Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Recovery in Progress

A little over a week now off the bike. It seems to have helped with the sciatic nerve problem. The hardest part of a rehab is the down time; especially when the fitness is starting to come around. It's amazing how much an hour of quality stretching helps. Anyway I hope by this time next week I'll be back on schedule.

Upcoming races are Southeastern Regional Series (SERC) around the first of April. Then hopefully if I've gotten in enough mileage - 13hr. Baker's Dozen mountain bike race in McCormick SC.

Happy Trails Folks

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sidelined by Sciatica

The last short track event has officially put the hurt on me. With the strong efforts put into the last two races, a sciatica nerve problem has flared up once again. Originated during a 24hr. Solo race in May '03, I pulled, pinched or some how tweaked my sciatica nerve around the hip area. Around 18 months ago I sought out professional help to correct the problem. With stretching and orthotics I have been able to keep it at bay until now. For those who know me best realize that it must be bad if I personally made an attempt to see a doctor about the problem. I can be a bit hard headed.

So for now I have to take it easy. My doctor has prescribed stretches to try and loosen muscles around the area. Hopefully this will ease the pressure off the nerve. Two weeks from now I go back for a follow up visit. On the positive side of things the weather has not been all that inviting for outdoor activities. So all my fingers & toes are crossed in hopes of a speedy recovery. Hopefully before the season gets into full swing.

A special thanks to my 6am cycle class for letting me teach from the floor this morning. The stretching session was helpful to my recovery.


Happy Trails Folks

Final Charlotte Short Track

February 18th, 2006
Renaissance Park Short Track, Charlotte NC
Sir Edmund Halley's Cup, Race # 5

It's the last race of the series, and it's 39 and cloudy. Weather report for today is wintry mix possible. Umm sounds like loads of fun. So Jaime & I are sitting in the top five of the series overall and ready to get this one over with. The drive up from Cola. town was pleasant, a great time to strategies and fire each other up about a podium finish.

No sooner than pulling into the parking lot the drizzle starts. Yeah, this is going to be awesome (not). Jump out the truck to go register and holy crap it's ten degrees colder than Cola. At the registration table I couldn't keep from shivering while filling out my info. I couldn't even make out my own name and address. Dropped off entry fee, stood by the kero heater and then bolted back to the truck to contemplate why in the hell we are going through with this. How easy it could have been to nap till the awards diner three hours later.

Time to man up, and get into the spirit of competing. After warming up on the trainer and somewhat feeling better it was 2pm and time to race. A nice chug of Hammer Gel & I'm ready to race. Toe up to the line and go, 60min. of pure fun in slick mud. Good thing I decided to finish off the series on the single 29er. At no surprise to me the leader went off quick and Jaime set out after him. This was good because Jaime was tied for third overall. Meanwhile, I sat on the wheel of Mr. I'm going to cut you off and go slow in the woods guy (tied w/ J). So knowing this I was content to just let this guy push the pace for the next 40min. Yeah I sat on his wheel the whole time. Speaking from experience if you have someone riding on your wheel you tend to ride harder than normal. Yes, this was my intent to just make him self-destruct. Besides if he wanted 3rd overall he had to catch Jaime, and guess who he would have taken with him.

After about 30min. of watching this cat ricochet around on the trail, I decided to make a pass and see what damage he had done to himself. Yeah he was hurting but not done. Two laps later he caught back up to me. So for another 15min. I let him go. Still on his wheel and pushing hard, he started making the noises I had been waiting for. You know the noises of pain and self-destruction. Last lap he gets back in front. So he tries to make a move on the last climb, but he couldn't drop tiny T. So he tried another attack on the final stretch into the finish, but I wasn't having it. Team Harrell's Bicycle World needed two podium spots. I was able to close the gap and sprint past to take third place. Sprinting on a single speed bike is a unique trick. Especially against someone running multi gears.

Victory for the Harrell's Team, 2nd and 3rd in the final race of the series. Overall Jaime was able to edge out Mr. I'm going to cut you off and go slow in the woods guy. As for me a 5th overall due to missing race #3. Anyway like I've said before it's all just training for the bigger and faster races. So on that note I'm off to prepare for my next event, the Georgia State Singlespeed Championships (Mar. 19).

Happy Trails Folks,

Monday, February 13, 2006

Remember it's just TRAINING

Yeah it's February, it's cold, windy with the occasional flurries. It is always hard to convince yourself that this is training time for the bigger races later in the season. So when you go out to the short track cross-country (STXC) races they are meant to help with your top end in a real time race environment (speed and anaerobic threshold). These races have been a great alternative to sitting in the garage on the trainer doing prescribed intervals till you can't see straight or just shy of yaking up a lung.

Now with that said, I was ready for the 4th installment of the Charlotte STXC series. Temps in the mid 40s with whipping winds. You know the kind that just cuts through your shell and chills you to the bone. Knowing in my mind I had to have a good race to stay in contention of the overall. Mentally I was ready to bury myself in self-inflected pain to better my overall placing, that would be half the battle. During warmup, Jamie and I decided to setup our trainers in a sunny spot close to the course. This would allow us to watch the early races while warming up and take note of the mud build up on bikes.

