Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not How I Planned It

Like most bike racers, I came into this spring all fired up. It was my first spring in years where I wasn't dealing with school, I had stumbled my way into a sort-of-sponsorship, and the schedule at home looked very manageable. I was training hard, I did some early season races with some decent results, and all was good. I was clearly well on my way to ruling the New England bike racing scene. And then life happened. A couple weekends where I couldn't race turned into a month where I didn't race. My son got picked for an all star team with a big time commitment. Training days got missed. The training days that happened got more stressful. The weekends going forward weren't getting any more free. Finally my bike racing brain just popped. For now I've just sort of erased the word "training" from my vocabulary. Don't get me wrong... I'm still riding. It's just more haphazard and less focused. A targeted effort without a target just wasn't making sense. Focus had replaced fun so I got rid of focus for now. Fun seems to have come back quickly. There may be some more focus as cross approaches. Fortunately cross is inherently fun so there should be plenty of that to go around.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CBTT Report

In terms of exciting, time-wasting commentary, race reports are always way better when written right away. In terms of really getting to the important details and letting people move on to the rest of the blogosphere, maybe waiting a week is best. In any case, here's the almost week old recap of last week's Charlie Baker Time Trial.

I think I've only done one official "race of truth" ever and that was the Mount A TT a few years back. Even though it is a TT, it almost doesn't count because it's such a bizarre course that it takes a bike racing specialty (TT'ing) and makes it more of a specialty skill. In any case, my limited experience coupled with the fact that my only direct knowledge of the CBTT course was from a 5 minute phone call with a guy who does it all the time meant that I was going into this a little blind. I was there really early to avoid getting my hear rate up just sitting in traffic so I signed in early and got the #3 start spot. I buzzed up the road to check out the last stretch of the course, but it was probably only the last mile or so and then I retreated back to my trainer. I got a decent warmup in and then scurried off to the start, getting there just as they sent the #1 rider off and as the #4 rider was saying "I'm 4th, I don't know where this other guy is". I'll call that perfect timing :)

First out were Mike and Kathy Rowell on their tandem so there was no chance in hell of seeing them again until the parking lot and second up was a guy on his regular road bike like me. Behind me were 17 other people, many of whom looked like they had at least spent the money, if not done the training, to be taking this seriously. I took a deep breath to get my heart rate down to 123 (I seriously cannot relax right before the start of a race) and I was off. I quickly got up to speed and ramped my HR up to 170 which ended up being my average for the whole thing. My goal was to "cruise the flats" at 350-375W and go a little harder on the uphills and a little easier on the downhills. Unfortunately, there's effectively no flats on the course so it instead became an exercise in trying to average my efforts on that range while having the power numbers swinging wildly to either side of it.

My 30 second guy never really got too far out of sight and I think I caught and passed him 7 or 8 minutes in. He later told me "I saw you coming and saw you going and that was about it." I got to the first turn at the rotary (course is sort of triangular with just 3 right turns) and didn't feel too awful, but I did slow way down going through there because I didn't know the traffic pattern and we had gotten several warnings about yielding to traffic. The next stretch on the top of the course was mentally tough because 1) it was way further to the next turn than I pictured from the map, 2) a car squeezed way right due to a car turning left and I had to come to a near stop to squeeze by, and 3) I was 15 minutes into a 25 minute effort. Once I made the turn onto the road back to the finish I knew there were "just two hills" and I was there so it was time to hurt. By now I was amazed that nobody had passed me and was listening for the sound of deep dish wheels buzzing towards me, but they never came. With what I figured was about 5 minutes to go it was good motivation to not get caught so I was burying myself as much as I could. I lost more speed than I wanted on the couple little climbs and may have gone a little too hard early, but I did manage to hold it together for the most part.

I made the final turn and sprinted up the last kicker to the line thinking I saw my clock tick over 25:00 just after the line. They had me in an "official" time of 25:00 so one of us was off a tiny bit... whatever, it's a training race and I still "beat" Rooter by 11 seconds :) Average power was 351W, but it was swinging all over the place thanks to the course profile and me not knowing what I was doing. Just like Colin said in his race report, averaging 351W to go under 23.5mph tells me that I'm a giant parachute, but I sort of knew that. I won't be running out and dumping money into a TT bike, but may at least try a set of clip on aero bars to see what happens. I might make another go of it this week if the rain holds off and the spasm in my back goes away.

Phew... imagine if I had written this last Wednesday night...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Holy crap, I beat Colin at something on a bicycle

This is the short version since I don't have my official time yet, but it seems pretty certain that last night I actually beat Colin at an event which involved moving rapidly on a bicycle. Granted I think it was only by about 15 seconds, but I'll take it. And no I didn't steal Cancellara's motorized bike in order to do this, it was just me in the drops with my only purchased advantage being a moderately sexy front wheel and some shoe covers. Long version once I get an official time...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Save for a mention or two of my kids or my house, this basically became a blog about bike racing. Well I haven't been doing any of that, therefore there's not a hell of a lot to say. Don't get me wrong... I've been training my ass off, but right now it seems to be to hold down the title of fastest guy who never races. Hopefully soon I'll be back out there going fast with others. For now it's back to sitting at little league fields and stressing about the addition on my house.