Thursday, January 31, 2013

Its a Wrap

So, thus ends another january of base miles with a dash of effort. I really tried to stick to my guns this year and get as many "true" E2 base miles as possible.

What makes this such a strange, yet successful january is that of 727 miles, 690 came on the road. I usually mix in more mtn rides which ends up not staying in Z2 which leads me to gradually scoot away from my training plan. So of the 37 rides, only 2.5 were dirt ventures (One was a partial road/mtn deal). 

I have to say that I am feeling really good now. I have seen my hr level out a bit and not staying above the clouds for the entire ride. Another curious note; 20 achievements on Strava all came by way of the tarmac. Last year I had 15, 11 of which were dirt oriented. Since joining the Chesapeake Wheelman, I have been talking with those in the club about doing a few road races this year along with a couple TT's. I know, dont hold that against me; age is starting to play mean tricks on my mind. 

Ok, so 45 isnt exactly the young stud when it comes to cycling, but I think my trend of getting faster as I get older will continue-at least for the near future. I did notice something that I am not accustomed to-slow recovery after a race. Yep, it took me a good 3 days to feel good after saturdays mud fest. Now, the being the conditions were a little more extreme than usual had a bit to do with recovery I'm sure, but still not ready for that phase yet. May have to do some fancy manipulation with the training schedule, but all will be fine.

Anyway, enough mindless banter and off to nighty night.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snot Cycle or aka Slop Cycle and nabbing 5th

Well, this was the first race for me since may of last year, and it couldnt have been better, well maybe first would have been a little better. Anyway, as is every year, Snotcycle was cold, muddy, icy and of course snow layith on the trails. This is the first time I have done Snotcycle  at the new venue at the Freedom Center, so I wasnt too sure how I was going to do. One of the niceties about this race is catching up with friends and "rivals" and seeing how good of shape there in or how much I need to improve.

As usual, the drive down included pre-race jitters and wondering why I still do this. My biggest fear, as with every race, is not doing well. I know I am in great shape considering I am 45 now, which isnt "old", but lining up with guys half your age can sometimes be intimidating.

I decided to go with the Ferrous this year, just because I have never done a Snotcycle event on it and I love this bike; it turned out to be a great choice. I ran my usual 32x18; safe for not knowing the course, a 32x17 may have been better now that I have ridden it, eh next year. This was also my first race donning the Chesapeake Wheelman colors. Lets just say, I was easy to spot. I believe that this is the first mtb race that they have been represented, pretty funny. They are the 2nd oldest club in the country and I get to be the guinea pig for the 1st mountain bike event of the year.

It looked as if it was not going to start real well. I no sooner pulled up to the start and off we went. I was sitting about 25th of 38, so not real smart. As we headed into the woods, I quickly realized that there wasnt going to be too many places to pass. Tight, twisty and slippery made it very tough to get by the slower riders. I have been really working hard this winter and trying to stay focused on my training, so this was really a race against myself. About 1 mile in , I expected my HR to be in the 190's, but it was hovering in the 170's-this was a great sign. So i mashed the pedals and started moving up. What I also was very happy with was my times for the second lap. In the past, I am notorious for having a slower second lap; however today would be different. My first lap was 31:15; not bad, but my second lap was 29:12, and I knew it. I felt fast and passed around 12-18 people.

The third lap had just turned completely nasty. The snow was gone and all that remained was the sloppy mud. This course looks like your small intestines, so the turns were super dangerous if you werent careful. I didnt drink the entire race for fear of crashing. I was very conscious of who was behind me and where they were. I wasnt real sure where I was in the overall standings, but I knew I was moving closer to the top 5 because I could see Bill wheeler not too far ahead. I was running out of miles, though. I tried as hard as I could to catch him, but just ran out of time. I rode a great race and not a single person passed me. I made sure to I kept everyone that was behind me a good distance from me. I didnt slow at the end and felt awesome. I crossed the line in 1:30:12, which is where I was trying to be to get home for my son's birthday party. I ended up in 5th, which is my best finish for this race, even considering the sloppy conditions.

Overall, I rank this as one of my best races ever; at least from a physical standpoint. My HR was low and I was able to maintain great power throughout the entire race, even through the muck and mud. I did find myself staying seated on just about every climb (felt weird, but that was the only way to maintain traction). My seatpost slipped about an inch which really hampered me a bit, but I just stood as much as I could. The goal for this year is to be more econmical. I only spent 1 minute 22 seconds in anaerobic land, which quite frankly, I never would have thought was possible. Normally in a race, I am in Z5 70%ish of the time, so my training seems to be spot on right now.

I think it is going to be a good year...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Getting it together for 2013

January and february in Maryland are usually pretty dismal. Temps are sometimes in the teens with a lot of wind to boot. My traditional winter workouts have mainly been on the trainer. I hate cold and hate cold wind even more. The trainer is safe, consistent and yes... boring at times (what bores you makes you strong), or at least complacent. So anyway, I live in an area that is vertically challenged which makes it hard for me to get some nice road climbs in on a regular basis.

This year, I have a lot more time to ride and have access to some great hills in and around Ellicott City. They are long, steep and everything you would want in a sufferfest of elevation. So I was, uh um, am determined to ride as much of these monsters as much as possible.

This past week, the temps have been in the low 20's with a wind chill added in, made for some 11°-15° days. Now, I could have taken the easy way out and sat on the trainer, but I decided that I was going to ride no matter what. Each ride had me begging to quit and cut it short to get warm, but I didnt and I was really glad of that. I would have felt worse ducking out than I did for the 2+ hours in the arctic blast. I feel as strong as I did last year at is time, if not stronger. The heart rate is getting lower and the legs are feeling great with good recovery times. I have only one ride on the mountain bike this year so far and I really think that has helped with getting in the shape I need to be in.

January 1st, I weighed in at 186, which is my normal weight. This year I am trying to "slim" down to 180 for race season. I know, 6 lbs isnt a lot; it isnt, but put an extra 6lbs on your back or strap it to your 20lb bike and see how it feels. As of today, I am down to 184.5 (darn Wendy's triple cheeseburger), but it was great!

Snotcycle is this saturday and I dont go to push as hard as I would in the spring, but I do try to stay in the top 10, which I have done every year so far. So, like usual, I have the jitters and get a little nervous about racing (especially after last years medical mess), so I have a lot to prove to myself this year.