Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Summary

April was a real hodgebodge, two events with mini tapers beforehand combined with a week on the Mountain Bike which always means a hit on the overall mileage. If the truth be told I was also a bit flaggy after such a big March. So with that said I managed to log 511 miles and nearly 40 hours.


With a couple more months to Dirty Kanza I need to add more hay to the barn!

Monday, April 25, 2016

L'Etape Week 2

Monday, off, managed this with no issues!

Tuesday. Quick spin to check new seatpost and stem before diving in tomorrow.


Wednesday. TrainerRoad Townsend. First ride back on the trainer since Mulholland Challenge waiting for new seatpost. Cadence seemed higher than usual, as a result of 10 days on the MTB? Townsend consists simply of 1.5 hours of Aerobic Endurance spent between 60-70% FTP.


Thursday. TrainerRoad Kaiser -1 15 minutes warm up then Kaiser -1 is 2 sets of 3x3-minute VO2 Max repeats at 115% FTP with 3-minute recoveries between intervals & 6 minutes between sets. Dialed it down to 87% so intervals were at 100% FTP. Was a good call as I was struggling to get up to power/speed.


Friday and Saturday off.

Sunday L'Etape Amgen Tour of California (summit finish) Ride report to follow. Followed by the roll down to the parking lot for another 12 miles!


Totals for the week then 167 miles in 11:16

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

3T Upgrades

click click click…I had and heard that for at least half of the Mulholland Challenge! Not annoying much! Chainset, nope! Pedals, nope! Bottom Bracket nope! A trip to my local mechanic to investigate revealed, drumroll….a cracked seat post!

It’s inevitable really, 5 years, nearly 14,000 miles and stuff just wears out! More frustrating was that I had just upgraded my stem with a hard to find Arx II Team stem. Luckily as a 3T Ambassador I have access to their product catalog and so I moved up to the newer black on black Team versions. My Doric seat post has been retired so I opted for the newer Stylus25 version which meant I had to get the matching stem…of course!


Black is always in vogue!

Monday, April 18, 2016

L'Etape Week 1

With the Mulholland Challenge behind my next event is the Amgen Tour of California L'Etape. It’s the Queen’s Stage and rides from Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara finishing at the top of Gibraltar Road.

It's only 2 weeks between the Mulholland Challeng and this so this is a quick bridge.

Monday. Off, ‘cos that’s what the plan said.

Tuesday. Fun in the dirt before breakfast, two weeks to L'etape. A bit of MTB while waiting for new seatpost to arrive replacing the one that cracked on Sunday


Wednesday. More MTB fun. A quick out and back first thing in the morning.


Thursday. More of the same really!


Friday. More dirt!


Saturday. Off

Sunday. Even more dirt! Having fun but waiting for the mail man!


So a week spent in the dirt, only 53 miles but I did accumulate nearly 9500’ of gain!

The new 3T post is due Monday and it’s back to the Trainer and Road!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Mulholland Challenge

The rain during the week and on the Saturday prevented me from riding both days over the weekend and killed off my High Rouleurs attempt for that weekend. The climbs we not the issue and the actual rain during the ride would not be either it was the descents. Some of the roads are pretty rough, throw in the mix, mud and rocks being washed onto the road it was just too sketchy for me. It was decision that was proved right as I was standing on the edge of the road watching the rain come in sideways as hardier souls than me climbed up one of the many ascents into the Santa Monica Mountains. I was happy to be out there for the riders and did my best to provide physical and mental support for them. No doubt it was a tough day.


So on Sunday I loaded my bike into the car along with various layers that I had purchased last minute from Pactimo, including the Ultra-Lite rain jacket and the Evergreen Vest. The day was all about layers. The host hotel in Agoura was bustling was cyclists and I was forced to park at the back of beyond. I finished off readying my bike and headed to the front of the hotel where the official start line was I realized, as is my method operandi, I had missed the start of the event. I wasn’t the only one though and so I rolled out.

