Mur de Huy

Mur de Huy

The Journal of Competitive Cycling -

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cold Toes - Part Trois......

Well today went pretty much as expected, except for the fact that I wasn't even really able to cover any early attacks, fortunately there weren't any. I felt like total crap from being sick all week and was only able to hang with the group for about 4 laps before falling off the back. After 2 laps of trying to catch up I was ready to quit but drove through it and was able to catch back on to those that also fell off the back. I made contact right about the same time that the leaders came back around to lap us. After another lap I was at the point of puking so I called it quits, headed to the parking lot, puked and was good to go. 2 weeks to get some sort of form before the Walkersville/Tysons weekend. We shall see how it goes.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Flu like symptoms....

I suppose I got a bit of what has been floating around here for some time now. I am not full blown sick, but simply feel like crap. As a result I have had precisely ZERO time on the bike this week although I have gotten in a little gym/cardio time. This dosen't really bode too well for this weekend's race but might tie in nicely with my plan of attack.

Hopefully with a forced week, or at least a few days of rest, I will be fresh enough to hit the beginning of the race hard and ride until I pop. I plan to try to cover any early attacks and take some pressure off of my teammates for as long as possible. In my current condition that may not be too long.

Maybe I can hope for rain and wind again.....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cold Toes-Part Deux

Saturday marked the second leg of our (Evolution Cycling) training race series. I actually felt pretty good this week and had a decent week of training and was looking forward to the race. The weather was considerably better this week than last and brought at a somewhat larger field. We had 5 guys on our side (Ryan, Chewy, Ugh, Spam, and me). I was feeling so good in fact that I went to my "quiver" before the race and picked out the Pinarello for the day.

Also found out that the race was going to run counter clockwise today, as opposed to clockwise last week, so I made sure I got in some extra training laps to get used to the new layout. The first noticeable thing was that the first turn went straight into a headwind which I knew would cause some separation in the pack, a corner is bad enough, but a corner into the wind is not good. Anyway, the race began and I started near the back, wasn't in the mod to get to the line 10+ minutes early just to get a front spot. As the field headed towards the first corner I moved up a few spots on the inside and was getting towards the middle of the pack to get some coverage into the headwind along the back. As the group approached the final turn into the tailwind finish line I moved up on the left side a passed a number of people to get near the top 10 going into the first corner again. I had good positioning and was ready to settle into the pack when the two riders in front of me touched wheels. And when I say touch, that is a bit of an understatement. The one guys rear deraileur ripped spokes from the other guys front wheel before it loked like it ripped off itself. I had to get on the brakes hard and unclip to prevent piling into them. No one in the group went down but after I clipped back in and got going, the peleton was about 100 meters away and I was inthe headwind by myself. I stepped it up to try to catch back on and made contact into the final turn when everyone jumped towards tthe finish line. I lost contact and that was where I was going to stay the rest of the race. Being a training race I just kept my pace steady and rode out the last 6-7 laps, picking up an occasional rider here and there as they popped off the back.

The one good thing about being dropped off the back in that turn was that I missed the crash in the next turn that took a few people out. One guy from PoWER went down pretty hard and had some road rash to show for his day. He seemed to be doing well post-race so that is always a good thing.

The third and final episode of the Cold Toes Trilogy is next weekend, we shall see how it goes. Evo should be out in full force with our new kits. Should be a good time.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Daylight Savings Time!!!!!!!!!!

I am so happy that DST is finally here. It has me back in the bike for the commute to and from work which means at least an extra hour a day in the saddle (actually on the road as opposed to the trainer). The main reason that I shut it down is that I honestly dislike riding in the dark. I don't trust myself, don't trust others, and especially don't trust the harmless looking woodlands creatures that I know are just waiting to F with me (WHERE IN THE HELL DID THAT DEER COME FROM?????).

Although the training has not been going well, I am starting to see some improvements, albeit minor. I had my fastest commute this morning without doing too bad on the HR. Again, I am not going to be a factor in any races in terms of being in the top of the field, but I am going to finish races, which is really my main goal for the year.

