This blog/site is a collection of my thoughts, articles and other general excitement tied into cycling, training and competing as a vegan bike racer and athlete.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Are TT's For Me?

I really don't freakin' get it.

Did the final TT last night, weather conditions were pretty good, ~24C, little-to-no wind. Arguably better than last week.

I rested all week, even took Sunday off ENTIRELY! No big effort Monday, just rode out to the track and back.

Ate well Tuesday, hydrated well. Rode out at an easy pace.

Started the TT, decided since previous efforts had considerably less power for the second lap, i decided i'd be conservative for the first lap, so rode a bit more 'easily'.

It actually felt *really* good. My legs felt loose and light, and the cadence felt just right. (Sorry, i'm apparently waxing poetic about TT's..) I complete my first lap (of two), and i peek at my time: 13mins even. WOOT! I rode that, without too much effort, very nice.

I decide to crank it up just a tad, and continue it through. It starts feeling not-so-great, but still good. "I'm Doing Great" becomes my mantra as i'm on the highway, halfway through the final lap. I pick up the pace a but more, hit the final corner and dump what's left in the final 400m. I cross the line, look down at my clock, and WHAM - immediate, severe disappointment.

My goal this year was to at the very *least* beat my time last year, of 25:57...or at least break 26mins. The time: over 26mins. 26:13, to be exact.

FRAAAAAK!! I don't think i could have rode this any better. Anyway, here are my stats:

Date1st Lap Time PwrCadHR2nd Lap PwrCadHRTotalPwr Cad HR

The power rating *may* be off, i've been having problems with it not zeroing properly, but it should be relative to itself, so while it may not be 281w, the numbers are relative to themselves.

Anyway, let's pretend the power is accurate (since it's not a huge stretch for me to sustain, that's about my LT, and after all it could be correct too. It felt like what i rode.)

You can see that my second lap was actually stronger than my first. As i said, i did it pretty much 'right'. Yet my time doesn't reflect this at all.

There are other factors on this course - traffic can play a pretty significant role..more cars means faster time. Don Gillmore says that it can account for upwards of 20 seconds. I will confess that there wasn't much traffic while i was riding, esp. the second lap.

But this misses a bigger, more urgent issue.

I took a look back at my 2006 and 2005 times (never rode before 2005.) My times are about the same as 2006, and shockingly, 2005. Two years ago, without even having aerobars or remotely aero wheels or frame (let alone an aero helmet!), i was still riding about the same time. (Tho then we didn't have to slow down for the corners, but that's no more than 20-30 seconds on the course..and following a few other riders through the corners, i've found i'm quite fast - so they're not slowing me down a heck of a lot as i barely brake.)

So, WTF?? How is it that i can Pursuit quite a bit faster, and bunch-race a LOT faster/stronger than two years ago, or even one year ago -- but my TT time is not changing??

Perhaps my biggest improvements have come in the form of anaerobic capabilities, peak power and recovery...and while i haven't done any TT-specific training, surely this should improve by *default*?? I can only think that my training the last two years was much more conducive to TT efforts than Pursuits or bunch races. 2005 i mainly just 'rode' and went in weekly races. Winter of 2005 was a lot of time in the gym. 2006 was more focused, but still more general riding and racing than specific training. No gym in winter of 2006, but lots and lots of muscle-tension hill repeats. This year, less racing, more specific training, mainly for Pursuits, and secondarily for bunch races.

I would have predicted *some* improvement, even 20-30 seconds.. Consider this: if my (kill myself) 5:40 Pursuit time from last year is expanded five times over the 5:30 i can do with relative ease this year, wouldn't that translate into a 50 second improvement on the TT?

Now sure, i'm a fair bit more aero on my track bike, and the drivetrain is more efficient (fixed-gear supposedly puts an extra 5% wattages into the wheel), it shouldn't matter for the TT, since i've been riding the same bike on the road, and should be relative to my road times.

