Monday, June 30, 2008

Reston: attacking from the back

I've always enjoyed doing the Reston Crit and this year didn't disappoint. Thanks to Evolution, the organizers, the road guards and JoeJ for another great day of racing.

I'm not sure how many Cat 4's started but there weren't that many when we finished. I must say I really think the Cat 4 races this year are really fast, much faster than last years. Seems like the mentality is to hammer the start of the race and drop as many riders as you can. This is a lot more fun, than sitting in a giant pack and then have a huge, cluster F pack sprint.

After suffering through the first 10 minutes of what seemed like a never ending sprint, I couldn't believe we still had 50 mins of racing. Riders were popping left and right every lap. My conditioning is coming back but I still wasn't sure what I'd have left at the end. My goal was to stay out of trouble, maintain contact with the lead pack, surf the back, and then attack with whatever I had left towards the end of the race.

Throughout the race, as riders popped off the back, I would sprint around them to get back into the slipstream. I would let small gaps form leading into turns 3, 4 and 5 so that I could roll through these turns without having to hit the brakes, which I would have to do if I was riding right on someone's wheel. A couple times, I misjudged and had to work pretty hard to get back into the slipstream after exiting turn #5. Towards the end of the race, the head wind coming out of turn #5 was picking up.

The pace stayed pretty high for about 40 minutes or so. With about 15 laps to go, the pace started slowing up along the start/finish stretch. I was waiting for attacks to occur with the slower pace, but no one was going. I wanted to let an attack go, and then counter attack when it was caught. Nothing happening. So with 11 or so to go, I attacked hard on the start/finish stretch and got maybe a 10 sec gap. I soloed for 2 laps and got caught. I sat back in to recover for a couple of laps. The pace stayed slow. With 4 laps to go, I attacked again on the start/finish stretch and got a good gap. It started drizzling and I was hoping that this would slow the pack down and allow me to stay away. But, unfortunately just before the bell lap, I got caught. But this time, I was completely spent, I really didn't have anything left so I drifted back and rolled in after the pack sprint.

Not sure where I placed. Felt a lot better than I did at the TdW, but still not in the form I had before the crash.

There were 4 crashes and I, fortunately, wasn't involved in any of them. The first one happened on the first turn of the first lap. WTF? The second and third occured after exiting turn #5. The cones leading into this turn definitely made the corner safer by preventing riders from dive bombing on the inside. Jose Nunez got caught up in one of these crashes, and it looked like he sustained a shoulder injury. I hope its not bad, he's a great guy to race against. The fourth crash occured on the stretch just before the start/finish line.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Delusions of Grandeur Smashed by the Harsh HOT Facts of Reality

Before I go off about my view of the TdW, I want to send out some serious props to the organizers, JoeJ and all the volunteers that kept us safe. This was truly a great weekend of racing, I hope we'll be seeing this for many years to come.

I'd also like to congratulate Brigham Lumm for his first place in the GC in the Cat4 and Kevin Young for his first place in the Cat3 GC. Dudes, that's awesome.

I'd also like to say that some of you dudes (like Jorge, JoseN, KyleJ, SteveK, GregF, StephenW. LanceL) are getting super strong. What the F have you been doing the past month and a half to get so strong? Jorge, where the hell did you get the strength to stay away for 4 laps in the crit? Its a lot of fun racing with you all or I should really say "it was a lot of fun racing behind you this weekend".

Tour de Washington was to be my first weekend racing since the May 3rd Poolesville crash.

Since the crash, I'd been riding the training in the basement doing long intervals of 10, 15, 20 and 60 min intervals just about every day. As I got closer to getting back on the road, I started doing shorter, higher intensity efforts of 30 sec and 1 min. What I was to find out this weekend was that riding in the a 65F basement did not in any way prepare me for 95-100F outside temps.

The week before TdW I was able to get out on the road for the Thrasher ride. I could definitely feel that my legs were not responding like they would before the crash. Although, I only got back on the road for 4 rides before TdW, I was really looking forward to the weekend since I think these courses really suit my riding style.

I felt OK on the neutral roll out, but, man, soon as we made the left onto the loop, the pace picked up really fast. What a jolt to the system. About half way through the first lap, the heat was killing me and my mind was already saying "how are you going to finish? you've got more laps". The rest of the race I was in survival mode. I tried to conserve energy riding wheels, and bridging up when I sensed the rider in front starting to fade. A couple times I almost got dropped doing this, but I viewed these efforts as getting back into race shape. Lots of riders were popping as we crested the hills and couldn't sustain the effort as the pace picked up. With about 2 or 3 laps to go, I saw Kyle almost in front of me, and I yelled at him "Kyle, what the hell are you doing at the back?" The second to last lap I thought was really fast, and riders were popping off the back, and I wasn't sure if I had enough left for one more lap. On the last lap someone dropped a water bottle through one of the really fast sweeping right hand bends. It was rolling in the middle so I went left, but as I was getting close the bottle started rolling back into my path, and I had to bail into the grass and onto a driveway. By the time I got back on the road, the pack was long gone. I TT'd it the rest of the way. Came in 38th.

Did the 20K TT is 31:38 for 19th. Earning me 3pts for the weekend. Waahoo.

I walked the course before the race, and the downhill right hander and the 120degree turn looked pretty nasty. I lined up in the front row, something I normally don't do. I decided since I was in the front, I was going to go as hard as I could from the gun and see how I faired going through those two turns solo. I jumped to about a 5 sec gap and eventhough I was solo, I didn't take either of the turns very well. I almost slide out on the 120 degree turn, and this definitely shock my confidence. I sat up a bit and the pack caught me. I drifted to the back and just rode the back, bridging up when gaps formed. The heat was getting to me, but I didn't feel as bad as I did on the RR. My legs felt good and strong, I just wasn't able to get my HR down. With 10 to go, I overcooked the 120 degree turn, my rear wheel slide out from under me and I almost crashed in the fence. By the time I got myself back together, the pack was about half way up the hill. For a second I was ready to bag it, but I dug deep and sprinted up the hill as hard as I could, when I rounded the corner the pack was about 5 secs ahead, and my mind just said stop. I was so fried. I dumped the rest of the water I had on my head, coasted the rest of the lap and pulled out. This is the first race, I've ever pulled myself out of.

Next race, RESTON.
I hope to redeem myself.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Back on the Road

Finally, my shoulder ligaments are stronger and my bike is fixed, so I hit the road today for the first solo ride since the Poolesville crash.

I went for a quick spin last week but the handling of my bike was a bit off, and when I got home I found a big crack in the fork. Pretty pissed at myself for not more thoroughly going over the bike for damage after the crash. I spent this week waiting for a new fork to arrive and then repair time. Finally got it back today.

Not sure how much riding the trainer everyday for 90+ mins doing 10, 15, 20 and 60 min intervals over the past month and a half actually helped cuz my legs felt like shit today. I tried spinning up Mass, and could barely keep my legs turning. Going up Anglers and GF Park was just as painful. I can normally speed up these climbs but being off the bike has really set me back.

I'm not feeling too optimistic about Tour de Washington next weekend. I have the next 4 days to get a good rythm going and get my legs back. OR, it's going to be the Tour de Pain.

Here' s to wishful thinking and regaining some form very quickly.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I'm still alive, shoulder ligaments healing

Update for all my faithful readers.

I can't believe how long its been since my last posting. Not much happening on the race scene since I'm still waiting for my torn AC shoulder ligaments to heal enough to get back on the bike. I saw the orthopedic last Tuesday, and he'd like me to wait two more weeks before getting back outside. This will be 6 weeks from the crash and ample time for the ligaments to get strong enough to sustain another fall (just in case I go down again. god forbid)

I've been riding the Tacx swing trainer in the basement everyday for 90+ mins. A typical workouts consists of 10min spin to warm up and then steadily increase the wattage for 5 mins, followed by a 5 min slow spin. I then do two 20min intervals as high a wattage as I can do without popping. (about 10 min recover in between intervals). Depending on how I feel, I'll usually do another 10 min interval of microburts: 15 sec full on, 45 sec recovery, 15 sec full on, 45 sec recovery..... Finally, I do a 10 min cool down.

We'll see what kind of shape I'm in when I get back on the road.

So, my first races back are slated for the Tour of Washington.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Post Crash Status and Diagnosis

It's been 9 days since the crash.

I saw the orthopedic last Tuesday and the diagnosis is Grade1 shoulder separation (AC ligaments partially torn, maybe slight Grade 2). Nothing broken. He wants me to stay off the bike for a month to let it heal. Riding the trainer is OK as long as the shoulder doesn't hurt. I go back to see him the end of the month for a follow up visit.

