Monday, April 30, 2007

Dirt is for........ potatos?

Ya....... No.

I have come down with a sickness called SS fever. the only cure I know of is to just ride it out :)

I started riding off road way..... way...... back. A thing called BMX in the late 70's early 80's. My first MTB was a Raleigh with suntour thumb shifters that my Mom and I bought at a bike store on Stanyan St. in the Haight. It was dark blue and had the big chrome 1 pc. handle bars. I really wanted the Ross but it was to much $$.

I loved that thing. I only had it for maybe a year and then it got stolen. Took me awhile to get a replacement but did. By then it was like 1990 and technology was getting pretty good. My buddy Jim convinced me that clip-less (SPD) pedals were the shit and I got up to speed with them in no time. Then he somehow got me to try, (gasp) spandex! I fought it for the longest time. Once I had tried it though, I was sold. I have had a lot of friends in the past that helped me along the way in using new stuff or pushing me performance wise. Into the 90's I used to work in Marin and I was doing night rides and bomber runs in China Camp and Mt. Tam on the trails that are now all off limits. I never thought I would look back and say...oh the "good ol times" but they really were....

I had a super solid group of guys to ride with that pushed me every ride. Once I "found the single speed" or did it find me? I was off and running. Back then you had to have it made and some friends at what was once Stanyan Cyclery on Haight had a Diamond Back Ascent "modified" for me. I rode that thing with a ridged fork and just started killing it. My descending skills were always front of the pack, probley from years of motocross riding and then I started climbing like a madman and had a very wicked spin. A little clue, when riding a SS off road, you can only go "so" fast. Go to slow on the climbs and your walking. Big motivation to turn those pedals over even if it's 35 rpm! I am beginning to think that's were my decent sustainable power has come from. This is also part of the reason I am focusing on the SS this summer and will hit as many MTB events as I can. I will still do the RR thing, love the speed yo! but something about the dirt is calling me in my soul. I must heed the call and will try to get as many of my teammates and friends on the bandwagon as possible.....

Yes... I'm on a mission ...

a mission from potato's...............

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tue port ride in O Town

It's on.....

I went to the port ride tonight, there were a couple of close calls but I still had a pretty good time. We had 5 Fusion guys there and probley a total of around 55-60 riders were in attendance. After the MTB race Sunday, I was not sure how I would feel but things were OK for the most part. I had a slightly high resting HR this morning (53) so today was a test of sorts. legs....good, breathing....good, recovery after hard efforts... a bit slow but not slow enough to get dropped off the group. I'm on the rebuild and it feels good. I will stay on the plan for the coming days leading up to Cat's Hill. If I can ride the curve I will be good for C.H. How good? we'll have to wait and see.....

Good Power Tap data tonight....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Guilty Pleasures....

Napa Valley Dirt Classic

Geoff and I Chilling...
Expert Class/ Single Speed
Results: 3rd place /Time 1:45:05 / 22 miles
Well..... I had planned to do the Wente Crits on Sunday. I changed my mind and bagged the crits and headed up to Angwin to do the NVDC. I did it last year for the first time and it was the first MTB race I had done in years. What a classic course! It has it all really and not one to miss. I raced Open SS last year and got 5th with a time of 1:48. I didn't know what class I would be able to ride in as they now had it separated into Pro/ Expert/ Sport. My license has been sport for ever but I felt I would be sandbagging the sport class and tried to up grade my licence before hand but it wasn't done in time. So I went up there planning to get into Expert but the bottom line was I just wanted to race, whatever class they put me in.
I got a ride up with Geoff and we got there in plenty of time to reg and hang out and shoot the shit with a bunch of riders from either road or CX which was nice and it was sunny! I managed to reg into the Expert class without any problems and I got suited up for the warm up.
I found out the other night my 29'er won't fit on the trainer so I rode laps on the finish "track" for a bit and did 2 "starts" up the start hill. Oh not so good. I guess not riding the last 3 days might put me in the pain box off the blocks but I knew I would recover and get better as the race went on.
The SS starts must be the funniest thing ever to watch. A bunch of guys furiously peddling at over 100 rpm going nowhere fast.. LOL I had a front row start and held good position up to the "hike a bike" section which was super slick, even though I had the toe spikes on the shoes, it was difficult. I got over the top and was now chasing Pat and it looked like I was maybe in 5th place.
OK... I had Pat and another SS guy right ahead and I focused on a smooth spin and steady breathing. I knew from last year that attrition plays a big part in this race as there are 2 steep climbing sections near the end of the race and if I could stay strong I had a good chance of reeling guys back.
After 20 min or so we start getting into some of the Pro women which wasn't a problem. Not long after that though we got into the tight single track and passing was more of a problem. Pat and the other rider, a Sycip guy, got around a slower rider at a crucial point and I got blocked. The rider in front of me was trying to get out of the way but there was nowhere to go really, so I watched as my 2 competitors speed away in the forest. By the time I had got around the guy I had to contend with another and I had now lost sight of my rabbits. Boo.
I now had some clear trail and started to dial it up and started getting into a groove. This place had epic switch backs and I kept telling my self to keep the pace up and not daydream about the beautiful scenery. About and hour + into the race I am now feeling opened up and firing on all cylinders.
I kept the pace as high as I could (on a SS ) and when we started to get close to the first big hill I caught back up to Pat. this gave me a big boost as I knew I was making time not loosing it. I managed to catch another guy and then another on the steepest part of the climb, of course we are both pushing or bikes, I was just able to push a little quicker :) This guy and I ended up locked in a solid battle for the last 10 Min of the race. He hit the big flat section about 50 meters or so ahead of me but I knew he was running a shorter gear than I and if I maintained 100 rpm I would real him in. It was turning into a slow-mo battle for the last podium spot. I caught on a bit before the nasty hike a bike section we went up earlier but now we got to go down....
I got in front of him and then hesitated for a second and he jumped and took the lead. Got to give the guy credit he nailed it down the slick clay mud decent. Once I was over and could sight a line I let go the brakes and kept him close. Now we're at less than a km to go and I had him in my sights. Across the flat meadow and heading into the big mud pit I was right on his wheel. We enter the track and people were yelling quite a bit. He tried to drop me on the track and pushed it until about the halfway point and realized I was not going anywhere and he sat up. I coasted alongside and we knowingly smiled at each other. I went to the front wanting to get the jump. I knew with a bit taller gear if I jumped he wouldn't be able to come around me. So with about a 100 meters to go I jumped ahead and held the gap to the finish for 3rd.
What a fantastic race. My goal for the day was to just try to break my time from last year, finish as far up the leader board as possible and above all have fun. I shattered my time by almost 4 min which is really quite alot. The SS guys are so frikin cool. Very, very... cool guys. Props all around. I love this race, the venue, and my SS, her name's Rita if you didn't know and she's got long sexy legs and likes red. What a sweetheart. I feel great and am out the door for a nice road ride in the Monday sun.
Get out and ride!
Gotta love a dirty girl!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Marin..... rocks

