Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Pre-Season Report: Building Up to Spring

Its December already.  This time of year is always fun to hear people argue about the best way to prepare for next racing season.  It seems like it was not that long ago that amateur racers took an "off season".  I remember as a junior racer starting my pre-season training on January 1st.  From September to the end of December I would hardly touch the bike.  Even when I lived in Hawaii.  I would run and do other activities to keep my fitness, but not train on the bike.  Now that training seems to be more specialized, seasons are longer and competition is more serious if your not training all year around, you will probably lose.

There always seems to be discussion on how to train through the winter. 

Idea 1:  You race hard, why not train hard.  All year around training should be at a high intensity.  The thought and rational behind no slow distance, endurance base miles is that if you didn't take an extended "off season"  what do you have to build up.  Why lose high level of fitness just to have to work to get it back?

Idea 2:  Winter is the time to tread along slowly to build the base miles.  The rational behind this is that your body can't maintain the high intensity training all year around with going into a state of over training.  Plus, like most things in nature, if you allow that higher level to drop slightly, you will be able to build it back at a higher level. Winter is the time to think about time on the bike.

Which one do you go for?

As for me and my clients, we have a mixture.  Base miles have a real benefit to get you ready for higher intensity training.  When it is cold out and there is long time before your next race, keeping the same interval style, threshold training is tough to do and could easily lead to burnout or over training.  By allowing that part of your fitness to drop slightly and build on pure aerobic conditioning, you will prepare your body for an those hard intervals later.

That being said, base miles are not the end all.  We work on high intensity training a couple times a week.  The difference is that this training is in a controlled environment.  Cross training on the Versa Climber and Jacob's Ladder will help you not to lose as much of your anaerobic fitness or threshold level.  It is controlled, different so you don't over train, and just plain painful.

Its important to periodize you training for the time of year or goals you are attempting to reach.  This type of pre-season training allows us to work hard while still building that important aerobic base.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Free Junior's Road Skills Developmentat Clinic




JANUARY 9, 2011
9:30am – 12:30pm

Grassfield Ruritan Club
845 Shillelagh Rd
Chesapeake, VA 23323-6506

USAC Permit Pending

The JUNIOR’S SKILLS CLINIC is offered for FREE to any rider age 10-18*.
Learn and build:
·      Bike handling skills
·      Balance and bumping
·      Confidence
·      Cornering
·      Rules and racing etiquette



Registration will close on December 26, 2010

This Skills Clinic is open to any Junior Racer whose 2011 racing age is 10-18.  It is open to all bike types including road, cyclocross, mountain or BMX.  The skills will focus on road racing but the clinic will be held in a grass field.  Road or cyclocross bikes with clipless pedals are encouraged but all types are welcomed (no handlebar attachments, including aero bars and mountain  bike bar ends).  Helmets are required.  A USAC racing license is required. One-day and seasonal licenses will be available for purchase at registration.  All USAC rules apply.


QUESTIONS: Contact Joshua Goyet @ (757) 515-5940.
Clinic may be canceled due to rain/snow.  All participants will be notified if canceled.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Developing the Future: Young Racer's Skills


Young Dane Craddock, age 10, was a little about his first time on rollers, but after a step-by-step coaching instruction, he was a natural after about 30 minutes into it.

I did also have to bribe him with food.  Just so you know he did not have the twinkie he was asking about.  I was glad to see he didn't even know what one was.  A box was given to my daughters, who also never ate one, but sometimes its hard to throw away food.  I did throw them away this same day though.
Developing skills like this at that age are critical.  When Dane decides that he wants to be a top level racer, his skills will already be there.  Look out for him in the future.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pictures and Report from Lonestar Lakes CX Race

The folks at All About Bikes Racing did an excellent job designing this cyclocross course.  I have been practicing and training a lot more this year on grass so the long sections didn't bother me as much as in the past.

I showed up to race the 35+ event after fighting a head cold that had just moved into my chest.  No excuses, but I'm just saying.

Anyway I took this race much like I have taken all other CX races this year...for fun, but I'm still giving it all I have.

There is really not much to report.  I wasn't last but I wasn't in contention for the money either.  I felt pretty good and had a good time.

Here are some cool pictures taken of my during the race (why just me, well its my blog):

Photo by Keith Burnstein 
Photo by Keith Burnstein  
Photo by Mike Park

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frogs on the Farm Cyclocross Race: CX Race / Swim Meet

The first race of the VACX series is over and done.  Thanks to Donna and all the Frogs for putting on a great race.  I did this race last year.  It was a late season race competing with some big events else where so last year had a very low turnout.  Not a big deal for me since I usually find myself riding solo anyway.  I was very glad to see the Fat Frogs crew give it a chance again this year though.

Last year's race was muddy.  It had rained and rained, then was 30 degrees so nothing dried up.  It was a sticky, gooey mud.  The laps were long.  I think the 45 minute race was 3 laps (maybe 2).  Most of the course was off the bike.

This year's race was muddy.  It was currently raining and was in the 60's.  Much better conditions.  The course had been shortened and more of it was ridable.  Still a very long course when it came to how long it took.  The 45 minute race was 4 laps this year.

