Monday, March 24, 2008

Wells #2

Wells week 2 was a great workout - I felt good throughout the race. I was keeping a focus on slightly TT + efforts and NOT going into the red zone AT ALL - I think I only went into the red zone a few times. Murat was there too and was riding strong at the front - a few other guys (maybe 5) were working at the front of our chase group (which had about 30 members). I got a great workout in and kept pushing big, big gears (for me at least!) during this race - many times I was in the larger gear ratios and still spinning at a good clip. There is a slight downhill where I got up to 34 mph for a bit - which surprised me. A break did get off - which kinda ticked me off because even though its a training race I really hate not being in the break...I can be really ignorant and stubborn about these things. There were 12 guys in there - which is a substantial break for this course. They were going good but nothing we couldn't have caught. Like yesterday it went really early so I think a lot of guys were caught sleeping - so lesson #1 is not to sleep in races like this EVER. A few of the larger teams worked to counter any field efforts to bring them in though - in this respect I learned my second lesson which is that team tactics can really mess up the effectiveness of a chase group - my hats off to them (although its annoying when you pull 1/2 lap and nobody comes through even though you look behind you several times, slow down slightly, pull off, raise right arm, raise left arm, decrease speed to 18 mph etc...) There was a windy section which slowed down to below 22 mph, which the break was probably doing at 25+ which is where a lot of the damage probably happened and the break got out of sight.

So I've now over analyzed the training race but I learned something from it. Right now I'm going to eat ramen noodles with the packets of Indian curry w/ chickpeas on top - one of my favorite "I don't feel like cooking" dishes.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Charge Pond

I went out to the Charge Pond race today. It was a bit windy and in the 40s. The sun seemed to feel like it had some actual warmth to it which was a welcome break from cloudy wet days or freezing cold days with gale force winds. This was more of a training ride for me because the race part of this happened at lap 4 or 5 when McCormack, Bold, someone from CL Noonan and some of the other unbelievably strong people went up the road. I saw this go and decided that it was too early to go with it - that was a mistake on my part. There were a lot of strong guys here and they were off the front pushing the pace on many occasions - and I mean pushing the pace. I found the place to break away - there are some small hills and false flats on this course. It was possible to gap the field on the second hill after the turn - there are two 'hills' in rapid succession and a lot of folks burned all their matches sprinting up the first one. This race was a lot like a Ninigret - except you could get away and not be seen. Another thing - as riders we need to work on our breakaway and chase tactics. The first thing is not to sprint past the person you are working with, especially if they have just completed a strong pull. It is imperative to also RIDE away from the field, not in the red zone but in the 'orange plus' zone - which a person can maintain for at least a few miles. A lot of folks sprinting off the front (me included), getting off 50 meters and staying there unable to work effectively or unable to convincingly pull away. I'm convinced that getting and staying in the break is a critical part of building Cat. 2 quality fitness - of course this is easier said than done - but it fits into my fitness program I have elected to use this year - "Racing Into Shape."

I'm glad I sat up in the sprint. I was getting pushed off the road and into the sand about 1KM out so I decided to sit up and let the other guys sprint it out. The Olympics are right around the corner so I wouldn't want to get in anyones way in their pursuit of glory. It was a critical sprint...only 10+ guys or so were up the road so 11th was available and from what I hear finishing 11th in the training series at Charge Pond gets you an invitation to the US Olympic Trials and who knows what can happen from there? Good Luck.

Of course, I got sick during the race and could not eat any food until 5PM, which meant I went over my limit and put a solid deposit in the training bank. I did a solid solo hour after this race around the park - this place has to have the most bumpy roads outside of the city of Providence - they were like North Main St. before they paved it. There is also a section in EP right before the golf course (one of my least favorite stretches of road around by the way) which is horrendous and similar to Myles Standish. The terrain in this place is deceptive - it is not flat, nor is it hilly...there are little rises and descents but only very small elevation changes yet it makes for a tough ride after a while. While this might sound nuts, I remember hearing other cyclists talk about 'heavy roads' - this place would qualify for having these 'heavy roads.'

It was nice to come home and walk my dog around my neighborhood wearing only a sweatshirt. Yesterday was the crappiest weather - cold and windy as hell. The weather was crappy because it was sunny which thus enhanced my feelings of guilt about not riding outside. Although I knew that riding in that wind would suck just as bad as riding in a cold rain, actually it would probably suck worse. Oh, and by the way - writing an "S" in orange spraypaint on other peoples fences and walls is not art. Its just not.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wells and today

Typical March racing at Wells yesterday...chilly temps and big fields. I had fun in this race - it felt good to go hard - and not get violently ill during or concluding the race. It was a great feeling to race with teammates, both Scott and Mike were there, both off the front several times during the race. No break got off, but guys were trying, and I think its imperative to try to at least do something. My strategy was to stay up front to try to stay with anything good that went, alas nothing went. The sprint was a touch sketchy with a lot of guys either not having the fitness to sprint out the finish or having consumed themselves with a long leadout effort. Regardless, there was a lot of lateral movement and 'sitting up' in the field sprint....which can lead to a lot of unnecessary chaos. The race did slow down with two to go which I think allowed a lot of forward movement in the field, especially individuals who perhaps riding the race for fitness and thus not doing their share at the front - maybe these very same folks simultaneously desired a result. Regardless, I had fun and am sore today which means hopefully means I'll build some fitness in the next few days.

