Thursday, August 15, 2013

I'm still here!

Hey all-
This blog isn't dead. It definitely has some weeds growing on it though. Sorry.

Lots of the same old same old. Riding, training, racing. Blah blah.

Some new stuff too though. I absolutely went to the Monroe County Fair since I've written on here. And I probably ate fried pickles, amongst other fair delicacies I may have also consumed.  

 Since this isn't a food blog, it's worth mention that CX season is approaching real quick-like. I have been caught up in a whirl-wind of positive things. My training is solid and moving along as it should, but I am slacking ~a bit~ on equipment prep. Actually it only feels that way. Fact is I have one set of wheels/tires left to glue, a few minor things to do to the "A" bike, and I'm RTR. And it's only mid August. So when I break it down like that, I'm still probably ahead of schedule. Boo ya!
Our race, BloomingX, is the OVCX series opener this year. So those of us in charge of course design, amongst some other logistics, have a little more stress than in year's past (our race is normally in October, so we have plenty of time to get things together), but we're on track. We've made a few minor tweaks to our already super dope course. So it's going to be awesome this year!!! Sept 15!

But first things first, we still have n MTB series to finish. MTB racing is going okay. I had my first DNF since forever ago this past weekend in Logansport. Flat tire. And pre-punctured Co2 inflator. Bummer. Had to walk it in. But whatever. MTB is just training for CX, right?        

Till next time y'all. Thanks for reading/checking in w/ me!

Monday, July 08, 2013

4th of July, BCSP Reduex

What a week. I say that with the best possible tone; it was a great week. 

My little hoodrat friends and I

I got in all the training I needed to do, but had to rearrange the schedule a bit to accommodate taking Thursday off of riding to go to my brother's in-law's house to see my nieces on the 4th. Spent some great QT w/ all of them. We went swimming in the lake and hung out on their deck overlooking the lake. It was proper.

Weather has forced the cancellation of 2 BCSP MTB races this year. The rescheduled DINO event was Sunday. I woke up feeling RTR (ready to race). The way DINO runs the BCSP course it features what is probably the most difficult start in all of cycling. It's a short (~20yd?) sprint in thick grass, then a right hand turn off of the grass and onto a paved ~2mile climb w/ some nasty grades. Although this start is super difficult, it suits me well.
I took off expecting to "have to" ride the pace I typically do on this climb, which is, like, 100%. But when when we got up the first pitch I had a sizable gap on the field.   

After initial steep pitch, still climbing

I decided to meter it back a few %'s, but still go hard to maintain this gap into the woods and try to grow it on lap 1.
I went into the woods w/ probably 10-20sec on the field. About 3/4 into lap 1, a group of 3 was gaining on me. This didn't really worry me; I was feeling good and having a few fast guys around would hopefully grow the gap behind. I continued to lead through lap 1 and through most of lap 2. At some point another rider showed up out of nowhere, passed our group and was gone. No idea who he was, but he motoring. I was thinking about a win until then. Now I was thinking about a 2nd. Going into lap 3 I knew I was getting tired, but thought I could maintain high output for the 35or so minutes. But with about 3/4 of the lap remaining, I started coming unglued. I could tell my sugar reserves were depleted, even though I was eating gel and drinking mix. I was fading fast and started to make technical mistakes. This caused me to slow quite a bit on downhill sections and I got caught by a few more people. I was pretty much in survival mode and no real fight left in me, so I just had to let them by and watch them ride off.
Bummer, but these things happen.


I ended up 6th in my race, but 2nd for 35 men. So I got my hardware!

Overall it was great day and great weekend both on and off the bike. Life's good.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Double Race!

Nothing too exciting happened last week. So I skipped a post. No biggie, just normal training week. I jumped into the Sunday fast group ride to Martinsville and had a great ride. I felt pretty good and rode the front a lot. Pretty good ride.

This past weekend was a double race weekend though. I also took in two killer rainbows this week. So the Double Rainbow link isn't totally out of context, just kinda sorta out of context. Whatever; it's funny.

The weekend was the Muscatatuck Park double in North Vernon, IN. Saturday was the short track cross country (STXC) and Sunday was the XC.   
The weather for the STXC was great. Not super hot, dry, sunny. STXC racing is always super intense. I usually think of it as the first 'cross race of the year. This year wasn't an exception. The course was slightly lengthened this year, but I think we were still turning ~1:20 laps or so. It's only a 30min race, but it's full gas from gun to tape. I was in a group of three that was essentially racing for 4th and I ended up 5th. I made a last lap gamble that didn't pay off. That's racing.

For all the great weather earlier in the day Saturday, mother nature evened herself out in the afternoon: it rained a ton. Sunday's XC race was going to be a muddy one.
I switched my wheels to my mud tires Saturday night knowing that Muscatatuck is almost always kind of damp anyway, so after raining hard it would be a day for mud tires. I've been in muddier conditions, but it was definitely a good call.   
Gittin'r at the start
I haven't ridden mud for a while. Probably 6-8 months. It took me a while to get the feel of letting the bike do what it will and having to react to it rather than the other way around. Despite the baller looking picture above, I didn't get a very good start. I got pushed out of a couple of spots and entered the woods a bit further back than I would have liked to. But once things got sorted out I rode most of the first lap in 3rd place and moved into first for the final part of the lap. But in the feed zone I got re-passed and was back in third. I stayed there until the last lap when I got passed by two other guys. I was riding well, but fading. Another day another 5th. Not a bad weekend of racing.  

