Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Travel recap and back to reality!

Getting home from Tucson was definitely an experience on Sunday. Got up at 4:30 for my 4:45 shuttle to the airport from Lou's. 4:55 came and no shuttle, so I called Tucson Airport Shuttle and asked where my ride was. After some looking, the gentleman on the other end said that my reservation had been cancelled? WTF? I have no idea how that could have happened, if I didn't cancel it. Someone in their office must have put the reservation in the cancel box or something. I mean, I didn't want to leave Tucson, but I was supposed to fly out in 1.5hr. The airlines say get to the airport 1.5hr early, and I hadn't even left Lou's.

I started to panic, as the company wouldn't call me back with another ride. I woke Lou up, probably much to his displeasure, but he got up and took me to the airport. Good thing the Southwest line wasn't to long, and I got my bags and biked checked in, and headed to security. After security, I was able to sit down for about 10 minutes before they started to board. Good timing to say the least. I was glad I didn't sit at Lou's and wait for a ride from the shuttle, they called me when I was getting on the plane....Yeah, a little late! They still hadn't figured out what happened.

Anyway, smooth flights to Denver and Minneapolis where my college roommate TPow picked me up and I was headed back to Cedar Falls. Arrival was about 6am, or 11.5hr out travel later! I was pretty beat, but it was great to see Bethany's smiling face again! The first thing she pointed out was my new tan lines, of course! We spent the rest of the night catching up and watched "OutSourced" A very interesting movie about a job being moved from the US to India.

Now back in the swing of things, I had my first classes in two weeks yesterday. Good thing is that I was able to get things accomplished in Tucson so that I wasn't to far behind, other than getting notes. Training is pretty slow this week, with some easy recovery rides before the weekend of racing. I am racing collegiate at Iowa this weekend with Finn and Will Greenwood. Hope to get some good legs!

The month of April is pretty booked with work and racing. Going to Tour of Hermann in Missouri on the 9/10, Minnesota collegiate 23/24 and Iowa City weekend 30/1. Gonna be fun!

Good luck to my American Equity teammates at Hillsboro Roubaix this weekend!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tucson Day 10 Shootout Ride

Last day in Tucson, so why not end it with the infamous Tucson Shootout ride. Leaving at 7:00am, this ride usually attracts many pro and local racers, with totals topping out at 250 or so during the early spring, and lows around 70 when races are going on.

Lou, Chad, and I were up early and got to see the sun rise over the mountains on our way to meet the group. (I'll have to upload pics later, camera batteries are dead!)

The ride rolls for about 3 miles where we picked it up and then it is full gas for the next 40-45miles. TJ Tollakson did some huge work on the front, keeping all breakaway's at bay. When the sprint line came, Lou did what we were all thinking he would. He "won" the sprint again for the 2nd time in 6 weeks. He has become popular down here since coming, he has won it 2 times, 2nd once and 4th another. All the guys seem to know the green/black American Equity kit now!! On the way back to Tucson, Chad, Lou and I did some great work on the front with others, keeping the pace at roughly 30+mph. After the ride, it was to Starbucks for a quick coffee and a short spin around the U of A campus to add some extra miles and then back to the house!

Chad is now gone, and Lou and I are hanging out watching some basketball. A full recap of this trip will be posted this week, but man I can't stress how great it has been. I can't thank TJ, Lou and Wendy, Paul, Chad and all other riders for the great fitness I have gained from this trip. Really excited to get back to racing and see what I can do! It is gonna be a great year for American Equity racing!!

But now it is time to enjoy the last night here in Tucson with some great Thai food, basketball, and dreaming about seeing Bethany tomorrow!!!!

Tucson Day 9 Recovery

Legs were toast from the previous day, so all coach had on tap for today was a brief 1hr spin with a couple sprints to keep the legs from shutting down for the shootout.

Everything went without hitch, and capped off the day with some basketball and a great dinner made at Casa Lou.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tucson Day 8 Madera Canyon

So today was originally supposed to be Mt. Lemmon Day#2. Lou brought up the idea of doing Madera Canyon instead. He had never done this climb, but had heard many of the Tucson Shootout riders continue on and get in 100 miles for the day. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, it will be at least a year before I would possibly get back to do Mt. Lemmon, but also, it is another good climb that would end up testing my limits just as well.

