Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is It Next Week Yet?

I'm ready for that rest and reco and I'm only one day into week 3 of base 3. Sheesh, this training shit is hard.

I started my week with a strange ride last night. I was supposed to do 3x15 Threshold intervals @ 250-260w. I hadn't gotten much sleep the previous 2 nights, 6 hrs or less. And I lost 5lbs last week too. That might be too much, even for someone like me who's eager to give it up. I took Monday off the bike. My wife started her new gig at Dryers in Laurel and we carpooled it. Besides, I didn't feel like riding anyway. I was still worn out from 4 days straight of hard, ass kicking rides. Even after the night off I still felt like hammered dog shit. I took off from the office to head home and after a 1/2 hr of warm-up and and some short efforts to test the legs, I determined that there was no way I was gonna be doing 1x15 let alone 3x15. So I rode endurance/tempo for the next 1 1/2 hours. Fortunately I had tailwinds most of the night because I was doing a point to point ride from my office in Columbia to my home south eastward in Crownsville. The winds were pretty strong at 15-25 mph from the northwest. Sometimes its good to get some help. On the flip side, the chill in the air sucked! Hard as I try, i cannot motivate myself that extra little bit to really suffer when its cold out. I need the heat dammit!

I got home and downloaded my 'puter into WKO and lo and behold, I've got a new 20 and 30 min. PRs. I've banged out a 25 watt increase on my FTP in 6 weeks of doing the Hunter Allen training plan from the back of his power book. I've also dropped about 15 lbs too.


I did that new PR with a HR 12 beats lower than when I set the original benchmark 6 weeks ago. In fact I think that's a problem too. I cannot for the life of me get close to my max of 191. Last night my HR for my new 20 min PR was at the mid range Level 3 for me. And to tell the truth, I didn't have it in me to go any harder than I did. I'm sure its because I'm wore out. I'm in week 3 of base 3 and between training workloads and the 10-11 hour workdays at the grind, I'm getting close to the breaking point.

Tonight were gonna try to do those 3x15s.



Monday, April 28, 2008

F U Speed Channel

Bunch of NASCAR pole smoking mother frackin' wankers you all are.


Week in Review: April 21-27, 2008

What an awesome week its been. The weather was perfect, except for Sunday. A harbinger of things to come. I hate cold. It was great to have temps in the 70's and 80's. I love the heat. I can't explain why but since living in Texas for a little less than a year way back in 1981-82 my body does not do well with the cold and I seem to thrive in heat. I've gotten better over the years with dealing with the cold. But if I don't have to be out in it, then I'm not gonna be out in it. Got bless rollers and TV, I'll never have to ride in the rain and cold again. 500 of the 1500 miles I've logged in the last 10 weeks are roller miles. That's how much I hate the cold. Speaking of time on the bike, I've now logged 10 weeks of solid base and have this last week to go to complete Base 3 of my training plan. The following week is a rest & recovery week. I'm very much looking forward to the time off the bike. The last 2 weeks have been brutally hard and this week will be no different.

My body is responding well to the overload. After the brutal beating I took on Tuesday at Davidsonville, I traded my off day from Friday to Wednesday. My week started with one off, on on, one off. Not a good way to start a 11 hr week. I knew I would have to hump it hard the remaining days of the week and that's exactly what I did.

Thursday was a particularly nasty workout that called for 6 x 6 minute mock TT efforts at 250-260 watts. Since we all know that more is better I did them all well in excess of 265 watts. The first two were rather weak at 295 watts average, but its hard to find a road in Columbia where you can go more than 2 minute without stopping. I did the first interval going down Snowden River Parkway out toward Rt-108. Once past the Kripsy Kreme its a false flat all the way to Tamar Drive. But it's still too short, so I had to turn right into the 'hood on Tamar to keep it going. The road goes downhill into some short rollers, so I pedaled my ass off to keep the watts up. Even on a 53x12 its still hard to generate 200+ watts going downhill. Girth and gravity make it all to easy to go fast when the road goes down. The 2nd interval was a bruiser heading down the new section of Montgomery Road. I hammered that sucker all the way from the golf course past the Giant to the top of the hill on Lawyers Hill Road. I humped that for about 300 watts. Which wasn't easy since that stretch is mostly on a downgrade. My goal for the night was to get over to Race Rd in Elkridge to do most of the 6 intervals. Lawyers Hill Rd is my short cut to Levering Ave and to Race Rd. It also goes by Speeds, the 2nd best Ducati shop in a 100 mile radius of Balto/Wash. (The 1st is Duc Pond in Winchester, VA in case you were wondering). Race Rd is pretty much flat from start to end except for the part on the other side of Hanover Road that leads toward Cocoa Cola Drive. The stretch from Furnace Rd to Hanover is roughly 5 min 30 sec from start to end at TT pace (1 min. 30 at Ducati pace) so I extended it past the stop sign up the false flat on Hanover Rd that leads toward BWI Airport. The road is closed to all but local traffic and pretty chewed up with road construction. I hope they finish that soon. That little section is part of regular Sunday loop for me. I managed 3 intervals there. All of them over 315 watts average, the best at 330 watts. My goal FTP number. The last interval I saved for the trip back to the office. I cut thru Patapsco State Park on the MUP that now connects up to Illchester Rd. Every local rider knows Illchester Rd! 18% of pain, pain, pain! I skipped it. Instead I did the steadier climb up Bonnie Branch Road. Illchester is too short. Once you get to the top it runs flat all the way to Montgomery Rd for about a mile. Bonnie Branch on the other hand is a steady 4% average climb all the way from it's bottom, where its meets the bottom of Illchester, to it's end at Montgomery Rd. The last 300 yards are some it's hardest tarmac. It's also very bucolic in its scenery. There are a couple of abodes on the lower parts of the road, where the feeder streams into the Patapso run along side the road, that are beautiful. I would give my left arm to live in one of them. I imagine their current owners did. If I lived in that neck of the woods I'd probably never be fat again. That little enclave is the nexus of some of the best and hardest climbing in the area. I have one hill routine that hits them all. I'll save that for another blog entry.

