Friday, November 30, 2007

Curtlo "Crest" S3 First ride

Now the official model name of the Curtlo is "Solo 29" and "S3" is the type of steel tubing that it uses, but the color reminds me of Crest toothpaste, to that is my nickname for it until I come up with something better.

I rode with Dave today up at Browns Camp. The weather was not great, but not unbearable. The temperature was in the mid to upper 30's and as we started riding a light dusting of started to come down. There was a little bit of snow on the trail, no more than 4 inches, in spots were the trees didn't cover the trial (which they do for about 75% of the loop we did). Dave was dressed like he expected a blizzard to come down. By the end of the first hill he was taking off half of his layers and thinking about puking from the effort of the climb. It was kind of slick and so the first couple of steep sections--which are the steepest of the entire ride--we had to walk up a couple of sections. After that we rode the entire trail.

It was slick, but not dangerously so. It was muddy, but not the type of mud that stuck to tires. We also learned that you don't want to hit the front brake when riding in the snow--especially going downhill! Neither of us went down, but it was close.

The Curtlo was perfect. It fits me very well. Dave hopped on it but it didn't fit him very well at all. The Gary Fisher Rig that the Curtlo replaced actually fit him pretty well. But this frame has an effective top tube measurement that is about 3/4" longer and it just didn't feel right to him. He is about 3 inches shorter than I so it makes sense.

The bike felt really stable yet it turned with ease, though admittedly I didn't push it through turns as much because the trail was slick in spots and it was hard to know where the wheels would break free and where they would grab. Still, I was way more comfortable on my Curtlo than Dave was on his GT Peace which he took pretty slow, he said because he didn't want bike to get away from him on the slick stuff, but I think that Dave just wasn't feeling it today. Too much time sitting on the couch or something.

I am using a Panaracer Rampage tire on the front--it is the best front tire I have tried--and the Michelin XC 29er tire on the rear. It doesn't have the air volume that the Rampage has, but it is lighter and had good traction. It also shed mud pretty well. I had thought about getting another tire, but today the Michelin tire proved itself to be worthwhile.

Great fun today. We rode for 2+ hours and nobody got hurt despite the show and slick conditions. A good day for sure.

Below is the bike after I built it up and then this evening after the ride.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Curtlo Solo S3 MTB Frame

More info later after I get it built, but here are some pictures and some stats:

Frame weight is 4.75lbs. including the Eccentric Bottom Bracket. My Fisher Rig, for comparison, is 4.35 lbs or so. Also this Curtlo is a about a half-size bigger than the fisher in frame size which accounts for some of the increased weight. Also the curtlo is made from steel, and the Rig is aluminum. But I am anticipating that the ride will be very sweet to more than make up for the weight gain. There should be enough tire clearance in the rear to fit just about any tire available currently.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gained Weight, but

...not as much as I thought. I was sick so I didn't workout for 4 days, yet my appetite was the same. And then of course there was Thanksgiving. I gained less than half a pound over the past week. To me, that is great. I am still not 100% well, but getting better.

It has been a cold week, which makes it hard to want to get out the door to ride my bike. So I have been pretty much just running. I have been trying to take it easy though so that I don't get shin splints, which has happened before due to overtraining.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I have been sick for the past few days, so no training since Tuesday. And with Thanksgiving I have probably gained weight. Oh, well I probably needed the rest.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Me vs. The Treadmill

I have a real problem with running on a treadmill. Yeah, of course it is boring, but I can get past that with the help of my Ipod. No, I have a problem trying to run easy on it. Some workouts during the week are supposed to be easy ones, where my average heart rate stays under 150 beats per minute, usually in the low 140s. However, when I get on the treadmill something begins to happen most of the time--I get competitive. The machine lets me know how fast I am going, how far I have run, and what time I will complete a mile at my current pace. It also tells me my current heart rate and approximate calories burned, but I am used to have that on my Polar wrist watch.

Today is a prime example of how my goals start to unravel. First, I started at a 6 mph pace. I probably should have started slower, but I had done some stretching and felt pretty good. Currently that pace is one that I feel I could run for a very long time, but the fact is I have never run that pace for a long time on a treadmill. Instead I get an itch to go faster just to mix it up and then I will eventually return to the 6mph pace. Today that pace lasted for about 5 minutes before I stepped up to 6.5 and then soon 7.0mph. I ran 3 miles in 26:45 even with the slower 6.0 start for the first few minutes. Then it turned in to a goal of seeing if I could run 6.5 miles during my hour on the treadmill. Then 6.7 and higher until I figured I could come close to running 7 miles during my 60 minutes. I hit 6.9 during that time. I ran 7 miles in 60 minutes and 55 seconds. Including my cool down I ran 7.5 miles in all.

But seriously it was sort of stupid. I mean, I am happy I could run that fast, but I am supposed to be building my base fitness. Running so that at times near the end of the hour my heart rate reached 186 was not helping that goal. I am better at running in the proper zone if I am kept in the dark about my pace, which is how it is when I am running outdoors. I need to exert some will power on the treadmill. Part of it is that it is a game, I am trying to see what I can do, if I am getting faster. I need to do this less often, running at race pace.

