Donut report 12/28/19

December 28, 2019 Comments Off on Donut report 12/28/19

This was a cold, crusty donut. I had on my full wool gloves, Ugg socks, wool cap, tights, wool jersey, and jacket.

There were a surprising number of people despite the cold start; I’d guess it was in the low 40’s, but it was sunny and that always brings people out. We merged with the Origin club riders who now roll out from Hi-Fi Espresso in Redondo Beach. It’s a new coffee shop, and although I haven’t been there yet, it has to be a welcome alternative to the nearby Starbucks, especially since they are sponsoring the Origin bicycle club.

The uphill exit out of Malaga Cove was uneventful until we crested the hill, and where things are usually easy Jon Petrucci ramped it up and shed all but three riders. It was harder hanging onto his wheel on the gentle downhill and tiny bump than it had been going up the long grade.

The peloton got back together past Pregnant Point, but lots had to chase back on and were, shall we say, winded. As usual, the PVE cops weren’t there as they have mostly quit and there is no one left to harass, intimidate, ticket, and generally fuck with all the scofflaw bikers.

Petrucci attacked again out of Lunada Bay and I made the mistake of trying to follow. He dropped me easily and I never saw him again.

Out of Lunada Bay, “Coat of Arms” Fred Mackey smashed it all the way to Hawthorne; after that there was a hard surge by Davy Dawg and followed by an even harder surge by EA Sports, Inc. Lots of people had gotten dropped by that point and the group probably had 30 riders or less.

Queuing up for the Switchbacks I watched the Wily Greek roll towards the front, followed by club mate Ram-Ram, with Coat of Arms again pulling the train. There were a lot of explosions at Trump golf course and when we hit the Switchbacks, Attila the Hun launched and was gone. He isn’t very fit right now, but even when he is on the low side of the power curve he is strong AF. I know he’s not very fit because when he climbs I can still see him, far, far ahead.

Wily attacked, I followed but weaseled and wouldn’t pull through, so Wily sat up and we came back. Scott Fleming took the reins and drilled it to the first turn, where I jumped and rode by myself for a ways until the first chase caught up. That’s when Wily countered and I grabbed on. He went crazy hard and dropped me, then caught up to Attila who had somehow hooked up with a guy from NorCal, Jay Evans, who was visiting for the holiday. He was visiting with his meat cleaver.

Jay was strong AF and with those three up the road I was in no-man’s-land, with Ivan Fernandez not far behind. I got to the left-hander at Crest and kept going pretty well but wasn’t catching anyone. Petrucci was nowhere in sight; I figured he was so far ahead he’d won the #fakeclimb and was celebrating with some well-earned celery.

I watched Wily dust off Attila, then dust off Jay, but at the top there was no Petrucci. Turns out he’d had to go home early for his son’s birthday. He’s a young guy but he will learn that you never sacrifice family obligations for a Donut. Birthdays come and go, but Donut glory does not.

Coming up 9th Street in San Pedro, Dawg dropped everyone but Attila and me, and Attila took over onVia Colinita. It was all I could do to hang on. Back on PVDE I pulled to the bottom of Crest; Wily, Dear Leader, and Jay had bridged.

The Hun attacked hard but we stayed together until well after the first big curve. Dear Leader attacked but it went nowhere, then Wily countered even harder, and Dear Leader sat the wheel. I kept going, got a gap, and then Wily dumped Dear Leader and bridged.

Wily took over and dragged me all the way up to Shirtless Keith, who was happily pedaling in the freezing weather, with no shirt, of fucking course. When he saw us on his wheel he went beastly hard, which gave me just enough momentum to skirt past Wily and get my first Domes #fakewin in a couple of years. Dear Leader was breathing down our necks; he was going good even though he’d skipped the first climb up to Domes, or because of it.

In the run-up to the Glass Church, Ponderous Dee throttled it so hard that a bunch of people were never able to reattach. At the launching pad I kicked it and didn’t get caught until the first bump after Terranea, where Wes Morgan hunted me down. I countered but Dear Leader and Dawg had come across, and they both booted me to the side like the carcass I was. Dawg for the #fakespruntvee.

We hit the light green at Hawthorne and I stayed on the gas all the way to Zumaya. We passed a trio of Big O riders, including Kevin Sock, who was riding with his big brother from Davis. Big Bro hopped in with us and I kept the pace going up Zumaya. Big Bro took a hard pull and dropped everyone, but I hung on, barely.

