Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter training

Well, after my accident back in October, it took a while to get back into the swing of things. I had two weeks off the bike completely, then another month before I started to feel better on the bike. I was then able to start lifting again, but started with: Good Mornings, Calf Raises and some Core work. Then two weeks ago added in lunges again for a full lower body workout lifting wise.

I've been adjusting my schedule based on trying to get more rest/recovery time. At first my schedule looked like this:

Monday: 30 minute easy spin before work
Tuesday: 30 minute easy spin before work - 2 hours mixed speed work on my trainer
Wednesday: 30 minute easy spin before work - 2 hours mixed speed work on my trainer
Thursday: 30 minute easy spin before work - 2 hours mixed speed work on my trainer
Friday: 30 minute easy spin before work
Saturday: 4 - 4.5 hour group ride (part of it done on my own before/after the ride)
Sunday: 3.5 - 4 hour ride outside

Lifting on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday

If found that even with the easy spins on Monday/Friday that I wasn't getting enough rest and decided to actually add more time to my schedule, but take more time off the bike.

My current Schedule looks like this:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 1 hour before work - 2 hours after work (picking up the pace with high tempo intervals every 10 minutes).
Wednesday: 1 hour before work - 2 hours after work (picking up the pace with high tempo intervals every 10 minutes).
Thursday: 1 hour before work - 2 hours after work (picking up the pace with high tempo intervals every 10 minutes).
Friday: Off
Saturday: 4 - 4.5 hour group ride (part of it done on my own before/after the ride)
Sunday: 3.5 - 4 hour ride outside

Lifting: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday

This gives me two full days off the bike a week ... but bumps my time on the bike up to 15.5 - 17 hours a week plus another 1 hour or so of lifting.

So far, the extra time on the bike doing base miles has helped keep the weight off. I'm usually around 215 pounds by now this time of the year ... but I've been holding steady around 198-199 this year ... So, I'm much lighter than I've been past years.

I've also been taking my TT bike out at every possible time I can ... when it's been dry out. I've been working on my position, trying to get it dialed in since the first TT of the year is the last week of February. With the new saddle, it's changed a lot. I had to reverse the seat-post to the 76 degree position and have added some spacers under the arm pads so I now have about 4cm of rise compared to 1.5cm I had before. I've also been playing with pad width and think I've found a good balance between width and comfort.

I've been able to get it out 3 times, each with a different set up and I'm getting really close overall ... but still have some minor tweaking to do.

I've also set my trainer up so it's similar to my TT bike. I put a -17 degree stem on it replacing the -10 degree stem and put an Adamo Prologue saddle on it so I could mimic the position of my TT bike while training. Hopefully it helps in the end and the change in position has allowed me to pick up the pace on my trainer rides, so hopefully it's a more powerful position with adaptability to my TT bike.

Looking at the preliminary race schedule this year, it looks like there are more TT's this season ... which I'm really looking forward to. I'm hoping to hit them all as well as a several road races. They also moved the Banana Belt races back from March to May this season so hopefully they will have better weather and turnouts this year. If I can hit those around 185 pounds, I'll compete in them to support races close to my house, but they will be training races, as will all my road races ... though if I can pull off some results in a few of them I'll be happy.

Anyway ... just a winter update.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New TT wheels and saddle

I've been wanting some new TT wheels for a while now, but as with all things cycling they generally are pretty expensive. While reading through I stumbled across Flo Wheels. They are a new company created by two engineers who did extensive aerodynamic development for their wheels using computers, then wind tunnel testing them at the A2 wind tunnel.

For the most part the wheels are very similar to the HED Jet series of wheels. They use an aluminum rim with a carbon fairing. The fairing is not structural and just there for aerodynamic purposes. The rim is 24mm wide, so it's just a hair wider than the HED's but fits a 22c or 23c tire very well. 

I ordered a set of their 90mm wheels with the thought of using them as training wheels, then put on my rear disc for races. This is still the plan, but I'm looking at getting an additional 60mm front wheel so I can train on the 60/90 combo and race on the 90/disc combo.

The wheels appear to be of very good quality and everything I have read points to them being a good company, making a good product with excellent customer service.

I really want to get the wheels out for a ride, but it's the rainy season here so I'll have to wait a while before taking them out ... probably several weeks at the earliest.

Aside from the wheels getting great reviews, the other big draw was the price. I can buy two sets of Flo wheels for the cost of one set of HED series wheels or other major brand of wheels. This is why I'm looking at the 60mm front wheel as well.

Once I get some time on the wheels I'll post my thoughts, but for now, they are pretty impressive for the price. The only drawback is the weight of the wheels. They tend to run on the high side compared to a set of Carbon Clinchers, but are inline with other aluminum rimmed aero wheels. I would say they are excellent for TT's, but marginal for road racing due to the weight. If they could somehow shave 200 grams off of each wheel, they would be very competitive on the road as well.

Another recent addition to my TT bike is an ISM Adamo Race saddle. I've been hesitant about purchasing one for my TT bike because of the overall narrow nature of the saddle. I ride 155mm saddles on my road bikes and this saddle is 135mm which I've never been able to get comfortable on with road bikes. However, given the leaned over nature of a TT position, your sit bones are much narrower ... so I thought I'd give it a try.

I've been able to put a couple of miles on the saddle riding around my neighborhood and initial impressions are very good. It's way more comfortable than expected and puts me a little farther forward than my old saddle. I could probably still move it back a 1cm - 2cm and be very comfortable and put out good power. 

I'm looking forward to getting more time on this as well ... but again, it will have to wait for some nicer weather.

Another nice feature of this saddle is it's short and sits back further than road type saddles. This puts the nose of my saddle about 4.5cm behind the BB compared to being about 1cm in front with my road saddle. Again, I can probably still move it back a cm or two which would make it USAC legal should I decide to race at the Masters Nationals next year.

I'm making the changes to my TT bike because I'm going to concentrate on TT's next season. I'll still race road races, but they will have a different emphasis with different training purposes than years past. 

I really want to up my TT ability and win the TT cup for a second year in a row. I also want to win another TTT championship, win the Individual TT championship and maybe repeat my Uphill TT championship (in my category for each race of course). So ... lots of work to be done this summer and some position dialing in the spring.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New winter bike

So the weather changed this weekend and with the change comes the rain. For the last 3 - 4 years I've used a single speed which worked well. I didn't have to worry much about cleaning it, I could stay up with group rides and climb most anything around here...but it was always a pain to ride and my knees are not getting any younger.

So...I decided it was time to get a new bike. Ultimately I wanted a bike with disc brakes and fender mounts...beyond that, I wasn't too picky.

Looking around I stumbled across the Specialized Tricross low end models which had an aluminum frame, new Sora components and Avid BB5 disc brakes. While at the shop checking it out, I stumbled across the Jamis Nova Race which has an aluminum frame, carbon (1 1/8 - 1.5" tapered) fork, Tiagra components, Avid BB7 discs and 10 speeds instead of 9 on the Specialized.

After riding them...I really liked the I picked her up and brought her home.

After making a few changes: New (wider) bar, new saddle, zero degree seat post, road tires (instead of cross) and -17 degree stem ... then adding the fenders ... it was ready to ride.

I took the new bike out for it's maiden voyage today...56 miles over about 3.25 hours. Overall, I like the bike, but can feel it's weight on the climbs and heavy wheels during acceleration...but this is for base miles, winter group rides and general overall fitness during the winter, so those are not much of a factor.

The bike rides very nice, handles well and overall ... does everything you would want a winter/rain bike to do. I'm pretty pleased overall with it...but need to lower the stem. I'm going to order a new top cap from "Slam that stem" as I have on my Cannondale to drop it another 1.5 cm which should put it into a good enough position to compare it to my Cannondale.

I'm looking forward to many, many miles on the new bike.

