Tag Archives: UWBL

Just enough to get me home

It is Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting sipping a coffee in my compression tights. It is a definite change from where I was several hours ago. It was a hard ride on the Upstate Winter Bicycle League, but now I’m feeling pretty comfortable.

Climbing out of bed this morning, I could feel the stiffness in my hip. The temperature outside was in the 20s. I knew that going out in the cold with this hip could be a bad move. The cold seems to make everything worse.

I sent a message to my coach letting him know that I might not do the ride. I thought I might wait until the afternoon when the temperature was supposed to reach the upper 40s. I’d let him know what I ended up doing.

By 9:30 the thermometer showed 34 degrees. I knew that by 10:30 the temperatures were supposed to edge into the low 40s. Besides, 3 hours on the bike goes by so much faster when you are in a group. I decided to dress warmly and give it a go.

As soon as I walked out the door, I knew I made the right decision. It was quite warm. Even after getting on the bike and starting down the road with the wind tugging at my clothes, I felt comfortable — not really warm, but cool.

We rolled out and it came to me that not only did I make the right decision to do the UWBL, but I was also feeling pretty good. Today was a “let the meter run” day, so I didn’t have to worry about any workouts or intervals. I was supposed to make it as much like a race as I could.

I like these rides because it is a chance for someone like me – a lower Category 3 racer – to go out there with the big dogs and see what it is like to ride with them. While I wouldn’t do this in a race, I figure that if you have the opportunity, then stick your nose in there and learn something.

It is safe to sit in the pack and feel good about yourself as you finish at the back of the sprint. What did you learn? Do you get the experience of knowing what it feels like to push yourself to the edge? Why not go out there and put theory into practice. Sure, you might fail, but that is often how you learn.

We moved into the first attack zone of the day. This one would last about 10 minutes. Steve Sperry went off the front immediately. I knew we were trying to get my teammate Rodney to the finish line first. Steve was taking control of the race so our team could set the pace.

A rider started to attempt to bridge up to him. I covered this rider and followed him toward Sperry. We were at the tip of the spear of the field. As we passed Sperry, I launched a counter from the wheel in front of me. My goal was to pick up where Steve left off and control the front of the field.

Entire effort from first attack zone

I attacked at about 1000 watts and then settled down to 400 watts, then 350 watts, and then looked back. The entire field was right on my wheel! I backed down to 250 watts and finally pulled over to let the field pass. I had pegged my heart rate and now I was just hanging on.

My teammates then moved into line and the final sprint was on. All I could do was watch them launch from about two riders ahead of me. I couldn’t help — and didn’t need to. Rodney won the sprint.

Later, I explained to Rodney what I did and why I did it. He told me that the problem was I attacked from the wheel of the lead rider. Everyone could see what I was doing and they just increased their own cadence and allowed me to pull them along. On the positive side, it kept the pace up and discouraged an early attack by another team, but overall it didn’t accomplish much.

By the time we finished talking, we were headed into the second zone. This one is a bit longer and anything could happen in the next fourteen minutes. Because Rodney and I were talking, we got caught starting at the rear of the field. Still, I could see one rider go away and then saw my teammate Thomas Smith start out after him. The field slowed and let them go.

Thomas is amazing. Not only did he bridge up to the other rider, he went around him and then rode him off his wheel. Then he was out there alone. He was out there alone for a long time!

I started to work my way through the field keeping in mind the advice Rodney had given me earlier. As we got closer and closer to Thomas, I tried to work my way closer and closer to the front — but not too close. I was going to try something.

We caught him with about a mile to go to the finish. When he came back into the fold, there was a lull as the field waited to see which of the “big dogs” would make a move. Once again, the key for us was Rodney. Thomas had controlled the pace for a long time, maybe now I could buy Rodney a few more minutes not having to instigate anything.

