Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Santa Cruz Mtn Ride

This past Saturday I ponied up with a few SJBC teammates who weren't up at the District races to do the Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge. I was pretty excited to do this 100 mile ride. Sure, 11k of climbing might sound painful to some, but I was amped to ride on some new roads and climbs. What follows is just a few points of a great day on the road:
  • Mtn Charlie - For some reason I thought this road was a nicely paved meandering climb up to Summit Road. It was, but the pavement was mediocre and inconsistent. But with no traffic I liked it.
  • Big Basin descent - This rocks as always...though I've only done it once before. The only thing I forgot, but learned the hard way, was how the first hard hairpin turn on the descent from China Grade in the park near the park HQ has a tight decreasing radius turn. I took it pretty fast and made it through barely. The two random riders on my tail weren't as 'aware' of the corner, but they made it through safely.
  • Jamison Creek - WOW. Double WOW. The bottom portion of this climb isn't anything too special, but the last two thirds just shot you up to the heavens at an alarming rate. I was in my 36-29t combo and averaged around 360 watts for the climb (mid-23 minutes to complete). Standard gearing would have really hurt.
  • Felton-Empire descent - Great pavement. Too bad there were cars that made me slow down and wear out a set of brake pads.
  • Zayante - Hot as always in that canyon. I know this climb, so it was bearable
  • Granite Creek - The map shows this as a little blip of a climb, but when it shows up at mile 98 it's a bit tougher than when the legs are fresh. By this point my feet were on fire, but the legs and butt could have ridden a few more miles.
Thank goodness this is my rest week and I can recover. This ride capped my biggest training week of 290 miles, so sitting back for a few days with easy spins and telecommuting from home is on the agenda.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blondie Part II

This afternoon I got the wild idea while grocery shopping with Logan that I'd do something with my hair. Go figure that I made this decision just a few days before heading back to work, but since I telecommute 95% of the time I think this won't be a problem.

First I started out with a little trim with the #3 clipper. Easy to do but I needed the wife to trim up the back.

Then it was time for some bleaching. I last did this 12 years ago to my goatee and it burned my skin pretty bad. Today's bleaching application didn't burn as bad as I remembered from the past. We'll see if I start getting monster dandruff flakes in the next couple of days (a sure sign that things have gone bad).

Now that I'm blond maybe I'll have a much fun as my blond-haired daughter.


I don't know if blonds have more fun, but we'll find out soon. Pictures to follow...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wet Pants

My son will hate me later in life after he learns how to read and realizes what I'm doing with this post but it's too funny not to share.

A few of his friends came over to the house to play. They ended up playing hide-and-go-seek. A classic game we all know. He just took it too the furthest extreme! He hid, ignored the fact that he needed to go to the bathroom and subsequently pee'd his pants. I had to laugh; however it wasn't funny too him. He was mad that he was found.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Watsonville Crit Race Report

Having never done this race I was excited to see what lay ahead for the race. There's a real small hill after the last corner that rises up to the finish line. It had been a couple of months since I had done a E4 race and I didn't know what to expect at the start. 24 laps were put on the board and off we went.

After a few easy laps where the field was feeling out the corners (which were pretty technical) folks were hitting the small hill harder. Surges would come up both sides and then you'd get pinched coming into the first corner if you were stuck in the middle. This happened a couple of times and for me it soon became easier to stay on the outside of the turn and take it a bit wider. Guys diving on the corner were easy to shut down because the wind would hit them first coming out of the corner and you'd regain your original position easily.

Halfway through the race I freaked some of the young guns out by locking up the rear brake (man those M5 brakes work well) as I was entering the corner. A gut reaction to the wheel in front of me falling back fast, but it woke up a few people on my tail. The pavement through some of the corners was a bit bumpy and on those turns where I was pedaling through I felt the rear bounce around a tad. Other than these incidents it was a pretty smooth race on a technical course.

