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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Long weekend ? felt short to me.

I got to race my 1st large series race under the new Out-Spoke-n flagship team. I like our weekly races at El dorado parks Tuesday night worlds, but there is something to be said for the large CBR series races. A little shorter course going faster with 4 to 5 x the amount of people.
This race was set for Monday and honored Memorial day. It was great to know they had set up free racing for active or retired veterans for there services. I am neither, but I am grateful.
The turn out was large with some race fields seeing almost 60 riders in there respected race.
My race was to be maxed out at 70 riders and we had a pretty full turn out of 46 racers.
We've yet to get are true race kits completed so for now we run the shop colors.
We are changing these quite a bit. And though I'm proud to represent, I'm looking forward to a nice race cut fit with some special design help from, that is part of what he does. So we all semi agreed on a basic styling and hopefully he can get it laid out trick.

I was back on my Felt F-1 and I have to say it felt pretty good. Although I would also have to say I would have raced that Cannondale Super-Six in a heart beat. We have some bike change decisions coming up soon, so we'll see what happens. I do love this bike.

It is lightning fast, and unbelievably responsive. When you say go and put the pistons to the pedals, it goes ! But I see bigger things on the horizons, for all the right reasons.
At the race;

Not super exciting. There were 46 men in the field and It got going pretty fast really quick. We averaged the race at 28 mph and it was a bit squirrely in there at times. People just hanging on for dear life and diving into the turns to stay out of the wind can't get a bit shaky. And it did with several loud shouts and reprimands to the not so savvy riders. I usually stay pretty quiet, but there was a few barks from myself too. You have to be smart when cornering at 25-30 mph in large packs. There is very little room for error. And if your not quite fit to be in the front 1/2 that is creating that speed, then just drop back a bit a hold on. People don't understand that there lack of full knowledge at that pace can and will cause a major group disaster.
O.k. I'm off the high horse. It wasn't a mellow ride.
 I'll break it down quick. I did not struggle to hang in. I did quite a bit of work up front. I did contend for 1 of the 5 mid race sprints primes. I did not win it but took 3rd. It paid me nothing, but I tried. It took me a full 1/2 lap to recover (at the very back). But I did make it right back up front to reposition myself for the final laps to come.
I did have a decent kick at the end, but found myself a little gapped going into the final 3 turns. This took extra horse power to bridge up to the front lead out pack. I did get in a nice mid field sprint and passed several people on the way in across the line. I finished 14th out of 46 and know I could have better that by at least 7 spots. That may sound cocky, but I'm telling you what I saw and how I felt.
If I had not let that little gap form and just pushed with the front lead out I would have been right there. But for me It is still live and learn.
No one went down (I'm amazed) and it was a wicked fast pace. Top speeds strung out single file at about 35 mph for a bit. I have 2 more midweek races before my next large field race on June 12th and I hoping to have some team help out there by then.

Train Hard ,train smart, be active. 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

It was an enjoyable switch

I had the fortune to drop off this
yesterday with the guys at for a little pre race prep.

In the interim Derick the owner and newly crowned amateur race team owner allowed me to take out his personal Cannondale super-six Hi mod Carbon. His bike is well equipped as you can imagine with Sram red group, cannondale compact carbon crank. Laced up a nice set of Kysrium race wheels etc. It has some bells and whistles lets say. Not over the top but a sweet stead. I'm a huge fan of my Felt F-1 and I really am shocked that the headset hold up in European standards held up any large corporate teams to run them in 2011. With that said it is what it is.
I felt (no pun) compelled to look into the brand do to OC VELO had an agreement with a local bike shop and that was at the time one of there main brands. With that said I really fell in love with the fit and geometry of the bike and so I ended up getting one.

Now, since I originally had look at the Cannondales early on and had not really ridden one I thought I would do a brief bike comparison.

I rode this one today

  For all fairness in testing we will say that legitimately both bikes retailed new at approximately
$ 6,000.00 and likely closer to $ 7,000 or better with carbon wheels.

frame and fork

Cannondale = Hi mod super six full carbon   - size 52
Felt = F-1 Hi mod full carbon team issue -size  54

Both are running compact cranks.

