Tag Archives: Samantha Hartung

Brain dead

It was the June segment of the POA Cycling Summer Series last night.  I arrived a little fearful.  My calf muscle had bothered me for the last couple of days and I had visions of it seizing up early on in the event.  Turns out it wasn’t my leg that cost me a good finish.  It was my brain!

In the cat 4/5 race we do 35 minutes plus 2 laps.  This means we normally get 35 laps or so in on the near .5 mile course.  We’ll finish up in less than 40 minutes.

Last night there were 37 of us lined up for the race.  There were a good number of GlobalBike club team members on hand and I figured they would give a good showing.  I had Sam, Luis, and Matt with me.  Oh, yeah, Tyler Crotts was there as well.  He factors into the story later.

Right from the start things got hopping.  Matt took off to start a break and I followed.  Five minutes into the race we had a gap on the field.  Unfortunately, my old body has to warm up before I can start doing things like that!

As we were rotating through, I started to struggle and said to my break partners, “I’ve got to back off.”  I didn’t want to hold Matt up if he was feeling good.  I realized I would just slow them down.  Later I learned that they thought I said, “Let’s back off.”  We all slowed and were caught.

It was time to go to mid-pack and recover.  One thing I’ve learned it that no matter how you feel, you cannot go to the rear of the field – at least not on this course.  I sat in and tried to recover.

Honestly, 15 minutes in I nearly pulled off the course.  I felt really, really bad.  Thankfully, I’ve been there before I knew I just had to ride through it.  I began to concentrate on staying near some of the GlobalBike riders and that took my mind off my body enough for me to effectively recover.

Twenty-five minutes in I started to find that I was unintentionally starting to make my way closer to the front.  I don’t know if it was because other riders were slowing or I was feeling better and speeding up.  Perhaps it was a combination.  One thing for sure, I was feeling much better.

That is when I started thinking about the finish.  It entered my brain that the race was 30 minutes plus two laps.  I decided that at 30 minutes, I would attack going up the slight incline on the backside of the course.  If I could get a good enough gap, perhaps I could hold on for the two or three laps I would need.

Around the time I started my move I looked ahead and saw there was someone else who had already attacked off the front.  It was Tyler Crotts – my trash talking nemisis.  Maybe the two of us could connect and help each other out.

The first part worked.  I came out of mid-pack and got a gap before there was any reaction.  I went through turn four and started to climb.  About mid-way up the climb I caught Tyler.  I looked back as I came around him to see if he was able come along.  Tyler wagged his head and stuck his tongue out.  He was done.  I was now alone.

Oh, well, I would just have to put my head down and give it a go.  After the first lap, I was feeling pretty good about myself.  As I would make a turn, I looked back to see the field.  As I came around turns two and three, I didn’t see any chasers.  Good.  Just nail out a steady pace and try to hold on.

It had registered vaguely in my mind that our race announcer, Blair, had not been calling out any lap countdown.  As I came around to finish my first lap on the break, he still was talking about me breaking away – not the amount of laps left.  Could I stay out here for two more laps?  It did help that I also heard the voices of people on the sidelines cheering me on.  I can’t remember who or what exactly they said, but it was a cool feeling.

The next time around was a heart break.  I had started feeling a little tired and wasn’t pushing it nearly as much as before.  It was about 33 minutes in and I heard Blair say as I passed, “5 laps to go.  5 laps to go.  Can Jonathan hang on?”  Funny, hearing those words completely demoralized me.  “No,” I thought to myself, “He can’t.”  Perhaps I could put pressure on the field to chase and allow Luis and Matt to sit in and then make a move.

I hung in there and lead another lap.  I made it around turn one and looked back.  When I was halfway between turns one and two I could see the field coming out of turn one.  I was done.  They caught me between turns two and three – right where I had started my attack.  I tried to stay on, but remember what I said about avoiding the back of the pack.

Three laps to go and Tyler and I were now riding along together.  We talked and still maintained a respectable speed over those last laps.  The last thing I wanted to do was to get lapped.  Number one, I just hate the idea of not finishing on the lead lap.  Number two, I don’t want to be in the way when the riders pick up speed!

We avoided getting lapped and as we crossed the line, we did it wheel-to-wheel so neither of us could say we beat the other (though I do have to point out that I was scored in 20th place – the last possible scoring position, I didn’t see Tyler on the scoring sheet).  It was a fun night.  Yes, I didn’t get the finish I wanted, but I definitely wasn’t just field fodder.

Had I not been brain dead and started my attack a little later, who knows what the evening might have held?  Oh, my calf muscle?  It felt great during the race.  However, by the time I cooled down afterwards, it was already tightening up again.  The Beautiful Redhead tells me that it is trying to send the message that I need to be on the bike more.  That would be nice…

Got me a personal best

I was a little discouraged as I headed out for a ride last evening.  It all happened because of my mistake of looking back at my training time since January.  In that month I had several weeks with 10 hours of training time.  That changed in February and most weeks since that time I have not exceeded 5 hours in all but two of the weeks.

