Spring South Canal Time Trial

A great group of Cycle Folsom newbies and old dogs showed up to challenge themselves on the 10 mile South Canal TT course. The Spring Cycle Folsom time trial is not meant as a contest with your peers, but a contest with yourself. Many cycling coaches and trainers recognize the value of a standard 10 mile TT as a benchmark to gauge fitness. This was an early season benchmark that these dedicated cyclists will be able to smash later in the season when they are in peak riding shape!

The morning was cool with temperatures dipping down into the low 50s, but the sun was shining. Winds started to pick up a little, but nothing too significant. Believe it or not, everyone was all smiles before and after conquering the 6 small climbs and the flats down and back to Jackson Hwy.

Others had their game faces on ready to test themselves and set a fitness benchmark to gauge future progress.

A great time was had by all those that participated. Next, TT should be in July.


Tuesday Climbing Ride

Nice ride everyone! 14 cyclists took on the slopes around Folsom and El Dorado Hills; there were some brand new faces riding along with the familiar faces. This past Tuesday we did the clockwise loop around Folsom. I'm not sure if Gary went too early or if he was leading us out, but Ed & I came around him for the county line sprint on Green Valley. I got the sprint, only to get dropped on the climbs a few minutes later. After regrouping at the park, the front end of the group got pretty fast. It was partly my fault. I gradually increased the tempo heading south on Sophia up the gradual climb to E Natoma. I thought if I kept the pace high no one would have any gas left for the Folsom City limit sprint. Wrong! Patrick C. & Ed were right on my wheel, & Patrick easily came around me for the sprint. After regrouping at E Natoma after the sprint, John & Patrick hammered the pace to Cote de Costco. After the summit it was every man for himself. Ed, Erik, and myself caught John and Patrick at a red light. Green light, hammer down, & the race to the bike trail was on! Patrick, John, Ed, & myself slipped away off the front with a nice rotation, but were later caught at a red light a couple of miles from the trail.

My Garmin broke a few weeks back, so I don't have good stats for the ride, but my overall average speed for the 27+ miles was 17.5 mph. Oz got me setup with is old Garmin, so next time I'll be including elevation.


Snelling Road Race, 26 Feb 2011

There were all kinds of reasons not to race Snelling: the weather (cold rain & snow predicted earlier), flooding (last year the course was flooded), my fatigued legs, and my recent cold. The weather was cool, but not wet. There wasn't any flooding, and I wasn't as sick as I was a week or 2 ago. But my legs did feel dead, but that's racing, right? I lined up with everyone else for the Masters 35+ Category 5 race; myself (Brian, Folsom Bike) along with Jeremy and Jeff, both Cycle Folsom notables and racing for Bicycles Plus. Turns out Miles is racing for Team Revolutions; today was the first time I've seen him since he had a little spill on a wet road back in November.

The first of four, 12 mile laps, was very tame with the peloton moving around 18-20 mph. I pre-rode the course a week earlier and knew some of the corners were tricky and possibly had sand on them. I went to the front for the first set of 15 mph chicanes to pick a clean line. It wasn't my intention to be off the front, but everyone else was content riding slow. The peloton was one compact group rolling through the finish after the first lap.

On the 2nd lap, a DBC rider went off the front, but no one was willing to chase him down. Jeff made a little effort over one of the small climbs and I followed his wheel. Without much effort we had a gap. We ended up catching the DBC rider and briefly had a 3 man break. I was feeling the fatigue in my legs and every time the DBC guy pulled through, I was at my limit. I didn't want to blow myself up on the 2nd lap, so decided to drift back to the peloton. A few seconds later, Jeremy comes cruising up with another guy with some distance off the front of the peloton. I tried jumping on their wheels, but again, I was at my limit. This ended up being the winning move. On the first time check the 4-man break had 50 seconds. On the 3rd lap I tried to get the guys at the front of the peloton organized in a rotating pace line to chase them down, but after two rotations it fell apart. Both Body Concepts and Peninsula Velo had 4 or more guys (none in the break), but neither team could get organized. By the end of the 3rd lap the break had 2 minutes; everyone else was racing for 5th.

