Site uses Flash and is not iDevice friendly. To maximize your experience I suggest viewing on Mac, PC, Linux, Android.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Real post with a fake race

Well, one more week of training down.  It was a fairly productive week, I completed my planned workouts and hit my planned wattage marks.  Monday was, as usual, a rest day.  Tuesday I had some intervals planned.  The weather was good and I headed outside for some 3 minutes on/3 minutes off intervals. 2 sets of three reps.  I felt pretty good during the intervals.  I hit the minimum power outputs required but I didn't blow them out of the water.  Part of that was due to the fact that I was out on the road and there were a couple pesky intersections and whatnot that interrupted the efforts.  I finished it up with some short 20 second sprint efforts which were a little lackluster after my intervals.

The "sprints", if they can be called that, were not in my workout plan and I'm hoping I don't regret them later.

Wednesday was supposed to be a rest day but I had a short day scheduled at work and couldn't resist heading out for a few miles. I did my best to spin easily although I'm sure it was too fast/long to be considered a true recovery ride.

Then, on Thursday, I had an identical set of intervals as Tuesday but this time I was relegated to the trainer. This increases the mental demands of the workout and the power numbers often suffer a bit as well. I think there is more too it than the "overheating" theory I've read about on the interwebs. Riding on a trainer with resistance places a significant load on the rear wheel. When you are out on the road there are some natural dead spots in your stroke but you don't slow down much during them. They almost constitute micro-rests during your stroke. When you are on the trainer these dead-spots result in a more significant drain on your effort and you end up modifying your pedal stroke to power through the dead spot (which may have a long term net training benefit). Another way of looking at it is that you are expending more effort accelerating the rear wheel coming out of the dead spot which requires more work overall.

I've also been doing some core workouts. These are not the multiple sets of sit-ups or crunches that many have reduced "core" workouts to. It involves bodyweight exercises working everything from the glutes and hip abductors to the rhomboids and trapeziuses (tarpeziei?). This is a new routine for me and I was surprised by how easily I got through the workouts but still had significant muscle soreness the day after.

After a rest day on Friday I was ready for some riding this weekend. I needed to do some intervals on Saturday but also wanted to get out some longer miles, preferably with a group. I couldn't quite bring myself to get up early in the morning for an 0730 start at 37 degrees when I could ride later in the day when it was sunny and 20 degrees warmer.  I headed out in the late morning for some miles before meeting Greg in Helotes. I got my 3X9 over/under intervals in and made it over to Blanco Rd. I took that south with the intent of briefly stopping by the bike shop. I was running short on time to meet Greg so I skipped the shop. I headed over towards Helotes still on the wrong side of the clock. I pulled over at 1604 and Hausman to text Greg that I would be 5-10 minutes late. As I was putting my phone away I saw another rider coming up on me. I headed on my way without much thought but then I noticed he was chasing me down. I got stuck at a traffic light which allowed him to catch me. While pulling away he was sitting on my wheel. This shouldn't bother me much, but sometimes it does. If he had said so much as a quick "hello" it wouldn't have been a big deal. But, when a stranger sits on my wheel enjoying the draft, without even alerting me to his presence I get irked. I raised the wattage a bit and he slowly drifted into the distance. I met up with Greg and we had a very moderate 40 mile ride which was just what I needed. I ended the day with about 82 miles. It had been 5 weeks since I put in that kind of mileage. When I got home I did my core workout again.

Finally, today, I headed out for a morning ride. My original plan had been to meet Greg in Helotes at 1pm but my wife preferred I ride in the morning. There was a "fake race" staged by Aaron on the south side of town. I figured I'd head out for that and just hoped that some good riders showed up but not too many big egos. It wound up being a great ride. There were several Bike World Racing riders: myself, Jason Roberts, Nic Hima, Jahn Ti, Abel Gonzalez, and Clay Snell.  Bob Cornes showed up for a lap or two but had take off. The rest of the crew was mainly Bicycle Heaven with a couple outliers.

There was a 15-20 mile casual ride down to the course which was about a 5 mile loop. The corners had some gravel you had to keep an eye out for but otherwise it was fine. It was not a closed course, so one had to be aware of the possibility of cross traffic at all intersections. From the gun there was a break off the front from Ben, Ryan, and Lutz. Once they were clear there was no catching them. The rest of us, maybe 20-25 in all, had our own race. There were some breakaway attempts off the front. On lap 2 there was one breakaway that had gone a ways off the front and nobody was organizing a chase. I went off the front with the sole intent of baiting the group into mounting a chase. I was surprised when I saw Jason bridging up to me solo. I eased off a little to let him catch on and the two of us traded pulls for a bit before being caught by the group. We did catch the breakaway rider so mission accomplished, albeit having burned more matches than planned. From then on I did my best to shot down attacks and help Jason, Nic, and Jahn Ti close gaps when necessary. Those remaining laps consisted of more attacks from some of the riders, especially Zeeff and Emiliano. All attacks were neutralized but after 5 laps we were all spent. About 10 of us finished together.  I think the 15 or so who were dropped just turned around and rode home.  The rest of us rode home easy. Great to get some punchy miles in.

