Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Contrary to popular belief, I'm still alive. Major updates coming shortly, including my sorry excuses for not updating my blog in a year!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin'...

Later today I will leave for my first stage race of the season. In honor of this, I've put together a new iPod playlist for my warm-up. In no particular order, it is below

Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train
Disturbed - Down With the Sickness
Metallica - Enter Sandman
Rolling Stones - Jumpin' Jack Flash
Rolling Stones - Shattered
Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff
Limp Bizkit - Nookie
Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls
The Beatles - Get Back
Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff

The race is on the north shore of Lake Mead, outside Las Vegas, and consists of an uphill time trial, a long rolling road race, and a twisty criterium. The plan is to kill the time trial so hard that no one bothers showing up for the road race or crit. I'll let you know how that goes...

Monday, February 16, 2009

UCLA Road Race and Time Trial

The more observant of you may notice that I skipped the race report for Poor College Kids Road Race and the Mothballs crit. That's because my performance was less than spectacular and I'd rather just move on.

While my softer-shelled compatriots were off in sunny, warm, Arizona racing at Valley of the Sun, I was at the UCLA Road Race on Saturday, rolling around the Devil's Punchbowl course. Sunrise on Saturday morning revealed a spectacular scene of low mountains and rolling hills with a dusting of snow, all without a cloud in the sky. By the time the Men's 4/5 field started at 9:15, though, temperatures were just above freezing, and most of the ice on the road had melted.

I got to the line early and assured myself an excellent starting position. After leading the pack for the first two miles the serious uphill started and I started getting passed. I'm no climber, and this just wasn't my day. I picked up a few people who had passed me, but there wasn't anything organized. In the end, the race was essentially a twenty-five mile uphill time trial. I took thirty-sixth out of a full field of seventy-five.

Sunday saw me in Lancaster for the UCLA Time Trial. A slightly rolling, out-and-back, 23km course, I liked my odds going into the day. Time trials have always been something I'm good at, and this year I have some new equipment. My new time trial bike, a Rudy Project Syton helmet, a bitchin' Liquid Fitness skinsuit, and a rear wheel cover were all ready to go at noon on Sunday.

After getting my start time (12:23:30) at sign-in I headed out to warm up. I stopped by the starting tent for a time check and headed south from there. Despite thrashing myself on the road race Saturday, I felt great. I rolled back up to the line with five minutes to spare and tried to stay loose. I rolled to the line and held the bike steady while the marshall got a grip on my saddle rails. I clipped in and awaited the countdown.

As soon as the starter said "Go," I let go of my brakes and started started cranking. After a hundred yards I tucked into my aerobars and focused on cranking. Throughout my race I focused on keeping my Powertap over 300 watts; everytime I saw it dip I pushed harder. Everytime I felt the pain releave I pushed harder. And everytime I saw a rider ahead of me I made up my mind to pass them. As I passed the 500 meters to go mark I dropped the hammer even harder and poured every ounce of strength into my cranks. I blew across the finish line to post a 29:52, good enough for a win in the Cat 4 race.

The credit for this success goes to my legs and to my Powertap, which gave me something objective to focus on, and distract and motivate myself to fight through the pain. Thanks to the guys at UCLA for putting on a terrific weekend; I look forward to coming back next year.

And in other news, the location for Elite Nationals has been announced as Bend, OR this year. I sense a road trip in my future...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reluctantly Crouched at the Starting Line

I'm a bad, bad person. I don't blog enough, as I have been informed by several people, including Dave Almighty. With the race season upon us, however, I felt I should reassure my hordes of loyal readers that I am not dead! I did not waste away to nothing out here in the Land of Fruits and Nuts. Rather, I have been training extensively in preparation for my first race as a Cat 4: the Poor College Kids Road Race in Santa Barbara, CA. The next day is the Mothballs Criterium also in Santa Barbara. My new ride, named Viviane, and I will be headed up there to take names and kick ass.

I promise that a race report will follow on Sunday. Really!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Red Roubaix Resale

So it's been an awfully long time since I posted anything. Nothing terribly exciting has been happening in Mike's World of Cycling lately, other than lots of training (and let's be honest, how exciting are base miles, really?), and falling off the training schedule due to various side trips. As I write this, I'm sitting in the Windy City visiting with family for Thanksgiving. I am, of course, bike-less, so there's three days down the tubes.

In October I rolled down to the Grand Canyon with a crew of folks I met in the Chicago Basin last year and had a Grand time. Another five days gone, though I can write off a lot of that to cross-training.

And at the end of September I traveled up to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park for a few days of backpacking and had an absolute blast. Sequoia is, hands down, the most spectacular place I've ever seen. I cannot wait to go back, to drink in the fantastic scenery and clean mountain air again.

On second thought, I guess there have been some interesting developments in my cycling career. As I already noted in my previous post I am now a Cat IV road cyclist. In addition, I have a new team. I will be racing for Liquid Fitness Cycling this year on their Cat IV/V squad. I'll have new photos and sponsor links up as soon as I have them, hopefully towards the end of this week.

I will also be bidding fairwell to Beatrix, my faithful, if short-lived, road bike (so if anyone you know wants a 58cm Cervelo Soloist, drop me a line). She's just too long and my pelvic angle is all wrong when I'm on top of her. Yeah, all you followers of Freud can have a field day with that. Instead, I'll be running a Specialized Roubaix Pro, with a SRAM Red build. The added head tube and shortened top tube are, according to several fitters at the LBS, exactly what my freakishly long femurs need. Looking forward to that, though not to re-learning how to shift. As in keeping with custom, I shall take suggestions for a name. Only requirements are that it be female, and you be able to tell me why I should name my bike whatever it is you suggest.

That's all on the Western Front for now. May everyone have a happy Thanksgiving, and a festive and joyous holiday-of-choice. Until next time, keep the rubber side down.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Just in case I needed motivation to train this off-season:

The following request to change your USCF category has been approved and by USAC:
Member: Michael Nies
License: Road Racer
Request to change category from Cat 5 to Cat 4