Monday, February 22, 2010

Sublime Sublimity 2.20.10

This week was the early addition of a second day of a dedicated LT work. Tuesday morning was spent punishing my lungs, heart, legs, and whipping my mind into shape for suffering. The rest of the time was spent loosening the legs up for Saturday. I had 10 hours on my legs going into Sub-Sub. I felt normal, well as normal as possible. I am still using these early season races to get me into shape, while trying to get points for an upgrade. Tough to do. This is still my first real season after coming off a good winter. I am excited to see how the plan pans out.

Saturday started like any other race day prep. I woke up with out the alarm and felt like I good night sleep. I wandered out to the garage to get the bike cleaned up and prepped for the race. I ended up taking it apart working on the bottom bracket, shortening up some of the cables and cleaning the bike thoroughly. After all I am on my “B” bike after last weekends fiasco with the bike flying off the car at 70mph. Will and I were set to launch from the house at 10. I would have liked to been off my feet most of the morning the day of a race but I was walking around doing laundry, working on my bike, packing, doing dishes, and just generally being my ADD self. I got energy people what am I going to do?

Will and I launched on time and headed south for Sub-Sub. Beautiful weather too. You would have thought it was July had you not rolled down the window. The heater was on but the sun was up and just a blue bird day. Wow what a beautiful day. We got there around 11:30, making pretty good time. We lounged around and BS’d with the other guys on the team. We got suited up and got on our bikes to roll out we were going to have an hour on our legs before race started. These races for me are all about time and training, trying to get ready for Cherry Blossom. I wasn’t nervous about this race. I’ve noticed that one thing about this year is that the preparation for the season has left my nerves in the dust. I feel prepared and I feel like if or when there is a move I can follow. I have confidence in my body this year.

The normal whistle sounded and we meandered through the country side. I was in the back a bit out of position. I wasn’t happy about it but I figured the first climb I would be able to work up to the front. That plan almost worked. I got stuck behind this “Pat” was have trouble with the neutral descending roll out. Oh boy he can’t hold a line, I’ve got to get around this person. I won’t say that this field is sketch because of the 5’s because I know of some 2’s that can’t hold a line or don’t know some of the simplest things like telling people “STANDING!” to ensure that you don’t wipe out an entire field because you’re stretching you legs. Hughes found his way over to me and I locked onto his wheel like a little leach. “Mush!” Hughes and he did. That boy pulled my ass right to front making his way through some of the smallest cracks that Emmit Smith would’ve shied from. If Al did only one thing right that day it was his Concord escort to the front of the Peleton. I didn’t leave that position the rest of the race… well almost.

I had a plan of course, and if you’ve read more than this page blog you know that that plan is always to stay in the bunch and not attack! And I swear I am getting closer to that coming to fruition. The first lap was a painfully slow pace. There were no attacks to speak of. A few fliers but nothing worth writing home about. We approached the first steep pitch and real test of how the boys would handle the rise in elevation. I danced on those pedals and had little to no trouble, in fact I remember oo take it easy only go as hard as necessary to stay in the front and not off the front. There was one guy who flew off the front just before the climb and he went backwards so fast you would have thought he was descending. We all made it to the top for the most part and descended the back together. The second lap I was at the front for some of the pace making trying to deter attacks but I didn’t want to spend the next 40 min pulling the bunch right before the finish so I faded back and watched. We slowed to a crawl. My plan was working and I was sticking to it, regardless of how painful it was.

We approached the steep pitch again and I was going to just stay in the front keep an eye on things and then I saw some guys go up the road. Three guys, I had a lane, they were pulling away, they looked strong, they looked good, I exploded and went. People tried to follow us but they couldn’t respond. We crested the top of the climb, I looked back, we had a conversation, well as much of a conversation as you can have while coughing up lung, “Are we going?” the response was the junior looking back and seeing the same thing I did, a huge gap, and a nod of the head. With that we dropped the hammer. Until someone rides up to you that you don’t know and says "hey you really hurt us" you may not be able to relate to this. It is a good feeling having that kind of form even if it is in the 4’s.

