Posts Tagged ‘Cedar Hill


Specificity, Specificity, Specificity.

Superfly 100

I recently began, after a roughly 12 year hiatus, riding mountain bikes again. Now, Dallas isn’t really terribly vertically challenged, so the term “Mountain Bike” is probably the wrong term, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s keep it on-topic with that title. One of  the reasons I moved OUT of the mountain bike realm and in to road racing, and this is really just one reason, was because of the fact that, despite my great climbing abilities and decent descending skills, when I moved to Texas, I SUCKED AT TEXAS MTB RACES!!! However, it wasn’t until this summer that I actually began to understand just why.

Lots of speed, wattage, and cadence variations.

Mountain bike racing is definitely requires different training than standard road racing, but I didn’t really understand just how distinct TEXAS mountain bike racing was, until I started going to local DORBA trails again, this time armed with a Quarq power meter. Now, while I knew that Texas trail riding and racing was unique, I had NO IDEA that the demands were until I got this data. Look at the chart above, and watch how stochastic the data remains as I sort of randomly zoom in.

The first image was a 2hr overview. This next one is about 57 minutes…

It’s still stochastic in watts, cadence, and speed…

And here it is, zoomed in to 30 minutes…..

It’s STILL pretty stochastic for the 3 metrics…

And as we zoom in further, you start to see where I may be going with this…..

Still stochastic, but you start to get an idea of the cadence range…

Notice how many short, medium-cadence 'bursts' there are...

regardless of terrain.

19×5-10sec intervals with roughly equal coasting or zero-load pedaling.

So, if you think about it, zoom back up and out, and look at the macro, 2 hour ride, and then scroll down until  you get here. I’ll go in to WKO+ (I’m writing this on my Mac, and will upload the relevant graphic later), to do a ‘Fast Find’, but I’ll bet that in that 2 hour ride, there are probably, oh, let’s take a guess…. what, 300 of these 5-to-15 second intervals, in zones 4, 5, 6, and even higher? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??????

Believe me – it’s actually twistier than it looks.

Well, for one thing, it means that I have a LOT of Specific Training to do, if I’m going to show up for next year’s DORBA races, and even TMBRA races, prepared. I need bike handling practice, I need to dial in my suspension, but probably more importantly, I need to have the ability to do 300, 400, or maybe more, intense intervals, at 60-80 rpm. Try doing THAT on a CompuTrainer! Ugh!

I just wish I had data from my old days, racing in the 90’s in the Northwest. That was a COMPLETELY different beast, and it fed more in to my abilities as a solid Vo2-max and Threshold Racer, and NOT, as a punchy, crazy-accelration-to-the-next-hairpin-where-you-had-to-brake-only-to-punch-it-again-times-400-efforts type racer!!

Let the challenge begin – Hopefully I’ll be ready!!!


2010 Cedar Hills Rally – 2:31 100k!

Head for the Hills of Cedar Hill!

The 2010 Cedar Hills Rally brought a whole host of surprises, and it began with the weather. After a long spring of rain and even snow, we North Texans had begun to enjoy a true spring, with multiple days of good weather, mild-to-warm temps, and breezes finally coming in from the South. Sure, there had been some storms that came in from the South and due West, but at least the Blue Northers were gone. However, on Saturday morning, we woke up to, get this, temps in the high 50’s, and a gusty wind blowing mostly out of the NorthEast, but really just sort of all over about three different directions on the compass. About 2000 people showed up to get their fill of the rolling hills just south of Dallas, and the course did NOT disappoint.

Several top riders from local clubs attended, but it was the Colavita team that really became the major players. From the gun, Brian Reid jumped to the front and set a blistering pace, WITH THE TAIL WIND, for about 3 miles. David Arteaga, a rider who knows these roads like the back of his hand, and had his breakout moment in this rally two years ago, also rode up front, along with several other riders, including a tandem Joe’s Pros/Colavita team, Curtis Palmer from Colavita, another Colavita rider whose name I can’t remember, and a Williams rider, along with a long-time veteran of Texas rallies, Duane Neu. Again, the pace was blistering, and I was truly surprised that the tandem riders were actually really, really good at negotiating the turns, shifting, holding on to momentum, and basically doing their part in the pack. They pulled, they drafted, they rotated through pacelines, everything. I was impressed.