With 2 laps to go I surged up the hill and made up quite a few positions by pedaling up and over the backside of the rise. I was surprised how many guys let off the gas at the peak. This gained me a few positions going into the first corner. It was easy to hold my position through the rest of the course.

With 1 lap to go I held my position and was hoping to see a few of the guys I had marked move up. Like clockwork up they came...however, their teammates weren't coming up with them. I was hoping that one of the better represented teams would wind up the pace and provide some sort of leadout. This would have suited me better, but it didn't happen.

We rounded the last corner and then burst up the hill. I was about 10th coming out of this corner. I had a ton of momentum and moved to the left to pass a few people, but then one of the Third Pillar riders in front of me moved left and shut the door in front of me. To make it worse, he was dying and falling back. I had to momentarily back off the gas and then jump back on. I was pulling 1,100+ watts, then 2 seconds later 91 watts and losing 2mph. I finally got around him and put down another 1,200 watt effort to cross the line. 7th was mine.

In retrospect I'm stoked with a top 10, but can only wonder how things might have turned out if I could have kept ramping up my sprint coming out of the final corner.

Nolan said what?!?

Race reports to follow, but this was humorous...

After fighting it out in the Cat 4 race I lined up for the M35+ open. I was in front of Larry Nolan when I heard this or something to the effect, "Wow, this race has been going on for 31 years. This is my first time."

Go figure, a race where Larry and I are rookies together. And that my friend was the end of the similarities between the two of us for the next 40 minutes as our race rocketed out of the gates...

BTW, I absolute loved watching Larry's effort today. Impressive to observe after I got pulled.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Way too long off the MTB

Yesterday a friend of mine convinced me to head out with him on a mountain bike ride. My poor mtb, it hasn't been ridden on the trails in over two years. I put a little TLC toward the bike and cleaned it up for a late evening ride on the trails.

What ensued was a 2-hour ride around the trails at Santa Teresa park in South San Jose. I forgot how mentally fatiguing climbing/descending a technical single track path can be. I must say, I'm such a wuss when I descend on the mtb. However, I can climb much better than I remembered on the fire trails.

I'm more tired than I thought I'd be this morning, but man, that was a fun diversion from the road bike. I'll have to do this more often.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shut up, sit down

I absolutely, and do mean absolutely, hate it when an athlete decides to run his mouth and speak his mind after they are out of the running for a win/championship/medal/result. And so it goes with Valverde. He's too far out of the race in my opinion to come back and finish on the podium. His butt was handed to him on Hautecam and he can't TT too well to take time back.

In my opinion he's gone over the line by bitching about how other teams are 'weak'. VeloNews has a good article on this. Alejandro, you better look in the mirror buddy, because your words seem to be a pretty good fit for the current Spanish national champ (i.e. you).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Looking Smart

On my through Los Gatos to climb Hwy 9 I ran into one of these. It was the first car in a long time that has passed me and I've thought, "Wow, getting hit by that car probably wouldn't do too much damage."

Actually it would, but let's put this into perspective. I rolled up to the car at the next light and given my height (6'9"), the top of the car was about equal in height to my hip. I felt physically bigger then the car.

Then I saw another one near Leigh HS on the way home. Maybe these cars are like rabbits...multiplying like crazy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Coyote Creek Finish Photo

Another one of Garrett Lau's excellent pictures from this season. The legs this morning are a bit fatigued from this final dig up the hill.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Coyote Creek Crit Race - M35+ 4/5

Category: M35+ 4/5
Teammates: Joseph Morales, Gary Broeder, Scott Riddle, Allen Wulzynski, Derrick Hemmingway, Raj Singh, Mike Rizzo
Length: 45 minutes
Place: 4th out of 60?

I missed participating in this race last year due to the back injury and I've been looking forward to this race ever since the Tuesday night crits started up. Given it's the same loop, we all know the pain the little hill can bring when people decide to hit it hard. We had a good number of guys racing today, but there were two teams with more riders (Alto Velo, Pen Velo). Our goal was to have half our team patrol the first half of the race and the other half to sit in and conserve for the final couple of laps.

