America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

Soreness and water retention

I am always looking for ways to get leaner, change fat to muscle, develop structural fitness etc. This includes some weight-lifting at the gym- mostly the machines instead of free-weights. I say “some” relative to the frequency which I find myself at the gym, which is about every 1-2 weeks. My resolve to go 2-3 times a week is never successful, but I am trying, I really am. To make up for the lapses, I tend to go a minimum of two circuits on the Nautilus machines, using weights which are compatible with 15-25 reps, depending on the muscles I’m working. On some machines, I prefer to double back and do a 3rd set- such as the vertical chest press and the abdominal machine. The first set is not done to failure- I make sure that the last repetition of the 1st set leaves something in the tank for the 2nd set, where I really go for the maximum number of repetitions, and do it to failure. This means the last repetition is incomplete- it’s the one which makes me look like a weakling.

So I did my bi-weekly weightlifting Wednesday night, sandwiched in between two intense Spinning Sessions- Tuesday and Thursday.

Ever seen the episode of Three’s Company where Jack Tripper is walking around like a zombie because he over-did it at the gym? That’s kind of how I feel, especially the upper body. The plan is to rest today and do a light spin on the windtrainer Sat evening when I return from NYC. Sunday morning I am leading an indoor training session at Providence Bicycle. Come out and join us at 7:30 am with your bike and your trainer- you will be treated to a 90 minute program to the tempo of my personal playlist and it’s all complimentary- no cost to you to join us. Visit for more information. Apologies for digressing..

An interesting observation relative to weight-lifting- after any hard work-out I gain 4-6 pounds. Indeed, Wednesday morning (before my workout) I weighed in at 168, but by the time I undressed for bed (post workout), I was a hefty 174 pounds. We can blame some of this on my diet throughout the day, but certainly not 6 pounds of it. I believe the rest is fluid retention, which damaged muscles need in order to repair themselves. Cellular migration is easier when lots of H2O is around. This conclusion is supported by the fact that I’m simply not peeing with any of the frequency that I usually do. As of this AM, I’m down to 172 pounds. Some of this could be the added mass of scar tissue involved in muscle repair, some of it must be the H20 which I’m retaining. It’s assumed that I did not add any fat during this past 36 hours, especially with the spinning classes thrown in there. At any rate, my expectation is that I will be back down to the good side of 170 by the time I mount the trainer on Sunday morning. See you there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Masters Cross World Championships Results

Results are here
Two more podiums for New England, USA. Congratulations to J Bold and K Hines and everyone who made the selection and had the kahunas to go out there. This gives new meaning to my persistence in the elite 35+ cross races. I've thought about down-grading myself to cat 3 or 4 VERY OFTEN, but where is the honor in that? Better to be [occasionally] lapped by national champions and world champion medalists, I say!

FOUR medals total for the United States when you consider this podium!:
Dames 1960 +
1 USA19591029 RUSECKAS MARILYN 0h23'20''
2 ITA19600712 PIZZOLOTTO LUCIA 0h23'27''
3 USA19590221 PFLUKE LILLIAN 0h23'45''

I salute everyone who made it to worlds. Welcome home.

Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 LBL Ride

What a great group of people to be riding with. I had a very good time. It's too early for me to be doubling up consecutive four hour days, though I can tell you that most of this group is already doing it no problem. With 82 miles in my legs from Saturday, I was apprehensive about doing LBL and falling apart 1/2 way through, being an anchor on the group.. Yes I had some cramped legs to deal with on some of the hills, but I got myself over no problem. Truthfully, I was on the fence about going until about 6:30 am. I went to bed pretty late and did not set the alarm clock, thinking that if I wanted to do the ride badly enough, my body will wake unassisted. My eyes flickered open at 6:30, so the decision to go was made for me.Here is a pic from the 2009 LBL ride

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010


My uninteresting Blogger profile page was viewed 9,999 times before I checked in on it just now.. Very lucky timing on my part, dontcha think?


Equipment changes

Is it true that most guys use 44 cm handlebars? It astonished me to discover that the busted carbon bars shown below are 40cm center to center.

A team mate has a spare set of carbon 44s which I am being encouraged to try out. Common sense tells me that this enhancement offers sprinters and climbers more leverage, assuming that the bike is being rocked side to side using the arms. For the low price that I can get these 44s, it’s worth trying them out during the winter before the racing begins. My bigger concern is having enough room to maneuver through tight spaces. I do believe that I’m built to use 42 but I’ll try these out for short money.

