Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lots of Carbs

Piece of Cake, not so much. Wind, rain, and a not-really-completely-flat course awaited us in Amity. Matt, BVB and I were late thanks to the Google, and basically just kitted up and lined up, Matt and I representing for bicycleway in the 1/2s. I wasn't at the front anyways (Matt was) and I missed my clip-in, finding myself on the back on little roads with no shoulder and raging wind. Once we turned onto the course everything instantly blew up. It went ballistic. I looked up and saw carnage all over the road ahead. Not only were we going mad fast in the tailwind/crosswind alternations, but the field and just shattered into medium and little groups with individuals being spat out the back of every one of them. Bad, bad thing to see from where I was. I thought I could see Matt at the sharp end though, so that was nice.

For the next 20min or so I fought, clawed, and brawled my way from group to group and man to man, working with some while they had the gas and jumping them when they slowed, to get up to the next group. Went straight by plenty of them. Traded turns with a couple of similarly minded guys until Team O's Jim and I finally fought back to the 2nd group on the road. At this point, I saw the little "break" of 7-8 up ahead and Matt was definitely in it. The 2nd group wasn't working so well, but when they did I passed on the pulls as there looked like a chance some of the stronger guys might bring back the front group if the leaders messed around, which would not have been good. But I needn't have worried, and a few miles later, on maybe the 2nd or 3rd lap (kind of groggy) the two HPC guys Donald and AC (2 teammates up the road) , followed by a Rubicon (3 up the road), AT, rolled off our group and right before the tail wind section, when they had 60m or so, I bridged up and we pinned it. We lost AT somehow, plus the rest of the group, and the three of us rolled around and found ourselves completely alone. Donald drove it hard. AC eventually fell apart but had a huge gap to do the last lap solo, and Donald and I rolled in. I picked up a check for 9th. Matt, though, took 4th - quite a payday, too.

2,850kJ work done on the ride, and it turns out I did the whole thing on 1 bottle of water and no food. Oops, not the plan. But since I felt fine the whole time, I would say that my pre-race eating plans seem to be working. And those really just revolve around oatmeal.

Getting bored of my usual weekend ride / pre-race meal of regular oatmeal with maple syrup, I made up some wheat-free low fat vegan breakfast biscuits yesterday and put them down with jam on our way to the race. Major success. There's another batch in the kitchen right now, warm and tasty and waiting for some jam:

3 tablespoons flax seed meal beaten into 3 tablespoons water until sticky (because rice flour has no gluten to stick it all together)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy milk + 1 capful apple cider vinegar (this substitutes for buttermilk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (oh yeah tasty)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
mix it all up. then mix in:
2 cups regular oats
1 cup rice flour with 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder dumped on top

Spoon out onto a non-stick baking sheet about 8-10 biscuits, and bake at 350F for 20-22min or until they just start to brown. eat warm or cold, with jam or plain, or whatever suits your fancy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring break, fail.

Last Friday I woke up sick. Raced on Saturday at the UO collegiate road race anyways, because the weather was wonderful and I held off the worst of it for a little while, and I pulled off 3rd in the 65 miles of rolling course around Elmira - Warthen, Sheffler, etc. The men's A race had maybe 30 guys and 9 of them were from UW - so it was a bit craptastic trying to get a result but so it goes.

Sunday I spent on the couch. The whole day. Bam. Hello virus, let's spend some cozy time together. You bring the ugly, I bring the blankets.

I slowly rode the fixed gears across town a couple of times, with near disastrous results, early in the week. But when it's spring break and sunny and all thoughts of actual vacation related activities (really long rides, daytrips to the coast, random Portland activities, riding in Bend) have all evaporated, then you gotta try something.

Of course, the first day I felt remotely like riding, yesterday, saw the wonderful sunshine turn to lousy rain and wind. A couple of the UO "A" riders and I did some team time trial practice and while it was productive, TTT riding in wind and rain kind of sucks.

Today was finally almost normal. Wake up, drink tea, clear out the nose and throat, drink more tea, watch the rain, drink coffee, google stuff, drink more tea. Find the DeFeet wool kit and the Showers Pass Protec jacket. Make sure the Flaming Lips and Fleetwood Mac are on the iPod. Roll out.

When it's crappy out and I need to fall into a rhythm and tap out a few hours, the best thing to do is to just go and start climbing the various southern hills. Up and down, click into whatever gear matches the required effort and start turning. Click, click, stand on the pedals, sit down, click, click, click. Over the top, spin out down and find another one. Click, click, click. At some point, time stops mattering, and I just ride. Up into the cookie-cutter developments and all the little crests and points and peaks into the clouds and then after a couple of hours, I stop right below the cloud level, look down and feel alright.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And the season starts now.

Yes, with the Daylight Saving Time change last weekend, we now have sufficient daylight to run the traditional Thursday Nighter ride. It's a ~26 mile course that has a a couple of short climbs, wind, rollers, and a long flat finishing straight. It's the weekly slugfest for bragging rights, an event duplicated in countless other cities and regions to various scales, but never contested any less furiously. Some riders show up with hours already in their legs, looking to top off with some speed, others show up rested and determined to make the break, and others still just hope to hang on over Welder's Hill in the first few miles. When the chips are down, no-one is just out for an evening ride.