I chose to do the Master's 35+ this year.  It was my anniversary and the earlier start would allow me to get home quicker to my bride.  Here is what I looked like during the race:

Photo by: Keith Bernstein
Photo by: Keith Bernstein
Photo by: Keith Bernstein
Photo by: Keith Bernstein
Photo by Pablo Custodio

Photo by: Keith Bernstein

Photos can be found at the following links:!/album.php?aid=75186&id=1589065989

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cyclocross Review: Top Mounted Brake Levers

You either love them or hate them, use them or don't, or maybe you have no idea whether they should stay or go.  I'm talking about the top mounted brake levers that come on many cyclocross bikes.
My Giant TCX came with them and I used them during the first year I rode cross.  I almost felt like I used them too much.  I don't typically ride the tops when on the road, so that riding position was as natural for me.  Last year I upgraded some stuff on the bike and took those levers off.  I personally feel like for me it was the right move.

There are some very good cross racers who use them, but at the same time it seems like if you buy a high end cross bike, they don't come with them.

I did an internet search and found a few forums about people talking about this.  Here is what I found:

More control over the bike when going down steep descends.  Less likely to do this:

More control during technical trail riding.
More control of your speed when approaching barriers.

Bars are too cramped.
The brakes become too much of a crutch.  In other words, you use them more than you should.
For many roadies it puts them in an awkward riding position.
Added weight to the bike.

I tend to do 90% of my CX riding on the hoods, so removal of those levers made sense.  For many CX racers with a mountain bike background, much of the riding might be done on the tops, in which those levers may come in handy.

Feel free to leave your opinions.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Want The Win

With the road season behind us (for most of us) and CX season here, many racers can now look at their past season and asked the questions of whether it was successful or not.  Also, what will the cyclocross season hold.

What makes a successful season?  I think for most racers it is a higher than last year number of wins.  What if you are not a winning cyclist?  How close did you come to that win?

These are the type of questions I have asked myself.  These questions along with some serious realizations have really shaped my mindset and motivated me for not only the CX season, but for next year's road season as well.

How many times has this been you?

How about this?

This last year I started becoming very interested in sports psychology.  I bought a book called "Mind Gym".  There was a section in that talked about athletes self-destructing themselves because they were afraid to win.  Afraid to win, seriously?  Then I thought about cycling.  What are the efforts that many times put you in a winning position?  They are hard and explosive.  If they don't succeed you stand a great chance of being dropped.  Is being dropped embarrassing to you?

One of the things I did this year was put on my stem a saying.  My stem had the phrase "Want the Win".  It reminded me that I needed to want the win more than I feared the loss.  I don't think that I completely did that this year.  I think it helped improve my confidence but I don't think I totally moved from fearing to lose.  A perfect example was the final race of the year at Bay Days.  I wanted to win and even asked my team to help set me up.  That request really put the fear of the loss high up.  When you tell people you can win, you should probably win.  My team did the perfect job.  I should have attacked on the last lap in corner number three.  That distance away is my specialty.  However, I feared that if I went too early and failed, that I would be embarrassed and let the team down.  Instead I followed an attack that occurred and waited until the final stretch where I wasn't able to go around.  I played it safe and lost.

My wife just got me a Road ID.  The saying on bottom is "WANT THE WIN".  That is how I plan to race from this point on.  It may mean being dropped at times when I put it all on the line, but I want that win.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Building Mad Skills: Cycling Skill Drills

Its the time of year to dust off your pride and start working on skills.  Some take this opportunity to practice CX skills exclusively and others use it as a chance to work some well needed road and handling skills. 

How many racers out there actually work on road skills?  Do you meet up with teammates and practice cornering, pack riding, bumping or control drills?  How many feel that if you have been racing for more than just a few years you probably are beyond the skill drills?

It is commonly said that if you think you need to work on skills you probably do.  If you don't think you need to work on them then you absolutely do.

I have taken this chance with my young racers to get them in the habit of working skills.  For them it is something different.  Both of these 10 year old kids will race cyclocross this year so these bike handling on control skills will benefit them in that aspect.  More importantly though is that these skills are directly targeted to get them more comfortable on the road bike and improve their pack riding, corning and confidence.  Probably more important than all of that is that these kids are having a real good time.  More fun than just going out and doing intervals or long rides right now.

Here are a couple examples of their drills and things that can easily be done with a group or simply a pair of racers.

Narrow alleyway drill.  I started with them slowly riding elbow to elbow through this alleyway that is just about 4 feet wide.  The idea here was to get them used to riding next to someone else.  We took it a step further and made them approach it at speed.  Great confidence builder.

Bumping and handling drills.  A small square area was set up using the flag.  One rider enters and sees how long he can stay in.  At least every 30 seconds he has to change direction of travel.  After comfort is built doing that, the second rider is introduced.  They both attempt to stay in while avoiding or riding around each other.  Finally they get the chance to bump each other.  They start using tactics like cutting to the inside and forcing the other out.  Its good fun, great confidence and increases bike handling and comfort.  Its important to maintain control of the bike by holding the drops.  This will help prevent handlebars from tangling.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hampton Bay Days Race Report and Pics

A race on 9/11, a race on the old Bay Days course I competed on as a junior, a race on a downtown course with a festival all adds up to some very good racing.

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen participated in the Cat 4 race with Zach Kyler taking 7th place, the Cat 1/2/3 race with Kevin Horvath competing and then the Cat 3 race with Kevin Horvath, John Gray, Mike Tamayo and myself.

