Thursday, February 26, 2009

Big Power

You will put out 500 wattsStarting to prepare for the race season. We had another pizza party with delicious 60 minute IPA and Sam Smiths Stouts waiting for us after the 3 mile Torture test. We even had a guest racer who only came to soak in the spectacle of guys racing and not going anywhere. But dressed for commuting (including jacket, gloves and light (not on) he laid down a very respectable 8:09. I think he surprised himself and as I told him, climb like that on the road!! I wont mention his name in case he wishes to remain anonymous.

The fastest time of the night went to Thom Dominic who scorched it up the climb for a 6:51!! Dave Steiner still holds the Rays Basement TT record at 6:49, but he no doubt taught us how deep we need to go. I went 7:19 and put out 20 more watts than last time!! Pete put out 31 watts more than last time. Sandbagger.

I am happy with that because I reset my best 5 and 6 minute power numbers during the test. Not bad for February and almost no threshold training. OKay-the CT reads higher than my PT, but still, I went balls to the walls and almost puked so I know I was at the limit. Sure its only a 7:19, but on the road I think I would have been flyin!!

3 mile TT on 2_25_09

And Yohe? Well lets say he did track (that is high school track, not velodrome) yesterday and was a bit flat, but with some recovery this training block will make him stronger.

I commuted today and rode steady zone 1 all the way. I was shifting down the whole ride, never up. I will resist the urge to fly home as I usually do. I usually feel great on these double days. Tomorrow I ride the TT bike "in anger" on the trainer and try and knock out some serious speed as I prepare for the first big race for me of 2009, Presque Isle. The last two times at PI I did it at 27.9mph!! I want 28 or faster this spring, conditions be damned. I want 28+!!

The TT bike is ever evolving, but I think I have finally got all the front end parts about where they need to be. What a mess of clamps and tubes and risers, etc. Not very aero mechanically speaking, but I feel like I am more aero for sure. I had a lot of fun cutting up pieces and moving everything around though. Once I have my fit done for 2009 I hope I can find a very aero bar set-up thats half the weight and no clamps, etc.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ouch time. Torex Thermal Sleeves

A friend of mine has started a company with a great product for us athlete types. For me its ramming my knees into handlebars and such or the occasional sore back and jammed fingers. Jeff Wilson and partner's start-up is called Torex Health and they make hot and cold roll on sleeves. And a trick ankle device.

They are easy to put on and stay in place. The other benefit is when they are cold (put them in the freezer or warm them up in the microwave) they are still very flexible molding around your body. But I better let their website do the talking lest I say something wrong.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Too Long

Saturday I got in a 2 hour solo ride and kept the pace decent is how I'll describe it. A lot of wind on the way home made it easy. I know my younger dog Kelly has been hankering to run so I switched shoes and jackets and ran for only 13 minutes. First run since skiing started.

Also I am going to a USA Cycling Cat.2 Coaching seminar to get my Cat.2 certification in a few weeks. Its in Rosemont Chicago and will try and run the 2 mornings I am there. So I figure I better get my running legs under me so I can run 10k's again.

Result? Two Advils and off to coach the bunnies today at Chapin.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We need to Pay Attention

I had a big week of training this week. 12 hours of cycling and 180+ miles. But, on today's BIG group ride there was a new guy who maybe got in a bit over his head and rode into the wheel in front at the 2 hour mark and hit the ground so hard he knocked himself unconscious and had a concussion after wards.

It was a scary moment to say the least as he lay motionless on the road. But thinking about it after getting home I got this feeling that it was the experienced guys fault more than his. We should have noticed he was tired and starting to lose focus.
We should have recommended he take a breather or placed a rider with him to keep an eye on him.

I know some guys are very good at this already, but they cannot be around every rider all of the time. I will try and be more aware and proactive about other riders from now on. Especially if there is someone I have never met on the ride.

I ask that we all be more aware of the riders we are with and their body language. I have not heard anymore about his condition, but I wish him a speedy recovery and I hope his wife is not freaking out.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Home Brew

Boy, Snows and had a long ride planned. Oh well. Rode the rollers for only the 2nd time this year. Entertained myself with an episode of Fringe I missed and tried no hands riding and out of the saddle riding. Good Fun!!

Also last night I was given a bottle of a delicious and rich brown colored and nice foamy headed Dopplebock. The best thing was it was brewed in the basement of a hous e in Cleveland heights.

Man was it tasty! Hes brewing his winter lager now....I hope I get to sample that next!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stage race and more

Yahoo!! I finally rode outside. Its been weeks or more than weeks. Maybe more than a month. Riding hilly courses on the Computrainer has certainly helped. Hills didnt feel hard at all today. Not easy, just not hard. Though the windchill down Old Mill was certainly something my CT cannot replicate. And Thank you PI for the amazing Lobster Amfib glove. Too hot for a 30 degree "training" ride, but perfect for a long commute!! I always wanted a pair and finally bought some for myself in December.

