Saturday, October 21, 2006

More catching up....Ed Sanders Cross

Ok, so after the first CX races in Michigan I came home and managed to break my bike while training for Iron Cross. I was out hammering around on MTB trails trying to work on my technical skills and I guess I went a bit too hard on the equipment ending up with a broken frame (both down tube and top tube). At least this was an older bike, and not one of the new team bikes. This left me scrambling to borrow a bike for the weekend race up in Maryland. Joe Coddington came to the rescue with his Cannondale that was just my size :)

That Saturday we drove up to Maryland to do the Ed Sander's Cross race on Sunday. Last year I did both the masters and elite race here....but this year I just registered for the elite race....maybe I am getting lazy? Cara was 2nd in her race. The elite field was relatively small at 25 riders.

I had a miserable start and was pretty far back for the fist part of the first lap. I was able to move up but there was 2 riders off the front and one had a significant lead. I ended up riding with 3 other riders chasing....while the rest of the field fell away a bit. At about 1/3 in I didn't think I would ever see the front of the race...but top 5 or even top 3 was possible....things unfolded a bit differently: The lead riders were fading, but it became 2 together at the front, chased by 1, chased by me and one other rider...although all the gaps were closing and it looked like we might have 5 riders together with 2 to go. The the rider in 3rd rolled a tire and we went by him, then the 2 front riders started fading fast as we were working hard to close the gap. All of a sudden we were on them, passing one after he dropped his chain on a run-up, then the other as he completely imploded from his first half race effort. Now I was in the lead with just one other rider.....

We hit the last lap riding tempo, I knew just where I wanted to attack on the back side of the course, and I guess he (Nathan Diebert) figured he could match me and beat me at the finish. I attacked just where I wanted , but he held me in check (especially since I overcooked a turn) and we were together coming into the last part of the course. There was only about 50 meters of pavement between the last loose gravel turn and the I knew my best chance was to lead, go as hard as I could through e last couple of turns and hold on.....which I did. Not often I win a sprint finish, but it was a nice win and an exciting race.

You can see a video of some of the race (including the sprint finish and an interview with me) here:

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006


So we took a weekend off after the last road race trip...then it was baptism by fire for the cross season. We headed up to Michigan for the first UCI races of the season. It rained overnight both days...making for a nice slightly muddy/soft course, but the weather during the racing was great.

Cara was 4th and 5th...while I pretty much got my butt kicked both days. Saturday was extremely the first cx race of the season always is....but 10 hours in the car friday didn't help any either. The field was a bit bigger (about 40) and stronger(some west coast& colorado guys) than expected which put me in over my head for the first race of the season. I got off to my usual mediocre start, but I could never get things going. I developed a side stitch (diaphragm cramp) on the first or second lap and I couldn't get rid of it. I was riding hard, but not really going anywhere...and in pain the whole time. I ended up 17th.....mediocre for sure.

Sunday was a bit better....after my usual start, I actually felt ok.....well, as "OK" as one can feel while trying to ride so hard your guts come out....but I was able to find a nice rythm and move up constantly. The result wasn't much better (15th), but the sensations were.....funny what a difference a day can make.

The drive home was very difficult and we got in about 3am. I cracked about 5 hrs from home and Cara piloted the last half.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

catching up

ummmm....ok, so my foray into the blogosphere for the 2006 road season was ...well....not so successful as far as the part that includes me actually getting posts up regularly. So I'll try again....this was a very strange season to say the least. I'm not getting any younger, but this season took a lot out of me, mostly from a traveling perspective.

After worlds in Austria I came home and was in a funk for a week or so...I won't call it depression...more like sustained disappointment that took a while to dissipate. A week after coming home I did the US 10K Classic in Atlanta on Labor Day. The field was stacked and the race was super fast...and even fun. We rode well, but somehow managed to miss a 20 rider split with 2 laps to go.....ooops. I have always ridden well at this race, but never nailed a result (I think my best was like 15th?).

The following weekend was the Univest Grand Prix up in PA. This is one of the only uci races held in the states ...and the ONLY one an amateur team can even get into. While I was not personally looking forward to this race, I was psyched that the team was invited...especially for the younger riders to get the experience with the European riders etc.

Univest has a special place in my racing memory. It was the first "real" big time bike race I ever did its very first year back in 1998. I had just catted up from 3 to 2 and was asked to ride on a regional all star team for the inaugural edition. I lasted one hour going flat out as hard as I could to try to stay with the field.....I was blown off the back and destroyed. I couldn't believe how fast these guys could go.....needless to say THIS was the racing I wanted to be doing. I got to watch a young Jon Hamblen duke it out with 2 French guys for the win (Jon was 2nd). In 99 Univest was a big goal for me...I was riding well and made it off the big loop with the field...40 miles to go, feeling great....then got taken down in a crash. I got going and would have made it back to the field, but I got a flat just as I was about to make support around: game over. In 2000 I FINALLY, on the 3rd try, finished ! (63rd??), this was the year some no-name called Tom Boonen won....exciting stuff. The 2001 version was cancelled due to 9/11, 2002/2003 we were not invited and 2004 the race was shortened due to a tropical storm ( I was there, but DNF'd). No invite again for 2005 which brings us to this year.

We had a team with a couple of guest riders and our team leader (Hekman) broke his hand 2 days before the race. Even though I knew my form was nowhere in sight , I love the course and was hoping to finish the race. In the past this event had been amateur and U23 pros only...this year it was full-on pro team racing.....and it got ugly quick. We started fast and I was comfortable....enough so that I started to gain confidence....but that only lasted about 30 miles until the field splintered on a long gradual uphill. Again, I was OTB. I went as hard as I could and made it back into the caravan of follow cars....where I languished for about 5 more miles. I almost got back to the field, then we hit a big hill and it was over. An easy ride back to town with a teammate after watch the finish of the race.

Even though I didn't fare too well, one of our guest riders, Graham Howard (22 years old), had an amazing ride to finish 12th. It was inspiring to watch this guy pull himself inside out to stay at the front of the race. ...just seeing this made the trip worth the effort. The following day was the Univest criterium...and ...well...nothing more needs to be said about that....except good job to Ryan Gamm for finishing that thing.

Richard Fries did let me know that I was in fact the oldest rider in the race ...had I done well this would have been something to be proud of.

The Univest weekend concluded my 2006 road race season: next up ......CYCLO-CROSS !!!!!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Photos from Worlds

TT Start on Borrowed Bike

During the TT

Receiving my award - small consolation

Before the start of the RR

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Masters Worlds Road Race

First of all thanks to EVERYONE who sent encouraging this point I am just trying to move on and concentrate on the future. Although little reminders about the theft (like the Austrian Police report I got last night) keep cropping up. road race. A little anti climactic after the TT....mentally anyway. We had almost 180 riders in my category from all over the world! Pretty cool. I got there early and had a decent start position. I wanted to be able to get near the front without working too hard for the first climb. We went out hard and the legs felt good. Weather was and mostly sunny. The first half lap was chaotic as expected. It lined out on the first climb and stayed pretty fast. My goal was to wait...then try to cover moves on the second lap. After the 2nd climb on the course, things seemed ready to go , so I started covering attacks...I know, a little early, but it felt right. I would get in a group of 3 or 4, then we would get hauled back, then the italians would counter...I would recover and go a gain. This happened a few times taking us over to the TT course area with more open roads. Finally after a move I was in came back, I was spent and watched yet another italian counter.....and that move stuck. Just lauck really as to which one got off....too bad it was not one with me. The move hung at 10-15 seconds for a while, then went out. At this point we needed to sit, hope it comes back, then go with the counter....or if it doesn't come back, try to get a split or chase on the last lap.

We had 4 americans in the race and we had a loose least it was my idea to either get in a move, or help chase or keep things together in the finale for the faster sprinters. Belive me I had NO ointention of getting mixed up in a 180 rider bunch sprint on narrow roads with these guys. So as plan waqs all (top10?) or nothing for me.

The 2nd lap was pretty uneventful...the speed was moderately fast, but the break of 6 (?) got out to about 2 minutes. On the first climb on the 3rd and final lap I started to dig. I went hard on the climb....a little later I countered another american who had been up the road a bit...but the well organized italians were keeping everything in check. With about 12 miles to go it was time to get to work. Nothing was getting clear, so I figured I could use my energy to try to help the other guys. I went to the front and just gave it everything I had for almost 5 miles. One other rider helped...I have no idea where he was from, but he was strong. I came off the front just as we turned on to narrow roads about 6 miles to go. I was shuffled pretty far back in the group, but wanted to get to the front again....It took a while, but I did get one more good did about 5km out. I hit the front at 30...held it for a bit, then as my speed started dropping I pulled over for least no more at the front. At 3k to go things got really dicey. Pushing and shoving to get in position for the sprint. A couple of turns on hte run-in were just insane....guys riding off the road.....but it was easy to hang on. I came across nice and safe, in 84th place.

A geat experience to be sure and a very exciting race. I'll chalk it up to a learning experience this year.....great course, strong field.....and I felt like I was able to at least make a little bit of impact on the race.....but I know for sure I did not have the ability to win...even if I had made the move (which we brought back to 23 seconds)......ok, out for now


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Master's Worlds Time Trial

Woke up wednesday morning to a perfectly sunny sky and the news that my TT bike and road wheels had been STOLEN along with about 6 other bikes and 10 pairs of wheels from the garage where our group's gear is being stored.

