Archive for October, 2012

2012 season statistics and reflection

With all that is happening in cycling right now, I definitely appreciate everyone who continues to follow my racing. I have never used any kind of performance enhancing drug, and it makes me sad/mad that so many of the stars of cycling from my generation have resorted to that during their careers. I think Phil Gaimon captured exactly how I feel when he describes Racer X at the end of this Velonews article. I will always love racing and riding my bike, so nothing changes for me in the wake of all that is coming out in the news now, other than a sense of responsibility to help promote clean sport. I’m not sure how or what difference I can make, but I’m open to suggestions and will continue looking for opportunities to help.

A picture is worth a thousand words so let’s start this long post out with a picture! My win at the Tour de Tuscaloosa road race to claim the Alabama state championship was definitely the highlight of my season. The inset pictures are the Alabama medals podium from Tuscaloosa as well teammates Boris and Kevin at the Pensacola stage race.

End of the season statistics
These statistics all run from October 31, 2011 until October 28, 2012 – 364 days worth of riding and racing. I define my racing/training season from the Monday closest to Nov 1 of the previous year to the Sunday closest to Oct 31st of the current year for all of these statistics and reports. The Polar Protrainer software makes it easy to calculate the statistics over the exact date range that I want to use.

Statistics Summary
October 31, 2011 – October 28, 2012

Statistic Avg Max Min Total
Weekly training time (hours) 25.68 40.87 15.4 1336.3
Weekly distance (miles) 389.8 648.6 255.8 20,271
Workouts per week (#) 12 19 6 632
Weekly climbing (feet) 44,199 89,354 17,936 2,298,327

For eagle-eyed observers who note that the climbing total is lower than that reported on Strava, I will give the same explanation that I gave last year: I am generating these reports from my Polar Protrainer software. I wrote a converter that converts Garmin .FIT files and .TCX files into the .HRM format that Polar expects. The Polar Protrainer software then applies a smoothing filter when it is calculating total ascent and other statistics, but I can’t figure out how to turn it off so that the statistics match up with Strava, which doesn’t apply any smoothing filters.

Some weekly milestone totals (from Strava):

  • 3 weeks with more than 500 miles of riding, including one 648.6 mile week
  • 25 weeks with more than 400 miles of riding
  • 26 weeks with more than 50,000 ft of climbing, including a week with 100,342 ft
  • 34 weeks with more than 25 hours of training/racing

Other statistical highlights (from Strava):

  • Approximately 640 different KOMs on Strava
  • A 249 mile mega ride to win the one-day Rapha Rising challenge with over 42,000 ft of climbing. I had some Garmin problems towards the end of the day and ended up losing 24 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing — but it was still enough to win the competition!

Comparison to past years
All years run from the Monday closest to November 1st to the Sunday closest to October 31st. This should result in about 365 days for each year give or take a day or two.

Statistic
(per week)
2008
Avg/Max
2009
Avg/Max
2010
Avg/Max
2011
Avg/Max
2012
Avg/Max
Training (hours) 14.0/20.2 13.4/20.8 15.4/20.9 22.4/33.0 25.7/40.9
Distance (miles) 238.4/337.1 241.8/369.4 265.5/380.3 338.4/502.7 389.8/648.6
HR avg (bpm) 137/165 139/161 136/176 131/178 123/156
Workouts (#) 11/15 9/14 11/14 11/17 12/19
Climbing (feet) 12.7k/20.3k 13.5k/29.3k 14.4k/22.8k 30.7k/52.2k 44.2k/89.4k
Statistic
(yearly total)
2008
Total
2009
Total
2010
Total
2011
Total
2012
Total
Training (hours) 726 698 798 1,167 1,336
Distance (miles) 12.4k 12.6k 13.8k 17.6k 20.3k
Workouts (#) 560 4451 546 580 632
Climbing (feet) 661k 677k 750k 1,598k 2,298k

1 When I first got my Garmin in November 2008 (which falls in the 2009 year), I was leaving my commutes as one ride. In other words, I would just stop the timer while I was at work and then start it back up for the return trip home.

