Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's Almost Here...

The chill covering your whole body. The wind pushing your expensive wheels and tires into the mud. Your hands near freezing have been numb for a few hours. The 3 under armour base layers you have on are slipping up and your stomach hurts from the air. The cowbells being rung in your ear for a few moments and then your alone. Again. For another lap of Cyclocross.

This year seems to be "the year" for cyclocross. If every year from now on has this many big cross races regionally and weekday events, remember this year for declaring Ohio as the place to be. Because we know it is. The brisk air off the lake, the 2-3 hour drive between each enormous city. Ohio is cyclocross.

With cross this year every weekend from early September to Mid- December and every Wed. at Spin. I think I might have to actually take a weekend off. Let's look at the other races than the 10th anniversary B.A. Series: Cap City Cross (9/13, 9/27, 10/4, 10/19, 11/1, 11/9, 11/23) Michigan KTR Double Cross (9/20,9/21) Other Tailwind events (9/6, 12/7, and 9 other races) Harbin Park (10/12) Orville Cross (10/19, 10/26) and not to forget OVCX (13 events including 5 UCI)

With this season I might be able to hit up over a dozen races in my peak season. The last 3 Fridays Dad and I have been at Reagan Park on our cross bikes. Usually around 12 miles of practice fun. Just stuff to keep us occupied.

I skipped out on the Greenford RR this morning because of pure exhaustion and other weird characteristics. I didn't want to do 25 miles feeling like poop with my biggest TT of the year next Sunday. I think my decision was smart.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Excess Thoughts and Ramblings

A lot to say about the past few days. After JCB, a good test for Presque Isle, I knew I needed to work on my helmet/back position, mostly keeping my head up and the helmet down purely for aerodynamics. Monday I worked on that exactly on the rollers with my camcorder. If I wear my helmet just about a cm more up on my forehead, I can keep it down without wearing my neck out too fast.

Today I had my last set of 10x2 min intervals of LT before P.I., like Coach Gilbert said, boring but very effective. I had the computrainer to my advantage (cool, I'm on the trainer...again) at B.A. and figured out my intervals were to the precise around 190 watts. Then Coach clicked on the pedal stroke feature which shows a graph of your pedal stroke in a rainbow system. Boy do I have something to work on this winter?

I averaged around 160 watts for intervals 5,6,and 7 trying to make a complete pedal stroke. The last 3 were very focused in the aero tuck and fast. I cooled down a little and then worked on some sprints. I did three 550w sprints that were nearly all out. I hit 572 on one, way higher than my previous high.

I also got my hr monitor fixed and working and ready to go. Today proved many things: a) my LT intervals are being done accordingly and are working b) my pedal stroke is choppy c) I have no sprint technique d) my high intensity has not even been toyed with which equals I need work before I plan on winning any cross events.

A productive few days, I'd say so.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Double Race Weekend: JCB Biathlon: Report

After Saturday's gruelling test at the Valley City RR, we were off to JCB Biathlon. I've put a lot of time into training for this one with my VO2 intervals and so forth not really knowing I would be doing a 25 mile RR the day before and adding to a 150+ mile week. The course was a 12.95 mile challenging one with a good bit of rollers that seemed to have the same grade the whole way up. I didn't get a chance to pre-ride the course or not much time on the bike before the race but I did get in a good trainer workout. I expected to be many on the trainer but I was the only one. I got about in 23 minutes with about 5 min the big ring and in the TT tuck. Around the middle of warmup, the runners pulled around the back of the school and I got to see how Chris Martino was doing. Quite good by the way along with the rest of the gang such as Dad, Ray, Christina, Mike, and Gary. Gary started a good ways back in the pack and made up some serious ground. Nice job! I pulled my ride off the trainer at around ten or so minutes from the start of the run. Nearing twenty-one minutes my runner came in. I got a great start knowing around 1/2 dozen team's were already in front, one who had a runner run a sub-18min. I had some big ground to make up. The legs felt good but not quite the snap they've had before. After that was fun downhill post 1 mile. The initial downhill seemed really fast around 30mph+. 46-11 time! After that was some serious grinding. A few more fun downhill miles and we went around a town circle. There an insane Lexus pulled out in front of me and stopped dead. I slowed quite a bit and yelled a little but it was over and I was running on pure adrenaline. After one more car incident and a couple good battles with racers not cars, the mile markers were really running up. The finish was in sight and I had one rider left in sight to beat. A very good sprint resulted in one place up. I wouldn't be surprised if he was on a relay team. I'm guessing I passed about 6 people and got passed by 4-5 so I moved up the team one place. In the end, I'm guessing we were top 25 and... took the overall relay team victory!! I was so surprised at the results. I got a big trophy and accomplished a big thing. Other great results were Ray with the overall*, Dad 50+*, Stina overall, Gary 1rst in the 30-34, Mike V. second.

