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Entries in cyclocross training (100)

An encapsulation of the season....

So, as I prepare for my remaining four races, I was reflecting on the season at large. The specific goals I initially set for myself were not 'met' per se, but I am still happy. Racing against some of the best racers in the country over 35 years old and making the race with them is not only an honor but a rush.

Lots changed this year in terms of how I raced and how I prepared for the season. After 10 years of 'crossing, you STILL learn things about yourself and the game. Amazing. Having Taro in my corner helped immeasurably to provide me another lens into what my strengths, but more importantly, my weaknesses are. Training "less" in terms of volume but very focused on quality training ranging between 6-10 hours a week through power metering also was new to me this year and paid dividends. Way more important than being a watt-weenie though was resting. I never rested before! I would going inexplicably hard week after week in seasons past until December where I would feel like a shell of a person. I felt totally different this year and the suffering was different. I felt really fresh at CO States as an example. Overall, I felt lighter on the bike, quicker in terms of leg speed, my running game was infinitely better with running training 3 x per week on average and I could feel exactly what I needed to tune each race as my body was saying things to me and I was taught to listen to it. All this in contrast to season's past being cross eyed each race praying I come across the line in a good place and looking forward to the last race of the season by mid November. This year I felt more in control and had motivation for more and more (generally speaking! Read some of my earlier race report rants and you may disagree).

What I was not in control of though was my shit luck! Ha! Tires, tires and more tires were my nemesis this year. Rolled Dugasts, failed never seemed to end and each race it seemed was a Ground Hog day of feeling really good and confident, pushing the pace initially, tire implosion of some variant...then play catch up the rest of the race.

My team mate Chris V captured this all on film in Gunnison and demonstrates what is a fantastic encapsulation of the shite.

The race begins with me feeling on fire. I want to hurt guys early on.

I create the split I want with a team mate. Sweet.

I start to hear noises in my rear wheel and at the end of this clip, I drop my head to see whatup.

More of the same per above. I am looking down and trying to figure out WTF is going on. I then roll RIGHT BY the pits and past my spare bike. Smart, man. Smart.

Voila. I am gone. Wheel implosion about 10 seconds before you see Karl, Chris and Ward come through the barriers.

I'm back! But who's bike am I on?

I drop of that bike and CV and Brady Kappius help me with a change to my back up Rock Lobster. The chase from last place is on.

Catch one...move on...catch another...move on. The pick off game is in effect.

And so it went like that for many races for me this season. I'm definitely not crying a river here but would love to have seen how I could have done without so much drama! Fun as hell though and the guys I get to race with every weekend are filled with za class.

I got some revenge in the Opens later that day with a good start...

And a consistent job through out the day after putting it all out playing catch up earlier in the 35 Opens....

So there we go. Wish me luck for no more drama in these last four races but rather technically clean races with rubber stuck firmly to carbon.

Thanks Chris for sending me the vids!

Thawing of my body is not possible.

Shhhhhhhiiiiiivvvvveeerrrr. I am still shivering as I type this. 12 degrees when I rolled out of my garage this AM. I do not think it is going to be possible to truly thaw out and repair all that frost bite damage. I sure as shit hope nothing bad is going on with them toes!
Today saw some true suffering. The irony it was not the legs and body suffering from 'too much work', but the elements took their toll on me.

Today was what I think is the LAST Poormans session for 2007. In 2006 and years prior, I probably went up that slog like 10 times merely as a connector/cut-off road from the high mountains down back into Boulder. In 07 and Za Plan, it became a 'tool'. I now know every single solitary nook, cranny, hitch, bend, rise and rock on that God-forsaken hill. The Sessions Taro has lined up are extremely difficult, one building on to the other, week after week. Today I struggled through all of teh prescription but was so dodgy given the ice and 10 degree weather in the shade (plus wind howling) that it was sloooow going. I couldn;t stand to get in a huge effort as the back wheel would slide out. So seated at a slow an deasy tempo was about all that could happen.

My session began with a hard tempo up Sunshine Canyon (see photo above). It's a slog of a climb used for mountain time trials in the summer. I then dumped onto the top of Poormans and had to catch my breath less from the effort, and more due to the view (see right). Sick. So cold but super clear. Note the wind blowing the snow in the distance in the picture.