Racing Season Summary
This season was another “best ever” season highlighted by winning the Tour de Tuscaloosa road race over a really strong field to claim the Pro/1/2 Alabama state road race championship, having my best finish ever in the Athens Twilight criterium (20th place), winning the 47 day Strava climbing challenge sponsored by Specialized (my 20th place at Athens Twilight was near the end of that competition), placing 11th in the elite national road race in Augusta, making the podium three times at the Georgia Cycling Gran Prix including third overall for the five day omnium, and doing well in my first real foray into mountain bike racing since high school and college (3rd at Southern Cross, 2nd at the Skyway Epic, 4th at the Barn Burner in Flagstaff, 39th at Leadville in Colorado, and 13th at Fool’s Gold).

We did a lot of traveling over the summer, including a long road trip out to Arizona for a cousin’s wedding, that included the Barn Burner mountain bike race in Flagstaff and the three-day Tulsa Tough criterium series in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the way home. I had slightly disappointing results at the Tulsa Tough, but it was still one of the funnest weekends of racing the whole year — especially with the Tour de France like climb through the crowds every lab on Cry Baby Hill on the last day of racing. Another great adventure that didn’t quite have the results I was looking for was the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race. I ended up 39th but that was after bonking pretty bad about 75 miles into the 100+ mile race and struggling for the last 30 miles home. Still, the race itself was quite an adventure getting to race alongside two different world champions (Christoph Sauser from about mile 30 to mile 40 and Rebecca Rusch briefly on the powerline climb as she blew by me at mile 75). Altogether, I raced in ten different states this year (AZ, CO, OK, LA, MS, AL, TN, GA, FL, SC) over a total of 41 days covering 2,996 miles.

Map showing the locations of all my 2012 races (click to enlarge). Over 3000 miles of racing in 10 states. I just realized I acccidentally left Arizona off the map because I lost my Garmin during the Barn Burner race so I didn’t have any data from that race to pull into topocreator.

Finally, the graphs and charts!
Critical power curve for 2012. This represents an increase from 288 watts in 2011 to 305 watts in 2012. This is QUITE a substantial increase, but it’s mainly because I didn’t have very much power data for 2011 to base my 2011 figure on. It only takes one GOOD effort to push the curve up, and I believe that effort for me was when I set the Karl Daly KOM (on June 16, 2012). (click to enlarge)

Much of my training is “distance-based” in that I aim for a particular weekly mileage. (click to enlarge)

I also spend a lot of time focused on climbing … usually this my daily focus as I will set a minimum amount that I want to climb that day and then ride as long as it takes to hit that amount. As it gets closer to the end of the week, I see what I need to do in terms of mileage to bring me up to the desired weekly mileage. (click to enlarge)

I rarely think about total time when training, but I do concern myself with time spent in different heartrate zones (particularly in the off season and base training period). I want to make sure I’m spending the right amount of time in the “red zone”. During the racing season, the race tactics that play out govern how much time is spent in the red. I aim NEVER to get into zone 4 or 5 during training during the racing season since I am racing pretty much every weekend where I spend a LOT of time in those zones. (click to enlarge)

You can see when school is in session because my “number of workouts” goes up dramatically since I have at least two rides per day (my commutes) during the school year.

Two new screenshots this year from Golden Cheetah … both “metrics” graph which highlights my best power output for a given time. This is like a discrete version of the Critical Power graph focusing on some well-known time intervals.

Aerobic power (best effort over longer time intervals). (click to enlarge)

Anaerobic power (best efforts over shorter intervals). (click to enlarge)

And finally, finally, some more thank you’s
A huge thank you to first of all my beautiful wife, Kristine Toone, and my kids Analise and Josiah, my parents and all of my teammates, friends, and family. I’ll be working over the rest of the week on a separate post with more maps of all the places that we traveled, all the places where we have stayed for races, and all the places where I have ridden this year. In that post, I’ll thank people by name who have helped out so much. Just as last year, I’ll leave this exceedingly long post with just one more thanks – thanks!

October 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm 2 comments

Fall adventure family style

A family picture before heading out on the hay ride to the pumpkin patch.