My Specialized TT bike with my Dura Ace SRM - GONE
My Spinergy Stealth PBO road wheels - GONE

I sat in a state of dazed bewilderment for quite a heart sinking. Why today? The day of my most important event...couldn't they have waited till tomorrow at least?

I had a hard time eating much breakfast...just enough calories to get by...then I had to start thinking about HOW I was going to ride my TT at 2:20 this afternoon....not IF, but HOW and WITH WHAT. Dave who had broken his collar bone on sunday offered up his Felt TT rig and it fit pretty well. I got the saddle setback right, saddle height close, drop close, but the reach was a bit long and un-adjustable....but hey, not bad for the last minute...I´ll roll with it.

I tried to put everything else out of my mind....concentrate on getting used to the bike, and getting the legs prepared....Physically I felt GREAT. I could tell the legs were turning over and felt strong....mentally could I hold it together? I spun the 5 miles out to the TT start and back in the morning trying to get dialed in. I was using my 9 speed disc (my TT wheels and road frame were spared). with Dave's 10 speed shifters on friction. It was working ok.

Back to the room, relax, try to eat a little more, then back out to the TT start. We had a tent and some trainers out there for the whole group to use...a good set up and I was able to get a decent warm-up in. I was as ready to go as I could be....relatively relaxed.

Off the start ramp I knew something was wrong. The bike just would not stay in a gear. It kept wanting to shift to a harder gear, unless I held the lever...even then it was difficult to maintain a gear. This caused me to have to extend my arms futher than normal and I think it helped cause a bit of a diaphragm cramp about 2/3 into the course. No matter, I did the best I could and hammered away. It was a headwind out ...up the hill, turn around , then a cross tail/ tailwind home. My 30 second man was fast and I held him steady but could not reel him in until close to the end. I rode hard, battling the cramp...but had good speed. I kept my concentration, but it was tough with the hand position I needed to keep. I crossed with a time of 26:02 for the 20KM course. I think I did the best effort I could have given the circumstances. My situation did not affect me mentally or physically too was only the uncontrollables that negatively affected my time....the less than perfect set up and gear problems.

I didn't catch my placing as I crossed....all in german!....but I knew I was not top 3. Went and watched the finish board until the end of my category....I figured I was top 10 but not sure where. As it turnes out I was 5th! Just 32 seconds off the WIN! and ONLY 11 seconds out of 3rd!!! If it is possible to be happy and upset at the same time, that would describe my emotion: happy that I was able to pull off 5th with the circumstances, but extremely upset knowing that I WOULD HAVE BEEN TOP 3 FOR SURE....AND....I REALLY THINK I WOULD HAVE HAD A SHOT AT THE WIN.

Was my bike with my perfect TT position worth 32 seconds?? I will never know.

The awards ceremony was another mix of emotions. Seeing the top 3 on the podium in my category was devestating....but knowing that I have the ability to get there is a little consolation.

Mike Olheiser from our group put in a blazing time to win the 30-39 age it was great to see him get the jersey in teh presentation.

Today I took an easy spin around the road course and am trying to relax for the road race tomorrow. Yesterday was the event I had been waiting for and evything else seems a bit anti-climactic.....but when the gun goes off tomorrow.....I will forget everything and RACE.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

masters worlds part 2

not much to post today....lots of rain. Rode the TT course yesterday and today in preparation for tomorrows big event....

I race at 2:25 pm.....I can`t wait! Over 100 riders in my class. I hope I can pull off a good ride!

I swung by the awards ceremony inthe sqaure last night. It is HUGE...100s of spectators. I WANT TO GET ON THAT PODIUM TOMORROW NIGHT !

OK now to relax, visualize...prepare.


Monday, August 21, 2006

masters worlds part1

hello from Austria!

This has been quite a trip already. I flew into Munich overnight friday...arriving saturday morning....then a nice 2.5 hour drive into the alps. After a nice ride on the awesome TT course it was time to catch up on sleep.

Sunday I did a masters world cup road race on the course where the world champs road race will be next friday. The course is sooooo cool. Lots of twisting beautiful roads. A couple of climbs , but nothing too long. We had about 100 riders in my age group. We did 3 laps of a 23 mile circuit. The weather was cool and cloudy....

The first lap was extremely scary. I knew I should be at the front, but was too scared to move up...these guys have no problem pushing you off the road. Then it started to rain....not just rain...but I was scared AND I couldn´t see anything. The second time up the first climb I started to come around....but not soon enough as the movewent over the top of the climb, just as I was gettting my confidence. Now, after 35 miles of racing I was able to stay in good position...and wait for a chance to attack. My goals for the race were 1) don`t fall down, 2) learn the course and 3 get in a few good attacking or covering moves efforts. On the last 15kms of the 2nd lap I put in a couple of attcks and got nowhere...but I was coming around. On the third lap I rode the front on the downhill...then put in a buch of good attacks....even getting clear for a km or 2....and then covering some moves as well...of course this was all behind the break that was never coming back. As we hit the last 5 km in the hard rain and narrow roads, I sat up , went to the back and coasted in for 77th place....mission accomplished.

There were several other americans in the from our group, unfortunately went down on the first lap and broke his collarbone....

Now it is all about the TT on wednesday...the event I came here for. The course is 20km, mostly flat through a valley, with a nice little hill just before the turnaround. It is a course I can do well on.....but will it be good enough?


Sunday, July 16, 2006

National Champs!

I am a bad, bad blogger. The bottom line is that I have been home for a total of like 3 days in the last 4 weeks. Traveling, racing, and being stressed about getting work done has led me to ignore the blog......ok

So the big news is: I won the masters 40+ national time trial AND Cara and I won the Elite mixed tandem time trial! The masters TT has been a goal of mine for needless to say I was quite satisfied.

Between my last entry and now, I managed to win the Avery Trace time trial...then headed out and did the 5 stage tour of Ohio where I was top 10 on 4 stages and 9th overall....then we headed up to Elite nationals here in Seven Springs PA. I was 8th in the eilte TT...which was a good sign and my best elite TT finish by far (no pros this year). In the death march of an elite road race, I made it 3 of the 4 27 + mile laps then pulled the plug after coming off on the final climb of lap 3. This was very distressing for me. I had made the selection of 30 riders up to that point and all I had to do was ride around the course one more time for a top 25 finish.....but all I could think about was recovery for the masters and tandem TT wednesday, so I quit. It bothered me for a few days.....but now I believe it may have made the difference allowing me to win on I'll call it the best decision I have ever made. I hope to get more details and pics up from natioanls, but for now I have to rest up for the final event of the festival: the masters tandem road race. My partner Ken Stamm and I were 2nd in this race last year and we want redemption!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

river TT etc....

Ok...So I had to post this file because it is a pretty good example of TT pacing and a decent time. I did the 20KM course in 25:01...which is my 2nd fastest time on this course. Avg power was 347. Good for a flatTT for me. Notice the HR curve continues to go up all the way to the finish...and the power in the 2nd half is close to or better than the first half split...even though the 2nd half is slightly downhill. I might have sprinted a little too hard out of the turnaround though.

The cool thing is that I went off 2nd and Cara 3rd. We did our individual rides, then we immediately hopped on the tandem and did another 20 Km TT. I had about 5 min recovery between TTs...but cara only had about a minute and a half! Talk about pain....but we went well...putting in a I think I had the 1st AND 2nd fastest times of the night :) Cara said she felt like she had no power and was not happy with either ride....but I didn't notice too much on the fact I was surprised we were able to go so fast in our 2nd event.

The big news of the day is that I committed to going to the Master's Road World Championships in Austria this August. This is something I have been thinking about for years....but I have finally decided to do it. It is no secret that one of my lifetime goals is to win a world championship....even if it is Masters. Could this be the year? If everything goes perfectly with preparation, training, recovery, nutrition etc I might have a shot...but certainly a lot could go wrong between now and then.

I PROMISE I'll get to a report on my Boise / Wobble Naught training trip soon!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


With a 5 mile hill climb saturday morning, a tough circuit race saturday afternoon and one of the most difficult 90 mile road courses anywhere on sunday this race was quite the weekend outing. I felt great during the TT and was really happy with my time (18:13)...but was only fast enough for 4th! I was a bit bummed about that until I found out how good the guys were who beat me and after seeing my power numbers. The 352 watt average power you see above is closer to my best (and expected ) output for this type of event. This puts me at about 5.27 watts/Kg...acceptable.

The circuit race was on a difficult course with a nasty steep little climb and plenty of rollers. The field was strong and it was hot. Since I won this event last year all eyes were on me and I could not do ANYTHING without being covered....kind of frustrating, but of course that didn't stop me from trying. On the last of 3 laps 2 guys did sneak up the raod and the field was content to let them go. After the last real climb it made sense for me to work for my only teammate Reid who certainly has a faster sprint than me. I tried to help keep it together on the run-in then got the heck out of the way for the fast/narrow downhill sprint. Reid looked good and was right at the front, poised to win the field sprint...then all of a sudden there was a bike and dirt flying through the air. As I passed at 30mph I saw it was Reid......I crossed the line and rode back to him. At first I thought he was seriously injured....but amazingly he came out with just a few cuts and bruises. He had been forced into the curb in full sprint.

