Saturday, March 18, 2006

Last one

Day 7, Recovery another long recovery day. 3:45 and 65miles. Another nice day and I was feeling the weeks efforts. We road a steady pace on the climbs and I dropped back towards the top on all 3 of them. My Hr was very low and I thought that I had better take it easy rather than dig a whole for my self. I feel I am coming out of this week stronger than I have ever been and I can not wait to test it out in the races to came very soon.
This trip has been wonderful. The scenery, cows, goats, mountains, the descents that go forever and the climbs that go further. Our tan lines are in full form now and I hope they do there job, intimidation. Its funny when I first started racing my cycling mentor, Todd, was calming me down before an early season race. I was getting very intimidated by almost every one. He said, “No, No Eric, don’t worry about them. Your strong. The guys you need to worry about are the ones that show up in April with matching bikes and tan lines”. And now… that’s me. It makes me feel really honored to have come full circle like that. I’ll miss a lot about this trip. Our friendly dog that lives down the road from us, greeting us every day. His wrinkly face flapping in the wind, tong hanging out. I’ll miss the gas station lunches. The animals, the southern charm, the slow mornings and the hot tube that greeted us at the end of every ride. I miss the company of my teammates although I miss Lindsay very much. I’ll miss worrying about nothing else but trying to figure out how I will get my body up to the task of riding yet another brutal course for yet another day.

GA, 3-16-06 the queen stage.

Ok today was epic. By far the hardest ride I have ever done. I was lucky enough to be at the 04 tour and watch lance make the alp look like someone’s driveway. The day before we embarked on a ride of only 85 miles or so but climbed the col d’ galiber and then back to the top of L’ alp. That was awful. I felt horrible, I’m sure being wasted on wine at 7000 feet and eating pizza for dinner at midnight didn’t help. Either way it’s a hard climb. But I wasn’t “on” by any stretch. Today I felt good. Real good, and I needed it all. We did the 6 gap loop we did earlier this week. With the addition of Brass Town Ball (infamous finish at the tour D’ George). From the side we climbed it totaled 45 minutes or so. The last 3 miles in the park with sustained sections of 15 and 20 percent. More details in the training log.A quick play by play: 1 hr to hog pen gap, then up. 20 some minutes of very steep roads, 10+%. Felt pretty good. Next another gap but we tock some back country dirt roads. I was having visions of Deliverance. 90 minutes on the dirt and we see a bear. A baby cub “ how cute” I thought. He was so Cute!, and where was mom? If mom finds us we are all going to die. Well, at least one of us and I was the slowest descender. We tip toed down the road following the cub until he hoped up on the side of the road and we gunned it to the main road. Another classic decent. And we turned towards brass town. Brutal! 26 minutes on the upper section averaging a 189 heart rate. The first half was all right. But after a long section of 20% or so it was impossible to recover. The last km. I was stopping between every pedal stroke, zigzagging across the road. I lead the whole climb 50-100 meters ahead of my teammates and pulling away until the final 500m or so when… you guessed it. Eric Pearson came up to me. I attacked hard and pulled away fast but paid for the acceleration fully. Almost having to unclip and put my foot down. He passed me and we congratulated each other at the summit for our efforts. back down. A quick stop for some food, water, coffee, any thing we cold get. We were already 4:30 into the ride with 3 climbs still to go, over 8000 feet in the legs, and barley halfway through. up Nells gap. I attacked again towards the top and again paid for it fully. I pushed hard and despite being caught by Joe and Eric my sprint won the KOM, not that we were racing. Down, and another turn to start the long gradual climb up woods gap 45 minutes or so we stayed together and Jay Baer laid down the tempo. Steady and strong. I was now paying for my attacking as we approached the 5 hr mark. Towards the top. Eric Pearson came to the front and lifted the pace. Nothing dramatic but I was in full suffer mode. Concentrating as hard as possible. Every pedal stroke prying that the top was around the next corner. The caffeinated cliff shot I tock at the start of the climb did nothing. Or did it? If it did I was worse off than I realized. Upon reaching the top I was shaking. Taking some deep breaths I fired down a cliff bar. And a few mouthfuls of sports drink. Shock out the legs and tried to relax. Everyone was suffering as much as I was. We skipped the last stop with only 1 hr to go and one climb. Wolf pen gap. Not so bad from this side it rolled upwards, slowing gaining altitude with frequent down hills until the last 5-7 minutes. I drank my special gel flask mixture that I have been working on. It kicked in fast and I started to come around. Still feeling I had more to give and show that I was still strong after a 7 hr ride and 30hr’s this week. I went to the front to set the tempo for 15’ or so leading into the last climb. As it started to bight I dug deep feeling better now. Eric P. came around to set the pace up the climb. ¾ of the way up he accelerated fearing an attack from me, he later said. There was no attacking to be had from me any more. I was able to match him for a 1 minute or so then I started to fall back. I held my pace and maintained the small gap in between us. I kicked again at the top but could not catch him. We all regrouped and road hard and steady, single file for the last 30 minutes home.
The dirt road slowed us down a lot. Descending at 15 MPH does the avg. speed no good. All in all it was a ride for the books and one we will ever forget. Sorry no teammate spotlight today. There all great guys but I’m barley keeping up with the daily reports.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Day 5, rest day:

