Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter training...

Well, things haven't gone quite as planned with my original training plan. To this point the weather has been nicer than normal with a lot of days where there was little or no rain, which allowed me to ride outside more. So I decided to hold off on my intervals for a while and focus more on "Tempo" paced rides with some harder work when possible during group rides on Saturdays.

However, I have slowly been building the hours per month back up on the bike. With the end of December coming to a close I should have just under 50 hours on the bike and a little over 900 miles ridden....not to bad for the month of December.

I however, did start my interval training two weeks ago with my current schedule looking like this:

Monday: 1.5 hours on the trainer....20 minute warm up, 20 minute threshold interval, 10 minute recovery/endurance pace, 20 minutes of 1x1 intervals at VO2 max or higher, 20 minutes endurance pace to finish.

Tuesday: 2 hours of high endurance or low tempo pace either on the trainer or outside on my single speed.

Wednesday: 2 hours of high endurance or low tempo pace either on my trainer or outside on my single speed.

Thursday: 1.5 hours on the trainer.....same intervals as on Monday.

Friday: 1 - 1.5 hours of recovery paced riding.

Saturday: 3 - 3.5 hours group riding. We usually get a good 30 minutes of very fast paced riding near the end of the ride, and have been working on break aways, chasing breaks and pace-line work....which has allowed some sprinting.

Sunday: off the bike.

This gives me 11 - 12 hours a week on the bike, with some good threshold and VO2 max work thrown in. I can see that my 20 minute power levels have dropped a little over the past few months however over the past two weeks I've already put 18 watts back on and am holding a more steady interval for the full 20 minutes.

The group rides have been very good for me this year because of some of the high speed pace-line work we have done. Pretty much every ride we have done 20-30 minutes of high intensity work near the end of the ride...which means speeds between 24 and 30 mph. On my single speed my gearing is 73 gear inches (equivalent to a 53x19 or pretty close)...which means when we get going I'm spinning 120-150 RPM for the duration of the pace-line work. I've even hit 35 mph on one stretch during break away work which is around 165 RPM....so I'm getting my speed work in :D

I also know my sprinting power hasn't gone away over the last few months. A few weeks ago a teammate of mine and I had a fun sprint. He matched the gearing on my single speed and we went "Sign Sprinting". He had his powertap on his bike and clocked 1595 watts during the sprint and we were either dead even or I beat him by maybe an inch or so....but I'm a good 35-40 pounds heavier than he is which puts my top end power over 1600 watts right now....which is better than I hit this past summer.

My big issue that I need to work on right now is my weight....I'm just way to heavy for this time of the year.

Last year the heaviest I allowed myself to get was 208 pounds during the winter, which made dropping back down to 195 or so for the race season fairly easy. This year however with my over training during the summer, lower levels of riding during the months of August, September and October and eating like I was still riding 18 hours a week....my weight has hit a high of 220 pounds this winter. With the new year coming around...it's time to start cutting calories.

Overall...I'm not too worried about my weight though since two years ago I dropped about 50 pounds in less than 4 months heading into the race season...this year I only have 20-25 pounds to drop so not nearly as hard as before, but still not super easy. The big key is cutting calories and turning up the intensity on my training which I've started with the intervals.

In the end...Lots of work to do, but I think I'll be ready for the upcoming race season that's quickly approaching. The first TT of the year is the 3rd week of February and there are 4 road races in March.

One racing change for me this year....I'm likely going to race in the masters 40+ category for most of the races this year instead of in the CAT 3's. The reason...fewer people and somewhat less aggressive riding compared to the CAT 3's. However, since the masters category is CAT 1/2/3 the races are still fast, and in many cases faster than the CAT 3 races....so it's not going to be any easier, that much is for sure!

On a side note...by the 31st of this year when you take my trainer mileage (which is pretty close to what I would do on the road) as well as my road mileage I will have ridden over 11,750 miles on a bicycle this year...a new record for me :D

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall is here...

The days are getting shorter, the morning air a little crisp and the rainy days more frequent...which means fall is here and winter not far away. With this in mind I've moved my Powertap to my indoor trainer and am prepping my singlespeed for the winter months.

Many of my teammates have moved onto the "Cross" season, as I did for a while last year...but it's just not for me. To much of a risk for tearing up a knee (I've already had too many knee surgeries) and in all honesty I just didn't enjoy racing cross that much. There are so many people at the cross races that if you are not in the top 20 by the first corner, your race just became a training ride due to bottlenecks when the course narrows...Today was the first "Cross Crusade" race and over 1350 people showed up to race, which means well over 100 people per category (I wouldn't be surprised if the C's had close to 200 people).

With that said...The winter is where I get in a lot of "Quality" training because the workouts on the trainer are so structured. There are no hills or wind to get in the way, rain is no longer an excuse for not riding and the workouts can be planned out weeks in advance. With the Powertap it makes it easier to follow specific plans, which is something I couldn't do before.

My plans for the winter include a whole lot of 2x20's and tempo rides with my main goal...to raise my FTP for Time Trials and MTB racing next year. My hope is to steadily raise my 20 minute power each month over the winter. I'm starting this month at 320 watts with hopes of raising it 20 watts each month through February when the racing season starts again.

So...October 320 watts, November 340 watts, December 360 watts, January 380 watts, February 400 watts....Then scale back just a little for March to really hit it hard in April and May when the TT season starts culminating with the Team Time Trial at the end of May.

I hit 391 watts for 20 minutes this year so this should be attainable. My goal for next year is to break 400 watts for 20 minutes and if possible break 420 watts, while getting my weight back down to 190 pounds or if possible 185, which I haven't seen since the start of my 8th grade year :)

My basic training plan will be this:

Monday: 2 hours (2x20's) with a 10 minute threshold effort near the end of the workout
Tuesday: 2 hours at tempo
Wednesday: 1.5 hours at endurance pace
Thursday: 2 hours (2x20's) with a 10 minute threshold effort near the end of the workout
Friday: 1.5 hours at tempo
Saturday: Group ride on my singlespeed (hopefully 2.5 - 3 hours on the bike)
Sunday: Off the bike

So bring on the rain, winter and college football...Lots of work to be done over the next few months :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seasons End...

With the State Individual Time Trial Championships over....so ends my season. My original plan was to end it with the Krugers Kermese series, but due to land use permits they are no longer able to hold the series. Last year I also did some cross races, but racing from February through October/November was just way too long and I didn't really enjoy cross racing all that much.

I set out to accomplish two goals this year:

1) Get my upgrade from CAT 4 to CAT 3.
2) To compete/complete at least one stage race.

I actually accomplished both of these goals on the same weekend back in April during/after the Cherry Blossom stage race in The Dalles. This was my first stage race and with my 2nd place in the first stage I had enough points to upgrade to CAT 3, which I did the Monday after the race.

Overall the year went well (22 races).

Podium placings: 8
Wins: 3
State Championships: 1

Some numbers on the year:

Highest ATL: 159.5
Highest CTL: 123.2
Lowest TSB: -73.7

The ATL and CTL ratings took place pretty close to the Cascade Classic which probably explains my poor performance there. I was clearly over-trained by the time I hit the Cascade Classic and when combined with the altitude, heat and some dehydration lead to extremely poor performances. If I had been using the Powertap all winter, chances are these numbers would actually have been higher :s

The low TSB took place early in the season just after getting my Powertap so this doesn't reflect as much toward my performance at the CC.

Power numbers for the year:

Max power: 1564 watts
Max 5 second: 1391 watts
Max 1 minute: 659 watts
Max 5 minute: 434 watts
Max 10 minute: 404 watts
Max 20 minute: 391 watts

Goals for next year:

1) Keep my power numbers high over the winter to go into the season next year strong.
2) Drop my weight back down to at least 190 pounds (spent the latter half of the season over 200 this year).
3) Win the CAT 3 TTT State Championship again.
4) Better my 40K ITT time again...get under 55 minutes.
5) Concentrate on ITT's more than road races.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

State ITT championships...

I want to thank whoever dialed up the perfect weather for the State Championship ITT's today. The weather was absolutely perfect this morning with temps in the upper 60's to low 70's and wind in the 3 mph range...Simply awesome!!!

It seems I found my legs that I left at home last weekend...well, most of them at least. Overall, my legs felt pretty good, but I think I could have/should have gone a bit faster today...but then I seem to always feel that way after a time trial.

Being the weather watcher I am, I was expecting a tailwind on the way out this morning, but was greeted with a headwind instead...though it was only around 3 mph or so, so nothing bad for sure.

The plan was to go out a little easy this year remembering my cramping from last year and my death at Cascade last week. Even going out easy my HR was around 161 bpm for the first 10-15 minutes...though my plan was to keep it around 152-155 bpm...but my legs didn't feel bad and my breathing wasn't to labored soooo, such is life.

After 5 - 10 minutes I picked the pace up and was able to keep my HR in the 160 bpm range for pretty much the entire race, which is where it should be.

During the race, I caught my 30 second guy somewhere around mile 7 or 8 and I'm guessing my 1 minute man shortly there after...then started to run into what I'm guessing were racers in the 40-44 category. At the start I only saw my 30 second guy so I didn't know what any of the other riders in front of me looked like, which in a way helped keep me pushing along the way.

The way back was a lot faster than the way out thanks to the tailwind with speeds in the 29 mph - 30 mph range most of the way back. That was a nice change of pace compared to the 24-26 mph I was going on the way out.

