Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The email said 3 hr, 45 min Relaxed Ride

Back in the bike groove, clicking into pedals rather than ski bindings. The forecast for Sat. upper 60's and sun, sun, sun. The email said there was a longish ride for Sat. probably lasting around 3:45 at a relaxed pace. .. ahh perfect. I rolled out the door around 9:05 am to catch up w/Skinny Phil in Manlius -- problem was I got a late start and the west wind was a blowin so I pushed it. Turned up topwards Pompey Ctr & saw a dot way up the hill so pushed it some more and finally caught S-Phil. I had already visited the red zone more than I wanted and I was only 12 miles into the ride. Caught the rest of the crew on 80 and headed to Song Mtn to preview the new Syracuse race course.... not gonna miss that Oak Hill .... but instead of a swift culling, the new course will let you suffer a slower, more cruel existence. And when you think you've seen the last of the kickers, you will wonder if you should have put on the 27 when a nasty steep slap in the mug comes at ya. Finished the race loop and after a refuel at the local c-store, we soldiered back towards home. Skinny thankfully offered me a ride from his casa as I was now over 5+ hrs in the saddle and kinda hurtin' and still looking at another 10 or so miles home. Got home, stumbled outta the car with the eye balls sunken, thanked Skinny for the lift and went in the house to double check -- yup, the email said 3:45 relaxed ride!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Training (sorta) & Movie Review

Drumroll is beat and sore after a little ski trip out to CO. Three days of 10,000+ ft of elevation and a variety of black and blues (literally & figuratively) beat me down. So I figure I should get my arse back on the bike but it's a raining and cold so I pop in the latest Netflix delivery & settle in to some Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantonomo Bay while spinning the legs out on the trainer. It was rather mindless, crude, dumb, and loaded with naked babes and foul language and topped with an abundant supply of toilet and stoner humor (in other words I liked it). Sorry, that's the way I am so please forgive me for being me (dammit). Needless to say, Ms. Drumroll wouldn't even bother after seeing the original (White Castle) and stayed upstairs to watch something she defined as "not stupid". At about 100 min long. it nicely fills the void of trainer brain drain quite well. Now if you would rather ride the trainer while watching Moulin Rouge or Pretty Woman, you probably don't ride 'cross anyway and wouldn't like this movie. If you do ride 'cross and need some brain puddin' for the trainer -- this just might be what you need. Oh, and make sure you see the first Harold & Kumar (White Castle) before Guantonomo. If you like the first one, you'll like the second as well. If you don't like it (which would be hard to understand since it is rather funny seeing Doogie Howser on 'shrooms and watching them get stoned w/George W), then you best go do your nails and wipe down the tires on your pretty road bike. And beware of the "meat sandwich".

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Return on Investment

Seek professional help, or dump money on technology? A couple of seasons ago I decided I was ready for a new CX bike. After my first season I was hooked, and I wanted a sweet ride that would reflect my passion for the sport and be better, faster and lighter. What I quickly figured out was that I had become "that guy." The guy who's wallet exceeded his talent. I vowed to get fast enough to be worthy of the bike.

In March of last year I started working with Doug Bush at Endurance Factor. I had taken all winter to build a good base, or so I thought, and I was ready to make my big move to Cat-4. What I quickly discovered was that despite very good intentions and a fair amount of time on the trainer, I really hadn't made significant gains over the previous season. It wasn't for lack of trying, it was all about structure. Doug told me I was getting a late start on the season. At the time I was kind of surprised to hear that since I thought I had done some solid work over the winter, but I would soon find out that I was destined to get dropped in a bunch of spring races.

What Doug knew after testing was that I was no where near my potential relative to other racers with similar physical attributes. I was sick during a few key weeks in spring, but by the time CX season rolled around I was feeling much stronger than the previous season and the results were pretty good for a joe average dude. I stuck with Doug over the winter to keep the structure and focus. 51 weeks later, it was time to test again. I was almost certain that I would be stronger than last year, but you never know. The numbers don't lie as they say.

At the end of testing, my Threshold Power was up 30 Watts over last year. An 11.32% gain. A set of Zipps or sub-1000 gram frame will never get you that kind of gain. I'm all for bling and spend hours reading Cycling News, Velo News, etc. looking at the latest technology for the pro peleton, but for the average person, your best return on investment has to be hiring a decent coach. At some point when you've maximized your potential, then get the bling. Nothing makes me happier than dropping some dude in a road race with a $6,000 bike and Zipp 404's. Maybe I should get a stack of Doug's cards to hand out during races.

I still have a lot to learn about racing intelligently, but I'll be racing with an extra 30 watts this year while I continue to learn. If you want the Zipp's, go for it, but if you want to be appreciably faster for what is likely less money, seek professional help.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunny in Syracuse

It's too early to declare Spring, but it was 60 and sunny today. This was by far the nicest day of the year so far. I saw more cyclists on the roads today than I've seen in a long time. Part of me was psyched to see people out, but there was also the bitter man in me that was a little annoyed.

For those of us that spent the dead of winter riding in sub freezing temperatures, I kind of feel like we should get to enjoy the first day of Spring by ourselves. We've earned it. I haven't made it to church in a number of years for fear of bursting into flames upon entering the church, but today reminded me of going to church during the holidays as a kid. It seemed like every holiday, everyone came out of the woodwork and stole all of the good seats. Here I was going to church every week and some some Johnny come lately who goes to church twice a year stole my seat. I realize that isn't very Christian of me, but as I mentioned I no longer go to church . . .

