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Welcome To Holy Week

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 7.10.31 AM[dc]T[/dc]here's no better introduction to "Holy Week" than the celebration of Easter.  However, the real thrill of the day (besides 55 degrees and no cars on the roads) is the 97th running of de Ronde Van Vlaanderen or the Tour of Flanders.  As always, the storylines are written and the battle lines are drawn up:

Peter Sagan's amazing early season with his win at Ghent Wevelgem, Fabian Cancellara's realization of his Flanders/Roubaix double winning form of 2010, Tom Boonen's run of bad luck throughout the spring, Philippo Pozzato's eternal struggle for that big win, Thor Hushovd's newfound confidence….

It's the perfect soap opera to be played out on 256 kilometers of the roads of Belgium on a chilly Easter Sunday.  

Welcome to Holy Week. 

*UPDATE*

7:05AM, 3/31/13

Boonen crashed out of Flanders

I had written this post a few day ago and instead of editing it down, I'm going to just add this as a footnote:  Tom Boonen, in the hunt for his record breaking 4th win at Flanders, has crashed out of the race after 19k.  There will be no battle between Sagan, Boonen and Cancellara.  There will be no Belgian tricolore on display today (or likely for Roubaix either.)  This could be as game changing as Cancellara's feedzone crash in Flanders last season.  

Get better soon, Tom.

Planning Your Tour of the Battenkill Training (Podcast #2)

If you're thinking about racing Tour of the Battenkill this coming season, you'll need to think about training soon (and registering soon: November 15th!)  If you want to do more than just finish (or just suffer, as people overwhelmingly chose in a Facebook poll) then you'll need to train a few specific things.

It won't be enough to go out and do 65-mile rides, you'll need to focus on things like core stability, muscular endurance, cadence range, cadence control and VO2 max repeatability.  In this podcast, I discuss why you need those facets of fitness in order to survive this monster.

As always, comments are welcome.

Tour of the Battenkill 2013 Training Plan Now Available

Just a quick announcement that my 2013 Tour of the Battenkill training plan is now live and available.  Head on over to my Training Plans page and check it out.

In short, you're getting 18 weeks of structured workouts.  6 weeks of base, 2 rest weeks, 8 build weeks and 2 peak weeks.  Take it from someone who's raced there before, on nearly the same route: this race is HARD.  You'll need to be in tip top shape very early in the season, and you'll need to be able to stay on your toes for 65 miles.

Go out, hit it hard, and I'll see you on the starting line.

2013 Tour of the Battenkill Route Released

While I've long talked about riding dirt roads and getting out into the back roads of east rural nowhere (all in an attempt to find your inner child and just plain enjoy riding your bike) there's something special about racing on dirt.  There's a modicum of uncertainty as the tires slip, the increased resistance ratchets up the pain meter and your face cakes with dust (or mud, depending) and sweat.  It's a thrill like nothing else, unless you're heading over for the Tour of Flanders or Paris Roubaix.  Since most of us aren't pros, and we don't generally have the time to fly to Europe just for a sportive….

Battenkill - Meeting House RoadEnter Tour of the Battenkill.  The toughest one day race in America.  America's Queen of the Classics.  America's answer to the Hell of the North.

It's 63 miles of pain, 5,000 feet of grinding elevation, and about 25% dirt, gravel or broken up, nasty roads.  Combine that with an early April race day, and you could have anything from a beautiful sunny day to a greasy, nasty, gritty fight for survival.

Oh what a race it is!

It's no secret that this week was the release of the 2013 route, which you can see below:

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Trek Domane – Cobble Killer

For years, companies have put special bikes under their sponsored riders specifically designed for the cobbled classics.  Varied geometries, more tire clearance, increased brake clearance and better vibration damping are all some of the reasons for modifying bikes for the cobbles.  Even though mechanics still have tricks up their sleeve for use while building “classics” bikes, the occurrence of “one off” or “team only” bikes has been fading with recent UCI regulations which require pro teams to ride bikes that can be purchased by the average joe.   Essentially, this has forced development of “comfort” style racing bikes, which one could argue is just a refinement of the “all day” or “sportive” category of bikes that has been around for years.  Less aggressive positioning, vibration damping properties and generally more durability are the hallmarks of these bikes which are designed to be ridden by normal people for hours upon end.

Trek Domane TeamTrek has been one company that has seemingly missed the boat on this fad, at least until now.  In the past few days, details have been released about the Domane, which is designed to “specifically addresses the challenges of rough road conditions found throughout the spring classics courses with a collection of key innovations unlike any available before today” according to Trek.  Developed with extensive input from Fabian Cancellara, the Domane has a slew of supposed new features that will make it a formidable chariot for Sparticus (and the local Tuesday night racers who love dirt roads, too.)

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