Friday, December 29, 2006

GA Represented on New HUP Kit

I was happy to see that my new team HUP United got Georgia represented on their uniform for the next season. Their uniforms look the best and are made very well in Belgium. Georgia (me) is represented on the rear panel of the shorts as are all HUP locations across the US.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Centennial Winter Route

Above is the winter route from school that I will try to do each week at least once. The long, flat sections are good for interval blocks and the hills are pretty fun too. I alter this most of the week by going out to Timber Ridge and back so that I can do any interval work I want.

The river views are great and the traffic is tolerable with bike lanes helpful. It is only about 23 miles long.

2007 Events I Want to Do

These are the organized events I'd Like to Do the Year:

Racing for HUP United this year:

Tundra Time Trial (Feb 17)

GA Single Speed MTB Championships (March)

GTC Mason-Dixon Divide Tour (March 30-April 5)

Heritage Park MTB Race (Single Speed) (April 15--Tenative)

Tiger Rag MTB Race (Single Speed) (April 22)

Yargo MTB Race (Single Speed or CX Bike) (April 29)

GTC Spring Classics (March-May)

GTC Club Championship (May 26)

Stump Jump MTB Race (Single Speed) (May)

Chatsworth MTB Race (Single Speed) (June 10)

Columbus MTB Race (Single Speed) (June 24)

Clemson MTB Race (Single Speed) (July 1)

Ellijay Lake MTB Race (Single Speed) (July 8)

GTC Century (August)

Covington Century (August)

Georgia Cyclocross Series (A Group or Masters)

Cyclocross Nationals (?)

Pittsburgh "Dirty Dozen" (November)

There is no way I will do all of these events, but I would like to do at least one a month if possible.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Few Words About Turning 40

I think Dylan Thomas said it best. While turning 40 is not equivalent to dying, I see it as the dying of youth. But, I think it depends on your will to remain young.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2006 Georgia Cyclocross Race Wattage

I raced in 6 races but only had power data for 5 of them. Here is a look at my average power with and without zeros for the season.

The average of all of the races were 281/302watts.

Also, here is my mean maximal power graph for 2006...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Anti-Climax

Today's race was the finale in the series and I was only leading the second place rider by a slim margin. I had to beat him in order to win the overall title since these two last races were for double points and I was too sick to race last weekend ending up with a big zero points for that race.

My plan was to test my legs and dream of hanging with the front runners and if that did not work, then I would hang back with Jay and see what I could do against him in the final lap. This was a good plan except for the fact that my legs sucked and Jay was one of the front runners.

I have been on antibiotics for 10 days now and feeling a bit better. I felt good enough to open up Friday and that experience left me very optimistic since the power numbers were good. Warm ups went well but I could tell my power was a lot lower than normal.

The first 3 laps of the race I was near the front and then faded back to Jay and eventually c0uld not close a gap on him. Then everything fell apart with 4 laps to go. I was being passed by people I was easily beating 3 weeks ago. I was embarrased by how I was riding but I could not do anything to help it since I was still feeling the effects of being sick. After awhile I succumbed mentally and drifted back to 10th place, my worst placing ever for a 'cross race.

In the final analysis I lost the championship, coming in second. Jay was consistant and rode a great race today so I don't take anything away from his win. Three weeks ago I was pushing 300watts in a winning effort and today I managed only 283watts for the first 3 laps and only 218watts after that.

All in all I was able to win 3 races, come in second once, fifth once, and tenth once. It is avery anti-climatic end to a season where I put everything into to training and doing things right. I came in second overall last year and won 2 races with half the effort put into training and preparation.

Most of the races were very fun and I am looking forward to doing some next year and seeing how my time and home life allows for me to compete. I am now looking forward to doing some group rides, working towards a sub 1 hour 40K TT, the Pittsburgh to DC trip, and doing some single speed mountain bike races.

Clearly, in the seasons where I put pressure on myself to succeed I do the poorest (2004, 2006) and the seasons I relax I do the best (2003, 2005). Maybe following this trend, next year is a year to relax.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Leaving the Nest (so to speak)

When I started out 5 years ago racing cyclocross I was the only one racing for my club. Today we have over 20 guys racing for the club in cyclocross. The director has done a great job in being positive and creating opportunities for riders to get interested and join the team. In fact, many of the road guys have given it a try and found out that they love it. A few of us only race cyclocross in the fall and abstain from the road. The team has become the dominant force in Georgia cyclocross, and I credit that to the director and the passionate riders.

I joined the club to ride with a few of the folks I met there about 7 years ago. Our club is fantastic and has many motivated people and offers more than 2-3 rides per week. Since the club and the racing team are separate, many of the road racers race for different teams while being a part of our club.

I decided that for next year I would race for a new team for a change. HUP United, a national cyclocross culture team accepted me as one of their own for next year. It is pretty low key and will allow me to become again, an "army of one" in Georgia . I am not sure how much I will race this year but it will be different and fun to race against people I have been teammates with. I think HUP has a lot to offer and it makes me a little more relaxed knowing that my investment is less than it is on the GTC racing team.

HUP has a nice network of people around the country that are all passionate about 'cross and perhaps I can even visit some of the other regions for a race to two sometime.

The GTC racing team will dominate cyclocross again next year for sure and I doubt my leaving will make any difference at all in their overall performance as a team. I hope that this Sunday I can cap it off for the team by securing the masters 35+ championship.

I am looking forward to getting back to just riding with the club and at least for a year, not representing them in races. I think it will make me a better bike rider and a bit more amiable overall.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tracking Performance With the Power Meter

I have been using the CyclingPeaks software with my power meter to track my performance this year and to help me predict a peak in fitness. I have been interested in it this week to see how all this time off the bike will affect any chance I have of finishing the season strong.

