Friday, May 27, 2011

Duckin' and Dodgin'

This week has been rough, as expected. I had to wake up early 3 out of the 5 weekdays this week. The kids and Sarah all came down with strep throat. I'm ready for the weekend!

Even though the weather has been crummy, I still got most of my training in. I called it a night early on Wednesday though. I just kind of ran out of gas near the end of my strength workout, and I decided not to finish it or go on and do my intervals. Given everything else going on, it seemed like a bad idea to try to push through it. I did a hard ride on the trainer last night, and everything felt pretty good once I got warmed up.

This weekend should be nice though. Hopefully everyone else gets feeling better, and I don't get sick!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Great Weekend!

I had a great weekend of training. I ended up riding at Stony with Sarah on Saturday. She rode much better than I expected. I did get a little nervous when she said her legs were burning after just a couple minutes of riding. I focused on my riding technique and rode hard in short bursts. Just being in a "non-training" mode helped me relax and I rode really well, and pretty fast!

I hit the dirt roads on Sunday and had a very enjoyable ride. I felt good the whole time, even though some of the roads were totally bombed out. I recovered well and ended up getting a lot of stuff done around the house too!

All of these good vibes make me a little nervous though. Typically, when I start feeling like this, it means that I'm about ready to get sick. The plan is for today to be an off day, and I'll try to get to bed early tonight. This week is shaping up to be busy, so I need to be careful. I saw this line in Joe Friel's blog: "When you're in great shape, you're only one workout away from losing it all."

60 Minutes: Tilford

Nice post from Steve Tilford, as usual, about the "60 Minutes" story last night. I didn't get a chance to watch it, I was putting the kids to bed. Just as well...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brighton Stage Race - 2011

The 2011 Brighton Stage Race is now in the books. My result wasn't a whole lot better than it was when I last did the race in 2008, but my performance was much better.

I almost didn't go to the race on Saturday. It was raining pretty hard in Waterford, but by the time I got to Brighton, the rain had stopped and it didn't rain the rest of the day. Despite the rain, the trail was in decent shape for the time trial, but it was a little difficult for me to tell which corners would be slippery and which were firm. I rode just OK; I had to run up one hill after my rear tire spun on a wet root and I dabbed one other place when I messed up my line. I ended up off the pace for the Expert field, but I improved my time from 2008 by more than 2 minutes.

The short track race was in a slightly different location than it was for 2008. The grass course was pretty bumpy and soft. I knew that a lot of people would be riding 'cross bikes, but I thought I would be OK on my mountain bike. I was OK, but a 'cross bike probably would have been a better choice. I got off to a good start, but after a lap or so, I couldn't hold the pace and had to back off. After that, people kept gradually coming around me. Like I said, a 'cross bike would have helped, but it was mostly a fitness issue. I'm not sure if it was just a problem with threshold power (kind of a weakness of mine, particularly on a soft bumpy course) or if it was the volume of repeated hard accelerations.

Sarah and the kids came out to watch the short track race. It was cool to hear Cora yelling "Go Dad Go!".

It was rainy and cold again on Sunday, but I figured that since I raced on Saturday, I might as well go on Sunday too. Instead of clearing up though, it kept raining, hard. It was also pretty cold, about 42F by the time my race finished. We decided to shorten the Expert race from 4 laps to 3. For whatever reason, I'd been a bit worried about the distance, so I felt much more confident about doing 3 laps.

I had a decent start for me, and could immediately see that I was going to be competitive in the race. I passed a few guys on the first lap and was riding pretty well. I only had one problem on the first lap, when one of the faster guys bumped me a bit making a pass; that screwed things up for me and the next guy trying to pass.

I felt like I was going really well on the second lap. The trail was getting muddier, but I was riding well. A guy that was following me said, "you're much better than me on the technical stuff"; I don't think anyone's ever said that to me in a race. Definitely a sign of progress. I was passing more guys and had to hold myself back a bit to save something for the last lap. That's when things started going south. My brakes, which I'd noticed were fading a bit, really started to go. By the end of the lap, I could hardly slow down and my front brake was making a metal-on-metal sound. I stopped at the start/finish area, hoping I could just adjust the cable to fix it, but then I saw that the pads were almost completely worn down. I decided not to try to finish the race like that. So, another DNF at the Brighton XC. Unlike 2008 though, I felt really good about how my race was going on Sunday, so I can't get too down about a mechancial problem. I figure there's some karma at work here; a lot of times in a hard race I'll be thinking about getting a flat or something to put me out of my misery. So it figures that when I'm going pretty well, that's when I'll have a problem.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Looking for Fitness

Ah, it's been a long time since I've posted. The past couple weeks have really been a mixed bag...

Since the race at Pontiac Lake, I've been trying to get a handle on where my fitness is. The strange thing about the race was that while I felt kind of bad, I went about as fast as I did at the XC race last August. Without the bonk, I might have even been faster.

My training so far this year has been a mix of longer relatively easy rides and very short intervals (20s to 1.5 minutes). I haven't done much hard work at longer durations. So, I set about trying to do that a bit over the last two weeks.

The week following Pontiac Lake was really a good week of training for me. The weather kept me inside one night, and I did an interval session on the trainer (the Spinervals "No Slackers" DVD). That's one I do somewhat frequently during 'cross season, and it went surprisingly well.

That weekend I rode at Brighton to start getting ready for the stage race. It took me a bit longer than normal to get warmed up, but once I got going, I rode really well. I did a dirt road ride with the Rhinos on that Sunday, and I also felt really good.

This past week wasn't so good. For the first time this year, my knee felt a little funny (from mowing the lawn of all things!), so I had to back off the training a bit. Family stuff shortened some other planned training sessions during the week, and I didn't ride particularly well over the weekend. I went back to Brighton on Saturday; in addition to screwing up my nutrition for the ride, I also fell (going uphill!) and scraped up the knee that had been bothering me. The knee seemed OK for Sunday, but I bailed on my ride at PLRA after one lap because my back was bothering me (also strange, because lately, my back has been feeling basically perfect).

Oh well, you win some and you lose some. I was more careful about not twisting my knee while mowing this weekend, and my knee seems OK this time. The plan is to take it a bit easy this week and then do the stage race at Brighton this weekend!