Monday, June 21, 2010

Whiteface Hill Climb Report

Sorry I do not have lots of sexy pictures--I flew this one solo. I was really excited to head up to Whiteface as I have read it is a great climb. In July's Bicycle Magazine (can't find a link, p. 60 if you're interested), they compared it to Alpe d'Huez in length and grade. As a sidebar, I think the descent is crazy, as the frost heaves at 50 mph on a 13 lb. climbing bike make for a really scary ride.

I left Cooperstown and it was absolutely beautiful out. Three and a half hours later, when I arrived up in Wilmington, it was overcast and trying to rain. After signing in and finding out that I was in the third of nine waves, I believe, I had enough time to climb the first three miles, which served as an ample warm up--something that was sorely missed at Mt. Washington.

I wasn't sure what to expect, as I did not taper at all for this race and I did an extremely heavy week of training. My pipe dream goal was to go 54 minutes or better. Given how my legs felt, I thought that breaking an hour was a fair target. My strategy was to average about 95% of threshold and let the time work itself out. It was fun sitting on the starting line looking at all the modified gearing that people come up with to get up these hills. I later realized that Whiteface is very doable with a 25x11 on the back--the 36x11 sure looks good, though.

As the start gun went off, I was absolutely going backwards for the first mile. I think there were only 3-4 people were behind me. I couldn't figure out what was going on, as I was feeling pretty good. When I looked down at the Powermeter and saw that I was putting out 350 watts, I was hoping this was a case of a bunch of people going out way too hard. I dialed it back quite a bit, hoping the pace would slow. By the time we hit Santa's Workshop, things seemed to be coming back a bit.

I felt pretty good and got into a rhythm. I started passing quite a few people, which gave me the sense that I was flying. As always, pacing is so important, so I concentrated really hard on my cadence and maintaining my power. At the 20 minute mark, I was averaging about 2% over threshold and realizing that I wasn't going to be able to maintain this pace for an hour. Although it didn't slide off catastrophically, the power did come down more that I would have liked over the next 37 minutes--not ideal pacing on my part.

I had not pre-ridden the course, but was told that it flattens out at the top. I just wish I had known how much, as it seemed like the finish came pretty quickly. I finished in 57:38--I believe 47th overall and 14th in my age group, although I haven't seen any official results yet. As seems to be my MO on hill climbs, as I got to the top and got off the bike, I started freezing my ass off and only had my rain jacket on me. After ravaging the well-stocked food station at the top, I didn't have to wait too long before I noticed that people had already started down. If you haven't figured it out by now, I'll say it again--I'm not a huge fan of going down hills. I was reasonable certain that this was going to be sketchy. I hit 52 mph, which in my opinion was crazy, and there were people flying by me like I was standing still. Wow!

Luckily the rain didn't start until I got to the car. A quick change netted me third for getting in on the free massage table. A very nice bonus for what was a great race. I'm already trying to think of a way to go back up and ride it again--looking forward to next year's race.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Westside Dirty Benjamin

At the start, a happy and only slightly confident Dave. In the bottom right corner of this shot you can see a very unique single speed. A unicycle. Someone was going to do 106 miles on a uni! Qman was impressed. I was wondering about the taint damage.

At the half way. I was pretty bummed because I was working pretty hard and hadn't passed anyone in a long way. Only a few had passed me and my pace was relatively strong. I told myself I would back half. Anyway, I rode up to a group of four who were chatting away and one dude asked me what I just ate. I didn't compute until he said you rebound fast. I chalked that up to the fact that a small group passed me up a hill about an hour before. I was delerious and in a no talk zone as they blew by on their "super brutal cyclocross bikes" (say in a dorkey robot voice) anyway, I said thanks and hit the gas for a 15 minute leg burner. Needless to say that was my only tactical move of the day.

I rode into the halfway a litle despondant, but after my slight move on the 4 cyclo dudes I thought I might be aable to reel in a few more after the refuel. I rolled in to see the whole family and about 40 or 50 people laying around in the grass. I thought fuck there are only about 40 or 50 people in front of me by my calculation and here they all are. So, I never got off the bike I grabbed a Starbucks double shot and pounded 1/2 a pbj and took off right as Jess was saying "everybody is taking like 10 minutes what are you doing?" I guess to everybody, wifey included, I looked like a tool rushing in and out. I just figured, hey I'm going to make you idiots chase me. So I took off. I counted 20-25 tire tracks in the road as I was whaling away trying to put as much distance between me and the "slackers." Then the trail got a little loose and the gravel gave way to a section of very powdery dust. My bigger tires didn't seem to notice. But, it made tracking really easy b/c all the bikes in front of me were searching for purchase. I counted tracks. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, fat tires. What the the gravel each pair looked like two bikes. When they began to weave around climbing in the dusty ground I could make out each pair individually. Holy I really began to whale. At about this time I was feeling like the back half strategy was going to pay off. A group of 3 went by noticebly faster than me, and blew by a turn. As I slowed to turn around and go back I yelled out to them and a broken spoke flew into my der and crunch good buy xt der and hanger. 1 hour later and 40 riders passing I have a SS and a good gear ratio. It was a real bummer to see all those guys go by who I would have been holding off mostlydue to a very flat second half that had very loose my advantage. I figure I was going to be able to average 16 on the way home. On the SS I averaged 14. Pretty fast for my first 45 miles on a SS.
Here is a shot of the little dudes. Mack has a red mohawk.

