Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm totally LAME

So it's 10:53pm on New Year's Eve, and I'm ready for bed. Justina and I went for sushi and sake for dinner. When we got home, we fed the cats and I fell asleep for maybe an hour. How lame is that? I remember when I use to stay out all night long drinking. But then again, I wasn't riding back then.

Here's to the end of 2007 and best wishes for great 2008. I wish everyone the best.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good Weekend of Riding

Fri Thrasher Ride was really hard. I really didn't have much left after the hard pace along ClaraBarton, and I pretty much sat in and hung on the back for the last quarter of CB. My legs really hurt when I got home.

Sat slept in until 10:30 and it felt great. Got up, fed the cats, and hung out til Justina got back from her workout at the gym. Around 12:30, I started getting ready for a good long ride and planned on doing intervals at Haines Pt. I wanted to see how hard I could push going up Mass, but after the Fri Thrasher ride, my legs were pretty fatigued, so I just cruised up in L5. I did 10 min intervals along MacA at about L4. I did one easy lap around HP, and then set my ergomo on intervals and started my first 2o min. About 5 min into the intervals I passed Agent Hulk, 15lbs heavier after his vacation and cruising at a leisurely pace. I told him I was doing a 20 min interval and he asked to sit in. I tried to push as hard as I could, but I definitely learned that if I pushed too hard, I would eventually have a power loss and would need to try and recovery, but still trying to push. With about 3 min to go, Nick passed me and I sat on his wheel until the last min, during which I tried to go as hard as I could. We then did a couple of laps at an endurance pace until we came upon Jose and Michelle. This was Jose's first day on the back after getting hit by a taxi and breaking his collarbone. I'm sure he'll be back in form by the start of the season.

Sun Shop Ride. Really late getting out of the house. Skipped Mass and caught the ride just as they were getting on MacA. Rode really hard along Clara Barton trying to stay with the Fungster. Pretty much killed myself, so I skipped Mnt Gate. Road down into the Park and really hard coming out of the top of the Park. Tried to stay on Adam's wheel the rest of the ride. Went with a small group down RockCreek for the extra 10. My legs were really feeling it, and I tried to push the last section on Ross as hard as I could until I finally popped. When I got home, I was completely spent, and slept with my cats watching TV most of the afternoon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ever try googling yourself?

I've never heard of this computer game before, but then again I've never played computer games.

I am legend.

"In Raymans world, there once lived sweet little cute rabbits that were constantly victimised by more ferocious animals. One day, they disappeared from the Earths surface, secretly planning their massive invasion. Armed with enormous war machines, they have now returned to enslave Raymans world and get their final revenge!"

"These poor little creatures have become deceitful, uncontrollable and completely psychotic. Our hero and his friends have been kidnapped by these diabolical rodents and have become their slaves. Like a gladiator, Rayman must endure a series of trials for their amusement. But will he manage to gain enough popularity to save his world and his friends from this veritable Invasion of the Rabbids?"

Holy Crap!!! I even have a huge fansite:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Weekly Training Update: 5 miles is not a training ride

Monday: Do you know what it's like chasing Cat 1s,2s into a headwind? F'in hurts. Lungs are bursting, legs are screaming, HR is through the roof. Wait, I'm not even warmed up yet. Not fun. Especially when you know the speeds they are doing are 3-5 MPH faster. You slowly see them gain distance on the downhill rollers. You hope you can claw your way back on the uphill sections, where you normally go hard, but then you realize you have no energy left to push uphill. And, they quickly gain distance. Your last hope are the traffic lights. So you dig and bury yourself.

Was about 15 sec late hooking up with the ride, but putting out 300+W for a couple mins trying to catch them was just about killing me. I prayed for red lights to slow them up. I almost caught them as they crossed Seven Locks but the light turned red as I neared the intersection, and I did something I never do, I ran it (but I looked both ways). Harry slowed up for me but once I was on his wheel, he floored it and I wasn't really recovering sitting on his wheel, I was barely hanging on. I had nothing left to stay with the group as they went up the steep climb on Kentsdale. I normally hammer up this without a problem but after putting in a big effort for the last 10min, I was already in the red. I slowly watched them ride off in the distance as I tried to get my breathing under control. The rest of the ride was a solo recovery effort until I came upon Harry repairing his flat. I did the good team thing and stopped to help him.

Tuesday: Couldn't make it out, so I did about 1.5 hours on the trainer. About 10 1min intervals all out was really hard. I could hardly breath the last 15 secs, and my legs felt like they were going to fall off me. After these intervals, I tried doing some longer intervals but my legs were trashed.

Wednesday: Of course the Hill Ride. After the intervals the night before, I really didn't have a lot of energy to maintain the pace on the climbs, so I rode with Randy coming out of the GF Park. We skipped Brickyard, and did a half-assed attempt at riding up MntGate again, as we waited the guys to come down Mnt Gate. The rest of the ride was just an attempt to sit on wheels.

Thursday: Unlike Monday, I was on time and I met the group along Bradley. Unfortunately, I flatted early in the ride. F'in glass. Repaired the flat and took a route that would connect me back up with the ride someplace along MacArthur. So for about 15mins I tried holding a L4 output until I met up with the gang just before Brickyard. Reversed direction and jumped on their wheels. The rest of the way along MacArthur was a pretty strong pace, and I was just holding on after pushing L4 for 15min. My legs were starting to really burn and my turn in the front really hurt.

This was my second flat in less than a week, so tonight, I put my industrial strength wheels on and pray I don't get anymore flats. The problem is they weigh a ton and I always feel like I'm riding with a parachute on when I use them. So, I guess this will be great strength training. I better not get any more flats with them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

120+ miles on Saturday?

