Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Directions

Thesis, life, and injuries have taken me in a different direction than I had anticipated.

I'm hoping to ride this season, but I'm almost certain that I will not race.

I've begun to start lifting to gain some weight. I'm doing this for a multitude of reasons:

1) I was always plagued by a weak core while riding, I can address this by lifting.
2) I need something to do so I don't go insane.
3) I love crits and if I 'baloon' up to 170 or so at 5'10, I'll still be competitive in the 4's and higher up.

As 3 hints, I plan on coming back to racing at some point, but I'm not sure when that's going to be. It's been months and my knee issues still haven't been figured out at this point. I'm going to try going to a different doctor and see if they say anything different. I'm also planning to amp up my physical therapy a bit, so lets see how that all goes.

For now, this blog will have very little about riding and racing. Instead, more of life, learning, and lifting will be written about.

Talking about writing, I really should finish this thesis chapter that I've been working on forever. I need to turn it in by tomorrow afternoon!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Long time no see

I've been racing cross, training, and working my behind off at school these days.

I decided at the last minute to write a thesis, so all my lack of free time is spent reading books, articles, and chasing sources for it. I knew I was in for this, now I need to figure out how I can cut all corners in my school work without sacrificing my grades so I can be sane this semester. I see my friends maybe once or twice a week because I stay in and get my work done, and so I can ride early.

I'll post more on cross when I get a moment to breathe, but for now here's something I wrote for a creative non-fiction class that I'm taking.

Here goes:

Click. Clank. I push the shifter over, and the bike obediently responds to my directive.

The chain moves from the teeth on the chain ring back towards the cogs on the cassette and shimmies its way through the rear derailleur before finally arriving right back where it started. My consistent pedaling perpetuates the cycle. It’s the only pleasant sound of metal on metal that I’ve ever heard.

My mind wanders for a brief moment as I stare ahead of the pack. I try to admire my surroundings, but feel a nudge on my arm as a racer tries to over zealously advance position. Rubbing elbows at 30 miles an hour on contact patches as wide as your thumb, that’s bike racing.

The derailleur pushes the chain over to a smaller cog. My legs protest to the sudden change in resistance, but I disregard their annoyance. The anticipation is building around me, and the others are starting to get restless.

I stand up to stretch my legs and keep pace with the faster riders in the group. I feel a push on my right side. Instinctively, I lean over to that side, using my weight to counter the force. No destructive sound of metal on metal. Crisis averted.
I glance sideways to my left and see myself nicely hidden in the pack. The other riders are all around me, and I am shielded from the wind. Perfect.

All around the industrial park, the industrial park, the industrial park. All around the industrial park, so early in the morning. My pre-race espresso starts to kick in and I can feel my heart rate rising. Caffeine makes me antsy, and suddenly I’m claustrophobic in the swarm of cyclists around me. I check my 8 O’clock position. I have a wheel length between my rear end and another rider’s front wheel.

I try to calm myself down. I need to wait for the hill to advance. I need to stay concealed, but the adrenaline is flowing like magma through my veins. The close call has made me anxious to get out of the pack of racers riding shoulder to shoulder.

Someone else seems to have had the same idea and I see a rider shoot out from the side. The effects of caffeine, adrenaline, and restless legs hit me all at once, and I chase after the lone rider.

We crest the hill, and try to make our escape. A few others bridge up to us, and the break away is formed. My legs protest to the effort by quickly saturating with lactic acid. We take turns at the front to split the load. I push through the pain for my pull before rotating off and jumping back in the line. I turn around to look at our lead.
There’s the field, thundering towards me. The break is lost. Dejectedly, I allow myself to be swallowed by the field and wait for the sprint. I lick my lips. I will have my glory yet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shout out to Vernon Cycle!

I went over to pick up something that I'd ordered at Vernon Cycle (CVC's Sponsor Shop), and asked about replacement forks for cannondales.

My fork is a little shorter than I'd like and I was wondering if cannondale did fork upgrades, since I wanted the lighter full carbon fork.

2 minutes later, the owner comes out with a used full carbon fork cannondale fork that's perfect for my bike. I run home and measure my bike and show up with it.

The fork fits perfectly and is exactly what I needed. There are a few scratches on the clear coat, but I'll cover those up with clear nail polish. Awesome!

