Friday, August 19, 2011

I need a map

I started the week off well with a 2hr steady road ride on Monday to help the legs recover and keep them ready. I headed out again Tuesday for another 2hrs to get a couple sets of Tabata intervals done and a race pace interval. I finished my ride out at Kelso to watch Dan and Manda race. Dan crushed it, went balls out and was a lot faster then the previous weeks due to all his hard training over the last bit. Manda held her own pretty well and had a solid ride. I stayed away from racing because I still wasn't fully recovered from Saturday and 50mins at race pace would've burried me in a hole, so the Tabata's put the hurt on my lungs but not so much my legs. Wednesday I was at the gym after work and spun the legs out for 30mins and then did a good core workout. I felt pretty good during the workout and got in a solid sauna stretch afterward. Yesterday I had an easy 1.5 hour ride on the mtb so I decided to head to Hilton Falls just next door to Kelso. I figured since it's so flat it will give my legs a break from the hills at Kelso and the ton of rocks at HF will help me work on my tech skills. It started out as a great idea and I was having an awsome fun ride until I got lost. Here's the problem, Kelso I know inside out as its a prretty basic trail system. Most of the trails at Kelso are marked and you are either on top of the escarpment or below it. The are not really any trails that connect other trails together that arn't marked. At HF the Halton Regional Forest (The Agreement Forest) is connected to it and all of those trails are not marked. There is no big escarpment either to use as a land mark, and instead of being a square shape, it is rectangular with a North side that goes out and a far West side. Needless to say it's a freakin maze. I had planned to stay along the double track and ride only Hilton Falls' single track that is marked. Because there are so many side trails and intersections that aren't marked I ended up going off the main single track and ended up in the Agreement Forest. I managed to miss every storm cloud that was dropping buckets of rain and somehow lost my way back to my car - I definitely didn't find my way back to my car as I had no idea where I was. In the end great ride, and great place to work on your tech skills. My plan is to ride there on easy days and eventually learn the trails as best I can and my tech skills should improve quite a bit.

Today will be a brutally tough ride after work, a bunch of race simulation intervals, pyramid intervals, and not a whole lot of rest in between. I feel really good today as my week of rest and solid sleep/nutrition is starting to work. After my ride this evening I'll just be taking it easy, stretch and roll the legs and the rest of the weekend will be spent doing easy spins. Sunday I'll be at Kelso with Mark for a short easy ride and sometime this weekend I'll be going to trade in my old snow board for some xc skiis - should make training this winter a lot more exciting.

All for now.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Provincial's Pre ride

This weekend has a ton of races going on with the East Coast Open and the mtb Marathon in Mansfield and of course the pre ride up at Highlands Nordic. I chose to keep it relaxed and save some money and stress and went out to Highlands. Got there nice and early after a way too short of a sleep. I'll thank my car for that one - never decide to work on drum brakes at 6 in the evening, it will have you up till' 12. Had a planned 6 laps to do, 2 recon, 1 tempo to test my lines, 1 1st lap pace (about top end of z4), and 2 laps at an easy tempo. My first reaction of the course was wow this is awsome - which surprised me as I normally like wide open courses like Kelso and not one with a bunch of tight twisty single track and limited double track. I still loved it though. I actually found that I rode smoother when I started pushing the pace. A lot of the single track you can pump and really throw the bike around in corners since the trails were damp but not wet. The only potential problem that I see with this track is the lack of passing opportunities. To pass you're going to have to pin it one of the steep double track climbs. I think that is why I'm looking forward to this one, you are either climbing or descending, it's sort of like Mansfield meets Woodnewton or Hardwood. The climbs are pretty steep and not super long, this is usually one of my strengths later in the race which should help me out. As for the tight twisty, rocky, rooty course I was feeling confident and comfortable with it throught the 6 laps so I don't think that it will be too much of a negative for me during the race.

