Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weird Sensation

I hate to toot my own horn, but I'm a really good visualizer. If it was a sport, I would be the gold medal world champion. I have a really good photographic memory which makes visualizing past races very easy. I can see things even down to the smallest detail, like the color, make and model of the lead riders tires when I replay a race in my head. I think I've developed this skill over the years as an artist. I was an art major in college and we did a lot of exercises based on visualization and recalling past scenes and details.
When I read different sports psychology and athletic publications, they all talk about how visualization is an important tool for competition/race preparation and helps maintain focus. So, I try and visualize different race situations on different courses quite often to sort of keep me pumped up. I also do it to sort of develop a game plan in my head and go through all those "what if" scenarios. But, the weird sensation I get is that when I am visualizing these things I can feel myself start to get all warm and tingly, not in an erotic sort of way, but in the way where I feel like I am actually in the race. I can start to feel my heart rate pick up and my pulse in the side of my neck. I feel every sensation you would feel in a race short of sweating. When I realize this is happening, all I have to do is just take a deep breath and it brings me back to reality. I was wondering does this happen to anyone else?
I like the sensation when it happens, but I just think it's a little weird and I hope it's far more common than what I think.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reality check!

Today I renewed my racing license for the upcoming season. Which made me realize that the season is just around the corner and I while I feel pretty good, I still feel like I'm way behind where I need to be. What made me realize this even more was that I finally bought and finished reading that cyclist training bible book by the Friel guy. It kind of made me feel like I wasted all these past winter training months.
In the past I've always just trained how I felt. If I felt like going fast then I went fast. There was no organization, rhyme or reason to my workouts. I just got on the bike and rode. I pretty much let whoever was riding around me that day dictate what I was going to be doing. Sometimes, this can be a great motivational tool, and other times it can make for really inefficient training. Falling victim to the junk miles routine because I didn't have anyone to ride with.
The more I read and re-read the book, the more knowledgeable I feel, but I also feel like knowing this much information and terms and numbers and compiling this much data takes a lot of fun out of the sport for me. I feel as though if I'm going to be good at riding a bike then I have to become a student of riding the bike, so I should be reading all these books and crunching all these numbers figuring out what the square root of my lactate threshold is divided by the maximum mean of my VO2 max subtracted from the 1mm leg length discrepency I have to figure out my power output as I suck wheels down at Hains Point.
I guess I need to find the balance between just riding, and riding with a purpose. I want to win and I'm super competitive so I try and use that as motivation when I ride. Any other information I have going on in my head is just a distraction from my ultimate goal, and that's winning.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

10 o'clock-o-rama

Yesterday I did the 10 o'clock ride for the second time ever. The first, I time I did it I got dropped from the first group as soon as we turned on River Rd. and ended up by myself not really knowing where to go. I missed the turn from River back on to Piney Meetinghouse and ended up making my own way back down to Beach Dr. This time I hung with the front group a little bit longer but still got popped off the back. Fortunately I didn't fall back by myself and was able to ride the rest of the route with a few other guys. My legs felt like jello. I don't know how some guys do the 7 o'clock ride and then do the 10. That's just crazy to me.
This 10 o'clock ride his hard for me because I have a hard time going uphill, and my endurance kind of sucks. Luckily for me a group ride like this exists so I can hopefully get better. My goal is to actually be able to complete the 10 o'clock ride with the main group. Then my second goal is to be able to do both 7 and 10 o'clock. Hopefully these goals can be achieved before the season starts.
Also, unrelated to biking, I went to the movies to see Slumdog Millionare and it was great. But was what even better was what I heard in the crowd before the movie started. You know those people that get to the movie late, that want to rearrange everyone so they can get their group of late people to sit together? Always asking you to move down one seat. Maybe you're one of them, but I really don't like those people. Well, the theater was pretty full and this lady came in with a group of three people. She went down the row asking if people didn't mind moving down one seat until she got to this one lady and the exchange went like this. "Excuse me, do you mind moving down one seat so we can sit together?" The other lady said, "Yes, I mind. I got here early because this is where I wanted to sit." I could've turned around and given that lady a high five. A victory for us early arrivers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bar tape review: Get your hands on this!