The Yellow line is a calculation of TSB (training stress balance) and measures my ability to be "fresh". A positive TSB would mean that either I am peaking or sick. The more negative TSB is, the more I am training and adding stress to my body. Ideally you get a very negative TSB and then let off the gas slowly over a short time to "peak". I have identified two places on the chart where my TSB was very positive and these were boughts of illness, not tapers.

The red line is the acute training load (ATL) and shows how daily stresses are affecting me. The blue line is the chronic training load (CTL) and this monitors acute stress over time. Ideally, ATL will be opposite TSB and CTL should decrease or level off as a person tapers. Also, ideally, you want to come into your race season with a very high level of CTL and then back it off until your peaking race period.

This tool was valuable in training because I could see my ATL telling me that I was training too much/not enough. I could judge my ability to compete by te CTL and how high I got it as I entered the 'cross season and TSB was very important as i saw how races affected it and more importantly, how I was recovering from such efforts.

Lastly, it is a great visual record of your work done throughout the season and represents you, almost as a work of art.

As you can see the TSB right now as I recover from illness is 21.8, up from 2.1 on November 26th, the date of my last good cross related workout, and up from -9.4 which was the TSB measurement after the Marietta 'cross race. So I have come up dramatically and I wish this was only a taper, but you have to play the cards you were delt and next weekend will hurt for sure as I try to salvage any remaining hopes of a title shot.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The End of the CX Season is Pretty Close

Last weekend I was very pumped for the Georgia state championships on Sunday. I was primed and ready and my wattage and motivation were at all time highs, then I got sick. I have been in bed for most of the week with an acute sinus infection along with a fever. So, missing out on the championship race is pretty dissapointing since that was my only real goal since I started preparing in June. But, like most things, if you put all your eggs in one basket there is a great risk of dissapointment that goes along with possibility of your goal actually being fulfilled.

This is why I decided to try and win as many races as possible along the way. I also picked up the leader's jersey and I'll hold it until the last weekend which will be a struggle since that race counts for double points and I'll have not worked out in two weeks.

I was able to win 3 races and all three of these were escapes off the front which I have never done before. The other two races were close and I felt considering the competition, I finished where I should have.

I doubt I will go to Nationals now. Even though it is an "open" race, I don't feel that it should be for everyone. I think you should have to be in your top 5 in the state to go. Since I am not racing the championship race I have no idea where I would place. If I rode it I think I would have won, but I am not so the point is moot. However, if I hold on to the series championship in the masters category, I may still go depending on how horrible the experience it is from being sick for over a week. If it is too nasty or makes me sick again I won't go.

Honestly, I don't think you should be able to go to Nationals unless you are eligible for a call up or are a state champion or one of the UCI series champions.

Anyway, in looking back I feel really happy that I devoted so much time and got results for 6 races. This was my last shot to dedicate that time for awhile (maybe ever) and it surely paid off.

June: 36 hours/611 miles Mean Maximal Peaks: 5sec-1116w, 1min-468w, 5 minutes-341w, 20min-310w, 50min-236w

July: 42 hours/716 miles Mean Maximal Peaks: 5sec-1135w, 1min-441w, 5 minutes-307w, 20min-289w, 50min-284w

August: 30 hours/523 Miles Mean Maximal Peaks: 5sec-1255w, 1min-568w, 5 minutes-350w, 20min-322w, 50min-254w

September: 19 hours/309 Miles Mean Maximal Peaks: 5sec-1201w, 1min-586w, 5 minutes-339w, 20min-310w, 50min-288w

October: 17 hours/259 miles Mean Maximal Peaks: 5sec-1113w, 1min-468w, 5 minutes-341w, 20min-310w, 50min-300w

For a pro/cat1 or 2 these are meger results but they were enough to get me to where I have a nice 5 minute power and was able to push 300w for a race.

Let's see what the Indian Springs race brings and whether I can hang on to keep the title or even if I can beat the illness in that time.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Race Versus Practice Efforts

One of the things that is always in question is whether a person's training is preparing one for a race. If you are practicing different power zones or physiological parameters than what is expected in your race then you may need to adjust your training.

The multivariant quadrant analysis tool allows me to check this by comparing the effort in a race with one in practice in terms of circumferential pedal velocity (m/s) versus average effective pedal force (N). I broke down the quadrants in a previous post but here they are again:

Q1=high force and high velocity. At the extreme, this would represented by sprinting, but most any extended supra-threshold effort on level ground (e.g., attack or bridge attempt during a race) would entail "quadrant I pedaling".
Q2=high force but low velocity. Typically, "quadrant II pedaling" occurs when climbing or accelerating, especially from a low speed.
Q3=low force and low velocity. Rides that entail a very large percentage of pedaling that falls into "quadrant III" would typically be those used for recovery or for social purposes (e.g., coffee shop rides), or for recovery in a race after an attack or sitting in.
Q4=low force but high velocity. Racing may also involve a significant amount of such low force, high velocity pedaling, especially during events in which there is a frequent need to accelerate rapidly (e.g., criteriums). (Coggan, Andrew, 2005.

Here is the comparison from a 50.6 minute practice session yesterday to the last race in Marietta which was 47.5 minutes long. These efforts were conductted on two different courses but both reflected largely solo efforts.
Plot A shows all of the data including zeros and plot B has the zeros removed and reflects pedaling power.

  • Both plots show that most of the efforts are concentrated in Q2.
  • The most common power points are concentrated between 250-350W with a significant concentration between 300-350W. Above this value the points get more scattered.
  • The practice data is more scattered than the race data.
  • The practice data shows more points above the 350W curve.
  • The practice data also shows more Q3 points which reflects low power and more "recovery" efforts.
Although not a perfect fit, the practice efforts are mimicking to some degree the efforts of a race. Since my power is split almost 50/50 above and below 300W (ftp) during the race, I feel that the practice session is stressing the same physiologic needs of a race. In terms of precieved exertion and effort, I think that while the race is more stressful overall, the practice sessions are within the realm of race pace difficulty.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Is it Safe?