After warming up and testing the tire pressure on turns #1 and #2, I headed back to the car to drop off a water bottle and to get some extra pins for the number. I flagged down Daryl Spano and borrowed his pins since he race just finished. I rolled through the parking lot toward the start area and noticed all the racers were bunched together and ready to roll. Just as I'm going under the locked gate I hear the "Go!" call. I noticed Raj looking my way and yelling at me to get my butt in gear. I almost missed the start, but hopped on and latched on to the back of the group. My HR was already up from the potential missed start, so going up the hill wasn't too difficult...my HR was already elevated and running hot.

Gary, Scott, Joseph and Mike were working the first part of the race toward the front. Allen, Raj, Derrick and I were sitting in trying to conserve for the last couple of laps. I found myself following Derrick for the first couple of laps. I noticed that we weren't going too fast since it was taking almost 5 minutes per lap. This works out to only 8 laps for the race. Not much when you compare it to the 20 laps we did last Tuesday.

Each time we descended through turns #1 and #2 it was very frustrating. Folks not familiar with the course were taking these corners way too slow and it caused me to wear out my brake pads (not really, but they did get a good workout). I did come through turn #2 once and decided to pedal. I clipped my inside pedal pretty good; I've done this a lot so I'm used to it, but it did spook a few riders around me. I was able to hold my line safely and not lose any positions.

Soon the lap cards came out and we had 4 to go. Joseph was doing a great job staying near the front. I told Allen that if we needed to move up we'd have to do it on the back straight and stick our noses in the wind to the left. Raj was next to Allen and we let him know that too.

Coming up the hill with 3 laps left I was on Allen's wheel. We were probably in the top 20 and coming up quickly on a rider who was fading back in the pack. Like a well executed pick'n'roll, Allen went left, I went right and we both didn't lose any momentum. I latched back on and yelled some words of encouragement up to Allen (I hope he heard me). With 2 laps to go Joe, Allen and I were in the top ten (somebody after the race said we were in the top 5) as we crested the hill. I can't remember the specifics, but I do remember sticking on my teammates wheels going down the hill. On the back straight there was a big surge on my left and I was boxed in as 25 guys went rolling by.

At this point I could have panicked, but I remembered some advice from Steven M. and Boke. Both told me to be patient. So I let the surge settle in and with about 300 yards to go before turn #3, I shot to the left and put in a short dig to get myself back in the top 10. It didn't hurt and I found myself getting back on Allen's wheel about 5 back. We hit the hill and once again Joseph and Allen were leading our charge.

On the final charge on the back straight I could feel the collective nerves of folks. We were near the front, but it was too far out to lay down a hard effort to string things out. A few moments later coming up the left was Gary; I think I saw Raj on this train too. He put in a monster effort to get to the front. I yelled up to Allen and Joseph to hop on Gary's wheel. Gary led us up to turn #3 and peeled off. His effort definitely kept some of the surging down to a minimum.

Into turn #3 it was getting hairy as I could feel a bunch of anxious people behind me. Joe pulled through and Allen got us through turn #4. Coming down the false flat Allen was first and I was third. At this point things start to get a little fuzzy. From what I remember I know Allen was dying and was about to blow. At this same time there were a few riders that were coming up on his left. I went around Allen's right side and glanced over. We were on the false flat leading to the base of the hill. A Pen Velo rider was about a bike length ahead of me in first and I was neck and neck with a Webcor guy. I was just about to get out of the saddle to sprint when I felt a guy coming up the gutter on my right. Damn!

I should have tried to take up more room when I went left, but I didn't. The gutter guy was too close for me to get out of the saddle and sprint. If I stood to sprint the sway of my bike probably would have taken him out. So it was head-down in the saddle effort to the line. I laid down some serious watts and rocketed up the hill around 30mph! My HR climbed up to the high 180's and crossed the line. I didn't know where I placed as it felt like a blur, but I knew it had to be top 5. I threw the bike out at the line for good measure; it does seem kind of funny to do this on an uphill finish, but what the heck it might have helped.