Cannondale = Cannondale carbon compact.
Felt = Dura ace hollow tech 2

brakes calipers-
Cannondale= Sram Red
 Felt = Ultegra

Brake shifters/brifters
Cannondale = Sram Red
Felt = Dura ace

Derailleurs- (front and rear)
Cannondale = Sram Red
Felt = Dura ace

Bars and seat post (both Carbon)

Cannondale - not sure of brand on either
Felt - Oval carbon

Cannondale = Ksyrium sl blacks with carbon hubs
Felt = Ultegra s-l

Cannondale =  fIZIK
Felt= Fizik

Cannondale= Schwalbe ultimo zx
Felt = Specialized pro comp race

The fit ? Notice the Cannondale is a 52 cm and the Felt is a 54. I have always ridden a 54 cm road bike (51-52 Triathlon bike)
But road is a 54 cm.
When I first road the Cannondale a few months back I stood over and peddled a 54 super six. I hate the geometry and feel. It felt too up right and counter productive.
I noticed that Derick who is just a smidgen shorter than me was riding a 52cm. I never would have considered that before but I asked if I could stand over it, and like we now know ride it. The Cannondale 52 cm fits like a standard 54. Of course there are several manufacturers that this happens with. I found Bianchi to be similar in the other direction by 55 fits like a 54 to me.
This made a huge difference to me. The cockpit of the 52 cm Cannondale Super six is snug and comfortable, but allowed me to jump up off the saddle on slight hills and easily rock it side to side.
That being said I love the stiffness off the frame in that intense. There was NO over twisting on hard side to side throws up hills or on sprint take offs. This is spot on with the Felt.
I do believe that the F-1 may feel a little lighter on climbs though.
I would really have to have more time on it, But the Felt just has that feather feel. Great on climbing and whipping around. But I really think I like the absoluteness and solid feel of the Cannondale for racing, (especially criterium closed course). It just sets up better over the bars. I would race this bike today.

The components -

I had never spent much time on Sram (red). There money !! I'm liking them a lot. And I'm a huge shimano Dura ace fan.

The wheels -

Not even close. The Ultegra s-l is a great mid end fairly light wheel that you can train on with little worry about killing them, but at 1689 grams they are certainly race ready for most people.
But the Ksyrium S-L blacks are lighter, fast but wouldn't say faster and a better wheel with less flex. Flex is huge to me because I tend to really throw my bike side to side initially on sprints. This is brutal on wheels. I also like to do this in some climbing situations.

This was just a personal observation. I am certainly no bike tester, but I should be :-)

It made me feel like this
and yes that's the best smile I can give you one handed doing 25 mph, sorry.   

Train hard, train smart, be active.

thanks  Derick


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Ive really put in some huge efforts this last 4 weeks to stay on the super foods and keep my training intense and regular.
I haven't swam since the end of March and I miss it. You heard it, I miss it. You can only say that when you haven't done it in awhile. When I was swimming a couple of times a week at 1000 meters to 2000 meters it wasn't always so exciting.
I have also have only run a total of 10 miles this month, were I was averaging upwards of 45 + miles per month until march.
Granted I have spent allot of time on the bike in preparation for bike racing but I also miss running.

