Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Happens in Vegas...

As the saying goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so my babies back at home do not have to know about this, right?

I thought going to Vegas kind of guaranteed me to hook up with some kind of hottie--well, I sure as hell was wrong. You can imagine the look on my face when I got up at 5:30 am to go meet her for the first time--shiiiitttt.

Ahhh--the joys of riding inside--looking forward to the winter.

I think I managed to get about five hours in--quite a bit better than I thought the week would go.

A little pool-side breakfast.

Determined not to gain--not easy with all the fantastic restaurants.

Had to go with iced coffee--how long do you think the extra ice lasted with the 103 degree temperature?

The pool made me miss the kid--they would have loved it. A little rest time between lectures--tomorrow it's gonna be an early start as we are off to Santa Clarita for the 508--can't wait.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vegas, Baby!

As usual, we were running late and I had to rush to catch my airplane. I flew Southwest--a great non-stop flight from Albany to Vegas. It was also a score that they don't charge you for checked baggage, so it was awesome being able to walk onto the plane with just a book and a magazine.

Flying over Omaha--"Hi, Big D!"

After a very nice flight, I finally made it to the hotel. My room is on the 34 th floor and has a window from floor to ceiling-- amazing view of the strip and the airport--not a cloud in the sky and the mountains in the background--pretty nice and strangely enough, it's getting me motivated to do some serious leisuring!

View from my room

I had dinner with a bunch of folks from residency--it was nice to catch up.
This place is crazy--the hotel is literally the size of Cooperstown. Other than the abundance of cigarette smoke, I've been completely content wandering around and watching the complete excess. Of course, it doesn't hurt either that there is a handful of Starbucks strategically placed to keep me going. Off to bed--going to sleep in really late, then go ride (in the hotel gym) so we'll see how that goes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Random images from the last three days

Fall is my favorite time of year to ride--always makes me realize how lucky we are to live where we do.


Up by Rum Hill--love the color.

Out with Mike for 3ish hours. We found some new roads--some steep dirt which made me reconsider the 39x25. Putting in my dirt miles--can't wait for the Jackrabbit Hundy with the Big Man.

We rode in the clouds for a good part of the day--amazing!

Keyes Road--cool, misty and clouds--absolutely fantastic day with Mike. Mike is flying--can't wait to see another piece of Blue Stone on his mantle after next week's race.

Had myself prepared to be cold and wet all day.

I've come to love--okay I've always loved, a nice latte prior to a ride. That's not my pastry--I'm making space for that Blue Tractor burger.

Mother nature was kind enough to get all the rain out of the way while we were inside the coffee shop.

Brain says this is "real" biker food--made me feel "pro" until I realized it's something like 420 calories--then I just plain felt like a fat Amish mule.

Another flat--tubeless sometime soon on the road bikes?

Chris, Nate and Brian. Chris making the fixie look easy--good luck to him next week in the Furnace Creek 508--Yes, that's 508 non-stop miles and oh yeah, he's doing it on the fixed gear.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What I've been up to--all with the Iceman on my mind

Iceman Cometh is coming up in 6 weeks or so and I'm really excited. I love everything about the race and for whatever the reason, I have managed to do very well the last two years, placing 4th last year--only 10 seconds off the podium and 6th the year before--both in fields of nearly 200 riders. I originally felt a win this year was a real possibility, but with the format change that's going to be much harder--nonetheless, my real goal is to go sub 1:50 and with the new format, that should be easier, although perhaps more painful as the race should be quite a bit faster--racing faster people with less traffic to ride around.

So, what have I been up to in an effort to make that sub-1:50 happen? Well, my strategy this year has been totally different from the past 2 years. I have spent the last 6 weeks doing a lot of Z1Z2 rides without any real intensity workouts since the week before Mt.Washington, other than Mt.Greylock, Critz Farm and a ride or two with the Paceline boys.

In my opinion, this is the way the front of a coffee shop should look--it's a blast getting out in a large group.

Heading up Konchar road--next time will definitely hurt a whole lot more, as this is my recent hill of choice for the threshold intervals.

More miles up in Amish country--great roads and few cars. The occasional horse and cart keeps you on your toes.

