Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wind is my friend

I actually dont mind the wind. Training or racing I think it adds to the ride rather than ruins it. It was into the headwind and uphill grade I attacked (well, it wasnt really an attack, but this is not about Greenford)and won my last race of the season. Back in the 80's when I lived and raced in Columbus an old friend would always chant as we rode dead into that strong headwind out west of OSU "the wind is my friend, the wind is my friend, the wind is my friend."

Today had sustained winds in the high teens and high 20's further east. I first rode up the street to make sure it wasnt dangerous and headed as best as I could into the wind so I could make a mostly tailwind ride home. I just wanted to get off the trainer and not run for a change. And get some miles in. I have been riding only about 45 to 51 minutes on the trainer for weeks. And just a nice endurance pace too.

I am always amazed at how far you need to ride in miles to get a 3 hour ride in (which was my goal). I always seem to come home in 2:30 or 2:45 no matter how far I meander. Today was no different with me starting heading north east to climb Old Mill east and then head south into the wind to Chagrin Falls. I play games to make riding into the wind more tolerable. I say I am doing intervals and do a long set at tempo or threshold or pretend I am racing in a breakaway or use a bigger gear and lower cadence.

I'll sometimes mimic my time trial position as well and try and hold a high gear/cadence into the wind as well. It all works to make what I sense 99% of all cyclists hate, headwinds.

As usual I only ended up with 2:17 (including stop lights, etc.). After I was home for awhile I got sleepy and took a quick nap. I was woken up and heard the kids downstairs playing the Wii my brother, sister and sister in law bought us for Christmas and it felt like my thighs burst into flames or got acid poured in my muscles as I bounded down the steps to play with the kids.

Ohh baby that hurt a bit. So maybe there is a downside to all these head games riding in the wind. It tends to make you ride a lot harder than you think. Tomorrows wind will be higher, temperatures lower. For my legs sake I hope my mind shows some more restraint. This may be all moot as rain is forecast in the am. I got a little wet and filthy today and it was worth it to ride outdoors. But another day, well maybe the novelty of riding outside as already worn off. Or maybe its the lactic acid talking.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Indoor racing coming to Cleveland!!!

Just regurgitating an email from Bike Authority.

Computrainer TT Series

Train, Race & Win Prizes Indoors.
Brought to you exclusively by Bike Authority

Eight race point series, $10 per race with signed waiver, Juniors can race for free, 3 mile course on Computrainer. Prizes for 1st place, highest watts, max speed, cash awarded to top 20 overall in point series. Payout may be adjusted based on turnout. Early sign up available online.

First Start Time at 6:00pm then starts are on a "First Come First Start" basis.
(Sign up online early to get an early start time.)
You may arrive earlier than 6:00pm to Warm-Up (and we encourage it!). We will have some trainers available but we suggest that you bring your own trainer for warm-up.

Race Dates:
January 18th and 24th
February 4th, 11th and 18th
March 4th, 11th and 18th

All Entrants will be required to sign a release waiver before starting.
Call the shop and ask for Mike or Sean for any additional information.

I will do some of them!! 3 miles or about 6 to 8 minutes of pure Pain, I mean ecstasy!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

USA Cycling Coaching!!

Over the past couple of weeks I have been studying. After that I took a test. Then I waited till this came in the mail today.

I hope you can all appreciate how excited I am about this. I have asked some very experienced coaches to give me guidance and I truly appreciate that they have agreed to give me guidance as I start on this new adventure. Call it my circle!!

And that is exactly as I see it. An adventure that starts with my enthusiasm for the sport of cycling and especially training methods and competition. And my never ending thirst for knowledge. And not just about coaching, but about the technology of the sport. From the latest grouppo to the newest disc wheel or layup of carbon fiber. And it ends (or maybe it just really begins) with helping cyclists in any way that I can to help them achieve their goals.

Why? I have thought over the last few days what my answer to why I want to be a coach will be and you know what? It comes down to this simple thing. I really, really want to!! Its as simple as that...and all that that entails!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A fun run!

Iffy weather is the talk on everyones blogs!! But i have ot say that the runners have got it a lot easier in the winter. I have yet to run inot conditions that are not favorable for running. For example in the last three weeks I have run 10k's in 20's and wind, low 30's with wind and rain, 20's and deep snow covered trails.