Sunday was the killer 90 + mile 3 Gap road race. We were to do 2 laps of the 3 Gap loop then continue up to finish at the top of Woody's Gap. That meant 7 big climbs with vitually no flat roads between. I love this is one of the best I have ever raced on. Since I knew that the field was not going to let me go anywhere today I had a little fun and attacked right from the start and continued attacking until I finally got away with 2 other guys just a few miles in. Dumb idea I know, but I was just having fun...and really thinking more about training for nationals. I thought if we had a little breathing room when we got to the rockpile (the start of the Woody's climb) we had a shot of staying away for a while. No....they didn't want to let us get anywhere so we were caught at about mile 9 or 10. The first time up Woody's was a nice fast tempo...not too hard...but hard enough. The guys at the front really gassed it for the last KM though and it was hard for a bit. Down the descent on the way to Wolfpen I tried attacking again...usually at times when I was hoping to catch the groupo off guard...still no luck. Wolfpen is fairly steep, but I was comfortable and went over the top about 10th position. The guys rode HARD down the Wolfpen descent....WAY faster than last year. For some reason I was very comfortable descending today and had no trouble staying with the leaders. We bottomed out and hit the Neal's climb immediately. I looked back and there was a huge gap behind...we had the field down to about 20 guys. I told Reid this and we drove it up the first half of the climb to keep the split. It worked. By the time we let some other guys take over there was nothing is sight behind. Cool. I was tired, but feeling more and more confident. I knew I would not win this race, but a top 5 was very possible.

We hit the long descent and again were flying. I felt my chain jam and backpedaled to clear it then cranked forward out of a turn. I felt it twist and snap. Next thing I knew I was grabbing the brakes as the chain was whipping my ankles and the rear wheel was intermittantly locking up at 40MPH. I got the bike stopped, but that was it: Game Over. I caught a ride back to the top of the climb and coased back down to the feed zone. I fixed the chain by taking out the twisted links and put in a new connector. I got back on the bike and rode the course backward until I met up with Reid who had gotten dropped on the 2nd time up Woody's. We rode back together and watched the guys come up past the Rockpile for the last time, then watched as the Women came by at the start of their race.

I sat in the hot parking lot near the start for hours waiting for the women to return after their finish. It turns out that there was a serious motorcycle wreck on the Neal's descent and they had to stop all the afternoon races for almost an hour! It turned into quite a long day. I was pretty dissappointed in not getting to finish the road race....but I raced HARD for about half the race, and was able to ride almost the full distance. there is always another race.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Information Overlaod! I did a bunch of great training alone and with teammate Ryan Gamm, then was scheduled to go to Boise Idaho to spend 3 days learning the Wobble-Naught fit system and Dartfish/EMG pedaling analysis tools. I drove down to the Greenville airport that tuesday and was told that my flights were all delayed and I could not get there at all until the next day. Great....after scrambing and spending way too much time on the phone, I got everything rescheduled for the following sun-thurs. I went home and put in another bunch of killer training days and headed out west Sunday evening.

I just returned last night and let me tell you my head is spinning. I have SOOOOOO much information bouncing around in there it is going to take a few days to sort it all out. I can say that I learned more in 3 days than I have in the last couple of years about pedaling a bicycle....this is exciting. I ordered my laser (think Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies) and hope to start offering bike fits within the next couple of weeks.

I was scheduled to go to the Nature Valley Stage Race in Minnesota next week, but gave up my spot to another teammate. Part of this is because I am a little burned out on travel right now and with my big gaol races quickly approaching I need to stay focused and fresh...and the other part is that I want to start setting up my space to do fits and analysis.

Tonight we head down to Dahlonega GA to race an omnium that consists of a hillclimb TT, a circuit race and an awesome road race that does 2 laps of the famous 3 Gap loop. I figure the road race sunday will be the closest thing to the Natioanl Championship road race that I will get to do, so we will see how it goes.

Remember Form = Fitness + Freshness

I know I am fresh after not riding much this week, we will see what the fitness is like tomorrow.

OK ...expect some long detailed posts next week about Wobble-Naught and my experiences out in Boise as well as (hopefully) a good report from the weekend races.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Racing and Recovering

Racing and recovering is not for me. Some guys can get away with it and even thrive on it...but my body seems to like a steady diet of high volume aerobic training...and specifically lots of time @ AeT (about 20bpm below LTHR). After coming back from Arkansas physically and mentally fried, I took a few days off the road bike. One might suspect overtraining as the culprit for the way I was feeling, but in fact I believe it to be just the opposite. Not enough training due to the need for race freshness....along with some mental burnout from travel.

I took monday off completely, then did some easy MTB riding tuesday. Wednesday was a steady /tempo 2 hr ride on the TT bike (always does me good). On thursday I headed back into the woods again , this time with our pro MTB friend Karen Masson. This was an awesome and inspiring ride. She took me on some wicked technical sections on some trails over in Pisgah where I had not been before. One particular section was a bunch of technical rock drop-offs. I had not done anything like that in many years....but since I was following her I just got it done. I was terrified , in a good way, and felt great after getting through it. I could feel myself coming back to life and feeling inspired on the bike again. It should be noted that Karen is an absolute stud on the bike ....she was riding her singlespeed. She dusted me on all the downhills and, though we weren't going hard on the climbs, I always felt like I was going harder than her....and I had gears!

On friday I came out of my self imposed nightime crit retirement to line up at the big NRC crit in Raleigh. I asked team director Chad if he would rather have me there racing, or supporting the guys on the radio, and making sure they were all taken care of. I got the impression he wanted me racing, so it was to least for a little while. It was a fantastic event and 100 of the best crit riders in the states were on hand. The start was WICKED fast and the course had like 9 turns in the 1 mile. 50 laps starting at 8:15PM meant not much daylight. I have enough trouble with crits during the day, when the visibility gets low I am useless....but I wanted to try.

So we do a few fast laps and my position is not bad ...about mid-pack. Then it starts raining. crit+ dark+ rain= freakout . I started sliding back through the field in every turn. It actually took quite a while before I was at the back....when I was... I got about a lap, then was gapped out of a corner and goodbye. I stopped on the back stretch to watch for a few laps. Right before I got dropped I did see the classy pro trick of a guy getting off his bike and letting air out of his tire to get a free lap. LAME. I won't name names even though I should. ...the only redeeming fact is that this PRO guy still didn't finish. After watching just 2 laps the race is completely blown apart...guys coming off everywhere and soon there is less than 1/2 the field left. Hekman is in GREAT position the entire time and Rich is tailgunning, but making After some light rain the skies finally open up with a deluge and things get really interesting...the field gets smaller and smaller as the winning break is established. Heckman looks great and with 2 to go I am convinced that he will get top 10. Rich is OTB, but there is less than 30 guys left in the race so he will get paid. At the bell the group comes through but Heck is off the back chasing....number flapping in the breeze and some road rash. He crashed, but got going pretty quick and finished up 21...Rich was a great showing for A&F at a big race...good work guys!

Instead of staying over we decide to drive back to A-ville and get home at 3 am. Saturday starts me back to my road endurance training and I get 5 HARD mountain hours in on the Doggett -Hot Springs loop. It was hot and I ran out of fluid with 20 miles to go.....I was shattered when I got home....but it felt great.

Today, Sunday, Cara and I did 4.5 hard hrs on the tandem with a small group...lots of climbing...again I was feeling it at the end, but in a good training sort of way.

I am on my way back to form.....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Packfill in Russellville

Arkansas: round 2. After Joe Martin, we headed down to Russellville AR for the Tri - Peaks Stage race. We stayed in a hotel mon-wed nights and moved into our host housing on thursday evening. During the week we did recon on the new road courses....both of which were diffrent than previous years. As with most of the big races this season the field for this event would be much larger than last year...and tougher....with more of the big teams attending.

Friday evening's crit was every bit as hard as last year's for the first half. So hard in fact that I was dropped from the lead group 2 or 3 times...having to claw my way back. In one instance I was dropped so hard it took me (and 2 other guys) a full lap to get back onto the lead group...and this was only possible because the front slowed a bit. Finally a break went and the field slowed down to a manageable...even pleasant pace for the remainder of the race. The large break of 11 finished about 40 seconds clear of the field. I was certainly not concerned about that. 4 of us finished with the field and 2 lost a couple of minutes ...not bad....Mark even managed 2nd in the field sprint.

This race finishes on sunday with a 2 mile 20%+ climb to the top of Mt. Nebo. This is where the GC is decided and much time is gained or lost. With this in mind the team tactic/goal was to conserve, try to make the splits in the road races, finish with the field saturday and stay with the front group sunday getting to the last climb with as little time loss as possible....then do a good climb. This was not going to be as easy as it sounds with 3 tough climbs on saturday before the finish and 2 before the last one sunday.

The race stated at 7:30 AM saturday...95 miles with 3 substantial climbs and a flat run-in to the finish. Shortly after the first climb a break went up the road...ok...then another large chase group went. I thought that with such a large group up the road and the majority of team leaders still in the field we would see a big chase toward the end of the stage and either catch the group or finish close behind. I was wrong. The big teams gambled, no real chase happened, and the break finished 2 minutes up on us....with over 20 guys! I was a bit confused by Toyota and Health Net's tactic here...but I figured they must have something up their sleeves for tomorrow. I was really dissappointed after the race. We basically just rode around with the field all day. While I thought this was an ok idea, it dawned on me that we didn't really RACE. We should have had at least one guy in the break....we needed to at least try to race with these guys...otherwise we are just packfill. On a positive note AEG Toshiba stole the glory from the big boys today...score one for the underdogs....Toyota had 3 guys in the break and didn't even get top 3 on the stage....AND lost the lead of the race.

