Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Tour of Page County Stage Race

Category 3/4
Luray, VA

Starters: 74

This was supposed to be three event stage race.  Due to the storm on Friday night, the road race was cancelled.  So instead we headed out for a few hours of hill climbing.

Day two was the time trial and the Criterium.  The TT report is below; I did not do the Criterium.  It was very technical; the temperature was peaking at the high 90s and decided that this was not the crit for me to really get back into the swing of things with. 

Luray Caverns Time Trial

The course was smooth, started on a fairly steep descent then entered a good set of rollers.   This was an out and back 9 mile TT.  The first half the elevation loss was greater than the gain so overall it averaged more of descent.  There were several turns that made it easier to break it down into quarters since there was not marking other than the actual course.

Weather was pretty warm; temperature at the start was 79 degrees.  There was no wind to speak of during the race.

The plan was to use my LT from prior to the wreck, around 300 watts.  I set my Garmin for time, power zones, distance and cadence; learning from the last TT.  The plan was to shot for less than 24 minutes.  So I wanted to stay in Zone 4 and hit each of the quarter segments at about 5 min and 40 seconds each.   I did not pre-ride the course but drove it several times.  Did a good warm-up for about 45 minutes but had to wait a little while for my start time.

I had a good start and a good descent.  Scott Giles voice continued to ring in my head, don’t rest until you have the bike back up to speed on the climbs.  So that is what I did across each roller.  I averaged about 25.13 mph on the outbound and hit each of my segments on time.  The return was more of a gradual uphill but was able to stay in zone (for the most part) and hit my times.  I ended up at 23:57 just barely under 24 minutes.  I had seriously miscalculated my goal; I should have been aiming more towards 20 minutes.  23:57 got me 41st out of 74, at 4 minutes down on the GC.


Normalized power:  first half, 305w (average 264w); second half, 283 w (average 265w)

Average Heart Rate: first half, 171 bpm; second half, 180 bpm

Average Cadence:  80, really tried to pay attention to the cadence but very little of the race was flat; so this is actually more of a climbing cadence.  The area that was “flat” the cadence was closer to 88, still lower than my 90-95 goal.

VI:  1.11

I did not have a good feeling about the crit, there were several pretty good descents and 9 turns.  I decided to bail on the crit.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Church Creek Time Trial

2012 Church Creek Time Trial
Category 4
Cambridge, MD

Starters: 22

The course was smooth, flat, scenic, but was not well marked with 20 and 30k markers but did have with a wide shoulder available on most of it.  Race course was about 12 km to a right turn,  then another right at about 25 km mark, then 1 last right turn giving us about 6 km to the finish,  There was a 5 km left sign and a 1 km left sign.

Weather was pretty warm.  Start of the race was in the low 80s.  Sunny with a pretty strong head wind on two of the segments.

The plan was to use my LT from prior to the wreck, around 300 watts.  I did not do a good job of checking the wind for the entire course so I broke it down into 10km segments.  I set my Garmin for two screens only Power Zones and time.  The plan was a sub 1 hour 40k.  So I wanted to stay in Zone 4 and hit each of the 10km marks in under 15 minutes.  My plan was to make up time in segment 3.  Meaning that if I crossed 20k mark (10-20km segment) in 15:20, then I knew I needed to make up 20 seconds on segment 3.  I wanted to use 1 and 2 to settle in.  4 is always faster for me because of the adrenaline rush at the end.

I had a good start, and crossed the 10 km at 14:38.  I did realize a little too late that I had a tail wind, but I did keep it in Zone 4 so I probably would not have changed that much.  First big problem, either did not see or there was not a 20 km marker.  (note to self:  add distance to the Garmin TT
screen).  I estimated where the 20km should have been based on my time being right around 30 minutes.  But this destroyed my timing strategy because it was based on distance.  I was pacing fairly well, but could tell my power was decreasing to lower LT, higher Tempo.   After about 35 minutes I could no longer hold a good aero position.  This had more to do about not being
use to the position then bike fit. 

Next problem was the lack of 30km marker, so once again having to guestimate my time and had no idea if I was over or under my plan.  I figured based on my decreasing power  numbers that I was over.  Got to a 5 km marker and knew that I was over time but got the bike back up to my zone goal and finished up.  Overall time was poor, 1:03:52.


