Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cars love the right lane so much

Isn't it curious when your driving and cars move to the left lane to pass say a parked car or a slow moving car that they usually plant themselves permanently in the left lane?

I sure have. Now have you noticed when your riding your bike cars cannot wait to get by and pull in front of you so fast you think they may hit you, the curb or lose control of their cars?

I sure have. Its like people when in their cars are like "My road, My right lane, I love the right lane." but we all know most driver's hate the right lane.

Just another weird phenomenon of being a bike rider.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Presque Isle Spring 09

Once burned twice burned is my motto and nowhere did I need to get burned twice by my own mistake than at a time trial. But I didnt have speed on the computer again which sort of matters and sort of doesnt as I will try and explain.

Everything actually clicked Sunday. From the winter of changing position to the week leading up, the morning and warm-up. I started off and ramped it right up past 31mph and felt fine so I kept it there for miles. Eventually I lost some cadence , but could hold it about 5 rpm less than when I was at 30mph and I look down and my speed was no longer reading.

So to the standard back-up plan of just trying to go as hard as possible to die at mile 12.49 of 12.5 miles.

Eventually I got to the 6 mile marker and was still hauling and was confident I was on a personal best run. I was so comfortable in the new position and I felt slippery in the air and fast too.

I finally started to struggle badly at mile 9-11 , but managed to hold 88 cadence
in the 53x13 pretty much like clockwork. If I pushed as hard as I could on the pedals I went 88 cad and if I kept it at leg searing I got 88. But every so often I'd see if I could get 90 to 95. So thats why data can be useless in retrospect. Especially with as much Perceived Exertion I have to fall back on. Basically you go as hard as you can that you feel you can sustain and when you push harder there is nothing more there. So in effect data becomes useless. But I would still argue data is a motivator or a carrot to chase.

The worst part was the last 2.5 miles and not because its the end, but because a strong headwind confronted us at that point. I dropped some speed so I finally upshifted to the 14 to get my cadence up then shifted back to the 13 and tried to hold the higher cadence. It actually worked and as I rolled past the 11 mile marker I started to think in terms of one single revolution at a time as hard as I could.

I had a pleasant surprise at the end when I looked down and I was again back at 88 to 90 right? And I think-crap-Ive been at this cadnce for a long time I bet I left it in the 14 so I break form and look at the cassette and it is in the 13. Yes!!

I had held perfect LT HR all race long and it was starting to go up at the end by quite a bit. Great legs all race long, but NOTHING to do a fast finish. Across the line and I felt like I really laid down a run.

Officially I ended up with 1st in the 40-44 AG and 5th overall! But my speed and time werent that good compared to last year. I went 26:59 at 27.8mph. Last spring and fall I was faster by about 4 t 6 seconds.

Maybe the headwind in the end and some sections really took their toll more on my speed than I thought. But on the good side I did feel awesome in my new position though I dont have the data or time/speed to back up my feelings and trust me that's VERY annoying for me and my personality type. And thats because the data says I didnt improve from last year (in terms of fitness or aerodynamics), but my seat of the pants says I did. So which to believe? Still a 26 minute spring time isnt bad.

And to add to the situation in turning my computer back to reading Power I accidentally cleared the entire race data!! Although speed and distance were now useless, I could extrapolate from the cadence and time everything I needed. Bummer.

And right after the race I went right back out and did race pace intervals with the tailwind and into it and found out some cool stuff for later. I "probably" set a PB 20 minute power and "probably" was holding some good power the last few miles even though I was struggling mightily. I determined this by what wattage it took to maintain cadence steady into the headwind for 3 miles and it was above my LT by 10% or more. I rode for 2 minute intervals so feel confident the data is reliable.

So I take away a lot of positives, except the one goal I had which was a solid 28mph run for 20k. OH well, maybe in the fall!! Afterwards Matt Weeks and I found some gorgeous and rolling hills out in the countryside of Erie. We finished the ride by heading up false flats into a whicked cross wind at 28 to 30+Mph tossing out long hard pulls. It was another sign that my fitness is coming along.

But thanks to my coach Sean for all the help and training getting me ready for PI. Too bad I didnt come up with the goods, but that's not anyone's fault. Except I guess mine. But the TT bike and i are dialed in, I swear it!! and husting it along at close to 30mph for 6 miles was freaking amazing!! Truly a sweet experience. Congrats to Matt, Brian, Julie and Robert for all throwing in spectacular runs. Heck Drew and the Madis kids too. 9 year old Ryan Madis took 7 minutes off his time from last fall for a 39:xx run at 19mph!! You go young guns!!

