Jan 16, 2011

Team Camp

I know that my posts have been less frequent in the last few weeks. This has mainly been caused by the start of my training routine and getting my time management issues resolved. Believe it or not, it does take some time to tap out 1000 plus words and try to make things sound more or less coherent, and sometimes even entertaining. As things get settled down, I promise to return to my previous frequency of five to six entries a week. 

The fact that I love to ride my bike is well known, but even more so, I love to ride my bike in places I've never been before. This weekend was the weekend of the Colavita NorCal team's annual camp in Nice, California. Nice is situated on the banks of beautiful Clear Lake. I arrived at our condo on Friday evening, right as the pizza was coming out of the oven and the salad was coming together - good timing on my part. One of the many benefits of riding with a team based in Sonoma County is the wine. Steve brought a case (or maybe more) of his Rainborne Pinot Noir, which I would like to say is one of the better Pinots I've tasted to date. In addition, many more bottles of Cab, Zin and other varietals were "on tap."

The main point of the weekend was team bonding, so there was no strict schedule of when we'd ride, or at what particular pace, which was great because no one was under any pressure to get to bed early or get up at an ungodly hour. This left plenty of time for socializing and bonding. We were also very fortunate with regard to the weather. A week ago, Nice was seeing temperatures of 27 degrees and the chances of rain for this weekend were predicted at 60 percent. However, by the time this weekend approached, chances of rain were down to zero and temperatures were promised to be in the mid-sixties - perfect riding weather. 

We got up on Saturday, had a nice breakfast of pancakes and other eatables and were ready to roll about 10 o'clock. The planned route was a circumnavigation of Clear Lake. It's a 68 mile route which is mostly flat, with some short climbs and nice downhills. The route started off mellow with many miles of beautiful flat roads with great views of Clear Lake. The only hard efforts were the sprints - every city limit sign is a sprint. I was a bit behind the ball on the first sprint as it came about at approximately mile 4 and I completely missed the jump. I noticed that the next town was about 6 miles away, and I made a mental that at mile 10.5 another city limit sign was likely to make an appearance. I looked down, it was 9.6 miles into the ride,  andI figured I should be getting ready for another sprint. All of a sudden, I saw the sign. I was third wheel out and just at that time I saw John look back, there was no need to wait. I took off and gave it all I had. I ended up being first across the "finish line." Information retrieved after the ride showed that I was pushing 1240 watts for at least 5 seconds during that effort. That was a very pleasant surprise because the highest I've ever seen my wattage was just over 1000 watts. Looks like the training to date has been paying off. 

On the next sprint, I was caught of guard by the bikes blazing past me, but I was able to catch the first wheel and had I had another 5 meters of space, I probably would have had that one as well, but that time, 1200+ watts were only good for a very close second place. Nevertheless, all those sprints were a ton of fun. After the sprints, we moved on to some nice climbs, followed by a group of rollers and very, very fast downhills. The downhills, however, were a bit sketchy due to some wetness and potential freezing, but because the temps rose into the 70s, freezing was really not an issue. The final miles back into Nice were pancake flat and offered the opportunity to spin easy and get the blood circulating to promote the exit of lactic acid. 

Once back at the condo, it was chow time. Carla marinaded and grilled chicken, Phil made some awesome chilly, there were some yummy salads and a ton of delicious deserts. My Russian apple pie turned out to be a great hit, if I may say so myself. Of course, all was accompanied by a ton of great wine and conversation. The plan for Sunday was to do the same route but in reverse, unfortunately, that was not to be. 

We woke up to some very bad news, Paul's bike was stolen out of his truck over night. To add insult to injury, his truck was also missing a half tank of gas. At first, we all though that Paul was targeted for the bike, but as I started thinking about it on the drive back, I realized that it was merely an unfortunate coincidence. More likely than not, his truck was targeted for the gas, and once the thieves began the process, they saw the bike and decided to claim some extra loot. I mean who comes to rob a car with a container for gasoline? There is some hope that the bike will be found, however,  as it was one of only 5 Luma frames to ever be made in that particular color scheme - white. So if any of you see a white carbon Luma riding around, shoot me an e-mail or leave a message on this blog. 

After we found out about the theft, needless to say the mood was somewhat dampened and we all opted for a shorter, flatter ride to finish off the weekend. We rode out to Kelseyville and back - the flattest ride I've ever done in California, but a perfect route for a recovery ride. After the ride, it was a quick change back at the condo, a beer, a few bites of food and back to San Francisco. Tomorrow is a longer ride out to Nicasio with some hard, short intervals en route. We'll see where my legs take me as far as wattage, but hopefully I can hit 1200+ at least once.

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