On a side note...I'm recovering from a crash a few weeks back. It was pretty stupid and was caused by a lapse and thinking about other thing I know, I was off the road and had a gash in my left leg.

A trip to the Urgency Care ... 14 staples later and I was put back together. I still have swelling over my patella tendon and the gash went down to the bone. It kept me off the bike for two weeks and my left leg atrophied a "Lot" during that two weeks off the bike...But I'm healing and have another 2-3 weeks before I can go without bandages, but it will come around soon enough.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another race season ends

Well, my 2012 race season has come to an end and overall it was fairly successful, but hit and miss at the same time.

My road race season sucked big time with one crash, two DNF's and my best placing on the season 17th overall in a one day race. No top 10's or 5's...just an average season. The crash back in April screwed things up a little since I lost my Tsunami which fit really well and I was faster on. My Cannondale has been a good replacement and overall I like it a lot, but the front end has never felt quite the same as on my Tsunami since I can't get as low on the Cannondale.

My TT season however, turned out to be really good. I had 4 wins on the season, two state titles and only placed lower than 2nd in one race all season.

Going into the year I had two main goals: 1) win the TTT and 2) run sub 53:30 at the ITT championships. I was 1 for 2 in my goals with the help of some great teammates we won the TTT, but I ran a slower time than I wanted at the State Championship ITT's, partially due to a very windy day, partially due to not having my new TT bike dialed in and partially due to the front wheel rubbing on the brake for at least 5 miles of the race.

I did have my unexpected win in the Uphill ITT championships and won the inaugural TT Cup for the Masters 40+ division...So two good and unexpected wins on the season and my first solo state championship.

I was able to hit my weight goals, my power goals (with altitude adjustment I had a new 30 minute power PR at the Uphill ITT Championships with an average of 387 watts for 30 minutes) and overall feel good this season. I've taken a couple days off the bike since my last race and am going to work hard not to put weight on this's fairly normal for me to put on 30 pounds, which makes the start of the season always a pain in the butt since I have to drop the weight for the season. My goal is to not go over 200 pounds this winter and be around 195 for the first race of the season, and maybe get down to 185 for most of the can be done but won't be easy.

My best placings on the year look like this for the season:

1st place finishes:

  • OBRA Hill Climb Championships
  • OBRA TTT Championships
  • PIR TT #2
  • As the Raven Flies #2

2nd place finishes:

  • OBRA ITT Championhships
  • PIR #1
  • As the Raven Flies #1

As you can see, there are no road race placings in just wasn't a good year on the road bike. Hopefully, I'll be better prepared for the road races next season and have as good or better year on the TT bike.

For now, back to base miles, get the trainer ready for lack of sunlight, start pulling out the rain gear for the winter and get my winter bike ready for some miles over the next 5 months or so.

Monday, August 20, 2012

OBRA Uphill Time Trial Championships

Last weeks OBRA TT Championships were going to be my last race of the season...however the updated TT cup standings were released and I was 1 point out of 1st place. Since I was so close I figured...what the heck, and signed up for the Uphill TT Championships hoping to beat the guy in front of me in the points.

I'm not a climber by any means considering I'm 196 pounds and stand around 5'11" tall...but I can put out good power numbers and can maintain a stead pace for 30 minutes or so. I knew the times last year and figured I'd at least be competitive.

So my wife and I drove up to Government Camp Sunday morning, I got my trainer set up, talked to some friends and got ready to climb a hill.

I got a report of the climb from another racing buddy of mine and he gave me an idea of what to expect, which also gave me a little extra confidence in the climb as it wasn't as steep as I thought it would be.

Warming up before the start I was talking to a couple others about just wanting to get to the top figuring I wouldn't be on the podium and goal was to beat one guy!

My time came up and I was off...Early on I felt great. My HR was up where I wanted it and I was pushing some good power numbers without feeling it. As the ride progressed I was able to keep the pace up. At about 8 minutes into the climb I caught my 1 minute guy, at about 18 minutes I caught my 2 minute guy and at about 24 minutes I caught my 3 minute guy.

Crossing the line I was right at about 30 minutes...a good 1 - 2 minutes ahead of where I thought I'd be. I knew the winning time last year was just under 30 minutes and this time would have put me on the podium so I was pretty excited about it.

As time went on I waited for the times to be posted. They called out the names and mine was one of three called out for the podium but I didn't know if I was 3rd or it turned out...I was 1st in the 40-44 Masters cataloger.

Who knew? I never, ever thought I'd win a hill climb, let alone a State Championship hill climb. My total time was 30:04 over 5.6 miles and around 1800 feet of climbing.

This is my first ever solo championship win...all other wins have been part of a Team Time Trial I'm totally stoked about this win.

Looking at the numbers from the race, my HR was high, but my power was a little low. I'm chalking this up to the elevation...starting at 4000 feet and ending near 6000 feet.

My average power was 360 watts (adjusted for altitude it would be 387 watts, a new 30 minute PR) and my average HR was 167 BPM with a max of 173 BPM. My wattage stayed pretty steady through the race with only a few peaks and valleys and my largest power bump came during the last 3 minutes of the race. I only got out of the saddle once to accelerate around a corner, the rest of the time it was seated climbing.

My HR shows a near max effort, but my power numbers were down by about 15 watts from what I can do for that duration, again I chalk it up to the elevation. Given the amount I had left, I'm guessing I could have shaved off 20-30 seconds from my time if I had to push it. Crossing the line I was breathing hard, but still had gas left in the tank while others were on the ground just beat with exhaustion.

Overall, I'm very happy with my performance and excited about the win. I'm not sure I'll do this race again, but given my performance, if I'm in shape next year, I'll likely be back.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012 OBRA State ITT Championships

Today was the 2012 OBRA State Championship ITT race...I've been looking forward to this race for a while now having my new bike to race on and having spent a lot of time over the last 6 weeks doing training rides up Pumpkin Ridge. 

I had a good taper heading into the race and my legs felt pretty good, though I hadn't done much riding in the last two days. Warming up went well, but due to the length of the race 40K I cut my warm up a little short. It was already mid 70's by the time I started my warm up and delays in the start time resulted in starts moving back 28 we had to delay our warm-ups more than anticipated. 
In addition to that they did a number switch up on us by moving them to the right side instead of the left...and since I glue my numbers on I couldn't change them. Thankfully I had a second number on my lower back and the officials were OK with that.

There was also an anticipated start ramp for the race as well, but it never showed up, but we did have a holder, so starts were still good as we were able to be clipped in from the get go.

Race conditions were not as good as they were last year where we had a 3mph headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. That lead to fast times last year. This year we had a 7+ mph tailwind on the way back and a 7+ mph headwind on the way back...You could see flags in peoples yards sticking straight out, so the wind was pretty hefty.

Coming out of the turnaround I got settled in and started picking up to speed...Once I was around 25-26 mph a gust came out of know where and knocked me a good 4 feet to the right and about off my bike. Freaked me out and kept me on guard for the final part of the race.

Splits were not too bad for me...24:45 on the way out and 29:37 on the way back, given the tailwind out and the headwind back I paced myself fairly well. I don't know what my power output was since I don't have power on my TT bike, but Strava put me at 385 watts, so I was probably closer to 350-360 which is right at where I figure my FTP is.

I did have a drop off in HR at around 35 minutes going from an average of 162 BPM down to 157 BPM, that happened within about a minute and wasn't gradual so I'm guessing I either hit a fatigue limit there or that was when I started getting dehydrated since I don't carry water and it was warm (86 degrees during my race).

Overall, not a bad day on the bike with a 2nd place in my class with a time of 54:22, which is about 14 seconds slower than last year (4 seconds from the official time) under much harder conditions. I'm still waiting to see what the combined times are and where I fit in there, last year I was 10th I'm interested to see where I fall in those.

