Colorado State Track Champs

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Individual Pursuit. Ripped my number making a sweet parachute… But not as painful as ripping my skinsuit later in the day after using it ONCE. Ugh.

Last Saturday, the final Colorado State Track Championship events for 2015 were held at the Boulder Valley Velodrome. The velodrome was PACKED… I ended up training in one of the tunnels under the track with a few others, which probably was a good thing as it was bloody hot! I raced in the 4k Individual Pursuit around noon which was a bit of an unknown as I’ve been training for the 3k distance. My heat had me up against Colby Pearce… Goal #1, don’t get caught! I decided to start off conservatively, but in hindsight I started WAY too conservatively as Colby said he almost caught me! I ramped things up from Lap 3 onwards and managed to regain some of the ~7 second deficit to finish in 4:52.30 and Colby rolled a damn fast 4:46.50. Kevin Nicol stormed around to finish in 4:45.29 to take the win ahead of Colby, Ian Holt took 3rd 2sec faster than me (4th) and Steven Herzfeld was 5th.

After the IP, the real endurance event started… The LONG, LONG, LOOOOOONG way for the Team Pursuit. We finally got to race that at about 430pm. There were two teams and we were second off which was nice as we got to watch the first team do their ride. Jeff Anderson, Jeff Wardell, Zach LaBry, and Ian Holt clocked 4:39.20. We (Kevin, Colby, me, and Steve Worley) has gone a bit faster two weeks earlier and I thought we would be shooting for about 4:35. Not a huge ask. We had the same team with the exception of Andrew Kruse vs. Steve Worley. and most of us have ridden a TP together so it was our race to lose. We had a steady start with no hiccups and were quickly doing laps in the mid 16’s. After one of my laps I heard 5-6 (which means 15.6sec) and that hurt me pretty good for the remaining laps. Andrew put in as much as he could before peeling off and letting me, Kevin, and Colby wrap things up. I was pretty fried and with 3 laps to go took a 1/2 lap pull vs. the 1 lap pulls we had been doing. A few more laps of low to mid 16’s and we crossed the line. Between trying to breathe and the noise inside of my aero helmet it was impossible to hear what time we had done. I eventually found out that we had one and done a 4:31.28, beating the other team comfortably. They didn’t have a Co State TP championship in 2014, and I won with some other guys in 2013, so that’s 2 out of 2! Later on Saturday night we realized that we’d beaten the US national record for the 30+ and 35+ team pursuit – records set by some seriously talented riders who have gone on to win master world championship titles etc., (but there’s a catch…):

30+ 4:31.463 Dan Vogt, Curtis Tolson, Kenny Williams, Leif Clarke Colorado Springs, Colo., 8/13/06
35+ 4:35.823 Jason Meidhof, David Bozak, Joshua Frick, Daniel Casper Colorado Springs, Colo., 7/29/12
40+ 4:36.895 Kent Bostick, Richard Meeker, Jeff Fillerup, Larry Nolan Colorado Springs, Colo., 8/13/06
45+ 4:36.849 Curtis Tolson, Kenny Williams, Chris Charlson, Dean Peterson Colorado Springs, Colo., 7/29/12
50+ 4:38.365 Robert Black, Andrew Buck, Scott Butler, Christopher Regan Colorado Springs, Colo., 8/20/09

Information from: http://www.usacycling.org/usa-cycling-national-records.htm

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Team Pursuit Podium

The catch is… No one realized we had broken the record(s) until we had already left the track… A requirement of breaking a record is that the bikes used need to meet UCI rules. Only one of our bikes was measured so no record. F***… I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was frustrated. It sucks knowing the ride we put in and that it isn’t officially recognized. No doubt we will take another crack at it when schedules work out… and maybe we’ll break the 4:30 barrier!

