Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I have not taken 2 weeks off the bike in a few years. Should be refreshing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nats and the Past 6 Months

Nationals was a very fun time and you never stop learning. Last year it was muddy but the course was flat. This year it was less muddy as the week went on but the climb to the run-up made things difficult and the downhill gave little recovery since it was very slippery.

I was pretty happy with my placings (23rd, 45th and 20th) and my easiest race was the last one which was the single-speed. The hardest race was the first one which was B's.

Leading up to nationals I had an injury to my calf which had me off the bike for 4 days. I then got a cold that week and won a race the Sunday before nats. I had a sinus infection from the cold and was on antibiotics all through nationals. So, all things considered I managed well.

I tried to really train hard this summer and fall with 2 peaks in mind, the first was the GA single-speed MTB championships in August and then the second was cross nationals. Looking at my PMC below I had the highest training stress I have ever managed. I had a very good summer of riding but should have taken some days off. I think I went something like 6 weeks without a rest day off the bike. The training stress was managable since I could take naps and get good rest.

The MTB races I did this year were great fun. I missed racing MTB since the 90's and I enjoyed the single-speed challenge on top of that. I was able to raise my FTP up to what it normally is around cross season to about 300-315w. My results were pretty good and I managed a few wins on the MTB. I fell short at the ss championships getting 3rd in the XC.

Going into cross season I felt great and in practice was going very well. The training stress was beginning to pay off a bit and throughout the season my CTL fell as it should but remained pretty high overall. Coming into nationals i had a CTL of about 70 which is pretty decent for December.

Now I can relax a little and get ready for the Snake Gap TT and Southern Cross in January.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Heading Off To Nationals

Z-Pack and all. See you on the other side.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Intervals

John Verheul had me doing these today...


8x45 sec (1m rec)-- 3 sets done on my normal interval hill in Roswell in a 1:45 minute ride. I tried to keep the avg interval power above 400w and was able to do that. By the last 4 I was in the 39x25 struggling.

I do love intervals. Very achievable goals.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Today I did some 30-second sub-max intervals and 4 sprints. The sub-max intervals are all out hard for 30 seconds and it is harder than it sounds. Back on the 11th of November I did the same workout and had good legs. My intervals went something like this...

1st--725 w avg, 2nd-680w avg, 3rd-605w avg and 4th-635w avg or 661w avg overall

Today after 4 days off last week for injury and light riding over the weekend I was wondering what they would feel like and what numbers I would get. Besides the first one, they all felt really hard.

1st-715w avg, 2nd-678w avg, 3rd-630w avg, and 4th-615w avg or 660w avg overall

On 11/11 I was at a CTL of 75 and my TSB was 11 and today my CTL was 70 and my TSB was 28.

So while I did not get much better, it does not appear I lost much at least for my 30 second max power. My sprint power was 904w avg for 12 seconds compared to a 901w on 11/11 so same thing there although I did do a nice 962 avg on 11/23.

I feel a bit rusty but hopefully I can maintain for another week and make sure no more parts fall off.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reasessment

Since I got injured last weekend I had to reassess my strategy going into nationals. I started September around a 90 tss/d CTL which is really good for me. Last weekend I was at 80 tss/d which is really good for that late in the year. Now after almost a week of taking it easy, I am around 70 tss/d which is still OK and my TSB is very positive at around 20 which is really at peaking levels. If I can get to nationals in 1 piece, my plan should take me into it at around 71-72 tss/d which is still pretty good. This is when I thank myself for all the hard work I did over the summer.

It will be beneficial to taper because I am slated to do 3 races at nationals. I really can't wait and next weekend's race in Dallas, GA will tell me where I am and if I can even compete. Hopefully my injury will be healed and at least allow me to get through 4, 45-minute races.

I'll probably take 2-3 weeks easy after nationals and if I can I will do the Jan 3rd Snake TT. I have the Southern Cross on Jan 24th too.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rode for a decent hour today and then had a massage to work out the knots. I am skipping the race Sunday. But I still think I'll, be 100% by Friday. Wow, that's optimistic for me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It is bad to kick your own ass. So I will take a lot of time off and see if I can heal up. I'll skip this weekend's cross race and make a decision by next Friday to whether I'll go to nationals. I still believe I could have a great performance there if healthy.

I still can't ride for more than 15 minutes but probably that will get better, sooner than my running will come back.

It was mentioned to me that I may have "compartmental syndrome" in the calves. It is not the first time I have heard that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It is not looking good. I can't ride at the moment let alone run. On the bright side there are 3 weeks until nationals. On the dark side, there are only 3 weeks until nationals.

GACX 6: State Champs

First off, congratulations to Brady. I am not sure why but he is often overlooked as having won now 3 state championships in cross. He was very motivated to win yesterday and has a great ability to step up when it counts. Daryl and Shey rode great races with no mistakes.

I had a lot of people telling me that I would win the championship yesterday and that I was the favotite. In 9 years this was my best shot because Tony was absent and by my testing Saturday and the previous Sunday, my power numbers had never been better.

I had two strategic plans. First was to make the race as hard as possible from the start. The start was almost identical to Glouchester in terms of the uphill and I knew there I was able to go really fast there from lap to lap. So I tried to blast off from the beginning. The second plan was to stop working if plan 1 failed and beat everyone in the sprint or a last lap attack. My max sprint power Saturday was 1240w and my 12 second average was 880w. So I felt like if it came down to a sprint that I would be competitive.

My check time was on the third lap. I tried numerous attacks to soften up folks and get away but by the third lap Shey, Daryl and Brady were more than able to stay on my wheel. So, at that point I decided to stop working and let them dictate the pace. When I let others come to the front the pace slowed a bit and I was able to recover.

On the 4th lap going into the sand, Shey and Daryl were in front of me having ridden 3/4 of the way across. We were all back together as we started coming off the sand and they were going very slow. So I did the stupidest thing possible.

What is the weakest part of my "game"---running. Does anyone ever actually win a cross race by running away from anyone? No. So when I decided to sprint out of the sand and pass both of them I must have been seriously mentally impaired. Immediately my troublesome calf pulled and I was out of the race. Thirty seconds later I was bewildered in why, how I would do something that stupid. Especially since by the end, all 3 of the guys were together going into the sprint. Smart Bob would have just let them dictate the pace and follow plan B. Smart Bob was not racing yesterday.

Shey did the right thing by leading out. Usually in cross the person who leads out wins and he only lost by a foot. Daryl could have won it too since the margin of victory was not huge. Brady is just a 2 foot better sprinter who hardly ever came to the front.

There are really no excuses to be made. The table was set for all 4 of us and I really had fun battling 3 guys I know well and I am glad all made the podium.

Now the plan is to try and heal up for nationals and take out my frustrations there.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I resisted Facebook for a long time. But because of a potential HS reunion I am on it. It is weird.

Today and yesterday I rode easy and today I discovered that sliding/crunching sound on Sunday during the race was my tire separating from the rim. So, I removed the tire and re-glued. Hopefully it will hang on Sunday!

Georgia teachers got together (retirees mostly) to combat a ruling that the increase in the pension for teachers should be approved each month. Teachers won and I wish we would get excited about more than retirement. Being in a non-union state has its good and bad points.

Tonight I had pancakes for dinner at the request of my daughter. It was strange and I had to make coffee. Now at 8:30 I feel like getting ready for work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

These tend to be difficult but fun as well since I do them on a hill and get to go up and down 16 times. I try to maintain around 425-450 watts average for each but it gets harder as the intervals stack up. These are 45 second intervals and are supposed to be "hard" or "very hard". They are not hard at first but the last 4 are very hard.



But, they have gotten easier and last year I was only able to push around 400watts for the same repetitions. I think the SS MTB stuff has had a lot to do with it, building leg strength.

I also did some 30 second all out intervals last week (4 of them) and it was the first time I puked in my mouth a little. I was warned that could happen. I had a 650-750 watt average for these which is not great but the best I can do.