My race season for 2012 is over and for the most part went well. Next year, I'm going to concentrate more on TT's (especially after crashing and having a couple close calls in road races this year) and pick up the finishing touches to buying speed with a new set of wheels (hopefully). I want to pick up a set of HED 9 front wheel and JET Disc for the rear (maybe with a Powertap). Both will be clinchers as I like those more than tubular's and for me they are just as fast and every bit as comfortable.

Next week is our team century which I'll probably ride...though I'm considering doing the hill climb championships just for the fun of it. I'll make a decision on that later this week depending on how fat I feel at the time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New PR on Pumpkin Ridge

So with the State ITT championships coming up in a week and a half I've been spending a lot of time training on Pumpkin Ridge. It's the perfect training climb for TT work being 6.5 miles long, 1000 feet high and takes somewhere around 22-25 minutes to climb...So it's pretty easy to do 2x20's on the climb.

On Saturday during our teams group ride, the first climb was up Pumpkin Ridge so I used it to get a baseline on my fitness.

I had one person stay with me during the climb and held onto my wheel for all but about 10 seconds of the climb where he gave small pulls. Overall I set a new PR time wise, but was about 10 watts off my 20 minute power PR.

Total climb time was 22:03 which puts me 3rd overall on the climb for the STRAVA segment and I averaged 383 watts for the climb...overall, not bad and right about where I'd like to be, but the extra 10 watts from my power PR would be nice. I did finish the climb feeling pretty good though and could have kept that pace up for another 15 minutes or so which puts my FTP somewhere around 360 watts which is good heading into the ITT championships.

During my training rides doing two trips up the climb, I'm keeping it at about 92% of my FTP HR and am averaging around 350 watts for the climbs when combined/ I'm keeping my power for an extended period.

I've started to taper a little by cutting one day of riding out of my week so I'm down to 5 days a week and about 240 miles and 13.5 hours on the bike. Next week I'll taper a little more heading into the race, with a short ride on the TT bike with race wheels to make sure everything is performing correctly before the race.

Overall...I'm feeling good, now I just need to put together a good race and see what I can do this year.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My new Argon 18 E-118

At the beginning of the year I was really wanting to replace my aging Fuji Aloha 1.0 (now approximately 5 years old) with something new...especially considering I'm best at TT's and was losing time to those with nicer bikes. I know it's all about the engine but at the same time, in TT's if you have extra drag from wind resistance it costs you time.

With my crash at Kings Valley earlier in the year I had to come to the realization that getting a new TT bike wasn't going to happen since I had to replace my Tsunami. Then, my wife went to me because I was looking at purchasing a new stem...and was looking at the TT bikes in the shop and she told me to buy one. Well...I'm not one to argue with my wife so we went to a few stores and checked out a couple bikes.

I was originally looking at two bikes: The BMC TM01 and the Felt DA3. I talked with salesmen from both shops and told them a must have was changing the cranks from stock length to 170mm since I knew what worked for me. Other than that, it was a matter of finding the right size and going from there.

The shop with the Felt ticked me off...I was looking at a $5000 bike and told them my one need and he went off on how he had to check to see if it was a viable option because he had to maintain his "Margins" and needed to check with their rep to see what type of crank it had and if they could do it! Seriously??? One, you don't know what type of crank is on it? You can't just look that up in your books? Margins? It's a $5k bike, you have a lot of room for movement there.

So I moved from there knowing they didn't have my size in stock anyway and went to look at the bike I was really interested in...The BMC. At the shop they were more than willing to change out cranks for me and we had a deal ready to go, credit card pulled out...then...Oh, BMC is out of stock (nation wide) in the M/L size and all they had on the floor and shop was a small.

While I was at the shop I was looking at the Argon 18 bikes and liked them a lot. At the time I was most interested in the E-116 since it was closer to my price range. We left the shop without a bike, but I touched base with the salesman later in the week to see what the price for the E-116 would be with a different set of bars. He wrote me back with a price, but they didn't have one built up in my size...but had one there that needed to be built up.

Upon follow up...the salesman said, they couldn't get it built during the week (I e-mailed him on a Monday) because of tune-ups, fittings and other stuff. I let him know that was fine, but was a bit dumbfounded as I was sitting there ready to buy a $4k+ bike and he's wanting me to sit around and wait for them to build it up.

Well...the week passed and no communication from the salesman...During the wait period I started doing research and found an online shop that had the E-118 with full SRAM Red components for $5375 and just couldn't pass it up. So with no communication from either shop...I ordered the bike and they had it built up and to me within a week. The only problem I had with the build were these: The built it up with the bars in the upright position (so I had to reverse them) and they didn't shorten the aero extensions which had to be 2+ feet long. I had to literally cut 1 foot off of each bar to get them within acceptable reach.

So, I decided to not ride the night it came in and get to work on the bike so it would be fit correctly and ready to ride. After four hours, I had finally got all the kinks worked out and it was built up. I did end up switching saddles to my main brand of Selle San Marco Glamour Aspide (though I could see switching to a Specialized Toupe down the road).

I was able to take it out on Thursday for it's first spin. Initial impressions is that it's a much faster bike than my old Fuji. The fit is a little different as it's a little shorter than my old bike, but that's actually a good thing.

With my fit I have the bars lower than my Fuji, but the saddle in the same forward position. With the bars lower, I brought them back toward me so my elbows are closer to my knees which gives me more of a 90 degree angle between my body and upper arm and at my elbow, where as before they were stretched out a little more. It also allowed me to narrow my elbow width a little more which I wanted to do, but couldn't on my old bike.

The end result is more of a pro look...but more importantly a nice flat back, that still has a very good hip angle that allows me to produce a lot of power while in the aero bars.

The bike it's self absorbs chip seal roads well, but is a little harsh over sharper impacts. The handling is quick while in the drops, but is more stable in the aero bars. The braking is better than expected given all I've heard about TT bikes and their brakes. Even the rear brake has good lever feel, modulation and power. 

I did have to raise the saddle by nearly 1" from these pictures to get proper leg extension. So my saddle to bar drop is closer to 14cm now, which is much more than on my old Fuji.

On it's first ride, without trying I set two Strava KOM's on flat segments around here (averaging around 27 mph on the flats with no aero gear, but a 4-5 mph tailwind)...and I wasn't pushing it since it was a recovery ride. As I said...the bike is fast :)

I'm looking forward to getting some more miles on it and racing it at the State ITT Championships this year...hopefully I can improve on my 54:08 time of last year.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

OBRA RR Championships Day 2...Epic Fail

Yesterday was the state Road Race Championships Day 2 here in Oregon. They split them up into two days, one for category racing and the other for age racing...yesterdays was age category racing. I race in the 40-49 category, which can be a very fast category since half the field are CAT 1/2's and regularly compete in those races. When they get to race in a masters race it's generally easier for them, and harder for everybody else because the distances are shorter for them and longer for us...and the pace is higher for those not used to racing in a 1/2 race.

Last week I was liking the forecast with temps int he mid 60's. The Day 1 race was hot with temps int he mid 80's and it took it's toll on lots of riders. As the week moved along the expected temps crept up and up with the forecast ending up being mid 80's again but higher humidity (it was in the upper 40% to low 50% which is very muggy for Oregon).

I knew this would take a toll on me as the race went on, but I figured I'd give it my best shot. I'm not much of a pack racer and like getting out on breaks as I'd rather die a hard death than sit in all day and finish mid pack...and every masters race I've been in has been won in a break.

Going into the day my legs felt OK, but not great. I was a few pounds lighter than Day 1 races, but I knew I was still going to struggle on the climbs as this course was tough with few/no flat sections, lots of small rollers and one short steeper climb and one longer shallower climb (both tougher than they looked on paper).

The race started and I tried to stay up front to watch for breaks. A few tried to get away during the first mile but were all brought back in. About 8 mile into the race there was an attack that was brought back and immediately followed by a counter attack. I followed both and the counterattack opened up a gap that allowed four of us to get away.

