Thursday, January 29, 2009

Training in Ohio Winters

In November I took my bicycles into the basement, cleaned the dirt off them, cleaned the chains, let the air out of the tires and hung them up. It was a sad moment for me, it signaled the end of the riding season and that I wouldn't be riding for a couple months. I could have not been more wrong. Not only was I able to continue riding throughout the winter each bike would be upgraded or rebuilt.

The weather held out for a while to get some road miles in before the snow came so I was able to be on the road up through December. Thanksgiving came and I rode off my large dinner on my single speed, and on Christmas after the presents were open I took the fixed out again. Then the snow came and the ground froze and I got two rides in at Quails Hollow state park's mtb course. The runners were surprised to see me out in the 20 degree temps in the snow, but it was a great workout. 

Then the snow came and I spent two weeks indoors on the trainer, as the snow was two deep to try and get mountain biking in, trust me I tried, and the roads were too snow covered to take out my road bike. My other option is Ray's Indoor mountain bike park, which I can't speak highly enough. However, the snow has been bad that the hour trip was to unsafe to make. So the indoor trainer has gotten a lot of use. I like it because it's a controled workout, I can tailor my workout exactly how I want to. The problem is it becomes very boring, a ten minute tempo seems to drag on forever. 

The good news is my friend Mike Bloomhuff and I have both decided to really kick in our training at the same time. We'll do most of our training seperate with our own training plans and goals, but once a week we'll go up to Ray's and hammer out lap after lap. The XC loop at Ray's is made in a way that highlights my weakness, shortburts of maximal power, think power intervals.

 Also I want to give a shot out to one of my good friends Bob Myers, he is one of the main reasons for getting serious into the sport and pushing me to go that little extra. I finally got to run into him this weekend at Ray's. As I was leaving I saw a truck full of top of the line Trek bicycles and knew he couldn't be far behind. Low and behold he was there, I got to talk to him for a while. Till next time...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Race Report: Ray's Tri Flow XC Race

First off, I have to say thanks to Ray for putting on a great event. This was the first year for Ray putting on an indoor cross country race. It can only be described as a success. Twenty one riders showed up to test their skills over a three lap time trail over the loop at Ray's mountain bike park. For me, it gave me a litmus test on a switch from novice to sport. Though, my time wasn't what I wanted it to be, 9:29 (with a dab penalty of 15 seconds) it gave me an idea of where I need to improve.

A good surprise was when one of the pro riders, it just happened to be my "fantasy rider" Trek's Emily Batty, showed up a day early and hung out with us. It was a neat experience, I got a chance to talk one on one with her and ask her some questions about her career, and she was able to get info about cycling in Ohio. Overall, it was a great way to spend my Friday morning and I highly recommend getting up there this weekend to see the Pro women race on Saturday, and to ride with them on Sunday. Thanks to Bike Authority, Kenda, Crank Brothers, and Rudy Project for supporting my riding and the CAMBA race team.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A mediocre start to the new year

As I've said before, I haven't been putting in the miles on my bike as I would have hoped to, (I'm still way above where I was last year, not even owning a bike.) I've been using a trainer, but that's torture so I rationalize not doing it. However, with the slight warm up I decided to finally take out my new road bike for a spin. 

I bought the frame, a Scattante Team XRL, in the beggining of December, and it finally came in right before the new year. Got everything built and waited for my Ultegra Lx brakes to come in, worth the wait, they peform well and look really nice. Two weeks ago I finished the build, but with sub zero tempatures and snow covered roads didn't risk taking it out. Weds I felt confident enough to take it out and I gotta say it peforms wonderfully. The Mavic Askium's are stiff, smooth rolling and responsive. I didn't get to test it's full ability as some of the roads where still snow covered, but I was easily able to get it up to 30 mph in a psuedo sprint, not full out. 

Today, was warmer and I thought the perfect day to take out my "rain" bike, a Fuji newest 4.0. Nothing spectacular but it does the job of being a good beater bike. It was about 35 degrees out and the sun was shining, which made the going even more treacherous. THe snow that was left on the road turned into slush and made it feel like riding on ice. Once again because of the conditions I had to cut it short. So two rides, with 15 miles. Not the way I wanted to start of the year. Ray's Cross Country Mountain Bike race is tomorrow, so here's hoping that three days at Rays kicks off my training.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Biking in the snow and skid stops.

Akron has been in the grips of a snow storm for what seems like the past month. My last ride was January 1st for CAMBA's New Years Day Poker Run. Since then we've had over a foot of snow and sub zero tempatures. Not god weather to be out on a bike. I've spent the last three weeks holed up inside on my trainer. Cabin Fever was starting to set in. Today I decided to try one of my favorites trails with one of my riding partners Glynis. 

The weather was warmer, 24 f, and we had hoped that hikers and cross country skiers had made the trail passible. So this morning I set off to try to get my second ride of the season. The first picture should have been a hint of what was to come, yes, that is a paved road. I pulled into the parking lot and shortly after Glynis showed up, we suited up and attempted to ride Quails Hollow. Ten feet into the trail I knew there was going to be problems. The trails had not been packed down and the trail had accumulated another two inches of snow since the night before. Trying to stay on the bike was next to impossible as every dip and steering correction sent the front tire slipping out from underneath me. We trumbled along at a blistering 3 mph, walking up any incline. It became better when we stopped and let some of the air out of our tires, mine ended up near 6 psi. 

A mile in we had both come tothe conclusion that this was not going to work. I found a bailout point and we road out to the parking lot. Not wanting to get our ride on we decided to ride around the road of Quails Hollow State Park. A small hill put our hill sprinting to the test. First time up we stayed neck and neck, neither one of us could even gain a foot on the other. The second time around I pulled a 100 meter lead before the top. This was followed by some light riding around the park seeing parts of the park I had never seen before. Finally, we went back to the parking lot and on the slight hill we practiced out skidding in the snow. I have to admit Glynis was better at holding his skids for longer, but I could get more angle. I'm sure this looked odd for all the cars driving by, but it was a blast.
Overall, it was a fun ride. Two hours out on the bike. Not exactly the workout I had hoped for but the fun was worth it. Thanks Glynis for a fun Sunday.