Thursday, July 28, 2011

40, Forty, Cuarenta, Vierzig, Copok, 四十, σαράντα, Czterdzieści

Well that is about all the different languages I know.  Actually, I had a bit of help translating the number "40".  Why the number 40 you ask?  Well it's gonna be hard for me to say, and type, but it's the number of years I will have been alive next Thursday.  That's right, on August 4th, I will turn 40 years old...I mean young. I was born in Waukegan, Illinois at 2am.

So, on August 4th, I want all of you to wish me a Happy Birthday.  Jennifer Aniston already has.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stage 3 - Crit (Video)

Sorry for the delay in posting the CCC Crit video, but I had trouble formatting it for some reason.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stage 4 - Awbrey Butte Circuit Race

The final race of the Cascade Cycling Classic was a preview of the Masters Road Nationals course that will be held early September.  The race starts/finishes at Summit H.S and consists mostly of rolling hills on the backroads of Bend with 2 short steep climbs (one that climbs out of Tumalo State park, and the other up Archie Briggs Rd.).  Completing 4 laps for a total of 67 miles makes for a difficult race. 

The pace was pretty high the whole time, with a few attacks each lap.  The team of Iron Data/ThirtyBear Cycling; which has a rider in the leaders jersey, did a good job of pulling back attacks and keeping the yellow jersey safe. 

Going into the final lap I had to try at least once to get away.  Knowing that I won;t have a chance in the sprint, I made my move on OB Riley Rd about 1.5 miles before the Archie Briggs climb.  I figured if I could stay clear to the top of that climb that I would have a good chance of holding off the peloton.  When  I hit the climb my legs felt like lead.  By the time I reached the top of the first steep section I was caught.  I had to do everything I had left to stay with the lead group to the top of the climb.  Once we crested the climb we descended Mt Washington Blvd. which finished with a few small rollers and 2 round-abouts before making the right hand turn into the High School for the sprint.  I was sitting in good position, and if I could finish a sprint I might have had a chance to win, but I cannot sprint for the life of me. 

After a hard day in the saddle, just under 3 hours, I finished in 11th place.  There were 18 of us in the lead group which had a 1-minute gap on the chase group.  I didn';t move up in GC as most of the riders in the lead group were all in front of me in the overall placing.  I finished 12th in the final GC standings.  There was a few other Bend riders who cracked the Top 20; including Ben Thompson (11th), Kype Wuepper (14th), Mike Larsen (17th), and Bart Bowen (18th).

With Nationals just a month away, I;m sure most of the riders in the CCC will be on hand competing for a chance at the Stars and Strips jersey.  Hopefully by then I will have improved my sprint :-).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stage 2 - Skyliner TT

As I have mentioned several times in previous posts, I never look forward to the individual TT.   I think if I actually trained in an aero position or bought some aero equipment, it might not seem as hard.  I give credit to those who can drill it and overcome the self-punishment of a TT.  I still do not know exactly how to pace myself, and I sure don't have the big muscles to push a big gear.  

Today's course was  12-miles, with the first half a gradual climb followed by a descent to the finish.  I have the say that the descent felt harder than the climb.  I borrowed a set of clip-on aero bars to help give me every advantage possible.  I don't know how many seconds they saved me, but it made me feel like I was riding faster.  I always know how I am doing by how many riders pass me.  This time I was passed by 2 riders on the climb (both of which finished in the Top 5).  I was able to hang with them on the rest of the climb, but as soon as we descended, they were gone.

I finished with a time of 28:02 and succumbed over 2.5 minutes to the winner.  I also dropped a little In the overall GC.  I now sit at 2:34 behind, so with the Crit and Awbrey Butte circuit race, it looks like the circuit race will be my only chance to make up time.   Pulling off a stage win would be nice.

Remember to check back for some action-packed video form the Crit tonight.

Maillot Jaune

All hail Cadel Evans!
After coming close twice to an overall victory in the toughest race in the world, Cadel Evans will finally be able to stand on the top step of the podium and collect his  (and Australia's) first ever Tour de France win.  By doing so, he will wear the infamous Maillot Jaune (French for yellow jersey) as he and the rest of the peloton ride into Paris along the Champs-Élysées (France's prestigious Avenue).

Stage 1 - Cascade Lakes RR

Stage 1 is the Queen Stage of the Cascade Cycling Classic.  Starting at the Wanoga Snow Park up towards Mt. Bachelor, the stage includes several rolling hills, one long climb, and lots of scenic views along the way.  The cascade mountain range (Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. bachelor) were picturesque with snow capped peaks combined with clear blue skies.

