Friday, September 16, 2011

August Numbers...

Overall the month of August saw less riding that July...though a fair amount of that was due to my crash in the middle of the month that threw everything off.

Speaking of the crash...I'm finally, for the most part, healed up from the crash. I still have some visible areas where the road rash was on my knee and I'm finally bandage free from all areas of my body with my finger having it's final bandage yesterday (more than a month after the crash). My left index finger still doesn't bend all the way but I'm getting more and more mobility in it. I also had a banged up knee that hurt for a while but is feeling better now.

Numbers From August:

My numbers for the month of July look like this:
  • Total hours on the bike: 58:03:24
  • Total miles ridden: 1079.01 miles
  • Total TSS: 3505
  • Kilo joules of energy expended: 46726 kj

Even with the lower hours on the bike I still had over 1000 miles ridden and one stage it was still a good month.

I've been continuing my riding since I'm not currently working, but have decided to stop with the really hard rides as my legs are just tired. Last week a bunch of teammates and I did the Timber route and overall I felt OK, but I had no top end left and I could feel that my legs were borderline dead.

With that said, I'm going into LSD work and just enjoying riding for as long as I can since the rainy season is coming around and hopefully a job will come my way soon. So I'm trying to get in a lot of lower intensity miles right now but am limiting my ride durations to 3 hours or so max to give my legs a break. When I climb, I'm trying to keep it at more of a tempo pace than near my threshold...though during group rides I'll probably push it a little, but I'm not going to hammer like I usually do and will let others ride up the road if my legs are not feeling it at all.

Overall for the race season this year, I'd call it a success...even though they canceled the Team Time Trial and the only real shot at a State Championship I had this year. My results on the year include:

Three road races races: 
  • 3rd place - Kings Valley
  • 5th Place - Silverton (State RR championships)
  • 5th place - Eugene Roubaix
Three Time Trials:
  • 1st place (PIR)
  • 3rd place (State ITT championships)
  • 5th place (Jack Frost)
One Stage Race (post crash):
  • 27th in the prologue
  • 31st in the road race
  • 15th in the ITT
  • 25th in the crit
  • 28th overall
Now to take two months easy then start hitting intervals again starting in the beginning of December. I'm starting these earlier this year because I came into this season without as much top end as I would have liked and felt behind most of the season. I also plan on hitting them harder this year with more intervals in the 5 and 10 minute range instead of focusing on my 20 minute threshold power.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Eugene Celebration - Thoughts...

This was a race I had wanted to race for a while now and really enjoyed the format with only one road race in the mix. The start locations were all in different places, so we got to see a lot of the area around Eugene, OR. One of the nice things is the field sizes are not too large for this stage race, which generally makes the racing a little safer and easier to move around.

The courses are a nice mix of climbing, flat TT'ing and the road race is great for a climbing classics type of rider.

My only disappointment was crashing hard, two weeks before the race. I feel it really threw off my fitness not being able to taper properly and seemingly playing catch up for the week heading into the race. My legs felt good through the race, but never felt great and it felt like I had lost my top end speed over that two week period.

I do know that even without the crash I wouldn't have been in the top 5...but might have been able to stay in the road race to the final hill and finished in the top 15 instead of the bottom 20.

This is a race I'm looking at racing again next year as I really enjoyed it. Also considering it takes place 2.5 months after my last "A" race of the season it gives me enough time to work back toward a peak and drop some weight for the hill climbs. So...hopefully I'll get a chance to redeem myself next year with a better, more prepared race.

In the end, it was a great way to finish the season. I wasn't expecting to compete in this race, but it was fun. I had a good weekend of racing and spending time with great company in my teammates.

Congratulations to Jeff on an AWESOME GC win this was well deserved. Heal quickly and enjoy bike shopping :)

Eugene Celebration - Criterium

The final stage of the race.

My teammate had secured the overall GC with a 51 second lead heading into the criterium. Our basic plan was to try and mark attacks for the duration of the 45 minute race, then try and set me up over the last three laps to try and sprint for the win.

For the most part the Crit went as a normal crit goes...lots of attacks, fairly high speeds and a little sketchy riding here and there.

Heading into the 2nd corner on the 3rd to last lap, I hear the sounds of metal scraping on the road and knew there was a crash behind me. Knowing that our team leader was going to be moving back to just get a pack finish my first thought was...I hope he wasn't in that.

When we came around with 2 laps to go...sure enough, there he was running down the road carrying his bike....CRAP!

I was still in OK position, but as we entered came down the front straight the pace slowed and we were overtaken by most of the peloton so my position was lost. By the time we came around the 2nd corner I was near the back and in no position to contest the sprint.

In the end, this was probably a good thing, having hit the pavement "Hard" two weeks ago and seeing my teammate go down in the crit, I decided to shut it down and come in with the pack and not try risking a good placement at the cost of more pain.

Thankfully the gave our team leader same time as the pack since the crash was in the last 3 laps so he was able to keep his overall GC win. With that said...his bike is "Toast". He had a Cervelo S3 but broke his head tube, seat tube and down tube. He also broke his front brake, scraped up his shifters and destroyed his Zipp 808 front wheel pulling 3 spokes out and getting a crack in the rim that goes about 1/3rd the way around the rim. He was a little scrapped up with road rash on his hip and elbows but other than that came out of it in fairly good shape.

Eugene Celebration - Time Trial

After yesterdays somewhat disappointing finish in the Road Race (I was expecting to lose time, just not as much as I did)...I was hoping to have a good TT and move up a few spots.

