We make holes in teeth!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sunday Morning

So I realized I actually needed like 360 grams of carbs if I eat 4 hours before the race. I split the difference and said 3.5 hours, and then came a little short anyway. The breakfast:

  • Sesame bagel with 2 tbsp jelly
  • 1 cup cinnamon-raison cereal with 1 cup rice milk
  • Medium banana
  • 3 carnation instant breakfasts with 1 cup rice milk
  • Cup of coffee
  • 2 glasses of water
The carnation and banana will be eaten in the car, along with some more water. Can't go too nuts because I don't want to stop to pee 6 times.

This lands me at 293 grams of carbs, 1413 total calories. That's nothing short of insane. It sounds extreme but this is what is referred to as "performance eating". I tell ya what. No idea how the race is going to go but I'm pretty damn sure I'll be performing on the can before long.

Ok, time to let her rip. Thanks for the well wishes!

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Loading Up

On to carb loading now, the limited version. Did a quick spin on the road bike today with an absolute blow out effort on a hill leading into a flat, about 5 minutes of balls out effort. I warmed up for 15 minutes before that, then spun around for another 25 minutes after that, threw a few hills in because it felt like a waste to go out for such a short ride. Just under 46 minutes total. Now the rest of the day is loading up with carbs, the cleaner (read: fruit) the better.

Car is all packed, checklist all checked. The rear derailleur is 90% I'd say. I can get most of the gears except the smallest and no big deal there since tomorrow is a lot of climbing. The housing on the rear derailleur needs to either be loaded with lube or changed. It wasn't the derailleur after all. Took it off and teflon lubed it up and it was fine. This morning after a night of setting in, everything seemed a lot better. Now it's all in the car.

Slept 8+ last night and woke up refreshed at about 7:00. Good stuff. Tonight won't be a whole lot of sleep but if I can pull in 6+ of sound sleep I'll be happy, 7 and I'll be thrilled. Weather not looking amazing right now but it is what it is. I threw in the Panaracer Cinders in case it's pouring tomorrow because the deep tread on those are likely better in the mud. Unless it's a downpour though I'm sticking with the Specialized Resolutions.

Going with a cooler tomorrow on pit row, a second bottle, some GU, Clif bars, extra gloves, jersey, and whatever else I deem worthy of a pit stop will be thrown in there. First bottle is 600 calories and the second 400. Figure 3 laps and 2 laps, or 3 & 1, or 2 & 1, 2 & 2, who knows.

Now I just need to figure out how to get 180+ grams of carbs out of breakfast tomorrow. It's hard enough figuring out how to get that many carbs without just eating 4 bagels. Doing it all at once will really be a challenge. Hey, but you gotta top off the tanks before you go. I have a feeling I'll be taking a pit stop along the way.

OK, over and out. Breakfast post depending on what time I wake up. Roll out is 5:30 tentative. Aside from the 45 minutes of gorging there's really not much to do.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

How Retards Race

So I mentioned it yesterday but I think I'm going to give it a shot at 5 laps Sunday. It' really all mental masturbation at this point because I have no clue what the course will be like, especially since it looks like rain. So resigning myself to 4 laps is a bit premature. I'll just try to keep a solid start pace without going too red line and go from there. I think the marathon probably starts with many of the XC guys so there will be some people exploding off the line. If I try to keep that pace it will be "destruction, terror, and mayhem" city. Start a solid tempo-plus and see what my first lap time clocks at. I think 48 would be the toughest to gauge what to do. Oh and I found out that 2 of the pros that might be at the race, won't be there. So that means there will be 2 fewer people between #1 and DFL.

I've been eating like a hog this week no matter how much I ride in the morning. I haven't put on pounds so I'm not worried. I guess this is just my body saying it needs food. That's cool, I like food. Trying to eat on the cleaner side with plenty of fruits. Obviously I don't want to go (my love for you is ticking clock) berzerker these next 2 days. Pure and clean baby. Or something.