On the 3rd lap the peloton had a crash on the back side of the course. On the 4th lap, a pro woman Tibco rider in a solo breakaway passed my Cat 5 peloton [Later I read that it was Erinne Willock and she soloed the win]. We were slow. She looked like she weighed 90 pounds, but was riding faster than us into a headwind. Eventually the Cat 5 peloton would get passed by the Pro Women's peloton, but this was right before the fast part of the course and we were literally right on their heels. Just before heading into the corner before the bumpy road, the same corner other guys in our group crashed, the Pro Men's peloton raced up the side of us. Great, 150 cyclists all going into the same tricky corner. Relief, no one crashed. But then my Cat 5 group got neutralized to create a gap behind the woman's group because the finish was about 3 miles away. Because we were neutralized, everyone moved up to the front and were then able to recover, and this was right before the finish. Sure enough, with about a mile to go including one corner and a small hill, we were set loose. Guys nearly started sprinting from a mile out. The pace shot up to 28 mph. I stayed near the front in the top ten, but there was no way I was going to take any wind at that speed from that far out. I picked a good line through the final right-hand turn and kept my speed. A guy in front of me went way wide which was fine, but then he cut back across the course. I literally had to grab a handful of brake, fishtailing my back wheel like a power slide, but was able to quickly recover and get back into a sprint. I was gassed, but kept pushing to the end up the hill. There was a Rio Strada guy in front of me, so it was my final goal to sprint ahead of him. The official results were not in when I wrote this, but I counted about 7 guys in front of me, plus the break away of 4, so that would put me somewhere between 10-15. Not bad considering my legs were cramping over the small climbs on the last lap and a half. Miles also had a strong finish just a few places behind me. Jeremy went on to take first with a solo break from his break-mates; Jeff would then sprint from the 3 man chase group for second. Way to go guys!

El Patron raced the Masters 35+ Category 4 race which was on the course at the same time as my race. Apparently he got in a 2 man breakaway and finished second.

No need to sprint for a finish when no one is in sight around you...

Thanks Krysta for taking the great photos!

Chad and Patrick also raced. You can read about their events in the Cycle Folsom Meetup discussions.


Overnight Precipitation Made for Cool Ride

Steven Paine had posted a "Deer Valley Loop" ride for Saturday, 2/19. The weather forecast was a bit dicey; chance of rain was 50% in the morning and it was certain to rain overnight. Steve sent out an email notice Friday evening that he was canceling the ride. I didn't see the notice, and Joel Brandt and I had already committed to ride---rain or shine. We're both trying to get some reasonably-paced hills training under our belts before trying to stay up with the Peloton Group again. Julie Ni also didn't see the notice, so she showed up ready to roll, too.

It was a bit chilly at the ride start, but bearable. It's always a bit of a slap-in-the-face-wake-up-call when you start a ride heading up the steady uphill grade on Folsom-Auburn Blvd., Folsom Lake Crossing, and Green Valley. On the other hand, by the time you reach Malcolm Dixon Road, you're definitely warmed up for the rest of the hills to come.

We all agreed that we'd hold a steady, laid back pace and re-group at the tops of climbs. As usual, Malcolm-Dixon Road was a pleasant ride with very little traffic and a smooth, recently paved surface. We popped out onto Green Valley for a mile or so before turning on to Deer Valley. By then, the sun was peaking out of the clouds. We noticed that a couple of cars were coming down the road with snow on their hoods. Sure enough, we looked around and saw a bit of snow on the ground. As we made our way back to Rescue, we saw more snow. It was pretty cool---figuratively, and literally.

After a brief water stopped, we made our way back. A decent headwind on Green Valley renewed our appreciation for pace lines. Joel and I traded pulls. Julie isn't yet comfortable in speedy downhill pace lines, so she fell off the back. We stopped and gave her a little coaching, hoping to instill some confidence for future rides.

As we neared Lake Natoma, Joel and I decided to pick up 10 more miles by accompanying Julie to the other end of the Lake where she would head home, and we would make the loop back.

