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!

Hilton Staycation

Last week I had a few days of vacation from work then 2 days spent at my companies annual business meeting at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. The last night we stayed at the hotel and it was so good we decided to stay there for a second day. Between the meeting and hotel stay I didn’t get to train on Thu, Fri or Sat, which probably resulted in some much needed R&R. One of my sponsors it the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island but I hadn’t stayed at their Waikiki location until now.

Long overdue update

Wow, I guess the last time I did an update, Denver was cold (snow), and I was living in Denver. Fast forward a few months and I’ve moved down to Parker, it’s definitely not cold (Frequently reaches temps above 90F), and I’ve done a bit of racing among other things.

I went to Texas in mid May with non-race-ready legs to race the Matrix Cup at the Superdrome in Frisco. It was cool to go back there as that’s where I won my first two national champion medals/jerseys at Master nationals in 2010 (before the UCI decided to scrap the 30-34 age group). While my results weren’t anything worth writing about, it was good to get stuck into some racing, and come away from the weekend with lessons learned and all my skin intact. There were definitely a few close shaves and plenty potential for crashing.

Last weekend I headed down to Colorado Springs to race the US Grand Prix of Colorado. This year it was a UCI Class 1 event so I wanted to use it to bag as many UCI points as possible. The first event on Friday morning was the scratch rate and the field was plenty stacked… Tim Veldt (Silver medalist at track worlds earlier this year), various other riders with World Cup track racing experience, and some of the best riders in the US. The race went from good to bad pretty quick as I couldn’t breathe… I got lapped once, fought as hard as I could, but could only manage 16th out of 17 riders. Not great. I didn’t have any asthma medication with me so I ended up getting medical attention which was bloody nice. The medic was pretty shocked when she listened to my lungs with a stethoscope… After that I got my bike ready for the individual pursuit – an event I’ve been training pretty specifically for since last year. The first heat was Andrew Herzfeld, but he decided to scratch when the official deemed his extensions about an inch too long. So, instead of having 5mins to wrap up my prep, get my helmet and aeroshoes on etc., the officials decided it would be cool to start yelling at me to get to the start line. I had a mad scramble to get ready and was told I didn’t have time to put on my aero shoes. Jeez, thanks asshole! The same official that fucked my pursuit at nationals last year was playing the same BS. I chose to just ignore his stupidity and get to the line. I rode a 54×14 which was definitely adventurous, but managed to cover the 4km in 4min 56sec. Not blistering fast, but 10+ seconds faster than I’ve ever gone at COS. I’ll take it! That result got my 9th in the IP and put me in about 12th overall in the omnium. Again, not great, but that’s a good chunk of UCI points to hold onto!

After a long afternoon break, I was back at the track at 7pm for the evening session (Elimination Race). I lined up on the black line, and after a crappy push from my holder, scrambled to get onto the wheel of Tim Veldt. Seemed like a good wheel to follow! Lap after lap passed and I felt pretty good for once with rider after rider getting eliminated. Man, I might have finally got this elimination race figured out! Not so fast… I see my official buddy on the back straight pointing at the bunch calling a rider out. I pointed at myself and shouted “me”? to which I got a nod in response. I wasn’t aware of where I’d been eliminated, but dropped down the track a little baffled. After packing up my gear, the head official came over to me and told me that I was disqualified due to continuing for 3 laps after I was told to get off the track. Evidently there was a display of some sort track side with eliminated rider numbers on it… During the race I was trying to hold my position while a Trinidad rider was doing his best to push me down onto the apron so wasn’t exactly focusing on anything left of the track surface. After walking around and explaining what went down to my wife, I went back to talk to the official to make sure there was no problem with me racing the remaining events. That was not to be, I was told that it was a “harsh decision”, but my weekend of racing was over. I tried my best to explain myself to the official (Andy McCord) but he didn’t care to hear anything I had to say. Nice, great way to promote the sport. Weekend officially ruined along with a nice stack of UCI points gone along with it. Fuck. I should have gone to Japan to race like I originally planned.

Before the weekend of racing I taught myself Autodesk Illustrator so that I could design a rail mount for my SRM. I’ve seen all sorts of creative methods of attaching powercontrols to saddles etc. but none of them looked that great. Fast forward a week or so and I had a mount designed and the 3d print of the prototype arrived the day before the race in Colorado Springs. I got to test it out for a few events and it worked perfectly. After COS, I made some more refinements to the design and have revision 2 ordered. There’s been some solid interest in it from a few riders I know along with a 2x Olypian, so hopefully it’ll be whizzing around on the bikes of some fast folks before too long.

Spring Rollercoaster

Compared to the weather forecast in Hawaii (80F with a +/- fluctuation in temp of about 5 degrees), Colorado’s weather┬áis definitely more of a rollercoaster! It teases you with 70F temps and a cool breeze (perfect for training) on day, the follow that up with arctic conditions more suitable for huskies and a sled! Fortunately, the weather seems to have been playing ball around my training schedule (crap on Wed when I have an OFF day, and great on the weekends when I have longer rides.

