Monday, July 30, 2012

Something(s) Different

I mixed it all up this week; did some different things. I need to get my fitness more rounded, you know, even things out going into CX season. I had a pretty strong week, though it was probably a little short on pure cycling. But I'll get back into that in the coming weeks.
I began mixing in some walking/jogging and general core/upper body exercise(s). For a while now I've been looking at those "fit core" stations that are on walking/jogging paths and thinking about things I could do on them. You've seen these things: monkey bars, pull up bars, dip bars, etc. There are two within a 5-8min (depending on my walk/jog ratio) of my house. I threw together a couple circuits that involve monkey bar crossing, ladder climbing, balance beam walking, dips and pull ups. Nothing crazy, but something different. Plus I am working on hanging leg lifts and some other "killer ab workout stuffs" for inner core strength.  
Also this past week I did some different bike riding as well.
I have kind sorta had riding the Schooner Trail at BCSP on my to do list for a while. For those unfamiliar, Schooner (or Schoo-gnarr) is a the super-black-diamond-ultra-mega-advanced trail at BCSP. If you can ride the whole trail, you are legend. (and I've only heard of one person who has actually ridden the whole trail, and a couple who can ride "nearly" everything) Anyway, this trail consists of several natural obstacles like crazy downhill rock gardens, etc that are specifically made to be extremely difficult to ride at any speed, but they're generally set up so you carry no speed into them. It's not my type of riding at all. It was about 30min of putting my foot down, dumping my bike and crashing. It wasn't too fun really. But I'm glad I gave it a shot so that I can now say I have done Schoo-gnarr. If I'm totally honest: it was way harder than I expected it to be.
Sunday I met a teammate over in Story, IN to do some gravel road riding. I had planned on doing a gravel ride form home anyway, so when this opportunity popped up, I though 'what the hay?'. It turned out to be a lot of fun. We rode some roads I've ridden before and some neither of us had. We ended up right around 3hrs with lots of climbing and mostly gravel. We did have to hike-the-bikes in a place or two though because it appeared as though a tornado moved through there Friday. There were stretches that had tree after tree down across the roads. The because these are rarely traveled gravel roads, there's no huge hurry to clear them. Oh well, it made for an adventure.
This week will probably look pretty similar: "fit core" stuff, some different types of riding, etc. Then next week I'll probably re-introduce some intervals. Light stuff at first, then work up. CX is like 6 weeks away or something...

Monday, July 23, 2012

After the reign

My stronghold on the Cat 3 Indiana state time trial has ended. It didn't really leave me asking "what if" because I was beaten by almost a full minute. No amount of "what if" could have made me up a minute. I rode a good ride and felt really good. I kept it under control, but rode very hard. The wind was pretty strong this year. It was a tail out/head in scenario. My speed reflects that fact well: I av'd 29.5 out and 25.3 back. And I had to work for that 25.3. My time was 55.39, which is just under a minute over my best on this course. I wanted to go inside of 55min, but it just didn't happen this day. My heart rate av was 176, which is threshold and right where it should be for a TT; any higher and there's a very real risk of me blowing sky-high.
I got 2nd in the Cat 3's, so I brought home a silver medal. I will admit I'm a little disappointed, but not shattered or anything. I was 7th overall to the usual Indiana TT specialists: Painter, Sperle, Maple, Manfred, etc. These guys I think are all over 50yrs old and blazing fast at the TT. But this race pays out, so 7th netted me a cool $16. That helps in a big way to offset to ~$200 weekend to do this race (gas, hotel, food, etc).   
As you may recall we went up for a friend's wedding also. It was a very nice wedding and it was good to see an old friend. He and his (wife) live in Florida currently so I don't see them often. But it's looking like they may be moving back (to Ft Wayne area) soon-ish so I may get to see more of them at races and what-not.
Also, I had more friends in B-town this weekend. So once we got back to town, we out for some drinks w/ a friend who I haven't seen for a few year because he moved to California and hasn't been back for a while. Plus another friend was in town who I haven't seen for a few months since he moved to Colorado. It was kind of a crazy weekend of seeing old friends. Pretty cool really.  
So I'm going to kind of dial things back a bit this week and re-introduce some non-cycling exercise. I need to get my core/lower back in order ahead of CX season. There's still an MTB race or two to do, so I'm going to keep on the bike of course, but for a week or two I'm going to take it easier. Just kind of ride. No intervals.
Plus the Olympics starts this weekend so I have to have time to devote to watching all that. I get excited about the Olympics. I cant wait!          