Well, since its Monday and I feel like complaining:

To all PC students: They cleaned the streets last Friday (Douglas, Eaton, Orms and the surrounding neighborhoods). Glass was minimal on Orms and lower Douglas but was widespread on Eaton and the local neighborhoods. I have a sneaking suspicion that intoxicated college students were involved in some form. I was once a student also and believe me, I had a good time but I don't remember destroying wherever I lived - I had *some* respect for my residence and neighborhood *even* though I might not have been all that attached to it. I don't go where you live *full time* and break bottles on your streets.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Must be a slow news day

Top Rhode Island News

A preliminary audit of activities at Rhode Island's $70 million trash agency has found possible "irregularities and appearances of impropriety," as well as potential criminal activity warranting further investigation.

The above is not news in Rhode Island. Some things never change.

Got out after work today and did 4x1km sprint efforts. Very hard. I also did some East Side Hill climbing to mix it up.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ninigret #2

I went down to Ninigret today and rode in the training race. I arrived at 9:50 and had just enough time to sign up and then make it to the starting line. Surprisingly, it was cold and windy there. For most of the race, the wind was a cross wind which made the race hard. I got a lot of effort in, including about 7 laps in no mans land between the break and the field - although a good workout, it was really annoying with the wind. It goes without saying that I don't like riding in the wind, I never feel good in it. At the end of the race I once again had stomach problems. After the final sprint, dry heaves for a while (this happened every time last year...midweek races, Wells Ave, USCF races, and especially Wompatuck). My stomach is still upset four hours later. I was so excited last week when I didn't get sick - but then again I had eaten better in the morning and I behaved better on the night prior to the race. My teammate Murat was there and was racing strong. He pulled me around Charlestown after the race in the cold wind. We rode around the Bob Beals course, but in reverse. So I got in a few hours and a lot of solid effort - not a lot of red zone effort but quite a bit of breakaway/TT style efforts which suits my primary training goal of improving these disciplines.

Yesterday, I got a solid hour in on the trainer with 2 x 9 minute intervals with increasing effort every 3 minutes. I felt great and could have gone far harder but I did not want to go too far. During this ride I had some pain on the inferior lateral aspect of my patella - which concerned me a bit but it felt fine today. I think I'm going to keep the trainer in my training all year - at least one good ride like this per week but I'll put four or five of those efforts instead of just two.

I can't wait to get the new get-ups. Maybe next week! Now I've got to study for my mid term and concurrently watch college basketball - my alma mater - UVM just got beat so no tourney for them. I hope Providence makes at least something happen - West Va. on Wed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tues. AM

I finally made it out before work yesterday. It was wet but really warm out - which made for a really nice ride. I stayed around town and did 5 efforts up the East Side Hill - Doyle, Waterman, Freeman Pkwy. My focus was to sprint over the 'summit' - which became a lung and leg searing attempt by the end. Of course, I rode the Cervelo with the now steel toeclips and my 'cycling' jeans with chamois underneath. I love my new, large messenger bag which can accommodate all the stuff I need for work - including work clothes.
It looks like rain, like a lot of rain for Sat. so I don't know about Plainville - although another Saturday on the trainer does not sound like much fun right now. Its a long season and too early to race in a cold rain 2 hours away.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Finally Racing Again

Ninigret today - preseason type of race. A few primes in there - pretty fun. I felt okay most of the race, although some trouble recovering after max efforts. It was FAST in the back stretch with a tailwind and it was HARD in the finishing stretch with a strong headwind. It felt great to be racing again. I don't care if it doesn't count, I just like racing my bike.

I did not get sick after the race. Last year I got physically ill (nausea, stomach pain, occasional vomiting) after every nearly race, so I was happy about this.
I did about another hour and a half after the race, just riding around SK and Charlestown. I had a lot of trouble with my contacts on the way down there which culminated in throwing out one of the them and keeping only a lens in my left eye. I had both in for the race and for my after race ride though . After the ride I looked in the mirror and my eyes looked like I had been smoking blunts all day - blood red. It is amazing how the smallest little bit in your eye can be so irritating.

I actually walked to get groceries at Whole Foods today. Its not a bad walk (:15), although I don't like walking by Pleasant St. all that much - always a lot of BS down there. I like walking to things - the environmentalist in me likes it b/c I can leave less of a Carbon footprint, my independent spirit enjoys the freedom of walking and it is way less annoying than driving (or biking even) to specifically the Whole Foods on N. Main. I nominate this facility as one of the top ten most frustrating place to drive in the city (the entire downtown cluster, RI Hospital, and Dean St. also are on this list...along with taking a left to get on Hope St. south from Blackstone). For a place that appeals to what is a bike friendly clientele, there are so few places to put your bike. I know they have a rack but it is often full and it is poorly designed. Road bikes do not fit in it all that well.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I went to see Barack Obama at RIC today. It was exciting and is something I'm sure I'll remember for a long time. I did not train prior to going because I planned on going later - it was snowing this morning and totally yucky outside.

Seeing Obama was a great experience, he speaks really well and has some great ideas. We got to see Patrick Lynch speak, as well as Congressman Kennedy.

So we got to the venue @ about 1045. Wait in line for about one and half hours. At 1215 finally get into the auditorium. Of course, there was masses of security - the TSA, the airport people were the ones actually screening people. So we got into the place and stood in the same spot until 4PM. This place was PACKED. Like you could not move - at all. I had a lot of trouble walking out - very, very stiff in the knees, not a lot of pain, just really stiff. I will be one sore old man.

So I got home about 5PM and proceeded to tube/tire my new wheels, do rear brakepads, swap out chain and cassette. I may need a new middle chainring. Actually I know that I need one but really don't want to admit this to myself. Where am I going to get a Campy 39 for tomorrow?

Needless to say I did not get to train today. This means only two rides in the past ten days...totally unacceptable.