Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Locked up

Did 20k to finish off May's distance goal of 700k on Monday and did another heavy power day. The best way I can describe the suffering and pain I voluntarily inflicted on myself is to say I went into the hurt locker, slammed the door shut and bolted the door behind me. At one point, I literally had to consciously tell my legs to move.

They were so locked up with lactic acid and sending signals of agony to my brain that I had to consciously concentrate and focus on first my left leg then my right to get each to move. If I wasn't thinking about the leg it was dead weight and did no work. A painful, flaccid piece of useless meat and bone. My brain simply refused to send a signal to that body part.  There was no reflex or momentum or automaticity. Man my legs hurt.

Great ride!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Training harder to stop the drop

Legs felt pretty good Sunday after Saturday's recovery ride. As I got going I thought I remembered that I had 44k to go to complete my 700k monthly distance goal but could not decide whether to do 30, 40 or 50k. I could finish the goal and have Monday to finish packing for Europe or I could do two shorter rides. I initially decided to do 30 but when the turn came and went and I had not turned off. The weather was beautiful and the ride so pleasant that I guess my unconscious took control.

40K is was. As I was getting close to the end, since I was so close to finishing the goal I changed my ride again and decided to add the short sharp climbs I've put into my 20k ride to bump up the distance. As I approached the final turn it looked like I was still short of 45k so I adjusted again and went up Burke Mill/Griffith instead. I got home, satisfied that Monday was going to be a rest day. But, when I entered the ride, it turned out that I was still 3k short. GAH! Oh well, the weather is going to be great Monday as well so if I have to go on another short 20k ride to top off the goal so be it. It's a tough life but I'm willing to take one for the team :).

The ride itself was another strength training ride with heavy pressure on the legs and low cadence. After Tom posted on facebook that he had started training for July in earnest it upped my motivation. He was going to improve a lot in the next few weeks and if I was going to keep up, given I'm still slower, I need to improve more and faster to minimize the gap betwen our abilities and stay with him as long as possible this July. I know I'll be dropped but hopefully it wilI be later than last year and we'll be going faster as well.

Thanks Tom for that little extra motivation to improve so we can ride together longer this July. It is going to be fun!


Saturday, May 28, 2011


 I never expected to call a 40k ride epic, but this was EPIC!

Planned to head out for a low cadence, high lactic acid 70k sufferfest to really rip my legs up some more after last night's ride. The first 10k were warmup and took a short respite at one of the many local church picnic shelters due to a brief heavy down pour. This should have been a clue but I was feeling cocky becuase I got maybe one drop of rain on me. I could read the weather and I was certain it was going to clear.

After the warmup, I headed for a 65 rpm cadence and really kept the pressure on the legs. It was a nasty, quad burning, leg searing agonyfest. You know, fun. Just what I wanted. My legs were screaming and I just just ignored them. "You shall do MY bidding!", I mentally commanded.

Hey. Was the sky getting darker?

Just before I finished 20k the skies opened and came down so hard I could barely see a few meters in front of me. I had to stop and turn on the blinky back and front light to make sure cars could see me in the dusk-like conditions (@ 4pm). I had incorrectly decided to wear the sunglass lenses instead of my clear lenses, so I was riding in dusk conditions with dark sunglasses that i could not take off since I was wearing contact lenses. If any significant amount of water got into my eye, my contacts start to float and potentially pop out (not a good thing if you have difficulty seeing the big E on an eye chart and are 20k from home in a raging deluge). I'm also betting the lenses, while technically hydrophobic, were not tested under conditions like these. It was next to impossible to get a clear view of the road just a few feet ahead on me. The drops of rain that adhered to the lense created a kaleidoscopic of light as cars drove by in each direction.

The rain was coming down so hard when a drop hit my teeth it actually hurt. That's hard rain my friends. Hard rain.

After a few minutes it cleared up and I actually considered going the full 70k again but decided against it. Very fortunate. It began to sprinkle, then rain, then downpour then deluge again. I think I went the last 10+k in a deluge so heavy cars were pulling over to the side on the road. I got so wet that when I got inside and dried off I was still wet. Yep. That's wet. W. E. T. wet.

That was one crazy-ass bike ride!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spanked 2x

Mother of pearl! We did the long Bowman gray route tonight (stats in the link). Did the first 10 K in 17:16, the second 10K in 18:10 and the 3rd 10K in 18:21. That comes out as 33.48 km/h for the first 30K.

