Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Checking in from the snowy side of life

Heya bike racers

I've recently gotten back from a trip to Switzerland, for a world cup in ski-orienteering. I wrote a lot about it on my blog, so you can check it out there, but basically, it was a fantastic trip. Blue sky, lots of snow, croissants for breakfast and Swiss chocolate for breakfast's dessert; it doesn't get much better in terms of setting. I was staying with five other Americans in an old farmhouse that had been remodeled, and it even had a place to wax skis.

Unfortunately, the racing didn't go that well. The first race was a sprint, and although I made no mistakes navigating, the jetlag and altitude collaborated to make me ski at something closer to 30k pace than 3k pace. The second day would have gone a little better, but I ended up missing four controls, which disqualified me. This second day of racing was one of the most physically challenging courses I have ever been on, between the massive amount of climb and technical descending, there was no place to rest. Add to that 44 controls, as opposed to the usual 20-25, and you're mentally as exhausted as you are physically by the time you're done. It was a brute of a course.

racing with a mapholder.

A view.
Thursday was a day off, so we took a tram up to this hotel on top of a mountain, rented sleds, and went screaming down 2100ft of vertical in about 15 minutes. At one point, it got too steep, and there was a 90 degree corner at the end of this pitch, so I bailed, and watched my partner go flying off a cliff. Luckily, it was a small cliff. Friday was the middle distance race, and I finally felt like I was skiing hard, but I made a lot of mistakes in my navigation, putting me about six minutes further back that I could have been with a clean run. Saturday was the relay, and my only good race of the week. Unfortunately, I was on a mixed relay, so my good race didn't count for anything. Too bad, but at least I had a good time and learned a ton. My next world cup will hopefully go much more smoothly! If you're completely confused how ski-o works, I wrote something up here, but feel free to ask questions. Its a fascinating sport, but somewhat more confusing than just racing around a loop once or twice.

This is the sprint map. Its the most detailed (smallest scale) of the maps. The start is at the triangle, and the finish is at the double circle. Competitors must go to all the controls in order.

A recent sprint race.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Across the pond...

The IBC colors were recently flown over in Belgium at the Masters World Cyclocross Championships.

Insane. Crazy. Fun.

The course was a sweet cyclo-cross course, but very different.
You like sand? They got sand.
you like fast? They got that, too.

For some video (which I can't embed here) check out my posting at

Monday, January 21, 2008

I.F. Racing Trainer Nights at IBC

Another way to drag yourself out of the winter cycling doldrums:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bored of your trainer yet?

Tired of sitting on the trainer doing hours of slow, endurance riding? Ready to shoot your TV if have to watch more Seinfeld re-runs, or watch NECN weather telling you it's gonna snow until June? Lets face it, this time of year can be a drag. Less light, and more hours inside means really having to be more time efficient if you want to build that base up, and be ready for the spring races. These two articles are on Sweet Spot Training. I thought i'd throw them out there.

these can be done indoors or outdoors, but if you're like me and have no tolerace for much more than an hour and a half on the trainer, these can be a great way to build volume and intensity without dragging yourself too deep in the hole. they are a tolerable alternative to long indoor rides, keep you interested, can be done multiple days in a row, and most important of all, get you fit.

Has Wells ave started yet?!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How to Recruit a New Team Member

Well, putting the hurt on Mike seemed to do the trick.  He joined our merry master's band.  We should have fun on the hill races!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Three Climbers, 4,500 ft of Elevation, 45 miles, 45 degrees

Well, we all thought yesterday would be the pick of the days, but today was pretty nice.  Richard saved himself for today, son of a gun.  Mike Harris from NEBC was along for the ride.  We rode from Richard's to Wachusett and back up the long hard way from Sterling through Princeton.  I think we averaged 375 watts plus for the 9 miles to the top of the Fitchburg Road course.  I ended up at 220 watts average, 265 normalized.  Damn hard for an old fart.  Loads of fun.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

3 road boyz & 3 trackies round' the Res

50 degrees & wet & sandy roads....Perfect morning for a spin! The road boyz, Kevin, Richard & John, gathered at Richards in Bolton to log some extra milage over to my house in Lancaster. Trackies Mike, Greg P (future IBC trackie) & 55+ Gear Works track man, Greg B opting for the 2 hr ride. We decided to head counter clockwise around Wachusett Res (read...we need to keep this as flat as possible to have a chance to hang with the roadies) With Richard & Kevin on the front riding up the hill (500+w) towards our rte 12 destination the local Lancaster P.D. reminded us that we are to ride single file. Thanks...That took me outta the red zone & slowed the group down! We had a great ride with Richard, Kevin & John doing all the work guiding us around the Res at a somewhat reasonable pace. They were kind enough to wait at the top of the hills and let us take a few town lines along the way. I finshed at 222w normalized power with a max of 1502w / 133rpm's at the Sterling town line. Nice way to finish off my rest week! John, Kevin & Richard are heading for the hills tomorrow & heading up to Wachusett. Have fun guys, I'll be at Essential Therapies in Bolton getting my massage...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sixty degree riding in January

As one of my daughters used to say in middle school, OMG, what a day for a bike ride!!!!  I just want to pass along a piece of knowledge that 30 years of riding has taught me:  Riding in 60 degree weather is a lot more fun than riding in 20 degree weather--almost no matter what.   Think about it.  It's really true.  Two hours, 220 watts avg., no gloves, no hat, and only legwarmers because of the snow run-off.  Heaven.  

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Master's Ride

The Masters team had a nice ride this morning down in the Blackstone Valley.  Forty-one miles with a careful eye out for the ice.   We had six of us and put together a pretty hard early season ride. I averaged 200 watts, 253 normalized.  No pics and nobody's future mother-in law about to do a face plant.  I came home and slept through the Rutger's game.  I went w/o the snow tires since they are like a 50 watt resistance unit.  Hoping not to need them for the next week or so.  Weather looks great.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Studded Tires and Power Output

Well I rode with Kevin Young this morning w/ the studded snows.  I took the inside the whole time and had no problem with the ice.  Very reassuring.  The only problem was that my average power was 200 watts and Kevin's was 150, despite his being being 8% heavier than me. Good thing I was looking to do some work and he was on a recovery day.  I do recommend them for solo rides early with frozen snow run-off.  For non-solo rides, you're going to do a lot more work.  All in all somewhere between a novelty item and a nice extra for a spare set of wheels. You'll need a 'cross bike for them.