I really wanted to win this race.  It would have been a perfect set up for my first win.  As a firefighter I wanted to race while showing a tribute to 9/ll.  I have also been close this year with a 3rd place at Fort Lee and a 2nd place at Bryan Park Circuit Race.  I asked my team to for the support.  I am usually the leadout man but this time I was asking to be set up for the win.

Kevin was our first line of defense.  He went with early attacks with the idea that if I didn't win, at least a Wheelmen would win.  Next Mike and John took turns in making bridges and getting to the front to ensure a steady pace.

I kept an eye on who was attacking and definitely had a pick on who I was going to follow.  About midway through the race there were numerous attacks from racers that I had marked.  I went, bridged and chased a few of them down giving my teammates a chance to recover.

With 10 laps to go Mike told me to get on his wheel.  He kept me in 3rd position.  If an acceleration occurred that he couldn't fully cover, he would get me close to launch me.  He then would recover and come right back up to me.  A true teammate and friend.  John at this time also helped cover some moves and make sure everything stayed together.

I was feeling good about the whole situation.  We came up on the bell lap with Jeff Craddock setting the pace, Mike on his wheel and me on his.  Out of the 3rd turn an acceleration was made.  I was forced to go around Mike's wheel to cover it after he got me very close to it.  As soon as it was covered, another attack occurred.  I once again jumped on that wheel.  Out of the 4th turn on the home stretch I stood up to sprint around the Carrytown racer.  I was in too big of a gear.

The picture says it all.  Lost in the sprint.  My first win still has eluded me and it looks like it won't occur in 2010.  It was close and I know I need to work on my sprinting speed and technique.  With more work I know in 2011 I will have many 1st place finishes.

For now, though, I was happy with my 2nd place.  I was thrilled with the team effort and I think the team was happy with the results.  The ability to work together as a team toward the common goal, and sacrifice your own results for another's glory is what team racing is all about.  I would rather share a 2nd place with my team then earn a win on my own. 

By the way, great racing by everyone in that race.  It was fast and steady with many attacks.  I was pretty surprised it ended in a sprint.

The following day I raced the same course for the 30+ Virginia State Championship.  It was raining and very slippery.  There were crashes in every race of the day.  After the 2nd lap when I nearly went down and many racers behind me did crash, I never felt comfortable.  So about half way through I simply pulled out and decided to end the season safely.

All photo's taken by Pablo Custodio.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Racing Tribute to 9/11

Three local firefighters, three Hampton Roads Cities, one team.  Mike Tamayo of the Chesapeake Fire Department, John Gray of the Suffolk Fire Department and me, Joshua Goyet of the Virginia Beach Fire Department, all of the Virginia Beach Wheelmen, could not think of a better tribute to 9/11 victims and heroes then to race our bikes.

Also racing for the Virginia Beach Wheelmen on this day was Kevin Horvath, who as a City of Chesapeake mechanic, helps ensure public safety stays on the streets.

Why race our bikes on 9/11?  BECAUSE WE CAN!  The terrorist may have changed a lot 9 years ago, but they did not take our freedom.  On this day, remember what happened, but remember what happened while having fun and exercising your freedoms.

That is what we wanted to do on this beautiful Saturday morning.  I circled this race on the calendar when I saw it being held on September 11th.  I trained for it, prepared for it, and asked my team to support me for the win.

Support is exactly what was given.  Then again, what would you expect from a bunch of firefighters?  So the Virginia Beach Wheelmen arrived in Hampton ready to race and to show mourning and support of 9/11 victims in our own way.

My race number, by special request was 343.  That is number of firefighters that died 9 years ago.

On our calves were written the numbers "911" and "343":

On our thighs were written the words "Never Forget":

Our team logo draped front and back of our jerseys:

In our hearts and on our minds we carried the thoughts of that day.  Where we were, what were we doing, how was this going to change our lives?  Nine years later, there we were racing our bikes, hanging out with friends and enjoying life as an American.  Sure things have changed, but thanks to our brave men and women in the armed forces, we are still free and we can still have a good time, even on September 11th.

Live every day like it is 9/12/01.  Remember how we all came together and how many American Flags flew on that day and the months to follow.

For those that protect our freedom, thank you for letting me race my bike.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Getting Ready

In the words of Snoop Dog "I stays ready so I don't have to get ready".  What am I getting ready for?  For starters, the last race of the season, Hampton Bay Days.  I really want to do well in this race.  Then I am really looking forward to CX season this year.

Last Thursday when I got off work, Earl was lingering off the coast and threatening to ruin a perfectly good weekend and five day break for me.  So I made sure I got out on the bike for a good tempo paced ride Thursday afternoon.  It was already windy but I was feeling so good that I hardly noticed it.

On Friday, as the rain and wind fell but the storm stayed off the coast, my teammate and I had planned an indoor ride at HybriFit so we didn't have to mess with the conditions.  In reality by the time we rode it would have been fine to ride outside.  Anyway we did an hour workout centered around anaerobic capacity.

On Saturday I decided to partake in a group ride.  I don't do many group rides because I can't control the pace, effort or other people's mistakes.  Once in awhile its nice to get out, see some people and mix it up a little, especially when its been a little while since the last race.  After two loops with the Saturday morning Virginia Beach ride, I rode home to ride an hour with 10 year up-and-comings Carter and Dane.