I ended up crossing the line with a time of 55:40 (26.73 mph average) which is 1 minute 19 seconds faster than last year....though I still cramped up a little after I crossed the line. Nothing like last year, but my left hamstring is a bit sore.

My time was good enough for 2nd place...lost by 32 seconds...but I'll take a PR of 1:19, especially after such a crappy performance last week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cascade Classic Day 3...

Today....I called it quits on the race.

I woke up and could tell I had nothing in my legs and I knew I'd get dropped from near the start of the race. The way I figured it was better to just call it good and not race then trash my legs even farther in the heat to try and battle my way into 80th place again.

My stomach still didn't feel well and felt nauseous for about 1/2 my 3.5 hour ride home from Bend. I also had a headache for the better part of the day that 3 Advil helped with but didn't eliminate.

In all honesty, I'm not sure what happened this weekend. Two weeks ago I set a 20 minute power PR....this week I couldn't get within nearly 70 watts of that for 20 minutes. I'm not sure if it was the altitude (one race started at 5400 feet and ended at 6400 feet, the ITT topped out around 4500 feet, the crit was around 3500 feet)...the heat with temps in the upper 80's, lack of sleep (only got around 12 hours total for the weekend) or over-training that made me turn in such a crappy performance for the weekend...maybe it was a combination of all of them...not sure, but I do know it was a horrendous performance for me.

I've taken the last 3 days off the bike and am starting to feel a bit better, but am still contemplating competing in the State ITT championships this weekend. I've got until Wednesday to sign up so I'm waiting to see how I feel tomorrow after a ride before signing up. Hopefully the legs come back quickly so I can compete and try and get a state title...but after this weekend, I'm not so sure my chances are all that good for turning in a descent performance.

Cascade Classic Day 2

I think I'm going to put this day down as possibly my worst race day on the bike ever. I couldn't get anything going all day and by the end of it was suffering.

The ITT came pretty early in the morning with a start time of 9:17 am. I went through my normal warm up and didn't feel too bad all things considered. Got everything put away and headed for the starting line.

The countdown started and I was off....Going hard from the start...a bit too hard. By the first 1/2 mile I had to slow down to regain my legs/lungs. I was breathing super hard, but only had a HR of 148 - 150 bpm and couldn't get it to go up. After a minute or two I felt things returning to normal and slowly picked things up. About 2/3 the way up the climb (on an out/back course) I was passed by my trailing 30 second man...the first time I think I've ever been passed in an ITT.

I was actually making pretty good ground on my 30 second man, who was just in front of me and that I had passed shortly after the guy behind me passed me. My legs were on fire, but it felt like I was pedaling in mud.

At the turnaround I put everything I had into the descent, but found that I was under-geared for a portion of the course using a 52x12 for my biggest gear. I spun out on one section doing 44 mph and really needed an 11 tooth rear cog, which would have given me a few more mph at several points on the downhill.

In the end my effort was good enough for 52nd place on the day with a time of 24:54 on the 10 mile course. The worst ever in an ITT by me ever.

After the race my legs were feeling a bit like Jello, but I still had the crit to compete in later in the day. Needing some food, some of my teammates and I went for a late breakfast where I had a pretty good Denver Omelet with some hash browns. However, they didn't settle well, or I was having some issues with digestion because by the time the crit came around, I could still feel them sitting in my stomach...and they didn't feel good.

The CAT 4's finished, so I jumped on the course to get a little warm up. Coming around on my first warm up lap racers had already started lining up getting ready to race. So from the start I was pushed to the back of the pack.

Once the whistle blew and we went through the first set of corners, accelerating out of turn 2...I knew I was in trouble. My legs had nothing in them, no top end at all. I got out of the saddle and accelerated as hard as I could staying in the packs draft. As the race went on, I slowly moved back, farther and farther until I was dangling off the back.

The final breaking point was when a "TALL" rider in front of me lost the wheel of the guy in front of him and I couldn't accelerate around him to latch back on the pack. From that point the four of us there were all off the back and later got pulled at the 20 minute mark in the 30 minute crit.

This was the first time I've ever been pulled from a crit and in reality the pace wasn't that bad and nothing I shouldn't have been able to handle, but with not acceleration left in my legs I couldn't do anything to stay alive.

After the race I showered and met up with some teammates to watch the pro's race...which was pretty cool. A breakaway of 4 got away early and stayed off for a long time, almost lapping the field...at which time the leaders of the main peloton picked the pace up and started pulling 5 seconds a lap back on the breakaway...catching them with 1.5 laps to go. Crazy how fast those guys can go when they want to.

Back at the hotel, all I could do is sit in amazement at how poorly my day on the bike had gone. I guess ever body has one...today was it for me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cascade Classic Day 1

This is the first time I've raced in the Cascade Classic (taking place in Bend, OR) so I wasn't completely sure what to expect with the courses. The only thing I had to go on was the profile maps posted in the manuals they handed out and posted on their web site...and those basically told me it would be a hard race.

Todays race didn't exactly play into my "Strength's" if you will...the meat of the course was great for me, however the finish was a 10 mile or so climb with approximately 2000 feet of climbing. The initial stages of the climb were pretty shallow, but it progressively got steeper as you went along.

The beginning of the race started with a nice 600 foot climb right out of the gate that covered 3 miles or so before going into a long 1600 foot descent. One guy...who as far as I can tell stayed out front on a break the entire stage...took off on this hill and was later joined by two others that bridged the gap. The rest of us were pushed pretty hard by the lead riders as we averaged 15.5 mph or so up the climb and I sustained 374 watts for just under 10 minutes on the climb.

After the long descent things smoothed out and leveled off for a while until we came up to the first feed zone. They had neutral bottles they were handing out to riders, but they had the neutral bottles after the section where team helpers were handing out bottles to their team members...which made for some interesting feed zones. It was almost a fight to get into position and get a bottle before you exited the feed zone. I do thank all the volunteers for helping out with this since I'd still be lost somewhere in the outskirts of Bend suffering from heat stroke without them.

The next 25 miles were a series of rollers through the middle of nowhere, Oregon. The pace would pick up...then suddenly slow down with everybody yelling "Slowing" while hitting the brakes pretty hard.

The second feed zone was a crazy affair...but they did have more people there handing out bottles so it was a bit easier to get on (kind of)...however, as usual the leaders got their bottles then hit a hard tempo as the pack strung out. I found myself way back after the second feed zone and came up on one of my teammates (the only one with a real shot of finishing well on this stage) and he was way back with me and there was separation from the main pack. So I went by him to help pull him back to the main pack. Along the way I picked up another teammate of mine who was trying to help but had spent a lot of time up front pace setting so his legs were a bit tired at this point.

The last 21 miles of the race were a series of hard accelerations and slow downs...up to the point I got popped off the back on a steep section. The guys up front shot off like rockets and completely shattered the group into bits and pieces. From here my race was basically over...and I knew it was coming before it actually came, it was just a matter of where and when...so I rode tempo up the climb to the finish. Along the way I passed a good 10 - 15 riders along the way including two of my teammates that were shot out the back later up the hill.

All in all, not a bad day considering my legs felt like mud for the first 15-20 miles. I finished the 71 miles in just a bit over 3 hours and 15 minutes and feel pretty good all things considered.

Tomorrow is the Individual Time Trial in the morning and a 30 minute crit in the afternoon. These two stages play more into my strengths and I'm hoping go well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Crashing sucks...

This weekend I went on a ride with several members of my team...another big climbing day at 87 miles with about 5500 - 6000 feet of climbing, most of which came on a single 17ish mile 3300 foot climb. I'm soooo sick of 15+ mile climbs as they never seem to end...and I'm far from a climber :)

At the top of the climb we all re-grouped since it was an out and back then headed back down the hill. Not more than a minute into the descent I came up on the tightest corner at around 40 mph and overshot the corner. I was able to ride the dirt for 30-40 feet before either going too far into the ditch or hitting a rock...not sure which, but I went down...apparently doing a cartwheel in the process.

This was my first crash in several years...and in some ways, it's good to get it out of the way.

As I laid in the ditch I did a once over of my body and other than a few scratches and my side hurting a fair amount I was fine. No broken bones...nothing separated...just a nice hematoma on the right side of my abdomen that has swelled a bit and a bit of a cut in the same place. I'm guessing I landed on a rock.

Once I stood up, I did a once over of my bike and nothing was broken, but the rear derailleur hanger was bent in a bit so my granny gear was inaccessible for the time being...though I later did stop and give it a good pull to allow me to use it again.

For the next 30-45 minutes I had zero power. I was getting throttled on any small climb and was just trying to hang on in pace lines. It's amazing how much even a small crash can take out of you.

As we continued I started to feel a bit better, but never got back to the original feeling I had before the crash...but felt good enough to stop getting dropped to bad on the climbs.

All in all for the day we rode a little over 87 miles in 4 hours and 41 minutes with 5500-6000 feet of climbing.

With my abdomen still swollen today I decided to not race PIR this week...which turned out to be a good idea since there was a pile up in the field tonight that one of my teammates got caught up in, but wasn't hurt other then a small amount of road rash...but his brand new "Flashpoint 60's" need to be re-trued due to the crash...big time bummer on that one.