After that last interval I was toast. I limped back to the office, got my shit together and went home. I could barely walk the rest of the evening. I downloaded my data and saw that my TSS scores were all above 1.0 for those intervals. The one I did at 330 watts was like 1.35. And I had already increased my FTP in WKO to 265 watts a couple days prior. Testing is in 2 weeks and I'll be surprised if I don't see big gains.

Fridays workout was supposed to be an active reco ride. Well it was, except for the sprints I did to make up for not doing them on Wednesday when I was supposed too. Those didn't go as well as I expected. The workout was 5 small ring sprints for 50 yards to warm up the legs followed by 3 big ring sprints starting on a 53x19, spin out, shift once to 53x17, spin out and done. The next 3 sprints start off in a 53x17, spin out, shift, spin out, shift again, spin out and done on the 53x14. The very last sprint was a start in a 53x15, spin out, shift, spin out, shift again, spin out and done on the 53x13. The goal of these sprints is not all out power and pain but to teach me not to dump the chain onto a 53x12 or 11 when it comes time to pay the bills. Even though I was not doing all out power and pain I never got past 1025 watts for all those sprints. I was kinda disappointed as I was hoping for a new 5 sec number to be proud off. 1025 watts puts me squarely at 'Untrained' on the Allen/Coggan chart. I dunno what to make of it. Maybe I didn't have fresh legs. Maybe I held back too so I wouldn't get dropped on the Davidsonville ride 12 hrs away on Saturday morning. Whatever the reasons it's still disappointing to see what you thought was your strength turning out to be a weakness.

Ahhh, the Davidsonville Ride. The bane of my existence. It's the kind of ride you just cant keep away from no matter how many times it all ends in tears. Much like my golf game of many years ago. The occasional flashes of brilliance give way to total suckage and pain. But its those spurts of greatness that keep me coming back to repeat the pain and suffering with the hope of extending those moments of glory.

It all ended in tears.


This time it wasn't my fault. Well it it was, but not due to fitness. I found out after the first hump on Sands Road that I had great legs on the day. I was having one of those 'chainless' rides. (Andrew Coggan, you were right about the sprints. Thank you!). I also found out that my rear wheel was about to come flying apart like the Bluesmobile at Daly Plaza. I knew I had a sketchy wheel before we even left the parking lot. I was gonna just bail and go to work and switch out the wheels on my other bike at the office. But Deutchman said, "fuck that shit, ask around for a wrench" I asked about 15 people there for a spoke wrench and that last guy I asked, a really cool guy name Les, gave me his. It's on my key ring now. I worked the wheel enough to not worry about bailing on the ride. But after that hard short sprint up the hill on Sands, the spokes worked loose again. I could feel the brake rubbing and so I opened up the brake caliper so it would stop. That got me another couple miles to ride but that wheel started wobbling worse than a drunken sailor on shore leave. By the time I got over the last hard hill on Rt-408 past the golf course it was toast. My ride was over with the main group. Shit!!!! I was pissed. At myself mostly but the wheel in particular. I, finally, was having a good day. With no worries about getting dropped I'm waylaid by a mechanical. I stopped and worked the wheel with the spoke wrench for a good 5 minutes. I TT'ed it back up Brooks Woods Rd and with no hope of catching them on the road I turned off for RT-2. My aim was to get ahead of them at the new roundabout at Friendship Rd. and get to the store stop and fix my wheel some more before they got there. That almost worked out. They got there before me, but not before Bill N., who was dropped. As I was turning down the road to the store Bill shouted out what I thought was "They all went straight." Meaning they skipped the store stop and the beach and went straight on to Fairhaven Rd. Turns out that it was only Bill who was skipping the beach. D'oh. Anyway, I rode the rest of the ride with Bill and we took it easy (relatively speaking) back to the park & ride but still maintaining a good pace. We never did get caught. I had to stop 2 more times. Once to fix the wheel again and at the new gas station in Harwood to get some water. We turned out a pretty solid 19 mph average for 48 miles. Once the other fellas came in I found out they had done close to 23 mph for 62 miles. Damn! I wanted to be part of that. Unfortunately I wont have a chance to be for the next few weeks. I have motoref duties for the next 2 Saturdays. Poolesville RR on May 3rd and Cascasde Crit the following week. I'm really looking forward to those gigs. Getting paid to ride the scoot rocks!

I'm gonna wrap this up with yesterdays ride. The weather sucked ass. I was supposed to do 3 hrs easy with my non-racing cyclist friends at 8:30 am. They live off Millersville Road and I always just ride over there from my house 5 miles away in Arden On The Severn. The plan was to head out Rt-175 to WB&A and loop the BWI Trail, ride up the B&A Trail to Annapolis, past the Naval Academy and cut thru West Annapolis back to Bestgate Rd and Generals Highway and then down Sunrise Beach to home. I stayed in bed. It was raining and I was in no mood to get wet. I spent the morning being lazy instead watching a freshly DVR'd F1 race and later Race 1 of WSBK in Assen. FUCK YOU SPEED CHANNEL! Troy Bayliss is the man, but I wish he'd stop adjusting his hat with his right hand during post race interviews. That pinkyless maw of his (he lost it in a crash at Donnington last season) grosses me out. I was gonna ride the rollers for 3 hrs while watching all the AMA races from Fontana. Luck was on my side because at 4 pm the roads were dry and it wasn't raining. Whoohoo! I'm outside baby. Besides, AMA Superbike sucks and as long as Mladin and Spies are still in the series it's gonna keep sucking. At least Spies is moving on to MotoGP next year, but old man Matt should find something else to do. He's worse than a sandbagging Cat 4. 7 times AMA Superbike champ is not as prestigious as one would think.

But I digress. My ride on Sunday picked up where Saturday left off. With great legs. At least until mile 45. Buy then, I was outta fuel. I did what most us fat guys do to lose pounds quickly. Ride long with no food. I did the first 2 1/2 hrs on 2 bottles of water and thats it. I almost made it home too, but once I hit Bestgate Rd, I had to stop for Gatorade. The Berry Rain got me home. My ride ended up being 55 miles at a 17 1/2 mph avg. Not bad for a solo Active Reco/Endurance ride. My avg HR for the whole ride was 136 bmp, about 79% of LTHR. I never hit above 161 bpm. My body is tired!

