4/29/07

Knocked out...

...by a cold. I was planning on doing the Decorah TT today. In an effort to win a pass from the wife to travel to Decorah, I put in a full day of physical work on Friday which should have been a rest day for me.

How physical?

I fenced in the garden. Mowed the lawn. Cleaned up the garage. Cleaned up the bathroom we just finished remodeling. Had a Little League baseball practice. Man, I was pooped. Came home and packed up the Element with my race bike and gear because I was heading out Saturday morning at 6am to judge a voice contest in Cedar Rapids. The plan was to just travel on up to Decorah from Cedar Rapids and spend the night. After all of that, I went to bed Friday night with terrible lower back pain from all that bending over and pounding I did installing the fence.

I got up Saturday morning, showered, put the suit and tie on and headed off to Cedar Rapids. By the time I got to Newton, my nose was running like a faucet. Stopped and bought some Kleenex. I sat in a room and judged high school singers from 9am to 4pm. My speaking voice was getting weaker and a cough started by the end of the afternoon. I got in the car to head north to Decorah and after about 10 minutes I was feeling so terrible with body ache, runny nose and cramps in the legs I just bagged it. Turned around and drove back to Indianowhere. Nursed my aches with a few beers and hit the sack.

I'm feeling a little better this morning, but I am sneezing my head off. I think I'll just head into my recovery week a couple of days early, beat this cold and try and bounce back for the upcoming three consecutive weekends of IMBCS (and a Pyscowpath) XC races.

Rats! I wanted to see and ride those trails up in Decorah. In retrospect, I should have treated my physical activity on Friday like a workout and taken all of my supplements and nutrition as if I were working out. That may not have worked, but at least it may have kept things at bay following a 2 day interval grunt fest in mid-week.

Oh well...at least we have sunshine today and it isn't raining.

4/26/07

Take Off That Raincoat...

...and put that umbrella down. Turn the windshield wipers off. Roll the windows down. The 3 day downpour seems to be over and the sun is going to poke out tomorrow.

Oh well. At least the grass is green, but what a flooded mess mother nature left behind.

I did another interval session on the C7i in the basement while the rain was coming down in buckets. Watched the news and was sweating like a pig for some reason.

10 minutes warm-up
1 x 15 minutes MSP interval
5 minutes rest
6 x 1 1/2 minutes on, 30 seconds off SMSP intervals
10 minutes zone 2
cool down

Total work time = 24 minutes

I will be curious how the Decorah Trails will look condition wise following the monsoon...

4/24/07

2 Day Interval Block...

Today I did day one of a two day interval block. It is pouring rain outside with thunder and lightening. Tomorrow looks like rain all day as well. So two consecutive days in the basement on the C7i is just fine and dandy.

My goal was to get one hour on the trainer with at least 20 minutes of hard interval work in with minimal recovery between efforts to mimic racing conditions.

10 minutes warm-up
5 x 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off lead out intervals
2 minutes rest
5 x 1 on, 30 seconds off maximum wattage SMSP intervals
3 minutes rest
1 x 5 minutes SMSP interval (seated)
2 minutes rest
1 x 6 minutes SMSP interval (out of saddle)
3 minutes rest
5 x 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off lead out intervals
2 minutes rest
1 x 5 minutes high resistance interval
5 minutes cool down

Total work = 24 minutes and change

Tomorrow will be MSP Interval day.

And we are having all the senior voice students I teach (7 of them) who graduate next month over for our 1st Annual Senior Dinner. I started at Simpson in the fall of 2003, so this is the first group of voice students I have had for all 4 years of their college careers. It is hard not to be attached to this group as I feel like a mother sending her kittens out into the real world.

4/22/07

2 Days of Increasing Speed on the Trail

I made an attempt yesterday and today to go faster and get the bike's momentum up to a speed where I could try and find a sweet spot that actually took less effort.

I went out to Lake Ahquabi yesterday to have a go at it sans dogs. After a nice warm up, I put the chain on the big ring and made a decision to keep the speed up and let the flow dictate what to do. I was pretty amazed at the speeds I was able to maintain on the 8 mile loop without going in the red zone. As Ashwinearl would say, I was trying to break a speed barrier.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a baseline time for the 8 mile loop, nor did I time yesterday's ride. However, it felt fast and seemed like I had found a groove worthy of pursuing.

