Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!

Yesterday was another day of rain and some lackluster training as I had a pretty full schedule. After work it was raining of course so I wasn't able to ride outside and I had to bring Xavier to Boy Scouts at 6:45 so there wasn't enough time to hit the rollers before that as I had to make dinner also. Melissa was at the spa with my mom getting facials so I had to hold down the fort and take care of the boy and the dog. I took care of dinner and managed to clean up a few things around the house and then dropped Xavier off at Boy Scouts. I got home and jumped on the rollers right away after popping the movie "Munich" in to the DVD player. I had to pick Xavier up at 8:30 so I pretty much rode until about 8:20 and then jumped off to go get him in my bike shorts and jersey as I didn't have to get out of the car. I got back and jumped on the bike for another 15 minutes and then Melissa came home so I had to get off to hear all about her night at the spa. All total I got in about 1.5 hours on the rollers at a steady pace, nothing great but it was good to clean out the legs from Sunday as I didn't ride on Monday. I have to say I was also enjoying "Munich" and only got to watch about 1 hr 40 minutes of its 2hr 45 minute total. I'll be putting that back in tonight to finish it off. It's a great movie about the 72' Olympics and the Israeli hostage situation. It concentrates more on the aftermath and the hunt for the masterminds behind the plot and has great dialogue and action, I'd definitely recommend it. .........Tonight the weather is supposed to clear up enough to get on the road and ride so I think I'll be doing about 2.25 hrs with my Steady State intervals thrown in that I didn't get to do yesterday. I'll probably take the Root River Pkwy to the Whitnall Park Crit course and do my intervals there and then ride another loop around New Berlin before heading home. Hopefully the weather holds out and I can at least get in the interval workout. I was going to rant today about my search for a good bike seat but I've already written enough so I'll add that on to tomorrow's post or if I have time tonight I'll add another post today. Until next time.........

Monday, May 29, 2006

Horrible Hilly Hundred

Yesterday was the toughest day on the bike yet this year and well, I can't wait to do it again! I suffered and bonked 110% worse than any other time this year, and I have to say that for the first time in my adult life I walked up a hill on a bike because I just couldn't push the pedals anymore. Yesterday I did the course of the Horrible Hilly Hundred with my dad in Blue Mounds and for those of you who aren't familiar with that area it is one of the hilliest in the entire state. I'm talking hills that are up to 2 miles long most of which are your typical steep Wisconsin hills and on top of that the temperature was a steady 95 degress with 20-25 mph winds. There were quite a few riders on the course, we saw no less than 30 riders, all of them probably training to get ready for the official tour of the Horrible Hilly Hundreds coming up on the 17th of June. The first thing I learned after about 5 miles was that my high gear of 39x23 was not going to be good enough for most of these hills and that I was going to suffer throughout the day, which for us began at 8:00a.m. and ended at 4:00p.m.. We rode the course at a decent pace and tried to enjoy it as much as possible, even though I was slowed on some hills to 5-6 miles per hour as I swore at myself for not having a 25 tooth cog on my cassette. As we neared the end of the long day my dad and I were both bonking pretty good and had run out of water and food and were both hoping that we could make it up the long climb to the parking lot at the top of Blue Mounds State Park. Well, I knew as we started the climb that my legs were completely toast and that the gearing I had was not going to get me over the top of the climb. I tried my best but when I hit the steepest part of the climb I almost fell over because I was only going 4 mph so I finally stopped the bike and got off to walk. It was a pretty humbling experience to have to walk for the first time but I knew that a lot of combinations factored in to getting myself in to that situation. One, the temperature was 95 degrees and unfortunately since we were just out riding the course ourselves there were no rest stops that would normally be there during the actual tour. Our single rest stop to re-fill my 3 bottles was at a county park at the 24 mile mark so needless to say we drank as much as we could at the stop and then knew we'd have to conserve water the rest of the way. Two, I read the warning on the official web site which said they recommend having at least a 27 tooth cog, but the largest I have is a 23 and I didn't want to spend over $100 to get a new cassette just for this. Well, I learned my lesson there!! Third, I just haven't ridden anything quite this long and difficult in quite a while, 11 to 12 years at least so I was probably pushing myself beyond what I was ready for after only 6 months of training. My dad has already done a century ride this year and will be doing 2 more in the next 3 weeks, plus he never stopped riding like I did so he has 20 years of non-stop miles in his legs and that all adds up to build up your endurance. I just didn't have it yet. Now, after all that suffering, truthfully I can't wait to get out there and ride it again in the next month or so. I will be buying a cassette with a 25 tooth cog and will be prepared with a little more water next time plus I know what to expect the 2nd time around. If anyone wants to go with me I have to say it is one the most difficult rides you'll ever do but it is also a very beautiful ride and something to be proud of when you finish. I'm going to find an open weekend in June or July and when I am going to head up I will post something on my blog so you can all join me if you wish!!! Alright, well today I'm just taking it easy and since I haven't ridden yet I am just going to ride for about 30 minutes on the rollers tonight after I pop in a DVD. Tomorrow I have quite a bit going on because Xavier has Boy Scouts and Melissa won't be home so I'll have to figure out my schedule with riding. Most likely I'll try to squeeze in a ride before Boy Scouts otherwise I'll have Xavier's grandma bring him to Boy Scouts and that way I can ride until I have to pick him up at 8:30. Either way I'm schedule for 2.25 hours with some Steady State intervals thrown in during the ride. Hopefully my body is recovered from yesterday, we'll see I guess........until next time.......