A few more photos on my flickr.

Double Race Weekend: Valley City Cat 5: Report

How did I get myself into racing two days in a row? One with a field I usually can't stay with and the next day a 12.9 mile TT on an virtually unknown course?

So, here I ended up signing up on Saturday for the Valley City Cat 5 race with no more intention than to survive and make it as far as possible. We went to the V.C.RR course on Friday night and drove over the hill which I expected to be the hardest part of the course. I got in a nice warmup, around 8 miles(?), some with Julie, others not. We rode the hill and I decided I would little ring (34t) all day. At the start I started in the little ring and spun my brains out to stay in the top twenty 5's. Oh yeah, that was neutral. This is going to hurt but you'll make it. The immediate start wasn't so difficult but after 2 or 3 miles a few started making it hurt. I stayed midpack through all the corners and ended up near the back after each one and had to work myself back up few places. A few more of those corners and I'm starting to fall off at mile 4 but I push that puny 46t chainring up to mid-pack. Again this happens at mile seven but I push so hard to get back on I'm swaying everywhere and breathing uncontrollably. I make it back to the pack knowing I have nearly no gas left -I seem to be trained for those 30 min cyclocross efforts- and need stay near the front if I want any chance of staying on. Mile 10 was the start of some fun rollers after a corner. I punched it through the corner and up the hill but that was it. I was dropped. This of course was the first roller where Bill, Dad, and a few others watched on. I quickly looked down at my computer and I made it 10 1/2 miles with the main field that averaged 23.9+mph to that point. I rolled one more tempo lap to finish the race with another "5" after my rear skewer came loose and my rear wheel came out as the women were coming by at the base of the hill. Nothing eventful happened after that except a car pulled right in front of me 2 corners before the climb. I had to come to a complete stop and the one set of corner marshalls did nothing, the absolute only flaw with this SBR perfectly run event. Being one of the last RR's of the year, I know what I need to work on if I want to be a road racer: a) how to sprint out of corners or stay near the front (more power needed for that) b) how to follow an attack or get on their wheel (I'm slowly learning at track night) c) work on my breathing d) learn which wheels to follow e) work on core which hopefully will help all of the above. Well, there's my report from Valley City and here are Rick's awesome photos. Here are my less awesome photos. After my pain I got to watch some others suffer. Both Julie and Dad won the Masters State Championships for their respected age divisions as well as Julie 35+, Dad 45+. Jeremy Grimm did the unthinkable breaking away on the first lap and riding nearly 45 miles solo, with PM chasing. Great job Jeremy. Matt Weeks made some promising breaks with Paul also. Scott in the 4's, Tony, Matt and Todd in the I,II,III, and Chris and Bill in the Men's Master 35+ represented TLE. All had field finishes but were very active creating and chasing breaks in all of their races.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lorain Track Racing: Report

Eight riders competed in the Lorain Track events on Thursday night including dad and I. Rack up 6 more races to the calendar as I did all the events once again. The road races were really hotly paced tonight with speeds on the back stretch reaching a consistent 25mph. I felt good but really need to work on following the attacker's wheel. The track races were slower but more challenging in a sense with only three of us trying to work a decent paceline. All the races were fun and I won two events and no one was injured besides some allergies so it was a good night overall. I'm not sure weather next Thursday will be Leroy or Track. Wish me luck in two key races this weekend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Schedule With Training and On Tap With Racing

