Wednesday, February 27, 2008

White Kits- Black Bikes

A little 3 hour spin on the MRT today. Got the Tarmac closer to home; the rollers don't feel anything like the road and I had to mess around with the fore/aft, seat height and cleats quite a bit... I also have had it with the Toupe. I wanted my ass and that seat to be friends but the love affair just isn't meant to be. It tears me up, literally. I'm going to stick with the 7 Tour de France winning uni-baller special saddle, even if it is 60 grams heavier...

The music wasn't so good today. That's probably just because of the two days of really boring quietness and thinking too much about each pedal stroke and what kind of adjustments I needed to make... I went to TJ's to stock up on some wine today, and that gave me something to look forward too... A tasty Italian Negroamara and a really weird but very good Californian Zinfandel Port with some dark chocolate... Cheeers

Monday, February 25, 2008

Like a good mixed tape

Nothing but fresh tracks in the photo.

January wasn't all that satisfying. After coming off a big block of rest and holiday cheer it took me a couple weeks just to start to feel good again. The weather sucked and it was a little easier to make excuses when it was 33 and raining, especially since there was no real fun on the horizon. When February rolled around I made a pact with MJ not to miss any workouts...

I think everyone can relate to either making or receiving a good mix tape. I used to make them all the time and really put some thought into them to impress the girlies. You have to start them off with some ketchy familiar tunes, but not so familiar that they are already played out, to draw the listener in. In February the training started to get more fun with the introduction of some actual work which, like the good tape, got me interested again. I wasn't suffering through 4 hour LSD anymore, I was training through 5 hr rides and the motivation was really high. With some racing on the horizon in the middle of the month I was committed to training through it and the feel good tunes were really doing a job on my overall frame of mind. The next couple songs are a bit more upbeat- in- your- face- style listening... New stuff that ignites the senses and forces you to learn the lyrics, roll down the windows on a warm spring day and sing it at the top of your lungs as you speed. Too bad there weren't any warm spring days, but I was singing through workouts at the top of my lungs. I started to actually enjoy training in really poor conditions and was thriving off the workouts while wondering in the back of my head who was making "the excuse" that day.

Once you have the listeners attention it's time for some headiness. These are the tracks that make the hair on your arms stand up a little. Maybe a little bit slower, but with a riff or lyric that makes you want to cry... When you are listening to a really good one you know it's coming but hope there is just one more song before you have to flip the tape... Near the halfway point of my training block I was really into it and was struggling to maintain total focus and train right through the Tour de Groundhog race, which would have been the right thing to do. Unable to resist, the competitive side of me eased up a little the week before the race so I could be fresh. I figured figuring our where my fitness was in a race situation wasn't that bad an idea and it was too far away to suffer from being spent like I did at Faust Park.

The flip side. A solid 2cd place finish at the CX race was just what I needed. The first half of side two is meant to throttle the listener. I was amped up, energy was high, motivation was high and the weather still sucked. That wasn't getting me down though. Now I had the second half to look forward to. With real racing coming in just two weeks I was into making it count. I was recovering from every effort really fast so I wanted to pile on a little extra work before taking a rest.

At this point you have sent the listener on an emotional journey with peaks and valleys like Summit County. It's time to unleash some fists of fury on their ass and have some fun. I managed to get in some decent hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then took a breather on Thursday to clean up the CX bike and Epic, which were trashed. On Friday I was committed to getting a 3 day block of solid work in before I cut the engines and cooled the wings. I had my best workout of the year on the rollers, a 1 hr sub threshold effort, which was so easy I wanted to keep going but ran out of time. I ended up getting 2 hours of continuous indoor riding which must be some kind of record. Saturday after work I was still buzzing and managed to stay upright on the ice while getting more hours in at Forest Park in the dark. I started to run out of tape, but like staying up really late listening to cd's to find the perfect track to add to the flow, I was getting tired and needed to rest.

