Dad life has been awesome, but has definitely presented new challenges in racing.
I was reflecting on this year with a teammate on a chill ride last week and came to a couple conclusions.
1.) In the techno-centric world we live in where life in a virtual world has crept into everything we do (ie Strava for cycling) there is no replacement for pinning on a number and toeing the line!
Case in point my fitness this fall did not reach the peak I wanted (see life getting in the way of my amateur racing ambitions) That was a fact but I went and raced the 6hr solo at Temecula to finish out the series and try and hold onto my 5th place in the overall series. In the end the field was still relatively deep (35+ racers in Open/Pro men) and I finally cracked the top 10 (9th) this also secured me 3rd place overall for the season. Now was my outstanding performance how I got to 3rd? No consistency and my stubbornness to push myself out of my comfort zone got me the result.
2.) Where I think I actually saw gains this season was not in my fitness or in my power meter but it was in my skill and speed in technical sections….
Over the past few years I have spent more and more time on the pavement training for fitness and losing my feel in technical tough sections. This year I got off the road more (I did this also as I see the road being less and less safe to ride on with crazy drivers) this along with making some changes in equipment (ie tubular mtb tires are amazing, thanks Vittoria!) I feel my fitness may not have been the best it has ever been but overall I was finding speed in other places.
As I start to look toward 2016 I see new challenges and tighter personal schedules but I have my eyes on some great events and look forward to progressing my riding taking some new avenues.
I wanted to revive this blog and start documenting the biuld up to what is definately the largest sporting undertaking I have signed up for
With 13 weeks of solid training ahead of me the road is not paved at all 🙂 The dirt will be where I live along the way will be legendary climbs in the alp, recon rides in Colorado, guest apearences in the New England. It is going to be a crazy ride, I can’t wait!
My first impressions on the Pedro’s Repair Stand.
Pedro’s has selected RodderRacing as its westcoast brand ambassadors for 2014 so look for a lot more from them soon!
Quick back drop on JDM, it is a 68 or 86 mile MTB race thru the mountains east of San Diego. It draws a good crop of local talent and on occasion big PROs like the guys and girls from the Ergon/Topeak team.
For the record the gear I rode on.
Geekhouse 26er, 2.1″ tires, 3×9, 2 large bottle, 5 GUs, 3 rice cakes, 1 lara bar
Got to the venue in plenty of time to reg and relax. pedaled around a bit to get the legs moving this is always tricky but the 1st 13 miles was going to be fast and a DH so I wanted to be a little warm plus it was 45F out.
Race start: neutralized for 3 miles till pine hills road, then the attacks started I wanted to be near the front till at least eagle peak (paved climb) just to stay out of trouble. The front group split from the rest of the field.
Trek Store Rider (forget his name but fast)
Trek Store Rider #2
I decided to do the 64 after thinking about all the times I tried to ride San pascal and all the issues I’ve had with cattle…. I’ve been chased there by a bull also the section is just no fun. So I settle in and realize ok if you race your race you have a shot at a podium in the 64 if you can stay near this group…
The pace picks up and I am pushing 300+ watts I think ok here is where you trust the power meter and just let them go and I did…. I settled into no mans land and got caught by a few more people I was sitting ~10th overall…. but I knew just stay up right on the DH as I own the next 13 mi after that as its all uphill!
We cross Cedar creek and I immediately real in 3 guys. I look at the power and settle down to about 220w and think ok stay right here for the next hour. And so I grind it out and start eating early! Way earlier then last time. I start with a GU. 15mins later a Lara bar. then 15mins later 3 enduralytes I wanted to eat every 15-20mins 100 kcal. Crest Cedar creek and I see one trek guy ahead. I do not pick up the tempo I sit right around 220w. I real him in and pass staying right where I want to. Eventually I see the other Trek guy I am super temped to real him in but I don’t push I stay on my plan. eventually I real him in and right as I did he kicks up the pace I do not chase I let him go as I know my plan is working!
Thanks for riding your moto out to take pics DAN!
Aid station #1 trek guy is there he pulls out ahead of me I stop fill 1 bottle. I get back on the gas one quick burst, ok now I am with him. I set the tempo on the climb he is content to let me pull him and I think I’ll pull him now he is bigger then me I have the advantage here but once at the top around the windy section of lake Cuyamaca I could use his size and wheel so drag him up the hill for now. We chat I hold 200-220w. We catch Daryl he says he is on an off day I don’t count him out but that now means me and Trek guy are in the lead for the 64.