Great ride on Saturday to Sugarloaf with a great group. I think most of us wanted to get a really big ride in before we got hit by the storm of the century. At least all the dopey weather folks were making it out to be a HUGE storm.

In attendance were DC Velo (Mark Sommers, Ken Young, Agent Mulder "AKA Agent Hulk", Shannon "I don't give a crap that all my Landon friends are going to Ivy League schools, I'm going where I want to." NCVC (Jason Meidhoff and Alex Butterfield). Brian Butts (harley). Larsten (unattached). I hope I didn't forget anyone. There were a bunch of really strong riders, but we stayed at a pretty slow tempo (L2) on our way out to Sugarloaf. But the tempo picked up a couple times as the young kids were trying to test us older guys. I rode up Sugarloaf with Ken at a pretty decent tempo as everyone else was content to take their time and spin. My legs were burning by the time we got to the first set of parking lots but we kept going until we got to the Port-a-johns at the top. If Ken had changed his pace, I'm not sure I could've stayed with him. Just a slight increase would have really put me over the edge. And, I'm not sure if I could've tried passing him.

The ride back was spirited with sections of fast riding. A couple times, the kids went hard and tried to escape, but we were diligent and never let them get to far away. I also learned never to slow up when you attack, because you'll need to have some speed going when you get caught. I almost got dropped at one point after jumping pretty hard and then slowing up. When the train went past at 30+mph and I'm doing in the low 20's, they were gone before I knew and had to work super hard to get back on the end. Fortunately, Shannon and Jason slowed up enough for me to catch their wheel and the three of us were able to catch back up.

Toward the end of the ride, Ken and I dropped the group (more like they just let us go) along Tuckerman and we went pretty hard until we got to Old G'town. It really felt good to let the legs open up.

Well as the title says "120+ miles on Saturday?" comes from hearing Agent Hulk claim he was going to ride 120 miles today before leaving for vacation. He wanted to get a really tough ride in so he could recover during his vacation. On the way back from Sugarloaf, he was complaining about how tired his legs were, and I said "you know, if you want to ride 120 miles today, you'll need to do another loop to Sugarloaf".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

As Agent Hulk says "Muscle GRRR"

Worked from my office today and had lots of conference calls talking about lots of issues. What a headache. So, by late in the afternoon I really needed a break and I started watching trance music videos on YouTube while answering emails and writing reports. That shit is the bomb and totally calmed me down.

Was going to ride the basement trainer and do some long L3/L4 intervals, but decided to go the gym with Justina. Rode the stupid stationary for 30 min (5min warm up and then 25min at 295W), thank god for cranking electronic/dance music on the iPod. Man, that shit hurts trying to hold that output for 25min. You feel the blood pump into your legs and your mind starts f'in with you saying "you can't hold it". So you concentrate, listen to the cranking tunes, shut the world out and just keep the legs turning. Before you know it, there is a puddle of sweat on the floor and your 25 min interval is over.

I just can't hold this sustained power output on the road. I'm either cranking out 400+W going up rollers, and then sub 100W on the downhill. I should really concentrate when I'm riding solo to try and hold a set output.

Afterwards, I did 6 sets of leg extensions (maxing out at 130lbsx8reps), 5 sets of leg curls (maxing out at 90lbsx8reps), 2 sets of hack squats (measly 145 lbs, back felt like it was being compressed), and 7 sets of leg presses (maxing out at 350lbsx5reps).

These winter workouts are definitely different from what I did last year, so I hope it helps come start of race season. Last winter, I didn't do as much leg work and I certainly didn't do 20-25min L4/L5 workouts. I'm trying to do a lot more long intervals to build my cardio foundation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hump Day

Can't believe its Weds already. Yeah, hump day. Work is kicking my ass. Didn't get to sleep last night until 3am, working on a business plan. That's the dilemma we sales reps have this time of year when you work for a public company. "bring in every last dollar you can before the end of the year".

So lets recap this weeks training.

Monday: rode outside about 25 miles, not too hard, not too easy. Recovery ride. Went to gym and did a really heavy leg workout.

Tuesday: rode the trainer for 45 minutes at L2/L3. Went to Raku for dinner with Justina and ran into Johan outside Barnes and Noble. Good to see a fellow cyclist in their everyday lives.

Wednesday: did the Hill Ride, super hard today. We let Jay (Artemis) pull us up Angler, GF Park and Brickyard. Don't think I could've tried any attacks today. Strained a muscle in my back going up Brickyard.

Can't wait to watch WEC tonight. Should be a great card. Those of you reading my blog that don't watch mixed martial arts fighting should watch Vs. tonight. You'll see some of the most exciting action in the world.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

When its Crappy Out, Ride the Trainer

Yes, another crappy day, so I slept in late today. Might as well take advantage of days like this to sleep in since once the weather gets nicer I won't be able to sleep in.

Almost suited up to ride outside but decided to ride the trainer instead. My plan was to do some 20min intervals at 175-200W, some 30 sec intervals 400+W, some 30sec intervals where the first 15 secs were around 350W and then 15 secs 400+W, some longer intervals of 1min at 275W. With lots of recovery between each intervals. I think I wound up riding about 2 hours.

I'm really looking forward to getting outside again.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Finally Some Riding Weather that Doesn't Include Wet Rain

What a crappy week this has been for training outside. I can't even remember what days I was able to get outside. Normally, I'd be able to look up my rides in Cycling Peaks, but my ergomo download cable finally broke last weekend, and I've not been able to download my power files. I think I was able to ride on Tuesday. I know I went to the gym on Monday and Thursday night and rode the stationary for 40 min at L3 and then did a heavy leg workout. I walked to Bethesda for dinner with Justina the night of the snow storm (well, not that I'd call it a storm).

So, this week has not been a great week for training, but I really needed a week like this to recovery. I was really tired during my rides last Sat and Sun, and really couldn't generate or sustain any power. My legs felt sluggish and heavy. I guess I needed this week to recovery.

