Friday, February 29, 2008

Team BMC, That Other American Team.

You gotta love what Scott Nydam, Jackson Stewart and the whole BMC team did last week. They were so impressive in the Tour of California they've been getting some great invites in Europe. First the Criterium International, now the Tour de Romandie.

They've got a new fan in me, and their bikes aren't bad either.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rest Day.

I was on something like a 12 day in a row run without any time off the bike so tonight I decided to watch some tv and kick back. Nothing on TV except American Idol I guess. I'm not sure why but I never got into the show so I skipped that. I did watch the last 20 minutes of Survivor though. The immunity challenges are still kind of entertaining for me.

Oh, I did want to make a point of something I noticed riding home from work tonight. I guess it's obvious, but on a bike, or motorcycle for that matter, the senses are so heightened. Hot and cold, wet and dry, sounds, sights, the feel of the road, etc,.. anyway, I rode by a Famous Dave's and Chik-Fil-A and the smells they pump out into the street are the best from the saddle of a bike. I'm gonna have to give Famous Dave's a try some day. Mmmhmmmm.

Today's Training: None, except back and forth to work.

How to TT/Ride Faster!

The Sports Medicine Publication from New Zealand took a look at a bunch of studies and compiled some of the best ways to improve your time-trial time over a relatively flat 40k time trial. I think there's some really good info here, of course some is common sense, but others may surprise you. They did me.

So here's 8 ways you can turn yourself into Fabian Cancellara:
  1. Improve Aerodymic Position: A fit cyclist with Aerobars will drop 5 minutes off their time. One that has found their optimum aero position will drop another 2 minutes.

  2. Training: A fit cyclist who increases their training intensity for several weeks improves on average 1.5 to 2 minutes over the 40k. I know that sounds vague, too bad.

  3. A TT bike frame will improve your time on average 86 seconds.

  4. Caffeine: 2-3mg per lb of cyclist will improve your time by about 1 minute. This may be the most bang for the buck thing you can do, besides train harder.

  5. Carbs: taking in the right amount of carbs (sports drink) during the TT will make you 8 seconds faster.

  6. Altitude Training: This surprised me, it'll get you a whopping 26 seconds. Not as much as I thought it would. Juicing on Caffeine is better.

  7. Your Weight: dropping 5 lbs will drop your time by 21 seconds for a well trained cyclist.

  8. Bike Weight: This one may or may not surprise you, but it's very telling. Going all out and spending your retirement money, kid's college funds, and eating Ramen Noodles instead of Filet Mignon by purchasing a TT bike 5lbs lighter than your current bike, your TT time will improve 7 seconds. The study wasn't on a flat TT course either, not hilly, but not flat.
So it looks like if you work on your position, train harder, juice on caffeine and lose weight, you are going to go MUCH faster than spending it on a lighter bike. Though if you have the money I say go support your local bike shop and get the bike. Cool bikes ALWAYS make you feel faster at least.

My suggestion: With the money you saved by not buying the spiffy TT bike, take a vacation to someplace warm with your current bike, train hard for 2 weeks, eat well, lose some weight, get some aerobars, and have fun. The money left over will pay your entry fees and gas money for the year's races too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Riding to Work is Kinda Cool.

My ride to work almost feels like intervals. It's a series of fast AT spins with rests at traffic lights. The only drawback to it is that I'm really sweaty by the time I get there. It doesn't help that the last 1/2 mile is a pretty steep hill. I mean, the hill work is nice, but today some guy at work thought I should go home early with that fever. I do have a cool backpack my wife gave me so I guess I'll be packing another shirt from now on and maybe a towel.

Today's Training: 50-60 minutes back and forth to work, and 1 hour: 5 minutes on the trainer tonight at home in the kitchen.

Totals: 2 hours.

As the Pedals Turn

I'm thinking of starting a new blog series documenting some of the great rides I've been on over the years. There have been many and some have a tale or two attached. This blog series is only here so I can recall some things that happened and maybe get some of the people who I may have ridden with to help me out with some of the finer details. I'm not much of a writer, so it's more just random thoughts from memories. Everything is true though.

