Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 50: Still Sick, But A Lot Better!

I can tell I am definitely still sick today, there is still some apparent weakness with my immune system but I feel much much better than I did yesterday when I woke up. Theres nothing really for me to blog about except that I plan on getting on the trainer tomorrow as long as I feel good. I would be going outside but the roads are still shit unfortunately. I guess we'll see what happens!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 49: Sick Again!?!

So its been a wonderful weekend! -- Unfortunately this is the internet and you can't hear the extreme tone of sarcasm in my voice while saying that, but trust me, there is plenty. First I find out there is no way of riding because of the awful weather, which I am getting quite sick of. Now, I wake up to a cold, sore throat, chills, stuffy nose, luckily no fever though. I am pissed, there is no hiding it. All I want to do is train. But I have to be smart, there is no point in going out and trying to ride or getting on the trainer or going to workout at the gym while I am sick. That is only going to make matters worse and I have to respect that. I've got to recover ASAP!

I'll be taking medicine, relaxing, getting a full body massage, getting in the hot tub, and icing for today. Hopefully this is just a fluke and I'll be fine in a day or two. Who knows? Anyways, stay tuned.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 48: Ice, Rain, And Snow

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain, except, it was ice rain...Not good. I had called my Team Manager last night Bart Forsyth about doing a ride with some of the Snapple guys out in Maryland but judging by the weather, getting together for the ride didn't look too promising. I called him up and he told me the roads are pull of ice, water and snow and that it would be honestly stupid to try to go out and ride today. I kind of shrugged him off thinking that maybe he just didn't feel like riding, and I told myself weather is no excuse to not get out on the road and ride. So, I started to get ready.

Unfortunately, as I soon found out, he was right. It would be quite dumb this early in the season to go out in conditions like that with the high risk of crashing and injuring myself. I went back inside and sat down, demoralized and depressed that I wasn't going to be able to get out on the road and maybe not even tomorrow if it doesn't let up. There was no way I was motivation myself enough to get on the trainer. So I took the day easy, working on some homework, the blog and relaxing. I can't keep resting, but, maybe its good?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 47: Computrainer @ Spokes Etc. Bike Shop

I drove over to Spokes early today to pick up my new shoe covers that will hopefully stop the awful numbness that I always have on my outdoor rides. I was talking to Steve Beheler, the shop manager, before I left and he asked me if I'd like to hop on the computrainer later on instead of riding the trainer alone at my house. Immediately I took him up on it, went home, got ready and went back to prep for the ride.

To be honest I'm not sure how long the ride was, I think it was something like 45 minutes on a Hilly course at a petty moderate pace. I was taking it pretty easy though because it was just a kind of warm-up for my legs to get them back into the motion of it. I could definitely feel that they were hurting a little bit though after the 4 day break. They felt heavy. I feel pretty good now though and I'm ready to start riding outside again this weekend. Oh and uh...thats me on the very left by the way :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 46: Anxious For Tomorrow

Once again, I took part in some core strengthening at Thomas Jefferson Community Center. I did a bunch of different exercises consisting of full sit-ups in indian style, leg raises, leg lifts, planks, push-ups, etc. I feel pretty good. Legs are feeling fine, mentally I keep wanting to get back on the bike but I feel strong. Tomorrow I'm planning to hop on the trainer inside for 30-45 minutes for just a nice easy spin to get my legs back in motion and ready for the weekend rides. I'm hoping that the weather is going to be lenient but we have had a lot of snow and rain, and ice is a big danger on the rodes now. I guess we'll just have to see...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 45: 3rd Day Off The Bike

As the title says, this is my 3rd day off the bike. I must really be addicted to the sport because I feel like I am going through withdrawal right now, and its only been 3 days. At least I am doing core strengthening. If I wasn't I don't know what I'd do. Probably go crazy from boredom to be honest...

I am so hungry for my first wins on the bike come late February. Its almost all I think about, that and finding my way onto the Trek Livestrong U23 Team. More Core training tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 44: Personal Trainer

I had a session with my Personal Trainer, Steve Groven, this evening. The focus was, as usual, core strengthening, but there was also a large focus on arm strengthening as well. I was going to tell Steve that I don't think this is necessary or appropriate for the kind of shape I want my body to be in but I never really got to it...