Today, I slept in since I didn't want to ride on wet, cold roads. Good thing I waited til the afternoon because the sun was out and it was 45F. Road down to Haines Pt for some L3/L4 long intervals. My first one was mid L3 for 20 min and the second one was mid L4 for 20 min. On the way home I tried to push a high tempo along MacArthur. My legs were pretty tired by the end of the 2.5 hr ride.

At the corner of Sangamore and MacArthur I ran into two of the young bucks from the DC Velo squad: Shannon and Agent Mulder. They said they'd been riding for a couple hours, but I'm not sure since their bikes were awfully clean and they didn't seem to be sweating. I'd put money on it that they had their parents drop them off at that corner and they just hang out the rest of the day telling everyone how many miles they rode. Slackers.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mark Your Calenders for Dec 12th: WEC

MMA fight fans, mark your calender for WEC's Dec 12th Championship tripleheader live on Vs. For those of you that enjoy watching the lighter weight fighters, you'll see some of the baddest dudes around.

Urijah Faber vs Jeff Curan
Paulo Filho vs Chael Sonnen
Doug Marshall vs Ariel Gandulla
Jens Pulver vs Cub Swanson
John Alessio vs Todd Moore
Alex Karalexis vs Ed Ratcliff
Bryan Baker vs Eric Schambari

Cross Training: No riding, No weights

Wed is normally the brutal Hill Ride, but with the snow on the roads there would be no riding outside today. So, my plan was to either hit the trainer in the basement while watching TV or go to the gym and do another heavy leg workout. I was starting to look forward to doing some long L3 intervals on the trainer since I find it really hard to maintain a constant power output with all the rollers in the area. I'm either cruising up hills in L6 or coasting downhill in L1.

Instead, Justina and I walked 3 miles into Bethesda to meet a friend for drinks and dinner at Black's. Its been a while since I walked a long distance in the snow and this was absolutely the most beautiful walk. It wasn't too cold since we kept up a pretty brisk pace. And, it really didn't take that long to get there, maybe 45 min?

After a couple of glasses of wine, oysters, gumbo, french fries, and an unbelievable chocolate cake dessert, we headed back home. Funny how the return trip always seems faster. It was a bit colder, but once we got going it wasn't too bad.

I can't wait for the next big snow storm.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

EZ Ride turns into the Ride from Antartica

So today's ride was supposed to be an easy recovery ride after a long week of hard rides and heavy legs. My plan was to hook up with the 7am ride and just sit in. I was running a bit late getting out of the house and thought I'd be able to catch the ride near Anglers. When I got to Anglers just before 8AM, there was no one in sight, so I headed off towards Democracy via Falls. I get to the corner of Sorrell and Democracy and start back tracking the route. I wound up doing a couple laps up and down Sorrell, still no ride. I'm thinking, man, they must be flying today and I've completely missed them or they are going really slow. Finally a dozen or DC Velo riders come along and I hook up with them. At this point, I'm completely freezing and I can't get warm. We ride the rest of the way back to Beech Drive at a very easy pace, and my hands are killing me. I'm usually pretty warm during rides, and the cold usually doesn't affect me, but today was a completely different story. I was freezing. My fingers were still tingling 8 hours after the ride. I need to get new gloves and winter tights.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Can you really get WIND BURN cycling?

The supposed EZ Friday ride, turned out to be a hammer-fest. Present were Randy, Paul, Simon, Jay, Harry and myself. I really didn't want to go hard today, but that's the problem riding in a group of really strong riders. There is always at least one that wants to go hard or at least one that can turn it on and make everyone suffer.

I guess the only way to do an easy ride is to go SOLO.

Anyway, I just want everyone to know that I'm OK. I just got back from the emergency room, where I received treatment for WIND BURN. The ER team is going to write up a case study since they were completely amazed that one could get such a severe case of WIND BURN from riding a bicycle. They also replenished my electrolytes via IV and put me on oxygen. Now, if they'd only have hopped me up on some pain killers, I'd be ready for the weekend hammer-fest.

PS: only joking about the ER story but it sure makes great copy.
PSS: my legs are killing me right now

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Weights and F'in Stationary Bike

Wasn't able to get outside today, but went to the gym with Justina. My plan was to ride 2x20m intervals at Zone 3 on the stationary bike and then a heavy leg workout.

I really hate riding the bikes at the gym. I'm not sure why, but my knees always hurt and I'm deathly afraid of causing any knee strain that will nag me when I'm actually riding outside.

I warmed up for 10m at Zone1, and then increased my power to mid Zone 3 range for my first 20m interval. The one thing about riding a stationary is that its a lot easier to maintain consistent power output, which is extremely difficult to achieve outside. Outside you are always fighting the wind, the hills, and its real difficult to maintain a consistent output. So 20m at Zone3 was definitely starting to hurt. I could definitely feeling the blood flowing through my legs, and I was sweating like a pig.

I rested for about 3m and then started my 2nd 20m interval, but Justina was getting ready to leave, so I was only able to do a 10m interval but I increased the power output to the higher end of Zone3.

I completed my workout doing legs: single and double leg extensions, single and double legged curls and then leg presses.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Todays' Hill Ride

Today's ride was pretty hard. My legs felt pretty tired after going hard everyday since Saturday and I really wasn't able to push them without thinking I'd pop. So, I stayed within myself, and didn't try to max out. This turned out to be good training in terms of holding back. I normally try to blast up the hills but find myself popping towards the end of the ride.

There were some heavy hitters today but fortunately for the rest of us they really didn't hammer too hard.

I'm getting better at climbing and learning the fine balance of not pushing too heavy a gear and not spinning too light of a gear. I'm working more and more to try pushing heavy gears and spinning light gears to determine what works best for me. Its amazing when you get it right how effortless it feels.

