Saturday, February 20, 2010


The shoes are off and the legs are resting. Today, I spent the better part of 3 hours on the bike, taking in the sights of a nearly-Spring day in NC. Coach's plan was for 50 miles at 19.5mph with three two-minutes Zone 5b intervals thrown in at 30', 60' and 90'. Apprehension doesn't begin to describe how I felt as I soft-pedaled out of the neighborhood. 50 miles, solo, with a speed avg requirement is a new thing for me, and a significant part of me wondered if I could pull it off. Needless to say, I started the day off with French Toast.

The route was not clearly planned ahead of time, although I had a rough idea of what it would take. First up was the Thursday Night World Championship loop with a short hop over to Lewisville and Grapevine Rd. The wind, out of the west today, was ever-present during the first hour and really gave me no rest. I kept the knowledge of the wind in my back pocket for later, but planned to go with what mutha nature was handing out.

The next phase included some off-road riding on Butner Mill. However, on the way there via Flint Hill Rd. (or the Enon Bypass) I ran into tons of cyclist and a few Highway Patrol. It then dawned upon me that Wake Forest Universtiy is hosting its cycling omnium this weekend. Today was the road race (apparently) and looked like tons of fun. I ended up riding most of the RR course backwards later and saw a few wasted-looking guys who were dropped from the group. Ouch. They were all from VT, by the way.

On to the dirt. I knew this might be dicey, given all of the recent rain / snowmelt. Sure enough, it was a double-whammy: Where the road was unrepaired, there was copious mud and loose soil - but where the state (or someone) had dropped new gravel, there were razor-edged stones blanketing the width of the road. Fortunately, I didn't flat and credit the new Continentals. Climbing up and out from Butner Mill was demoralizing: 6-8mph and in my granny gear. Perfect training for some of the dirt hills at the Battenkill.

Once back on Flint Hill, I regathered my strength and headed to Baltimore. Here it was time for my last Zone 5b interval of the day. For me, this means a 2-minute session with a heartrate between 174 and 178. Ugh. Again, hard but excellent training. Anyone who's ridden Baltimore knows it has a nasty hill, but the more I do these the more I relish their challenge.

By this point, I knew that I was pretty likely to get home wth the right miles and a strong average speed. Standing in my way were Grapevine, and all of the rollers on Shallowford / Country Club. Doing a few quick calculations (a la Paul Sherwin), I figured I would hit 50 miles just past the monster hill on Country Club near Jonestown. Oh man.

I was digging pretty deep up and down Country Club, but all worked out well in the end. As mentioned in the previous 'quick update' post, I met the goals Coach laid out. And, apart from a little post-ride soreness, I feel ok for now.

Quoting Coach from sometime last week: "I hope that Saturday's ride will make you glad you aren't riding again until Tueday." She was right, for the most part...


Quick update, as I am whipped and going to get a beer now:

Route:  All over God's creation, including Styers Ferry, Grapevine, Taylor, Butner Mill, Baltimore, Cornelius, Grapevine (again) and back. 
Dist:  50.01mi
Time:  2:27.41
Avg: 20.3mph

That ruled and I hope it wasn't a fluke.  Credits to Coach as training is going well so far!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Just a little extra needed for tomorrow's big ride.  The iPod has languished for many moons with an outdated playlist and some songs that frankly should never have been on there.  I'll keep that to myself to preserve your opinion of me.

In truth, you never quite know how a 'training mix' will work out until you try it, so we'll see how this mish-mash goes.  I will give you a sample of a few songs on here, for those who are curious:

The Stone Roses:  "Begging You"
Bleu:  "That's When I Crash"  <-- let's hope not!
Salt:  "So"
REM:  "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"
Grand St. Cryers: "Through The Fields"

Some stuff is pretty obscure or long-forgotten but still rocks.  Each song is attached by a guidewire to some piece of my past and lends a moment of mental freshness or awakening.  These solo training rides have been a new experience, as I've essentially been a 'social' cyclist since picking up road riding in 2004.  This is easily my longest and most consistent stint of solo training rides and that takes some mental adjusting for the extrovert in me. 

Stats later tomorrow.  Might head to City Beverage for an after-ride beer tasting if anyone's interested.  Probably around 3pm.  Though it would be totally euro to ride there on my way home from the 50 miler, I'll likely shower first.  Or will I?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  As I train more and more, and especially since Coach is getting into the swing of her Spring Campaign, laundry is building up.  When we were doing nothing, laundry was a once-a-week thing.  Not so anymore.  We love our house, and having a laundry room on the same floor as the main living area is great.  We both come from previous houses with washers and dryers in cement-floored basements.  I can hear the hum of the dryer right now.  But I digress.

