Friday, April 25, 2008

Big Brother is watching...

oh yea...I forgot to mention that the Man has blocked all websites that end in "". So no reading, commenting...but somehow I can post...weird.

It was fun while it lasted...

Week of rest...

No biking between Saturday and next Sunday...too bad too, cause I was feeling pretty good these past couple of rides. The power is there, and the endurance is getting pretty solid. The weight has hovered around 183 and 186 for the past couple of weeks and my health has stayed pretty I can't complain. I'm actually excited to get away from the bike a little because it'll make coming back to it even more exciting.

Plus I wonder what riding a bicycle as a married man will feel like...I assume my pain tolerance will increase, my ability to suffer through the long haul will improve, and my role as le domestique will actually be set in stone. :)

Of course I'm kidding...I couldn't be more excited.

This past week I had two real good days down at HP. Tuesday was good and I learned a valuable lesson: If you're in a group that has gone off the front or in a pack that is really wailing away down the is important to let the person behind you know if you are going to pop so they can be prepared to come around and try to make it to the wheel you just lost. I lost the wheel in front of me while in a group that had gone off the front (heavy artilery in that group) but had some folks behind me...I didn't signal that I was done (partially due to lack of oxygen and blindness) and the guys behind were caught by suprise...not sure if it all stayed together, but it disturbed the group enough to break the rhythem. Woops. Next time I'll signal (except hopefully next time I won't get popped).

I learned another valuable lesson on Wednesday when Frick and Young showed up on their TT bikes...those guys are really REALLY fast. They had the group (which was really big) strung out single file for every lap. A few of us hung on, but the suffering was impressive. Cat 1 land is a different animal. Having that being reminded to us lower levels is good...keeps our egos in check.

Enjoy the week of biking...stay safe.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Work weekend...No Dolan

Last year, strong man Joel took a nasty fall during the finish of the 3/4 race that left him with some nasty scars and scared the bejezus out of Kari and all of us. So with one week to go till we leave for the land of marriage bliss...I was out for today's race (can't have road rash in the wedding pictures). Seriously though, there is a lot to do until next week, so I wanted to make sure I was around to help out and keep stress levels to a minimum.

I got in a sweet little ride on Saturday during the 7am. I actually tried to ride up to the start for the first time and made it just as they were rolling out. For all those out there, the 7:00 am ride really leaves more around 7:10 to need to go into the red killing yourself up beach drive to try to get there by 7. Things of notice: The weekend at RTR feels like it is paying off. I was able to hang going up Anglers and out of the park...maybe it was the fact that the 27 was still on or maybe it was the fact that everybody is racing on Sunday and not going into their big ring on Saturday...who knows, but it felt good.

That got me thinking...comparing how you did on the Saturday or Sunday ride and thinking that is how you are going to fare on race day against the same guys is not the best way to go about judging fitness. Sure, I was able to hang going up Anglers with a couple of 1s and 2s, but these boys are 1s and 2s for a reason...and one of those reasons is that they can put the hurt on 3s in a bad way and have moved up to lay Senior hurt on instead. There is a chance that they're really pushing too, but I'm not guessing that they're turning themselves inside out on a training ride. My new theory is to compare how I did relative to how I felt last time on one of those rides. Not until I hang in a 1,2,3 race with these boys will I believe that I'm more than pack fodder compared to them. So until then, learn in the 3/4s and the 3s and jump in a 1,2,3 every once in a while to take a beating and measure fitness.

Heard the 3/4 had a nasty little wreck in it..I hope everybody made it with nothing too serious wrong. Let's keep it safe out there.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Raw Talent Ranch

Two days, 117 miles, ~11,000 feet of climbing.

1) I've said this before, but guys over 180 pounds are not meant to go uphill fast.
2) West Virginia is amazing.
3) Jay has got something special with his Lost River Barn.
4) Reid is the best wrench going around.
5) You learn a lot about yourself when you're suffering through a 7 mile climb at a grade that you've never seen before in your life and having a face to face with your inner demons.

I used to think that I've suffered and have felt pain on the bike, but I've never experienced what we went through on Saturday....and for some sick reason, I liked it. Not only do I feel that it helped me physically, but I feel mentally tougher because of it as well.

Take the mileage numbers and double them to get a true representation of how I felt at the end of the day. The terrain surrounding Jay's barn is incredible. The climbs go on forever. Saturday's last climb was 7 miles...straight a pitch that I have never seen before...ever. At one point after getting dropped by the quick boys (Jay and Esmonde are animals) up front I looked down at the computer and it was reading 2.2 mph...2.2 MPH! I was standing on the pedals and doing minny trackstands between rotations to keep from falling over.

Now, for clarity, I hate going uphill. Around here it's not that bad since you can power over them (see Ross Hill in Rock Creek). I'd much rather be on a flat course with the pace around 28 to 30 plus holding on for dear life to the wheel in front of you...I can suffer mentally through that, but the mental toughness it takes to hold a pace while chasing Jay, Esmonde, Brooke, Ted and the boys uphill...that is something else and for those who master and can control the mental pain that comes with that suffering...there are podium spots waiting for you down the road.

