America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No 587: Last post of 2008

It appears that I'll be heading out of work early today. Need to make it to Providence bike to pick up some items before they close for the holiday/snow. I'll probably head straight home after that..
Bisikletci Murat wishes you and your family a safe and happy New Year.

2008 Season Recap

Sunday, December 28, 2008


The data for today's ride, compared next to the 3 hour ride I did two weeks ago:

1% of 8000

Your Hero did 1% of 2008's total mileage today, in a duration of 4:35. I'm a little worn out of course, but I'm very happy about my knees. Usually, at about the 2:15 to 2:30 point, the knees begin to protest, and by the 3rd hour, they're doing more of an LA riot than a protest. I can attribute today's pain free ride to a few things. See if you'll agree:
1. On Friday I did a one hour Level 1 YOGA session at the Y (awesome- I loved it and I'm going back for more.. Nega Coach will be proud- always preaching the importance of stretching)
2. The yoga was followed by two completions of the Nautilus circuit (Very light weights, 20 reps, focused on establishing settings and proper form) a light soreness today is accompanied by the positive sense of progress in the "structural fitness" department.
3. It's warm today! (56 right now) My worst knee pain occurs primarily on the very cold rides- when it's under 30 degrees.
4. Lately I noticed that my seat's a touch too low, primarily from observing my reflection in the window when I'm on the windtrainer. I hoisted it up about 4-5 mm and it feels so much better.
One other revelation of today's 80 mile ride- very cool that I did not cramp up even once during the ride.. But after I got home and leaned over to remove my booties, THEN I felt a nasty and breath-taking pinch in my hamstring. Data galore and possibly some other trivialities coming up later. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What if..

..every bike race team in New England were to contribute one gently used kit into a collection which is sent overseas and given to a less fortunate person to use? My team has already sent four full sets of Millwork One uniforms to Turkey this past season, two of which are being used by a racer who we fully support. Recently, I also sent five complete Union Velo Racing uniforms which were given to a few of the local upstart racers in Bursa Turkey. I think it's pretty cool that the roads and trails of Bursa, Turkey are populated with Millwork One and Union Velo uniforms.
If this idea turns your crank, please show interest with a comment, or write to me privately at If a large number of New England teams participate, I'd like to start a new blog which covers this topic more appropriately. The idea is for every New England team to add one or more international riders to their team roster. Bike racing is extremely cost prohibitive for most poeple in Turkey. This idea will make our sport more accessible to more people. Think about it.
FYI, the next care package departs for Turkey on Jan 2nd (it's a Specialized Tarmac Expert complete bike), There will be plenty of dead air space inside of the bike box. Can we fill it up?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Britain Criterium 2008 Redux

A new friend I made at the race this summer sent me these pictures from the 30+ race. I attacked with one lap to go and then fell apart completely with 1/2 lap to go, finishing nearly dead last. Whatever.. Cool pictures.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Adaptation: one leg intervals

Nothing does as good job of proving adaptation to stress, than a power meter. To wit, a week ago I did a set of one leg intervals. They were pitiful- 119 watts average, per leg. (Call this my untrained benchmark) Four days later, I was able to do two sets, same gear (39x19), separated by a 5 minute recovery (1 minute between each leg) Average watts were high 130s in the 1st set, low 130s for the 2nd set. Speeds and distance also way up compared to the workout. My next session of one leg intervals will be in the 39x17, and go 2 full minutes. The data of the 1st 90 seconds will be fun to watch. These intervals will increase in duration by 30 seconds every couple of weeks, until I reach 3:00 minutes. They are indeed evil as Brendan correctly pointed out. Those last 10 seconds really turn you inside out. Another interesting observation: leg is stronger than the right.

It's not too late.. buy a Likeabike Jumper in any of six colors and have it delivered to you in time for Christmas, as long as your location is within a 60 mile radius of Providence RI, or you are willing to make a trip to our location to pick it up. Go to, there's a link in the sidebar where you can choose a color and make a secure payment via Paypal. If the recent blizzard has made it difficult to get out and find the perfect gift for the 2-5 year old in your life, please consider a LikeaBike Jumper. All colors are in stock locally in RI. Let's face it, if you're reading this, you probably spent more money on your road shoes, or pedals, or carbon handlebars than you will for this, the most top-shelf toddler bike on the market- the LikeaBike Jumper. All aluminum, rear suspension, Schwalbe tires, made in Germany. What's not to love?
This video is excellent!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On second thought..

I didn't expect the snow to continue into Sunday. Wishful thinking. It's not that cold out right now, but a family walk to the local Cumberland Farms to buy some Twinkies (for our son) was challenging enough- never mind trying to do it on a bike. Snow shoveling for the past two days has been quite an excellent set of workouts. Last night I did an hour on the trainer and two sets of 90 second one-leg intervals. It's rather interesting with the Powertap, seeing which leg is stronger and by how many rpms and how many watts. I'll show you later, if the mood strikes. Tonight I'm aiming for a 90 minute trainer session with a few Zone 4 efforts of 2-5 minutes each. Legs are freshly shorn. What a difference it makes- all mental of course. It's in line with the "looking good is feeling good" mantra. Looking strong is feeling strong, imho. Besides I plan to do some spin classes at the Y and I don't want to be mistaken for a newbie.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Wonderland Ride on Sunday?

Are you interested and crazy enough for a three hour ride on slick wet icy roads this Sunday? Does your bike have full fenders? If yes and yes, reach out to me and we'll meet someplace on the roads of RI. Sunday. I promise it won't suck.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oral surgery

In the pain cave with sutures in my gums after a root evac
This sucks

One leg intervals

Do you want to discover which of your muscles have been "dead wood" all season long? Perform a set of one leg intervals on your trainer. Start out at 60 seconds/leg in the 39x19. This is harder than people realize. Add 30 seconds a week and as many gear inches as you can hold 90 rpm with. Later on, add sets (separated by 5 min recovery) You will find your abdominals and other core muscles becoming involved in the last 15 seconds of the effort.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Better to burn out than to fade away

I am saddled with a severe case of burn out at work. It's been a tough year for me.. A couple of very high end multi million $$ projects on Beacon Street for very wealthy and demanding people combined with very difficult architects and designers, has really taken it's toll. Being a punching bag for general contractors is not a satisfying occupation. I spent two weeks overseas "on vacation" this past May, tending to my father. Not exactly a vacation. That event took more out of me than I can even comprehend.. My coach was astonished that I had any good form at all this year, after what happened (losing my dad) The rest of my vacation time wasn't used for laying on a sandy beach or anything either. I went swimming all of twice, all year- at Narragansett Town Beach no less..
Long story short, I plan to take the day after Christmas off and the day after New Year's Day off. That means that after this weekend, it's 3 days work, 4 days rest, 3 days work, 4 days rest. Niiii-ice. But in order for this to happen without having a meltdown at work, I'm putting in a lot of extra time both last week and this week. Probably 70+ hours. It's little wonder that my heart rate's elevated..
How many hours/miles of base fitness can I add to the hopper for 2009? As it stands now, I will easily pass 8000 total miles for 2008 with just a few more three hour rides.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Glad that's over!

and glad I didn't wimp out. Did more climbing than I planned (2740 feet), missed my ride mates by a few minutes down at Route 3/102 (that was a buzz-kill), so I did my ride alone. This means that for 3+ hours I never had the benefit of a wheel to follow or a body to draft. Charts later... These are the rides which we will be comparing to similar rides of 12 months ago. Should be interesting to see where I stand.

Time: 6:49 am, Temp: 20 degrees, Wind: calm

I'm fighting a very strong temptation to go back to bed and bask in the warmth of the flannel sheets and down comforter which are still populated by my other two family members.
I don't completely understand what compels me to suit up and grind out three hours of endurance training, but it might have something to do with hating myself if I don't do it. I'm no longer coached, so the only person I'm accountable to these days, is myself. Obsessive-compulsive behavior? or a well disciplined work ethic? I don't know which.