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Resting Up...Or Just Lazy

I didn't ride yesterday as I had planned, but I don't feel too bad about it. I got home and I just felt like I had too much to get done, so I did a few things that I needed to do. I went to Wheel and Sprocket and got my rear wheel fixed and got myself a new helmet to replace the one that was cracked in the Wheels on Willy Criterium. Basically it's just a plain white Bell Sweep R that I'll make look a little better with some green accent paint to match my green jersey and shorts. I also took care of some laundry and put the heating pad on my sore shoulder, hamstring and left knee. I probably ate a little too much yesterday and need to cut back on eating as I've noticed that I've been pigging out this week, and not on good nutritional food either. The plans for this weekend have changed and I'll be doing the Blue Mounds ride with my dad on Sunday now, should be a good ride as it's supposed to be in the mid 80s and mostly sunny. Tonight I'll probably ride outside even though it is 6:00 and I'm still at work but hope to get out shortly. If I can get in an hour before the storms I'll be happy. There is a 60% chance of T-Storms and it doesn't look to good out right now. Otherwise I'll ride inside on the rollers for about 75 minutes just to keep loose. Tomorrow I'll probably ride for about 60-90 minutes since I haven't done much this week so far. Saturday will be a ride of about 2.5 hours with some Race Simulation thrown in for good measure. Sunday will of course be the long ride and then Monday will be a day off. The weather is starting to look better with temps in the low to mid 70s all week and less rain so training should go well next week.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Little Sore, But Feelin' Better

Today I'm feeling a little better than yesterday, I'm still sore but not as stiff as I was when I woke up yesterday. My road rash doesn't really hurt any more, the pain is mainly in the joints that got bruised... the elbows, left knee and hip, and my neck. I rode last night for about an hour and 15 minutes to loosen up and felt pretty good with the exception of my right elbow. I do have a bruise and scrape on that elbow but it didn't really hurt until I rode last night, I couldn't put any weight on it at all for some reason. Other than that, everything was good and luckily for me this is a regeneration week so I had planned on taking it easy this week anyways. Tonight I'll most likely be riding for 1.25 hours on the rollers as we are supposed to have thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. Tomorrow if the weather is good I'll be out for about 1.75 hours with a couple of intervals thrown in to keep the engine running smooth. Friday will be an off day and Saturday I am planning on going to Blue Mounds with my dad to ride 100-120 miles around the Blue Mounds/Dodgeville area. He has an organized tour in that area called the Horrible Hilly Hundred in two weeks and wants to ride the course to make sure he is ready. It should be a fun 6-6.5 hours of riding through all the big hills in that area. Sunday will be an easy day as I will probably be going to my mom's in Burlington for a picnic so I'll probably just do a recovery ride to clean out from Saturday. My next race isn't for 4 weeks so I have plenty of time to train in the coming weeks and plan to make the most of it. Well, until next time...........