Also, keep your eyes open for development of a 3 day Stage race in Mahoning County put on by Team Carbon and Dan Quinlan. Its called the Tour of the Valley. I just posted about the Greenford race Dan promoted and it was a very well run race.

HOpefully riding outside again Saturday, Sunday then its back on the trainer next week and hopefully to Bike Authority Thursday to get my bootie smacked in the 3 mile TT.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2008 Road Season Revisited

Please I ask you to stop reading now. This blog has been an amazing release for me. I dont want to get too negative but sometimes I think all this blathering on about my races and what I am thinking about and doing is no more than a smokescreen for something deeper or problematic in my psyche. I mean if your happy with who you are, truly at ease then you dont need a blog to brag about or talk about yourself right?

But regardless of the deeper meaning to why I have a blog I still find it very enjoyable and maybe even calming to think about a race and then to break it down to smaller elements and finally to wwrite about them. Brent taught me while he was my coach to think of three things you did good in a race and three things you could do better then let it go.

But i do a lot more than think of three things good or bad. I can dissect a race down to minutes if I am not happy with how I did or if I made a mistake. Writing about the event passed should then be where I "let it go", but for me its maybe just the beginning, but it does help. And sometimes it is the end.

So unless you want to hear me talk about 2008 all over again you can link over to any of the more interesting people's blogs that I read as well. But I think it will be positive and it certainly will be fun for me to write and I hope re-read about again in a few years.

The racing started at Malabar Farms. This was my first race with Tris and Brian. I was worried about my form as I had torn my mcl and didnt train much for a month. Brian's form was indeed strong as he soloed away form us early and Tris and I defended and chased down everything. What i recall the most from the race was feigning some strength on the long climb by setting what i hoped was a uncrackable pace each lap (but I was on ym max in actuality). That was untill Paul Martin flew by dancing on his pedals and super high cadence (think Lance attacking in the Tours) and left all of us gawking at each other as he bridged up to Brian and eventually soloed in for first.

Next came the RATL races. I did 3 of them and they were all fast and painful. LIke no races I hd been in before. Fast like a flat crit, but rolling up the finish hill at attack pace every lap. In the first RATL I tried to go in a break with Kirk Albers and some RGF guys and I was ridden right off the back of the break going at a sustained wattage like I had never done before. but I made the winning break in week 3 and in week 4 created the move that finally split the race. I got absorbed in the end, but Brian went on for a top 3. My lagging and not working anymore helped to solidify the last move, though it was quite an unpopular move at the time and cost me a good finish position myself.
Race for Alex
I also upgraded to cat.2 then celebrated by soloing away at the Race for Alex Masters race on lap 2 and won my first road race in probably 20 years. Tris took 2nd in the race too. We went on and raced the cat.2-3 race right after wards and Tris took another top 3.

The next week at Mill creek I followed up attacks from Brian and Tris and again formed the winning break early. The things I remembered from that race were how smoking hot it was and how much I wanted the race to be over. We formed that break so early in the race and somehow it stuck. It was miserable and I felt like I was racing in a pizza oven's conveyor belt, not a road.

At the State TT I did not reach my goal of a top 5, but I won my age division and was not too far out of a top 5. That race started out really hard, but got faster and faster as it went on. I averaged over 28mph the last half of the 38k.

This lead to Nationals!! Wow I finally went to Nationals, but this time not as a young college rider as I had dreamed back then, but a Master!! The day before warming up and then race morning could not have been more opposite. The wind had picked up and was blowing completely the other way. It was raining and cold to boot. A rider who was either warming up or had no business at Nationals (sorry) slowed up a tractor trailer with me behind for close to a minute only a mile into the race. But even with this delay I hit the 3mile mark in 6 minutes and made the turn around again at over 28mph. The time I lost would not have affected my position in my AG. But the head wind home was severe and my ave speed on the way home dropped to 26mph. But i can say that it was the single best time trial I ever rode and I am proud of that. I only got 15th in my age group, but 46th overall.

Back to road racing. We went to Shreve and again had a great team race. Andys Burns may forever be remembered as the guy who blew the race apart before it was 3 miles in. Basically the race was over almost before it started for most of the field. I had to bridge solo to a chase group to finally make the selection that already contained Batke and Tris. A true game of cat and mouse ensued and when Tris attacked and Matt Weeks of team Lake Effect bridged we finally let it go and settled into some easy riding with 1.5 laps to go. Coming into the last half of a lap I attacked, then Batke, then I went again through the 90 degree set of corners and got away for a solo ride in for 3rd. I sort of drifted off the front then drilled it out of both 90 degree corners. The run to the finish was thrilling, paranoid and so painful. But it was worth it, even for third.