A bit more “rest” than the last one. A real relaxed breakfast and a movie. I forget the name. its on Gilberto Simoni’s Giro win on 2003. pretty exciting stuff. Being inside the team bus, and lots of behind the seen’s clips. Another recovery ride today. Nice and easy still 4 hr and 7000 feet of elevation gain. The weather is still great. Cool and sunny. Some real back country roads today. About an hr. of riding today on dirt roads.
Pics: here lare some pictures of the trip so far for your enjoyment.
getting ready to go.
us recoverying in the hot tube.
some mountains.
the normal terrain arount here.
Us Pirating wireless internet, etc...

I should take a second to mention our sponsors. Not because I have to but because I am really happy to have them all. They really do make a difference.
Kenda Tires: so nice I have only ridden the training tires so far but they handle so well and are rather light for being so durable. They are also supporting us financially which has made this trip possible and will hopefully make our success this yr possible.
Raleigh Bikes: so nice I think I mentioned this before. Full carbon, sweat ride, not much else to say.
Clif Bar: I was really happy to hear that we had cliff bar on board. Simply because there the best. Gel shots, drink mix, recovery drink, and bars, I would use this stuff even if we had a different sponsor.
Rudy project: I have to say that my old sun glasses I didn’t like. Well, upon donning my new shades I realized it was because they had endured 5 yrs and several crashes. One where I landed literally on them. Breaking me 2 front teeth, and was lucky not to break my jaw. It still hurts. These new shades rock! Light weight, very comfortable, polarized lenses, and most important. They look good!
Blackburn: you train more than you race and they make training that much better. Pumps, the nicest cyclometer I have ever used. The pumps have already come in handy ironically to the one wheel that didn’t have a Kenda tire on it? I think we were riding single file?
Louis Garneau: the best clothing and accessories there are its that simple… And all of our other sponsors, they really do keep us going, and they are all very important.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Day 4, more climbing

Another long hilly one today. 90 miles only 3 climbs but they were all pretty long. we totaled almost 8000 feet of elevation, and I was out to prove myself to my new teammates. I felt good and I figured that the legs would be better today. On the first climb, the back side of a climb we did the other day, Jay Baer put in a big acceleration and I followed. After a minute or so he let up, just opening up his legs I’m sure, and I kept the pace going I was feeling strong. It was early in the ride and I didn’t want to go over the edge to soon. But I was under control and seemingly putting some space between myself and my teammates. As I approached the top I tock a few deep breaths and tried to stretch out the 3 days of tightness that were already creeping into the legs. Joe and Eric Pearson were not far behind. Joe was “stretching” his legs a bit as well. A long beautiful decent and some more gorgeous roads, Have I mentioned the riding and scenery here is awesome!? The next climb was long. Not so steep a bit of a head wind, it was a very windy day today, and about 45’ of climbing we reached the top of the next gap. Joe, Eric P. and my self laid down some serious tempo on this climb for the entire duration, 10+ miles or so. We then meandered through some rolling terrain. And by the way the “rolling” roads out here ROLLING! Steep as the steepest Trapelo road hills (for those of you that know it) and 3 times as long or longer. Tough riding. So onto the last climb, Wolf Pen Gap. This is the one closest to our house. Not to long 3 miles 20 minute climb. From the back side its broken up into 2 section so its not so bad. I really laid it down on this, the last of our climbs, Jay Baer came with me and I gave it everything I had. finally he dropped back a bit only to sprint back up to me right at the top! And he said he’s not a climber. If that’s the case I have a lot of work to do! After the decent, I caught up to my team, waiting for me. Because as you remember I descend pretty poorly. I got there and the comments started. “what happened dude? You have a mechanical?” If you know me and my past you could understand how sometimes this would really get to me. But we won’t get into that. I was mad not at the ribbing but more at why I suck at going down hill. I just can’t keep up! So still feeling frisky I went t o the front in the now brutal head/cross wind and road as hard as I could. After 10-15 minutes the yelling started. I figured I made my point and we settled into a “more efficient” pace headed home directly into a 30 MPH head wind with gusts 35-40! A killer day, I was broken and so was everyone else. Teammate spotlight: Joe MoodyJoe is a… precise guy. An engineer. He’s also easy to get along with, a guy you can just talk to. That’s sometimes hard to find with really smart people. You know those people that are just to smart for there own good all they can talk about is how to divide a Neutron, or discuss there’re own theory’s on building the next longest suspension bridge. Were off the point here but he’s a good guy. he’s also the team director, has put together this whole trip and trains like a mad man. So yeah he’s also a good multi-tasker. Joe is training for later in the season so he has been keeping the intensity a bit lower. Today he gave us a taste of what he has “under the hood”. Its always frustrating when your riding up a steep climb, have blood coming out your ears, snot running down your face and he say something like. “wow look at that view” in a totally composed and calm voice? Ohh yeah and after our 4:20 death march. Joe did another 40 minutes just to make sure he got in 5hr! (I went with being sure not to be out done). This is someone who I am very happy to have on my team and race against anymore. Really happy. Now the team and I will have the job of being strong enough to help him out in the long grueling climbs of the road races that stretch over 4 hours and we all better be up to it. Joe doesn’t like failure, and he doesn’t sugar coat anything. He’ll be the first to tell you your wrong or you screwed up. Keep an eye out this name. It will surely be in the top part of the results pages.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