Here's what Ashwinearl wrote on his blog back on April 10th:

There was a great article written by the man Johnny T in an MBA years ago about speed barriers. Basically there are these certain speeds at which it actually takes less energy to maintain than if you were just underneath the speed barrier.

You reach a speed where you can float over stuff and hold momentum more consistently. It is what allows some people to look effortless across sections and how the experts/pros can maintain such phenomenal average speeds over courses.

Once broken, these speed barrier will create big time gains. The cool thing is you don't need to make the equivalant gain in fitness. It's hard to put into words. But in certain situations you can improve your time by 10% due to a smaller gain in fitness that allowed you to break a speed barrier.


I felt the float and the consistent momentum by going faster. However, this was on the the Lake Ahquabi 8 mile loop trail which features a lot of doubletrack and not too much tight and twisty.

How would breaking a speed barrier play out on tight singletrack? Today I headed back up to Des Moines to shoot for breaking a speed barrier at Greenwood. I always worry at Greenwood because my Dos Niner has pretty wide handlebars (RaceFace Next Carbon bars that I need to trim down) and Crow tires front and rear. And I worry because to really carve the turns and lay the bike over to keep momentum up, taller riders at Greenwood are at a disadvantage of our heads banging into trees the trail is so tight. I knew breaking a speed barrier would put my front tire at risk of breaking free and the tight trees and twisty turns through and around trees would have my knuckles and handlebars screaming for mercy.

Nonetheless, I set off to give it a go. Again, I was altering my gearing to keep the higher speed momentum to reach that perfect flow. As expected, bike handling was tense with my wide handlebars and trying to negotiate the narrow passages between the trees. However, I was actually going so fast that my front Crow was breaking loose every now and then. It was almost a predictable situation as to when and how it would break traction, but I kept plowing ahead. One time the tire broke loose enough to send me out into the weeds and that slowed me for the next 10 minutes as I grew cautious. I kept it up for a little over an hour when I decided to get in out of the oncoming storm that was beginning to roll in from the west.

The nice thing about this test showed me that when I did have to get out of the saddle and power up some climbs, I had the power to deliver. I think I may be on to something here, but I'm going to need to trim my bars down (or get narrower ones if I can't trim the carbon) and look into running a different front tire when the trails are as dry and buff as they were today if I want to use the Dos Niner. I could also go tubeless with these Crows and run less pressure up front to see how they hold in the corners while trying to break a speed barrier. I seem to carve the Greenwood trails better with the Karate Monkey, but it has narrower bars and has Karma's for tires.

In summary, I'm going to continue exploring the speed barrier to see just how far I can push it.

Friday was the last day of spring semester classes. One week of final tests and then on to teaching May Term.

AAU baseball had us with two big wins against good teams to start the weekend tournament, then a loss by one run last night and a total bust in this morning's game against Omaha. Oh well....that's baseball. When pitching and hitting is working - it's golden. When it isn't - it's humbling.

4/21/07

Dog(s) Tired...

I took my 2 labs with me yesterday to ride the Greenwood trails in Des Moines. I figured on a Friday morning we wouldn't encounter too many people so my dogs off leash would be a low risk proposition. Sure enough, we didn't see anyone except a pair of teenagers sitting in lawn chairs out in the middle of the woods. They were goofy with smiles and high on something that smelled sweet and created a little cloud of smoke around them while playing the "let's skip school" Friday morning teenage thing. Oh to have a mind and waste it....

Weather was beautiful and the trails are in great shape. The dogs went bananas in the river and I kept my speed down to not tire them too quickly. Max did something to his front leg near the end of the ride as he is hobbling around a little bit and stiff. He's usually the strong one that I can hardly keep up with, but he must have pulled something near the end of the run. They were tired at the end, but had a great time. I'll go without the dogs this weekend so I can push the pace. My groin pull is completely gone - or so it seems. Strange...

I'm spending the weekend watching my son's AAU baseball team at a tournament. We opened our play in the tournament last night with a 15-3 win over Waukee. Today we play Ottumwa and West Des Moines Magic (my son's old team).

4/18/07

Hobbling around and on the bike...

