Friday, February 27, 2009

a busy week of testing

HPIM3506[1] Last week really kicked off my first week of testing, beginning today with a lung x-ray. No- not the latest for bike training, but for a nagging cough I've had since November 25th! Don't get me wrong, my mom and I have checked it out before, but before it was "just allergies." That test later came up negative this week.

Then Wednesday, I wanted one hard, somewhat-sustained effort for race prep for a test on Thursday. Previously, I thought there was a B.A. TT but I guess not! So, I headed up the steepest thing I knew, Harley Hills, and scored a time of 3:40, which is averaging a mere 9.981818181818182 mph. But.. that was my third fastest time ever and what I pushing last May two weeks after a fast Presque Isle. The only time I went faster was by five seconds during May, then fifteen seconds faster with that great cyclocross form. I then did four short jumps to get the legs going after words.

So back to Thursday, Coach Sean and I decided to another 3 mile controlled TT. It was the same course as last month, and I kept my HR at about 185, about 8-10 beats lower than last month, and went three seconds faster. We kept the breathing very steady and I was feeling fast. I felt good about that, but felt like I was trying nearly as hard as before? HPIM3508[2]

Then we went for the wingate test again that we wouldn't have to worry about my HR shooting up. This is where I would excel tonight as I went for full 30 second power, not just peak. Either way, for 30 seconds I averaged 399 watts, 132 watts more that last winter. Even the non-geek can figure that's some major improvement. And I felt good doing it too, it's those cross starts.

After cooling down, we weighed up my bike that I spent just under a hundred dollars putting together, (with dad buying frame, cranks, brakes, derailleurs) and I ended up with a scant 18.47 lbs. with my heavier Easton Circuit wheels on!!!! That was nice to see so I put on a 303 front tubular, 404 zipp rear, and I was just at 17 lbs. 17.01 to be exact. HPIM3509[2]

Today was my final test, a nose x-ray to see if anything is up there. I've also had a bad nose since cyclocross, too. Well, we see how that turns out, as I'm trying Singular and a nasal spray currently. They both have great instant effect but wear off very quickly. I hope we can figure out my breathing problem soon.

Check out more photos from the past few days HERE.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gum, Flickr, Cycles, D40, Rest/Test, UCI Legal

HPIM3431[1]1. As of recent memory, I've heard of lots of runners and cyclists chewing gum while training or racing. This seems so odd to me but probably because I'm still not very good with gum. In fact, a few years back when we went to St. Louis to see Julie pass the Olympic Torch (2004), I remember looking at the Gateway Arch, swallowing my gum, then feeling sick. But maybe I'll give it a try.

2. A renewal of my flickr is in store this week also. Super cheap for unlimited photo downloads. Has it really been a year of uploading already. Check out my account HERE. To add to the fun, will be making three separate sets of random stuff categorized: Bike Authority, Training (on board camera- usually), and bikes. Easy to use, easy to check, easy to organize.

3. I always considered myself one of those lucky trainees who had so many off/easy days during the week that training in cycles were just pointless. But, this season is different and same with training. Note the graph. Also I hope my training has another nice jump post-test. cycles 40. Also, my Nikon D40 55-200mm lens gave out on my about a month ago. Soon the blog/flickr will have HD like photos again. I know you can't wait.

5. Mainly, this week I am back in the rest/test week. So, B.A. TT on Thursday, the 2ND test of the year and I can't wait. If the it is fifty degrees outside tomorrow as predicted, I may be doing another test, too: Harley Hills Climb. I might even be on the TT bike for the first time, time will tell.

6. Lastly, I am now UCI time trial bike legal. Even though this season I might not be checked, I might as well be legal and safer than sorry. Had to cut down my aero bars down an inch and a half, end of tape in top photo.

Not much else, thanks for reading.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Simplicity is Key

This week I finished up my SS mtb and have actually been riding it and it's great fun. Just the simpleness of pushing one gear around is so basic. The concept has been around for hundreds of years but seems very useful to me right this instant.

