Friday, August 28, 2009

when friday is a good day again

I decided to add one more week in the training cycle and make this week hard. Basically the last four weeks have been close to full tilt and to top off the block with BVR on Sunday. It is going to be muddy like usual is my guess! Good practice for my last race before cross season starts up.

Toyed with the tubulars Tuesday with John and having him work on my bike for like an hour we did get to ride quite a bit at Broadview Hts. I think we did about two dozen dismounts after the off-camber basketball section everyone seemed to love last year. I was running the tires a touch over 30 psi on a super death dry day and they were perfect. I also still had the double chainring setup on my bike and needed it to keep up with Johnny. One time I checked the speed across the old parking lot and we were going 23mph, on gravel, turning, on cross bikes. Hmmm... and he wants to the B race, too? Maybe I will need to worry about putting 11t on my cross bikes for dirt and maybe getting in cross shape too.

Back to Sunday- plan on doing sport with the single speed. My goal is too have fun and don't crack halfway through it. And maybe try to take the wholeshot from John who seems to get it in every MTB race he enters. Probably will run 2.4 front and 2.2 Mountain Kings for tires and keep the 20t in the rear for a bit easier if muddy. And their is a tornado warning in Cuyahoga county now. Maybe it will dry up the trails, or just blow them away?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

one down, one to go


So I finally finished up my 'B/pit' cyclocross rig. I had to change a few things recently for different reasons, relatively style reasons, but it came out cool so I am happy with it. Just a solid fit is left to do. Obviously a bit heavier build versus the race but still quite light (sub-20lbs?) with all the aluminum. I put my lightest and coolest set of wheels on for the picture but will show off my spare wheel sets later in the week. White on black bike, what could be faster? So here is the much anticipated part list also known as 'spec':

Frame : 52cm Cannondale Optimo Cyclocross 800
Fork : Cannondale Slice Ultra SI Carbon
Pedals : Beater Times
Crank : 170mm Truvativ 36t single chain ring
Chain guards : 36t Salsas
Chain : Shimano Ultegra 10-speed
Bottom Bracket : Truvativ Mega X-O
Front Derailleur : N/A
Rear Derailleur : Sram Force 10-speed
Shifters : Sram Rival (08 silver version)
Handlebars : 38cm Aluminum Half-Wrapped
Stem : QR 90mm
Seatpost : (?) Aluminum with cheater seat post clamp
Brakeset : Tektro Oryx Cannondale Wrapped
Saddle : Fizik Pav'e Sport
Water Bottle Cages : Ripped off come the races!
Extras : Sram White Hudz with white Sram tape
Wheels : Variety - Pictured
Rims : 32-hole Wheelsmith Circa 1984 Tubulars
Hubs : Shimano Dura-Ace front, Ultegra Rear
Tires : Challenge XS Grifo Dry File Tread

Saturday, August 22, 2009

hung up the tt bike...

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Thursday was my last race on the TT bike for the season. I am so happy I didn't do crappy on my last race with the nice wheels, the light cranks... I am going to forward Ray the pt data later today to check the power averages between the corner and turn-a-round. Interested to see if I went out way too hard or just plain too hard. Anyway, I looked at some of the averages from the race this week and here is how it went:

To the corner : 27.2 mph, 179 bpm, 97 rpm, 2.05+ miles (is that correct Jim?), 0.3% grade - tailwind good

Corner to turn-a-round : 17.3 mph (I thought it was less!), 186 bpm, 83 rpm, 1.8 miles (?), 1.4% grade - headwind terrible, recorded 37 mph with small hail

Turn-a-Round back to corner : 28.8 mph, 183 bpm, 93 rpm (thank you 11t), 1.8 miles , -1.4% grade - good tailwind

Corner to Finish : 25.1 mph, 188 bpm, 87 rpm, 2.05 miles, -0.3% grade and 651 feet of total elevation gain. - seemed to be no headwind

