Saturday, July 29, 2006


My birthday ride got rained out this week. Sarah gave me a new training video though, so I did that instead. It was "Rides v1, The Rockies"; I had never heard of this series before, so I didn't really know what to expect. It's a little different from a more standard interval type workout; most of the hard efforts are a little longer and you tend not to repeat them. So, I'm not sure about it from a specific training point of view. What I can say is that it felt a lot more like the efforts you do in a "regular" ride. The video re-inforces this, since the camera follows a group out on the road. For me, this is a lot better than watching a room full of people on trainers ride ala Spinervals. The music was pretty decent, and they made an effort to keep things interesting by popping up different messages and comments during the workout. Anyway, I liked it enough that I'll probably pick up the second video in the series.

I did make it out to Stony last night for my last ride of the trail before the race on Sunday. I got out there a little later than I had intended, but I got everything done that I wanted to. Today I'm just relaxing and getting ready for the race and my trip to Germany next week.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Big Wrench

Well, work has nearly thrown a big wrench in my racing plans. Unless something really falls through, I'll be traveling to Germany for most of next week. I had expected this trip to happen in late August, not next week! My departure time is early Sunday evening, the same day as the Stony Time Trial. I'm thinking about moving up to Sport for this race just to get an earlier starting time (to make sure I make my flight!); it's probably about time to move up anyway, despite my lack of results in Beginner. Since it's a time trial, race distance is the same either way, and I shouldn't be that much slower than most of the Sport guys. Unfortunately, moving up probably submarines my chances of getting a good result. I'm also not happy about having such a big stressor happening right around the race.

I had planned on racing a crit near Grand Rapids next Saturday, but I'm guessing that I won't be feeling up to it between traveling and being off the bike for a bunch of days. I guess if I feel good on Saturday, I can just show up and race.

In other news, I tried my new warmup routine last night. It ended up taking a lot more out of me than I'd expected. There was a mitigating factor though; it was extremely windy last night. I did the warmup on the paved road around Stony Creek, and for the bulk of the first 15 minutes, I had very little wind or a tailwind (I was suspicious when I saw I was going 20mph on my mountain bike with little effort). About the time I started my intervals, I turned into the teeth of the wind. The wind made the intervals extra tough, and my "easy spin" time at the end wasn't so easy. I took a stretching break after that and then rode about half of the TT course. I felt just OK on the trail, my legs were a little drained for most of the ride though.

Tomorrow (for my birthday, I guess) I'm going to do my warmup and ride basically the whole TT course. We'll see if it goes a little better in different weather.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pre-race Warmup

With my big race coming up this weekend, I'm starting to write down my schedule for race day. One of the things I still haven't come to grips with is the best way to warm up on race day.

Lots of people say that you should warm up with some hard efforts so that when you have to do these hard efforts in a race, it isn't the first time. In principle, I can understand and agree with this. If I do multiple loops of a trail on training ride, I almost always feel better the second time around. In practice though, I've had trouble actually doing that sort of warmup.

First, I have a tendency not to have a real plan for warming up. It's usually just something vague like, "Yeah, I should warm up a little, then do some harder efforts, and then do some easy spinning." Then, on race day, I'm usually anxious and I end up short-changing the whole thing.

So, I worked out a warmup routine today (and wrote it down!), and I'm going to try to stick to it for this race. To help, I'm also going to do this warmup routine as part of all of my rides this week. This should give me a pretty good feel for how it works and if I need to tweak it at all.

So, the warm-up is:

  • 15 minute easy/moderate spin
  • 6 race pace intervals, 30s on, 1 minute off
  • 5 minutes easy spin
  • Stretch

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

VeloNews Tidbits

Article about nutrition in the TdF, with some tips for us lesser riders.

Also, a rather bizarre discussion of technique for riding over a fallen rider!


