Monday, October 26, 2009

Treachery at its finest!

"Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill."

Saturday was the annual "Sprint Clinic" at the Superdrome hosted by former US National team member Jeff LaBauve.

I attended this clinic last year and got enough out of it to make it a mandatory class for myself and anyone I coach that races Juniors or Category races (not for Youth A/B).

This year I brought Landon with me, since he is already showing promise as a sprinter and has never even seen a Match Sprint event much less competed in one. I geared my bike down to a 48x16, which is the maximum race gear for Landon's age group. I wanted to do the drills with him myself so that he didn't get paired up with another inexperienced youth, at least at first.

After we worked through the Slingshot and Razor drills, plus a 200m TT, it was time to get real and and do some racing!

My goal here in addition to the ever-present one of having fun was to show him not just how to ride 2 laps slowish and one lap all out, but to expose him to things other racers will do to him in a real competition.

Our first attempt took off with me leading him out. First lap...pretty dull. Just me looking over my shoulders at him. He was changing positions enough to keep me guessing and switching where I looked from, but never tried to jump me. Second lap he faked an acceleration on the back straight but I faked back. I started to take him uptrack going into 3, and had him almost to the rail into 4 when I used that wonderful thing known as gravity (and my well-developed descending muscle) to jump. By the time he was able to respond, change directions and get moving I had a decent gap and was hammering for all I was worth. The little bugger nearly caught me at the end but I managed to hold him off.

Not so much in the second race. He lead this one out. With 1 1/2 to go, he had rolled up high and I was down and back. He dove and we were headed for the same spot in the lane at the same time, so I backed off to avoid a nasty crash (or his first lesson in head-butting). I knew that his speed was going to be too much for me to slingshot good job in whipping Coach Kev!

Had some other fun racing against Erin P heads-up and then a 5 person 3 lap scratch.

My legs were shot the rest of the day and the next.

Cyclist to pray for: Pat. He could use some work...


Friday, October 23, 2009

Recovery week

I had a coach for 6 months this year, and learned a number of valuable things during that time.

1) I'm overweight (already knew this)
2) Shaving will gain me 2 watts (or so he says....I'm still furry)
3) I have more ability than I think I do
4) Recovery weeks are a good thing
5) I hate recovery weeks
6) Other things as directed by management

After last weekends solo/racing/LBS ride mileage-fest, I have taken this week off to recover. I did ride the trainer last night in Zone 2 for an hour....nothing to get excited over, but burned a few calories along the way while watching the first Mission:Impossible movie

My next ride of any note won't be until Sunday, or maybe Monday. Saturday is the Sprint Clinic at the track with Landon, taught by Jeff LeBauve....superstar sprinter in his day at the high levels of the sport.

I've been getting more rest and sleep than normal and have spent much of my non-riding time reflecting on the things of God. Sometimes in prayer, sometimes in meditation while pretending to watch whatever medical/legal/police drama was on at the time.

Recovery may not be quite so bad after all...

Cyclist to pray for: Mason. Appendix issues suck, especially when you're 8.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crikey I'm Creaky, but not too Cranky!

I was able to get in almost 200 miles over 5 rides in 4 days last week:

Thursday...laps at White Rock lake in the Fall Mini-Series at the Superdrome (7th out of 10)
Saturday morning....28 mile ride from BikeMart with a good friend
Saturday two categories at the Superdrome (and a spectacular leg explosion that forced me to abandon both cats...)
Sunday afternoon - 45 miles easy solo spinning to Frisco and back with no goal.

I hurt. Legs, back, left knee....ugh.

But it was fun.

So there.

When I was in my 20's I would have done twice that and gone back for more on Monday.

But I'm not 20-something anymore. Now I aging cyclist. :)

Cyclist to pray for: Chris G.


Friday, October 16, 2009

round and round we go...

White Rock Lake is arguably one of the best/most popular locations to ride "inside the loop" of Dallas. In the last 20+ years that I've been on a road bike, its been my destination of choice for long, uninterrupted rides.

Back in the mid 90s, large numbers of faster cyclists would show up after work to ride a 3 mile stretch along the west side of the lake back and forth many times. This is the side that had the smooth asphalt street. There is a trail as well, but any cyclist going over 5 mph stays off of it to keep away from Grandma, skaters, joggers, dog walkers, etc.

Even the cars that drive around the lake are really nice about when and where they pass us for the most part. Half the lake is 20mph speed limit, the other half 25.

In those 20 years, I've probably done 1000-1500 laps.

And its still a nice ride, despite me knowing every turn, crack, rock and bird out there. By name.

Yesterday during my split shift I spent the afternoon getting some more laps added to my tally. Before I even left the office, I knew which direction I was going to go not out of habit, but based on wind direction. With a cold front that came through and NW winds on an overcast day, you want to be riding into the wind going north on the West side, so the trees can shield you.

After 4 laps consistently in the 30 minutes range for the 9.3 mile loop, I reversed the last of 5 and went counter-clockwise so I could finish on the smooth stretch with a (mostly) tailwind.

Not a bad ride. 47 miles, 18mph avg and met a really nice guy on my cooldown. Had a great 20 minute chat in the parking lot with him while I packed up to head homeward.

