Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hot New Hoops

Well, I made my very first purchase on e-bay (and survived). I resorted to the "pre-owned" market after a few calls to bike shops revealed that a set of nice wheels with a PowerTap was going to cost me ~$3k. Wow, that's alittle to steep for my squeeky tight budget. So, I consulted a few of my guru bike buddies and discovered, "there's no reason you shouldn't buy a used PowerTap". So I started the search.

I found the set shown below on my 1st day of searching ebay and craigslist. Sent the guy a few emails and decided he was a honest fellow. I lost the last minute bidding war, so I was really bummed out. However, got an email from ebay stating the auction was "canceled" and saw that the wheels were posted again later that day. I emailed the seller and turns out it was a "spam" bidder and ebay caught it and canceled it. A few days later I won the 2nd auction.

Then I had to sign up for a Paypal account to pay for them. What a pain. Turns out you need to get "verified" for larger money transfers. Had to connect a bank account in addition to having a credit card. After about a week I finally figured out that I was 1 digit off on the routing number.

Anyway they showed up quick after I finally paid the fellow. It was just like Christmas. Nothing like coming home to a big box sitting on the porch of cool toys. I took the evening to swap out the casette (it had Ultegra 10 speed - I got the older 9 speed). Jumped on the trainer at 1030pm at night to collect a few minutes of data on the PowerTap.

Downloading the data turned out to be a challenge - darn Windows. About 1am I finally figured out to change the "baud rate" (a setting for a USB communication device buried in the Windows device manager). Finally, cool graphs of more data than I knew what to do with.

Luckily, one of my teammates let me borrow this book, the current "bible" of training with power. Never read a 200 page book so quickly. Good stuff.

Finally, I got the bike on the road last Wednesday afternoon. The indoor trainer doesn't give you much feedback on the wheels. WOW, talk about some SWEET and STIFF hoops!!!! Probably, more of a placebo effect, but after spending more on wheels than on my bike - I need to believe it.

No excuses now - training with POWER.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Death Ride Selection

Found out today, that I'm one of the lucky 2800 folks to ride in this years Death Ride. I got selected last year, but had to sell my spot due to my shoulder injury.

How can you say no to a T-shirt that looks like this.....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Banana Belt #2 - 3/9/08

Sunday was our 2nd race of the Banana Belt around Hagg Lake. It was clockwise direction once again - they couldn't change direction due to some road damage on the other side. The weather was overcast with sunbreaks, so we lucked out again for cycling weather.

There was plenty of chitter-chatter on the PV forum amoung us Cat 5s for tatics this time. Gives us something to do during the week. The plan was to stay in the pack and "lay down the hammer" on the last lap with 3 miles to go after we passed the dam. Well, plans and reality are always alittle different.

One of the strong PV guys (1st place at Cherry Pie) race tried alittle breakaway on the 1st lap and got pulled back in. He did it again on the 2nd lap and this time it worked out. There were 2 men in the breakaway and the rest of the team "sat on it - slowed down" back in the pack to let him get away. At one point, the chase car came along side us to tell us to speed up. Well it work - Mike got 2nd place - turns out the guy he was with was really strong on the last hill.

I started to lead the pack for the 1st climb after the dam as planned. Well, I didn't get any relief from others, so I "blew a gasket" on the 2nd steep hill to the finish.

Here's a photo of me in the "pain cave" crossing the finish line.

Here's a photo of the guys I need to listen to.

Patience, grasshopper.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Banana Belt #1 - 3/2/08

The Banana Belt Series started this Sunday around Hagg Lake in Forest Grove, Oregon. It is a ~11 mile loop around the lake. The cat5s did 3 laps. Denise and Luke showed up at the start to take some photos and cheer me on. It was a beautiful sunny day - you couldn't ask for anything better.

There were 7 of Portland Velo riders, so we have one of the bigger teams in our race. The first couple laps were pretty mellow. It's all about saving energy and letting other people work. One of our guys did a breakaway for about 1/2 a lap but was caught by the peleton. The pace picked up on the 3rd lap. I found myself leading the pack on the backside hills. We actually caught the race that started 5 minutes before us. I was proud that I "held on" and didn't get dropped after my long pull at the front. We probably put some hurt on some of the guys in back, but most of the pack regrouped when we crossed the dam.

It's only a couple miles to the finish after the dam. There are 3 hills and the 2nd is quite a "wall". However, our team was broken up at that point and we weren't leading the charge up the hill. So, the pack was bunched up and it was a big crazy sprint for the finish.

Results are posted, but there are quite a few errors at the moment - namely they have me at #1. I finished about 20th out of 50 I would estimate. I was very happy with my ride. I did some hard pulls and never got dropped. A big improvement from 5 years ago (the only other time I did the BB series).

Here's Luke getting in a few laps after my race......

I'm looking forward to next week - BB#2. We'll try some different tatics and see if our results improve.