At ZOAR Brian again showed how strong he is by attacking early and riding his break companion off of his wheel. Two more bridged up and Brian and Thom Dominic rode the last guy out of the break. On the last lap as we went down a roller the pace from chasing for so long relented just a bit and I used the next roller to attack really hard and built about a 20 sec gap leading to the stair step climb. Dan Quinlan lit up the field up the climb reducing my gap to seconds and Jeff Braumberger of Inferno was first to come across. We tried fruitlessly to stay away down the descent, but were caught. It was a fun attack, but I think I wont try it again next year, unless someone comes with me...hint, hint!!
orrville-R. Sroka
At Orrville I spent almost the entire race watching the front of the field as a large break containing Tris floated in front. Dave Chernosky was the only rider whom I didnt and couldnt follow or chase down and he made it to the break. But eventually we got so close I jumped across to try and drill the break away again. But the field came together and up the only climb on the course amazingly Rudy Sroka and Tris went again and no one jumped. So at the top I bridged across and we worked hard to break away. Out of the last corner I was third wheel and attacked when I noticed Tris and Rudy watching each other. Both guys exhausted from being in a break all day left me lucky and so happy to get win #2.

I then started to run as I wanted to do a biathlon by my house solo. I did a 5k race and then the JCB Biathlon. I finished the run in about 20th which was great and then had a slow start to the bike. I was catching everyone, but sadly (and I do mean that) Rudy got off course (easy to do at the turnaround) and I went past as he wound his way back on course. I caught the last guy on Shaker by Brainard road and from there just kept hammering because I felt so good.

At the Ohio State Masters Race I attacked some early, but mostly chased down Chris Riccardi who was attacking every few miles it seemed. Off of one of Chris's attacks Tris went and he and Erik Lesco of Stark Velo rode away from the field and out of sight in no time. Once they were away I tried attack after attack after attack, but I could get no where. Then when the right move went I didnt know the players in the Masters field and let two guys go that had the ability to stay away had I gone. Though I was so marked that day i couldnt make a move. My poor tactics aside Tris won out of the 2-man break!

And finally onto the new Elves and More Charity Greenford Road Race. Not the greatest attendance, but like Shreve, it just needs word of mouth. If this race is on in 2009, MAKE it!! The course is tougher than it looks and has a great finish. A long, low grade straight run to the finish line. The race was pretty crazy with attacks coming pretty often and counters just as quickly. It was after one attack that a break formed and in it was a tall Cat.1 from PA (Jake Lifson)that was just tearing my legs off with every pull. Sadly I was on his wheel the entire race and our paceline never changed. Again it was hot and a pretty long race too. You could tell from everyone's faces that everyone had some sort of pain going on. Everyone it seemed but the guy from PA. I had mentioned to Brian that I was done with two to go so dont be behind me if I pop!! But the relentless pace line finally slowed after the start finish on the last lap. We all hit one last gell and I got the pace line going again. About halfway around I decided to shoot my last bullet and started to rip it up this really long grade. I figured I'd go maybe a few hundred feet then pop and try my best to come in before the field. My plan was simply to kill every ones legs leaving Brian to spring away at his leisure. But when I turned around not only was I by myself, but the guys were tiny. Now I was in a spot. I was dead, but with such a big gap I had t try so I just rode (and untypically for me) with my Powertap and just held a wattage and high cadence all the way to the line. I was pretty far from the finish too with rollers and some short steep climbs left. Like at Shreve soloing in was so painful, paranoid (I was sure I was going to get caught and kept looking back) and so thrilling. Brian also jumped away at the end and took 2nd.

I wont bother with the cross season as I feel like I just finished blogging about those races. But that was my truly amazing summer of 2008.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ski Trip

Audgee Podge
Alex racing

The PA ski trip has come and gone again. The 2nd year for Audrey and I to go and snow conditions werent that great so I kept my $27 in my pocket and did not do the races. An odd thing not to race when others do. I feel like a wuss. But I did do the 8.5km course Sunday with another coach and with her guidance and a good 4km or more following her every kick (like she was my metronome) my skate skiing was almost transformed. And climbing early on (before I got exhausted) really got a lot better.

So how am I rewarded for being such a good student? The big thaw!! But on the bright side, I plan on pounding out some base mileage this week. I plan an almost 3 hour extended commute Wednesday morning and then the 1 hour commute home that afternoon. All on my cross bike (with road tires) as it only has a 42x12-25 gearing.