On Via Coronel, Wily and Dear Leader had come across and attacked. As soon as Big Bro introduced himself as Kevin’s sibling, Dear Leader jumped and I grabbed his wheel. He hammered from Via Fernandez all the way to the top, catching Wily, sprinting around him, and riding me off his wheel. It was a fancy piece of bicycling.

I don’t know how many people were behind us. I turned right and went home.

END


Flog physiology

March 14, 2019 § 5 Comments

I rarely, I mean never, write about actual sciencey trainingy sporty stuff as it relates to bicycling. I don’t know anything about it, I don’t care anything about it, and I always fear that facts will delude people even further into thinking that their avid hobby makes them special, different, better, or worst of all, athletic.

However, the weekly Flog Ride that goes off every Thursday does have some sciencey type benefits, and every week after the ride I send out a little email recap to everyone who participates in which I berate, cajole, praise, offend, encourage and suggest better ways to do a ride that is voluntary, unorganized, unowned, and like all such rides a random happening of riders who have all assumed the risk of riding on public roads with other bicyclists and cars.

This past week Kristie Fox penned a particularly excellent description of the Flog Ride’s “lead-out” section, so excellent in fact that it hardly belonged in the weekly email, and as it smacked of science, reason, training effects, and applicability to the sport of cycling [OXYMORON ALERT], I thought it appropriate to re-post it here, especially as it contains a brief history of time and the Flog Ride.

THE FLOG LEAD-OUT AND WHY IT MATTERS

When the ride first began in October of 2014, it was six continuous laps, essentially a race, with no regroup at the top of the golf course. In order to make the ride safer, a regroup was added in the parking lot at the country club, with a neutral descent down to Malaga Cove Plaza, keeping all riders together for the start of the next lap. The effect was that, instead of a steady-state and uninterrupted solo chase effort by each rider for the duration of the six laps, the ride became an interval session, a near-VO2 or threshold interval for 5-7 minutes, repeated six times.

This change increased the intensity of the efforts but shortened the duration and added a rest period. Essentially, it changed the structure but conserved the overall energy expended on the ride. This is shorthand for, “It was still a brutal beatdown.”

Of course, it also made the ride more “social,” as in the original iteration if you got dropped, which everyone did except for Stathis the Wily Greek, you were by yourself for six laps.

The lead-out that now exists at the start of each lap is intended to provide the same intensity. Prior to the introduction of the lead-out, the effort began at or before the right turn onto PV Drive North leaving Malaga Cove Plaza, and the fast descent out of the turn propelled the group at a very high rate of speed to the bottom of the climb up PVDN. If you were not at or near the front on the turn, catching up to the leader took a high power output because the interval began at the turn.

Of course due to traffic there was also separation as one or two riders could squeeze through and the others were left to chase. Hard.

Seth loved to attack out of the turn here and force the others to chase. After some screaming between Seth and G3 last year, the group decided that a neutral turn onto PVDN was a better option for the ride due to traffic safety, but the slow start was compensated for with the addition of a lead-out.

The lead-out was intended to conserve the energy of the ride: Its function was to get the group back up to the pace they would have been at had everyone been shooting the turn balls out, sprinting to the bottom and then clawing their way up the climb. Again, the goal was conserving the overall energy of the ride and maintaining the difficulty of the effort. The first climb had always been an all-out or threshold effort. In the new formulation, the lead-out goat sacrificed herself to the other riders by setting a pace comparable to what it would have been in previous years with the fast descent and attack up PVDN.

Without this element of an initial hard effort up PVDN, the ride would have lost one of the most challenging parts of the course.

For those who are trying to win the lap point atop the golf course, this crazy hard lead-out also made each lap more strategic. You had to decide whether to go full gas with the lead-out and take advantage of the gap it created, as may riders would certainly get shelled, or sit back in the chase and see if you could make up ground by holding a steady effort a-la Cobley and not going into the red, then smacking down whoever remained on the wall. The lead-out also gave riders a chance to get on the leaderboard by awarding them a half-point in an environment where the same coterie of riders generally tended to scoop up all the lap points. It was, in other words, a trade-off: You give it your all and you’ll get a half-point and the ride’s intensity will be preserved. You, unfortunately, will be fucked atop PVDN when your lead-out ends.

Sciencey stuff

The PVDN climb is a:50 to 1:30 effort, depending on who’s leading. Intervals of this duration and intensity are some of the hardest from an energy standpoint. They straddle the line between glycolytic and aerobic thresholds. Performing an all-out, supramaximal VO2 effort of this duration requires a minimal amount of passive rest before an athlete can perform another effort of a similar level, and even more active rest, which is what we do on the Flog. If you can do the lead out and still latch onto the group at the top, win the lap, or outsprint any of the leaders at the golf course bumps, you have not done an all-out, supramaximal effort, in other words, you have not done the lead-out.

