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Thursday, September 29, 2011

I had gained 9 pounds and I have hair on my legs.

Early off season fails.
Once the intensity of my training dropped off and my intake did not I quickly packed on 9 pounds, and it all felt like it was sitting in my mid section.
Which likely it was since I'm somewhat of a desk jockey . For roughly 4 weeks my racing has been over and my training has been cut in 1/2 at times. However I have enjoyed some rides a bit more. This weekend I will get to put in a long effort with Patrick and the Out-Spoke-n crew. Then trying and further hash out plans for 2012. Which at this point and time, I am throwing myself in the drivers seat as per a long conversation with the shop owner. No F------g way I can do this alone, so I will be leaning on Patrick for help on this. Fortunately he has already been a great ambassador and it appears he has more patience than me for lolly gagging and shenanigans.
But anyways we may be on the verge of getting this thing spun up right.
Then it will be another 3-4 days of light training efforts and then the OC GRAN FONDO he has spoke of. I'm looking forward to this also, even though we have literally road every mile of this in one way or another this last year. But it will be a good,hard ride and I like that idea.

Turns out the 9 pounds was no more than Boston lager and crap food + portion control x ride your bike fat ass. Once I did this again for a week I lost the 9 lbs plus 1. Truthfully I miss the weekly training races, and the monthly Cal Cup races. Oh and I will have smooth legs by 9/30/11 so don't get all crazy.
Not much else going on. But I was able to pick these wheels up prior to the last couple races of the year. And yes Carbon does matter. I didn't realize it until I put them on, took them off, put them on and took them off again. What a difference in spin up speed and ride quality. And I have a pretty decent set of aluminum clinchers at that.
check it .
FYI-

For those that read my last post. My final race of the year on 9/11/11 - I barely finished the first race in the field. And as far as the 2 nd race I dropped out 3 laps in.

WTH you say ? I know come to find out I had taken on a very bad sinus infection 2 days earlier, that finally manifested into a mind swaying, I can't freakin breath nightmare. Believe me I was very broken that afternoon and question what the hell was wrong with me and what was I doing! Fortunately in the end, it ended up being an issue other than a lack of heart. Truthfully I was more concerned about that.

So final CBR STATE FINALS FOR ME = EPIC FAIL !!

See them next year, vowing to be lighter faster and stronger. oh ya and older :-)    

     

Friday, September 9, 2011

So this is it.

Final true cycling criterium race of the season this Sunday 9/11/11.

Great day for it in my eyes.
I know it will have that much more meaning of freedom. I'll feel pretty blessed to e there, and for the ability and opportunity to compete. I'll race two categories again as I have the last 3 outings, and hope to place in the top 10 of both.
That will make a grand total of 25 races in just over 5 months and some miles. Every bit worth it.
I plan on doing a 100+ mile Gran Fondo ride in October. Other than that, I think I'm going to integrate and try and get my run back on again.

Parting picture will be a bike throw at the finish line of this years last El Dorado Tuesday night races.
Obviously I thought it was tighter at the line, but who ever knows at that speed. I also think it's not a very flattering picture since I'm exhaling and appear to look about 300 pounds. But trust me I'm under 200 and have stayed there. I really hope to start next season in the 180's somewhere.

See you soon.

  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's been awhile

Well, I have been the king of lurking for the past month and even put in some random comments here and there.
Just thought I would blog up and reflect on a bike racing season that has come and almost gone. This was pre race Tuesday night worlds last race of the season 2011
It was hot and humid and looking to be hella fun once again.
I'm glad I got back out of my box and started racing my bike again. Even though it had been 2 decades after the last run. The enormous equipment changes make things interesting. But what Ive seen over this past 6 months was that you can have the best equipment out there, and if your not putting in the time and efforts, it's not worth the cash you spent on it. 
Personally, I would like to build a steel framed bike and put a decent set of 50mm deep dish wheels on it. And train on that for the races. Then come race day saddle up on the full carbon and let it rip. But that's a whole other story in itself.

RECAP OF 2011 BIKE RACING SEASON-
I got the itch on March 9th and by March 29th I was going to do my first criterium race in just under 2 decades. Crazy ? I don't know, I knew I could ride pretty fast, I was way heavier now than then, maybe I could just ride myself into shape and form ?

I will be honest in saying I went out pretty confident in my abilities on that first evening and was quickly shown the raw truth of just how far off the mark I was. I got cracked off the back of an hour long race within 20 minutes. The second race it took until about 45 minutes. 
But from that point on I made it a point to put a game plan together and at least finish in the field.
When that started working then I set a new goal to try and get a few sprint points throughout the race and then hang on until the end. 
Where eventually I would start showing up to be a threat of contending.
I had my ups and downs with emotions throughout the season. Having lost Patrick from    http://www.theroadmultisport.com/ to 70.3 training.
Trying to form a new team. Which has been more miss than hit, but I still think there is some glimmer there. Trying to help guide a potentially talented 20 year old to see his real potential. 
In the end it all worked out. The Out-Spoke-n road bike, mountain bike, and triathlon racing team could be a well hated threat out there if the store owner takes it a bit more seriously.
Patrick is about ready to embark on his first 70.3, which I know he will rock and then go longer.
Adam the 20 year old, finally heeded some frustrated remarks from me one night, about just staying on my wheel. Low and behold he never dropped out of another race, started consistently contending for sprints and finishing in the top 10 every week. 
I still have one last So Cal Cup race left on September 11th. These are the nationally ranked races and for the last 3 I have entered I raced in 2 classes per race day. One, for more race time and exposure, and two for more race time and exposure. You see it turns out even at 45 or two months short of 46 I'm still pretty fast on a bike.
In the beginning they made me race straight Cat 5 with mostly 19 to 30 year olds, I had no choice, I had been gone too long. My previous Cat 3 status was non existent and I had to start from scratch.
Now I choose to race both Cat 4/5 senior ( which is 30 and under) and Cat 4 masters 30 +. The cool thing about masters is that most of them have held either Pro cards or raced 1,2,3 all there career and just never stopped for any real length of time.
Myself, I hope I continue to stay engaged and have some success and a lot of fun doing it.

