Monday, November 30, 2009

"Training for next season started yesterday."

I took an involuntary week off after Iceman due to illness. I took the next week off, excluding an easy couple of loops at IRLA to recover from a long season of training. I took a third week off (Thanksgiving week) due to pure laziness. As I usually do while indulging in adult beverages with the guys, I shot my mouth off to a couple of fellow team members last week that I would put my mind to it, figure out a plan for preparing for next year and start Monday (today). I like talking trash. Not only is it fun and a true male bonding experience but, it's probably the best motivation out there. Well, Monday am came and the alarm went off at 5:00am (Spin Class). It was quickly silenced with a slap of the snooze bar and reset for the standard 6:30am wake up for work. Luckily, I was able to escape work at a decent hour, throw on the running shoes and head out to put in 45 minutes before it was time to take the lil'man to swim class. 44 minute and 2 seconds. That's what it took to finish my normal 6.5 mile loop. I made it about 1 minute and 30 seconds before my lungs started to burn, about 5 min before my right achilles started aching, another 15 min before my left knee/IT band started to hurt and limped home the last 12 min with my right knee/IT band pretty much locked up. Given my math is not the best but, that's about 42 minutes and 30 seconds of pure pain. Running is sure tough after taking the better part of a month off. I don't have words to explain the value of stretching once you pass the 30 year mark.

So the plan is pretty simple. Target 45-60 minutes, 5-7 days a week of cardio. Rotating between running, spin class, fluid trainer and rollers. Minimum of 3 hard days a week (running or spin class) and easy/medium days for the rest (fluid trainer or rollers). Why no marathon rides outdoors or on the trainer? Cause that's just plain nuts and the season don't start till April. Not to mention, I am a simply a wimp when the temp drops below 40 degrees. After a steady month, I'll throw in some sprint drills (lunges, bounds, skips) and possibly some strength training (push ups, sit ups, weights, etc.). You say lunges are for sissies? Stop by my house and we'll do 50 my way. You'll barely walk the next day. I'll bet you a case of beer on that.
That's the plan. It's nothing special or scientific. I've trained with Olympians and have seen what it takes, it doesn't need to be. It's about building/maintaining a solid base in the off season. Aerobic fitness & strength conditioning is key. I'll start considering some longer rides/runs and more anaerobic training as the season nears. Probably about a month out. Before the weather breaks and the Michigan outdoor riding season begins.
Why am I writing this? Cause it's part trash talking, I hope part informational and with hope, it's a little inspirational. The bottom line is that I didn't meet my goals this year and this is what it's going to take to meet them for next year. No reason to wait. "Training for next season started yesterday." Mine started today. ;)

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman - Jon Krakauer - Hardcover (ISBN 9780385522267)

Training is hard; and when you're doing it right it is gut-wrenching hard. The Pat Tillman story is a story about training as not just a means to an end; training is the end.

Ever since I heard the story that he had walked away from millions in the NFL to enlist in the US Army, I was fascinated by his story. I would have to think that many of us were caught up in post-9/11 patriotism. I thought Tillman's decision was the prime example. Boy, was I wrong. His story is so much more enthralling and important than that. This book details his intelligence, his commitment to nature (and the solitude of hiking) and his steadfast commitment to honoring his obligations.

I turned away from the Tillman story when rumors were surfacing about the cover-up regarding his death in Afghanistan. I was disgusted and the subject made me wish I had never heard of him, made me ashamed of the US Army, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their cohorts.

When this book came out, I was finally able to open up to the story again. It is a great read-- thought-provoking, deeply moving and adventurous. Tillman would have been a great person to know. His ability to see beyond the moment and understand that he would be training all his life was best summed up in this exchange: when Bruce Snyder, Tillman's football coach at Arizona State, told him he planned to red-shirt him as was done with most freshman-- extending his eligibility and adding 1 year to his college stay, Tillman replied: you can do whatever you want with me, Coach, but in 4 years I'm gone. I've got things to do with my life.

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman - Jon Krakauer - Hardcover (ISBN 9780385522267) - Buy Books, Music and Movies at Borders

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My trip to the Bloomer Velodrome

A few weeks back I went up to Bloomer to watch a Cross race. I had never been to Bloomer but had heard all about the Velodrome in the park and had always wanted to try it so I took two bikes. I was only there to spectate the CX race so I wanted to ride the trail and the track. I brought my fixey inside the car and my mtb on the rack. Once there I wanted to ask permission if needed so I went right to the track. There was one guy there on his track bike talking to a few people. I waited for a break in the conversation and asked, "Can I ride the track?". The guy said "I don't have any extra bikes.". I replied, "I have mine in the car.". He said, "Is it a fixed gear?", to which I said yes. I think he was trying to throw me some obstacles but I had come a long way and was ready. Then he said, "I'll need to to sign a waiver.". I said "No problem.". So I went with Jim and Matt and we rode the trail for about an hour.