I've always been a big fan of Fi'zi:k tape. They come in a multitude of colors and last season I experimented with about every single one. I seriously anal about my bar tape and during the season I change it about once every two weeks.

The guys at Conte's turn me on to the new Fi'zi:k tape, this microtex dual tape and it's great. Feels like suede! When I ride the trainer I can ride with no gloves and not have to worry about my hands becoming annoyingly slippery. I have the black and red on the bike now, but when the season starts, I'll be rockin' the white and red. BOOYAH!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I, and about 50 to 60 other SERT officers, boarded Ride-On buses at about 3 in the morning and headed in to D.C. for the inaugural events.

Our area of patrol was to be on the parade route, on Pennsylvania Ave. between 14th and 15th street.
We got into D.C. amidst the organized chaos of hundreds of other law enforcement agencies from the U.S. And after a lot of sitting around and getting shuttled and shuffled around we ended to our area of post at about 6.

At this point, I had already been up since 1 in the morning. So at about 6 I was thinking to myself the day is just getting started...little did I know. With the parade not being scheduled to start till 2:30, we had a long way to go.
I'm sure most of you checked weather reports or heard what the weather was like that day, but it never got above freezing, and Penn Ave. is a freaking wind tunnel with tall buildings on both sides of it. Our side of the road was also the shaded side, never seeing the light of the sun the whole time. Fortunately, with the amount of officers we had, we were able to do rotations and each shift would stay out about 45 mins to an hour each. The only time our section was to be at full strength is when the president and vice president came through.

The atmosphere was pretty exciting. The parade route was no where near as packed as I thought it was going to be. There were plenty of empty bleacher seats in our sections. I would say D.C. did a good job of crowd control in those areas, maybe even too good of a job given how much space there was left on the parade route at the start of the parade. I would've said this would've been your best opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Pres. and VP, unfortunately Obama was back in the car by the time he got to our section, but I still got to see Biden walking down the road out of my extreme peripheral vision. We were told at no point were we to turn around and take our eyes off of the crowd. This made it difficult to see Obama in a car.

All in all it was a pretty exciting day. I could sit here and complain about how cold it was or about how long we had to stand but to be a part of history and actually see an African American President sworn in, something I never would've thought would happen, was worth it. I will admit, I don't think I was feeling this way at the end of a 17.5 hour day.
Hours worked: 17.5
Hours standing: 12
Toe warmers used: 8
Hand warmers used: 8
Warmer used other places: 2
Blueberry muffins ate: 8
Cups of coffee: 6

Monday, January 19, 2009


Right now I'm sitting in a briefing prepping for the innauguration detail tomorrow. I'll be working on the parade route. I'll be starting work at 0300 hours in the morning with the parade not expecting to end until 2000 hours.
There will be crowds, noise, demonstrators and everything else to go along with the hoopla, but the only thing I can think about is how bad my legs will hurt on Wednesday after standing for majority of the day, and how much its going to affect my ability to ride.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back in the wind tunnel!

I went down to HP today for the noon ride not expecting many people to be down there because of the wind and the temperature. I got there about the same time as Jose Nunez and rode a couple laps with him just easily spinning along. After making it back around starting our 3rd lap we were caught by what I would guess was the main field, including Chuck and the DC Velo kid Nick, back from Belgium or somewhere.
They were moving along pretty good so I jumped on the back of their group. I will admit that my legs were hurting pretty bad, one from a new exercise for the hamstrings I tried this week and two, because I had to run a 1.5 mile timed run in a fitness test for work and I thought I was Usain Bolt so I went waay too hard. But, I was just so happy to be back outside riding that I tried not to think about my legs too much.
Anyway, after reading Chuck's how not to attack like a wussy post, I was a little worried about what would happen on the Arlington/headwind side of the HP loop. A couple times he took off then slowed down and looked back smiling waiting for us to catch up, then did it over again a couple more times. Very interesting (read demoralizing). I'm not sure what he was trying to accomplish but I don't think I was in any position to question Chuck, just try to keep up.
At the end of the day I was glad I came down to HP and didn't let my legs tell me what to do. I was also glad Jose showed up when I was two seconds from leaving before even starting. He told me as I got out of the car, "Don't think about it, just do it." I have to remember this the next time I have to train and really don't want to. I can't think about how windy it is or the temperature or if anyone else will be there, I just gotta go out there and do it. But I do realize I really need to find a good pair of gloves. I hate it when my fingertips hurt more than my legs at the end of a ride.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jealous Sundays