I felt like the Marathon Man yesterday as I sat in the dentist's chair trying to get my tooth extracted. The plan was for him to pull the tooth and then just place the implant. However, I knew it was going badly when he busted out the hammer and chisel. he eventually told me that it was not coming out and set up a late appointment for me at a oral surgeon.

I got over there and my dentist actually followed me and helped with the procedure. That was pretty cool. They got out a big drill and bored down around the tooth and pulled it out. Now I am left with a sore jaw and some stiches and soon the bone will grow back and heal in time for the implant next March.

Even though it was a tough few hours, it was incredibly interesting. They were going to use cadaver bone as a graft but decided to leave it be.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Analysis of Marietta Cyclocross Race

I felt that the Marietta race was pretty hard and one of the reason was I was off the front with a couple of very strong riders behind that were not going to let up in catching me. That is pretty good motivation to keep going all out.

But, the Marietta course is not flat and did offer places to recover and two significant climbs, one a run and one a ride. The run up was not reflected in the power data, but I can analyze the rest of the race and see how hard I really rode.

My functional threshold power (FTP) right now is 300W. I have not done a critical power test in awhile and without zeros included in the data of the last few races, my FTP has been consistant at that value.

If I look at the data from that race, my power numbers (with zero) show that I am 57% below 300W for the 47 minutes. If I take out the zeros and only consider pedaling power (more accurate of 'cross) I find that I am 50% at or above FTP and 50% below FTP. The mode calculation of the data without zeros indicates the most frequent power value to be 336W.

Most of the zero values come from the downhill part of the course and from cornering, gliding into run-ups, and other changes of pace. Being out on my own with no one to draft, 7% without pedalling is about what might be expected.

I did a quadrant analysis of the race using 300W as the threshold power and 88rpm as my threshold cadence. I did one with (red) and without (black) zeros.

In quadrant analysis,
Q1=high force and high velocity. At the extreme, this would represented by sprinting, but most any extended supra-threshold effort on level ground (e.g., attack or bridge attempt during a race) would entail "quadrant I pedaling".

Q2=high force but low velocity. Typically, "quadrant II pedaling" occurs when climbing or accelerating, especially from a low speed.

Q3=low force and low velocity. Rides that entail a very large percentage of pedaling that falls into "quadrant III" would typically be those used for recovery or for social purposes (e.g., coffee shop rides), or for recovery in a race after an attack or sitting in.

Q4=low force but high velocity. Racing may also involve a significant amount of such low force, high velocity pedaling, especially during events in which there is a frequent need to accelerate rapidly (e.g., criteriums).

Applied to cyclocross, besides accelerations after dismount, much of the power applied is similar to a criterium. I am surprised to see so many power values in Q3 in the non-zero graph considering I had no place to sit in or draft. However, there are many places in a 'cross race where easy pedaling is needed right before a dismount, turn or run-up where you are still pedaling but not applying too much power. It could also reflect the first two laps when most of us were together and drafting may have occured.

Power has been described by Coggan as "stochastic" meaning that rarely does power act like heart rate in that there is an extreme amount of fluctuation due to both physiological and environmental reasons. In cyclocross, there are a lot of pace changes and many ways that power can be applied during the race so the stochastic nature of power is really displayed.

I have had the power meter running in most races but I have only used it twice in the races for pacing. In Conyers I used it across the large parade ground grass field, looking back each lap to see my distance away from my persuers and I was able to use the power meter to keep a steady power so I could maintain that split each lap. At Marietta, my weak point has always been the long straight paved section so I used the power meter there to make sure I did not slack off and recover on that section but instead I tried to keep my power consistant at 300W so the more powerful road guys would not make up ground.

There is no safe way to use the monitor all the time in cyclocross and of course it takes away from the experience of racing to be looking at the data output every other second.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Georgia Cyclocross Race #5: Marietta

Today was a race on sort of "home turf" since a bunch of us practice there each week. Daryl always changes the course and today was no different keeping it real with mostly grass, the nice hill climb, famous hill of pain dirt run-up, and the long stretch of pavement. He did not make the weather and it was a chilly 42 degrees or so with the wind whipping and gusting all over the course.

This race is always really fast and the dirt run-up eventually takes its toll. Our start out power was low at around 976W but it was into a wind and as we made it onto the grass the wind picked up. On the first lap we had around 6-7 guys and I was at the front until Chris Wiley, Gerard, and Brad all took small fliers in order to get to the run-up first. I was third in line at that point and after the run-up there were just 3 of us.

On the second lap others had crept back up and leading up the dirt climb on the way to the dirt run-up I was leading and decided to make a small attack at the top. On the first lap I could see why Chris used to be a good runner before cycling, he flew up the climb. So, I tried to get up first and had the gear pre-set and made my small attack.

I soon found myself alone with a small gap of around 10-15 seconds and I rode hard for about 5 minutes almost "a bloc"to see if I could hold it. My surprise grew each lap as I held the lead but Chris and Gerard got closer and with 3 to go they were only behind by about 10 seconds.

At this point I was pretty tired. I really was not sure I could hold the lead because the paved section with the head wind was killing me each lap. I tried to use the power meter to keep the power constant there on each lap and that seemed to help. I felt like I was losing time with 2 to go so I decided to go all out and see what happened. Gerard said that Chris attacked him and he was able to get back on Chris's wheel so Chris pulled up. Chris also said that is what happened. Even still, by the end I only won by about 10-15 seconds.

