Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pack Fodder....Or Less

So right now the racing is not going so good, there's no other way to look at it, I'm just not at the level I need to be in order to stay competitive, or even finish the damn races. Saturday was another bad race, stayed in for about 28 minutes and then once we hit the hill I got popped out the back, I did another lap and then quit as I was way off the back, 31 minutes total. I'm not doing anything to help the team so far this year, I don't even feel like I'm part of the race, I'm basically just hanging on for as long as I can and then quitting when I can't hang on anymore, that's make 2 DNFs out of 3 races, not a good record. Sooo, what do I do about that? Well, mentally I'm still trying to stay the course and I keep training every day but eventually this may start to wear on me a bit. I have two options right now, one is to start doing the Master's 3/4 races, which is probably the best choice, or stop racing for a few weeks and just spend the weekends doing some hard training instead of traveling around to race my bike for 30 minutes, which also sounds good to me. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, the Baraboo RR looms on Saturday and that course is not suited for me at all, so that will probably get skipped either way in favor of training. I'm supposed to go camping with the family Friday thru Sunday at Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, so I'll be up there either way, although the weather doesn't look good right now, so that may get cancelled too if it rains. Basically right now I'm just going to ride my bike and figure it all out as it comes, I have no clue what this weekend will hold much less the rest of the year. My motivation is definitely not as high as last year, so that has something to do with it, I just have too many interests right now with the house stuff and the yard, and that makes it difficult to take all the free time I have after work on the weekdays and spend it all on biking. Well, that's it for now, nothing much else to say.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Suffering Ahead

This past weekend held two disparate races for me, a pretty decent race on Saturday where I didn't feel all that bad and got in a breakaway, and a bad race on Sunday where I got shot out the back after 21 minutes of a 60 minute race. The main difference between the two? A punchy little hill on Sunday that had the HR in the ozone layer, and the lack of any ability to recover after the hill. Admittedly I haven't done much hill training yet this year as I've been a bit miffed at my weight, which is 10lbs heavier than last year, so I've kinda been avoiding hills. I've been doing mainly Steady State intervals, but I think the realization has kind of settled in that I need to get off my ass, drop the weight, and start doing some hill work. I'll get dropped in any race that has even the smallest bumps in it if I don't start doing something to remedy what is now my major weakness. Having said that, I'm pretty worried about Whitnall on Saturday as the course has a nice little double-step hill and a smaller gradual hill that will probably have me in trouble shortly after the start. Sunday's data from my Garmin was all I needed to see to make me realize that I'll probably be in the same situation Saturday as well. Basically I started off o.k. with my HR in the mid to upper 170s, but then up the hill it went to around 186, then as we went around the course it would start to recover and get in the 170s again, but then it was time to hit the hill and it was right back up to 186 again. So I never really recovered enough after the hill because the speed was so fast that every time I hit the hill the batteries were getting drained more and more each time. Finally I went up the hill and had an acid leak that exploded my legs and I was done. I'm hoping that something similar doesn't happen Saturday as I have been practicing a bit on the Whitnall course and in 3 weeks of doing intervals around the course I dropped my lap times 24 seconds per lap from week one to week 3 last week. I was averaging lap times that were equivalent to my M4/5 race last year, and doing it solo for 12 minutes at a time with only a 7 minute rest between each set for a total of 36 minutes of intervals. One day I did a constant 40 minutes to see if I could maintain the speed of the M4/5 race by myself for the entire duration, and it was close but I couldn't quite do it for 40 minutes straight. Maybe mentally I'll feel better on Saturday since I've done the course 7 times in the last 3 weeks and will do it 1 more time this week. Other than that, today I'll be doing the course, tomorrow will be hill repeats (yes, I'm doing them again) and Thursday will be a normal ride. Friday will be an easy ride with some sprints to open up the legs for Saturday.
It's also that time of the year for yard work to get done so I've been doing some work around the yard as well and will have to squeeze that in at some point this week too. Most likely I'll be stuck out in the dark doing some things after my rides or I'll have to do as I did this morning when I got out and fertilized before work. I'm also looking forward to some camping already as we are heading off to Devil's Lake for 2 nights next week on Friday and Saturday, coming home Sunday. I have the Baraboo race Saturday, maybe, as the hills will kill me, so we figured it was a good reason to camp since the campground is just outside of Baraboo. Sunday, May 4th, is also my wife's b-day so it will be nice to celebrate it with a hike around the bluffs at the park. Well, that's it for now, I wanna give a shout out to Jason, let's get together and drink some beers soon, it's been way too long. But not too many beers, I gotta get up those dang hills. Until next time...........