On Sunday, Zach and John met me at Red Mill for an hour and half tempo paced ride in Pungo.  After warming up we did a three man pace line with 30 second pulls for 20 minutes.  On the return trip it was another pace line for 20 minutes but this time you had to sprint from the back to the front.  It was fun, hard and nice to ride in a small group.

Monday morning was our team's traditional holiday CX ride.  Jon, Mike, Tim, Jennifer, Zach, Zach's Mom (not part of our team but well welcomed for the ride) and I met at First Landing State Park for some cx riding.  We rode easy out, picked up the pace on the back half a little more.  Easy back, then did a hard 3-mile pace line interval.  It was a strong will survive interval, in which most of us did not.

Today is a rest day for me and I am feeling good about the rest of the season.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Life Lost Too Young and a Ride to Remember

This morning riders from the Tidewater area rode in memory of "Little Ricky" Young who passed away this week at the age of 16.  The 7:15 am ride leaving from Laskin Road was a controlled remembrance ride.  I was not able to make that ride because I didn't get off work until 8 am, but I did meet up with group, got my blue ribbon tied to my bike, and rode hard as the ride became its normal "Saturday Stage Race"

What follows is the obituary which was printed in the Virginia Pilot:

Richard Allen Young Jr. VIRGINIA BEACH - Richard Allen "Ricky" Young Jr., 16, passed away suddenly on Aug. 21, 2010 in Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. Ricky was a student at Princess Anne High School where he played on the junior varsity baseball yeam. He was a writer for the school newspaper, served on the homecoming court, and was an honor roll student. Ricky loved sports, played golf, and was a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals and the Atlanta Braves. He was a member of Church of the Ascension Catholic Church. Survivors include his parents, Richard and Gisselle Young; two brothers, Tony and Joey Minozzi; a sister, Jennifer Austin; grandparents, Raymond and Elaine Iglecia, all of Virginia Beach, Herman Young of Ottumwa, Iowa, and Eva Tyler of Hot Springs, Ark.; stepparents, Richard Clark of Virginia Beach and Carol Grantz of Chesapeake; and a very special friend, Andrew Stone of Virginia Beach; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and numerous good friends who will miss him deeply. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27, at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Laskin Road Chapel. A Mass of Christian burial will be held Saturday at Church of the Ascension, 4853 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, at 11 a.m. by Father James Parke. Interment will follow in Colonial Grove Memorial Park. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.hdoliver. com.

Who is Ricky Young?

I don't know.  I didn't know him.  I never got the chance.  However Bill Conoscentii described him as a "rising star" before the beginning of the ride.  With over 75 riders meeting up this morning to remember him and to ride in his memory, well he must be special.

It was not him that I knew.  I know his dad, Rick Young.

Rick is the Manager of Bike Beat at Hill Top.  Here is what the website says about him and the level of impact he has on the cycling community:

Rick Young an Iowa native, got his riding start in Virginia Beach after graduating from Truman State University in Missouri.  He started working in the bike industry at HDK Cycles in 1999.  As a road and mountain bike racer, Rick knows all about high performance bikes and gear.  He's also very experienced with with fitting, and graduated from Michael Sylvester's Triathlon Fitting Clinc.  So if you're looking to tweak your fit, or want to be fit right on your new bike, come see Rick!

To Rick, I am truly sorry for your loss.  To the cycling community, thanks for coming out in numbers and showing your support.  The extended family that is offered by your friendship will surely help the Young family through this difficult time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Change in Focus for Next Year

I alluded to a fact that I was going to slightly change focus for next year.  This year I focused on crit racing.  I had a really good off/pre-season and was able to maintain form throughout the year without any real peaks or valleys.  I did better this year than I ever have.

One of the junior racers that I am coaching is turning 17 next year.  He is at the age that if he wants to do something with cycling he has to make his move now.  Even if his goal is a college scholarship, he needs to race something other than crits.  So I told him that I would train more for road races and travel with him a few times during the year.

I have not picked out events yet to race with him.  However, I have picked out a race to focus my entire season on.  It is a late season race held in New York in late August:

The World Police & Fire Games are coming to New York City August 26 through September 5, 2011. Come join us for ten days of sports competition and specially planned events, which will respectfully coincide with the ten year remembrance of September 11, 2001.
The New York City Police Department, The New York City Fire Department, The Port Authority Police Department, and the New York City Department of Corrections are inviting you to experience our City and participate in the most memorable World Police & Fire Games ever. Spread throughout the five Boroughs, the city that never sleeps will be the setting for the world’s largest multi-sport, Olympic style event. As many as 20,000 full time firefighters and law enforcement personnel from 70 different countries are expected to compete in 65 sports.
Bring the family and experience it for yourself. See the lights on Broadway, the neon signs in Times Square, Central Park, Wall Street, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and so much more. Life is not a spectator sport and neither are the 2011 World Police & Fire games in New York City.