It was a good week of training. Now I have to do my best to do my prescribed rest which is a full rest day on Monday and Wednesday with just a short recovery ride on Tuesday. I'll do my best but I happen to get home early with good weather on one of those days it will be hard to stick to the schedule!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Megan Baab Memorial Race Report

I said it wouldn't happen, so it did.  I went out to race at Copperas Cove today.  I decided to put any uncertainty about my current fitness aside and I registered for the race.  I also pressured Aari into registering (it didn't take much).  You can't skip out on a race when somebody else is counting on you to be there.

The past week I put in three rides on the trainer and then I finally got outside to ride on Thursday.  It was just 20 miles or so, but it felt good to get outside.  I took a day off after that hoping to be able to get to the race well rested.  I could tell that I lack the base fitness I should have right now.  But it will come back.

So Aari and I left early this morning to drive up to Copperas Cove.  It was chilly this morning, in the upper 30's.  It was in the mid to upper 40s at race time.  It was supposed to be about 60 degrees by end of the race.  That's hard to prepare for.  I had decided I would go with my LG base layer (lightweight), Craft arm-coolers (thin, non-fleece lined).  I also went with some embrocation on the legs instead of knee warmers.

I had entered the Cat 4/5 race.  It started out as expected, with riders surging and braking and nobody holding their line.  I did my best to stay in the front third of the pack while still conserving energy.  The pack would alternate between rolling slowly at 18-20 mph and then surging at 28 mph.   There were no serious attacks.  I actually had to stop at one point when I lost the Garmin Virb off its mount when the bolt worked loose.  That'll need some loctite.  I stopped to get the camera and had to chase back on.  One match spent, no biggie.

Ian Anderson (right) shortly after the start.

About mile 15.
At about mile 30 one rider went off the front.  Nobody seemed interested in chasing.  As the gap grew larger and larger it seemed like letting him go was a bit of a mistake.  We never saw him again.  About mile 34 one rider and then another rider went off the front.  Again, there was no interest from the group in bridging the gap.  I figured the guy that went of the front  at mile 30 was long gone.  I didn't want that to happen again.  I took off and bridged up to the first guy (DR Cycling team) and then we worked together to catch the other one (Richardson's?).  The three of us traded pulls for a bit but when we turned onto FM508 it was a pretty nasty 15+ mph headwind and some hills.  The peloton was gaining on us and shortly afterward we were back in the bunch.  On the 8 mile run into the finish the pace picked up and there was a lot of jockeying for position.  There was quite a bit of contact in the group.  I heard afterward that a couple of guys went down, but I didn't see it.

Towards the end of the race I misjudged the finish.  I didn't like my odds in a bunch sprint so I had hoped to get off the front shortly before the finish; maybe around 1km to go or a little less.  With the group rolling at 25-26mph I took off on the left and wound it up to 32 mph opening a gap.  Initially I liked my chances but as I rounded the corner I realized that I was not as close to the finish as I had thought.  I had started my attack nearly 2km from the line.  By this point my sustainable power was starting to fade and the peloton had organized a chase.  I was picked up by the chasers with about 400m to go and held on for 11th place.

That was my first road race.  Considering my current fitness I'm pretty happy with the results.  I still have a lot to learn about racing tactics but I'm looking forward to the next race.

Finally, lots of well wishes to Jacob Schofield who got all close and personal with the tarmac during his race. Hope he heals up quick, I need his humor in the peloton (I'm just glad I don't have to race against him)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

First post after a long delay!

It's been a while since I posted.  Part of that is because I haven't had too much to post about.  If you recall, I had a nasty cold around Thanksgiving. I finally started to recover from that a week or two into December.  At that point there was a run of cool weather and rain that was not too amenable to riding.  I was quite busy at work and then went our of town for Christmas.  My family and I drove up to Colorado to my parents.  It was a good trip but my niece came with a nasty cold and then passed that on to my family.  That meant another week and a half of sluggishness, stuffiness, fevers, chills and whatnot.

While in Colorado I did get out for one 40 mile ride in some pretty chilly temperatures and a nasty wind but we had a great time!

Here are the customary pictures

We also went for a fun walk at the Aldifer Three Sisters park and I scrambled up a rocky hill with Noah:

After I got home was when I really started getting sick. I made it out for one ride which I cut short do to general wussiness:

Other than that it's been a lot of nose to the grindstone at work and just this past week I have felt well enough to start getting back to riding. With temps in the 30s and freezing rain it's been on the trainer and rollers this week. I managed to get in 4 rides indoors this week, all about one hour in length. It was all intervals, 6 min, 10 minute, 1 minute, and 3 minutes in duration. It was painful. I have lost both power and fitness over the past 4-6 weeks. Oh well, hopefully it comes back quickly! Racing season starts at Copperas Cove next week. I don't think I'll be there.

Two final points-
1) I know that some are waiting for a review of the new Trek Emonda. I haven't even spent enough time on it fo give you an in depth review but I will say that I love it. I just had my Enve 3.4 wheelset converted from Campy to Shimano 11 speed but haven't been out for a ride yet. When I've had more time on the bike I'll post more opinions.

2) I just need to post that I am having problems again with AT&T U-verse. It really had been a pretty good 2 or 3 months where the damn service actually worked. I spent all day waiting around for a technician to come out to the house. Nobody ever did. I got in an online chat with an AT&T representative to figure out why the technician who was supposed to be here between 8 and 12 never showed up.  The rep apologized and promised somebody would show up by 2PM.  The trouble was, it was already 6PM.  Hmmmm.....