Sunday, February 27, 2011

Donaldson Center RR: First WIN Of The Season

Today was pretty F-ing awesome to say the least. It was my first win of the season and it came in the shape of an 8 mile Solo Break away in strong winds. The race started pretty quick and there was never really much time to relax and get in a rhythm. I was antsy to move the whole time. There were a couple breaks as well and I was smart enough to keep myself in the pack where I could draft and save my energy for my own break. Luckily everything worked out the way I wanted it to and the breaks were caught.

Finally, as the 2nd lap was coming to an end I took off from way in the back right past everyone and immediately created a 10 second gap between myself and the field as we crossed the line for the final time before the finish. It was motivating to have everyone see me with a gap like that, and hear the announcer talk about my break. It all gave me adrenaline and made me go even faster. I pulled out a 6:40 5k for the first part of my break away. I was hammering and I was hurting. But I never stopped.

I played my cards really smart. Every time I came up to a hill I would dig deep but at the same time I would relax on it and make sure that I had a lot of energy at the top. I did this because I knew the 8 man chase group that had now broke the field could see me, and for a chase group, that is the most motivating thing they can have. So, my idea was that I'd climb easy (relatively speaking) and once I got to the top, when their sight of me was blocked by the hill in front of them, I would go as hard as possible. After every hill on this course there is either a descent or a flat so after saving the energy on the hill I would hit over 55kph every time. Then, by the time the chase would get to the top of the hill, which I know for a fact they pushed as hard as they could on because thats usually where you plan on making up the time to catch someone, I would be gone. They'd see me all the way down the road and nearly out of sight. This is extremely demoralizing for a chase group, especially after a hard effort on a climb. The race stats from my Garmin are below.

Donaldson Center RR #2 by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

The smart thinking and careful planning really worked off in the end, even though I really was dying in the final sprint and my 30 second lead had gone to a 10 second one. I held onto 1st place despite my 8 mile Solo TT effort. One thing I know for sure now, it is absolutely exhilarating to win a race on a Solo break away!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Greenville Spring Training Series: Fork Shoals RR

Well, I'm back in South Carolina again for the 2nd week of the Greenville Series. The driving is almost getting normal now and I think I'm beginning to get into the "travelling to races that are hundreds of miles away" mode. Todays race was on a 15 mile loop and my race consisted of 2 laps. I did an easy warmup and made my way to the line.

I sat in the back the entire race until the last mile where I moved up to second and drafted off the leader for about 1k. Then with 400m to go I began to sprint. I think it may have been a little too early to go off like that, but it worked out pretty well because I was able to hold onto 2nd place after getting passed by less than a wheel at the line. I'm definitely happy with the way the race went. It would have been nice to win but judging by the fact that I haven't been on the bike since Monday, I am pretty happy. Now I've shaken the cobwebs off and my legs are warmed up for tomorrow's race.

Part of Fork Shoals RR + Extra Mileage. by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

The link above is part of the race plus some of the riding I did after the finish. I forgot to start the Garmin when the race started and remembered about 10 miles into the race. After the race I went on a nice ride on the country roads while everyone else was racing. The weather was beautiful and I couldn't pass it up. Later on that day I went for a hilly, hour long ride (which was supposed to be only 20 minutes long...thanks Garret) in my flip flops, a t-shirt, my helmet, and some basketball shorts...That was fun. Overall, I got in a little over 4 hours. It was a good day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Day With The PT

At the end of yesterday's ride I could feel that pain in my left leg coming back again, not the tightness but the spot right under my knee cap where it is a very dull and uncomfortable pain. So, when I realized that I had scheduled a PT Workout today I was skeptical to go. I happy I did go, because Steve was able to give me some tips on how to avoid the pain I was feeling with a few exercises and strengthening techniques. We also went through the whole 45 minute session with major core and leg strengthening which was definitely necessary and always needed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Exploring The Jefferson Cup Course

While driving back home from SC last night, we all decided to stop at a hotel in Charlottesville and do a ride in the morning on the Jefferson Cup Race Course. It was a great idea because it turned out to be probably the best ride I have ever done. The weather was amazing and the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the top of the climbs were absolutely beautiful.

I took the climbing very hard and left Chuck and Monika a couple times to go at my own pace. I'm so happy we decided to do this before heading home. Now I just cant wait for Jeff Cup! Here's how the ride went...

