Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stopping the Rain...

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
It goes April Showers bring May Flowers so the rain will stop Friday at midnight, correct? I really hope so because the last thing we need in a hairy leg 5 race is wet ground.

We also wanted some mountain biking on Sunday but that will be delayed probably until at least the following weekend with this much rain. We haven't gotten too too much yet but if the forecast is correct, we're supposed to get upwards of an inch total throughout the next 24 hours.

On tap then for the weekend is converting the MTB back to SS because all this week I've just ridden my road bike. Did I just say that? My cross bike is done but I haven't ridden it. I'm trying not to look at my TT bike for a while, so.. I wasn't too far off.

To get off topic again.. Not to forget my chain-guide project, my mom had a buddy grind off a few pieces of it and it is light! What once was a tanky 9-speed Tiagara FD is now a shiny, light fast piece of bike equipment. I'll bring it to the race to show it off if anyone cares to see. Lighter than double chainrings and guides already!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

i'm glad that's over

Because now I can get some much needed rest and recovery. Just easy rides this week so I now have 3 of the last 4 weeks considered easy. Recovery into NM, then NM (hard), Taper to Presque Isle, Post-Presque Isle to RATL.

That reminds me, I get to race again this weekend. I'll be at the start-line early for the cat 5 with a blue cannondale bike, and be sure to say hey if you read my blog. The reason I'm doing the 5 race is that 34 and 35 racers did it these past two weeks. The juniors had like 5 or something pathetic.

Most likely no racing the following weekend due to prior commitments but the next week is OMBC MTB: The Wilds. I think I'll being doing age group there because single speed race is at least 2 hours. That will be a fun test because it's a new course with a different atmosphere.

A few more notes from Presque Isle to get it out of my head:
1) average cadence was 99 rpm, that's a lot.
2) julie raced and placed second overall (women); but, hadn't ridden her TT bike since '08 states
3) i finished my bike at the beginning of march and was nervous i didn't ride it enough and finished 45th overall (men)
4) i would have been 2nd place again in the 15-19 but 1st in the 20-24 age group
5) the age group dave thornton won (45-49) had 29 men in it
6) i asked dave thornton on our cycling team
7) i hope he joins because he averaged 27.23mph and is a great guy

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Presque Isle TT: Report


Week went really well, almost. Felt decent all week with some minor set-backs (ingrown toenails that stole some serious sleep from me) but stayed hydrated and ate decently. Dad took a major spill yesterday at RATL and DID brake his arm in two different places... out six weeks. OUCH, get well soon. Besides that, we got going at around 4:50 this morning for the 1h 30m drive that awaited us. We got there with plenty of time.


I only did like half an hour but that felt good enough. 5 minutes to start of slowww spinning in the easiest gear. Tested out 404's, they working good. Even wore my road helmet to stay comfortable. I wore a light base layer under the skinsuit but boy would I regret it. Rode about 6 miles with Julie, did some starts, then hooked up with Ray before

The Race

My legs felt fast during warmup and I went to the line warm. Stripped off a jacket, blew my nose, and killed it. The starters gave a less than enthusiastic push so I was off, on a race I've been training for- for two months. The start went by quick and around two miles, I looked down and the speed isn't working on the Garmin, but cadence was and is said 127. I know you're suppose to keep the cadence going but that's way to high, get it down to the 45-14 and hold it. DSC_0012 For a long time. Keep it smooth, aero, keep the head up, everything was going well. Two people passed me riding together (nearly drafting) and then Ray and I think only one other person. So I knew I was going fast. The cadence kept going and I would hit 100 rpm, shift down, hit 100 rpm, shift down, and do that until you're dead, or done. The finish was getting close and I thought it was one corner but it was one more but that worked out good because then I was going. No holding back. Time was slipping away though, my dad told me to try and get about a 31 minute time. I was killing myself to break it. Time was running out, GO GO GO, I yelled at myself. The final stretch was rough and long but I was in my 45-11 hurting myself. Then it was over until the

Post - Race

DSC_0021 And I looked at my Garmin that read 31:17. I knew I started it a little early and paused it about ten seconds late so I would guess a 31:05 or so. They scored me with a 31:09 and an average of 24.08MPH!?!?! Awesome, just my goal. 46th overall and I finished second in the 10-14 with Drew Bercaw taking the win with a 26.08mph. That's is just unbelievable. And he was 18th overall out of 153 racers.

BUT... Julie and I did take home the family division with each of us averaging 23.28 +! She also got 2nd overall women! Matt got second overall and averaged 28.86 mph, he said he had a bad ride. Ray scored a top 5, and David Thornton, an awesome 27.23 mph. Results should be up soon so I won't spoil anymore. More PHOTOS. DSC_0025

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the finishing touches

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
This week is just getting in some hard intensity with lots of recovery and rest as the countdown begins to Presque Isle #1, on Sunday. Tuesday was my last hard day until Saturday's tune-up spinups.