Then I cracked and got dropped the first time. Did the next 10K on my own in 18:57, which I'm pretty satisfied with, and got picked up by the next group some time after that. I was able to hang on with them until we started up turbohill. There I got dropped the second time (in the same spot as last week), on the steeper section.

Despite being spanked twice, I was not DFL though. 5 more came in after me.

The whole 58K was done at an average 31.23 kmh.



Monday, May 23, 2011

Helping a friend

Saturday's Salem Lake ride was a bit of a recovery ride and a bit of a summer long quest to help Eric do the Salem Lake route in less than one hour. Last week it took us 1 hour 6 minutes. This week, 1 hour 5 minutes. It looks like we are on our way. 


Friday, May 20, 2011


It was just a matter of time, but I finally achieved DFL staus.

After yesterday's long ride I wanted to go out and really push my legs, with every expectation of being dropped. I was not disappointed.

I got dropped (from the lead wheel only at least) on the hill to the regroup point. I almost got dropped after I did a pull to the base of a climb (but was not). I dropped to last spot (but still had contact) on a hill where I could not shift into the small ring. Finally, I and was really dropped on turbo hill. Dropped like a piece of hook hitting a loop (as I imagine those in the velcro industry saying).

I planned on shifting to the small ring when the going got a little tough to reduce the lactic acid buildup; ride a higher cadence but push the HR up a little instead. I thought I selected the right spot but boy was I wrong! The change was startling. One moment I was near the front feeling the burn and in less than 10 seconds I was off the back, never to join the group again. Did the last 6K alone, but I did not let up. I kept the cadence high and effort under control.

The few judgement errors and the mechanical contributed to the lack of climbing success but I also some cognitive success.  I was very conscious of what I was trying to do and why. Next time I will tweak things and try again.

Not disappointed in the least.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


First the details.

Goal today was to go 70K and hit each hill with 90+ cadence for it's duration. Had a little trouble early on but by 20K I was in a rhythm and did pretty well. Granted I had to get into the small ring and down to the 25 cog but I did sustain ~90 rpm on 95% of the hills. While I figure out the next month of training I figured getting on some 4-6% hills and maintaining 90 rpm would be important this summer so could do no harm. Legs are feeling Lactic good, although I am a litle concerned about my out of the saddle endurance and will probably have to work that into any training over the next month.

Then the impressions.

For whatever reason, today was attack dog day. No fewer than 4 dogs decided I looked appetizing. The first two were a little sad really. Short fat pudgy dogs with a lot more bark than bite. However, they did cross the road and chase be for a few meters. I did not even speed up in response. The third was almost an after thought by the pathetic beast. I was past his position and he gave a half hearted bark and run but nothing serious.

It was the last one that gave me serious pause. On the new section on road, I passed a house where a very large dog gave me a baleful look and decided I was not doing something right. He was large, well muscled and salivating. I'm certain he was salivating. He lunged across the road and took up position to my right rear wheel and loped along. His empty, souless stare pierced my psyche like a dagger. He was hungry and wanted a cyclist. His gaping maw opened. Saliva flowed in long sticky tendrils from the tips of his stained sharp teeth back along his snout, leaving silvery trails of anticipatory digestive death.

I immediately hit a higher gear and up my cadence. My heart is starting to get the rush being pushed out by my adrenal glands. I surge forward and look back.

He was still there. It did not same to phase him. His spine flexing like some giant spring, moving closer. Next gear. He's still there and gaining! Holy Fuck! This was getting serious. I hit the next gear and get out of the saddle. I really start hitting the pedals as I head down hill. This hound from Hell is loping along with a crazy glistening grin. He surges forward for the kill like some lion pouncing on the back of a baby gazelle. But, as he came for my calf I shifted up twice more and really used that adrenaline rush to punch it to the next level. If I was going down, this devil spawn was going to have to work for it.

As I looked behind me, this hound of the baskerville slowly dropped back and slowed, turning back to his territorial boundaries. I was safe.

Definitely need some protection next time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I came 6th on a 100k ride.....

Roade my first metric century Saturday and came in sixth today.... sixth last. Possibly the happiest result I've ever had. Quite a turn around from March (both in attitude and performance).

Starting the ride was me and 50 close strangers. We got off to a really fast start. Really fast. The first 10K were done in 16.5 minutes. I started near the front and within 6k I was dropped by the front group, and the second group, Settled in with a third group of 3 other danglers and got into a paceline. I was able to hold that group to the 10k mark. Then dropped again.

