Saturday, May 30, 2009

In Honor...

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Of those who suffered today at the Mohican 100, I rode my single speed around town to Bike Authority. And back. But it wasn't quite 100 miles. Or even 20 for that matter. But it was 19.94 miles of fun.

The easier cog in the rear was wierd. I was slower on the -1% grades and I couldn't pedal but much and was much faster on the steeper uphills on the way to and from the shop. It was a total different experiment, and I really didn't know what I was doing. The single gears are just more a technique than anything.

Anyway, Sean fit me up again just checking saddle height today. I had it almost spot on but my knee angle was 145* vs. a more likely 152* or so. We raised my seat a hair and I was good to go. Off to the house, seated climbing, burning calories, and enjoying the sun. It's about time it came back.

Looking for another group ride tomorow that I'm organizing at Quail Hollow. No set times yet but it should be good and dry after two days of sun. This picture below really says some stuff about this weeks weather. Thursday night I did ride outside though?!? perfect

Friday, May 29, 2009

Before and After

Yep, I was pretty darn confident going into last Saturday's race and came out with a slap in the face with my bike maintenance skills. I had the legs to win the race outright in novice but blew my chances not really fixing the issue with my singulator. Darn, I was feeling great, too. Next time.

Anyway, now I acted and had dad mix up the singulators between my LEBRON JAMES bike and the racing machine. Now I'm sporting my SURLY tensioner hooked up with a 20t rear cog and a fresh 8sp? chain. The setup looks cleaner and neater and my dad says the Surly weighs less but we'll find out tomorrow at the shop when I weigh the complete bike with the new tires, singulator, and chain. Shooting my somewhere very close to 20 lbs. for the hardtail.

The reason for the switch to a much easier gear in the rear is really just to try something new. I'm not sure if it's the best thing to do on race day but I want to see if I notice a difference. I'd also like to think my higher cadence drills (80rpm - 110 rpm) would benefit than grinding hills at a max cadence of 8-11rpm.


Another new thing I'm up to is a new sports beverage to me, NUUN. I have to admit I always considered myself a HAMMER kinda kid but since I only like (and use) a few main items it's nice to try something new. I really enjoy the HEED lemon lime on every ride from Hammer, so I purchased NUUN lemon lime and was quickly satisfied. They come in pocket tablets that are easy to use and dissolve in around 2 minutes. But, if you wait five minutes it's totally dissolved and you won't get that fizzy-ness only fresh cola has.

But it isn't filled with sugar, or have too much taste. Just refreshing, sugar free and has very few calories. In fact, the lemon lime version has 6 calories with makes 500ml. and is 94 calories less than HEED. I put the nuun to the test on a very wet ride with my dad (yes, he is alive and riding lots) and didn't see any improvement or disadvantage running the lower calories. I didn't feel lighter, or bloated from the fizz, just a different taste. But I'd bet I'd notice that some calories were missing after more than an hour ride. The only negative on Nuun is that it costs me $13 via ebay for 24 tablets which is cheap, but not quite HEED cheap!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

taking a reader poll...

for my new blog header. 3 options to choose from. see them all here. vote in the column in the top to the left. you have one week to vote. thanks to ray and my mom for the shots. titles.1 titles. DSC_0022

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vulture's Knob #2: Report

DSC_0034The race title was the reunion race. And it sure seemed to be for me as I met all my mechanical issues of recent memory swallowed into one race. But I didn't quite get the same satisfaction when I fixed the issues. But I did like the pain I get in every single-speed race.

The Pre-Race

We actually arrived a tad late and I managed to forget my bottles but I had family about to leave anyway so it worked out good. From what I remember of my days of the Knob (all 1 time I've been here), it seemed quite similar conditions. Dry, steamy, hot, and open. Quite good features for grilling steaks, but not for racing your bicycle. I rode what I thought was the prologue about four or five times and liked my 34-18 gearing. Got to the start ten minutes before the race and bottled up with my HEED, and went to a front row line. It was all looking good until

The Race

DSC_0018I hate to brag, but when Johnny and Andrew were talking smack about their starts, I had to throw my name in the mix because I am quick. Not fast, or powerful, but quick. I know how to roll over a pedal fast and click and fly. You get the point. We started with all the U-29 racers who looked rather not non-experienced. I wanted the hole-shot and took it and went. I looked back by the single track and couldn't see anyone from a corner or about 20 meters behind.