Great ride today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wed Hill Ride led by a Mutineer

If you didn't do this ride, you missed a great ride.

Randy's morning email stated he wanted to do the regular ride instead of the usual Wed Hill Ride. But, as always the case with folks from the other side of the pond, Ad Bax led a mutiny and completely caused chaos within the peleton as we reached Newbridge. Normally we turn right, but Ad and his rebel rousing Hill climbers stayed straight. The rest of the group followed us but quickly turned around to head up Newbridge when they learned that those going straight would be doing the Hill Ride. So, we splintered into two groups today: Climbers and "Slackers" (I think I remember hearing Ad mention this term). The climbers consisted of the lead Mutineer Ad, his all-world son Nick, Paul, Jay, Bill and myself (and someone that normally is in the A.Fenty entourage).

We continued on Bradley and made a left on Persimmon Tree, and a right onto MacArthur, and was thus able to continue on the normal 5+ Hill Climb route. Making the right onto Mnt Gate, I was in the front and Ad kept egging me on to attack. About half way up, I attacked with Nick. He pulled through and I was able to stay on his wheel to the top. For the first time in a long time, my legs actually felt really good, and my cardio felt OK. Fortunately for me, Nick didn't keep the hammer down as we rolled through the neighborhood. The others caught us someplace in the rollers, and the 6 of us flew down Brickyard. We kept a pretty good tempo up Anglers, and down the park. Coming out the park, the tempo was still pretty good and no one was really attacking.

Now this is where it gets funny. We're all in a line coming up the stretch before the VWF and I'm thinking "OK my legs feel good, my breathing is under control, this is normally where Nick attacks. I'm going to show him and beat him to the punch". Well, Nick is pulling us and I'm sitting I think #2 letting him pull and hopefully getting tired. I think to me myself "Now is my time to attack", so I attack hard to the right shoulder. I'm giving all I have, almost popping a nut in the process and pooping in my shorts, and off on the left side I hear a freight train coming and it's Nick in full flight, legs spinning a hundred miles an hour. Needless to say, all I could do at this point was start laughing as he left me in the dust. I think I was laughing because it reminded me the one thing about cycling, and that is 'no matter how strong you think you are, or how good you are feeling at a particular moment, there is always someone riding right next to you that will kick your ass'. And I laughed the rest of the way up to the VWF.

The rest of the ride was fun. Nick and Jay got away coming over Brickyard. I stayed with Ad and Bill through the neighborhood, but Ad sneakily got a jump on Bill and myself as we made the left onto MacA. Ad was chasing down Nick and Jay, and I was sitting on Bill's wheel as he chased down Ad. I'm thinking this is great, Ad is busting a nut to catch Nick and Jay, and Bill is busting a nut to catch Ad. What am I doing? I'm just sitting in, doing no work almost the entire way along MacA before we turned up Eggert.

I'm telling you this was one of the best rides I've done in a long time. Probably because I'm getting my legs back after vacation and feel like I can test my boundries of endurance. During the past week or so, I've just been hanging on by a thread, just waiting for the rubber band to break. Today, I felt really good.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope everyone that reads my blog puts on at least 15 lbs during this holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yin and Yang

Here are two completely opposite activities I enjoy watching when I'm not riding my bike. I love going to the ballet, and I love watching MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting. There is nothing better then watching people dance as if they were tied to strings completely defying gravity. And, watching two guys try to kick the crap out of each other. You just have to be able to appreciate athletes performing at their best, whether they are dancers or fighters.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Better weekend of training

Legs are starting to feel better after vacation in early October. The past couple of weeks, they've felt like lead, and my cardio wasn't up to speed either.

10AM Saturday Ride; Along Beech a Park Police lady yelled at us from the opposite side of the road to form a single line. Not many of the good did, so she turned around and tailed us. No one stopped for one of the stop signs, so she pulled about half the group over. A couple guys started arguing with her and it delayed us about 5 minutes. By the time we got to the end of Tuckerman, there were only 5 of us and we rode at a good tempo the rest of the ride. My legs felt pretty heavy throughout the ride, and I really wasn't recovering too quickly after a hard exertion. Although, my legs started feeling like they were opening up towards the end of the ride.

8:30am Bicycle Place Shop Ride. Wasn't too sure if we were going to be able to ride today, since the forecast was calling for showers mid morning. This turned out to be a false alarm and we almost had the sun come out. Clara Barton was pretty hard because I was either pulling hard or my legs still aren't ready for hard exertions yet. By the time we got to MacA, I was ready to turn left and skip Mnt Gate, but when I say BryanV turn right with the Mnt Gate group, there was no one I was going to skip it. I stayed in contact with the group as they crested MntGate and sat in through the neighborhood. At the bottom of Anglers, I was feeling pretty good, and started a hard acceleration, but got completely bogged down by a slower rider on the right, and had to come to a stop. Loosing all my momentum, I had to put in a really hard effort to re-engage the lead group. Unfortunately, my legs aren't back to full strength, and I bonked about half way up. The rest of the ride, I sat in and tried to conserve my energy.

Towards the end of the ride, Bryan and Super Dave got a big gap and I bridged up to them just before an 6-8 person crash occured. Thank god to my spidey sense. Bryan, SuperDave and I took good pulls down Beech and we went pretty hard along Ross. By the last roller on Ross, my legs were toast.

Great Sunday ride

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Riding in the Wind and Rain

Training Log Update;
Rode 45 miles in the wind and rain today. Temps weren't too bad, if you were a penguin. Didn't see any other riders out there.

