Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ellsworth COefficient - Coming soon to a TT near me!

I was super-excited to find out that Ellsworth was going to sponsor the Velo Bellas. There are two huge reasons I was thrilled to hear the news.

1. I knew they were developing a TT bike. As I have sort of honed in on TT as the thing I like to do most, I was excited about the prospect of owning a proper TT bike. I have been riding on a franken-bike-a-saurus Trek Y-foil that was highly modified to get me in the TT position. The fit is quite a lot of compromise, and the bike is a little too flexy for the shorter, harder efforts of cycling TTs. It would be great for something like and Ironman where fatigue would come into play....but for 15k, 20k, 30k and 40k races, it's just not the right thing. I knew that Ellsworth would do their homework and come up with a great design for their new TT machine.

2. I LOVE that Ellsworth is about doing quality craftsmanship and innovation, right here in the USA. I think part of the reason that our economy is in the pooper is that we've lost the craftsman spirit in this country and no longer make things of value and quality. We like cheap, imported stuff that has almost become disposable. We need more companies like Ellsworth - with a passion for making beautiful, functional, durable machines; using sustainable business practices; which also provide good jobs for folks who like to make stuff.

So, I put in my order as soon as I could. The frame just arrived last week, and now I'm ready to build it up (I mean, supervise while Rick builds it up!). Here is the latest official beauty shot that you'll have to enjoy until I get mine done up and photographed.  You can read more about the bike here:

Here's my planned build:
1. Campy Chorus 53/39 crank (I like the really narrow Q-factor of the older Campy cranks)
2 . Campy Record bar end shifters 10 spd.
3. Tekro carbon brake levers
4. Profile carbon aero bars on aluminum base bar
5. Ultegra derailleurs
6. SRAM casette (using JTEK shiftmate to adjust cable pull - this way all racing bikes have the same wheels for interchangeability)
7. Nimble tri-spoke carbon wheels
8. Ultegra brake calipers
9. Koolstop brake pads
10. Ellsworth COefficient size small TT frame, integrated headset, fork, and seatpost

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sattley TT - One more race report before re-visiting Germany

I definitely felt ready for Sattley, the NorCal/Nevada district championship race, this year. I wasn't sure I was going to be ready, as I came back from Germany so sick just about a month ago. But, as I ground into my final tune-up workout on Thursday, I was definitely ready. My intervals were strong and smooth, and my perception of the effort was comfortable.

Early Saturday, we got up and did my pre-race ride - mostly easy with a few speed efforts thrown in. Then, we packed up Kermit the Toaster and headed east. We made a small diversion in Ripon for my cousin's wedding at my aunt and uncle's house. It was about 95 degrees out at noon, and a challenge not to over-bake in the sun. The ceremony was short and sweet. We drank lots of water, carbo loaded on the cake, wished them well, and headed on for Truckee. This year, we stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites, which was quite nice, and breakfast started at 6....perfect! We dined at a brewing company for dinner, which was good. I went for the 8 oz beer, as I didn't want to overdo it before my race. Rick compensated for my lack of beer with 2 pints of a Belgian style ale.

Sunday, we rolled out of bed at 5:30 after a marginal night's sleep. There had been some drunken revelers in the hallway around 2 am. Ugh! But, I felt relatively good. I had a shower and headed down to tank up on the breakfast. I also took a yogurt and banana for a 2nd breakfast, as my race was after 11 am.

I got a full, 1 hour warmup in and felt good. The weather was warm, but not too warm, and the winds were light. Also, I'd heard the expansion cracks in the highway had been re-paved, so that was cause for celebration.

I got a good start, and the first half of the race was pretty fast, with a light, quartering tailwind. There were still some expansion cracks in the middle of the course, but nothing like last year. I turned around about a minute slower than I wanted, but well ahead of last year's pace. The second half of the race was purely mental, as I tried to block out some chafing on my saddle. I probably lost some focus with my constant re-adjustment. But, I definitely was putting it all out there, with copious snool developing in the last 1/4 of the race.