Normalized power:  245 watts (55 watts lower than my goal) Average Heart
Rate: 172 Average Cadence:  76

Here are my splits:

10k - NP 261   HR 171
20k - NP 239  HR 173
30k - NP 241   HR 173
40k - NP 228  HR 172

Feedback questions from (Jim Weinstein)

Q.  Was your HR in Zone 4 also??  
A.  I have not really gone out and did a field test on HR.  But using Friel's standard and have an actual max HR (203 in a crit), for this race I would have been about 95% in Threshold according to HR.

Q.  Also, how far away was your avg power from Norm Power?? 
A.  My average power was 240 and my normalized power was 245.  So within 5 watts.

Q.  How was your warmup?? 
A.  Did 30 minutes of warm-up plus a 20 minute ride to the start point.  The warm-up was okay but should have used the structured one that I normally use.

Q.  Did you stay well hydrated?  
A.  Drank 1 bottle on the bike.  Straight water should have added cytomax.  BUT my prerace hydration was lacking.  Really did not drink my normal days' worth the day before

Q.  And what was your VI for the race? 
A.  1.02

I tried to keep the cadence up but was not successful, so I just went with what seemed to be more comfortable.  I normally have a cadence of upper 90s at LT.  Why I could only mash the gears?  Not sure.

Overall I am trying to race back to fitness.  Very concerned about my average cadence, this is a significant drop in the last 70 days.  I thought that power was going to be down, that is just a function of a tragic loss in fitness over the last 70 days.

17th Place over all.  Winning time:  54:25.  Majority of the group:  10 riders between 59-1:01

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Base miles for Cross Season

Well this season has basically blown or sucked depending on your preference of terms.  The first glitch was knee pain while down in Florida in early spring training with the team.  The positive outcome was Paul with Freshbikes and hours of bike fitting consultation, figured it out.  Combination of saddle height, offset, and cleat placement, oh don't forget a genetic leg length discrepancy and slight bend of the spine to add a little extra fun to the fit.
The next faux pas was falling down a flight of steps, adding a few broke ribs, then the accident down in Virginia Beach.  Positive thing about Virginia Beach is I know that there is nothing that I could've done, was in the front of the peloton and got taken out by an overzealous rider diving the corner.  I walked away from that wreck with a little road rash, added another broke rib, trashed shifter and blown tubular.

Now the latest accident, Carl Dolan.  No idea what happened there.  I mean no memory either.  But the accident did leave its bruises.  Two temporary pins in the thumb due to a Bennett's Fracture, AC Joint Strain, more broke ribs, and ton of road rash... and destroyed Cannondale frame, another broke shifter, skinsuit in two pieces, and destroyed Lazer Helmet.  Now I sit 45 days after the wreck and have a total of about 10 hours total on the bike (4 in the last week).  Freshbikes did help get the bike replaced, campy groupset is now replaced with SRAM Red.  My fitness has tanked, time on the bike is painful.  I finally got the pins taken out of the hand (Monday) and start occupational therapy today, and I have a perpetual thumbs-up until I get movement back.  The AC Strain requires physical therapy but do not start that until the 6th.  Diagnosis is that is a 5 month process, but will not keep me off the bike.  The slight silver lining, if there was one, is that after 45 days of getting my blood pressure checked, they determined that I need to be on blood pressure medicine.  So that started yesterday.  I went with an ACE inhibitor that should not screw with my VO2 max like others can.
I look at my trainingpeaks calendar of races that I had planned to do and they are ticking by fast, Wilmington GP, Tour of Somersville, WV McDonald's Criterium, Air Force Classic, all a wash for this year.  Looks like I might be able to do a few time trials, but other than that, nothing but base miles for Cross.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Carl Dolan Circuit Race

Warmed-up. Started race. Wrecked. Woke up eight hours later in a hospital.

If you want to know more, such as the long list of thank yous that are required and the road ahead, continue to read.

To state that the Carl Dolan circuit race was a blur would be an understatement. Now I know, the race was over two weeks ago, but bear with me for a few minutes and you’ll understand why it's taken two weeks to do the race report.

It was 15 April, a beautiful morning, and I headed up to the race to watch the women's race and then prepare for my race at around one o'clock. I learned that another one of my team members, Don, was also racing, so I was excited. After watching the women’s race, I started thinking about little strategy and then broke out the trainer and set the bike up. After a solid 40 min. of warm-up, I was ready to go.

