The Gang Goes on a Bike Ride


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Orchard Beach Crit - Race Report
It didn't happen. :(

I spent all afternoon Saturday washing bikes and even put a new chain on my race bike (a first for me). Woke up Sunday morning with my eye lid swollen halfway shut, impairing my vision a little bit. I decided to skip the race since impaired vision and bike racing is a recipe for further disaster. I initially chalked it up to allergies which have been kicking my ass more this year than in the past.

After my eye worsened when I woke up today, I spent the morning at the doctor to which they confirmed that I just have a stye (after much prodding by the resident). I feel like the dirty kid in class since all advice is basically "wash yourself and this won't happen". Also the contact lens holiday sounds so much more interesting than it really is, glasses suck.

Not sure what my upcoming race goals are. I initially planned on skipping the Bear Mountain race next weekend since I'm still in the beginning of my training for the year and its a grueling race. I'm somewhat rethinking that now but hopefully I'll talk myself off that ledge before reg closes on Friday. No need to suffer for 60 miles and 5,200 ft of climbing to finish mid-pack at best. I'm still in the process of selling then buying apartments, doing some work before we move, then moving in early June. That all takes priority over racing so I may just pull the trigger on something a few days before if my schedule lines up. Meanwhile, I'll just keep chugging along on the trainer.


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Update: I rode outside. It was OK. I need more bike frens in Hobo/JC, riding alone is boring.

I re-discovered some sweet trails in Liberty State Park that are in better shape than they were last fall. It's only a matter of time before @Supermoto steals the KOM.
I tried to make a segment out of those trails earlier this year, but it picks up all the roadies times on the street. Next time you go, let me know, I'm tired of riding by myself too


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Today was another FTP test that was generally good. Overall power (purple) looks good, I averaged 327 W and 328 W each pass so new FTP is 295W (3.7 W/kg). I felt stronger through both intervals than I usually do. I should have pushed even harder, I didn't have that "I'm gonna die, I can't breathe" feeling that I usually do.


Though I may be having some more equipment issues (see thread). Looking at the speed (green) and cadence (yellow) during the efforts, there is significant drift down in speed and cadence as power stays relatively constant. I received a warranty replacement for my Cycleops Fluid 2 recently and think it may have a non-linear power curve. I'll most likely pull the trigger on a Kickr which will negate all of this solely by throwing money at the problem.

Also there's some nice big data dropouts that have been getting more common recently. I'll try changing the battery but may venture down the warranty road on this guy too.

I'm going to start spending most weekends down the shore soon. There will be plenty of rip-your-legs-off group rides which I'm looking forward to. If anyone is around Ocean City and wants to ride, please let me know! Also as summer gets closer, it also means that cyclocross practice will start soon. Woohoo!


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Race report and life stuff

I raced Tour de Pitman - Cat 4/5 last weekend. My goals for the race were to stay safe, ride smart, conserve energy, and if everything felt good try to mix it up in the finish. I'm friendly with a few of the Caffeinated Cyclist riders and they always talk up their race as being so awesome but I had conflicts the last few years so was never able to race. The course is a 3 mile loop with one small-ish climb and one false flat uphill. The finish is through the center of town where there are some "super cute" shops, as my wife says.

The first 3-4 laps (of 8) were pretty sedate, one rider went off the front from the gun but was reeled in quite quickly. I stayed in the first 3-5 riders most of the time and took a few minuscule turns on the front. In laps 5 and 6 a few guys tried to get away but the field just surged ahead to make a catch and I continued to have good position but felt like it was a little more of a battle to stay where I wanted, especially maintaining my line coming around fast corner. The field started to get a little twitchy and there was one touch of wheels going around a turn but everyone involved stayed upright.

As the lap counter hit two, the pace picked up well on the flats but as the climb approached, everyone slowed like they were waiting for something. Since my legs weren't feeling like they were on peak form to stay away solo but I was positioned well, I took a slight dig and tried to see what I could do up the climb. Halfway up the hill the pack came through and I fell back through the group and attached myself at the back of the pack.

