America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Second Thoughts (?)

As I said earlier, tonight was scheduled to include some hard intervals.. but as I was warming up, soon after getting on the bike path in Cranston, this twisted evil grin appeared on my face, kind of like The Grinch.. which is ironic because lately it's Solobreak who's stealing my fire with his Nega Coach alter ego.. At any rate... after 20 minutes of warm-up I reset the Powertap and started to accelerate.. Set the display to show me distance (speed and watts are on there too). Put my hands on the hoods and resolved to increase the watts gradually, beginning just under my FT (275) and working my way up. By the time I reached the one intersection which I'd have to cross before completion, I had the average up to 290. Then as you can see, I needed to coast for many seconds before grabbing the breaks and checking for traffic. By the time I crossed and began to accelerate again, I had lost quite a bit of momentum (speed dropped to 9 mph), but I made some of it up by getting out of the saddle for a few seconds on the other side. Back on the hoods and trying to make up time.. until an obstruction clipped my wings again. Dang. I wasn't worried too much, as all I wanted to do was give a nice sustainable effort the whole three miles, slightly over FT. The path is pancake flat, but the last minute or so of my tt I had a very gradual downhill. I was able to keep adding watts until the very end, which is a good sign. A half-hearted effort? Not quite. I worked hard, sort of. But if you examine the average heart rate and compare it to my Bob Beal TT chart from 2006, there's a huge difference: 161 bpm versus 182. Add to this the fact that riding south (per usual) means going into a slight head wind, then the results are even more interesting. Granted I didn't do a 42 mile road race beforehand, but a tough day at work might be the equivalent. It's seems pretty conclusive to me that I am fit enough to take 30 seconds off of last year's time, which was officially 7:12. Add some niceties such as a skinsuit, tt bars, aero wheels and helmet, and it would appear that a top five result is within reach this September, especially considering that I still have about 6 weeks to improve my form. Thank you Nega Coach for lighting a fire under my ass. I am more motivated than ever.
After about 30 minutes of recovery pace I did my three intervals without as much difficulty as last week (same workout) and without losing many watts at all on the 2nd and 3rd tries. Even did a gratuitous 4th interval after 30 minutes of zone 2. I call this a good day of training.

Intermission (2)

Just lost a nice blog post due to clicking on a link in Outlook.. Grrrrr. Now to recreate..
Nose to the grindstone at work trying to get caught up on my projects.. More accurately, I am trying to avoid the guilt of accepting a paycheck every week. That's some brutally painful truth.. More intervals of pinpoint precision intensity await me tonight. For those pretending not to care, it's the same workout as last Tuesday, when I felt like throwing chunks at the end: 3 minutes at 120% FT with 3 minutes rest in between, three times. Sounds easy, I'm sure. My 120% FT is 330 watts, no big deal right? Well it's not the intervals which get you, it's the short rest in between.. Last week is fresh in my mind. The first one I was like "Pffft! this is easy! bring 'em on!" Second one was I was like "why don't my legs want to go like they did last time? Phuc. Ouch". Then the third one hit me like the last km of a crit, I was like "What is that burning taste in the back of my mouth? Did I eat recently? Nope!".. Needless to say, I can't wait to get going..
Coach and friend Todd Scheske got some nice street cred recently via Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle.. Here's a nice read: When Roadies Hit the Trails
Avoid junk miles. Use a power meter.


Last night riding home I can feel some tenderness just above my left knee. Hmmm. My inner thighs also seem to be touching the seatpost more than I've noticed before. <Shrug> The handlebars.. seems like I'm constantly reaching for them. ???
This morning the coin dropped and I figured it out. Pulled over on the bike path, looked at the saddle and found that it was jammed alllll the way back as far as it could go. No amount of painful whacking with my hand would free it, and I don't carry tools (huh-huh, except for one) This probably happened at Attleboro. Three consecutive races and 135 laps seem enough for such a malfunction. Those last two lefts on the course aren't exactly smooth.
And yes, as long as there are no preconditions about equipment, I accept the challenge to ride a 6:32 at the Bob Beal TT this year. (Last year I did a 7:12 with no aero advantage whatsoever) Let the taunting begin.
Should I do intervals at my CP6? Should I do 3 mile intervals? Should I do CP6 intervals for 6:30?.. or for 3 miles?.. whichever comes first? Decisions.. Help me NegaCoach. Read some more articles about power and get back to me please.  

Monday, July 30, 2007

Once a pickle, always a pickle (?)

I can't comment from
Nega-Coach chimes in:
"You and what seems like a hundred other people I know buy the power tap and then start training, rather than the other way around. It's not the gadget that makes you stronger, it's the training.
Point taken... but let's make one distinction.. I also pay a coach to tell me how to train, and it's centered around the FT established by the PT. The Powertap does not tell me how to train. It's just a tool to make it possible to follow very precise instructions and record progress. Me with just the PT and no coach would not be much better than me and just a HRM.
That said, there is one thing about your strenth/weakness that is obvious from looking at this power file summary. Do you know what it is?"

No friggin idea. I have many weaknesses, NC.. power output being one of the foremost..