So here we are 6 months later. I've raced 23 group start races. One of which had only 9 riders in it, others that exceeded 50+ riders. By the seasons end, I will have lined up 25 times. And although I got way more comfortable and confident, it really never seemed to get any less stressful. I guess I am just a race stresser. That for me seems to be a good thing though, I think If I ever get to lax about it, I will loose that edge. And that edge is what drove me to get better. 
I never really rode into weight or perfect form. I did however drop another 9 lbs through the season. And although I started getting consistent results at races, I never scored a 1st place finish in a final race. 
The good news is that this is all future goals to still chase after, this will continue to give me spark and drive.

Out of the 23 races I lined up at , I had 14 top 10 finishes. With 2 more top 15. FYI - they score to 20 in So Cal Cup races, but not on Tuesday night races. Only to 10 on Tuesday.

2nd place = 1
4th place = 2
5th place = 1
6th place = 4
7thplace = 4
9th place = 2

13thplace = 2

I was able to scoop up several 1st,2nd and 3rd place finishes on mid race primes, but I didn't record them. Maybe I should had since they are victories inside victories.

post race - (NOTE- I did not race in an Out-spoke-n jersey last night for the first time since my commitment, and in all honesty I felt more at home in a true race kit. Sorry, just being honest)
lastly, do you think that vain on the side of my forehead can get any bigger ? WTH ?

Feeling just a tad blown up and overheated, but pretty damned stoked !

So that's the recap less the 9-11 race. I'll be back and thanks for playing. 



           

Monday, August 8, 2011

All said and done, it's not about me

Which is amazing, because blogs whether we like it or not are that way.
I love to share my experiences. But it seems to me my blog is very redundant and even though I'm trying to put the reader there, it's all about me.
So I'm going to lay low on the long blogs about the same old stuff. I'll keep posting brief race results and training rides but, eh, I think I would rather read yours. 

Saturday's ride was in my head to be 75 miles. I got the opportunity to ride with Patrick   http://www.theroadmultisport.com/ for the first time in awhile. He as most of you know is in full tri season swing and getting ready to go long, and it appears even go longer. Good for him. He is fighting his way (but enjoying it) to peak at the right time. 
As OC VELO is a great opportunity to link with other like minded riders on Saturdays it has it's hiccups. This Saturday was no different and shortly after our first stop there would be a mechanical to another rider on the road that one of our club riders had the tool to fix. This is great and this is what should happen. However I iimmediately shifted gears to a shorter ride and went on with the "B" ride. This worked out good anyways because Patrick was doing this ride. He was also set for a post ride brick and felt this pace would be best. I couldn't agree more with him and really from that point in my mind I was kind of set on getting him through the ride at a good pace but try and help him stay fresh. 
I rode tempo of front on the climbs, but this isn't really a good thing. I'm no climber, so either I'm sucked on to a wheel and getting dragged up. Or I'm leading out and riding at the fastest pace I can. If you get dropped off I can't help it. For me climbs are all about staying consistent and steady pedaling. We made are way back down through the canyons and on to PCH for a regroup. It was shortly there after I asked Patrick to just sit in and out of the wind. There was no reason for him to help going home, save his legs for his long run to follow.
I felt that was the best act of assistance I could give him. We had a good pace back and he was able to get a strong run in. I on the other hand continued to put in a few extra miles before hitting the home front. I showed a bit different pace on my Garmin than his but ? He also said we climbed 4000 feet ( LOL !!) I can assure you we didn't. I don't know why the difference in pace though ? I showed 60.03 miles at 18.2  avg. 

Anyways, Took a fast shower and grabbed my son for popcorn and Cowboy's and Aliens, which we both thought was far fetched and very cool.
Later we headed over to some friends for a home cooked meal of wild salmon that was even better. 
Sunday was fun day. Woke up late and headed to Knott's amusement park for 6 hours of fun in the sun and roller coasters.

TRAIN HARD,TRAIN SMART, BE ACTIVE

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I though it would find the perfect storm

But in the end this was the news that was delivered. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/htc-highroad-disbands-after-failed-sponsor-search. No takers for the deal, and it is now dead at the close of this season.

Another blow to cycling ? Another blow to American cycling ? Either way this is a strong team that had a huge amount of talent and heart. But in the end, CASH IS KING. 
It's just kind of disheartening. We have made some real strides stateside in professional cycling as far as team organization and real recognition as contenders. 

As for me.
Tuesday night races went exactly as planned and played all the way until 100 meters before the final turn.

Prime 1 - I would stay strong up front and not contend. (check)
Prime 2 - I would stay strong up front and contend for the sprint to see where my legs were at. (check) I got 2nd.

Race finish- Look for a breakaway within the last 2 laps. Don't initiate it, but if it comes hard, get on it.
The true jump at a breakaway never held, 4-5 of us would jump and real them back within 75 yards.
Once again there was shenanigans in the masters race and it equated to a 5 man wreck with firetrucks showing. The wind was freaking brutal and it played the field like an accordian. 
Cat 4/5 final lap found about 12 of the 24 starters still in and on. I felt fantastic and strong. I moved from about 8th-5th in the 2nd to last corner. When we came around at probably 26-27 mph, there was an elderly man on a beach cruiser coming right at us ! He came in the back way and hadn't noticed the 100-150 men and women flying by at motor speeds ? Really ? WTF ? 
The field jerked hard right, lots of braking happened and then let the mayhem begin. The line of riders moved and cracked like a bull whip, sending people hard right and holding on. Of course up front it's not bad, but anything beyond the front few is gonna be dicey.
It was, and as the front surged to get the pace back up and steady again.The back end chased harder. Eventually over compensating and then the tire rubbing started due to overlapping. I heard it, then seen 1 guy shoot from the far right straight to me. I leaned in to him and saved it. Then the guy behind me reacted and caused an overlap nightmare behind me. I felt my rear wheel get clipped, and from there I started heading for the inside curb. The next thing I hear is snapping and cleats dragging, then slamming. It took every bit of bike handling skills I had to keep it up right. 3 of us got pinched out and one went down hard, breaking his helmet and bike frame. 
I actually stopped and turned around I felt so bad, and concerned for the guy. Fortunately his body came away with nothing more than a few healthy patches of road rash. His equipment ? may have saved his life. He was shaken, then pissed. I was pissed, then thankful, then pissed again. I road a smart race. I had road exactly how I had planned it.
In the end it comes down to this, racing is racing and anything can happen at any time. So I got over it pretty quickly and wrote it off to a great training session that could have been worse.