Did some brutal intervals (5 x 7min @ VM, 5 x 3m @ AC). Legs are really burning but I'm heading to gym for a big dose of weights.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Winter Weight Training

With lots of rainy weather in the forecast, I'm planning on a heavy dose of weight training over the next week with some L2 tempo workouts on the trainer. I'll focus primarily on doing heavy leg workouts, and some lighter weight upper body work to keep toned. Sorry, no specifics on the exact workouts I'll be doing just in case some of my competitors happen to read my blog. Don't want to give away my training secrets.

Back in the day, yeah that's what all the old timers say when they refer to their youth, I use to weight train all year round. I'd do four day rotations: Day 1 chest/back, Day 2 biceps/tripceps, Day 3 shoulders/legs and Day 4 would be a rest day. I did weights for strength and wasn't too concerned about putting lots of bulk on, not that I could. In '90 I entered a bench press competition, and was able to press 275 in the 132 lb class. I don't think I could press 132 lbs today. I trained primarily for hockey, which was my sport for most of my life. Well, at least from about age 5 to about 10 years ago.

I've always enjoyed being physically active. And have definitely found racing the hardest, most competitive sport I've ever competed in.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ugly Weather means training in the basement

Forecast for the weekend is rain and more rain, so it's looks like it'll be a weekend of basement training. A couple weeks ago, I rode the trainer, and it took a long time to get motivated. So, I'm hoping it won't take as much time this weekend.

I'll probably do a lot of 5-8 minute intervals at threshold. Maintaining a steady power output is so much easier on a trainer than outside. Need to continue building my cardio engine.

Will also go to the gym tomorrow and do lots of leg weights: extensions, curls, leg press, dead lifts. Workout will include my 15 min core workout. Or I might do the Sat morning pilates class. Need to get my core back in strength after the slack off over vacation.

Maybe Sunday will bring good weather and I'll be able to get outside.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back from Tuscany

After 16 days of doing nothing but eating and drinking a lot in Tuscany, I'm back. Actually, I returned on the 16th. I put on 10 lbs and I'm back to my normal steady state weight of 140. I spent most of the race season at 130.

I did the Thrasher Hill ride the next day after my return, and boy was I hurting. I can't believe how quickly you loose fitness/form. My legs hurt, my lungs hurt, my chest hurt, my neck hurt, my triceps hurt. My whole body just hurt. I completely popped half way up Anglers and just struggled to keep my legs turning the rest of the ride.

On Saturday I did the 10am ride and I felt much better then on Wed., but no where close to how I felt during the summer. I had no snap and my legs felt pretty heavy after high intensity.

On Sunday I did the Bicycle Place Shop "A" ride. Legs are starting to feel a lot better, but still need to work on the cardio.

So what's my plan for the rest of the fall and winter?

  • Keep the extra 10 lbs on, enjoy eating whatever I want.
  • Train through the winter at a heavier weight than my race weight.
  • Get my legs and cardio back into semi-good shape over the next couple of weeks.
  • Build a really strong cardio engine through the end of Dec.
  • Spend Jan and Feb cutting weight and start doing high-intensity workouts.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fall Training Starts with Recovery and Getting Fat

After a long race season starting with winter training and then 34 races from early March to mid Sept, I am finally taking a break from riding and training. This Saturday, Justina and I will be heading to Tuscany for two weeks vacation. This will be our fifth year staying at Villa Fontelunga ( and we will also be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.

We fell in love with this region of Tuscany and really look forward to our return. It's very relaxing and we usually only go to our favorite towns: Sienna, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Cortona, Pienza, Orvieto. Maybe this year we'll visit some places we've not been to before. We also look forward to eating and drinking great food and wine.

I won't be riding at all except for an occasional ride on rusty old mountain bikes or the stationary bike at the gym. I plan on eating/drinking a lot of great Italian food/wine so I'll be returning fat and out of shape. The best way to start fall/winter training.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Murad: Waste of Time

The Cat4 Murad RR sucked. What a waste of time. There were too many riders taking up too much space, not riding hard enough and no way to get around anyone. The pack would speed up going downhill and totally bunch up going up the rollers with no room to get around anyone. Event on the flatter sections, the pack stayed totally bunched up from centerline to curb. Officials weren't enforcing the center line rule and lots of riders would pass up the left side on the sections of road that didn't have a yellow line. A huge crash collected about 25 riders after the final turn due to extremely poor course management by the officials. An ambulance was parked in the left hand lane. They should have red flagged us along River Rd until the ambulance was cleared or at least neutralized us until we cleared the ambulance.

Anyway, he's a race summary.

Bryan Vaughn, Artemis, went down in the first turn after completing the first lap. I was in the back and was thinking about slowing up to help him back to the field since he was trying to win the BAR. When I saw Mike May drift back, I decided they had enough fire power to bridge back up and decided not to help.

The course was not selective at all, and the pace was never too fast. I rode in the back with the motorcycle guy and two other guys for the entire race. We pretty much talked the whole race. The erratic riders, and there were many of them, made me really nervous so I never ventured to the front. I was planning on trying to move up later in the race.

I sat on my teammate, Conor, wheel for the first couple of laps and he was looking good, but then all of a sudden he started loosing contact, let a gap form, got his nose in the wind and that was the kiss of death for him. I had to jump around him to stay in contact with the group. Actually had to make a couple jumps around riders as they started slipping off the back.

The final lap picked up a bit but wasn't too terrible fast, never felt like "oh my god, I'm going to die". Rounding the final corner the motorcycle alerted us in the back that there was an ambulance on the left side of the road attending to a Cat5 crash. I don't think the riders in the front were alerted to the ambulance, because as flew around the corner and started fanning out across the road, they had to bunch back up in order to get around the ambulance. About 15-20 riders down, but a group of about 15-20 riders got through clean with a big gap. This final K was probably the hardest part of the entire race. The wind dramatically picked up and even in a draft it was hard to keep pace. I sprinted around two riders, and just beat out another rider at the line. Yeah, how stupid was that, sprinting for 30th place? I have no idea where I finished.

