Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Climbing With Frozen Legs.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the climbing today. For a ride that took 3 hours and nearly 45 minutes, 5,148ft of climbing in 58.6 miles was a solid amount for me. I'm not gonna lie and tell you it didn't hurt.

The effort today was quite a bit above my training level at this point. I rode with a Cat 4, collegiate B, racer from William & Mary... and my high school. He was a runner of sorts in high school and a definite climber today. Weighing in at probably 135-140 lbs. with a height of 5'10 this kid had a good day. Not to mention, last week he was riding an average of 70 focussed miles a day at a William & Mary team camp. He was/ is a a bit of a different level than I at this point. I've been working hard on my trainer these past few months. Working hard on the trainer, though effective for base mileage and focussed workouts, does not put me at the climbing aperture my friend, Greg, was in today.

I was also underdressed and underprepared. Without leg warmers or leggings nor booties to give my feet adequate coverage from the brutal wind that also plagued my face and ears, I grew numb all over (except for my core). My fingers became numb even with wind/water resistant gloves, my legs and feet certainly grew numb, and my eyes even with the protection of glasses became so wind shot that I could not read road any road signs to see where Greg and I were. And allow me not to forget, my water bottles both froze discouraging any rehydration on this long, dry, windy, tiring day. However, I do not consider any of this pain I experienced beyond hard riding my fault. Unless, you can fault me for not having money to buy the equipment or accessories necessary to prevent such ill fates on the winter rides I plan on doing.

This is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. Not that I need to justify anything that I do, I will say that this is also why I will readily choose to continue riding on my trainer at IUP. I'm not trying to suffer and focus on more than I have to when building base in my training due to harsher weather conditions. Although I was not anticipating such a cold and ill fated ride, I did know that given enough poor conditions, the numbness and pain I experienced today was a possibility.

Enough complaining. I enjoyed the ride today. I was able to ride with an old friend from high school, I found a great area to ride if I need my hill/ climbing fix while stuck here in VA within an hours drive, and I put myself through and survived a real challenging day. There was one climb that took about 30-45 minutes to climb! I don't know the exact time it did take, but I intend to go back and find out and challenge myself again in the future on it. I'm not sure how I will really feel tomorrow, but it is good to know I can still push myself beyond what I anticipate possible.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Grow Up.

I hope to get to riding more outside a bit more this winter. I'll just say that this photo was taken while I was on the road on a nice clear, cycling friendly day.
With a full kit coverage options available this next semester, I can finally say I will have my the opportunity to cover my legs completely! I also just purchased this Giordana Thermosquare Winter Cap for my noggin (but on eBay- for less). I may or may not wear neck coverage with this bad boy. The ears are what I am really aiming to protect.

Armed with these much needed articles of cycling clothing and the random pieces that I have acquired over the years for necessity, I think I'll be able to have many more quality hours on the road this winter season (cold-wise... maybe not so much snow-wise)

Let me be clear, I will still be wanting to ride at my own pace, for my own benefit, and without much care for anyone else's needs these next few months. I'm gonna be selfish in my training so I can be a better teammate during my racing.

My birthday is coming up. I am 20 going on 21 and have yet to ever have an alcoholic drink. Don't ask. Just never wanted to. That, and I'll be someone you can say you know who will have their first drink when they actually turn 21. I suppose it'll be a novelty for me. I will be eventually getting a new nerdy hi-tech Droid Eris for my birthday, so I'll be hoping to take more pics like the one up there ^ on my rides.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Getting to Business.

The spring semester is approaching and my base training is enduring. IUP Cycling is gearing up for a fun, difficult, and rewarding season. At least, I think so. Yet, more importantly, I know I am preparing and have been working on myself to be able to race any event and not only perform when I have to, but also help out any teammate of mine to achieve their best in any given race. I want to be the self-less teammate- an ally in the peloton and a smart, powerful racer- ready to chase down any attack and drive through the finishes.

Last night it snowed 1-2 inches. I was hoping the weather teams were faking it and I would be able to get a good outside ride in today, but I will have to wait. Something is still urging me to go outside, but I think I can suppress it. I know the weather will probably not me my friend in the next month or two or three... or four. Yet, I know I will still get my riding in and the preparation I need for my races.

There are a lot of races to choose from. I like having my March filled up with things to do on weekends. With IUP's Criterium Series up and into serious development and the eventual scheduling of the Tuesday night ACA Washington Blvd Crit Series, I have plenty of criteriums to look forward to racing. I also know there are few road races I am preparing for. Early April will be my first real test on the road.

There will be a team time trial, a road race, and a crit all in one collegiate racing weekend. I have been through one of these before and really suffered with inexperience, overconfidence, and not enough preparation. I believe this time I will be more adequately equipped. Not only that, I hope to have some team orientation there with me.

A teammate in a race is something I have only once been able to realize the benefits of- sort of. So as not to go into a recap of that blessed race, I will just say this: Teammates make a positive difference. Everyone knows that. I just want to have that in every race that I am in. I want to be a part of a smart, talented, goal oriented team that works together in races and really comes out with some wins- as a team.

New racing kits will have arrived when I get back to Indiana. I hope the team can begin to mesh and work as one taking the competition out of riding together and put that into real races. I know I will do my part.