My sprint wattage was down a bit last week but I was able to average around 850w for 15 seconds and max out around 1200w for 1 sec. Still, not too great but the best I can do.

The good thing is that I have seen an upward progression over the last 3 years and since I do these at the same place each year, it is a good comparison.

Monday, November 17, 2008

GCX 5: Blairsville

Blairsville is a new venue in the GA mountains which was mostly deep soggy grass and climbing. It was the kind of course that was relentless without much recovery. There was a nice run-up, a small sand pit, and many climbs. The finish line was also uphill and even the downhill sections were up hill.

On pre-ride I did not like the course because I was having a hard time with rhythm and gearing. I found a few spots where I had to remember to pre-set my gearing and to not be afraid to drop down into the 39 ring here and there.

The race went well and I was out in front from the start and was able to extend a lead over the 45 minutes to finish first. Shey Linder really came on strong in the last 2 laps and took 2nd with Daryl Sawyer 3rd.

It was very cold (28 with wind chill) and the tops of the mountains had frost making the turning leaves look very unique. I was hoping that there would be more mud because it rained the night before but the course drained really well.

I flatted out a Challenge Griffo and tried to use Stan's sealant and so far it is holding well.

My request for the series is that they do podiums 20 minutes after the race ends. Everywhere else in the US they do this. Dedicate one person to ushering the riders to a tent or something after the race, get the protest period finished, take pictures and award prizes. Waiting until 12:45pm is too long. Maybe its just me...(probably).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

GACX 4: Rome

This was a new venue, right in the heart of town, held at a park that consisted of a levee and flood plain. The course was mostly flat with a few trips up the levee which I had to climb in the 39x27. Since I was recovering from an injured hamstring, I was lucky that there was only 1 short running section since I could ride everything else.

The grass was pretty thick but short and it initially sapped your speed. But after the pre-ride and folks on the course it was packed down pretty good and flowed well.

I was not able to "open up" yesterday and get my legs ready because of daddy duty and I felt it today, lacking the needed acceleration and punch. I led the race after about 2 laps and was on the front until the last 100 meters. My plan was to shed riders if possible in the numerous turns and punch it right before the levee climb, but i found that my punch was not that great today and by the last 2 laps I knew I was not going to ride Daryl off my wheel. I also knew we would battle for position up the last climb and that would probably dictate who got a shot at the line. Otherwise I felt really good and would have probably ridden better if I would have prepared yesterday.

Coming into the finish Daryl was in front of me and led out (which in cross usually means you win). The grass on the right to pass him was very bumpy and my chain was skipping everywhere and I was not able to bring it home. I guess he beat me by about 1/2 a bike length. He rode a smart race and I did not, except for I knew I was not, but wanted the effort to be hard enough to shed riders.

Walter rode the course then decided it was too risky for him and said he was going home. Ironically, in the same place where Daryl said someone would crash, Daryl crashed yelling something like "I'm the one!".

The best was hearing Europe's "The Final Countdown" going up the run up. Horrible cheese that made me laugh through the effort.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Consulting with shaman, miracle workers, healers, magic 8 ball, and gypsies.

Hope springs eternal.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Any kind of sport includes injuries. I have never participated in a sport that has injured me more than cross. I played soccer for 25 years without serious injury and regular cycling not so much either. I guess it is the running my 42 year old legs don't like. This time it is a pesky hamstring injury I had back in 2004 that has cropped up again.

I look doubtful for Rome this weekend and hopefully I can resume racing in 2 weeks. With my goals being nationals I would rather skip races now than then.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Have I mentioned my admiration for Nys?


H.M.A.T?

Monday, November 03, 2008

International Horse Park Cyclocross

I have always loved racing cross at the GIHP. The courses are somewhat wide open and my main disadvantage, pavement, is non-existent there. This year the promoters (Sorella Cycling) decided to celebrate Halloween by adding in a taped off spiderweb maze into the course. This consisted of a clockwise series of turns to the middle of the web and back out again going counter-clockwise. It was strange at first but after awhile I really liked it.

The course had 3 dismount sections with two of those being barriers and the other a forced uphill dismount over a log. The other difficult place was a rideable steep hill that got progressively harder each lap. I thought the uphill grass section after the hill was very hard too.

There were actually call-ups in the race with the first 8 riders being called to the front row. Besides Gloucester (which had 18 call-ups!) it has been awhile since I was at least second row. But, I lined up behind the series leader so at least I had that going for me. I had to whip Daryl after the start to go faster and once we were into the web I suppose there was a big group. The hill caused some seperation and by lap 2 we were 4 or 5 as a group.

I then broke my seat. I thought it was the seatpost and told the others I was probably done, but after the dimount section, since I did not get a seatpost in my rear, I figures I would ride it until it broke. It turns out my seat brok on the rail with the rear rail firmly in the seatpost. So, I decided to try and go for a win. On the penultimate lap I accellerated out of the web into a long grassy section and had a slight gap. I tried to build on this but Daryl sawyer and Brady Rodgers were right with me. On the last lap I put in 2 more attacks and was able to get a 20 second gap or so. I was able to hold onto this for the win. Daryl and Brady sprinted for second with Daryl crossig first. I was surprised that Brady did so well after spending the night/morning partying at Cleve Blackwell's bachelor party. But, he was there the whole time threatening as usual.

Since I got 9th in the first race and then skipped the second, I am no threat for the title. I just want to keep getting stronger for nationals. But with 6 straight weeks of races it is going to be hard not to get toasted. I have a nice plan in place by someone I trust so I think I'll be OK.

Next up is Rome, GA and the nasty dam section.

(ALL photos by Trish Albert/Southeasterncycling.com and eventually paid for by ME)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

SS Cyclocross On The Cheap

It seems to me that the easiest way to quickly add the SS CX race is to just simply lock out the rear derailleur to the cog you want. Shey Linder has a nice video on how to do this and all it takes on a Shimano rear derailleur is an additional shift cable that you can cut and re-use each week. In the video an additional barrel adjuster is needed because of the derailleur choice--that is not needed for a road Shimano derailleur.

The basic idea is to take the front and rear cables off the bike and center the chain over the cassette cog you want to use. Then re string the new shift cable through the barrel adjuster so that the cable stop hits the end of the adjuster and the free cable end goes through the lock nut. Now you can tighten it up and use the barrel adjuster to get your chain line correct. It takes (in theory) about 5 minutes. If you really want to get it set up specifically, you can dedicate a wheel with your cog and use spacers to mimic the cassette position.

In terms of gearing, I am going to only use the rings on my bike (46/39) and try to get a good combination with those. From what I have read, I think a 39x17 is a good one to experiment with. That is a 2.3:1 ratio and my next best choice would be a 46x21 (2.2:1 ratio). But, the advantage to using the 39 ring is that you can use the 46 as a chain deflector along with the plastic chain keeper on the inside.

Of course it will all depend on the course, but the advantage to using this system is...

1. You have a nice selection of gears and you don't have to spend a lot of money.
2. It is quick.
3. You are using your regular cross bike so you are comfortable on it.

Drawbacks...

1. You are using a full cassette (weight). But, no more weight than a normal CX bike.
2. You have to re-string your cables each week to get back to geared. But, if you mark them with a sharpie, it should take just a few minutes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

These past two weeks have been about recovering from Gloucester and then building up some training stress. It has been hard with the day getting shorter but I did a long 3 hour ride last Sunday which helped and have managed to get in my intervals as well. Tuesday I did 6 sprints and then 45 minutes of tempo. Yesterday was cross practice which was basically 30 minutes around VO2 max and today was 45 minutes of threshold. Tomorrow I'll do 45 minutes more tempo, Saturday I will "open up" with 5 minutes threshold, 2x2 minutes VO2 max and 3 sprints. Sunday we will do a 45 minute race simulation but I will try to get in 2 hours of riding including that.

