America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Friday, February 27, 2009

Airport security

They threw our son's 8 oz container of sealed vanilla milk in the trash (along with our three small bottles of Coke, which we figured would happen) A one liter bottle of water is $5.05

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Only in Cali..

Will you have a female spin instructor who is over 60 and kicking your ass.. We are guest members of the Escondido YMCA this week and let me tell ya, this place makes the Kent County Y look like a pile of Puke, and it makes the best Bally's you ever saw look like a rinky dink P.O.S. Last night's spin class was FULL. After 5 days off the bike it was just the thing- I felt rested and strong. Tonight's class I held something back so that I could drill it hard tomorrow. Now I need to choose which class to do- there are 6 or 7 to choose from throughout the day, all with different instructors. In fact, the entire fitness schedule is up on a pair of 52" plasma screens- kind of like you would find in an airport. Impeccable. Exemplary.

Friday, February 20, 2009

T minus 12 hours

At about 4:00 am we will be putting shoes on our feet, grabbing our carry-on bags and skooting over to TF Green for our 6:30 am connection to Newark.. in none other than a Dash-8 400.. Yuk. I'm having trouble believing that I passed on taking my road bike on this trip. What was I thinking? Maybe I can rent a bike if the urge to ride is just.. unstoppable.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

San Diego Time

We're at TF Green airport at 4:30 AM Saturday to catch a 6:30 flight to Newark, then a 6 hour flight to San Diego which has us landing about 9:30 AM. TIme enough to get checked into the hotel and on the road to Saturday's finish of the ToC? Mebbe. We are definitely spending Sunday in Escondido for the finish of the final stage.
I will not be bringing a bike with me on this trip- we're hoping to find a local YMCA where we can work out and join the spin classes. I will probably go a little insane about not being able to ride, especially if it's sunny and warm, but the thought of carefully packing a bike and paying $100 each way to check it, and potentially have the airline lose it [like the last time], isn't so attractive. In other news, I got my new Powertap sharkfin to replace the one which was repaired twice. No love from The PT folks on this- I payed the full $60 price for this part. Oh well. They did not have a lot of sympathy for the fact that my heart rate strap has never worked properly. I guess I should have reported the problem within the first year of using it, some time before clocking 12000 miles on the thing. I am so tempted to buy a pair of used ZIPP 404's with PT.. Tubular.. I can use this tank-like DT hoop as a training wheel and race on the good stuff. Before you begin to throw rotten tomoatoes for suggesting ZIPP with PT, consider that the very best data comes from racing. Being that this stuff interests me and engages me immensely, it makes sense for me where it might seem silly to others.
The last time I was in San Diego for the 2007 ToC stage in Long Beach. Mark Mc and I coincidentally raced the masters crit which was held right before the pros raced on the nearly identical course. I did not finish due to a crash. No, due to the officials not realizing there had been a crash- they pulled my group of 10 guys in complete ignorance- we were chasing after coming to a complete stop to avoid the crash.. which was caused by someone hitting one of those infamous reflective pucks at 33 mph. For the 1/2 race that I did complete, we averaged 28+ mph, in February. I think Mark got 3rd or 4th. I wonder who I which New Englanders I might bump into this time out in Escondido??

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wanna Race?

From left: Murat, Bill D, Matt K, Joe B and Ralf G.This was not a repeat of last weekend where I trained more miles than the Tour Of Cali peloton raced in the past two days.. Instead I did my favorite hilly 40 mile loop- and twice! Saturday I went out in the afternoon with the intention of trashing myself from start to finish. I'm after a key piece of data and the only way to get it is to just drill it for over an hour. My previous attempt on this route was January 10th and my time was 2:19:39. This time, I took off 11 minutes (2:08:38) and added over 20w to both avg and norm power. This is especially encouraging when you consider that I'm about 3kg lighter than Jan 10th.. Our team's annual spring ride/meeting was Sunday and we repeated the same route, but at a pace where we could talk to eachother.. and besides the legs kept reminding me of Saturday's effort.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rest Day

I was dog meat at last night's spin class. A hard weekend, followed by two days off the bike in favor of upper body and core work- legs are not feeling the love.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

