This past Sunday I took a ninety mile ride with two local hard men, Jan and Ryan; I knew that I'd need to fuel up during the ride and since I try to avoid prepackaged "energy" bars, goos, gels, blocks and the like I tried out some chocolate waffles. These bad boys were killer.
An internet search on "chocolate waffle recipe" yielded all manner of complicated recipes calling for buttermilk or six beaten egg whites, dude these are waffles not a soufflé, keep it simple stupid. Finally I found a "mix all this stuff up and pour it onto a heated waffle iron" recipe. The recipe called for way too much butter so I did a little modifying and came up with:
1/2 cup melted butter
4 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
Mix it all up, pour it onto a greased waffle iron close, wait a while and out pops a sturdy, energy filled snack.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Steve, Chad and myself all loaded up into Z’s Ford for drive down to Buckley for the Kermesse race directed by our team mate Michael Pruitt. A kermesse is a mulit-lap bicycle race that incorporates both paved and gravel sections – kind of a hybrid between criterium racing and cyclocross. Most racers choose to compete on road racing machines equipped with heavier, more puncture resistant, and oftentimes wider than usual tires. I elected to ride some old 25mm Continental Gatorskins that have been lurking around the back of my garage. Tire pressure was a topic of wide discussion; I went with 80 psi.
I took two warm-up laps and was feeling pretty good about my tire selection – they tracked well through the loose gravel, I had no flats despite riding the gravel hard and I rolled good enough on the road. Three minutes into the race I got my front wheel flatted; remembering my flat at Ballard I wasn’t about to quit so I jogged the mile or so to the finish line (which wasn’t the start line) and got a neutral tire. I’d seen a lot of flats, and figured that I had a good chance to get back in the race by simply riding a steady ninety percent effort. On lap two I flatted – rear this time – in roughly the same spot as before so once again it’s run time.
By the time I made it to the pits there were no wheels, no tubes, no nothing so I dejectedly remounted my flat front wheel and began the two and a half mile walk back to the car. After ten minutes of walking I hit the pavement where the race director offered me a ride to the parking lot. Back at the lot I unlocked Z’s car and started to change clothes when I noticed the spare wheels Z had brought along. I popped on the two wheels and took off.
The question was should I wait for the pack to come around or would that be bad form. That’s what you do in crit races, but this is only an eight lap race, I figured I’d better get moving and perhaps the lead group would catch me. I rode until they officials told me to stop. I think I was only one lap down as I only saw the lead group once, but I did take a ride in a car so I figure my DNF is justified.
|Da Boyz post race- as bad as my kids with those phones|
Friday, June 20, 2014
Thursday, June 19, 2014
I now realize that I jumped the gun on replacing my trusted leather friends with this Giro pair as Knog is back in the glove biz. I know that they had stopped making gloves two years ago, but now they're back. My next pair of full-finger gloves will come from Knog - now I know what I want for my birthday.
These Giro's are dang nice though, but they'd better be as they come with a $65 price tag.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The points race at Pacific Raceways definitely brings a different flavor to your typical bike race: starting on the second lap points are awarded for the top finisher of each lap - two points for first and one for second. At the end of the race the winner is determined by who has the most total points and not by who first crossed the finish line on the bell lap. If you can sprint a points race is a good place to be.
We had a points race at PR last night and even though it was a smaller than usual turn-out (probably due to the big black clouds hanging overhead) there was no shortage of strong fast guys willing to push it to the line.
I’m neither a strong nor an experienced sprinter, and figured that pushing hard in a points race would be a good way to improve my skills. Early on I was sprinting from way way way too far back. On several occasions I was in the front up until the final twenty meters when I would literally be engulfed by sprinting cyclists. Okay lesson learned.
On the preem lap I grabbed the wheel of a big guy who I had tagged as a strong finisher, I had high hopes of him taking me all the way to the line, but he gassed early. I had no choice but to go around; I almost had that one but was nipped at the line.
I got a little impatient at the sprinter’s habit of crushing it at the line and then rolling down the straightaway waiting for someone to come up front to do some work, so finally I decided to attack shortly after the finish. I was attacking into a headwind, but what the heck it was worth a shot. I took off and thankfully along came a young guy who seemed pretty dang strong. After a short conversation we decided to work together and damn did we ever get really far off the front. Thanks be to my teammates who did some messing around at the front of the peloton.