Hopefully my crashing is done for the next several years and considering I only had minor injuries I should be good to go by next week for the Cascade Classic. In some ways this is probably good because it's making me take it a bit easier on the bike. After the ride this Saturday my CTL jumped to over 123 and my legs were feeling a bit "toasty"...so I took both Sunday and Monday off...went out for a ride today (a little over 2 hours) and it's still in the mid 117 range. I'm going to try and keep my intensity up over the next two weeks, but start reducing some of the longer rides to taper off...which will hopefully bring that down into the 110 range or so which should give me fresh legs for the Cascade Classic.

Now if I can just get this swelling to go down :P

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New PR's...

After a rather sketchy and uneventful night at PIR on Tuesday (19th overall on the night) I went out on the regular Wednesday morning group ride. Most of the normal group of riders were there, with a few that normally can't show due to work able to make it today.

The route we decided on took us up Pumpkin Ridge which is a nice 6.5 mile, 1000 foot or so climb. It only averages around 3.25% grade wise but is a good hill for 20 minute intervals since it's a fairly steady grade overall (though the middle is fairly flat with a small, slight downhill section).

Previously my best time up the climb was 23:07 at which time I averaged 372 watts for the climb and for the most part did it solo on a group ride.

Today one of my teammates who's been climbing very well lately showed up for the ride and really pushed me the whole way. We did a little drafting off of one another up the climb as well, which helped with the overall time, but it didn't make much of a difference overall since speeds are lower going up the climb.

At the time I didn't know what my time was, only my 20 minute average...which was 391 watts. When I returned home and downloaded my Powertap data (I set the interval mode for the climb) we had climbed it in 22:20 and my average power output for the entire climb was 390 watts.

I hadn't done this climb in a while so it was good to hit it hard and see where I am leading up to the Cascade Classic in a few weeks. This is an 18 watt jump over my previous 20 minute max effort and I also set a new 10 minute effort at 404 watts during the climb. I've also recently set new 1 minute power numbers and have been close on my 5 minute numbers a lot....so things are looking good for the upcoming stage race.

Now if I could just lose 15 pounds in 2.5 weeks without any loss in power :D

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Trip around Mt. Hood

Given the holiday weekend, many people had Friday off....so one of my teammates had the sadistic idea of riding what was to be the "Hell of the Cascades Race" loop which from where we started was just a little over 91 miles and somewhere between 7500 - 8000 feet of total climbing.

Here is the "Races" elevation profile, which has a little less riding than what we did, though it starts in the town of Odel, which was our 1/2 way point:



The ride started out in Welches, OR at around 9:30 am with fairly low temps at the time. We had 7 team members and 3 club members joining us on the ride. A right turn out of Welches for maybe a mile than a left turn up Lolo Pass Rd. This was the first climb of the day and immediately started climbing for a while...approximately 2000 feet of climbing with several miles of 6%-8% grades.


Being the first climb of the day and everybody feeling good we all hit it fairly hard...harder than we should have. One of my teammates took off like a "ROCKET" up the climb just destroying everybody in the process. However, he has been recovering from a broken collar bone among other injuries and has been stuck on his trainer for the last several months so getting out was good for him :)


I did my best to stay within threshold on the climb, but went over for about 15 minutes of the climb...not bad, but probably a bit hard considering the day ahead.


At the top of the climb we had a 5 mile gravel descent (though there were a few small hills thrown in as well). We started down the hill keeping things in check given the gravel road, then went up a small incline. At the top there was a minivan stopped in the middle of the road that I didn't pay much attention to thinking they were changing a flat tire. Then a teammate said "We should help them"...then I turned around and noticed the car in the ditch...some good observational skills by me :S


The Minivan had a strap hooked up to the car, but couldn't get them out due to it being high sided on some rocks. So we helped dig out some of the rocks, then got in front of the car and pushed while the Minivan pulled. After a bit of rocking it we were able to get it out of the ditch...Good deed for the day accomplished!!! :D


From there we continued our gravel downhill descent...which then turned into a "Euro" type narrow, twisty road that was a lot of fun to go down.


Once at the bottom of the road things leveled off for a while with it being a slight downhill, but a few rollers into the town of Odel. It was here where we re-fueled loading up on water and a little food.


From this point the ride turned into a death march. We had a 25 mile, 4300 foot (or so) climb out of Odel up HWY 35. I've never done a climb this long before and it just seemed to go on forever. A few teammates took off over the first small incline and I didn't want to push it too hard knowing we were going to be climbing for a while (though not sure for how long). We had a short downhill from there where we caught back up to them.


From there we had 6 of us together and 4 back and we stayed together for a while until the heat, hill and dehydration started kicking in. One of my teammates fell off the back after a few miles (later to find out he was putting out 200 watts with a HR of 180 BPM). Another rider, one of the club guys dropped off the pace a mile or so later. The rest of us kept pushing the pace working our way up the mountain.


About 15 miles into the climb we stopped off at a river to take a break, dip our hats into the water and cool off. It was now around 95 degrees out and we were all over heating a bit. We were also starting to run low on water and we still had a long time to go. At least one of my teammates was smart bringing an iodine pill to drop in a bottle so he could fill up on some river water...which ended up going to one of my teammates who was almost out and hurting pretty bad at the time.


After we all re-grouped at the river, we started back on our way up the climb. We again split up fairly quickly with the climbers pushing the pace. I stayed with them for the next 9 miles or so until one of them picked up the pace again...knowing I could maintain 320 watts at this point in the ride, I backed off and held a high tempo pace to get over the top...which seemed like it was never going to come. The other two slowly pulled away from me, until one of them popped...big time! He started falling back and I started catching up to him. About 200 meters from the top of the climb I caught up to him and went by him thinking he would jump on my wheel and follow me down the descent. I started the descent, looked back and he was nowhere to be seen. I think he was passed by another teammate before cresting the top of the climb.





On the way down this descent I ran out of water...somewhere around mile 72 - 74. Knowing it was a 91 mile ride I did the math and thought to my self...."OH CRAP"


At the bottom of the descent we had another climb that went for a mile or two...which turned out to lead to Government Camp...which I didn't know about at the time. Up this climb there was a waterfall on the side of the road that I was just a hair from stopping and jumping under to cool off...it looked sooooo refreshing at the time. The thought also ran through my mind...I could just fill up on water there and if I get sick...they have medications for it...but I passed on the idea and kept pedaling.


Near the top of the climb I saw a sign "Rest Stop" ahead and knew there would be water there which made me feel better. When I crested the top not only was there a rest stop, but a convenience store and a town...I was soooo happy :) I filled back up on water, had a diet Mt. Dew and a cliff bar and aside from the legs freezing up from not riding I was feeling better. We all waited to re-group at this point.


From here it was all downhill back to Welches...and I still went through a bottles worth of water.


Back at Welches one of my teammates has a house there where we were all able to take showers which made us all feel better. Then we headed out for some food...a nice 10" pizza fit the bill nicely.


With dead legs, some mild dehydration and some good memories of a lot of pain...we all headed back home. It was an epic day on the bike and a beautiful ride with some great teammates. Total ride time for me was 5 hours and 17 minutes with 92.3 miles ridden.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

PIR 6/30/09

I wasn't sure how this race would go. I was coming off of a hard week of riding and my legs were still feeling pretty tired, but it was Tuesday and time to race. I warmed up around the track and infield for a little over an hour and my legs still felt tight, but not terribly bad.

The race conditions were not the greatest. It was pretty windy with a headwind/crosswind down the back straight and the temps were in the low 80's...so water was a definite need for the night. Coming around the corner after the straight speeds would drop about 7-10 mph due to the wind.

The race started with a group going off the front almost immediately...it was only 3-4 racers, which is normal, as the rest of the pack ramps up the pace getting the blood flowing before turning up the heat. However, this time about a half lap into the race about 10-15 more racers joined them and they had the makings of a break away that could stay away.

Nobody in the main pack seemed like they wanted to chase for a while...until the break away had about a .25+ lead on the rest of the group. It was at this time people started to chase, but we didn't make much of a dent for a while. We had a small group of riders up front that were doing a lot of work chasing down the break. For a while we just could make up much ground, but after about 8 laps we finally started gaining on them. As we got closer a second group formed and jumped off the front...so we had two break away groups.

At this time those of us left at the back started chasing really hard and as we got close to the second group I put in a 34 mph effort down the main stretch to latch onto the back of the 2nd group dragging the rest of the remaining group with me. Once caught we worked together to catch the main pack, which we finally did with about 8 laps to go.

Once they were caught it was attack after attack with riders going off the front then being reeled back in. The race started to feel like a crit with all the accelerations. This was the first PIR race that I've been in where we lapped the CAT 3/4 field twice in one night...we have come close several times, but on this night we came around them a second time with 6 or so laps to go...which just showed how hard we were working on the night.

Going into the final lap things really heated up....as usual. There was the normal fighting for position but since we were going counter clockwise we had the long finishing stretch. I tried to get myself in position by moving up and made a good dent in getting toward the front but found myself about 20 riders back going through the corner...about 10 farther back than I wanted.

Once we came around the corner the pace really picked up and the sprint was on. A group separated to the left and I followed them but made a tactical error in doing so. As they pulled off they were accelerating so I jumped hard to latch on. As I came up to them they started to slow, playing positioning games. At this time I slowed and looked for a wheel to jump on for the last 300 meters or so...when I should have jumped out of the saddle and went blowing by them. In the end I think this cost me a good 5-6 positions in the final standings on the night.

