, I figured not the best conditions right and I thought it was still a fast run for the night.....

So I sprint across the line after having gotten out of the saddle several times, legs and lungs protesting from jumping repeatedly out of the saddle in the last 0.5 mile to nail that 19minute run and I look down at my PowerTap and I see 19:0 somethng flash by as I hit some buttons to stop the interval. WHAT?? I couldnt believe what my eyes saw for that split second. I rolled down the road hoping it was true and after awhile I rode back to the Tom the official and he says 19:05 which breaks Rudy's record set in 1997. Somehow in my delerium of pain I didnt pay any attention to the minutes.

I waited till I was all alone riding down Truxell then started yelling and hooting with joy!! For the first time this year and in my cycling career I have a record that is all mine!! Not a first in class, but 5th overall or a 2nd spot by one second, but a course record!! Rudy, his son and I talked a long time on the ride back to the cars and he was genuinly happy for me and I a bit not knowing what to say. But his being happy for me made it even better. I respect Rudy as I am sure everyone else does too.

And as an odd ritual on the way back I stopped and climbed Quick road. I wanted a few more miles and also to see this climb...Weird, I know. Didnt hurt at all...

This has been such a great last few weeks of racing. I am definatelty going out tomorrow night to celebrate (as I drink a tasty beer as I type). I think I deserve a big fat desert and maybe something really decadent and tasty.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

GPS, Power Meter, Wireless, Can it be?

A new company is debuting their new QUARK power meter at this years Interbike show. as you all know I am a strong believer in training and pacing with power and this unit is like having a Powertap 2.4, SRM and Garmin Edge (or Polar) all in one unit. It even will show realtime power related info like TSS.

There are limitations like you must run a multi piece crank (one with a seperate spider) because the strain gauges read movement in the spider. For me this will be very expensive because a Cannondale Hollowgram crank is $500 new. On the plus side the crank is stiff and very light. NO ugly wires and use ANY wheels you want.

I am waiting anxiousely for this one. The iBIke was just too quirky and the SRM is too expensive and cannot be moved from bike to bike easily and power tap you cannot use a disc wheel (disc covers yes, but not a true disc wheel). Check it out for yourself.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Orrville Milk Race Breakaway Day! 08/12/07

This was supposed to be the 60 mile epic Kinzua road race in PA, but a good friends birthday party out of town on Friday and then the next day another friends bachelor party made the 3 hour drive at 4:30am seem unappealing. My coach and another local rider made the trip and both placed in the top 8 so that was great for them. So after two days of travel, too much food and drinking (and an awfully played game of golf) I was tired, but excited for this race. Luckily Dave Steiner drove me to Orrville.

My very strong teammate on Snake Bite Racing Chris Bilowich was trying his hand at his first 2/3 race and also lining up was the equally strong Dave Steiner. We hashed out some plans to get guys in every break and hopefully get someone away in the end.

The race started and I dont know how many miles in but the attacks already started. I lost count how many guys jumped away. I know Tris was one of the first away and he rode someone off his wheel. In the middle was Lake Effects Diffenbacher no doubt warming up. I started to jump into or chase down attack after attack by myself. I was getting tired already and this was only Lap One!!

On a course like the Milk Race theres nothing selective on it. That means no long or steep hills or endless rollers. This course is , I dont know how to describe it, a solid, fast circuit race course with 6 corners and a short hill on the backside and on this day had some headwind sections. But this also means that the race is decided on pure aggression pure and simple. Attack and attack and attack-so basically keep throwing attacks at the wall till something sticks!!.

I think on lap two I was again in several breaks, the best being Batke, Hopkins myself and someone else ( cannot recall a face or jersey). But this break didnt have Dan Quinlan, Lake Effect or Stark Velo in it so reportedly Quinlan and Thor among others brought us back after several miles. In a way this was good because with so few in the break the pulls were coming fast and furious. I dont think I was warmed up enough for this kind of attacking yet.

As soon as we were brought back I was waiting for the Lap 3 counter attack and I wasnt sure I'd be recovered enough yet, but I stayed near Quinlan to mark his move. It wasnt very long aftewards and the attacks came again and again. I was able to go again and this time the group had two COBC, three Torelli, MVC (Quinlan) and a guy form Oregon and of course myself. Only Lake Effect and Stark were missing of the big players.