You would think that by now I would have covered all the roads in the Santa Monica Mountains but the truth is there are a lot of roads that I have yet to ride up or down and there still is with this ride I was able to cross off a few more. As we rode into the mountains we disappeared into the low cloud and mist. I was glad I was wearing the water proof jacket as the water accumulated on my body and rolled down my glasses! The ride was broken up in my mind as four loops. The first two would take me through and around Topanga Canyon State Park at the southern end of the Santa Monica Mountain and the second would be at the other end of the range with loops around Decker and Mulholland and Yerba Buena and Deer Creek. Some the climbs I had ridden up and down and others I had ridden up and would be descending this time around Yerba Buena and Deer Creek specifically fell into this bucket.



The Topanga section went by without too many problems and I would put and remove my layers when climbing and descending respectively. The first loop was all very familiar from living in the area a few years ago. As I had missed the start I was essentially at the back of the ride but slowly I started to catch up with people and pass them. After the first climb and descent we hit the first Aid Station.


I was pretty self-sufficient with a pocket full of Lara Bars and I had drunk that much. Maybe half a bottle in a couple of hours. I pushed on through after a short connecting section on Mulholland I started the second loop which was up Stunt. I have heard mention of it in the past but never ridden up it. It’s a typical SMM climb with switchbacks to a saddle followed by a descent. It has a total gain of around 1200’ over 4 miles and averages 6% going up to around 9% in parts. Once again I just sat in and pushed on passing some more folks and then being passed by a small bunch that were climbing like a freight train! There’s always a bigger fish!


The temperature was great, cool and cloudy and I just rode within myself making sure to eat a bar every hour or so. At the top there was the second Aid Station and I stopped to take advantage of the potta-john and refill a bottle. With little fuss I back in the saddle and heading back down Piuma. I took things nice and steady and while I was often passed on the rides down, there were few if any people who it didn’t repass on the climbs back up. Back onto Mulholland making sure not to miss the turn we were then directed by way of the third Aid Station up Rock Store and into the northern section. A quick descent down Mulholland all the way to the coast. It was a right hand turn onto PCH for a short section and we were onto the penultimate climb up Yerba Buena, 3 miles 1050’ at 6% maxing at 14%. It’s a pretty shitty road and the rain had washed a fair amount of dirt onto it too. At the top of the road there was another Aid Station, the one I had worked the prior day so I knew what to expect. I had ridden most of this loop but the other way round and the next mile would be the worst. 450’ of gain at an average of 8% maxing at 18%. Sit down, stand up, just keep pedaling. I passed people walking and I passed people riding. I was very grateful for my gearing choice of a 34/32 on my bike and I just span and span and span!

At the top there were a few rollers and then the nail biting descent down Deer Creek which is 11% and twisty! At the bottom a left hand turn and a quick jet south on PCH for the last climb up Decker; 4 miles, 1509’ of gain at 8%. Once again just sit in and keep moving forward. It had warmed up as much as it was going to at this point and people were struggling. 36 minutes later I was almost at the top but I was at the last Aid Station. One more bottle refill, a short down a sharp up and it was basically a 10 mile roll back to the start/finish and a couple of laps around the parking lot to hit 106 miles!


On the clock 8:14 moving time. 9:02 in total, even though I thought I had been pretty quick. 12,933’ of gain. Garmin tells me I was climbing for 4:56 so well over half the time and of that I was standing 1:17…I love my Vector pedals!


There is a bunch of other crazy data on Garmin Connect and Strava if you want to check it.

At the end there were 180 finishers of which I was 80 th, and 31/96 for my Age Group. I really am never going to be at the fast point end but like a diesel I can just keep going!

Overall it was a great day. The course is challenging and would make a great High Rouleurs course. No doubt riding it twice on consecutive days and then adding another 4000’ of gain and 26 miles would really be a big bite to take but that’s the joy of having a flip top head!

Overall the race is well organized. Aid Stations are frequent enough and they made a great call on moving the event due to the weather. Had it been hot it would have been a very different day! I would say that they are very strict with their rules about on road support etc but as long as you play nice they play nice with you. For me I just turn up and ride.

Onwards to the L’etape at the end of the month!

Monday, April 11, 2016

High Rouleurs Society Week 3

Taper Week so nothing to see here, fast forward to the Race Report!

Monday TarinerRoad West Vidette. Pretty shitastic recovery ride...but done


Tuesday Cervelo is in the LBS for some DA900 TLC! Hit the trails on the Mountain Bike! No suprise but it never fails to amaze me the diffence in speed on the MTB!


