Sunday, December 30, 2007

Snowshoeing Fun.....

I got in some good snowshoeing yesterday, but never did get in a ride as my sister was up here from California and her and my dad came over in the afternoon for a belated X-mas dinner. I was up early and on the trails a little before 8:00 and it wasn't really all that bad, I was dressed appropriately this time so I didn't sweat as bad as the last time I went out. There was no one else out there, which I wouldn't expect at that time of the morning so I was blazing the trails all by myself and Friday's snowfall made for a tough go of it up some of the hills. After snowshoeing I had to get back and get in some last minute grocery shopping and house cleaning before I started cooking. There just was no time left to get in a ride as my dad and sister ended up leaving at about 9:30 but I really didn't care at that point as we had a great time playing some GH3, pool, darts and sitting by the fire. I will get in a good ride today though, hopefully about 3 hours on the rollers and trainer, using the trainer for muscle tension stuff. I do have to be in Burlington though at about 11:00 this morning until about 4:30ish, so my ride will be done while watching a movie tonight otherwise I'd probably try to ride outside if I didn't have to leave. Oh well, I'm used to sweating it up on the trainer. Well, that's it for now, until next time.......

Sunday's Snowshoeing Pics
















Monday, December 24, 2007

Tis The Season

Tis the season for snoeshowing, certainly not cycling, as I got out this morning and did just over an hour of snowshoeing on some local XC ski trails. There was a nice sledding hill at the parking lot and I also did a few running repeats up that to give myself a little burn. In addition to the snowshoeing this morning I'll also be riding the bike tonight (inside of course) after some afternoon family festivities. I've allocated about 2 hours to ride the rollers while watching the newest Harry Potter movie with the family. Yesterday I was able to get in 3 hours on the rollers and the trainer. I did 2 hours on the rollers while watching the Packer game and then after 2 hours I switched to the trainer so that I could do Muscle Tension Intervals as there really is no resistance on the rollers. So 3 good hours of cycling yesterday, 1hr15min of snowshoeing and 2 hours of cycling today have me feeling pretty good about my fitness, well, in addition to the 7 straight days of cycling and 3 days of weightlifting that I did last week. I've been on a roll lately with the bike since I've got back from Florida and I'm feeling pretty good with the Foundation Period that I've almost completed. I've done almost 16 weeks of foundation work and in a couple weeks (the 8th I think) I'll move on to the Preparation Period. The winter season has been pretty snowy so far, I'm hoping that it tapers off a bit, even though we've really just begun, so that I can get more cycling in outside on weekends. I've ordered some parts and mtb tires for the new singlespeed so I'm hoping that I can get that outside even in the snow in the next couple of weeks. I'll also be getting in some time on the snowshoes to break up the monotony of the cycling as well. Well, the next couple of days will be filled with Christmas fun, I hope you all enjoy the next couple of days as much as I'm sure I will, have a great Xmas!! Until next time...........

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Rig

This year I really had a desire to get a fun, tooling-around town, trail-ready, single speed bike......sooooo, yesterday I picked one up. I went to the bike shop to get a seat collar for my road bike as I tightened mine a bit too much Tuesday night while making some adjustments and snapped the seat collar right in half. Luckily I didn't damage my frame or seatpost. Anyways, I went to the store and bought my seat collar and was heading out the door. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this wonderful green machine that caught my attention. I walked back through the door and checked it out. I said to myself "SOLD!" A few minutes later I had it downstairs in my basement, luckily the wife wasn't home so I snuck it in and still haven't told her as of yet. I'll have to let her know tonight though....wish me luck. It's actually not an expensive bike, pretty cheap actually, about 300 bucks but I liked the style and the color, lime green with flames! It's basically a starting point to having some fun cruising some of the trails around town that I wouldn't take my road bike on, such as limestone or dirt trails. I'll also use it to ride with my wife and it's great to take out on wet, crappy days as it has fenders! Admit it, you're jealous....well, probably not. So, the frame is aluminum, so it isn't super heavy and other than that most of the parts will be upgraded shortly. You're probably asking why I just wouldn't get a better bike if I'm upgrading most of it but basically I bought it for the frame style and the price, and for the singlespeed setup. The first items to be upgraded will be the front end of the bike.....the threaded cromoly rigid fork is going and will be replaced by a threadless carbon rigid fork and threadless headset and stem. The bars that came with it are the wide, curved bars and they add to the style of the bike so I'm keeping those. Basically that will be it for upgrades until Spring, then after that I'll be upgrading the seatpost and seat and then at some point this year I'll upgrade the wheelset, but of course I'll be keeping the fenders. Well, that's it for my exciting news for now, I've attached a pic below. Until next time.....

New SS Rig


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Winter Blues

I hate the trainer, I hate the trainer, I hate the trainer. O.k., now that we got that out of the way........
The New Year is approaching and it's probably a good time to look at what my goals and plans are for 2008. Of course I already started training for 2008 back in October so that has already been ongoing and will obviously continue to progress up until the first race. As far as what I plan on doing for races and what I expect in '08, I'm hoping to expand on the number of races I did this year, and I already have and will be increasing the quality of my training to be able to be competitive with the 1/2/3s. This is the start of my 3rd year back and obviously I won't ever be able to train as I much as I did before so I won't ever be as good as I was but I think that if I was 80% as good as I was, then that should be good enough to be competitive. I can already tell that some of the issues that bugged me last year won't be holding me back this year, such as my sore knee, and tight back/hip. Last year I had a very sore and tight left hip and I couldn't push my left leg at full power on most rides. I don't have even the slightest tinge of tightness in my hip anymore, all the stretching that I've been doing has alleviated that. My knee pain is essentially gone, I haven't felt that in quite a few weeks. Basically there are no physical limiters right now. Sooo, anyways, on to my plans and goals for 2008.....
Given what I know I'm capable of, I don't think I created goals that aren't realistic so I should be able to achieve all of them.

1. Finish in the top 30 in all my races this year
2. Finish in the top 20 in 50% of my races this year
3. Finish in the top 10 in at least 3 races
4. Finish in the top 3 at least once
5. Finish in the top 15 in WCA points in 1/2/3 30+
6. Upgrade to Cat 2 by season's end

I plan on doing at least 25 races in 2008, up from 17 this year and most of the extra races will come in the form of SuperWeek races, which I skipped entirely this year.
Other than that, I just hope to be a good teammate to the other guys in my races and I'll also try to help the guys in the 4/5s as much as I can as well to get them moved up to race with the 1/2/3s. As far as things I need to improve on personally, I'll be working on my climbing ALOT more this year and I'll need to improve my sprinting a bit more as well. My time trialing will come along as well as I get stronger but I won't work on that specifically as there are only 1 or 2 TTs that I'll be doing this year. Well, that's it for now, gotta get back to work...until next time.....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snowshoeing

Pictures of Melissa and I snowshoeing for the the first time......the snow was great, we were pretty wiped out after we were done. Next time I'll wear clothes that are a bit more breathable as I worked up a pretty good sweat, and jeans and cotton shirts just don't move that sweat away from the body very well. Lesson learned. It was hard work and I'm feeling it today.

Pics




Thursday, November 29, 2007

Random Goal

I added another goal today to my spreadsheet of short-term and long-term goals. Based on the direction of where my team is heading and the potential that I think we have in 2008 and 2009 (as long as we stay together) I have added the Masters' Elite National Championships in 2009 as a long term goal. I know that I won't be quite ready in 2008 to do them but if I progress at the rate that I am and keep up the training that I have been doing so far for 2008, then I will definitely be competing in the Elite RR, TT, and Crit. I think a lot of people will be surprised with the power and cohesiveness of our team this year, and we can bring out probably 4-5 of us in 2009 that will be able to work together to get the strongest guy to the front of those races and hopefully get a placing. The RR would be my priority, TT second and Crit third. It's on the list of goals, I'm sure most of my team will share in that goal and be willing to go along, and of course we'll kick some butt. If they don't go along, then I'll just kick their butt instead. Just making a quick random post...until next time......