I am a heavy guy, and although a lot of that weight is straight up muscle in my legs, which is good, there is quite a bit from my arms as well. Personally I think my arms are more muscular and bulky than I need them to be. At the most I think that pushups are about as far as I should go right now in terms of upper body (arm) strengthening. Next time I have a session with him I will mention this and we will steer clear form the arms as much as possible. My core on the other hand, needs a lot of work. It is no where near supportive enough of the rest of my body, and it is definitely a downfall for me on the bike. The weaker it is, the faster it becomes fatigued. The more fatigued it becomes, the more my form on the bike is ruined and becomes inefficient which obviously hurts my performance. This is what I will be working on for the rest of the week as I take my break from the bike.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 43: Definitely Need Rest

Yesterday's ride is the first where I actually feel it a lot this morning. I woke up with a bit of a cold, stuffy nose, tight chest, most likely from the cold air yesterday. My legs are also still feeling it so much, they feel so weak and so fatigued. I'm definitely not going to be doing anything today except going to school, eating, sleeping, and doing homework.

I've been very worried about over training the last couple weeks, I think about it a lot. I was talking to my friend from Ireland, a very talented young cyclist, Eoin McCarthy. He told me that 1 week every month you should give your body a rest week. Now this doesn't mean that you dont do anything for 7 days straight, just that you chill out for 3 or 4 days and then do some easy rides and then get back into the hard training next week. So, following his advice, my overall plan for this week is to have an "off" week or "rest" week and not do any riding until Friday seeing as how I've been on the bike non stop for over a month now. I will be doing some core and strength training but I will keep off the bike. I think it is definitely a good idea to do this for my body's recovery, especially after such a hard ride yesterday.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 42: Haymarket Winter League Ride 2

This was by far the most challenging ride I have ever done in my whole life. That I am sure of. I finished with 77.6 miles of over 5,200 feet of climbing in sub 30 Degree weather the entire time at an average speed of 16.4mph. It was extremely difficult to keep my legs moving for the last 10 miles and my feet were completely numb by mile 15. Here is a link to the route, plus an extra 6 miles that I did because I got lost in the end:


As the link says there was a 12.6% max gradient, and that was on Mt. Weather. Before we got to Mt. Weather there was a 10 mile tempo ride with huge rolling hills. There were 6 leaders in the front, consisting of Chuck Hutcheson, Robbie Wade, Jared Neiters, and a couple guys who used to be pro. Then, 100 meters back was me. Then 50 meters back was the 25 or so person group that I guess you would call the peloton. And thats how it was the entire time, a few times I got really close to the break away group and a couple times the peloton caught me and drafted off me. But I was never drafting, which is exactly what I wanted, thats not how you get better.

After that there was a 5 minute rest and we were off again to head towards Mt. Weather, only about 10 riders went together and I was one of them. The beginning of the mountain is a menacing 10% 1 mile long climb. Robbie won the climb so shout out to him! I got 6th which I thought was a very respectful place to come in on such a trying climb with such experienced riders. I'll never forget this ride. I'm not sure how the rest of my week is looking yet, but it will definitely be a very relaxed "off" week for me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 41: A Disappointing Day. A Bright Tomorrow

As the title says, today was quite a disappointment. I got up at 9am, got dressed, had some breakfast, packed my things into the car, and set out to Robbie's house to catch the DC Velo 10am ride. Its about 7 miles out from Rob's to the meeting point for the ride. I took it out relaxed because I expected to be riding with the group for about 50 miles. Unfortunately, they never showed, no one ever showed actually, I didn't see a single cyclist out on the road for the whole time.

I've gotten to the point where I will ride in any weather no matter how cold it is, and I didn't realize that it was 22 Degrees today...No wonder no one showed! Anyways, after about 20 minutes of waiting and getting very cold, I called it quits and decided riding by myself in extremely windy and cold conditions certainty wasn't going to make me happy, and probably wasn't going to be beneficial at all. I rode the 7 miles back at a good pace. So, 14 miles today...I guess its a good warmup for tomorrow's Haymarket Winter Bike League Ride thats going to probably be extremely tough. Let's see what happens...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 40: A Much Needed Rest Day

Today is definitely a smart day to rest up. I can feel my legs are a little heavier than normal and need some massage, heating, and pampering before the weekend riding starts tomorrow. So, thats what I'll be doing tonight.