The attack and subsequent implosion

I attacked down the left side of the field. Once again, I launched at 1000+ watts. This time I looked back and saw a huge gap back to the field! I had no delusions that I would win the sprint, but I did hope I could hold a pace that would make the other riders have to work to get up to me before the finish — giving Rodney a free ride.

Unfortunately, while I learned the lesson of how to attack from the field, I didn’t have the stamina to back it up. Later, Boyd Johnson rode up to me and chuckled, “We watched your legs just implode on each other.” I laughed right along with him. Sure, I wish I could have helped Rodney more, but the only way to find out what I could do was to try.

The field did go blowing past me. I watched some of the Category 3 riders I’ll be racing against this year go past. My first thought was, “Man, those guys are hanging in there and passing me! I’m toast this season!” Then I reminded myself, “This isn’t a race. The job today is to learn something and just leave enough in the tank to get yourself home.”

I am not naive enough to think my move had anything to do with it. The outcome probably would have been the same regardless. Rodney won the sprint. At least I felt as though I did TRY to do something to help my team.

There was one other attack that I won’t go into here. Let’s just say that at one point early in the attack zone I was surrounded by Globalbike riders — good ones. I was just trying to disrupt their four-man train. The earlier efforts just took it out of me and when my teammate Hank showed up to help, I couldn’t hold on anymore.

THAT is why I love racing my bike. Every time you go out there are new lessons to learn and experiences to put in the bank. You get a chance to push yourself to the edge and learn how far you’ve come — or how far you have to go.

It’s all good, as long as you leave just enough to get you home.

First UWBL of 2010 a success

71 miles and nearly 4 hours after leaving my house Saturday morning, I removed my gloves, arm warmers, leggings, and shoe covers. The first Upstate Winter Bicycle League was over. As usual, the day never ended up seeming as uncomfortable as my mind built it up to be before hand.

Jonathan Pait

Packing up the rain jacket while listening to ride instructions

We met at Carolina Triathlon by the Drive stadium in the West End. It was about a 15 minute ride for me to get there from my home. On the way over I had worn a rain jacket because I expected to get wet, but also to help keep me warm. Well, by the time I reached the store, I not only was dry, but I was also a little too warm.

Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad of a ride after all.

There were probably 60 to 80 riders in the A group. There were a number of riders there for the B group as well. Looking around it was a familiar crowd. Along with the warmer than expected weather the faces added a level of comfort.

Upstate Winter Bicycle League

The A group heads out for the initial ride of 2010

We headed out in the typical direction as years past. However, Steve Sperry took us on some turns that kept us slowing down at some intersections to find out which direction we were supposed to turn. I was glad because it kept the field from getting too stretched out.

My ride average – you can see the chart below – for the entire ride was an 18.8 mph average. The organized portion of the ride ended up being around 20 mph. I can tell I sat in quite a bit because my average wattage for the ride was around 150 watts. That was by design. Not knowing how I would do for that distance, I was very conservative.

UWBL Route 2.4.2010

UWBL Route 2.4.2010 - Click for details.

I did go up to the front a couple of times. I wanted to see how I would feel. Overall I was pretty pleased, but on the second time I pulled I ended up doing so on a climb. I was sucking wind by the time I rotated off and started finding my way toward the back of the field. The power was definitely still there, but the stamina and recovery were not.

You’ll see on the chart below that I also topped out at over 1000 watts. That was not intended. What happened was that when the group stopped for a natural break, but was not being notified by nature that it was time for me to stop. Of course, as usual, it didn’t take that long after we got going again before the message came through loud and clear.

I needed to stop! So, I sprinted out along the side of the field and as I passed the riders on the front I informed them what I was doing. I didn’t want them to think I was trying some stupid breakaway or something like that. It would have been nice had they slowed down a bit.

Once I got ahead enough, I stopped. Then the field came passed me. Of course, I had to face the indignity of the various (good natured) comments from the riders going pass. It was worth it!