As a result of this effort, if done correctly,  you will be in a state of oxygen debt, rapidly trying to replace oxygen stores in the muscle. This means deep heavy breathing that would not allow for acceleration. Gasping for breath. In addition, the first 45 seconds rapidly use stores of phosphocreatine and glycogen, with a smaller contribution from aerobic pathways. Return of these stores to levels that would allow another high effort to begin  requires more than 3 minutes of passive rest and up to 9 minutes of active rest. It would be impossible to recover from a true lead out and still have a good performance on the same lap, because as the amount of time of passive rest required to recover would put you at the wall on Campesina. If done properly, you may not even be recovered by the next lap. Even with the proper amount of passive or active rest, both mean and peak power decline after the first interval if subsequent intervals are performed immediately following the prescribed rest periods. That means that if you have done an all-out effort, your peak and mean power will be lowered somewhat for the rest of the ride.

So why would someone want to volunteer to do the lead-out if peak and mean power will be compromised? Because this is a training ride, and we all have aspects of fitness we are trying to improve. Although you will experience some decreases in power, there are some adaptive reasons doing even more than one lead out can be a good fitness tool. Plus, you’ll earn, yes, EARN, a ½ point.

The anaerobic power  reserve (APR) is an overlooked component of fitness that contributes to performance. The APR is measured by the difference between maximal sprinting speed and speed at or just below VO2 max. The greater the reserve, the more rapidly the athlete will fatigue. We want to develop power and be capable of sustaining it over time. We want to increase our maximal power, and then close the gap between that power and our speed at VO2 max. That is how we get faster and less fatigued over time.

Let’s say your weakness in this equation is  maximal power. Using the lead out as a way to increase your maximal speed/ sprint ( by doing more than one per lap) will develop maximal power and also cause increase your ability to perform at or above VO2 max. If you are using the lead-out for this purpose, you need to take advantage of the rest of the lap and the proceeding lap as a rest phase in order to fully develop this system.

If your weakness is V02 max, you will want to use the lead out in the opposite way: As a catalyst to increasing your time at VO2 max over the course of the ride. This will extend your endurance and speed at VO2, and the bottom end of the APR equation. You would do this by performing the lead out at maximal effort that approaches or reaches VO2, then attempting another effort after a short active recovery period of one to three minutes, depending on your fitness level. Yes, your effort will have less power and add to your overall level of fatigue, but you are developing your resistance to fatigue at VO2, which is a different fitness component than power. The more minutes you spend at VO2, the more this system will develop.

If you do both of these types of training methods, over time your pace  and endurance at VO2 will increase, in addition to your maximal sprint pace. This translates into better race and group ride results, more points, and a lot more pain.

_______________________

END

Flog physiology

March 14, 2019 § 5 Comments

I rarely, I mean never, write about actual sciencey trainingy sporty stuff as it relates to bicycling. I don’t know anything about it, I don’t care anything about it, and I always fear that facts will delude people even further into thinking that their avid hobby makes them special, different, better, or worst of all, athletic.

However, the weekly Flog Ride that goes off every Thursday does have some sciencey type benefits, and every week after the ride I send out a little email recap to everyone who participates in which I berate, cajole, praise, offend, encourage and suggest better ways to do a ride that is voluntary, unorganized, unowned, and like all such rides a random happening of riders who have all assumed the risk of riding on public roads with other bicyclists and cars.

This past week Kristie Fox penned a particularly excellent description of the Flog Ride’s “lead-out” section, so excellent in fact that it hardly belonged in the weekly email, and as it smacked of science, reason, training effects, and applicability to the sport of cycling [OXYMORON ALERT], I thought it appropriate to re-post it here, especially as it contains a brief history of time and the Flog Ride.

THE FLOG LEAD-OUT AND WHY IT MATTERS

When the ride first began in October of 2014, it was six continuous laps, essentially a race, with no regroup at the top of the golf course. In order to make the ride safer, a regroup was added in the parking lot at the country club, with a neutral descent down to Malaga Cove Plaza, keeping all riders together for the start of the next lap. The effect was that, instead of a steady-state and uninterrupted solo chase effort by each rider for the duration of the six laps, the ride became an interval session, a near-VO2 or threshold interval for 5-7 minutes, repeated six times.

This change increased the intensity of the efforts but shortened the duration and added a rest period. Essentially, it changed the structure but conserved the overall energy expended on the ride. This is shorthand for, “It was still a brutal beatdown.”

