Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spring sprung, then disappeared

This is the first 10speed bike we ever sold and I ever built. (Shimano 10spd that is, Campy had 10 speed YEARS before this) The pic is dated form Dec of 2003. This bike was bought by a dude named Butterknife. He loved to spend lots of money on super nice stuff, but was super slow. This is a 5500, which was Trek's 120OCLV frame w/ Drua-Ace 10speed. It was the shiznit for a while.

We had a string of nice weather here (not quite killer, but nice). Temps in the 50's and relatively dry roads; excellent for January riding. Since it was a warm front during cold season, it tended toward being windy as hell, but I've seen worse. All in all, we got some quality rides in. I kind of tweaked out my left hamstring at some point (I can pinpoint it to doing threshold intervals on Thursday 1/21 when it was pretty cold in the a.m.) Doing hard efforts when your muscles aren't warm and supple is playing w/ fire. Anywho, I iced it, stretched it and otherwise tried to ignore it and it seems to have subsided. Since it back to inside riding for a week or so, you (I) tend to notice little things more than you would outside with ~things~ to distract your (my) mind. I noticed my left leg in general more than normal, but I think it's fine.
I was able to get out Monday for a recovery ride, plus it was "nice" enough to get both Lindsay's and my road bikes cleaned from a week or more of nasty-ass outside riding. The sand the city dumps on the roads for cars to get traction does a serious number on a bicycle. Not to mention the general wetness. Both bikes were in need of a good Muc-Off bath.
So, with the end of January comes the end of my running for this season. I started back on Sept. 1 and ran 32 sessions. Probably about 96miles or so (~3/session av, kind of a guess though). Pretty serious stuff, huh? I won't miss running. I was running with focus during the CX season and doing some max effort (fartlek?) hills to try to replicate the intensity of running up a "wall" in a race. It might have helped. Whatever, until next Sept, I won't worry about it!
Keeping up good hours on the bike and lifting 2-3x/week. That'll get me through another 6 or so weeks. Then go time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I don't know whether the weather will stay like this

Here are two pics of my old Bianchi EV4. This was their top of the line frame at the time that Bianchi built specifically for Marco Pantani. The frame had a 160lb weight limit! I always liked that bike, but then I moved on to carbon fibre.
I wish I still had those wheels on it in the outside pic though. If memory serves, those were Campy Record 10spd hubs built to Mavic Reflex tubular rims. Pic'd w/ Vittoria Corsa all weather tubs. Sweet. These were the cheapest wheels I had at the time so I sold them w/ the bike. Wish I had em now.

The weather here has cooperated with the cyclists somewhat lately. In fact, I've ridden outside 5 (five) consecutive rides! And Sunday I put in a solid hard 3hrs w/ a group of hammer heads, which felt great. The past couple of days have been cold for sure, but I've gotten out anyway. It's hard for me to maintain (high-ish) power for long-ish periods when it's cold and I'm wearing 2,000 layers of clothing, but I'm getting in the hours and generally hitting my numbers.
I'm down to running 1x/week and I'm thinking I may bag it completely after January. I'm still lifting 2x/week and I'll keep that going through Feb and probably a little into March.
All in all I'm feeling pretty good. Other than my bike being so filthy it's probably better off being replaced than cleaned about twice a week, things are good.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter blues

You know why I'd never make it as pro tour pro?
Because as scrawny as I am, these guys make me look like Mr. Universe.

I've been riding inside a lot. Too much. I'm starting to crack. The extended forecast is looking okay, and I need to get out some. It's taking everything I have mentally to ride ~2ominutes inside lately, and when you're trying to ride for ~2hrs, that just doesn't work. My mojo's waining. It seems like forever since I last raced and I don't have a real training focus right now. That and cold weather have me down and out.
I'm complaining, sorry. That's about all I have right now though.
The Tour Down Under is in a week or two and Cross Worlds is the 30-31. That's something to look forward to.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jack Frost nipping at...

...everything he can.
It has been very frigid lately. I have logged a lot of indoor riding hours. Workouts have generally been good, but I am finding myself itching w/ cabin fever about midweek right now.
I took this week to do fewer hours, then do a 20min power test today (Sunday). W/ the temps what they were, I opted to do it inside on the trainer. I was slightly lower than I wanted to be, but I have been told that, all factors included, one can expect 10-12% decrease in power output on a trainer. So if I calculate 10% into what I did, I actually set a new best by a few watts! And it's only January!