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Riding..Riding..And More Riding

I leave for Florida on Sunday for a whole week, returning on the 9th of December. Unfortunately it's not for pleasure as I'll be going out there for business and will not have an opportunity to ride my bike at all for the whole week. I'm staying at an extended stay hotel which is more of an apartment type complex so there is no workout center either. I will have a few opportunities to work out though, it is Florida so it will be sunny and warm so I'll be doing some jogging for as long as my knees can handle it. The hotel does have two amenities that I can use, one is a basketball court and that can be a good workout if I play some Hustle with a few co-workers, and they also have a pool so I can do some laps in that as well. Of course I'll also do my stretching and ab work to keep myself limber so that won't change. One problem will be that all the food is free and there is a lot of eating while we are down there, so I will need to temper my appetite as much as possible, I'm sure I won't do to good in that area though.
So anyways, I am really cranking out the time on the bike this week ahead of the lack of riding next week. I rode last night for 75 minutes on my normal rest day, in addition to doing weights. I rode this morning for 45 minutes on the trainer and will ride again tonight for 90 minutes. I'll do the same tomorrow with rides in the morning and evening, and you guessed it, I will ride in the morning and evening on Thursday as well. Friday night I have plans so I'll do weights and then it will be a normal rest day on the bike. Saturday I'm hoping for 4-4.5 hours outside and then my flight out on Sunday is in the afternoon so I should have time to squeeze in 3-3.5 hours outside on Sunday. I'll definitely have a good amount of time in the saddle ahead of leaving, potentially 15 hours this week, so I won't feel all that bad as long as I maintain some activity next week. Well, that's it for now, I'll update before I leave Sunday, until next time.........

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Keeping It Short...

Well, I'm keeping my post short, not my riding though. It was a little chilly today, the wind was whipping around pretty good but I still got out and got in a 3.5 hour ride outside, and I was actually pretty comfortable with all 3 of my layers on. I've been on a roll lately with really, good long rides on the weekends and I wanted to keep that trend going, so even though I wanted to stay warm inside today I just said, "to hell with it, I can handle a little cold weather". I'm glad I went out, just like last weekend when the weather was even a little worse with the rain. Tomorrow I'll be going out for 4 hours to Delafield and then off to my dad's for a belated Thanksgiving dinner. Tonight I'm getting ready to leave right now to go out to eat and drink an obscene amount of beer with my friend Jason so that's why I'm keeping this short. Well, that's it for now, more tomorrow, until next time.......

Monday, November 19, 2007

First Snowfall?

Well, I guess I can't really call it a snowfall since we probably got 1/800th of an inch but when I went out for my ride on Sunday morning there was snow on the grass on almost every road I was on until it started to get closer to noon and then it was gone for the most part. I did get up early Sunday expecting to have better weather than Saturday but after about 45-50 minutes of my ride it started to drizzle on me again, even though I could see sun ahead of me. I think the black cloud was following me from Saturday. Anyways, I got in a 3 hour ride before the Packer game and I felt really good, the weather really wasn't that bad and today I still haven't gotten sick even though most of my riding this weekend was in some sort of inclement weather. Things are really going well with the bike fit, I think I solved my issues last week and so far my knees are feeling good and I feel balanced on the bike.

As far as this week goes, tomorrow I'll be riding for 90 minutes on the trainer, I'll be skipping weights on Wednesday since I'm off work but weather permitting I'll ride outside for about 3 hours while I'm home, then Thursday will be iffy, it all depends on how I feel at night whether I ride or not. Friday I'll do weights and then ride the trainer for only 60 minutes to most likely make up for Thursday. Saturday and Sunday will be my normal 3 to 4 hour ride each day, it appears it will be in the upper 30s and as long as it doesn't snow or rain, that's good enough for me to get outside. Well, it's late, time for bed....until next time.......



The first snowfall of the year....it was gone in like 3 hours....


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Through the Looking Glass(es)

I've got to say that today's weather was crap, a little breezy, cold, and it basically drizzled all day.....perfect weather for a ride outdoors. I really didn't feel like staying inside today so I got all dressed up with all my cold weather gear and threw on the clear rain jacket and headed out for what I had planned as a 4 hour ride. After about 2 hours I was pretty wet on the bottom half of my body, my feet were soaked and cold and I was ready to head home. Problem was that I wasn't any where near home but I took a few shortcuts and made it back home in 90 minutes, basically cutting off 30 minutes of my ride and getting back to the warmth of home as quick as possible. I did a route through Whitnall Park out towards the Sports Complex in Franklin, then through Franklin towards Waukesha and then I took my short cut through Waukesha to make my way back home. It was 3.5 hours of cold, wet riding but I tried to make the most of it, knowing that 3.5 hours on the road was better than 3 hours+ on the trainer. It's rides like today that you really have to do stuff to motivate yourself to keep going, because it's so easy just to make the excuse that it's really crappy out and you don't need to be doing this today, there will be better weather tomorrow or some other lame excuse. Well, I didn't figure that making excuses would help me be any better come Spring so I was glad that I got out and rode. A saying that I like to go by quite often on the bike and in life is this...."your effort is a portrait of yourself".....so I said that to myself quite a few times today on my ride to keep me out there. I also used a little bit of imagination and as I was riding through the rain and cold I tried to picture myself somewhere in Europe riding a classic or something in miserable conditions.....I took a picture of it for everyone to see......
This is what I really saw through the glasses

This is what I imagined I was seeing for a little motivation




Anyways, I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, it all depends on the weather when I wake up I guess. If the roads are still nasty and it's cold then I'll just ride the trainer during the Packer game, otherwise I will try to get out for 3 hours before the game. Tomorrow is supposed to be nicer than today, but they also said it was supposed to stop raining this morning, it's 10:30 now and I think it's STILL raining. Well, that's it for now, until next time......

Pictures....

So here are the pictures per my previous post.....Notice that in the first picture you can't see daylight between my left leg and the bike. The laser line is on the outside of my knee and the outside of my hip at the top of the pic. The second picture is after the adjustments, there is now daylight between my leg and the bike and the laser line tracks straight through my leg......these are still pics from my movie editing program....I'll get the movies out hopefully tomorrow afternoon when I get back from my ride.






Friday, November 16, 2007

Using Something Called "A Laser"

Ahhh, let's see, where to start.....the quality of training this week has been shoddy at best, not quite up to what I had been doing the past couple of weeks after work on the trainer. It's not because my motivation has waned, far from it, I am amped right now to keep up my time on the bike and put in as many miles as I can. It's been shoddy for a couple reasons, one is that Wednesday night I had to work until 8:30 so by the time I got home and ate it was too late to ride. The other reason has been the issue I've had for a while with my biomechanics and how that makes me feel on the bike (unbalanced), and how it affects my knees (pain!), so the trainer rides that I did on Tuesday and last night were less than ideal. I spent a lot of time getting on and off the trainer as I was riding to fiddle with my seat, change my cleat position, I even tried extra padding on one side of the seat to even out my sit bones. I've known the problem....my left leg has a tendency to pull in, from the hip to the knee, which causes me to rub the leather completely off the left side of my seat, it also puts a lot of strain on the right arm as I'm constantly pushing against my body to the left to counteract that. Every ride seems to end with my right tricep and forearm just as sore as my legs. It's also caused considerable left knee pain in the past and makes me feel like I'm sitting crooked on the bike. So, I spent some time at the Bike Doctor getting fitted early this year and he did add some shims under my left shoe to try to counteract some of that supponation and it did seem to help. He raised my seat a bit, and pushed my seat forward as well. Things seemed a little bit better but I still never felt 100% this year, not even 90% for the most part. I realized last night there is one very important thing that the Bike Doctor never checked or asked me about, and I will get to that later. Sooo, this week after jumping on the trainer on Tuesday and feeling completely cockeyed I was fed up and decided to work on my position all week no matter what it took. I started on Tuesday with raising my seat a bit and pushing it back to the position that I always had set for in the past, which was really far back and stretched out. That didn't help the part about feeling unbalanced but it gave me a starting point back to the position that I always used to ride with, so that is where I ended up after Tuesday evening's ride. Last night I went all out and got out my laser level, the video camera and more shims for my cleats. I used the laser level on a vertical plane to see how my leg was tracking and I recorded that as I rode. It turns out my right leg was tracking almost dead straight, the laser line went through the center of my shoe, and the line was centered all the way up to my hip. It showed what I already knew about my right leg, nothing was wrong there. My left leg on the other hand, was all messed up. The laser line started at the center of my shoe but by the time it got to my hip, the line was almost on the outside of my leg because my upper leg tracked way in towards the seat. I already knew that as well, but I didn't realize how much it tracked in so my goal was to get my leg tracking out so that the line was right down the middle, the same as my right leg. After assessing the video and doing some visual assessment of how my legs naturally hang when I lift myself off the ground, I came up with a couple of solutions. The first problem is that when my left leg is hanging naturally it pulls itself in and up, causing my left toe to point in and my leg to be pulled towards my right leg. When my right leg hangs naturally it points dead straight and my toes are straight ahead, as I would expect.