Quite a few years back, my Dad, some brothers and a few friends decided we were going to ride up to Oneida Lake in New York for our annual family reunion. Uncle Stanley had a cottage, boats docked on the lake, a fishing lodge and plenty of land to hold a party for the 100+ relatives that showed up every year. It generally lasted from Friday through Sunday the first weekend in August.

None of us were in any real riding shape, we were mostly a bunch of runners back then. I seem to recall this was the Summer before my first year of college. I had to report to Cross-Country camp in a few more weeks and figured a long ride would be kinda cool. The plan was to start out at 4am and ride straight through until we got there, about 225 miles. My Dad had either his old Gitane or Motobecane he bought for $15 or $20 from a flea-market, Mike was riding his new mountain bike and Chris on his Fuji. I was probably riding my old Schwinn Super LeTour. I loved that bike and it served me well over the years. I'm not sure what Gerard or my other brothers were riding.

We started out from my parents house and I remember my dad saying he couldn't see a thing, it was completely pitch black out. Heading up Talcott's Hill through a blanket of trees at 4am, he kept asking us to talk his way up. He just followed our voices. I guess he was in his early 50's at the time and his eyes for seeing in the dark weren't what they used to be. Anyway, the sun started to rise over the horizon soon enough and we'd be ok. Mike was having a difficult time on his new Mountain Bike, and I was worried he wouldn't be able to keep up, or we'd never make it in one day.

Now, I've ridden through all the northeastern and mid-atlantic states and have never come across hill riding that's more of a bitch than the road between Tunkhannock, PA and Montrose, PA. I suspect my Brothers and Dad would back me up on this. It's a series of ups and downs that seem to never end. When early settlers came to this area 300-400 years ago, the English translation learned from the Native Americans living in the area is The Endless Mountains. Never have I heard a more appropriate description for a place. OK, maybe The Grand Canyon. I've ridden that stretch maybe a half dozen times and driven it in a car many more times. It's totally deceiving from behind the wheel of a car and would suggest a detour to anyone heading up into New York or New England through that particular area by bike unless you want to spend a few hours in the house of pain. It was slow going and by lunchtime we were already pretty dead tired, particularly Mike who was off the back the whole way. I kept circling back to help pull him along. My dad, being probably the toughest, always in shape whether he rides or not guy I ever met was doing well, and my brother Ed, the second toughest, was hanging in there too. At least they weren't complaining.

The weather started looking really bad right after we hit the New York Border south of Binghamton but luckily it was August and warm. Once you get into New York, the roads level out nicely and it's pretty smooth sailing from there all the way up to Syracuse. I think my brother Ed and I really started getting our legs about 30 miles south of Syracuse so we went on ahead to try and beat the heavier rain and wait for the others when we got to the city.

Mike was hurting really badly by now on this knobby-tired mountain bike and our patience was wearing thin so everyone went ahead of him. It was mid-afternoon by now but the sky was pitch black with heavy clouds. As we came down a slight hill into Syracuse it started to pour. Not just a heavy rain, but a cats, dogs and old Gitanes kind of rain so we all stopped under an awning along the street and waited for Mike. After about 30 minutes we started getting worried, after 45 Mike finally came rolling up the street soaked to the bone and bleeding from various places. He got hit by a taxi cab and was hobbled a bit by it, but seemed to be feeling ok. I guess that earned him some respect from the rest of us so we stuck together through Syracuse and continuted north.

One thing I've noticed about riding long distances while touring like this is that after a certain amount of suffering on the bike, things start to smooth out and you find yourself riding with little effort and covering some serious amounts of road. It's a great place to be. Sometimes it takes days, sometimes it take hours I guess. For me, I think it always hit after about 10-12 hours on the bike. I remember my dad, in a journal he kept for another of our epic rides, finding his groove on the third day after probably 350 miles of riding. I think the older you get, the longer it takes to find this groove.

By the time we reached our first sighting of the Lake, we were all flying along at a pretty good clip and knew it was only about another 30 miles until we could finally get off the damn bikes, rest, eat, hot shower. We sorta left Mike dangle off the back again as adrenalin took over and the speeds really picked up.