Does it make sense at *all* that my Pursuit can improve significantly, but not my TT? I don't know the answer to that question.

Anyway, i'm left feeling like TT's really aren't my thing. Maybe next year, i'll train more specifically for them, and perhaps see some gain in that area. I'll also likely make a dedicated TT bike, since i'm going to get a new road frame, and can use the Argon18 for the TT bike without having to pick up too many new parts.

Here's the PT file from the effort, click to zoom in:

From PowerTapFiles
Bleh. It's frustrating even looking at this. You can even see how i picked up the power on the final portions of the event...

Anway, i now have a winter to contemplate this..

Oh, and to add insult to injury, i stopped in the OB Rec Center to weigh myself (haven't jumped on a scale since the spring, i think i was about 155lbs then) - turns out i'm becoming a fat potato as well, peaking at 160lbs. I barely weighed this much when i was going to the gym twice a week and building quite a bit of upper-body mass!! Now, i don't think i've got much more body fat, i think it's mainly in my legs. This year, i've still got a LOT more muscle mass in my legs than i've had in previous years. By this time, the last two years, my legs slimmed down a LOT. This year they've retained mass, which is interesting.

So, that's my TT story for 2007. Constructive thoughts on the issue would be much appreciated!

What's coming up?
  • Trackfest 3/BC Cup #4 on Sept 8th. I'm not entirely sure how i should prep for this..i'm feeling a bit burnt out from the intensity, so will have to consider other types of intervals rather than risk frying myself.

  • Vic Race Weekend the following weekend, the 14th thru 16th. Fri night has the Bear Mtn hill climb. Sat has the Oak Bay crit. Sunday is Bastion Square. Looking forward to all three!

  • Cyclocross! Come Oct, there'll be weekly riding, plus a few 'big' events! This is mainly for fun, i'll train specific skills (like mounts and dismounts), but prolly not much other than that..i don't have any expectations this year. Looks like cranks might be ordered, which leaves the shifters as the last item remaining...hopefully will be built by mid-Sept!

  • BC Cup #5 in mid-Nov (9th-11th) - woot! Final event of the year for me... After that, i'll be chillin'.
PS - I've been really happy with my year so far, don't get me wrong. I just find this TT thing to be exceedingly frustrating since, to me at least, it's such a mystery!! I've been having a banner year otherwise!

Peas out, go vegan! =)


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Provincials, TT and More!

It's hard to believe, but Provincials have come and gone! It was a fun event, a bit stressful to both organize and race at the event, but i think i managed it alright, tho both aspects prolly suffered a bit..

The weather was not entirely cooperative - we got rained out in the afternoon of the first day, and the morning of the second day. So the first day had my 'big event' of the year -- what most of my efforts were geared towards: the 4km Pursuit!

From 07-08-20 - Pr...
It went pretty well, although i goofed it with a totally newbie move -- after sitting down from the start, i look down, and i'm going 50kph. Not good, since i was planning to get up to 46kph, and hold that.

Then i make newbie mistake #2: 47kph was feeling 'alright', and so i decided to hold it as well. Looks like the aero helmet was on a bit too tight.. Ahh well, i still rode a 4'26, which is a PB in Victoria, tho still off my (suspect) time of 4'22 from last year. I figure i could have hit that had i ridden it a bit more smartly, but c'est la vie! I'm still really happy with that time, and the knowledge that i've still got more potential in this event. Next year, i'll be aiming for a 4'15. =)

That was all that i rode on Day One, sprint semi's happened, and one Scratch race for the Masters Men, and then the heavens opened up and spewed moisture on this part of the world.

Day Two opened with much the same, the infield was a bog...haha.. By the afternoon, it cleared and warmed, and we were back in action.

The Scratch Race was my next event, and it was pretty fast, once more. Instead of getting pulled for getting lapped, as happened last year, i was in with the front bunch the entire time, and even had a few little attacks of my own. I finished 8th of 8 (several DNF's), failing in an attack a few laps before the final and burning myself up then.. My buddy Chris Reid launched off shortly after, and managed to stay ahead of the charging pack to collect the win, nicely done!