We’ve gone to Old Baker Farm to pick out pumpkins and enjoy all the festivities for the past seven years. Check out our first visit in 2006. I left the house a couple hours ahead of Kristine and the kids to make it out there at about the same time. Nice ride out enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Lots of pics below, too.

October 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm Leave a comment

Fall adventure on double oak way

At the edge of the helicopter hill descent – me and Simon – you can see the ridges all the way out to Hugh Daniel, which blocks the view of the Double Oak ridge line.

I posted a message to Facebook yesterday that I wanted to ride out to Double Oak Way today, and three brave souls (Russell Fulmer, Simon Prentice, and Jonathan Soto) showed up for the first cold ride of the season. Temps never got much above 50 degF spending a lot of time in the mid to upper 40s. Combined with a stiff north wind, the temp made for a chilly ride. But the ride itself, was a great adventure.

I set the bottom of Old Montgomery as the starting point for the ride because I wanted to put my Strava KOM shootout effort in for the week. Russell had gotten there early and already put his effort in so he waited partway up and got this video of me on my effort to get the KOM:

My legs were feeling great initially, but I botched the switchback in the video and paid for it later because I had to dig deep to keep my speed out of the corner. I broke my old time by 24 seconds and Boris’s KOM time by 14 seconds. I set a new power record during the short 3 minute effort as illustrated below:

Critical power curve – KOM efforts highlighted – bulges in the curve. The only KOM I was going for on today’s ride was the Old Montgomery one. (click to enlarge)

Afterwards, Russell and I rode back down to the bottom to meet Simon and Jonathan to start our ride. We immediately began with the Cat 3 climb up Old Montgomery all the way to the high point on Shades Mountain on Vestavia Dr. From there we worked our way over to the Healthsouth Helipad Hill, which is where the photo at the top and the video below was taken.

Then it was onto a long 280 section taking us to the Hugh Daniel climb up and over into the valley at the base of Double Oak Way. The climb started out well (video below), but shortly after the steep part and rolling section, Simon had a stick kick up into his rear wheel lodging itself between the spoke and the non-drive chainstay. The stick not only broke a spoke but also cracked the frame. Because of how out of true the wheel was after breaking a spoke, there was no way for Simon to ride his bike. Nearly a mile behind a closed gate meant a mile of walking for Simon. So the rest of us took off back down the mountain to head back to Mt Laurel where we figured we could find a wheel to borrow from the scheduled group ride that was just finishing. I carried Simon’s broken wheel down and then returned with a loaner Campy wheel, which Simon was able to ride down to wait for someone to come pick him up.

During the wheel exchange (behind the gate), a property patrol vehicle came down and kicked us off the property. It was at the really steep part of the climb that the patrol agent was talking to us, so John pushed past not realizing what was going on — meaning that he was the only one of us who ended up making it ALL the way up to the top of the mountain. Luckily, the patrol agent wasn’t interested in going after him and turned to go patrol some of the trails on the property. After we all got back together, we headed over to Old 280 to do the Ebsco parking lot climb. Then we turned around, descended 280 past Lee Branch, worked our way across 280 (backwards at one point), navigated a hilly route through Meadowbrook, left out the back entrance to the Spain Park baseball fields cut-through, flew down Caldwell Mill to the Cahaba River bluff wall, climbed up to Dolly Ridge and then continued climbing on up to Vestavia Dr before descending down to the Brookwood Dental launchpad office cut-under (you ride under the office building, which is on stilts), through the apartments and finally back down Old Montgomery back to the start. I said good-bye to Russell and John before turning around and heading back up and over the mountain get home. What a ride!

October 28, 2012 at 7:21 am Leave a comment

I am officially a Friend of the Great Smokies…

Friends of the Great Smokies newest team member – me!

I am officially a Friend of the Great Smokies — both literally as a member of the FGS Cycling race team for 2013 and figuratively as someone who loves to spend time in the beautiful high mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. I am no stranger to the Smoky Mountains with my Gatlinburg and Clingman’s Dome adventures in 2006 2009, 2010, 2011, and coming up in just a few weeks here in 2012 and also with my end of the season epic adventure rides in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 I love spending time in the mountains.

