Bike Racing, Weight Lifting, Heavy Metal, Shittalking

Friday, August 22, 2008

New York State Track Championships

A nice way to spend a Friday afternoon, track racing with friends. I teamed up with Ken Harris and Tony Slocar for the 1/2/3 catagory and went up against Lacorte and his teamates. We lost by two seconds. Better luck next time! I did the Masters 30+ with Harry Zaverdas and Derrick Davis. We had to two heats. Our first heat was perfect. Harry was running a very light gear and he's a pretty slim guy, so he took off like a bat outa Ozzy show. Derrick caught up to him and i was right his draft. Harry's top speed wasn't blazing, but that's good because it paced Derrick's effort, since he was still pushing a lot of air. He really turned it up though on his lap. I was running a 50x14 and that gave me a lot to push off and I really surged through my lap. We did a 1:30.96.

My next heat was the 1/2/3 with Ken and Tony. We had Tony start and both me and Ken passed Tony in the start, but that is better than Tony taking off too fast. We got organized and I felt strong on my lap, a little less though than my earlier effort. Ken flew through his lap and we did 1:28.21, came 2 sec short of Lacorte's team.

I had one more heat with the Masters. This one was a little off. I didn't have enough time to fully recover from my last effort, as one of our opponents was late to meet his wife. Harry was a little all over the place through the back straight. Derrick's effort was amazing but mine was sub par.

I ended up with Silver for the 1/2/3 and the Master's 30+!

Saturday I did my kilo and went home. Andrew did a 1:11.92 which is amazing. I did 1:16.76, which is as fast as I have ever done. That got me the Bronze. Tony got the Silver with 1:15.54. I didn't do the points race and just went home to work. I was a little disappointed that I was so spent from the Friday's team sprints. The three starts, even though they weren't full on kilo starts, took it out of me. I also was looking at Chis Hoy's start technique and I changed my start body mechanics, bringing my hips close to the bars, locking out my arms and exaggerating the hip extension. This changes the movement to something more like the second pull phase of the clean. A little more practice with this new technique and I will shave a second or two off my kilo.

Sunday was sprint day. I had a full plate of races: three rounds of sprints, scratch race and keirin. The first round of sprints was against Ken and Tony. I knew they were going to work together to try to get a win. I looked at Ken's gear and figured that he was going to go long and Tony was going to try come around me at the end. I had the fastest time so I was last. Andrew told me to get in between them and bust up their team work. Tony tried to block me getting between them and he bounced right off me, checked me again and I knocked him out of his pedal. Ken jumped when he saw Tony blocking. I chased him down got the win. 

My next heat was Tadeusz Marszalek and Nelson Li. Jared ran up to me as we started and told me to watch Nelson. He looked fast, he was a thick sprinter type. I had the rear. I knew that Todd was going to attack several times to try and wear me out. He jumped right out of corner two. I reacted and he quickly pulled up. Nelson jumped underneath and went to kilo me. I knew that I was going to have to time it right not give Todd a chance to come around me. I waited until we came back to corner two and jumped into the back stretch. That got me into the finals.

Scratch race. I put my 88" on and figured on tail-gunning. The field was spread out, pretty quick. Todd, Tony and Ken kept attacking and I kept reacting. I was intent on not doing any work except bridging, which I did a lot of. Once I would catch them I would just sit in. I went with about six attacks. I kept dragging up the the rest of the field and fought to keep it together. Eventually I let Tony and Todd go and then Ken bridged up, I chased for a little bit. I knew that this combo would wear me out for the rest of the day. I gave up my pursuit. I pulled laps with the next three guys back and sprinted them for 4th. Omnium Points!

My final match sprint was next. I had to go up against Andrew Lactorte. I knew that he was going to win but I didn't want to just give it to him. Ken told me to try and get him angry so he makes a mistake. He said I should laugh at his little jumps and fakes. I got him to skid into a trackstand and gave a little chuckle. He jumped on me on corner two. It took everything I had to reel him in. I got into his draft and hung for a second before trying to come around. He kept that half wheel advantage the whole time, razoring me to the line. It was a crowd pleaser.

My last race was the keirin. Ken, Tony and I worked out a plan to get me the win them the podium. Ken was going to take the motor, and string the race out, Tony was to take second and I third. On the sprint we were going to go three wide so that anyone else would have to take a really high road around us. Sounded good. I drew the motor, which would have had me freaked out if I hadn't had the plan. Ken took the motor but Tony didn't take second. I kept second wheel and Nelson Li took third. As the motor took us up to seed, I started looking around for attacks from behind. Nothing but a pace line. When the motor left, Ken turned up the heat even more. I kept looking back for any surprise jumps. I came up a little and Nelson took the opportunity to come underneath and push me out of Ken's draft. I was out in the wind. I knew that I would have to keep him boxed in, that I had to tough it out. We elbowed around for three fourths of a lap before I took off the back straight into corner three. I got the win with Ken in second and Nelson for third.

Medals: 1/2/3 Keirin Gold, 1/2/3 Team Sprint Silver, Masters 30+ Team Sprint Silver, 1/2/3 Match Sprint, Silver, 1/2/3 Kilo Bronze and 1/2/3 Omnium Bronze. Not a bad day! I celebrated that night at finish line for Victor's Longboard Alleycat.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The End of the Racing Queens

Last night was the final Wednesday night of the racing season. The end of the season is always a bit bitter sweet for me. I am pretty cooked by this time, certainly not burned out yet but certainly a good medium well. I am pretty stoked to get into my off season training, get my training plan together. Each year I learn so much and taking it and applying to next year is exciting.

