Tuesday, July 24, 2012

rapha rising climbing wrap-up and thorn tt

Am I going to be that guy who starts blogging about his strava adventures? Maybe, especially since that is what I was up to most of the last week. So, the week (in stava terms) played out like this:

Monday: 1.5hrs of easy hill repeats at 2812ft of climbing. eight cat 4 climbs.
Tuesday: ~4hrs of heavy rolling terrain at 3780ft of climbing. four cat 4 climbs.
Wednesday: 3.25hrs of mountain biking with repeats at 3094ft of climbing. three cat 4 climbs.
Thursday: 3.25hrs of easy repeats then group riding at 4351ft of climbing. four cat 4 climbs.
Friday: 2hrs of easy hill repeats + commute at 4284ft of climbing. eight cat 4 climbs.
Saturday: ~3.2hrs of mountain biking with repeats 4101ft of climbing. three cat 4 climbs.
Sunday: 1.75hrs of mountain biking including tt at 636ft of climbing. no categorized climbs.

This week ended up being my 3rd highest week of climbing in history coming in at 23,508ft. The first place week doesn't really count as we were in the high mountains and riding a bunch with 30,318ft. The second place week was the last week of the previous strava climbing challenge where I just rode hill repeats everyday after school. 24,567ft is about the maximum amount of climbing you can get in a 16.5hr week. At least in the all too flat Northeast Ohio. 

Anyway, I finished the climbing challenge in the top 1,000 of about 9,400 persons so I guess not too bad. I was tempted to go "all out" and just ride every chance I got last week but being days 3-10 of a phat 21/22/23 day final cyclocross training block, it didn't make much sense to kill myself. I like competing in the Strava challenges to complete them, but having my life center around them to win them may not help my racing or life in general. Maybe next time though, haha. 
My dad convinced me to race the 331 Thorn Trail Time Trial on Sunday at Findley State Park. I would have went for a nice, long ride but my dad stays I need to stay social and not just do hilly "strava related" rides by myself all the time. 

Surprisingly enough, my legs felt pretty good after our easy 1hr pre-ride lap. My legs took a full hour to warmup which is a sign of being tired, but, be-it a ~45 minute individual race in the woods I figured I could fake this thing all the way. I guessed wrong. 

I don't know if my good legs led to extra bad bike handling but I was overshooting turns and going into trees left and right. It would be too tight to open up the gas but I couldn't help myself from cracking accelerations into trees. I stayed on the gas and literally in the trees all the way though to a finish time of 43:11. My usual mountain biking nemesis Jason finished in something insanely fast like 38:29. Gran-it, he did have a go fast FS 29r and course knowlege on his side, but come on! I must really suck at turning! It did relieve to see Jason not only crushed me along with the rest of the U18 Experts, he beat everyone. Like everyone there, like (name drop) Steve Twining and Chip Meek there. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

mid-summer updates, plans, and goals

Saturday I got back on the road bike after three days of rest. I felt a little off and rode for about 2.5 hours. The first hour I rode down to Penninsula really easy for her to pick up some vegetables at some place just south of Bolanz. My legs felt quite stiff from the time off so I took the long way home and started working in some gradual openors for the next days race

The race is a local rolling, out'n'back time trial that is just over 20k short. Since I recently grew out of and had to sell my TT bike, I was trying to break the Men's Standard course record, 30:16, or about 25.1mph set by Mike Gorman in 2010. I was pretty confident I could break this so I started off pretty steady on the gradual uphill out, knowing I would be going a good bit faster on the way back. 
I averaged a little more than 23.5mph on the uphill out @ 294w avg and 179bpm. I'd like to think this just below threshold as I truly was trying to hold back a little knowing I haven't done at TT efforts within the last oh, year. I also seemed very tired trying to race this early so that my explain the slightly off power and heart rate. I was ready to crush the way back and instantly got the heart rate upwards of 186bpm and was getting closer to 330w avg when I sliced my tire on something. Funny enough, since I was using my "classic" tubulars, and I flatted the rear at Westlake two weeks ago, I had Stan's which sealed after a few seconds. I had about ~40psi but since now I had a slight downhill I didn't put too much pressure on it as it would start to rollover slightly on potholes. I still averaged 23mph or so on the downhill but my PE was about 3 so I know a 27mph+ on the downhill was very possible with air in my rear tire. 

