Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh, to be 19 again......

Joseph Schmalz with Mercy Cycling just signed up with Source Endurance. He's had an SRM all season and from his files, he's improved an astounding 6.7% in his LT since Daylight Savings started. That's just from riding and racing. Gawd, I wish I was 19 again......

He's decided to harness the power of science and really see what can happen when he stomps on the throttle. This should be interesting.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Scary. Is your food safe?

Aside from all the "organic, green, heart healthy," yada, yada crap. This is why you should cook your own food and not buy the expensive processed stuff......

From the NY Times:

"In addition to ConAgra, other food giants like NestlĂ© and the Blackstone Group, a New York firm that acquired the Swanson and Hungry-Man brands two years ago, concede that they cannot ensure the safety of items — from frozen vegetables to pizzas — and that they are shifting the burden to the consumer."

Apparently it's the consumer's fault that companies can't guarantee uncontaminated food. Who knew?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why now?

In honor of those who have deadlines and those taking finals......

Monday, May 11, 2009

Joe Martin Stage Race. Stages 3 and 4.

JMSR has come and gone for 2009 and I learned a few things, as always. For many in the mid-west this is the first “real race.” This is the first chance to test themselves in a bigger pond than the local events. For some, it’s a rude wake up call. Mid- May is here and all the early season would-have, could-have, should-have days of training and missed training have accumulated in this race. Some aren’t fit and should be in order to hit his/her goals for the season. No more excuses. At the amateur level this race is very difficult in so many ways. There’s no hiding in Time Trials, Climbing or tough technical criteriums. Joe Martin has all the above. Also, you’ll see a wide range of abilities in the amateur ranks, especially over a 3 day period. Riders that are strong will show it and riders who should have been training instead of worrying about the cold and chilly air will be making excuses.

The Pro riders make the race whatever they want, as evidenced by the stark contrast between Stage 2 and 3. Mostly, you have to get up the hill fast to avoid the time cut and then you have to not get dropped for the road stages, and survive the hardest criterium in the world. I wish that the team limits were 6 at the Pro level. I’m positive it would make for a much more competitive and wide open event. 8 guys can control a 3 day race (no, the TT does not count as a “full stage”) although Ouch was pushed to the breaking point this weekend. 6 can’t. Also, why do you need 1 less guy than the team size for a Grand Tour for 3 stages? That being the case, the criterium was more fun to watch than the previous few, which saw the crowd size dwindle from a few thousand to a few hundred. I guess people want to be entertained by fireworks. On to our race.

Stage 3- The wall and the climb that sucks.

As per the previous day, Mercy decided it best to put the pressure on the other riders and teams by placing guys in all the moves and making others chase. However, we did burn a few guys and needed a few miles to “loosen up.” When the race went hot, it was approximately 500 meters until Bill Marshall was in a two man move that rolled out a 1:05 advantage nearly instantly before being chased hard by a combination of a few teams. They were caught at the bottom of the 3 tiered climb we would ride 3 times on the day. Immediately afterward, I’m on the move in a powerful group that I thought looked good. Another 45+ mile break? Why not…. But it was not to be as we were brought back quickly. Then goes Brian Dweiza in a 4 man move that would roll for nearly an entire lap. That would bring about the beginning of what I thought was the most impressive ride of the day.

Christian Helmig. Apparently, a few of his teammates, himself included, wanted to do the Pro, 1 race. For whatever reason it was not to be and so they came into the 1,2 race with guns blazing. Helmig rode at the front of the race, setting tempo and controlling a field of 82 guys nearly 100% solo while also marking the dangerous moves himself and thus nullifying them. For you see, Christian himself was sitting in 4th place overall and having him in a move to “gain time” doesn’t really help if 4th place is sitting right behind you.

Following Dweiza’s move, I found myself in an excellent move with a number of riders that were “out” of contention and powerful enough to roll away. Indeed if I would have worked with the move, it probably stood a good chance of working. Instead, my sitting on resulted in others following suit. But I was merely there to protect Mercy’s GC rider. And it wasn’t going to happen considering Helmig was sitting on my wheel riding tail gunner of the move. Crap.