I think next year is going to be my big year for track. I have nothing holding me back, no band, nothing. I can focus completely and just put my life 100% into training and racing. I have a very supportive family and friend group, a pretty low stress life. Jay has been talking to a pretty exciting potential sponsor for a CRCA/Affinity track team and he's super excited about the possibilities for next year. He came out to the track yesterday and talked with Tony and Andrew Lacorte about getting on the team for next year. He got us all super excited. I hope that all of these efforts to make a NYC based track racing team are coalesced into a super squad.

The racing last night was good too. I won one race, point-a-lap, got third in a scratch race, and ended up with second in the omnium. That's a good end to the season. The point-a-lap was funny, I went for one point, ended up getting 3/4 of a lap on the field. So I stayed out and got the last three points.

I have three more races to finish this season out: New York State Championships, North American Cycle Courier Championships and then Masters Track Nationals. At States I want a win. Lacorte got me a little worked up because he was telling me about how a bunch of juniors and other T-Town racers are gonna come for the Elite qualifier because they didn't qualify there. He was naming all the guys to watch and some of the notorious assholes coming from the road scene. They don't know Ol' Lumpy like I do. I ain't scared.

NACCC's will be fun. I am gonna defend my sprint title from San Francisco. I am going with Gina, Willis and Dagga. We are gonna get a hotel, do it up. Then it's straight to San Jose for Masters Track Nats. NACCCs 8/29-9/1, Masters Nats 9/2-8. That's a big bitch. The real trick will to not party super hard at NACCC's. That might be impossible.

Four Horsemen

My racing buddy Luke made this a while back. I just found it again while I was fucking around.
The Four Horsemen from Luke Stiles on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Team Sprint Team!

Ken Harris asked me to be the start for Adler's team sprint team. So it's me, Tony and Ken to finish. I think I should be second and Tony should start. i feel that my standing start is going to be way to much for them to hold and it will be just like the Olympics and the absurd amount of disorganization in the team sprints. Even Great Britain, who killed it, well Hoy killed all by himself. That's what I am saying though, he should have had a draft but didn't. I think I will do better in the middle anyway, this way I can lead out Ken on an absurd gear. Having a slower start will be better because it will allow us to use higher gears.


I got a foam roller yesterday because I was sore from Crossfit. I also saw Tropic Thunder. I laughed out loud so much it was embarrassing. Tom Cruise is a genius. Self Myofascial Release!

Foam Rolling: Part I from Patrick Cummings on Vimeo.

Foam Rolling Part II from Jon Gilson on Vimeo.


This is good shit

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weight Training for Track Sprinters

This is a long one. Just a warning. I didn't write this. It was passed on to me by a fellow track racer and I think this is going to be the basis for my off season. The videos have nothing to do with the text, but are very informative as well. I love training in the gym. So much that I often don't train enough on my bike. I think that this will fit with my training style perfectly. So far we have this post, Crossfit and Tabatta intervals to look forward to this off season!

The Snatch - Part One from Patrick Cummings on Vimeo.

The Snatch - Part Two from Patrick Cummings on Vimeo.

This post came from a group called Supertraining. Paul Rogers is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Australian National Sprint Cycling Team. Enjoy! Australian track cyclists more or less dominated the Athens Olympics track program with six gold medals. Here is a unique view from the strength and conditioning coach. My apologies if the following has been posted previously. It is doing the rounds of some bike forums, so some may have already seen it. There's no name on it and that's how I came upon it, but the guy's name is no secret. Just a few points of interest. Ryan Bayley, mentioned below, won the Athens individual sprint gold. Check out the last paragraph for some insights into the last thread on 'endurance paradox'. Note the squat and jump data. My oh my!
"I am currently the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Australian National Sprint Cycling Team and have been for about five years. I am also the Strength Scientist for the South Australian Sports Institute in Adelaide, Australia, where the National Sprint Program is based. In addition, for "fun", I help coach a group of developmental sprint cyclists, which form the core of our SA State Sprint team and half of whom are now in the Top 10 sprinters in Australia, which would make them National champions in all but a handful of countries and, when I get time, I roll around the track myself. Some points (for free): 

1. We don't keep any secrets from anyone, including the Poms, the Frogs, Ze Germans or the Yanks. In fact, people just generally don't believe what we tell them, disagree or their programs (or minds) are too set in concrete to change. We invite other top riders to train with us and they get faster, but they go home and do the same old thing. The Head Coach, support staff and I are happy to tell anyone and everyone what we do. We usually just don't get time to sit around on chat rooms or make social chit chat on E-mail, let alone write a book. What Charlie Walsh and Gary West used to do with our sprinters when they were the Head Coaches was state of the art at the time and they are both great coaches. You will not find anyone in Australian Cycling who will question that or say a word against what they did at the time, but times have changed and those methods are not quite enough to consistently hit the top spots now, although you can still be troublesome internationally if you've got natural speed. The top speeds have gone to a new level and to reach that level, you have to specialize your sprint riders more. I'm sure if Charlie and Westy were still coaching the Oz team, they wouldn't be doing exactly the same things they were doing ten years ago. They are too smart for that. Most of what we do is based on methods and research that have been around for decades but have not been applied to cycling. It has mostly been used in athletics and we have copied a lot from that and what the French and Germans have done at various times. The Brits were formerly coached by our current Head Track Coach, so they do a lot of similar things too. What the Dutch are doing now, I'm not sure, but they were mostly all speed skaters before they were top cyclists, so maybe there's something in that. 

