Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday's 10:00 am Ride

I've never done this ride's awesome.

Granted, I'm using "Awesome" in a different way than discovering you have free cable when first moving in or realizing that you're someway related to an aging billionaire. This ride kicked my @ss. Compared to the 7:00 am ride the 10 is longer, harder, has less (read "none") regroup spots, and has a much more challenging terrain. The "group" is more selective, and becomes even more selective as the ride takes shape. All in all, this ride is the "measuring stick" of fitness and a great way to see where you're at at any point in the season.

After a week of nothing, I showed up for the 10 and met up with Cernich, Elder Lumm, and Ted. The Muscle, Papa Jay, Clif, Carlos, Bax (old and young) were all there too which looked like it was going to be a hurt session. I hung on for a while, but a car/bike accident involving Artemis Jay (good to hear he's okay) split up everything early. I ended up alone in the middle chasing the lead pack and eventually grouping up with Cernich (after he dropped a chain).

Cernich and I got a little system going and kept the tempo on for the rest of the ride, eventually picking up guys that dropped off the lead pack. Cernich is a motor right now. I felt bad not being able to take my turns at the front (or at least make them last for more than a minute), but C looked content hammering out tempo. Scott is going to be dangerous this out (I'm glad I'm on his team).

The ride ended up being around 62 miles from door to door (with about 15 of that being getting to and from the ride from home). I was sore all Sunday, but still managed a short ride in the afternoon. Total for the week 98 miles.

Overall feeling of status:
1) I feel like two good weeks of training (200+ miles) will put me right where I want to be for the start of the season. The power is there, just need to build some leg confidence.
2) The speed is coming. I did the big efforts trying to make a couple of lights on Sunday and the explosiveness is better than it was a month ago. The leadout machine isn't dialed in yet, but it will be soon.
3) Cliff (doubled up on Saturday), BLumm, and Cernich are all putting in some serious miles and should make racing in the 3's this year awesome. Hopefully Little E is preparing for the 2's as well, and maybe we can make some noise in a 1,2,3 race as well.

All in all, I'm positive and feeling good about things these past days...cheers.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I am Specialized...again.

There are two proofs that I've noticed recently:

1) There is a direct correlation to my mood and miles/week logged on the bike.
2) There is also a direct correlation to blog entries and miles/week.

So the new new bike is in, and has taken it's maiden voyage. After the troubles with the Tarmac S-Works E5, CHB hooked me up with a 2008 tarmac Pro frame in the white/grey/red color pallate...awesome looking. At first I wasn't sold on it, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. It got put together this week. I picked it up Wednesday night and got to take it out for a spin today.

The Good:
Carbon is nice to ride....real nice. I'm a staunch Aluminum backer, but after riding the new whip...I might have to jump sides. The fit needs some dialing in, but at first ride I felt the bike was really large compared to the Giant. It felt like I was riding a bike that was too big for me. I compared the numbers though and think I know the reason behind it (I made a pretty table at the bottom of this post). I think the fact that the head tube is longer, it gives me more of an upright feel...which I'm not used to. Looking at everything else...the Giant is bigger, but with the shorter head tube maybe the aggressive position makes it feel more compact.

Now that I'm closing in on old man age, maybe the more relaxed position will be better for my back...maybe.

The Bad:
I think the non-drive side crank arm wasn't fully attached when I went out on the first ride. I was coming over the key bridge and the whole thing slipped under load. I was able to roll it back to the Pro Shop and they tightened it up, but they said that I might want to consider replacing it...just my luck, eh? I think it'll hold through the weekend. Another trip back to CHB though is in my near future.

Anyway, I got 200 miles in last week...which was good, but have put in a whole 12 so far this week going into the weekend. Not only am I Specialized, but I am not consistent.

I do feel like a Specialized billboard though when I ride...The bike, branding on the kit, the helmet, the shoes, the glasses, the gloves. Tacky? Maybe. Awesome? Yes.

See you out on the roads this weekend.

Specialized Giant
Seat Tube Length (BB center to Top)580 mm585 mm
Head Tube Angle74 degrees73.5 degrees
Seat Tube Angle72.5 degrees73 degrees
Top Tube Length (Horizontal)600 mm610 mm
Head Tube Length230 mm199 mm
BB Drop67.5 mm65 mm
Wheel Base1013 mm1025 mm

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It hurt good

So updates:

Rode Wednesday down at HP at lunch and put in about 25 miles. Actually rode pretty well. I spent my share of the of time at the front, taking my pulls, and trying not to sit in. I'd like to get in the habit to be able to push the mind past the "I'm tired...let me sit out one rotation" point. At this point in the year the extra suffering is going to be good for me. Up until the last lap everything was really organized. Nobody really attacked the group and we kept steady was real nice. The "jerk" that attacked on his last lap didn't really amount to much except giving himself more suffering...that "jerk" was me.'s in my blood.

No bike for me on Thursday, but I took out some work anger on the treadmill...15 minute warm up on the stationary and then 2.5 miles. Not much, but I was trying to keep upping the tempo every .05 miles. I think I started at 8 min/mile and ended up around 5:15 pace for the last quarter hurt real good (and for some reason I felt calm and pleasant afterwards...amazing how that works).