The breakaway was working perfectly. In fact I think for two laps we didnt even break our line-up working a near perfect rotating paceline. Not a word was spoken for 20 miles too and we avergaed 25+ mph laps. Dave said the peleton had lost about 10 guys too, showing how fast the race was. My buddy John Reade flatted though. He was having an active race too. As we rolled away Chris and Dave put a stopper on the field getting us the gap, so some great teamwork for Snake Bite there. After that Dave was getting yelled at for not helping to chase from other teams, but that was pretty funny since he had me up the road. Also teams not represented in the break couldnt get there acts together to work for the common good (good for us). Chris at some point broke a spoke too-DARN!! He was now out.

On the last lap up the climb on the backside I set what I hoped was a fast tempo to ward off any attacks. I thought of putting it in the big ring over the top and drilling it to maybe cause another selection, but I wussed out even though I came over the top first and feeling not too bad. But the rider form Oregon did what I thought about and Batke was quick to bridge. With Trueh and Hopkins back to cover the field, this was a perfect move. I only wish I had gone with my gut instinct when I thought the same thing. Of course a Torelli guy would have to have gone with me for it to work.

I was working to bring them back and one of the COBC guys was helping too, but Torelli was working us over hardcore by screwing up our rotation. I was suprised that Dan wasn't helping much, but afterwards he said he wasnt too strong at the end so maybe he was just trying to get to the finish. They were within what I thought was my striking distance of a last dig, but I decided that a move like that would help the other 6 more than it would help me , especially if I didnt make it. For sure I would have pulled the group within striking distance.

Finally in the last km or so Tris must have known his teammate was far enough up the road so he launched his early attack (before the last corner). I again didnt jump and sat in with the last 3 guys and when Dan jumped at about 180 meters I finally jumped, but Dan and Tom were too fast for my tired legs and I rolled in 7th knowing that 8th had popped behind me.

In the field Dave knew we had a top 8 finish in the bag and he wanted to take places 8,9 or 10 for us too, but he wasnt quite positioned well into the last corner and couldnt use his good sprint this race.

It was so gratifying to make the breakaway with such fast local talent!! I was for sure the only Cat.3 in the bunch as well. And I am learning so much race craft with every race. I think I am already a pretty pure racer anyways, but I will be learning and making mistakes or second guessing split second race decisions for many years to come, but for now its great. I am seriously pumped about this season!!

By pure racer I mean that mentally I dont worry about finishing till the end. I think about aggresion that can pay off, what break to go in and what to ignore, to help or not to help bring back attacks Snake Bite is not in, burning matches wisely and always, always try and be in the winning move. Much to work on, but hopefully with the mind focused and my coach and teammates helping, were again building for 2008.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

John EARLYnger

Wow-its 10pm and i am getting up to ride in 7.5 hours. Whos to blame for ths nuttiness? Riding at 6 to 6:30am, why its pure Insanity!!! Or is it??

Look at all these benefits if youve got family or just things to do! First, theres the lack of traffic. Also, if you wake up and its pouring, well you go back to sleep and ride later. Its like a treat. Next, your family just loves the fact that your home at 5pm and not leaving again for 2 to 3 hours, then getting home, snarfing down food for an hour and cleaning up till babies in bed.

In the summer its much cooler (if not less humid like this week) and you dont usually get baked in the sun. Leave the suntan lotion in its bottle. I like this last benefit (but theres more-just keeping this one short) if your racing the next day your body gets an extra 12 hours to recover and you can use the evening to do core exercises and some stretching.

So I thank John for getting me started on this. Its been all good. Now to get commuting again....

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Me Pettachi?!?!?!

This morning (7am and already mid 70's and humid-uck) Brent Evans and I rode and he worked on my sprinting. I have never had anyone help me on sprinting and I can say it made a world of difference right away. Sure Ive done a 1000 sprints for training, but now I have some form to work on besides just the legs going up and down as fast as I can. Did he turn me into Pettachi (Salbutamol and all) in one session?? Of course...................................not! But I didn see some good wattage to back up the change in technique.

