Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TNW - Tuesday Night Worlds

Tuesday Night Worlds...

Based on conversations with riders from all over the nation and a couple from other parts of the world, Tuesday Nights hold a universal appeal for race-level intervals and good old fashioned competition. Tuesday's spot in the week allows for recovery from the previous weekend and is far enough from the next weekend to afford high intensity workouts with time to recover. Combine this with dozens of Testosterone charged riders, some with Red, White & Blue National Champion stripes on their jersey sleeves and you can see where fuel to the fire comes from.

Here in Louisville, we have a great community that invariably has new riders coming to this ride as they progress in ability and they really learn what suffering is all about. I was a runner before I was a cyclist basically from age 5 to 34 and the knees made the decision for me. Based on my Dr's suggestion, I began riding to do "something". Starting with a mountain bike around the neighborhood, I then moved to a road bike that was about 2 sizes too big, but it was cheap. Now 9yrs later, I compete with the best in the region from Louisville, to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Nashville and more. Oh, and my bike is a Trek Madone, made from carbon fiber with just about the lightest of everything, literally half the weight of the bike I started with.

The TNW never gets easier, in fact it gets harder because once you're strong enough to "hang on", you begin to participate or get called out for not working. I voluntarily send my heartrate to a max of 194bpm and have everything hurt like never before, well at least since the last race. We in cycling joke about how stupid and optimistic we are, it's either stupid or dedicated - you choose, because we forget how bad the last race hurt and then line up again seemingly oblivious that we are doing it AGAIN!

However, I must say that my racing has improved so much more because having other racers to compete with means I push myself harder than I ever could on my own. Peer pressure does have some advantages! The only downside is that the traffic lights and constant regrouping of riders means that those who never stick their nose in the wind or really contribute to the workload can survive a pace or effort that they would never be able to sustain in a race where there is no hiding from the wind. Again, early on, I was naive enough to think I deserved to be there, just because I was there. I have to smile at that. A lot of thanks goes to the greats in our area, like Curtis Tolson, Robert Bobrow and many others who usually advised me politely, but also barked a few orders or reprimands. I make sure I pay my dues by offering advice and support to guys who are coming into their own and need to be told to test their wings by getting out of or to the front of the pack. Growth is painful, or you're not really growing! Unfortunately this is true of life as well I suppose.

While bike racing is an extreme passion of mine, I don't want to fail to mention that my family always come first! My wife Debbi and daughters Taylor 15 and Meghan 10 are why breathe. Both of my girls are talented and have so much more potential than I ever had. Taylor is an awesome photographer with an eye that constantly amazes me! She is very good at softball but is taking a year off because being a Freshman in HS is tough enough. Meghan is an athlete, playing basketball, track, cross-country and softball... on 3 teams! Here she is with the team trophy.

A really nice pic of Taylor, here - BEAUTIFUL!

Thanks for reading and may God richly bless you and yours!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jude Clark Criterium - Win!!!

The first annual Jude Clark Memorial Criterium went off with a bang, a couple of wins and several podium finishes for Scheller's Fitness and Cycling Team!

The Crit is in honor of our late teammate Jude Clark, who passed away Friday January 28th, 2010. Jude bravely battled Systemic Amyloidosis, a condition that caused his heart walls to thicken. He received extensive chemo and stem cell transplant therapies at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. We and the entire Louisville, KY cycling community were stunned at the loss. Just the day before he died, he posted on CaringBridge that he was being release from Mayo, with a good prognosis. He was on his way home with his wife Shannon, when he lost consciousness and was unable to be resuscitated.

His teammates were pallbearers and the Louisville Cycling community was there by the thousands at his visitation. Jude was well known and respected as a Husband and Father, Lawyer, Cyclist and human being. We miss him.

We have and are taking all of the steps necessary to make this part of the Kentucky Derby Festival event calendar for years to come. They were very supportive and through assistance from Jude's Law Firm Frost, Brown and Todd, as well as Gregg Scheller and team, we made the inaugural event a real even to remember. Additionally, we were able to donate $2,000 to the Lance Armstrong Cancer Foundation!