This "Olympic" style event is held around the world every two years.  It is competitive and I am looking forward to competing it them next year.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Top Notch Racing--The Chesapeake Weekend

Over the past month I have missed some really top-notch racing.  I couldn't make it to the Blacksburg Weekend for two reasons:
  1. Lack of money.  Just couldn't afford the weekend.  It sucks but is definitely a legitimate reason that most of us have faced.
  2. Lack of skill on hill climbing.  Training this year was definitely focused on crit racing.  That will change for next year but I will leave that for another blog.
Then I missed the Page Valley Weekend.  Now even if my excuses for the Blacksburg Weekend had changed, I had a brand new excuse for missing this weekend:
  1. Couldn't get off of work.  Actually I ended up having to work extra.  I was going on a trip with the family the next week and needed to do a trade in order to get off work for that.  So I work 24 hours Friday, 12 hours on Saturday and 24 hours on Sunday.  No time for training or racing.
So two high level, high caliber racing weekends and I was no where to be seen.  So I was hungry for this weekend in Chesapeake.  Due of the amount of money offered in the Chesapeake Crit on Saturday, the P123 field was staked.  With no Cat 3 only field, I chose to race the P123 instead of the 30+ race.  For the Virginia Beach Wheelmen (VBW), Kevin Horvath, John Gray, Jon Nisbet and myself raced in the Pro/1/2/3 race.

Photo by Dan Gibson: From left to right, John Gray, Jon Nisbet and Joshua Goyet

Like I said, I was hungry for racing and the last race I did, Bryan Park, I got 2nd place in the 3/4 race.  So I had some confidence and I believed I belonged in this field.  However, I was also aware of my strengths and weaknesses.  I was not going to try and work too hard for at least the first 20 minutes.  I have done that before and killed myself for the rest of the race.  I figured I would stay attentive and maybe look at a good positioning for the sprint or a well placed break.

 Photo by BJ Samuel:  Hard Racing in a very fast Pro/1/2/3 field.

Here is the summary of the race:  Less than half way into race there was a crash in the final turn heading into the final stretch.  A number of riders went down and a split occurred in the field.  I personally was behind the crash (real close, the rider in front of me went down) but I had no problem getting back into the group.  My teammate John Gray buried himself to make sure we didn't get separated.   That was actually going to do him in, so I really appreciate his effort.  During the crash four riders got away.  It is unclear to me if they attacked before the crash or after, but they made their move and took advantage of a disorganized field.  The four riders were probably some of the best in the race.  They got a gap and at one point was over 30 seconds.  I thought for sure they would end up lapping us.  I knew we were going fast but I didn't think we were steady enough to catch them.  I even gave an effort at the front to chase them down but ended up forming a gap at the front.  I guess some riders were content to sprint for 5th place.

As the race continued, we kept closing the gap, but it was not to be.  They ended sprinting for 1st through 4th and we went for 5th place.  I was in great position with 3 to go but lost it in the bell lap.  I tried to regain but couldn't get up to where I needed to be.  I came across in 25th position and Kevin Horvath led the team in 14th place.  Jon Nisbet and John Gray gave sacrificing efforts for the team.

The next day I raced in the PLT TT.  I have neglected my TT bike this year so I have not really cared that much about my TT performance.  Next year will be different, but that is for another post.  I warmed up well and decided to simply go out smart and race hard after that.  Simple right?  The wind was to my favor, in that there was a head wind out.  So my building my speed up and not going out too hard would be into the headwind.  Once I made it to the first turn (at mile 6) my average speed was 23.9 mph.  My goal will be to do a TT with average speed of 25+ mph, but I have not been close to that lately.  During the first PLT this year I think I ended the race with a speed of 23.8 mph.  So I was actually pretty happy with this speed so far.  I was able to pick it up for most of the rest of the race.  A few headwind sections hurt me a little but otherwise I felt pretty good.  I just wanted to do the 23 miles (actually think it is a little less than that) in under 55 minutes.  I came across the line in 54:58 (according to my clock), but I wasn't able to stay around to verify the time because I had to get to a cornhole tournament (maybe another post).  My average speed was 24.2 mph when I crossed the line.

Good weekend, good racing.  Really looking forward to September 10 and 11th weekend in Hampton.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Training with Power, The ibike

Remember this post almost 2 years ago?

Power Meters. What's your opinion?

I was struggling with the idea of sticking with an ibike power meter that had been given to me or go with something more street tested like a PowerTap.

While what I decided was to stick with the ibike:

Mine doesn't look quite like that one.  I have one of the first generation ibike.  Like I was saying, that question and opinions were given nearly 2 years ago.  Since then I have been using the ibike.  Let me rephrase that, I have been riding with the ibike.  I say it like that because I haven't truly trained with power like a lot of racers do.  I don't believe in using power as the only tool, but I have started to really buy into it as a very valuable tool.  I once heard someone at a time trial claim that they didn't know why they did so poorly,  after all he kept his power numbers exactly where they needed to be.  That was someone who was using power as his only tool.

Real recently I went out and bought the Hunter Allen book:

One of the primary reasons I bought it was to get a better understanding on how to use power to train some of the racers I coach.   Especially going into this next off-season I wanted to have a good understanding and control over the proper amount of work needed to prepare for next racing season.

What this book did for me was to open my eyes to the possibilities my own power meter could do.  I understood my power and had a pretty good understanding and grasp of my own levels.  I also had a good understanding about how to train those levels.  What I didn't know was the features that would allow me to do this better.

I just discovered that the ibike has an interval feature.  I simply put my intervals into the computer and send them to my ibike.  When I am ready to perform them I push a button.  It tells me what watts I need to maintain, whether I am high or low, and time remaining of the interval.  Simple.  No worrying about trying to remember the numbers yourself.  The only thing I wish it had was sound (and maybe it does and I haven't figured out how to turn it on yet).  I wish it would have beeped me to tell me when my interval was done.