Pursuit of fun

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Thanks to Boulder Valley Velodrome moving their Saturday Time Trials to mornings from the previous evening schedule, I was finally able to get in a time 3k pursuit effort on the track. I had a stack of 1min intervals to get through on Friday, but reduced the number slightly so that I wasn’t feeling those on Saturday morning. Despite doing less, the legs were still not feeling so chipper 14hrs later. I planned to do 3x 3km efforts on different gears, but those plans changed when I asked Colby Pearce (2x Olympian) if he was game to do a 4k Team Pursuit effort. I figured it would be decent training (race speed for the duration, and race speed and power when I was taking my pulls). First, I did my 3k effort and rode 3:39.32 despite riding a more conservative evenly paced race. Not setting the world of fire, but good enough to chop ~15sec off the 18-39yr old track record. After a few more riders did their distances of choice, I lined up with Colby, Kevin Nicol, and Steve Worley for 4km of fun. Zero practice… Just run what ya brung! Kevin was riding a monster gear of ~104″ and was second man, and that didn’t work out so well at the start, but we got things together quickly and for the most part had a smooth ride. Part way through we lost Steve and were down to 3 men, which made for shorter changes. I underestimated that and was going too far up the track, and getting back on took some leg searing work. The last 2 laps were a bit horrible as I spent them trying to close down a bike length (or more) gap to Colby and Kevin as our finish time would be based of me as the third rider. Ugh. We ended up with a new track record of 4:39.13 which was ~6sec quicker than the previous one. We’re not done yet and plan a few more TP efforts so it will be interesting to see how fast we can go when we’ve got the kinks ironed out. I hadn’t done a TP since winning US Elite Nationals in 2013 and it was fun
 to finally do one again!

Keirin

2015 is my 20th year of competitive cycling and I’ve raced pretty much everything other than CX. I can now put a check in the box for Keirin.

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Sitting in 3rd behind the moto in the Keirin final.

On July 22 I headed up to the Boulder Valley Velodrome for the second Pro Am series event which included the CO State Championship Elimination Race. I loved racing the event on the grass at Highland Games where it’s known as “Devil Take the Hindmost”. Before that race, they decided to hold the Keirin State Championship that didn’t happen two weeks earlier due to rain. I had no plans on racing it, but that changed when I was told I was in Heat 1, at which point I was in a mad scramble to change my bike from 51×16 to 51×14. I got the bolts tightened up just as the national anthem was starting.

Heat 1. I drew lane 5 (highest on the track) which wasn’t ideal, but at least I wasn’t in 1 and obligated to take the moto. I tried to get into position 2 or 3 when we got rolling but no one was budging. There was no way I was dropping back to the tail end so I ended up sitting out in the wind. I think I made my move with 2 or 3 laps to go which was a bit early, but it managed to hold off a fast charging Ian Holt for 3rd place by a whisker. The top 3 from each heat advance so that put me into the final.

In the final I drew lane 3 which was a relief. It was me, Jake Duehring (Has medaled at PanAm’s, raced world cups, worlds, and we won the elite team pursuit in 2013), Samuel Fogel (Young and fast – Will be racing Junior worlds), Colby Pearce (2x Olympian… nuff said), Chris Ferris, and Steven Herzfeld. If you asked me who was going to win a week earlier, my money would have been on Herzfeld. The race itself was fairly uneventful… I slotted into 2nd or 3rd and held my position for as long as possible until the attacks started. It was pretty much Jake vs. Samuel who opened up a gap, then I held onto 3rd. Jake went on to dominate the night’s racing taking wins in the Pro Men Tempo and Elimination State Championship.

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Keirin Podium L-R (Me, Jake, Samuel)

Another fast night of racing, and another significant increase in my 1min power that I’d PB’d the previous week. Not peaking yet, but making some consistent improvements in power.

Longs Peak

One of the perks of my job is that I get a day off for my birthday… I decided to use that day later in June with the goal of summiting a 14’er (Mountain in Colorado over 14,000ft). There are a LOT of options, but I eventually narrowed it down to Longs Peak. Probably not the best choice as it’s one of the toughest ones (ranked about 7th out of 53 peaks). Trying to persuade someone to join in my little adventure was proving to be a challenge until I posted on the 14ers.com Facebook page about my planned hike. The day before I got a message from a guy wondering if I was still planning on it. A bunch of messages later and plans were set!

I ate a ton of food the day before and made sure I took in a lot of fluids also. I attempted to go to sleep at about 8pm on Sunday, although it was more like 9pm by the time I was out. I woke up at 11:45pm and by midnight was on the road to Rocky Mountain National Park – I nice 100 mile drive! I consumed fluids and food during the drive so that I’d arrived at the trailhead ready to rock!

The sky as viewed from the Longs Peak trailhead at 2am. Amazing!
The sky as viewed from the Longs Peak trailhead at 2am. Amazing!

My new hiking partner for the day, Virgil, arrived at about 2:15am and by 2:30 we were on the trail. The hike up Longs Peak is an approx 14 mile round trip and takes 10-14hrs to complete! It was going to be a LONG day.

Still dark at 430am.
Still dark at 430am.
First real glimpse of Longs Peak at about 515am.
First real glimpse of Longs Peak at about 515am.
Snow on the hike up to the Keyhole.
Snow on the hike up to the Keyhole.

Up until the Boulderfield and Keyhole is just regular hiking. From the Keyhole onwards, it was full winter conditions (this is supposedly late in the year for Longs to be like this).

