Monday, June 28, 2010

70 miles of glory...

Then, 11 miles of hanging on, and 19 miles of dragging to finish.

The early break went at the gun. I was in it. Kennett, Reeb and I took off, were joined by 9 more after a half lap, but then it got all weird and people were sitting in, not working, etc etc. Maybe 5 guys were consistently turning. On the second time through the feedzone four of us just rolled off... and we ended up out there for 70 miles, 4 1/2 laps, pushing and pushing and baking in the sun. Like I said to my very surprised support crew (i.e. family and lady) in the feedzone on the first lap - "why the hell not?". I went to Nationals and raced my bike ... and it was awesome.

The race, in images:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Elite Nationals Week

In the spirit of racing 100 miles around the Aubrey Butte course in Bend and getting my arse handed to me Sunday, I concluded a 23hr, 604km training week that involved the season's first McKenzie Pass with Dad (not a hard day, but a long one), four days of 4+hrs in a row, close to 20,000 ft of climbing, an "off" day working and visiting in Portland, and of course getting soaking wet in ridiculous late-June rain at the start of a long ride on three occasions.

The human body is a strange machine. Mine responds really well to volume, when I have the time to do it. My longest week in the last month - maybe more - was 15 1/2hrs. Add half-again as much and I am flying at the end of it. During Sunday's ride, wrapping up my biggest week since spring break, I still managed a solid 20min TT effort (in full rain gear) in the aero bars kicking along at my best-ever Coburg TT power but 10bpm lower HR - and the legs felt good. It's coming around.

Wednesday I took off for the east side of the hills with bikes, camping gear, and a very rough gameplan for hitting up Nationals and enjoying the hell out of Bend. After a good night's sleep in an actual bed, thanks to some generous parents of a friend of a very nice lady, I went on over and got my butt kicked against the best amateur TT'ers in the country on the Skyliner++ course - 12k from the start to the turn on Skyliner, 56x11 style descent, then a 10k lollipop loop on a hard rolling course that killed me. Starting first in the Elite Men's group, I opened the steady state motor and did a strong climb and descent but suffered like a dog trying to punch those rolling climbs and keep speed down the back sides. Fun stuff.

Thursday night we drove out Hwy 242 and camped under the stars with a big-ass campfire and wicked good campfire pasta - garlic, salami, tomato sauce, whole wheal spaghetti. And a bottle of wine. Can't beat it.

Friday morning, back up the pass - from the snow gate. In the sun. loosened up the legs and grinned the whole way up.

Friday night I avoided the mayhem of the Elite crits downtown and instead sat in the grass reading my Michener and watching the NWX crit - a great race since they make a real block party of it and there's a good crowd that you can really work and put on a show for. Feeling good, I decided to do the 8pm 1/2 race since it was a small group and a nice course, I could make it what I wanted and not blow my legs up but keep them fresh. I rode up to the break, took 3 of 5 primes in the race (first went to a 2man break early, last went to the pack), and just drove the break most of the race since Broadband had 3 guys in it who were determined not to do anything, Sagebrush had 2 and only 1 working, and I would always rather drive it than get caught. I turned the screws, had fun, and came out ahead on the day (money back, massage, beer and pint glasses - love small local races). The finale was predicable, but I got the announcers and the crowd going by playing the showman, taking primes, and generally riding aggressively. That's always fun.

One more day to sit in a coffee shop, watch the US-Ghana game with Lenny later this morning, ride a loop of the Road Race course, then line up and get my butt kicked by the Elite Men, the real Cat 1's in this country, around a tough hilly course. But I should get a pretty good tan.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Off, Monkey, Off

And USA Cycling approved the upgrade today. HUGE sigh of relief. Followed by immediate ordering of a new race license, and registration for Elite Nationals in Bend.

Cat 5 to Cat 1, before I turned 30, with 3 actual years of good training (2007 after I quit coaching until now). That feels good. So good.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And then it left again

The Tuesday Night Crit, for the second week in a row, turned into a soaking wet ride. This week some 31 guys showed up in the 1/2/3 training race and we went 44kmph for 50min in pouring rain under black skies. It was windy enough that on the headwind stretch I was seeing 400W get me 39-40kmph and nothing stuck for all that long. McK and I had a nice go of it for maybe 1/4 of the race.

Wednesday was looking promising in the morning and the ride to and from campus was warm, humid, and generally promising for a dry ride. So, of course, I procrastinated - and while the TT bike and I rode 5 minute intervals up and down Fir Butte, the wind kicking around from all sides like a gang of pre-schoolers in a group tantrum, the western sky turned completely white. It was one of those walls of water that comes down in fine, dense drops, penetrating every seam and crack in the raingear. A literal wall of water. I watched it approach over the course of an hour or so, each time I completed an interval I debated running from the storm to go finish on the home trainer, and each time I decided "No, I'm still OK". And I was still OK all the way through - until of course suddenly I wasn't.

Starting the last interval, headed south, the big car-wash in the sky opened up and before I had finished the 5 min rain had snuck under the collar of my jacket and by the time I got back to the end of the Amazon bike path - not more than three miles away - every item of clothing was waterlogged.

So, for the second day in a row, I got home and stood in front of the washing machine in my garage, stripping naked to throw 20lbs of soaking wet apparel into the "delicates" cycle.

This Is Not OK.

It's June. I know the rain is "warm". But there shouldn't be any rain to begin with. This is our three months of glorious dry warmth, being eaten away by more penetrating precipitation than we see on any given day in January. It is almost summer. Sunshine is not liquid, and if this crap doesn't stop I am seriously tempted to hang up the wheels until it does, because I am done.