Till the next cannot possibly come soon enough. I want some revenge, if i can get my head out of my ass that is. Details!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

6 gears means speed!!

Today I bought Audrey a Trek 6 speed 20" wheel girl's bike from Bike Authority. I was going to get her one at some point anyways, but we made a deal if she stopped chewing on her fingertips I'd get her a new bike with GEARS!! She was so excited she stopped chewing immediately. Though she says she still does sometimes. But we know she has cut back a lot. Youd think she had BBQ sauce all over her fingers before.

So after I took it for a test drive to see if I could use it at Presque Isle this weekend I brought it home all shined up and ready with her bell and seat positioned where it should be (yeah-me the bike fitter) and moved the brake levers really close (See she has chewed her fingers down so short) and readjusted the cables.

We took it out for a spin tonight (after she rode with the neighbors kids in the afternoon). We went down a hill and she has a good feel for the brakes (she had coaster brakes before). Then when we hit the very steep hill from Meadowbrook up Eaton I told her shift to the easier gears (Lower numbers). By the time she got to the top she went 4, 3, 2,1 and said "ahhhh... this is SOOO much easier". Then once over the top she started shifting to faster gears (higher number) and she was flying, coat flapping back behind her!!

Yeah-that is mission accomplished!! Now she can climb the steep rollers in the neighborhood or bike paths without walking and can go faster to keep up with me so I dont have to ride on the brakes not pedaling all of the time.

But the best part was her yells of pure joy and exhilaration as she said "I got it in 5" and pedaled away from me, flying.

I dont know about you, but she looks happy to me!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

OCA on Video from RATL

Hey everyone,

Videographer Dave Tingler has put together a collection of movies from the Ohio Cycling Association races. This is form RATL.

Races at the Lake from ohio cycling on Vimeo.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Covered Bridge 2009-Thats More Like It.

Did you ever hear that story about the scorpion and the turtle? Not to tell the whole story, but what ends up happening and the moral of the story is the scorpion stings the turtle causing them to both die. The turtle inquires as it succumbs to the venom why he did that when it would surely kill him too. The scorpion answered because its in my nature.

OK, so now how in the heck do I tie that into my race report for the Covered Bridge Race? Well its in the former Torelli racing team members as well as Dan Quinlan's nature to attack, counter and try and break up races. Its a symbiotic thing between us. I think we raced the first few races just going with everyone elses attacks and trying to cover counters. That's not in our nature and we didnt race very well as a team. We missed assignments and didnt feel effective overall. We were not being true to our nature.

Understand this is just my opinion. I am not trying to speak for the other members on our team.

Also before delving into the race report (which I will try to keep short and sweet) I want to to thank all of our Carbon Racing volunteers who came out to make sure that Brad Hansen's race was run as safely and smoothly as it has for years underhis direction. So thank you to Jim, Kevin, Vicky, Megan, Jeremiah, Laura, Sharon and Carolyn for coming out to help. Also a big thank you to Paul Martin and his family for arranging all of the details. And last but not least our motorcycle lead vehicles and Linda Miranda for the officiating. I am so sorry if I left anyone out!!

So after staying close to help Paul get all of the corner marshals to their corners and in their cars to lead the B race I hopped on my bike and started the race with no warm-up. It was fun to see the ladies (Evelyn, Sam, Erin and Leah) all line up for the A race. It was a ballistic start so I give them props for hanging tough.

We had more than 40 riders again and as I was tail gunning for a warm-up I saw way, way, way ahead the first move get away. I could make out the white of RGF and the Torelli colors on top and the green and purple on the shorts of Dan Quinlan so I knew we were good. I guarantee you we have matching shorts and tops on order!! But expect our rag tag looking bunch a bit longer.

Sunday we raced like the Torelli of old and launched our own attacks and launched our own counters and basically raced our bikes. That term gets used a lot, but its true. We didnt control the race, not at all. But it was a subtle shift. We didnt just go with moves, we initiated them and that felt normal.

The race was a welders paradise too. Nothing was staying away. Sometimes you would have this gap with what looked like a good spread of teams, but within seconds of looking back at a small gap you would look again and see a long line almost as far back as you could see right on your butt. This happened over and over. YOu could not possibly count all of the attacks in this race.

On the last lap Paul started attacking himself which of course were always immediately reacted to. This worked out well for me because regardless if I had just been in a move or fresh I could catch any number of wheels. Finally on Riverside were all throwing down one last time (including myself). I mean every team and almost every rider seemed to be tossing out one last try or two or three.

