Sunday, July 6, 2008

Things that explode...

  1. Volcanos
  2. Fireworks
  3. Valverde
  4. My legs...

Hope everyone had a good 4th of July weekend!  The fireworks here started early as the Portland Velo race team met in downtown on the 3rd for the "It's on like Donkey Kong with Volcano's" ride.  The Thursday night team ride is in its infancy, however leading into a holiday weekend there was a huge showing.  Unfortunately, our instigator decided to totally bail on us and not show up until we finished.

All was not lost however!  Mike Kender lead us on a truly epic journey that climbed the three local Portland volcano's.  Almost 20 of PV's racers met in historic Ladd's Addition on the east side.  It was definitely a sight to behold as only three riders decided to not sport the PV colors.  (Let Couzens, Magnus, and Burke be shunned until they buy us beer!)  First on the list to conquer was Mount Tabor, home of the circuit race and a stage in this years Mount Hood Cycling Classic.  Second on the list was Rocky Butte, and finally Council Crest.  The route took us through every major neighborhood in Portland, and we were constantly stared at in amazement.  I guess it's not often that a ton of cyclists roll down 42nd.   It was awesome to hang out with some team mates I haven't seen in a while and have a nice social ride to kick off the weekend.

Highlight of the evening for me had to be getting stopped on the Hawthorn has a sail boat when through, as the blues fest was in full tilt on the waterfront.  The small gang that was heading back to Palio's at Ladds was treated to some great music while we waited.  Huge props to Kristin, Sherry, and my lovely wife Traci who was out on her first team ride ever, for hanging with the boys for the evening.  Roughly 35miles with 2500 feet of climbing!

Upon our return to Palio's, the evil Heidi decided to show her face. All was forgiven  when she suggested Hopworks for a late dinner and some beer.  Heidi, Sal, Javad, Kender, Alex, and Sherry joined Traci and I in "The Vault" for a few pints and some good food.

We got home late, and the next morning was the PV "Firecracker" ride.  Ty, our "Director Sportif" had decided to create a secret course that would take us roughly 60 miles through unknown territory.  The only things we know going into this ride is that it was going to be fast, and winners of the hotspots were getting free beer!  Roughly 40 riders from PV, Team Rose City, and Clint from Bicycle Attorney met at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse early on the 4th to launch some fireworks of our own.  The ride took us up Thompson to Skyline, where Magnus took the first hotspot of the day.   We descended down Old CP Road to Phillips then up to Jackson Quarry where Ron Babcock took the K.O.M at the top of the climb.    Ron again took the third hotspot leading into Roy, barely nipping me at the line.  Clint took the hotspot at the Clapshaw summit, and I was able to thin the herd down to Springer, B-Rat, and Ty on Hillside.  Springer played his cards right and took the prime there, barely edging out Ty who I lead out.  The final hotspot of the day was won by Ron again, out kicking Springer and I on Hornecker Road.  Ron was the big winner on the road, but since he doesn't drink beer, he was automatically DQ'd from the competition!  Huzzah!

The gang returned back to CPR and met up with some of the club members who went out a bit after us for some good times.  Big thanks to Ty for organizing the ride and providing the liquid bread during the afterparty.  This was easily one of the hardest rides I had been on this year.  40 or so folks started, and roughly 20 rolled back into the Roadhouse.

Saturday morning brought the best time of the year for any cycling fan.  TOUR TIME!  I got out of bed earlier than I normally do on a Saturday to catch portions of the prologue.  I was more than a bit confused when I turned on the TV and saw a peleton of riders chasing down a break.  (I'll be the first to admit I haven't scoped any of this years stages.)  It wasn't long until good old Paul Sherwin mentioned that it was the first time in the thirty years he's been working with the tour that they didn't have the prologue.  I guess the ASO didn't want Cancellara in yellow the first day?

Watching the final run up to the finish was amazing.  I thought Kirchen was going to take the stage, he seemed to attack at just the right moment and had a huge lead from the overhead view, but then out of the pack shot this crazy orange, yellow, and red bullet and Phil Liggett starts screaming "Valverde! Valverde!".  I wish I had that type of acceleration!

Saturday's club ride was a fairly quiet one.  A lot of the race team had put in their hard efforts the day before and the old and overcast weather had chased away a good number of riders.  I made a gametime decision and took the club a different route than we originally planned, much to the dismay of Russ Patterson who was planning on meeting us halfway up Thompson (sorry Russ!).  Instead of the Rose Garden, we decided to visit the rainforest known as Dairy Creek. 

I rolled out with the first group of the day, intent on enjoying a nice tempo ride.  As always, things got a bit spirited towards the end of Dairy Creek, but nothing like the leg shredding from the day before.  On the way back down we broke up into two smaller groups and worked rotating paceline skills.  It was a bit harry with a few riders new to the technique, but we made it down in one piece.  Remember, be predictable and smooth.  Don't force any accelerations.  After Dairy Creek we decided to take on a few more miles and had fun playing with a new comer to our rides who had earned a less then savory impression with some of the race team during other non PV rides.  General consensus seems to be that sucking wheel on a tempo climb up a hill only to attack the last few meters for "the win" is only good form if you weigh over 200 lbs.  This dude did not qualify! BAD FORM.

Today was a day for recovery.  The 4th consecutive day that I had been on my bike for an extended period of time.  My body definitely felt it even just rolling over to Longbottoms to meet up with the group.  Fortunately the ride was very mellow and I was able to just spin for a few hours to loosen up the legs.  Probably a bit longer than I should have been out for a recovery ride, but the company was good, even if they were making fun of my circa 1986 Team Lemond tour Winner jersey by Puma.  High point of my ride was trying to punk Bob at the Cornelius city limit sign via a sneaky sprint.  For those of you unfamiliar with the area, the sign is less than 100m north of the intersection of Golf Course Road and Lafolette.   (Use the Google Street , which rocks by the way, to see the sign!)   The two of us were laughing so hard that we nearly fell off our bikes.

We got back in, had our lunch and parted ways.  Once I got home I pulled up all of my stats for the past few weeks.  I'm currently sitting at both a season high Chronic Training Load, and Acute Training Load.  Basically, it means my body is more tired now than it has been all season as far as the amount of work I've done short term (a few days), and the amount of work I've done long term (a few weeks / months).   No wonder I'm tired!  While I'm not yet suffering from over training, if I were to keep up this intensity it would probably burn me out in fairly soon. 

I'm pleased with how the season is going so far and I'm looking forward to a few races in August, with maybe a race this coming Friday at the Velodrome (if I get my bike ready in time!)  Hopefully the easy week I have planned, mainly commuting with a bit of tempo work mid-week, will help with some recovery.  Now I just have to make sure the Tour doesn't get me all hyped up!

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