My CTL is pretty good right now but down about 11 tss/d since the single-speed championships. I am planning to try the single-speed CX division next race as well as the masters. I think I'll either go with a 39x17 or a 46x19 for the gearing. Ideally I'd like to space out a rear wheel for that race so all I have to do is lock out the rear derallieur and go. For now I guess I'll just keep the cassette all together.

I ordered 2 new Challenge Grifos and hope to have them glued by Conyers. I am really enjoying gluing tires and getting them to run right. I was scared to do it for awhile but now it seems easier.

Here are soome late pictures from Gloucester...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gloucester 2008

First off, big thanks to my HUP United teammates who treated me like an elite racer on my trip. They were wonderful hosts and my experience in the races were overshadowed by their generosity.

Gloucester is a big stage and even though the weather was unseasonally warm (60's/70's during the day) and the course was fast and dry, the racing was intense. My experience began on a good footing Friday when Delta did not charge me for my bike and then put me into first class. Pierre Vanden Borre picked me up at the airport and we hung out in his studio in the South end(?) neighborhood of Boston as I rebuilt my bike.

The next day after a pastry stop, we headed up to Glooucester. The town is very scenic and beautiful, projecting out into Gloucester bay, full of sail boats and the occasional bouy call. The venue was right on the water and the parking lot was packed. The course started at the bottom of a paved hill and then went into a primarily grassy course with segments of crushed gravel, sand and the 2 barrier run-up. The sand pit gave me fits as I watched others ride it. They began roto-tilling it between races.

Our race staged at 1pm and we had over 100 racers. there were about 18 call-ups which sucked because it meant I would start even further back. Yasushi and Pierre told me about a hole that opens up on the right going up the hill that takes a little longer to get to but puts you in a great position once the road ends. At the gun I must have made up 15 spots here alone. There were a lot of knuckleheads on the first lap. Once you left the pavement it was dirt and this caused a lot of dust which caused the knuckleheads going to fast to crash. I think there were 3 crashes in the first 3rd of the course but I stayed out of the way. As the laps went on I felt very good and began picking folks off. My goal was the top 20 and I tried to hammer it up that paved hill every lap. I was outsprinted ot the line by another guy but was happy with 18th. I think everyone was actually given a placing because one rider was DQ'd for unsportsmanlike sprinting.

We hung around and watched the PRO race and it was impressive. Jesse Anthony was racing on a broken wrist and it did not seem to stop him much. Tim Johnson and Ryan Trebon eventually got separation and then Trebon lowered the boom to win the race.

I stayed with Yashsuhi and his girlfriend Meg in Cambridge right near the Harvard campus and square. It is a wonderful area and they were great hosts. I ventured out to Harvard Square to look around and eat and it reminded me of Georgetown in DC. The next day he dropped me off at Scott Rosenthal's place in Jamacia Plain. He and his wife Hillary had a very nice 1900's house and we stashed the stuff and went up to the race.

Race two had an additional obstacle which was a new run-up mowed into a hill directly up from the harbor. It was steep and loose dirt but nothing out of the ordinary from our races in the SE. During the race I employed the same tactics to move up but it seemed that after getting to 16th the fitness of the riders were better so i swapped back and forth with a few racers until the last lap. Near the beer garden on a dirt hill I dropped my chain and lost around 10 seconds. Four racers passed me and I was able to catch up to 3 of them on the hill to the finish. The sprint was a 18 second duration and they had better finishing speed than me. Taking 21st was not too bad though and with all of the call-ups I was pretty happy.

The next day Scott and I took an easy conversational ride through Jamacia Plain, Brookline, New ton and over near Boston College. We stopped for pastry and coffee on the way back and then I had to break down the bike and head home.

What a great trip and I was first class on the way home too. If I can somehow swing it, I would love to go back next year. It was also great to meet 20 or so teammates at the race and they were all very nice guys.

Now I have a 2 week hiatus until Conyers and I am pumped for that.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Gloucester Course Description

From the race bible...


This is one of the biggest, oldest CX races in the country by far and one that if you had a wish list it should be on it.


Besides the 125 field limit, here is the course description and picture...
The course is approximately 3k in length with a goal of 7 minute lap times. Some areas of the course will change from Saturday to Sunday.


The course is the classic Gloucester course. Going in a clockwise direction when viewed from the air, the Start/Finish is on pavement slightly uphill for approximately 300 meters, turns into hard packed dirt and goes in a northerly direction. Continuing north, the course turns slightly right onto hard-packed dirt and grass. After a windy grass section, the course turns on to the Lucy B Davis Pathway.


This is straight hard packed dirt and runs south along the coast.After a grass section with several turns and a slight downhill, the course's sole barriers sit in the middle of an 'S' turn. The approach to the barriers is such that bunny hopping is difficult. Directly after the hurdles, riders first encounter the equipment pit. After the pit, a sharp right turn brings riders into the grassy outfield of the ball park which is slightly off-camber. A ride slightly uphill onto rough grass then swoops down into the picnic table area and then turns right onto a pathway and then a fast dirt road descent to a loop on the grassy southern part of the park.


Riders then encounter the sand pit where they traverse its full length, make a 180 turn back into the sandpit. after a short loop on grass, riders are lucky enough to encounter the sand pit a third and finaltime. Finally, riders encounter off-camber rough grass, a chicane, and a ride down the first base line where they are dumped back onto the main road for the finish.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

4 Crashes and 1 Flat

This has not been my week. Hit by a car on Friday, rolled a tubular in warm up today and then in the race crashed 4 times in corners and then rolled the other tubular and eventually it flatted. I suppose I finished last.

On the bright side, all the crashes were on grass and I felt pretty strong in the race. I also was in 2nd or 3rd position on every crash and managed to battle back each time except the last. I had caught Brady Rogers who was in 2nd, only to have my last crash and then the flat.

Hopefully I can glue up my new tires before leaving Friday!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Opening Up

The day before a race is the best time to get your legs ready for the following day's race. Just giving the legs a taste is all that is needed. I like to do a 1 hour workout with a 15 warm up and 15 cool down, 2 sprints at 15 seconds, 1 block of 5 minutes at threshold power, and 2x2(3) minute VO2 max efforts. This opens up all the systems and is just enough to leave the legs feeling fresh.

Last year and this year I am training through all the GA cross races to get to nationals. I have found that how you feel on your opening up day is not indicative to how you will do the next day. I have had some pretty terrible feeling opening up days, only to do well in the race.

I do my opening up on Peachtree Road (gasp) between Dresden and Ashford Dunwoody. It is a long straight section and I can do the 2 and 5 minute intervals there no problem. My sprints are done on N. Peachtree just beyond the Gypsum factory.

Today I was able to average 884w and 945w for the 2 sprints and max out at around 1274w. The threshold was a nice 293w average (ftp around 310w) and the VO2 max efforts were around 333w which is low in the zone.

Here is a screen capture of the intervals...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Time flies. The first CX race is a week away and the excitement builds. Hopefully everyone will be able to attend with the gas shortage.

This week and last week have been filled with CX workouts and intereval sessions. Last week I did 40 minutes of threshold Tuesday, CX practice Wednesday, VO2 max Friday and CX workout Sunday which made for a stressful week. This week since there was no Wednesday CX practice, I did 45 minute threshold Tuesday, 60 tempo Wednesday, and I will do 25 VO2 max today and then CX on Sunday.

I don;t want to overlook Dahlonega but Gloucester is really on my mind. It is the 1oth aniversary and with Armstrong saying he will be there, the crowds should be huge.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cross practice at Little Mulberry was well attended with at least 20 riders. We did a nice 30 minute race that included a fierce 30 second run-up section. The rest of the course was grass. I felt pretty good and was happy to be able to hang with Shey Linder as long as I could. Jeff Welp and Dan Coy were also riding well. Folks are starting to get their cross legs/lungs and being able to last longer at a high level.

My Tufo tubular clinchers are getting old and I ordered a back up pair of Tufo Flexus tires today. I really want a pair of the Challenge tubular XS dry tires with the file tread interior and side knobs. It would be great for a course like Yargo.