In hindsight the move was pretty dumb, but that's what cat 4/5 racing is! For the 2nd half of lap 7 and 1st half of lap 8, I tried to work my way through the field and surf wheels to get back to the front. I managed to get about halfway through the field but riders were getting very close and too touchy for my liking. There were 3-4 "close calls" in the matter of a few seconds and I made a quick decision to pull up and finish the race at the back, but in one piece.

Thinking back on the race afterwards, my quick break up the hill was a bad idea and if I stayed at the front for another half or 3/4 of a lap I could have tried an all-or-nothing attack that had a slight chance of working compared to wasting energy with what I did. On hitting my pre-race goals: I was safe and pack surfed much better than I expected so I'd consider it a training success.



After the race, we walked around town a bit and stopped by the coffee shop that one of the Caffeinated guys recently opened and were sitting there enjoying our nitro iced coffee's and I see some joker in a Cannondale Drapac kit roll up and walk in. After a couple of seconds I realize it's not a full on Fred but it's Alex Howes! I nerded out for a second then asked him for a picture since you don't see a WT rider in South Jersey everyday. The back story is that Alex's girlfriend lives locally and he's in town visiting. He later jumped in the 1/2/3 race and blew everyone's doors off. I guess Giro fitness hangs on for a few weeks.


On the non-bike front, my wife and I have been spending nights and weekends the last few weeks packing our apartment and we finally moved earlier this week. Four days later we're feeling mostly unpacked and thoroughly tired. I have a bunch of DIY projects on the list and am slowly knocking them off (ceiling fans, bathroom fixtures, smart home stuff, and 100 other little things).

Concurrently with the new apartment, I treated myself to a new bike toy that all break out over the weekend. Any guesses on what it is??

I'll be swapping back to knobby tires on my cyclocross bike and heading to the dirt on Sunday morning with the Jalapeno crew at Holster Park in Clifton. It feel early for CX but I need to front load my training this year because of a nugget coming on 9/13.

My non-bike schedule continues to be crazy the rest of the summer. We already have my brother in law, sister in law, and two toddlers from CA staying with us and we're spending a few days in Montauk next week. No sleep here! The plan for July is to spend every weekend in Ocean City relaxing before August hits and we're on a wife/doctor imposed travel ban.
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Team MTBNJ Halter's
Hopefully you went MTB and not new Cross Bike? :)

Holster on Sunday open to all? I haven't been able to do their JC Saturday stuff, Sunday may work. May be enough reason to put my cross bike back together...
Did you ask him how he gets his hair like that? Homie's got sick volume. I don't get how these ProTour dudes load their hair up with product and slap a helmet on, though.

Pomade + sweaty head = stinging eyes?


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First cyclocross practice of the season with the Jalapeno Cycling gang at Holster Park in Clifton yesterday. It was my first time on dirt since Rainey Park CX on New Years Eve. Felt pretty good and I didn't feel like I lost too much technique in six months on the road. I went down a few times but that's par for the course.


Also there's a @Santapez sighting!


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Team MTBNJ Halter's
I felt like I have never ridden a bike before at that practice. Slow is one thing, felt like I had no idea how to turn that bike.

Really glad I went, no way I would have gone riding at 7am otherwise.

And it's super hilarious to me that on the 1 year anniversary of crashing that bike doing a bunny hop I get roped into practicing bunny hops.


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Life, lately, has been a bit crazy! Every day for the last few weeks felt like it was consumed by moving, DIY projects, and family visits. Not a ton of working or exercising going on.