I also upped my mileage again this week with four of six of my rides on single-geared bikes. I need to now swap out the 39-16 for a 39-18 for winter riding. Just to much of a fuss if you want anything but flat/ downhill road. Besides that, my bikes are great for some z1 and z2 action outside.

Through the past few weeks of riding, I've picked up if you get the chain length right you don't even need chain guards or guard. But either way, I'm currently pulling apart a bum Tiagara 9-speed front derailleur trying to get it lite. It looks to start around 120 grams but if I can pull it apart enough to still work, I'm on to something.

Looks like Rohloff (sweet chain guard name) offers a similar product of what I'm making at around 80 grams. So, 40 grams to shed, chop, cut, reduce and replace on a new chain guard idea, one piece of course.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Insane Ride

click on the photo to see all nine photos.

Wednesday ended with me getting so disappointed that I couldn't ride. I just waited too long for winter light and the rain kept picking up. Right there, I made a vow to ride outside no matter what Thursday.

Then Wednesday night and all day long Thursday we had a long, flurry snowstorm. It continued and so did my vow. So dad and I trekked out on our singlespeed mtbs for a little horse trail, some road riding. Before we even began Dad guessed we would make it fifteen minutes, I said an easy hour.

The gusts were nearing forty mPh, and the temperature was already only a degree over twenty with the snow still coming. Either way, we got out and it wasn't that bad. My gear was a little large for deep snow so we stuck to the one inch that covered the road already. Perfect, no cars so we could ride double wide in the rough spots.

In the end, we put in well over an hour and almost ten miles of slowww riding. And now, I can't wait to do it again. Those winter version of under armours are warm! Check out what I wore:

- bibs
- tights
- winter long-sleeve under armour
- embrocration
- insulated waterproof pants
- booties
- spring long sleve jacket
- ss jersey
- winter jacket
- 2 undercaps below helmet

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

WTH? I thought it didn't rain in California...

8:48am - pouring rain
Originally uploaded by limegreeney
Gnawing on cheezits after a short ride it hit me. Today it didn't rain in Cleveland, maybe even Ohio, but the TOC rode in the rain for like 10 hours the past two days.

Math homework just isn't doing it as I sit in front of the computer. Do I have to do even or odds? Probably both. It doesn't matter, I can't figure it out anyway. Most likely because I'm reading old blog posts. My legs have a nice burning sensation from embrocation post-shower and I am thinking of tomorow's ride already. But you know, it will probably rain.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blog Changes

Been working on rearranging and changing my blog format of late. I made two separate columns for blogs, local and other. It also shows when there last update was and the title. I should be adding a few more soon so be on the lookout.

Also I created a MTBR forum account so you may check that our here. You can see what is up in the mountain biking world and what I think about it. Accounts are free so join and become a member now.

Not to mention, I've been working on a rotating blog header, changes to a different set photo every time you load my blog. I guess I'm not the best at HTML Javascript so if you know how to, please help. HPIM3428[1] Lastly, I finished up my single speed race bike and it is ready to ride. I even slapped a new 8-speed chain on. Only probable changes before the season are lighter tires and a homemade chain guide.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

i have another call coming in

Sadly, my cross training has slowly been being cut out the past month. But, my riding timing has been bumped up which I think is more important and what I enjoy more, even if it comes down trainer v. treadmill. Also, the next few days seem to have ride able weather.

But, the different aspects of cycling training are kicking in. I've been doing my cadence drills consistently and kept up with my base for Presque Isle. Today we'd also like to get another chance to test our skills at Ray's.

Besides that, the only cool news is I'm looking into another pair of mtb tires and actually have the money to buy them. I currently am running a 2.2 Continental Mountain King in the rear, and a 2.4 in the front. The pair weighs 488g, and 530g. And I'm looking for something a little lighter and faster for really dry days, and smaller width. Here are some of the options.

Kenda offers a wide range of tires all in the category of moderate to lite in weight terms. They have the small block eights, which run around 450g on a 1.95 inch tire. Then, popular aruond here, Karma 2.0 at 450g. Then the big question mark, a short track tire that is 1.9 for 434g, fast and decently light. But, my favorite that is leading the chase is the Kozmik Lite II, a 1.75 tire that weighs 375g!