Sometimes, you just default to a ride you know by heart, sometimes you explore new ground. I'm lucky to have been able to do both this week.

Cyclist to pray for: Sherwood. Continued good things in his life.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

An advantage of being an aging cyclist...

...young cyclists give you credit you may or may not deserve!

Yesterday was an off day for me, so I decided to abuse some young legs at the Superdrome, as I do pretty much every Wednesday and Friday from April through November.

Some days I'm teaching them how to stop and start a track bike without falling over. Some days I'm just pumping tires and switching cogs. But every day at least one of the local ankle-biters has some question for me about equipment, race strategy, training tips, etc.

My response to most of them? "Ask Suzie!"

No...just kidding....I only pull that one out for things specific to Superdrome owned equipment or the drills Suzie is having them do that day. If they want to know about gears, tire pressure, how to race a Points race or similar I tell them what I can.

What never ceases to amaze me is how young folks will give automatic credibility to any adult that is not their own parent. Many times I've watched a parent tell a kid what to do on or at the track with no success. I can tell the same kid the same thing 1 minute later and they hustle off to get it done.

Even more amazing is that these kids have seen me race, yet they still give me props!

I've said it a million times over the years both in and out of cycling environments....if you want to feel young, go hang out with some kids. Volunteer at your local training crit, track, club rides etc as a helper or ride leader. I get to spend time with teenagers from our church youth group as well.

Cyclist to pray for: LB. God knows what is needed.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

OUCH!!!! OK, thats better....

Limited time and wet roads forced me onto the trainer last night as expected. After my 42 mile easy effort on Monday, last night I figured I'd wake the legs up and do some intensity work.

After fixing the trainer wheel by replacing the cassette spacer that I had to pull off and put on my race wheel a few weeks ago I hopped on and put in Coach Troy's Spinerval DVD - 3.0 - Suffer-O-Rama (a more accurate title has never existed).

I normally do really well with this particular torture method. I have a few others, but this one I can actually complete without passing out and waking up in a pool of sweat, bike parts and sawdust in the cave.

Not last night. Dagnabbit.

I got maybe 20 minutes into it and was in the middle of a 5 minute tempo set alternating standing and seated. I generally like this set but tonight about 2 minutes into it my quads shouted their favorite battle cry to me - "Siddown fool!"

I shouted back things you cannot type on a family-friendly blog and finished the 5 minutes. And pressed the Stop and Power buttons on the DVD player.

Did another 20 minutes or so of "up/downs" which is 30 seconds standing, 2 min rest, 30 second high rpm, 2 min rest...repeat.

Did an hour, went through two sweatbands, burned some calories. Not too bad.

Off today, so I'll make the kids at the Superdrome suffer instead while I stand there and yell intelligent things like "go faster!" and "turn left!" The best part about yelling this brilliant highly educated encouragement to kids on the track is that they can't hear it very well. I figure I sound like Charlie Brown's schoolteacher's angry husband. Sweet.

Cyclist to pray for: David Clinger. To stay on the right path, now that he has found it again.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ride with no purpose...

My employer is awesome. I am allowed to work a split shift twice a week where I leave at 11am, and then finish my 8 hours from home in the evening. The purpose of getting these two afternoons off is to have the daytime to further to ministry of IC3. Sometimes that means meeting with a church or association leader, sometimes leading a group ride, and sometimes it just means training rides so I can continue to be active in the race community without being a laughingstock....

The weather yesterday afternoon was right on the cusp of being too wet for outdoor riding, by my standards. My standard is simple...if I'm going to HAVE to clean the bike, I don't ride in it. If I get caught in the rain, fine. But I don't go out in it intentionally.

Looking like it would be good, I decided to get in a "longish" (for me) ride of 40+ miles. I convinced Landon's mom to let him go out with me for a bit, since he was out of school and just hanging at the house (on his 14th birthday). It was an easy sell...

I rode the 12.6 miles from my house to his, and we headed south with no particular destination in mind other than "towards the Superdrome/RBM." Nice, easy spinning pace since this is a recovery week for him, and base miles for me. We found that even in the middle of a Monday afternoon, Legacy in Frisco is a nice clean road to ride on with one small section of construction. We did encouter some mist, which decided to change into "very light rain" so we turned around and headed back. All told, I hit 42 miles for the day and my bike got a bath, which is a rarity.

I got my miles, Landon spun his legs a bit and Fellowship was had. One of the better rides I've had in awhile.

Cyclist to pray for: Andrew - fast recovery from a jacked up collarbone.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Just keep plugging along...

Not too much has been happening of any note since my last post.

Raced the Cotton Patch Challenge in Greenville, TX. I knew I wasn't going to stay in the lead so I hammered along until I dropped at the 23 mile mark. Chased a few break attempts down and stayed at the front while I was in it. I figure why not have a good time while I still have the legs, yah? Total sufferfest the next 30 miles :)

All of this has been to get me ready for the Fall mini-series at the track that runs through November. Results have been mixed. I've felt strong and ridden well but the placings don't show it as there are some VERY strong guys in the 35+/Cat 4 that should be upgrading to Cat 3 any day now (Yes, I'm talking about you Joel and Bob!!!).