Of course, it also made the ride more “social,” as in the original iteration if you got dropped, which everyone did except for Stathis the Wily Greek, you were by yourself for six laps.

The lead-out that now exists at the start of each lap is intended to provide the same intensity. Prior to the introduction of the lead-out, the effort began at or before the right turn onto PV Drive North leaving Malaga Cove Plaza, and the fast descent out of the turn propelled the group at a very high rate of speed to the bottom of the climb up PVDN. If you were not at or near the front on the turn, catching up to the leader took a high power output because the interval began at the turn.

Of course due to traffic there was also separation as one or two riders could squeeze through and the others were left to chase. Hard.

Seth loved to attack out of the turn here and force the others to chase. After some screaming between Seth and G3 last year, the group decided that a neutral turn onto PVDN was a better option for the ride due to traffic safety, but the slow start was compensated for with the addition of a lead-out.

The lead-out was intended to conserve the energy of the ride: Its function was to get the group back up to the pace they would have been at had everyone been shooting the turn balls out, sprinting to the bottom and then clawing their way up the climb. Again, the goal was conserving the overall energy of the ride and maintaining the difficulty of the effort. The first climb had always been an all-out or threshold effort. In the new formulation, the lead-out goat sacrificed herself to the other riders by setting a pace comparable to what it would have been in previous years with the fast descent and attack up PVDN.

Without this element of an initial hard effort up PVDN, the ride would have lost one of the most challenging parts of the course.

For those who are trying to win the lap point atop the golf course, this crazy hard lead-out also made each lap more strategic. You had to decide whether to go full gas with the lead-out and take advantage of the gap it created, as may riders would certainly get shelled, or sit back in the chase and see if you could make up ground by holding a steady effort a-la Cobley and not going into the red, then smacking down whoever remained on the wall. The lead-out also gave riders a chance to get on the leaderboard by awarding them a half-point in an environment where the same coterie of riders generally tended to scoop up all the lap points. It was, in other words, a trade-off: You give it your all and you’ll get a half-point and the ride’s intensity will be preserved. You, unfortunately, will be fucked atop PVDN when your lead-out ends.

Sciencey stuff

The PVDN climb is a:50 to 1:30 effort, depending on who’s leading. Intervals of this duration and intensity are some of the hardest from an energy standpoint. They straddle the line between glycolytic and aerobic thresholds. Performing an all-out, supramaximal VO2 effort of this duration requires a minimal amount of passive rest before an athlete can perform another effort of a similar level, and even more active rest, which is what we do on the Flog. If you can do the lead out and still latch onto the group at the top, win the lap, or outsprint any of the leaders at the golf course bumps, you have not done an all-out, supramaximal effort, in other words, you have not done the lead-out.

As a result of this effort, if done correctly,  you will be in a state of oxygen debt, rapidly trying to replace oxygen stores in the muscle. This means deep heavy breathing that would not allow for acceleration. Gasping for breath. In addition, the first 45 seconds rapidly use stores of phosphocreatine and glycogen, with a smaller contribution from aerobic pathways. Return of these stores to levels that would allow another high effort to begin  requires more than 3 minutes of passive rest and up to 9 minutes of active rest. It would be impossible to recover from a true lead out and still have a good performance on the same lap, because as the amount of time of passive rest required to recover would put you at the wall on Campesina. If done properly, you may not even be recovered by the next lap. Even with the proper amount of passive or active rest, both mean and peak power decline after the first interval if subsequent intervals are performed immediately following the prescribed rest periods. That means that if you have done an all-out effort, your peak and mean power will be lowered somewhat for the rest of the ride.

So why would someone want to volunteer to do the lead-out if peak and mean power will be compromised? Because this is a training ride, and we all have aspects of fitness we are trying to improve. Although you will experience some decreases in power, there are some adaptive reasons doing even more than one lead out can be a good fitness tool. Plus, you’ll earn, yes, EARN, a ½ point.

The anaerobic power  reserve (APR) is an overlooked component of fitness that contributes to performance. The APR is measured by the difference between maximal sprinting speed and speed at or just below VO2 max. The greater the reserve, the more rapidly the athlete will fatigue. We want to develop power and be capable of sustaining it over time. We want to increase our maximal power, and then close the gap between that power and our speed at VO2 max. That is how we get faster and less fatigued over time.

Let’s say your weakness in this equation is  maximal power. Using the lead out as a way to increase your maximal speed/ sprint ( by doing more than one per lap) will develop maximal power and also cause increase your ability to perform at or above VO2 max. If you are using the lead-out for this purpose, you need to take advantage of the rest of the lap and the proceeding lap as a rest phase in order to fully develop this system.