Look out fellas, the Fatguy is getting fit!

Numbers for the Week


Hours: 10:47
Miles: 191


Weight at the beginning of the week: 213 lbs
Weight at the end of the week: 208 lbs (OMFG!)
Calories consumed: 18,221 calories
Calories burned: 24522 calories
Net gain/loss: 6301 calories

I cant explain a 5 lbs loss in one week. Maybe I underestimated my workload? I did put in almost as many hours on the Ducati as I did the bicycle. So maybe that's where the missing calories are. I dunno, I don't care. Gone is gone.


5 sec: 1127 (carryover from 3/2) Seems I'm stuck with this until a really hard sprint workout.
1 min: 468 watts (carryover from 4/12)
5 min: 355 watts (carryover from 4/2)
20 min: 253 watts (carryover from 3/15) I need to test and soon!

I did have new numbers for 10sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, and 60 min. I could even say CP6 went up too, but I don't use Friels protocol so I wont. But I know it's there if I wanna extra moral boost.

Testing is in a couple weeks. I fully expect all these number to update. Especially 5 min and 20 min power.


My favorite part of training! The reward.

This week I bought a variety 12 pk of brews from Flying Dog Brewery of Colorado. In the box are 2 each of 6 of their many styles available. To be quite honest, they make good brews, but not great ones. None of the ones I had really stood out as exceptional.

The ones that were in the box.

Gonzo Imperial Porter - Very good. As good as Sam Adams
Old Scratch Amber Lager - Tastes like Sam Adams Boston Lager. Looks like it too.
Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale - Reminded me of Bass Ale.
Tire Bite Golden Ale - Too close to Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale
Snake Dog IPA - Good stuff. Not as hoppy as Dogfish Head 60 Min. IPA. A plus in my book.
In Heat Wheat - A good Hefe, right up there with Sam Adams too, but there are betters Hefes for the money. The one I reviewed two weeks ago for instance.

All good beers. The 12 pk was 13 bucks at Village Liquors in Waugh Chapel in Crofton. My new favorite beer store since finding out they stock the corked 7-fiddys of my favorite brew, Saison Dupont Valle Provision.

See you all at Poolesville and remember to stay to the right of the yellow line. Oh and if I find one discarded Gu wrapper stuck to my Ducati or sucked into the airbox, heads will roll. Under my fat 180 Conti Sport Attack!



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Davidsonville - My Cross to Bear

I have a love-hate relationship with this ride. I love the loop. It's is without a doubt the most perfect weeknight training loop in the Metro area. I come here and do intervals on my own quite a bit. There are only two times in 32 miles that you have to stop for traffic and both of them are at the same intersection. Paxtuent River Road and Central Ave. The intersection is 15 minutes into the ride and 15 min from the end of the ride. How perfect is that? Built in warm-up and cool-down zones right where you need them. In between those zones is a loop that has everything you need. A big kilometer long hill, A long stretch of flat fast roads with slight gradient changes, but nothing that would ever slow you down. And very little traffic. I love this loop, but I hate the fact that I have to drive to it to train on it during the week. Except on the weekends when I can ride to the ride from my house 13 miles away in Crownsville.

I went to D-ville for the first time this year on Tuesday night. Kyle from Pedal'n Around had a write up for his adventures there last week. Here are mine.

After a rest day on Monday, I was gonna just do all my workouts from my office in Columbia. I find that if I stick to my program I get better and faster quickly. The problem is I need the suffering that goes with getting your head bashed in from the team hammers. So throwing caution to the wind and the fact that I took the Jetta to work instead of the Ducati I chose allot of constant drawn out pain over allot of short sharp pain with rest periods. I threw my bike back in the trunk, clocked out and headed to Davidsonville.

Here comes the hate part.

Since my crash in June 2006, on this ride no less while sprinting for the win ahead of Rocket Rick at the very end, I have not been able to get from start to finish with the main group. I was having a breakthrough year in 2006 after 5 years of no racing or any real training. I was actually riding better than when I had stopped after the 2000 season. It's been an uphill struggle ever since that soul crushing sprint crash. It's been 2 years and my knee scars don't look any better.

Once again, after going the entire 2007 season without finishing with the main group on a Tuesday night, I got dropped again on Waysons Corner. I didn't even make it to Harwood Hill. Shit!. Dolan was way easier than this ride, I was thinking to myself. But I was not alone this time, like I had been mostly in 2007. This year this ride is shredding a lot of folks. Funny thing was just as I was getting gapped off on Bump #2 on Waysons, my cell phone started ringing. I had to take it, cause it was my wife and she only calls during this time if it's an emergency. The last time she called me during this ride one of our dogs had a nasty seizure (I have an epileptic dog) and we needed to go to the vet right away. With dread I answered it but this time it was a personal crisis not medical one. Phew! I kept on the route and stayed on the phone talking my wife off the ledge all the while panting and now climbing up Harwood Hill one handed. She was OK by the time I reached the top so I hung up and put the phone back in my pocket. Now my back was so sore from riding up the hill twisted to one side to balance myself I thought I was gong to have to stop. Note to self: Never climb one handed. Its not good for the back muscles.