day 3, recovery day

Sorry if some of my sentences don’t make sense, today or the past few entry’s, if there seems to be more typos than normal. Its busy and I’m tired. I tell you what pro’s DO NOT have an easy job. 6 hr rides fill the day up pretty fast. 1hr to get ready before, 1hr after to stretch, message, and eat. That’s 8 hrs. and if your doing that 9hrs of sleep is a bare minimum.
nice slow pace today. Still 5200 feet of climbing but we all kept it pretty easy. Its amazing riding with a group a guys who are ALL amazing riders. I mean people that really know how to ride well. Some think, “its riding a bike, I have been doin that since I was 6”, while they adjust there belt below there gut a little. But even the athlete thinks this some times. I can ride! I did 5:10 at lake placid Ironman. Yeah that’s great. those people are very strong and talented. What I mean is, for example, we headed out on a steadying rolling terrain but gaining altitude. We averaged over 20mph and my HR never went over 145. Never. And I’m saying this to say I’m super strong. Or that my teammates are. The pace line was just so smooth. No wasted energy, no accelerations, slinging shooting each other up little hills, it all adds up. It doesn’t seem like you are going any faster it certainly wasn’t hard, but the momentum never stops and never slows. We did 17.9 mph today and I feel great. There is something to be said for technique on the bike and it more than your pedal stroke. Teammate spotlight:Jay Baer: cat 1, lives in VT. This guy is dangerously unassuming. Real nice guy. Always has this little smile on his face like he knows something you don’t. And I’mstarting to think he does? . Dark hair and facile hair. Riding slow this trip as he is looking at a long, long season of racing and looking to be in top form later in the season. Many of you may have read my race report on the ½ ironman I did with about 3 weeks of training after my road racing season. Pretty cool huh, I’m a bad ass, right? This guy did an Ironman 1 week after his racing season and pulled down a 10:30! This guy is the real deal. 10 years of racing and riding and over 100,000 miles! That’s consistency for yah.. He doesn’t talk about races he won or almost won, and with his crooked right leg, heal sticking out and skinny biker arms, you would never know it. But this guy is not only efficient and strong but smart. You don’t win pro-1-2 races on strength. You’ve got to be strong and smart and he got it both. I am pumped to be riding with him, and everyone else, this week. I will learn a lot. And that started today actually. My descending skills are really bad so to day we did a few descents with me leading everyone else behind riding the breaks and Jay Baer behind talking me through it. I’m already better. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Monday, March 13, 2006