The book I bought gave me a lot of information about how to analyze the data.  I was excited to try some of this but discovered that the program that comes with the ibike doesn't do a great job at some of the stuff.  It does not do a distribution of power graph.  Also something that surprised me a little was that when I down loaded the data after my interval training today, the data was not separated or even marked where my intervals were.  I know that it is easy for me to see based on the graph so that was not a problem, but I also had a subtrip on this ride.  The first part of my ride was with one of my young junior racers and the second half was my intervals.  So I did a subtrip.  I assumed that when I down loaded the data that the place of the subtrip would have been marked.  It was not.  Once again maybe not a big deal because I could look on my computer and see exactly what time was dedicated to the subtrip and highlight that time.  I guess it is the little things.

Now that I am excited about training with power and I have a huge amount of possibilities with workouts to train different systems I think it is time to upgrade my ibike.  I will probably stick with the ibike but I want a wireless with HR and cadence.  I also would like to upgrade the head unit also to be able to put two profiles on it so I can get a second set up for my TT bike.  But for now the priority is the rear mounted sensors so I can use the trainer function for the upcoming cold months.

If you have any tips or comments about the ibike please feel free to leave them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Junior Development Program

For those that don't know who I am let me tell you a little something about me.  I have raced bikes since I was 12 years old.  I started racing with my brother in Hawaii.  When we moved to Virginia Beach I was 17 years old and got on the Tidewater Bicycle Association Junior Team.  Their coach, Peter had just recently died.  Pam Zimmerman took on the responsibility of driving us around the country and mentoring us the best she could.  At the age of 19 I was pretty much done with the sport and took up weight lifting.  I became a firefighter in 1999 where I thought my weight training was being put to good use.  I did very little aerobic training at this time.  In 2002 I started breaking away from weight lifting and got into running.  Right off the bat I started running half and full marathons.  I simply had a goal of a sub 4-hour marathon.  For someone at 200+ pounds, this was a big accomplishment for me.  It took 5 attempts in a 2 year period to get my 3:54 marathon.  That was it for me.  I then decided to try my hand in triathlons.  One season of swimming, cycling and running, I fell in love with the bike again.  In 2006, at the age of 30 I started racing again.  I got my old junior team back together and we formed the Virginia Beach Wheelmen.

Before I became a firefighter I thought I wanted to be a doctor.  My first few years at Old Dominion University were spent majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry.  A drop in medical field desire and some other distractions like marriage and starting a career in the fire service saw my formal education start to suffer.  I changed degree programs to applied mathematics and then finally Exercise Science.  Once I settled on Exercise Science, I became focused and motivated.  I finally graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in 2009.  Also in 2009 I became certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist through NSCA and started training athletes at HybriFit in Virginia Beach.  In 2010 I got my Coaching License (Level III) from USAC and started coaching Junior racers in the area.

My career in the fire service has taught me one very important lesson:  Mentors Make the Difference.  If I look back at my life I see that I had some very good mentors.  My parents were extremely supportive as was my brother.  In cycling I seemed to have good mentors, but never a coach.  I never had a coach that truly evaluated my style, skills and abilities and focused training and racing towards me.  When I was weightlifting, my mentors and coaches were magazines and word of mouth quick gains from other people in the gym.  Never focused.  Running was the same way.  No coaches to get me on the right track.  In the fire service, many times your mentors are your coaches.  I had some very good "fire coaches" and that has shown in my very focused and thus far successful career.

Obviously I feel coaching at a young, or any age for that matter, is vital to success.  You can read, listen and ask all the questions you want from experts, but unless the plan is tailored for you, success won't come as easy.

I have started coaching junior racers in the area.  Unlike many coaches, I will take young athletes at the age they can first get their racing license, age 10.  I am currently working with two athletes of this age.  The most important aspect here is not a training plan, it is skill development, comfort on the bike and above all fun.  Most of the time a coach can get through to kids better than parents can.

For the older athletes one of my specialties is strength training.  Not just any strength training but functional, cycling specific strength gains.

I am really trying to build on this junior development program.  If you know of any junior racers who would be interested please send them my way.  The more juniors this program has (to a limit of course) the more fun and beneficial it will be for all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Things We Won't Do.

I don't remember exactly what I was doing when this idea came to me.  I think I might have been sitting around, eating hamburgers, playing cornhole and drinking beer with some friends.  That is when I thought about the things cyclist WON'T do in the name of their sport. 

Have you ever heard a cyclist say they won't run because running slows down your bike.  Of course triathletes will disagree, but there are discussion boards all over the internet with no scientific proof that running slows your cycling.

How about someone who won't lift weights because the added bulk will slow them down.  While that idea may have some merit, what about the addition of overall fitness and overall strength?

What are some other things you have ever heard a cyclist say they won't do because it will slow them down?

Why do I bring this up?  Well remember what I was doing when I thought of this.  Running will slow us down, but beer won't?  Weight lifting will add extra weight, but the cookouts with hamburgers and hot dogs won't have an effect?

