Monday, March 28, 2011

Weather up/down (spring time!) and Schababerle RR

This weekend I went down to N/E Kentucky (just south of Cincinnati) to do the Schababerle road race. I've heard about this "spring classic" race for year but have never done it. The weather has be typical spring this week; totally crazy. It was noce and mostl warm early in the week and spitting snow late in the week. The forecast for the race venue (and here) went from 1-3" of snow to 2-4" of snow then back to 1-2". We got a very light dusting here, and that's all the race town got too.
It was cold though. And w/ temps changes come winds.
Looking at the race all the names I knew on the pre-registered list for the 1-2-3 race were people I race with/against in all other disciplines. And if that had been the field I would have done pretty well. But what I didn't count on was a bunch of "pure road racers" showing up day-of.

(climbing that hill)
The course was very tough. It has 1 flat stretch of road that is maybe 2miles long. After that you hit a road maybe 3miles long that is brutal climbing. Then it's narrow, rolling, open-to-the-wind road for the remainder.

(me coming unhitched w/ one to go [looking down is a sure sign of defeat]. I would regain contact, but quickly loose it again w/ in ~5minutes)
My real goal was stay toward the front so 1) I didn't get caught behind dropped chains and stuff on the climbs and 2) so if a move went off the front that I thought I could go with, I would be in a position to do so.

I made the split every time up the hill (except the final times of course) but the moves off the front were too much for me. I settled into the group pic'd above and we made a valiant chase, but a big Cat 1-2 road team showed up w/ several guys, so they were the major players. They made good moves and got the break ~3minutes up the road so were really just hoping to pick up remnants of the break away.

We picked up a few of them, but 4 or 5 stayed away. I came completely unglued w/ 1 lap to go and I flogged myself for while to get back on the group, but it wasn't happening, so I just shut it down and rolled in it to finish. I ended up 10th and am pretty happy w/ that. Doing a 1-2-3 race w/ out being on a big 1-2 team is risky. Plus this course was brutal and the wind and a high temp ~40 made it even worse. The first race of the year is always extra hard and this was 3hrs of mostly torture. It can't get much worse, right?

(this was not a terribly uncommon sight. The "actual hill" was at the end of a 2-3mile road that was nothing but up and down. And I'm guessing the big hill itself had a ~20% grade in its vicious mix)

In other totally unrelated news I have been needing to do laundry and I realized there are cloths in my dirty basket that I wore to the Park Tool Summit which was Jan 24-25. I'm pretty sure I haven't done my laundry in 8-9 weeks. I think that is a new record for me. I'm a little proud of it, but not really.
More racing for me this weekend in OH. My favorite pro race of the year, Tour of Flanders is Sunday too, but I'll likely have to miss it to go race myself. I missed my second favorite race, Ghent-Wevellgam this weekend, but I made it back in time for the end of the Supercross from Canada. I did miss the F1 race from Australia though. This weekend is Moto GP, Supercross form Texas and Flanders. Sacrifices...
(all photos courtesy of Jeffrey Jakucyk)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Time's a changin'

Thanks to DST that is. I think being away and w/ no real schedule whatsoever during the dst change screwed me up. Or at least set me back a week or so of being used to it. I'm struggling to get out of bed, dragging ass in the a.m. and eating dinner really late. I gotta get my act together.
I've done a few easy rides and one longer ride since back from TN. I think I'm still a little fatigued from the trip and stacking 3days in the mountains, but I think the gains lie beneath the fatigue. I'm going to do some shorter duration but higher intensity intervals coming up this week, then get the cobwebs off and race this weekend. It feels like forever ago since I've raced a bike and it's been 3months. Which is actually a pretty long time. But I've done several hard rides and several group rides and a few hard group rides, so mixing it up in a RR shouldn't be too big of a deal. Of course it's never me I'm worried about; it's the other guys who seem to have attended SeƱor Sketchball's School of Bike Riding over the winter.(not sure who this is, but I did a google image search for "senor sketchball" just to see what came up and this guy came up as "Dr. Sketchball." He's clearly a Simpsons character, but I'm embarrassed to say I don't know that I've ever seen him. Nor can I find any info on him after doing a google search for "Dr. Sketchball Simpsons." Something's fishy.)