Cause/Solution #1 - Hamstrings and groin muscles in my left leg were way to tight and were basically pulling my leg in and not allowing it to hang naturally and track naturally on the bike. I stretch pretty regularly and have always noticed that it takes a lot more work to stretch out my left leg and when I feel uncomfortable stretching it I just back off. Last night after my assessments I stretched it past the point of being comfortable, really cranking on the hamstrings especially and my glutes and hip flexors. I was in pain but after I got done I could tell that my hammie was really stretched out, not like my normal stretch. Sure enough I sat on my seat and let my legs hang and this time my left leg hung almost straight ahead. I could feel the muscles tightening up again so I know that it is going to have to be a regular practice to stretch my left leg 3-4 times a day. Now, to what I mentioned earlier about the Bike Doctor....I was never asked once in my fitting about my flexibility or if I stretch regularly and how that could come in to play with my bike fit. I think he saw that there was a problem but instead of finding the cause of the problem or asking about it, he just tried to remedy what he saw with positional changes. I'm not trying to say anything negative, but if there were some mention of the possibility of tight muscles or how I stretch or about my flexibility at the time, in addition to the positional changes, then maybe that would have helped him in the fitting.

Cause/Solution #2 - Shimming the left cleat. During my fitting it was also noted that I have a supponation problem with my left foot so shims were installed under the cleat to help with that. Basically the shims are wedge shaped so that you can have the thicker end on one side of the cleat to deal with pronation or supponation. After stretching I looked at some more things and realized that my foot was also leaning in a bit to the right on a horizontal plane towards the crank and that although I had some shims under the cleat already, I realized I just needed a few more to solve that issue.
After a good stretch and the installation of the shims I turned on the lasers again and started the camera up to record how my leg was tracking after the adjustments. I sat on the bike and clipped in and didn't even need to look down to know that my left leg was straighter now, I was actually sitting straight on the bike I didn't automatically start tilting like I did before, and I didn't feel that pressure of my right arm pushing me back to the left. So I started pedaling and recorded a minute or so of video. I got off and hooked up the camera to the big TV and watched the results, sure enough the laser was now straight down the middle of my leg, an amazing difference. I didn't need to watch the video to know I was already sitting straight on the seat again, but the video definitely confirmed that. I got my wife away from her Nursing studies to take a look and after watching the before and after videos she couldn't believe it either. She has been saying for quite a while that I had to see a physical therapist and that my body was just plain messed up. I think she was surprised to see that I figured this out on my own and she was pretty impressed by my laser setup as well. So, tonight I will ride some more on the trainer to just confirm that I'm good and then tomorrow I'll be getting outside as normal. Now that I rambled forever, here is a quick preview of what I'm doing this weekend. Tonight, one hour on the trainer and weights, Saturday will be a 4.5 hour ride outside, Sunday will be 3 hours outside and a hiking trip to Minooka Park in Waukesha. O.k., that's it for now, but tonight I'm transferring the video to the PC at home and I'll be posting short segments of the before and after videos with lasers and all for your viewing enjoyment so that you don't have to take my word for it, you can see for yourself! Until next time......

Monday, November 12, 2007

Same Ole', Same Ole'

If you've been following my blog I'm sure you've noticed that it's pretty much been updated on Mondays and Fridays after I do my workouts for the week and then again after my weekend rides. I'll probably keep up that pattern for now unless something cool comes up during the week, because basically I do the same stuff every day and who wants to read about that day after day. As the season progresses I'll update a lot more, as once we get snow and I need to complain about not getting outside on the bike I'm sure I'll rant a lot more. I'll also have snowshoeing to talk about as I'll be trying that for the first time this year, assuming we even get snow. We did get it last year but it came in bursts and then went away, so we'll see what this year brings. My Turkey Day weight gain will also provide for some material as I always seem to gain about 3lbs on Thanksgiving and the few days following. Well, on to what I've been doing....
Friday I stuck around work and did my weight workout, nothing too heavy as I'm still in the low weight, high rep part of my program. I did have a bit of left knee pain though and I'll be lifting again tonight so we'll see if that's gone away or not. Right after my workout I went to meet the family at Charcoal Grill, but I didn't have one of their infamous Charcoal burgers, I had a New York Strip with yams and a salad, so nothing too fatty. We went back home and then played Guitar Hero III for about 90 minutes and then we all just relaxed after that. Saturday morning I woke up and did some yardwork right away in the morning and then mid-morning I took off for my ride out towards Mukwonago. I did that loop and then came back and did my Whitnall Park loop to finish off the ride. While going through the park I met up with Phil Cianciola and talked with him for about 5 minutes before going on my way to finish my loop and head back home. It was a great ride, the weather was decent, no complaints from me, as it is November and it could just as easily be snowing. After I got home I did a few more things around the house and then went to a movie with Melissa before heading to bed after a long day. I woke up Sunday morning to a little bit of drizzle and wet roads as I wanted to get in 3 hours before the Packer game. I decided to hold off on riding outside as it didn't make sense to me to ride in the drizzle and risk getting wet and sick. Well, about 20 minutes after I decided not to ride the drizzle had stopped and I could have still gone out and did my 3 hours outside before the game started, but I decided to just go back to bed, it was too early and I was tired. I slept for a bit more, got up, did some housework and decided that I'd ride on the trainer inside for the 3 hour duration of the Packer game. As the game started I jumped on the trainer and started to ride as the Pack started their whoopin' of the Vikings. I had just over an hour in when the Pack were up 10-0 and I could tell that the Vikings weren't going to do anything on offense so I figured what the heck, I'm going to get my outside ride in anyways, a Packer win is inevitable. So I quickly got dressed, bolted out the door and did my previously scheduled route, minus one short loop to make it a 2.5 hour ride. Add that to my hour inside already and I got in a nice 3.5 hours of riding yesterday to beat my previous few weekends of 7 hours. So I have to say, 7.5 hours this weekend was quite the accomplishment considering all the rest of the items I had to get done around the house, I got everything done and I feel good about where the yard is at and of course where my cycling fitness is at. My knee felt great all weekend on the bike after the tinges of pain while lifting on Friday, but of course today it is a little sore now as well. Keeping it loose on the bike actually makes it feel great, off the bike it stiffens up pretty quickly, but as long as I'm good on the bike, that's all that matters to me. I don't care if I'm in a wheelchair the rest of the time, it's all good. Anyways, this week will be more of the same, I'll be lifting tonight, Wednesday, and Friday. I'll be riding Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 90 minutes each day, all of them at Endurance pace, with One-Legged Pedaling thrown in on Tuesday and Thursday. I hope everyone got out on the bike this weekend, the snow is coming soon I'm sure so get in the riding while you can. I'll be riding when it snows anyways, but for those that stay inside all winter, get out now while the gettins' good. Until next time..........

Friday, November 09, 2007

Turn Up The Heat

Well, the temps are gradually dropping, this morning I had to scrape my windshield for the first time this Fall, that's not a good sign. Supposedly it's supposed to get up to the mid to upper 40s today and be sunny for the most part so I guess that's not a bad day. Tomorrow will be about the same but Sunday is calling for 60% chance of rain, let's hope that holds off. I was going to take off of work this afternoon to get some stuff done around the house, but I don't want to have to come back to do weights, and I definitely want to get my weight work in today (shout out to Dave H.). So I'll tough it out here today and get my housework done tomorrow and Sunday. The plan tonight is to do weights after work, go home and eat a nice dinner with the family and then have a bit of a "family night". Usually that involves hanging out downstairs and playing pool, darts, board games and watching a movie, but tonight that will also include playing a little Guitar Hero III on the Wii.



I'll try to get to bed early but Friday nights always seem to be a late night so we'll see what happens. Either way I'll be up early on Saturday and out on the road for about 4 hours, probably towards Mukwonago tomorrow and then I'll add on my NB Rec Trail loop to make it an even 4 hours. After that I'll get home and mow the lawn, put plastic up on the sliding patio door, trim up the bushes one last time, burn some brush and by then it will probably be dark. I'll go in the garage after that and do some tune-up work on my Sears Garden tractor, and will probably put on the snow tires and the plow so that I don't have to do that when it's 20 degrees outside. Last year I had to shovel my driveway and it took almost an hour during a good snowstorm so this year I'll have it plowed in hopefully about 15 minutes or less. I'll save the strain on my back as well, maybe I'll shovel every once in a while for a bit of an arm workout......but probably not. Sunday I'll try to get out in the morning if the rain is holding off and I'll get in 3 hours if I can before the Packer game. If it's raining I'll sleep in and then ride indoors during the game, time on the trainer seems to pass quickly when watching football. After that I'll just rest up the remainder of the night and let the legs and body recover from a busy weekend.

If my calculations are correct there is only something like 150 days left until the first race, yikes, it's coming quick. Alright, that is plenty of time, but I'm sure it will go fast and I can't wait. Some guys on the team are still racing, Scoots and Eck are up doing Iceman this weekend, I can't imagine still racing in November, but Scoots has some races to make up after his end of year crashes and subsequent healing. Plus Eck says that Scoots still has some kick-ass form even after that layoff. The guy is a natural.......

