Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Midweek training (or not)

Despite dry roads for the first time in a while, I find it hard to fit in riding when work stretches out to 17 hours a day. Fuck.

Monday, 26 May 2008

A BikingBakke weekend

Full throttle is tiring, especially when it extends beyond the bike race.
Friday I worked until about 9:30pm.  I wish I could have slept in a little on Saturday, but I was up and at 'em at a reasonable time.  I did a few house items and worked on bikes, but the 2pm departure for the group of us (Shawn, Craig, Tori and I) going up to Stony Plain sure came up quickly.  Rain stopped a little past Red Deer which was nice, we pre-rode the course which was a superfun course in great shape.  We piled on the carbs at Boston Pizza and checked into the Stony Plain Convention center for some unrestful rest - I missed adjusting the room thermostat so my heart was pounding all night trying to keep myself cool, and the train tracks were 30 yards away.  Bed time was past 11pm which didn't feel good to me.
I got up a little after Tori to drop her off for her earlier race start, then went back to the hotel to pick up Craig and Shawn, as well as I tried to catch a few winks.  I got word by blackberry that Tori "lost" her race, but she didn't fill me in that she was 2nd.  I was happy to hear it.  Aside from a large ordeal around microwaving oatmeal, we made it in time for our race start.  I felt sluggish in warmup and felt worried.
Elites started off with a blast, and Jon took the hole shot to shred the first downhill singletrack, stringing out the group behind.  After the blur left it was the countdown to us try-hards in the next category.  After the initial climb I was in 2nd, and although I didn't feel peppy, I wasn't hurting too bad either, so I was pleasantly surprised.  I rode 3 of the 4 laps in 2nd, and eventually dropped back to third.  The course was fun, a little wet which made the roots challenging, and the big hill was a blast to ride each lap.  I loved the skull and crossbones at the bottom of the climb.
I hung on to the third place finish, and was happy with the result.  Seeing the split times that I was 35 seconds down of the 2nd place (who was 2 seconds behind first) made me ponder what might have been if lap 3 didn't have me stop 3 times to work on phases of pulling sticks out of my rear derailleur and cogset.  Oh well.  I rode decently fit but I felt a little sloppier than I'd like to be on the tecnical roots and such, I should be riding those with a little more grace.  The bike is stiff, well balance, and fun to ride.
The elites finished in a blaze of Dutchness going by, followed by Andre Sutton then Whole Wheat Bunnin from the prairie.  After sitting around for draw prizes and podium (lots of good stuff went out, and Shawn's mind games worked for the King headset), it was homeward bound. 
Somehow we found our way back to BP's in Leduc for another round of cheap chain restaurant goodness, then the long drive home.  Once we passed Red Deer, the black clouds over Calgary once again enveloped us in rain.
By the time drop off's were done, I got to bed by 11:30.  I prefer to sleep more on Sundays, especially considering I got to work at 6:30am. 
Now it's almost 10 pm and I'm just looking for my exit after 10 minutes of typing.  What a blur.  And tomorrow will be no different.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

RPM guage near zero

It's finally nice out and I'm sick. Uggg. It's Hammer Ride season, Tuesday night crit season, etc, man oh man.

I'm trying to do the right thing by taking it easy, the intensity of the Tuesday Hammer would have brought short term pleasure, but I fear it'd knock me down for what looks to be a beautiful long weekend on the horizon. Fortunately as I commuted home yesterday I saw Tyler running on the paths, so I rode next to him for 20 minutes.

I feel a little better today, but not perfect. I'll try to do some leg strength drills on the way home, slow RPM and low heart rate but working the muscles... hopefully that can bridge the gap enough to let me feel like I got some exercise (so I can sleep at night), without sending me further down the spiral.

Chilling out for a day or two is the right thing to do, but that doesn't mean it's fun!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Race wasn't a failure after all...

I've been thinking about the whole "shoulda rode faster thing" yesterday... and yes I am just a dumb ass for pulling off the wrong bottle routine. But so much was RIGHT about the day... it's leaving a smile on my face today.

1. Course was awesome. Twisty, turny, climby, fast, fun. And dry.
2. Organization was good. Not only was it well organized, it was enthusiastically organized!
3. Road trips are fun.
4. Mondays just don't feel right unless my legs are sore and tired... the sign of a good weekend.
5. Seeing how the depth of the Alberta field is better with each racing season.