But for now I will stay with what is on tap. From now until the end of August I have 10 scheduled bike races. I want to slip in a triathlon in there, and a 10 k would be cool also.
My main focus right now has been my rebirth to bike racing. It is by far my strong suit and I think we all gravitate towards this.
Last night was my 8th bike race since Mid March. My diet is on and my training is on but I just couldn't find that extra juice to attack and pull away. I wanted to, it was part of my pre race game plan. I even sat in and didn't attempt to contend for either sprints mid race, all in an attempt to be as loose and ready come the last 200 meters of the race.
By the 3/4 mark of the race or about 19 miles in we had already split our group down to about 11. There was a 3 man break that got away with 3 laps to go and I almost went too, but figured we would pull them back in before the finish.
The main pack that I was in was very disorganized and people where all jumping left and right ,side to side to find the right wheel to latch on for the right leed out.
I say find a wheel and stick on it. If you picked the wrong leed out, then live and learn. Don't get all stupid in a pack of bikes riding 6 inches away from each other in all directions at speeds close to 30 mph.
But this happens and you just have to stay loose and hold your own line.
Coming into the final turn the 3 man break away have and will stay away. That sucks, I should have jumped that train earlier, but like I said, you live and learn.
9 of us jump and go, and it is the maddest dash to the line I have been in yet. I stayed straight up the middle throwing my bike side to side out of the saddle and just mashing on the pedals but I only had so much left to give. My body wanted to quit and give up, and for a Milli second I almost did, but my mind said go, you only have 30 more meters, DIG !! I only gained one more spot, but I at least gained that.
In the end I didn't contend for mid race prime sprints, (BOOOO, HISSSSSS). But I did pick up an extra place at the finish line. It was very tight with four of us coming over within wheels of each other. I ended up 7th overall for the night and gave it what I had, but I'll admit I was not on my best game.
I have a large race coming this Monday Memorial day. If I land in the top 10 there I will be very inspired.
I'm turning my bike into the new sponsors today for a Monday race prep courtesy of

And in that prep time the owner is loaning me his personal ride that looks like one of these.

Now that is a pretty strong owner commitment to a racer at the amateur grass roots level.
Although he has an ulterior motive of trying to get me off of my Felt and on one of these Cannondales since he is a premier Cannondale dealer.
I still like his style.

Train Hard, train smart, and be active.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend recap and The Tour of California

Most everything went as planned. But as it it often does life gets in the way and you improvise on the fly. That's why we are so damn special.

Saturday morning started with an unknown (kind of) ride destination with Patrick from and OCVELO.
Me and Patrick never really touched base on this, in kind of assuming me would both just be @ our standard meet up point to ride in to the start location. But having had quite a hectic week I was compelled to at least shoot off a text to confirm. He hit me back saying he would be there and where were we going ? I had no real idea either, so I just packed food for a longish 70 + mile ride.
Hooking up with the large crew (LOL) 6 riders in all, and one for sure drops off before we get 15 miles out.
Normally we pick up 5-8 and even more riders from the club on the way out. But not today. Everyone had other obligations and maybe it was due to a large number defecting to one of the club members homes that is based in Claremont. They had opened there home up for a viewing party of the Tour of California and some other adult fun.
We opted out and decided the final stage would be more realistic. Plus we would get to see the start and finish.
Moving forward, we got to the first stop point in Laguna beach for regroup. The pace was quite fast for just a handful of guys. It is about 20 miles to this point and then you head up Laguna Canyon rd. A fairly fast pace climb from PCH with a false flat of a couple percent the whole way. I tried to lead that out most of the way due to having just sat in the first 20 or so miles. It wasn't a long pull more than a couple of miles or so but I kept it going above the 21 mph mark.
We then made our first right hander to a real 6 + % climb with a kick at the end. Then left on some rollers for a few miles that lead into another 4-5 % couple of miles. I was thinking crap that was allot of climbing. Then I asked where this was headed. I had never road back in this area, it is all newer builds withing the last decade or so.
I was told we had an 8 mile stretch that never stopped climbing. Some less, some more but it was long and seemed endless.
That could not have been described any better. By the time we had truly crested and started descending I was elated to know than any other climb the rest of the day would feel like flat road with a headwind at best.
Actually at mile 60 I still felt very strong and started pushing the pace on descent when we weren't hampered by lights.
But as we weaved through and got back down to the home stretch run on PCH, I realised I was pretty spent and was dreading the next 15 or so miles in. I opted out of the coffee stop for getting home and out of cycling shoes and getting in a much needed recovery drink.
At the end of the line I got in just under 80 miles. Burnt over 6000 calories and climbed about 3000 feet.  I lounged for a few and then got real and started into some projects I thought should be completed. A few hours later my wife came home and I devoured my lunch and most of hers.
 Good times, good times.