A few details have been notified this week and I'm trying to smooth everything out. Garmin - going to put time, avg. speed, distance, cadence and current speed as the on viewable screen when racing. Socks - This ongoing drama is difficult. My Diadora shoes are still a little big but it seems two socks are too much and 1 sock isn't nearly enough. So, I've been putting my compression -light- socks to use in the past few days. Wheels - Probably the biggest factor, I'll be running my dad's Zipp 404's, but I have to remember to move my Garmin stuff. HR monitor - 95% sure I won't wear one. I like them in training but now my zones seem a little off anyway. I want full breathing anyway for this sufferfest. Cassette - They don't check gears and it might be windy so I'll run an 11t cog just in case. Skinsuit - Has been getting some serious use lately and fits like a charm. But, I need to wear it with out a base layer because the forecast says almost 80*F on the weekend.

Just a few things I'm worried about so far. Picture is a small bag logo my dad took from his new RED and sewed it onto my skinsuit. Nice!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

week summed up...

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
In a few words would be downright spectacular. The views, the people, the riding, the altitude, perfect. I can't wait to go back.

I ended up with like 11 hours, a lot of Hammer, some hammering, and 100 miles of MTB'ing with only like 15 on the road. SWEET! The double track was classic, the singletrack.. speechless. Up and down and back around, the speed, the climbing, I loved IT!

Friday was EPIC! The gang headed up to White Mesa and did a 18 mile loop when it snowed with 3 miles to go! The trail was on a ridge (clicky the foto) and quote "if you mess up twice, you're in trouble." Few hundred foot drop on each side of you, in 40mph wind, EPIC.

A few spots were unrideable due to the steepness. I consistently saw 20% grades on the Garmin. EPIC. We were hauling and changed into the car quickly to get some tea only to break the car down (serpentine belt gave) with a few turns before the driveway, EPIC.

By far, the best riding I've experienced. PHOTOS. I'll try to get a weekly total of everything soon, ie. heed intake, climbing, hammer products, fun factor...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

bleeding in NM

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
When we got to the south, my rear brake was toast. I didn't mention it and when Wednesday (3 days of riding already) my dad squeezed my brake it was funny. It went straight to my Ergon grip without a touch on the rotor. The brake needed to be blead.

The local shop told us at least over night so my dad took a presta valve cap, cut off the top, and bled it himself with Patrick's help and some mineral oil. It was pretty sweet. And, I only used a front brake the first three days with like a million feet of descending. Skill and luck.

The other bloody part of the trip (minus Julie's body) was Patrick brought his lactate pro mmol meter. It measures the amount of lactate in the blood? Anyway, he told me on this monster climb to stick it pretty hard and meet him at the top. My HR averaged around 180 plus a little to the top where he poked the blood out of me.

The result was 8.4mmol of lactate in my blood. He says usually closer to 4.5 - 5 is your lactate threshold, so he estimated mine is 170 or so. But, it was windy and wet, so it was purely and estimate. You really need to use this one three or four times in one ride to get it right. Because my previously tested LT was 190. But a fun estimate. And bloody.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

a few more shots...

DSC_0016 The Changing Room
DSC_0015 A tire sample section
Pre-Slimed Tubes (hint..hint..Marut's)
A full Shot
A nice view

The Changing Room

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Wednesday we took the lengthy drive of five miles to the closest bicycle shop. The Kickstand, was a very well laid out store with 3 stories high of ceiling and bikes filled to the top. The main sponsor of sunglasses were Tifosi and Smith, that's our teams sponsors, LE and Sobe MTB Team. Another hot product there was slime tubes because you pretty much need it here with a cactus on every berm/corner.

They even had some 11-speed Campy there already. Bianchi and Giant were the popular trend there. All very reasonably priced Taiwan bikes. A full TT bike was thirteen-hundred dollars ready to ride. The cross rigs were built up nice, too. And the mechanics station, that's another story....

More photos up soon. ALL HERE. Must ride lots.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ola from 6,000'

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Nothing like a lot of riding and r+r in a warm state when it sounds like the trainers are getting some use back home. The weather was apparently some of the worst the New Mexicans have seen in a while but it was the best we've seen in at least five (5) months.

Our hosts are very quick and responsive to our every needs and are fantastic tour guides. They sure can ride at elevation, too! Speaking of, the altitude only on the 1rst day of riding hurt bad but have been getting better ever since. Julie, on the other hand, likes the suffering but is really taking a beating from her bad knee (or knees). The complete opposite is the last sea-leveler on our trip who seems to live in an altitude tent.

