Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Race Bike is Officially....Heavier?

In preparation for the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek I decided it's time to get my you know what in gear and do this thing right. Bike is getting all prepped tubeless and tweaked out so my position is spot on. And I broke out the magical Bonk frame protecting adhesive strips to ensure that my ride stays in nice shape. That stuff is great as any little abrasions or scrapes that would normally mar the frame do that to the plastic film. Then the frame stays all pretty and nice for the next owner :-) It's really great stuff as it takes some time to apply but once it's set it's solid and you don't have to worry about it. When you're done it comes off almost as easily as you've applied it. It's one little time consuming task that really pays off if you take your time.

So with that said, the bike is all taken care of and the next task it to get the rest of my junk together so I can take this nice week+ off and enjoy NOT being home. This winter has been pretty nice but I haven't been on a road trip since late December and it's time to roam again. I'm planning on spending a few days near Raleigh with my teammate Aaron to take in some of the local dirty goodness, hit up the 6WC and take in some good calories and good brew as well. After that stint I'm going to be a little nomadic as I'll go to Roanoke or Harrisonburg or ??? I'm not too sure yet but it'll be fun to point the car in a direction and go.

At the end of the break will be a nice little home grown event that has no name or no details but I will be in attendance and I will thrash all that enter. Or I'll at least attempt and throw up on them :-) And on that note - I also think that my cold is finally subsiding as I've taken some rest and recovery days and am getting closer to feeling like my old self. That's a great sign with the promise of a nice 6 hour race coming up and a bunch of days to wander and be healthy. It would be absolutely no fun if sick and I don't want to spend my break in bed. F-That...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'll be illin in NC yo!

Hopefully not literally illin - but it's very possible at this point. I met up with my coach this morning with a few teammates to administer a lactic threshold test to see if any of my numbers should change for this year. We all did the same test on the same loop and with the same process. Go ALL OUT for this 10 mile course that was almost totally flat. You start out hard and discredit the first 6 minutes due to the excitability factor and then pick the average HR from the remainder of the test. I've been fighting some congestion this past week so I wondered if it would have any effect on my efforts or if it was something that would just be annoying for the time being.

Last year I had my HR pegged at around 180-182 the entire time and I felt like I should have. The heart rate responded well and I felt like I left it all out there. This time - not so much. I started out ok and it hurt right off the bat. The HR jumped up to my threshold(177) which was good since it indicated that my warm up worked. But from there it was frustrating. I would get my HR up to my threshold and push through it but it would only stay there for a second and then drop below my threshold. Repeat this time and time again. I would even get out of my saddle momentarily and the hr would rise over threshold and then settle back under my threshold. ANNOYING. I felt like I could go harder the whole time but my heart was not responding. I just didn't have it. Seems like the cold has an effect that I was hoping wouldn't be an issue.

So the prescription for the upcoming week is to take Monday and Tuesday totally off to try and kick this bug I have, and recover in time for the 6 hours of Warrior Creek. Either way it will be nice to get out of Jersey and have some fun on actual DIRT!!! I'm looking forward to getting away and getting off of my grid at least and throw my tent somewhere randomly in the woods and enjoying my time off.

From what I've heard this event will be an absolute blast. It's my first time down there and from what I've heard from my buddies Aaron or Brent or have read thanks to Dicky - it should be a great time whether I do well or not. The dirty, bermy, flowy goodness sounds great considering Wednesday may be my first day to actually ride on dirt this year. I can't wait. The Superfly is coming off the wall and it's currently getting all setup to throw down or throw up. The next week will decide which option that I select :-)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Century #2 Done, Cold #1 In Progress

After Saturday's two races I was admittedly exhausted, so what better thing to do than a Sunday century! It seemed good beforehand but not exactly afterwards. I knew I had this cold coming on and thought it would just be a hinderance but it seems it's more than that.

I started out Sunday with my legs feeling a little sluggish - which was to be expected. As my teammates and I started wandering the wonderful backroads of sussex county I felt them come back under me and start feeling good once again. This was a blessing since my head didn't feel any better. I felt this sort of dehydration headache with some fogginess that was just annoying. Anyway I put it behind me and just kept on riding. Some 6 hours and 6 minutes later I arrived back at my car after ticking off just over 100 miles and enjoyed an amazing day. So amazing that I got my first share of sunburn for the year! It's a nice little reminder for sunscreen for sure :-)

So after that nice ride I was hoping to get some rest and nope... That didn't happen. I had too much going on since I was going to a concert later that evening. So I gathered all my stuff for the evening and did some chores and spent all of the time that I should have used for sleeping. Oh well - sometimes you've gotta live life while it's in front of you eh?

