Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Westlake 04/29/08

Fun, but cold race. Cant say it was beautiful weather thats for sure. Dark skies, a headwind down the finish straight and the occasional drip, drop of rain. It may have been in the 50's, but it felt like low 40's to me. We all had on about all the clothes we owned.

Although the pace wasnt as unrelentingly fast as my first Westlake I thought when it got fast, it got real fast. Everytime I would get off in a multi-lap break (the first with Tom Humphrey, Ricardi, Sroka and Bob Martin) and came back it seemed the already smaller field was a few guys less. Breaks and chases to catch breaks often does that and especially on cold and windy days!!

We even went so slow at one point we had to simulate an attack (spurred on by Batke) to get away from the B groups breakaway which had passed us back. And get this, the break was comprised of mostly ladies!! You GO GIRL!!! Heck yeah!!

I decided to try for some primes for the first time and I got one for 2 points. Then later they called for a $ prime, and thinking they were $20 or something I rode off the front inbetween the last corners and drilled it into the headwind. I saw a wheel, looked back and it was only one rider. Maybe I am wrong, you tell me, but I felt committed to keep charging to the line. If I backed off to try and force Matt Weeks in front I would lose momentum and since I had been going so hard for 500M or more I wouldnt be able to accelerate again anyways. So I took my chances and when Matt started his sprint I sprinted too, but he got it by a half wheel. But it turns out it was for $2!! lol No loss there except pride.

But the prime lead to a 2.5 lap break for Matt and I with about 7 to go. I knew going into it that it was a long shot without Inferno, PM or RGF, but were both good time trialists and had just done presque isle so who knows!! When youve got a big gap off of a prime like we had-might as well try. We maintained a good gap I think. But RGF did pull us back eventually and they said Bob Martin took over from two teammates, pulled a whole straightaway to close the deal. I dont know Bob personally, but it seems hes racing well this year.

But that was okay because I had Brian (Torelli) and Weeks had Rudy (Team Lake Effect)patiently waiting and resting (??) in the field. Rudy countered and brought out Batke, PM, RGF (Martin?) and that was the winning break!! Moments later Chernosky and Weeks went to bridge, but Matt knew better than to tow Dave to the break with Rudy in it. Should I have gone with them? Maybe, maybe not. If I had, I wouldnt have been able to do anything except be in a position for 5th, but me against Weeks and Chernosky in a sprint? Whaaa, haaa, haaaa,ohhhh, funny one. No way was i going to pull Dave to the break too. Thats a contract termination thing right there.

So what was left of the field sat on there thumbs for awhile untill Tom Keller and Chris Billowich of Snake Bite who didnt have representation up the road went to the front and tried to pull us back to the pair dangling in no mans land. Diffenbacher and I sat 3rd and 4th wheel as dutiful teammates. was so easy now. On the bell lap we caught the B race again and into the headwind i decided to try and catch the two for fun. I knew at this point Batke was safe in the front group.

I basically pulled the whole lap as hard as I could, but could not catch Dave and Matt and I rolled across the line pulling about 8 or so guys (looked like a lot of TLE, SBR and one RGF) for a 7th. Maybe 50% attrition tonight? I knew even if I caught them I would be so spent I wouldnt be able to sprint, but it was more about the training. Just going for it to see if it could be done. Well, it couldnt, not for me anyways. No one came around to help so I can say that either I was pulling too hard or more likely no one else cared to catch them and/or go against Dave for 5th.

Torelli got 4th and 7th. Not too shabby, except ony one of them counts for anything. I did my thing by attacking and going in breaks to springboard a rested Batke into a winning break and it worked. That alone made for a fun and successful night.

Now to decide between RATL, Bull Run (OVR) or Cone-Azalia (Michigan) this weekend. I can only do one!! I need USA cycling points bad so hopefulyl whatever race I hit I do well in it.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Unnofficial Berkshire Challenge

Berkshire is a climb that is probably used more than all others for us east siders. It is also a do all training hill. Max efforts, tempo, threshold, over gears, repeats, you name it, they can be done on this hill. Its also the bailout hill for when your coming home tanked, bombed, bonked, etc. I say take Shaker if your dead cause its over before you know it, but Berkshire is not as steep, but much longer.

So anyways, I am reading a blog of a Cleveland cyclist and the blogger has set himself a goal of breaking a personal record up Berkshire Rd. by a certain date. That reminded me of Noel once asking me months ago what I did bottom to top and I didnt know. Then not a week after reading the blog Brett asked me if I have ever timed myself up it. That was last week. This got me thinking about a fun challenge. What if people who ride it from the bottom at Chagrin River Road (where the pavement changes color) all the way to the stop sign (and you must stop) time themselves and post their times here as Comments?

