Masters Nationals 45–49 Criterium

Uhl in Ogden, UT – The crit was the same course as last year, with a litter riser and right-hand turn at the end of the start/finish stretch. I was hoping they paved that stretch since it was bumpy last year. But during my warm-up laps I realized they hadn't, so I let out some air from my tubeless tires (which really helped!). For this age group it was 50 minutes, which was odd as the age brackets below us did 75 minutes, and most women's groups did 60 minutes. Weird!

The crit pretty much stayed together, with small breaks getting away for a half lap here, a lap there. But everything usually came back together. There were ~80 riders and I wasn't riding as strong in the crit as I hoped, so I was at the back of the strung-out field most of the time. IOW, I didn't get to see the front very much. :(

There were a few crashes mid-pack, which took out some riders. I always try to be on the inside on crits, which helped me avoid them as they all happened in the middle or outside of the field. One of them happened just ahead of me and I just counter-steered and tightened the radius of my turn to avoid it.

With three laps to go, it seemed to slow down, or everyone was getting tired, and I managed to slide up to the front on the right-hand side of the start/finish stretch. I was hopeful I could stay up there, but on the wide section on the backside of the course, things swarmed and then later people were taking risks I didn't like, so I dropped back a little.

On the last lap there was yet another crash on turn 2, which I avoided again. This helped me stay in the top-half, and managed to move up a little in the start/finish stretch, where I sprinted for 33rd. Tad didn't do the crit...I think I was the only Boise rider in that one.

Masters Nationals 45–49 Road Race

Uhl in Ogden, UT – With this year's 5k neutral start, probably due to new chipseal, it was a much calmer start than last year. The RR course starts with a small but steady 3–5 min climb right off the line. Last year the first 5 minutes were the hardest of the race, but this year it was nice tempo to the beginning of the downhill. The downside is that we had to stay behind the neutral car on the first part of the descent, which means we were riding our brakes. Probably used my brakes more in that descent than I have the whole year! After that, I think I prefer the chaotic start of last year!

When the neutral ended, it was racing as normal and the rest of the descent was fast and fun like last year, hitting 55mph! Once we got to the valley floor, we did three laps around Pineview Reservoir. There were some initial attacks early on, one of which I jumped on, but me and the other rider were quickly caught. I mainly did it to stretch my legs. Then I just stayed towards the front of the pack, keeping an eye out for bigger breaks.

Two riders got away on the first lap, but the pack (primarily, two bigger teams) kept them at a 30–50 second gap. So the pace was fast but steady for most of those loops.

Into the third lap I stayed near the front, but not *at* the front, to cover any breaks before the climb. One of the guys doing some of pace-setting had a Go Pro. Here's me in about 4th wheel:

The gap to the two-person breakaway kept decreasing as we approached the climb. It actually got kind of frenzied, as people were racing to the bottom of the climb, a la, Alp d'Huez-style.

When we hit the climb, I was in the top half of the pack and stayed with the front group for about a minute or two. Then I dropped off the front a little and settled into my steady, hillclimb time-trial mode. I just rode a nice tempo, knowing that most people fade hard during the 30-minute climb. My strategy worked, because by halfway I was catching and passing folks.

I did see some excitement on the quick downhill section, about two-thirds the way up the climb. A rider about 300 meters ahead of me, overshot the bottom turn and rode off the road! :o The road was elevated at that section, so from my perspective, I just saw him ride off and disappear! It was like those Tour de France videos! But as I went by, I looked back and I could seem him scrambling back up, so I knew he was okay. Thank goodness!

I kept picking off riders the rest of the climb, almost making it to a group of six by the finish. I finished solo at 32nd place, just 20 meters back from that small group. Tad Hamilton got 14th for the day. My ride time was 6 minutes slower than last year, but it felt like a harder race, probably due to the neutral start slowing us down.

Run for the Nations 6.2k

Staticmap Uhl in Boise, ID – Yes, 6.2 kilometers, not 6.2 miles. Originially I thought it was a 10k. Started by the Albertsons buildings on Park Center, then onto Greenbelt over Orange Bridge then west on Greenbelt to behind The Ram and back. Right hip flexor strain kept my pace down (~6:37min/mile). Still aggravated the strain as I could hardly walk afterwards. Time to take a break from running and work on stretching and strengthening my hip flexors!

