Saturday, March 24, 2007

thanks to all the product sponsors

who made Thursday's all-nighter to Orlando possible...
All went well, Ryan was a champ, we left BR at 9, got into Tallahassee around 4, took a 2 hour snooze and made it into the hotel around noon.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

the fun that was

My third attempt to make the training race was finally a success. In celebration of the cool weather, i went full-on Chiapucci. Joining me in true Euro-imposter stylings were Dr. Brian's SuperSized WC Cricket, Tom's tri-color French Nat Champ, and some Squirrelly Postie, more on him later.

Off we went, a pretty good sized group. It's funny, i'm using a heartrate monitor for the first time in a while, and on the trainer i have to work hard to reach a hr of 170, in a group ride, it's automatic.

I stayed near the front until Gardere, then i went back a bit. That's when the interesting stuff started. Lots of squirrellyness going on, the pack bouncing around a good bit, then all of the sudden, here's why. Some dude comes riding through the pack, against traffic, namely us, about 3 feet off the shoulder on a 20 inch bmx bike. NICE!

This inspired me to get back up front pronto. When i got there i saw SeaBass off, WAY OFF the front, flying near the split. I took a turn or two, nobody came through so out of spite (and some stupid desire to suffer) i decided to bridge solo. Right off, i'm doing 29, cadence 105, hr 180+. I hold this steady and it takes a while, but i make it to within maybe 50 yards of him. Right there i can't seem to close the last bit, so between breaths, i shout out "HEY!". It was funny, b/c i didn't know if i could talk at all, let alone that loud. Luckily, he waits up.

I get on and try to recover, but it's not easy b/c he's pulling 28, but eventually i'm back to 171. We've got a huge gap at this point, and we just start rolling 28-29. Part of me is psyched to make the bridge, the other part is thinking "Crap! what if nobody catches us? do i have to keep doing this?" That doesn't last too long, we stay off for a while, but eventually the pack gets organized and brings us back, just in time for the prop sprint.

As is often the case, a dozen guys who haven't been anywhere near the front for the whole ride go gonzo for the prop. I always wonder "Did they take a short cut?" Well in a sense they did. Anyway, we regroup and get going again, about this time the Postie Squirrel shows up on the left hand side of the road, riding against traffic, forcing cars to "thread the needle". The sides of this proverbial needle being us and him.

This is when i overheard Tom give sage advice, the sort of wisdom that takes years and years of cycling experience to develop and just might not be apparent to your average human being, let alone someone on a bicycle. "HEY DUDE! RIDE ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE ROAD WILL YA!" Maybe he was imitating the homey on the bmx bike i don't know what was going on there.

From this point on, it was just more of the same, get away, get caught, rinse and repeat. The group got a good bit smaller and in the final kilo, Chris tried to give me a leadout, but i was blown.

I think SeaBass won, he is super strong right now. I think there are a lot of strong riders right now, lots of different people pulling throughout, which is usually something you find later in the season. And most importantly, it looks like my workouts are doing the trick.

Good times, good times.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the training race that wasn't

Last night was Opening Night at the Tuesday/Thursday Training Race on River Road.
I was excited to get out and see the old and new faces, catch up on old times, then cause people pain so that they could in turn cause me more pain. You know, my favorite thing to do in life.

It's as though all those hours spent on rollers, trainers, running at night, early in the morning, riding with a headlamp at the mall, swimming, all that crap comes together so that finally, after the DST rolls in, you can ride with your friends again on a crappy dangerous road, max your heartrate out, and get yelled at by the locals. I couldn't wait.

Unfortunately with all the things i had to do yesterday morning, i didn't pack my bike. No biggie i thought, i'll swing by the house and get it before the race. With BR traffic being what it is, that wasn't going to work. So i drove straight home, changed and headed out from the house, figuring i'd catch up with the pack around the first bend. Still time to socialize for a minute or two before all hell breaks loose.

Heading down Bluebonnet on my Easton's, i felt very fast. I guess b/c i've been riding most of the time on 700x28's capable of rolling over anything. I knew this would be a great day. I turned right on Nicholson, hugged the shoulder for dear life and was forced into some mud clomps. No biggie, at least for the first 20 or so, then blammo slammo. My rear tire blows out big time. The kind of blow-out that makes you wish you had brought your cell phone.

No biggie, i stop, inspect the tire and see a small slit in the sidewall.
No biggie, i'll find some discarded paper cup and patch that bad boy up.
Unfortunately, i must have found the only 100 feet of Nicholson with NO LITTER ON IT.
The best i could do was some cellophane potato chip bag, so i fold the thing 20 times, stuff it under the slit and hit the CO2.
Here's where the problem comes in, i'm thinking, if my sidewall doesn't bulge i'm gold. But it bulges so much i can nearly read the lettering on the cellophane.
So, on a wing and a prayer, i limped back home and got in 25 minutes on the day.
No biggie, i guess i needed the easy day.

