Monday, March 30, 2009

One big long ride

I got my first century in a couple years in over the weekend. In the past couple years, I haven't had the time or inclination to do one since most of my races have been anywhere from 15 to 60 miles. But I'm busy flogging myself back into shape. The weight is coming down and I'm starting to feel stronger. We got a 102 miler in on Saturday and almost another 50 on Sunday. My knee was playing up a bit from it all since the pedals on the cross bike just don't give me the same float as the trusty old Sampson's do. This weekend followed up a 20 miler on Friday after work in the Johnstown area. I managed more than 2000ft of climbing in that distance so the weekend wound up being a good one for me. I'm now beginning to feel a bit confident for the upcoming races we'll be hitting, the first being Tyson's Corner circuit race. There'll be big packs and most importantly, for the first time in a few years, there'll be a full squad there for our team. We usually hit our stride in May and June so everyone is getting going a bit earlier this year. This will follow the first Wednesday night Hammerfest in Morgantown. I have a teammate a bit incensed with me since we had a little team email list discussion about the merits of spinning versus mashing. Adam is a hell of a good time trialist and road racer, certainly much stronger than myself particularly when the course tilts upwards. He'll be looking to 'prove' his method is better by making me suffer during the ride. I'll just be calm during the hills but for the sprints, I think I'll take him on and see just how strong he is right now. It's when I get to the sprints that I can do the sit-down high spin sprints that I've favored over the past years after a few nasty spills in sprints took some of the leg mashing out of me. I've actually come to like sprinting in the saddle and have noticed that when you come rolling past another rider and they're up out of the saddle, wagging the bike around for all its worth and they see you winding the pedals still seated, it often takes the wind right out of their sails. If I'm having to go through traffic at the finish of a race, I find it also lets me move around with a lot more control. I'm hoping I'm ready for Tyson's. We don't have a specific team leader but I'm hoping the cards fall in my direction. If not, I can screw up the front of the pack pretty well. That's what I like about our squad. All of us are capable of winning on any given day. It just comes down to how we play our cards in the race. We'll try to race a team strategy, but as von Moltke said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” We'll go, race and see what happens. GO TEAM!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The season is getting closer...

Well, finally, the racing season is at hand. After a lackluster winter where I totally missed my goals on training, I'm finding that I feel like I'm going fairly well. I was able to do a high rpm low gear ride for 3 hours on the road and even climb some of the hills at a reasonable clip for this time of year. After a quick cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun, I pulled the mtb out for a couple hours at Baker's Ridge. The group again was small, but because of that, the stragglers weren't holding us back and we kept up a steady hard pace for almost a couple hours. After an effort like that, I was expecting to feel totally wrecked today, but I got up and aside from feeling a bit stiff, I'm not feeling that bad. With the first race coming up in a week, I feel like I'm just about ready for the season. This weekend's race will be interesting because it will be the first time that I'll be racing against mtb riders at my level where the race is a single speed race. I've competed against the vets fields in the WVMBA series but had my single speed versus their gears. Usually that puts me a minute or two down right from the gun. I can make it back through and on some of the days, even hit the podium or close to it, but it is really tough. The real MTBers can tell I'm a cross rider since I'm likely to hop off the bike and run with it a bit to get over some of the tougher sections. I usually look at it as being able to get through it faster rather than not having the real skills. All I can say is that it'll be interesting to see where I stack up against the others when we're racing the same type of bike.