Wanna know what we changed? OK-hire a coach!! I am excited though, really excited to get out in some races or training rides and gun for the line or the city signs now. Practice, practice, practice!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Data, Data and More data

So you wonder how much energy do you save when you draft versus sit on the front? At the ZOAR race on Sunday I compared 5 laps in a row over the same distance and location on the course. This was between the first climb and 2nd climbs. The first lap was of course with the full compliment of 33 riders and I was positioned in the middle taking great advantage of the break from the wind. I will present the average wattage from my Power Tap to illustrate the differences.
186 watts

Lap2 some attacks were starting and also this is when Batke and Quinlan took off and we followed Grimm as he pulled us along quickly.
214 watts

Lap3, 4 were just normal laps, but we were now down to 20 and then probably 15 or so guys (and gal). Speed didnt chnage much, but with less riders and having to cover more moves, the wattage is creeping up.
175 watts
205 watts

Lap5 I am off solo on this entire section and I am not going all out, but going between tempo and threshold wattage, push, recover, push recover.
275 watts.

Now look at lap 3 and lap 5, almost identical times , but solo it took 100 more watts to cover the same distance.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

ZOAR Cat 1-3 08/05/07

My little moto to start this race story is "Never Give Up".

My team mate Tom Keller and I arrived to rain in very quaint ZOAR. We left unpacking and dressing a bit too late, but got a short warm-up in anyways. First lap was uneventful, but it allowed me to see the two climbs. Well I had a momentt when I came into a corner, noticed my speed was much higher than those in front and when I went for my wet brakes I wasnt slowing at all. I had to take a wide line around Quinlan to not T-bone him and got yelled at by a guy I had to cut-off. I apologized, planned on explaining, but I never saw him again (he didnt crash if you must know).

The only race action on the 2nd lap was a small group coming off the front. I was stuck on the right against the side of the road when I saw Batke take off and Dan Quinlan went too. I absolutley would have gone then as I knew I would work and we would have a good shot at staying away. But when I got free it would be a long bridge and also with Grimm, RGF, A&F, UPMC and so many other fast guys I figured wed have them back soon.

But the pace slowed till we hit the 2nd climb (edit: actually pace slowed on the third lap) and there gap was established and growing. Everytime up the 2nd stair step I was ok till the final pitch when every lap Tris and others would punch it over the top. The first time we hit it with 34 racers. I got dropped and on the descent slammed it into the 11 and pulled a lot of guys back to the break. Man was I flying on the descents today.

This went on lap after lap. I'd get dropped and chase back on the descent. But everytime I did there were less riders coming with me. On lap 3 or 4 I think I was dragging two guys and one was yelling at me-I dont know what he was saying. They came around and took pulls as we got close and when I had rested I blasted across the final little gap and got yelled at again. I can only imagine he was saying work together or something. I didnt know it was my job to drag other teams back into the race. Besides, I never heard anyone say "thanks" for the 3 times I dragged everyone across before.

So basically I was fine all lap long, but that last pitch got me dropped. But I didnt give up and I just hammered and hammered and hammered till I got back on everytime. Then something unexpected happened and I thought we were starting lap 4 , but the bell rings!!! We'd already done 4 laps and the field was down to 15 or so. So the last lap saw Jeremy Grimm attack a few times and the UPMC guys were turning up the heat at times too. At one point Jeremy got away with a handful of guys and I was late to move. I realized I had better bridge it and came across hard as the group sat-up. But I had such a nice head of steam as came across I decided to just go right around them.

I figured no one would chase and thats exactly what happened. I could tell they were letting me dangle as I loked back and saw themn 4 across on the tops, but I was somewhere between tempo and threshold and maintaining a nice gap with about 5 miles to go. I also got to fly through the two slow corners and figured that would help my gap as the group was overslowing all race long. As we approached the 2nd hill I started to ramp up the watts and hoped I wouldnt blow and I think I actually climbed the 2nd hill better than when I was in the group. They finally passed me with Tris out of the saddle at the top of the climb, but this time my gap allowed me to come over the top only 50' behind and I chased on quicker with the help of Matt Weeks.

Once back in the group I noticed we had whittled the group down to only about 10. A few guys flatted but all in all I think the constant rain (and a downpour for a short spell) and whicked speed over the 2nd climb and down the descent shed most of the guys.