A few miles from my uncle's the sun came out, making everything seem to glow. It was just before sunset and the warmth on my back felt really good after such a long day and hours of rain. I really have to give some props to Mike for riding so damn hard on that mountain bike all day and to my dad, one tough old guy who's always ready to tackle any challenge.

To Ed, has that rash from all the chaffing healed yet? Talk about legendary,...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bicycle Tools.

Now that my bottom bracket is making such a racket, I'm longing for the time when I had the tools to fix any possible problem that could arise on my bikes. I actually do have a lot of tools for working on my car and bike, but I don't have either a crank puller or a bottom bracket tool at the moment and I could really use one. Drats!

About Sean Penn in Fast Times: Someone is a casting director genius! Penn played himself in this classic.

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 5 minutes (Same-Old Routine) in the kitchen. I can't believe it'll be March soon. Warm riding weather is right around the corner.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

In honor of those famous words said by Rodney King so long ago. Can't we all just get along? The UCI has fired it's latest salvo against the ASO. It could be a bumpy year for pro-cycling.

Prologue Warmup Profiles.

In my travels, (Serotta Forum) I found this interesting image of the warm-up routine before the prologue for some pros at the Tour of California. I think this could be adapted/modified pretty well for just about anyone who wants a nice warm-up for a crit or tt. It's an hour and I'd be tired and ready for my beer after this, but you know what I mean.

10 min easy
4 min tempo
2 min easy
3 min sub threshold
2 min recovery
2 min high sub-threshold
2 min recovery
1 min anaerobic threshold
2 min recovery
1 min anaerobic threshold
5 min break
10 min at subthreshold with 2 x 30seconds in the big gear
7/10 min easy
5 min rest and last minute stuff
5 min to get to the start

Monday, February 25, 2008

Creaky Bottom Bracket

Looks like it's time to tear apart my bottom bracket to see what's making the strange noises coming from down there. Not sure what it is, but it's driving me crazy.

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 5 minutes on the trainer. Today is my day off so I took it really easy and listened to podcasts.

More About The Weekend.

During Lunch Break, I made my daily trip over to GamJams to see how the "Training" race over the weekend went, and all the other fun stuff that goes on there. Up until the middle of last week, I was contemplating doing the race myself, but one thing led to another and bam, I'm out riding alone on Sunday again. I'm not complaining though, it's a long year ahead.

Reading this, this and this brings back some fond memories of my own racing days and all the turmoil that happens in the peloton. Thanks for the entertaining read guys.

Now, my ride Sunday. I think it gave me a pretty good indication of the shape I'm in and what I have to do. 4+ hours in the saddle has a way of giving your body plenty of chances to show and tell where you are weak and where there's progress. I'm not going to go into it here, but it's nice knowing there is some progress, my weight is coming down to a place where it needs to be, (wife says I'm too thin) and I am still having fun out there, which is key. A bad wreck in a race, spending too much time at it, and not having fun anymore was why I quit racing years ago and I'd prefer that not to happen this time around. Actually, I know I won't as now I'm a slow old guy with nothing to prove to anyone but myself, rather than a young guy full of potential. Have fun.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rock Racing: Are they Good for Cycling?

Last night while I was on the trainer, I listened to the Fredcast and they interviewed Michael Ball from Rock & Republic (Rock Racing). I will admit that I think Michael is a seriously good fashion designer and a serious fan of bicycle racing. After watching every stage of this year's race, it's clear that cycling as a sport has an incredibly bright future. It's exciting to watch and Michael Ball seems to know this. Maybe he does ruffle some feathers, but he's onto something.

His hiring of Super Mario Cipolini can only be described as a stroke of genius. Mario at almost 41 is a moving force in the Peloton and with fans. He totally surprised me at this year's TOC with some great finishes, even the fact he hung on in the mountains shows the guy can still ride, and he's been training.

Some may be put off by Michael Ball's showmanship in regards to how his team operates, but I think he may bring a much wider audience than just us cyclists to the scene, and that's a good thing. It may even get a few kids riding. It may get more than just the kids riding. I for one hope he sticks around long enough in the sport to make some of his dreams happen.