I really like the Marietta course (as long as it is dry) and was happy to win with Jill and Charlotte there. The team did well too in all categories.

Only 2 weeks left until the state championships and hopefully I can make a good showing of it in Macon.

Today I got a Sierra Nevada IPA for my troubles. Gerard got a NICE bottle of Belgian beer and a cool GA CX pint glass as prizes.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Georgia Cyclocross Race #4: Monroe, GA

I woke up this morning feeling good and it was cold in my house and outside as the thermometer read 39 degrees. I loaded up my car and backed out but did not get far because one of my tires was flat! I wasted 30 minutes changing it and eventually headed out to Monroe. The temperature kept dropping as I got further from the city and by the time I got to Monroe it was around 34 degrees. It was windy too and the ground looked frosted over.

The Monroe venue is always dependable. I think it is free and although it offers little elevation change, it can be manipulated about a hundred ways and this year I think they got it right. In using the lower parking lot, they could use the top one for paved sections and also keep the pavement track around the playground. There is plenty of bumpy grass and two major ditches that are almost unrideable on a 'cross bike. There were also two nicely placed barrier sections that offered no momentum up to them, and a bunch of tricky off-camber sections (one of which I wiped out on in warm-ups, right in front of the officials).

Of the early morning 35+ riders, Brady Rodgers and Brad harper seemed the most dangerous. Gone were Chris Wiley and Dave Irving the ex-pro riders from last week (I'm sure they will be back). Brady is a Cat 1 and Brad is a Cat 3 (I think), and I have ridden against both of them many times.

I tried to make the start as hard as possible and I was able to hit 1170 watts initially and average 970 for 10 seconds which in relection was pretty good. It did not get rid of many riders but I got out in front and soon ended up with Brady, Brad and Jeff Welp (teammate). Jeff went to the front and I thought that he might have a bunch of form so I waited to see what would happen. Soon Brad bolted off the front and opened up a gap but I sat in and waited. Jeff faded a bit and I was able to get up to Brady. Soon we had gapped Brad and I wanted to make it stick so I had to get Brady to stop attacking for a second. Once things calmed down, Brady and I were alone and began to work well together to open up a very large gap.

There were plenty of places on the course to attack another rider. The paved sections were ideal for Brady since he is an excellent road racer. There was one particular section that was uphill and into a head wind that he would gap me about 2 seconds each lap. I thought he would eventually attack me there.We rode together for awhile and Brady missed a turn and almost went through the hard to see course tape. It was pretty funny and I pulled up a bit so he could get back on. I did not want to start anything until we saw how many laps there would be left. So, with 3 laps to go we rode very cautiously and slowed down a bit. Nearing the two to go point, on an uphill barrier section, Brady got over first, looked back and caught me in a momentary lapse of thought. He did not really punch it but he opened up a 15 second gap for the last 2 laps that I did everything except throw up to try to pull back. I had a liberal amount of drool and snot caked on my face on the last 2 laps and I could see him just up ahead but I could not get back.

He eventually won and I came in second, Brad and Jeff finished 3rd and 4th. It was not a bad loss and I really felt that if he had attacked me when I thought he would I could of hung on and sprinted it out with him. I should have not had a brain lapse when I did but I was pretty tired.

Brady later told me that he had done 140 races this year. This was my 7th of the year so in the past two weeks I have been beated by 2 ex-pros and a cat 1 who has done 140 races. I can feel good about that. I also had a nice average power of 299.5 watts which is still pretty good after 4 races.

Next is Marietta where I usually have a good race-hopefully I can do better.

For my efforts today I get a Chimay dubbel, not a triple since I came in second and not first. The "Grand reserve" will have to wait!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Georgia Cyclocross Race #3: Fort Yargo

This was our club's race weekend. Our club president designed a very hard course that included 3 forced runs: a log, a long beach, and a double barrier section. The course was around 1.7 miles long and ended on an uphill paved road. In fact, the beach, barrier and paved road section of the course may be the hardest 1/2 mile in the whole series of races.

I did not know it, but we had at least 2 ex-professional mountain bike riders (Dave Irving and Chris Wiley) in the race today. Our field was really large and with my teammate Gerard racing down from the 45+ category and Brady Rodgers racing down from the A's it would end up being a very competitive race.

From the start it was a grind. My power meter registered 900W at the start and 1000W at the top of the paved hill, so that initial push from the start was intense. I was hoping that Brady would do what he did and push the pace in order to force a break. During the first lap a small gap opened up between Chris, Brady and I with Gerard and Dave being about 10-20 seconds behind. Gerard had a small problem at the start so he really did well to make up for that and get in a good position.

After the initial hill there was a downhill which I averaged 28mph on each lap. From this you barrel into a rooted dirt section that twists and turns and eventually dumped you out onto another paved section leading to a sharp right dirt off-camber on wood chips (very soft) and over a large log. Many could bunnyhop the log but not me.

A small paved section led to a right hand turn through some more muddy dirt sections then it was onto grass, down a gravel road to the two sharp, off camber turns that led into the beach. These turns gave me fits each lap and I think my front tire washed out 2-3 times.

The beach itself was not that bad since you could ride almost all the way across. But, if you had your gears pre-set, you could ride the hill out of the beach. Shortly after the hill was a short downhill that had a crazy entrance to the two barriers. I found no good way to dismount but the A guys later made it look easy. From here is was a remount on a hill and then the paved hill, grinding back up to the finish.

We three did not race very smart in hindsight. Well, Chris did, he won. Brady decided to attack us on the hill after the first lap but his gap eventually closed. I was hoping we would work together to distance ourselves from Gerard and Dave (who I was told had a great sprint). Instead it was a series of small attacks until Chris and Brady pulled away from me and I could not close. They did not get very far away, but in cyclocross 40 seconds is a lot.