Hillsboro Cyclocross Race

First, a few pictures...

The race was held at Hillsboro Stadium. Well, not so much in the stadium as in the fields and parking lot surrounding the stadium. It had been raining for 3 or 4 days straight and also the day of the race. My race time was about 10am and it was still at best in the mid-40's. Add the fact that by race time I had been standing in the cold with nothing more than my cycling shorts Craft no-sleeve thermal, shortsleeve jersey and arm warms, and a light semi-waterproof shell and you can see that I was miserable waiting at the starting line. Again, we all get there early so that we don't have to start at the back. My race time is composed of two divisions, open C's and Master C's 35+. I race the master C's. There is only one class slower than our field, the Beginner class, which starts an hour earlier.

By our race time, the course had already been beaten up pretty bad between the 130 racers in the 9am race and everyone who had pre-ridden the course to get an idea of what it was like. I pre-rode the course, not that it made any difference, becuase by the time my race started the course had changed with all the racers riding on it. I pre-rode it in hopes of warming up a bit, but by the time the race started I was freezing. However, about 3/4 of a lap into it I wasn't feeling cold anymore.

The race started on asphalt and then to hard pack gravel/dirt and then to sloppy peanut butter like mud. It was not meant to be a running area but for most of us, if not everyone, it was faster to run that 50 yards than to ride through it. Then back to a fast hard pack double wide dirt path over a double barracade and then back to the fast hard pack again. Then the second half of the course was pretty tough. It took me two laps to figure out the route to take on the first of the next peanut butter sections and the feel confident enough to go in to it fast enough to hold my momentum. Without momentum riding some spot would have been either very difficult or impossible. Later after a couple of mud puddles or mud soup sections there was a slight uphill that was just too difficult to ride. Maybe the A's and B's could ride it, but I didn't see one person in our race do it. The second picture above is from this section.

Later after some tough riding we had to ride back down this same area. That was fun. While others were perhaps conservative in their riding of this area, I just hammered though it. I am sure that many attacked this section as well, but nevertheless it was a spot where I could make up time on those around me. I don't worry about falling when it is really sloppy. The mud is soft enough to dampen a hard landing, and I have found that if you are making good speed your forward momentum can often bail you out of a bad line or over a hidden rock or hole. On the second lap I passed three guys in this section and felt pretty dang good about it. the fact that 2 of them passed me again once we were back on to asphalt didn't really matter.

My glasses proofed to me useless after the first lap or so. I chucked them to the side during the second lap at a spot where I could hopefully find them after then race (I did get them back). I just couldn't see much with all of the mud. Plus some mud would find its way somehow inside my glasses which made it as bad as if I didn't have them on anyway. Without the glasses on the fast sections I just tried to squint as to make the space where my eyes were vulnerable as small as possible.

I don't have my result yet, but I am sure that it was around the same that I always place. I had a bunch of fun. When I got back home I was surprised all the places that I had mud packed. It took quite a while to shower.

Below is a few pics of my bike the morning after before I cleaned it. I should have done it when I was spraying out my clothes but didn't feel like messing with it. Click on a pic for a more detail image. Also note the most of the mud was washed off by the rain on the car ride home. Yes, I wrote most of the mud was actually aready washed off.

UPDATE: preliminary results show that I was 48th out of 77 finishers plus 7 DNF's. Not bad for me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On the road

I did a difficult road ride today. I didn't plan it that way. In fact I didn't even want to ride. It was pretty overcast and rain was on the way. Plus the house was nice and warm. But I got my butt into my long-john bibs, Craft undershirt, long-sleeve jersey and Pearl Izumi Vagabond jacket and headed out. The cloud cover made it warmer that it was the past couple of day, so I decided to ride further than I had planned. The fun was deciding what route to take. I eventually decided to take a route that I had not done before that led up to the north end of Skyline Drive. I took 185th to Germantown to Kaiser/Brooks to Skyline and then back home. 23 miles total. Generally 23 miles is not a big deal anymore, but my legs were pretty tired on some of the climbs going up Kaiser. I burned 1450 calories according to my Polar. Now if I can just keep from eating rediculous stuff this evening I should be fine. Evening is the worst for whatever reason. Many days I am good the whole day only to ruin it by eating a half a bag of cheddar flavored Goldfish, hot&spicy pork rinds or something else similarly idiotic. It would be sweet to break 200 at the next weigh in, but I think that losing nearly 3 lbs in a week is a stretch.