Now, with the 105 to Dura ace Swap over and the new fork and other setup, my bike has lost a good pound or so. It's sub 18 pounds now.


Remember, it's all about peformance:

I'm down a few pounds as well. I weighed in at 147 this morning. Trying to get back to the 142-144 range for catskills. It looks doable, but man do I miss eating as much dessert as I want. This is the first time I've gained weight after doing that.


So for the rest of the year:

Couple of training crits, 3 village tour Road Race, Tour of the Catskills, and then Cross season.


On that note: I should really start building up that cross bike...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tokeneke Reflection

I can finally sit down and write about this crazy race...

I didn't 'taper' for the race at all since I wanted to use it as a good hard training ride to prepare for the Tour of the Catskills stage race that I'm trying to prepare for. I'm hoping that I can do it, but my fingers are crossed (*).

I drove up to teammate Dennis' house and we drove to the race together chatting about the course. Got some nice tips there, thanks!

We arrived in time, and we went to go register and get our numbers. I decided to take my bike to neutral support since my brakes were feeling a little funny and I wanted to tighten them up. My multi tool wasn't so good for that. Turns out that the rear derailleur wasn't dialed in perfectly either. Oh well. I guess the cable stretched the last few times I rode it and I didn't notice. They fixed it up real fast.

I ran back to the car, running a little late now thanks to the last minute fix. I realized that I still had my seatpack and frame pump on so I took those off and put them under the car. I told Dennis to remind me to get them at the end of the day, as I had a feeling that I'd be too wiped out to remember. I was right.

The race started about 15 minutes late due to us not having a lead vehicle for a bit. Once it showed up, we were off.

I stayed with the pack, moving up as I could. I didn't want to be on the tail end and get dropped by the slowing of some of the riders.

There was one guy who kept weaving right in front of me, and he wouldn't pick a wheel in front of him. He started letting gaps open up in front and that was that, I went around him to avoid mayhem.

We turned right up the first bump past the resevoir, and I started losing contact with the very front of the group. Already???


There was a small crash as a squirrelly rider knocked into someone. Chasing around him coming uphill sucked, but it was still early in the race.

I caught up to the lead on the little bit of flat ground that we had and kept contact till the last of the little rises. On a short steep hill, I lost them, and I started to chase on the downhill.

I caught up to the tail end before the final hill of the first lap, the steady rise right up to the finish, and then it was over. The riders in front of me fell back, and I lost contact for good. I had made it with the lead group for almost a lap. This was a great accomplishment by itself.

As I passed the feed zone, making the required faces at the Mullaly feed squad, I felt my stomach start to churn. I instantly wished that I had grabbed one of their bottles. I thought of just dropping out of the race, but I pushed on.

The stomach cramps got worse and worse, until it made pedaling incredibly hard. All the groups that I had dropped started passing me. I latched on for a few seconds only to be unable to do anything. My teammates words of encouragement went unheeded as I fell off the back into oblivion.

I finished the race, but the stomach cramps took 2 days to clear up.

That really sucked. Finally feeling human again. What a relief...

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Little bit of Everything

The monster workout that I'd planned for wednesday didn't happen.

Wednesday's Workout:

I'd planned to do a 3 hour ride, broken down as follows:

5 minutes easy, 15-20 mins tempo, 5-10 mins easy. 30 mins done.
10 mins easy, 10 mins at Threshold, 10 mins easy. 60 mins done.

Repeat for 3 hours total ride time. I think it would have been a good road race training ride.

Unfortunately, I started the tempo interval and my legs had no go juice. I figured I couldn't do the LT intervals, so I figured I'd just keep doing tempo instead.

The 20 min interval marker rolls by, and I'm still going. I decide to keep at it.
The 30 min interval marker goes by, and I'm still going. I keep at it.
The 40 min interval marker goes by, and I'm still going. Really now?

I kept this up for an hour before I stopped because I thought it would be too much for the day. Nice when that happens. My first hour long interval. Nice.


My car had been making some noise for a bit so I decided to take it into the shop. I drove there with my new single speed in the back seat and decided to leave it there to get worked on. Turns out that the muffler was dead.

A few hours and $400 later, my car was running silently again.

I'm going to break even this summer, which is unfortunate but okay.

That being said, my car gave me 30-31 mpg for my trip home to philly, the drive to the lancaster road race and back, and the drive home. Not bad.