GO STEELERS!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nationals registration was fun and I was able to get in each race within the top 10. At Gloucester I will be 32nd so around 4 rows back.

I have been doing the weekly cross practices on Sundays and Wednesdays and both are very different. I think they primarily work the VO2 max area and I am also adding in sprints and more VO2 max on Fridays. Today I did 3 sprints (1 standing start which was not very good, a rolling 12 mph start which was very good and a standing start in the 39 which was better than #1 but still not very pretty to watch). I was able to hit 1254w for the 2nd sprint and hold it at 880w for 17 seconds which is not bad for me.

I then did a small pyramid of 3-4-5-4-3 VO2 max intervals. I did the first 3 with complete recovery rest intervals as 3(4)-4(5) and then did incomplete recovery for the last 3, 5(4)-4(3)-3(2). These had an average wattage around 333w which is right in the area I wanted. The efforts felt good and recovery was fine. This was in a ride that lasted around 1:45 and gave me 117 tss.

Here are the intervals...


Sunday looks nice with a run-up and a 30 minute race effort. Then only 2 more weeks to GA CX #1 in Dahlonega. The fair is in town next Wednesday so I may substitue something else instead of CX practice.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nationals Waiting Game

Things to do waiting to register for nationals at 1am...
  • Eat snack
  • Stretch
  • Watch Pittsburgh beat Cleveland
  • Grade 34 papers
  • Update blog
Hope I get a good spot.
Today we had a cross practice at Little Mulberry Park near Auburn, GA. It is a very nice park and we work out on the cross country running course with almost all grass and a little dirt.

We did 2x15 intervals today and it was hot, but otherwise nice. We had a nice group of masters racers who know what they are doing and are competitive. The intervals hurt a bit considering it is only my 3rd CX effort this year. I find that I am lacking leg speed and I am still sitting a lot, even out of corners where I should be standing. This is left over from MTBing and I'll start doing some speed work this week to help with that. The efforts were hard for me and I feel behind last year so far. I recovered better today though and both intervals were even in terms of effort.

My first goal is to get to a comfort point in time for Gloucester. I know that will be a hard weekend and that being so early, I may not be 100% going in. But, I am optimistic and with more practices I will become more comfortable.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Michael Barry (PRO cyclist) has been writing columns in the NY Times on a number of cycling topics. Today he had a piece on Lance Armstrong's return to cycling. While I don't really care about Armstrong's return, unless he decides to ride Flanders, Roubaix or any of the other spring classics, I did like some of what he said about Armtrong's addiction to the sport. I think at times all cyclists can relate.

He tells of Armstrong's Michelin atlas full of highlighted training routes and how he would search for new roads to try. He also related experiences about pro cyclists and their need to race (which I cannot identify with since I am not a PRO). But at the end of his piece he wrote this...

On a bike, riding alone, in the environment I feel at peace and can escape. Pushing myself in training to attain new levels, I feel the rhythm of the pedal stroke, the spinning wheels, my breath beneath the ticking chain. My mind is focused as there is clarity making me content.

I think if you take out the cycling references you could apply this quote to all sports and why some people are active in sports their whole life. I think that it provides focus, security, and selfish alone time with a positive outcome. Of course there are always folks who take it too far and rely on it like a drug, but for most people I think the quote rings true, especially if you replace "training" with "riding, running, swimming or any other sport.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yesterday I was on the CX bike for the 2nd time and it was rough. My legs had no interest in going hard because of the effort last weekend. But it was fun to be on the bike again and I put myself about 3 weeks behind last year in terms of skills and changes of pace.

I tried out my new tubular Ksyriums with Dugast tires and I am not sure about them yet. The tires feel different than the Tufos and the wheels roll very stiff which I'll need to get used to. I think my pressure was a bit high on the tires also (45 psi).

Going easy this week is hard to do since I want to get ready for CX and with 3 weeks until the 1st race there is still a lot to catch up on. I am looking forward to Sunday's workout and to the heat breaking a little.

Next week I start phase 2 which is back to dedicated intervals. My CTL is at 86 tss/d which is drop from 90 before the SS champs. My TSB is still positive but in the next few weeks I have to promise myself not to look at that stuff too much.

Monday, September 08, 2008

GA Single-Speed Champs Results

Photo: Grant Blankenship

A very fun weekend and big thanks to Shey and his family, Adam Jones, OMBA and John Johnson for putting on and running a smooth event.

Even though there was no prize for it, I wanted to win the omnium by doing the TT, STXC and XC races. Also, since all of the aforementioned folks worked hard and devoted time to a weekend of racing, it was important to me to support them by racing both days.

The TT was a 3.5 mile mini-lap with one steep hill and the cool BMX track at the beginning. It was the coolest temperature of the weekend and I railed it doing a 16.43, deciding to use a 34x17 gear. The effort felt good and I wanted to have something left for the STXC which was in the nasty Macon heat at 3:00pm.

The STXC was an open field and I threw on a 34x16 gear for this race and that worked well for me. I ate some dirt in the first corner, crashing on a root and worked my way back up front by the end of the first lap. The STXC course was mostly grass, flat and fast with the BMX course and a nice sand pit as well. We did around 30 minutes and maybe 5 laps(?). After the first lap I was pretty much solo and after I was left wondering what I would have left for the XC race.

The XC field was much more competitive from when I won my SS title 1.5 years ago and the course was tougher as well. Besides the steep hill in the first 2 miles, the last 2 miles were a series of rough climbs, and the whole course had a lot of sand and sandy, sun exposed slopes which radiated the heat back at you.

From the gun I tried to make the pace hard and get separation and soon after the hole shot there were 3-4 of us away.
I prevented another rider from getting up the hill first since I wanted to dictate the pace and by the end of the first lap the heat and pace hammered me. The rider with me (Stephen Ridgeway, winner GSC sport class overall) pulled away on a hill and soon I had to back off and try to get my core temperature back down.

Soon another racer (John Clayton, runner up in GSC expert class overall) passed me followed by another racer. On the second lap I was baked and felt horrible. Coming through the feed and start/finish I got some ice water dousing and going back into the woods on the third lap Shey looked at me in a way that made me feel like the podium was lost. I decided to screw the last lap, dropped my Camelbak and with no fluids, TT the last lap as hard as possible to make the podium.



That is exactly whatI did. I flew around the course in a 32.57 lap time, passing the 3rd placed racer with about 2 miles to go and hammered it all the way to the end. I was pretty upset at myself on that second lap for the mismanagement of the first lap and feeling sorry for myself so I had nothing to lose and they would not know I was trying to make it back.

Besides a comeback in the Marietta CX race a few years ago, this was the hardest I have raced on a bike all out and I was happy with 3rd. The top 2 guys were very strong and I was outclassed. My lap times were ~ 33, 35, 33 and I think I was only 3 minutes down off the lead.

(Last 3 photos by Carl Mesta)













So, the MTB campaign is over with these results...

Snake Gap 17 Mile TT: 1st (course SS record)
2 Ways in 1 Day TT: 1st (course SS record)
Flat Rock GSC Race: 1st
Ft. Yargo GSC Race: 2nd
Ft. Yargo Dirty Spokes 12 hour Relay: 4th
Heritage Park GSC Race: 4th
Clemson SERC Race: 2nd
Macon GSC Race (expert on SS): 5th
GA SS Championships: TT 1st, STXC 1st, XC 3rd

So long MTB...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Georgia Single Speed Champs and Beyond

This weekend will be the GA Single Speed MTB Championship with a time trial and short track on Saturday and the XC races on Sunday. The venue is in Macon, GA and from the looks of the profile, it is very hilly and has left some interpretation to what gear should be used.

