Monday, April 25, 2011

Race Time...gotta wake up!~

I really wanted to title this post "When Going Crazy Goes Bad", in reference to my last post where I bragged about hard ass training in the cold and wet, but decided to stay positive. Unfortunately, as I type this, I am constantly interupted by fits of coughing and hacking up straight nastiness from my lungs...acquired from training in the cold/rain.

The weekend was a success for so many reasons, I would like to use this blog to provide some insight into the importance of teammates. For those of you out there in your first or 2nd year of racing, take joy in seeing teammates in your field and racing with friends. Having teammates in the field can be as simple as knowing which wheels will be safe, or to know you will be let into a paceline, or back on the road if you're pushed out too far on either side. It can help you know how you're feeling, as we typically know how we stack up against our teammates. The goal of Tim and Mike last year was to setout creating a team that would ultimately be influential in NorthEast races...I believe this weekend is just the beginning of seeing that vision come to fruition. Everyone on our team has gotten stronger by being a member, either by having top notch equipment, made available by reasonable prices, by participating in training camps or group rides, or by benefiting from the added incentive of attending races because of the presence of teammates in those races. I have always enjoyed the team aspect of the sport of cycling, and in the 3/4 race this weekend, I recieved tangible benefits of having teammates in my field. I got Gatorade from Ashton to stave off a bonk. Then Ashton went on a break-away of 3, meaning that I could suck wheels and do no work, then Tim chased down a potentially dangerous move on the 2nd to last lap, where again I was able to sit back and let the other racers file in behind him....all I needed to do was pull out a little sprint and "bring home the bacon". This is what team racing is all about...we influenced the race...big time. And this is just the beginning. Soon our representation in the 4s is gonna be felt at every race...Team WoE will be a force, and by mid-season, we are going to be having to have pre-Race meetings to discuss how "We" want the race to unfold...frankly, that is bad ass, and what the plan has been since the start.

As for the race itself this weekend, I will let one of the other folks tell that tale, someone will have to step up since Jeff wasn't there to take notes...and I will leave this post with a thanks to my team for incentive, training advice, and helping get one of those all elusive 'wins'...thanks!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Go Crazy~

I always really enjoy reading other team WoE member's posts...and pretty much anything cycling, so I figure I'd give this a shot, my first post will focus on training. Anyone that has ridden on an endurance ride with me...or a trip to a race when I'm all hoped up on coffee has heard my rant/theory on training. In the theory of "train wisely" vs. "ride lots", I put much stock in the latter. There is one correlation that remains constant in the break-down between time spent riding and corresponding Categorized Rider and it is very simple: Higher Category riders ride their bike more. Period. Unfortunately for us, time is the one thing we can't seem to find. We're in college, we have kids, we have demanding jobs..., and we have girlfriends, homework, grading to do, and the responsibilities of life. So where does that leave us...with limited time, we should train smart...we should do endurance work, building to Tempo's and Steady States, and eventually graduate to upper end cardio work...and I think...every once in a while ,Go Crazy~. I think ... when the opportunity of our daily lives opens a window of time, we need to do something a little off the wall. My favorite stories of the pros are the crazy ass shit that they do in pursuit of hardening their bodies for the sport we share. A few standout...if you've read Bobke II, you remember the chapter "Lost in the Jimenez". Bobke took $5 and a water bottle and set off for a 140+ mile ride...that's nuts. A local Plattsburgh hero from the early 90's would ride his bike to Catamount in Burlington with Cyclocross tires strung over his chest like Bandolieros, change his tires...race a 'cross race (do well by the way), change back the tires and ride home, also crazy. So how does this fit into training? I fully believe that if you want to be a "top-of-your-Cat-rider", not just pack fodder, you have to be willing to do things other members of your "Cat" aren't willing to do. Afterall, they also have jobs, children, school-work, and girlfriends and wives. Personally, I look back at 4-5 hour rides on the trainer this winter as something that most 3's didn't do. I also look at long ass hikes in the Adirondacks as a little above and beyond. More recently, we just finished a 2-day solid block of team training where we were all pushed...and definitely feeling some burn/fatigue, it's not as dramatic as doing a 140+ mile ride, but the next day I pushed my body above and beyond and did one of the hardest hill workouts I've done on the hills of Peru in brutally cold weather, and today ... with dead ass legs, and tons of fatigue I set out for a 2-hour Mountain Bike ride in the cold and mud of the worst spring weather I remember, my body ached, my saddle sore oozed, my heart was throbbing and I couldn't catch my breath until I started a 10minute climb up a flooding dirt-road on Burnt Hill, then I thought, what are other Cat3's doing this week? Suddenly all the pain left. My feet weren't so cold, my breath came easier, and I started floating up the hill and then enjoyed a mud-filled fast descent. So in a nut-shell, if I were gonna offer any training advice to any of my teammates/friends, I could sum it up to these two annecdotes: 1. Ask yourself this question often "What are other Cat X's doing today"? ...and then do more then them. and 2. Train smart when time is limited...but when time is available...Go Crazy~.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

