Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Showers...

I really don't like rain; it ruins pretty much everything I like to do (except, of course, complain to the blogoshpere).

BCSP RR pic dump

This week is looking pretty bad for me training wise. Tuesday I skipped the morning ride in favour of the evening TT, but the second I stepped out of the door at work to ride out to the TT, it started raining...Then it rained harder...Then it was getting late enough that I said 'screw it' and came home. So Tuesday was a total bust.

Then Wed. I got out for a hill int ride and felt like crap. When I got in I actually had a really good time for the ride, but I lacked all "snap" I like to have on the hills of that ride.

Today it's storming. I think I'll hit the rollers for bit.

If, like Karen Carpenter, rainy days and Mondays get me down, this week is a downer for sure.

(pics from BCSP RR courtesy of John Bennet)

5th wheel. Not sure where or when on the course this is.

This is on the climb just before the famous switchback. I think I'm looking down for more gear.

This is the pitch right before the switchback. (I'm third form the right [white helmet])

This is right before the previous pic. It shows the steepness well.

from behind (that's my shoulder/head on the front left)

pic dump cont.

Ouch. Just before finish.

My left calf started to cramp something fierce on lap 6 and I had to pedal through it. It was really sore Mon, Tues and Wed, though not as much Wed as the previous two days. It feels pretty normal today. Maybe the weather induced roller ride wasn't a terrible thing for the calf's sake. Whatever, I'm really looking forward to consistent good weather.

Monday, April 27, 2009


(first lap when it was still together [for the most part] I'll have more pics soon when the Graham Watson of the midwest, John Bennet [greatest {and most gracious} cycle photographer ever] gets them up.)
Here's a clip of John's description of the course: "...(I thought of) calling the Brown County Road Race 'Death on 2-Wheels' before I went. Wow...This thing was brutal. If you've never been there, I don't even think the pics really tell the whole story. I walked some of the steeper grades to get the shots. Even that was moderately difficult."

I went into the BCSPRR confident. Last year I kind of got boxed in on the first time up the climb (on the first lap tons of riders drop their chains and/or just get totally shelled on the 20%grades). Last year I was on the inside of the road and when people started dropping I had a hard time getting around them due to positioning and was left chasing from lap 1.
This year I made the conscious effort to move to the outside (left side) of the road BEFORE the climb so when the massacre began I could stay up front and make the initial split. It payed off, as I basically rode the front the first time up and the field split pretty much in two; mission # 1 (be in front for climb): accomplished.
That was lap 1/6. Over the next two, between people taking flyers and being chased, and general hard climbing we whittled the front group down to 10 and this was the breakaway; mission # 2 (stay at front/get in break): accomplished.
The break consisted of 5 Turner guys (juniors), 1 older due (who I later found out was the dad of one of the Turner guys, which for all piratical purposes made him the 6th Turner guy), another junior (not Turner), a dude from Ohio I know from cross (named Chris I think), Ernie from Zipp and me. The Turner guys work really good as a team. They'd send a guy up the road, then sit on the front and make us do the work (great tactic for them, pain in our asses). Problem was, only Chris from Ohio and I were doing any real work. The other junior did some work, but he wasn't as strong as us, so it left Ohio Chirs and I to do the bulk of all chasing. (Chris eventually broke his chain or something, so he was out).
So I ended up doing WAY more work than I wanted to do and I was starting to feel it on the fifth lap. We held it together until the final lap, when Ernie from Zipp attacked on the descent, taking two guys w/ him. That left a few of us on the climb, and when they attacked me, I couldn't go w/ them. I dropped the last two breakmates and rode as hard as I could to get to the group ahead, but didn't make it. So I finished 8th. Not too bad. Mission # 3 (win that MF'er): failed. Plan "B" for mission # 3 (ride super hard and leave it all out there): accomplished.
So other than the 80+ deg heat it was a really good day for me. I could feel various cramps coming on in laps 5 and 6 due to non-acclimation to the heat, but I popped some E-caps and toughed that mother out.
This week's forecast calls for back to normal temps. I got out for an easy 50min this a.m. and it's already "hot" today.
This weekend is stop #1 of the DINO MTB series and I'm going to hit it up. First MTB race of the year @ Winnona Lake in Warsaw, IN. One of my favorite trails around. It isn't terribly difficult, but has a few short steep grades to negotiate. It tends to be pretty fast. I don't feel like my MTB'ing is up to par this year, but I normally don't ride MTB much at all outside of racing, so maybe having ridden a few time will make me better than in years passed.
Oh, and weather pending, there'll be a Tuesday night TT @ MMSF. I'm planning on hitting this too, but it may be rainy...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Crank dat