We successfully moved to our new apartment 2 blocks away and turned the old place over to the new owner. My goal was to be out of the old place in one day which was felt like a tall order but one very long day for us and a few family members, we were successful! So far I've installed 2 ceiling fans, a connected deadbolt, 2x smart thermostats, re-secured a ton of electrical outlets after a near scuffle with my tile guy, installed a few new electrical outlets, assembled a bed and a crib, and fixed 2 rubbing doors. Still on the DIY list is new fixtures in the bathrooms, install a few more electrical outlets, a smart light switch, and fix some switch plate covers that are "red-neck" fixed for now. It doesn't seem like a lot of work on paper, but with 1-3 trips to Home Depot for every project, time really adds up!

Bikes fit in the new tub!

I also decided to treat myself to a Wahoo Kickr since REI was having a 20% off sale last month and Kickr's never go on sale otherwise. I've done a few rides on it so far and am still getting the hang of it. The Erg mode with an external power meter connected doesn't feel that natural and power seems all over the place but focusing on smooth pedaling will hopefully solve that over time. I really got this to help with the mindless base workouts for next winter but it's great for interval work too.

With all of the not riding bike stuff the last few weeks and having (an almost) completely free day yesterday (see pending DIY projects above), I decided to spend the entire day on the bike and ride to Bear Mountain as sort of a one-day training camp. I've only done the full Hoboken-Bear Mountain-Hoboken 100+ mile route once before in 2014 but have always hoped to do it more often. It seemed like a good idea when I was planning everything out last week: spend the entire day on the bike, hose on the TSS, gain a bit of training benefit, and eat and drink whatever I wanted for the rest of the day.

I set out at 7AM with another local guy who only wanted to ride to Alpine or the NY state line, max. I thought it would be a great idea to hit most of the hills on the way up so by the time we got to Alpine, I was already at 1500 ft of elevation. I solo'd on and picked up the pace, feeling great, and eating my way through almost all of the food in my pockets before getting to the base of the Bear Mountain climb.


Going up, the climb felt great, it never felt too steep and I was doing my best to crank away and stay around 250 W. I had only ridden the climb once before so wasn't too sure what to expect so I kept my pace relatively conservative, probably a little too conservative thinking back on it. My Garmin says it took me 28:37 with an average power of 239W, 247 W normalized. Total elevation gain around 1,250 ft.


I stopped for a can of Coke at the top.

The was back was where the struggle started. I was light on food and water and I wanted to take a route that I then found out was closed to bikes (bummer) so I made my way back 9W and stopped at a 7-11 in Stony Point for an absolute calorie/fat/sodium bomb of a $1.99 Diablo Chicken Sandwich. I was still feeling OK but my knee started hurting and I could feel a bonk coming on. By the time I hit Nyack I was cracked and did my best to limp home and not do any more damage.

Total food tally:

Arriving home, the total for the day was 112 miles and 8,300 ft of climbing which translated into 357 TSS and 4050 kJ/calories. With almost no food in my apartment, I thawed some ground beef from the freezer while I showered off a pound of salt and cooked up a sorry excuse for a cheeseburger and pounded a few beers before having dinner #2 later on.


Vegging out on the couch later last night after eating a chicken parm hoagie as dinner #2 and while having a splitting headache, I told myself that I'll never do this again. Mostly because it hurts too much but also because it'll be hard, or impossible, to leave a family at home for 8 full hours then walk in the door as a tired mess for the rest of the day.

I'm getting excited for the 4-day weekend coming up, We're headed down to Ocean City and my brother and his girlfriend are driving down from Boston. I'll get a few shorter but exponentially faster road rides in, nap on the beach, drink beer on the beach, and also find time to install a hitch and rack on my Golf.

More from last week's CX practice in Clifton with another @Santapez sighting!
From the Jalapeno Cycling Instagram
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A bit late posting this but I've been mulling over a trailer hitch and rack for a while and finally pulled the trigger a month ago since my wife is due in less than 2 months and a baby plus a bike don't both fit inside a VW Golf. Over the 4th of July long-weekend I borrowed some ramps from a relative and my brother helped out as a second set of hands to install the hitch. Yesterday I broke out the 1Up rack to see how it works and it feels pretty flawless!