OK the rear wheel is back together but the rear derailleur is not looking good. Very high resistance when shifting up the cogs. Then it's not smooth when I drop it back down. Something has to be bent. I took the cable off and tried to move the derailleur to the largest cog and it can't extend that far anymore. So something has gone south recently.

I have 3 options right now. One is to try and fix this. Two is to just buy a new hanger and take the XT derailleur that my buddy Albert has laying around. Three is to beg Gary to turn my bike around in an hour Saturday. Oh folks this is not the way to ease you way into a race. No not at all. Option 2 leads currently.

With rain on the forecast there will likely be no Lewis Morris warm up. It's looking like either a quick road spin or a trainer session. I have no problem with that except for the fact that the mountain bike is going to go right from the stand to the race track. That's an awful plan for those of you scoring at home. Awful awful awful. This blog post title reflects that approach.

I got my Heed shipment so not everything is looking shady right now. Just the bike and the weather. I still haven't decided what to put in my bottle. Leaning towards 2 bottles as I write this. I may consider putting a cage on the underside of the down tube which makes the swap a 1 minute deal instead of having to take my camelbak off. If I do that though I probably want an emergency bottle in the bag because it it breaks off I'm tanked with too few calories. I don't think the course is so rough and tumble that it will get knocked off. But I haven't run it in the field so I don't know how much it needs to be secured.

In the middle of the night I split the bed and went upstairs. The Doodle blew up at about 1:00 after she peed through her clothes. I lasted until about 2:20 then said screw it, I need sleep. Next 2 nights flying solo upstairs for sure. I need the rest. I feel fine today but it's sort of a high wire act. One awful night of sleep tonight could screw it all up. Sunday I need to get up at like 4:30 and be out the door at 5:30 so I can get there by 7:30. That gives me a 30 minute cushion in case I need to stop for coffee, beer, narcotics, or a new bike. Race begins at 9:00 and I'd like to register at 8:00.

So a lot of this is just me thinking out loud and leaving a record for the next race. I hope it sheds some light on WTF is going on in my head on race week. I doubt I'll post tomorrow because I'll be desperate to find a plan B. OTOH, I really should make sure I post my pre-game thoughts as well as what I eat for breakfast. Do I have a fallback right now? Not really. I remain confident that something will come along and save the Simpson children. I mean hell, isn't this a storybook setting where everything always turns out happily ever after?

Norm wins! Norm wins! Norm wins!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Less Proof

Today I woke up feeling refreshed and my 45 minutes on the trainer were great. Kept an almost 21 average for the tempo session which is a good number. Trainer averages don't translate precisely to the road. It's just a metric. A little boring but I'm all basement this week I haven't put my new blinkey on the bike yet so road riding early is on-hold without the rear blinking light. The one Cliffy gave me shit the bed last week. Thanks for the blinks anyway, Clifford.

So my wife picked up a spoke for me yesterday at the Assholes R Us local bike shop. Aside from belittling her in front of the people there, the guy made her wait for 10 minutes while he apparently went to take a crap or something. Whatever, I guess. Despite the fact it's a huge shop I've always hated it because the people who work there are douche bags. Of course this just cements that opinion.

Oh and they gave her the wrong spoke. So not only is the dick head condescending he doesn't know what the fuck he's doing. Big surprise there.

I ended up using an old spoke from the SS bike. A bit long but it doesn't stick up past the rim so it will work. I didn't get the loctite so the wheel is still not put back together but it's a simple matter at this point. Also didn't tackle the derailleur yet so you don't have to read about how much the overpriced XTR components don't perform up to their price point. Actually it came with the bike so whatever.

Got my chromium bearings and Phil Wood grease yesterday so next week you get to read all about my idiotic attempts to repack my road bike hubs properly. That should be fun.

Also got the Garmin 205 which does me no good this week. It should come in handy on Memorial Day weekend though. I may download my friend Sean's Allamuchy hat trick tracks and follow that. It's a 3 park loop connected by a rail trail and a very small amount of road. Should be 40 miles or so on the mountain bike. That sounds a lot tougher than it is. Another option is trying to get a track of the 50k to ride. Now that's only 30 miles but much harder.