We crest the climb and hit the pavement around the lake I get on his wheel and let him pull me for a while I eat a rice cake, I drink and relax. I set tempo for a while so I feel no guilt here. We pull into soap stone I take 1 pull to make sure not to seem like a wheel sucker we get back on dirt and I let him pull me again.
Here I try and eat again, rice cake but I hit a rock and drop it!!! fuck….. I go for a GU instead (foreshadowing this will come back to haunt me later) This is working to plan. We get to the DH to sunrise and he pulls way (damn 29er vs 26er) i make the turn onto the climb to Fages and I see him and Aaron Hauk. I relax and real them in and pass Aaron and let Trek guy set tempo. I yo yo off his wheel all the way till the Mason valley DH where again he drops me on the DH (talking with him on the climb he reached the bottom of the 1st decent 1st overall so he is a great Descender) Down down down into chariot climbing out I can see him I have a 2min gap. Coming up Rodriguez I see him again still 2min gap. Down Rodriguez and now he is out of sight. I relax and get down Rodriguez in 1 piece. Now the test Orriflame!
This is where the wheels came off in 2011. This time conidions are way rocky! and I’m on a hardtail makes it a lot of work but I feel like I am going much faster (looked it up I was 5mins faster up orriflamme) I am smooth and only dab 1x. I don’t see trek guy though!!! crap! I don’t freak out though and I push 200w up orrifalmme with a couple burst to clear stuff and a couple rests after bursts. Top of orriflamme aid station guys says you are in 3rd overall (trek guy and brian taylor in front) my gap is 3mins. I try to catch but he keeps puting time into me on the DH. Up charriot I can see him again I push alittle more to try and make up some time but again DH to banner he is out of sight.
Start of banner I feel good I am climbing well but he is no where in sight I get to long setions where I hope to see him but he is gone 😦 I push on but now I start looking back conceeding that with out a mechanical or flat I am not catching him. I roll up banner and I start to feel like shit. I ate too much gu not enough rice cakes and I’m getting sugar rot gut. I push on and after what seems like a life time I crest the top. I rip thru town almost 15mins down on him….. He hit the afterburners on Banner and dropped me like a hot coal…..
But I raced to my plan didn’t get suckered into burning matches early I wanted to avg 200w for the entire race and I basically did. The strongest guy won but I had a pretty good day. I beat my 2011 time by over 20mins! My nutrition was so much better but loosing that rice cake was tough… it lead me to eating too much GU and getting rot gut thankfully the race was already decided at that point. I wish I could figure out a better way to eat rice cakes on the MTB. They are so easy on the road but its hard to take your hands off the bars on the MTB. That being said I was able to eat a normal dinner and didn’t feel pukie that night so night and day difference.
Aside Posted on Updated on
Well it was not Paris it was the Alsace regoin just across the Rhine river from Germany. Scene of stage 13 of the TDF in 2009. That day Heinrich Haussler, an up and coming German, solo’d off the front on the col du platzerwasel in epic cold and rain to beat Sylvain Chavanel in true style. Around work and with friends we have joked about this climb due to Paul Sherwin and Phil Ligett’s inability to pronounce the name (audio file below)
I arrived after much more traffic then anticipated (there was a construction closure of a major autobahn for miles on what would turn out to be a holiday weekend (Bastille Day) think closing the I-5 on 4th of July weekend…. I pulled into wintzenheim France about 11:30am a bit flustered I had planned to stop at a local market to grab a few last minute items (water, some bead, recovery food for drive home) but it being a holiday nothing was open not even a gas station (almost ran out of gas on the way home too due to more traffic and closed gas stations I wasn’t the only one saw many people in the side of the road out of gas on the way home)
Forecast for the day was 70% chance of rain But totals were 0.5-1mm not must rain just light showers.
I knew from reading up, the Valley benefited from an eddy created by the mnts and saw little rain (but high mnts would more likely see rain)
Anyway I had 2 full bottles, 4Gu’s and a larabar (600kcal) this was not enough but would have to do.