I was ready to roll again just as the SAG wagon came by. There were a couple of other riders that were back there with it. One was Eric Christophersen. That made me happy because even though I knew he was riding a fixed gear, I also knew he was someone I could work with to get back up to the field.

Sure enough I pulled for a little while and then gave up the front to Eric. He pulled me the rest of the way to the point where we came upon the field that had stopped at an intersection. No doubt Eric would have gotten us back even if they had kept moving, but it was nice not to have to do that work.

Personal ride stats

Personal ride stats from 2.4.2010

These charts represent my statistics for the day. The above chart shows the ride data. The below chart shows my metrics as reported Saturday morning. The training is about to begin!

December 4, 2010 Morning Metrics

Trainingpeaks: December 4, 2010 Morning Metrics

A thank you to Eddie James Helton for the photos of the event. I really appreciate his willingness to use his photographs for the LowCadence.com blog. He makes our cycling events a lot more fun.

UWBL: Undergoing Wimp Brain Lobootomy

I hate cold. I admit that I am a wimp. I’m actually one of those weird people who would rather ride a trainer during the winter than go out into even mildly cold air.

Just yesterday afternoon I went out for a short spin in temperatures around 40 degrees. Part of me enjoyed it. Part of me didn’t. Mainly it took me forever to warm up afterward.

Tomorrow is the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. By the time we pull out at 10 AM for the 3.5 hour ride, the thermometer will be showing low 40’s. The skies will be overcast and the winds will be a noticeable 10 mph. The good news is that the rain forecast for Saturday shouldn’t arrive until later in the day… we hope.

I know I’ll be there and as much as I moan and complain about it now, I know I will end up enjoying it. UWBL is my way to undergo a wimp brain lobotomy. Sometimes you have to just forget what your brain is telling you and enjoy the ride.

Riding in a group during the cold winter months definitely helps. 1) It gives you some accountability. 2) It helps you stay warmer (the draft is for more than just speed). 3) Talking with others (even when your teeth are chattering) can help take your mind off the environment.

So, here we go. I’ll leave my brain by the fire at home and put it back in when I get back. You know, I’m going to enjoy it.

Want to learn more about it? Check out these videos from 2008: first day of 2008, Dec. 13 final sprint, what UWBL can do to you, and my favorite video of that year. You can learn the how, what, when, and where at UWBL.net.

A Cat 4 brain in a Cat 3 body

If you saw Friday’s Twitter Trail, you probably know that I wasn’t looking forward to Saturday morning’s Upstate Winter Bicycle League. I did it anyway and after a very rough start, I’m glad I did it. I’m learning a lot, but sometimes learning isn’t much fun.

There were several things that happened during the week (not related to the bike) that had me emotionally and mentally reeling. To make matters worse, the weather had me stuck on the trainer except for Monday. All I wanted to do was sit by the fire and read a good book!

I got on the bike anyway and started out from home to the new location for the start of the UWBL. Before I could even get down East North street I was beginning to feel warm. That was a good sign! Perhaps it wasn’t going to be as cold as predicted. Not only that, but I could see blue sky on the horizon. Hmmmmm. This might be good.

We rolled out with a slightly smaller group than some. Perhaps there were other people not really wanting to ride for 80 miles! I wasn’t complaining. A smaller group often means faster speeds and less trouble.

Jim had given me instructions not to participate in the sprints unless I did so in the final one. That being the case, I sat in most of the time, but did go off the front one time on a hill. It was my way of letting loose some of the pent up emotions from the week.

As I was doing so, Andy Baker came up beside me. “Are you doing intervals or something?” he asked. I replied, “Why not?” Sometimes I get really tired of the “Peloton Rules.” I just want to ride my bike. We weren’t sprinting. I was gaining no advantage. I just wanted to go hard for a couple minutes! What is wrong with that? I did my thing and then slowed to wait for the group.