It was a ride that would have been easy to bail on. Fortunately, Joel made me commit to show up "Rain or Shine." As a result, it was one of the most enjoyable rides I've had in a while. Kudos again to Julie. I love her determination as she continues to train for the Davis Double Century, with a long-term goal to capture the California Triple Crown. 


Weekend Racing

More Cycle Folsom Ride Leaders and members are racing this year. While the Peloton Group was heading down to Pocket for wet 78 mile jaunt, and the Gruppetto Group was tackling the local Folsom Cols, Performance Ride Leader Phil and new Cycle Folsom member Mark, both riding for the Folsom Bike Race Team, had a wet and wild ride at the Cal Aggie Criterium in Land Park on Saturday. Check out their race reports in the Cycle Folsom Race Report discussion.

Since I'm new to racing (Folsom Bike Race Team), I headed down to Fremont for the 4th Early Bird Criterium. I think this is a great program that combines a skills clinic followed by a criterium. I almost didn't line-up for the race. Some guys got a little too squirrely in the clinic and there was 2 crashes. Not a good sign, but I ended up lining-up along side Cycle Folsom member Jeff racing for Bicycles Plus.

The sun came out after a wet morning and the race turned out to be uneventful in a good way. I tried to stay up near the front for most of the race to stay out of any trouble. I few guys every now and again would take a flyer off the front; I felt the need to shut 'em down. At one point Jeff and I ended up on the sharp end of the peloton. All in all, it was a good practice race; no crashes. Sunday, February 13th will be the real race. I hope I can mix it up in the sprint.

More photos on Flickr, thanks to Krysta.


Damp won't dampen our spirits

The Peloton group started the morning at Karen's Bakery with about 17 riders - and 2 more planning to meet up on the route. It wasn't terribly cold, but it was rather foggy and damp. Nonetheless we started out in great spirits. We modified the planned route just slightly after hearing about a rather large amount of mud covering our intended route. Not a huge detour, but it kept us entirely off of the American River bike trail until we rejoined it at the Guy West bridge.

The entire first half of the ride was pretty steady, except for the string of stop lights that cycled a little too quickly to get the entire group through. No sprints or attacks, so as we started to come into Discovery park I decided to try my luck.

I came from about fourth position and pulled off the front. It didn't feel like anyone had immediately followed me, so I settled into a steady pace that I thought was still faster than the group, waiting to see if anyone would follow.

I started to hear what sounded like rubber rolling across wet pavement. I notched up the pace a little bit. Then I heard the sound of gears and knew someone was on me. I pulled harder, pushing up the pace, still not sure who had taken the bait. A quick glance past my right elbow - and there was still a wheel right on me. Damn. I pushed the pace up faster as the lactic acid started to build in my legs. There didn't seem to be any moves to attack, so I took a chance and let up slightly, hoping for a few seconds of recovery before pouring it into an all out sprint. Right at that moment Brian pulled around me with one other rider right on his wheel (who was that second chaser??) I was caught out, tried to catch the wheel but missed it. Damn. I was beat. I rolled the rest of the way into Discovery park - out maneuvered and out gunned.

Unfortunately, both bathrooms and water are still shut off at Discovery park, so after a few folks braved the temporary porta-potty, we rode through Old Sacramento, Captain's Table road and stopped at the rest rooms at Scott's Seafood. Somewhere between Discovery Park and Scott's Seafood we lost a few riders - two of whom were Stan and Brian. After waiting a bit while folks used the restrooms or filled up water bottles, we decided to push on.

We cruised down Riverside - which was almost completely covered in an oil slick (!!!) and rolled into the Pocket area. Here, Riverside becomes a 4 lane Boulevard, with wide lanes, so we were able to group up two abreast and push the pace up a little bit until turning onto Greenhaven and essentially starting our trip back home. It felt like we had a nice tail wind here, because the pace picked up, yet I was pedaling easier. For the record, any rumors you hear about an alleged botched attempt to clip in at the Florin-Greenhaven intersection - resulting in a rider almost hitting the tarmac - are completely untrue.