Friday, December 12, 2008

One race report left for 2008

It's going to be colder than I like, up in Wrentham. I have a blown side wall from NBX, I'll have to throw an old tire on there. Need a tube too.. Some extra sleep tomorrow morning would be good.
Racing or not, I need to be there in order to retrieve something from Matt.
I'm not pre-registered, and I haven't downgraded. That limits me to the Masters 123 and the Killer Bees, again. I should have downgraded. Maybe I'll get down-graded on the spot by an official. One of these days someone is going to point out that I am constantly lapped and that I pose a risk to the ones who are lapping me. An anonymous mid-field finish would have been possible in the 3/4 field.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Paris-Tours: A nail biting finish

Somehow I accidentally managed to set my DVR so that it records every bike race on the VERSUS channel. It was delightful to discover that it had recorded Paris Tours. So I propped by bike and trainer in front of our 32" LCD and did a nice brisk 60 minutes of indoor training. The coverage was two hours, so I had to FF through the commercials and I watched the ending after I was done training. So very awesome that Philip Gilbert's team mate held that pace for the last 2k, holding off a charging field by only seconds and helping PG take the sprint. Tyler Farrar won the field sprint for 5th, right on their heels. Pretty amazing- I did not know this. Anyway, 60 minutes of zone 2/3 training (190 watts average) were happily completed and dying of boredom was avoided, thanks to Versus and my DVR. That is all. I'm off to one of my projects at Harvard.
In other news, Murat is mysteriously down to 170 pounds this morning. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pectoral muscles do not propel you forward on a bike

I love saying that, if not for it's raw truthfulness, for it's tendency to make certain peoples' skin crawl. I can now do 50 consecutive push ups. The last five are tough- they take a second or two longer than all the others, but I do them.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

NBX Cross Day 2: Master 1/2/3 Race Report

When I opened my eyes this morning and looked out the window, going to Goddard Park seemed very improbable. It took some digging- some soul searching- some quiet comtemplation- and finally just saying the words "Let's go" to myself, before I sprung into action. Family debated a little bit about going with me, but I persuaded them to "htfu" and get ready to leave (in my kind and loving way). When we left the house and our minivan employed it's traction control system just to get moving (we had 1" of snow) I knew it was going to be an interesting day of racing. We got to the park in good time- right at 9:30. I mounted my Fuji and remembered that the front wheel was still flat. I smartly grabbed the 3 pound front wheel off my commuter bike before leaving, just so I could ride to registration, and probably steal it's inner tube. Said commuter wheel with Kenda tire did exceptionally well on the slippery ride to the carousel- using it in the race even crossed my mind, no pun intended. So after saying hi to Bill Y, J-Lo, Jim P and Chris D along the way, I make it to the carousel in time to register for the 35+ 1/2/3. Problem is, I don't ask how much to pay and I ignorantly write my check for $35 just like yesterday. Wrong. It's $40 and I don't have another check nor do I have any cash. I leave my license and go outside to do some panhandling. Christopher Dale whips out a fin for me without hesitating and I'm on my way. (Thanks again Chris) Number 164 is mine. I then make my way over to the pit to inquire about a front wheel (or a tube). Adam Sullivan offers me one of his wheels to use, but I'm not a lucky person- it could be a taco when I return it- you never know (thanks for offering though Adam) So my pit friend is more willing to sell me an inner tube than loan me a front wheel- don't blame him one bit- except I have no cash. Dear wife has it. So I promise to return to pay the $4 later on. Fine and dandy. From here, I go back over the bridge, back to the car and make myself ready to race. No trainer time though- I go straight out onto the course, and not a moment too soon. After chatting with team mate Lynn Samartano (16th in the women's 3/4 race) I realize that the race is being staged and I take the b-line straight to the start. Within moments, we're on. I can't deny that I expected to have an easier time today than I did yesterday. The legs were opened up, the course was technical with lots of slick hairpins and bottlenecks. If I could find the strength to sprint out of every corner- like in a crit- I might have done ok.. and this positive thinking worked! For my first 3 laps, I was not dead last, even though I started there. I was passing people. I had about 5-6 stragglers behind me. I'm going into the corners aggressively, powersliding the front wheel (that feels so cool when it happens and you recover from it, avoiding certain collision with the ground) I'm sprinting out of the saddle and getting some good speed. The worst parts were the sand pits and run-ups. This is where my weakness was always evident. I had to go deep into 180 bpm every time I had to run, plus my lower back felt like it was being kicked with steel toe boots. Then on my fourth lap I started to lose steam, heading down into the 2nd sand run (which was a LOT longer today) funny noise from the rear wheel- and pedaling seems a lot harder- sounded exactly like a spoke had popped and the wheel was rubbing. I get down to the sand, thinking nothing of it- how bad can it be. I hump the bike to the top and try to ride but the wheel is jammed. I dismount to the left of the bike, look at things, see nothing. I try to loosen the brake cable, but this isn't working. I start riding again, in earnest. The wheel is rubbing badly. I make it around a couple of switchbacks and the tire blows ka-boom. Turns out the tire bead failed and the tube was out of the rim (afterwards I see that the tire is shredded from the explosion) I try to keep riding, but the turns are too numerous and too icy to be riding on the rim.. I start to run. The pit is about 300 meters away. Once through all the turns, it's a straight shot for a while, so I start riding again, carefully. It's faster than running. I ride over some roots and almost lose it, but I make it to the pit without crashing. A rear wheel is quickly applied by my pit friend and I'm off. Everyone passed me by this time of course, and I lost a big chunk of time fiddling with the bike and running. From here, the finish is just about 150 meters. Lap card says 2 to go. I'm just beginning my 5th lap. I make it down to the 1st sand pit, make the run up, and then I see what I was dreading- the leaders down on the asphalt, kicking the crap out of eachother- flying. Needless to say, somewhere around the time I jumped the wooden barriers I was lapped by the first few leaders, and then by a few more, and by the time I completed my 5th lap, Paul Curley was the last to go by me and I watched him beat someone to the line as I followed them across the finish. My time for 5 laps- 51:15. Three minutes prior, Mark M won the race and completed his 6th lap. I'll often wonder whether yesterday's or today's flats caused me to be lapped. Let's just say it didn't help, and neither did starting at the very back of the field, as I always do. The accordian effect of the first run-up no doubt strings the whole field out pretty good, and being the first 20 guys through there is a clear advantage. There's no denying that I suck at running- I'm biomechanically inept at it, plus my Fuji is an overweight piece of shit, but I'm using the equipment which is compatible with my ability, I suppose. Maybe in fall 2009 things will be different. I admit that this cross thing has won me over a little bit- and the most compelling evidence I can give you is that I dug-deep and finished both races this weekend in spite of flatting and in spite of running all over creation to reach the pit and in spite of the knowledge that I would be dead last and lapped. That says something.
FULL RESULTS are UP at USA Cycling. Thanks for reading.
Here's the ubiquitous data file showing my heart rate and such:

NBX Cross at Goddard Park Day 2 Masters 1/2/3

This time I raced with the masters at 10:30. I wrote my check in the wrong amount when I registered, and thanks to my friend Chris Dale's deep pockets and generosity, I was able to pay the deficiency and settle up and get my license back. The pit crew helped me with a front wheel yesterday, they sold me a tube today, and they also gave me a rear wheel when I had my shotgun blow out in today's race. More on that later, but many many thanks for all of the help in the pit! Thanks to them, I did lots of running these past two days and I'd have two DNFs to my name were it not for them. This was an excellent weekend of racing- organizers, sponsors, volunteers, pit- everyone and everything was a class act- a model for others to follow. If I could complain about one thing- why not?- parking is too damn far from registration. TTYL.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