No Rest for the Weary

As much as I wanted to sleep-in late on Sunday morning, I knew that this would have been incompatible with my goals. A shorter and less intense ride was needed to keep the legs feeling loose and so I ventured north on 116 to meet some of the other RI locals at the infamous Gazebo between routes 6 and 6A. Timing my departure perfectly, I got there with a few minutes to spare in just under 40 minutes. Lucky for me, the ten of us meandered back towards the roads I know and love, and where route 14 crossed 117, I said my farewells and headed back east towards home. It was a wet and warm ride punctuated with some stiff winds and even some rain towards the end. All the snow runoff made for a messy ride though. The bike is in very sad shape.. Here's the data which you have come to expect: I adjusted the Polar pickup on the fork so it holds the signal better. I also repaired the Powertap- the two were off by only about 1/4 mile of distance. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

First Century of 2009 in 5:12:30

Funny thing about today's ride. The Powertap quit working at the 4:20 mark (he-he) The question is, how long ago did the wire snap? Since I look down at it pretty often it was a minute at the most.. You might recall my very ugly but effective repair job I did two months ago. Well it's the first place I looked when I noticed the speed and watts readouts went blank. The purple wire was separated again. Your quick thinking hero had a back up plan, of course. His Polar heart rate monitor was busy recording speed, distance, heart rate, elevation and so forth, so he immediately hit the lap button to at least get good data for the rest of the ride. The Powertap was kaput, but it was reading 4:20 and 84 miles ridden- that's 19.4 miles per hour. Being so ticklishly close to the century mark, I decided then and there that I must do at least another 16 miles or else regret it until I die. Expecting to do the same average speed for the rest of the ride home, I did all kinds of math in my head in terms of how much longer I would need to ride. (One sucky thing about the Polar 720i- it refuses to give you the mileage of a ride, while you're recording data) With the Polar now recording a new lap for me, it seemed like a sure bet that one more hour would cinch the century, no problem. In fact, I got to my neighborhood a little bit early and just kept riding- went up Seven Mile Hill Road and back down it, adding 1:07 to the 4:20 I clocked on the PT. Surely this meant that my total would be around 105 miles or so. Unfortunately, I doubt if I'll ever know the true mileage- it turns out that the Polar was losing signal all throughout the ride and it only recorded 80 miles at the 4:20 point, where the Powertap recorded 84 (these two are usually dead nuts even) Oh well. I just wanted to know one thing- the exact duration of my 100 miles. Well it's anybody's guess, but I'm going with a conservative 19.2 mph average (the first 4:20 was 19.4) and going with 5 hours and 12.5 minutes to complete the first 100 miles. (16 miles in 52:30 makes sense) Sounds like a safe bet. Of this, I rode solo for one hour to meet the group, I rode 2:30 with the group, and then I rode 2 hours solo to get home. Please use the comments section to congratulate me and heap praise upon me for my accomplishment.
Overall ride time: 5 hours 28 minutes
Overall distance: 105 miles
Average speed: 19.2 mph

Above, the Powertap data is more reliable than the Polar, at least until wires break. The purple speed graph below shows a lot of 'zero' speed, when in reality we stopped only twice to pee, once for food and I stopped once to check out the PT.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Never forget your hard hat!

One of my jobsites has a good way of deterring visitors from forgetting to bring their own hard hats.. Below, we spy the 80 ton crane that I have to rent in order to hoist Premium grade woodwork in through the window of a Penthouse on Beacon Street. Why does the name of a local racing team come to mind? Interestingly, I have a team of carpenters working on all levels of this 11 story building, for the past year, and one of them is a former racer who was probably better known as "Big Dig". He has an open invitation to join my team, as his employer and mine are both owned by the same person, but I understand completely when the "life requirements" of a 20-something make it necessary to hang the bike up for a while. Been there, Derek. Your place is reserved, whenever you're ready.

Successful Resting

Let me reiterate, it's a "rest week", not a "rest weekend"..
This week: A grand total of 3 hours logged in four sessons on the trainer, none exceeding 130 watts average. I've been good. I'll do another hour tonight with a few 60 second spin-ups to 140 rpm in a small gear. The legs always feel "funny" after a rest week, and gently reminding them that they will be required to do very hard work after said rest, is probably a good idea.
It will be a good weekend to pound out a couple of solid 4 hours rides, and I will refrain from doing them with a hangover this time!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Frederiek Nolf found dead in hotel room at Tour of Qatar

Exerpt from VN article:
"The Topsport Vlaanderen team quit the tour Thursday morning and race organizers were making arrangements to return riders and staff to Belgium. Other riders on the team have also withdrawn from the Etoile de Bess├Ęges in southern France, said team director Walter Planckaert.
According to Merckx Thursday's fifth stage — from the Camel Race Track to the Doha Foundation — will be shortened to 40 kilometers and neutralized in remembrance of the young Belgian.
"Out of respect for Frederiek Nolf, the riders will form a cortege throughout the stage," said Merckx."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Catching up with last week