In the first hour alone, we averaged 28.3 miles per hour, and after staying at or near the front for a number of pulls, negotiating the twisty course and the accompanying county roads (medium quality-to-poor quality, so you had to keep your eyes open), I rolled back to see if I could find some of my teammates… and the pack ended at 10 bicycles! Now, I need to tell you – this is REALLY rare. Most of the time, packs don’t split up and breakaways don’t form until well in to the rally, but here, some time around the first 30-45 minutes, we had actually cracked the peloton. It wasn’t an excuse to slow down, but it did make things easier for the riders who were there, and it also made things safer, since we could negotiate the turns better, and regroup after road crossings, etc.

At about 31 miles, we finally left the cracks and chip-seal and began to traverse west-bound toward the eventual turn right and trip home. The wind was howling, but with the Colavita rider on the back of the tandem (a STRONG female cyclist) directing the paceline, we were able to hold things together quite a bit and quite well, losing very little time in the crosswinds and the climbs out and back to the finish line at Cedar Hill High School. Unfortunately, we did lose two of the 10 riders, one to a flat, the other to fatigue, but the rest of us were able to withstand the turn in to the headwind, and get within 8 miles of the finish line before Curtis unfortunately cracked on a long, ever-steeper hill, facing the headwind. This put us down to 7 bikes (8 riders). Duane rode incredibly well, and Brian and David actually came to a detente of respect after they traded barbs earlier in the ride when discussing who was working more.

The finish went basically uncontested, since we were passing hordes of cyclists from other routes who were finishing up their own rides of 25 and 40 miles. At the end, we looked down and noticed that, with the challenging terrain (3000′ of climbing) and the brutal, gusty wind, we still did almost 62 miles in 2 hours and 31 minutes, a new record for myself for sure, and one that everyone else said either was or was close to their overall PR. Stats for the ride (my own) went like this: 2200 Kilojoules of energy expended, Normalized Power for the ride of  279w, IF of .976, which makes me think that either my Threshold is low, or that I need to check calibration (the cold weather necessitated a manual calibration before the start, but the Joule 2.0’s menu system is, well, still vexing me at this time, and I didn’t want to mess with it). MMP60 Normalized was a 297, so I think I WILL raise my FTP to at least 297 from 287, and see what that does for me. Average speed for the ride was 23.3mph.

Overall, it was a fantastic ride, and again, I’m surprising myself as I come in to form, just in time to save the season. Rally riding is de facto racing for many of us, and with this finish, I am confident that I can hold my own among the elite riders of North Texas.

Post-Race notes:

  • My supplement strategy involved two items: Extreme Endurance pills (6) (, which keep the blood alkaline for a longer period of time before lactic acid overwhelms the system. I was able to completely avoid cramps and sore legs, and I felt that especially on the hilly portions in the homeward leg, in the headwind, I was able to stomp on the pedals at a higher cadence and with more force, thus matching pulls or pulling through on the group with whom I was riding. I was able to do this over, and over, and over, and after the rally, as tired as I was, I was completely void of soreness. Even descending stairs was no problem.
  • The second strategy involves ingestion of 500ml of pure beetroot juice. A study showed that beetroot juice is filled with nitrites, and the supposition is that in the body, the nitrites are converted to Nitric Oxide, which acts as a vasodilator and a blood vessel repair apparatus or elasticity improver or something like that. I won’t divulge the after-effects of said fueling, but suffice it to say that per the effort, you end up with more stamina and more strength as a result of a better blood circulation system.

Photos will be posted as they become available, but this was one rally that this author will never forget, for its’ toughness, its’ speed, and the coordination of the group with whom I was riding. Chapeau, y’all! See you next weekend!


Cedar Hill Rally, Saturday May 10th, 2008

Things just keep getting better….