The plan for tomorrow, as of now, is either the 7am or 10am DC Velo ride, whichever one Robbie is doing. Then I'll drive an hour down to Purcellville to visit Mt. Weather and check it out and ride it easy one or two times. Why? Well, Mt. Weather is what will be in store for me tomorrow on the Haymarket Winter Bike League ride and I want to know what I am going to be up against. The only difference will be that it'll be with 20 or so other riders and we will be hammering up it the entire way, as hard as possible. Lets hope I'm ready.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 39: The Most Hectic Training Day Ever!

Ok. So, I got on the bike from my house at 1:30 sharp. I got a flat on the back tire at 1:56 sharp. I had done a little over 6 miles at that point and was very excited about the rest of the ride. I'm not smart enough to have a spare tube or a pump so I had to wait for my Dad to pick me up 15 minutes away from our house. After he picked me up I took the bike over to Spokes and had them put another tube in and get me set to go back out and ride. I left Spokes at 2:45 and got onto Route 66 to go towards MacArthur Boulevard (my original ride destination). Before I got onto 66 though I saw the exit towards Hains Point at Potomac Park. I decided to take it.

The bright green line is the popular route that I rode.

I got to Hains Point at 3:00 sharp. For those who dont know, Hains Point is a popular 3.1 mile flat scenic circuit that loops around Potomac Golf Course/Park. I hurriedly set my bike up and got on at exactly 3:10. I ended up doing 10 laps of the circuit (31 miles) finishing at 4:44 sharp. Adding the other 6 miles from before onto that and the other 26 minutes. My ride was exactly 2 hours long (coincidentally) and 37-38 miles long. A good ride, a hectic day.

Here's what most of the loop looks the Spring that is...

I felt strong for most of this but I didn't do it at a very fast pace at all, I was never really trying to hammer it and kill myself. I took it relaxed, which was definitely smart because I could feel some fatigue in my legs for sure. I plan on taking tomorrow off and resting up for the long weekend of riding that I have in store for me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 38: What Does Over Training Mean To You?

I went to bed last night knowing that I had to take a break from the bike tomorrow. I woke up this morning wondering why? I felt leg fatigue, no arm fatigue, no fatigue anywhere actually, mentally I felt tough and ready to go. Whats the point of a break when you feel completely fresh? But then I remembered..."Its still January Darion, your first race is over a month from now."

Now, an athlete can look at this in two ways: Either they see it as over a month to train as hard as possible and believe that will help them get ready for the season and their first race. Or they can view it as over a month of time that can be used over training and wearing out your body well before the middle and end of the season when the races become very important.

Over training is something I learned about last year from running, and I learned the hard way unfortunately. Over the Summer I ran myself into the ground well before the season had even stared, getting up to 50-60 mile weeks. The beginning of the season was grand but after a month or so I was dead. Not tired, I was literally dead. I couldn't get out of bed, I got sick a lot because my body was so weak from having to work so hard recovering the fatigue in my muscles, and I sure as hell couldn't move my legs forward to run. I was done, my season was finished and there was still almost 2 months left of it. Of course thats not even considering how I was feeling mentally, especially after I found out that I wouldn't be finishing the season before I was even halfway through it. Over training is a very serious matter that needs to be considered and avoided very seriously. Thats what I'm doing now.

