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 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 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 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 year I will treasure my whole life.


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 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.


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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'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 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).