Long Rolling Hills Ride, SC by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday, February 20, 2011

BMW Performance Center Criterium Race

BMW Performance Center Criterium by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

The 3rd race of the season. It was less of a disappointment than yesterday's. I came in 6th today in a full out sprint. I was pretty annoyed with the way it ended because I planned on breaking away with 2 laps to go. But when I came around the last bend when I thought there was only 2 laps left, I stood up and began to break away, but everyone came with me which I was surprised about, until I heard the bell for the final lap. I had miscounted the number of laps we had left. It was a fatal mistake and it cost me the race. luckily I was able to hold on well enough to place top 10. Still a bit of a let down though, but everything is a learning experience for me right now, and this is the time to make mistakes more than ever.

After the race I went for a little cooldown ride around the track and on some of the country roads with a few nice, hard, long climbs. It was fun and felt good. Here's how it went down.

Post Race Easy Ride by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2nd Race Of The Season

After 9 hours on the road from Washington DC to Greenville, SC yesterday I am pretty tired but pumped up for my second race of the season. I'm really still learning how to race the bike, its a lot to do with strategy and planning and not as much strength oriented as I had thought. Stupidly I spent the entire race pulling and got caught in a small crash with a couple miles to go. That cost me a lot of time. I used a lot of energy catching back up but it was too much, I finished with the pack.

Today was definitely a learning experience. I got some good training in at least with quite a few hard efforts. I'm disappointed with the result but happy with the learning and experience at the same time. I've got another race tomorrow, a Criterium on a race track. It should be fun. Check out today's race below.

Greenville Spring Training Series Donaldson Center RR by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shakin' Off The Cobwebs

I took a ride out on W&OD today. It was my first ride in 3 days. I've been off because of my left leg which tightened up Sunday night to the point where it was really difficult to even walk. Finally it loosened up yesterday and I feel good again. Definitely looking forward to this weekend's races down in SC too. Check the ride out below.

First training ride in 3 days off injury. Easy by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 63: Bicycle Place 8:30 A.M. Race-Ride 2.0

Bicycle Place 8:30am Ride -- Started the Garmin 15k Late :( by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details
I started the Garmin about 15k late but it was just easy spinning from the store.

Today was an amazing ride. I am proud to say it is the strongest that I have ever ridden before, and everyone on the ride could tell. The Garmin stats above should give a pretty good idea of just how hard I was going for the first 65k which was the actual ride, the remainder was me riding solo and with Robbie easy.

Shout Out to The Bicycle Place for hosting an Awesome Ride!

I was attacking the entire time on Clara Barton and left the entire pack for a couple K. There were some extremely strong guys in this pack, Chuck, Jose and Barry who ride for Harley, Greg who rides for Kind Human Sports, Matias who is a very strong teammate of mine, and a couple others. Me and Chuck finished up Clara Barton away from the pack and kept it that way all along MacArthur Boulevard until we hit the first climb where Chuck ended up dropping me. His strength on the hills is just absolutely insane and when you see him get to the top, where he is hardly breathing (either he is hiding it or he is just that it is quite demoralizing. Three guys caught me on the hill and we started to work on closing Chuck's strong and threatening gap. I was in the tight 3 man pack up the 2nd climb, Old Anglars, behind Chuck who we still couldn't see because he had apparently already finished the climb and started to descend the 3rd climb of the ride, Great Falls Hill. The group broke up on the descent and I turned around at the bottom before the roundabout.

Chuck Hutcheson hammering.

Me and Chuck met back up on the climb and I held off his attack for a while till we were about 3/4 up the hill when he slowly began to gap again...the dude is just TOO strong haha. I pulled up to him at the top and said to him jokingly, "You son of a bitch." He just laughed. We had a good talk after that about what I'm doing wrong and what I'm doing right. It was an eye-opening talk for me, literally, and I'd really like to thank him for that, because I definitely needed it.

The rest of the ride was a blur of speed as we moved into the Neighborhood Section. The 40 man group had now dropped down to 6 strong riders, and I was proud to be a part of them. We pushed it really hard and I was surprising myself with constant attacks and breaks. The final sprint was fun as it was 5 of us trying to close Chuck's 50m gap before the finish. I was in the back and felt good, so I went, and I brought the rest of the guys with me right up to Chuck and then right passed him at a very strong speed. I continued to pull the group for another 10-15 seconds until they passed me in the last 50 meters. I finished with the pack.