Wednesday I took off.
Today I got out a little extra early this morning. Getting down just shy of 30 miles and yet I was home by 7:05 a.m. My 2nd favorite way to start the day.

Train hard,train smart, be active.            

Monday, August 1, 2011

Keeping it fresh

I am trying to keep the miles fresh on the bike. Although we live in a great place to cycle with many routes and roads to choose from, it can get a little redundant at times.
That is,if you let it. I don't want to be that guy that does the same miles and loops, week after week,month after month. 
Dur to the coastal wind directions it is usually best to head South first which usually ends up heading East before turning back. This usually gives you some type of tailwind for the ride home and hopefully some reprieve to your body.
For the last 4 weeks I have found myself heading more North first venturing on some roads I had not ridden in many years or in some cases not at all. 
I have been hitting up a popular walkers/runners spot in Signal Hill via Long Beach called Hilltop park. It is not a long climb but epic steep. It is more of a dragons back, in a sense that when you think you have made it to the top there is a 15 yard leveling section and then you go up again. It tends to continue veering to the right and or left depending on which side you are coming up. It never really goes into switchbacks but it also never gives much of a rest until you hit the top.
This was a couple of shots I took while pedaling.
You get a pretty good view of the city below.

Ultimately there is a park at the top.
From here you swing right and head back down to street level again. I have no idea of the exact climb %, but if I was to make a good educated guess I would say it peeks at 15+ %. Granted that is not for long, but it is enough to get you out of the saddle and stand. Twice this ride while sitting, I pulled my front wheel off the ground into a momentary wheelie. Will just call it steep.
From here I headed further North to the foothills of Palos Verdes. There is some epic climbs for distance in these hills/mountains as well. I looped at the base and headed back though. PV will be saved for a weekend very soon, more time would be needed.
Making my way back down to the coast to head south again was a challenge due to commuting through a heavily trafficked port of Long Beach/San Pedro. But it was cool to see new scenes and views. I snapped a shot in Long Beach of the old and the new together.
In all it wasn't really a long ride, falling under 46 miles. But with the climbing involved it was super effective. With July over we are winding down the bike racing season pretty much this month. I didn't have a huge volume July with just under 500 miles and only racing 3 times. And although I felt pretty strong for most of the month I only yielded o.k. results with a 4th,6th and my 9th place post vacation race. 
August should see 6 races in total if I can stay healthy and real life doesn't get in the way too much.   

Lastly, I got to watch my son receive his yellow belt in Pa Kau Karate in less than 6 weeks he joined, embraced and trained to the point of them wanting to test him. At only 4'-6" he can front kick to my chin without grimace or hesitation. I know, I know proud father, blah, blah blah ! But I am amazed at his progression. Although I look like a ragged 45 year old beach bum, this was the best picture I had.
DEAL WITH IT !
 
Train hard,train smart, be active.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I almost don't dare post this

But it is what I do.

So here it is.

Another post Tuesday night El Dorado racing recap.
Again !

The great news as I mentioned before is the turn out has been large. We had another 26 man field last night. I have had to miss a few races so I really can't possibly contend for the series overall. But that doesn't mean I can't do some damage in these last 6 races.
So I stuck with my same mantra from last week. Forget the 1st sprint prime, stay up front and see how my legs feel. 
I did this without any real big effort and again my recovery was restored within a couple of minutes. 
2nd prime came up, and I rolled through up front. This time not letting off the gas to see if anyone would hitch on and possibly take a flyer off the front with me. 
3 guy's jumped on to cover my attack, but only 1 was willing to work with me. We stayed off for less than two laps. 
Basically after finding only 2 of us working we sat up and said pass for now. 
With 14 minutes left in the 60 minute race. I was really looking for a big attack. The points leader in the series races for Long Beach State and he has help of 2 other riders from his team. One of them is strong, the other is still in a learning curve I would say. There were again some new faces with some strength out there. Along with several other guy's that have put in some good races. Truth be told 8 weeks ago they intimidated me a bit. Now " it's on", I say bring that shite ! 
It was a fast pace race all night. The total distance covered was 28.8 miles averaging 24.2 mph and max speed 34.5 mph, according to the Garmin. Total calories fried away in 60 minutes was almost 2800. I love that.   
With 4 laps to go it was on full speed ahead. 2 guys got wise and jumped off the front when we resumed speed after finally getting passed by the pro 1/2/3 field. Another one chomped the bit and went also. I sadly report that wasn't me. And regretfully I was looking for it, and told myself no matter what, I was going. 
Well, I didn't. I didn't believe they could get away. 
I'll save you the suspense they did. Although I thought we had reeled one of them back, it must have just been a lapped rider. So in reality on the final lap, the field of probably 15-18 guys left would be lining up to sprint for 4th - 10th. No one else gets scored or points past position 10.

Somehow I rotated to almost the very back on that last lap. Once I looked over and seen only 4-5 guys tailing off the back I immediately got up and out of the saddle to move into a proper draft position up front. 
I eventually settled into a bit of a disorganized cluster of riders 3 wide and several deep. 
I was getting, or letting myself get blocked out to the outside a little. I like charging up the right on the sprint finish, I think there is less wind ? 
I may be fooling myself ? 
But I wasn't going to make it. We had already made the final turn and the field is absolutely flying now. So I  hunched over and got on the front of my seat. Just soaking up every ounce of draft I could and bullied my way up the middle. This is a sketchy approach on a mass sprint finish, but sometimes it's necessary. I was able to get up in a slot and pull to the line strong coming across 3 wide with one more just ahead of us by a half bike. I ended up placing 7th over all in which I again have mixed emotions on due to the fact that I/we let the breakaway stay away. 
So there it is, another Tuesday night recap. 
Safe and sound with no carnage in our race. Although there was 2 separate crashes in the Pro 1/2/3 race and the Masters class.
The wreck in the p/1/2/3 race got kind of nasty. I'm told a chain got snapped and wrapped around a racers leg causing a very deep and fairly long gash. It didn't sound sweet and he was hospital bound.

