America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Try this without a power meter..

..better yet, don't waste your time. If you don't have a power meter, your functional threshold is probably a mystery to you anyway, so doing FT intervals as I've done here will be impossible.. (let me add that it is possible to own a power meter, not know what to do with it, never establish your FT value and hence never do workouts designed to boost it (FT) and then end up giving your power meter away or selling it because you judge it to be a useless toy..) Furthermore, if you are using a heart rate monitor for such a work out, then you're going to be way off the mark.. The three intervals pictured are all pegged at 241 watts average (5 min, 10 min and 10 min), but lo and behold- the heart rates for the three intervals average at 152, 164 and 170 respectively. If I "believed" my FT was 160 beats per minute.. interval No 1 would have been higher than my FT watts. Interval No 2 would have been lower and interval No 3 would have been lower still. So.. using a HRM I would have ended up blowing my wad on the first interval because it would have been anaerobic, and then I would have done a couple of zone 3 tempo intervals when I'm trying to be on the edge of zones 4/5... Useless. The chart speaks for itself though. Look at the slow reaction of the heart rate. It takes a full 30 seconds for the HR to reach a level which is compatible with the output.
I realize that not everyone can afford to pay a coach.. but make no mistake: I sacrificed something else in order to free up the money for coaching. If there's a will, there's a way.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Presidential Tour of Turkey 13-20 April 2008

On deck is the 44th version of The Presidential Tour of Turkey. A prestigious stage race which attracts a large number of Middle Eastern and Eastern European talent.. Word on the street is that it's going to be televised on TRT in 2008. Yours truly is working hard in the coming weeks to establish communications with the Turkish Federation and with the race organizers so that I can compete. I either need to put my own team together or be invited as a guest on another team. If I had to make an informed guess, this race is at least as difficult to win as the Pro-Am at Fitchburg or Green Mountain, which even being optimistic, relegates me to pack fodder. But it's one of those things where simply participating is a once in a lifetime opportunity, not to be passed up in my eyes.. and I'm not getting any younger! Who wants to go? Check the official website for some stage info. Seems this page is still developing- they just slapped something together for now.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Comparing two of my three hour rides

On the left is last Saturday's ride on very flat roads in Western New York. On that day it was 24 degrees and very windy.
On the right is today's ride on the back roads of Coventry, Scituate and Cranston. 30 degrees out and man I couldn't wait to get this one over with.. Lots of rolling hills, unlike last week's flat ride.. Thought about taking the B-line straight home a few times, many times. Just couldn't adapt to the cold for some reason, and didn't start to feel really comfortable until the 3rd hour. I also had to double back after the first 6 minutes because I could tell that the Powertap reading was off.. I haven't memorized how to zero the torque so I went home and found the instruction and took care of it. (It was reading 7 watts high) In the end, we see that I worked a lot harder today, which is good because I still seem to have some issues with the strain in my left knee area. Last Saturday i had to be a lot more careful and hold back a lot more.. I thought the pain was gone during the indoor rides I've done all week, obviously because it feels great when it's kept warm.. But apparently I forgotten one very important fact: This is the first time in a very long time, perhaps ever, that I've done so many rides in such cold weather. I need to apply the neoprene Ace bandages to both knees when I ride outside to make it through the next couple of months. I'm typically a hermit until the first robin is spotted, but since I'm planning to really make my mark in 2008, I'm doing everything "by the book" for a change. My knees and I really hate the cold.. It took all of my willpower to get out of my warm bed, suit up, open the door this morning and throw my leg over the bike. I dreaded it.. but it's going to make those upcoming 40+ and 50+ degree days feel like a heat wave. In the end, it's always a euphoric feeling to have forced yourself to do what you know what must be done. Happiness and self respect is guaranteed when the strength of mind and character prevails. Thanks for reading..