As we approached the finish line my accomplice asked if I wanted to take the point, I said “no you take it.” He rolled first over the line, looked back and saw that we were still out front and said “now let’s get you a point.” I knew that the two guys from BikeSport could catch us if we didn’t work hard as a pair, so I took off and we managed to stay ahead for a second lap.
After the second lap my partner sat up and rode no-handed, I think he figured that the pack was on our tail and he’d let them catch us. I looked back and saw a big, albeit shrinking, gap and said “hey man let’s make ‘em work for it.” We drilled it for a while but we were finally absorbed.
A lap or two later one of my teammates rode away at about a kilometer from the finish and managed to hold onto his lead for a lap win. I continued to sprint for finishes and held my own but didn’t manage anymore top two placements.
I’m glad that I made the long drive down to Pacific Raceways, I now know that even though I’m not a super sprinter at least I can get in there and make a race of it – if I use my brain as much as I use my legs.
Monday, June 16, 2014
As I’ve mentioned before doing your own biz is a roller coaster ride: one minute you’re on top of the world thinking “hey man this might work,” and the next you’re in the dumpster wondering “why did I do this.” Late last week I was starting to feel a bit of the doldrums coming on, but thankfully I got a big shot in the arm on Saturday.
My LBS – Veloce Velo - carries my products and Saturday afternoon salesman/mechanic Erin called saying that a customer was interested in some shorts but that they didn’t have the right size. I threw a couple of pairs into the Subaru and drove to the store as quick as my four wheels would take me. Once at the store I met Mike and Lisa, a couple of technical mountain bikers. Mike was a pretty buff guy and it was good to see some muscle amongst the usually anemic biker crowd. Lisa was buying Mike a father’s day gift and we got him into a pair of shorts.
“I love these shorts, I’m going to spread the word.” That is awesome. It’s a total rush when people see your stuff and appreciate what you’ve put your heart into.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Twenty five years of endurance sports has taught me how to pace myself, to avoid blowing up, to met out the effort, to get to the finish line intact. None of these skills has anything to do with criterium-style bicycle racing.The only activity that I can think of that compares to the steady thrill and mental focus of crit racing is possibly automobile racing. Even auto racing is one step removed as it’s the driver and his machine, in bike racing the driver is the machine. Well the bike may be the cyclist’s machine, but the cyclist is the engine. In bike racing you don’t listen to the engine you feel the engine – it’s right there pounding in your chest, slightly to the left.
Anyway, the glories of bike racing isn’t really what I want to talk about in this post, but rather I’d like to focus on switching from slow and steady to hot and fast. This is my fourth year of bike racing, actually it’s my first year of bike racing; the previous three I was participant and not really a racer. The difference between a participant and a racer is significant.
The vast majority of adult-oriented athletics is participatory. “Hey I’m just happy to be here.” “Every finisher is a winner.” Very very few people who line up or a marathon, an Ironman a local triathlon, a standup paddleboard race step to the line intent on winning, instead they are out there to “do their best.” Because bike racing is divided into categories which match up folks of, at least theoretically, comparable abilities a much more competitive atmosphere develops. If you’re in it, you better be in it to win it.Well back to my original thought, which is making the transition from an all-day endurance athlete to a short all out I just might have a heart attack and die crit racer. It’s a big change; one that I feel like I’m finally starting to make.
In order to avoid injury I think that it’s important to log long steady base miles, but when the race season comes I’m finding that shorter harder training efforts give more bang for the buck. The short high intensity efforts also seem to have a side benefit of keeping me lean and as every bike racer will tell you weight is everything.
A lot of racers poo poo the idea of lifting weights thinking that the extra muscle mass will slow them down. This may be true when dealing with fifteen mile alpine climbs but when dealing with club racing lifting weights will only increase one’s strength-to-weight ratio. Also simply from a general health perspective, the average desk sitter needs to be doing some kind of weight training just to maintain a base level of physical fitness. Obviously dock workers and farmers are excluded as they basically lift weights for a living.
