Thursday, May 31, 2007

Training comparison

Tri-compadre Joe got me to tally my training from January to May in 2006 and 2007. Here is the comparison. Big difference in bike and running miles. Last year I never ran (couldn't) and rode a lot more.

Swim 12.7 miles
Bike 2530 miles 158 hrs
Run 0 miles

Swim 20.2 miles
Bike 1556.4 miles 100.3 hrs
Run 150.3 miles

I included hours on the bike as that relates to riding the trainer inside in winter/rain/cold and since I don't log "miles" on the road.

No wonder I don't have race legs. I rode 1000 more miles by this time last year. I have some serious catching up to do!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Skunk vs dog, Skunk wins

Our forelorn stinky dog. Poor guy can't quit rubbing his face on the ground to get off the stink. Unfortunately that scrapes his eyes and his lips. Nick isn't a happy dog as you can see.

Yup, Saturday night a skunk visited our yard. The skunk sprayed near the AC unit, hence the whole house stinks too. After much candle burning, the house is tolerable. I don't think Nick took a direct spray, but pretty close to it. They yard doesn't stink anymore, but Nick sure does. He's barred from entering the house until he's clean and that may be a while. Good times.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Crit Day

Today was the crit downtown Nashville. I started at 9am and almost missed my start (I was there early, but didn't pay attention). Anyway, the course was decent with one long steady climb, but it wasn't steep. However it wore me down. About 6 min in, I hit a chunk of cement sticking up on a corner at about 28mph and it blew out my front tire. I didn't crash, but almost. So I rode to the "pit" and the SRAM support guys gave me a Zipp wheel (about an $800 wheel) to race on. The wheel broke my computer sensor and made noise the whole race. No sneaking up on anyone. When you hit the pit, you get a free lap, so I could stand and rest and they'd let me back in the race where I was. I actually got back to the position I was in before the flat. After my flat, they circled the spot I hit with chalk. Nice. I rode well, but that hill wore me out. I fell off the lead group with 6 laps left (about 5 min) in the race.

Long story short, I thought my lead group lapped half the field (we did lap a lot of people), but then suddenly our group of 10 blew up to 18 or so. I swore those guys were lapped, hence they can't contest the sprint and finish. Anyway, they were on the lead lap. I ended up riding solo and finished 48 sec back in 18th out of 35 guys or so. Not bad, but I need to work on hills.

I watched all the other races after mine and had a blast watching a few guys crash, chatting with folks, and getting to know my teammates better. The pros were smoking up the course and 2 guys easily lapped the entire field in the first 12 min or so. Then they just hung in with the main field. Crazy race. Those pros are amazing, even if one somehow fell over while all by himself. His wheels just went out from under him. Weird. He was ok though.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Race Days

So Friday afternoon was an individual time trial (TT) to start the Edgar Soto Memorial Stage Race. Yes, Memorial race because Edgar was killed while riding his bike and his son is one of the race directors. Huge race with over 540 people racing different categories (with some BIG BIG US pro boys showing up). Anyway, the TT was 6.8 miles of rolling hills with a few good steep climbs. Tough course and it was about 90 degrees at 3 pm (who has ridden in that kind of heat yet? no one), but I did ok at 19:10, which is 21 mph. That was my goal speed, so I was happy. I was going 10-13mph on several occasions, so it was tough. The pro winner did it in 14:08 or so. That is super fast. Anyway, I placed 19 out of 46 in my category.

For those unfamiliar with race categories book mark this page, there are basically 5 categories. Cat 1 is Pro, 2 is almost pro level (but they race together), Cat 3 is pretty strong boys, 4 (my category), and 5 which is entry level where anyone can race). I race 4, but for a few reasons I decided to race a Cat 4/5 omnium, so there are Cat 4 and Cat 5 racers in it. Hence we have some beginners which stinks because they can't ride in a straight line and tend to cause crashes. Anyway, I'm happy with my TT time considering, especially as training for triathlons. If I'd done the Cat 4 race, I'd have been about 104th out of 111 racers. So I'm pretty slow, but that is because I started training late in the winter and did the half marathon. Hence a lot of bike time and ride days were spent running.

Today was a 33 mile circuit race. It was an 11 mile loop we raced 3 times with 1100 feet of elevation gain every lap (yeah, every lap!!). That is VERY hilly. Basically like all the hills in the Vicksburg Military Park crammed into 5 less miles. I have ridden the course before as I could ride there from the house, so I knew the course. There are a couple killer hills and they hurt me today too (mentally and physically). From the get go at 8 am, I felt crappy and I was not so motivated to try hard. The pace was not really fast on the hills (thank gosh) and I avg'd 21.7 mph. I'm glad the pace wasn't wicked as I'd have been dropped early on the long steep climbs right after the start. After lap 2, I got caught at the end of the field of racers and the attacks started on the first hill and that was it for me. I was too far back and couldn't get to the leaders, so I was dropped.

I was tired, unmotivated, and getting hot, but I rode with a small group of guys who looked to be hurting more then me. I was tired on every hill, but I dropped them on every hill, then waited for them to catch up. Better off riding into the wind with others to pull me then to do it myself, get worn out, and have them all pass me. We worked together poorly, but good enough. I recovered a bit since we riding so damn slow over the last 5 miles and decided to attack the group. Why not? If I blow up, I'm one of the last riders in the stupid race anyway. If anything it'll be fun to try and may be a morale boost. So with ~400m left in the race, I pulled out of the group and hammered all the way to the finish line. I mean I went out with everything left in the tank. The finish was flat/slightly uphill, then the last 250m are downhill, so I figured if I gapped those guys, I could hold them off on the descent. Being an idiot, I looked back to see where they were with about 200m to go and then with 100m to go (NEVER LOOK BACK!! and I know it too). I had a 20 m gap on them, but they were closing. I sprinted my heart out and from out of no where someone came up on me and he pipped me at the line. Neither of us were sure who won the sprint (but he did after seeing the results). It was likely for 40th place (I ended up getting 20th out of 45), but it is the morale boost I wanted. I had legs left and could give a long all out effort. Good training and it was a blast. Either way, if was nice to ride hard and hurt and still have guys to ride with (outside last week riding solo) and be able to try an attack. I think I stunned them all with the attack that they couldn't match as they didn't catch me, even on the downhill. The one guy that did work with me had little to say after the race when I tried to chat with him. Mad I smoked him??? Good. He needs to train harder.