I also got one last El Dorado race with Eric my son there. He became a great cheering squad and sideline supporter the last month.
This was post race after turning in race numbers and the parking lot clearing. I have to say it has been a blessing to have the experience with him, and a true testimonial about how working hard and not quitting pays off. 
For the books he had me coming over the line in 3rd, less the 3 off the front. Again If I was in some heated battle where points meant more I would dispute it. Um, that's not really the case so I will just roll with it.

proud dad, happy son

Train hard, train smart, be active.
             

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday = solo Time Trial day

It has been awhile since I personally challenged myself in an all out assault. Me and bike VS. road and elements. 
I love TT. It is one of the original reasons I gravitated towards triathlon back in the day. 
If I could afford it, I would have a TT bike again that would match the luster of my current road bike. With that said I had to choose one or the other due to the expense of said road bike.

No worries, I love my road bike and I challenge myself to stay in the drops and arms bridged over the top bar for miles on end. If there is anything good of this, it's that it has made me a much more aggressive bike handler in the drops sans high speed,tight racing conditions. Also when I do have the opportunity to acquire another true Hi Mod TT bike I'm sure it will be more appreciated. 

Total ride was near flat with some minor rises. Total distance was 24.6 miles, of which only 17.5 was measured as the TT distance. I used the 1st 7 miles of surface streets to wake up, and warm up. Drinking about 10 o.z. or so of Citomax energy and taking in a Honey Stinger waffle. It also is the beginning of an all flat 7.2 mile section of river trail that I never have to stop or worry about cross traffic. It can be boring as hell on a normal basis, but for intervals or TT purpose it is perfect. 
The 2nd section is a 10.4 mile straight stretch of PCH with the last 2.8 miles turning inland with to small climbs. I shut down the true effort .4 miles from home. I did my absolute best to lower cadence and time every light to never come to complete stop. I also blew through two exposed corner lights that I could see had no traffic. I know that is not o.k. to do, I don't even condone it. I'm just being honest here. The slow down and wind up is what kills the body in a TT.  

Total ride of 24.86 miles was 1h 20m 6s

Total TT time for 17.5 miles was 42:35:13 = Average speed over 17.5 miles @ 24.2 mph.

I think, know I had left everything out there. I have felt great over the last 9 days and chose this after 2 days rest. I would love to hit this again on a carbon, fitted TT bike, just to see what I could truly shave off.  
Of course there are a bunch of variables, of weather (it was dead wind,62 degree sun up). 
Body,fitness (same amount of riding and bike fitness level is equal) etc..

But it would be fun.

Have a great weekend and be safe.

Train hard,train smart, be active.             

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This is a personal thank you

All was good in my little carved out world of bike racing last night.
I want to give a personal thank you to my legs for showing back up.

 Last night at El Dorado Tuesday Night Worlds Criterium races was thick heat, with a nice large turn out of 23+ racers and a fast pace.
Garmin shows average speed for 1hr at 24.6 mph and max speed of 33.4 (no doubt, sprints).

I finally felt solid at a race since my vacation 4 weeks ago. I have had some great training sessions in the last 2 weeks and my food has been pretty spot on.
As said above we had a decent Tuesday night field of 23 + racers. All kinds of new faces and several of them came to make there presence be known.
It was pretty hot still at 6:15 p.m. when we got going. I started off in the front 5-8 guys and then slowly rolled all the way to the back just to see who was all there. I wanted to see who I recognized from El Do, or other local races, some I knew and some I didn't. What I do know is that the season is winding down rapidly and there are people that will likely be trying to gain points for category upgrades in CBR hosted races along with soon to be affiliated USAC.
You either have to be consistent and show up at nearly every race or absolutely dominate at 70 % of them.
I didn't do either this year. I have had some good races and some weak minded messes. But I have accumulated enough points in May to be moved to Cat 4.
My real goal was to be able to move to the Masters Cat 3 for next season, but I'm not sure that will happen. Will see how strong I can finish out these next 2 months or really 7 weeks.

Racing- I had already put it in my head that I wouldn't contend for the 1st prime sprint. I would stay up front and follow a lead out, but would not break out and line sprint. I wanted to see where my legs and lungs would be tonight. As it wound up I really should have sprinted. Without much effort I crossed the sprint line in a close bunch at about 6th position. My recover time was nearly nothing and my heart rate was about the same (considering).
Prime 2 came and my tactic was as usual, stay 6-7 man back in the center and break out on the out side as the frenzy got close to the line. I did this and again with very little effort I crossed in 4th (I think) I may have done better, but I don't know. My goal tonight was not mid race prime points, but over all points.
I was basically saving the majority of my legs for the finish line tonight.
The one thing I didn't factor was anyone coming off the front and staying there.
Sure enough, the lap after the 2nd prime sprint there were 3 guys that went off the front. Then another 2 that eventually bridged across to them.
Normally I don't get all consumed with this. The course is 1.7 miles long with exposed wind spots and it is hard as hell to stay away. But 5 guy's could cause some damage if they worked together. I tried twice to form a chase with a couple of guy's to pull them back. Twice we failed.
In an effort with 3 others we were able to bring back 3 of the 5 and 2 of them stayed away until the end.
 I say good freakin job to them !!
As for the final 2 laps it seemed a bit sketchy. There were still about 13 racers that had hung on all night. I would say 1/3 of them looked absolutely wrung out and would no way contend for the sprint. However there were the usual suspects that I knew would be in the mix come that last turn.
And as we approached the final left hand we were cracking the whip at about 30 mph. I stayed focused and hammering with 1 final gear to shift into. It was getting fast and there was at least 9 guy's pulling for the line. At about 30 meters and sooner than I would have liked, I hit that last cog and jumped out of the saddle to see what damage I could do.
When it was all said and done I came across the line in a photo finish as me and another guy pulled away from the others.
I ended up conceding to said racer at the line ( less than 3 treads worth of a difference). With 2 already off the front we were sprinting for the final podium spot of 3rd.

So 4th overall in a good size field with some hungry racers. I feel good about the effort. I don't feel as if I left much of anything out there. I do regret not going with the breakaway. But I'm happy I stuck with my game plan.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the comments.

Train hard, train smart, be active.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Making tough training fun

It's hard to do. But what else is there, just suffer and moan about the whole thing ? Where is the fun and inspiration in that?
I choose to suffer, recover and blog about it. You may not care, but it sure makes me feel better to write down the experience and reference back to it at a later date.

