Friday, April 28, 2006

Going For The Win

This week has been a relatively good week of training although it is a regeneration week so my volume was decreased this week so that I could be ready for an increased training load next week. Tuesday I did a 1 hour 30 minute ride with 40 minutes of Tempo and I felt pretty good for the most part. Wednesday I did a ride with Tom, Al and Dan in New Berlin for 2 hours at a pretty good pace. I wanted to keep the heart rate pretty low as I had a ceiling of 88% since it was only an Endurance Mile day of training. Unfortunately they were pushing the pace and I probably worked a little more than I wanted to although I kept myself out of the wind and didn't do any pulls when we were riding a paceline. The guys didn't seem to mind that I sucked their wheels the whole ride as they know that I'm pretty strict about my training. Thursday I did a 1 hour 30 minute ride around tomorrow's race course at Whitnall Park with 3 sets of 9 minute Steady State intervals. The course is pretty tough with 3 good hills over the 2.3 mile loop and if yesterday's wind was any indication then there will be a nice headwind coming up the finishing hill. I didn't have the best of legs yesterday so I'm hoping that I feel a little better tomorrow otherwise I might have some trouble hanging with the group. I feel that I can climb better than most of the Masters racers though so hopefully even if I am tired I will be able to hang. Tonight will be a rest night although I'll probably do 20 minutes on the rollers just to clean out the legs. I will post results tomorrow after the race. Also, American Chris Horner won yesterday's stage of the Tour of Romandie in Switzerland and had a pretty cool victory salute with the guns blazing.....

Monday, April 24, 2006

Race Day Pictures

I am the one in red shorts at the back in the first picture and on the front in the second picture. Click on the picture to make it larger and then click in the bottom right corner of the picture again to make it even larger.

Disappointing Finish

Well, my first race in over 10 years was a little bit of a disappointment as I finished 20th in a bunch sprint after getting blocked in on a hill in turn 2. My plan was to get to the head of the field with 2 or 3 laps to go and then attack with 1 or 2 laps to go depending on when I could position myself. Unfortunately I overestimated the pace that the field would carry over the small climb and when we hit the climb the field slowed and bunched up to the point where I could not get around anyone and was stuck trying to push through the middle. I was hoping it would be more strung out so that I could sprint over the top of the hill but on the last lap I just couldn't squeeze through as everyone was spread across the entire road and I had to wait for the bunch sprint. It wasn't dicey at all as everyone made the final turn without any crashes and unfortunately my positioning was just not ideal for getting around guys in the sprint. I'll take 20th for my first race I guess but I felt very strong and probably should have left the field on the hill a little sooner. Next week is Whitnall Park and it is a longer loop of 2.3 miles with a good climb so I'm hoping that I can just get to the front and stay there and make a move on the hill to get away. Overall it was a good weekend, I had some jitters before the start but after we got going it was like old hat again and I had no issues with riding in the group. I learned that the Masters 4/5 field can't climb really well so since that seems to be a strenght of mine this year I'll make use of that in other races. I still haven't started the Specialization Period of my training so once I start doing more speedwork and sprint work I should be able to win a few of these races as I am no where near as strong as I will be sometime in June or July. Should be a good year! Oh yeah, I'll post some pictures of the race later tonight.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

3 Days and Counting!

Only 3 more days after today before my first race of the year and I'm getting a little anxious. The main reason for my anxiety is because of my cold, if I can't ditch this by Sunday it could hinder me quite a bit during attacks. I can do a nice steady pace without hacking up too much junk but once I push it on hills or sprint I can feel it in my lungs. Hopefully the field stays together until about a lap or two to go, then I'll make my move. The second reason I'm a little anxious is just because I haven't raced in 10 years!!! It's going to be nerve-wrecking for the first few laps and then I'm hoping I'll settle in and it will be like the old days. I'm not sure my fitness is quite where it needs to be to win but obviously everyone should be in the same boat as me when it comes to training base at this time of year. Well, last night I did a 1.25 hour ride instead of my normal 2 hours because my lungs were just too congested to ride for a long period and it was a little cold and there were a few sprinkles here and there on the road. Tonight I'll definitely be riding my full ride and I believe I am scheduled for either Steady State or Over/Under Intervals, I'm not sure which one since I'm not at home right now. Tomorrow will be a rest day and I'm not quite sure what Saturday will be yet, it depends on if my cold is gone or not. Most likely it will be about a 2.5 or 3 hour ride with some hill repeats and Race Simulation. I'll update ya'll on Saturday with the latest.................

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Race Day Is Coming!