Overall in the end though I was able to cross the line 9th or 10th in the final sprint and finished with 2 points on the night which put me in 12th for the night when the hot spot points were added. Not a bad night considering my legs didn't feel very good going into the race and the efforts put in during the race to catch the break away groups.

On a side note...with the tail wind I was able to hold 38.5 mph for 30 seconds during the final sprint with a top end of 39.5 mph. If I would have jumped like I should have, I would have easily broke 40 mph in the final sprint...and yes, I'm kicking myself for not jumping when I should have....Oh well...live and learn, race and learn, get better and don't make the same mistake twice :D

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tired legs...

Today capped off an intense week on the bike. I was right up there for most miles/time in a week on the bike with 17.5 hours and 323 miles ridden...but it was the intensity that's hurting right now. My TSS Score (Total Stress Score) for the week was 1001...a hard week is usually in the mid 800's.

Since I've started doing PIR on Tuesday nights my intensity has gone up, but on top of that I've been putting in long and hard rides on Wednesdays to back up the races on Tuesday night. This is giving me back to back hard days...which is good preparation for the upcoming Cascade Classic at the end of July....and is much needed right now.

I think yesterday hurt the most riding with some teammates at the normal PV group ride. The club ride had a few good climbs and was approximately 46 miles in length going up Rock Creek and Mason Hill.

Well, we wanted more distance and climbing so we also added in Skyline down to Rocky Point, down to HWY 30 then up Logie Trail. We were going to add Pumpkin Ridge as well, but after topping Mason Hill, we decided to add extra miles by riding the flats instead and heading out to Roy before turning back toward Hillsboro. I had never been down Rocky Point or up Logie Trail...but the descent down Rocky Point is a lot of fun....Logie Trail however...well, lets just say...it's not one of my favorite climbs :)

The pace was high during this ride starting out with 9 of us, dropping to 7 by the first real climb, then down to 3 by the time we hit Mason Hill. Overall, this ride hurt a lot because I rarely ever have fresh legs on our Saturday training rides...which is good because I push my self into some serious pain levels sometimes...but bad, because on the really steep climbs I get dropped not having the reserves to stay with others...that and my power to weight ratio sucks on the super steep stuff as I'm sitting right around 200 pounds right now.... :P

In the end we put in around 62 miles in just under 3 hours and 20 minutes with 4000+ feet of climbing.

All in all though, a good week on the bike. I have a bit of maintenance to do to my bike tomorrow, but other than that it's a day off the bike...then back to PIR on Tuesday.

For the number geeks out there...Another notable number from my training...My CTL has now topped out at 115.3 and continues to climb with all the riding I've been doing. My hope is to get in 3 more really hard weeks, then the week of Cascade Classic have just one hard day, that being PIR so I can go into that race with fresh legs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

PIR 6/23/09

Tonight was a good race, but slower than has been the last couple of weeks...27.8 mph average...Compared to 28.4 last week and 28.3 the previous two weeks. However there were some hard attacks tonight, which made the race feel harder than the speed would indicate.

Mid race I got stuck between a break away and the main pack and wasn't sure which way to go...expending a lot of energy in the process. In retrospect, knowing few break away attempts get away in the 1/2/3 race...I should have sat up and waited for the pack and saved energy for the finish.

At one point in the race I was up front with three other racers heading down the main stretch when one guy took off for the start/finish line...we were wondering why he took off...then another guy went around us...turned out it was a points lap and none of us knew it, so I missed out on a few points there.

Tonight the racing was a bit more, lets say twitchy, than the past couple of weeks. I bumped shoulders several times during the race with other riders and crossed hands once...people seemed to be fighting for position more tonight...could have been the wind....or the "Seven" CAT 4 racers that decided to jump into the 1/2/3 race...where they shouldn't have been (Sounds like some disciplinary action is going to take place as well).

However, everybody stayed upright and tempers were cool so it was all good.

In the end I had a teammate up front with me, but he got pushed off to the inside infield rounding the final corner...so I lost my lead out man and ended up jumping on somebody's wheel following them down the straight...My legs were feeling a bit toasty by this point, but I managed to be the 6th guy across the line at the end...not bad, but could have been better.

Looking back I think I burned too much energy mid race on my own out in the middle by myself and when the points were added up with the "Hot Spots" I finished 7th overall on the night.

Overall...Not a bad night at PIR =D

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Championship Jersey...

I finally received my State Championship Jersey for our effort in winning the Team Time Trial. I received my vest a week before....just thought I'd post pics of them on my blog for the fun of it :)

Cirque Du Cycling

Originally I wasn't going to do this race, but decided to do so with some of my teammates because it looked like a fun course and the atmosphere was supposed to be great with lots of spectators surrounding the course.

This was my second Criterium I've ever raced, though the first one was during a stage race and I only wanted to stay with the main pack...so I didn't give the first one everything I had. This one however I wanted to try and do as well as possible since it was a one day race.

The course was almost a figure 8 with the center "Main" lane separated by cones, so it was an 8 turn "Crit" course instead of a somewhat more normal 4 corner course. This meant a whole lot of accelerations, lots of corners (i.e chances for front wheels washing out and overlapping wheels) and all around pain.

I'm not sure how many riders were entered, but we had a full field...so I'm guessing between 75 and 80 riders at the start of the race. Being a 45 minute + 1 lap race the pace was high from the starting whistle (started by Portland's Mayor Sam Adams).


For some reason, regardless of my warm up I've been having a hard time with the start of races. I basically do everything I can to hold on for the first 15-20 minutes then I start feeling stronger and can start doing things I want in a race. This was no different. I didn't get a good starting position, probably 3/4 of the way back in the field at the start and for the first 5 or 6 laps didn't move from there much. After a few more laps I had worked my way to around mid pack and just kept trying to hang on.

By mid race I was hurting pretty good...which checking power numbers after the race would confirm that this indeed was a hard race. However, as usual I started feeling stronger at this point. I don't know if it was because other riders started to tire or I just felt better but I was able to make up a lot of ground through the corners and on one small incline on the back side of the course. At about 2/3 into the race I had moved up into the front 5 - 10 riders and stayed there for a while...However, nobody wanted to pull hard at that point so we would go in surges with the front going hard, then slowing and the rest of the pack would surge around and then moving up would start all over again.

With two laps to go, I put myself toward the front of the pack that was left over...down to around 35 riders now (some dropped out, some had mechanicals and others had been pulled). I was able to maintain position for the next two laps as the pace was picking up really fast and as usual in races like this everybody starts to fight for their line and things get dicey.


With three turns to go a rider on the outside slide out, touched wheels or something and went down hard sliding into the curb...which he later posted that he had a broken fibula and several broken ribs. I saw him go down, but at that point there is nothing you can do but hope for the best. Everybody kept pushing on for the final two corners and the finishing stretch. On the final corner I took an inside line and dove for the apex of the corner hoping to get to the front for the final stretch.

In the end this turned out to be a mistake as another rider dropped down in front of me and I had to brake hard exiting the final corner...as I did this 10-15 riders went by dropping me from the front of the group to the middle and slowing my momentum down as others were sprinting away. So at this point I decided to just bring it home without dropping any places...though one of my teammates sprinted past me just before the line :P

Looking at my power numbers on the day....The first 5 minute average: 416 watts, The first 10 minutes: 389 watts, the first 20 minutes: 368 watts.



That was a lot of work done in a race to blow it on the last corner...but that's racing :) All in all I ended up 25th on the day in the CAT 3 race.

PIR....

On Tuesday 6/9/09 I competed in the P/1/2/3 race at PIR. The race is held on the race track at Portland International Raceway which is a nicely paved 2 mile loop where you don't have to worry about traffic, pot holes or other issues on the road. The race is considered a circuit race and the winner is determined by points and not necessarily who crosses the finish line first. They award points on "Hot Spot" laps that are pre-determined before the race and the first 3 across the line get 3, 2, 1 points respectively. Usually there are 2 to 3 hot spot laps during a race to gain points, then during the final sprint they place a larger number of riders with the winner of the final sprint getting 15 points with reduced points for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.

This Tuesday they decided to make us hurt by making every lap a hot spot lap...and we had 18 laps to race. This made the pace heat up every lap and kept the pace high the entire race. Last week my goal was just to hang on, get in a great VO2 max workout and not crash or crash anybody else out...Goal accomplished!

This week, I had similar goals, but wanted to position my self better for the final sprint and try and get some points for a placing. The pace started out fast and never let up. Around the 5th lap I found myself in front of the main group with two riders that had broken away in front of me. I really didn't want to pull the pack around and was trying to keep my wheels out of the wind, but nobody would go around me...so on I went. By the time I got to the long straight I had pulled the two that had broken away in and they were within catching distance so I figured what the heck and began pushing harder. Again, nobody came around me and I ended up catching one rider for 2nd place "Hot Spot" points on that lap. It was almost purely accident that I pulled in those points, but hey...I had points :)

A few laps later I found myself in a similar situation again, but I was about 5 riders back this time. As we came closer to the start/finish line other riders started to fade, so I kept pushing hard and again came across the line in 2nd place for more points.

At this time I was content to just finish the race and enjoy having points. So I moved back a ways and kept my nose out of the wind saving myself for the finish. With two laps to go the pace really started to pick up as riders started jockeying for position. I started moving myself up through the field and placed myself somewhere in the top 20 of the field. With one lap to go, the pace really picked up and I continued to move up placing myself in the top 10 riders or so.

