Long brick

The forecast for this morning was upper 30s and a rain/snow mix so I was second guessing doing the Harvard time trial. What sealed the deal was my post Crazylegs ride. I planned on an easy 90 minute ride, nothing that would wear me out. I knew it was windy, but I figured I'd keep my power down and not worry about how slow I was going.

The wind was a little scary...well, really scary. We had gusts of 25+ mph. A headwind or tailwind wasn't that bad, but a crosswind was pretty scary. I had to lean into the wind and I had a tough time staying out of traffic when the gusts hit. I should've stayed home. Some days aren't safe to ride.

Anyway, the wind wasn't the killer. It turns out it was Crazylegs. I had nothing left in my legs and holding my power in my endurance zone was really hard work. There was no way I would be ready for a TT, so I figured I would stick with my original plan - a long brick.

I got lucky and the weather cleared up. No rain or snow, but it was a little cold - upper 40s and kind of windy - nothing like yesterday, though. I decided to try out the time trial routes I mapped out. I did 2 40k TTs and 1 20K TT with a few minutes of rest between time trials. I kept my power in my endurance zone so it was far from 3 all out TTs, but it was hard work and very tiring...especially since I still haven't recovered from Crazylegs.

After the TTs, I ran for an hour.

After the run, I...well...I thought I was going to die. This workout got the best of me, that's for sure. The worst part about a long workout in the cold is the 30 minute coughing fit afterwards. Cold air really tears up my throat. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but clearly I'm not.

Next Saturday is my first multi-sport event of the year - The Peanut Butter Duathlon. It's a 2 mile run, 14 mile bike, 2 mile run. I'd like to do well, so I'm going to keep my workouts pretty easy this week so I'm well rested for the event. I also need to find some time to practice my transitions because they're pretty weak and I haven't practiced them yet this year.


Crazylegs Classic

Crazylegs is insane (you thought I was going to say crazy, didn't you?). Crazylegs is an 8K race benefitting UW Athletics. The race starts on the Capitol Square and finishes in Camp Randall - where the party starts... a band, beer, Bucky...what more could you want? There's usually about 10,000 runners along with several thousand walkers. It's one of those events that everyone does. Even people who rarely run dig out their running shoes for Crazylegs.

Cheri and I had some pretty aggressive goals for Crazylegs this year. I wanted to run it in 32:30 and Cheri was shooting for 42:30. The weather this morning wasn't quite what we were hoping for - mid 40s and windy. Not ideal, but the sun came out and the temps warmed up a bit so it wasn't too bad. The wind was tough, but not as bad as we thought it was going to be.

My race went pretty well. I started on pace, but lost about 10 seconds climbing Observatory...10 seconds I was never able to make up. I felt okay the rest of the race, but I just didn't have enough left in the tank to make up the time I lost on Observatory. So I finished in 32:40. I missed my goal by a bit, but I'm really happy with my time. It was an aggressive goal so to come as close as I did is encouraging and tells me that my goal wasn't unrealistic. I finished 280 out of 10,174 runners - 53 out of 885 in my age group.

Cheri doesn't race as much as I do so Crazylegs means more to her than it does to me. She spent a lot of time this year training to hit her goal, and I really wanted her to finish in under 42:30 so I let her use my Garmin figuring it would help her pace herself and keep her on track. I use my Garmin so much it's tough to run without it, but I figured if only one of us makes our goal I would rather it be her (running with my Garmin wouldn't have helped me make up those 10 seconds so it's all good). She said it helped a lot and she can't wait for hers to arrive (I'm getting her a Garmin 405 for her b-day - not much of a surprise).

Anyway, Cheri tore it up. She finished in 41:58, way ahead of her goal. That's an 8:26 pace, and I think she's finally starting to believe me when I tell her she can run 9s at the Mad City Half Marathon. She finished 3210 out of 10,174 and 159 out of 1106 in her age group. That puts her in the top 1/3 overall, so I told her she can no longer say she's not really a runner.