I've spent quite a bit if time with Landon and the other junior track racers getting them up to speed as a volunteer helper during the Superdrome Youth Devo program. Sometimes I'm needed, sometimes I just air up tires but its all good either way.

Landon is doing well on the track and the road. He did 18.1 mph avg for 28 miles with me this last Saturday in a RBM training ride. Nice. Need to get him to the 36 mile endurance level very soon, and work on his spin in the process. Its good, but can always be better...

All for now..

Cyclist to pray for: Todd M.'s family. He passed away on a ride Saturday, details unknown at this time.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Networking ride

The economy is looking like it may have hit bottom and is starting to show signs of improvement. But it will be slow.

Many talented individuals have been laid off or are working below their normal pay range...this is not news to anyone.

I've been there twice myself as a member if the IT industry and know the frustration of spending the entire day reviewing the same jobs boards, calling the same recruiters and sending out resumes all day long.

So....lets go for a ride!

Starting yesterday, I'm going to attempt to be at White Rock lake in the parking lot by the boathouse on West Lawther (TP Hill?) to lead a "Networking ride." I was originally going to call it an "Unemployment ride", but I want to make it open to anyone that can be there, whether they are unemployed, retired, flex-time, stay-at-home mom's, etc.

WRL is about 9.3 miles around, and you can do as many or as few laps as you desire. Yesterday some did 3, others 4 or more. The avg. pace was 16.something, with bursts up into the 20s. most of it was conversational pace, and we would have all stopped for mechanical issues if there had been any.

This is not a hard training ride, unless all of those in attendance want it to be. The goal here is to meet new people and see how you can help each other out professionally. Until yesterday I didn't know anyone in the construction management field. I may never need that....but I just might. Hard to tell...

So, please come out if you can get the time. If you are a recruiter and want to drop by before the ride (or better, come ride with us), please feel free to do so.

Cyclists to pray for: All 3 guys that met me there yesterday :)


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hotter'N Hell Hundred...2009

I was invited by the Executive Director of HHH (through Texas Baptist Men and Lamar Baptist Church) to lead the traditional Saturday morning Sunrise Service at HHH. I gladly and fearfully accepted, trusting in God to lead me through preparations.

Since I was going to be in Wichita Falls anyway, I figured I might as well ride. The Tour riders scare me, so I decided to race the 35+ 4/5 category, based on not being anywhere near ready for 100 miles. Mine was 62 (100k).

Just to complete the picture, I brought along one of our Junior track racers to do his first ever road race in the Jr. 10-14 category (25 miles).

My training was almost nil, since I haven't had a fun ride in over two months. Every training ride has been a chore, and most I didn't event want to do. I was perilously close to mothballing all bikes for the season and getting really fat over the winter.

I got in a few Saturday morning rides, and a few sweaty afternoon 60-90 minute rides in near 100 degrees temps. Nothing even close to 62 miles. 36 - 40 was the longest.

My final two rides before the race were a 1 hour afternoon ride with a friend where I bonked hard, and a Crit where I dropped out after 2 laps. Ugh. And I broke my race wheel, so I had to steal one from our junior program and get it set up.

I picked up Landon about 4:45 and we made it to WF about 8 after a dinner stop at the world's slowest "Was-That-A-Burger" in Decatur. Picked up race packets, filled out required paperwork and headed to the church we were staying in for the night. Because we were leading the service in the morning, the kind folks at LBC-WF found us a room of our own. It also happened to be the room they were serving breakfast in at 5am. So we had to be up and out by 4:45 or so.

No sleep at all...maybe 3 hours, 30 minutes at a time. Not exactly the best prep for a devotional or a race. The service was a confusing jumble, and we never really figured out where we were supposed to be, so we hung out at the stop sign that had street signs for "3rd" and "Lamar". One person joined us. He flew in from North Carolina for the event as he does every year and has looked for this service every year. He was thrilled to find us. We had a great 3 person devotional on the "Armor of God" from Ephesians 6, relating it to the armor of a cyclist.

The race:

We started off at a pretty brisk pace. Brisk is the term I use when I forget to move a magnet to the race wheel and have no clue how fast we were going. At one point, I bounced up to the front of the group (way too sketchy at the back), and got in the rotation. When it was turn for my pull, I had no idea what speed we were going, so I looked like a n00b and dropped the group. Yes, I was leading. They let me get almost 200m up the road before they came to collect me.

After recovering at the back for a bit I moved back into the top 1/3 of the group and saw that there was a solo break up the road (Colavita rider I think). As we were on rolling hills, I decided to have a little fun and make a bridge attempt as soon as we hit the next downhill, using my descending muscle to my advantage. I hit it and got to within 20 meters of the break rider before I exploded. I'm guessing the group decided that 2 was a bigger threat than one, as they blew past me like I was in the junior race. I actually fell off the back as they passed and had to jam it just to get back in the draft.

All of this took place in the first 20 miles or so. As we made a right turn in Burkburnett to head south, I felt like I was riding two flat tires...but they weren't. My rear brake had shifted and started rubbing the rim, and no amount of coaxing was going to fix it...had to dismount. Race over. 40 mile solo TT to finish out.