This coming weekend is the rescheduled BCSP race. It has rained a lot and the forecast has some more in it. Should (hopefully) be fine by mid-week and the weekend will hopefully be okay and we can get this race in. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the course has been changed for this year and the big climb is removed. So it probably doesn't suit me quite as well as in the past, but it's still a fun race.
4th of July this week!!!!!     Wheeeewwww!

Monday, June 17, 2013


I finally went bar to bar; and I'm not talking about a pub crawl. I'm talkin' racin'!

Finally a MTB race happened and wasn't cancelled by weather. And it's a good one too: the DINO at French Lick resort. I missed this race last year when I woke up with a blown back. And the year before that (which I think was the first year at this venue) it poured rain all day. So it was awesome to race this venue in very good conditions.
This course is pretty climb-heavy and as such suits me pretty well. As with most racing, the start here is crucial. It starts on a flat cyclocross-esque course, but as soon as it enters the woods, you're climbing. So I wanted to be in a good position into the woods. I got a pretty decent start and entered the woods second. The dude who was ahead of me was flying and basically checked out immediately. Rather than try to chase him and kill myself, I decided to ride good and hard on the climbs and try to keep a gap over everyone behind.  This race is 3 really hard laps, so I figured I smash lap 1, still go pretty hard lap 2 ans survive lap 3. That's pretty much how it played out. I eventually got passed by two people, so I ended up 4th in my race. But there's an age group race within that race and I was third in that. So it was a pretty good day. I felt good and rode hard.

Collecting my hardware


Sunday it rained most of the day. I went out for a couple hours on the bike with a friend from Indy and we got rained on for a good solid 2hrs. Whatever, it's summer rain and isn't too bad.
Then I skyped with my nieces in the evening. That's always nice, they're lots of fun.

I keep seeing this cat while out on my evening walks. He's pretty nice and sometimes lets me pet him. But he doesn't like cameras. I've tried a couple times to get a pic of him but he'll run away. Got him this time though! 

There's no racing next weekend, but then there's a few in a row in the coming weeks. So I'll just keep on keepin on and doing what I do. No matter what happens, my toes are still tappin.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fat, skinny, aero: you name it I rode it

I rode several bikes this week.  Typical road bike training, mixed in some MTBing and I decided kind of last minute to do the local 10mile TT this past Tuesday. I historically have done pretty much every one of these, but this year I hadn't done a single one. These TT's are just for local glory, but I have never won one outright. But I took the glory this week!
So I'm 3/3 on TT's this year (I didn't win overall on the other 2, but I won Cat 3).   

I have been trying to get out on the MTB once a week in anticipation of actually racing it one day. Hopefully we're done with cancelled races for the year. I got out Wednesday for a bit on it and I'm feeling pretty god on it. I need to a little work to it before this weekend, but overall I think things are going well.
I was invited to go up to some friend's Indy for a group ride and pool party. I was kind of on the fence about going because I knew the ride wasn't going to be "hard," and driving up to the north side of Indy kind of sucks in general, but I decided it would be fun to do something different. So I went. It was a super nice day to be out riding and we had a pretty decent sized group. the pace was "conversational," but I rarely do these types of rides. So it was a nice change to be out for a couple hours and not either doing intervals or otherwise smashing pedals.    

When we got back we changed from cycling clothes to swim suits and carted the grill over to the pool. We had some burgers/hotdogs and various other cookout foods and hung out in the pool. It was a pretty good day.
After I left this shi-dig I headed south to a very good friends house that I haven't seen for a few months. We keep in regular contact, but hadn't actually seen each other for while. We sat and talked/hung out for a bit. It was nice. Very good friend.

So as mentioned above there is another MTB race scheduled this coming weekend. I have done this race in horrible stormy, rainy conditions before, so hopefully they hold it. RTR!!!       

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Another week, another year, etc

This past week I turned over another year. I've been around for 35 of them now. My parents came down and we went to eat dinner at The Scenic View restaurant which over looks Lake Monroe. It's a pretty decent place and (obviously) has pretty good views.
The View

Since Monday was Memorial day and a day off of work I was able to change the week's training around to accommodate a Saturday race. But I found out halfway through the week that the race was actually Sunday. Oh well, that's no biggy.


It rained quite a bit on Friday and rain was forecasted for Saturday. They cancelled Sunday's race on Friday. A few years ago we used to race pretty much no matter what (as long as there wasn't lighting, etc). But the most action my MTB got was getting cleaned and prepped to be raced. Then I hung it back up. It didn't rain much at all Saturday. We totally could have raced. Cancellation so early was a bad call.
Since the race was cancelled a few of us went out for a long ride instead. We rode about 3hrs and hit one of my favorite climbs, Bear Wallow, which I haven't ridden yet this year. We rode pretty hard and it was a good ride. I haven't done a good hard 3hr Sunday ride in quite awhile now so I was glad to get this in.
So it looks like my first MTB race will now be June 15. It was supposed to be May 5, but that was also cancelled due to weather. I guess these race cancellations are saving me gas $$, but then again I'm registering and paying for races I'm not doing. I guess all the entry fees will roll over, but all that aside, I just want to race bikes already!       