It Was One of Those Days.

Today was one of the perfect days where everything comes together. This morning I woke up to a completely blue sky and not much to do. Eggs and Toast for breakfast, a favorite, 4 hours of riding in cold, but sunny weather, Tour of California on the Adobe Tour Tracker, a dinner cooked by my wife, Korean dishes that put the very good Korean bbq we frequent to shame, then watching Tommy Zirbel (Bissell) breaking for a win, only to have George Hincapie (Team High Road) catch him to take the final stage of the Tour of California.

Amazing all around. I'm tired, a bit too much wine, but feeling great. Congratulations to Levi for repeating this year, to George, for taking a much deserved stage win, and to my wife for an incredible dinner. Wine included.

Todays Ride: About 4 hours, give or take a few because of a stop for chocolate chip cookies, and 75 miles. Longest ride of the year so far. Tired, but feeling good. Some strange noises coming from the bike, I'll have to look into that.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bicycle Racing Kicks,...

While watching the Amgen Tour of California Adobe Tour Tracker today I realized all over again why I love riding bicycles. Watching the break mashing away in vain at the pedals with less than 3 miles to go, Robert Millar taking a flyer, bridging, pulling the remnants of the break to within 1000 meters of the finish, only to be swallowed by a molten river of peloton, it's just beautiful to watch. The whole thing is uplifting. Look at the twinkle in Bettini's eye up there. That's what it's all about.

Tonight's Workout: 1 hour, 5 minutes spinning on the bike, not hard, but with couple of 150+rpm bursts to up the heartrate for a bit. Knees are feeling great! Hoping tomorrow is even semi-dry so I can do a long ride out on the road.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Gave the Trainer an Oil Bath.

I tore apart my bicycle trainer tonight to see where the racket was coming from and to keep my neighbors from calling the police. It's really a simple machine, and very cheaply made, so I basically just took it all apart and oiled the parts I figured needed oiling, and greased a few parts that needed greasing. It's much quieter now, better than the day I got it.

Total Training Time: 1 hour: 5 minutes. I raised the saddle about 1cm and it felt good. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Call the Guiness People.

I believe my indoor trainer has broken the world record for the loudest piece of junk ever assembled. I'm willing to give it up to the Guiness Museum for a small fee once it's place in history is confirmed.

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 5 minutes, I know, why the 5 minutes? it's my slow spin time to let my ears adjust to the 1 hour onslaught.

Weight Weenie, Left Nut of the Week.

This week's Left Nut of the Week goes to the Scott Addict LTD. Sometimes I wonder what a 13lb bike feels like, or if that Dimpled Water Bottle below will save me more time than this would? After looking at the price tag of this thing, I think I'll get the water-bottle, but this thing is definitely Shuwing Sweet!

One note: I'd change the paint-job. the black and yellow Saunier-Duval team bikes look way nicer. I'd go orange/black for mine thanks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tour of California Addiction.

I've always been somewhat of a Levi Leipheimer fan for his sheer talent as a mountain climber, time trialist, and all'round good guy, but his laid-back California vibe and outlook on things including racing, seems so counter to the killer instinct we all (well maybe me anyway) normally associated with true champions. 

Today that all kinda changed for me. Levi hung around until the final climb today and rode everyone off his wheel except for one scrappy guy from Rabobank named Robert Gesink.  They cleared the top of the Sierra Road maybe a minute ahead of a dangerous group of 12 or so. 

Levi's tactics from then on in went, to me, about as picture perfect as one could imagine. He used Gesink, trading pulls the last 20k or so, pulling just enough to keep the two far enough from the charging pack to assure he'd be in the yellow jersey tonight.  Gesink was completely spent, mouth open, tongue out, dead, but Levi graciously let him take the stage win. Gesink has a bright future, and Levi has bigger fish to fry, namely, the GC win this year in the Tour of California.

The Time Trial in a few days will probably determine who wins this year, and Fabian Cancellara, right behind Levi in the GC is a DANGEROUS rider.  I can't wait to see it, but I have a feeling Levi is not going to disappoint.