But first real quick : My son ( the youngest and biological) is a great kid. Very respectful, has learned his manners well. And when asked to do so, can accomplish whatever he is tasked with. This sounds great, but there is a price to pay with that. If he is not asked, he is content with just kicking back. I'm am not a big fan of this, at any age. SHOCKED aren't you ! I knew you would be. With that said he turned 11 this past June. He has been involved in and even excelled at some of the following over the past 8 years. Ice hockey, baseball, BMX, skateboarding,dirt bikes,snowboarding,swimming,surfing,basketball. Typically he is good, to very good. He is super coordinated, agile and lean. He has a natural athleticism in him. However nothing has ever stuck.
This was the summer I told him he needed to really find something. Whatever it was I didn't care, he just needed to choose it, stick with it and have some passion for it.
He chose PaKua discipline of Karate.
Long of the short, he has taken this all on his own over the last 6 weeks. Attending hour long classes sometimes 3 days a week. This week there Grand Master is visiting from Brazil. Normally it would be to soon for a belt evaluation. But the 2 studio instructors that have worked with him most asked if they could have him evaluated anyways. They would waive the normal fee, but just show up.
I had to have the sit down conversation with him, that all though he has been asked to participate, and I am very proud of his advancement. The likely hood of him receiving any type of progression at this point would be pretty unlikely. But that his teachers were very pleased with his progress and wanted him to demonstrate in front of the Grand Master since he only comes out once a year.
There was 7 under teen kids testing for evaluations from grey belt down.I was absolutely shocked that even in the rotation, where he had to demo against a much higher belt, he never lost focus, and remembered everything without hesitation.
Long of the short, after the 50 minute evaluation they awarded him 2 yellow stripes to his white belt. He was super proud, and with his instructors did it on his own. I really hope and pray this sticks for him.
I am super proud of him too.

On to other things.
Saturday's ride was set to be epic either way and or either ride. I had originally chose the "A" ride for the extra miles. But then when looking at the "B" ride sheet I saw that everyone was going to get the main climbs, be it A or B. Since I ride in to the start point and had a wedding to be at come 1:30, I chose to ride the "B"  route. 12 miles less by the slip and 1.2 miles less climbing. Adam A,K.A. Junior showed up ! I was impressed, good job Patrick for coaxing him.

The 1st climb is Newport Coast and is no joke. 1.8 miles to crest and goes above 8 % a good deal of the way. However something I had never done was put out there. Just before the last little kicker you make a right on Vista ridge. This adds 1.2 miles at the very least same % if not steeper at times. To make things worse more interesting, you make another left and climb another mile at about 6 % with one 50 meter section that tables a bit. Just enough to let the blood change directions in your legs, with a heads up that they are going to burn again real quick.
By nature I am more of a pursuit rider or sprinter. On the flats I can ride with a very strong tempo and hold my own in allot of situations. On steep climbs, I generally get through them. Hate them. And then love that I did them.
Today was different though I took off in a steady tempo and never let off. I was quite proud of my climbing and was no where near the last person up. I even found myself riding tempo for a couple of guys to help them up and through the pain. My only regret was not stopping at the perfect bending vista point just near the top and taking a photo.
I'm going to do this climb again soon and I will definitely take the shot. It will be hell to restart at this point but the picture that over looks the coastline will be worth it.
Making the turn to head downhill was a welcome sight. And because I felt so damn good I got in the drops and just hammered. We had a solid 2-3 mile decent and I had a few of the guy's jump on and hang on. They had to be shitting at 43 mph I know I was. That may have been my hairiest decent to date. My front brakes almost became none existent and I think that without professional constant tuning of my bike, that I should never push that envelope to that level anytime soon.
The normal "B" ride group skipped that little detour and we all meet back at the bottom of the decent. We still had a minor climb up the back of Turtle ridge to get to the rest point. At this time the climb seemed like a roller in comparison (it's not). From there we would split up. I asked Adam if he was riding  A or B and not be persuaded by my decision to do the shorter ride. He opted for "B" and we pushed on. I was quite impressed by the kids climbing skills. Although he is built like a Schleck, I have never got to see him do anything but flat riding. And really up until last Tuesday I had not been very impressed. But he has since gained some confidence and this too is epic.
When finished out some more minor ups and downs. Made our way through another 2-3 cities and back into Newport. I took these shots as we sat waiting to regroup.
This shot is overlooking a small section of the Newport back bay.     
This is a few of the guys waiting.
And from there it is just about pacing back. We are only about 15 or so miles from the HB Pier. Good times. I did allot of work up front for the "B" ride, as it should be. In the 'A" I definitely choose my pulls in the "B" I feel a bit more obligated these day's.
All said and done I got in just under 66 miles and made it to said wedding on time. Thankfully it was a casual California wedding. I was able to wear shorts.
Here's a question ? How many people out of the 100 or so there noticed the shaved legs and wondered WTF ? LOL !
On the other hand, how many people saw my calves and said WTF ? Again LOL !
 Sunday was kick back and some minor house items.
Morning ride today was a 24.26 miles loop in 1h 17m recovery at a good pace with noooooooo wind at all.

take care and thinks for lingering.


GO VOEKLER !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Train Hard,train smart, be active.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I love this everytime I see it

I wish the whole U.S. or at least all of California could embrace this.
It's a whole lane, let alone near perfect surface. Just for the safety and enjoyment of commuting or recreational cycling.

So tomorrow is a long ride with plenty of climbing with OC VELO. Which in this case I'm pretty happy about because this will not be just a couple thousand feet and some miles when done. This can and will likely hurt more than a bit at times. With that said, I look forward to doing it in some sort of group be it small or a bit bigger. Here's the route sheet. I add about 13-16 miles to the sheet because I like to ride to the meeting spot from my house. There is just something about leaving my garage and returning to it upon completion. This is not the clubs most treacherous ride, but it has it's place at the top.
My only real complaint  issue thoughts, is that I did a bit of this ride just last weekend. Let's hope there is no repeat performance in that brouhaha. 

