Monday, July 30, 2012

One of the hardest rides of my life

Back in June Bjet and I joined teammates Mott Sauce and Big Ring Pike for an epic journey. We rode to Pike's Dad's house in Louisville following Underground Railroad routes.

Wow, it was really cool to go point to point. I typically just ride a big loop. The ride was pretty tough, we hit some headwinds before taking a lunch break in Madison, Indiana. The winds were killing my neck, back and triceps. Then a bit more wind and rollers kicked my ass towards the end of the ride. I wigged out and got so flustered that I could no longer hold I wheel — I stepped off my bike and threw it... Yeah, not pretty.

I hope I was just not recovered from Mohican and 12 Hours of Capitol View. I was really whooped.

On a side note, I would love to turn this into a multi-day trip. Madison is a cool little college town, and Louisville is always fun.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Races #132-133: Conquering Versailles

This year I thought I would have fun and push myself a bit to freshen things up. First, I ran that blasted Flying Pig Marathon. While I was training for that I started daydreaming about doing an Xterra triathlon.

But after Mohican all I really wanted to do was ride my bike. So I did not take my Tri training too seriously. I just did 3 swims (but making sure each swim was about 30 minutes long, around the time I would be in the water). And I would just run here and there. At the end of the day, I like swimming and running but I LOVE TO RIDE MY BIKE!

So my friends Dan, Boris and I headed out to Versailles Friday night. They have really great campgrounds, they are clean and the other people are pretty respectful. Not like the camping I did after Capitol View (where people were blaring club music till late). By the way, sites #90 and# 92 are pretty sweet for tent campers.

Dan, Boris and I carbo-loaded on beer, including a stop at Great Crescent Brewery in Aurora, Indiana. We stayed up late and BSed around the campsite. Woke up around 6am, did some yoga to stretch. Got everything ready. It was weird to try to think of things I need for swimming, cycling and running!

So we started the Xterra out in the water. It was weird to swim in a pack. In the first few minutes you are clumped together and whacking each others legs and arms! I kept it pretty chill, I did not want to over-exert myself. Actually, this was my best/fastest swim to date. Usually in my training swims I would get tired and have to stop or alternate to breast stroke. So I swim pretty inefficiently — I started the swim by keeping my head constantly above water, always pointing forward. I found that it regulates my breathing and I less taxing on my system. Later in the swim I started this other technique where my head shifted from side-to-side with each stroke, I became more efficient but over a few minutes I made myself very dizzy! In the last 200 feet I swallowed some lake water and almost started vomiting — that slowed me down!

So I got out of the water and my transition was a bit slow, perhaps socks are a bad idea... Anyway, I jump on the bike and start riding and I am still very dizzy and I crashed into a tree right away! I collected myself and launched myself up Shadow Run. I tried to balance the need to pass people with respect and safety. I was blown away how many competitors were not extremely strong on the bike. I felt like a super star — I think I passed nearly 30 people and put in a decent lap time to boot! One guy was not so happy to have me pass and told me I should be a better swimmer! He's right, it would have been so much easier!

So I really loved the bike leg! I kept a bunch of gas in the tank and by riding more restrained I read the course and trail with a clearer head. I really had my mojo that day! I felt so smooth!

The iPhone Strava app allows me quick uploads — I feel so badass until everyone uploads their Garmins...

So I get back in and started the run. I just had to pull off my gloves, helmet and switch shoes. The run went pretty well. I haven't really run much at all since the Pig so I did not know what to expect. I guess I had leftover fitness — I went out and ran the best trail times of my life. Somehow I managed a pace of just over 8min/mile with almost 500 feet of climbing and some technical downhills! Wow!

I didn't wear my heart rate monitor but I was feeling that I raced the whole race fairly conservatively. But that night I started feeling pretty tore up. Perhaps I gave 100% and not the 120% that I am used to. Perhaps also all the adrenaline made me feel awesome!

I really feel like the Xterra format is a great event — training doesn't have to take over your life and you can get out and train while enjoying nature. I strongly suggest an Xterra to anyone considering triathlons. My race was over in 2:11, you could easily compete within 3:00. It doesn't really kill you day and all the distances are easily achievable.

There were vegan and vegetarian competitors, then there was this guy...

That night I hung out with Kathy and Fraser. We rode into Downtown Versailles on a recovery ride and they invited me over for some beers and a delicious Italian lentil dish that Kathy made. It was nice to pass the time with friends instead of reading "Devil in the White City" all alone in my tent all night!

I also did some yoga overlooking a ravine to loosen up and stretch out my muscles. I love doing yoga in nature. I know, it's nerdy! It's just cool to connect with nature again — I haven't camped in over two years and this is my second time this year. I've really enjoyed getting away from the rat race and just mellowing out for a weekend.

So the mountain bike race the next day was a smidge tough! I woke up fairly early, got ready and actually rode a full lap of the race course to warm up before the race.

But my legs were still not there. The start went off and I immediately went to the back. I lost a minute to the next rider within a few miles. I was really struggling. Then the Red Zone Juniors leading the Cat 2 race came rollin along. They were the wind in my sails and they woke me back up! I jumped on the leader's wheel for a couple minutes until I nearly wiped out in a dusty turn. Then Red Zone junior #2 and #3 came rolling up. Those kids are fast! I jumped on their wheels and had a blast! I rode with them for most of the reaming part of the first lap. I GOT MY MOJO BACK!

I started passing the other guys in my race. I think I gained 4 positions. But suddenly I heard a rubbing on my back tire. I looked down to see what it was and I wiped out going pretty fast! I stopped, it was the end of the front derailleur cable. I lost about 3 positions I just gained! I bent the cable back out of the way and restarted my chase. Over then next two laps I regained the positions I lost as well as gaining 2 more.