I've been walking with a limp all day thanks to the groin. I got home from work and just sat on the C7i in the basement to see if a pedal stroke would hurt. No pain, so I took the dogs and headed out for a ride on the Dos Niner at my favorite training trail.

The Dos Niner felt super plush after banging it out on the rigid Karate Monkey at Sylvan Island on Sunday. Got in about 50 minutes before the dogs let me know they were pooped and ready for dinner. I wasn't planning on riding after work, but tonight's baseball game was canceled due to too many players having conflicts with Wednesday night confirmation class. Huh? Church over baseball? Come on, baseball is America's religion...

Anyway, the Dos felt good and the groin only bothered me if I tried to climb out of the saddle. Staying seated was not a problem and I had a nice ride with beautiful weather. I fear a groin pull can take a week or two to heal, so we'll see how training and healing melds together.

4/17/07

Groin pull?

I took Monday off for recovery even though the legs felt great and a recovery ride would have been worthwhile. Today I did a zone 2 recovery jaunt on the trainer for 30 minutes in the early morning and headed off to work. Took a little walk during lunch and I was feeling great.

My Little League team had our 2nd game tonight and I bent over to pick up a baseball between the 3rd and 4th inning and pulled my groin. What's up with that? And man does it hurt to walk, cross my legs or just sit. It seems very odd. I don't think I've pulled my groin in over 20 years, so the simple act of bending over to pick up a baseball really surprised me as I winced in pain. Although we played a team from a different town that is out of our little league tonight, we got outplayed and lost 7-1 due to way too many errors, poor pitching and a general lack of getting any hits that were strung together. We even had the bases loaded once with no outs and were unable to score. Nasty, but our boys almost played pretty well outside of a few mental lapses.

The groin muscle pretty much shoots my plans for tomorrow's training session.

4/16/07

IMBCS #1 Race Report & Midpackitis....

Yesterday was the first XC race of the season for the IMBCS Series. The race was called the Sylvan Island Stampede III and it was held in Moline, Illinois as a joint venture between IMBCS and the I-74 Series. And the weather was perfect with ideal trail conditions to boot.

The drive over had traffic flowing right along at a cool 75mph for the most part. I arrived at 11:20am, registered, suited up, and took a pre-ride of the loop on my rigid Karate Monkey with the 2x9 drivetrain. My ticket stub for the goodies pile on the table had me receiving a Stans NoTubes kit. Great. Now I've got an excuse to try the stuff. ;-)

The Monkey seemed like a good choice for the course with all the twisty and tight turns and lack of hills. Finished my pre-ride just in time to roll in at the starting line where many others had already lined up well in advance of 10 - 15 minutes before the starting gun (whistle in this case). Wow! Talk about getting in line early! Bad timing on my part as that meant lining up towards the back of the 66 sport category racers. Fellow sport racers from the IMBCS were also in the same predicament as I was at the back of the herd: Mike Lebeda, Nick Woolley, Bruce Reese and Bruce Neil. Paul Varnum had budged his way up closer to the front than the rest of us. Paul and Bruce Reese fared the best in lap one by clawing their way up as far as they could among the 80 racers fighting to get to the singletrack first. Guys, lesson learned for the rest of us: we've got to get up closer to the front at these events that have so many riders participating. Somebody save some spots in line near the front next time around.... ;-)

Anybody that wasn't in the top 20 going into the singletrack immediately ended up with a 1 - 2+ minute deficit on the first lap due to the log jam of being stuck behind a lot of riders lined up tire to tire. Between the 66 men and 14 women in sport class, this made for a pile up at the singletrack entrance and meant that lap one was the slowest lap time for all those but the first 20 - 25 or so riders to hit the singletrack. Without any hills to climb to help thin out the crowd, lap one was bumper to bumper all the way with only a few sections worthy of burning some matches to pass people. In fact, lap two wasn't much better, but at least the pace picked up from lap one.