And with a basic kit of light weight tights and a few thin layers on top with a thin shell or maybe my cycling jacket when its raining. My point being that cycling in inclement weather is a production. and riding in cold winter rain is just miserable no matter how you dress. Either your cold and miserable or overdressed and miserable.

So anways, I am running, that much we have determined. I'd rather be cross country skiing though!! The coach of the young skiers called the Hilltoppers that my daughter is a part of has encouraged the kids to get out and do endurance exercise tillt he snow falls.

Audrey finally agreed to a run with me Sunday so we suited up, got the two dogs ready and she and I did 3 miles around the Shaker lakes for 45 minutes of walking, jogging and trail running!! We were muddy, wet and happy. The dogs were muddy, wet and smelly and I suppose happy.

We had a blast a laughing and joking the whole way and I cannot wait to run with my little daughter again!!

Now to look for a flat and fast 5k race!! I figure why not use whats left of cross season fitness and 2 10k's a week of training and see how fast I can run a 5k.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Gift idea for readers!!

This is a bit of old news, but seeing that its Christmas I thought I would pass this gift idea along. Fellow racer (and team mate) Tris Hopkin's wife Sharon has written a thrilling Novel.

Sharon's book series has it's very own web site now:

The first installment of the series was a finalist for "Best New Fiction, 2008"
(scroll down to Best New Fiction section, or use your browser to
search the page for "Kaye")

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Have you thought about what you want Santa to bring for you? Well how about a Rotor mountain bike stem that weighs a whopping 83 grams. Yes that is 15 grams more than a Cliff bar.

Also the power meter company Quarq has introduced its 2nd generation crank and is now a sponsor of Cervelo Test Team. I got to admit a weird feeling about this. Quarq's crank mounted PM is getting rave reviews and its priced fairly (vs SRM and Power tap)if not still unattainable for me. But when you sponsor a Pro tour team that's a lot of free gear which we the general consumer have to cover in added cost to the product. Why should this matter? Well one because in the beginning the owner and creator of the Quarq said he could do power meters cheaper and better than whats out there. And second, they already sell out, what will going overtime building units for the team do for availability? But at the same time-yahooo for them!! GO get em. Look at what sponsoring a Pro tour team did for Cervelo in the first place. Give a chick a chance!!

Do you like socks? Well I have a thing for Merino wool. Its so smart. It keeps your feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer. HOws it know? It also resists stinking. Wish I could say the same for my HR strap. I found on Sierra Trading post quarter crew Bridgedale XHale Demon with Merino wool, polypro and spandex for...drum roll please....$6.77 with a 20% coupon. Got to love that. Smart Wools are $17 to $18 each. And I DO so like the cosmic cow look.

On Easton's sight they have a nice video about their 09 line of wheels. I confess I like Zipp wheels, but the new R4 hubs and EC90 wheels at $500 less look like a nice alternative for next summer's road racing!!

And last for today, with Cross done, its time to plan for 09, Oh Yeah baby!! Just in time (not)is an article from Matt Pacocha of Velo News on the cross tubies. Or just ask John!! But if you dont want to be tempted by a new tubie wheelset (or three) then just ask Shawn Adams how many $120 tubies he can flat in one race. That ought to scare that expenditure right out of you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Boughton Farms, 2008 Finale

Robert Sroka Photgraphy

I can do this two ways. I can fluff it up and make happy faces or I can just lay it out. So at the risk of being laughed at or merely thought of as "crazy" heres what went down at Boughton yesterday to close out not only the Lake Effect Cyclocross series, but the 2008 racing year.

Boughton was cold, windy and covered in snow. Like windchhill near or below zero and 20mph winds and gusts cold. There were only a couple patches of bare grass and they were getting soft and a little muddy, but not bad. My 2nd row start was a good one and I was sitting maybe just outside of the top 10. I dont know if its Karma, but I started mouthing off across the open field. More in jest than serious because I knew we were all nose to tail. I was just saying "we can go faster". Then I started looking left and right of Brent Evans to see if maybe I could sprint around before the corner and low and behold I swerve off the single usable lane and go into a tire track full of snow.