As we hit the climb a few miles down the road we had opened up about 1 minute on the field and were working well together. Near the top of the climb...BAM, one of the riders tires blew out so we were down to three riders. This in the end, likely hurt me because I didn't get as much rest during the rotation, but I pushed on and did my best to help the other two put distance on the field.

We stayed away from two laps before a small chase group of four caught us...but by this time the combination of high temps (my Garmin registered as high as 94 degrees several times), hard pulls and no break on the legs were toast. I lost contact on the main climb and dropped back a bit, but kept the leaders in sight to the top of the climb, only losing about 20 seconds by that time.

When I got to the bottom of the downhill I knew my legs were toast. I couldn't get any power going and another 5 minutes or so down the road, the remnants of the main field caught up to me. I tried to latch onto that field to finish the last 16 miles of the race...but couldn't get enough accelerate over the small rollers and quickly dropped off. Crossing the finish line I gave my self a first ever voluntary DNF!

In the end it was a good decision though. Looking at the results 1/2 the 40-49 group took a was a HARD race.

Watching fields go by as I was packing up there was never a solid group of more than about 10 racers together...fields were shattered in every class. The eventual winner of my class was one of the guys I was out in a break with...2nd place was a guy that bridged the gap (Both CAT 1/2 racers).

I feel good about my effort because I was out front and at one point had nearly 2.5 minutes on the field...Hit my limit right at about 2 hours (45'ish miles), which is somewhat normal for me. If the race had only been 3 laps instead of 4, I could have pushed it and probably made it on the podium...but the extra lap put the nail in the coffin for me.

It was a good race overall and I'm happy with my effort...but am feeling it today.

Now it's time to train for the Individual Time Trial championships in August...lots of 2x20's and hill work on my TT bike. I really want to break 53 minutes over 40k if the weather is good, but my goal is to break 53:30 which will put me at an average speed around 28 mph...If only I could afford a new, much more aero TT bike than my old Fuji...but you race what you've got :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

OBRA TTT Championships 2012

Today was the State Team Trial Championships, my favorite race of the year. It's such a great racing format because you need to work as a team to win.

It's a lot of suffering because it's not a traditional time trial where you get into a rhythm and crank out steady watts. It's not like a crit because it's not all hard accelerations, but is similar in that there are a lot of VO2 max efforts and it's not like a road race where you can hide in the pack the whole time drafting off others.

It's an hour of suffering!

This year was a new course and instead of doing 3.8 laps it was a single 28.8 mile loop. So, not only did we not have to do laps, we also got to do another 1.5 miles of racing with a little hillier terrain to ride.

The race took place in Brownsville, OR and was well organized and they chose some fantastic roads to ride on. The weather was great with temps in the low 60's, winds in the 3 mph range and just a small amount of drizzle near the end of the race, but nothing that stuck to the road.

Being on a new team that's not dominated by time trialists like my old team was for a while, I didn't know what to expect out of my teammates who a mostly road racers. My teammates were Tony Coca, Shawn Cecotti and Stephan Niquet.

We all arrive, set up, warmed up and lined up to race. We didn't have a chance to practice before the race so it was all new for us as far as working as a team, strengths and weaknesses, etc. I knew my fitness was good after last weeks PIR TT and figured I could do a lot of pulling if needed.

When the race started it took a few seconds to get everybody clipped in and rolling...but once moving I quickly bumped the speed up into the 29-30 mph range and took a 2-3 minute pull. From there we went into rotations with each rider figuring out what they could do/not do. When we hit the hilly section we became separated for a short while and I had to slow down to regroup with the team.

In the corners we did fairly well given no practice, only falling apart in about 2-3 corners where we slowed down a fair amount.

In the end we pulled in a time of 1:02:33 (though OBRA scored everybody 5 minutes fast, not sure how that happened...the time gaps were accurate, but the actual times were smoking fast) over 28.8 miles for an average speed of around 27.6 mph.

We won the CAT 3 class (my 4th straight time on a TTT championship winning team) and had the 2nd fastest time on the day of all classes.

Needless to was a good day :) Now I get to order Championship gear again that was redesigned this season.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PIR Time Trial #2

First off...I love this race. It's on a closed course with smooth pavement, no traffic and no more than 35 or so racers on a 1.9 mile course at any given time.

The first race went well, but the wind conditions were tough with a headwind on the main (open) straight away and a tail wind on the backside (guarded by trees). I had a good time that day with a similar time to what I ran last year.

Between the first race here this season and this race I made some changes to my TT fit that included: 1.5cm longer stem, 5mm more drop in the bars, 170mm cranks (down from 172.5) and a different seat post that allowed me to level out the seat post.

I made these changes before the Raven ITT #2 and set a PR on the course by 38 seconds, but that was a hilly course, so I was excited to see if the difference helped on a flat course like PIR.

The weather conditions were good with temps in the low 60's, a small tailwind on the front straight and a good turnout of racers.

Overall, I felt OK but my legs were still a little sore from a hard ride on Saturday. During warm up on my trainer my legs were a little dead, but by the 3rd interval they started to feel a little better. Lining up for the start they felt OK, but could have been better.

The race it's self went well...I was able to keep my HR in the low 160's which was a few beats lower than the last race at PIR, but right in the range of where I'd like it. With the change in wind direction I felt like I was able to take the corners a little faster than last time which led to a smoother race overall.

In the end...the position changes made a big difference. I was able to shave off 40 seconds from my PR that I set last year running a 24:34 over 11.5 miles for my first individual time trial that I averaged over 28 mph (28.07 mph average). I had to wait for the results to be posted but I ended up 1st in the 40+ category for my 2nd win of the year and had the 6th fastest time on the day (5th fastest rider as one in front of me raced twice).

It was a good day and I feel both my position on my bike and form are starting to come together for the first time of the year.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

OBRA RR Championship Day 1

First off, this race was tougher than the profile looked.

With that said, I felt OK heading into the race, had an easy week on the bike with two rest days near the the end of the week (Wednesday and Friday) and warming up my legs felt OK (not great but OK).

The combined 4 fields into one for this race: CAT 3, CAT 3 40+, CAT 3 50+ and CAT 3 60+. It looks like there were a little over 60 people in the field and with fairly narrow roads it made it hard to move around in the pack. For the most part the only place to move safely was during the main climb, but since I'm not a climber, it was difficult for me to position myself well enough for each climb.

At the start of the race I was in a short break-away attempt. About 7 of us were off the front for about 4 miles before we hit the first real climb, but it fizzled out shortly after that as the peloton picked up the pace and chased us down as we slowed on the climb.

From there on I kept trying to stay with the pack on the two main climbs...the second of which was much harder than expected. Normally on climbs like these I don't struggle as I can sit in the draft and get help up the climb...this time however, I didn't have a problem up the climb the first two times but struggled the 3rd time up.

Coming in to the finish on the 3rd lap the field was neutralized, actually stopped on the road by race officials. They wanted to notify the field that we were not supposed to cross the yellow line on a corner after a long, fast downhill that went into a near 270 degree turn. The problem here is at the start, they told us we had both lanes for that turn.

Once under way again, I knew I was tired...but stayed with the field until we hit the first climb again, where my legs told me they were done for the day. I couldn't hold pace and the field rode away at that point. My last lap ended up being a full 10 minutes longer than my fastest (2nd) lap of the day.

While on the course I was talking with another rider who was in a break with me earlier this year and we both agreed that the field was too large for the roads we were racing on, which made for some sketchy riding. The only time they opened up was on the last lap when 1/2 the field was dropped and strung out because of the heavy attacks taking place. the pace we were riding at I wasn't going to hold on for 4 laps anyway. I've found that my overall limit with road races is about 2.5 hours...after that my legs tend to blow out on me. Up to that point, I'm pretty strong...My legs went at about the 2.5 hour mark, which is about normal...The race was just under 64 miles and took me just over 3 hours to finish (69 miles with warm-up).

