America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Monday, January 26, 2009

M1 Racing is growing

Our budget for fuel is the same in 2009 as it was in 2008. This means that with gas prices under $2 (instead of over $3) we can afford to support some more racers. Reach out to me if you are interested using There are some requirements for those of you who want to be considered for the "A" team. If you are as fanatical about training and racing as I am, it's obviously a big plus.
M1 Racing are also in the process of developing a package of benefits for prospective members of our new "B" team. This program is going to be an attractive way for new racers to be in an environment which nurtures, develops and teaches the things which can't be found in any book about bike racing. It's also a smart way to shoe-horn yourself into a pretty darn good New England team, one that is attached to one of the finest racing clubs in the country, the Genesee Valley Cycling Club.
You can learn more about Millwork One Racing as well as the new "B" Team by writing me an e-mail or by attending the Providence Bicycle Introduction to Bicycle Racing Night on February 19th. I will be there along with Mark McCormack and Matt Bodzione of NBX Bikes to help people find their way into New England's strong local racing scene. This event requires you to RSVP to either or to me at
See you there!

Bananas in the tailpipes

You know the scene- Beverly Hills Cop- Eddy Murphy stuffs Taggart's tailpipes full of bananas. That's what it feels like to have a nasty sinus infection, I think. I'm miserable- all yesterday, all night, and so far today. To add insult to injury, our heating oil company "forgot" to fill us up and we ran out of oil Saturday night. House was 50 degrees- thank goodness for the propane fireplace in our mester bedroom. They came and filled us up on Sunday, but now our hot water heater is not working, probably from sucking down blockage from the bottom of the oil tank.. Oil company is back here today, working on it.. I hope they realize that this is a problem which they themselves created. At any rate, I'm home sick today- caught myself a bad head cold this weekend- though I suspect that it's been incubating for at least a week. Saturday your hero did the unthinkable and went out again for 5 hours- 4:45 of it actually riding. Saturday morning at the 8:00 am ArcenCiel ride, our large group had the pleasure of including FUJI team members Mark M. and Tobi S. I rode down from my house with a nice tailwind, then I rode with the group for 2 hours, then I broke off right after we passed Ninigret Park and headed solo up Route 2 all the way home in 1:45, just like last weekend. This time it was a little tougher, with winds gusting to 30 mph, it was slow going on some of the flat stretches. So 4:45 of ride time overall, 87 miles. It was not terribly cold out, but I can tell you that the temp was highest when I left the house- a balmy 39 degrees. It dropped throughout the morning. I had some cramping issues! It was an occasional ping here and there, mostly in the hamstrings, mostly in the 5th hour. My left hamstring is still a little tight and has some soreness.

Last night, I felt lousy but I forced myself to stick to the Nautilus program.. went to the YMCA to do my double set of weightlifting. Did a 15:00 run on the treadmill first (1.5 miles) and hopefully this was not a mistake. My hamstring feels worse than it did after the ride Saturday. Tonight's spin class was full as of last night, so I'm on the waiting list.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rest: Thursday or Friday?

I'm not sure if this will carry into the racing season, but so far it's felt pretty good to let the spring unwind a little on Thursday instead of Friday. Last night I did YOGA at the YMCA, which was not too challenging. It was more like 75 minutes of non-stop stretching, going from one pose to the next. I'm pretty good at the more difficult balance poses. Definitely a good way to test for weakness in the feet and ankles. Tonight I'm going to play it by ear on the indoor trainer, but definitely plan to include 2-4 varied durations of FT. I'm getting ready for a fitness test which should take place in about 10-14 days. My expectation is an FT in the 250-255w range.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SPIN data

