Thursday, February 28, 2008

Editorial Post...sorta cycling related

Mood: Decent
Fitness: Mentally good, physically...who knows (15 miles ridden so far this week)
Weight: 185 (finally in a good place)

Terrible Cyclist got me thinking about running...I know, why the heck would you want to do that?!. Anyway here's what he wrote:

In running you don't need teammates. You don't need help during a race, and the fastest guy almost ALWAYS wins. This makes it entirely possible to win every race you enter. In cycling it doesn't matter how good you are, you're not going to win them all...

I ran track at Virginia Tech back in the day and at my peak may have been referred to as an "average at best" collegiate runner (I ran the 800).

So what do they do with the average runners in college? We were used as "bait" and training tools for the elite guys on the team to help them improve. I remember having to rabbit 800s in practice one second over my PR through the 400 just so our star half-miler could train on his second 400 (going through fast and holding on..while I passed out on the infield).

I also remember toeing the line against our top 400 meter guy (who had never ran an 800 in his life) on the last day of spring training down at Florida St before my Sophomore year. I had been running phenomenally (relative to what I had done in the past). I had run a PR already during a local meet down in Florida and was feeling all kinds of confidence. The 800 and miler guys were getting ready to run our final inter-squad "race" when this cocky SOB 400 guy (who actually could run sub 46, so he had every right to be cocky) decided he'd like to "try" an 800. Of course all the "smack" talk started about how he was going to make us look bad and show us up and stuff, but we were confident that the extra distance would break down his speed and give us a chance. The hope was to take him through fast through the first 400 and hope that his endurance (or hopefully lack of) would result in not having kick at the end. Anyway, the short of the race was that we came through in 53.5 through the 400 and back in 59.6 for the second... 1:53.1 was a great time for me (personal best), but for Mr. 400, it was a walk in the park. 53.5 for someone capable of running sub 46 is close to walking. My PR through 400 would be a comfortable jog for him. This is what didn't click at the time. One cannot beat someone in one-on-one competition if they are at such a more elite level than you are. I'm very happy not to be running anymore...especially against skinny dudes that mock you as you PR through the 800, but one step behind them.

TC is right, the fastest guy usually does win in running...especially when they're running against someone slower (my example). Cycling is kinda like that too though. Take the cat 3 races last year. If you're name wasn't Esmonde, Escobar, or probably didn't see your name towards the top of the results sheet very often. Did these guys have the strongest teams? Not really (but some would argue that Esmonde's team was the best looking...more so on the 4's though). Those dudes were just flat out fast...

It's kinda like being given the opportunity to sprint against Boonen, both with fresh legs and perfect leadouts: I'd say I'd win 0 out of 100 attempts...maybe 1 if we decided to go into oncoming traffic.

The cool part about cycling though is that if you have some phenom in a race that "should" win based on speed, there is a chance that with teamwork, timing, and a bit of luck they won't and you can beat them (or set up your teammate to beat them).


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sweet Picture

Jim Wilson is awesome:


Check out the rest of his pictures of Tradezone #2.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tradezone #2

I went into Sunday with 18 total miles for the week and four straight days of no riding and beer drinking. As I rode from my house to Chateau de Cernich the legs actually felt good. Maybe I four days of sedentary activity actually translates to positive rest?? Probably not but psychologically, I felt good..even if the body didn't.

We rolled out from Capitol Hill out East Capitol to Tradezone with the solid group of Cernich, Brigham, Will, Pete, and Myself. The trip out is just under 20 miles from my door, which is "perfect" for a warm up for me. All last year I'd go into races with a 10 or 15 minute warm up and feel stiff and all out of it for the first half...except for the races I rode to (Crystal City, Silver Spring, RFK, Chantilly). Interesting that those were the races that I had the best results in.

Anyway, on to tradezone:

I felt bad for those who couldn't race due to the whole over-registering folks fiasco. Had I'd been able to do the A race, I would have given up my spot. Unfortunately, there was stuff to do back home that allowed three options, do the B race, do the A race (and risk sleeping on the couch for a least a month) or don't do the B race and go home. Option 2 not being an option, I stuck with 1.

Officials might want to consider asking for volunteers from the C race to give up their spot next time (considering they had already done a race).

