29 June, 2009

I need a break

But first, a discussion on running vs. bike riding. Whoever left the comment about the marathon being the same as a 7 hour century needs to work on math skills. Sure the common belief is that running is 2x as much as bike riding (although I disagree, 60 min. run or bike feel pretty dang similar to me...) Anyhow, the math on the number of miles does not add up. 26.2 x 2 = 100?
Let do some comparing. Average people first
On average, while running, someone burns 100 calories per mile. So if the average person runs about 9 minute miles, they go about 6.5 miles. 650 calories.
Now to bike riding. The tear out from some magazine on my door says the average person burns 200 calories on a 20 minute bike ride. 20x3=60. 200x3=600. 600 calories per hour. Not 325 like a simple divide by two would suggest. Therefor for an average person running 30 minutes is not the same as 60 minutes of bicycle riding.

Although this chart says 450 for an hour of running, we will stick with 9 minute miles.

For more serious athletes like you and I. We tend to use more energy. I like turn run trails, which take more word then running on a road, thus burn a few more calories. So lets say I run with an average Heart Rate of 130 for 60 minutes. That on trails is most likely a bit less then 8 minute miles, but to keep it easy. 60/8=7.5x100= 750 calories per hour running
Bike practice with an average HR of 130 is pretty dang hard. In a random 60 minute time block from one of the past Wednesday night rides here in Duluth I had a HR avg. of 131. In that 60 minutes I burned 806 calories.
In conclusion, if you have the same HR (thus presumably the same effort) 60 minutes of running is almost exactly the same as 60 minutes of bike riding.

Now onto only bike news. As the title of this post suggests I need a break, but unlike when I am usually burned out, I still want to ride my bicycle. This obviously puts me in a bit of a predicament...
Today was the State crit in St. Cloud, it was windy. Never show up to a bike race if you don't want to win, a half lap into the race I saw Timmer at the front and the pace was slow. Why not give it a go. Off I went with Mr. Brabbit and Hackworthy coming shortly after. After not very long things in the field changed and Doug and some others showed up. I was tired and thought the field was really close, it was not, and it was not going that fast. I hurt a whole lot already and could not go very fast (thus the reason for the needed break). I rejoined the pack for lack of better options. A series of action packed laps followed between attacks and crashes, and before we knew it. Doug, Mean Dog, Hackworthy and Jens rejoined the group from behind. Shit, that was my break, this hurts, were the thoughts running through my head at that moment.
The rest of the race was not slow, the Ghost got away with a few others, again a break I should have been able to get into, but just don't have it recently. The rest of the race was fast with more and more people blowing up. I tried to get up front, but my legs were not having it. On the final lap Hackworthy took off, Doug in tow, then followed by Woel and myself. Despite sucking most of the race I had a decent sprint and finished in the frustratingly similar 9th place (this year I have had lots of 6-10 placings...)
This week I will ride easy and enjoy the wheather. Maybe even go for a run or two.

I might also do some more paddle boarding. It's the cool new thing to do out on the West Coast. A long board (surf board) and a long paddle. You stand up and cruise, it is really quite fun.
Sadly she was not with me...

The real cool people actually surf with them. I need to work on my balance first.
Next time Lake Superior has good surf, I'll give it a try. We are due for a strong east wind.

I thought about chasing the ship, but it was going fast.

So I looked at the bridge.

Ahhh. Duluth in the summer. If you are stopping through, give me a call a few days in advance, we could probably set up a paddle boarding adventure.

Don't forget. You better be here!

21 June, 2009

Grandma's Marathon

About 3 weeks ago I was contemplating the layout of the rest of the season. With NVGP being over, and not a whole lot of races that I will be able to get to in July, I figured I might as well try a marathon to see what all the fuss was about.

Saturday I did just that. It was the 33rd annual Grandma's Marathon here in Duluth. It has alway been one of my favorite weekends to be here with all the people that come to do it. Word on the street is that there are about 65,000 people that come for it. And all the action in town and pretty girls make it fun to just watch the race... In my younger days I ran the half marathon. Always thought it sucked, and swore I'd never do a full. But, peer pressure works pretty well. Ha.
Anyhow, after getting up at 4:45 (runners get up way to early) and waiting in lines for the biffies, the race was off at 7:30. My only goals were too get under 4 hours and have a negative half marathon split.
Marathoning is not really anything at all like the bike races I am used to. Granted I was not racing to win or anything, just going, but still simple things like taking leaks and such is greatly simplified by not having the fear of getting dropped and not catching on. In general it is an easier concept. Drafting does not really apply, no KOM no sprints, just go. Kinda boring if you ask me... For much of the race I just ran my own pace, once in a while I would come across friends and would run with them for a bit, but I think most started to fast and were dying, which is why I caught them.
The course goes along the north shore from Two Harboors to downtown Duluth. The fans and fun started when we got to the city limits. Beer handups started showing up, I had some friends share some champange. I even found "The official Grandma's beer feed," complete with a slip-n-slide. That was quite entertaining and was a good break from the heat.
A bit before the slip-n-slide the 3:40 pace setter appeared next to me, giving me a good pace for the 7 miles I had left. Most people I have talked to say the race starts to hurt around mile 20, which gives you almost an hour to wallow in pain. I really did not feel fatigued till 24, at that point with only 2 miles left, there was not enough race left to hurt. It worked out quite well.
All in all I was out in the sun for 3:38.52. Not to bad for not training for this, plus I had a pretty good time doing it.
My legs feel great right now, the muscles at least. The most painful thing are the blisters... And the sorest muscles are my shoulders. Victory!

