Tag Archives: Weekend Warriors

The local Upstate New York racing scene.

Weekend Warrior: The Abs Diet

Yikes, after the Syracuse Race Weekend two weeks ago where I performed poorly, I vowed to get a little bit more serious about my training regimen. I train regularly by doing a combination of weight lifting, lots of miles and other cardio such as a stair master. With this workout plan and a “sensible” diet I was able to lose about 10lbs so far this year. I am still much heavier than I’d like, but my fitness is improving.
The ugliest factor of having all of this extra weight is the gut that comes out during a hard ride or race.

The picture above was shocking to me. It was taken by Bill Goffe who had some excellent shots of the whole race weekend. The gut bulging out of my jersey certainly makes the sponsors happy since everyone shows up, but it doesn’t make me happy. So, I have been looking at what to do to kick start another round of weight loss. It seems that in the past few weeks I have leveled off in losing weight and have stayed around a stagnant weight of…..ready for the number to be public…. 226. Ouch, that hurts to write and admit, since I have been coy about the number of my true weight. I carry the weight around in normal clothes fairly well, but in bib shorts and jerseys it is a different story.

The other day while going to the gym during lunch I ran into Grant who recommended the “Abs Diet” book. He liked the plan since it was a very sensable diet. There is no quick fix where you eliminate an entire class of foods. You eat many different and good foods, but it is more common sense than any real diet. Plus, it attacks the area that I definately need help in, the abs. I trust Grant especially since he looks like he is in great shape. He runs regularly and took up cycling to do triathlons. His wife is a nutritionist, so he would certainly not recommend anything like Atkins or the Scarsdale diet.

This weekend I picked up the book and started reading. Most of the book deals with explaining things like metabolism, the dangers of high fructose corn syrup and other great info. The book is also a quick read. Some of the basic tenants of the book are that you should eat six times a day. Stay away from high fructose corn syrup and other sugars. Soda is very bad for you etc. Blueberrys, tuna, almonds, and other foods are good. Your should eat a little more dairy since that helps to wash out fat, and many other useful tidbits. The plan does not seem too hard to follow and I was already trying to eat six times a day.

I started on the plan yesterday and it was super easy to follow. Looking at labels of food is important since some foods do contain hidden sugars. One package of oatmeal by Quaker had high fructose corn syrup. I won’t eat that too much as I will switch to eating the plain stuff and adding fresh fruit.

Posting to the velochimp site will make me stick with this longer since I feel like I must report on the progress and actually show progress in this plan. My goal is to get to 200 or less pounds, but I am not placing a time limit. The Abs Diet plan last for about six weeks and claims in the plan range from losing 8 lbs to 25lbs. I will aim for the high of 25lbs and hope to be around 200lbs hopefully be August.

Next up will be a posting of my “before” shot and a weekly update shot. Now I can’t hide.

Weekend Warrior: Syracuse Race Weekend

Another Syracuse Race Weekend has come and gone. It was very busy for everyone in the Onondaga Cycling Club since this is a three event race. This year it was called a stage race, but the GC was determined by points. It was a stage race mostly to force folks to ride all three events. The three events consist of a Road Race on Saturday that loops around an area near Otisco Lake, Saturday night Street Sprint in Downtown Syracuse and a Criterium on Syracuse’s Onondaga Park.

The Road Race starts at Song Mountain and follows Otisco Valley Road until the grinding climb up Oak Hill Rd. Oak Hill is not particularly steep, but it is long and grinding making it a challenging race overall. The finish is up a small climb back to Song Mountain. I did not ride the Road Race since hills aren’t my friend, and instead chose to help out. My job was to be a sweep driver. Basically I was free until the end when I would drive the course and instruct Course Marshalls and Fire Dept volunteers to pack up since the race is over. I ended up following behind the small pack of Pro 1,2s that were doing the ~30 mile loop three times. With the cold and drizzly conditions they weren’t going all out. Some of them seemed to be waiting for the final sprint up to the finish. I followed up to the start finish area where the Pros sprinted it out.

The Colavtia-Spokepost.com team did well with Andy Melencheko scoring a win in the Masters class and Jeremy Wickham getting a third. Many of the Colavita guys finished very well.