VS. last week

To the corner : 22.9 mph, 186 bpm, 95 rpm

Corner to turn-a-round : 19.1 mph, 190 bpm, 87 rpm

Turn-a-round to corner: 25.3 mph, 188 bpm, 89 rpm

Corner to finish : 25.0 mph, 190 bpm, 91 rpm

So, even with a terrible uphill stretch, I still broke 24 mph if the course is 7.74 miles this past week. Which I still don't really know. Either way, I know good legs is always faster. My overall HR was 4 beats lower the week I went faster! And over ten minutes less anaerobic vs. the slower week. Thanks Jared Woodford for letting me keep his triathlon (still has an IM sticker?) winning Cannodale. And thanks Jim Behrens for putting on such a well run event! Did I mention no entry fee?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

an epic 19 minutes, 21 seconds


PT data from last week. 197 watt avg. 3.34 w/kg app.

I was really into going to LeRoy this week because I didn't do as good as I thought I could last week, and I wanted to see how I went without power, but with fast wheels. Little did I know I wouldn't be able to see ten inches in front of my face let alone the tiny print on my Garmin! So I basically had NO data during the race. Which seemed to work out great.

Before the race I noticed my Speedplay pedal wasn't engaging all the way so I warmed up with only one leg for basically eight miles. Dad noticed my struggle and informed me my cleat was broken after Westlake. So he toe strapped my foot with two toe straps to the axle of the pedal and around my shoe so it wouldn't come out during the race. Except when it rains, and a 37 mph wind brushes you. And your slick booties shed anything on them, water, wind, toe straps.

So the plan was to go fast enough to not get caught in the massive black pile of tornado like conditions which needed to be very fast. We started in 30-second intervals this week so we could all see each other's fate a little easier, with two of the six racers pulling out due to a flat and an eye-glass problem. Kevin was one of the lucky four that finished.

The out leg to the turn-around was the fastest I have ever went without exerting an 'I am going to die' effort because of the massive tailwind. At mile 3 I saw a flood of water racing down the hill, a wall splashed over me. Right then my foot popped out of the toe straps and I had the advantage of going into the lightening strikes, water rushes, uphill headwind with a clipless left pedal and a platform right pedal. Big Ring - 14 mph max speed to the turn around.

Come down the hill with approximately two inches of rain over the road. Combined wih deeep dish 404's and slick tires equals a fast, fun ride. It reminded me of a slip and slide. I have to look at the average speed now because I bet is was pushing over 30 mph down the hill. Through the corner one last time at a snail pace out of the tuck and a long 2 mile drag to the finish.

But the wind seems to have died down after it's ten minutes of tornado warnings to us cyclists and I was holding the only 'normal' pace all evening. But I still was feeling good and road my half in half out pedals at about 25 mph (I could see the readings now) until the truck is out picking up riders, in my way! I have to swerve to the wrong side of the road, 3/4 towards the ditch on the wrong side of the road and slow down! With less than 1 mile to the finish.

I see less than 19 minutes on the garmin so the last mile I really pushed into the cool air to set a new PB, 19:21. 29 seconds faster than last week. So I have come up with reasons I went faster in a tornado.

1) 2 lb lighter bike w/o PT
2) Zipp 404 with wind; almost cheating
3) the pollen alert in Painesville and Leroy was all knocked down from the monsoon
4) I felt good even with two sets of core work in my legs from yesterday. and westlake tuesday.
5) The wind was on my side greatly for 2 parts of the 4 part course.
6) The wind/rain/sleet/hail was only against me on one section, uphill
7) NO need for a heavy water bottle when your drenched
8) Didn't seem so humid
9) I took better lines and I couldn't tell I was going over potholes with Dad's wheels - 4/100ths of a mile less of a race on the garmin. Saved about a second!
10) Dad and I took 1rst and 2nd place for the first time in a race.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am sorry to the guy who chopped me into the curb 100m to go

Another Tuesday, another Westlake. This was my last one of the season and really wanted to make it count. Only 12 laps tonight, 24 miles of crit action.

