Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2 shoes, 1 ride

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
To put in another hard TT effort, you probably want a TT bike, or just be oldskool. I sorta kinda combined the two today into one.

So my TT bike was at my dads and I wasn't, so I loaded up a bookbag with shoes and stuff, and rode over. It's only a few miles a way so it was a decent warmup too. Changed shoes, moved flat stuff, leave bookbag and complete intervals.

Have a good ride with my ending sprints with 28.0, 27.4, 27.7, and 26.0 mph. Thats a good improvement but you can't real tell with the wind. I do do them in the same stretch of street each time though... It shows my improvement is in sprinting and in endurance because I wasn't totally crapped out for the end.

Rode back to my dad's house, changed shoes, removed socks (one shoe is bigger than the other), stole a tire, and rode home. This might have been my last ride ever on Tiagra, or for the time being as it's parting out A.S.A.I.G.U.2.BA, as soon as I get up to bike authority. I'll also want to check my angles out on the TT rig.

Monday, March 30, 2009

wind, cold, and sidewalks

HPIM3661[1] ... All equate to a great ride. This weekend we made the trip to Chicago to visit some family and ride around. My mom and I took the GF and SS MTB's and rode on the Illinois prairie path. Nice crushed stone but lots of stops. Here are a few photos from the trip. And add another 6+ hour week to the calendar. I think thats my six or seventh week of over six hours. HPIM3666[1] HPIM3658[1] HPIM3653[1]

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Looking Back: Winter Training 09


After a long season consisting of mainly year ending cyclocross, I was feeling just about done at the end of the year. The bikes got hung up dirty for a week or two before I started winter training, 2009.

Since spring has sprung, I figured I should write a little on winter training. On tap for the rest of December was just some easy, short rides to start the legs going again. Those rides were fun, but chilling and boring. That lead up to my weak attempts at cross training; ie. running, core, and rowing.

January continued with the cross training but upped the volume a little more and added a few more scheduled stuff. But slowly, the running gave out, the stretching never started, and core seemed pointless. But, I was excited about riding more. January I also hit up a few group rides to start the year right going a little faster than solo. You can't forget the countless one leg drills of January either!

Then the month of February came around and so did the structure. After a few tests, I was ready for the new year. My local hill-climb was promising to show not all my fitness was gone. It actually said I had early May fitness in late February. That was right after a successful spring Presque Isle TT. And with the new year, new ideas, like a single speed mtb racing. Now came the countless cadence drills over and unders, and over and unders... But now I was sicker than ever...

March brought a lot of stucture back with my newly built TT bike, and a proudly finished 39-18 SS. I kept in consitent and built up slowly but surely. A fun, but long winter to say the least. Here is a small taste of what training peaks can do. training_bike

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a few more numbers (proving why we all hate trainers)

DSC_0022As I've mentioned a few times already, Tuesday is my TT workout. Quoting myself, "one hour of power." And it is just that, I've recorded the last 3 weeks on my garmin and have seen some positive numbers. As my cold gets better, so does the weather, so does my power...interesting.

Anyway, on the 10th of March I was put on the trainer for 2 short V02 max intervals and averaged a whopping 11.33 mph. Now, the garmin is a little slow (.5mile every 20, app.) but that is worse than pedestrian slow. But, I did burn 1060 calories so I was trying plenty. Then fast forward to the past few days outside when I've done 4 and 6 V02 max intervals and my speed is up to 15.67mph (more like 16mph) and and 15.58mph. The only thing is I burned only 800 calories each ride, 300 less than the shorter trainer ride. RPM's are pretty similar though of about 80 each time.

Maybe that's why we all ignore and hate the trainer, because it's flat out harder. Wednesday I ignored it and went out on a slow spin in the rain. The fenders combined with a rain jacket and my secret weapon pictured above made for an outstanding ride. Embrocation was key to the pro-tour style too. DSC_0027 And if anyone is building up an inexpensive road project (or commuter bike) soon I'll have a nice mix of Tiagara and 105 Shimano stuff off of my cross frame because here comes the single ring rival baby. Also will be a nice crank or a 42t/20t chainring combo. note: ALL 9-SPEED MUST GO! That's my new motto. That's also why I'm broke.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Volume and Consistency

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
This ended up being a great week of training for me being part of my little consecutive streak of 7 + hour weeks. I'll just recap day by day.