Sunday was an early day to meet up again with Patrick and Ian his son.
The kid is super cool and had some energy with his bang sticks and the cow bells they had given away, plus I think dad brought a bell for him too. He was shy at first but that didn't last long. My son is only just turning 11 this June ,so I speak gremlin pretty good. We got Shack shirts, and fingers, some water bottles etc..
We cruised around town and seen some of the heavy hitters i.e. Levi, Taylor, Tee Jay, Schlek, Christian. Too many to really name them all. However I was amazed by this guy.
Johan Van Summeren , this guy is so huge for a cyclist it's amazing. But super kind. I congratulated him on his win and his recent engagement and he seemed genuinely thankful.
Just by dumb luck and getting to this particular parking lot early (I had no idea), I parked my truck right next to where the Cervelo bus would eventually park.
I also walked into a surprise Happy Birthday for Christian VandeVeld

so that was cool. And yes I sung along.

Then the start hit and it was off to follow the mobile circus to the finish. Where by good reason they get streets opened up for parking and the general public fends for themselves. I get it, no big deal, but I got lost twice trying to estimate where the finish was and finally just found a spot, grabbed my back pack and hoofed it. I too found myself there with the helicopter coming into play and made it to the circuit just to catch the break coming through.

4 man originally with 2 others that bridged up. Then came the heat.

They were just drilling it home and there was no way that group would ever be allowed to stay out forever, but they will play it smart and not real them back to soon. When this happens you then get multiple counter attacks and it gets very disorganized. Radio shack had there #1 and # 2 in the bag and there would be no room for heroes.

The group did come back together and HTC and Liquigas made for a special,tight finish sprint with Matty Goss from HTC winning out. It was fun and I will do it again. As fun as the start was for all the interaction with the teams,riders etc.. I think I might reconsider and just hit the finish, but will see.
I believe this race is here to stay. When Ligget and Sherwen talk of this as the 3rd most important tour race of the season world wide, that is huge. I also think the Baldy climb will not be going away either.

cheers !

Always good to hang with friends, always good to watch races.

Train hard,train smart and be active.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fridays, fast and the furious

IT WILL be a ramble.

Fast Friday = Tour of Amgen California, Solvang time trial stage. Stay tune for all out speed and sacrifice !

Speaking of which- I'm meeting P-daddy and P-daddy jr. up at the Amgen. Where they will be doing a boy's weekend.
I originally thought I could do something with my little guy, but plans changed with his mom and so I will roll up solo.

I'm good though, live, laugh, love the show go's on.

On a deeper note, this this is truly happening and I think the owner is as stoked as we are.
He invited us to hang at the Cannondale concierge tent for free food,swag and beverages at the TOC.

On top of that a further invitation was extended to stay or come back Monday and ride with some of, but obviously not all of
Liquigas boy's.

Here is Sagan handing it to them all a couple day's ago !

But first things first, It all kicks off with a nice 56+ 16 miles ride up the coast and through the foothills of the O.C with
This will put me in just under 150 miles this week. Not happy with that, but life goes on. It could have been worse.

Life is not bad, most of the time. Is it half full or half empty ?

Lastly my favorite quote of the week.

 " Those that talk, don't do. Those that do, can talk all they want " !

author- yours truly :-)

Train hard, Train smart ,be active. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tour of Long Beach for a good cause

Saturday was The Tour Of Long Beach to benefit Millers children's hospital and it's quest to aid and cure children of debilitating diseases.
It was set up as 62 miles, 31 miles and a short fun ride of xyz miles (not sure).
Patrick and I hooked up with a local bike shop that was really engaging with this and got on board.
Patrick and I chose to ride from our house in to the start line and then ride home to add some miles to the day.
The weather was decent with some sun and some overcast. I have done my fair share of racing over the years, but never a charity ride like this. I will say for the most part it was very well organized and they stayed on time.

With only a few glitchy stretches of the ride, it was pretty well mapped out.
Our ride consisted of trying to keep a large group together, but ended up being futile considering the wide variation in every ones ambitions and abilities.
So we finally set out about 10 miles in, to just hammer it for all it was worth and get a good work out  in.

Patrick rolling into the staging area.

