Wednesday, March 31, 2010

sherman road

I got out for a training ride in the nice sunny weather this afternoon. I didn't have a whole lot of time, so I did a tough ride out Sherman Road. I started at the Bass Lake end of the road, and went out to Caves Road, then looped back home up Mullberry Road hill.

Today, I drilled it on the climbs, but took it easy on the flats and descents. Even so, the ride kicked my ass. The first three rollers felt easy. I managed to crest the hills while I was accelerating and had some speed. By the fourth hill, I dug deep but blew up just before the top. It was the same story out to Caves. I just soft pedaled over to Mullberry to recover, then headed for the hill.

By the time I got to the big climb of the day, the temperature was getting close to 70! It is a lot easier to crank out decent power in warmer temperatures, so the climb didn't feel like a total struggle.

It was only a 90 minute workout, but my legs were fried at the end.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

club ride

We had a group of eight for the club ride today. We ended up doing the 32 mile loop from last week, which is probably pretty good preparation for the early season races, since it's got so many little hills. The route starts at The Rookery in Munson, climbs 300 feet up Cedar Road hill, then heads east out Butternut Road to Hale Road, then cuts into Burton. We stopped for coffee on Burton Square, then continued south along Rapids Road down into the river valley. Then we cut west on Stafford Road and Franks, and eventually head back on Rockhaven Road.

In the weeks leading up to the club ride last weekend, I pretty much ran myself into the ground with lifting and doing several high intensity rides, so my legs were sore and tired even before we got started. This week, though, I took a rest week, and cut the volume and intensity way down, so I felt pretty fresh.

I felt much better during the ride than last week. I didn't knock myself out on the longer inclines, so I had to chase a little bit to catch up to the group a couple of times once on Rapids Road and on Music Street. The Rapids Road effort was like a TT, since the guys at the front were pouring it on.

By the end of the ride, my legs were pretty toasted, but they weren't totally shredded like last week, so I should be able to get in a workout tomorrow and pile on the intensity again for the next couple of weeks leading into the season.

Friday, March 26, 2010

coaching tips

This is the first installment in a series of coaching tips.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

cold wind

I went riding today with Chris, Dave, and John. We left from The Rookery and went out to Burton via Cedar Road and Butternut, then swung south on Rapids Road, and worked west on some of the awesome crappy roads of southern Geauga County. For me, Franks Road was probably the highlight of the trip. It's a chipseal road that's deteriorated so it's more like dirt. You have to hug the side of the road to find a smooth path.

Route Profile from Chris' Garmin

There aren't many flat spots on that route and we rode a pretty good pace for most of it. My quads were complaining right after we got started and I blew up a couple of times. I guess I've accumulated some muscle damage in the past couple of weeks and added quite a bit more today. Every one of those little rollers shows up as a spike in my power meter log.

The temperature conditions were pretty tricky today. It started off cool, warmed up by the middle of the ride, and by the time I was heading home, I was freezing again. I'll be feeling this ride for a few days.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reynolds Assault Wheels First Impressions

I built up my Reynolds Assault carbon clinchers with Continental 4000s and an Ultegra cassette. The front wheel with tire, tube and skewer weighs in at 1040 grams. The rear wheel is 1490 grams. (versus 980 g and 1390 g for my WH7850 wheels or 160 grams more total) It's pretty amazing that the tires, tubes, and cassette add 1000 grams.

Since this is my first set of deep section carbon wheels, I spent some time thinking up a clear cut test to see if there is any performance gain over traditional wheels. I figure a good and simple test will be to roll down a hill from a dead stop through a valley and coast to a stop on the opposite hill and see which wheel set rolls farther. But I'll have to wait for a calm day.

I got out for my first ride with the wheels today. I was sort of hoping for a sonic boom to happen as the wheels magically cut through the air, but of course that didn't happen. In fact, the wheels felt like every other set of wheels I've ridden. I expected the wheels to get knocked around in the 12 mph winds, but I hardly noticed that. I only noticed that the different weight distribution felt weird on the first couple of downhills I did. 

Hopefully I'll get a chance to get some real performance comparisons with my other wheels sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Since the weather this weekend was pretty lousy, I decided to change up my training a little bit. I lifted on Saturday then did some vertical leap plyos. Then on Sunday, I went to Best Nature Preserve and jogged from park bench to park bench and did a set of plyos at each.

Wow, that's a tough workout. By the time I finished the final set, my legs were shredded and I just managed a shuffling walk back to the car.