Through the long descent (the longest of the race on the prologue!) I just kept it upright and was having some fun. Through the real single-track at the end of the prologue I started catching sport racers and had a chance to catch my breath and really settled in and I couldn't feel anyone there. Coming through the start finish stretch my legs really turned it on and I was feeling good. DSC_0019Another ten minutes of this "high", and I had my first mishap. A stick jumped up and fit exactly between my bottom bracket and my singulator, eventually, popping a small piece of hanger to keep the chain on. Well, it stuck to my chain and made a terrible rubbing noise, and the friction really slowed me down, I think? Then after a another quick uphill, I couldn't stand it and my body jumped off to do the work. Of course, my mind wasn't processing and pretty much broke the hanger but it still lay there waiting for trouble.

This process sort of waned my enthusiasm, but I still was on a roll and only 2 people who looked way good got by me. I was still and racing mode and was bound to catch them with my good legs. Then my chain dropped off in that little nook around the hanger. I could still pedal, but I messed up a hill and had to walk, put the chain back on, and lose another place. Race, rinse, repeat. Drop chain again is what I mean.

Then it started to get weird and blurry. I felt a serious noise coming from the front wheel and I thought, but didn't think enough. A rock must have came up and punched my front skewer as I pull over and to see my front wheel roll off. Glad I stopped. Put it on uber quick to wait for four people to pass me including the over 30 folks are coming. Jump in line again and get three folks on the next uphill. But it was not to be. Run off course off a bridge into the bushes. Run the next hill and am totally mad at myself. I can't calm my cool and wanted to freaking through my bike off a cliff. DSC_0121I think I dropped my chain again somewhere in here but don't care and don't remember. Go ape on the last few uphills including the Furnace, where the SS killed it. Right gear, fast speed, past 3 sports. Then I got through the RED sections which mean expert, mess up a small bridge and they get a gap. Pull in solo on the final post logue. I'm so cooked.


It turns out I almost caught the other junior. He rides for Groovy Cycleworks and is 14, cool, single speed-yes, but must have got by me on a mechanical. I still got second by 29 measly seconds after wasting hours fixing my bike in the woods. But what isn't an exaggeration, is that it was the BEST ever atmosphere after the race. FREE beverages including HEED and Monster, pasta, fruit, tents, seating, music, and it was great.

DSC_0043We got to watch Julie kill it and totally have her best day ever! Johnny, Andrew, and me not so much. But, the prizes were cool and results were quick and efficient. The bonfire was gonna be great too. How about all that wood? We picked up a new 55-200mm lens before the race and it was killer. Check out all my pics HERE, with help from mom. Brett and Scott also looked to have a fun race with Greg F. taking home sport on his brother's borrowed moutain bike. DSC_0038

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quick Update from The Knob

DSC_00225 different mechanical stops. Course was awesome. Second place by :29 seconds. Super disapointing, long write up Monday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Camba Group of Fun

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Last night I mixed up the schedule and opted for the mountain group ride vs. the Thursday group ride. And let me tell you, the ride was great. We had a two separate groups of about 8 or so riders in each all representing local clubs. It was great to see everyone out there and just ride around. And Andrew lead everyone around!

We were at Reagan Park and Johnny and I took the SS down to test out the trail. Turns out, it was the best I've ever seen Reagan, tacky in the beginning and fast and loose by the end. It was really a mix and fun time. The pace was all solid, too. Thanks Johnny for the ride. 34-18 is the way to go at Reagan, but I don't know of The Knob.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

7 more things

1. I forget to mention all last week a tendon next to my Achilles was bugging me. I raced and ran, and it cryed on Monday. It feels much better now though but climbing 8% grades out of saddle yesterday wasn't the best idea I guess.