We threw on our kits, and were off by 10:30am for the 45mile trek down to Madera. For the first 30 miles of the route, Lou took us on the Tucson Shootout ride that we will face on Saturday. Lou, Chad and I rode a nice brisk tempo paceline all the way out, averaging about 25mph or so. I knew it would be a hard 100mile/5hr day if we maintained this pace, but it did feel good to work hard. We reached Green Valley, and started the 15mile climb to Madera Canyon. It sure didn't feel like we were climbing, but pushing near threshold and rolling at 16mph said otherwise. Lou probably did the smart thing by skipping some rotations and letting Chad and I do the work. With about 4 miles to the top, Lou put in a little dig and I had no response, I just tried to limit the damage as Lou and Chad moved up the road. The logistics of this climb are 15 miles of 11-12 at 5% and then last 3.5 at roughly 10-12%. I haven't found myself in such oxygen debt for a long time, but it happened, I was sucking in so much oxygen. The road was very nice, but pushing at 8mph is pretty rough after 50 miles of tempo riding. Made it to the top and stopped for a bathroom stop. On the way off the mountain it was clearly evident just how far we climbed and how steap, as I saw Green Valley off in the distance. We rolled downhill and stopped at a coffee shop at the bottom so Lou and Chad could refill. I chose to just have my Cliffbar and H2O, which was probably not smart.
Where we were going!
On the way back home we had a stiff 10mph headwind or so, but that didn't stop Chad from hammering. This guy is rolling so strong this year, I am glad he is on our team, he is going to put the hurt on many people. I haven't had to dig so deep riding in a pace line, with a draft. After we got back to Tucson, we rolled back to Lou's and ended with 98miles for the day, I rolled off in search of those last 2 miles and ended with just over 100 for the day. My second 100mile day of the week. I haven't done a 100mile ride this early in the season, and never outside of the State Road Race. I am hoping this will help later in the year! Lets just say I was totally trashed after this ride, I wasn't seeing straight, my head hurt from a lack of glycogen/glucose to my brain. I had bonked so bad on this ride.

We went out for great authentic Sonoran cuisine last night and probably almost closed to place. 3 bike racers who rode 100miles and had 4000kj and roughly 2000+ RMR for the day can eat to say the least. Another couple days in Tucson and then it is back to the Midwest.

Pecan Tree's!
The San Jose River??? Didn't see any water!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tucson Day 7 Recovery Day Spin

Today was originally supposed to be the second day up Mt. Lemmon. After our 110 mile day yesterday however, all of our legs were trashed and I know I felt as though if I had to go uphill, there would be no power in the engine room.

Lou and Chad agreed, and we decided to hang out all morning and head out for a 2 hour ez spin around 11am. I still woke up around 7:30am, but had a couple cups of coffee and my normal breakfast of oats, raisins, cinnamon and a banana mixed together. I got back into bed and watched the Dwars Von Flanderan race via Sporza and just relaxed with my feet up and VitalSox compression socks on.

Around 11am, we set off to the east side of Tucson. On our way we met up with a couple cyclists. Cole House (Real Cyclist) and Logan Loader (Ride Clean) were going back home after some motorpacing. Along with them was the infamous Gray Wolf. This guy moved to Tucson from Oregon, after what I found out was a career as a golf pro. He rides his bike almost everyday and hangs out at coffee shops. A funny guy with a wardrobe that matches his personality.

We continued on our way and ended up at Le Buzz cafe. This was a nice place where we sat and each got a cookie and some coffee. We then headed back for Star Pass to relax for the rest of the day. Lou and I headed up to the pool to get some sun and relaxation.

Now we continue our recovery day with a great meal. Tomorrow will be another 100+ mile day with a trip up Mt. Lemmon and some hard climbing efforts. More pictures to come from that ride!!!

Tucson Day 6 Large Group Rides and Endless Desert!

Tuesday morning was the weekly mid-week Shootout ride. It is the shorter brother of the famous Saturday morning shootout here in Tucson. It is only about 35miles, and half as long, but most people say it is harder. Lou, Chad, and I met at a gas station to hook up with the 100+ rider group. This ride heads out Mission Road to Ajo to Kinney to McCain Loop and up over Gates Pass for the final sprint. As soon as we hit Ajo Road, the bomb exploded and we were off. A few of the Real Cyclist Pro's hit it hard, and we were heading at 30+ mph. Lou, Chad, and I were able to stay near the front and not miss any splits, other than the attempted breakaway's. Coming into the McCain Loop (TT from TBClassic) I knew the hills at the end would split whoever was left up. This is exactly what happened, and I stayed on the group until we exited the group and continued up another mile long climb. I wasn't able to maintain the pace of the 20 or so riders who did, and I was in the second group on the road of about 10. We rotated well all the way to Gates Pass, and it blew up here. I probably ended up 24th or so out of the 100 who started. Lou was second again to Michael Sencenbaugh (Zealous) who is flying right now.
Here we wait, with Chad disliking the 50degree morning temps, and totally on the non-style team! Haha, he did take it off before we rode.

On the way back to downtown Tucson, I chatted with Evan Hyde (Real Cyclist) and we chatted for a while, and he offered some tips. A real nice guy! Was cool to pick the brains of a pro for 5-6 miles. Lou, Chad, and I grabbed a Starbucks and cruised for another 30min to reach 2 hours for the morning. Got home, grabbed some lunch and relaxed.

In the afternoon, we joined teammate TJ Tollakson for a ride into the desert. This ride was characterized by the sun and long, straight, rough blacktop highways that went on and on. Much different then climbing around Tucson. It was a great ride, and we ended with 3.5hr and 65 miles in the afternoon. With our calculations, this gave Chad and I our first 100 miler of the year, and another 5.5hr in the bank. That is 11.5hr in 2 days and 200 miles! Great training out here. We cooked a great dinner last night (Grilled Chicken, Salad, Sweet Potato)

Ready to put in some good work these last few days, but I will be ready to come home. I miss my girl!!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tucson Day 5 Mt. Lemmon

The reason I am out here in Tucson is to get as much training as I can in to be ready for the season. Even after 3 days of hard racing, Paul, Chad and I decided to put in a long ride on Monday. This would end up being the longest ride of the year, the most climbing and the highest KJ work output. Maybe not the best for the day after 3 days of hard racing, but hey! Nothing else to do!

The weather was not to shabby, but chilly for Tucson. It was 60 degrees with 30mph winds out of the southwest. We were going northeast. That would prove difficult later!

Took about 1.5 hours to get to Mt. Lemmon, being on the other side of Tucson, and with all the streetlights. We set off up the mountain and Chad and Paul took off. I settled into a nice pace not exceeding that of what coach Nick had told me. Mt. Lemmon is a 25mile climb, with switchbacks going in all different directions on the way up. It climbs from 2000ft up to 8200ft. A very nice road surface however. On the way up, I saw a bunch of cyclists descending and none going up. Maybe they were smart in starting earlier in the day.

I caught up with Paul at about mile 11-12, and put on my vest and arm warmers as the temperatures were dropping with each pedal push at higher elevation. At 12 miles to go we saw a creature lurking across the road. It ended up being a full grown tarantula spider. Paul and I stopped to get a few pictures and headed on our way. With about 6 miles to go, I looked back and didn't see Paul behind me, so I pushed on ahead to the top. This is where it got hectic. As we went up the mountain the winds became stronger. I met up with Chad at the top at the famous "Cookie Cabin" We went inside and I had a chocolate chip cookie and coffee. The temperature at the top was 38 degrees and winds of 50mph. Paul had turned around earlier to head home and get a start back to Iowa. Chad and I started down the mountain, and it was chilly til we got down to around 5000ft. At the bottom, Chad and I had another 1+ hr ride back into the 25mph headwinds to home. We both made it, battered and starving, but a great day!

Tuesday is the younger brother, of the Shootout ride. It is only about 1.5hr, starts at 7am, and sprints up Gates Pass.

Chad and I are now staying with Lou at his place. Thank you very much to TJ Tollakson and his mother for the great hospitality for the first part of the trip!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tucson Day 4 TBC Stage 2

Today was the last day of the Tucson Bicycle Classic, a 50mile circuit race only about 1 mile away from our house. Was awesome to sleep in a bit, and ride to the race. Thanks to TJ, I have a new favorite breakfast food. Some old-fashioned oats, raisins, honey, cinnamon, banana, like normal, but I never thought of mixing in some peanut butter as well. It was delicious! Adds a couple hundred calories, but not bad!

Anyway, rode to the course and signed in, and rode with the guys in the reverse of the course. We had 8 laps of a 5.6 mile course, with a 2.5mile climb through the feed zone that was a long grinder. Right from the gun, the pace was pretty high up the climb, but my legs have been getting better and it wasn't to bad to sit in. A break of 6 eventually rolled up the road with the #5, and #7 on GC. 1,2,3 all missed the break and had to chase the rest of the day. I thought Chad had gotten up the road, and so I just resigned to sit in and roll it. After 6 of the 8 laps, I saw him come up to the front of the field...DOH! Looks like we have some communication skills to work on :) The break was already 2minutes up the road and wasn't going to get away. Eventually the #1 guy on GC got away with 2 other guys, and stayed away. Over the course of the day, the wind picked up from about 5mph to a 20mph headwind up the finishing stretch. The final corner was hot, but I don't know why, we turned the corner and the wind hit, and slowed everyone down to about 12mph up the hill. Chad and I rolled the sprint and came in mid-pack, solidifying the finish of our first races in 2011.

Congrats to Michael Sencenbaugh (Zealous Racing) who actually won the overall, with a 2nd on the day. He is originally from Tucson, but now lives in Carroll, IA. I think he has been down in Tucson for most of the spring training, as he is rolling really well. Gonna be someone to watch this season. Chad finished a respectable 19th overall for the weekend and I moved up 15 spots in the last two days to finish 30th, out of 45 starters. Much better then 45/45 that I was sitting at the end of Day 1!!!!