I try to get in two weight lifting sessions per week; I kind of have to shoehorn them in when possible as I don’t want to lift either the day before or the day after a race. Another thing I like to do when short on time is to follow a high intensity bike workout with the 7 Minute Workout on my Windows phone. I don’t know why they call a 20 minute session the 7 Minute Workout, but it takes 20 minutes, not 7.Cycling is not a weight bearing exercise and thus I think it’s important for cyclists, especially aging cyclist, to do some form of weight training.
High intensity bike sessions combined with weight training has seemed to produce super positive effects on my racing performance. I’m still not winning, but I am in the race.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
|Tats and cheap beer - that's mountain biking|
A couple of weeks ago Sam and I drove over to Riverside Park in Spokane for the Round and Round 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race. I was joining four of my Cucina Fresca Cycling teammates in the five-man 250+ (combined ages) group. The 250+ was the oldest age group, yet it was one of the most competitive categories, who says older means slower.
|Dave coming in hot|
We had a prime spot (quiet, good view of the course) next to the Grouphealth women, who had fielded five teams for this event. No wonder they are the number one women’s team in the country.
Matt Nuffort, the top age group finisher at Ironman Canada last summer, started us off with the LeMans start, and despite a major mechanical he finished the first lap in the money and we simply continued turning in hot lap after hot lap. All of our lap times were consistently at sixty to sixty five minutes – not bad for a fifteen mile technical course.
The course was dry and fast, with a lot of gladed riding between rocky ups and technical descents. My Santa Cruz is geared for long cross country rides with a triple in the front; this proved to be a major advantage as I was able to spool up those 29 inch tires and really lay down some speed. I don’t know what I was doing, but I was doing it right, I felt unstoppable, I just kept picking up more and more speed.
I rode from day into night, and night came instantly – like a light switch had been turned off. My eyes hadn’t adjusted and I found the dark half of that lap a bit disconcerting. I was able to get a little sleep – maybe an hour – before it was time to get up, get dressed, eat, lube the chain and get to the handoff area. At a few minutes after two in the morning Peter rolled through the transition tent and I was off into the chilly darkness. This time my eyes were well-adjusted and my two headlamps provided just enough light for me to ride without concern. This was my first time mountain biking in the dark and it was strangely calming. My senses seemed overly acute and my mind super focused; my nighttime lap was only slightly slower than my daylight laps.
|Pro shot of Peter making the hand-off|
In the end we took third place behind two crazy strong teams. The first and second place teams were super competitive with everyone on their squad consistently laying down sub hour laps. This was my first time on the podium, and it felt good.
|You want some wine with that third place finish|
Monday, June 9, 2014
I don’t know but maybe I enjoy criterium racing more than cyclocross. Is that possible?
Cruterium season here in Seattle is now well underway with one of our biggest events – the Ballard Crit – now in the rearview mirror. My team held nine of the seventy five slots in the Cat 4/5 race and we rode away with a hard fought third place finish. Not bad considering that the winner was the top American finisher in the 2013 Race Across America (RAAM).
True to form the Ballard Crit was fast and furious from the starting bell. The road surface varied from potholes to broken asphalt to paving bricks and the turns were tight. The peloton riding was awesome from my vantage; everyone was solid and predictable. Unfortunately I flatted about fifteen minutes into the festivities.
This was my first flat in a sanctioned race and up until now I’ve had an “if I flat I’m out” attitude. No more. I could have easily run to the pits and got a neutral wheel. Next time I won’t be such a gumbie and will hustle it to the pits and get back in the race.
Monday, June 2, 2014
I'm on the Big Island this week joining a friend who came to race the Honu Half Ironman. Nothing like watching a mass swim start to convince yourself that you did the right thing quitting triathlon. Honestly I wish that I was a little more comfortable in the water - to just to a tri or two a year - but screw it, bike racing does a good job of feeding my rat (I stole that expression from mountaineer Greg Child who described his obsession with climbing as a need to feed the rat). Anyway I had a great time watching the race and cheering on my friend.
A few photos:
A few photos:
|Close to a million dollars of equipment in that transition area|
|Can't complain about the weather|
|Pro Luke Bell, second out of water, has a flat at mile 0|
|Local pro Bree Wee on the Queen K highway|
|No shortage of smiles|
|5 Time World champ Craig Alexander|
|Craig Alexander after finishing 2nd. - later DQ'd for wearing sleeves|