2. My front tire hooked up beautifully, but the rear 2.0 was still a little slippy. The best would have been 2.2 and 2.2 but I'm glad I ran what I ran.

3. Johnny brought home first in the Sport class again, on a rigid singlespeed. I guess that's sandbagging now.

4. I guesstimated I ran about 10 hills at the Wilds, 6 were dead on sprints, the rest I was walking with my Achilles.

5. The course totally took me through the blender on high for an hour and a half. Even though I had front suspension, it isn't the same as the 3-logs a lap as Quail Hollow.

6. My gear was just wrong enough for most hills to muster up, but if I ran lower tire pressures and drier conditions, too easy a gear. One day I'll have to hook up cadence to this thing.

7. My dad ordered me a 20t cog in case Vulture's Knob next week is wet, or not perfect. Group ride at Reagan tonight hopefully!

Monday, May 18, 2009

OMBC: The Wilds: Report

ombc_fr_shots_by_julieWhen thinking about writing this, I honestly don't even know how my legs felt. I did all the right things to make my legs feel good except like 4 rounds of intervals this week. But I felt crappy Saturday riding, and now I feel terribly sore on Monday, so I probably did have good legs. Them single - speeds are tough, though.

The Warm-Up
Zanesville or wherever the heck we were wasn't as nearly as far as we thought. We ended up getting to the race like 2 hours early. Which I thought would hurt me but really benefited the bunch. Right away, Julie and I rode the pro-loge loop and some of the start and I knew I wanted to swap out some rubber. I brought a 2.0, another 2.0, 2.2, and 2.4 Continental racing tires. The thought of running a 2.4 seemed pointless so I ran a 2.2 in the front, 2.0 in the rear. Front tire had stans, so I bet I ran 30 psi, which was way too much. And maybe 35 psi in the rear, because I really on stole air from the front warming up.

Then after changing tires, I went out a real warmup doing the prologue lap about 5 times total. It took about 5-6 minutes warming up each individual lap and there was a steep rolly (like pump track up) section right after some tight single track. Somewhere in the warmup I also took Dad down on his cross bike for a quick spin up and down the road. So I put in about an hour total, with the last few prologues hard. The atmosphere was cool and so was the temperature.

The Start

My gear I chose - 34-18 - was the largest I'd heard of anyone using. Freaking Gerry and Johnny were running 32-19 on their 29'ers with legs about 3 times the size of mine. But for one reason or another, I wasn't scared, I knew it was a training race. I knew my legs wouldn't be "A" quality, but I wanted to have fun.

DSC_0005 Anyway, Julie went off a minute or two in front of the Novice Juniors who obviously don't know how important the start is. I'll just say this about these juniors, Dad said I had a minute gap between me and 2nd place three and a half minutes into the race. And every one of them had about 21 or 24 or 27 perfectly good gears. I had one. Also, it was finally nice to meet skinny Andrew, no wonder you can climb. But, he still owned enough brute strength to snap his chain twice and get his 1rst DNF.

The first twenty minutes was the best time of my life. Perfect gear, perfect track... The only 2 things I forgot were the experts started around 20+ minutes ahead of us and were already coming around and I did bring water. So, I bet from miles 4 to 7 on a 10 or so mile loop I hated it. Every twenty seconds a new super fast expert would yell track, and not to be a outcast, I jumped off the trail. It broke all my momentum on the climbs and I freaking ran like 6 six separate longer climbs during this. Also I was busy battling sport riders and some trick novices.

But after mile 7, the trail cleared up, so did my head, and I was racing again. And not that pull over, walk the hill, lean my bike over and walk again. I was riding like I stole it. A Camba rider who's name I can't remember came up to me at mile 7 and I was glued to his wheel. He ended up like 3rd sport overall so he knew the lines which really helped on a trail I had never ridden. I stuck to him until a little bit before the finish, when he slithered through the single track like watery butter on a slick piece of bread. One hundred yards to go, again I'm on another wheel in the final prologue (we do it again?) and had to jump out of the saddle to keep riding up the hill vs. walking and I passed him. He passed me early and I never saw him again til now. That is why single speeds are awesome!