For over a month now I've been giving my body at least 2 rest days every week to be able to recover, whether I feel I need recovering or not. Today is one of those days, I don't feel tired at all, I feel ready to hop right back on the bike again but I'm not going to. A very good piece of advice that Joe Dombrowski gave me a couple weeks ago was that its so easy to get out there and blaze through every single workout as fast as you can, and you don't really realize what you're putting your body through until its too late, and you are completely out of energy and your season is done early. Pace yourself, you have to pace yourself. In running and in cycling, everything is about pace. Master that, and everything will fall into place for you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 37: Hill Intervals With Holland's Best

On Saturday's DC Velo ride I mentioned that there was a U23 rider there from Holland who rides for Park Hotel Rooding, Nick Mulder. He is an extremely strong and extremely talented 20 year old rider that absolutely killed it on Saturday. After I did really well on the sprint saturday, we started to talk for a while and I asked him before we finished the ride if he'd like to ride together at all before he is back off to Holland. He asked me if I'd like to come do a hill interval workout with him today on the same hill that he dropped me on Saturday, Great Falls Hill at the end of MacArthur Boulevard, a 1.1 mile 5% avg gradient hill with 150ft of climbing from bottom to top. Immediately I took him up on this.

We were planning on meeting in the AM but due to ice rain and wet roads covered mostly in ice and snow, we had to wait it out until about 3pm to get started. It was cold, wet, dirty, and the hardest hill workout I've ever done. We did the Great Falls Hill 10 times...Here is the route and view of the hill...Oh, and for curiosity's sake, I averaged 16.4mph for the ride.

____________ ____________

Unsurprisingly, Nick beat me on the first 9 repeats. However, later he told me that he had a day off yesterday and he was completely fresh where as I had done a hill workout with Tim less than 24 hours ago. He has also been riding for 3 years against my 5 months and is years older than me. So, I didn't feel too bad about the first 9 hill repeats. The 10th and last one was amazing though. We both said to each other that we would go 100% all out on this one, and we did. I stayed with Nick the whole time, side-by-side. Finally the last small hill and flat finish...I hammered it and came out on top by less than a foot. He may have even beaten me. I dont know, to be honest, it doesn't matter one bit. The awesome part was we both went all out side-by-side riding in complete synchronization. It was the wettest, dirtiest, coldest, most uncomfortable workout I have ever done...and I LOVED it! Thanks Nick!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 36: Relaxed Hill Workout

I woke up today quite sore rom the run and Saturday's ride. But I had promised Tim Kelley, my teammate from the Spokes Computrainer Race that I would ride with him today. I had no idea what kind of ride he had in store for us, but I showed up outside his building at 10am ready to get on the bike. He decided it would be a good idea to take me around the same area that me and Robbie rode on Thursday where there are quite a few hills and descents.

Me and Tim after I had won the Computrainer Race...Post blackout.

We took the ride pretty easy most of the time. Whenever we got to a hill I would just hammer it as hard as I could and wait at the top. We also did a couple short sprints on some flat straights along the way back. It was a fun ride and I'm glad that I ended up doing it. Later on he told me that it was a total of about 20 miles with 800 feet of climbing.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 35: A Surprisingly Fast Run

My legs really weren't sore or fatigued at all when I woke up today. Even with how hard I rode yesterday. I woke up pretty late and didn't feel like prepping my bike and my biking clothes for a ride so I decided to do a run. I haven't run in a while. I think since I was in Ireland, anyways I knew it had been a while and I really didn't expect to do too well or go to fast.

I decided I would do a 6 mile run. 3 miles out on Mt. Vernon Trail, take a short break to stretch, then 3 miles back at roughly the same pace. I didn't plan on going at a very fast pace but it turned out I did. I did the first 3 mile in 18:32 which is about 6:10 per mile, which is really quite fast. I took a 3 minute stretch break and started up again at what felt like the same pace, but I wasn't very tired which was weird. I really started to die after the 1.5 mile mark back. It felt like I was in almost a full out sprint for the last quarter mile. I finished the 2nd 3 mile in 18:48 which is a bit slower but still extremely fast.

I'm hurting from it now later on tonight and I'm thinking about taking tomorrow off even though I have a ride set up with a rider from the Computrainer Race a couple weeks ago. I'll see how I feel in the morning.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 34: An Amazing DC Velo Ride

Today's ride was sick! It started as it usually does with Chuck Hutch leading the pack at a quick pace. After a few miles he broke away and I was behind him, it was up to me to pull the entire pack with me to catch him at about 26-28mph on flat road. I caught him with a crazy surge of energy that I hadn't felt on the bike before. But that wasn't the last time I felt it on this ride.