This weekend is the Valley City RR and the JCB Biathlon. This will be my first ever back to back racing weekend. I've been training plenty and have been contemplating taking today's intervals off. Last week I did 93 miles following a 125+ mile week. Both included intervals on Tuesday, racing on Thursday, and either race once or intervals on the weekend. I'm guessing I'll try to put together a 150 mile week soon before Presque Isle. This would be the week to do it but I've got two races this weekend which could either be addage milers or races. Also, we'll be at the track where if race all races I can get 30 more miles in + the commute to Bike Authority on Thursday. We'll see if all this thinking works out at this weekend's races. And by the way, I would feel way to guilty to not race on Saturday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Make Me Faster, Make Me Rich

I've recently been toying with the idea of working on the pulleys on my Sram Rival. In a recent article about Fabian Cancerella, Shimano was making a special rear derailleur for him that had extra large guide (top) and tension (bottom) pulleys that supposedly transferred power better. His also had a large cover for aerodynamics but that is beside the point.

Fast forward to Thursday at the Bike Authority and we looked around for larger pulleys. It turns out Trek mtbs. with a "super-low" or 34t cog resulted in a red 15 tooth pulley compared to the usual 11t. We had plenty of those so I searched around for a very lightly used (not worn down) tension pulley. I cleaned it up and put a touch of lube on it ready to put on the Cannondale.

Friday morning we had more time to experiment and put one on my bike. We replaced my 11t sealed bottom pulley with the red 15t. The first test it would go through would be Reagan Park on my cross bike. We made it .6 miles before I was shifting up to an easier gear and rode of a small root. CLING! CHICK! STOP! I dismount to see what the problem is and my whole rear derailleur is jammed up in my spokes and totally done.

Most likely the cause was the oversized pulley slipping (or something else) but it could have been a freak accident. Either way, my road/cross bike is not getting any new and faster pulleys, instead a new derailleur. I'm kind of disappointed as I thought this would really work and we could cut the pulley so we could put some sealed ceramic bearings in there and maybe offer to customers. So this post should really be called DO NOT ATTEMPT instead of make me rich.

Leroy TT: Report

This week seemed like a good week for the Leroy TT ex. a) track was cancelled b) the cooler weather always seems faster c) we knew multiple fast Torelli fellows would be there. I was running the same setup as usual (including a new saddle I got around a month ago) without my HR monitor or no computer. Dad was convinced I always used the older non-dimpled 404's and put those on not knowing the comp. magnet was on the dimpled version. Forget it, I don't need mph anyway. So, it was pure perceived exertion which I seemed ok with.

I warmed up well with I'm guessing around 12 miles with one complete loop of the course and multiple times going up and down to Vrooman Road.

The starts are key for me and I bet for most in a TT so I worked on starting from a stop or turn around before the start working in the 46-23 and 46-21. I ended going with the 23 and felt really fast with a good bit more spin added to the first 100 meters. The rest of the course to the turn felt relatively fast and I felt good with my effort and pushed on until I hit the false flat after the turn. That's where the pain settled in but even after working on my position all week I still had trouble keeping that head up with all that effort. My climbing seemed decent and I pushed up over the hill and to the turn-a-round. My turn a round was much better than the previous time here and I raced down the hill all the way home. I wound it up well but the fire truck sign came to soon as I had a little more gas in the tank.

After this effort, I had great legs and only can think of two places where I can lower my time even more. Over the top of the hill I started slowing down waiting for the turn a round to come, if I pound then hit the brakes hard, I can probably save a few more tics. The other spot on the course it the JCT 85 or .75 miles (guess) where I really ramp it up and use it all. I need to utilize that better and push even harder after that point.

My Popsicle stick was given to me after a slight cool-down with a time of 20:28! 18 seconds off last months 20:46 where I averaged 22.88mph. My mind soared wondering if I had scored a 23mph time. I went to this site today and plugged in the 7.92 mile course for an average of 23.218241042345276! My first time ever with a 23mph average and on a slightly graded course.

