Friday, September 19, 2008

Taking it Easy

Now that racing season is over, it's time to take time away from cycling, recover and re-energize for next year.

My plan is to pretty much avoid riding for the next 3 weeks. I'll do a little swimming, some weight lifting, maybe even some yoga. The goal is to remain active, while giving my body and mind a chance to get away from biking.

The MS 150 ride is coming up on the October 11/12 weekend. My original plan was to ride the 108 mile option the first day; however, I've since dropped that idea. A couple Sundays ago I began my plan to start ramping up my mileage and riding time to prepare for the 108 mile first day. That day I rode 67 miles around my old Sunday route. The goal being to do that ride, then add 10 miles or so per week until I got up to 85 or 90 miles. Following the 67 mile ride I realized that riding long distances like this isn't in my best interests. It took a few days for my hip to recover from the ride, and maybe a week to feel completely better. The bottom line here is that there's nothing to be gained from beating myself up over a 108 mile ride, while at the same time, there's plenty to be lost.

So rather than riding the 108 miles on day one, I'm instead going to ride the new tandem with Carol both days. 50 miles on day 1, another 50 miles on day 2. 50 miles on the tandem is no big deal and isn't something that I need to really train for. We can do the odd long ride here and there and show up on the 11th and know that we'll be able to get through the ride with no problems.

One thing I'm really looking forward to is the fitness opportunity I never got to experience last season, namely being able to train for an entire year and then put another year of training on top of that year's fitness. Two years ago I of course ended my season with a major crash that kept me off a bike and out of any sort of serious training for 8 months or so. Prior to hurting myself I was really looking forward to the following season where I'd be able to build an even bigger aerobic and anaerobic base on top of the work that I'd already done. This coming season I finally get to do that. They say that the first 3 or 4 seasons you race you should be able to see some genuine improvements year to year. I'm hoping to see this first hand next year.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fiesta Island Team Time Trial

I'm really glad I got to take part in this year's team time trial. We hit a few bumps in the road as we tried to assemble a team this year. We had one member who decided that he wanted to be on another team and another member that wasn't too sure if he was a good fit either. In the end we were able to bring Alcino in to replace Max and hang on to Patrick.

Last weekend 3 of our 4 guys hit the island for a serious practice session. We got 6 laps in at full race speed, which I'm really glad we did:

1. This year I haven't done much riding at all on my time trial bike. When you get laid out in your aero position you start using different muscles than you would on your regular road bike. My hamstrings were shot after last weekend's practice session, but as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. After last week's chance to build some strength, I was definitely better off during the race.
2. We got to learn how to work together as a team at top speed. We learned who needed to take longer pulls at the front and who needed to pull off more quickly in order to keep things smooth.
3. We all gained confidence and respect in each other. We knew that come race day we all were valuable members of the team, we all could finish the race together, and we all had an important role to play.

As for the race, we all came off the course feeling like we'd put everything we had into it. That's not to say that with more practice and preparation we couldn't have gone faster, but for a team that had one real practice and never had a chance to practice with all 4 members we got out of this everything we could have. Unlike a number of the other teams, we worked well together and kept our team together the whole way to the end.

There's not too much more to say about a time trial. You assemble at the start, your start time comes, you take off, get settled in, rotate guys through, and ride as hard as you can for as long as you can. I will say that our team did a great job of not being distracted by some of the other teams around us. We had teams that we had to pass. We had teams that seemed to want to race with us and would pass us, then we passed them, then they passed us, then we passed them for good. Through it all we stayed within our limits and kept the riding smooth.

The final results had us finishing 5th out of 10 teams in the 140+ combined age category with an average speed of 26.2 mph (57 minutes, 16 seconds to complete 25 miles).

If you'd like to check out some pictures of the event you can go here (our team is easy to spot, as Alcino is the one with the blue helmet):

Todd Willis' FITTT pictures
Our team1
Our team2
Our team3
Our team4
Our team5
Our team6
Our team7
Our team8