I have to look over the bike tomorrow as the shifting was a little off. It ran fine but it was making a little extra noise in the rear and hopping off the big ring once and a while. It was most likely from the rock garden at Kelso when my rear triangle smacked the rock after my rear wheel got bounced.

Tomorrow will be an easy day with a ton of relaxing. I'll be headin out on the road for an easy spin for an hour and then off to the gym with Manda for a core workout. This should leave me more then rested for Tuesday's race. The car is pretty much fixed so I won't have to stress too much over that. Huge thanks to my dad who has basically put his last couple Friday's down the drain to help me, without his help I wouldn't have a car to drive right now.

Hope the rain holds off for tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kelso Ocup 6 Race Report

This past Sunday was the second last Ocup of the season at Kelso Conservation in Milton. I had spent enough time riding the course to be super comfortable with it and felt pretty good about it early in the week. I spent the majority of the week doin very short rides and getting as much rest as possible with a lot of stretching/rolling. I went up Saturday for another pre ride which had the official course marked (note to self check out the pre ride times first, the trail running series was on and I ended up having to go back later). I was a little surprised with. Some of the changes with the course but after doubling back a couple times I had all of my lines figured out with no problems. I was also surprised with how the course was now just over 10km a lap, I knew this was because Kelso is super fast but it still semmed fairly long. I was happy with the extra rock gardens thrown into the race and the extra climbing as it made the course that much better.

I woke up on Sunday feeling extremely rested and recovered and the legs felt really fresh, probably the best they've felt in a really long time. I took a look outside and saw how hard it was raining and started thinking about the course. I knew that the trails were super hard packed and wouldn't absorb much water so the surface would be full of water and really slick. I knew the rock gardebs well enough to be able to hit them with speed in the rain but I wasn't sure how slick they would be either.

I had a great breakfast and drank a lot heading out to Kelso. Got to Kelso to hear that it just stopped pouring rain and to see all the racers that were full of mud from the earlier races. It started to get sunny as I signed up and got everything set up. With the humidity and all it got super hot really fast. I started warming up and it was now really sunny and turning into a nice day.

I got to the start pen and was sitting around the back row which was fine since my plan was to start off slower and slowy ramp it up over the 5 laps. I started up the climb at a decent pace and headed into the single track around 28th or so place, quite a bit further back from where I wanted to be but I knew it was a long race and everyone always kills it up the first climb and then needs to spin it out at the top. I was feeling good along the single track and through the rock gardens. It was really slick and in one rock garden my rear tire got popped up and out to the right and hit a rock pretty good. It didn't slow me down at all but I thought I'd taken out my rear derailleur, but kept on rolling and everything was still working fine. It was super hot and humid and I'd finish my full bottle by the end of the lap. I passed a few riders each lap and kept everything super smooth and consistent. By the start of the 4th lap I could start feeling cramps coming on in my lower quads, but they were mild and were manageable. I was in no mans land on the 4th lap as I was slowly catching a group of 3 ahead of me and had made a big gap on anyone behind me. Mark was giving me my splits to the 15th placed guy every lap so I knew I was on pace to catch them on the last lap. At the start of the 5th lap I caught the group of 3 on some double track and passed them. I made a solid 35 second or so gap on them and could see Tim, the 12th ace rider around every corner and was gaining on him pretty quickly.

Then it all went bad, at about 46km. I got really bad chills, not the usual "o I'm a little dehydrated" type chills, these were full on I'm friggin cold and need a jacket kind of chills. I started getting really dizzy and couldn't focus on the trail I was on. My power dropped right off and I was barely able to keep on the trail. At this point I lost sight of the 12th place guy and the trio that I had passed earlier eventually caught back up and passed me. I couldn't do anything but watch them ride away, it sucked. A lot. I put it in damage control and just wanted to finish the race and get through the remaining rock gardens. They were scary, when I hit the last one after the feed zone I didn't even know where I was headed I just pointed my bike between the trees and went. I almost crashed and had to put my foot down. Eventually I crossed the line, good for 16th place. I felt like I was going to pass out, I waved off the chocolate milk in favor of my post ride recovery drink and spun around a bit. I was downing water all night and didn't feel better until about 9PM that evening.