My closest 120 friends and I rolled up to the line and got prepared. The race started, and I remember the guy in front of me having a hard time getting clipped in, which provided some initial excitement. I quickly got around him, moved to the front, and then pulled for the first couple laps. The course was nice and fast and it seemed as if it was going to be a decent 21 miles in the saddle. I stay toward the front for the first 30 min., I was doing well, and that's as much as I remember. So I guess I will have to repeat what others told me.

Thank You to…..

Apparently there was a fairly large crash, approximately 20 of us. My understanding is that I took the worst of the crash. I was evacuated to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The next thing I remember is about seven hours later. I was unconscious for about 20 minutes and in and out of it for the next several hours. Apparently, during the seven hours, there were many people who came to my aid and also who facilitated phone calls and other support. Some of which I may not know occurred but will always be grateful. To Andy, Chris, Sunny, Alex, and Dana who helped not only at this site but also at the hospital I'm eternally grateful. To Jim and Bill, and other members of the US Military Cycling Team that made phone calls and other items I'm equally grateful. To the Bike Doctor Doc at the scene and the EMTs who rendered aid, thank you. To the pink-clad Team B of Shock/Trauma who scanned my head, Xrayed 100% of my body, and took care of both me and the friends who were with me at the hospital, thanks. For the rest of MABRA, that sent texts, email, phone calls, flowers, each meant so very much, thank you so much.

Bike status

As of right now the bike is still recuperating at Freshbikes in Arlington. It does appear as if 50% of the campy shifting mechanism is destroyed, and that the frame has seen its better days.

Equipment status

Skin suit, destroyed. Lazer Helmet, faithfully did its job, but destroyed. Glasses, not to be left out, destroyed. Even my heart rate strap somehow found its demise underneath the skilled hands of a paramedic who instead of unsnapping it decided a good pair scissors would work instead. So basically the only thing that I had on that survived was a pair of socks. Funny enough, given the above equipment status, showing up at shock trauma in only a pair socks left quite an impression on the nurses.

Body status

There was some initial concern with the amount of time that I was knocked out but I can report the hardhead is still hard. The road rashes healing fairly well, and now I have a nice blue cast on my left arm covering the pins that are holding together my thumb.


I was given permission by the doctor to get back on the trainer. Lazer helmet and skinsuit will have to be reordered from the team. Freshbikes will help get the Cannondale back on the road. The cast will be on my thumb for about three weeks and then it will be exchanged for a brace for week. By that time all road rash will be raceable, the thumb will be good, and I'll be back at the line for Bike Jam / Kelly Cup.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Race Report: 2012 First Annual Red Wing Park Shamrock Criterium

Well I headed down south of DC to the Virginia Beach area for the First Annual Red Wing Park Shamrock Criterium.  I hopped in the Cat 3/4 race noticing on bikereg that about 40 had signed up.  Quickly flipping over to road-results race predictor to see how I was to do, I saw a pretty promising 15th.   Noticed my buddy Alex Rapavi was going to be in the race, so I figured I would know at least one. 

I arrived at Red Wing Park with plenty of time to get warmed up and look over the course.  The weather was cool and clear, around 55 degrees, and the course was flat with four turns and one straight with a head wind.

For those who follow this blog, it is odvious that one of my week points is getting in a good warm-up.  So this race I wanted to really try and do everything by the book.  So here is my warm-up:

20 min easy in the small ring-start to break a little sweat
10 min tempo pace, build to sustained threshold by the end of the last minute
2-3 min easy recovery spin
2-5 min at sustained threshold
3-5min easy recovery spin
1-2 min hard VO2/anaerobic threshold pace
3-5 min easy
30 sec spinups to max RPM, easy gear
3-5 min easy—GO RACE!
id a really good warm-up and had timed things about right, went to throw on my race wheels and for some reason my rear wheel hub was seized, hastily put the training wheel back on and rolled to the line.  I knew that I was screwed because I now had a 13-28 rear cassette in a crit.  The other negative was now I was lining up dead last.

With that said, I did a really good warm-up and had timed things about right, went to throw on my race wheels and for some reason my rear wheel hub was seized, hastily put the training wheel back on and rolled to the line.  I knew that I was screwed because I now had a 13-28 rear cassette in a crit.  The other negative was now I was lining up dead last.