Monday, May 22, 2006

3rd....And A Little Worse......

Well, I had my best result of the year this weekend and also the worst result!!!! I placed 3rd in the Whilly Street Criterium in Madison although I should have absolutely won the race. I realized as the 40 minute criterium progressed that I was feeling great on the day and that the pace was slow enough that a break would work with either 1 or 2 laps to go, so I went for it. I tried to position myself to take off with two laps to go but right at the end of the 3rd to last lap a Chronometro rider took off and the pack let him go, which turned out to be a perfect setup for me and I knew it right away. We let him get about 15 yards ahead until the last lap and then we caught him on the back straightaway after the 2nd turn, and just at that moment I took off and had a 10 yard gap going in to the 3rd turn. As I took the 4th turn in to the finishing straight the gap was down to about 5 yards and although I gave it my all the pack caught me just as I hit the line, with only two riders nipping me for a disappointing 3rd place finish. Yes, 3rd is disappointing because I should have won it, I probably could have stood up to sprint for a few more seconds but the body was saying "no way!". I should have suffered just a little more regardless but I guess I'll just remember that next time. Anyway, I got a few USCF and Wisconsin Cup points and a little money to make it a good day. The second race was not so good to say the least, as after avoiding about 7 other crashes I got caught in the last crash going in to the finish straight on the last lap. I haven't raced a Category 4/5 race this year yet and after today I won't race any more this year, as they are way to squirrelly and they race like they've never ridden a bike before. I was extremely disappointed as I was in 6th position coming out of the last turn and the guy in front of me cut it too wide, hit the curb, and then bounced back in to my path and I went down with about 5 other guys. I am now completely scraped up from head to toe as I have road rash on my ankles, knees, hips, hands, elbows, and shoulders and also a sore neck and head because someone ran over my head which cracked my helmet. As far as bike equipment, I obviously need a new helmet and other than needing my rear wheel trued, everything else made it unscathed. Overall, I'm a little sore but will take a nice 30-45 minute ride with the wife tonight to loosen up the joints and then I'll resume normal training tomorrow. Here are some nice pictures of my oozing road rash sores..... nice, hey?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ready For The Weekend

My plans are changing a bit for this weekend as I've decided to do two races on Sunday. I'll be doing the Masters 30+ as usual but I'll also be racing with the young guys and doing the Category 4/5 race as well. My first race is at 9:00 and my second race is at 11:00. I'll have about 45 minutes of recovery between races so that will be no problem. I'll probably do better in the 4/5 race if I don't crash because (1) I'll be warmed up and my body will have started the lactic buffering process and (2) I've heard so far that the 4/5 races have been a little slower than the Masters'. The only problem like I said is that there tends to be a relatively high number of crashes in the 4/5 race, hopefully I'll make it out unscathed. Well, last night I did a 2 hour ride with 3 reps of 9 minutes at Steady State pace (92% of max HR). I rode from my house to Whitnall Park and did my intervals on the criterium course and then did a nice leisurely ride home. Today I'll do an easy 45 min Recovery Ride and then tomorrow will be about 1.5 hours with 2 sets of 2 min Power Intervals. Sunday will obviously be the two races and a short recovery ride. Overall right now I feel pretty good, my legs are feeling good, I've been able to get my heart rate up during training which means that I'm not overtrained or sick, and I just feel better on the bike during climbing, pushing big gears, etc.. I know that I'm not where I want to be to be able to win a race, unless I get lucky, so I still have a lot of work to do. My goal is to do really well during Superweek as I have my sabbatical during that time and will get to do a lot of races. In the big picture I'm going to keep doing my muscle building work, my tempo work and work on building more power. June will call for shorter but more intense intervals to build up my lactate threshold and I'll start to incorporate some speedwork in to the program at the end of June. July will be all about SuperWeek (actually 16 days of racing) and working on sprintwork. August will be more of a rest month as I cut back on the speedwork and work on endurance again as there are probably only 3 or 4 races in August. The end of August and September will bring some nice touring centuries through Door County, Madison, and Milwaukee areas. October will be a rest month and then the program will start all over again in November with weights and cross-training.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Soaked To The Bone