I get more and more pain-free range of motion everyday and can sleep through the night without waking in pain. Just taking extra strength Tylenol to help me sleep through the night.

I get the stiches in my knee out tomorrow. May do it myself. Never any problems with the knee, although the muscles above the knee were pretty sore for a couple days after the crash.

I've been riding my trainer everyday since last Wed and doing leg weights every three days. I'm looking at this month as a build period before getting back outside. (almost as if it were January)

OK, now for the important stuff.

How's the bike?

The Easton carbon fiber handlebars were totaled. I cracked the downdrops on both sides.

Everything else looks to be OK, even the bomb-proof Rolf Vigor wheels were fine. Not even out of true.

Last but not least, SHOUT OUT TO MIKE BUTCHKO, THE BICYCLE PLACE, for mounting the new Bontrager XXX lite handlebars and tuning the racing machine back to super sonic speed.

Shit, I knew I forgot something. Maybe I hit my head too hard during the crash. The biggest Shout Out goes to Luis San Sebastian for saving my bike from the yard-sale vultures, and for putting some elbow grease into the stellar cleaning job. Last, but not least, AND for staying uppast 9:30pm as I got lost getting to his house. What should've been a 25min drive, took me over an hour. Fortunately, Luis helped guide me to his house and I was able to reclaim my bike.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Poolesville: Crash

Here's a quick recap of the 40/50.

Not sure what the others, thought but the first lap was one of the hardest laps I've had to do. Might have been due to not getting a really good warm up. I almost popped a couple times, but stuck with it. Gravel section was pretty bad avoiding all the pot holes and water bottles. About 10 riders pulled off with flats. I also think a couple riders went down.

Second lap seemed to be much slower, although I'm not sure if this was because I was warmed up and legs were feeling better. Same conditions in the gravel section, lots of water bottles and flatting riders.

By the third lap, I was feeling really good, and was planning on moving up towards the front. On the downhill section just past the golf course, the pace really picked up to the lower 30s and then all of a sudden two riders, (Todd Gue and Spencer Beckett ??) in front of me are tangled up and going down. There are bikes and bodies bouncing in front of me. The world evolves in slow motion. I hit my brakes hoping to slow up enough to get around them. Unfortunately, there was no room as the bikes and bodies seemed to take up the entire width of the road. I really couldn't see any gaps to get through. As Todd bounced towards the gutter on the right side of the road, my only escape route was into the gutter. As I hit the one foot deep gutter, I barely missed riding over Todd's head and then hit the dirt embankment with my right knee and right shoulder. I cartwheeled a couple times before coming to a stop. Sitting in the grass, I tried to assess what damage I'd done. I had a huge gash on my right knee and my right shoulder was hurting. I checked for the tell tale signs of a broken collarbone. Fortunately, there was no bumps along the collarbone, but there was a painful bump in the area where the collarbone connects to the scapula. So, I'm sitting there kinda daized, and just trying to stay calm. And I see Luis San Sebastian, who was working as a rode guard. Thanks for taking care of my bike. I'll call ya to arrange to pick it up.

As I'm sitting in the grass, I look down and realize, I don't have my right shoe on. WTF? I lookover at the bike about 10 feet to my left and see my shoe with blacksock cover is still attached to the peddle. I also hope I'm not sitting in any poison ivy, fortunately I wasn't. I also look over to the right farther down the road, and there is another EMT truck sitting in the right hand lane just before the right hand turn, taking care of another downed rider. Turns out, he was on a flyer in the 4/5 race and solo crashed while trying to get some water. He was in pretty bad shape.

Anyway, the EMTs took me to ShadyGrove Hosp, I think I got there around 10:30ish and I didn't get discharged until around 1:30.


  • Knee wound: open to the knee cap. 1 internal suture, 4 external sutures
  • Shoulder; nothing broken, but possible Grade2 shoulder separation. I'll see my orthopedic early this week for official diagnosis and treatment plan.

Not sure how long I'll be off the bike, but I will be riding my trainer once the pain in my shoulder goes away.

Post Note Addition: I forgot to thank Manny and TonyG for asking if I was OK as they raced by.

Post Note Addition: Officially diagnosis: Grade 1 Shoulder separation will keep me on the trainer for at least a month.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mr Cranky- pants Loves Racing in the Rain

No more Mr Cranky-pants comments coming from my blog. After GBR called me Mr Cranky-pants, I'm starting a new leaf in my postings. From now on its all about the zen and harmony of the race, and about the yin and yang that occurs during the race. And, no more negativity. Yes, thats right, no more comments about sketchy riders and how dangerous the race was.

So, with this harmonious disclaimer, all I can say about Carl Dolan Masters 30/40 race is that "I love racing in the rain". What better way to conserve energy by taking a bath and being able to wash your bike at the same time. No worries about sweat stains since the rain just washes it away.

Here are some yin/yang observations

  • Racing in the rain is a lot of fun
  • During the heaviest rain in the beginning of the race, I could barely see with the rain blasting my face on the long sweeping, super fast section before the hill leading to the finish.
  • Rain made the race really slow, which prevented a lot of riders from getting dropped
  • Legs felt really good even without a warm up. Might have something to do with the slow pace. Only once did I really have to put in a hard effort to stay with the pack after the right hand turn into the super fast section.
  • deleted
  • deleted
  • Just barely made it through the crash on the final hill. Really thought I was going down as I carved my way through the bouncing bikes and bouncing bodies. (final comment deleted)
  • My nickname for David Fuentes, is Great White Shark. He was riding in the back for most of the race, and at some point he worked his way to front and was gone before you knew it. Anyway, the reference to GWS is that he rides so smoothly and effortlessly and then explodes and is gone in a flash, just like a GWS.
Hope everyone that crashed in the 30/40 race and the Cat3/4 are OK.

Training Highlights

Randy and I did a TT workout along MacA, up Anglers, Falls Rd, Oaklyn, PersimmonTree. We did two loops. When you are not use to going all out for 20 mins, it hurts.

Wed Thrasher Hill Ride
Legs felt really good, and didn't really hurt on any of the climbs.

Thurs Hains Pt
Went to HP for the first time this spring, and felt really good. Worked the front and took some long pulls. Couple times had to put in some long pulls to bridge back up to front group. Didn't contest any sprints. I'm definitely going to try and get down there once a week since its a good compliment to the Thrasher ride. Legs and cardio felt really good. Will plan on pushing myself more the next time.

Mt Joy: do I even remember?

Its been a while since the Cat 4 Mt Joy race, and I'll only post some comments and observations, nothing in great detail.


  • Looked like rain, but stayed dry throughout the race.
  • A bit windy, but not strong enough to make a difference.
  • Climbs were short and not very selective.
  • Some long, fast curvy sections leading into fast twisting uphill sections.
  • Long run out to the downhill finish.

  • GBR taking a short romp through the fields and masterfully demonstrating his cross bike skills.
  • Getting to the front on a down hill section early in the race only to see GBR blast off my right, and I reacted catching his wheel on the climb. We worked together with an Artemis guy, but not good enough to stay away for more than half a lap.
  • Pace not too fast in the middle part of race.
  • Stayed in back, out of the wind for the middle part.
  • Wanted to move up to contest for the finish, but got caught behind another rider with an exploding rear tire and I almost slide into the guard rail. Worked my ass off to get back to the main pack leading into the sprint.
  • A jostling gaggle of riders on the left side leading into the sprint allowed me to sprint up the right side but got slowed up by popping riders. Started too far back to make a difference.
  • 18th place

Monday, April 7, 2008

Walkersville and Tysons ReCap

Walkersville 35+ Cat4/5

5th place (got pipped at the line by two All Americans: Ron Barry and Carlos Goncalves).
Worked my ass off the entire race. This race was a lot of fun.

My goal for the race was to sit in the first lap, see how the pace went, stay out of trouble and counter any attacks as soon as the bigger teams pulled in any attacks. The neutral role out was pretty uneventful and no one went down, the pace was also pretty slow. As we passed through the intersection that marked the start of the course, the pace was really slow, and I asked other riders if we started and they said yes. Fearing a typical Cat4 race, I picked up the speed to get to the front and then kept going. Steve Anderson (DC Velo) came up beside me and said "let's go" as he speed up. For the first half of the first lap, it was Steve, one other guy and myself in a three man rotation setting the pace. It felt good because it felt like racing and not a Cat4 yo-yo fest. The first lap continued to be a high pace as some others joined the pace setting.