I'm feeling pretty good and back down to fighting weight which I am happy about. Taro has me loaded up with the required work in my legs and lungs with some further tuning to do over the next week before the rest is enforced before Belgium.

While on Poormans and under stress during the workout, my mind wanders. I keep thinking about what it will be like...I hope my bikes make it I fit they really spit beer in your face. Granted, I'll be at some local yocal races and not a World Cup, but 'cross is 'cross over there! I get into this monotonous thought skipping while I stare at my shadow as I try and get the legs lifted, one after the other slogging up the beast.

I hear Michel in my head from a recent email thread:

Let me repeat, be ready to fight hard, expect less than your normal placing and remember a Belgian will sprint to death even for a 40th place...

I have no expectations but experience and fun. But I am not rolling over like a lamb. As cheesy as it sounds, I am going to do what I can to show that Americans can cross....or at least give a shit enough to go all the way to Belgium and throw down. Honestly, when the Japanese or Dominicans came to NYC as a kid to do exhibition baseball games, I was amped to see it. Always a step behind the American sluggers, but they seemed to 'look' like they had it. I hope that is the case in the Motherland. And I hope that the experience leads to stories which leads to more Americans going over there to crack the code on it.

Less than two weeks...

NOT your Father's Chimay

Holy crap on a poop stick. I've found it...and all this time it's existed so near the form of a dear friend who's SO PASSIONATE about making it! I can barely type as I type this. The beeer si tooo gud, and a wee bit alkeehawlik. My boy Hix gave me a Christmas present in the form of his home brewed "No Room at the Inn" Christmas style Blegian Ale. I just got around to opening it. In Hix's words:

It's a belgian christmas ale, so think affligem noel or st. bernardus noel.

Dark, caramel, a little sweetness, some spice, lots of "warming" alkyhawl. i didn't think it was going to be quite ready in time for christmas, but the one i opened last night was pretty danged tasty.

It will have a short-lived head and won't be terribly carbonated (high aklyhawl). i'm going to set aside some of it for 6+ months from now.

Verdict: ALL TRUE.

This is a man who Rides now a Ridley X-Night and MADE THIS BEER. I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!

Thank you my friend.

(And, no, I am not operating heavy machinery whilst imbibing).

(Yes this helps my recovery you weenies.)

Stocking Stuffers

Merry Christmas! What a picturesque day here in The Reepoobleek. It went from 20 degrees in the AM all the way to 50 degrees yesterday. But the mercury corrected itself today to a steady 20 degrees and snowing. It made for a very Bing Crosby-esque day.

Santa came and boy did he. All the little goodies to make a thirty something year old boy smile. Timmy would be proud that he brought a new coffee maker with some of the black goodness to boot.

On the bike tip, Santa knew that I am STILL with numbness in the very tips of my big toes still after the CX States earlier this month. While getting better, he knew that I needed some legit stuff to combat the cold gremlins, and so the stocking was stuffed with all the kindness one could hope for:

New Swix gloves, woolie socks and tons of these adhesive heat packet things Troy made a recommendation to get.

I used all of this new stuff today on my run and holy crap they work. In fact, it melted the snow off my shoes! It is the real deal and I wish I had them before States! They will be packed for Belgium fo' sure.

So now, we're just chilling in a sort of post present opening haze/hangover. Incredibly fun this AM with the boys being as old as they are now. I wish you and all of yours the absolute best Christmas!

Thanks for reading.

Shark's teeth...

Mmmm. Indoor training.

