Monday, September 19, 2011

Exciting NEW products from Saris/Cycleops

Rather than write about I'll let you read a great article from Velo News describing the NEW products on the horizon from Saris/Cycleops.  I'm meeting with Steve Hawkins, local Saris/Cycleops rep, this Friday to discuss how we can get a hold of some of these products for a test ride- so to speak.  What is of particular interest to me, is the NEW heart rate based power calculator.  How does it work?  I have no clue.  Is it as accurate as a $1500 Power Meter?  No, and it's not marketed as one.  I'll just have to wait and see for myself.  But, what I like about this new device is that it's at least a foot in the door of the Power Meter world at a fraction of the cost.  I think it's a good idea for those cyclists that a) don't really understand what power meters are and b) for those cyclists who thought/think that power meters are still cost-prohibitive.  Regardless, I'll be passing all this good information on as I receive it.

Stay tuned for more info to come!  Power ON!  Coach Rob

Monday, September 5, 2011

2011 Univest Grand Prix Cyclosportif- September 17th

Although it's NOT a race, if you want to ride (a pro course) with some damn good riders you want to sign-up for this years' Cyclosportif.  Yes, the UGP Cyclosportif is back.  It's IMPROVED and even better in years past.  You get to ride the same course that the Pros race.  And, I'll be there to capture your day on the bike with a great on-road action shot and finish line photo- for your "I love me wall". 

I rode the Cyclosportif years ago (in the rain) and it was fun.  Yes, even in the rain.  I even managed to finish first, averaging 20 mph, albeit I rode the shorter less hillier course (40 miles) because I wanted to see the start of the Pro race.  I believe this years' ride is only offered in the 100k ride (a hair over 66 miles).  Regardless, it is a fun ride and you can ride it at any pace..yes, even your race pace.  Can you finish 66 miles in 3 hrs on a hilly tract (4700 ft. of climbing)?  In past years, you even had the opportunity to ride with the likes of International touring Pro Bobby Julich.  My friend, and former coached athlete, Jim Ludovici rode with Bobby the entire ride and had a great time.  And yes, they averaged 20 mph...maybe even more.

Yes, it costs $65 but it is well worth it.  For the money you get chip timing, a T-shirt, an opportunity to ride with quality riders/racers, on-course tech support, raffle prizes and you even get fed afterwards.  You can't beat that.  You may even get to ride with a Pro- a real Pro.  What's get upfront viewing of the Pro race, from your private tent, which takes place after your ride.

For more information on the ride, and a link to register online at Bikereg, go the following link:  Don't wait, sign-up now whether you're a racer or casual weekend rider!

By the way, my friend Brian Ignatin (and local cycling enthusiast) is running the Cyclosportif event along with John Eustice.  Brian is an up and coming cycling event director who also runs the Spring Classics in our area.  These are "quality" rides that are well marked and well supported and include goodie bags.  If you haven't ridden in one of Brian's Spring Classics you MUST sign-up for his 2012 Classics.  I honestly believe some of his Spring Classics are even HARDER tracts than the Tour of Battenkill with MORE climbing and MORE gravel/dirt roads.  Challenging?  You bet.  Fun?  Absolutely!  Been there done I know.

Oh, one more thing, if you're a cycling geek (like me) and you have a GPS, or better a Garmin Edge 500 or 800, you can download the Cyclosportif course onto your computer for directions.  You get turn-by-turn directions for you lucky Garmin 800 owners.  Here's a You Tube link on how to program your Garmin Edge 500.   Hell, I own one and didn't even know it could do that.  Now that's cool.  That way, you don't have to rely on course signs (which are EVERYWHERE) or those really nerdy cue sheets..ha.  Go to "Ride With GPS" for the .gpx downloadable file. You'll have to sign-up for a free account:  I'm sure Brian will be using Ride With GPS for his Spring Classics as well.  Hey, if you don't have a Garmin Edge 500 or 800 by now, get one, I HIGHLY recommend them.  They are Ant+ Sport compatible and will read/record your power meter. What, not training/racing with a Power Meter?  No excuse!  GET ONE NOW, if not, put it on the top of Santa's list this Christmas.  I HIGHLY recommend either a Quarq PM or a Saris/Cycleops PM. If I coach you, I'll get you one at a coaches discount which is hundreds of dollars off MSRP.  Waiting for Garmin's Vector PM?  Good luck!