Well, that's it for now, until next time..........

Pics From WCA Banquet




Monday, November 05, 2007

Keeping It Short

Well, I'm keeping it short tonight, I have to be up at 4:45 tomorrow morning to be in to work by 5:45 to do some work for an East Coast client so that means getting to bed in about 5 minutes.
I've been keeping busy riding this last week, and did another weekend of 4 hours and 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I'm definitely doing well getting in about 7 hours a weekend the last few weekends with the exception of last Saturday when I was hung over and then had the team banquet to get off to. That was the only day I missed a good long ride in the last few weekends. This coming weekend looks to be a little nasty at the moment, but hopefully that will change. 50s and a little chance of rain doesn't bug me too much, I'm hoping to still get outside so that I don't have to hit the trainer quite yet. I know it's November but I'm trying to avoid the trainer if at all possible. Other than that, I went to the WCA banquet on Saturday evening, had a good time talking with some teammates and drinking a couple of beers. I'll post a picture tomorrow of my 2nd place WCA Series trophy, I don't feel like doing it at the moment....yeah, it's lazy, I know. Anyways, that's about it for now, off to bed, until next time........

Stay Tuned....

Been pretty busy.....update coming later today....

Monday, October 29, 2007

When's It Going To Snow??

Kidding, I don't want snow yet, but now that I got some new snowshoes for the wife and I, I'm ready to use them. I can't wait to try them out, check out the pics below....mine are the yellow ones by the way.....not that I don't like purple or anything.....

New Snowshoes For the Wife and I




Sunday, October 28, 2007

Long Weekend....

So this weekend didn't go quite as I had planned but I still feel o.k. about it nonetheless. Friday night I went out with my friend Jason, his wife Jenny, and my wife to Longnecks' Brew Pub in Big Bend for dinner and some beer. Well, I had quite a bit more beer than I had planned and ended up staying up until 2:00 and was quite drunk when I went to bed. I was supposed to be up early and at the team ride at about 9:30 but unfortunately in my beer induced haze I forgot to set my alarm and woke up at 9:30! I made the phone call of shame and told them I wasn't going to be there, which was probably for the better as I wasn't feeling very good and would have been heaving for sure on the ride. So I basically laid around until I felt better, got up and mowed the lawn with the push mower just to get some exercise for the day and then I changed and headed downtown for the banquet. We had a really nice team banquet, great food, great company, and I think we laid a good foundation for what we are going to do in 2008. There are no big changes for the team for 2008, everything is pretty much going to stay the same with the exception of adding a few new riders. We should have a pretty good team next year in both the Master's 4/5 and the Master's 1/2/3 so I'm really looking forward for the racing season to start.
Today I got up after getting in some good sleep last night, had a cappuccino, some pancakes and then did some yard work while the sun warmed things up a bit. I got out on the bike in the afternoon for 3.5 hours, not quite what I had planned but I wasn't feeling up to a long ride like I had planned. I was going to go to Burlington to visit my parents but I still wasn't feeling all that great this morning so I shortened my planned ride by 1.5 hours. I'm still happy with 3.5 hours and the weather was perfect, beautiful temps, not too much wind, lots of sun. There were quite a few other riders out today, nobody serious, all recreational, but it was still good to see alot of people out biking. I felt great, although I think I tried to rehydrate a little bit too much to make up for all the booze I had this weekend as I had to go to the bathroom 4 times in the 3.5 hours I was out. Next time I'll try not to rehydrate so much after 2 days of drinking, I definitely learned my lesson. Well, not much to say for this weekend, that's it for now......until next time......

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Movie Time

I've watched 3 movies this week during indoor training, nothing really good, maybe tonight's movie will be better. I wanted to watch the World Series game last night but cable was out for 4 hours so I took out a DVD I haven't watched in a while, Saving Silverman, funny movie, nothing great though. Tonight is The Invisible, a new movie that I rented at BlockBuster, and I'm sure I'll be watching the WS as well. Everything is good with the body as I've ridden the trainer the last 2 days with no knee pain at all. I think I fixed most of my hip imbalance issues last week with some shims and I also turned the seat a bit so that my hips are square now in relation to the bike. Before I made my changes I would pedal for a bit and then stop and drop my legs straight down and my left leg would be right up against the seat and seatpost and my right leg would be about 2 inches away from the seatpost. I added wedges to my right shoe, shimmed the left shoe, and toed it in a bit and then turn my seat right just a little bit and now I have the same distance between the seatpost and both legs. I feel like I sit square now on the bike and the knee pain has gone away for now so I must've done something right with my changes. I've also stretched my hip flexors every day and I've been doing lots of ab work so I think I'm more flexible and my core is a bit stronger. I'm feeling pretty dang good all the way around. Tonight is another trainer ride, 90 minutes, and I'll be doing a few One-Legged pedaling exercises as well during the ride. Tomorrow is a rest day and then Saturday I'll ride with the team, and Sunday will be another long ride. I plan on riding out to Burlington on Sunday to visit my mom, and then I'll head over to my dad's, re-fill the water, and head on back home, should be about 85 miles.
I lost my eBay bid last night for the two sets of snowshoes I was bidding on, they went higher than I was hoping. So I've started new again today with another bid, hopefully I get luckier with this one. I'd rather not have them now anyways, maybe as long as I don't have them it won't snow. Temps look o.k. for this weekend but I know the cold weather is right around the corner, I'm happy either way. I still ride in the snow and this year I can snowshoe as well. Good times. That's it for now, until next time..........

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Temptation

So I e-mailed Sprecher to find out when I can drink my Russian Imperial Stout and Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale as they had mentioned letting it age for a while before drinking it. They responded that the batches that my bottles are from have already been extensively aged and were ready to drink now. I could age them a little more, 6 months to a year if I wanted and they would be a little better, but um, I've already waited a week and 3 days so I think that's good enough right? So I think this weekend I will be popping the tops on my bottles and drinking up. Maybe I'll bring them to Ben's cookout to enjoy with a bratwurst or two...or maybe I'll drink them Friday when I have some friends over....oh the temptation.

This had nothing to do with cycling but it was definitely worth mentioning....it is beer after all, just as important as cycling.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Recovering

After a long weekend of riding, today will be a nice recovery day, I'll do some stretching and some ab work but no riding today. I got in my 7 hours this weekend with some nice easy hours on Saturday, and some butt-kicking, headwind-killin' hours on Sunday. I worked harder than I wanted to yesterday but the weather was gorgeous and other than getting my heart rate up a little high and seeing stars by the end of the ride I was loving it. Couldn't have asked for much better temps near the end of October. I still got a lot of yard work done as well this weekend, I really didn't have to sacrifice any yard work time as I managed to juggle the time on the bike and got stuff done around the house, it was a great weekend all around. This weekend should even be better, not necessarily the weather or the bike time, but because Saturday is a day that will pretty much be dedicated to spending time with most of my teammates from Team Wheaton. We'll be starting in the morning with a ride of about 2 to 2.5 hours and then after that we'll be having a nice post-ride cookout with some brats courtesy of Ben. After a quick trip home to clean up and change we'll be heading down to Mo's Irish Pub downtown for our team meeting and then team dinner. Not only will the company of teammates make for a good day, but for those that don't know me well I'm a huge fan of the Irish beverages, namely Guinness and Jameson so I can't wait to have a few of those, not that I don't have enough already at home, but it seems better at a pub with friends.
As far as riding goes this week, it will be a normal week, 75-90 minutes during the week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then depending on the weather this weekend I'm planning for about 5 to 6 hours between Saturday and Sunday. I'm hoping to get my snowshoes this week as well as I'm bidding on 3 pairs right now on eBay. I've got two in the running for myself, of which I'll try to win whichever is bidding cheaper of course, and I'm also bidding on a pair for Melissa. I'm looking forward to some cross training out at Minooka Park during the winter, climbing the big hill out there a few times and then doing some of the flatter trails will make for great workouts. Hopefully I can snag both pairs for about $100, I'd be happy with that and if I like them I can always get a better pair in a couple of years. Well, that's it for now, have to get back to work, until next time.........

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cracked

I've got to admit that today I cracked....long hours in the saddle and very high winds made for a rough ride. Mentally I was broke after about 90 minutes in to the headwind on the way out. Speeds of about 16mph in to the 25-30mph wind was the standard, it was killing me. All in all I'm glad I did my ride, finished in a bit of a haggard state but it was a weekend of 7 hours so I'm really happy about that. I'm feeling good now after some really good Chinese food for dinner and now I'm relaxing on the couch watching a couple of slasher flix. More to come tomorrow, I need my rest now, until next time......