I placed this on the calendar as a peak race and I would like to defend my win from last year. Peaking for a single-speed race is kind of a mystery. Since single-speed racing employs mostly a neuromuscular system with short bursts of high power, it can be hard to emulate that in training very often. With 3 events of various lengths and times that system will be really taxed so I tried to taper so I was really fresh. This means I have lost some CTL and my tsb has gotten progressively positive to a point where hopefully the harshness of Saturday will not compromise Sunday. I believe in doing all 3 races and don't see why one would not unless time is an issue.

The downside I guess is that my CTL will have dropped after the omnium, then I will take a rest week and get ready for cyclcoross. I plan on doing the Gloucester, MA UCI race in October to it is unknown what condition I will be in for that. But my second peak is for December so I hope to train through the cross season with no real expectations and put in a good showing at nationals. I'd also like to try the SS cross category some this fall if possible.

I will skip the Savannah, GA race leaving me with 2 weeks of not racing cross. Hopefully that will allow me to ramp up my training a bit for the rest of the fall.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Impressive Performances in MTB

I have never met or raced against Thomas Turner PRO (Outspokin) but I do like to admire him from afar. It seems that no matter the length or intensity of the race he is always a contender. Even after a bad crash and shoulder injury this summer he came back strong for the national MTB championships and now in the Fool's Gold 100 MTB endurance race, placing second to Jerimiah Bishop. In the local MTB series he is somewhat without peer and even in takling a stab last year at cyclocross he showed he can win races and place high in the series. He is also a douoble GA single-speed champion in the open category and set the course SS record last year at Ft. Yargo. I look for him to tri-peat this year.

Greg Turner (no relation) is also a massive talent. A local/regional legend, whose name invokes groans from others in his race, shows year after year he can win a various distances and disciplines. He has used his abilities to win cyclocross, road and MTB races on a consistant basis in the masters category. He is also a GA SS champion in the marathon and just placed 1st on the SS in the Fool's Gold. It would be wonderful to see the Turners battle in the SS championship.

Jason Chapman and I first crossed paths in cyclocross and he was racing only on a single-speed cross bike and dominated the B race series. In fact, most all he races is either single-speed or fixed gear. He is the fixed gear SS MTB champion in Georgia and when he races I am always amazed at his speeds and his gearing on the SS MTB.

Shey Linder organized the SS championshups in GA, is a co-promoter of the GA CX series, Pro MTB racer and likes a lot of endurance distances races. He is quiet and reserved but on the bike I would say not laid back. He is very competitive and if he is not winning, he is placing very high. Besides his racing, his training and judgement about a lot of cycling related issues is invaluable. Because of his leadership and skill he is one person to definately have on your team.

Shane Schreihart races expert MTB and endurance MTB mostly on a SS bike. He takes on all comers in the expert division on the SS and seems to not care what gear(s) you use, just that it is a bike and it rolls. His high placings on the SS bike against fellow geared riders is impressive. He is also very mentally tough as displayed in a 12 hour MTB race (Dirty Spokes) last spring where he did 12 hours on the SS.

"Markie Mark" Stewart is another MTB racer who after performing at a hig level for years, picks and chooses his races now and many of them are distance endurance races. He has a great tactical sense and is also great at pacing. But, (like Shane) his mental toughness really impresses me also. I have never seen him give up and he always seems to maintain a positive attitude in ther midst of suffering.

There are lots of other folks who might make your list, and probably a few I have left out here (no offense). These are just a few that have stood out to me this year.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Went to Ft. Yargo State Park today to ride the fine MTB trails. I wanted to do a good 3 laps (31 miles) to build up some stress. The trail had been blown clear and it was a great ride. Torre Smitherman and Theron Colucci met me there and we rode together and also did our own thing. I think all of us are going to give the SS champs a shot.

Cross practice actually starts next Sunday (!) but I am not sure if I'll go to the first one since it tends to be more mellow. I need to keep up my TSS/CTL until a week before the SS Champs. I usually get 100 TSS with the pre-ride and cross practice but the first few practices are more oriented towards skills. We'll see.

I'd like to check out East Macon Park in 2 weeks as well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

School has begun with new students staring at me wondering what the year will bring. I took the liberty to ride a lot this summer and I have committed to coaching soccer next spring and summer school next summer.

With the SS champs only 3 weeks away my weekly hours will decrease by 3 or 4 and my CTL may drop a bit. The plan is to get it as high as possible before that race weekend, peak at around +20 and then salvage what I can for cross. With the Gloucester race in mid-October I should be pretty fresh but I have a bunch of traning all fall to get to nationals. Probably will not care about results for the GA CX series and try to just use them as a means to an end.

Brendan Sullivan is pretty much winning at will these days and his passion is cross so either he will burn up with all this racing (not likely) or he will enter the CX season ready to destroy. I just hope he can keep it cranked up until December. I really think he can get on the podium in December if he show a little restraint, does some longer A races this fall and maybe goes to 2-3 UCI races. Either way he is very talented and has come a long, long way in 2 years.

Grearing for the SS champs is going to be interesting. I have heard that a 2:1 might be too hard. I won't get to pre-ride so I will probably take 2 wheels. I may elect to try and push a 34x16 for the TT depending on how long it is.

The intervals in the picture below were 45 second intervals at or above 400w. I did 2 sets of 8. They look hard but on a good hill they are not really unbearable. I find the extended VO2 max intervals like a 5x5, 8x3 or 10x2 at around 330w to be much harder to do and I really have to take it easy the day before if I want to complete them, especially in the mid-day heat. I like the threshold intervals these days because compared to the VO2 max intervals they are pretty mellow. After the SS champs I will have to work on leg speed and sprints since I am not doing that stuff right now. I assume I will be doing some sort of microburst workouts at some point or maybe pyramids and they usually bring my lunch up in my throat. Very hard.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Monday, August 04, 2008

GSC #8 Pig Trail MTB Race

The last GCS MTB race of the year and my first foray into the expert class on my single-speed. I used the 34x16 since the course was flat but some new hilly sections were added days before the race. I divided the course in thirds mentally. The first third was flat and ended on an uphill where a water station was (two cups poured on my head each lap), the second third consisted of the hilly bits and the last third was mainly flat. The heat was nasty and the heat index was 105 but it was the same for everyone.

I elected to go with a 70oz bladder frozen into slush for the first 3 laps and then I went to a water bottle when that was dry. I had no support team so I actually had to stop and get my drinks on the last lap.

I went out hard with the lead group on the first lap and hung in there no problem until 2/3 into the lap. I backed off knowing we had 4 total laps (30 miles) and I was hoping they went out too hard. The SS gearing was nice for the course and I did not have too much trouble holding on to them but I could tell there was no way to keep that up for 2.5 hours.

I had a crash at the end of the first lap and the local hero Monty got by me and I thought I would catch him but he was gunning for 4th and I did not see him again.

The rest of the race was great. I went at my own forced pace and had a lot of fun. I ended up 5th which was a nice result I think.

The GCS series is nice but honestly I prefer the SERC courses. I did not get to do Raccoon Mtn and I'll try that this winter.

Next up is the GA SS Champs also in Macon but on a harder course.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today was my first flat on my tubless MTB wheels. The Big Creek trails have gotten progessively rockier with baby-head rocks that really throw you around. One of them actually pierced the middle portion of my tire and even Stan's could not seal the pea-sized hole that was left behind. I also got thrown into a nice sticker bush while grinding through a rocky section. One rock flipped up from my front wheel and landed on the top of my foot/shin and kept bouncing between me and the frame for a couple of pedal strokes, sort of like juggling a soccer ball.

I remember the winter and Big Creek being really nice. Now the lack of rain and hard use has made it very challenging.

I am going to enter the 40+ expert race Sunday on my single-speed and try to use a 34x16 gearing. I also might try a Camel-bak hydration system since I have no one to give me a hand up. I don't really like them but it is going to be very hot and I'd rather look kind of silly than overheat. I hope the gearing is appropriate.

Only 5 weeks to the ss championships and my first peak. But, I am really excited about cross this year so it is hard to not overlook the SS champs.

School starts back again Monday so gone will be my free time and back to balancing everything. I am looking forward to school though since I always get to start fresh with a new batch of kids.