Honestly 'cross fans, after yesterday's sufferfest on the Poorest man, I could not envision getting all my crap on again to brave the sub arctic temps raging here at the moment. Although the day ended up getting 'balmy' to about 34 degrees, I needed to focus today on the workout how the body is feeling....and not the weather surrounding me. I've got enough of that and will have even more in the Motherland in January. And so, I finished my 2nd to last block Rally Sport. Home to the fittest soccer moms in the country and less-than 4% body fat tri-psychos....who honestly scare the living bejesus out of me. Today required a deep simulation of a course I would normally do on the road....e.g. a Fruit Loops of the indoors. What I needed was deep sustained power with peppered with high thresholds and tempo mixed in to bridge a flat land speed work out with that of being mired in the mud....or sand. When going through the shark's-teeth like profile I created for myself today, I was envisioning the sandy beach on Mol and what I think it's gonna take to get through it, lap after lap. In my best PowerPoint, this is how I would break down what was going on:
About minute 60 I am certifiably cross eyed. I start thinking of the past 365 days this year. I start thinking that I am so blessed to do this...but will in all sincerity not see this level of focus for a long time to come. I'm not 'PRO'. I can;t believe what people who call cycling their jobs have to do day in and out...and I've mapped something like this, this year...of course beau coups % points below the average PRO requires. The family and most things in my eco-system just will not sustain it again next year. But for on. I think of how happy I am with having been able to pick a point in the distance....put an indelible 'X' on it and not waver from it. That X is Belgium for me, and nothing has been able to blow it up. Nothing could have. What I thought of in that 60th minute today is how I long for my boys to do something like this when they come of age. I could give a crap if they did it on a bike, in a pair of hiking shoes, with a paintbrush and easel...whatever. It's about the journey not the destination....and frankly the destination is sort of irrelevant. It's the journey showing you, you CAN do something if you are committed. I said as much to my wife today as she caught in a moment of hallucination at Rally.

What are you going to do next year, folks? Go to Belgium? Get more proactive about calling your mom and dad? Get involved with your kids school more? Try and upgrade from your current category? Eat better? Laugh more? Work less?

Live better.
Live fuller.
Live more creatively.
Live with blood in your veins, not vinegar.

God, the journey. Sick. Write it down/pin it up/look at it every day. It'll happen.

Seriously, what's yours going to be?

Have fun 'cross fans.

Touch my iliotibial. Touch it.

So now that I am past this CO 'cross season, I'll let a cat out of the bag (no excuses though!): I have been suffering tremendously through this crazy IT band issue since the early Fall. Crazy shooting pain in my glutes and my tibialis anterior....all on the left leg. It's so f'd up: I'll be riding along (racing I am definitely under pressure) and it's like a light switch turns on: Shooting pain in my ass cheek and in my lower leg followed by a near immediate decrease in power. I mean like only the right leg can turn it over. Eventually things come 'round again but I always have ground to make up because of it.

So last night I go over to Bliss' house to discuss some 'cross business related to a non-profit he's architecting (note: you will all be affected positively by this if we get it off the ground!!! **), and his wife Michelle, my team mate, over hears us talking (OK, me bitching) about this problem. With all the training these days it is flaring up too so it's fresh on the mind. First thing John says: "Get on the floor." He then whips out his (get your mind out of the gutters you perverted monkeys...) foam roller and shows me what to do. "MOTHER PUS BUCKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I scream as I roll like he showed me and my IT band starts to smash and get worked on this foam machine of death. Unbelievable. At this moment Michelle says: "OK, get on the table...". Ah, team mates. Michelle is an unbelievable talented physio-therapist. She begins her treatment and gasps as she starts o feel about: "Holy crap, I could lift you straight up with this IT band!". Not good. She goes to work.

"Jesus HELP ME!"

"Lord, please God have mercy"

"Holy Mother, save me."

I am acting for contrition right there on that table. Pain. "AH, you're a screamer, aren't you?" says Michelle sadistically. Twenty minutes later she finishes up and I feel like I am on drugs. Her work is in.

Now mind you, this WHOLE season I could have helped myself. I run, I train, I do skills....and not once did I take care of the muscles...even with Ward prophetically hounding me to see his guy months back. So with a pat on the back and the Bliss family handing me the IT foam roller as I left their beautiful home last night, they suggest I get some more work done before Belgium to get things re-aligned and back on track.

That said, Michelle's work did some goodness for me today! Today the 'poor man' showed no mercy. Sub 20 temps and snow and ice, the prescription was a set of intervals that sincerely should be tasked to prisoners of war. Good but cold suffering. The last one did put me in cross-eyed mode and randomly Bliss shows up on the last one....maybe to secretly check in on laugh a bit as he's in fun mode now.

More depth tomorrow. Sweet dreams.

Augustas! Save zom room vor later!

Ah, the holidays. It's that 'special' time of year when if you are blessed with children like we are, they bring home lots of things:

a) The spirit of the holidays taking you back to the time you were a kid waiting with baited breath for the sound of sleigh bells...

b) Ebola viruses that make you feel cheerful and joyous as you try and sing Oh Holy Night with swollen tonsils and lymph nodes

c) Food...mainly of the chocolate covered variety that you want to bury your face in, consume and wash it down with a couple of Chimay tall boys.