So, the race, scheduled months in advance, was held on an iffy day, with tons of threatening weather including severe rain and potential for hail and lightning. We made the best of it, working Friday and Saturday morning to set up the course, sweeping the gravel and glass off of the road in Shawnee park. Getting there at 6:00am Saturday morning, we put the hay bales down and made the final touches before racing went off at 9:00am starting with the Cat 5 / Citizens. Despite wet roads early, the day improved and even dried out completely for most of the races. Nice! Unfortunately, the last race of the day, the Cat 1/2 race had to be cancelled at 3pm because of lightning. But all in all, we have a great event!

I race in the Master's 40+ races, which is the Race I would have shared with Jude. Knowing that this was in his honor made our team, consisting of Rich MacInnes, Keith Lucas and myself super motivated. I may have gotten a bit obnoxious as I kept telling teammates and other races, that nobody was getting away from us, without one of the Scheller's teammates in the breakaway. Rich, Keith and I busted it from the gun, closed at least 20 break attempts and went with everything that moved. Strange for me as more of a pure sprinter, I was at the front for most of the race, super attentive and highly motivated. Rich and Keith were all over everything. The Papa John's team had 4 or 5 riders in the race, with 2-time national TT champion Steve Spanbauer, pocket rocket Mike McShane, the good doc and hard working John Mandrola and super strong Dr. Scott Kuiper. Lots of super strong guys from McDonalds and individual racers made every effort to split the group, but ultimately, everything stayed together and the sprint finish came fast and tight.

Coming into the last couple of corners, I made the move to the front 7 or 8 riders, got gapped by a couple guys sitting up and had to bridge to the 5 guys gapping the field and making the last turn into the finish line. I was a bit worried that I used too much to get there, on Mike McShane's wheel, but about 150 meters to go, he came out of the draft to the left of the Nuvo and McDonald's riders and so I went right to get clear and went as hard as I could, winning by a couple of bike lengths. It was an awesome win, in honor of my friend and teammate.

This isn't my first win, but was without a doubt my favorite and most meaningful! Jude's wife Shannon and sons Cullen and Brennan got to share the day with his teammates and community. We had a moment of silence before the race that touched me very deeply.
So for those of you who are racers or love to watch racers go at it, look for an even bigger event next year at Shawnee Park. I'll post a date once we set it.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rubber to the road, er... I mean rollers!

Wow, too cold for outdoor rides right now! Ten degrees below zero with windchill here in Louisville, KY. It's been years since it was this cold.

That can only mean rollers and my CycleOps Fluid2 are getting more than their fair share of use. I like to warm up on my rollers and then swithc over to the Fluid trainer for the tough stuff. Having a 42" Plasma HDTV and my Robbie Ventura RealRides DVDs makes the time go fast and efficiently. I use the Power and Speed vids to mix it up and rotate the regimen.

I envy those in the wamer climates right now. Reading about Lance and the 100 plus degree heat in Australia makes me wanna go. There is just those pesky little issues of time and money. Remind me to strike it rich so I can do the snowbird thing and hang out in Aussie land in the North American winter period. Yeah, thats the ticket, yeah. (SNL Liar character as played by John Lovitz

My team, Indiana Masters is competing at Marian College's Indoor 10mi TTT Challenge this weekend. This will be my first trip with them. Fortunately/unfortunately (you choose), my teammates include National and World TT champs. Yes, they were desperate, and called me when one had to bow out. Even better is having to get up at 5am to get to Indy in time for a 1hr warmup before the TT. Yeah! One the upside, I'm really going to suffer and with peer pressure from the some of the best around. As a result, I'll get a better idea of my max heart rate and power output for about 23min. Grasping at positive straws, I know. I think I may actually puke, so I'll keep my breakfast small Saturday. Maybe we can get a video or pic to post on that matter later.