Newport Coast/Pacific Island Drive 65 Miles
R 17th Street 0.0
L Pacific Coast Highway 0.9
L Newport Coast Drive 12.2
R Vista Ridge 14.0
L Ridge Park 15.2
R Newport Coast Drive 16.2
R Turtle Ridge Drive 17.2
R Summit Park 17.5
R Shady Canyon 19.7
L Sunnyhill 20.2
Stop @ Turtle Rock Park
R Turtle Rock 20.3
R Ridgeline 20.8
R University/Jeffery 21.8
R Alton Parkway 22.6
R Laguna Canyon Road 24.3
L El Toro Road 30.3
R Aliso Creek Road 31.7
R Alicia Parkway 36.7
R Highlands 37.7
R Pacific Island Drive 39.4
R Crown Valley Parkway 42.0
R Pacific Coast Highway 43.1
R Main Street 64.7

train hard,train smart and be active.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Steady as it goes. Life on the road early.

I started a vacation June 17th @ 5:00 p.m. On June 19th I wrecked my back doing (literally) nothing.
For 8 day's I was away from the possibility of a bike ride. I brought my running shoes with me, but even 2 extremely high priced massages in a Mexican paradise could not fix the issue.
I stayed on the muscle relaxers and Advil the entire time, yes mixed with some bloody Mary's and beers.
There was no reprieve.
 I kept swimming daily to stretch it out, and it did feel better when I was doing it. However 30 minutes upon completion I was a crooked mess again.

I tried a race June 28th as my back was near normal. The problem was too many day's off, and too many day's recovering. Where I should have had fresh legs at least, they where flat and I had no fitness. Along with a mental head case, that told me I couldn't do it.
That race was a train wreck. It took everything I had just to finish. I would have abandoned it all together had my son not come with me that night.
What was I going to tell him ? "WE QUIT SOMETIMES" . That was not going to happen. On top of that the young kid that I/we (we being Patrick) from http://www.theroadmultisport.com/ have tried to mentor and encourage, showed up.
Now keep in mind, he has not listened to a damn thing I have tried to tell him, and I believe this go's for Patrick also.
Long of the short he was there also, and that would not fly in my mind if I dropped out while he was there either. By the way, he once again dropped out that night :-(.

I had all but given up on him, as excuses seemed never ending and kind of  repetitive.

Fast forward July 10th, I had skipped Tuesday night race on the 5th as I had still not been able to get a bunch of miles in. There was no need to go suffer and hang on. I knew where my form was and or wasn't. There was no need to go pay $ 10.00 to get beat down. I chose to just keep getting the miles in.

Sadly, prior to going on vacation I may have been in the best form in almost 2 decades. Also sadly how an injury and a few weeks can change that all.

I had to make a decision on July 10th to race or not. It for me was an important race, being one of the last 3 major criteriums of the season. Also for me to do it, it would have been a very tight morning and may have caused some conflict. I weighed my options and chose to not press the issue and race.
I was pretty down about this, but did get out for a long road ride solo that morning only to flat and ... you can read that here if you missed it   http://tri714-letsdothisagain.blogspot.com/2011/07/written-and-researched-so-well.html.
From that ride on my confidence had changed. Once again I have felt control on the bike and control over my fitness path.
Tuesday night It was on again for local crit racing. Come hell or high water I was going to work and be proud of my efforts.
To my surprise, Jr. was there again.I won't lie,  I was kind of, so what at first. But he made is way over and said although he hadn't been following any written training plan ( I shivered ) he had been putting out some longer, harder efforts.
Then the father side of me kicked in. I said let's spin some warm up laps.
I told him tonight could be different if he would listen to me and forget everything he hasn't learned. I think it may have pissed him off a bit, but I didn't care. For me tonight was a sink or swim to him.

As we rode our warm ups I told him, for no reason would he take any length of pull up front. And if by chance he had to pull through behind me, that he was immediately to get off the front and drop back. He was to never go further back than 10th (ever).
He was to take a decent size drink from his bottle 1/2 lap prior to sprinting and when we made it through the sprint points he was to not hold that pace and recover.
Loudly, I told him in these words, "when the prime bells ring, or they show the 2 laps to go sign, you follow my ass as long as you can ". If you have more gas in the tank, jump right to outside, put your head down and turn the cranks as hard as you can". If you do this tonight, you will not only finish your first race, but you will get some results. Can you do this ? He replies, I can try.
Again, I'm a little deflated by the response, the kid is like 21, 6'-2" tall weighing in around 165 lbs and fairly ripped. I'm thinking WTF !!
Screw trying, "LETS DO THIS THING" !

So all that is long winded, and hopefully not to boring. I just need you to get a visual of where my head is at not only with racing at this time, but Jr.
I'll keep it short here.
Prime 1 - I kept jockeying over my shoulder to see if he was still there. He stuck like glue and pulled out 2nd or 3rd.
Prime 2 - same thing, I pulled him from middle all the way to the far right for the bull whip at 25 meters and he just missed 3rd spot.
On the finish He held on as I bullied my way up the middle. I never saw where he jumped out, But at the line he was right there with us and contended. Finishing up in 4th place.
Holy shit he finally came through ! He went from never completing one of these races to contending in the primes and just missing a podium.
The only negative, was that his right foot pulled out and came unclipped with about 10 yards before the line. that was a bit scary to say the least.
With one look at his cleats, I told him to stop doing runway modeling in them. They are not shoes, don't where them like they are, and buy some new cleats.Fortunately he laughed and we got to celebrate a bit.
For me it was like winning. I won't be a lead out train every week, but I will continue to help him. In turn he will begin to help me. I contended for the 2 sprints and I now know I finished 7th over all with a starting field of 19.  Not great points wise, but I was as happy as if I had finished top 3 myself.

So today was more of a short 20 mile recover spin in early morning greyness.
 heading down through Seal beach and into long beach. I took this because ya'll seem to not thinking I'm capable of snapping pictures while riding at high tempo.
truth is I can. and I never really worry about removing my hands from the bars unless it's 3 wide or more.
I got a shot of  the infamous 3 mile island nuclear facility. I always see this harbour in screen shots on Burn Notice.
It's a horrible picture I know, but what can I say. I have time issues in the morning and don't like to stop and shoot, I just like to ride and shoot.

Once I got back out of Long Beach and through Naples, I crossed back over into Seal beach and this bus caught my Eye, as if the Belgium's came to visit.
Interestingly enough the cheesy motel/apartments there (also way out of focus) often shows up on the show Dexter. Got to love the Dexter ! Dude is crazy.

