Friday, February 29, 2008

Working Base 2

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”
- Vince Lombardi

Definitely a busy week for me this past week. I've been working a little late most days, so I haven't had time to do much else besides the usual eat-sleep-train. It's been a good training week though. I'm feeling good on the bike and strong off the bike.

Before my ride on Wednesday, I discovered that the saddle on my trainer bike was a little low. I was playing with my saddle tilt a few weeks ago, so maybe I effectively lowered the saddle when I dropped the nose a little. Anyway, it felt much better in the correct position.

There's a group that rides the road out at Stony Creek on Saturday mornings; I'll probably join them unless the weather is just terrible. I need to start riding outside, but the weather just hasn't cooperated much this winter. Sometimes the pace of this ride gets a little too high, but it should be cold enough tomorrow that the group won't be feeling too frisky.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rhode Island Pictures

(Very) random pictures from Rhode Island...

The Weekenders

We made it back from Rhode Island yesterday; still just two of us, so it was a success. Sarah's teams did well at the competition. Both of the teams she coaches took 2nd place in their division. The other teams from the club took 2nd and 5th. In general, the teams did better than expected.

I took about a 2 hour nap yesterday afternoon when I got home. Being around the kids and parents and skating for so long wiped me out! (My 30 minute nap after work today also turned into a 2 hour nap!)

We finally had good numbers again at hockey last night. It had been about 3 weeks with only 1 or 2 guys on the bench; last night we had 5. As a result, the pace stayed pretty high until the last 10 minutes or so. The guy that runs the skate had a little extra money left over, so he got everyone jerseys. They're nice quality jerseys, but I'm not sure what I think about the color.

On Saturday morning, I ran the stairs in the hotel for a while. It was a pretty decent little workout; There ended up being 7 flights of stairs if you went all the way down to the basement. My calves have been sore ever since though. Hopefully, they'll get feeling better tomorrow.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Training Trip

With emphasis on the trip...

I had hoped to be putting more pictures up, but Sarah's been taking the camera with her, so I just have my phone. I can't pull the pictures off my phone since I don't have a microSD card reader with me, so those will have to wait until I get back. Maybe I'll try to commandeer the camera this afternoon.

Anyway, it's been a good training trip so far. I've been swimming in the morning and doing something else in the afternoon. Good meals and plenty of rest in between. I could get used to that.

I went for a run yesterday afternoon around the hotel. As I was running on a sidewalk along a pretty busy road, I heard a dog barking over my left shoulder (from the road). I turned my head to see what was going on (the dog was in a slow-moving car with the window down); at almost the same instant, I stepped into a big hole in the sidewalk. I stumbled; I almost saved it, but not quite. It was actually a nice fall... a good roll, elbow to shoulder to back... all on the grass next to the sidewalk. The guy driving the car asked if I was OK. Sure, I was OK... I would have been better if his dog hadn't been barking at me though. (No, I didn't say that.) From some not-so-good bike experiences, I figured the guy was messing with me. I think, in hindsight, he was probably making sure I wasn't going to run across the side street he was about to turn into. Anyway, no harm, no foul I guess.

I picked up the coaches from the rink in downtown Providence last night. It was during rush hour, so things were a little crazy. Providence seems like a cool city... really bustling at 5pm. I saw lots of bikers, including one messenger-type guy on a Surly road singlespeed or fixie.

My legs were a little stiff this morning, but swimming loosened everything up. I've enjoyed swimming in the morning. It's something I'm not used to doing though, so I'm surprised at how quickly it tires me out. I'll do some kind of Ross-inspired conditioning drills this afternoon. I'm saving my stair running for tomorrow night...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rhode Island

I'm out in Rhode Island this week for Synchro Nationals. Not too much going on yet; Sarah's teams don't compete until Friday. The kids have some practices and are doing Brain Gym until Friday.