The finish, legs cramping. I had just enough water for a 3 and 1/2 hour second half. It took closer to 4 and 1/2. That left me rationing a little and I finished my rationing with about 1/2 hour to go.

The single speed.

Dirty Hands

Ouch, as the pack comes off.

So, I finished my first official hundie race in pretty exciting fashion. What I can say is that in the first 50 miles I was under 8 hour pace and the second half which was mostly flat or downhill...well, lets just say I managed to limp in. I had a marvelous and spectacular technical. With the help of a bunch of great local riders: Tan (sp) Neal, Jay, and a really cool local shop owner Porter we converted the EMD to a single speed for my roughly 45 mile finish. I hope to pay it forward someday. I had a perfect gear that didn't spinout until I hit 16-17 MPH. It made for a few uncomfortable climbs when my legs were scorched, but I never dabbed. I only changed gears once, stupidly b/c the der was gone. That did make me feel stupid, but hey, nobody will ever know...right. I'm thiking SS is really good for BigDave...less to break. Anyway Dr. MJ is team bikes are in order.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Little Friend

This little guy hit me in the head about an hour into my two hour and twenty minute ride. I tried to feel around when it happened and felt nothing so I gave it no more thought.

When I got home and took the helmet off, I noticed him as he popped up from the vent.
Just another reason to wear a hat under your helmet. The kids were impressed that I was not scared and would "let" a bee "ride" with me--I just played cool--not a big fan of Hymenopteras.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blackfly Challenge Race Report

This was a rough week for my bikes. The Powertap was not working--got it fixed--then it stopped working again. My 29er rear ZTR race rim was cracked and I sent it off to be replaced by Stan's crash replacement program. On a more minor front I managed to strip a chain ring bolt on the Serotta. That's a little backround as to how the week was going.

I was very excited about the Blackfly for some reason--partially because a group of us from Cooperstown were going and also because after riding the course earlier this week, I really thought I could do well. I woke up physically feeling good but for some reason I still felt like something was not right. I chalked that up to the last minute late night change-out of the rear wheel--remember I had a similar problem the morning of the LT 100--really bad karma.

We picked up Nate and were on the road by 6:30--on time for a change. I was a little startled when the GPS said we would get t0 Inlet by 8:30--a full two hours before the race start--I've never been that early to a race in my life. I figured I would use the time for a nice solid warm up. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived in Inlet it was pouring which pretty much left us running for cover and dragging our asses getting ready.

I'm the guy who always brings everything to a race--like leg warmers when the forecast is for the 80's. But somehow I managed to forget my knickers and baselayer--not really a big deal but it was a touch cold (in the low 50's) and certainly the rain was not helping--more bad karma. With a brief and wet warm up, I was feeling surprisingly good.

Do not blink because this is going to be a really short race report. After getting a nice spot on the starting line, I managed to get myself to the front pretty quickly. I settled in behind 10 or so guys on a cyclo-cross bikes and was feeling really good. I stayed up front and the first paved section was going like a road race. My plan was to kill myself to stay up front over the first couple of climbs, as I figured that was where the race was going to get sorted out. I was with Chris on his single speed cross bike and Nate also on a cross bike. As we hit the first little climb at the 2-mile mark, I was going full throttle and got to the top with the lead group--I'm guessing maybe 15 guys. I saw only one other mountain bike--I was feeling really good, but then I noticed that my HRM was now not working--what's up with all this?

As I suspected, the cross bikes all took off over the top and I was totally spun out in the 42x11 and loosing ground. As we made a quick left right combo onto the dirt road, they slowed just a touch. I was hoping the big tires would now be an advantage. As I hopped over a 4 inch rock all was going really well until I landed and could not figure out what the hell just happened.

I heard something that sounded like a shotgun going off--the 2 guys next to me screamed something and the bike got really squishy--OK, I flatted! As I tried to pedal to the side of the road, I was not moving.

I'm not sure how this happened--someone thought I hit the wheel with the chain ring when it came off--who knows.

I then realized this was hanging from my right foot--I'm thinking--what the f@#$ !

I looked at the bike and realized what had happened and knew my day was over. I was very lucky that I was not hurt and that this happened a couple hundred yards from where the spectators were, otherwise I would have been walking or even worse waiting a good long time for help. I was very fortunate to get a ride (thanks Tim) to Indian Lake where I was able to wait for Cora. No cell service can be quite a problem.

I was so bummed--I really felt like I had a good race in me.