Since I can't ride on Sunday, I fill my cycling jones by watching others ride. It's mainly several different groups that come through Beach Dr. after the D.C. line into Mont. Co. I do get a kick out of watching the different types of reactions I get. As a police officer, most people assume when they see me sitting in the cruiser that I'm doing some type of enforcement. Maybe waiting for one of you lawless bikers to roll through the stop sign so I can chase you down in my pretty, white, heavily modified Impala or maybe waiting for one of you to stray from the required two-abreast law or not give the proper hand signal before making a turn. Those ones who recognize me just give the friendly wave and keep on moving.

I wish there was some kind of way you let all of you know that I am affiliated, so that you don't have to be paranoid as you cycle past or so you don't think that I'm just some lazy cop sitting in the car, eating a donut, drinking coffee and polluting the air by leaving the engine running (we have gotten that complaint before). And while those stereotypes do reign true throughout some of the department, I am one of you. Maybe I should hang my Artemis jersey from the passenger window, or get one of those cool license plate covers that says "Share the road" with a picture of a bike on it. I could leave my collection of Velonews magazines scattered about my cruiser but that wouldn't give the impression of cleanliness. But, if you look closely they are there, and sometimes I'll even go as far as having my bike in the back seat of the cruiser.

I see all the riders out early on Sundays and I wish I could be out there too, but come Tradezone, I'll be taking days off work to come lay the smackdown on the Cat 4 field.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hains Point wind tunnel testing

I went out to Hains Point for the noon ride today and it was windy, particularly on the back stretch. I went out to do a warm up lap before the group started and found myself struggling to keep the bike upright, and that was with shallow rimmed wheels. There were some brave souls out there sporting dished wheels, kudos to them.

A couple laps into it, there were a few attempts at an echelon but they never really materalized. I don't know if it was lack of skills or the wind was so brutal no one really wanted to stick there nose in it. At one point a gust of wind blew so hard I thought I was being t-boned. All in all it was a good workout. It looks like there's more rain on the horizon, so I'm glad I was able to take advantage of being able to ride outside, in the sun, wind or no wind.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Beginning

Its a new year so I figured it's time for new things. I've been reading everyone else's blogs and always wanted to start my own, so I figured now is as good of a time as any. I didn't want to start it too early in the off-season because the only thing I could talk about are countless hours on the trainer, and since I don't train with a power meter or heart rate monitor, I figured that wouldn't be too interesting, although those things aren't interesting to me when I read them on other people's blogs either.

First a little about me. I'm 26, married,


a Mont. Co. Park Police Officer and this upcoming season will be my 3rd year racing and I'll be a cat 4 itching for an upgrade by mid-season if all goes according to plan.

Haines Point was my intro to cycling about 10 years ago. At the time I didn't have my own bike so I rode my dads 90's Marin Point Reyes, flat bar commuter, 3 sizes too big, complete with skinny knobbies and a pannier rack. I'd wear gym shorts and t-shirt, knowing I didn't fit in with the real riders but wanting to go fast so I made sure I hung on to the back of the group so no one would see me.

10 years later, after becoming a XC/track runner/javelin thrower in high school and college, I'm now back to biking. After completing my first season racing unattached, I knew for the second time around I wanted to join a team. Having done most of my training, if you can call it that, only on the Haines Point loop, I figured I would try and get on with NCVC first. No one ever got back to me when I sent an email to them through their website. Oh well, they're loss was my attitude. So I then tried to get on with Route 1. The racing season was getting ready to start again and then only thing I recieved back from them was some generic email stating I should come down to Haines Point. That's all, but I was thinking come to HP and do what. Oh well, great recruiting efforts. I found myself starting the Tradezone training races in '08 with no team. I didn't think it would really be that difficult to get on a team.

Fortunately, at Carl Dolan I was approached by Jerry, who races for Artemis. He told me about the team and introduced me to the right people and by the time I raced at Bike Jam I was in an Artemis jersey, albeit one that was one size too small, but an Artemis jersey nonetheless. My second season with the team is about to start and I'm looking forward to see how everything else is going to go.