WOE Training camp 1.0

This past weekend was the first training camp of 2011 for the WOE cycling team. Coming into the weekend we knew the weather wasn’t suppose to be good, but we had to ask ourselves only one question. What would Jens do? The answer…..train. Seven riders showed up, and one tri-athlete (Jason). Quickly Jason came under fire and peer pressure to return as a cat. 4 racer, pretty sure we got the gears turning towards the idea a few times. As we were gearing up for our ride we got the unfortunate news that one rider forgot a vital piece of equipments…..cycling shoes. A mad dash began to find Eric G. some shoes, but with a size 13 it was to no prevail. He had made the trip and now had to make the disappointing trip back home.

Dew to morning rain we had to cancel a short morning TT that we wanted to do and opted to just do our main ride, of 60 miles. But this was no ordinary 60 mile ride. Yes, there was going to be a lot of climbing, yes there was going to be some soar legs, yes there were going to be gels consumed. But what made this ride stand out was the support van. How PRO is that? A van with extra wheels, food, clothing, you name it, it was in the…..van. (Thanks again Jen and Abby for volunteering!!!)

Things started off as smooth as a pineapple. Within 500m of the driveway Phil got a flat. Good thing for spare wheels. Then within 5 miles of the drive way Phil dropped his chain and got it stuck. Fortunately this was the last bit of sass Phil’s bike was going to give him and from there on out everything went smoothly….mechanically.

Then at mile 15-ish it happened…and for some reason that song from the “Nightmare Before Christmas” got stuck in my head:

“What's this? What's this?

There's color everywhere
What's th
There's white things in the air

What's this?
I can't believe my eyes
I must be dreaming
Wake up, jack, this isn't fair
What's this?”

“a very bad word”-ing SNOW!!!!! Like common, it’s April 17th and it’s snowing? Along with the coldness, high winds, and slightly wet roads, why not through some snow in our faces. And not that nice light fluffy kind, it had to be the kind that stings when it hits. Fifteen miles down and to many to go with snow in the air. Oh and we still had to climb into Lyon Mtn……fantastic.

Seeing it was snowing and going to get colder as we ascended the Mtn. I stopped to get my jacket from the van. Of course I was dropped as the group rolled along ahead of me. Hm…..what could be the best possible way to catch up? Time trail it, be paced by another cyclist, or use the van? Hm……let the motor-pacing begin!!!!! Needless to say I was back to the group in little time.

The climb into Lyon Mtn was taking its toll on some of the riders and one or two fell behind. This is where I found out where the life of a domestique…, and perhaps are the true warriors of the Tour. I went back to help my teammates in need and encourage them to press on. After some hard work and chasing, we could see them! Little did I know that my teammate was hurting more than I knew from knee pain, so eventually he had to make a smart decision and abandon the rest of the ride……..entire once again the usefulness of the van. Not going to lie, I was a little jealous I didn’t get to ride in it. Luckily for me at the end of Chazy Lake Road, we got a little break as nature was calling and some wanted to put a jacket on because the rest of the ride was going to be fast.

Winding our way some, from all the work I had done, I got dropped a little and of course came to a “T” in the road. Hm……………do I go right? Or do I go left? No riders in sight…….crap! As I waited for the Van, which also apparently had gotten lost amongst the quick turns in Cadyville, all I could get from the three passengers was a “I think left, but don’t quote me on that.” Left it is. Fewwwww….right way.

Back at the house it was time to do mass stretching and use the foam roller; however, for most of the night it was a constant battle to steal it away from Bruce’s 3 year old. It’s funny how simple objects can being a child joy, well until a 6 year old sees how much fun the 3 year old is having and Wrestle Mania XIV brakes out (no children where hurt during the production of “this” WOE training came). Oh and there was eating. Not dinner, but pre-gaming for dinner. Bagels, coffee, fresh pumpkin bread (Thanks Kelly!), Gatorade recovery drinks, and nutella. Then and only then was it time to go to dinner at a local Italian restaurant. And needless to say, we feasted.

Day 2:

Typically training camps run Saturday and Sunday; however, this one ran Sunday to Monday. Some of us WOE-ains have weird work schedules. So some of the riders couldn’t make it both days……..Kyle.