So that brings me back to Monday where I was totally incapacitated. I went to work and was an absolute zombie. All I could thing about was sleeping and overdosing on airborne :-). Chicken soup, hydrating, etc... whatever would get me back in the game. So that brings me back to yesterday where I didn't feel well enough to do much but sleep, chill, recover and get a little spin in to help the legs and maybe clear out some of the congestion.

So today is day #5 of the cold and things are looking up. I feel MUCH more rested and just a little congestion. And for those that are asking about working out...it's all in my head so I should be fine with getting workouts in. If anything, it's just annoying at this point. So tonight's trainer spin should be a good indication of where I am and hopefully I'm on the upside of this thing as I get closer and closer to my spring break. Only 8 more days until I jump in the car and head for NC!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First and Second Race of the Season Done!

Earlier in the week I was chatting with my coach and we discussed a road race in Branch Brook Park in Newark NJ. They had a nice early 4/5 race that sounded good, and as we got to talking, we decided that there was a second 4/5 race I could do. So why not do both? Sounded good in theory right? That is until I woke up this morning with not enough sleep and feeling like I was hungover. And I didn't really drink last night... That's odd. I just had a slight headache and felt achey all over. This was just what I wanted with two races ahead. If it was any other morning and I had not preregistered, I probably would have stayed in bed. But I didn't want to waste the money so I manned up and set out for the race.

I pulled into the park at 6am and got a close spot and started to get my stuff together. I wasn't sure what to wear as it can be deceptive at times but it soon became evident that I didn't need much. It turned out to be a great morning as all that were needed was shorts and a short sleeve jersey and some arm warmers. I was prepared for a sub zero start just in case. It was going to be a sweet day. Too bad I didn't feel better so I could enjoy it more!

Both 4/5 races were pretty decent. I felt good pace-lining and when the effort kicked up I was good in the pack. I kept looking for lines surging to the front and kept myself out of trouble for "most" of the time. I was all over the place as the group was constantly surging. There were some SKETCHY riders in there. I think the nice weather brought out some tools for sure. I've never had to lock my brakes up so many times since the jerks in front of me just seemed to stop. People weren't holding their lines and just anxious riding at best. The sketchyness definitely showed in the sprint for the finish as 5 or so guys went down in front of me and I had to do some evasive maneuvering and bunny hop a curb. I had to surf the dirt/grass and then hop back on the pavement to try and save some positions which didn't happen since I lost most of my momentum. So I probably finished somewhere in the 30's out of 50. Check out the video and look for me in the red and blue kit on the left hopping the curb :-)

Branchbrook race series, crash scene from Ilya C. on Vimeo.

For the second race it was much more tame and downright sluggish at times. No one wanted to push the pace and on the last lap the group was neutralized as the 35+ group was coming through which left me with some cold legs going into the last lap. I tried to set myself up well but my legs are just missing the top end. I felt fine with tempo riding up to threshold and then once I went over that I was just flat. I held on to what I could and think I was 15th of about 30 in race #2.

The best part of the day were the bag of animal crackers I downed in between races. They were amazing!!! All in all still a great day. Nice enough where I got home and slept for 3 hours as I woke up feeling like crap and still feel crappy. I think I'm in denial that a cold hit last night into this morning. I'm going to try and ride it out of my system. Either that or overdose on airborne.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Mad One is Revived!

And all I can say is WOW. My Madone has been sitting pretty on the wall for the past few months as I was decided what to do with her. It's been on Ebay twice and just not getting the response I would have liked so she's still here. I've been riding my heavy steel Lemond Reno for the last - who knows how many months. I jumped on the Madone to see if it's all ready to go for my first race(and second) of the season this weekend at Branch Brook Park.