Other news: I’m re-engaging my yellow carbon EPX for the road races. Longer wheelbase, longer cranks, Rolf Vector Pro tubulars, Campy Chorus and it’s in pristine condition. The LOOK 486 is feeling it’s age and looks a bit dated. I’ve also laid it down pretty hard on two occasions. So I’m in the hunt for a newer bike to use in the crits, sized 55 or 56 cm. Who’s selling? Any used Litespeed Archon frames out there? Cervelos are nice too.. TTYL.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hurled to the ground

Some diagonally running RR tracks in the Boston area (Jerusalem Rd area?) got the best of me on Sunday and I went down like a sack of potatoes. Shredded my hip and knee.. Bruised and swollen. Broke my handlebars. I was in line to cross these tracks and I saw others ahead of me get their rear wheel caught and go sideways and somehow recover.. Watching others do these acrobatics right in front of me meant I squeezed a handful of brakes instead of focusing on a proper bunny hop. I am sore but luckily I suffered no serious damage. Eastion EC90 handlebars are snapped in two though.. I was able to complete the ride- my handlebar tape held the bars together..
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Thursday, January 14, 2010


I weigh 168 pounds, 18% of which is bodyfat, or 30.24 pounds.

Dropping 10 pounds (assuming that all weight lost is bodyfat) means that I will be 158 with 20 pounds of bodyfat or 12.6%. Still too hefty to call myself an “athlete”, I know..

Ten pounds- doesn’t sound like much, does it? Would you consider humping a gallon of milk around in a backpack all day? Because that’s what ten pounds would almost feel like- A gallon of milk is only 8 pounds.

Don’t dismiss the meaning of 10 pounds. It’s a lot of mass which places a lot of demand on the body relative to running, biking, and walking. For older folks, this added heft makes the simple acts of getting up from a chair and walking up a flight of stairs a lot more strenuous. The problem is that while muscles adapt easily to added stress, joints such as knees and hips do not adapt so readily, and the adapted muscles can be strong enough to cause injury to joints. For me, losing 10 pounds is the same as dropping 6% of my bodyweight and I’m cautiously optimistic that this will make me at least 6% faster on my bike. I’m trying.. Staying at race weigh all winter long is more than half of the battle. I did it! The gradually increasing training volume of the next 3 months should get me to where I want to be.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Uninsured Accident

Okay our car didn't catch fire or anything.. but my wife went to Shaws Supermarket last week. Her mother and my son were waiting in the car for her. An uninsured motorist slammed into the rear of our Honda Odyssey. Luckily the occupants are okay, but the van now has $3000 of damage, two days before I am supposed to turn it in (end of lease).. and guess who is stuck with paying a $500 deductible? I now have to extend and pay the lease an extra month or more just to get the repairs done.
Apparently Metlife will pursue the driver for the $500 on our behalf, but it could take months or years to collect. If they do not pay up, they lose their license and registration privileges, according to my Metlife agent. Whatever misery can be heaped upon this P.O.S., is fine and dandy with me. According to wife, the driver [she] could not even be bothered to apologize, and nearly drove away from the scene, were it not for the efforts of my mother in law to stop her.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Merino Wool Long Johns anyone?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and ask for Rhode Islanders to please honor us with just one purchase of our wool apparel or our kid’s bikes at

Over the past 2 years, sales are a disappointing goose egg for the ocean state and I am at a loss to understand why.. We’ve sold goods to Australia, New Zealand, Israel, UK, Scotland, Denmark, Canada, Japan, et al. galore,... but nothing in Rhode Island.

I tend to go out of my way to do business with companies which sponsor bike race teams- for example: Chipotle and Metlife Insurance get thousands of my dollars annually. Are you there Karma? It’s me, Murat..

What can I say? We’re disappointed. Today a man in Ohio called me wondering whether to choose 100% merino wool, or to choose the wool blend for the wool long johns kit that he wants to wear while out hunting. After 20 minutes on the phone with me, not only was he fully informed about the processes used to extract lanolin from wool and the expected life expectancy and the proper care and washing instructions, he was sold on the simple fact that someone was willing to talk to him and help him make the correct buying decision. Two minutes later my Blackberry makes the distinctive bike bell sounds that I programmed to go off whenever a sale is made at WeeBIKE.

Oh well.. One day we’ll sell something in Rhode Island. Was it the odds or the probability of a sale that go up, the longer that this continues? Maybe neither, I don’t know. I didn’t take any advance math.

Humor me.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

24 hour bug?