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Decent Race

I'll provide a more detailed race report tomorrow as I'm getting ready for some sleep right now, I'm pretty wiped. I did the Menomonee Park race today and it was pretty fast, a bit over 26mph average for the race and I was part of a breakaway of 5 guys that stayed away for 3 or 4 laps, I was too dizzy to count. Ultimately we got caught with 2 and a half laps to go, and I tried one more little attack before coasting in the last lap off the back of the pack. It was a lot of hard work but since the course was flat and not much wind I was able to hang and obviously even get off the front for a while. I guess today's race, and the accompanying great weather, was the spark that I needed to get me back in the racing mood. Now, tomorrow is another story as the GDVC course is a little more difficult and I'm not sure how I'll feel after today's effort. I've done everything I can to recover tonight as far as food and hydration so let's see if I can handle a bunch of times up that punchy little hill. A picture below of me in the break -


[click to enlarge]

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Looking For The Spark

Although I've continued to train and have had to overcome a lot of distractions and hurdles of late, I'm still looking for something to really get me going and to get me in the racing mood. I just haven't found it yet and I'm hoping that something will come along to get me in the mindset to know that I've done enough training and that my form is good enough to hang with the rest of the bunch. Right now I know I'm not where I was last year at this time, I just feel like I haven't done anything that has given me the speed I need. I've done longer distance stuff, hill repeats and started Steady State intervals a couple of weeks ago but I just don't feel FAST at all. I feel sluggish up hills, I can't turn over big gears, and I haven't even attempted a sprint yet all year, the speed factor just doesn't feel like it's there. I was set on racing this weekend but now I just don't know if I will, it'd almost be a waste of money getting shot out the back right away.
There are alot of reasons why I'm just not feeling it, I wont' delve in to most of them. Here's one though as an example - tonight for instance, I had a really good day of training yesterday, I wanted to continue that tonight but shortly after I started my ride I was standing up and then sat down and I heard a crack, sure enough my seatpost broke. Most of tonight was then spent trying to find another seatpost that fit, then getting the height right again, and it was 9:45 by the time I got it all together. So no ride tonight. That's just the way things have been going this year, it's seems I can only run off one good week of training before something happens, like getting sick, having to go out of town on business, rain and snow on the weekends, blah, blah, blah. Anyways, I've thought multiple times of late about putting this racing season on hold, but I just can't do it quite yet. As mentally down as I am right now, for some reason I keep trudging along. Maybe I'll get that spark I need in the next couple of weeks, only time will tell really, who knows, I guess I'll know when it comes and hopefully I get that FAST feeling back again......

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

It's Been Awhile.......

.....but I'm still here, just been busy working, doing house things, and yes, riding my bike. The last few weeks have been good on the bike, I'm probably back to where I was before I got sick, but I should be way past that of course, so that is where this week's training will really help. I'd say I'm at 75% which is probably a little under where I am normally at this time of year, but after being off the bike for so long to start March I'll take it. I did 7 days on the bike last week, 2 days as recovery days so I'm definitely allowing for some rest, and I've had a good start to this week thus far. My training weeks go from Monday to Sunday, and Monday is normally a rest day, but I went out and did 3 hours yesterday since this is my "training camp" week while I'm on vacation. Yesterday was nothing fancy, just an endurance pace ride but it was nice to be outside. Today will be a split day because the rain is coming and is supposed to be here about noon so I'm leaving the house in about 20 minutes to hit the road for 3 hours and will then do another 1.5 - 2 hours on the trainer this afternoon or early evening. Today is Steady State intervals, which aren't exactly fun but they are a longer effort than PowerIntervals so not quite as intense. Tomorrow is supposed to be the only nice weather day of the week, meaning above 50 degrees and maybe some sunshine. The schedule calls for 4.5 hours out in Lake Geneva, with 2 loops around the lake and then hill repeats on a few select hills that are fairly long and steep as well. Should be a long day of thrashing myself and I'm sure there will be some near-puke experiences in there as well. Thursday is iffy as far as the weather, but right now the plan calls for another 4 hours with no real efforts so that I can recover from my repeats on Wednesday. Friday will be a shorter day, 2 to 2.5 hours but I will again be doing Steady State intervals so it'll be a tough day, but thankfully the suffering won't last too long. Saturday is another day that the weather will dictate what I'm going to do as right now they are calling for snow showers! I thought we were done with that, but that's the way this year has been going. If I can get outside then I'm looking at the Doc ride possibly and if I can't get my butt out of bed that early I'll be doing 3 - 3.5 hours solo later in the day. Sunday will be my last day of vacation and my toughest ride, again they are calling for some rain/snow mix, but I might just do my ride regardless of the weather. The plan is to ride from New Berlin to Burlington, over to Alpine Valley, do some repeats up the steep climbs and then head back to New Berlin, about 5 - 5.5 hours of fun. That will end my training camp with anywhere from 25 to 28 hours on the bike. Luckily for me next week happens to be the 4th week of my training cycle, so it's a regeneration week, that means only about 11-13 hours on the schedule so the week after that I should be fresh and ready to rock.
As far as racing goes, my first race now is tentatively on the 19th, I've decided that it's probably best to get a race under my belt before our big team race the following week so that I don't have a poor showing for the team in our own race.
Other than that, in addition to biking on my vacation I'm doing some major house stuff as well. Yesterday I built a shelving unit in my pantry, complete with under-shelf lighting and cubby holes for all my waterbottles, Clif products, energy drinks, etc., it will definitely help keep me more organized instead of having everything just stacked on top of each other. Today after my first ride I'll be running errands around town and then will also be finishing up the last of the window trim in Xavier's room. Hopefully I'll have time to get out the new solid wood pantry door as well and get the first coat of primer on that so that I can get it painted and installed this week yet. I hate installing new doors, all that shimming is a pain in the *ss, especially with our crooked house, I swear nothing is straight or at a 90 degree angle in this house. Oh well, it'll be about a 3 hour project, but well worth the aesthetic value and the investment. That's it for now, off to ride before it starts raining, until next time................