America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Let's compare Year to Dates 2006 and 2007

As we can see, 2006 was a joke. The big spike of 2007 is of course, my San Diego training camp.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Something's wrong with this picture

This is 2007's first ride home from work.. Windy. Felt like a sack of shit the whole way.. The time of 1:05 isn't bad.. considering the wind, but my personal record for this ride is about 57:30, so I feel way off the mark. Plus what's up with that heart rate averaging 170?? Was it the chilly air? the wind? am I short on rest and sleep? Probably a little bit of everything in there. I'm disappointed. It was windy though.. I must have thrashed myself more than I think at Big River on Sunday.. power slogging it through mud which had the consistency of toothpaste..

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Murat's Fleet of Bikes: Look, epx and Fuji

The latest addition is the Fuji, purchase second hand last fall. The epx has been resurrected with new handlebar tape, replacement wheels, new derailleur, new chain etc (but who knows if the frame is solid after being t-boned by a car last summer) I might have the courage to use it for time trials but that's about it.. The LOOK bike replaced the epx.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Riding away from home (CT) just feels "icky"

I don't know if it was the overcast weather, or the excessive Friday afternoon traffic, or the simple unfamiliarity with the roads.. but I really had a hard time getting into today's ride in CT (was there on business and made the best of it!) Weather was nice low-mid fifties.. ideal. Roads were wet and pools of water were all over the place, and this might have added to the ickiness. At one point, my phone rang and I fumbled it, dropping it while going pretty fast. Luckily it didn't enter the path of traffic and I was able to double back and get it from the gutter. (I later yelled at my wife for calling me, and I feel bad about that- but please... only emergency calls from now on!!!) The first half of this ride I pretty much puttered in the little ring, stopping frequently to try a new angle with my on-bike camera.. But after establishing a decent 13 mile loop, I put it in the big ring and put the camera away.. adding 3 mph on the second lap. So many dead spots in the speed of this chart. Half of them are actual stops at intersections, but the other half are dropped signals. Wireless computers are unreliable... for one who obsesses over such information, it's frustrating because it gives an incorrect picture of the day's effort. I should avoid getting a power meter.. just one more thing to obsess over? or one more indicator of my suckiness? (to borrow the vocabulary of Solobreak)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

One hour outdoor spin class today

Click to enlarge.. This winter riding is not for me.. Much rather do a spin class.. But character building is important so I did what I could today and hooked up with Ben Corbalis of our Union Velo team for a brisk spin around Attleboro. Knowing the ride would be short, I kept the heart rate high and stayed in the little ring..
Another dangerous incident during the ride.. (Recalling the Sunday before at Wells, I took a drink and re-caged my bottle, only to see it fall to the ground and almost take out Thad Lavalee and others. So embarrassing.. Thad asked me if I was drunk or something..) Well today it happened again (though I managed to grab the bottle in time), and the culprit isn't my poor hand-eye coordination.. It's because the little tab at the bottom of the carbon cage is broken.. Better have a warranty, LOOK.

Murat Tries Film Editing

Here's my very first Movie Maker attempt..

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Monday's Pitiful Ride

Had I known it was only 39 degrees out, I would have ridden the rollers. This ride sucked. I don't know how GeWilli does his thing every morning. Man has ice water coursing through his veins I think. Never again. Even my HRM protested, dropping the speed sensor signal pretty regularly. This was in reality an 18,5 mile ride. To me, cold=pain. I recorded this ride with my new camera, but Youtube won't accept vids over 10 minutes. Anyone have a suggestion?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Turk Bisiklet Sporculara Merhaba

Turkiyedeki bisiklet sporcular icin, ozel siparis bisiklet kadro, parca, giyim, lastik ve aksesuarlari ucuz fiyatlara bulup araci olarak satis yapiyorum. istediklerinizi "Comment" olarak iletin (marka, model numara, boyut etc) ben sizler icin arastirip, istediklerinizi en ucuz fiyatlara saglarim. Odeme kolay: PAYPAL hesaptan her turlu kredi karti kullanilir, yada bizim Turkiyedeki banka hesabimiza odeme yapabilirsiniz.Turkiyede bisiklet malzmeler oldukca pahali, bazen 2-3 kat fiyatlara satiliyor. (Amerikadaki fiyetlarla karsilastirinca) Umarim bu hizmet'den faydalanmak isteyenler cikar ortaya ve gercekten hesapli alis veris yapilir. ilk aranan urun'le baslayip, arastirmayi bitirdikten sonra, herkeze ayni fiyata alma sansini vermeyi planliyorum.. Asagidaki "comment" noktayi tiklayip, isteklerinizi yazin.