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Life Is Good

Today was a great day for a bike ride and I took full advantage as I got out for a nice 3 hour leisurely ride. I rode down to Whitnall Park, out to Franklin and then back towards New Berlin where I detoured to Waukesha and then back home. I saw probably more than 20 other cyclists out today, easily the most I've seen on any single training ride this year, the Doc ride excluded obviously. The wind wasn't nearly as bad as they said it was going to be today, which was fore casted in the 20 to 30mph range, I bet it was more in the 12-15 range for most of my ride. All of the temperature signs I went past said 70 to 73 degrees throughout the ride, warmer than what was fore casted as well. Amazingly enough my knee didn't hurt at all today, seems to be the pattern though, I ride outside and I don't get knee pain, ride on trainer and my knee hurts for two days. Thanks to Tony I've really started to concentrate even more on my hip flexors, I was doing hip flexors stretches 2 to 3 times a week prior to this week, but now I'm doing them every day, that could be the difference. Either way, I feel great now, had a great ride and can't wait to do 4 to 4.5 hours tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a long day for sure, the weather looks even better than today, the wind will be about the same, and I'm just motivated to get out and ride.
So enough about the bike stuff.....tonight I'm testing my sanity as it's my son's b-day today and he is having a party right now with 9(!!!!) other boys over that are 13 and 14 years old. They are playing dodgeball outside right now and the screaming is driving me crazy enough but we also had them running in the neighbors yard, one kid was laying in the road, and we also have one that not only lost his shoes but he's running around without socks as well. They'll be coming in soon for pizza and then it will be armageddon inside the house as they have 3 video game systems with 3 TVs set up downstairs and I'm sure the screaming and craziness from that will be more than enough to put me in the loony house. Oh well, I did all of that as a kid myself (and worse) so I guess I can't complain too much. Well I can, but nobody listens anyways......that's it for now, until next time.......

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Crap

I'm still at work...on my birthday..... at 7:10, this is a bunch of shat. My client has their network hosed up, no prospect of getting home before 8:00 so there will be no biking tonight, only beer. Nothing like working 13 hours on my b-day.....

Pain, Pain, Go Away......

....come back anoth-, oh wait, don't ever freakin' come back. My persistent knee pain hit a peak yesterday and my left knee was cracking and hurting as bad as it has in a while. I had to push myself out of my chair at work yesterday every time I got up and ease myself back in when I sat down. I know it's my b-day today and I'm getting older but I shouldn't feel 70 years old. So anyways, I did some messing around with my position last night to try to alleviate some of the pain, figuring maybe I could come up with something that may make me more comfortable. I rode the rollers for about an hour and fiddled with the seat height, seat fore-aft, and shoe shims. Eventually I got something that felt really good and rode for a bit to keep my knee loose and this morning it doesn't feel too bad. Tonight I'm supposed to do Fast Pedaling on the trainer but I'm sticking to just doing a regular 75 minutes or so just to test out the knee and then I'll do my stretching and put the hot pad on it for a bit. I'll be ready to rock by the weekend I think, it's supposed to be upper 60s and no rain so I can't wait to get outside again. It's only October so I don't mind the trainer during the week yet, I'm actually o.k. with it mentally this week. By January I'll be dreading it though I'm sure. I can't wait for snowshoeing though either as that will break up the monotony a bit, I'll be kicking some butt climbing up the hills out at Minooka Park in Waukesha to take away some of the boredom of the trainer.
So anyways, not much else going on right now. I almost snagged a nice all-carbon wheelset the other day on eBay, a brand new set of FSA RD-800s, semi-aero 38mm, tubular. I forgot about it though when I was watching football and the auction ended with someone outbidding me at the last minute. If I was watching I would've won, damn. I can't make my bike much lighter or faster since I have all Campy Record on it now and all the other components are carbon as well, so the best upgrade I could do is wheels, so I'll keep my eyes open for a good deal on eBay and maybe by next Spring I'll find something good. Well, back to work, until next time..........

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Support Your Local MicroBrewery

I'll start with the non-bike stuff first. Yesterday afternoon Melissa brought me to Sprecher Brewery to go on the tour and sample some beer for my birthday present and I had a great time. Xavier tagged along so that he could drink all the soda that he wanted as they had unlimited soda for the kids in the beer garden as well. The tour was fun, not too informational for anyone looking to get some info on beer-making in detail, but learning the history of Sprecher was pretty neat. Sprecher makes some of the best beer around, and one, possibly two of their beers are in my top 10. I especially enjoy their Pub Ale, and their Russian Imperial Stout is in or near my top 10 as well. They make some very popular beers amongst my friends, such as the Black Bavarian, the Dopple Bock, and OctoberFest, but I was surprised to hear that their Special Amber is their best selling beer. I don't think I've ever been out with friends where any of us ordered the Special Amber and the guys at work are pretty high on the beer as well and none of them ever mentioned that as one of their favorites. I'd think that between my friends and the guys at work, that they would be a good sample of the beer drinkers in the state, but I guess not, we're just not into Amber I guess. So anyways, after I got my souvenir glass and drank my 4 beers we went in to the gift shop and I picked out enough beer to last me a while. I got a case of mixed bottles, mainly the Pub Ale, Imperial Stout and of course OctoberFest, but a few others as well. I also splurged and got a couple of special bottles that I can't drink for a while. I got one of their Bourbon Barrel aged Scotch Ales, and a Premium Reserve bottle of the Russian Imperial Stout. The Imperial Stout is a bottle that I can't drink yet as it needs to be stored for about 8-10 months to let it age a bit, this bottle is like a fine wine, it will only get better (and for the price I paid I'm sure it will). I also got a nice T-shirt and a Stout glass as well. All in all, it was a great b-day present because I sure do love my beer.
So, on to the biking stuff. I picked out two routes this weekend that would give me 7 hours total over the two days, but unlike last week where I had a 4 hour day and a 3 hour day these routes would be split 3.5 hours a piece. Yesterday I went and did a nice endurance pace ride through Muskego, Big Bend, Mukwonago, Waukesha, and then finally back to New Berlin. I felt really good on the bike, no sore ass this weekend, my knee pain was manageable, and although it was a bit cool, only 37 degrees at the start of my ride, I was still warm and comfy. So after getting the first ride done yesterday I was really looking forward to today's ride but when I woke up at 6:30 to eat breakfast I heard the rain coming down and sure enough I looked outside and it was coming down pretty good. I decided to head back to bed, get some extra rest and wake up at 8:00 to try again. So up at 8:00, look outside, still raining. Crap. I checked the radar, saw lots of rain in the radar and in the forecast and decided that it's a trainer and roller day today as the rain isn't going away. It's 11:25 now, so at noon I'm going to turn on the Packer game, get the trainer set up and do 2 hours on that during the game. I'll take a little break after the game and get some stuff done around the house and then tonight at about 7:00 I'll pop in a movie and do another hour on the rollers just to work on my pedal stroke and form. 3 hours total inside is more than enough for me, I really don't care to do any more than that this time of year. I'll save the 4 hour trainer rides for January when it's really cold and snowy out. Tomorrow is a rest day and I'll do some stretching and ab work and then depending on how busy work is I'm hoping to get some outside riding in during the week as I've got my light system all charged up and ready to go. If time doesn't allow then I'll just be hitting the trainer this week for 75 to 90 minutes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Well, that's it for now, check out some pics from the brew tour.....and the really bad lunch I had right afterwards, good thing I had a long ride. Until next time......

Friday, October 12, 2007

Trainer=Knee Pain

What is it about trainers that gives me knee pain? I mean WTF? I felt fine all summer long and in to the Fall. I rode all last week without knee pain. I get on the trainer this week and after 2 days my left knee hurt. I really think it has something to do with being locked in to a static position, my knees just don't like that. I've talked all about that in posts from earlier this year and last year so you can read my rants about that in previous posts if you care. So anyways, after rides on the trainer Tuesday and Wednesday I switched to the rollers last night after I felt the onset of the knee pain. It definitely helped to ride the rollers instead of the trainer as my knee doesn't hurt nearly as much today, luckily I don't have to ride either one of those tonight or this weekend as tonight is a rest day and this weekend I'll be outside. It will be a little chilly but I'll be up early tomorrow morning and out on the bike for 4 hours so that I can be back to go on a little trip for my b-day present. Tuesday is my birthday so tomorrow afternoon I'm going to Sprecher for a brewery tour and I'll be partaking in some beer drinking most of the afternoon and will leave the gift shop with hopefully quite a bit of their Limited Reserve and Premium beverages that you can only get there. Some Sprecher BBQ sauce will probably be in order as well as their little chocolate kegs with truffle infused with beer, mmmmm. It's going to be a good day.
As far as the biking goes, I will get my ride in tomorrow morning as I said, Sunday might be a little rainy, but I think they are only calling for like 30% chance of rain so I'm not too worried. I'll be doing 3 hours Sunday, and both rides will be at Endurance Pace. Hopefully Sunday I'm not too hung over from my b-day excursion to Sprecher, I think I'll manage either way, I'll just have to go slow. Well, that's it for now, tonight I'll just be chilling out at home, watching a movie probably and relaxing a bit, it's been a hectic week and I'm glad it's nearly over. Until next time........