Just think if you have ever said or heard one of those statements from someone who will indulge in things they like but will use the sport of cycling to stay away from things that are good for you but may not be as enjoyable.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Smithfield HAMmer Fest 2-Man TTT: The Story From the Promoter

The 3rd and final road event that I am promoting this year is in the books.  The Smithfield HAMmer Fest 2-Man TTT is a fun non-BAR event held in Smithfield, VA during their Olden Days Festival.  Why do I call it a fun race?  There are many people who don't consider it a real race unless BAR points are awarded.  That somehow defines a training race and a real race.  When I came up with the idea of a 2-Man TTT, I wanted it to be non-limiting.  Meaning I didn't want you to have to pick someone from your team, your category or your age bracket.  Making the race a BAR race would require the BAR categories to be followed.  Also, the individuals wouldn't receive points, just the teams.  So we made it simple:  Men's Women's and Coed.

But there is even more than that.  This is a challenging 26.7 mile course (last year it was a 27.7 mile course).  Actually this seems like a good time to tell one of the side stories.

I got word via Facebook that three miles of the course had recently been milled for paving.  This was Monday before the race.  On Tuesday I got another Facebook message telling me the same thing but gave the exact detail of which road.  So Wednesday I went out and sure enough, there was a three mile section covered in sand and gravel.  So I had to divert the course around.  This actually only changed the course by 1-mile.  It was actually a big deal since we offer a sub-1 hour prize of $100.  Last year the fastest time was 1:00:35.  So 1-mile shorter was sure to be broken.

Back to the categories.  Along with competing in the three general categories, your team make up or equipment could put you into contention for other prizes: 
  • We had a 100+ prize that went to the top team whose combined age was 100 years or greater.
  • We had a family prize.  You could compete in this one if your teammate was related through birth or marriage.
  • We had a young rider prize that went to the fastest team whose combined age was 40 or less
  • We had a Merckx prize for those who wanted to compete on road bikes.
  • And we had the sub 1-hour and new course records.
Fun? yes.  Restricted? No.  Still a lot of money to compete for, plus there seemed to be a lot more side bets and smack talk than you would find at regular individual TTs.

So there was no question as to whether I was stressed on the numbers of racers we were going to have.  I know this is not a money making event.  It actually falls on a bad weekend.  The Working Man's Classic is during the week and Reston is on the next day.  So this is the easy race to miss.  We keep it on this weekend because it is part of Smithfield's Olden Days festival which is less then two blocks away from the start.

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen and volunteers from Vanderkitten and friends of ours got out to the course early.  Jenni got registration set and Mike, John and myself hit the course to mark, sweep and put up cones.  We were ready to go.  All marshals had their assignment and were off.

Issue #1:  Prior to the start we were advised there was a big dog on the course near the beginning.  We sent someone out to find it and try to get the owners to take care of it.  On Wednesday I had passed out notification to residents along the  27 mile course.  One thing on the notice was to secure your dogs.  I am thinking that as it got closer to 10am, these owners heeded my request.  We couldn't find the dog and no one saw anything more of it.

Issue #2:  A resident on one of the corners was quite upset.  The corner marshal called me a little scared maybe.  I went out and encountered a completely unreasonable resident.  He did not like cones in the street or the corner marshal in the street.  Basically, we were not disrupting his life in the slightest bit, but he was angry.  In his and he held the notification I had passed out.  He was waiting.  Had I not notified him of the race, he probably would never had known.  He even called the cops on us.  Which helped since we had their permission to be there.  Isle of Wight Sheriff Deputy took care of the problem and the racers never knew about it (until now).  This is not the attitude of the residents of Smithfield though.  Everyone else was excited and asked question and seemed to really enjoy the event.  There always has to be one to take the thrill out of the day.

Issue #3:  A team took a wrong turn.  Cones, arrows, and marshals were placed on all corners.  Some marshals rushed to their turns, others knew they had 30-40 minutes until riders would even reach them.  This course only had two small sections in which riders would be on the same road in opposite directions.  The right hand turn that put riders back on the road had cones set for the right hand turn.  Well coming from the other direction, it apparently looked like you should make a left hand turn there.  Even though there was an arrow pointing straight, the cones were the most obvious.  Because that was straight in one direction and a turn to get back on the road many miles later, the corner marshal was not set up properly yet.  He was not expecting someone to turn there.  He saw him turn but could not stop him.  Essentially that team road the back half of the course backwards.  We stopped them and told them to continue on but they were obviously DQed.  I felt bad and and marshal felt bad.  But like all TTs the course description is sent out to all racers and it is racer responsibility to know the course.  I'm not saying that I wouldn't have done the same.  I am sure that next year though, there will be all marshals at their corner when the first rider leaves.

Well the hour was broken and new course records were set for all categories.  The winning time was still just 59:15.  Tough course, great scenery and good times.

Thanks to all who came out.  I will post results soon.

Here are some more pictures taken by Kevin Horvath and can be found on his Facebook page.

This is a Coed team.  Ask Gene how a women's Chamios feels.

Thanks to a dedicated volunteer ensuring no one else goes the wrong way.

Monday, June 21, 2010

TNP Circuit Race and the PLT Time Trial, AKA: My Legs are Fried

A 1.4 mile loop, 9 turns and one small hill.  Pretty well described the brand new course that Team Nature's Path secured and did another excellent promoting job.  They did however forget to mention the hard racing, heat and distance would make this a very challenging day.  I think the Cat 3 race started with 24 racers, we ended with 14.  That could pretty much sum up the day.