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Another hot one at Wells Ave

Last weekend, I completely fell apart 1/2 way through the crit. It was hot, muggy and the air quality was just plain poor. Today was no different! Hotter even. But I was better prepared.. I ate something in good time, carried two water bottles, didn't jump into any early breaks.. The highlight of my race was a prime lap with 28 to go.. I had resolved to attack just past the start/finish, just before the right hand corner. I'm moving up the left hand side, gathering speed, when the bell sounds! Perfect. By the time I am through the corner, I have a nice gap, so I continue to accelerate, into the wind. Cresting the part of the course where the tractor trailers are usually parked, I started to lose steam, but not speed.. At one point I thought for sure I was going to blow up. Looking back, I see no one. Head back down, drilling it up the long finish straight.. look back again, and one lone rider is in no man's land, impossibly far from catching me. I don't win primes too often, or even go for them, but this was a textbook case of doing the right thing at the right time. I juiced the watts all the way to the line. It wasn't until over 1/2 lap later (near the trailers) that I was consumed by the field. They let me go, I know this. But I don't believe that just anyone could have done it without falling apart. Those intervals I've been doing are bearing fruit.. Heart rate reached 189 towards the end.. Average speed for the two minutes pictured is 28.6 (46 km).. Mind you this is not a sprint. It's a vein popping two minute interval at 410 watts (443 watts if you look only at the duration of the attack, which was exactly on lap-see above) Won a large 40 oz sized banana flavored Shaklee drink mix. Banana? WTF?

At the end with two to go I was setting up nicely when someone's front spoke popped and the field scattered like pigeons.. No one knew which way to swerve. This shook up the field a little, with only about one lap left to go. I chose the wrong wheel and thusly erased any hopes of a top three, then came to my senses, powered around said mistake and up the road, snagging 8th. Knowing that I had the legs to do much better, I guess I can live with that. Here's the final lap below. Average speed is 31 mph, and tops out at only 34. You can see my moment of hesitance (and cursing) before I just emptied the tank in the last 20 seconds, seated the whole way. That was my top 20 seconds of the race: 666 watts. Not quite a sprint, but enough that I picked off about ten guys, and no one came around me.

Forgive me for the arrogant chest beating.. Yeah 8th at Wells is nothing to write home about, neither is getting a prime.. but I'm getting fired up about what the rest of this season will bring. Modesty is never a good fuel for success..

A note about the Powertap. Today I expressed my love for the thing to a team mate as follows: "I'd give up my STI shifters and switch to down tube levers, before I ever gave up the Powertap." Said team mate was shocked. It's true. Knowing the power is No 1.. Heart rate monitors teach you nothing. My average HR today was 164. What does that tell you? Not much.

Friday, July 27, 2007

T minus four weeks..

..and then it's time to blow $6000 on my bi-annual vacation! Yes it's been two years and three months since Murat had any real pampered rest.. We drive to JFK and fly direct to Istanbul on the 25th. Then a connection to the south coast city of Antalya, where an air conditioned room awaits us at either the Ela Quality Resort We are as yet undecided and may choose another place. All of the resorts all-inclusive and are populated mostly by Germans, Eastern Europeans and Russians. Prices range from 50-300 Euro per person per night.. Back in 2005, I went riding up into the mountains and discovered later on that I was riding on the Kemer leg of the WRC stage.. After a week on the south coast we migrate to Bursa, former capital of the Ottoman Empire, and formerly called Busra. Modern Bursa is situated on the lower slopes of Uludag Mountain. It's the city I've called home since I first visited there at the age of one. I know my way around, all the good training roads and the attractions. The beach is only a one hour bike ride away. There's an outdoor velodrome, believe it or not.. It's poorly built and used mostly for soccer games on the infield. I once tried riding on it and almost hurt myself. The road bike will accompany me on this trip of course, and I will fine tune my form for two weeks, in advance of returning and winning the Bob Beal Stage Race.

Recovery Day.. easy commute

Not racing this weekend, except for maybe Wells Ave, if it isn't too hot. Tomorrow promises to be a day of extremely high intensity, judging from the instructions received from Coach. Intervals at 200% FT.. Yikes.. with recovery intervals in between at FT! Who wants to come along? Leaving the house early. Would love to see a regular Saturday morning ride near my house. We meet at the Holy Apostles Church every Tues and Thurs night.. Why not Saturdays? Who wants to go tomorrow at 7:00? It's on route 12 in Cranston, intersection of Pippin Orchard Road. On that note, why isn't there a training race on the roads which surround the Scituate reservoir? That used to be a regular road course, I believe.. Route 116 to route 12 to route 14, back to route 116. Challenging triangle of about 10-12 miles.. Why don't we just show up and do it every Tuesday night? Something to plan for next year? Just need permission from the Town of Scituate.. I'll ask Todd Scheske how he arranges all the training races for the Genesee Valley Cycling Club. They've been doing it week after week for about 25 years, on road courses all over the greater Rochester area. We seriously lack any training ROAD RACES in the New England area. Nothing but crits, which do not help one to become a better road racer, IMHO.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