After work I took the dogs hiking. When I got to the park, the lot was practically full. Again, me and the dogs have been hiking all winter, and now a bunch of people who had apparently locked themselves and their dogs in the house all winter were ready to drag their pasty asses outdoors.

At the end of the day I rode the trainer hard. I'll get to ride outside in shorts eventually.

If I sound a little bitter, I figure Andy Rooney is getting pretty old and someones gonna need to fill his seat. Maybe I'll get a try out on 60 Minutes when he kicks. Out of control eyebrows and bad attitudes run in the family, so that can't hurt my chances.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wife is all over me about ...

P.B. (short for Poor Bastard) notes in an email to teammates .... "Not sure about road trip availability this weekend ... wife is all over me about getting things done around the house".

The response from a another teammate provided here in picture format with a note to "just say no" demonstrates the comradarie and support of a good team. And yet another teammate supplied P.B. with a theme song ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg_35geEryM

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Sixth Glass - Edumacational Brew

Drumroll in a hotel for the 4th night in a row -- this time in (woo hoo) Omaha, NE. Now I went downtown lookin' for some grub & I actually had some kick-arse Italian and I actually caught a bit-o-vibe comin' from the cool new/old downtown area I was in. Party on Omaha, you greatly exceeded my expectations! Comin' back from dinner, gassed up the rental car (great, a red freakin Mustang w/outta state plates) & went in the c-store to get a night cap. I spy some 750ml bottles and pick out a quadrupel called Sixth Glass from Boulevard Brewery in KC, MO. Take it to the room and it's not Ommegang but damn, not bad. So I read the label, and there's a story behind the name "Sixth Glass" that is based on the writings of Hans Christian Andersen (who wrote stuff like The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Princess and the Pea). Now I'm half way thru the bottle and I look closer at the label and it's basically the face of the devil (smiling) and I also note the little 10.5% in the corner -- for reference, Brewery Ommegang's Three Philosophers is like 9.8% and that kicks my butt. So now I gotta beer buzz, I see the devil, Sixth Glass, 10.5%, a 6 am flight .... my heads a spinnin .... I google the brewery website as I'm on about little plastic hotel cup/glass number 7 (7th glass?) and stumble on this little ditty written by a dude famous for fairy tales and kiddie stories .... Do you know what dwells in a glass?

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Sorry for slacking. I'm sure the three people that read my mindless ramblings have been suffering opiate like withdrawal symptoms.

The weather has been less than desirable for late February/early March, but it appears to be on the mend. Last weekend was WAY too cold for me. It's almost tolerable when it's 15 degrees in January, but by now its tough to get pumped up to deal with the elements when it should be in the 30's. The really good news is that it's supposed to be knocking on 50 this weekend. It may rain, but I'll take it. The bike needs the salt washed off anyway.

New kits are being ordered and the team should have shiny new bibs and jerseys for Spring. Mmmm fresh chamois.

On an unrelated note, I celebrated a birthday on Monday. My wife gave me a Flip Video Mino HD. Its pretty much a mini hand held recorder. It stores up to 4GB of video and records for 1 hour. Coincidence? I don't think so. We're ready for the CX Shaky Fan Cam. Kind of like the old David Letterman Monkey Cam, but without the monkey.

That's my man Ray-Ray in the video. Not quite his 15 minutes, but who would want to blow their whole 15 minutes of fame on a lame blog.

Hopefully this weekend will include some blogworthy events. The last couple of weeks on the trainer have been pretty boring. Maybe I need to start posting video of my training sessions on-line to keep Bob motivated. Then again, posting video of me riding shirtless in bibs on the interweb is probably a bad idea. I did break down and shave my legs after this weekends trainer session. Having my leg hair brush up against the top tube at 85 rpms was too much to take.

Word to your moms . . . enjoy the warm weather.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Future & Ride Chatter

The future? See the pic ..... and please please please notice the cool "ant bike socks"

Ride Chatter? I bagged the local 9 am group ride heading west figuring it would take me 20-30 min to drive to the ride start and it was also less than 20F out -- fairly legit excuses. Around 11:30, I have 2 water bottles on the counter, have all winter gear on except shoes, gloves, and jacket & the doorbell rings. Ms. Drumroll answers the door ... "can Drumroll come out and play?" asked one of the two multi-layered cyclo-geeks straddling his fender kitted CX bike. Hmmm, I was going to hop on the 29er SS and see what the canal path had in store en route to Green Lakes but what the heck .. .hopped on the CX bike and rode off into the slight, but sharp NW wind. The 3 of us cruised mostly flats and dicussed all things cycling. These included:
  • Why every cycling medium (print, web, etc.) is so wrapped up in Lance-mania
  • The one CX race in Rochester
  • That the one guys woman starts officially training for a 1/2 IM today
  • Levi's cracked arse
  • The other CX race in Rochester
  • How bizarre Dave Z really is
  • The other CX race in Rochester again
  • If I stole Dave Z's bikes .. or Lance's wheels
  • Weight of CX bikes
  • No TT at Syracuse race, but hopefully at Owasco
  • Jens V is a stud of studs
  • CX tires
  • The Buck Hill CX race
  • ...and that here it is March 1 and we spent half the ride talking about CX