Entries in Za Plan (42)
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 really...so 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 me...to laugh a bit as he's in fun mode now.
More depth tomorrow. Sweet dreams.
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. 175w...no 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.
Cross is crack.
Where am I? That's right, Maple Laughs fans. Couple-a-days of bidness at our labs here in the Great White North. All day travel....mostly trapped in the aluminum tube on the tarmac after a toddler ralphed like Linda Blaire in the Exorcist. Awesome. Literally nails the people in the row in front some how. Chaos erupts and it is decided we must turn the aluminum tube around and return to the gate to dump off Linda, her parents and wait for them to extract their luggage and have the cleaning crew in white chemical suits come in and sterilize.
I love my job.
Yesterday though was some nice sweet suffering on za bike. I finally got out on the roadie after way too much inside and on the 'cross bike. I had some badness with my PowerSnap as well:
If you see this on the PowerTap's CPU unit: APIdr ....you are humped. The PowerTap was flickering and needed a battery change like I've done like 10 times since getting this thing last year (that;s another story). I swapped out the CPU's 2032 battery and literally that APIdr message pops up. Uh, oh. Sphincter pucker. I call Saris and I've got to admit, the support was decent to get this specific issue resolved. The guys says nonchalantly: Oh, yeah. Um it looks like your CPU crapped out and you need to reinstall the firmware. I had to:
- Install the USB drivers on my lap top
- Download the new version of the CPU's firmware
- Connect the USB doc to the PC
- Configure the right port for the USB
- Load the firmware.
Now I get to use the thing again, but I can't connect it to CyclingPeaks or PowerAgent. Awesome. And I'm a software guy....
So I took to the roads with the fixed PowerSnap yesterday and it was fun. For those of you in the Boulder Denver area, you are intimate....maybe bored....with the "Fruit Loops." It is the perfect training ground in normal conditions for coaches to dose specific plans to have flatland/rolling power bench marks set and monitored. Doing this in good weather is fun and fast. But do this on snow and with skinny 23c tires. Crazy. SO I just buried myself and the watts were flying though and being able to sustain them was a good thing as I am still working hard to focus on January. It is MONUMENTALLY hard to stay monk-ish but I am trying. Calories in must not exceed calories used...or so I try to hold on to. Super hard.
But at least I am not vomiting....
Za plans du Belgique are rounding out and I've not just got my hands on my UCI license and the authorization papers required to race in a foreign country. So, if'n you, my faithful M & C readers, are interested in doing this at some point, don't forget to contact USA Cycling for these! They came in like a day and officials at these races are known to ask you for them at random times apparently from when you register to while pre-riding I hear. The folks there in the 'Springs are super helpful.
The toes are de-numbing but one week on still not 100%. Crazy. It's exactly like the sensation you have when you get your teeth worked on and the Novocaine is starting to wear off. More depth today to bake in what's needed in the legs so suffer fest up/down/up/down Poorman's is prescribed. I will likely be cross-eyed when done. I hope my toes don't re-freeze.
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....
Back in May, I started za plan. On that very first day, I installed a brand new set of bomber Ritchey Fortress training tires. Yesterday, I finally retired those puppies before they explode on a 50mph descent. I held these things in my hand for a bit sitting in my garage, late at night, after Boups swung by with beers in tow.
This led me to thinking...
Anything can happen. You can not stop what is coming....and what is coming, good or bad, is absolutely equivalent to what you set in motion in the universe, years, months, days....even seconds before.
Balance and forethought.
I'm a little worn out. Not unlike that Fortress' tread. I've ranted enough over the last moths about this. It is what it is. But, I'm happy to say I'm getting signals back from the universe that things will be OK. The conversations last night with old friends were life changing. Words were spoken, words were heard...but the words were carefully listened to.
Note the difference.
Today, for instance, was the first time in many many many months that I woke up with a smile. It was totally noticeable to me. I sprang out of bed. This is in opposition to most mornings when I feel a ghost fever, my eyes crack open and the first blurry sights they see are of my night stand and a BlackBerry's red light spastically blinking...remind me that Groundhog's Day is about to replay itself.
None of this has to do with bikes. Everything I speak of however, will have an effect in biking, how I father, how I love, the type of friend I can be, the level of depth I need to be at as a professional. Obviously not in any particular order. A universal and holistic wrapper that has re-cased my brain from the eroding cancer to absolute hope. God that feels good.
Tired of me yet? I am not apologizing. Dig deep into your own condition. Your own situation. Your own motivation.
I am doing what I can to correct and find it. I think I opened my eyes to something that is not blinking red.