I burned a match after lap 2 going through the finish line area and on the gravel to close the gap between myself and Nick Woolley/Paul Varnum who I saw in front of me. Paul was riding really strong and handling his bike through the twisty turns really well and Nick was right there with him. I caught their draft and tagged along enough of lap three to allow myself some recovery after closing the gap on them at the end of lap two. I saw 4 riders ahead of our little IMBCS trio and bid adieu to Paul and Nick to work on closing the next gap. The way these points work for the IMBCS, anything below top 20 for this many riders (66 of us) means each spot is worth 3 cents - so I wanted to collect a few more pennies if I could before the end of the race. I was able in lap 4 to close the gap on the next 3 riders, overtake them and get on the wheel of the next guy (turned out to be a 53 year old rider who was riding really well - kudos to you Mark Nenniger). His 1st lap time was a minute and 2 seconds faster than mine.

There wasn't anybody ahead of us that I could see to catch, so I just rode his wheel and was waiting to pounce on the final sprint. However, I had mistimed my shift from middle ring to large ring right at the moment of the last turn coming out of the singletrack before the final sprint to the finish line. It cost me a couple of seconds to get the stinking chain on the big ring and even after pumping with all my might, I didn't make those 2 seconds up in time and he had me (according to the official timing by 1 second) a 1/2 bike length at the line. So I lost those 3 points with poor shifting technique. Next time, I'll get the gear I need set for the sprint a little earlier than the final turn to avoid shifting under load. I guess my legs ran ahead of my mind and started the sprint before I could get shifted...

End result = Midpackitis spot of 35th place out of 66. No hills to shine on this time around and I ended up paying for getting stuck at the back on the first lap. Not that my time would have been that much better, but there is something to be said for making it to the singletrack early - even if one is pacing themselves for the 5 laps. No complaints though. I had fun and after a quick turkey burger, I hopped back in the Element to race back home for a Little League game.

Time to train and get ready for some upcoming races which include the Decorah TT, Psycowpath #2 at Bellevue followed the next day by one of my favorite courses at Camp Ingawanis. Decorah and Ingawanis have plenty of climbing to get ready for over the next couple of weeks.

P.S. The Little League Team I coach won 13-12 in our opening game of the season.

4/11/07

Snow and a 55555!

As I slopped through yet another soggy parking lot from the eastern most Simpson Faculty parking spots in my nice leather dress shoes, I firmly said to myself "That's it! I'm moving south for a new job!" I mean, come on....not enough snow here in the midwest to ever really ski on good stuff, but enough snow to make things a mess and in the middle of April no less.....

Okay, enough of the weather rant. I guess I am too spoiled having grown up in the Black Hills with nice dry mountain air and then having lived in Houston, San Francisco and all the predictable weather that those areas provide. At least in Austria when it snowed - there was great, or rather fantastic skiing.

So much for any outdoor training today (my scheduled 2nd interval day of the week was today). So the trusty old C7i in the basement got my company. It went something like this:

5 minutes warm up
5 x 20 seconds lead out intervals (5)
10 minutes zone 2
5 x 1 minute on 1 minute off SMSP maximum wattage SMSP intervals (5)
5 minutes zone 2
5 minutes MSP interval pace (5)
5 minutes low cadence, high resistance grunt (5)
5 minutes zone 2
5 x 20 seconds lead out intervals (5)
5 minutes cool down

All those bold 5's gave me the odd notion to call the workout a 55555.

The weather looks miserable for baseball this weekend, but maybe the XC course in Moline will be good to go for the race. I've never been there, but it sounds like a flat course built on a lot of sand which could mean it absorbs the water/snow and then we race in a muddy mess. Fine by me, although the idea of sand getting in all the bearings will require some tidy post-race maintenance. I've got all the needed clothing to stay warm, so I'm good to go.

It is opening weekend for Little League baseball. I doubt the fields will dry in time to be played on this Saturday and Sunday, but we shall see. My son's AAU team has a tournament in Omaha. Same problem there. My daughter has a soccer match, but soccer takes place in slop. I also have lots of concerts to attend at Simpson as well. Taxes are due and the grind of being way too busy goes on for April.

Remember when it was warm enough to dress like this for a race?

BBraceNE

4/8/07

Race #1 report...and Happy Easter!

Yesterday was my first race of 2007. It was the Nebraska Lottery Psycowpath Series opener in Omaha, NE at Tranquility Park. I drove over on highway 92 which goes through John Wayne's birthplace, the Bridges of Madison County and through the heart of agriculture all the way to Omaha.