Along with my trainer rides on the TT bike (I dont want to take it out on salty roads and it doesnt have a small chain ring right now) and what I hope will be good Saturday weather I might break 3 hours of cycling in one week!!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Fit People Party

suffer fest

Last night six of us east siders congregated in my basement to have a party. But this party had a twist as we were all going to race our bikes. What else are you going to do when youve been cooped up for months? We all took turns on my Computrainer and did the same 3 mile TT course that Bike Authority is doing on Thursday nights. I and everyone at the party is planning on doing the BA Series so this was some good practice.

None of us had done the course before (including myself)and on the surface it looked pretty easy. Well when the race is only 3 miles its never easy. Jacqui had commented she had never ridden her bike fast for such a short distance. With Half and Full Iron Mans in her summer plans, I guess this would be speed work. She really laid it down too.

To speed things up I reluctantly went first as I warmed up before most of the people stopped by. I took off too hard and really suffered on the descent and first part of the .94mi climb. I also paced somewhat off of wattage once I settled down after the start. Holding a set wattage is something I am very used to from trainng with a power meter and that probably wasn't wise over such a short distance. I usually train with power, but race on Perceived Exertion and speed. Anyways, excuses aside I went 7:28:93. Its not like I didnt suffer mind you!! I was totally gassed at the end.

Pete went next and did a 8:04:75. He suffered at the top f the climb and really dug deep to push it to the line. Next up was Thom and we cheered him onto a blistering 7:01. The speed he carried down the descent (40mph at one point)and the constant wattage up the climb were impressive. High school er Dave Y went next and on his new bike he turned in a 8:11:39. Not shabby.

Then Dave S was next....Well he took off like Fabian Cancellara at the Tour Prologue and we thought for sure he was going to blow running 500+ watts. He screamed down the descent and hit the first mile 9 seconds up on me and whats more he was 7 up on Thom. He went so hard at the bottom of the climb we all thought he was going to blow sky high, but he kept up the insane wattage and passed the 2 mile mark 31 seconds up on me and 14 up on Thom. Yikes!!

He would have to fall off his bike to not set the fastest time of the night. He did start to fade, but his last mile was equal to Thom's last mile and a further 8 seconds up on me. His time? 6:49!!! Yup I didnt mistype that. Boys and girls I believe we have a prologue specialist amongst us.
beer and pizza too

We finished the night off with our only lady who had not ridden her TT bike since August and has only been teaching her spin classes during the week. This was the first time I have seen her ride her Cervelo P2SL which I recommended she buy at Bike Authority. The fit they gave her looked fast and she laid down great wattage and rode hard to a 8:24!! She also chose Ozzy for her music to race with!! Jacqui is one of the mothers that I was running 12k's with in the mornings.
aeroful and powerful
Now if I didnt lay awake almost all night last night (like Monday and Tuesday nights too)and wasnt traveling to PA for the weekend of Cross Country skiing and two races Sunday I would go to BA tonight!! This not sleeping thing sucks. That WAS my plan, but all I want to do now is go back to bed. But alas I will have to put it off for another week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Everyone's testing!!

As I made the rounds of the Cleveland Bloggers the one theme going around is testing. In preparing myself for coaching athletes I have tested several local athletes as well. The major skill reqired I have learned in testing is the power of observation.

This became crystal clear to me Friday morning when Sean Gilbert observed my 20 minute TT test. This was my first controlled power test (outside of Time Trials) on my TT bike so it was very, very important to me. What I did not expect was that the power data was actually the least useful piece of data we got from the test.

As I pedaled my proverbial ass off for the test I was cognizant of Sean scribbling notes the whole test. I had no idea what he could possibly be so serious about scribbling. I figured he was there to say things like "get that wattage back up".

Although he didnt have to do much yelling as I was really focused the whole test. As always the first 5 were easy and the next 10 were hard. More mentally than physically. And then the last 5 were hard both physically and mentally hard as I started to fatigue, but at least I had the end of the test to look forward to. Drilled it for the last 2 minutes and then the chain kept falling off after the test(I was running a rigged up single ring set-up to do some testing). So trying to cool down and put the chain back on. Silly!!

The power was about 20 watts less than a self done power test in November on my Cannondwhale Six13 road bike so that was right in line. Cadence, HR were both very similar too. That was cool to see. But what really astounded me was Sean's timeline assessment of the test and all of the little things that affected my power and heart rate like posture, pedal stroke and even breathing.

See I like to know I have a lot to work on to be better. That's because the more things I have to work on to get faster means that I have been leaving time on the table. Maybe, maybe not, but its a motivator to me. We also are confident that my position is a great starting spot for 2009 and some of the testing I am doing to optimize my set-up also seems to be going in the right direction. Thanks also to Thom Dominic for his help.

So with ever more accurately defined training zones beingf established its about time to start getting serious with 2009 race preparation. It starts tomorrow at 6am on the Computrainer!!