Chris riding very strong on his SS--finished in 2:15 and change--huge ride on a 53x17--just plain sick--he was 9th in his category--congratulations to him on a great day/ride.

Mike finished strong as well--very nice! Great job getting 1st in his category/age group!

Nate smiling, though not having fun--he'll tell you it was not his day. Nate--I know you easily have top ten speed--Cora and I had a great time with you in the car and I really look forward to racing with you more in the future.

Although I didn't get any pictures of him, John did a fantastic job and placed 5th in his category and age group. More importantly, he looked sweet in his new Jackrabbit kit!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CycleOps Power News Article by Joey Adams

Check this out. I'm famous--nah, apparently I'm just an ordinary guy. Seriously, though, a huge thank you to Joey for all his help over the last couple years.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mt. Washington Practice Ride Report

It's kind of crazy to think about the insane things we do because we are addicted to riding. Case in point--our trip to New Hampshire this weekend to do the practice ride for Newton's Revenge.
Crazy spending close to 15 hours in the car getting to and from Mt. Washington as there is no real direct route from Cooperstown.
Crazy getting up at 5 am.
Crazy that this was all to ride for about a hour and fifteen minutes. One might suggest that this is not the most efficient use of time.

As you know by now, Mt. Washington is one of my A races this year, so I felt it was well worth the drive to go up and see just how hard the climb really is. The start was any time between 5 and 7 this morning. I opted to "sleep in" which meant we were up at 5 to make it to the start by 6:30. As I was signing in, it was 60 degrees at the bottom and 40 at the top with 30 mph winds. I was told there was a 2 hour window of "no rain" forecasted--of course, that was 4:30 to 6:30 am.

The challenge was figuring out what to wear. I started out way over dressed. Ten minutes in I was burning up, so I dumped a layer with Cora which left me with a thin base layer and a long sleeve top with knickers. This combo worked just fine until I got above the tree line.

Cruising along at about the 3 mile mark. Rain status--light drizzle and I'm guessing it was some where in the low to mid 50's--very comfortable.

Popping out above the trees--the rain got heavier and the wind started to show its presence. I was starting to think it was getting a bit cold.

I think the unpaved section starts at about the 5 mile mark and goes to just past the 6 mile mark. I'm sure when dry, it's not all that bad. This morning it was wet, so to add insult to injury, it was a real power suck. I could feel my skinny little tires just sinking in. For whatever the reason, I found that riding up the little streams of running water gave the firmest ground.

Just before getting off the dirt, the rain was really coming down. Luckily the wind on this side of the mountain were not blowing as hard. I remember feeling like I hit a "flat" section which was much needed as I was able to ease up a little--I looked down at the Garmin and the "flat" section was weighing in at a corpulant 14%.

Once I got off the dirt, there was another relatively steep pitch and then it seemed to ease up a bit--I'm guessing this is somewhere between the 6 and 7 mile mark. As you can see, the fog had set in--what you can't see is the rain, which was much heavier and the wind had to be at a full 30 mph--I felt fortunate as the winds are 75+ mph 100 days out of the year.

I actually managed to ride the last mile above threshold, which I had not intended on doing but I was getting really cold and there was something about seeing the 6 and 7 mile signs that got me kind of jacked up.

You certainly can't tell, but this is the last 50 yards and it's 22% grade over the roughest paved road. Funny thing is that it's so unbelievably cool that the 500+ watts it took to get up came pretty darn easy. I can only image how cool it will be with hoards of spectators hootin' and hollerin'.

You may notice I now have a rain jacket on--this was my second time up the steep part. I beat Cora to the top on my first trip so I re-rode it for the photo-op. Not the brightest move as the 5 minutes of standing around soaking wet in the wind before going back up literally almost did me in--I have never been that cold--kind of scary how fast it came on.

A shot from the car on the way down--it's a pretty spectacular mountain and it's an even cooler ride. I was very pleased with my effort. My goal was to average 90% of my threshold and break the coveted 1:20 mark which I did. The road up averages 12% grade and other than the first couple hundred yards at the start, it literally never lets up. I started late which meant my "warm up" was on the hill--not so fun--it took a good 20 minutes to get into a rhythm. Teaching point to self--bring the trainer and a tent next time.

I'm scheduled to ride Mt Washington 3 more times this year and my goal is to increase my average power each time and then go for broke on the 21st of August with the lightest set-up possible. If I can ride at threshold for the whole trip up, I should be able to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 1:10. Of course, this is all contingent on the weather as it is every bit as unpredictable and nasty as they say--oh I forgot to mention a brief moment of hail today--sound familiar? What's the deal with me and big climbs?

Going to scout the Blackfly course tomorrow--did not spend enough time in the car this weekend, so I thought I'd add another 5 hours. At least this time, it will be sans whining, fighting and cranky kids. Good times.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Kit on Old Fat Man

Contrary to popular opinions the new kit was totally necessary. Totally. What you really have to ask yourself is if it is necessary for spinning class. I thought so and gave it a whirl today. Special thanks to the team captain for suiting me up.