No wonder  I have had such a hard time finishing strong in any of these races.  So, I went out tonight determined to turn over a new leaf and work a little harder at finding the time to get on the bike.  Tonight’s ride was to be 2 hours in Cleveland Park with some tempo riding and sprints.

My Cleveland Park ride

My Cleveland Park ride

My discouragement started to melt away as I began to turn laps in the park.  My legs felt good and the climb along Woodland Way almost seemed flat.  The first hour seemed to slip by quickly.

During that hour I did several all out sprints along the flat section from McDaniel to the Vietnam Memorial.  Yes!  I got a new personal best maximum wattage – 1300 watts.  My 5 second peak at 1245 watts was also the highest I’ve recorded since using WKO+ to track my power.  The 10 second peak was still over 1100 watts.

WKO+ Power Management Chart

WKO+ Power Management Chart (Click to enlarge)

Notice the large orange line on the graph near the top.  That is the 5 second peak power line.  Also the TSB has now moved into positive territory.  If I play this smart and keep training hard and then taking some time off, I could start learning how to manage my effort and peak at just the right times.

I also have to bring out the old Power Profile.  With my new 5 second power peak, I’ve moved that category of the graph into the cat 3 level.  Of course, you can guess I sacrificed my 10 to 20 minute peak times in order to get that high reading.  I realize it is kind of meaningless, but one of my goals is to try to move all of the bars into the cat 3 section before the season ends.

The latest Power Profile

The latest Power Profile

Then in my second hour my teammate Sam came out to the park.  I caught her as she was coming from the Y into the park.  I sat on her wheel for a bit waiting to see if she would notice me.  She glanced back and then did a double-take.  Then she turned to acknowledge me.

We both had iPods going and she appeared to be out doing some fast spinning as well.  So, we didn’t talk much but just traded off leading the other around the park.  After my efforts in the first hour, I have to say that there were a couple of times I thought she was going to drop me.

Then that wonderful thing happened.  I started to feel strong again.  It is as though I had gone through a wall.  My legs still felt a little tired, but it felt as though I could ride right through the tiredness.  I probably could have gone on for an hour more, but Sam peeled off and I needed to get home for supper.

My frame of mind is much more positive now.  The way I figure, I’ve been finishing just outside the top ten in every criterium I have been in – except my DNF in Spartanburg.  Those finishes came with 2 to 5 hours of riding (including the races) per week over the last couple of months.  Hmmmm, who knows what might happen if I got some more time in?

By the way, once again the average power reading on my Garmin 705 from the Quarq CinQo was about 20 watts higher than the actual readings that ended up showing up in my WKO+.  On the other hand, the maximum power reading was about 20 watts lower on the Garmin than on WKO+.  This seems to be consistent every ride I make.  Not a big deal, just interesting.

Great teammates and a dangerous Volvo

Yesterday I posted the race report for the weekend.  Still there was more to the weekend than just riding bikes.  There was time to spend with friends — both old and new.

Some of my mates at SC State Criterium Championships

Some of my mates at SC State Criterium Championships

This was the first opportunity for me to spend any amount of time with my new teammates.  My first race with the POA Cycling Team was a quick up and back to the River Falls road race.  Since I was a late comer to the team, I also missed the early training times.

Because of my kids’ activities on Saturday, I was unable to be there with the team for the Saturday races.  I headed down later that day with plans to join them for the afternoon races on Sunday.  So at 6 PM I rolled onto Kiawah Island to join a number of the crew.

Matt and Reece met me as I was driving onto the island.  I followed them in my car to the Kiawah Island Club where I unloaded my bike for a ride.  I just wanted to go out for a quick 30 minutes to loosen up a bit.

As I headed down the road back toward Charleston I was moving along 25 and 30 mph along the four lane divided highway through a mixed residential and commercial area.  I had spun for awhile and was now opening things up a bit.  My plan was to do several of these accelerations before heading back in.

About this time I noticed a car to my left in my peripheral vision.  It was flying up in the inside lane beside me and I could see the flashing of the right turn signal.  The car suddenly slowed and I could see the driver about to turn right – across the two lanes of traffic – and at the same time I saw the passenger grab the armrest.  The driver made a move on the wheel and I saw the car swerve toward me and then brake.

Thinking back, I tried to figure out what I might have done wrong as I continued along my way with the driver’s horn blaring behind me.  I was traveling along the white line with the flow of traffic.  I made no motions to indicate any turn or change in speed.

What I think happened was the driver was wanting to make a right turn into a street off the road.  He completely misjudged the speed at which I was traveling.  He thought he could get past me and then turn into the street before I got there.  However, because I was going much faster than he thought, he didn’t make it around me soon enough.

So, why the horn?  Frankly, I think he was scared and embarrassed.  Of course, he wasn’t going to take that out on himself.  He had to aim it at the stupid cyclist – who was obeying the rules of the road.

I returned to connect with Matt and Reece before heading to the place where we would be staying the night.  There I found a good number of the crew.  Matt was working on some sort of pasta dish and Samantha was loading garlic into another one.  I had stopped by Chic-fil-a on the way down, but this looked like a worthy second dinner.