From 07-08-20 - Pr...
Almost immediately after this was the Points Race, which was a blast. Lots of attacks, and i managed to score in 4 of the 12 sprints, giving me 8pts, and leaving me in 5th (our of 8), much better than the -40 or so i finished with last year! Again, finished with the main pack, and only one rider, the winner Jonathan Gormick, lapped the field.

I opted to skip out of the Keirin and Kilo, as they were packed in between the two Endurance events, but looking at the Kilo times, i should have gone -- i would have likely medaled..haha..

I'm pretty happy with my racing, i'm much smarter and stronger. I think i had more pop at the last Trackfest, i certainly felt stronger, but hey, i did what i could.

More pics from Provincials can be found here and here.

Also did the Sidney TT last week - finally got it down closer where it should be, with a 26'04, but i'm still gunning for well under 26!

I clearly have a problem with the first lap being too hard, tho i'm curious how the second lap can have less power, but still be pretty darn close in time.....what a weird sport, anyway, here are the details:

Date1st Lap Time PwrCadHR2nd Lap PwrCadHRTotalPwr Cad HR

And the PowerTap file:

From PowerTapFiles

I'll be trying it again this week, final TT of the year. I've been trying to rest this week (tho killed myself in a Points race on Thursday, very fun tho, also didn't take it too easy on the weekend group ride! Got 2nd in the sprint, averaged 655w over 30 seconds, tho Cooper, who won the sprint, held 1340w - holy crow.)

So i'll chill tomorrow, ride out to the track and WATCH pursuits, and then one final hurrah at the TT on Tues, final night for the Victoria Track League points on Thursday with Keirins -- Cooper is 9pts ahead of me, and there's no way i can get ahead of that in one night...so my hat is off to my nemesis of the year who bested me!! =)

Again, i'm happy with my racing this year, in the Thursday night events, i mainly screwed around, attacking lots, and trying out various tactics. Next year i should be able to use these with much deadlier affects..hehe..

My next few months will have little rest... The 8th is Trackfest '07 3, and #4 in the Track BC Cup series. After that is a few months of Cyclocross, then Nov 9th-11th is BC Cup #5, the final event in the series, over in Burnaby. THEN i get to rest....eeeps!

I'll prolly report back in by Wednesday on that TT...

PS - RideCam 04 is online. Various pics i've taken as i'm cruising around, enjoy!

From 07-08-25 - Ri...

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm the Omnium Champ - yay me!!

It's been a good week!

On the 29th was the BC Masters Oak Bay crit around Windsor Park - i think only the second actual crit i've ridden (i rode Bastion Square last year and SUFFERED in Cat4!)

I went in with the plan not to finish, as i wanted to save my legs for the thing this entry is named after. =)

I sat in for ~35mins, and i was quite happy with how i rode! Off the top, i made sure i was near the front of the pack, which is really a huge factor in being able to stay in the race for me...the yo-yo-ing that occurs further back just kills me.. At the front the speed was steady, perfect for me.

The course was fantastic, technically five corners, tho only two required you to stop pedaling. It was a mere 700m round, two long stretches, and a light headwind in the back stretch. About 20 riders started, many regulars here, and some guys i've raced on the track and always kicked my ass. The Masters were broken into two groups, the 45+ group went first, and i was with the 45 and under of course. =)

Not much to say except that i was amazed at how easily i was hanging in, and there were several times i was sitting there itching to make a move...but after 35mins, i decided i'd maintained enough intensity pulled out. This was a good boost for my confidence, and i'm looking forward to the big event mid-September.

Here's my PowerTap file for anyone curious:

From PowerTapFiles

Also some pics, thanks Marty!! Click here for the album.

From 07-07-29 - Ma...

Next up: the first ever GVVA Omnium! The outcome is already known, and i'm quite happy with my riding for this, i really played my 'A' game. Below is a (Shish-centric) write-up/report i sent out to the GVVA list, giving a play-by-play from my perspective..hahaha.. I was excited and happy to earn a fairly big victory for OrganicAthlete. =)

Before that, a few other fun items of interest.

I've been carrying a camera with me when out riding, and so here is Ride Cam Album One and Album Two. Fun times.

From 07-07-28 - Ri...

From 07-07-28 - Ri...

In the FLORAGlo Track BC Cup standings, i discovered i'm currently in 3rd place overall with 27pts - woohoo! Click here for the PDF standings. Chris Reid is totally cleaning up in 1st with 37pts, and the ever-indomitable Matt Chater (30pts) will be impossible for me to challenge (unless he skips another event!), but i can at least claim this small piece of glory for now! I'll continue challenging my buddy and series co-organizer Glenn for 3rd. =)

Alright, on to the Omnium write up, buckle up! Additional comments in [bold].

Message Subject:

Headline: Vegan Devours Racers In Omnium Challenge

Message Body:

You read it here first folks! In the first (ever?) GVVA Omnium Series, after five events, the vegan came out on top!

The series, combined Monday and Thursday night, brought out lots of tough competition in the A category, but Dave Shishkoff (me!) managed to pedal his way to the top, both in the small Omnium field, and in the racing field. Malcolm was unbeatable, winning the top spot in the Omnium in each event, and for the C's, we'll leave the mystery until the end, as it was a close match between David Richardson and Michelle Lasota.

Onto the racing! Monday night brought racers out for three events: the Flying 200m, 500m ITT and a Scratch Race. Thursday saw the Pursuit and Points Race.

In order of competition:

Flying 200m

The 6 sprinters got to show off with mostly blistering sub-13 second times. New-to-Victoria racer Marty Machacek, claimed to be a B racer, but after landing on top with a 12.60, was quickly promoted to 'A'. It should be highlighted this humble rider has raced for the Czech National Team. Speedy Mike Cooper took 2nd, 8 hundreths of a second off, and Chris Anstey took 3rd, a hairs width behind that. In the Omnium, that put Marty on top, followed by Chris, Dave S, and Dave Mercer. (To qualify for the Omnium, racers must finish all five events. These are the four A's who held on for all five.)

In the B's, Malcolm Falkner nabbed 1st, followed by Jim Holtz and Dave Emery. Get used to these names and this order, as it is repeated for the entire Omnium series!

In the closely matched C series, David Richardson edged Michelle Lasota in the sprint in their first match.

500m ITT

In a shocker, Dave Shishkoff tied (the injured) Charles Durrant for 1st, with both racers riding a 38.7, which was also a new PB (Personal Best) for Shishkoff. [Hey - didn't i just get a 500m PB?] Cooper zipped in for 3rd, 4 tenths of a second back. In the Omnium, Dave took the glory, followed by Marty, Chris and Dave M.

The B's saw Malcolm ride into 1st with a 41.60, followed by Jim and Dave E.

In the C's, experience continued to give Dave R the advantage over Michelle.

Scratch Race

The A's headed out for 27 Laps (9km). The pace was high off the start, and two riders dropped out of the race (and Omnium), leaving Chris A dangling 1/4 lap behind the Dave's and Marty. After the group holding this distance away from Chris for many laps, Chris pulled up, and caught back on, a lap down. With four laps remaining, The Shish attacked hard, shelling Marty and Dave M, but took Chris with him. Unconcerned with the sprint final against a lapped rider, The Shish ensured at least a 1/3rd lap between him and his Omnium contenders and let Chris take off on the final lap to take the sprint, but still finished 4th. This race finalized the competitors in the A Omnium. Marty took Mercer in the sprint to finalize the scoring.

The B's and C's raced together, with a predictable outcome for the B's, with Malcolm taking the win followed by Jim and Dave E. Michelle got the upper hand at the end, collecting her first win in the series!


The fourth event in the series, beginning Thursday night, were Pursuits, 3km for the A's, and 2km for the B's and C's.

The A field was large, with 9 racers, and lots of close times. Don Gillmore was out to show us how it's done, and handily took 1st, and set the fastest 3km Pursuit time for this year, and several years back, with a 3'44, and a new PB for Don. In the Mortals competition, Dave S raced conservatively, remaining just behind Chris A each lap until the final two, where he powered ahead to win by a second, with a 4'04, setting another PB for himself. [I haven't done a 3km Pursuit for a couple years i think..previous PB was 4'26!] It's worth listing the times for the rest of the riders, to see how close this was - racers typically finished one second ahead or behind their match:

3rd - Chris A - 4'05
4th - Stephen Price - 4'07
5th - Emile De Rosnay - 4'09 (new to Vic, raced at the track in Dallas)
6th - Marty - 4'15
7th - Mike Cooper - 4'16
8th - Dave M - 4'17 [FANTASTIC RIDE BY DAVE!]
9th - Simon - 4'30

I believe this resulted in PB's for most riders! In the A Omnium, Dave S continued to enjoy being in 1st, followed by Chris, Marty and Dave M. After four events, Dave leads in Omnium points, followed by Marty, then Chris and Dave M.

The B's saw more close racing in the 2km distance. Malcolm continued on his winning streak, edging out Roland by 1 second, tho both setting new PB's as well, with Malcolm riding a 2'55 and Roland a 2'56. Jim rode a close 2'59, with Gerry Loster coming out to ride a 3'05, and Dave E rounded out this group with a 3'11, not bad at all for this old-timer!

In the C's, three more riders joined the group, tho the two Omnium competitors held top spots. Once again, it was David R vs Michelle, but Michelle liked the taste of victory from the last event, and savored it some more, knocking a second off Richardson's time, riding an impressive 3'15. They are now tied in the Omnium standings. For the rest of the C's, a second separated Harry Ladds and Tasha West, but Tasha charged on the final lap to edge out Harry, with a 3'32, and Dale Marat, riding with one healthy and one injured leg, completed the race in 3'49.

Points Race
[YAY - MY FAVORITE RACE!]In the A field, seven riders started (and finished!) this event. The group held it together through the 1st sprint (of five in this 30 Lap, 10km event), and predictably Don 'The Immortal' Gillmore [MY NEW NICKNAME FOR DON, HE APPROVES THO IS WORRIED ABOUT LIVING UP TO IT 30yrs FROM NOW!] just kept on riding through after the sprint. The Shish, predicting this, and choosing instead to attempt to take advantage of this, passed on competing for points in the sprint, opting to attack hard after the sprint and catch Don. But to back up for a moment, the 1st sprint points were awarded to Don, Emile, Chris and Dave M in that order.

After a lap of chasing Dave S managed to catch Don's wheel. The remaining five riders worked together to chase, a half lap back. This didn't favor Dave well, however, and after three laps, started to drift away from Don's wheel. Ahh well, the ambition was worth the price of the ticket. Don wheeled through collecting 1st place points again, Dave cruised through alone collecting 2nd, and Emile took 3rd, and Chris A took 4th in the chase group. [BIG EFFORT ON MY PART, NEAT EXPERIENCE, BUT DON WAS TOO STRONG!!]

From there, if memory serves, Emile broke off from the chase group, and Marty tagged along for the ride. This left Chris A, Dave M and Simon as the 'peloton'. Dave S, seeing two riders catching from behind, and Don G way off on the horizon, slowed up and began working with these other two chasers to try and minimize the damage of the Immortal. Unfortunately, Marty had to drop and rejoined the chasers.

Don was just about to catch the 'Pack' on the third sprint, and a confused Emile attacked a lap early, allowing Dave to easily score 2nd place points on the 'real' sprint lap (Don got 1st). Chris A collected 4th in this sprint.