Knock, knock, knock…

So… I knew it was inevitable… Yesterday morning my alarm went off at the usual 545am but I decided I’d roll the dice and try and get another 15min of shut-eye before hopefully not sleeping in for work. Shortly after 6am I hear a knock, knock, knock, knock, knock… at my door. I walked to the door not sure if someone was actually there, peeked through the door and saw a tall guy with two black bags. I opened the door, confirmed my name, was advised that my early morning wake up was courtesy of USADA, checked the DCO’s (Doping Control Officer) credentials, then let him enter.

My first ever anti-doping test was in Edinburgh, Scotland after a half assed 3rd place a the Scottish track championship for the Individual Pursuit. As my mum remembers clearly, that resulted in an approx. 4hr wait for me to provide a sample.

Roll on 10+ years and a win (Team Pursuit) at Elite Track Nats in 2013 and I was up for whiz quiz numero dos! It took over a decade, but I whittled my time down from 4hrs to about 3hrs. Almost missed out flight back to Colorado. Lots of free gatorade and water were consumed that day and my bladder almost exploded enroute to LAX.

On this occasion I managed to complete the whiz quiz in about 2hrs! Lots of talking with the DCO about all kinds of random stuff and some awkward time spend surfing the net in mostly silence while the DCO sat across the table from me. We did have some conversation and the DCO was actually really cool and friendly. It took two attemps but finally I managed to get the urine flowing, filled the cup, poured the A + B samples, signed various documents on the DCO’s iPad and boom, done!

Felt FC

It’s been at least 3 years since I had a road bike that was from the current model year with current components… As of yesterday, I now have a pretty sweet Felt FC to train on thanks to much appreciated support from Felt Bicycles and Shimano. The switch from Dura-Ace 7900 to 9000 is night and day. I couldn’t go all out for Di2, but the mechanical is more than ample for my needs. I scored some DT Swiss rims online, got some DT Swiss spokes from my friend that runs Beehive Bicycles in SLC, Utah, and built them up one night. Well, more like 2-3 nights thanks to the difficulties of trying to build a wheel in peace while a toddler who LOVES things that spin (wheels, pedals, cranks) wanted to get involved in the process. The only thing I imagine being worse would be gluing on tubular tires with multiple cats in the same room.

When I first got the Felt FC frameset I had a momentary freakout when I saw a Di2 sticker on it and a lack of cable guides. However, I soon realized that they frame works for mechanical when you install cable guides that come with it! It also has a BB30 bottom bracket but thanks to some FSA reducers I’m able to run my Dura-Ace SRM with it’s 24mm spindle. Phew! For a lower end frame in the Felt range I’m impressed attention to detail and qualify of finish. It would have been nice to have a lighter higher end model like the AR, but as my focus is on track, this fits my needs for a training bike that may see some occasional road race action.


Colorado’s weather is definitely not Hawaii weather! Back in the 808, you could write the weather forecast for one day, then copy and past it 365 times… Chances are you’d be right about 90% of the time. In contrast, Colorado can give change from summer to winter within an hour! I had a few shorts + t-shirt days last week… Well, OK, that might have been pushing things a little… but Saturday was bloody cold and a 2hr ride was about all I cared to do. Sunday was a couple degrees warmer which makes things slightly more bearable so I clocked 3hrs in the saddle. Not an ideal amount of hours of training over the weekend but any time not spent on a trainer indoors (wanting to claw my skin off thanks to winter itch) is a bonus!

No winter fluff!

After a few weeks of ploughing (literally, thanks to a Snowy Dec / Jan) through the holiday period while avoiding the scales, I finally weighed myself and was surprised to see that I’m in way better shape than I was this time last year. Better to be ahead of the game than being a few steps back from where you would like to be. There are stills months of hard work ahead before I start hitting important races, but until then it’s a case of spending time on the bike or in the gym. To fit in gym time at 24hr fitness I have to wake up at 445am to access the equipment that I need. Not ideal, but it’s good to get my gym workouts done before my day has really started.

Elite Turbo Muin

I’ve been searching for a direct-drive trainer for a while… The best thing out there to-date is supposedly the BT-Advanced Training System. Noisy, but delivers a punishing workout from what I’ve heard. Until I live in a house with my own garage and no neighbors attached, I need to have a quiet means of training. Seems like the Italian folks at Elite may have come up with the solution – The Elite Turbo Muin. Direct drive fluid trainer and supposedly so quiet you can probably hear your neighbors eating their dinner. Thanks to Bob at ProNet and Rudy at Oschner, I was put in contact with City Velo in Denver who have one of these (hopefully magical) trainers on its way to me. With some luck I should have it before Christmas. ┬áIf it lives up to the hype and allows me to do brutal workouts, I’m sure I’ll be cussing it out in no time! I’ll post more photos and a review once I’ve got it and churned out some miles.