Madison County Bridge #3

It's a very pretty drive and I was surprised at the fields of sheep I saw along the way. Not a lot of them, but maybe 4 or 5 fields of a hundred or so sheep each. Yet, you can hardly find lamb in the stores here in Iowa. Go figure.

Temperatures at race time were between 28 - 34 degrees with howling winds in the 20 - 30 mph range. Fun stuff! Balaclava, toe warmers, layered clothing underneath my long sleeve bib and a full winter jersey with gloves. I felt pretty warm once the race got going and did not have any complaints about my body heat. The cold weather and exercise induced asthma did kick up for a lot of riders. I didn't get a cough until after the race. But going that hard out in that cold of weather is not friendly to those of us who get the cough from exercise even in warmer weather. I did drool a lot during the race, though. ;-)

I bought my annual Norba license since the Nebraska Series requires a Norba license for all races. I entered the Sport 45+ category now that I am 45. I always figured it to be a tough category as there are some serious riders in this category who are old enough to take the pain and do the training to still be out mountain bike racing. I don't know if this is correct, but there seems to be more out of shape guys that can be found in the Sport Open and Sport 35+ categories than the 45+ group. Anyway, lining up with the 45+ group at the start had me feeling like a Category 5 roadie going up against a bunch of category 3 masters when I looked at all of them. My plan was just to ride my race and check the early season legs after the past 2 months of interval grinding it out in the basement to see how they responded under race conditions and see where I need to get for the IMBCS races.

Speaking of lining up and seeing all the precious metal found at the start line this year as opposed to last year, it is clear to me that there is a tide of change underway. Big wheels are everywhere. Women's divisions, SS' division, Expert Division, Sport Division, Beginner Division. 29"er's were more in abundance than 26"er's for the first time at any race. It was more like "who didn't have one" than "who has one" when it came to 29"er's. There were even 29"er demo bikes from one of the bike shops there. I saw Dos Niners, Paragons, Fisher Ferrous, Niners, Karate Monkey's, Moots, Badgers, Sugar 292/293's, etc... everywhere I looked.

Experts went off first followed by the various Sport categories one at a time. We old men in the 45+ category took off in the last group of the day with the Clydes and the Sport women. As expected, everyone shot off the line like there was a fire, but I looked ahead and saw a big jam up on the first climb of the day that had 50 - 100 riders spread out over the open prairie climb in the wind. It was a nice red zone climb that went on and on and on and just at the end when the singletrack turned north for the final 50 - 80 yards of climb - it was dead into that nasty wind. Nice! The pre-ride showed there was plenty of passing room on this first 5 minute climb, so I just settled in to stay in the middle of our pack on the sprint and waited to see what would happen on that first climb. Don't know where my legs came from, but I was easily spinning up that climb and passed about 20 riders on the first section of the climb alone. Hey, maybe the interval work had been worth it.

Turns out all day long, my climbing was the best part of my racing. Descending felt timid and got sucked up by the strong gusting winds. To top it off, the tight stuff in the forest sucked as I was having trouble laying the rear Crow into the turns. Kept breaking loose on me. Too much air pressure, maybe? Wrong tire choice for this particular soft and dry dirt? Perhaps.

Whatever it was, I felt like a big chicken poop on some of the sharp corners during descents yesterday for my first time out in the singletrack dirt this year. I was cursing myself several times during the race for my handling skills being so novice. I need to get out there and rail some corners in the dirt to boost the confidence to get ready for next weekend's race. I could only move the bike like I wanted to going up the hill. All those lead out 20 second sprints came in real handy. In almost every case, as I passed some riders on the climbs, one or two of those I passed would catch back up to me and pass me on the flats and then I would tail them until the next climb. There was a group of 4 or 5 of us during lap 2 and lap 3 that kept playing this chess game. In spite of that, I was able to work my way through some of the riders from groups that had started a few minutes ahead of us, but don't get me wrong - there was nothing amazing going on for me. Coming out of the forest switchbacks in the first lap on a sharp corner a gal on a 29"er asked to pass me on the left. I let her by and then her handlebar accidentally caught mine and sent my right hand grip smack into a tree which threw me off the bike. Of course, I yelped an expletive that starts with S and ends with T at the tree (not the girl).