Later Andy came up to explain that he just didn’t want me to shoot a wad in the sprints and then be frustrated at the end when I didn’t get a finish that I would like. I did appreciate his willingness to offer advice and I know what he said was true. However, I had to point out, “I’m not supposed to be going for sprints today.”

Well, the first sprint did come. I was a little frustrated. Not because I didn’t think I could mix it up, but because my team was trying to get some points for Eric. I felt like I was hanging back on them.

I decided I wouldn’t go hard, but would try to stay in contact with the leaders and finish as close to the front as I could. However, I started out pretty much toward the back. Moving my way toward the front I saw a group of my team mates sliding back. They had given what they could to stretch things out and here I was cruising along.

I then moved into a six man group with one of my team mates. Feeling that it would be good for me to help in someway, I motioned for him to get on my wheel and I would try to help move him closer to the front. He is a very strong rider and I thought just a little bit of help might get him in contention.

He didn’t follow. I was a bit confused at first. Then I looked ahead – I could now see the lead group. There was Eric and another POA rider. Ahhhh, I thought to myself. He didn’t follow because we had two guys up front. So, I backed off as well.

Later at the store stop, we were talking about how we were feeling. I joked, “I’ve got a lot — for about 30 seconds.” My team mate expressed he didn’t care for the way I worked in the attack. I explained that I went back because I realized the situation and didn’t want to pull the group up to our guys. Finally, I just rode away. Emotionally, I wasn’t ready to deal with this.

I think most people will tell you I want to learn. I will take advice. However, I’m not going to get run over. I’m willing to learn — just be willing to teach.

It was crushing. I’m sure all the other stuff of my week had something to do with it, but I felt like just riding off alone to home. Forget the team.

The back of the group is where I sat for sometime. Eric came up and put his hand on my back, “Don’t let the words get you, man.” He said, “We’ll get this stuff worked out.” I really appreciated that and it lifted my spirits a bit.

Before long, it was time for the next attack zone. This time I decided to forget my instructions (Forgive me, Coach) and try to help the team if I could (and hope I didn’t unintentionally do something I wasn’t supposed to). I found myself toward the front with some of my team mates including Rodney Dender.

As the two of us moved on the front I said, “Okay, what am I supposed to do?” He replied, “Just get in the line and hold a steady tempo while pulling through.” That is exactly what I attempted to do.

Cleve Blackwell was way off the front as I settled in with two other riders in front of me. They kept pulling, so I kept sitting on. Finally, they shifted over and I moved on point trying not to push too hard.

It wasn’t long before I noticed the gap to Cleve was dropping. I picked it up just a tad and then glanced back. There was a good sized gap. So, rather than sitting in no man’s land, I sped up to get behind Cleve.

Before long I felt the presence of some other riders. There were now about five of us and it appeared Andy Baker and Cleve were working together. I knew I wasn’t going to be there at the finish, but I wanted to stay with these guys until some of my team mates showed up.

Finally, they did and I knew that it was time for me to get out of the way. Still, I felt I had helped by keeping one of our kits up on the front and allowing the team to let others do the chasing. Even so, in the back of the mind I wondered if I had done the right thing. Let’s just say that I didn’t have a lot of mental confidence at that point! By the way, Eric won that one.

Now it was time for the final sprint of the day. This was the one I was actually supposed to get involved in IF I was going to mix it up in any of them. Earlier I had heard Rodney talking. He said, “Guys, if there is a break, let me go. I can stay with them and you guys won’t have to work so hard.”

Well, at the beginning of the attack zone, I found myself on the front. This was not where I planned to be. It wasn’t where the people around me planned to be either! They all disappeared. I just kept spinning along easily waiting for riders to come up with me. Not wanting to get freight trained, I began to ease into a tempo I thought would keep me safe.

Suddenly, Steve Sperry came flying around me. I expected more to follow, but no one did. Looking back, a gap had formed. I then looked ahead and thought, “Okay, I’ll go with Sperry and I’m sure I’ll get caught at some point. Rodney knows I won’t be able to hold it, so he will be in position to allow others to chase and then take over when he gets here.”

