Friday, May 29, 2009

Caught Some Breaks

On my last post I was bitching that I can't catch a break. Well yesterday and today I caught several of 'em. Just as I was about to cancel my Dahlonega race weekend plans, a friend loaned me a frame. The guys at our sponsor, Bike Tech graciously dropped what they were doing and moved my components over to it.

But wait, there's more: my Specialized BB wouldn't fit the loaner frame (a Blue RC-7). I was offered an SRM BB/cranks to get me by temporarily.

Then I realized the bike fit was perfect except for a slightly long reach. A teammate offered to drive out to L.H. Thomson Co, another sponsor, and pick up a shorter stem for me, then drop it off with yet another teammate who will bring it to Dahlonega for me.

Now that's what I call catching great breaks. Huge thanks to all involved.

Now I need to ride hard this weekend and catch a different sort of break. And then try to stay there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Can't Catch a Break

It's been sort of a frustrating spring. Nothing terrible, just a bunch of annoying things.

First, I was hit head-on by another cyclist while I was warming up for a prologue. For a few mintes I thought that one might go in the 'terrible' category, but luckily not. That put me out of commission for a couple of weeks and broke my HED tri-spoke front wheel and TT helmet.

About the time I began to feel normal again. I strained my back lifting something stupid. Two more uncomfortable weeks. The back is almost normal again.

Last week my eye became infected somehow and I battled that for a week or so.

I've been able to train and race through much of the spring, so my form is pretty good. I was happy to finally be training and racing pain-free this weekend.

On this morning's ride I broke a rear derailleur cable about mid-ride. Shimano cables need frequent replacement and I didn't do a very good job of it. Oh, well - a good excuse for some good muscle tension training.

After the ride I went to Bike Tech to get a new cable installed. While replacing the cable, Lou found a big crack in my Specialized Tarmac SL frame! It's on the downtube about 2 inches above the bottom bracket (about where the internal lug would connect to the tubing). It couldn't have been there very long because I'd have seen it while cleaning the bike. It looks like the type of crack that could cause a serious problem if it decided to suddenly fail. It would be a cat's ass trophe for sure.

Now I'm not sure if I'll be racing on Monday and don't really have a plan for what to ride in the immediate future. If I'm lucky, Specialized, a first class company from what I can tell, (are you reading Specialized? You guys are the best. A really, really great outfit. Best damned bike company in the world is what I always say.) will replace the frame. I haven't crashed it since I bought it. If not, I'm screwed. Guess I'll be riding the black 1983 Cannondale 3.0 series I have on the trainer in the basement. It has Suntour Superbe Pro components! And down-tube shifters! Eight gears, I think.

Here she is, but this one's a lot better looking than the one in my basement:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Great Form

I have no idea why, but my legs are super this week. Mondays hill repeats were easy and I broke all sorts of personal records on my little test hill. Yesterday's 90min tempo ride was a no-chainer. Today I got on the computrainer to do 1-hr tempo. My last 45 minutes normalized power was 265 watts. Thats an IF of 0.92 based on what I thought my FTP was (I'm now sure my recent estimates have been low).

This is the sort of week that sends you to your training log to see what the heck caused it. I couldn't find anything significant. I've had a solid spring, but nothing exceptional. On Saturday I raced in the masters Georgia state championship RR. It was pretty well attended by strong riders - more than a couple strong cat 1s and very strong masters veterans. I had my arse handed to me, making a short day of it (90 min - some of it at pretty high intensity).

My best guess is that the old rule that to taper you need to cut back on volume and keep the intensity high is accurate. That's sort of what I've done lately. Problem is, I'm not trying to taper for anything. Guess I'll just enjoy the good form on training rides.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I just noticed this is my 200th blog post - interesting.

Checked my season mileage a minutes ago. Last year on May 12th I was at 4399 miles. This year I'm at 4362. I need to find 37 miles somewhere to catch up.

Friday, May 08, 2009


If TT stuff interests you, then you'll probably enjoy this blog post by Alex Simmons. It describes his coaching of Jayson Austin, a masters athlete, for the Australian 1-hour record. Bradley McGee holds the Australian record, but Jayson established the 2nd best distance with 10% less power than our man Chad Davies can hold for an hour. Chad, maybe there is a record attempt in your future if you can turn your self into a human bullet and afford a front Zipp disc?

Alex was a strong time trialist when he hit a newly installed and unmarked bar-gate on his regular training route a couple of years ago. He lost his leg due to the crash but has battled back to ride again.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Cure-All for the Hypochondriac

It appears that I'm guilty as charged: hypochondriac. Twice in one week, no less.

On Thursday of last week, I was reaching out to lift my bike out of the back of my XTerra and I tweaked my back. At least tweaked is what I thought at first. Two hours later I was dreading walking to the coffee pot at work due to the severe pain. Thursday night I barely slept because every time I moved I woke up.

Friday was a little better, but I was extremely doubtful that I'd be able to get into TT position and put out any kind of power for Saturday's time trial in Juliette. Saturday morning things felt OK. After 45 minutes on the trainer, I loosened up. The back didn't bother me much during the race. I had sort of been cured by the bike, I guess.

Sunday morning I performed the ultimate stupid move. I picked up a big 50-pound potted plant and carried it to the truck (a task I would have thought impossible 48 hours prior). It didn't hurt much at first. But throughout the day it got worse. By Monday morning it was worse than the prior Thursday morning. By Tuesday morning it was a little better. A painful, short, easy ride Monday afternoon confirmed that Tuesday Night Worlds was probably out of the question for this week.

Arriving at TNW I still thought I'd have to tool around with a slower group. But with eight teammates there, I had to at least start out with the group, right? As I rode, my back started to loosen a bit. As the effort increased, the pain did not, so I kept riding - staying seated and maintaining a high cadence to minimize torque, both of which seemed to help minimize what by then was only minor discomfort. By the end of the ride only a hint of soreness remained. My back felt better than it had since Saturday.

So I confess to being a hypochondriac regarding my back, I guess. I really did think I couldn't ride both times. And both times I was cured by the bike.

Ron Hill doled out a little nugget of his aged wisdom as we started out on Tuesday. When I said I didn't want to ride hard enough to mess up my back, he said, "It's hard to mess anything up on the bike." Wisdom - and truth.

So add "bad back" to the long list of mental and physical ills that can be cured by the bicycle. But it would still be a good idea to avoid large flower pots.