maanantai 28. maaliskuuta 2011

The Big Ones

The big spring races are coming with Tour of Flanders or Ronde van Vlaanderen really opening the game. Blogs are blogging and tv is televising about this one and about the next couple of weeks of spring classics. Every self respecting blogger must create new expressions by mixing their respective native languages with dutch. It's big amongst the wannabe tough men of the sport of cycling and frickin' huge in Belgium. There are the talk shows on every night with big name favorites and local hopefuls. Newspaper pages are covered with speculation and interviews, and the crazy cycling fans stalk the stars in rain or shine.

The strong guys are Cancellara, Boonen and Gilbert, with Goss, Flecha, O'Grady and Langeveld as the outside favorites on my list. The weather may play a role, but I think rain would just widen the gap between the strongest and the rest. At the moment Cancellara seems strongest, but I would not count out the others. Lepperd Trek is not that strong team, but O'Grady may turn into a super domestique...or get away from the favorites looking at each other.

It will be a 4,5-5 hour show on Sunday and the biggest question on people's lips is, "where to find a stream that works?". I won't tell you even if I find one, because I don't want you there messing up my stream.

I personally really like riding in Belgium and don't mind the cobbles. Racing is lots of fun if you're in good form, and in my opinion, you haven't really experienced road racing if you haven't raced in Belgium.

lauantai 26. maaliskuuta 2011

Spring is Still Just Around the Corner

I'm still anxiously waiting for above freezing temperatures to make it to Canadian mid-west. It did look good for a while, but right now we're sitting at -12. Of course the flood is coming too and this means that many roads will be underwater, once the weather actually warms up enough to allow water to stay in liquid form. This whole weather thing is getting to me.

But it's that time of the month that normally I would start ramping up volume as I would start riding outside. My approach is reverse compared to the traditional system where you do more miles in the winter, mostly at lower intensities. I do mostly tempo/sweet spot/threshold in the winter and add the volume once I can ride outside on my road bike. This is because I need more time working on my tempo/threshold than getting myself used to spending time on the bike. I've found out that two or three 4-5 h rides make quite a big impact on my ability to do longer races, but the returns of these rides diminish fast and doing more of these rides seems to not help me much. Once the weather gets nicer and evenings lighter I add volume. By volume I mean that I do 3-4 x 20' instead of the trainer drill of 2 x 20' or 90' tempo instead of 60' tempo and so on.

Sure all this adds the time at "endurance" intensities as well and just getting out of city takes 20 minutes or so. Don't get me wrong, there are no +15 hour weeks for me anymore, 12 hours is a huge week. Would be cool to run an experiment and see what racking bigger hours would do now, but with a job and a family, I just don't have the time to average 15 hours over the winter. And quite frankly, 3 hours XC ski in -25 sucks so bad that I would probably quit the experiment after a week.

And another crazy idea I had the other day. Maybe I will take some coaching classes and look into that area and see if someone wants my training programs. The obstacle seems to be that the competition basic course isn't offered that often. Or maybe I would need to take community initiation course to get started, and that would suck. The new NCCP system seems to be even more warm and fuzzy than before. You know...they all need to feel like winners. It's all good, but I'm more interested in competitive side of things and trying to train to become stronger/faster rider.

But now I need to get back to my morning routines of watching spring classics on my TV. You would think that on this day and age, there would be a reliable pay service that you could watch these races on. Cycling TV I hear someone shout? Yeah right, they don't even cover these races and after experiencing their unacceptable service couple of years ago, they really need to convince me that they are worth my money. Luckily I can get this race, probably in HD, later today.

To lighten up the tone and wrap this post up. I feel much better about my uni-brow now. Shave the uni-brow! I have also seen better choices of business name. No I don't mean the bearing company FAG.

Thanks for cycling inquisition for pointing me to this.

perjantai 11. maaliskuuta 2011

Spring is Coming and New Bike Stuff

Spring is almost here, or at least just 2-3 blizzards of biblical proportions away. So only couple of short weeks of poor glide and we'll hit 2011/2012 winter. What this means for all us bike dorks is that you really need to get all the gear ready for non-snow season. I've been working hard to spec the new whip for the summer and I think I have everything sorted out. I'm not too sure about the geometry, but it should be OK. Below is the photo of the bike with stock factory spec.

Fully spec'd this whip will have a bell and a basket.

It's surprisingly difficult to find an aesthetically pleasing little kids bike and Specialized doesn't bring this bike to Canada. In words of one LBS "who wants to buy a 200 dollar kids bike?" Well I do, because I'm a tool and I'm in progress of spoiling our little lady. You know that you should start teaching your kid to ride a bike preferably before they can talk so that they can't really express their opinion in the torture your putting them through.

Other than this. Bit of a training break threw a wrench in my finely tuned training machine. This was probably for the best because the walls and ceiling start closing in on you in March after four months of indoor training. It's not that I wouldn't run into some sort of obstacles in February-March as the spring just can't come fast enough, so I don't worry too much about this. And as a training tip, if you miss a week or two or even three of your normal training, you'll probably get this lost time back within couple of weeks after resuming more regular training.

I changed to a new team/club for this year too. I'll be riding with Lifesport, the most polish cycling club in Winnipeg. Daniel also moved over to Lifesport so it will be small team there. Plan is to travel to Minneapolis and/or Wisconsin with these guys to do some weekend racing this year. We'll see what happens with my plans this year. Typically most of my cycling plans get revamped big time during the season and I end up not racing when I'm in some sort of shape. I think I'll skip the Bikes on Broadway because that race is really just an ITT. There's better races in Wisconsin that same weekend and probably in much nicer weather...and I can camouflage this trip to look like IKEA shopping trip ;)