Not sure when but Tom (don't know your team) attacked and was looking really strong. I think one other rider went with him but they didn't get too far ahead and the pack wasn't really interested in chasing them down so early in the race. I, for one, wanted them to sit out there and tire themselves out. The pack eventually caught them and at some point in the 2nd or 3rd lap (?)
3 guys got away (a Kelly rider, Manny, and a 3rd) and the pack never could really put in a concerted effort to catch them, plus I never thought they'd be able to stay away for the rest of the race. During the 4th lap, Kelly amassed their entire team at the front and set a not so slow/not so fast pace. I didn't realize one of their riders was in the break and that they were just slowing the pack down to give their rider a winning chance. I got to the front and started working with Lance Lacy and some other guys. When I realized we weren't really gaining any time on the break, I got back into the pack and rested for the final drag to the finish. Last year, I got totally boxed in during the run-in to the finish and this year I wanted to bury myself or at least try to get a break going so that I wouldn't get boxed in.

So, o
n the last lap, I moved up the pack on the outside and as I passed Tom, I said something like "come on". He got on my wheel and I moved towards the front, but once I got there I attacked. Tom, Eric Seidel (Bicycle Place) and I got a jump on the pack and as made the right hand turn up the steep short incline we developed a good gap on the pack. Eric is really strong but doesn't race a lot. He got the front and must have pulled for about a mile. He put in a huge effort. Tom was #2 and
I was #3. I kept looking back and seeing we had a gap and kept yelling encouragement to keep the pace up. A guy bridged up to us and caught us on the little rollers about 1K from the finish. I was the only one of 3 that was able to jump on his wheel. I kept looking back and we still had a gap but we were still pretty far away. With about 500M the dude was fading and I looked back and saw we still had a gap. It was do or die, so I jumped as hard as I could and hoped I'd have enough to get me to the line in 3rd place. This seemed to be the longest stretch of road, and I forgot about the very slight rise just before the finish. I gave it my all, but Ron Barry flew past me with maybe 50' to go and then Carlos pipped by less than a wheel at the line.

I've never worked harder in a race and it felt good.

Tysons Cat 4

Completely different story.
Sketchy as hell and the rain didn't help. I got bumped outside the cones 4 times avoiding riders that couldn't hold a line, had to avoid a bouncing cone once cuz someone rode over it, and almost had my front wheel clipped 4 times. Yeah, typical Cat4 BS. I'm sick of it and the rest of the season I'll be registering for Masters 40+.

Finally met TerribleTerry and Bryan Burns (Haymarket)

My legs were a bit heavy from Walkersville so I sat in the back for most of the race, spun up the hill in my small ring and never felt tired. I could easily move up the climb when I wanted but would get bombadiered on the downhill section and would drift back to a safer zone near the back. The middle was just insane with riders just bouncing from one wheel to another.

3 to go, I easily moved up the climb on the left side and then went hard near the start finish and didn't let up until well past turn #1. I think 3-4 others came with me, but I'm not sure what kind of gap we had. On the downhill section we weren't working well together and we got caught just before the turn leading into the climb. I got boxed in on the inside and lost a lot of momemtum going through the turn. Had to work hard to get the speed back up by then I was towards the back again. Too many sketchy riders and my spidey sense was telling me a big crash was going to happen. Too many guys not holding their line as they bounced from wheel to wheel. I was in the back going into the last turn and was able to sprint up to mid field by the finish line without much effort. Came in 26th.

Tysons Cat 3/4

Although, I felt fine during the Cat 4 race, it was afterwards when I cooled down, standing around in my wet gear, that I realized how F'in miserable it was. I had an hour after the Cat 4 race before my second race in the 3/4. It was during this time that I began to shiver and realized I had dry jerseys and arm warmers in the car but no dry leggings or shorts. I was so cold, I couldn't get my mind around doing another race, so I got out of the wet stuff and watched the 3/4.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Jeff Cup: Stuck behind the Cat4 Trolls (as Kyle would say)

So, if I ever see 125 Cat4s signed up for a race, I'm going to load by bike back in the car and go home. Or, maybe I won't even leave the house. I'll consider the entree fee a contribution to the organizers. This is pretty much my assessment of the Cat4 Jeff Cup race.

I guess I can sum the race up in two words "f'in scary".

I really hate big Cat4 fields because most of the time no one wants to work and everyone wants to just sit in for the sprint. There were maybe 15 different riders that did any work at the front. And as Kyle says a whole bunch of "Cat4 Trolls" just getting in the way.

Its like watching a bunch of little kids play soccer. The ball goes one direction and all the little f'ers go chasing it, the ball goes another direction and then they all chase it in the new direction. On and on this continues. This is what a Cat4 race is like. The pack rides along real slow, someone tries to break and everyone picks up speed to chase them. The breakers are soon caught and the chasers stop going hard. And everyone slows back up to a walking pace. Then someone tries to break again, and the pack picks the speed up to chase them down. Once again the breaker is caught and the chasers stop working. On and on it goes.

I don't know, but is this racing? If it is why don't we just make these races one lap?

Enough ranting: I suck and I'm taking my 41st place to the grave.

Here's my view of the Race:

I tried a couple times to make something happen but my legs never felt good. Too much stop and go throughout the race and I could never get into a rhythm. The only time my legs felt good was maybe the last 2 miles when the pace finally picked up to race speed and I had to do a sustained effort but I was too far back to make it to the front to contend.

You know it sucks when you have to break going up hill.
I think I need new brakes after wasting them on these sections. Who ever heard of having to brake on climbs? Every F'in climb the pack was spread from curb-curb and no room to get around riders. I tried to stay near the curb and away from the middle and a couple times I had aholes trying to squeek through the 2" I had on the curb-side.

The fast downhill sections were scary as shit. Too many riders just having no clue how to ride. And a couple riders seriously need to have their bikes checked out by a mechanic. I'd usually have a bunch of riders dive bomb past me on these sections only to have them get in my way on the uphill sections.

A very disappointing race.

So, with this being said, I'm quitting racing and going to train full time for the next Pilates competition. I think this might be a safer activity.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ready to Fly

Had a great week of training with some strong efforts on Monday and Tuesday. In fact, Tuesday was pretty brutal since I was really trying to push the pace and force myself to have to actively recover after hard efforts.

Took Wednesday off completely. No easy spinning, no basement trainer ride. My body was telling me to get some rest.

Yesterday, I wound up doing x3 1omin L2/3 intervals on the trainer, some high cadence spinning (120+ RPMs) and some really easy tempo. Good a great sweat going.

Today, the Thrasher Ride was a pretty good tempo, nothing earth shattering, but we did pick up the pace towards the end of Clara Barton. Legs felt really good. Left calf strain is finally working itself out, but still feel it. Have no idea how I strained it, but its been nagging me for the past couple of weeks.

Tomorrow, I'll go for a solo, easy spin ride for maybe an hour or two. Nothing but spinning.

If my legs felt like they did at UMd PresCup, watch out on Sunday at JeffCup, I'll be flying.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Training the Day After UMPresCrit

After the elation of the UM Pres Cup race wore off, I realized it was Sunday and time to get back on the bike for an intense hill interval workout. So, I headed out for my normal weekend solo hammerfest: Mass, MacArthur, Anglers, GF Park and Mnt Gate.

Heading north on MacArthur was brutal. It was kinda depressing hammering into the 20-30MPH headwind and only doing 20-22 MPH.

I went hard up Anglers in my big ring and really tried to keep the pace high for the entire climb.

I rested heading down into GFPark and continued to do 5 repeats up and down GF Park in my big ring, probably in my 52x15 or 52x14. I really wanted to work on a very low cadence and a really heavy gear. My times weren't great but I got the strength training I was looking for. My last repeat was in my small ring and really light gear and I just spun as high as I could, about 110-125 until I got the the top.

An Army of One: A UM Pres Crit Recap

Leading up to the U Md Pres Cup race, I was a bit nervous about the weather forecast. All week the stupid weather folks were saying how stormy and rainy Saturday was going to be. I had visions of racing in a complete downpour and I was dreading the fast right hand turn before the finish. I kept envisioning riders sliding on their sides through that turn.

I checked the forecast Friday night and our accurate forecasters were now calling for a beautiful sunny Saturday. No longer would I have to worry about sliding on my ass through that turn.

Let's cut to the chase: I WON the Cat4 race. I was totally psyched that all my hard winter training paid off. What a great way to start the 2008 season.

