Slope, slope, SLOPE!

Yesterday I ventured out for a bit of tabata type torture on the TT bike. A brutal workout on paper, but I was mentally ready to knock it out of the park. By interval 2 or 3 (a little under my target of 400-410w) my legs didn’t feel right. Getting to 400 seemed like a chore and things didn’t get better. By the end of the first set I was starry-eyed, close to throwing up, and wanted to pass out. I rolled around for 20mins noodling in Level 1 as my legs were so blown, Level 2 wasn’t appealing. I got the second set done which was just as brutal as the first and made one final dig on the last interval. Thank f**k that was over… Lots of cussing, facial contortion, and damn sore legs. When I finally downloaded the file I realized that I hadn’t switch back the SRM’s slope from my track to road powermeter (24.0 vs 28.3). Turns out those intervals should have hurt as much as they did because I was churning out closer to 500w than 370-400w. At least I know I’m not getting weaker. In 2003 I was told “1 years from now, the only grade that will matter is the slope of your driveway”. Kind of true, but as I’ve experienced, SRM slope is more important!

Life isn’t fair

What a weekend… Raced a TT on my doorstep on Saturday. Took 12th in Pro/1/2. Not quite the result I was hoping for, but new PB power so I’m still making progress. On Sunday I made the drive up to Erie for another track workout on the Boulder Valley Velodrome. I got in a few good efforts but soon realized that my legs were trashed from Saturday, so I shut things down prematurely. When I got home and looked at the data I added another 26w to my 1min power which made me wish I’d pushed through the last couple of efforts.

That, combined with some yard work has my body feeling rather beaten up today – which is also my 36th birthday. I should be in the mood to celebrate, but found out that one of my friends back in Hawaii is going through an unimaginably tough time right now. A situation that leaves me questioning why seriously bad s**t happens to good people. Life isn’t fair… Make the most of every day!

Travel, travel, travel…

Since my last update I’ve checked off a few more states that I’d never been to – Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. I think that brings the total states I’ve visited in the US to 17. Still a few more to go! I also spent a day in Austin and as I was so close to Mellow Johnny’s (Lance Armstrong’s bike shop) I checked it out. I swore I’d never go there, but I wanted to check out the Train Hard studio in the basement run by retired pro Kevin Livingston (who coached me back in 2003 and 2004). Unfortunately he wasn’t there, so I looked around Lance’s shop. Ignoring the doping shenanigans and ongoing related legal battle, the store is pretty cool. Yellow jersey’s on the wall and lots of Lance’s bikes from his Motorola days through to Radioshack. It’s all history I guess, but his Motorola bike is definitely my favorite.

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The only bike I really cared for was the Motorola Merckx on the far left.

 

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Fact or fiction? :)

 

 

A couple weeks ago I finally managed to make it to Erie and get in some training on the Boulder Valley Velodrome. It looked cool in photos, but it’s even more impressive in person. Not perfect, but a lot less bumpy that the velodrome in Colorado Springs… Toilets in the infield… Plenty friendly riders… Just a cool place to hang out and get in some quality training. My legs were destroyed for a few days after my first ride there; however, they seem to already be used to the track as I didn’t have the same experience after my second ride there.

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I had some video shot of my while I put in some laps of the track to see if my position on the boards was close to what I had arrived at on the trainer. Seems pretty close to what I was aiming for.

 

 

My Kickstarter / SRM mount project is making progress and should be back from anodizing within the next day or so. It’s been cool to experience taking a project from idea, to sketch, to 3d model, to 3d printed prototype, to the final CNC’d product.

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This was a test run of the lower piece of the mount prior to the whole batch going into production.

 

KHMTT and Superior-Morgul TT

Photographic evidence that I've actually raced this year!
Photographic evidence that I’ve actually raced this year! Photo by Ryan Muncy.

Despite only racing a few of the events, and having a few blunders along the way, I managed 8th overall out of 25 in the KHMTT series. Not a peak event, so it made for some great training and also provided the opportunity to work out the kinks with my warmup, bike setup, and position.