I felt fine and almost chastised myself for trying a long flyer, maybe I'd be stronger at the end if I hadnt, but I thought my move worked some good too. But I also knew I was flying down the descents and if I had come over the top with any sort of gap I would have been flying to the finish and if anyone caught me, they would be as gassed or more than me.

The final turns approached and it was mayhem with me going from 7th to 4th wheel and back again as surges went and came back. Two or three guys sent attacks before 200m. I was lucky to get Grimms wheel in the final 200, but a guy came up flying past me and took the wheel and I was blocked in again and had to start my sprint later than the rest.

I got in a battle with Noah Metzler for 5th in the group (last paying spot of 7) for what seemed like 20 seconds and we seasawed at 36mph in the rain and as we hit the line he beat me by inches. I was hopeful that I was the first Cat.3, but Josh Halfax (sp?) from Columbus got 4th in the sprint. He walked away with a $100 gift certificate too!!!

So the old adage never give up rang true today. Had a I given up when I was dropped all 5 times on the 2nd climb I never would have made it to the final, fun, crazy wet sprint. I had even quickly planned a flyer from outside 200m or so, but never got a chance or a whiff of the open road in front. I walked away form Zoar TIRED and happy as can be!! I cannot wait to do it again next year. Heres a link to the course profile:

And now results:

Friday, August 3, 2007

Leroy Time Trial 08/02/07

Leave it all on the road is how that old Time Trial proverb goes and thats what I tried to do tonight.

The weather was hot and humid and it had just rained. Not that rain affects speed, but the humidity was pretty thick. Air was calm, but it felt like riding into a headwind. The Leroy Rd course off of Vrooman I was made aware of by Nancy Mills. She gave me the secret handshake and I was in. OK, just kidding, but its a great almost 8 mile course, little traffic and out and back with one small rise and one steep short climb right before the turn around. Basically medium fast out and screaming fast on the way home, just the way I like it!!

Jim Behrens is the gracious host of the events and even holds your bike for a standing clipped in start. I practiced a few cold starts when I prerode the course and had to choose between a 53/19 and 53/21 to start. When I saw he was holding bikes I chose 53/19 and I slowly sprinted (slowly sprinted??) off and settled at 24mph as planned untill the small initial rise ended then I upped it to 25 to 26 and paced myself not on power but speed. I basically wanted to remain at 25 to 26mph till the turn. I forgot to cover my wattage like at TOP, but basically ignored what it said.

I made the turn conservatively, but still fast and again stayed on my pacing. I slowed as expected on the first rise and pushed hard over it, but that left me tired for the short steep hill before the turn around where I slowed to 13mph.

My first half stats were:

3.845 miles (probably a little off)
24.3 mph ave speed.
293 ave watts
29.1 max speed
172 ave heart rate (hr)
179 max hr

Now of course every small rise is a down on an out and back course so it was nice to get a breather for a spell at 36mph and then get ready to fly home. I felt like I hit most of my pacing right on the way out, except the last 1/2 mile or so, so I knew all I had to do was get as close to 30mph as possible all the way home and I was assured a good time. I found some rises (very small in reality-but you feel them) were robbing me of speed so whenever the road was flat or remotely down I tried extra hard to reach over 30mph to compensate.

My 2nd half stats were:

3.835 miles (probably a little off)
29.8 mph ave speed
292 ave watts
36.9max speed
179 ave hr
183 max hr

As you can see the speed was high as was my hr. In fact I was pretty much pegged all the way in and in the last 2 miles I finally went all out for the line and those stats are:

29.1 mph ave speed
307 watts
33.1 max speed
181 ave hr
183 max hr

My max hr is 183 so at least from that perspective I was pinned for final run in as your rsupposed to be. Legs were burning, breath was more like huge gasps and sweat was pouring form my entire body, but its all worth it when your going all out for the line.

I went 17:16 making that the 2nd fastest run ever on this course. The record set only last week stands at 16:45 by Matt Weeks. Who by the way went 17:20 somethng his first try on the course last year (the year he won the State TT and fastest time of day). This bodes well for me going quicker as I learn the course and dial myself in. Hats off to Matt of course because going faster than I did is going to be extremely hard work for me. Maybe not use any more power, but a better pacing strategy and using my rear disc cover.