This is the tailgate field where I have a little cross course laid out for winter CX practice. (pic taken in November or something)

This is the same field today set up for a Soulja Boy Little 5 concert tonight. So in Football season it's tailgate, in cross season it's my practice filed and Little 5 time it's reserved for "Crankin dat Soulja Boy."
Otherwise, this town is full-on crazy right now. People everywhere, people driving like total idiots (even more so than usual if that's possible) and parties at every other house. Nuts.
I did get out to ride the past two days and am feeling better. I think maybe I was attacked by allergens. But I've been hitting all the home remedies hard to not take any chances.
RS and I rode an easy-ish lap of the Morgan-Monroe St Forest Thursday and I rode hard for a couple sections and rode the Bean Blossom climb very hard to see if I "had it" after feeling down. Turns out I did, in deed, "have it." I didn't time the ascent, but I'm pretty positive I PR'd up it. Let's hope that can transfer over to this weekend @ BCSP.
I rode an hour easy today, so that's all I can do headed into the weekend.
I've been trying and trying to find a quote I heard from Roger Penske, but I cannot find it. I can't remember exactly what it is, but it's something like "winning occurs at the intersection of preparation, execution and luck." I really liked the quote.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cold weather, under the weather

So after a great weekend, the weather turned cold again. Morning lows in the high 30's or low 40's have had me riding inside Mon and Tues. I have felt a little sick too though. So I slept in today and skipped my planned TT workout.
I started getting sick at this time last year and had a bad BCSP RR due to it, then took off a week after fighting it and fighting it, then had a bad Tour de West Lafayette a week later due to all that. Well, there's no Tour de West Lafayette this year, but the BCSP RR is this weekend. I am drinking lots of echinachea tea and taking double vitamins. Let's hope this passes.
I did a cool trainer workout yesterday though. I sat down and wrote out, by memory, the approximate time and effort for each stretch of road between town and the MMSF loop. I ended up at Bean Blossom climb @ ~30min, which is about right time wise, but I ended up short time wise overall by 20-30min. It was a cool experiment though and the time really flew by because it was a bunch of "2min tempo, 1 min hard, 1 min ez, 3 min tempo, etc." So the longest stretches were 5-6min at a time before a switch. And after a hard section, it was usually easy (because on the back side of most climbs is a descent, though after the 5-6min hard for Bean Blossom, it's another 5 min hard tempo for the Main Forest Road).
--Will me better readers!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ceraland pics! 1

The good thing about a 1mile circuit is you get tons of pictures of yourself, seeing as you pass the photographer ~30times~

Me in an early break that didn't survive.(eventual race winner, Taylor Gaines, is in the red to my right)

Same Break

Same break being chased down by a team mate (it was too early and wouldn't have survived anyway, no hard feelings)!



Ceraland pics 2

Tom Saccone. He raced in Belgium years ago. That's hard.

Myrick looking pretty.

middle of pack.

On the front.

Inside of corner.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ceraland, etc.

Picture of the eventual podium @ Amstel Gold race in Holland (though not in that order).

