Sunday, March 29, 2009


The rain held off nicely for this ride. Again a pretty big group.

59.1 miles, 20.3 mph, 2 hours 55 minutes. I wore my HR monitor and spent roughly 15 miles of the ride around 180 bpm, which is essentially AT. I was one of about 4 riders who were driving the pace for the first 30 miles. I definitely feel a lot stronger than I did a month ago. I'm anxious to go race this weekend at VaTech and see how I do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tempo Work

Squeezed in another 25 or so today. Spent probably 20 or 30 minutes of the ride at or above AT - essentially TT pace. Very painful, but noticeably more tolerable every time I do it. I didn't wear a HR monitor for this ride - I'm getting pretty good at gauging effort level by feel.

Numbers and such:
25.6 miles
20.4 mph
1 hr 16 minutes

54 degrees with winds 7-12 mph out of the NW. Wore bibs, base layer, jersey, leg warmers, short gloves and felt distinctly over-dressed for much of the ride. Probably should have skipped the base layer.

No race this weekend... again. I'll do the CSH ride Saturday morning and then head home for some family time.

I also moved my cleats inboard about 1.5 mm before the ride, and it made a huge difference in feel. I didn't immediately go, "oh man, these cleats are in a weird position" as soon as I clipped into the pedals, like I normally do. My shoes are now a little further away from the crank arms, so they don't rub when my feet slide around.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Recovery Ride

I was stuck inside doing homework all day today, and finally threw in the towel around 5 pm and went out for a short-ish recovery ride.

I felt surprisingly good considering the pace and distance yesterday - no soreness, legs felt really good. They were lacking some of the "pop" I like to feel before a race weekend, but they did not by any means feel dead.

The lack of stiffness or sore spots was really nice - it means my bike fit is really good. I think I am going to move the cleats a bit more to get my shoes slightly further out - my legs and feet feel a bit pinched right now.

26 miles, 18.1 mph, 1.5 hours, and a whole bunch of dumb shi!ts who had forgotten how to drive. Since I know I'm gonna be cooped up doing more homework at least through Wed, it was good to get this little ride in.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

CSH Saturday Groupride

Today I finally hooked up with the Cycling Spoken Here Saturday groupride. I attempted to do this ride a couple of months ago, but missed the start by about 2 minutes because I got incredibly lost in Cary/Apex (don't laugh - my navigation skills are pretty pathetic) on the way there. Today, I got there in plenty of time to enjoy my traditional pre-ride Bojangles chicken biscuit.

By the numbers:
  • Dist: 65.9 miles
  • Avg. Spd: 19.8 mph
  • Duration: 3 hrs 20 minutes.

  • NCSU bibs and jersey
  • base layer
  • leg warmers
  • NCSU arm warmers
  • short finger gloves

Food: Bojangles biscuit ~30 minutes before, one clif bar between hours 2 and 3. Minimal hunger after ride.

I was freezing my a$$ off for the first 20 minutes or so - it wasn't much above 40 degrees when we rolled out. However, the temps warmed up to around 50 pretty quickly.

The group starting out was around 30+ riders - freaking huge for an un-marshaled groupride. About half of these people split off to do a shorter and slower ride roughly 30 minutes in. Riding in a group this big gave me a better understanding of why motorists hate cyclists in large packs - it really does get un-manageable and we become a nearly insurmountable road block for them. While cyclists have every right to the road, traffic law requires that vehicles that obstruct traffic for an unreasonable amount of time pull off the road and let traffic clear. But without a clear and assertive ride leader, this won't happen.

The short version is I played a very active role in setting the pace and "doing work" in general. I spend a lot of time at the front, and some time off the front. I felt really strong for the whole ride. It's a little early to say, but I'm probably one of the 5 strongest riders in the group.

The pace was hard for the first 30 or so miles. Hard as in 25-28 mph hard. You know you're putting the hurt on guys when you come off the front of a rotating paceline and no one's there to pull through on your wheel. :-) This was the most fun part of the ride: a no-holds barred, all-out hammerfest of pain.

At mile 35 we pulled into a gas station for a pee break. After this, the pace became very civilized and mellow, almost sociable for a while. Then slowly, the pace started to come up again as we headed back into Cary. It never returned to its previous level of thrashing, but we were averaging in the low 20s, and by this point in the ride, on rolling hills, this was plenty painful.