Anywho enough Simpsons nerding, spring is definitely here (as of 3/20!) which means crazy up and down weather is afoot. So far it's been mostly up, so whatever. But I've seen a few IN springs in my day and I know it's probably not done snowing here yet (yes, I said it). And even though it's very wet here already, it's going to rain like a bastard yet. But I'll roll w/ this 70/partly cloudy as long as it's here...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

TN TC 11

This past weekend and the early part of this week my friend Josh and I made our (pretty much) annual trip to Josh's brother Jake's house in Eastern Tennessee to ride bikes for a few days in the mountains. Tennessee Training Camp (TN TC) we have come to call it.
We left Saturday morning to get down in enough time to do a little ride Saturday evening; just a quick little hour or so to spin the legs before dark. We got that in and done and were planning a biggish day in the mountains for Sunday.
My friend and local B-town hammer Erik Hamilton just happened to be in the area doing some riding himself. He had been down since Friday and knowing he doesn't really know the area I though it'd be a good idea to have him meet up w/ us since Jake lives there and knows all the routes. So he went us for Sunday's ride which took us over two mountain passes, one being via Butterfly Gap which is a relentless 15min slugger. Hamilton is fast and everyone knows that, but he really impressed me w/ his climbing. Don't label him a "crit rider" too fast; he may upset you. Anyway, we put in ~3.5hrs w/ ~5,000' of climbing. We did some gnarly descents too. My descending ability has gotten significantly better all of the sudden and I don't really know why. Nor do I care why, I'll take it and roll w/ it.

(Josh climbing the Parkway)
Erik and his lady, Caitlin took off after we rode Sunday and Monday Jake, Josh and I did a killer ride called The Homestead Loop that goes over a mountain pass that has a vacation housing addition plopped right on top of it called Homestead. The addition, Homestead, has a bastard of ac limb to get into it, then rolls a bunch until you hit 2 ~24% gradients back to back. Then it's peel-you-eyelids-back descending out of the addition (really fast, scary, sketchy descending).
The you roll along mostly flat roads until you get into Smoky Mountains National Park, where you climb over another mountain pass then ride the rolling roads home. Great ride. Probably my favorite there.

(Jake and Josh w. mountains in the background)

Tuesday we wanted to do something shorter (we'd done 3+hrs the past two days n a row) so we just rode to the top of the Parkway and back. It's ~2:15 and only 1 mountain pass, but much more steady of a climb (the climbs, generally ended up being 15+minute threshold intervals).
It was a nice little ride, but Josh flatted his front wheel which had on it a ~5-10yr old tubular tire. So he turned around and started to head home on a flatted tubular. There's only 1 person I would trust to able able to safely ride a flatted tubular down a mountain and that's Josh. He made it all the way home on a 100% flat tire (one of the advantages of a tubular is it can be ridden flat, but he rode that thing ~15miles flat and ~4 of those were descending where if you let off your brakes you immediately go ~40mph!).

(driving home)

Wednesday Josh and I were heading home so we all went out for a quick little easy spin in the morning. We woke up to the news that Nate Dogg had died, and Josh had Snoop's "Doggie Style" in his truck, so we had to bump that coming home.

We had a great time. The weather was really great for once. It has rained every day of every time I've been there (that' not an exaggeration either, every single day). It rained for part of one day this year, and it stopped when we rode that day, so we didn't get rained on at all. Plus we went into Knoxville and I'd never been into Knoxville proper; it's a nice place. We had beers at a downtown brewery had pizza (and more beers) at a place called Barley's. There was a band playing there too, but they were taking way too long to get ready and they didn't look at all like bluegrass, so we ditched out before they started. Really fun time though.
Holy crap, this is getting way too long. My apologies. If you stuck it out this long reading, thanks (and sorry).
Now it's back to work, back to "normal" bike training and probably racing next weekend!!!!!!

"...and if your ass is buster 2-1-3 will regulate."

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Pain in the neck

This week was coming off a recovery week for me. I can't say I felt "all rested" etc, but I had a super solid week on the bike. I had two good hard interval days, one which I did inside on the trainer and a really good 2hr ride on Wed. I met up w/ a solid group of hard men today and rolled a good 4hr. It was a hard ride, but not a slug fest. I was a little worried about riding long today because I woke up Friday w/ a very sore neck; like it hurt to turn my head. As the days have gone by (Sunday now) it is better, but still a little bummed. Not sure what happened. I have been having neck issues for months, and maybe I just slept wrong on it, but it was pretty bad. Like I said, it does still hurt, but is much better (2 days later).
I don't have a whole lot to report outside of that. Things are just gliding along right now.
I did figure out a way to impress my garbage collector. Have a recycling bin full of Campagnolo boxes.
His mind will be blown. Probably not. But mine would if I were a garbage collector.
We're scheduled to leave at the end of this week for our annual trip to TN to ride the mountains. I guess there's some inter-family drama going on w/ our host (nothing major), but all should fall as planned. Then I may finally race the weekend after we get back (the 19th). The guy who promotes the race is a total idiot, so there's a good chance it won't take place. We'll see.