NBX Cross at Goddard Park Day 1 Masters 1/2/3 Pictures

The way it usually goes for 'ol Murat, the race begins when he opens his eyes in the morning. Indulging in some extra sleep is a weakness which even Solobreak can't help me with and were it not for his call at 7:00 am, I would probably have slept until 9:00 and not 8:00. First order of business- dump the hamper on the laundry room floor and wash my cold weather apparel until the stink is gone. Check. Out the door at 9:22, planning to get there at 9:35-ish, one hour to get all sorted out and warmed up. Wrong! There's no gas in the minivan- it's running on fumes.. and I discover that I've forgotten to bring water. No worries- a quick stop at Sunoco and I get a quick $10 of gas and buy H2O. I'm down 8 more minutes.. So I get on my way- south on Route 2, Murat is snagged by every single red light there is. No amount of cursing gives me relief. I get to the park and pull over onto the right hand side thinking I can quickly make my way to registration. Nothing doing. I'm chased out of there and told I need to park in the field like everyone else. Down another 5 minutes. Here's the part that really turns my crank- what I did not expect is that it would take 10 minutes to ride from the car to registration. Didn't plan for that, no sir. I get to the table at 10:02 or :03. Registration for the Masters 1/2/3 is closed. I keep my cool. Who wants to get ready to race in only 25 minutes (15 if you count the ride back to the car). So your hero ends up registering for the 2/3 race (killer bees? first time I ever heard that one) In the first 30 minutes of waiting for my 12:30 race, I made myself useful and took over 200 pictures of the racers in the race which I was not permitted to enter. Warning- I use a 3 megapixel Kodak that I bought at Target 4+ years ago, out of the box, no instructions, and it's held together with a rubber band which I renew every few months because well, it breaks on me and lets the batteries fall out. I'm not a photographer. If you find any photos which are worthy of printing, you're a lucky bastard. In the spirit of giving you these mediocre photos, Murat put $25 toward a Pro Flickr account, so in case you find some picture in there which don't suck, there's a button in the sidebar where you can donate a buck or two. Humor me.
Here's the pictures at my Flickr account Enjoy.

Drumroll please..

My eagerness to dish up photos caused me to forgot to tell you the story of my race. This was my first 2/3 cross race ever. I was a trooper, I started at the very back per usual.. and after a few laps, instead of the usual "ride at my own pace all by myself" bullshit, I hooked up with 3-4 guys and stayed glued to them! This required me to push deep into the pain cave occasionally, primarily after the run-ups, where I am absolutely horrible. At any rate, just before completing lap 4- I did a power slide into the last left hand corner with my front wheel- a miracle that I didn't dump it hard. The two guys on my wheel had to squeeze the brakes. After going through the finish, my front tire turned to mush- and in no time, it was down on the rim. So approaching the first and more difficult sand pit, I'm done, or so I thought. We're not lapped at this point.. Hopes were dashed. I told my drop-mates about the flat and the immediate reply was "Lucky bastard". Hehe. So I shoulder the bike and run it all the way around the course to the pits. Watching me run is like watching a horror show, but I make it. A very quick neutral wheel change follows my clumsy prancing over the barriers and I'm off. Unfortunately, I lost some big time here and got myself lapped by the leaders a little beyond that muddy off camber corner. (2 to go changes to 1 to go, of course) By the time I reached the 2nd sand pit, a few more guys went past. From there I just held my meager speed and finished my 5th lap in exactly 45 minutes flat. I used the Polar HRM, and the data says that I reached 189 bpm on 3 or 4 occasions, and that I averaged 175 bpm for the 45 minutes. To wit: I should admit here that this was the most fun I've had in a cross race, and I'm wondering if maybe it was because I was in the 2/3 field and not the Masters 1/2/3 field. It seemed to me that these younger riders were more interested in having fun than in beating each other's brains out. End result- 64th place out of 67 finishers and 73 starters. Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Canada's tolerance for obesity

Read about how obesity is rewarded in Canada while others are charged 90 Euros to bring back an extra suitcase of what remains of their dead father's belongings. -uck you Lufthansa.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Back on the wagon!

..or fell back off of it, depending upon your opinion of Power Meters.. For the past couple of months, your hero has been manually entering mileage, duration and even estimations of average power into his Peaks software. This was so that I could maintain some semblance of correctly maintained data which represents my TSS and the running averages called CTL and ATL. I thought the Powertap was kaput when all this time it was nothing but a broken wire near the shark fin. I crimped the two together- it's ugly, but it works. I'll add a pic later. Data is so intoxicating. I promise to share as many power charts as my time allows, from now until the next wire breaks.
Here, get used to seeing a lot of this in 2009.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Viga rocks

Many thanks to my friend and team mate Rick Gervais for introducing me to Viga. I'm in my car horking down a serving of chicken Pomodoro.. This is sooooo good. Their pizza is excellent too. Look it up: Viga Italian Eatery. Walking distance from my projects on Beacon Street.

Is there a contest?

I'm at Harvard for an appt but the fire alarms went off and everyone's outside. Standing near the dozens of bikes these students and faculty ride around campus, it seems as though there's competition to have the crappiest, least maintained Piece of Shit humanly possible. Homeless people have been observed riding better bikes. There's a Schwinn "Le Tour" from the early 80s with what appear to be the original tires on it. Do these college pukes have any self respect? If you can afford this tuition, you can afford a bike that doesn't suck this badly, I think. There are limits to what is considered safe to ride.. 

Time to kick off the indoor training

If not for falling asleep at 8:30 with my son last night, I was going to set up the windtrainer, bring the LOOK indoors and even try to splice together the broken wires of my Powertap shark-fin wire. Oh well. Extra rest and sleep never hurt, so I'll be doing it tonight instead, which will kick off the real beginning of my 2009 road season. Joy.. What I'm less certain about is whether I want to race at Goddard this weekend. Lately I'm not so gung-ho about it.. but that could change quickly. Money's tight. I can't deny my son's request for a Hot Wheels Trick-Track Triple Stunt Starter Set and then blow $60 on entry fees, at least not without some guilt..

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crappy Weather = Rest Day

I'm glad I did my 3-1/2 hours yesterday- it's wet and miserable today. Despite Sunday rides offered to me by my teammates and others, I decided to take rest and get some extra sleep. I'll add the Polar chart later on. So I left the house at 7:00 am Sat to make it to Sophies on Route 2 at 8:00. I was right on time, give or take 2 minutes. Nobody was around.. I had pretty much lost all hope right then and there. Took off my glove unzipped the jacket and retrived the Crackberry so I could e-mail J-Lo "where r u?" Hoping of course that he carried one also. Before I could even hit SEND, a train of yellow-orange-red came streaming out from behind Sophies, where I did not bother to look. They all turned right onto route 2, seemingly oblivious to me as I stood there- unzipped, ungloved and unprepared to jump onto the train. No worries- I sorted myself out and chased up to them before we hit route 138. It's always a lot of fun to meet up with the Arc crew. What sucks is that it's a one hour ride to get to Sophies, and I generally try to stay close to the house when it's very cold, so I always feel a little vulnerable and paranoid when I'm so deep into Southern RI. To wit, after riding with them for an hour Saturday, I was already into my 3rd hour and it took almost 90 minutes to get home after that- all on Route 3 north which, as I'll show you later, isn't at all flat.
Time to break out the rollers and wind trainer- looks like the weather is going to suck for a while.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I was right

It took 90 minutes before I felt comfortable- toes got quite chilly, but 51 miles and 3:08 later, I was home, feeling good, feeling thankful, and very hungry. I'll post a Polar chart of the ride later on, if the mood strikes. Avg HR was 155. My race form is clearly kaput- I'm re-building base fitness. Nine days off the bike when I had the flu the other week, really hurt what little form I had left.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Day- Ride yourself to caloric deficiency..