Monday, May 27, 2013

It may be May, but it may still be Winter

This week was crazy. Some days with highs in the 80's and some nights w/ lows in the (low) 40's. A couple of the morning rides were down-right cold. 

I did, however, wake up with my thermo reading this one morning. 

I didn't feel like $1,000,000 training last week. But these things happen. Eb/flow. Tuesday's intervals were a real struggle. But I got them done.   

I'm clearly more excited about this pic than the girls are

This past weekend was the Indy 500 and my brother and his family were at his in laws, which isn't too far from me. So I went up there and spent the day with my parents and my nieces while the rest if them were at the race.  

Daphne being a little cheese-ball

Ramona and I gathered rocks to throw in the lake

They live on a lake that has an 8-9mile road that goes around it. I took my bike up with me and busted a few laps around the lake while the girls napped.  
Once everyone got back from the race we ate hella pizza. It was a nice day spent with family and getting a ride in was nice too. 

This coming weekend is the second race of the DINO MTB series, but the first for me. I skipped the first one because it's pretty far away in northern IN. This one is at BCSP in Nashville, IN. I always like this race. The course has been changed and the "big" climb on the lap has been removed, which is a bummer for me, but it'll still be good I'm sure. I have been training well and the TT races I've done have gone well. So I'm excited to get racing "bar-to-bar."    

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2 race weekends in a row!

Man, racing bikes 2 weekends in a row? Lookout, I'm feeling like a racer again!
Today was another TT at the same course as last week (Monrovia) but it was put on by another organization and they started and finished in a different place than before. They also moved their turn around from where the other people have it. I woke up feeling ready to race, warmed up well and felt good racing. But when I hit the turn around in 25minutes, I knew the course was short.

I stayed on the gas and finished in 50min38sec (time on my watch has to be adjusted because I have to start it before I actually start). After finishing in what would be an absolute blazing time I KNEW the course as short. I talked to a few people and they all seemed to have 22.7mile, instead of 24.8. So the course was about 2miles short. But whatever, you're racing the course no matter what. There were some very heavy hitters here and I ended up 8th overall. But those big dogs only beat me by 3minutes. I was really happy with that.
Yes, there were other people in my race, but they left before awards, so I was on the podium alone like a chump

And since I'm a Cat 3 on the road, I won "my race." Since these races are backed by Colavita, I got a bottle of XVO (extra virgon olive oil), which is totally sweet because 1) I buy Colivita XVO anyway 2) I'm almost out and 3) its like $20 a bottle. Score. Beats the crap out of winning a box of some shitty flavor of expired powerbars!

Despite the turns my life has taken recently, my training is going really well. I'm very focused (but I'm always pretty focused) and I'm able to push very hard. It's hard to say when you're not racing a ton but I think I'm on some really good from right now. The summer racing for me is just getting started and summer racing is less frequent for me than Fall racing, but we'll see how it all goes. It's gone pretty good so far these past couple weekends. And the training should stay up.
This coming weekend is the Indy 500 and because of that my nieces will be at my sister in law's parent's house, which isn't super far from here. I am going to try to get up to their house to see them for the day.
Well, I don't really have much else to say. I have a ton of stuff (little things, big things, tons of things) I'm dealing with right now, but this blog is about my cycling life (mostly). So that's how we'll keep it.
Next race for me will be MTB racing at BCSP. It's a couple weeks out (June 2), but I am feeling pretty good overall and will put in a couple more weeks of training to get started on MTB racing for the year!                 


Sunday, May 12, 2013

I raced bikes!

I haven't raced bikes since the end of CX season in December. If you're a long time reader you'll know that I decided to not race any spring road races to give myself some real time off.
I planned to race MTB last weekend, but the bogus weather cancelled it. Oh well, this weekend was a road TT, so I committed to it. I knew it was going to be cold (for a TT), but I really wanted to race.  

The races was Monrovia 40k, of which I've done like a hundred, but a new organization has taken it over and modified the course. The dirty secret of the 40k course as it has been for years was that it was short. I'm not sure how short, but not full 40k. So all previous times are now void.    

Because these races are held on open road, they start them early. Also the wind is weaker earlier (typically). They start at 7:30 a.m. Today it was in the mid 40's at 7:30. And it was quite windy. I have never TT'd in temps that low, but as I said: I wanted to get some hard race effort in.

So not really knowing exactly what to expect, I went out and did what I do. I layed down a 58.15, which isn't a stellar time, but considering the conditions I'm happy with it. That's a touch under 26mph for the ride and I felt great out there. My hands went numb from the cold and I probably lost 3-5lbs of snot out of my face (I have hella allergy congestion right now), but otherwise it was a great day.

After the race I continued north to my parent's house to spend the day w/ my Mom. It is Mother's Day after all. I had a nice time hanging with her (and my dad). We did some things around town and went to lunch together.  