OK getting ahead of myself. Race in 3 days but I feel good. Printed out the directions so now I just need to get my bike together, run a warm up on Saturday, then pack my stuff. I picked up a 6 pack of Saranac caramel porter Tuesday night so I'm all set for the post race celebration.

* Update from work...

Man I have to say I have some serious spring in my step today. I know it's a bit of a gay expression but I have to point towards the light-load week and say there's a good chance that's why I feel so good. Hopefully this is how I feel Sunday. I've also figured that I really should go for broke and try to post 45 minute laps. Worst case I know after 1 lap that I can't pull it off and I ease back on the throttle. Best case I go for it again on lap 2.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More Proof

Wednesday is more proof that how you feel before you throw your leg over the bar is no indication of how you'll do once you start turning the cranks. This morning was one of those days where you roll out of bed and everything is an awkward task. I would list the litany of things that support this but we've all had those days when remembering where the fridge is can be a daunting task.

But it all went away when I started turning the cranks. 45 minutes in the saddle with a single 30 LT block, half the normal dose. Had no problems keeping power up and felt good when all was said and done. Don't feel as fresh overall today as yesterday but I'm feeling decent, which is a good enough start to a Wednesday morning. Just about 4 days exactly until the start of the Granogue race. Rock, rock on!

So I got my torx wrench at the Brooklyn hardware store yesterday and managed to strip the fucking thing on the last bolt holding the disc on. Did I mention these things are loctite bound? Luckily, after much toil, I found another torx wrench attachment in the basement that wasn't made of clay and managed to get the thing off. Took off the cassette on the other side this morning and finally got the damn spoke out. Nat is going to stop by the bike shop and pick up a new one for me today. I probably should have a handful in reserve for stuff like this. Actually a spare set of wheels would really be the cat's meow. What the hell does that mean?

Meanwhile back to the hardware store today to get some loctite. Funny that when something breaks around the house, oh like the dehumidifier that's been not working since the fall, I putz around and put it off until it absolutely needs to be done. Like now as our basement smells like a sweaty jock. But when I need a bike tool or part, immediate action is required.

After the wheel is back together I need to clean and lube the rear derailleur. My water-wash of the bike Sunday has left it a tad sluggish in shifting. This is usually a job for the bike shop since it's part of my free maintenance deal but they're just too far away. If I need to I'll head there Saturday and have them tweak it. Let's hope that's not necessary because I want Saturday to be as free and easy as possible.

Then we should be good to go. Looking to roll it out on Saturday for a warm up ride and to make sure I didn't fuck anything up. Let's hope. It's not rocket science so if I don't break anything further it should all be good to go. When it comes down to it as long as I have 3 or 4 reliable gears I'll be all set.

Expecting 2 packages today. One is the bearings so I can rebuild the road hubs. The other is a Garmin 205 GPS unit which is made for the bike and allows me to download tracks that other people have uploaded to the motionbased website. This way I can go and learn new parks without having to have someone lead me around. Not that I mind people leading me around but most people don't like to roll at 6:00 am on Saturday. Why spend your life sleeping when you can be waking up the deer on your bike?

Then tomorrow's package is my Heed shipment from Hammer Nutrition, which is my calorie source for this race. I'm thinking 2 super strong bottles of 500 calories each. One on the bike and one in the camelbak to switch out at the 2 hour mark. Mentally it's tough to stop and burrow around in the bag but you need to take in calories or (more) pain ensues. The other option is one bottle of maybe 600 or 700 calories and a couple of Hammer Shots (basically GU) to top it off. The downside there is that a 700 calorie bottle is pretty damn sweet. I got some unflavored this time so may cut the sweetness down a bit. If so maybe I blow out the doors and pump 1000 calories in one bottle and maybe 60 or so ounces of water on my back. Need to check the weather to see how hot it's supposed to be. Either way dehydration won't play much of a role in a race that short.

OK there's my Wednesday report. Tune in tomorrow as I discuss the relative merits of running a single-speed bike 3 days before my first race of the year, aka fixing the derailleur.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tuesday and Reader Comments!