Overall...not a great day on the bike, but no crashes and a completed race without any major obstructions. On the day I ended up 17th, which is OK, but not where I would have liked to have been. Next month they have the 40+ open race and I may go race it, but given the length and how I felt during this race I may or may not race it. I'll make that decision as it gets closer.

Next race up will be the PIR TT #2...of which I'm interested to see how the changes to my position effect my flat land speed, since this race is nearly pan-flat. It should be a good test of my legs and bike.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Montinore Road Race

So, I decided to do this race because it's basically in my back yard and have done these roads a lot. For the most part, the course (really a circuit race) fit my abilities. I knew the climb would be tough, but if I could pack slide...I'd be fine.

The race started off well enough and I was able to hold position through the first lap to the climb, which was good given the narrow roads.

When we hit the climb I was able to hold my own and actually make up some ground near the top. Over the top with the full road open I was able to move up to the front of the pack, where I wanted to be.

At this point, I was able to cover attacks, do some pulling and be in great shape for the next time up the climb...or so I thought.

Heading into the sharp left hand turn I was on the far left (inside) of the turn, which should have been good position for the climb. The just ahead and to my right a couple riders rubbed wheels which caused chaos in the field. Everybody moved to the left, which was toward me. The next thing I know riders are cascading toward me and one completely cuts me off causing me to come to a complete stop.

During this stop other riders were able to get around the outside of the road and continue up the hill.

By the time I got moving I had lost approximately 20 seconds and not being a climber...wasn't going to make up any ground. Over the top, the main group hit it pretty hard and by the time I got to the top I was a good 40-50 seconds back.

Given that I know the roads well...I went into TT chase mode and hammered trying to catch back on. I could see I was slowly gaining ground on the pack and caught back up to them with a little over a mile to go before we hit the climb for the 3rd time. The chase took about 11 minutes and I averaged 350 watts to latch back on (averaging 22.8 mph).

When we hit the hill, I thought I was OK, but could tell my legs were starting to tie up and since I was already in the back, I couldn't pack slide. I ended up losing the pack with about 300 meters to go before the top of the climb and ended up dropping about 30 seconds behind.

I kept chasing the pack hoping to latch on again...but just couldn't quite pull them in on the 4th lap and lost them once they hit the climb. This chase I averaged right at 310 watts (averaging 21.6 mph).

At this point, I just wanted to finish the race and hopefully pick off other riders that were dropped off the main field during the race. Over time, I did pick off a few riders and worked together with another on lap #7 (of 8), which helped finish the race a little quicker.

In the end, I got in a lot more TT work and aside from the stoppage on the climb had a good race. I ended up 29th out of 35 I think, so not all was lost.

This weekend is the first of two State Championship Road Races (they have a category race and an age bracketed race). I'll be competing in the CAT 3 40+ category and the course looks to suit my abilities we will see if I can finally pick up some luck in a road race and get a good race/finish in.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Raven TT #2

Between last weeks race and this weeks race I was able to pick up a new seat post (cheap Performance Brand) and swap out cranks, going from 172.5mm to 170mm cranks to make the final needed changes to my TT set up.

My old seat post was a reversed Ritchey, but didn't quite have enough room to get the saddle level which made the front of the saddle raise up a few degrees, which was uncomfortable on longer rides/races. The new saddle...though originally did the same thing...lets me have full range of motion regardless of which way it's placed in the seat post (I had to file down a nub on each side to do this).

This gives my bike an effective seat tube angle of 78 degrees. The stock STA on my Fuji is 76 degrees and using the reversed seat post gives me 2cm of extra forward saddle placement...thus giving me an approximate 2 degrees extra of STA.

As for the cranks...most people tend to go longer with their cranks on TT it's a bit counter-intuitive going to shorter cranks. The reasoning for shorter cranks is this:

  1. I have short femurs and shorter cranks work better for me
  2. Shorter cranks reduce the amount of flex in the knee, thus keeping your power stroke better (more bend = less power).
  3. Shorter cranks allow me to raise my saddle just a little which helps with hip angle

When I made the changes to the bike and took it for it's initial spin around the finally, just felt "Right". This was a good sign. I then took it out for 2.5 hours on Wednesday to make sure saddle height, fore/aft positioning, etc. were correct and did a trip up Pumpkin Ridge to see how it felt under power for an extended period of time. As it turns out with my saddle a little low I set my fastest time (on my TT bike) up Pumpkin Ridge by about 1.5 minutes.

So...The Raven TT #2 was it's first real test under full, race conditions.

The conditions were a bit trickier than last week with more wind that seemed to be a head wind on the way out with a cross wind on the way back. Most people were turning in times similar to last week, so it couldn't have made too much of a difference overall.

The end result was I ran a 28:14 which was a PR by 28 seconds on this course and 36 seconds faster than last week. The bike also felt really good, especially on the flats where I was able to push a bigger gear and was more comfortable.

Looking at the results again, it appears they changed...I moved up into 1st place by 2 seconds for my first win of the season.

It should be interesting to see if I'm any faster at the PIR TT that takes place on Memorial Day this year.

Overall...I still took 2nd in the Masters 40+ class and had the 9th (?) fastest time on the day (though one was a tandem and an other was by the same guy racing two classes). But I feel good about the effort because my fit feels pretty dialed in, I think I could have gone a good 10 seconds faster and I set a PR on the course by a large margin.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Raven TT #1

The last time I competed in this race was during it inaugural season in 2010. I really liked the course and it's proximity to where I live but didn't get a chance to race it last year due to scheduling. 

The course is both fun and hard. There are some good high speed turns, one big hill and a lot of steeper rollers with an overall length of around 11.5 miles. The hill and rollers make it hard to get into a rhythm and you always seem to be changing gears. With that said, I'm not a climber so I lose a little ground in those areas most of the it's a challenging course for me.

I hadn't ridden in two days so my legs were likely fresh, but a little dead due to time off. After about 30 minutes of warming up on the trainer they started to wake up a little...but still were not all the way there, so I didn't quite know what to expect for the race. My best time ever is a I was shooting for something in that range.

I also had a different bike set up than previously...and will make a few more changes. Previously the seat post I had was a reversed Ritchey which worked, but had the nose of the saddle pointed up a little, which makes it a little uncomfortable when in the drops. So, I switched seat posts to another "Throw away" post I had laying around and tried to make it work...which it didn't. So I went back to a zero degree post and a Selle Italia Max Flite saddle that allows for a very far forward positioning of the saddle...which worked OK, but I had the saddle set just a little bit too high as I could feel it in my knees the last 1/2 of the race. I plan on picking up a cheap post that I can reverse and will allow proper set up of the saddle as well as switching back to my original saddle for next weeks race.

Other changes made to my set up was lowering the bars by 1cm and switching from a 95mm to a 110mm stem. Looking at photos from the PIR TT I could see I was a little tall and looked a little compact on the I made the switch. I'm still not sure it's better or not right now.

I also decided not to go with a full set of TT wheels leaving my disc at home. I instead went with my 58mm, tubular Corsa Concepts for lighter weight and to get some power numbers during the race. I had just got them back from having new tires glued on after my crash at Kings Valley, where I also had to re-true the rear wheel a little, so I wanted some time on them to make sure they were ready for next weeks road race. So I wasn't as aero as I could have been for the race, but still good overall.

The race it's self went well enough. I tried using my power meter to pace myself...but in reality probably should have just ignored it. I think my pacing overall was good though...but I can tell the final hill is my slowest part of the race. I can hit the front side hard because I'm fresh, but coming back up it after a 25 minute hard effort is more difficult. Next week...I need to get out of the saddle and push it more there for a better time.

