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Thursday, January 28, 2010

10 Minutes is a Long Way.

I did my favorite 35 mile loop last night and after a day off Tuesday the urge to go hard got the best of me. A strong headwind greeted me when I made the turn onto Lyons Mill so it looked like it was going to be a hard going. At least a tailwind would help me the last few miles on the return I thought. Strong headwinds always make me think of the Netherlands in spring and how the real hard men of cycling never seem to complain. They just chew through it like snowplows through a drift. If you ever watched old footage of Eddy Merckx, or more recently, Tom Boonen, it's amazing how much time they will spend at the front pulling the Peloton in this weather. Its as if they are saying "I am the strongest here, try and hold my wheel if you can!" Class. I stayed in the drops almost the whole way with my head down, keeping a pretty good average speed and high cadence, but could definitely feel the burn.

Going hard on a familiar course is a pretty good indicator of fitness level, but it also is a cruel reminder of how far down from last summer's peak we are. Finishing 10 minutes off a normal fast ride for a 35 mile loop is an awfully long way. Greg LeMond had a great line for times like this. "It doesn't get easier, you just get faster." I'm not worried, faster will come in time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Whaddaya Do on Bad Days?

I had thoughts of going long yesterday since the weather was perfect and the week's riding mostly consisted of enduring the trainer watching The Tour Down Under. Anyway I got out on the road around noon in deep blue skies and relative warmth but I guess my legs wanted to stay home and sleep. The next 2.5 hours was rough going but I survived. I spent a lot of time trying to concentrate on my pedal stroke and noticed that the rpm's tend to go up when I'm focused on it.

Looks like crappy weather today so it'll be back on the trainer. Too bad The Tour Down Under is over.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Roads.

I found some new roads to ride over the weekend with some really great hills. The hills here in this part of Maryland aren't long, but they make up for it in steepness. I think the people who created them didn't even try to find a better way. They just go straight up and over. I'm looking forward to tackling them over and over in the coming months.

Pretty Good Stretch of Riding.

45, 60, 1h Trainer, 70, 35. That's the best 5 days of training I've had in quite awhile. I'm happy the weather is cooperating, knee is feeling good and I feel rested. No complaints here.

I hope everyone is listening to the Tour Down Under Coverage. Head over to cyclingfans.com and listen live!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some Days Just Feel Good.

Last night I went out for a two hour ride and by the time I hit the first hill I could tell right away it was going to be a good one. So I pushed the pace all the way to Butler Road to see if the feeling was real and sure enough my time to the old church was a full minute ahead of a normal "fast" ride and a good 5 minutes ahead of a slower ride. There are points along this route where I have some times memorized as rough estimates to how I'm doing. I know there's the wind direction, traffic, etc,... to take into account and a power meter would be a better judge, but I still think it's a good way to get a feel for a ride.

Bottom Line: When you're feeling good, take advantage of it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Riding Hard.

I went in to work extra early hoping to catch a few hours of daylight for an afternoon ride and that's just what I did. It all started out well enough. I stormed up over the St. Thomas hill and across the flats with ease, legs feeling fresh and light on the pedals, staying on top of my gears. It even felt kinda warm in the afternoon sun. The 18% grade at Piney Grove was slow going, winter legs after all, but for a couple hours this feeling continued. It was good to be on the road.

At Mantua I ran into an old riding buddy and we rode side by side all the way to the bottom of Caves Road Hill. We chatted about the racing season ahead, Lance, his Saturday morning coffee shop ride that regularly attracts 30-40 riders. Eventually, He turned left towards Baltimore and I went straight towards home. Then it hit me. This hill is only about 800 yards long, but it's kinda steep and after a few hours of softening up on all the previous hills, it sneaks up on you.

I looked down for another gear but there weren't any. I need to get a 25t (maybe a 27?) I thought to myself as I flailed away at the pedals. At the top and across the faux plat back towards St. Thomas it didn't seem to get any easier. I was bonking.

I struggled up over the last stabbing climb and turned the corner at the cemetery. The rest from there was easy. Coast down to Reisterstown Road and up the last small hills towards home. My bike is caked with a layer of salt from the road and now matches my white handlebar tape and saddle much better. It felt SO good to be back home and I can't wait til my next chance to bonk again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Season Begins.

Caught up with one of the guys on my club (Kelly Benefits) today through SMS to see how his riding is going and to possibly get out for a ride if this weather ever breaks. Sounds like he's spending time on the trainer like everyone else these days. He's one of the fast guys and is always great to ride with.

Riding: Did intervals on the trainer tonight then a core strength workout.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Toughest Time of the Year

While I was on the trainer tonight watching the 2008 Ronde de Vlaanderen it hit me how terrible training this time of year is. For me anyway. Whether it's doing intervals sweating my butt off or just hammering away in a mind-numbing 90+rpm spin, it never feels like much is really being accomplished.

Riding: 75 minutes on the trainer. I see on weather.com that global warming is going to kick in later this week with high 30's/low 40's temps. I'm really looking forward to that.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cleaning the Bike.

The bike was looking really crusty so after dinner my 7 year old Daughter and I set about cleaning it up and going over the few little functional issues it's been having the last couple weeks. Well after a good wash, tightening up some stretched cables, and minor derailleur adjustments it's ready to go again and looking almost new.

I'm not sure if she genuinely likes to wash the bike or just wants to spend some quality time with her Dad, but I'm not complaining either way!

Riding: I didn't ride the trainer tonight. Taking a day off after some hard intervals last night.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

My Morning Commute.

I get asked all the time what my morning commute is like. Well now I can just direct them to this blog for the following video.



It's pretty much exactly like that, except for there are no people along the street to give high fives to.

Cross Training?

I'm still amazed the genius of this product hasn't seen much market success yet. Maybe it was just ahead of it's time?





Come on! You know you want one.

Riding: Still camping out on the trainer, but planning on a lunch ride today.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Team Sky

Rupert Murdoch's Team Sky Launched the other day in London and it looks like a first class organization. From the understated Adidas kit (long shorts though?), the impressive roster, down to the Jaguar team cars it's gonna be a standout in the Peloton this year and beyond. Good Luck Mr Wiggins and team. Personally I think Bradley Wiggins had the best tour he'll ever have last year, but maybe he'll prove me wrong.

Riding: Still on the trainer every night and it's getting incredibly boring. The core strength workouts are going well though. It will be interesting to see if they do anything since I've never done them before this year.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year!

We had a nice visit from my Dad and Brother today. It was like Christmas all over again, but now I have about two cases of alcoholic Christmas presents to work my way through on top of all the regular holiday over-indulgences. Thanks Bros. Anyone out there who wants to help me drink some top shelf beers is welcome to stop by.

Riding: The year is starting kinda slow with the last couple days spent on the trainer. It's a long year ahead though so just gotta stick to the plan.