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tendonitis has abated

I did an indoor program last night which included 15 one minute efforts at threshold and I'm happy to report that the weakness of the left knee has dissipated 98%. It's healed nicely. Wrapping it with an Ace neoprene wrap kept it nice and warm.. I took lots of Glucosamine chondroitin just for good measure, and resisted testing it with hard efforts for the past week. No crutches for me..

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I gave myself a healthy dose of it today when I went out riding in the 12 degree temps and gusting winds of Monroe County. Only for an hour though.. Not sure.. The Powertap stopped recording in the 50th minute.. And went completely blank about 5 minutes later. I think I'll have a new appreciation for New England's mild 30 degree temps when we return. Left knee is better, but right IT Band hurts in sympathy.. From nursing the left..
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Murat's in Ra-cha-cha!

We're visiting my mother and my brother in Rochester, NY this weekend. Threw the road bike up on the new bike rack and made the trip last night, arriving at 1:30 am. Today the temperature reached a pathetic 24 degrees F and with the gusting winds, I swear I was going 11 miles an hour on certain stretches of flat road in Webster NY. Ended up doing two big laps and finished at just over three hours at about 155 watts. It had to be 0-10 degrees with the wind chill.. Tomorrow's high temp will be in the teens. Good thing I brought the wind trainer. I might venture out for an hour and then follow up with another hour of spinning indoors.

Last weekend I sure did some damage it seems. The knee feels better- today's ride it felt like someone was just pinching the left side of my knee. My guess is that it's a tendon that's part of Vastus Lateralis. Whatever I did last Saturday caused a low grade strain of the tendon I think.. Puzzling- I didn't do any sprinting.. only some hard stomping at the tops of some small climbs.. nothing out of the ordinary for me.. It had more to do with the duration (four hours) than the intensity I think.

Lucky for me, my mother happens to have a gigantic bottle of Glucosamine Chondroitin in the house- 480 tablets! So I'll be horking down three of those a day for the next few weeks... I may also go to the drugstore and pick up a compression wrap.. Not sure what purpose they serve, but it seems like the right thing to do- hold everything tightly together and aid in cell migration during the healing. I don't know for sure. Maybe some more googling will help. I'm still ina bit of denial..

Rochester is C-COLD!! It's also the place where I first began to race a bike and a place where I know all the roads better than I know the roads of New England.. Rochester always feels like home to us..

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blood work results

Hematocrit level was 43 in last week's blood testing. Seems kind of low (?)
Combined cholestrol 252 (Yikes!)
Triglyceride 42 (Low?? What IS this?)
HDL Cholestrol 63 (Good Cholestrol is good)
LDL Cholestrol 181 (Bad cholestrol is high)
No more Johnny Rockets for me!

Scion Xb versus Chevy HHR

Which one is better? Both start around $16,000.. but only the Scion has ABS, side curtain airbags and traction control, standard.. The HHR has a nice and durable plastic clad trunk area and fold flat rear seats (Xb has chintzy fabric covering and flimsy trunk cover flap)
Both vehicles are good on gas- 28 and 30 mpg respectively. The Xb has more standard horsepower and is more fun to drive than the HHR. The HHR is styled like an old 1940's milk truck whereas the Xb is styled very high tech modern.. Maybe these vehicles both suck.. but please consider that we are looking for an affordable and roomy "novelty" vehicle with lots of curb appeal, one we can decorate with graphics and make it into a "". It will also receive some graphics of the new M1 Racing Team. Thoughts? Opinions? Alternatives?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Big weekend of base

In the span of two days, I rode for 7 hours and 35 minutes, all outdoors. Wasn't easy, even with the mild weather, and my left knee was protesting a little bit today. Overuse. May it pass quickly.. Above is Saturday. Below is Sunday. I am quite tired from this. The good news is that I didn't feel any cramping during either of these long rides. Body has adapted nicely to these 3+ hour weekend rides I've been doing for the past month. Today's ride was noticably lower output because my left knee had some nuisance pain and I nursed it for the whole three hours and held back.