If your weakness is V02 max, you will want to use the lead out in the opposite way: As a catalyst to increasing your time at VO2 max over the course of the ride. This will extend your endurance and speed at VO2, and the bottom end of the APR equation. You would do this by performing the lead out at maximal effort that approaches or reaches VO2, then attempting another effort after a short active recovery period of one to three minutes, depending on your fitness level. Yes, your effort will have less power and add to your overall level of fatigue, but you are developing your resistance to fatigue at VO2, which is a different fitness component than power. The more minutes you spend at VO2, the more this system will develop.

If you do both of these types of training methods, over time your pace  and endurance at VO2 will increase, in addition to your maximal sprint pace. This translates into better race and group ride results, more points, and a lot more pain.

_______________________

END

Weird is good

January 31, 2019 § 7 Comments

Mrs. Takahashi died last month. She was in her mid-80’s, and lived across the street from us in Utsunomiya. She was what folks in small town Texas call a “character.” She smoked and didn’t care who saw it or if was unladylike. She said what she thought, even when it mostly pissed people off. And she dressed up.

When I say “dressed up” I don’t mean formal clothes, although she would have been equally at home in a barn or at an inauguration ball. Mrs. Takahashi had that one thing that hardly anyone has, and that can’t be bought.

She had a sense of fashion and a sense of style, and let me tell you, friend, she didn’t get it out of a magazine.

Nope, Mrs. Takahashi was more likely to get her fashion items out of a trash can or at a rummage sale or as pre-teen hand-me-downs than she was to buy something fashionable from a store. Two days after we’d thrown away some of my daughter’s purple-and-star-spangled pajamas (daughter was ten), we saw Mrs. Takahashi wearing them with a red turban, bangles, and a sweeping orange cape. She was on her way to the vegetable stand. In bright red, CFM heels.

Mrs. Takahashi always looked stunning, too, and beautiful even with her busted up nicotine teeth and her nine decades of life. Because beauty comes from within, whatever she wore radiated, and she wore whatever. No detail was too fine, no unusual or strange item was unworthy of at least being considered as clothing or an accent piece.

Bike fashion

Cyclist fashion of the Rapha-roadie-group-ride variety is about as fashionable as any of the things you buy at a department store. It’s boring, uniform, and tailored after a “look” that is not very attractive, i.e. the look of a 25-year-old male climber on the pro tour with an eating disorder.

By definition it’s unfashionable because everyone else does it, but it’s also unfashionable from an aesthetic angle as well: There is no attempt to cobble together your own eclectic items, scavenged out of a dumpster or bought at Goodwill, and press them into something that is uniquely you. With conformity comes boring anonymity.

But the mores of bike fashion that get handed down within bike clubs don’t represent the great mass of people who cycle. Most riders wear whatever, down to the flip-flops or bare feet they use to push the pedals. Shirtless Keith? Cutoffs, work boots, and a bare torso, yo.

It’s only when you poke your head out from under the covers that you see, for example, the crazy variety at a Los Angeles Ciclavia, some 100k riders strong. Variety, imagination, beauty, fashion, and style run amok when cyclists are freed from the disapproving frowns of those who cannot countenance socks (white) with cuffs less than six inches, not to mention the pathetic fashion douchebaggery of the Velominati.

Greek tragedy

Here in the South Bay we are as cursed with the monotheism of bike clothing as any other cycling clique. Although my helmetless form is a kind of blow for freedom of cycling as well as for freedom of fashion, it pales in comparison to the Wily Greek.

Once a slave to the smallest details of #fakepro fashion, Wily took a sabbatical from cycling, discovered his inner freak, and now shares it with us every time he rides, which is a lot.

Ski goggles. Yellow nose ring. Ear studs. Down Jacket. Backpack. Bleach blonde hair. No helmet.

One day I asked him about the ski goggles. “Are you trying them out to see if they are better than glasses?”

“No,” he said, just before he rode me off his wheel.

“Why are you wearing them, then?”

“Because they look fucking weird, dude.”

The heir to Mrs. Takahashi. We need more of that.

______________________________________

END

My goggles and backpack are better than your goggles and backpack.

Telo fun and stragety

March 28, 2018 § 2 Comments

Great night of racing at the Telo training crit last night, filled with action and #faketactics. Smasher smashed away from the field about halfway through and was never caught despite the disorganized and haphazard efforts of the chasers, who included Heavy D., Tony Wang, Shiftless, Dr. Whaaaat?, Hair, and me.

