Wednesday, June 30, 2010

DNF Post Mortem -- Attack / Counterattack

Disclaimer... the term "racing career" is used loosely and intended for illustrative purposes in the discussion below.  References to Drummroll's "attack" are also to be used loosely and intended for illustrative purposes.  

So Drummroll notches up, if his memory serves him correctly, the 2nd DNF of his "racing career" that was purely due to -- shall we say -- his inability to hang in there physically and mentally (not the result of a crash or mechanical).    Now mind you that this alleged "racing career" spans a fair cross-section (CX pun intended) of all sorts of cycling, a batch of running events and triathlons in all shapes and sizes. 

Coming from a triathlon sort of background, there simply was no giving up, you just needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other -- even if it meant walking at times.  A flashback to IM Florida sees Drummroll with a pretty darn respectable swim (1:06 for 2.4 miles), a decent bike where he even held back (112 mi in 5:18) and then the run ... can you say vomitarrhea -- a 5:31 marathon.   Drummroll was so messed up he was delerious and staggering part way through the run and was scared he'd get pulled.  After sitting at an aid station for 20-30 minutes painfully watching others run and shufle by, he decided he was really hungry and grabbed a small vanilla Oreo type cookie from the aid station and washed it down with a coke.  Mmmmm, he ate a couple more, another coke and wow, ....."I'm alive".  It was weird -- in a manner of ten minutes or less, he got a running and put in his fastest 10K split of the day for the last 1/4 or so of the marathon.

So enough about the good 'ol days (sorry, IM is a long event, hence a long story) .... so Drummroll hits the Corning Cat 4 race at Watkins Glen this past weekend and on lap 2 puts in a modest attack on a small rise and drew out a few guys and the pack closed in and it all settled in.   A few corners later on the same lap, Drummroll put in a hard attack on a sweeping downhill followed by another rise.   The pack chased hard and caught him part way up the rise except they didn't settle in this time -- they kept on going ... hard.   Drumroll, now in sag climb mode, suddenly realizes he's sagged right off the back of the pack.  A full lap of chasing hard only saw the disappear further up the road.  Drummroll cashed it in to return to the car to bask in the stench of a DNF.

So the lesson learned, after some discussion with NegaCoach Wayne and others was that yes, the first attack was a proper move.  A counter attack was also a proper move .. except Drummroll should not counter attack his own original attack. 

So there you have it cycling fans, dorksters, hipsters, wannabe's, afficianados and all around know it alls, it all boils down to this .. Drummrolls racing guidance 101:

(1) Counter attacking an attack = good move
(2) Counter attacking your own attack = bad move

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Disc Brakes for CX?


UCI allows disc brakes for cyclo-cross
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has approved disc brakes for competition in the 2010-’11 cyclo-cross race season. The ban was lifted via a newly issued document entitled, ‘Rule Amendments for Title 1,’ which was posted to USA Cycling’s website late Friday morning.

Full article here:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

100 Minutes on The Hour

So Drummroll decides its time to mix it up the week after the Black Fly.   Off on Monday, the TNTS on Tuesday w/the boys, a hard strength & core training session on Wednesday, an up tempo hilly ride on Thursday and then 100 minutes on The  Hour on Friday.    The Windsor Hour that is ...... a SS fixie Drummroll picked up over a year ago.   A basic, no frills steel fixie with a flip flop hub that you can pick up for like $300 shipped.

It had been a while since The Hour got out of the garage and the nuances of the SS quickly reminded Drummroll of his Weds strenghth training workout (can you say sore hammies?).  The cool thing about the fixie is that on a 100 minute ride, you pedal for 100 minutes.  There is no coasting.  Any attempt to stop pedalling almost rips your legs off (the same way the spin bike might if you've been there, done that).  In some ways, it's like riding for 100 minutes and maybe getting in the equivalent of a 120 minute ride on a "regular" road rig.

It is a track bike by nature so you don't wanna be attempting the Rte 20 hills or Gulf Rd but it is a great workout on the rollers along and near Rte 5 on the east end of The 'Cuse.  

If you get an opportunity to try a fixie, you should give it a go.  Some pros train on them periodically to smooth out their pedal stroke and to provide a "riding/functional strength" type workout.  If you get your hands on one, give Drummroll a shout,   Afterall, it's fun, it might make you a better cyclist and imagine, you might even enjoy yourself in something that is familiar yet new at the same time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Black Fly Challenge Race Recap

Team Ommegang - Syracuse Bicycle was out in full force again for The Black Fly Challenge. This years addition brought wet roads and sand.

I think we had about 8 gangsters there to represent. Drummroll, AJ and I went up to Indian Lake Friday night to avoid an early morning commute. If you've never been to Indian Lake, its best suited for relaxing, so that's what we did. We drank a couple of Ommegang's finest, watched a little TV, jumped on an unsecured WiFi network for a little iPod e-mail, and got some rest. A few loud kids kept AJ up, and Drummroll spent some time trying to keep a mosquito out of his ear, but otherwise we got some decent sleep.

In the morning, Drummroll and I hit up the local diner for some eggs and carbs, and AJ stayed behind to drink a couple of bottles of Starbuck's finest and eat some Cliff Bars or something. Drummroll and I even signed a petition to help the fine folks of Indian Lake secure a new grocery store since apparently the local store had recently gone belly up.

Having worked out some automobile logistics in advance, we headed down to Inlet for packet pick up. As luck would have it, it was raining pretty hard. Close to pouring. When we got to Inlet it was looking pretty bleak. I'm always up for a challenge, but now I had to start thinking hard about what clothing I had packed, what to wear, how many layers, etc. Then, about 20 minutes before the race started, the rain stopped. Perfect . . . I think.