I woke up to snow on the ground Sunday morning. Not as warm as they predicted. Wanted to get 5 hours in to push it the fitness. I got suited up with foul weather gear, embrocation on the feet, and extra pair of socks and fenders on the CX bike. Within 10 minutes I had slid sideways on some train tracks and nailed my rear wheel on the next one, pinch flatting my tube. I had no choice but to go home and get more. The roads were really wet and slushy but I still had the music buzzing in my ears and wanted hear how it ended.

I re-stocked my supplies and got back on the road. The River Front Trail was covered in snow with a layer of ice underneath. If the bottom layer had tracks you would get sucked into them and lose control. I hugged the wall and thought about how much this was like riding a mountain bike in mud. The thought of it being erfect training for St. Joe was satisfying. I was cruising along when I came up on some more tracks and thought it would be better to hit them at speed. I thought wrong. I ate shit all over the place. I was pretty much O.K. other than pulling my right quad trying to jump over my bike as I was going down... Nothing but a 3 second hiss in between tracks... My legs were heavy on the climbs and my feet were numb but I pushed on. I was worried about making it back before dark but I pushed on. The bottom layer of ice under the snow was soft on the way back but I stayed focused and upright. The thought of a mega meal and some sweets made me push a little harder, the next couple days would be for resting...

I felt pretty good about finishing up and bringing the heat the way I did for the ride as well as the month on the whole. Time to rest a little. For me, the last couple tracks were always about breaking up the flow with some total cheese. Just a couple songs to set your feet back on the ground and take a little breather before you flip the tape and listen in for the lyrics or solos you might have missed the first go around... I'll be listening for them when it's time.

Don't be fooled by me pissing in your ears like this though; I almost always listen to live Phish when I train. Like my training, after every blazing Phish show, you know that at the end you are going to be treated to a raging encore.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

wrist snapping

damn. if only i was more loyal and read this i wouldn't have wasted all that time at chubb.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chubb Trail report- A little bit wet

Thought I'd share that pic with you... you should know where it is. I rode for about 20 minutes at Chubb then I headed over to Castlerock where I got another 1.5 hrs in and met my buddy Faisal on the trail. We were chatting it up and the next thing I knew the heater had shut off and I was pretty cold. I headed home and rode the rollers for a couple hours which was really enjoying for some odd reason... Maybe it was because of the sick Phish SBD from 1998 I was listening too. Or maybe the new S-Works shoes. Keep your eyes peeled for a totally gay pic when our kickass new white uniforms come in this week!

Stay Healthy

I just made my second cup of Northwest Fair Trade Organic Sumatra here at the Villa on the hilla; were about 560 feet above sea level, 50 feet above the mighty Miss and live in a row house so I'm embellishing a little. I haven't had two cups of coffee at home in I don't know how long. The <10 degree temps today have ruined my plans for a 5 hour ride. I got a 1 hr recovery ride in on Monday night and another 3 in yesterday and it was cold, but trying to ride for that long in this today would just be counter productive.

I'm trying to stack up some big hours this week before I take a rest week and then start some real racing. I'm planning on going into St Joe really flat after a rest week and then slowly start on the BUILD phase and try to get some snap by racing every weekend but one for 5 weeks. Last season I showed up to Lost Valley in March and Chris and D-Wayne waxed me by 15 minutes. In retrospect I'm surprised I did so well. I wasn't really planning on having any form until a 6 hour race in WI in June.

This year is a little different. I'm going to race the MO Norba series races as an expert and the MWFTS races in the marathon class to keep a solid base. I want to try to train through most of the races and see how I can really do at the AMBC race at Tsali in April and then make a little vacation out of NORBA Nationals in VT in July so the fandamily can see me race. Might not be the best venue to have your family come watch, but I'm a dreamer and they are supportive.