..then add it on two-fold at dinner..
Thursday morning at 8:00 am: Holy Apostles Church at the corner of Route 12 and Pippin Orchard Road (same place where everyone meets Tuesday and Thursday nights, see below) We'll depart from the church at 8:00 and most likely head north towards 116 and take a left turn onto Peeptoad and end up criss-crossing back towards western Coventry. Chances are, I'll be doing this ride all by myself. Prove me wrong! 8:00 am Thursday Holy Apostles Church! See below.

View Larger Map

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chris Hoy: Man vs Machine

I don't know why this reached my INBOX at work.. Click to enlarge.
See for ticket details.

What a mistake

To think that I could ride an hour each way, to hook up with a 3 hour ride in that cold was very poor judgment on my part. Not only was I off the bike for 9 days prior, I just emerged from a week of having a very bad cold, it was 20 degrees when I left the house, and I went to meet up with a group of guys who like to trounce the hills of Rhode Island once a week. It's bad enough that I don't climb well and that I'm out of form- it's also 20 degrees out. Add to this I'm 20 minutes early to the meeting point- thanks to mis-judging the distance and a tailwind. I did laps up and down the street to keep warm. Then the toe warmers I got for such a great deal at Marshalls- they suck. So by the time we roll off at 9:00 or whatever I'm an icicle. In weather like this, I usually stay close to home, so in case I get too cold I can bail and be home in 20-30 minutes, tops. To break this golden rule of sub-freezing winter riding- very dumb of me. The time off the bike was no help- my left knee started to hurt before I even got to Venda Ravioli. Then I panicked and tried to nurse it a little bit, making the right knee share in the hurt. Then our little group of five started hitting some gradual climbs and the right knee went berserk. Near the top of the first longish climb- one which I'm completely unfamiliar with- I can't push on the right knee any more and I let a gap open. Took my head right out of it at that point, and being near a local road which I knew would take me home in about an hour (route 116), I pulled a u-turn and spun home. Today my knee hurts just to walk. I'm feeling my age.. Needless to say, this ride was incompatible with me on so many levels, when Gewilli turned to me and said "why?".. the easiest answer was to just say "cold". When I got home about an hour later, it was still only 28 degrees out. 2-1/2 hours was enough. Had I stayed with those guys (Nathan, Aaron, Mark and Gewilli) my knees would be completely trashed and I would have ended up doing 4+ hours. Enough stupidity prevailed that I had to draw the line somewhere. On the bright side, making promises to ride with others is a good way to force your ass outside into the freezing cold, where you might otherwise say -uck it and just sleep in. From that standpoint- no regrets. I'll try again in a few weeks when the knee re-adapts to harder stresses.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The G-Diddy

Not only did I co-populate his office with a pre-announced visit coinciding with some work that his employer has hired me to do for them, I also got wrestled to the floor and my camera forcibly removed from my clenched fist when I threatened to shoot a pic of the slovenly mess he calls his desk. Err, I made up that last part, about the wrestling. So.. yeah not only did I get to see his monotone looking Giant cross-bike-turned-commuter with squishy Schwalbe tires weighing a kilo each occupying 1/2 of the floor space in the room, I also promised to do an epic three hour hilly ride with him on Sunday. I hope I live to tell about it, and not hear about how those tires slowed him down.. Hills in November, go figure. Like me, G-Diddy has hacked off the lion's-mane-which-can't-be-tamed, which is pictured here. I'm gonna get an earful for this one, but this pic isn't marked 'private' or anything in his Flickr account, so why not.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Know Your Rivals... says the coolest road racing website I've found, at least since discovering that USA Cycling used a ranking system which ranked me higher than I deserve credit for.. (hey it works for golfers, why not for us?) One clear weakness of USA Cycling which know your rival excels at, is giving you a compilation of results for an entire team. I love it! Especially because you can filter those results by category, by team member, by placing (how many times did your team get 4th place?) or by race (road race, crit, tt). Very cool to play with the data.. Below is a compilation of all of my team's criterium results in 30+ Masters events:Now for the very interesting data. Know your rival will also give you a report of who you are most commonly shouldering, hooking, elbowing, cursing, and trying to pass when there's 100 meters to go.. Here's my list of rivals:
There are still some things which need to evolve a little more- our team's website isn't listed for example, and neither is our parent club, GVCC. My 18th place result at the Blue Hills Classic is missing too- but that's most likely because I registered 'day-of' and this almost always guarantees that someone will mis-spell my name, my team or my license number (that's an inadvertant plug for Bikereg- your personal and team data is always consistent and spelled right- meaning no missing results) I expect that the blanks will slowly be filled in over time- it depends on the owner of the site having the continued resolve of a Buddhist monk. I hope it continues because it's informative and entertaining to tool around with. It's going to be interesting to see the condensed results of particular teams, those other than my own that is. Give it a try. Look up any team's results, then filter it to narrow it down to age, category, wins, or even particuar events.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1989 Albany Tulip Festival Criterium

By popular demand of one reader: Your hero from 20 years ago- the Torpado SLX in action. Yeah that's me racing the thing, being tailed by a very well oiled Aaron Newland and his team of teenage dudes with matching kits, matching bikes, matching helmets and even "clipless pedals".. Notice I'm still using my Alfredo Binda straps and my Mavic GEL280s with Clemente Super Criterium Silk tubies on there.. IIRC, George Hincapie won this junior race without breaking a sweat. I sprinted to 4th place (have a pic of that somewhere). Distinctly remember having to lie down after that race from cramps and how all my insides started spasming, I tried so damn hard. I still have the prize money envelope somewhere, probably the race number too. I remember being astonished about getting $60 for 4th place and loving it. Back then, I didn't have a skinsuit, so I'd tuck my GVCC jersey into my shorts and discreetly safety pin them together in a few places. Voila- the poor man's skinsuit is born.
Found it: Murat sprints for 4th, but it feels like a win. Mr. red/yellow threw his bike too early. Click to enlarge.

Monday, November 17, 2008

If you're wristwatch is the accessory which says the most about you..

..Then mine must say that I hate myself. I'll post a picture of it tonight. Although, to be fair, I used to use a SEIKO, which is the company which came up with the above tripe in the first place.
To be continued.

Now that I think of it, the heading shows you my previous watch- a Seiko Automatic which I got on Ebay for $50. The reason I don't wear it now is because I broke the strap in a fit of rage- I was at Dunkin Donuts on route 138, on my way to the Ninigret Crit, running late of course. Everyone behind the counter was serving the -ucking drive thru customers and us schmucks in side the store were being ignored. I said something profane and flung the door open to get out, using my wristwatch as leverage. The strap broke. It's still good- needs one of those spring loaded pins. My wife bought me this travesty of a timepiece when I jokingly told her I always wanted a calculator watch. So you see, my watch says that I love my wife.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Who wants to do a Spring Training Camp!?

in TURKEY!! Serious. I'm setting it up.

Update. This is not a joke. Flights from Boston are about $1000, but I expect there to be promotions in the spring. I am looking to have base at either the seaside town of Mudanya, which is close to tons of spectacular roads that I'm very familiar with, or at an all inclusive resort in Antalya, which will cost more and be quite luxurious. We've been to a few and never been less than astonished at the quality of the food and the amenities. I don't know the roads as well, but Antalya has the added benefit of being warmer in April (think Florida), and having more local attractions like rafting and mountain bike tours. The bottom line is that I am definitley going, same as last year, and probably for two weeks straight. One week in Mudanya/Bursa and one week in Antalya. I came back from Turkey last year in very solid form. Think about it. This idea will develop more if people show me some interest. Otherwise, I suppose I'm on my own, which is fine and dandy. I'd rather share the experience though!

Feeling crap-tastic!