I skipped work yesterday and slept until 11:00- my throat was so sore that I wanted to amputate it. Mid-day I was feeling better and even ventured out to Fairhaven MA for a pre-bid meeting at a new cancer clinic being built there.. This virus is being killed quickly whatever it is. Today I have some residual irritation in my bronchia, but my throat is all better. Weird.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009 Racing Accomplishments

I have 12 minutes left in my 20 minute warm up before I start drillin' it. I'm riding my road bike indoors, attached to a resistance trainer device. To help motivate me for the 30 minutes of self induced suffering which will follow the warm-up, why not frame an outline of 2009's accomplishments? Wow only 9 minutes left- this takes long to do on a Blackberry!
1. Ninigret training criteriums: Four top ten finishes in 2009, including a couple of field sprint wins. Also one 4th place overall finish in a field sprint. This is harder than it sounds.
2. I only raced Wells Ave a couple of times and on the first try I snagged a 5th place finish
::6 minutes left and my HR is still a lowly 119 bpm..
3. Three of our M1 Racing team in the top 7 of the Cyclonauts Crit 35+: J Alain Ferry wins it solo, Matt Kressy takes 4th and Yours Truly takes 7th. In the Pro race which followed, I won a $10 prime which was awesome. Someone tried to follow me for it and could not hold my wheel.
4. Masters Nationals in Turkey: I took 9th in the 10k TT going cannibal against aero kits galore, only 22 seconds off the podium.. 8th in the road race the following day.. Six man break took off right after my little break was caught- base of the hill. This is a long story.. I was dropped like a brick on the first big climb. I thought about giving up.. The guys who were dropped on the flats were catching up to me. This was a T-shaped out and back 70 km course. I still had about 50k to go, and more climbing after the turn-around. Dead legs started to revive on the downhill. I started picking people off and they were all jumping on my wheel. After about 10 minutes of completely burying myself, I caught the main field of about 25 guys, a few guys followed me there the whole way. Caught the field right at the turn-around, with dead legs, at the base of a gradually steepening 4 mile climb. I fought. I bled from my ears in pain. I chewed through my handlebars.. And about 300 meters from the top, I could no longer follow the attacks of these former pros.. Dropped again, this time for good it seemed. Field was blown apart into smithereens. Again, I want to quit so bad, I hate myself, I feel humiliated. But the race is far from over- still 40k to go.. I shake it off after the summit, the main field of about 15 guys is back together up the road, or so I thought. Another 35 mph ten mile time trial later, I caught the field, only to discover that six of the favorites detached themselves.. No one would work except my teammate Murat Akyazi and 1-2 others. Everyone else was content to race for 7th. Murat and I tried repeatedly to escape with two others- an ideal amount of HP to bridge.. No such luck- we kept getting sabotaged by blockers. At the end of the day, largely due to my efforts at the front with Murat, we held the gap to only 2:57. In the field sprint, I followed an attack at 500m to go. Sat there until 300 to go and uncorked it. Unfortunately, a was being used as a lead out by two other former national champs, who both got around me (after an hour of avoiding pulls, it was pretty cheap) one of these two were DQ'ed for taking water from a vehicle, the other one stood- making me 8th overall. What's there to be proud of here? Never giving up, no matter how strong the urge. Fighting tooth and nail from being dead last on the course, to working my way up to 8th. Next year will be different, for both the RR and the TT. Mark my words.
5. The M1 Racing team strikes again at the Concord 35+ Criterium on August 2nd. I was not feeling on form for this one, and had finished mid-field in 2008. Midway through this hammer-fest (faster speed than the previous Pro race, according to the announcer) I found myself following a serious attack and rotating with Ciaran and Billy Y.. And about 5 others. This was not the recipe for success which M1 Racing needed. Not only would I be burning matches needlessly for this group, the big guns of Matt and Alain needed to be up here. My best approach to turn this to our favor was to be an anchor. It came back together. With 10 to go, Alain came alongside and told me not to lose his wheel. I was so gassed I immediately lost him. With 5 to go he came back to get me again, and this time I followed. He went up the road as soon as we saw the front- and we blocked as best we could for a few laps. With 2 to go he was caught and even with blown legs Alain mixed right into the top 10 and stuck it out to the finish 4th place in the field sprint. Matt Kressy took the final corner in 1st place and took his 4th win of the year. For my part, I turned myself inside out to keep close to Alain and finished 9th- an impressive perfomance for me, in my book.
6. Keith Berger Criterium 30+: In 2008 I did my best result here- 6th place. I was off the front from the very start and never saw the field again. In 2009 it was a little different. Wife and I were moving the contents of our house into a condo, and I had the nerve to drop everything and go to East Hartford- tired and out of form, and I snagged 14th out of a large stacked field- which was 8th in the field sprint (5 were off the front) another win in my book, all things considered.
7. Cyclocross- I started five envents and completed four. Of these, I was lapped at only two races and I managed to complete the leader's lap at the other two. This was a first for me! I'm about as graceful as a 3-legged penguin on the barriers and on the run-ups. I expect to pull myself up into the top 50 percentile one of these days. A cross bike that doesn't suck might be helpful!
Thanks for reading.
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