Go hard, turn left…

right-wrong-ts-365

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!)

First race of the season

2013 Cannondale Slice RS Black Inc.
2013 Cannondale Slice RS Black Inc.

Almost 2 years ago I finished a time trial back in Hawaii and told myself I would never do a TT again. As of yesterday, I’m back at it. Funny how time has the ability to erase memories of pain :)

Just getting to the start line was a challenge in itself. For the past 6 weeks or so, I had plans to build up a TT bike from a particular brand. As such, I procured the various parts needed to get it up and running – This included Di2 with an internal battery. Fast forward to a week ago and the whole deal for the originally planned bike crumbled. I’ll spare you the details. I’m 5′-10″ which would usually put me on a 54cm bike; however, I’m the lucky recipient of legs that were meant for someone that’s 5′-3″. Looking at the available TT bikes with the criteria of:

– Compatible with Di2
– Low stack height to match up with my short legs, resulting in a bike that doesn’t look like I’m sitting on the top tube thanks to 2″ of visible seatpost.
– Proven (data to back up the claims) to be fast, not just “fast to the eye”.

Plan B was a Shiv TT. The deal breaker was that a small would fit me more like a 54, and an XS (only slightly smaller) are just as hard to find (used) as a unicorn.

The final result was that a Cannondale Slice RS meets all of the above. I saw a few but most were 54’s and the occasional 52. I saw a 50cm Black Inc. posted on Craigslist and Ebay and ended up emailing the seller, negotiated a great deal, and took it home 1 day later!

The bike came with SRAM Red, so that was the first thing to go. Off with the ugly vision aerobar setup (Kind of well thought out design, but curved bullhorns and a chunky basebar were the deal breaker). The hurdle I came up against was that there’s nowhere to stash an internal Di2 battery – Mostly thanks to the seatpost (and the bike in general) having a very skinny front profile. Thus, a frantic search for a Di2 short mount and external battery ensued. Nothing to be found locally so I had to overnight those items from California and got them mere hours before yesterday’s TT! Thankfully, the Di2 fired up first time and worked. PHEW!

As for the race… Most things that could go wrong did:

– Thunder, lightning, hail, rain, wind – Check, check, check, check, and check!
– Took my rollers to warm up and quickly realized they had inadequate resistance to warm-up properly.
– Rear brake stuck dragging on the disc for the whole race. I don’t think this did my any favors!
– The road is hands down the worst I’ve ever raced a TT on. That combined with my basebar coming lose was not good. Lots of time spend riding upright trying to not fall off the front of my bike.
– Started a little too hot… Pace yourself man!

Despite all of the above, I managed to get 5th place not too far off the top 3 guys who were all within a hair of each other. I can’t wait until the next TT on April 8 when I can hopefully have a more solid run at a top 3 result.

Snowing and Sick

11026057_10152674493546711_3574487263593300085_nThe past 7+ days have mostly consistent of it snowing a LOT in Colorado (4th snowiest February on record!) and me blowing up radioactive colored chunks of mucous. Fun times… Nah, not really. After forced rest from training followed by too many days riding indoors, I finally threw on as many layers as I could and ventured out for a few hours in bloody cold weather (-9C). It’s manageable as long as the roads are dry and it’s not sleeting.

One cool part of the last week is that I had another US national track champion contact me asking about the SRM rail mount that I designed. That got me off my ass and back to the drawing board to figure out a more final design. I’ve got a kickstarter in the approval cue, a couple possible manufacturers, and a video I need to finish.

11037572_10152674005536711_7681298299173923022_oGetting closer to the final design!

Gluing

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When life serves you a dose of sickness, why not turn that into an opportunity to get your pre-season tubular gluing done! I broke out my trusty can of Continental Rim cement and completed the mission… Well, the first thin layers.

Sick

I guess 6 weeks of not missing a single training ride and not getting sick was a good run considering my exposure to the daily germs that get brought home from my kid’s daycare. Somewhat good timing as Colorado is in the process of getting hit with a ton of snow. Time to do stuff that doesn’t get done when I have to train!

It’s all about that buzz…

It’s been a while since my last post and the blog was looking a bit lame when I removed my old sponsors (I’m riding without a team or any official sponsors) so I got rid of the older heavily customized wordpress theme I was using and replaced it with this more generic one. Keep it simple, right!

Last year I finally made the jump from mechanical to electronic Dura-Ace… I liked it so much I decided to throw a similar setup on my time trial bike.

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Along with the groupset upgrade I figured I should get a newer frame to replace the decade old relic that I’ve been riding.

felt_bicycles_da1_frameset_2015If all things go to plan, I should be adding a 2015 Felt DA1 to my existing race quiver (2014 FC road bike and TK1 track bike) very soon.

I’m now about 5 weeks into working with a new coach, and thankfully I’ve gone from somewhat hating / needing a break from cycling, to being really motivated. Training has been going great and it’s nice to see some decent fitness gains already. I can’t wait to get stuck into some Colorado racing this season; however, there’s still 6-7 weeks more work to be done before that happens.

Live High, Train Low

Since moving from sea level (Hawaii) to moderately high altitude (Denver, and now Parker) training has definitely been a struggle. It took a good 6+ months before I finally felt somewhat normal vs. wanting to pass out during intervals at 6000ft. I worked with a coach for some of 2013 and most of 2014 but never really saw any tangible gains. The coach likely new what he was doing, but unfortunately not so versed in the challenges of LH-TH (Live High, Train High). In an ideal world, athletes follow a LH-TL (Live High, Train Low) lifestyle. This is feasible in locations such as Utah where you can live high in Park City, and drive down to Salt Lake City and train low; however, it’s not possible to drive to a location with low altitude as that simply doesn’t exist within a realistic driving distance. I recently read anything and everything I could on the topic of altitude training and also bugged someone with 20+ years of experience with world class athletes and altitude.

As such, I’ve got a few changes for 2015.

– A new coach
– Better knowledge of living/training at altitude and a plan to manage my training a lot better (LT-TL)
– A race calendar that’s already planned out vs. 2014 where I only raced a few times (The least racing I’ve done since 1995 other than the first year I was in Colorado and did zero racing)
– No team and no sponsors (Can’t say I didn’t try; However, finding a team in Colorado just never gained much traction. I’m either too slow, too old, not old enough, or live in the wrong zip code)

I’m back!

A few months ago I flipped the off switch on my blog and unplugged myself from a lot of cycling stuff for various reasons – No real point in going into the details. It’s the first day of a new year so the past is the past. Now that I’ve had time to reflect, assess what went wrong in 2014, and what I want to achieve in 2015, it’s time to look a head and get back to work on becoming the fastest ~35yr old cyclist I can be.

Happy New Year!