I will be joining John Hart (Nashville, TN), Jeff McGrane (Knoxville, TN), and Kurt Page (Murfreesboro, TN). We are already looking to our first training camp sometime this winter — where I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone on the team. We complement each others strengths really well with all the disciplines of cycling well represented — climbing, sprinting, time trialing, and all-rounding.

Sponsors for 2013 include FGS, Litespeed, SRAM, Zipp, Enve, Michelin, Rudy Project, and Primal Wear. Primary shop sponsor is MOAB (Outdoor/Bikes) for the Tennessee guys, and for me here in Alabama, Craig at Brick Alley is keeping me and my bikes up and running.

October 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm 1 comment

Tour de Cullman 2012

Carson took this great photo of Boris and me approaching the Skyball KOM for the second time.

Saturday marked another great end of the season ride/race/party at the Tour de Cullman. The ride starts out as a motor-cycle led neutral social ride before we hit the start of the 18 mile race portion of the ride. It was fun meeting people and catching up on a year of bike racing. As you might imagine, the Lance Armstrong saga dominated a lot of the conversations going on during the ride.

Once we made it to Co Rd 26, the green flag was dropped and Philip Thompson set the early pace at the front. We got into a short rotation before making the left onto Co Rd 11 where the race really gets started with a steep 1K, 9% average 15% max wall. Boris lifted the pace at the front causing the group to explode. Only Stuart Lamp, Darrell O’Quinn, and I were able to keep up with Boris across the top.

Shortly before the next intersection, Stuart came off the pace. Darrell hung tough through the rollers before another surge by Boris saw the lead group whittled down to just me and him. We worked together well through the steep rollers heading downhill towards the Warrior River. But it was no holds barred once we turned right onto the final 4 mile skyball climb. We set a pretty good pace up the climb with not quite as strong a headwind this year. Then when we hit the always steep Fat Dunn road, I surged and Boris couldn’t quite hold my wheel. I turned on the gas even more as we hit the dirt and eventually extended that lead out to 1 minute by the end. I was able to get this video of Boris coming in for 2nd:

Here is my annotated power map:

Tour de Cullman 2012 power map (click to enlarge)

My four best times on the Skyball KOM – this year’s was the fastest!

And here are some more pics and videos from a great day of racing, riding, and having fun.

October 22, 2012 at 6:56 am 1 comment

A look back at the past six years

For the past six years, I have raced and trained with my awesome teammates at Tria Cycling p/b DonohooAuto.com and Infinity Med-i-spa. The Tour de Cullman coming up this Saturday will be my last ride/race flying the Tria colors. Before I announce my new team, I want to publicly thank all of my teammates and all of my sponsors for six amazing years. Here are some of the highlights from six awesome years:

2007 Tria Cycling team celebrating at Dreamland BBQ after our first big race as a team — the Tour de Tuscaloosa. The ins picture is the podium picture from a major regional race at the end of the year – the 2007 Greenville Cycling Classic, where I placed third behind Geri Mewett (Hincapie) and Bobby Sweeting (Kenda).

What a year our inaugural 2007 year was! Jacob Tubbs, Danny Parker, and Darryl Seelhorst had put together the team in 2006 and asked me to join in 2007. We had everybody over to our house for a spaghetti dinner the night before our first race as a team – the GSMR training race at Camp Sumataunga in February. At the time, I was the only Cat 2 on the team. Philip Thompson was the only Cat 3. And the rest of the guys were a highly motivated group of Cat 4s — Jacob Tubbs, Darryl Seelhorst, Danny Parker, Matt Lavoy, Brent Marshall, Lennie Moon, Kevin White, Jonathan Robbins, and Faris Malki. Our lead sponsors were Tria Market – an innovative grocery store in Homewood owned by Andy Virciglio – and Two Men and a Truck – a national moving company with a franchise based out of Birmingham owned by Richard McBee. Highlights for me that season included a 3rd place at the Tour de Tuscaloosa road race, 17th place in a stacked field of 100 riders at the Edgar Soto Stage Race placing a few spots behind a very young Andrew Talansky who is now racing on the Pro Tour with Garmin-Sharp, and finally my 3rd place finish at the Greenville Cycling classic at the end of the season – a race that had pro tour rider Craig Lewis (Columbia/Highroad) in it with his then teammate George Hincapie spectating because of a cold/flu.