The race was a parade of sorts. A group of 6 or 7 got off the front at one point, but weren't committed enough to stay out there. Little attacks here and there, but nobody in the B race has the power or go out there and hold tempo for 20 miles to hold off the main field by themselves (even though we fluctuated between 19 and 28 mph pretty much the whole time and consistency in pace by one person could in theory be enough). If a good group of 6 got off the front and pegged it at 26 mph for a couple of laps...each taking turns and were willing to sacrifice to stay away, they'd be gone. That doesn't happen in B races though...maybe not yet at least.

Will, Brig and I put together a sweet little leadout train for the second prime. Will took us through the last turn, Brig pulled me to the front of the field up the left side and then opened the door for me to launch to the was executed perfectly and a blast to be a part of. I swear, a team that is in tune with each other will win every time. It's awesome.

So after the break was swallowed up and with 4-5 laps to go, all the "sprinters" started coming to the front. Unfortunately, none of the sprinters brought their teams with them, so we ended up parading around at 23-24 mph bunched up like a lollipop at the front. I was sitting 10th or 15th from the rear and was watching it all thinking about how I was going to get up there myself for the end. I figured that I wasn't in any shape to out sprint most of these guys so I would go early and hope that I could catch them off guard.

Timing is everything on a move like that. I'm no master, but have gotten lucky twice now in execution (Crystal City last year). With one to go I started moving up the inside till I was sitting about 20th. I was looking for Brig or the "Experience" but no teammates were in the vicinity. As we rounded turn 2 (second to last) I saw a move being made across the peloton on the outside by a lone rider. He was about halfway back too so I started my move too which caught the front of the pack off guard a little. As he pulled off the front, my timing worked out that I came off the front as well right onto his back wheel...we gapped the field by enough to cause some separation and put the decision on somebody to decide that they were either going to "catch the break and risk not having power for the sprint" or "wait for someone else to catch the break and get carried up the front for the sprint".

I hate being in that position. Do you chase and risk finishing "not first" or do you leave it on someone else to chase and risk the break "spoiling the party".

We had a little gap, but NCVC and some others were trying to come across. I took a glance over my shoulder and saw that they were coming, so I attacked for the corner and hoped that having clean air, the momentum, and speed through the last turn might be enough to carry me to the line. I knew there was a little gap, but didn't want to look back. Did I go to early again?!? Was this just another suicide attempt?? I didn't want to think about it too hard, I just put the head down and pedaled for the line...and luckily was able to hold on. Not bad considering the week of training. Beers are on me next time boys.

Overal, I'm happy with where I'm at. I'd like to have ridden more overall at this point in the year, but considering I'm healthy and we're riding pretty good as a team...I'll take it.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Why guys like me are not supposed to race bikes...

Monday: Took off, even though the weather was perfect. Slept in and spent the day with Kari instead. Bottled a bunch of homebrew that I had in the secondary fermenter. March 1st is a drinking day.

Tuesday: Got my @ss handed to me at Haines Point. Harley showed up on a TT bike and decided that he was going to flex his muscle and point out why he is a cat 1 and we all are not. The cross wind was killing us out there on both sides and 28 mph into the wind was just enough to put me and Tony (?) into the gruppeto off the back. Got into a little rhythem for a couple of laps, so the workout turned out okay. Best part about it was that it was completely unspoken. Both of us popped from the main group of 5 and just started trading pulls evenly. It's cool how there is a common understanding of working together in situations like that.

Wednesday: Tech 69, Maryland 65. Went to the game...enjoyed it too work out.

Thursday: Suffered because of Wednesday...did nothing.

Today: We'll see. Weather sucks outside, and the gym doesn't sound like fun. Maybe a couple of minutes on the trainer tonight. the point of the title:

1) Guys with size are not meant to ride bikes in the wind. That theory is completly based on how much I suffer when the wind picks up and really has no other basis. Give me a flat course with no wind and I'll show you a happy cyclist.

2) I like beer and other vices (sleep, food, laziness, etc) that are not good additives to proper training regime.

3) I hate the cold. That doesn't work out well in this area for winter/early spring training.

Back to work...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tradezone #1

We went into the B race with the idea that we would attack and counter attack as often as possible. Scott was off the front by the first turn, when he was caught Brandon was off the front, when he got caught, Joel, then Brigham, then myself, repeat...etc. It was great. For the entire race there was only a couple of moments when a R1V jersey wasn't off the front.