Stage 3: 85 miles with 2 intermediate climbs and the mountian top finish. We started fast again today, but a few miles later AEG had the race under control setting tempo on the front. 2 riders got up the road. I was riding near the front talking to Reid telling him I was going to wait until after the first climb to try to go with a move. I was afraid that if I went too early, and was caught before the climb I might get dropped for good. As I was riding up the line I passed the race leader who was telling his guys on the radio that they didn't need to chase the riders off the front down, but just keep a steady tempo. It dawned on me that this was the perfect time to get a break going. With a team controlling the front riding steady, but not chasing a small less than dangerous breakaway. The next thing I knew I was attacking, trying to get to the 2 riders up the road.

I probably waited too long to attack because it was a difficult bridge that took over a mile...ouch...but I got there and felt surprisingly good. We rolled along pretty well and got out of sight. All 3 of us knew that we needed to get some time before the first climb. If we could make it over clear of the field, we had a chance to stay away for a long time....I had no illusions of making it all day....but at least I was racing. We hit the climb and it hurt. Stu Gillespie (TIAA CREFF) did most of the pace setting on the climb, I pulled through some, but the other guy was just hanging on. We were going as hard as we could and it hurt. On the second to last pitch I still could not see the field, but we could feel that we were peing pressed from behind. Just as we hit the last pitch Tony Cruz comes flying by with about 6 guys in tow. Damn...I thought this might be a break...not that I could have stayed with them over the top, but I looked back and the field was strung out chasing right behind. It took every last ounce of energy I had to remain in contact with the group going over the top. So much for a long lasted all of 8 miles. I was bummed....but realized that now it was time to sit in, and try to recover for the 2nd climb, then the final race to the top of Nebo.

The field rolled fast and no other real breaks materialized the rest of the day. I had a spot of trouble on the 2nd climb, but was able to chase back on the downhill. As we rounded the final turns to the last climb the big teams lined out the field and there were gaps everywhere. At this point I was really feeling the heat (over 90 degrees) and just could not make the front as we hit the climb. The climb up the face of Nebo is like nothing else I have seen. It is just over 2 miles, and only takes about 15 minutes, but it is the steepest bit of road I have ever raced on. At one point there are 8 switchbacks that are over 23% grade. Unlike previous years where I have raced this climb well....this year I was spent, and feeling the early effects of heat exhaustion as we hit the lower steeps. It was hard enough just to get up it this year....I suffered badly. Last year I was only 2.5 minutes behind the stage winner going up this thing...this year I don't even want to know how far back I was. All of the team finished within a short time of each other...except for Reid. We had decided to wait at the finish and all ride back to the cars together. Reid had crashed on the first climb and never made it back to the field. We waited a while, but then realized he may already be back at the cars waiting depending on how serious his crash we headed down. 2/3 of the way down we saw Reid heading were all going to finish. We waited at the bottom for him to come down and heard his story. He had not been able to regain contact after the crash...and rode 70 miles essentially alone....and I thought I had a tough day!

After showereing and packing at our great host families house (Gary and Jane Barnes) we hit the road for a long 11 hour drive back to Asheville. I have to say I am a bit down on my performance over the last couple of weeks. I feel mentally and physically exhausted. While I think my general fitness is climbing is not up to par...not even as good as last year at this time....Now I need to regroup, recover, analyze my training and do what needs to be done to get where I need to be for my goal races.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Joe Martin Stage Race - trouble in Arkansas

Last Thursday Mark Hekman and I headed out for the double header stage races of Joe Martin and Tri-Peaks in Arkansas. After a 13 hour drive from Ashevegas to Fayetteville we made it just in time for the “manger meeting” at the JMSR. Since we have no team car here the meeting was pretty much useless to us except for the fact that with over 200 riders in the race they were going to enforce a 15% time cut for all stages…including the hill climb TT. The trip out was uneventful…mark likes Howard Stern so we got our fix of that….but we did discover what Mark called “the best fast food combination meal ever” at a Taco Bell/ KFC. Yes folks the #11 at this fine establishment contains: 2 tacos, 2 chicken strips, potato wedges and a drink ….all for about the price of 1.5 gallons of regular gasoline.

Ok, Ok to the racing….but I’ll warn you: there is not a lot of positive experiences to follow. JMSR is a 3 day/4 stage affair staring off with a 110 mile road race Friday afternoon. This race is on beautiful rolling roads and has a not-so steep, but almost 10 mile long climb about 25 miles from the finish downtown. We rolled out at a quick pace …all 200 + riders… and a break was established almost immediately. My initial intention was to try to get into the early move…and stick with being aggressive….but with all the very best pro teams and the size of the field, I pretty much chickened out. Of course I knew a break would most likely be suicide…..but my chances for any result here were nil to begin with anyway. Soooo after a long, fast, but not too difficult first half of the race, things started to get interesting. On a set of rail road tracks there was a HUGE crash….over 20 riders involved with some serious carnage….mostly to equipment. Turns out A&F teammate Ryan Gamm was involved….but we didn’t know for sure until later. The rest of us attempted to conserve and save energy for the big climb. As the climb started I was in OK position, but I didn’t see any of our other guys….HealthNet hit the front and set a solid field-reducing pace. I struggled at the back for the first few miles of the climb…then ….I was reduced myself. As I was yo-yoing off the lead group I saw teammates Mark and Abe in the next group behind so I let up a bit and went back to them. The three of us actually drove this group all the way to the top of the climb….picking up the shrapnel coming back from the front along the way. As we topped out the climb it became clear that we were NOT getting back to the front of the race. Turns out the front group was about 65 guys….this was THE split and none of us made it. You could have called us a “chase” group, but in fact we were the “laughing group”….essentially out of the race. I knew no matter how hard we rode with our group of now almost 50 riders we would lose between 5 and 10 minutes (we lost 8).

A little bit about etiquette in the laughing group: when you get “stuck” in this group there are generally some guidelines to follow…first you have to realize that you are out of the race for the day…save some of your energy for the next race. The group will most likely have some VERY experienced riders in it…and maybe even some really good riders who did their work for their team and are now just getting to the finish. They will know what they, and the group, need to do to make the time cut. Don’t attack the group!….you won’t get away and you won’t make any friends. You can ride as hard as you want at the front on the flats, but make sure you don’t ride so hard as to drop riders out the back on any climbs...also: if there is a crosswind….DON’T gutter the group…this is just common courtesy…you are not going to win the race today.

Ok, so we get to the finish and the 3 of us are a bit bummed that no one made the front group. Mark has been sick for a week and is still not feeling well, Abe is in his first race of this size, but I really don’t have any other excuse than I just didn’t make it. Shawn is the next rider in, but no Ryan. After a while I start asking around about crashed riders. The SRAM guy points to a DESTROYED Masi on the ground near his car. Ouch. The time cut is 40 minutes…Ryan arrives on his neutral support bike at 39 minutes down…but he is physically ok.

Saturday morning at 8 am was another 92 mile rolling race…. super fast with a pair of short climbs each 23 mile lap that were testing. On the 3rd lap the field splits on these climbs… Abe makes it and Ryan and I catch on after a bit of a chase. About 100 riders speed toward the finish…half the field left. The run-in was super high speed… 35 mph for about 10 miles. A crash at 5km to go made things a little scary, but we finished on same time as the leaders. Where were Shawn and Mark? We go the car and see Mark’s bike….but Shawn is there. Turns out Mark broke his chain at the decisive moment in the race and Shawn gave him his bike. With neutral support ahead of them, Shawn had to hitch a ride back. Mark comes in about 15 minutes down on a bike about 4 sizes too small. Man… we just cannot seem to catch a break this weekend!

Saturday afternoon was a 2.5 mile uphill TT. We went off in number order, so the team was all together as opposed to GC order….this was cool….and the only good news was that since Mark was on Shawn’s bike, they recorded both of them as finishers and Shawn was able to ride the TT. This might be stretching the rules a bit….but it didn’t hurt anyone or affect the results at all. I rode well…or I thought I did but my time was extremely mediocre…disappointing in fact. With a 15% time cut we knew none of us was assured a start in the crit Sunday. I ended up like 70th….damn….last year I was in the 20s here.

Sunday was the notoriously hard crit on one of the most difficult courses I have ridden. My moral was low, but I was determined to at least stay in long enough to get a finishing time and GC place. I suffered for the first 3 laps near the back, but was not going to give up. Then, just after a tough chicane, I stood to sprint and my bike just went sideways. I flailed and slammed my shin on my pedal but kept the bike up. I thought I had broken the pedal and rode around the course, pedaling mostly with one leg, headed for the pit and a free lap. At fist I thought we could just put a new pedal on and get me pushed back into the race…and it took me more than a few moments to realize that my cleat had broken off the plate on my shoe and was still stuck to the pedal. Without another shoe, I was out of luck: race over. That was almost the shortest amount of time in a race…4 laps and about 8 minutes…, an incredibly disappointing weekend for me. Mark actually stayed in and finished the race with only about 55 guys…impressive.

All in all not a particularly auspicious weekend for team A&F…however, the road races were a great experience…riding in that big a field at those speeds should have a positive training effect…..let’s hope for better luck at Tri-Peaks next week….


