Sunday, March 27, 2011

Second Annual Team Camp in Carbondale

When I heard about BBVP's annual trip (OK, so it was ONLY the second year) to sunny Carbondale, Illinois, I jumped at the chance. And since it just ended mere hours ago as I write this, it did have its ups (Duuude...) and downs (DUDE!):

Duuude...: I got to drive down with the soon-to-be 2011 Indiana State Champion!
DUDE!: I didn't think he would appreciate Slayer, so I kept the tunes to Van Halen and Social Distortion.

Duuude...: The house/cabin/cottage, whatever ya wanna call it, was amazing. Enough mattresses for all nine of us and a large TV for the NCAA tournament games.
DUDE!: Thanks for the fresh air, Brian, but the 29 degree weather pouring from the window was a bit too much for my sleeping bag.

Duuude...: Jimmy H. setting up the nutrition for the first riding day and Corey the Eagle scouting the roads in and around the Shawnee National Forest.
DUDE!: Cloudy, 40 degrees, and The Wall in Makanda.

Duuude...: The guys let me stop at the liquor store for refreshments for the evening.
DUDE!: The map watching on various smartphones told us that Friday's riding was in jeopardy.

Duuude...: Said beverages helped me sleep.
DUDE!: The weekend was cancelled because of the snow, ice, wind, falling temps, and we all left on Friday.

Duuude...: Got to join members of the CFD team, Tony, and Bob for a spirited ride Sunday morning.
DUDE!: Have to wait 361 days for next year's camp. Tom, my check is in the mail.

Yeah, a bummer when you look at it on the surface; but for this BBVP member the conversation, laughs, burning legs, reruns of Seinfeld and NCAA basketball rules that I had to explain to Corey the Eagle, invaluable riding/eating tips, and team comeraderie is something that will elicit a "Duuude..." from me whenever I look back at it. Thanks, team!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Learning to like the trainer

Textbooks are the perfect size to support your front wheel.  Plus the sweat stains are a great way to intimidate other students.
This is the first time I've both tried to train in the off season and been in a cold environment.  I decided some time ago that once the temperature drops to a certain point I'd rather be bored than frozen, so I ride inside.  It's been below that point since December.  Thus, I've only actually ridden my bike outside twice since Elvis Cross on October 15.  I've been on the trainer five days a week, however, since early January.  With so much time inside, it really shocks the system to get out on the roads.  Outside there are countless small efforts, like accelerating from stop signs, that cause me to put a lot more force on the pedals than I'm used to.  But in my experience, those punchy efforts come back pretty easily, usually in just a few rides.

I've done a few things that have helped me break up the monotony on the trainer.  I've focused more on interval training, without building up much of a "base" of long, slow distance miles like I used to do.  I also use a power meter, so I can see where my numbers are compared to the previous week.  It only took me three weeks of training to surpass my numbers from last year...which says more about bad I was last year than how good I am this year.  Most important, however, has been streaming media content online.  The only truly boring part of riding inside is when you're between intervals or warming up.  The Daily Show and Colbert Report, which are free online, are my go-to distractions.  They're usually 20 minutes long or so, which is perfect for a warm up.

One redeeming attribute of the trainer is that it allows you to push yourself to the point of being completely cross-eyed and drooling on yourself without risking an accident on the roads.  To put out that sort of effort outside simply isn't safe.  I'm not necessarily into pushing it that hard this early, but it does give you something to break up your ride.

I'll end with two trainer movie recommendations: Hoop Dreams and More than a Game.  Both are documentaries about basketball.  They've got all the necessary parts to good sports movies, existential "why we do it" type of stuff, reliving the glory days, and over-invested parents and fans.  Both movies keep you on the edge of your seat.  Even though I don't follow pro basketball, or like it that much, it's nice to branch out to other sports and see that no matter how different the game, so much remains the same.

-Brian B

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A must read for the new cat 5.

Yesterday, I logged onto a good friends blog, As The Crank Turns. He had a post that is a must read for all cat 4/5 riders. As a matter of fact it's a post that anyone that races or rides in large groups should read. If we all follow his advice, racing would be that much safer and fun to participate in.