As training races go, this was perfect. A good ride out and back with some serious effort in between. The total was about 72 miles from door to door. I saw Evan, Pico, Eva, Spiff out there working hard too.

Some observations from our race:

1) Even though we attacked well, I'm wondering if it could have been more productive attacking in pairs. The effort to get away was good, but sustaining that effort against a pack that wasn't too keen on letting a break get away. I got into a little two man break for a couple of laps...and that was a lot easier than going out on my own. I assume that the problem with going in twos though is that others would be more inclined to bring you back.

2) With one to go, Brig and I went to the front to try to set up Elder Lumm for the finish. We ended up 1/2 up front with waaay to much distance to go. On that course I think if we had waited till about half way between turns 3 & 4 to make the effort we could have controlled the finish a little better. Too early (same thing happend at Turkey Day last year I think).

Brandon ended up 5th...and considering the amount of effort he put in during the race...well done. I don't think anyone went into this thinking about the finish...more just the efforts during.

It was a great day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Question: Is there anything more depressing than rain the week leading up to the first Tradezone??

Answer: Yes, but in the scope of this

Hopefully everything clears out by the weekend. I'm going to try to rally the troops to show up in mass for tradezone. It's going to be attack, attack, Training races are for losing, learning to race with teammates, and learning about what thresholds your body can take during suffering. I can't wait.

Looks like Sonja is having a blast out west...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Let's get it on already!

I am officially over training and am ready for the season to start...not physically, but mentally. All this time spent on group rides, solo rides, cross training, watching (or not watching) what I eat, and thinking about racing is making me crazy. I need to get out there and suffer for purpose and for results. The motivation has switched from getting fit for racing, to fine tuning fitness for results (mine and/or teammates). Let's go!

The UMD Crit teased me with the "false" hope that registration opened today at 8:00 am...I was here at 7:55 ready to sign up and officially accept that the season has started. I'll have to wait a few days though as reg doesn't open till the 29th...dang.

What a race though. Two years now it's split within the first few laps. In 2006, as a 5 I was in the break with (check out this who's who..) Jose Escobar, RayMan, Agent Mulder, and eventual winner Ken Young. We got away early and the course and the elements let us stay there. Check out this Picture I found on the POWER website. Unfortunatley, clipping out of a pedal in the sprint gave me 6th...although I think I could have done better. In 2007, the same thing happened. The wind was brutal and Brooke and I attacked right from the gun. The split was almost immediate. Michael Githens, Mulder, and Joel Steen bridged up to us and eventually we split again resulting in Joel and Mulder riding away for 1/2 and Githens, myself and Richard Distad battling it out for 3 through 5.

So in short, stay up front early in this one cause it's going to split and if your on the wrong side of the split...your day is done.



Monday, February 4, 2008

Quick Update...

Miles last week: 218
Weight on Monday: 192
Weight on Sunday night: 192 (?!?)
Eating & Drinking habits: "Healthy" (but not in the good for your health way..more like a bad for your heart and liver way)
Fitness: Pretty good
Climbing ability: Would be better give or take 8 to 10 pounds.

1) I remember watching the tour de france one year and hearing the announcer make the comment [I'm paraphrasing]: "...and there's big George Hincapie who somehow has managed to haul his enormous carcass over the peak of [insert massive climb here]...". Last time I checked George is 6'3" and 175 lbs...your host here at leamateurdomestique checks in at 6'4" and 190 lbs. So what do we learn from this? Is there too much media pressure for us cyclists to be thin? Somehow 190 is deathly obese in the cycling world? That man was not intended to ride his bicycle uphill (I agree with this one)?

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I could use to lose a few if I'm ever to hang with those stick figures up Anglers and Brickyard. Maybe I'll stick to the flatlands and let momentum be my saviour.

2) If my memory serves me right, Rayman weighs a buck 10...that's ridiculous, unfair, and just plain absurd. Rayman, I'm putting you on the JL training technique that should get you up to 168 by April. Lot's of barley and hops to go along with the @ss whipping you've been dishing out on these group rides.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Feeder Team

Mike posted up some interesting sponsorship changes on

"I'm also seeing some sponsor changes, including Capitol Hill Bikes signing on with the Battley Harley crew..."

Does that make us the feeder development team?? Wonder if CHB will forget about us? Hopefully we're not the akward older son that's not getting any attention because the new kid showed up. Probably not, but the more publicity for the shop the better I guess.