Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

November and no SNOW

So, We're all moved in at the new house. Most boxes are unpacked, thanks Ade, pictures are on the walls, and both cars fit in the garage. If that isn't moved in I don't know what is. Sure the walls are all builder beige, but paint will happen sooner or later. As for the bike, well the first week of base is done. A total of 8 hours of riding this past week (plus an hour in the weight room).

Three of the hours were pre-dawn rides in the basement. This year for a new adventure I bought rollers and have the trainer sitting. The first day was nerve wracking and crazy, the second I had to stop to drink, the third starting and stopping with no support and I could drink while riding. Rollers sure are different than a trainer but add some "fun" to riding inside. My goal for the winter is to ride no-hands on the rollers. Wish me luck.

And the good news is...good weather in Denver. Saturday I got in a 2 hour mountain bike ride and Sunday a 3 hour road ride. Saturday was at Green Mountain which will be the primary mountain bike spot for awhile, since snow melts quick there. It was windy as hell. I actually had to walk a few sections for fear of crashing while riding. I got in an awesome workout and felt dead tired later. A few pictures from the day...

A storm blowing in:

The view of Denver from the top of Green Mountain:

This is one of the few technical sections at Green Mountain, tough to see in this picture, but ass to wheel for 30 meters.

Sunday was a long ride to Cherry Creek. Felt tired the whole time from yesterday's mountain bike ride and cheap red wine. That's what base is about though, long hung over miles, kind of like a stage race.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween and no riding

Well, we close on our new house tomorrow, so it should be easy to remember when I bought it. Ade's birthday is Tuesday and we've got hell a work to do to move later in the week. Needless to say riding hasn't been happening. Not a big worry though I had planned these few weeks completely off to handle the house stuff and take my mind away from riding. I did buy a set of rollers for training this winter so I'll be posting on those injuries soon. Word on the street is the MSC will be a much smaller series this year. No Moab and no events by the Maverick team included. Moab not happening is a bummer. That is where I did my first mountain bike race and have been to that race every year since 1996 (except 2001). Maybe someone else will pick it up and put the race on.

The Cycle Cyndicate crew will be running all the MSC races this year so the organization should be top notch. Those guys always have their shit in line and put on good races and have great courses. COMotion is also getting ready for the season, trying to get the roster set and find sponsorship money. We're moving along with it and have some ideas on new ways to increase money. We'll see what happens over the next few weeks, but I'm hopeful we'll have a solid budget this year.

I've got to get back to packing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Man work keeps me busy

So I took a new job at the company I've worked for about a month ago. I've been at the company for almost 8 years and I'm now running the department I started in, with about 30 people who report to me. The new job is great and has been a huge learning experience, but free time is limited and the hours are long. So how does that effect my training? Not really sure, especially this time of the year where training is so reduced anyway. I've been working out according to the schedule I've put together in conjunction with my "semi" coach (I don't pay him and he doesn't provide a full schedule, more a sounding board for what I need to do).

I've been hitting the weight room a lot this fall and that seems to be keeping me in shape, hell I've actually lost the weight I gained in August when I was out of the country for work. I think the increased strength/muscle in the upper body is the key benefit at this point. I've also been running a few times a week, slow but steady.

As for riding I fit in what I can. I went for a road ride last Saturday and felt good. Road home from Boulder, including a lap on the famed Morgual Bismark course from the old Coors Classic. Hell of a lot of traffic in some places but a good rolling ride. Sunday I rode Apex, which tends to be my go-to mountain bike ride. Felt good and didn't kill myself on the technical sections. I brought along a camera to take pictures, but alas forgot to check the batteries until I got there. As you can see from the site the camera didn't work. I'm planning to hit a mountain bike ride again this weekend and will try to get pictures then. After this week I'll take 2 weeks completely off the bike. The break is mostly for my mental well being as it seems that a couple weeks off at some point in the fall is needed. I'm scheduling this break to coincide with our moving into the new house so I'll be pretty busy without riding.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Snow and cross training

Well Denver got its first snow storm the past few days. Sunday started out cool, then turned to rain, then by evening snow. It snowed well into Monday with 6-10 inches depending on location. I managed to sneak in a ride on Sunday morning while the weather was still good. Didn't even get rained on, but I guess that's what happens when you leave the house when it is still dark. I was home after a two hour spin by 8:30 and went to breakfast with Ade, Seamus and my mother-in-law who was in town for the weekend. After that shopping and home to work for a few hours.

