This is a little update of some of the gear i've picked up in the last few months, all from my fantastic supporter, Oak Bay Bikes! But first, some more racing updates:
Tuesday went to the track and did two sets of 6x30 second intervals (30 seconds 100%, 30 seconds rest, repeat) - nasty type of interval - the first few feel good, by the end i just want to die. Bleh. Good for developing recovery along with intensity, not to mention riding hard when you feel like death! Got a new PB in my 30 second Wattage results: 614w, up 36w from my previous high in March - woot!
Thursday i continued this trend in the weekly racing. First up was the first Madison of the year, we'll be playing with the idea of opening racing each night with Madies - pairing up A & B/C riders, limiting the gears of the A's (84" that night..gotta get it down to 82", which is what it'll be for Trackfest.)
Malcolm and i were teamed up, he's been fighting an infection, so while he's got great technique and knowledge, he wasn't riding 100%. The first half (20 laps total) was neutralized, to allow us to get used to the format again.
(Madison's are a track race where you've got a partner, and basically 'sling' each other in and out every couple laps - the 'sling' or throw allows the currently racing rider to transfer his/her speed to the incoming rider, and the slinger moves uptrack to rest while the other rider does a lap, and then this is repeated.)
When the sprint bell was rung at the halfway mark (10 laps), i had just been slung back in, and we were well off the front, so easily scored the points. Come the end, it was getting a bit more mixed up, and i misjudged his speed (thinking he was faster), so we didn't get a final sling in. He got close, and i gunned it, and passed one rider to finish 2nd, but since Malcolm was technically the 'racer' (we didn't exchange or even get close before the line for the last lap) his position was the 'final', and we got 4th place points in the final sprint, which put us in 2nd overall, tho the top three teams (of five) all had 6pts, so the race itself was well balanced! =)
I enjoy the Maddies, let's hope more riders come out for them!
Next up was a 42 lap (14km) Scratch race (first over the line wins). There were six of us who started - my main threats were Matt B (nice to have him back!), Cooper and Chris A (see last entry for our matched sprint on Monday! He also raced well last Thursday.) Simon C (who's worked his way up to 2nd in the points league) and Mike C, who's signature move is to attack off the front in the first lap. ;)
The race started, and we kept the pace pretty high off the get-go...my kind of race, but it was starting to feel like a fast pace-line rather than a race....so i attacked! Bam! Picked it up, but everyone was still there. A few laps later, attacked again!! Broke up the pack a bit, could see some peeps tiring...good.. After one or two more hits, people started dropping... Once more, and it was Cooper, Matt and myself - rocket!! A couple times Simon got back in after being lapped, but we managed to shut him out after a few laps. ~10 laps to go, i was fading bad.. I was riding a 90" gear, expecting a Points race that night (and thinking i'd be sprinting more, with more recovery - we switched the format since there were only six of us) which was waaay too big for me, and my legs were getting pretty tired from grinding (or at least what's griding to me....350-400w at 100rpm is 'grinding' to me, i'd much rather be up and over 110rpm. ;)
Short story shorter, with 2 laps to go, Matt guns it, Cooper jumps on his wheel, and i wave goodbye...my legs were drained from all my attacks, and continuing in a big gear. Might have been okay in a hot, fast race, but holding 40kph was starting to hurt... So, finished 3rd, and the rest of the riders were lapped 3 times, or DNF'd - woohoo!
Now for some fun stuff! Here's some of the gear i've gotten in the last little bit, and my comments:
I keep saying this: the PT has changed my life. It's been insanely informative, giving me hard feedback on my strengths and weaknesses, and making it easy to map out how i need to improve.
It makes pacing in a TT a total breeze, and prevents inefficient training (if i'm not hitting or sustaining certain wattage in intervals, it's a sign that i'm too tired, and am better off stopping, as an example. It's often very hard to tell this 'by feel'...)
Final bonus is simply uploading all my training data, and not having to write all this stuff down every day.