Helmig did have plenty of help returning the “dangerous” moves to the field. That’s not saying he got lucky. He was smart enough to know what he could not do by himself. Props to him. Meanwhile, anything dangerous was chased by everyone else who was afraid of missing the move. The right mix never happened that would force Helmig to really have to pull himself to pieces and thus Metro was able to hang onto the top rung of the overall. Impressive… at least I won’t have to worry about him in the amateur ranks next year. He should be riding with a pro contract by then.

Stage 4. Hardest Criterium EVER!

I’ve never prayed for rain in a criterium, especially a technical one with two fast brick corners, because wet brick + fast corners = sliding, band- aids, shredded clothes. However, I think that Mercy has some of the better poor conditions riders in the 1,2 field. 4 riders all experienced in Cyclocross typically will do well in crappy conditions. But it was not to be.

Instead, I got to race the super fast, super technical criterium in dry conditions. With time gaps very close one thing was sure. It was going to be a knock down drag out dogfight. This would be the day where the accumulation of the pressure that Mercy placed on the field throughout the weekend would really show. Hopefully, everyone was a little tired and the “edge” would be taken off the legs enough to let Joe, Chris, and Kolt isolate the GC contenders and really turn the screws.

One small detail…. I was having a horrible day. I guess the cumulative 80+ miles of break away riding had taken its toll. I didn’t have any ability to match any accelerations on the hill and I had to use my entire repertoire of tricks just to stay on the lead lap and in the field. Basically, I took hot routes through corners and drifted front to back on the hill just to stay in the race.

Meanwhile, Kolt, Joe and Chris were covering moves and on the full offensive. Joe had been protected all weekend and his fresh legs were showing as he covered every threatening move all day. By the halfway point of the race, it was the same 8 guys throwing everything and the kitchen sink at each other. And that’s the way it ended. Everyone on same time with Joe finishing in 6th place and Chris at 19th. Not bad for a couple of Young Guns who last year were on junior gears.

The aftermath…..

Chris was hungry. Here’s his post race dinner at Wendy’s:

Spiced Chicken Sandwich. 440 calories, 1320mg sodium

Double Stack Cheeseburger. 700 calories, 1500mg sodium

Spicy Chicken “Go Wrap.” 360 calories, 730mg sodium.

Medium Fry. 330kcal. 340mg Na.

5 Piece nugget. 190kcal. 420mgNa

32 oz Strawberry Soda. 370kcal. 0mgNa.

Small Frosty. 160kcal. 75mgNa.

Total: 2550kcal. 4385mg Sodium.

He could have kept going, but we had to get on the road. When I showed him the numbers, he responded with, “that’s a good amount.”

PS. As I was writing this in the van, an early 1990’s Ford Ranger with no muffler, one taillight, and NO DOORS blew by us on the highway going at least 100mph. We were driving 75 and got passed like were standing still. I’ve never seen that in my life. But we ARE in MissourA.....

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Round 2... With day 1 playing out well for Mercy on GC, we decided that the best way to use the horsepower we had was to make the race hard. That meant putting guys in moves all day long. And putting pressure on the field from the beginning. The plan was to start the day with a couple of guys riding in early moves, a couple of guys in the late moves and saving a couple guys for the late moves.

I was supposed to be a "middle guy" but when Andrew Crater comes by and says, "you wanna go up to that?" as I slide on his wheel what am I supposed to do? So I audibled the play and we went across to a developing 6 man break at ludicrous speed. The break never gained more than 50seconds and the field was always chasing, hard. 45 miles later, we're back in the field. But the work took it's toll on the riders as the next 20 miles were a full 2.5mph slower than the first 45 miles. Hmmm....

Cue Brian Dweiza. He rides away solo and is joined by 3 others who ride for those 20 miles gaining up to 2:05 on the now chasing field all the way to Mt. Gaylor. I helped chase a threatening move back on the climb, then get dropped in the last 500m. Ahhhh! Okay, get feed, and chase. And chase. And chase. A Colavita rider and myself rode 10-15 seconds off the back end of the caravan for 11 miles. OUCH!!!!!!!!

Final 15 miles, we had Colt in the move, until he flatted which took our tactically strong position to a tactical disaster. Cue Chris Wallace and myself chasing to bring back a 25second gap. That is until I cramp. Sit up and ride the next 8 miles easy to avoid hurting myself.... more. Joe, Kolt and Chris held same time as the field with one rider leapfrogging into first.