This weekend was the IRS (Indiana Race Series) weekend. Ceraland circuit in Columbus on Saturday and the Mooresville circiut Sunday. Mooresville was cancelled due to rain, but it was a beautiful day yesterday for Ceraland. For reasons I don't really know I'd never done Ceraland. Too bad, because it's a really good circuit. I didn't get any real result to speak of, I'd guess 20th or so. It all stayed together for the most part and I covered a few moves and rode the front some, but mainly sat in and finished in the pack (which av'd 25.1mph!). I did avoid a BIG crash that happened right in front of me due to (one of many) unsafe moves on one particular rider's part. I very narrowly missed going down and am so glad I didn't.

I got to hang/race w/ my old buddy Brian Myrick, director of the Muncie Endruathon (which makes him my boss 1 day/year) and a reader. Good to see you man.

I also got to see/talk to former 24hr teammate, business acquaintance, buddy, cyclocross chear-er and reader Toby Holsman.

After racing Lindsay wanted to go ride MTB @ BCSP. I wasn't crazy about the idea due to having raced hard, and still planning on racing today. But if the worst compromise in our marriage is whether or not to ride more, than we're doing okay, so I went w/ it. Well kind of; I rode one lap, of about 1hr, then took a nature nap on a picnic table while I waited for her to finish which totally ruled.

So today was a bust race wise. I got up ~6, checked the radar and went back to bed. Shortly after which I got text message of the race cancellation. I thought it may be a totally bust, but there was a clearing on the radar around noon, so I got out for a little over an hour.

Plus I worked on my bikes some too, which needed to be done.

Next week is the BCSP RR (Brown County State Park Road Race). Big nasty climb (done, like, 6 times), but I think I'm ready for it. Grrrrr.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who Knew??

Who knew that Tony Cruz has spent so much time in Indiana lately? Here's a quote from him: "...the rain has been killing us. Rain and 40-degree weather for me is hard." Tony, a former US Postal/Discovery PRO is now on team BMC (which also wear Assos [Swiss] clothing to go w/ their BMC [Swiss] Bikes) is actually talking about Belgium, and any PRO who wear Assos is alright by me.

And besides, it was super nice here today. And I had a great ride. I went out on what is, for me, one of the harder "normal" routes in the area, North Shore Dr. I felt good into the wind and climbed strong. I got a flat too. BUT, for the first time in forever or so, my spare tube WASN'T pre-popped from being in my seatbag all funky. Bonus. Seriously, my spare tube is pre-flatted so frequently that I've taken to carrying one of these in my jersey pocket all the time now (the kit is about the size of a quarter).

Anywho, the sunshine woke me back up today. I felt good. And I mowed the yard yesterday. It kind of sucked, but wasn't too bad. Except that I ran out of gas w/ about 4 lines left to mow and had to go to the gas station.

Road bike racing this weekend. I'm kind of anxious to race MTB's this year too. The ten day forecast doesn't look too bad either. Not great, but not terrible.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Motivation killer

This low 40's & no sun crap has gotten me down. I forced myself out yesterday and rode some hard intervals, but I told myself when I got up this morning "if it's below 44, I'm not riding." It was 42 when I checked and is up to 43 now. Crap. This return to winter has robbed my mojo. I can't really make the Wednesday night group rides either because they leave at 5:30 and I don't usually get out of work until 6:15 or so.

Complaining is so much fun. I should shut up.

I'm probably racing Saturday and Sunday this week, so I'll justify an extra day off as "rest" rather than "not riding due to poor weather and even poorer attitude." Yeah, that's it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Crazy cross winds, etc.

While the Belgians were winning in Roubaix, we in Bloomington were dealing with Flandarian winds.
A small group of four of us went out yesterday for ~55-60 miler. I wanted to get in a solid 3hrs, but effort required to put in the 2:35 we did was enough to make up for the lack of time. It was definitely some of the windier conditions in my memory; these were Muncie spring winds. You can't hide in cross wind, and it was blowing from the east/north/east which is kind of weird. I'd say we had maybe 10 total minutes of tail wind in the 2.5hrs. I felt good though and rode really good and hard. I'm actually a little sore today.
But it's raining today so I rode rollers to spin out the soreness.
Saturday was supposed to be the first MTB race of the year. Due to a bad forecast the RD cancelled it two day ahead of time. Bummer, I decided to just go into work. Then he uncancelled it about 3 hours before it was to start and I was already at work. Double bummer.
I did go to Upland Brewing Co. last night for a friends birthday and had a buffalo burger. I got it w/ their jalapeno blue cheese on it and it was a little overpowering. I wanted to taste the burger, but man, this stuff was hot and pungent. Good though.
This week is the first of the Bloomington Tri Club's 10mile TT's @ Morgan Monroe. The weather looks iffy, but we'll see. Sitting here right now, I don't feel like I have a TT effort in my legs, but I probably do given the amount of trainer riding I've done. Again, we'll see.