Yesterday's ride was one of the worst rides I've been on in a long time as I got completely pelted with heavy rain and sleet. Actually I take that back, the ride itself was good, the weather was horrible. I left New Berlin under partly sunny skies and very little wind and headed towards Waukesha for a nice 2 hour ride. I got to the outskirts of Waukesha and noticed very ominous looking thunderheads heading my way from the north and I could tell that it was raining near Pewaukee but I figured it would stay North of me as I made a loop south of Waukesha. Within 10 minutes I was riding in 25-30 mph winds, a complete downpour, and on top of that, some very painful, pelting sleet. The rain was coming down so hard I couldn't see 15 feet in front of me and there was no way I was taking off my sunglasses as the sleet would've definitely inflicted damage to my eyes. After 15 minutes the roads were full of 3-4 inch deep puddles and it was all I could do to stay upright. I couldn't turn around because I was at the halfway point of my loop so the distance was obviously the same either way, so I trudged onward and started to head back to New Berlin. As soon as I hit Hwy. 164 in Waukesha there was almost a clear line in the road where the rain stopped and by the time I got back to New Berlin I was under sunny skies again and the roads were completely dry. Throughout the whole storm I managed to finish my 60 minutes of Tempo work as I kept a diligent eye on my HR monitor to make sure that I was completing my workout. I got home and Melissa couldn't believe how soaked I was, she didn't see or hear the thunderstorm in Waukesha and said that it was completely sunny the whole time I was gone, go figure. So.....I finished my two hour ride, got in my tempo work, got completely soaked to the bone and as a result had to air out my shoes and spent 2 hours overhauling my bike. I took the bottom bracket off my bike during the overhaul and enough water poured out to fill a juice glass. I then spun my wheels and I could hear water sloshing around as I spun them, I'm sure the rims were full of water. I didn't take off the tires though because that is a lot of work, I figure they'll dry out eventually. Well, tonight the forecast is calling for a good chance of severe storms so we'll see if I get outside. If I do get out then the program calls for some Steady State intervals and another 2 hour ride. Tomorrow will be an easy 2.25 hour ride and then Friday will be an easy 45 minutes with some sprints thrown in. Until next time.........

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Could Be Better

Unfortunately the weather hasn't been very cooperative of late but I did manage to ride twice this past weekend. I rode for 1.5 hours in the rain on Saturday after getting some work done on the house in the afternoon, and then rode for 2.5 hours on Sunday around Alpine Valley from Burlington. I felt o.k. on Saturday but didn't feel particularly strong although I was riding my crappy-weather Pinarello with the big steel frame and heavy cyclocross tires. Sunday was a little better but still quite cold in the mist and there was a bit of a cold wind that went right through me. I rode from Burlington to Alpine Valley and rode up every hill along the way that I could find in preparation for Baraboo #2 on Saturday. I felt sluggish up the hills and mentally I was struggling. I think part of it was getting used to my new shoes as I was constantly trying to adjust my foot position and I have never been a good cold weather rider, so the weather definitely affected me. Overall my health feels good as I think I have kicked the cold that has held me back the last couple of weeks but I still have a lot of hard training ahead to get to where I want to be. Well, it's still raining today, hopefully it will clear up by the time I get home so that I can do a nice 2 to 2.25 hour ride after work. The plan for today on the ride is 60 minutes of Tempo work to build aerobic power, should be no problem.