Wednesday same as Tuesday but different route. Bench and back for time. Drivetrain is awful, need to ditch the triple and get a 1 or 2 X and a new BB, everything squeaks and groans...or maybe that was me?


Got this great photo and took the rest of the week off.


Totals, not a lot you can do the math in your head!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Rain Stopped Play!

As said at the best…or at least the wettest Cricket matches.

This weekend was supposed to be the High Rouleurs Society ride. My plan was to use the Mulholland Challenge on Saturday, it is 106 miles and 12,500’ of gain. I would have been riding to and fro from home and that would have added another 25 miles and 2500 of gain. Then I would do the whole thing on Sunday too. Basically I had from 6am Saturday morning to 6pm Sunday night to finish. Pretty simple really!

Then California decided to have rain, lots of rain, basically we a struck between two weather fronts with a break on Sunday.


The race organizers polled the riders on if it were possible did we want to ride on Sunday instead. I opted for the safer dry option of Sunday and this obviously meant pushing out the HRS ride to another day. I am ok with the decision. It’s no fun riding in the rain, it can be sketchy at best and the run off on the mountain roads will make it just plain unsafe. Doing it for 8 hours would just be miserable!


I have offered to volunteer as there are some riders who will be riding on Saturday. They’re a hardier bunch than me!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

New crack of the whip!

I've had my Cervelo R3 for over 5 years, I was the last year they used an English BB. It's rock solid and rides like a dream. The only things I changed from the day it was unboxed were the wheels and bar tape.

After Becca got a new Tri bike and switched out the DuraAce cranks for a shorter pair it seemed criminal to leave the take offs unused, especially as I could run them without a BB Conversion! I've slowly picked up all remaining components l from various stores around the world (UK, US, Ireland!) as frugally as possible and most recently switched the stem from a 3T Pro to Team version (+20mm longer).


I'm very fortunate to be a 3T Ambassador too and they provide the Orbis II wheelset. Anyway long story short(ish) all the upgrades were completed today and I think it turned out mighty fine. It's also just in time for Sunday's ride of the Mulholland Challenge ~130 miles and 16,000' of gain!


Yes I know the Vector Pods are upside down. The final configurations: DuraAce 9001 shifters, brakes. A 50/35 compact crankset with and 11-32 cassette, standard FD and medium cage RD. 3T Team; Fundra Pro Forks, Doric Seat Post, Arx Stem and Pro Egronova Bars (aluminium over carbon is much safer in a fall) with Team Tape and Orbis II wheels. Adamo Prologue saddle Garmin Vector 2 pedals.

It wasn’t a cheap upgrade with a Pro Bike build labor charge but it should add another 5 years to the bike!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Find your trail…

444…and ride it!

Road bike is in the shop, took the mountain bike out for a spin after work and caught this amazing sunset!


Well worth the 10 miles and 1500’ of gain!

Monday, April 4, 2016

High Rouleurs Society Week 2

Monday. Recovery ride while Becca ran, took the new Lynskey for a ride


Followed up with TrainerRoad Taku, was too bullish so dialed it back to 85%


Tuesday. TrainerRoad Stevens. I knew this was going to be hard going into it as legs felt tired and it was. 15 minutes warm up and then into the ride. Stevens is 5 x 6 at 110%FTP. Rode the first two well but fell off in the third interval and never caught up. Hung in as well as I could. Closing in on 1000 miles for the month, will be glad to finish March.


Wednesday TrainerRoad Leavitt. 15 mins warm up and then 70 minutes of Tempo-ish work broken into 7x10-minute segments ranging from 70-80% FTP.


Thursday TrainerRoad MountHope. 15 minutes warm up and then 5x10-minute intervals at 95-99% FTP with 5-minute recoveries between intervals. Rode later in the day as was tired/fatigued in general. Here ends the month.


Friday TrainerRoad Pettit. 10 min warm up to get the legs spinning then a hour of aerobic Endurance work spent between 60-75% FTP.


Saturday Off

Sunday TrainerRoad Brass Town. Quick ride to end the week. Brasstown is 90 minutes of aerobic Endurance riding spent between 65-75% FTP.


So a bit of a step back week vs last week with just over 150 miles and 8:42, it’s a natural ease into next week which is a taper before the Mullholland Challenge.