Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No racing, but busy all the same

Lindsay w/ a Tucan bird at the petting zoo in Frankfort. He didn't like her standing close to his food.

Since last post I've been busy, but not with weekend racing.
Thursday of last week, a couple of strong guys and I went out for a rather hilly ride and smashed it. This-in-and-of itself seems insignificant, but it was one of (my) better rides of the year I feel. When Fred from our a.m. group is on, he's really on. And he was on that day. And when he has an on day he's hard to hold onto, but I was able to hold onto him for the most part. I felt good and it was a noteworthy ride. (hence the note about it :)
Friday I took it easy, as usual, but felt a little run down from Thursday; not big deal, as I take Saturdays off in favour of all day work.
Sunday Lindsay and I were headed north (of Indy) for a maternal family reunion. I got up early and went out to Griffey lake to bust out some hill intervals, short:, but hard. I felt really good during this session too. Really strong. At the Griffey Lake boathouse (where I rest between ints) there was a relay exchange for a "Red Eye Relay" running race. Basically I gathered it's a ~110mile running race done by a team. There was a lot going on there, where normally before 8am I'd have the entire road/lake to myself. It was cool having people around though, because they were so hyped on their thing they were cheering me on my intervals (which is probably why I felt so good).
The Reunion was nice. I saw several people I haven't seen in several years, and several people I kind of just figured I'd never see again. I'm not a real big "family person," but it was nice to see all of those people. Plus Lindsay and I played on the equipment at the park (which led us to the conclusion that kids are bad-assed since after about 5 minutes we were too tired and sore to go on) ate hella reunion food and checked the petting zoo where I petted (what I think was) a pygmy reindeer, a sheep (which feels like a dirty wool sweater), and a goat while Lindsay petted many of the same animals, but also pissed off that Tucan bird.
In follow up news, I reported a few weeks ago that my Ipod died. I bought a shuffle to replace it. I thought a shuffle would fit my usage criteria well, as I usually just play shit at random anyway while working out or mowing our yard. I got it in metallic pee color (just like the wagon queen family truckster). I like it so far. And I'll say that thus far it has played a disproportionally high amount of Ratt. Which totally rules.
I'm going to race a 40k TT this weekend, despite two (2) MTB races happening also. There are precious few 40k's I can do this year and I believe I can go under 55minutes. Hopefully it works out for me this Sunday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weekend pics (and rashes)

Here are a few pics from the MTB race this weekend (courtesy of Matt Link)

Over a log



I got into some poison ivy or oak at this race. I'm thinking it was coming around a corner and I cut it close on the inside and hooked a tree's small branches w/ my left arm. So it was either tall poison ivy growing near the tree or poison oak growing on the branches. Either way it's on my arm and in the bend of my elbow. It's not too bad, and I showered as soon as I got home (due to being all dirty, I wasn't yet aware of the rash situation), so hopefully I can get it whipped in a few days.
Last night was a MMSF 10mile TT. It was kind of a weird night; it was cool, but kind of muggy. Plus there was a lot of traffic on the roads through MMSF. Anywho, I felt like I was flying and could maybe go under 22min (my best is 22.24). But I came across @ 22.37. I felt faster than I ever have, but was a bit off my best. Weird.
Today (Wed) it's pouring rain. It has rained a ton this summer. I'm quite sure it has rained at least one day nearly every week.
I'm starting to think about cyclocross. I still have a few road races on my calendar and 2 MTB races. But the first OVCX race is ~8weeks away. In about 1month I need to get down my CX bike from its hibernation and maybe even ride it. I'm sure I can still remember my practice loop. I think I was doing 3laps hard, 2minutes rest, repeat 3 times.?. Something like that. I'm sure I'll re-forget it all in the next month anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Green thumbs, tired legs

I mentioned Lindsay's mom was in town this weekend from Oklahoma. We all had a nice weekend, we went to The Scenic View Restaurant Friday night. The place has a miles and miles view over Lake Monroe and good food too. Lots of outdoor seating made it pretty awesome.
She also re-did my garden. It looks pretty good, but I had it set up pretty sweet w/ 2 or 3 onions, 3 or 4 bulbs of garlic and about 100 5' tall weeds. It looks okay though.