Race started off very quick!  The first 10 minutes the average speed was just over 27 mph, then settled down to 25.  I was tail gunning trying to move forward but there were only two long straights so I would move up as far as I could not to dive the left hand corners.  A break went off the front about lap 2, 4 guys, but I was so far back there was nothing that I could do.

I stayed about top ten for the next 25 minutes and decided with about 6 laps to go, to get all the way to the front and see if I could make anything happen. I got away a little but the head wind dropped my speed down enough for the group to catch back on.  With 4 to go the breakaway crashed, taking out three of the four.  The single was far enough off the front that we could not catch him.  The last lap I got a little out of position and came into the final straight sitting about 17th.  I could not gain on the ones in front nor get caught by the ones behind and crossed the finish line in 18th.  

Post-race headed out with Alex and Dana and did another 2 hours.  All in all a good race, poor luck in the beginning and tactical failure at the end.  Funny side note, on our post-race ride we stopped at Schlotzsky's for lunch.  With my US Military kit on, a little guy about 5 years old, told his mom that he thought I was Captain America, guess I am going to have to get a warm-up cape.
Good decisions:  placement in the peloton

Bad decisions:  warming up on my non-race wheels.  Not staying 100% focused on the last 2 laps, I need to start "racing" the last two laps, get in position and just go for it.

Overall finish:  18th.

Fitness is coming together should be ready for Jefferson Cup, my first "A" race.

Next race:  Smackdown Criterium on Saturday and Dismal Dash TT on Sunday.  Check road-results perdictor to see how I am suppose to do.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Race Report: Fork Shoals Road Race

This week I traveled down to Traveler’s Rest South Carolina to get in a few days of serious climbing, like 21K by the week’s end.  Several of us decided to head over to the Greenville Spring Training Series and hop in the Fork Shoals Road Race.  So I through my hat into the CAT4 race with about 90 others, including Mike Gurtzweiler who traveled down from DC with me.

After doing a little research on Strava and Mapmyride, it looked as if the course was three 14.5 mile loops.  Two climbs per lap with one climb about .5 miles at 3.1%.  The weather was cool and clear but had a pretty solid cross wind.

The night before we set around and discussed possible race strategies, sit in, go off the front etc.  I had pretty much decided that I wanted to mix this race up a little and not be pack fodder.

The race started off fairly tame, I had just come off of climbing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Basically had 15 hours and 18k of climbing under the legs and felt pretty taxed.  So I had little expectation for the race.  I was there for training purposes.

The field had LOTS of juniors so I moved forward fairly quickly; I did not want to get caught up with them.  I sat in for the first 10-15 minutes still deciding what to do.  Did I want to just sit there and be field fodder or do something more exciting?  I looked back at the race in Florida and decided that I should just go to the front, keep covering breaks until either I popped or the finish line appeared. 

I did not "attack" the field but I did pull a lot.  I talked to a few guys in the main field and they knew other US Military Cycling Members so, against all good judgment, felt that I should represent the kit, so I moved forward.  I even had one guy talk about the magazine article from a few weeks ago, so that sealed the deal, forward I went.  I sat on the front for close to 30 miles (pulled the entire second lap, no change of positioning).  The one section with the cross wind, I absolutely buried myself trying to split the pack.  Post race, I had SEVERAL riders come up and make statements like, 15 more seconds and the whole back end would have just shattered.

The last lap I knew that I was going to have trouble with the hill.  It was 3.1% over about .5 miles, should have been a minute and a half climb.  I went off the front to get down as fast as I could but being a poor descender I did not gain as much ground as I needed to.  In hindsight, I should have attacked before the descent to gain more ground to give myself time to crawl up the other side.  I did still average 340w on the climb but floated through the pace and out the back.  I chased for 10 miles, could see the group but could not get back on.  While part to the peloton and pulling my normalized power was 296w and average power 239w.  Post-pop, NP was 272 and average was 253w.  I worked harder alone for 43 minutes then I did earlier so I know my fitness was pretty good. I did have a little help in the last five miles, a rider for Krystal out of Tennessee, Larry Russell.  Mike did the right thing a set in finishing 20th.  I was happy to hear that Clayton Burke from the Junior Flyers that rotated though the front a few times with me ended up 2nd.  Last kudos goes out to Veloshine and RTO riders, they seemed to be the only ones that shared the work on the first two laps.  Possible that several others did on the third, but I wouldn’t know, Larry and I were doing a two man team time trial. 