I crossed the line in 2:12:14, taking a minute off my previous best time and equaling my highest previous placing in the DINO Versailles race. Wow, I just wish I started stronger!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dreaming of Le Tour

I listen to this podcast called "The Bike Show" and a few weeks ago they did a show on doing your own Tour de France by randonée or touring. Basically, getting racks on the bikes and hauling your own luggage as you travel by bike.

We use this website called Strava to track our training miles. They are having a Tour de France competition where you try to match the elevation climbed by the pros in the race.

So Sunday we went out to ride an epic! I have been dreaming of a training ride that combines all of Cincinnati's beautiful hilly neighborhoods. So many cool ascents are paid off with an incredible view from a public park on top.

From our house on the East side of Cincy we set off and climbed up to Ault Park down to Mount Lookout and a couple of climbs up to Alms Park overlooking Lunken Airport. We didn't do all the climbs, I was intending to save some for the way back.

We hit Riverside and headed for Kentucky. We don't typically ride up to Fort Thomas but I decided to throw it in. Well, it turned out to be a bad idea. I forgot where the climbs were and we got lost and wasted some time. We were climbing up River Road when we were hit by a torrential downpour. There was nowhere to go, we had to keep climbing and getting soaked. We finally found refuge at the Tower Park Army base! All the G.I.s were having a picnic, so a couple of Lycra clad weirdos really stood out amongst all the camo.

Once it cleared we hit Devou Park. But we were still drenched and it is not fun to ride in a soggy chamois. So we bypassed Clifton and Liberty Hill and headed home. We still hit Mt Adams first, and really enjoyed the beautiful views.

We got home and changed and hit Indian Hill. One thing we noticed straight away is the lack of stoplights and stop signs--our average speed started increasing.

We started to "zipper" up and down the climbs, alternating the ups and downs as we rode the hill side towards Loveland and Miamiville. Kuglar Mill, Camargo, Blome, Indian Hill and Spooky Hollow are some of our scenic favorites.

My legs felt pretty good. I did something silly: I rode 105 miles and climbed 7000 feet the day before. Part of me gets really inspired watching the Pros tackle back-to-back mountain stages in the grand tours.

I was giddy to be sharing this epic with my Bjet. I hope someday we can do our own Tour de France. It is great we have a crazy hobby we can do together and while I am riding I am so content, I wonder what else I would be doing and I am thoroughly proud that we choose to write our own adventures instead of watching them on tv.

The  next time we attempt this I would love to include more climbs around Devou, as well as a stop at Findlay Market and the hills of Clifton and Liberty Hill. We also missed Price and Ibold roads due to time constraints, and of course the whole Dry Run, Sugar Camp and Baldwin climbs would have been awesome to hit too.

Big training block

I decided to crush a big block of training since I had an opening in my schedule. I know I have training 25 hours in a week before, but whoa 30! I trained 10 days straight with a total of 38 hours and 441 miles. Some of the training was weight training and yoga in improve strength and flexibility for cross season. I got some runs in too. I wanted to get some long rides in before longer races like the 6 Hours of John Bryan and Frankenbike too. I guess I wanted to establish a mid-summer base mile training camp in a way.

This is kind of nerdy but I got inspired by The Tour and I did back-to-back climbing centuries!

Well, taking a couple of days off to recover for races on both Saturday and Sunday. My third weekend in a row of double race days. Gotta get ready for the USGPs!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Any Aero Time Trial Tips?

So I did something kind of silly. I signed up for the Ohio State Time Trial Championships in Cleves on Saturday. I wanted to try something new to spice things up, and being on the rivet for 45-55 minutes will be great training for cyclocross.

So... right now my aero road set up is my freshly tuned-up 1999 Steel Jamis Quest. And a skinsuit...

I think I can scrounge together some shoe covers and a fabric helmet cover... I don't want to go overboard but if anyone has any easy suggestions I will take them!

I have Bridget's old Madone. I need to get this thing built up. In reality I want to build it up, throw on some clip-on handlebars and have an aero helmet but I should save my money for my new cyclocross bike.

These were tips I received on Facebook:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Build Up and on Target?

Here is my build up for this year compared to last year. I'm about at the same place although I feel lke the quality and intensity of my training for cycling was better in 2011. The marathon has taken a bit out of my legs and I don't feel I have the snap and attack I had last year. Well, better start hitting it for Cross!

So check out June. I tapered for Mohican so I would be nice and fresh. Then 100 miles. Recover for Capitol View. Then 112 miles on the dirt. I took a week off then unwisely rode 157 miles with Bjets and the teammates to Louisville! Ouch. My legs are angry with me!

Tentative Training Plan for the next month. Need to work on my muscles, and getting some of the intensity built up for fast starts and short, steep hills. I have to make sure I don't embarrass myself in the Pro UCI cross races!

Tokyo Driftin!

 I took my Jamis up to BioWheels for it's first tune up in maybe two years! Man, a bunch of stuff was loose and my cables haven't been replaced in about 3 years!

Bob and Nate helped me fix it all up. I would get things kind of in place then they would come in and finely tune it.

Bob redid my brakes, now they really grab on the attack. They used to be all mushy! Well, I kind of forgot about the new brake set up on lap 2 of the Hyde Park Blast and I started skidding on the 180 turn around the Square! I even unclipped like it was a cyclocross race, I kept it upright!

Race reports to come! What a fun weekend in Madeira and Hyde Park!