Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bike Nirvana

Perfect day today as I took the new Scott bike out on its first test. Road with a few people from Western Wheels and Alto Velo and headed up Stevens Canyon. Most people went up Mt. Eden/Pierce, but me and two others headed up Steven's Canyon to Redwood Gulch. I had a pretty easy time up Redwood Gulch. It went by quickly and we seemed to hit hwy 9 w/o much pain. The new bike felt great on the climb. We did some quick tempo up hwy 9 to the Summit. It took about 90 minutes to get to the Summit. The descent went well on the new bike. Really comfortable, safe feeling and fast. We did some fast pacelining into Boulder Creek. The ride up Hwy 236 was beautiful. 2 guys went up China Grade, but I opted to stick to 236. The weather was too good to be true.. Not one ounce of wind on this ride. We started up Hwy 9 back to the Summit and I managed to stick with Granger who was doing some nice tempo riding at 10 MPH or so up to the summit. It was surprising to be able to hang with him. The ride back over Pierce and Mt. Eden went well.

Ride Stats
76 miles
15.0 MPH Riding
7000 feet of climbing

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Scott Addict

I got the Scott Addict Bike back from the shop today. Took it up Old La Honda for some speed work and it rode really well. I cant really feel much difference between the Addict and the CR1 at this point, but I only got a short ride in. I am borrowing some Easton EC90 Aero wheels and they were pretty smooth. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the wheels worked fine on my Campy Scott bike even though they were set up with a Shimano cassette without any adjustment. If I were to get these wheels, I could use them on the Cervelo P2C. If the price is right, I might pick them up. They are tubulars and I would not consider them to be an every day wheel, but they would come in handy for the Aero bike as well as the Scott or Time bike on rolling terrrains and maybe some longer climbs. The guy in the shop claims they make a good climbing wheel as well, but who knows. I have a ways to go as I suffered up OLH in 22:30 taking 4 1 minute breaks every 4 minutes. My idea was to break the climb up in to 5 chunks and break 20 minutes, but I could not pull it off even with the nice new bike. I was suffering pretty badly even with the breaks. I liked this workout as it gives you a little chance to recover making it slightly more bearable. It might be a way to finally crack 20, but its a ways away for me still.

Friday, January 23, 2009

London Marathon

Got up at 5:15 AM to run the London Marathon course. I figure since I am here in London, I might as well experience the London Marathon course. It was below freezing as I ambled toward the Golders Green Tube station in North London. I forgot to bring any long tights or anything like that so I borrowed my father in laws chinese style knee warmers. They were long and brown and I had a nice gap between the top and my brooks running shorts making them look like some weird 1980's leg warmers. I was waiting with for the 5:35 AM subway to Bank station with a lot of other people but I looked out of place with my Chinese leg warmers in the below freezing morning. I managed to pick the wrong train that was heading to Charing Crossing instead of Bank station. Damn. So I had to get out at Camden Town and wait 15 minutes for the train to the DLR at Bank. Finally got there and missed the DLR by 15 seconds. So I had to sit there in my leg warmers waiting for the Docklands Light Rail. I boarded and 13 stops later and 90 minutes since I started I got to my destination, Greenwich, the start of the London Marathon. During the official marathon, thousands of people are swarming the tube, but I got it to myself. I had to ask a lot of people how to get to Grenwich park and I balked at the longish walk I had to the start. Nothing like a long walk to the beginning of a marathon. It got really cold as I walked through Greenwich park to the official start. I started solo a little after 7:00 AM at the corner of Greenwich Park and Charlton Road and took off at a pretty slow clip. I forgot how much harder it is to run with poor street signs and no idea where you are. I was constantly looking at my lousy directions and then finally pulled out the iPhone for support. The first few miles were pretty dull as I headed towards Woolwich. The route heads back to Greenwich and passes the Cutty Sark which I did not even see as I was focusing on the course. I passed a University and along along the Thames heading towards Tower Bridge. Greenwich of course is famous for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. I was wondering if my garmin would show 0 longitude and it acually hit 0.00007 as I passed through town.

I crossed this monument taking a few photos and headed towards the Docklands and Canary Wharf. I was at mile 14 or so when I realized running mainly on concrete was taking a lot out of me. I was in a decent amount of pain, but wanted to keep going. I hit what they call the Highway and ran through Whitechapel towards the Docklands and Canary Wharf. I got incredibly lost in the Docklands and ran a much longer route than I should have asking various people which way the London Marathon went and getting contradictory answers. Oh well. I did not pay for this and this was my sick idea to do this in these damn Chinese old man knee warmers. For once I did not mind being lost and just kept going. I finally escaped Canary Wharf and the dreaded docklands and got back to the East End near Whitechapel. I missed my turn but kept heading towards town. I was at mile 23 or so when I asked how to get the Mall, the end of the race. Little did I know that its pronunced Maaal here, not Mall, and nobody had a clue what I was asking for. I kept running down the Thames and past the Millenium Dome and finally hit Big Ben. I knew the end of this marathon was somewhere. I asked more people and was pointed in the proper direction. I had no spring left in my legs as I hobbled towards the Mall and Buckingham palace. Finally, I saw the end and ran under 8 minutes per mile for the last 500 feet or so. Sweet victory was mine. My time was 5:10, but I am pretty sure I ran a good ways longer than a normal marathon as I got pretty lost several times. I also added a few miles in at the beginning and end to make sure I was good and wrecked for a day or two afterwards.

