Monday, November 28, 2011

More Downtime.....

Well, Cyclocross season is slipping away from me. The tonsillectomy surgery I had has definitely affected me more than I would have thought.....

The good news is that I've lost 10 lbs since the surgery 1 month ago.

The bad news is that I've lost a lot of fitness.

I've now had a handful of rides back on the bike thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday. A MTB ride at Herbs, a CX ride on the WRT and then a road ride. None were stellar rides though!

I hope I can get back on the fitness wagon soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winter Weather Riding

Well, sad to say, but winter is here. Ok, technically its still fall, but the weather is now cold enough to warrant getting set up correctly for winter. The temp is now dropping regularly below 60 degrees, and that is plenty cold enough for most.

I decided a couple years ago however to not stop riding when it got cold. Simliar to when I was a kid, I did not want to stop just because it was freezing outside. Indoor trainers just don't get me going like I would like either.

So what to do?

First off, you must be dressed for success. First layers need to be insulating layers which do a good job of wicking. For that, I use some Nike Cold Gear that my brother-in-law got me for Christmas. I follow that up with a set of insulated Sugoi tights (again a Christmas present, this time from my father). Over the top of all of that is a Nimblewear wind jacket. The jacket fits well and cuts the wind back very effectively. I really like the Nimblewear stuff!

To cap all that off, I like to wear a cycling cap under my helmet, as well as some Sugoi full-finger gloves and some Woolie Boolie merino wool socks under my shoes.

Next in line is getting the bike right. A lot of people would just hop on and go. Thats really not the way to go though. So, first off, I go with good tires for winter. Wide tires. More comfort. No issues. Next up, I don't ride my steel bike during winter. Why chance rusting out a vintage Colnago and all those beautiful components. I stick with my carbon bike for winter. Finally, I use only components with sealed bearings. Why leave any of that to chance.

One other great little thing I added to the bike a couple years ago was a fender set. I use the Crud RoadRacer fenders. Still relatively new, but very effective. Light and easy to install. I can't say enough great things about these fenders. I will likely put a little more reflective tape on them at the ends to give some more visibility.

Last thing on the bike is a blinky light. It is inevitable that you will get stuck out after dark on a winter ride. Why chance getting hit because they can't see you?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cyclocross Magazine - Pre Race Inspection Article.

I wrote this up for the folks at Cyclocross Magazine.

Nothing earth shattering or anything terribly new, but this is always good advice.

Give it a read!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Well, this is not the time that I wanted downtime, but this is the time I got it.

I'd been having troubles with coughing, constant nasal drip and some large growths sticking out of my tonsils into my airway/throat. Not a lot of fun. The doctor said the tonsils had to come out.

I'd heard all the stories about how this was 'much worse for adults' and how much longer it would take me to heal.

Everything I heard so far has been true and then some.

I've now depleted the vanilla ice cream population in my town, and unfortunately, I've not been on a bike in a couple weeks.

The good news is that I'm now 191 lbs. Lighter than I've been in a very long time! Now if I can keep the weight off and keep my strength up, I'll be OK. Unfortunately, I cannot manage to do anything at all stressful. You'd never believe how much strain it puts on your throat to do stressful things!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spooky Cross 2011

For me, this is one of my 'home races'. I live 5 mins from the course and ride out there regularly. The event is also put on by a bunch of friends and attended by most of my friends, so it makes for a great event!

The course this year was similar to last year's excepting the run-up the stairs in the ampitheatre. They had some renaissance festival going on in there supposedly so we could not use it....

Day one had a very large CX4 field (large for Memphis standards) with over 2 dozen riders. They also ran the SS'ers with us to make the group bigger.. I got to the line late so lined up mid-pack. The start involved a straight that eventually dove into some pretty tight singletrack. I knew getting into the woods would be crucial and edged up a bit from mid-pack to hit the woods in the first 1/3 of the group. I came out of the woods in pretty good position, but quickly started going backwards..... By the end of the race, I managed to beat a couple of racers I knew I wanted to be in front of, but was pretty much behind everyone else....

Day two had half the field of the previous day. They also reversed the course and moved some of the barriers to reposition them on run-ups. I felt better on the start even though I did not hit the woods in the best position. After a while, I started going back and forth with a couple non-locals and we had a race going. I'd beat them in the barriers and woods, they'd pull me back and pass on the flats and on the paved sections. In the end, I was able to make a large dig and make it stick. Unfortunately, I was still back of the pack at the finish.

I did not get completely skunked however - they had a 'bike handling' competition right before the awards ceremony. They did the 'circle drill' where all the riders are put in a circle and then the circle is gradually tightened up. Dab and out. I made it to the end and won. The prize was something my results say I definitely need - one month full service coaching from a USAC certified pro coach.