Awesome day overall!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Race failure, 99.9 or 100% my fault

Elites was Heemskerk, Bunnin, then Dallas. Jon DNF'd after getting in 4 laps that probably doubled his ride time in the last few weeks, too much "extra cirricular" going on for him these days. Craig I think has more hammer than came out today. Mical and Trish both podiumed. Experts was a United Cycle guy, then Devin, then an Edmonton kid.

Shawn and Devin arrived for the 8am carpool up to Edmonton, relatively promptly, and after we fiddled with the bike rack for a bit we managed to get moving. Stopped in Red Deer for a little breakfast and some terrible coffee in my travel mug. Despite a few sprinkles on the way to the course, the course was basically bone dry - and a really nice course at that.

Race started out fast, the first lap got me warmed up well. After that, I settled in to my pace and felt good, despite how high the pace was. First lap I spent most of the time in 5th, then the second lap a lot of time was spent in 3rd. I even had the honor of spending most of the third lap leading, which was kind of novel.

Here's the part where things really started unwinding - I started cramping, despite not feeling like I was overdoing the pace. All of a sudden I went from feeling pretty positive to going backwards through the field - fast. Look out so guys don't rear end me! I had finished my small bottle of energy drink, and my feed bottle was plain water. I hobbled through the rest of the laps wondering why I had no endurance and thinking about how I should be training different. After getting passed at the line for whatever double digit spot I was giving up (I wasn't exactly racing for the line although I did pedal a bit faster so I wouldn't look like a total duffer), I went back to the car and got myself ready for a frigid bathe in the river.

I slowly rode down to the water, and put on my sandals so I could wade in with my bar of soap. I soaped up my hair really good so I basically knew I'd need to dunk my whole body in, but even the minute I was in the water made my ankles sore from the cold. Eventually I got myself in, boy was that refreshing. I thought my legs would cramp and I'd just float away.

Standing in the wind by my bag, I couldn't even feel the chill since my skin was numb. As I toweled off I saw my other small water bottle in the bag and took a drink. To my surpise, it wasn't my recovery drink. Which, despite mixing them last night in different colored bottles, made me realize I'd taken my double sweet just the way I like it mixture of recovery drink out on course today, complete with a it's ratio of protien and whatever else. No wonder I cramped!

So now I didn't feel so bad, I can take a bout of stupidity better than trying to rationalze pure physical incompetence. Problem was I pre-rode with just water, went to the start line with the water bottle, then quickly went back to get it and just grabbed the first one I saw. My guts still didn't feel all that great, but didn't really matter now that all I had to do was sit around then drive home.

I'm hoping to have a better race at Stoney Plain.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Tuesday Hammer

Some things never change, for example:
1. Devin was dominant on the Hammer.
2. The Hammer took my post work stress level of 11 down to zero by the time I was home.
3. Good fun, good workout!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Sunday Exploration

Sunday was tough to plan around, I had to do an undetermined amount of work at an undetermined time of day. I use the word undetermined to differentiate from something like "at any time" during the day which would mean it was at my leisure.

Coincidentally, right when I was leaving, I got an email from Craig, didn't know he was in town again. We chatted, but the main point was I'm already in the car, can I pick you up for a ride in 20 mins?

I wanted to explore west of Grand Valley road, and suffice to say, we definitely got our exploring in. New rancher restaurants, beautiful paved roads, indian reserves, Petro-Canada lease roads, logging roads, seismic cut lines, all while enjoying the beauty of the Wildcat hills made it a great afternoon.

All in we did 3.5 hours of riding, 90%of which was new to me. Awesome!

Saturday Ride

Saturday set the record for the most reserved and moderate pace that two Cat 2's could muster - Devin and I logged 4.5-5 hours in the relatively warm breeze without revving the heart up too much, perfect ride for a weekend after some good quality midweek intensity.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Good deed for the day

I drop by Bow Cycle to pick up my bike with the new crankset on it. As I park, the car next to me has a lady all worked up cause she locked the kid in the car seat, forgot he was holding onto the keys when she put him in.

Step 1, call AMA to unlock it.

Step 2, pull out my keys and play games with the little dude. No, not in your mouth. Press the little buttons dude. Yeah that's right, set off the alarm. Why don't you help us out and unlock it... Presto!

Step 3, AMA we don't need you anymore. You're welcome chiquita, yes I can tell you were so worried, not a prob.

Step 4, resume course, pick up bike.