I'm still feeling pretty crappy with my cold as it seems to have moved in to my lungs and I'm hacking up junk all day. I'm still trying to stick with my training and at the same time trying to balance the rest I need to recover from this cold, obviously the two don't mix well. Anyways, last night I rode with the Velocity team in Sussex and had a real good ride until the end. I was able to beat them all up the hills and was able to pull pretty good on the flats. Right now I'm actually stronger up hills than I am on the flats, I still lack the power to push a big gear right now but that will definitely come with time. Velocity has a rider on their team that has won the first two races of the year and he seems to be a pretty good rider but I was able to handle him up the hills without much problem. We didn't do any sprints last night but he said he wasn't much of a sprinter so I'll assume I could take him in a sprint also. I feel pretty confident that I could hang with him in an attack in a race, but we'll find out Sunday I guess. At the end of the ride I had a cramp in my left calf that left me in a little bit of pain, but had no problem finishing the 43 mile ride. The average speed for our ride was 21.9 for 43 miles which is by far my fastest ride in 10 years. Overall it seemed pretty easy so I'm not too worried about my first race. Tonight will be an easy ride of about 2 hours to recover from yesterday's ride and to give me some respite from this cold, definitely no intervals today.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Under The Weather

I haven't posted the last few days but of course I've still been riding. I've been a little bit under the weather and haven't been able to do quite the full amount of training that I wanted to, but I've still been riding hard nonetheless. I've been taking all of my vitamins and getting lots of sleep and yesterday I started to feel pretty good and today I'm probably ready to kick up my intensity again. Last week Thursday and Friday I did some relatively easy rides of 1 hour 30 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes as I was at the height of my cold and was suffering from its effects. Saturday I did a good 2 hour 25 minute ride but was still having trouble breathing so I didn't go the 3 hours I had planned. I did lots of hill repeats and felt pretty good overall but could tell my body wasn't responding the way I wanted it to so I knew I wasn't at full strength. I didn't ride Sunday because of Easter and the rain that we got, but I made up for that on Monday by doing a hard 1 hour 40 minute ride with Power Intervals thrown in to build power at lactate threshold. Tonight I will be riding with the Velocity team in Sussex and I'm sure it will be my first real test of the year as they are a good team. I hope to be challenged because I need to gauge my fitness ahead of this Saturday's race in Whitewater. I might not be full strength tonight because of my cold but I should be able to hang with them without any issues.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Feeling Good, But Not For Long........

I was feeling pretty good on the bike on Tuesday and part of Wednesday's ride but I've managed to get myself pretty sick in the last couple of days and it feels like it is getting worse. I didn't ride with the Velocity team as I had planned on Tuesday because I was already feeling the cold coming on and didn't want to get wet as the forecast called for rain. I did 1 hour of OverUnder Intervals around a circuit by my house and then moved to the rollers once it started to rain. I completed 2 hours for 37 miles which is right about what I wanted to do for the night. Wednesday I was feeling a little worse but decided to ride with Tom and Al from New Berlin and the weather couldn't have been better. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling that great but managed to finish out the ride of 31 miles with some surprising results on all the hill climbs. When I first met Tom about 45 days ago I wasn't even able to stay with him on the flats, yesterday I was able to drop him without much problem and I was able to fly away on the hills with relative ease. Tom and Al both said that I climb better than anybody in the Master's 4/5 races that they've been in or seen. That definitely gave me confidence for the road races but I still had a little trouble staying with Al at 29 mph on the flats for an extended period of time. Al is an animal, he dropped Tom pretty quick and I was able to stay with him but once he cranked it up and stayed there for about 5 minutes I was having trouble because I couldn't breathe from my cold. All in all it was a great ride but I could tell that I was going to pay for it as soon as I got home. My throat felt really sore and I could tell that my cold was getting worse as my body was working to repair itself from the bike ride. I'm not sure if I will ride today, I'd love to just lay in bed and get some much needed rest, but I'll have to see how I feel as the day goes on. Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day which is good and of course it's Easter weekend so we'll have to see how this weekend goes, hopefully I'm recovered.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Great Weekend!