Overall though I had a good race finishing 2nd in the Masters 40+ (6th fastest time overall) with a time of 28:50, which is good and falls within my average for this race. I can tell there are areas where I can go faster on the course...which I will try to do next week. Something in the range of 28:20 - 28:30 is attainable, I just need a slightly better run at certain sections.

I think a few changes to the bike will help here as well...Some final tuning and it should be set up for a long time...until I can afford to get a new TT bike as my 5 year old aluminum Fuji is behind the times when it comes to being the most aerodynamic design out there.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

300 miles on the new CAAD 10

So, I've hit the 300 mile mark after a week (16,500+ feet of climbing) on my new Cannondale CAAD10 (4) and wanted to give my impressions of the bike now that I've spent some time on it, made some fit changes and done a lot of climbing on it.

Mid week my new top cap from "Slam that stem dot com" came in which was the final piece in getting my bars in the correct position. With this my total stack height is down to 15.8cm (including headset) which is about 1cm taller than on my Tsunami...however, using a -17 degree stem instead of the -10 degree stem puts it within 1mm - 2mm of my old position.

The fork on the Cannondale however is 8mm longer than my old Easton EC90SL, which may bring the front end up a little higher than the old bike by a little.

Other changes that had to be looked at with the fit was the shorter top tube (by 1cm) and slacker seat tube angle (by .5 degree). The reach was taken care of by going to the Pro Vibe 7 deep drop bar as it has a 1cm longer reach than my Ritchey bar did. The slacker STA was taken care of by using a saddle with longer rails and thus more adjustment to move it forward and be put in the correct position.

The fit feels really good at this point and I don't foresee any adjustments at this point since my power output is good and my weight balance feels good.

One overall, noticeable difference between the Cannondale and my Tsunami is I feel like I'm riding taller on the Cannondale than my Tsunami. Part of this is the longer fork (8mm longer than my Easton EC90SL) and possibly taller bottom bracket. Now that I've to the stem low, it's not as noticeable, but it's still there.

The weight of the mentioned in my previous post is 17.13 pounds as shown (with cages, pedals and computer mount). My race wheels are still in the process of getting their tires glued on, so no pictures or weights with them on...though it should come in right at 16 pounds (no bottles). Given this is an $1800 bike (though I'm made a few changes to some components) that's very light for the price.

As for the bike it's self...

The ride is still aluminum harsh, but refinements have been made over the years. Over pavement cracks and small holes in the road, the sharp impacts can be felt and if they are big enough, getting out of the saddle should be done. However, on small bumps and chip seal roads the ride is better damped than my old Tsunami, but isn't quite as good as my old Velo Vie.

The CAAD10 does use the "Save" technology from their higher end, carbon frames, which just means the seat and chain stays are flattened in the middle to allow for some flex in them. I'm not sure how well this works with an aluminum frame, but I hear it does wonders with carbon frames. Aesthetically though, it's not as nice looking as the older curved stays CAAD frames had.

The bike does give a solid/connected feel of the road when motoring along...Some of the more comfy bikes I've ridden didn't give me the this and I feel my speed (at least while descending) suffered at times.

If you are looking for a plush bike...look elsewhere...if you are looking for a race bike, the CAAD10 should be worth checking out regardless of it's lower price or non-carbon frame.

The handling of the bike is good, but may appeal to others a little more than myself. With that said, it's well within acceptable range. At lower speeds (below 30 mph) the bike feels great having a solid/planted feeling to it. When speeds go over 30 mph it gets a little twitchy and I have to watch how much input I give the bike to make sure I maintain my lines. My old Tsunami was built to be very stable at speed and there is a noticeable difference between the two when descending.

Personally, I'd like to see a little more stability at speed and less so at slower speeds. A fork with less rake might do the trick since Cannondale put a 45 degree rake on the stock fork. If I had the money I'd try an Enve tapered for with 43 degree rake...but since this has me tapped out on finances, I'll pass for now.

With that said...I received my first Strava K.O.M. on the Cannondale this weekend on a climb/descent (the segment has some initial climbing and then drops down about 800 feet and is pretty twisty) I can say that it corners very well, and as I said before, has a great road feel so I can tell when it's getting close to it's traction limits.

The stiffness of the bike translates well when it comes to climbing. I've been setting faster times up local climbs on it than I was on my Tsunami which may be due to a slightly different fit, better power transfer, better gearing (since this bike has a compact front crank instead of a standard crank), I'm getting lighter or I'm getting into better shape. Probably a combination of several factors.

I have yet to complete a full on I can't comment on it's sprinting ability, however every other aspect of the bike is doing well...So I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt for now.

The fit/finish of the frame is acceptable, though I can tell a difference between this frame and older Cannondales I've owned. The CAAD frames used to all be made in the U.S.A. but now have been outsourced to Asia for manufacture. The welds are no longer as clean as they used to be, though they are still smoothed/sanded after welding which cleans up the appearance...the overall look just isn't as clean as it used to be.

I will also say the seat tube/seat stay juncture is pretty ugly on the CAAD10 compared to previous models. They were going for a stiff top tube, which they got, but it made for an ugly connection at that juncture.

I don't have a problem with any frame misalignment or bad welds though, so it at least passed the QC portion before leaving the factory.

The only change I can see making in the near future to the bike is a different crankset. The stock (Apex I'm guessing) crank is stiff and solid, but is heavy and ugly. Granted that's not a good reason for a change but I can see saving 100-200 grams and making the bike look much better with a nicer crankset on the bike. I'll also look at changing the gearing of the crank to a 50x36 instead of the stock 50x34 since I don't quite need the 34 tooth gearing and I feel a 50x36 when combined with an 11x26 cassette is the best amateur race gearing combination out there. a replacement for my Tsunami, I'm happy, especially for the price of the Cannondale compared to similar priced bikes. It doesn't have quite the same feel, but is a great bike in it's own way. Now, I just need to get my race wheels and some results on the new bike. Hopefully we will have many happy miles together.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My new Cannondale

So now that my Tsunami has gone to the recycle bin in the sky (or maybe lawn or wall art, not sure yet)...I had to get a new bike. Being the bike geek that I am, I'm always looking at bike geometries and what might work when it comes to getting another bike or a back up bike.

With this in mind, the Cannondale CAAD series of frames has always been on my short list of bikes to look at. They have been around forever, the frame has been refined and on a cost/performance ratio they are "Very" hard to beat.

So after my crash yesterday, my wife told me to "Just go buy another bike" ... taking her advice like and good husband would do, I went out after cleaning myself up and checked out a few bikes to replace my beloved Tsunami.

I looked at the Scott Foil 40, CAAD 10 series and was considering the Felt F series of road bikes. I would have loved to picked up a Scott Foil, but nobody had one in my size and I just couldn't justify the extra expense over the Cannondale. The Felt bikes would have fit a little better (shorter head tube), but the parts for the price just isn't there.

So...I came home with a new Cannondal CAAD10 (4) Rival equipped bike.

I did replace a few of the stock parts with some that I already had including:

  • Thompson 0 degree seat post
  • Thompson -17 degree (110mm length) stem
  • Pro Vibe 7 round bars
  • A set of 32 spoke Open Pro wheels laced up to my Powertap for training

I also bought a new Specialized Romin saddle since my saddle was also killed in the crash and I've wanted to try one out for a while knowing the size and shape would work for me.

Today I was able to take the bike out for it's maiden voyage, a 47 mile ride with 3300 feet of climbing. I didn't do any huge accelerations, but did do some tempo climbing and just worked on getting the fit dialed in while checking out how the new ride handled and felt on the road. One addition I'm waiting for is a new top cap for the headset from "Slam that stem . com" that will have a stack height of about 2mm giving me the lowest possible handlebar set up for this bike.

The bike it's self is lighter than I anticipated weighing in at 17.13 pounds according to my fish scale. That's with my Powertap wheelset, bottle cages and Garmin 500 computer mounted. Not bad for an $1800 bike. With my race wheels it will be just over 16 pounds and if I want to upgrade in the future, taking another pound or two off will be very easy with a few parts swaps.