Continuing onward down RT-2 there was a lot of police activity ahead past the short cut turn down Polling House Rd. I went to see what happened and to really make sure it didn't involve anyone on the ride, as they had blown thru there a couple minutes earlier. Turned out to be just a fender bender. Some poor sod had his new Mini's front end smashed in by a non-descript mini-van. I hate mini-vans. Well, mostly I hate the vapid soccer moms who drive them. The van is just an object so my hate is misplaced. Once i was satisfied there were no ABRT'ers involved I turned around an headed back to Polling House. Just about this time Greg S, Bill N. and El Presidente Doug S. were coming to the same intersection, so we four got together and pounded out a pace slow enough to get caught from behind. That didn't last long. Greg notched it up (goddam he is fast!) and we were soon flying down Polling House, up the bump and onto Bayard. Greg gapped us all at the corner and I chased back onto his wheel with Bill in tow. We lost Doug. So now the three of us hammered all the way up Sands with Greg and I trading pulls, but with Greg doing about a an 80/20 split it the work. (Did I mention he is fast?). After my last 500+ watt pull up an incline, I sat up to rest and wait for the inevitable catch from behind as Greg and Bill rode away. Just as I was reaching the 2nd sprint point solo, the breakaway group with all the fast guys came up and blew by me like I was standing still. Bastards! I noticed that the group was really small, so there were others coming up too moving much slower. So I rode tempo hoping to catch Bill, who I see up ahead, who got dropped by Greg. I never got up to Bill before a group of three came up, Alex P. (riding strong, good job Alex!), Bob W (always fast) and Tom (always fast too) , from behind. Bob W says, 'Hey John, your ride is here." as he rode past me. I eeked out a sad "Thank You" and jumped on the back. We only had about 3 miles to go, as they had caught me after the light at the aforementioned Rt-214 intersection. Bob, Alex and Tom kept the pace high while I just stared at what ever back wheel was in front me of hoping to hold on to it like a hobo to a ham sandwich. We got to the last sprint and I sat up. I will not ever be contesting this sprint. I made my mind up after that fall in '06 that if I was going down, It was gonna be in a race where it mattered. We all coasted back to the Park & Ride. Much to my surprise there were stragglers still wheeling in after we got back. I thought we were the "Tail End Charlies" tonight. Nope.

Post ride reflections and data reviewing revealed pretty much the same thing as Dolan. I'm wasting my energy riding my slug of a training bike on rides I should be riding the A ticket bike, my IF Crown Jewel. The IF is far less fatiguing on a fast ride than the old Trek2100. That might be because its 5-7 lbs lighter and the frame is a marvelous synergy of steel and carbon that puts every stroke of power to the rear wheel while having the ride quality of a Ferrari GT car. Fast and comfortable. The power numbers, like the Dolan race, are not impressive when looking at things like 10 minute power and up. It's the same hammer and coast, hammer and coast affair. When I'm not coasting, I'm hitting it hard in high power 30-60 second spurts. I can do that on my IF and from now on and save myself untold fatique. And from now on I will be. The Mule will only get used for interval days when specific workouts need to be done. At least until i get a 2nd Polar Power kit to put on the IF. Or I break down and get a Power Tap. I think that will have to wait though. Neuvation is still selling 50mm carbon tub wheelsets for 650 bucks. I have 3 of his wheelsets and I love em. I've broken both of my sets of M28 Aero 2s and he has replaced them both with the newer design flaw corrected Aero 3s. Free of charge. Neuvation's customer service is 2nd to none. Thank you John Nugent!

That is my tale of woe for the week. The rest of the week here is Sprints, VO2 Max and long endurance rides this weekend. No races for me until the end of May.

But I'm sure by the end of business today, I will load up the car and head out for the Thursday edition of pain and do so for the rest of the year until it ends in October/November.

One of these days I make it the whole way. For my own peace of mind, I can only hope.



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Week in Review: April 14-April 20, 2008

Week in Review – April 14 to April 20, 2008

What a week it was too. Lots of good things happening training wise. Most of it can be refered to here.

On Saturday I went to Davidsonville to do the group ride again. The week before I had gotten blown off where the group makes the turn off of Rt-408 onto Brooks Woods Rd. I knew I had good legs last week, so there was no reason I wouldn't still have them again this week. It turned out to be true. I had good legs and this time the rest of me was good too. The ride was pretty hard, but not as hard as the week before. Most of the hammers didn't show, though we still had our hot cat 3, Ryan, and former Rite Aid pro, Pete, and riding the front keeping it real. Quite a few of our fast masters riders were there too, but since most of them were racing the next day too at Carl Dolan, we were all trying to save as many matches as possible. I know I was. As always (for now), I am still a weak link on this ride, but not the weakest for a change. The pace lines were happening where they normally do, the rests where the normally do, etc. This week I decided to be smart and stay toward the middle so I never had to show my face to the wind during the hammer sections. That worked out quite well. I had a comfortable and fast ride on most of the roads I would have been dropped. I even made it over the wall on McKendree Road. I really thought that's where it would get zapped. But I HTFU and humped it over. I'd be lying if I said I made it all the way to the store stop with the group. I got dropped on Wilson Rd at the false flat following the steeper uphill part. As we were going down the hill, I was on the back. Not wanting to get dropped going up, I shot past everyone in a wicked acceleration up the hill thinking at the top the road was flat. There's a slight curve to the right at the top of the steep section and I didn't see the false flat that I had forgotten about that goes on for about another 1/4 mile to the left turn on Friendship Rd. D'oh! Oh well, lesson learned and the store was only 2 miles away at that point. So it was not much of a defeat. Another fella, Will, was OTB on that hill. I waited for him and we rode easy to the store. Every one was there except the hammer guys. They cut the route short and headed back to the Park and Ride. After getting some water, Will and I went back the short way too while all the others went to the beach. I didn't want to waste energy climbing that big hill out of Rosehaven, so we cut the 6 miles off the beach route, but still coming up Fairhaven, Franklin-Gibson, Nutwell-Sudley, etc all the way to Rt-2 in Harwood and back to the Park and Ride. Even with just Will and myself for the last 90 minutes, we still managed a total ride average for the 52 mile short route of 19 mph. That first 25 miles to the store was quick. I felt great all day. This boded well for the race the next day, Carl Dolan in Columbia on the Gateway loop.

The race...

I haven't done a 3/4 since Battle of Manasass in 1999 and on that day I did a double. Cat 4 and Cat 3/4. Back then I was in shape and faster. I haven't had a full race season since 2000. (Back story coming soon.) But since the 40+ was being combined with the 30+ I decided to do the 4/5 instead. Then the field filled out in less than 2 hours when registration opened on BikeReg. I hate BikeReg! Anyhoo, I signed up for the 3/4. How hard could it be? Well, for me in week one of Base 3, very hard. My A races aren't until July.