I dont freak out, I just keep hammering trying to get back up to the line and then my bars twist and I hit the ground. Brett Davis and Rick Adams both told me after the race that their immediate thought was "hes not getting back up". It wasnt as bad as it looked. Today my necks a little sore, but thats it. The fall at Spin's race was a 12 on the Richter scale. This was a 3 and I popped up, straightened my brake hood and got going again. I was very disappointed at myself to say the least, but I turned that frown upside down as they say. OK I was fucking pissed alright?

I really dont want to spend as much time talking about this as I could, but it seems I am a first lap crasher and that is NOT a reputation I care to have. I'll work on first lap hard efforts next fall. My coach Sean's already been informed we step it up next year for Cyclocross.

Now I am really on a mission. I am hammering and passing people anywhere I see some smooth ground. I know when passing Dave he must have thought I was about to crash about 5 x in about a minute. I was crossing up the bike in spots and slipping and sliding through the singletrack. Across the field into the headwind there was a little stretch about 1/3 of thw way across then another at the split. When i would be drafting someone and we got to the split, whichever way they went I went the opposite then dropped the hammer to squirt past before the fun left hand bend. Yeaaaah-baby that was fun.

I was in search of a certain Team lake Effect jersey filled with Tony Marut. I didnt expect to catch him unless he was having a bad day in the cold. As it turns out he had a Great day!!

I caught site of Halloran and Domonic, but I had a full length of the farm fields to make up. Big gaps everywhere. Hammer, Hammer, Hammer. When I eventually passed Jason and caught Thom up front of him was Brett Davis and two Lake Effects jerseys. Wow-so much more ground to make up. Hammer, Hammer , Hammer.

But me and my Dieringer SS are just having a good ole time. I find out how slow I am in the corners still when after passing Brett he asked to be let by in the woods, but I am racing and I dont want to take any chances so poor Brett's all over the brakes behind me cussing as he loses his momentum.

The next little bit gets a bit fuzzy but a real battle started to brew with myself and Craft, Thom and Rudy. Back and forth we went and we were all battling to beat each other off the barriers into the woods. For Craft and Rudy it was to gap us in the woods (I am guessing)and for Thom and I it was to not only to put the other behind as many other guys as possible, but to have the lead when we came to the hill on the backside. That was my plan. Craft had the barriers figured out and zinged past on one lap into the woods.

Also as a side note for myself at maybe 3 or so laps to go as I was going across the field with the tailwind I look to to my right and I see a big group of guys including Quinlan and Brent and some other familiar jerseys starting to sprint across the field into the headwind. At the time I was trying to do a headcount to get a guess on where I was, but it didnt hit me till later from how far back I came to getting the 2nd group within eye sight. Last year in the snow I was almost dead last and I really never crashed as much as just slipped on the ice as everyone else did. things to make you smile.

OK so remember when I said I was just gonna lay it out about the race? Well here it is-true, false, delusions of grandeur. WHATEVER!! I came into the race no more trained than any other, but I felt all week like I was gonna be ready to stomp. Waking up dehydrated and hungover Sunday didnt even deter me. I drank a ton of water, ate well and just kept my Positive mental attitude. So after blowing it AGAIN on the first lap (Spin, Broadview Heights, States) and charging back (more or less big mistake free) time and time again I have to think, what IF I finally got up to the front on lap one and settled in? OH well, I am not gonna cry over spilled milk (or spilled Ray) and just use this as I do as motivation for next year.

With two to go Thom, Craft, Rudy and I are still locked in a back and forth battle. Thom beats me by a foot into the first woods and that sets the tone really for the last lap. Across the field for the last lap Craft dumps it hard and I almost crash into his rear wheel, but this time I am able to swerve right and NOT fall off the road into the ruts and continue. Now its Thom with a gap, Rudy then myself. I try to get Rudy as we head into the headwind, but he sprints and I get caught in the deep snow on the left. Great move on Rudy's part. I gut it out hard once backon the hard pack and catch back up, draft and then when we hit the split I sprint as hard as I can as soon as Rudy went right and just get ahead to go down the left hander. Rudy almost passes me back in the 180 sweeper after the pumpkin but I lead over the barriers into the woods. whew!!