Like I said this was an amazing ride and was also very eye opening for me because I showed myself and everyone else what I am really made of and what I am really capable of. I rode hard!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 62: First Race Ever -- Wolfpack Classic

Before I get into the details, here are the Garmin Stats on the race:
Wolfpack Classic Cat-4/5 Race, NC by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

I didn't get much sleep last night seeing as how we got in around 12am and I fell asleep about 1am and then got up at 6am. So a solid 5 hours to start my first race of the season! Haha. Anyways, I learned a lot from this race, not only about how I need to begin thinking and strategizing on the bike but also the way that Cat4/5 riders race. Here's how it went down.

This was a 4 lap race on a rolling 12.5k loop (53k or 33 miles Total) with a couple moderate but extremely short climbs. The 45 man group rode out from the Parking Lot on a 2k Neutral Ride to the start line of the race where there would be a rolling start right after hitting the line. It was funny though because the pace didn't change one single bit from when we were rolling out from the parking lot to when we hit the start line and the race was off. It was the slowest 3.5 laps I have ever done, literally, slower than my training rides that I do by myself in the rain and on harder rode. It was a joke and was honestly the most boring ride I have ever been on but I realize that it was because that is how this Category of riders ride, they conserve and feed off each other until the end where they sprint it out to the finish. Anyways, it finally picked up with about 4k to go...Because I broke away...

Post-Race holding up my #.

Unfortunately, I broke too early. Everyone that had given me advice on this race, including my good friend Chuck Hutcheson, told me that I needed to go all out with about 1k left but I got anxious. I was 2k into the break when I looked back and saw that I was not gapping the peloton anymore, it was the same as it had been for over 1k now. So, I decided to wait and rest up a bit till they caught up again, then I would push it till the end. They finally caught me with about .5k left and I was left up front to pull them to the finish for the sprint. With 100 meters left I could see the finish line and I was in first place. With 50m left I got passed by 2 guys and lost by less than a second. Had I listened to everyone's advice and not been so anxious I would've been looking at 1st and not 3rd for my first race. It was an amateur move but a good lesson. Anyways, its onto the next one now, and I'll be ready.

Major Shout Out to Chuck Hutcheson and Jared Neiters for one-two-ing the Cat123 Race.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 61: Pre-Race Ride With Some Extra Carbon

Tomorrow is my first road cycling race ever, Wolfpack Classic, in North Carolina. Today was spent packing for the 2 day trip, and prepping my bike. And a lot of prep there was thanks to my very good friend Filagot Dinku and the Spokes Etc. Bike Shop. A full disassembly of the bike was done, every part was cleaned and greased, the chain and crank were cleaned and oiled, the shifting was adjusted to perfection and my favorite part, Steve Beheler's wheels were installed! Steve is the manager @ Spokes and he's one of the nicest and unselfish guys that I know, he agreed to let me ride on his "never-used" Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 Clincher Wheelset. So the break pads were switched out to cork and the crank was switched up. Heres what the finished product looks like (Its quite sick...)

After we finished with the bike, I met up with Robbie to get a feel for the new wheels. They're SICK! Bontrager does amazing things! Truly. I didn't log the ride on my Garmin because it was very short with a few climbs and a little Flat Tempo/Sprint at the end to test the speed on the new wheels. It was a fun day but its time to get in the car and start the 6 hour drive...Kill me now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 60: Short Hill Loop + Strength Training

I managed to fit in a short 30 minute ride with Bryan Jones who rides for NCVC before my 45 minute Personal Trainer Session. It was just for the meet and greet because I am going to be traveling down to NC with him to do my first race. We did a short hill climb route around 5k long thats right by my house. It was easy and again wasn't really about the ride, just the meet. But, it did get me warmed up quite well for the Training Session.

