Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Training Week -- 3/22 - 3/28

A bit unconventional...

Mon: 0
Tue: 4 hrs; Hills! Gib-ECC-Stagecoach-WCC-OSM, tempo
Wed: 0
Thu: 1 hr; OSM, 16:11, windy
Fri: 0
Sat: 12 hrs; Ben's BDay ride, 209 miles, 12+ kft climbing
Sun: 3 hrs; hike w/ a bit of running

Total: 20 hours


- I'm going to account for all exercise hours from now on, not just riding time. When you're young and improving in cycling, you can justify focusing all your physical activity toward the bike. That's not me. I want more variety now, including on the bike. Last weekend was awesome, with an extreme ride and a strenuous hike. Were those optimal training sessions for a bike race? Certainly not. Was it the most fun physically-active weekend I've had in a long time? Definitely. Will bike racing suffer? Perhaps, but there are inspirational examples out there: Chris DeMarchi competing in ironman triathlons and being a successful bike racer still, and Todd Booth being a fast runner and competitive MTB'er.

- Wexie took some pictures of Ben's Bday ride and also wrote a ride report.

- I'd hoped to race Clobberopolis next Saturday when in NorCal for our whirlwind college tours, but it conflicts with a scholarship interview in the Bay Area. Too bad... if there was ever a race that last weekend's training was appropriate for, it's Copperopolis!

Friday, March 26, 2010

From Carissa re Rick

Info about memorial and remembrances:
On Sunday there will be a paddle out type of ceremony at santa clause beach @10 am for Rick Gill. As we all know, if he was out riding on a Sunday, he would have ridden with the Sunday group. Therefore, please join us at the Bath House at the normal Sunday World's time (9:05) and ride out with us to Santa Clause Lane ...for Rick's memorial service. I was thinking it would be cool to show up as a group in our bright colored cycling clothing to honor him, and in support of his family. He was involved in so many different sports and groups, but he always made our rides fun when he came out. So lets show him how grateful we were for all his love and laughter.

Noon is a bbq/potluck at Lions Park Carpinteria. Please bring a side dish. outside alcohol is not permitted in the Lions park, instead they sell drinks! There will be a time after lunch when we all can share fond, funny and touching stories of Rick!

**For those who want to stay for the barbeque afterwards, or if your family is driving out, just give them your clothes and have them meet you out there. It would really great to have as many people as possible show up and join us for for the ride.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rick Gill 1954 - 2010

I cannot think of anybody I've ever ridden with who had a more upbeat demeanor than Rick Gill. For sure he looked an intimidating presence with that big body and tough-guy mustache, but he instantly put people at ease with his smile and constant jokes.

Of the many Rick Gill legends, one will stick with me forever because it pretty much characterizes him perfectly. I wasn't on this particular ride, so forgive me if the details are slightly off. Seems Rick was riding along Cabrillo Blvd when he waved enthusiastically at another cyclist riding the other direction. The other rider ignored him. Rick quickly made a u-turn and chased the rider down to inform him that here in Santa Barbara, "we wave at each other, brutha ...next time you wave back, ok!?" Probably gave him a big bear hug too.

Wave to each other. It's what Rick would have wanted.

Training Week -- 3/15 - 3/21


Mon: 0
Tue: 1 hr; lunchtime hammer
Wed: 1 hr; part of Hope Ranch suffervals
Thu: 1 hr; OSM, tempo
Fri: 2 hr; SDSR tt & post ride
Sat: 2 hr; SDSR road race
Sun: 1 hr; SDSR crit

Total: 8 hours

- Pretty depressed about my performance at SDSR this year. TT was my slowest ever on that course, and it was hard to hold wheels at times in the rr and crit. After taking most of last year off and being a little burnt, I thought it might be more enjoyable this year to simplify, i.e., no indoor riding, no structured intervals, and not even a bike computer. Maybe that wasn't such a good plan.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ronde de Solvang Century Race/Ride Report

I am quickly becoming a true Fred, and honestly, I'm OK with that. I fully expect that someday in the not-so-distant future I'll be sporting a neon-green wind breaker and a helmet mirror while riding along the bike path at 13 mph. Actually, I'm pretty accomplished at that last part already.

That brief preamble is just setting the stage for tonight's confession:
(1) I rode the Solvang Century on Saturday.
(2) I rested all week for it.
(3) I used my race wheels.
(4) The rest of this blog post is a ride report.

Saturday dawned clear and crisp, but a fast-moving storm the night before left behind some extremely strong and gusty winds. All thoughts of breaking the four-hour mark blew out the window. Too bad, because our group certainly had the horsepower to pull it off in better conditions. I wish I'd been able to take some pictures, but this ride is way too hectic and fast to be fumbling around with a camera. Instead, I'll adopt the _gavia_ methodology of photojournalism....

As per tradition, a very large group (60-70?) of SB and SYV riders rolled out from the Bulldog Cafe at precisely 8:00, and we immediately rev'ed up to 25 mph and began the chaos of riding through hordes of century riders on all manner of bike and bent. Some of them try to jump in with us, which is usually pretty awkward. Most recreational riders don't understand the subtleties of riding fast in a group. I cringed when I saw one of them nearly take down Kim Anderson. Fortunately, 25 mph ensures nobody ever stays too long. We made it to Lompoc intact and we'd only used up an hour of clock. The early effort and the wind took its toll though, and our group was cut roughly in half.