My leg felt fairly good in the morning and during warm up so I thought I had a chance at putting in a good time. Having never ridden this course I knew it was flat, 15 miles and a pretty simple course. There appeared to be a bit of a tailwind on the way out and a headwind on the way back in...which is opposite of what most every body prefers.

Since my dismal performance in the road race I was the 2nd off the line in the TT. The P/1/2 riders took off first, so the reality was I only had one person in front of me and after that nobody to chase so I knew I was in for a tougher TT than I wanted.

Off the line I felt good and by 1.5 - 1.75 miles into the TT I had caught my 30 second man...from there forward it was solo. The way out went really well as I was consistently keeping my speeds in the 28mph - 29mph range and my HR was mid 150's which is where I usually try and keep it.

Then I made the turn into the crosswind for about a mile and my speeds dropped, as did my HR.

When I turned for the final stretch back to the finish I had a hard time keeping my HR up. Most of the way back it was in the mid 140's...which is a good 10-15 beats lower than I like to keep it at this point in a TT.

I don't know if the lower HR was due to no carrots to chase or the effort I put in the day before trying to catch the peloton...but I was struggling a little at this point. I tried to get my HR up a little by spinning an easier gear faster, but that didn't seem to help and my speeds were a little slower, so I went back to a larger gear and tried to mash my way home.

It wasn't until the last mile that I was able to get my HR back up when I was pushing as hard as I could to the finish line and even then it was right at 152bpm, which is well below what it should be.

In the end I put in a time of 34:24 which was good enough for 15th overall...but about 1.5 minutes slower than I'm capable of doing on this course. This did move me up a place or two overall...but I was still sitting near the bottom of the GC.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eugene Celebration - Briggs Hill Road Race

My goal today was to try and help my teammate out as much as possible...with finishing with the pack the next goal.

The race was 57 miles and had two climbs for each lap (a 3 lap race). The first climb was at my limit for what I can sustain with other climbers and the second climb had the top part of the climb over my limits with about 3/4 of a mile being around 10% average grade.

The first lap went well...I felt comfortable for the whole lap but did get dropped on the second climb. However, there was a steep downhill just after and I was able to latch back on fairly quickly.

On the second lap, just after cresting the first climb we were going downhill at around 35 mph. Apparently a rock was bouncing around in the peloton and I was in the back of the pack...the last rider to hit the rock popped it up and it clocked me square between the eyes leaving a nice little divot in my nose which lead to a little bleeding along the way.

The rest of the lap went much like the first lap. I got dropped on the second climb, but was able to latch back on, though this time it took a little longer as the pack attacked a little on the downhill.

At the start of the third lap I still felt OK...but heading up the first climb I faded back a little too far and a gap formed between me and the main pack. The next thing I knew I had the wind in my face and I was falling back. I hit the downhill with everything I had trying to latch on...but my teammate who was in second had an opportunity to jump from the field forming a 4 man break...which caused the rest of the peloton to attack. I was chasing at speeds anywhere from 26-40 mph and not gaining any ground. I was trying to catch drafts (though not jumping in behind them) off of cars and still couldn't make a dent.

By the time I made the turn heading to the second climb I had lost about a minute. From there I decided to shut it down and ride tempo in hopes to save some energy for the ITT and crit tomorrow.

I haven't seen the results posted but it looks like I finished about 8 minutes behind the winner...and my teammate who took 2nd on the stage. I don't know if we dropped anybody else during the first two laps...which I think we might have...but I'm pretty sure I was the last guy across the finish line in the 3's.

I was hoping to finish with the pack, but I knew I was going to struggle a little on the climbs...which eventually bit me. It's hard to say how the crash two weeks effected me during the stage because overall I felt like I had good power, I just don't have good power/weight ratio right now and had I been able to keep my regular training schedule feel I would have been a bit stronger and 2-3 pounds lighter. Spending 4 days on the couch the week before a stage race isn't really helpful to keeping weight off or keeping your fitness.

I feel pretty good though and hopefully will have plenty for the ITT and crit tomorrow. I'd like to make some time up tomorrow if possible, even though I know I'll still be low in the overall standings, and if I can get my sprint on...maybe able to do well in the crit.

Eugene Celebration - Prologue

Well...despite my crash two weeks ago, I was able to heal up enough to compete in the Eugene Celebration stage race this weekend. The race consists of a 3.1 mile uphill prologue, a 57 mile road race, a 15 mile flat ITT and a 45 minute criterium.

Yesterday was the Prologue and not being a hill climber I knew it was going to be tough. I was the 6th rider off the line but had driven the course before I started warming up so I kind of knew what to expect. Having run some power numbers before the race I figured my time would be somewhere between 12:30 and 13:00...which proved to be fairly close.

The start was good...I had a hard jump to speed and quickly settled in to a nice pace on the flatter section to start the race. Then I hit the steepest part of the climb where the pain really started. As I came over that section where the road leveled off a little (down to around 6% average grade) I found an issue with my bike. My rear derailleur wasn't adjusted properly since I was using my race wheels instead of training my rear derailleur was skipping in the middle cogs. It would drop down a gear, then jump back up so I couldn't put out power in those gears forcing me to either spin faster than I wanted or put it in a harder gear using lower RPM's and more strength...generally I chose to spin faster.

I figure this cost me a good 10 seconds on the climb...maybe a bit more, but it's really hard to tell.

In the end I crossed the line in 26th place with a time of 13:09 with an average power output of 388 watts. Had I not had the skipping cog I know I would have broke 13 minutes and had my overall power around 400 watts for the climb...I could see the areas where my power dropped off when I downloaded my Powertap data.

I really wasn't expecting a lot from the Prologue but was happy with my ride.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Crashing sucks...