Continental also offers the Race King Supersonic that is a 2.0 and weighs 430g and a 2.2 version that weighs 480g. If that combo didn't weigh as much I wouldn't have any deciding, I'd go straight for that. But, they also have Speed King 2.1 that has a mass of 400g.

Schwalbe also consists of some very light tires. Rocket Ron HS 406 is said to have great compromise between speed and weight, also 410g. Then there is the littest tire I have found, but absolute least dependable. It's called the Furrious Fresd 2.0 and weighs only 295g. But, one fellow commented (along with many others) he flatted both tires on the commute home, on the road. It just seems to lite.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The EPIC Final Two

The skies were looking as clear as could be. I trekked west for a longer out and back ride down in the valley. Very uneventful as I enjoyed the high temperatures during my Z2 ten minute intervals. Then with about two miles left into my ride the light drizzle turned into real rain drops as the pitch steepened. I finish off my fourth interval immediately before coming out of the valley. My HR was a max 160 for my ride until the rain hit and the pitch steepened. So my cooldown starts with a touch of zone 3. I make it up out of the valley and take a short breather in the parking lot where I see Polo from RGF's tattooed vehicle. I hope he realizes Paul Martin lives within 100 meters of where he's parked? I try to cooldown but its tough to get of the higher hr. I make it to the sidewalk that makes it nearly too my house but have to get by a walker who is a clydesdale plus. So I weave by him and hit the first cross street. No one lets me go. HPIM3409[1]
Then I hang a quick right come back down the hill, sit in traffic for a few minutes, before hooking up with the same sidewalk. A dude pulling out is on his cell-phone, but backs up into other people to let me go, thanks! Bunny hop the small pot holes before getting to the last main street to cross. I trackstand and wait for the light but three different vehicles take right turns tieing me up again on my sidewalk. Now I can see my development but I'm still climbing and call in the granny, a 30-27. Ahhh, just need to cross the street and home free, but wait, I've been too late and the school slow down signs are a distant thought. So another two minutes of that and I get back into the low one hundred - teens before crossing the street. All in two miles. The other 15 took about the same time. HPIM3416[1]

a perspective on long, slow, distance

From what I know, the average roadie can be seen for about three or four months every year practicing this "pro" training thought. I actually don't like the term LSD, as it implies aimless riding, which is never good and that seems quite logical to me. Although this is refering to the sub-10 hour week trainees (the majority, I believe), every one through this MTBR Forum suggested that LSD training is just slowing them down.

I think this is also an age thing, for me, after a month plus of rigourous training I can be almost in top form while when you're older such as these guys, it will take much longer to get back in shape. This results in either keeping most of your form or not racing until August to be competitive. Here is the best part of the forum:

If you have large amounts of free time, you could probably build a great program with large LSD components. However, if you're under 10 hours per week you should also seriously look at some newer-school concepts of building base through more "sweet spot" or tempo riding.

So why do professionals spend huge hours early in the season doing what (for their relative ability) is LSD? The answer is that most riders and racers (aside from these professionals doing long stage races) aren't hampered as much by aerobic efficiency as they are by aerobic capacity. These pros need the aerobic efficiency to tap out that final 1%-2% in their potential, and it takes many saddle hours to achieve this i.e. no shortcuts. For the rest of us, we're nowhere near to maximizing our aerobic capacity, and so our training is better to be focused on this instead of trying to squeeze out the last bits of efficiency.

This seems to make the most sense to me now. And for mountain bikers everywhere, enjoy the sweetspot. Roadies, stick to the big miles.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Feeling like a cyclist again, the hard way

post-rides Above Shots: Taken immediately after sunday's group ride (l) and (r) is saturday's slushly fun. Click foto for clear view of mud-on-face and how full-fenders don't even cover it all. the face is used to mud though!