I didn't post much last week because of a nasty sinus infection which developed on Sunday, the day after my epic 87 mile ride (talking about 10 days ago here) In spite of my head feeling like a drum, I went to YMCA and did my weightlifting Sunday night. Monday I was kaput- could barely get out of bed- I called in sick.. this didn't stop me from going to my spin class at 6:00 though. I felt horrible in the beginning, but at the end I was better. Tuesday I dragged myself to work and put in a double shift until 11:00 pm, leaving the office only for lunch and to do the Pilates class at 6:30. Feeling a little better at this point. Wednesday was awful in terms of what I went through at work. People generally need to exploit weakness (if/when they can find one) in order to get the best of me.. and a handful of different people decided to throw me under the bus on Monday while I was out sick and still answering calls and e-mails with my Blackberry. This made for a highly stressful and depressing week overall, but all the more reason to stick to the training program- I did indeed go to the SPIN class at the Y on Wed after work. Thursday I rested- no bike, no workouts or Pilates or anything. Just rest. In fact, I went to bed at 8:00 and slept until 7:00 am. I really needed that. Friday was business as usual, though thoughts of a different career path were very strong and at the end of the day, I was almost surprised that I wasn't packing my things into a cardboard box. Friday night I did a highly challenging 75 minute ride which averaged 225 watts- I drilled a large number of 1-3 minute intervals with 1-2 minutes of rest in between. Much of the week's frustrations were driven into the pedals I think. Saturday an easier indoor ride with three FT intervals of 5:00 a piece- not leg breaking, but it felt hard after the previous workout. Saturday night your hero went out drinking and shooting pool with good friend and former co-worker Kaan Duru. We went to Snookers where I easily won all but two games in a three hour period. I used to play for money. My cue stick was purchased when I was 16, about 22 years ago. I'm a little better than average right now because I hardly ever play, but with a little practice, I'd have no fear of entering a local 9 ball tournament.. So Saturday night I pretty much had a good time and drowned my sorrows with six Sam Adams Light beers and a Mojito for good measure. In bed at 1:30 with a spinning head, meant that I was in rare form Sunday morning for the LBL ride, which you've already read all about. Sunday night I did not go and lift weights- too tired and cramped up. I did my Nautilus last night though, and wow, I looked in the mirror after all that lifting and couldn't help noticing the torso taking on a very distinctive V shape. That fires me up. This morning I did a 20 minute recovery spin and tonight there's Pilates, so.. yeah the beat goes on. This is a rest week so I will be reigning myself in on the SPIN class and the intervals. I'll save myself for a nice long hard ride on Saturday when it's predicted to be over 40 degrees out. Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sunday's LBL ArcenCiel Ride

The ArcenCiel team has an annual ride that's called the "LBL" and I was fortunate to be a part of it this Sunday. Your hero had a terrible day of cramping and low energy, but the good people in today's ride got me to the end of the 66 miles with lots of generous pacing, pushing and encouragement. I think the total TSS of Friday and Saturday was more than I realized, and that the six or so beers I uncharacteristically consumed late into Friday night did me no favors. (It was a very rare guy's night out- and such nights are not to be wasted on sobriety) Anyway, it was a hilly and scenic ride where I had no idea where we were most of the time, and I never knew when the next hill would appear, or how far it was to the top. This is never an advantage. The first hill where I cramped hard was in CT- actually on the Stonington RR course, heading up to the winery in reverse. I was doing A-ok up until about 2/3 the way up, then I fell apart very hard and very suddenly when the cramps attacked. Then we hit a steep pitch not long afterward where I was cramped so badly I thought the legs were going to just lock up and send me to the ground. The profile chart below shows two similar hills in succession- these are the ones which hurt me, and ironically on the really big hump afterwards I was able to hold it together without too much difficulty. Humor me as I make my excuses- it's the fourth week of a strong and gradual build-up of TSS- to wit, I've gone from 50 to 70 in the span of 31 days. (Same period last year I went from 43 to 53) Check it:
The next chart tells the story in detail. I also pasted in the values of todays CP60- which gives a very encouraging 255 watts of normalized power. On this date last year, my best Norm CP60 was 243 watts, and I was 7-8 pounds heavier too. Need to look for the positive in today's poor performance, and there it is. Even on an off day, at the end of a challenging 4 weeks, the data proves that I'm way ahead of the curve relative to 2008.Thanks for reading. Here's the profile of today's ride: