America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coming up for air.. and coffee lessens the pain of exercise

What a schmuck I've been.. On 3/20 (day after my birthday) I inherited a nasty infection whose primary symptoms were fatigue, muscle aches and a throat that was in too much pain to swallow anything other than Kozy Shack (speculating.. didnt eat any) So I was sick Friday, Sat, Sun, Monday (skipped work) Tuesday, Wed, Thurs, Fri.. and then Saturday I'd had enough of trying to beat this thing unassisted. Dear wife called our doctor and said doctore called in a scrip for some meds at the 24 hour CVS. This was Sat night. Took the antibiotics before bed and in the morning, I am a new f--cking man. Astonishing how I came to life on Sunday. Pain and exhaustion gone. Head clear. Muscles ready for action. I did a workout on the trainer- not a strong one, just some zone 2/3. Then last night (Monday) I was feeling even better, and did this:
20:00 WU
5:00 FT (275)
5:00 RI
3:00 FT+10% (305)
3:00 RI
3:00 FT+10% (288)
3:00 RI
3:00 FT+10% (290)
10:00 RI
5:00 FT (266)
10:00 CD
Not an easy workout, no matter how long you rest between intervals.. This is less than 48 hours since popping the pills. I don't like taking antibiotics, but this seems to have developed into a secondary bacterial infection. Saturday I was on the verge of going to the ER and Monday I'm pounding out interval after interval.. So relieved to be past it.
Now for something completely different: Caffeine is a performance enhancer. A few of you may have spied me before the start of Wells Ave or Ninigret, nursing a medium DD hot coffee with cream and 2 sugars. Apparently I was onto something, even though a lot of people would make a face and ask "how do you drink that before a race??". So here is proof that swilling coffee before the start line is not going to hurt you [at worst, assuming you have a strong stomach], and contrarily, will help you to dig a little deeper during performance:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spain vs Turkey World Cup Qualifier Saturday

Here's a pretty cool NIKE commercial from Turkey, featuring the Turkish National Soccer Team- intended to stoke sales in advance of Saturday's qualifier against Spain. Below: Gratuitous soccer related body painting- the best kind of painting if you ask me..Okay now that you are standing at attention, there is a World Cup 2010 Qualifier between Spain and Turkey this Saturday.. These images are from the time when Turkey played in the 2002 semi finals and ended up with the bronze. I can assure you that the Turkish fans are more like the Brasilian fans than the two head-scarf-girls pictured here, but the implication back in 2002 was that "this is why Turkey lost to Brasil". Funny stuff..

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Playing host.. a virus since my birthday last Thursday.. Sick.. sicker.. sickest was how Sat, Sun and Monday felt.. I'm on the other end of the curve now.. thank G-d. I'm sick, but well enough that I could come to work yesterday for 1/2 day, and actually arrive on-time today.. It won't astonish anyone that I rode the windtrainer Monday night for an hour, or that I did some intervals last night which caused the veins in my forehead to bulge un-naturally. This kind of treatment accelerates my recovery- I'm sure of it. Keeps me on top of it mentally. Few more days and I will be out there with my new [to me] Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheels, putting the hurt on someone who has trouble holding my wheel. Okay now I'm just thinking wishfully.. and realizing that hey- this sport is not just about testing our own limits- it's also and mostly about testing the limits of others. It's when you don't have to be at your limit in order to drop someone or put them into the red zone which makes the price of it, worth paying. Fast as all hell wheelsets help too!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My mother asked me..

..what I want for my birthday.. and of course I replied "Duuuuhhhh...nuthin'... Duuuuuhhhh".. when in reality there are so many friggin toys and gizmos and performance thingies like pedals and shoes that I have my eye on.. that I need or want.. So today is my b-day and I am officially into my 39th year. (this means I just "turned 38" in the 'American' sense of age) Been trying to buy a pair of Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheels from a very talented friend who I'll refer to only as TS.. We already made a deal on the price- it's just been a matter of hooking up with him off of I-95 on one of my many drives to Boston.. Anyway, how do you tell your mother to call so and so and pay for a pair of carbon race wheels for you?? Man.. the last time anyone bought me anything in terms of a bike or a bike part, was when my dad bought me a brand new CyclePro bmx bike for my 13th birthday. It was called "Macho II"- more or less a POS entry level tank.. which was later replaced with a used PK Ripper with the resin "Zee-rims"- better for the rough landings of my "table-top" jumps and other shenanigans..
So here I sit, wheel-less until tomorrow, and nothing on it's way to me from Mom either. I've half a mind to go to Providence Bike and buy that Orbea road bike or that Santa Cruz mountain bike I've had my eye on.. (Pause mom just called to wish me happy birthday- is asking me again- what do I want- should I send a link for a pair of Conti race tires or a Dura Ace cassette??)
I'll leave you with this pearl of wisdom which Solobreak shared with me recently:
"Perfect health is just the slowest possible form of death."
The raw truthfulness of it makes my skin crawl.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FT+ ?%

After I leave my place of employment, it takes me 17 minutes to get the the Cranston bike path off of Park Ave. By this time I'm usually warmed up and feeling ready to work. The bike path takes about 25-30 minutes to reach the end- perfect for a block of 1:00 intervals. (the path is empty- it's okay to go a little fast in March) With the occasional intersection, you have to use some discretion about how long to work and how long to rest. My rule is that these "FT +10%" efforts should be more than 1:00 but less than 2:00. For recovery, I go with 1:00 maximum. The variability makes it more challenging. Once I'm at the end of the bike path, after doing 12 of these 320w intervals, I get onto route 117 and take 10:00 of recovery, and then I do it all over again, all the way to the top of the hill that's about a mile before you reach route 102. That's another 10 intervals down, and I double up on the very last one, doing a solid 2:00 of puke-tastic effort. I recover for a few minutes and do 20:00 of tempo all the way home, in the twilight of dusk. T'was a cold ride to work today, but it looks fantastic outside right now. Rain tomorrow?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2009 Ebay Purchase No 1

I have been buying and selling on Ebay since 1999. This sort of makes me a veteran (or a master, if you like). I have 100% positive feedback and a score of 668. I am a Powerseller, meaning I average over $1000 in sales per month.. It is my hope that one day I will populate my Ebay store with enough inventory to actually make a living from it, but I'm realistic.. For now, selling a few high end kid's bikes per month is a fun hobby that helps pay for some racing expenses for me and my team. What was I going to write about? I drift so easily off topic.. Yes I bought a pair of Shimano Dura Ace chains for a ridiculously low price and with free shipping. Let's just say that I can barely buy a single Ultegra chain from REI for the cost of these two Dura Ace chains, especially after applying the sweet 10% off coupon which Ebay is in the habit of e-mailing to me regularly.
In other news.. For those of you looking for a Campagnolo Record headset or Italian threaded Record bottom bracket, please check out my Ebay store: The listings end tomorrow night I believe.. I am also selling my other road bike- the 57 cm carbon EPX with Rolf Vector Pro wheels and Chorus drivetrain. Here's a picture.
If you are in the market for a high end LikeaBike children's bike, please transact at my other site:, where I make a few more dollars by avoiding Ebay fees. The Paypal buttons are found in the sidebar for each of the bike models. If you have a 2-5 year old child and want to borrow a demo bike for a week before making a buying decision, let me know and I'll bring one to the races for you. Many thanks.

"The coin has dropped"

Sorry Matt S, I'm a dingus for not doing any due diligence. The Spinelli connection is now understood. And all the while I was saying to myself "who is that skinny dude with the Jamaican colors?".

2009 Bike Commute No 1

Tried out my new Novarra backpack yesterday and I'm pretty happy with it. Previously I was using a messenger bag, but it's not good for the times when I really need to train after work- too much swinging around and instability. This thing hugs you and has straps across the chest and midriff which make it feel nice and tight- like a parasite has latched onto your back. Sounds awful, but it's what you want when you need to do some hard work on the commute home, especially out of the saddle type stuff. So yesterday I braved the cold and rode to work and rode it home.. Nothing to get excited about, but it felt like an eternity since the last bike commute back in November. Oddly, even after wolfing down a nutty powerbar and an orange at 3:30, I felt famished on the ride home- like enough to stop and grab a Snickers bar.. but I resisted the temptation. I think the body was stepping up metabolism or something, maybe something to do with doing two rides in one day? I think it goes a long way towards getting lean- riding twice in one day that is.. (just ask G-Diddy, who believes his bodyfat percentage is in the single digits) I wonder if there is a way to measure muscle percentage. What's a healthy value for this, I wonder.. I drove in to work this morning, but all my bike stuff is in the car, so I'm riding home tonight and very much looking forward to it.. There will be timed intervals involved..
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wells Ave No 1

I don't want my scores of blogosphere fans to bite their nails all night so I will dispense with today's result- your hero was 5th in a knife fight of a field sprint, in which finishers 3 and 4 nearly wobbled into eachother from fatigue and closed the door on my acceleration. I was in the sweet spot of the train but as luck would have it, my line was was not clear all the way to the line. Fine and dandy. That's racing. Interestingly, avg speed was about 2 mph higher than last year's Wells Ave opener of March 23. Power? I won't bore you with numbers but I am ahead of schedule in all CP durations, especially the magical Normalized Power value for 60 minutes. It's good. Bad news that we had guys on our team become involved in two crashes. They are going to be okay but $5000 bikes don't heal without throwing big wads of cash at them!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How does this happen?

And this is from only one side of my chain. I wouldn't have discovered this without cleaning the muck and filth off of it last night. I was halfway commited to go to Charge Pond or Plainville today, but that would risk iminent equipment failure and injury. No bike shops are open in time for me to fix this situation and make the start line. Next chain will be a 2008 Dura Ace- they're about $35 on Ebay these days.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Monday no workout. Tuesday no workout. Instead both days included minimal sleep and stress overload. Wednesday night I tried to get back on track with some 10 and 20 minute FT intervals after a looong warm up (30 minutes). The first 10:00 FT was fine and dandy. Then recovery, then into a 20:00 FT.. but it wasn't in me. I ended up doing about 5-6 minutes before I decided to just spin it out for the rest of the hour. Last night was a different story:
20:00 WU
5:00 FT
5:00 RI
3:00 FT+10%
3:00 RI
Repeat 3 more times
10:00 RI
5:00 FT
5:00 CD
Explanation? Work was halfway enjoyable for a change, wife is coming around from her cold, and some other tidbits of good news managed to give me wings. It is pretty scary how factors outside of training and preparation can affect form. In fact it got me to thinking- is it possible that anti-depressant pills such as Prozac and others can enhance an athlete's performance? Let's face it-it's harder to focus on intense training and harder to perform in a race when you are under depression, stress and anxiety. It would not astonish me to discover that this is an idea which is already being abused.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thank you Chipotle!