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Town Mountain Road Hill Climb

Friday was the Town Mountain Road Hill Climb here in Asheville. This is a 5 mile course that starts right downtown and climbs up about 1500 ft. The first 1.5 miles is super steep (15%?), then it levels off and kind of stair steps up to the top. I held the record on the "new" course with 18:24. I say new course because in 2002 the course was about 300 meters shorter and that year was the revival of the race. At that time there was a $1000.00 bonus offered to the rider who could break the standing record and none other than Scott Moniger showed up and decimated it with something like a 16:09. I think I rode an 18:12 that year....for 5th place behind a bunch of pros like Chris Sheppard and Ceasar Grajales. The new course is between 20-30 seconds longer (downhill) than the old one. I set the new course record in 2004 (I think) on a beautiful spring day.

OK, enough ancient history. This year there was a $500.00 bonus on offer to break my record...which in my estimation was extremely breakable by anyone who is a real climber. I figured my fitness is at least as good as a couple of years ago and I came within about a minute of my time in training a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I could go better than the record. The question was: would anybody faster than me show up? Potential candidats were: Dan Timmerman just off his 2nd place GC at Shenandoah, Larry Perrera, or Hugh Moran. All are in the area and could come out and best me. Justin England who would surely KILL the record was out doing the Tour of the Gila.

The event got started in a steady cold rain on friday evening. Dan and Larry showed up....seeing Dan I was sure that I would not get the best time of the night...but would the record fall? I hoped that I could at least beat my old time, regardless of how much faster Dan went. I got a great warm-up and my legs actually felt supple and rested. My only complaint was that with all the pollen out lately I have had some breathing troubles.....but whatever. I put tons of warming oil on my legs and was off to the start. It was cold, but during the ride up I was completely comfortable.

I started well and did the first 1.5 miles within myself and was right on target, or even a little ahead of my goal to that point. The bike actually felt fast, my speed looked good and legs felt ok. Onto the flatter part, the air felt a little heavy with some serious fog and still steady was actually kind of epic...although you can hardly call a <20 minute event epic. As I entered the last mile or so I noticed that my power was a little lower than what I would have expected to be pushing....but I couldn't really get any more out of myself, so I just rode. I remember crossing the "old" finish line at about 18 minutes flat (which would have been exactly even with my old record split to that point) so I knew it was going to be close. I finished in 18:30...just outside the old record :( ...but I felt pretty good about the ride.

As I was heading down I stopped to cheer on Cara, and then was waiting for her to ride down. This was a bit of a mistake as I just got really cold and eventually left to go down before she showed up. The ride down was absolutely freezing...I think it was harder than going up. So Dan smashed the record with a 17:50...a good time, but I wager he will go even faster if he is around next year. I was certainly not surprised...I figured he would beat me by about 30 seconds, but it was in fact 40. Ahhh to be 23 again! Dan is on track to be a big pro road race star in the next few years, so I cetainly can't feel too bad about coming second to him.....

As per the graph above: my average power was 346 watts for the 18:30. This is a little lower than I would have expected....but not too much. At about 146lbs (66.36Kg) that puts me at about 5.21 watts/Kg. You will notice that the power/speed / cadence all fluctuate a lot over the ride. This speaks to the fact that the course in quite variable as far as grade etc.... While it IS certainly a hillclimb, it is technical in respect to pacing and gearing. I did use my mini clip-on aero bars and spent proably half of the distance (but less than half the time) in them. I think if the weather was nice I WOULD have bested my old record and considering the conditions I was relatively happy...hopefully next year I can put up a bettter time...and it is good to know that I am not getting any slower...but I don't think I will ever break 18 minutes on this course....a2

mon - thurs 5/1-5/4

Not much in the way of training this week after the tough stage race last week. I went out and did 3 hours with some climbing tuesday: mistake. I knew I was tired, but it was a nice day and I wanted to get out and ride a fun loop. I realized about 2 hours in that I was still exhausted and probably just delayed full recovery by riding too long.

Most other rides this week were about 2 hours. Thursday I went on a nice low-key mountainbike ride at bent creek. This was super fun....not many other riders out in the middle of the day and I really enjoyed it. Every time I get on the mountain bike I wonder why I don't do it more. Part of the reason is that even though we have some of the very best trails in the country still have to drive to get to them. Even 30 minutes each way adds extra time, when I can ride on great roads right from my front door. Still...I hope to get more MTB time this season than last. If nothing else it is a great change of pace and helps recharge desire to ride. I find it funny that since I started out exclusively riding and racing MTB back in the early 90's, I always had the cutting edge ....even though I do have a new KONA hardtail frame (2004), my components are stuck in 1998. I still have SRAM 8 speed grip shift, and of course to top it off a lovely 1998 Rock Shox Judy SL, which has like 20mm of travel. Believe it or not though, it all works relatively well. If I find myself on the MTB much more though, I hope to at least upgrade to some 9 speed XT drivetrain parts.

Another thing that is really nice about getting on the MTB once in a while is that it really helps balance muscles and works on focus....especially on the more technical trails. AND with the huge variety of gearing and cadence when going up and down it is a very different stress than riding on the road. My legs usually feel refreshed after a couple hours of moderate MTB riding.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Tour of Shenandoah Report

Tour of Shenandoah

April 26-30th 2006

The first big stage race of 2006 for me…and what a race! This year’s edition was 6 days, 7 stages over some of the toughest courses I have ever raced on….and that includes the big NRC events I have done in the last 15 years.

My A&F teammate Jered Gruber and I partnered up with Phil Southerland to form Team Type 1 / A& F. Phil is a diabetic, as is the promoter of the Tour of Shenandoah. Phil’s goal is to raise $$ for diabetes research and promote awareness. On Wednesday evening they had a silent auction to raise $$ and Phil gave a great talk. I actually learned quite a bit, and was happy to be a part of the event.

Stage 1 was a 2.6 mile prologue TT in Dayton, VA, starting downtown and, after a mile of so of flat, climbing up Mole Hill. The course was a fantastic prologue, fast to start and hard. Since they sent us out in alphabetical order, I was first off out of close to 100 riders. Normally I hate being the first to go, with nothing but empty road to see ahead, but this day it was great. I got lots of announcer time as I was the first to kick off the tour. I went well, but short TTs are not my specialty. I opted to use the full TT rig which was a good choice and put up a time of about 7 minutes flat, only good enough for 30 somethingth place. Tom Zirbel from the Priority Health team put in an unbelievably fast time to take the first leader’s jersey.

Stage 2 was a 30 mile flat/fast evening criterium in downtown Harrisonburg, VA. Good crowds and an average speed of nearly 30mph made the race fast, but not difficult to hang in. I made 2 pointless attacks to test the legs and generally felt good. 2 Fiora di Friutta riders got away with 2 laps to go and stuck it for the win. Local Asheville part-time resident Dan Timmerman was the impressive winner.

Stage 3 was the start of the 3 back to back 100 mile mountain road stages. Starting in Staunton and finishing 105 miles and 2 huge climbs later in Hot Springs, the race was aggressive from the start and I was right there. For some dumb reason I really wanted to be in the early break today, so I went for it…again and again, making all the splits in the first few miles until something finally stuck. This initial group of 5 or 6 quickly turned into a group of 12-15 and the cooperation disappeared. That means more attacks. I must have covered 100 attacks in the first 5 miles, but it was worth it and we soon had a split of 7 riders working hard together: 2 riders from Priority, 2 from AEG Toshiba, 1 Fiora, 1 RiteAide (Christoph!) and me. We HAMMERED for miles. The roads were rolling and fast. We built a significant advantage that by mile 50 had turned into over a 5 minute lead. The first big KOM climb of the day was at mile 57. I thought I could make it with these guys, but I was wrong. They attacked like crazy before and on the climb and guess who was off the back chasing….me. The break split in 3 parts: 3 x 3 x 1. I was only 15 seconds behind the guys in front of me going over the top, but when they regrouped with the other 3 and started working together on the downhill I started losing ground quickly..and my legs started to give out. I took the downhill alone and started across the flat section. At this point Josh Dillon had come across to me from a chase group and I hopped on his wheel. We got about 20 seconds to the break, then I couldn’t hold on any more and was back to riding alone watching him ride across solo. A few miles later the remains of the chase caught me …but again I couldn’t hold on and rode the next 10 miles alone until the field finally caught me with only about 5 miles to go before the last big climb of the day. I was spent and when we hit the climb I went out the back like a brick. I struggled the last 10 miles with 4 or 5 other riders, and then caught a bigger group with just a couple miles to the finish to lose a whopping 18 minutes on the stage. At least Mike Cody who was in the early break with me ended up in this group as well. Christoph had come apart on the last climb and lost 6 minutes also. All in all only 2 of the original 7 man break made it to the finish in front.

I was quite disappointed after the stage with losing so much time and with coming apart so badly. I made the mistake of thinking I could ride toe to toe with the young pro guys…but the big hand of reality came down and put paid to that notion….still.. I guess I am glad I tried. Jared had a good race and finished in the second group just a couple of minutes back from the leaders. This night we stayed at the beautiful, historic Homestead Resort. The Homestead was opened in 1766 and is a posh resort…not the kind of place bike racer get to frequent often.

