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.