The race went well, however, I didn't stick to my plan.  There were no significant attacks until roughly mile 60, where about 6 riders got away.  The final 4.5 miles consists of lots of climbing and that is usually where the race is decided.  My plan was to be with the lead group up the climb and attack near the top.  Everything was going as planned and when we began to crest the top I bridged a small gap to 3 riders and instead of attacking I continued to ride at a tempo.  At this point I was feeling very good.  The final 3k is mostly flat with one right hand turn into the parking lot of Mt. Bachelor to the finish.   With the lead group all together turning into the parking lot, I knew I had no chance of winning a sprint.  So, I tried to attack immediately but wasn't able to accomplish anything.  So as riders began to sprint toward the finish, all I could do was hang on to the nearest wheel and settle for 12th.  A little dissapointing, but that's road racing.

One thing to point out...and probably the biggest reason why I don;t do many road races.  It seems every road race I do, there is always 1 rider who feels the need to tell you how to race.  I can understand big teams arguing with each other, but when most of us are racing individually, it cracks me up when I hear someone tell me what I should be doing.  Dude, I'll race the way I f_ _ k_ng want to race, worry about yourself.

Stage 2 is the TT this morning followed by the Crit in the afternoon.  I am planning to wear my helmet cam during the Crit, so stay tuned for some exciting video posted later this evening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Cascade Cycling Classic (CCC) Stage Race is happening this weekend in Bend. This is one of the largest and longest running stage races in the USA and it usually draws all the big US Teams. This year in particular it has been given an NRC (National Racing Calendar) ranking of 2.2; which means that there will be more point awarded to top finishes in several categories of the race. It will also help attract even more Teams.

I, however, will be competing in my first Masters category race. Masters consists of riders who are over the age of 35. Don't let that fool you though. Most of the established and elite riders are in the mid 30's and also have the experience to go along with it. Several former Olympians and World Champions are still racing as Masters.  Since the Masters Nationals race will also be held in Bend this September, many riders will be in town for the CCC to get a sample of what to expect in September.   The same courses held during the CCC will be used in Nationals.

The Masters race consists of 4 stages over the course of 3 days. The stages include:
1. 71 mile Road Race
2. 18 mile TT
3. 40 min Crit
4. 67 mile Circuit Race

The weather for the week looks exceptionally nice, with temps in the high 70's to high 80's.  With Mt. Bachelor still covered with lots of snow, the Cascade Lakes Road Race on  Friday should make for some very nice photo shots.  Lots of action going to take place in the next several days.  Young local phenom, Ian Boswell, will be looking to score a high GC placing as his Trek LiveSTRONG Team is in  town as well.

Stay tuned for race reports.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Favorite training tool

Need some motivation to add to your training

Hands down TRX is one of the best training tools any athlete can add to their "tool bag"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Six Pack Abs



Who needs a six pack when you can have an 8 pack.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

HD Omnium RR

Today's road race was anything but exciting.  For the first 10-15 miles we were "cruising along".  When speeds began to pick up and some riders were "surging" it actually felt like a race.  There were several attempts by a few to get into a breakaway, but nothing every succeeded.  The course is a power course where there are some rolling hills and lots of flat sections.  As I said earlier, lots of surges but no real attacks, just enough to piss you off.  I attempted twice to join a group in an effort to get into a break, but same story. 

It wasn't until the final climb to the finish that a move by Trebon would last.  He attacked with about 3K to the finish and was successful taking the win.  My legs felt like lead at that point and all I could muster was to hang on to the wheel in front of me to finish 14th.

These are the kind of road races that drive me nuts.  No one seemed to work together, none of the "teams" seemed to be doing anything to establish a break, and no climbs to break up the peloton.  For a 60-mile race there at least needs to be one long or very steep climb.  It would just be nice to have something to make the race exciting.   Crap for that matter today was no different than the Tuesday night hammerfest, actually it was...the Tuesday night ride is free.   Oh well, life goes on.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Crit and TT

Damn, I forgot how hard racing in a crit was.  Competing in my first crit of the season was both fun and hard as hell.  The constant bursts of acceleration combined with speeds of 30mph+ for 60 min. while your wheels are inches away from other wheels makes for some real action.

There is a local crit race every Tuesday night in Bend but I have not been able to attend any this season, so my crit skills were a little rusty so to speak.  However, I still had a good race and avoided any crashes...which fortunately there were none.  Here are the Results

Hold your line!