Energy levels are way down. I'd pop a vitamin if they didn't give me such heartburn. Did anyone watch the CNN Special last night on the Jonestown mass suicide? 300+ little kids had cyanide squirted down their throats from a syringe, by their -ucking parents. I'd always heard snippets here and there about this trajedy, but last night I got a two hour dose of it, including tape recordings and video footage from 30 years ago. What a sad story. Kool-Aid will never taste the same again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Even MORE Boring Commute Stuff

Well it finally caught up to me- the nasty cold that both wife and son have been fighting for about a week has infected me on a low level, making my breathing a little scratchy. I was bragging to my wife the other day about how my superior fitness, adaptation to the cold weather and my bike commuting was supposedly protecting me in some way from getting sick the same way that they were. I still think that if I was a sedentary person, I would have been a lot sicker, a lot sooner. Right now I'm just feeling some nuisance symptoms, most notably sore leg muscles and overall tiredness. I rode in to work this morning taking the shortcut (which turns out to be 7.5 miles, not 9) It was warmer this morning than yesterday, but it felt 10 degrees colder. I don't plan to ride home tonight or ride at all tomorrow, especially if the weather predictors are accurate and it rains. It's time to take it easy, rebuild, recover, rest. I've been riding pretty consistently for a few weeks- twice a day usually, not with any great intensity, but with enough volume and variation that I've made myself tired, wound up the spring a little bit. Race this weekend? Not in the rain, so Saturday's out, and not sick, so Sunday's a remote possibility. I recently showed y'all a vid and pics of my serene bike path commute with ankle high foliage concealing the actual road. Yesterday morning it was still there. On my commute home last night, it was all completely cleaned up- like freshly shorn legs. That is, until I reached the West Warwick town line. The suckiness envelopes you the instant you enter West Warwick. I don't know why I live there sometimes..

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Map My Ride: More Boring Commute Crap

This is how I roll to work.. except when I'm late, then I take the shortcut, which is pretty easy to imagine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rides a Ten Speed Everywhere Guy

This was on TBS last night and I managed to hit the record button on my DVR in time to get the whole episode. This is a cheesy recording of my LCD tv screen, but I lack the proper equipment and this will have to suffice. It's still funny. There's more to hear than there is to see anyway.

Rides a Ten Speed Everywhere Guy from Murat Altinbasak on Vimeo.

it's a great way to stay in shape..

Cranston Bike Path from Murat Altinbasak on Vimeo.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Normal Weekend

No need for filling up the gas tank. No driving for hours. No getting up at the crack of dawn. No money spent on registration. No dead last start position. No dead last finishing result. No getting lapped, tasting puke, hoisting/carrying of bicycle, falling down, broken bike or ruined apparel. None of that..
While many of you were still driving to some 'venue' in order to do a zone 5 mass start time trial in the mud, I was out at 8:15 am doing what bike racers do when there's no racing that's worth racing- I trained for 2 hours 10 minutes out on the beautiful, dry and sunny roads of western RI. I covered the first 2/3 of my typical three hour route, then my better judgment reminded me that I haven't done any riding of more than one hour in many many weeks, so I ended it at about 40 miles and got home at 10:25. I took a nice hot shower while many of you chumps were still suiting up, or driving to, or paying for.. the mass hysteria known as psychocross.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

2008 Harlem Rocks Criterium Redux

I know that I've already delivered a race report on the Harlem Rocks Criterium, but I realized that my sister was there with me shooting pictures of the Pro event and caught the wicked crash in the final sprint- the one where the kid who won, lost control and had a spectacular fall. My sister caught it with the rapid fire setting of her camera. See below. As for me, I look back upon this race and regret being such a weenie in the final lap. With one to go, I was first across the line, but I remind my readers that it rained buckets just moments before our start, and 30 guys DNFed with crashes- it was a bloodbath. I was pumped and primed for this race, feeling great the entire time, but when guys started dive bombing the wet corners with one to go, I did not fight for my position and ended up finishing anonymously at 18th. There's always 2009- I'll be back there. For now, I leave you with Eric Barlevav:

Chipotle is lip-smacking good

I go out of my way sometimes, to do business with companies which support cycling and bike racing. It's no challenge at all when it comes to Chipotle. If you have not tried one of their overstuffed burritos with the hot green chile sauce, you are missing out. If you've seen the Chipotle kits with the burrito 'in the jersey pocket'- it's misleading. Those burritos have a girth that is equal to their length. You would NOT EVER put one of these gut busters in any pocket. There's a Chipotle on Route 2 in Warwick, right across from Panera and the new Trader Joe's, which I haven't checked out yet.

45 and counting

I started out only able to do 20, now as of yesterday I can do 45 push ups. Tomorrow I'll try for 50, on my way to 100 push-ups, like I used to do without stopping, long ago. Now for a wet fender-bike ride to work! Joy.
::pause while I ride in to work::
Okay I made it in one piece- they say drizzle, but it feels like rain when you're riding as fast as I am. Two things: it feels like the cranks or pedals on my Redline are bent. I don't know if maybe they're straight and my other two bikes are bent. Maybe there's an alignment tool that can check this out. Anyway, the other thing I noticed is that the freewheel on the Redline is a pretty big gear. I took the 9 mile shortcut this morning, and it includes a punchy little climb. I usually grind up the thing seated, because my messenger bag swings all over the place if I stand. Today I skipped the mess bag, and so I was able to climb standing. There is no way I'd make it up that hill seated without injuring a tendon or something.
So yeah I'm in the office all day today. Yesterday was a death march through Boston. I had to go to three jobsites: One at the Harvard Art Museaum, then to another Harvard project on Oxford Street, and finally my crown jewel 11 floor luxury project on Beacon Street. The company I work for is no secret, though I'll refrain from naming them here. Let it be known that we did all of the woodwork in T_m Br_dy's three floor condo right up the street from my project on Beacon. If you wonder what such woodwork is worth in dollars, think about the median value of a home in Mass and triple it- just for woodwork. I got to see it inside, and gawk at his trophies and at the Audi R8 in his garage. Anyway, I've said too much.. and now I must kill you.
I returned to the office from Boston about 6:00 and yeah- I rode home by bike when it would have been oh-so-much-easier to drive myself straight home. That's what a hard nosed bad ass I am. Skipping a ride is like skipping a dose of Prozac.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

1989 UB Classic Criterium

Rewind 20 years to 1988, the year I was 4th at the UB Classic. (3rd place was my good friend Todd Scheske) In 1989 (pictured) I was 3rd- (2nd in the field sprint). In 1990 as a first year cat 2, I was 7th in the 2/3 race, which would end up being the last time I ever raced at UB. Known to be a blood bath.. I'm glad I never kissed the pavement on that twisty course. and looking back, I see that all three times I raced there I finished in the money, and my decent and consistent results there most likely it didn't hurt my chances of being upgraded to Cat 2 while still a junior.
Fast forward 10-11 years and add about 40 pounds (I am about 190 in this picture) This was something I wanted to try for a long time, so around the year 2000, dear wife and I were in Turkey, and I said -uck it, no time like the present. We were at a salon for hours while she and her mom got the royal treatment. I became so bored that I jumped into a chair and said "let's do this thing".. Here, we're at a waterfront restaurant which has a view of one of the bridges connecting Europe and Asia.

Bridges, Tunnels and Carbon

Doesn't it make you all happy inside to see what my AM commute looks like? The infamous West Warwick/Cranston Bike Path- pretty scenic these days and usually deserted in the mornings. The tunnel which is pictured is very dark in the middle (during the day) - such that yours truly crashed violently back in 2003 after striking 6" x 6" x 5 foot long piece of pressure treated lumber (positioned there intentionally by some -uckers) Letters written to the state did get results- they fixed the lighting inside of the tunnel, which now only lights up at night. I guess they missed the part about me crashing in there after sunrise one morning. I guess we take what we can get.
I voted on my lunch break.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Is your glass half full or half empty?