We continued down the descent as we crested one of the rollers I looked back for the second time and saw a nice sized gap with the field shattered. It felt good to realize that the four of us were causing it, and we were going to try and cause more of it. I was spun out on my 53x11 on that descent. We left with about 8 miles to go and we got caught with about 3 or 4 to go. I tried to sit in the rest of the way to the finish. The finish was a typical sprinters finish with a nasty little pitch at the end. I had nothing left in my legs from that attack. I got 18th.

Great day on the bike! Beautiful day. Great race… I will learn to stick to the plan at some point.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cherry Pie 2.13.10

I love the calmness of the start of races. The pain that is going to ensue is inevitable and we all joke and laugh and talk about everything else but the race before hand. I like the warm up. I like seeing old friends I haven’t seen all winter because they have or we have been doing “secret” training. I like the early season races because it’s a mystery how you will do. I like meeting new people in the peloton. After all we are all moving together in one direction for a couple of ours. No reason to be quiet and not take advantage of hanging out with people with like interests.

The race started and we were off with a 1 mile roll out. I was in the front right away trying to help push the pace up to something more race worthy. My legs were feeling pretty good too. I gotta say. I was really happy with my position the entire race. We were definitely stringing the group out there for a bit which was nice to see and I was part of that.

Sean made his way up to the front of the race just about the section when the road started in with the rollers. There we were all just sitting up front chatting away and then the road pitched up a bit. I stood on the pedals and everyone was behind me first 100’ then a little more then I had a gap and wasn’t really pushing that hard so I pushed it to a LT zone and got a little bigger gap all the way through the rollers section. I thought someone might try and bridge up but no one could make it up. I saw one guy try and so I stayed out to try and let me bridge and see how we did. I felt pretty good. But after the roller section my gap wasn’t growing anymore, I sat up. I stayed in the pack for the remainder of the race. That made for a pretty boring race. The wind picked up on the back section so nothing got away and no one tried. It came down to the last section of road after the right hand turn. I bridged the lead group gap but was gassed by the hill and came in 20th. The best position of all of our guys. I wish I wouldn’t have tried that flier. I am going to have to get smarter. The next race I am not going to try and get away. I am going to sit in the entire time!

Monday, February 8, 2010

2.8.10 Prerace Cherry Pie

I have less than a week to the first race of the year. I am going to make a huge effort this year to blog all the single day races. Last year I tried but with little success. I can blog from my iPhone now so that should make it easier.

I’m racing for a new team this year. Ten Guys Named Alex. Sean suckered me into the group so that the kit costs were lower. It is a good group of guys to ride with. I like the dynamic of the group, I’d say there are some of them that are more synical and bigger smart asses then me even.

This winter has been good in spite of my neck issues. I’ve had some high teens weeks leading up to a 21 hour week. I’ve been maintaining about 13 hours on the bike since. I feel like my volume has been sufficient and frequent enough now that I can prepare amply for Elkhorn. It’s scary to say and admit. But I have no excuses. If I don’t do well, I messed up my training plan, I am not fit enough, I’m not genetically meant to race, whatever it is, it won’t be from a lack of effort.

This week is going to be a normal week going into Cherry Pie. No taper or special week preparation. The plan is to use the early season races to boost my fitness for Cherry Blossom. I got a power tap this winter, and I just started doing power intervals last week. Those have been going well. While my LT threshold endurance isn’t high, I am hoping that my aerobic endurance is good enough that everyone else will be tired at the end of the race and I will have lots left? We will see. Top ten finishes would be what I am looking for. Points; that’s all I want, lots of racing and lots of points.

I’ve been fighting off a looming cold this last week. I noticed it last Thursday and I’ve been powering down zinc and vitamin C. It has yet to get a grip on me but I am afraid that it will wait till Friday and leave me weak and tired on Saturday. Time will tell. I am excited for the season to get here!