Before going on, I need to offer thanks to the following people:

  • All those that do the Thrasher Daily Race Ride (Ad, Paul, Randy, Jay, Bill, Steve, Simon, JamesW) for the hard rides that have gotten me into shape.
  • The entire 12 man Rt1 Velo squad for wearing ear plugs during the race and totally ignoring Mike Esmonde's frantic commands to get off the front and quick pulling everyone around.
  • My Mom and Dad for giving me the genetics to have an incredibly powerful sprint (sic) (insider note: my sprint really sucks, but don't tell anyone)
  • BJ Basham's words of wisdom for the race.
  • and to me for not listening to the little gremlins in my head that wanted me to attack on every lap and every time the pace slowed up.
In all honesty, this race was a lot of fun and I really hope the rest of the races this season are this much fun regardless of how I finish. Of course, I'd like to do as well for every race, but I'm realistic.

really love this course; its very challenging with the short steep climb, the technical chicane and the fast run up to the finish. I like the fact that the race usually breaks up within the first couple of laps and that only strong riders survive. There really is no place to hide. My only concern, as I believe is everyone's, is the first half of the first lap. For the past couple of years, the very first turn has been the scene of crashes and I didn't want to become part of that scene this year. My plan was to get a good starting position and gun it from the start, get through the first turn in the front quarter of the pack, and remain up front, ready to counter any jumps. I wanted to be in position to be able to stay with the front group and not get caught out of position like I did last year. I just remember suffering the entire race last year in the first chase group with BryanV, ShannonM and 3 others.

My plan worked well. I stayed on the tail end of the front group and bridged up when ever my spidey sense alerted me to someone about to drop off the pace. I jumped around a bunch of riders at different times in order to remain in contact. I sat on wheels and stayed out of the wind as best I could in order to conserve energy. I really didn't see a need to blast up to the front 5 positions since I really didn't want to do too much work in the early part of the race. This is a pretty long race, and I knew folks would start to suffer towards the end of the race. Plus, my legs were feeling really good and if I had to do a big bridge up, I had the power to do it.

For the first 20 minutes the pace was pretty fast and there were only 13 of us remaining after dropping 2/3 of the field. Our group consisted of 6 Rt1 riders, 2 from UMd, 2 from a team with black/ yellow/red, 2 from All American and ME. Sometime during the race, a UMd guy and an All American guy were off the front about 15 secs. I was tempted to bridge up to them but really didn't think they'd be able to stay up there for another 30 minutes, plus Rt1 had 6 riders and I certainly wasn't going to help them bring the attackers in. In all honesty, I wanted those two to ride solo for many laps so they'd have no energy for the finish. I'm not sure who did the work to pull them back in but we eventually did. Mostly like it was Rt 1, kudos to them.

The main thing I remember about mid point in the race, was the Rt1 guys sitting on the front, pulling everyone around at a constant tempo and Mike Esmonde frantically screaming at them to get off the front and stop pulling. On one lap I remember coming up the hill, seeing a bunch of lapped riders ahead, and hearing Mike instruct the two Rt1 guys on the front to gun it and the Rt 1 guys behind them to sit up. I thought this was a good tactic but very cheeky. Fortunately, none of the Rt1 guys listened to Mike.

Coming past the start/finish line I saw that we had about 13 or 14 laps to go, and the pace was starting to slow up. I really wanted to go hard but kept myself in check. With 10 to go, the pace was still slow and riders in the front were really getting edging looking over their shoulders waiting for attacks. I really wanted to go but kept myself in check. So it went for the next couple of laps: slow pace, everyone waiting for attacks. I finally couldn't take it anymore and with about 8 laps to go, I went as hard as I could down the start/finish stretch and continued pulling hard for about two laps. Not wanting to completely kill myself and have nothing for the finish, I started looking over my shoulder for the next guy to pull through. He never did, so I just sat up, pulled to the far side and let everyone go through. I jumped back in line for the next couple of laps and got ready for the finish.

On the bell lap, one of the Rt1 guys (Charles) went hard through the tricky turns after the start/finish and I got on his wheel. We got up to the front and I sat on his wheel through the gradual right hand bend before the hill. Just before the base of the climb I attacked and went as hard as I could. I continued to accelerate through the climb and even harder through the chicane and the downhill section. For once I took the right hand turn real tight and exploded on the exit. I sprinted with all I had towards the finish. I kept hearing gremlins in my head saying "ride like you stole it". About midway to the finish line, I couldn't get into the right gear and thought I'd blown it, but I kept going. My head was down and my legs were pumping with everything I had left. I looked up and saw the finish line. I crossed it about a wheel length ahead of a Rt1 guy (Bringham). Since I wasn't sure if I'd won, and I was so tired, I didn't even raise my arms in the triumphant winners pose. I just coasted down the street trying to catch my breath.

Even if I'd not won, this was a really fun race. Not the usually bullshit so typical of Cat 4 races. All the riders, respected each other, and no one did anything stupid.

Again, kudos to the Rt1 team for having 6 guys in the final selection. I look forward to many more races with you guys this season.

Photos courtesy of the Kyle Jones Collection.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

First Race of Season: U Md President's Crit

Really looking forward to the U Md President Crit this Saturday because it's a great course, extremely selective and only the strong survive. So what have I been doing to get ready for the efforts required to stay up front?

Of course, everyday is race day when you do the Thrasher Ride, especially the Wed Hill Ride.

I've also been doing a lot of hill intervals on the weekends during the past month: Mass, Anglers, GF Park and Mnt Gate. This past weekend I rode on Saturday for an hour in the rain and then another hour freezing my skinny ass riding up and down GF Park. I wound up only doing 7 hill repeats up GF Park before packing it in for the day. Going up was good since I was able to warm up, but I froze my ass off coming down every time.

(Weight Note: just to piss off a few of my readers such as Jesse, Brian and Kyle: I'm down to a consistent 130lbs without dieting).

I headed back to GF Park this past Sunday for the last major workout before tapering for the race. I wound up doing Mass, Anglers, 11 interval up/down GF Park and finally MntGate. Some of the GF Park intervals were all out efforts the entire length, some were all out efforts for just the lower steep section, some were one leg drills, some were high cadence/easy gear, some were low cadence/big gear, and some were a serious of 15 sec full on/15 sec easy spin the whole way up.

I'm really liking these hill interval workouts, but here's something weird: I generate much higher average wattage using my left leg one-leg-only drills for the entire way up GF Park then I do using both legs. However, wattage shouldn't be the only measurement to consider. Time and speed are more important, and fortunately, my times/speeds are much faster using both legs.

So this week, I've been tapering, and taking it easy on Thrasher Race Days.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Learning to take Recovery Days

After Monday's ride I was pretty tired and my legs really felt the effort. Not sure if I really planned going hard on Monday, but maybe subconsciously I did since I knew I wasn't going to be able to ride on Tuesday. Not riding Tuesday was actually a very good learning experience, because it allowed me to get a good recovery for the weekly Thrasher Sufferfest known as the Wed Hill Ride.

I was well rested heading into the Hill Ride and was planning on testing my legs out to see what kind of sustained climbing efforts I could do. I didn't want to hold back, I was planning on going all out.

The pace leading to MntGate was not too bad and I was able to keep my HR at a low level. As I rounded the turn in first position, I stayed in my big ring and picked the pace up a bit as we started the climb. Shortly after, I stood up to keep the tempo high but not so high that I would blow up. No one came around and I decided to go harder. As we neared the top, I sat up a bit and spun the rest of the way. I stayed out solo for the next roller, but started to feel like if I stayed at the front pushing the pace, I'd pop later in the ride, so I slowed up and let the others come through. I sat in through the rest of the Potomac neighborhood, although, I think I might have taken one more hard pull up one of the rollers.

I sat in along MacA allowing my HR to fall back down. As we started the climb, I moved to the front and led group up. I again kept the pace high and stayed in my big ring. I stood and increased the tempo. I lead through the first roller, and then let Randy pull through so I could sit on his wheel. Towards the top, I pushed the tempo again and led over the top and down into the GFPark.

Coming up out of the Park, I accelerated up through the steep section and then jumped back onto the train as they pulled through. I sat in the rest of the way out of GFPark.

I was able to get a good recovery coming down Anglers, and we kept the pace high along MacA as we sped towards Brickyard.

I sat in leading up to Brickyard, but went hard in my big ring as we entered the steep section. My legs felt good, but man, I die when I crest and it takes about 5 secs to just let my legs cool off and I can catch my breath again. This is usually the spot that I sometimes allow too much gap cresting the top and then get dropped. Today, I felt really good as Randy and I kept going.