Back on the trail we had a nice paceline going, and this time we stuck on the trail instead of diverting to surface streets at Guy West bridge. We stopped for water at William B Pond park, and that is when everything changed for me. As soon as we were back on the trail after the water stop, I realized I wasn't able to keep the pace. One word crossed my mind - bonk - as I realized that I'd just done 60-some miles at this point, and eaten way less than I needed. I backed off the pace for a moment and watch the bulk of the group pull away.

Things got worse for me, however, as I realized it was actually issues with my blood sugar levels (I'm diabetic) that were holding me back now - and I was out of food. Nothing to do but spin easy and get back to the car, all hopes of catching the group now lost.

But then I rolled up on almost the entire group, sitting on the side of the trail. "Huh.." I thought. Since I was in no shape to hold the groups pace, I simply road past. I later learned that a couple of folks had slid out on the corner. Since I was now, ironically, the one being caught, I was sitting at the front with Krysta when Clair, OZ and a few others flew off the front in a break away. I knew I didn't have it in me to follow, so I once again watched the group ride away from me.

By this point we were all pretty much strung out, and it didn't take long until I was all alone in the back again, just focusing on finishing.

Suddenly - I heard a loud "Yip! Yip!" from behind me - a rider letting me know I was about to get passed, and fast. It's the OZ/Clair group! How in the hell did that happen? I still don't know - I can only guess that perhaps they looped back around on the trails along Folsom Blvd - while we were on the trails river side, and came back around again. Good for you guys!

All in all - another awesome Peloton ride. Let's get rid of the fog, though!


And so the Race Season Begins for some CF Members

The spectrum of cycling talent within Cycle Folsom is pretty broad. Most of our Members range from "inspired cycling enthusiasts" to "performance-oriented cycling devotees." Over the years, Cycle Folsom has seen many of its members make the move to the amateur racing circuit, too.

The early race season has begun and I just received a couple of enthusiastic e-mails from ride leader Brian Acord, and Cycle Folsom founder Steve Ward. I enjoyed the write-ups and found them inspirational, so I thought I would share them with you. If you're a member of our Meetup Group or our monthly New & Info e-mail, you may also be familiar with Steve's posts to our forum and articles about his training efforts, nutrition/weight loss strategy, and performance testing at AthletiCamps.

You'll also find a new "Race Reports Forum" on our Meetup site. Any of you Members who are racers are encouraged to post your experiences and comments there. We all would welcome the inspiration and/or entertainment that your post might generate.

