Monday, September 24, 2012

Nice (needed) rest week

The worst part of a rest week is I don't have any awesome race pics to share. The good part is I actually feel more rested. I took this week "off" meaning I didn't do any intensity training, just "endurance" riding. I had a pretty decent week and go tin some steady miles. It got kind of cold out all of the sudden, which is fine w/ me, but means I have to get out the fall gear.
I decided to end the week with a Sunday group ride. There's a group that does the same ride, north to Martinsville via Low Gap road and back, every Sunday. I've heard it goes pretty fast and is a strong group of guys so I wanted to get one of these in. It was a pretty big group and a lot strong guys as expected. But I felt like a million bucks; one of those days you hope for, but can't predict. I wanted to maximize the benefits of the workout so I was taking big long monster pulls on the front. Like some 10minute pulls, 5minute and never less than 2minute. The other guys were doing a big share of work too and the group dwindled until it was down to just 4. They have a "finish" line painted on the road for this ride, but it's like 30min from town, so after the "sprint" I just kept riding while the others sat up. One guy followed me and I pulled him all the way to the next climb (the fire station climb). We rode hard up the climb but he turned off into the fire station parking lot and I kept on riding hard until town. It was a great ride and exactly what I needed. Plus it was a great day to be out: great clear day and cool temps. Perfect.     
This week it's back to some intensity and intervals.We're a few weeks into this race season and though my results aren't stellar, I'm feeling pretty good racing. I'm hoping that if I continue on, the results will come. Plus I've been dealing with some pretty serious hip/lower back issues for awhile now and I feel like I ~kind of~ have it under control right now. Under control means my "normal" is like a 2 (on a 1-10) and it jumps to a 4-6 rather than my "normal" being like a 4 and it jumping to a 7-9. That may sound terrible, but it's an improvement. Dealing with injury is part of being an athlete. (period) 
 So this weekend is one of the Indy CX races put on by my team. Last year it poured rain all day and it was one of the muddier race I've ever done. I tend to do okay in the mud, but I never really hope for it. Everything is a total pain in the ass after a total mud fest. But we race in the conditions that the goddess mother nature gives us. Lets' hope for a good weekend...whatever that means.      

Monday, September 17, 2012

OVCX #1 The Apple Orchard

This weekend was the series opener for the major midwest CX series, the OVCX (Ohio Valley CX). The venue is in Indiana, but really considered Louisville because it's just over the river, a few minutes up I-65 from LV.
This is the third year for this venue, but I've only been once, which was two years ago because last year I was up all night throwing up the night before this race. It's a cool venue, though the ground is exceptionally rough. It is an apple orchard/pumpkin patch/family fun destination (mini golf, corn maze, hay rides, that kind of crap), so tractors drive over the grounds all the time. This makes for some bumpy, bumpy ground on a bicycle. Plus it's been s dry this year that it was a major dust bowl too.
I'm not sure of numbers or stats, but this was one of the bigger elite fields we've had at an OVCX race. I think there were like 70+ people. This made the start pretty important because if you got shuffled way back, you had a lot of work to do get in a good spot. There was some start line drama that for all practical purposes made the third row the first row available. Long story. I was in that third row.      
It wasn't so bad though. Things got pretty strung out pretty quickly. I went back and forth with a few guys for most of the race.   

I corner knee out moto-sylee.
I felt pretty good and rode a good race. I started somewhere around 16th-20th and finished 18th. I would have liked to have been more like 13th-14th, but that's racing. I can't really look back and think of anything I could have done much differently do have done much better. And hey, 18th is in the money!

Having two races under my belt so far I feel that I'm able to push myself really well. CX effort is so hard, it's difficult to predict whether you will be able to push yourself to the limit or hold back like 1%. My heart rate files are telling me that I'm pushing hard. And I'm feeling okay while doing it. I've been doing some good training, which brings me to this week. "Rest" week. I'm going to rise easier miles and do no intervals this week. There's no race this weekend, so I'm going to make it a recovery week. I've been at it for at least 5 straight weeks now (I lost some data with a computer switch, but it's 5 or 6 weeks) and this is a long season. So I need to remember to schedule "rest" when I can. But I'm having fun and feeling good. And that's what it's all about. I'm looking forward to the season!    

Monday, September 10, 2012

One done

Well, the seal is broken on CX season 2012. The first race of the Indiana Cross Series (ICX) was this weekend just outside Muncie, in Yorktown. Muncie is my "'adopted' hometown" so I can't miss this race. I see a lot of old friendly faces as well as a lot of new faces that I don't know, but are on the scene in Muncie; you know, my old scene.  So it's cool like that.

Plus it's a CX race, right? And given that it's a non OVCX race, but still with good competition, it's a great way to get reintroduced to what CX is all about. Because let's face it, you have to race to get that kind of effort in. Theres' no way I can train at 180bmp for an hour. No way. 

downhill "plunge'
Last year at this race there were 4 Elite men. 2 were way fast and the other two of us were racing for third. That totally killed my motivation to go all out. This year there were 13 elites. Pretty good turn out. Enough for a race anyway. 

My race went pretty well. I've been doing some CX riding, but you never really now how racing will go until you get one done. I was able to tolerate the effort and I rode technically well too. This was set up as a pretty technical, but also really difficult course. So lots of hard up-and-down, but also a lot of hard cornering. I rode in 5th-8th or so most of the race. I crashed once and lost two laces, but battled them back. It took 2-3 laps to get back up to the guys who passed me while I was down, but I made it and ended up 5th. I was pretty happy with how it went.
This week will be more of the same training leading into the OVCX opener this weekend. The big leagues. Or the big(ger) leagues anyway. I am rather looking forward to it.   

Monday, September 03, 2012

Blame it on the Rain

I can't resist a good Milli Vanilli post tile. I may have even used that one before...and I may well again. Just too good. And I don't really have anything to "blame on the rain," but it did rain like a bastard yesterday (Sunday).    
We had planned to go out to Karst Farm Park and work on the BloomingX cyclocross course, but w/ all day rain that plan was a bust. I wanted to get a couple-to a few hours of riding in though. The hourly forecast and radar basically were a wash, so after waiting around for couple of hours for a respite in the rain, I decided to just leave in the rain. Cyclists know riding in the rain pretty much sucks. But there's a big difference between getting caught in the rain and leaving in the rain. My ride buddy Erik was all-game to ride in the rain, so we set out. I wanted to get in 2.5-3hrs, but when we got to the point where we would have had to turn off to get more miles, I decided to head straight back into town. Ended up with about 2:15, but it poured rain on us the entire time. As Murphy's law would dictate however, within 5minutes of getting home it stopped raining for the rest of the day. Marvelous. Oh well, getting out in the rain every now and then is good for your mental game, right? I hope so, 'cause it's not particularly good for you bike.      

Anywho, since it was Labor day and we weren't working we got out to Karst Monday. We spent a few hours and have the course 98% set. We marked most of it and are going to start riding it. I'm pretty stoked on it; I think it's going to be a great course.
The combination of of a rainy Sunday and Labor Day Monday allowed me time to get a lot of house cleaning done too. The stuff like mopping the wood floors, etc that I don't do regularly but should do more often.  
Otherwise the week was mostly uneventful. Training is keeping on keeping on. Racing is, well, starting to happen. First CX races are this coming weekend. There is a Saturday race on the far side of Cinci-nasty that I'm not going to go to. But Sunday is the series opener for the Indiana Cross Series. I won't be able to do many of the ICX  races as most are on Saturdays, but this is the Muncie race (Yorktown actually) so I can't miss my "hometown" race!
Hard to believe CX season is here already. Let's get it!