Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gear Sale...

The week of skiing and cyclocross got me sorting through piles of gear, some of which I don't need right now. Let me know if there is anything you want and I will get you a price. Bartering and offers are always welcome and enjoyed.
The list will likely be growing.

-Hagan Carbon Skis, 170cm, 111-71-101, 16.2 m, 1480g/ski. Light and fast touring ski. NEW
-Bluehouse District, 176cm, 134-108-122, 2035g/ski. Used maybe 5 times, drilled for dynfits.
-Scarpa F1 AT boots size 25.5 (8 men) good shape, only 1 heat mold
-Scarpa Spirit 3 25.5 great shape, only 1 heat mold.
-FIZIK Tundra 2 black/green 194g NEW
-FSA Carbon SLK post 27.2 220g NEW
-FSA SLK Stem 100mm 160g NEW
-FSA New ergo Bar 42cm 31.8 NEW
-Vittoria Cross Evo XM 32 cyclocross tubulars NEW
-Dugast Rhino 34mm cycl0cross tubulars 1 set, NEW
-Egg beater pedals:
- Ti with Ti spindles 189g NEW
- 2Ti with Ti spindles 176g NEW
-3 pair SL's with Ti spindles (light use) 220g
-4 ti 175g Used with cleats.
-3 ti 200g used
-2 pair 1ti with stainless spindles 220g, very light use.
-2 pair candys 298g used
-2 pair egg beater c 290g new and used.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

some observations

I don't claim to be an expert on cyclocross. In the big scheme of world cross I don't even claim to be that good. But, I have done a lot of races and have learned how to maximize some meager talent.

Yesterday at UTCX #3 I had the opportunity to watch some racing. Rosie raced earlier in the day which got us to the venue in the morning. I got to spectate the C men, 35+ B, 45 +, and the Women. UTCX is a growing concern and all of these fields were packed with racers that are relatively new to the sport. The one thing I noticed most racers struggling with was simply shifting the bike and being in the right gear at the right time. Racer after racer was attempting to come out of a corner way over geared. By the time they got on top of the gear it was time to set up for another turn. You get little acceleration when over geared and lots of muscular damage/back pain.

What if we learned to use a smaller gear and used changes in cadence to change our speed and accelerate. Then shift to progressively bigger gears as our speed and cadence allow. Sounds simple but requires practice and forethought. Im not saying we need to spin violently thrashing about on the bike but finding the sweet spot gear that alows us to change speed with changes in cadenece. We spend hours practicing dismount/remount technique only to use it once or twice per lap when really the bigger bang for our buck might be practicing leg speed and cornering, which would be useful throughout the entire lap. How many corners were there yesterday?

If you get a chance to watch video of yourself racing, study it. Look at your position on the bike, are you balanced? Are you relaxed? Can you accelerate while seated without pulling violently on the bars? When are you shifting, before the turn or after the turn? What do you look like coming out of a turn? Seated or standing? What kind of cadence? Are you on top of the gear in every situation? Where can you be using less energy? Where can you be putting down more power? Watch the other races, watch those with more experience, how are they setting up for a corner? Follow others during warm up. Watch video of other races on the same course you race. Watch world cup video, look at there cadence through a sand pit and out of corners. Learn to feel the ground through you pedals. It's all about maintaining velocity while conserving energy.

The cool thing about cross racing is you get to attack the same sections multiple times during a race while also watching others do the same. You get the chance to dial in a corner, find the perfect line, be in the right gear, keep the body balanced and be back up to speed before you realized you slowed down. If you don't nail it the first lap then you get another chance the next lap. And at the end of the race there may even be a corner or section that still got the best of you. Give it a go next week.

Yesterday I nailed some of the corners out at the Utah State Fair Park, but I also botched quite a few. I had maybe 10 tries and still could not nail a couple. If you raced you know what I mean. How about the tight L hander with the 6 inch ledge coming out of the corral onto the gravel drifting left under the bleachers. That corner had a ton of varibles. I tried it slow and tight, which forced a strong acceleration to get up to speed. I tried it wide and loose and just could not keep the drift under control. I tried going inside out and outside in both of which never felt fast. That baby had my number for sure. If you nailed it, let me know what you did.

Cross is a magical sport, you don't necisarily have to improve fitness to become faster.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

the hammer and the nail

So maybe it's time for an update?

Sometimes your the hammer and sometimes your the nail.

I have spent some days as a hammer over the years but from May through August I was the nail, a smashed nail!

The summer was a rough one. I have a new appreciation for health and a whole new empathy for those that suffer from any chronic illness, including depression. I was in denial during the early part of the summer and surely prolonged my physical and mental anguish. Mono or EBV is nothing to mess around with, it is impossible to beat without complete and total rest. I would go to work and was just a zombie, sometimes I would just go sit in the restroom so I could rest without having to think or do anything. It was a different kind of tired than I had ever experienced, and I have felt my share of tired. It kind of felt like the Sunday afternoon following 24hrs of Moab after crushing the Duo category, except I just got 12 hrs of sleep and have not exercised in weeks.

I was lucky to find a professional that knew what they were doing as far as testing goes and was able to help me get on the right track. At the end of August I took another 3 weeks off from any physical activity and slept a minimum of 10hrs/night and sometimes 12. It was rough, not only did I feel lousy but my means of coping was gone, no outlet. I am sure I was rough to live with.

By the start of September I was starting to see the light. I was feeling more and more like myself. Granted I still need 10+ hrs/sleep at night but the haze was going away and I could feel the weight lifting. I takes a lot of descipline to hold back when you start to feel better but that's exactly what you have to do. Keep resting once you feel good!

I was always nervous about feeling crappy again so I moved slow. I went backpacking and did some hiking. Awesome, and good for the morale. I got back on the bike and followed a strict plan, very slowly building my conditioning. I even installed a power meter to help me reign in the intensity and build slowly while tracking my progress. I felt better and better all the time but one thing continued, I need a ton of sleep. It felt so good to be able to ride without being demolished the next day. Following 3 solid weeks of training I had built some fatigue, the good kind of fatigue that sheds easily with rest and is the result of some consistent work. Following an easy week, the legs seemed to come around. I could push hard again and recover! The body is amazing. But, I still needed tons of sleep.

Maybe the worst part about not racing all summer was the lack of socialization. I missed the scene, racing and training with friends. The one positive from the whole deal was I got to spend a bunch of Saturdays with the family, we did a bunch of new stuff with the kids and I don't even think the girls knew I was dragging.

So now we're in the middle of cross season and I have had a couple pretty good races. Cyclocross is nice as a come back sport because it's short, requires skill, and is very social. Everything I needed! Hopefully I can continue to build throughout the fall season and maybe at some point, require a little less sleep. I will always remember the UTCX #1 2010, I was so excited to finally race and I think Rosie was even more excited than me! I felt like the hammer again, at least for an hour.

A huge thanks to my family and friends who provided support even though it was one of those intangible illnesses where everything looks fine from the outside. That's the worst part, everyone thinks you should be out having fun in the summer sun, trust me I wanted to. I also appreciate the Revolution Team for sticking with me, what a great crew of people!

So I'm not out of the woods yet. I need extra sleep for sure and need to continue monitoring my energy levels. Some people say it can take over a year before your completely back to normal. Will see, at least I know what to do now.

I hope I learned something about myself through all this. Something that will make me better, better as an athlete and better as a person.

Now I just need to shake up this blog a little...

Hammer on!