Between Lompoc and Vandenburg AFB, the wind got really nasty, blowing in off the ocean to our left. Surely this was a good proxy for the wind-swept spring races in Belgium and Holland. Normally in the Ronde de Solvang, a good strategy is to hide 20 riders back in the group and save energy for the 3rd and 4th hours. However, facing a wicked side-wind like Saturday, that strategy is a sure way to get dropped. With the lead rider out along the centerline, there's enough room for only six or seven riders in an echelon across the road. Everyone else behind is in the gutter and facing a good bit more wind. That phenomena cracked quite a few riders on the way to Santa Maria.

We rode into the third hour with a group of 15 or so, mostly Platinum, along with Randy T. and Karl W., and of course our major engines Aaron Olson and Kim Anderson. The civilian century riders were now few and far between, and our group rotated crisply and efficiently on the open farm roads. Sadly we found ourselves caught in a strange SB-county vortex, meaning that somehow we were STILL facing headwinds despite having ridden more than half-way around the 100 mile loop. Clearly we were not going to recoup the earlier time losses.

The wind was finally at our backs when we made the turn toward Solvang along Foxen Canyon. That was both a blessing and a curse. It sure felt good to go fast again, but a tailwind also means you get less benefit from drafting and it really hurts when the front rider pushes hard. After the first few rises, we were down to The Solvang Seven: Aaron and Kim, Ben the Hammer, Gary "Guns" D'Velo, M-Dubb, Me, and the defending Solvang chump Chesterini.

Very little talking in our intimate little group, and at first everyone was loathe to skip a pull. We were a band of brothers ...and a sister... and Foxen Canyon was our battlefield. Chester was the first casualty, which meant that 2010 would crown a new chump champ. After a few more miles Matt began sitting on. Naturally that energized Ben, whose pulls became a bit more spirited. Then at about mile 80, Kim finally skipped a pull and began sitting on. As an aside... for any readers out there who doubt the toughness of top-shelf women bike racers like Kim Anderson, I suggest you ride 100 miles in 20 mph wind with one of them. Kim outlasted some very good Cat 1 and 2 male bike racers!

The tension was high as we approached the big hill on Foxen. We all knew that's where the first salvos would be fired. Sure enough Ben attacked immediately at the base, finally breaking the uneasy truce we'd maintained for the previous 3.5 hours. He got a good gap as we all reeled from the shock wave. Gary, Matt, and I deferred to Aaron (wouldn't you?) and half way up he loaded up his big ring and powered up to Ben with the three of us groveling on his wheel. Kim was the only casualty of this first skirmish. We flew down the descent and I spun out my 12. A fast left turn for the second big hill, and right on cue Ben attacked again. Once more, Aaron took off after him in the big meat, but this time we didn't hold on. Aaron dispatched Ben and went over the top solo, with only 10 miles between himself and a glorious victory in Solvang. Meanwhile, us four Platinum grunts regrouped and began a frantic and furious pursuit to close down the 30 second gap. We got waved across hwy 154 by the nice CHP officers, and of course Ben attacked again on the final hill out of Los Olivos. Dissension in the ranks!?! Or maybe his goal was simply to dispense with Matt, and that's precisely what he did.

So for the final 8-mile stretch along Ballard Canyon, three of us chased Aaron who we could see up in the distance. I swear we averaged 35 mph the entire way but we barely made a dent in his gap. Surely he was having flashbacks of flying along that stretch of road in the Tour of California Solvang TT. Gary and I punched it on the final hill outside of town, in a desperate final bid for victory but it was too little, too late.

After pulling by far more than anybody else, and riding the final ten miles solo at 30+ mph, Aaron left no doubt who the 2010 Ronde de Solvang champion should be! I'm quite sure that his prestigious victory Saturday ranks right up there with his successful completion of the Giro d' Italia when riding for T-Mobile.

Final times:
AO -- 4:18
Gary & Me -- 4:18:30
The Hammer -- 4:20'ish
Matt -- 4:23'ish
Kim -- 4:25'ish

[add/edit next day]...and just to be clear, I don't mean to disparage people named Fred, helmet mirrors, and/or civilian century riders. I often think recreation cycling is healthier both physically and mentally than what most of us wannabe-pretender-pro-bikers do. As an old boss of mine was fond of saying to his sons and his younger cohorts, "What you see is what you'll be." If that means I'll be an older person who still gets out and rides a bike on centuries or whatever, well, I think that will be just great.

Training Week -- 3/8 - 3/14

Pretty tired going into the week so decided M-F would be relatively easy. The weekend more than made up for it though. Legs are thrashed. Recover by next Friday for Glendora Mtn TT? Extremely good Masters fields in both 35+ and 45+. First real test of 2010.