Here are a few pics I found online. I'll post more when they post them on the website later next week....


Camp Randall...



The Slicer

Since the time trial last weekend, I decided I need to spend a little time working on the set up on my Slice (aka The Slicer). I moved the saddle back a little so it wouldn't be quite so different from my road bike. It's still quite a bit further forward than my Peloton, but now the difference isn't so drastic and it feels a little better.

I also moved the aerobars down a little. I had th
em angled up a little, and it was putting my wrists in a bad angle and causing my forearms to get fatigued. I don't know if this will be any better, but I'll find out this weekend at the Harvard TT.

I also decided to wrap the aerobars tonight. I think this will be a little more comfortable on long rides and it will protect the cables, which were exposed a little on the underside of the aerobars. I also bought a new computer mount so I could mount my computer on my aerobars. I had it on my stem, but it was really hard to see. The new wrap....

Here's the new computer mount. It should be easier to read and easier to toggle between screens without getting out of the aerobars. I'm a little concerned it might move when I hit the buttons for an interval though. The mount won't go as tight as I would like it.

This is why they call it the Slice. Check out how thin this bike is. And, yes, it does slice through the wind. I can't get over how fast this bike is. It's so easy to go 20+ mph.

I got out for 2 rides on the bike this week so I could start dialing in the fit and getting used to the new position. Now that I'm getting more comfortable on it, I'm having a lot of fun riding it. It's a lot more different from my road bike than I thought it would be. I thought when I got this bike, I would fall in love with it and not want to ride my road bike anymore, but that's not the case at all. I still prefer my road bike. TT bikes are fast and fun, but I couldn't imagine having to ride one all the time. They don't climb that well and it's hard to react quickly to something in the road if you need to. And it's only really comfortable when you're in the aerobars. Plus, I would never ride this bike on a group ride (except for maybe a ride with triathletes where we don't plan
on getting a pace line going) and group rides are fun.

I mapped out a 20K TT route that I can ride at lunch. It's about 3 miles from the office, so the total ride comes to just under 20 miles. It starts on Seminole (one of my favorite roads to ride) and turns down Whalen, which has a couple of hills and is part of the Ironman route. Then I take Caine down to Hwy M, to Fitchburg, back to Whalen and then Seminole. I've ridden it twice now and it's not bad. The only negative to it is that you have to cross Fish Hatchery Road twice, which can be pretty busy so I may have to wait for traffic. Other than that it's a decent route.

Here it is...

I took it easy and rode at a comfortable pace. I didn't want to wear myself out before Crazylegs and the time trial this weekend. I just wanted to get more time on the bike and get used to the aero position.


Cherry Valley TT & Whitewater Lake

Today was...wait for it...wait for it...warm. Finally. Low 70s, sunny, 5 mph winds...a perfect spring day.

I got up early and headed down to Cherry Valley, IL (Rockford) for the Cherry Valley Time Trial. It was a 30K (18.8 miles) out and back course with a few small, rolling hills. I think the week's worth of working out finally caught up with me. I didn't do bad, but I definitely didn't feel strong out there. It was tough.

From the TTs I did over the winter, I figured I could average about 280 watts. I started a little too strong and averaged about 300 for the first few miles, but then my pace and watts continued to decline and I finished with an average of 260 watts (23.3 mph). I'm not sure what my official finishing time was, but it's around 48 minutes and 15 seconds. I didn't hang around after the race to see the final times.

The race was fun, and I'm glad I went, but I definitely need more time on my Cannondale. It's a much different position and my hamstrings got pretty tired out there. And, as always, the saddle was a torture devise. I don't think Fizik saddles work for me. Here are a few pictures from the TT...

My bike set up on the trainer so I could warm up before the race...

Check out this bike. Those recumbent guys are goofy.

A few riders warming up...(don't they know you're supposed to bring your trainer - like the pros do - and park it behind your Sunfire - like the pros do?)