My training has been going very well. I'm very focused and am riding really good. Now that it's getting to racing time, I'm going to try to keep this blog up to date. I enjoy writing about the crap that I do, and I know at least a few of you enjoy reading about it (or are bored enough at your job to read about it). So with things moving forward, and barring any further setbacks, I will try to keep it going.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Road Trip

I got away this weekend and went to My brother's in Chicago. It was nice to spend some time away and with some family. My parents came up Sunday and we all spent the day together.

Ramona and I sitting out on their stoop.

Ramona had never been on the "big" swings before, but I didn't know that so I just put her on one gave her a push.

She liked it. I swung quite a bit this weekend. I started to get vertigo after a while. I don' think adults are supposed to swing for extended periods.

Us on the "big" swings

We did a lot of watching cat videos on my phone.

I didn't bring a bike, but we did ride a little bit. I was on the trike and Ramona on her push bike.

me sitting in

We had to dismount for this stair run-up

Daphne isn't quite as much fun yet, but she's getting there.

Lisa helping Daph across the shaky bridge.

It was a great weekend to be outside there. We all had a great time. I am always amazed at how quickly I can get to Chicago from here (assuming there's no traffic jams). Under 4hrs, more like 3.5. Totally worth it to see these guys.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Big Week...bookended in snow

The week ended in TN, but started out with some snow...on April Fools Day nonetheless!

I snapped this pic out the window. Hard to see, but there's snow falling.

This was the week we were heading to Eastern TN for some riding in the Smokys. But we weren't leaving until Thursday so we had to get through most of the week here first.  
I planned an easy little ride for Monday, a workout for Tuesday and a ride to specifically hit some of the hard pitches around Bloomington for Wednesday. I knew I'd be riding some really steep stuff in TN, so I wanted to wake up whatever mechanism it is that makes you push yourself up 20%+ grades.
We arrived Thursday late afternoon/evening and it had been raining all day. It stopped raining by around 4:30-5, but was still very wet outside. Plus the temp was in the low 40's. A few of us suited up and went out for an easy 1.5hr ride anyway. We got wet form road spray, and it was rather chilly, but sitting in a car for extended periods does tons of damage to my body, so I'm far better off getting a ride after driving than not.
We had a big ride planned for Thursday. Around 80 miles, 3 mountain passes (one being the famous Tail of the Dragon climb which climbs from TN in to NC over 11 miles with over 300 curves). The final pass of this ride features the famed "Sweetie Pie" section which is a nasty 26% grade. That's hard no matter what, but 1) you hit it at ~3hrs in and 2) you hit it at the end of ~15-20min of pure climbing. It's a hard, hard ride.

a few of us at the top of CD
Saturday we set on a ride I have never done before, but have heard of. The ride to Clingman's Dome. CD is the highest point in TN and the second highest point east of the Mississippi. The full ride from where we stay is 90miles and 3 mountain passes. The actual climb to CD is 20miles, all uphill. It took us ~1hr40min of climbing too reach CD. And it was still quite a bit of snow and ice up there at 6,700'. It wasn't super cold at the top, but it was in the 70's at the bottom. People who had been there before said to take a jacket up because you'll need it for the decent. This was advice I took and was glad I did. Like I mentioned, it took 1hr40min to get up, but a little over 30min to get down! If you do the math, 20miles in 30min is an average speed of 40mph. You go really fast for a really long time. But it was so chilly that I kept pedaling the entire way down to keep the blood moving. It was unlike anything I've ever done before; both the climb and the decent. So I started the week with snow here and ended the big rides of the week with snow on top of a mountain.     

a few (more) of us top of CD
That night everyone came over to our cabin and we annihilated some pizzas and watched Supercross. We were leaving the next morning and had to be out by 11am so a few of us got up early enough to do a good solid hour ride and have time to get the place cleaned up and be out on time.
Everything went off without a hitch and we got home without too major of traffic problems. Getting put back an hour or two on the those interstates this time of year isn't too bad (even though it totally sucks). All of the old people that spend winter in FL are coming back north and the highways are super congested. It's just the way it is.
All in all it was a great trip with good people and awesome riding. Between the riding I did in TN and what I did before we left I put in over 15hrs on the bike last week. That's a really big week for me. I'm still feeling pretty good and I still have "building" workouts planned for 2more weeks. Then I'll be due for a rest week.
And that's that. Definitely not all that's happening in my life, but pretty much the up-to-date happenings of my cycling.
As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter (dirt instead of candy)

It's actually starting to feel spring-like around here. I mean, it didn't even snow this week! (after writing this I was talking to my mom on the phone and she reminded me that it DID snow Sunday night/Monday). Mind you it's still freezing or thereabouts over night, and since I ride in the mornings I still have to dress in thermal apparel, but 30deg w/ a high of 60 is a lot different than 30deg w/ a high of 30.    
Despite the snow (and my forgetting about it) I got in all of my planned trainings. I am building towards "core" workouts and I'm getting close to where I need to be. I tested the water of threshold training this week and the water was nice. I'm not ready to jump in with both feet, but it feels pretty good.
There was supposed to be a good amount of rainfall overnight Saturday and a chance of rain Sunday. It did rain some overnight, but very little and the chance of rain for Sunday had dropped to nothing. So I decided to see if Lindsay wanted to go mountain biking instead of meeting the Sunday road group. She had MTB'd Saturday and reported that the trails were in decent shape (not too wet to ride), so with the trace amount of rain that actually fell, we figured they'd be fine to ride Sunday. They were pretty fine, muddy in a few spots, but mostly good. We got a couple hours on the MTB's and felt pretty good.

