8.25.2010

Resting

Been resting a lot (other than the debacle that ensued when I tried to race Saturday). Realistically last night's TT was my first ride since the River Falls race last week.

We rode the same 18.9 mile course, but the conditions were a bit more difficult with a nasty wind that always seemed to be hurting. There also weren't quite so many riders out. I put in a good effort, but couldn't quite bring myself to really lay it out there. I kept asking myself what I was saving my energy for? In the end though I was only about 90 seconds slower than last week AND I didn't kill myself to do it. My legs feel stronger already this morning, hopefully that can be a good kick-start back into activity.

After the TT I quickly said my thanks and good byes to the "tri folks" and headed downtown to Dooley's for a "cruiser ride". The plan was to get some food and some beers and hit a few of the local bars. It was great to see everyone and fun to ride around. As per the usual (on group rides anyways) I flatted- I don't think the thin rubber rim strip is enough to protect the tube from the 140 spokes per wheel on that beast... bring on the gorilla tape! The highlights of this would definitely be the riding and Chris Skogen wearing his Almanzo kit in the Northstar Bar during Tuesday Poker Night. Quite the crowd.

8.19.2010

Probably need to rest

Been having so much fun with the new road bike that I've not even noticed that I've ridden hard daily for almost a full week!

60-75 mile rides last Saturday, Sunday and Monday complete with 20+ mph paces and sprints!

an 18.9 mile road TT on a pretty hilly/tough course Tuesday which I completed with a 23.6 average (48 minutes) and was able to beat all but one of the 8 guys who showed up with full-on TT setups as well as all others in the non-aero classes. Hard to use this ride as any sort of a reference because I don't know where I stood vs. any of the other riders at any time in the past, but this was a lot of fun and seemed to point toward my fitness going in the right direction.

And lastly a Wednesday night "recovery" ride that wound up being just over 90 minutes at a decent pace as well.



I've been feeling very strong and have been happy with the way my fitness for "short" events seems to be coming around, but I knew that the Thursday night race would be tough this week!

Regardless, Trevor and I loaded up and headed to River Falls. The Buck Hill Thursday night series is done for the year and the border battle has come and gone. This means that some of the racers who normally do Buck Hill are now free to come over to WTR and that some people are likely to stop showing up because they can no longer use it as preparation for the border battle. Functionally that combination led to a small, but very strong field featuring Barry Tungseth, Chris Fisher, Matt Muraski and (of course) Trevor as well as a few others.

Apparently no one felt a whole lot more inclined to race hard early on than I did because I was allowed to take an early lead and hold it for most of a lap (Trevor and I traded off a bit just to ease the load). However, I touched a tree on the steep climb during the 2nd lap and had to put my foot down. I expected to be able to jump on right after those four passed, waited for Chris to go by and jumped on my bike... but didn't go anywhere. Somehow my chain had dropped. I tried to get organized and back on, but I'd let a gap form that I was never able to close again. The rest of the night I went back and forth between pushing too hard to try to catch back up and then being forced to rest. In the end I wound up about 2.5 minutes behind. All in all, not a bad result for me but not something great either. Who knows how tired those guys were going in too. Thursdays could be a day when someone has nothing in the tank or when they are well rested and ready to fly at race pace and you just never know.

We had a good conversation and a few good beers afterwards. Somewhat sadly the conversation quickly shifted toward cx season and then onto snow sports... I guess winter is coming.

8.15.2010

two rides today

am- 65 mile road ride. Most of the "usuals" showed up. Tons of wind made for a challenge. Felt like I got a great workout in. Highlights- riding back downwind at 32-35 mph, winning both contested sprints (again was able to jump by Dan due to lucky positioning/timing), realizing once again how awesome it is to have the new bike.

vs.

pm- Stagecoach mtb- rode the rigid SS marin with Joe and Neil etc.. Spent an hr sitting at the teepee, two hrs clearing trail and maybe 90 minutes actually riding. Highlights- falling on my face on the sidehill, falling on my face after bunnyhopping a downed tree at least 40" in diameter and riding a bit of a nose-wheelie, watching Neil fall over into the mud in the stream crossing and then riding through it/splashing him (had to go the "wrong" way and ride through a lot of water/mud in order to do it). The dogs had an awesome time too.

8.11.2010

Look 585




2008 Look 585 frame/fork
Mavic ksyrium es w. specialized roubaix tires

lots of random parts, but they seem to work together just fine-

Ultegra shifters
Ultegra front derailleur
Ultegra cassette
dura-ace chain
xtr rear derailleur
sram force crankset

I guess in a lot of respects the drivetrain is similar to my mountain bike- sram carbon crankset and shimano otherwise

ritchey wcs stem
fetish cycles carbon bars (super shaped with flat tops and short "modern" drops)
fetish cycles carbon seatpost
selle italia slr saddle
bontrager gel tape
crank brothers quattro sl pedals



Been sick the last few days- ended up resting entirely since last Thursday's WTR race. Woke up this morning feeling well enough that I knew I'd be able to go on the group ride today if I took it a bit easy and be able to race WTR tomorrow. Figured I wasn't necessarily 100%, but that is was definitely time to get out on the new bike.