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Days From Hell

This week has been pretty crappy so far, my blood pressure is probably sky high and sleep has been pretty much non-existent. Nothing to do with cycling, but all the other stuff that life throws at me. I knew the latter half of this week was not going to be good as everyone in my department is out of the office today through Monday, so it's only me at work and only me to handle all the issues. Lunch for the next 3 days will probably not happen, maybe once if I'm lucky. So anyways, basically work is going to suck. Another hassle this week happened on Monday evening as my wife had some major car troubles. The problem was that she was in Lake Geneva at her grandma's funeral and on the drive back her temp gauge went sky high. I asked if her car was steaming assuming maybe the radiator blew. She said nope, nothing was steaming, car was running fine, just that the gauge was on Hot. I thought maybe the thermostat was stuck open and told her it should be fine to drive home. We hung up and maybe 5 minutes later I got a call that her car was steaming like crazy. She was in East Troy after pulling off the freeway so I got in the car and started the drive down. I found her parked at a gas station, checked the car and noticed a bit of coolant on the radiator but nothing major. The coolant reservoir was still full so I went in the gas station, got some pre-mixed coolant and added some to the radiator. Thinking we'd be o.k since I didn't see anything really leaking I told her to get back on the freeway and we'd see how far we could get towards home. After a few miles, no steam, car was running good, no problems. After a few more miles we are pulled over on the side of the freeway with coolant blowing all over the engine and steam coming out of a giant crack in the top of the radiator...and to top it off the engine is knocking like crazy. Not a good sign. So after calling a tow truck and having like 3 cop cars pull up behind us we finally walked in the door late Monday night after having the car dropped off at her dealer and hit the bed at 1:00a.m.. Melissa had to be at work at 6:30 Tuesday morning so it was up at 5:30 after 4 and a half hours of sleep and I had to drive her to the hospital. So after no sleep and a long work day I was looking forward to some rest last night. Well, my dog got sick and has me worried as he threw up and was panting very rapidly last night. His heart rate seems very accelerated and he was up most of the night last night. Another night of bedtime at 1:00a.m.. I called the vet this morning and of course I'm here alone at work and the only time I can leave is lunchtime. Their earliest appointment is 3:45, which I just can't do. Tomorrow they have appointments early in the morning and at 5:00, can't do that either. So Friday I will most likely get my dog in to the vet, hopefully he isn't dead by then. It's been a fun week so far, I guess it can only get better.
Anyways, as far as the bike is concerned I did do my riding last night on the trainer, 75 minutes at endurance pace with 15 minutes of one-legged pedaling for each leg. I couldn't believe how sore I was after I was done, it's amazing how many muscles you DON'T use when you are pedaling with both legs. It's only when you have to try to pedal perfect circles with one leg do you realize how many more muscles you use to bring the pedal all the way through the pedal stroke that you don't use when your legs are opposing each other and you get the benefit of the downstroke on the opposing leg when you are on the upstroke. Basically you're cheating yourself if you aren't carrying both legs as much as possible through the entire pedal stroke and letting the opposing leg bring the other one back up. One-legged pedaling is an amazing exercise for helping to alleviate that issue. It's been proven that you can't pedal a perfect circle as there is always some opposing force in each stroke that will make you hit a dead spot in each leg at some point of the pedal stroke, but with this exercise you can get pretty close. My legs are more sore after 15 minutes for each leg than if I did a 60 mile ride outside. There are cranks that are called PowerCranks that do the same thing for you, basically they are cranks where both crank arms are independent of each other and if you aren't pedaling they are both pointing towards the ground freely. In order to be able to turn them around and pedal normally you have to pedal perfect circles with each leg and apply consistent force through the upstroke and downstroke for each leg independently. They are expensive though, like $800 I believe, maybe less, but either way, one-legged pedaling on the trainer is free. Do it some time and then let me know how sore your legs are, the first time I did it last year I could only do like 2 minutes each leg and my pedal strokes were very choppy with just one leg. Now I can do 15 minutes each leg and it's a pretty good circle. Well, enough about that. Tonight is another 75 minutes and I'll be doing the same thing, one-legged pedaling, 15 minutes each leg on the trainer. I might need to take some muscle relaxers after 2 nights in a row of that. Well, that's it for now, until next time......

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Wiped Out

Wow, what a tough weekend to really get back in to the full-on training with this heat and humidity. It's nice in the summer to work up to this kind of heat and your body gets trained to handle it, but when it just comes on like this and then you have to go out and do 3 and 4 hours, it can be tough. The theme for me this weekend as I'm sure it was with everyone was to just drink, drink, drink. I bet I drank more liquids in the last 2 days than I have in any 2 day period this entire year, I have no doubt about that. Today I went through a full Camelback, and 2 large bottles on my ride and then re-filled one of the bottles at a park and drank all of that before I got back home. I was sweating buckets and after a while I couldn't even wear my sunglasses because so much sweat was dripping in my eyes that I was sick of taking them off to wipe the sweat off. Anyways, enough about the heat, I'll enjoy it next summer but for now I'll take some Fall temps. So as far as riding, I rode more this weekend (7 hours) than I have since probably August and I could definitely feel it in my body. Yesterday wasn't too bad, the first day never is, but today I could tell I was hurting a little bit. My quads were especially sore, and my ass hurt from not enough hours on the bike lately. It felt good though and I'm ready to rock this week and next weekend. This week will be a relatively tame week, about 1.25 hours per day during the week, mostly on the trainer I'm sure after work and then next weekend will be another 3 hour and 4 hour day, not sure which day will be the longer of the 2 yet though. I swapped my rides around this weekend from my original plan because of football. I was going to do 4 yesterday and 3 today but realized I wouldn't be back before the start of the Badger game so I swapped and did 3 yesterday and 4 today, and unfortunately I got to see the game. Boy the Badgers were simply disappointing, their defense absolutely stinks this year, who would've thought that they'd be this bad after a great defensive year in 2006? Not me. Well, it's a late night, it's been a long weekend and I'm ready for bed. Tomorrow is a rest day off the bike, I'll do some stretching and basically relax. Until next time....

Friday, October 05, 2007

Lights Out!

No, I didn't get knocked out or anything but I could've if somebody didn't see me last night as I rode in the dark after my headlight system died after only 2 minutes. I went out for a nice 90 minute ride after work and knew that obviously I'd be getting home in the dark so I was all set with my awesome light system. I used it on Wednesday's ride and didn't even think twice about it as I set out towards Waukesha for a nice leisurely ride. As it got dark just before 7:00 I turned it on and noticed that the glow was pretty faint, 2 minutes later the light died completely. I had to put it in overdrive at that point heading home so that I minimized my chances of getting hit by someone that didn't see me. I used the New Berlin Rec Trail to cut out most of the street riding but I had a nice 20 minute ride back to my house down a busy Sunnyslope Rd. still ahead of me. It was pretty dark although I was helped by the red kit I was wearing so I wasn't too worried that I'd get hit but I definitely kept a watchful eye out for the drivers and sat up pretty straight so that I made myself more visible. I pulled in to my driveway between 7:20 and 7:25 and it was dang dark by then, definitely not safe enough to ride without a light but I made it home safely. I guess that will teach me to charge my light after not using it since early Spring. Dumb move.
Anyways, I felt good and although I wanted to take it easy yesterday and work on my one-legged pedaling I had to put in a little more effort than I had planned in order to get home quickly. I definitely got my intake of protein on the Rec trail as I frequently plowed through huge clouds of bugs that were just floating there like every 1/2 mile. Deeeelicious! So today is a day off the bike and I will be relaxing a bit and doing my stretching and ab work while I watch a movie. Tomorrow I've got to be up early and on the road by 7:00 so I can get in a long ride before the Badger game at 11:00. I'll be listening to the game while I'm doing the yard work most of the afternoon. It'll be nice to have my ride in early and be out working for most of the beautiful afternoon, it'll be close to 85 degrees! On another note, can you believe that the #5 team in the nation is an underdog to a team that has won 2 conference games in the last two years combined!! What kind of crap is that, I hope the Badgers kick their ass just to prove a point. If their pride doesn't carry them to a win then they should just bag it for the rest of the year, has the #5 team ever been an underdog to an unranked team in the history of college football, I doubt it! Can't wait to listen to that game, and run inside and watch it every now and then. That's it for now, until next time.....

