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'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 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 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 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 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.


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 =)