Afterwards the guys got back together to debrief and chat about how things played out. I was really please with how everybody rode and stayed safe and smart. It would have been nice to deliver a podium result for the team, but given the chaotic nature of the final laps I'm ecstatic with the results and how the team worked together.

I ended up finishing 4th and received some precious upgrade points. Now I'm only 4 points away from my upgrade and super motivated to get to the Cat 3's by the end of the season.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mo Watts!

I haven't done short hard efforts much lately, but for some reason I felt pretty good today. First race tomorrow since the birth of Taylor and the family is excited to see what the proud papa can do. A few months ago I talked about setting a new high-water wattage mark for my sprints.

Today I blew it up...by quite a bit.
My 1-second max nearly broke 1,600 and my 10-second peak was 1,363. I'm excited for tomorrow's Coyote Creek race.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

6AM Never Felt This Good

I've forgotten how nice it is to get a training ride done early in the morning before the heat sets in. Too bad my weekend race is scheduled for the middle of the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TT Observations

Other than the comical f-bomb from Vaughters, here are a few other things I noticed:
  • Cadel didn't wear any shoe covers. I'm sure he could have saved a few seconds of time if he did.
  • Lots of guys, like Valverde, had non-aero water bottles. Don't know if that hurt too much.
  • Giant's new TT frame looks fast, as does the new Dean frame from Ridley (although it isn't made in an XL size)
  • Feillu rode a ton of the second half in a weird aero position; he wasn't using the aero-elbow pads. For some reason he was resting his a bit wider on the handlebars

Vaughters & the F-bomb

Versus should have known that there's a bit of stress on the part of any director sportif trying to get his top TT rider through the course for a podium finish. Versus decided to put Robbie Ventura in the the follow car of David Millar to provide commentary with Jonathan Vaughters and Allen Lim.

Robbie turned to Jonathan and asked, "How's this going for you?" I don't think he was expecting this reply from Vaughters:

"Fuck man!"

Vaughters was stressed, Robbie had his best "O" face reaction, and Allen Lim was in the back seat grinning ear-to-ear.

Nothing like live TV and the Tour to bring out the true emotions of the situation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Darn Appliances

A garage door is not an appliance, but for this discussion just humor me and treat it as such. Taylor has been awesome, sleeping much better than either of the other kids at this point in their lives. Three to four hours of straight sleeping through the night; and it's amazing how the wife and I actually feel somewhat refreshed and not too tired.

The day before Taylor was born the garage door decided to bite the dust. The gearing mechanism wouldn't engage and the door didn't move. Then two days after Taylor's birth the washing machine goes out and won't work. The spin cycle does nada...un-spin more like it.

Luckily I found two local handymen who were able to get both these appliances up and running today. The plastic gear on the garage door that engages the chain was completely stripped. Not too surprising how it's been an original part for fourteen years. The washing machine had a busted coupler. Much cheaper to fix than having to buy a new appliance.

My fingers are crossed that nothing more will break around the house. I've got enough that I want to do with my three weeks of vacation.

Beaten down by the Heat

It's been a long time since I've done significant training rides in the heat of the summer. Last summer was occupied by twice weekly visits to the physical therapist office for work on the back injury. So it's been two years since I've ridden in the warmer months here in the Bay Area. Today I probably should have listened to the wife when she said, "Don't you want to go out later this evening when it's cooler?" Yeah, stubborn me thought that a 1:30pm start time from the house would be a good idea.

I was just going down to the end of Croy and back, a quick 44 mile jaunt that takes about two and a quarter hours to get done on a good day. Um, on a good day, not a blazing hot day!
I get within 2 miles of my turnaround point and realize I had sucked down both extra large water bottles. Not good, but not bad. At least I was staying hydrated though it was so hot I could feel the heat reflecting off the road and into my shoes. I've forgotten how much I hate having hot feet (anybody got recommendations for some shoes that cool better than my current pair of Sidi Ergo 2's?).

