Sunday, March 28, 2010

The ups and downs

The weather has been up and down this past week. Some warm, some cold, some rain, a little of it all (but no snow).
Tuesday was a good ride w/ a former Bloomington hammer who moved to Chicago for med school. He has been riding the flats of IL for several months, so we took a good hilly route for him. Good hard ride. Started out cold, but ended about perfect.
Most of the week was similar; cold early (8-9am), then perfect by the time I'm finishing riding (10-11:30am), then really nice for the actual day.
Thursday it rained hard for the most of the day, but I was able to get out for a good ride and beat the rain. That system was pushing in a cold front though and Friday morning it was in the (high) 20's. All this nice spring weather has softened me up and I just couldn't make myself get out in the sub-freezing temps (I needed to do an easy hour or so and riding easy in that kind of cold is extra bad news).
Today (Sunday) rain was forecasted all day. And the weather-man was right; it rained all day. As long as it wasn't a total downpour, I just planned to go for it and ride in the rain. I made a plan to do a good hard 2.5hr ride (Catholic Cemetery for those on the know), made a couple phone calls (to no avail) and headed out alone in the rain. The ride was really good and my morale was high (because I had planned on riding in the rain, as opposed to getting caught out **key**). But then I flatted on the Catholic Cemetery climb. My hands were soaked, as was my tire and rim and well, everything, so it took me 10minutes to get it all changed and rolling because I couldn't get a good grip on the tire to get it back on. Que cera, I rode strong otherwise.
So obviously I didn't race today. This weekend's race was 3+hrs away and the forecast was for wet. I'm not planning on racing next weekend either, but after that it's on. I have races on my calendar every weekend through July starting April 10. Road, MTB and TT. Which reminds me: I need to burn some KJ's on the TT bike. Starting soon. That thing's going to feel totally foreign to me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And so it begins

First road race of 2010 done and accounted for. It was the feared Brown County State Park Road Race in Nashville, IN. It's feared for its multiple laps up the "Horseman's Camp hill" which has two 18-20% grades. It's also known as Pan-Am hill because the Pan Am games used this course when the games were in Indy.
I woke up feeling good, which is nice for a race day versus feeling like crap first thing (believe me, I've woken up feeling terrible many, many times) . I haven't raced since December, so I had to attempt to get into my race morning routine, though I was mostly winging it because I have been out of my routine for ~3months. But since BCSP is only ~30-35min away, I had time to get things going.
Compressed recap: I got to the park warmed up for 30min and rolled to the line (again trying to remember a general pre-race routine). Our field was very small due to 1) it being March and 2) an ominous forecast (it didn't rain a drop and was super nice BTW).
I think we started w/ 11 guys or so. We shaved a few numbers each time up the climb until w/ 2 laps to go it was just three of us. Despite a few attempts at solo breakage, we ended up together to the line in a sprint and I took third of our group of three.
Below is a video shot by G.Parry of our finish. He's no Scorsese, but it was shot w/ an Iphone and is ~6seconds long. If you're unable to play it, I'll summarize: my crap-tacular sprint for 3/3 (and yes, I do lunge for the line knowing I'm 3rd just to "give em a show').

I was bested by my nemesis Drew Dillman of Louisville. I say nemesis in the best possible way; the kid is young, super talented, super fast and super nice. Class act.
It was a good race, and I rode well and felt good. I'm happy with that start to my season.
The race was put on by a new guy and I guess it was the first bike race he's ever done(he has done running races). The event went w/out a hitch and the guy had a rockin 80's soundtrack bumpin at the finish line; I'm talking G-n-R AND Def Lep, solid playlist.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In the books

Another TN training camp in the books. The brief recap is like this: day 1) ~2hrs, mostly flat, a little rolling, totally in the rain. Day 2) 4hrs in the mountains, 3 passes, 1hr32min of climbing. Totally in the rain. Day 3) 3 (hard)hrs in the mountains, no rain, but super cloudy blocking all the good views. 2 passes, but 7 actual climbs, 48min of climbing.
Day 4) ~2hrs rolling (no mountains) and it cleared up enough to enjoy the good views (see above pic). The one common among all the days is it never got out of the 40's. So it was a little on the chilly side, but great riding. Huge thanks to Jake for hosting; it was a good time.
We rode ~11hrs over the period. I expected to set some power records on the steep climbs, but thanks to G. Parry's Monroe County Hill Climb Championship, I didn't set any (all of my shorter records were set at the MCHCC). Still though, it was good long hard riding.
I also used about half a bottle of chain lube because it rained so much. And I consumed around 1million calories (but burned ~1,000,000,001).
Going in I was a little worried about where the line between being ready for this weekend and being blown for this weekend would fall. I rode 1hr EZ today and I think I'm ready. It'll be nice to get some racing in the legs this weekend.

