Sunday, September 27, 2009

Getting Funky On The Bike Like an Old Batch of Collard Greens

Two hours on the YCX course today. Emphasis on attacking the hills, and smooth riding. My dismounts still suck. Mah. Also figured out it's actually far easier to dis/remount on the right (wrong) side on the big run up. That way the remount is with the bike below on the slope, rather than trying to hop on with the saddle chest high!

I probably saw ten different people riding during my time out there. Looks to like the trails are becoming quite popular. That's good! I hope it brings out more folks to the races.

It was quite warm today. I've never been as ready for fall as this year. This summer's heat is one to be remembered.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pushing the Thresholds

Today's ride is designed to push the threshold up just a bit. The cooler temps are really nice! Only 85F at ride time today!

The days are getting shorter. And I'm preparing. The PowerTap display has no backlight. Riding intervals afterdark is tough business. You can only check your power whenever you pass under a street light! The Garmin 705 has a backlight, and can read a 2.4+ PowerTap. My rhode PT is 2.4; meaning it can't be read... until now.

I ordered an updater from Saris. This updater upgrades the PT hub to ANT+ so the Garmin can read it. They send the updater and a new cover. The only change to the new cover is the label. It says "2.4+", where as the original says "2.4". Silly to me. I don't really care what it says!

Real simple upgrade process. Remove the cover. Pull out the battery basket. Plug in the updater. Throw the switch. Remove it. Put the battery basket back on.

Then put the cover on. I like to use a bit (and just a bit) of silicone grease on o-rings to ensure a weatherproof seal. The update the computer head firmware and it's done. It immediately paired on the Garmin. Now I've got backlit power display! One step closer to being ready for the fall.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Peeking out my window, the pavement's dry. But the radar's painting rain. There's little doubt about what my future holds...

I prefer the mountain bike in the rain, so I take it. I do 3 sets of ten 30sec on (30sec off) intervals. Usually this more of a lung workout than a leg workout. But with the revolt still ongoing, the legs end up cooked!

Tomorrow's CX race is now definately downgraded to a maybe ...


Tough intervals tonight. Not sure what's going on with my body right now. It seems to be in full revolt. I plowed through well enough. But I'm really hoping to break out of this funk soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Today's goal was 2-hours of tempo work on dirt. I also wanted to pre-ride our modified CX course. The solution? Two hours of tempo work on the CX course, of course!

There's a new run up on the course...

A new route to avoid construction on the bayou trestle bridge...

And a new return loop that avoids the flood control district's easment. They objected to the races. All I can say is that with rain predicted for Tues/Wed this will be a challenging course. It's laid out great. Tough, but not in an unpossible way. It seems super hard when you're poking along, but at race pace, it's easier. Just right!

It's nice to have this just a few blocks from home. I started out on the mountain bike. I was able to ride for a bit over an hour, run home, refill water bottles, and then get some more laps in on the CX bike. Good stuff. I'm starting to think this course may be faster on the MTB...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Maintenance Day

Brutal describes Friday's training ride. By the end the accumulated week's fatigue rose to the forefront. After some R&R Friday evening, I delcare Saturday a maintenance day. Mostly I rode my couch. Watch college football. And replaced a bottom bracket that was victim of Huntsville's sand.

Tomorrow is some tempo work. The legs are feeling ready after today's rest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

There's Nothing Like A Race

Only a race can truly reset one preceptions about how fast one can ride. Both good and bad. It's exposed the slack in my training the last month or so. The upside, my fitness has improved since the spring season. Definitely not satisfied yet. Will I ever be?

This evening was awesome. Only 78°F at ride time. On the downside... the days are getting noticeably shorter. I ordered a updater today from Saris, so I can use the road bike PowerTap with the Garmin. Soon I'll need the backlight as all weekday rides get pushed into the darkness.

Howabout a simple meal? Step 1, grill some chicken...

Step 2, deglaze the pan with marsala wine and throw in some mushrooms...