The plan as of now is to take a break after Nats and then segue back into some base training in August before starting to ramp it up again for CX which is really exiting to me. The thought of 10 laps at the Burnin' was really a big goal of mine and am a little bummed not to pursue it, but I can't have my cake and eat it too so it will have to wait. I'm sure D-Wayne is going to make it happen! Unfortunately, once that record is set it will be a race of time from then on... 11 laps is not going to happen unless Eatough shows up, then it's still only a maybe.

Well, the coffees done and my new mountain bike has been severely neglected. I haven't quite made it "home" yet and sure haven't figured out the suspension or tire pressures... off to see how much warmer I can stay in the woods.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Team Mack Tour De Groundhog CX Race

C-Money and I were in high spirits on the way to Springfield IL for the first race of the season. I was really apprehensive about my fitness level. I've got a little over 1200 miles in my legs so far this, year but it's all been very strict base training. I knew it was going to hurt when I hit the red line. Still, I was really exited to race! The weather was terrible and there was standing water everywhere, a little snow and ice and the weather report was for "definite" rain and temps in the 30's. Sweet.

There was some pretty big money ($1000/10 places deep) and I had talked Christopher into doing the big boys race since there were only 12 racers last year and with the conditions there would probably be less making the money spot a close to sure thing... Boy was I wrong. We lined up with 29 racers in the open including Nate Rice and the guy who got 2cd overall last year. I had managed to guilt trip and ride Matt and Giovanni so hard at work on Saturday that they both were there to toe the line as well, but were still weren't smiling about it. I think they realized that showing rookie Mesa rider Drew, who was dying to go and planning on a ride, that they weren't total pussies. After all, what is there about the first race of the season, with your buddies, in epic conditions for the chance at some big prize money is fun?

The race started out really bad. Nate took off, me in second and the Duvel rider in third. The mud was 4" deep and either peanut butter or some crazy concrete mix. The lines all looked the same on the first lap so I just followed Nate and tried to put a gap on 3rd place. There was a totally unrideable section followed by 50 meters of semi rideable stuff and then a set of double barriers before a steep run up that hooked left and then right again, about 100 meters long, that was also totally unrideable. It hurt. 4 minutes into the race and I was already thinking I was going to go into the red zone for good and pull the plug, but seeing the gap I had on 3rd and a HUGE gap on the rest of the field inspired me to push on.

We started lapping guys on the third lap. I was suffering really badly on the run up but Nate was dangling 10-15 seconds in front of me so I kept motivated with him in sight. 3rd place was now 30+ seconds back (thanks to Jeff from Team Mack for the encouragement and time splits) and a large portion of the field was wallowing in the mud. About 4 laps in (out of 7) Nate was only about 50 meters around each corner. I think he was toying with me and when I started to close the door he opened up a huge gap on the next lap, close to 40 seconds. As the race went on I had the rideable parts of the course dialed and I think everyone else was hurting just as bad on the run up so I was really just trying to stay moving and resist taking a rest in the mud.

I must have been doing ok because with a couple to go I had a huge margin on 3rd and started to close in on Nate. On the last lap I was getting really close, maybe 10 seconds from him and tried to give it just a little more. I'm sure he knew he had the win locked and was slowing down but for me it was a matter of saying that Nate Rice only beat me by this much so I pushed. I hit the last barriers as he crossed the line about 100 meters in front of me, I'd guess it was about 10-15 seconds but I'm sure one of you wicked smahties will do the math to prove me wrong... I was pleased to say the least.

Mesa took a 2cd (me), 5th (C-Money), 9th (MJ), and 12th (Giovanni Fondolini) out of the 29 starters. Drew the rook ripped his bike apart on the 2cd lap. We celebrated by finding the biggest hole in the wall dive bar on the ride home and sucking down some cheap beer. The place smelled really bad but the jukebox was awesome. C-Money and I were very dissapointed that we didn't get any frites either.

Today I am sore, my shoulder and forearm are bruised from carrying my bike so much and I have some bruises that are probably from the 4-5 trees I bounced off of. Also awesome.

Sunday, February 17, 2008