I have long contended that Tuesday is the worst day of the week. Basically it loses to Monday because in a way Monday gets me back into a healthy eating groove that I normally fall out of over the weekend. And of course the last 3 days of the week are better because the lead into the weekend. The only thing going for it is that Saturday enters the 5 day weather forecast on Tuesday. So it has that going for it, which is nice.

But today doesn't really feel that bad. No, in fact I feel pretty good right now. I got a rock solid 7 hours of sleep last night and only got up once, which is like 5 times less than normal. When I woke up I was still pretty groggy and getting on the bike at 5:15 was a little slow. But I got there and warmed up while I finished off my coffee.

I decided yesterday to change my week from 2 partially limited days to 3 half-days. That meant a high-end session with only 15 minutes of work instead of the 20 I was considering. For those of you following at home (hi Terren) this half-time approach is a classic taper week. This is only a small taper though because I didn't start until today and a full classic approach is a full 2 weeks, where the second week is yet another 50% reduction in volume. So yes, that translates to waking up, going through the whole rigmarole of getting ready, warming up, and doing 7.5 minutes of intervals, then cooling down and calling it a day. Yeah, it seems pretty silly but this approach is borne out through many years of trial and error and some recent studies to finally back up the claim. I will say this though, I feel pretty damn good right now. By my last interval this morning I was finally hitting my stride. Now I feel pretty fresh. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come this week.

Also it gives me time to get my bike ready for the weekend. Sadly my bike is in a bit of a sloppy state right now and I need all the extra time I can get. The rear wheel has a broken spoke and of course I don't have the tool to remove the disc, which means a trip to the hardware store this afternoon. Why do they have to make this one single part a different kind of tool? And who knew there was a hardware store in Brooklyn?

OK so someone reads my blog! Terren said:

"Happy Channukah Norm. A thought: since it appears that how you feel isn't a reliable indication of how well you're riding, you shouldn't let it be an important factor on race day. I.e. even if you feel flat, don't let it psyche you out. Although I'm not sure how you could feel flat with the adrenaline of an actual race."

Definitely a good thought and something I experienced at the Matheny ride last month. I never felt amazing that day but I rode one of my strongest rides of the year. So it certainly backs up the idea that how you feel doesn't necessarily correlate to how you ride.

In terms of feeling flat on race day, no it's generally not a problem although a better word might be sluggish. That's a more accurate way of describing it. Some riders call it "snap" and I think it's something we've all felt before. Like the first day you ever got on a real road bike and were like, "Holy crap this thing goes fast!" It's like that when you're on. It just feels good to get on the bike, to roll anywhere. The opposite is when the bike feels like it's made of lead, or you constantly think you're in a higher gear than you are. Some of it is mental, without a doubt. Some of it is how fresh you are. There's a balance for sure. If you feel too sluggish you need to remember that you'll snap out of it eventually. If you feel too good you really have to reign yourself in otherwise you run the risk of blowing yourself up in the first hour.

It shouldn't be too much of a factor because I should get a sufficient amount of sleep this week. Added to that is the reduced workload which of course will only help with the whole fresh/snap thing. It's also not my first ever race, so race day nerves aren't really much of an issue. Actually since there are going to be pros there, in my class (it's an open field with no categories for the marathon race) it kinda takes the pressure off. When the nation's strongest rider (literally) lines up next to you, any anxiety you might have would be more in-line with, "Well I hope I don't crash, ruin his season, and end up as a freak side show on Velo News."

A final aspect of the feel/perform thing is asking the question, Why ride these races if you don't necessarily feel good doing so? It's a good question and I don't really have a good answer. I obviously like riding my bike but there's a fine line you can cross between training and just enjoying it. My contention is that you need a certain level of fitness to really enjoy the rides. I think I'm there now. But once you get to that level the little voice inside your head keeps saying you should go further, press harder, just to see what you can do. And to be sure, this toil I put myself through is enjoyable in some ways. I don't mean the weekend rides as there's very little toil involved there. I'm referring to Tuesday morning and my normal suffer-fest on the trainer. Yeah it hurts but it makes you stronger. And if it makes my Saturday rides that much better, I'm game so long as it doesn't kill me. And as we all know, very few things in life that are really fulfilling are easy anyway. When it all comes together, it's just perfect. Pedaling through the swamp with nobody on the road and the sun rising next to you is awesome stuff.