2. We are constantly trying new things and changing what we do, so what we do this year will be different to what we did last year and so on. Australia is a small country and is competing with some real powerhouses in terms of talent pools, resources and money that we can't even dream of matching, so we have to be a step ahead or we're not in the race. 

3. What sprinters did 10 years ago is completely different to what most of the top sprinters are doing now. The critical factors that determine success or failure have changed. Tactics have changed and the tournament formats have changed. Training that would win 10 years ago is generally not as successful today, but every dog has his or her day and some old-school trainers still come out on top now and again, but it is happening less and less. 

4. Our philosophy is simple. Most events are speed endurance. To win you need to go faster for longer than the other guy or gal. Some riders are better at faster, some are better at longer, but they generally need a bit of both. To have speed endurance, first you need speed. If you can't ride 5.0 for a flying 100m, you won't ride 10.1 for a 200m. Speed is hard to train and takes a long time. Endurance is easy by comparison and we just chuck that on at the end. To get up to speed, you need acceleration and that means power. Power is a combination of strength and speed. The speed part you get on the track, the strength you get in the gym. Low cadence power (0-120rpm or so) we can train in the gym too, but high cadence power (120-200rpm) is too fast to do in the gym and you generally need to be chasing a maniac on a motorbike (e.g., our Head Coach) down the bank to increase that. Or at least, someone faster than you to break the wind so you can go overspeed. 

5. Aerobic Capacity (VO2max, AT) is the base for enduros, strength is the base for sprinters. We do three gym sessions and two track sessions for most of the year. Road is just for recovery, to keep them a little bit lean and to keep the sprinters out of the pub and out of trouble. It is generally a max of 2hrs, but mostly only 1 and is very easy – talking the whole time. 

6. When strength is the focus, we don't care what numbers they pump out on track, just what they lift. When power or speed is the focus, we back the gym off (2/wk and easier sessions) so we can get the numbers we want on the track (3-4/wk). Generally, half the year is spent focused on strength and half on power and speed (roughly - depends on competitive calendar) although we always train a bit of everything, it's just the proportion of each that changes. The strength work is not all done in one block. We cycle through strength, power and speed at least twice per year. 

7. Gym is generally 3-4sets of 3 max lower body strength or power lifts-early in the phase, two strength and one power, later, two power and one strength. I don't use cleans, jerks or snatches with our current riders. They are too technical for maximal efforts unless you have years of experience. We do one bilateral strength lift each session for "core" strength (Squat, Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift) - usually lower back is the limiting factor not legs and this is the only reason I use these lifts – for back strength in standing starts. The rest of the lifts are unilateral. How many feet do you push each pedal with at one time? If you train bilaterally you get stronger bilaterally and unilateral strength lags behind. If you train unilaterally, you get stronger unilaterally. It's a neural thing. Single-leg Press is our bread and butter. Different foot and hip positions for different phases of pedal stroke, standing, seated, etc. I use high speed video to match joint angles and velocities for each rider. We mainly do it ballistically for power - throw the sled as far as you can – at different percentages of max to match up to different muscle contraction velocities for different phases of the acceleration (different cadences). We do a lot of single-leg plyos on boxes, stairs, bunjee sleds, etc during speed phases. Strength and power gains are extremely specific and do not necessarily transfer well. When Ryan Bayley beat Sean Eadie in the Commonwealth Games sprint final in 2002, Sean was tripling 250kg for a parallel back squat and Ryan was tripling 120kg. On single-leg press, they were much closer (20kg) and so was the racing. Single-leg squats (front and back) and deadlifts usually make up the third exercise and are as much for pelvic stability as strength. I'm going to try single-leg pulls and cleans this year, but these will not be our primary power exercises - more of a preparation for the work before Beijing. We have done SL squats, deadlifts and pulls for years now and the riders are pretty stable. An example of numbers - our best single-leg squat figures are 3@165kg on each leg (just over 360lbs). The weakest of the girls (who just entered the squad this year) is 3 @ 80kg on each leg, but she only weighs about 50kg. Two riders have done the 165kg so far. We have riders who can do sets of standing hops onto 1m+ boxes. The lowest is for one of the girls and is a 70cm box for sets of 8 each leg. 

8. Upper body, we do two exercise per session (a push and a pull in the same plane of movement, different each day) in general prep and two per week in specific prep (both pulls) so they can keep hold of the handlebars in standing starts. The girls are starting to push themselves off the bike, their legs are so strong (around 3 @ 250kg on each leg for the girls and up to 350kg for the guys on SLP). Abs and core, we do two per session – one mainly flexion, one mainly extension. Some have rotational or lateral components, but not isometric holds or pilates mumbo jumbo. If their "core stability" is poor, they wouldn't be able to squat on one leg. Lying on the ground and waving your legs in the air doesn't transfer to the bike. That might annoy the physio's and guru's who make money out of Swiss balls and all that stuff, but I tried it for three years in 20 different sports and it didn't make any difference to performance or injury rates. They get really good at balancing on a ball, but there's no Olympic event for that. It doesn't transfer to the sport. Fix their technical problems in the actual technique (soapbox time is now over). 