2008 Tria Cycling team on the last day of our winter training camp at sponsor Dan Taylor’s house atop Lookout Mountain next to Alabama’s only ski resort (Mentone). The inset picture is from the Tria Cycling podium sweep of the Cat 3 race at Pepper Place at the end of the season. Left to right: Wes Douglas, Jacob Tubbs, Philip Thompson, Lennie Moon, Mike Lackey, Brent Marshall, Brian Toone (me), Daniel Taylor, and Darryl Seelhorst. Dan Taylor was taking the picture. In the inset from left to right – Sammy Flores, Philip Thompson, and Jacob Tubbs.

New teammate additions for the 2008 season included one of our competitors on GSMR who had been dominating the Cat 3s during 2007 – Mike Lackey – joining most of our team that would be upgrading to Cat 3 early in the 2008 season, plus the “new to racing but strong as an ox” Wes Douglas and the “super fast former velodrome racer” Sammy Flores as well as college-bound Daniel Taylor. Stuart Lamp (USA Cycling southeast regional director) joined our team late in the season just in time to make the podium in the Pepper Place criterium. Our lead sponsors were still the same, but Dan Taylor came on board both as a sponsor (Infinity Med-i-spa) and as a training teammate with his son Daniel racing for us as he headed off to college, which pretty much mirrored my situation as a bike racing junior back in 1994 as I joined AWV right as I was heading off to college at Clemson.

The 2008 season was one of the best ever, not necessarily in terms of results, but rather in terms of team camaraderie. Perhaps it was our EPIC, EPIC, EPIC training camp in January of 2008 that kicked things off for the year. We arrived Thursday afternoon and rode for 2.5 hours in temps that never got out of the mid 20s degF!!! The house was warmed by a fireplace and space heaters in individual rooms so when we arrived the air temp inside the house was also in the 20s. The next morning our water bottles in the kitchen were frozen solid. Time spent between epic rides was spent taking turns going outside to get more firewood and huddled around the fire drinking beer and swapping bike racing stories. One of those epic rides was an 85 miler, three state ride with multiple climbs up Lookout Mountain ending an hour after dark in the fog with a couple long gravel sections including one where we approached at 25mph and didn’t slow down once we hit the gravel. It was so Paris-Roubaix like that it made me absolutely giddy with excitement. Lennie Moon and I did an extra climb down into Trenton and then back up Lookout Mountain near Cloudland Canyon state park. We did a race simulation that was like a big mountain climb where he would pace me, then I would attack for a couple minutes, then back off the pace, and then repeat the process. We eventually caught back up to everyone who had taken the shortcut bypassing the extra climb by riding across the top of the mountain. The group was shattered. Best.team.training.ride.ever!

Personally, I had a mixed season of results which started out really well with a win at the opening training race at Camp Sumataunga outsprinting my breakaway companions Mike Olheiser (Competitive Cyclist) and Brent Bookwalker (BMC Pro Racing). I looked back on the first lap and saw Mike and Brent on my wheel and decided that it was the perfect time to attack. We eventually extended our gap to maybe close to 10 minutes with Mike driving the break and Brent and I just pulling through. Then with about 1 mile to go, we all joked how none of us were sprinters and that it should be an interesting finish. Mike got things started with a hard attack. I was able to bridge up to him with Brent falling behind. There was no way I could pull though so I sat Mike’s wheel and he said “Brian, we’ve got Brent on the ropes!” But I wasn’t going to pull so Brent rode back up to us, and we slowed down to a crawl before Mike attacked again with maybe 300 meters left. Brent closed the gap to Mike with me on his wheel and then I was able to come around both of them right at the finish. Darryl Seelhorst won the field sprint behind us for 4th place. It was probably the most exciting finish of all time at the Camp Sumataunga training race in Gallant, Alabama. I ended up winning the training race again the next weekend, and then later in the season guest rode for Mike’s team at the Fitchburg-Longsjo classic exactly 10 years after having raced the Pro/1/2 race in college. It was cool to actually ride at the front of the race in 2008 instead of hanging on for dear life at the back of the race in 1998. Earlier in the summer I had been time-cut from the Nature Valley Grand Prix during the time trial so that was a major disappointment.

