Velo Veneto - Ciclismo Italiano !

Stories from the Velo Veneto bike racing camp in Castelcucco, Italy

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

I'm a 50 year old kid who loves to race bikes. I operate a bike racing camp in Northern Italy. When not in Italy I have the good fortune of living in one of the best places to ride, the Northern California Wine Country.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Way to go tough Aussie Chick!!!

Great result at Aussie Nationals last week for our friend Bridget Evans from Brisbane. Kudos to her and her partner/coach Paul Hughes. Hope to see you guys in 2005!!! Check her out here.

Low Morale...No Sun

It's been awhile since I've written anything because my morale has been down in the dumps. I don't have any personal racing goals for 2005. My main objective is to have our first year running Velo Veneto be a success. So my racing will have to take a back seat this year. That plus the fact that the weather has sucked since Christmas, that is until a week ago. So I figure I'll go to the group ride on the first sunny day in awhile...and nobody shows up by five after for a 10 a.m. ride. What the heck? Two minutes later, just as I'm ready to leave one guy rolls up. So we head over Trinity and I stay in the saddle in a gear that keeps my cadence close to 60. He jets up the hill then sits in the sun waiting for me. Down in to the Napa Valley we go and we're just cruising along about 20-22 mph. But every time there is the slightest little roller he goes to the small chain ring while I shift down to the 53x21...and have a faster cadence than him. Finally after 10+ miles of this I ask the guy if he wants a little advice as he says he's going to do his first road races this year. I suggest that he leave it in the big chain ring unless there will be a sustained hill (i.e. longer than 30 seconds) that he'll be going less than 15 mph. He talks about cross chaining or something and I point out that my chain angle in 53x21 is less than his in the 39x14, and I'm spinning more. Go figure? I guess a lot of newbies don't understand gear inches. I also suggested that if you don't have to shift between chain rings in a race, there is less likelyhood that you'll drop your chain at just the wrong moment. We were going to come back over Spring Mountain but the road was closed from a rock slide, so we went over Franz Valley instead and again I went the 60 rpm, this time in 53x21 and he jets away again. At the top I explained what I was doing and he was totally unaware that such training was something to consider. I guess that's why you start out as a Cat. 5

So anyway...the sun has been hiding alot and we love it when it's out. Most of my friends who ride around here say it's been lots harder to stay motivated this winter...I guess that's why they say us Californian's are soft!!!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Turn up the Power

Well the time has come to start the power training for real. My guess is that most amateurs don't do enough, or any of this kind of training. The pros do, check this out. We first started true power training with Glen about two years ago. Basically you climb in the saddle in the big chain ring, on climbs up to 30 minutes long or more. It takes some getting used to and you must be careful not to overdo it. We have two kinds of basic workouts we do.

The first is a loop that has seven 4-6 minute climbs (total of 3hr15min of riding). This time of year we start by doing them in the 53x19. By February we'll be doing them in the 53x17 and hopefully by March we'll be ready to have a go in the 53x16. We you first try this kind of workout you seem to be ripping your legs to shreds. You'll finish plenty tired and probably want to have a couple of easy recovery days. As you become stronger and recover faster, you usually can have a good hard ride after only one rest day. The key is to stay in the saddle, use a round pedal stroke and try to stay solid on the bike with good form. The hills we use have grades that start out at 5-6% and go up to 12-13% and at times you might be going only 10k/hr with about a 40 cadence.

Our second loop we did today. For this we go out to a dead-end road called Pine Flat. It's a seven mile climb that gains about 2,000 feet (total ride 57 miles, about 3:25). The first five to six miles aren't too bad with only a couple of sections of 8-10% grades, but there is a 1k stretch with about a mile and a half to go that averages about 12%. Today we made it but had to get out of the saddle to keep the bike moving forward. We did the whole climb in 40 minutes with Glen up the road in 36 minutes. By March we should be able to do this in the 53x21 in close to 35 minutes and Glen will be down to about 30 minutes.

Of course weather has been an issue here in California the last week. Today it was dry, but we've had over seven inches of rain in the last week and it's been pretty cool, hi 40's to low 50's. There was even a light dusting of snow on Pine Flat at about the 2500 foot level. The dead end of the road at the 11 mile mark is at 3100 feet. Glad we didn't go all the way up there today!!! The weather plus the fact that there is a 22% section...well, we'll leave that ride until later in the Spring!