Overall I'm extremely happy with the race. Not as much with the end results but really happy with how I rode. I paced myself smartly for the whole race, I felt I rode the technical sections super smoothly and I stuck to the race plan regardless of my placing throughout the race. If I would've avoided hitting the wall with about 5km to go it was looking like a top 12 finish. My lap times we're pretty consistent at about 26mins and change and my last one shot up to 28. If I had finished strong then I should've had that lap to under 26mins which would've been good for 12 spot. Considering that I haven't done a race in about a month and a half, I was impressed with my fitness and how it all went.

Talking to Mark afterwards we figured out why I hit the wall. I started the race lightly dehydrated, when I got to Kelso I was so worried about getting everything set up that I stopped drinking. It was hot from the time I got there so I was sweating quite a bit. I did a 25min warmup on the trainer so no wind was blowing byme and I barely even went through half my bottle. Since the race was so hot and I started it dehydrated, it only took about 4 laps until it put me in the red. In hind sight I should've drank right up until the start so that way as the race progressed I would've only been mildly dehydrated and not in the red. I've had the feeling of bonking before, where you just run out of fitness. This was definitely not it, so at least I can fix it for next time.

I'll be doing a core workout tonight, first time back at the gym in over a week so it'l be nice to get back. Thursday I'll be at Kelso for a shorter easy ride and I'll probably run through the rock gardens a bunch of times. Friday I'll be back at the gym and the to sleep early as I'll be heading up to Nordic Highlans on Saturday for the provncials course pre ride and a tough training ride. I missed the Kelso race last night as I needed another day of recovery so I just spun it out on my road bike.

All for now, I'm looking forward to these next few weeks to get some good training in for provincials.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gettin' ready for the Kelso Ocup

It's been a pretty busy last couple weeks with work widing down to its last month. As much as I enjoy working outside I think I'll need to find a different job next year, this one involves too much man labor and makes it tough to get as much recovery in as I need. Next summer I'll have graduated University anyways so hopefully I'll be started on a career by then. Last week I took mostly off as I was feeling a lot of the effects of the hard previous 3 weeks. This week after talking to Mark and Tom I've been following some strict recovery, I'm still riding but it's very limited and all my other time is spent rolling my muscles, stretching, or putting the feet up and keeping the HR down.

Tuesday's race went pretty well. I had pre ridden the Ocup course quite a bit on the weekend and found it not to flow very well. After Tuesday I realized that following just arrows and not marking tape can have that effect on a course. I met up with Chris on the weekend and we both showed eachother some solid lines. I thought I had them all dialied until he showed me one on an uphill rock garden that made it seem too easy. He'll be racing with us Elite's on Sunday and if I remember correctly I think he said it was his debut, so best of luck to him. Back to the Tuesday race. I was practicing a new strategy for Sunday and was focused on getting my lines dialed in. The new strategy courtesy of Tom and Mark is basically to start out the Ocup just below 6:16:32 PM for the first lap and then slowly ramp it up. I used to go balls out from the gun and then my last few laps would be pretty slow and I'd just barely finish, it's a rookie mistake. This works good for 5 lap races that are roughly 42km long, but not so good for 3 lap Kelso races. I was trying the new strategy out, not using it to win. It wasn't easy as I basicall had to watch riders ride away from me on the service road climb. I stayed disciplined and kept it in a lower zone. As the race went on I slowly ramped it up and by the 3rd lap I had enough to stand on all of the climbs and hammer without having any cramping or severe fatigue problems. It'll take a little while to get used to this new way of racing, but it is definitely more effective and efficient. It is something that I know will definitely help me on Sunday.