There was supposed to be more than just two of us ABRT'ers racing the 3/4. But for reasons beyond my control it was just two of us. Me and another fella who just joined the team named Marc. He's from NY. He was telling me how he thought the racing here was harder than up there. I told him not to worry. Nobody gets dropped on Gateway. Not even a tub-o-goo like me. The race didn't start out very hard, but the pain was sneaking up on me as the laps went by. Up to the lap 8 crash i was hanging in quite well. It wasn't really all that sketchy of a race. The biggest problem I had was seeing where i was going. The road spray from the downpour just before the race started was brutal. My glasses were fogged and water spotted. From a mental aspect that may have contributed to my lack of pack confidence and contributed to my backward slide through the group . I think what was getting to me physically was the high pace, no thanks to the 'every other lap' primes (uphill sprints, Oy Vey!), the group trying to close down all the breaks that went up the road and the monster efforts I made to get my fat slab of beef ass up the fracking hill. Every lap it got harder and harder to maintain my place in the peloton. Since I'm still in Base mode, all of my workouts have been endurance, tempo and threshold. Very little VO2 max and Sprints. But I am losing weight. So i got that going for me.

As nice as Saturday was, race day turned into the polar opposite of a nice day. In fact it was shit. Pissing rain on and off all day. Sometimes very hard. The 30/40+ guys got the full brunt of a micro burst. My wife thought I was crazy for wanting to do this. I told here that if it didn't let up by the time my race started I wasn't going to do it. So I sat in the car and hoped beyond hope that it would stop raining. I really wanted to race. In fact I told her f'it. If it didn't stop, I was gonna race anyway. She said OK but if i wrecked I had to take myself to the E-Room. I said "fair enough, dear." Wouldn't you know it, it did stop raining. About 20 minutes before the race start. And it stayed stopped all the way up to the 1/2/3 race. Those poor saps had their race cut to 3 laps. I was already long gone by then eating Peking Duck and having a beer.

I didn't get to see what set that crash off, but my recollection of it was too many guys trying to squeeze from three lanes into two as the crash happened on the fastest part of the course going downhill just after the right turn where the merge lane disappears. The road there was still wet. I remember coming off the turn in the back of the group and up ahead of me I hear a couple shouts of "CRASH!" I did my best to pick a hole or a soft spot to land because the way my bike was responding to the wet brakes on the wet road I just knew I would be kissing the asphalt or plowing into a fallen comrade. A couple of "stoppies", some sliding around and a few butthole contractions later I managed to remain standing when my forward motion ceased. I gotta say, it was a very bizarre crash to see. I don't think I've seen anything like it in 15 years of bike racing. It reminded me of the sprint finish crash in last years Giro D'Italia. Guys were just falling down everywhere sliding on wet roads with wheels locked up. I have to give it up to my motorcycle riding skills. They may have saved my skin.

I thought my day was done, but the ref, Steve Stone, said the race was stopped and I could get back up the road to rejoin it at the top of the hill. Sure enough, when I got there everyone was there waiting. They had us riding circles at the top of the hill to keep warm while they cleaned up the crash site and got everyone to the hospital. After 20-30 minutes of circling, they called us up for the restart. The race was shorted to 4 laps to go. Every lap a prime. Great! It's gonna be a sprint race for the next 15 minutes. And damn if it wasn't. I was having trouble right from the gun. The break in the action did me no good at all. I was done. As the race came by the start finish, I was dangling off about 10 feet. I took the opportunity to drop into the 'race' parking lot as we came past start/finish. My legs were screaming, and head wasn't into it anymore. I know I should have HTFU. I probably would have made it OK, but hey, plenty more racing left this season and I'd like to not have my season screwed early like in 2006. That lap 8 crash really f'd with my head. The '06 one still does too.

All in all and all things considered, I'm quite pleased with how I did for being grossly overweight and only having 10 weeks of steady training so far this year.

My next race might be the Cat 3/4 Wilmington Crit on May 17. Hopefully it hasn't filled up yet. I should have some high end work in place by then and another 10 lbs lost.

For sure my next race is RFK and Bike Jam the last weekend in May. I think I'm signed up for the 4/5 races at both of those events.

Here is a nice graph of today's race from WKO. Note all the coasting and 350+ watt efforts.

I managed another 3 lbs this week. I was 213 this morning before the race. I've lost about 20 lbs in the last 10 weeks

FWIW-I checked my log from the 2006 40/50+ race that I did successfully and that race was a 1/2 mph slower than the 3/4. We clocked a 26.5mph avg. A couple of those prime laps averaged close to 28 mph. Sheesh!

It was a hard race. For me anyway.

I'll be doing my first MotoRef gig at Poolesville in 2 weeks followed by a couple more races as a ref or a moto ref. I'm looking forward to it. Nothing like getting paid to so something you love doing. It'll also give me a chance to blow off some more body weight with some long rides in addition to the interval training without having to worry about race tapering and what not.

Look for the man in black on the Corse Red Ducati ST4s. And stay to the right of the yellow line. I don't wanna have to get all that way with youse guys. LOL!

Numbers for the Week:


Hours: 9:40

Miles: 164


Weight at the beginning of the Week: 216

Weight at the end of the week: 213

Calories Consumed: 16,702

Calories Burned: 22,765

Net Loss/Gain: 6063

Good job! Yeah me! I rode my motorcycle about 10 hours this week also, so there is some calorie expenditures there too that I'm not accounting for and makes up the extra 1 lb loss.


5 sec: 1127 watts (carryover from 3/2)

1 min: 468 watts

5 min: 355 watts (carryover from 4/2)

20 min: 253 watts (carryover from 3/15)

Only a change in 1 minute power. My 30 second power went to 624 watts. That happened on Saturday's ride.


I tried to stay away from the beer, but...

Samuel Adams White Ale - Nice, refreshing, crisp and hoppy. Much like most of the brews that come from the BBC.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale - Same as the White ale, just a slight color difference.

I had these on tap Wednesday at the Italian Bike night GTG at the Rhodeside in Arlington, VA. Since i rode the moto there, i didn't drink but the two brew over the course of the 4 hours I was there. The place was packed downstairs. Karaoke is catching on there. I only got to do one song. But it was a good one. Gimme 3 Steps, Lynyrd Skynyrd. A real crowd pleaser. It helped that i nailed it. Normally I'm good for 3-4 songs. Maybe this week I'll get more than one song.

Tsingtso - I had it with my post race meal. It's basically Chinese Bud. Nothing special.