Of note, since we bought the netbook, traveling with you own computer is the way to go. The more gadgets you have to download all of your ride data, the nicer it is. Plus having your own "favorites" and stuff is nice too.
Also, I noticed a cut in the front passenger side tire before I left TN. It was to the cords, but I thought I'd chance it and make the drive home rather than get it fixed there. The car has a bent tie-rod from a bad stretch of Michigan road last year, and apparently it wasn't getting and less bent by driving on it. So because summer is driving season for me, I'm getting all that stuff fixed today. $$$. Our Focus has been a great car, so I don't fret much when I have to spend a few dollarz on it.
It was nice to get out of town, spend some time w/ a friend and kick it, but it's back to the grind now!!! (though the weather here is AWESOME right now, which helps all things)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eastbound and not so down

I made it to Jake's in Tennessee Saturday eve. It was raining when I got here, as it tends to in the mountains in March, but we went out for a ~2hr spin anyway. I brought my rain bike and my "A" bike, so I rode my rain bike since we left in the rain (getting caught in the rain is far different for leaving in the rain).
Sunday we were going meet a group to do a ~4hr ride into the mountains and climb 3 passes. Highs were forecasted @ 47, it may have hit 45 though. And it rained 100% of the time. It never poured, but it spit constantly and were totally soaked to the bone within an hour.
Jake and I dropped the group and ended up doing most of the whole ride alone. It was too cold to wait, so we just kept going. It was cold enough that we weren't overheating on the climbs, but we were shivering on the descents.

This is the peak of Tail of the Dragon (Deal's Gap). The peak is the TN/NC state line.

Parkway. At Bikesmiths we have a on going joke about things "blowing up on the Parkway." Specifically the Blueridge Parkway, but close enough.

My face after 4+hrs of climbing mtns in the rain and cold. I don't look as gassed as I felt.

So that's days 1 and 2. More to come.
Oh, and 2 observations about getting here:
1) GPS is the shizz. I was weary about putting my getting here in the hands of the device, but I lept in, and it was good.
2) having both sideview mirrors rules too. They have both been broken off of our car recently and I now have then both on and working. It's way better.
And, as for the title, we watched season of Eastbound and Down over the past two nights. Good stuff.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Da Dirty South

I'm off for Tennessee shortly. I'll have our netbook computer w/ me, so if I'm not too tired I'll try to update here-and-there.
Looking forward to getting away for a few days and doing some riding in the Smokies.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Today I received my come-up'ens (or whatever that phrase is). The plan was to ride over to Brown County State Park, bust a lap on the BCSP road race course, then ride back. Easy enough, ~70-75miles, sure it would include the biggest, scariest hill in the are at the midway point, but I just came off a rest week and was feeling pretty good.
This ride was going to be ~3hr30min. I rode strong and contributed tons...until 2hr50min. Than I imploded. These things happen, and I understand that; no huge thing. Looking at my caloric expenditure from the ride, I burned ~2,800calories during this ride and I took in ~500. And I ate just a waffle prior: mathematically speaking, I had no chance. Oh well, it was a good ride, we got to freshen up on the BCSP RR course and I feel much fresher after a few days off this week (yes, despite my showing today).

I read that this sign was posted on a bar in New Orleans. They won't allow Ed Hardy shirts and other "Jersey" style. That rules. Bloomington should follow suit.

I'm not sure why, as I never was a huge fan, but I love that Cipollini has his own branded bikes now. I think it's just funny more than anything. Do yourself a favor if your a cycling fan, spend 7minutes watching this clip of the Italian Punk'd. I can't understand a word of it, but there's what I gather: Cipo's out training when his caravan gets a call one of his world champ bikes has been stolen. The alleged thieves then drive by Cipo on his route and harass he and his training buddy. When He sees the stolen bike on the back of the camper he chases them down and corners them in a barn. He eventually gets in and starts kicking ass until the Italian Ashten Kutcher comes and tell him he's being Punk'd. Like I said, I can't understand the words, but I was laughing out loud none-the-less.

My TN training camp plans have screeched to a halt. My travel companion (read: my ride) can't go due to vocational obligations. I have plans 'C'-'F' ('B' is already exhausted) in the wings, so I still will likely stack a few big days in there, but it may not be in TN (or it may be, per plan 'D').
Other than that, I have people leaving my work, which means we have to find new people, which means (we) have to train them, which means pain in the ass. It's somewhat routine w/ the turn-over there, but still, everyone learns things in different ways and at different speeds and having trained a lot of people I have madd respect for the people who's only job is to train new people. But then again if that's all you had to do it probably wouldn't be so bad. The way we do it is we have to train a person in addition to our 9,000,000,000,000 (I'm not sure how many 0's are in a bajillion) other tasks/headaches. Of course we could just let the owner train people, but he tends to confuse people more than help.
Oh well, we'll get it done. Thanks for reading!