Monday, April 23, 2012

Evotri Epicamp III

Hub Endurance is another one of Evotri’s Chattanooga-based sponsors.  An excellent bike shop that provides top-notch coaching service.  They are amazingly plugged into the community. Generally a keg-erator helps with that.  They are a big local hangout for cyclists and triathletes in the area.  Coffee and beer flow like... well, like coffee and beer, and the staff is welcoming and laid back.

We headed there to have few beers, to see the shop, and chat with the boys. SRAM was their promoting their charity, World Bicycle Relief.  The program basically gives bikes to people in impoverished country. That may not seem like much, but having a bike allows them to get to a market to sell goods, or to attend school.  Basically a bike is a game changer and for $134, SRAM donates a fully equipped commuter bike to someone in need.  The people who turned out to the HUB/Evotri event had an impromptu fundraiser and were able to send 3 full bikes to Africa.

After Hub, we headed back to the cabin to crash and get ready for a beast of a bike ride in the morning.

Dawn came too soon.  We fired up the multiple gallon coffee maker that Chris brought and watched the fog roll off the Tennessee River.  The temperature slowly crept up and by 8, it was good enough for short sleeves and no gloves.  The HUB team and Dave from the North Face met us and we rolled out as a group. We stuck together for 10 miles or so and headed to the base of a climb where the group split off for the different ride options for the day.

Me, Matt, Chris, and Dave headed up the climb that was billed as one of the toughest in the area. Dave said “just when you get desperate, you have 30 more pedal strokes and it’s over.”  I thought, “Desperate? What the ^&% are you talking about?  I don’t get desperate on a bike. You do.”  Wrong.

It was 2.4 miles and pitched up to something ridiculous like 26%.  That's just a number until you actually feel it. The climb started off steep and I powered off the front and out of the saddle.  Big mistake.  It leveled off for a second and I desperately sucked air.  As it pitched up again, I started paying for my early pace.  I could barely turn the pedals as Chris went around me.  Served. I was on my last legs as I swerved all over the road.  Desperate was an understatement.  I was PWNED in the biggest way imaginable.  I sort of got my legs back under me and started trying to pull Chris back as we hit the top.
Not thrilled as my stomach nearly came through my nose on that climb

We set off along the rolling hills at the top of the ridge. I was on the Quintana Roo illicito, so I felt the obligation to go to the front and tow the group as I had the fastest bike.  Let me tell you, that bike FLIES.  I barely was putting any effort into it and easily cruising along at 23 mph in some wind.  The bike is ridiculously stable in the windy and squirts along the flats like a bar of soap.  It isn’t as snappy as the CD0.1 on the climbs, but makes up for it with the speed everywhere else. 

We headed down a descent and into some more rolling farmland.  Just as I was starting to unravel, we stopped for snickers and coke which saved my ass, as usual.  We launched up the final climb of the day. I shredded my legs on the early part of the climb and was shot out the back.  I wasn’t pleased as I don’t usually get dropped on the bike, but early season fitness, or lack thereof will do that to you.  Nevertheless, we rolled down the descent and back to the cabin.  I was smoked.  I flopped into the jacuzzi, opened the book “Once a Runner”, and 2 pages later was dozing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Evotri Epicamp part II

Read part I to catch up, internet dweller.

We plunged into the delightful, green, wooded bowels of Chatanooga, closing in on the Quintana Roo headquarters. I was UBER pumped for this part of the weekend as it was the first time meeting with the QR crew and it was my first time in any sort of bike making facility. We arrived and were greeted by Heather Sweet and Brad DeVaney. They showed us around their offices and introduced us to the group. The 2012 line of QR bikes was lining the office. I can't say that I would mind if my office were dotted with 3 to 6 thousand dollar bikes. Some of the new paint jobs are absolutely wicked.

After we met the QR team, they walked us into the manufacturing plant where they receive their QR bikes and make the Litespeed titanium bikes. I was like a kid in a candy store. Litespeed has always been my dream bike. Something about titanium gets me in a spot that carbon never will. Seeing how they machine these bikes was incredible.

They are so far ahead of the game in titanium manufacturing it is ridiculous. The real kicker here is that, at the moment, Brad does literally all of the design work for the group. This guy is a freaking legend. He has been responsible for a great majority of the innovations since the inception of the TT bike. He is driving the industry. Lemond and Lance rode Litespeeds to tour victories. Robbie McEwen was on one. The new shift technology of the QR CD0.1 and illicito was Brad's brainchild and is probably one of the most revolutionary concepts in tri bikes in the last decade. I could pick this guy's brain for a solid week without skipping a beat. He also showed off some prototypes and molds of things he has tried in the wind tunnels and I about lost it.