This coming week is no racing or officiating. I'll be doing the long rides on the weekend for sure. Maybe another 3 lbs off too.



Monday, April 21, 2008

15th Annual Carl Dolan Memorial Circuit Race - April 20, 2008

I can sum up my race with this one picture:

Thanks to Kyle (Pedal'n Around) Jones' wife for the picture. (That's Kyle being blocked out by my massive girth)

The 3/4 race was hard. Harder than any race i've done at Gateway. Including the 40/50+ race in 2006 with all the cat 1 and 2s in it. I dont care what any of those other skinny bastards in the race say about how easy it was. When you roll like do I do (pun intended) it's never easy.

I did have that beer!

My wife who came with me (and never got out of the car), accompanyed me to best Chinese place in Maryland, The Hunan Manor. Right there in Columbia off Deepage Drive behind the Three Brothers. I had a Tsingtso with my Peking Duck. Not the best beer in the world, but it hit the spot none the less.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Next up - Carl Dolan Circut Race on 4/20/08

And I'm bringing the beer.

I cant wait. I love this race. The Gateway Loop in Columbia, Md is a course I know like the back of my hand. I've been training and racing on it for 15 years. I think I have one DNF here and that was due to a crash. I'm signed up for the 3/4 race in the afternoon. The 4/5 race filled to quick for me to get in. The last time I did this race was in 2006. I finished mid pack. It was my first real race after a 5 year layoff and it was the 40/50+ race to boot. Very fast. This year they combined the 40+ with the 30+. That might be more than I can handle at this stage of my training so far season. I think the 3/4 might be a better choice for me. Since I want to upgrade to Cat 3, I'd like to get a feel for it. This is the kind a race circuit where I can sit in the wheels, stay out of trouble and help a teammate with a lead out at the end. And if I'm still there at the end, maybe go all out for myself. The finish hill is not an issue as the pack literally sucks you up. All I have to do is spin a 53x19 at a high cadence and it's over. 12 times. I hope so anyway. The killer will be the end sprint up the same hill. In 2006 I went way too early after being in the top 10 at the bottom of the hill. I gave it all I had and I blew in spectacular fashion half way up the hill to the line and drifted in mid pack. I was spent. It was a wonder i made it to the line at all. I think I keeled over when I got there. It was an immensely satisfying race.

This weeks training has been good in quality even if i haven't been feeling very motivated to do it. I did some L7 work with 6x2 min intervals on Monday and 2x15 L4 threshold intervals on Tuesday. All my work was completed above the prescribed wattages. I think i need to test soon, lest I waste too much training time not going hard enough. Strange enough though, when i was doing the rides on Monday and Tuesday, I didn't feel like I was firing on all cylinders. I was sure my numbers would be low, but WKO says no. My wattages were higher than the minimums.

I think I'm just having a bad week. Yesterday i didn't feel like riding at all and I had another L7 tempo sprints workout scheduled. I didn't do it. I knew something was up when on Wednesdays active recovery ride i felt awful. My stress levels have been high all week and I have not been resting as much as I should. Maybe it was the 2 Sam Adams I drank the night before at Italian Bike Night with my other hooligan Ducati riding friends from the Ducati Monster List. I bet I was just pissed that the Rhodeside was so crowded I only got to do one song. But it was a good one though. Gimme Three Steps. I love karaoke. Dont tell anyone.

I feel good today. I weighed myself this morning and I'm down another 2 lbs to 214. About 2 lbs heavier than i was the 2006 race. The loss is a nice morale booster. I thought I was hitting a plateau. I'm still on track to make my power to weight goals. Taking the book advice about not making up missed workouts, I'll do the scheduled active recovery ride tonight, do the group ride tomorrow with some tempo and threshold efforts to open up the legs and then the race on Sunday.

I hope to do well. At the very least I hope help a teammate do well. I know i'll be drinking beer one way or another. Isn't that what it's all about anyway?



Monday, April 14, 2008

Week in Review: April 6-April 13, 2008

Hello again.

This week was a rest and recovery week for me. Week 4 of 16 on the Coggan/Allen 250w Intermediate plan. Every workout for the week except Saturday called for a Active Recovery pace. Meaning i didn't have to do squat but noodle. So noodle I did. On the IF during the week I noodled all over Columbia. I explored some of the extensive trail network they have here. Very impressive. I managed to get from my office off Guilford Rd to the far end of Columbia to Executive Park Dr by trail only. The going was slow so that worked out out great for the ride intent. I also found a nice road route to Laurel, MD from the office too. Surprisingly I had good legs all week and the hills on that route didn't put the hurt into me.

Going into Saturday I was plenty rested and felt I would have some good legs for the weekly hammerfest to Chesapeake Beach. Unfortunately that turned out to be only half true. Once the heat got turned up on Pax River Rd I found myself working hard to stay up front. I was trying not to do any work or as little as possible, but I got really suspicious when I noticed nobody was coming past to pull through when i eased up. A quick glance back and I saw why. There was no one there. About 8 of us were flying up the road in a breakaway. I was doing pretty well to hold my own with these fellas who had far more hard miles in their legs than I had. As we kept motoring down the road, I eventually had to take a pull. Riding 2nd wheel put me at the cusp of my AT, but I was determined not to blow up just yet. For some reason, and i suspect it was the beer and vodka the night before and the 3 day old donut i scarfed down for breakfast, whenever my HR went past 170 it felt like someone had punched me right in the gut. Breathing was very hard and my kidneys were in a lot of pain too. I don't know what that was about, but it would be my undoing. My legs felt great, but the rest of me was in a world of shit. After another 20 minutes of this, I detached myself from the break and tried to catch some relief before the chase group swept me up. The swept me up and spit me right out. I was done. I turned around and headed back to the car. I was hoping to see some new power numbers from my efforts, but it was not to be. They were average. Which means that my PE and HR were off the hook, but the workload was not that hard. I guess that explains why my legs felt good, but the rest of me was out to lunch. Note to self; lay off the alkyhol the night before a hard ride.

This week is sure to be a ball buster. No days off, some anaerobic work added to the mix and a Cat 3/4 circuit race on Sunday afternoon.

Numbers for the week:


Hours: 5 1/2
Miles: 90


Weight at the beginning of the week: 216
Weight at the end of the week: 216
Calories Consumed: 17983
Calories Burned: 19750
Net Loss/Gain: -1767 deficit.

I need to step it up here if im to make my weight goals by taper time. Time to layoff the beer and junk food for a little while and step up the easy pace riding. Perhaps some commutes to work will help.


5 sec: 1127 watts (carryover from 3/2)
1 min: 446 watts (carryover from 4/2)
5 min: 355 watts (carryover from 4/2
20 min: 253 watts (carryover from 3/15)

Move along, nothing to see here.


New beers tried (and accounted for in the Meal Log)

Delirium Tremens. A nice Belgian Strong Ale. Light in color, very spicy and fruity in taste with a strong hop presence. Not bad at all, but I've had better. Duvel for instance is a better Belgian Strong Ale. I drank it the night before the Saturday ride along with a whole shaker of martini. Big mistake.

Achel Bruin 8. A really good genuine Trappist dark. Those monks sure now how make beer over there. This is an 8% alcohol. The dark amber color and fluffy off white head was equisite. The brew has high carbonation, much like the superior Rochfort Trappist 10. But unfortunately as good as Achel is, it lacks the full flavor experience of the Rochfort Trappist 10. You can tell the 8% abv of this brew. I was buzzing pretty good off of just the one. I would like to find a bottle of the Blond 8 too for a comparison to other Belgian Strong Ales.

One a side note, I managed to get out of the cage four out of the five work days this week. It was nice to get back into the swing of things on the moto. I got the brakes bleed on Sunday and they feel good as new. Good thing to, as I had no pedal on the rear brake. I kind of need that for dealing with stop and go traffic.



Monday, April 7, 2008

Week in Review: March 24-April 6, 2008

Oy! What a week. After the previous 12 hr week I had a lot to do to keep the pyramid going. I had scheduled 13 hrs worth of workouts with only one rest day and had hoped to complete them all. And if it weren't for the rain all day on Sunday, I probably would have.

Where to begin...

Lets start with the fact that i ended up with 2 rest days. After a normal Monday off, I had to bag Tuesdays workout for family reasons. By the time I got home that night I had no desire to train. Not even on the rollers. I was worn the frack out. I think that Sunday 4 1/2 hr ride kicked my butt more than I realized. With only one more race this month and then a month of working as on official, I'll have a chance to put in some ridiculous hours in the saddle and not have to worry about being overtired on a race day.

Wednesdays workout was fantastic. A 5 min blowout followed by 2x10 at threshold wattage. This is the part of the program where I start working up to the famous '2x20' workout. However, my body was fresh and my power is up. I was trying to hold my threshold wattage, but it was too slow. So i gauged my effort on PE and HR and much to my surprise my 10 min wattage numbers were great. My 5 min wattage jumped from 323 to 351 in the space of 3 weeks. My 10 min wattage jumped to 297 watts in the same workout. The real surprise was the dramatic drop in PE and HR at those wattages. My HR was 10 beats lower for the same efforts and speed remained constant. Now i need to step up the HR during my intervals next week and I hope to see increases in wattage and speed. Hopefully that will bode well for me to shift my AT closer to the magic 93% of Max I'm looking for before the June Church Creek TT. With some good training and luck, I hope to hit my 33o watt FTP goal by then.

Thursday's workout was not as much fun as Wednesday's. The plan was 45 minutes at tempo interval followed by a 10 minute threshold interval. I was hoping to hit the Thursday Davidsonville ride at 6pm and just let myself get hammered into the ground by the fast guys and call it a day. But the weather again intervened and forced me indoors to work these intervals proper on the rollers. For the 45 min tempo interval I was to hold 190-225 watts. As easy as the higher wattage intervals were the night before, this one was torture. I had thoughts of quitting it more than once, and it was only 225 watts max. I didn't quit it and ended up averaging 216 watts for the 45 minutes. After that torture, I thought for sure that 10 minute threshold interval wasn't going to happen. But it did. For that bad boy I averaged 265 watts. 5 more than I was supposed to. I was very glad to get off the bike after that session.

I must of got a good nights sleep, because on Fridays reco ride, I felt great and I got to be outdoors riding on my reco loop instead of the rollers. I had dared to hope that things would go good for me for Saturday's Walkersville event. My first race of the year and first real road race in 8-9 years.

But it was not to be.

The race. What can I say. I failed. But at the same time I also succeeded. How's that possible? While I did not manage to stay with the main field after Ramsburger Road (the failure), I did not abandon the race either (the success). After getting dropped, I tried to chase back on on the faster tail wind sections. I thought I might succeed too, but as fast as I was motoring solo, they were just that much faster as a group. I let of the chase and decided to just keep on motoring at tempo and hope for attrition to place better than DFL. Half way up Devilbiss Bridge Rd I looked back and could see riders strung out all the way to the horizon. I knew I had some company if I eased off a bit so I wouldn't be riding solo into the wind for 4 more laps. Well it didn't quite workout that way. Only 3-4 riders came up from behind. The first 2 were just going too hard. The next two were about right, but I ended up dropping one of them and got dropped by the other on the very last time up Ramsburger. Well he was about 50lbs lighter. The last time up the hills toasted me for good, so i didn't bother to chase him. After the race he thanked my for letting him suck my wheel on the flat parts of the course where I had the power advantage. He was a nice guy, I wish I had gotten his name.

Let me start from the beginning. I got in my warm up by riding the back roads for about 45 min. I was still feeling really good. The wind was howling much harder than forecasted. A definite 15-20 knot NW wind. That will make Devilbiss Bridge Road a leg burner as that portion of road is dead into the wind. I lined up well at the staging area and was 5-6 riders from front during the roll out. After the real start things got a little faster, but i was feeling no pain and was holding my position on the road. Then we got to Ramsburger Road. The first bump was not problem. It was the next series of bump that did me in. My weight is a serious disadvantage and I knew it. I was grinding out the watts as best I could and hoped that I would still be in contact with the tail end of the group after The Barn. If the field had been just a little bit bigger I would have had it. I got my legs back on the downhill section and was chasing hard to get to the back end. I just couldn't seal the deal. Frack! Now I kept going as hard as I could until I could no longer see the field. I had made up my mind even before the race started that if I got dropped, I would not quit the race. So I kept on going until the end, getting in a great tempo workout.

