Monday, August 29, 2011

Locals Only

This weekend was the final DINO MTB race of the season at Town Run Park in Indianapolis. I don't like to make excuses, but pretty much everyone will agree that this is a course typically dominated by local Indy riders. The course has very little elevation change (meaning it's FLAT), and it's basically made up of turn after turn after the locals who ride there several days/week know the course so well that they have a huge advantage. It's always been that way. This year was no different. I was riding pretty well and inside of 1hour I had Cat II men passing me. Knowing that course will make you much faster at that course. (period)
Whatever though; I went in w/ no real expectation anyway and came out next to last. Our field was much smaller than normal (10 riders), but next to last isn't a result to write abut which makes me wonder why I'm writing about it...
My brother, his wife and their daughter were at my brother's in-law's house for the weekend which is on a lake west of Indy, so Lindsay and I went to visit w/ them after the race. I brought my swim trunks not really knowing what we'd get into...good thing. We were going to go for a boat ride around the lake and when Lindsay sat down in the boat her sunglasses fell off of her head and into the water. We tried to fetch them w/ a butterfly net but to no avail. Looks like I was going swimming whether I wanted to or not.
So after the glasses search (I totally found them) Ramona decided to go for a swim w/ me. As it turns out the mixture of me (a for-the-most-part stranger) and the somewhat cold lake water didn't equate to baby fun. This picture was taken during the ~5seconds that she wasn't screaming/crying. Whatever though, it was super fun time. I did however drink 3 sodas which is about 1/4 of my typical annual consumption. Weird, but damn, Coke is just good.
So assuming I don't get an onset of diabetes, cyclocross season is here. Races start in 2weeks. I've been training hard; you know eating salads and stuff. So I should be good to go. I shouldn't joke around too much, there's some serious competition out there. Will I be ready? I don't know...pass me the ranch dressing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Windy City weekend

I finished a training block this past week so it made it good time to take an extra day off of the bike and head to my brother's in Chicago for the weekend. His daughter turned one last week, so I wanted to go up to be a part of that and just to visit as well before the Chicago weather turns terrible.
The trip was like most of my trips up: tons of walking (which no serious cyclist would do, adding merit to my full chump status) and otherwise basically a food tour.

This trip's tour started with a Chicago dog. As you can assume, it was killer. We also went to a place I saw on a Food Network show called Heaven on 7, which is a Cajun joint. It was right up my alley due to it having 20 (I counted) different hot sauces on the table. Very good.
For pizza (you kinda have to eat pizza in Chicago) we went to Pequods pizza. My brother has raved about this place, but I had never been to it. I'd probably put it on the top of my best ever pizza list. It was superb.
We went for late breakfast/lunch at a vegetarian place called Handlebar, as in bicycle handlebar. I had an awesome egg dish (vegetarian, but they do have eggs and fish on the menu). Plus they play pretty killer music and tout their "bike-friendliness." Great place.
We met up w/ my buddy Raw-dog (Ronnie Semba) from B-town, but who now lives in the big city. He went to Pequods with us and we went to the bike shop where he works now. It was totally cool to see him in his new town/new element.

This is the view from the quarry park which is a short walk form my brother's place. On a nice clear day you get a nice city-scape view.

This is us at the big mirrored "bean" shaped thing in Millennium Park. I decided this is probably the most photographed object in America. Maybe the world.

Also in Millennium Park there's a fountain kind of thing that has water which runs down the ground and into cranks along the parameter, then is cycled back up (does that make sense? probably not). It was a mad house of kids running around, and baby Ramona got in on the action.
Overall this was a really good trip; one of the better. What I like about Evin and Lisa is they never seem to mind doing the "touristy" stuff wherever they live even though they're loc's. I think a lot of locals wouldn't want to do the stuff out-of-towners do, but they're always down for whatever.
So that's my travel blog. Other than that I have a "recovery" week this week which means no intervals, just riding and a little less intensity. The we ramp back up for another few weeks. Races are just a few weeks away now!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chase the race