Due to my high level connections, I got a chance to ride with Tim Duggan while he was in town--what a nice guy. I always wanted to know if the pros really spend a lot of time riding long slow distance--in this case, the answer is yes. I also had the pleasure of riding with him the next day as well when he was doing some intervals--I've always wondered how fast are these guys?--the answer here is really really really fast--I got dropped like I was standing still as we started up Hooker Mountain. My power meter said 460 watts as I was reconciling with the taste of vomit and going backwards--I lasted less than a minute--Timmy accelerated up the hill for 8 more minutes--that boy is CRAZY fast. Timmy-thanks for the great conversation.

I was just talking to Brian about how good I have been feeling in the 250-270 watts range. I think I have really built a nice base and my CTL would support that as it is hovering just below my all-time high. The cost, however, of all the hours on the bike is obviously fatigue, so I have planned a week of real rest in Vegas, which spells sleep and pool side laziness and, oh yes, I have allotted myself exactly 100$ to play the games of chance. Now, if all goes as planned, this will leave me feeling nice and ripe for a build up in intensity and race specific workouts, this of course, will also come with a drop in volume. I am going to do a lot of 1 min., 5 min. and 15 min intervals to add the high end to my base. My goal will be to maintain the same training stress via intensity and ideally my CTL will continue rise until I start to taper. On paper it all seems easy--now let's see if I can make it all happen and the race gods let me deliver--after all they know how much I love the Blue Tractor.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Critz Farm Kermis

I originally thought the Critz Farm race might be fun to do, as it was nearby and a nice way to get back into my intensity blocks for Iceman. I mentioned the race to Cora last week and it turns out that Critz Farm is the kid-favorite pumpkin patch of the last several years. So when I asked Cora if she and the kids were interested in going, I actually think that for once, they were genuinely interested in going to one of my races. Couple that in with a kids race and I was golden--so off we went.

Out pre-riding the course with Phoebe and Max (it takes Bella a while to wake up and get going in the morning and according to her, you don't need to warm up to get great results).

I'm not entirely sure what a kermis is, but this event was really cool. The men's field was broken up into a masters 40+ and an open category, and I would say that there were maybe 10 people on mountain bikes, with the rest on cyclocross bikes. Nate and I both chose to ride mountain bikes (as I don't own a cyclocross bike YET--hint, hint, wife). The course was a mix of dirt roads, some doubletrack and grass, with a touch of mud thrown in to make the kids happy. There were several rises, but no real climbs (except according to Cora and Phoebe). There was one area where most folks on cross bikes dismounted. I personally found that on a mountain bike, it was easier and faster to ride through (not surprising, as I have a hard time running up my driveway). My understanding was that this only differed from a "real" cyclocross course in that it had no man-made barriers. Not to sound soft, but this was fine with me, as the whole dismounting thing is tough for me--I feel like a complete spazz. A lap took about 7 minutes at race pace and the whole race was scheduled for 40 minutes. In a nutshell, this was a fantastically cool event.

Although Max was quite a bit older, he "totally dominated" the two kids races he entered.

Max "rocked the one cog" up to the finish line.

Max kept riding after the finish line--maybe it's hereditary?

Phoebe elected to do the 1-lap race--looking great all kitted up in her Jackrabbit gear.

Coming into the finish line with Phoebe--she was a real trooper and finished out her lap after having some mechanical issues on the climb.

Ahh...Boo Miles--she's a handful and a real character. She adamantly stated all week that she was not going to race, so I was a bit surprised and ecstatic when she jumped on the line for the 3-lap race.

Boo finds the untraditional kit of sparkly studded jeans and her Littlest Pet Shop tee far more stylish than the Jackrabbit kit. No joke, but just prior to this photo, she was complaining that her clothes got muddy. "Daddy made me ride through a puddle..." fake tears and all. If you believe that...

If you do not know Boo Miles--this is Boo. Less than a minute after taking 3rd overall in the 3 lap kids race it's all ho-hum.

The kids race was a huge success. The Ommegangsters and the other folks putting on the event were fantastic--especially with all the kids. The crowds of people cheering them on was so cool and put huge smiles on their faces. Very safe to say that we'll be back next year. So how did my race go?