Then I will keep editing the post all throughout the summer. Maybe make it from now till September 30th. Fastest time will win absolutely nothing but the admiration of your peers, or maybe a Cliff bar.

I can think of only three simple safety rules!! Please try and start the climb no faster than 15mph as you roll off of CRR and start your watch right at the pavement color change. I think a rolling start is safer then someone stopped trying to get pumped up for the start.

Next, do not blow by the stop sign at the top. Stop your watch as you come to a complete stop at the stop sign.

And last, but not least take no chances or do anything dumb!! In fact in the spirit of this silly competition (oh-crap-that blows the deal-competition) I think it best if you try and not plan too hard on when to do it. Just do it on the way home from a ride. But, if you must ride there, drop your bottles just to do it go right on ahead.

You can post anonymously and even post details if you care like temperature and wind direction, what bike, tires, tire pressure tried this time, full bottles, your weight, bike weight, etc. Anything you want because this is just for giggles and bragging rights. Its even more fun if you post more than once as you get faster over the summer. And dont be afraid to post if your time isnt close to the top times.

I finally timed myself up it on the way home from doing intervals last week and I went up zone 2 and never broke 215 watts. But if I dont post a time, then who will?

Anyone care to guess what the record will be?


5/25 Ian Hoffman 7:07
5/24 Mark Erdmann 8:10
5/7 Ray Huang 6:11
5/1 Ian Hoffman 7:20
5/1 Steve 6:53
4/24 Ray Huang 7:27
4/07 JC 8:54
4/? Brett Davis 7:25

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Presque Isle TT. YAHOOO!!

Audrey and her best friends

Presque Isle 2008. I felt awesome from the time I got on my bike to warm up till about 8 miles into the race, then I was in some serious pain!! Rudy Sroka pushed me all the way and that helped a bunch. Officially I got a 26:54 at 27.78mph ave speed, but, unofficially my computer shows me exactly 15 seconds faster which I think is right. So I had a 26:39 at 27.9mph. 2nd Place Overall and 2nd and 3rd for Team Columbus with Brian Batke right behind me!! The unofficial time did not chnage my overall as Joslyn from NY is just on another level from me.

It was like last spring with a slight tailwind out and headwind back in. I averaged 29.1mph out and 26.9mph back in. I had a rocket start and averaged 30.3mph for the first mile, but didnt feel like I went out too hard with a controlled acceleration from the line. I practiced starts last week about 3 times to make sure i could feel a sub 600 watt start, but sitting as fast as I could and pushing straight up to 28 to 30mph without going anaerobic.

I had so many changes from 2007 that it would seem I was trying to fix something broken, but thats not the case. This was a calculated evolution spurred on by Thom Domonic's observations while doing my footbeds and shims, Sean and Mike from BA redoing my TT fit to be UCI legal if I go to Nationals this year and some well spent money on equipment (Zipp Sub9 disc and DA 172.5 cranks,Zipp Tangent front tire, Toupe Saddle).

I have to thank Thom Domonic, Sean Gilbert, Mark Lopresto, Mike Vanucci and Rudy (for the in-race motivation and more) and my family for the big parts they played and last but not least, Michael Mischler and the Iroquois School volunteers for putting on the great event. I love this TT!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Free Frame?

Hey everyone,

I will happily consider giving away the 54cm steel frame, fork, seatpost, cages to the "right" person as described in this posting.

That would be someone who WILL use it on a regular basis (train, commute, ride, ENJOY weekly or daily), but is not in a position to buy a racing type bike at this time. I would hope the right person would race the bike, but its not necessary.

I will also consider tossing in other parts to make the bike closer to complete at no charge, but I do not have big ticket items like wheels to give away at this time. But I'll give what I can.

Seems stupid to get only $90 for something that is worth so much more to me, but no one else. But for the $90-I'd rather help out someone in need. Lets face it, I am always in want, but never in need!!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Masters 38km TT Course Revealed

Bring THIS On

Wow-now lets talk about a Challenging TT course. I thought our Ohio State TT course out in the wind and going N,S, E and West and constant rollers was tough. This is going to be a tougher challenge. Looks more like a hilly circuit race course than a TT. Willit suit me because of my weight, or will this be a raw power course?