You know, I like Steve Sperry. He has always been very kind to me and when we’re out on the road, he gives me very good tactical advice. It was kind of neat to be up there with just the two of us taking the wind for each other.

“We’ve got to make it to the golf course before they catch us,” he explained. I did my best to help him accomplish that. Unfortunately, just before we reached it, we got caught. Once again it was Andy and Cleve towing some other riders. I was happy to see one of them was Rodney.

Rather than backing off, I tried to stay with the group so I could be there to help the odds with Rodney. I was starting to believe I could do it as we turned onto Highway 20. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the transition onto that road can be tricky.

You have to climb up to the turn and then there is a short downhill before you go into a sweeping left turn that puts you (at least on this day) dead into a headwind. I tried to catch my breath for just a second as we made the turn and the other riders accelerated. Too late I tried to match it and a small gap formed as we went into the headwind.

It was over at that point. They were sooooo close, but I just didn’t have the juice to close it down. I realize now I should have just gone into the pain locker when we made that initial turn and hung onto the group until we all got into the wind together. At that point I could have been shielded and might have recovered a bit.

As it was, the second large chase group came past me. I let them go and watched the race unfold before me on the long stretch of straight road. I watched them cross the train tracks as two groups. Then they crested the hill that took them out of my view — still two groups.

By the time I crested the hill, the only riders I could see ahead were the ones that were spit out the back of the field. Later I learned that the second group was never able to close the gap. Rodney went on to lead out Sperry who took the win. Rodney did that because he knew he did not have the points to affect the overall lead.

You know. I am improving physically. I am doing things that I would have never dreamed of last year. Sure, I got dropped on that last attack, but I went farther than I ever have before and I was racing with the Pro-1-2 guys. I wonder what it will be like when I’m back with my Cat 4 brethren?

There in is my greatest weakness. I definitely have the power of a Cat 3 racer, but I have the tactical knowledge of guy who just moved up from Cat 5 to Cat 4. I’m still trying to get a handle on my bike handling skills and race knowledge.

At the same time, I don’t think I’m foolish — that would just be true if I kept making the same mistakes over and over again. I REALLY AM TRYING TO LEARN! Before the season is over, I hope it becomes obvious to more than just myself.

Drawing with Crayons: My first UWBL of the winter

It wasn’t until this Saturday that I was able to make it to the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. It wasn’t that I hadn’t wanted to earlier, but it seemed that something kept coming up that kept me away. The first one was canceled due to weather and then I was either out of town, sick, or had another obligation. So, it was with a little bit of caution I approached my first one.

Why the caution? One reason is the fact that I hadn’t ridden over 60 miles since October. This one was slated to go 84 miles with three sprints and attack zones thrown into the mix. I was seriously wondering if I might just come dragging in behind the SAG after the four hours on the bike.

My second reason for caution is the fact that I had not ridden in a competitive group since the POA Cycling Team Fall Extravaganza. Let me tell you… UWBL A group is a competitive ride! It is a training ride not just for getting in your base miles. It is a training ride of practicing race tactics and sprint technique. It takes a little bit to get back in the swing of things going nearly 40 miles an hour down the road only a foot away from people on either side of you!

At least the weather started out nice. It was in the mid-40s, but after the days in the 20s and 30s we’ve had recently it seemed like a heat wave! By the time we finished we were in the 50s, but the rain set in and we were all wet.

I figured there were at least 80 riders out. There were a good number of POA Cycling Team members representing. It had been awhile since we had that many at the event. Jae Bowen was our man for the ride seeing how he had points towards the Pink Jersey.

It was fun to get back out there. However, it wasn’t supposed to be all fun for me. I had training to do. My instructions from coach were to 1) stay near the front and be efficient, 2) amass 350 TSS points, and 3) play around in the final sprint if my legs felt up to it.