Stage 4 was another mountain road race day. 110 miles from Hot Springs to Buena Vista, over numerous big climbs including the daunting Vesuvious climb. It was fast from the start again and a break finally got off and up the road. Vesuvious was just past the mid-way point in the race and I was hoping I could do a good enough climb to keep me near the front of the race. We hit the climb with the break just a couple minutes ahead of the field. They hit it hard too. I remembered this climb from last year…almost 30 minutes of steep climbing. I set into my long climb mode and while I couldn’t hang with the front 10 or 15 riders I was not too far behind, picking up the shrapnel the was being shelled out of the front group. I went over the top after a solid steady (painful) climb less than a minute behind the leaders. We had a group of 10 or so and chased hard on the extremely long downhill. When we hit the flat at the bottom we could see the leaders and after a few more miles we were with them. Of course I attacked right away, but was chased immediately. We rode fast but mostly steady toward the final 2 back to back climbs of the day. I was feeling good. With about 17 miles to go, just before the base of the second to last climb I put in a solid attack and got the company of about 5 riders…..and the group was letting us go. We quickly got a gap of 30 seconds, but only 2 or 3 of us were working. Finally an LSV rider attacked and was going away from our group. I set out after him alone just as the climb started. I chased him all the way up the climb about 10 seconds behind, but could not make it up to him. I felt great and was well out of sight of any chase until about 1km to go on the climb. At this point I saw the hitters coming after us. 3 riders passed me and I could not even think about getting the wheel, then Josh Dillon (again!) came flying by. At this point I could see the summit, but I could also see what was left of the group behind coming up quickly. I rode hard until the road started to top out, then soft pedaled and waited for the group which was now less than 25 riders. I held them on the down hill and part way up the final climb, but again had to let them go…they were breaking into small groups at this point. Unfortunately I had to do the final descent to the finish alone into a headwind, but it was quite fun to have the entire road to myself…both lanes, all out as fast as I could go. The crowds were great at the finish and I came in just a couple minutes down with only about 20 riders ahead of me. I was very pleased with the ride today.

Stage 5 was a relentlessly rolling 95 mile course from Lexington to Bedford. My legs hurt today. I tried to go with an early move and just could not get my legs to go. I almost went out the back on the first climb! After going over this climb and rolling down a fast downhill, we hit a stretch of dirt road. There were lots of punctures. I thought I was OK, but just at the end of the section my rear wheel went flat. The guys were hammering all out at the front and here I was waiting a couple of minutes for neutral support to give me a wheel. SRAM support finally hooked me up and I was on my way…but I was sure I would never get back on …and it was just 10 miles into the race! The thought of 90 miles alone was not pleasant…but the SRAM guy came to the rescue pacing me and 2 other riders back to the group. Doing 35mph behind a support car with no visibility on twisting up and down narrow roads was a harrowing experience and I almost came off a couple of times. We made it back…..but there was still 80 miles to go. My legs felt bad at the start, but now they were destroyed and I suffered horribly through most of this stage. The longest climb was just a few KMs long and not too steep, so I survived that. Christoph had been in the break again and secured the KOM jersey, so that was good. This stage just got harder and as we went. We turned onto extremely narrow, winding, up and down roads that split the field at about mile 60. After much chasing it came back together, but a break of 15 had gotten away, never to be seen until the finish. With about 10 miles to go, the race just turned off. The leaders were gone and we finally started riding slow for the first time in 4 days…until, of course, about 5 miles to go, when the after burners were lit again. The run-in to the finish was really fun. Jared and I actually went to the front and led out the field sprint. I took it from about 1KM to less than 200 meters before the guys came around….it felt great to finish the stage strong after such a tough day. After this stage we had to bum a ride off the lovely podium girl Rene to get to our hotel for the last 2 nights in Natural Bridge, VA.

Stage 6 was a 14 mile difficult rolling time trial. With tired legs and a low GC position it was a little difficult to force the effort today…but I put in a good ride, suffering all the way for a time of 32:30 and 15th on the stage. Very rarely do I finish a TT unhappy with my performance, but today was one of those days…I felt like I could have gotten a top 10 time.

Stage 7, the final stage of the race was a tough crit in downtown Waynesboro. With a nasty hill to negotiate 33 times it was not a foregone conclusion to stay in the race. With some cold symptoms coming on and very sore legs I was a little worried…but it turned out fine. It was a fast, hard race, but I stayed out of trouble and finished with the field, as did Jared.

I had a great time doing the race this year. The courses and the organization were the best ever for this 4 year old event… and the people, competition and scenery was top notch. I was very surprised at the level of the racing from the teams present. The young pro riders who dominated this event are the ones who we will be reading about racing in Europe in just a few years. Overall winner Brent Bookwalter is soon to be a super star and there are more lining up behind him. A big thanks and congratulations for such a great event go out to race organizers Matt Butterman and Dave LeMay.

Monday, April 24, 2006

testing , camp, and sickness

After the Tundra TT I headed up to Appalachian State in Boone NC to take part in a study. This study included riding 3 hours to exhaustion for 3 days (with no caloric intake during the rides). Before and after the rides on days 1 and 3 they took muscle biopsies from our quads. Before and after each day they took a ton of blood samples.

The actual riding was not bad but the rest of the experience was quite stressful....

After the studay I headed to team camp number 2 in
Winston , NC....where I became extremely sick during our ride on friday. I left camp early on saturday after having a bike fit by Tom Coleman of Wobble-naught (you will hear more about this later!). On Sunday when my fever went over 103 degrees Cara took me over to the urgent care center where I tested positive for the flu.

Ok, I have had many cases of the flu throughout my life, but this one just totally kicked my butt. I was literally IN BED for the entire week. I was only able to get out of bed to do a little work for like an hour at a time.

The following Saturday I actually rode the bike for an hour....very slowly...and coughing every few pedal strokes, but it was the beginnning of getting going again. Of course this is when the wheels totally fell off of my training blog here. Between getting back some fitness after being sick, catching up with work and then the race season starting I have had a hard time keeping up. I hope to have reports form the road to recovery and the early season races posted here soon...

thanks for your patience :)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sun Feb 19, 2006

2 hrs / 30 miles

easy tandem ride with cara.....

Sat Feb 18, 2006

Tundra TT Near Atlanta GA.

Ahhh the beautiful trophy. First race of the year a 9.5 mile TT on the Silver Comet trail near Atlanta. It was a cold , damp morning, but the rain held off. I felt pretty stong. Legs were good even though it was a bit of a shock to do the first race effort of the are the metrics:

tundra TT:
Duration: 20:51
Work: 449 kJ
TSS: 43.6 (intensity factor 1.121)
Norm Power: 359
Distance: 9.252 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 874 359 watts
Heart Rate: 103 200 164 bpm
Cadence: 43 115 89 rpm
Speed: 8.8 31.6 26.6 mph

I was happy with the effort and got the cool trophy to boot...I even got to open a champagne bottle and spray what was left of the cold people hanging about. Cara had a decent ride, but crashed at the turnaround...ooops. After the race we went to Ikea in, that took more out of me than the race...what a madhouse!

Feb 15-17 2006

Back to the data for a few days....sorry ....

Wed Feb 15th
TT bike - river
Entire ride (229w):
Duration: 2:10:57
Work: 1798 kJ
TSS: 127 (intensity factor 0.763)
Norm Power: 244
Distance: 45.936 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 903 229 watts
Heart Rate: 0 252 127 bpm
Cadence: 30 184 90 rpm
Speed: 0 38.5 21.1 mph

Thurs Feb 16th
Entire ride (190w):
Duration: 3:12:06
Work: 2189 kJ
TSS: 144.8 (intensity factor 0.672)
Norm Power: 215
Distance: 55.915 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 442 190 watts
Heart Rate: 0 229 124 bpm
Cadence: 29 142 88 rpm
Speed: 0 41.4 17.5 mph

Fri Feb 17th
TT bike riceville Rd
Entire ride (190w):
Duration: 3:12:06
Work: 2189 kJ
TSS: 144.8 (intensity factor 0.672)
Norm Power: 215
Distance: 55.915 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 442 190 watts
Heart Rate: 0 229 124 bpm
Cadence: 29 142 88 rpm
Speed: 0 41.4 17.5 mph

Friday, March 24, 2006

Feb 14, 2006

Feb 14, 2006 2.75 hrs, 48 miles / 1702 Kj

Easy/moderate ride out through Fairview out to Rt9, Black Mtn. and home. I hit it a little on some hills, but mostly kept the pace HR zones 1-2. Legs feel a bit sore fom yesterdays weights and intervals.

Fe 13, 2006

Feb 13, 2006 / 1.25 hrs / 25 miles / 953 Kj

I did a nice heavy weight workout this morning, then intervals on the trainer in the evening. It was wicked cold outside all day so I decided to get some TT intervals in on the computrainer. I did a bit of a test: First I warmed up on the road bike and calibrated the computrainer. Next I rode at a few different effort levels for several minutes at a time. The new SRM seems to match perfectly with the CT. Then I mounted up the TT bike, warmed it up for about the same amount of time and re-calibrated. It was immediately evident that the old SRM is reading WAY low. Between 40-50 watts low! I did 5 x 5 min CP30 efforts with 2 minute recoveries. Averaging between 340-350 watts each. After loading the data I messed around with the slope of the old SRM until I came up with numbers that matched the efforts. Now I have a ballpark idea of where the slope needs to be set…but I will have to go through a real calibration process to get it exact. Not a lot of workout time today…but a killer good workout.

