Sunday, December 25, 2011

oof

Yes, a training blog on Christmas morning. I will attempt to enlighten you on how hard/dumb it is to be training today. It is kind of funny, I know a few people going out riding today who are already training for next bike racing season. . . while I still need to finish up this one on a high note.

USA Cycling made it final around this time last year, that nationals the next year wouldn't be in that calendar year. To be more similar to the Euro racing calendar, our Nationals have been moved to the first week of January. Initially, I was all excited how fun it will be to train through winter break. But, now that we are here, I quickly realized either 40° and rain, or 30° and flurry's isn't as fun as crushing intervals mid-fall. Sure, you feel like a true hard-belgian-man when you get home covered in salt and you have ruined another pair of booties, but, is a lot harder to crush yourself when the climate is fighting against you.

I took 4 straight days off after the final Cap City trying to boost my motivation to train/race three more times this year. Since then, I have been mixing up riding a good bit trying to fight the boredom of the trainer and constantly destroying my bikes.
I haven't done many hill repeats too recently, but I did a lot in the early part of the season. The idea is to stress your system and teach yourself how to recover faster. The pink is power and the red is heart rate. You could commonly find me doing these on Wednesdays, hoping to maintain my fitness before the next weekends racing without totally blowing up my legs. If I was trying to come into a weekend fresh, I would make sure to do only endurance/recovery/openor rides in a week along with one of these hill workouts.
Here is a power file from yesterday on the trainer. I usually can't stand to do tempo efforts on the trainer but yesterday I really wanted a specific workout. I usually blame my lack of trainer riding on my lack of muscular endurance, where I physically can't push the pedals that consistently, but it is probably more a mental endurance problem. I managed to get done 20 minutes of a solid tempo, then do 5 repeats of 2 minutes at LT power, then two minutes rest. My legs didn't really hurt at all from this workout, but man my indoor capability is hurting today. Luckily it is up to 34° outside!
Here is hopefully my secret training plan for nationals: Doing intervals on what I think will be similar terrain and course conditions. Like woah that is original! I didn't take any pictures the day it snowed about two inches, but absolutely went out and shredded the gnargnar on the local parks thinking it will be similar to Chicago/Nationals. I tried to make ruts and different turn angles that would teach to me to be slightly better at cornering when it gets crappy contrary to KingsCX, where simply put I forgot how to ride in the mud. So I basically scout out a lap or two, warmup on the road, then rip off some tempo laps testing my speed in all the turns. Pretty much like all cross training sessions, except this is when its crappy outside!!! SECRET!!!!
I will put up some less boring pictures of said ruts, but here something to get your juices flowing for today. Ok, time for some zone two.

Friday, December 16, 2011

4 more weekends, 4 more races

Our race at Kirtland Park went off smooth and was quite highly attended being the series finale. The course was laid out nearly perfectly with lots of features but still with some good pedaling sections in between hence the perfect 7 minute lap splits.
I was pretty amped to crush the race beforehand, but, lining up myself in the third row kind of deemed that not impossible, but quite difficult for a mere me. I came through the first few turns outside the top 15 but soon got my head into it and rode the hardest second lap of all time, moving up to 6th position. I could tell I had a good lap because me and Twining crossed at the exact same spot we did after the first lap, too bad it meant I was still thirty seconds down . . . Tony dropped back a little then I managed to keep the gap to the back of the fast guy train around twenty seconds, until they really started throwing down. 'Ole Danny Quinlan started to get serious also and flew by me with about four laps to go. I had realized he was coming and tried to show all the people there I could hold him off but my lack of hour long racing recently didn't help.. Then Nate Ziccardi passed by with two laps to go. I lost most motivation and just plugged along for 7th on the day. Respectable, but not quite what I was thinking.
Then Thanksgiving happened. I guess before that happened I got super sick the night before and couldn't enjoy any food outside of toast the whole day. My flu-like symptoms remained with me for the next few days so I got in a whopping one hour of bikin' in the whole 10 days before the next racing weekend. And that one hour wasn't even the day before so I felt far from "opened up" for the weekend. The weekend I am referencing is the Kings' CX, Cincinnati-region weekend.
Saturday's course was pretty darn heavy, and hard to navigate, mud. Locals who came down compared it to the Brooklyn course, just stickier and cooler. Funny enough, I was at the OVCX races when Brooklyn was going on, so my mud skills were pretty lacking. Needless to say, the legs weren't cooperating on Saturday and I got another crappy result. But, at least I raced the sickness out of me by finishing and got some in practice for Sunday's showdown.
Sunday I came out swinging like I usually attempt to do on a second race day. My 3rd row start quickly changed into about 4th place by the first technical section. This technical, uphill start stretch section I noticed had one very secret, hard to see, line. It was deteriorated by the second lap from close to 100 people on the course, but, for the split second I needed it, it was there. Well, my gamble paid off and I was able to ride up the finish stretch and get to take the lead after only half a lap. I wanted to drive it hard and get away from everyone so I could focus on staying smooth. But, my lack of mud racing had me take a backseat to some other junior bro's who could actually drive their bikes in the mud. Apparently, losing time in every corner doesn't help trying to win a bike race. Eventually, I ended up 3rd overall, 1rst cat3 (phat upgrade points) and at least felt like I had some legs left in my season. Then this past Sunday was the finale in the Cap City Cross Series. I had a goal of trying to stay with the two fast guys for close to half the race, but I barely made it a lap with them. I don't think the course favored any three of us "Cleve-O's", but, I still could/should have faked having phat watts for more than a lap. I sat up and recovered a bit, thinking about how pedal-y the course was and how much drafting would play a role over the next 8 laps. The first guy to come up was none other than Mr. Columbus himself, Spencer. At first I thought, who is this guy wearing Spencer's Jeni's kit? Then I saw the beer-gut and was like, woah man, I need to beat this guy because it actually is Spencer. We worked pretty darn well together for about the next 45 minutes until I unleashed the mother of all attacks to drop Spencer. Actually, another "C-bus'r" was coming up relatively quick and I wanted to make sure I had enough room to pad the pockets and get on the podium. I got clear quickly and was able to finish 3rd, where I predicted myself to be, just not looking back and waiting for people to ride with after so soon. I should have been disappointed, but was quite indifferent knowing the end result would either way have been the same. After four days of rest since then, I am ready to put in a big push towards Nationals. I don't have any intentions of winning, but gaining some experience and trying gauge just how much faster the kids fresh from Euro_Land will be next year. It will be an experience in Madison for sure.