25 July 2007: Ninigret Criterium Domination

Pretty happy with the way it went down last night. I missed the start of the race due to unforeseen delays, but only by about 5 minutes.. Upon arrival, all I had to do was shed my pants, put on my shoes and helmet, attach front wheel and water bottle. This all occurred in about 30 seconds flat, I kid you not. A run up to the sign-in and I was ready to go within one lap of arrival, and I jumped in there on the next fly-by.. (Seems I missed only two laps) Our team had four riders represented. It was a fast race, averaging 26.6 mph and it wasn't long before a break developed and opened a gap. Initially, I spied one Union Velo kit up the road, but later discovered there were actually two. At first I took about 3-4 laps to rest, because just before this latest attack/break, I was up front making myself work.. to the point where I got that tingly sensation in the legs, from the ankles to the knees.. Ever feel that? It means you're in oxygen debt.. Watching people thrash themselves at the front to shut down this break motivated me to add to the effort. That, and I didn't want to see my average watts drop much below 250.. So I went to work. This is a training race after all, and the team mate who I knew was up the road often tells us to chase chase chase no matter what. Get what we came for- training. So by the time there was only one lap to go, I can assure you that myself and about 4-5 others, including a TargetTraining guy, a Benidorm guy (Gary), a GearWorks guy and others, were the main contributors to the average speed of the field. With about 3 laps to go, I cooled my jets a little bit, took some recovery shelter, then started moving to the front in stealth mode. By the time we were on the semi-final straightaway, after the last sharp left-hander, I had a clear opening on the left side of the field and I accelerated. Hearing "Left! Left! Left!" put a grin on my face.. because I know that I'm not exactly a person who is marked for such performance or behavior. I couldn't have planned it better. My jump wasn't nuclear explosive.. it was a more deliberate, metered effort at first.. wanted it to last all the way to the line. I went from 25 to 34 mph in about 10 seconds, according to my chart. Someone on my wheel said "Go! Go! Go!", don't know who, but it helped to get me commited.. I led the field around the sweeping left hander before the long finish, and then made sure to get on top of the gear completely, full gas, all the way to the line. The speed shown on the chart speaks for itself.. I accelerated and nailed the top speed almost the whole way, seated except fo the initial jump. Lost only 1 mph in the final 10-20 meters and only 3 guys came around me- one of which was a team mate. By this time we were on the heels of the breakaway.. so close. (The chart shows you the final minute of racing) Pretty sure one of our Union boys took the win, and the rest of us all in the top 10 or 11. Can't complain about that.. it's a pretty good example of domination. Already looking forward to next week. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oktoberfest: Alexandra Unger (No relation to Felix)

Model Alexandra Unger displays the official Oktoberfest beer mugs during a presentation in Munich July 24, 2007. The Oktoberfest, the world biggest beer festival starts on September 22, 2007. (GERMANY)  REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

On the road

..heading out on the beautiful roads of CT today. Should be nominally enjoyable trip with the new tires on the car.. Last night. Head nearly exploded on the third interval. I know that there are some with a hair across their ass for power stats. If this describes you, too bad. It went like this:
30 minutes TT/warm-up to Holy Apostles Church at about 238 watts (268 normalized)
30 minutes ride with the group, mostly for social purposes- I split off to do my own thing
Three intervals of 3 minutes each (using Rocky Hill Road), with exactly 3 minutes rest in between. 120% of FT.. which for me is 330 watts. I did 333 on the first one, dropped to 320 on the 2nd one, and I nearly popped blood vessels in my head doing 309 on the third one. That is waaay harder than it sounds. Then I just did zone 2 for 45 minutes home. Can feel it this morning riding in.. Ninigret Criterium tonight. Go... VandeVelde! It's really shitty how all Versus talks about or gives cred to is Leipheimer. Meanwhile, Hincapie, Horner, VandeVelde, and others are all way up in the standings too. Lame. Where's Julich this year?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My car doesn't suck (again)!

New tires have made it so whisper quiet.. Been running snow tires all summer. Decided to sacrifice them instead of premature replacementation in the spring. They were cooked anyway. Who's going to Ninigret tomorrow? I want to show you my new tires...
Funny.. on Saturday, team mate Michael Andelman sees my wrist band before we race and says:
"You going to wear that thing in the race?"
"Damn straight I am."
"I was going to wear mine too, dammit"
"It's the coolest thing.. get in on the ground floor, be one of the pioneers"
"Duly noted, wish I brought mine too"
"Don't be a weenie, I have a spare in the car you can use"
"Is it clean?"
"It's cleaner than it's gonna be when you return it"
"Umm.. okay. What color is it?"
"Forget it. Get your own."
Okay I made some of that up.. the last part.. most of it actually... all but the first three lines.

Catch and release..

I knew he was after me. The way he cut into traffic to avoid losing me up the road. There was still hope until about a mile later. Separated by a Cadillac as we're turning left, the lights and siren powered up as soon as we cleared the intersection. I'm sure Cadillac driver got a scare. I pulled over. Inspection sticker expired in December. Plus I have no front license plate. Having a clean driving record has it's advantages, as it was just a "catch and release", with a warning.. Time to quit pressing my luck? My car needs four new tires to pass inspection. That's $600 which I don't have lying around... Tempting to just trade it in and get a new VW Rabbit. So cute how VW went from Rabbit to Golf and back to Rabbit. Only $14,990 for the stripped-down two-door base-model. Cute commercials too Too bad that I'd probably be offered only about $1200 for my 2001 Hyundai Elantra depreciation nightmare.
The rabbit tramp stamp (above) is by far the most suggestive one can imagine, isn't it?

