Can't Catch A Break

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Riding for fun

One irony that has not escaped my notice is that the more fitness I gain, the less I can enjoy the fruits of my labor. And by enjoy, I mean go on a non-competitive unstructured fun ride. You know, for fun. Well, yesterday, on labor day [ed: metaphorical "labor day"] I got to do just that.

A couple of years ago, I used to go on group rides almost weekly, but I was definitely riding over my head most of the time. Now that I'm fit enough to keep up with those guys, it is only fitting that I never have time to ride with them anymore. Not because I don't have time to ride at all, but I'm probably doing some specific intervals or racing or something.

The weather couldn't have been better. 70s and sunny with enough wind to make it interesting. I was out for a couple of hours. 35 miles. Hard enough to feel it when I got home, but not this morning. I smelled the roses. I waved at other riders. I stopped at a lemonade stand run by some industrious youths. They set up shop next to a prime cycling route through Verona. I'm sure they made a few bucks. I talked to farm animals.

And then I went to the Madison brat fest for a couple of "recovery brats".

And today it's another field test.


Friday, May 23, 2008

I guess I'll have to do something in real life.

I don't have any races this weekend. It's kind of disorienting. At least I have some field tests, so I don't totally forget how to suffer. Actually, I already did one of them today. 1 minute power is up, but probably still embarrassingly low compared to an average midwest cat 3 field. Progress is progress.

I guess I'm going to a play or something Sunday. And I'm going to get my drank on with my people tonight. Like right now. This must be what life is like for a civilian. Out. Doing things.

And it's a long weekend. Yes! And tomorrow, I'm doing an unstructured ride just for fun. It truly is a golden age.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Get Out

Yesterday, I had to do some intervals. Evidently I had taken leave of my senses, because my first thought was "What can I watch on TV while I'm doing them?" That's right. I was going to ride on the trainer. Indoors. Yesterday. Luckily, I returned to my senses before I actually set up the trainer.

So I did my favorite quick 20 mile loop. Yup. Still weak on 2 minutes.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Willy. Wheels. They are on it.

After the debacle yesterday called me trying to climb a hill, it was nice to be back on (relatively) flat land. Today was the Wheels on Willy criterium. I did the category 3 race. I think there were about 60 in the field. I rolled up in the back of the field.

The race got under way. I started moving up the pack. I wasn't feeling that great, but I didn't have any trouble moving up, especially when the pack got narrow out of corners. Brian Rach (I think) took an early solo flyer off the front for 5 laps or so. I think he took a couple of primes in the process. There were quite a few primes. There was a two place prime called that I was in excellent position for, but during the course of a single lap, I forgot about the prime, so I sat up. I believe I heard the announcer mention my awesome tactics.

Next time I was in a position to contest a prime, I made sure to remember. I took it by the throw. Thanks for the photo to JohnWilkes.

So, some more people tried to get away. No one could do it. Which is exactly how I like it. Breaks are cool and everything, but I just love sprints. Which is pretty much the opposite sentiment from anyone I've ever talked to who has an opinion on the subject.

Final lap: Everyone's together. I had good position until turn 1. I got squeezed out of position and lost position by turn 2. The next straight was fast, and I was able to move up the side to 10th or so. After turn 3, there was a mysterious slow-down and bunch-up. I was in the second row of a relatively slow four wide pack. By turn four, people started moving. I started in too high a gear, but I got on top of it. In the final straight, I think I took two or three places, to finish 7th. Money was 8 deep. Booya.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Denzer is delightful.

Today was the Denzer road race. I drove there via the Merrimac ferry. It was scenic. The windows were open.

But anyway, let me tell you how I suck at climbing. The cat 3 race consists of 4 laps off 11.5 miles including this hill. I warmed up with one lap It was windy. I felt ok. I saw Randy, another Endeavour dude who had just finished his race. Then it was racing time. I think it got even windier. It's about a mile from the start to the climb. All into the wind, but people were riding easy, anticipating the climb to come. So we hit the hill. For a while, I actually thought I was in good shape. A few hundred meters from the top, I lost contact with the group, as Randy was passing on his way home, observing my moment of weakness. More like day of weakness. Anyway, I got together with a couple other stragglers, and we caught the group in 5 miles or so.

I hung at the back until climb came around again. Basically, it was hard. And then I gave up. Arguably, it's because I'm saving up for Wheels on Willy tomorrow. How long could I have hung on? I'll never know. Well, I do know I couldn't have placed well in the race under any circumstances.

A nice flat crit will cheer me up.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bike to work

It's bike to work week here in cheese-land, so I'm biking to work this week. Just like every other week. This week though, they have snacks and stickers and raffles for commuting cyclists. Which is cool I guess. I'd rather they just fix the potholes though. But I'm not a hater. If this event gets people out on their bikes, then I'm for it. And I got a free orange out of it this morning.

I rode half the way to work with a guy with a stokemonkey electric assist. That was nice, because it gets lonely being the fastest person on earth sometimes. :)


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Muskego Park

Today I raced twice. Actually more like one and a half times. I did start two races though.

The first was the cat 3 race. My job was to mark this one dude. I did that for about the first 15 minutes. After that, I couldn't stay with him much. I was hurting. At the end, I didn't have any pop, and came across the line in the pack for 17th.

Then I did the 1/2/3 race. Or 30 minutes of it. The 3s race just took too much out of me.

On the bright side though, I navigated all the turns successfully. That's progress.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pain curves

An interesting phenomenon occurs when one sustains multiple injuries similar in severity. Different types of injuries have what I call different "pain curves". That is, physical sensation versus time. Some of them are sprinters, like the road rash was, quickly healing in a blaze of glory. Some of them are general all-arounders, like the wrist, gradually improving over weeks. And some of them are like RAAM riders, becoming totally unnoticeable when the other hotshots are around. But they're relentlessly steady, with no perceptible variation in pace over the weeks. That would be like my toe that the oxygen tank was dropped on. I could learn a thing or two about pacing from that thing.

If I didn't have several injuries healing simultaneously, I would feel like I was wasting the magical healing powers of youth. Heaven forbid.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

My weekend as a triathlete

My weekend as a triathlete is complete. I put in about 90 miles this weekend, most of it on aero bars. I even went for a ride today with a known Ironman tri-guy. It's been uncomfortable weekend. Physically. I'm comfortable enough with my roadie-ness that riding with triathletes doesn't bother me.

Anyway, I've come to realize that saddles can feel quite different with aero bars. The crappy Planet Bike saddle I have on my training/rain bike is displeasing to me in this capacity. It's way too squishy. Saddles should be hard. Like life. Cuts down on chafing.

Starting tomorrow, back to the unadulterated drops. My wrist can totally take it. I still have a sweet-ass bruise though.


Thursday, May 1, 2008


I did my 20 minute intervals today. I was a little worried about doing this one on aero bars because I can never seem to really get comfortable on them. In general, I "like" doing these types of workouts though, because it's easier to assess progress than with most others. As compared to my baseline maximal single 20 minute effort during the winter, my first 20 minutes was 3 watts greater. The second was 6 higher than the baseline. And that's a distinctly sub-maximal effort on aero bars. It's nice to have evidence that all the training is worth something.

In other news, my wrist is sufficiently recovered to support the weight of a Spotted Cow, purchased direct from the brewery.