~Stan Schultz

[Written by Brain Acord, Performance Group Ride Leader and 1st season racer]
Hey Stan, 
Do I get extra credit points for racing in the CF colors, or a cool sponsorship deal? Folsom Bike hasn't received their new kits, so I've been flying the red, black, and white (don't tell anyone). 
Today was the first road race of the season. Jeremy Barns, Jeff T, and I all raced in the same group (35+ Cat 5). I think Jeremy was the strongest rider today; he took monster pulls going up Del Puerto Canyon (the pace wasn't fast enough for him). The top of the climb hits 18% near the top, with the last couple of miles all above 10%. Jeremy was over the top first with a big gap, then followed by a group of 4 with Jeff T in it. They gapped me on the climb and I couldn't catch back on on the descent. Just too much wind. I ended up in no-mans land and couldn't see riders way down the road in front of me nor behind me; I was left out in the wind. Jeff's group caught Jeremy. Jeremy took second with Jeff T taking 3rd (good for Bicycles Plus). After riding about 10 miles out in the wind alone, I finally got caught by a small group of 4 which was a relief. Finally someone to draft off of! I took the sprint out of that group and rolled across in 6th out 21 racers. Not bad for a first race. Beat a Victory Velo/Hammerin Wheels (Auburn) rider and a Body Concepts (Folsom) rider out that group. 
El Patron took 4th in the 35+ Cat 4. Curt Mills (Road Rash, Folsom) and Chad Richards both flatted (but Chad didn't come in last!).
I'll have my agent give you a call to work out the new contract and sponsorship deal.
[Written by Steve Ward, Cycle Folsom Founder, Masters 35+ Cat 4]
(37 riders in our field; just one team mate in this race: Tim Zsoka)
Tim's training has been derailed over the past few weeks, so he showed up to the race claiming he had "pack-fill" legs. With just the two of representing BP Sierra Nevada in our category, there wasn't too much we could do in terms of strategy.
The early pace was slow, so Tim decided to go to the front and up the pace a bit, giving me a friendly wheel to follow; it allowed my to ride in second position without having to stick my nose into the wind.
In this sequence of pictures below, Tim is riding on the front (your left) of the field, and I'm just on his wheel (it almost looks as if we're riding a tandem). In the second photo I magically disappear before reappearing front and center in the third photo.
If you look closely at the second photo again, you can actually see the red stripe of my jersey sleeve between Tim's right arm and his chest. Talk about cheating the wind, drafting expertly, and saving energy; this is how to do it. How well does it work when you do it well? After riding Tim's wheel for 20 miles on a 2-3% uphill grade, I arrived at the base of the decisive climb with an average heart rate of 118 bpm.
Having an awesome team mate like Tim made it possible for me to mix it up with skinny little mountain goats who attacked the field on the 1.4 mile 9.7% average grade climb (that's almost a full percentage steeper than Prospectors Grade). The higher up this climb, the steeper it got, peaking at 19%
Half way up the climb, I was the last rider in the eleven man group that was stretching a 80 meter gap over an exploded, strung out field still chasing up the climb. 75% of the way up the climb, I was starting to yo-yo off the back with another guy while the guys up front were turning the screws a little harder with each pedal stroke.
Turning the cone at the top of the climb to start the 20 mile screaming mimi ride back to the finish line looked like this:
3 riders in the lead group 6 riders, more or less, rounding together about +5 seconds 1 solo rider rounding about +10 seconds Then me, rounding alone about +13 seconds - no one else even close enough to put a clock on.
I rounded and stomped the pedals, expecting to gain time on the riders ahead of me on the steep, twisty descent. The solo rider ahead got a quick launch and passed another rider who had been dropped from an earlier field.
On a rapid descent, I encountered the dropped rider next, but he was panicky and freaked out when shouted out I was coming on his left. He started swerving, almost uncontrollably and squealing that "it's not safe!". I had to back off, let him calm down then ask him nicely to ride on one side of the lane or the other...he just panicked again.
So I decided I would just have to suck it up, wait until we bottomed-out on the descent and then hope I had the legs to get back up to chase group 1. If not, there would be no top 10 finish for me.
With all of that pent up frustration, when I finally got around him, I drilled it. I looked up the road and estimated 200 meters to the solo guy, and another 200 (400 total) to Chase 1. Man, that was going to hurt.
I closed the 400 meter almost twice as fast as the solo guy, because we both caught Chase 1 at almost the same moment - about 4 minutes of V02 Max effort to get it done.
We were both gassed and sat out two rotations each while the other six riders worked the business end of the paceline. I jumped into the rotation and found out quickly that me and one other guy were all of the hard work. He and I worked in a 3 man rotation after that (him & I, along one of the other six, they would rotate one guy through every six).
After about 3 miles we blew two of our eight off the back, after about 5 miles it was mostly just the one guy and I doing all of the work. With 10 miles to go (we averaged 28 mph over the final 20 miles), I dropped to the back for a few minutes to jam down some Endurolytes, Anti-Fatigue Caps, Race Cap Supremes and Perpetuem. I followed that up with half a bottle of water and got back to the front to help drive the pace again.
We were closing ground on the three leaders, but not fast enough, maybe 5 seconds per mile, we weren't going to catch them unless they bonked...not likely.
With 3 miles to go I had a caffeinated GU and some more water. With 1k to go I moved to the back of the bus again where I could watch everyone. They all looked gassed: shoulders heaving, pedaling squares, hands on hoods, steering esses...all the tell-tale signs - everyone that is but the other strong guy, he had a poker face on, I couldn't get a read on him so I marked him as a definite threat.
With 500 meters to go, I could see a string of dropped riders from a previous field suffering in a single file line on the right side of the road; and with the centerline rule in effect, that meant they would become a limiting factor in our finishing sprint. I decided I could use that to my advantage when the time came.
With 350 meters to go on this uphill finishing section, I launched the best attack I could muster, coming from last wheel and blowing right by the other five guys about 30 meters before coming up on the line of riders struggling up the right side. That effectively closed down any attacks from the right side, I only had to defend one side. I must have caught them all by surprise; I think with the up hill finish no one wanted to go too early. My guess is they were all waiting until about 200 meters. I waited that long, I would have gotten boxed out.
I had such a good launch that I was riding away to easily capture 4th place, I was spinning 100+ rpms, so I shifted for good measure to keep increasing my speed and not take any chances. Ooops, blew the shift! I scrambled, shifted quickly and reengaged the chain. Only now my cadence was down to about 70 rpms and I had to re-accelerate.
While struggling through all of this maneuvering, I faded to the left side of the lane and opened up a space on my right side. Wouldn't you know it, a wheel appears out of my peripheral vision on my right hip. Now I had my rpms back up to 80 and was rapidly accelerating again. That wheel stalled out and then started to fall back again. I kept kicking and was lucky to keep my position and finish 4th (by about a bike length).
Great race, lots of fun, and a good test for evaluating my early season fitness. I'm still doing base training (I'm in my Base 3 period), so I haven't been doing any threshold or Vo2 Max efforts, just SE, LE, ME and SFR. Placing well and not too far behind the leaders is promising and gives me hope that I might become competitive later in the year when I get to the end of my Build and Race periods.
Also, most of the credit goes to Tim. He put in almost 20 miles on the front to keep my front wheel protected from other riders, and my nose out of the wind. Getting me to the base of the climb on second wheel with an average heart rate of just 118 bpm put me in a superior position to get a good result. And after a team mate puts in a dig like that for you, you feel a very heavy sense of obligation to do your very best to place well so that he will feel his efforts contributed to the teams success.
El Patron