The idea is to go this year to get a feel for a Nationals and get used to the added butterflies. Ive lined up for big bicycle and kart races before, but this will be the biggest. Then go back in 2009 with three years of riding back under my legs and really go for it. Thats assuming I dont tear my MCL again cross training! Let there be no doubts, more scary fast TT specialists show up for nationals than, well just about any other TT....and a lot our in my age bracket (40-44).

Getting closer to Presque Isle by the minute. I repositioned my Bell Meteor helmet so that the tail is no longer sticking up into the wind like last year (how come no one told me). I needed to see a pic from PI to realize how bad it was. But its now almost on my back. Lets hope thats worth a few seconds!! details, details!!

Anyways-take a look at that TT course if you have time. I see one hill looks like 300' in about a mile and constant rollers before the turnaround and right back into the rollers.



Ok, its time t get serious about some upgrades like deep section tubulars for road racing and some sweet weight weenie parts for my Zak Dieringer cross bike soon to be completed. Can anyone recommend some cool (but simple) color schemes? For cost reasons I was thinking good old black, but its a shame to have a custom bike that lacks any creativity in the paint.

So with that I am thinking about selling off some of my current gear.

Heres what Ive got:

DT240s Hubs with DT Supercomp spokes (28f,32rear) and DTrr1.1 Clincher rims. Shimano 8-10 speed and nice and light at just over 1500 grams with rim strips. Will come with DT skewers. $380pr. I paid $760 for them late in 06. The rear is rarely ever used due to my Powertap. Bearings, etc top notch. All black!!

Flashpoint FP60 front wheel with skewer. New in 2007. 841 grams with rim strip. $350.00

Steel 54cm white color Panasonic frame and steel black fork with Horizontal dropouts. It comes with a nice white 26.8 American Classic seatpost and new headset. It also has matching Blackburn bottle cages. I paid $45 for the headset recently. Racing style frame. $90.00 keep it in mind for a cheap track bike for Lorain Speedway. Its 3cm too big for me. Can add for little extra money modolo or Cinelli quill stem, bars (Modolo or Cinelli 66), BB, crank (ultegra 170 or 172.5)

My 52cm Cross bike-complete. 53.5 top tube (I'll need to recheck that measurement)and long shaped chainstays make for massive mud clearance out back. Its a Dedacciai 7005 aluminum frame and carbon fork that handles and rides great (on or off road). No brake stutter and geometry has no toe overlap. Black Chris King headset ($125 value). Very stiff for sprinting and powering through the grass. Its currently set-up with a single ring (42) FSA Gossamer front crank to a SRAM 8-speed 12-26 cassette (only 220grams), shifted via an Ultegra brifter and light brake only lever on the left. Cane Creek SCX-5 brakes and brand new Kool-stop pads. Cannondale carbon/alum 27.2 seatpost, FSA 120mm stem, Easton EA70 42cm ctc bars (matches bike in colors). Bike has a wild orange/yellow/red graphics on black paint. Quite a few nicks and scratches from a season of cross racing, but structurally in great shape. I dont have any "modern" saddes to offer, so pick from what Ive got (vetta light, old Sella flight).

Dont get me wrong-I love this bike, but I think I might make a carbon/steel bike for this fall or just race my SS. But for now I need some road racing gear.

Rear wheel is a 105 hub (brand new),32h Velocity Aerohead rim, black spokes. The hub is 8-10 speed so no problems upgrading. Front wheel is in very nice shape with 105 style front hub, 36 spokes and Matrix semi aero shaped (not deep) rim. $700.00. NO pedals.

FSA SL-K carbon 170 53/39 crankset with TWO bottom brackets. Great shape-was on my TT bike. One New and one good, but used bottom bracket. $185.00 for all.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

RATL #1 Video

Heres a Video shot by Jeremy Grimm's dad of the A race finish. Turns out there were I think 57 starters. Wow!! I am feeling better about my top 15 or whatever all the time.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

RATL-Stupidity and luck and more!!

RATL Cat1-3 race. This was the fastest group of riders I personally have lined up with. Kirk Albers and Paul Martin were there as well as a HUGE contingent of RGF and Team Inferno (including the decked out SUV of theirs). And of course the whole gang of fast guys we always race against of Spin, Team Lake Effect, UPMC (from PA) Raisin Rack and others.

So anyways, not to make excuses, but this has been a good week of workouts. So many hard efforts that come Friday I could barely do my intervals. Wednesday I reset best 20 and 30 sec power numbers and was close to season bests all the way up to an hour. Thursday I was doing intervals at just below threshold. I went to bed hoping I would recover for Saturday as the rumor had already started about a stacked RATL field.