The Session was different then usual, there was very little arm work and leg work. I told Steve before we started while I was stretching that I really didn't want to use arms and legs at all. I wanted to focus 100% on core. I've found my arm strength is above adequate for cycling and my legs are worked a lot on the bike and the road when I am running anyways. My core on the other hand, needs a bit of work. There is still some fat there that I don't want and it needs strengthening. So, everything went well, it was extremely hard but I did feel good and I am very happy with the workout. Till' tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 59: Hurtin' On The Stationery

Stationery Trainer @ Home by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

Above is the link to the workout I did on the Stationery Trainer today. I knew I wasn't going to be able to get outside and I had a pretty challenging day yesterday so I decided that I'd just hope on the Trainer for 30 minutes for an easy ride with a couple hard surges in it. I started out at a pretty quick pace even though this was supposed to be my warmup but, I guess I was just excited to be on the bike. After the first 10 minutes which was done at a moderate speed at about 145 Average Heart Rate, I took the next 10 or so minutes quite easy to rest before my 5k speed test that I would finish up the ride with. I decided I'd go as fast as I could for the whole final 5k of the ride. The last lap is on the Garmin site, I did it in 7:59 which surprised me because I thought it would definitely be faster...I was looking for around 6 flat. It may be though that it is harder to ride fast on my trainer. I'm not sure, all I know is that I was at about 95% probably and jumped my Heart Rate to 189 which isn't that close to my max (201). Anyways, I'm happy with the ride, I'm glad I did it and I think I'm ready for whatever tomorrow brings. Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 58: Windy Solo Ride + Indoor Run

Relaxed Solo Ride: Pre-Run by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

Above is the read out from my Garmin, check that out to see the route, distance, time, speed, etc. No heart rate on this ride though. I decided I needed to take the initiative to go out and train on the bike out on MacArthur Boulevard. I knew it was going to be cold, windy, and lonely, but I didn't care...not one bit, because I want this team and I want this life, and nothing is going to get in my way. It was a challenging ride because of the wind, and I did a nice little climb at the end of MacArthur right before I turned back to go home.

This is the track. Not the nicest place to run but it does the job.

When I finished the ride, I got a little food in my system, had some water, got changed and left the house to drive over to the Indoor Track Facility that is Thomas Jefferson Community Center to do a short run. I stretched and warmed up with an 800m relaxed run. Then did some drills and got going on the run. I was in the mood to be speedy so I did a mile at a brisk pace (seeing as how I had just finished a 2 hour ride). I came through the mile at 5:54 which is quite slow actually compared to the fastest I've ever gone in the mile, 4:36. But, it was decent under the circumstances. After the mile, I did a nice 800m cool down then stretched and went home to grab dinner. It was a solid day for sure.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 57: Recovery

Recovery is important. All the great riders that I know have told me the same thing. Its not the hard riding and work days that get you stronger, its the recovery as soon as you get off the bike or finish a run or get out of the gym. Its the rest that builds you. The work is nothing without the recovery. Its a hard concept to really get a grasp on, especially if you are my age, and as excited as I am, because all you want to do is work, work, work. And that is simply not how you improve.

On that note...It is recovery day baby, and I need it. : )

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 56: Bicycle Place 8:30 A.M. Race-Ride

I have to start this blog off with a shout out to my man Matias Palavecino. Without him I doubt today's riding would have gone anywhere near as well as it did. I called him up last night and asked him if he would be up for riding out from Mt. Vernon Trail to Silver Springs, MD to meet up with the 8:30 ride @ The Bicycle Place, a nice, friendly and supportive shop. He was happy to come with me, and I was even happier that he was willing because I'm not even sure if I ever would have made it to the shop because I had absolutely no idea how to get there. So Matias, thanks for keeping the motivation in me to get out there and do this ride.

Before I get into the details, here is the ride I ended up doing: Bicycle Place 8:30AM Ride + Extra Mileage by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

The 8:30 ride is only like 72 kilometers (45 miles) plus the extra to and from my house and the shop which is about another 30km (18mi) and I definitely wanted to get more than 100 kilometers in on the bike today. So, I did almost another 30km of easy cool down riding where there was a lot of start and stop because I visited a couple places on the way.
My goal was originally to do 150km but to be honest I think my mind was a little ahead of my body, and I think that would have been probably a bit too much to handle, especially at the pace that I was going for over 70km of the ride. So, as the stats from the Garmin say I ended up with almost 130km and about 4 and 1 half hours on the bike.

I ended up winning the Sprint on the 30-man 8:30 ride which was definitely exciting, and I pulled on most of the flat, quick-paced riding that we did. For some reason my legs were not at all with me on the hills today and I got dropped on almost every single one, but they were definitely present on the flat sprints. I'm really happy with the results from the ride, as Ice Cube says, "Today was [definitely] a Good Day."