The recovery ended up being a little more tempo as I'm am feeling quite strong again. It was still short but sweet.
20.58 m in 1h 1m  9s.
Looking forward to Saturday's long ride now and a early run tomorrow morning.

These are my horrible gifts to you for listening to my long rants. Thanks for reading.
Train hard, train smart and be active.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Written and researched so well

I had to to grab it ** kudos** ClaremontCyclist    http://claremontcyclist.blogspot.com/2011/07/tour-de-france-rider-profile-thomas.html

I have been praising this guy all year  (Voeckler). And this is an awesome homage to him and who he is. If you have watched any Grand tours at all this year, or even the larger 1 day races, YOU'VE SEEN HIM ! And this guy takes his work seriously.


As far as the race has gone ? Big names falling to ongoing carnage. And how about KOM Hoogeland ?
Holy crap !!
   That was just not right on so many levels.


O.k. enough about that.

Saturday was a boating weekend. How do you like this sweet ride ?
 Here's the captain.

it was the boys day out at the lake, ummmm I mean duck pond.

It was my fear that it was going to get stuck out there and I was going to have to get in that stenchy mess to get it back. But it never happened and we had a blast chasing rouge ducks and geese around with it ( Uh I mean ) quietly cruising it around.

Sunday was a solo effort to ride south and climb the always challenging Newport Coast Drive. It's roughly 20 miles to get there. Then you are greeted with pleasure of climbing a grade that crest over 8% for a couple of miles. It does drop below that grade at times, but less face it, it's a grind. No pun intended. And what goes up must come down, so you have that going for you. I hooked up with a guy at about mile 9 on the way out. With no conversation with each other we just started exchanging pulls. We hit green light, after green light and were averaging about 26 mph. This was by the way faster than I wanted to head out. This held up for about 4 miles then we hit a light.
I was stoked to be able to let off and recover, I'll admit I was cracking a bit, but pushing to hang in and take my turns off the front.
We pulled up, unclipped a foot and looked at each other with shit eating grins. It was no doubt a mutual relief. Conversation went like this.
ME- Where you heading ? or are you headed back home ?

HIM-  I'm not sure yet, I'm thinking of climbing Newport Coast.

ME- Chuckle out loud- I'm thinking the same thing, I'll see how my legs feel when I get there, I'm still trying to get some riding legs back since a vacation a couple of weeks ago.

HIM- How long of a vacation ?

ME- Over 10 day's with no riding.

HIM- Ouch, that can be tough. Unless you get to ride allot ?

ME- Not that guy. I'm a 2-3 day a week guy, coupled with 1 long weekend ride.

HIM- Yep, I  get it. You good to keep going ?

ME- Yeah, sure, how's this pace ?

HIM- A bit fast, but I'm good.

ME- O.k, so does that mean we can back off a bit.

HIM- That would be great by me. I just didn't want to be the one.

ME- O.k then I'll be the one, let's tone it down just a bit.

HIM- Lights green.

We never talked about it again. And I don't care if I was the weaker one. I would have been a mess continuing at that pace. We did the climb in pretty much tempo. He was a smaller rider and paced fast. I let him go ahead without concern, we regrouped at the bottom.
He was turning right, I was turning left.
With a waive goodbye that was done, and pretty cool.
From there I headed back down to the flats at PCH. Unfortunately that would become literal.  
I managed to get a 1 " deck screw impaled in my rear tire. Thankfully it was AFTER I had made it up, then down and heading home. Well about 16 miles from home that is.
No worries, we get flats right.
However you trust your brand new unused tube will inflate, bzzzzzz, wrong ! It was useless.
Thankfully road cyclist have each others back, even when you are rolling solo, we always shout out and ask if the stopped rider is o.k.
In my case today though, a guy just stopped.
I told him the story, he broke out a spair and gave it up. He said he had 2 and didn't expect a flat anyways. (TALK ABOUT THE KISS OF DEATH STATEMENT). I hope he didn't get one, but that was a crazy thing to say. He even gave up a c02.
How about that thing was defective too. WTH ??
Just as he was willing to give up another one. Another guy just stops out of the blue. Asking if all was o.k.
We spill the story, and he's like, yah that's why I spent the $ 40.00 for one of these mini pumps. It is not as cool as C02, but you can pump your tire up over 120 psi if need be.
So there it was in unison, it all came together.
Within 2 minutes it was back together and on. Rolling again. It was about 10:15 now and the wind was starting it's thing.
Everyone mounted up and started north. I never even asked where they were heading. But it was somewhere north. I did get there names though,  Andy and Chris.
Within a mile the wind was effecting the ride with a switching cross and headwind. I jumped on the front and ran lead out for the duration.
I never saw where either of them turned off. So as quickly as the showed up, they went away.
There is no moral here, just a cool roadie story.


Just under 55 miles, with some hills and drama. Racing tomorrow night. Assuring that things will go better than my last showing 3 days after vacation.


Train hard, train smart, be active.

Friday, July 8, 2011

365 days back on the bike and more

Exactly a year ago today I went out for my first road bike ride in at least 7 years. I had also just started running again and had some vision in my head that I could do a triathlon again.
So at roughly 220 lbs. I did very little homework and bought this.
This was an awesome find on Craigslist. And although I was pretty out of touch with the  latest and greatest (not that I needed that), I felt $ 500.00 for an aluminum and carbon bike with Dura Ace components was pretty dope. So I drove out some 75 miles away and picked it up.
My first ride was love hate. I loved being back on a bike , but as many of you know, your body just screams at you in so many different ways. My legs, my back, trying to ride in aero (LOL). The actual adjustment was so far off and I rode it that way for at least a month before grasping that it was more than just being out of form.
On 9-1-11 I started this blog and then soon meet Patrick from  http://www.theroadmultisport.com/ as luck would have it.
Even luckier than that, he turned out to be a very stand up guy just a few years younger and has some great life and family values. Loved the sport of triathlon and was in the semi early stages of getting his athletic life back on track.
Turns out we have similar likes and interests, and although we took different paths in our lives, somethings were parallel, others not so much. However, we hit it off and became friends and encourager's of each other. Our schedules don't match much but we have accomplished a tri together and some local bike races along with a half marathon.
This post isn't about Patrick, but that last paragraph says allot to me when I read it back. He along with many of you have kept me true to my training, more than some of you know. If had not been for Patrick I would have likely never entered a half marathon. With that said I'm a few day's away from re registering for the same race, who would have thunk !
By November of last year I had joined a bike club, OC VELO that he was doing rides with. I had done a sprint tri, and was putting in some miles via swim, bike run. I had lost about 12 real pounds and was really starting to love pure cycling again.
By January I bought this bike.