9. A Gym session lasts about 2.5-3 hours for 6 or 7 exercises, a maximum of 33 sets including 12 warm-ups sets, so that's about one set every six minutes or more on average. We don't set maximum rests, just minimums. If they need longer to get their heads in gear, they take it. Ryan Bayley is the slowest trainer in the world. Lucky he's so bloody fast, they'll pay my bill to sit there and talk about muscle cars and heavy metal music. Reps are a maximum of 6 for strength, and 4 - 15 for power (less for high percentages- 60-70% max, more for low percentages - 20%, or BW for plyos) Total contraction time for a set (not counting hang time in the air) is around 6-8s max - phosphate energy system all the way. Minimum of 2 min rest, but that is never in danger. Only the phosphate energy system can deliver energy fast enough for maximal work and you've got about 8s max. 

10. On the track they take about 3 hours for 3 or 4 efforts including half hour warm-up routine - same as pre-race warm-up. Warm-up, change gears, roll-up, effort, roll down 20-30min rest, roll-up, effort, etc. Lot's more rest. Rest usually consists of sitting on their arses, paying out on each other, drinking Coca Cola (sponsorship please - the Coke bill is killing us) and the occasional chocolate cake. This is especially good when there is a joint sprinter/enduro training session. (Enduros don't get any cake - they're too paranoid about body fat). In general prep phase, the sprinters ride to track and gym (15-20min easy each way) and in spec prep, they drive. Each track effort is no longer than about 15s and usually less than 10s. Again, mainly phosphate system. 

11. The one thing we do that most coaches can't cop is this. If you don't make the target times or loads on the first effort or set, you warm down and go home. You aren't fresh enough to train at a level that will make you improve. If you do a PB, you warm down and go home. If you are on fire that much you can blow yourself to pieces in a couple of sets or efforts and it will take weeks to dig you out of the hole you put yourself in, so whatever it is, if you PB, you stop and come back next time. This philosophy takes everyone a while to accept, but it works. When we don't follow the rules, if we let someone pump out a series of PBs in one session, they are almost invariably wrecked for weeks afterwards and we never get close to quality training during that time. Sometimes, you can see it coming, but sometimes it just comes out of the blue. When it does, warm down, go home. Sometimes, at lower levels you can get away with it, but the better you get, the more capacity you have to exceed your normal limits, the more this becomes important. Enduros don't need to do this. Everything is submaximal. 

12. In general prep, the sprinters might do 2 x 1hr easy aerobic/coffee rides per week and an easier recovery ride on days off (unless they're too fat, then they might do 2hrs and less chocolate cake). This year, we are doing a total of six aerobic development rides (over Christmas – fat time). In spec prep, they just do the recovery rides. 

13. We generally always do track after gym. Gym in mornings (8:30am-11/12) track in the arvo (2:30/3pm-5:30/6pm). If the gym session is too hard, it will bugger them for track. As I said, for about half the year, we don't care. For the other half, I water down the gym so the track work is 100%. There is some short term potentiation from doing some maximal strength or power efforts but the research is not clear on time frames since everyone does something different. This is one thing we are looking at. If we do two maximal power ergo tests (6s with 4-5min recovery), the second one is always much better. The same has been shown with some contrast- loading studies on squats and plyos, etc., but an equal number of studies have shown no effect. The time courses and stimuli are always different though, so it's hard to compare. I think there's something in it so if you find something that works for you, go with it. The exception is start sessions. We never do standing starts after gym. If we do, they are always crap sessions. 

14. Coming up to the major comp for the year (Worlds or Olympics), we slot in a speed endurance block. This involves the addition of some longer sustained efforts or sets of short efforts with low recovery once or twice per week, usually one on an ergo and one on the track. This increases the muscles ability to buffer hydrogen ions from the anaerobic glycolysis energy pathway that you have to rely on when the phosphates run out and increases the enzyme capacity of that pathway as well, so it can run at a higher level. Adaptation is relatively fast and 6-8wks will usually give a massive increase in this capacity. 

15. Here's the logic. Volume is a speed killer. It doesn't matter what you do, if you do a lot, it will make you slower. The protein in your muscles (myosin heavy chain isoforms for those who know their molecular biology) will change to a slower, more endurance friendly type if you do too much volume. This is individually variable, but two sessions every day of anything will make you slower as will lots of aerobic work. You might still be fast for an enduro, but in sprinter terms, you're still slow. Going slow makes you slow. If you want to be able to go faster, then going at less than maximal speed generally won't do it. If it does, then you weren't operating at 100% before. That's OK. Most people can't switch everything on. You have to practice it. It takes years to reach your 100% level even without any actual physiological improvement. Most sprint events require sustained power output at cadences over 160rpm. If you don't practice this, you won't get good at it. Most people will spend all their bickies just getting up to 160rpm on a decent gear, so to train maximally at that level, you have to get up to 160rpm without using up your phosphate stores. That's where the motor bike comes in. Use the slipstream to get up to max speed or over and then spend your bickies. That way you work maximally at maximal speed. You have to train your nervous system to coordinate your muscular contractions at that speed. Same in the gym. If all you do is slow, heavy. You get STRONG and SLOW. You need to do most of your work at race speeds using submaximal loads but at high speeds. If you can't do single-leg stuff, then Olympic pulling movements are your next best option, but unloaded plyos are more important for higher cadences. You don't need to be able to clean or snatch or jerk. The pull phase from the floor to full hip and knee extension is where the gains come from. What happens after that doesn't matter. You can throw the bar out of the window and the gains will be the same. I would only recommend this on your last rep as most gym owners get quite irate about their equipment being heaved out into the street, as do passing pedestrians. The overspeed work will come as you try to get away. Use your maximum capacities at the maximum rate and in as specific a way as possible to transfer to the bike. I can outlift all our top riders in the gym and out-power them on the ergo, but I'm not in the race on the track. I can't put my power through the bike into the track. I'm just not technically as good as they are. Ryan Bayley may look like a monkey humping a tennis ball when he sprints but most of his power is getting onto the track. 