Given that I planned on staying up front and not just being field fodder I am very happy with the race.  I was not looking to win nor gain points on this one.  As far as representing, I had a hellava a lot more people commenting and photo ops being up front then in the back.  Hopefully some of those will appear on the internet over the next couple of days.
Good decisions:  not just sitting in;
Bad decisions:  just not sitting in; trying to break apart the field

Overall finish:  65th.  Missed the field finish by 1 minute and 24 seconds.  If this was NASCAR the sponsors would have been happy, crossed finish line in front of the crowd, twice in 1st and one in 65th.

Overall fitness was not an issue, climbing and weight was!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Race Report: Race for Humanity Road Race, San Antonio Florida

First and foremost, I was a little apprehensive of the race on Saturday due to a couple of competing factors.  First, my knee had shown a great deal of weakness the week before and second, I was not confident of my fitness for an early season road race.  Lastly, I knew that my form would be in the cellar because of a solid week of long rides.

The race plan as a group was fairly simple.  I would cover as many of the early race attacks as I could and if by some chance was still in the pack toward the end, move forward and support Kurt and Sam with the final sprint.  Knowing that my fitness was not at the highest level possible, mainly due to 12 hours of training miles a week and not really being out on the road due to short days of sunlight and long work hours, I figured that I would just continue to counter attacks until I was shot off the back.

The course was 51 miles in length constructed over 3 laps of undulating hills.  None of the hills could be considered very steep or long, but with the possibility of a head wind would be tragic if one was stuck out time trialing off the back, a prophetic fear that I had from the beginning.

One of the coolest things happened at the beginning of the race.  The entire 3/4 US Military Cycling Team was given a call up.  As we moved forward, you could hear the claps of several of the 82 riders.  Not something that I had experienced before, so pretty cool.
Call-ups before the race

The first attack came within minutes of the gun.  Peggy had planned on taking either the first or second attack, so off the front she went.   Once the second attack occurred, Kurt went off with it, as I watched Peggy slowly move back into the pack.  Once that attack was reeled back in, other took off.  Sam and Kurt gently prodded by elevating their voices and telling me it was my turn.  The hope of finishing in the pack evaporated and out of the saddle I went.  Due to the hesitation, and desire to just sit in, I felt the first of many matches being lit.  I was able to get up to the group and latch on.  Slowly we got sucked back in and a pattern began to develop.  I would see Peggy go flying by; get reeled in; then my turn.  The last break that I got involved in started out with 10.  Once up the road, the group of 10 broke into two groups of 5, so off I went with the front group.  Finally, it was just me and a rider from USF.  Looking back at my power file, USF and I were out in the wind for 20 minutes.  My first hour of the race, my normalized power was over 355w.  

This time my passing back through the peloton was at the worst moment, on a climb.  I went from the front, to the middle, and shuttled off the back, destine for day of time trialing.  Fortunately for me, unfortunately for the team, two other USMil riders had met the same fate.  I hopped on with them and two other riders.  The five of us worked together until I could no longer keep a wheel.  My knee was on fire; backward I went again.  At this point I did not know if I was dead last, bottom third, nothing.

I did come across another group of riders, including USF from earlier, and began working with them, but it became evident that they all had popped and could not do much.  I connect with a rider and we began working together upping our speed.  After thirty minutes or so, I came upon the 2 USMil riders, but they were done for the day, and we just passed through them and continued.  About 17 miles left, the other rider looked at me and in Spanish said, “me acaban”, loosely “I am finished”.  I pulled away and time trialed to the finish line.

Overall, I am happy with my finish.  I wish that my fitness had been better so that I could have accomplished more for the team and my personally.  I think I was 27th in the 4s and 58th overall.  I found some solace in the comment of one of my teammates who post race said that I had “done exactly what I was suppose to”, well with the exception of being with the team on the finish line. 

Not the finish that I wanted but a great end to an incredible week of riding and racing with my new teammates.

Friday, February 10, 2012

US Military Cycling Team Camp: Day 5

As I stated last night, the time trial went pretty good for me, so I am happy with the results.  The one negative?  I now have to go into WKO+ and adjust my FTP and then do the same on the Computrainer, my tempo workouts in the BTC just got harder.