Remember how last month, I was pretty shaken by the results I got at Ft. Davis, and then sort of rallied to a good spot in the Muenster Rally, finishing 3rd? Well, after a week at  Camp Jemison in Moab, Saturday was pretty spectacular.

Amy and I arrived about an hour before the start, got registered, and then got our stuff all out of the Subaru. I was riding the Cervelo with the Quarq, and I had it pegged to the 705, and the PowerTap 2.4 as well, This was on the Aeolus 6.5 wheels, with Vittoria Open Corsa Pro’s, and I’d put Michelin Latex tubes in there as well.

Looking at the lineup, it was filled with heavy hitters. Brett Crosby, Chopper, Mike Brown, Mark Ross, Chris Hamilton, Chris Powers, Chris Kutach (lotsa Chris’s), a Spaniard from B & B, Ken MacLean from Tenzing, another two Tenzing riders, Jordan Chaney and Ben Sewell, to name just a few. Andrew Popsack of the Pirates, and myself, went out with the lead group, and we were NOT to be disappointed.

In the first 10 miles, I think there were 3 separate breakaway attempts, one that included me and the Spaniard. About 3 miles later, I went out and bridged to Brownie, Hamilton, a Tenzing rider, and myself, and we set up a strong breakaway that took about 7 miles to catch. Apparently at one point we were over a minute up,but Crosby, better known as “The Diesel”, pulled a group of 15 or so back up to us. I was recovering from that effort when Chopper, Hamilton, and the Spaniard went off the front, and got away. Mirage ended up playing defence, and since I was in Pirate gear, we weren’t able to work together too much. We kept it within 1:00, to 1:30, but never quite got ourselves in there to merge, though we were really getting close at mile 45 or so. That’s when we caught the Spaniard.

Brownie threw in some really hard efforts about then, along with Chris Powers, but this time I was actually able to stay within 3 bike lengths of them, and though we’d cracked about half the rest of the field, Crozzy, Brownie, Powers, Kutach, and some others were still there to provide the watt-power. I took a TON of hard pulls, and felt like we were getting closer. Powers rolled up to me about mile 52 or so, and said “If they get a light and we don’t, they’re gone.” I replied, “Man, I’m doing everything I can!”, and he chuckled and said, “Yeah, you really are!” So I took that as a compliment!

Then it happened. Around mile 54, just outside of the Venus Cement Plant, we were within 30 seconds of the 2-man break, when I suffered a complete blowout of my front tube. Latex tubes don’t really go flat – they’re always losing air to some degree. But when you get a puncture, it really does sound like a shotgun in the peloton, and it can be a risky venture to bring yourself to a safe stop. I was in the middle of the pack when I lost the tire, and it immediately blew the bead off the rim. I was worried that the tire might get wrapped around the fork or brake pads, so I threw myself back and began letting the bike slow down on its’ own, applying just the rear brake. I got a lot of “Wharton, hey, great ride man!” and “Sorry, Wharton, good ride!”, but for me, it was over. I told them thanks, fell back, and started replacing the tube.

It’s funny, when you’re on the sidelines after a 2 hr 15 minute beatdown and festival of speed. People ride by, ask if you’re okay, then roll on. They also chuckle and talk among themselves about SAG wagons, the hot dogs at the front, etc.

I started rolling out just about the time that Ben Sewell came by. We rolled in together, had a good time just talking, and I came across the finish line and in to the reception area to a sort of chorus of ‘attaboy’s and ‘holy crap, you were on fire today!’. So, it’s nice to feel some vindication. The training is going well, I’m more inspired than ever from the racing/training and fitness, and now I just hope and pray that I can actually make it work to the point where I have a good result in Oregon, and I also do well in some of the summer events down here in Texas. If not, well, it’s not the end of the world, but I have to believe that if I’m hanging and pushing the envelope in the company of some of the best riders in the state, that maybe, just maybe, I can pull off some strong finishes this year.

The rest of the season awaits…. And my goal of 4.5 w/kg is edging closer.

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