Post - Race

Was a cool as the mountain bike atmosphere where people accept 14th in the Novice and don't mind if their disc wheel didn't have speed on it. Anyway, I finished in about the same time it took Johnny to do three more miles. Like and 1h 22m or something long like that. I won juniors by who nos how long but I wish I would have done Novice overall, but I don't think I could because I my age. I think I finished like 3rd or 4th overall in novice with my time which is pleasing, as it was the largest category and they had like 30 gears a piece. I liked it though, good to get away from the roadie scene for a few weeks, but not for too long!

I'm such a loser deciding on a prize item! We ended up with a pair of Kenda Excavators that are modestly light, around a pound each with big knobbies. My PHOTOS there, Julie's HERE, and I'll search for some more soon.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

calm before the (please no) storm

[pretend a picture lies here]

Somehow we managed to be late for the group ride on Thursday. Stupid traffic made me forget:

a) sunglasses
b) hr monitor
c) pump
d) to use the bathroom
This pretty much resulted in the following:

a) tearing down the two major hills majorly and losing vision in the sun
b) not knowing how hard I was going at all
c) of course, i got a flat then, but had to borrow a friends but that's embarrassing
d) this is even more embarrassing. I'm kidding, it just sucked holding it for like over and hour and a half.

Besides that though, the ride was pretty cool. A dozen tri-dudes including 3 tri-ettes showed up at the ride led by my teammate nate loman. Nate kept a solid pace I just we warmed up a little easier. The only HARD part of the ride is when we decided we'd split up on Snowville road. Riding 3rd in line at the time, I felt it necessary to stay with the leaders, so to speak.

After the two steep sections, I look back and can see the group about 100m back with four of us leading. Nate and another FF/BA member went off racing, and me and Frank (who works at Fleet Feet) kept a steady but high pace. After 2.62 miles of direct climbing, that took just over 11 and a half minutes, we regrouped at 21. It turns out from the turn onto Snowville, up to 21, you gain 502 ft. (and lose 23) which equates to a 3.5% average grade all the way up. But, the steeper part holds a 6% grade for .54 mile. I believe that's the toughest climb around here, I think.

It sure did feel like the toughest climb because Sean and I have looked that I've encountered about 1+ mile climbs but nothing really past that, thankfully. So I was bound to suffer up Snowville, but I made it. HERE is the shared workout. This is my first time trying that but click it to see Thursday's group ride.

Friday I did short intervals that were really fast but at the same time hard. Perfect day for some speed work, dry and not so humid. They were lactate threshold by the way done at an amazing 26mph pace! I couldn't believe how good the legs felt.

That lead to today's adventrue (i did spell that correct) of just simple spin-ups and openers. My legs cooperated on the big descents with major tailwinds but that was about it. Turning around into uphill and headwind was hard to go easy, and hard to go fast. But I got what I needed to get done and that is all that matters.

Not really to sure on how the legs will respond tomorrow after a heavy load of intervals / hard riding this week. But, generally, the day before a good race my legs feel like crap. Check. And that's a good thought to leave on. See you at the Wilds.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

garmin_data This is my Tuesday ride from the cross bike; to TT bike; then back. I had to adjust the garmin magnets on the one bike so I would have everything on the next bike. But, it all worked out ok but I thought my V02 max intervals would be easier to read. I floated in every part of zone 3 and that's probably why. single_chain-guide_trio
This is the single - piece chainguide I have been working on. More on that later though.. wind_rain_no_rain_windIt also seems like another day - which is I bet the 3rd over the past like 5 days - where the weather says.. don't ride now, ride now really quickly, no don't ride. That's all the wind and rain talking. Literally, these pictures were taken nearly consecutively and the rain went from pouring to none. The pictures still don't do that dramatic change justice.

Group ride tonight if the tri-guys are going with the road spray.