We found this little guy out on the trails. He was running around but there were no people near. So he wrangled him up and he followed us all the back to our car where we got a hold of the owner (who was someone we know as it turned out) and got them reunited. I guess he goes and runs the trails with his owner (who is on a bike) a lot and just got separated. He was a really cool dog and super fast on the trails. No joke. I was trying to go slow so he could keep up, but he was almost passing me so I'd speed up and he'd be right there. Cool.
Turned out to be an awesome Easter Sunday. The sun came out, it was warm, we rode off road, walked around Nashville (which wasn't shoulder-to-shoulder people...yet) and had a nice day.
Hope you all had a nice Easter Sunday too.
This week we head to TN for a few days of riding in the mountains. The weather looks like it should be great. Let's hope so!   


Sunday, March 24, 2013


This week has been pretty much the same as every week for the past several weeks. The weekly weather pattern is mind numbingly the same. As with all the past several weeks, I managed to get done the workouts I had scheduled on the days I could actually get outside. But nothing more. It's becoming a bummer.
And there was a big nasty Spring snow storm forecasted for Sunday. I was pretty much planning on doing nothing all day due to all day snow. Well I woke up to no snow and decided to check the hourly forecast to see if I may be able to get out. It looked doable. I have wanted to ride my MTB on the gravel loop I normally do on my CX bike. I'd never done it because I don't really like riding my MTB on the road; it puts accelerated wear on the tires and it's just really slow. But not really knowing exactly what might happen with the weather, I decided to do it.       

It turned out to be pretty all right. The big crazy-hard to get up hill was about a million times easier on the MTB. It wasn't too cold, but I was dressed for it to start blizzard-ing on me at any time, so I actually got a little hot. But there was no precipitation until well after I got home and done.
And then it snowed. And it's supposed to snow all night. And not stop until there's like 5". 
So yeah, I don't really have much to report. Pretty much business as usual. As the title says: 'blah.' 


Monday, March 18, 2013

Dr. Winter

Old man winter has earned the full spectrum of degrees this year: B.S., M.S. and Ph. D. That, of course, would be "bull sh!t," "more of the same," and "piled higher and deeper."
Look at that big scary meanie!

The weather alert pic'd below came on my phone Saturday.

I about crapped myself to see this.

The week leading up to this alert wasn't much better. I got out Tuesday and got some positive intervals done. Felt pretty good and got in what I needed to. Then it snowed...again. So I stayed in and lifted weights Wednesday. By Thursday the snow had mostly melted, but it was really cold, like low 20's. That totally took the wind out my sail and I just skipped the day's workout all together. I decided to do Thursday's workout Friday. My power meter batteries died on me, but it was a non power based workout, so I was able to get it done no problem.

As it turned out the above pic'd weather BS didn't happen (or hasn't yet). I opted to skip the Sunday group ride 1) because I was anticipating snow, 2) the temp was rather low and 3) Milan-San Remo, the first "monument" Spring bike race was on and ran late. See, we're not the only ones in the firm grips of Old Man Winter. There have been a few big races cancelled in Europe due to snow, and in Milan-San Remo today the snow was so bad they raced like 100-some km's, got on there team buses and drove for like 50km's, then got back out and raced the final like 120km's. Since I don't have a team bus I wanted to avoid the open roads with it being ~39* and with snow likely.

So I went out on my CX bike and hit my standard gravel loop. I figured with a name like McGowan and a green sign it was appropriate for St. Patrick's Day.
As I mentioned, the forecast was wrong, and I had a great ride. It didn't feel as cold as it was and no snow fell.
This is a tough loop and I felt probably the best I've ever felt on it. It was just one of those "no chain" days for me where the effort feels easy.             
The weather forecast is still crap for the most part. I have no real idea what's happening. Just have to plow ahead and take it as it comes.   

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What a week

Man, mother nature is all over the place right now. Here's a quick contrast for y'alls:

Photo: At least its pretty out here. #gottastaypositive #JPTFU

The pic above was taken Thursday. It snowed a few inches Wednesday and left us with that.
The pic below was taken Sunday. It was nearly 70.

Photo: With all this skin showing you'd think I'm making a porno flick.
those are my white-ass legs. They haven't seen the elements in months

But even with the weather swings, I got in what I needed to this week. My hours weren't quite as high as I would have liked them to be, but I knocked out all my planned intervals. But with it being ~freezing and wet during the week, I didn't stack much riding with the intervals; just got to where I was doing them, did them, and headed home. But I can feel my form coming on. I can tell even on my commute to work. I'm getting in shape. Which feels good. I haven't done any real work on the bike since December.
With Sunday being as nice out as it was, the Sunday group was hugeBig groups like that usually make me nervous. They also usually split up pretty quickly, but until they do I'm not too comfortable in the group with the varying experience levels. On this particular day the ride organizer, Tom couldn't make the ride so he showed up on his motorcycle. He began motorpacing the group and it dwindled and dwindled. Eventually there were only two of us left. We made very short work of the 50mile route. We were rolling 40+mph for some sections on the way back (we had a tailwind coming back). It was a great workout and an awesome day to be out. 
The weather has gotten cold again this week; below normal from what I'm told. But I'm working through it and getting my stuff done.        