Friday morning we went for a leisure ride out the Suncoast Trail, the same one that we have each day, but found an spur to go out and look around Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park.  It was an absolute blast, just pedaling around, chatting and taking in the scenery.  We even came upon some wildlife and stopped for a petting and photo op with a snapping turtle.  As bad as that sounds, fortunately, no lost digits.  So basically it was 30ish mile ride over a couple of hours.  Very enjoyable pace.

Post ride consisted of the norm, back to the hotel, lunch, nap, get the bike ready for the next ride.  Today we were going to get to do something t special, we loaded up and went out to MacDill AFB to ride with the local “lunchtime” riders.  With our twenty and their twenty, we had a fairly sizable group to go riding around the base.  Between the 300 miles we had put in during the week and the race weekend coming up, we were all quit content with just doing another easy afternoon ride.  I will say, showing up on base, all kitted up and going for a ride with the ‘locals’ was really cool.  Doug from FRS was also on site and setup at tent, so upon return, we all hung out until time to roll back to the hotel.
Approach of "retreat," the instantaneous transition from cyclists to Soldiers. It's not what we do, it's who we are.

Once back to the hotel, another shower and it was time for dinner.  Spending a few years on different teams, I was use to the normal “team” meeting to talk race strategies and whatnot.  Bill started us out and then Sean took over.  I will admit I have never been in a meeting like that.  30 minutes and I learned more about racing then in the last 10 years for riding.  We then broke into our selective squads and talked specifically about our race.

Since there wasn’t a women’s race, Peggy a strong CAT 2, was going to drop in with us.  Thus giving us seven riders in the 3/4 race.  The plan was fairly basic, Peggy was going to either cover or initiate the first break.  I was going to cover the second, Don and Mark to follow suit.  Kurt was going to be the lead-out for Sam, and if the opportunity arose, Brad was going to try to get in break and make it stick.

I came back to the room nervous.  I am suppose to cover the attacks, hmmm… will my fitness allow for such early race match burning???  Will I be relegated to time trialing by the end of the race????

Thursday, February 9, 2012

US Military Cycling Team Camp: Day 4

Thursday morning came and after a night of thinking about Jeff Cup and my knee, I had a decision to make.  Should I or should I not do the individual time trial this morning?  I decided that I would go out, do a warm-up and then hit the line.  My start time was 9:17, the course was 9.5 miles out, turn around and return.  All of us headed over to the course and did some warm-up loops.  I hopped on with Jim Weinstein and road for about thirty minutes.  The knee felt okay, simply, just didn't hurt too bad.  So I figured that I would give it a go, still trying to recover from the embarrassment of the day before.

I noticed that there was a head wind all the way out and then a killed tail wind for the return.  After some LT testing a few weeks before, I knew my LT was around 280.  So I figured with the head wind, I could head out at about 305 watts, turn around and ride the tailwind back at around 285.

TT Results
I lined up and waited, 5-4-3-2-1, and I was off, well sort of, could not get the left foot clipped into the pedal and lost a few seconds, but got the bike up to speed with a 1200 watt kick.  I settled in, got my cadence up and looked in at 305 watts and maintained that for the next 27 minutes.  Little slower than I wanted but it was a strong head wind.  I hit the mid-way point and headed back.  instantly i could tell my power was dropping off, so I got it back to 285 and held it there.  Figuring 50 minutes a little over threshold would work out.  The knee was killing me, I kept repeating my mantra, and watched the miles go by.  I crossed the finish line at 51:08, I cut nearly 4 minutes off of the second half.  I am really happy about my performance.  How did I compare to the others?  Well 16th of 19.  Wouldn't score a lot of points on Road Results but for me it was a good day.

After coming back from the ride, most of us kicked around for the day and got ready to head over to Plantation Palms Gold Club to have dinner with American Classic, one of our sponsors.

Other exciting news of the day, Lance Armstrong, Jeremy Powers, Lazer Helmets, and Van Dessel Sports were tweeting about the US Military Cycling Team.  VERY COOL!!!

Tomorrow should be a pretty packed day.  Getting up in the morning, breakfast, kit up, and head out for a 40 miles ride.  Then comeback, lunch, kit up again and head over to Macdill AFB.  We are going to ride with some of the military members and their families tomorrow evening for another 40 miles.  After that, we will have  a few team meetings to talk about Saturday's race strategy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

US Military Cycling Team Camp: Day 3

Wednesday morning was a beautiful Florida morning.  Temperature was hovering just below 60 with promises of climbing to the mid-70s.  Unlike the rest of week in which there was a possibility of rain, today would not bear such predictions, the sky was perfectly calm. 

