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.


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.