After catching him we sat back in and relaxed with me still pulling the group until we got to the first climb of the ride, Old Anglers Hill at the end of MacArthur Boulevard. There was a 6 man break pack that formed halfway up the climb and I wasn't in it. I was pulling the 10-15 man chase group. They had about 30 meters on us with not much left of the hill to go and I wanted to be first up that thing badly. So I stood up and absolutely crushed my pedals into the ground. I left the chase group and in the blink of an eye I was on the wheel of the breakaway group, but I kept going. I passed everyone except Chuck who had me by about 5 meters. Once we got to the top though it was a different story, he seemed very tired and I took full advantage. I got in the big ring and descended down the 2nd climb like a mad man. I must have been going 37mph the whole way down and I completely dropped everybody.

I was at the bottom of the 2nd climb looking up at a 1.1 mile long hill that was half 9% gradient. It was me up front and a 30 man group of extremely experienced and strong riders 50 meters behind me. Robbie finally caught me up the climb and said to me "Grab your ticket kid, we're going to the top." This kept me on his wheel even though I was absolutely dead. Chuck finally caught us as well and started to pull. This is where I really died. They dropped me and I got caught by a 2 man chase group of Lance, a very strong rider for Harley Davidson, and Nick Mulder, an extremely talented 20 year old rider from Park Hotel Rooding U23 RT in Holland. Nick dropped us and I dropped Lance. I was 4th up the hill in the end.

I ended up getting 4th in the sprint which met my goal from yesterday. Overall this was a very exciting, fast, and efficient ride. I enjoyed it very much. Here are my Stats from the ride:
(TRP - 51.52mi) (ATM - 2:52:10) (MXS - 37.4mph) (AVS - 18.8mph)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 34: Resting Up For Tomorrow

Tomorrow's ride is going to be extremely fast and extremely hard as always and I want to try to win on at least one of the climbs and try to win the sprint or at least top 5. To do that, I will really need to rest up today to be fresh tomorrow if I want to be able to even touch Chuck. Chuck Hutcheson is the best rider around this entire area, maybe even all of Virginia. Robbie Wade challenges him every ride and I want to be the one that challenges this time and breaks away and makes those two old men chase me. Haha. I'm already set to go for tomorrow. Let's do it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 33: Hill Ride With Wade

Thinking of today's title made me laugh because it sounds like a really cheesy old Western movie or something that would be in black and white. Or maybe its just me...Anyways, I woke up today feeling fresh but not having any clue as to what I was going to do for training today. So, I gave Robbie a call and asked him if he wanted to meet me in Arlington for a moderately hard hill workout. Immediately he jumped on it and said "Yes!"

So, we met at his house where we went off into the neighborhoods of Arlington around Washington-Lee and Yorktown High School where there are many short but very steep hill climbs. We rode for an hour and 20 minutes for about 20 miles. I maxed a speed of 34.7mph and averaged 16 for the whole ride which I was pretty happy with due to the volume of hills we did. I'd say 35 minutes of the ride was straight up climbing on some 10% gradient hills that averaged out at about 3% total.

The ride was quick, both speed wise and time wise, and I felt good the whole time. Robbie had done an 11mi run right before it so he was pretty tired. I was able to drop him on a few of the climbs. I stayed in the big ring as much as I could which was most of the time and I stay seated basically the entire time to maximize my effort. Good ride. I'm thinking about taking tomorrow off to get ready for Saturday's DC Velo ride. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 32: My Friend, The Stationery Trainer

Finally I felt great waking up this morning! Ready to go to school and come back to get on the trainer for some time alone with the bike. Even though I knew it would probably be boring...but I didn't care one bit! I planned on riding easy today, for a short amount of time just to get my legs gradually back into it and not rush anything. And, that is exactly what I did.

