Thursday, March 29, 2012

Strava-Good or Bad Thing?

Right out da gate...Strava is a very cool site for GPSers. It keeps track of everything, some glitches here and there, but good none the less. Here is what I dont like; the fact that it exists. You are a complete idiot-that is, you the reader responding to my comment. Let me explain why. If you are training, Strava can, if you let it, sway you from your initial plan. Strava keeps track of KOM's (King of the Mountain). This is a very cool feature, problem is if you are KOM, someone will eventually beat you. Now, if you have incredible resilience to having the immediate urge to suddenly awake at 3am in the nude due to images of a 3 year old on a tricycle ripping you a new one on your favorite climb to go out and hammer that section and reclaim your KOM, you are stronger than me. It is very easy to get caught up in the hoopla, I myself have done that, especially if you worked hard to earn it. So I am making a conscious effort to be more in tune with sticking to my training plan and hopefully stick to it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Today was the first 50 miler in a month. After last weeks balls to the wall hammerfest, I think my body is saying-"Slow down Pops, give me a break, ok?" Overall, it wasnt a bad ride-18.8 mph avg over 50 miles with 2k of elevation, but not the best. It was just too nice of a day to let it go.

Here is a comparison from last year at this point; huge difference.

Got a few races coming up in april-Bakers Dozen and Fairhill, both of which I have had great success racing, including a 1st place at Fairhill and a near bout with a 1st place in the SS solo class at Bakers Dozen. I will be doing a duo with my friend Blake Bricker this year at Bakers, so we should have a great showing. I am looking to take another win at Fairhill as well, we will see if it is the cards this year. If taking 8:37 off of my Sugar Hill time is any indication, it looks to be a possibility. Anyway, go ride your bike and as always, you aint a moron if you aint goin gearless.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trek Mountain Co-Op

Yep, I have been adorned with the colors of the Trek Co-Op Mountain Team. My friend and rep Jon Rogers brought me some goodies today at the shop, including the lovely and fast Bontrager Rhythm Pro Scandium Wheelset, RXL Bar, R# tires for the roadie side of me and of course the new kit.

So Now I am riding for The Trek Adventures for the Cure Bike Doctor team. WooHoo!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another Solid Day on the Road

Man, if you would have told me last year that I would be putting in back to back days at 20+ mph avg. and a 11.6 mph, 20 mile mtb ride 3 days after a tough race; I would have said there is no way that I could put in back to back days at 20+ mph avg.  and a 11.6 mph, 20 mile mtb ride 3 days after a tough race. The last few days I feel amazing. My HR is staying low and I am crushing my previous times. Today I did my usual BWI loop A1 before work ride and turned in a 20.4 mph average with some crazy strong uphill sprints to boot. My HR is the biggest surprise of all. I am becoming more economical with how my energy is being used. Last year, some of these climbing sprints would have resulted in HR easily in the mid 195 range. My power would have greatly decreased by the end as well. Not only did I get faster as I neared the top, but was able to sustain that power. Todays ride I tried something a little different; I did all of my climbs seated and using 53x15 gearing. Normally I would stand and power up the climbs. So now starts more intense work along with some hill repeats as well. Now, if you are new to monocogging, at least what I am coming to find is, your training better be geared towards doing hill repeats and do em' strong! You still have to do your other stuff, but hill repeats should be a mainstay. Do them on the road bike if you can. It allows for longer, more sustained hard efforts without worrying about terrain. I promise you will get stronger. Hey, if an old 44 year old dad of 3 can do it, no excuse for you!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Getting old doesnt mean being old

We dont need no stinkin Geritol!
Yeah, 44 isnt Rosetta Stone material, but in the cycling world, it isnt considered youth either. I am happy to tell all of you mid-death aged riders, gettin old doesnt mean you have to give in. I get tired of hearing guys 10 years younger than me come up with every excuse in the book as to why they are slow-thats BECAUSE YOU SAY YOUR TOO OLD!!!! KNOCK IT OFF! I hear it all of the time. You arent too old, your too complacent! Just get on the bike and ride! I know at some point, I will succumb to the reality that my body wont allow me to go faster, but start to decline...not anytime soon I hope. I feel the best I have ever been in my life right now. Sure, some improvements can be made, but I dont have 15-20 hours a week to make that happen. I work with what I have and try to maximize the time I have on the bike to its fullest. 