Year to date miles: 4,694

I don't believe it either.. but it's definitely time for me to get some great results. Looking at the power numbers.. I've trained much harder solo, than I raced on Saturday in Attleboro, and it's unacceptable. No more pissing and moaning and excuses. My form is better than it's ever been, yet I'm blowing it with bad habits such as self-doubt, hesitance and fear. I'm also over-estimating the strength of the competition. No more. It's time to make all of this training worth something. The gloves are off.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Attleboro Criterium Results

I raced the 35+, the Pro and the 30+
35+.. bad luck galore.. A tire change gone bad blew like a shotgun blast.. Had to change the tube just 15 minutes before the start (Did yoiu know that $50 Schwalbe Stelvio tires are made in Indonesia?) Next.. I have a front flat at the start line.. Go to the pit for a wheel while the field rolls off. I'm forced to take a free lap.. Getting a bit psyched out here.. I jump in on lap 2, get myself in a break right off the bat, and then reach for a drink.. NO BOTTLE! So I'm mooching drinks off of team mates, and even a Benidorm rider (Matt? thank you!) trying to stay calm.. Then a bad crash. Tom Mannion appears to be out cold in the gutter by the curb. He isn't removed from this spot until about 10 laps later, 6 or 7 of which were neutralized.. We restart the race with ten to go, giving the break a 14 second head start.. By now my head is so NOT into it that I've resolved not to take any crazy risks.. Even so, I get so badly wronged just before the final dog leg that I have to squeeze both brakes and lose about 10 mph with 200 meters left to go. So I put my head down for 24th of 49 finishers. Glad that horror show was over.
On to the Pro race.. 60 laps.. this one's easy.. race was quicker than the 35+, a lot more smooth.. about 10 guys were up the road in the closing laps.. I sprinted safely to 20th out of 40 finishers. (nothing to cry about, getting 10th in a Pro field sprint I guess- gotta look at the positive) Felt pretty good overall, but simply finishing this event was an achievement for me, so my expecations weren't high enough to make me a contender. In three previous attempts I DNF'ed hoping to save myself for the 30+.. and that was getting old..
Jumped right into the 30+ after the Pro.. (many thanks to Ted Shanstrom for getting my number pinned for me, and to the SRAM neutral support that let me use that awesome ZIPP front wheel in all three events) Well, 40 more laps seemed easy enough, but with 20 to go I was cramping very badly in both hamstrings.. The field was quite lethargic, and filled with guys who either didn't race at all previously, or who skipped the Pro race.. Five guys rode off the front (originally six- Gary Aspnes got in there but lost contact due to some cramping) There was no chase to speak of, the speed was pitifully slow, and with cramping of my own limiting me severely, I could only eek out a 19th place sprint out of only 31 finishers. (not so bad when you consider that five had lapped us and my legs were more or less seized up..)
Trivia: Winners of all three events had fresh legs (no previous races) 8 of the top 20 in the 30+ field had fresh legs, 8 skipped the Pro race, and 3 were into their third consecutive race of the day.. Of the 47 finishers in the 45+ event, fully 20 of them jumped into the 35+ event.. In contrast, only 7 of the 49 finishers of the 35+ event jumped into the Pro event.. Including myself, only 3 guys did the 35+, Pro and 30+ in succession. Out of 120 total individuals in the 45+, 35+, Pro and 30+, total of 80 did only one event, 35 did two events, and 5 did 3 events.. Of the 40 finishers in the Pro race, 31 had fresh legs (no previous racing).. I could go on.. If anyone wants to see a matrix showing you all of these sortable results, I spent a few minutes preparing it in Excel, out of curiosity. E-mail me and I'll forward it to you: reiscotools at yahoo dot com. It's very telling when you examine it closely.. You learn a lot about a person by seeing which events they skipped and which ones they favored..
Murat's minimally satisfied, but wishes the 35+ race was less problematic. I had good legs for it and it was a waste not to take advantage of the freshness in my first event.. Da 'sit for now.
Except for this: I must salute Michael Shireman of our Union Velo team for taking the win in the Cat 3 event.. Nice photo finish on Bikereg shows you just how close the sprint was against Mike Norton... Well done!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

So much to say.. little time. Attleboro Criterium was great fun.. Three races back to back to back. More later.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Slow Your Roll: Making Triathlete-itis contagious

"While a strong majority of the general public inaccurately thinks bike lanes are for double parking, so too, they think the triathlete is somehow "cool". However, I am here to tell you that they most certainly are not. In fact, they are very uncool. For instance, take their fruity choices like riding with no socks. Or, the way they used to put Powerbars on their top tubes for future consumption. Does that sound cool to you? No. I didn't think so."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shaking out the cobwebs

So it started raining right around 5:00 today.. Damn and blast it.. had to drive home. No 3 minute hill repeats for me.. not on the road anyway.. had to do them on the wind trainer. Holy shucking fit.. that was hard.. After 20 min warm up I did the first one.. figuring that 300 watts is deep enough into my VOmax, that's what I tried to hold for the first 2-1/2 minutes.. after which I go full gas for the last 30 seconds.
Interval No 1: 313 watts average at 88 RPM
Next comes 8 minutes of recovery, and I needed every second of it.. but not a second more..
Interval No 2: 305 watts average at 108 rpm average
Ouch. After this one, I felt like my head would explode. Spun it out for 8 minutes afterwards, resolving only to do one more of these..
Interval No 3: 296 watts at 96 rpm
I really felt myself fading during this one.. and for a change, instead of charging out of the gate at 350 watts, I tried to start out slow and build up.. Didn't work too well. I felt so cooked afterwards.. but little voice in my head said "finish what you start".. Coach said four of these are required.. so I did a fourth..
Interval No 4: 308 watts at 94 rpm
That was better than interval no 2! Proof that being warmed up can add watts to otherwise tired legs.. IMHO.. I must say.. I've done these same intervals on actual hills and they never felt this difficult.. As Coach Scheske put it on the phone today.. taking a rest week isn't about coming out of it faster or stronger.. it's about being prepared and fresh and responsive to the next period of adaptation (or "build" as some call it) There's a big difference between tapering and taking a rest week. My expectations were not realistic. I don't think I'll be 100% at Attleboro, but that takes a little pressure off, which is a good thing right now. I am gunning for a top ten,.. no, a single digit finish in at least one event on Saturday.. which will be no easy feat with the caliber of the fields I see developing on Bikereg.. I wonder if the old man and the clydesdale raced at Working Mans in this rain?