Again Paul flew by on the right and I caught the tail end of it. Were getting to the end of Riverside with a small group and some separation from the field (finally and perfect timing too)and low and behold whats to our right? A train. And we stop!

But Rudy who had a mechanical and had to drop from the breakaway was in the 2nd group on the road said an unidentified rider put in a big pull and pulled us back in the last little bit so we were a big lined out group again before the turn onto Ira. But I still had good position for the finish.

We stopped for only about 30 seconds, but when we got rolling Brian's chain drops, I wait for him and that causes a few seconds delay then I take off and I am trying to get someones attention. Are we racing? Is it neutral? Whats going on? By the time I realize were gonna do a 1 mile sprint to the line I am near the very back and just about giving up on the whole deal. I'm pissed at myself for not being at the front where I belonged from coming around the corner in the top 10. But John Lowry who had also been throwing down all race long with his team mates took me 80% to the front on the left. I hesitated for a few seconds which I now regret then I launched hard for the line.

When I got up to Josh and what looked like the ones seriously going for it I sat down to grind it out from 100m on, but Tris behind me encouraged me to keep going. I stood up again I and gutted it to the line passing another rider or two and being passed by Shawn right before the line. Although I dont consider myself a sprinter I do love the mania of it all and especially the last few miles of surfing wheels and fighting for that top 5 position. Its kind of addicting.

I didnt know I could stand and sprint for that long, but I do now. I came in about 10th or so I think. I am very pleased with that. And the best news of the day Dan Quinlan was outnumbered in the break two to one, but had the legs in the sprint and won the race!! Great job Dan and Carbon Racing!

RATL #1 A very fast race.

Carbon Racing put Brian, Tris and Dan in the initial split. A big group off the front that splintered when Paul Martin, Dan Quinlan and Jeremy Grimm took off. The main field absorbed the remainder of the group and within a few laps it was race on for the rest of the race.

The speed was really high almost the whole race with attacks and counters being shot off for the remaining 5 paying spots. Dan who had ridden 43 headwind miles to the race that morning for the added training got popped when he tried to stick with Jeremy who was attacking the break. Once he was back Carbon racing and all of the other teams knew we were racing for 3rd place.

I was actually surprised that some guys didnt know actually. But once it got back around that 3-8th were up for grabs the racing got even faster with many laps of 26.5+mph ave speed. Everyone was attacking all race long, but now people were getting tired and the attacks were being more damaging. We started with about 47 and a good 15 or more riders were shed all over the course it looked like.

We weren't firing on all cylinders I'll admit. I think we didn't race to our strengths as we did Sunday. But with a few laps to go a split occurred that was exactly 6 riders and they put time into the rest of us. Brian made the split of course. The split was a strong group of riders so that was that for the paying spots. And yes-I missed it again!! I'm getting good at this. :(

With about one and a quarter laps to go Tris took off with Jake Lifson from Indiana Medical and I followed a rider up and as the pace slowed at the start finish I took off really hard and soloed in for 9th with a 26.5 ave speed last lap. I am sure the motivation to chase me down was very low being the first non paying spot, but as I have said before-its good training. Luckily for me Bob Grimm caught it on video. Thank you Bob and for the compliment!!

I will say my jump is getting a bit better as it has to chasing so much crap down. After Presque Isle this weekend I need to work that top end more so I can come across a gap to a bunch of pro leve/Cat.1's breaking away instead of just pulling other teams close enough to jump across without me..arrgghhh.

Racing has been fun so far this year in Ohio. Also its great to see riders from other local teams like Lake Effect and John Lowry and his Stark Velo team mates sticking their noses in the wind and mixing it up at every turn. What a fast and aggressive summer this is going to become. I also hope the 40 to 60 person Cat I II III fields continue too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fear of water?

On the trainer today. I WAS going to bring my bike to work to do a ride whenever a window opened up. But a busy morning and I didnt have patience or time to pack. The result? On the trainer at 4pm.

Two weeks to Presque Isle means this is the week to get in any training that should benefit me in two weeks. I am not "cramming", just want to do what I can. Being on the trainer after so much time outdoors is NOT my idea of fun. Even though I know its focused training and I was up for it-I couldnt motivate myself enough once I started.

Tomorrow its more of the same. Rain and 40's means indoors again. So I called my coach Sean Gilbert and asked him for another hard workout, but a workout on the trainer that is more engaging so its easier to stay focused. Shorter efforts in repeats and variety. But still hitting all of the zones. Should keep me focused this time.