I've been doing a lot of group road rides down the shore, some rip-your-legs-off fast and others more relaxed. Fitness feels pretty darn good and I've been setting some new peak power numbers from 5 sec - 1 min, evidence that a month of VO2 intervals are paying off. I've been getting a little stir crazy riding the same loop in LSP alone and braved some heavy traffic to explore Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus. There's some great gravel roads which offer unique views but may or may not constitute trespassing, I can't tell.


I'm starting the TrainerRoad cyclocross mid-volume plan this week but will just use it as a loose guide for the time being. Their plan doesn't really incorporate CX practice at all and depending on how intense practice is, I very well may start skipping some of the late week intensity and supplement with more recovery rides. Last year, I felt the intensity of the plan burned me out a bit but I also started much later in the summer and was trying to do 2 hard trainer workouts, a hard CX practice, and 2 races per week.

The rest of my summer cycling plans are a bit fluid with lots of family and friends visiting down the shore then a pregnancy imposed travel ban starting August 1. I may do some more road racing but it'll be a last minute decision and I'm not super bummed that I only had 2 road races all year. Seeing as this summer will likely be the last time that I can go play bikes for an entire weekend guilt free, I'm signed up for the Cycle-Smart CX camp August 12-13 to hopefully really hone some skills. I also registered for Whirlybird cross which is 3 days before my wife's due date. Wishful thinking???

We start a "prepared parent" class tonight every Monday for the next 5 weeks. Depending on how it goes I may do a weekly recap here. I'm not super thrilled to sit in a classroom for 3 hours tonight but hopefully there's some good info.


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It's been quite a while since I've posted, although I've been intending to write something every week and then just never get around to it. Here's some bullets to summarize the last 6 weeks:
  • No baby yet, but we're on the final countdown. Due date is the 13th so... any day now!
  • We did the 5 night parenting class and it was just OK. The nurse who ran it talked A LOT. Mostly about useless stuff, including how she got sprayed in the face with amniotic fluid, but there was some good bits wrapped up in there too.
  • I've been running a semi-successful cyclocross practice in Liberty State Park (Thursdays at 6:15 PM). We've been getting 6-8 people per week and hit 10(!!) one week. Pretty good turnout for just winging it and hoping not to play bikes on my own every week. It's been a good mix of people from first time crossers, to people just curious about it, to a UCI racer.
  • I've been traveling a lot for work: Boston, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, and London. I try to get out for a run in each city when I travel for work. The only miss was Boston when I was drinking Harpoon IPA with friends too late and could only muster a few miles on the treadmill to sweat out the beer. Hopefully this calms down for a few weeks with a newborn around.
  • We had a baby shower and got a ton of baby gear. Then we cleaned out @Dominos and @Delish of some of their leftover infant stuff. Thanks so much!!! We're still likely thoroughly unprepared.
  • I spent a weekend in Northampton, MA at the Cycle-Smart cyclocross camp (day 1) (day 2). The instructors were an impressive group: Adam Myerson, Stephen Hyde, Ellen Noble, Alec Donahue, Scott Smith, Anthony Clark, and others. It was an intensive weekend of deconstructing form and building it back up the right way. I completely lost a stutter step which was more than I had hoped to come away with. Also learned a ton on using the most of the space in turns, off cambers, run ups, sand riding, obstacles, and more. It also became completely apparent to me that my trail riding skills are lacking.
  • I rode some other than legal trails with @Delish in and around Montclair. I was on the fence if he was trying to kill me at times but it was a blast!
  • I rode 6 Mile on my cross bike twice. Once for @The Heckler 's CX ride and once with @Carson and his group. Both on my cross bike. I had a ton of fun and only fell a few times. I didn't hit the sweet jumps or take the optional obstacles but my trail riding feels way better now than pre-cross camp.
This is a gross over-simplification of the last 6 weeks but I'm sure I'll have plenty to write about with baby stuff and race reports soon.