The starting line...

Here's a picture of my new helmet. It arrived just in time for the time trial. I'm not sure if it made me any faster today, but I'm pretty sure it didn't make me any slower. Fatigue and Lactic Acid can be blamed for that.
When I got home, Cheri and I went for a walk on the bike path and then we hopped on our bikes and rode out to Whitewater Lake, one of my favorite cycling destinations (about a 40 mile ride). The ride was fun, but we were ready for it to end when we got home. My legs were really tired from the TT, and Cheri's were really tired from her 10.5 mile run Saturday (her longest ever). Here are some pictures from the ride.

Whitewater Lake...

I love this road....



My vacation is over now, and that's a good thing. I'm tired. I need to go back to work so I can get some rest. I worked out for 22 hours this week. 270 miles on my bike with 1 time trial. 30 miles running with 1 mid-week half marathon, 2 hours in the pool - because I've been slacking on my swimming a little lately (gotta get back on track).


Day 4: Same Ol' Situation

Alpine Valley. Yesterday, I got up early and headed out for a bike ride hoping to beat the rain which was supposed to start late morning. I expected to get rained on, but I wanted to get as much of my ride in as possible before the rain hit.

I biked down to the IL border, then up through Sharon where I rode on the crappiest road I've ever ridden on. Then up through Delevan, Elkhorn and around Alpine Valley and home. I believe the last time I was at Alpine Valley was this concert:

Yes, it's been a long time. Yes, I don't go to many concerts. Yes, I listen to a lot of bands that don't have enough fans to sell out Alpine Valley.

Here's the route...

This is what the skies looked like when I left. I didn't take the camera because I expected rain, but I got lucky and the skies looked like this the whole time. We didn't get any rain until 9:30 pm.

I took it really easy in the beginning because I was afraid I would bonk. The problem with taking it easy into a headwind is that your ride takes forever, but I'm on vacation and I have all day so it's okay.

About mile 60, I still felt pretty good and I finally turned West to head home, which meant I had a strong tailwind the rest of the way, so I decided to increase my power a bit for the rest of the ride. And, by pure chance, I picked a route that had lots of straight, flat, smooth roads with almost no traffic. It was great. Lots of long stretches doing 26-30 mph without too much effort. Taking it easy in the beginning sure did pay off because the last hour of my ride was my best. My power was the highest and my average speed was 21 mph (tailwind).

Total: 5:59:36
Distance: 101.78
Ave Speed: 17
Ave Power: 161 watts
Max Watts: 805 watts

Food consumed: 3 bottles of Gatorade, 1 double dose of Perpetuem, 1 Snickers Marathon Bar, 1 package of Fig Newtons, 1 bag of Cliff Shot Blocks. Total Calories: 1590 Calories Burned: 3500

Surprisingly, I felt pretty good afterwards, Good enough to spend a few hours cleaning my bike and putting on new cables and bar wrap.

Here you go, Toby, a picture of my new bike. I'll take a few more pictures this weekend and post them. The 'made in China' sticker is kind of funny. It's really small and on the inside of the fork leg, Yet, Cheri's bike says 'handmade in USA' in huge font on the seat stays. I found out that most, if not all, of Cannondale's carbon bikes are made in Asia and they make aluminum and aluminum/carbon bikes in the USA. Cheri's bike is an aluminum/carbon mix so that's why it was made in the US. That was the fun fact for the day.


Day 3: The Sugar River Trail

Today, the plan was to run from Broadhead to Albany (7 miles) and back along the Sugar River Trail. So I got up early, had a good breakfast and drove the 30 minutes to the trailhead in Broadhead... and there it was... one of my biggest pet peaves....locked bathrooms at a trailhead. I don't get it.

The Sugar River Trail follows, you guessed it, the Sugar R
iver. Or so you'd think.