With the final sprint in mind, I tried to tuck in and hide for a good portion of the ride. I still had memories of last year in my head.  It seemed that anytime I attempted to participate in a sprint, I would come dragging home. I didn’t want that to happen on this day.

I was helped out a bit in the first sprint. Just as we neared the attack zone, we approached an intersection. There were cars coming on our right. Some of the cyclists went on through, but as I got closer to the road so did the traffic coming toward us. Perhaps I did the wrong thing, but 1) I don’t want to get hit by a car, and 2) I don’t want motorists to hate us for being on the road. So, I disengaged my left foot and called, “Car right!” as I slowed to come to a stop.

Suddenly, I felt the force of someone running into my rear. I knew something bad had happened to my bike. However, I checked things out and it appeared that I was good to go. I got across the intersection and started going through my gears figuring the rear derailleur was going to be the issue. Sure enough, I found when I tried to go into the big ring I got a grinding sound and the chain was not moving smoothly.

I caught the rear of the group and then other guys arrived. We had a continuing “conversation” about the incident. Finally, I knew it was best to just shut my mouth and ride. However, there was a bit of pent up energy I was hoping to release on this first sprint.

It didn’t matter. First, I was at the rear of the pack when the attack started, and second, I was having to participate in my small ring. I was spinning like a mad man just to stay with the main group! The positive thing was that I moved up into the group and ended the sprint to Ware Shoals in sight of the winners.

Once we stopped after the sprint, I had time to take a look at my bike. The rear wheel was true and it didn’t seem that my hanger arm was bent. Still, I had that grinding sound. It appeared to be a front derailleur problem. As I was looking at it, Boyd Johnson came over to help me out. He just reached over and twisted the front derailleur just a fraction. The sound went away. Turns out my right foot must have jammed against the arm and bent it. Now, with Boyd’s help, I was back ready to go.

The mist started to feel a little more like rain as we neared the Dunklin Bridge attack zone. I figured we were heading for some rain ahead. I didn’t want to mix it up in a rainy sprint. I figured if I was going to “play around in a sprint” it was going to have to be this one. The Highway 20 finish would probably be soaked.

I started out near the front as one guy attacked forming a gap. I stayed with the guys at around me which included Thad Dulin and Steve Sperry. In my mind, it made sense to stay near them and see what would transpire. Then the jostling began as there were attacks and counter attacks.

“Watch and learn,” I said to myself and stayed close on Thad’s wheel. Patiently I waited staying close to him. Then he moved over to a group that was counter attacking. I hesitated because it was a little early in the attack for what I thought I could handle (it is a five mile attack zone). Looking back, I realize I should have just laid in on the line and chased after him.

The result of my hesitation was that I was now toward the front of a larger chase group. This meant more traffic. Ahead I could see the main competition flying along in a single file. Here I was with riders all around. My thought was, “Well, no way are you going to get anything out of this… just hold your position.” Some of the other riders started falling away as they must have come to a similar decision. I ended up passing a few riders ahead and finished in the first 20. I wonder what might have happened had I stayed with Thad.

Very soon after the rain started soaking the road and rooster tails were coming up from the bikes in front of me. The ride leader, Steve Sperry, stopped us to explain that the final sprint would be shorter in order to allow us to avoid some slippery train tracks that crossed the attack zone. That was fine with me, I was planning on just keeping the carbon side up!

Thankfully, I felt pretty strong even toward the end of the effort. There was something left in the tank even after the earlier efforts and several pulls on the front of the group. The day showed me that my fitness is coming. If I can just work on my sprint knowledge and confidence, I bet I could land a top ten on one of these rides. I’m really starting to believe that it isn’t so much a matter of my legs as it is my head.

As Sperry said to a guy riding near me, “Sprinting is an art.” Then he added, “Right, Jonathan?” Yes, it is an art, but I’m still drawing with Crayons!

Tomorrow is Upstate Winter Bicycle League… Maybe

UPDATE – 5:25 PM December, 4: UWBL has been canceled for Saturday, December 5. First ride will be December 12, 2009.

Ah, it is that time again! Greenville area cyclists are planning for the beginning of the Upstate Winter Biccycle League. Tomorrow is the day when we all bundle up and head out to begin the multi-week event that will lead us to Spring Series races in late February. All this is so… unless there is too much winter for us South Carolinians (emphasis on SOUTH).

What is the Upstate Winter Bicycle League? It is a league of bicycle riders that operates during the winter in Upstate South Carolina.  Okay, that doesn’t really answer the question.  Here is some information to help you out.

The UWBL is a ride that happens each Saturday in the winter months. Up to 200 riders will show on some Saturday’s to leave from downtown Greenville on a rides up to 100 miles.  They start at around 50 to 60 and then grow longer as the winter progresses toward spring. To add to the fun is the points system. At the end of the league riders and teams amassing the most point win the “yellow” and “green” jerseys.

For an idea of how a ride goes — specifically the first ride of the league in 2008 — you can read my experience from December 6th of last year.  Don’t want to just read about it? Well, check out these videos: first day of 2008, Dec. 13 final sprint, what UWBL can do to you, and my favorite video of that year.  That should give you some idea.

However, if you REALLY want to know what is going on with the UWBL, you need to visit UWBL.net.  It is the official site and can be sure to check it out this evening. The site says that they will call the ride one way or the other based on the weather.

What is that supposed to be? Well, Weather.com says there is a 40% chance of cold rain at 10 AM. That is following a higher percentage earlier in the morning. By lunch time it is supposed to be down to a 20% chance of rain. The temperatures will be flirting with the upper 30s during that time.  Accuweather.com gives a similar forecast. Call me a wimp, but I think I will be checking the weather around 9:30AM tomorrow morning even if they do say the ride is on.

There is still a lot of winter left…

Upstate Winter Bicycle League won’t miss a beat

Even the local cycling scene has it’s silly season.  It is that time when team realign and riders will move from one to another. This go around we have a major change in one of the larger teams in our peloton. However, the silliness is settling down and things are looking good.

No need to go into all the details, but the GlobalBike team here in the Upstate has changed it’s focus away from the Master’s level and is trying to move into a higher level race team.  That meant that a number of the better known riders on the team were looking for new rides.  Some other riders who were going to move to the master’s team were scrambling to get back with their previous team or a new one.

None of this affected me directly, except I did know that Steve Sperry was one of those guys who raced with the masters riders.  He and his teammates headed up the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. While I wasn’t too concerned that the ride would disappear, I was wondering if it might be a little less organized if things moved to a new team or Steve wasn’t involved.

I met up with him at the Hincapie Sports Warehouse Sale and asked him about it.  He assured me that UWBL was on and would be as good as ever.  He himself was staying on with GlobalBike to help with the realignment and he would be organizing the winter rides once again.  The difference will probably be that the ride leading duties will be spread around among riders on various teams.

My own team – POA Cycling Team – has managed to come through all of this with only one loss.  We had a scare there for a bit as we thought we would lose a mate to GlobalBike and some other prospects to that team as well.  However, with the realignment we with that organization we have been able to hang onto him and pick up some other incredible riders.  Our masters team is going to be smokin!

We were sad to lose Sam Smith, but she is moving to a new team that is forming that will have more ladies on it.  I wish her well and hope she will still consider letting me ride with her crew during next year’s 12 Hours of Tsali.  Hope I don’t regret saying that!

The new team appears to be a creation that will include a number of riders from the Hincapie Development Team.  I have not received an official announcement, but I believe that team will not be fielding riders next season.  Don’t worry though, we’ll still have to deal with the same riders!

Right now, I’m ready to put some of this silliness behind me and focus on my Ride For Mike.  Right now I am at $1815 raised toward my $5000 goal.  I’m thankful to those who have continued to give.  My drop dead date for having donations in is October 17 at 2:30.  That goal isn’t silliness!

I already want my bike back!

I woke up a little sore this morning.  Nothing drastic, just enough to notice a little more tenderness in certain regions and stiffness in some of my muscles.  I think I can trace it back to two things: 1) Nintendo Wii and 2) my Specialized Allez with a “new” saddle.

Last week I made the decision to skip the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. It isn’t that the ride had lost its lustre for me.  It was simply a matter that with the race season starting for us next week, I wanted to be well rested going into that weekend after a long winter of riding.

By the way, the final points was extremely close.  Rodney and Yuan were only one half point from each other going into the final ride.  Rodney won the final sprint, but Yuan took second.  Because of the handicaps given in the various categories of riders, this gave Yuan the yellow vest.

Paul Mills easily held onto the green vest, which is awarded to the rider collecting the most points during the various sprint zones during the ride.  I like to think I helped Paul to his victory by helping him pace around Cleveland Park the night before.  Right!  Good job guys!  See you next year.

My plan was to ride with the Sunshine Cycle Shop guys on the Hour of Power.  However, I stayed up too late the night before trying to finish my vlog after a Wii party.  Saturday morning I ended up sleeping past the start time for the ride.  It wasn’t until that afternoon that I got out.

Shortly before lunch I dropped my Specialized Tarmac off at Sunshine to have a tune job done in anticipation of next Saturday.  I told them not to be in a hurry because I planned to ride my “old” Specialized Allez while the Tarmac was in the shop.  However, I would appreciate it if they could give me a used seat to replace the current one I had covered with duct tape.

The ride that afternoon was one of the best I have enjoyed.  After a cloudy rainy start to the day, the sun came out and the temperatures were in the middle to high 60s.  I easily worked my way toward Travelers Rest and headed toward the mountains.

I didn’t make it to the blue elevations before me in the distance, but everything seemed so right with the world, I felt like I could have kept riding to the Rockies!  I had stuck my iPod in my jersey for listening once I got out of town, but it wasn’t needed. This was one of those time when the thoughts in my mind and the sound of the rubber on the asphalt – swish, swish, swish – was the only music I needed.

So, why do I want my bike back?  Well, while the Allez is a very good bike, it just isn’t the Tarmac.  The steering geometry is different and I definitely missed my Specialized Toupe saddle.  My guess is I really need to get a bike fit on the Allez.  Some of the soreness I think can be attributed to that.  What I would like to do is take my old Toupe and put it on the Allez and get a new one for the Tarmac.

I’ll have to wait on that.  John texted me to let me know I was going to have to put on new rubber.  Seems I had all kinds of stuff embedded in the Michelins.  New bar tape to replace my current peeling grips also end up finishing off my budget for the month!

Enjoy the Tour of California.  I won’t be mentioning it much here.  You can find it all over the place elsewhere with coverage from people who are actually there.  I really don’t have much to add.

Thanks for reading LowCadence.com!

2.7.2009 UWBL video

First to get a little business out of the way.  If you are visiting LowCadence.com from my Twitter feed (@jpait), you might want to begin following the site’s own feed at @lowcadence.  Over the next week, I will begin transitioning site alerts over to that feed.

Now for the video from Saturday’s UWBL.  This wasn’t my greatest hour!  Still, you get a sense of what the ride was like.  I only wish I could have focused more on the interplay between the various teams and riders.

I hope you have enjoyed these videos over the series.  I’m curious what I’m going to do now.  The Upstate Winter Bicycle League was a perfect event for getting video.  I don’t think they’ll let me wear my helmet cam during races, so I’ve got to come up with some new ideas for topics to cover with the camera.  Got any?

There is one more UWBL to go.  However, I’m taking a break so that I can rest up a bit before Spring Series.  The plan is to back off for a week and then start ramping up for the race on the 21st.  Thanks for all you guys out there that made the rides so much fun.