I surprised myself tonight- the computers on the SPIN bikes do not display average watts, you only see current watts. The average is displayed only at the end when you stop pedaling. After last week going from 200w to 184 w average between Mon and Wed, I expected something similar tonight, but instead the numbers went up: 231 watts, 87 rpm, 156 bpm, 62:14 duration. I was feeling pretty good tonight, and with dear wife at my side this time, I must have been trying to impress her or something. She did a great job, though she would enjoy it more if she used the new Shimano spinning shoes I bought her a few weeks ago! So my numbers are looking strong and I'm encouraged. Some will opine that I'm going to burn out in May.. I say to them: What's wrong with having excellent form in early spring- nothing wrong with being the fastest mofo in March and April- and Success breeds Success. Having a crappy and out-of-form spring where you're struggling to race your way into shape, is not the recipe for a good season, it's the training plan of a procrastinator. I've done it myself enough times to know that it leads only to mediocrity. I'm tired of being 'best of the worst' or 'worst of the best'.. No thanks, not this season thank you very much..
The plan is to rest tomorrow- maybe a recovery spin if time permits.

DO try this at home

Change of plans Tuesday- A conflict of schedules required me to skip Pilates last night, so instead, I did Individual Leg Training, later on. (This is the poor man's Powercrank) It goes like this:
20:00 Warm-up
3:00 right leg in 39x16 (other leg is unclipped and resting back by the rear skewer)
1:00 spin both legs
3:00 repeat with left leg in 39x16
1:00 spin both legs
Repeat 2 more times
5:00 Tempo
5:00 Cool down
When I first did these a few weeks ago, I had trouble turning the 39x19 for 1:30, and only one or two sets at that. Now I'm doing three sets of 3:00 in the 39x16. The last 15-30 seconds should hurt but still have good form- no chain slap.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Recap- 172 pounds

Here we go again?? Well, sort of.. This may well be a repeat of last week in all ways except one: that is, your hero will demonstrate certain feats of strength, relative to last week. Tonight's proof of adaptation came in the form of a 67 minute long SPIN class- last Monday's data is found in last Monday's post, below. Tonight I added 25 watts to the average, in comparison:
225 watts, 92 rpm, 166 bpm. This is partly because our instructor had us up and out of the saddle a lot more this time. I also believe that Saturday's long ride combined with Sunday night's Active Recovery paid some dividends. I hope to be up early to do a light spin, and then a Pilates class tomorrow night.
It may seem as though I'm doing too much too soon, but relative to the goal I'm trying to reach, I'm just doing what's required. I can honestly report that as of this date, my weight is lower than it was at the peak of my form in late June/early July of 2008. A lighter Murat is a faster [more powerful] Murat. I've enhanced my training plan to include work on my core (Pilates), upper body (Nautilus), flexibility (Yoga) and regular bursts of FT level intensity (SPIN class). It's a lot of work, but the variety has made me into a very engaged participant. I'd rather not be fretting about the need to lose weight and the need to add "structural fitness" come April and May, when I can instead focus on getting some good results. Propelling 15-16 fewer pounds down the road is going to make a huge difference in 2009. I'm committed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Late Night Spin

I worked hard yesterday, and I can feel some stiffness coming on, especially in my right hamstring. Just before dinner, I went to the Y and worked out. First I did a 15 minute run on the treadmill to warm up- 1.4 miles to be exact. Then I did the Nautilus circuit (skipping over all leg machines) I hit all the upper body machines twice in one circuit. Pushed myself a little. The weights I'm now using are about mid way down the stack- though I continue to do between 15 and 25 reps. I felt pretty stiff and pumped after this workout, but I believe this is still better than being a flexible weakling. After dinner I took a 20 minute power nap, awoke to the smell of fresh coffee and indulged in a cup with dear wife while Reis took in an episode of Bob the Builder. They headed up for bed at 10:00 and I opted to do a recovery spin before bed. So I'm now turning 90 rpm in my 39x19- only 130 watts. This has helped me to pass 10 minutes already, not bad.. Recovery rides are boring.. And blog posts about recovery rides are especially lame... But I think it's important to do something light with the legs on the day following a 70 mile ride.. If you've followed me along all this past week to see what I'm up to- many thanks for showing interest. I'm not trying to impress anyone- this journal is more for my benefit than it is yours.. But if it serves to inspire you or other readers to get off their tookus and get going with a proper 2009 training program, beginning NOW, then that's Fantastic. If 2008 was a disappointment for you, then please refrain from repeating the training program which failed you in 2008. I'm not a coach (at present) but that's fundamental common sense advice. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


It was inevitable. My entire ride today was on Route 2. Not the most exciting place to be.. Short punchy rollers, flats in between windswept turf farms, and some rough patches which require one to ride center lane. Made it to the Arcenciel meetup point in 1:05 - into a mild but vexing headwind. We had 10 of us at the beginning but lost one.. Meaning we always had a lone tailgunner at the back. I used Route 2 to get down there, and our group continued down Route 2 all the way to Charlestown.. All the way to Ninigret.. Where it was time for me to stop pressing my luck and take the B-Line home, which happened to be a u-turn and back up Route 2 the entire way. It's a good thing I reversed when I did. My ride ended up being 4 hours, and towards the end I was daydreaming of food. Both bottles were frozen- even though I added powerade to one and the other was insulated. In fact, I think I was a bit dehydrated. In the 3rd and 4th hours I had some cramps zap me in the quads and hamstrings. 173 pounds when I left the house. When I got home I raided the kitchen: two fruit yogurts, an orange, a 16 oz Shaklee milkshake, and some other stuff I can't even remember. Even after all the replenishment, I was still 171 pounds after this ride. PT says 70 miles, and I noticed that some data was cut out maybe due to the cold maybe power lines.. Probably did more than 4 hours and 70 miles. The temp when I left was about 14 degrees. It was 23 when I returned. Thanks for reading.

Thursday: Rest, Friday: ILT

Thursday after work I was pretty much cooked, so I napped on the couch after eating some home made pizza.. went to bed at 11:00 and had an extremely restless night of sleep, sprinkled with 3 or 4 instances of becoming awake. Woke up tired.. Today (Friday) was an especially challenging day at work. For the first time in perhaps years, I had to skip lunch and surprisingly, I did not turn into a four headed dragon. After work though.. I went to Chipotle with a vengeance and helped myself to a burrito bowl, which is basically the contents of a burrito minus the pasty tortilla- mainly rice and steak with some chili sauce, peppers, onions, sour cream, and grated cheese. There are worse things a person can eat. So I'm looking at my 42 day TSS constant and trying to increase it very gradually week over week. From the latest four weeks of data, I see that the past four Fridays go like this: 45.0 49.3 52.7 54.8
I'm thinking that a monthly increase of between 12 and 15 is going to be both manageable and fruitful for now through March, though I can change course pretty swiftly if it's necessary. Having all this data at my fingertips feels like cheating.. Of course there are times when I need to say screw the charts and the TSS- you're tired- take a day off.. Like some of you very self-aware train-by-feel au-naturel under-trained types, I don't need a Powertap or a HRM to tell me that I'm tired either, BSPVD.. Anywho, here's the chart telling you the story of tonight's workout: 20:00 warm-up, then 2:30 individual leg training in the 39x17, 1:00 breaks in between, 3 total sets, followed by 20:00 of tempo with some high cadence (105-120, depending on what's playing on 95.5 WBRU) followed by some slower work. I'm starting to really like The Killers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

S.tart P.edaling I.ndoors N.ow

Spin class after work was a hoot. Some of the things they make you do are just nuts- I skip what I don't like.. such as when the instructor has 100 pound women turning 5-6 watts/kilo at 45 RPM.. I'm not letting the watts go higher than I can comfortably do for 5 minutes at 70 rpm. Foolishness if you ask me. So yeah- S.P.I.N. could stand for a lot of things.. but some instructors want to rename it G.R.I.N.D. I think.. My vitals for last night, not as impressive as Monday: 87 RPM, 184 watts, 162 bpm, in 60 minutes of duration. I was on a different bike, who knows how accurate these things are, but I felt tired, no doubt about that. After the SPIN class, I hopped onto a treadmill for 15 minutes. 3 minutes walking 4 mph, 9 minutes jogging at 6 mph, then another 3 minutes walking at 4 mph. Trying to ease myself into better running form, which is extremely easy to do when you're starting from a baseline that equals "untrained". All I want to do in 2009 [for running] is to get used to how it feels, so that I'm not so blown away during cross season.
I'm taking it easy tonight. There's a "YOGA Flow" class at 6:30 which I may try to do.. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday Recap +

Don't worry, I will tire of this eventually. Slept a little better last night, and got to the Y after work in time for the Pilates class- man was it full tonight. And two other guys in there this time. This did not make it any less embarrassing when your hero, during a more strenuous maneuver involving his very weak trunk/abdominal muscles, let one rip in all it's audible glory. Fortunately, it had a bark but no bite. I've been in there other times and witnessed some silent yet deadly emissions from some of the women. Made my nose hairs curl.. After getting home I was not content to got o bed without a proper turn of the pedals so I did a light spin for one hour while opening mail, reading stuff, even wrote an e-mail.. After uploading some data from the PT I decided to take a look at the past 40 or so days of training and compare to the year before period. Below, we have Dec 1 to the present. Farther down below, we have the same period one year ago.
Looking at one year ago, it's very easy to see why my knees were shot after Jan 13- I did two epic rides that weekend- 4+ hours on Sat and 3+ hours on Sunday. You can see the huge spike there in the pink ATL. I have avoided such Tom Foolery this winter, and I'm increasing training load in much more metered doses, as you can see in the above chart showing you how my CTL (42 day constant in Blue) is moving up a lot more gradually this year. Year before, CTL jumped 11-12 points in two days, from an already low TSS of 45/day. It's little wonder I needed to get the Active Release therapy to my knees. No such problems in 2009.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Recap

40 minute spin in the morning, after an extremely restless 6 hours of sleep. After work, I bolted over to the Y for spin class with my wife. A challenging 61:41 at 200w average, 94 rpm and 159 bpm. The new shoes feel weird but gave me no discomfort.- my old DMTs have the DIY heat molded insoles and I didn't realize how well they conform to me, til tonight.

SSSsss... Rosssssaaa..

From the land where child laborers skillfully wrap round gear shift knobs and motorcycle gas tanks with brittle burl veneers.. somehow.. I give you this work of art: a DeRosa clad completely with the skin of a python, which the artisan/former Turkish National Team member claims he trapped himself. I believe him about the laminating.. There are a few more pictures, but my time is limited at the moment.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saturday: short and tough, Sunday: Nautilus

Having slept in a little late and missed the 8:00 am ArcenCiel ride on Saturday (it was 15 degrees out- my limit is 20 degrees) I ended up leaving on a punishing solo excursion at 3:00, making sure to take my headlight because I knew it would be dark when I returned, and it was. This ride was challenging- it covered more than 2/3 of my usual 57 mile loop- meaning I basically hit all of the hills and skipped the easy part. I'm encouraged by this data! Today I slept late again, missing spin class and Yoga.. Roads were incompatible with bike riding so I ended up going to the Y and doing a challenging set of Nautilus- hitting most of the upper body machines twice. I keep a chart to monitor progress and on most machines I've increased the weight considerably since my first session. Tomorrow night I'm doing spin class and using my new shoes, picked up from the clearance rack at Providence Bike: These things have about as much class as a pair of Crocs, but they're cheap, brand new, all mesh and extremely light. I plan to break them in over the next 6-8 weeks in spin class and then decide (ugly or not) whether they are worthy of replacing my tired and nearly four year old DMTs. My other purchase from this weekend is a little more unusual for me: I haven't the slightest idea what to look for in a running shoe, but These ASICS Gel Cumulus are double wide and they fit like a glove. Tried them out for 15 minutes on the treadmill at the Y- blissfully comfy. I think I did all-right getting these for $29 at Marshalls.
The week ahead is going to include a lot of variation, including spin classes Mon, Wed, Thurs AM, Pilates on Tuesday, Yoga on Thursday PM, some easy spinning and FT work on the windtrainer, and of course, some long fat burning rides on the weekend. I could see myself sticking to this pattern for the next 4-6 weeks with no problem.. and I should be thanking my wife for discovering that we could do many of these activities together at the YMCA, all while our little one is in the free child care and having a great time in the supervised gym activities. It's a win-win no-brainer and we're both getting stronger and losing weight. Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Individual Leg Training Continues..

Thursday night- 30:00 easy spin warmup, 2:00 intervals with one leg, one min between legs, two min between sets, three sets in the 39x17, 10:00 cool down. Next week, 2:30 ILTs. Yay!

Thursday, January 08, 2009


After Pilates Tuesday night, I did a circuit of Nautilus. If you think that Pilates is for girls, I encourage you to try it. True, there's only myself and one other guy in there.. and it's true, we spend a lot of time lying on our backs with our legs up in the air doing various acrobatics. But man does it blast your entire core, and quite intensely. By the end of the session, I can barely lift a leg or do a crunch. Wed morning I did a 30 minute spin, then around 5:00 dear wife calls and says a spot opened up in the 5:45 spin class at the YMCA. This was my first time there and I was impressed with the bikes (shown above). Wearing my heart rate monitor, I found that the HR shown on the Keiser M3 was redundant. Then I noticed that the HR on the display matched my Polar watch, spot-on. Then I realized that the spin bike's computer did not have sensors in the handlebars, it's designed to pick up my Polar signal. How cool is that? These things also had a very fluid magnetic resistance (in lieu of friction) and they displayed power and joules. At the end of the workout, it displayed average HR, Power and Cadence, which for me was 156, 180 and 95 respectively. Niiiiiice.. I can take that data and enter it manually into my Peaks software. Like it a lot. One thing I did not like was the saddle- too squishy, too large.. and the room we are in is too small, the bikes too close together. Spinning is something which women do more than the men, and I can't complain if some of the participants are, you know.. easy on the eyes..
Here's a link to the Keiser M3 spin bike website:
The first thing which struck me was the simplicity- look at the four bolts which secure the bike to the pedestal. I like the clean lines and the simplicity. Yoga tonight.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2006 Cyclonauts Criterium

This set of pictures in my Flickr account has a few good shots. Here we have Kyle Gates with the after-burners on in the 30+ Masters Race. Lots of familiar names in the results! I was jammed up behind a crash with only one lap to go. Lucky I didn't get taken down.

On the Treadmill, literally and figuratively

yesterday no riding- but we went to the Y after work and I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and did one circuit of Nautilus (no leg machines)
This morning on the windtrainer:
20:00 warmup
10:00 FT+10%
10:00 R
10:00 FT+10%
10:00 Cool down
Tonight: Pilates!
In spite of a careful diet with careful portions, I'm adding some muscle mass, but what better thing to replace fat with, than lean muscle? Keeping the Nautilus reps at 20-25 is probably a good idea. I don't understand how there is any health benefit (besides getting ripped) to lifting the whole stack of weights for 6-8 reps, yet I see a lot of older, taller, yet pear shaped guys doing this. I guess it's possible to be strong as an ox AND out of shape.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sunday's 4 hour grind

This chart tells a story indeed! Don't let the speed fool you, this was H-A-R-D. It was also the first time I've been in a multi-rider up hill locomotive. I'm humbled by the way that older, more mature bike racers (translation: masters) take care of their fellow brothers. Many thanks to Todd B., who showed us how it's done, by doing it. I salute you and I salute Bill D who gritted his teeth and grinded it all the way home through the pain, without cracking. It was a great day if you ask me.