All in all, I'm not terribly disappointed in my race. I knew I was too heavy. But the race still confirms for me that the workouts I'm doing are working. The glaring hole is in VO2 max and short intense efforts. Everything has been Tempo and Threshold work up to now. And that makes perfect sense too, as I'm only at the end of the Base 2 phase. I feel confident that my course of training is correct. By the good races at the end of May I should me much lighter and much stronger. My next race is the 3/4 Carl Dolan circuit race on April 20. I'm looking forward to that one. It's one of my favorite races. I always do well at it even when I'm not in top shape.

Here's a nice picture of me taken by Sue Estes. I was warming up at the time. Quite a bit of heft going on there. But hey, my IF looks bitchin!

That's all for the race.

I had planned to ride 5-6 hours on the W&OD trail and catch some action at Tyson's Corner to cheer on teamates. Again with the farging rain! Sheesh! I miss the drought. I slept in instead and spent the afternoon with my wife shopping. I needed that time with her. I glad it rained. What i ended up doing is watching a great Tour of Flanders race on Versus while doing 2 hours of reco on the rollers. My ass was sore I almost couldn't finish. That's was quite a display of power by Stijn Devolder. I'm glad he won. The last 10 minutes I was so caught up in the action, that i hadn't realized my speed and HR were going up on the rollers.

Lots of good racing this weekend. In F1 Filipe Massa not only finished after 2 straight weeks of DNF's, he won the race. Good for Fill. Hamilton is turning into a hard luck kid after his win in Melbourne. I've said if before, Raikonnen will be the one to beat this season. It will no surprise to me if he repeats as WC. As long as the Ferrari don't break.

I missed out on World Superbike. Speed really sucks for motorcycle racing coverage. Bastages. They only had race 1 on Sunday. I have to wait until Tuesday for race 2. So now I have to avoid all my favorite moto websites so I dont get spoilers.

Numbers for the week:


Hours: 8.5
Miles: 144


Weight at beginning of the week: 217 lbs

Weight at end of the week: 216 lbs

Calories Consumed: 18158 (2594 per day average) Oooof! That's a lot.

Calories Burned: 22,396 (15400 rmr + 6996 riding)

Net gain/loss: -4238 calorie deficit

I need to be careful here! Too much food.


5 sec: 1127 watts (carryover from 3/2)

1 min: 446 watts

5 min: 355 watts

20 min: 253 watts (carryover from 3/15)

Some new number in the short ranges. Nothing changed to the big numbers, but numbers dont always tell the story. I may have new 20 minute numbers after the Thursday hammer ride.


New beers tried this week (and accounted for in the meal log):

Franziskaner Weissbier. A brilliant German hefe. Put out by Spaten interestingly enough. Hefe's are one of my favorite styles of beers after Belgian & English Ales. This one is excellent. I may rethink my purchasing habits and buy this instead for an everyday Hefe over the Sam Adams hefe I have been drinking.

I capped my weekend off last night with a 7-fiddy of my all time favorite Belgian Ale, Saison Dupont Vallie Provision. Its a bottle conditioned farmhouse ale. If you have never tried a saison, do so. They are the best warm weather beer.

Perfection in a glass.



Friday, April 4, 2008

Walkersville RR Is Tommorrow..

...And I am really nervous about it

I haven't done a proper yellow line rule road race in at least 8 years. It's been all crits, circuits and TTs for this fat dood. Even when i was a strong rider, I've always avoided road races because they all seem to have some little hill that kills me. The old Hump Race was brutal on me and the old Tuckahoe race was downright dangerous. To make it worse, I've never fared well in Poolesville either. It was always the humps that did me in. Give me a road race on the board flat Maryland Eastern Shore (like Tuckahoe, but safer) and I'm there. Trouble is that there are none. This year is gonna be different. I am going to HTFU and embrace my fear and make it my beayatch, so to speak. So I will do as many road races as possible. Maybe just maybe, I'll do well as my power goes up and my burdensome weight goes down. Any way, back to Walkersville. I pre-rode the course last week and did a couple two, three laps of tempo for my troubles. I like the course and feel my chances here of not getting dropped are as high as 50/50. It'll all come down to wind direction and how fast the others in the Masters 35+ 4/5 field will be jamming up the bumps on Ramsburger Road. If the planets align just right and my training up to now has been good, I see myself getting to the very end, where maybe i can make a decent sprint for it. I have no aspirations of being a world beater here. It's my first race of the year and its a C priority one at that. My peak races aren't until July for the MABRA Crit and TT championships. I need races that will help me upgrade outta of Cat 4. Masters 35+ 4/5 i don't think will qualify. You'd think that as a USA Cycling official I'd know the answer to my own question.

Going into tomorrows race I am about 2 lbs lighter and my bike will be about 5 lbs lighter than the one I used to pre-ride the course. On the downside I will not be getting any power numbers for the race. This might not be a bad thing. I really don't want the distraction and I feel more comfortable and faster on my race bike. It also climbs better too. I'll take any edge I can get, even if it means not acquiring some really choice data.

I've had two really good workouts this week to finish off week 3 of my Base 2 period. I'm looking forward to some forced time off the bike next week. I'll probably use the time to work my ass off at the grind and spend some quality time with my wife. We've been like ships in the night lately. I might get some work done around the house too.

I've got some good power numbers for this week too. During Wednesday's Sub Threshold workout I earned increases in the following areas. 30s, 1m, 2m, 5m and 10m. The big surprise was the increase in my 10 min. power. My jump put me close to 300 watts. While doing the interval I kept thinking that I could go longer at the pace I was working. My guesstimate of my FTP now would be in the 275 watt range. Up 25 watts from when I tested it 3 weeks ago. I've gone down about 10 lbs in that time frame too. That bodes well for the all important power to weight ratio. Checking the Power Profile Chart, I've see that moves me from being barely a Cat 5 to a middle of the road Cat 5/ sucky Cat 4.