It's becoming a broken record but here's another picture of the radar.....rain, rain, and more rain!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sick And Tired - But Ready To Race, Maybe

Well, this week has not been good as I've been sick for most of the week and unable to ride the bike. I last rode on Sunday afternoon and have been sick since Monday night with a little bit of a stomach bug and some chills and fever. I started to feel better yesterday morning and thought I was going to get on the bike but after lunch I got a major headache and fever and basically slept the whole night. I am feeling quite a bit better today (so far) and hope to ride for about 1.5 hours on the rollers tonight. Tomorrow will be a 45 min to 1 hour ride on the rollers if I'm still feeling good, and if it doesn't rain like it's supposed to then I'll ride it outside and do some sprints. If I'm feeling 100 percent Saturday morning then I'll probably do the Muskego race even though I haven't ridden much this week. It's supposed to only be 54 degrees and rainy on Saturday so regardless of how I'm feeling I may stay home as I don't need to get sick by sitting in the rain all morning. I'm looking forward to the races next week, Baraboo again on Saturday and Wheels on Willy Criterium on Sunday. We'll see how the schedule works out with the family as I may only be able to do one race. My preference would be the Willy race as there are really good cash prizes and I've done quite well on that course in my previous racing life. I kind of want to do Baraboo again to see if I could do better but like I said, I'm sure the wife won't let me do two races. I'll update you all again tomorrow with the progress of my health and whether or not I'll race Saturday. Until tomorrow.............

Crappy Rain!!!!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Just Not There Yet

Well, another disappointing weekend. I thought I would have a good race this weekend in Baraboo considering the size of the climbs and the relative ease with which I've been climbing of late, but I guess I'm just not ready yet to hang with the big boys. I was actually able to hang with the group on the first big climb but after the second medium size roller I got swung off the back when a rider lost the wheel of the guy in front of him and then I had to sprint around him to get back to the group. More guys started to drop and I had to keep sprinting around them and eventually I lost the group on a right hand turn when I couldn't sprint anymore. My lungs felt good but I couldn't overcome the lactic acid that would build up pretty quickly in my legs after every sprint effort. I've only been riding my bike for 5 months after a 3 year layoff so the last thing to come will probably be the power and lactate threshold that is needed to do those kinds of efforts time after time during a race. I was following a good program of tempo work, steady state efforts and muscle tension intervals earlier in the year before the Madison race but since then I've been doing more group rides that although they can sometimes be difficult don't really follow a structure. I'm not really building a power base and lactate threshold during these rides and as much as I'd miss the group riding I may have to stop doing those for a couple of weeks so that I can get back on my program. If I had been racing and riding the last few years it wouldn't be a big deal but since I've been away for so long I really need to work on my power and get back to building up my efforts over time. Basically that means more steady state intervals, tempo work and some climbing repeats. My results have been declining every week for the last 3 weeks so it's time to change up my training starting tomorrow. Tonight is a normally scheduled rest day so I'll just clean up the bike, wash the bike clothes, clean the water bottles and keep the legs on the couch after that. Tomorrow would normally be a day of intervals but I'm going to do an easy ride of about 1.5 - 2 hours to just clean out the legs and let the body recover. Wednesday will also be an easy 2 hour ride and then Thursday will be a 2 hour ride with Tempo work of about 60 minutes. Friday will be an easy day with a few sprints thrown in to open up the legs. Saturday will be the Muskego race, and hopefully some better results. Here is a picture of the course profile from Saturday, it was as tough as it looks......