The rest of the ride, I tried to conserve energy and push the pace when I needed.

This was a really good ride, and I'm really happy with my conditioning at this point in time.

Monday, March 3, 2008

EZ Monday Thrasher Ride

For those that are brave enough to do the daily lunchtime Thrasher Ride, and there are only a handful of you brave ones out there, today was the typical EPIC EZ ride. It's a Monday and usually an EZ day, but hey, we're all old school, which means "what's an EZ day?".

Here's the email I sent to Randy earlier in the day.

Not sure I can make it out today. It's a bit too warm, and sunny. Not sure I can handle riding in weather that's not in the 30F range.
only joking. I'm looking for an EZ recovery ride. Went pretty hard this weekend.
Sat: did 15 intervals of 4-7min in length (Mass, MacA, Anglers, GFPark). 10 of these were up GFPark.
Sun: BP shop ride
Legs are fried.

Well, here's a compilation of emails I sent out after the ride.

Great ride today. My early morning intentions were to go EZ today, but with the lack of winter wear, temps in the low 60's and with the warm wind in my face, my legs felt good and EZ was no longer in my vocabulary. I took some long hard pulls along Bradley and through Potomac.I felt good and my legs felt great.
That was until we got onto Clara Barton and our efforts dramatically increased. Each pull started hurting more each time. And then as Joe popped up one of the inclines......Jay took off and developed a good gap that wasn't shrinking.

Randy, Ad, Paul and I slowly got organized and started pulling him back but we really weren't gaining any ground. On the last downhill section before the flat run to the turn off Clara Barton, I was sitting second wheel behind Ad and we were probably a good 400 meters behind Jay.
I was thinking about all the times I sat on Ad's wheel and let him pull me around and I said "I think I need to pull my weight today and pull us back to Jay". As I passed Ad, I said "I'm going to pull as hard as I can for as long as I can". And, I put in a major effort to pull us back to Jay. Although it felt like a 2 minute effort at 30+MPH, in realty it was only about 20 secs at L11 (yes, like Spinal Tap, I have an L11). I think we got to a hundred feet of Jay before I popped. I really wanted to pull all the way, but I was at my limit, and there was an ever so slight rise in the road, and my mind said "time to shut down". I went for as long as I could and as hard as I could. I pulled over and with a flick of the elbow, Randy, Ad and Paul went past me. I had nothing left and I didn't even think about trying to jump back on their line. So I watched them catch Jay and pass him like he was standing still.

As they say, I left it all out on the road.

As I was noodling along, Joe caught up to me and then we merged with Brian, who had skipped CB thinking it would take too long, just as we turned onto Goldsboro. Brian was pretty surprised that we had done Clara Barton and caught up to him. I pulled really hard after the Mass light, and we were just coming up the last rise before River when the light turned green. I just didn't have a lot left to try and jump to make the light. Plus, my legs were fried.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wed Hill Ride: I get the dummy award

In attendance for the Wed Thrasher Hill Ride were Ad, Paul, Randy, Simon, Jay, Bill, James, Josh, George and James. (hope I didnt' forget anyone). It was a big group with plenty of climbing firepower.

My legs felt kinda funny because I put on a new saddle last night, and I positioned the seat a tiny bit farther back and a tiny bit higher than my previous position. I'm talking mm's but these kind of changes can have big effects on body and leg angulation. The position felt good last night when I rode the trainer. I was able to get a better extension but still allow for my heel to drop a bit as I pulled through the bottom of the peddle stroke. My only concern was that my upper body felt a little too stretched out.

I took a couple spins on my street before heading out to meet the group just to make sure I didn't need to make any adjustments. There is nothing worse than changing something on your bike and then pulling a muscle or ligament. My only concern was still being too stretched out, but I could live with it for one ride. At least I was not feeling anything terribly wrong in my legs.

I met the group along Bradley, and we headed out towards MacArthur. We picked the pace up about a mile before making the right onto Mnt Gate. No one really attacked hard, and we went up as a group. I sat on Simon's wheel up MG, and was breathing pretty hard as we crested. The pace was hard but not killer through the Potomac neighborhood and I was able to get my breathing back under control. It also helped just sitting on Simon's wheel.

As we approached Anglers, Josh took off, and I think Jay was on his wheel. No one else went with them. About half way up the lower steep section, Simon picked his pace up as he passed George and Ad. Since neither reacted, I jumped hard to get on Simon's wheel and stayed on his wheel just before the short steep section about half way up. By this time Jay had popped off Josh's wheel, and we passed him. Simon pulled over to let me through, but I was just hanging on for dear life and followed his wheel as he pulled to the left. He juked back to the right when I didn't pull through and he picked his cadence up and was gone it a flash. I popped, sat up, caught my breath with just enough time to jump back on the group of Randy, Paul, Ad, Jay, Bill and George. I stayed with them the rest of the way up Anglers, down into the Park and out of the Park. Towards the bottom of Anglers, someone hit it hard as we got back onto flat section and the pace was pretty high as we headed towards Brickyard.

Brickyard was all out. I crested with Ad and I think Jay or Randy, while the others were just behind us. The ride through Potomac hurt as my legs were pretty tired and my lungs were screaming. Not sure if it was the cold temps, but I found it very hard to get deep breaths.

The rest of the ride was a blur as we went up Eggert, and then eventually up Goldsboro.

I'm still concerned about my saddle position, and I might take one more ride before making some slight changes: slide the seat forward just a tad to start.

You must be asking now "why do I get the dummy award"? Because I thought I could go with Simon up Anglers. That dude is on a different planet when it comes to climbing. (and on the flats)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My new super hero: Jesse

Jesse is my new favorite super hero rider.

Anyone that says he doesn't ride during the week, and then comes out for training races, only to win is a hero in my book.

Well, maybe he's the super hero of the training race world. Let's see what Super Jesse has in store when the races really count.

A Hilly Weekend

With the Fri overnight weather forecasted for rain and temps below freezing, I bailed on the idea of doing the 7am and the 10am ride. I've seen too many sketchy slides on black ice to warrant an early morning ride. So, I headed out about mid day with a plan on doing 4-8min intervals on the flats and hills. I did an interval up MassAve, two intervals along MacArthur, one up Anglers, 6 intervals up GFPark, and a finally interval up MntGate. While doing the GFPark intervals, I worked on maintaining a steady cadence, some intervals I used the big ring and cadence around 75, and other times the small ring with a cadence 95+. All in all it was a good tempo workout.

My legs were pretty sore from the day before. I got to the BP Shop ride as they were coming down Goldsboro before River Rd. I moved my way to the front for Mass climb and went hard towards the bottom to midway and sat up. KevinY and Russ were coming up on the left side, so I jumped on Russ's wheel. The pace was not blistering but pretty good. We crested and made the right onto Sangamore. The paceline picked up along Sangamore but as we made the right onto MacArthur a bunch of stopped cars slowed us up and gaps were created as the line slipped through the cars. The gaps widen as the front riders really stepped on the gas and didn't let up. I had to jump around at least 3 big gaps as riders were popping. By the time we made the left onto ClaraBarton, there were maybe 20 riders. The pace along CB was pretty high, but not blistering and I was trying to sit in and recover from the effort along MacA. About 15 riders made the right hand turn towards Mnt Gate. Gaps formed through the turns in the neighborhood, and I got caught going too slow through one of them and that was all it took to say goodbye. I took my time the rest of the way to Anglers with KevinY. We went up Anglers together at a good clip.

The rest of the ride, my legs were hurting from Sat's intervals.

Great weekend of riding.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

4 Hard Days

The past four days I've gone hard.

On Sunday I did the BP Shop A Ride from Mass to GF Park, once out of the Park I sat up and let the A group go since I wanted to do some solo TT work. I eventually road up on Yoav near Kentsdale, and decided to ride with him out towards Poolesville. We kept a good steady tempo going and talked the entire time. At one point along Piney Meeting we almost got run off the road by some Asshole. I'm not really sure why cars feel the need to slam on their brakes after passing cyclists, but its happening a lot lately and time is only running out before someone locally gets hit and hurt badly. Should we start packing heat when we ride for protection?

On Monday, I did the usually Thrasher Ride. I had all intentions of going easy but with temps in the mid/upper 50's, and not having to wear the normal cold weather gear, my legs felt great and I felt like going hard. So I did.

On Tuesday, we went hard again.

On Weds, of course we went hard, its Hill Day. MntGate, Anglers, GF Park, Brickyard, Eggert, Goldsboro. But after going hard the previous days, I definitely started feeling the lack of snap in my legs. I normally go too hard early in the ride, and wind up popping someplace along the way. So, I stayed conservative throughout the ride, and was able to stay with the group the entire way, although at times, my legs were definitely screaming.