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Looking back through the Keyhole.

 

Ledges

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This part of the hike is marked by “bullseyes” spraypainted onto the rocks marking the route – Very helpful. Fortunately, most were still visible and now covered in snow. The start of the Ledges section was dry granite, then a patch of snow that required my first use of crampons, followed by more granite.

Trough

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Taking a short break part way up the trough.

 

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View looking down the trough. You can’t even see where we started!

After making it across the ledges, the next section to tackle was the Trough. It was full of snow, so unlike summer (conditions that would see hundreds of people attempting the summit) it was a full on couloir. Great for skiing down, but definitely a workout to go up using crampons and an ice axe. Add in the factor that I’m a fit cyclist, but not exactly fit mountaineer, and it’s a challenge. Just looking up it at a couple other climbers near the top made me question if this was the point that I’d be turning around. It was a long way down (if I slipped), and a long way up. Virgil and I just got down to work and plugged away at it taking a few rests along the way to enjoy the view, and get our breath back at ~13,200ft elevation. We talked to one guy that decided he wasn’t making it beyond the trough as all he had was yak-trax / microspikes and hiking poles. Definitely a wise move as a guy fell a couple hundred feet the day before (Reportedly with no foot traction devices and only one hiking pole – No business being in that kind of environment!). We exchanged words then got on with business. At the top of the trough there’s a fairly large rock that needs to be navigated carefully. I got over it, took a seat on dry granite, and was in total awe at the view. For the previous hour we had been hiking up a couloir mostly shaded from the sun with a view behind us, but the view looking east at the top of the trough was amazing. Definitely one of those moments where I consider myself lucky to live in Colorado, and lucky to have the youth and fitness to get there.

Narrows
This section is basically a ledge along the east face of Longs that requires careful footwork. Nothing too crazy but not the place to be if you don’t like heights. It was just nice to get the damn crampons off and hike along horizontal rock!

Homestretch
At the end of the trough, the route turns left and heads up a steep section of granite, although on this day it was a mix of snow and ice. This is where the guy had fallen the day before and another point where I questioned if I was going to get up it. We had come this far, weather was perfect, and there was no good reason to turn back so we pressed on.

The homestretch
The homestretch in the distance and the two hikers that summited shortly before us.

Summit

Summit!
Summit!

5.5hours after leaving the trailhead parking lot and I was on the summit with Virgil arriving shortly after. Holy shit, we actually made it! Online reports claim that approx. 36,000 people attempt Longs annually; however, only 50% make it. Virgil had made a few previous attempts but had to abort for various reasons – mostly weather. I was pretty stoked to be on the summit at my first attempt and happy for Virgil to have made his summit also. The summit is about the size of two football fields and pancake flat, but with amazing 360deg views. We saw up there for a while, talked to a couple other guys that summited before us, signed the register, took some photos, and entertained a couple super friendly marmots. Some clouds started to form in the previously clear sky so we decided to head back down versus staying up there exposed to a potential thunderstorm.

Marmot!
Marmot!
Virgil getting his crampons off on the summit.
Virgil getting his crampons off on the summit.
~2,000ft drop down to Chasm Lake via the Diamond. Pass!
~2,000ft drop down to Chasm Lake via the Diamond. Pass!
Mountains, mountains, and more mountains!
Mountains, mountains, and more mountains!

Descent
I always remember that books and documentaries note that the descent is where shit usually goes wrong, so I made sure that we took our time on the technical sections. We weren’t out to break any records so it was better to get back to the car a little later than get airlifted out! By the end of the ledges I was pretty damn tired. By the keyhole there was some light hail and we could hear rain on the summit above us. The Boulderfield sucked about twice as much as expected it would with tired legs / brain. The rest of the hike out just felt like it took a bloody eternity. We joked with a few younger guys on the trail “Got any pizza? Beer?” and that got some laughs. I think we were 120% serious. I’d have destroyed a pizza! A little after 4pm and we were back at the car. A bit dehydrated, hungry, and sleepy. The drive home was miserable and I had to do a McD’s drive-by to get some much needed calories and caffeine.

DOMS
As previously mentioned, I’m a fit cyclist, but definitely not hiking fit. This was clearly evident by the DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) that reared it’s ugly head the following morning and lasted for about 3 days. Stairs were far from fun and the two large blisters on my heels were not enjoyable either. Regardless, it was all totally worth the experience. First 14’er by foot (I’ve done Mt Evans by bike and Pikes Peak by car), first use of crampons, first use of an ice axe… and I lived to tell the tale!

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.