Feb 7-12 , 2006

Feb 7 tues:
Entire ride (217w):
Duration: 3:16:15
Work: 2553 kJ
TSS: 197 (intensity factor 0.776)
Norm Power: 248
Distance: 66.232 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 707 217 watts
Heart Rate: 0 254 137 bpm
Cadence: 29 140 90 rpm
Speed: 0 38.3 20.3 mph
Torque: 0 885 212 lb-in

Feb 8 wed:
Entire ride (195w):
Duration: 5:13:00
Work: 3665 kJ
TSS: 251.7 (intensity factor 0.695)
Norm Power: 222
Distance: 91.35 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 705 195 watts
Heart Rate: 0 254 125 bpm
Cadence: 30 162 86 rpm
Speed: 0 41.3 17.5 mph
Torque: 0 748 196 lb-in

Feb9 thurs - easy riceville road loop - TT bike
Entire ride (188w):
Duration: 59:09
Work: 668 kJ
TSS: 45.2 (intensity factor 0.677)
Norm Power: 217
Distance: 18.97 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 566 188 watts
Heart Rate: 0 251 126 bpm
Cadence: 29 124 87 rpm
Speed: 0 33.1 19.3 mph
Torque: 0 737 195 lb-in

Feb 10 fri: - with Justin England and Lauren legs were DEAD today I suffered the entire time and Justin was riding like he was not even working.....damn
Entire ride (188w):
Duration: 4:18:36
Work: 2914 kJ
TSS: 216.7 (intensity factor 0.709)
Norm Power: 227
Distance: 77.103 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 571 188 watts
Heart Rate: 0 254 123 bpm
Cadence: 30 195 86 rpm
Speed: 0 49.8 17.9 mph
Torque: 0 946 192 lb-in

ok, more of this data only is WAYYYY too boring.

Feb 11, 2006 / 0 hours / 0 miles

Bad weather and bad legs. After feeling so bad on the ride yesterday I took the day completely off. I had planned to get a weight workout in, but decided my legs needed some full recovery…probably a good idea. And since it was wet/cold/freezing rain/ snow outside it was a good day for it.

Feb 12, 2006
/ 4.5 hrs / 80 miles / tandem

After the snow yesterday and last night as well as cold and high winds, we decided to take the tandem down to Greenville and ride the Tigerville metric century loop. It was windy, but at least 10 degrees warmer than Asheville. Just after we started Cara announced that she lost our cue sheet. No worries, we knew the first 40 miles and the course seemed well marked. No problems for the first 2/3 of the ride and we got through it pretty quickly and comfortably. As we hit out on the last 25 miles I noticed that the arrows we were following looked a little different….but they were nice big white arrows on the road…how could we go wrong? Well….let me tell you: after flying along with a huge tailwind and mostly rolling downhill we finally decided that we must be following a different course. Who knows where it would lead. We finally turned around. I was dreading it…I knew we would have to pound uphill into a headwind for a LONG time. So we did. I was a bit…angry…. About the situation, but I didn’t say much I just rode harder. Cara later told me that she did the same….so while we were into a 20 mph wind we kept up clost to 20mph most of the way back. When we finally got back to the car we had done over 15 extra miles and were out about an hour longer than we planned. All was good once we got loaded up and had the heat warming us. Of course just as we were changing….Cara FOUND the lost cue sheet somewhere in her pocket! Oh well..I can’t complain that we got an extra solid hour of riding in. We seem to finally be getting better at standing while riding the tandem. I think it has taken us so long to get it because we have both been riding singles so long and have our own styles. It has taken us a while to adapt them to the team.

Weekly Summary: 20.5 riding hours / 380 miles

Feb 6, 2006 Mon

Entire ride (189w):
Duration: 2:20:33
Work: 1597 kJ
TSS: 101.7 (intensity factor 0.659)
Norm Power: 211
Distance: 46.245 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 609 189 watts
Heart Rate: 0 254 124 bpm
Cadence: 30 112 85 rpm
Speed: 0 36.7 19.8 mph

I sure can't remember exacly what I did this day...but the data says it all....

Jan 30-Feb 5, 2006

Jan 30 mon: 35 miles - 1.75 hrs - Black Mountain on TT bike

Jan 31 tues: 56 miles - 3 hrs - back route to Marshall...home on river

Feb 1 Wed: 99 miles - 6 hrs - Lake lure loop counter clockwise with Larry Perrera....nice day

Feb 2 thurs: 65 miles - 3.8 hrs - rode tandem solo, picked up cara @ biltmore park then did 2.5 hrs with her. Dropped her off and rode solo, riding the tandem solo is interesting. I think if I work on some climbing with the 40 pound bike I might feel fast on the single bike :)

Feb 3 fri : 80 miles - 3.25 hrs - Bat Cave with Lauren

Feb 4 sat: 40 miles - 2.25 hrs - fist day of intervals for the season...did 2 x 15 up folk Art @ about 340 watts avg each....ouch cold and even some snow/freezing rain on the ride.

Feb 5 sun: 73 miles - 4.3 hrs - Tandem w/ Cara down in Greenville. We tried to do the full Tigerville Century loop. Once we climbed up the watershed into North Carolina we realized how much this ride absolutely kicked our butts. We bypasesed the last 25 miles of the ride because we were completely defeated...cold day, but it was still a great ride. Tandeming is so different than riding alone...something everyone should at least try.

Week Summary: 26.35 hours plus 1 hr weights (27.35 hrs total) / 448 miles

Jan 23-29, 2006

Jan 23 Mon: 31 miles easy 1.5 hrs / weight workout

Jan 24 Tues: 96 miles 5.75 hrs - Hot Springs/Doggett loop

Jan 25 Wed: 45 miles 2.25 hrs / weight workout

Jan 26 Thurs: 16 miles 1 hour easy ride - then up to Boone for baseline & Vo2 max testing
Vo2 max was a mediocre 64, body fat is 9% , power @ Vo2 & threshold was not so good...I'm not even gonna post it because I felt crappy and definitely didn't come up with good numbers...but at least the VO2max should be accurate :)

Jan 27 Fri: 67 miles 3.75 hrs - Black Mtn - Bat cave loop / weight workout

Jan 28 Sat: 96 miles 5.25 hrs - Doggett Hotsprings again this time with Rich Harper....he KILLED me today, I sufferered hard the last hour

Jan 29 Sun: 76 miles 4.25 hrs - South over Terry's Gap , Bear Wallow and Rose I got back at Rich as he bonked about an hour from home :)

Week Summary: 24.5 hrs bike / 27.5 hrs including weights / 427 miles

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

sorry! about dropping the ball. My intent when starting this blog was to stay on top of things and really keep the updates frequent. I blew that one. Heavy workload, travel and illness have all contributed to my lack of posting. Hopefully that will change and I will get back to it. I have lots of info and data on paper and in files...I'll try to get the blog updated soon! I guess I have not been too worried since I have not really told but a few people I was starting this blog...maybe I should tell everyone I know ...then it would put pressure on me to keep up with it..

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Jan 20-22, 2006 - 0 hours / 0 miles

Friaday morning I headed out to the power training clinic at the Olympic Training Center near San Diego. It was a full day of travel and after dinner I just relaxed in my room a bit before bed.

Saturday we were in "class" from 8:30 am- 5:30 pm. This was a great learning experience with Hunter Allen and Andy Coggan as instructors. I can't say I learned anything completely new...but it solidified some ideas, and a few things that I only had a small amount of information on. I expect to be able to make my coaching for athletes training with power quite a bit more effective by utilizing some of the knowledge I gained here.

Sunday we went from 8:30 to 2pm. The weather here is beautiful...I sure wish I had a bike....but I did get a nice 40 minute walk around the "compound". I also took a walk down to the running track and walked down the pole vault runway. Ahhh memories of high school track. I wonder how different things would have been had I applied myself to that sport. I was a decent pole vaulter and showed some promise. I cleared 12 ft my sophmore year. 13 ft was the mark at that time to be considered for a college team. Without going into too many priorities changed my junior year....and while I continued to be on the track team as a junior and senior, my maximum height never improved. Memories....

Ok enough of that. If you ever get the chance to stay "on complex" at one of the USOTCs, do it! If for nothing other than the food! Our olmypic athletes do not live in high style. The dormitories are about as charismatic as a hospital room....but the food! It is free! it is all you can eat! it is good! it is bad!.....Basically you can eat as well or as poorly as you would like. You can have a salad with tuna at every meal....or you can have things like pasta and BBQ ribs, with ice cream for dessert. I will be scared to step on a scale when I get home tomorrow.....thousands of calories a day and no exercise for 3 days! The decadence!

The funny thing is that I have to go up to App State to have a Vo2Max test and hydrostatic weight measurementthis coming thursday. This is where they submerge you in water to get an accurate measurement of your body fat %. ohhhhh I'm gonna be FAT! At least I know it will only get better as the training season continues.

As I type... I have one more meal here before I catch the shuttle to the airport...hmmm...what's for dinner tonight?

Thurs, Jan 19th 2006 - 5:45 / 94 miles

Day 2 of the A& F training camp. The weather was great and we headed out on a nice long ride over the rolling roads around Athens led by Jacob Fetty. On the way back we hit a bunch of dirt roads at a "sprited" pace, which unfortunately led to a few flat tires. We actually ended up not getting back until very close to dark. Mark Hekman won the crash of the day award by stacking in a stream crossing on one of the dirt roads. It was great to ride with the guys and I continue to get to know them. Actually it was quite impressive that eveyone rode damn well...we were not going too hard...but slackers in this group!

I was kind of bummed that I had to leave after a burrito dinner. I head out to San Diego for a USAC Training with Power Clinic tomorrow morning.

