Monday, May 31, 2010

May numbers...

May was a good month overall. It was my largest training month so far this year including most miles ridden, most hours on the bike, TSS and Longest Ride of the year. Most of this was due to a long month, low number of races and some good riding near the end of the month including a couple of long group rides during the month.

Total hours riding: 53:10:10
Total miles ridden: 1064.32
Total TSS: 3305
Longest Ride: 72.96 miles

Total weight lost: 0 pounds (Leveled off over the last month due to "A" races the last week of May and the 2nd week of June).

Power Numbers:

1 minute power: 540 watts
5 minute power: 431 watts
20 minute power: 385 watts
1 hour power: Unknown, but likely around 330 - 340 watts during the State TTT Championships


State Championship Team Time Trial: 1st place, mens CAT 3....State Champions again :)

Next race up: The Individual State Championship ITT (June 13th)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pumpkin Ridge Redux...

During today's group ride, we made a trip up Pumpkin I've written about many times being my "Baseline Climb".

Today I had many carrots to chase...Mitch being one of them (probably the best climber on the team)...the others were club members that made it to the climb before we did since we took a longer route to get to the climb.

Since I was on my new bike I wanted to give it a good workout today...even though it was wet and got dirty (ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!).

The trip to the climb was actually pretty hard. We were holding a good pace averaging 21.5 mph on some fairly flat roads, but we had many sections where we were rolling along at 24+ I wasn't exactly fresh going into the climb, though my legs felt pretty good.

Once we started the climb Mitch and I immediately dropped the other two in our group and hammered the climb. The first 2/3 of the climb I felt like I was holding Mitch's wheel well and we were rotating up the hill trying to get a little draft along the way, but I started to fade a little about 15 minutes into the climb as he put a small gap on me.

Looking back he saw I was off his wheel so he slowed until I caught back up to him and kept pushing me all the way up the climb. I'm doubting he was hurting much considering he's 155 pounds and I'm 190, but it was good to be there with him.

The whole way up the climb we were flying by other club members on the road...and getting some angry honks by passing cars (such is life when your riding a bicycle on the road).

At the top I pushed it to the end and set a new Personal Record for time up the climb. We climbed it in 22:10 (21 second faster than I've ever climbed it before) with an average wattage of 384 watts for the entire climb.

I must say the new frame fits very well and I'm glad I decided to get a new custom frame that would fit my body much better with no compromises when it comes to fit. It's definitely stiff...stiffer than my old Velo Vie, but some 25c tires and a few less PSI in the tires will take care of the ride. However, the bottom bracket area has to be the stiffest I've ever ridden on a bike. Also having more room on the front of the bike makes climbing more comfortable because I can use more positions than I could before.

Once side benefit of the new frame...I can ride with no hands if I need to and not have the bike feel really squirrelly. I've not been able to do this for quite some time.

Anyway...A great ride today (66.72 miles and just under 3.5 hours) with some great teammates and a new PR...which means I just have another number to chase after :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My new race bike

My new frame finally came in this past weekend, but with the TTT State Championships, work and continuing to prepare for the State ITT championships in 3 weeks I didn't have a ton of time to build it I spent the last couple days doing a little bit here and there.

Tonight I finally finished the build and took it out for a few short trips around the block to get it fit properly and make a few adjustments here and there.

The frame is from Tsunami who is located in Phoenix Arizona (not to be confused with the Tsunami bikes that Chucks bikes used to sell before the went out of business). Tsunami bikes make custom frames out of (I believe) 7005 series aluminum then heat treat the frames after construction.

The have some stock frame sizes but specialize in custom geometry...which is the way I went because I'm very hard to fit on a bike with short legs, short femurs and a long torso.

The Geometry for the bike:

Top Tube: 57 cm
Seat Tube: 50 cm
Seat Tube Angle: 74 degrees
Head Tube: 11.2 cm (Total stack height 14 cm)
Head Tube Angle: 73.5 degrees

Frame weight was 2 pounds 13 oz with the Chris King headset installed (so take 2 oz away for the headset). Total bike weight with power tap and bottle cages comes in at 18 pounds 6 ounces. It's a bit heavier than my old Velo Vie, but fits better overall with less compromises when it comes to fit.

I'll be looking forward to taking it out over the next couple of days if the weather holds...and really put it through it's paces on Saturday at the group ride if the weather is nice.

Internal rear brake cable routing...Pretty slick and easier that I would have thought.

A close up of the rear internal brake cable routing

A picture of the head tube junction and welds on the frame.

When I have time I'll take some better pictures outside with better lighting as it looks much better than it does in with the inside shots.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oregon TTT State Championships

I, along with 250 or so other racers were watching the weather all week in hopes of seeing sun, or at least dry conditions for the Oregon State TTT championships. Leading up to the race things seemed to be looking good for today. As of Saturday night they had a 10% chance of showers during the day...but mostly cloudy conditions. much for the weatherman being right :(

The women and age categories were greeted to a downpour at the start of their race early in the morning. Driving down to Tangent, OR I passed through shower after shower arriving to roads that were a little wet but drying out fairly quickly.

Before I started warming up things looked really good. The roads were dry and there didn't appear to be any big rain clouds heading our way...I guess it's a good thing I'm not a weatherman since 10 minutes before I jumped on my trainer it started to rain buckets. It continued raining through my warm up, but started to taper off near the end. Looking at the rain area it appeared to have only hit the front 1/4 or so of the course and now that it passed may allow for good racing conditions on most of the course.

Lining up for the start of the race was a little, shall I say, exciting. One of my teammates waited until the last minute to show up....literally. With 1:15 to go before starting he finally rolled up ready to race.

Once we started, we all got clipped in and were off...or at least so we thought. The guy that was late didn't get clipped in and he was the last guy in the rotation, so nobody thought to look back for him. Well...we were a good 1/4 mile down the road before he was clipped in and he sprinted to catch up to us latching on just before the first turn.

From there we headed up the only small climb on the course (I'm talking small...30 feet of climbing maybe) and were off. No teams passed us while in the starting box and we were the first CAT 3 team out so the closest team to us had a 3 minute head start and they were one of our CAT 4/5 teams. So we didn't have anybody to chase for a while. Regardless we settled into some really good pulls and a nice pace.

Coming around the 3rd main corner on the course the first "Shower" of the day hit us. It was a complete downpour including high winds and pea sized hail. Needless to say when you are moving at 25 mph - 26 mph and the wind is blowing pea sized hail and big rain drops into your face at 15 mph or hurts. I found if I looked down a little most of the hail would hit my helmet and not my face which helped but at the same time put more wheel spray in my face from the riders in front of me.

2 miles or so of this and we had worked our way out of it and onto some semi-dry roads. We were able to ramp up the pace and get in some great work during this section.

Coming into the second lap midway down the back stretch we ran into the "Shower" again...more wind, rain and hail to deal with...Ugghh.

Continuing on with the race we worked our way out of the "Shower" and kept on our way.

The wind was constantly changing direction which made setting up a consistent echelon difficult. We ended up having the lead rider take the center of the lane which allowed the following riders to pick a side that shielded them best from the wind, which worked well for the rest of the race.

As we entered our 3rd lap we ran into some of the Senior Mens teams coming up on one just after they started. Already having completed two laps we gave them a bit of room to get moving figuring they would soon be going faster than us...however, that wasn't the case so we passed them. Shortly thereafter a team goes by us, which we think is the team we just passed...however, later we figure out it was a different team all together from the Senior Mens class. That confused us there for a while.

During this confusion we lost one of our teammates who blew up...and when I say "Blew Up" I mean "Blew Chunks" as he had some digestion issues or something. All I knew during the race is we were nearing turn #2 and I look back and he's nowhere to be we were down to three racers (which is what we needed to finish) and were hoping for no mechanicals.

With three racers you don't get as much rest between pulls, which tires you out quicker, but we made the best of the situation given we were all pretty equally matched when it came to our TT abilities.

Coming into the final lap we were greeted with a stiff headwind on the way down the back stretch and could only muster up speeds in the 23 mph - 24 mph range. I was very thankful to see turn #2 because that meant a minute or two with a cross wind then a good tail wind to the finish. As we made it through turn #3 we were able to pick the pace up into the 33 mph - 34 mph range all the way home.

In the end, we crossed the line with a time of 1:00:21 over a 27.3 mile course in horrendous conditions. This was good enough for 1st place in the CAT 3 mens field and should have us in the top 5 or 6 fastest times on the day. So I have been part of 3 TTT State Championships in the past three years and our CAT 3 team has brought home the title the past three years (I have been a part of the past two).

So goal #1 on the season has been achieved :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

April Numbers

This month didn't have as much riding or intensity as March. Much of this was due to a lot of rain and riding my trainer a lot. My group rides were less on Saturdays which contributed to less long rides.

Total hours riding: 47:12:16
Total miles ridden: 915.20
Total TSS: 2627
Longest Ride: 61.04 miles

Total weight lost: 5.5 pounds (down to 187 pounds...35 pounds lost since January 1st).

1 minute power: 532 watts
5 minute power: 402 watts
20 minute power: 371 watts
1 hour power: 291 watts


Estacada #1: 2nd place in Masters 40+ division

Next race up: The State Championship TTT

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pumpkin Ridge...again

Today I met up with one of my teammates for some threshold work up Pumpkin favorite 20 minute threshold climb.

Since the State Championship TTT is only 2.5 weeks away I'm spending all my riding time on my TT bike to get more power/comfort in the TT position. I've also been having some issues with my position and power on my TT bike which can be seen by my lack of results in the Estacada Time Trials.