Today was my worst day on a bike in a long time...I crashed twice on a group/team ride.

The first crash was stupid...I went by a big hole in the road that nobody in front of me called out, so I turned, pointed it out and called it out. As I turned to my left, the bike went right and the next thing I knew I was off the road dropping down into a ditch. It was a slow speed crash and just had a small amount of road rash on my shin and a small bump on my hip.

Checking out my bike and everything was OK except for some scratches on my left shifter.

So on with the ride...since there was still about 20 miles to where I was going to pull off (should have been 30 miles, but after the crash I figured I'd cut it short since the route goes by my house).

The second crash happened about 3 blocks from my house where we have our biggest "Sign Sprint" during our rides.

We were heading into the sprint and all was going well, then I hit the gas to go for the sprint. About 2-4 pedal strokes into sprint (1300 watts at the time and around 30 mph) my left foot pulled out of the pedal at the top of the pedal stroke. When I went to push down there was no resistance and down I went....Hard....taking out the guy who had jumped on my wheel as well (a former teammate).

Sitting in the road all I could think about was...Twice in one ride, "Really?"

Then the rest of the guys reached the two of us on the ground to see how we were doing. The guy that went down with me was cussing pretty I figured he was hurt, but didn't know if it was more a reaction or a really hurt issue. I was in a good amount of pain but considering what had happened...not as much as I thought I should be.

The I looked at my left and that was bleeding pretty badly and could feel the blood dripping down from my chin. My teammates said my chin looked pretty bad and he rode with me the three blocks back to my house.

My wife got me some wet towels and drove me to the E.R. where I spent 3 hours or so. The cleaned all the asphalt out of my road rash and gashes, stitched me up and took good care of me.

I'm pretty sore right now but my left index finger hurts the most...I think I may have partially dislocated my finger as well as gashed it. The cut on it also went through to the it hurts. My chin doesn't hurt too bad actually, but my left knee is also pretty tight and has road rash all around it.

I'm hoping to be back on the bike (or trainer) in the next 2 - 3 days and hope I can heal up enough to race at the Eugene Celebration in two I was originally planning on doing. I think I'll be good to go, but you never know.

Below are some pictures of the aftermath at the E.R. I left out the road rash pictures, but I have it on my back, shoulders, arms and legs.

My chin before stitches

My chin after Stitches

My left hand before stitches

My left hand after stitches

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lots of riding...Not much racing

It's been a while since I've updated my blog, mostly because not a whole lot has been going on. I've basically been riding a lot trying to get ready for the Team Time Trial championships...that were unfortunately canceled not too long ago. Being my favorite race of the year I was a bit bummed to say the least about this happening, but I guess they had issues with permits and locations so there wasn't much they could do in the end.

The other change was that my position was cut at the end of June due to budget cuts...which means about all I've been doing since is riding and looking for work...which leaves a lot of time for riding.

My numbers for the month of July look like this:
  • Total hours on the bike: 71.5 hours
  • Total miles ridden: 1300.52 miles
  • Total TSS: 4201
  • Kilo joules of energy expended: 56844 kj

This was the most hours/miles I've ever ridden in a month and I'm actually not feeling too bad right now. After a few 17 hour weeks my legs are getting a great base in them and are recovering faster from the efforts.

My current schedule looks like this:

  • Monday: 4 hours on the bike with 4 good climbs (around 5500 feet of climbing) and 65-70 miles
  • Tuesday: 1.5 hour, 29 mile recovery ride
  • Wednesday: 4 hours on the bike with 4 good climbs (around 5500 feet of climbing) and 65-70 miles
  • Thursday: Off the bike
  • Friday: 1.5 hour, 30 mile recovery paced ride
  • Saturday: 4-5 hour group ride with some hard efforts at race pace
  • Sunday: 1.5 hour, 29 mile recovery ride

I'm going to continue with this schedule until I find a new job, which could be soon...or could be a while (the last time it took 11 months, so hopefully it won't take nearly that long this time).

If I can find the money I may do a stage race at the end of August since I have some really good fitness right now, just no money to go if my situation changes between now and then I may have something else to report on at the end of the month.

For now though...I see lots of riding in my future and lots of job hunting.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

OBRA ITT Championships

Today was absolutely perfect for racing, especially for a time trial. The temperature was in the mid 60's, low wind and no rain. My goal today was to get under 55 minutes for the first time in a 40K ITT. My best ever time on this course, or for 40K was 55:41 two years ago. However, last year was probably a better overall effort even though my time was 20 seconds or so slower due to more wind last year.

I was the 2nd to last one off in the 40-44 group with Karsten Hagen 30 seconds behind me. I wanted to hold him off as long as possible knowing he beat me by a little over 1:30 last year, then when he passed me
(Which I knew was only a matter of time) try and pace off of him as long as I could.

One change I made this year from years past...aside from my new bars and much changed position...was to ride without a water bottle. When I have brought one in the past I've only taken 2-3 small drinks out of it and never use more than 1/4 of the bottle, so I figured why put one on the bike since it just added drag to the bike and took me out of my rhythm when I took a drink. In t
he end, I never missed it.

I got off to a fast start, passing my 30 second guy in the first 1.5 miles. However, I was actually trying to hold back a little since I always start too hard then have to slow down to recover...then settle into a rhythm. I was missing a one minute man (one rider didn't show up it seems) I didn't really see anybody in front of me until around mile 8, which made for a lonely/paranoid ride knowing who was behind me.