Dad PR'ed on the new slice with a 16:48 averaging 28.2mph according to the 7.92 (a little short(maybe) mile course flyer being sent around. Brian set out another fastest time ever with a 16:17 and his teammate Ray pulled off a 16:53! Bill also had another fast week with an 18 flat only 3 seconds off his fastest ever. Fast night indeed. Photo Credit: Julie.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Racing Soon...

After another very good week of training last week (200k & over 9 hours) and racing (Lorain Track & Orrville) I'm starting to really map out the next few weeks. This week is the JR. State RR Championships but we are busy so I'll miss it, then we have the Valley City Street RR which I will most likely do followed by the JCB Biathlon. The following weekend I'll be doing the first annual Greenford RR. The next week is the first weekend in September and Presque Isle #3 is already here. The 13th-14th weekend will probably be a trip The Knob for some more mtb or Cap City Cross then the very local Reagan Park TT on the 21st. I'm thinking I'll do that on my cross bike. The next week is the 1rst B.A. cyclocross at Wendy Park. After that I'm looking at all cross all the time with our series, Cap City, OVCX, Spin, and States. We've already signed up for one of the OVCX, the UCI C1 ranked Biowheeels Harbin Park on Sunday. It is already shaping up to be a huge field for everyone.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Orrville Smith's Dairy Road Race: Report

Today was the Orville Road Race and all of our family would be participating for one of the first times this year. To add to the firsts, the would be my first road race of the year, and ever. It consisted of two 10 mile loops of flattish terrain with the wind really picking up in some areas.

I was really focused and feeling good after the start of the race. Most of the start of the race for me was spent on a Zipp Jersey (the eventual winner) and a very tall Stark Velo character. I stayed mid-pack for 8 miles with some fun included because of a younger Colavita rider going just enough pace to make no-one attack. A few times when I would start to drift back I would just stand up and crawl past a couple guys along the gutter. So back to the mile 8 exciting split of the field. A green jersey junior (the religious kids, you might remember from RATL) was riding right in front of my Stark Velo windbraker and cramped up or just gave up resulting in basically a 20-20 (participants) split, me being in the lower portion. The gap wasn't so large so I took a chance and dove into the wind trying to get back on. Wow, I made it! Then I proceeded to get dropped back to the second group almost immediately after burning all my matches. The second and final time up the climb I was slowly moving back and was joined by about 10 other dropped riders to form a nice group. A few got dropped and a few bridged up resulting in just four of us rolling around together. At one point we were within 15 seconds of catching the half depleted peleton. Well, it finished this way which disappointed me just a little by the result but the effort and legs were there. Maybe if I would have run a few more guys up, I would have stayed on.

In the women's race, Julie towed the field around after a lap 2 solo break went away. The lone girl survived and Julie lead it out for Gwen. Gwen ended up 3rd overall, Julie 4th. In the Masters race Brian Batke (cat1) broke away with another rider for his second win in a row. Brian Diffenbacher won the field sprint for 3rd. The 2-3 race was as exciting as ever as one final break stuck as the only survivors were Dad, Tris, and Ray with the sprint for the line right into the wind. Ray pulled off the improbable coming around at 200m for the win! Tris rolled in second happy to see his teammate shine with dad in 3rd.

Overall I had a very satisfying legs and result (24th of 34 in the 5's only 3m 30s from the breakaway winners.) I'm looking forward two weeks from now as I have a double race weekend of Valley City Cat5 race (24miles) and then the JCB Biathlon on Sunday, a 12.9 mile TT with my running partner Chris Martino.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lorain County Speedway Track: Report