..or maybe the glass is just twice as large as it needs to be.. Whatever.. Here's some visual stimulation which I hope will make your Monday morning a little more bearable. I never considered myself to be vertically challenged until I saw this photo of solobreak, me and ilbruce.
No I did not buy this saddle from Solobreak, but I think it's just as gnarly as the one which he was too cheap to replace when he should have.. I pretended to be sick and stayed home from school on the day that I expected this saddle to arrive from Performance Bike, along with some other stuff that I ordered. It ended up arriving the following day, meaning I had to fake my illness for two days in a row. I bet I'm not the only bike crazy 16 year old to have done this..
The one that started it all- a relic from my glory days as a junior. This Torpado SLX was abandoned upon the advent of SIS index shifting- I keep this bike as a reminder. Of what.. I'm not sure. I laced up that Ambrosio Montreal rear wheel myself when I was 16. Holy crap that was 21 years ago.
My second hand entry level Fuji Cross Pro- a sucky bike compared to the thoroughbreds which lapped me on Saturday, but even with the chain which I swapped onto it from my road bike 1/2 hour before the race, it did not let me down, did not miss a shift or blow out a side wall.
My trusty Redline 9-2-5 commuter recently had a makeover, as you can see from the junk on the floor. Hey maybe I can use those things to do push-ups or something.. I bought this bike on impulse because it had the flip flop rear wheel. A heavy steel fixed gear bike with fenders, bullet proof wheels and tires? Sold! Soon I'll be doing three hour weekend rides on it. Who wants to come with me?
Above, you bask in the reflected glory of my French stallion- the LOOK 486. Sixteen pounds of carbon fiber fury. I replaced the lost chain tool with a trip to REI today, so the new chain was applied and no swear words were used. Needless to say, I couldn't do it without completely degreasing the cranks, chainrings, frame, cassette and wheels. A new chain deserves a clean drivetrain. So.. what's temporarily missing from this bike? I must admit, with it's original Easton wheel installed and all the Powertap stuff and lights and blinkys removed from it, this bike is a very light mofo. Speaking of Powertap- I tightened up the rear hub- no more lateral play. I also discovered that the transmission wire had a break in it, explaining why the PT head is not working.
This is the bike upon which I was hit by a car back in 2006. It's a little big for me, but it I've repaired it since the car crash, so except for the rear tire being flat, it's in perfect condition, making it a fine back-up bike in case something should ever happen to the Look 486.
I haven't shown my face here in a while.. so here's a pic of me after the final Ninigret crit this summer, with a bad case of helmet head. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Northhampton Cross

Elite 35+ had 82 starters, 67 finishers. Your hero started from the very back of the field, passed some folks down on the fields, but lost most positions gained by the time lap one was completed. Got lapped by the leaders during my 5th lap, and then passed by 20 more guys just before completing my 6th lap in about 43:30. I did very consistent lap times of 7:05 to 7:15 each. I guess if I had done all 7 laps my finishing time would have been right around 51 minutes, or about 6 minutes down on your other hero, Solobreak (55th), who started right beside me at the very back... When results come out- make no mistake- I was not dead last! That distinction does not belong to Murat. Great weather today. Plus I didn't crash. Bonus! Lapped by only 1/4 of the field. Woo-hoo! Not DFL. Totally awesome! Super intense workout. Yes today rocks! I'll be imbibing spirits at il Brucie's house tonight with Nega-Coach and maybe Gewilli.. Who can ask for more?? Somebody pinch me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

FW: Office dares

Office dares

FYI, For those trying to just hold on to whatever shred of sanity and dignity you have left in your office, keep on keeping on with these innocent office dares to make your skull-crushingly dull and boring work hours a little more lively....


1) Run one lap around the office at top speed.
2) Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.
3) Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say, "Just called to say I can't talk right now. Bye."
4) To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace.
5) Leave your zipper open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say, "Sorry, I really prefer it this way."
6) Walk sideways to the photocopier.
7) While riding in an elevator, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.


1) Say to your boss, "I like your style" and shoot him with double-barreled fingers.
2) Babble incoherently at a fellow employee then ask, "Did you get all that, I don't want to have to repeat it."
3) Page yourself over the intercom (do not disguise your voice).
4) Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle (there must be a 'non-player' within sight).
5) Shout random numbers while someone is counting.


1) At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (5 extra points if you actually launch into it yourself).
2) Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.
3) For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as "Bob."
4) Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do a number two."
5) After every sentence, say 'Mon' in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in "The report's on your desk, Mon." Keep this up for 1 hour.
6) While an office mate is out, move their chair into the elevator.
7) In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, "Shut up, all of you just shut up!"
8) At lunchtime, get down on your knees and announce, "As God as my witness, I'll never go hungry again."
9) In a colleague's DAY PLANNER, write in the 10am slot: "See how I look in tights."(5 Extra points if it is a male, 5 more if he is your boss)
10) Carry your keyboard over to your colleague and ask, "You wanna trade?"
11) Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."
12) Come to work in army fatigues and when asked why, say, "I can't talk about it."
13) Posing as a maitre d', call a colleague and tell him he's won a lunch for four at a local restaurant. Let him go.
14) Speak with an accent (French, German, Porky Pig, etc) during a very important conference call.
15) Find the vacuum and start vacuuming around your desk.
16) Hang a 2' long piece of toilet roll from the back of your pants and act genuinely surprised when someone points it out.
17) Present meeting attendees with a cup of coffee and biscuits, smashing each biscuit with your fist.
18) During the course of a meeting, slowly edge your chair towards the door.
19) Arrange toy figures on the table to represent each meeting attendee, move them according to the movements of their real-life counterparts. And if that wasn't enough for you...

How to keep a healthy level of insanity:

1) At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2) Tell your children over dinner. "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."
3) Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4) Put your waste basket on your desk and label it "IN".
5) Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over his or her caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
6) Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy."
7) Don't use any punctuation
8) Use, too...much; punctuation!
9) As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
10) Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.
11) Specify that your drive-through order is "to go."
12) Sing along at the opera.
13) Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.
14) Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.
15) Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.
16) Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, "Rock Hard."
17) When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I Won! I Won! 3rd time this week!!!"
18) When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling, "Run for your lives, they're loose!"

And the final way to keep a healthy level of insanity....

19) Send this to everyone in your address book, even if they sent it to you or have asked you not to send them stuff like  this

Pectoral muscles do not propel you forward on a bike

Even so, I'm fighting a war against blubber and lately the enemy has taken positions in the hills of Mantitania. I must flatten those bastards, so I've been doing push-ups, about 4 times a week. I started out with 20 and that was hard. Yesterday, I managed to do a solid 40. Not too shabby.. there was a time when I could do 100 push ups without stopping. Hard to believe, but true. I resolve to harden my upper body this winter primarily with free weights, and this might involve renewing my membership at Bally Total Fitness. What sucks is that the nearest facility is in North Providence. They do have a spin class that's usually very well attended.. and racquetball courts in the East Providence location. Renewing at Bally's for me is about $100 a year- short money. I've also been considering doing the indoor soccer thing again- join a team and play once a week like I did a few winters ago. My ankle sprain of 2006 seems to have healed up because I had no pain down there after last week's MRC race. If I can jump barriers, I should be able to kick a ball again..
I'm registered for Northhampton Saturday only in the 35+ 1/2/3. There are 81 pre-registered in my field and I plan to improve on last weekend's 51st place out of 57 starters at MRC Cyclocross. I don't know what's worse- getting lapped or being at the very bottom of the finishers, but I guess being given credit for "finishing" even when you're one lap down, is pretty cool. I saw that a few guys DNF'ed so there's always something worse than being lapped or DFL.
I was about 5 minutes into my commute this morning and a rider on the bike path passed me head-on. He said "Hi Murat" but my eyes were so glazed from the cold that I couldn't make out who it was or his uniform and it was too cold to stop. I wonder who that was..

Thursday, October 30, 2008

So if I go and do my 5th ever cyclocross race..