That's what a reader suggested that my symptoms indicate. It's possibly true on some level, but my main issue is that I feel tired mentally. The body then feels tired in sympathy. Lack of sleep, stress and worrying about work issues, my father's illness (he has lung cancer), my son going to pre school (the impending high cost of it I mean), a tough month financially (both prop taxes AND homeowner's insurance are due this month), planning a cost prohibitive vacation to Turkey, my red car needing $1000 in brakes/tires etc, planning a small retail business on the side, hating my great-paying current job, but feeling stuck.. all of these things weigh heavy on the mind lately. For a while there I was blocking out all of that shit and focused on training more than anything else.. It's all caught up with me it seems. and it affects how hard one can pedal a bike. Does this come as any surprise? I have two nights of decent sleep behind me. Hopefully I can repeat that tonight and Friday night. A hard training session tonight and then the Attleboro Criterium on Saturday will be the ultimate litmus test. If I feel anything like I did at Wells Ave last Sunday, then I know I need to stop riding for a few days, need to miss the bike a little bit. Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wells Ave melt down

I don't know if it was the fact that I didn't eat except for some cereal, five hours before the race (what was I thinking?), or if it was the effort given to the first four laps in a four man break (we had a great gap- I have pictures), or if it was the heat and humidity, or if it was because I spent Saturday felling tree limbs and very large trees on our lot.. but after 20 minutes in the Wells Ave crit, all systems failed, the well ran dry, the power was cut off, the tank was empty.. I took a one lap breather and thought I'd get back into it, but after 1/2 of a 1/2 hearted lap trying to stay in there, I understood that I just plain "didn't have it" yesterday and so I packed it in early. It's disappointing that a so-called "rest week" can end this way, but my sleep durations and quality were also very poor all last week too. Man, am I full of excuses or what? I received the next four weeks training program last night.. sends chills up my spine. After the Attleboro Criterium this Saturday, I don't race again until the 11th of August, when I will commence racing at five venues in nine days. This will include the Witches Cup on the 15th, which is right down the street from my Salem High School project. 

Friday, July 13, 2007

Doesn't FEEL like a "rest week"

I've been doing nothing but easy commuting all week, at a recovery/endurance pace.. yet for whatever reason my legs feel quite tired and achy. Might be due to a lack of sleep over the past few nights.. I don't know. My weight (post ride) is down in the 162s.. (164-ish in the AM) Woohoo! When I returned from San Diego at the end of February I was a bloated 180 pounds.. This morning I was half asleep while I rode in to work.. Completely out of clean clothing too.. (Wife trying to tell me something?.. Like STOP RIDING SO MUCH??.. Maybe I can drop hints too.. I'll stop putting my paycheck in the bank.. meaning STOP SPENDING SO MUCH!! Just kidding!!!) Mind you, I have seven UNION VELO kits which I wear in rotation. Now I'm resorting to wearing old team kits.. Yesterday I wore the GVCC jersey which I bought back in 1988 (still fits, still in good shape- ASSOS is the shit) and today Colavita shorts with an anonymous jersey and no base layer.. Gotta wear an Under Armour base layer at all times.. For two reasons. First, the nipples get irritated from abrasion without the skin tight base layer..(too much information?) Second, the base layer does a good job of containing my [diminishing] "flabalanche". Last fall I was at Marshalls and they had Under Armours on clearance.. for $10. I bought five of them at the time. And my New Balance three-pairs-for-five-bucks cycling socks which I bought in 2005.. got my first hole in one of them yesterday.. That was money well spent. Should have bought more because I can't find any of the same socks these days.
In other news, coach and friend Todd Scheske got 20th in the Masters 35-39 Nationals Road Race. At 2004 Nationals he was 4th on the five man podium. If I can hold on to this good form over the winter and build some more onto it in the spring, I would like to go to Nationals in 2008. Either that or forever regret not trying.. Life is short.
There I go doing the title before anything else, and the post's relevance to it is minimal.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lunch with Gewilli

Had a great meal at the sushi place on Wickenden with our esteemed Gewilli (already forgot it's name.. Sakura?... I'm way overdue for a vacation, it seems..) I also got to see the infamous Paramount bike complete with quill stem, crappy fork, Powertap wheel with tattered disk covers, improvised fenders, sawed off cowhorns, inactive front derailleur, missing front chainring, 8 speed "freewheel", trailer hitch, brakes that don't work, and a chain that belongs in the scrap yard.. No, in fact, if the scrap yard had a rubbish container.. this chain  belongs in THERE. Anyways.. we had a great lunch. Seems Gewilli has broken down and gotten the dreaded 'bike racer haircut'. Me, I'm still going for the "lion's mane which can't be tamed" look. Hehe. As I explained to Ge between bites of sushi, I got my first bee sting in 30 years yesterday while riding home. On my thumb of all places.. (The previous incident at the age of six was something like that scene in the Chris Farley movie "Tommy Boy", except for real..)  Hurt like a mofo for 1/2 hour. I'm over it though. Working Man's Stage Race? Not for me. It's too far north in no-mans' land for me to travel to, after work. But I sure look forward to reading the race reports of both Ge and Solo..