I wont bother with race details, except to tell a few stories from the race. Brian Batke had already raced in a long breakaway in the Masters field. He and all his breakaway partners all lined up for Cat.1-3 race. And all of them over 45. Studs!!

6 minutes into our race Kirk attacked and I was near the front. So I of course took off and chased and sort of made contact. 6 minutes into the race and I was WAY deep and hit my max HR. Either I or we came back and then bridging attacks were being shot off. I dont know when, but I got in another move when Dan Quinlan took a dig. Its funny because I was on him at the time, waiting for his move. It seemed like a good time to go and he did. So I again took off and he pulled hard, then took a bit of a breather, but when we hit the parking lot he pulled again-holy cow did that hurt.

14 miles into the race I was on the verge of getting dropped. I was dropping away from the front group and thinking all kinds of nutty things like how its ok to get dropped sometimes, you trained hard this week, dont worry about it. But then I got a hold of myself and drilled it with what little I had and got back on the tail end of the field. Had I let myself get dropped I wouldnt be a happy camper right now so I am glad I gave it one more shot.

Our field split and Brian made it into the front group so I stayed shodowed in the field. OH, btw-5 riders were up the road. I only know that it was Jeremy Grimm and Kirk Albers. I dont know who else made it yet. They were gone and no where in sight. I was in the back group and at first I was able to follow bridge attempts by Rudy, Dan to get to the front group, but I didnt work. At best, pulled through. Eventually some teams got on the front and pulled us back to one big (but getting smaller) field.


OK, so next story. I recover enough to finally move to watch the front. With only maybe 2 to go I get in a good move with a strong rider from PA, RGF and I think an Indiana University guy. My power file shows me bridging at 800 watts, several peaks at 700 watts and pulling at over 400 watts. I take my pull after the parking lot, very tired, head DOWN mind you....I look up and I had drifted so far left that I was in the entrance to another lot. The curb was coming up fast at a good 30 mph!! As quick as I could I stood up, bunny hopped the tall curb (and i am not saying it was tall to spice up the story-it was freaking tall). Now in the grass I go left of a huge drainage hole (look for it next time your warming up there), bunny hop the next curb and land back in the breakaway. Thank you Cyclocross-no thank you hypoxia! So thats the title, Stupid as hell on my part, but lucky I looked up just in time. To say it would have been bad.....

We eventually got brought back and I got in a good position for the finish in the same part of the course (sans curb hopping). I could have been really good, but the dynamics of the sprint had me get boxed in just before the bridge killing off some momentum. Determined to sprint my butt off no matter what I go UP the hill and I pass a lot of guys and end up 7th or 8th I am pretty sure. With 5 up the road I am about 12th to 13th!! I'll take it even though it means nothing except the experience of another bunch sprint.

What an experience too and I dont just mean my off road excursion. It was painful, but fun to race in a field like that for the 2nd time in a week. And to try and stick in a Cat.1 breakaway, well lets just say it was as hard as you can imagine. I think I almost puked!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Yeee haaa for me!!

I like to eat, dont all cyclists? Sometimes its hard to not pig out after a ride or over eat the tasty stuff and not use the excuse I'll ride it off later this season. But I have had a good two weeks (with the exception of one night of dining out and brewskies) of eating right and not snacking between meals and after dinner. The results, I am finally below 64 kilos!! OH yeah, 63.86kg baby!!

I am still trying to fuel correctly before, during and post rides. In fact better than last year for sure and a lot less protein and more carbs like I should be vs. 2007. Last year was the year of racing on protein.

But, sometimes you just have to pig out on the town and my three favortite east side eateries are Dewey's Pizza on Lee rd. I like Socrates Revenge pizza. And Don Tequila's Mexican restaurant on Green Rd.(by Cedar Rd.). The best Mexican in the city, but sadly no Mole. If you like Spicy try the Burrito Jalisco (sp?). Mmm mmm tasty.

And of course a favorite for the beer list as much as the food is the old standby The Winking Lizard. A great selection of Belgian Beers. Perfect for the Classics season. Ommegang, Ayinger or a sweet Saison...ooohhh-now I want to go to the Lizard tonight. Darn, got RATL tomorrow. Maybe Saturday!!

Chow down folks!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Track, Power, Build, Aero, Tired!!

At Westlake a member of Pista Elite talked about the Lorain Speedway Track racing series. USCF sanctioned events and can be used for upgrade points!! NIce to know with the Cleveland Velodrome hopefully coming in the future. Thom Domonic and I are planning on making it a regular or for me semi-regular weekly thing!! A bit close to the weekend for me so thats why I probably wont make it a priority. But td raced track in England I think it was so hes excited.