On the way out my speeds were slower than expected since the forecast had a tail wind for the out portion of the time trial...however, after about 7 miles I still hadn't been passed so I figured there was a bit of a headwind on the way out...which as it turns out was true. It wasn't much, somewhere in the 3-4 mph range so it wasn't bad at all.

Once I caught and started passing other riders in front of me I started to feel better. At the turn around point I looked back and Karsten was about 20 seconds behind me so I felt pretty good about the first leg of the course. Last year at this point I suffered for several miles and lost a lot of time after the turnaround. This year however I kept hammering along and got into a good rhythm which was great with the tailwind.

Around mile 17-18 I was finally passed. I quickly tried to match pace with him about 10 meters back with a goal of holding pace as long as possible. Then he started to slow a little and I ended up passing him...which I'm guessing he didn't like because he quickly picked it back up and passed me...then he slowed again and around I went with him quickly passing me again. This tim
e he kept the pace up and stayed in front of me but never got more than about 15 - 20 meters away from me the rest of the race.

Coming into the finish I still felt good and gave it everything I had finishing about 5 seconds back of Karsten (35 seconds total)...and I thought I had avoided my annual end of the ITT butt cramp...then it hit!!! OUCH!!! I had a tough time pedaling back to the start/finish area, but managed to get there and stretch a little. I was in pretty good pain for about an hour before the cramp subsided. For whatever reason my left glute cramps up at the end of the OBRA ITT, but doesn't during any other long ITT effort. Why I'm not sure, but it's always there...and it hurts for several days after.

In the end I did meet my main goal of beating 55 minutes. My official time was 54:18 (27.4 mph average) so I beat it by quite a bit and averaged over 27 mph for the second time this season, however this was for a full 40K.

I did end up 3rd in my class which was what I predicted before the race started...I just didn't expect to be 35 seconds behind Karsten and about 1:10 behind Paul Bourcier who won our class. Last year I was 1:35 or so behind Karsten and over 2 minutes behind I made some pretty good strides overall.

Overall I posted the 10th fastest time out of all classes (40k distance) which was the first time I had broke the top 10 at the ITT Championships. Overall a good day...the cramp has subsided but now I'm sore...but it's a good kind of sore

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bike Tires Direct ITT at PIR

I’ve raced at PIR multiple times in their Tuesday night weekly road race series, but never had the opportunity to race a Time Trial around the track before. This year Bike Tires Direct held the first (that I know of) individual time trial out at PIR. The course was run in the counter clockwise direction and was 6 laps in length (approximately 12 miles, but looks to be closer to 11.6 miles).

The race format was similar to other TT’s with riders starting in one minute intervals. They had the start gate walled off with cones as well as the finishing stretch that lead into the warm up area when finished. Each rider was responsible for counting their own laps.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with how crowded or not so crowded the course would be with multiple riders going on the course…but it turned out to be just fine. There was plenty of room to move around and generally always somebody to chase down, or be passed by. The corners were all wide enough that you never needed to get out of your aerobars, but the hairpin turn on the back side of the course was tight and you had to hit the apex correctly at high speed to remain in good control.

The wind was swirling a little but mostly seemed to have the biggest effect at the end of the long straight where you could feel a little headwind.

My first lap was probably my fastest, but in reality was a bit too fast since my second lap was probably my slowest of the day. But after recovering a little I was able to pick my pace up each consecutive lap after that. Coming around on my second lap the guy who I figured to be my toughest competition had just left the starting gate and had about 200 meters on me by the end of the long straight, so this gave me somebody to chase and pace off of for a few laps.

As the next few laps ticked by I was slowly gaining ground on him and heading into the 5th lap passed him along the front straight. I’m not sure how much distance I put on him from there since he now had somebody to pace off of.

The last lap I actually felt pretty good all things considered and was able to turn in a good effort coming into the finish.

Overall time was 25:14 and going off of a distance of 11.54 miles (a teammates Garmin distance) I had an average speed of 27.44 mph, which is the first time I’ve broken 27 mph in a TT of any distance. This was good enough for 1st place in the masters 40+ class by 30 seconds and was my first win on the season.

The race format was great and everybody I talked with really enjoyed the race. I’m hoping they will keep it for future races as well…maybe have a Team Time Trial format one of these days. The only change I’d like to see is them adding a lap or two to the race to get the times closer to the 30 minute range.

I’m pretty happy with the effort since I’ve made a ton of changes to my position on my TT bike since my last race back in February. I put on a new set of bars Vision bars that I picked up from a teammate and installed a new seat post the night before the race…basically a regular road seat post that was turned in the reverse direction to move my seat forward and give me an effective seat tube angle of 78 degrees compared to my stock 76 degree seat tube angle.

Given all the changes and this was my first real hard effort riding with them I’m more than happy with the results. I did find that I needed to drop my seat my a small amount as I had a little pain in the back of my left knee at the end of the race, but that quickly went away after I finished and a small drop in the seat should take care of that for the upcoming State Championship ITT’s in two weeks.

So this race for me was to check out all the changes in my position as well as to see where my fitness is at right now for time trials. Getting the win was extra bonus on the day J

My goal in two weeks will to break 55 minutes over 40K at the ITT championships, which I think I can do, but a lot will depend on the conditions. Long term forecast has rain and low 60’s for temperatures, but considering how far out that is…it should change a lot between now and then.

Photos Courtesy of: Nick Blacklock

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 OBRA RR Championships

This was my first year racing the Silverton course so I didn't really know what to expect. I had seen the profile which showed a big climb with a lot of rollers. It didn't look much worse than a few other courses I had done before...but once on the climb it seemed like there was a lot more climbing than expected.