I did my best to take this while rolling side by with him.
As important to me, I had hit Patrick up a couple of weeks back about his thoughts on approaching this bike shop about a race team.
He seemed to think it was a great idea, so we have put together a letter of intent and some ground rules between LBS and said "to be " team.
Post ride was a day to get some extra face time with the shop owner and see what we all wanted to accomplish, and then see if we should move forward.
I can say the brief meeting went well, and there WILL be a race team coming out of the shop in the very near future. I will personally start racing under there name and colors as soon as Tuesday of this week, weather permitting.
I'm pretty excited about what should and will come out of this. We will keep it simple in the beginning and expand it as we go. More on this early breaking news to follow.

In bigger news of cycling. The Tour Of California's 1st stage was cancelled due to weather.

Crazy !!
And it's rest day in Italy. Well deserved after that 40 k climbing finish yesterday.

Train hard, train smart and be active.

Monday, May 2, 2011

family fun and a solo wind trainer session

Sometimes your weekends are booked and planned way in advance. This was one of those weekends.
Having Eric most of last week and into the weekend.
I had been able to get a couple of midweek morning sessions in this week but with not much volume. I think it was just shy of 50 miles. Saturdays group ride would also be nill, but I needed to get in some decent miles, make it hurt and make it count.
For this ride I chose a 44 mile loop with 3 good climbs involved.
Heading south on PCH past Corona Del Mar to a well known little 2.45 mile climb known as Newport Coast. I've questioned in the past the fact that it is an average of 8% grade, but it turns out that it truly the number. With some short blasts that go above the 15 % mark and others the go at the 5% mark.
It is still an awesome test of strength and leg and lung endurance. I have had some recent calve issues as of late (in fact was sick of talking about them)but today would be a true test as of weather or not my equipment change had solved an issue.
As it turns out, it did. It was my choice and idea to time myself up this climb, being that I would be hitting it solo. With no others to mark myself and tempo, I had to make sure I didn't fall into a flat pace and just crawl up it.
I also convinced myself that I would not get near my tall 28 tooth gear. In fact I wasn't going to let myself get below a 34/23 and didn't. And though I did struggle a bit I managed to do the full climb in just under 14 minutes. That was base to full crest and descending. I was happy with the effort, especially considering the severe Santa Ana wind blast that had my right side at about 2/3 of the way up. They were strong to say the least, but added to the battle. About 2/3 of the way down you can turn off of the main road and loop back to do another climb. This climb is known as Turtle rock, and although it used to seem like a fairly long and drawn out climb, it really doesn't have the kick that I felt just a few months back. I don't really know the length of this climb, but our club does it quite often. If I was to guess, I would say 2 + miles. I felt it was a good sign that it didn't sting like it did not so long ago.
The one last detour on San Joaquin road for another climb up into a resident. This is short in length at about 650-700 meters but is pitched at a solid 12 %. This would be a great place for hill repeats. My only thought is the residents are likely not that forgiving to allow you to climb up and down there streets for any length of time.
So making my way out of the foothills and just a short stint on the back bay path, I was again out on PCH for the ride in and home.
There was a solid crosswind but I was able to hold onto about a 22 mph average. I was able to bridge up and grab a couple of wheels, catch my breath and take a pull. The issue was now that I had upped the pace and no one wanted to share the work, so I held it steady and let some people hold on.
Eventually people popped off the back. Except one held on and eventually came around and started sharing pulls. I have a feeling he was doing all the work for the people I bridged up to, and needed a break for a bit. Anyways we made it all the way back down PCH together taking nice short rotations,about every 300-400 meters. Average pace was about 25 mph and time and distance flew by, the wind was also negated by the team work.
Total ride was 44.3 miles in 2:17 with some decent climbing.

Then it was straight away recovery drink shower and off to Knott's

The infamous log ride. It was hot as heck and the lines were long, but we had a great time.

In line for Montezuma revenge, which was awesome.
We only stayed for about 6 hours due to some season passes we bought. We thought for the $ 60.00 a piece they were selling them for it would be a no brainer come this summer.
After hours in the saddle and then hours on my feet, I was ready to get home and take a break.
I'm making a big push in the next 40 days to get to 188 lbs. And this was part of my last hurrah meal.
16 oz rib eye and a dirty Martini. I did some decent sides of brown rice and an artichoke, but this is all but over for the next month and change.

Train hard,train smart, be healthy.