Julie put in a few long attacks with one lasting four laps, three of which were solo. Then Sam Brode and I countered. I turned myself inside out just to stay on her wheel and we had a pretty big gap but it was closing. Three laps just by ourselves. Man is she strong. We didn't look at the lap cards so Sam puts in really long pulls to one to go and thinks it's over so she sits up near the start line to give me the win (she started with the A race). I should thank her for towing me around for a while. So I sit up a bit and wait to recover so the field gets me a little sooner, then move up as much as I can because it is going to be another sprint finish. 5 out of 5 westlakes ended with the whole field together. Without the two 'sprinters' of the B race at the finish I thought I was going to win but got cut off bad with about 100m to the line. Basically he pulled in front of me to sit up? Yelled rather abruptly so he let me sprint by and I got third.

They pay to three. It was the first time I've ever won money in a race. That was my fifteenth race this year and forty-ninth since last. 13 bucks was so worth it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Junk or Endurance

These past two weeks I am trying to get the most out of summer. I rode 111.94 miles two weeks ago and 134.47 last week with that extra 15 minutes of cyclocross in mind. That included a few back to back HARD days in the saddle. 17 hours and fifteen minutes in training the last two weeks for an extra lap or two. I really hope that is what it takes. Because I upped my season goal from top 5 in the 'b' overall to top 3 in the B.A. 'cross series. Realistic... not really, considering we are planning over 70 racers for the first race but you have to go for it right?

Saturday we went down to the Burning River Festival and saw Chris Nicula walking out. That is the second time I had seen him in three days versus the once or twice all summer. Bill, Lynn, Nate, Nate, Kevin, Julie, Dad, and myself enjoyed Wendy Park and the revamped cyclocross course. And a revitalized coast guard station. In 26 short days (or how ever far Sept. 13th is), it will be twice as good course as last season with much more elevation change. Much more elevation change. Maybe I should go ride some hills.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

when good isn't good enough


I recently read a post about a rider who had just completed the wilderness 101 and totally cracked hard. His next few rides were titled 'when good is good enough' not really caring about how he felt on the bike or his life after a third 100 off-road miler this season. This story is kind of the opposite.

We finally made it out to Leroy this year and boy am I glad. Tonight I had the option of using the shop's powertap 2.4 for the race. I decided to go for it and have fun. Well, power meters are not really that 'fun' so to say, but it was so informative.

I felt pretty o.k. for doing westlake tuesday followed up quickly by a long core session in a.m. wednesday, then a shorter ride wednesday night. So to answer any questions, I have been training, training in races and training for dare I say it, nothing. The main TT focus was supposed to happen in Presque Isle the first weekend in September, but the promoter backed out. But I am riding, improving my fitness and getting used to the heat in case of another hot October here in buckeye-country.

Back to race, I felt fine but couldn't seem to get on top of the big gear. I haven't been on my TT bike in about a week and felt like I wasn't on 'top game' sort of feeling. I am still saying it was the extra two pounds my bike was carrying with the powertap. So I would try and ride at about 225 watts to the corner, too many, then hold it to the turn around. My previously tested threshold is around 150-180 watts from a while ago, so I rode at about Zone 5.2 (hr) the whole race and hoped that would get me some decent power numbers and result.

I finished half way alright for not feeling perfect. I am blaming it on the 1 mile stretch after the corner and that same stretch after the turn around. I would be *hurting bad* but seemed to be not going anywhere. Maybe those swirl winds came out. But I still broke twenty minutes so I can't complain, 19:50 to be exact. Beating last years August 14th time of 20:28. So I am giving most of the credit so a faster, sleeker frame (courtesy of a pro) with maybe a better position but just a little bit to fitness. Too many criteriums of late, not enough LT intervals to make for a fast time trial. I will try to get back next Thursday before *high school* starts the following Wednesday. But I probably won't use the powertap but will use my dad's 404 clinchers to lighten the bike up and hopefully my legs. And to try and set another PR. Now I sound like a triathlete.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

4th westlake. 4th place.