Mon: 0
Tue: 1 hr; lunchtime hammerhell ...how do people do it w/o warm-up?!
Wed: 1 hr; OSM & 1/2 154, rain started so went home
Thu: 1 hr; OSM, 15:25
Fri: 0
Sat: 4.5 hrs; Ronde de Solvang, 100 miles in 4:18 (non-stop)
Sun: 3.5 hrs; Worlds, rode hard through goob & bates

Total: 11 hours

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Island View Crit P/1/2/3

I'm pretty sure you cannot view the islands from Research Park, and I doubt you can even see the ocean... But you could definitely see a sea of Platinum jerseys in the P/1/2/3 race on Saturday afternoon. Now usually we're spread over many different age groups and categories, but this was a rare opportunity for a bunch of us to race together since there weren't any Masters or separate cat-3 races.

This wasn't exactly anybody's "A" race and nobody felt any real pressure, so we didn't make any complicated plans in our pre-race meeting. Instead we decided to just keep throwing people off the front with the rest keeping control of the main group behind. All the big hitters were up at MERCO so that plan should be pretty straight forward. Our field was only 50 riders, mostly all solo guys other than multiple LaGrangians and StumpGrinders.

...and basically things went according to plan. There was almost always a move off the front and it always had at least one Platinum rider represented.

Adrian was very active as usual.

Zach and I tried our hand. (I don't think he gets much draft from me!)

Cookie worked with CWalk in a number of moves.

Meanwhile, multiple Platinum riders always had control of the group.

Eventually Gary got clear with another rider, and soon Adrian bridged up with four more. Their lead built up to 20-25 seconds thanks to big pulls from Adrian and CWalk. In the end, the LaGrange rider uncorked a speedy sprint for the win and Gary took 2nd. Adrian dropped off and rolled in 7th after a hard day's work, and Cookie and I rounded out the top-10.

Results. Click to see larger version.

Chilly temps and spitting rain didn't stop a few hardcore Platinum fans from showing up to heckle... err, cheer us on. Thanks guys!

And finally, thanks again to the UCSB team for promoting a nice race. Those are some damn fine Gauchos... makes me proud to be an alum.

Training Week -- 3/1 - 3/7

Working up to multiple hard days in a row... now I'm up to two. Thinking ahead to April: Sea Otter (Th, F, Sa) followed by hard bako RR on Sunday. Maybe a stage race in late spring/early summer??

Mon: 2 hrs; recovery around Goleta & UCSB
Tue: 4 hrs; 8:00 group ride + hammerfun, a few hard efforts
Wed: 3.5 hrs; Solvang loop, cracked at ~3 hrs
Thu: 1 hrs; OSM, easy
Fri: 1.5 hrs; easy with a few low-gear surges
Sat: 2 hrs; warm-up in AM & Island View crit, 9th in p123
Sun: 4 hrs; Worlds + Gibraltar

Total: 18 hours

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Citrus Celebration

It's that time of year when most of the citrus needs to be picked and enjoyed. From my yard... Grapefruit, Tangerines, Valencia Oranges, Washington Navel Oranges, Limes, and Lemons. So many permutations for making juice ...and margaritas!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Don't Try This at Home

Could it really be possible to descend the Stelvio with no hands and no brakes?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Training Week -- 2/22 - 2/28

Still doing lots of high-aerobic-zone climbing. Not seeing much improvement lately. The kids (Ben, Matt, Adrian) all dropped me like a rock this week.

Mon: 0.5 hr; run
Tue: 1 hr; lunchtime hammerfest ...ouch
Wed: 0; rain
Thu: 3.5 hr; OSM 16:16 + Gibraltar loop (2nd ride)
Fri: 0
Sat: 0.5 hr; 40-minute barefoot run on the beach
Sun: 5 hr; Canyons loop in SYV w/ Gina & co. + stagecoach-home, climbed hard

Total: 10.5 hrs, including two runs


- Barefoot running ...just a dumb fad, or the wave of the future? It makes some sense to me. The logic goes like this: we evolved running barefoot and all the complex musculature and skeletal structure of our feet is good at absorbing the forces of striking the ground over and over. But this requires using a forefoot-strike style of running, and not the more common heel-strike style that most running shoes promote. I'm experimenting with it, and I will say that the barefoot run on the beach felt fantastic. No pain at all. Not sure how to transition this approach to the roads, but I know there are appropriate shoes, and some are pretty funny. Some interesting videos about running are here.

- Schedule: lots of training and not much racing so far, but that will start changing now that the fun races are coming around. Focus on bike racing through June'ish, then focus on running. As of now, planning on:
-- IV crit (at research park)
-- Ronde de Solvang
-- San Dimas, 45+
-- Copperopolis or UCLA weekend?
-- Sea Otter crit, rr, & circuit
-- Devil's Punchbowl & Chuck Pontius
-- Barrio Logan & San Luis Rey (maybe)
-- SoCal crit & tt championships (maybe)
-- Mt Hamilton RR
-- SoCal RR championship, masters and elite
-- Sisquoc RR
...and then it becomes murky, particularly since I'll need to be running a lot more getting ready for the marathon that Gina says I'm only 40% likely to do... (Of course, history is her guide, which means it's more like 20%-30% likely...)