Below is my crop: some garlic and a couple onions. Being a farmer is pretty rewarding.
Sunday I raced MTB in town at Wapahani MTB park. The Wap is a 30min ride form my house, so I decided to just ride out the race rather than drive. I scooped up buddies Ronnie Semba and Zach Widman on the way out and cruised w/ them (it was Ronnie's first race!).
We (Cat I) were doing 6 laps at ~20min/lap. That's a relatively short lap, but there is quite a bit of climbing per lap, so it was a pretty hard race. Basically you were probably climbing for more than half the lap, time wise. Plus the Wap is very rooty, so the racers were getting a full body beating; my arms were getting sore/tired toward the end, as were other guys I talked to. Overall it was a good race and cool to have a race so close. I did come pretty much completely unglued on the 5th lap and lost time, but I got wind on the 6th and made up much of it. I was still beaten by two "rivals" (friendly rivals, but guys that are around my speed that I tend to keep marked), and got 8th overall. I was pretty worked and still had to ride home. I had in almost 4hrs of ride time by the time I got home. Made for over 10hrs for the week. Nice. I must admit though, my butt muscles (from climbing hard) and legs are a bit tired today. I felt much better after an easy spin this a.m., but tired legs are a drag.
This week;
Tuesday eve there a 10mile TT I'm going to do w/ my (slightly) more narrow position. Maybe I'll go faster???
This weekend I have to go to a family reunion in Frankfort. There's a MTB race I had planned on doing, but there's people coming form all over for this reunion, so I'm going too. I'm supposed to bring 2 liters Mt. Dew for it and I haven't been able to bring myself to buy it yet. I think I may buy it in Martinsville on the way up so I'll blend in w/ the 'Dew swillin hillbillies there.
Plus Mount Ventoux is Sunday in the Tour de France. That will be good.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The watcher

This dude's been following me around lately. He has a killer physique, but I can't see his face.

Monday was a sun-fest. I noticed my shadow was very apparent, so I snapped it.
Tuesday I rode my MTB out to Wapahani MTB park and busted a couple laps. Actually, the first lap I attempted to "bust" turned out to be pretty much "a bust." I was trying to follow the trail as I know (knew?) it, but deforestation on the south side of the park has changed the loop.So my first "lap" was kind of a mess, but I think I figured out a good intended loop. There's DRT series race there this weekend and it looks like it's won out over the 3+hr drive to the State TT champs. So I wanted to get a ride in at the Wap prior to the weekend.
Wednesday my shadow was nowhere to be found because it was raining and thundering. Determined to get in my planned TT intervals, I put my TT bike on the trainer and forced them out. Riding trainer is hard and my legs are sore from it. It also sucks terribly to ride trainer in the summer.
Today (Thurs) I put in a solid 2hrs w/ some hills and solid tempo on the flats. I've had a pretty good week really.
Our AC at work has been broken since LAT Monday. That's 10 days. It is a total pain. No AC is bad enough alone, but add in heavy lifting, repetitious tasks (think pumping up tires) and a generally stressful work environment and it's a bad scene. Plus we're all sweaty, etc. Yeah, they need to get that sh!t fixed.
Anywho, lots going on this weekend, and Lindsay's Mom is coming to town too. So Ill be busy (as usual).
I'll be in touch.

He's still there and he pulled up beside me...I bet we could be friends.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Muncie weekend 1