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Weather

Simple title for this post. The weather this week was shit. Plain and simple. There was a hahstag #JPTFU circulating around World Championships time. It's Jonathan Page the Fck Up. Page is an American CX racer who is based in Europe. He excels in crappy conditions and has stories of training in the kind of weather that cancels school and shuts down city govs. This week I had to tell myself to JPTFU and get out.

Photo: #JPTFU day two in a row. Sun pokes out and snow stops about 5min after I get in.
Get it? "Page up"
I can't remember but I'm pretty sure it snowed every day this week. It was rough, but I put on my waterproof/windproof tights, neoprene booties with duct tape and rode. 
It was cold. I got wet, but I got in what I wanted to get in. Sunday's forecast was looking "good" (I put good in quotes because it was supposed to be 38 and sunny, however "good" that is). I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and saw the roads were covered in snow. I thought my tired eye were playing tricks on me. I was seriously bummed. I wanted to get out with the Sunday road group regardless. Once I got up the roads were clearer, but wet. And the high temp had dropped from 38 to like 34. I was afraid the roads be wet enough to make spray and the temps were low enough to make that a problem. So I busted out the waterproof tights again, even though they restrict my movement quite a bit and cost me a lot of effort over a long period of time. Turns out the roads were totally dry and I was over dressed. Oh well, at least I was outside riding. The group was smaller than normal and the pace was rather controlled for this ride.Many of the locals are gearing up to be racing in the next couple-to-few weeks. I don't have any firm race plans for nearly 9 weeks. So I'm just happy to be riding right now, and getting back into a routine of consistency and interval training. Building slowly and not being frustrated if others are faster than me right now.
So this was basically a complain post about the shitty weather. Sorry. And there's a good chance the next post will be more of the same! Sorry (in advance). This week is looking like another shitter, hopefully I can get out some.      

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Semi Epic week...but not riding

As was predicted last week, the weather this week turned (back) to crap. Cold, precipt, etc. It was not a good week to be a cyclist in these parts. I got outside Monday, but was inside the rest of the week. I lifted one extra day just to not have to ride inside. But all of this kept my weekly hours waaay low. About half of my "normal" hours right now, which are down form "in season" hours as is. Uggg. This week was basically a throw away. These things happen.
This past week was still in my "whatever" workout phase, so I'm not getting hung up on it being a crapper; it is still Feb. But now we're in the last week of Feb. Time to start looking ahead. I'm going to start up with some light intervals this week. Nothing crushing, just getting used to doing X effort for Y time (getting in the groove) and start the building.

So this all seems pretty boring crap, huh? So why do I have the "E" word in the title? Well let's rewind to Wednesday...Wednesday night to be specific. This is a loooong story, so I'll tr to compress it.
Lindsay went out for a night MTB ride. Somewhat out of character for her, but she's trying some new things, and I'm down with that. She was going with a friend of mine, not alone, but you still always worry a bit. And as such I went to bed with my phone which I don't normally do (I leave it charging in the other room). Well somewhere around 10:30 my phone rang. I was half asleep and didn't answer it, but when I looked at it I saw I had a facebook msg. I looked at the msg and it was from someone who I didn't know, but knew me through MTB racing. The msg said "Adam: the Jackson County Sheriff is trying to contact you. Call them at ______ or call me at _______." Then a text came in form the same person: "Adam, call the Jackson County Sheriff at _______ or me at _______." So I got out of bed and am kind of shitting myself at this point. Then a voice mail comes in (phone didn't ring though) and it was my mom: "Adam, call home as soon as you can." So I composed myself and called the Sheriff number first. No answer. So I called the dude who had msg'd me next. No answer. At this point I'm starting to get my cloths on and figure out how I can get a car to get out to where Lindsay is (she had our car). I was about 80% sure that I was going to be asked to come out and ID bodies. No shit. Then I was maybe 10% thinking that one or both of them were seriously hurt and I was going to have to deal with that.
So I called my mom next. Home number: busy. Shit. Cell number: answer! She answers "Adam? Where are you?" I say "home. What's going on?" She has the sheriff on the home phone and says that they "found" my car in the "middle of nowhere" (now the other 10% of my WTF has happened is maybe the car was stolen) and after running the plate, tried to call me (which was the call I didn't answer), then called the Clinton County police (our car is still reg'd in Clinton County), got my parents number, called them and basically told them that I was missing (they asked if my mom knew any friends who I would have last spoken to). That obviously sent my mom into full-on panic mode. I told her everything's fine and to tell the officer that Lindsay is out there night riding. She did, and hung up so the officer could call me. By this time the sheriff had completely blown this "situation" out of proportion and made it (which was nothing, a parked car) into something. So when he called me I told him my wife and a friend are out night riding MTB's and parked the car "there." He said "you do know it's 25degrees and 11o'clcok, right?" I said "yes, they're out night riding." He asked "are you sure they're okay out there?" I answered "well I have no reason to believe they're not okay, they're just out there riding." This type of back/forth went on for a minute or two because 1) he couldn't grasp the idea that people would be out doing stuff at night in the cold and 2) he had already made, I don't want to say a mountain out of a molehill, more like a molehill out of nothing. It finally got resolved when Lindsay and Erik got back to the car and saw cop cars surround it. They were given a fair amount of shit for no reason and the cops scared the crap out of numerous people for absolutely no reason. The car was parked in a very popular running/hiking area, but when it was "found", they assumed (I) was murdered and then started making phone calls based on the assumption. Bad deal guys. Besides, it's not like bad people walk around w/ hatchets. Just stoney good Samaritans.                                  