Monday, July 16, 2012

Riding bikes, working on bikes, etc...

I rode every style of bike that I own this week. That's road, time trial, MTB, CX and commuter. I don't know that I've ever done that before. I was kind of up and down this week. I went out and did some TT intervals on Tuesday and felt pretty good. I was feeling a bit tired , but had a hard workout planned for Thursday, so I decided to ride the MTB for a bit Wednesday. Fair enough, I didn't set any records Wed, just road a few laps on the trails at Wapahani park. Then Thursday I set out for 2x20min threshold intervals and really struggled through them. 2x20 TH is a very hard workout and sometimes you just don't have it. I was at the low end of my zone for both of them. I barely made it. But I made it. So although I wasn't as good as I wanted to be, it was mission accomplished.
Sunday I wanted to do something different. I haven't been out on the gravel roads on my CX bike in many months. So I decided to go out and do a couple hour "CX" ride. It's been so dry that a lot of the gravel is displaced and the silty powder underneath is exposed in a lot of places. This makes it nice on the flats, but on the hills since there's not a layer of gravel to absorb the car tires, the braking bumps are really bad. I noticed this early on while descending Gross road. I was being thrown all over and was borderline out of control. I looked down at my computer as I hit 43mph and knew if I braked it would just make things worse. So I just loosened my grip and rode it out. A little scary I will admit.
About an hour later I hit another big hill, but this time going up. It was completely cross-rutted with braking bumps as well. This hill is extremely to get up when conditions are perfect, so this was extra hard. But I made it up that bastard. And that's an accomplishment.
I also stared getting my "A" CX bike back together this week.     

I cleaned it real good before taking it apart last winter, but it still has some frozen parts that had to be overhauled. I enjoy detail work, so this is "fun" for me. I almost gave up on freeing this bearing. I had to soak it in the strongest penetrating agent know to man, the creeper (orange can), work it free w/ pliers (this took probably 5minutes of constant working of it), then once it started turning I gave it a bath in 711 general lube (silver can)  to clean out all the creeper. Once I had it cleaned/dried I filled it w/ Rock and Roll Super Web grease (white tube) and re-sealed it. Good as new; better actually.
So I'm getting my CX bikes ready and preparing for the State TT. I'm not sure if I've ,entioned this already, but a friend of mine is getting married this Saturday in Ft Wayne and the State TT is Sunday 20minutes away form Ft. Wayne. So it worked out perfect that I can go to both. Which is good because there's no fckn way I'd drive up to Ft Wayne two weekends in a row if it had been scheduled that way. I69 between Indy and Ft Wayne is a total shit drive. Once a year is enough for me.
I'm going to do another Morgan-Monroe TT this week, then my next report will be post-State TT. I am borrowing a friend's high zoot Zipp disc rear wheel, so hopefully I can tear it up (the course, not the wheel, I can't afford to replace the wheel so hopefully I don't tear it up).
See y'all!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MTB, TT, 4th of July, more TT...

I rode quite the variety of bikes this week.
I went out and hit the local 10mile TT on Tuesday night. It was extremely hot (100+*), but I haven't done one of these yet this year and I want to get a couple in before the State TT. Plus for the last two or three years I've done every single one of them, so I need to get out for tradition's sake! Anywho, it was too hot for aero gear. So I went at it with no shoe covers, no aero helmet, no skinsuit and jersey 3/4 unzipped to boot. I was of course on the TT bike, but otherwise I was about as un-aero as one can get. I felt really good and really strong. I was 30seconds off of my best on this course. Given that 1) I hadn't done one this year, 2) I was basically a sail and 3) i was hot as balls, I was pretty happy with that time and the feeling. Good stuff.
Wednesday was July 4. And hot again. A big group of friends was going to meet at Brown County park to ride MTB's in the 100+* heat. Sounded like a good idea. It was actually a lot of fun. We had a big group of varying skill/fitness levels, so we spent a good deal of time waiting and regrouping. We did what is normally a ~2.5hr ride in a little over 3hrs, but it was a fun day with a big group of good people. Thursday I  wanted to get a solid road ride in, but nothing major. I went out for a little over an hour (under 1.5hrs), but at a good clip. By Friday I was feeling tired. Then I thought back: I raced Saturday, raced Sunday, ~raced~ (did the TT) Tuesday, rode ~3.5hrs MTB Wednesday and rode fairly hard Thursday (all in 90-100+* temps). Yeah, I should have been tired.
Sunday I wanted to get back out on the TT bike for a long ride on it. My purpose for this ride was to stay aero as much as possible (getting up for the few hills that are on the route) and to hold steady-moderate power; not kill it or anything, just lay down a good hard number and keep it consistent. Not including getting in or out of town the route is a touch over 20miles one way. My power was within 7watts out and back. That's pretty consistent. It was actually within 1watt on the way in, but at around 1:40-1:45 I started to fade a bit. I blame the heat. I felt pretty good otherwise, but it was hot and while I'm not a big "sweater" I was loosing serious fluid. With town on each side I got ~2.5hrs on the TT bike and felt pretty good the whole time, save for a few back stretches.  
With all that I ended up with a fairly big week. Well, bigger (more hours) than normal anyway. It's all because July 4 fell on a Wednesday of course giving me the day off of work, but I'll take it. I'm going to be on my TT bike a few more times over the next two weeks and I feel like I'm going good. I'm already feeling ready for the State TT even though it's nearly two weeks away.      
Sorry for no pics, just didn't have anything relevant.        