Monday and Tuesday - Out on the TT bike for some serious intervals, in shorts.

Wednesday - Spin on the MTB on the road. Really liking new 39-18 gearing. Gear feels really smooth after about 100 + miles on the bike. Position seems dialed in too.

Thursday - Take dad down to Lake Effect TT course. Ride there, ride hard, ride home. Attacking climbs back in fourth. Push the pace and burn well into the thousand amount of calories and average well over 16mph on a windy day riding side by side. Or me half-wheeling. Course is in good condition still after a long winter. Over 2000' of climbing.

Friday - 30 minute trainer recovery spin.

Saturday - TLE Group Tactics Ride, 30 miles at insane pace with all the teammates. 1465 calories on an 1:40 ride, yeah it was hard. 1200' climbing. 44 minutes and 33 seconds in my VO2 max hr which is 171-190. yeah it was hard and only got dropped a few times.

Sunday - MTB adventure to Quail Hollow. Fun 3+ mile loop with a long open stretch. Great fun and ended up with about 15 miles. Thanks Julie and Dad. Race King 2.0's are the way to go! SS felt good on the short punchers there.

Time : 8.5 Hours
Distance: 115.38 Miles
MTB Rides: 2
TT Rides: 2
Road Rides: 2
Trainer Rides: 1

Monday, March 23, 2009

Three Observations

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
1. I always pick the upsets in the NCAA tourney. Thats a given, but through Sunday, my west/glendale region was perfect. Not even joking.

2. I printed the OMBC mtb race calendar only to see Findlay State Park wasn't on the race schedule. Darn, a favorite trail that's really technical and close to home.

3. There was no stage six given to one of my FS Concepts folders from a few years ago, so Julie put in REST. Except, she doesn't even follow her own rule. Saturday: 8 am spin class,9 am spin class, ride with team for another hour. Whoooh!

4. A big week in review post should be coming soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

do the irish ride tt bikes?

Oh yes, my first two outdoor TT rides. And both with my shorts on. Monday I went out just to test up the position and it worked. I recently moved my arm rest behind base bar (closer to me), lowered the seat a touch, risen the arm pads, and pulled everything back. So, my front wheel will take a little less abuse from my massive winter weight gains :). And it was only 75cm from nose of saddle to middle of shifters.

1-4% grades Monday seemed to be the thing ranging from around 2-3 minutes with a max of about 4 minutes. This time I went slow and always in the aero tuck while climbing. Climbing I'd move my hands back about an inch or too for extra leverage. At a max of high z2, but never z3. But, just after about thirty-five minutes (maybe 25 minutes in full tuck), my back was starting to cramp a little not being used to all the pressure.

The few things I could tell were different about this bike compared to my others was the acceleration. The bike always wanted to go,go,go and that won't do good on recovery/z1, well anything under MAX. But it will have some good benefits racing. Also, everything is so tight and compact/aero, I was breezing in the wind a little on a lightly winded day, maybe 5-10mph. I think it was fun though to test the girl out before intervals on Tuesday.

Tuesday can be referred to my 1 hour of power session. The warmup is about ten minutes then with 4 x 30 second 100+ rpm. I like those and they get my blood flowing. The main set of intervals is six two minute V02 max reps. V02 is race pace - but with a little less HR because of shortness - for me. This was followed by four 4 sprints trying to reach top end.

The main intervals flew by actually as I almost went out for a seventh. Not knowing how many I was at. (It seems the more work load you put on, the lesser you IQ reaches) But I felt fast averaging between 21 mph (small hills like yesterday, ie. 1-4%) and 25 mph with a slight downgrade, but even those felt fast. I felt light and quick, too but might need to pull the aerobars even close, which is ok.