Speaking of Lance, just knowing Versus is going to broadcast it means earlier than usual motivation for the cycling season! Early season classics, broadcast of IronMan competitions and adventure racing always gets me on the bike. This year master Nationals will be here in Louisville again and our Spring Training season starts around the 1st of March. This week was a rest week, so at least I'll be relatively fresh for the TTT. Next week jumps back into Power Intervals, Steady State and Muscle Intervals.

Stay tuned for the next installment of - "How did Darrin die?" Post TTT summary, most likely posted by someone other than Darrin.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Winter-training in effect!!!

Winter has settled in here in Louisville and the daylight savings time change a couple of weeks ago has forced me to do my weekday rides on the rollers and Fluid trainer indoor. Even some weekend rides are indoor due to cold, wet, windy conditions. Yuck! Indoor training is brutal at times and mindnumbing at the very least. Everything hurts and is more miserable riding on the trainer for all of the obvious reasons. Your mind doesn't have the change of scenery and motion to drown out the fact that your butt is hurting. Plus the fact that you can't coast like you would on the road means the effort is more concentrated. Over the years I have found that I gain some mental toughness for racing while suffering on the trainer.

On the upside, warming up and cooling down on the rollers means my bike handling skills get tuned up. Rollers smooth out your pedal stroke, due the the fact that jerky pedalling motion may mean losing your balance on the PVC rollers. I don't do tricks per se, but riding with no hands, using the TV remote and answering the phone are part of my repetoire now.

I get pretty giddy when the teammates and I get together for a road ride on the weekend. A couple of weeks ago I rode to meet them ended up with 88mi for the day in about 5hrs. That was bad enough, since I hadn't ridden that many miles in months, but to top it off we did 10 hill repeats on Westport Hill. Super steep and about a 1/2 mile. To make that more painful, it was a huge headwind coming back into town for like 25mi and after getting to where my teammates met me and peeled off, I still had 15mi on my own. My legs were cooked but it was great.

I need to mix it up with some MTB rides and night rides over in the Seneca to Cherokee Park loop. Bike lanes and lights are the only thing that make that possible on weelnights though.

Well, time to go, I've got and hour and a half session with Muscle-Tension intervals to do.

Oh goody!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why do you race and commute by bike?

Wow, why do I commute to work by bike? Strangely enough, that seemed like an odd question to me. I'm really abouth the opposite of what you'd envision when someone says they ride their bike to work. You either think tree-huggin' planet activist or someone who does it because they can't afford to commute by car. I'm neither of those, but after having done it awhile, I have to admit both stereotypes deserve more credit than people give them.

Upon crossing the bridge into Louisville from Southern Indiana, I get on Main Street in downtown and mix it up with the heavy traffic of rush hour. However, being able to cruise at 25mph and the carefully timed traffic lights make for a pretty safe lane of traffic. I immediately took to riding as fast or faster than the traffic around me, taking the whole lane and watching out for people parked on the side who don't look before opening their car doors. I really only compete with motorists for about 5 blocks, then most traffic turns off and when I make a left on 15th street, I have a bike lane for 20 blocks. Wearing my Indiana Master's bright orange uniform sure helps with visibility too. My job is only 9mi each way and most of it is pretty tame surface streets with moderate traffic and since my training calls for 150 to 200mi of training each week in race season, this is actually my easy ride. Coming home is probably more risky, but again I make sure people see me and ride predictably. On the upside, I get fresh air, save about $60 a month when riding to work 3x per week and sav the wear and tear on my car. Yes, I'll also list that I'm doing something to lower my carbon footprint and feel good about that too.

Now, the question about why I race is harder to explain and impossible to express. No one riding a bike with someone, anyone else, ever rides without some form of competition between them. I enjoy racing because it is a reward to training so hard and the excitement of winning a high profile race and getting the pics to prove it are so over the top that I can't tell you what it compares to in its own place. However, I will tell you that it is nowhere nearly as great as the love of my wife and two daughters. Fortunately, when they come to my races it is so cool to hear them creaming go daddy go!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another day another scare!