Quick warm up, second guess tire pressure a few times, and then line up. For what it's worth, I ran about 53lbs. I know some dudes went for closer to 70, but I thought I'd shoot for closer to CX, but with enough air to smack a rock at 35mph without too much fear of pinch flatting. Looking around at the crowd as we lined up, it was clear that this was a deeper field than last year. I was still optimistic, but thoughts of another 2nd place were tempered by more realistic aspirations of a top 10. Apparently Dan Staffo from Handlebars decided to check out what the Black Fly had to offer, and I made the mistake of talking team friend Tim O into going. That pretty much meant that barring a mechanical, first and second were pretty much wrapped up.

Right from the gun, Dan started driving the pace. It was clear that he wasn't going to wait around for the race to unfold. By the top of the first hill, there were only 4 of us. Thankfully things eased up a little and some guys got back on in time for the second hill. At that point, Dan got away and eight of us were left behind working pretty well as a group. So far the rain and wet weren't much of a factor. As we pressed on, keeping Dan in sight, it was clear that some guys in our group were strong, and others, myself included were drooling on ourselves. As we started to roll through the flat sections with wet sand, I started to worry that my brakes were rubbing. Sadly they weren't, it was just incredibly tough going. Riding in the wet sand was WAY harder than the previous years in the dry loose stuff. I'd also decided to roll with the Michelin Mud's instead of the Jets, and although I may never know, I think they created more traction than I really wanted.

At a certain point, our group started to splinter and Tim O, Eric Grimm, and Randy Hadzor built up a small lead on the rest of us. Next thing I knew, the rest of my group had built up a small lead on me. At this point, I knew I was in 9th and I had no choice but to ride within myself or risk blowing up, so I watched my teammates AJ and Fred roll up the road. Now I'm asking myself, can I hang on for 9th? A few minutes later, I see Eric Grimm changing a flat. Now I'm in 8th.

As I rolled along, I saw a couple of guys coming up on me, so I eased up, popped a gel pack and waited for them to catch me. Thankfully, it was Drumroll and a beast of a man named Paul from Battenkill-United on an MTB. As Drumroll passes me, he says "This dude is really strong." That was all I needed to hear. I recovered pretty quickly, and got to work with both of them. Drummroll made some rolling introductions, and I let Paul know that he was in first place in the MTB division. None of us had a reason for any team BS, etc. so we just kept on working. I felt pretty good about my top 10.

Once we hit the pavement, I turned around and saw Eric Grimm literally flying down the road. He quickly caught us and we jumped his wheel. At this point, I knew that AJ and Fred were in the next group up the road, so we just hung onto Eric's wheel for dear life. He dragged us right up to AJ, Fred, and another dude, and then right up to Randy Hadzor. Now we had a group of eight with three guys off the front. Getting dropped or blowing the sprint would mean 11th place. The group kept the pace high, and with a little less than a mile to go, Fred hit the gas and opened up a small gap. He was quickly brought back though, so I took a go at it thinking 4th would be pretty sweet. Sadly Drummroll and Eric quickly caught me, but luckily Drummroll held off Eric for fourth and I was pretty happy to hang onto sixth. AJ took 7th, and Fred took 11th after cramping. Four guys in the top 11 ain't bad. Fred deserves a special mention since he was on my old Trek XO1. It's a great winter bike, but I wouldn't want to drag it over all of those hills.

All in all, the team had a great showing. Team friend Tim O took second, and I think everyone was fairly pleased with their performance. There's no question that we all raced hard and left it all on the road (or wet sand as it were).

The race organizers did another awesome job with the course, packet pickup, chip timing, etc. Those guys really get it, and I'm sure that our team will continue to flock to their race.

After the finish, Mrs. Skinny hustled me off to Lake Placid where she was running the half marathon with some friends of ours the next day. Despite an injury, she did well and I consumed my weight in beer. Great weekend.

PS - somehow I ended up being listed as the first place "beginner" in the results. I know I was in the CX category when I picked up my packet so I'm not sure what happened there. I don't want anyone thinking I'm a sand bagger. I did clean enough sand out of my drive train, hair, ears and eyes to fill a bag though . . .

Friday, June 11, 2010

Black Fly

Bike, spotless. Legs, opened. Weather, iffy. I've never done the Black Fly in the rain. That could be fun. That could be 'cross like. Jets or Muds . . . that's the only unanswered question.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cross Season Already?

A few of the boys came out last night for a pre-Black Fly shakedown. If that doesn't get you thinking about CX season, nothing will. We bombed around the Canal Path, Green Lakes and Poolsbrook. Great riding, great teammates, happy to be on the CX rig.

After a few seasons on the Ridley's, I think I'm ready for a change. I've been scouring the internet in my free time looking for any preliminary info on the 2011 bikes. Last season I was certain I wanted a carbon Stevens, but having put a decent dig in my carbon road bike I started thinking maybe I should just go with something more durable. It looks like the new Redline Team's could be pretty sweet. The details are still a little sketchy, but it sounds like they will have carbon seat stays much like my Ridley's. I know that I want something with a lower BB than my Ridley's since sometimes I feel like I'm riding a unicycle. Of course then I found this today during lunch . . .

That might be a game changer. The Gin and Trombones is already on the short list, but the Full Tilt Boogie might be the answer for carbon and durability. I might need to get to selling some stuff on e-bay to afford two frames, but where there's a will . . .

In any event, they won't be available until August, so I have plenty of time to ponder my future frames. Suggestions are welcome.