Tomorrow is a criterium, which is 0.6 mile loop in downtown Nashville which we will race for 30 min. It will be more uphill then anything (more time going up) and will be tough. There is a long descent where we will hit ~40 and have to make a turn. Sketchy at best. Anyway, my goal will be to ride as aggressive as I can and stay near the front, which is what I should have done today. If I can stay near the front, I'll stay out of crashes (caused by those bad Cat 5 riders) and be able to respond to other aggressive riders and maybe get a decent finish. My legs will be blown in the race I bet, but everyone else should be tired too. Hopefully I'll be able to hang and if anyone gets dropped, they'll likely get pulled out of the race with the short course, technical turns, and largish field. It'll be fun to stay all day and watch the pros hammer the course at 30 mph.

Off for a needed nap!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Crit day

Today was the aforementioned criterium race. That is me in the blue shorts and the orange jersey. Nice course, HUGE field of 60 or so. It was super fast. My legs felt ok after the road race yesterday, but they didn't have much pop to them. After 4 min I was at the back of the field hanging on for dear life. I officially got dropped at 7:30 into a 40 min race. That stunk. At drop time, I avg'd 26mph. Really fast. I tried to catch on, but ended up slowing up and rode with 2 other guys for a while. We worked pretty well together taking pulls. Good time trial practice anyway. They weren't pulling us out of the race, but they did with 2 laps left. I'd recovered enough and was going to give it a go on the last lap, but I didn't get the chance. So 6 of us got pulled and we were basically dead last. Pace was very fast and I don't have that kind of speed yet.

One crash occurred in the lead group with 2 laps left. One stupid racer who always cuts people off on corners and rides dumb, blew a tire on a corner, flipped and it messed up the race. Our team leader (one of them), got caught up in it and rode up on the stupid riders wheel. Fortunately our guy didn't fall. All in all a good practice race for me. I sucked, but it was good for me. I did 14.3 miles at 23.4 mph in 36 min or so. Feel good and plan to run an hour later.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pict of us

Race day #1

So today was my first bike race of the year. It was a 48 mile race with a good climb about 21 miles into each of the 24 mile loops. I basically wanted to hang with the group (and make it to the climb the first time) and give it a go to get fitness, without expectations of doing well at all. This was a training race for me. After 13 miles we'd avg'd almost 24 mph. Pace was fast, I was hurting (HR was high), and I was also yoyo'ing off the back of the group of about 60 riders. We'd already dropped a few guys, so I knew I wouldn't be dead last. I took advantage of descents to close the gap to the group a few times, but I was hurting. We hit the big hill the first time and the race blew apart. I passed several guys on the climb, and never saw them again. It was tough. I hung with one other rider for a few miles after the climb, trying to catch a few others ahead of us. I just couldn't hold the pace and ended up riding solo for 20 miles or so (there was no one behind me or I'd have waited for them). I about died on the climb the second time because I was trying to ride hard the whole race and get stronger in this crummy situation. I caught one rider after the climb (he claimed he crashed into a car) and out sprinted him to the line (for an overall low place, but whatever). In the sprint, my calves and thighs both cramped up bad. Oh well. Some of my teammate finished in the top 10, so that is good. The race was tough, but it was good for my bike fitness and handling skills in a group. I may have finished near the end (not sure what place yet), but I'll be stronger for racing. I had gone about 24 miles before I got dropped by the lone guy I rode with and had avg'd 23mph at that point. I ended up averaging 21 mph at the end, so I didn't ride too slow while on my 20 mile solo ride. I was zonked at times, but hammered it whenever I could.

Tomorrow is a criterium on a 1.0 mile loop in the parking lot at LP field, which is the stadium where the TN Titans play football. I've raced this course several times before and hope to not get pulled too quick. The pace will be very fast (25+) for the first couple laps (which is about all out sprints for a few miles) and I hope to hang on. They very well may pull riders out of the race that get lapped, hence I hope I make it more then 15 min:) Bec will be there to get some picts of me suffering. More to come after the torture of Sunday morning.

Monday, May 14, 2007

New addition to the family

We aren't having a kid, but we did get another little one a couple weeks ago. Her name is currently Chessie, which is short for Francesca (shelter named her). She was about 5 lbs when we got her and with some food, she's filled out a little. But she's 1-2 years old (we think) and is very calm and sweet. She looks at Nick (the dog) and just looks away. She was a stray so she has no fear evidently. Gypsy and her get along to some degree, but they will do better in the future I reckon as they spend more time together.

House picts

Here's a couple before and after pictures of the front yard. Went from boooooring to a much better curb appeal, plus we have less grass to mow!!!! The picts aren't in order as I'd like, but you can figure out the before (less landscaping) and the after. I huffed a lot of dirt, rock, and mulch to do it, but it looks great now.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Rookie blog

I've finally started a blog so I can easily post pictures of birds, the house, and/or give boring details about how I got beaten bad in bike races and triathlons. Hope you enjoy and check it out regularly. Yeah that's me running at the end of the half marathon (nice legs eh?)