Lining up for the start, damn it's cold out here with gusts of cold wind still ripping through the area. "Oh yeah racers this is the double point race" - Go - immediately noticing that I have no gas and I can't catch my breath. On the back but still in contact, I get gaped by another racer that is obviously not very smooth through the single track. dammit get the hell out of the way (sorry, just trying to express my emotions at the time ;~() ! ! ! The gap just kept growing throughout the race. So now I'm put into chase mode, just trying to stay steady. If you call 176bpm av. heart rate w/ a max of 186 for the first 30min. Then the second half was 172 av w/ 181 max. I had this feeling that I never could catch my breath. It was slipping away. Riders I was in desperate need of passing were getting farther away. I was fading but yet still couldn't catch my breath.

On the other hand, I have to give props to my teammate Jamie for hanging tuff. This past race was very fast, fastest yet. Jamie held strong in the top four staying with the leaders for the majority of the race. Late in the race when Jamie lapped me I tried to hold onto his wheel but I just didn't have it. Thanks for the help. REMEMBER THIS IS TRAINING. This will be a rest week for me, so I can hopefully come back strong next Sat. for the final race. Expecting rain for next Sat. will hopefully play into my side. Seeing how I will probably be on the single speed once again.

Happy trails folks,

Monday, February 06, 2006

Charlotte Winter Short Track Series

Charlotte Winter Short Track Series

This season the Charlotte Sports cycling has teamed up with Sir Edmond Halley's Pub, Heartwood Tree Service and Dirt Divas to host the always exciting winter short track race series. The winter race series kivked off on January 21st. The short track course will bring a unique style of racing to the Charlotte area. Short track racing on a 3/4 mile trail consisting of bank turns. It's a cross between a criterium, BMX, cyclo-cross and singletrack. All with a super fast & spectator friendly atmosphere. The course has been winterized thanks to Charlotte Sports Cycling and the Tarheels Trailblazers.
This would be a real eye opener as to where the finess level is. Only an hour long, you gotta through it all down and go like a bat out of hell. This would be a total change from the racing I'm used to (24hr. Solo).
Representinhg Harrell's Bicycle World in the expert field would be Jamie Hyatt and Toby P.

Race #1 Jan. 21
I had the wise idea to try my hybird Raleigh. Full rigid alum. hardtail equpit with 38/11x30 w/ 40c. tires, fast yeah. Maybe for a nice dry day, but not for today. GO - and we are off to a hella fast start. Oh crap nice and slick, translation zero traction on the only climb. This was going to be a lesson learned. Somehow, I managed to stay upright and making foward progression pulling out a 5th place. However Jamie was not so lucky snapping his R. der. hanger off on lap #5. This would DNF him for the race but he able to come out with 4 points for his efforts.

Race #2 Jan. 29
My lesson learned from race 1 is - I need to bust out the 29er Rig and drop the darn the hammer. Still muddy from the week's rain this wuld be a perfect opportunity to redeem myself from last week. Weapon of choice was a Fisher 29er Rig single speed. Yeah 34x16 w/ a pair of 29x1.8 tires this bike was rolling & ripping up the trail and with no problem in the drivetrain department. Racers were having a difficult time with chain suck and skipping chains. This equipment choice would help me into a 2nd place finish. Jamie also had a great comeback from last weeks disappointment. Despite having muddy drivetrain issues, he raced hard against a local racer and finished up 4th. This was a great showing for the Harrell's Team and showed the locals we mean business. "we are a part of the 29er nation" All Hail the 29er Nation

Race #3 Feb.4
Third race of the series and I'm all pumped up. Sitting in third place overall in the series. I was very ready to bury myself for a high placing; but as crappy luck would have it. This was not to be.

In route to the venue along I-77 a down pour caused a 14 car pile-up just in front us (Erin & I). Just millimeters from being car 14+ involved, we skidded to a dangerously close look at a Lincolin's ass end. Now stopped in traffic we can see that both lanes are blocked and there is nowhere to go. After an hour of sitting and watching get are freeed from the grid lock. At last we are at Renaissance Park just in time to see the expert field rounding the first turn. What a slap in the face that was. Well since we're here lets go cheer for Jamie. Jamie had to fly solo this race. Sitting in 2nd Jamie powered out lap after lap on the muddy course. Racing hard back and forth with a local racer, Jamie comes through yelling he has no back brakes. This is a real problem when you are hauling ass into muddy banked turns. Hanging tough in true fashion big J pulls out a very impressive 3rd place. Great job Jamie and I'll be back next week to help you throw it (Hammer) down for the Harrell's Team.

Next race is Sunday Feb.12 & Finals are Sat. Feb.18 - Stay tuned for results Charlotte Mountain Bike

Later Toby