Monday, August 25, 2008

Solo Century Rides

How many of you have ridden Century rides with your friends/buds in the past? I know I've done a bunch, and to tell you the truth..I think they're just junk mile rides that benefit you only by burning calories (if your goal is to drop a few pounds) and getting your butt used to sitting on a bike seat for 6 hrs. But, have you ever ridden a Century Ride solo- and challenged yourself to go as hard/fast as you can? I've ridden two local Century rides solo this year: Suburban Cyclists Unlimited (SCU) Quad County Metric Century and the SCU Lake Nockamixon Century..and starting to prefer them that way- SOLO. And, in each ride I challenged myself to go as fast/hard as I can. The beauty of these rides is the following:

a. you've got a well marked route on the road so you can't get lost
b. you reel in the slower riders one by one- which ought to motivate you to go faster/harder
c. you've got sag support enroute
d. you've got aid/food stations enroute
e. you've got safety in numbers
f. you can ride as fast/hard as you want..usually faster on your own
g. you can find a fast group or riders and sit-in/draft for a portion of the I do
h. you can enter the ride mid-route (on your bike) if you need to drive to the start
i. you don't have to pay..if you don't want...and still eat/drink at the rest stops...hahaha
j. you might see some of your friends along the way
k. you get home when you want to, not when your friends allow you to
l. you get a better workout in on your stopping..slowing..waiting..etc.
m. you can quit..anytime you want when you're cooked..and soft pedal home
n. you can go as many miles as you want..nobody says you have to do 100 can do 125 or 50
o. you can create a race day scenario..i.e. pretend it's an Ironman bike leg
p. you can try to break 5 hrs for 100 miles averaging 20 mph..or some other goal

Anyway, I could go on and on. So, next time there is a Century ride in the area, ride your bike to the route solo..and see if you don't prefer them that way in the future. Yeah, I miss out on the social aspect of the ride. But, you can always meet your buds at the bar afterwards and get your socializing in then...over a nice cold beer or two..or three. Treat yourself for a hard days work. Cheers Rob

Friday, August 8, 2008

Racing and Crashing

Hate to say it..but if you race a lot..sooner or later you're gonna crash. Crashing is an inescapable part of racing. And, a lot of times it's a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. i.e. being taken out by someone. I'm not going to tell you how to prepare for a crash either..other than to say statistically you're probably better off trying to keep your hands on the handlebars and roll..rather than to use your hand(s) to break your fall.

But, the purpose of this post is NOT to tell you what to do BEFORE a crash but what to do AFTER you crash. Naturally, the first thing to do AFTER is to assess your own health/condition. Did you hit your head? Are you cut? Did you dislocate or break anything? If so, seek medical attention right away. The second thing you want to do is to assess your equipment. Is your helmet dinged, cracked or damaged? How about your bike? Do you have a carbon-fiber bike w/ carbon handlebars? If so, do NOT continue the race. Why? Because you never know if you're carbon fiber handlebars or bike frame is not damaged..and you may not only be jeopardizing your own safety but that of the peloton...if you continue. When carbon-fiber bikes and/or handlebars are damaged it's not readily noticeable and they don't bend like Aluminum or Steel when they're failing or about to fail..they shatter. Also, bike helmets are NOT football helmets. Bike helmets are only good for ONE impact...not mulitple impacts like football helmets. So, if you hit your head on the ground at all- regardless of how hard..that's it..GAME OVER! At least for that race. If you're able to read this post, and you hit your head during a bike crash, consider that your helmet did the job it was intended to do..keep your brains from being scrambled. Now go out and buy a new one..that is lighter, cooler, etc.

When you get home from the race I recommend that you take your bike back to the shop that you bought it from and have them look over it REAL good before you ride it again . They're the experts. If you have either a carbon frame or handlebars, they'll probabaly insist that you/they send it back to the manufacturer. Most good bike and bike accessory manufacturers have good Crash Replacement Policies. You may want to check into it before you make your purchase. Here is a link to Trek's Carbon Bike Frame Replacement Policy:

Yeah, I know it aint cheap to replace your new carbon frame or handlebar..but it's a lot less than ignoring any potential/un-noticed damage and causing an accident that may injure a fellow rider, friend or family member.

Better safe than sorry!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Great Valley Practice Criterium

Went to the GVPC last night (for the first time) w/ a group of CB Velo riders. For those of you that don't know about is some info. I stole from Guy's Bike Shop:

Great Valley Practice Criterium Thursdays - 6:00 pm Location - Great Valley Corporate Center (Off Route 29), Malvern Format - 30 laps, sprint every 3rd lap, 30 miles, flat w/one riser Average Speed - 20 to 25 mph Map - Great Valley Parkway, Malvern, PA 19335

I don't know how old this post is from Guy's but the speed surely picked up a tad. My computer said 26.7 mph for the average speed. I'm not sure who the lead dawgs were but I'd say there were a couple Cat 2/3 racers in the mix..approx. 50 riders in all..which I heard is a relatively light crowd for a Thursday night Crit. Anyway, what I wanted to do is share some post-ride Power Tap data for you Power Guru's out there. Here is the ride data that I downloaded from my Computer:

Dist: 31 miles
Work: 800 kJ (800 calories)
Avg. Normalized Power: 230 watts (assumes const. pedaling)
Avg. Power: 195 watts
Avg. Heart Rate: 173 bpm
Max. Heart Rate: 193 bpm
Avg. Speed: 26.7 mph
Max. Speed: 38 mph

Ok, so what's all this mean? It means when you're sitting-in, you really don't have to produce that much power. i.e. 200 watts for me, and I weigh 174 lbs. But, what you can't see in these numbers are the accelerations per lap that allow you to sit-in. On each lap, I had to crank-out three 20 second intervals of 300 watts to keep me hanging-on. That's in addition to the lessor duration and power output intervals each lap. The peak 20 second interval for each lap averaged around 400 watts...with my max 20 sec. interval of 500 watts. That was when I got stuck pulling out front..bleh. I say bleh, cause I was redlining...almost blew-up..fried the engine.I missed the final sprint, but that's because I lost track of the laps. I'll learn!

Anyway, if you want a GREAT TRAINING CRIT..this is it folks. If you get just try to get back on when the group comes back around. We meet at Jason Wood's house off of Cold Spring Creamery Rd. at 430pm. That works for me since I live 2 doors down from Jason on Boxwood Circle.

Cheers Rob