Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reposting about climbing area hills

Please read this and post up a time in the comments. Get it done before you lose your summer fitness.

And also:

Have fun and let these efforts be good training for you. Do one or two hills to warm up then blast one for a time. That usually works well for me. Then climb one or two more with tired legs. Then go home and have a great recovery meal and a tasty beverage!! I like a hoppy ale personally, but your welcome to drink whatever you like.

Monday, August 24, 2009


A group went to Mohican on Saturday and we had a blast on what some describe as the best single track in Ohio. I really have little to compare to, but I'd back that up. It was awesome. Loads of climbing and safe, but thrilling long descents almost entirely deep in the woods.

I started out slow as I had no feel for the trail or bike. I was over braking for every little bend. But loving the long climbs and steep switchbacks. At one point I did get my bravado up and got some air over a sharp whoop de do that they build into the trails. Once airborne I had a "I'm gonna DIIIE" moment and almost shit my pants and that was about the last time I tried to go all Jeremy Mcgrath. Dave said it looked good at least.

Later in the ride I was getting annoyed with how my front shock felt like a jackhammer even though it was plenty plush on the big hits so I remembered, Hey these things are adjustable. So I took out some rebound and it was amazing the difference. Now I see why pros say dialing in the shocks is so important.

As we started the long climb at the covered bridge (500' vertical feet) I really started to get that zen like feel and by mile 16 or so I was leaving the brakes off and flying down dangerously fast descents and hitting the next roller coaster like uphills with so much momentum pedaling sometimes was optional.

I only had to step off the bike 2x I think the whole ride and walk it over one obstacle. OK, that makes 3x, but that was about it. I had a bit of a personal challenge and kept it in the middle ring after dumping to the granny once in the opening miles 350' climb. With more warm-up I probably could climb that in the middle ring as well. For me going to the granny gear always causes more problems than it helps (wheel spinning, popping wheelies in the switchbacks).

I would love to go again this year and of course the 2nd time I hope to be flying from the start, not just the last 6 or so miles.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Did multiple 50 yard swims and then hit a 75m non stop finally! Working on breathing style helped a lot.

The last 50m swim I did by kicking from the hip and also trying to really pull with the arms. The arms get tired fast when you really try and pull hard with them!! Getting better, but after only 40 meters I am slapping the water with my hands and my hips drop in the water. I need lessons, but cant justify them. Hello Google and youtube!!

Might help if I got in the pool more than 2 or 3 times a year. Last summer I went to Cumberland on the 2nd to last day, got rained out and couldnt go the last day.

This winter being a college student again I hope to use the Notre Dame pool and weight room.

I am gonna have a huge celebration if I ever swim 100m non stop and do a flip turn without filling my nose with water.


One thing about a new job and working hard and fitting your riding schedule around your family and wife's increasing (some weeks) work schedule, you dont get to ride much. last few weeks I have ridden 3 times per week including a race or weekend ride.

But luckily I get some intensity in those rides. I wouldnt always say I feel fresh because some days I am wrecked from work or doing off the bike training and getting wrecked at work.

But overall I feel fresh when I need to kick up the intensity. If you cannot ride as much then warm-up easy then throw in some hard efforts. Pretend your attacking like Armstrong up a mountain pass or sprint for a few town line signs. Even better with friends. But dont let friends hold you back. Just let them know you need some intensity and blast away then recover so then can catch up or entice some tom foolery on the ride.

And my all time favorite solo training ride is do do a lot of endurance and tempo (HR or power) riding. Tempo pushes your LT and endurance keeps the furnace burning for weight loss. Do LT (time trial pace) when called for like up a climb or if your feeling good on your favorite stretch of pavement. These rides require no recovery the next day, but provide great training load. You'll be surprisingly tired afterward, but feeling great.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

No Shreve for me

Today is Shreve. A newer race on the Ohiio Calender, but no less awesome. I am sitting at home doing a garage sale with my wife as my daughter and her friends have a Lemonade and Cool aid stand.