Cameo appearances by Prez, Wily Greek, and Junkyard enhanced their own personal fun of getting kicked out the back and fighting the 20 mph headwind alone for an hour.

Team Lizard Collectors used its four riders in the chase to perfectly set up Hair, who rides for Methods to Winning, for the field sprunt, which he easily nailed as the Lizards shouted at each other, watched Heavy D. ride randomly, and vigorously chased down each other’s attacks.

It never occurred to the Lizards to take turns attacking Hair, who happily sat in while watching his chances go from one-in-six to 100%. Smasher was awarded a coveted loaf of bread for his efforts. Hair, who got second, got nothing, and I, who got third, got the best prize of all: A ride home.

END

———————–

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Telo fun and stragety

March 28, 2018 § 2 Comments

Great night of racing at the Telo training crit last night, filled with action and #faketactics. Smasher smashed away from the field about halfway through and was never caught despite the disorganized and haphazard efforts of the chasers, who included Heavy D., Tony Wang, Shiftless, Dr. Whaaaat?, Hair, and me.

Cameo appearances by Prez, Wily Greek, and Junkyard enhanced their own personal fun of getting kicked out the back and fighting the 20 mph headwind alone for an hour.

Team Lizard Collectors used its four riders in the chase to perfectly set up Hair, who rides for Methods to Winning, for the field sprunt, which he easily nailed as the Lizards shouted at each other, watched Heavy D. ride randomly, and vigorously chased down each other’s attacks.

It never occurred to the Lizards to take turns attacking Hair, who happily sat in while watching his chances go from one-in-six to 100%. Smasher was awarded a coveted loaf of bread for his efforts. Hair, who got second, got nothing, and I, who got third, got the best prize of all: A ride home.

END

———————–

Photos, race reports, fresh bread … Please consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

I’m not judging

April 15, 2017 § 2 Comments

I’m evaluating.

Different people obviously enjoy different things about riding bikes, and you can tell a lot about what they like by the rides they do. Here are my rides from last week:

  1. Saturday Donut beatdown.
  2. Sunday 60-minute TTT practice with Kristie.
  3. Tuesday Telo fake crit with real vomit pieces.
  4. Thursday Flog intervals.

I’m doing TTT practice again today and no matter how I look at those rides about the only thing they have in common is that they aren’t any fun. It’s obvious I don’t like fun, or spoken another way, not having any fun is a lot of fun.

The Flog ride that we do on Thursdays is the least fun of any ride I have ever done. It’s in its third year and I wish I had a quarter for every person who has done it once. This past Thursday I felt awful, as I hadn’t recovered from Telo. The reason the Flog ride is so bad is that it is six hilly 5-6 minute intervals, which is not fun, but since you do it with a group, each lap is a mini-race.

Because we’re bike racers we keep score in our heads each lap, which is silly. We regroup in the parking lot after each interval, descend a twisty road to the start, and do it all over again. Everybody keeps score and strategizes how to win the interval, or at least how to delay the droppage as long as possible. Like I said, silly.

The fastest lap times ever recorded were when Daniel Holloway and two of his teammates came out and did it. I love it when people say “Holloway’s just a sprinter.” So ignorant. That guy, in addition to being clean as a whistle, is good at virtually every aspect of bike racing. Stathis the Wily Greek did the Flog ride religiously before he retired at the unripe age of 30-something. He won every lap almost every time, including the horrible 13-14% grade up La Cuesta, the climb we do the last lap on and where we take a glory group photo at the end.

Some people found it demoralizing to get smashed every single lap by Stathis, but I didn’t. I love that kind of riding because it is so real. You don’t dangle in between delusion and reality, you get reality force-fed down your throat. Stathis was so much better than you even on his worst day and your best day. Like the Alabama rednecks used to say about Bear Bryant, “He can take his’n and beat your’n, or take your’n and beat his’n.”

Most people don’t like that, I guess.

Anyway, I felt awful from the start. Greg Seyranian’s fitness is really coming around; he blitzed us on Lap 1. Then he started hard at the bottom of Lap 2 and led out the whole lap, and then dropped us at the end. Then on Lap Three he led out the lap and I sat on and managed to pass him at the top. Lap Four he led it out again, and Josh Dorfman uncorked a nasty attack that no one could follow. Lap Five Mike Hines attacked us all on the mini-wall past the stop sign. I hung on somehow. Mike is a masters world champion on the track. He has these accelerations that just break you.

On Lap Six I quit and went home, which I hardly ever do. I had a deposition later that morning, but that’s just an excuse. The reality is I apparently had had a little bit too much fun.