Tonight, Coach had me out in the cold while she and a friend hit up The Loop for a post-run dinner.  With the Olympics on later, I knew I needed to book it in order to get back in time for the Women's Slalom.  As bad as the weather has been in NC, I am beginning to think that perhaps cycling should be considered a winter sport.  Ok, not really, and for the first time in a LONG time I did not wear my wind-proof jacket out was almost NOT FREEZING at the start.  There, I'm through complaining.

The route was full of nostalgia.  I took a mile to warm-up and started the clock once on Country Club.  I rode by the old Paceline shop (still hurts a little to think of it that way) and entered the famous Monday Night Recovery Race (a.k.a Thursday Night World Championship) course.  I've never ridden the course solo (except after getting dropped on the TNWC rides), so it was actually quite intimate. I have many fond memories of that loop:  The fear in my belly all day before I even get out there, the "easy" first lap, and the rocket-speed at which we descend Dull Rd.  Oh man, I can't wait to get back out there again in the spring.  There's nothing quite like sitting in with the local pros...and being dropped by them.

Just before the usual right turn at Dull Rd., I hung a left on Concord Church, which connects to Williams Rd.  CC has a raunchy, steep hill just before it intersects Williams and I will not thank it for granting me any mercy.  After that, it was a standard ride along the Vineyard Loop.  The sunset was really striking, as it often is during the winter.  I wish I'd stopped to get a photo. 

But I had work to do.  The goal was 30 miles at 18mph, but I ended going a bit father and a little faster.  I think Coach keeps the minimum speeds a little lower at night for safety, so it's kind of like a "Resume Safe Speed" sign when I get out into the country.

Here are the stats:

Route:  As above.
Dist:  30.00mi (measured for training purposes, actual miles = 37)
Time:  1:31.02
Avg:  19.7mph
RPE: I would say 16, for the most part.

Next up:  Big Saturday ride, 50 miles at a smokin' pace.  I would like to submit a preliminary 'ouch.'

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Workin' for the weekend.

I'm getting a little fatigued of the cold, blustery night rides.  Don't get me wrong, I love our City Loop and the camaraderie is beyond compare.  And those who know me will confirm that I am sucker for cool technology like LED cycling lights.  Still, a little sunshine and temps over 35 wouldn't hurt.  I would like to feel my toes again.

That's why I'm looking forward to this weekend.  Two sunny days with temps in the 50s!  Bring on the miles!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The snow came in, and the race went out...out the window that is.  The promoter sent us emails very early on Saturday morning indicating the course was not safe due to snow and ice.  I could believe him, as we saw several folks in cars sliding off the road Friday night as the snow came down. 

So, knowing I needed to get some miles in I rocked a quick modified city loop on Saturday afternoon before heading to Dr. Rob's.  Rob was hosting a get-together as we're seeing off our buddy Scott.  Scott is an original CLM gangsta, so his departure is not altogether pleasant.  The upshot is that he is moving to Spain for work, and has invited us to visit soon and often.  Score.

The mod-CL was nice for a few reasons.  First, I finally broke through the 20mph avg for a solo ride >20 miles.  Throughout my training, Coach has pushed me to beak this particular barrier at increasingly lengthy distances and I've failed to do so at any distance!  With the wind whipping first in my face and then as a tailwind, I managed 20.5mph over 25 miles in the city.  Whew. 

Today, I wanted something longer and easier given that yesterday was a short sufferfest.  The weekend goal had been to race (snowed out!), so Coach and I patched together these two workouts to keep me on track as best we could.  I joined a pretty quick group heading out from Lewisville at noon.  We rolled for nearly 50 miles keeping a pace near 19mph.  Not too fast, and certainly not too stressful considering the size of the group (around 14). 

Coming back up Powerline Hill, a fellow stick boy (Kyle) launched from the group, so another anti-gravity fella (Doug) and I followed.  About halfway up, my two compatriots fell victim to the beast that is Powerline and her two-pronged attack.  I used the remaining 500 meters to practice attacking on shorter hills - per the rumors I've heard about the Battenkill route.

Once back into my known routes outside of Lewisville, the pace increased significantly.  Turbo Hill was again the Great Decider, as our trio from Powerline reformed.  This time, we stuck together and made our way back to Lewisville with a good gap on the remaining crew.  In the last 10 miles, we increased our average from 18mph to 18.9mph.  We were moving.

Still hunched over bikes in the parking lot, someone reminded me that it's still Winter, and I smiled just a little bit.  "Yeah, it is."

Here are a few pics...I particularly like the dumpster sign advising one not to live in it.