As we came around the final corner, I spotted two riders taking an inside line and pulling hard so I jumped on their wheel and tried to use them as a lead out. They pulled hard down the stretch but started to fade with about 200 meters to go. Then I spotted a rider who had started his sprint to my left, so I jumped at that point giving it everything I had. Down the stretch it was your basic drag race...with me coming up short by 1/2 to a full bike length. However, I did finish the night 2nd overall with 15 total points on the night. It felt great to finish that high in a P/1/2/3 race.

During the first hot spot points I nabbed I actually set a new 1 minute PR power output of 651 watts...which is still low for me (I was at 712 watts at 52 seconds, but then crossed the line and shut it down) and I'm pretty sure I can sustain 700+ watts for 1 minute if pushed.

Overall it was a great night of racing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Numbers for May...

Well, once again I was able to get in a record/PR month on the bike. For the month of May I put in 68 hours and 15 minutes on the bike with a total of 1294 miles ridden during that time.

I didn't produce any record power numbers this month and the only race was the State Championship Team Time Trial...of which I purposefully stayed away from mass start races to avoid any possibility of crashing.

My biggest day in May was the Scponia loop that we did on May 23rd with a little over 95 mile ridden that day.

I'm not sure how this month will turn out mileage wise, but I'm planning on doing a lot more racing, circuit (PIR) and crit as well as some Short Track XC racing...so I'll be doing a lot more VO2 max work and getting away from the longer TT type training.

Monday, June 1, 2009

State Team Time Trial Championships...



Yesterday was the Oregon Team Time Trial State Championships....My favorite/Most rewarding race of the year. I love the TTT because it's not just you against everybody else, teams are comprised of 4 teammates and you have to work together if you want to do well. The clock doesn't stop until your 3rd of the 4 riders crosses the line and to go fast you have to work as a team.

It's still a race against the clock, but teamwork is absolutely crucial.

The other aspect of TTT's is there probably isn't a race out there where you can brutalize your body to such levels and keep going because your team is relying on your help to finish...then sit around after and talk about how great the race was. Basically it's a straight hour of VO2 Max intervals. My Heart rate stayed at or above threshold for the entire 58 minutes we were racing. To put it in simple terms......it just plain hurts...A LOT =)

Last year I raced on our CAT 4/5 team where we finished with a time of 59:28 for the 27.2 mile course. It was hard, really hard but we were able to win the CAT 4/5 class and bring home a State Championship for Portland Velo as well as set a CAT 4/5 course record.

This year I'm a CAT 3 racer and hence moved up to the CAT 3 team. We had a pretty loaded team this year and knew we had a good shot at winning another State Championship this year (our CAT 3 team won last year as well).

Overall, the conditions were good...at least on the surface.

The temps continually rose through the day and at the start were somewhere between 88 and 90 degrees...which is probably the hottest day of the year so far. The wind wasn't too bad with a bit of a cross wind in the 4 mph - 7 mph range with gusts to around 10 mph. So overall...not bad, but the heat took it's toll on a lot of people including several teammates of mine (from both of our CAT 3 teams as well as our CAT 4/5 team).

Our start was good, but as we waited at the start line several teams passed us...which caused some problems on the first lap. We were faster than those teams in front of us and as we came up on them, they failed to neutralize or at least give us room to pass...so we had to keep shouting "On your left" until we were able to get by. We had to do this 4 times on the first long stretch of road. Once we got by them things smoothed out a lot and we didn't run into any congestion like that again the rest of the race. However, that cost our team a good 10 - 20 seconds.

I think part of the congestion at the start put our team in a "Hurry up" mode as we averaged right around 30 mph for the first lap and it was taking everything I had just to hang on. The second lap was still pretty fast, but we settled in and had a smoother rotation going.

Our biggest problem was in the corners where we were inconsistant. On some corners we were perfect, others we had gaps open up and we would have to slow down to re-group.

The first two laps, I was also suffering from a bit of "Heartburn" from a powerbar/energy drink combo that didn't sit well in my stomach, so I was suffering a lot the first two laps. I had the thought of "If I drop off now, will the miss me?" go through my head more than once during the fist two laps. However, I hung in there and kept pulling my rotations as hard as I could.

Coming around for the 3rd lap I started to feel a lot better and was getting into a good rhythm during my pulls and was able to double my pull length with as high or higher speeds than for the first two laps. This was good because one of my teammates was starting to dehydrate and was suffering from a lack of electrolytes (his skinsuit was covered with salt at the end of the race). So his pulls were getting shorter and by the last lap he was just pulling through to hang on...which is exactly what he should have done because having the 4th person in the line still allows extra drafting while the rest of us were recovering from our pulls.

In the end we were able to finish with all 4 riders and a time of 58:30 which is also a new course record for the CAT 3 class. We were hoping to be about a minute faster on the day...but as it turns out, our time was pretty good this year.

We won the CAT 3 State Championship by 3 minutes and 50 seconds and had the 6th best time on the day out of all categories (including 2 teams put together by Land Rover/ORBEA...a domestic Pro squad...one of which we were faster than).

It was a hard day in the saddle....but again, this goes down as my favorite/most rewarding race of the year. It just doesn't get harder than a TTT =)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Scaponia Loop....

Yesterday was an Epic day of a ride for those that were not racing the Rehearsal Road Race up in Rainer, OR.

Scaponia is a combination of Scapoose and Vernonia which were both towns we rode through yesterday. The ride started in our normal location "Longbottoms Coffee" in Hillsboro, but due to the length of the ride we started an hour early at 8am sharp. Yesterday's ride was to be an endurance paced ride, but as usual we turn it up from time to time =)

The first part of the ride is one of our favorites...it goes from Hillsboro to HWY 6...up HWY 6 to the Timber Road turn off where we ride up to Timber. The climb up to Timber is always a good, but short "Race" since it's only a couple hundred feet of steep climbing (though a steady climb for several miles before the steep part). It's on this climb that I set my 5 minute power record (435 watt average). Yesterday, given the length of the ride I kept things in check a little holding a 417 watt average up the climb. After cresting the climb you drop down into the very small town of Timber and work your way to HWY 26.

We re-grouped there since we had 22 people that had come out for this ride instead of the normal club ride, or racing. From here we crossed HWY 26 and rode to the town of Vernonia, a nice small town about 40 miles outside of Portland. Vernonia has had some tough times with flooding over the past couple of years, but the town is picturesque small town Oregon. We stopped here to re-fuel with water and food for those that needed it.

From here we headed north on HWY 47 to the Scapoose turnoff. After the turnoff the road took a steady but shallow climb on some very "Pot Hole" ridden roads. The pace started to pick up here as we were keeping speeds in the low 20's up a steady climb. Then we hit the steep part and the pack separated quickly. By the top of the climb there were 4 of us together on a "Break Away" if you can call it that...but three of us are on the CAT 3 TTT team and it was downhill or flat from here to Scapoose so we laid on the heat. There was some really twisty parts to the road, which I just love to bomb down...once we came off the downhill we had 6-7 miles of fairly flat to slightly downhill roads where we had a good rotating pace line and held an average speed of 29-30 mph until we came to HWY 30 and shut it down.

We ended up about 3-4 minutes ahead of the next group to come in, which overall the group of 22 (down to 17 (?) by the time we left Vernonia) spatted into 4 different groups up the climb.

In Scapoose we stopped at another small store/gas station to fill up on water and food before heading out again.

After leaving Scapoose we made a right hand turn up Rocky Point Rd. which is a tough climb...3.19 miles, 1264 feet of elevation gain, 7.48% average grade with a short section of 14.2% grade right in the middle of the climb. Usually this is a hard climb....but after 80 miles and some hard riding already...it was a very hard climb =) I decided since I had been going fairly hard and had done a lot of pulling during the day I'd take it fairly easy on the climb and dropped it into my 39x26 for most of the climb. Overall, it took me just over 22 minutes to get up the climb with an average watt output of 326 watts, which is basically a high tempo or low threshold climb for me. I still felt pretty good overall and knowing it was pretty much all downhill from here...I was ready to go.

From here we went down Skyline to Moreland Rd. then down to Mason Hill, Jackson school and back to Longbottoms Coffee.

For the day I had 95.67 miles with 5300 feet or so of climbing at an average speed of 19.36 mph. This was the longest ride of the year for me and the first ride where my daily TSS Score was above 300 (303.6).

The ride was a beautiful route and aside from one section of really crappy roads...had some great roads to ride on. The weather was gorgeous with a high of 74 degrees, clear skies and low wind...just can't beat weather like that.

It was definitely one of the best rides I've ever done and hopefully we will do this one again this year...maybe reverse the direction. It was just to "Epic" of a ride not to :D

This was the 3rd week in a row I've had over 17 hours and 320+ miles of riding during the week. I've started taking Monday's off due to sore legs on Monday's which has helped out a lot.

This week will be a taper week...Hard (but shorter distances) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then just an hour on Friday and Saturday since the State Championship Team Time Trials are on Sunday. Hopefully the legs are fresh and ready to go for Sunday since I really want to bring home another TTT championship for Portland Velo. Love the TTT race and can't wait for Sunday.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My dogs...

Before my wife and I were married we made the decision not to have children. We both wanted careers and neither of us ever really had that parental desire that many others have. With that said, I've always loved dogs and don't know that I could go though life without one at this point.

For the first year or so of marriage we couldn't have a dog (or other pet for that matter) due to renting a house. Once we moved (and eventually purchased our first house)...we decided it was time to get a dog.