Again mother nature gave use a wonderful surprise and there was actual snow on the ground. We wanted to go to Wilmington, but were informed that the roads were a little slick. So we compensated and changed the course, only about five times. Seeing it was pretty chilly the layers started piling on and hand warmers were broken out.

After Sunday’s ride, we decided to take it easier and make it more of an endurance ride. With no support van :( . But everything went smoothly and the van would not have been needed. Guys from the Potsdam crew, were very impressed with the riding of the Peru area and enjoyed many of the sights. At least I think that’s what they were doing. Because there was a good 10 to 15 minutes that no one said a thing. All you could hear was the clicking of shifters and the grinding of wheels over sand on the road. Kind of peaceful, but not peaceful enough that you didn’t keep an eye over your shoulder to see who was going to be the antagonist and attack. But no one did.

Now I know some scientist have tried to prove that yawning is contagious and have found some hard to interpret answers, but what yawning is to the everyday person as peeing is to a cyclist. If one stops, there is bound to be another and than another. Out of the six riders, five stopped to water the flowers. Which I hope will start showing up soon!!!!!!!!

Three hours later we were done. Back to the warmth of Bruce’s house and comfort of coffee, and food. But mostly the coffee.

As the English proverb states “All good things must come to an end.” Bags had to be packed, bikes loaded, and trips home had to commence. For there is the reality of real life and the jobs that tie us down. Jobs that even though frustrate us at times do pay for our cycling and all to many over priced pieces of equipment.

"til Next time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

In the head of a WOE-ian


thoughts/talking to myself

actual verbal communication

4:40am…..’crap, frigon alarm didn’t go off, I know I set it for 4:30am’

Just another typical beginning to race day, well except for one of the last things I watched before bed was Strawberry Shortcake adventures with my teammates 5 and 3 year old. Stumbling up the stairs I can already hear Bruce making coffee. Perfect start to breakfast! This wasn’t your typical get up, chill and eat a lot of food morning, we had to be on the road no later than 5:20am, so Bruce could get to Cambridge, NY at a decent time. Two bagels with Nutella and it’s out the door.

‘God it is early’

It’s a pretty quite ride down, compared to our normal trips, little is said for some time. Perhaps it’s nerves or just it so frigon early. We listen to the radio and start to talk a little more. ‘what the heck kind of music are we listening to anyways,’ it’s not your typical lyrics but it is pretty catchy.

‘man I gatta go, we better be stopping at our usually rest area’

‘we are, YES!’

Weaving and rolling over hills to get to Cambridge we make it with an hour and a half to spare for Bruce, before he rolls out. Ashton and I have ample time to get ready. But first things first, where’s the bathroom?

Time to register. ‘what the heck is this thing, seriously I have to put a sticker on my helmet for the race?’

“Ashton look at this, brings ya back to randhill doesn’t it?”

*new disposable chip system, so we don't have to sign a $200 waver if we lose a timing chip.*

‘oh look at all the goodies they have laid out’

“Miss, are these up for grabs?”

“Yes they are.” After a journey through cliff bar candy land it’s time to get the bike ready. On my way out I run into almost the reminder of our team: Tim, Mike, and Ben.

Everything seems to be in order. Bike looks good to go. And then I hear “where are my shorts?” Bruce forgot his bibs, no surprise seeing he almost left the house without grabbing his gear bag. I throw him a pair I packed just in case something like this happened.

*nothing says a lagit race like cool looking numbers*

'hmmm better bring my extra wheels to the wheel car…it’s early I’ll just walk them over’ Bruce rolls by and we wish each other good luck. ‘crap our wheel car isn’t here yet, ugh.’

‘Still a little to early to get ready, better make a safety trip to the head’ As usual with any race there’s a line to Nantucket. Then I notice people in line getting paper towels from the dispenser. ‘ummmm….time to find a new line.’

Alright time to get ready. “I would like to head over to staging 15min before our race starts.” Ashton and Tim agree and Ashton downs his drink. ‘crap everyone is already here.’ We are almost dead last in staging. “5 min to the start of your race” some guy yells over the speaker. PFFFFFFTTT.

Tim brings to my attention “dude, you just flatted”

“are you *#^ kidding me!” Entire panic attack and trip to wheel van.

“3 min to start of race”

“Sir I need a wheel”

“Sorry, we are neutral and aren’t taking anymore wheels.”