Leading the chase in the 2nd group. 

The TT this evening, as mentioned in my last post, was going to be used to gauge how hard to push it during the TT in the Cascade Cycling Classic.  The course is very similar, same course just shorter, and I DO NOT ever practice TT riding.  In fact, I do not have a TT bike.  I always feel like the outsider when I show up for a TT with my road bike and not even aero bars.  Yeah, I'm THAT guy.  Considering I only do 1-2 road races per year, there really is no reason for me to have a TT bike.  I mentioned earlier that the wind was minimal in teh morning, well that all changed for the TT.  It was blowing frickin' hard (~25-30mph) and it was kind of a cross wind; which I always think is the worst kind.  Even though I was only riding tempo, it still felt super hard with the wind.  I hope the legs feel better for tomorrow's road race, because they sure didn't feel that good during the TT tonight.

Racing on tap this weekend

This weekend Bend will play host to the annual High Dessert Omnium Stage Race.  It's not by any means a "big" race but it is a great tune up race for the Cascade Cycling Classic (CCC) Stage Race.  It's a mostly local race with a few Washington and Idaho rides makng the trip over as well.  The TT and Road Race courses are almost identical to what will be in the CCC, so I will be using the TT course in the HD Omnium race to gauge the power output/HR to use during the CCC.  I will be opting to use my power tap wheels vs. super light wheels even though the course consists of a 4.5 mile climb (3-6%) to begin and then 4.5 mile descent to the finish. 

Today consists of a criterium and TT race and Sunday will conclude with the 60-mile road race.  I may decide to wear the helmet cam during the crit today to get some sweet footage.  Could be risky, however.  Stay tuned to find out what I decide.  Should have today's results posted later this evening.

Weather looks great for racing with temps in the high 70's and lots of sun.  The wind seems to be minimal at the moment , but that could change quickly. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chasing shadows

I Joined in on the fun for the Tuesday night Hammerfest ride this week.  It's a weekly ride (aka: race) that leaves at 6pm from Sunnyside Sports Bicycle Shop.  Great group ride to mix it up and get in some good hard efforts.  The route is a mixture of rolling hills, windy flats, and a moderate 4-mile climb back into town.

Here's a short video from the ride last night.  You'll notice that the shadows of the riders are chasing us.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July celebration

With the holiday this past weekend, there were many events happening in and around Bend.  As for cycling events, the Bend Super D was the highlight.  Decker continued his domination of Super D's with the win followed closely by local stud Timmy Evans and Portland native Matt Slaven.  The course utilized the Funner/Tiddlewinks trails(same as Pickett's Charge course) as well as some of the lower sections of Storm King (some of my favorites). 

Saturday's group ride was changed from it's normal route of Hwy 20 out to Horse Ridge and back.  Instead, Mike Larsen organized a ride up the roads to Mt. Bachelor and beyond to Elk Lake.  There was a select group of riders so the pace was relatively high.  My goal was to get in several hard efforts, and with Scotty Gray setting an early pace it weas perfect.  I chased him down and then we traded pulls before we were joined by Larsen towards the summit.  Over the 25 miles it takes to climb to the summit, I was able to get in 30 min of high tempo/LT efforts. 

As we waited for the other riders to regroup we then headed down the mountain towards Elk Lake (roughly 9 miles).  Once at Elk Lake we chilled out about 10 min grabbing some refreshments and food before heading back to Bachelor and back down into town.  There are many rollers on the way back from Elk Lake followed by a steady 4 mile climb from Sparks Lake up to Mt Bachelor.  I pulled the group along from Elk Lake to the base of the Sparks Lake climb at a good hard tempo.  Once we began to climb other riders moved to the front only to fade back again.  Larsen, Martin and Seguin (Team Bend Broadband) eventually led the group up the climb.  Around Todd Lake most turned around to do another repeat of the climb.  I, however, continued up to Bachelor and then back down into town.  I had the in-laws in town so I didn't want to be out for too long.

In the afternoon Jenny, myself and the in-laws drove out to Smith Rock to go for a hike.  Again, with the holiday the number of climbers, hikers, runners on the trails was immense. Just about every climbing route had a climber on it.  That made for some good sightseeing.  The weather was very warm and not much of a wind.  Once we got back to the car a nice cold refreshment (Deschutes Brewery - Twilight Summer Ale) was awaiting.  Ahhh, it never tasted so good.

Crooked River snaking it's way through Smith Rock