Rolling smooth--trouble to come.

I really wasn't sure how this race was going to go, as I rode pretty hard Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. As this outing was nothing more than an intensity workout for me, I wasn't really concerned about a result, but I didn't really want to drag my ass around with crappy legs.

Well, the gods were good to me in that my legs felt great--the more I do this, the more I think training and racing is voodoo. If there were ever a time that my legs should have been shot, today was the day. Either way, I'll take it and really enjoy it for that matter. I started out on the far right of the start line, which was probably a mistake, as it put me back a ways going into the first left-hand corner. As we rounded the second corner, we headed down a bumpy straight, which was one of the areas where I thought being on a mountain bike was really beneficial. I was behind Nate and I'm guessing we were in the middle of the pack. We went through a series of straight dirt roads, which I think favored the CX bikes--here I had to work hard to keep up.

The pace seemed to settle towards the end of the first lap and my goal was just to pick off a rider in front of me. All was going really well and I could see that I was making time on the riders behind me. By the fourth lap, I felt like I was really cruising. I was flying on one of the dirt roads on the back of the course when I tried to go around a slower rider on the left, leading into the bumpy double-track. I was too far left, caught my front wheel in a rut and went down. It was probably the fastest section of the course for me--it was kind of surreal in that I remember riding sideways for what seemed like a while and then I let loose and supermanned it into the tall grass.

Unfortunately doing what I do for a living doesn't help. As I was flying through the air, I had a multitude of thoughts--liver lac, tibial plateau fracture, dislocated finger, head injury--all bad. So after the initial shock of hitting the ground and realizing that it was just bumps and bruises, I remember having the distinct thought that now I'm a "real" bike racer, as this was my first time going down really hard at full speed, knock on wood. I initially tried to jump back on my bike and ride, but my front wheel wouldn't turn. I was ready to turn in, as I thought the wheel had tacoed. One of the spectators came over as I was cleaning myself off, put my chain back on and reset the wheel in the dropouts. Although it wasn't perfect, I was able to finish out the last lap and a half. The fall cost me a bunch--I really had no idea where I was placed when I fell, but Cora estimated that I was somewhere in the back half of the top ten.

Nate racing for an extra place at the finish line.

As always, it was a total pleasure racing with Nate. With any luck, I'll be able to con him into doing a handful of cross races this fall--we'll see.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

The real hillclimber of the day

Phoebe wanted to go for a bike ride when we got home from Mt. Greylock, so I asked her if she wanted to ride up Chicken Farm Hill. She said sure and off we went. I knew this was going to be tough for her, as it is for most adults let alone a 6 year old, but she killed "almo" hill several days ago so I figured why not give it a try.

According to, the actual climb she did was 0.7 miles starting with 6% and finishing at 17%--not sure how accurate this is, but you get the point. She started to climb from Main Street and stopped at the corner on the dirt section--pretty amazing--I had to continually tell her to slow down as I was afraid she was going to poop out. I'm so unbelievably proud of her!!! She wants to do it again with BooBoo--can't wait!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mt. Greylock Hillclimb Race Report

I was at the end of a "rest" week, which is typically a good thing as far as racing goes but I had my reservations for several reason. First, I have not done any intensity since the week prior to Mt. Washington, as I am back to base building to ramp up for Iceman. Secondly, although I'm supposed to adhere to a strict diet of base miles, I binged on Friday by going a touch too hard with my Paceline teammates Nate and Steve, so I was not so sure how my legs were going to feel Saturday morning.

With that said, I was very much looking forward to climbing Mt Greylock. I tallied it up as a "B" race, which is always nice as my body knows that means I can sleep the night before which I did. We got an early start without the kids for the two-ish hour drive over to North Adams. As we made our way out of the fog, it was absolutely beautiful out--cool and crisp in the low 50's with 3 hours to get a bit warmer by race time--perfect climbing weather.