The Street Sprints in Downtown Syracuse had better weather as the sun started to peak through the clouds and the weather warmed up. Hanover Sqaure was full of cyclist and folks sitting at the bars watching cyclist go by. This was my first attempt at the Street Sprints which I always thought would be a perfect event for my ability. The event involves four or five cyclist at a time starting from a full stop and sprinting for two blocks. The first one or two moves to the next round. The key is starting from a dead stop, so you need a holder so you can stay clipped in. Unfortunately for me I could not stay upright. I don’t know if it was my holder or me, or my weight causing both, but I had trouble staying upright at the start. As soon as I clipped in, I would lean to one side and then have to clip out. This was getting embarasing as no one else had this problem before me. As more time goes by I got more nervous and almost contemplated starting the sprint with my toe down. This was even more troubling since I usually practice track stands at stop lights, and have been getting better lately. Maybe it was pressure, or being nervous or something. All this jostling took me right out of the sprint. As soon as the whistle blew signalling “go” I was delayed and totally sucked in the sprint. I just wish I could try it again.

Next day was the Criterium on the West Side. This is a race were I expected to do well as I placed third here two years ago. Last year I did not race since the birth of my baby girl made staying home seem more fun than riding. So, I was expecting to at least do as well as before. The course is a one mile loop with a small hill on the opposite side of the start/finish area. The hill is not a problem for me, and I usually use it to gain places during a race.

One concern I did have was that our field was unsually large and probably contained some squirrely riders. My tatic was to hope for a fast start and stay in the top ten in the pack. Then I would wait until the end where I would sprint it out. Things did not work out so well. The first few laps were extremely fast, and I hung on. But slowly, I kept drifting back. The problem for me was the downhill which had enough of a turn where I would touch the brakes to slow down. The others in my group did not, so by the bottom I would get a gap, which made it very hard to stick with the front group. A few laps later one rider went off road near the start/finish. He was flying at full speed somewhere around 30mph when he decided to try and jump back on the road. Not good and I was coming up with a bunch of folks behind me. As he came back on the road he almost swerved right into me causing me to slow down and lose momentum. This caused enough of a gap where I had to chase with a few TVC guys who did not like me working with them. They kinda worked me over as I led the chase down the back stretch to the hill at which point they all attacked to get by me. Thanks for working with me TVC!

After that I was in no man’s land losing places and got pulled. The judges were being a bit aggressive with the pulls as I was nowhere near getting lapped and could have eventually gotten back with the previous group. Oh well, at least I got finishing points.

So, the racing did not go very well, this is probably my worst ever performance at the Syracuse Crit. I never got pulled from the race before. I will work on speed in the next few weeks as the next major goal will be the Rochester Twilight Crit on June 24th. Watch for videos, and pictures very soon.

After the race I helped with corner marshalling, fitted some kids with free helmetsand chaperoned some kids during the the Kids Race. Colavita-Spokepost.com organized the Kids Race and it turned out to be a huge success. Lots of kids came out, we organized it so the races went smoothly and quickly. The kids got free helmets and got to see what bike racing is all about. There were some very strong young kids who should try cycling out as a sport.

Watch for more pics and video.

Frustrated Cat 2 Calls it Quits on eBay


Ebay is great to pick up used stuff that other folks just don’t need any more. This eBay ad is from a Cat 2 who just can’t take riding any more and is selling everything. A bad performance at Gila has made this guy just want to quit.

After two days at the GILA we have decided that everything must go. This is all the TOP of the line stuff. Everything is light as light gets. The sad thing it didn’t help me from getting dropped. SRM power meters for both bikes and laptop so when all else fails you can over analyze what went wrong. Endurox an OPTYGEN (obviously didn’t help or I wouldn’t be selling my junk) TIMBUK 2 bag so you can look cool at the coffee shop when trying to act like a pro. Shoes, helmets, 3 kits, speed suit, I really mean everything you will ever need. We are talking about almost $15,000+ dollars of stuff and you get the CAR also. I will be flying home and don’t want to see any of this stuff again. Chain lube, Shammy Cream, bike bottles(still half full), several pairs of sunglasses. Renn Disc wheel an Aero front wheel so when you get 25th in the TT you have no excuse…even though I have plenty…call me I would love to talk about them. I will include all the VeloNews magazines you will ever want to read. You get my Fluid trainer, roof rack for four bikes… so you can travel with all your biking buddies. Again this is everything you will ever need to pretend like you are a bike racer. You don’t have to even take the bikes off the car. Just drive around town and talk about epic rides and SICK wattages. Flash out the INCLUDED USCF LICENSE CAT 2 and talk about how you are about to apply for your upgrade to a 1 for your shot to win Nationals in JULY. I will include the race numbers that are still pinned on the Jersey so you can act like you just came from a huge NRC event. TOOLS… all the stuff you take your bike apart an put it back together. Time Trial bike LOOKS super fast.