Weight training for enduros. The same strategies apply but maximal strength and power are less critical. All endurance riding, even the bunch sprint at the end, is really submaximal. A little bit of gym regularly helps to maintain the structural integrity of the body, prevent imbalances and prepare you for crashes, but the real gains come on the road. Racing is the best training. All our best track enduros race on the road in Europe. They come together for camps to touch up their track skills, but all of that was learnt as juniors and in domestic track racing on the way up. For strength endurance on the bike, ride up hills in the saddle on bigger gears. That was the only strength work out team pursuit did for the last three years and they won everything there was to win with a bucket load of world records to boot. Incidentally, they are also the fastest starters." 
 Paul Rogers Gympie, Australia

Friday, August 15, 2008


I just watched the team sprint on MSNBC. That was amazing. Chris Hoy did the whole race by himself. I can't help but feel he had something to prove about the loss of the kilo.

BTW my friend Ashira met Chirs at the LA World Cup last year. He gave her his flowers!

My! What a busy week!

Ok. Let us get comfy. A bunch of shit happened this week so far and it ain't even over yet!

Good News: Racing.

T Town was fun. I got DQ'd for cheating because I dropped off the back of the pack and towed Tony up to help him lap the field. Tony didn't get DQ'd just a warning, ended up with 3rd in the omnium. Nobody ever laps the field at Kissena, that situation is kinda new to us. We learned some rules and Tony got upgrade points. Success through failure. The best I did was 6th place, give or take, in the 15k Scratch. I elbowed my way on to Pat Gellineau's wheel with 3 to go and I took it all the way around. I didn't even see him until the race was more than half over and he got 3rd. I love that guy's racing style.

Kissena was good too. I was a little distracted from earlier that day and I was cooked from racing the night before but still managed to get 3rd in two scratch races, the 1/2/3 and the A Feature.

Bad News: Metal.

This shit is heavy (hehe). Hugs and I were kicked out of Atakke on Wednesday. I saw Hugo's dismissal coming but mine was out of the blue. Hugo left after they told him. Parting words: "Bill, were not in a band anymore. Watch your mouth around me."

I didn't really get it at first. I told them I didn't want to be out that I would do what I need to to stay in. Sam didn't say anything. Chloe chimed in that it was up for debate. I demanded to know why it was. Bill said that it was business. That two promoters, Greg Dailey from Phily (Pointless Fest dude) and Ian Dickson from Jersey (Hardcore Gig Vol. dude), had told him that they wouldn't book us because of me and Hugo's bad behavior. Specifically that they said my ego was too big, that I acted like a rockstar and I was only in it for myself and that I wasn't a part of the scene. He also cited that I don't practice at home and that I blew up at him at Knitting Factory show, that I often don't help with loading and that bailing on them Saturday night to go home with the girl was the last straw.

I have to get all James Joseph and call bullshit on Bills reasons. I have to call bullshit on Bill. He kicked me out because we don't get along. Because he can't control me, because I argue and fight to get what I want out of the band.

First the lies about two promoters. I might understand Greg Dailey being a little leery of Hugs and I for smoking a big joint in the backstage of the Knitting Factory and getting yelled at by the sound guy. That's the only time that I was involved with him in the last year. Bill didn't mention that, he just repeated a criticism that he's had of me since the beginning of our performances. He first told me that my ego was an issue was when I wanted to wait a few minutes to play at Europa. We were on stage and the promoter wanted a band playing when people came in. I wanted to wait for the initial line at the door to get into the club to start. We started according to Bill's rules. So if he hadn't just repeated what he told me often before I might buy that. He also mentioned that I didn't do it for the scene. I don't. I make this music for the 15 y/o version of my self, the outcast in rural America. I took solace in metal and punk growing up alienated and lonely in a very small town. I took solace in knowing that there were others like me in the world, others that were frustrated and angry. Others that knew there world is fucked, that society is fucked. That people are fucked.

I mentioned this to Gina and she said that she'd heard other people complaining that I didn't deserve to be in Atakke because I don't hang out and I don't support the scene or go to shows. Funny.

Yes, I blew up at him at the Knitting Factory. That was a complex issue. Without going into too much detail, lets just say that in the number and severity of blow ups that we have exchanged throughout the last two years, Bill is winning.

Not practicing at home. Thats not true either. I don't practice at home often or frequently, but leading up to the last few big shows and the recording earlier this year I did. Just a couple of sessions between practices. We did practice three days a week. I train, race, and run a business outside of the band. Plus I had a girlfriend. Full plate.

Truth of the matter was that I was stretching my abilities to play some more of our technical material. I am a mediocre/hack bass player. But that's what us bass players are, thats why we don't play guitar. I do have a good sense of rhythm and was super tight with Hugo's drumming. We're gonna keep playing with James on guitar.

Finally, the loading issue. To me, this is the funniest one. I load a lot of shit. I have only just bailed on loading that one time that I can recall. I might have bailed a couple of other times. We have played a lot of shows. There have been times that factors other than getting laid (e.g. work, not being told when we were meeting to load) have kept me from loading in or out but, I more than make up for it for the countless times I have loaded out or in all by myself, or done the bulk of the heavy lifting (they call me Muscle Tits). Plus Chloe bails all the time. To do coke. Bill said he yells at her, but he doesn't kick her out of the band.