I was very happy with how my legs responded today. Much better then the TT, and better then yesterday. Boosts the confidence, as I was able to set PR in power and hr two days in a row. Legs are coming around for sure, just took a large shock to open them up. Overall, this past week yielded the highest mileage, TSS, IF, KJ for the season!

Now spring break is over technically, but I am out here in Tucson for another week. Going to do Mt. Lemmon a couple days, which is a 100mile day, and the Shootout on Saturday before I leave. Hopefully another great week of training to get me ready for the April/May races! Finally got some batteries for my camera, so I will be posting some pictures over the course of the week!

Now on to some homework, it is hard to concentrate out here though. But grad school calls!

Big congrats to TJ Tollakson for winning the Cat 3 GC and getting his Cat 2 upgrade! Gonna be some serious HP added when he comes back in May!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tucson Day 3 TBC Stage 1

Today was the big day of the three day stage race here in Tucson. 4 laps of a 20-mile loop with 10miles of climbing and descending each lap. Each lap was right around 1000ft of elevation gain. Woke up at 6:30 for the 35minute drive to Green Valley, Arizona. Had a great bowl of oatmeal, raisins and toast with peanut butter for breakfast. It is about 6ish miles away from the US-Mexico Border. After coming in dead last in the TT, today was a day where I just wanted to test myself to help my confidence and move up at least one spot.

Got down to the course, got all kited up with some great new sox from Mr. Waugaman! Filled bottles, got GU and ClifBar product ready, and then Chad and I set off with the other Cat 2 at 9:20am.

Started out quite fast, almost crit like. Settled into the group for the long haul of the next 3.5 hours. A break of 4 got away after 1 lap, and stayed away until about 10 miles to go. A crash in the first feed zone, attacks through the feed zone made it quite hard to feed and make sure to stay attached to the rest of the field. Tried to work on my pack presence, and not get slotted into the tailgunner seat as I so often have in the past. I found this space to be occupied by Chad for most of the day! With about 15 miles to go, my legs were pretty toast and I could feel myself losing contact with the field towards the end of the climb, before a 5 mile straight decent. I hung on and stayed in with a big effort to say the least. Chad was moving very well, and was playing around towards the front, and ended up with a great 20th on the day, and sits in 14th overall. If we can lose, 4 guys tomorrow he will be in the money! As for me, I popped with about 1k to go and rolled in 24sec down on the group. I didn't know what to think of this, but expected the worst. Results show that I did what I wanted to today, got a great workout in, and moved up 12 spots on the GC. So now I am in the top 75% of the field instead of tailgunner. Hopefully with the course tomorrow, I can move up into the top half.

Thank you so much to Wendy Waugaman and Jeff Lorenzen for their help out there today!!!

More to come after the circuit race tomorrow. Going to be a very hard circuit, and maybe I can put some good efforts in for a good placing!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tucson Day 2 TBC Prologue

Nothing much to report here today...

Raced the 3.3 mile TT on my stock bike, with a 1450gr powertap hub and no aero gear. Felt awful. Did set PR's with HR and Power.....

But needless to say my ego took a big hit, and starting the 80mile RR tomorrow, I can only go up on the results sheets, if you get my drift......

Tomorrows another day...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tucson Day 1

Hey everyone, well I guess it has been since November since I last blogged...wow, oops! Still in grad school and working.

Today I flew down to Tucson for American Equity/ Velosports Spring Camp here for the next week. Lou Waugaman, Paul Deninger, Chad Bishop, TJ Tollakson will be riding and gaining some great fitness!!! We are actually participating in the Tucson Bicycle Classic over the next three days, so stay tuned for recaps/results!

Flew out of Minneapolis this morning, thanks to Tpow for his hospitality over the past 2 days! Also thank you to the Bike Fit Guru for his great bike fit and new custom insoles for my Bontrager RXL shoes! He was very knowledgeable and did a great job, my position feels great, and the insoles are very nice.

Paul picked me up at the airport and we got back to TJ's house and got my bike all put together. Headed over to Lou's for a spin to Seguaro National Park and back. Ended up with 60miles for the day, and a good start to my tan with the 90degree temps and 20mph winds. On the way back we rode through the University of Arizona Campus, where the NCAA Regionals are going on. Stopped at a cool bakery place and had an awesome Mahi Mahi burrito, per Lou's advice. It was amazing!!!!! Now just hanging out at TJ's and trying to re cooperate for the time trial tomorrow evening. I am in the last 5 cat 2's to start and so hopefully Chad and I can put down a good showing. I am just out here for training and I am not expecting much, especially hauling a 1300gr powertap wheel around!! Gonna be a great time though.

Trying to get the camera up and running, forgot to get batteries.... Here are two links of our bikes in Seguaro Nat. Park and of the Mahi Mahi Burritos!!!

I'll check in after the 5km TT tomorrow!