Once underway the first lap was really slow and there were very few break attempts. I think it may have been the easiest first lap I've had in a race. The first climb I expected the big guns to try and get away, but for the most part they didn't do we will call it a warm up for what was to come.

At the beginning of the second lap I had a bit of a lapse in judgement and at the beginning of the big hill found myself about 2/3 of the way back in the field. By the time I realized where I was at the road was full of people and moving up was hard to do. About 1/2 way up the climb people started to blow up which made room to move forward but I could already see a small group getting a gap up ahead. By the time I made my way to the front a small group of 5 had got off the front and I knew several riders in the group were really strong...If I wanted a shot at winning I "HAD" to be in that group.

Not being at the front of the group there was stupid on my part because I knew that since the first climb was easy, the 2nd was going to be hard and that was where the break would go.

Near the top of the climb there wasn't a good chase being formed by those that didn't make the break, so I gave it a good go to bridge the gap to the lead group. Nobody went with me and I found myself in "No man's land" by myself chasing the lead group. I made it to within about 25 seconds of them but got no closer. I would make up time on the downhills then loose a little on the climbs.

I spent the entire 2nd lap in TT mode chasing the lead group and still felt OK but wasn't going to close the gap any closer with out another rider or two to work with. If I had a super long downhill near the beginning of the chase I may have been able to latch on as well, but the downhills were all no go there either.

At one point mid 2nd lap I could see what was left of the main group about 1 - 1.5 minutes back. I had a choice at that time to save my energy and stop chasing the break, which was still about 35 seconds up the road or dr
op back to the second group. The second group wasn't making much ground and I felt OK so I kept pushing hoping maybe the break group would slow for a short period of time allowing me to latch back I kept chasing.

Near the top of the climb on lap 3 what was left of the main group caught back up to me and I joined in with them. Nobody was really in "Chase" mode and most seemed OK to sprint for whatever position was left, even though the break was only 1.5 minutes or so up the road. With that said the pace wasn't
too fast so it allowed me a little time to recover.

With about 6 miles to go a couple guys up front were motioning to for another jump to try and get a break going...When they went I went, but they gave up quickly. Immediately after they quit another guy counter attacked and I jumped on his wheel. Working together we were able to put 45 seconds or so on the group heading into the finish.

My legs were toast by this time having spent an entire lap trying to chase down the break and I was suffering on the climbs, as small as they were at that point, but was able to really push it on the downhills and flats. Eventually the other guy put about 10 seconds on me on the 2nd to last climb...but I was OK with that by this time.

Overall, I finished 5th in the 40+ CAT 3 class (7th across the line since there were 4 groups in my race), which I'm happy with...I just wish I had been paying attention because I know I could have made the initial break if I had been closer to the front during the first climb on the 2nd lap....but such is and learn.

Some numbers for today:

52.098 miles
2:30:59 ride time
Average power: 257 watts (NP 312 watts)
20 min power: 343 watts
30 min power: 318 watts
60 min power: 300 watts

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eugene Roubaix

This was my first time racing the Eugene Roubaix...mostly due to the dirt road section. But I wanted another race in before the OBRA championships in two weeks, so this became the year to race it.

I looked at the profile before heading to Eugene and overall it looked to be fairly flat, and for the most part it was...but there are a lot more rollers than expected on that course and the one little climb was fairly steep.

We had a neutral roll out over the hill the first time which lasted about 3K. Once we were able to start racing we had a lot of people trying to get breaks started. I jumped after a few of them, but nothing was able to get away during the first lap. When we hit the gravel was smoother than expected...but the pedal was down as expected. We entered the gravel road at 30mph and held near that speed for most of the way through the first time.

This with the hill just after split the pack into two groups from what I could see.

Once we came down the hill and hit the sharp right hand turn one guy was able to get away and put 200-300 meters on the field. There was a short but shallow climb during this part, but then it went downhill for a while. I decided to bridge the gap here. It looked like a couple started to chase, but stopped after 10-15 seconds. Here I bridged with the other guy and we worked together for the next 35-37 miles putting at one point 3 minutes on the field.

However, the last lap we both started to tire from the rollers and I started to get cramps in my calves.

With about 4 miles to go a chase group of 4 caught us making our group 6 riders now. We kept the pace pretty mellow knowing we had 2+ minutes on the field and took tried to vie for position through the gravel section.

I started out in good position through the gravel...but somehow ended up in front, which was where I didn't want to be heading into the final 1K. With about 100 meters to go in the gravel the first guy jumped. I accelerated and was able to hold his pace for a while, but then my legs tied up on me and the others were able to get around me.

With 100 meters or so left there was a gap between me and the other 5 so I just put my head down and crossed the line for 6th place. Out of the prizes, but overall...a good day in the saddle. Looking at the results today (5/1/11) it looks like I moved up to either I was ahead of somebody else, or they relegated a rider due to centerline violation, I'm not sure which.

I can honestly say I left it all out on the road today and am still feeling it now that I'm home and cleaned up.

Numbers on the day:

55.7 miles raced
2:26:58 total time
Average watts: 280 (NP 316 watts)
Max power: 1416 watts
20 min power: 329 watts
60 min power: 313 watts
Average HR: 155 bpm
TSS: 224.2

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

De Ronde Portland 2011

This was the first time I had ridden the De Ronde Portland, though I’ve heard the legendary stories of the ride…Just under 48 miles and 7700+ feet of climbing, with a couple of climbs averaging 25% or greater for a ¼ mile or longer. The reality is the total climbing is somewhere between 4700 and 7700 feet. has it at 4700 feet, but I’ve seen GPS profiles with 7700-8000 feet of climbing. The unofficial amount is 5400 feet which I’ve seen listed on several different locations.