I set out of this beautiful French village and straight into the Valle du Munster this valley greeted me with a block head wind like I have never ridden in! 25+ mph no lie I was stomping on the pedals at 10mph and at one point a gust blew me off the road and into the grass…. 45mins in I contemplated going any further… It was brutal. See my big nemesis is the wind. Many people fear big climbs I fear wind. I maybe small but in the wind my size is not an equalizer like on a climb. It is a detriment, see because I’m small I generate a high power/weight ratio but in the wind it’s all about how much power you can make regardless of size. I have 2 options in wind. 1 hammer the shit out of it and crush myself in the process. Or go slow and have it take 2x longer and go slower and prolong the pain… Like ripping a bandage off or pulling it off slowly. I tried to do a good half way measure but after 15miles of slight up hill into a bad wind I was really crushed!
I stopped in the town of Munster saw a lotto/horse betting place open (all other shops closed) but I saw a drink cooler and grabbed an orangina:) (and I tried to not look like a dear in head lights when the cashier started talking to me in French…. It’s amazing how you can tell what someone is saying due to body language I think I pulled it off) I sat down in the town square protected from the wind and ate my Lara bar and drank the orangina.
From here the 1st climb of the day was to start. The first few miles were still into the wind and not steep 3-4%. I begged for it to turn south and start climbing. I came up on a tour bus of old peeps hanging out at the base of the real climb I saw a sign “col du palzevasal OPEN” I kicked on the Jets and though ok lets do this. I knew the steepest part of the climb would be the start I ripped up that 1st switch back and looked down and saw an older gentlemen pointing up at me. Yup that’s right my motor is finally being put to good use! A couple switch backs up I catch a very small car going very slow…. It was loaded to the gills and had 2 people in it I passed them on the Inside of a switch back to the driver yelling “Alle Alle Alle” so awesome! (he did catch me later on a flatter section of the climb) about 15mins in to the main climb I was feeling it legs burning, mouth a gape, sweat running off my chin. I dialed it back a bit I was still felling like I was in the back of a convertible for an hour and the wind def took a toll on me. I had some fun took some pics and had to stop at one switch back to navigate. (motion X gps app you can cache the maps such a great app!)
I crest the top and see the sign “Col du Platzevsal” I stop take a couple pics but didn’t want to stay long as it was now 50F and I was sweaty and cold. I put on my rain coat and pushed on.
Turns out that wasn’t the top:) I thought it was a longer gap but the climb up la bestfirst pretty much started after a small DH…. A much smaller climb but the legs were feeling the 3,000′ I had just climbed.
I was in the clouds now, not steady rain but it was wet the road damp and my Views of the amazing landscape blocked:( I’d catch peaks as breaks in the clouds rolled by a reminder that I was basically at the top of a ski resort. Then I looked to my left and saw the top of a chair lift just below me…. I have to be close to the top and I was La bestfirst compete!
Highest point of the day 1280M. Then the rain came on the ridge line after the top it rained hard!!!! It was cold below 50f and all I had was a rain coat (no knee Warmer’s, shoe covers, hat….) I saw a small mnt cafe where a group of motorcycle guys were having lunch I stepped in to curious looks (BMW adventure type bikers not Harley) but looks of who is this crazy guy up here in shorts in the rain. The waiter/barista spoke to me and French all I could say was Bonyer Café…
I apologized for my lack of French. He thought nothing of it and said “you are cold from rain” I just shook my head just as I blew into my hands so I could make my fingers work. I really enjoyed that coffee but it wasn’t getting much better out. The barista gave me a news paper (an old school trick you put it under your jersey to absorb the sweat/water as drier = warmer) I left him 4euro on a 3euro cup of coffee I was greatful.
I tossed a leg over my bike and though ok time to get off this mnt! I knew the decent was dangerous from reading up. Steep sections with tight hair pin turns (aka you’d get up to 40mph on the straights but could you brake enough to make the turn?) and it was wet so I went very cautious. I did let it hang out in one turn totally locked up me rear wheel but still didn’t take a foot out (rookie mistake you see roadies make all the time, stay clipped in get that bike under control!)
I got down to the next village and the sun was out I found a trash can to ditch the new paper and I took off my jacket to try and dry off. Ah was so nice to feel the sun on my face. I rolled thru a handful of deserted villages all closed up for the holiday. On one had it was disappointing not to see them bustling with people and shops open. But on the other hand I owned the roads no cars, no people, just me, hammering thru town at 20mph over ancient cobbled roads.