Hopefully the weather will clear up tomorrow and I'll get a chance to try out my new wheels.

Friday, March 12, 2010

a whole week!

Punderson Lake: 65 Degree Day!

I was out on the bike all week, and yesterday I wore shorts and a short sleeve jersey and did an easy ride from Chardon down to Punderson State Park. The road is still grimy from salt and cinders (did you know cinders are a byproduct of coal burned in power plants?) and I hit a couple mega-floods of melt water, but the snow is all but gone.

Last year, Chris and I scouted Punderson as a possible course for some future race. The park was pretty willing to listen to a plan last summer, but it was going to be tricky to manage the traffic, so we weren't able to move ahead. I rode down there yesterday to see what it's like in the early spring.

There were actually quite a few people walking and jogging. Traffic on the park roads was light. Nobody passed me in the 20 minutes or so I was there, but there were a few cars parked in lots. The most interesting section of the roads, with an ascent and a tricky sweeping turn on a downhill, is not plowed over the winter, but it would probably be pretty easy to get that opened up for a race.

Hopefully, after the Chippewa Creek Road Race, we'll have a little more experience in managing the traffic on a park road course and see a way to manage a race at Punderson someday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

a must see video

I can almost guarantee you'll be smiling after you watch a minute of this guy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

creaky start

We had our first mini "training camp" today. We rode out of Beartown Lakes Reservation in Geauga County.

We did two repeats of a little TTT around a 3 mile loop of some pretty crappy roads: Auburn, Winchell, Frost, and Harner. Frost and Harner roads are right up there near the top of the list of worst paved roads around here, especially since the plows worked them over this winter. But that also means there is hardly any traffic.

For me, the first effort was pretty good. The second time around my quads were pretty unhappy getting over the little rolling hills and were tired for the rest of the ride. It's going to be a while before my legs are race ready!

From there we headed down to Hiram Rapids and did a couple medium sized climbs before heading for home.

Apart from a couple mechanical mishaps, it was a good day.

Friday, March 5, 2010

equipment upgrade debate

Over the winter, I mulled over which upgrades I'll make to my cycling gear for the 2010 season. As the sun started shining on a daily basis, I made up my mind.

Aerodynamic wheels would be a good addition to my arsenal. Last year, I bought a pair of Shimano WH7850 carbon clinchers. The wheels are pretty nice, but the front wheel is just too light for me to use. It goes out of true after every ride. The rear wheel is nuke proof. Too bad they didn't include a couple extra spokes on the front.

I mulled over a purchase of Zipp 404 tubulars. I figured if I'm going to blow that much money to try to obtain a performance gain, it doesn't make sense to get the clincher version. I know I would at first stash the wheel away as my race only set, but they'd end up on the bike all the time and I'd chew up several sets of tubular tires in a season. That's not so practical for me. Zipps.

Reynolds Assault carbon clinchers rose to the top of my list after some research. They're all carbon and spec'ed at 1525 grams and are reputed to be very strong. The front wheel has 20 spokes, a reasonable number for a heavy rider like me. I should be able to ride with those as my everyday wheel for training, and also race with them.

I think I'll also add a TT bike to the stable sometime soon. The main event on my calendar this year is the Tour of the Valley and riding the prologue Merckx style just doesn't cut it. Also, I'll make the trip out to Presque Isle this year for the TTs.

I've been looking at power meter options for a while. My only real complaint with the iBike is that it flakes out in the cold (under 40 degree) weather. It relies on tiny single use batteries, and the cold weather adversely affects their chemistry. Some people hacked a solution. On some rides the cold weather fail irritates me enough to want to get something new, but once it warms up, I won't care, so I'm going to stick with the iBike.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

southern geauga ride

Hopefully I've closed the book on the skiing season. I skied about 25 times, a total of about 38 hours, and something around 150 miles. This year, my ski season started roughly the same time as last year, but lasted about 1 extra month. Last year, I was done in early February. This year, I packed the skis away just a couple of days ago.

I got out on the road yesterday for my first relatively long ride. I rode tempo down Auburn Road to Winchell and threw in hard efforts up most of the little bumps along the flat route. The weather was sunny and windy. The road wasn't too dirty. I only got blasted with road grime a couple of times by passing trucks.

The signs of spring were definitely there. The snowpack was melting fast around the LaDue reservoir, so the ice was already breaking up. Lots of birds were out. But, of course, the snow is still hanging on. I was feeling pretty cold by the end of the ride and my face got irritated by the cold wind.