Got myself a new helmet, since i'd been riding the other one for a couple years, and picked out this one because....it's orange! (And Bell's are about the only helmet that fits right.) There's a cool green one as well, but i opted for this. It also comes with a detachable visor, which i like for the rainy days.
2007 Campy Chorus
Wow..i've been very impressed. I've read it's actually lighter than Dura-Ace, which is nice, since my bike is prolly just a hair under 19lbs now - lightest bike ever! (Well, not counting the track bike!) The shifting is soooo nice, and the brakes are actually really nicely balanced, with the single-pivot in the rear (to save weight) and dual in the front. Normally i'd lighten up with the rear, but now i feel like i apply about the same pressure to the front and back..pretty nice. Carbon cranks have felt super-stiff as well, i'm still planning to pick some up for the track bike. (Maybe not Campy, but carbon *something*.)
Conti 4000 Tires - Orange
Me likey!! Very light, so far quite durable, and great color. Ride wonderfully in all conditions as well. OBB is gonna hate me when i have to order another pair. ;)
I had actually planned to get the S-Works shoes, with the dial, but couldn't get my size (41) in the orange, so went for the 'step down'. I thought the dial might be fun, but i've also seen some complaints with failure, so maybe i got the right choice...
Either way, these shoes are AWESOME. First thing i noticed was how comfy they are - they fit my foot SO nicely. Perfect out of the box. And of course ORANGE! =)
The other thing is STIFFNESS of the carbon fibre soles. Holy crap. Unbelievably stiff. When i get out of the saddle, it's like i'm walking up solid concrete stairs. Just a nice, big, solid platform under my feet. Fantastic.
Also, got the new 2007 Ultegra pedals - i noticed i kept wearing through the plastic plates in my older pedals, which leaves them feeling 'sloppy', and the new design has a steel plate instead, which is a big improvement. My feet feel much more solid in these pedals now.
Mavic Ksyrium Elite front wheel
I wanted an upgrade from my Campy Veloce/Mavic Open Pro wheel, and went with this several months ago - i've been very happy. Nice and smooth, low-count bladed spokes, pretty light. Nothing special, but no complaints either!
Specialized Toupe Gel Saddle
Most. Comfy. Saddle. Ever.
The gel doesn't seem to make a difference to me (i got one for the track bike too).
That's about it in the gear world.. I also picked up a Sugoi Tactic T for a base-layer, i like it so far! Very light and breathable, doesn't seem to hold any moisture at all.
My first 'big' event of the year is a week Saturday, being the first Trackfest/BC Cup here - woohoo!! Hopefully we get some good numbers. I'm actually organizing most of this race, which is a bit of a nail-biter, but hopefully it all comes together in the end..!
Group ride with the Oak Bay shop tomorrow, i'll prolly try and get some more intervals on Sunday (go away rain!), and Pursuits on Monday, then will chill Tues, rest Wed, do Keirins on Thu, light spin on Fri, and then the big race....eeeep!
After further discussion of the last posting (on TT results), i think the best conclusion is weather conditions, specifically humidity...although the first effort was a couple degrees colder, i believe it was a lot more humid (it had been sprinkling just before as we were riding out..) It's my understanding that humid air is more slippery!
The following Thursday (May 10th) saw some more bunch races at the track, and thanks to Roland, i have, for the first time ever, video footage!! Immediately below is the 'play by play', based on the time:
0:25 - you see me up high chasing Chandler "Go Vegan!" - we break off the front for a bit, nothing exciting, just getting the game started.
0:56 - i'm off the front again, trying to shake up the pack, it was too big for my liking. ;) The pack chases..
1:46 - Dave McLeod breaks off the front, gets away...
2:03 - i attack from the back, in an attempt to catch up with Dave, three follow..we catch him
3:00 - final few laps, Dave attacks again, i'm drained from my chasing...and didn't eat much prior to the race, so wasn't too spunky..finished 5th.
Next race, a 15 lap Snowball - my strategy was to sit in until later in the race, then try and pick up a couple laps....
Mike attacks off the start, then Wayne collects a pile of points, no one else seems to want to chase.. I bridge the group on Lap5 (i was hoping to catch Wayne, no luck..) Chris then takes a couple laps, responding to attacks from Simon and Mercer, then carries it through, and makes some good distance while i'm at the back of the pack.....and at this point no one is really chasing..!!
Lap 11 you see me coming up behind Chris, but not in time, Lap 12 is mine however, then stupidly we slow up for the rest of the pack, and Chris attacks once more (he was on fire!), and Simon snipes Cooper for 14, and Chris, remarkably, flies by to collect Lap 15!! Somebody test that man's blood! ;)
I finished 4th with my 12 points..and my main competitors for points in the weekly league, Cooper (1st) and Mercer (3rd) didn't collect any points, so they were neutralized nicely for this event. =)
Nothing too exciting the following week, did a couple practice Team Pursuits on the following Monday (May 14th) as well as a 2k, i didn't want to pass the junior racer i was riding against too early, so i actually slowed up quite a bit for a few laps, still got a 2'56..feeling pretty good in Pursuits now, getting a good sense of what i'm capable of, how not to good too hard, etc..
Tuesday was the Race Day for the Victoria High School League at the track, they did standing start 1 Lap sprints, and Team Sprints, seemed to have a lot of fun, i hope some of the kids come back out!
Then i was off for NYC, it was the Friends of Animals 50th Anniversary Gala, which was a lot of fun! It was nice to see my co-workers, as well as meet some of the new faces. At the event, Nellie Mackay (who performed) was awesome, and the food (from Candle 79) was insanely delicious...i think the best seitan i've ever had, w/nummy mashed potatoes and 'buttered' spinich, and a fruit crumble 'tart' for dessert. I also tried out their chocolate 'tart' (think mini chocolate cheesecake), which was *perfect*. Needless to say, all vegan of course.
That was a whirlwind trip, i left home at 10am on Thur, got to NYC at midnight (their time), hung out at the NY office Fri morning and checked out a bit of the city, then helped with the set-up of the Gala (there was a silent auction and other items), the Gala of course, and then wandered around Times Square a bit that night - holy lights, Batman!
Then, i was up at 6am (3am my time) to leave for the airport, and was home by 2pm on Saturday...insane! I planned to get out for a ride Sat afternoon, but was too exhaused..i got maybe 8hrs of sleep those last two days...bleh...
Sunday, went out for a 2hr spin in the rain. Constant, heavy rain. It was gross. I took out my CX bike, for the full fender coverage..
Monday (last night) went to the track a bit early to practice Madison throws, since we're going to try opening each Thursday with Madisons (we'll 'cripple' the A riders with low gears [82-86"] so that all can race together and still keep it fairly balanced), and then continue with the regularly scheduled races.
It was also Sprint Night at the track, and i surprised myself with a 13"35 200m jump - i wasn't feeling too spunky, and was a bit slow at the line which was windy, but i'll take it!
That paired me up with Chris (who raced strongly in the videos). Chris is typically a stronger sprinter than i (tho we're both mainly pursuiters) so i was feeling a bit nervous.. I'd gotten a better 200m time by almost half a second, but that could be a timing error...
First race (best of three), Chris starts in front of me...i just sit on his wheel...the whole time..finally he jumps, but it wasn't too snappy, so i was on his wheel and coming through the corner, after he pulled for 2/3rds of a lap, i come around him relatively easily and take it - woooo!! That was lucky!
Second race, i'm in front. Crap. I spend a lap and a half trying to swap the positions around, but no luck. Coming out of corner two, i decide it's 'now or never', dip down and back up (like i had several times already) and then gun it - i've got a bit of a break, but coming around the corner he's getting close...and at the line it's a total draw! Neither of us can tell, but the judges give it to Chris - drat!!!
Third race, we're tied...winner takes all! I draw front position again...crap. That is not favorable to me. After nearly a full lap, i actually manage to get Chris to slide ahead of me....excellent...... He keeps peeking back.. I wait for a peek to 'end' (ie, he looks forward again), and HAMMER!!! I'm approaching corner three and look back, i've got at least four bike lengths, but he's still chasing...! Crap, i gotta hold this....i power through the corner and at the Pursuiter's line, i look back, and see i'm safe, and ease off the gas. YES!! I can scarcely believe i pulled that off!! Sweet victory!
Here's a shot of Chris and i battling it out last year, click for the full series.
Last night, i did another TT, went significantly harder (5%) than last week, but finished 20 seconds slower (1% 'slower'). Bizarre, huh? Here's a table comparing last week and this week:
1st Lap Time
It's pretty straight-forward, but to clarify, there's the first lap with Power, Cadence and Heart Rate, Second Lap, and Overall TT effort.
I went out a bit hard in my first lap, and i hit a 'wall' on the 2nd where holding 250w felt hard.. (300w was fairly comfy on the first lap.) I'm guessing the weather played a fairly big part in the bizarre times, weird air pressure or something, eh?
I don't know if the first effort or second effort makes more sense when looking at the 2nd lap. On the first effort, i didn't go as hard as the first lap as the second lap, but got a faster time. On the second effort, same thing, but got a slower time.. It's possible i'm not remembering the laps correctly...i'll try and double-check next time i'm out there.
I'll keep updating this with future efforts (unfortunately prolly won't head out there for another month, gotta focus on training rather than racing!) Here's the file from last night for all the PT geeks out there. =)
In other news, just did a 200m sprint on Monday, got a 13"57 which is alright for me for this time of the year. Roland brought his video camera, and got some cool footage of the matched sprints - i didn't do any since i was 'resting' for the TT. =P
Last Saturday was another OBB group ride, and i got shelled by the fast guys! A little disheartening...made it up and over the Panarama hill, and on the farming stretch, they seemed to just pull away..dunno if it was the wind or what, but i found myself falling back....gaah! Hooked up with the next group (The A Minuses? :) and we kept up a nice fast pace back into town.
Sunday i boated out to the track, LTR was canceled due to rain, but figured i'd get some miles in anyway and ride out there and do some paperwork and work on my track bike a bit.
Rest day today, and more bunch races on Thurs night, yay! Keep those wheels spinnin'!
Okay, so did the Sidney TT on Tues night, first of the year!
I was feeling pretty drained (hardest ride of the year on Sat, 4.5hr ride/climb on Sun, Team Sprint and Pursuit on Mon...then this!) - but still, i thought i'd try something out.
My goal was to hold 280w, but my legs would have none of that, so i dropped down to 250w - and did, averaging 256w.
Click on the image and choose 'zoom' or 'download' to see the full size. That's my PowerTap file from the effort. Interesting to note the course is about 17.7km (i thought it was closer to 19km.)
My time was about 26'57, and i was happy to keep it under 27'. (PB is just above 26'.) I had to slow down at one point tho, might have lost 10-20 seconds overall because of a bigrig pulling out onto the street in front of me, then nearly getting squished between it and parked cars on the side of the road... I'm quite confident when i get my aero helmet and get out of the baggy winter garb and ride it fresh, i'll get it under 26' for sure...mebbe as low as 25'30...fingers crossed! My buddy Demian took the cake tho, getting under 24mins - awesome ride!!
The real funny thing is that this was a VCL race, and just a handful of VCL racers came out....i figure i came in 4th or so in the A's, which will likely put me in the Top 10 in the league - HA!! I'll post the results when i see 'em online..hehe (It's especially funny because besides finishing DFL in the first race of the year, i haven't been in any of the other races..and some dufuses were complaining about Track being in the VCL, and screwing with the stats...how ya like me now? ;)
Took a break on Wed, and headed out to the track tonite (Thursday) for some speedy action.. Spent some time on the road bike doing laps below threshold in the aero bars on the road bike - gotta get used to 'em. (Another reason for the slower TT is not being used to being in that position, and the need to tweak it..gotta get myself a bit more upright.)
Then the racing started - first up was a bit of a confusing race...A's, B's and C's together in a Scratch, 10 laps neutral, then two 'open' laps for the B's and C's to finish, A's remain neutral behind, then had 8 laps left (20 total.) Too short for me to try and wear anyone out and get away, so sat in and saved up for the final sprint....got 2nd, behind sprinter Mike Cooper. (Good luck in Burnaby this weekend!!)
Second race was the first Keirin heat - we started at the rail (instead of holders) which kinda screwed that part of the tactics up..i got stuck in the 5th position (out of six), and finished 5th. Still got up to 57kph there somehow..new high for the year i believe so far.
I asked Cooper before the race if he thought i should put on a bigger gear than my 47x15 (84 inches) - he says 'naaah'. Turns out he was racing a 90" gear..the jerk! So i swapped up to a 48 (86") - i tried my 49 tooth ring, but my chain is too short to match with the 15 in the back..oops!
Second race went better, i ended up behind David Mercer, who got on the motobike's wheel. (We were held this heat!) He pulled for half a lap, didn't really gas, so i decided to - had to do SOMETHING!
I attack hard, back into the mid-50kph's, and try to hold it the lap and a half...with about 60m to go, i'm starting to fade and Cooper (of course) and Captain Chris fly past, which gave me 3rd - yippee! My tactic worked, i don't think i could have gotten any better of a result (Chris also got 2nd in the first heat.) I'm curious what would happen if i *did* have the 49t on....my attack might have had a bit more punch, but could i have held it...hmmmm...
Third fun item of this entry is that i've got a new wheel! Dr. Walker sold me his old Mavic trispoke. (Yes, you read it correctly, it's a Mavic! Not HED or Specialized, but Mavic!) It's nearly identical to the HED3/Specialized design, only you need an extender for the valve (no dugout) and the section near the hub is a bit 'wider', sorta flanged out. Otherwise the same.
Sweet tho, i'm not 100% sure if i'll replace the tank of a trispoke i've got on the back (1st gen. Specialized) or perhaps slap it on the front (and sell the Zipp 3000). If i go for the back, it'll only cost me $25, selling my old wheel to Mercer..will have to see.... Would be nice to lose some weight on the bike....and no doubt will find another trispoke for the front.. We shall see! The real clincher is finding a threaded axel for it..right now it's a QR/bolt-on..
That's all the adventures for the last couple days. Recovery ride tomorrow with some of the OA-Victoria people, Saturday is my regular OBB group ride, and Sunday is another Learn to Race clinic. Sprints Monday, which i'll prolly take it easy on, and a TT again Tues..might try to punch it again with fresher legs.
This weekend is also a race weekend at Burnaby, but i decided to opt out...there's already a lot of intensity in my schedule for the summer, might as well keep the build going and try to remain strong after Sept this year (i was *dying* last August...too much intensity...)
Keep on riding! And a shout out to Tanya, who's several days into her ride across Canada! =)
Man, i'm so happy to be back on the track (for the most part, we've already been rained-out several days..bleh..) Last week i did my first Pursuit of the year, and here's my Pursuit Report!
First, i've got new aero bars, a combo of the Profile T2+ aero clip-ons, and the T2 Wing base bar. I've used the clip-ons on the road in TT's, and was very happy with them, the T2 Wing is pretty solid (and aero), and i'm happy with that.
Here's a shot of me shooting by:
I've decided to start 'high' this year - last month i discovered that as i got lower, i started losing significant power, so i'm starting on the 'safe' side and will get myself down in time. (You can see how my back is sort of pointing 'up' to my head - ideally that is flat for aerodynamics.) Otherwise i'm pretty happy with my position (other than my saddle being a bit forward, but hell - if i slide it back, you can see my knee would be behind my pedal when the crank is horizontal..i think i have short femurs or something.)