I love big dogs and really wanted a Mastiff, my wife however didn't want a "Horse" for a pet and wanted a Schnauzer. Well...we ended up settling somewhere in the middle when I saw an add for Shar Pei's. We didn't know much about them at the time...but one sight of the puppies and we both melted.

The result of this was our first puppy....

Ching



Ching was an awesome dog, probably the best dog I've ever had the pleasure of having. He was loving, playful and protective of both myself and my wife. We had our normal puppy issues with chewing a few things and some early potty training issues since we lived in an apartment when he first came home with us...however he learned to use a "We We box" which worked awesome. The funniest thing with him....we used to leave the TV on for him while we were at work so there was some background noise for him. We left the channel on NBC and when I came home he had somehow changed the channel to the "Animal Planet" channel and was watching a Dog Show of all things when I came home...LOL

He was huge for a Shar Pei weighing in at 75 pounds and standing 25" at the shoulder. Most people couldn't believe how big he was. He loved to go to the beach, his favorite place in the world :)

He eventually had to be put down at 7.5 years old due to kidney failure. We almost lost him a year earlier due to the same issues (he lost over 20 pounds over a month or so) but he was a fighter all the way and battled through it to live for a full year longer...one year I will treasure my whole life.

Diva

Approximately 2 years after we brought Ching home we decided he needed a friend, so we went looking again and brought Diva home.


Diva was the opposite of Ching...she was small for a shar pei at 43 pounds and only 18" at the shoulder. She was much quieter and didn't play nearly as much as Ching, but was more of a lap puppy than Ching was. She always had a big smile on her face and loved the beach as well. I think both her and Ching would have spent their whole life at the beach if they could have.

Diva and Ching became best buddies...Diva would bark at other dogs, then run behind Ching and let him take care of business :P She would just crack us up every time.

We unfortunately lost Diva a short 4 days after we lost Ching due to kidney failure as well. We don't know what happened with her since we had her kidneys checked for Amylidosis, but she started showing symptoms shortly after Ching took his 2nd downturn. We had her blood work completed and it was off the charts and we knew her time was limited.

Needless to say....I think that was the hardest week that my wife and I have had to share. Thankfully, we have a great vet who makes house calls and both were euthanized at home where they could pass with their family members, at the comfort of their own home.

I still think of both of these guys often....they were just awesome companions.


Drizzle


Drizzle was our first puppy after the passing of Ching and Diva. We waited about two months before looking for a new puppy and decided to look toward some of the top breeders in the region in hopes that we could avoid the kidney issues we ran into with Ching and Diva.

Looking at the websites I saw Drizzle....She was considered a "Breed Quality" puppy, however she was 4 months old and still hadn't gone to a home.




When I first saw Drizzle I loved how playful she was. She was basically playing Peek-a-Boo with me at the Kennel. She was just a bundle of energy and I knew we had to bring her home.

Given that she was already 4 months old at the time, it took a little while longer than normal for the attachment to take place and she has been a bit more "Aloof" than any of our other dogs. With that said, she has also been the quietest...but loves to guard the house now. She loves to play catch and chase balls....however, her big problem is she gets "Car Sick"!!!

She made it home just fine the first time...but we decided to take her to a race about 40 miles from our house. Five miles from home....chunks of dog food all over the back seat....Ugghh!!! After talking with the vet, he suggested some Dramamine for long trips so we gave her 1/2 a pill about an hour before leaving the 2nd time....She made it about 20 miles this time before blowing chunks. We are now working with her by taking her to the doggie park when it's nice out which is about a 5 mile trip. She usually makes it there just fine, but still has issues on the way back.

She is now 1.5 years old and about average size for a Shar Pei...just under 50 pounds and about 19" at the shoulder. Even though she is very "Aloof" we love her to death.

Louie

Ever since Ching, I have wanted a "Black" Shar Pei, so we kept our eyes out for one. One day while surfing web pages again...there he was, cute as could be and we had to have him.



As it turns out Louie is a Birthday dog for both my wife and I...He was born on my birthday and turned 8 weeks old (the day he could first come home) on my wife's birthday. He is a total "wrinkle bag" and has the biggest eyes ever! Right now I call him our "Little Pudge Ball"...LOL

Louie is what I've termed our "Sloth" dog...he has got to be the laziest dog I've ever owned, but at the same time one of the funniest. The things he does just cracks me up. He's already a big boy (35 pounds at 5 months) and is going to be a very big Shar Pei (I'm guessing 65 pounds or so). The only time he moves fast is when he's chasing Drizzle or chasing a ball. The rest of the time he looks like he struggles to move and wants us to pick him up to get on the couch, bed, anywhere that takes effort. He also follows us everywhere...so we have also named him our "Co-Dependent" dog :P

Currently, he wakes up, eats, plays for a short while...then sleeps all day and grows like 2" every time :P Then, he wakes up eats, plays a bit more and sleeps all night.

Basically we love our "Sloth" dog :D

Anyway....that's my tribute to my puppies/children....We love the breed and will likely always have a Shar Pei in the family now. They are just the perfect dogs for us. Hope you enjoyed reading about them and if anybody has any questions about the breed please feel free to send me an e-mail...I also have a link to the Shar Pei Club of America in my links section for more information.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cycling tans...

You just have to love the "Cycling Tan"....mid thigh to ankle, upper arm to wrist, middle part of your fingers to the finger nails, neck and face all nice and tan....the rest of your body....a nice shade of "Glow in the Dark" white, except for the little tan dot you get on your hands where there is an open gap in your gloves :)

Needless to say...after a few weeks of nice weather all cyclists start to look a bit....ummm....discolored...LOL.

With the weather taking a turn for the better I no longer have to don the bib knickers, long sleeve base layers, full finger gloves or even the balaclava in really cold weather. It's time for shorts, jerseys and lots of riding.

Today finished off another record week of riding for me....at least in miles and time....17:33:06 on the bike and 328.42 miles ridden (total TSS score this week 806, last week 857). This even includes me taking Monday completely off the bike....which I don't do to often.

Yesterday was a hard, but shorter day on the bike. Saturdays right now are reserved for Team Time Trial practice...however, this week one of my teammates was taking a rest week and the other had to work...so there was just two of us that were able to meet. After looking at options, we decided to head out to Sauvies Island anyway and do two 30 minute intervals with a warm up and cool down. The intervals would be done as training for the TTT with each of us rotating every 50-60 pedal strokes. Basically, it was an hours worth of VO2 Max intervals.

I forgot my Powertap at home...of which I was ticked off with myself for doing so...so the only numbers I have are my teammates which are lower than what mine usually are (I'm about 30 pounds and a fair bit wider than he is). During the first interval he averaged 315 watts and the second interval 307 watts...so overall, we were pretty consistent which is good. Overall, we put in about 2:20 on the bike with an average speed a bit over 22 mph (including warm up and cool down, 80 minutes worth of easy riding).

I still have yet to hit a TTT session with fresh legs, but I'm able to stay in the rotation with out any problems so come time for the actual race with a race taper...my legs should be strong and ready to go :)

Today, given the awesome weather I wanted to get in a nice long ride and ended up meeting two of my teammates, as well as a club member who showed up for the "Fixie" ride an hour late...but rode the first two hours with us...which was mostly climbing. I kind of felt sorry for the guy...but given I spent all winter chasing the race team on my single speed I felt his pain :D

In the end I was able to get in 79 miles and 4:20 worth of riding...and a good cycling tan :)

Talk is we my be doing a 94 mile ride on Wednesday, a route that is awesome...which again will give me dead legs for TTT practice on Thursday night when we are hoping to get the whole team together for the first time. However, it's tough to pass up on great rides....when it's race day...my legs will be more than ready :D

Thursday, May 14, 2009

70 miles today...

Looks like spring time finally decided to show up here in Oregon. The weather was beautiful today and as usual....I just couldn't resist riding :)

My original intent was to do around 3 hours, but it was so nice it turned into just under 4 hours and 70 miles...which the end hurt a bit because I didn't bring enough food or water for a 4 hour ride (one bottle of water and one small energy bar)....Regardless it was a nice ride.

This weekend is supposed to bring the first 80 degree weekend of the year, which just means...more riding :)

I'm not sure if we are going to get in any TTT practice this weekend since it's looking like two of my teammates will be off the bike on Saturday...so I might be riding with the group instead on Saturday. If we can get three of us together, we will practice...two, not really a reason to practice other than a really good interval workout.

Sunday, I'm trying to get a group together for another 4 hour ride...so far no takers, but if nobody else want's to go...I'll head out for one since it's supposed to be mid 80's out. It just doesn't get any better than that.

On a side note...for the month I'm sitting at 32:17:58 for ride time and 612.6 miles for the month of May and it's only the 14th...not even half way through the month. I'm on schedule for my biggest month so far, especially considering I'll probably get in 40+ miles tomorrow, 50+ on Saturday and 70+ on Sunday :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lots of miles...

This week was full of miles on the bike.

Monday - Easy 1.5 hour spin on the trainer (raining)
Tuesday - 2 hours 20 minutes on the trainer (raining) with 5 minute intervals
Wednesday - 48.6 miles on the single speed with lots of climbing
Thursday - 46.1 miles on my road bike with lots of climbing
Friday - 52.1 miles on the road bike with the Friday Morning crew...a little harder than I wanted, but lots of fun
Saturday - 50.1 miles on the TT bike at Sauvies Island...TTT practice (more on this in a minute)
Sunday - 57.1 miles on the road bike with Jeff

This week I totaled 17 hours, 5 minutes and 8 seconds on the bike for a total of 321.11 miles and my legs are toast right now....A new PR for most hours on the bike and miles ridden in one week for me.