..this weekend up in 'NoHo', that will mean I've done an average of one cross race every four years.. over the past 20 years.. Lame.
The bike path in Cranston (not to be confused with the very inferior, dangerous, narrow and slick with bird poo and covered with Gewilli's bike drippings East Providence Bike Path).. has been a carpet of foliage lately.. and as this fallen organic matter dehydrates, it sounds more and more like potato chips underfoot..
What is up with bluejays and squirrels? For two mornings in a row, I am finding not less than three of each congregated in a clearing, seemingly in cahoots on some level that I can't understand.
A ride home from work last night at 8:00 pm was indeed invigorating- and I did not take the shortcut- went the whole 12.5 miles.. though I did take the shortcut this morning. I'm lazy and have trouble convincing myself I've had enough sleep. Too much of something that feels so good, can't be a bad thing, right?.. except when you're cutting it too close and making yourself late for work. If I spend an extra 2-3 minutes looking for booties or keys or wallet, that's all it takes for me to relegate myself to taking the shortcut, which is only 9 miles and includes a hill that I don't like. Ha- as if there's one that I do like somewhere..
I'm proud of myself though- it takes more than a little bit of character and determination to get suited up extra early in the freezing cold for a 45 minute commute. Lately, since I'm no longer marching to the beat of the Powertap (though I don't like having to do manual workout entries- I'm trying to keep accurate TSS, CTL, and ATL levels maintained in Peaks software).. I find myself commuting less because of the need to add training volume, and more because I just love propelling myself forward on a bike to get where I need to be. It feels pretty good, once the initial shock of the cold passes and everything acclimates and you feel like you could go on for hours if you had time.. I arrive to work pumped with endorphins and grinning, as my astonished pear-shaped co-workers scratch their heads and wonder.. "why? what's the point?".. and 10-12 hours later I walk into the door at home the same way, smiling and as happy as a tornado in a trailer park..
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My fourth cyclocross race ever..

..yeah...about that. My first ever cross race was 1988 Junior Nationals in Milwaukee.. Lapped my Bobby Julich and a few others and DNF. Don't ask. 2nd cross race ever was 18 years later: 2006 Canton Cup. DNF. That sucked real bad. I suffered immeasurably. 3rd cross race ever was one of the 2007 Goddard Park races. I was lapped by only the first 6 or so finishers in the elite 35+.. Fell down once, had a good time.. 4th cross race ever was today's MRC 35+. I was loving the weather! (Man I wish I did a 3 hour road ride instead of race today) No regrets- I had fun today don't get me wrong.. My start position was in the middle someplace and I seem to have held that position for all the way until we reached the first set of barriers before the woods. No actually, I was right in there up until the hard right hander in the middle of the woods. Then a gap opened on the train in front of me and I was feeling so unconfident, so gassed, and so afraid to be the dickhead who impedes the strong legs behind me, that after the turn I made it pretty clear to those behind that I was not a good wheel to follow. Whatever. To regain the element of fun, I had to remove the element of pressure and just let everyone blow past me. Once alone, I could focus on my tempo, cornering, handling, dismounts etc, without worrying about taking someone out. After what seemed like 1/2 hour of riding at my "limit" the lap card said 4 to go. WTF? Each lap felt like an eternity to me.. 3 to go, I'm starting to believe that I can outrun the leaders to the finish- I'm dead last. Then just before the first set of barriers, I trip and fall during my dismount. I know it wasn't pretty because I went down hard when my left foot refused to release and the bike went flying overhead and landed on the first barrier. I was ok- just shaken- and relieved that I didn't make such a spectacle of myself over at the log. I was slow to get over the barriers and back up to "speed", if you can call it that. Then into the woods and just before emerging to the pit area, the leader came through and his chasers were just 5-10 seconds behind. I made sure to keep an eye behind me and give them room and point to the side of me they should pass on. That worked.. But by the time I reached the finish again, the bell was rung, and what should have been 2 to go for me, became 1 to go- I was lapped by 6 people by this time. My final lap about 12 more guys passed me and then it was over. I finished one lap down. While everyone around me was doing a cool down lap, I did my "lap of shame" and called it a day, glad to have dragged wife and child out to Wrentham. Their cheering was a huge boost, their presence made it impossible for me to quit, even though it crossed my mind a few times. Nothing hurt more than the pain in my lower back- like a knife was thrust in there and twisted constantly. What's up with that? My bike for all the screwing around I did the night before, did okay for me. I had bought a new chain for it but could not find my chain tool (hence the fit of rage referred to last night). I resorted to taking the chain off of my road bike and putting it on there instead. (It has a quick link, and the previous chain was rusted into a solid mass of corrosion, after I abandoned the cross bike following last winter's Goddard race) The shifting was extremely sloppy, but I think I only used three gears the whole time anyway.. The cassette was rusted too and I took the rust off using my wire wheel on my bench grinder. Anyway.. I've bored you enough.. I call it a good day.. and to whoever was cheering me every time I jumped over the log- I couldn't recognize the voice and I couldn't look over- thanks a bunch. It helped me stay in there and helped ease the pain too. Thanks for reading perhaps the most insignificant report out there for this event.

Friday, October 24, 2008

After tonight's fit of rage in the garage..

I've decided to limit my bicycle repairs to flat tires, and that I will happily pay others to do everything else.

Got a wheel!

Thank you Providence Bike...
Now... Tomorrow.. Skinsuit or bibs? Shorn legs or hairy? DFL? or can an untrained Murat possibly beat one or more people to the line? What's a better goal: not being lapped or not being DFL? Not that I care.. Ok maybe a little.

Wrentham is $20 richer

I threw my sombrero into the ring and look forward to trading punches with the bottom feeders of the Masters field this Saturday. I just hope I can get a rear wheel put together in time.. plus one of my frog legs is busted and I'm torn between doing a hack repair job on it, or removing them both completely. Looking at my Fuji Cross Pro after I washed the Goddard Park 2007 mud off of it the other day, I realized it's a pretty slick looking bike, even if it's just entry level. The equipment is compatible with my ability, so it works for me. Who rode to work this morning? I thought it would be in the 20s and behold it was 32 degrees when I dragged myself out of bed. No balaclava or thermal jacket needed after all. The only difference from that last cold morning is thicker leg warmers and thicker booties this time. And I took the short cut to work- only 9 miles. It's not smart to be late to work in uncertain times like this.
I'm looking at buying a mountain bike very soon- going to race it in 2009- especially on those weekends when the crits are too far away, or there's nothing but hilly road races to pick from. Mike S and I did an epic four hour mtb ride Sunday at Big River. I used a demo bike from the shop, and liked it a lot. We were lost a few times and even had to resort to the infamous "Ride of Shame" down Route 3 when we lost our way completely. That sucked because I had about 25 pounds of air left in the rear wheel.. At any rate, look out Sport Class in 2009! (or cat 4 or whatever it's now called) Murat is racing on the dirt for first time- may it be great success..

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Post 527: A wet weekend in store at Wrentham?

The new Michelin tires I bought for my cross bike are for muddy conditions. (They're called "Mud3" or something.. Should I break them in on Saturday at Wrentham? I still need a rear wheel though.. Even if I use my pristine Easton wheel from the road bike, the cassette on there is an 11-23. How will that work on the Wrentham course? Should I pre-register? Decisions, decisions.. Should I do the 1-2-3 race or the Masters 1-2-3? Both? What better way to prove how much I suck at cross, than to prove it to you twice in one day??
Note to self: Self-depracation is intended to completely remove any and all expectations of a top result, which could otherwise harmfully cause me to feel pressured and required to perform, thusly removing all of the fun from participation. If I have one secret goal, it's to avoid being lapped. How hard could that be?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That was one cold commute..