10,000 feet

today we set out for a 6 gap killer. Only 85 miles though. Well, off the bat I will mention that much like the day before our fearless leader "Jay bear” whom has been here before, miss calculated again. The ride turned into 97 miles with just shy of 10,000’ feet of vertical gain. If you don’t know how much that is. Its like that hardest Tour D’ France mt. stage ever!! Well maybe not but pretty hard. first climb same as yesterday. Second not so long 2-3 miles not so steep 5%. So far riding easy level 3, - level 3. third climb. 6 miles not so steep in the beginning. Then kicked upa bit mare 6% with a few pitches of 7-8. and we hammered! Kicking up the pace hard. Jay-Baer and Joe dropped off quickly due to there training. So it was Beerman me and Eric Person. After a strong long pull from Eric I came through and Beerman was dropped but still close behind eric and I traded pulls keeping the pace high 15 MPH or so. faster if the grade eased a bit slower if it kicked up. in the last mile my HR was 190 or so. And I was in that 4+ level andin full flight. I didn’t fell super, the drive down was still in me. After yet another great decent we stopped for some eats and water and were off again. Andrew Knight, founder of the team and fantastic cyclist was down for the ride today. He turned off early to head back to Atlanta. The real job has been keeping off the bike guite a bit this yr. we headed out to the approach to Brass town ball. This one started to get into the legs after only a couple of miles. Then straight down, yes another great decent! Hard right hand turn and up another one. 4-5 miles 5-6% on this one and kept in tempo (level 3) as we had the last. 10 miles after that we hit the final climb, Hog Pen Gap. I have done some hard climbs in my time and this one may have been the hardest. 7 miles, and the last 4 were at lest 10-12 percent the whole time. Then it rolled a bit with some more climbing to really put the nail in the coffin. Killer. my legs buckled under the presser. I could barley turn them over. And the pain wasn’t sweet. It was that rusty, your in over your head pain. I will say that the car drive was to blame but I will also admit that the blistering pace we set mid ride was surly to blame as well. The decent was the fastest and longest I had been on. 2 guys in the group hit over 60. In the last 8 miles on the flats we fell into a pace line and knocked out the last 30’. Not hard just an honest “lest get home” pace. 23 MPH avg or so. Home was a pleasant sight. The short climb to get there wasn’t. tomorrow will feature a shorter easy ride and I will welcome it. Only 2 days and I am kicked. off to bed I have 8 hours of sleep to catch up on!

the ride

Day one, 3-11-06. Well, we're here. we drove all through the nite. Which wasn’t so bad. 5 guys trading off 2-3 hr shifts pretty smooth. The sucky part was not being able to sleep. That blew. We had the back bench laid out of one to sleep well. I finally grabed it in the the am hours which was well needed. So after we finally got here we did some unloading and headed out for a “loosen up ride”. after 30’ hit the a climb not so bad 20 minutes or so we kept it pretty chill, level 3 or so HR was around 170, maybe higher if I stood up for a section. Felt good. After we all regrouped at the top we flew down the nicest decent I have ever been down! Banked turns!! There are lots of motorcycle riders out here as well. The Harley kind and the crotch rocket kind, and I can see why. the roads are truly amazing and the seanery matches. I got a lot of “Deliverance” jokes before I came down here, and we have definitely seen that abit, but, all in all the people are amazing and drivers very respectful, roads you dream about and breathtaking scenery. So we are all very happy. The nick names have already stated. Joe our team manager and maybe one of the strongest most talented rides around is now know as 140. he has the name due to his strick training program this winter. He is not allowed to have his HR go over 140. Ever. And if you meet Joe it wouldn’t take you long to realize that he is a very meticulous and detailed man. So 140 it is. Ok back our ride the 2 hr leg loosener that turned into 4. After the drive and then the ride on which no food was brought we were pretty kicked. Dinner was large and the hot tub, yes HOT TUB, was wellcome. It will be our savoir this week.
140 made dinner and it was great. More tomorrow!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

getting ready to turn it up

I have had a nice relaxing week off looking at my new bike! Check out the pic.
it is sow nice. Its been a bit tempting to go out and hammer but I have been pretty tired after last weeks training. Really tired. We all know the importance of resting however some times you need to take it to the extreme. The road racing season is long, hard and unforgiving. A friend of mine told me awhile back that after a hard winter of training a long time off is really important,"yeah yeah" I said "I take some rest weeks." "No, he said total off the bike. Don't look at it until all you can think about is riding! It keeps you up at night, and your heart rate jumps up with the slightest thought of racing!"
I woke up last nite sweating. I had some dream can't remember any details really some one was yelling encouragement at me from a car and I was in full time trial mode. I had to go watch TV for 30 minutes and calm down at 2am. so... I think rest time is served!
We head out tomorrow for GA. I can't wait. 7 days of nothing but training, eating, and more training. Through in some good company, bad movies and a some hot tube time, that's my idea of time away from work!! I have been training well. nothing crazy but allways working on specific areas. Many of my weaknesses and keeping my strengths my strengths. just slowly improving and getting ready for this trainning camp so that i can come out of it strong and not begging for mercy. This trip will feature lots of climbing. And lots of miles. There are sure to be some days with 8000+ feet of vertical. I'll be posting everyday with pictures, well trying to, so check it out. Also I will have specific details of the rides and training in my "training log" in my links!