I went out to Bald Mountain for a quick ride last night. As I was getting started, it occured to me that it had been about 3 weeks since I'd ridden out on a trail. I was sick for the better part of a week, then on vacation, and I just didn't do any trail rides last week. So, it turns out that my skills get a little rusty after 3 weeks off. I didn't have any major issues, but it took me about 30 minutes of riding before I started feeling comfortable again.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Flowerfest Tour

I did the Flowerfest Bicycle Tour this past weekend with my parents and my wife. We did the 31 mile ride, and I got in a bonus 10 miles or so by riding from my parents' house to the starting location. It was a pretty hot day, but none of us suffered too badly from it. It didn't really hit me until I was on the last 5 miles from the tour finish to the house.

Here's Mom and Dad, cruising up after a hilly stretch of road.

Me and Sarah in the usual self-portrait.

Me and Dad at the food stop.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


This week marks the first week of my peak (or taper) phase. I've never tried to peak for a race, so I'm going "by the book" and taking two weeks to peak. I've been feeling a little anxious about how this is really going to work, especially since my attempt to rest a little for the Marathon race and my subsequent illness really screwed up my last Build phase. I had also been feeling very strong on the bike before I got sick. I'm definitely not back to that point yet.

Deviating from the plan and doing lots of hard workouts now won't really help me when I need it (for July 30). So, I'll stick with it and see how things work out. There's enough riding in the taper phase that I should be fine.

It will be strange to have a little time on my hands for the next few weeks. Time on the bike will drop while I'm tapering (and then really drop in the race phase), and I'm only going to do strength workouts once a week while tapering (and drop them completely for the race phase).

My "A" race is the Stony Creek Time Trial on July 30. This was the first mountain bike race I did, and I know the trails well, so it's important for me to do well there. I'm still looking around for races to do for the rest of this race phase. I'm looking at a (road) criterium on August 5. That one unnerves me a little, as I've heard stories about how low-level crits are pretty crazy. The following weekend (Aug 12-13), I'm looking at either a long mountain bike race (Ore to Shore) or a road time trial.

After that, I'm back to rebuilding my fitness to get ready for some early Fall mountain bike racing and cyclocross.


I had a pretty busy week last week, which is why I didn't get any blogging done. Unfortunately, while I kept feeling better, I battled my cold for most of the week.

I got things going with a family bike "tour" on the Hart-Montague Trail on July 4. My dad set it all up, and we had a pretty good turnout of family members. My dad, one of my uncles and I rode one way down the rail trail to meet the rest of the family, and then we turned around and went back to the beginning. The first leg was reasonably quick, particularly since I was still getting over my cold, and we had to contend with a small headwind. We took it easier on the way back, and it was a nice ride.

On our drive across the state on Monday, I lost one of my bar end plugs, so the bar tape started coming unraveled. I made a temporary repair with electrical tape, but it looks pretty ghetto. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I need to find a better way to keep the plugs in place, or find some different plugs.

I rode a little bit at home in the middle of the week. It turns out that the issues I was having with the brake drag on my 'cross bike had to do with the brake setup rather than the wheels. I still don't know if the bike has any "snap", because my legs had no snap!

My wife and I took off for our friend's cottage in Canada on Thursday. I finally got over my cold while I was there. I rode Friday and Saturday up there. There are some nice roads along Lake Huron that I knew about and hit again, and this time I also found some nice roads out in the farmland. Too bad I forgot the camera on both rides.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


I woke up this morning still feeling pretty sick. My throat isn't sore anymore, but I'm really stuffed up and working on a headache (getting a headache shortly after you wake up is not a good sign in my book).

So, I've decided I'm not going to race today. I thought pretty hard about trying to go ahead and do it anyway, but ultimately decided that I had very little to gain by racing today. Feeling the way I do, I don't think I would have been competitive; I think all I would accomplish would be to wear myself down and stay sick longer.

I'm pretty disappointed, but I think this is the right call. I just need to re-focus now and get ready for my A-race at the end of the month.