Tuesday, April 30, 2013


     Pro cyclists sometimes describe their legs as "having good sensations."  This means more than just feeling good, and includes all parts working as they should, given the level of preparation that has gone into them.  Sometimes, despite great practice, your legs don't respond well when called upon.
     This morning, for the first time this year, my legs had good sensations.  That doesn't mean I set any PR times, or, truthfully, did I even come close.  Even though I earned Silver in the State 10k Time Trial, my time was mediocre.  I suspect, given how early in the season it came, the other riders were in the same boat.  At Old Settlers Park, my practice course, my best time in the 5k is 8:06.  It occurred in October, 2011 as a run-up to winning a gold medal at Gruene.  My best practice time this year, before State, was 8:42.  Coincidentally, had I been 36 seconds faster at State, I would have won by one second.
     I had a good Sunday ride, 42 miles, and had the best time this year.  I had a good Monday ride, 63 miles, not setting any time records, given the wind in my face for 2hrs 17 minutes.  But nevertheless, was not wiped out.  The planned ride for this morning was a leg-loosener in the neighborhood.  However, the thermometer showed 65° and zero wind while I had breakfast.  Light fog was in the forecast, but none at our house.  I had been whining about lack of tt practice weather since January, so decided to give it a go, even with the legs feeling tight and weak.
Felt B2 
     Perhaps the excitement of loading the tt bike and/or getting to ride it had something to do my good times.  I did a 5k warm-up in a good cadence, and that felt pretty good; decent strength in the legs, no lactic acid build-up.  My first 5k at speed netted 8:30 and the second 8:24, although the wind had finally come up a bit.  There are two inclines on the outbound section and one on the way back, and the legs responded well on all three.  Now to give the legs a few days rest, and see if we can't knock another 14 seconds off my times.  Next week I'll be doing ladders, 5k,10k,5k and after that, 5k,15k,5k.
As a postscript, my formula for good riding is to cycle 800 miles per month, six months out of the year.  This month I finally got over 500, which may account for the legs being stronger.  Maybe I can get 800 in May.

Monday, April 22, 2013


     A longish way of getting to a short point.
     My gym workout consists of leg work and one lower back machine.  All work is done on machines, I don't do free weights.  In order: hack squats, calf raises, abductor/adductor, leg extensions, glutes, sitting leg press, then the lower back.  I skip the leg curl because there is a "catch" in my right knee when I use the machine. If a machine is in use, sometimes the order is transposed.  Last Saturday the weather wasn't conducive to bike riding, so early in the morning I traipsed off to Gold's and did my workout.  I felt good; so good that I hit new highs on three machines. Not new highs for this year, new highs for the last five years I've been coming here.  I'm getting older, but stronger.
     Now, the downside of getting new highs at the gym is the next day.  With the weather abated, I did my normal 42 mile, 360 Loop, Sunday Ride.  There are 23 climbs, 9 of which take some oomph to get up, on my Sunday ride.  After Saturday's workout, the legs had very little push.  It wasn't a disaster, just a little slow.  Actually, all of my Sunday rides this year have been average or slower, so this one turned out to be between 3-5 minutes slower than the others.  Unfortunately, that is about 20 minutes slower than my mid-summer times.  Still, since I didn't overtax my cardio system, I was ok with the time.
     Then came today.  With two hard days on my legs/hips/back already in the tank, I needed a recovery ride, something to loosen up the legs but not overly stress them out.  My 32 mile University ride seemed just the thing.  This is mainly an east-west ride, and the wind was mainly from the south, with just a bit of a westerly direction.  It exceeded breeze status.  Only a few times did I have to hold on tight to keep in a straight line, and it wasn't enough to blow me sideways.  You get the idea.
Anyhow, I deemed it a recovery ride, and concentrated on cadence and heart rate rather than speed.  For the ride, both with and against the wind, my cadence averaged 76, only two more than what I average on this ride, but my heart-rate came in at 106, 100 with the wind and 112 against, with a high of 136 on the only real hill.  Truly, I wasn't exerting myself.  But the really astounding stat is my overall time is the best this year.
     Oh, and the whining:  Where was this good stuff last week, when I couldn't hang with the guys at State?  As soon as this infernal wind lets up, I'll be out doing tt practice to see if I'm now really as quick as I think I am.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


     The state finals are usually a little later in the year, thus my two training practices hadn't done much to hone my speed for the time trials.  That, and seeing who had signed up in my age group, gave me a lowered expectation of being state champion.  However, such accolades are merely adjunct to having fun racing, so I fully expected to enjoy myself.  The San Antonio venue at Texas Research Park is a great place to race.
     Saturday morning was the 10km time trial, necessitating leaving Round Rock at 5:30am.  I encountered a little mist and drizzle, but it was supposed to dissipate as the sun rose.  I had on tights and rain jacket as I warmed up, and my glasses fogged over after several minutes, but at least the road was dry and allowed taking the corners at speed.  As the start time approached I divested myself of extraneous clothing and made final preparations.  The course is one full loop and then half way around to turn around to the finish.  This year we had chip-timing.
     I felt good, breathing and heart-rate within normal racing range.  The back-side hill didn't give as much pain as usual, and I finished with a good spurt.  My Texas competitor, whom I had never beaten before, didn't fare as well and came out ten seconds slower.  So, my first race garnered a silver medal.  First place went to a visitor from Missouri.  I could take consolation in being the fastest Texan, but that still doesn't make me champion.  Oh, well.
     Sunday morning began with the 5km time trial, followed an hour later with the 40km road race.  Once again Missouri came in first, and I came in third.  My Texas competitor felt much better on Sunday and came in about ten seconds faster.  In both time trials, my time put me 13th fastest overall, out of 38.  I was quicker than seven of the younger riders.
     The 40km road race was mostly just for endurance training.  It is ten loops of serious racing, and I was hoping to hang in for six or seven loops.  Sometimes I'll do a little leading and put on a burst of speed to the front, but not today.  This time I followed, appreciating the draft.  On the sixth loop I dropped back a bit on the back-side hill, but was able to fight back on the downhill.  On the seventh loop, the younger group, which had started two minutes behind us, caught up and we tagged along with them.  Curiously, they took the back-side hill much slower than our group had been doing, thus I hung on until the next time up, when they accelerated and dropped three of us.  We formed our own little group for the next two loops, and more or less cruised into the finish.  With 200 yards to go, they jumped, and I didn't, thus my sixth place finish.  Stats: 1hour, 16 minutes, 34 seconds, averaging 19.6 mph for 25 miles.  My time was faster than 14 younger riders.  Another fun day in the saddle.