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

2007 Criterium Nationals Results

While we were getting ourselves dizzy in New Britain on Sunday, many of our local racers were competing for some serious bragging rights in PA..
Skip Foley has won the jersey in the 40-44 Masters Crit Championship race. Congratulations!
My personal coach and friend Todd Scheske earned a 10th place in the 35-39 National Crit. Very happy for him! That's nothing to cry about IMHO.
I'm sure there are more familiar names to drop here, but my time is limited. Besides.. The full crit results are here Check it out.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Succulent brain drippings

I'm in the habit of naming posts before I write a single word. Should probably do it last... Oh well...
Gary Aspnes is on fire.. The lone Horst Benidorm rider who resides in RI.. he leaps up to 3rd from about 9th in the RI Masters Crit Rankings with his recent good results.. Nice work at New Britain, Cox, Fitchburg Crit and Hartford.. The extremely low penalty points at Fitchburg helped him immensely, but you have to be in it or else not complain. He deserves it and I always enjoy seeing him in the races. Question: Do the Horst Benidorm team realize that no one can comment at their blog except for they themselves? Probably.. Frustrating though because I sometimes want to go in there and say 'hi' or 'good job'.. and I can't. Their team deserves a salute for performing at New Britain with guns blazing. They all raced with passion and tenacity..
So few ArcenCiel riders at New Britain Sunday! Jon Lowenstein crashed hard at Ninigret two weeks ago and has a broken collarbone. Sympathy.. I could always count on Jon's silky smoothness in the crits to help me to avoid panicking. But not on Sunday. I was on my own, it seemed. Get well Jon. Another Arc, Ted Shanstrom was in action Sunday, finishing three events and looking ready for some rest.. Recent fine results have him sitting in a solid 4th in the RI Crit rankings for Masters. Ted let me borrow $5 one day.. an amusing story which involves me borrowing my wife's car with a habitually empty tank, and me forgetting my wallet..
I think I know who Christopher Dale is now.. Exceedingly friendly NBX rider who I've never been introduced to. Seems a great guy.. positive, upbeat, strong. Hope to see you racing on Wednesday Chris.
Saw my friend and former team mate Keiran Paul Lynch on Sunday, which is always a pleasure. He asked me how I did.. and per usual, showed a genuine interest in my blabbering about how I messed up the finishes blah blah blah. Self-centered dipshit that I am, I didn't ask him how he did.. Mid pack in the 4s and the 30s, which is a lot better than the REST of his team did! Bloody hell, where are they? See you Sunday at Wells.. (?)
Lastly, our infamous Nega Coach and gifted race reporter, Dave Foley aka Solobreak.. eeks out a podium finish at the Hartford Criterium on Saturday.. by one second he beats the chasing field to the line.. Gotta respect that.. Besides being the only other blogger in New England who I get to race with, he holds the added distinction of driving the same exact shitty car as my 25 year old kid brother drives. Great job in Hartford.. and a good story, well told. This event begs the question: Will FnF give a shit about his Masters Crit Standings in MA? I doubt it. (I may be the only weenie who follows it.. it motivates me! what can I say?)
Changed the Powertap hub batteries tonight. Fretted a little about not having a proper spanner to remove the dust cover. I tried some dastardly methods which might make your toes curl.. but in the end just increasing my hand's friction with a little spit did the trick.. I'm taking a rest week- no intervals, no hill repeats, just easy commuting and maybe Ninigret and Wells Ave thrown in for fun and learning.. Letting the spring unwind a little bit.. I may be in rare form for Wells Ave Sunday.. even Ninigret.
For those of you who are too cheap to pay for Versus.. or who are shunning the '07 Tour.. today's crash with 1k2go was pretty spectacular.. Bob Roll called it: Someone pulled out of their pedal, shifed hard right and took everyone out, without hitting the deck themselves. Hope they weren't Speedplays.. but I doubt it. Remember these AWFUL pedals?:
In 1988 I was perhaps the only idiot in the world using them. Back then, light meant crappy I guess. Ironically, the person who now coaches me, Todd Scheske, beat me in a field sprint for 3rd at the 1988 UB Classic [juniors] Criterium. I pulled out of my Keywins with about 20 m to go. No one crashed. The following year, Ryan Muncy beat me in the field sprint for 2nd.. I had reverted to clips and straps for that one.. (Still have them) I miss those days.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

2007 New Britain Criterium

No video camera footage. No fancy photographs. No detailed race report.
Just this: When you are paranoid enough (as I am) about being swarmed before the final corner and left in the dust (as I am) before you even have a chance to accelerate (as I am).. then do as I do and LEAD OUT both the 35+ field sprint, and later, also the 30+ field sprint.. like a dumb-ass.. (as I am). What did I think would be different? Being FIRST to come out of the final corner after going full gas up the S-curve and over the "hill", is NOT a FRIGGING ADVANTAGE! What was I thinking! (Oh yeah.. paranoia about being DFL through the last corner) The smart ones were lined up behind me, winding it up while I burned my last matches. So... Murat holds on for 12th in the 35+ race and 14th in the 30+ race. Nothing to cry about, all things considered, but I wish I had played my cards smarter than that. Being first through the final corner was a rush, no doubt.. but reality sets in about 50 meters later when rider after rider ticks past you..
The Pro field had 39 pre-regs.. I decided I'd register for it in between events. Another dumb move. Would you believe all 61 openings were filled and I had to get on a waiting list? No Pro race for me... or for about 25 others who drove out there just to do that one event. Begging the officials was futile. Insurance issues. We ended up going to Scarborough Beach.. I swam, rode the waves, and built a sandcastle of shame, which our little Reis gleefully destroyed..
Anyways.. when the self-hate (of my tactical retarded-ness) subsides a bit, maybe I'll tell ya more.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Almost the Last Word