Time to start looking for another car though. Bleh.

I also started working on another project. My CAAD9 is getting Dura Ace'd!

Instead of a ride today, I played frisbee with some friends. I still ended up riding about 8-10 miles for the ride to the garage and back, and doing some errands.

The funniest thing happened today...
I took apart my chain and was cleaning it up in degreaser. When I was draining the stuff, I noticed that the quick link had come apart.
"That could go down the drain if it fell out," I thought to myself.
5 minutes later, it did. Whoops...


I had planned to do a 1.5-2 hour ride with a bunch of hills today, but the finishing up of the bike took longer than planned.

I managed to get out and go hammer for 35 minutes of SST work. Normalized power was right around threshold. Good stuff.

Since I didn't ride as much as planned today, I think I'll go out and ride easy for 2-3 hours tomorrow. Should get the legs moving for Tokeneke on sunday.

Dennis, are you ready for the after race sandwiches?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Nighter at The Rent!

I experimented with attacking today.

I've never really attacked during a race and I figure that the B training crits are a good place to go on the offensive.

The first prime went, and I waited. I moved up and then gunned it as the prime winners crossed the line. Got a good gap going and stayed away for a couple of laps. I tried to lure some people to come and get in a break, but no dice. Sat up after a few laps of no one bridging and it being too early.

Another prime came up and I was too far back to do anything. 2 people went for the prime and then kept going. I tried to bridge, but failed. I was between groups for another couple of laps.

I sat in for a few minutes and recovered, as another chase group went past me. I let them go.

Another prime was called, and the first chase group got caught. A few others rolled off the front, and I hid from the wind and waited. As we got around the last bend, I gunned it and passed them trying to bridge up to the break.

I made it in about 2 laps, but the break gave up right around then. I waited for the chase group and went with them. No one wanted to work, so I went to the front and pulled on the prime lap. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone trying to take the prime. I said screw it and started sprinting. I got the prime.

We got pulled in right after that, and I hid for a few seconds. The bell lap was called, and I was done. I tried moving up so I could sprint for a win, but I got 6th. No gas left.

It felt good to be so aggressive instead of sitting in the race like I do so often. I think I'll be sticking to the B race from now and getting a handle on making moves.

I was surprised that I had so much left in my legs after the hard Pedal Power group ride yesterday.

I'm planning another monster workout for tomorrow, but I doubt that I'll do what I've planned.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend Recap and Getting Cut Up (again)

I went home this past weekend to visit the folks and for my sister's 13th birthday. It was good to see everyone.

I did the road race for the Tour of Lancaster county. By 'did the road race' I mean that I got a DNF. There's a rough anaerobic hill on the course and hitting that for the 3rd time just caused me to blow. I chased and caught on after the hill, but a small hill right after that caused me to explode pretty spectacularly. I DNF'ed for the first time all year. Happens sometimes...

I had pre-regged for a circuit race on sunday, but the weather report wasn't promising at 5 am, and I didn't want to race in rain and thunderstorms. I went back to bed.

There's something about being home that just makes me feel completely exhausted and worthless. I have the hardest time motivating myself to ride or do anything. It's one of the funny reasons why I try to avoid going home for more than a day or two when I'm training. I plan them with my rest days, and go home and enjoy myself.
In other news, I have to start thinking of dates for the follow up plastic surgery that I have to have for my face. I'm trying to peak for the Tour of the Catskills in mid september, so I think I'm going to try to schedule the surgery for october or november. That allows for some time if something more needs to be done over the winter holidays.
I think I'll be looking for atleast a month off the bike, which will put me back to the same fitness I had in the early spring this year. Hopefully I can start training again in earnest in late December or early January so I can have some sort of fitness for the Bethel series.

I really don't want to go under the knife again because it means unnecessary time off the bike, but it'd be nice to have my face back again. Well, it'd be nice to not still have a broken nose in any event. Lets see how long the healing takes. I have a feeling that I'm going to be stupid and stubborn and hop onto the trainer to do some easy riding a few days after surgery. Getting outside to ride will be hard due to wind chill. I can't see that being good for nascent skin.

I guess I'll have to alternate between running, lifting, and riding on the trainer.
Then again, it's early August now, so I might as well enjoy the relative fitness while it's still there.