Once your out of the basement "this will make me stronger" mentality what makes long hard TT efforts manageable is the speed mainly. Things rushing by fast, sounds of air and tires on the road. That drives you to push harder. Funny, but once youve done some races outside staring at the TV and blasting your mp3 player and not going anywhere just doesnt do it anymore. Weird huh?

Also this weekend is the first RATL, Covered Bridge double. Carbon Racing with help of some very generous volunteers will run the Covered Bridge race on the 19th. I want to thank everyone who has offered to marshal corners and help us out so we can race. Thank you, thank you and thank you again.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Deer Creek Road Race

Yesterday was by far the most Cat.1's I have ever lined up with. A lot made the break and still there were a crap load left in the field. I had planned on a few bigger races this summer and I suppose I already have one under my belt.

I posted some big wattage numbers while overall the average wattage was "normal" for racing. That shows why road racing is so difficult. You could have a ho hum race, but when the chips fall if you cannot produce the goods for that one or two minutes its all over. No I dont race my wattage meter. But when your still putting out power at the end of a 70 mile race its a good thing.

Lucky for Carbon Racing Brian bridged to the breakaway with Marco Aledia of Kenda/Inferno and came home 6th out of the 8 man break. Nice work Brian.

I lead out the field for scraps from 1km to about 200m out, but sadly my sprinter du jour got popped as guys gave up left and right and he was behind one of them. But after 71 miles at an average speed of 24.3 mph (and it was brutally windy) can you blame them? I think we could have taken the last paying spot though because only 4 guys or so were on my wheel when i pulled off. I know, not a Protour level lead out, but for me it was good. I made a plan with a few miles to go and was able to execute it. Cool. Maybe it will work later in the year!!!!

I rolled in for a top 20 sprinting. What the hell, its good training. But I can tell you this. Racing for scraps or not I raced my bike today and I made some people hurt. I'm not saying I am a sado-masochist, just that I had some power late in the game and raced hard. Sadly I didnt have it when I needed it and missed the break.

When the move of the race went I went after it with everything I had to get in it. YOu just know when THE move is going. But when I knew I wasnt going to make it I kept drilling it. Its a phase shift of sorts. At first your trying to make it into the break YOURSELF, but as quick I made the decision to go I also realized that we didnt have anyone in the break yet. I got closer and closer at first, but the rate I was getting closer faltered and when I thought I was doing more harm than good I flicked my elbow for someone to come through. I flicked again and slowed. Well I had Paul Martin and another Panther/RGF sitting on me. Since the break looked primarily white in color (Panther/RGF's new uniforms (Happy JIM?-sorry inside joke)) I knew I had to keep pulling-even if slowly. Damn I tried hard to close it. Tried freakin hard.

No one was going to help. I pulled till my legs almost locked up and I almost got dropped due to the effort because as soon as I pulled off we went up one of the short hills. I barely made it up going backward through the field FAST. By contrast every other lap I felt great up both climbs-sometimes attacking to cause some attrition in the field.

I only trained 5 hours this week going into the race as well. But a very well planned 5 hours of trying to come from being sick Sunday-Tuesday to doing just enough and a bit intensity Thursday to be ready to race yesterday, but not make myself tired or sicker. Thank goodness it worked.

Had it not the race would have hurt even more than it did and this one hurt. I havent even spun out my legs yet today and its already 5:41pm!! I Know I should have ridden a few hours. Ahh what the heck I had a great day with my family. Happy Easter everyone.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

National Dreams....WTF?

The 2009 Masters National Championships schedule has been released. I try to have the attitude "same for everyone", but there are some crazy things going on. The first of which the Road Race is less than 24 hours before the TT. Any serious TTer is going to have to think seriousely about doing the Road Race now. Sure its "only" 50 miles, but damn, Logan County was only 50 miles and it was a hard, hard race!!

Next the TT is a mere 16 miles long.

$60 entry, a years worth of training, hotel room, travel expenses and mega bucks (for a lot of people, not so much me) on trick equipment designed to save time over 40km. And the Time Trial is 24km.

That and I wanted a second shot on the same course. But thats covered under the "same for everyone" clause. so I can live with that. Man, I am pissed. And I am not the only one I guarntee you that. What is USA Cycling and the organizers thinking?

Add on top of that I have to do the TT and immediately get in my minivan, drive home to Cleveland, pick up my bro and drive straight on to Boston for his rehearsal dinner on the 2nd. Yup, Kentucky to Cleveland to Boston in 24 car. My wife and daughter will be there in advance. Two days later I drive home with my bro and great new sister in law's gifts and my wife and daughter.