20170413_flog

201702_flog

You can see how steep the finish on La Cuesta is, plus Kevin Nix staring at his front wheel, Denis Faye looking dazed. Only Casey is smiling but he’s always smiling.

END

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I’m not judging

April 15, 2017 § 2 Comments

I’m evaluating.

Different people obviously enjoy different things about riding bikes, and you can tell a lot about what they like by the rides they do. Here are my rides from last week:

  1. Saturday Donut beatdown.
  2. Sunday 60-minute TTT practice with Kristie.
  3. Tuesday Telo fake crit with real vomit pieces.
  4. Thursday Flog intervals.

I’m doing TTT practice again today and no matter how I look at those rides about the only thing they have in common is that they aren’t any fun. It’s obvious I don’t like fun, or spoken another way, not having any fun is a lot of fun.

The Flog ride that we do on Thursdays is the least fun of any ride I have ever done. It’s in its third year and I wish I had a quarter for every person who has done it once. This past Thursday I felt awful, as I hadn’t recovered from Telo. The reason the Flog ride is so bad is that it is six hilly 5-6 minute intervals, which is not fun, but since you do it with a group, each lap is a mini-race.

Because we’re bike racers we keep score in our heads each lap, which is silly. We regroup in the parking lot after each interval, descend a twisty road to the start, and do it all over again. Everybody keeps score and strategizes how to win the interval, or at least how to delay the droppage as long as possible. Like I said, silly.

The fastest lap times ever recorded were when Daniel Holloway and two of his teammates came out and did it. I love it when people say “Holloway’s just a sprinter.” So ignorant. That guy, in addition to being clean as a whistle, is good at virtually every aspect of bike racing. Stathis the Wily Greek did the Flog ride religiously before he retired at the unripe age of 30-something. He won every lap almost every time, including the horrible 13-14% grade up La Cuesta, the climb we do the last lap on and where we take a glory group photo at the end.

Some people found it demoralizing to get smashed every single lap by Stathis, but I didn’t. I love that kind of riding because it is so real. You don’t dangle in between delusion and reality, you get reality force-fed down your throat. Stathis was so much better than you even on his worst day and your best day. Like the Alabama rednecks used to say about Bear Bryant, “He can take his’n and beat your’n, or take your’n and beat his’n.”

Most people don’t like that, I guess.

Anyway, I felt awful from the start. Greg Seyranian’s fitness is really coming around; he blitzed us on Lap 1. Then he started hard at the bottom of Lap 2 and led out the whole lap, and then dropped us at the end. Then on Lap Three he led out the lap and I sat on and managed to pass him at the top. Lap Four he led it out again, and Josh Dorfman uncorked a nasty attack that no one could follow. Lap Five Mike Hines attacked us all on the mini-wall past the stop sign. I hung on somehow. Mike is a masters world champion on the track. He has these accelerations that just break you.

On Lap Six I quit and went home, which I hardly ever do. I had a deposition later that morning, but that’s just an excuse. The reality is I apparently had had a little bit too much fun.

20170413_flog

201702_flog

You can see how steep the finish on La Cuesta is, plus Kevin Nix staring at his front wheel, Denis Faye looking dazed. Only Casey is smiling but he’s always smiling.

END

———————–

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April’s fools

April 1, 2016 § 11 Comments

Our fools here in the South Bay are not limited to April. Every Thursday morning at 6:35 AM we do the Flog Ride, which consists of six loops around the Palos Verdes Golf Course and a finish on Via la Cuesta.

Each lap is very hilly, and the finish on Via la Cuesta is pretty steep.

1001968_10206102403786542_7937116029783195949_n

Via la Cuesta, the cherry on top, at the top.

The ride is pretty foolish year-round because:

  1. It leaves really early.
  2. It is really hard.

I know that it is possible nowadays to quantify “hard” with watts and Strava and kilojoules and TSS’s and amperes and such, but those methods are sterile. The best way to quantify the ride’s difficulty is in human terms, which is to say that hardly anyone ever comes back to do it twice, and many of the best riders in the South Bay have never even done it once.

How hard is the Flog Ride? After the fourth lap yesterday one of the new riders dismounted in the regroup parking lot and began fiddling with his bike.

“Everything okay?” I asked.

“I think my brakes have been rubbing,” he said. “I just can’t keep up.”

“It’s not your brakes that are rubbing on the rim,” I assured him. “It’s your lungs rubbing against your rib cage.”

At the Flog Ride, you can say with almost 100% certainty that when someone shows up to try it out, the rider will be a Reverse Terminator. He won’t be back.