I was happy with how I rode the course, I felt much more smooth in the tech and tight twisty sections. I had some chain drop issues on a rocky run in to a steep short up hill, but I figured out how to avoid that issue in the future.

I had an easy spin today with a light sauna stretch. Tomorrow I'll be on the road bike for a short loop and one hard effort. The main focus for the rest of the week will be rest, bike prep, and sleep. I'm looking forward to Sunday, I'm not too sure how high my fitness will be for this race but it will at least give me a good idea of what I need to work on come the Provincials which is 5 weeks out.

That's all for now

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

just call me Crash

The past weekend was another tough one with a 2.5 hour ride at Kelso on Saturday and then a long 4 hour ride their again on Sunday. I did some race pace laps on Sunday, planned on doing 4 but went to start the 4th and knew it would've been a waste as my legs were done. I met Kyle up there for my last 2 hrs and we climbed the service road and cruised around the back of Kelso for a bit. I hadn't been back there for a bit so it was good times. This upcoming week is my last tough week before an easy week so I expected very little from the legs. I went easy on Monday's road ride and was feeling pretty tired after a lack of sleep from the move in. Yesterday I rode the new course for 2 hrs which was about 5 times up the service road. I kept it a light pace since I had no power in the legs.

The race in the evening went better then I thought since I figured I'd barely finish since my legs were toast after the 2 hrs before. I went to start at a good pace but got to the bottom of the service road and felt a lack of go in the legs so I let the others catch up and followed their pace. During my pre ride I was going slower and never really tested the sandy lose corners, once we were going at a fast pace I found out the hard way how lose the corners were. I hit the deck making a left and went down on the same hip I did last week, got back up and hammered and caught back on to Tyler, Alex, and Schidt's wheel. I wanted to up the pace as I knew I could on the flats but I also knew I lacked the legs to keep that pace so making a random attatck and then being caught would've been useless. On another left turn about 10mins down the trail I hit the deck again, except this time much harder. This one hurt and gave me some nasty road rash on my hip. It took a little longer but oce I got going again I caught back on. I was riding pretty sloppy the first lap but cleaned it up on the second and third. Schmidt and I were riding alone together for the last 2 laps as we pulled away from the other 2. He pull on the flats with his big wheels and I'd lead in the single track. I wasn't finding our pace too hard but I knew I didn't have the legs to break away or win in a sprint in the end, I just had no top end. On one of the last singletrack sections I didn't see a rock and caught my front wheel and threw my stem into my gut. By the time I could breath again and got rolling Schmidt was way ahead and I pulled in 2nd. I was really feeling it by the end, barely made it up the hill to the finish. I'm happy with how I did, I cleaned up my riding in the last 2 laps and was able to still have a solid ride and hang on even with being super tired.

Today I'm off to the gym and then I got to work at the gym for a bit thenit's off to go home to bed. With the move and all going on my sleep has dropped a bit in the last 2 nights, not a good thing when the training volume is high. I'm looking forward to next week to recover, I'm starting to really feel all the training now and have been getting pretty tired lately. Thursday is an easy road spin with 2 sets of Tabata intervals, Friday is just a core workout and the weekend will be tough to finish off a hard week. I'm planning on an easy 3 hr road ride on Saturday and a hard race pace intervals ride at Kelso on Sunday.

Hope this super hot/dry weather stays

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

legs are starting to finally come around

It's been quite the busy past couple of weeks for me. I know I said I'd blog more but that won't happen until after this weekend since training and sleep take priority over the blog. Amanda and I are moving into an apartment on Sunday that's another reason I've been so busy. It's actually a coach house which is above a garage. It's small, cozy and has a ton of sunlight which I seem to be very mood sensitive to. It's located in upper Oakville right near Trafalger and Dundas. Basically it's in between my school and Manda's school and super close to rural roads for some good road rides. Looking forward to it once the move in is all set.

Last week I had some solid traing rides. Thursday was some Tabata intervals and my lunch stayed down so it was all good. On the weekend I was on the mtb for 3 hrs Saturday at Kelso doing some z2/z3 stuff, I ended up getting a little carried away and most of the ride ended up being z3. Manda met me at Kelso after my ride and we went down to the lake for a swim and a picnic. I think I scared away some small children with my freakish looking tan lines.
Headed out to Kelso again on Sunday and even after a solid 8.5hr sleep I was still yawning and the legs weren't too happy from the day before. After a couple warm up laps the body started acting normal and I got to work on some hard race pace laps. I didn't bring enough to eat and ended up bonking myself off the bike. I ended up finishing just shy of my 3.5hr ride as I got so hungry and the upper body was so weak I couldn't keep myself on the bike. Headed home got some food in me and put the legs up and started feeling better.
Monday I decided to listen to my tired body and kept the ride in z2 and barely did any z3. I felt ok but mylegs were toast. I wasn't sure how I'd feel for the race Tuesday, especially when I rode around for 2hrs before the race and the legs were pretty sore. I again kept my ride relatively easy to save what little I had for the race. This time I forced myself to drink more water and I had a lot more during the day at work. I had a couple tblsp's of raw honey right before the race and drank eLoad during the race instead of water. This definatelyy helped as I didn't get the "chills" until the last lap near the end. I lined up for the start without any blood on my legs - seemes to be the norm for me everytime I'm on the mtb. Of course everyone said something to jinx it and sure enough after going through the lap gate after my first lap, I was bombing down the grassy decent and cut left so I could hit the gravel straight on and I cut it too sharp and slid out. Landed my left hip on a rock and cut the shorts, had to laugh at myself a little as I knew a crash free Tuesday sounded too good to be true. Got back on the bike and gav'r until the finish and ended up pullin for first.

I definitely wasn't 100% especially after the tough training on the weekend, but what I was pleased with was the feeling I had during the race. I actually had something at the top of the climb and was able to stand and hammer. On all the flats and around each corner I'd hammer and wasn't feeling so "dead" like the whole season so far. I actually had a top end. My HR was still a few beats below my normal and my legs were still holding me back from goin 100%, but that was expected from how tired they were. It will be inyeresting to see my lap times when I'm 100% if I ever do a Tuesday night race fully rested.

I decided to not race the Road Provincials and just train on the mtb up until the next O cup which is at Kelso. I figure with some more high volume training weekends/weeks with a lot of time on the mtb, I can show up at the O cup and actually race to my full potential-something I've yet to do this year. I'm finding more and more the limits of the Rocket Ron's as well, I've been pushing them pretty hard lately on the dry trails and have found that they hold up much better then I thought. In 3 rides my bike hasn't had a single mechanical issue, new record for me let's hope I can keep this up.

Tomorrow I'll be out on the road doing an easy spin with 2 sets of Tabata intervals. I'll try and post back by the weekend, but most likely it will be after the move.

Keep the rubber side down

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm Back...

Finally back on my mtb after way to long- think it was a round 4 weeks or something. I planned to be back last Tuesday since I had all the new parts on my bike, except that my cable housing jammed itself into my shifter. It had been like that for a while but was being masked by another problem. Instead I just watched the race, and watched Amanda fly on her 2 laps, she claims it's something called a stairmaster...I say check her for EPO.

This past week had sort of been all over the place in terms of training. Since I missed a fairly important Tuesday race pace effort and my planned longer/easy rides ended up being shorter hard rides. This is because I headed out Thursday bright and early with Manda's family to Quebec. It was an awsome vacation and we stayed in MSA for 2 nights and then St. Sauvard for the last 2. I did a run on Friday and rode my road bike on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Since we were surrounded by mountains, I did some repeats and tough tempo like riding with efforts over all the rollers. We went down to downtown QC which was super awsome to see with all the old buildings and the euro style culture there. I got to see the U23's race as well, the Canadians crushed it and there were a bunch in the top 20.

I woke up Tuesday with tired legs and feeling a little sluggish from all the driving back home. It was a hot day and I was working outside in the sun and I wasn't being smart with my water intake. Got to Kelso to pre ride for a couple hours before the race. I wasn't too sure what to expect from the legs, I was just glad to be back on the mtb. The bike was running great (just need to re adjust the FD as the chain skipped a couple times) and I was riding really smooth considering the time off the bike. The legs, well not so much, they didn't have much in them to sustain any sort of effort. After my pre ride of the super fast flowy course I realised I had only drank 500ml of water in just under 2 hrs. Race was bout to start so it was too late to get any fluids in me.

The race I'll say was a success for me, mostly cause I finished and before the race that was my goal. I knew the legs were way too fried for a win, and the dehydration wasn't going to help. I got the shakes 1/2 way into the first lap. I figured with it being the first time back on the mtb, just finish. Well I finished and I rode much smoother then before. The start of the race was pretty normal, my legs had power I just knew they couldn't sustain any effort for very long. So as soon as we started I figured I'd move into the lead and see where the legs took me. I had a decent gap but as soon as I hit the gravel falso flat going into Fire the legs shut down and weren't putting out any more watts. The group caught back on and I started climbing Fire, I was in one gear lower then I normally climb in as a result of the legs. I cut a corner to close on a rocky/steep section and had to hop off, sorry bout that, think I sort of ruined the momentum there for a couple riders. Got back on and made it to the top. Where I normally get into the big ring and hammer and had to just sit and spin and by the time we were climbing Rockey Road I couldn't hold Ian and a Reynold Cycle's riders' wheel. Normally that would be the spot where I'd make my gap on the group, but the legs would have none of it. From that point on I just settled into a rythym of z4,z5 instead of the usual race pace z5, z6. As the race wore on a couple more riders went by me. I was riding super smooth on the tech sections but I just had no go on the flat parts and falso flats, all the areas where I normally stand and giv'r. On the last lap I got past by a younger Reynolds Cycle rider (Jr Ex I think) he asked if I wanted to work with him , but I had to decline that offer as he was goin a pretty good pace and I was just keeping my rythym. On the ride to the finish his teammate ended up coming from behind me and out sprinting me. I didn't even see him just heard a bunch of people yelling that someone was behind me, sneaky move!

I'm happy with how it all went, I expected my legs to be how they were based on the weekend and Monday's hilly ride. I also haven't raced for a few weeks and missed my Tabata intervals on Thursday so that would explain the missing top end. I'm pleased with my tech. Riding and how the bike felt and everything else. Today I'll be doing a core workout and resting the legs, tomorrow I'll head out on the road bike for a short easy ride which I'll interupt with 2 sets of Tabata intervals to open up the lungs, 1.5 sets made me yak 2 weeks ago so not too sure what 2 full sets will do to me. If you see a cyclists in yellow swerving along the roads in Milton, give 'em some space, there's a good chance he's super dizzy from lack of O2.

this weekend I'll be doing a ton of mtbing at Kelso with a focus on HR recovery. Basically going balls out up the escarpment and then at the top forcing myself to hammer in the big ring. If I train properly the next few weeks I will be in great shape for the next O cup which is at Kelso. I'm missing Buckwallow since it's so flat and technical and I'm not in great race shape since I just got back on the mtb. I should see an improvement at the next Kelso race as well after this week of training.

I had a good talk with Mark from The Vitamin Store yesterday, and we changed up a couple things for this week training block regarding my food intake etc. I'll try and post more often this week, i've been slacking a bit as I've been focused on getting 8 hrs of sleep every night and the blog had to be put off a bit. Hence why this is being typed on my BB, so my apologies for the lack of spell check.

Off to watch a bit of the tour then going to bed, I'll checl back later this week.