Monday, May 11, 2009

this and that

skinsuit by julie
The new Hincapie fancy clothing came in. Looks and rides better than before but is way expensive but for around $250 bucks I came out with 2 new bibs, a long-sleeve skinsuit and a free jersey that's too big. And, the sham wow inside is about 4 inches thick, do I loose power there? Just kidding, but way better than the 1/4 inch Pactimo sham wow.

After the testing I did at the shop on Tuesday, all I've done are endurance workouts. Mainly becaue the testing took a whole lot out of me ( I did do it right, then ) and I had a big block of training starting today and going through the race on Sunday. By the way, my legs felt SWEET today. I think I've been staying hydrated and doing easy rides, but my new warmup pants contrubited. They are swix tear-offs Julie got me for christmas. This was my first time using them for warmup assitance.

Back to today again, I averaged around 16.5 mph for the bulk of a V02 max interval ride. Those are basically short tempo sets. It seems like I'd consistently see about the 20 mph mark for the intervals, which seemed quite easy. In fact, getting to vo2, took only like 20 seconds total which seemed good. But it also took my hr about 20-30 seconds to fall quickly. A few variables, but that says I'm not as in good shape as I was for Presque Isle as my hr would drop off when I slowed down. Quick recovery = quick kids.

I'll post some charts from my ride today and another photo of my front deraiuller piece that's ultra light, tommorow. But for now, off to bed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

a long 2-3 months

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Because my dad is for sure done with racing until maybe the big Team Carbon stage race the second week of July. That means no State TT or Mohican 100, some big races on my dad's calendar along with like 30 Tuesday night crits. At least he'll be ready for cyclocross! (he hates when people say that so don't say it)

To end my solo adventure's I'll be training with Julie and my mom more often, but also hope to hit up the next few weeks of group rides from Bike Authority. 6.5 pm Fleet Feet / Bike Authority group ride with moderate intensity for around an hour and a half. Sounds good to me!

Sean and I finished up my training planning on peaking for the OH State TT. I start training Tuesday for the race that's in late June! Cool! The TT bike will be ready to roll after a long hiatus after Presque Isle. Besides that, I'm ready for the weekend of no racing surprisingly.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the puke test

Tuesday I rode to the shop. I did the puke test. I did pretty good but not good enough. Because I didn't puke. The test is a conconni test I've talked of before where you start at a certain low wattage, then increase by 20 watts every minute until you... PUKE, I mean.. until you slow down. The past time I did this it took me about 6 or 7 minutes before not being able to go any faster.

This week I took the longer way to the shop (8 miles) and did some good stuff to warmup. 5 minutes easiest gear, 5 minutes zone one, then a mix of my current zone twos and threes, with some sprints thrown in; about what I would do at a race.

Anyway, I started at 80 watts and a heart rate of 137 after some easy spinning to get the computrainer going. Then I went to 100 watts and a 145 heart rate, my current low zone two. Then 120, 140, 160, 180, and I'm sweating up a storm even after pulling off the outdoor clothes. Not to mention my embrocation on the trainer..

200 watts roll around and I'm feeling it giving it an RPE (perceived exertion out of 10) at about a 6 or 7. 220 comes up and I'm feeling it but save just a little for 240. Make two forty and hold 260 for almost the whole time but don't write it on the sheet, because its at max not LT. I try for 280 but can't hold 277 and give up knowing I was done. My heart was going at the end around 195 with the floor full of sweat, my legs HOT because sweat + embrocation = disaster hot. I found it out the hard way though. I went like 3.5 miles of increasing the pace, too.