Whatever. I don't want to be in a band with Bill anymore. I can't surround myself with people that I hold such negative opinions of. This is for the best. This frees me up to go to the NACCC and defend my sprint title. Plus I like this girl I met. The band thing adds an element of visceral intensity to the agape emotions of meeting someone new. I can't help but draw similarities to when I quit Trackstar.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tabata Intervals

What is a Tabata interval, you ask? It's a reference to a Japanese study on the best ways to improve aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. It is a series of eight intervals of 20 sec maximal efforts with 10 sec rests. According to the study a 5 days a week/six week training protocol (on a bike, even) of this improves anaerobic performance by 28% and aerobic gets a little 14% boost as well.

Wow. Those are some significant numbers.

Some casual Googling of Tabata shows that there are some mentions of cycling in relation to these, but nothing too specific and definite. On guy's work out had him doing three sets of eight in one workout. Ouch!

So I tried to do a complete set of eight intervals today on my rollers today. Three times I tried. The first time I completed three intervals. I attempted the fourth but I was so exhausted that I almost fell off the rollers. Max speed 46.7 mph. The first work effort was easy. I jammed up to top maintainable speed and held it. Rest. 10 sec Rest. Go again. In the second effort acceleration was harder, the previous top speed was tough to hold but not super taxing. Ok Rest time. It's already over? Go again! This time I was bouncing a lot, having trouble seeing my computer for top speed and time. Really tough to get to top speed. almost impossible to hold. Rest. Again!? This last work effort was a mess. I was bouncing all over, losing all of my roller form. I almost fell off the rollers and that broke my concentration. Maybe rollers isn't the best venue for Tabata. Subsequent attempts at Tabata efforts had me quitting after three. I tried to pace myself, aiming for a 90% effort, just to see how many I could do and they all ended the same: practically bouncing off the rollers. I think that a trainer or spin bike would be better for for the Tabata regiment.

My heart rate was in the high 180's by the last of the efforts. These were some of the hardest workouts I have ever attempted. I coached Hugo through two sets of 4 and he looked like he has gonna die. I can't imagine plowing through 8 efforts, let alone three sets of 8. These are definitely getting added into my training program, once a week in the off season and then twice a week in my build phase. I want to be able to complete a set by October and two sets by January. I ain't gonna fuck with it before the States. Don't want to tax myself that hard again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A roller-skating jam named Saturday

Saturday was fun. I stayed up late on Friday watching the Olympic Road Race on the Internet. It was a bit hazy, but gorgeous. The long helicopter shots of Beijing were gorgeous. The only adio was the helicopter blades and the various revs and beeps of the support cars. Without Paul Sherwin and Phil Ligget it was almost a meditation on the act of cycling. That might have been the weed talking (thinking).

So I awoke a bit late. The morning was gone and my room was beginning to heat 
up. It was time to go to the track! I got my coffee and my shit together, payed a quick visit to Kate's to smoke the wizard with her friends, Mouth of the Architect.

Khaari was at the track and he is fast, I am kinda scared of when he gets out of the juniors.  I knew I was gonna get some good work outs today. Dan was there and he was kind enough to motorpace me around for few goo efforts. I ledout Khaari a couple of times. His power is breathtaking. Hope he stays with it. I did a few flying 200's with the new wheels. My goal is sub 12, and I am getting just under 13 sec. The new Zipp wheels didn't help either. They are signifigantly stiffer than my Mavic Ellipses. I had too much air pressure in the tires, 170 psi is just too much for Ol' Lumpy. My first run had me bouncing around the corners too much and I had to correct my line. 13.9, bad. Tried again from the saddle with and got 13.6. still bad. Let out a little air and focused on keeping my upper loose to absorb the bumps. 12.96. Better but not the goal. I wanted to wait and recover completely but I was already late. Next week I gonna do them fresh, not at the end of my workout. I had to leave and book it back home in time for work. 

Work was where this Saturday really started to come together as my magnum opus. I switched sides so that I could be done at ten, when the show started. Only problem, Mighty Diamond and Teddy's both close at 11 pm, and we play at 10:30. I got a call at 10 from Teddy's. I was supposed to be at the show already. Worse yet, I had to ride right by the show on my way to the delivery. Nick from Absurd System recognized me, yelling "What the Fuck, Man?!" as I rode by.  I did my delivery and made it back to the show in ten minutes. Bill rushed me in  to set up. My tooth was hurting me and I paused by the bar to get a shot and a beer. No way, Jose. I get my drink from the back bar after I set up, because as usual, it is Bills way or the highway. I didn't load in so I didn't grab all the cables I needed. Or a guitar strap. So I had to borrow all that from After ze Bombs. They were nice about it. Good to go!

The show fucking sucked. The drums were miked and that was it.  All we could hear in the monitors was Hugo's rhythmic racket. We opened with Vitreolouse and I wasn't rocking as hard as I could, but the tooth and training earlier on top of working had me a little down. Hugs fucked up the changes on our second song, Ruinous Future. We made things better through the breakdown but the damage had been done. We were supposed to head right into our third song,  Gag Order, but Bill broke a string and had a hissy fit on stage when no one noticed and we bounced right along with the song. We stopped and made some awkward stage banter. I checked my phone. No calls. If one came in now all I could do is deliver it after the show.