Now came the sprints. This was one of the first times I'd went out on the road and done sprint training. But, you could tell. I was going for maybe 30mph or so, but maxed out around 25?!?! How could this be, I can average like 2 mph slower for 2 whole minutes (maybe Presque Isle 12miles) but can't get above 25!?! I was pretty disappointed but now I have goals to look forward to and achieve after Presque Isle. On a side note though.. I think I could have repeated 25mph forever like cross.

So, thats my irish day and job before Race at the Lakes criteriums. Maybe I'll even try a few Westlakes. Speaking, I believe I saw the Westlake King (Chernosky) and Polo riding today. Watch out!

For more aimless riding photos for you tri-guys and tt-head, you can head here. Those are some of my recent rides, outside. HPIM3621[1] Oh no, is that a C'dale on Chris Martino's yard right next to his I Love Lance photo. Well, at least I put it in his favorite gear! Just kidding, have a great year Chris, up for JCB again?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hacking and Riding

50_and_smiling Weekend seemed extra long with lots of riding. Hard on Saturday easy on Sunday. Even rode at 8 am on Saturday when the newly timed sun was awakening. Started with mom and on Sunday when it was like 50 degrees, she parted and I finished up my long ride of the week in knee warmers. Fun.

Tifosi Torrents -
Best glasses for the price. Lenses are quickly interchanged and tried the red and clear versions this weekend. Neither fogged with my heavy, sometimes upward breathing style. Light and style full. Definitely a must for the small-faced earthlings.

Finished up my TT bike for good, ready to race. More on that Tuesday. Enjoy the weather before it goes Cleveland and Northern US! Do I see some trail time in my future? Click the photo for more fun stuff at flickr.

Friday, March 13, 2009

what are you thinking about?

So much to write, so much time, so many pictures... Anyway whats up? Been riding a lot more than usual this week and not going to deny it. My new idea/plan/insane scheme is to try to string together maybe 2-3 more weeks of maybe 7 hours plus each week. Consistent, steady weeks still with at least one day off (Monday) or two (Friday) This weeks looks like it will be my start-up week of that series. Then maybe an easier week before the New Mexico MTB festival.

Also. Been pushing the single-speed gear around a lot, too. Chain feels real smooth after about three ride weekly basis since February. And I put the 18t cog on so now it's easier pedaling. Sadly, I might have to go back to 1x9 for NM. Looks like some of the trails go from 5k ft. to 10k. ft. over a day. A good ride for me is around 2k feet of climbing. So I think I'll be in shape after that. Thats 5k ft. to start above sea level, too! OUCH!

Another new idea is I'm kinda sorta looking into a cheap cross frame for a single speed beater, cheap as possible. Just to ride into the ground for some fun. Maybe fixie with double brakes, yes a lot of brakes. But, I also feel the need to upgrade every part every other day so maybe not... My bikes aren't the only light things now, my wallet is taking a hit after the downfall of my ebay sales. I hate the economy.

But, don't let me bore you today. Looks nice outside so get out and RIDE!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Up Down and Back Around

z2 intervals The positives from Sunday were:

- The Plain Dealer gave away free Chipotle bags to fill with free burritos

- I rode the rollers for an hour fifteen and did 4 X 10 minute Z2 intervals

- Watching the Shamrock was fun

- Julie and Dad did great in the 5 and 15k

- Pete and Jane got 6th overall and 1rst overall in the 5k, then did a long bike (I think 40k) then ran again to simulate duathon. In prep for worlds.

- My Nikon D40 is back in business

The negatives were:

- I couldn't find any more Chipotle bags even at Panera's with like 4 full newspapers
- I had to ride the rollers for an hour and fifteen because of lightening, rain, and thunder

- It rained at the Shamrock

- Dad didn't get a place in the 15k in age group but ran a 7:17/MILE pace

- My sinusitis/cold/crap is worse and I feel like poo

- My Garmin seems a little faulty, i.e. mph (w/o mph), cadence (w/o cadence), and grade (on the trainer)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Turn Your Clocks Back 4 Days

week of march And at those four days, you'll find my last post. Pathetic, so much stuff going on, too. Anyway, I'll run down whats been up over the past few days countdown style.