Finally I was out of water and needed some badly! I saw a cafe that looked open but nobody was there I stepped in and I think the owner was having lunch with his wife. I asked if he knew where I could find water he walked behind the bar and filled my bottle no hesitation I was so thankful!
Now it was up the 3rd climb of the day not a big one just ~900′ of vert I was feeling ok not great bit ok, this lead to a super fun DH the roads were dry again and I was feeling good but worried about my food and water situation…. I had 1 GU left no water and 2 more climbs to go.
I started my way up into the mnts again this time I don’t even know the name of the climb all I know is it was getting cold again but my legs were feeling ok, I got to the top and knew from the profile it would be a hairy DH. It was just that, lots of switchbacks and then out of the trees bam! Open fields of grapes and an amazing view of the valley below.
I rolled on down to town desperate for food and water. This town had a few people milling about I was optimistic. I saw a small cafe with the door open I poked my head in Bonjure? a small women appeared and greeting me with a lot of French:) I replied no palvue francé with a frown. She smiled and asked if I wanted a coffee. I asked if there was water and food. Only perrie and sweets. So it was mineral water and big piece of apple pie for me! Can I just say I have no idea what was in that pie but it was amazing! Some sort of sweet cheese and roasted apples it was odd But amazing! I asked if she had more water and she said you can drink from the square fountain. (mind you this is not in English it’s in body language and hand motions) I thanked her many times she def saved my day!!!! I rolled over to the fountain and sure enough at the bottom read “eau potable” sweet! I filled up and rolled on over to the next town an amazing walled city where I knew I would hit the final climb of the day.
This climb was not in the tour I just found it on google maps it looked steep and brutal so I wanted to go for it! I shot out of town powered by apple pie! Hit the early ramps and was railing the corners apexing the turns and climbing in my big ring.
I passed some locals (at least their jerseys were in French) they looked fit and jumped on my wheel. As it ramped up steeper I was hoping they’d pull thru and do some work. They did and were putting the wood to me. We exchanged pleasantries and repeatedly attacked each other. It was really fun! I saw a steep switch back coming up and though ok here I can do damage I came from the back and rocketed out of the turn gave it all I had and just kept going praying I was near the top if I was more then 3-4mins out I was going to blow up! I timed it just right beating the guys by a handful of seconds (and claiming the Strava KOM:) we had a laugh and said our good byes on the DH as we went different ways. The skies opened up again now in the valley and I didn’t even bother to put on my rain coat I just soft pedaled and basked in the I insanity that was that ride. Was it really over? I was sad! But my legs were not they were happy to be done. I was sad also knowing that this was a once in a lifetime thing. If I ever do get back to these roads someday sadly my fitness will not be what it is now. I doubt i will get to enjoy these roads the way I can now.
As I loaded the car up the rain got heavier a sign that it was a good time to end the ride 60+ miles 9,900′ of climbing 4 GUs, a Lara bar, 5bottles, an orangina, and a slice of heavenly apple pie!
Merci Wintzenheim Merci
San Diego finally is showing up on the road signs!
We rolled out along the PCH sick views of the ocean.
We roll in a large group for safety and for me cause my legs were def tired. Once off the 101 we started to roll up the pace and people took some good pulls ones that were hurting my legs. The cross winds were blowing Roads were a bit rough I felt like I took some strong pulls not sure if they were strong or my legs just hurt… I did take one killer pull as we came up on a bridge with no shoulder I was on the front and heard “the natives are getting restless hit it!” So I go full gas, 25mph on the flat in a cross/head wind. It was a longer pull at that pace then I would have liked but after I paid the price I tried to sit in but it hurt just to sit in and thank goodness our lunch stop was close as I was a bit tired…. Where I received this award “I’ll translate that to the lill engine that could” “J
We rolled out after lunch and my legs hated me! I sat near the front till I had to take a leak and pulled off after my nature break I had to chase back on I had alill help from Jeff in the Sag truck pulled me back to the group. After that effort my legs FINALLY started to open up after 2hrs of riding. We hit Point Magu and I was on familiar roads now!
Past Point magu where they were filming some pirate movie…?
Here on the rolling hills of Malibu the tempo started to kick up again and after a couple hills it was Daniel on the attack I was on his wheel and approaching my limit when I had visions of climbing torreey pines tomorrow at a snails pace and dropped off his wheel and rode to the top at my tempo.
He sat up a bit and I catch on and we finished together at the PCH and Malibu cyn road another epic day in the saddle!
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