Got back from lovely Toronto and had to squeeze in za plan for the day at lunch time. One hour of openers before the Bataan Death March training this weekend that T has in store for me. I got out on the roadie as the roads are in good shape....but as I type this the snows are coming down again. Perfect timing. The Hour of Power was filled with just enough to get the juices flowing in the legs. Small ring efforts for bursts incremented over the hour dosed in just the right amounts. One saw a 1400w peak which was surprising as I wasn't trying to go too deep so I hope the signs are there that what's being baked in by T is going to give me some level of respetcable performance in the mother land.

Riding today, I hooked up with Von and Nick doing base. God that looks....relaxing. more...just rolling and talking. OK, it's 5 hours worth of work, but the likelihood of getting cross eyed or vomitous while doing it is null. Even still, I coerced Von to come along on my voyage and do some efforts. Ha! Sucker. Pulling back in the garage, though, I see the cross bikes hanging there and I just feel in my gut I'm not done with 'cross this year. August, September, October, November, December.... I WANT to be cross eyed in my work outs and get to Belgium....finally. One year of thinking and dreaming.

Cross is crack.

Back on it....

So Brandon, Troy, Matt, Amy and a few others actually made it out for the 'final' Wednesday Worlds. Yours truly was absent. Honestly, it is now Wednesday night and my big toes are STILL numb from the freeze fest at CO States on Sunday. Definitely better but this is the closest I've come to serious frost bite...ever. It blows.

But, I pulled up the big girl panties and got on with the training today. I worked from 6:30 AM to noon for a lunch time training session at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. What an incredible facility and I am so lucky to live in a town where such core facilities like this exist.

Today it was me, a Triathlete Will, Justin England from Toyota United, and our coach for the session, my team mate and coach to Taylor Phinney and Jon Baker, Neal Henderson. I actually raced against Justin as a 3 back in the Bay Area. When I say 'race' I mean happened to have signed up and pinned a number on the same race Justin was at (and probably won). What an incredibly nice guy.

Neal had a nice time trial set up for us on the Computrainers which consisted of a 45 minute effort on a rolling course. He gets us all squared away calibrating the Computrainers and gets all my body dimensions and wattage averages. I tell him somewhere in the 325 to 375 range.

So we get going and all is well for 1/2 way through the profile. In fact, I feel great. Then, like the floor drops out, things get....hard. I am pinned at 186 bpm and losing my composure. I'm getting all fidgety on the bike as this shit is capital H hard. Towards 40 minutes I'm like: "Dude, I can not turn the pedals." Neal says, "Uh yeah, you said between 300 and 375, right? Just hit that blue button a few times to reduce the wattage." Ahhhh. Now I can spin! Ha! I dunno what I was putting out but basically those guys were on a road bike profile while I was turning the pedals as if going through axle deep mud. Live and learn....


In like a LION! The snows and cold weather have absolutely made themselves known to us here in Boulder. The race Sunday STILL has my toes numb but getting better. A fresh round of the pow-pow last night and this AM is ensuring we realize that winter is here.

I'm weepy today. I think I'm suffering a bit of the 'ol 'cross postpartum. The bad news is I won't be able to freeze like an icicle in KC this coming weekend (good luck with that this weekend, racers...) but the good news is I am going to Belgie. I've got to keep focused on that. A month seems incredibly far away!

Wednesday Worlds is looking suspect for tomorrow. I'm gonna have to phone around and take people's temperatures. The snows are too deep to meaningfully train on any of the courses so likely people will do some tempo work or something out on the dirt roads. Who knows.


Frostnip? Never knew that the term even existed. It's 24 hours since States and I swear to you both my big toes are still numb. They are JUST this evening starting to come around and the pins and needles thing going on is dissipating.

Got out today on the 'cross bike to spin out the legs after yesterday's efforts. Felt good to be in the sun although the roads were a slush fest.

Wednesday Worlds 'should' be in effect this week to give people the needed last 'bump' of intensity before KC this weekend. I think the U23 race will be THE race. Danny and Driscoll are both looking good.

T minus one month! I need to somehow try and stay motivated and keep the work up. My body says: You may now proceed to drink 1554's at will. I've got to keep on it!