It's going to be a long week of cold weather and indoor training!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bad Hair on a Bike: The Smiths

Via fellow Turkish blogger Finduk.. I don't believe I've seen this video since the time it first came out! Compared to all the junk on MTV these days, this is pretty cool to listen to, it's nostalgic and it's full of depressed teenagers on bikes. What more do you want?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Field Test Day

If you want to call it that.. that is.. if you consider the garage to be a "field".. I have done two previous attempts at this stationary field test in the past six weeks, both aborted.. The first time, was on the rollers. Big mistake. Not enough resistance to do the one minute blow-outs.. though I managed 318 watts for the 5 minute interval. Couple of weeks later, I tried again, this time on the wind trainer.. Had to abort again after the 5 minute interval (309 watts this time) because I just felt sick and weak- didn't eat enough and had a tough day in the field on my feet for 8 hours.. Tonight was different. I set up in the garage with the door open, nice cool breeze.. Did the 5 minute interval real conservatively.. and here's how it all compares:

My first field test of 2007, my second field test of 2007, my CP5 and CP20 of 2007, and tonight:

5 min: 304 watts on 5/12/07, 315 watts on 6/13/07, 334 watts on 6/23/07, 301 watts on 1/9/08

20 min: 234 watts on 5/12/07, 256 watts on 6/13/07, 265 watts on 9/4/07, 239 watts on 1/9/08

Let me just say that doing anything super high intensity for five minutes straight, on a wind trainer, with the knowledge that you're going to do a 20 minute time trial afterwards, is very tough mentally to get through.. [for me] Maybe the reason my previous two indoor attempts were aborted is because I blew too much on the 5 minute portion.. Tonight, I reigned myself in on the 5 minutes.. pegged it at 295 or so for the first four minutes, and then really pounded in the last minute, but only got it up to 301.. By keeping something in reserve, I managed a better result on the 20 minute TT portion of the test- I FINISHED IT, for one!.. What I'm happy to see is that I averaged higher tonight than I did on May 12th of last season (even though my Normalized Power on that test was higher: 262 versus 241) There's nowhere to hide on a wind trainer! No descents where you can coast for a few seconds.. This is what makes time trialing on a stationary bike so hard.. especially for a weenie like me who sucks at time trialing in the first place! At any rate, my 239 tonight is still a better result than my "easier" field test of May 12 of last year.. However.. these numbers are NOT good! Especially considering my current weight of 79 kg! (Yes, you're not the only one who has added 5-10 pounds this winter.. Quit looking at my gut!!! I'm working on it!!! SNL skit..Hehe.) My overall wattage picture is pretty bleak, especially when my watts/kg are plugged into a Coggan Power Profile.. It tells me I'm at a cat 4 level for all durations [except for 5 min.. where I'm rated a cat 3 for some reason..] Sometimes I think that it's a small miracle that I race against and finish all of these New England Masters crits which are stacked with Masters talent.. I must be very lucky.. Either that or very crafty about when to save energy and when to open the throttle.. and whose wheel to follow.. and whose to avoid..
Now it's time to use the data from tonight's test and apply it to the next three weeks of intensity. We can now estimate that my Functional Threshold is "X", and I'll be directed to do all kinds of different percentages of FT for all kinds of different durations.. No need to try and figure it out. Paying someone who understands my fitness better than I myself understand it, to help me force my body to adapt and get stronger/faster.. is just fine with me.. One less thing. Wish I had done it ten years ago. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Commuting again?