But the highlight of the 2008 season was the end of the season Pepper Place criterium in Birmingham. I was elated to watch my teammate Philip Thompson ride away from the Cat 3 field, win all the primes, and eventually win the race solo. Behind him, my teammate Jacob Tubbs won the field sprint followed by another teammate Sammy Flores in 3rd. So it was a podium sweep by Tria – I believe this was our first podium sweep. Later, in the Pro/1/2 race, new teammate Stuart Lamp made the winning break and made the podium in 3rd place. What a night for Tria!

2009 team photo by {t}photographic. Left to right: Sammy Flores, Jacob Tubbs, Brian Toone (me), Lennie Moon, Darryl Seelhorst, Mike Lackey, Philip Thompson, Wes Douglas, Justin Gilmore, and Stuart Lamp. In the inset picture, I’m happy to have taken third place pictured to the left of Joe Eldridge (Team Type I) and Darrell O’Quinn at the Barber’s Pro/1/2 circuit race.

2009 saw the addition of Justin Gilmore to the Pro/1/2 team – Justin was a natural fit to the team having raced with Stuart Lamp on the Zaxby’s pro team for a while in the early 2000s. Also, we brought on board Ivan Leonard Chevrolet at a co-title sponsor after losing Two Men and a Truck. Dan Taylor also stepped up his involvement with the team, helping us along with Terry Duran to organize the inaugural Birmingham Bike League winter training series modeled after the more famous Athens Winter Bike League. Turn-out was amazing with an average of about 50 riders per week over the 3 month long series in November, December, and January. After 3 months of Saturday morning rides and attack zones, the overall series was separated by a single point going into the last sprint of the last ride. I ended up coming out on top for that sprint followed by Terry Duran and my teammate Darryl Seelhorst, which then became our overall order for the series. Amy and Lee Gravlee hosted us at their gym as our team had Taziki’s deliver a nice celebration meal for the entire cycling community. Unfortunately, there was something wrong with Tazikis and about 10 people (including myself) came down with bad food poisoning including one hospitalization. Who would have thought that in that inaugural series, the only hospitalization would not be from a nasty bike wreck but instead food poisoning!!!

I spent a lot of the season chasing points in the inaugural Georgia Cycling Gran Prix points series. I came out just shy of winning that series with Eric Murphy edging me out at the end even though I had led for most of the series. I won the Dahlonega road race as part of that series – my first non-training race road race win since college. The highlight of the season for me, however, was the four day / seven stage Tour of Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend. There was a strong field highlighted by a stacked Fly V Australia team including the current Australia crit champion Bernie Schulzberger and the super fast sprinter Jonathan Cantwell. I made it into the break on the first stage and ended up taking 2nd or 3rd in all the MAR (green jersey) intermediate sprints. I had a pretty big lead in that competition that I had a blast trying to defend against Jonathan Cantwell and Oneal Samuels. During one stage in the pouring down rain, I was able to attack before the last corner and come around the entire Fly V leadout train as they tried to get Jonathan the sprint points. I was so happy to have won the sprint that I let out a whoop and Jonathan joked with me saying “what? did I miss the bell for the last lap?”

2010 Tria Cycling team with multi-time masters national champion Terry Duran. The inset photos are the podium ceremonies from Terry Duran winning his Masters national championship race and me placing 5th in my Masters national champion race. Left to right: Sammy Flores, Paul Tower, Darryl Seelhorst, Brian Toone (me), Craig Armstrong, Katherine Herring, Timo Stark, Philip Thompson, Nichole Tower, Mike Lackey, Wes Douglas, Lennie Moon, Stuart Lamp, Jacob Tubbs, and Terry Duran.

