Monday, October 20, 2008

10/19/08 HOWC Ride and Team HPC End of Season Party Report


Cold and foggy, and then cold and partly sunny, is how the HOWC started and concluded. Jeff led the group of six out to Cougar Mountain for some late season climbing. We did Newcastle Golf Club (starting from Coal Creek), Lakemont, Somerset the “easy” way, and then Horizon View (no easy way possible).

The cast was comprised of Reg, Jeff, Tom M, Tom N, Don M, and me. All were HOWC veterans, and all seemed to be pretty fit for late in the cycling season.

All in all it was yet another great HOWC, with some hard riding interrupted by plenty of time for on the bike socializing.

I left the ride a little early (but not early enough) to help set up the snacks and media room for our first annual Team HPC Powered by Cycle U End of Season Party. Tracy wound up doing most of the work, leaving me to greet people as they arrived.

Team HPC End of Season Party

We had a total of between 35-40 people at the gathering, and almost all of them were there from beginning to end. An open forum was held to discuss the 08 season, and what we could do to make the 09 season even more productive and fun.

David, Craig, and I all outlined various different scenarios for how next year could play out, and the group took it from there. It was encouraging to see different team members suggest some new ideas, and I hope these members follow through.

Perhaps the team message board can be used as a forum to seek out “sub-committees” of people interested in one particular thing or another? It will take someone to spearhead a new idea, and I am sure others will want to join in.

We had two very interesting guest speakers. Craig Undem from Cycle U, and Chris Ragsdale of ultra racing fame presented bi-polar approaches to the same end result—going faster on a bike.

Chris is a true “seat of the pants” rider, preferring to race and train totally by feel without the use of any training device. Chris lives and rides in the moment, and deals with obstacles as they appear. Chris just goes as hard as it feels right to go, and if he starts a climb at too high a pace, well “I just deal with the top of the climb when I get to the top of the climb”.

Not only does he not fear “The Bonk”, he anticipates the bonk, and seems to view it as a necessary thing to get through as part of any ultra event.

He shared some great stories about the recent Furnace Creek 508 race in California. This is perhaps the grand daddy of all of the ultra races, and here was Chris with three years of racing experience lining up with some of the greatest professional endurance cyclists in the world.

Not only lining up, but going off the front during the first hour with two of the stars, testing each other at 28-30mph, and ultimately finishing second in the race. So much for not burning all of your matches early on! In other words, Mano a Mano, if you can’t hang with me now, you won’t be with me 500 miles down the road, will you?

Craig talked about maximizing your potential, competing with yourself, and not setting unrealistic goals.

There are probably less than five people living on this earth who have the potential to ever play the game of golf like Tiger Woods does. It took almost two generations for Tiger to come along after Jack Nicklaus, who most people consider the last super dominant golfer.

There are likely less than 10 people alive at this moment that have the potential to dominate the Tour de France like Lance Armstrong has done.

Craig talked about aspiring to improve upon our own personal best, and not dwelling on climbing like Lance Armstrong, or riding over 500 miles in 24 hours like…Chris Ragsdale.

Craig discussed how professional coaching and a structured training plan can help you improve your fitness, and “beat your former self” up that climb.

Chris talked about the lack of structure in his approach, from his diet to his training mileage, to even his equipment, as in “Man, I was dying for that 11 cog”. Chris is truly a gifted athlete, and I suspect we would be watching him race on television if his potential would have been discovered as a teenager.

Craig discussed how the rest of us can benefit from using a combined approach of structure and riding by feel.

We had some discussion about the team rides, and afterwards I had a perspective I’d like to share.

We could start the summer clinics at 7:30am for the development riders, and any expert riders wishing to attend. The expert group would show at 8, and we would roll as one group. We would either then split the groups into two different routes, or do the same thing we did on Cougar Mountain this year (variations upon the same route).

If possible, we’d have a re-group and ride back as one group.

This would be a lot easier to manage than separate dates for the respective groups, and riding all as one would also instill more of a “team” feeling.

There was a lot of enthusiasm for the team and the potential of what we can accomplish together. Look for postings on the team message board, as well as articles in the Courier, as to what lies ahead in 2009.

I hope to see you on the road.


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