After the morning meeting we headed out for what was to be around a century. The pace was pretty calm.  The groups was slit into two again, the elites off in on and Masters / devo in the other.  I got to do a couple of things that I had not done before.  First time I have ever dropped out of a pace line, floated back to a chase vehicle, grabbed food and water and pedaled back up to the group.  Pretty neat experience if you haven’t had the chance to try.

But the bad news for the ride.  Several times last year I got a reoccurring dull pain on the back of my knee.  I have gone in to get a fit several times, but each time, all the measurements look correct.  So the idea of the saddle to far back, cleat positioning, float, etc had been checked out and seemed ok. Typically, I would have the pain for a day or two and go away.  Then the 1st of January came around.  I went on a fairly lengthy ride with Team Sticky Fingers, nothing like the distance here, but for winter in DC, it was a good ride.  After going out MacArthur, we headed up Anglers.  By the time that I got to the top, the knee started to ache.  So I settled in and just rode for the next 50 miles, thinking that it was the same type of pain as I had last year.  Knowing that I was coming to Tampa in about a month, I backed off for a few weeks.  Unfortunately, Monday, the pain returned. By Tuesday afternoon, it was really bad.  So on Wednesday, I had to bail at the 40-mile marker and ride the chase vehicle back to the hotel.  So embarrassing!!!!

Wednesday night, we all got together, had dinner then another great lecture.  We talked some training and racing psychology.  It helped me refocus and think again about the big picture and not the individual days.  My mantra??  I will win Jeff Cup.  Something that I was going to have to repeat to myself several times the next day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

US Military Cycling Team Camp: Day 2

Each day I find this team more and more interesting.  As always, on a 4-hour ride, you have to make the time pass by talking to those around you.  So as I was struggling to keep a close to 26 MPH pace along side Jim Elliott, I decided to inquire about a few things that were said during the introductions.  So on Monday night, when everyone was telling thee story, Jim was a little laissez faire about his background. I caught the idea that he was a former Marine, now Hartford Connecticut Police Officer, but not much more.  As I have remarked before, Bill had started naming off a few accomplishments of some of the riders.  He brought up Jim. Apparently Jim’s passion for cycling has carried him great distances. I mean like from Boston to New York, 220 miles in 11 hours to bring awareness for Livestrong   (video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw0BfyYhomc).   Funny thing is the 220 was probably easy due to the fact the he has also ridden 343 miles around the perimeter of the state, yes in one continuous ride.

So the morning started off with the normal 0630 wake up and grab breakfast.  I deviated a little and headed out to grab a Starbucks.  Twenty minute walk to and from to have a cappuccino. Probably will not do that one again, but figured I would give it a shot.  Made it back to hotel for a photo op, then out on the road.

The plan was to head out for about a 80-90 mile ride.  The weather was a little crappy, but we were all styling with the new kits. I will say, the Primal Wear kits look great.   I also tried the Chamois BUTT'r Eurostyle, pretty impressive.  In the past, I have seldom used anything, but…  this is one that I am going to keep using.

The ride left and we immediately went into pace lining.  Bill split us into two groups of five, from there we took turns simulating the front group rotating and the back group just sitting in.  We did this for almost four and a half hours.  The last 20 miles, my group was sent off the front while the other group was held back, then released to catch us.  So for 47 minutes, five of us went as hard as would could, while maintaining the integrity of the group. We tried to keep it at about 27 MPH, but ended up averaging 25 MPH.  My Normalized Power was 253 over the 47 minutes.  We held off the other group, but only by a mere 30 seconds or so. 

After getting back to the hotel, we showered up, talked some long term strategies, had a fantastic nutrition discussion with Jim Weinstein and now calling it a night.  Tomorrow’s schedule…  80-100 miles ride, I am sure that Jim and Bill will have plenty of pace lining and learning to feed from a vehicle.

If you are on Facebook click here and 'like' the team.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

US Military Cycling Team Camp: Day 1

Not much to report about the flight down to Tampa, except that Air Trans did not charge me for the bike box, which was completely awesome.