Whew-the end of June is looking like a big huge ball of stress. I will put to test my ability to think positively and t put aside what I cannot change!!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More TT Tweaking

Flat back (pretty much), arms 90 degrees, weight comfortably supported on arm rests, good hip angle and knee angle. All check. POwer?? Still nowhere near where it needs to be, but its getting there!!

Spring 2009 Set-up

The dream as I have stated before is that all this work has reduced my Cda such that I am faster than last year without putting out anymore power.

Fighting some bug, but rode super easy to get a good sweat going (easy when your not feeling well) today and yesterday. No fan helps too. And for me that does feel better than doing nothing except being miserable.

I think I am getting better. I was going to race Deer Creek Saturday (70 miles), but might not. Its a long way to go on no training. Lots of gas, whole day traveling to do what might amount to a training ride.

We shall see!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tour of Logan County Road Race

I am afraid to start this entry because I could talk for hours for what ended up being a character building ride with no result for me. And I might make a lot of lame excuses, bitch moan and cry to explain my lack of result while seemingly being bi-polar and bragging how well I raced in spite of it all. But many times in team racing success is not quantifiable by your own results. I got dropped several times and fought back on and had to cover every move for 30 miles while my team mates Dan and Brian were up the road. On about the windiest race Ive ever been in too.

I had one of those days where every attack and every climb hurt and felt like you had no power. Well that evening at home I got a sore throat so maybe thats why. I also rode extremely hard Thursday and didnt get in a recovery ride Friday. Excuses, excuses!!

The reason it was character building was how bad I felt, but how hard I had to ride the whole race to "do my job". I even survived getting popped off the back when Grimm attacked and two guys in front of me gave up. I came around them and while struggling to climb in the wind Jeremy looked back, saw some guys off the back and attacked again!! I sprinted back on repeatedly even though it felt like my legs were going to explode.

Sadly after 30 miles of working through the rotations and following anyone of the 6 guys left in the main group that tried to push the pace we caught them. I expected Jeremy to launch an attack and stayed on his wheel for a few seconds then launched my own counter as hard as I could. I didnt want to, but I had to. I was hoping others felt as bad as I did and if nothing else we would drop from now 8 to maybe 2 or 3 and I could fake it and hang on.

I didnt turn around (using that old adage that when you attack you go all out, dnt look back) hoping that I had blown apart the group, but ended up just pulling us around for too long putting the hurt more on Dan and Brian than the rest.....Grouppo Compacto. The 8 of us circulated around with Brian trying to get away again. But Matt Weeks slowly rolled away and no on chased including Carbon Racing. He had helped us by not chasing down Brian and Dan with Inferno, DLP and RGF and a strong, but unnattached rider who sadly had no clue how to ride his bike in a race so we repaid the favor by not chasing him.

With a couple miles to go Jeremy attacked us hard. I was in my small ring at the time, thighs had been cramping for miles and no power and F@#@$#$@%^ I got dropped and couldnt chase back on.

Jeremy blew past Matt on the descent, but Matt held on for 2nd. He too was complaining mid race that he was about to get dropped. So great for him to get 2nd solo in his first race of the year.

Down the 8% descent to the last corner I watched as Grimm motored away from the main group that motored away from me. Even the descent was hard today when Jeremy would drive the pace down it.

After the race my thighs felt like they got hit with meat tenderizing hammers and I was beat, my stomach was doing back flips. Tris broke his derailleur 10 minutes into the race and that's a crap way to spend a day hours from home. And he loves a hard race, but maybe I am a bit jealous he missed this one and I didnt (just kidding, it was awesome to almost survive it). What a day in the wind and hills. The Map My Ride of the Course looks tame, but I guarantee with the wind it was really tough.

Its Sunday and I do have a sore throat and am stuffy in the head. I cannot decide if a day off or a nice slow spin for 2 hours would be better. I bitched all the way home about getting dropped and having no power. Character building for sure. Sadly my excuse of being under the weather doesn't hold any water since Jeremy won with a cold. Congrats Jeremy on an amazing Spring.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bye, Bye Cannondale USA

As a proud owner of my made in the USA Cannondale Six 13 I am sad to hear Dorel (parent of Cannondale) will cease all US frame manufacturing by 2011. I have no problems buying things made in China. Heck that sort of business has paid my paychecks for years.

Sing it "We are the Champions, my Friend...."

John Davis writes about Bike Racing and the Rustbelt.

Sure I have a never ending stream of my own things to say, but this is some sweet writing.