Last night at TJ Maxx I found a pack of sweat/wrist bands by Nike. Limp-wristed colors, but they had a gasket where you insert a little digital time piece, included for $15.. If not for the colors being pink, purple and orange, I was going to buy all of them.. Maybe I still will. Can always dye them I s'pose.. Tuesday night at Ninigret, I forgot my wrist band, kept wiping my drippy/sweaty nose on my bare wrist. Funny how we adapt to things..
The Powertap, now in service since May 12th, has 2005 miles on it. How long before that hub battery putters out? By the way, who wants to sell me a nice used light weight tubular Powertap wheel, cheap? My checkbook is out.
Still on the fence about Hartford tomorrow. Trying to convince myself that I can race 20 miles and still be 100% for New Britain the following day. The cost is a factor too. Entry fees are off the chart expensive these days. So is gas. Maybe a beach day would be better for me. Could always ride out and back, while family drives. Nice easy pace to eliminate the soreness, recover, be fresh.. I really want to uncork my very best at New Britain.    

Haruki: go experience lunchtime bliss

Superb. I ordered the "Chef Box" for $12.00 from Haruki's Lunch Menu.. and now I can die a happy man. You get California roll sushi, you get vegetable tempura (carrot, squash, pepper), shrimp tempura, shrimp dumplings, Miso soup, side salad with sesame dressing, and a serving of fruit! Chopsticks, wasabi and soy sauce all thoughtfully included. I am so satisfied. Highly recommended for those days when you want to blow more than a fin on lunch. Worth every penny. Treat yourself now and then. I always feel more energetic leaving Haruki, than when I arrived. The food seems to fit just right, every time. In Cranston, Rhode Island.

Yesterday: 90 minutes, 223 watts/75 kg = 3

Feeling a little down at work yesterday, I left the office at 5:00 with an ax to grind. Poured that energy into the bike and put out a respectable 90 minute average watts of 223. Thusly:
15 minutes warm-up at endurance/tempo, around 200 watts
25 minutes of FT intervals, 4 minutes at 275 watts, followed by 1 minute recovery
20 minutes strong tempo averaging 245 watts
30 minutes light tempo averaging 210 watts
Overall, 223 watts average, which is solid tempo zone 3 pace.
Since this ride did not have a proper warm-up and cool down, the overall watts/kg (223/75) turned out to be exactly 3, which is good for me on a 1-1/2 hour ride. Otherwise, this value averages down with the wu/cd. I want to race in Hartford tomorrow, but It will blow my recovery for New Britain on Sunday. I guess I need to decide whether I'm in it to have fun or in it to win.. Then the choice becomes obvious.

Pettachi out, Boonen IN

Quickstep team rider Tom Boonen of Belgium is photographed as he attends a medical test ahead of the 94th Tour de France cycling race in London, July 5, 2007. (BRITAIN) REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Is the weekend here yet?

Just told the boss here at work that I'm going away for two weeks at the end of August. Call it a pre-vacation request. They don't like it when anyone takes two consecutive weeks.. so it's best to tell them as early as possible. Where am I going? To the Republic of Turkey of course! Where else? I should be back in time, fresh and strong, for Bob Beal and Topsfield RR.. Who's gonna let me borrow their bike case? Just think, you'll get some very nice exotic security stickers on it when it's returned to you..  
Some levity:
Borat: [while driving] Look, there is a woman in a car! Can we follow her and maybe make a sexy time with her?
Driving Instructor: No, no, no, no, no, no!
Borat: A-why not?
Driving Instructor: Because a woman has the right to choose who she has sex with.
Borat: [stunned] WHAT...? You joke?
Driving Instructor: It must be consentual. How 'bout that?
Borat: [turns to Instructor, pauses] Ahahahahaha!
Driving Instructor: That's good, huh?
Borat: [pause] Is not good for me.
While it may be true that "Kazakhstan number one exporter of potassium, all other countries have inferior potassium.".. Turkey has almost 63% of the world's boron potential and boron reserves... How boring.

Cleaning Day! (Night?)

Cleaned my little red Hyundai inside and out.. and just now, I finished cleaning my chain, cassette and chainrings. Weird time to be up, but I've been meaning/needing to do it for weeks and never felt like it until 11:00 pm tonight.. Yes it took two hours. I scrubbed the cassette (while on the wheel) with a scrub brush soaked in laundry detergent (nothing less will emulsify the grease). It's shiny and like new (smells good too) The chain is a horror show.. I don't have a chain cleaner tool, so I blast it 5-6 times with a spray solvent and wipe it down in between applications. How to get the grime from inside of the links? Thread a long thin piece of cloth through there, three links at a time, and pull it through. Took a while.. but I'm not in the mood to buy a new chain. Chainrings were easy.. Brillo pads in the sink. And of course I polished the entire bottom bracket area before re-installing the rings. I've had this bike since August 3rd of last year. Bought it off Thom Norton (after getting hit by a car and losing my EPX bike) for a great price (I should have bought all of his inventory back then.. regrets) I'm thinking I want to get a Powertap race wheel- tubular. Maybe Ebay has something I can afford.. Speaking of Powertap.. I've come to the conclusion (and Solobreak will give this a hardy "Bah!" when he reads it) that Powertap is such a vital tool for improvement that I'd sooner give up my STI shifting than give up the Powertap.. Yes, I'd rather have SIS downtube shifters than ride without a power reading in my face at all times. It's a realistic position to take, once you've tried it. So it's almost 1:30 AM. Oh well. Gotta take care of the bike if it's gonna take care of me.. I'm almost over yesterday's melt down. Beating myself up for racing poorly, with indigestion and fatigue.. even after making a great bridge to the break.. Can't be so hard on myself. It's still better than missing the break on a good day, I suppose. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Follow up