In the end, I rolled through in 3rd place, about 2:27 better than last year. I was happy with my result, and met my goals for the race. My next TT will be Benicia, and I will be making the debut of my new TT rig - the Ellsworth Coefficient and also a skinsuit for the first time in 2 years. Look out! I'll be tearing it up out there.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We interrupt this trip report with a race report

Yeah, you thought I had given up racing, right? It's been so long since anything resembling a race report. I'm afraid that I was a bit distracted by vacation and the protracted flu virus that I came home with. So, I missed out on the Calavares TT.

In any case, Sunday morning was the Dunlap TT, which I'd done twice before. It's a 30km (previously 34km) TT, and a good warmup for the longer effort of the Sattley TT (40km) this coming weekend, which is the district/state championship. We got there 2 hours ahead, and had plenty of time. It was quite warm, which I was worried about, because my body still thought it was Winter.

Anyway, I kept my feet up while eating second breakfast (race at 11:30 means you have to eat twice). At 10:25, I got on the trainer for a warmup. I had a good warmup and forced myself to go hard a little. That was difficult given the heat, but I was glad I did it. At 11:20, I got off, hit the port-o-let, got my ice-cold camelback under the jersey, helmet on, and my soigneir took my bike out to the road to avoid goathead thorns.

The only difference this year was that we had a start ramp. That was pretty cool, because I could start in cruising gear instead of a couple gears down. I had a good start and then headed on to the course. The winds were slightly off from normal, but close. The only thing was that we never really had a dead-head or dead-tail wind, which evened out the pace and effort a little bit. The first leg, I forced myself to hold back. Then, it was on to the mostly-head-wind, longest 2nd leg. I was doing pretty well on focusing until my camelback started to slither out the bottom of my jersey. So, the next couple miles were spent trying to get it situated where it would stay put. My speed definitely dropped below what it should have been. After the next turn, I caught my 1-minute man, but was also passed by my 30 second and one-minute chasers a bit before the turn. I had expected to be caught by both, however. During the 3rd leg, my camelback finally got situated on my belly. Fine, it wasn't going anywhere, but I was also hitting it with every pedal stroke. I kept telling myself I felt too good, that I needed to go harder. I finally ratcheted it up a few notches in the final 2-3 km after the last turn. I was going significantly faster and still not blowing up. I guess I need to push a bit harder, overall. I felt MUCH worse last year, and was happy I felt well despite the heat this year. Anyway, in the end, I finished in the upper 54 minute range - just under 55 (don't have official time yet). But, I was 56:36 last year, so still a significant improvement.

I felt good about nutrition and warmup. Next week, I will work on equipment and pacing just a bit higher. No camelback next week! I'm looking forward to the beautiful Sattley course.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

May 5, Wednesday - Colder and Blusterier - Brrrr

Today we woke up to even colder and more blustery weather than yesterday! We left the Sonnen after an adequate breakfast. It was drizzling when we left. We headed out of town on a bicycle route that dead-ended into a tunnel project - after much cx-ing in mud and gravel. So, we rolled back to Schleingen and headed the general direction we wanted and eventually picked up the cycle route.

We braced ourselves against the howling winds and times were only rolling 6-8 mph and 13 if we could get a wind break. We set our lunch stop to Breisach. We ate at a pizzeria/italian bistro. It was busy with business lunches - from the French and German sides. Lunch was quite affordable and included salad and tiramisu. I had a vegetable and legume lasagne and Rick had linguine vongole.

I shivered as we unlocked the bikes to resume our journey. We then hopped on the River route toward Sasbach. It was about 17 km and not so bad by the river due to the trees providing a wind break - even though we were on dirt and gravel.

We ended the day at the Gasthaus Lowen for 57 E with breakfast. Dinner, for me, was an omelette with mushrooms and pommes frites. We shared a full bottle of Reisling from Sasbach. Our bikes got to hang out in a garage/storage room. And, the rooms were bigger and more modern than I was expecting from the price and the look of the building from the outside. After dinner, we had a nice chat with a couple from Frankfurt who apparently come each year on a wine-tasting vacation. They were very nice and apologized for the terrible weather - saying it was certainly not normal for this time of year.