4. TT Fixations - I'm also nearly legal, again. It turns out my stem/seat combo was just way too long and way over the BB. Like, 3 inches over. So back to the drawing board and I ended up with my mini-stem, again. I'm not even sure how short it is, but wouldn't be surprised if it was around 45mm cuz it seems about half of my last stem. Previously, I turned my seatpost around that saved around 2 inches, but got me over the max reach of 75 cm, nose of saddle to middle of shifters. So, I'm now about 5 cm over the max limit and with a little more adjusting, I'll fit and be legal.

3. TT Fixations, Gears and Stuff - One more thing to be junior legal, I swapped my enormous 53t chainring back to a mini 45t. Of course, with such an odd size of chainring, I had to order it from Salsa. Next, I figured out the mounting system for my Garmin so I can see it and look forward and not have it fall off. Whew! So much adjusting. Then Dad and I added another cadence/mph sensor (another ordering) that Sean helped me hook up. TGFS, thank god for Sean. Now I have every tool on my TT bike as well as my sleek blue cross bike.

2. Tyres - I finally made a nice selection of tires and ordered a pair of Race King 2.0 clinchers for the SS. They look cool and weigh a scant 432 grams, almost 100g off of each tire. And, it's the all infamous rolling weight. Tread design is lower treads, with similar casing, I think. But, the advertised weight was 410g so I got a little gypped! Will put on the Lebron bike tomorrow. HPIM3567[1] 1. Training in the HEAT - The past few days have been awesome with temps. nearing around 70* in those days. Thursday dad and I got out for some quick hill climbing and did almost 1500 feet in climbing. I even got to use knee warmers and my light blue bike. Power felt great too with a great fit as I haven't been on my light fancy bikes outdoors. Then Saturday, I got out for a solo ride going up the hills like a mad-man then going endurance throughout the rest. Felt pretty good again but didn't get in nearly as much climbing. But don't worry, next Friday is planned snow!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

On the TT bike at last...

HPIM3546[2] This top photo is a clean version of my new TT front end, only a few tweaks and I'm ready to race. Click the photo to be in better detail.

I've been waiting for this day for a while as I finished my TT bike build last week. Now Tuesdays have been designated my "hard" TT days. I'm still working on ordering a second (or third) mount and cadence/mph sensor for my Garmin 705. But for now here is a small sample of my training on Tuesday and two Friday's previous. I need to work on adjusting a few things because if I have a nice tilt on the trainer, it says I'm climbing. Which is ok, but not really. More later.

focusedtraining2 focused training

Sunday, March 1, 2009

sittin' solo and a positive test

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Saturday with the wind howling and storm brewing, I headed out to see if anyone was going on the group ride. I rode some trail, not to be named, and a little road on the single-speed mixing it up mostly in zone 2.

I arrived at 21 and the Parkway to find my dad (happy birthday BTW), Gregg Fletcher (awesome Stark rider), and Dick Wiley. Then up came Shawn and Samantha House right on time. I said hello and then went off, riding a good bit more trail working on some basic skills.

The roads were clearing up and there was little to no traffic so I swung back to the road for some about seven more miles til my house. The sun came out and made it feel like a wonderful day, less gears rule on this day.

Now.. on to the less sunny news. Friday I finished up my nasal/sinus X-ray and the doctor called within a few hours. He said I have sinusitus, an infection in my sinus (wouldn't you know). I'm guessing this is whats been bugging me since November 25th.

I am on some seriously large pilled antibiotics for the next 3 weeks, too. Hopefully this results will show in my riding too becuase I've been riding with a stuffed nose for two and a half months. I read somewhere Alberto Contador had a sinus issue last season, got it removed sometime after the tour, and feels the best ever!

Now I'm comparing myself to Alberto Contador! And he rides a TREK! Finally, check out some of the recent photos I've taken over the past few weeks:

Bike Authority Set: for the weight weenies and TT speed demons

Random Rides: for the on-board camera man and SS rider

Bikes in my possesion: weight weenies and show offs