We finished playing at 10:55. I had succeeded  in playing a show on the clock. Punk! I left the Supreme Trading and cashed out at the last of the restaurants. I returned to show and Hugs was schmoozing some pr guy. We decided to go to my apt for big Bob Marley joints. I hoped to catch Unearthly Trance but it wasn't in the stars. I got back for After ze Bombs. They rocked hard and there were a lot of people dancing around. A girl aproached me and tried to tell me something, but I couldn't hear her. We ended up buying each other drinks after the show. We were loading out our gear and she came out to talk to me some more. A bit of making out ensued and an Irish Good Bye to the band got us to my apt. The final Maestro's stroke.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Best Track Crashes

Air Time!

Little Kid Cartwheel:

Notice the flying bike take out the two riders at the top of the track!

Slap Happy.

My friend Andy in Australia was in a halo cast after this:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Substance Abuse: Race Day Boost

Active Ingredients: Sodium Phostphate, Glutamine.
Designer Drug: Stay hard longer in the red zone.
How High?: Definitely works.

Sodium Phosphate is mentioned in the Cyclist Training Bible. Supposedly it coerces the hemoglobin in your blood to dump all of it's oxygen at the muscle. This provides a boost to top end aerobic metabolism. I would think that this would keep you from tapping into the anaerobic pathways until later into the effort. I used it for Opening Day at Kissen this year and I definitely felt stronger in the kilo and the keirin. Both red-zone anaerobic workouts. It carried over into the weight room too. I was pretty impressed with my workouts the week following the event.

The Glutamine thrown in is for general muscle repair. Glutamine is the primary amino acid that muscles are composed of. Having a little more glutamine in your diet well help you recover completely before a big race.

Cyclist Tranining Bible states that the effects diminishes upon continued supplementation and that it is best to use this only once or twice a season.

Crossfit Pt 2

So I have been doing the free beginners classes at Crossfit Brooklyn for three weeks now. I can't help but think it has helped with my performance in the last few weeks. The metabolic conditioning workouts are intense and short. They have a big emphasis on the power through the posterior kinetic chain. Box jumps, burpees, wall ball, tuck jumps. Good stuff for the track sprinter. I am gonna sign up for the Elements class as soon as I have the cash.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Atakke Sat at Supreme Trading

We are playing at Supreme Trading on Saturday. Unearthly Trance isn't just a clever name and After ze Bombs is from Montreal. TOO MUCH CRUST!

I love playing at Supreme Trading. Good sound, nice room, weird wookie painting, it is two doors down from my house. Makes smoking blunts between bands a little bit easier. 

We are playing with childhood friend's band Wendol in September. It is awesome how we both ended up in punk/crust/metal bands and now that we are all old and shit we can play shows together. We used to play Nirvana and Sex Pistol covers together. 

New Wheels and 3rd Place Omnium!

Wednesday at Kissena was the only racing I got into this week. I got to Tom Dolan's house on Tuesday only to have him decide not to go to T Town on account of the big green rain blob that was gonna hit at 6 or 7. I concurred. I went off looking for a bolt on skewer for my new wheels.

Did I mention my new wheels? Former teammate o' mine Austin Horse sold me his original 440 Zipps on the layaway plan! Stoked! I needed to get a skewer for the front. I went to six bike shops in three borros before I found one, B's Bikes in Brooklyn, that had one that wasn't a locking skewer of some sort. I even went to Toga, against my better judgment. They proved to be just as big of asses as usual. I hate them.

Kisssena, yes. There were a tone of people there last night. They had two cat 5 fields. I got there late and didn't have time to warm up. I put too much air in my tubulars and was bouncing around too much during my first race, a points race. I dropped out after the first sprint. Oh well it was a good warm up. Next was a 5 lap super tempo. 3/2/1 points on each lap. Tony got away right off the bat and I sprinted up to him. I took a lap behind him and said that he should pull up and let me work that I wouldn't sprint him for the lap. Just as he pulls up top let me pull through Todd caught us and passed over Tony. I managed to say never-mind to Tony before taking off. Todd was slowed just enough by Tony that I had a good gap coming around for the third lap. We split up the rest of the points and I got second. Yeah!

7 lap scratch. One guy went off the front while I sat in the back with John Campo while the cat and mouse played out. Ken Harris was off the front with two laps to go and made a hard drive up to the front, tried to get a good position then just decided to go after not really finding a place to hide. I was running down Ken pretty good on the bell lap when he looked back at me and took off. I caught a tailwind in corner 3 and along with my big fat thighs, I closed the distance on him to half a bike. 2nd place number 2! The feature was a miss & out. I made it about a third of the way into the race before I let myself get pulled. I hate m&o's, and I had third in the omnium, anyway. Elite Nats just might happen!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I am gonna sweep the State Champs

Goals. It is important to have them. I have them every so often. They kinda pick themselves really. I have no real conscious control over it. Influence, yes. Its similar to love. I have identified criteria for my goals, like attainability. Similarly I have identified my preferred traits in mates, like tattoos.

So for New York State Championships on August 23,24, my current goal is to sweep the sprinters trifecta: Keirin, Match Sprint and Kilo. My kilo times have been improving through the whole season. I want to do sub 1:15, which I am confident is attainable. I think I am gonna go for a 92-94 inch gear and use drop bars. The match sprint is gonna be the real struggle, because Andrew Lacourte is back on his bike after his crash that seperated his shoulder. He isn't doing massed start races anymore but he has started training again. We shall see! 

Friday, August 1, 2008

This Week at the Races...

Fucked from birth.

I stayed up late on Monday night. Some Kind of Monster came on VH1 Classic at like one o' clock in the goddamn and of course I watched all three hours. Fucking Metallica. I slept in and made my breakfast at Willburg my pre-race meal. Kinda convenient. I lagged around Kate's house till 2 watching the Harlem Crit on the Olympics Channel (Universal Sport). I recognized a handful of my racing buddies: Ken Harris, Rashad, Raj a.k.a. "Spider."