All I know is I'm really sick of Cat 4 races. They are such a joke, too dangerous. Next year I'm only doing Masters races.

After the race, Fabrizio from ABRT got punched by someone from Coppi. How stupid is that?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Cramp Ride

So how many other riders went out today and cramped up?

Man, this was the first ride this summer that I really started cramping up. Not sure if it was the heat, lack of recent high intensity rides, not enough water, or I just rode really hard.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday's Hard Hot Ride

I did the Thrasher ride today with almost all BPVC members; Phil and Kevin Young, Harry Fang, Conor O'Brien. Also in attendance were DC Velo riders: Agent Mulder, back from kicking ass in Europe, and James. We were also joined by a rider that's been coming out lately, but I don't know his name. I'll refer to him as Big Red (he's really big and wears a red jersey).

We rode the typical route: Bradley, Kentsdale, Newbridge, River, Persimmon, Oaklyn, Falls. But today, we went down into the Park. We went hard along the Oaklyn rollers and I went really hard up the last hill before making the left on Falls. I think my lungs were about to burst. Coming out of the park, I sat on Harry's wheel. And for a "I'm only a sprinter", he set a pretty good pace. I was just waiting for him to slow up a bit but he never did.

The rest of the ride was kind of a blur. Not sure if it was the heat, lack of recent high intensity rides, trying to keep up with Kevin, trying to drop Conor, trying to make the sprinter Harry work on the hills, or just plain hard ride today. But, it felt great.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Grocery List of a Fellow Rider

Have you ever wondered what your fellow riders have on their grocery
lists or what they buy when they go grocery shopping?

Well, tonight I had the distinct pleasure of running into my evil-twin,
Scooter (AKA WWM?) at the Bethesda River Rd Whole Foods. Based on his
shopping cart items, I'm not really sure why he was there. As everyone
knows, you buy really nutritional stuff at WFs. Ya know, like all
kinds of really organic sh..t, the stuff you won't find at Giant or

Here's what I observed in his cart: gallon of chocolate swirl ice
cream, big bag of potato chips, chocolate chip cookies and cheese
puffs. I think there might have been some veggies, but I'm not sure
since I was blinded by all the other nutritional items.

Okay, okay, I'm only joking. But the funny thing is we both had a
cooked roasted chicken in our carts. Maybe we are twins?


What was I thinking? Lessons learned

WTF? What was I thinking? I would be shortly be OTB.

I've been riding with some really strong riders this summer, and I've learned a lot from them and gotten stronger in the process. Although, I still need to work on being "patient" and heeding PM's winning strategy of "manipulate whoever I'm with into doing more work".

So, on a recent Wed Hill Ride, I planned to practice this concept of "patience". The ride is usually a suffer-fest since all the riders are really strong climbers and it consists of 5 good climbs; Mnt Gate, Anglers, GFPark, Brickyard and Eggert. Note: I don't count Goldsboro since we usually do this at sub-warp speed.

Should have listened to Jay's advice during yesterday's ride: "sitting on your wheel will require great patience".

For about 85% of the ride, I sat in and didn't go hard on any of the climbs. I felt strong on Mnt Gate, Anglers, and GF Park, but my right hip was bothering me a bit. I've been having problems with it lately, and it's probably related to my back issues. After coming down Anglers, Jay goes screaming past everyone carrying a lot of momentum onto the flat section. Ad says "I'm not chasing him, he's on my team". So the three of us up front looked at each other and let him go. I was really tempted to go after him but kept hearing "be patient" ringing in my head. Then, I think, George goes hard on the left side followed by young Russ and then I jump on Russ's wheel. As we caught Jay about half way to Brickyard, we slowed up and that's when the evil gremlins started yelling in my ear (or maybe it was Paul whispering behind me) "don't slow up, go as hard as you can and you'll get a break away going". So I jumped hard and I felt really good, legs felt strong, HR under control. Not sure what kind of gap I had rounding the left on Brickyard, but about half way to the steep section I couldn't shift into my small ring and lost a bunch of momentum. Just about this time, the gremlins came back in my head yelling "sucker..., you should have listened to Jay". Next thing I know, the train led by Paul went storming past me and all I could do was watch as Paul hammered up the steep section putting everyone in his wake in deep trouble. I was OTB and hurting. I couldn't get any RPMs going and slowly drifted off the back.

So much for "being patient". I guess its not really that smart to attack before the steepest climb on the ride. But, the more I do this, the stronger I'll get and then one day, I'll be strong enough to stay away.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

"You look 20 lbs heavier"

One of my kind team mates thought I looked 20 lbs heavier in my TT suit.

Here are my witty responses .....

"Just trying my best to look like Kemal."
"The horizontal stripes add weight."
"Unlike Clinton, I WAS inhaling (deeply) the moment the pic was taken."
"I was practicing my yoga belly breathing."
"I was blotted from too much salt in my pasta from the previous night's dinner."
"I started upper body weight training again."
"I swear Mike sold me Optygen"
"the lighting was really bad"
"Yeah, but look at those guns"
"do you know how much effort it takes to do a track stand in your aero bars"
"I'm getting an earlier start adding my winter training weight back on."
"Maybe Nutella and FlufferNutter sandwiches aren't the best training

Yours truly,
the ever svelte
"I'm not eating for a week"

Glutony at the T de Christiana

OK, all I can say is one word "glutony" and this one word will set the
tone of the Zimmerman story.