Someone was doing a photo shoot at Big Creek this morning with a bunch of kids. I wonder what that was for?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Going Tubless for CX With Stan's

First off, if you have the money just buy/use a tubular wheel set and tubular tires. It is the best option. Secondly, you can also but Stan's CX wheel set up which is a 29er MTB rim that is designed for tubless tires and Stan's system.

That said, the cheapest alternative to tubular tires is taking an old clincher wheel set and converting it over to tubless using Stan's cyclocross system. What follows is by no means the only way to do this but it worked for me.

1. Call Stan's and ask them if your wheel set will work with the system. I have a Sun ME14A wheel set that I won a few years ago and use as a back up set.
2. Take a drill with a 3/8" bit and drill out the inside valve hole. Sand it down to remove burrs.
3. One of the challenges for this and many other rims is that in order for it to seal the center of the rim has to be built up so that the Stan's rubber tire liner set up right under the clincher bead lock. What I did was take electrical tape and go around the center of the rim twice. Then I took TWO Velox rim strips and went around with those. Finally I took the Stan's rubber rim strip and installed it.
4. I went around the rim bead with a plastic tire lever and made sure the Stan's rubber rim strip was seated right up against the bead lock on both sides of the rim, all the way around.
5. I am using the Maxxis Raze tire to start with so I installed the tire and inflated it to 10 psi to make sure it held air.
6. I deflated the tire and hung the wheel from the post on my workstand (valve up). I then removed on side of the tire about 12" on the bottom, exposing the inside of the tire.
7. I shook the Stan's sealant and poured 2 Stan's cup fulls into the exposed part of the tire. I then rotated the tire around so that the sealant moved to an area where the tire was already set on both sides. Then I use my tire lever to install the tire I had exposed.
8. I inflated the tire to 50 psi and then meticulously grabbed the wheel in both hand and moved it back and forth (like a fan) revolving the tire so that the sealant was distributed.
9. I do not use soap to check the seal, I use Windex. I sprayed the Windex all around the tire/rim interface and looked for bubbles. If I saw some I placed the wheel with the bubbles at the bottom and then shook the wheel again to coat that area (Stan's website has some great video to show how this is done).
10. I then set up 2 buckets and rested each wheel sideways horizontal on a bucket for 5-10 minutes and after that inverted them.

All of this took about 2 hours. The wheels are holding fine and we will see what happens overnight. I am not using them as race wheels, only as back ups or training wheels. I am very interested to compare them to my tubular wheels.

I think this is the wave of the future but more so as UST/Tubless wheels are made more and more for cross just like MTB. I use a Bontrager tubless wheel set for MTB with Stan's sealant and have never looked back.

Tubulars are nice and feel nice but they are expensive. Stan's and tubless systems are made for the masses and I expect more and more people to give it a try.

Stan's has a nice cross wheel set for cheap and will be coming out with their own "raven" tire soon. Hutchison has a UST/tubless tire already for cross. Probably the biggest advantage to doing what I did is that you use wheels you have already and you can switch tires easily.

Friday, July 25, 2008

90 Realized

So I met my goal set way back in January of getting to a CTL of 90. Now what? Since CTL is based on a rolling average (basically like saying I am doing a 90 tss/day average), it will only fall from August 11th or so down to December. Simply put it takes a lot of time to raise your CTL. Like any average it gets harder to raise the ceiling as you go if you are not consistantly scoring above the average value.

Normally it is said that if you have a CTL of 70 or below you won't need to taper for a peak event. But at 90 tss/d or close to that I would taper if I were going to peak. The risk of tapering in September is that you loose CTL in your taper and for the cross season that might mean initial decreased performance. But, that is why you do specific workouts designed to maintain a certain level and focus on your weaknesses (for which I have many).

The last sub-eight hour week I had was back in April. The only "rest" period was during my vacation in June where I was still able to do some tempo stuff. So, using TSS instead of the traditional 3 weeks on/1 week off periodization got easier as I went. Plus, if you look at my average intensity factor for that period (May-July), it is only about .75 (out of 1, with 1 being TT intensity).

It is easy to see how the pros ramp up so quickly when they are doing 4 or 5 hours a day and racing in between.

A CTL of 100 tss/day would probably have taken me another 2 months. Once intervals start CTL will go down so I would have had to start building much earlier and since I work that is not possible.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An Open Letter to All Things Hymenoptera

Dear Queen of the bees and wasps,

I surrender. I have had 6 stings in 6 weeks, three on the face while riding my bike. I don't know what I did to you but please stop stinging me! Is it the honey I eat in the morning? I can switch to maple syrup. Let me know (nicely).

Sincerely,

Bob
Here is a 27 mile route from my house that has a few nice climbs and usually gives me 89 tss in 1.5 hours. Low traffic except for crossing Roswell Road and anyone who does the group rides in this area will be familiar with the roads. The best time to ride is between 9:30 and 11am when everyone is at work.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tubeless With Stan's

I am going to make an adventure of it and try the new Stan's cyclocross rim strips out on a spare Sun ME14A rim set in order to run them tubless. The setup looks pretty easy and the price is good as two Maxxis Raze tires are $60 and the Stan's setup is also $60. That is about the cost of one Dugast tubular tire.

I have had great success with the MTB setup and there are nice instructions on how to do the same for cyclocross tires here.

Most folks I know would love to go tubless but don't want to buy a new wheel set, special tires, or don't want the glue mess. I'll try it out and update later.

I can't wait for a cheaper road system for tubless and it should be forthcoming.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Today on Dan's "Macabre" ride I got dropped again right after a big hill called Jack Pittman when Jeff Welp attacked. When he attacked I was in the shit already. So I tried to get back to them and only succeeded because they took pity on me and sat up. I guess it was my handlebar position which confused them to whether I was working hard to chase or not (I was on the hoods). There was a county line sign right after I caught them and I sprinted for it because I was glad it was over and because I was mad I got dropped.

Here is the power file selection that shows I was working at threshold chasing back and normalized power shows that I was a little above threshold (the dotted line is my threshold power line).

This ride is pretty hard for me (obviously) and harder now than it was back in February where I actually pulled a lot, did not get dropped, and sprinted 2 or 3 times.

Here is the zone by zone power distribution:

Friday, July 18, 2008

One of the best features of WKO+ is the "fast find" feature. In the ride graph you can search your effort for a self-specified power range. Besides the food poisoning last Saturday night I was surprised to get dropped on the Sunday ride. I was curious since I had done 5x5 VO2 max and 6x3 VO2 max efforts the Tuesday and Thursday before the ride, whether I had over extended in that range and was just very tired when those efforts came up in the fast ride.

What I found going back is that I had burned 13 matches of efforts between 30 to 2 minutes where the power average ranged between 318w and 450w.

Also, in looking at the power distribution graph I was 13 minutes total in VO2 max and 16 minutes above that.

While the ride might normally be in my wheelhouse, I would suspect that if I were to do a ride like this later in the week it might be better to adjust my intervals earlier so I can put in a better performance.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Drive for 90

I had a goal to try and achieve 90 CTL by August 4th. Why? I would like to come into the SS championships with a high CTL so I can taper a week and have a positive TSB for the race weekend September 6+7. I'll shoot for +20 TSB for that weekend and pay for it later in cross season. My original goal was to try and get 100 CTL but that won't happen.

It has been very difficult to get to 90 CTL being an average athlete. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of time. With cross season beginning at the end of October I am hoping I can salvage some CTL for that, focusing again on December.

Here is a shot of my PMC for the summer so far:

and a shot of my time/distance so far...

Using TSS has been a different experience and I can't say I have missed "rest weeks" but it is a gamble. It has been a neat experiment and those guys who do it all the time have my respect.

Yesterday I got completely dropped on the Dan's Macabre ride and it sucked. I don't think I have gotten dropped on that ride before. It especially hurt getting crushed on the hill before Stock Rd. Hopefully the chart above had nothing to do with that. Maybe things will be different this weekend.