View Eugene Thursday Nighter in a larger map

The Thursday Nighter epitomizes why I ride my bike. No race officials, no lead car, no feed zone, no neutral wheel support. No rules but common sense and courtesy - the unwritten rules of fast group rides. Success is measured on individual goals that may or may not include crossing the finish line first.

No-one is ambivalent about the Thursday Nighter.

Rolling down to the church last Thursday was like going home after a long road trip. Settling into a comfortable routine, seeing the regulars who may not have been out on weekend CSC rides but whom you can count on to be on the road on Thursdays. Rolling out Lorane, hitting the first rollers, the familiar pedaling styles of the regulars, new faces, and the racing season in Eugene has finally begun.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Made the break this time, at last. Sort of started it, too, which had me grinning.

We were doing 7 laps clockwise around Hagg lake this time, which is the direction with a fast descent to a right off-camber turn onto a dam, and a kicker climb maybe 4k from the line. My legs felt fine in the morning but once we got going I felt like complete crud all day, though, probably a hold-over from a 4.5hr ride Friday in which I rode up and down Fox Hollow all afternoon, and got rained, sleeted, and snowed on. I stayed out because my core was warm - but it might not have been that smart after all.

Anyways, Banana Belt #3: by lap 5 of 7 I had followed wheels near the front all day and was pretty convinced that it was going to stay together for a bunch kick to the line, which is never fun for me. So on the dam on lap 5, which was maybe 7-8k from the line and with around 40-42k left to race, I came off of being third wheel and hit it into the wind. The group had started to show signs of being a little tired and since we were strung out from the gentle climb up and the descent down to the dam, plus on the straightaway there it's actually a bit tricky to see what is going on up front, it seemed like a reasonable thing to try. Also, everyone always attacks on hills, so why not try something else? Well, it worked. I went about as hard as I could, and was away with a tiny gap all the way across and got joined by two of the strongest guys in the peloton in Donald and Ryan as we past the next boat ramp, and voila, le break du jour was formed. The turbos came out and by the time we passed that same ramp again 11 miles later, the lead car pulled over and told us we had 2:10 on the field.

2:10 meant we were putting a minute on the pack every 5 miles. Holy crap. It was full throttle, and I was feeling pretty outclassed and starting to crack with a lap to go. Ryan, winner at Sublimity, pressed a lot of the rollers and Donald, Mr. Big-motor-big-legs-big-sprint, looked like he could do that crap all day as we more than doubled the lead again in the next lap. Well, I couldn't do that crap much longer and completely cracked for good on the last hill before the finish. But it didn't matter, the gap was so big (I think I heard it was over 5 minutes - we motored like mad) I could have ridden to the line in my 39t ring and still gotten 3rd. I tried to keep pressing for what it was worth to the line, because I'm paranoid like that, and watched the sprint go down from a handful of seconds back.

For feeling like junk and riding with two of the strongest guys around, I'll take it. If I had been in top form I probably would have finished the same.

So that's it for OBRA racing for me for a couple of weeks. Next weekend is the UO road race on our home course in Veneta, followed by Western Washington U in Bellingham, and then I'll get back to it with Kings Valley, the Ice Breaker Crit, and whatever else is to be done.

And of course... the time changed this weekend. Which means that the Thursday Nighter is ON. Heck Yeah.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


A 21hr week capped off with BB#2, a race series I haven't done since 2007. 6 laps around Hagg lake, a pretty long drive from Eugene to Forest Grove.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, since it was due to way fun times) I'd also had a week of late nights and a general lack of sleep, although riding and recovering was really not a problem, when the 5am alarm sounded and I went to pick up Graham for the drive up, I immediately wondered why this whole thing sounded like such a good idea earlier in the week.

Feeling good, I rode aggressively in the first four of six laps, which merely resulted in my missing the 5 man break of the day that actually stuck. There were some times when I got off with the right people and thought it would go the distance, but no, that failed to happen. Someday the lesson will be learned: don't play too hard while everyone else is fresh also, and pick the moves that have strong guys who haven't also been attacking all day.

Starting the last lap, on the way up the 200m finishing hill, I kicked it a bit and got a gap, taking only Steven from Kirkland with me. We pushed it hard and barely managed to snap the elastic after 5k, when we noticed a group of 5 coming up to us. Steven and I backed off on the climb up the dam and then we had company, and we started to hit it. With maybe 7-8k to go we started to see the pack behind us again and it was a bit of a battle to keep the pace high. I rolled through hard every time we slowed down, worried about being caught and spat out the back. At 2k to go Steven and I rolled away from the others and we went to the line, where I took "best of the rest". The remainder of the hail-mary 2nd breakaway got swarmed on the line.

After a longish break for lunch I did another 2 laps backwards to watch Graham finish. Since I didn't get photos of anything interesting all day, here's the cat 5 men's finish video:

shot in high-res but put into low quality for the web - changed formats a little bit things may be funky.