About a half mile into my run, I came to this road. Which way would you go? Sure, there's a little orange sign pointing to the right, but clearly the path goes straight. And the trail follows the Sugar River, right?

I went straight. Wrong. It's a decent run...

...but it eventually comes to a dead end, and I had to turn around. I remembered the orange sign and decided to see where that lead. It leads down this road...

...and takes you to the real Sugar River Trail, which isn't as scenic as the trail I was on and you can't see the Sugar River anymore. It was a little disappointing.

The only scenery....

So now I'm basically at the starting point of my run, except I've already run 6 miles. Looks like I won't be running to Albany and back.

So I ran a few miles on the trail and then headed back to my car. Then it was off to Frostie Freeze for some recovery food.

Time: 1:47:53
Distance: 13.16
Pace: 8:11

Day 2: Bike Mechanic

Day 2 of my vacation, I had planned a 50 mile ride but my calf was still sore and I didn't want to risk an injury so I skipped the ride. I think I figured out why my calf got so sore. I changed my saddle a while ago because I wanted to try my Fizik Arione saddle again, and it's quite a bit thicker than my Selle Italia. When I changed saddles, I forgot to account for this difference by lowering my saddle so I essentially raised my saddle a bit and I think it was too high and I over-stretched my calf muscles and they responded by tightening up. No big deal, but I hate missing a workout because of a stupid mistake. Live and learn, I guess.

So I went to the pool early and swam for an hour (3000 yards) and went for a 6.5 mile run with Cheri when she got home from work. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, running errands and working on bikes. I got Cheri's bike ready to ride so she can take it out for its first ride today. Here's a picture:


Day 1: Pedal the Kettle

Day 1 of my vacation, I decided to bike to Kettle Moraine and back. The weather was good, but not great. Sunny (in fact, I don't think I even saw any clouds) with a high of 48 and winds of 5-10 mph. Since I'm not on good terms with my Fastback right now (2 flats), I decided to ride my Peloton. Ahhhhh.....carbon. I forgot how much nicer carbon is. I also forgot how uncomfortable my saddle is. Got a good reminder today.

My route had me starting out with a headwind and finishing with a tailwind. Perfect. I figured the way back would be really fast, and it would've been had I not been so tired. 80 miles was a little too much for me today. Plus I think I pushed a little too hard in the beginning. I was watching my power closely, but I overestimated how many watts I can average for 4.5 hours.

I think this would've been a great ride if spring in Wisconsin wasn't so dreary. Everything is dead, and even though it was a nice day it didn't feel like it.

On my way out, I rode through Whitewater and past the campus. I thought it would be kind of fun to ride past the school and see what's changed since I went there. It wasn't that fun...in fact, it kind of sucked. Lots of traffic and pedestrians and once I got there I realized I don't really care if anything has changed. Here's a picture I took of the campus from the start line of the Whitewater Road Race (my first road race). It's a fun race, but it's the same day as Crazy Legs this year so I can't race it.

There's either a lot of marshes by Kettle Moraine, or there's a lot more flooding this spring than I thought.

Good old rural Wisconsin. This might be a neat picture if there were leaves on the trees...

Notice anything wrong with this picture?

Apparently thieves can't penetrate a row of pine trees. And the gate is wide open. Not to mention, this house was in the middle of nowhere. It is so far from civilization, I have no idea why they think they need a gate. I'm sure that area hasn't seen a crime in...well, ever.

About mile 60, my right calf tightened up and gave me trouble the rest of the way. It didn't cramp, just plenty of pain. So in addition to being very tired, I was worried about getting injured. It wasn't the best ride ever, but better than being at work.

Time: 4:35:08
Distance: 80.92 miles
Ave Speed: 17.6
Max Speed: 32.13
Ave Watts: 184
Max Watts: 615



This morning, Cheri and I got up early and ran a 5K in Beloit. It was 35 degrees with a rain/snow mix. Not exactly ideal conditions.