Map of Big River

Hopefully this enlarges when you click on it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ride from Union Cycle on Wednesday

With the approaching bad weather, I went out of my way on Wednesday to get a good ride in.. So on my way back from Boston I went to the Union Cycle bike shop in Attleboro to meet some team mates. Only one showed up, surprisingly.. Everyone cancelled on the spin class citing Daylight savings and nice weather, so I figured there's be more than a few Union riders there. At any rate, Jose and I did a good tempo ride, hit a few rolling hills, and had a smashing good time. On the one steep hill you see on the chart, I used the big ring and reached my limit near the top. (Didn't know where the top was!) Felt pretty good overall.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Last Saturday's Route: 9 minutes faster

If you scroll down a couple of days, you'll see Saturday's chart. On that day I pretty much took it easy and dilly-dallied. Today I did the same 24+ miles, only nine minutes faster. Wasn't really going for broke, just keeping a high cadence in the big ring and adding a little bit of suffering on the gradual climbs. So many people are out there walking their dogs on the bike path.. Too many. I saw only two people riding their bikes today. That's it. From here on, this route will be called my "Seven Mile Hill" ride. It goes thusly:
From Fairview Ave in Phenix, turn left onto Main Street towards Cranston. Continue to the bottom of Seven Mile Road, continue Straight. Top of hill at Route 12 (Scituate Ave) turn right. Descend into Cranston and turn left onto Phenix Ave (still Route 12) This later becomes Park Ave. Turn right onto Cranston bike path, follow to end where it connects with Route 117, turn left towards Coventry. Turn right onto route 116. Turn right onto Route 115, keep turning right until back on Main Street. Now you're back-tracking on the beginning part of the ride and almost home.
This ride isn't too challenging, isn't too easy either. Good all around terrain and a little bit of everything.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Wells Ave Re-cap for March 11 2007

Today's first edition of Wells Ave Criterium for 2007 went down perfectly for me, almost.. Firstly, we arrived on time and they were not combining the fields. Secondly, the weather was beautiful. High 40s when we parked, Low fifties by the time we were racing (Murat was one of very few who raced bare-legged, and he shed his gloves with 10 laps to go) Third, no crashes! (A few close calls though, like when one guys clobbered a small pylon and squeezed his brakes way too hard, and then there was the incident where I endangered everyone..) So the only bad thing about today's race (besides that I didn't win) is that around lap 10 (of 40), I took a quick drink and put my bottle in it's cage without looking down. Next thing you know it's on the pavement, skittering between the tires and wheels of everyone behind me. Color me embarrassed... Needless to say, I had no water for the rest of the crit, making me pretty parched towards the end (except for the one swig I took from Keiran Lynch's bottle) I blame it on the water that I didn't win or get a top three finish.. I think I had it in me. Just need more courage, more risk-taking at the end when things get dicey, and more water.
Murat's result: 9th (out of? 80-100?)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Today's ride, knee pain, Best Buddies

I went for an 80 minute spin late this afternoon. Not bad out.. though I wore more clothing than I probably should have- no booties or toe warmers, just wool socks. A paper thin wind breaker over two base layers, ss jersey, and arm warmers. I've had that Pearlizumi wind breaker since about 1990 I think.. My right knee flared up while in San Diego.. in two ways. First the IT band became sore or inflamed. This I can deal with. But then the patella or knee cap started to ache, just underneath.. This had happened once before, in May of '05, sometime during the 100 mile Best Buddies ride. It's an overuse thing, and today I tried to keep the heart rate under 150 with a high cadence. Had a good ride regardless.. But if I am going to push it tomorrow at Wells, I'll need to take a couple of Advils beforehand, as I did before the Long Beach Shoreline Crit. It works.. but then you can't monitor the pain and don't realize how much more damage you're doing.. I'll never learn.
Speaking of Best Buddies.. A good friend in the peloton, Jonathon Lowenstein, is riding this event later in the spring. I've been meaning to add to his sponsorship nest egg, and will.. Please make a pledge to support Jon's ride and the Best Buddies Organization. Per Mark McCormack:
"The mission of Best Buddies is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through one-to-one friendships and integrated employment. Currently, Best Buddies impacts the lives of more than 300,000 individuals on an annual basis."

Friday, March 09, 2007

San Diego Training Camp: Day Two Borrego Springs

This day had the potential of being a complete disaster.. We mapped out a 60 mile route- one which rides down into and then out of, Borrego Springs California. Little did we know that there was about 4000 feet of elevation change, and that the climb out of Borrego Springs was 10 miles long.. And that the temperature would vary by 40 degrees, and that the winds would gust up to 50 mph.. At any rate, here is the chart of our aborted ride.. it ended up being a 10 mile death march into the wind and uphill, followed by a 30+ mph return, seen below.
Here's a short clip of our ride in Borrego Springs. Picture above shows you our rest stop at the turn-around. We were tired, shivering and demoralized after covering this first 10 miles in exactly one hour. Had we continued on our route, we would have continued to climb for another 5 miles, and then descend in to Borrego Springs on some suicidal switchback roads.. Mission failed..