I pumped up the tires and lubed the chain and off I went. The first thing I noticed was the nice crisp shifting. Amazing compared to my other ride. As I got into the hills, they just flew by. The less rotational mass in the wheelset vs. my other heavy winter wheelset was VERY noticeable. It seemed to be like I was riding a power assisted bike. And to top it off the frame is so stiff yet compliant it's amazing. I feel spoiled when I ride that thing.

What more could I ask for as it was a gorgeous day, and I got out for a sweet 62 mile ride. I rode from Parsippany up to West Milford on some nice roads to do my efforts and just had a really nice time soaking up the sun and actually riding in shorts today. I gotta start working on those sweet tan lines early! What a nice day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

3 Weeks to Go!!!

So with three weeks to go until Warrior Creek I sit here debating what to do today since the monsoon has hit. The snowstorms were nice since I could still get out and ski or ride through the snow but rain just blows... There's no way of getting around it. My weekend was supposed to be a 5.5 hour ride today and a 2.5 hour ride tomorrow. In anticipation of the rain I did get out and rode extra on Monday and Thursday to get my miles in and not have to do a long road ride in this mess. Of course that means that regardless I still have to get out tomorrow for a nice rainy ride. At least the roads will be free of salt and my steel LeMond can breathe a sigh of relief as the frame will stay intact a while longer.

So tomorrow morning I will be getting a few hours in to cap off a nice build week before heading into the city to catch a show. I might as well make a good weekend of it regardless. As training progresses - it's been an amazing year thus far. Consistency is still the name of the game. I'm over 30 hours ahead of last year and almost double the mileage. Of course with all this base training I've been itching to open it up and feel the early gains. A few of my teammates and I did a nice 70 miler last weekend up to Bear Mountain and did a few hill repeats. On the one repeat I decided to blow it out a little and just open my legs up. It felt GOOD!!! Working on my form, power transfer, and HR intensities have made all early indications point to a great upcoming season. Even in my local training rides I just feel quicker and that my endurance is increasing. I've done some pretty hefty back to back rides and in the past I'd feel pretty drained on day two and that really hasn't happened this year. That's awesome - especially since I'd like to start transitioning to stage racing in the next year or two. Good things ahead.

And to keep on the diet and weight update, things are going well there too. I hit the scale this morning and I hit a new low - 149.8 lbs. I've been doing well in general with my diet as far as cutting excess calories and keeping down the sweets. Well except for my couple of dinners this past week or so at the Cheesecake Factory, Applebees, and Hooters. I gotta treat myself a little bit right? :-) So that goal of racing at 152 this year seems like it needs to be revised as it is definitely possible and racing at mid to high 140's. As they say, it's all about power to weight ratio right?

From what I've heard of riding reports, the trails down in NC are in decent shape which will make for a great early race and start to my spring break. Trails will still be mushy here for at least a week or so now. So I'm looking forward to hitting that dirt stuff again. I was going to break out the singlespeed for the 6 hours if it was muddy but it looks like it will be the debut for my superfly. I guess I should actually get on that thing one of these days and set it up for racing. That will be part of the process in the next 3 weeks. And set it up tubeless and whatever other details I have to hammer out. Either way, I'm getting excited!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

6 hours of Warrior Creek is coming...

Well now it's just under a month away (Apr 3) and I'm getting really psyched for this event. In the northeast we've been BURIED under a sweet blanket this year so I've been relegated to the roadie and hitting the slopes. I'm not complaining at all as it's been great. The dirt would certainly be nice to get back to though. And with all of the storms the east coast has I know NC was not spared but should be in MUCH better shape than my area by that time. If all the precipitation would stop now the trails might shape up by then but it's not looking good. Especially with my brand new Superfly('09) sitting on the wall, I'm not in a rush to trash every moving part and rebuild it for my 2nd ride ever :-)

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that conditions will be nicer down south, and when in doubt, I'll bring out the singlespeed. The 6 hours of Warrior Creek will be nice as it's Easter weekend and that starts my spring break. So I'll wander down to Wilkesboro and enjoy the race and then let my wandering continue. As of now I'm debating between a few ideas: continue riding in the area(Raleigh, Pisgah, Boone), or go to West Virginia to get some sport climbing in, or actually relax for once in maybe Myrtle Beach SC or just go for it and have fun in Florida? I'll have to let myself debate this one and see what I'm feeling as I get a little closer. Either way it should be a great break.