I hopped back on the bike and got going again where I then ran into fellow MTBR.com 29"er Forum member Matt Gersib (mgersib) . He was pulled over on the side of the trail on his Dos Niner talking to somebody, but had started in the Expert Open category 10 minutes or so before me. I passed by and Matt started following my group screaming out "Hey, Dos Niner! Is that you Bruce?" And I screamed back, "Yeah, it's me. What happened to your bike?" I figured he was pulled over because he had a mechanical. Anyway, he caught up and rode with me for part of a lap and explained to me his bike was fine, but his achilles tendon was bothering him which is why he had stopped. He won the Landahl 6 hour race last week and the tendon was hurting, so he decided to go into survival mode after the first climb and spin some laps while chatting with various riders. Dang, that would be nice to be able to do that!

He was chatting away, hardly out of breath while talking and I was obviously sucking some air while trying to carry on a conversation at race speed. Well, there you go - one in shape rider with genetic talent (Matt) and one in shape rider with no genetic talent (Me). We passed some folks going up the climbs and on the final climb of lap 1, I went around a guy on the left and Matt went around him on the right and took off like I was standing still. I guess the tendon felt better at that point, huh Matt? ;-) Hope the achilles heals up for the next race.

The day was a basically a battle with the howling wind, cold weather and all the usual first race jitters of the season. Outside of those elements, my gams felt like new legs I was operating on for this point in the season compared to last year at this time. Yes, one year ago during my first race of the season, Camp Ingawanis ate my lunch. I usually like to get out of the saddle and hammer up some climbs, but I found myself seated most of yesterday - and enjoying it - while just pacing along and finding a nice first race rhythm. I think the 29T middle ring was the reason where as with the 32T middle ring I may be forced to stand on the steeper grunts. This new gearing of 42/29/20 more matches a 26"er stock set up and keeps the middle ring in play more often on the climbs without redlining it all the time. The bike felt good with no numbness in the hand or neck. It shifted great, brakes were solid and fit seems dialed in just right this year. I should be ready to go at full steam next weekend if the weather plays nice. Now I can adjust to in season training and get some time on the dirt this week to get the handling skills back and drop the timidity.

I haven't seen the full results yet, but I think I was 5th in my category. Big whoop-te-do. If I can manage it, I will try to race in most of the Psycowpath XC races and the IMBCS races this year. I have to miss a few due to work obligations and vacation plans, but it is something that keeps me in shape and sure is fun as a physical challenge.

4/6/07

Frigid...

Yeah, frigid. Not that this particular snow skiing nut would normally consider 28 degrees frigid, but when it comes to Little League or AAU baseball - 28 degrees is frickin' frigid. So I canceled tonight's Little League practice. Tomorrow's AAU games have also been canceled because it will be sub 40 degrees at game time (40 degrees is the cut off point for holding games).

In light of the cool temperatures and no Friday night baseball practice, I hopped on the Dos Niner at about 4:30 pm and put in 45 minutes of pre-race riding around to check the legs. Legs felt good and I goosed them enough to open up the pipes. The race bike is running great, but I noticed my seat height is not the same on my Dos Niner as all that work I did on the C7i trainer this winter. The saddle is a tad higher on the Dos, but it is the height I used all season last year. It will take a couple of weeks to adjust in the early season, but I'm ready.

Tranquility Park in Omaha is pretty exposed to wind. That should make tomorrow's race interesting since the 25-30 mph winds will be a factor in the open prairie. I'll probably have to go to mittens and my balaclava for the race and hope the toes stay warm and fuzzy for the race.

I packed up the Element tonight before dinner and will try to get some good sleep before taking off in the morning for Omaha. All I am missing are GU gels. I'll pick some up tomorrow at the LBS before the race.

4/4/07

Jump Starting the Legs...

Today was my mid-week recovery ride where I got to jump start my legs. It was also Campus Day at Simpson College where all the students do community service as part of a tradition since 1889. That free time as a faculty member allowed me to go at it on the C7i in the basement and watch the wattage since it was only 28 degrees outside. What is up with this unseasonal cold front? Extended forecast says back to 60 on Monday - which is good since my Little League team has a scrimmage that day. But from now to then is odd. Green grass, trees greening up and snow this morning. Hey, it's all fun and keeps us on our toes.