I’m not a climber…by any definition of the term, but wanted to at least ride it once in my life to say I had done it, so knowing the weather was supposed to be good and not a whole lot of racing leading up to the race or after the race, I thought this year was as good as any to give it a try.

I was able to get a ride with one of my teammates to the start line (about 25 miles from where I live) where we arrived early to kind of chill out a little before the ride. Slowly the area started filling up with riders from different teams as well as recreational riders. I’d say by the time we started there were at lest 300-400 riders, maybe closer to 500…but it’s always hard to tell with a group that size since there is no “Official” ride taking place and no registration to count numbers.

Some groups took off early but most left just after 10:00am with a few words from the unofficial organizer of the ride. The basic premise of the ride is to follow the “Lions” on the road until you reach the top of Council Crest.

Granted this is a “Ride” but there is an unofficial count through the first 10-20 riders to the top…kind of a bragging rights thing…so I didn’t want to take it easy, though I knew I wasn’t going to be near the front either. Mostly I wanted to push myself and see what kind of time I could put in.

The first climb was up Saltzman Road…I say road because it’s only a road in name. It’s really a gravel road/trail that goes up through Forest Park and takes us up to Skyline road. Saltzman was actually in good shape considering all of the rain we have had and we were moving out pretty good. I don’t know my time up Saltzman, but I averaged 371 watts up the climb without pushing it very hard.

After a little respite along Skyline we took a short downhill that led us to Brynwood…which is one “STEEP” climb. I turned the corner and was saying to myself WTF? Who lives up here and why? I hit the first part of the climb out of the saddle making it about a ¼ the way up when I sat down on my saddle to power up the climb. At this time I realized my cleat tension in my right cleat was too loose for this climb. Every time I would pull back on the pedal (I was pulling really hard) the cleat would push the cleat retention springs back far enough the front of the pedal would unclip and out would come my cleat. This was quite annoying and caused me to stop several times up the climb.

After that…the only other really steep climb was college st. which was equally difficult, but that didn’t come until about half way into the ride.

The rest of the climbs were normal climbs with spots getting into the 15% range, but not for very long.

I will say, the roads for this ride are not the best roads I’ve ever ridden on. In fact the Saltzman (the dirt/gravel road) was in better shape than half the roads we were on. So it was a rough ride for a large portion of it.

Overall, I completed the ride in 3 hours 30 minutes and 46 seconds…and that was with a little doubling back when I got lost a few times. Not bad for a 190+ pound sprinter/TT guy. Looking at the pictures I was in the top 40 or so crossing the line and wasn’t too far from some of my teammates that are true climbers. I would guess the fastest guys finished in around 3 hours, maybe a little faster. Most people were in the 4+ hour range and many of my teammates came in around 4.5+ hours.

As for the toughness of the ride…It’s not easy, I’ll give it that. However, if you took Brynwood and College St. out of the ride it wouldn’t be that bad…just a slower ride with a lot of climbing. It wasn’t the hardest ride I’ve ever done, but ranks up there overall especially for how short the distance was.

I will say this was the first ride I've ever completed where my upper body was more tired than my lower body. You had to use your whole body to get up some of those climbs and it took it's tool after a while.

There was great support along the route, especially considering this is not an “Organized” ride. Several families had tables set up and were giving out free food, water and other “Assorted Beverages”. There were also 5 or 6 port-a-potties located along through course to use. That really made things great, as well as people cheering us on as we hit the top of the steepest climbs.

Overall…it’s a great ride and if you haven’t done it…it’s worth giving it a shot at least once. I’m not sure I’ll do it again, but if the season has a lull at that time again, I’ll likely give it a go if the weather is OK. If it was cold and raining…it would have been miserable, but epic.

Photos courtesy of:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kings Valley Road Race

This was my first road race of the season, but heading into it I felt pretty good. My training has been going well, even though it's been raining forever, which has put me on my trainer during the week. But I can tell I'm getting stronger because my trainer workouts have been getting better and I'm holding my power longer on group rides.

With that said not knowing the course I didn't really know what to expect other than what I had heard from a few people. I knew it was 56.6 miles long and had some climbing (some very steep but short climbs and one longer climb where the race finished). I had heard it was a hard course to get a breakaway going, but could see a couple of places where one could be done if the conditions were right.

Looking at the course profile I was a little concerned about the main hill and finish since I'm not a climber and it was an uphill finish. As it turned out most of the climb wasn't that bad, but there were a few sections that pitched up past 6% which is beyond my "Anchor" point...I.E. where I struggle at...Generally anything over 4% - 5% grades.

The race was what I would call On/Off...It was attack after attack, but nobody followed through with their attacks. So it was full on, then full off for most of the race...Kind of annoying and it kept the field together for most of the race.

On the end of the second lap (of three) a guy just kind of drifted off the front. I'm not sure if it was an attack or he just went a little hard and found himself out by himself but once he had a gap...he looked like he picked up the pace and turned it into an attack (if it wasn't). As we started the 3rd lap another guy jumped (not long after the first guy took off) and soloed his way to the lead racer.

The two of them built up a lead of around 2 minutes or more and the field wasn't chasing them hard...of course, they had multiple teammates in the race and were effectively blocking the field by disrupting any chase that was started and had good control over the pack which allowed the lead riders to stay away.

With a bit over 7 miles to go a few guys had jumped and had a small gap on the field. It looked like a good group so I jumped to catch them. As I caught them...they gave up and drifted back to the pack.