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Superior-Morgul TT

After the KHMTT series, the next race I took a stab at was the TT stage of the Superior-Morgul 3-day. That went mostly well other than missing the first turn and losing a bunch of time. On paper, my result wasn’t that great, but adjusting for the lost time I had potential for a top 20 ride among some of Colorado’s fastest P/1/2 riders. I had my best avg wattage to date for a TT so that was a small victory.

Rest Day

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Train hard, rest harder!

 

After a fairly hard (but good) week of training that included getting 41/50ish riders in the Morgul TT (Would have been top 20 had I not missed the first turn), and a painful ride on Sat, I had the luxury of a “rest” day from training on Sunday. That’s a rare occurrence, so I figured I’d “rest” by doing the Devil’s Head Fire Lookout hike! It’s near Sedalia, involves driving about 8 miles of dirt road, 2.8 miles (but I think longer as the hike started before the trailhead) roundtrip, and close to 1,000ft of elevation gain. Normally that would be a cakewalk of a hike; however, I thought I’d increase the “rest” aspect of the hike by bringing along my 2.6yr old… All 33lbs (live load!) of her, plus my DSLR, and her food. She hiked bits and pieces but I reckon she spent 70% of the time on my shoulders and 15% just being held. Lots of comments along the trail such as “Now THAT’s a workout!”… It turned out to be a great hike with decent weather and a few snowflakes at the summit. We made it back alive. She slept like a log. I hurt like a mofo on Monday morning! Good times!!!

Touch wood…

… another week of training and racing in the bag without getting sick! Training has been going great and I’m back to making some decent gains. Last week was somewhat brutal so it was nice that I had 2 off days while traveling to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for work. That reminds me about Saturday’s ride… The weather in the Denver area wasn’t so great due to lots of rain. On Saturday, it finally stopped raining, and despite being a little overcast I figured I’d lucked out and could fit in my 1.5hr ride without getting drenched. So I ventured out… About 40mins into the ride, the rain gradually started, then it got so foggy that I could only see about 50ft in front. Bad enough that I rode a decent looking backwards more than forwards due to fear of becoming roadkill. I survived the decent and appeared out of the fog, but damn it was cold. The rain turned to sleet and I could barely feel my finger or toes, but I pressed on with the last of my intervals. It took a good 30mins in the shower with the hot on full for me to thaw out. My TT bike was quite a mess too and needed a thorough cleaning on Sunday. Within an hour of getting home from my ride we had about 2 inches of snow, then another 3 inches overnight.

This is what the road looked like on Saturday's ride.
This is what the road looked like on Saturday’s ride.
... and this is what it normally
… and this is what it normally looks like.

Back at it…

KHMTT Results

After a week of having my barn doors blown off by strep,  I’m back on the bike and with my form back to where it was pre-strep. I did the local TT last week and despite still not quite feeling the love on the bike, put in my fastest time to date… 21:39. Still not quite as fast as I know I can go, but heading in the right direction. Throwing a riser kit onto my Pro Missile Evo bars and switching out the Mavic iO for a Zipp 808 Firecrest felt a hell of a lot better too.

Strep!

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Unrelated to this post, but here’s a photo taken on Antelope Island, Utah.

I swear I spent 30+ years building up a pretty decent immune system; however, the mini-me that lives under my roof seems to take home all kinds of germs from daycare. It’s only April but I think I’ve been sick more this year than the the past 5 years combined. Earlier in the year I got sick, put up a fight for 2+ weeks before caving in and going to see a doctor. The outcome was that I had  a smidgen of strep… Roll on 2 months… I thought my voice sounded different for a few days, but felt fine… Got in some decent training, then an hour post Saturday ride I felt like death. A combined 18hrs of sleep ensued and I was pretty useless at anything other than sitting on my ass or sleeping. Another visit to the doctor and the outcome was that I had Strep again. 10 days of antibiotics and a few days of zero training or racing. Fun… I figured it would be better to take some real time off now and not dig myself into a deep hole. I’m now back to 95% so fingers crossed I don’t get sick again for a very long time (highly unlikely)!