I got in a decent workout last night at the hotel. I did one of Ross's minute drills. My quads were just about locking up by the time I was done. I got some weird looks from the people floating around in the pool next to the "fitness center" in the hotel. The fitness center consists of 2 treadmills, some kind of recumbent stationary bike thing, and an eliptical machine. This morning, I found a second fitness room which was empty. The empty room will probably work better for my purposes. The hotel also has nice wide stairwells (6 stories worth) and a big field out front. Lots of possibilities... My only real disappointment is that there was no resistance equipment in the hotel; I assumed there would be so I didn't even bring my bands.

This morning, I got a little swimming in. The pool isn't too big, but it's just fine for my swimming abilities.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cat Up!

I just renewed my USA Cycling race license this week. As part of it, I applied to be upgraded from cyclocross category CX-4 to CX-3. I didn't technically meet the upgrade requirements, but I felt my race resume was sufficient to upgrade anyway. For our local series, we don't use the USAC categories, and no one would care if I raced the B's anyway (in fact, I'm sure I would be pressured to race in the B's), but for the UCI races, maybe it would matter.

Anyway, I heard back from USAC this afternoon, and they agreed with me. So now, I'm CX-3! Not only that, the guy said I shouldn't race Cat-5 if I do any road events, so he also upgraded me to Cat-4 on the road!

At first, the road thing freaked me out a little bit at first, but I'd actually be more inclined to do more road events (ie- crits) as a Cat-4 than I would as a Cat-5. They call the Cat-5 criterium class the "Crash-5's".

LT Test - Base 1 - 2008

I did my first LT Field Test for the year this morning. The test after Base 1 is always a little bit of a shock to the system; the body just isn't used to going that hard on a bike.

Anyway, the test this morning went reasonably well. I averaged 243W, 10W higher than last year at this time, and only 11W lower than the end of Base 3 last year. I also rode a pretty fast first 10 minutes (which doesn't factor into the average power calculation, but it definitely influences performance over the last 20 minutes).

My only disappointment was that I felt like I could have gone just a tick harder. It wouldn't have pushed my power number up too much, maybe another 5W or so. I just didn't have that "shattered" feeling today that I usually have after I finish the test. But, basically, I'm happy with the result.

Here's a chart showing my progress through the Base phases (mostly) from 2006 to today.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ready to Race

OK, mentally ready to race... not physically ready... yet.

I got myself pretty fired up to race last night. It's not entirely unusual for me to start feeling pretty good like that during a rest week, but last night, a lot of different things sort of converged. First, I spent some time working on bike handling in the garage. Usually, I do these rides on my singlespeed, just because it has flat pedals and the saddle is low right now. Last night, I decided to do the drills on my race bike (I just stood on the clipless pedals with regular shoes... slippery, but OK). Something about riding around on that bike just got me fired up for mountain bike racing.

Then, I went inside, with the intention of doing my "back-off" strength workout. Before I got started though, I decided I needed to hang up my Steve Tilford picture. Then I decided I needed to hang up my plaques from last year's cyclocross season. I've got a pretty good cycling wall going now... a Flying Rhino calendar, my autographed picture of Tilford, my plaques, and a big Lance Armstrong poster. Everything is easily viewable from my bike on the trainer.

Before I started my workout, I flipped open Ross's Infinite Intensity book (I was looking for some recommendation on exercises for a back-off day), and I happened to open it to a page with a few of his closing thoughts. This is what he wrote (the emphasis is mine):

"The human body is the most amazing system in the world. The potential of the body is largely unknown. Most people will never tap into even a fraction of their potential.

Do not make this mistake. Life is one big opportunity... If there is something you wish to achieve, you owe it to yourself to bust your ass until your dreams become a reality."

How could you go through all that and not be fired up?!?!

Sarah also got me some cookies for Valentine's Day. Hmm... frosting...

Monday, February 11, 2008


Saturday night was the annual Flying Rhino club banquet. Sarah and I went and we had a great time. It was nice to see everyone again; club activity is pretty quiet during the winter months.