That is about all that is needed to say. Julie made it out so we teamed up in the B race and helped shut down mostly everything. I got second in two primes by inches with good lead outs from the teammate. Then we screwed up the final lead out and I got boxed in a bit but still threw bike for 3rd but ended up 4th by a really close margin. I had an 11t cog on and was sprinting at 110 rpm and was going 34 mph so great legs but not the smartest race on my part by any means. Still a fun night and a great workout with another 40 minutes at threshold (60%), 12 at anaerobic(20%), 12 at tempo(20%). I am going to do one more Westlake in the B race then slap on the tubualars for cross.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009



You have been lied too. I thought I could get this out last night but I couldn't so here it is now. The tentative schedule for the Bike Authority Cross Series. But don't worry about the first couple they shouldn't be changed, but there is still hope for a Boughton Farm reunion race in early December for all those who like the slush of mud and ice. Wendy Park is for sure on that date so get your peaking all ready for an 8 race series presented by Bike Authority.


You've been lied to twice. I mentioned I would release my new tires "without tubes" this week, well it is the following Tuesday. So, here they are: Challenge Grifo XS Dry tubulars. Diamond file tread good for dry, fast courses especially for sand, and from what I have read, ice. But best of all- they're white, that's PRO and matches my bike awesome. So if they don't make me go fast, at least I will look fast! I will have a review eventually of overall performance on some very special wheels my dad hooked me up with, too. They are currently in the stretching process, I am not. I also forgot to mention I'm totally broke after dropping a pretty penny for these 32c bad boys.

Monday, August 10, 2009

orrville rr: report

DSC_0017 DSC_0009 DSC_0008

Somehow my dad convinced me to sign up for a road race, a $25 training race. But it was my first category 4 road race and that was nice to put some use on the old USA CYCLING card not getting much action at the local training races and the few mountain bike races I have competed in. Talking to Bill Fletcher before the start he mentioned the cat. 4 race was slow and smooth. Boy was it the opposite!

So it was all going good until the first climb, about halfway through the ten mile lap, which is relatively steep but super short, and everyone is rocking their carbon handlebars (not me) back and forth and a BIG slow-motion wheel collision and before I no it maybe 10 people are lying in the middle of the road and I'm railing the uphill on the grass! A little too soon for cyclocross! But it seemed like no one died so the pace was lifted shortly there after.

Then it got really hot, like 88*F with 95% humidity just like my vacation one week ago. And even though I didn't train ever in it, I still felt pretty good. Maybe it was my newly flavored electrolyte beverage? So all the rest of the miles kind of blended together after a few more very close run-ins with the non-rubber side down, I was pretty beat. So at 27 miles of the 30, the three folks pulling back the break took the wrong way (after watching the break, police car, and volunteers, not to mention this was our THIRD time doing that turn) and almost crashed the WHOLE field, I pulled the plug knowing I can't sprint with the big boys and didn't want to get in a crash. Or blow my legs completely apart.

The data didn't lie, nor the did the heat, as I spent the longest ever recorded in my anaerobic heart rate, over 43 minutes. Not too mention another 22 at lactate threshold, all in an hour and measly ten minutes. Racing as training is weird, so I'll do some more of it this week.

BIG cyclocross news updated tonite. So check back.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hi I'm Troy McClure


You may remember me from OhioSport&Fitness Magazines as the August issue page 1. I don't know if they put me next to the 'red' and 'green' obese women for a reason but... maybe its just a coincidence. Of course they put me in the ads for JCB Bellfaire which no one is going to, also.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

a recipe for good legs and a bad placing

9 days completely off the bike for vacation purposes with only core workouts to keep you in shape (if you call in shape coming back 5 lbs over weight) + 1 day of cadence drills and openers while feeling quite flat + most of Tuesday off the legs = fresh and not so flat legs, but a bad placing in the results column.