I looked back and nobody was chasing so I decided push the pace and see if I could get away knowing if I didn't I was toast on the final climb since I was "Pack Sliding" each time up the steepest pitches. This was a great place for me to go because it was fairly flat and had a bit of a cross wind, which I love when racing. After about 1.5 miles of cross wind the course turned right and headed into a headwind for the next 2.5 miles before the final climb, which again I think helped keep the field at bay until the final climb.

For a short period of time it looked like they started to chase, but it was quickly shut down again...partially by the teammates of those in the front as well as by my teammates. If a chase was going to organize it would have had to have been done by some of the smaller teams or independent riders.

After a few minutes on my own I had separated myself from the pack by a fair distance and I could see I was making up time on the two guys in front. By the time I hit the final climb I was about 10-15 meters away from catching them and once the climb leveled out a bit I was able to catch them and work with them on the final climb.

With about 2.5k - 3k to go the official told us we had 47 seconds on the field. At that point I think we all felt fairly confident we could hold them off which meant the finish would be between the three of us for the win.

Going into the final steep pitch before the last 200 meters where the road leveled off a little...the effort put into catching them...caught up to me. I didn't have much left at that point. That part of the climb started at 9%, then dropped to 6% and stayed there until we crested the steep incline. During the start of this steep pitch The other two put a few meters on me and with nothing in the legs to accelerate, they kept it to the top where it leveled off a little.

At this point I started looking behind me to see where the field was.

Looking back and looking forward I decided...3rd was good enough at this point. I could try and sprint to make it close and still take 3rd or cruise in for 3rd...I chose to cruise at that point finishing 3rd on the day.

This was my best ever climbing finish, so I was pretty happy about that, but it wouldn't have happened without my teammates helping control the pack as I broke away and caught the break.

Some numbers from todays race:

Total time of race: 2:26:42
Average watts: 236 (NP 308 watts...all the accelerations)
Max watts: 1294
Average speed: 22.6 mph
TSS: 213.4
IF: .876

During the chase/break away I averaged 25.1 mph into a cross/headwind and the last 20 minutes of the race averaged 325 watts. Needless to say...I really like my new Corsa Concept wheels

Friday, April 1, 2011

March training...

Well, unfortunately I wasn't able to race this month. I had planned on making the "Piece of Cake" road race my first mass start race of the year however a 3.5 mile gravel section each lap kept me from racing it. With age comes wisdom I guess...even if for the most part things were OK...though the early word was 10+ flats through the first gravel road section in the CAT 3 race alone. That just doesn't sound like much fun to me.

With that in mind, I've turned my focus to the Kings Valley road race on the 9th of this month. I've never raced Kings Valley so this will be a new experience for me. It's a Masters 3/4/5 race instead of the normal 1/2/3 races we have in the Masters again something new.

Overall, I had a good month of March training wise:
  • 58 hours and 29 minutes on the bike (trainer and outside)
  • 1135 miles ridden
  • Longest ride: 79 miles (4 hours and 25 minutes)
Unfortunately most of this was spent on my single speed since we had 29 of 31 days where it rained and the 5th wettest March on record. Hopefully the month of April things start to dry out around here.

On the weight front...It was a tough month. My weight stagnated for about 3 weeks then all of the sudden over the past two days I've lost 3 pounds and finally hit 190 pounds again. I want to lose another 5-7 pounds before the end of May so I'm still watching what I eat and trying to lose the weight at a slower rate than early in the year.

For now though I'm really working on my threshold power. I've moved my training toward that direction with lots of threshold level intervals and SST training. All of my high speed work comes during group rides, so I'm only getting a small amount of that right now which is OK in the end because I need higher threshold power more than anything right now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jack Frost Time Trial...

Yesterday was the fourth time I've raced the Jack Frost Time Trial. It's a fun early season Time Trail that usually runs around 12 miles in length. The course is an out and back on very flat roads. Last year due to Vancouver Lake being closed we had to start at a different location which added a little over 2 miles to the race.

This year, we were able to return to our normal starting location which has limited parking so findinga place to park and warm up is generally always an issue. You have teams setting up tents taking up several parking spots and lots of independents (or those that didn't bring a warm up tent looking for open spots. With this in mind I usually try and make it out a little early to find a parking spot, which thankfully one section of the park still had enough places left to park and warm up in.

Overall, I felt pretty good heading into the race and it's usually a good indication of my overall fitness level heading into the begining of the season. I haven't been doing any 20 minute intervals and up to this point hadn't done any interval longer than 2 minutes for the past two months....aside from last week where I have begun to lengthen my intervals to 7 minutes. This is still more of a VO2 max interval, but helps with my overall threshold since I'm doing 10 of them over the course of 2 hours.

The race started well enough. I had a shorter warm up than I wanted due to a number of factors, all of which were avoidable. But I was able to arrive to the starting gate with my 1 minute man just taking off, so I didn't have to stand around long before taking off.

Once on the course I felt pretty good, but could feel a weeks worth of hard efforts in my legs. From this point it was just a matter of going as hard as possible. I only had 4 racers in my catagory in front of me, but two other classes that I thought I might catch a few racers from and use as carrots during the race.

The first half of the race I felt pretty good, catching my 30 second man a few miles down the road, then my 1 minute man, 1:30 and 2:00 man by the turn around point. I had also started running into other catagory racers at the turn around point and had a fair amout of them to pass during the race.

On the return trip I could feel the lack of 20 minute intervals and had good minutes and bad minutes on the course. I would feel good for a little while, then slow down, realize I was going slow and pick the pace back up. I would love to be able to use a power meter to pace me instead of heart rate...but until I win the lottery, I don't see that happening.

