Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Twitching & Salivating

Hanging on during the last five miles of my last bike ride was a bit of a gut punch. But the weekend and everything before that was entirely optimistic. Dereck "D-Rock" Tredwell came down for some training camp - or as much training as 2 days and some socializing allows. I got up early on Saturday to watch Liverpool lose to a far weaker Arsenal side. As a friend on twitter wrote, hitting posts and cross bars is not bad luck, its poor finishing........

Saturday was a wash so Tread and I hit the trainers for a couple of hours while watching some pro guys show us how its really done at Strade Bianche. We hit some tempo efforts mimicking the attacks of the riders on the computer screen. When they climbed, so did we. Off the bikes we went for a run, triathlon style. We only did 2 miles but it was enough to make me tired and wonder how guys race marathons off the bike.

Next up was a visit to ATA Cycles where I was scheduled a fit session from Husam Sahin. Husam is a bit of a genius. He makes his own contraptions the analyze position and measure power output using real simulations rather than video alone. We kicked off the session with all the usual measurements and some more thorough information using lazers (I'm not sure really but everything sounded awesome so I rolled with it). We then used Retul for the first position. Usually this is as far as a fit goes however Husam took the measurements from Retul and applied it to his hydraulic bike. Once I moved bikes I was set up in a new position. I rode here for a while holding a certain watt range - about 330 watts - until I was comfortable. Then he started to adjust the bike as I was in motion. The movements were so small that I didn't notice however I did notice the watts jumping up to 335, then 340, then 350 even though I was holding the same effort. When he returned me to my initial position my watts dropped and I had to pedal harder to get back to 350. Once I did he adjusted again, back to my new position and with the same effort I was pushing 365. I know there is a mental component to it but the increase at some level was real. We stopped playing around and I kept riding with my hands resting in the 3 typical positions.  Husam then adjusted my bike to the new position. He raised my saddle, shortened my stem, took out a spacer from my headtube, rotated my handlebars down slightly, and moved my saddle position. The overall affect was pretty amazing when we captured the new position on Retul and contrasted it to my original position. Everything looked more aero, smoother, and more powerful. Now I need to put it to use in the real world.
 The Kyphosis is always going to be a problem but hopefully the new position will allow me more comfort in the drops. I tested it next morning on the long ride and everything was smooth. No pain whatsoever, until the last 5 miles of course. For some reason I went from feeling amazing to rocked very quickly. Just holding Dean Phillips and Skip Foley's wheels was a test of mental strength. I suffered and it was joyful. With a week of work travel ahead of me and a Radiohead concert on the horizon I had every reason to feel happy. Group riding is awesome. Most people prefer to train alone but to me biking is a social outlet and lifestyle. I like to share it, albeit with stronger riders, most of the time.

Peace and Love,

New Orbital video is bizarre but the song is beautiful  and with Zola Jesus on the chanting duty it makes for magic sounds.