I'm getting back after it today. The WB and I did a nice recovery spinny spin yesterday but today I needed to get the engine ramped back up. The head cold is dissipating and the neck lymphs are going down. Good times. I will not be racing this weekend so I am getting in a bunch of heavier training which I am psyched for. All that climbing this summer seems like a distant memory but it comes back right quick when you hurl yourself up a mountain. Feels good.
I jammed some Lee Hill repeats today. Lee Hill is literally next to my house and is a well known training 'institution' here in town used to bench mark fitness. Big Mig himself came here in the 90's with Banesto and used Lee Hill as a training simulation for (I think) the 1994 TdF's uphill time trial. If you stop by U-Bikes here in town, they will give you the low down on his visit.
Upright. Flow. The feeling of rubber carving and sticking to dirt and grass. Technically as perfect as I could run a race. Maybe sections here and there cleaner, but tight nonetheless. That is what I felt today! Completeness! I'll get to the good stuff in a moment.
Today was Race 1 of 2 f the Frisco BCR race series. I have the full access hall pass for the weekend while Amy mans the kids and home front. I love you Aim! Held at the Nordic Center, the course at was 9000+ feet so the Front Rangers would certainly be at a disadvantage. The course was short and fairly well balanced between pavement, dirt and pure grass sections. It was in my opinion also fairly well balanced between full gas and recovery sections. The quad log barriers were a bit too short in distance IMHO though.
The Men's 35 A's was stacked today. the Call ups of the Top 10 were done and my shitty first 3 races did not allow me to get the tap to the line. I lined up 2nd row.
Dean counted out ....15 seconds!....GO! We're off. Up the pavement we screamed to a climb and into a continued dirt climb to a single barrier at about 20"! Dudes were floundering over that which bummed me out and I overtook a boat load there but the group was super tight still. This would be the theme for the day. Tight pack racing. Hurdling the single barrier you ran up another 10' to remount down hill for 20' before jamming hard right at the bottom to get back on to a paved climb. The attacks would happen here. Often.
First lap and we have 2 groups of about 5-8....then gaps to groups off the back. About 5-10 seconds in between. This race by lap 2 is turning into a knife fight. Altitude or not, the balance of racers is so level it's fantastic and people want a piece of it. This will turn out to be one of the funnest/strategic races I've done in a long time.
Each lap is attack attack attack. I would fly through the barriers, get nice gaps on dudes who were not as fluid but these same dudes would bridge back and repeat lap after lap. I changed my strategy while I was sitting in top 15 at about the mid way point. Oh, and the top 15 were separated by 20-25 seconds. It was that tight. We could see each other on sections where they'd send you past each other after switch backs. My strategy change was to sit in on the 2nd to last lap and let the power roadies do their thing with me in their slipstream. On the paved hill after the run up, I threw a hail of bullets and attacked on the hill. The only guy who could go was former national champ Karl Kiester...who has inexplicable class. He would throw, then I would throw. I would be recovering behind him stare at his stripes on his sleeves. He is an institution of racing. He and I end up splitting away on the bell lap and closed out our business with an 8th and 9th respectively. Shortly behind the 1-7 racers including Timmy who pulled out another W. Nice work boy!!
9th. I will take that amongst these men any day! It was just such a satisfactory feeling to know
(a): I could focus on a clean race where equipment and rider flowed.
(b): That the engine was responsive for me when I needed it late in the race and I could commit to strategy and execute on it. Za Plan is working.
Today was a rare day as I could actually stay and support my team mates and the Boulder Cycle Sport folks. I became a SUPER FAN. Man, my race day usually consist of getting to the race, heavily focus on my race, then race and pack up and go to get back to the fam. Today, I could see the Cat 3, Women and Pro drama. SICK! In the 3's Matt Opperman had a heroic ride after some moron took him out so dramatically....I literally saw his feet in the air and him land on his shoulder/back. Insane. he dug deep to crawl back to a near top 10 in a HUGE field.
The ride of the day though was my boy Brandon in the Pro race. SICK. B finished 1:20 ahead of 2nd place. It was a display of technical execution. Surgical. Attack, grow gap and maintain technical smoothness to never yield an inch. Lap after lap this grew. Pitting was super fun for Brandon.
A GREAT day and looking forward to tomorrow. Race 2. Recovering with Brandon and Taro as we speak with the feet up after a killer dinner and celebratory beer.
Complete. My season began today.
It comes in threes right? I'm sitting here, after coming home, showering and playing Legos for 2 hours with the boys....and I'm laughing. Boulder CX No. 1 and for the third week in a row...drama! Ha! More on that in a minute.