So enough of that crap. Today (Sunday) Lindsay and I went to the birthday party for our (now) 1yr old niece, Daphne. She was born last year on leap day (Feb 29), so she only really gets a b-day every 4  years.

Photo: Birthday girl.

But we celebrated anyway.

Photo: Party people. 
Good times. 
This post was way too long. If you made it all the way through I thank, applaud and pity you. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nice week...cold weekend

Last week wasn't too bad for riding. I have reminded myself multiple times per day that it is still February, so I shouldn't be too bummed on the weather. I got out Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the week; not too bad. 
Still no real work on the bike, just riding steady. My power numbers aren't bad. I'm sure my top end power and speed aren't there, but I'm finding myself able to average similar numbers to what I average for solo rides in the middle of the summer. I'm not feeling too bad. I'm ready to be done with the cold, but this coming week isn't looking very favorable for that to happen.    

Photo: Doesn't show up well with n the pic, but the horse in back is covered in hay. Wonder what his deal is.

Anyway, nothing too exciting to report from the road. I did see this horse while out one day this week. I found it odd that he was covered in hay. Odd enough that I stopped to take a picture.        

Photo: Thanks for last night everyone.  Hope you had a good time and thanks for coming out to lend support.

 Saturday night Lindsay and went up to Indy for a little showcase of a friend's handmade bikes before he heads off for the Handmade Bike Show in Denver. It was a cool night and we got to see a lot of people. Plus we all went out to a pizza joint in Indy that was really good (Jackamo, if you're in the Irvington area I recommend).
My original Sunday plan was to roll with the road group at noon. The sun was out, but the temps was just inching to around freezing by a little before noon so I decided to go ride the MTB to keep the speed down and not be out on the opened road (where it's inevitably colder). This plan seemed fine, but despite to ~32 temp, the northern section of the MTB park was thawing form the sun being on it. It was a total muddy mess. But the southern part was still frozen and fine. So I modified the crap out the loop I normally do and several ~10minute loops on the south side instead. Not the most fun ever, but I was already there, so I made it work.
This week is looking like one to just get through. Low temps, possible precipt, ugggg. I'll miss riding this weekend because we're going to a birthday party for our 1yr old niece. She was born on leap day last year, so she doesn't really have a birthday for another 3 years, but we're having a get-together for her anyway. Should be fun, although one of the presents Lindsay and I got for her is currently lost in the mail system and may not make it in time. We'll get something figured out.   Actually it showed up today (Monday), so we're good to go!
As of now (Monday evening) the weather has already began to turn to shit, so have a good week everyone...or just get through it.      

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stuck Between a Dog and a Bomb Place

This week was pretty up-and-down with the weather. I have a feeling it will be that way for several more weeks. I was inside two days, but outside four. Not bad.
I'm starting to feel pretty good on the bike again. I've been riding, but not really "feeling it" for about 8 weeks now. But this past week I think the switch flipped and I'm ready to actually get going. I still have quite a bit of time before I need to be actually training and/or riding particularly strong, but I feel more on track than I have.
Sunday I decided to get out earlier than the noon group to miss the forecasted rain. I had a ride-buddy lined up, but he had gone out the night before and ridden and had a mechanical on his bike that wasn't fixed by morning. So I headed out alone to ride some gravel.        