Gotta go get in the van now. Thanks for reading!

Today will be..... wet.

Tarzan Chris.

6.9 kg, or less Scott Bicycles

Fastest bike on Mercy in the uphill TT. 2004 baby!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Joe Martin Stage Race, stage 2 begins.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!! Let's do it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Joe Martin Stage Race, Round 1.

I'm not really sure what is going on with me... I did my first JMSR TT in a respectable time and since then, I've gotten faster but my times have gotten slower. Perhaps, it's cause I've not had a computer the last couple of years I've been here and thus don't know my time and thus don't know how fast, er not fast I'm going. The time isn't horrible. That would be missing the time cut..... But a 10.03 is not pretty. Perhaps I just don't like to suffer alone. Perhaps I just need to warm up better. Looks like it's time to get back to basics.......

Joe's in 4th and I hope that's as low as he goes. More tomorrow.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Three and a half percent!

Okay, I'm a nerd. I admit it. I like to look at and analyze power files. Especially when it comes to people I work with and how to make them faster and stronger. I'm using Shadd Smith as an example here for many reasons. But mostly because he already consented to it.

Shadd and I began this process in the early days of 2009. As always, at first he was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. The typical, "you want me to do what in the off season occurred." But I just gave him my High Intensity Training (HIT) article and he seemed to be satisfied with it. Then comes the first "forced rest" of 2009. It's always hard to get elite riders to rest. The concept is unfamiliar: Rest to get faster? It's also very counter-intuitive, despite the glut of scientific studies that seem to support it. In the end it was agreed that resting should happen, which turned out great as Shadd was in the middle of developing some sort of sinus something which would leave him feeling flat for a few days.

Then, after the rest Shadd comes out and does something AMAZING! First, he rated the April 21 Tuesday nighter, April 26 Old Capital Criterium, and April 30 Tuesday nighter all basically the same as far as perceived exertion goes. However one small detail with large consequences. His performance increased an ENORMOUS 3.5% in that 7 days. It doesn't sound like much, but an elite athlete able to improve 3.5% is a BIG DEAL. In a 60 minute effort (CX race, long TT) 3.5% is 2:06 off your time. You can win races with that! And that's exactly what happened.

For starters, the speed was less than last week. Right at 1mph average slower. However, speed is dependent on the race. Powers were up, break happened, and the getaway group was gone with the field powerless to leash them in. Myself, I've been riding the bench all week as the training finally caught up with me, leaving me with no legs and barely able to hold onto the wheel the entire ride to KC. I'll be on "leave" until my powers come back up- and thus watching. Should be around Saturday or Sunday when I get back to work. It's interesting watching the peloton flow from outside the group. You can defintely see the compression waves as every attack ripples through the riders. You can also tell exactly when and where the splits will be and how much damage each move makes on the riders.

When the move happened on Tuesday, I knew it was over. The front few guys surged as everyone else behind them seemingly rode through quicksand and lost all momentum. Game over. Except for David Hedjuk who decided to execute a brilliant one man superman bridge and got on. Break was at 6 riders and that was it. In the end, they nearly lapped the field and by the end it was Shadd and Phil Gronniger were dueling for 1st place, with Shadd managing that one more effort that probably wasn't available the week before to finish ahead of Phil who totally digs his Source Endurance Tech T that he won last week.

So on to the numbers, rest assured this is not even half the "real story" of the file, just what I want y'all to know:
Kj/ hr equivalent for the 41 minute race: 1125 kj/ hr.

Normalized Power for the first 8 minutes, until the break formed: 395W
kj/ hr equiv. of the first 8 min: 1245 kj/ hr.

Average power of the final 1 and 3/4 lap, when the break began attacking itself: 472W.
Elapsed time it took for the final 1 and 3/4 lap: 00:02:01.
Number of attacks in the last 2min: 6.
Average power of attacks: 737W for 8 seconds.
Time over 600W in the final 2min: 42s.

Elapsed time of the final lap: 00:01.29
Average Speed of the final lap: 28.5mph.

Interesting note: Shadd came out again and threw down some killer work on Thursday turning in some 24 minutes worth of 1200+ kj/hr intensity. Funny thing is, I'm fairly positive this isn't his ceiling......