Sunday, November 30, 2008


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?


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/ and eventually paid for by ME)