The initial feel of the bike was one of feels like a bike built for big power guys, but has the ability to work for smaller climbers as well. There isn't a whole lot of flex in the frame or fork and out of the saddle efforts seem to propel the bike forward as would be expected for a stiff aluminum frame.

Road noise was still there as is expected on an aluminum frame, but is muted a little due to the tube manipulation Cannondale has done with the bike. Basically it's not a silky smooth ride, but it's not super harsh either. Completing 60-70 mile races, or 100 mile training rides in the summer won't be a big deal where I feel beat up by the bike, as other bikes I've had rode harsher. The frame gives enough feedback to let you know what's going on with the road, but not enough to beat you to death.

Climbing was solid, but not spectacular...then again, is anything spectacular climbing wise for somebody just under 200 pounds? Part of this is getting the position dialed in which will happen over time, but out of the saddle efforts where position isn't as important were very good...over rollers it would shoot up and over with no problem.

I haven't done any full on sprints I can't really comment on that, but given the solid nature of the bike I expect them to be good.

Handling wise the bike is a little twitchy at speeds over 40mph, at least more so than I'm used to. Since my last bike was a custom frame I had it made with stability in it was very stable at speed. The Cannondale holds a line fine, but small movements can make a big difference, so learning the characteristics of the bike at speed will be important.

Cornering was solid and the bike held lines without issue.

My only real complaint would be I'd like a 1cm shorter head tube and 2cm shorter seat tube to accommodate riders that are on the fringe of bike fit. This is a minor squabble and part of that is just the look and feel that Cannondale was after with the bike.

Overall...the CADD series of bikes from Cannondale seem to be the workhorses of their lineup. They are solid, dependable, refined and just plain work for much less money than higher end carbon bikes.

I'm looking to many thousands of miles aboard the new Cannondale and hopefully a few wins along the way as well.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kings Valley...a dismal failure

 So...Kings Valley has come and gone again this year. I had high hopes heading into the race as I knew my power was there and my weight has been dropping. The conditions were perfect this year with temps in the 60's and a nice south wind, which would make the back side of the course perfect for breaking away.

The race started as expected...a few hard efforts, a couple people trying to establish an early break and basically the general feeling out that takes place during a race. The Masters 3/4/5 field was "HUGE" with 80 riders starting the race.

Up the first climb we were not going that fast...but it opened up a great opportunity to start a break. As we crested the hill I accelerated to catch a guy that had gaped the field by a short distance. When I reached him two others had jumped with me and we had a solid group of 4.

I knew one of the members of the break as he was a former teammate and a strong rider. One of the other riders appeared to be very strong as well...but the 4th member didn't seem very strong as he couldn't pull through on a downhill section.

By the bottom of the hill (spanning about 3 miles) we had opened up a gap of 40-50 seconds and were opening it up.

Then came a sharp right hand turn when everything went downhill for me. Before entering the corner the lead guy wasn't holding his line, which caused me to brake hard...then we made it through the I thought. Just after hitting the backside of the apex I was on the ground...HARD. The only thing I can recall is  the weakest guy blew through the corner, didn't hold his line and took my front wheel out...but I can't totally verify if this is true because of how quickly it happened.

Looking back at my Garmin data I hit the ground at 29.8 mph...the crash destroyed my custom Tsunami frame and most of the components on my bike as seen by the photos below:

 As you can see by the right seat stay, it's bowed inwards...when it should be straight like the left side.

The right side chainstay got dented and has a small gash now. I'm really not sure how this happened unless my bike was hit from the back side because I basically just laid the bike down from my recollection.

Both shifters were broken in the crash. The front shifter paddle broke off, the rear shifter was bent and the paddle damaged in the crash. The bars were also damaged as you don't see the bar tape worn off and all the gashes on the side of the handlebar.

Other parts that were broken in the crash: The saddle was destroyed as the sides were worn off as it skidded down the road. Both tubular tires are trashed with the rear tire rubbing on the chainstay and the front now there is another $200.00 or so to get new tires glued onto the wheels...however the wheels appear to have made it through the crash extremely well. With that said...I'll highly recommend Corsa Concepts for wheels if you are looking as they are fairly light and "Extremely" well built (hand built in house).

Here is a picture of my helmet...another casualty of the crash. There are several cracks in the helmet now and it shows the importance of wearing your helmet.

I also lost my brand new team kit as both the jersey and shorts were shredded.

With all the damage to my bike and it being totaled...on the way home wife told me to just buy a new bike. So with that in mind, after cleaning my wounds up...I headed out after the race and did a little bike shopping. I really wanted a Scott Foil 40 but couldn't find one around in my size and the extra money for it just didn't seem worth it for a bike that could end up like my Tsunami.

Knowing the geometry of many, many bikes...I decided to go and pick up a new Cannondal CAAD10 (4). I had them put a new top cap on the headset that dropped the bars by 1.5cm (stock is 25mm, replacement is 10mm). I then added a -17 degree Thompson stem I already had and a Thompson 0 degree seat post. I also replaced the saddle with a Specialized Romin, which so far I really like and the bars with some Pro Vibe 7 round bend bars I already had to give me a lower position in the drops.

I'm still a little taller than I want to be, but overall the bike fits really well. It came in a little lighter than I expected an $1800 bike to be. With two cages, my Powertap training wheels and Garmin computer it weighs in at 17.13 pounds. With my race wheels on it will come in right at 16 pounds...not bad for a Rival equipped, aluminum framed bike.

Overall...a crappy day on the bike, but I should heal up quickly and am already planning a 3+ hour ride on the new Cannondale better associate myself with the new bike...Bonding time and all. I'll probably get in some good climbing and enjoy some extra gearing as I now have a compact crank instead of standard, which I needed for the steeper sections (over 8% grades). I will likely eventually replace the stock crank with a SRAM Red or Force compact with 50x36 gearing instead of 50x34 since I think it will fit me perfectly.

Anyway...a dismal race, some injuries, a totaled bike and a new bike. Quite the Saturday for me...hope your's was better.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This past Sunday was the first of two ITT's at Portland International Raceway. The Time Trial is 6 laps and around 11.5 miles in length. This is the 2nd year they have hosted an ITT at PIR and last year's was great, so I expected a similar experience again this year.

With the length of the track and riders going off at 1 minute intervals the largest number of riders on the track at any given time would be around 30, which on a nearly two mile track means lots of room to move around and constant carrots to chase on the track.

The weather was great with temperatures in the low 60 degree range, but there was a good headwind down the front straight, which is the longest and straightest part of the race. The back stretch had a tailwind but was the most protected from the wind, so it didn't quite make up time wise that was lost on the front straight.

Looking at my times, I went out fast on the first lap then fell off for the second lap. After that I leveled off until the 5th lap that was a little slower, the picked it up for the final lap.

I was hoping to beat my time from last year, but the wind conditions made that hard and from the times it seems like overall...everybody was slower than last year. Comparing the times I was 4 seconds slower this year than last, but when looking at my overall placement I was higher placed than last year.

I ended up with a time of 25:18 with an average speed of 27.1 mph and 2nd in the Masters 40+ division...Overall I had the 5th fastest time on the day (though two of those times were by the same rider racing in different categories) and was the 4th fastest rider on the track.

I'm pretty happy with the result as this is around 7 weeks earlier in the season than when this race took place last year and my weight is finally starting to get down to where it needs to be. I hit a dehydrated 194 pounds last week, but morning weights are closer to 197-198 I still need to drop another 8-10 pounds to be where I want.

I'm planning on racing Kings Valley this weekend, which looks to be another nice weather weekend...should be interesting to see how that goes this year.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Banana Belt III

This was an unplanned race, however Team Oregon was having their training camp this weekend, which I really wanted to attend...but my wife had to be out of town (Seattle) for work and I had some important meetings on Friday that I had to I skipped out on the camp. 