The ride is only a year and seven months old, but two riders do keep coming back, and every week they have two goals:

  1. Don’t be last.
  2. Make it to the second turn with the group.

No dreams of beating the Wily Greek, no dreams of holding Destroyer’s wheel, no prayer of following Davy Dawg, no fantasy of ever even coming close to being first atop the climb, no goal of shattering the group on the puncher past the stop sign, no, none of that, just don’t be last and please, please, please dog let me make it the second turn before I get hammered, pounded, Mercury-in-retrograded into a quivering pile of gasping meat and flicked out the back.

But every week, with the precision of autocorrect, Michelle and Tom show up and get mercilessly vaporized. They are friends and teammates and good people, so we crush them.

Until yesterday. It was the last lap. We were all tired and dreading the final climb up Via la Cuesta. We made the first turn and Riddlebarger jumped away. Alan, a Big O teammate commuting to work who had jumped in with us, motored the tiny group into a tiny line. Michelle was second wheel and I was on her wheel.

Three riders launched at the stop sign but the group stayed intact. Atop la Cuesta, while the rest of us sat on the curb panting, Michelle and then Tom rode up. “We made it to the second turn!” she shouted, delirious with joy. Tom’s smile was bigger than a trophy bass’s.

“One and a half fucking years!” she said. “And we finally weren’t the caboose!”

We collected our lungs and got ready to descend to Redondo Beach for post-ride coffee and lies. “You coming?” Michelle asked Tom, who was standing on top of the hill, on top of the world, and gazing off into the distance, pleasure diffusing across his face.

“No,” he said. “I’m going to savor it.”

END

————————

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April’s fools

April 1, 2016 § 11 Comments

Our fools here in the South Bay are not limited to April. Every Thursday morning at 6:35 AM we do the Flog Ride, which consists of six loops around the Palos Verdes Golf Course and a finish on Via la Cuesta.

Each lap is very hilly, and the finish on Via la Cuesta is pretty steep.

1001968_10206102403786542_7937116029783195949_n

Via la Cuesta, the cherry on top, at the top.

The ride is pretty foolish year-round because:

  1. It leaves really early.
  2. It is really hard.

I know that it is possible nowadays to quantify “hard” with watts and Strava and kilojoules and TSS’s and amperes and such, but those methods are sterile. The best way to quantify the ride’s difficulty is in human terms, which is to say that hardly anyone ever comes back to do it twice, and many of the best riders in the South Bay have never even done it once.

How hard is the Flog Ride? After the fourth lap yesterday one of the new riders dismounted in the regroup parking lot and began fiddling with his bike.

“Everything okay?” I asked.

“I think my brakes have been rubbing,” he said. “I just can’t keep up.”

“It’s not your brakes that are rubbing on the rim,” I assured him. “It’s your lungs rubbing against your rib cage.”

At the Flog Ride, you can say with almost 100% certainty that when someone shows up to try it out, the rider will be a Reverse Terminator. He won’t be back.

The ride is only a year and seven months old, but two riders do keep coming back, and every week they have two goals:

  1. Don’t be last.
  2. Make it to the second turn with the group.

No dreams of beating the Wily Greek, no dreams of holding Destroyer’s wheel, no prayer of following Davy Dawg, no fantasy of ever even coming close to being first atop the climb, no goal of shattering the group on the puncher past the stop sign, no, none of that, just don’t be last and please, please, please dog let me make it the second turn before I get hammered, pounded, Mercury-in-retrograded into a quivering pile of gasping meat and flicked out the back.

But every week, with the precision of autocorrect, Michelle and Tom show up and get mercilessly vaporized. They are friends and teammates and good people, so we crush them.

Until yesterday. It was the last lap. We were all tired and dreading the final climb up Via la Cuesta. We made the first turn and Riddlebarger jumped away. Alan, a Big O teammate commuting to work who had jumped in with us, motored the tiny group into a tiny line. Michelle was second wheel and I was on her wheel.

Three riders launched at the stop sign but the group stayed intact. Atop la Cuesta, while the rest of us sat on the curb panting, Michelle and then Tom rode up. “We made it to the second turn!” she shouted, delirious with joy. Tom’s smile was bigger than a trophy bass’s.

“One and a half fucking years!” she said. “And we finally weren’t the caboose!”

We collected our lungs and got ready to descend to Redondo Beach for post-ride coffee and lies. “You coming?” Michelle asked Tom, who was standing on top of the hill, on top of the world, and gazing off into the distance, pleasure diffusing across his face.

“No,” he said. “I’m going to savor it.”

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and enjoy it, right along with me, when good things happen to good people. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

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