Me being a little guy I think I will be outclassed in a sprinter dominated sport, but I know I'll have fun and I'll learn or at least get to practice a lot of tactics for sprinting which will help in road racing. I raced some of this concrete car race track races in Columbus in the 80's. Miss and out I remember was a riot.

Also, there was an announcement about a cyclist who was injured in a bicycle/car accident and could use some help with her medical bills as she is in need of many surgeries. When get home I'll add a comment on her name and how you can help with a donation to a Fifth Third Bank i think it was.

So Tuesday was Westlake, Wednesday was the Eastside Spin hammerfest. The Spin ride was 54 miles and we averaged 19.34mph, which I thought was pretty quick for a hill ride. That never ending Southwest wind helped too. My legs are pretty tired now and untill we hit Tibbets (maybe Clevelands steepest climb) all out my legs felt like crap. After blowing out the pipes as they say my legs felt clear!! resets some short duration power numbers up Tibbets again. One by almost 40 watts.

So onto today and the same intensity workout I whiffed on Sunday on the trainer. But this time back on my TT bike. Got the power up in the 280 to 320 watt range and HR was right where it needed to be. Build, Build, Build! I can expect my legs to feel like crap on the commute home now too, till about mile 5 or 6 then they will (hopefully) feel better. More intervals tomorrow and then RATL.

I'm gonna have a sweet tailwind and its gonna be hard not to hammer home, but I think my legs will answer that with a resounding "burn" and dont go there!! I also lowered the stem on my TT bike just a bit (5mm) and so hopefully that feels good too. For some reason the door at work is like a mirror and as I rode in I saw the reflection and my oh my have we (Mike Vanucci, Sean Gilbert and I) gotten my aero set-up looking flat and fast. Need to see about cleaning up the frontal area a bit, but as I have experienced, getting narrow in front and still riding straight is not as easy as Levi makes it look!! Especially in a cross wind!! How do you fix that?/ OH yeah, ride lots or in this case, ride your T bike lots.

so thats it. A good week of training so far with lots of stress, but I keep riding hard each time. Track racing is becoming an even closer reality too!!

Oh, and I got in some frame building components like an Easton EC90 carbon rear end, bottom brackets and forks. Now to get specs on carbon and steel tubes and epoxies!! So much to learn. OH, and Zak Dieringer is building me a steel SS/Fixie cross bike. I am hoping in Fixie mode it will make a decent interim track bike. OK so now thats all!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Westlake A Race-pondering the outcome...

Westlake Worlds-thy name is true. I saw a whole bunch of sweet hardware last night (Zipp 808 and 404 tubulars out the wazoo) and teams were out in force. I am feeling outclassed on my clinchers. Oh well, someday I'll be rolling some carbon deep sections too!!

RGF, Spin, Team Lake Effect all had at least 6 to 8 guys I think. I didnt count, but it was impressive. I sure hope they all come out for races like Milk Race, Mill Creek, etc. I mean its great to have such good turnouts for Westlake Worlds, but I'd love to see these numbers in all the Cat1-3 races I do. More bodies to draft off of right?

For me its still a training race and another old saying, each race is just preparation for your next race is true. So this race like every race I enter the goal was to actively conserve energy as much as possible between attacks and as always get in THE break. But given the firepower and what I would say is apathetic team racing nothing could stick. The first breakaway of any length was when Shawn Adams (TLE) got up the road. I bridged, but we got reeled in about 2.5 to 3 laps later. But not bad, not bad. We worked well together and we averaged 26.8 while the race pace was 26.3 so we were going pretty hard, but alas, with no PM, RGF or Spin in our break, we were destined to get drawn back in.

So on and one it went like that. A couple guys up the road, PM attacking hard out of the field, riders jumping on his wheel one by one till the field was strung out and the break was caught. Counter attacks and then PM attacking hard out of the field and bringing it back, riders jumping one by one till the field was strung out and the break brought back. Counter attack and them get the picture.

I was feeling pretty hosed by now and picking when to jump after PM, but always staying in the front. A few times I got off the front with a small group, but when the other riders wouldnt/couldnt pull through hard enough I knew we were going to get caught so I'd sit-up and wait for the next attack. But I was hoping if i was feeling pretty hosed, maybe just maybe the race was about to crack. I dont know how many times I looked back to see us down to 5 to 10, then look back again and it looked like 30 guys were behind me.