I really wanted a bit more legs under me on Saturday for the TTT practice, but couldn't pass up on a great Friday ride that for the most part was held in check, but we had some good fun on Dairy Creek Road, especially with the wind at our backs.

Saturday we had 3 of our 4 team members for the TTT championships out at Sauvies Island to get in some ride time, practice riding together and practice rotations. Overall it went very well. The rotations were pretty smooth, corners went well and we worked well as a team. The actual starting rotation will still have to be worked out and we still need a bit of work on getting the lead rider in the right position for escheloning into the wind, but so far so good. We also have yet to do any 90 degree turns which we will see 4 of at the championships, so not sure how that will go yet.

The weather on Saturday was good, but a bit windy. We did a nice easy warm up lap, then started the real work on the second lap. We waited until we passed the "Speed Bump" section before turning it up.

Our first effort covered 9.71 miles over 20:34 of time at an average speed of 28.4 mph. The first 2-3 miles were into a 7-8 mph headwind which averaged things out with the rest having a tail wind (though with the turns in the road it wasn't a true tailwind and 1/2 the time was more of a rear cross wind). My legs were very dead during our practice, but I gave what effort I could, which for the most part I was able to keep pace on my pulls with out too much problem...averaging 354 watts for the first 20:34 effort. Not bad with all of my pulls averaging over 400 watts.

The second effort we took it just a bit easier covering 9.52 miles in 21:10 at an average speed of 27 mph. Again the first 2-3 miles were into a head wind. My average wattage dropped to 316 watts during this effort and my lead efforts were down in power compared to the second lap. Overall, my legs still felt OK, but I could tell they were very tired from the day before and didn't have the endurance or "Pop" from the day before.

Hopefully the next two weeks we will be able to get all 4 team members out to practice and really put our team through it's paces. The extra member will help with rest during pulls and will add another strong member on the team and keep the pace higher.

Looking at our numbers and the effort from Saturday (I'd put the 1st effort at a 90% effort) when we have all 4 members together with rested legs, full aero gear and disc wheels I think we will have a very, very fast team.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bring back the nice weather...!!!!!

We had a nice stretch of nice weather going there for a couple of weeks that allowed all of us to get out and ride a lot....Then the April....errr....May Showers came back and we've had rain and wind it seems like for the past week. Since it's been showers there are spells of dry periods each day...it's just a matter of timing it right so you can get out ride and get back before the rain hits again.

With that said...I have been able to get some good riding in.

Last Saturday we had our first "Team Time Trial" practice out at Sauvies Island. The morning started out with rain, and the first lap was a little wet. However, by the time we started working together things dried up enough that we could draft without having water thrown up in our faces. The day was windy though so we got some good echelon work in. We were missing one team member, but overall a good day of practice. Looking over the Powertap numbers during the 2nd lap when myself and one team member were hoofing it we averaged 26.5 mph into the wind and around 315 watts...during the 3rd lap with the 3 of us together (and another guy that was a bit slower) we averaged 26 mph and around 298 watts. Not bad, but things will start picking up a bit over the next three weeks.

On Sunday three of us got together for a planned 2 - 3 hour ride and about 10 showed up...which made for a nice ride. In the hills we were really pushing it, but on the flats we kept a nice easy tempo that allowed everybody to recover, talk and get in a nice workout. We didn't hit any rain during the ride even though the day before there was a 90% chance of rain for the day...it was a nice break. Afterwords we went to CPR (Cornelius Pass Roadhouse) where some had food, others post ride livations and others just some water.

Monday...rain, all day and I ended up spending 1.5 hours on the trainer doing a recovery ride. Two weeks of riding outside spoiled me as the trainer was just dreadful.

Tuesday...rain again which meant the trainer again...Ugghh! This was a harder ride with a 2 hour minimum on the bike. I ended up doing "five" 5 minute intervals over the span of 2 hours and 10 minutes...30 minutes warm up, 5 minute interval (out of 10), 10 minutes tempo...repeat for 1.5 hours.

Today I waited the rain out and took my single speed out for a ride...just in case it rained...which it didn't. However, it was a tough ride because it's been very windy out lately. Nothing like plodding along at 15-17 mph into a headwind pushing probably 280-300 watts :(

The next three days are looking much better weather wise so I should be able to get in some good riding...Beyond that it looks like a low chance of showers each day next week, so hopefully it will be mostly nice.

Saturday is our next TTT practice and the weather is supposed to be very nice...All four members of our team should be there this Saturday so we get our first real run with everybody on the team. We need to work on being smooth with our transitions, figure out a running order and work on corners. We have a very strong team so it should be interesting to see how we mesh together over the next couple of weeks. We have two goals this year...bring home a state championship in the CAT 3's and to set a new course record for our class (which both our CAT 3 and 4/5 teams did last year).

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Numbers for April...

April was a Personal Record cycling month for me:

  • Most miles ridden in a month: 1161.97 miles
  • Most hours ridden in a month: 63 hours, 6 minutes, 45 seconds
  • Most KJ burned in a month: 50838 kj
  • Total TSS Score: 3463

I also set new power numbers in the following time frames:

  • 5 seconds - 1391 watts
  • 1 minute - 643 watts (which is still low)
  • 5 minutes - 434 watts
  • 20 minute - 373 watts
  • 1 hour - 333 watts (though my FTP should be around 355 watts for a full hour effort)
  • 2 hour - 301 watts

Race results for April

  • My first stage race - 11th overall on GC, 1 stage win and a 2nd place in another stage
  • Estacada ITT - 2nd place CAT 3 class and a personal best for the course

I actually spent a bit more time on the bike than the numbers tell because time spent on the trainer warming up for the ITT at the Cherry Blossom Stage Race as well as at Estacada are not included in those numbers (add another 1.5 hours, some KJ and a bit extra TSS to the totals). There is also another hour or so of riding around warming up where I didn't have my Powertap turned on.

With the weather getting nicer outside and the cycling season still very early...I can see breaking these numbers again in May or June.

My big goal after the Team Time Trial at the end of May will be to lose a few pounds (5-10 pounds) heading into July where I plan on competing in the Cascade Classic Stage Race. Since there is a lot of climbing involved in that race I want my power to weight ratio to be as high as possible to both help my teammates as well as get as high as possible on the GC.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Monster Cookie Ride...Cookies Good :)

Today was the Monster Cookie Ride in Salem that's put on by the Salem Bicycle Club. This is the second time I've ridden this, though the first time was several years ago. The Ride starts at the Capitol building, goes through Salem out on country roads to Champoeg State Park and back. The total ride is approximately 62 miles (a metric century) and for most is a nice casual ride with friends...or for some a huge challenge/hurdle as they have never ridden that far before in their life.

Today many of the club members were there to ride as well as approximately 15 members of the race team. Two years ago it was dubbed "The Monster Cookie Beat Down" as many team members rode it "Hard" for most, if not all of the ride...it was a beat down and considered one of the hardest rides many had ever done.

This year we really didn't have an idea of how we were going to ride it...though I think many were ready for it to be "Beat Down #2". The ride started out fairly easy as we made our way through Salem together as a team keeping the pace sane. As we started making our way out of town the pace started to pick up. We had a nice pace line going with rotations taking place in the 24 mph - 26 mph range.

We decided to stop at the first stop for those that didn't get to make a "Pit Stop" before starting...but only one really had to go, so we decided he could hold it until the mid way point. So off we went again...unknowingly leaving behind a teammate who had turned his back for about 10 seconds to talk to his parents who were at the rest stop already....Opps. He saw us leaving but had to lay chase and I guess never really caught the group until the midway point. I say "I guess" because about a mile out of the rest stop there was a log jam on the road and I made my way around it with another teammate...two others bridged up and it was "Game On!".

For the next 35-40 minutes we were a 4 man rotating pace line taking pulls at 26 mph - 28 mph flying along the road. This was great for me because it was a pre-cursor of things to come for the Team Time Trial next month. We were taking 30 second to 1 minute pulls up front keeping a very fast pace until we hit the midway point of the ride. At this point we pulled in, ate some cookies and waited for the rest of the team to pull up, fuel up, relieve themselves and get moving again...it was a bit cold and once we stopped with the hard efforts we cooled off quickly.

Back on the road we were moving as a team again, but the first several miles were very rough roads. We came across a particularly bad pothole and I tried to lead the team around it, but I think they were in an eschelon due to the cross winds and one member rode right through the middle of it getting a flat tire. After a very quick change tube change we were off again.

We worked together as a team until the only hill...I call it a hill, but it was more of a short incline (60-70 foot climb)...on the course. Several members on the team knew there was going to be some separation here...including myself. Two of my teammates from the first high speed breakaway took off up the climb as did I. When I crested the hill, I looked back and we had a 50-60 foot gap on the rest of the team...one of my teammates smelled blood and it was "Game On" again :) The three of us went into full on TTT mode and started to pull away.