Monday was weight lifting, which as a cyclist is a humbling venture on any given day. The building I work in has a weight room that employees can use for free. This is great as I can sneak in weights during lunch, but clearly there are drawbacks. The main drawback being there are always a few people from the office who can see me struggle to bench 95 pounds. I can say that the three weeks of lifting I've done are paying dividends, I can actually almost see muscles in my arms, but alas I'll never be stronger than most people in the gym.

Tuesday was a long (for me) run, 40 minutes in cold weather. It wouldn't have been so bad except I forgot tights and a long sleeve shirt so it was running in summer gear with snow melting on the ground. The running kills me since I do it so little, but it is nice to mentally be off the bike for a short period and still feel like I'm getting a workout.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rainy Sunday and My car

I travel to most races in our second car, a 1993 Nissan Sentra. The car is nothing fancy, starting to rust in a few places, no radio, and a short in the electrical system that causes the door open light to stay on all the time. But the car gets great gas mileage and has never left me in need on the open road. Yesterday, as I was running errands around town the car hit 100,000 miles. Something about that number made me feel good. I know I've got at least one more season of driving to races in that car. I also know that on every trip I'll make it to the race and back with no problems.

My wife can keep driving the Subaru, which is clearly safer with Seamus in it, until we get a new car, then I'll retire the Sentra but she'll always be there with me. After driving thousands of miles throughout the west without a radio I've had more time to think and be free in that car than any where else in the world.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Getting ready for the season

Okay, so the 2006 season is still months away, and in reality I'm not really focusing on training right now, but I'm starting to think about the season ahead, along with everything else that goes on in life. I've been racing mountain bikes in Colorado for a long time, racing on the road here before that. Unfortunately the cold hard reality is I'm never going to be great. I don't have the genes, nerves, time or skills to be a great racer. I ride and race because it is hell a fun and a great challenge. Beyond lack of physical skills is the fact that I work as a "professional" in the financial industry, have a wife and four year old son (Seamus) that take time and energy too. Racing is for fun, but the priority (even if my wife would debate it at times) is on my family.

For the 2006 season I'll be racing in Sport 35-39 for the first time. The last two seasons I finished 5th and 6th (2004/2005) in the Mountain States Cup ( in Sport 30-34. Even though 2004 had a better overall placing I think I rode better in 2005. I was stronger and could actually stay with the leaders during races. The 2005 season had a stronger field in my category, with a teammate of mine Brian Costello dominating the early part of the year (six wins in seven races) before he moved up to Expert and started placing in the top 5. The winner of the series in 2004 raced Expert in 2005 and never was close to Brian in the races later in the summer, so I take 2005 to have been a harder year to do well.

Beyond the racing my wife and I are building a new house, which is why my focus now is not on training. We'll be moving in to the new place in early November and then I'll figure out when to start to train again. Until then I'm focusing on making sure the house gets done, and we get all the new stuff Adrienne (my wife) wants for the place. I'm also helping the team I race for ( get our sponsors lined up for 2006 which takes time away from riding. We won our third successive team title in the MSC in 2005 (my first year with the team), so we should have some good luck keeping (and getting more) cash sponsors. It is always a huge effort though to contact people and get them to give up money to sponsor an amateur mountain bike team, but we try.

I did make it out on the mountain bike this morning. Put in about 2 hours at White Ranch near Golden. The ride was good and early fall in the early morning is always a great time to ride, especially since tomorrow is suppose to be crappy weather. Given that I've only been getting in 1-2 rides per week since mid-September I felt good. Maybe all the running and weight lifting I've been doing is paying off. Over the coming months I'll cover what I'm doing (and not doing) for training and let others follow yet another cyclists journey on the web.