I was going to have to just ride my own pace. I had a goal of finishing 100k in under 4 hours and pushing myself into the red this early was not the way to accomplish this. I passed the first rest stop (the one for the 20 mile out and back ride) and kept going. Passed through the first big town and saw my first straggler having a drink @ a gas station. I'm no longer last.

Came to a fork in the road that is not marked and got a little lost. I was not sure which way to go, but a little kid pointed out that another group is coming up, so I settled in with them for a while. Completed a short climb fairly well but the lead guy did not let up and I eventually blew up and fell out of this group as well, just as we hit the second rest stop. I decide to stop and fill up on water and have a snack and watch a few riders riding the 1/2 century ride come through, and even a few peel off and get onto the 100 route. Hmm, perhaps I was never last.

A few others stopped for drinks but I got back on the road. Eating a gel every 10k and staying hydrated, ticking off the 10k laps. Up ahead I see a flashing light. A rider. A rabbit. A goal. I picked up my pace just slightly and try to determine if I'm closing he gap whenever I catch a glimpse of him as on the winding, tree lined, beautifully smooth farm roads. Yep, I appeared to be gaining. It took me about 20k but I closed the gap and got onto his wheel. After a brief rest I did a pull and we traded off a time or two.

I pulled to the front as we crossed the river and headed up the the "big climb" which was used as a KOM point on the ride. I did not hit it hard, just steady but I still pulled away. As I crested the hill I looked back to see if I should wait and continue to work together, but he was too far back so I just got on with it.

Pulled into the the final rest stop to refill the bottles and have a snack just as two others were leaving. I considered not stopping and following their wheel but I needed the water so decided against it. While refilling, the guy I had worked with came in and one other. I appeared to be third last now.

Back on the road. The stop was probably less than 3-4 minutes but my legs had already started seizing up! Crazy. The k continued to tick away. I was into the final 30k. Then 20k, I turn onto the road I've ridden with the Tuesday/Thursday night rides and pass another rider who had stopped for a nature break. I'm fourth last.

10k to go. I cross the river one last time and head up turbo hill. 10k of uphill riding. Maybe it was the snacks I had earlier, maybe it was the rush of knowing was going to complete my first 100k of the year, but for whatever reason my legs felt really strong and I switched into "diesel mode" and started powering over the road.

Up ahead another rider. I claw my way up to him and pass him without slowing or sitting on. More power riding, another rider ahead. I pull up to him and pass.

Just 2000 meters left. Powering home, I finish really strong, and check my time.

I crushed the day. 40 minutes faster! I averaged 28.8kph over 100k! This was faster than my 50 mile ride from Wednesday! What an awesome day. 

Distance: 102.39 km
Speed:  28.76 kmh
Cadence:  86 rpm
AVG HR:  155/185 bpm
Weight:  205 lbs

Thursday, May 12, 2011

1/2 century

Sorry for the short hiatus. It was crunch time at work. Creating exams, grading assignments, exams and essays, and finalizing  grades. So crazy busy I only got out on the bike a few times in the last week and a half and I certainly did not have time to put it all into words.

Words actually became the bane of my existance. Staring at poorly formed sentences, spelling mistakes, atrocious grammar and incomprehensible paragraphs, the very thought putting my own thoughts to a page turned my stomach. But, after a few days of recovery, I'm back and one of the first things I wanted to do to celebrate the end of semester was to get in my delayed 1/2 century. I had planned on doing it in March but things didn't turn out that way and April was chaotic, so I did not get a chance then either. 

Had a few worried thoughts the night before but I figured I would just ride endurance pace and not worry about the time and everything would be fine. So, off I went. Keeping the cadence in the high 80's and the HR @ around 80% max, allowing it to go higher on the hills, I set off. It went off without incident. Except one. Everytime I finished 10K, the times were 22 minutes, 23 minutes, with the occasional 20 minute lap. "Surely this is too fast", I thought. This is similar to a 50K or 60K pace. A little slower than my normal 20-22 minutes for 10K but still pretty fast. But the HR was in the right zone, and the legs were ticking over nicely, so I just carried on. Finished the 87K in 3 hours 10 minutes. The last time I did this route, it took me 3 hours 39 minutes! I would say that yesterday was slightly better.


Distance: 87.21 km
Speed:  27.42 kmh
Cadence:  85 rpm
AVG HR:  157 bpm
Weight:  202.2 lbs