Today, was finally a recovery ride as I surfed the end of our group and took maybe 2-3 pulls the entire ride. I could definitely feel fatigue in my legs when I had to put in any kind of effort.

My TSB is -15 and my body is definitely telling me its time for some recovery rides. I don't think we'll be able to ride outside tomorrow, and we'll have to wait to see about this weekend.

Skyline with a Speeder

Last Saturday I changed my normal routine and went to Skyline with Kyle Jones (Evolution). I've been doing a lot of high intensity miles lately that are relatively short in duration, usually 1-2 hours, and I really wanted to do some long climbs. So, when I read that Kyle was heading to Skyline, I decided to join him. Although, I was pretty apprehensive since he's been doing a lot of long base miles this winter and I really didn't want to ride hard.

We met at the base before the Ranger Station gate and headed out towards Front Royal for a 1o minute warm up before heading up Skyline. The day was chilly but not too cold and not too windy. It was a perfect day for doing long climbs. The first mile or so we kept a pretty easy tempo and talked the entire way. My legs were not really warmed up and they were feeling a bit heavy. We made a pit stop at Dickey Ridge and then continued on our way. My legs started loosening up and on the next climb, I picked the tempo up a tad but didn't want to go too hard. I was able to keep my HR below 155 the entire day. We got to Hogsback in just about 2 hours, and after a short rest for liquids and food, we headed back to the car. Amazing that it only took us an hour to get back down to the car. Kyle was flying down the descents while I was a bit more cautious since there were a ton of peebles on the road and I was feeling kinda sketchy.

The 3 hour ride was excellent. Good steady tempo with not a lot of intensity.

On the way back we stopped at Linden Vineyards. I wanted to buy a case of wine and show Kyle the place so he could take his wife.

After departing the Vineyard, Kyle headed off towards Rt66 and was gone in a flash. I was taking my time since there were a lot of cops around. As I neared Manassas, I saw a car pulled over and realized it was Kyle. He didn't look too happy, so I called his cell phone to cheer him up.

3 hrs of riding Skyline
Wine Tasting at Linden
Seeing Kyle pulled over for speeding.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekend of Long Rides and Gail Force Winds


Was about 15 sec late getting to the intersection of River and Goldsboro. The 7am ride was just going across River Rd as I was coming over the hill on River. Ugh. Even though I wasn't really warmed up yet, I had to put in a big effort to latch onto the tail end before they turned up Mass. My HR was higher than I wanted, but I was able to keep pace as we headed up Mass. Going down Sangamore was fast and as we turned on the MacArthur the pace kicked up super fast for the next mile. Being at the back I could see lots of gaps forming, and the group starting to splinter. Randy was leading one of the splinter groups, but no one was pulling through. I made my way up to help out, but my legs still weren't completely warmed up and we weren't able to bridge back up to the front group. Our groupetto of about 15 riders rolled along CB at a steady pace, but no where near what the front group was doing. We went up Anglers pretty hard, but went pretty slow down into the park. We kept a good steady pace coming out of the park.

I went with a large group of DC Velo riders out towards Poolesville, but only a handful of us kept going to Sugarloaf (Jason, Ryan, Shannon, Nick, Steve from Coppi, and TomH). We kept a pretty calm tempo on the way out, and my legs never felt like they loosened up at this pace. As we got close to Sugarloaf, TomH took off and Shannon pursued. Nick then took off and I sat on his wheel as we went up and down the rollers before the big climb. My legs felt really heavy and my HR was up there as I got to the base of Sugarloaf. I tried keeping pace with Jason but my legs felt like cement, so I rode at my own pace.

On the way back, Nick wasn't feeling too good, and started bonking big time as we neared the turn onto River. I remember riding past him and he looked so pale, almost like a ghost. I think I'll re-name him Agent Casper.

The 10am ride was coming through and a couple (Jason, Shannon, Tom) of us latched on. The pace was much faster and required a lot more high intensity efforts, and my legs started feeling a lot better. Although I could feel some signs of cramping especially when standing.

Total for the day was about 90 miles.

Since the weather dudes were saying how crappy it was going to be on Sunday morning, I decided to imbibe in a lot of wine during our Sat evening dinner party. I woke up Sunday around 11am and felt like crap, not really hung over, but feeling really tired. After getting all the usually feline feeding chores done, I started thinking about heading out for a solo L2 ride.

Around 1:30, I headed down to Haines Pt via MacArthur, and Georgetown. Since I was riding with a tail wind I really couldn't feel how gusty it was, but once I got past G'town and along the path next to the Potomac, I started feeling the gusts coming from the side. It was F'ing windy and at one point as I about to go under one of the underpasses, a gust of wind catapulted me into the guard railing. Fortunately, I had slowed down before this happened, but not enough to prevent my crash. I bent the crap out of my handlebars, but was able to twist them back into alignment. Small paint scratch on the front fork, but you really can't see it. After this, I was pretty cautious as I faught the gusts to HP.

Once at HP, the MD/DC side was super fast with a tailwind but as soon as you started going through the corner near the Awakening the wind was no longer a tail wind, and you were fighting for your life to stay upright. I've never felt winds this strong but it provided great tension training. I think I averaged only about 14-15 MPH on the VA side without going into red zone. I definitely could have pushed harder if I wanted. I only did three laps, before staring my way home.

Now I was riding into a roaring headwind along the Potomac and a couple times had to stop to allow some of the gusts to subside. As I got to G'town, I thought going up the bike path would be less windy than MacArthur and decided to take the path. It was like a wind tunnel, and I crept along at a modest 15-17 MPH.

All in all, the Sunday ride was 2.5 hours at an easy pace.
Just what I needed.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

7am and 10am: Felt good

Did the 7am and 10am ride today and felt pretty good but need to increase my training intensity. Over the coming weeks, I'll be doing more intervals on GFPark, Angler and Mnt Gate. And, work on changing the pace: ie accelerations.

Lots of black ice on the 7am ride was making me nervous. Couple riders went down. Lots of stupid drivers out there today. Legs felt good.

Wasn't going to do the 10am, but decided to go to the end of Tuckerman. Felt good, so stayed with the group to Travilah Store, but had to pee really bad so I stopped. Headed over to River and headed north to meet the group as they were coming south. I turned around and road back with the group along River. Legs still felt good, had a bit of snap left without any signs of cramping.

OK, here are some power #s
(NOTE: this is only for Adam, since he's only a "dude cyclist" these days, and not the feared Cat1 of yesterday. Rumor has it he got downgraded to Cat2 for this season.)

All other competitors please skip 0ver this vital information.

Ride Time: 4hr:14min
1704 kJ
TSS 251.8
NP 163 (entire ride)

681 kJ
TSS 105
NP 173

651 kJ
TSS 99
NP 174

NOTE: keep in mind that these #s will seem low to most riders that weigh 200+ (like Kyle), but I only weigh 110 lbs, and have a huge power/wgt ratio.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Now, this is some great science

In the current issue of Wine Spectator.

"Red wines made from Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz make for potent bacteria killers, according to recent research."

"Not all varieties were found to be helpful, but those that were did not destroy useful probiotic bacteria, such as those that aid in digestion"

"the drier the wines, the higher the acidity and levels of polyphenols"

"These polyphenols are believed to be the main compounds responsible for killing the pathogens"

WWJVD: After today, I'd tell him to go F'himself

Over the past couple of weeks, other bloggers have posted their comments on "what would Jen Voight Do (WWJVD?) when questioned about how hard to train, where to train, in what conditions to train in... etc.

Well, after today's ride in the rain, in 40F temps, I'd tell JV to go F' himself. Today's ride was the coldest, harshest conditions I've ever experienced. I'd take dry temps below 20F any day after riding for an hour in the rain. Plus, JV gets paid big bucks for riding in all conditions. What do I get?

OK, granted I was not dressed for rain since our esteemed wasn't calling for ran until after 2pm today. So, I dressed for dry temps in the 40's. I don't know if I would've been warmer in my winter windx jacket, kick ass Assos winter tights and winter lobster claw gloves. But, I'm sure it didn't help wearing knee warmers, bibs, long sleeve jersey, wind vest, wind breaker and two pairs of cotton gloves. Dry temps in the 40's I would have been perfectly protected and ventilated. But, with the downpour we rode in today, I was an igloo.

After the ride I sent out the following email to my fellow riders; Randy, Paul and Harry.