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Back On Track

So I was definitely feeling better yesterday after my off night on Tuesday where I wasn't exactly feeling the best and I wasn't able to get in a ride. Last night I took a nice 90 minute ride down to Whitnall Park, did a loop, came back up by my house and did some loops though the surrounding neighborhoods after it got dark. I pulled in the driveway a little after 7:00 and it was pretty dark out, considering that sunset is 6:30 I managed to get in a good ride still. The lights will be on tonight as I've got to get in another 90 minutes of easy riding and the weather is supposed to be beautiful again today so I'm really looking forward to it. Tomorrow is an off day on the bike but I'll be doing plenty of stretching and ab crunches to build up some muscles that I didn't have last year. I like to push bigger gears on most occasions and I noticed this year that my back got fairly sore more often than I would have liked obviously, so I've decided to work on the complimentary muscles to help alleviate that, namely my abs. Saturday I'll be up early and will be doing about 3.75 to 4 hours from my house to Delafield and back and then I've got a ton of yard work to do. Time is becoming a factor in getting yard work done as it will be November before we know it and the cold weather and snow will be coming. I still need to lay down Fall winterizer on the lawn and clear some more brush in my woods and split some logs. I also have to clear the gutters again so that I can finish putting on my gutter guards. Last year we had a major problem with leaves clogging the gutters so this year I'm throwing on gutter guards to help out with that. It's going to be a very busy weekend between outside work at the house and riding the bike. I'm really motivated now to ride and can't wait to get out this weekend as the weather looks great. Well, back to work I suppose, more to follow tomorrow.
By the way, go check out our Team Wheaton website. One of my teammates, Andy, has written up a nice recap of his season and a few things about each of the guys on the team, and few outsiders as well. Go check it out, the link is on the right-hand side of this page. Until next time.......

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

That Was A Thud You Heard......

My offseason program has not started off with a bang, more of a thud. I got home yesterday, had a massive headache from a bad day at work, and was really tired from lack of sleep the night before. I took some aspirin and laid on the couch downstairs and before I knew it I was sleeping and it was 9:30 by the time I got up. I went straight to bed and slept pretty soundly all night which is rare for me, obviously I needed it. At least my headache is gone this morning but for some reason I'm still tired as hell. Well, two days in to my program and it hasn't exactly started well, good thing there's still like 190 days to go before the first race, not that I'm counting or anything. The weather is supposed to be great today so I'll definitely be hitting the bike after work and will get in about 90 minutes with the last 30 minutes being guided by my headlight system most likely as it's dark at 6:30 now. It will just be an easy, enjoyable ride through Whitnall Park and back, which is a great course this time of year with the colors and all the deer running around. Well, that's it for now, I'm trying to quit drinking coffee but the way I feel now calls for at least one cup this morning....gosh I'm weak. Until next time.........

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Year In Review....And A Preview

2008 training kicks off today (officially, although I rode a lot this weekend) and I really am looking forward to the challenges and joys of my offseason training for the next 6 months. Before I get started on what the next 6 months will bring, I'll do a quick little review of what happened in '07 and what I need to improve on for '08. First of all my results were pretty good I guess but I still wish I would've done better of course. I wouldn't be racing if I didn't think there was a chance to win every race, it just didn't work out that way this year though. So to re-cap, I finished in the top 10 in 13 out of the 17 races I did this year, finished in the top 5 in 6 of those races and out of those I had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes. Seemingly I only had 4 bad races where I didn't finish in the top 10, but that isn't necessarily the case. I could point to a few of those top 10s and say that I got lucky and that my skill had nothing to do with it because I was definitely dogging it in the Evergreen race, the UW road race, and the Elm Grove Criterium. I felt pretty bad for those 3 races even though I managed to pull off top 10s, basically my experience got me through to the front of the races near the end and I was able to maintain a decent sprint for my placings. I really had no power for either of those 3 races and was basically bluffing my way through them, thank goodness for my decent sprint. Anyways, on to my strengths and weaknesses for the year. I would have to say that my weaknesses are still a lack of overall power which anyone in cycling knows that it takes time to build that up to the point where you can consistently roll along in a 53x14 or 53x13. I don't think I ever got down to my 53x12 this year, except maybe on a downhill. I'd also have to say that my climbing was lacking this year, most of that was due to weight but also again just due to lack of power and that is something that I'm going to focus on quite a bit this year. I'd have to say that my strengths were my experience with strategy and pack positioning and also my sprint, which has improved alot since last year. It wasn't good enough to be quite on par with the best sprinters but I managed one sprint win and it kept me up there in the rest of the races.
On to '08....I'll be riding with the same team again this year, Wheaton Franciscan, and I think if all the guys return we'll have a really strong elite Masters team next year. We have a few good hill-climbers, some good sprinters, and a couple of guys like me that can do a lot of work to help out the top guys. I'm looking forward to really animating the races next year and hopefully we'll become the team to beat in the M1/2/3 races.
My offseason training this Fall, Winter, and early Spring will consist obviously of a lot of weightlifting and bike-specific training but I also plan to do some snowshoeing as well to exercise the legs and to mix things up a bit. Early in the training, which starts today, I'll be doing bike-specific stuff like one-legged pedaling, Fast Pedals, and just easy, long rides on the weekends. November will bring the start of weightlifting and then once the snow starts falling I'll start doing the snowshoeing in addition to riding on the weekends. Most likely it will be a split day with snowshoeing in the morning and then riding in the afternoons either on the trainer or the cyclocross bike outside if the roads are clear. Once late January rolls along I'll start doing MuscleTension type exercises on the bike, and will also start doing Tempo work and mix in some intervals now and then. As we get out of winter and in to early Spring I'll start to really concentrate on climbing with lots of Steady State intervals and Climbing Repeats to improve that aspect of my riding. As I mentioned earlier, my climbing skills were lacking this year, both on short, steep climbs and longer climbs. My goal is to improve that quite a bit for '08 in order to keep up with the strong guys in the 1/2/3 category. It used to be one of my strengths so in spite of the fact that I'm quite a bit heavier I won't let that deter me and am confident I can be a good climber again.
So, that's it for now. It was a good '07, and I plan on doing a lot of work for '08 with the intention of being very competitive in the M1/2/3 category and hopefully score a few top placings. We've got a great team, we'll hopefully be a little more cohesive this year and knowing the personalities and skills that we all have I have no doubt that we'll be at the top in a lot of races. I know that the rest of the team will be training hard this offseason, and I don't want to disappoint next year.
Well, I could say a lot more, but I'll save some of it for tomorrow, until next time.....

Sunday, September 30, 2007

There's been a sighting......

Coming soon to a road near you, a now overweight, lazy but motivated cyclist....watch for the official preview on October 1st.


Brought to you by Guinness.....my official beverage sponsor for the month of September....along with Burger King, supplier of the wonderfully delicious Whopper.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Going On Hiatus

The blog will be going on hiatus for a while, until October 1st. I don't have much going on in the next month as far as racing and who wants to hear about me riding sporadically throughout September. My wife's fall semester started last week and the kid starts school again tomorrow so my evenings will be getting quite a bit busier for a while, the blog is one of the first things to be sacrificed for time's sake. Once they both settle in to school and I start doing some cross-training through the fall I'll start updating again and will obviously resume normal blogging throughout my winter training. Until then, I'll be working on getting the yard stuff done before the cold weather hits, practicing guitar, getting the Pinarello ready to ride in the late fall and winter, and splitting some firewood before it gets to cold. Of course it's supposed to be 86 degrees on Wednesday, but only 68 for a high by Saturday, gotta love Wisconsin weather. Well, until next time.......

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tough Weekend

Well, all I have to say about Saturday's race is that it sucked. I know I have a lot of work to do now ahead of next season. Hopefully I can make the commitment in the off-season and next year to be able to not only stay with the M1/2/3s, but also to compete for victories. That's the plan now, I'm already laying out my 2008 training program.
As for the rest of the weekend, I did the Cream City Century yesterday, starting with my dad and my friend Dave. My dad peeled off and ended up doing the 62 mile route and Dave and I continued on and finished the century. I felt really good throughout and in spite of doing 100 miles I think I actually gained weight. I bet I had a total of 20 cookies, 3 brownies, 3 sandwiches, 2 bananas, 2 oranges, and 5 bottles of Gatorade and 4 bottles of water. Oh yeah, and afterwards I had spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, and a soda. I'm not sure of my calorie expenditure, but I sure did have a large caloric intake. The weather was perfect, there were quite a few riders out there and Dave and I had a good time rolling along on the roads around Waterford, East Troy, Elkhorn, and Whitewater. I thought when I got home that I'd be taking a nap since I was up at 6:00, but I ended up doing some grocery shopping with the family, cooking up some baby back ribs on the grill, and drinking 2 Harps which was a perfect ending to the night. I feel great today and will be taking a rest day on the bike and then will be riding through the rest of the week, with the only semi-competitive ride being the Doc ride on Saturday. Well, that's about it for now....until next time....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sweat, Sweat, And More Sweat...