Who wouldn't? It's so nice and mild out. Last night I rode home with no tights or leg warmers.. something I tend to do at the 50 degree threshold. Took the long way home too, in the pitch black of the Cranston bike path. My front blinky has a steady beam, but it's not for seeing, it's for being seen.. (Can someone pleae recommend a good light- somethng they already use and swear by??) I rode in this morning a little more bundled up, but I fully expect to ride home tonight in a balmy 50+ degrees. The fixed gear is still out with a flat and when I work up the resolve to touch the filthy rear wheel in order to remove it and fix the flat, I'm riding my road bike.. It will have to wait until the weekend.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saturday plans... revised

So yes! I went out again, this time on the road bike.. Did 55 miles in 3 hours and 6 minutes.. Avg of 188 watts. Feels good to be home after that solo death march.. was getting dark toward the end. My route took me up north on the Cranston bike path to Park Ave to Elmwood to Post Road, which I then followed south all the way to route 102. Turned right on 102 and followed it all the way to 117 (that's a challenging stretch.. ouch) where I turned right again and took it to Fairview Ave.. Left and I'm almost home. I knew I needed to do a big loop or else run the risk of being a weenie and ending the ride early. Man I HATE the cold. It takes every atom of willpower I can muster to get out there on these cold days.. Though I must admit, today turned out to be pretty mild compared to my early morning attempt to ride, whn it was 24 degrees out.

Saturday plans... dashed

Grrrrrr. Last night just before retiring, there's a funny itch in the back of my throat.. I shrug it off as I read my son few children's books before bed time. Fast forward a few hours, I am sleeping alone in my son's bed to avoid cross-contamination.. My Blackberry is set to go off at 6:00 am for an early morning four hour ride.. Fast forward to 8:20 am. I am out the door on my fixed gear, bundled up with new base layer and Saran wrap covering my shoes under my booties. FF to 8:45am as I scream down route 12 in Cranston, crossing over the highway at a ridiculous cadence. Thinking to myself how indestructible these 500 gram tires must be.. when suddenly.. hissssSSSsssSSS.. My ride is over. I stop to inspect the damage. It's a NAIL. The new fixie has fenders and some fancy contraption to tension the chain.. I'm not gonna mess with it.. It's 24 degrees out. I call home, defeated. Dear wife arrives 30 minutes later and takes me home. I strip off the sweaty clothing and climb into bed, where it takes me about an hour to stop shivering. Go back out there? I can't dream of it at the moment, although the temp seems to be up quite a bit. Just had a hearty [second] breakfast.. and maybe in a couple of hours I'll go out on the road bike for a few hours.
The whole idea was to get this ride over with by noon so that the rest of the day can be devoted to family! Can't say I didn't try..

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fwd: hit and run....

This is not the best way to start the New Year. I was intentionally hit by a car on my bicycle last night at 7:20 pm. I was on my way to meet Lynn at the bike shop, we had plans to ride home together, stopping at the red fez for dinner along the way. I was stopped at the light on the corner of charles and silver spring st. in Providence . When the light changed I clipped into my pedals, a blue toyota camry plate number kl245 laid on the horn, I looked back, he raised his hands in disgust, I pedaled one more stroke, then I was hit from behind. I my right elbow, hip and head contacted the ground. I looked up as the car screeched to a halt. I  jumped up as the driver backed up, yelled profanity at me, then made a right onto silver spring accelerating hard. A universal ambulance witnessed the act, yet did not stop. Only one person stopped, A very large man in a ML350, he yelled "yo dude, that shit is F**ked up!".
I did not have my cell phone on me, so I twisted my bars and seat back into position, then continued on my way to prov. bike. I called the police from the shop, they responed in a fair amount of time, took my report. It turns out the plates were stolen, big surprise. Lynn call universal on my behalf, the driver said he only saw me laying in the street, but did not see the accident, I call bulls**t! Then he said he turned around to see if I was ok, well that's crap also.
So I'm ok, my beloved angus is ok, rear wheel is tweeked, my slr saddle is torn. So if you ride in providence beware of a 90's toyota camry, ri reg kl254 with a large mike sized dent in the hood, driven by a smaller hispanic man wearing a black doo rag. If you see the vehicle please call providence police asap.
Please pass this on to anyone who rides in the providence area.
-Mike Sam

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Caption Contest?

Waiter Saturnino Gonzalez cycles on the spot holding a tray loaded with glasses to galvanize competitors during the Tour of Spain. 2 September 2006. REUTERS/Dani Cardona