Three teammates gave chase, two oh so close to latching on...but just couldn't do it before the "Popped" and off they went...but one did make it and he held on for about 10 minutes or so. We kept the pace high and eventually put 4-5 minutes on the group (over approximately 25-30 minute of hard riding). The 4th caught us again once we got back into town. From there we rode back for our final Cookie of the day waiting for teammates and talking about a GREAT ride :)

This was definitely a "Beat Down" of a ride today...Actually I guess it was survival of the fittest :) My legs are toast...though I'm feeling better now that I've re-fueled and have been sitting for a while.

This week finishes the most time and miles I've logged on a bike ever in a week...16 hours 43 minutes on the bike...320 miles ridden...Total TSS Score 930...and 13072 kj of energy burned (approximately 13840 calories burned).

Tomorrow a nice easy recovery ride...then a couple of hard days and a taper to see what I can do at Estacada #3 on Sunday. I really want to break 46 minutes on the 20 mile course, so hopefully I'll have fresh legs and be able to put in a really hard effort.

Off for some rest and maybe more food :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weight Loss

One of the big reason I starting riding bicycles long ago was weight loss. In college I participated in intercollegiate athletics throwing the shot, discus and hammer. I was always a big guy, by the time I was a freshman in high school I was 225 pounds, by my senior year I was 245 and in college my weight varied from 245-260 pounds.

With that said, I never worried about weight because I was always lifting weights and in a sense needed the weight for throwing. I was always muscular (max bench 455 pounds, max squat 650 pounds) and weight loss, eating healthy, endurance sports were the last thing on my mind.

Then, my eligibility ran out and I stopped throwing, which meant there wasn't much reason to work out. Over time my weight went up, my muscle mass went down and my body shape changed...over time though it's hard to notice until that one day you look in the mirror and go "Oh My God! I'm so freaking fat"...time to do something about it.

My time came a little over two years ago after a trip to Las Vegas with my wife and two close friends. We took a lot of pictures, but I avoided most of them...however, one I could avoid showed me just how far I had fallen.

In this picture I'm sitting right around 290 pounds give or take a few depending on breakfast that day :) By this time I was starting to feel like I was wearing a fat suit, which wasn't good. It limited my mobility, made doing things I liked hard and my self esteem was through the floor.

Another concern for me was my family history with obesity. My mother is approximately 5'1" tall and at times weight well over 300 pounds. My father was always between 260 and 330 pounds. My brother who is 3.5 years older than I am was up to 330 pounds. To combat their weight issues my mother had gastric bypass surgery, my brother a lapband procedure and my father...well, he didn't care whether he was fat or not but is paying for it now with daily insulin shots, a stroke and many other health related issues.

This was not the route I wanted to take and I knew I needed to do something about it.

When we returned from our trip I decided it was time so I ordered a new custom framed bike (from Doug Curtiss at http://www.curtlo.com/ ) which was something I had always wanted, and began riding my trainer inside (it was January in the Northwest after all). I started easy with 45 minutes a day 5 days a week. After a month I bumped that to 1 hour a day 5 days a week. Then 1 hour a day 6 days a week and just continued from there.

On top of this I decided I needed to do something about my diet.

For me I signed on with http://www.fitday.com/ to monitor my daily caloric intake and found out I was eating 5000 - 6000 calories a day with very little activity to go with it...hence the increase in weight.

So I decided on some drastic action with eating. I limited my diet to a -1500 calorie a day deficit to go along with beginning workouts. This is very drastic but something I needed to do. I also shunned junk food and started eating better foods: more meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts.

The weight started coming off pretty quickly. By April of 2006 I had dropped 30 pounds and was starting to feel better. By the time my bike had come in (Mid June) I had dropped 40 pounds and had increased my riding a fair amount...I was up to 9-10 hours a week on the bike. By the end of the summer I had dropped my weight down to 235 which was a weight I wasn't sure I'd ever see again.

Then in the spring of 2007, after putting a few pounds back on over the winter not riding my trainer (back up to 270 pounds) I got back into riding with the new year and joined Portland Velo in the spring. By this time I had dropped my weight back down to 245 but had found a group to ride with and new inspiration. I started riding with the A19 group, but after 3 rides had moved up to the A21's where I rode the rest of the summer. This extra motivation dropped my weight to 223 pounds by the end of the riding season.

Again, winter hit and the weight went back up...Ugghhh...but I had decided it was time to start racing again after dropping down to 223 in September. However, my weight jumped to 240 over the winter and I had work to do...so back to very restrictive calorie reduction and lots of working out 12-14 hours a week. By April of 2008 I had dropped to 194 pounds....a weight I hadn't seen since the 8th grade!

At this weight I feel really good and have been able to keep it off over the past two years. I had a great racing season last year moving from CAT 5 to CAT 4 on the road and this year with more training and more power have been able to move up from CAT 4 to CAT 3. The highest weight I hit this winter was 212 pounds for a short period but spent most of the time at 202-203 pounds which was a major victory for me.

This is a life long battle for me and will always continue to be hard, but having teammates to be competitive with, racing and not wanting to get shelled every race and pride in knowing I can do it help with motivation to keep the weight off. Also knowing if I don't I have diabetes, obesity and many other health related issues to look forward to are huge motivating factors.

For those that don't think they can do it....they can and I only hope that I can provide motivation for others to do the same with their lives :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

P.I.R (Portland International Raceway)

Last night was the 3rd race out at Portland International Raceway...a 1.9 mile closed automobile race course that they open up for bicycle racing on Monday and Tuesday nights during the summer. I've never raced in the road race before, but have raced short track XC out there in the past. The track is a pretty simple layout, just one really tight corner, two long straights and a couple of wide turns. The pavement is smooth and has very few objects on it that could cause flats so it's a nice venue to race on.

As wide as the track is you would think there would be enough room for people to maneuver, spread out and keep things safe for all those racing. However, there are some aggressive people that come out to race and from the looks of it could care less about their body, bike or anybody else for that matter...they want a line and they are going to take it...even in lap 2 of 12...Makes no sense at all, but some people are just JERKS regardless of whether it's on the track, in their car, at work, at home...just doesn't matter it's just in their nature. People need to rember that this is supposed to be fun and is in a family environment...my wife was videoing the race (at least the start finish) and has some guy clearly swearing at the top of his lungs because because somebody was in his way as he was spinting for a meaningless 25th place.....NICE.....there were a lot of kids right at the finish line that got to see a great showing of sportmanship there :(

Way to represent cycling there buddy!

As for the race it's self, it was very sketchy....the field size in the CAT 3/4 field was huge with 102 racers. That was probably the biggest field I've raced in to date and it was just crazy large. The nice weather brought everybody out to race tonight (temps in the upper 70's, clear skies and an east wind of around 8-10 mph).

The pace of the race was fairly steady for a lap or two, then breaks started to try and get away so the pace would pick up, then they would get caught and the breaks would shut down compressing the pack every time. Lots of wheels crossing, but thankfully the crashes were held to a minimum (just one on the 2nd to last lap). As with all races like this there were lots of people griping about people not holding their line, the pace going slow, etc....people just need to learn to shut up IMO and race. Worry about keeping your self upright and just race, quite trying to be the "Boss" of the field and race...if you don't like the way the guy in front of you is riding, move to the front, back or away from that rider....it's really a simple concept that many people just don't understand.

OK...rant over!

We had a large contingent of riders in the race (11 if I remember correctly) so we had good numbers. We met before the race started and everybody picked up rolls for the race. Some were going to chase mid race sprint points, some were going to chase breaks and we had two designated as lead out guys for the person we had set up as the final sprinter.

Going into the 2nd to last lap the pace started to pickup and the field started to stretch out just a little, but it was still an up and down pace. I started to work my way up the field as I was the primary, last lead out guy for the sprinter.

On the last lap, as always, the pace picked up to a very high pace as we crossed the start/finish line for the last time tonight. As we rounded the first corner one of my teammates jumped to the front, picked up the pace and strung out the pack keeping things a bit more sane. As I worked my way toward the front, I looked left and could see our sprinter doing the same. Down the back straight our 1st lead out guy was starting to run out of gas. I was sitting around 4th or 5th in line at this point and our sprinter was getting moved up front because nobody wanted to continue the pull at this point.

My original plan was to wait until we got to the final stretch to put on the heat and give a nice strong lead out...however with nobody willing to take over lead out duties at this point and the pack starting to bunch I decided it was better to string out the pack instead of have a mass bunch sprint...so I took the lead much farther out than I really wanted to (A little over 1K from the finish). So I put my self into lead out TT mode and dug deep around the corner and onto the straight.

Going through the corner I was holding around 35 mph which was fast enough the guys behind me were having a hard time holding their lines, but it strung the field out all the way around the corner which is what I wanted. As we hit the finishing straight we came into a nice cross wind that was hard to hold the pace up on...so I held on as long as possible. I was able to keep the lead up to about 1/3 the way down the final stretch where I had to pull off the lead.

As it turns out this worked out perfectly because our sprinter was 3 riders back from me and when I pulled off it made the guy behind me lead out for a short while until he died. The guy in front of our sprinter jumped to the inside and our guy went to the outside where he had a bit of shielding from the wind. From that point it was up to him where he threw down the power on a great sprint taking home the victory on the night by a good 3 bike lengths.

In the end it was teamwork that brought home the victory and everybody had a part to play. This is where racing on a team is great and having people that know what their role is. You may not be "The Guy" at every race, but you are part of a team that works together toward a goal of winning the race. When done correctly, it's a thing of beauty :)

So far this year...our team is 3 for 3 in the CAT 3/4 class out at P.I.R :D