Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Track Night

I went to my first Waterford Hills track night of the year (I can't believe June is almost over!). Things went a little better than I expected, and it was nice to see everyone again.

It was a time trial night. I don't do these regularly enough to accurately measure progress, but I was hoping for a good effort to kind of make up for my bad test over the weekend. I ended up coming in around 19.7 minutes. Not a super time, but I was happy with my effort.

I'd sort of forgotten that we usually do a little race after the TT. I realized it as I'm already standing around with the "A" group. "What, we're doing a race? This is going to hurt." My plan was basically just to try to sit in the group and make it to the end. I felt a little rusty in terms of my group riding; a little more twitchy than I would like. Hopefully no one found me to be too annoying. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt like I knew what was going on in terms of reading the race, following wheels, etc. I still made a couple little mistakes, but I didn't feel as clueless as I used to. Anyway, I got popped with about two corners to go. I probably could have caught back on if I really tried, but I wouldn't have been able to do anything at the finish, so I decided it was good enough.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

LT Test - Oops

I'm watching the US vs Ghana... not looking good so far...

I was originally planning to ride with the Bald Mtn group this morning, but it looked like a storm was coming on the radar, so I scrapped it. It got dark at my house, but never did rain. Oh well.

I did my LT field test instead. Historically, I've had problems going out too hard on this test and blowing up before I get to the end. Today, for the first time I think, I did the opposite. I kept holding back until it was too late. I don't know if it was a motivation problem or just that I haven't done a hard effort in a long time.

My (trainer) power number was lowish, but not terrible. My average heartrate was about 8bpm lower than it should have been though. That's a pretty good indication that I didn't go as hard as I could have. Room for improvement for next time I guess.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hilly Ride

I'd planned to do this ride tomorrow morning and a mountain bike ride today, but since we got hit with a big storm last night, I figured that most of the trails would still be soggy. Basically, I sat down with a topographical map and figured out which roads looked to be the hilliest and the most lightly traveled.

As it turned out, just getting out of the house ended up being a challenge. I wanted to ride my 'cross bike, which has been sitting on the trainer all Winter. I needed to change tires, put on a bottle cage, etc. Just little stuff, but it takes time (especially when it takes three tries to get a tube that will hold air!). Plus, there were kids that needed to be fed, dogs to be taken out...

Once I finally got going, I ended up having a good ride. I didn't push too hard, I just let the hills, rough dirt roads, and heat do their thing. I flatted about 20 minutes into the ride; I wasn't happy about that, but I fixed it and my last tube held on for the rest of the ride. I don't know that I'd do this exact ride again. A couple roads ended up being better than I expected, and a couple were worse. I'd forgotten how evil washboarded climbs are... the climb itself is bad enough, then the washboarded road sucks away what little momentum you have...

By the end, I was pretty cooked. My legs were right on the edge of cramping as I climbed up my last climb (Bald Mountain Road in Auburn Hills). So, I figure that I did it about right. We'll see how I feel tomorrow for my ride...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tires vs Technique

I rode at Pontiac Lake on Thursday night. I was thinking it would rain all weekend, so I wanted to take advantage of the good weather. I'd been feeling like I was reasonably fit on the group rides I was doing. I don't know if it was the trail, or because I was riding faster by myself, or what, but I'm not as fit as I thought. I definitely felt worse riding than I usually do when I have "mid-season" fitness. To be expected I guess...

I've still been using my Hutchinson Python tires. They probably won't become my favorites, but they're really not too bad. The tread pattern reminds me of my Michelin Mud cyclocross tires. Anyway, using them has gotten me thinking about how my technique has improved. A couple years ago, I probably would have crashed a few times already on these tires, particularly in some of the muddy and sandy conditions I've been riding in. This year, no problem so far. The difference is that I'm doing a much better job of loading the tires in the corner and staying on top of my bike (leaning my bike more than my body). If you do that, even if the tires slip a little, it's no problem...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


I finally got some riding in on real trails this weekend. Turns out that I'm not quite as rusty as I expected.

On Saturday, I went to the Rhino club ride at Bald Mountain; it's a super mellow paced ride. It's a good chance for me to focus on specific skills without worrying about much else. I tried some old Hutchinson Python tires that I've had for years. The last time I used them (2005?!?!), I had too much pressure in them and I crashed all over the place. I also just wasn't as good of a rider as I am now. This time out, I ran 30-35psi (tubed) and found that the tires worked just fine.

Sunday, I met a couple people and rode at Holdridge. It was my first time out there; it's closer to my house than I thought, so I'll have to try to get out there a bit more. It was raining a bit on my way out, but I thought it would clear up since the radar was clear. Nope. It rained almost the whole time. We rode a little on the trails, but cut it short since it was pretty muddy. I guess we got there too late; we talked to a couple guys who had just finished riding and they didn't look nearly as muddy as we were. We rode dirt roads for a little while then packed it in. I don't think anyone was too motivated to keep riding around in the rain.

In general, I felt a lot better than I expected to. My bike handling skills seemed pretty decent; in some ways probably better than last year already (I'll credit my Gene drills). My fitness seemed a little better than I expected too.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Little Things

“It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.”
- Muhammad Ali

I read an article (and subsequent letters) in Road Bike Action about Keith Ketterer, who is pretty much a regular guy that recently set a 1-hour Masters record. The main story was kind of ho-hum, but his responses to questions were interesting. Since it was in my Dad's magazine, I can't quote it directly, but the question was something like: 'How do you balance trying to achieve such a difficult goal with the rest of your life?'

The part of his answer I found interesting was something like: 'You can't try to maintain the same motivation and same training required to achieve a goal like this year after year. If you do, you'll end up divorced, unemployed and burned out.'

This year has been rough for me. The knee injury set me back big time, and it's just tough to train with a new baby around. I sort of decided that I just need to accept that this year will not be my best year and not worry about it too much. I've actually got some good momentum built up to tackle some long overdue house projects, so I feel like I should waste that either (since it doesn't come around too often!). Anyway, I'm probably not going to really change my training, just maybe re-prioritize things a little.