For this Pursuit, i decided i'd aim for 5:50, which meant holding ~41kph. It was a cold night, and i certainly wasn't going to get a PB.
So, i hammered out, got my self up to ~46kph, and got comfy in the bars..essentially 'floated' a couple laps, and then started applying a bit of pressure.. Around lap 6 i was starting to feel it in my legs a bit, but nothing severe. I was holding 41kph and feeling pretty darn good. By about lap 9 it was starting to become a strain, but nothing i couldn't sustain. Come lap 11 i started to gas it, and drained myself for final lap. (4km total, 333m track.)
Mission accomplished! It was practically the 'easiest' Pursuit i'd ever done...usually i'm gasping by lap 5...i'm really starting to find the balance between over-doing it and what i can hold - thanks entirely to the PowerTap.
Here's my splits: 31.1, 27.9, 28.9, 29, 29.3, 29.4, 29.9, 29.7, 29.6, 29.2, 28.8, 28.8 = 5'51"67, 41.03kph average speed.
Pretty steady, eh? I think that's the smoothest pursuit i've ever done! Also, it's worth mentioning that this time last year, i got a 6:04, and *killed* myself, and even in May i was barely getting under 6mins. Yay me! Not sure if i've listed my goals for this year, but i'm hoping to get close to 5'15 in the 4km Pursuit this year. =)
Didn't ride much last week otherwise - and that was a mistake! The weather was awful, so it wasn't very motivating. On Wed, rode out with Tanya to the Caleb Pike race to watch the race - David Mercer came close to winning the bunch sprint in the B's, and it was all red in the A's.
Next ride was on Saturday, with the Oak Bay group. Worst ride ever for me! For the first half, i had a full bladder for some reason, and was feeling awfully uncomfortable. Stopped at our stop in Sidney, and relieved myself. It was quite a bit faster than usual heading out as well.
After Sidney, the pace picked up even more, and i had developed a stitch in my side, which just wouldn't go away...again, very fast. Looking at my PowerTap output, we averaged over 35kph for nearly an hour..eeep! I felt alright except for that stupid stitch...
Sunday was glorious. Tanya's last ride here (she's riding across Canada, starting today! Follow along in her blog!) so i decided to go big - we did the Malahat and Shawnigan Lake, weeee!
Everyone kept saying 'let's make it an easy ride', and i was cool with that, but for some reason no one really rode like that! (That being Ryan, Joe, Kim and Doug.) We got ourselves to the highway (out along Goldstream to Millstream, much nicer route), and for myself, i wanted to some LT threshold riding, aiming to hold 300 watts up the climb. Starting at the Mt Finlayson / Goldstream parking lot, i managed to hold ~290w for 19 minutes to the S. Shawnigan turnoff. I was pretty happy with that when i got home and looked at the file. =)
I figured everyone else was going to take it easy, but soon after Ryan appeared, as well as Joe & Kim, and the rest of the gang - so much for 'easy'!! haha.. We then rode around Shawnigan and up the far side of the Malahat (i think i'll avoid this in the future...the road is nice and all, and it's a nice climb, but i really can do without the traffic!)
My PowerTap turned off at a stop, so i missed some time, but i'd guess it was about 120km in about 4.5hrs. Beautiful day, and very nice ride - i'm gonna do this regularly. =)
As you can see, it's fully built! I've gotten my seatpost (Thompson, aluminium, for the center off-set), tires (Conti 4000's, in sexy orange) and front wheel (Mavic Ksyrium Elite) all from Oak Bay Bikes of course!. It's riding like a dream..i'm very happy with it. Got my clip-on fenders on in the pic, bleh..
And, finally, the Bunny Jeebus arrives from a soggy Easter ride: