America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Winds of change..

No cryptic meaning there, other than the fact that the prevailing Southerly winds I usually battle heading down Route 1 yesterday, were reversed for the most part. They shifted around a bit, going from a general cross-tailwind to a cross-headwind occasionally. So my 25.5 mile ride to Narragansett Town Beach was fast and furious for a change, in an elapsed time of 1 hr 7 min. I used it as a TT/FT workout. My brother left the house in W. Warwick about 30 minutes ahead of me and I used that as a carrot to go faster. I didn't catch him, but I did imagine him being just around the next bend and got to the beach parking lot only a few minutes after him. Average speed was a cool 22.7 mph, in spite of about 8-10 stops at red lights where I had to squeeze hard to go from 33 mph to zero. Go ahead and roll your eyes: my average power was 248 and normalized power was 273, which isn't bad, all things considered. (Yesterday's avg power was 143 watts btw, Solobreak) so definitely an active recovery zone 1 ride.) Anyway, that's 3.22 watts/kg- not impressive, but relative to me personally, it's pretty good. (No HRM this time, but it would have been interesting, eh?) Last time I did more watts in the span of an hour was at the Blue Hills Classic in May, believe it or not. But at that event, I was in an early break for a lap, and then the hills really juice the output, especially when you're forced to hold onto the wheel in front of you for dear life. Going solo on a relatively flat road is completely different than a road race on rolling hills. Anywho.. enough about that. The fun part was meeting the family down at the beach and eating fresh hot clam cakes that they got for us down near Point Judith. Then brother and I went for a very invigorating swim in the big waves just as the sun was disappearing. We froze our balls off when we got out of the water though. Man alive.. The same wind which carried us there really gave us the 'pencil tips'. Oh- and who do I bump into just as we're going onto the beach- Kip "need to ride more" Bradford. Good man.
In other news: We're looking for renters to occupy our third floor apartment. Please share this link with anyone you know who is looking for a squeaky clean place to live, almost everything included, and partially furnished too!: It's been vacant since March and I've been too busy/lazy to find new occupants.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Two hours - 106 bpm avg

To think that the tot whose diapers I changed 25 years ago would grow to be a 240 pound 6 foot 4 hercules, trying to draft me for two hours on the back roads of Coventry.. If you told me back then I would have laughed. We did a leisurely 2 hours on rolling terrain. The ride was zone 1 for me and more like zone 4 for him.. but I don't think he minds. We pushed our luck a touch and got home just when it was getting kind of dark. Tonight we'll probably ride down to Narragansett Town Beach to meet my wife and son after work.. That's always a fun ride from Cranston- 25 miles into a stiff headwind down Route 1 and later Route 1A. I need to do some intervals though.. My TSS is way down from June/July levels, when it was over 100 for both CTL and ATL. Now I'm in the 70s and not training all that hard, but I plan to ramp it up next week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Change of seasons.. change of bikes

Oh man here it comes.. I actually wore my wind jacket yesterday on the morning commute. I drove in this morning (will be riding home) but man it was definitely cool enough for a long sleeve jersey. I'm very sensitive to temperature, and if I'm cold I'm unhappy. What's with the weather though, seriously.. It feels like October and it's still August. Hopefully we get some nice warm beach days this weekend. Not looking forward to heating my house this winter-and it seems like winter's going to make an early appearance.. Grrrrr. In other news, I gave our son Reis his b-day gift early- a FELT Sector Mini bike (available at Providence Bicycle), designed for 4-6 year olds. He didn't take to it right away, and kept asking "where are the training wheels?". We did a few tours in a local park and he doesn't even realize that I wasn't holding him half the time. He has the balance thing down pat with two years riding the Likeabike Jumper. Now he just needs to get used to the higher center of gravity, and to creating momentum by pedaling. He looooves having the hand break though! We got some of it on video. Maybe I'll post it.
From this: this:
That saddle is a brick- we're going to retro fit the nicely padded Jumper seat onto it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Okay maybe my last post was insufficient. Who drives five hours to a crit, drills it with some of the best in the country, then suddenly sits up after 20 minutes, and then drives home five hours? It's been a depressing day, and I've been craving a beer since the afternoon, and failed to get my hands on one. No doubt I've been beating myself up, but that's typical- no one is harder on Murat, than Murat. I have yet to look at the Powertap chart, but I know that there came a point in this race where I was into the red zone pretty deep while trying very hard to be in the top 1/2 of the field. My breathing was labored, lungs felt tight, and legs felt like they were sprinting non-stop.. Even so, this wasn't even as hard as I worked at the Fall River Crit, where the hill is at least twice as long as at Chris Thater. So even though I had traveled so far, something kept me from burying myself to stay in the race. Somehow I forgot, or didn't care about how far I'd traveled and somehow I got it into my head that I was outgunned by every rider in the field and that it was hopeless to continue and that it wasn't any fun anymore and that I hated racing and wanted to stop and go home as soon as possible. Sound familiar? I hope not, because if you have ever gone through such a melt-down, then it means you're a crazy fool just like me. It happens to me sometimes, maybe even to the best of them.. I could point at a lot of things and say "that's why".. but this time I was wondering if maybe what happened during Chris Thater could be something like an anxiety attack. A very sudden mood shift that takes me someplace where I suddenly feel powerless and just surrender to the stresses I'm under. In other words, I quit. To be fair to myself, I did drive five hours and wear myself out stressing about how much driving I was doing and about getting there in time. Then I arrived with 35 minutes to start, I registered and got back to my car with only 20 minutes to get ready to race. All of it sucked. I mis-judged the distance and the time it would take to get there. Things might have been different if I drove in the night before, slept in until 10:00, and took my sweet time getting ready and warming up.. Woulda been nice.. It's time to move on, I know. There are quite a few more road events coming up, from Topsfield to Jamestown.. and I'll be back in the hunt pretty soon.. with an ax to grind.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chris Thater 30+

When you see Amos Brumble squeeze his hand and congratulate him for solo bridging up to Mark Warno, then being joined by Ray Benitez, then being attacked by both in the final laps, then the three of them almost lapping the field and then easily beating them both in the final sprint by more than a bike length. Not even close.. That's two wins for A.B. in this race. Mark and Ray are ranked 4th and 6th crit masters in the country.. I was very happy to see him take it. I believe Ernest Tautkus won the field sprint for 8th. Nice work! I arrived exactly 35 minutes before the start.. Which pretty much killed whatever good mojo I had in me. The race stopped being fun around lap 11 and my willingness to suffer disappeared very suddenly and that was that. No regrets.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ninigret: Tied for 7th

It was almost 1 mph faster than last week, and it's no surprise because in spite of the added HP of Fuji and Gearworks, nothing got away. We averaged 26.8 mph last night and only 26 mph the week before. I wasn't super aggressive, but I did put myself out there a few times and on one occasion, I was almost swallowed up and spit out the back, I was hurting so much. I took a few laps to regain composure and with four to go I started picking my way towards the front. In the end, I jumped a split second late, got myself pushed right without losing much momentum, but still made it across the line with only six guys head of me. Of course Gary A. of the Horst Benidorm team might have a different opinion- I was far right and he was far left in the sprint and he might have narrowly beat me with a bike throw.. but heck I sat up with 10m to go, so what's the difference, we both missed being in the money! I respect Gary a lot- always agressive, always involved in the action up front, fighting and suffering like a dog. Gary's a good man and usually finishes either a place in front or a place behind me. Benidorm had two guys in the race last night, which is a first I think. There is NO Ninigret Crit for the next two weeks. When they resume on September 10th the start times will be moved up 1/2 hour, so 5:30 for the Bs and 6:00 for the As. Check the site for details under the "Rides and Events" heading. I'm off to work by car, then an easy ride home tonight. Chris Thater's 35+ Crit is my plan for Saturday. 'Ta!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vest weather

It's going to be a cool one down at Ninigret tonight! I'm thinking long sleeve jersey even. The vest this morning was barely enough to keep the shivers away, especially in the shade of the Cranston Bike Path, which was deserted except for a lot of walkers trying to burn off the calories of the mega sized iced coffees in their fists. No bikers. There was a guy last night walking his [dead] electric scooter down the bike path. I averted my eyes because it was so lame to watch a person push a vehicle which was purchased in order to avoid doing actual physical work- as though soft pedaling yourself around on a bike is so g-d damned hard.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Worth Repeating: Millwork One Racing has 3 podiums this weekend

Three Podiums This Weekend!
Frontier-Criterium in Loudon, NH
Adam Sternfield is 1st place in the 45+ and 3rd in the 35+ which follows.

Adam Sternfield is 5th in 45+ race.
Matt Kressy (above) is 2nd in the 35+ race
Adam Sternfield is 27th in the 35+ race


My metabolism seems to have been turbo-charged ever since I recovered from the stomach bug. Before I got sick I was about 175. Five pounds gone in ten days.. and now that there's momentum I'll be extra careful with my portion sizes. Maybe 165 in time for Topsfield or Bob Beal? It's about time, almost too late.. So it's no surprise that I felt pretty good on that power hill at the Fall River Crit on Sunday. I positioned myself 3rd to 10th wheel every time up the climb and had little trouble spinning to the top in the 53x19. Two previous editions of this crit had me over my limit and gasping for air. 2006 it was 110 degrees out, and in 2007 I had a bad chest cold.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

USA Cycling Rank Points Cheat Sheet

If you've ever wondered how the magical rank points are calculated for each of your results, here's the answer to your curiosity. Being one who follows this stuff closely and enjoys the added dimension of competition it gives us, I went to the trouble of preparing an Excel formula which will automatically spit out your rank points for any given event. You need to only enter four pieces of information:
1. Your result
2. Number of finishers
3. Race Value Level (found at the top of all USA Cycling results- look at previous year's results if unsure)
4. Event Rank Points (found right above the results of your category- for this example- the range is 176-500, and the two values are entered into two separate cells- D2 and E2)
You also need to enter the formula given in cell F2, which is:
The example above shows you my rank points for today's result at the Fall River Criterium.
Remember that the rank given on your personal USA Cycling page is comprised of your top three results in the past 12 months. If you keep track of where you stand in your state and you wonder how so-and-so jumped ahead of you in the standings, you can use this worksheet to figure out which three events got them there. After creating the above spreadsheet, just copy Row 2 two more times and make cell F5 into an average of F2, F3 and F4.
Questions? I'm happy to help.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Lap 1.. prime lap.. ArcenCiel rider goes.. good gap.. I attack.. chase.. catch him with two more ArcenCiels on my wheel.. they let me have the prime.. (thanks) A six pack of Narragansett tall boys. The four of us have a gap to play around with. We rotate hard for about three laps, but the heads of state back in the field would have none of it.. that, and I'm not in the team time trial mood. I've just gotten over a stomach virus, four days off the bike.. We're caught. No big deal. Few laps later I'm at back of the field just chillin' when the Arcs go on the attack again, open a gap with a few others.. Not a big gap.. something that can be jumped across within 1/2 lap.. but I'm at the back like a fool. So who decides to jump across? Two fast mofos who win at Ninigret regularly. That was it. Once that horsepower joined the other 4 up the road, it was over. So later on I had a good lap here and there- some occasionally impressive speed at the front when I floored it- people told me so.. like six or seven people. (thanks) I made an error about the final lap, realized it, and then resolved to empty the tank leading out the field for as long as I could. Didn't sprint. Felt okay overall so I'm pleased with my recovery from the bug. And my fears have been proven foolish- four days off the bike does not make you a slow poke and set you back one month in form. It hurts your acceleration but helps your top end cruising speed. I need to take a class on how to rest I think. Getting sick is not a good way to do it.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


My hopes and my preparation for the Twilight Crit are shattered. I have not felt this ill, perhaps ever. Trips to the bathroom took all of my strength. This tiny bug really fucked me up. It was going to be an easy podium- I felt so sure of it. And with 25 rank points, even a mediocre result was going to move me way up in the masters rankings. Best laid plans can be destroyed by a god damned virus. Not happy. Not feeling good. Didn't even have tje strength to go watch the pro race with my brother. What else?
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Some improvement..

But I need to eat and food makes nauseous. Wife is out getting me Vitamin Water. There's still a slim chance I can race in 5-1/2 hours.
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A stomach bug has me weak dehydrated runny and with pain in every muscle.
T minus six hours to the crit and I'm losing hope.
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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Slacking with a purpose

Did not ride home from work yesterday- apparel was soaked, shoes were soaked.. but I do regret not getting a nice hard ride in like I wanted to. Took the chance last night and let the smelly wet shoes soak in warm water with laundry soap and fabric softener. The foulness is gone, let's hope they don't fall apart during my crit on Saturday. Looks like I will be forced to take today off the bike. After work we're hitting the road for Rochester NY, expecting to arrive about 2:00 AM. Since tomorrow's a vacation day, I'm absolutely buried and overwhelmed today. Tomorrow, the day before the Twilight crit, I'll do a solid three hour ride, recovery/endurance pace, with a few accelerations and a few one minute FT intervals thrown in early on. I'm never good after a rest day where I do a one hour recovery ride or no ride at all. There needs to be some moderate TSS the day before a race. To wit, I was "fully rested" the day of the Cox Crit and I posted two dnfs in a row (I did about 15-20 hard laps total) Okay.. we can blame the combination of my BMI and the little hill up Waterman Street.. but the following day at Keith Berger I attacked from the line, never to see the main field again, opened a huge gap early, took a prime, ended up in the winning break, snagged 6th. Yeah I was motivated as hell from the failures at Cox.. Saturday I'll be super motivated to be racing in my hometown, at an event organized by my club (Genesee Valley Cycling Club), at a flat technical venue in downtown Rochester. I have all the ingredients needed for a podium or a win.. I just need to keep my head on straight and keep my attitude positive.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I regretted not wearing my rain jacket this morning- it was sprinkling lightly when I left, and a slight chill in the air too. Then about 1/2 way to work, I regretted not taking the shortcut- usually reserved for those days where I'm running late. Took a good soaking. Looking back at my rear tire, I notice that a stream of water is shooting directly at my ass. Shoulda rode the Redline 9-2-5 which has fenders.. but I HATE those moustache bars.

Monday, August 04, 2008

And now for a much needed break from 'serious' bike racing

A competitor falls from an obstacle bridge during the 56th annual 'Teichfahren' (pond-cycling) event in the former eastern German village of Bischdorf, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) east of Berlin, August 3, 2008. Around 40 people took part in the traditional Bischdorf fun race on Sunday, which was hosted by the local youth association. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Ha! I could not have posted a more "middle of the pack" result if I tried.. 30 finish before me and 30 after. The suck knob was set to "Medium" today.
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Concord Crit

Nice course! Fast. Loved it. I didn't sprint. It was a bit dicey and I played it safe. Had fun but wish I had more balls and more punch on the last lap. I'm not at my best but not that far off either. We're staying up here tonight. I'll decide in the AM whether to do Bow or Wells.
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Friday, August 01, 2008


So having missed a chance to race Wed at Ninigret due to the carnies, I resolved to do a tough 2 hour ride yesterday. The first 20 minutes were pretty strong, but then I just fell apart completely. Just stopped pedaling, started coasting, almost stopped. Wanted to turn around and go straight home.. Seriously considered it. but instead I dropped it into my granny gear (39x21) and resolved to ride for two hours, no matter what, who cares how fast or how many watts or whatever. Quitting the ride would be just plain wrong. It was a very sudden meltdown. Legs just wouldn't turn.. even though they feel fresh albeit weird from having two easy days in a row.. It was partly from long term fatigue, partly from a low energy level, and mostly, it was in my head. I'm losing interest in the bike, tired of it. Need a long break- like two weeks of not even looking at it or something. Remember- mid November is a long time ago. Mid November is when I started my 2008 season and I have not relented since that time. I thought I might just be sick and tired of training but I also don't seem to get too excited about racing either. This is all normal, no doubt.. but it manifests itself as a form of guilt somehow. That brings me down. It makes sense to feel a little burnt out at this point in the season, but it also feels like a big let-down, a failure of sorts.. and that just sucks balls because there's enough "un-success" in this sport without beating ourselves up about having had enough of it. I've promised people that I want to race in Concord tomorrow, I've even said that I want to do really well. (Is it an unspoken thing that everyone wants to win the bike race?.. because you never hear anyone actually ever say it out loud, it's all concealed, assumed.. Could it be that for most of us, we subconciously don't WANT to win?.. because we do not expect to win?.. and maybe we're afraid that screwing up our expectations with a victory, will hurt? That's some effed up logic, but the more I try to unravel it, the better I feel)
Desire and Belief.. That's the key. It's too bad they don't make a pill to boost them.. because it's obvious that the people who win bike races are the one who want it the most. They want it so much that they condition themselves to believe that they can. Long story short- You can't successfully train or race on a bike when you don't feel like doing it. Maybe I just had one off day.. We'll see tomorrow, won't we?