The workout was a 30 minute easy ride on the trainer with a few 2-3 minute attacks here and there. It wasn't as boring as I thought it was going to be, I guess mostly because I was just so excited to be back on the bike. Looks like it only takes 2 days for me to feel like its been a year since I've been in the pedals. This was a good workout for me. I got my heart rate up, I felt comfortable the whole time, nothing hurt, and I felt just fine after I unclipped and got ready for some grub. It was a good day. :)

Me doing a nice short little attack on the trainer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 31: I Need One More Day

After waking up this morning to the same pain in my right foot, even though it was not nearly as bad, I decided that it would be smart for me to take another day off. Especially because I could still feel some fatigue in my legs and didn't think I was really ready to get back on the bike anyways. Not much to blog about here, going to be finishing up the 1st Semester of my last year in High school this week which is exciting. Can't wait to get back on the bike to be honest...I look forward to tomorrow!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 30: Rest Day

I decided today would be a good day to give my body a rest from the last 4 days of hard riding and running. I woke up this morning realizing that this was a good day to decided to take off because not only were my legs very heavy and sore, but my the outside of my right foot was in excruciating pain for no reason whatsoever. I hadn't done anything to it in the last couple days and I've never even felt paint in this part of my foot before so it was very strange. It was actually difficult to even walk to be honest. I stretched it and iced it as much as I could before school but it still hurt pretty much the entire day, although it did get better as the day went on. I must have slept on it weird or in an uncomfortable way. Anyways, I was planning on getting on the trainer tomorrow, but judging by the way my foot feels today, we will have to see whether or not I'll be doing anything tomorrow. The stupidest thing would be to push myself too hard now, before the season has even started.

I'll leave you all with a picture of what my leg looked like a day after the gravel fall...pretty nasty.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 29: Haymarket Winter League Ride

Finally, the ride I've been waiting for. I woke up around 6 in the morning to a 20 Degree Fahrenheit windy day. My mentor, Robbie Wade, texted me, "Have you been outside yet mate?" I said, "No, but I can't wait to see how cold it is. It'll get me tough." I think this motivated him because it really was cold, almost too cold to go out. But I wasn't going to admit it. We set out for the drive to Haymarket at around 7am and got there in about 40 minutes. Hit up Robbie's blog at for some really good training blogs.

There were about 30 brave souls that turned up for the below freezing ride. Some of the riders included Chuck Hutcheson (Harley Davidson), Matias Palavecino (Snapple Lyte Water), Joe Dombrowski (Trek Livestrong U23), and Matt Thompson who used to ride pro in Europe. It was awesome to see Joe and talk to him about the Livestrong Team. He's an extremely talented young rider and has a strong and busy future ahead of him. The first hour or so of the ride was a moderate paced warm-up with a few hills and some pace lines with high 30 to low 40mph speeds at times. There was about 3 miles of gravel at the end of the warm-up. Having not ever ridden gravel I fell...hard, on my left side and it hurt. I wasn't about to stop though, hell no. I got my ass up quicker then I had fallen and was right back on the bumpy gravel again, bleeding from my knee and my hip.

A pre-ride interview with me, sorry for bad audio. Video courtesy of Robbie Wade.

We stopped after the gravel and let everyone who got a flat tire on the rocks (4 people, including Robbie) get a chance to eat, drink, fix their bikes and regroup. Then we were off again and onto an extremely quick pace up a rode with rolling hills. I dropped my keys with under a mile left of the speed section before I would ride off on another route with Joe and 3 other guys leaving the 2nd half of the ride behind. To make sure I didn't get left by the 4 man group I caught a ride from the Haymarket Team Car that was behind us the whole time.

The 5 of us went off back to the shop on a different route then the rest. The route was shorter, but I'm not sure it was that much easier, with at least 8 miles of straight gravel and extremely steep hills. Not surprisingly, I fell again, on the same exact side, the left. I was really hurting, I felt fine energy wise, but my leg was killing me. We finally made it back and got warm in Foster's Restaurant. I hope to ride with Joe next weekend and some more before he's off to Europe to train with the Livestrong Team for the 2011 RR Season. Thanks for the ride guys! I'm not really looking forward to how I'm going to feel tomorrow but after thinking about it, regardless of the falls, it was the funnest ride I've ever been on.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 28: On Track With Running

Despite how hard I rode yesterday and how it took me almost 10 minutes just to stand up after I collapsed off the bike because of the fatigue in my legs, I felt fine when I woke up this morning. It was weird, it felt like I hadn't done a thing yesterday. So, even though I know I have an important ride tomorrow with Joe out in Haymarket, I still wanted to get a workout in. I decided to run.