What happened next also did not make me happy. Gerard and Dave were gaining. At this point I had third place, but as Gerard came, so did Dave. I don't really know what to think of this now, but at the time I was not happy with Gerard for chasing me down and bringing dave with him. Dave eventually dropped Gerard and passed Brady for second on an incredible last lap ride! I think Dave would have caught me anyway, but I was hoping Gerard could have blocked a bit to lessen that chance. In the end neither gerard nor I made the podium which sucks. I understand Gerard's point of view better now so I know how to race in that situation better next time.

So, Dave eventually pips Brady at the line for second. If Chris, Brady and I would have worked together we all would have been on the podium. But, Chris won and it was to his advantage that things worked the way he did. My wife said he did not look like he was hurting a bit which is not what you want to hear.

I think the race came out like it should have. Chris and Dave are ex-pros and even though I have beated Chris once, he will be hard to beat in the future because he will just get better. Dave is new to me and when he passed me I was tired so I don't know, but he is strong and is last lap push was awesome. Brady and I have raced together many time before in cyclocross and he is always strong and unpredictable. He attacks a lot which I like, but I think he he and I cooperated better we could have beaten Chris (maybe). Gerard dominates most of the races he enters. He is capable of making up 1 minute easy on the group if there is confusion.

It should be a wonderful next 4 races and I can expect that wins will be hard to come by now.

For my efforts today I only get a Miller Lite. But I did get to carve a pumpkin with my daughter!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

GA Cyclocross Race #2: Augusta

Last year the rain waited until the last race weekend of the season but this year we were treated to rain on the seocnd race! It was in the 50's and raining a nice drizzle up until the start of the 10 o'clock race.

The course was the same as last year except that they added a nice little two barrier run near the expo area that was much better than the barrier section last year. There was another flat barrier section near the start and a fun grassy steep hill that I managed to ride up each lap without any problems.

There was only about 40 yards from the start line to a plywood ramp over a curb and the first barrier section. I wanted to be first to the plywood since it was wet and slippery. I managed to get a good start and was first through. I was using the Tufo tubular clinchers that I normally use but decided to only use around 45psi since it was rainy and muddy. For this course at least, this was the proverbial sweet spot for pressure and the tires gripped fantastically. I was a little worried bout this during warm-ups especially on the steep grassy hill.

Most of the course was grass but there was a lot of challenging off-camber stuff as well and one section near the second set of barriers which were on a hill so you had to run. I learned in warm-ups that clipping out coasting down the off camber hill and gliding into the right side of the barriers gave me momentum and an easy dismount. These were not troublesome during the race.

The most challenging part was the little muddy off-camber section on the backside of the course. The lead up to this secion was a grassy downhill in which you could carry speed. But, the off camber section was hidden by some bushes and a left turn so (as I learned) you had to go wide right and then shoot into the mud left and through the turn or else you ran the risk of sliding right through the course marking tape and off the course.

I was able to win this race by about 1 minute but it was hard and challenging. I could not use the Powertap because of the rain so here is a boring HR file instead:

All in all Ross composed a very challenging course and did a fantastic job marketing and getting the word out. The Waffle House food was great!

I was helped by Jeff Welp in the first few laps by being a great teammate and keeping the second place guy in check. Jeff ended up 4th but rode a great race and I was hoping that he could get on the podium and hopefully next week he, Gerard and I can work together to make that happen.

Next week might be stressful with putting together the club race, but there are a lot of willing volunteers so I hope it will run smoothly.

This week for my efforts I get a Duvel and some cookies!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Series Leader Jersey by Verge (sneak preview)

Verge came on board earlier this summer as the official leader's jersey sponsor. The design is a peach motif with the GA cyclocross series man and sponsors. I think it came out very nice.

All you have to do to get one is become series leader by accumulating the most points in one of the categories.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

GA Series Race #1: Conyers

The International Horse Park in Conyers was the place for the first race of the 2006 cyclocross season here in Georgia. It was around 43 degrees when I got to the venue but it warmed up to at least 65 by the C race which was around 12pm; beautiful weather.

The course was unique in that there was no pavement and most of the level surfaces were grass. There was a nice sandy climb and decent that led into a stair stepped sequence of short power climbs. That effort took about a minute and it would be the decisive place for a lot of riders. From there it was a nice recovery downhill to a left hand turn and up another hill to the 1st barrier section. At the top there was little momentum and you had to basically step over the boards. Another downhill section, back through the pits and a twisty wooded section (dirt) and a wide grassy turn that carried a lot of speed, into a left hand bend to a forced run-up which had a nice log in place. The run up was short and this was my favorite part since I could unclip and coast the bike to the log, dismount at speed and then run up the hill--very fluid. From here you went out on the level parade grounds and another barrier section and a wide open area with a slight headwind, around to the start/finish.

Our race (masters 35+) had around 25 people in it and started quickly since many folks wanted to get to the steep sand section first. I was 3rd in line but after the sand was able to get a small gap with another rider. We were together for the first lap, trading and then he slowed down a bit on the parade grounds and about 5 guys were catching up. Into the sand hill again I was able to gap the rest and continue along unmolested for the remainder of the race. I felt smooth and in control. In think I ended up with a 30-45 second gap.

I really wanted to win this race for Dave Abney. I was not able to make the funeral or the wake and wanted to do something cycling related for him. I was thinking about him during the race, sitting in his hospital room joking about what he would eat after his treatment, looking sick but optimistic, and it made me feel committed and strong.

in terms of power, my CPU took a break at the start as the referee was talking to us so I missed the first 10 minutes. For the 40 minutes I did get, I had an average power of 289 W which corresponds to the predictions. I still have a bit to work on like power after 30 minutes, but all in all it was a fun race and I was lucky enough to win.