My thought today is that the race was hard and it was fast, but it wasnt hard or fast enough for only an hour long race. Especially with so many Elite and Cat1/2's sitting in the field. Everyone can convince themselves that thye can hang on for 5 more laps, 4 more laps, etc. But no bother-it was good to corner in a bigger field again, get boxed in at a bad time to remind myself to not let myself get boxed in and dive hard into Ranney Parkway corner when off the front. All good technical training.

So were into the last lap and were nearly a full field. Like i said I am feeling pretty hosed. I had no team mates today so I had to go in all the promising moves, but otherwise feeling alright. And I am not in perfect position out of the last S-turns, but I figure with a good sprint maybe I can move into the top 5 by the line. But as we come out of the last corner theres a tractor trailer rolling slowly on the start finish straight and its not going to be over the S/F line by the time we get there, or barely over it.

Heres the crazy part, loads of guys sprint it out anyways while I and a bunch of more sensible people sit-up. It really, really sucked for me because I worked hard to get in a break all race long not sitting in and still positioned myself up front for the sprint. I saw a few guys sprint hard to get ahead of me I didnt see all race long to get in sprint position who undoubtedly were fresher. I really wanted to know what my legs were going to do when I stood up for the charge to the line. So I wanted a break-away, but I get a bunch sprint. Thats cool, they are fun too in a sick and twisted sort of way and I was ready to fight.

As Rudy said, "what, were they going to sprint into the back of the truck?" This brings up an interesting point. When the race finish (or any part of the race) needs to be aborted, how can we do it? Maybe a whistle or air horn? Seriously, its nuts when youve got 15 guys head down sprinting like mad and 15 guys sitting up and slowing.

Thats something we should talk about at the next race. Racers need to be more sensible about these things. if theres anything in the start finish straight, abort it or maybe go another lap? That decision will be tough too as there may be B racers cooling down littering the course. anyways, that why this needs tot be thought about.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Whats one year worth?

Alrighty, pretty much everyone who doesnt enjoy slogging away in wet and rain got their riding plans kicked in the butt last weekend. My fast 2.5 hours on Saturday turned inot 1.5 hours of soaked to the bone and my Sunday 3 to 4 hours of race pace ride also turned into a horrid 1.5 hours on my old Kurt Kinetic trainer.

Oh, I am not usually one to complain about riding the trainer. We all know the good it does, but once you start getting used to riding outside again, its hard to go back down, down, down into the basement. So there I went, silver stripe now on my Vittorias because I am to lazy to put on a trainer tire for one ride.

So I really struggle to get my tempo wattage up and my hear rate, well thats a good 10 beats low too. Was it the culmination of a lot of intervals and hard rides last week, little rest (at night and on the bike) or was it just being in the basement again?

But before I hopped on I stepped outside. It was cold, ground was dry, over cast, but still drizzling. And before that I needed a workout to do on the trainer so I went deep, deep in my Training Peaks and looked up an oldie, but a goodie called Climbing Sim. 10 minutes of tempo, 5 each of leg tensions and fast pedals, topped off with a one minute max all one after the other. Rest, rinse and repeat. Yeah-its an ouch. I decided on two sets to get off the bike as soon as I could. I wanted it to load up the legs and good, but be over quickly!!

Of course dont you know that 15 minutes into the workout I look out my glass block windows and the sun is out, stayed out most of my ride too. MOCKING my pain!! Darn you Cleveland weatherman!!

To say I lacked motivation was an understatement. Not able to push through the tempo and being pretty mediocre on the one minute max had me feeling a bit down. But then looking at the data and looking up this workout (from Feb. of 2007)gave me an idea. What was I doing wattage wise while doing tempo last year (and I did a lot of it last winter/spring).

Well as it turns out last year right around this time I was doing tempo at about 140 to 147 hr and 206 to 209 watts. That was end of March 2007. Sunday, again too tired or unmotivated to push into my new tempo zone I held 244 watt ave at the same heart rate range. A nearly 15% jump in power in one year. Too bad it wont go up that much every year, eh? Also too bad I was supposed to hold closer to 160 hr and 270++ watts the whole time. Bah, next ride OUTSIDE!!

But remember my favorite Lemond saying, "It doesnt get any easier, you just get faster". Now aint that the truth. being able to hod higher wattage is great, but it is on a whole nother level of pain. But I am not complaining, just whining about riding in the cold and rain or riding the trainer. Yuck. Just read Scott Thor's blog to see the great racing and weather hes doing right now to make you jealous.