I think a big part of the problem was my position on my TT bike. I've been on a quest to get lower on the bike and switched my position before the season started moving from a 11cm -6 degree stem to a 9cm -10 degree stem and reduced the spacers under the stem. I think this may have reduced my hip angle enough to take away a fair amount of power. So I put the 11cm stem back on and 1cm of spacer under the stem which effectively raised my bar 2cm's and lengthened my reach by 2cm.

Today on my first climb up Pumpkin Ridge I was able to average 354 watts for the first 20 minutes of the climb making sure to not get out of my aero bars for a true test of my TT position power. That's only about 20 watts off of my road bike position....which is a good balance between power and aerodynamics. In the Estacada TT's I was only able to average around 320 watts, so by raising my stem 2cm and lengthening it by 2cm I've picked up 30 watts of power. It's pretty amazing which such a small change can do.

On another bright side I put in my best time ever up Pumpkin Ridge on my TT bike making it up the hill in 23 minutes 01 seconds...which is 2.5 minutes better than I've ever done on my TT bike and only 30 seconds off of my best time on my road bike.

This has given me confidence back heading into the TTT, especially considering I was able to do this today on partially dead legs (several hard workouts over the last two days). Hopefully by riding my TT bike exclusively over the next several weeks I'll adapt a little better to the position and get another 10 watts or so before the TTT. We have a good team put together and should be able to mount a good defense of our State Championship for last year and the last thing I want to do is let down my teammates.

This weekend we have our first official TTT practice, which should be fun...though my legs won't be their best...but they need the hard work over the next two weeks before tapering for the big race.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Estacada #2...

Going into Estacada #2 I had good hopes of turning in a good time. I wasn't recovering from the flu, my legs felt OK (not great but OK), the weather was supposed to be nice and basically everything was set to have a good day on the bike.

The first issue was the weather. A week before the race they were saying 70 degree temps. Mid week 65 degree temps. The day before 60 degree temps. The day of....55 degree temps with some early morning rain that left the roads a little wet in parts, even though it was supposed to be dry.

I arrived to the staging area on time, got set up and had an OK warm up before the race.

Then it was time to head to the start line. Overall, I still felt good.

Out of the starting gate, everything is going well. My HR is up in the 160 bpm range for the first few minutes and I settle into a nice rhythm. From all I can tell my speeds are up from the first race, but it's hard to tell overall.

I get to the only steep climb on the course and things are still going well, until I go to get back into my big ring. My front chain falls off to the pedal side of the crank, so I keep pedaling and try and pull the chain back on, this time dropping it to the inside of my small ring onto the bottom bracket. Two more rounds of this and it finally hooks onto a ring and I can get under way again. Some lost time, but not more than 10-15 seconds or so.

Under way again and things are normal again.

For the first half of the course I haven't passed anybody so it's been a lonely ITT so far. Heading into the turnaround I see a few people, one of which is a rider from my club who is just getting into racing. He had a 4 minute lead on me at the start but knew I would catch him from the first races times. About 5 minutes after the turnaround, I pass him...the first of the day.

Then it's solo again.

It's at this point that I think I went into la-la land and didn't pay attention to what I was doing. Over the next 10 minutes my heart rate hovered between 145-150 bpm, which is basically a high tempo range, not a threshold pace for me. I'm pushing a big gear and not really thinking about it and just keep plodding along seeing another rider coming up a few miles before the finish....passing him with about 3 miles to go before the finish.

Coming into the last mile I finally get my HR above 150 bpm again and into the upper 150's on the final climb of the race.

I finished with a time of 47:57, which was slower than the first race and about 1.5 minutes slower than I should be able to do on this course. I'm not really sure what happened, but I have several thoughts.

1. My position on my bike isn't optimal. I changed things up this year going to a more comfortable seat and a shorter, but lower stem than last year. However the seat can't be moved as far forward as my other seat and I'm more compact than last year. So I think I'm not getting full power compared to last year.

2. I have done enough high intensity work to this point. My 20 minute threshold is good, still in the 380 watt range on my road bike, but that power isn't translating to my TT bike and solo efforts. I haven't been able to do a lot of high intensity group rides like I did last year, which is having a mental effect on my pushing through the pain and keeping my HR in the higher end of the spectrum.

With the TTT only three weeks away, I need to get things sorted out.

The good is that I ride much harder and don't have a problem pushing it when I'm around other in the TTT I should be just fine pushing it. There is also the fact that I'm still able to finish 2nd in my category and 9th fastest time on the day just doing a high tempo ride in an ITT so my fitness is very good right now.

The bad...I just have to get over the mental thing this year and give it top level efforts. I think practicing with my teammates over the next two weeks will help a lot with this.

Overall....not a bad result, but I have a bit of a hollow feeling after this race knowing that I can go a lot faster....I just didn't :(