Course record, gone. Rear tire, shot. Life, over. 

Actually it turned out to be an ok day for biking as we got in a nice cooldown (my dad and julie won overall with all their high zoot machines fyi) then went to westbranch for a few easy hours on the moutain bikes. 
Changing subjects slightly, I had time to go through this morning and log down how many miles I was at this year finally adding my trainer miles together. I put an average of 16 miles for each hour I spent on the trainer as that seems about my jra to z2 pace. Surprisingly enough, I only spent 39 hours and 32 minutes on the trainer/rollers this winter. I would have guessed a lot more but I guess I didn't start riding until late-January and we did have a fair (I wouldn't say ~mild) winter. 

That puts me at 618.3 indoor miles + 4,264.1 miles outside so far = 4,882.4 miles @ ~316 hours of pedaling. This equates to a 15.45mph average overall. I was expecting a lot less because a lot of my mountain bike bikes averaged something like 11mph and all my climbing challenge rides were closer to 12mph! 

Considering we are 197 days into 2012, I am on pace for about 4,163.7 more miles, or 9,046.1 miles. I don't think I am going to get to 10,000 or even 9,000 miles this year. For one, the next few weeks I will continue my summer base miles along with some tempo hill repeats, and lots of mountain biking. That equates to lots of hours, but a relatively low volume in terms of miles. Also, once cyclocross season begins, the daylight hours dwindle, and the miles get faster, but overall take a hit.
So what is on tap for now?

This week I am going to do a bunch of climbing for the Strava Rapha Rising Challenge. This should help knock out the extra kg I am carrying around (up to 71kg) I have to do 21,286ft in the next seven days, or 3,041ft a day. I am not too nervous as I was having to knock out days with more than that after three weeks of climbing in April. But right at the moment I feel pretty fresh. The only challenging thing is deciding whether to do Westlake in the heat tomorrow or not. 

Then, from the 27th to the 3rd (of August) I am going to Mohican for some fat mountain biking. If you want to ride the Wilderness or the State Park loops one of those days, tell me! 

Finally, we are going to swing a trip out east in August to visit the rest of my family. The trip will most likely include moutain biking in some cool places, also.
Racing Goals?

I always joke that I don't care about any results that aren't cyclocross, but, any time I pay (or my parents pay) an entry fee, it is worth going hard until the end. Anyway, some races I will be putting some effort into include Tuesday nights, maybe some 331 races, and hopefully a CC shortrack or two. The state road race is August 5th and I may be tempted to do that if my climbing legs return this week.

I'd like to be competitive while training through these events and maybe squeak out a few more top 5's at Westlake. But seriously, the race I am keying up for (not training for though haha) before cyclocross, is the trying to knock out the course record at the EOTT on the stock setup. This will prove to myself I have ok form for going hard by myself which might help for cyclocross. Then I may be forced into some intervals to not only be fit, but also fast.

Going to be a busy next month, but fun!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

not quite winning, but not too bad

I was on the tail end of a solid three-week block going into the weekend and thinking some long rides to finish it off right sounded good. My dad convinced me to race, though. Wednesday thru Saturday I still did a solid 11 hours of mountain biking, then Sunday we went out to the ShortTrack Spectacular at BRD's parents' house where we usually race cyclocross.

The race had a different format to it where experts did two 30 minute races of the ~4 minute loop. There was about half an hour in between, also. I warmed up very easy for a while (45 mins) and should have done at least one effort, but just didn't want to go hard in the heat. In my mind I knew there would be no place to recover in a thirty minute sprint but I just hoped the first race wouldn't too bad. I was wrong. It hurt a lot worse than the second race.

Heat #1: Old men and young boys were combined into one group due to a lack of participation allowing my dad to see my pedal botching skills first hand as I nearly fell into him. He was thoroughly impressed. I still managed to slot in third wheel by the singletrack behind Franek and Jason. Jason and I instantly realized Franek was a freaking monster at pedaling but wasn't the most dialed into the tight course. This should have been my que to do anything to get around him. But, being in oxygen debt, and getting no chance to recover with the very accentuated slow-fast-slow-fast pace, I patiently stayed third wheel to my dismay. Franek eventually washed out in the middle of the race and I got around him, just Jason got around faster and had five seconds that I absolutely couldn't close. I kept the pedals turning but saved a little bit of gas for

Heat #2: Realizing that in a thirty minute race you can't make any mistakes, I did a Cameron Jackson start and went on one in the three, two, one thing (I guess Cameron usually goes on two haha) Apparently everyone else did too, though, as I just barely got the wholeshot and started pretty hard. I set a hard tempo trying to test the limits in the corners and get away. I couldn't shake Jason and Franek somehow had figured out the course now so it was just Jason and I racing for the under 18 win. I still liked being in front though so I wasn't swallowing dust the whole time. We discussed if they were doing the point format tie-breaker on points or time, and he concluded that if I won the second heat, I would win overall. We agreed to work together until one to go and begin attacking. I led into the singletrack the final time, attacked out of every turn that led into something tight, then attacked again. I made it into the final straight in front but still heard Jason wheezing by. I backed off in the final turn so I didn't go right into him and got second by a length in the sprint, which I was content with.The final lap was twenty seconds faster than the penultimate lap!
More cool pictures from Julie HERE!
Monday I rode pretty hard on the road bike trying to get used to it again after six days away from it. It was hot so even though I only rode two and half hours I was semi-smashed afterword. 

Tuesday I decided to ride to Westlake then race to finish off this training block proper. So, a solid two hours of z2 riding their and warming up. I was pretty content to sit in for the night (I even told my dad don't expect me to cover anything, just pretend I'm not there) and get some speedwork but my legs started loosening up for one more effort before a few days rest. The Break (which did contain my dad*) came back with four to go thanks to Lawyer Weeks and "PM" Cruikshank countered his own move and Chernosky followed. I cracked the whip solo and helped pull them to the line. I wanted to attack a half lap out as they were clearly watching each other (first two in series by a lot) and win but the legs eight-two miles in just wouldn't have it. So 3rd place on the night. Not bad for being smashed! This also bested my best 4th place at WORLDS.

Now time for a few rest days.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

gnew gnar to shred

Faux-Instagram with faux-iPhone.
I think I mentioned some new trails being built near my house back in October. My dad and Julie put in some huge hours at Royalview (~5 miles away in the next town) building some long, elevated, "burrito" platforms and benching a nearly ten mile loop. Now I get to reap the benefits!
The first four miles were done in April and the final five or so were finished in May. I made it out for one trail day with dad and a big group in about five hours whipped out probably two miles on the upper, yellow trail. That was one of the final "finishing" days really just connecting what had been started together. The trail was just flagged and we cut, benched, and broadcasted (moving dirt off the side) until our arms gave out for the day. The MetroParks also put in something like thirty bridges totaling probably close to half a mile (not joking) 
Juan has either a nice phone camera or actually took a nice camera out there for some cool pictures of the longer bridges. There are two separate super long ones that run over soft, marshy dirt that would probably be standing water if this wasn't the driest spring / summer ever.  Not to mention the other twenty-eight going over any ditch in sight!

Anyway, the trails came out down right awesome. You can totally tell a trail has "flow" when at the end of the day it feels like you had as much downhill as uphill. And when you go fast it gets pretty technical, also.  

So I have been on my mountain bike 19 times this year, 1 time at the knob race, 1 time at reagan park, 1 ride on the road, and 16 times at the Royalview trails. The trails are so fun this is ratio I am ok with! Thank you Camba and all it's great volunteers!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

good ole amurican bikin'

Blurs at Westlake.
I have participated in a lot of criteriums as of late.That is ok though because this is America and we love our spectating sports like we like our Nascar: always coming around again and again and again. 

I took a few days off after we got back from the mountains then did some easy cruises on the mountain bike. June 26th was another Westlake and I was pretty determined to make the break. Making the break wasn't the problem though as I started coming apart with four laps to go after probably working a little too hard in our break of probably eight guys. Just as I was running out of water and crumbling to pieces, my dad come up with Jason Hollaran to get fourth out of seven left sprinting. I was ok with dropping off after making it far though seeing my dad look relatively comfortable with three to go. It was super hot out so I am considering this my adapting phase- riding well before I screw up any chance of a result. 
At the back at Madeira.
This heat wave and blowing up trend would continue as my dad, JawnP, and I ventured south for three days of criteriums in Madeirra, Hyde Park, and Grandview. 