I am sure that the garage sale will be just as exciting as the race and i cannot wait (sarcasm).

SO road racing season is over for me it looks like. I hope to make the Wendy Park Cyclocross race since I didnt get to do Shreve.

Also coming up will be as much mountain biking as I can fit in. I hope to find some fun, safe trails close to home. Also some skill training and intervals for cross. I think its time to continue to try and perfect the dismounts and remounts.

Monday, August 10, 2009

They raced, I did a Time Trial Merckx Style

2.5 miles into the Milk Race a big shard of glass went through my tire after the rise after the first turn. I apologize for the profanity. But I was pissed because I am in pretty good form and had planned a very aggressive race with Tris. And it was two flats in two races.

So I rode the flat back to the car (2.5 miles takes forever at 5mph) and changed tube and tire. I rode back out knowing I had to make the best of the day and decided I'd so some long intervals. How often do you get marshalled corners for a training ride? and of course the replacement tire doesnt flat....

I ended up doing a 40k TT Merckx style in all that wind. It was tough, but I was fueld by being pissed off. And I actually did more of a hard 40km interval than a TT. But the two funnest parts of it (fun..TT...same sentence??) was I went out in front of the Masters field and held them back and opened up the gap many times on the break for 20 miles. So I was feeling good and riding strong. And I was opening up the gaps solo on the descending portions, not the ups.

The other fun part was railing the corners. I didnt have to hold anything back because I didnt have the pressure of a field behind me should I go too hard and go off the exit, etc. It was Moto GP time baby and I was leaning my bike all the way over and accelerating out of all the corners really hard. Only thing I didnt do was make motorcycle sounds with my mouth.

The corner marshal's probably thought I was nuts because I kept telling them I had flatted. Meaning I didnt want them yelling to the Masters breakaway that I was 30 seconds, 1 minute up the road and affecting their race. Though since I didnt have a lead vehicle that should have been obvious. But you know how you can think all kinds of odd things when hammering your eyes out.

So another race and another flat. But the piece of glass left a 2mm long slice in my tire. Just bad luck as no tire casing could have stopped that piece of glass from coming through to pop the tube. I missed an aggressive race and that is also always a bummer. My team mate needed me and I love to race aggressive and I rode strong by myself so I know I could have been a factor in keeping a break away. I also raced by the grace of my team mate and its a bummer he paid all that money so I could train.

Thank you all for helping me to continue to race this summer. Shreve is the last one and I wonder if I shouldnt run my big winter commuter tires with the layers of Kevlar and armoured sidewalls?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Giving up the Data

Yup, you heard it right here. I am going to let WKO+ and Training Peaks software fizzle away shortly. My priority going forward is work and school. And of course all of the other things like house, pets, family, family and family.

Its a lot of fun for me to pour through bits of data post ride and thats why I need to let it go for awhile. I will continue to train with power and hopefully train others with or without power and that's another reason I personally need to stop looking at the data for myself. I need the time for clients, school books and not me.

Gone will be searching for personal bests after hard races or club rides. For example I finally reset a power figure last night that hasnt changed since 2007. Did a long sprint off of a leadout last night and finally broke the Friel CP 0.2 (mile) power mark. Jeez I was starting to think that darn number would never change!! And I got it by 19 watts and 40 vs anything I had done in recent history. And you can see this can be rather obsessive.

Gone are the searches for a certain hill or sprint that I thought I really put out some power. None of it really matters, its more a game or a cheesy pat on ones own back. IN the end the only thing that matters is who crosses the finish line first or a race well done for team mates or personal satisfaction.

And in every big race I did this year (from Deer Creek to Tour of the valley to the State Road Race and all time trials) I didnt have power data to pour over and look, I am still standing. My head hasn't exploded or nothin.

I got to tell you, it will be weird to ride then just dump the data before the next ride. Really weird.