While not an official finish, I think I will remember this more than if I had signed up and paid and did it straight. The next time I am in Paris, Tokyo, or New York and have a few hours, I might try this again. Its pretty fun, alot cheaper, and the memories are a slightly different than those that come from a traditional marathon. I have run enough of them to know what they feel like.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Triple Crown Stage Race

Devil Mountain Double, Terrible Two, and Mt. Tam Double are the 3 triple crown stage race double centuries in 09 according to Granger Tam. This is great news for us in Northern CA as we wont have to travel far to experience the pain of the 3 tough doubles. I am pretty motivated to avenge my Lanterne Rouge performance of 2006. I don't see anything official yet on the Triple Crown website, but expect to very soon.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Devil Mountain Double North Training Ride

Today was a slightly shorter DMD North ride than planned, but a good one nonetheless. I parked the car at the Sunol Time station and took off a bit after 7:00 AM down Niles Canyon. I hate Niles Canyon due to lack of shoulder and scary drivers and the reason I started here was to get it out of the way. It took me 13:18 to get to Palomares from Sunol moving well over 20 MPH for most of it. I started moderately hard up Palomares but ran into the Christian Cycling Club (CCC) and they pushed me a bit harder up the hill than I might have normally gone. I crested out and remembered how easy this hill is when your fresh. I cruised down the hill as the CCC train came by and I caught on for a bit of a draft. I hit Norris Canyon in 1 hour and 12 mins and made quick work of this hill and dropped into San Ramon and into the Hotel where the DMD starts in 1:37:20. Doing analysis of the 2003 and 2004 DMD results, this would be the 4th fastest time of 120 recorded. It is of little value to compare this section between a fresh rider and one with 175+ miles on their legs, but it was interesting to see how I ranked.

The section from the hotel to Diablo started ok, but I lost confidence in my navigation skills and sat on the side of the road trying to get the iPhone Map to show me where I was. Turned out 10 minutes later I was right on course and I hit the start of Diablo at the Athenian school in 35 mins of riding time from the Hotel. I think I could pick up 5 mins on this easily as I did not push too hard. The ride up Diablo started great and I felt like I was making good time. I hit some nice winds half way up and suffered a bit from the Junction with the North and South roads to the summit. I got to the top in 1:26. Nothing to write home about for sure, but I kept the heart rate pretty reasonable in the 150's the entire time. I ranked 111/175 with my 2:01 time from the Hotel to the Summit. The 111th rank would equate an 18:15 overall time which is over my goal. I think the most I will pick up on race day is 5-8 minutes on this climb as I cannot afford to kill myself. While I started in Sunol today, my 2:01 time was not bad, but not great either.

The descent of Diablo is supposed to be one of the best around. I could not get over my fear of sliding out as their was a bit of gravel on the road. I felt pretty weak at this point of the ride, and a bit down. I did not descend very quickly. The section to Clayton is always deceiving as you climb quite a bit, but it does not look like you are, so you can get discouraged. Need to remember to bear down here as its not a fun section. I grabbed some salty snacks in Clayton and headed up Marsh Road to Morgan Territory. The climb from Clayon is a few hundred feet before you drop to MT. It took me 91 minutes to get from the Summit to MT. Pretty bad and something to really work on for the DMD. I think I could shave 10 mins from this if I can get some descending legs. The V8 kicked in and I had a great ascent up Morgan Territory. I really enjoyed the beauty of the climb and the isolation. No water in the rivers, however, due to the paltry rain this year. I hit the top where the aid station is in 6:01 total riding time, or 2:23 from the top of Diablo. This ranked me 120/175 which I attribute to my poor descending. I climbed MT strongly and I guess my rank on this would have been well in the 70-80 of the field.

I dropped down MT road and hit the intersection of N. Livermore and May School Road where the DMD heads towards Altamont. I decided to call it a day as I needed to get back home. I managed to hammer hard the last 16 miles back to Sunol in about 50 mins and loved the nice tail wind back to the car.

Ranking my times on the 3 sections I did, I was 42/120. My very fast time on the Sunol to the Hotel is what moved me up. Of course, this is riding time, so when I add an agressive off bike time of 20 mins, my rank would have been 52/175. One can only assume that my time will fall of as I have to ride up Mines and Sierra making a lot of this data more interesting than truly predictive. Overall, I would call today a pretty good day, especially for Jan. I will hit the remaining sections later in the month or in early Feb. My biggest weakness is my descending, especially when compared to people that fall in the 16 hour time range in this ride. The only way I can make up for this is to not get off the bike. I might need to pull of less than 30 minutes of off time if I have any chance. I cant imagine that my fitness would improve in the next 3 months to make much of a dent on the over-all time required. I could see a few minutes per climb and that wont add up to enough. I would put my odds of breaking 16 hours in the 25-50% range at this point.

Ride Stats:

100.3 Miles
7:13:08 Riding Time
8:00 Total Time
13.8 MPH Moving
9383 Feet of Climbing

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Ride up Mt. Hamilton

I continued along with the semi tradition of getting up early on New Years Day and riding up the tallest hill in the Bay Area, Mt. Hamilton. I had an idea of trying to challenge my best time of 1:42 set with Jason in 05 and I felt pretty good cresting over the first section that drops you past Quimby Rd. and past Joseph Grant park. I rode in thick fog until about 11 miles in where it broke. The entire bay area was covered making it look like a giant lake with the Coastal range mountains popping up on the opposite shore. I started pacing with a rider and let him go ahead. Nearer the top, I passed him again and we pushed pretty hard to the top. Ended up riding it in 1:47:45. No record, but if there was some earlier pacing going on, it might have fallen. It was a great ride. The descent of Hamilton was even worse than normal due to a ton of gravel in the road that I guess was due to the heavy snows a couple of weeks ago. I put on the heavy ski gloves which felt great on the descent. It was worth carrying them up the hill.