Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sat, Oct 31

Tomorrow is already November, so there might be just one more nice weekend like this one left in the year to go out and ride Diablo. After a rather lazy four weeks since the Diablo Challenge, with only one ride up to the Junction since then, it was about time again to go all the way. Met up with TBV in the morning, and rode up to Junction, where he decided that this would be enough of pain for today. I continued to the Summit, enjoyed the views and chatted with two newcomers to the mountain. Uneventful ride down to Danville. I think that I have now connected with the new bike; hope it lasts longer than the previous one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wed, Oct 21

Last Sunday was the first ride on the new bike. It still felt like I borrowed someone else's bike, instead of riding my own. First order obviously was to introduce the new bike to Mount Diablo, so I rode up to Lookout Point, past Junction, before considering that without vest and arm warmers, it would get too cold. Indulgence and just two bike rides within the prior two weeks were obviously detrimental to my fitness, as even on the new bike, I felt slow. Or maybe was it the additional weight of the new frame ? I asked Trek:

I rode a 62cm 2007 Madone 6.5 SSL until the frame cracked, and the dealer replaced the frame with a 2009 Madone 6.5 model, also 62cm.

The 2007 bike weighed 15.7 pounds without pedals on the dealer's scale when I bought it, and the 2009 bike weighs 18.8 pounds with pedals. The pedals are 280g each, so roughly 1 pound total. Based on this, the 2009 frame is about 2 pounds heavier than the old 2007 frame I had.

[...] The dealer says that the 2009 frame is lighter but the scale doesn't lie.

Trek answered:
I suspect the weight difference you're encountering is from the added material in the 2009 Madone's integrated seatmast. To make it more of a fair comparison, you should put the 2009 Madone's mast cap on, insert a seatpost into your 2007 frame, and install the bottom brackets for each bike. These are two places where the redesign we introduced in '08 saves weight compared to a traditional bike design.

That being said, please keep in mind that our focus when we redesigned the Madone in 2008 was not to make the lightest bike on the market. It was to make the best bike on the market. If it were possible to take '07 Madone and an '09 Madone and have two identical riders ride two identical races on them, the '09 rider would come out on top every time. The redesigned Madone has better power transfer from the BB90 bottom bracket cluster, better tracking from the stiffer 1-1/8" to 1.5" front end, and better endurance from the seatmast's greater vertical compliance.

The bottom line seems to be "The '09 is the better frame, don't complain and enjoy what you have". OK, I will.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sat, Oct 17

Today I picked up my new bike at Chain Reaction Bicycles in Redwood City; two weeks ago, and one day before the Mount Diablo Challenge, the frame of my then "new" bike cracked, and left me racing on my older bike.

I weighed the bike at the store: 18.8 pounds / 8.3 kilogram. This is about 2 pounds heavier than the old bike. The saddle bag should not account for most of that. Hmm.

Don't know yet if I have time for the virgin ride tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sun, Oct 11

It must be Off-Season.

The plan for the days after the Mount Diablo Challenge was to take a break, and then resume the workout albeit at a lesser intensity. However, this week has turned into off-season. Typical symptoms:

- Thinking about a bike ride actually reduces your heart rate
- It takes days, not minutes, to finally fix the flat tire
- You eat more pizza and ice cream than energy gels and Cliff bars, and drink more beer than Gatorade
- Wife's "suggestion" to vacuum the house is not countered with "I have to go out for a ride" or "I have to clean the bike"; instead, you cave in.
- Cyclists post on Facebook about their desserts instead of their pace on Diablo
- You finally clean the fireplace from last winter's usage

In addition, the weather has turned cool and windy, so I am not very much inclined to step out the door right now. Also, with rain on the way, the cycling outlook remains bleak. I hope that by the time the new frame has arrived and the bike is reassembled, that we get those usual sunny and warm October days back. If not, my cycling season will resume in Maui in a month from today.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thu, Oct 8

It's now been a few days after cracking my bike frame and racing up Diablo.

Rest day. Trek will replace the frame with a 2009 model; and they've never seen anything like that before. Pondering whether to get the 2010 model instead and pay the difference. Waiting for Trek to respond.

Rest day.

Rest day.

Rest day. Amici's pizza for lunch. Still waiting for Trek's response.

It will also be a rest day.

Total: 0.0 miles, 0:00h.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sun, Oct 4 - Mount Diablo Challenge post-race report

Following yesterday's bike tragedy, I got sufficiently demoralized to skip the race today, instead sleep in and be depressed about the loss. After all, the bike was part of my goal to ride the 28th Mount Diablo Challenge today and achieve a new personal record; and the bike was not "just a bike" to me.

Several people tried to cheer me up and insisted that I should race anyway, considering I spent many miles on the bike, many hours in spin class, some hours in the pub, all in preparation for this one race of the year. So last night, I started collecting warm clothing and my senses, and decided to show up at the start.

This morning, 40F at the summit at 6pm, and upon arriving in Danville, a mere 41F. There are already two things that I don't like about mornings: "cold" and" early". Interestingly, every year it is 41F on the morning of the Mount Diablo Challenge. Dressed up for the 2-mile ride to the start, I was still wondering when my fingers would go from blue to black and then fall off. With all 10 fingers though, I arrived at the start, collected the bib and the timing belt, and shed the warm clothes; even in shorts, jersey and arm warmers, you will feel warm at those low temperatures when you ride a mountain.

TBV showed up shortly after, and then I ran into colleague Kotaro, on his first time to participate in the Mount Diablo Challenge, and on this first time to ever ride Diablo. From then on, it was waiting for your wave to start. We three were all in wave #3, slated to start at 8:45am, after waves #1 and #2, and the women-only wave.

Then, 10-second rolling start, and we were off. I really had no plan on how to ride today. My original goal was to achieve 1:20h with the new bike. Lately, after making it to the summit in 1:15h (albeit from a location a bit up after the official start at Athenian School), I adjusted my goal up to 1:15h. Today though, riding the old clunker, I reset the goal back to 1:20h, just trying to make the best of the situation.

The first riders of wave #3 quickly took off, and I only saw them again later at the summit. This dispersed the crowd quickly though, and I made good progress and speed. All through the ride, I tried to keep a straight line (and straight face), not following the bends of the road. If the pro's do it, it can't be wrong. I reached South Gate at 0:21h and Junction at 0:37h, and only then did I think that I could actually make it in 1:15h. After Junction, I slowed down a bit and paced myself through the grind at Toyon Picnic Area, and reached Juniper at 0:54h, 2 minutes ahead of my personal record. Grabbed a cup of water, and paced myself further up to Devil's Elbow. From there, it's only a mile to the summit. I forgot at what elapsed time I was at that point, but I knew that I now could beat 1:15h. Tried to stay close behind two faster cyclists for a minute, to conserve some energy. Reached the Lower Parking Lot, people cheering on the riders. This where the final incline started, going the left road up to the summit. This is the hardest part of the ride, a final grade of maybe 10-12%, for the last 150 meters. Then finally, crossed the finish line, stopped the clock, 1:13:00h. I did it; what an elation.

The official result came back later as 1:12:43h, ranked 451, according to the printout. TBV also reached his goal of achieving 1:20h or better with a 1:16h time. Kotaro, on his very first visit to Diablo on a bike, got a respectable 1:15h time.

A new record was not broken today, the top time was 47 minutes and change. If I saw correctly, none of three top finishers of the last two years (English, Laue, Phipps) raced Diablo today.

I'm glad I raced today. Will post links to official results and photos later, after taking a nap.

UPDATE 5pm: Official results still have not been posted. Please check back later.

UPDATE 7:40pm: Official results are here. My rank and time were corrected to 448 and 1:12:41.8 (or maybe I didn't look correctly earlier at the printout), with an average speed of 8.92mph. TBV rank 524, 1:16:33.6; Kotaro rank 504, 1:15:23.8.

UPDATE 9pm: Photos:
Me: @ Devils' Elbow, @ Finish 1,2
Kotaro: @ Devil's Elbow, @ Finish
TBV: @ Devil's Elbow, @ Finish 1,2,3,4

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sat, Oct 3

I don't know what to say.

Decided to go out for an easy ride today. In Dublin, I hooked up with a group of cyclists, and we zoomed north on San Ramon Blvd. At mile 7.7, just past the Danville Town Limit Sign Sprint, I drove through a small ditch (not a pothole), heard a cracking sound, and felt the saddle tilt back. I stopped immediately and then it took only a second from thinking that maybe the saddle screw was lose to realizing that this was the last ride on this bike.

As if a broken frame wasn't enough, the ride completed with two flat tires, after apparently having rolled through a nest of thorns ... how else do you explain 5 punctures in 2 tubes ?

This definitely wasn't my day.

Brought the bike to Chain Reaction; they will contact Trek on Monday. This kind of damage is not supposed to happen. The seat post was sufficiently deep inserted into the seat tube. I expect / hope that Trek will replace the frame.

Most of my motivation for tomorrow faded away over the next few hours, but after leaving the bike store, I got my old clunker Trek 2000 from my office, just in case my motivation comes back. With a bike 7 pounds heavier than the Madone, I have no illusions about achieving the race time I like. If I go, I probably take it as an early morning exercise.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fri, Oct 2

The day of the race is almost there. The training log for the past week:

Danville - Juniper and back, 24.0 miles, 1:40h.

Pattern#2 repeated: no beer, no performance. Anticipating hot weather ahead, I started at 9am. But it's already a bad sign, if at that early hour, you see lots of cyclists coming down the mountain. Met Diablo Scott on the way between South Gate and Junction. It was a rather pathetic ride and a hot day today, and by the time I reached Juniper, I was done.


Canada Rd - Woodside - OLH Rd - Pescadero - HMB - 92 - Canada Rd, 57.6 miles, 3:40h, 5700ft of climbing. Unlike yesterday, today I felt a lot better. Started at 8:30am to beat the heat; interestingly, it got warmer the further up OLH Rd I got. On top, elapsed time 26.5 minutes. Continued down 84, where it got noticeably cooler, and for a brief moment, I thought of returning. But went on to continue to Pescadero, and then headed north on Hwy 1 to Half Moon Bay. Took 92 back to Canada Rd. I'm glad that I headed to the coast; those 70s on the Pacific Plate were a lot more pleasant than the 90s on the American Plate.

Rest day.

Lunch ride to Coyote Pt and back, with TBV and Bill. Little windy today, so it took 36 min outbound with 11/12 mph at times. 18.3 miles, 1:05h.


Spin class, 1:00h.

Lunch ride to Sawyer Camp Trail and back; 15.6 miles, 1:08h, with Bill and TBV. About 5 minutes of those 1:08h were spent talking to a cop who pulled TBV over after he ran a STOP sign at 20+ mph. Luckily, the cop didn't cite him. This was just bad timing because Bill and I were just a few seconds ahead, also speeding through the STOP sign. Somehow it's pointless talking to a cop since they think in this way:

while (!broke_law());

Therefore they can't or don't want to accept an even good explanation why and when we would not stop.

It's a crazy world ... again no time + again no car = again no beer.

This week's total: 115.5 miles, 8:33h.
Last week's total:
100.6 miles, 6:32h.
2 weeks ago's total: 102.4 miles, 6:15h.
3 weeks ago's total: 134.8 miles, 9:19h.
4 weeks ago's total: 68.8 miles, 5:14h.

I am ready for Sunday.