That is how it went down in the 'b' field Tuesday night at worlds. I helped cover moves, drive breaks, chase down prime winners, and even towed the field around for a few fun laps. In the end, I made the split of six of us. With only 3 of us working, 3 more bridged to total nine and my chances of points. Then the last 5 laps were the trackstand game averaging a whopping 22mph, which is the same pace the neutral lap was. So I got to dip back into tempo but was afraid I'd blow up if I took a flyer.

So I lead out the sprint but once we hit 200 meter and six guys blew by me and I was past 100rpm, I started my cooldown. I had no desire to be throwing shoulders for fourth again. But two gave up before me so I ended up 7th place of 14. The only way I can win one of these is to be wayy off the front on the last lap. Which I shall try to do. Three Westlakes left, and I think I can make all of them.

But I still did get a serious workout helping and pulling the group around. 3 minutes of tempo, 44 minutes of lactate, 30 minutes of anaerobic. Sounds like a 'cross race to me!

More Stats:
1:17 race time
23.3 mph
6-man break with 3 more bridged
the rest ones and twos in the race
183 average bpm
200 max bpm
86 average rpm
116 max rpm
27 times I stopped pedalling completely
0 rpm for all 27 times

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

almost done...


Four more things to finish up the pit bike by September 13th, the Wendy Park, part of Bike Authority Cross:
1. Fit, possibly the most important part of the bike, I want this thing dialed in. Only seat height, angle, and adjusting back and forth are the only key concerns. Running a 38cm handlebar on the pit, 40cm on the race, but I don't think that should affect the fit, maybe though.
2. Cassette, one more cassette swap from the road wheels and I'll be hooked up rolling a 36- 11-27 Dura-Ace. That might help for muddier races and slick slopes.
3. Handle bar tape, I think white would look quite PRO. I also wouldn't mind some padding so I'm not running super stiff setup.
4. Rear wheel stand, for holding itself up in the pits calling for usage. With no pit crew members, you need a wheel stand or a large tree but some courses have neither so I'll just purchase my own.
You'll be getting the full build soon but just wanted you to get what you should expect. Hopefully breaks the 20 lb. barrier with heavier training wheels, tires. Also if anyone knows if a SRAM chain runs better with SRAM vs. Ultegra chain, I wouldn't mind swapping this one out. But would like to know if anyone does know. Or cares.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Treading my feet on a blog post and new treading for cyclocross.


I hooked up the 'pit' bike up with Michelin Muds 2 today (1 brand new, another pretty new). And little did I know you run the front tire one direction and the rear another way! I really like these ones for the mud even riding tubulars before. If run at the right psi these actually do work good and shoot in all directions (wear glasses) and I used them at Copley last year with 18psi front (an accidental removing too much pressure right at the line) 28psi rear and they were perfect! Light snow and mud with hardpack beneath, I choose a clincher (of tires I own)!


I mated them with some serious cross tubes that are way fatter and weigh an extra 36g vs. roadie tubes. But these are devoted training wheels that I would enjoy not flatting on, especially before a race when I switch to my new tires (released later in the week) I should be flying without that extra rolling weight, in fact, I may not even have tubes at all in them, hint hint!
Sunday dad and I also started swapping cassettes for cross wheels, too. I can run a 25t in the rear but will want 27t with a slightly larger front chainring so I can ride the run-ups, or that is at least the plan. Pictured below is one my dad put together of old cassettes and teeth. My job is to test it with RIVAL and FORCE derailleurs and see if there is a smooth jump from a 21t to a 25t to a 27t. But that thing is so light I might just use it for racing even if a tough shift.


See a pattern sort of developing here? Cyclocross tires, tubes, cassettes, I can't wait much longer! I also set up my new SIDI dominator 5 s-pro shoes with some serious spikes because that is the worst part of sidi's! Relatively light, pretty stiff, fancy clippies, all very good for the price but the worst traction, they really need to go back to the drawing board. So I latched on a set of metal cleats generally used for mainstream sports. I need to practice some barriers so I don't latch onto these things!


Now off to some spin-ups on the TT bike for another Westlake!