Maybe he should just take a vacation and chill out for a while. He’ll be kicking himself in a few months when the riding jones bites him again.

That is why cycling is so addictive. There are times when you are getting your a** kicked in a race or club ride and you think to yourself “This sucks, I’m selling everything and taking up a new hobby” Then, the next day you just can’t wait to get out on the road.

eBay Ad link

Weekend Warrior: Binghamton Circuit Race

Last Sunday was the Binghamton Circuit Race in Binghamton NY. The weather was great, and the course was fun. A 1.6 mile loop with a slight enough hill to make the legs hurt each lap. My race was going quite well for 11 of the 15 total laps. Then I guess I burned too many matches as I just could not hold onto the pace of the group. I bagged it and took the video of the finish of the Cat 4/5 race and a funny (while being under the influence of lactic acid) interview with Matt Howey.

Weekend Warrior: Perinton Report

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(photo from photoradius)

My first real race of the season was at The Perinton Spring Classic on Sunday. The race was put on by the Genesee Valley Cycling Club who are located in Rochester, NY. They are the same folks that ran the Rochester Giros and will host a bunch of other races later this year. I have to admire the sheer number of races that GVCC manages to pull off every year. They have a very active racing club that makes us in Syracuse jealous.

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(Dave Faso placed 4th – photo from photoradius)

Anyway, despite some very threatening weather and gloomy conditions, there was a great turnout for the Perinton Spring Classic. Our Colavita-Spokepost.com had a good number of riders in each race. Jeremy Wickham won the Cat 4 race and Dave Faso and William Nicholson finished fourth and fifth in their Cat 3 race. It was a good turnout for Colavita overall.

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(photo from photoradius)

My race went better than I thought as the hill on Furman Rd was a tough climb to get over. As you can tell by the pics, I have a few pounds to shed this season. Gee, once you get on a bike, the belly just seems to sag more than usual. These shots are almost embarassing, but I’ll put them up for motivation to lose the gut.

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(photo from photoradius)

I felt good as the race started. I made sure I was close to the front in the neutral start especially since I wanted to scope out Furman Rd. After the neutral climb, the Cat 5 race started heating up quickly and gaps started forming in the group. On each of the little hills I was able to get up to the lead group of about 10 to 15 riders. As gaps formed I was able to bridge up to the lead group. It is important to not get caught out because someone else creates a gap. It is better to bridge those gaps as soon as they form. Otherwise you will find yourself burning up lots more energy than necessary simply to stay with the lead group.

Once in the top group I felt fairly comfortable, but I was not into my rythm yet. Some of the accerlarations just would leave me gasping. On Wickman rd, the little riser just ate up my speed and I was quickly off the back of my group. I managed to crank back up to speed and caught up with some shrapnel from the group. Two other riders and I decided to work together to get back to the lead group. This was just before we were to head up Furman rd. Unfortunately the Cat 4 race was riding up in a neutral start and it was difficult to get around everybody. The steepness of the hill and the frantic pace to catch back on caught up to me and I was crawling up Furman.

(photo from photoradius)

Eventually I found myself alone cranking along in no man’s land. I thought my race was for a lowly placing. I saw Seth Torrice on the side of the road with a flat and stopped to offer him my wheel, but he declined as he was already too far back to catch on.

After that I caught a few riders and was passed by a few categories. The Pro Women caught me on Furman and they weren’t able to shake me off. Usually if a higher category passed me, they already had a head of steam going along so it would be difficult to latch on. But here, the Women were not going too fast, so I attacked to get ahead and try to catch onto a group up the road. On the hills the women would come right back. The group was composed of three Terry riders, one Handlebars and one JW Dundee rider. Finally on the next go round up Furman they totally dropped me on the hill that just got harder each time.

Finally in the last lap and one half the rained started coming down, and it was a bit heavy at times. So I was playing with just dropping out of the race. The idea became more tempting as I caught up to Scott Grimshaw who was riding in the Cat 3 race. He is working his way back to fitness and played with the Cat 3s for a while. He got 30 miles in and decided to bag it especially as the rain was getting heavy. But I only had one lap left and two Cat 5s caught up to me. One more time up Furman can’t hurt.

As I’m crawling up Furman for the last time I see Matt Howey and Jason Haight in William Nicholson’s car. They weren’t feeling well, so bagged it, which seemed like a tempting move until I heard Matt yell out what sounded like I was 40 seconds down on the Cat 5 group. I thought WTF? I am not totally dropped? So I started to crank along to try and get a good placing. The hills after Furman were more than manageable for me as I got closer to the finish about 5 Cat 5s caught up to me and so did a lead group of the Cat 3s that included William Nicholson. The Cat 3s still had one more lap to go before they finished. In the downhill run to the finish I got caught inside the Cat 3 group and it was tough to get around everybody, but William helped lead me out a bit to get a respectable placing.

(William Nicholson going for fifth and 1 point away from an upgrade to Cat 2 – photo from photoradius)

Overall, the race went about as expected. I have to lose a few pounds to get into better hill climbing form but my goal for the race was to get some racing fitness.

Here are a few more shots of Colavita Teammates: Special thanks to Photradius for the great photos.
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(Andy – photo from photoradius)

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(Andy – photo from photoradius)

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(Jason was having “un Jour Sans” – photo from photoradius)

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(Andy says “I laugh at this climb!” – photo from photoradius)

Weekend Warrior: Perinton Preview

My next race is Perinton which is located in a suburb of Rochester. Yup, I am heading back out to Rochester for another race. Hopefully everyone on the team will be AOK after the race. This Saturday we finally get the team jerseys. I’ve been wearing my Black Castelli Simple Jersey on all of my rides out of respect for the new team. Plus, it looks better than wearing a Discovery Channel jersey in a race.

Matt Howey of spokepost.com has been posting previews of many local races lately and today he posted the Perinton Preview.
full preview
Furman hill looks to be the big challenge at 100ft of climbing in only a 1/4 mile, ouch.

Hopefully these shorter hills won’t slow me down to much and I will be able to stay with the pack. My climbing speed is not where I would like it to be at the moment. I need to lose about 10lbs to get up the hills a little quicker. This isn’t an impossible task, but it is definately not easy. Every year when I get back on the bike and start riding I immediatetly lose 5 to 10 pounds. I attribute this loss to longer efforts on the bike and less weight training in the gym. This year, the weight loss is happening, but I need to lose 10lbs more than usual since I did not ride much last year and gained a little extra weight.

This evening I rode my usual training route that traverses 91 which is a seven mile climb with about a 6% average steepness. I am working on getting my general climbing speed up and will do more climbing intervals next week. Later on in the ride, I was able to hammer up smaller hills with some significant speed, and I did pretty well in a spur-of-the-moment sprint, so training is working out well.

Gmap Pedometer Map of Course

Weekend Warrior: Rochester Giro Report

(not my knee, this belongs to Colavita-Spokepost.com teammate Jason Haight)

First race of the season, first getting dropped of the season, hopefully the last. When Phil and Paul refer to pro cyclist as “turn their legs in anger” it is not much of an exaggeration. You have to have a little extra spark when racing. I was anxious to get that feeling back in my system very soon which is why I ventured out to the Rochester Giros.

Doing your first race is a jolt to the system, and it is even more of a jolt when you join in a six race series on the last race. Oh well, no more excuses. I did get to throw my body into “race pace” for the first time this year and it felt painful, but I am glad to get that experience out of the way so I can get ready for the next race.

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Training To Race So Far…

It has been a while since I wrote about anything related to my racing. The problem is that while most of the country has some nice weather to ride, the Northeast has been cold, cold, cold. That has not stopped me from riding my bike outside at all, but this spring is really dragging since I am looking forward to doing some racing soon.

A few teammates have been going out to the Rochester early season Giros. These are low key races where thankfully Tyler Hamilton will not be competing. Gee, that guy sure loves to race. The most recent race report of the Rochester Giros can be found here.

Matt, Jason and William have been going to races every weekend so far. They certainly have the itch to race and are getting some good experience in during these training races. If my timing works out I will join them next week and give a race report.

So, what do I do in the meantime to make sure that I am ready to race? Like many other weekend warriors, I have a family, full time job and web logs to maintain, so I do’t have endless hours to devote to training. Add to that a few pounds that I need to lose in the meantime and you have a need to focus on training done right.

My training consists of a few different activities. Spinning Class, Weight lifting (squats, leg curls etc.) Cardio work and some bike trainer work.

Bike Trainer.
I do not spend endless hours on the bike trainer. This is different than most other weekend warriors. I do not have a bike setup with a TV, and I am not sick of watching last years Tour de France. Bottom line, I do not do much riding on my trainer. There are a few sessions that I do on a trainer and rollers, but the longest session I’ve had is about 1 hour. When I do ride the rollers or trainers, I try to do interval work which varies each time. Plus, on the rollers I try to focus on smoothing out my pedal stroke to try and get smooth circles.

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New Amateur Team Announced

Here is the official announcement as seen in Daily Peloton:

See if you can guess which rider is the Velochimp :)

New New York Regional Team Announced
SYRACUSE, NY — The newly formed amateur cycling team, Colavita-SpokePost.com CNY Region bike racing team, has announced it’s roster for the 2006 racing season. The team consists of riders from a variety of categories whom are based throughout the Central New York Region near Syracuse, NY.

“We would like to build a solid support structure in the Syracuse, NY area to help grow grassroots amateur cycling in a similar manner to what we’ve seen happen in the Rochester and Buffalo New York regions over the past few years. Racing is really thriving, in Rochester especially, thanks to the efforts of GVCC and people like Todd Scheske who are putting together fantastic racing programs. Essentially, I feel like we’re the beginnings of a support system for the greater Syracuse area. We hope our excitement of having our new sponsor, Colavita, can translate into a successful road and cyclocross season.”, said team member Matt Howey.

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Conconi Test

This Saturday I underwent the Conconi test to determine my aerobic threshold and my anaerobic threshold. This was the first time I actually was tested for my cycling ability. This year I am actually on a racing team and want to see where I am in terms of fitness. I was in great shape going into 2005, but then the baby arrived and I gained back weight, and lost fitness. By September I was riding poorly. Hills I never knew existed now seems like tough climbs.

Gradually I worked to regain my fitness. Most of the motivation for being on the team is to get time to ride. Plus, I can learn training methods and racing tactics from other riders. All of this will help me improve my cycling and have much more fun racing.

The Conconi test can be done by anyone. All you need is a heart rate monitor, a stop watch, preferrably a trainer and a freind to observe you. The test is basically raises your heart rate as you pedaling faster to the point where you can longer increase your speed. During this process you can determine where specific thresholds are such as your anaerobic and aerobic thresholds.

My test started off at Syracuse Bicycle where Matt Howey (of spokepost.com) a Cat 3 on the Colavita Spokepost.com Team was conducting the test for interested team members. He owns a computrainer which was used to run the test. Once your bike is hooked up to the trainer you warm up for 10 minutes or so. Once wamred up, the test begins as you pedal to maintain a speed of 16 mph fr 30 seconds. Every 30 seconds thereafter you increase the speed .5 mph and report back your perceived level of extertion which is from a chart from 11 to 20.

Once the test was done (sorry, I won’t give any details on where I am. I don’t want this information falling into the wrong hands :) ) I received a chart with my heart rate, level of exertion and speed. From these numbers Matt was able to locate my lactate threshold which was just below my max heart rate. I never really trained with a heart rate monitor or used things like lactate threshold to gauge my performance. This test helped me to realize what I should be doing for my training going into the season. Plus, this wil help me to determine when I should rest which is just as important as any training session.

Conconi Test