I am constantly amazed in time trials (short ones anyways) how much pain you can put yourself in such a short period of time. Also, running off perceived exertion went well again. I didnt reset any short term power figures, but showed higher average watts for the same distance (and on my TT bike where I make less power vs time) than TOP. Its important to understand that at the TOP race there were significant rises and rollers in the last 3 miles which causes your wattage to be much greater for a short period of time and I got to draft td down AP road.

Thank you Nancy for letting me know about this great TT event and to Jim for always hosting it.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

A little Time Trial Action

After racing with Thom at the TOP 2-man TT I have been thinking more about Time Trials than ZOAR to be honest. probably because TT events are a more controllable environment so its easy to plot strategies in your mind. Not that ZOAR and Kinzua arent on my mind, mind you. Especially after last club ride and Thom just ripping my legs off up Sherman, Old Mill East and West. If only I could climb like I did when I was 20 and skinny as a stick.

Anyways, I am going to add more Time Trials into the mix. Its going ot be fun to start testing out position changes before the last Presque Isle and before I hang the TT bike up for the winter.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Respect and fair Play

Let me make it very clear that I have respect for the world at large. What in the heck does that mean? I mean I am not mean spirited, I dont hate people older than I am. What I do have is a unusual sense of fair play and I take that to extremes. I probably would be the type to vote for a eye for an eye type punishment, but at the same time I believe in random acts of kindness every day and paying forward. Whether if its runnng to open a door for a stranger whos hands are full or on the flipside, not letting someone merge whos been cutting in and out of traffic without using turn signals.

Makes my life complicated I suppose, but I manage to be fairly sane like this.

Completely lost it today

Every cyclist has a bad driver story and today is mine. Three of us (to hide names I'll use D and E as names) were returning west on Shaker when we stopped at Green. When the light changed i noticed a blue SUV right on the D's rear wheel-closer than I have ever seen and D was right behind me so this was scary. Finally when the SUV passed he left all three of us (lined out-not side by side) a foot..maybe. I told E when i caught him that I felt like going 36mph and catch him at the light.

Sad of me to be prejudice, but he was an elderly man and its seems that many times when you get honked at and almost hit-its white hair on top of the drivers head. Usually a man, but sometimes a woman and very aggresive. Do some lose a sense of morality as a part of aging?

As it turned out down at Warrensville I did catch him, but the light was changing to green so as I caught up to his back end as he pulled away I hit his rear qurter glass as hard as I could with my knuckles and he slammed on his brakes. he opned his window and I started screaming at him to leave cyclist 4' of room when he passed.

Well-he went on about how we were riding 3 abreast (maybe standing at the red light) and I reminded him he tried to kill us. We progressed down Northpark where the argument continued and he even yelled "Do you want me to get out of my car?" several times. Finally I responded "Why, so you can get your ass kicked?".

Finally he told me that he was calling 911 and I didnt complain, but as he was dialing his phone and talking to the person on the other end I yelled in the car "Did he mention that he tried to kill us...?" I had to laugh as I couldnt even imagine what lie he would present to the officer when they arrived as to why he in his 5000lb car was threatened by a skinny dude in spandex on a 16lb bike that he easily could have driven away from. I still would have liked ot stay around for the officer to arrive.

But as most of us know cyclist are often viewed as the enemy and it would be my word against an elderly mans and I figured the sympathy vote was not going to mr. sweaty!! So now I was feeling bad about D and E and decided to cut my losses and ride on home. Theres way more details, but this is the bulk of it.

A friend who I confided in later made a great point. He said not in these exact words that morally I had every right to slam my fist in his window, dent his car, yell and scream as he did just try to kill all three of us (and I dont take well to myself being threatened, but something kicks in when my friends get threatened too), but in the court of law, once I started yelling and hit his car, I pretty much lost any chance of help from the police.

I then started to feel not only bad for D and E, but also for the next cyclist he might come upon and his potential retaliation, but again my friend said at least now this person has to think about his actions and the consequences when he tries to be vigilante and rid the world of cyclists three at a time.

Maybe I was the first to confront him vocally and physically and not just flip him the bird or throw a hand up in disgust. Maybe, just maybe hes lost a bit of that feeling of control over helpless cyclists that he must crave. I am glad he was the stick that broke the camels back because he was a complete asshole and he got the brunt of frustration I have felt over 100 other close calls.