The Bicycle Place Shop. Take a visit sometime! -- 8313 Grubb Road Silver Spring, MD 20910 (301.588.6160)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 55: Oh To Ride In The Rain

Just as last weekend, I woke up today to pouring rain, except the roads weren't covered in snow and ice and various other hazards. So, like I said yesterday, I'm riding, because I really don't care much about getting wet. You can see the ride I did by clicking on the following link: A Rainy Ride by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

This was one of the nicest rides I have ever done. I now know that one of the things I love most in this entire world, is riding solo with no one else around, in the pouring rain, climbing some hills. The whole time I had the image of Lance Armstrong being followed by Johan Bruyneel in the car with the camera as he climbs the hell out of some mountain in Europe. I had a similar rain coat on and I felt just like him. It was debatably the funnest ride I've ever done.

My bike on the other hand didn't have too great of a time as you can see from the picture above from after the ride. It was the dirtiest I had ever seen it and there was a mixture of salt, sand, and dirt in the chain, the cassette, the pedals, crank, etc. It took me a little over 3 hours to clean it for tomorrow's ride so I am glad to say it is as good as new. It deserves the attention for sure. As for tomorrow I plan on staying in the area to do a local ride with my good friend and teammate Matias Palavecino. So, we'll see how that goes!

Oh and yeah, my shoes were pretty dirty

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 54: Surprisingly Tired But Very Motivated

To my surprise, my body feels quite tired today. I'm guessing it may have been just getting used to the outdoor riding from yesterday with hills and all. But, I'm not entirely sure. My thinking is that I'm planning on a pretty heavy duty weekend of riding so if my body is asking for a little bit of rest from yesterday then I'm going to listen and give it some. So, thats what I did today. Now, about the weekend. Apparently its going to rain all day tomorrow, but some measly water on my face isn't going to stop me from getting my ass out on the road and onto some hills. Regardless of whether I have to do it Solo or not. I don't care. I'm riding outside tomorrow and thats that.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 53: Garmin Edge 500 Test Ride

Today was my first ride outdoors in about 12 days, since the Haymarket ride two Sundays ago. And it felt great to be back on the bike outside! This was also my first ride with my new Garmin Edge 500 and I'm just now getting comfortable with using it. I uploaded the ride on the Garmin site as well. I hope that the link below works. It should take you to the layout/stats of my workout. Although I wouldn't call today's ride a workout at all, it was a very easy ride just running errands around town and seeing Robbie/talking with him about the upcoming season with Snapple. Again, I hope it works! Enjoy!

Errands Ride. by darionfleming at Garmin Connect - Details

P.S. -- All of my stats are done in Metric Measurements because Kirk, my Trainer told me that if I'm going to race in Europe, which I plan on doing, then I might as well get used to the Metric System now. So, my apologies if it is at all confusing to any of you. : /

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 52: Work Overload

My parents have always stressed the fact that school comes first. Sometimes there isn't going to be time for other things in your life if you've got a work overload in school, and I know and respect that. Today was one of those days where I really just had absolutely no time for anything except getting caught up on school work from my sick day. This being my Senior year in High School I've got to be very serious about my grades and getting into College. So, thats what I'm doing, as best as I can. The only other thing that I was able to do was pick up my NEW GARMIN EDGE 500!!! Robbie Wade hooked me up big time and I am so thankful for it! It is going to be awesome logging my rides with this thing! I plan on using it tomorrow...Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 51: Recovered And Ready to Go!

I felt great waking up this morning and it brought a big smile to my face because that means i can start training again. Like I said yesterday, the roads are still quite dangerous and not worth the risk, so I was inside on the trainer today to my dislike, but, it must be done. The way I saw it, I had warmed my legs up again on Friday to be ready to go on the weekend, but I hadn't rode on the weekend or yesterday, so thats another 3 day that I've just had off and my body is basically back in the same position that it was on Friday before the Computrainer. So I decided I would take my legs for a nice, short, easy spin on the trainer, and thats exactly what I did.

I got on the trainer for about a half hour, bored out of my mind but still pretty excited just to be able to pedal. I was also excited about getting my new Snapple Kit today, it looks SICK! Thanks Bart for an awesome kit! I'm going to make Snapple proud in 2011.