I was hoping to break 20 minutes, and I figured I had a good chance today since the course was really flat. There's not much to say about my race. I finished in 19:23, a new PR. 3rd overall, 2nd in my division.

But....Cheri dominated. She won the women's division and took home a trophy, medal and bag that says "I have a run track mind." Pretty cool. She came really close to a PR and shattered the course record in her age group. Very impressive for her first 5K in about a year.

I was planning on doing a time trial tomorrow, but the temp at the start of the race is going to be below freezing and there's a chance of rain so I figured I'll sleep in and go for a ride later in the day when it warms up to a balmy 40 degrees.

Next up...

Cherry Valley TT (30K) April 20
Crazy Legs 8K run April 26

Worst ride ever?

This was a stressful week at work. I'm on vacation next week (and the weather is looking really good) so I had a ton of stuff to get done by the end of the week. By the end of the day Friday, all I wanted to do was start my vacation by going for a bike ride. The weather was 45 degrees and rainy, but I didn't care.

I headed out for a two hour out and back loop on the IM course. My raincoat was keeping me warm and everything was great...until mile 13. A flat. I don't know what it is with wheels on my Fastback, but tires are really hard to change. Any other wheels and I'm okay, but those wheels are a real struggle for me. So I fought with the tire for about 10 or 15 minutes on the side of the road in the cold rain.

After I got the tire fixed I decided to head home. 7 miles from home, flat number 2. I didn't have a second tube so I just kept on riding. I was afraid that sitting down would put too much weight on the rear wheel and destroy the rim, so I stood the whole way home. Of course, the rain picked up and the temperature dropped.

Other than the Mt. Evans Hillclimb (pictured) this was my worst ride ever. What a way to start my vacation.


McMillan Running

A few weeks ago I discovered the McMillan Running website (www.mcmillanrunning.com) and have been using their pace calculator to determine my pace zones for workouts. It's pretty cool. You just enter a race result (I did my 5K time from the Shamrock Shuffle) and it gives you estimated race results along with pace zones for long runs, tempo runs, intervals...

So far it has proven to be very accurate. I've been using it for my workouts as well as Cheri's, and we've both been able to run in the zones it's giving us even though we sometimes doubt we can hold that pace for a long time, but we always do.

Yesterday, I did the Black Earth Brick. According to McMillan Running, I should be able to run a 10 mile race in 1:11 - a 7:08 pace. I had my doubts on holding that pace for that long, but so for McMillan's has been accurate so I decided to stick with it. Since I rode hard on Friday and I was biking to the race, I figured I would shoot for somewhere in the 7:20-7:30 range. That's probably about the equivalent of running a 7:08 without biking before the event.

I was a little worried about my legs being tired from Friday's ride, but they didn't feel too bad in the morning, a little stiff and sore but not as bad as I expected. My plan was to take it easy on the way out and stay in the pack as much as possible. It was really windy so I didn't want to do any pulling. I just wanted to sit in and save it for the run. Things don't always go according to plan.

There was a group of maybe 40 or 50 cyclist and triathletes at Fleet Feet. I was planning on getting a group of triathletes figuring they would take it a little slower thinking about the run, and the cyclists - some of whom weren't running - would push the pace more. I headed out with the first group. The pace was pretty moderate, and I stayed in the middle of group. After about 5 miles, the pace picked up on a descent and I looked back and discovered we had become a group of 5 well out in front of the rest of the pack...oh yeah, I was with a group of cyclists, not triathletes...no aerobars in this pack. After the descent, the pace stayed at 20 mph the rest of the way and we had a really strong headwind. There were 2 cyclists up front who were pulling and having a conversation and they seemed content to pull the whole way so I hung in and took advantage of the draft. About 4 miles from Black Earth, one of the cyclists got tired of pulling into the wind and pulled over so that left the pulling up to me. I didn't want to do it, but I had no choice and I ended up pulling the group the last 4 miles into Black Earth...and that hurt. That wind was brutal.