So I checked into the Residence Inn in Lutz Florida to get my room and roommate assignment.  After checking in, everyone was scrambling around getting bikes reassembled, unpacking luggage, the normal things that go on if you are staying for a week.   I meet my roommate Donald Davis, then a few of us went off to dinner.  Conversation had more to do about figuring out the professional, non-cycling, attributes and the standard small talk that is required when thrown together with a bunch of strangers.  Being Super Bowl Sunday and the military aspect, it didn't take long for everyone to get acquainted.  That was Sunday, day 0, for us, Monday was truly day 1.

Morning came early, especially after a restless night of Christmas like jitters and excitement.  We all headed down for breakfast around 6:30, then headed over to the team meeting at 7:30.  The next hour was spent talking about expectations, conduct on and off the bike, and signing of the 2012 rider contract.  The interesting part was listening to each of the riders talk about their accomplishments, but once again, it seems to fall back to our military profession. After a few minutes, the race director, Bill, stopped the intros and then started to point out the cycling accomplishments of a very humble crowd.  I sat there for a few minutes and listened, very quickly questioning, then why the heck am I here??  These are legit racers, I think I am the only one running around sporting Cat 4 on their license.  After that we were off to change kits for a leisurely meet and greet ride.

I felt like it was the first day of school, trying to make sure that I had everything together and functioning correctly.  With our rainbow of colors for kits, we all paired up and started out.  We stayed in a double pace line for 80 miles and 4 hours.  First time that I have ever stayed that long, in the saddle and in a pace line.  Sure I have tons of rides over 4 hours and much longer than 80, but never that smooth and consistent.  I remember pulling for a little while then dropping off to the right, watching 12 pairs of riders go by, pretty cool train.  The only skill for today, move back and forth in the pace line, doing introductions.  We were told that we do not stop for mechanicals.  So if someone flats, they just go off the back, fix the flat and work yourself back to the group.  If you are too far off, then in the SAG wagon and get dropped off in front of the group to hop back on.  I guess there is one other skill I am going to have to learn this week, is how to answer nature's call while riding, apparently we will no longer stop for that one either, now that will be interesting.

Post ride, back to the hotel, lunch, showers, kit and soft equipment issue, another team meeting and dinner.  The Primal kits are great looking, so I stoked about that in the morning.  There will be 26 of us rolling out of the Residence Inn, all kitted up.  Hopefully a photo for tomorrows night blog.  Now it is 9:30 at night, I am feeling a little bit of the fatigue from the day, and cannot wait till tomorrow's ride.  Oh yeah, we doing 90 tomorrow.  Gonna be fun.

Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 Road Race Season

The 2012 Cycling Season is well on its way, at least training wise.  After rethinking the first sentence I guess I should clarify and state that the calendar is moving right along, training, let’s just say that it has had it bumps and bruises.

December 16th, while descending (a set of stairs), I had the sock incident of 2011.  I swear there was no alcohol involved, but was heading down the stairs to close the door to go out and get some chow.  I foot, covered with a sock, slightly too far forward over the stair and I found myself airborne and crashing.  Knocked the wind out of my and hurt like the dickens.   I decided to abandon Sundays ride to recoup.  The ribs SEEMED okay, then came Monday.  I was getting ready for work, felt a sneeze coming on, sneezed heard (and felt) a pop in my back then proceeded to lie on the floor for 45 minutes.  I guess the fall had fractured a rib and the sneeze just finished the job.   So for the last 4 weeks I have been training through 2 broken ribs.  Really as not affected the trainer time, but strength workouts have been on the back shelf.

Training has gone pretty well so far since developing my early season plan.  My first “A” race is Jefferson Cup on the first of April.  Before that I have two races in Tampa Florida, 11/12 February.  I have been able to get about 12-15 hours a week in on the CompuTrainer and have slowly built my LT with a ton of sweet spot training sessions.  I am working through my collection of 1980s movies with an addition of the Tour Down Under last week.  All of this is to prepare for my two training camps in February.

First training camp will be with the US Military Cycling Team from February 5th to the 12th in Tampa.  Should be pretty exciting.  The week will culminate with some racing.  My early season goal is to podium at Jeff Cup and get accumulate enough points by May to upgrade to 3.  So lots of early season crits for me.

Second training camp is going to be in Traveler’s Rest South Carolina from the 22nd to the 26th of February.  Lots of climbing Paris Mountain and Caesar’s Head. 

Next update will be from Tampa Florida.