As we ate we talked about the races that day and various other topics from social media to our favorite dog chase stories. It was nice to get to know everyone a little better. Later several of the guys and gals actually sat down and watched NASCAR with me.  Now that is the beginning of a great relationship!

Cycling is a team sport.  The POA Cycling Team showed how it can work in the 35+ Masters race the next day.  Not only is it important for strategy, it is also good to have trust in the fellow riders around you.  When things get dicey, it is nice to see that teammate beside you.  Building that trust happens both on and off the bike.

Thanks for a great weekend, POA Cycling.  I appreciate you all letting me come onboard.  Here’s hoping I can get a couple of good results for the team this year.  Even if I don’t, I’ve got your back – that is unless I get taken out by a baby boomer in a Volvo.

Oh, and a huge thank you to the Petersons for opening their homes to us.

Simple things and random sites

Last night was one of those times when you learn to enjoy the simple things. I was finishing up my day expecting to get home, grab a bite to eat, and then head out to a meeting. However, my wonderful redhead decided that I would stay with the kids while she went to the meeting.

That allowed me to rush home from work and jump on the bike for a 40 minute ride with some of my teammates. Samantha, Joey, Matt, and I had a good time making several laps around Cleveland Park. I even had a chance to uncork a couple of time on two of the climbs and clocked a power max of just under 1200 watts.

But mostly it was just a pleasure to spin around the park at about 120 watts. I would hate to do that by myself, but when you are with good friends it makes all the difference. Thanks, ya’ll!

And… now… for… RANDOM SITE OF THE DAY!

I have a horrible time remembering all the parts of a bicycle. I’m sure I’ve made my mechanic friends chuckle more than once when I called a part something other than what it was… “It is the dohickie that is making the rattling sound.”

Well, no more… I happened upon “The Parts Of A Bicycle Nomenclature Names.” Say what? Oh, just go look at this page: http://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/bicycleparts.html.

You cyclists have fun out there at Donaldson tonight. I have the meeting and the wife is staying with the kids. I won’t be able to join you.

How I “Train”

First, let me say that I am no longer going to complain about the conditions and proclaim the epic proportions of the Assault on Mount Mitchell after reading this story by Upstate resident and POA Racing Team rider, Samantha Hartung.  Read about her experience riding the ABSA Cape Epic – “an eight day, 600 mile mountain bike race across Africa.”  Once you enjoy the account, be sure to vote for the article.

Second, let me explain that I had planned for this posting at LowCadence.com to be a “vlog”.  I started out with my camera on one of my quicky “get-a-ride-in-after-work” routes.  It is a 20 mile out and back over Paris Mountain.  The plan was to show some of the landmarks along the way and make some comments like I typically do writing.

Well, things started off well, but just as I started up Piney Mountain Road, my camera turned off.  Turns out I had forgotten to delete the old video files from the SD card!  Man, later I was hating life because there was some BEAUTIFUL views on the mountain in the early evening.

So I adapted. A friend recently asked me how I train.  Specifically, how do I train using my Quarq CinQo power meter with my Garmin 705.  Hmmmm, it is an embarrassing answer.

I don’t really train.  I ride.  Rather than having a set number of repeats or something like that to do.  I typically give myself little inane challenges.  This blown up ride was a perfect example.  Since I wasn’t going to be doing my vlog, I decided to try something I haven’t done since I upgraded my gear set to a 53 x 11.

It came into my mind to do the entire ride in my big ring.  I just went at it right off.  No saving myself for the ride back up the Furman side.

It really felt good and I made it from my house to the turn around on Old Buncombe Road in 40 minutes. I’m certain it would have been faster except I got behind a car on the way down the Furman side.  Still, I shaved six minutes off my routine time.

Next I turned around and climbed the way back up to the top in my big ring.  Again, I didn’t have speed in mind. I just wanted to give myself a weight-bearing work out and complete this spur of the moment challenge I gave myself.  Most of the ride up I intentionally stood.  Turns out I could have given a bit more, but didn’t want to burn out halfway up!  I did need to get home.

So, how do I use the power meter?  I use the power readings as more of a diagnosing tool than a while I’m riding coaching tool.  I didn’t even look at the computer during the ride except to see my time as I reached the turn around point.  I did pull the information into the computer once I got home to see how the ride matched up with other attempts.

My purpose for using the meter right now is simply to gather information about myself and build a power profile of myself. I want to reach a point where I understand my strengths and limitations so that when I get in a race, I can see how my output is comparing with those parameters.  Then I can make better decisions.

My diagnosis of last night’s ride? I felt good about it.  First, I just felt strong.  Second, I had fun.  Third, I was happy with sustained power.  My peak 10 min. power reading was 277 watts, peak 20 min. was 237, peak 30 min. was 232, with the 60 minute peak being 204 watts. Why do I like that? It is because the power drop off over that period was a good ratio.  My peak 5 second power output was 569 watts there at the KOM.

There was a time not too long ago when the drop off from my 10 minute power to my 60 minute would be much more drastic.  The power readings testify to what I am feeling.  I’m getting stronger.

Could I do better?  I know I could if I had a coach and followed a more regimented riding schedule. However, I don’t really want to ride to train.  I want to ride for fun and if doing so is training – great.