OH, two more weeks till Presque Isle now. Push, push, push even more and keep hammering away at Thresholds doorstep (excuse the pun-I'll keep my day job)the next week, short taper and go. I hear PI will be a throw down this spring too. A lot of fast guys coming out to topple the 29mph ave speed set by the NY State TT champ last fall. I cannot play that game, but I'll try and come as close as I can!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On the TT bike at last!!

Sean, my coach has been giving me these interval workouts and I have been doing them on the trainer and on my TT bike due to the weather. But today I finally got to take out my P2SL with all of the many, many big and little changes from the 2007 season.

It was pure joy to get on the aero bars again, start the interval and start hauling down the road at speed. Although these were not threshold, I was still able to get going 26 to over 30mph on the wavy roads of the eastside (never flat for long, always a little up or a little down). I was amazed at how comfortable I am on the bike, how good the Toupe saddle feels and the changes in crank length, fit, shoes, footbeds and shims all seem to be working in harmony. The trainer can fool you into thinking your not comfortable. Sometimes its right, but sometimes being on the road erases a lot of aches and discomforts you experience on the trainer.

The biggest problem I had was trying to stay fully tucked, hips rotated and in the ideal aerodynamic position. Although I only have last season, it was enough to get me used to the 78ÂșTri position and I keep trying to pull myself up to the bars.

But all of the time I wasnt hammering I was still in the aero tuck hopefully starting some new muscle memory. I need to remind myself to relax this muscle, rotate this joint, drop this, etc. I will be on the TT bike all summer long, hopefully at least once a week or once every two weeks. I will adapt!!

Our brains always remember the negatives like the pain of training and how hard the races are, but you forget how good it feels to fly down the road. All the noises of the wind, gear changes and tires on pavement make a symphony of sorts. Mechanical bits and pieces and nature in chorus.

I cannot wait to put on the aero wheels, skinsuit, shoe covers, aero helmet and do battle against the clock, myself and nature. I got a taste today and I want more!!

Something fun and new

I am working on a few things that I hope will end up being at least a part time job. I have ordered some frame making materials like bottom brackets, an Easton EC90 carbon rear end and hopefully in a few days a complete tube set in Deddaciai steel and main tubes in carbon from Edge or Easton. Most likely Edge because they were much easier to talk to on the phone. Help and friendly CS are key!!

I am hoping to make a road bike that in a nutshell is race able. So it has to be reasonably light and very stiff. I have picked steel because its relatively easy to weld and easy to work with. They in effect will be a poor mans lugs and the carbon tubes will make up the main tubes. You got that? OK, let me be clearer. Steel bottom bracket, headtube and seat cluster and carbon tubes and a prebuilt carbon rear end for now. I am serious about the weight, even for a first time build and have purchased an Easton EC90SLX fork for the frame too.

As the prototype I hope to keep working with it and learning on it. For example after completion and a few rides, I may try wrapping the steel and carbon junctions in carbon to see how it affects stiffness.

Laugh or not, doesnt matter to me, but did I mention I still need to learn to Tig? I have done a little bit of Mig,but thats easy by comparison. Who knows, maybe I'll be a decent welder, maybe not. You never know about these things.

If all goes well and most importantly I enjoy the process I will start to get really serious and make custom all carbon lugged frames (Road, cross, track (Go Cleveland velodrome). Think Ruegemer, Parlee and Calfee!! I dream big dont I? It will be decades probably before I can match them.

So thats the first thing on my pallet. Always more to come.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Route of the Wednesday Eastsdie Spin Ride

Heres the route we used last Wednesday. It will remain close to this till we get more sunlight.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sometimes those club rides JAM!!

I like club rides. I love the conversations and I usually learn a lot from listening. I guess I live a sheltered life. Not because I dont have a desire to know more about the world I live in, its just that I usually get obsessive (for years or decades) on one thing and let it consume my attention.

But thats not what I was here to talk about. The negative thing about some club rides is the social nature usually negates there usefulness as training. I realize not everyone is trying to train and being spring and everyone being on a different agenda makes riding at a pace that satisfies all hard. And its all good-dont ban me form the local rides!!

But every so often a ride for the sake of training and not socializing (not that its frowned upon, its just that your sometimes too taxed to talk) comes along. This has been the case the last two weeks with a hilly almost 3 hour ride.

The idea is to raise everyones game a bit and most important to not stop and wait for stragglers at the top of every hill. Momentum is a good word for it. Momentum is maintained and sometimes it hurts to keep riding tempo after a steep climb, just like in real races!!