..especially with just a short sleeve jersey, sleeveless base layer, speedo and flip flops. But after the first times that I drilled it [in between taking pictures of bird poo and seashells] I felt all toasty. That dermatological metabolisis really kicked in and stuff.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Powertap freehub is loose, and I don't mean slutty

Not happy! I've been without the luxury of the Powertap data for about 3-4 weeks. Having also been without a rideable cross bike since last winter, I needed a wheel that I could throw on the cross bike and get it ready to race. I even bought a pair of Michelin cross tires and tubes and a new chain.. So I get the Powertap wheel off the road bike, intending to put it onto the cross bike for a while, when I discover that the freehub/cassette has 2-3 mm of lateral play in it! How the F did that happen? I don't even own a tool for removing the cassette so I can't really see what's going on in there, but when I move it out as far as it can go, there's quite a bit of daylight between the granny gear and the hub body. It's a miracle that I was ever able to shift gears properly these past few days or weeks. So I'm still without a rear wheel for the cross bike. The original wheel has three broken spokes and a seized up freehub. The Powertap wheel needs to be rebuilt or replaced as well. The only way to get me on a cross bike this winter, it seems, is to somehow change my tubular Rolf Vector Pros, from Campy to Shimano, and I don't even know how. From what I've heard, the RVCs make excellent cross wheels. I've owned mine since 2003 and they turned out to be an excellent pair- still as straight as when I bought them. So maybe I exchange the Michelins I bought for a pair of cross tubulars? Ah! What's the point. All this trouble and expense for two or three cross races and near certain DFLs.. Maybe someone will loan me a decent Shimano rear wheel.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

LikeaBike Jumpers are in stock- HOT PINK!

I'm receiving a shipment of them today or tomorrow. There's a new color in town, too! HOT PINK. And just in time for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This Sunday morning at Roger Williams Park: MakingStridesAgainstBreastCancer
Millwork One has a team of participants. Please donate to the cause if you can spare a few dollars. I know that I will.
If you don't already know, these little bikes are designed for ages two to five, built from aluminum, weigh only 7-1/2 pounds, use Schwalbe tires, have rear suspension, designed for age 2 to 5, and are completely bullet proof. (Leave it in the yard in the rain overnight? no worries)
My wife and I run a small home based business selling these bikes, under the banner of We also co-sponsor my bike race team- Millwork One Racing and we fund a lot of the team benefits such as apparel, entry fees and prize matching. It was always my hope that my largest pool of customers would be bike racers who appreciate a high end starter bike for toddlers. If you're in the market for a LikeaBike- any model, please consider buying from a fellow racer who also supports bike racing with sponsorship dollars.
To do our part in the cancer war, (we lost my father to lung cancer this past May) I would like to offer all of the local racers here in New England a special deal. Since I normally ship these bikes for free all over the US, I will extend a $15 contribution to the cancer charity of your choice, if you buy a LikeaBike Jumper from me between now and December 31st. There is one caveat: The bike will be delivered in person, within Rhode Island state lines, at a location that is mutually convenient, such as a cross race, training ride meet-up, or at Providence Bike. The $15 I usually pay for shipping the bike goes to charity, in your name. A pretty good deal I think, and very green since we avoid using UPS. Please reach out to me if you're interested:
To learn more about these amazing bikes, please use the link, where you will be linked to our storefront on Ebay, showing you our prices and selection. We do sell many bikes outside of Ebay, so do not feel compelled to transact there. Reach out to me by e-mail and if you need to pay using credit, I can send you an invoice through Paypal. Many thanks for reading.

Powertap is kaput

I changed the hub batteries and no luck. The unit is still not receiving a signal from the hub. I've reached out to Saris.. This thing has over one year of use on it so I'm not optimistic about them sending me a brand new set-up free of cost. This sucks. Not that I need to see data while commuting. It sucks because it's a pain in the ass entering my rides manually into Peaks. The reason I'm doing this is because I want to avoid a misrepresentation of my TSS/day when I start training for 2009 next month. A semblance of continuity in the data is important to me, even if all I'm doing is 25 miles of commuting five days a week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Care package par avion

My mother-in-law has been visiting with us since July 15th, and tonight she boarded a SwissAir flight home. In fact she's 6 miles in the air as I type this, somewhere approaching the Arctic Circle and headed towards Zurich. I took the opportunity for free postage and stuffed her bags with schwag for the less fortunate bike racers of Bursa, Turkey. I sent five complete kits with bibs and jerseys from my former Union Velo affiliation, six pretty decent tires and ten tubes which I flatted- each with either one tiny pin hole or a patchable snake bite. And about 12 pairs of lightly used cycling socks. Overall, about $1000 of stuff, if you had to buy it new. The guys I trained with in Turkey this past spring- a lot of them were using equipment and apparel which were quite pitiful. All of this stuff is for their benefit.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Future cyclocrosser

An Afghan boy rides his bicycle past buildings destroyed during the 22-year civil war in Afghanistan, November 14, 2001. REUTERS/File

Thursday, October 09, 2008

By the Power of..

I always thought it was odd that he pointed his sword at Cringer and, instead of being destroyed by it's power, he's transformed into a "Mighty Battle Cat". Why doesn't he point it at himself?
Money quote: "Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword.."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Missing: One bike racer's mojo.. Reward if found.

I skipped riding on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but I got myself back on track for commuting this afternoon with a chilly 12 mile ride home. Tomorrow morning's ride to work will have me cursing the change of seasons, I'm sure. It's become painfully evident that when I'm sick and tired of riding my bike and consciously stay away from it for a few days, that I develop symptoms of depression, self hate and withdrawel.. Leave it to Murat to turn a healthy and fun activity into a destructive dependency. I can't tell anymore if I'm chasing something or running away from it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Toys R Us: No model planes

Before I discovered bicycles, I enjoyed constructing build-it-yourself model cars, boats and airplanes. The brands were Monogram and Revell, if memory serves. The other night I'm suddenly excited about introducing our five year old to this hobby, and I'm convinced that at Toys R Us, I will find a full aisle of such model vehicles, for all skill levels, including the 'snap-together' type which I want to buy for my son Reis. What a disappointment. Nothing. And none of the little paint jars, brushes or cements either. Does this have anything to do with 'glue-sniffing' potentially becoming a childhood pastime?
On the plus side.. I found a couple of very cool vintage Matchbox cars: a 1965 Alfa Romeo Sprint GTA and a 1968 Citroen DS. Son and I had a disagreement when we got home when he claimed ownership and opened them both. I offered him a box of 20 cars at the store and he declined! Anyway, we agreed to "share" the two cars. My idea of sharing was to give him one of the two cars. His idea of sharing was to open both cars, let me look at them for about 10 seconds, and then run off with both.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's about that time: Arm warmers

Arm warmers.. The indispensable torso-less jerseys of the fall and spring.. Who hasn't been glad for tucking them into their pocket before an afternoon ride in October? Who hasn't cursed them after punching themselves in the face while trying to put them on? Livestrong bands get in the way, depilating our arm hairs. Wrist watches snag them and are usually concealed in haste. As easy to lose as a pair of socks, but less prone to disposal when they're tattered and worn out. Do you feel cool when you peel them off during your ride? Do you live for the astonishment of motorists as they witness your arms magically shedding their skin? "How cool is that?" they must be thinking to themselves.. or not. It's hard for a driver to see a biker when they're toking a Newport Light with the windows rolled up and a screaming toddler being poisoned to death in the back seat.
Three notable things about this morning's commute:
1. A white-tailed deer bounded alongside of me on the bike path in Cranston, for about 1/4 mile. Big. Scary.
2. A car (per usual on Park Ave in Cranston) pulls in front of me from a driveway, hoping to be given an opening by other accommodating motorists. It didn't work out that way, and your hero was forced to squeeze the brakes, hard.
3. I rode the butt-ugly REDLINE 9-2-5 to combat the soaking wet roads. (Yes I own one of these) My mission, to get to work with dry feet and dry ass. Done and done. It's not a fixed gear at the moment though. I used it over the summer to occasionally tow our pride and joy in his trailer a la gewilli, which is unsafe to do in the fixie mode, I think.
Enjoy your day. Thanks for reading.