Now a little time to speak to the Three Philosophers and wait for my daughter to wake up.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Last Sunday Practice for Awhile

Today we had our last tune-up practice at Freeman-Brock ES and it consisted of 4 race paced blocks of 2-3 laps depending on what category you were racing. The course was a mix of grass, dirt, and pavement and the lap times for the A racers were around 4 minutes and on the last block we changed the course and the lap times were around a 5:44 average. Each block had around 10 minutes of rest in between. It was very nice, overcast and in the 60's.

My first block was sabotaged by a poor line choice that sent me and my new Cannondale crashing into the dirt. I had rolled a tire so I continued on my other bike for a lap and then waited for the others.

My bike repaired, I then did 3 more blocks of 8:08, 12:05 and 16.20 minutes, the last two being 3 laps. Below are my average power numbers with and without zeros. Without zeros is "power while pedaling" and is seen as a better measure of power for cyclocross since there are a lot of power changes and times when you are not pedaling.

These laps felt comfortable and my only concern are my narrow handlebars on the new bike which made the front end a little jittery. The carbon fork makes a big difference.

I was happy to be able to keep up with the A riders, but I know that a 16 minute block by no means would reflect what a 60 minute A-block would be, so I am ever impressed that those guys can hold that power for an hour.

Of course, the numbers above cannot be used very well to predict functional threshold power since they are under 20 minutes. But, if I add last Sunday's workout into the fancy prediction device, my average predicted power for 45 minutes would be 290 watts, which is about 97% of my threshold. It is clear that my power decreases as the time lengthens and so that may be the only trend to take from this with the exception that based on percieved exertion, my performance was good.

Next Sunday is the first race and I am cautiously egar to get started.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

GTC 30 Minute Race

So today we had a nice little 30 minute race at Freeman-Brock. I think everyone had a nice workout and had a good time. It was good to do a longer block of race paced effort in light of what will be coming our way in 2 weeks. I saw many of us drinking before the race block and that is good since we will have little time for fluids during the races.

Anyway, the Powertap does not usually lie and here were my numbers for the 30 minute race:

The 5 laps came in at 31.06 minutes for me.

Avg Power (including zeros): 253.66
Avg Power Pedaling (not including zeros): 296.87 (98.9% of FT power (300W))
Avg. Power to Weight for the Block: 3.8 w/kg
Avg. HR = 171.5 bpm
Avg. Cadence: 80rpm
Max Power= 984 W (at the start); Attack Power= 690W initially, 500W avg for the 30 seconds at the attack and after.

Below is an Excel graph of power during the block.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hot Lap Power at Jim Miller Saturday, September 23

Today I went over to one of the venues and did two blocks of 3 laps at around 20 minutes each. I went at what I would consider a little below race pace since no one was there to push me. My average power (including zeroes) was around 258 Watts which is way lower than my FT Power of 300W. However, there are a lot of zeroes to consider in that data since cyclocross is not steady state. If I take out the zeroes, the most commonly occuring power value is 358W which is much higher than 300W.

I did a quadrant analysis for each set and it is clear that in Laps 4-6 my effort starts to diminish so I still have some muscular endurance to work on. However, the most data points are found in Quad II which is the high force/low velocity area and represents reaccelerations and I have pretty good power there. I have no cyclocross quadrant analysis standard, so I will go from this from now on.

The multi-workout quadrant analysis shows that in laps 4-6 my data is more scattered and I have more Quad III (low poer/low velocity) data points maybe indicating fatigue. I also have more scattered single high power data points in Quad II than I did in Laps 1-3.

The Jim Miller Park course I rode consisted of long flat sections of grass and pavement and two small climbs with plent of downhill recovery, 2 dismounts per lap, and at least 6 sections of twisty pace changing areas that needed reacceleration.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cyclocross Update and More

Having spent all summer prepping for the season, I found myself a little ahead of schedule. I finished my Intensity period 2 weeks ago and had a rest week last week. I was worried that I was too ready this far away from the season and then I got sick and it all made sense. Thankfully I really worked my butt off and the fitness that I lost while sick did not erode too badly. I will try and do a CP test Friday to find out.

Cyclocross practices have been different this year. I have found that people are really in shape or a a little behind. At this point I would rather be a little behind considering most guys slow down near the middle of the season and State's are in December.

The GTC CX practice course is nice but I would like to see a bit more pavement to simulate a real race. I would also like more hot laps and less warm-up/skills at this point. The Jim Miller sessions are really smoking and the A racers make it clear to us what the pecking order is at this point. We must have had 25 riders yesterday and that was great.

If I was able to make decisions, I would have scheduled a race at Jim Miller at the same time as the fair. It could be a fund raiser and not count in the series. We would have a lot of spectators and it would really capture the feel of a Euro CX race.
My new Trek road bike is nice but the 10 speed gearing will be lost on me. I also am not really excited about its looks. It is less exciting than the nice metal flecked paint of the last bike. I really can wait to ride it at this point.
Working Christmas/40th Birthday List for 2006

1. Saris Bones rear rack for the car
2. 48 Gallon fish tank and accesories (I want to set up a Ciclid tank)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

GTC Nation Quiz Answers

1.Name 3 Gins and 3 Dosters on our riding routes.

Manning Gin, Bradley Gin, and Gin Rd, Emmett Doster, Eliza Doster and Doster.

2.On what road/street is the wooden Indian located?

Bethany Church

3.On what street is Grandaddy’s Crack House

Smith Mill

4.On what made up street is Charlene’s Trim Shop

Studabaker Ave.

5.On the GTC Winter Ride, how many County line sprints are there?

None, its winter.

6.What is Ima Cool Lover and where is its home?