Friday I met up with Sonja, Chicken, and Jose down at HP for a little lunch ride. Sonja had sprints on her training plan, so Jose and I played around with leading her out. Good times, and oh ladies are ANIMALS!!! So strong...they are going to do some damage in the ranks this year.

Jose and I were discussing lead outs during the ride and talked about how dominant a team could be if they dialed in the perfect train. Can you imagine, four guys lined up on the final stretch (say HP after the turn at the point)...first guy pushes the pace up to about 31 and holds it for as long as he can, pulls off and the next guy holds the speed and then slowly (seated) brings the pace up to about 34/35 until he this point we're three quarters the way down towards the he pulls off, guy three is out of the saddle and starts his drive towards the line...not a jump, but a smooth ramp up in speed to keep the sprinter from getting gapped...once he knows his man is on, he takes it up to redline for as long as he can...then with about 100meters to go to the line, he opens the door and the sprinter closes the deal....exciting, eh? Almost pornographic now that I read it again. Sorry mom.

Anyway, did the 7:00 am ride today and all I can say is that the Harley boys are going to be dominant this year....Ken and Russ were KILLING us today. Gapped everybody up Mass hill (I think SuperD and Bryan went with them) and then proceeded to hold distance all the way down the parkway, down into and out of Great Falls and past brickyard...the only reason they rejoined was by choice...Impressive. Also, finally got to ride with Bryan again, that boy is strong! He goes uphill like trailers in a tornado...also impressive (need to watch out for him this year...but we all knew that).

Sooo, I've put in about 160 miles so far for the week. The plan is to get outside tomorrow for at least 40...which should put me over the 200 that I was shooting for earlier in the week. Overall, I'm pleased with were I'm at. The past two weeks has done wonders for me physically and mentally. My mood is good finally and I feel fitness coming back...I still need to lose about 5 pounds, but I'm not going to actively try (riding the bike should take care of itself).

Pray for no's bike racing season!!!!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The fine line between "Dedicated" and "Dumb"

Whoa, it's windy and cold outside!

So two day training report:
1) I put in 25 easy miles last night out to Arlington and back from 6 to 7:30 in the dark. I would have gone sooner, but I got a flat and had to swing by CHB to get a new set of tires (I've been putting this off for months) before setting out.

2) I made the effort down at HP for lunch today in the cold and wind (I saw snow coming down at one point and the back stretch all out effort into the wind was around 20 mph ... max) for about a total of 24 miles.

So my thoughts are as follows. What is the line between "training" and just being stupid? Sure more time on the bike is good, but suffering in this cold today was not fun and hurt not in a good I got another flat (I think this one was due to a bad tube...and bad luck).

I used to own a t-shirt that read "Somewhere someone is training, and when you meet them in on-on-one will lose." If that fool is training in this weather, all the power to him/her. Outside sucks right about now. This weekend wasn't bad, but today and the rest of this week looks terrible. While I was sitting on the side of the road in the cold wind trying to change my tube today I kept asking myself, "Why do I do this...This isn't fun...Can't I just wait till Spring?".

Maybe it's because I like the suffering. I seem to excel at suffering at work...and maybe it's translated nicely over to the bike. It's probably one of those "Honey, you don't understand...I need to go out and suffer in the cold rain." I wasn't happy at the time, but my mood is good now because of it.

On a side note, the boys down at HP today definetly DO NOT follow the principle of "it's only're going to fast". Three laps in and I found myself on the wrong side of a split in the group heading to the point. We were chasing at close to 29mph (wind was at our backs) and not gaining ground at all...not losing too much, but not gaining (I need to build some mental toughness to push through these situations).

Granted, most of the guys up there were in the 1,2,3 category (or should be), but if they're taking it "easy" because it's January...I don't want to be around them come April (maybe I should take up ping pong). If they're going this hard now and I'm sure they're planning a full season (not just prepping to peak for an early season performance), what's with all the commentary during group rides about "it's only [fill in the early month of your choice] you silly goose". Is it just the slackers that are saying this? Or just those that keep their training log next to their bible on the night stand ("If it says zone 2, I'm going zone 2 dammit!") but insist on still showing up for group rides.

I don't know. Anyway, I'm shooting for around 200 miles this week. The new frame came into the shop yesterday. I got a look and it is sweet looking. Once the weather gets really bad for a couple of days I'll take the Giant in and swap out the parts.


Ps Jose, I hope you recover and get back out there're going to the be man this year.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Setting Records...

Unfortunately I'm not setting records of the good kind. I currently have the record for quickest to "break" the Tarmac E5 frame. After 70 miles and two days of riding, the head tube where the aluminum and the carbon are fused together started to I had to give the frame back to CHB and they'll warranty it back to Specialized.

I asked if it was because I "was too much of a beast and putting out crazy power?", but they said it was just failure on the I was doubly dissapointed. Bummer. I really like the frame, how it rode, and how it looked. The guys at CHB were top notch though and swapped all the components back to the Giant in one day so I could ride this weekend. Those guys/gals are aces.

Anyway, I missed the 10:00 am ride on Saturday (I was planning on making a showing with the rest of the team) due to whisky and didn't get out of the house until 1:45. I got about 25 junk miles in out to Bethesda and back and spent most of the time trying to dial in the fit on the Giant. Sunday was the shop ride and it was a great turnout. We rolled out to Arlington, tested the legs a little, and got about 44 miles in. A good day and a confidence builder considering the lack of mileage I've been putting in.

For the week, even with the broken frame, I put in about 185 miles. It's not much, but 180 to 250 is right about perfect for me now. Anything more at this point and I think I'd be back into sickness. Assesment time:

1) Sunday's ride let me know that the explosiveness is not back yet (not that I was very explosive at any point). The "pop", or ability to go from steady state to max effort immediately, will come with time.
2) I had a couple of good climbing efforts that gave me a bit of confidence that I'll be able to hold heavy efforts. Not yet, but soon.
3) The teammates are riding really well. Elder Lumm is rocking on the bike already and showing a lot of sprint speed. I'm looking forward to setting him up for the big finishes this year. Also, Tuesday's lunch ride with Cernich was eye opening as well as he is killing it out there. It was all I could do to hang on his wheel. He's going to be a threat in every race he does this year.
4) I need to drink less on Fridays.


Monday, January 7, 2008

How sweet it is

First ride of the new year on the new bike.

Rode from the Hill down to hains point, out to Arlington, through Gtown, back to the point and back home. About 23.5 miles. Didn't really push anything as I was trying to feel out the new bike and see how the legs were.

First things first: Specialized makes some mean equipment! I loved my Giant and I still do, but this Tarmac S-Works e5 is something else. I think the weight is about the same, maybe a little lighter with the Specialized. The e5 is stiff though. Point it in a direction and pedal and it goes. I didn't really do any hard efforts, but it felt more responsive than the Giant. I'm looking forward to really putting it through the ropes.

While doing some laps down at the point I bumped into a Adam from the club. We got to talking and started shooting the sh!t about the upcoming season. I like where his head is at 'cause he thinks like I do. We both agreed that the art and school of racing is exciting when it comes together within a team. Sure, being strong and fast is nice, but having those characteristics and being a good teammate, racing as one, and sacrificing for another is choice. I got to thinking about some of the races where I finished close to dead last this past season, but contributed to a teammate getting into the top 10. It felt good. Sure I got some looks from spectators that came across as "man, that guy sucks" but it didn't bother me...I knew I had done my job for the day and I was satisfied.

Anyway, tomorrow is the first day of getting my @ss handed to me. I'm heading down to the point for lunch. Should be packed down there...60+ degrees and sunny.



Capitol Hill Bikes called me last night at 4:53 and said that the component swap on the new frame was done and asked if I wanted to come pick it up. I knew they closed at 5:00pm, but was tempted to go over anyway. I'll head over today at lunch to get fit, pick out a new seat post, and take everything back home. Can't wait.

The component set is the same that was on the Giant. I might have to leave some yellow on the new bike in memory.

Kari is pissed that I now have a team colored was a lot easier for her to find me in the pack with the yellow one.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Over two weeks...

That's how long it's been since I've sat on a bicycle, and I'm not just saying that to lull you into a sense of confidence before I attack the next time up Mountain Gate...I really haven't ridden, and that sucks.

Personal Inventory time:

Weight: Over 200 with clothes (no shoes).
Fitness: Poor
Mood: not so good
Bicycle: In the shop
Health: P!ss poor.

Somehow between the week and a half we spent in Michigan and now I've come down with some kind of super cold that has had me on my @ss since Friday. Coughing, sneezing, weakness, lethargy...pretty much any nasty symptom you can think of, I have. It's gross. This right when the weather broke too. I'm looking forward to all the posts out there about 4+ hour rides in 50 degree weather and how if you weren't out there "you missed out".

Mentally though, I'm ready for the season. I'm ready to start putting in big miles and spending a lot of time suffering back into fitness. I think that is one of my traits (not saying it's good or bad), the ability to be stubborn about my current fitness and having the desire to get back to race shape as quick as possible. Pretty much the next group ride you see me on, if i'm way off the back it was because I though "sure...I can climb with these guys even though I haven't done jack for over two weeks".

Anyway, somethings to look forward to.

1) I made a commitment to myself while hiding inside in Michigan during the 15 degree weather that I would ride a WHOLE lot more when I got back. Although I haven't yet, I'm not willing to say that I've given up yet.
2) The Route 1 Velo skills and drills sessions should be starting up soon. These were awesome last year to build excitement and team commroderie...I can't wait for this years.
3) New bike is being built up as we speak. I was hoping to get it this weekend so I could try it out over the weekend, but it's probably best that I didn't considering the sickness. I'm going to be riding a Specialized S-Works Tarmac E5 from a couple of years ago. It was the team bike then and they had a couple of XL sized frames left I gobbled one up. I can't wait.



ps All these posts about people putting in tons of miles is making me think the early season is going to hurt...and hurt bad. Should be "fun".