I know that some have a low opinion of "fast food".. So I stopped eating the burritos wrapped in a tortilla and I switched to the "burrito bowl", which is a lot fewer calories, fewer carbs. The bowl is simply a couple of scoops of rice, some meat, peppers and onions, hot sauce, sour cream and grated cheese. So satisfying.. While at the AToC the other week, we won a whole bunch of free Chipotle food coupons at the Chipotle tent. And dear wife's Blackberry has GPS and can find all Chipotle's in our vicinity- there are a few out there! Our favorite was the one in Encinitas. So yeah.. couple or 3 times a week, I indulge in a Chipotle burrito bowl. I encourage you to try one with the green chili sauce- medium hotness. Such good quality food for only about $6-7, IMHO.. All their ingredients are promoted as hormone free, organically raised, vegetarian fed etc.. good things. and I am in love with their minimalist decor. The raw edges of veneer core plywood exposed, foregoing the application of edgetape or solid wood nosings- which add lots of time and cost, but little else.. The minimalist menu.. simple, easy to understand.. really makes the menu at TGIF or Chilis or Applebees or (pick one) look like a French whore. Okay enough about that subject..
So Saturday I weigh myself pre-ride.. and for the first time in a very long time, I am under 170.. pre-ride.. where before I would set out weighing 172 and get home weighing 168. I'm firmly into the good side of 170. Success!
No riding for the past two days and I'm grumpy.. but to my credit, I have been getting up at 4:30 am to get to Boston appts at 7:00.. That, and dear wife has bronchitis and laryngitis, so I'm playing nurse maid for the past few days. Monday was a deliberate rest day. Last night, not so much.. but I was fatigued from the two early and long days in Boston and stressed about wife being sick, so.. let it be.
I'm eying Plainville and Wells Ave this weekend to have a little fun, but we'll see. If it's under 40 degrees either day, I'll be more inclined to do a couple of long rides. Playing it by ear.. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dearest in Christ.

Must-contain-maniacal-laughter.. I populate one of my other blogs ( with about 4-5 of these Nigerian advance fee fraud e-mails, every day. (Yes it is purely for the Google Adsense dollars, but at least I am truthful- and believe it or not, people have thanked me for it) This is the first time I am seeing a person so twisted that they exploit and lie about terminal illness and religion in one neat little package. The scammers are getting more bold and more creative as the economy goes down in a death spiral. This one is original, I'll give it that.
I encourage you to write to these cretins and have fun with a little bit of scam baiting. 

From: From Charles and Elizabeth.
Subject: Dearest in Christ.
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2009, 8:21 AM

From  :Mrs Grace Tapia

Address:N11-Olof Salem Street
       P.O. Box 59022,Safat 13060 Kuwait.

Dearest in Christ.

With Due Respect And Humanity, I was compelled to write to you under a
humanitarian ground.

My name is Mrs Grace Tapia,from Kuwait.  I am married to late Dr
Ramsey Tapia  ,who worked with an oil company in Ivory Coast for
Thirty-two years  before he died in the year 2005.

He died after a brief illness that lasted only four days Before his
death we were both born again Christian. Since his death I decided not
to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible
is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of
(US$5.8 M)(Five Million,Eight hundred Thousand United States Dollar)
in a General Trust Account with a prime bank in Abidjan .
Presently,this money is still with the bank.

And Recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last for the next six
months due to my cancer problem (cancer of the lever). Presently this
money is still in the Bank.  Having  known my condition I  am in need
of a HONEST Hearted Individual Christian or Church that i will utilize
this fund the way I am going to instruct herein.

I want somebody that will use this fund according to the desire of my
late.husband to help Lessprivilaged people, orphanages,widows and
propagating the word of God.

I took this decision because I dont have any child that will inherit
this fund, And I dont want in a way where this money will be used in
an un Godly way. This is why I am taking this decision to hand you
over this Fund. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am
going.I want you to always remember me in your daily prayers because
of my up coming Cancer Surgery.

Write back to me as soon as possible because any delay in your reply
will give me room in sourcing another person for this same purpose,
Hoping to read from you soon.

With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I
shall give you the contact of the Bank in Abidjan. I will also issue
you an authorisation letter that will prove you the present
beneficiary of this fund.

May God bless and keep us as we seek to serve him.

Yours in Christ
Mrs Grace Tapia

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


It's 60 degrees colder here than in San Diego and I'm back at work with another head cold. G-d help me to refrain from clawing my own eyes out and/or jumping off a ledge.