Damn shoes.

Like I hinted at above, I was doing this thing to see what all the fuss was about, see how hard they actually are, and to say I've done one.
I am not sure what the fuss was about, I could find many more fun things to do besides running for slightly over 3.5 hours on hot blacktop. Marathoning is definitely not something I am going to get too serious about, I have no desire to run copious numbers of them.
Again, I did not run hard in the race, I just did it. But still compared to bike racing it was easy. My heart rate was a stable 140 or so the whole time, never got out of breath or went anerobic. I know there have been bike races where I've just sat in and they have been easy, and I feel no more tired today, then after one of those. My feet hurt more, but other then that not to bad.
I'm not going to say I am not ever going to do another marathon. I can see someday actually racing one, and finding out how fast I can do one. But that would require training for it, and bike racing is more fun. So for now, I'll stick with that.

15 June, 2009

Change of pace

Before I left for NVGP I promised a co-worker (Mr J. Ross Fraboni) that if I got for some reason got shelled from the race, and the weather was nice, I would do the MN mountain bike race on my cross bike (it was in Duluth). So going from the peloton to the trails was on the menu.
The race was out at Mont Du Lac, one of the lesser known ski hills in the area. The local MTB association COGGS has put in some solid work there and made some really nice trails. Quite a few roots, but besides that real nice.
Anyhow, for the hell of it I did the expert race to see what would happen. With there being a long steep climb every lap, and extra long and steep for the start, I was sitting pretty with the cross bike. I was expecting a cross style start, but it was much slower then that. Kinda nice...
The only sections that I really lost time were the descending single track. The first 3 laps I got smoked there. But as soon as the trail went up I would gain all the lost time back. On the big climb I would usually gain enough time to stay ahead of anyone close to me. The 3rd time up the big hill my arms started cramping, so I trotted up it nice and easy, my gearing was a bit hard. Two guys caught me and I knew that in order to beat them, I just had to stay close through the tricky stuff. I did just that, one guy crashed, and the other never got more the 20 meters ahead. Coming into the final climb I blasted off. I think I ended up in the top half.
Take that all you who said it was not possible and that I would get last.

Pictures are from where the watermark says they are.

Mountain bike racing is really quite different from the road. When you get tired, slow down and recover, then go hard again. It was not bad. Despite my arms cramping I had a good time, I dont really think I want to do too many mountain bike races on my cross bike. But a few is not going to hurt! I also saw Super Rookie, did not expect that at all. So despite rumors that he does not ride bike, he maybe just chillin with Sasquatch.
Looks like they are having a good time!
Also watch these.

On a completely different note. I looked at my training journals from the last 3 years. A very obvious pattern of me racing poorly nearly exactly one month after I have "legs tired" written down, I'd say 90% of the races I felt like shit fit the pattern. As well as often after time off or easy weeks, the races one month following my results were strong. To bad I just found that out now, instead of using my logs like I should. I really need to pay more attention to the information I collect. I've got the tools, now to try and figure out how to put it in action.

13 June, 2009


My legs.
Last seen May 10th, 2009. Somewhere north of Duluth.
There have been a few reports of sightings, but no solid leads.
Reward if found, please contact with any information you may have.

As many of you know, I had my second attempt at the Nature Valley GP these past few days. Right from the start of the TT on Wednesday morning my legs were not under me. I just don't have the get up and go I did this spring. And it is really starting to frustrate me. I thought I was decently rested, and felt fine going easy, but as soon as hit the throttle things go south.
I got smoked in the TT pulling 4th to last, I was quite disappointed as I know I can go faster. But made it through.

Sucking wind in the rain.