New Combined Group Blog for Cycle Folsom

In the past, prior to the creation of CycleFolsom's Meetup.com site, Cycle Folsom maintained separate blogs for the Peloton and Performance Groups. The purpose of the two blogs was to give people a sense of what transpired during our rides. Now, this is done through comments and reviews on our Meetup.com site.

After some discussion between the CF's ride leaders, we've decided to combine the two blogs together into one, and to use it to post thoughts and ruminations that might be to lengthy for our Meetup site or forums.

IMPORTANT NOTE: On January 23rd, all the previous blog posts from the old Peloton and Performance Blogs were imported into this blog. Unfortunately, this process changed the authorship of all previous posts to "Stan Schultz." I wish I could figure out a way to identify who posted all the previous posts, but I can't.

Feel free to comment on this or other posts that will happen in the future.


Happy New Year 2011

[Posted by Phil Blay, January 1, 2011] Happy New Year to all the readers of this performance ride blog. Ride updates have been few and far between in 2010. I'm going to try and post a new ride writeup at least once a month. I plan to lead Saturday rides in 2011 working around racing and ride events I am planning on participating in.

A couple of CF members in 2010 that need acknowledged:

Steve Ward (CycleFolsom Founder) has been a big inspiration for me to keep improving my fitness level. His tips have proved invaluable to me. Everyone in this club can benefit from Steve's knowledge. Thank You Steve.

Stan Shultz (Chief Evangelist) took over the reins of CycleFolsom from Steve a while ago and has made many changes to improve this club. I dare to say the club will continue to push the limits of each and every rider that joins in a ride at any ride level. Thank you Stan for all the time and hard work you have put into the two CF kit designs, the CycleFolsom meetup site and the discount for club members at Folsom Bike.

Last and not least......A big thanks to all the CF ride leaders. They did a fantastic job in 2010!

Signing off for now, Phil Blay