After the RR on Saturday, and after eating subs with Kevin and Phil at
Subway, and then after riding the TT course, we went back to our Best
Western hotel rooms in Intercourse, Pa. I spent the rest of the
afternoon, relaxing in my comfortable closet sized room flipping
between the Busch NASCAR race at Watkins Glen and reruns of the "the
Hills" on MTV. By about 4pm I was getting real hungry and not sure I
could make it to our 7pm dinner reservation without getting something
to eat.

I headed across the street to Zimmerman's, the local grocery store.
Funny sign on the door read "NO photos allowed, please leave your
camera in the car". Not sure what I was getting my self into with a
sign like that.

As I entered the store, I didn't know what I wanted, but I soon
realized that entering a small town grocery store with an empty
stomach was not a good idea. Everything looked good, and I would
shortly have an overflowing basket if I wasn't careful. So, I limited
myself to wholesome foods and became very selective by weighing the
caloric content of my selection. Throwing caution to the wind and
letting my stomach dictate the selection process, my basket was soon
filled with the following: one yogurt, 4 bananas, bag of organic
cheese puff balls, salted almonds, trail mix called Sweet Temptation,
gummi bears, veggie chips and a bag of wheat hamburger rolls (of
course these would be for breakfast) and two gatoraids.

I get to the counter, realizing I don't have enough cash, and ask "do
you take credit card?" Well, yes, of course they do. Just because
we're in Amish country doesn't mean the area doesn't offer the modern
day conveniences like credit card machines. I gladly paid less than $30
for my bounty of food and quickly head back to the closet.

I lay down on the bed and spread my loot around me, quickly opening
each and every container. I eat the yogurt first, have a banana, and
then dive into the veggie chips, Sweet Temptation, Cheese puffs and
salted almonds.

I think at some point Phil calls to remind me about the 7PM dinner
reservation and that we should plan on leaving around 6:30pm. In my
food coma, all I could do was grunt in agreement.

So, this is the story of Zimmermans.

Lesson: never go food shopping when you're hungry, cuz you never know
what you'll come home with.


Recap Tour de Christiana "AKA tour d pain"

Leading up to the TdC, I wasn't sure which race I was going to do: Cat 4 or 40+. In the past couple of 40+ races, I've placed better and felt more comfortable than how I've done in this season's worth of Cat 4 races. I finally decided to do the Cat4 race with my teammate Kevin Young (17 yr super strong rider) and also because the times for the Cat 4 race would me to get home Sunday mid-late afternoon.

Bottom line, this was the hardest weekend of racing I've had all season.

40 mile RR. Four laps on a 10mile loop with a big climb, super fast downhill (50+ mph) each lap. The final 1/2 mile or so was an steep uphill that flattened out just before the finish. With about 90 riders starting the race, I knew the field would quickly thin out in the first climb. Since I didn't know the course or what the climbs would be like I didn't want to waste any energy in the front. So, I did my usual sit in the back, bridge up when any gaps formed and stay in front of the motorcycle guy. In lap two, I had to take a pee and tried going while staying pace with the pack, but just couldn't make it work. After trying about 4 times, I finally gave up and tried not to think about it the rest of the race. Each time I'd drift back about 5-10 sec and have to race back to get back in the pack. What a waste of energy.

The pace was never totally out of control, not on the flats, nor the climbs. But, it amazed me how many riders sounded like they were ready to pop during the climb or during the faster false flat sections where we would be cruising along at 27-30 mph.

Leading into the last turn I was in the back, and the pack slowed up a lot as the climb to the finish started. The motorcycle guy told us we could take the lane, and I took full advantage of this since this opportunity to move quickly up the left side up to the front group of 5-6 riders that had just started to accelerate. I was able to stay with this group but as the road flattened out I realized I was not in my big ring and the time it took to get into it, I was quickly getting passed by a couple riders heading into the finish. I finished 11th. Should have done better but was in the wrong gear heading into the finish line.

Sunday AM
10 mile TT, some rollers and a false flat that was hard and then a real fast flat section to the finish. Kinda bummed cuz 30 seconds separated my 25th place from 5th place. Although, I'm not sure how much faster I could have gone. I averaged just about 25MPH and was doing just about 29-30MPH the last mile or so. I guess I could have tried hammering more through the false flat but didn't want to blow up and have nothing left in the end.

I remember the last couple of miles passing a bunch of Amish families walking on the side of the
road. And I was thinking to myself that the Amish were looking at me and thinking "what is that? Why is that dufous in a zebra suit working so hard riding his bike with his tongue hanging out. He should be spending all that energy doing something constructive like mowing the grass, painting the fences, cutting the corn fields, feeding the animals." I remember going past these families grunting for as much air as I could get, had my mouth wide open. I was in such pain it just didn't hurt anymore.

Sunday afternoon
16 mile crit (13 laps), one steep climb per lap, and some really technical downhill sections with real tight turns through the town. During the warm up laps, I was getting real nervous about the technicality of the course and the # of very tight turns. Tight turns at high speed and Cat 4 races do not mix. Spidy sense was starting to come alive. Awesome course but one of the hardest crits I've done all season. Sitting towards the back made the race really hard not so much of the yo-yo affect, but more so because I had to do a lot of bridging as riders started popping.

And, Steven Black was relentless. I think he attacked the hill on every lap, at least it seemed like the announcer was calling his name everytime we went past the finish line. Man, that 16 yr old is strong.

As usually, I attacked about 2 laps too earlier.
With 4 laps to go, I was able to move up to the front on the climb and since my legs felt really good, I floored it for a lap or so. Man it felt good just rolling through the turns and keeping my speed pretty constant throughout the entire turn. I'm not sure if Eric Davila and I got a gap or not, but as we came up to the climb with 2 laps to go, my legs weren't feeling so good. I was barely able to hang on for the next lap and was able to finish 23.

So the way I looked at it, my effort helped Kevin Young win the race and clinch his top spot for the GC. All in all it was a great weekend of racing. I had a really good time meeting and talking with Sean Ross' parents.