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Feeling Pretty Good

Last night was a really good ride even though I initially didn't feel like riding outside because I was feeling a little sore and under the weather. Well, once I got on the road I felt great and the sun was out and it was about 75 degrees so the ride was perfect. I rode with Al and Tom out of New Berlin and we rode the backroads through Waukesha and Pewaukee all the way to Delafield and then back to New Berlin. It was a fairly hilly route and I pushed it hard up all the hills and felt like I was pretty strong and my lungs felt pretty good but lactic acid built up in the legs pretty quickly. I think I'm about as ready as I'll be for the race Saturday because the next two days won't make much of a difference in my training. Tonight I'll be doing about a 2 hour endurance ride with a few climbs up a long hill by my house. I'm going to keep the heart rate pretty low the whole time to recover from the last two days and there really is no reason to push myself now. Tomorrow will be a rest day with about a 45 minute ride with 3-4 sprints thrown in to open up the legs. Thankfully I have off of work tomorrow also so I'll be doing some yard work during the day and getting my rest at night. I also found out the results for Saturday's race and I ended up finishing 26th which was not in the points for the Wisconsin Cup. After two races I am now ranked 21st in points (all from the 1st race) after being ranked 17th last week. I'll definitely improve this weekend because from what I've seen a lot of the Master's racers can't climb very well. Until next time...........

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Down And Out

Last night was not a good ride with the Velocity team, I got a bad side stitch that I could not get rid of about 20 miles in to the ride and had some trouble breathing because it hurt to bad to breathe deep. As a result of that I had some trouble staying with them when they hammered a few times, but did manage to cling to the back of the pack. I definitely wasn't feeling very strong overall and I could tell all day at work that I wasn't up to par. I felt somewhat nauseous all day and was having some stomach pains. My sinuses are still draining and I'm 6 days in to my course of antibiotics. Excuses, excuses, but I think my body was working to repair or fight this cold and chest congestion that I've had and so I just didn't have the energy to ride efficiently. I'm going to need a lot of rest heading in to Saturday's race as it is a hilly road race and I can't afford to be tired or just plain over-extended in my training in order to do well there. Tonight I'm somewhat hoping that it will rain so that I can just do a nice recovery ride of 2 hours on the rollers and then tomorrow I'll do a nice hard ride possibly before work and then another recovery ride at night. Friday will be a short ride with some sprints thrown in to open the engine up a little bit and then Saturday morning I'll be racing. I get my new custom racing kit tomorrow and Friday so I'm pretty excited to have that for the race Saturday. I'll be switching from red to green for my primary colors. I ordered a custom "bc velo" jersey from Velowear and got the matching green shorts and shoe covers. I also ordered some new silver Adidas shoes as my Sidis are pretty worn out. Until next time............


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

There Is Always Next Time

Well, this weekend didn't go as well as I had hoped but I guess I should be happy to finish without crashing or getting dropped. Again it came down to a bunch sprint and this time I had good position but just got wasted in the sprint, finishing somewhere around 30th (don't have exact results). I tried to attack twice with 4 laps to go and on the last lap but couldn't get away from the pack as I don't have the cumulative power built up that comes from riding for a couple of years in a row. Next year I'll have that but it won't help me now. The race played out pretty poorly as the pack stayed together for almost the whole race until about 2 laps to go when the winner broke away and managed to stay away for the remaining two laps for the win. Unfortunately no one organized a chase, which is just beside me as there were multiple teams in the race. Masters racers just like to sit in and wait for the bunch sprint, I guess they don't want to win, they just want to sit in and finish the race. Monday was a rest day so I just laid around the house, tonight I'll be riding with the Velocity team in Sussex. I'm still recovering a bit from my cold as I can feel it in my throat and I still have a lot of nose drainage but I think I'm getting better and should be rid of this soon. Well, here are some pictures of me leading up a hill (in red shorts - check out those muscles!!) and a crash during the race....