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 5 minutes on the Trainer with 3x5 out of the saddle intervals in high gear.  Thinking about riding the Tradezone Training Race Sunday. hmmmmmm, should I?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It is Rocket Science.

I was on the trainer tonight listening to the Tri-Talk podcast and the guy said that this dimpled water bottle from rocket science sports will save you 53 seconds over a 40k Time Trial. That got me to thinking, I know, dangerous but,... 

If I had all the different cycling products that supposedly save you time while riding, this water bottle, aero wheels, dimpled wheels, aero helmet. dimpled cycling jersey, aero frame,... 13lb bike, the list goes on and on. Well if I had all those things, and maybe throw in a little EPO, blood boosting and testosterone, I wouldn't even have to train. Just show up at the race and coast to the win.  Yeah!!!!

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 5 minutes on the bike in the kitchen.  Back to the gym tomorrow for intervals.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Weather "Looked" Good.

I checked the temperature and it was 70 degrees and sunny, so I hopped on the bike to do a long ride today. Ofcourse, being spring, I got 10 miles out and it started to pour down rain. It felt like 30 degrees so I decided to shorten my ride to 40 miles and 2 hours.  I hate when a good plan goes wrong.

Major headwinds, sand, dirt, rain, my front brake started rubbing.  All in a all, way better than a day at work. :p

Totals: 2 hours, 40 miles.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'd Rather be Riding.

I slept in this morning dreading having to work on my wife's car. Bright sunshine and warm temperatures means only one thing, and it's not busting knuckles under the hood of a car. But it went amazingly smoothly so I'm not gonna complain much.

After that, we all piled into the car and went over to the bookstore, my favorite pastime, so my Daughter could spend her birthday giftcard. She bought some really cool robot things that you put together, complete with flashing lights, voice activation and make some kinda sounds. We haven't heard them yet because we need to buy some 9 volt batteries.

I'm hoping I can sneak out in the morning for a ride tomorrow before the rains.

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 5 minutes in the kitchen while listening to an Australian fishing podcast. Surprisingly entertaining.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's only 7 miles, but,..

bouncing off transit buses, late for work in jeans, 40 layers of clothes, uphill, black ice, and with headwinds that would scare an America's Cup Skipper, it's a struggle.

But them's no junk miles. Thanks for the link on Gamjams Mr. Gamjam.

Cobblestones! Left Nut of the Week.

This week's Left Nut of the Week is going for a book that isn't particularly expensive, read, (attainable by even me) but it's so drool worthy that it should be on every cyclist's coffee table. I think the joyous pain associated with cycling just might be best summed up within the pages of this book, in images and words. I checked it out at Borders, briefly since I didn't wanna ruin the experience for when I break down and buy it, but it's a gotta have.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Astana, Contador, Leipheimer out of Tour.

I bet Contador and Leipheimer are bummed about now.  I feel sorry for the Peloton in 
California if Leipheimer's in any kind of shape.

Tonight's Training: It was a day off, but I jumped on the trainer and went easy for 1 hour, 5 minutes anyway.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's Official, Spring Can't Come Soon Enough.

It happens every year, around the first week of February I start daydreaming of warm days when there's still daylight long after I get home from work. Yeah, it'll be nice.

Tonight's Training: 1 hour 5 minutes in the kitchen, including 3x5 minute standing intervals.

Monday, February 11, 2008

There are no Junk Miles.

I was reading the bike snob earlier and he referred to "junk miles" as something "roadies" call those miles they do when they are not training. I guess that would mean stuff like,.. riding to work, down to the pub, to the park with your kids, etc,... I'll admit that I used to throw those out myself. I would never count riding to class, or down to the store in my training.

But now, with a family, kids, a job, and not much time, I'll take any mile I can get and put them in my log (blog) as time well spent on the bike. As I read the snob's blog, I recalled a guy I ran cross-country with back at college. He was our best runner, and he would even wear a pedometer around with him. He counted miles walked to class, between classes, to dinner, etc,... He counted everything towards his training.

I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I'm going to count the miles I did today to work, back home, and over to the auto parts store as part of my training. Not to mention, I froze my ass off. The misery's gotta be worth something right?

