Thursday, September 20, 2007

critical mass

Critical mass has been reached. My legs no longer itch. My stubby hair no longer gets caught on pant legs (altho corduroy is still more comfortable than jean, and flannel lined carharts are best of all).

It has been about 3 1/2 years since I have been this hairy. There were a few times when it seemed like a good idea to let it go, and I made a valiant attempt, but 5 days in to the regrowth the itching would start, and by day 7 or 8 I could no longer stand pulling on pants. Weakness overcame me. I gave in.

But no more. Critical mass has been reached at last. The poking, itching, scratching has given way to soft, gentle fuzz. My skin is now cushioned from clothing and insulated from the elements. For the first time since early '04, I have felt the wind against my legs while riding my bike. It was a gentle breeze.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

'cross time at last

The best time of year is here: September. Not only do I get to forget about turning a year older, but I get to pull out the best bike of the fleet and race on dirt in some warmish weather.

No computer, no powermeter, no tactics, no expectations, no nothing. Bike racing at it's best: strictly for fun.

Tuesday opened up the cross season with the Harlow short CX series - a twisty course with lots of loose pea-gravel, deep dust, some fast barriers, hard packed dirt, and ruts. I rode the whole thing in the drops, trying to remind myself to relax my death grip on the bars and I got kicked, bounced, and slid all over the course. Owch. With a nice 40' ride out there and back, plus some random riding around and cooling down, I got in a 2 1/2 hr ride. Not bad for a week day.

Saturday I made the drive to Portland with the woman for some "dirt crit" action. Running as a cross race, billed as a semi-criterium, Kruger's Kermesse involved a 1.6mile course essentially set up as two squares joining at a corner, which located the pit, the whole thing on a slope so there were some good gradual uphill drags and one fast descent to a left turn on to grass before the finish. I pulled up the the back of the pack for the start, which was both a blessing and a total curse. We started up a stretch of hardpack dirt and gravel road, then took a right turn onto a stretch of rutted dirt farm road that blew up such a cloud of dust that I litterally couldn't see the wheel in front of me, much less the ground. I ended up in some tilled up dirt of a field, off the road, and off the back. The section wasn't technical, and pretty fast if you could actually see where you were going. So I was about 50 yards behind the pack from the gun. That was the bad news. The good news was, I could now see where I was going.

So, I put the hammer down. And kept it down. A lap later I was in the pack quarter of the strung out pack. I kept it in the red for the first 4 laps, by which time I figured I was back up to about the middle, maybe a little behind. At this point I throttled back to merely 'hard' to avoid blowing up in the 45min race, and started really picking my way through guys who had started a bit too hard. With 20 min to go I was lapping more C riders who started behind us than catching B riders. With 15 min to go, everyone I could see in front of my was a C. I figured the B leaders had gotten a train going early and were gone, but I stood a good chance of actually having moved up to a respectable position. Two B riders that I caught on the last 2 laps stuck with my wheel but going into the bell I put the hammer down again and managed to drop one of them. The second came around me in the second to last turn and I pulled by him in the finishing stretch.

So I guess that I passed everyone I could pass, considering a small group of guys were motored off the front after the first lap and I was chasing the back. Could be worse. Actual finish? 7th. Passed 36 riders in the B's, lapped about 40 C's. Total chaos on the dirt. And a hell of a good time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Threshold: 370W
VO2 peak: 70.0ml/kg/min

I signed up for a physiology study at the U of O. After they turned up the ramp test to 490W I put my head down and got a lungful of my own spit from the mask. That pulled the plug on the test. Max? Donno. It couldn't have been far away. With the rules of keeping cadence between 60 and 80 and not standing, it made it interesting.

Let's see... if I loose 10lbs, I'm on par with the pro's... only I don't have 10lbs to loose... so it goes. If I lost the 10, I'd lose 30W or more. Damn genetics.