See you on September 17th.  Power ON! Coach Rob

Train/race SMARTER...PERSERVERE and meet your 2012 goals

For many of the you the racing season is over...for others it's on to the Cyclo Cross season.  Regardless, did you meet your 2011 goals?  For me, 2011 was sort of a bust.  Although I met my weight loss goal and power goal I did not even come close to meeting my race season goals...including my A-event, the Tour of the Battenkill.  I got caught up in a crash at mile marker 10 and ended up humping it by myself to the finish line.  What should have taken me 3 hrs. to complete ended up taking me 3 hrs. and 40 minutes.  Those additional 40 minutes out on the road put me in severe carbohydrate depletion and dehyrdation.  I'm lucky I even finished the race. Sure, I could have quit..but I didn't.  I did NOT plan on being out on the road that long, for that pace/effort, that early in the season. To say I was bummed (and pissed) an understatement.  I trained long and hard over the Winter for just this event.  I was ready too.  But, that's racing and sh$t does happen.  Albeit, for me, it seems like it happens all too often.  Just years ago, I had been training for a Half-Ironman event in Bend, Oregon.  I was ready, all signed-up, entry fees and travel expenses all paid.  Just two weeks prior to the event, I tore ligaments in my ankle on a training run which left me on crutches and 6 weeks in rehab.  I cried when it happened (I'm serious).  All that hard work (6 mos. of training) down the drain.  Although demotivated, I trained even harder the next year for the same event.  This time, just three weeks prior to the event I herniated two discs in my back on a Scuba Diving trip.  Not only did I miss my event, AGAIN, I had to give up running (too much pounding on my back).  Bummed? Are you kidding me?  Severely depressed was more like it.  Determined not to give up training, I concentrated my efforts on cycling since it does not affect my back. (Although, the herniated discs have left the side of my foot numb to this date.)   My sports related injuries even pre-date these as a torn quadricep muscle kept me sidelined for most of my senior year in high school football and hampered my college track and field days.  Nonetheless, I've pushed on and perservered over the years.

I am determined to train even HARDER for the 2012 season.  I will be stronger and I will be lighter than this year (remember, w/kg rule).  Only this time, my goals for 2012 will be built-in with plan B's in case of injury, crashes, setbacks, etc.  I can't let setbacks depress me like they've done in the past.  As long as I can train and ride my bike (God willing) I will continue to do so.  As a 52 yr. old Masters Racer, I'm not going to win any races..unless everyone crashes out.  I've accepted that, and I'm ok with it.  I ride because I enjoy riding and I race because I enjoy competition since I've been competing in sports since age 11.  I've just come to the conclusion that I'm just NOT lucky when it comes to BIG events...and conceded to the fact that whatever happens in the future..happens.  Although, having said all this, I can learn from these setbacks.  For example, why was I caught up in a crash this year at the Tour of the Battenkill?  Could it have been that I was riding in the middle of the pack instead of out front?  Absolutely.  I should have been racing smarter and staying out front knowing that it was least for the first half of the race until it thins out a little.   Why did I turn my ankle on a training run before my Ironman event?  Could it have been because I was running on the canal path instead of the road? Absolutely.  What caused me to herniate the discs in my back, could it have been all the heavy lifting of my Scuba Equipment?  Possibly.  What caused me to tear my quadricep muscle?  Poor warmup?  Possibly.  I need to train and race SMARTER!

If you, like me, didn't meet your 2011 goals due to a setback let it be motivation to train even HARDER for 2012 so you're stronger and faster.  If you met your 2011 goals..congratulations!  I'm truly happy for you.  When you start training for the 2012 season..train SMART!  Make your 2012 goals realistic.  And, if you have a setback- for whatever reason- plan for it, accept it, and re-set your goals for the remainder of the season and move on.  What you don't want to do is get so depressed and demotivated that you give up completely.  Trust me, after the Tour of the Battenkill..I didn't want to race period- and I didn't.  Hell, I didn't even want to ride my bike much- which I didn't.  And, I'll be the first to admit...that is NOT good!  Of all people (a coach) I should know better.  But, I am only human.

For you Cyclo guys..good luck for the upcoming racing season.  For you roadies, relax, spend some time with your family and start thinking about your goals for 2012.  And, train/race SMART!

Oh, the pic of example of NEVER QUIT and PERSERVERENCE!  Here's a link:

Power ON! Coach Rob