With that in mind there was no group ride this weekend with the team out of town and I wanted a good hard ride this weekend so I decided to go race. Hagg lake is located about 20 minutes from where I live. I've done this race in the past and clockwise have done well, counterclockwise not so well. This year due to road conditions (i.e. lots of asphalt erosion) all races were in the counterclockwise direction.

I wasn't planning on racing any of these races knowing the direction...but, it was a good opportunity to race, get in a good workout and see where I'm at with the field knowing I still need to drop about 10-12 pounds (I'm down to 200 now).

The other aspect this year was they added a lap to the masters field (5 laps now) and lowered the age from 40+ to 35+ which brought more people to the race. As it turns out it was the largest field of the day with 42 people racing.

Most of the course I am fine on because the hills are not too steep and I can draft up most of them to stay with the field...but there are two hills on the course I struggle with in this direction. One is called "The Wall" which is about 150 feet of vertical climbing over a .25 mile distance and averages around 9%...the other is the finishing hill which isn't as long, but is about as steep. 

To stay with the pack I was doing the "Pack Slide" through the entire race on those climbs...working my way to the front before the climb then drifting back. I almost lost touch with the field on the 3rd lap but was able to TT my way back on when the climb leveled off a bunch. The 4th and 5th laps I didn't have any problem hanging on to the back as I think people were getting tired.

With about 3 miles to go the field started getting "Sketchy" and people started bumping more and rubbing tires...which told me people were tired. 

Knowing I wasn't going to be able to contend on the finishing hill which would have been for 5th or 6th place as a group of 4 - 5 got off the front on the 3rd lap...I drifted back and let the pack go since I had accomplished what I wanted...Not get dropped! I ended up 37th out of 42 but was with the pack at the end of the race. Out of the 42 that entered with at least half the field being CAT 1/2 racers, Pro MTB'ers or former Pro Road I felt good overall especially knowing I have weight to lose.

The other part of the race was I got to play with my new toy...I purchased a Garmin 500 computer! I've wanted one for a while not and decided...I'm just going to purchase the thing and enjoy it :) It's chalked full of features and uploading my data onto STRAVA and seeing how I compare to others in the "Competition" areas is fun.

Overall a good day of racing and what I needed this race up is the PIR ITT.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jack Frost ITT

So...the first race of the season came around, the Jack Frost ITT. I've done this race 5 years in a row now and really enjoy it as an early season fitness test.

This year was the first year I've ridden it when the weather was less than ideal. Temps were in the mid/upper 30's and at one time we had some sleet coming down while I was on the course.

Overall...this race was a mess for me.

It started out before I even got to warm up. I had my bike set up on my trainer, tested it out to make sure tension was right and waited for my time to get warming up. The time came around and I jumped on my trainer and some God awful sounds started emanating from the trainer...blown bearing!

Knowing Russel Cree @ UEF Fitness had some extra trainers for use and he's one of my teams sponsors, I took off for his tent. He had several trainers for use and I was able to get a good warm up.

Off to the start after my warm up things were going OK. Once under way, I caught my 30 second man about a mile into the race...however, I noticed my computer started cutting out every now and then. Seemed to go out for 5-8 seconds at a time and I don't know how many times it cut out during the race.

With the computer problems going on I just tried to pay attention to my HR and push hard to the turn around.

At the turn around I came in a little hot so I grabbed my brakes, but the rear wheel started to lock up and my reactions kicked in and I let off the rear brake and grabbed a bit more front brake...however on my TT bike I have my brakes set up I actually grabbed more rear brake and less front brake resulting in me laying down my bike at the turn around going about 15 mph.

Getting up, I had scraped up my hand, my arm and my leg. I gave a "QUICK" glance at my bike and everything looked OK so I started to run around the turn around cone...but that wasn't working so I re-adjusted my pedals and jumped back on my bike.

Under way again...About 10 seconds later I noticed my saddle had turned significantly to the left. So I had to try and grab it between my legs and quickly twist my body to straighten it out. After about three tries I was able to get it into a sufficient position and was able to finish the race strong.

Overall I had a time of 28:29 for a 20K ITT...which all things considered wasn't bad. I was on pace to beat my course record of 27:52 had I not crashed and probably would have run close to 27:45 with good luck. But such is life.

All told on the day: One broken trainer, one set of bib knickers ruined, one broken buckle on my shoe, one ruined shoe cover, a fair amount of road rash. So it was a pretty expensive day on the bike. But on the bright side...I found out the trainer was bad when I had access to others and have time to replace it, my bib knickers were ready to be retired and I was able to replace the buckle with one from an older shoe I had retired. So for the most part I've repaired most of the damage.

At least one race is down and out of the way.

As for the rest of the season...I've still got work to do in getting the weight off. My power is good for this time of the year but I've got 15'ish pounds to lose and I've stalled out for the last 3 weeks or I've got to do a better job of watching my diet over the next 6 weeks to get the weight off.

Next race will likely be Kings Valley, but I might race a Banana Belt race if conditions are good and maybe Piece of Cake if conditions are good.

For now though...time to heal up, drop some weight and add more power to my FTP.

Friday, February 3, 2012

New race season is just around the corner

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog, but the racing season is near, so it’s time to get it started again.

For 2011 I had a total of 627 hours of total training time (outside riding and trainer time combined). I don’t know my actual outside mileage totals but if you take the total ride time it would equate to a little over 12,500 miles for the year.

With the new season nearing, I had a decision to make when it came to my team. I had been considering changing teams for the past year or so, but hadn’t done so because of our Team Time Trial team and a few other reasons … But overall, I just felt my philosophy when it came to racing was different than some others on the team. It also seemed that there was a movement toward Cyclocross being a priority for the team and road racing less so. Since I don’t race Cross…I felt like I was growing farther and farther apart from them.

So with all that said, I decided it was finally time to move from Portland Velo after 4 great years and lots of friendships … and will be racing for Team Oregon this season.  I have several reason for moving to Team Oregon, the biggest of which is logistics since they start their group rides about 6 miles from my home and I can ride to/from the rides for a few extra miles. Other than that, they are a road oriented team (who also participate in cross, MTB and track) with an elite CAT 1/2 squad, of which I don’t plan on moving beyond a CAT 3, but will enjoy training with some of them.

My training is fairly on track right now compared to seasons past with my top end/sprinting power better than normal. I actually set a new 5 second power number (1418 watts) in December during a sprint that I didn’t put everything into and didn’t even realize it was a new PR until nearly a month later. That was also the first time I had held over 900 watts for 30 seconds in a while…So, the light/high rep lifting I’ve been doing during the fall/winter seems to have helped my sprinting.

As far as my weight goes, I’m about where I normally am this time of the year … maybe a few pounds below normal. I started the year at 215 pounds (normally 225-230 pounds) on January 1st of the year and have lost 7 pounds during January. This is a little slower weight loss than normal, but has me on track to be 190 pounds by the end of March/beginning of April when I start to hit the road races. I’ve really focused the last two weeks on weight loss which is where most of the 7 pounds happened and plan to keep this up for the next two months, which might get me to 190 mid-March, which would be great.

As for my race season…I’m looking at most of the same races as I did last year by competing in:

·         Jack Frost TT (late February)
·         Piece of Cake (early April – Maybe)
·         Kings Valley (mid April)
·         PIR TT (two races this season)
·         Eugene Roubaix (late April)
·         State Championship road race (Mid May)
·         ITT Championships (Late June)
·         TTT Championships (early June – if my new team has one)
·         Eugene Celebration stage race (depending on whether I have time and what type of shape I’m in)

Overall…I’m looking forward to another season, though with a new team. I look forward to seeing many of my old teammates at the races and hope they take it easy on me J