I knew I wasn't going to last the full 100k, but was feeling pretty good while I was in it. The break and the bridge attempt were fun as well.

Landon lead out his good friend Nick (from a competing team) for the win in the Junior 10-14, and took 5th place only 2 seconds back. Sweet result for a new roadie. I'm very pleased with his effort and his sacrifice of trying to win so that his friend could. Lots of Character in that kid...

Cyclists to pray for: Dudes in the 35+ 4/5 that crashed when passing the Jr. Open race.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Long time no post...

Has it really been a month since my last post? Apologies dear reader....

Not much has changed from a results perspective. Still chasing the Track Cat 3, but getting 4th and 6th places isn't going to get me there. I did race the open masters recently and finished...NOT LAST PLACE by virtue of a not last in the Miss-n-out.

My crit racing has gone from bad to worse...all time low of getting dropped in 7 minutes at the Tuesday nighter and a total embarassment at the state crits on Memorial day. Think I'll be taking a looooooooooooong crit break. I seem to do better when I get in some long steady rides the week before a crit, but I've not been able to do that and likely won't until after the Cooper Crit and final HCTT as well as youth camp...all in July.

I will be doing some more interval work and continuing to push hard at the track in the next month or two, but I don't have any more non-track, "must do" races on my schedule.

A "want-to-do" is the 12 hour Texas Time Trials, typically scheduled for September. Need some seriously long training to commence August 1...

Cyclist to pray for: John.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Goal met...part 2

After posting about meeting my road goal for the year, I what? Simple it again. Except, I didn't ride from Tuesday until the following Monday night when I got in a 1 hour trainer ride. Hardly the appropriate level of effort to sustain where I was...

Got dropped in 12 minutes the week after hanging in for 46....go figure :)

I'll work on getting in my miles and intervals a little more consistently.

The other goal is the track upgrade to a Cat 3. I've missed the last two Friday night races at the Superdrome, so tonight I'll be trying to play catch up with the rest of the 35+/Cat 4 dudes. Except Ken Munson...he can go right ahead and take off. Sooner he hits the 3s, the better :)


Scratch race
Snowball (I hate snowballs)
Long Scratch


Cyclist to pray for: Paula. Went down last Friday and damaged all sorts of body parts, but is back home and recuperating.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Goal what?

I have 2 "results" goals for this year:

Track: Earn a Cat 3 upgrade - in progress

Road: Pack finish in a Cat 4 race (FDM crit or otherwise) - Done!

Despite the overcast skies and threats of rain, the racing was on last night in Plano. In the B race, I decided to expand upon the testing of the bigger gears that started last week. Out of turn 1 ever lap I jumped up to a gear or two higher than I normally have in the past, and for the most part it worked.

I was too far in the back a number of times but was able to work my way up when necessary. I was also using a cornering technique I learned from Coach Steen and that was a raging success, especially given how squirelly the pack was last night. Too many people trying to force 5 wide in corners and then having to hit the brakes. Ugh.

All in all, I was still in mid-pack when the bell rang. I backed off to let the sprinters and assorted other crazy guys fight for first place or crash or whatever. Some sprinted, some crashed.

I got my pack finish, and am very happy about it. Praise God for the safety and good sportsmanship all around. Even the crashers looked ok.

Next road goal: Do it again, and decent showing at state crit in late May.

Cyclist to pray for: MG - migraines are no fun.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Strong riding

Not too much happened out of the norm for a bit there after my last post...same old crit results, track rain outs, etc.

I did experiment with a larger gear than I normally run at the Plano crit on 4/28, with some success. Sadly, I was a lap down when I did this but the results were interesting. The draft of the pack makes a lot of difference. Thanks to my spontaneous coach for reminding me I wasn't on the track and was spinning way too high...

Saturday was Day1 of the MS150 in DFW. Due to Swine Flu considerations, Day 2 was re-routed to stay out of downtown Ft. Worth. Due to weather considerations, it was later cancelled altogether. Team Coooper Fitness/IC3 started out with 5 of our team, and two others caught up at the first rest stop we hit. Then one more at lunch. We were riding really well as a team, keeping solid pace and having a great time. Overall we finished a bit apart. I was (surprisingly) in the first bunch of 4 to get to TMS with an average of 19.3 over 83 miles. By far my longest and strongest ride of the year, despite being on training hoops with a heavy seat bag full of tubes and tools. Felt strong at the end, and took Sunday off to rest and watch the Mavericks in round 2 of the playoffs. Recovery days are good. Recovery weeks? Hate 'em.

Cyclist to pray for: MTB - broken parts all hit by a car when not even riding.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FDM Crit 4/21

Go fast, turn right. For 28 minutes.

An improvement of 13 minutes over the last 2 weeks and the best of the year. Saturday's Ivan Mukasa race did me some good mentally and physically, and additional saddle time Monday afternoon helped as well. Legs are starting to come around to longer distances at intensity.

I changed my warmup a bit, with a little less time in Z2, and added an additional 30 second sprint, with the normal 10 minutes for staging. Seemed to open up the legs and lungs a bit better.

At one point the race was just a smooth flow, pedaling through the corners smoothly, finding the right line, hiding well, etc. Looked at the computer once at 4 minutes and again at 24....just out of curiosity. Avg. MPH 1/2 lap after I dropped was 25.2. I heard 25.7 from a top finisher. That's pretty quick for an old fat guy :)

Doing at least 2 hours tomorrow, track Friday, Matrix Challenge Saturday. Track is the focus, MC is for fun since its free. And flat :)

Cyclist to pray for: SK.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ivan Mukasa circuit race report

Saturday, April 18 was the Ivan Mukasa Memorial Circuit race in Slidell, TX at Eagles Canyon raceway.

This is a motorcycle (and cars?) race track, 2.5 miles, lots of turns and way more up/down than I was expecting. I really thought it was much flatter. Oops.

I want to thank Andy Hollinger, Team Bicycles, Inc and all of the volunteers for making this a great event! Nicely done folks.

I entered the 35+/Cat 4 category, which I affectionately refer to as the "dad class." Normally for road events I'm in the Cat 4. I really was simply looking to see how the two compared from a handling and speed standpoint.

The handling is about the same, but I could definitely tell this was a category full of guys with wives, kids and jobs to get back to...not a bunch of win at all costs, testosterone fueled maniacs!

The speed was hard to compare, given the multiple times on each lap we were going up or down some rise on the course.

We started off nice and easy on the first lap, really just taking a look at the course "at speed." It ramped up a bit after that. A few guys took solo flyers just to see if they would stick, but we brought them back without working too hard. Some of these flyers went directly into the wind and little chance of success. On a course with this many turns, you have headwind, crosswind and tailwind several times per lap.

The climbing got to me on the 4th lap. I made it up the short, steep one on the backside, but blew my lungs in the process and coasted the downhill straightaway to recover and waved the wheel truck by. Normally at this point I head for the pits. But...since this is such a unique venue, I decided to go ahead and just enjoy the ride. There were two other riders behind me that popped before I did, so I raced them the rest of the way, staying ahead as best I could. I almost got caught at the end by the trailing rider and the pack. Managed a 33rd place out of 35 scored finishers. Not Last!

Key takeaway for a fat, old cyclist in the rookie ranks:

22 minutes on a rolling, windy course is a stronger performance than 15-20 minutes on a flat Tuesday night crit course :)

Cyclist to pray for: Bryan S. Haven't heard from him in awhile...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ugh...where was my head?

Somedays you're on, some not...

Last week, I stayed in the weekly crit for 15 minutes and felt pretty strong even though I pulled out.

This week, I stayed in the weekly crit for 15 minutes and it was a death march suffer fest. Mentally I was never there. Lined up too far back, never moved up even when I could. Bad lines, in the wind....all the wrong things.

Sleep? Stress? over/under trained? Who knows :)

At least I got to help someone by lending my training wheel out in the A race. Yay for doing the right thing!

Cyclist to pray for: Landon, and his torn meniscus...


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Track report

Friday was a great day at the Superdrome.

The youth development session saw kids rolling around all over the place, including three fresh faces that I was able to get through 'Kevin class.' One can be easy or hard...3 can take the whole session easily depending on their current bike skills and how quickly they learn. By the end of the devo time, all three were up on the track to some degree or another doing the "up and over" drill with Suzie. Very cool :)

The first night of Friday night racing started at 7:30 with somewhere around 90 racers, which is huge for a track event. I raced in the 35+/Cat4 category as usual on this night of scratch races.

My results were 3rd, 10th and 7th. Good enough for 6 out of 15 in the omnium. The second race shuold have been better but I made the mental mistake of working at the front too much and the entire group went by when I went uptrack with 7 to go. Spent the next few laps trying to work forward again.

The 3rd race (20 laps) was going too slow for my taste so I took off the front with a half lap standing sprint 2 or 3 laps in. The group let me go for 6 or 7 laps before they started chasing. Once they got close enough I sat up and recovered for a bit before trying to move into position.

Overall, I'm pleased with my results. Went with a new warmup and "between races" protocol, but didn't get all of the warmup I should have...started late. More tweaking to come.

Cyclist to pray for: Rob S. involved in a crash Friday night....sore, but ok and healing. No lasting damage.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Over the top? I can never tell :)

Yes folks, track season is upon us. Last Wednesday the Youth Development practices started up at the Frisco Superdrome. We had 2 brand new kids plus most of the older faces were there as well.

I volunteer my time on Wednesday and Friday afternoons to assist Youth Devo director Suzie by helping the newcomers learn to get a track bike stopped and started safely. Once they graduate "Kevin class" we send them up to the apron to start turning left in Suzie's practices. Its a hoot.

The first race of the Superdrome Points Series (ATRA sanctioned) is this Friday night and I couldn't be more excited. 4 weeks of crits and 3 months of training have lead up to this. Now, I'm old enough and experienced enough to not expect wins right off the bat, since I'm not the only one that has been training, but I do expect a decent performance.

The first 2 weeks are all scratch races - basically mini-crits for those of you not familiar with track racing. 8 laps, then 16 laps, then 20+ laps. I actually have a warmup routine for the first time. Last year's warmup was something along the lines of "Go ride some laps, rest, ride some faster laps, rest, ride in race gear for a bit, race."

Why am I so excited about track? Its fun. Its safer than crits. I've actually got a shot at winning from time to time, and its spectator friendly :)

Send me your youth and we'll teach them to ride, work together and have fun doing it!

Cyclist to pray for: Richard E.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The crits just keep on coming

From a team email thread about last night's Plano Crit:

I'm pleased with my race. I stayed in the pack for 20 minutes before deciding to drop back and recover. I was pushing hard on every corner and still starting drift backwards where its gets even more difficult, especially coming out of turn 1.

Recovered at about 15 mph and then jumped back into the pack in the back 1/3 of the bunch.Once I got established and at speed, I was able to move around and keep pace with relative ease. Found myself coasting into a top 10 spot unintentionally when the pack sat up for a bit. Had a brief thought about jumping, but as a lapped rider that would have probably gotten me some nasty looks.

Pulled out with 3 to go to stay out of the way of the sprint (and the crash before the line).
Week 1 - 7 minutes
Week 2 - 13 minutes
Week 3 - 20 minutes

I'm very happy with my improvement, since I've done very little intensity training this year...mostly base miles at Zone 3 or less.

Cyclist to pray for: Rich Enthoven - injuries from a crash last night


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ok...that's better

Last week I had a pretty poor result in the Plano Tuesday night crits, for reasons I won't re-type here.

My coach and I had a couple of "re-focusing" type conversations to set my mind back on track to what I am doing and why.

Couple those with getting there on time last night, warming up properly and concentrating on breathing....and what a difference in result and attitude!

Last week: Dropped in 7 minutes, lapped twice, could not hang with the group as it passed.

This week: Dropped in 13 minutes, lapped once and stayed in the group the rest of the race

I did pull out with 2 laps to go so I didn't commit the racer sin of taking someone out of the race that was on the lead lap due to crash, flat, bonehead move, etc. But that was my decision...not one my legs/lungs made for me.

Next week? Goal - 15-20 minutes or better...keep adding to it each week.

For those not familiar with this series, I am in the B Race which is Cat 4 men, 35+ Cat 3 masters, and some women. Its faster than the typical Cat 4 men only run, in my opinion. Great for training.

Cyclist to pray for: Leona in the Ukraine.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crit results

>>Results tomorrow or Wednesday.<<


1 flat tire before warmup
1 long line at registration
1 abbreviated warmup

1 7 minute race before I dropped.

3 excuses for stinking up the joint.

Anyone got a favorite scripture reference for verse 30:3? 303 is my number for the year. Wanted 323 (Romans 3:23), but they weren't taking requests :) Got lucky last year with 3:16.

Cyclist to pray for: The junior that went down in turn 3 tonight...looked ok, but wasn't walking it back in...


Monday, March 16, 2009

Let the season begin!

Yeah, I know...the season began unofficially in January at Copperas Cove, then in reality in New Braunfels. I got dropped 5 miles into the first and didn't bother to go to the second (too far)...

My goals for the year:
  • Pack finish in the B race at the Plano crits
  • Upgrade to Cat 3 on the track by season-end
  • Others, but I'm not telling.
Tomorrow is the first event of the FDM Crit series, and I'm as ready as I can be thanks to OnTrack Coaching. I've been on his training plans for 2 months and have worked really hard to abide by them. Did my test warmup at the crit course this afternoon and felt great.

Of ourse, with all the prep and God's sense of humor I'll probably get a flat on the Start line :) Just for humility's sake...

Results tomorrow or Wednesday.

Cyclist to pray for: 99% for John Ryan for continued recovery, 1% for me to not crash and hurt myself tomorrow...


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Well that was cool!

The kick-off event of the Horse Country Time Trial Series was this past Saturday. It was part of a three-races in 2 days weekend, as well as bring the opener for the Texas Cup North Region competition and the Texas High School season.

This was the perfect storm of factors that brought about our largest attendance in the (now) 8 times we have run this event. 200 racers came out to go fast, turn around, then go fast some more. Previous best: 89.

We are a Christian Club, and we start each race with a prayer before we even set up registration. Scripture tells us that God will never ask us to do something without providing the tools to do it. Likewise, when He is included everything works for the best. We have seen this proven many times over in our club.

We had exactly the number of volunteers, officials, etc. to run an event this size. Even despite some of them pulling out due to illness (Get well Kolton and Gary!).

I stand in awe, but not suprised at the blessings that have been heaped upon our club.

3 of the standing course records were broken (Juniors, Women, Elite men):

No injuries, despite one of our youngest competitors literally being knocked over by the wind. Tough little dude got up and kept on going.

I was supposed to race later in the afternoon, but the HCTT process was not finished in time to allow for a proper warmup, so I skipped it. This makes March 17 in Plano my next race.

Training is going well....legs strength up, weight down, attitude good.

Cyclist to pray for: John Ryan. Junior racer that did a faceplant after a bike vs. Great Dane incident yesterday. Lots of damage, looks like the concussion/broken nose may be the worst of it.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm back! Sort of...