Now I have to catch back up to Thom. I am quicker in the first part of the woods, but he gaps me coming out, I close it between sections then he gaps me a bit again as the 2nd is harder or slower in a big gear. We finally come out of the twisties with Thom a few seconds up and I close it down between the two right handers and try to pass him going up the hill because I know once we hit the downhill he can shift past the gear I am using and maintain the gap. Tryingot srint all out and keep traction!! I know Thom's body language and hes going hard, but I get right on his wheel, but I cannot get the pass done up the hill. We head down the hill and I am glued to him. I let a small gap open in case he makes a mistake in the 2nd to last corner I wont lose momentum and can go past. But hes clean in the right hander and we both sprint to the left hander and hes not only clean but faster than the last few laps and we go across the line nose to tail for 8th and 9th. A fun battle with those 4 for sure and an action packed last lap for me!! I love racing!!

So I dont improve my finish for the points sadly. My drop was a 9th and thats where I finished again. But again like a broken record I guess I cannot be too upset to come back to the top 10. I figured out a few riding things in snow too. I did tumble down the Overall order with Tony getting two 2nds in two races, Brent and Shawn just showing up to put points on the board and Dan scoring well in his 4th race. The points race made for a fun motivator and something to think about between races.

And I did every race this year on my SS. Thanks Zak for building a killer light, great riding, sprinting and climbing bike. Its tough too!! Goodness knows its been abused a couple times. I hope some of that training carries over because it sure makes for a good strength workout! Congrats to all the A and A Masters racers. I had a blast racing you this winter. For those who got to see me dump it numerous times this year I hope you were well entertained and not too detained. For those too far ahead to ever see me, well I'm coming. Dont know when I'll get there, but I am coming!! First is to stop crashing!!

As others have said, well be seeing you guys on the road next!! Thank you Marut's, Bike Authority and the Lake Effect crew. I really do love cross now. And I have you all to thank for it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tony and Rudy

Tony and Rudy
Originally uploaded by FatherOFinnegan
Tony was practicing this pre-race and it shows. Wicked fast.!!

Run, Mount, Go!!

Kirtland park had some of the funnest dismount and runing sections. I loved the high speed dismount to the steps on the west end of the course the best. But FatherOFinnegan captured this video at the short run-up that makes me look like i actually know how to remount my bike. Great racing video too showing how close Jeff, Jason and I are.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Watts this Aero stuff all about?

This is a great article to read for you aspiring Time Trialists and Triathletes!!

It is a commonly held belief by guys and gals who race in Time Trials that everyone should do them. For training, to see yourself in a whole new light and for competition and mental toughness. Tom Humphrey explains from his perspective why he does it with no time trial equipment of any kind, but I will just misquote him. Maybe he'll comment (hint, hint).

TH at States

It is a commonly held belief by guys and gals who race bikes that do not do Time Trials that they would rather die a 100 horrible deaths than suffer through one time trial.

Dave commented after the Chagrin CX race that Time Trialing probably has taught me to push hard and how hard I can push (to exhaustion) when I am all by myself in a CX race. I can see that. Time Trialing is a lonely sport as can be cyclocross.

Have you read the article yet? What I got out of it even with some protocols missing (like making the position on the road bike with clip-ons and the TT bike exactly the same) is that a road bike with clip-ons and an aero helmet is a sufficiently fast platform to be race worthy.

I present my first TT race bike care of Fitter Mike Vannucci at Bike Authority. I raced my bike like this at Presque Isle. Its a standard road bike (Cannondale Six13) with Profile Jammer stubby clip-ons. Saddle raised a bit and saddle slammed forward. My Powertap showed an average wattage of 290 watts for 12.5 miles in 28:05. Good enough for 5th that day. Thats 5th overall on a road bike with clip-ons out of 193.


One year later I went back with a state of the art Zipp Sub 9 disc, P2SL bike and a new fit and I hope greater fitness and went 26:54. A minute and 11 seconds faster. Was it all the money I threw at the bike, the uncompromised aero fit I could get on it or was it weather conditions or maybe it was all greater fitness?

Well, we know its a bit of all of them. But the article is a great answer to that question we racers against the almighty clock always want to know. If we buy this, how much time will it save us?

Again I take from the article that for $200 or less(clip-ons and aero helmet) you can convert your road bike to TT duty and be most of the way towards a full TT bike, only without the $1800 to $8000 of another bike.

I suggest you go to qualified bike fitter/coach to get the most out of your new TT position, even if its on your road bike.