Today's Training: back and forth to work, and the auto-zone for new brake shoes for my wife's car. 1 hr: 5 minutes on the trainer in the kitchen.

Totals: 2 hours

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Triathlon Podcasts R Us.

Tonight on the indoor trainer I listened to a couple episodes of the podcast on my iPod and they are a VERY good way to spend an hour if you hate riding inside as much as I do. Who knew Periodization and Conjugate Sequence training techniques could be so fascinating. David Warden, the host of the tri-talk podcast is very knowledgeable and entertaining. For you time-trialists, on a recent podcast he also discussed optimum bar placement studies that have been conducted and how they can affect your times. I recommend it, especially if you feel you can't take another minute of torture on the trainer.

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 5 minutes in the kitchen.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Tired, But the Weather was Amazing!

I did my current favorite loop today out into Howard County, through Sykesville, then back across Liberty Dam towards home. The wind actually felt warm on my face for the first time this year, which was really nice. Unfortunately, my legs didn't feel any where near as good as the rest of me, especially on the hills. I found that it takes me a good 15 miles to start feeling good like my legs have anything in them to give as I get older. I can't hammer the pedals right off the bat like my younger days.

I was also kinda surprised the mental hospital patients weren't out and about in the one section of my ride when I pass through there. They are always up for a hearty "How's it Goin!" when I pass them sitting on the park benches along the road.

Also kinda surprising was the lack of other riders out on the road. I only saw two other guys, and one of those was a guy in jeans and a backpack on an old mountain bike. I did get out a bit late so that might've been the reason.

Totals: 2 hours: 40 miles.

Friday, February 08, 2008

North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

I was browsing some pics from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and came away with a few impressions I'd like to share here. You see, right now, in Portland, Oregon there's this show going on where many of the top frame-builders in the USA have gathered to show off what they can do. To me, it feels like a gathering to celebrate the craft of creating something with your bare hands, but it's more than that. I want to say that what they create is art, but I'm not sure that's what it is either.

Ask a guy in China working in a sweatshop making $5 a week what his bicycle is, and I'm sure he won't say it's a piece of art. Would he be riding his bike to work if he could afford a car? Hell no. But here, in Portland, are a bunch of guys who have taken what may be one of the most efficient modes of transportation ever invented by man, and raise it to the level of "art" by painstakingly and lovingly manufacturing beautiful bicycles, as if to honor it's intended use, simple necessary transportation. The fact that to purchase one of these bikes is an investment higher than 95% of the world's average annual income seems of little concern to these artisans in steel, titanium, and wood.

I don't see many purebred race bikes. They tend to focus more on the utility of the bike and the simple joy of riding. Racks, fenders. Comfortable seats? Yeah, what I see are a bunch of incredibly talented craftsmen who are lucky they live in a place and time that allows them to create such works of "art." Now that is cool.

I hope you enjoy the pics from the show. I sure did, even though I think some of those guys can tone down the grunge look. :p

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 10 minutes on the indoor trainer + 25 minutes each way to work today on the bike. I'll go ahead and count that time, as I did work up a sweat.

Totals: 2 hour riding

So I'm Riding to Work Today,...

It was bright and sunny, so I was actually sweating when I got into the office. Something I noticed made me wonder. As I'm taking a shortcut through the Safeway parking lot I passed by Tweeter and noticed a couple of the workers standing outside smoking cigarettes. I know smoking has become more and more rare since I don't even know anyone that smokes anymore, but, I wonder how many hours, world-wide, are wasted by people going outside for a smoke break? Or, maybe that smoking break is a good thing for them. I read somewhere once that regular bullshitting on the job actually increases productivity. I'm not anti-smoking, as I think every person should make their own mind up whether they want to smoke or not, but still,... Why are smoking breaks more workplace acceptable than say,... I'm going outside to bullshit for 10 minutes 5-8 times each day?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Fredcast is Pretty Cool.