After finishing the test (which was 50min of riding [w/u, test, c/d]) I wanted to ride more, so I fired up the MTB, which I haven't ridden since August. I rode out to Wapahani, via the (snow covered) Clear Creek Trail and busted a couple of abbreviated laps at the Wap. I abbreviated them to avoid the hills because w/ all the snow, traction was nill and I didn't want to have to get off and hike it in the snow. In the summer it takes me ~26minutes to get from my garage to the Wap. It took me almost 10minutes more today. It was so slow and hard riding out the CCT. It ended up being a great workout, (high heart rate, etc), but so unrewarding due to moving so slowly. And it was cold. But I was wearing at least two of everything, so I was almost dripping w/ sweat when I got home; my clothes under my outer layer(s) were drenched.
This coming week is looking better than the past week. I hope to get a few quality outside rides in. Though w/ the rising temps, the roads could be a total mess w/ all the snow melting. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
In other news that's no more exciting than any of the other crap I write about, I have my Giant road bike pulled apart for its annual overhaul. I don't like to train on it in crappy conditions, so it's not likely to see any action until Tennessee training camp or so. But it'll be ready.
Oh, and the supercross 2010 season started today in Anaheim. This year has started as a table-turned carbon copy of last year, as last year James Stewart was taken out of the first race handing the win to Chad Reed and this year Reed was taken out handing it to Stewart. Of course Stewart came back and won the overall title last year. It will an interesting season.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Cold weather alts.

So we have this cinder block shower in our basement that is kind of gross and a little scary. It gets used rarely; really only when I come home so dirty form a ride that I 1) shouldn't really go upstairs and 2) definitely shouldn't get into the bathroom shower, as the amount of crap on me will no doubt clog the drain.
The washer/dryer sit next to it and there are additional water supplies for a utility basin, if I were to put one in. It occurred to me though, that 1) I could hook a hose up to one of those supplies and 2) I could fit a bike in the shower. It works pretty well, but I have to work kind of quickly, as the leakage from the hose drips onto the basement floor, which is bare concrete, but houses the furnace, etc. and I don't want a flood on my hands.
This is, however, an excellent alternative to sub freezing outdoor bike cleaning.

December was a pretty decent month weather wise, but January has started cold. Like single digit cold. I was able to get out a lot last month and even worked in some hard hill efforts (up Beanblossom) on New Years eve. I'm not exactly sure where I fell in terms of time up the hill, and this was the first time I've done these reps since I've had power, but my power was high, despite feeling like I was coming completely unstitched on the second one.
I also detoured up Boltinghouse Rd two weeks ago. I was heading back into town and realized that (I think) I haven't ridden that climb all year. It was Christmas Eve and I figured it would be one my last chances to ride it in 2009. It was damp out and the road was covered in sand for cars to get traction (which means terrible traction for bikes), which worried me a bit, but I made it no problem at all (well, a little wheel slippage, but nothing that would cause me to "foot down").
So it's looking as if the cold front that has plopped down upon us is going nowhere. So this week I'm cutting the hours back for a little break since I've been doing big weeks (for me), and since I'm guessing all of my riding time will be in the basement this week. Wish me luck!

2010--Mr. Consistency

DINO at Portage, IN. Another no longer (or at least rarely) used course. I only went there once because it is FAR away; pretty much to Chicago. It actually was an okay course, just too far away.

I was looking at my totals for this (calendar) year (1/1/09-1/1/10) on my Polar Precision Performance software and my memory was sparked. My mileage seemed very close to what I remember doing last year (1/1/08-1/1/09), so I checked and between the two years I was 25miles different (I rode less this year, by 25miles). My mileage isn't 100% accurate because I don't have speed sensors on my cross bikes or my MTB, but a 25mile difference over a 365 day period is pretty wild.
I decided to look at the overall hours trained, thinking w/ mileage that close, the hours were probably close too. They were. 2008 hours were 13minutes higher than 2009. 13 minutes! That's over a 525,600minute period. If I'd have known that earlier yesterday I would have stayed on the trainer an extra 15minutes, for "growths" sake.
Hours trained (as recorded)- 447.02
Miles ridden (as recorded)-6,228
Mileage doesn't include commute miles, which I estimate at ~ 600-650-/year (~50hrs).
I am once again short of my desired hours of 500. I did, however have one of the better years of my half-assed racing career. I rode well on the road, but circumstance, (crashes, etc) kept me off of podiums. I raced well enough on MTB, considering how little (not at all really) I train specifically for it, I achieved my goal of sub 55min 40k in the time trial, and my CX season was off the chain.
I am hoping/planning/expecting even better things in all <1million> of my racing disciplines this year!
So, looking back on my Polar calendar, Jan 1 2009, I rode a good solid ~60miles w/ RS, Fred, Ren-Jay and Val Torodo. Today is a very nice looking sunny day...and it's 15*. I'm scheduled for 1hr easy, and I think that's all I'll do...and I'll do it inside.