There will be many other Tuesdays.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Holy Sir Squirrel-a-lot

The Tivo picked up the Tour of Qatar on OLN last night. Stage 1 was cool, a TTT with no aero equipment. Did anyone see the sprint at the end of stage 2? Not Good. Graeme Brown went all "Mike W. on Joey D. at the B&B" and got relegated.

Another observation, why does this race happen? I'm guessing some single sheik pays for the whole thing with his discretionary income, because i've seen more spectators at Cat 5 road races. There is nobody out there watching this race.

Are you not entertained?

Estimated Average Speeds from Last Windy Weekend

1. Herring Bain 28.1 mph
2. Smurf Corcorans 27.1
3. Fried Chicken R Us 26.3
4. Herring Bo 26.2
5. MidSouth Jay 25.9

I impressed me, which is hard to do.
I also threw up a lot, but that's to be expected.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Three Man

Nope, it's not a throwback to my favorite college drinking game, the kind you play to lose. No, that was the theme for this morning's LAMBRA road opener, the Raising Cane's Three Man Team Time Trial.

Yesterday's weather was perfect, today's was not exactly as good. Windy and cold, not Yankee cold, or Rocky Mountain cold but cold none the less.

How cold? Well i met Norm and the rest of the crew at 7:00 to set up registration. Sitting in the shade, registering teams for 2 hours left me a shivering mess, even with blue jeans and a sweat shirt pulled over my duds with full warmers on. The same thing happened last year, you would think i'd learn.

Once reg was done, we learned we had about 20 minutes to get ready, warm up and race. Just like last year. So off we went. A quick spin on the trainer, then a few adjustments to the bike, and we were ready to go.

On the start line we took the opportunity to catch up with old friends and taunt the Peake boys for their new threads which are seemingly Gerolsteiner-inspired. We would learn later that questioning a team's sexuality minutes before they start 60 seconds after you isn't a good plan. In other words, we saw those baby blue shirts again about 10 miles down the road.

But i digress, i rode with Norm and Brandon, the last time we rode together was the day i dinged the Orbea after touching wheels with Brandon, so i was anxious to stay perpendicular to the road as much as possible. Looking down the road from the line, you could see the weeds in the field laying down away from us, big tailwind. Norm took the first pull, i thought this might mean an easy transition into tt mode. But instead he took us right to 32 and left it there for nearly three minutes. From there we probably hit a dozen different headwind/crosswind combinations doing 24-28 before the end of the lap, right where the Peake guys passed us.

Back in the tailwind, Brandon dropped off, so the last lap was just me and Norm. I thought we'd slow down a lot, but instead we just upped the suffering/barfing and finished up.

We got 2nd in the 1/2, which means i get 0 LAMBRA points. This whole point thing made a lot more sense when we scored 1/2/3 all together. Instead i keep getting donuts in ttt events. I don't think there were enough 1/2 or 3 teams to even merit points, so maybe they should be together.

Just to put some perspective on Herring's winning ride. In the last kilometer, Norm and i gutted out a 28 mph finish. Frank told me that he, Bain and Realdo were all together until then and Bain kicked it up to 38 and Realdo dropped off. 38? after 21 miles at tt pace? Good God

My bad mojo from the last ttt passed to TCF, Stan went down and destroyed his frame and both new aero wheels. I've heard different figures on the cost of this crash, but even the most conservative one makes me cringe big time. Luckily no real injuries on that one, just skin loss and severe wallet hemorrhage. Some ladies went down too, but i didn't hear the final word on their injuries.

Speaking of TCF, i'll go out on a limb right now and say that they will win the LAMBRA Points Competition for 2007. They turned out in droves. I can't tell you the number of TCF's i signed up but it was impressive. The key to winning that competition is having point-scorers in all categories and that they have. Also a big "new jersey" phenomenon going on with new S3, MidSouth and Precision Bike teams showing up in big numbers.

I think the results will probably be up sometime in April or May.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Wind Trainer Theater

I've been enjoying some great old tapes while working out in the mornings, this past week was the 92 Tour de France. Just awesome. Big Mig wins his 2nd tour with massive tt performances. What really stuck out though was how many previous tour winners animated the race, LeMond, Roche, Delgado, and Fignon all racing hard. Then there's baby-face Zuelle and Virenque who each got the yellow jersey for a day. Chiapucci had to be drinking some fine water to race the way he did throughout it all, his escape to Sestriere was huge. Hampsten won on the Alpe d'Huez, pushing away a little kid who wanted to pour water on his head. It's great stuff.

Nobody's Pretty Baby

That's a phrase my dad has always used, and it's fitting to describe most people in a 2 mile race, myself included. In one of them my eyes appear to be rolling back in my head. What's funny is how they mistook me for Norman in a few shots on the bike, i don't know why, we were only dressed the same with the same dorky helmet.