Anyway, there's a long answer to your comment. The train ride is long so I have plenty of time to pontificate (read: over analyze and obsess) about the details of riding a bike. At the end of the day, the wheels on the bike go round and round, round and round, round and round...

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Monday, May 14, 2007

What Does Race Week Mean?

Gotta be honest, I have no idea. The race is Sunday at 9:00 am. It's now Monday morning and I'm heading to work. I'm tired, I ate like shit yesterday, and I didn't have 2 particularly good days on the bike. In a sense I feel a little stagnant but when I try to be objective about it the rides weren't bad by any stretch. If I allow a slight taper and enough rest this week I should be good to go.

Saturday I met Woody and Kevin at Chimney Rock at the usually absurd time of 6:00. I was ready to roll by 5:50 so I went on a quick 10 minute warm up before they got there and immediately felt I was off. I was a little sluggish and I wasn't technically sound at all. So I decided to ease up a bit, spin more, and take it easier than normal.

Maybe an hour later Woody tells me to go on by myself if I want because he and Kevin are both dragging. No doubt Kevin was having a rough day having gone OTB twice in the section before he said that. I didn't feel so good that I needed to drop anyone and the pace was fine. Being objective, Woody's comment is an indication I wasn't sucking it up out there or anything. By the final loop I did feel a tad better. And my average for the day was the same as the week before when I felt invincible.

Yesterday I did my 38 mile loop which I'm kinda sick of because there are 3 roads I'd prefer not to ride in that loop. I did it in the afternoon and expected an 18-19 mph average. So I was surprised at the flat 17.0 average I pulled. Granted it was the fastest time I've ever done that loop but I'm also clearly in better shape then ever before so it's a no-brainer that should be the case. I ended up riding for 2:13 and change. I think by the end of the year I could post a 2 hour ride for that loop. But I'd really have to go balls out for that.

So I suppose objectively I had a good weekend but I didn't feel "on" either day. I didn't put in a ton of hours last week and I was pretty rested enough so I was expecting better. That's the funny thing about this training stuff. You never know how it's going to turn out. There are no instructions like there are when you bake a cake.

This week is pretty light overall. Tuesday will be an hour or so, 20 minutes of high-end stuff which is 2/3 the normal. Thursday is a 1:15 tempo ride. Then Saturday is my warm up day. Probably 1:20 out at Lewis Morris, with a 20 minute warm up, then 1 race loop at moderate pace but hammering a few hills, then a 20 minute cool down. Then a shitload of carbs and water the rest of the day which seemed to work well for the Matheny ride a few weeks ago. Still need to figure out my breakfast for Sunday.

Then Sunday at 9:00 I get to line up against some of the pros and get my ass handed to me. No better way to show yourself just how absurdly inadequate your biking abilities are by taking the line with the strongest endurance rider in the country. The annual winner of the 24 hour solo race may also be there. Actually I have no idea who will show but last year this race brought out all the top teams in the area.

Whatever though. I've been "training" for about 6 months so my expectations are reasonable. I figure I'll post 4 laps then my time limit to start another will have run out. It's a 4 hour race but you need to start your last lap by the 3 hour mark. A local semi-pro I occasionally ride with posted 43 minute lap times last year and I can't keep that pace. So maybe my best time on my best day is 45 minutes. But I won't be able to throw down 4 of those laps in succession Sunday. So I think it will be 3 and then 1 last lap.

OK so enough of all that. It's Monday morning and I'm on the train. Let's hope this week is a good one. I would wish my readers a belated happy Mother's Day but I think only Woody, Cliffy, and Terren read this blog so what would the point be? Shit I doubt anyone even got to the end of it so my words at this point are generally worthless anyway, since I myself probably won't even go back and read them.

So anyway, Merry Christmas.

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