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Mud in a drought

This weekend was the only double race weekend on the DINO MTB calendar. It happens that the races aren't too far from here, so I usually do both.
Somewhat interesting though is that I'm pretty sure it didn't rain once here in June. And probably not the last week, maybe two, of May. So it was extremely dry for Saturday's short track cross country (stxc) race.
I always like to think of the STXC race as my "tune up" for cyclocross. It's a really short lap (~1.5min), so you really can't afford to make ANY mistakes if you want to do well. We had a much smaller field this year than in years passed, probably due to the heat. There were only 6 of us and 3 of us were clearly faster than the other 3. Actually, one of us (not me) was faster than 2 of us (1 which was me), so it was really a battle for 2nd most of the race. Me and the other guy rode glued to each other pretty much the entire race. I rode the front of our 2-man group for a long time, then pulled over to make him come through for a few laps. I eventually took the front slot back, and then tried to get him to come back through at the 22minute mark (it's a 30min race). My hope was that he didn't have a watch on his bike and wouldn't know what the time was, then I could sit on him for a few laps, attack him w/ two to go and cruise in for second. He had the same plan though and wouldn't come through. Can't say I blame him. Per the text book he attacked me w two to go and beat me by like 3 seconds. It was the State STXC Championship, so I earned a bronze medal for my effort. (the guy who won is form IL, so he shouldn't have been awarded the gold IN State medal, but was anyway. So I really should have gotten silver, but whatever. It ain't no thang).
Sunday was the normal cross country (XC) race at the same venue. However, it rained Saturday night/Sunday morning. I thought: 'no big deal, it's so dry that it will tack the course up perfectly and be really fast.' Turns out it was quite wet/slippery for the first 2 of our 4 laps. By the last 2 laps the course had dried and was perfect. I rode pretty well and felt pretty good overall. I finished a few places down of where I would have liked to have been, but playing the conservative game for the first 2 laps probably cost me some time. Then I crashed on the third lap. It was one of those good 'ol loose-the-front-end-of-the-bike-on-a-rooty-downhill-crashes that I haven't had for a long time. A group of guys (2-4 of us) were coming up to pass Lindsay and the guy in front was calling out our pass to her. I was worried he was going to try an unsafe pas on her so I was looking too far ahead to watch him instead of watching my line. When you're on rooty downhills, it is generally best to be looking at you line. Next thing I know I'm on the ground and giving up a few spots. I got up and got gong, but could only regain 1 of the spots I gave up. I have a few scrapes and am a little sore from it, but nothing major at all.                   

A friend snapped this pic after I had finished. That's ~2hrs of race effort in ~100deg heat face. I ended up 16th in the race overall, which is 7th out of my "wave" and 2nd in 30-39 age group. Not my best, not my worst, pretty standard I guess.
I plan to start getting on the TT bike more in the next few weeks to get ready for the State TT race on the 22nd. I have ridden the TT bike less this year than previous years, but I have felt good on it when I have been on it.
A group of us is going to ride MTB's at Brown County Park tomorrow, July 4. It should be a fun day.
Looking at my calendar I do't think I'm racing again until the State TT, and maybe only one more MTB race after that. So the summer race season is winding down for me. That means CX looms on the horizon. I need to start thinking about getting my CX bikes back together...