Watching the race only gave me a half an hour to get my shit together at my house. I had to see the crash at the end since I missed it when it happened. When I got home and realized that I had to shave my legs. After taking a shower I started to pack up my race gear. I couldn't find my racing license and I started to panic. It was 2:30 already. I had to be out the door. I tore apart my apartment to no avail. I started my usual excuse cycle, getting overwhelmed with the stress, just thinking about how easy it would be to just give up and not race today. I was sore from Crossfit, I didn't have my license, I stayed up to late, I didn't eat right, I was already late, no time to print a rider release. I sat down on my couch and reached down to unbuckle my shoes. As my fingers flicked at the ratchet I got a wave of confidence. I stood up and looked at the clock: 2:47. I still had enough time. I had my numbers from last week, they'd remember me. Fuck it I am racing.

I usually meet Will at the George Washington Bridge. I takes an hour from my doorstep to the bridge. Today, I headed up 1st ave to save time. I usually take a stroll through Central Park and then take St. Nicholas to the bridge. Not the fastest but nice and casual. I figured if I took 1st ave all messenger style I could save a bit of time. I got to 125th where 1st ave ends and headed west. Traffic through Harlem was slow and go. I got to Fredrick Douglas and in my rush turned up and followed it to the end. After a while I realized this was not the right way. I kept going thinking that I would find a way to get over. I had to backtrack 30 blocks to cut over to St. Nick. It was 3:30. I sent Will a text letting him know that I was still on my way. He replied that he was running late too.

We talked about Metallica and listened to Megadeth the whole way to Pennsylvania. It was nice.

The racing was good and fast at T Town! My first race was a 2k final. In this same race last week I was pushed off the track and wasn't going to let this happen again. I stayed in the back and watched for crashes and general sketchiness. No crashing but general sketchiness abounded. Lots of riders at T Town, especially in the 2/3 field have big engines but shit drivers. Totally different from the 1/2/3 field at Kissena. I have been racing with those guys for years. They all keep their lines and respect eachother's space. Not so at T Town. Way more aggressive. I feel like I am in a road bunchsprint every time I come around for the line.

Anyway the 2k Final. I sat in alternating my ride from a junior to girl then back to the junior. I made moves to the front with two to go. There was a break off the front that I chased around the corner. There was one Ausie girl, Kaalie McCulloch from the break that sprinted out. Pat Gellinea the ancient racer was a head of me chasing too. He left the back door open and I tried to come underneath him for to beat the girl for second but it didn't happen. He reminded me why we don't go underneath by coming down on me after the line. Thanks for that old dude. I don't care if you being inducted in T Town's hall of fame if you crash me out it will be your hip that breaks not mine.

There was a Miss & Out that I didn't do.

There 1k heats that were just drag races. I was drafting Tony, thinking I had a great free ride. I was a little impatient and I put myself in the wind to try and improve my position at 2 laps to go (of a 3 lap race) but I couldn't. Sprinting didn't help. It was a drag race until the very end.

In the points race that Tony was off the front in a break trying get a lap. I was in back listening to the announcer saying that there was only one point for the field, that the break was taking all the points. I was asking myself the worth of all of this effort when the pack fell apart and I was suddenly in the wind. There was a chase group ahead and this guy came over me attempting bridging up to the chase. I took his wheel out of habit and cruised up to the chase. When I got there they had only 20 meters or so until they caught Tony's group. I kept the momentum from this guy's bridging effort and sprinted up to the front to shut them down. I hung out there in the middle and coasted. I heard the announcer say that the pack was coming back together. Tony and crew were back up to a half lap. Job done. I droped out of the race. Tony won that race and ended up with a 4th place in the omnium. There was a 5k final for the feature that I can't recall.

Kissena the next day was like a blessing from god: Win & Out, 7 lap Final and a 3 lap Tempo. No Ken, no Karl, no Andrew. Just me and the ten other kinda fast dudes that I could beat. Enough for upgrade points! The Win & Out was simple, Todd went off the front and I kept my position until the first bell lap. I was right behind Tony getting another free ride along with a perfect lead out. I screamed at Todd as I passed underneath him because he kinda looked like he was gonna try and block me. Later he told me that he wasn't gonna come down on me. I was just being a little preemptive. Win #1!

The next race was the 7 lap Final. Eugene from Mengoni took off right away and got about half a lap. The field was stretched out chasing his road fitness. I worked through the pace line and when I got to the front I coasted a full lap letting Eugene's lead to get up to 3/4 lap. I was content with 2nd and I wanted to crush the field's confidence and ruin anyone's chance for the win. I took the sprint for 2nd with ease.

This left the 3 lap Tempo. I knew that I was gonna have to surprise everyone and get the first lap and try for the last. During the first (neutral) lap I drifted to the back. Eugene was back there too and I almost asked to see if he wanted to trade laps. But I didn't. They blew the whistle and I counted to ten and left and caught everyone off guard. No one could respond. I was going too fast by the time I got to the front. I got a half lap by the time I crossed the line. I knew that I could keep them off for another lap, that It would be hard but it was possible. I got the next one and enough points for win #3 and the omnium. After crossing the line I sat up and let the pack fight it out for the rest of the points. I finished dead last with a bad-ass fist pump that got a laugh out of the spectators.

Didn't do that well in the feature Devil's Scratch, but I won the omnium so I didn't care. Cat 2 here I come!