2010 saw a major change in title sponsorship as Dan Taylor’s Infinity Med-i-spa and DonohooAuto.com stepped up in a big way to help us bring on board a women’s team — including Terri Jones, Katherine Herring, Nichole Tower, Amy Gravlee, and Jill Lott — as well as two very strong Cat 1 riders — Paul Tower (former Kelly Benefits rider) and multi-time national champion Terry Duran. The Cat 3 team saw the addition of two more riders from Huntsville — Timo Stark and Craig Armstrong. 2010 also saw our BEST results ever as a team including Terry Duran’s masters national championship in the Masters 45+ road race and my 5th place in the Masters 30+ national championship in Louisville, Kentucky. I spent the season traveling the country racing in the USA Crits series where I placed in the top 20 in a number of races — eventually finishing 9th overall in the series. I also narrowly missed the podium in another major race – the Tour of America’s Dairyland – where I just barely got outsprinted by Johnny Sundt (Kenda Pro Cycling) for the last spot on the podium in the Road America circuit race. One other highlight for the season was racing the US 100K at the end of the season with teammates Stuart Lamp and Terry Duran. The field was very strong, but we were in just about every move. I’d cover a move or attack, and then as soon as that move came back I would see Stuart or Terry flying up the side of the road to go with the next move. This was perfect teamwork, but luck was not on our side that day. Stuart was helping me move up perfectly to the front of the field for the final sprint when we flew around the last corner swinging a bit wide into the far lanes of the 7 lane road putting us into the 10K course. The people finishing their 10K “run” two and a half hours after starting were all rather large (kudos to them for getting out and finishing a 10K), and it was somewhat comical to slalom around them to get back into the sprint train. By this point, we had lost our position and I could only manage 25th, but it was still a highlight of the season for me because it was great teamwork between the three of us.

2011 Tria Cycling team meeting at Barbers with subsequent podium pic after the race. Left to right: Chris Allison, Darryl Seelhorst, Brian Toone (me), Terry Duran, Stuart Lamp (arm and helmet visible), Darryl Seelhorst, Sammy Flores, Pat Allison (tip of helmet visible in background), Wes Douglas, Timo Stark (tip of helmet visible behind Wes), and Justin Bynum.

2011 saw the addition of Pat Allison, a strong Cat 1, and his brother Chris Allison who upgraded from Cat 3 to Cat 2 by the end of the season. We also added another strong Cat 3, Justin Bynum, who also upgraded to Cat 2 by the end of the season. Our season started out strong with me winning taking gold in the Alabama State road race championship at the Tour de Tuscaloosa. I was outsprinted by Daniel Holt (Team Type 1), but since he is from Georgia I got the gold medal. Pat Allison took the field sprint to claim the bronze medal. In the 3’s, Philip Thompson took the silver medal. A major early season highlight was how we did in the Barber’s race pictured above (1st and 3rd). Pat and I bridged up to the winning break together and then worked together perfectly to take the win. I attacked on the last hill forcing strongman Travis Sherman to chase with Pat getting the free ride back up to me. Pat was then able to easily take the sprint for the win with me able to hold on for 3rd against the rest of the breakaway. Travis took a well-earned second after he had won the Masters 30+ race earlier in the day.

The rest of the 2011 season was defined by three things: Strava, Sandy Springs, and Stage racing. Strava put on a monthly and year-long KOM climbing competition, which I ended up winning a few months as well as the overall for the year. I was obsessed with climbing from even before they announced the competition, but it really changed my training as I sought out the most climbing efficient, hilliest courses I could find, leading to more hours on the bike at a reduced intensity to try to keep my legs fresh for racing on the weekends. I was worried that the huge increase in volume would have the opposite effect on my racing as I would struggle to find the snap. Instead, I was doing better than I ever had before at races – finishing 26th at Athens Twilight after winning a $100 late race prime coming around the entire UHC leadout train for Jake Keough and Karl Menzies (who were setting up for the finish and not interested in the prime) and spending half a lap off the front of the race. I would end up racing 5 out of the 7 USA Crits races that week during speedweek, and it was on the second to last lap of the last race of the series at Sandy Springs that did me in … I had a nasty crash slamming straight into the barriers at 32mph documented here:

My injuries out of this wreck included my first ever broken bone (broken toe) at the ripe old age of 35, a separated shoulder, and a torn pectoral muscle. I was off the bike for a total of two days before riding laps in my neighborhood with one arm in a sling. I didn’t want to risk re-injuring my shoulder by racing, so I had to miss races in the middle of May but was back by the end of the month racing the road race at the Tour of Atlanta.