As I turn the events of last night over and over in my mind.. trying to figure out what went wrong.. I established that this must be how the soccer player who misses the goal by inches feels.. and you see the guy on his knees.. beating the ground.. his hands on his head in disbelief..
Today I didn't feel much better. I woke at 5:30 per usual.. unaided.. from hunger. Ate my daily bowl of Raisin Bran.. thought about riding early.. fed my fish and went back to bed for three hours. Got up again at 10:30.. suited up and hit the road for 2-1/2 hours of endurance pace, zone 2, with about an hour of tempo zone 3 in the middle. That first hour took an eternity.. I couldn't get the energy up, couldn't get warmed up.. Stopped by the side of the road to do some stretching before doing tempo.. Finally started to feel like myself after about 20 minutes at 225 watts. Had to stop after 30 minutes to have a Coke and buy some water and Skittles (best stuff for quick energy, if you have the stomach for it). Finished up another 1/2 hour of tempo and ended up at work, where my car is parked.. Drove home (anticipating rain tomorrow- probably have to drive in).. So overall 2:16 at 193 average watts. Felt pretty good afterwards.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Strange things abound at the Circle K...

Ninigret tonight: I rode at the back of the field for the first 15 laps (out of 30), completely apathetic and oblivious to what's going on up front. Legs strong and fresh. But the mind: stale and tired.. Then I decide to try something, maybe shake off this funk. Five or so guys had opened a gap.. and it was getting bigger. So I dive to the front and take a one minute long pull (464 watts average it turns out, 28.1 mph average into the headwind).. I reach the break and take a rest.. never looking back.. Try to hold my position on the tail of the break.. then I pull through a couple of times.. Then a few guys go past me..then a couple more.. and then no one is left! Turns out I just dragged 8 or 9 guys up to the break, and the field was waaaaay back there. So the 17 of us are rotating pulls.. But something is STILL wrong with me. I don't feel right. Seems that all that I've eaten since noon is still churning in my gut, yet I feel hungry.. and nauseous at the same time. I'm emitting nasty belches.. Energy level so low. Desire to suffer.. none. I had to quit to avoid throwing chunks. Could have sat up and let the field absorb me (it would have taken a lap or so, even if I soft pedaled). No. I made a difficult and critical move and earned the right to be in the break. Wasn't going to spoil the achievement by drifting back to the field. So I confirm today that I can drill it pretty hard when it's necessary.. I did a lot of that Sunday at Wells after all.. but today something was missing. I had the power to make it to the end, I just didn't feel like it. How effin stupid does that sound? Hopefully this is just a gastric/nutrition problem and not something else.

Ninigret Criterium is TONIGHT

..according to my source. Going down there for some humble pie.. Mmm-mmmm. It was either that or hill repeats.. and I'd rather not ride alone. Would rather race til I puke while in the company of others.. See ya down there! The "A"s roll off at 6:30.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Content: Wells Ave Criterium July 1 2007

Real quick, just to beat Ge and SB with 1st post today (I win).. Wells Ave crit yesterday was a blast. Combined A/B field was pretty big and the speed was decent. Headwind on the finishing straight kept things together, with no moves gaining more than about 10-15 seconds. The racers who blog (bloggers who race?).. Solobreak and I were both very active on the front throughout. In fact, I don't think I ever drifted back past 10th wheel. At least that how it seemed.. Solo can turn on the power when he needs to! Got himself in a few moves which brought me to the front to help shut them down. With the two-place half way prime one lap away, I chided Thad Lavalee (whose face I hadn't seen at the front until that time) and said "C'mon Thad! It's time to uncork something!" I guess it kind of "turned his crank" to hear this because he took the half way prime pretty convincingly, with Kyle Gates and I fighting for 2nd. Kyle took 2nd from me pretty convincingly too actually, beating me by a bike length or more. But by this time, the field was about 10 seconds back. Cool. At the finish I wound it up a little early and almost died before the line, but it was good enough for a top ten.. Seventh I believe. Near the line, two riders came up along both sides of me, and both drifted towards me, completely taking away my momentum. I was shut down and couldn't sprint in between the buggers. Got some really good power numbers yesterday too, so I know I did some work. I was supposed to feel pretty tired yesterday after hill repeats on Saturday, but my body is getting better and better at adapting to the training load. So even though I could feel soreness, the power was there. FT is is up to 273 too. Progressing nicely.. Or as Coach Scheske puts it, "for the past eight weeks we've been winding up a spring... and when we release it you're gonna be really flying.."

I have some MOV video and a few pics which I'll post later. One features Solo and I in action- pretty cool. Seems he's the only other blogger who's racing these days! Where are the rest? Playing with their new iPhones?