Monday, December 20, 2010

Recommended Sodium Intake = 1500 mg/day

The weather this past Saturday proved to be nice enough to pull the road bike off of the trainer and hit the mean streets of south Johnson County and test out my new MWI Showers Pass Soft Shell Trainer.

My kitchen thermometer read 37 degrees, with a light wind from the southwest. I dressed up for the cold with a sleeveless base layer, a long sleeve base layer, my regular short sleeve jersey, and the soft shell trainer on top. I was a little cold to start, and had to stop to put on shoe covers to keep my little piggies warm, but once I got warmed up, I was reasonably comfortable.

I headed south and west from the house to Kenneth, just west of the state line, and hit a couple of my favorite local "hellingen" (no cobbles) before cutting over to State Line Road and about 3 miles of gravel south of 199th St., including one of the steepest gravel road hills I've found around here, before looping back to Mission Rd. for a straight shot home. It turned out to be a great ride of just over an hour and a half, aided on the way home by the unseasonable south wind.

I was really happy with my Softshell Trainer. The fit (size M) was very good, and even with the other layers under, it never felt bulky or constricting. I liked the all of the zippers: the two under arm vents, the one rear vent high on the back, the two zippered pockets, and the cuff zippers. I think that the cuff zippers and the two big rear pockets (rather than 3 on a regular jersey) turned out to be my favorite features. The cuff zippers made it really easy to get a good seal around my gloves and the big pockets were easy to get into with my gloves on, and deep and wide enough to hold a lot more stuff than I needed on my short ride.

And the sodium reference in the title? Well, about a week ago, we got about an inch of snow, and Johnson County laid down a lot of road salt. Enough salt that it is now dried out and caked on the roads, and riding over it can cause it to dust up a little. That dust found it's way to the nozzle on my water bottles, and I got my daily sodium intake via my salty water bottle nozzle.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Over the Riverside and Through the E H Young Park

Today's Tip - Avoid standing at a Christmas party for 4+ hours the night before race.

That's what I did last Friday night before the Boss Cross #4 / Missouri State Championship Race at E.H. Young Park in Riverside, MO. Jeremy and Joe put together a great, Championship worthy, course at a great venue - gotta love a place with large heated restrooms on a day hovering around freezing.

The heart of the park is relatively flat, but the river bank, a couple of berms and mounds, a sand volleyball court, two curbs, two sets of barriers, and hill up near a wooded area provided the technical challenges. The start was a long drag in a tail/crosswind followed by a sweeping left turn on to the main part of the course. The first obstacle was the sand pit which had an uneven entry at the apex of a left turn, which caused a few to to have troubles either stumbling or swinging their bike wide. Next was a planked curb which you had to hop at a good clip to maintain your speed because there was a long stretch into the wind right after. The long river bank sand run was next, again with an entry at the apex of a left hander. After a quick remount there was just enough time to get ready to drop off a curb and into the pavers and more grass. A set of barriers at the bottom of a hill turned it into a run-up, complete with trombone playing hooligans, then a few long stretches and sweeping turns and a speedy down hill off a berm at the north of the park led back to the final barriers and the finish line.

It was a rough day for me. I was tired from the night before, and had no legs, but I rode a steady pace, and focused on skills and cornering. I have raced at the park before, and it can get very dry and very sketchy, especially if your tires are too hard. I had the Fango's at 27psi, and they did a great job, although this was a course made for the Grifo's file tread, if only I had them glued up.

I did Master's race on the Blue, and the singlespeed race on the old aluminum steed. Every time I do two races, I am amazed by the weight of the Blue and how easy it is to suitcase over the barriers and how easy it is to shoulder and run with it.

I don't know what the end of the month holds - there are four more local races in the last week of December and first week of January. I might try to make it out, but with the first snow predicted for K.C. later this week, it looks like the trainer and treadmill might see some action too.

Missouri State Race - O Legs, Where Art Thou...

Cold and windy MO State 'cross race this past Saturday on a fun course used earlier this year for the Boss Cross #1 event. Not a drop of moisture on the ground meant a super fast course for a strong Cat 3 field.

Got a decent start sitting top three after a couple laps in and that's when I started noticing my legs were starting to fade a tad. I kept plugging away, but lap after lap I struggled more and more to maintain any semblance of power and this started jacking with my mind causing me to lose focus during dismounted portions; I was a mess (sigh). As several moved past me mid-race I didn't fold and tried to focus on each rider ahead of me and little by little was able to crawl back to finish 6th overall and 4th for the MO Championships.

Disappointment and frustration was quickly replaced with an overall sense of satisfaction as the season in a whole was a success and more fun than I'd had in years. Out of 20 races I had flat legs only twice and #2 just happened on the day I needed them most.

2010 was absolutely great and has me pumped for 2011! Big props to BLUE for making a rocket of a rig and to Challenge for the best tires on the market. Even bigger to the MWI crew for facilitating our dreams of being rock stars on two wheels - Mike and crew, you guys are the best!