Run for the Nations 6.2k at Garmin Connect

Bogus Basin Hill Climb 2009

Click to view interval Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today was the annual Boise “world” championships, otherwise known as the Bogus Basin Hill Climb. After last week’s tough 1,000 Warriors race I figured Bogus would feel like a walk in the park. Well it wasn’t…it was as hard as ever, but in a good, make-your-legs-hurt, kind of way!

I ended up ignoring the SRM on my handlebars and pushing it to stay with the front group over Corrals. With a 7.5 minute wattage of 350 I was way over threshold. But having the group on the downhill probably saved me a good amount of time. I did slip off the back on the cattle guard hill then just rode a steady pace for the rest of the climb.

I didn’t have as much punch on the second half and was caught by Thomas L.. We worked together as we picked off a few other riders. He pulled a good part of the time. We caught another rider in the trees so we had three people when it flattened out. I think we all just wanted to finish with a good time so we continued to rotate. I ended up at the front with less than 1K to go so I pushed it pretty hard and no one came around me by the line…but the best part was we all broke an hour! My official time was 59:44.379 which was good for 14th place. Average power was 313 watts and normalized power of 319 watts.

For some reason I thought that was my first time breaking an hour, but after reviewing all the past year’s results, I actually did it in 58:44 in 2004. So now I have a new goal for next year: Break 58 minutes!

Results on Spondoro:

Hardest Race Ever Recorded

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I did the 1,000 Warriors race this past weekend and it was tougher than I thought it would be. I actually have proof that it was the hardest race I’ve ever recorded at a whopping 382 TSS! By the time I met up with Heather and we rode down to our pick-up location in Sandy, the total was 421 TSS.

I may have gone over those numbers last year in the 170-mile Tour de Park City or a few years ago at the 203-mile Lotoja race, but since my PowerTap wheel is heavy and un-aerodynamic, I wouldn’t use it for “A” priority races. But this summer I got a deal on a Cannondale SuperSix and a wired Cannondale Hollowgram SI SRM and built up a new race bike, so I no longer have to decide between light wheels or having a power meter! I also broke my high-speed record on the north side of Suncrest with a speed of 63.5 MPH! That road is just made for going fast as I set my previous record of 62.3 MPH on it years ago when we lived in Utah.

I thought doing a double Bogus-to-Pioneer would be enough to prepare me for this race, but ending a 96-mile race up a 7-mile climb that averages 8% grade and gets near 10% in sections while it’s 100° out, was painful! Rather than give a detailed blow-by-blow, I’ll just say that I made it to the Sundance climb with the group and climbed it well, but then faded quickly on the last two climbs: Suncrest and Snowbird.

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Another Record Breaking EHB

Click to view interval Uhl in Eagle, ID – I guess I’m proving that the training principle of specificity really works. For as much as I do the Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop, it may not be surprising that I broke my personal record…yet again! This time by a significant margin: I did it in 2:46:15 with a normalized power of 261 watts!

I think my form is finally coming around after a two-month plateau during the summer. While I had a good climb on Saturday’s Sweet EHB loop, when I did Bogus on Monday I didn’t have nearly as much power and was slightly disappointed. I probably needed more recovery before Monday's ride, but I wanted to make Monday and Wednesday my “hard” days so I’d have two days before Saturday’s 1,000 Warriors race.

I still would like to break 2:45 which now I know is realistic. I have a feeling after I taper for Bogus in a couple weeks, my legs will be much fresher, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. For now it’s time to rest up and get ready for the suffer-fest early Saturday morning…Cat 1–3 men start at 6:05 AM!

Sweet EHB

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – I was planning to do Warm Lake Road ride today, but with the forecast for Cascade looking really cold with a chance of AM showers, I changed plans and did an Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop instead.

I rode with Mark and Michael and we had a good time with all the wind! Going up Highway 16 was the worst part, with a strong head/crosswind. In Emmett, we made a new turn off Substation Road as Michael showed us his property there. With less traffic than the other two roads that take you to Plaza (and eventually the bridge) I think I’ll make this new turn part of my standard operating procedure.

We were treated to a nice tailwind for most the canyon and then made a stop in Horseshoe Bend. I decided to do the hill steady-state and managed one of my fastest times with the help of the tailwind. Power was about 10 watts off of my best time, which I acheived back in 2003 when I was in my best climbing shape. I had fun on the downhill and then cruised back into Eagle. The weather was perfect and it was a great ride.

Double Bogus to Pioneer

2009-08-09CropUhl in Eagle, ID – To get ready for the 1,000 Warriors race in Utah in a couple weeks I did my second double Bogus ever. The first time I did it was with Heather in late May of this year when we needed some climbing miles. Today I managed to beat our time by 15 minutes and post a decent norm power for the 6-hour affair.