This weekend was my annual Hajj North to the Muncie Endurathon half Iron Man triathlon. As I have been for many years, I remain the official mechanic of the Muncie Endurathon (beware of imitators). The weekend started a bummer, as I was caught in traffic for over a hour so a bunch of hootchies could shake it at a No Doubt reunion gig @ Verizon music center. I travelled ~10miles in ~1hr20min. I arrived to Muncie very late, very sweaty and very irritated. But there was work to be done. I had to first go to the hotel of my good friend Matt Steinmetz to fix all the crap wrong w/ his bike. There was no way after being delayed over an hour that I was going to make it to the expo (where I usually get paid, get a sweet "staff" t-shirt, get a pass to make me look official, etc), so I called my other good friend and race director Myrick to let him know I wouldn't make it. No big deal, we'll catch up in the morning.
I finally got to my friends Luther and Jayne's house ~10:30, which if I didn't have to get up before 4:30 wouldn't have seemed late, but I have to be at the race site at 5am. So we watched the Tour de France coverage, had a beer then I hit the hay.
Race morning, I grabbed my coffee and headed out to the race at ~4:40am to get there by 5. I usually have people waiting for me to get there, but I was slow early this year. I picked up later though. Out of all the routine stuff I normally have to deal with, one guy had stripped most of the spline teeth off of his left (Dura-ace 7700) crank arm form riding it loose for way too long. This was my most bizarre repair for 2009. I got him going, though I can't say I'm 100% confident that his left arm stayed attached for the whole 56miles. One of my fears is that it didstay attached, and he won't get it replaced first thing when he gets home, despite my specifically telling him that "even if it this stays 100% perfect for you ride today, you NEED to get this replace as soon as you get home." He'll probably be complacent w/ it until he powers up a hill somewhere and it re-breaks on him.
So race-day weather turned out to be terrible. It absolutly poured rain for probably 5 minutes about ten different times over probably 4 hours with steady rain between each downpour. It was a mess. And with each front of downpour came ~30mph winds. It was nasty. There were some solid times laid down regardless, but it was very bad weather.
After getting back to Luther and Jayne's, chilling out, showering, etc. I spent the evening catching up w/ old friends, eating and having a couple beers and watching Le Tour. It was good fun. We even went to a downtown Muncie bar for a brew. So many laughs.
I wanted to get rides in Saturday and Sunday, but the rain pretty much shut me down for Saturday. So Sunday I went out and busted one of my all time favorite rides: Hagerstown. Hagerstown is ~20miles south of Muncie and is very unique for the area because it has these two roads, Lacy and Dalton, that have a huge ridge running between them with 5 roads switching back over it. They are challenging climbs, but proceeded and followed by 20miles of frying-pan-flat roads from and to Muncie. I only did 2 of the 5 "switchbacks" because I wanted to get back to Bloomington in the early afternoon, but it was a great ride and I'm glad I thought to do it. I really miss that ride. Since it's always windy on the flat roads there, Hagerstown means 20miles of hammering the wind, attacking some hills, then 20miles of hammering the wind. That'll make you fast if you do it right.
Anyway, this is too terribly long, so here are some pics from the weekend:

My vintage Silca was the real hero of the race. It's surprises me every year how many "triathletes" "can't" pump up their own tires.

The mobile mechanic's home base.

That's a lot of triathletes(the race sold out this year @ 1,200)...and a lot of under-inflated tires!

Muncie weekend 2(pics)

My boy Shane Slaven headed out for the bike (in red).

This is Spirit, my roommate for the weekend.

Matt Steinmetz coming in off the bike. Mind you, w/out my mechanical assistance he may not have gotten out on it in the first place!

Ryan Shannahan in off the bike. He biked a 2:03. That's pretty fast.

This flag was blowing straight out like this petty much constant.

Matt is going to come down for a ride later this week. He moved out to Boulder, CO and we don't hang out ever now. We keep in contact, but it'll be nice to catch up on a ride. Then I'm probably going to race MTB this weekend...or time trial...I'm racing something for sure.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

This week thus far.

Despite a crappy week training, I did score this Petzl headlamp off of Craigslist for $5!

This week has pretty much been a throwaway for my training. Monday I did my normal Monday EZ ride to recover from the weekends races.
Tuesday was a 10mile TT in the evening. My legs were still a little weak feeling (sore?) from the weekend, so I decided I would ride the TT, but not give it everything I normally do. I have adopted a high gear, low cadence TT style over the past year or so. I do pretty much all time trialling in my hardest gear and only shift if my cadence drops below 60rpm. And I DON'T get out of aero position unless necessary. I decided Tuesday night to pedal a higher, more normal cadence in a lower gear, stand on the rollers of the course to 1) see what happens and 2)make it a little easier on my legs. I was ~50seconds off of my best, which isn't super terrible, but not good either. I did learn that big gear TTing is what works best for me.
Wednesday I really wasn't feeling hill attack intervals because it was clearly going to rain, so I decided to do a good solid ~1.5hrs @ tempo. Well it started raining just about the time I got out of town, so I turned off early and got ~1hr in instead. In the rain.
Then today (Thurs)...more rain! I decided to bag it today and do some house work. I may try to get out this evening, but I have more housework to do tonight that requires supplies that I have to get after work, so it may just be a FDO (forced day off).
The air conditioner at my work has been broken all week too. I didn't really think it would bother me much, but it kind of has. Between heavy lifting, pumping tires, etc. and the general stresses of dealing w/ people, I'm totally wore out by days end from doing all this in 85+ deg heat.
So this weekend is the Muncie Endurathon and I hope to have a good fun weekend and get in a couple Muncie rides.
Next weekend I'm going to race either MTB here in Bloomington at Wapahani MTB Park or the TT State Championship up near Ft. Wayne. If the weather is bad leading up to the MTB race, Ryan and I will likely go stay w/ a friend in Muncie Saturday night and go to Ft. Wayne Sunday to TT. I don't want to race MTB in the mud again. Plus Wapahani does not dry/drain well at all so if it rains, it'll be a mess. No thanks.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Wild wild life