I could feel myself adapting to the new bike today as we rode. I imagine by the middle of the week next week I will have it 100% dialed in.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wed Jan 18, 2006 - 2:45 / 47 miles

First day of the A&F p/b Inferno Team training camp. I drove down to Athens GA early morning. I had a bit of stress as I needed to get my new Masi team bike put together before I could ride. Somehow I managed to get it completely together in just about an hour...including cutting the fork steerer tube....sweet! Special thanks to teammate Jim Baldesare for having a couple of the tools I didn't and helping out. The bike is beautiful. I seem to be a bit in-between sizes though. I am using a 53...which has an effective 55cm top tube. Just a little short for me so I need to switch out my 120 stem for a 130 and I think I will be set up just right.

Every time I change bikes I am meticulous about getting all the measurements from the old bike before even starting to set up the new one.....I have gotten to the point where I can set up a new bike with a tape measure in just a few minutes on the first try. I think I needed to stop only once to adjust my saddle height about 1 mm on the first ride. The lesson is to make sure you keep a good written record of every possible measurement on all bikes.

The Masi is great...aluminum front with a carbon rear triangle.....stiff and smooth...very nice.

We also got out new Verge team clothing. I did a bit of guesswork with the sizes I ordered...fortunately everything fits perfectly...I was a bit worried.

About 10 of us headed out for an afternoon ride. Chad crashed his brand new kit in the first 5 minutes....but he was not hurt and other than a slight wheel misalignment and some clothing damage no harm was done. It was windy and cool, but sunny as we wound our way around the rolling roads near Athens. Tomorrow will be the real ride of 5+ hours. Unfortunately I will only be here at camp with the team for 2 days as I head out to San Diego Friday for a training with power clinic at the OTC in Chula Vista.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tues Jan 17, 2006 - 1 hour , 20 miles

"easy" spin on the TT bike on the riceville rd. loop. Believe it or not with the TT bike on this loop 20 mph is pretty easy. Did a weight training session this evening.

Mon Jan 16th, 2006 - 1.75 hours , 35 miles

Beautiful day so I did a zone 1-2 ride out to Black Mountain and back. Not much else to report...let the rest week commence!

Sun Jan 15th , 2006 - 4.75 hrs, 72 miles

The weather report was for very cold in Asheville, so we decided to head down the mountain to Greenville SC and meet up with some club folks who were doing a ride down there. Just to be different we took the tandem down. It was a fun ride on some seriously rolling hills. A bit too much stopping and variation in speed...but the company was good and it was fun to ride the tandem for over 4 hours. When the group got back to the parking lot, I took the tandem out solo for about 30 minutes and rode at a nice steady zone 2-3 pace. What a strange feeling riding the tandem solo...especially right after riding it with a stoker. It was a blast though...hmmmm might have to add some solo tandem hillclimb rides into the training. Just think, if I can get the 38 lb long bike going up hill fast...I'll be able to fly on the single bike...or at least I'lll "feel " like I'm flying.

Seriously though....I hope to do a lot more riding on the tandem this season...It is sooooo much fun and different than riding a "1/2" bike. I highly recommend it will hear more from me on this subject.

Base 1 week 3 summary: 23 hours riding time, 3 hours weights, 26 total training hours, 390 miles. Not bad...really started to feel fatigued toward the end of the week. Lost out on a couple of hours due to bad weather saturday...but right on track after 3 solid base training weeks....I am READY for a recovery week!

Sat Jan 14th , 2006 2 hrs, 30 miles, My Birthday!

I suppose as an athlete turning 40 should be a little upsetting.... but since I was already over the hill when I started seriously racing...and I don't plan on getting slower any time too soon, I laugh at the thought of worrying about it! Had a nice mostly relaxing day. The weather was snow / cold / wet, so we rode inside for about 2 hours doing various pedaling drills. I think we did about 7 isolated leg drills working up to 2.5 minutes and back down to 1 minute on each leg, high cadence intervals interspersed throughout. Boring, but a very worthwhile workout.

Earlier in the day I did a solid weight workout. I had a huge burrito for dinner and a large portion of cake we bought at the grocery store. I was feeling lazy so we declined an offer to go out....lazy or boring ...take your pick. We spent a nice night actually watching an entire is good.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Friday, Jan 13th - 2.3 Hours, 44 miles

First ride of the season on the TT bike! I raised the bars about 1 cm for this ride. It is always a little tough to get into the full TT position straight away. I will lower it 1/2 cm at a time over the next few rides on the bike. It felt great to be back on it....somehow I just naturally like to ride in a road TT position, for some strange reason it is comfortable to me. The position is not radical, but it is quite low and aero..even 1cm higher than normal. It has taken me years to hone this position. I had my best TT season last year...and I hope to continue that this season. It is no secret that my big goal for the year is the master's national TT title. I have been 3rd - three times and 4th is time for me to step up!

Actually this ride ended up being about 30 minutes too long. I felt great for about and hour forty or so, then started to really die into a strong headwind as I approached home. 2 more training days until rest week......

Thursday, Jan 12, 2006 - 4 hours, 70 miles

I can't believe the weather has been so nice....upper 60's today. We had a great breakfast with my parnets, then I saw them off at the airport. It was nice having them here...I don't get to see them enough since I moved South 5 years ago.....

I got on the bike just after 1pm and hit out a cool route South of town. I crammed 3 nice climbs into the 2nd half of the ride and still managed to get home before dark. I took the Parkway South , then wound around down through Mills River, Hooper's Creek, over Terry's Gap, through the Apple orchards of Fruitland (the craggy apple trees look so cool and evil in the winter) and over the backside of Bear Wallow Mountain. Man, I don't do that climb often so I forget how tough it is. On the way home I went over Merrill's cove just in case I hadn't climbed enough. Again, the HR was a bit lower due to fatigue...after all this is week 3 of the training block...but the pace was once again good.

Wed. Jan 11, 2006 - 2.75 hrs, 56 miles & weights

Another excellent weight workout followed by a ride north up to Marshall. My intention was to get most of the ride @ AeT, but between the weights and the long ride yesterday, I was a bit too fatigued...I probably got an hour steady at 145bpm, then about 50% of the remaining time in zone 2. Solid ride with good pace though. I am finding I am riding much faster on my training rides this season, yet still keeping zone 2 HR. I think paying that little bit of extra attention to keep the pace above zone 1 will pay off.

Tues Jan 10, 2006 - 5.5 hrs, 95 miles

Excellent weather and an excellent solo ride clockwise around Lake Lure. I was all about busuiness today and the hours just slipped past at as I put in plenty of HR zone 2 time. Sure I was a bit tired the last hour or so, but it felt great.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mon, Jan 9th, 2006, 1.5 hrs, 25 miles & weights

Solid weight workout this morning. Then a nice easy 1:30 spin out to Black Mountain & back after picking up my parets at the airport. I think I needed the easy day.....

Sun, Jan 8th 5.5 hrs, 100 miles

A great day for an epic ride. Met at Joe C's house and headed west with Lauren , Justin and Crazy Johnny. We climbed the 30 min 151/parkway to Pisgah climb, then headed down the long 15 mile descent into Brevard. Justin attacked us a the top of the descent and went out of of course we grouped up and started chasing. This is a mellow grade, hard pedaling descent, so we were working and going fast....still no sign of Justin. Just a couple miles from the bottom Joe turned and saw Justin sitting on behind us :) Nice trick. Apparently he had to chase pretty hard for a long time to catch back after he hid on the side of the road waiting for us to come by.

We picked the perfect route today and after a quick store stop, headed straight back to Asheville with a nice tailwind. 4 of us rolled a perfectly smooth paceline in the cross tailwind at 25-30 mph (with Johnny sitting on) almost the whole way back. The temps climbed well up into the 60's today...not bad for the beginning of January.

After everyone went their separate ways, I climbed up over town mountain and took the parkway back to azalea rd and home....I was tired the last 40 minutes...but it was a great long day.

Base 1 week 2 summary: 24 hrs ride time, 2 hr weights, 26 total training hours, 418 miles

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sat Jan 7th 4:30 80 miles

VERY cold today (mid 20's ) as I set off for the "city bakery" group ride. This is a new ride that Justin England put together a few weeks ago. Since it was so cold we had about a dozen hearty souls....which is fine with me, as the bigger rides around here make me nervous. Not because of the riders so much, but because of the nature of the roads we ride on. Here in western north carolina we don't really have any shoulders on our winding mountain roads....Which makes large group rides a bit nerve wracking...but at least the traffic in general is fairly light on most of the roads we ride and for the most part drivers are courteous....but I digress. The ride started by going over town mountain, up the parkway and down ox creek. We then made a right and headed up a climb (paint fork) that I have not done in a few years. Holy ouch. I forgot how steep that thing is. For an early season ride it was pretty painful. I can generally keep my heart rate down on any climb, buy riding a sensible pace and using my 27 (yes I use a 12-27 for training), but this climb is brutal. After that we wound around the hills of Madison county and headed back. 3 of us took a detour to add another 30-40 minutes to the ride. A good day for such cold weather. It was still only 40 when I got home.

A note about group rides : especially in the early season my athletes know that I generally discourage doing too many group rides. I usually try to limit them to once a week. The reason being that many group rides just go too hard all season long. The other reason being that even with a "well behaved and well intentioned" group, the pace on a rolling or climbing course tends to be too hard on the hills and too easy on the flats. Remember that base period training is all about building aerobic fitness. Going too easy (HR zone 1), or too hard (too much above HR zone 3) will not accomplish this goal nearly as well as steady riding in HR zone 2.