Here’s the the GPS data (no power) on Garmin Connect:

While the Garmin reports elevation gain of 11,527 feet, that’s a little optimistic. My calculations based on just the peaks and valleys of the “real” climbs comes out to 10,000 feet of climbing in 103 miles. This compares to 7,500 feet of climbing for the 96-mile 1,000 Warriors race.

Record EHB

Click to view interval Uhl in Eagle, ID – Did my favorite local ride today, an Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop. The forecast called for a strong northwest wind so I had a feeling I’d be able to use it to try to break my past record of 2:56:39 set back in 2006. As an aside, I did it in 2:53 once but that was on my TT bike, but that would be comparing apples with oranges so I don’t count it. So today I went hard the whole time and managed a time of 2:52:57 with a normalized power of 247 watts! Nice!

Warm Lake Road

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I just re-discovered Warm Lake Road last weekend when we went camping with some of her work colleagues. We brought our bikes but only rode up both climbs on either side of Warm Lake. Since Heather had some business to do up yesterday, we decided to come up, stay the night and then do a longer version of that ride. The road has been recently paved and is super-smooth with no chipseal…imagine that!

IMG_2850We stayed at nice little motel started out early this morning. While it was over 100° in the valley, it was only 52° when we started and just barely crossed 70° when we finished at noon. We mostly rode tempo, except for doing LT intervals up the two major climbs: Warm Lake Summit (elevation 7,291 ft), and Big Creek Summit (6,564 feet). We were cold for the first two hours of the ride and didn’t really go hard until we hit the Warm Lake Summit climb. Then we rode to the end of pavement (EOP) then turned around. On the way back we stopped at the Warm Lake Lodge to refill our bottles, then headed to Big Creek Summit where I did another interval.

IMG_2852 Once it warmed up I felt much better and pushed it hard all the way until we were back in Cascade. It was a great workout! BTW, camera is starting to go on the fritz…if you noticed the horizontal artifacts on the EOP pic.

Here’s the the GPS data on Garmin Connect:

For Sale: Yeti AS-X

YetiAS-XSOLDUpdate: Yeti has been sold!

Uhl in Eagle, ID – I purchased this Yeti AS-X a few years ago but with my emphasis on road racing these last couple years I hardly ride it anymore. This is one great freeride bike. It’s perfect for lift-served mountain biking or just to use as a heavy duty all-mountain bike. It climbs well for such a beast of a bike…I’ve taken it up Hard Guy many times. Size is medium and I upgraded a few things from the stock build. Details and more pictures can be found on my For Sale ad on PinkBike.

Finally a Good One

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – After a week of mediocre rides, I finally had a solid workout today. I headed west to ride part of this Sunday’s Idaho State Championship road race. I headed west on Chaparral and did six 30-second sprints with 90 seconds rest. They were tough, but I pushed through it and managed to produce consistent power across the set. Then I rode medium- to high-tempo as I rode the El Paso loop, jamming it up the hills and doing LT on the flats. I went back to tempo-mode as I returned back to Eagle through Hillsdale. With an intensity factor of .86 for a 3:20 minute ride, it was one tough workout!

Descending VO2s

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – I did my first “real” workout since last weekend’s hard rides. Since I was on the rollers, I decided to do VO2s today. They’re good for indoors since there’s no traffic or intersections to contend with and can turn on the tunes.

Instead of doing a straight set of 4x5s or 5x4s, I decided to do descending VO2s; from 5 minutes down to 30 seconds with a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio. They went okay, but my legs felt a little blocked as I had not gone hard all week.

Garden Expansion

IMG_2569 Uhl in Eagle, ID – I didn’t get to write about it this past weekend because I was too busy riding, but last week we made some improvements to our garden. Since the garden that came with our house was is in the corner, next to a six-foot fence, the area didn’t receive full sun. This meant that most of the tomato plants wouldn’t produce until really late in the season. And since we have no use for so much lawn, we decided to put a couple raised beds right on top a grassy area where the grass wasn’t growing very well, anyway.

IMG_2570 My friend Dan helped out with building the frames—without a truck nor any wood tools, it would have been difficult to do myself. Then Heather and I stained them and filled them with the rich compost dirt we’ve been cultivating since we moved here. Any organic matter we discard in the kitchen goes into the compost bin and eventually churned into the garden. We didn’t have enough to completely fill both 5’ x 10’ beds, but it’s plenty for for the tomato, squash and watermelon plants we planted.

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