Thursday, June 9, 2011

That was then, This is now

I am in my 3rd week of training for my November Ironman. I stress at my ability to fit everything into my schedule. For the first 13 weeks of my training I am following a plan for a Half Ironman distance. At the end of the plan I should be ready to do that race. Instead at the end of that I will be switching to a 13 week plan for a full Ironman. The progression seems to be appropriate between the two plans. Still, I have been concerned about being able to do the scheduled training so that I can finish a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride and finally a 26.2 mile run.

Then I looked at my preparation for the Half IM in 2009. Other than having a long runs being longer (a 12 mile long run compared to a 7 mile long run currently) a few weeks prior to the event, I am already doing what I was then. My weekly training total was probably 10 hours on average for that event and this week I will hit the same amount of time.

I would say that I was probably under prepared for that event and still it went fine. My workouts for the 2009 event were very loosey-goosey. It seems like I just threw in weekly runs or swims when my work schedule allowed for it. I have been much more regimented this time, again mainly out of fear. My plan has helped calm my fears because I have faith that if I train as specified in them I won't die out there (figuratively, not literally). Fear is a good motivator for me. But seeing that I was able to perform adequately enough to finish the Half Ironman on such a half-arsed training plan has given me some additional confidence.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in November.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 3 begins

Today is the beginning of the 3rd of 26 weeks of training for my November Ironman. I am still tring to work out the specifics on how best to integrate the training regimine, work and family.

This morning I woke up at 5:30 and was at the gym at 6am but that just barely allowed me enough time to swim for 45 minutes, change and drive to the Sunset Transit Center and find a spot to park. From there I catch the MAX into downtown Portland. I have learned that all of the parking spot are pretty much gone by 7:15AM. I was there at 7:10 and there were only about a dozen spots left. This means I gotta get up earlier so I don't have to stress about it

Today's work out was 45 minutes of swimming and 45 minutes running. I'll do the running during lunch today.

This week is not that hard of a week. I'll bike to work and back tomorrow; hour swim and hour run on Wednesday; bike to work and back on Thursday; 75 minute run on Friday; an hour swim and 2+ hour bike on Saturday. Off Sunday. However eventually my long days will be quite long. 6 hour bike rides... 90 minute swims with a 3+ hour run....

It isn't too hard now to get up with the long days, but I am sure it will be challenging to do so this fall. Anyway, the adventure continues....

Thursday, May 12, 2011

How is it that I can sleep for 8 hours and still feel so tired. It is not that I have been doing tons of training. I rode for 3 hours on the weekend. Rode an hour yesterday. Ran for an hour the day before that....

I suppose I am still catching up from my lack of sleep over the weekend when I drove out to Utah with my oldest son Ryan. Good trip. Not much sleep.

Am I just getting old?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Portland Blues

Or maybe it should be the Portland "greys" with the near constant cloud cover the past months.

I was in Utah over the weekend for just a quick trip to pick up some stuff of ours. While there I went for a ride with Dave and Fish. It was marvelous. In three hours I got a nice burn on my legs. I had put sunblock on my arms, face and neck. I have been riding all year in Oregon and I was totally white up until Saturday. And now that I am back I am ready for some better weather in Portland. I think I saw the sun for about 5 minutes when the clouds got lazy. Yesterday, I ran at lunch and admittedly the cloud cover was a good thing, it made for a nicer time. But right now it is raining. Sick of this wet stuff.

In about 10 days Bridget and I are doing the 100+ mile Reach the Beach ride. I haven't been able to spend longer than 3 hours in the saddle yet this year. I am not sure that is going to happen anytime soon. Oh, well. I am good at suffering, I am sure I will be fine. My butt my not be.

I crashed pretty good a couple of weeks ago and I feel pretty much back to normal now. I am glad to be back at it because I gained some weight back. Most of it was probably driving to and back from Utah. I eat like crap when I travel. Plus, while in Utah I had to eat at In N Out Burger now that they are there. I felt good that I only ate a the past I have been known to eat more than a Double Double. I can pound that stuff. I am drooling just thinking about it.

In two weeks I officially start my Ironman training plan. I wish I could say that I was excited.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time to start again.

Life has just gotten in the way of keeping up this blog. I am busier than ever and so cuts had to be made. One of casualties was this blog. I am trying to balance life with a wife and four kids (2 of them have substantial activities), my job at the firm, training (soon for an Ironman) and my wife's training for this and that. There just isn't enough time in the day.

Nevertheless, I feel it important to start writing again both here and on our family blog.

First a few updates.

I am a fatty again. Not horribly so, but a good 10 pounds over the maximum I'd like to weigh and about 15 pounds over what I would like to weigh.

I am riding quite a bit, but mainly to work and back. I have started leaving home earlier in the morning and lengthing my ride. I have been able to take off on a few lunchtime rides which as been awesome. However, our weather here in Portland has been colder and wetter than I think Spring conditions should be so these rides haven't happened as often as I would like. Brianero and I went on a killer 75 minute ride through the West Hills near Portland. Nearly 2000 feet of climbing during that time. A great ride it was.