This year has shown a huge improvement over last year so far. I knocked 8:32 off of my race time from last years AFC sufferfest and still felt ok at the end. I would have never been able to go out and hammer like I did sunday for 20 miles on the SS and turn around a do my M2 tempo ride at a 20.7 avg speed...never. I am training smarter, but still having fun riding. I think most people go out and train everyday; thats ok I guess, but you lose the most important part of cycling-riding with friends. I know you know the type-Nah, I am doing 37 hill repeats and going home to drink some protein shake. Or-I am going out for a "casual" ride today; it ends up being a day you wish you stayed in bed.

All I am saying is, if you want to get faster, then you better make sure you ride with faster people and figure on training. If you want to ride and have fun, do that too. Whatever you do, dont ever say your too old to race, ride or whatever. I can and others my age and older still give it to the younger guys and it feels pretty good; in fact, look at results sometime, especially in the SS cat. Youre gonna find that most of the faster guys are in their 40's baby. We aint goin away anytime soon either!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

AFC Sugar Hill and a great 4th place finish

At least I am very color coordinated
I love to hate this race-lets just get that out in the open. I love it, but I get so worked up before hand that it really throws me off a bit. I have "slimmed" down to 183lbs., I guess that is as slim as I'm gettin folks. This years cast of monocogging characters was, I would say the best one so far. 31 starters and all of them fast, fast fast. Teammates Adam Driscoll, Jonathon Houghton and Blake Bricker (who I will be doing Bakers with) along with Bernie Shiao along with some fast youngins as well rounded out this years group. I think what I get so nervous about are the "unknowns", Now I dont mean that in a derogatory manner, but just the guys you dont know that could throw a wrench in your cog.

I decided to run a 32/19 on the Superfly SS, which incidentally is the first time racing it at Patapsco. I ran a 32/18 on wednesday, but it felt a bit hard on my 44 year old bod. I made a good choice. The flats were a bit hoppy, but the climbs were ever so slightly easier? It was also the first race on the Niner rigid carbon fork. 4 words Very Fast Very Stiff. Yep, the rock gardens were a bit rough, but it is super accurate. No flex at all, so on the climbs, it was beautiful, just beautiful man. The bike weighs in at 18lbs even now, but doesnt feel frail at all.

Anyway, this years goal was, as usual to shave some time from last years time. Wednesday pre-ride without a 3 mile section timed in at 2:04. Today I ended up with a 2:02:47 with the additional 3 miles! That was 8 minutes faster than last years time. So the training seems to be working. I held 2nd for 2:00:01 of the race and then it hit-the thigh burn was just too great and Jonathon Houghton passes me a mile or so from the end. I was able to stick with him, but couldnt get by. He did beat me by 2 minutes-33 seconds last year. This year only 9 seconds separated us. AAAAAHHH! I ended up 4th, which was 1 down from last years results, but this was my best race there so far. Eight minutes off and a strong finish-so I am very satisfied with my placement.

On a somewhat interesting note; my HR only got to 187 for a max, and my average was 171. My max HR is 200 so I am assuming that my training program is allowing me to be a bit more economical in regards to power output. Or I just didnt try hard enough. Normally I would hit in the high 190's and my average would be my LTHR-178. So 8 minutes faster with less effort-that's what Im talkin bout! It surely took a toll on my body, but climbing Ridge 3x's will do that.

Anyway, it was good seeing Blake and Sandie-who raced SS female and did great, both of whom are great people and riders to boot! So next year, sub 2:00?

Adam finished 1st, Jonathon 3rd and me 4th in the SS class. Chris and Auggie finished 6th and 7th in the sport class with a sprint to the finish. Pat finished 4th in the gear head division so it was a great day overall for the AFC TEAM!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

AFC Sugar Hill Pre Ride Race Pace-ish

Man, what a great day. 72°, 99% of the trails are dry and clear trails. Today I decided to go out and kill myself with a 27 miles pre ride race pace-ish SS jaunt through Patapsco. Now mind you, I didnt set out to do 3 laps today; it was one of those things that you decide on the spur of the moment, er uh spontaneous.

First lap was rather dismal, the waterbar climbs killed me for the 1st half of the loop. I had limited power and almost named the ride-the vomit comet; yeah, real close to it. The second lap was much, much better. I turned in my fastest loop time at 38:21, last year my fastest was 40:38-so looking ok. Came to the end of the 2nd lap and was going to cut it short half way through the 3rd lap, but for some odd reason, I went on. 3 times up Ridge is not something I look forward to at all. In fact, I felt pretty blah on all 3 attempts. I finish the ride feeling pretty depleated, although satisfied. I think being on the road bike so much this year has put a damper on my mtb climbing efforts, but still time to overcome that.

Last year, my time was 2:10 for the race, today's time-although not a race (which is usually a slower time anyway) was 2:01:34-almost 9 minutes faster than last year. I would like to think that I can duplicate that effort saturday; we'll see. Ridge will certainly be the deciding factor for sure.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Feelin pretty rough today

Today was the first Bike Doctor Shop/AFC team ride in a while for me, and man was it a winner. Quick run down. Drive 35 minutes and get ready. Adam, Pat, Bruce and Jon-along with 20 others-had a nice warm up ride from the park and ride to the shop. Lets start off at a 22 mph pace for 10 miles ! OUch. The wind was brutal and I wasnt feeling all that great trying to maintain that insane pace. I struggled, but kept within 10 seconds of the immortals. We finally settle down after a pretty nasty crash in the group. Everybody was good-albeit the bikes were a little bad off. The pace "slowed" to a 18.6 mph pace-whew...glad for that break! I ended up doing 40 miles overall and legs are feeling pretty rough. Gotta take it a little easy for Sugar Hill this week. Over and out!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Little Kangaroos move to 5-1-1

These guys deserve a huge round of applause. To see how 6 7 and 8 year olds have grown as a team and progressed to become the "powerhouse" team-can you say that for a kids team? Heck yes! They won by a landslide over the second place team 38-26. They are now 1 game ahead in first place. Alex scored 14 pts, 6 rebounds,7 assists and 6 steals. The points were spread out a little more as the kids worked on setting up defense and passing the ball more. Alex loves to pass, but the kids on the team love to pass it back to him to shoot. Anyway, Alex has 94 pts on the year in 7 games for a 13.4 ppg avg. In his first season last year-which was a rugby league at best-he made just 4 baskets. He has really shown that this is his game. Come on son, dont you want to ride?

Great Ride on the Road

Nice Numbers
Yesterday was one of those days that you want to ride because the sun has fooled you into thinking that yes, it is 65° but he doesnt tell you that Mr. Wind has a surprise up his sleeve...Senior Gust. Now going into this ride, which is a tempo day, I had pretty much figured that it was going to be a struggle just to maintain 18mph. Of course living on the water makes the wind even more of an issue. So I get through my usual 10 mile starting loop at a 20 pace. Hmmm, ok it will change when I hit some of the climbs and the wind. 30 miles in and I am still at 20. The best part is that I feel like Super Man at this point. Even with the 20mph head winds, I am not feeling the burn at all, in fact my HR is hovering around 80% (160bpm). The real test was on the way back west on Pulaski Hwy, the head winds are at their worst. It always seems to blow the same direction every time I ride. Well, I still managed to hang around the 19mph clip, and feeling good. I know the avg speed had dropped at this point, but I still had some climbs to go and 10 miles. I hit Eastern ave and tucked and rolled. I got home and was pleased to find that after 52 miles, my average speed was at 20 exactly. Now, what I havent mentioned yet is the that during the ride, the only info displayed on my GArmin was %HR and HR zone-no speed, time, avg speed, etc. Maybe the key to riding a little faster is less info for the brain to fool you with.

So, I feel much stronger than last year at this time. The same loop in february of last year with less wind yielded a 19.4 average. Hopefully this will transfer the same results for the race season.