It is a horse and the stables are located on Michael road just past Bunk Tillman.

7. What is written on the Good Hope Store bumper sticker?

I’d rather be fishing.

8.What does the store at Fairplay not have that is very important?

An available bathroom. But, they will let you have free ice. It is in the fridge freezer.

9.What movie used a house structure located along the Bethlehem-Fairplay ride?

My Cousin Vinny.

10.On what road is the Day Lily Farm?


11.What violent act of history happened on Moores Ford road?

A lynching.

12.Name 3 roads with church in their name on which we ride.

There are so many. I already listed Bethany Church. There is Bethel Church, Harmony Grove Church, Mt. Etna Church, etc.

13.How long (km) is Bunk Tillman?


14. How many sections of dirt are there in the L
enfer du Walton ride?

Depending on what version, 15 right now.

15.On what hard short climb could you stop off and eat some goat cheese?


16.What small town that we ride through has the same name as 1970
s prison riot?

Attica, Attica!

17.What are the names of the 2 reservoirs we ride over each year (not on the same ride)?

Willamson lake and Green County. Not sure of the name of the one in Statham since it is so new.

18.What is the name of the cobbled street on the Athens ride and what unique object is at the top?

Finley. The tree that owns itself.

19.On what street/road is Bones restaurant located in the GTC nation?

Panell Rd.

20.What ride has the longest climb we do and what is it called?

Ride of the Fallen Leaves and it is called Maberry.

21.Where is the Trestle located?


22.How many of our current GTC rides actually start in Gwinnett County?

Any ride out of Harbins, N. Gwinnett Ride, and Grayson rides.

23.What are the names of the streets that intersect at Gratis?

Gratis Rd, Simms Bridge and Mt. Vernon

24.In the spring, it is the only road on which we always turn around.

Maple Ridge.

25.What is the name of the subdivision at the end of the La Primavera spring classic that usually decides the sprint?

Kendall Park.

26.Name 4 stills as part of a road/street name we usually use.

Callie, Randolph, Ralph and ??

27.There are 2 mountains listed on the maps in the GTC Nation. What are their names?

Turkey and Alcovy

28.Which Cross Lane is paved?

N. Crosslane

29.Name the roads that each have a functional wooden bridge.

Old Thompson Mill Rd, Hightower Trail (cars only) and Jericho Rd (I think. Wherever Ming crashed)

30.Name the road in the GTC Nation that was the title of an R.E.M. album.

Chronic Town (near Auburn)

Sub-Max Intervals and some Cyclocross Play

I headed out to the "secret" GTC 'cross spot today early and did 6 sub-max intervals before the rest of the folks got there. I did a descending interval set of 60-30 seconds with 5 minutes rest in between. I would like to do all of them at 60 seconds but they would have been too taxing on me for a 'cross workout after. On Tuesday I will resume the 60 second pattern.

The cyclocross practice was good but next week I think I will head over to my "super secret" spot that no one knows about and practice some hot laps. I am afraid that any form I may have might come too early since last year it was right on time and I am way ahead of last year.

In the set that I did I was able to hold some decent averages and set PRs on the 1 minute power. But, I don't do too many of these throughout the year so a PR is no big deal. We also did some starts and I was able to hit 1316W in 12 seconds, which was pretty good. Of course there is no way I could keep up that effort at the start without blowing soon after.

The power to weight ratio for the intervals were: 6.96, 7.34, 7.45, 7.61, 8.36 and 8.27W/kg respectively. I am still considered a high Cat 4 in terms of my 1-minute power, but a low Cat 3 for everything else. Like it matters?

Here are the interval curves:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Threshold Intervals

On Thursdays for the next 3 weeks I will be trying to do blocks of 15-20 minutes at threshold. This week I was a little crunched for time but managed to get both of them in. The large blips in each graph reflect the turnarounds I had to do on Riverside Drive where my course is only 5 miles one way. Both of the intervals went well but the second was a bit better than the first because it included the long hill on Eves Road up from the river.

I was satisfied with the results and my average power for each was 277w and 286w respectively which was in my training zone of 267-310w.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

5 High Intervals

Part of my new Intensity phase is doing VO2 max intervals at a high level (311-355w). It is easy to start off too hard and pay for it later (Interval 1), and sometimes the intervals almost end up with an even effort (Interval 2). All of the 5 efforts were 90% in the proper range and I felt worked by the end. For the next 3 weeks I'll do submax intervals on Tuesdays of 1 minute or a pyramid from 1 minute to 30 seconds with 2-4 minutes of recovery between. I will also do 3-6, 15-second sprints, mostly from a standing start. Wednesdays are for these VO2 max intervals with an incomplete rest period of only 4 minutes between each. Thursdays are for straight threshold (267-310w) and my cyclocross workouts come on Sundays until next Wednesday when I will try to work my routine into a second cyclocross practice.

Once I come out the other side I hope that my ftp and high end power willl have followed. Since i am not racing, I have to do these workouts to fine tune.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

1 Wasp Was Enough

Johan Musseuw ordered up "wasps" all of the time, but this is the third ride in 2 weeks that I have been stung. This time it was personal since it stung me just to the left of the family jewels. I was two and a half minutes into a block of time trial effort when the son of a bitch stung me right through the GTC duds. Since I did not want to stop the interval, I had to deal with the pulsing pain of the stinger lodged in my thigh for another 5 minutes. As you can see from the graph below, the sting resulted in a major loss of power while I cursed its family and then a nice lift in power as I tried my best to translate my discomfort to the pedals. I am not allergic but an epi-pen would have made the intervals better.

At least it was not the same pain as the time when Mike and I were riding somehwere in the GTC Nation and I took off my sunglasses for awhile only to be smacked dead in the eye by a large bumble bee. It would have made a nice physics problem as the impact to my eye was about 100x that of a glaucoma test.