My iPod made it through a full trainer session here at home tonight in a single charge, I'm a happy camper. I found the Fredcast Podcast a few years ago and really enjoy that his podcasts are all generally over 1 hour long, which is nice when spinning on the trainer.  I listened to an older one that I hadn't gotten to earlier featuring his review on the iBike cycle computer. It sounds interesting, though I find how it works dubious. If anyone out there has one or knows someone with one let me know your thoughts on it.

Tonights Training: 1 hour, 5 minutes on the indoor trainer at home. 

2x4 Day Weekends of Riding

I'm going to try rounding up the posse back home in PA for two 4 day weekend "training (cough) camps" in March, which probably means I'll be riding alone up some epic climbs, along some wonderfully empty roads, and eating some of Mom's great home cooked meals. It'll be nice to have some extended periods where I have to think about nothing but riding, eating and sleeping.

P.S. Bro, if you are reading this, start getting ready. Maybe we can even crash a Dutch Wheelman training ride.

Great Scott! Left Nut of the Week.

The only problem I see with my Left Nut of the Week is that I'm nowhere near fast enough to wear such things of beauty. I mean, if you have these, you better be fast. I would hope your bike and team colors match also. Still, they're sumthin else. Yowch!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Google Earth is Cool.

I'm finding Google Earth a pretty cool program, especially the path feature. Since I don't have a computer on my current bike, I've been drawing paths on the routes I take to find out exactly how far I've gone. What I really need to do is get off my ass, rustle up some freelance design work and work on getting a Garmin 705 on there. Just a thought.

Tonight's Training: 2 mile warm-up on the treadmill, 45 minutes on the bike. I tried something a bit new tonight on the bike that I feel works, (Top Secret) I'm going to experiment more with it when I'm well rested to see if it helps with my power numbers. 10 minutes rowing on the Concept 2, 30 minutes on the Elliptical, 1 mile warm-down on the track.

Totals: 2 hours, 15 minutes and 2000 Calories, that calorie count doesn't count the warm-down on the track as I can't count power or calories there.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

In some parts of the world it's already the new lunar year, the year of the rat begins, so I'm going to wish everyone a happy new year from my little blog here on the www. Particularly, I wanna wish my extended family in Singapore a Happy Chinese New Year, and hope it's a good year for all.

I'm sure if Ratatouille is cooking today, he's wondering what Asian inspired delight he should make to celebrate the event.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lights are On.

It was light out when I left work tonight. Yeah!!!!!!! That's the first time that's happened in what seems to be an eternity. It can only mean one thing. No, I didn't cut out of work early, it means Spring is right around the corner and I'll be able to ride after work. I can't wait for that to happen. That's one of the great things about seasons, they always give you something to look forward to.

That brings me to something else that's been on my mind lately. City/Commuter style bikes. There's something about them that is becoming really appealing to me. Sometimes I just wanna hop on my bike and run over to the liquor store for a six-pack, or over to the grocery store for a couple odds and ends. This kind of bike would be ideal if I put a couple racks on it. Even my wife brought up the idea the other day that she wouldn't mind riding. Now that would be something. You see, the last two times she's ridden a bike, (12 year span) ended in a bad accident the first time, and a bunch of scared tourists fleeing from her path the second time.

This Jamis Commuter 3 looks about perfect in the limited time I've been researching them. It's got an 8 speed Shimano Nexus drivetrain, suspension seat, upright position, fenders, etc,... It looks about right for her. Maybe I outta start saving up for one. It sure would be nice to see her give riding another shot, and if she can't handle it, it'll make a great bike for me to ride to work.

Tonights Workout: 2 miles on the track warm-up. Bike: Intervals. 6x2 minute blasts with a 3 minute spinning rest between each. 5 minutes rowing, 30 minutes on the elliptical, 1 mile warm-down on the track.

Totals: 2 hours, 15 minutes. 1800+ calories.

Turning a Corner.

I've been sick off and on now for about 4 weeks and I'm getting really tired of this. I haven't felt particularly strong on the bike, and have been hobbled even worse off the bike. A dull knee pain once in awhile, sore legs, blah. In fact, the only time I feel even remotely good, if not exactly strong, is while on the bike.