After my head basically exploded, we had some lunch, snapped a million pictures, and headed out for a group ride. We noodled around the backroads. I was on a CD0.1 so I was testing it out. I was riding like a schizophrenic squirrel and popping off the front at random intervals to put the bike through its paces. That thing is snappy. It actually climbs a lot better than I would expect from a TT bike. It is really stiff and accelerates well. Not surprisingly, it is super slippery in the wind. The bike was incredibly stable pointed into the teeth of the wind and made it really easy to apply force to the pedals smoothly. I was definitely impressed. Check out Inch's new one just so you have an idea of what the CD0.1 looks like.
He looks like an idiot but that bike is so ILL.

Heather set me up with an illicito to ride for the rest of the weekend so more to come on that. After the ride, we headed back to the cabin and then onto our next stop. Hub Endurance!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Team Evotri EPICAMP part I

Hello all you internet-dwellers,

I am in a much better mood since the last time we spoke. As some of you know, I recently got back from the Team Evotri camp in Chattanooga. Turns out that was what I needed to jumpstart my training. I am already feeling this will be a multi-part blog as I am starting to blubber and blabber like a teenage girl before homecoming.
Let me start by saying this team RULES. It is a hodgepodge of hilarious and very different people. It is the perfect mix and they are all the best. I was stoked for camp as I haven't seen the team in a while. This weekend was also the team's introduction to our new member and my best buddy, Matt Inch. The team was already amazing and now Matt's in? Come on, world... you are too good to me.
We all rolled into Chattanooga and headed to our cabin. Sweet found a cabin located slightly out of town and right on the Tennessee River. It was a log sort of cabin with a jacuzzi and a million rooms. Perfect. But don't take my word for it... look at the views:
The house would have made Shaq fire his realtor.

We started the weekend by heading out for a jog. We loosened up the legs and rolled through the backwoods of TN. In a one mile stretch, I would guess we saw something like 15-20 dogs which was odd/nice/loud. We also saw several houses with what Charlie deemed "eternal yard sales". The $#!@ was piled about as high as the house and was cascading down the backyard in some sort of unnatural, but still beautiful, garbagefall. Apparently this phenomenon is also called Tennessee runoff. I liked that. Not surprisingly, multiple dogs were hiding in the mounds of trash, ready to strike if you intruded on their territory.
After the jog, I floundered about in the river and posed for some glamor shots.

Next up was our much anticipated trip to the headquarters of Quintana Roo! That will have to wait, dear readers. I am getting sleepy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting off the ground

Thought I would check in as it has been a while. I sort of lose the will to blog when I am not smashing the training so that's the reason for sporadic writing. The year of the Dragon has been cruel to me. Call 911 cuz I need a Waaambulance.

I have started finally ticking it over for a couple weeks now and I think I have sorted out my injures to some degree. I have had it all this year. Broken wrist, torn hammy, knee troubles, bursitis, periformis issues, IT band problems, SI joint pain, and calf troubles. DAYYYUM. Most of that was minor but it all needed to be addressed so naturally training has been impacted.

Anyway, my last little twingy thing was some knee tendinitis coming flaring up mainly on the bike. I figured it was time to head back into Hypercat racing to get my position tweaked to fix the issue. I went to see the fit wizard, Phil Casanta and we quickly fixed the cleat position. We also had been discussing making a gearing change for about a year now and we finally swapped out my 53 tooth front chainring for a SRAM red 54 tooth ring.

This dinner plate essentially gives me a little more speed in every gear. I tested it out and it is stupid. I can grind out higher speed than I ever thought possible and it feels more efficient. I think it suits my riding style as I am a masher and it gives me extra gears in the tailwinds/ downhills.

I have tested it out in 2 workouts and immediately set a personal best. I went after it again to see the impact of the gear. I was noticing a difference cruising into a headwind and especially coming down slight hills. I felt like the gear was taking advantage of my strength on the bike, which is pushing a low cadence. I usually go around this loop in about 25.5 mph at best and I clocked in at 26.6 mph! Boom. I also did some super short intervals cruising up to 29-31 mph in the flats... Wow. I was stunned. It's like I went from a V6 to a V8. I can push so hard, I barely am sitting on the seat. I am hovering over it and all energy and bodyweight is going into moving the bike fast.

I am getting stoked for our upcoming Evotri team camp in Chattanooga. We will be visiting Hub endurance and Quintana Roo, which I am quite excited about. But more than that, I am pumped to get together with the team. Hopefully I will be injury free and can take advantage of some good training grounds too. More to come.