"Ok, now that I'm thawed out and can use my fingers again. Why is it that we road today in 40F and rain? Oh, yeah, that's right our motto is "What would Jens Voight do?"
Well, here's what I have to say about that "F... Jens, he's get paid big bucks to ride"

But, I should have really read a previous email from a couple weeks ago, I had sent out to the Thrasher riders;

"We don't take any performance enhancement substances."
"We get strong cuz we train hard.
We train in all weather conditions.
We train all year round.
We don't take vacations because this would ruin our fitness.
You'll never hear us say it's "too cold" or "too wet" or "there's snow on the ground".
We train because we can."

OK, I'll take my skirt off now and I won't complain again of being cold and wet

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good Weekend of Tempo

Sat 7am Ride.
For once, I was up early and ready for the 7am ride, although getting up at 5:15am is way too early. Since I was really early, I rode Mass twice and then caught the ride coming down Sangamore. Clara Barton wasn't too bad, but once we got back onto MacArthur Agent Hulk (AKA Agent PromoNight Party Guy) and Josh set a pretty wicked pace of 27-18 MPH before we started up Anglers. Lots of folks were commenting on the up tempo set before the climb. Any how, I just missed the main group breaking away about halfway up Anglers and I was in a the second group of about 5 riders. I was thinking about trying to bridge up, but I'm not really ready yet this time of year to but in major efforts. Our little group stayed together going down GF Park, and we were maybe 15 seconds behind the lead group. We stayed together almost the entire way out of the park, I was trying to maintain a constant output. I attacked near the VFW Bldg, and went hard up the last section coming out of the park and was first. The rest of the ride was at a good tempo.

Sun (Missed the BP Shop Ride)
My nephew, Jess, was down from NJ for for hockey games on Sat and Sun. I got up at 6:50 to go to his 7am game at Rockville. Got there around 7:25. Game was about halfway through. Got to see Jess score a goal (althought, puck never completely crossed the goal line, I was right behind the goal, and had the perfect view).
I was finally able to get out on the road about 1pm. My plan was to do some 4-8m intervals at threshold, but was undecided about going to HP or GF Park. I decided on GF Park since its closer and I can get some good hill intervals in. My plan was to the following intervals: up Mass Ave, two intervals on MacArthur, up Anglers and then several intervlas up GF Park. The intervals along MacArthur hurt since these were into a stiff headwind. I also saw a bunch of teams out riding south of MacArthur. And, I think I saw Jessie on his new bike. I wound up doing 5 intervals on GF Park and two intervals on Mnt Gate. I did these in my small ring and tried spinning as high a cadence as I could. My speed wasn't as high as I know I can go, but because I was spinning, they really hurt.

On the way home, I stopped at the gym for a quick core workout.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where's Randy?

Did the Thrasher ride today, sans Randy. Where were you today?

It was a pretty large group, maybe about 12 riders. Shout out to some local talent that braved the cold and joined us; Greg Vadas and the Wrob. Good to see you guys on the ride.

I lost track of time cleaning up and re-0rganizing my basement this morning and almost missed the ride. At 12:17, I quickly changed into my cold weather gear, which includes my bad-ass Assos winter tights, and I was out the door by 12:29. I headed straight out Burning Tree and a right on to Bradley until I saw the group coming the other way.

The ride was pretty tame along Bradley, although Harry took his obligatory hard pull and upped the pace as we neared Seven Locks. My legs were feeling really good after taking a rest day on Sunday so I set a good tempo up the short steep section on Kentsdale. The rest of the ride was at a good tempo through Potomac and along Oaklyn. I went hard on the last uphill before Falls Rd and then kept tempo until the stop sign. Legs felt really good.

I was pretty tapped out along Clara Barton, just never felt like I was getting a good recovery after my pull. I drafted in the back for the last section before making our left hand turn to get back on to MacArthur. My legs were just feeling pretty heavy, and hard to turn them over.

Greg Vadas and I did another lap, although at a slower pace, and we also made a trip down and up GF Park.

Even though the temps were in the 20's, if you wear the right stuff, it's not that cold.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Rare Day Off

I took a rare day off the bike on Sunday and went hiking with Justina and friends at Sky Meadows State Park (VA). And, of course, we stopped off at some of the regional wineries for some tastings.

Sky Meadows State Park

After parking, we were standing around, the wind was howling and with the temps in the 20's, it was really cold. I was all bundled up in my down parka and kept warm.

We took the North Ridge Trail up and to the right from the parking area. The hike up through the meadow was steep, and exposed to the wind. After about 5 minutes I was heating up and took my parka off. Key to winter hiking is modulating your body temp so that you dont' start sweating. Getting wet is your enemy. I was able to stay warm just by hiking up this steeper section. In about 20 minutes, we stopped at these benches for a quick group photo.

We continued hiking along the North Ridge Trail up and down through the woods for another maybe 1.5 miles. We connected onto the South Ridge Trail for our return trip, which was mostly downhill. What a great place to hike, and if you love running trails, this would be a great place to run.

Fox Meadow Winery

After our hike, we headed to Fox Meadow Winery and tasted their wines. Lots of fun tasting and eating cheese and crackers over our favorite bottle. Wines were good. There was a loud, drunk group of 50+ers, and they were really annoying.

I took this pic from their balcony patio.

Linden Vineyards
"Linden Vineyards is a reflection of this… simple, tranquil, and thoughtful. Linden is a place where people can taste and learn about wines, and engage in conversation in a quiet, beautiful setting."

Our last stop was Linden Vineyards, one of our favorites. They have the best view and some of the best wines. We have many older vintages dating back to the early 90's in our cellar. And, we've always been impressed with their tasting room, wines and overall ambiance. Unfortunately, we've not been their in a while, and they've posted some rules, which I'm really glad they did in order to maintain the small, quaint, relaxing atmosphere. Not sure how many of you have gone to wineries for a tasting and there are huge bus loads, lots of noisy drunks. Not a lot of fun.

I'm really glad they've posted these rules in order to maintain the "zen like" atmosphere:

What we do not do at Linden:

In order to keep Linden small, focused, peaceful and in harmony with farming and our community, we have limited activities that are commonly associated with other wineries. I hope that you understand and respect our reasons for this. We are unable to accommodate:

  • any groups larger than six people
  • limousines or buses
  • parties (weddings, birthdays, showers)
In keeping with our “quiet and calm” philosophy, beginning in 2008, on the weekends, our deck and grounds will only be available to members of our case club. We would be happy to recommend other neighboring wineries that have an open policy on their deck and grounds.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Turning 45

Today is my BDay. Happy BDay to me. Hurray for me. I turned 45. Shit, seems like yesterday I was in my 20's living large backpacking throughout Europe. I really need to convert my old 35mm slides to digital so I can post them.

It was really cool seeing all the snow today.

My wife cooked a great Italian dinner and my friend, Bob came over. We had a great time, and Bob gave us a slide show of his Croatia and Greece sailing trips.

Enough life stuff, what have I been doing training wise?

Yesterday, the Hill Ride kicked my ass. I felt good until about half way coming out of GF Park. My legs just never loosened up and I finally popped trying to stay with the group led by NickB and Simon. I still had a lot of fatigue in my legs after my heavy leg workout on Monday. I'm hoping all these winter leg workouts improve my strength later in the season, because right now, I really feel the after affects for up to 3 days, and they sure make my legs feel heavy when I ride.

Today: I went to the gym, rode the trainer and then a high rep/med weight leg workout.

10 min warmup
5 min @ 205W
4 min easy spin
5 min interval (2min @ 315W, 3 min @ 205)
5 min easy spin
5 min interval (1min @ 425W, 1 min @ 325, 3 min @ 245)
3 min easy spin

Legs Extensions
2x 30 reps @ 50 lbs
2x 25 reps @ 70 lbs

Leg Curls
2x 30 reps @ 40lbs
2x 25 reps @ 60 lbs

Leg Presses
30 reps @ 170lbs
25 reps @ 210lbs
20 reps @ 250 lbs

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What I was

This is was taken during a company awards trip to Jamaica in 2004. Definitely before I started cycling. I probably weighed about 148.


I've not been on a scale in a couple of weeks and I was thinking I'd be about 138. But tonight, after awesome sushi, a couple small bottles of sake, a bath drinking prosecco, I jumped on the scale and I was 133. I'm pretty psyched since I've not really started working the diet yet. You know watching what you you eat. So far, I've been eating cake/cookies and drinking wine or Gin N Tonics every night.

I was shooting for 130 for the season, which is what I raced at last year, but now I'm thinking I could go sub 130. Although probably not as low as 125.

