Friday, May 30, 2008

Moving up on event day.

Ahh yes, only 2 days away from that 50 miler early/mid season goal. For some reason I've got just a touch of jitters about it.

Last weekend was the last "stretch it out" of the early season in preparation for this goal. 35 miles and 2400 vertical feet (I'll point out that the climbing on the route for Sunday is not nearly as tough as what we encountered on the 35 mile training ride - max grades of 20% in some places, although it was beautiful terrain) were an easy enough final ramp up. This week has been a case of taking it nice and easy, just running through my weight routine a little bit to keep everything in shape, and keeping the riding very mellow on the trainer. I think tonight I'll head out on the trail for a shorter more difficult effort to wake up the legs, spend Saturday recovering and then hit it good on Sunday.

Sunday's climbs are looking to be more the extended type: 8-10% grades over 3-4 miles. Just to be sure I've swapped my standard cranks for compact rings, and swapped my aero rear wheel for a conventional, lighter box section type rear wheel. Still running Michelin Pro 3 Race tires, still sticking with the 11-25 cluster on the rear. It should be a pretty easy run up the climbs, so I'm a little bit stoked on that.

After this? Maybe I'll spend more time on the mountain bike for a while. I know there's a 6 hour race in August to train for and a metric (or maybe a full) century in September. Ah hell, let's take this one day at a time: Sunday first, then I'll figure life out.

Friday, May 23, 2008

What a week...

So after a great 28 mile training ride last weekend, I haven't seen the bike for a while. Why?

I wandered back from that weekend with a horrific sore throat. I could hardly drink water without wanting to tear my own tonsils out with a pair of kitchen shears. After a quick visit to the doc, it appears that it is some kind of viral tonsilitis, most likely due to the nasty allergy season and my constant post-nasal drip. Glorious. At least he gave me a script for some pills to get be back on track. Finally, I feel more like myself, and I'm itching for tomorrow's 35 mile training ride. I hope I haven't fallen too far back by being completely inactive this week, but I guess we'll soon find out.

I think it's time for a good dinner tonight and a good night's sleep. Both of those will help immeasurably.

Hopefully there will be more nice hairpins out there to ascend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

If it's not one thing, it's another!

So, it was nice out today (about 64 degrees and partly sunny with a little wind) so I decided to go out for a nice easy training ride, despite the fact that I've really felt pretty shitty most of the week. The first problem I encountered was the fact that I didn't really decide to go out until I got home from work and realized that the weather was still being cooperative. That means I haven't really eaten anything since about noon or so when I had lunch (and I decided to jump on the bike at around 4 PM) so I was terribly under-fueled the entire ride. This means I spent a lot of the ride on the verge of cramping up and just feeling pretty crappy in general.

The second problem I ran into came when I tried to pump a little extra air in my front tire since it's been low after not riding for a week. The net result? See below...

For some reason, I don't see that as being normal in any way, shape or form. To add insult to injury, I've got ONE tube that will fit, and it happens to be the spare in my saddle bag. Of course I have plenty of mountain bike tubes and cross tubes. Argh.

In any case, even though I felt pretty crappy on the bike, I still managed 21 miles, upped my MPH by 1.9MPH for this ride and dropped my average HR by 2 BPM. The only problems I had were, surprisingly, climbing. My knees just aren't happy with the height of my saddle, which means it may be time to re-evaluate my entire position on the bike and change a few things.

Sounds like a good project for the weekend.

And speaking of the weekend, it looks like Saturday will be a nice hillclimbing ride to train for our 50 mile Ride The Ridge on 6/1, and Sunday may be a mellow mountain bike ride. It would be nice to get back on my King, really. I mean, I only built it this winter and have....maybe 2 rides on it so far? Ahhh....did I ever say I'm disgusted with the puny mileage I've put in so far this year?

YTD total mileage: 207.64 miles. I've got to work on that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How tough is it to not ride for a week?

Well, it's certainly not easy at all. Personal happenings have prevented me from stashing myself away on the saddle and putting in any decent road miles lately. Well, I've gotten NO miles lately, road or trail. It's really killing me, but still, at least I'm having the time to sit down and do some reading to get my training for the next couple weeks in line.

After the early part of the season I've picked up a Garmin Edge 305 (which I highly recommend, by the way) and I've been spending some time seeing what I can do with that. I'm reasonably sure I've got some values on my lactate threshold, which is really what I need to be training around. I've decided that my focus this year will have to revolve around vertical: I need to work on my climbing, and I've been doing a fair job so far on the road bike. It's certainly tough to do since I live in an area that's nearly as flat as the midwest. It's especially tough when your "hilly" route is only about 600 feet of vertical. I guess I'll have to have those big days on the weekends when I head downstate to ride around New Paltz.

Oh, and since I mention New Paltz, I'll be riding the 50 mile Ride The Ridge charity tour ( on June 1st. If you're at all around the area, I highly suggest you give it a go. It's going to be a blast.

It looks like I'll be riding my Cannondale CAAD4 for this one, outfitted with Dura Ace shifters, Ultegra derailleurs and cranks and Sram cassette. I think the 39x25 low gearing should be more than fine for the hills we'll be hitting, but I'll know within the next week when we pre-ride the steep part of the route. Here's hoping that climbing and recovery work pays off!