Didn't have a picture of me from this workout, but I wanted to have an image of me running. This was a Mile race at St. Stephens Outdoor Track Invitational. I won the race in 4:45.

I drove over to an indoor facility with a 200 meter track. I decided I'd do a 4 mile run. I started off at a pretty brisk pace with a 6:54 mile. After that I said to myself that I was going to slow it down, but I didn't, in fact I went even faster, doing the 2nd mile in 6:49. Somehow I just kept getting faster and faster and did the 3rd mile in 6:20. On mile 4 I actually had to slow down because I was pretty tired and I figured I might as well anyways because it was my last mile and I needed to use it as my cool-down. The whole run took me 27:05. The last mile was 7:02 and i was definitely satisfied with the run. I'm tired but I feel good, and I'm ready for tomorrow. Its going to be cold...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 27: Santa Smackdown Spokes Computrainer Race

This might be one of my longest blogs ever because so much happened tonight. At about 6:30pm I went over to Spokes Etc. Bike Shop in Alexandria, VA. and saw a big crowd of people around the computrainers. Then I spotted my Pro Trainer, Kirk Otterson. I asked him what was going on and he just said, "Darion! Hey, go get your bike, we got one spot open." So, even though I wasn't planning on doing any riding today, I went home, and brought my bike back to the store. I'll explain exactly what the Santa Smackdown is...

There are 4 teams, 4 riders on each team. There are 3 rounds of riding. The riding consists of a 3.1 mile course (5k) with one big hill and a couple other small climbs, as well as a descent near the end. The first round is 4 heats (4 separate different races) with 4 riders in each heat. The 2 fastest riders from each heat move on to round 2 which consists of 8 riders from the 16 total that started. Round 2 is split up into 2 heats, again 4 riders in each heat and the 2 fastest riders in each heat move onto the final round, which is one heat with 4 riders competing for 1st place. So to recap, everyone rides at least once, and the top 4 riders compete 3 times on the same course (9.3 miles or 15k.)

Here's a video of last year's race because there is no video that I could find covering this year's. Its the same set up, same location, and same look though, so this should give you a pretty good idea of what the environment of the event was like.

So, the result of the night. For the first round I competed in heat 4 and I won out of the 4 riders racing me. I pulled out a time of 7:55.23 with an average Watts of 377 which was the fastest time that night by 26 seconds. In Round 2 I competed in the 2nd Heat and finished 2nd to my teammate, Tim K. by .26 seconds with a time of 8:02.64. After the 2nd Round I was extremely tired and was coughing uncontrollably. I was debating wether I would even do the Final Round or not. I decided to go for it and hopped on the bike to warm-up for the Championship Round. I really was dead. As it turns out I had a bit more energy then I had thought and I ended up tying for first in a full out sprint. When I say tie, I really mean that we rode the same time down to the hundredths of a second, 8:08.40... I was amazed by my performance as was Kirk. I think he now realizes what my body is actually capable of doing.

When we finished I fell off the bike in exhaustion, literally. I was dizzy, my feet and calves were numb, and the burning in my thighs hurt more than any injury I have ever had. I know that it was the hardest I have ever pushed my body past the mental and physical barrier. I've never hurt that much before, and it felt amazing!

I'd like to thank Spokes Etc. Bike Shop for hosting the event. If you haven't checked them out yet then I really recommend it. Great service, great products, great store! I'd also like to thank Kirk and his Velo Works team for setting up the Computrainers and running the event. It was a lot of fun and I'm extremely glad I decided to go home and get my bike.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 26: Finally Back On The Bike

This was my first day back on the bike in over 10 days and it feels like it has been months, honestly. I got on the trainer not even knowing what I was going to do or how long I was going to ride. I was just happy to be back on the Trek.