Went for a great ride last Monday. I ran into Tony on the way to Paradise. we stopped, had some coffee and he rode with me until we parted ways. I did the same ride as last week but the opposite direction. Lucas Valley/ San Geronimo/ White's home was a bit harder than last. Stats for the ride--143 km/ 5:15 . The weather was once again fantastic! Sunny Monday rides are great. Even managed a nice little lunch in Marin with Mom. Another bonus, less traffic for sure...... A few pic's

From Tiburon... looking at Sausalito and the City.
Top of Lucas Valley at the "Rock" heading West.

I'm planning on racing the Wente crit but we'll see how the weather turns out for Sunday.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

New beginings and old friends...

I started working at Lombardi Sport as the service manager, in the bike department last week, if you didn't know already. I also am heading back to collage starting in May! Big changes.... I really liked working at Bianchi , the guys were great and I had some good experiences and met some really cool people. The commute however, was less than stellar (about and hour ea. way). I forgot how much time it bleeds away from your day. I am back to the 10 min walking commute and live is good.

I have plenty of time to ride in the morning and then go to work. On Thursday I did the Headlands loop on the SS and felt great. If you've never ridden out in the Marin open space, your missing out. I know there are a lot of great riding spots up and down the coast but for me at least, there is a spiritual re-charge value that I can't explain. Whatever it was that derailed me before the Ronde weekend seems to have passed and I'm feeling good about that.

I have to admit that I do really like working in a shop environment. Fixing things has always been a natural ability and I generally like to help people. The cubicle/ office thing is o.k. but it's nice to see people once in awhile and not be on the phone 24/7 and staring at a computer screen.

Gorgeous morning in the Marin Headlands

Bianchi USA in Hayward(old office)

Lombardi Sport (new office)

At least the new office has a window! LOL........ Peace~

Monday, April 09, 2007

Good Times

Coffee stop at the Java Hut

I went for a fantastic solo ride today. I'm finally feeling like I turned the corner on whatever it was that was dragging me down the last week or so... I felt good on the bike today and although tired when I got home, I wasn't in any pain and it was that "good and tired" feeling of something accomplished. It was sunny and cool when I left for Marin and warmed up somewhat once up North a bit. The loop as follows: SF/ Fairfax, over Whites Grade, back Lucas Valley/ China Camp/ Paradise.... home. 135 Km in 4:52.
China Camp rest area

I have been playing with a new toy, a Power Tap that is and I can say after a few days of riding with it, I can see why using just HR values, really only gives you half the story, that is.... if your a data whore like myself. Want to go fast? Pedal faster or harder... but you gotta pedal.

Rollers can show you how utterly sloppy you can be..... Big thing I noticed right away was the Power Tap shows how much "non" pedaling your doing out on a ride. Pacing is way easier using power than speed, much like using HR % instead of straight BPM. I never knew what speed I was going all day and I ended up posting quite a good avg speed considering the wind and traffic.

Most important thing was I had a really GOOD ride. I felt in sync with the bike and I had no problems throughout the day. I stopped for a snack at China Camp and just enjoyed the day... Long solo rides are sometimes good for the soul and today was one of those days, ticking off the km's just seems to dissolve pains, worries and general stress and I remembered why it is I ride.

I love it....riding. Pretty simple really......

Flying down the road, legs like pistons turning over the gears and the wind in your face.

Umm, ya coffee good....

Lucas Valley

Power Tap data.

Pretty interesting......

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bike racing......

Day 2 Elite 4 group at the start for the crit.
One thing I have learned from bike racing is that it's not for the faint of heart or weak minded. There are more ups and downs than the stock market. This last weekend did not go so well for me. I DNF'd both days. The pace was not faster than races I have done and while I might not have been in contention for a top place, in normal conditions I should have finished with the group.
What happened you say? I wish I had a definitive answer and have been asking myself the same question. Over trained? no..resting HR well within normal. Only thing I can think is my stomach was quite unhappy leading into the weekend and I suspect it might have had something to do with possibly picking up a stomach bug and/ or too much Ibuprofen. I hardy ever take the stuff but after the last 3 weeks of solid racing my legs and back were a bit sore! Hey I'm not a spring chicken anymore! Bottom line is I am on a rest week and next, with no racing until Wente weekend, unless I bounce back and start feeling good before hand.
I did get to see my guys in the E4 race do a great job of working together. Cullen strung the group out on the last lap and set up Tyron for the sprint which he placed 3rd in a very close top 3. Good stuff guys!