This pic was snapped out of our "computer room"/spare bedroom window the other evening. That'd be an eastbound deer.

This weekend was a racing double-header. And a rainy mess to boot.
Saturday (July 4th) was a Short Track Cross Country (STXC) MTB race at Muskatatuck Park in North Vernon, IN. I had never done a STXC race before, so I didn't really know what to expect. It was a good little course, w/ laps being ~2minutes long. The race quickly split between the pro/elite men and the Cat I men (though we all started together). There were ten entries, 4 were pro and 6 were Cat I. I got 6th overall, but 2nd CatI. And I lost to the Cat I in front of me by a bike length or two; I could have had him w/ one more lap!
Then it started raining. And it kept raining. All night.
So for Sunday's AMBC cross country race, it was going to be muddy. And it was. I pre rode the front section of the course, which was a total slick, sloppy, muddy mess and had three near crashes. That's three too many for a warm up ride. I decided that I would start toward the back, go my own pace around corners and rocks and try to pick riders off on the climbs. Plus I figured if the conditions improved, I'd be able to actually ride as the course became ridable. But I was going to be happy w/ last place as long as I stayed on two wheels and didn't get hurt. My plan worked pretty good. I passed a lot of riders throughout, and conditions did improve. I was able to ride somewhat aggressively about halfway through the third lap and into the 4th. I ended up 13th overall, but like 8th for Cat I. That's one of my best Cat I/Expert finishes. Attitude is everything; I went in w/ 0 expectation, and came out pretty good, though very muddy.
And while they probably won't make me sweet bike like they did for Fabian, I'm pretty pleased w/ my ride.
Muncie Endurathon is next weekend and I'll be there yet again as the official event mechanic. Always a fun weekend to catch up w/ the Muncie folks. Plus I usually take my road bike and go for a ride or two on the old training grounds in Muncie. And hit the old coffee shops. Good fun.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I'm kind of tired.

I snapped this pic after finishing a set of intervals Wed. Nice clear pic w/ the hills in the background and big green field that goes on and on.
I noticed on my hard ride Tuesday, which I did solo, that I felt tired. I did a hard climb route (Catholic Cemetery rd), and I rode fine and all, but I felt labored. Ones form ebbs and flows throughout a season, but I go thinking (and came home and checked on my Polar calendar) that I haven't had time off since early December. I've had a day here and there, and some workouts or weeks have been "easier" that others, but I've been going steady for ~7months. I'm going to need to schedule in a week off pretty soon during the season. And then worry about a break before starting cyclocross. Scheduling time to not work out is difficult for me.
I did get in some good quality intervals on the TT bike yesterday, but I've decided that w/ 2 days of racing this weekend, I'm going to take today (Thurs) off. My body feels tired and it's getting harder and harder for me to get up in a.m's.
In other awesome news, Ryan Shanahan went down to Louisville for Master's TT nationals yesterday and took 7th in the 35-39 age group. That's a competitive group and he's 7th fastest in the nation. I kind of wish I had gone to race at Nat's, but I didn't really think about it at the time. And looking at the times (and knowing my speed relative to RS's) I probably wouldn't have done very good, but it would have been cool to race there. And the more I think about it, my TT bike is probably about as far from being within UCI regulations as it could reasonably be, seeing as it's pretty much thrown together on a wing and prayer.
Ah well, I am going to do a little work on my MTB for the weekend. I'll ride it for a little bit tomorrow morning, really easy on the clear creek trail, then it's race time!