Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Road Trippin'

With the temps falling here in Bend, OR I couldn't have planned a better time to get out of dodge. The past few days has seen temperatures hovering in the 30-40's, with a mix of rain and snow. Just when most of us Bend'ites thought we could put the winter clothes away and break out the shorts, Mother Nature decided it wasn't quite time yet.
All will be forgotten soon as Jenny and I hit the road southwest to Arizona for a week of vacation and relaxation. We will be driving rather than flying. We decided to make the drive part of the fun and explore some areas we haven't been before. The first stop will be Lake Tahoe, and the other is Lee Vining (just 40 miles south of Tahoe near Mono Lake). We hope to make it to Buckeye, AZ (where my parents live) in two days.

I'll be taking the mountain bike along on the trip with plans to do some riding while in AZ but also will be stopping on the way home for two races. The first will be the Santa Ynez Dessert Classic (Kenda Cup Series) near Santa Barbara on Saturday April 10th, and on Sunday April 11th is the Napa Valley Dirt Classic up near Santa Rosa. Both will be fast XC races to welcome the legs to 2010 season.

Since I have not been riding the mountain bike for the past three weeks as a result of getting the bikes tuned up, I'm a little nervous how the handling skills will holdup. Fitness seems to be coming along good as I have been adding more high intensity rides to the training in preparation for the start of the season. I am still working out with the weights 1-2 days per week and will begin to limit that to just 1 day per week as May rolls around. I will also continue my core exercises 2-3 days per week throughout the season.

Check back soon for some photos of the trip down to AZ and back.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Group Rides

You either like 'em or hate 'em. I think I fall in between, I like AND hate 'em. You have to choose your group rides wisely though. Sometimes group rides means riding at 16 mph all day, no attacks, with the purpose of having fun. On the other end, a group ride could mean riding at 25 mph, with intervals (or speed sign sprints) over 30+ mph, and the purpose is to drop as many riders as possible. Both are great an both serve a well needed purpose. However, you have to be conscious knowing what you are getting into when showing up for "group" ride.

I will only show up for a group ride when I need to work on speed drills or need to get a very hard (race simulation) workout in, something that is difficult to do on your own unless your are highly motivated and have access to motor pacing.

There's been much talk in town lately about Bend's Tuesday night "hammerfest" ride, which if you don't know is roughly a 30 mile loop with a mixture of some rollers and 1 somewhat climb. This ride can at times be much faster than most road races (at least on a consistent basis) and depending on who shows up. The big controversy lately though has been the debate to ban riders from using TT bikes during the ride. There a re a few who complain that the TT'ers have an advantage and ride too fast. Are you serious? I did mention the rides name is "hammerfest" right? Again, this goes back to my first point about choosing your group ride wisely. If the ride is too fast, choose another group ride. For those that can lay down the hammer, why should they have to slow down to accommodate slower riders. It's not like you are out in the middle of nowhere and if you get dropped will have a hard time finding your way home. I won;t spend to much time on this subject because it is ridiculous that I even had to bring it up. The Tucson, AZ "shootout" ride was my first introduction to a hammerfest-type ride, and you pretty much had to ride at your limit the entire ride...that's how it should be.

Chris Horner (Team RadioShack) was in town this week and decided to show up for the group. What began as a pretty mellow ride turned ugly just before the climb up Horse Ridge. With the group rolling along at 26 mph, one of the front riders veered to miss rolling through some gravel and took down 5 other riders with him. Luckily there were no major injuries; just some pretty bad road rash and a few flat tires. The scary part, however, was the number of riders that swerved into the lane of traffic out of instinct. Fortunately there were no cars/trucks coming from behind.

After 10 minutes of gathering bikes/bodies and trucks honking as they pass, the group rolled up Horse Ridge. The top of the climb is usually the turnaround point, but today myself and a few other including Horner decided to roll-on towards Millican and do the longer loop around Alfalfa. It was great to talk with Chris and get his thoughts about riding/racing in Europe and what his favorite races were. He mentioned that Leige Bastogne Leige race as his favorite. The most interesting thing I learned was that during one of the Tour of California stages, he said that he averaged 309 watts during a 4.5 hour race...ouch!

Group rides can be fun, although you have to be prepared for just about anything. Whichever one you choose to participate in, the goal should always be to ride safe.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Team Kit

A new Team kit is currently in the design phase. I'm pretty psyched on how it is looking so far. I am hoping to have everything by the end of April or early May. Mt Borah will be supplying the clothing this season rather than Louis Garneau.

I could show you a sneak peak but that would only tease you, and you don't like to be you?

On a side note, I decided against competing in the Echo Red to Red race last weekend. I was feeling under the weather for most of last week and didn't want to stress the body anymore than necessary. However, I got a text from a friend of mine saying that he was putting together a small group to go ride the McKenzie River Trail. This is one of Oregon's better trails, and certainly one of the best within an hours drive from Bend. 29 miles one-way of damn sweet singletrack with a good mixture of rocks, lava, and roots. I had not ridden this trail before, so when the opportunity presented itself I couldn't refuse. Funny how quickly my body felt better. Next time I ride that trail I would like to do the out-and-back and make it a full days worth of riding.

With several stops along the way to soak in some of the beauty along the trail (waterfalls rivers, etc) and many bridges that required dismounting to walk across, we finished in roughly 3.5 hours. Doing it as an out-and-back I figure it would take about 6.5 hours.