This ride was short lived. I had some fitting issues and it was a bit big and that apparently went along with my ego. So I sold this bike and the other and bought this one.


 
I freaking love this bike, the paint scheme is not for everyone. Sometimes I even wish it was a solid black or blue, or white. But the bottom line is. If your a cyclist, this bike is pretty kick ass. It weighs just over 15 lbs. and flys. I nearly let that ego and my ambitions get the best of me again about 5 weeks ago. I was ready to sell this off in support of our to be race team.
I have issues with commitment and people. I'll admit this. When I have whole heartily committed to something, "I'M IN". Know this also, if I give you the "we'll see" answer, there is a 50/50 chance I'm out. Sorry that is nothing personal, but I do let my personal home and work life dictate my schedule first.
With all that said, I'm very happy to say I have meet and made a great friend in Patrick. I'm a bit of a lone wolf these day's and have been for the last few years. Patrick probably doesn't realize that he is one of my closer friends, (until now). But he really is that stand up. When he reads this (and he will) he might also think I'm a bit pathetic, that he is one of my closer friends, LOL ! Sorry man, it is what it is. Deal with it !
So 365 days into it. My passion is just as strong. I'm well under 200 lbs now.
I still love to run, I really love to ride.
 I have competed in over a dozen bike races in the last 4 months. Placed as high as 2nd over all and as bad as almost quitting.
 Have huge aspirations to still build a bike team at a grass roots level and will be a big supporter of it. This is still spinning out there in mediocrity right now. Large talk and little actions. I will continue to race out this season and expect great results.
I will continue to ride 500-700 miles a month and get stronger.
I will run as much as my body allows, and try and be more diligent in working that in.
I will get back on a swim schedule next month when my son goes back to his normal schedule. 
I will continue to support those on here that support me, and then some. Remember "you inspire" !
It's been a great 365 day's. I can't say I'm amazed where I have gotten. In reality I could have maybe gotten further. But on the other side of the coin, I'm right on track to continue doing what I love so much. 

Train hard, train smart, and be active !      



Thursday, July 7, 2011

I ran again LOL !

2 runs in the same week ? Wow, seems amazing at this point in my life.
It would have been a wonderful morning for a dry warm ride, but I tell myself that too often and time in the Kayanos slowly gets away from me.
So there it was, another near failure to run and opt to ride.But I quickly came to my senses and and threw on the dri fits and laced them up, (well I have speed laces) so I slipped them on. Cleared the Garmin and hit play on the I-POD.
All was good on the tarmac and before I knew it I had banged out a a quick 4 miles of running. Far ? NO, Fast ? no ! I conscious and or unconsciously held a 9:06 pace for 4 miles or just over and never really thought too much about it. I just enjoyed the pounding of the road under my shoes and the sun coming up behind me. It was an awesome 68 degree sunrise and the world was right.
I'm not fast, but I do enjoy me some road running.
Back on the bike tomorrow ! But it was good times and once again a great change of pace.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Belated Vallarta and other fun stufffffff

There is really no rhyme or reason, just ramblings and a mixed bag of tricks.
A week, no now 2 weeks ago. I got to get away for a few days in Nuevo Vallarta central Mexico. Having been down there many times we knew late June was a questionable weather time. But this is how the stars aligned and this is when we went.

90 degree weather with random showers was all the forecast said for weeks. So we set our minds that it would be what it was. For the most part the weather was cloudy, however we did have the occasional tropical shower. Except one day where we sat pool side at 10:00 a.m. and watched a down pour roll in.
We hung in the rain for about 30 minutes before finally retreating to the room to watch the show.

In reference to
This is a picture from our patio, and considering it was a 10 story hotel I felt pretty stoked to be pool side on a daily basis.It made for easy lunch digs for the kids, and easy cooler reloads :-)

 notice the person sitting pool side still, they are actually sitting in a big fat jacuzzi. It blew out later and the evening was quite awesome. It took that humid edge away.
I didn't take many pictures but my wife did some 200 plus photos.
Grandson and grandma before a relaxed dinner at this kick butt little Brazilian restaurant.
The kids had a blast with multiple tower water slides that looked like crocodiles and man made caves under a center Island of the pools. With some small 1'-2' surf another 100 yards out, we got to body board several days in 85 degree water with very little rip tide or high surf warning drama.

In reference to http://www.theroadmultisport.com/2011/07/metrosexual-triathlete-tip-of-week.html I actually had some growth going for a few days. Which is odd due to mid race season, but I was on vacation, and that meant from everything. I had no razor sharp tan lines, but there is and obvious difference to my butt white hairy quads. And no I don't only shave the lower legs, they all get the axe.

I won't lie, this was a cervesa induced picture here.


My wife would likely not be happy I put this up. After seeing it I'm not sure I am. But let's keep it real o.k.

My son gets out of school every year the day before his birthday. How ridiculously cool is that. So as usual a birthday cake and his niece that is only 3 years younger than him are making wishes.

I took all three kids to Knotts Berry Farm amusement park the day before we left for rides and junk food.
Now it's back to reality. The grand kids are back in Vegas and Eric is here spending time with us. We have signed him up for martial arts and he is as usual very agile and coordinated at it. Now I only say it that way, because the kid has mad skills at whatever he tries, the problem is nothing has stuck yet. With that said, he is probably as exited about this as I have ever seen him. So we'll keep our fingers crossed that it takes and he continues on some type of athletic quest for discipline and structure.

That's it, blew off the Tuesday night world criteriums due to getting payroll out to my employee's. I did manage to get up and get in a 28 mile ride this morning with light winds out and a bit of a nasty crosswind in. This kind of took me by surprise because usually if there is any wind that early it is a tailwind in, but not so much today. But it was still 70 degrees at 5:40 a.m. and sunny so I can't and won't complain. I was just blessed with the opportunity and ability to be out there.
I for one don't make to big of an issue about the shave or no shave thing. I can can only tell that it weighs my decision on the commitment of the other athlete in these said sports.

Train hard, train smart, be active.