CLASSIC fall day here. 68, partly sunny, leaves changing. Awesome. My family came out for the day today too! My beautiful wife and boys were out with bikes and loud voices (cowbells were forgotten....doh!). I pre-road the course at the Boulder Research Center which I know intimately. Same course as last year and utilizes all the same stuff that the Short Tracks use albeit with pavement. Technical, twitchy, dirt and rock strewn but frigging fun. I drilled it on this course last year to like 6th place and loved it.
So with Amy and the boys there by the staging, call ups begin. Even with my first two crap-ass race performances, I got the call up. Teton called up the Top 20 and I had enough points to get in there. Wardell called me up next to him for the front row.
3,2,1...Go! we're off and I easily take the hole shot. Leading up to this race, I had the most peaceful week of rest and light training. All by design and I had smiles on my face at the line today. The warm up gave me great sensations. I felt deep. Very very deep. 100% different than last week. So back to the hole shot, I bury it intentionally at the gun. Yes my classic self but I feel it today. Again smiles. I had a plan and I stuck to it and what I envisioned came true. I wanted the split to occur in lap one....and I even envisioned the people I wanted in the split....and got them to. The legs are floating in a "no chain" sort of way. Lap one I lead all the way and start backing down the watts and get that split to connect. Lap 2 and I let Phenecie Wardell and another guy take over and I am spinning my legs like a school boy behind them. Coming into a drop in....it occurs again:
A boom like a .44 Magnum and I am down on my face...literally. The front Challenge Griffo explodes at max speed on the decent. 100% shoulder and face plant. So quick. Breckenridge style. Cheeckbone and shoulder abraised and the lenses of my Oakley Radars scratched and dirty that I can't see.
I can't buy a break! Ha!
So, I grab my shit, wobble through to the other side of the course to the pits to grab my back up Rock Lobster. The EVER FAITHFUL Squires brothers are there waiting for me (THANK YOU GUYS!!!) Walking over in my stupor, I yell out "Fuuuuuuu_ _ _ _ _ _kkkk!" in frustration. Nat Ross is doing the announcing today right by the pits and decides that I am his target of ridicule after that F bomb. I deserve it. Too many kids around and temper tantrums are gay and I fell victim to it. Doug Squires hands me a bottle, my spare bike and a smile and laugh and tells me to get on it. He's been witness to all three debacles and there for me.
Angry man mode in effect. I capital B bury myself. I am conservatively by this point 60-70 seconds in back of the last place guy. Yes I'm angry...but laughing. I use all that 'feeling good' I had at the start to the best of my ability and start reeling in people....1, 2, 3, 4...8,9. I made a game and counted exactly 10 people I took back. Aiden and Seamus are yelling their little voices off for me. GO DADDY! GO GO DAD!! There is absolutely no friggin way I am pulling out today. I don't care what place I'm in. Dave Weber's wife cheering. Von B yelling at me. I am just going ballistic. I honest enough to say that I'd never say "I'll never quit!!!" but today it was pride in front of the fam. Bottom line. Also, this was probably the single best work out I've had since the heavy training in the Summer. Yes, I'm looking at the bright side. But I had this juice flowing through me and I had o at least feel depth. I did.
Speaking of bright side, Ward The WB Baker cranked a Top 10 today with equipment that wasn't even working for him today. God I wanted to have him with me if I'd still been in the race. He was bridging already by lap 2 or 3 and it would have been a DREAM scenario like he and I talked about before the season began. Also, Dave Weber did well too! His family cheering us all on! All that after he cracked some vertebrae recently! A hard man. Nice work, boys.
So, in the end, I'm sitting here...smiling. I can't take all this stuff seriously....as much as I'd normally have a tenancy to. God, I love it. God I am so lucky I can get out there and do this. God I just want some luck!!! HA!!
Does it come in threes? Breck...Colorado Springs....Boulder. I sure as shit hope so!
I JUST want to look up in the sky on January 19th 2008 in Mol Belgium and whisper silently "You did it man. One year of focus. Ups and downs. You are here." I will. I promise you.
Yesterday saw me finish up some unfinished business before the deep sleeps and rest begins this week. The bones ached from Saaturday's debacle part deux. Incalculable suffering but I had to finish. The work is definitely in. Now, I just need to let it bake.
Today's rain had me visit an old friend: The Rollers. I need to revisit those things every now and again. Peaceful and super controlled. Never burns too many matches if you don't want it to. I recommend not taking pictures while rolling though. As you can see, my shit is about to roll off! Ha!