Once back at the track I met Bruce Carleson the coach and director of the Velodrome. He turned out to be real cool and gave me some good pointers on the techniques and etticette of track riding. All of which I was ignorant. He gave me some advice before attacking the track and made me run some drills for him to judge the control I had on the bike. He pointed out the importance of a few warm up laps then also the cool down laps. I did a few laps on my own then we did some together while he was pointing out the needed adjustments in my posture and body positioning. We traded positions in the paceline which takes some special technique.

All in all it was a great experience that I have put off for a long time. I do not think I am ready to pursue racing in that genre of cycling. Its fun but it would take some serious concentration to avoid insanity after doing so many laps. I love the constant change of scenery in the woods and on the open road. As my coach Bruce would tell me; "Your a masher!". I guess mashing comes more with trail riding then track racing.

Matt's most recent video is more of the cross race but features some scenes from the track at the end. Enjoy!


Friday, November 20, 2009

What a year...

It's been a h*ll of a first season of racing for me. Cycling has for the most part, filled the large void in my life that running once filled. While I admit, I am not nearly as competitive or as gifted of a cyclist as I was once a runner, I am sure having a ton of fun. Given it's nearly Thanksgiving, I guess it's seems fitting that I say that I am thankful for finding the great group of individuals that make up the team. The team's camaraderie in, at and outside of races is second to none and I’ve been happy pad my Facebook friends list with many of the folks on the team.

Given my season last year consisted of only one and my first race, “The Iceman.” My only personal goals for the season were for the Iceman this year. Sad to say, I came close but, didn’t obtain either of them. While most of the people that know me and how much I’ve was riding during the season may not agree, it all came down to lack of conditioning. I simply didn’t have what I needed in the tank in the latter part of the race. Anita’s Hill emptied it and there wasn’t enough in the reserve. Not exactly the way I wanted to put an end to the season but, pretty positive for a guy that couldn’t seem to finish a race this year without flipping head first over his handlebars at least once and/or dropping his chain a few times.

While I am hoping to squeeze in a few rides before winter is upon us, my sights are turning to the off season. Like last year, I hope to start a regimen of roller riding, running and spin class. I am fairly certain that if I would have kept up the regimen I started last off season and simply replaced the roller riding, with morning rides on Hines, I would have had what it took to turn the time I was hoping for at Iceman this year. So it’s time to stop typing and get doing. As my high school track coach used to say “Training for next season started yesterday.”

Can't wait until next season,

Just CallMe Wheeler

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Iceman 2009

I made the journey to the 2009 Iceman Cometh in Travers City, MI on November 7th. This was my fourth time racing this event. This was also my first time racing this event in the Expert Category. We headed to the Start line in Kalaska where the weather was chilly at about 42 degrees. I made the mistake of overdressing for this race. I had to make an unscheduled pit-stop at Williamsburg Rd to take off my leg warmers as I was overheating and they were the easies items to remove. I continued on down the trail playing cat and mouse with my teammate Bryan who was also racing in the same category as me. We hit the Vasa where the hills continued to get harder and harder. I was able to stay on the bike and make it up all the hills and find my way to Timber Ridge where the finish line was. I made it to the line in 2:12:21. I was very pleased to finish 55 out of 70 in my first expert race at the Iceman. Last year I finish 2:09:55 which was a little better, but with the added distance for 2009 it was about the same pace. I will be looking forward to a little break in the coming winter months and start my training for the 2010 race season.

2009 Iceman Cometh Results

Our team had 22 riders make the journey to Traverese City , MI for the 2009 Iceman Cometh. Of those 22 riders, 21 made it to the finish line. Joe Reddy had a mechanical issue causing him to turn off at the half way point at Williamsburgh Rd. It was a great event and we look forward to next years race. Great job everyone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Iceman 2009 - Ride Post

The Iceman 2009 Race was a blast. There were over 4,000 racers all converged on downtown Kalkaska last Saturday.

This was an interesting year for me from a training standpoint. Last year's Iceman was my first race ever. This year I had a full season of racing under my belt. I think last year I was in better shape and had trained harder for Iceman. This year my racing performance peaked in July and then life got kind of busy and riding took a second chair for the balance of the summer. It felt a bit like "show up and ride" this year.

Last year was 2:07 vs. 2:09 this year. The 2009 course was 1 mile longer than 2008 so I figure roughly the same time as last year. The course was really fast this year and I felt the 2x1 gear ratio cost me time on the flats but am not sure a taller gear would have netted a faster time as the hills would have been really tough. I think next year a carbon frame 1x3 would be the fast ticket. I was in wave 10 and had many of my single speed younger friends in wave 8 just ahead. Many friends were in various waves all over the entry field.

At around the 3 mile mark the rider immediately in front of me wiped out in a major sand pit and I promptly went over the bars on top of him. No damage and we were back on the course quickly. The rest of the way was fairly uneventful with a bit of a challenge on the nutrition side. I used honey this year and the consistency made it a bit hard to get out of the flask quickly. The finish this year had many more vendors and activity than last year including local food vendors. We stayed and watched the pro's finish. The promoters had a large digital leader board and that was fun to see the names of teammates pop up.