Emile and Dave continued their efforts to stay away from Don, and managed it through the 4th sprint, giving them top sprint points as they were technically in the front. Emile was paying more attention, but Dave still nipped him at the line in a hard sprint. Since Don had caught the pack, he was up 20pts, but no longer the lead rider. So he collected 3rd place points in this sprint, and Simon collected 4th, tho he was lapped by the field at this point, so 20 points down.

Don carried through his attack on the second-to-last sprint, breaking away from the pack, and spent several laps chasing Dave S and Emile, who in turn were chasing down Chris, Marty and Dave M (aka The Pack). The Dave's met before The Immortal caught up with them, and the three collected 20pts at this time (20 points for Dave and Emile for catching the remaining riders, and Don collecting 20pts for catching Emile and Dave, the two chasing riders - don't worry, it makes sense!)

With two laps remaining, The Immortal got on the front of this group and once more accelerated. The pack held together, with Dave S at the end, enjoying the draft and some rest.[THIS WAS KEY FOR MY FINISH.] On the 2nd corner of the final sprint, Dave S attacked hard, catching Don as the pack was splintered by his acceleration. Dave and Don drove hard for the line, but of course Don edged out Dave, tho they made it look good. Emile collected 3rd place points, and Dave M charged through to collect the final points of the the event.

The final tally had Don in 1st with 62pts, Dave S in 2nd with 34pts, and Emile 'I'll Race B too' De Rosnay in 3rd with 32pts. Further back, where points were sparse, Chris A earned 4th with 3pts, Dave M got 5th with 2pts, Marty collected 1pt for 6th, and Simon, who rides/races considerably less frequently than the rest of these guys, finished 7th, with -19pts. He'd collected a sprint point, but was also lapped by the field, thus losing 20pts.

In the Omnium, this solidified Dave's lead with a fourth 1st place finish, finishing with 7pts. [OUT OF A POSSIBLE 5!] This event propelled Chris ahead of Marty, who had been ahead in series points, giving Chris 11pts, and Marty finished with 12pts. Dave Mercer, the oldest, and possibly most impressive rider in the group, finished 4th with 18pts. (Note: in Omnium scoring, you get one point for each placing, so three 1st place finishes gives you 3pts. So in the totals, lowest score wins.)


Unfortunately i can't recite the B & C races, but to summarize: once again the riders were all combined, and 9 riders began the racing. Unfortunately, new-comer [AND ORGANICATHLETE VICTORIA RIDER] Tasha West got clipped in a lap exchange, and crashed out. She's healing up fine, and looking forward to more racing! [TASHA WAS OUT TODAY FOR THE LEARN TO RACE CLINIC, FEELING BETTER! YAY TASHIE! HEAL QUICK, YOU'RE A TROOPER!]

In the B's, Roland rode a strong and consistant race and captured 1st, finally knocking Malcolm off the top of the podium! Unfortunately, Roland wasn't a part of the Omnium, having missed Monday out wandering around in the woods or something instead. ;)

Due to this, the Omnium finish for this race was identical to the previous results, and the final Omnium saw Malcolm win the series with 5pts (5x1st), Jim collected 2nd with 10pts, and Dave Emery earned 3rd with 15pts.

In the C's, David Richardson never collected any points in the combined race, with the five B's outsprinting him in each effort, but he succeeded in hanging in with the pack, while Michelle finished a lap behind with an impressive effort from this newcomer, and in an otherwise male event!

This final victory edged David ahead of Michelle, as the series was tied until this race. David R finished with 7pts, and Michelle finished with 8pts.

Congrats to all riders for coming out and participating in Victoria's first Omnium event!! I hope you all enjoyed it! Extra respect is now due to the Omnium riders, and especially the 1st place finishers, who have earned the title of Omnium Champ in their category - great riding!! =)

Hope you don't mind my self-serving race report, see y'all out there soon!

- Dave Shishkoff, GVVA Director of Racing


About Me

Dave Shishkoff
aka Dave Noisy
Victoria, BC

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