Friday, May 31, 2013

B4K Stage Race Starts Today! Stay Tuned....

Stage 1 Murray Valley Criterium is today
Stage 2 Road Race Circuit is tomorrow AM
Stage 3 Time Trial tomorrow afternoon

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Training Camp 2013

No one had to twist any arms once it was decided the western contingent of the Zanconato Racing team was going to do it's inaugural training camp in Moab, Utah.  There are few settings (at least in this half of the lower 48) that would have been more ideal. 

Itinerary, Highlights, Training, etc

Rides: Dead Horse Point, Arches, along the Colorado River, and all throughout Moab

Two Zanconato Team frames (for Aaron and Dave) delivered to Moab waiting for us. Steve, with token assistance of the rest of us goofs, built 'em up completely Friday evening at our rented Condo in Moab. Steve did an excellent job with the build and they were on the road the next day! Thanks to Mike for making it happen...the frames are beautiful and the bikes are perfect!

"Casually Deliberate"

"No Lance, it IS about the bike"

Learning the Art of The Descent...prefaced by an excitting run in with a series of steep hair pin turns in Canyonlonds / Dead Horse Point State Park.

Steve introduced us to the essence of Training with Power, using the power meters provided by our team sponsor, SRM. This is a whole new world of training for most of us. I think we're all excitted and a bit overwhelmed at the same time to get into it.

The thought of 4 guys cartwheeling down sand dunes in cycling bib tights...gahhh!...bad image!....bad image!

There are few times in life when you can enjoy such generous quantities of good food, guilt free.

Moab in the spring is cycling heaven.

L-R: Dave, Mark, Steve, Aaron, Wayne

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Warm-Up, Warm-Up, Warm-Up or SRM to the Rescue (More RMR crit action)

Here's another great race report from Dave Baker:
This week I was the lone Team Zanc member at the RMR Crit series in West Valley City, UT.  Since our team training camp over the weekend was exceedingly instructive and motivating (details in an upcoming post), my primary objective for the crit was to do things differently.  In reviewing my recent races and camp performance, a common theme emerged: I tend to begin with little to no warm up, push myself to stay with the group, start to over-cook, panic, blow up, and get shot out the back of the peloton.  Based on the PLE scale (Perceived Level of Exertion), when trying to keep a race pace I'm usually between Level 9: "I am probably going to die" and Level 10: "I am dead". 
The training camp was my first chance to use the sponsor-provided SRM Training System.  This included the Campagnolo PowerMeter cranks, heart rate monitor, and PowerControl 7 computer.  I am still establishing the "training zones" to determine my Functional Threshold Power (FTP), so I first focused on gleaning insight from my heart rate and cadence.  Using the imprecise formula of 220 minus age (44), my maximum heart rate (HR) should be about 176 beats-per-minute (bpm).  During most of the climbs my HR was in the 140s, and I felt I could barely hang on.  When the pace picked up, my HR would drift into the 150s, then jump into the 160s, and I was cooked.
Further, my cadence tended to be high--apparently a little too high.  You see, I don't have an abundance of what you might call "muscle".  In fact, my arms have the tone and definition of half a Schleck brother.  So my thinking for some time has been, "What I lack in power, I should make up in efficiency by spinning a high cadence."  Although this makes for a smooth pedal stroke, I tend to look like a hummingbird on wheels.  Even when drafting, my cadence can hover between 90-100 revolutions-per-minute (rpm).  That's not exactly soft-pedaling in the slipstream. 
Given these realizations, Steve (as Directeur Sportif) offered some suggests for this week's practice crit.  First, move up from the D Flight to the C Flight - although a bit faster pace, there will be more riders to work with.  Second, make sure I have time for a good, focused pre-race warm-up.  Next, since the flat course is susceptible to strong crosswinds, find a good position to stay protected.  Finally, bring down my cadence. 
I arrived 1 hour beforehand to make sure I had plenty of time for a warm up.  After getting the bike ready and registering I did 15-20 minutes of spinning, 3 or 4 sprint intervals, then 5-10 minutes of cool down to let the heart rate settle a bit before rolling up to the start line.
This was a 30 minute race, so I anticipated about 10 laps.  We had a crosswind along the straightaway, so I focused on staying protected on the leeward side of the group.  My HR stayed around 160bpm (91%), but felt sustainable.  My cadence was around 70 rpm – decidedly slower for me, but I wasn't mashing the pedals by any means.  About 15 minutes in, I found myself on the outside against the crosswind and could feel the difference in my legs.  Toward the end of the lap I was in about 6th place and took the hairpin turn so properly I was catapulted into 2nd place.  The lead rider pulled off and I found myself up front.  Not where I wanted to be.  My HR hit 171bpm (97%).  On the backside I fell back fast.  The last rider of the main group passed me and I knew I had to catch his wheel before we headed back into the wind.  I dug deep to catch him, but was back on.  Soon after, the HR was back to the 160s and holding.
Going into the last lap I was in about 8th position.  I was moving up on the outside when a rider ahead and to the left of me braked abruptly AND veered into my line.  I knew we were going to touch, so I yelled, rubbed my front tire on his rear derailleur body and kept a left-leaning pressure on my bars to keep myself upright.  He accelerated and chased the leaders.  I was a bit rattled.  Realizing I almost went down, I sat up and composed myself.  I took it easy around the back and finished out of the saddle on the final straight. 

  1. Moving up to the C Flight was a confidence booster (even with the close call).
  2. Purposeful warm-ups are essential.  I was able to sustain a much higher HR than expected.
  3. Reading the wind before a race makes it easier to act purposefully during the race.
  4. I felt the lower cadence kept my legs fresher and it was easier to keep pace when the  group accelerated.
  5. I like racing.

I’m also eager to dive into the PowerMeter features of the SRM system.  Definitely more to follow.

Ride on.

WB:  here's a little preview for the next post (team bike photos, and a Moab Training Camp report)