This will be my first season getting back into things, as last year was my first season of year-long training. This was also my first week of jumping back into it as my 30-minute week riding totals just weren't cutting it, for myself or my body. Tony always asks me, "why don't you road race a lot?" Instead of responding with the usual:

a. cross is my main priority
b. time trials come second and flow through some of RR
c. I'd like to keep my racing volume low but with high race results each time i race
d. NONE of that training races crap
e,f,g. I don't shave my legs

He simply found out the easy way about an hour fifteen into our group ride Sunday. My perfectly hydrated and fueled body just couldn't undertake this climb that seemed o-so-steep. I rocketed off the back of the group like I was in a cannon. Mind you I've ridden outside a mere four times this new year, but only an hour fifteen. Yep, there's my cracking point, as of this point, but I can go really good for forty-five minutes! Of course, this ride I went another fourty five post-cracking.

Other than that, my mileage has steadily been increasing but has great room for expansion. If only that weather would cooperate? Well, its supposedly nearing 60 tomorow so I'll see you out there. Check out the graph right for my weekly riding hours. I'll post soon on how the MTBR perspective is on the once so great LSD theory. I'll give you a hint, they may not enjoy it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Another week of horrendous riding weather, but a great weekend so to speak. This morning I went to "the shop" for a little bike tweakings. First, I finished up my single-speed mtb with red anodized tensioner and spacers. The deciding gear was a 39-16 with a Shimano Ultegra crank and a different bottom bracket.

The finalized weight was a scant 20.69lbs. Exactly pound off the last weigh in with all those gears. A few more simple upgrade tricks and this baby will be ready to race.

Then dad and I did a little more adjusting to my Six13 slice and added my beloved Zipp Vuka carbon aero bars. A few more decisions to be made is whether bottle cage, or aero-bottles. And saddle, that seems to be even more important in time trials.

After that, we snuck out for a nice ride in iffy weather but much better that previously! Making a few new additions to my commuter/ spare cross bike right now. You can check them out if you come to the ride at 11am tom. at 21 and Brecksville. See Bill's blog for more info.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Balancing Act

Some people have trouble balancing work and cycling. Or cycling and school. Or cycling and other sports. But then there are those occasional few, like myself, who are balancing two (or three or four) different acts of cycling. I enjoy seeing different people do this when I can go to a road race on sunday, a crit on tuesday, a track race on thursday, and a cross race the following week, and still see a handful of the same people at each race.

The act I'm working on now is my base training for Presque Isle and the cadence variables for single-gear mtb'ing. This works out for the better though because I get to ride more as the weather gets nicer, or slightly warmer with an inch less of snow. Both training solutions started today and now my busy schedule reads riding up to six times a week versus two or three.

The other great thing about two types of cycling, is that each one is like cross-training for the other. One bounces of the next ending a fantastic show right? So simple it seems yet so complicated it is to achieve.

This week started my balancing act and it not surprising started on the rollers. Tuesdays and Thursdays are now cadence days. What does that completely mean? They are specific intervals days based upon cadence. Tuesday is low and Thursday high.

Then for my base mileage for every cycling discipline essentially, I completed four longer (10 minutes) zone two intervals on Wednesday. And this is just the start of the week, not mentioning the whole process! I guess we'll all see what happens soon enough.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Thank You Super Bowl, Youre Welcome Bikes

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Once upon a time, I was absolutely obsessed about collecting and trading baseball cards. Then about four years ago the local shop closed and so did my hobby. I was left with thousands of great cards without anything local to buy or sell more.

Recently, I started an eBay account and have been selling my cards off one by one, or sometimes in lots. And because of the Super Bowl, I totally jumped my up my spending budget. So, I purchased some basic stuff for my mountain bikes including a new Rockwerks single-speed converter. It includes red anodized spacers and a singulator with 18t and 16t cogs.

Then I purchased a new set of ergon gx1 grips that weigh a mere 138 grams. Both these items were a scant $40 and a big plus for my renevated mtb. My grandma loves the idea of selling old stuff online too which is good because she helped purchase a lot of baseball cards!

Now I'm looking at many other light weight upgrades and I can even cash in my money for a check. Thanks eBay and the Steelers did win!