After returning to the car, we ended up driving DOWWWWWN into town, (no wonder we were freezing- we were still up at 2000 feet) parking the car and spinning in the little ring for two hours, until dark. The drive home was humbling. Our ears popped along the way.. Rumor has it, some die hard roadies in San Diego get together for an annual ride to Borrego Springs, where they stay the night.. and then return the following morning. That's about 80 miles each way, 1/2 of which is climbing up into sub-30 degree mountain tops. There's snow beside the road and all over the cars up in Julian, which is the high point.. Picture below taken from Borrego Springs.
Next: My leg-breaking 50 mile "A" ride with the infamous San Diego Bicycle Club...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

San Diego Training Camp: Day One Wildcat Canyon

As promised, here is the first of the charts I said I would share from San Diego. We flew in the night before, Derek from Atlanta and myself from JFK. We landed within 5 minutes of eachother, got our baggage together, but only one of us got their bike! Mine was left behind.. must have been the karma of not being charged for my bike on the way out. Thought I got lucky... So they promised me it would be on the next flight.. and it was. I picked it up the following morning at 8:00 am.
We set out on this ride, not without doing some homework. The course was going to be hilly, we knew (everywhere in SD is rolling or quite hilly, the farther east you go) We weren't prepared for this though.. You can see that in the 28th minute we started to climb.. and continued to climb for the next 48 minutes, gaining 1308 vertical feet in 10 miles. Sounds like a pretty easy grade.. it was.. but for a first major road ride of the season, it was a bit much.. There are two charts because I pressed STOP by accident when we stopped for coffee in Ramona. I was quite chilly out by this time, and we thought of doubling back, but I insisted that we complete this infamous "Wildcat Canyon" ride as planned (see below for a link to a map) The return leg of our ride was as tough as the first, as you can see.. First a little 500 foot "roller" before another small rise and a FAST descent down into the valley. After a little bit of flat, we encountered another tough 4 mile climb which rose 1000 feet (little bit steeper than before- ouch!), before ending up near the top of the first climb of the day.
By the end of this ride, I was cramping up pretty bad, and did more harm than good to my right knee- my IT band was inflamed a tiny bit. I had to soft pedal it up the last little climb towards the end. We were pretty happy with our effort though. No messing around- we were serious about lifting boosting our LTs as fast as possible. Mission accomplished. 63 miles is a long ride for me, any time of year.
I must say.. after an hour's spin on the rollers tonight, I do feel stronger and more confidant than before this trip. Thanks for reading.
Next: Our foolish plans to ride to Borrego Springs..

Thursday, March 01, 2007

San Diego Training Camp: I'm Back!

I plan to show all of my Polar charts eventually, but first I thought some of the facts and overall figures might interest you first. Maybe not... but that's okay too..
Days in San Diego: 5 (not counting arrival day and departure day)
Hours on the bike: 18
Miles ridden: 275
Overall Vertical Ascent: 11,600
Most climbed in one day: 4722 (this was day one, 63 mile ride on the Wildcat Canyon Route in purple)
Longest day: 78 miles (rode with San Diego Bike Club A group for 55 miles, then a light 23 mile spin later on)
Shortest day: 18 miles (Long Beach Circuit Race- see race report here)
Best average speed: 27.3 mph (Long Beach Circuit Race, see above)
Worst Average speed: 10.5 mph (riding into San Filipe up a ten mile climb into 40 mph gusts- see video of the return trip here)
Overall Calories: 16,510
Top Speed: 51.2 mph
Flat tires: None
Cost of plane ticket: $243
Cost of bike transport: $80 (they only charged me on the return trip)
Cost of rental car: $128 ($256 total including two fill-ups, divided by two)
Cost of hotel: $210 ($420 total, divided by two- stayed at Miramar Marine Air Force Base)
Cost of Food: irrelevant, you have to eat no matter where you are (breakfast was included @ hotel)
Total cost without food: $661
Average cost per day: $132
Average cost per hour of riding: $36.72
Average cost per mile ridden: $2.40
These statistics are sure to bore you to tears, but I wanted to lay it all out for those of you who are considering a self-directed training camp in the future.. There is no need to pay $1000 (plus airfare etc) to an "organized" camp if you buy your plane tickets early enough and research your destination. San Diego is a bike racer's mecca- challenging roads, beautiful scenery, great weather in February (mid sixties every day) I highly recommend it. Maybe next year we can go as a larger group. This trip included myself and an old friend from my junior years- Derek Larson.. one who could not help but win every junior race he ever competed in, back in the late eighties. It was a good time.