My training for the Ironman officially starts the end of May when I have 6 months until the triathlon begins. I have not been in the pool much. And I am dreading it. My running has been off and on. I am not as worried about the running because odds are that I will be so toasted by the time I get off the bike that I will end up walking at least half the 26.2 miles. I have been running up to an hour at a time once or twice per week. I will add more running miles at the months progress. In the end, my goal is simply to do the damn thing in under 17 hours.

In the short term I am doing the 100 mile Reach the Beach ride next month with Bridget. That will be a nice no stress ride. In July I am going to check off the ultimate "Fred" ride around here, the STP or Seattle to Portland. I will be doing the one day option. That will hurt. Mainly my rear end, but it will still hurt. 200 miles is a long way in a day.

With regard to bikes, I have a new one coming down the pipe from Neil at Cernitz bikes. But I won't talk about that one just yet. As a result my Lapierre carbon cross frame will be going bye-bye. It just didn't fit me the way I like. Neil has my likes dialed in now, and I expect it will be a stellar frame as usual.

Well that's it for now. More to come soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

First Race of the Cyclocross Season

At least me first race of the season.

I've ridden a bit the past couple of days and so I am certain that my legs won't be too fresh tomorrow. But, I don't really care. I mainly want the workout, to get dirty, and to continue to get a bit more fit.

This summer has not gone as planned really. I got in about half the miles that I had planned. I had some great excuses in August when I was working between 60 and 80 hours per week. But still, it has been sort of frustrating. Plus, having 4 kids makes it really tough to get riding in that is anything other than going to and from work.

Speaking of work, my weekends are free now. At least free from work. There are all sorts of other activities demanding my attention. Kids have soccer. Church. Family stuff of varying sorts. But Bridget is very understanding and has not argued with my desire to race a bit this fall. She is very patient with us boys... ;)

Anyway, back to the race, going to race the singlespeed class. My choice comes down to a couple things. I know I am going to place near the back and that is OK. There isn't a singlespeed category to downgrade to, so I don't mind racing with the Cat A guys. I would like to spend some time pumping up Cernitz Bikes, and riding them seems to be a good way to do so. And one last reason is that I refuse to downgrade to Master C and I don't feel like getting shelled in Master B's quite yet.

Give me some more time commuting with my 600 foot climb to work and 1000 foot climb home and I will get there pretty quick I think. A bonus at the law firm is my ability to take long lunches. An hour is normal. Longer can be arranged too by the looks of it. I will probably start doing a bit of running at lunch. I need to start running sometime since I have verbally committed to doing an Ironman next year. I've done a couple of 70.3 Ironman events and that training sucked. Next year is really going to suck. But that will be checked off the bucket list.

Anyway...I will report back about how tomorrow goes. It is going to be rainy. And that is a good thing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zsa Zsa Gabor and Cyclocross.

Sorry, going to go on a bit of a cycling rant here.

Here in Oregon we have this wonderful little organization, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association or OBRA. It has a wonderful little e-mail list that anyone can get on which allows us to complain, ask questions, learn about events and especially sell our excess biking related stuff. It is a spectacular service that I have used often over the past few years. It is free, unlike Ebay. And because it only goes to mostly serious cyclists I tend not to get a bunch of stupid questions unlike posting on Craigslist.

Often, especially this time of year as summer starts to get a little long in the tooth I start to see posts like this:

" Dura Ace 7800 shifters. Dented, scratched, work great, perfect for cross, $40 "

Works great, sure. I doubt for long. And I can't imagine using something on its last legs for cyclocross. Unless you like having excuses for sucking. Well, I guess I have my excuse, but it is more gut-related than anything else.

Anyway, I don't get it. I mean, I get it, but I subscribe to this view at all--Hanging all of the crappiest parts on your cyclocross bike.

I want my stuff to work, especially my drivetrain. If I wanted to race crap..., well, actually I would never want to race crap. And I absolutely hate it when in a race I start missing shifts and my chain can't seem to find and stay in a gear. Absolutely frustrating for me. It takes my mind out of the race.

Maybe it is the cost? $40, no big deal right? If the shifters break...rather make that when the shifters break you are only out a fraction of the cost of new. Fine. But until then continue to be frustrated during the race and bemoan the fact that cyclocross kills your equipment. Despite the fact that what you are doing is probably akin to putting present day Zsa Zsa Gabor in a beauty pagent.

Sure she was hot once, but why are you putting her out there now? Ridiculousness! Her time is past. She is probably lucky to get around the block a time or two. And that is exactly what should be done with that old dented up Dura Ace shifter. Time to retire that thing. Let it spent its last days in peace going to the store, or on your commuter or whatever. But don't spend money on race fees riding a bike with that shifter. Folly!