Its been a busy two weeks since I last posted...

In addition to the training, I've been focusing on getting everything ready for the 3rd season of the Horse Country Time Trial as well as ongoing stuff for the Cooper Crit at Craig Ranch.

I love promoting races. Its truly fascinating to see all the pieces come together when everyone kicks in their labor and ideas. Nothing sweeter that seeing an event go off with little to few hitches. The TT should be easy this year, as we have lots of volunteers. The crit is the first one we have run, so who knows?

In the middle of all this, I've been suffering from fit/fitness issues on the bike. My saddle keeps sliding back when I'm not looking, and I keep forgetting I no longer live in the days where I could just jump on the bike and go. If I don't stretch the hamstrings, the back screams at me within the hour.

But train I must, as the Plano crit series opens in less than 2 weeks. As a warmup I am doing the 4/5 crit in Denton on Saturday.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Cyclist to pray for: John S.


Friday, February 20, 2009


Cooper Fitness Center and IC3 North Texas are combining to ride the DFW MS150 for 2009.

Please join us if you ride, or donate a few dollars if you do not.

Join team Cooper:

Donate to any individual member by clicking on their name. Each rider is required to raise $300 in pledges. If you see someone has not made that goal...can you help them and MS?

If you are thinking about joining but not sure if you can ride that far, let us help you! As of now, over 2 months remain to the ride...we can accomplish much by then.

Email me or post a comment if you need training help!



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recovery what?

Hello again dear reader(s)....

This week I am supposed to be "recovering" from hard efforts the last 3 weeks (averaging 9 hours/140+ miles) by doing a 6 hour week. I'm told that this is necessary to allow both body and mind to recuperate, and I know this to be true. But...given the agreeable weather we've been having here in DFW, that doesn't make it any easier to go ride slowly for short amounts of time.

But I will. :)

Because I want to improve this year in noticeable ways. My conditioning is up, my weight is down and my reliance on the inhaler is less (EIA is a real drag...).

My first real test will come on March 7 at the Denton Rhapsody Criterium. I'll be in the Cat 4/5 category at 4pm, after having gotten up at 5:30 am to run the Horse Country TT for my club. I'm using the crit to practice the new warmup procedure I've been given and see how I do. I don't care whether I win or DNF...this is only a fitness/process test for me.

Hopefully, some other aging cyclists/dads are getting something out of this blog...feel free to drop me a note/comment if you are (or if you'd rather I just hush!)


Cyclist to pray for: JM. Family stuff.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Starting to feel it...

I've been following (pretty closely) a training plan provided by my coach that is targeted at getting me ready for the weekly criterium series that starts mid-March in Plano, TX. This series has been going on in one way or another for at least 20 years. My goal for the year is simple: Get a pack finish in the B race. When I meet that goal, I'll set a new one.

On the new training regimen, I'm more focused on (of all things) proper warmup, long intervals and legitimate recovery. I'm actually riding more, but a lot less tired/fatigued. I like it!

Got out yesterday for 1.5 hour ride on the rolling hills of Horse Country USA (Denton County, TX). Once I was past my warmup slots, I started a 30 minute interval that fit perfectly with the route I had chosen. Some moderate rolling hills, one light, and two stop signs. I was able to cruise this section in Zone 3 pretty much straight through and focus on consistency and pacing. Even the dogs stayed away...very unusual.

Felt great, went home got a shower and took an impromptu nap during President Obama's prime time news conference. Not a commentary on him, but taking advantage of the chance to doze...

I may be old, but I'm riding younger lately.

Cyclist to pray for: Todd K. Continuing (but improving) back issues


Monday, February 2, 2009

Best ride in how many years?!!?

I'm a coach. I have hired a coach. He has a coach of his own...

Everybody can improve.

I went to the local Saturday morning hammerfest at Richardson BikeMart this weekend and promptly missed the start of the 36 mile no-stop, drop you if you can't keep up ride.

I was on a mission to keep my HR right at 160, per my training plan.

So I'm at 140 before I leave the parking lot to try and catch the group. So much for proper 10 minute warmup...

I get on the route at a place that should put me just a little behind the group and I see a few stragglers. I pass two of them and ask if the 36 milers are ahead or behind me (just in case I jumped too far ahead). "Way ahead...they took off like a shot" is what I got back.


And then I hit 5 red lights in a row. No chance I'm catching the pack without blowing up.

Next thing I know, the 27 mile group is right behind me. ok. fine. I'll hang out at the front of this group and just leave when they turn earlier than the 36 mile route does.

Do you see it coming? I didn't.

So we roll along for probably 5 miles, me cruising at the front, sometimes taking a pull, sometimes rolling away. You see, I have a HR to maintain here. And I've lead this 27 mile ride before, several times.

After the big nasty hill that I usually suffer up my friend Woody rolls up beside me suggesting I should be checked for banned substances. "Why?" I ask. Then..smack.

Woody leads the 36 mile group. I was ahead of them the whole time and have been dragging this group for the last 5 miles. Previously, I would have been at the back half-dead.