I ended up riding for a little over 30 minutes. The first 5 minutes was just getting my legs warmed up and getting my body back to the feel of riding. Then out of nowhere I picked up the pace...considerably. I was like a bat out of hell, attacking every 30 seconds and keeping up an extremely high revolution pace even in the big ring. Finally after about 10 minutes of that I stopped and rested at the same relaxed pace I had done before. That lasted about 5 minutes until I couldn't resist putting it back in the big ring and into almost the highest gear I have, standing up on the pedals, and attacking as hard as I possibly could. I was amazed by my energy and the shape I was in, seeing as how I hadn't had a good workout for about a week and a half plus I was still sick. I guess the body just needs its rest sometimes doesn't it?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 25: The Verdict Is In

Well, as I said yesterday I had a doctors appointment today and it went, good and bad at the same time. Bad, because I was told that I have a pretty serious bacterial infection from sinusitis and have developed my cough into a mild stage of bronchitis. The good thing is that I got a prescription for antibiotics for my bronchitis and sinusitis. Hopefully they will kick in sooner than later. I am going to start my training tomorrow. I'm going to get on the trainer at home and spin for a while. I'm not sure how long yet, but I'll do it at a pace that I am comfortable with maybe with a few attacks placed here and there and I'll do it until I'm satisfied with myself. I got to start getting ready for that ride on Sunday which I cant wait for.

Cannot wait to get on the bike tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 24: Feeling A Little Better

I'm feeling better today, to an extent. I don't really see much improvement with my cough and my head still hurts a little bit. But my nose is clearing up so I guess thats one good thing to look at. I really hope to train tomorrow but wether I do or not will be based on what the doctor says about my illness at my appointment tomorrow. Already I can't wait to clip back into the Trek and get some time in alone with the bike. I think I really am in love with it. I've got an important ride on Sunday that I want to be as ready as possible for because there is a rider there that I'd like to make a good impression on. His name is Joe Dombrowski and he is part of the Trek Livestrong U23 Team as of the 2011 roster. I'll do my best with the training this week and take it kind of relaxed. I don't want to push myself right back into fatigue from a bad immune system.

My goal over the next month and a half (when I begin racing with Snapple and Robbie Wade) is to get myself in the best shape possible but still have energy when I go out everyday, to not be completely fatigued after every workout. I want to be feeling good, both about my workouts, and about the amount of energy I have in my body. Lets see what happens tomorrow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 23: Back In Virginia

Well, I'm home. I'm exhausted and sicker then ever with a painfully agonizing cough that won't stop. I've had about 3 hours of on and off sleep over the last 27 hours and I'm having a hard time dealing with the jet lag already. It feels like months since I've had my feet clipped into the bike and it hurts. I have to try to sleep, I have to try to get better as soon as I possibly can. And I have to try to get my ass back on the bike, back on the track, and back in the gym, training my ass off, like I'm supposed to be. I'll give myself one more day to get caught up on things back home, like school, and get rid of this sickness as much as I can until I start training again. Regardless of how I feel, I'm getting on the trainer come Thursday. Just watch me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 22: Sick Of Being Sick

This is my last night in Ireland and I can't find a way to enjoy it much. All I can keep thinking about is how much training I'm missing out on and how I'm showing no sign of recovering. Cycling and training and strengthening my body has taken over my life, truly. I just think about everyday that I miss is another day that someone out there is getting better. Someone that might beat me to the spot on the Trek Livestrong U23 Team in 2013, and it kills me. It really is hard to keep my head up at times like these, but I'll do it anyway, because it makes me stronger, this is a form of my training, right here. Getting out of bed when I have a fever and a cough and a headache and I can't even take a breath out of my nose. This is the training I can do right now and I'll do it as well as I possibly can. Thats one thing I can tell you about myself. If there's something I have my mind 100% set on and I am completely focused on, then I will give you every last drop of effort that I have for it...because I want it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 21: Start 2011 Off Sick!

Same things as the last few days. I don't even feel like blogging about this because its actually bringing me down. But I'll thank myself for doing this and logging this information later on, I'm sure. My cough is getting worse, and theres really nothing I can do about it. Just have to man up and see it out till its gone. However long that takes...Oh and by the way. Happy New Year Everyone!