But something about my walk into work across the parking lot with my cuppa joe this morning gave me the feeling I'm turning the corner. I can feel it. Could be wrong, We'll see.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Cycling and Fashion.

Alright, I'll admit it. I'm inexplicably drawn to fashion. I regularly read the New York Times Fashion and Style section and know far too many names in the fashion industry for my own good. I'll chalk it up to having a career in design and hanging out with the wrong crowd. Sooo, of course, as a guy who happens to ride a bike also, I tend to keep an eye out for what's out there in cycling fashion. Based on how much of it is out there, I'm not the only one (You know who you are). That said, if you happen to catch me out on a ride, you'd never know it. I'm a rolling mismatch of bad taste. This time of year, if it's warm and it's in my closet, I wear it. Layers and layers of this sweater, that t-shirt, whatever I can find.

Now, I said I'm drawn to fashion, but at least 99% of the stuff I see out there in the vast world of lycra I'd never be caught dead in, and it's not like I particularly even care what people think. It's not the design of the clothes themselves, it's the colors. Way too bright and sparkly. Bright colors may have a function. That lady talking on the phone, scolding her kids in the back seat and touching up her make-up in the mini-van while doing 75 in a 45 will probably notice you if you look like this;

One particular brand that's caught my eye lately is etxe ondo. If you know how it's pronounced let me know. So the guy's got Zoolander's Magnum look down cold, or is it Blue-Steel? The girl model is semi-hot and the designs are pretty cool if you ask me. Like I said earlier, it's inexplicable, so I won't bother trying to explain any further. For now,...

A Welcome Sign.

Being relatively new to Maryland, I'm still trying to find those great traffic free routes for training on like I used to enjoy back in Pennsylvania. Looking back, I took all of those great roads for granted and wish I had more like that here. It really makes a difference when you aren't dodging tire shredding objects on the side of the road, along with all the cars and trucks. We are all of 4 weeks into the new year, and I've had two flats already, including one this last Saturday only 5 miles into a ride. I picked up some Panaracer Stradius Pro's Saturday to try and cut down on flat tires. We'll see how it goes, but that's a topic for another blog entry.

I'm sure I'll find some of those great roads eventually, especially the further west and north I ride, but in the meantime, those little white on green bicycles like the one in the image above are always a welcome sign when I'm out there hammering away at the pedals. I have to say, Maryland does have a pretty nice network of bike routes, providing a nice wide lane for riding safely, even on some pretty heavily traveled roads. Actually, at this moment, I can hardly think of a better use of my tax dollars than that bicycle lane.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

So Much For the Perfect Season.

Way to to Giants! I don't like you as a team, but it was sooooo nice seeing the Patriots lose.

Gatorade in Parrsville.

I did a 3-1/2 hour ride today with a semi-bad cold, but the sun and temps were so nice I just had to get out there. I rode out past Liberty Dam, Marriotsville Road, then on Old Frederick Road. The Headwinds going west were terrible. That's probably why I saw everyone else heading east. It seems half of Maryland trains on these roads as I saw at least 30 other riders today. I started to feel a bit tired so I stopped at a gas station in Parrsville for a Gatorade. I had no idea it was Parrsville at the time, as half the fun of riding is finding new roads and places I haven't seen before.

Anyway, the Gatorade hit the spot. I put the rest in my depleted waterbottle and turned onto 27, then Liberty Road back east towards home. Overall a VERY nice ride. The tailwind coming back felt great.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Feeling Ulrich Today.

I gave it everything I had. I ignored it, I denied it, I even took some pills, but in the end, deep down, I knew I was gonna lose. Everyone in the family has been sick over the last week and today at work I started feeling that light-headed start of something big coming. Now, the chills, fever, sore throat, blah. I've got the Flu I think.

P.S. Ulrich was a great rider, he was just an Armstrong away from immortality. I do bet he got tired of looking at Lance's ass though.

Friday Funny S#*&!

Seriously, I don't know if I can take 8 more years of this, not for how deep they're gonna dig into my paycheck, but,... blah.

Oh Well, My old idea for a soap opera set in a trailer park might finally be made into a reality show. Kewl!

Go errrr,.. ummm, McCain!?