All-in-all a very fun, fast ride right at the skill level I need. There are some sketch parts, like 5 miles on the shoulder of Rt. 64, and some slight nuances in group behavior that put me off a little bit, but overall a ride I will definitely be doing again soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fast Fixed Fun

Tonight I went out to Centennial to meet up with BSane, one of our B riders who's pretty strong. The plan was to do essentially a crit practice on our fixed gears. This was a surprising amount of fun, and one of the most enjoyable hour-and-a-half's I've had recently.

It's kinda odd, this little exercise we did really drove home the point that the bike does not make you fast. If you're fast, you're gonna be fast on most every bike. I always think of my road bike as my go-fast bike, but we were doing the crit course as fast or faster on fixed bikes, because you cannot coast through the corners. No coasting means you're turning the pedals, so might as well put some power to 'em and be productive.

The workout we got was pretty amazing. We did 10 laps of the crit course, alternating who was leading and setting the pace, then the final lap was a free-for-all. I had the advantage of much taller gearing, so I won the sprint (52x14 vs. 48x15 I think). Then we did a spin-out to cool down a little, then 2 hill repeats at full power. These hurt so much more on a fixed gear it's not even funny - you're stuck in one gear the whole way up. Then some tooling around to chill, then 10 more laps of the crit course ( I won the sprint again).

I'm thinking of taking my fixed gear to the regular crit practice - it's a better workout, the bike is better suited to doing crits anyway (handles sharper, more pedal clearance), and it forces you to be very careful through the corners - e.g. corner well.

No races for the next two weekends - skipping WVa and UVa/JMU got cancelled. I'm gonna do the Cycling Spoken Here groupride on Saturday... finally!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So It's Been a While...

So it's been a while since I've posted. The wolfpack revenge went well - a solo breakaway on lap two gathered some horsepower and stayed away for the finish, and I managed 7th place.

Annapolis and the Naval Academy race was f*cking miserable - blowing 20-25, 35 degrees and overcast. Due to not sleeping well, not eating right, and riding on someone else's rear wheel with a worn cassette, (oh yeah, mine went flat 5 minutes before the start), I got OTB fairly quickly and stayed there. The TT, which I had been looking forward to, was canceled because of snow and ice. FREAKING SNOW AND ICE!

Spring Break felt more like winter break, what with all the snow on the ground. Didn't get enough riding in because of this, and by this point in the year I was completely and utterly sick of riding in the cold, and I resolved not to do it any more, regardless of what it did to my training. If I'm not having fun, what's the point?

William and Mary was a blast. The weather was simply amazing - near 70 degrees and very light wind, and our accomodations at the KOA were superb. The TT on Saturday went really well - I was in a good position mentally and physically, and put down a time that I know is very close to my best - 23.3 mph for 12.5 miles. Last year, I managed 20.5 mph for the same TT. That's a big improvement in power over one year.

The next day for the RR I was feeling really good, despite working hard the day before and putting nearly 45 miles in before the day was out. The plan was for Walker and Brian to try and get a break set up, and I would babysit the pack. For the first lap I felt like I was really on top of things - my positioning in the pack was good, I was riding cleanly and keeping an eye on the pack. Then we hit the big KOA climb, and I made the mistake of trying to shift to the small chainring on the first upswinging section. The chain dropped off completely when I was in the middle of the pack, and then jammed up. I managed to unclip without sending anyone down, which was good. Not so good was what the jam had done to my chain. It took me a solid 5 minutes to unjam it and get it back on the chainring. I got back on the bike and started to prepare to TT back to the main group, when I discovered one of the links was twisted about 45 degrees. This meant my race was over, for the second year in the row.

This race had a lot of casualities - another one of our riders got caught up in a crash that totalled his rear wheel and banged him up pretty good. There were 4 or 5 other riders who can in all bloodied up as well. Definitely not a clean race.

The latest happening is I finally bit the bullet and shaved my legs. Yeah, there goes my last pretense at being normal.

The next couple weeks I'll have off, as far as racing is concerned - a couple races got cancelled, and West Virginia is a 8 hour drive for a measly sub-30 mile race and a crit. No thanks.