I am keeping a close eye on the scale and may very well dip below the 200 mark by this weekend. I have been able to successfully put 205 out of the way and lower the bar. I am hoping to be around 195 or 190ish by the time the racing season really gets going and approaching 185 to 180 by the end of the summer. Watch out next year once I am able to put it all together and keep it together.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nothing to write home about......

but good enough to blog, I suppose.

Yesterday kicked off the official beginning of the race season for me with the inaugural running of the Cold Toes Training Series in Chantilly, VA. This is an event put on by our club (Evolution Cycling). We had pretty miserable weather which reduced the turnout, but added a certain level of fun to the race. It was pretty much cyclocross conditions for a road race.

After arriving at the event to help get the registration tent set up, fence and cone off the course, and lend a hand with sweeping the corners. I reluctantly shifted into race mode and began warming up. I term I use very loosely here because there is not much actual warming up that accompanies temps in the low 40's with a consistent downpour. I did a few laps of the course, which is quite nice by the way, and then headed back to the team tent for some laughs and to dry up a little. This was followed by a few more laps and another return to the tents. Finally start time arrived and the field set out for the wet, wet race.

Back in December when I set out my goals for this coming season, this race was the first measurable goal on the list, with the simple notation to finish. I know, a stretch goal right out of the box, shooting for the stars, etc. But as previously discussed I don't have high expectations for this season, even lower with my dismal training over the past 3 months.

Anyway, I was able to ride in the main pack for the first 4 to 5 laps before my legs started to tighten up (either from the lack of warm up, the cold weather, or a lack of training....probably a combination of all of the above). Since this was designated as a training race I decided to sit up and "soft pedal" and wait for the field to come back around to catch back on. For some strange reason this took 2 laps to accomplish, I guess I wasn't pedaling soft enough. I managed to catch back on and ride with them for another lap or two and then tried to go when someone attacked on the back and had nothing to respond with. From there I simply cruised the last 2 laps with another rider, chatting about the race and the weather. True groupetto style.

I crossed the line about 10 meters behind the race winner (albeit 1 lap down). There may be some decent photos that I can lie about in the future.

I tried to get warm and then assumed my post marshaling the final corner for the next two races and trying to warm up. All in all it was a decent day for me and the results were a top 20 finish, 17th in fact (I won't mention the field size, but it was more than 20). Goal number 1 accomplished, but it felt like that 80 you got on a paper when you needed a B in the class. Just barely enough to count, but it counts nonetheless.

On a more positive note, my rear wheel enabled a teammate to win the A race. Who knew my wheel was really that fast...hmmmmm.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Performance without Practice.....

Well, my first race of the season is but a day away. Albeit simply a "training" race it is a race nonetheless and I am not sure how I will fare. I honestly have to admit that I do not have very high expectations going into this race as my training has been no where near the level that I would have liked it to be. I gave in much too easily to the minor bouts of illness and numerous other "excuses" over the past few months. With all that being said I feel that I am in much better shape now than I have been for the past several years and am anxious to see how it plays out over the course of the season. Rightly or wrongly I am planning on hitting it especially hard in the coming weeks to "get ready" for the start of the real season on the 5th of April at the Tour of Walkersville followed by the 6th of April at the Tysons Crit.

I am truly hoping that my history plays out in my favor as I have NEVER been one to prepare ahead of time for an event, this includes rehearsing before speeches/presentations, studying for exams, warming up on the range before a round, etc. etc. etc and have always fared quite well. I seem to operate better on the fly and often feel that I would leave my best on the practice field and not have it at game time. Something tells me that this will not apply to cycling, but we shall see. If it doesn't work I will simply head back to the drawing board, find a source of motivation from somewhere, and hit the second half of the season with a fury.

I am partially guessing that a little dose of the motivation that I will need will be coming in late April when I head over to the Netherlands and Belgium for some riding and to catch some of the Classics (Amstel Gold Race and Fleche-Wallonne). I rode the motivation from watching a couple of stages of the 2005 Tour de France in the French Alps (mostly around Galibier) into an interest in cycling and getting my ass into shape.

Starting a cycling career at 39 (hitting 41 at the end of the month) isn't the way to go and I have very little expectations in terms of results. I just want to have a good time, mix it up a little, and hopefully help a teammate along the way.

It all starts tomorrow.