Thursday we headed up to the track again to work on some good speed work. Earlier this week my dad asked Tony Smith if he had any 52cm track bikes. And did he? Yes, and of course the best too. A newer Fuji Track Sport Series with Arraya tubulars built up with Campy Hubs and Vittoria tires and the proper 13-14year old gearing. Thanks Tony! So tonight I had the option of doing every race and I took advantage of it. First up for the roadies and fixies was a 5 lap scratch race. I completed both and stayed with the road (& mtb) group for 2 laps and then got second to Rick (of 3) in the 5 lap track race. Next up were the 10 lap tempos, or every lap sprint (first person across gets 1 point) I lead it out for the road race and thought I had the first point but got edged out by a Snakebite rider. After 1 or 2 more laps, I was dropped because of the huge pace, but on the brightside, Sadie and I got to work a little on paceline. In the track 10 lapper, I believe I won overall and got 5 or 6 sprints up against a seated Rick. The final road event was a 5lap miss'n'out and I made it all 4 1/2 laps before pulling off and saving some for the 15 lap points race in a few moments. I believe Dad and Julie both placed really well in this event. The final track event was a 15 lap points race where every 4 laps we get a bell meaning this is a sprint lap. I took the first two off of Rick teachings of how to sprint, and then he showed off his sprint skills for the final points. I won that event overall I believe.

Overall, I felt really good Thursday night and learned a lot of new things that will hopefully help in this Sunday's upcoming Orville cat 5 race. Tony Smith let me keep the track bike till the end of the track racing scenes so you can probably find me every Thursday now at the track or the Leroy TT.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts

On schedule for today was 6 LT intervals of 2 minutes each which has been my usual Tuesday workout. In the next two weeks I'll work my way up to ten. Anyway, today it drizzled, it clouded up, and I cleaned up my bike so.. the rollers were really calling my name.

I warmed up and felt very fresh and hydrated after yesterday's 1h + 30m easy spin. So I pulled the killer headwind fan up to 3/4 of the way open or a 7-10mph headwind. The first two intervals went great at around 16.5mph each. The next 3 were dreadfully hard to average 15.5mph which I expected but suffered and pushed hard. The last I'd figure I'd go all out to see what I could average. 17mph! On Krietler that is equal to 249.5 watts! Well.. everything seems great but it is for 160 pound cyclist so that subtracts a good amount of watts but I did have about 100psi in the tires so that adds Resistance. Either way that's a 76% increase since a months ago. That's what 27 hours of hard saddle time does I guess.

Speaking of saddles, I got a new fiz'ik wing flex pav'e sport saddle from B.A. I think it really helps with power and aerodynamics as it is super thin compared to my paggio. I can keep my legs in tighter and push them harder.

Zoar Women's Videos

Monday, August 4, 2008

Zoar Road Race

Sunday was the sixth annual Zoar RR. It consisted of two 9.5 mile loops with two long stressful climbs. This year I took pictures of the pain and saved the suffering for next week at Orville. HERE is the complete set on my flickr. Thom Dominic and Brian Batke broke away on lap 3 and stayed away for the rest of the 50 miles. Dad and Shawn made an enormous effort to bridge and almost closed it on the top of the steep climb. Julie pulled back 2 breakaways solo and then finished strong 7th overall with a broken hand. Samantha House broke away on lap two and solo'ed away to another Zoar Victory. Dad helped lead out Shawn for the field sprint in third place. Dad also rounded off the top ten. Brian Batke repeated as Zoar winner in the two up sprint between breakaway companion Thom Dominic.

Friday, August 1, 2008

update on running?

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
I gave running a shot this week, and a slim chance to continue it. I went with my mom while we were in North Carolina. Tuesday we got started around 8 o clock and it was like 90*f and 90% humidity. The sun shines so hard on you here you get burned after like 20 min.

Anyways, my goal was to develop some kind of endurance for cyclocross intervals (running) and maybe give a 5k a chance next year.

The first run was decent and we went 5min running 5min walking, we did that four times at around an 8m30s (mile) pace. Wednesday I tried this again did about the exact same though with the weather even hotter. It reached 100*F that day! Thursday I sore, sore, sore. So.. no running.

Today I gave another shot and we did the same routine just at around an 8m pace. Nice! Again it was around 85, 90 degrees. I even sprinted the last 100m. I need to remember to breath though (oops)

Soo.. running is a lot different and makes you sore when your not used to it. One day a week i'd like to try and run for X-training and cross.

This week was sweet at our beach house and I might be at Zoar on Sunday. I'd prob just take pics after not riding a week and seeing the course profile.