Then the St. Paul Crit, unlike last year it was dry, luckily. Even with that Right from the start I was not feeling very good. And just like last year it was on the straights that I would get gapped. I cornered plenty fast to stay right in there, and even move up, but after a few laps I would simply get gapped on the straights. The legs just would not turn. However, I squeaked by and made it to round 3.
Cannon Falls was thankfully a calm weather day too. The rolling enclosure provided at the NVGP is always fun, makes it much more official. The race was not hard, I just had a good time hanging out in the peloton watching the fields zip by. I got comfortable moving around in the pack which was a change from before, and not being able to move at all. Eventually we came into the finishing circuits, I felt ok. After 3 circuits I lost focus for a second and clipped a wheel in front of me and nearly went down, I did not, but my seat nose went down nearly 45 degrees. I just could not pedal like that and got popped. I was feeling confident that I was going to make it at that point too. Shit... I rolled in with a group a few minutes after the pack. (Unlike last year I did not get lapped).
The circuits gave me confidence that I would make it through round 4. Off we were into the streets of Uptown, I had decent starting position. not super far back. The first laps I felt ok, not having to many problems. Then all of a sudden I could not go, I started getting gapped on the straights again and nothing I could do about it. I just could not pedal. Thus my NVGP bid came to a bitter end.

I am just very frustrated with my lack of performance. This year I have done crits that have close to the same average speed (LaCrosse), and hung out on the front. All I had to do was make it half the race and I would have made it. But nope, I could not even make it 1/3. All the other MN boys had no problems, I know I can hang with them no problem. So why the hell can't I do it now?

I have no excuses for being slow this week. But I have some therioes that I am going to look into. Last year I thought it was because I had not raced enough leading into NVGP, I found that that is not the case as this year I race plenty leading up to it, pretty much as much as I could.
The past week or two I have been sleeping 8, 9 or 10 hours a night, and waking up tired. Perhaps I have a virus of some sort that is not strong enough to show outright, but when I try to race my bike it is enough to stop me from doing well.
Perhaps it is overtraining. The past week.5 I have gone pretty easy. A bit of speed work to try and keep the intensity there, but obviously it's not there so it was a waste. But anyway I did a bit of research and overtraining really does not show itself for at least 3 weeks after the fact. Almost exactly 1 month ago my legs were so tired that I was getting crampy just sitting around. I would consider that overtrained. And now it caught up to me. I bet if I look at my logs from last year, at about the same time I had the same issue... Another thing that leads me to believe the overtraining theory is that I cannot get my HR to go up. My avg. HR in the 6 miles TT was 179, the last truly good race I had was at the LaCrosse crit where my HR was 174 for 65 minutes. Hmmmm... Something is not quite right with that.
It sucks that I have to learn about my body at a race like this. But at least I am figuring it out.

Due to the fact that I have no high end power at the moment. And just want to race my bike. Tomorrow (Sunday) instead of racing in Stillwater like I should be I will be doing a mountain bike race on my CX bike. I'll let you know how it ends up...

04 June, 2009

Bite your stem and hold on

Last night was the final Nature Valley qualifier race. I had been sitting pretty good in the points for the individuals and wanted another shot at the race, so I got to drive all the way down to the cities for the evening.
For some reason I did not do any recovery ride since Saturday, oops. After getting out of the car yesterday I could tell. The batteries were already low. I figured it would be like most other crits, and I would just sit on till my legs came around. However, with the wind, and the course (that Hollywood, Casper and I made up) sitting in was damn hard to do. 70 some riders lined up, making it my biggest race of the year. And right from the start it was balls fast. The group split up real quickly into two main parts. Luckily I was far enough up to be in group A. Group B was pulled before the end. Anyhow, we just went fast, and with a 180 in the course taking away any advantage to cornering fast I was hurting. Plus everyone guttered each other, it was a full on bike race!
With about 6 laps to go I just could not go. Luckily the pack sat up just then so I quick caught back on and held it in for 5 laps. On the last lap I just had nothing and came in in a small group behind the field sprint. Even with getting popped I managed a few points and squeaked into NVGP.

This crit was a good practice round for next week. Bite your stem and hold on. My goal is to finish somewhere in the top half. Lofty I know, but I'll see what I can manage. Unlike last year I've been racing right up to the event, and know I am in already so I can get some good recovery.
See you all next week.

01 June, 2009

Wind makes

things interesting. Unlike this blog...
Anyhow, Saturday was the circuit race out in East Union. A 9 mile lap, so really it was just a short road race. Along with it being short, it was a NVGP qualifier, which means lots of fast people show up. Combine all this and you have a recipe for going fast. For me it was a relatively uneventful race, I tried to ride smart, conserve energy, and be ready to go either in the sprint or when a big move went. Things stayed together, so for most of the race I was just trying not to be killed. With the wind it was sketch balls the entire time. On the last lap with a crosswind a bunch of people came together and something hit my wheel (no one crashed though), and the next time I looked down my wheel was wobbly and my bars not straight. But my bike stayed in one piece and like everyone else spun out in the sprint for 8th. Those downhill with the wind sprints are so entertaining.
Hopefully I can pull off another decent race at the State Fair Crit and get into NVGP. That is the goal at least.
Last night I also signed up for Grandma's Marathon, the whole thing. So that should make for and interesting Saturday...

Also sign up now. Make my life easier.