I've got to tip my hat to ashwinearl in Virginia for informing me on his blog that at the end of the MSP interval phase, the legs have no snap, crackle or pop. He was right. The last week of those suckers as the volume increases robs the zip from the gams.

During this recovery week I was wondering where the gams were. They were not there on my first dirt ride of the year two days ago. They were not there yesterday at work walking around the office and the campus. Today, I Sport Legged Up and threw a leg over the trainer.

Ten minutes warm-up and things were flowing and feeling good. Then I launched into 5 SMSP 1 minute on, 1 minute offs at high wattage and Shazam! The legs were there and itching to go. Zone 2'd for 25 minutes, did some lead out intervals of 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off (did 9 of them) and rolled back to zone 2 for more time. Ended up with 70 minutes on the trainer and some nice sweat on the floor. Did some lunges, stretches and took a nice hot shower. Popped my Recover-Ease and ate a turkey sandwich followed by fresh pineapple and mango. Yummy!

Went to work and the legs were bouncing all afternoon. They feel good this evening and I think they will be fine for Saturday's race. Temperatures are predicted to be a high of 38 on Saturday. Wow! Bundling up in winter gear will be key for the fingers, toes, head and legs.

4/3/07

Mud Bog!

I took the dogs out to one of my training spots for some dirt riding. My wife informed me that I was crazy because it would be a muddy bog. Weather was about 70 and sunny, so I could only think of getting some dirt time in before Saturday's race.

Well, as usual, the wife was right. I have seen it worse, but it was a muddy mess. I had the Crows on the Dos Niner and since they have no knobs to speak of, no mud collected and built up on the bike outside of splatter. But the dogs were a nightmare. Between rolling in dead animal carcasses and deer poop, the yellow lab looked like a chocolate lab and the black lab looked like she was having a great time. Boy, they sure smelled to high heaven...

I rolled one easy 8 mile lap trying not to destroy the recovery week, but did manage to get one good climb in where I elevated the HR. I was amazed at how well the Crows did in the mud. We sure had fun at the car wash with the dogs on the way home. They go nuts at the car wash jumping and leaping and begging to be sprayed. Got the dogs cleaned off, got the bike cleaned off, got myself cleaned off and then got the interior of the Element wiped down and free of most of the dirty, muddy dog prints.

Legs are not recovered yet from the MSP month after only 2 rest days, but I am hoping to jump start them with some SMSP 1x1's tomorrow. First race has a couple of shorter grunt climbs, so the race is going to be a building block experience coming off of these 2 months of intervals. It should be about 44 degrees with sunshine. I expect the ground will have some mush as the cold temperatures at night this week (dipping into the 20's) will have the ground soft. Hopefully by race time at noon the sun will have settled the turf down into race conditions without having to use mud tires. I'll bring them along just in case.

4/1/07

Recovery and Installation of Cranks...

Hey, no April Fool's here. Today was baseball, choir concert, student recital run through, 25 minutes of exercise, a bike tune up, kitchen cleaning and a little of this and a little of that.

I'm in a recovery week after the intervals. I'll jump start the legs a bit later this week to get ready for my first race of the season this coming Saturday. Hopefully, some trails around here will dry out enough to get some dirt riding in for old time's sake. Race day temps are predicted to be in the mid 40's to low 50's - so it should be cool and dry. Plan to drive down, race and then get back to Des Moines for my son's double header opening AAU baseball games in the early evening.

I got in about 25 minutes of recovery pedaling today on the Dos Niner after I installed these RaceFace 42/29/20 cranks:

NextLP:Ti

The red crank arms and BB I had on the Dos prior to the black ones will be going on a build for my daughter after I strip the paint and polish them into a nice silver crankset.

I tuned up the Dos and she looks to be race ready for Tranquility Park in Omaha. I pre-rode the course last year a few days before the race and then it got rained or snowed out (I forget which kind of precipitation we had last year). I couldn't make it back on the rescheduled date and I haven't been back to ride the Tranquility Park MTB trail since. Maybe that's a good omen. Last year I spent money on gas to pre-ride the race course and the race was called on account of weather. This year I did not spend money to go pre-ride the course, so maybe we'll have sunshine and the weather will allow the race to take place on Saturday as planned. Who knows? Maybe I should run the Karma tires. ;-)

Hung the Dos for weigh in and final pre-season check.

Hanging Dos