Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Bicycle Dreams"

I want to thank everyone who came out to see our screening of "Bicycle Dreams." I had never been to the new Columbia County library or their Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Center, but it was a beautiful venue. Thanks to our Columbia County Commissioners, expenses were minimal and 100% of the money brought in was donated to the Golden Harvest Food Bank. This charity is very proficient at stretching the value of each donation received.

I want to thank Gator Cochran for all of his hard work at making this a reality. I came up with the idea, but he's the one that ran with it and made it happen. We had a varied mix of people in the audience, so I hope everyone enjoyed the film and took some satisfaction in knowing that their attendance supported a good cause.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Confidence for RAAM

Last year at this time I rode a strong 190 mile ride on Saturday and followed it up with a 4.5 hour century in Augusta on Sunday. This gave me confidence going into RAAM that I was physically about as strong as I was going to get. This weekend gave me similar satisfaction.

My friend Gator and I started a 250 mile ride Friday afternoon at 3pm going from Augusta to Hartwell and back. My primary goal was to ride within myself and not suffer from the digestive issues that I get when I ride too hard. I can't say that it was a perfect ride, but I broke even with weight gain/loss. The route isn't as hilly as the North Georgia brevets, but we certainly had our fair share of climbing. We finished in just over 20 hours including downtime, so I got a better chance this year to get some sleep before Sunday's Dam Ride.

I biked 13 miles from the house to the start of the Dam Ride, and then settled into a nice 5 person group (including Glen and John - two local tough guys). The pace seemed to be just a bit easier than the previous year, but I was cautious that my energy might give out early. Though I did get a little tired along the way, I always felt like I had a little left in the tank for a surge if it was needed. The net result was a 4:45 century.

I felt much better than last year on my 13 mile ride home. I think the slightly slower finish time and the extra sleep before the ride helped, but I did bike 62 more miles this year. All said, I'm confident that my training has brought me close to my potential, and now we just have to keep working at it and hope that it will be enough for June.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Heart of the South

My work schedule opened up at the last minute to allow me to enter the Heart of the South. I've done this race many times, so I thought it might be a good indication of whether or not I've made any progress on the bike. The ultimate result was a DNF at mile 380. I probably rode a little too hard early on. Considering I slept 1.5 hours last year near the finish, I expect that I was on pace to finish about 1 hour slower this year.

I was a little disappointed to be starting the race with only 3 crew members, but that's what happens when these things get done at the last minute. Crewing is tough enough and I was afraid that I would scare these guys away from RAAM with a short handed effort. Roger, Danny, and Gator did great and will all crew for me on RAAM, so I feel like it turned out to be a very positive learning experience for all of us.

I made a ton of last minute preparations, which included a car rental, hotel reservations, mapping the route into our GPS, prepping the van for a race, getting a crew, establishing time off from work, and getting my bike tuned up. This race was not part of my training schedule, so I didn't do a proper taper leading into it and my sleeping was sporadic. I did get some good sleep Thursday night before the race, but I didn't sleep at all between 2pm and the race start (8pm).

I didn't do a very good job of taking it easy on this ride, and I probably would have felt better at mile 380 if I slowed it down 1-2mph. I also didn't take many breaks, my first of which came at mile 220. I was specifically told by my coach not to race this event (just ride it for training), but it was hard to resist when I was in the company of greatness (Paul Carpenter and Tony O'Keefe).

My digestion slowly became an issue starting around mile 300 and it gradually got worse until mile 380. This has happened to me many times on the HOS, but in the past I've gone on to finish without much consumption for the final half of the race. This time I decided that it might not be in my best interests of my training to continue. It was getting cold, I was sleepy, and I knew that I absolutely hated the next 50 miles of the route. I'm not saying anything bad about the HOS, but I've done it way too many times.

I thought about getting a room, showering, sleeping for about 6 hours, and then continuing. However, this once again might have put too much pressure on my crew chief that needed to be back at work on Monday. I decided that all in all, it was a good experience and I decided to save the real suffering for RAAM. I had a ride that went like this before RAAM last year, and I think ultimately it was a good thing because it kept me down to Earth for the big event. It would be much more scary to enter RAAM feeling strong and not respecting how hard of a race it really is.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

March Training

It's hard to tell exactly where I'm at this year, but physically I can't be too far off from where I was the year before. Early in March I did a lot of sub-lactate threshold intervals (heart rate 156-165), and recently this has progressed to above lactate threshold intervals (heart rate 170+). It takes fresh legs to push my heart rate above threshold for so long, but so far I'm getting it done. Lately I've been doing intervals in the mornings and then doing group rides in the evening.

I've had a couple fun weekend rides lately. The first was a ride from my house down to Dublin (about 150 miles) on Saturday, and then I followed it up with a fairly fast St Patrick's century on Sunday. It was fun to ride with Gator, my brother Chris, and friend Marshall. A couple days ago I rode a double century from Publix and was treated to some beautiful weather, and then this weekend I rode the North Carolina Fleche. The fleche is a 24 hour point to point group ride that we rode from Bishopville SC to Atlantic Beach NC. Team members were Gator Cochran, Chris Kaiser, Walter Wilson, and Leslie Shapiro. It was fun to ride a non-competitive event, and the good company made it very enjoyable.

My weekends have recently opened up, so I'm working feverishly to come up with a crew for the Heart of the South in a few days. The cross state records were supposed to be my first supported events, so I'll also have to get my pace vehicle and bikes ready a little earlier as well. On the side, Stephen Auerbach has given us permission to host a screening of Bicycle Dreams, so we're putting together a charity benefit for April 20th.