Thursday, March 29, 2012

Riding The Ranch

Headed out to White Ranch for my 2.5 hours ride with Maximum Steady State uphill efforts. Hit Belcher Hill Trail hard up hill three times and came back down it three times. Each time I was pushing pretty hard uphill to keep my heart rate in the proper zone. Apparently I wasn't the only one that thought White Ranch was the place to ride. I passed at least 20 people heading down after each hard effort, and then turned around to do another interval and passed the same people again. Hopefully I didn't offend anyone out there. Wasn't trying to show boat, just trying to stay in my HR zone. Great to see that many people out there enjoying the mid 70's temperature in March!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Any Time, Any Weather

Monday was the scheduled VO2 maxes uphill day. The temp was nice in the 70's, but it was another windy Colorado day. I elected to ride the hardtail out to a nearby steep uphill fireroad with the wind at my back as opposed to taking the road bike uphill into the wind. Riding in this adverse condition made me think of all the times that I have ridden in trouble weather. Just a couple weeks ago I rode when the wind has even stronger. On one section the wind was so strong it blew me off my bike and tossed my sunglasses a couple of yards. I've ridden in rain, sleet, and snow (sometimes in the same day). One time it was sleeting/snowing so badly several motorists stopped to ask if I needed a ride. I've also ridden extreme cold weather were even with two layers of gloves and hand warmers the downhills I had to stop several times on the downhill to warm up my hands. Sure, I spend a fair share in my basement on a trainer, but there are just some training rides that cannot be simulated on a trainer effectively. My theory is that every time I ride in these adverse conditions when no one else is crazy enough to try it gives me a little bit of an edge on the competition who are warm and dry on there trainer. We'll see if it pays off this spring.

Monday, March 26, 2012

One Week Done Of Two Week Hard Training Block

One week done, one more to go!  These two weeks are the hardest weeks I have for training.  So far this week:
Monday: 2 hours with VO2 max (zone 5+) efforts uphill
Tuesday: 1.5 hour recovery ride
Wednesday: 2.5 hours witMaximum Steady State (MSS) (zone 4-4.9) efforts uphill
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 3 hours with long tempo (zone 3-3.9) effort
Saturday: 4.5 hour endurance with 1 hour warm up, hard effort for 3 hours, 30 min cool down
Sunday: Rest... is walking 9 holes of golf considered active recovery?

Here's the results from Saturday:

Last year I did this same training session at Bear Creek Lake so I compared my results starting after the 1 hour warm up until the 30 min cool down.  In the same 3 hours of hard effort I went 6.53 miles more this year!  Good sign of improvement!    Next week is more of the same except with a 3.5 hours with long tempo effort on Friday, and a 5 hour endurance on Saturday.  Lots of fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Race Bike

2009 Giant XTC Advanced
FRAME:  Advanced-Grade Composite
FORK:  Fox F100 RL, 100mm travel
SHIFTERS:  Shimano XT Rapidfire
REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano XT Shadow, top normal
BRAKES:  Avid Elixer R 160F/160R
BRAKE LEVERS:  Avid Elixer R
CASSETTE:  SRAM PG990 11/34, 9-speed
CRANKS:  Shimano XT, 22/32/44
BB:  Shimano XT, External
RIMS: Stan's ZTR Crest 26"
HUBS:  Stan's 3.30
SPOKES:  2.0/1.5 DT Revolution
TIRES:  Continental X-King Protection, 26x2.2 Folding
HANDLEBAR:  RaceFace NEXT Flatbar
SEATPOST:  Thompson Setback 30.9
SADDLE: Fizik Tundra with Carbon Braided Rails color Orange
GRIPS:  Ergon GX2 Leichtbau Carbon color white
PEDALS:  Crank Brothers EggBeater SL

Not sure the exact weight, but it's somewhere between 22 and 23 lbs with pedals.  Some of my favorite components are the Fizik Tundra saddle, Ergon GX2 grips, Stan's ZTR Crest Wheelset, and Continetal X-King Protection tires.  The Fizik Tundra is the most comfortable saddle I've found so far.  Long hours in this saddle is no problem at all.  And it's bright orange!  Added bonus!  Orange highlights on the site, orange saddle, my teams color is orange so the team kit is orange... yeah, there's a bit of color scheme going on here.  The Ergon GX2 grips also makes the long rides a lot more comfortable.  They are awfully stylish in color white.  Yes, they are a bit of a pain to keep clean, but totally worth it!  No matter what Ergon grips you choose, they are a must for any endurance racer.  I'm a bit of a fan boy for the Topeak Ergon Racing Team.  Dave Wiens, Jeff Kerkove, and Sonya Looney are all awesome endurance racers!  Jeff Kerkove's blog was an inspiration for me to start my own.  The Stan's ZTR Crest Wheelset matched with Continetal X-King Protection tires have shed pounds off the bike.  Although light, the wheelset is super stiff!  Can really feel it when I get out of the saddle.  The X-King Protections are a light tubeless ready tire, but the sidewalls are tough enough to run at crazy low psi!  The rolling resistance on them is awesome to without sacrificing any grip.  It's not the sub 20 lbs race machines the pros have, but without any sponsorship help (yet) it's what I have to work with.  No worries though since my 'Porsche' (that's right, I call it my 'Porsche') still can get the job done!

Damn Those Skinny Kids

I've said it once, and I'll say it again... POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO! This was the BIGGEST downfall I've had in my previous years of racing. I had the power, but the weight thing was out of hand. I've heard a few times that endurance racers can eat what they want since they burn so many calories; well tell that to my body because that wasn't working! Doesn't help that I have the uncanny ability to eat like a 400 lbs man. Seriously, if I wasn't trying to be a professional endurance mountain biker I'd be a professional eater. It wasn't until I started logging my calorie intake that I really started to shed a lot of pounds. In fact, it wasn't until I lost the weight that I realized just how heavy I was. I wasn't even this skinny in high school! Looking at my training logs from just a month or two back, I'm already seeing huge gains in performance. I've come to the cold hard fact that if you want to be as fast as the skinny kids then you have to become a skinny kid yourself. Only downfall is having to shop for new clothes. At least size small seems to always be on clearance.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Big Changes For 2012

Many elements have gone into my training for 2012. The first improvement for 2012 started in fall 2011 with the purchase of a cyclocross bike. I raced from September to December in cyclocross races. This is a huge improvement from the previous fall of not riding for three months. Once CX season was done I turned the cyclocross bike into a road bike and decided to do more of my high intensity training on the road. This is another huge improvement from 2011 were I did most training rides that are best done on the road on dirt instead which caused me to have less than optimal training sessions. My recovery in 2011 was less than great as well. I would go too hard on days that I should of taken it easy which translated to tired legs when I needed to excel on hard training days. Another big part of recovery that I lacked in 2011 was taking better care of my legs. For 2012 I purchased a foam roller. The foam roller along with massage and stretching regularly has kept my legs fresher than they have ever felt. Power to weight ratio in 2011 was not even close to par with other racers. Losing quite a bit of weight already, I can feel the power gain on climbs. A few more pounds and I'll be at the perfect power to weight ratio for myself. Another area that needed some pounds dropped was on the race bike. I bought a new wheelset and dropped 2.4 pounds which is 4.8 pounds of rotational weight. Hopefully all these elements translate to a season of top place finishes in 2012.

First Blog!

For my very first blog post let me tell you a little bit about myself and the reason for this blog. I started riding mountain bikes in 2005 and started racing in 2008. Every year since I started racing mountain bikes I have gotten a little more serious about racing each year. My first year in Colorado in 2010 I hit the ground running by switching from XC racing in the Midwest to an endurance racing in Rocky Mountains. The first year of endurance was a lot of trial and error with nutrition during races, adjustments to the bike, getting used to the long hours of training, etc. The second year went much smoother and I was able to nail down a good on bike nutrition plan, but I still had a lot of room for improvement. 2012 needs to be the year I make huge gains in order for me to live out my dream of one day being a professional endurance mountain biker. This blog is about my journey along the way to obtaining my dream and is dedicated to my passion of endurance mountain bike racing.