And on that note, does anyone want to buy a 15" dual core, 4gb ram, 180g HD Compaq CQ50 laptop? Its screaming fast and the only task it has had in weeks is to dump my power tap data into. Well you know where to find me. Holler if you want it cause I sure want your money!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ZOAR 2009

I am sitting having a glass of scotch from Marshall who races for Stark Velo. I think it fitting since this post is about the ZOAR race. One of my favorite local races. I was looking for some past data on the race and noticed in 2007, my first year racing I finished 6th in the Cat1-3 race (Or was it 2,3 then?). Anyways in 2008 my team mate Batke won and I tried to solo in for 3rd, but got caught about 3 miles or so form the line after a Dan Quinlan attack shut down most of my 20+ second lead on the infamous Middle Run climb.

My point being that this race dishes up a different race every year. Some courses have a break form on this lap or always breaks up here or there. Zoar does usually break up, but it happens sometimes by attacks on the flats or a move finally sticks on Middle Run. I would even argue the real drama on this course is caused by the descents after the two climbs. Maybe not directly, but they are so critical that one has to take them into account when attacking.

I hope I am not being too forward in saying that it looked like a Panther/RGF vs Carbon Racing event. I know Thom Domonic with his ever improving and diligently working Spin squad had that in mind when he took the suicide attack from the gun. And his move with one other rider lasted a good 20 or 25 miles. No one team wanted to drill it long enough to bring them back and after two and a half laps I felt the race was too slow. Not hard enough to drop anyone on the two climbs so I bridged.

It worked as planned. I bridged fairly quickly, but did not bury myself because I knew we had zero chance of staying away. But the move worked in getting the attacks going. And finally on the third lap the fireworks started with attacks and counters. Not only Panther and Carbon were attacking, but we were quite a few of them and got in quite a few others. Cioccio was especially active and some other independent riders.

It seemed I was always on Andy Clarke's wheel when he went after Dan or Matt or Brian's attacks. Finally on lap 3 Tris attacked the field on the way to the Middle Run climb. That was decisive and a brilliant move because it allowed the climbers and the strongest riders to hit the climb tired causing a big enough gap to the ones who were hoping to lose only a few seconds climbing and gain it back on the descent.

Dan attacked hard to bridge to Tris which put Paul Martin on the defensive as we started climbing. He surged once and I stayed on. Then he surged again and kept the pressure on as it started to downpour There is a great picture on the Stark Velo site which I will try and get of the move. I was about seeing stars, but stayed right on Paul's wheel. But this move came back after awhile (that darn descent again).

The next lap I am a bit fuzzy, but I know Tris brought us to the climb fast again. As we climbed and topped over we had Matt, Dan and myself and had isolated the other teams with one rider a piece and we had a big gap over the top. Dan drilled it down the descent and I only had to follow Andy to Dan. When we finally got to him Matt and I started working by taking pulls. You know how you get that "feeling" that your in the winning move? Well this had it and since we had numbers I felt for sure we could attack to get one of us away solo for the win with one lap to go. But somehow by the time we got back to Dover-Zoar road we were back as a group. Really a bummer. But we planned on getting multiple guys in every serious move and we did it as planned.

But it didnt matter for me because a couple miles down Dover Zoar and my rear tubie flatted, pss,pss,pss,pss,pss.... It probably lost 80% of the air, but it was spongy enough that I was able to ride back to the car without damaging the rim. I was a sad little bike racer riding back to the car doing the what-ifs.

As I have previously mentioned this was probably my last road race of 2009. And I was only able to attend due to the coaxing and help of the east side racers. Thank you all so much!! I feel as we all do after a DNF that I could have been there at the end!! But its no big deal. I raced hard, attacked, bridged, made the splits and worked hard for the team and climbed near the front every lap. What more could I do? But seeing as I went into the race hoping for a top 3 (or win?)and end the year on a high note but flatted, I do feel a bit bummed. It was a very fun race tactically and Carbon raced their collective asses off and that was fun to be a part of too. We took 1st (top 5 given same position) and 7th!! Been great racing with you guys!! Hopefully I can do one more race (Shreve or Milk), but I doubt it.