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen lined up with 3 of us.  Me, John Gray and Kevin Horvath.  We once again missed the break which formed after some very serious chasing and a few counter moves, but we were the only team that had all of our guys finish (unless of course you count teams that started with one and ended with one). 

After the break got away and we gave an effort to chase it without success, the pack (I say pack but it was only 11 riders) started to attack each other, slow down and attack again.  So with nearly 5 miles to go I got on the front and just kept a nice steady pace.  The hope was to stop the attacks and let my other two teammates sit in and try to get the next top places.  At this time there were 3 away.  With 2 to go a move was made from within our pack.  No one responded.  I picked up the pace a little at the front with hopes of simply reeling him back in.  It actually didn't happen.  He made a good move and stuck it so now we were going for 5th place.  So I still stayed on the front until the attack on the downhill on the final lap.  I got back on the back, John and Kevin jumped on the move and ended up 6th and 7th overall, me 12th.

Not a bad day, again not what we hoped for, but it was good racing.

The next day John, Zach Kyler and I raced the PLT Time Trial.  I told Zach he had to beat me since he didn't race the day before.  To show you what a time trialist I am not, I changed my position on the bike, moved the seat forward, and changed aerobar positioning the night before.  I didn't even get on it until the race.

It ended up not being a bad move.  I didn't get a great time, but I did feel pretty comfortable and realized I think I could get a good time in that position with some training.

I didn't stay for the results but according to my computer I got a 55:27.  Zach told me he got a 55:30.  I don't know if that was official time or not, so we are still waiting to see who beat who.

Good weekend, great conditions (if you like the heat), just got to love this bike racing stuff.

Juniors Update:

My juniors raced this weekend as well.  Carter went to PA and raced in his first Cat 5 race.  He must of looked tiny among all the adults.  He also did a 50 mile race on a tandem with his uncle.  They placed 7th out of 70.  It was great training for him and he never once complained or asked to stop.

Dane raced both the TNP race and the PLT TT.  He enjoyed the hill and realized his fast out of the saddle get ups allowed him to separate from his competition.  Although he hates TTs, he agreed to race the PLT and might even had a good time, but he won't admit it.

Good job!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vander Kitten Crit. Pics and Race Report


Once again I was at the races early for the 8:30 am start of the Juniors.  As a coach I have a vested interest in making sure these kids are well prepared and most importantly safe and having fun.  In the 10-14 age group I was there in support of Carter Baker of the Virginia Beach Wheelmen and Dane Craddock of Fat Frogs Racing.  This was Dane's first race in clipless pedals and I was very pleased to see a fast clip in and great control of his bike throughout the race.  Him and Carter both did very well drafting and using the other racers.  They stayed with the group they were directed to for most of the race.  Both racers had marked improvement and it will only get better.

In the 15-18 group I was there in support of Zach Kyler.  Zach just joined the Virginia Beach Wheelmen.  Actually I just brought him his jersey that morning but he was already pinned in his Seigler gear so he raced the Junior race in that.  Also I am Zach's Strength Coach so would support him regardless of what team he rode for.   Like every Junior race he was competing against 2 kids from Richmond that could sprint.  Zach has the ability to attack and break away, he just doesn't know it yet.  So when it came down to the finish he found himself leading out the two sprinters and finishing 3rd.  Great riding by him and his confidence will come around quickly.

Cat 4:

Since I didn't race till 2 and I was there at 8, I got a chance to sit in the shade and watch all the races.  The Cat 4 race had teammates Chris Larkin and Zach Kyler racing.  This is to be Chris's final race in Virginia because he is moving on Friday.  He will be missed.  He told me at the beginning that he was going for a break away.  This would also be a good chance for Zach to actually race with team tactics.  Well breakaways did not work but Chris did sweep the primes I believe (one was close and I didn't see the final result).  One of the primes saw him in a potentially successful break with Jerry Hadley and Dan Nestzer.  Zach even moved up quickly to control the pace of the pack.  Unfortunately it did not work.  Chris ended up sprinting for 5th place and Zach held in for 12th.  Good racing by both of them.

Cat 1/2/3:

John Gray and myself raced the Cat 1/2/3 race.  We had one goal and that was to get into a break.  Well we both got into breaks, just not the winning one.  I started the race in a small two man break which always kills me to go that hard at the beginning.  There are times those breaks from the gun work so you have to try if one goes.  After we got caught I sat in for a little while and John worked and attacked to try and get away.  At some point a group of 3 got away.  I don't remember when it happened, I think it was a break from the break that occurred and before anyone knew they were gone it was too late.  We missed it but so did everyone else.  Even teammates of one of the guys ahead were asking if there were riders up the road.  I went for two primes and won one of them, the weekend and BJ's guest house (my wife was very excited about that).  The second one I got passed on the line but then found myself in a three man break with two Nature's Path riders.  At this point there were only a a few laps left and when we got caught there were only 3 to go.  I didn't have position in the pack in the last couple of laps but John found a good wheel anyway and ended up finishing 5th place.  I finished 11th.  Not bad.  We didn't accomplish our goal but we did have a good race.

I was told after the race that it looked like the heat was getting to me.  I actually felt okay.  I knew I was hot after being there all day but I was okay.  After seeing some of these pictures than I understood, I looked terrible.  Maybe it was just a ploy.

Picture credit goes to BJ Samuel.  Thank you once again for not only taking the pictures but also be part of a good team that promoted an excellent race.