I also was stung by a inch long "bullet ant" in the jungle of Costa Rica. That really hurt and left a bad welt that needed antibiotics.To start it off earlier this week, my daughter was stung by a wasp at daycare, leaving her with a welt and a black eye. Let me state for the record once and for all that I have nothing against the Order Hymenoptera so STOP STINGING ME AND MY PROGENY.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Good to the Last Drop

I was excited to try the new Jottery Joe's Saturday morning ride since it covered some new roads and journeyed out to Lake Lanier. I had not looked at the profile, only the map, and thought that the route out by the lake would be following the contours. Nope, it was pocked with steep hills and i managed to get dropped 3 times.

The first drop was my own doing as I really had to take a nature break, but it came right as the fornt guys decided to kill it. So, I did not get back on until the group was ready to turn around. The second drop happened soon after when for some reason I decided to do a 3 minute pull on a slight downhill grade and blow up as the grade manifested itself into a leg breaking short climb. I was able to take an alternate route and meet up with the group near the 12% Poplar St. hill that was very fun. The last drop occured on Satellite Blvd. near the end as the road climbed steadily for almost a mile. Eventually the group pulled away but only about 10 seconds.

Since May I had not done a ride with any pace changes similar to a race. My legs really resisted this but these are the efforts I need for the next month so I hope the fast guys keep coming out.

I really liked this ride a lot and hope to do it again very soon. Jittery Joe's in Buford was very accomodating and it was nice to see the owner riding with us.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hard Playing Summer

Boy, today I was officially beat. The near 100 degree heat took its toll somewhere near Gratis, GA on a tempo ride today.

This summer somehow I managed to bust out some major miles. Since memorial day weekend I've ridden a total of 1635 miles at 95.5 hours. That is a lot for me.

Of this riding, 60 hours Easy, 18 hours Light (tempo), 9.5 hours Middle (at/near threshold), and 2 hours High (includes 15 second sprint efforts).

I have one last week of base, then a rest week, and then 2-4 weeks of intensity. From there it is all peaking for the season.

Since school starts next week I will not be putting in any more than 8 hours per week at most.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Georgia Cyclocross Series 2006

Happily, the new series schedule just came out and it will not be easy...

10-15-06 Dahlonega (new venue)

10-22-06 Augusta (new location--I sucked there last year)

10-29-06 Winder (venue TBD)

11-5-06 Monroe (good results there)

11-12-06 Marietta (good results there)

11-18/19-06 UCI Race in North Carolina (should be nice)

12-3-06 Macon State Championship race (Ouch)

12-10-06 Jackson--Indian Springs State Park (Series Finale) (good results there)

12-15/17-06 Cyclocross National Championships Providence RI (I cannot wait! A good result would be a nice birthday present)

Goals for Season:

1. Stay healthy all season!

2. Have as much fun as humanly possible!

3. Be competetive in Masters 35+ or A's (?)

4. Place higher than 64th at Nationals!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

60 Minute TT

Today we did our club time trial over a 19.8 mile course which is very rolling with 2-3 steep hills. I decided to go for an entire hour since I do not have any exact power data at 1 hour, only speculative data.

The time trial goal was to pace myself using my predicted functional threshold of 293watts. My pacings would be 286w for the first 20 minutes, 293-300w for the second and then let it rip as hard as I could go for the last 20 minutes. Contrary to other time trials on this course, I did not use any aero stuff, just my regular bike that I would take out training or on a ride.

Since it was a rolling course, it was very hard to do these pacings the right way since most climbs would put me well over my pacing limit. So I decided to ignore the pacing goal for the more significant climbs and resume once I was at the top of the hill.

The time trial did not start getting tough until the midway mark where we climb a significant hill on Indian Shoals road. I always have a hard time there and it marks the hardest interval on the course since the most rolling parts are after that climb. By the last 20 minutes I was really uncomfortable and coming into the 19.8 mile mark I was behind my PR time of 51:19. I went past in 52.35 but since my goal was 60 minutes, I gave it my all for the last 8 minutes or so and it got very uncomfortable.

I ended up at 60 minutes with 21.7 miles completed and an average power of 290watts. my predicted threshold from a 20 minute and 5 minute critical power test was 293watts so I was pretty close. I was a little dissapointed since i thought I could go at least 295watts for the duration. I think my goal of 320watts by late October is going to be too hard to accomplish but we will see.

The graph below shows the wattage pattern for the entire time trial (Figure 1)

The next figure is the quadrant analysis of the time trial and you can see that a lot of my efforts were done below my threshold power. Most of this is because it was a very rolling course and there were a lot of hills. On a trainer I would suspect that all of the dots would be at or above my threshold. Also, with the pacing I did, at least 20 minutes or so was supposed to be below threshold. I did not want to start out too hard and then fade.

The next figure shows my 20 minute interval power numbers as a judge of my pacing. It is pretty clear that my pacing was not good and you can plainly see my power dropping from the start to about 40 minutes. From 40-50 minutes is where the numerour rolling hills kick in and I cut it loose trying to get up those hills with high watts. The last 10 minutes are mostly downhill or flat with one hill near the end. The good thing is that I was able to still keep the same power wattage for the last 8 minutes that I had done all ride, the bad part is that this is where I was supposed to cranking it out and finishing strong. I was expecting myself to finish the last 5 minutes with around a 300w average and this simply did not happen.

Conclusions to draw from this? I was happy to do the 60 minute effort since it was my first. Clearly the course presents me with large challenges in terms of pacing and being efficient. I speculate that things would be different on a flat course. While 291watts is lower that I had hoped for, it is close to my predicted threshold value and hopefully I can move forward from there as i do more time trail efforts in the next 8 weeks.