I should have known things were going to go wrong. Race morning for the DINO MTB race at Logansport started out fine, but different. I'm a creature of habit, very ritualistic and superstitious to boot. That said, whenever possible, I eat Muesli cereal on race mornings. It's just what I do. But at TN training camp in March we ate Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats prior to big volume training days. I normally don't like oatmeal. I don't like the texture and it's flavorless gruel to me. but steel cut oats have a totally different texture and a little salt and a little maple syrup and it's pretty good stuff. Anyway, I decided to eat some of this prior to DINO Logansport. No biggy in-and-of itself, but eating cold cereal forces me to open the fridge (to get out milk) which causes me to see the flask of First Endurance EFS gel that I put there the night before, which reminds me to put it in my bag of "food" and water bottles. Well, eating oatmeal, I didn't have to get out milk, so I didn't grab my gel and I showed up to race w/ no nutrition.
Whatever, I bummed a couple of gels from my friend Will, not my brand of choice, buy I was thankful that he had some extras and was willing to give them to me.
FF to race time.
I didn't have the best stat of my life, but I felt good. The first lap is slightly shorter than the following three due to the position of the start). First lap is ~20min long. I'd say by about 12minutes I had moved into third. Then at about 17minutes I picked up a huge thorn in my back tire. Then by ~20min30sec (just after passing through the lap chute) my rear tire was completely flat. Crappers.
I stopped and got it fixed, but lost probably 5minutes or so in the process. The entire Cat 1 field had passed me at that point and a good portion of the Cat 2 field had as well. So I was left chasing for the remainder. I was able to ride good and hard and passed back 3 Cat 1's and was just a couple minutes off of a few more so it wasn't a terrible day, but I was riding good enough that w/out the lost time doing bike repair I might have pulled out a good result. It's worth mentioning too that w/ the co2 cartridge I was only able to get ~25PSI in the tire and I still had over 1.5hrs to ride so I really had to nurse the rear of the bike to make sure to not pinch one wants to double flat.
So, meh, whatever. Not the best day ever, not the worst.
On the way home Lindsay and I stopped for food at Red Robin hamburgers on Indy's far north side. I have to say, the burger was on point. I also have to say this place is why Amerikkkans are fat. Okay, not "this place" but the ethos of this place. 1) I ordered A Coke (as in one coke). I like the sugar, etc after sweating my balls off for 2hrs, sue me. Anyway, before I had even finished the Coke in question, the waitress had brought m another one. I understand that this is "good service," but I'm a one Coke-pony. 2) this place has "bottomless" baskets of fries. That's absurd. We were asked more than once if we wanted another basket of fries. Again, their just trying to be good service people and I'm sure there are a host of people who come just for the endless fries,but god damn, all you can eat fires? Really? Obviously that kind blew my mind. And yes, I fully understand it's not much worse than a all-you-can-eat buffet, but at least you have to get up a time or two (or three or four) at a buffet. Not that it matters.
Enough of that. I think I'm going to go to Chicago this weekend to visit my brother and his family (my niece turned one last week). And then the following weekend there's the final MTB race of the season which I may or may not do. I'll just see. It's a course I've never done particularly well at, but I like to have the racing in.
We'll see. That's it.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

40k all the way

I hadn't really planned (read: fully committed to) on going to Monrovia for a 40TT this weekend, but there were only two left for the season and I really felt I needed to get one in. I've been getting into some more specific training, but honestly, riding as hard as you can for 25miles is just something I cannot do without the motivation of a start line/finish line. So this was probably pretty good training. I had the underlying goal of beating my personal best time for this course, which I guess is pretty much always to goal. That aside, the goal is always to go under 1hr in order to score the Sub Hour Club T-shirt.
There was a light but stiff wind going out on the course, but it wasn't enough that you could really tell if you had the wind your face or if you were having a bad day. Headwind out/tailwind in is ideal for a TT, but I like to know before hand that I'm going into the wind, otherwise it just seems like you've blown. But I kept it smooth and steady and although my time at the turnaround had me down on my previous best, I knew once I hit a couple of time markers (houses/bridges along the way that I know are X minutes form the finish) on the way in that I was on PR. I rolled in at 53.49 which is 50seconds better than my previous best time. I really wanted to go under 54min this year. I had 39 seconds to play with and still PR for the course, but not go under 54, so I was happy to have gone sub54.
Otherwise, I'm back to structured training after a couple weeks off of it.
We also went to the wedding of two friends/local cycling couple Erik Hamilton and Caitlin Coar (Hamilton). It was a nice get together and the speeches delivered by both groomsman and bridesmaids were really nice. They've been together as long as I've known them, so I'm sure they'll have a wonderful life.
With that, it's another week, more of the same. God I love regularity.

Monday, August 01, 2011

August Already?

I haven't blogged for a bit, but not a boat-load of blog worthy goings on over here. I raced MTB two weeks ago and sucked. Sucked bad. I stunk up the place. I'm not sure what happened or why it happened, but I had no power. The race was on the final day of my week off the bike and it was mid 90's heat. So not only had I not ridden for 6 days, but I hadn't ridden in serious heat for over a week. I think these factors just led to a power melt down. I wasn't hurting per se; I couldn't ride hard enough to hurt. It was slow and finishing felt like an accomplishment. Whatever, I'm trying to forget about it.
In the week that followed, which was last week, I got back to riding, but not proper training; just turning pedals and putting in some miles. I put in a good week and even hit the gravel roads a couple times on the CX bike.
You all know what that means, right? Probably not. Well I'll tell you: it means CX season is approaching.
With that it's back to structured training this week. Start slow and build.
There are still a couple of MTB races on the calendar, but other than that it's ~6weeks to CX. And it's a long season at that.
I'm trying t get a trip to Chicago worked out to visit my brother while the weather is still good, but I have to find a free weekend. His daughter (my niece) turns 1 in a couple of weeks and I have a killer gift to take up. Just got to make the time.
That's about all I have to say right now. I know there was a lot serious blog worthy news laid out above for you all (all 3 of you) to digest, so I'll leave you now with these parting words: good bye.