So, it occurs to me the three things were at work for me to that point:

Race wheels instead of training hoops (Coach's orders)
Training plan for a week (Coach's orders)
Ignorance of what group I was in.

I lost number 3, but the other 2 stayed with me the rest of the ride and I rolled in with the lead bunch. NEVER have done that before in 2 years of trying.

Coaching works, even for old geezers.

And Woody (who I have known since 1984) tells me that is the strongest he has seen me ride in 15 years.

Want to improve? Hire a coach, get a consult, buy a training plan...and stick to it.

See you Saturday!

Cyclist to pray for: Michael.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Harder than it looks...

Try this on your trainer:

15 minute warmup (Zone 1)
60 minutes steady state at that spot between Zone3/4
10 minutes cooldown (Zone 1).

No, you can't coast, go downhill or're on a trainer!

Its harder than it looks :)

Cyclist to pray for: Landon


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ride easy to ride fast?

Since the race on Saturday, I've logged 18 miles. Spread out over 2 days. At less than 140bpm HR.


Well...a coach friend of mine thinks he can make me faster and more successful in races, so he's got me alternating easy/off days this week in preparation for some high effort testing this weekend.

Have you ever tried to ride a trainer, doing high RPMs without going over 140? That takes some serious work and concentration!

I know it all makes sense, but it is difficult to be limited to 40 minutes rides, easy pace when teh weather is "unseasonably warm" here in DFW. Should be close to 80 today and its an off day per my coach.

I am going to try this coaching thing out for three months and see where we stand at that point. If I've seen positive improvements based on his direction I'll post up all his info and encourage you to sign up with him. If not, I'll thank him for his time and ride off on my own.

Now, I am a certified coach as well...but this guy is a Cat 1 racer on the road and the track, so his experience trumps mine. And he has a coach as well.

Cyclists to pray for: The guys that crashed out of the Tour Down Under in stage 3.


Monday, January 19, 2009


Legs, back and pride...all a little sore.

I raced with my buddy Craig Saturday afternoon in Copperas Cove, TX in the Cat 4/5 A group. We got there with very little time to spare (likely my fault...), so I had almost no time to warmup.

At the 5 mile mark, I got shelled out the back of the pack on a relatively small hill. I had been sitting top 10 cruising along, and then I was getting passed by the wheel truck.

So...I got in a nice long 47 mile solo ride. I even managed to get passed by the second 4/5 group that started 15 minutes after we did. Ugh. At least I beat the P123 field in. They did 31 miles more than us (congrats to Josh Clark for the win).

I also had an issue with my shifter in getting to the small ring on some of the hills while I was still trying to catch back on. After 2 or 3 miles it cleared up and I was able to start climbing again, but the race was very much over.

Lesson learned: be on time, warmup.

Cyclist to pray for: Todd K.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Racing age 41...

As of Jan 1, as far as USAC is concerned I am 41 years old. In cycling terms, I'm a has been that never was :)

I started racing in 2007. Most racers are retiring at that point, or going exclusively Masters categories. Me? I started racing my "skill" category instead of my "age". And I found out that track racing is fun as well.

I feel 26.

With the first race of the year looming, I'm asking myself if I have prepared properly during the much shortened off-season. I rode almost 700 miles in December....most of it on the trainer doing tempo work with a little simulated climbing thrown in to build up the quads.

Saturday morning brother Craig (also 40+) and I will launch ourselves into 2009 racing with 73 other Cat 4 and 5s in Copperas Cove, TX. He's the leader for our 2 person team...I pull him and carry his water bottles until I pop.

Last year in this race I was in it until about mile 40. Got shelled out the back on the biggest climb of the day right after the feed zone (and a perfect feed from Dan).

We'll see how my training has paid off, and if having a teammate in the race with me for the first time ever makes a difference.

Wish us luck!

Cyclist to pray for: Keenan and George W. Bush.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

2009 could be fun...

If I'd train right.

Started off the new year with a brutal 50 mile ride, much of which was with 20-30 mph head/crosswinds. I had intended to get at least a metric, possibly even a century but the wind changed my plans.

Spent the better part of my free time over the next 5 days walling/framing a 10x12 section of my garage into what has become known as the "bike cave." Similar to a man cave, but without the La-Z-Boy and big flat panel TV. This is a trainer, workstand, weight-lifting area that can be easily cooled with a small window A/C in the summer or heated in the winter with a space heater.

Decided that 5 days off was enough and jumped on the trainer for a run at Spinerval's Suffer-O-Rama. Normally I do well with this particular workout, but the off days really showed and I truly did suffer. My legs were Jell-O for an hour afterwards.

I am gearing up to ride domestique duties for brother Craig at the Copperas Cove Classic on the Jan 17....good early season fitness check, and proceeds from this race go to the TBi junior program. Craig is feather light and fully-fit. I'm 15 pounds overweight and not as fit. I work for him until I pop in this race, and probably for several others through the season...on the road. Any wins I go for will most likely be on the track.

Lesson learned:
5 days off is too many to come back straight into intensity training

Cyclist to pray for: Beaux Benson. Don't know him, but he went down hard on an Austin ride and is in bad shape.