This weekend was great for riding and I definitely did a lot of it. I did a 43 mile ride on Saturday with about 45 minutes or more of Race Simulation where I basically simulate breakaways, sprints, corner attacks, hill attacks, etc. and felt really good overall. I did a 46 mile ride on Sunday with my dad and we did a nice rolling route to Spring Grove, Illinois from Burlington and I felt really good on that ride as well. The hills seem to get easier every day and in the coming weeks they'll only get easier as I work on my lactate threshold by doing intervals and sprints ahead of my first races. I rode early this weekend on both days just so that I could get home right around lunch time and still spend the rest of the day working on my lawn and being with my family. Right now with the expanded daylight and early morning rides I'm not having any conflicts with schedules so that really helps take away some of the mental strain of trying to fit in my training rides. My total mileage for the year now stands at 1,918 miles, so by the end of this week I will hit 2,000 miles which is far more than I had planned on doing by April when I started training again. I still think I should be better than I am because of course I used to be really good so I expected to be good when I started this. I've realized that I have to work harder than I initially thought but I can already see the results of the hard work and hopefully in two weeks I will place well in my first race. Well, today is a rest day and depending on the weather, as it is supposed to rain tomorrow, I will be riding with the Velocity Cycling team on Tuesday after work. It will be my first training ride with hardcore racers so it should be quite the eye opener.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Doing It, and Doing It Well

Last night was a great ride of 1 hr 35 minutes as I got off to a little bit later start and because of darkness had to head home before I got in my planned 2 hours. I still got in a great workout minus the extra 25 minutes that I didn't complete. I did 40 minutes of Tempo including a long 1/2 mile climb up Tans Rd. which really kicked my butt at the top where it gets really steep. I eventually got lost as I'm still not very familiar with the roads around New Berlin and Muskego and I somehow ended up in Big Bend. I found my way from Big Bend to Waukesha and rode Hwy. I back to to New Berlin and it was actually a nice rolling route that suited the Tempo workout quite nicely. I am feeling stronger every day and was able to ride up hills in the big ring that I had to go up in the 39x21 a few weeks ago. At the end of the ride I had my highest average speed for a ride in over 10 years. The weather was great also and of course I was wishing I could work on the yard but I figured that after my morning ride on Saturday I would have all day to do stuff at home and I would also have part of Sunday after we go to Devil's Lake. Tonight it is supposed to rain so I have an Endurance Mile ride of 2 hours scheduled on the rollers with no specialty workout. I also have to cook steaks on the grill for the family so I'd skip an outside ride anyway even if it were nice.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fun In The Sun

Yesterday was the first ride during Daylight Savings Time so I managed to get in a 1 hour 45 minute ride after work before it got dark. I cut about 25 minutes off of my time for the Muskego loop since I last did it so I am definitely improving as evidenced by my 4 mph jump in average speed for the ride. There was a nasty headwind today which hurt a little bit but actually helped when I had to do my specialty workout of Muscle Tension Intervals. I did (3) 6 minute intervals in a 53x12 gear and doing it in to the headwind simulated going up a long hill. I felt great during the intervals but I think it got my heart rate up a little too high, as it should only be at Tempo range during these workouts. My heart rate was probably about 5-6 beats more than it should've been for this type of strength workout. I'm attributing it to the headwind since it took a lot of effort just to pedal that type of gear in to a 20mph wind. Overall I'm feeling good and I've noticed that my hill climbing has improved tremendously as I am now able to climb some steep hills at 15-16 mph that I was only able to do at 10-12 mph two weeks ago. Today will be about a 2 hour ride but I can't remember what my specialty workout is but I'll let you all know tomorrow.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Back In The Saddle Again

Well, after a little hiatus I got back on the bike this weekend and felt really good. I did a group ride on Saturday with about 15-20 people that left from the YMCA by my house and we did a nice rolling loop of 43 miles with one really steep hill. There were a couple of training breakaways and hill sprints and I was pretty dominant in both respects. One of the riders did a breakaway and was flying down the road and two other guys took chase at about 29 mph with me on their wheels. 29 mph seemed easy so I figured I'd kick it up a notch and rode across the gap at 33 mph and after I caught the breakaway rider I looked back and the other two were off my wheel and about 50 yards back. As the ride continued we got to a really steep hill and the aforementioned breakaway rider decided that the steep hill was a great place for a sprint so he took off and I decided to go after him and it didn't take me long to catch and pass him up at the top of the hill. I looked behind me at the top of the hill and again everyone was about 50 yards back. Later in the ride I found out that the guy I was chasing down pretty easily on the breakaways finished 2nd in the Whitewater race, which happens to be my first race on April 22nd. It definitely made me feel pretty good about my chances for that race. Sunday I had to stick to the rollers because of the rain and rode for 1 hr and 30 minutes with 40 minutes of Tempo. All in all it was a good weekend of riding and it really helped to raise my confidence. Tomorrow is a rest day and I will just be relaxing around the house and of course going to work. Well, until next time.............