Meanwhile if you just had something nice and took care of it it would probably last a long time and you'd actually be able to find a gear. And I don't necessarily mean nice and expensive.

So here is my recommendation to those who are trying to race on the cheap: Just buy thumb or bar-end shifters and new mid-lever derailleurs and chains. Forget about buying the well-used Dura Ace that is in worse shape and has swapped more times that a West Virginia trailer park harlot (I've lived in West Virginia, there's some scary stuff going on out there, yikes). Seriously, retire that old stuff. Just go with what works, simple stuff that is difficult to break becuase there are only a couple of moving parts instead of dozens.

You may think to yourself, "Oh easy for him to say now that he has Di2..."

Umm, yeah, it is easy to say. But I ran a 9 speed Shimano drive train with bar-end shifter for about 3 years when I started racing cross because I didn't want anyone's sloppy seconds or thirds or whatever and because it just freakin' works just about all the freakin' time. Sure the shifting isn't as quick, but at least you can find a gear. And when it absolutely hits the fan, one can always switch that bar-end shifter to friction mode and find your gears in the worst situations sans busted gear. And that three season old friction shifter has been on my Cernitz Mule commuter bike that has over 1100 miles this year. All I ever have to do to it is occasionally switch cables and housing. Booyah Brothers and Sisters!

Anyway, enough. Most of you don't care. But I at least feel better.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another Broken Carbon Crankset

I have broken the following in order over the past several years.

Ritchey WCS ISIS splined Crankset
FSA K Force ISIS splined Crankset
FSA K Force 2nd generation Crankset
Easton EC90 Crankset
FSA K Force 2nd generation Crankset
Easton EC90 Crankset

All are carbon. The interesting thing is that only the Ritchey had a carbon failure. All of the others is was a bond or some metal piece that failed. This time the Easton EC90 Crankset spindle came loose from the driveside arm where it is bonded. It doesn't spin totally free, it just moves a bit as you go through a crankarm revolution. It is very noticable on the road, but off road because of all the bumps it is not nearly so. This is why I raced with it on my Cernitz Buttercup singlespeed without realizing that there was an issue. And then when I did notice, I thought it was the Crank Brothers Eggbeaters which also have a reputation for breaking. (Speaking of that, I broke an Eggbeater pedal last night at cyclocross practice)

Anyway, a little research on the web and I found that this has become a common problem for these cranksets. In fact, Easton is not selling them anymore. And instead of giving me a new one, they are sending me a check for what I paid for them. Cool. So I am getting another Shimano Dura Ace crankset, which is pretty much exactly what I am getting back from Easton. That leaves me with only a 3 year old Campagnolo Record carbon crankset that was actually last produced about 5 years ago. It has an old style square taper bottom bracket. It currently resides on my commutter bike. It get more abuse than all of my other cranksets and has more miles on it than all of my other cranksets combined and multiplied by 2.

The FSA cranksets each lasted about 1500 miles. The Eastons each made it about 150 miles total. The first one was improperly manufactured so that one couldn't torque down adequately and I have already stated what went wrong this time.


No carbon cranks for me. I am not sure what I do, but I am Kryptonite to them. Maybe I should get a job doing product testing for these companies, because if there is a flaw, I'll find it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Finished next to last in the singlespeed class. Yes, it was an off night. Yeah, I was lifting heavy boxes half of the day. But really, I am fat. Look at the picture... Faaaaaat. Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

See the formation of man-boobs aka moobs to highlight that gut? Oh yeah, I am screaming Clydesdale here folks. I need to go on a diet like my sister...who incidentally doesn't even need to be on one at all. She's is going on the HCG diet...the one where you have to give injections or some such ridiculousness. Nah, I will just ride my way to fitness thank you very much. Or at least attempt to do so.

Right now I am 12 pounds heavier than my lightest weight last Fall and about 9 pounds heavier than my average cyclocross race weight last year. It really could be worse. These past 12 months or so have been a little sort of difficult. Dad died last summer. Found out Bridget was pregnant with a surprise baby. Professional disappointments came several times as well. I didn't do any longer distance triathlons or long distance rides this year either so motivation to train was decidedly lacking. And finally we had some of the wettest weather in Portland's history, including the wettest June on record. In all, I should be happy that I only gained that much weight. But they just seem like lame excuses. I just eat too much crap and don't ride enough.

Well, actually come to think of it I am down about 5 or 6 pounds already. So I really it was worse.

I am not a self hater, I just have goals. And being fat isn't one of them. Or at least a little overweight. I have said many times how I used to weigh near 240 pounds back around 2003 or so. Thankfully that isn't even close to my weight currently. I am 40 lbs under that. But still. I need to be healthier. I feel better when I do. But when I are depressed and frustrated those burgers and fries just call my name. Anyway, time to go ride.

And thanks to Dave Condon's wife, Robin I believe her name is, for taking these pictures last week. The Cernitz bike rides spectacularly by the way. More on that in the days to come.