Sweating was the order of the day on my ride as the high humidity combined with some intervals made me look like I had a water hook-up attached to my head. The weather finally broke this evening and as soon as I got home from work I jumped on the bike and headed out to Muskego Park. I did two intervals on the way to Muskego Park, 9 minutes each at 92% and then I did one interval at the park. I was already down one water bottle by the time I got to the park as I was completely soaked after about 30 minutes of riding and was not only slamming the water but pouring it over my head, Landis style. It was a bit chilly though and after the 2nd dumping I was starting to feel chilled as I started the ride with just the short sleeve jersey and shorts. The interval at Muskego Park warmed me up pretty quickly though and as I was finishing up my last 2 minutes or so I saw a familiar face going the other way in the park but I had to complete my interval so I kept on going. After I finished my lap I cooled down a bit in the parking lot and around the corner came the other rider and it turns out it was Brandon Krawcyzk. For those that don't know Brandon he is a rider that very shortly will be a rider that everyone in this area at least and maybe even on a regional or national level will be talking about as he has some great natural talent. He kicked butt in the 3's last year and from what I've heard talking to some teammates and other riders that trained with him earlier this year, he's got a lot of potential beyond what he's already accomplished. So anyways, I've heard a lot about Brandon but never met him until tonight and it was a pleasure meeting him, we even got a chance to ride together for about 4 to 5 miles and talk for a little bit......well, he talked, I did a lot of deep breathing trying to keep up. After we separated I did another short loop around the New Berlin area and ended up with 2 hours on the night. I feel really good right now and during my intervals I was really able to ramp up the speed without some of the discomfort that I had even just last week. I think last week my legs were shocked at being put back on the bike and told to go fast but I've acclimatized pretty quickly and the legs at least are nearly back to full power, now if my lungs would just cooperate as my breathing is a little heavier than it used to be. I need to get some more endurance rides in to help build up my aerobic ability again. I could tell that even though I was feeling decent today during my intervals, that 9 minutes was about my max, if I had to go 10 to 11 minutes, my power would have decreased dramatically as I was feeling the acid build up right about the time I was finishing each interval and the lungs were really starting to burn. Soooo, having said that, I think that I'm going to be o.k. on Saturday for my first 1/2/3 Masters race this year and I should be able to hang in the pack. Anything else is out of the question, but I think staying with the pack is definitely doable. Well, tomorrow will be a fairly normal endurance pace ride, Thursday I'll be off work so I'm heading to Burlington to do a group ride with my dad and his friends and I'll make it difficult without dropping them hopefully, and then Friday will be a short ride with a couple of sprints to open the legs for Saturday. Well, that's it for now....until next time........

Visit Brandon here: www.poppedofftheback.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rain, Rain, and More Rain....

...and unfortunately that meant that I didn't get to ride as much as wanted today. I watched the radar most of the morning and when I saw a break in the precipitation I decided to head out and get in as much riding as I could before the rains came down again. Well, unfortunately the rain didn't hold out long as I got about 40 minutes from home and then it started coming down again, not too heavy, but heavy enough to make me decide to turn around and go home. So basically I got in over an hour but no where near what I wanted to do today, and it doesn't look like I'll get in a lot of riding tomorrow either. I may have to resort to riding the trainer tomorrow, which sucks to do in August, but with my first and only 1/2/3 race on Saturday, I have to get in a bit of riding before then. I'm really out of shape right now but I did do the Drop The Doc ride yesterday and had no problem hanging in with the group and I actually feel really good today, no soreness or anything. Next Saturday will be faster than the 24.5 mph average we did yesterday so I'm not really putting much credo in to how I felt yesterday because that won't mean much for the race. Either way, I feel I'm in good enough shape anyways to hang with the group next week, even if it is at the back, I'd be happy with that in my first race in 8 weeks. Well, it's getting late, time for bed....until next time.......

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Coming Along.....

So far the training is coming along just fine, I'm super motivated and last night was another difficult ride as I did a race simulation of 50 minutes after a 15 minute warm-up. Basically I picked a route around my neighborhood that was of similar profile to next Saturday's WCA race and did that at a speed as close to race pace that I could maintain. My course was a bit longer, 1.55 miles, and it was difficult as I had one good 60ft. hill in the route and near the end I was struggling a bit to maintain my speed. I could tell that my lack of long distance aerobic work was showing as I couldn't have maintained any sort of speed for much longer than I did, 50 minutes was basically my max time limit. I think that overall I was not a whole lot off of what I was 8-10 weeks ago but I can't maintain my speed for nearly as long, that's the major difference. Power-wise I think I'm o.k., I can big ring anything short of a super steep grade and last night I was maintaining speeds around 30 on the flats, 21 on the hill. Well, until the end, then my hill climb was around 17 the last 2 laps, I was dying. So, I guess that's my hope for next Saturday, maybe I won't die until the end and then maybe adrenaline will carry me over the hill the last two laps, last night I had nothing to push me. The plan for training is that I'm skipping riding tonight, which has been my plan since last week as I have a b-day party to go to, and then I resume again tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a 2.5 hour ride because that's all the daylight I'll have, and then Saturday morning I will do the Drop The Doc ride assuming it isn't raining like they are saying it's supposed to. Sunday will be a 3 to 3.5 hour ride and then I'll ride Monday through Friday ahead of Saturday's race. Basically I'll work on some speedwork and hill sprints the first 2 days next week and then just do a few normal rides on Thursday and Friday. Well, that's about it for now, until next time.....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Intervals?? WTF??

Whose idea was it to do intervals last night? Oh wait, it was mine, that's just crazy. So after only 4 straight days of riding I decided that I must be in good enough shape to do intervals last night on my 5th ride. I started by doing SteadyStates at 92% and as I got in to a rhythm I thought that I was doing alright and that maybe I didn't lose that much fitness after all those weeks of sitting on my ass. Well, it only took about 2 minutes of doing what was going to be a 7-minute interval to realize that I was sucking as bad as Britney Spears' parenting skills. I had the frothy-mouthed look of a rabid dog after about 5 minutes and by the 7th minute I was in a lactic haze that had me contemplating the argument of whether I'd rather eat myself out of a vat of hot wings, barbecued ribs, or pizza......the ribs won out. That was rep number one.....The second rep started after a short 3.5 minute break as I was doing 2-to-1 intervals..... I took off with a gusto thinking to myself "What Would Jesus Do?", he would start this interval with a sprint, I will too.....I promptly threw up in my mouth. "ok, maybe I'll just start slow and build up to speed"......7 minutes later I was down to just my socks because my mind said it was too muggy to be wearing these stupid biking clothes.....well, not really, but I had to convince myself to keep all my clothes on as I sweated buckets. Rep number two...finito. Max HR - 265, no lie. As I started rep number 3 I thought, this is it, let's finish strong, and to help me keep up the pace 2 riders turned on to my road from a side road just as I passed the intersection and I knew that they would probably start a little paceline to try to reel me in. Ok then, I'll just pick it up and blow them away...they have no clue...I'm a freakin' racer, I shave my legs dangit, I ride with the vengeance of someone who sits in a cubicle all day...they don't know who they are messing with. I crank it up and settle in, but they seem to be gaining, unbelievable. Alright, crank it up more. Look back under my arm to be discreet, they are still gaining....What the hell!!?? Is that freakin' Lance and Levi behind me, maybe it's a couple of Pros up for the USPRO crit that are taking a long ride from Downers Grove....maybe it's Andy and Scott, yeah, that's gotta be it cause these two are flying.....it's on like Donkey Kong now. Head down, deep breathing, in through my nose, out through my mouth, HR is 305 now, no problem. Shiiite, I can hear the sound of their bikes now...getting closer, great now I hear their shallow breathing right behind me....crap, getting passed.....don't look, save some pride, hold your breath so it looks like you aren't working, maybe they'll just go right by......What? They want to say hello....why is she smiling like that? Is he riding a single speed? Is that a basket???? "Yeah, ma'am, it is a nice day to get some groceries with your bike". "Oh, you're cooking a special dinner for your 50th wedding anniversary tonight, greaaaat". "Ok then, yes I will enjoy the rest of my ride...." I throw up in my mouth again. HR is 410. 3rd and final interval done....average speed for all 3 intervals....15.6mph. You all better watch out next Saturday, here I come.......
The preceding was a dramatization based on actual events, some facts have been changed to make the story more enjoyable. I fibbed on some of the stats to convey the difficulty of my intervals, obviously I can't go 15.6 mph quite yet...the rest is all true. Until next time...........