I had considered taking the Serotta with the 34x27 but opted for the Parlee and its forgiving 34x36--largely a decision made by Nate and Steve on Friday--good choice! After completing the now compulsory pre-race de-bulking process, I managed to get in about twenty minutes on the trainer--I was sweating like I was sick and starting to dread what was to come, as my legs were really feeling dead. I was hoping this was a case of a little more warm-up and they would come around. I was actually feeling warm (not sure if I felt like ass or it was the temperature) so I changed out of the skinsuit which always runs a bit on the warm side.

I was told I had the last start time--not sure if that would be a good or bad thing. It dawned on me that I really had no idea what this climb was like other than it was 9.2 miles instead of the published 8.9 which was no big deal and that Chris, who rode most of it on his fixed gear said all the steep stuff was at the beginning and it was not too bad.

The riders went off every 30 sec, so I figured I would try to pass as many people as I could without getting passed (which should not be to hard given I was supposed to be the last to start) and finish under 50 minutes which seemed realistic.

So at 10:21:30 I was off and sure enough the steep stuff came quickly--about 100 yards or so the course turned left up Furnace Street and up it went for about a mile or so--mapmyride had it in the 10-11% range but I remember seeing signs on the way down saying it was 17%--either way it hurt and I was seriously questioning how the day was going to go. Thankfully it eased up--maybe 2-4% with some rollers after the first mile and I really had to resist the temptation to ease up as I was now in and out of the big ring. I could not figure out what was going on, my legs felt smoked but my HR was right where I wanted it. I seemed to be going pretty fast--I had already passed 3-4 people. As I started to think it was going to be easy then of course the questions started--was I going out too hard? Nah! Was I rationalizing to justify backing off a bit? Most likely. Could it really be this "flat" all the way up? No way. Who is this guy who just passed me? I thought I was last to start?

Then as I passed the two mile mark, the grade kicked up again, I'm guessing it averaged a good 10% which lasted for the next three and a half miles. I managed to get into a rhythm which was helping my cause, but I could not get back on the wheel of the guy who passed me and
I felt like I was going backwards as he rode away from me. By mile 6 the grade mellowed again and fortunately I was feeling a lot better and much of the last 3 miles were spent in the big ring.

At the top, I flew past the finish line without even seeing it. I must have looked like a complete fool as I was full gas fifty feet past the finish line, screaming at a car that was running me off the road. I heard someone say "you're done" with the inflection that I was riding the short bus rather than a bike. I looked down at the Garmin to see 48:39 less the 9 seconds of over-shooting the finish I finished with a very satisfying 48:30.

I'm not sure how good that is or where I placed as we did not stick around for the results. Given the lack of intensity in my training and the suspect legs I had, it does not really matter, I was very happy with the result.

This looks like any one of the last four hillclimbs I have done--perfect with not a cloud in the sky. I'm definitely going back--great climb with spectacular views--I'd love to ride it as part of a longer ride. I'll see what I can put together for sometime this fall.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm all typed out.

I do not feel like typing, so I thought I would leave you some photos from this week's riding-- another 14 hours of "base miles"--not bad for a "rest" week.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Soft Bike Porn.

I know I have not mentioned mountain biking much lately, but with our recent discussions about a return to Leadville next year I have secretly been thinking about new bike options. We came across these gems at Windham.

I'm still not sold on the SRAM XX. I am sold on the 2x10 however--found a very nice solution --when can I get it?

I've long been a fan of the Scott hardtails and have quietly been waiting for the carbon 29er--it's here--very nice. I thought the Carbon Air Niner was an easy choice, but now?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Still just riding.

Another great day--more beautiful weather and 4 more hours on the bike.

Northwest of Milford--more gravel and no cars--very nice!

North of rt. 20 on the gravel--can't wait for the Hundy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just riding.

Like I said before, I should have been working on the house but I just could not help myself. The weather has been gorgeous and begging me to ride--I got 23 hrs in over the last 6 days--by far my biggest week of the year in terms of volume. My training schedule has me back in the base period, as my next"A" race is Iceman in early November. It has been so nice to just ride. Other than a couple of relatively short tempo efforts on the mountain bike, it has all been LSD. Brian and I have made an effort to find new roads all week which has been a blast as we have ridden a ton of dirt and gravel--getting me psyched for the North O Jackrabbit Hundy--can't wait.