Monday, July 9, 2007

PA Dutch County Stage Race

OK, first I'd like to say that this was a really fun weekend of racing
and hanging out with Luis "Mr TT". We have lots of stories to tell: like shopping at WalMart Super Center, getting lost for an hour trying to find the Olive Garden, taking a
detour through the seedy parts of Lancaster, getting pissed at the
smokers in restaurants, Luis walking into the wrong room at the
Holiday Inn. Many more to tell, but you'll have to wait cuz I have
some great news to tell.

Now onto the serious stuff of race reporting. This report will
concentrate on Sunday's Clay TT, part of the PA Dutch County Stage
Race. The Stage race consisted of a 50 mile RR on Sat, 7.8 mile TT on Sunday, and a 25 mile Crit Sunday afternoon. I'll submit a second post detailing the RR and the Crit.

I would like everyone to remember how well Luis did at Church Creek, I
think he won the Cat 4, and oh yes, I've included his previous post
thanking everyone for their congratulations on his win.

After the RR yesterday, Luis and I scooped out the 7.8 mile TT course.
We're getting ready and we both said we were going to ride it really
slow. I was futsing around getting my jersey on, my helmet on, my
cycling shoes on, lathering up my legs with greasy shit, and Luis is
just circling around the parking lot waiting for me. He's got his
running shoes on (not sure where his cycling shoes were), he doesn't
have a helmet on, but he has a bright red Bicycle Place t-shirt. Yes,
Luis is the ultimate professional. I say "Luis, where's your helmet?"
And he says "I thought we were going slow?"

So we head out on our reconnaissance mission, max speed about 10 MPH
(Cannibal pace). About 500M into the ride, I'm seeing stars, cuz I'm
totalling bonking from the RR. And I say "Luis, I'm seeing stars, not
sure if I'm going to make it" Luis says "suck it up". But, being the
trooper that I am, I dig deep and keep the 10 MPH pace going. Actually
looking straight ahead helped out a lot.

The course wasn't too bad, but I think it's kind of hard to really
know what you'd do during an all out TT effort, when you're only going
10 MPH. There were rollers, one steep hill that flattened out towards
the top, a screaming downhill onto a long flat, and then a
semi-rolling down/flat section to the finish. After the recon mission,
we didn't think the course was going to be too hard. And we were
psyched about laying some really fast times.

Over dinner, Luis and I were comparing notes on our TT gear.

Luis' Bike: $10K Cervelo, fully custom TT bike, fancy TT disc wheels,
aero bars. I've knicknamed it "the Blade" cuz it looks super fast, and
I'm getting pretty psyched out that he's going to kick my ass.
Ray's Bike: Trek Madone SL 5200, non-disc Rolf wheels, clip-on TT
bars. Yeah, its what I ride everyday for training and racing.

Luis' Attire: LG aero helmet, super tight skin suit, and the latest
technology in skin socks.
Ray's Attire: Giro Atmos helmet with 26 vent holes, Bicycle Place
jersey and shorts, old technology sock covers.

Also, lets not forget Luis "has been training for TT since last Nov."

So, we're getting warmed up before the TT race and I'm taking mental
notes of how fast Luis looks in his space age, latest technology stuff
and I'm thinking he's really going to kick my ass.

I role up to the TT start with about 4 seconds before my start time.
(Note to self: always coordinate your watch with their clock). I
didn't even have time to reset my Ergomo. I pulled up to the start and
the clock said "9:25:54", my start time was 9:26. Nothing like perfect

I start off pretty hard, my legs felt really good. I caught the rider
that started 30 secs in front of me in about the first 2 miles (turns
out it was a chick, although, I can't really read anything it that)
and then caught the next guy on the big climb. Once I got onto the
last 4 miles, the head wind was killing me, I was working as hard as I
could. I quickly looked at my Ergomo, which I was able to mount with
my clip-on TT bars, and saw my speeds, and I'm thinking "shit, Luis's
going to be flying along this section on his "Blade".

The 1 KM sign never looked so good, and I started sprinting with about
300M to go. I was really spent and my first thought was I don't do
enough TT workouts.

After downloading my Ergomo, I was able to determine that my time was
18:38. I felt pretty good about it, but heard that some guys in full
aero stuff had times of just over 17 minutes.

I'm thinking Luis "ChurchHill Champ" is going to be in this range and
I'm really depressed.

Luis finally finishes his TT, and he's says his time was about 20+

Now I'm really happy, cuz I beat his time.

.... But, I'll let Luis tell his side of the story, its a duzzi. All,
I know is I finished faster regardless of what kind of story he'll
tell us about.

(Note: Luis told me I could gloat all I wanted and to not hold any
punches on my race report. But, you'll die laughing when Luis tells us
all what really happened. Just a hint, as Mike always says "if you
don't know the way, don't lead")

Hey Everybody!

Let me begin by thanking everyone for their kind comments regarding
this weekend's race. When I first started to read your comments, I
was a bit perplexed, because when I left Church Creek on Saturday
afternoon, I picked up my silver medal and left quite happy with my
time of 56:35. I was shocked to hear your comments about my being the
winner when I thought I'd actually come in second place. After
checking the official results online, I saw that I got first place
and that my time was actually a 56:05.

For those that are interested, here is a quick recap of Church Creek.
1. I did wear a DC Velo skin suit (thanks Aziz) and am eagerly
awaiting the BPVC skinsuit arrival
2. I began preparing for Saturday's race last November focused on it
throughout the winter and spring
3. Took Josh Fricke's advice and had a Red Bull just prior to
starting out
4. Kept by heartrate two to three beats below threshold for 55 out of
56 minutes.
5. Looking forward to Boonsboro and collecting my $100 from Mike

Thanks again for all of your support.