Jamie Smith was the guest speaker. He's releasing a book next month about cycling culture (road cycling in particular) that should be pretty good; the title is Roadie. Jamie's blog also has some cool videos of racing in Detroit in the 80's. His best line of the night regarding bike racers was: "We worry about our weight like prom queens." The video here is also worth watching.

The mountain bikers (all 3 of us) in the club were all there. Supposedly, there's a lot of interest in the mountain bike team for next year, maybe up to 15 people. We'll see how that turns out; we have a racers meeting next weekend.

Sunday night hockey was OK. We had a low turnout again, only 2-3 guys on the bench skating 4 on 4. It was really cold last night, so maybe that kept some people away? I don't know. Anyway, the past two weeks have been a lot of skating. I suppose that's good for me, but I prefer to have more guys on the bench so I can go really hard when I'm on the ice.

This week is a rest week. I don't really feel too fatigued, but I noticed that I was pretty moody over the weekend. For me, that's an indication that I'm getting tired and could use a little time off. So, I've got mostly easy workouts scheduled for this week, then I'm doing my first LT field test of the season on Saturday. It's always interesting to see where you stand. I'm feeling pretty good about it, but you don't know until you do it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Heavy Snow

It's been another busy week; I can't believe it's Thursday already before I've had a chance to make a new post! Our childbirth class finished up this week, so that should help free up Tuesday nights.

Anyway, it's been a good week of training for me again. I felt like I had a very high quality strength workout on Sunday morning. I pushed myself hard without going overboard and doing anything stupid. Sunday night hockey was a little thin this week, since it was during the Super Bowl. The Zamboni guy turned the game on over the rink speakers; it was kind of fun, but you couldn't really understand what was going on, and most of us weren't paying attention. Since we only had a few guys, we played 4 on 4 for the first game, then went to 5 on 5 for the second. I think I prefered the 4 on 4; I played better with more space and time, and I appreciated the slightly longer rest on the bench (we only had 7 skaters per team!). By the end of the night, I was pretty beat.

I did a technique ride on the trainer Monday night. I watched the 2007 Cyclocross season highlight video put together by Masher's Media. I'd skipped through it before, but this was the first time I'd watched the whole thing. I really enjoyed it; it was fun to remember the races and see the other racers that I know.

Tuesday night was off. Like I mentioned, we've been going to a childbirth class every Tuesday for the past 4 weeks. Basically, I get home from work, eat, go to class, come home, eat, go to bed. It was a worthwhile class, but I'm glad it's done.

Tuesday night, we got a lot of freezing rain and a little snow, and then Wednesday afternoon, we got maybe 3-4 inches of pretty wet snow. So, the driveway was a mess last night. The wet snow was covering about 2 inches of slushy snow. I shoveled for an hour and a half before I called it quits. I basically got everything important cleared, but not as much as I would have liked. I decided that I didn't need to do another workout last night after shoveling.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Tour of California

I stumbled across a few links about the upcoming Tour of California (find official link). They're taking some new steps to try to keep the race clean (a little more clarification here). Hopefully it will help.

We're getting quite a bit of snow today. I think it doesn't bode well for me to get out and ride tomorrow morning, but we'll see. It's also supposed to be pretty cold in the morning, well below 30F, which is about my limit for a training ride.

I was feeling a little sick this morning, but not too bad. I really perked up in the afternoon, so we'll see where that goes. I got home tonight and did some fast-paced shoveling. We ended up with only 5 inches or so, but it was wet and heavy. After I shoveled, I took the bike out and practiced skidding around on the lightly snow-covered driveway. The balance practice is definitely helping; most of the time, I was able to skid to a stop and get going again without putting a foot down. I think the skidding practice was helpful too, I was starting to get a feel for how much I could slide (and how far the bike could be leaned) before it was a problem. This idea all goes back to a video I found last year.

I haven't slept anywhere near enough this week. I went to bed early last night, but Suzie woke me up 2 or 3 times, and I was stressed about work, so I didn't end up sleeping too well. Anyway, I'm looking forward to resting this weekend.