However for a few TT's this year I'll be able to use a set of deep carbon wheels that I'm having built up with a powertap, so I'll get some numbers from those races, but they are short with lots of climbing so using those wheels makes some sense.

Overall, I came into the finish feeling fairly good. I wasn't gassed, but knew I had put in a hard effort.

I have also made some small position changes to my TT bike by adding a 2cm shorter stem that brings my elbows back a little and keeps me on the meat of the saddle a little more. This puts me closer to my road bike position which is what I ride the most, so in the end it should be benificial. I'm still plenty low enough on the bike, but need some new aero bars to be able to get narrower in the front than I am now (which is as narrow as my current bars will allow).

In the end I had a time of 28:10 which was good enough for 5th in the Masters 40+ field (out of 53 racers that showed up to race) and 25th overall out of 280+ racers. Not bad considering my lack of intervals to this point of the season and only 18 seconds slower than my PR on this course. The racers that took 3rd and 4th were both teammates of mine beating my by only a few seconds (13 second difference between me and 3rd place).

I can't complain much about that since I've really been concentrating on losing weight. I'm approximately 15 pounds lighter than I was at this time last year, currently sitting at 198-199 pounds. I would like to lose another 20 pounds and get down to 180, which would be a great racing weight for me (about 10 pounds under what I have raced at the last few seasons). With that in mind I working on continuing to drop the weight, but I've also got to put power back on. I'm about 30 watts under what I would normally be able to hold for 20 minutes during the race work to do there.

The next planned race for me is the "Piece of Cake" in late March, but depending on the weather I might race a Banana Belt race or two, just to get back in the peloton and have some "Mass Start" racing under my belt before the Piece of Cake.

Monday, January 31, 2011

January Numbers....

January actually turned out to be a great month for riding. Only two weekends were wet enough that I had to use my single speed, so lots of time on my road bike. Granted...It's still dark out on the weekdays so I'm still on my trainer during the week.

Overall I had several nice rides:

January 1st: 75.86 miles.
January 22nd: 76.15 miles.
January 29th: 74.29 miles

And some shorter road rides of 38.63 mile rides on the 23rd and 30th.

The month of January was the biggest month I've had on a bike since July of last year. I had a total of 54 hours and 39 minutes of ride time (trainer and road time) and technically around 1150 miles ridden.

The really bright spot has been weight loss. I've changed my diet around to allow for a larger percentage of it to come from fats and protein and less from carbs. Combine that with increased intensity of workouts and I've dropped a little over 15 pounds since the 22nd of December (5 weeks).

The only drawback I have seen so far is that my power numbers are down from the lack of intervals over the winter. Right now I'm only putting out around 360 watts for 20 minutes, which means I have a good 30 watts of continuous power to put on over the next several months as well as drop another 15-20 pounds.

I have also started my core work so my hamstrings and core section were pretty sore for about a week, but are feeling much better now that the soreness is gone. In the end though, some good core work always seems to make things better on the bike. I was noticing that my back was starting to get tired at around the 3 hour mark on rides, while this past weekend I still felt pretty good after 4 hours on the bike.

Overall.....A good start to the year, but a long way to go before things start to get better

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The 2011 season is almost here...

It has been a while since I’ve last updated my blog, so I thought I’d get some time riding in before my first post of the year.

Race season is only a month or so away from starting so my normal weight loss routine has begun and intervals are starting to get a little bit harder. On the weight front…I’m actually starting this year about a month or so ahead of last year. On January 1st last year I was somewhere in the 222-225 pound range, while this year I started around 215 pounds. I’m already down to 208 and if I stay on target I should be down to race weight (190 pounds or so) by the end of March.

Power wise, I’m not sure where I’m at since I haven’t used my Powertap (aside from a few rides when the weather has been nice). The only input I have toward power output right now is the average speeds I’m holding while completing trainer workouts. Going off of this data my power is better than it was at this time last year, though, how much better is unknown at this time. I’ll most likely have to wait until the Jack Frost ITT before I get a good idea of where I’m at.

As for rides so far this year, it started out great. I had several days off of work leading up to New Year’s weekend so I had time to ride. It basically turned into a winter training camp form me and with some nice weather was able to get in 15.5 hours on the bike and just under 300 miles for the week. The longest ride of the week was a 4.25 hour, 76 mile ride with two other teammates, though my legs were feeling it from 9 hours of riding that I had done over the 4 previous days.

Since then I’ve been getting in 11.5 – 12 hours a week of training time between the trainer and weekend group rides. I’ve started getting in an extra hour of riding before Saturday group rides for the extra time on the bike and more overall base miles than I did last year. I’ve also started doing a little core work, so my mid section and hamstrings are sore today…but that should dissipate over the next few days.

I’m not sure what my race schedule is going to look like this season other than my first race will be the Jack Frost ITT on February 20th. From there, I’m not sure what will be next. I may compete in a Banana Belt race or two or wait until the Piece of Cake (of which I will race unless I’m sick) at the end of March. I’m contemplating competing in the Cherry Blossom stage race and using it as a good training block and helping teammates if I have any in the race. My two “A” races will again be the OBRA TTT and ITT championship races, but will also likely race in the OBRA RR championship race again, even though it’s been moved back to May as it had been in years past.

Against my better judgment and my allergic reaction to asphalt, I’m planning on racing a few more crit’s this season. I haven’t singled any out other than maybe the OBRA Crit Championship in August, but will look at a few of the local races that I’ve avoided in the past. I however don’t have any plans on racing out at PIR again this season, but as with everything, that could change once racing starts up again.

With all that said…The first race is just a month away…so the season is almost upon us again :D