Riding to work this morning, a guy on a motorcycle yelled obscenities at me for being on the road. Dude, motorcyclists and bicyclists can share the road, there is literally room for both! The fact that he buzzed me real close as he yelled at me had my adrenaline going and I hit 33mph lickety-split. Scared the crap out of the guy when I was on him that quick.

I asked him what the problem was. He just said f-you - you shouldn't be on the road. I smiled and told him the law says otherwise and I was as far to the side as I could get safely. I also told him there would be more and more bikes on the road. His wife who was sitting on the back of the notorcycle said "Shut up Dave", to which I replied "Yeah Dave, shut up, you don't know what you are talking about!" (Clever, I know) Needless to say, I regretted my verbal lob, but I can tell you one thing, that guy will think twice before starting something like that with the next cyclist which was exactly my intenet.

As I should state, I'm not your average commuting cyclist. Cars are constantly buzzing, honking cursing or throwing things at cyclists, thinking they are slow. As a racer, I can exceed 40mph when in a race or in cases like this that I'm scared and adrenalized. They usually can't believe their eyes when they see me. I usually give them a chance to backpedal, but sometimes when they really put me or others in danger, I'll make sure they know it. Some motorists need that reality check, because otherwise we are just speedbumps on their way to wherever.

I've had some good experiences with people who were initially hostile with their cars. More than once, after the verbal barrage they threw, I'll explain the law to them and they just didn't know. Thats what I'm after 9/10ths of the time. The exception to that is the guy out in the country near Henryville, IN that threw a Subway Cups full of soda and the remnants of his trash into my back. Pure redneck, driving a Poweder Blue 72 Chevy Nova that was totally rusted out. It hit me square in the back and helmet and nearly knocked the wind out of me as he was going at least 45mph. I of course, yelled at him and as I climbed the hill, was really hoping he'd be there, but no such luck...coward. I still keep my eyes peeled whenever I'm out that way and wish I could have seen his license plate number.

What has to happen is a fundamental change in the public's knowledge and attitude about pedestrians and cyclists. Most of the public has no idea that cyclists are a legal part of traffic and have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. I rode up to and spoke to a gentleman who lives in my neighbrhood because he drives a vehicle that says Drivers Education. I asked him what the courses teach about motorist's and cyclists. He simply said that the course teaches that the motorist has to treat the cyclist as a vehicle. Thats good, but not good enough. The road rage problem is more along the ages of 30+ based on my experience, so drivers education misses the mark there. We need to start public service announcements on TV, have posters at the BMV, ads in the newspaper, signs on the streets and most importantly, stop letting motorists kill cyclists with no penalty. Too many exxamples of this even on a local level here around Louisville, KY.

Tell me what you think!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A BOLD new world or just another Blog?

Well, This is my first step into blogging. Shucks, no cymbals or drum roll... oh well.

About me... 41yrs old, but look 36 5'10" Brown hair and Blue Eyes and athletic. I race bicycles, yes like Lance, but nowhere nearly as well. I'm really excited to hear he's coming back to the sport. His main objective is to bring Cancer awareness to every continent and country he races in, starting with Australia at the end of January at the Tour Down Under.

I'm very happily married to Debbi, also very proud and happy to be the father of two daughters - Taylor, 14 and Meghan, 9. Diehard Christian doing my best to live the example and not thumb my nose those who are not. ( I got enough to worry about without judging someone else.)

As a cyclist, I get tested because motorists seem to throw every arrow in their quiver at us with road rage and outright hostility. Getting tapped by side mirrors of passing cars, hurled insults, even beer bottles and trash thrown at me. The other day a little old lady yelled at me, saying I needed to go the speed limit if I was going to be on the road. I was cruising at 27mph and the speed limit was 25mph. Incidently, she was doing at least 35mph before I coasted up to her at the stop light. When she had delivered some more choice words for me at the light, I gently reminded her of the speed limit and the fact that bikes have a legal right to the road. I tried not to laugh when she gave me the bird and squealed her tires when the light changed. Too funny!

Well, I had better save something for the next entry.