Back to the story...

I end up getting water at Uvas Canyon Park and it did the trick. Not the best tasting, but it was wet so I wasn't going to complain. After throwing some water on myself and getting completely soaked, I was headed home. Three miles later and I'm completely dry! So much for the cooling effect of the water.

The heat beat me down, but that wasn't the worst. The worst was how my HR wouldn't drop down below 160 even though I was barely putting out any watts. I think it was just so hot that my core temp had risen to a point where it effected my HR. It wasn't going to come down. Even at a few of the last stop lights I was only able to get it to drop into the low 150's. Usually my V-12 engine can get down to around 100 easily at a stop light. Not today.

Back at the safe confines of home, the A/C felt good and it took about 15 minutes to get back to normal. One good thing to take away from the ride was the fact that I actually was sweating once I got off the bike at home. If I had been dehydrated to the point where I wasn't sweating, then I'm sure I'd be in bigger trouble this evening. I think going forward I'll heed the advice of the wife and go out later (or at the break of dawn).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tubulars - Much Easier the 3rd Time Around

One of the things about experience is that you usually have to learn from your mistakes. And so it goes with gluing tubulars.

Both the rear tires on the Nimble's and the Zipp's had multiple pinhole flats. The Zipp was the worse as it wouldn't hold more than 40psi. This had some bad karma with it as it's the same tire that rolled at Ronde (hmm, so why am I trying to salvage it?!?). The Nimble was a bit better; able to hold around 80psi. Without knowing this was loosing air, I rode it over to the Tuesday night crit and won the B race on a half flat rear. Not too bad, but not what I really wanted out of the tire. Plus it was brand new rubber with only about 50 miles on it. Both these tires (Vittoria Corsa CX's) were sent back to Tire Alert in Florida for some love (i.e. replacing the tubes and making them usable again).

I got a smoking deal on some new tires from Probikekit.com in the UK which was nice. I only had to wait 5 days for these to arrive at my doorstep from across the pond. Man, every time I order from them they always come through.

While waiting for the new tires to arrive I thought about stripping off the old glue from the rims, but then realized it would be much more work than I wanted to take on. The tires arrived and I did my little pre-glue ritual to them. The CX's have a bit of latex adhesive (I think that's what it is) already on the base tape. I file that stuff off and get down to the soft cotton. This is useful because it really assists in soaking up the coats of glue.

So, with the tires prepped and the rims in a half-glued state, I did my usual. Two coats of glue on the tire with 24 hours between coats; same for the rim. After the second coat on the rim is finished, I mount the tire.

I must say that mounting has become easier with experience. The nice thing with the Zipp's, at least on the 808 rim, is the small channel in the middle of the rim. It allows the tire to seat perfectly on the rim without much necessary adjustments. The Nimble's are a bit more tricky as this channel doesn't exist. This time I put more attention to getting the tire lined up correctly immediately after getting the valve stem inserted. This, combined with putting some brute force on the tire to stretch it out as I mounted it on the rim away from the valve stem hole, made mounting easier.

No sore thumbs, no blisters. That's a good thing. Given how easy this seemed I'm actually thinking of not looking any further down the path of the carbon clinchers. But you never now...

Friday, July 4, 2008

More Pictures of Taylor

I've managed to get a set of photos past the editor's desk (aka the wife) that pass with approvals. Everything is going great here at home. Only had to wake up twice last night to change/feed Taylor. That worked out to about two solid chunks of three hours of sleep. Much better than I remember with Logan and Tate. Here are the pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/toddmanley/TaylorKendyl

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our New Baby Girl Taylor

Boy did things happen fast today. The baby wasn't expected to arrive until 7/11, but around 3pm today I got a call from the wife saying, "The doctor wants us to come in immediately...I'm 5cm dilated!" So I'll save the details for another post in a few days, but here are Taylor's vital stats: 8lbs 3oz, 21.25" long, strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes.