Sunday, September 30, 2012

Elite Nationals

This was a bit of a weird year for me. After the disappointment of traveling to Pennsylvania for masters nationals last year and totally tanking, switching coaches mid-year, and then riding almost a second slower than my PR at Elite Nats..  i made a promise to myself that i wouldn't get caught up in the wins and set myself up for that kind of disapointment again. I love the training- I love the weight lifting i even love the endless tire glueing and greasing and adjusting. So this year i was in it for the love of the process. The time at the track with friends, the weight room with joe Camacho. I was not going to get caught up in the results, i was just going to do what i was good at- following coaches orders, training hard and riding fast.
     Its a good thing i made that promise to myself! My wife and i ended up opening our new restaurant a week or two before Masters Nationals, and i knew from early spring that the trip was not in the cards this year. The new restaurant needed a great Chef De Cuisine, so i sacrificed my longtime right hand man from Hatfield's to go handle the kitchen for me at The Sycamore Kitchen. That move left my flagship slightly short handed and put the nails in the coffin that was the final resting place for my dreams of Masters Worlds as well... I was working 7 nights a week and i had to sacrifice the trip.

Coach Steve decided we would target Masters States for our first peak, with only a slight taper. My coach is a pretty solid judge of fitness even through the phone from Hollywood to Atlanta- so he recommended a bit of floating on the 3rd lap to help finish the effort strong. He was right, i finished strong and with a win and a new PR of 1:08.69, nearly a full second faster than my best time, ridden 2 seasons previous...

After states i didn't really have a clear goal. I wasn't getting to do the local races due to work- so i just decided to hit it really hard on the bike and really-really-really hard in the gym, and i would ride Elite Nats and try to set a PR. Training weights at Joe Camachos house was a really special thing. It ended up being a really great environment to push it hard on the weights. During this time i put on 6lbs of body weight and upped my squat over 40lbs for my 5-rep set. this was along with my standard tuesday and thursday track sessions and a gut wrenching 90-minute ergo session on saturdays.
    after this brutal block of training I was weighing in at 190lbs, i had a body-fat percentage of 8.9%, single squats at 455lbs, deadlifts over 500lbs and times were looking great! I was Big, I was Strong, I was Lean and everything pointed to me being fast!
  during my really long 3+ week taper things at the track were a little off. My single motor paced efforts were very fast and i could tell it was taking a toll on my driver- he was honestly scared to drive the efforts. During one effort in the three week out area i snapped a seat post bolt 2-laps in, as i limped around the track with my saddle balanced on the post i hit the broken bolt and popped a tire. The next week i was itching to ride hard, and when my driver mis-counted laps and pulled off early i lost focus and went over the handlebars at 30mph popping another tire and giving myself a big patch of road rash.
   the last week of training leading into Nats we came to the realization that i could ride faster through the turns at encino than the motorcycle could. So the amazing effects of overspeed training you get from chasing a motor were reduced. I actually did 500m efforts solo that were faster than ones led by the motor.
  all through these last few weeks i was getting little signs that we were right on course- the totally weird feeling during the first week of the taper left and i just felt great all the time... i was ready for Elite Nationals, and was hopeful that i would ride faster than my time at States, and hopeful to crack the top 10.
   There isn't too much to say about the actual effort of riding a kilo. You can either handle that kind of Lactic Shit Storm or you cant. If you can learn to lean into the pain you might be a kilo rider. The only interesting thing about the race was i met the guy who was starting opposite me, and he told me he was going to ride a very slow time- I knew i would have something to chase, and in the end i think that was a benefit if only mentally.
  On the starting block i had all the normal feelings- jitters, doubt, Im too old for this level of competition... then the countdown starts and the effort is just a blur. I caught sight the other rider, chased him down, and passed him as i exited the last turn on my last lap...
i knew it was a good ride- but was shocked to see 1:07.60 on the Jumbo-Tron!
   I barely got off my bike, barely made it down the stairs and as i laid on the floor the paramedics raced over to see if i was ok and didn't really want to take my word for it when i said it was Normal!

as I sat in the infield ecstatic with my ride a funny thing happened- I sat in first place for a long time... Like 15 of the 20 riders went off before i got bumped down to 2nd. By the time the last ride went off i knew i had sealed a 5th place and a podium.

It was a huge moment for me- i seriously warned TJ, who won silver that i might cry on the podium. for sure my proudest moment in sport! Thank You so much to everyone who helped me this year and everyone who trained with me and helped this old man ride fast!

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