So, there's no excuse for not doing MntGate tomorrow.

10AM Ride: Am I hallucinating?

I was going to do the 7am ride this morning but when my alarm went off at 6am, my head went back to sleep until 8am. Change in plans, looks like I'm doing the 10am ride.

Got the cats fed, got some food in me, got dressed and out of the house by 9:45. I started riding towards the corner of Old Georgetown and Tuckerman. Reverse the route until the 10am ride comes through. Around 10:15 a group of 15 riders comes by and I'm thinking this is the 10am ride, but didn't see the usually riders, so I kept going. Eventually, about 40 riders decked out in team kits (Harley, Rt1, Artemis, etc) comes through and I circle around and get in the pack along Beech Drive.

I'm feeling good, but this was to be short lived. The pace wasn't too bad along Tuckerman, but towards the end I was working too hard on the downhill sections, and I wasn't getting any recovery time. My heart was high and not coming down. By the time we turned onto Glen, I was feeling my legs. At this point a major break in the pack had occurred and the usually suspects up front were hammering it (Harley boys, Russ, NickB etc). All of a sudden there were now three groups, I wound up in the third group with a whole squad of Rt1 boys. We tried chasing down BryanV and a couple others along Esworthy, but we just didn't have enough firepower. My legs were also screaming at this point, and my HR was super high. After making the left onto Rt28 (?, at the top of Esworthy), we came upon Ad, who had some kind of mechanical, and a couple others helping Ad out. NickB had also turned around to help his old man out. NickB went hard, BryanV and Ad jumped on his wheel, Rt1 boys just let them go. I was late to react and stayed with the Rt1 boys. Cliff, another Rt1 guy and I were able to bridge up to BryanV, Ad, and some others before the left turn onto River Rd. There were maybe about 10 of us at this point, I was really tired and my legs were really feeling it. I think the rest of the way along River Rd was pretty much a blur, not sure if I started hallucinating, but I sure was hurting. I was basically in survival mode. At some pt, I was sitting #2 and #1 wanted me to pull through, and I didn't even have enough energy to say "I'm gassed, and I can't pull through". I just needed to try and recovery some energy. Eventually I did, and was able to take some pulls. BryanV and Ad pushed a really hard pace and at some pt they got a big gap on us and were eventually out of sight. I got to find out what Artemis is feeding their team. We eventually picked MikeEsmonde up along RiverRd after he dropped out of the front pack. His comment was "this is the hardest 10am ride I've been on".

The ride along Glen and Tuckerman was hard, and my legs were super spent.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Day Off

Took the day off from riding today.
Spent some time this evening figuring out how to add a music widget onto my blog. So, let me know if you like listening to music while reading my blog.
I now need to figure out how I can create my own play lists from my iTunes library files. I've got some killer tunes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Went down to Haines Pt instead of Randy's ride today for a change of pace. Wanted to get some longer intervals in and thought this would also be a good assessment of my conditioning. I was really happy with my strength and cardio. Never felt winded and my legs felt great. I tried staying in the front and was able to stay with the front group leading into the sprint on most laps. On one lap I started my sprint well before the first yellow sign and was able to maintain my speed to the second yellow sign. All in all, I was really pleased with my conditioning.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Flying Zebra

What a day makes. Its amazing how only two days ago my legs felt like shit. Every pedaling rotation was painful, and I couldn't generate any power. I couldn't sustain any power, and I just felt like cement.

Well, today I would say the complete opposite was true. I felt like I had no chain. Not sure if it was the 60 weather or not having to wear winter clothes, but my legs felt great. I had good power and was able to sustain it.

A week ago, I told Randy that if it's in the 60's, I would wear my Zebra TT suit. I wore it today, and man, it's amazing how much faster you go. I felt like I was going 2-3 MPH faster than normal. Turning over the pedals felt effortless.

So, if you think you saw a zebra on the road today, that was me.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Solo Training Weekend

Saturday: Late getting to the 10am ride, so I did it solo. Pretty painful when you know the normal speeds and you look down at your speed and see its about 5 MPH slower. But I guess I'm getting a better workout. My legs felt like cement, and they never really loosened up. Not sure if it was the cold or wearing winter leggings or what.

Sunday: with the rain overnight, I made an executive decision to wait for better weather in the afternoon. I headed down to Haines Pt to do 4 x 5-6min intervals at L4/L5. I'm finding holding a constant output difficult. When I get into a rhythm I can keep my speed constant but my power starts dropping off. It takes a lot of concentration to keep the power sort-of constant without big fluctuations. I'm either hammering too much power and then the power fades and then I hammer again to bring it back up. After these intervals, I did a couple of 10 min L3 intervals. Sure glad I waited to the afternoon to ride. What a beautiful day.

Almost forgot about my incident with the TonyHawk wannabes near the Awakening. I'm in the middle of my third interval and I'm busting a nut to stay in a zone. I'm rounding the bend and there are two retards trying to do tricks in the middle of the road. I'm yelling at them to get out of the road, and they couldn't hear me or I was coming on them too fast. Neither moved out of the way, so I flew in between them with a few choice Dick Cheney expressions. When I came around again, I was hoping they were still there and would say something to me. I was ready to drop the gloves. F'in a-holes.

On the home front. After our neighbors abandoned their cat when they moved out over a year ago, we took him in. He's pretty much an outdoor cat, but sleeps in my office at night. He goes crazy if we don't let him out during the day, so he pretty much comes and goes through my office window whenever he wants. About three months ago, he got into a fight and the puncture wounds developed some really bad infections. His face was all inflammed. He spent three days at the vets while his absesses drained. Our bill was about $700. A week ago he got into another scrap, and we had to take him back to the vets for the same treatments. And, another $700 bill. Man, at this rate, I'll never be able to buy a new bike.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fixed Gear Training on a 10 spd

Great ride today. About 10 minutes into the ride, my rear dr wasn't shifting so I pulled over to tighten it up. After some adjustments, I realized the cable had broken up in the break hoods. I tied it around the knobby thing on the front tube and continued on my way. Unfortunately, I was stuck in my 12 for the rest of the ride. Since we went pretty slow it wasn't too bad. Sure felt like I was lifting weights.

I complimented the ride with my new post-ride meal: two huge pieces of cake. Yes, I was flying around on a sugar buzz the rest of the day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cycling can be really dangerous

I frequently read Google's Wattage group and typically see the same folks posting messages. I'm not sure why I decided to go into Wattage Member Blogs today, maybe I wanted to check out other winter training regimes. I came upon this one, and it kinda disturbed me and made me really think about life, how fragile it can be and how we should embrace life as if each day is our last day. Life can be so precious.

The first one listed was "Alex's Cycle Blog - A journal covering my cycling exploits, training, racing and learnings, with a focus on training and racing with a power meter. More recently, I have been writing about my rehab from a serious injury." He responds to a lot of topics on the Wattage group, and is pretty knowledgeable about training with power. I started screening through his posting to learn more about his injury and if it were cycling related. And, here's what happened. Not sure what the lesson is, but we should all be more carefully out on the road. I totally cringe when I see my fellow cyclists run red lights, blast through stop signs, etc. I'm not sure how I'd react to an injury like this, but its really refreshing to read Alex's positive postings and to see that this is not derailing his cycling ambition.

Gettin’ Fat / What Happened?

"As I entered the car park, all was normal – quiet. I checked the traffic left and right on Fraters Ave. And Riverside Dr. and nothing was about. I’m usually pretty careful at this point as there are a number of potential hazards (speed humps, gravel, glass etc) on what looks a pretty straight little piece of road. I did nothing different today. I have been through here dozens and dozens of times over many years. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a boomgate, closed across the entrance to the car park appears right in front of me, and I mean with only a fraction of a second to spare. Crunch.

I hit it flush at speed, no time for braking or avoidance manoeuvres. The left leg, just below the knee took the full force and this impact caused all the damage. I wasn’t actually sure what part of my leg had broken at the time, I found out later in hospital: a fractured tibial plateau (the upper bulge section of the shin bone or tibia) – pretty well smashed into lots of fragments, a fractured fibula, a severed posterior tibial artery and severe damage to tissue and capiliaries of lower leg, leading to compartment syndrome and operations to graft in a new artery and a knee to ankle fasciotomy on both sides of my lower leg to deal with the severe nature of the inflammation. Multiple operations and many weeks of treatment later, the complications could not be resolved, too much flesh had died (almost all the lower leg muscle tissue bar the upper calf muscle) resulting in the need to amputate the now non-viable lower leg."