Serve with some corn and mashed yams/steen's syrup/nutmeg/cinnamon...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall Race #1

I jinxed it. About 40min till start I checked the Blackberry. No rain on the screen. I mentioned it to the guy parked next to me. And within a minute... it was pouring! It poured up till the start.

It's hard to think of a lap around Huntsville as epic, but this one had it all. Rain, a cramp, a fall, a mechanical! Yeeha!

I didn't pre-register. First time that I didn't pre-reg and it sucked. I pre-staged in the back. At the start, I was dead last. Just before the single track narrowed, I realized there were only 4-5 in front, then a gap... I decided to try to move up. I picked up a couple of spots, but *poof* blew up by the first road crossing. Crap. After the short climb I got a cramp in the outside of my left leg. Ugh. Nothing to do but spin through it.

I started feeling better. And remade contact with my group around the spillway. After sliding down the trail at that point, my right cleat was no longer working. (It wasn't until cleaning up at home I discovered a cigarette butt of all things caught in the cleat!) The long CCC climb was supertough without being clipped in. I thought about stopping and cleaning the cleat. BUT! I wasn't about to try to get restarted in the silty-sandy-clayey slop. By the time I got back to the Chinaquipin cutoff, I managed to get clipped in YEAHHA!

From here, I was alone. Knowing I wasn't going to catch anyone in my class, I simply enjoyed the ride and intensity of racing along the trails.

I haven't seen the results. But I'm sure I was way OTB. I'm a bit frustrated. I ridden way faster on that course. Today was slow for me. I'm capable of better; I've done better! It was raining, afterall. Maybe that made some difference. But honestly, the rain packed the sand down. And I don't remember being that bothered by wet trail. The grip was amazing in most spots.

All of this isn't to say it wasn't a fun ride. It was an absolute blaaast! The most fun I've ever had at Huntsville! And definately top-five all time cycling experiences. Those trails got better with the rain!! The holes filled with sand washed; and the sand packed in. The turns burmed up, too. Just wish I'd had the motor to do it all justice!

One dirty bike! I'm still flossing sand out of my teeth!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Pre-Excuse is in!

A racer without a pre-excuse is an unprepared racer!

pre⋅ex⋅cuse [n. pri-ik-skyoos]

  1. an explanation offered as a reason for performing poorly in a race, specifically, before the race actually happens; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an post-race smack talk, heckling, shame, etc.: His pre-excuse is lack of sleep last night due to a rock under his sleeping bag.

  2. a pretext or subterfuge used to lower expectations before a race.
There's nothing funnier than listening to all of the pre-excuses at the start line of a race. You'd think it was bunch of 80-yearolds that had never trained before lining up with all of the moans and groans.

Consider this my pre-excuse for Huntsville: I've barely been on the bike over the last two weeks. My legs felt feckless on last night's ride. I'm not expecting a miracle by tomorrow. None-the-less... I AM looking forward to it! Even bad days on the bike are good days!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Need a Manager

Today I woke up to the second workday of the week. Quick, what day is the second workday of the week? Right Tuesday. For me today was Tuesday. I did my normal Tuesday things at work. I ate my food off Tuesday's training plan. I even rode my scheduled Tuesday ride. BUT IT'S WEDNESDAY! And I missed my CX Race!! GGGHRRRRH!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Life with Hard Labor

The storm is over. The last two weeks have been... in a word... tough. Work intruded into training. A temporary situation that is now complete. Time to return to normal with nearly two weeks off of the ol' trainig plan. Restarting is always frought with uncertanties. How much have I lost? Jump in, or ease in? All questions to be answered over the next couple of days. Although, there isn't much choice! Cross racing on Wednesday and an XC race on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fast eating.

Tonight's CX race makes me feel fat and slow. Atleast I can be fast in the kitchen! Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, deli chicken, cucumber slices, blue cheese, dash of vinegar. Wrap. Done. Takes like 45sec.

More about the CX racing after next week's race. Need to do this right before I form any opinions...