I liked the sequel to Hellboy a lot. I collected comics when I was a teen and I would certainly have subscribed to Hellboy back then. But with the web today you can see some of them online here. The movie is different from the comic but it is really fun and humerous. Even my wife liked it without me having to pay dues and see Sex in the City (never).

I would suggest avoiding any mussel dish at mexican style taquerias in Virginia/Highlands.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

My wife told me 2 weeks ago that she thinks I should race cross this fall if I want to and to not say I am going to stop unless I really want to. Probably the biggest inhibitor to racing some races will be gas prices. Without knowing the schedule yet I don't know how many races might be affected. But, I assume that when my daughter turns 4 next year she will be playing sports of her own and I will be focusing more on that (car-pool, practices, etc.).

Anyway, no one cares really except me so moving on...

I am going to try and do one of my "dream races" this fall. The HUP guys in New England are going to host a get together for the USGP of Gloucester and I have booked my flight. It was a hard choice between that and Star-Crossed in Seattle but New England won out.

This year's cross season will be interesting in a lot of ways. First, the GA SS championships are right in the middle of the prime cross build-up month of September. So, how do you work both? I think you prepare for cross but try and do a weekly SS ride/race to keep sharp. I doubt that muscular endurance will drop too much unless one focuses only on cross in that time period.
Secondly, with the excellence of Brendan Sullivan this year it will be interesting to see where he races. If he goes A race, it leaves the door open for a few masters 35+ guys. Maybe that would encourage Tony to go with him. One can dream. I have the same dilemma as always: masters is first, A race is last, tennis happens during the A race so I will have to do the masters, get in my car and race home so my wife can play tennis. It is a balancing act.

I will probably go all-in and race elite masters 1/2/3 in Gloucester. Of course, that is if I can even register. Registration is as competitive as nationals and starts smack in the middle of the SS champs race day. Doh!

Sometimes I get the feeling that cross is like Dungeons and Dragons. It is a little obsession that means very little to anyone but your little circle and anyone else looking in realizes that you take it way too seriously. What would be the equivalent of a dice pouch in cross? (Yes I played, cast your judgement).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bethlehem-Athens

The yearly pilgrimage to Athens to ride the Finley Street cobbles went off without any problems. It was about 3.5 hours in the saddle and 65 miles of nice roads. Once in Athens, we rode down Milledge and took a left onto Broad and then a right up Finley's steep cobbled climb (really the only one I know of around here). It is not very long but as you can see in the picture to the left, there are some pretty nice looking stones. Thinking back to walking that street when I was a student at UGA I would have not realized the appeal until Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

The group eventually broke up around Tallassee Rd and riding from there to Statham, over the reservoir was pretty tough.

All in all a really nice time and I can't wait to do it again.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I can't believe how cool it is outside, but I can believe how little it has rained. The 3rd driest June on record and we are down 7" at this point.

I am looking forward to the GTC Athens ride Friday and no matter what Mike says I have 74 and 81 miles in the last 2 editions I did, not 62 miles. That is fine with me! I proposed twice up the cobbled Finley St. so we will see who bites. It is a great ride all around and I hope the weather is nice.

Friday, June 27, 2008

No Raccoon MTN but there is Bethlehem-Madison

Got a call from the baby-sitter last night at 11pm saying she will be leaving town Saturday instead of Monday so there went the highly anticipated Raccoon Mountain MTB race and my debut riding the SS in the expert class.

So, I decided to take out my frustration by doing 78 miles today from Bethlehem, GA to Madison, GA and back. I made a wrong turn so I added some extra miles onto a 74 mile course. It is primarily flat with some nice rollers periodically, the tough stretch along "Confederate St." leading to Rutledge, GA and then the hard hills through Hard Labor State Park. There seemed to always be a headwind today and even though there were a thousand clouds in the sky, not one had the decency to cover up the sun. The route is all pretty exposed to the heat takes its toll and by the end I was pretty fried.

I covered the 78 miles at a nice 20.7 mph clip and my average power was a meager 206w (226w NP). So, about 3:50 in terms of ride time. I got stung by 2 bees which goes back to the debate on wearing underlayers in the summer. One drawback is that a bee/wasp can hit your underlayer and then get caught between it and your skin. It is my 3rd sting this week.

Knowing jury duty is looming I tried to get in a big riding week and I succeeded with 14 hours and 237 miles.

At about mile 75 I stopped at "The Store" near Monroe, GA. Four ancient dickheads who always seem to be sitting out front and always with something to say started going on to me about how my bike should have a license plate. It was a clear provocation, but they obviously underestimated how big of an asshole usually I am (just ask anyone) so I agreed with them and said that roads are for cars and I am only fortunate enough to share it with them. Those douchebags had nothing more to say but I am sure they are still sitting there going on about cornholing and such. I hate that place.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

With possible jury duty next week I am trying to get in as much riding as I can this week. I actually did some threshold intervals this week and they went well. I am assuming without any formal testing that my ftp is around 300w right now. Racing has helped this and after this weekend no more racing until possibly the Gwinnett Fest Road Atlanta race and maybe the Saturday road race in 4 weeks and then maybe the GA State TT champs in August, then finally the SS champs in September. I am trying to do 1 race per month.

I am juror pool number 48 which does not bode well for me. Maybe I will get lucky. I hate to not want to be on a jury but I am being selfish. At least I am going. Thousands of folks never show up for their duty day and are never caught. Good for me.

I picked up some new cross wheels for this fall. They are Ksyrium SSC SL and came mounted with Dugast Rhino tubulars. They are not the top of the line wheels but I think they will last and perform well. I fell out of love with carbon deep dish bling wheels after my nationals experience.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sanibel was a great time. Besides the swimming and the ocean, there is great sea kayaking there in the mangroves. North of Sanibel is a small island called Captiva which is a hidden gem. Here is the bike loop if anyone is ever there on vacation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On vacation at Sanibel Island, FL. Took my bike and there is a nice flat 27 mile loop here which is actually pretty hard. No elevation change but windy, hot and humid. Hopefully my bike/components won't get eaten by the salt.

Very sparse crowd, nice shelly beaches, and pretty good food. A nice vacation spot.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Issaqueena MTB Race

Drove up to Clemson today for the SERC Issaqueena MTB race in the SS class. We started at 9:30 which was a bonus considering the heat of the day would be later. I was hoping to put in a good effort and was interested in the long climb at the end of each lap. What surprised me was the small steep climbs in the middle of the race.

I had a good start and was soon off with Michael Scholtz (NCCX). I led about 1/2 a lap until my saddle bag dropped into my rear wheel. Michael was nice enough to sit up in time for me to fix it and we were off again. One of the disappointing things about the GCS/SERC series line-ups is starting the expert women in front of the SS. It is a frustrating thing for both groups since we usually catch them and have to bother them about passing. Today was no different and as we came upon 4 women on a hill, Michael was able to pass but then the line collapsed for me. I asked to pass but the women were having a tough time on the hill as well. With the SS, momentum is on your side so when it is lost you have to dismount and run. There was no other choice on this climb. I had to do this and eventually passed them but gave up the race lead with Michael. Now doomed to second, I did my best to hold that position.

I was able to climb the finishing hill no problem and it was not really a huge factor. I think Michael would still have beaten me up the climb at the end and won, but I would have like to have played that out instead of getting stuck and losing because I could not pass.

Second is not bad and Michael said he would have waited for me had he known, but that's racing. Tony Angevine also showed a lot of class today by killing me with kindness since our argument about passing a few weeks ago. Thanks Tony!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I had a nice crash today at Yargo because I refuse to wear gloves and my hands get sweaty , hands slide off, and I crash. I am not a big fan of gloves unless it is cold. I am going to have to change that.