Lots of photos, and lots of riding to come, check for updates soon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

catching an aeroplane

DSC_0045 from akron to minnesota to new mexico...

t-minus 24 hours til warmth..

nice, 3 posts one day. except they were like TWITTER posts. NOOOO!!!!

and the guilt continues...

Uh oh... my most viewed webpage currently is a TWITTER!?!@ Not saying its a bad thing, except I don't have one and don't think I'm the right person. But why can't I stop reading twitter!@?! Quick, short, easy posts, its all good, but no, i'm a blogger! Don't go to the dark side. Yet.

going up, up, up...

DSC_0047All this happened like it was planned. It seems like every week I've been getting new climbing totals and records and also dropping weight off my bike and me.

These are one of the few factors that should help me in New Mexico because of the extreme elevation and huge climbs/descents. We switched out my gearing from a 39-18 to a 34t 1x9 setup. I'm a little afraid I'll like the gears too much and never go back, but I'm determined to switch as soon as were not climbing to 10,000ft. This trip is also my chance to get my descending game down because I'm no where near Julie and dad in that department.

The Garmin is on the bike, too, with cadence and mph clicking. Now all I need to do is find the HR strap and I'll have the full setup. And my bike will look like a serious racer with gears/garmin combo.

DSC_0046 Not to mention, we finished up the Shimano to Sram switch on my spare cross bike. With full fenders, heavy wheels, cross tires, 2 mph/cadence sensors, 2 bottle cages, it comes in at 21.1 lbs. That's just awesome, once I pull that off (like the drops handlebar tape) it should be sub 20 easy. And that's just a spare! But, the single ring does look awesome. More on that project when I return home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TGFRW (thank god for rest weeks)

Thank god for rest weeks because my intervals would have been tough in the snow on Tuesday. I've been trying to up my sleep hours too but with homework and other stuff I've been getting the same.

Finished up the TT fit on Tuesday for good. All dialed in and raised the seat to my recent growth spurt of 1/2 inch since January and my last fit.

Also, checked out my blue bike.. replaced chain with non-hollow sram linker and raised seat. Had to switch out carbon seatpost for another carbon seatpost because one was too short. Like you could see the end at 4 inches up.

Anyway, that's about it. Check out results from my dad's 25k trail run on Sunday HERE. 6th overall and 1rst old man. After he rode 45 hard miles with myself and willy and scott.

T-minus 4 days til NM.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

crash and burn

What a great weekend to cap off another solid week. Before you read this, keep in mind I am longing a full rest week and will get it next week with just easy rides and recovery.

Anywho, Saturday I tested myself and went up Harley Hills on my sub-18 lb Optimo 1. The last time I visited the Hills was February 25th and got up in a solid 3:40. My fastest time ever was in 3:25 during peak cyclocross. Today seemed like a good day because the schedule said 1hr, en pace, hit hills hard. OK, lets do it.

After a fast ten minute warmup, I shot up the hill and reached the steepest pitch in 45 seconds. Slowly get over the top and sprint home. I click down and see 2:55!!! Nice, that's what I call improvement. But, I'm giving some to the wind (thanks), some to a lighter bike (cool, too), and hopefully most of its training.

After that throwdown (more like throw-up) I proceeded to hit some other "fun" climbs around town and got in well over 1500 ft. of climbing in an hour, which sounds like quite a lot.

Sunday was more of the same but with a long endurance ride called for. My dad and I met up with Scott Carter and Matt Weeks (not knowingly) and latched on for some fun and fast speed stuff. I think they were doing intervals on us? But we rode to Westlake and on the way back the chain started doing the skip dance.

I thought nothing of it and then looked down, no chain! We went back and found it missing a thread piece and no tools. The cavemen we are smashed a link out, and smashed em back together with a big rock! Now that's cool! A very hard ride indeed it was, in fact, it was the longest I've ever went (in one sitting) on a single bicycle.

Here are some stats for the weekend and a pic:

3321 ft climbing
59.13 miles
2893 calories burned
16 mph avg. (combined avg. with mucho climbo)
90.7 mph max speed (combined, obviously)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reminiscing and Missing

The ride today consisted of riding on my SS MTB to Broadveiw Hts. cross course to get in some active recovery. I hung out there trying to pick up a few more skills and making sure we didn't destroy the place last season. All I could think about during the ride was how Rick gets to go to California for his job at Ellsworth.

Remember that time at the 'cross camp Rick insisted he could ride down this rocky descent at Broadveiw. We all let him then he went into a fence after riding down it. Then we did race start simulations and I thought I would win every time but I couldn't get by Rick. EVER! Well, we're gonna miss you Rick! RA in CA, sounds nice, don't it?