Tonight's group ride was about a 45 mile loop. The bike felt good from the beginning- the lack of weight was noticeable on even the slightest hill and it felt extremely responsive to any input both handling and acceleration (and without any harshness in the ride quality). I eased into things for the first 30 miles or so and worked my turns at the front, tried to get used to the handling and fit of the new bike etc.. There was going to be a town line sprint at mile 30 though and in the back of my mind I was hoping it would be contested (they aren't always contested due to individuals position in the paceline and car traffic etc.). I was sitting in the second row and the strongest guys on the ride (and two of the stronger sprinters around down here anyways) were somewhere behind me. Sure enough Dan flew by on the left with Trevor right on his tail. I had to let them pass for safety reasons (had to be sure there wasn't someone else trying to follow), but knew that I wanted to test the new bike. Eased out of the paceling, double tapped the shifter and was rewarded with instant acceleration. Closed the gap to them with about 200 yards left to go to the sign and fell into the draft a bit. A space opened up between them, I stood up, I literally lifted the front wheel and shot through the gap and far enough ahead that neither were on my wheel then pushed hard to take the sign easily. Obviously, I got into a good position for this sprint and in no way does it mean I can actually outsprint either Dan or Trevor on fair ground, but wow did it ever feel good. The only experience I've had that was similar to the feeling was the first time I was in a car with a big turbo or nitrous. What a difference having the right tool for the job makes! It's that fast and it's more comfortable too, absolutely amazing.

8.07.2010

been a while- now I'm tired out and having nothing better to do but to catch ya'll up

Am continuing with the day shift work thing through the end of October! This has been working out well and has allowed me to continue to hit some group road rides and the White Tail Ridge Thursday night rides.

Group rides have been fun. Particularly two Sundays ago when we made a loop all the way to the Mississippi and back at about 20.5 mph (117 miles for me that day). I've been riding my Kona as of yet with 52x18 gearing- and as well as that's been going I've also decided that I would prefer a real road bike and have been pursuing that.

The White Tail Ridge races have been awesome and, I'm sure, very beneficial to my xc style race fitness. I've been finishing 2nd or 3rd the last few weeks with relatively strong fields. Trevor has come over the last two weeks with me and he has taken the win. I've been able to take early leads (due to the jeep climb) and ride the singletrack at a fast enough pace to hold them for about the first two laps (of 3), but have run out of juice or had technical mistakes before the end. I say it every time I mention WTR, but what an awesome place to race!

My friend, and Almanzo organizer, Chris recently rode to Northern Minnesota. I joined him for day one. We wound our way down beautiful gravel roads through Douglas, Pine Island, Zumbrota, Welch, Hastings, Afton and on into Stillwater. I snapped some pictures, but haven't uploaded them yet. Now that we have a new computer I should be able to stay on top of that a bit more. We had a snack at the Stillwater Bikery and then I parted ways, crossed the River and road pavement down to Hudson and finally back to Hastings (thanks for giving me a ride home from there Dad!). In the end this was a 145 or so mile ride on a day with temperatures well into the upper 90s, and on a day when I had to work the next morning! This wound up being my last ride on the Vaya as I have since sold it. More on my gravel grinding plans later.

I also participated in the Wausau 24 on a four-man team with David, Tim and Frank. It was a great time! A wonderful course and a good training opportunity for me. I got to ride a few laps "all-out" and experience the atmosphere of riding through the middle of the night. In the end I made 7 laps with 3 of them being TT style, 3 of them consecutively from 1-4am, and the other just being plain slow in the late afternoon. In the end though that weekend was mostly about hanging out with friends, talking about and wrenching on bikes and having a few beers... all things we did a ton of. It was also nice to see a lot of friends I've made on various other rides out there in various capacities.

I was really looking forward to the White Tail Ridge "Border Battle" this weekend, but now I have a bit of a cold and am feeling a little run-down. It looks like I'll be taking a few days off now.

As I look forward from here I'm planning to pick one 8 or 12 hr mtb race later in the month, continue to hit the White Tail Ridge races and prep to do my best up in Duluth and also at St. Cloud in MN series races. I'm also currently planning on the Maplelag weekend, but have allowed thoughts of the Dakota 5-0 to enter in as well. We will see how I feel. I'm definitely looking forward to the Heck of the North and Night Nonsense as well...

So far as that gravel stuff goes (and with no Vaya as mentioned above) I've decided to go back to the Kona exclusively. I will be riding it single speed for the remaining gravel races and for the cx season. The decision to sell the Vaya came down to my deciding that I just didn't need it... What ride do I ever go on that I wouldn't go on if I didn't have it? I'm plenty comfortable on the Kona for long rides and for something like the trans-wisconsin in the future (next year???) I'm thinking I'd prefer to ride my Mamasita with some custom bags. Selling it off will also allow me to have a road bike. Should have pictures soon.