It was a great year of racing for Team Precision MTB, thanks to Brian and Jimmy for everything this year. Jeff hosted a killer party in a one room school house just blocks from the finish with killer homemade Chili and Chicken Noodle soup, thanks Jeff & family.

I can't wait for next season and the winter rides that are soon to come.

Garmin GPS Race Data

Picasa Photo Gallery

Dave YTD Riding Summary

I ran a quick report off the garmin connect website to check miles for the year. This is the first year I've had enough data to gather how many I'd logged. and this is the first time I have added them all up. Didn't realize the software had a report feature so it was quite easy. I've heard many team mates and friends quoting miles recently and had no idae what I'd actually done. So below is the report. There was one BTT ride that said 214 miles, they are long sometimes but not that long so I deleted that one and re-ran the report.

On a side note - indoor training season is started, today was day 2 of riding the rollers in the am, there is an art to it. I have a fixed gear on the tri-cross flip flop hub. I hope to get good enough by the end of the winter to ride the fixie on the rollers.

I'd love to see more than just me posting to this blog come on BERC, BTT, and PrecisionMTB guys and Gal get on the ball and post up your Iceman & 2009 riding summaries! If you do not have author rights to this blog but would like them shoot me an email, for those that already have the permissions lets get posting!!!

Progress Summary Report for dfsmith2
2009 YTD Riding Summary as of 11/10/09
Count: 121 Activities
Distance: 2,479.33 mi
Time: 205:40:01 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 138,382 ft
Avg Speed: 12.1 mph
Avg HR: 124 bpm
Avg Run Cadence: --
Avg Bike Cadence: 67 rpm
Calories: 177,347 C

Iceman 2009

I hate it; I love it; I hate it; I love it. Alright, I am a bit ambivalent on the Iceman Cometh Challenge. I hated the idea of it at first. 4000 people on one trail left me wondering what kind of abomination we had wrought. The thought of the race when I thought it was 3000 people back at the time of signing up in February was enough to make me reluctant. NOW 4000???

Well, my theory going into the season was this: train like I'm gonna race and if I do well, great. If not, at least enjoy the fitness level. Then I joined the race team and I was committed to racing. So, I figured I would apply that to Iceman. I made the commitment so I might as well go for it.

Prior to the race I started reading about all the logjams that could occur on the trail and I figured: screw it!! Go out and race and be ready to deal with everyone else that might get in my way. If things went badly, just treat it like a 27 mile weekend ride; keep the cranks going and look for the beer at the end. What's not to like?

The start was one of the best I experienced in terms of anxiety level. No teammates in my wave or my class but I started in the same wave as a couple of guys I ride with frequently: Jim Senska and Jeremy Hansen. This helped since familiar faces in a wave of humanity always help settle me down.

My ride was pretty uneventful-- no major crashes, no discourteous riders, just good fun.
Well, uneventful until the cramps set in about 20 miles into it. I was able to manage them so that I did not lock up the quads, so that was a blessing. This was the first race I used electrolyte supplements to manage my electrolytes. I was a bit conservative in using them and I think I would have been fine if I had followed the exact directions. The directions indicate that you should take them every 45 minutes of hard exercise. I took some right before the start, but then abstained until about 90 minutes into the race when I started to feel the cramps come on. My mistake, but I felt better about having slight cramp issues than I did about really upping my usage on this supplement.

During the race, Jeremy and I rode together. About 5 miles in, I pulled away from Jeremy and was pretty much riding by myself-- no one else was around to ride tempo with me. Jeremy eventually caught up to me at about mile 15. He was stronger at that point and I tried to latch on to the back of his wheel. I stayed with him for about a half a mile, but no dice. He had a great tempo and I was struggling. We talked for awhile, but I eventually let him go.

One funny event: me and a number of singlespeeders were walking up a hill (don't ask me which one; I was in the pain cave and they all looked the same to me). I was walking along and a guy in my class was off his bike and running up the hill, passing me. I mocked disapproval, telling him it was cheating to pass while walking. He replied, "I'm not walking." Touche. He was running and he went right by me. Rats!! But it was worth the laugh.

Also worth a grin was the aid station dude handing out bananas dressed as a banana.

Coming to the finish was fun. I passed a guy in my class with about 500 meters to go. The crowd was HUGE. It really took me by surprise. I was dazed and confused when I got off the bike. I really felt out of it. Luckily, I ran into a teammate, Jeff Jager. He was nice enough to buy me a water (thanks, Jeff).

All in all, it was a great weekend. Seeing all the teammates and other friends and familiar riders was a blast. Jeff Carek threw a nice party afterward with good beer and awesome chili.

The final verdict: I like Iceman. If for no other reason, I liked it because it is a great measuring stick. Looking at the race results, one can measure oneself against some of the best racers in the country. The prospect of doing the course x minutes faster next time would place me right there in my class and only y minutes behind the pros. That'll motivate me to spend more time on the trainer this winter.

Gotta go; I gotta go train.

John "Do you have the keys to unlock this quad?" Gonway


It is official. PrecisionMTB now has a blog.