Jay and Audrey have put something magical together out in West Virginia. If you ever get a chance to go out NOT pass it up. The secret won't be so secret for very long...Popeye has spinach, Scooby has his snacks, and the top cyclists in the D20 area are going to have RTR.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

What's the definition of Epic?

Raw Talent Ranch...good god.


More Pictures, write up later...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Some thoughts from Tysons

I was talking to Jose Escobar after the 3/4 race and before his race and he started telling me about the differences between racing in the 1/2/3 this year versus racing in the 3s last year. It was some pretty interesting stuff as he was one of the top three most consistent finishers last year. Some notes:

1) The pace is way faster. There aren't lulls as we have had in the 3/4 races this year. Guys go to the front and drill it until someone else goes to the front and counters and this is repeated until a group gets away. This got me thinking about whether we're going about this attacking thing all wrong. Maybe we shouldn't be launching one person attacks and hovering off the front until the group decides to reel us back in (maybe this works in the 1/2/3 where guys are just that much stronger that they can ride away at 28+ mph from a lazy peloton). What if instead groups just went to the front and pacelined at a ridiculous pace (similar to the 7am Saturday ride on the parkway) until the weak were weeded out. Maybe teams aren't big enough to pull that off...I don't know.

2) He says that there is no love from anyone to let someone into the paceline. If you made a move off the front, it's either fight your way back into line up front or go all the way to the back. Nobody is giving up a wheel at that level. I can believe that.

Anyway, maybe we'll try that the next race...going to the front and setting a wicked pace to try to get people to work with you until your group rides off the front. Take people with you and your probably more likely to succeed than going off by yourself. Maybe the course dictates that though. Who knows.


How can something so good be so bad...

This passion for cycling is a poison. It fills your thoughts...takes up too much mind space. I think about it all the time. A virus.

I love the bike, but it consumes me. I find myself searching for deep section carbon wheels even though I don't want deep section carbon wheels. I try to find team issue fizik seats in red and black (the ones with Fizik written on them). I type into the address bar at least once every 2 minutes. I look for races in states that I know I won't race in or even consider registering for. I wonder if Specialized, Trek, or Xtracyle would hire a government economist with a knack for software quality assurance all the time. I day dream of leadouts, big ring finishes, and epic climbs (and the ability to climb epic climbs).

I should be writing my Progress report now...the government's way of letting Management write their own progress reports. The coffee hasn't kicked in yet, so I'm here killing time till the caffeine hits the brain. Why can't it be Friday yet?

We're going to Jay's barn this weekend. There are about 13 of us going and it's going to be sweet. Pretty much a perfect weekend. I'm not much for climbing (I think Anglers and Brickyard are beasts) so I'm pretty sure it's going to hurt like a b!tch.

Watch out though...when we get back those R1V boys are going to be dangerous...

Coffee has kicked in...back to progress.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tysons 3/4

It's been a while since I last posted. Before I go into the race recap at Tysons some quick review of last weekend to today:

- Rented an RV with a bunch of the college buddies and spent the weekend going to Blacksburg and Martinsville, VA to hand out at the old school and watch the Craftsman Truck series race (awesome).
- Drank A LOT of beer.
- Had a couple of good rides this week but was concerned about "wasting" the weekend (bike wise).

Now, back to bike racing:

The 3/4 race at Tyson's was a deep field with lots of the teams
having deep entries. Joel, Carlos, Cernich and I toed the line for us
with the intention of having Joel and I putting in the major efforts
early and trying to keep Carlos and Scott fresh for getting into a
break or setting up for the finish. The race wasn't too memorable
except that anytime anyone went up the road the entire pack surged
after them. We all took a couple of flyers early on, but none lasted
more than a lap.

With about 7 to go we realized that nothing was going to get away
from the group (surprising with the amount of people the other teams
had). Scott, Carlos, and I started making our way to the front and
were sitting about 6 or 7 back going into the last lap. A DC Velo
flyer looked promising at turn 1 and for a second I though the
suicide move was going to stick for him and that we were all racing
for second...then out of nowhere Joel comes flying up the right side
and starts the run in. This move turned out to be a good one as a
couple of the heavy hitters were sitting 2nd and 3rd wheel and were
forced to chase down the back stretch. I was sitting 7th and was
hoping Scott and Carlos were behind me. The group dived into the
last turn at speed and about 6 wide (scary). We held the outside
line and ended up squeaking by the DC Velo rider right out of the
turn and started the sprint from way out. I think I was sitting 3rd
at this point.

I gave everything knowing that it was way to far out, caught one, got
passed by three...actually sat and gave up at one point thinking my
leadout was done (I know, I know...need to work on mental toughness)
but nobody came around so I got back out of the saddle and kept
going. Crossed the line 5th leading out Carlos for 4th. A Bike
Doctor rider (Josh Kaney) actually got penalized for sprinting
outside the cones so we ended up getting 3rd and the money,
and two R1Vs in the top 5...not bad.

Plus I got a pair of sweet cotton t-shirts at Gap
pretty much a perfect weekend. ;)

Jose got first in the 4 race today and Brooke took first in the 4 race at Walkersville yesterday too...impressive wins for both of them and I can't wait for them to cat up and start mixing it up with us.

More on the race and my thoughts on it later....