Friday, April 10, 2009

...because so much is riding on your tires

A representative form Michelin tires came in today. He asked a bunch of questions and I was totally honest w/ him. I told him I am not a big fan of their tires, as I have used them in the past (many years ago) and was not happy w/ the way they wore. He said they've changed since I've been on them (which was the original Axial Pro days) and asked if I'd be willing to try a pair of Pro 3 Race tires to evaluate. Of course I accepted, as anything free is worth the price. My rain bike needs new rubber anyway, so I figured riding these in bad conditions and even on trainer/rollers will put them through the ringer and give a) him good feedback and b) me a sense of how they've come in last, 7 or so years. I told him (as a buyer) I'm not particularly loyal to any tire, but I really only ride Continental for road tires and am very happy w/ them... be continued in the distant future (as in I need to get several thousand miles on my "b" bike before I'll have a feel for their wear).

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It was 28* this morning.

So I rode inside again. It was a bummer.

Jens Voigt said in an interview on VS. during Criterium International "I win races by putting the other riders through a meet grinder." Imagine that in a thick East-German accent. Whoa.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Back inside! (and HB-R pics)

So the past two days have been indoor ride days. It was snowing and cols yesterday morning and 34* and, well, 34* today. A day like today would have been killer in January or February, but after having so many 60-70* days, I have a really hard time riding outside in this. It is almost as hard to ride trainer, I can (frown) and bear it.I did a good 1:15 TT workout today.
This dude took 643 pictures of Hillsboro Roubaix, and only 2 of them are of me! What was he thinking!?!

On the climb into the finishing circuit, probably second lap. You turn off of this climb onto a fast descent that turns to brick at the bottom.

This is the first climb back into town. This is a good picture to see the climb. Notice the (lack of)adherence to the center line rule by the field (the big group is taking up the entire road and the smaller group behind is on the wrong side of the center line completely!)

At the beginning (far right of pic).
I did eventually figure out how the group of 30-40 guys got away. I wrote an e-letter to the race director about it. Here it is:
I'd like to register a complaint from the Cat III field. Our field split on the first lap, within 20 or so minutes. Not a major split, but maybe 10seconds. Shortly after this spilt the official for our race drove past our field, parked his SUV in the middle of the road and stopped our race to yell at us regarding yellow line violations. Not only did this move cause many locked up wheels and nearly a major pile-up(unsafe), but allowed the initial split a very big advantage (unfair). I was taken by much surprise to learn that after breaking away from what I thought was the main field and solo'ing the final lap to come in 44th place. That means that 40+ people were riding away from the rest of the race while we were stopped on the road at the mercy of the official telling us he "should disqualify our entire field" (except for the group up the road, I guess) . Now, there were TONS of yellow line violations; there were 100+ people on the road. I, personally, would have no idea how to effectively enforce a yellow line rule w/ this many people per race category. I do think, however, that the official in our race handled it poorly and all but decided our race results for us.
If you've read all this, thank you...just my $0.02.
--adam rodkey
BTW: great event, great support. job very well done.
-and his response-
Hey Adam
The center line rule was a real problem this year. I met with the officals for 20 minutes to discuss what to do after the race. I was not out there but there were two options one DQ the whole field or two DQ no one and try to fix problem for next year. Please know that all the officals and I are concerned with rider safety first. When riders cross the center line a rider could die. We plan to lengthen the loop and extend the time between fields so officals can DQ riders on the main roads face it the back roads are to narrow to enforce. I hope you know the offical was acting for your safety but I understand you may not agree. I hope you will try the race again, because the town really supports it and wants to put it's best foot forward. So much so that the weekend before the race nearly 25 volunteer spent hours cleaning trash from ditches on all those backroads. Please do not let one officals act spoil the 100's of man hours of hard work from people who do not understand why a grown man would wear tight shorts and ride bicycle on their bumpy roads go to waste. Montgomery county is one of the poorest in the state, but they are rich in spirit and are learning to love our sport. So I.thank you for concern and please know I will try to fix it for you.
Sincerely Todd Harris

Sunday, April 05, 2009

If I got nothing else form Hillsboro-Roubaix... least I brought back the beginnings of some sweet tan lines. (the light in this pic makes this look way worse than it is, it doesn't hurt or anything).
The Race:
First, I had bad directions from Yahoo! maps. That is the second time Yahoo! maps has given me just plain wrong directions. Luckily I left early enough to make it w/ some time to spare.
Hillsboro-Roubaix is so named due to it being a somewhat hilly course, always super windy and w/ several bad roads and some brick road sectors. It was a very nice day overall; shorts (obviously from pic) for the first time this year! It was a windy bastard though. And riding on bricks is way rough. I thought it wouldn't be too bad, but it was bone rattling.
We had 100+ people starting our race, so this was the biggest RR field I've ever started with. It was 3 laps of a 22mile course. It started hard an remained hard throughout. Toward the end (~3/4 through) the second lap, (what I thought was [I'll explain this]) the main field split to all hell on a super windy section. Wanting to make the selection (which was splintering to fewer and fewer guys very rapidly), I chomped the bit and rode as hard as I could to bridge to them. I made it, and by the time I did it was down to me and three others at the base of the first (of two) climbs back into Hillsboro.
When we started the climb, I noticed my "breakmates" were struggling, huffing/puffing, grunting, shifting down, etc. I felt fine and was climbing this hill in my big ring even, so I thought 'f^#k it, I'm going to drop these guys and see what happens.' And so I did. I solo'd off for the remaining ~2miles of the second lap and headed out onto the third (final lap) solo. I could see my gap growing as I would round corners and my only thoughts were "I'm going to win this mother' and 'what should my victory salute be?' (I pretty much decided on the finger pointing in the air offering up madd props to Allah). So, riding my ass off, ~3/4 way through he final lap I caught up to 2 guys that had Cat III numbers pinned on. I asked "are you guys three's?" They said "yeah." I asked "are dropped and lapped, or OTF (off the front)?" they said "OTF, the main field is 45seconds up." I thought 'shit, there was a breakaway somewhere along the line that I didn't see go.' So these two dudes wanted to work together to try to catch the group, but I was much stronger than them, so I worked w/ them for a few rotations, then just rode away from them. I knew I wasn't going to catch the group up the road, which I could see through corners was ~7-10guys. I thought 'ah well, maybe top 10, a super hard workout and tan lines.' So I continued on solo and finished strong.
Fast Forward to results, I'm listed as 44th! I guess at some point roughly half the field got away and I never even saw it happen! The group I saw up the road in front of me was defiantly NOT 43 people, so I guess a humongous group 'sneeked' away in front of them. Kind of a bummer of a result, but I rode super good, so I'm happy w/ the day overall. Downer about a 100+ person start is you can't see what's going on all the time.
I do want to mention also, that under race conditions the 11speed drivetrain was awesome. I always had the right gear and it worked 100% without flaw. And the Fulcrum racing 0 wheels are sweet too. I love the feel of an ultra stiff wheel under a carbon frame. You get this weird kind of incredibly lively feel from the road, but that is deadened by the frame; it's hard to describe (like a really good, solid road feel, but that doesn't beat you up).
Well this got long fast, so if you've read to this point, you're dedicated; thank you!

Looks like snow this week! I'll keep y'all updated on what I can get done training wise.