I am excited to go up to Clemson this weekend and do the race. It sounds pretty hard but I am wanting to race a few more times this summer. I am going to do the Raccoon Mountain MTB race and then the Gwinnett Fest race at the speedway. After that I am going to attempt to get ready to defend the 40-45 SS State Championship in September. I have been invited to attend Star Crossed in Seattle in September and the Gloucester, Mass. UCI race in October. I have to choose one or the other. I have not heard about the GA Cross Series races but I'll do some of them and possibly one last hurrah at nationals since I have a free place to stay.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bethlehem-Bostwick

It was a hot one even at 8am. We had around 10 riders and the route was very nice, rural and almost no cars. The pace was around 18mph and everything went smoothly. By 11am it was getting too hot and I'll bet the heat index was around 94 or so. I used to do part of this route starting in Athens with the UGA cycling team. It was one of the winter LSD rides. The climbs out of the Appalachee River are tough and the shake and bake on Gober is rattling but otherwise smooth roads and nice scenery. All in all around 57 miles at 18.4 mph and avg power of 157w.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rode today at Blankets Creek MTB trails in Woodstock. The trails are very dry but are exceptional. They are quite challenging and the Dwelling Loop in combination with the South Loop makes around 10 miles.

The gearing of 32x16 was perfect and I felt that I could ride anything there with it. I really don't like drop offs and there are two that I had to look away from but they were fun to try and ignore (I remember some of those drop offs in Moab, Utah--it took all I could to ride past those).

Fun time and my new SS Klein is feeling better and better. Hopefully I will ride in Clemson in 2 weeks and then at Raccoon Mountain. I am going to skip Ellijay.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

TSS Ramp Rate

Most guys using power and WKO+ look at overall CTL and TSB and want CTL to climb higher and higher until they need to taper for a peak event. This means that TSB goes lower and lower (more negative). But there seems to be a fine line in everyone in how fast you can increase your weekly CTL by accumulating training stress each day. According to the wattage forum the range for most folks falls between 3-8 CTL points per week. For example, if my CTL on Monday is 60, then I would have to accumulate blank amount of TSS that week to raise it 8 points to 68 by the end of the week. The point being that after 8 CTL points difference (ramp rate) that week people often get sick.

Guys who are top caliber and rack up 100+ TSS per day can easily over extend and find themselves ill. But, most people using power know themselves and how much stress they can accumulate before this happens.

How do you ramp it up that much? Well you would have to do any type of workout that would give you a significant amount of training stress on average each day to move it blank points.

Right now I am at a CTL of 73 tss/d. If I want to ramp it up to 75 tss/d by this Sunday, I have to average at least 84 tss/d for the 7 days. Depending on workout goals and ride length/intensity this can be accomplished. But if the goal is to increase CTL over a short period of time it is a risk to ramp up at a maximum amount and chance getting sick or burnt out.

In looking back in my log since January, there has only been 1 week where I ramped at 5 CTL/week. Most of the time I ramp at 1-3 CTL/week and sometimes if it is a rest week or I get sick, the ramp rate is negative.

If I want to have a chance to do well in a peak event and understand from previous experience how much CTL I need before a taper, I could map out my CTL ramp rate and TSS/week just like many folks use periodization (base, build, peak) and get to my goal before the event at my pace.

Now throw on top of this being able to increase your FTP over time as well and you have to superimpose the correct workouts.

For example, I raised my FTP last summer for cross season from 300w in June to 315w by September. That is pretty slow and if you look at my log my ramp rate was also really slow. But for me it was based on the amount of time I had to train and what my 41 year old body could do. I was using specific workouts designed to prepare me for cross and the goal was not really maximum CTL before cross season since I trained all season and peaked in December.

Personally, I would like to see my FTP at the same amount but I would like to increase my CTL to 80 by the end of the summer. These are silly statistical goals but fun to experiment.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Darylmple Loop

Always a tough ride for me, especially riding up from Johnson Ferry Rd.

Map My Ride Map Here

Friday, May 30, 2008

Spalding Alps

Making the best of not being able to drive out to car-free roads much anymore I have gone back to some old routes near my house. One of these I call "Spalding Alps" since Spalding Rd. in Dunwoody is pretty hilly. I like to start right off of Winters Chapel, go left, and ride Spalding all the way to Roberts Rd. Sometimes I keep going as Spalding eventually changes into Darymple Rd, but more often than not I just turn around and do the hills in the other direction and then make up a route back to the house.

Today I did that and was able to get in 28 miles in 1.5 hours. Other times I will exit Spalding and head to Roswell to the riverside area and then back again which is about 2.5 hours. If I am really in good shape for time, I will head up into Roswell and back around Oxbow. This would give me around 3 hours.

Not too shabby for the metro area.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I rode the Ellijay MTB race course today. By the time I got to Ellijay it was raining and although I don't normally ride on wet trails, gas is expensive and it is 88 miles from my house to Ellijay...

Wet, the trails are very treacherous and right out of the gate I took a major spill on one of the notorious downhill sections that has a hard left in the middle of it. After 2 or 3 tough climbs and hike-a-bikes, I was met with another slick downhill and crashed again, this time busting up my pinky pretty bad on a rock and giving me a nice thick bruise on my hip. There is a little break in the undulations through a nice grassy field and some sculpted turns but after that it back to one more extended hike-a-bike.

I was using a 32x18 but I may go to a 34x20. That would give me a 1:1.7 as opposed to a 1:1.77 ratio. I used the 34x20 for the Snake TT and liked it a lot. My legs were pretty fried after the climbing since I am no climber.

So, if the weather holds out I guess I'll be there but if it rains I may skip it altogether.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Heritage MTB Race Result

Some nasty pro-type guys came to play and had a lot of game. My first lap was marred by 4 crashes, 1 over the handlebars. Breaks were disabled, rubbing the tire so I had to stop and fix that. Water bottle gone of 1st lap so I had to take a hand up. The second lap was a total antithesis of the first. I felt in control and began passing folks again. I finished strong but clearly 4 minutes off the podium and 13 minute back from the winner. The winner was 1.5 mph faster than me over the tough slippery, rooted course. Eric Nicoletti who is in front of me in the standings, had a good day and finished 3rd. I was finally satisfied to see him beat me by 4 minutes today.

My new bike performed well but I did not see any real difference. The Rapidade drink mix from Dedicated Athlete was incredible. It was the first time I had ever used a product in a race where I felt a difference in performance from lap to lap.

My 4th place result was my worst this year so far but the field was tough and it was great to have stiff competition. I hope Eric and I can match up again in Ellijay. I think that is going to be a brutal race for a single-speed.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

So my FTP based on the 60 minute NP values from my hard race Saturday (304w) is probably too high an estimation. Since I have no other test data, I have been advised to leave it at 295w until I can add another metric. Fine with me.

I am looking forward to Sunday's Heritage MTB race and I am considering abandoning the SS category and racing the 40+ expert category (If I can get it approved). It will depend on whether I have enough time to do 3 laps.

I'll also get to race my new bike which I am looking forward to!

Monday, May 19, 2008

One good thing that came out of the hard race Saturday is that my normalized power for 1 hour was 304w which is an indicator that my FTP is at least that high. It could be higher but probably not. I have had it at 295w so that is encouraging since I have not been doing any real training as of late.

I am going to do a formal test in 2 weeks so let's see what that reveals.

FTP can be determined many ways and the most likely ways have been nicknamed the "7 deadly sins".

GTC Championship Race Recap

For me the race sucked as usual.

I always miss the winning break because I have no idea what I am doing. The chase was hard and fruitless and capped off with 2 mechanicals.

Then to make matters worse, I saw some power data from the winning break and whatever ego I had left was humbled even more.

The race ended up sucking worse for Brendan who did everything right to win only to get squashed at 38 mph by a turning motorist in the last KM.

The big winners were Brendan, Andy, Theron, Michael and Tim.

Not that it matters, but I am going to take out my inability to close 50 yards to the break on the MTB race this weekend. New SS bike too.

School ends Friday. Charlotte turns 3 in 2 weeks!

Power data:

Race average--sucked