Luckily, we had about an hour to kill before the start of the race so I had some time to recover. The race went really well, and I now have even more confidence in McMillan's than I did before. It's a great resource. I headed out running between 7:20-7:30 hoping to pick up the pace a little toward the end if I felt good, and that's exactly what I did so I'm really happy with my performance yesterday. Negative splits at a 10 mile race is a great way to boost your confidence and build enthusiasm for an upcoming half marathon. Here are my splits:

Mile 1 = 7:23
Mile 2 = 7:24
Mile 3 = 7:23
Mile 4 = 7:24
Mile 5 = 7:24
Mile 6 = 7:19
Mile 7 = 7:13
Mile 8 = 7:17
Mile 9 = 7:11
Mile 10 = 6:50

According to my Garmin, the course was 10.07 miles and my time was 1:13:15, a 7:16 average pace. I didn't stick around to see results so have no idea how I did.

Even though there was a tailwind on the way back to Fleet Feet, it was still a tough ride because the climbs on the way back are tougher...plus I was pretty tired from the run. Black Earth is only 15 miles from Fleet Feet - not the 20 that was advertised. I live 5 miles from Fleet Feet so I ended the day with 40 miles on the bike and 10 miles running. I'm glad it wasn't 20 miles to Black Earth because another 10 miles would've been a killer.

It was a great training day, but now my legs are really sore this morning. Good thing today is an easy day.


Opening Day

It was opening day at Miller Park today, and the Brewers destroyed the giants 13-4. So far they're 3-1. Not a bad way to start the season.

Today, I got a little stupid at lunch and I think I'm going to pay the price. Tomorrow is the Black Earth Race, a 10 mile run. I don't really care how I do, but I would like to run well. Mainly I'm using this race as a training run for the Madison Half Marathon, and I figured this should give me a good idea on pacing for the half marathon.

Fleet Feet, a local running store, is celebrating their birthday this week and they're celebrating by turning the Black Earth Race into a birthday brick. A group is m
eeting at the store, biking to Black Earth (20 miles), running the race, then biking back to Fleet Feet. Since Fleet Feet is only 5 miles from my house, I figured I'll bike to Fleet Feet for the brick rather than drive. That will give me a total of 50 miles cycling and 10 miles running for the day. That's gonna be a tough day.

Here's where I got stupid: this week is a recovery week for me, and since I've been beating myself into the ground for a while I decided to take it really easy this week. My o
nly hard day for the week was going to be tomorrow. I've been following the plan, but today the weather was really nice and I felt really good. I was riding alone at lunch, and I was pretty fired up with the 52 degree temps and sunshine. I finally got to ditch the shoe covers and trade the leg warmers for knee warmers. So I decided to push the pace a bit, and now my legs are tired and sore and I'm not sure they're going to be fully recovered by tomorrow.

I never learn.

Here's the data from today's ride:

Check out tomorrow's weather. First time all year we're going to hit 60 degrees. 13 mph winds with gusts of 25. It might be a tough workout. I hope someone feels like doing all the pulling because I'm pretty sure I won't feel like it.

I bought a new bike, and it arrived last week but I haven't put it together yet. I'll be working on it tonight. I put Cheri's bike together first since I've built a road bike before and I had a general idea what I was doing. I've never built a tri bike so it's going to be an interesting evening.

I wanted to get the Cannondale Slice 3, but it was backordered until the middle of summer so I upgraded to the Slice 1. The only problem is that I don't know what to do with the wheels now. I really didn't want these wheels, and that's why I wanted the Slice 3. I was planning on using my Reynolds wheels with the Powertap. I might sell them. I've been checking e-bay and there aren't many sets for sale and there's very little bidding on them. If I can't get a decent price for them it's not worth selling them.

We'll see. Here's a picture of the new ride. I'll post some real pictures of the new bikes later. I forgot to get Cheri's camera from her.