Ahhh, so there you go its a ride that the touristas would call a ride to nowhere with a bunch of guys in matching kits all heads down missing the world as it passes by. I love reading comments like that. I am not saying that they arent right, I am just saying its far from being without purpose. And for some, like me its fun, not rolling looking at cows at 8mph for 5 hours. Again, I am not hating, just throwing it out there.

So this ride is an invite sort of thing, but not really which probably doesnt sit well with some and maybe even posting about it is bad, but its not like its a secret. Its like the no-drop ride and the drop ride. Dont show up on drop day unless you know your way home or have a cell phone. This is the drop ride.

And I am not being arrogant in the least, I just think its a good thing and takes balls to put together a ride like this. Its rides like this that sometimes become legend. When I was living in Columbus in the 80's there was the Sunday club ride. It always started as a big group and due to the windy nature and flatness of Columbus the pace was always brutal. You were either flying with a tailwind or dogging it into a headwind and there was always guys yelling to stay in line, get on that wheel, don't let gaps open, don't ride squirrelly, forming echelons and more yelling. I did a lot of them and I got dropped on almost every single ride. And dont ever be the guy who causes the split and shells 10 or 12 guys!! I kept showing up because it was a goal to make it to the end, but damn near impossible. Of course the prize was getting to do the last town line sprint into town.

The topic of conversation later in the week at bike shops across Columbus was who finished and who won the sprint. And it was rarely racers who doled out the pain. Usually an ex-racer or just a fast group of guys who lived for the ride. They didnt need to race because the club ride made races seem easy by comparison.

Theres hammerfests today like the Spin A ride on the westside, but its flat like Columbus, this ones got hills and a fairly rural route with not a lot of traffic. Ive heard of other ones that have a rep as being hard and fast, but I am a bit leary of riding with "fast" guys I dont know. Not because I am afraid of being dropped, but I like to know peoples riding styles a bit better when on the limit. Fit guys who jump all over the road, go left of center with oncoming traffic and ride erratically , now thats NOT my idea of fun.

I could go on a long fit about how we learned the hard way how to ride in a pack, how to echelon, rotate a paceline smoothly, rub tires intentionally and not go down, lean on a guy just for fun because you knew he knew how to disengage without both of you going down because we practiced it over and over and we got our fair share of yelling at and liked it or at least respected the source. And how in the new millennium no one believes in earning anything, much less listening to sage advice and trying to follow it. Everyone expects to buy the 15lb out the showroom door carbon bike with a 5 lb seat pack full of everything but a hex wrench and chain tool and NOT get yelled at by anyone and be fast and be respected. Not even The Man Eddie himself could tell these guys what to do.

So, are you man (woman) enough and are you ready to learn a thing or two about bike riding, yourself and your capabilities and maybe, just maybe build a legend? Ask me, I am always willing to help.

Take it all off baby!!

Go to work, pretty chilly, but sunny. Layers and layers and that back pack that roasts my back. I have added a cyclist backpack with a ram-air type cooling system as another cycling product I may never actually make. Ho many ideas, so little income....

So anyways, I walk outside before heading home. Overcast and the air feels crisp. SO I get dressed (undressed, then dressed-you get the picture), a little less then on the way in, but warm since this is a windy, but Z1 ride home. I hop on the cross bike for home and down Northfield out pops the sun. As I hit the Parkway I am too hot. Pull over and lose the leg warmers, heavy gloves, wool socks, put on knee warmers and glove liners. Grammy awards costume change #1.

Roll another mile and lose the gloves. hands are awfully white. Roll another couple of miles and pull over on the parkway again, lose the hat, lose the heavy jersey, the sleeveless jersey and put on the thin long sleeve jersey, but unzip it halfway. I'm getting cooler, but the backpacks getting bigger. Grammy awards costume change #2.

Finally comfortable and get this, a strong tailwind all the way home....thank you commuter gods!! Sun, glorious SUN!!! Sing it!! And to think its still only in the 40's and 50's. Get home, season a steak, fire up the grill (first change the battery in the igniter). OHhhh, is it spring yet? I mean real spring, not the date on the calender.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Putting the band back together!!

Actually, just trying to put together a ride for Sunday, April 6th. A nice long one finally (for me)!! I am thinking about this starting at 8:30am. Its a really nice ride, well liked. Not a hammerfest, but a decent pace, you know steady Freddy. The route home can be anything, but we usually head home Butternut, Rockhaven, Sherman, etc. You'll be feeling it when you get home!! and I mean that in a good way.

Oh and as for my post below about Chippewa Creek, I'll be on vaca at Disney at the time. I wonder if I could fly home, do the race and then jet back to Orlando on my private jet... OH wait, I don't own a private jet. Darn.