I was all recovered just in time for 11 days of racing at the Tour of America’s Dairyland up in Wisconsin. I stayed with an amazing host family while Kristine took the kids to visit her parents at the other end of the state. This was the most consecutive days of racing I had ever done. Shortly after getting back, I raced for three days up in Huntsville, followed by a 5 day race in Georgia, followed by another 5 day race in North Carolina. This was thirteen days of racing, spread out over just three weeks (21 days). A month later, I had my best result ever nearly winning an NRC circuit race at the Anderson omnium, followed a couple weeks later by a stage race in Florida. By the end of 2011, I had raced 52 days. Unfortunately, with my injury in the middle of the spring racing season and with so much traveling over the summer, I wasn’t able to do many races with the team. Still, we had an awesome end of the season together as a team at the Pensacola Cycling Classic stage race culminating with the last day’s race where Pat Allison took the win, Sammy Flores took the field sprint for 3rd, and I was only a couple spots behind for 5th.

2012 Tria Cycling photos, Tour de Tuscaloosa road race and Pensacola stage race. We weren’t quite as organized this year and never could get everyone together for a team photo (although we tried early in the year).

2012 saw the addition of two more strong Cat 3 riders — Kevin Pawlik and Boris Simmonds — pictured in time trial gear in the photo inset above. We again started out strong claiming the road race state championship with me winning the Tour de Tuscaloosa road race from a strong breakaway including Andy Crater (Cleveland Clinic) and Emile Abraham (Rosetti) with my teammate Pat Allison covering the chase group led by Frank Travieso (Team Coco’s). Pat eventually took the bronze medal by winning the sprint out of that group. Also, our new teammate Kevin Pawlik took the gold medal in the Cat 3 road race. Kevin and Boris both rode super strong a few weeks later in the Cat 3 Mississippi Gran Prix stage race with Kevin dominating the Cat 3 race and Boris making the final overall podium as well in 3rd place. Pat and I worked well together in the 1/2/3 race making the split on the final day to score a couple top 10s in the stage race overall.

The highlight of my season was definitely winning the Alabama state road race championship at the Tour de Tuscaloosa, but there were definitely lots of other highlights along the way — including qualifying for the Leadville 100 MTB race by placing 4th overall in the Barn Burner 104 MTB race out in Flagstaff, AZ. On the way home, I raced Tulsa Tough with its awesome Crybaby Hill criterium. A few weeks later, I placed 11th in the Elite national road race in Augusta. A month later, Kristine and I drove out to Colorado where I got to experience racing in the high Colorado mountains for the first time placing 39th in the Leadville 100. I’ll write up more about 2012 in a later post – but I just wanted to hit all the highlights of racing with the Tria Cycling team for the past six years. There is still one more race left — the Tour de Cullman on Saturday.

Thanks Tria for a wonderful six years, thanks teammates for being awesome guys and gals, thanks sponsors for making it all possible. A huge shout out and thank you to Dan Taylor of Infinity Med-i-spa along with DonohooAuto.com and sponsors who have stuck with us throughout the years: Danny Feldman and his law firm, Tony Robbins and his mortgage company, Terri Jones, Central Steel. Many bike shops have helped us individually, but Cahaba Cycles got us started with great sponsorship in 2007 and 2008. Bob’s Bikes helped us out a lot in 2011 and 2012. Personally, the guys at Bob’s and BBC carried me through a tumultuous year equipment-wise in 2010 and 2011. Craig Tamburello has helped me tons this year in his new bike shop, Brick Alley bikes, only three miles from my house! Thank you everyone, and I hope to see you all out on the road soon!

October 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

More videos from our weekend in South Carolina

In my post yesterday about my 176.5 mile end of the season epic ride, only uploaded a few of all the videos I took. Here are the other ones, including roller coaster road and a short clip of the climb through the fog up NC-215 to the parkway.

October 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

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Storms north of town. Ride stats and kids ready for trick or treating. Awesome rolling hills southwest of Columbiana.

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Brian Toone

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Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Maximums:
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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