Friday's race was delayed for two hours because of tornados and crazy rain. But by the time the scrubby cat 3s began (us) the course was nearly dry. It was good it was too as it was probably the tightest road course ever. Jawn and I started in row four of six but kind of got pinched starting on the wrong side into the first round-a-bout. It felt like it took half the race to move up but apparently it was only took four of twenty laps to get back into the top fifteen or so. Anyway, the pace never really let up and I never got a chance to recover at all (look at the heart rate data) so I just tried to pick off some doods in some corners instead of attacking. It didn't work too well and I ended up going into the last turn 12th, and getting...12th. Race paid ten deep and I did nothing all race, so whoops.
Holeshot in crit?
Saturday was a scorcher (98f) but I felt a little more opened up from the night before. I moved up on the "free lap" while the course was being cleaned up of cat four racers who got jammed into a telephone poll. Ooof. I had starting number 88 but got on the front row so I am pretty grateful for the free lap. I started kind of hard to make sure I was near the front which worked out well as their were over 100 starters.
Attacking some dood with a broken wrist and Rick Parr.
Not having to move through a ~100 person field is awesome.
Even JawnP tried to throw down (and succeeded in throwing up Sunday)
Attacking right before the uphill and getting a gap.
JawnP attacked a few times early then I went through some doods who had a little gap. I kept it rolling for about five laps solo but no one ever came up. It kind of made me mad because there were a bunch of strongmen in the field, why not just do ten hard pedal strokes, work with me a little bit, and win the race? I do have to say cat three races seem pretty similar to four races (and not one, two ones) in that everyone seems content with a field sprint and "saving it"...BORING. The race started to heat up and with five to go I got reeled in. I was seriously trying to control my hyperventilation in the heat but I just rolled in the main pack for some meaningless place (26th for those of you keeping track at home)

Sunday was another new day and another chance to blow up the schemers. Anytime the race slowed I would just not hit my brakes and roll by everyone and I either attack, or string it out a little bit just to try and make something happen. Grandview is a great course for that because it is wide open and the momentum from the back of the pack can slingshot you forward. Even with a roller on the finish stretch, there was no real breaks. I think I got away for two laps solo again but beit a cat three event, all the schemers sat back and watched me crumble in the heat. I didn't think I was the necessarily the strongest I was just not saving it like everyone else. Anyway, the stupid field sprint came and I got ninth of from the John Gatch was saying, only like fifteen left. There were obviously a  bunch more at the start but that just shows how me wasting my time attacking ruined my sprint. 

Tuesday was strangely similar to the Tuesday before. No superheroes present: PM, Andy Clarke, or Shawn Adams but still lots of regular old boring heroes. I Sagan'd Mitch for a 2 point prime (my first in the A field) then sat back and recovered until I saw the break forming. Northampton, Mass strongman Mike Busa was in town (probably of superhero status) and bridged across with me on his wheel. Ten laps in and we already had a huge gap. Dad and I were the only Lake Effecters but both of us took all our pulls. With four laps to go, a group of three including Batke, Bob Martin, and a Spin rider pulled away so I let them form then tried to bridge across. I got three quarters of the way when I looked back to see Aussie (also on Spin) pulling me back. I recovered for a second and got back on the rest of the break. Mike Busa took a montser pull, Dad and I chipped in, then the eight were back together with two to go. Someone countered and I got gapped and quit. I was right there but had run clear out of three bottles and was starting to twinge up into cramp-mode. I wish for one Westlake the race felt like a reasonable criterium distance (and not upwards of two hours) and I wasn't completely on the edge at the end. Or, somehow I was just slightly fresher at the end and not on the verge of death. 

The race didn't play well to my dad either getting sixth (points to five) and having it come down to a straight drag race sprint at the end. I don't think I will mention who won. Again. 

Dear blog readers, one day I may put it together for a real result on the road, but if not, consider me ready for cyclocross!