The gravel roads were very wet, so I got very dirty very quickly. There's a (rightfully) feared climb on this route and it was very muddy today; not like wet gravel "dust mud," but actual mud. I'd say it had 1-1.5" of mud on it so there was no way I could make it up it riding. I'm like 80/20 on making it up on a perfect day, so with bad terrain conditions; no way.
Now to get to the "story" behind the post title and a scenario that is just plain laughable and maybe slightly unbelievable. On this loop after "the climb" you ride along a ridge for while, then pop out onto a paved road which descends back down. When you get to the bottom of the descent you make a left onto a road that becomes gravel again. Got it? While on this road I heard a gunshot. That always wigs me out, but isn't too crazy of a ting to hear out there. But what was crazy was about two seconds after the gunshot was an explosion. A big explosion. I had no idea what it was until I looked over and saw a big smoke cloud and a group of hillbillies. I can't be sure, but I'm guessing these dudes have been watching a good amount of MTV's quality new program, Buckwild and has shot an explosive of some sort to ignite it. They weren't very far off the road, so my thought was 'I need to get by these dudes and make some sort of positive gesture so they don't see me and say "he's seen to much, we're going to have to kill him."' So I yelled something like "hell yeah man!" and threw up some 'horns. But as I got a little further up the road there was a HUGE dog (Great Dane) standing across the road. He was clearly on high alert because shit was being blown up near his territory. He didn't like me encroaching. I stopped and got off my bike to try to "reason" with him. His head came up over my waist and I'd wager he weighs more than me too. I had no doubt he could take me down if he wanted. So my dilemma was a dog as tall as I was that wasn't happy to see me in front of me and 3-4 gun toting, bomb wielding hillbillies behind me. I literally stood there with my bike between this dog and myself laughing at my situation. The dog wasn't mean, he just wasn't sure what was going on or who I was. But every time I tried to move forward, he would growl and show me his teeth. I decided to turn around and head back toward the hillbillies. I noticed though that when I started away the dog started heading home (home for him turned out to be up a hill way off the road). But he kept stopping and looking back to make sure I was leaving. Once he was up the hill and out of sight I turned back around and finished my loop without any further weirdness.
I did get rained on 3 different times, but just a little each time; nothing big. It was an interesting ride to cap of a decent week.
The 10 day forecast has high temps of 50 and lows of 20. Because I do my riding in the morning I usually pay more attention to the low than the highs, which occur while I'm at work. It's going to be touch-and-go, but it's time to be moving forward.    

Sunday, February 03, 2013

...Saturday it is then...

Semi-epic winter storms up north (read: from here to Indy) caused a potential down stream flooding of the Ohio River right about at Eva Bandman Cyclocross park on Sunday Feb 3 2013. That? Oh that's the day of the Elite World Cyclocross Championship. Where? Oh, at Eva Bandman CX Park.

And so Sunday was cancelled and all Sunday events were moved to Saturday. Minor hiccup to plans, but nothing major in terms of (our) planning.

So Lindsay and I headed down to Louisville Saturday morning, leaving around 8am.  It was snowing and the roads were bad. It was real white-knuckle driving the entire way down. I thought for sure the interstate would be clear, but it wasn't in much better shape than the highways to get to it. Enough of the boring details of the drive down. We go there. It took a bit longer, but we made it.

Belgium's Kevin Pauwels was my pick to win. But he had mechanical problems while riding the front group that cost him a possible win.
 It was actually totally cool to have all the races in one day. I'm sure it would make the people putting it on (the UCI) less money to do it that way, but I though it was awesome.   

Jonathan Page was my pick for top American. He was riding comfortably in the top 10 until mechanical issues set him way back as well.

I am a big fan of professional cycling. And CX is my favorite discipline. This was hands down the coolest sporting event, or any type of event really, that I have ever been to. Being at a world championship event was huge for me. I've been to Cross Vegas twice and it was no where near as cool as this. The weather was constantly changing making the day very tricky for racers.
The women had a pretty frozen-over course and it wasn't too muddy. This made the course rather fast, which didn't favor American Katie Compton as well as we had all hoped. Marianne Vos of The Netherlands rode off the front of the race for her 5th consecutive world title. Vos is also the current world road champion and the Olympic gold medal holder. So she's obviously a very worthy champion. But nearly ever person there was rooting for Katie Compton. She was second to Vos. Again.

Blurry picture of eventual winner Sven Nys.
By the time the men took to the course it had been snowing on and off most of the day. According to my mobile device the temp was 36 as big wet snow flakes began to fall. It might as well been raining on the course; it made it totally muddy. Which made for an awesome race. As expected the U.S. riders weren't a factor for the overall. It was an awesome race to watch unfold. One of the best worlds I've seen. You can never count out Sven Nys for the win of any race he enters. 

Although I didn't pick Nys to win, I knew he was capable. And he won the day. It is "just" his second world title. He will most likely retire after next season, so it was totally cool to see him win what will likely be his last world title.

The crue.I'm kind of hiding on the right.

Even though the venue was packed with people, we still managed to hang out as a crew, just like at an OVCX race. Be it a world championship or a weekend series race, this is "the crue." 

 As for my "training:" with temps in the 50's and 60's for the beginning of the week, my week went pretty well. I rode outside Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, lifted weights Thursday and rode rollers Friday. For the sweet 60's early in the week we paid with morning temps Friday at 8 (eight).  So after that I planned to take the entire weekend off for worlds, but since we were back Sunday I went for a MTB ride. 

It was not good snow for riding though. It was the crunchy stuff that's really difficult to ride through. I rode a lap I have laid out at Wapahani Park that is normally 18-20minutes. It took me 28. Riding at full gas heart rate and barely moving isn't much fun. Add multiple crashes is due to not being able to see what's under the snow and it just kind of sucks. So after my lap, I rode a couple really short abbreviated laps then headed home. I put in just 1.5hrs, but since I already had my hours for the week in, this was just extra credit anyway.
The weather is really bumming me out. In another few (3 or so) weeks I'm going to start doing some light intervals. I'm really hoping for consistent outdoor ride-ability by then. It just keeps snowing and being cold though. Hopefully it's about over.