“No, I NEED A WHEEL. I Flatted”


‘no, not that one. Ugh, great my bike just went from 17lbs to probably 18lbs’

“thank you sir” Time to get back into my spot. “One mine before start of race”

‘Ahhhhh….I’m in to big of a gear’

‘Need to be up further….I’m to far back. How the heck did Tim get way up there?’

‘Oh good we made it through the covered bridge okay, why they heck are people woot wooting?’

‘hold crap we are coving the entire road, I hope a car doesn’t come barreling along.’


Going into Jersey Swamp Rd, still in horrible position, there’s just no way to move up. ‘Perhaps next race I’ll ignore the Yellow line rule, seems to be the only way to move up’

At the time I didn’t know but if I reported them, I saw at least 2 or the top 5 that should have been DQed for this infringement. But no one likes a tattle tail.

‘Crap getting dropped’ Not to far though I can make it back.’

‘Still in a crappy position, I hope the pace doesn’t pick up just yet.’

‘Great here’s another climb’ the 3rd of about 6 decisive climbs. ‘Awesome Ashton’s with us.’ ‘ahhhh….getting dropped!’ Time to play catch up again, luckily a strong rider came up behind me and pulled me to the group. I was making it there, but he got me there a lot faster and asked for no help. I made sure I showed my appreciation my showing a hand. One he couldn’t shake because he was recovering from his effort.

At last years race I heard several people refer to this next climb at “The Wall” and again I was in bad positioning to start it. ‘Keep spinning Jeff keep spinning. What the heck gear am I in? I have No clue, with this neutral wheel.’


Once again time to dig deep and catch back on. ‘Holy crap this new section is hard!’ A very pleasant experience having to chase back on what felt like a continuous climb and over lose gravel. ‘God my climbing form suck, sit back down Jeff.’ Every time you wanted to stand, your back wheel would just give out and you would spin. Wasted energy for going nowhere. ‘oh no the wheel car.’ I’ve always used it as a sense of how I was doing and if it passes you, you better hope you don’t get a flat.

‘God my butt hurts.’

Crack, Snapple, pop. “What the heck was that?” One water bottle gone, another water bottle hanging on to dear life. 10 miles to next feed zone and about 4oz of Gatorade left. Not good.

I hook up with a group of riders and we start taking turns at the front of a pretty good pace line. ‘I need water.’ Finally we make it to the 2nd feed zone and I’m desperately looking for Ashton’s mom….’THERE SHE IS!’….’don’t mess it ….don’t miss it’…..’*#^&$’ I thumbed it. After skidding and pulling a U-y I got the water bottle. Probably the best thing cause able to grab two, which I ended up using both. With a push from a fan I was off to chase down the group I had been riding with.

Owww…...owwww…..owwww…to many bumps.

Trying to conquer Meeting House Rd. by myself the lead group of the 50+ race passes me. ‘oh Crap. Look out!’ Apparent the race organizer thought throwing in some cyclocross sand pits would be a good idea. I fishtail through one as the main chase group of about 20-30 guys from the 50+ race pass me. ‘please don’t crash and take their field out…please don’t slide out..rubber down, rubber down. Few made it.’

Last climb on Meeting House Rd. ‘what is that god awful cracking noise coming from my bike?’ Good some descents, a little rest…maybe.

At this point another racer from my field catches up, or maybe I caught him…I can’t remember, passed so many people. So we start working together and a racer from the 50+ joins in on the fun.

Stage Rd….final climb…ugh. I take my mind off the pain and start talking to the other cat 4 racer “the organizer wanted a hard race and he has sure accomplished that very well.” And I lost him. Just me and now 2 other 50+ racers. What they going to do DQ me…they don’t even DQ people or not following the rules.

Time to descend on down to Cambridge, as we catch another racer from my group, he hooks on. I had been at the front and my turn was done, and start giving the elbow……nothing….’are you back there?’..again nothing. 5k to go. ‘Well guess I’ll drop the hammer and if you want to stay with me you’re going to have to go to a dark place.’ 4k…….3k….passed 1, 5, 8, 20 rider. ‘get’z out the way!!!!!!’ I look back and he is still there. ‘a little harder, make him suffer’

1k……500m. ‘oh you bugger get out of the way….your going to screw up my turn into the finish! If your not going to finish hard, move!’ Turn the corner…. Pothole!….. Legs are burning….the other racer decides to come around me and sprint to the finish ahead of me. I find him in the “end of the race pen,” shake his hand, and say “well done.” As he coughs up something nasty. I smile as I see the pain I put him through.

Another year another Tour of the Battenkill finished. Finished 33rd, not as well as I would have liked, but live to fight another day.

‘God my butt hurts.’

*consolation prize you had to buy, but it was oh so good*