After about another 10 minutes easy spin I threw down a very good 30 second max power output of 433 watts keeping it consistent the whole way even though I faded the final 5 seconds. Then I jumped off the trainer quick, regrouped, and rode home with my mom asking her to slow down several times at like 10 mph. Those tests sure can take a lot out of the system for only about 10 minutes total!! Maybe a Thursday Bike Authority Ride if the weather holds up. testing

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Findlay, Mudday

Julie and I went down to Findlay for some mtbing. The single speed finally got some action after a long decline of use after New Mexico. Gear selection wasn't too big of a factor here as it's relatively flat, until you try it on a single speed. I used a 34-18. It was muddy for about five really slow miles but then trail dryed up, and my gear was good for an easy ride. But the first miles were tough as I thought I'd try my fast 2.0 tires. They filled up after about 15 minutes and were basically road tires. But, that is better success that with small block 8's, they fill up in like 15 seconds!

Anyway, it was a good ride and I bet we did around 15 miles and nearly all of them real fun mountain biking. I liked to try and do all the techy stuff there because its flat and I like one gear on techinically hard stuff vs. many gears. Plus you always dictate the pace! Julie shot a few videos with her nice camera but blogger takes about two days for it to go through so I'll just give you THE LINKS.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

RATL #3: Race Report

The Pre-Race
The day before the race I got out on my race bike and did some race prep intervals. They were the same ones from Presque Isle except I felt decent Friday vs. last week's terrible. It was wet and warm but pleasant after a serious t-storm and before another. Thanks mom for driving me to the race on time and taking pics.

The Warmup
Was a little obsolete from where I'd like it to be. I did my slow spinning for five minutes, then a bit more pace for about 15 minutes then a fast lap. My average pace was like 23 for the fast lap which I was pleased with. But with pinning jerseys, using the restroom, and getting yelled at for ineligible writing, that was the end of my warmup. DSC_0015The Race
One neutral lap aided my warmup and after the top of the ascent the descent started the race. It looked as though only corner 1 would be slick today with about 1/4 inch of rain still covering it. But besides that, perfectly dry course, I was surprised. The 5 race started fast at the bottom of the hill the next lap. No serious attacks, but lots of trying to just drop people. And it worked out the wrong way for many. The first two laps were uneventfully hard, but in a good way. Once the race jitters were out, the race wasn't too hairy at all. Only once did one guy get mad when I took his wheel. After he yelled at me, I just let him have it. I didn't want to argue or get dropped. DSC_0027 Then after the third of ten laps (each 1.2 miles in length), the pace finally slowed. But not for long.. A burrito prime was on tap for lap 6 so 1 guy jumped and took it but did the right thing and didn't slow down. The real split happened here. A group of 11 of us got away from the ones and twos and a group of four riding around. We all thankfully regrouped on the downhill though right after he split it up. After regrouping, the pace was still hot but the corners were very, very slow. I took them much faster in my practice laps but wasn't jumping up to speed like in the race. Thank you cyclocross, once again.

This is where I look back as where I should have attacked. Right before the chicane because I could rail and gain a few seconds before the parking lot. Why didn't I? The pace was being kept right at my level where if I attacked, I win, I attack, I get dropped. If the pace was one mph slower, I would have went. I played it safe which I ended up ok with. I was very surprised because the parking lot was the easiest part of the course for me because I could gain so much time through the chicane.

The Bunch Sprint (how I lost it)
DSC_0033 CLICK to read descriptions. A guy who had been pulling all race who was wickedly strong lead it out. And I forget that is the smart thing to do in a citizen race. He jumps through the corner and is gone and so is first place. So I now regroup and decide to race up the gutter through the corner. It is the best line until.. a fat twice-lapped citizen rider is squirming his way right in front of me at like 5 mph. I'm going like only 20 mph, but it sucked anyway. So I drop back behind all the people I was just about to pass and it's over. I sprint anyway and get 9th of the 11 man split. But I did get by two people right at the line for 7th for the final result.

The Post-Race

I was happy with because I didn't realize how much that would hurt. We watched Scott Carter own up the 4's for fourth place. He looked PRO doing it, too. Then watched the first five or so laps of the women and masters race. It sounds like D. Wilford took the win, glad to see Battenkill paid off. Hopefully my main man Brent contributed. And Sally Price took the overall women's, too. DSC_0063 Photos up tomorrow from Julie and myself. It looks like she got some nice shots. HERE is my full set for now.