Go hard, turn left…

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No, not THAT left, the other left! That pretty much describes how my time trial went last night. After last week’s cluster, I pulled apart the RocketShip, re-cabled the rear brake, added spacers to the front brake (2 brakes are nice to have when needed!), torqued the bars to 5Nm, etc. Took the Elite TurboMuin vs. the rollers so that I’d actually have some resistance to warm up with. I planned out my warmup and printed out the schedule. The bike worked, the warmup went went, and I rolled to the start with 40sec to go. About as perfect as you can get!

One of the lessons learned from last week was to not go too hard in the first 2 mins. As such, I held myself back (and trust me, I bloody hate doing that!) for the first 2 mins before laying down decent watts. No rain/thunderstorm this week, but a bitch of a crosswind was on tap to keep things exciting. I felt like I was passing more riders than the previous week and did my best to sail the bike in the crosswind… Scott Tietzel caught me a bit later this week and didn’t disappear out of sight as quickly this time… Well, at least not until I got directed the wrong way around mile 6. By the time I’d figured out that I was riding back to the parking lot and no longer on course, freewheeled for a bit, then got back on course I’d lost at least 42sec (based on my SRM). I did what I could to get back into the game but in a 10 mile TT, 42sec is a substantial chunk of change to try and recover from. I crossed the finish in 22:06.02 vs last week’s 22:13.3. Had I not added in the detour, 4th place with a low 21 was in the bag. 3rd would have been a stretch, but who knows.

Next time!

Chasm Lake

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Thanks to a “use it or lose it” vacation policy, I took yesterday off from work – Nothing like a 3-day weekend! As I wasn’t sick, and the weather forecast was favorable (typically it snows on my day off!), I made plans to meet up with a friend from Hawaii that also lives in Colorado, and do a day hike to Chasm Lake near Longs Peak.

I left the house at 6am, drove an hour north to Gunbarrel to meet David, then we drove another hour+ north-west to (eventually) reach the Longs Peak trailhead 1.75 hours later. Yeah, we got a little lost finding the trailhead so we didn’t get boots on ground until almost 9am (an hour later than originally planned). The first part of the hike through Goblins Forest was a mix of ice and snow which didn’t make for fast hiking! Once we got out of there and above the tree line it was mostly a mixture of packed snow and some unexpected areas of foot deep snow. Snowshoes would have been really nice at times. An hour or so later and we didn’t have much of a trail to follow and ended up scrambling over boulders onto the ridge to the north of Mills Moraine.

About 30mins later we had to traverse a snowfield which was a little sketchy in places. Having an ice-axe would have been a nice piece of (hope to not need to use) safety gear! After the snowfield it was a fairly easy hike to finally get a few of Chasm Lake (More like Chasm ice skating rink due to it being frozen solid). The weather up there was as perfect as we could have expected. One or two small clouds in the sky, but mostly clear blue overhead, and the occasional 35mph wind gust between periods of zero wind.

After sitting around at the top eating lunch and shooting photos we started our hike back down – Typically where shit goes wrong! We took a different route back to the snowfield that definitely had a higher pucker factor… Clinging to a rock face… Using hands as a human ice axe (but into snow)… Sliding / dropping onto a 45deg slope of snow… Check, check, and check. Laughs and high-fives were shared after that. By the time we hit the snowfield the compacted snow was sitting on a layer that had become a little more slushy. We definitely took a bit more care heading back! The rest of the hike down was pretty quick and easier thanks to some slushier snow and less ice.

Not “epic” by any means, but a solid winter hike that lefts my legs pretty knackered. No complaints though… I’ll take a Monday like that any day! Bonus = We didn’t see any other humans until we were half way back to the car (all thanks to hiking on a weekday vs. the weekend which would have been a zoo!)