Anyway, back on topic. I think that getting out the door is the hardest thing. Once I am out there I don't have much of a problem being out in the weather. For the last 8 miles it rained on me. My clothing did its job and I stayed dry--except for the sweat I was making. Funny thing about that. I didn't realize that I was sweating so much. As the rain started coming down it started dripping a bit down on to my lips and mouth. It tasted awefully salty. It kind of freaked me out for a second. I thought that maybe the water off of the road was getting lifted up off and flung into the air and onto my face by my front tire. I thought that maybe I was inhaling and tasting road moisture, which would be pretty gross. But no, after a bit the salt from my sweat was washed away and I was left tasting only the rain water. If I was getting road water flung up in my face it was no different tasting than regular water. And really odds were slim of that anyway, as fenders are amazing things.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I have signed up for the Vikingman Triathlon in Burley, Idaho. A current aided 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 run. Yeehaw, I am hardcore now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Estacada Cyclocross Race

Ahh cyclocross...the only way that I can workout for only 45 minutes and burn almost a 1000 calories. My average heart rate during the race was 182 with a max of 192 and I burned 975 calories according to Polar HRM. Total race time was 45 minutes and change.

Pics like this make me realize I have a good 20-30 pounds I could lose. Anyway...

I had looked at the preliminary results yesterday and was happy, very happy with the results. I placed 52nd out of 90. Percentile-wise, that was my best Master C placement ever. Yippee! All my training and hard work was starting to pay dividends.

Forward one day later.

The official results, which have never varied more than a couple of places for me in the past moved me and others that finished with me down quite a bit. Apparently over a dozen people did not have all of their laps counted during the race. In the preliminary results they were shown with 3 laps when in actuality they had finished 4. That meant I really placed 66th out of 89 (one person DNF'd that would have been 90th).

So this is not much better than other weeks. But it was better. Of the three races this year I have placed at the .833 (100/120), then .786 (77/98), and now .741 (66/89). The closer I get to zero the closer I am to the front. So I guess I just need to be patient and keep working at it.

As far as the race itself, it was pretty nice. Kind of muddy, but not at all sloppy. In past years it has been marshy in some areas. There is a bowl or depression that they make us go in and out of. The pic is climbing out of the bowl. It was the last lap and I was kind of tired but I didn't want to run up instead of riding. About half of the guys I saw were running up instead of riding. It was not necessarily faster to ride, but I didn't feel like getting off the bike if I didn't have to. There was another part where we had to climb out of the bowl, but there it was much more difficult and 95% of the people I saw were running up it. Many of those who did ride up it had mountain bikes or at least mountain bike gearing.

Here are some pics of one slippery spot.

I, of course, had no problem with it. I may be slow but I have some skills when it is slick, steep or muddy. The guy in front of me in the pic below lost it about a half-second after this was taken.

Same place on another lap...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Weighing in

So the weekly weigh in was this morning. I weigh myself on other days as well, but for whatever reason Tuesday mornings are my official weigh days. Last week was a bad week for eating. Halloween and way too much fast food took their toll. Considering the amount of calories expended from my workouts it is sort of amazing that I didn't lose more weight. But in actuality I wouldn't have been surprised if I had gained weight instead. Anyway, since the weekend I have been back on the wagon. Sort of, I still think I need to cut the amount I eat, even if it is healthier. I still have a goal of getting to 195 by Christmas.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Barton Park Cyclocross

This was my first race is the past 3 weeks. 2 weeks ago I missed the race because I was too stressed out to race. I just wasn't in the mood to suffer in the wind and the rain. A week ago I bailed out because I didn't feel like making the drive or spending the money. But, the planets aligned and I decided to make a go of it today.

The weather was great. Kind of cold but pretty good considering. I had been training pretty well for the past couple of weeks and I think it has helped. Also, I changed my bike setup a bit, and that helped out too. For some reason we have had excellent weather lately here. There were only a couple of mud patches on the course which made for a fast race. I still suffer on the run ups. The run ups were a couple of hills that were pretty steep, at least they seemed that way during the race. Sort of like running up a steep set of stair, only strewn with rocks and dirt instead of stairs. My bulk hurts me on those. I try to run up them, but I just don't have the power to do that yet lap after lap. Some laps I would run up most of the way and some I just walked up. At least the last lap I ran up both. Anyway things went pretty well. I was 75th out of 98 in my class, which is lower than I had thought I would do, but considering that about 20 or so departed for the new Clydesdale class, I consider that I did passably well. I know that I lost about 15 to 20 places because of my slowness on the run ups--which are proportionally a small part of the 2.25 mile course.

I did do my 1st front wheel-wheelie in a long time though. There was a little mulch pile that we had to go over. I was pretty well packed down and because it came at the end of a fast asphalt section there were a few wrecks. I just plain spaced-out for a bit and didn't use my body to help roll over the back side. As a result of my brain-fart I almost went over the bars when the mulch pile tossed the back wheel up. I rode on my front wheel for about 10 feet. Kind of scarey, but I never felt like I was going to go down. On the next lap the guy right behind me went down hard on that same spot. I heard a yell and then an "umph" as he hit the ground. I looked back and saw out of the corner of my eye that he was down but appeared to be getting up. I didn't slow down, but if he was hurt bad there are spectators around that can lend a hand.

For now I have made my peace with my 75th place in the race. At least I am not in the back 10% to 20% of the Beginner Race like I was two years ago. I figure I would be in the top quarter of the Beginner race these days. Being in Master C's I at least feel I am not sandbagging.

Below are some pictures borrowed from

I really wish that I could get back on the bike as efficiently as this guy riding for Vanilla. Geesh...

Yeah it hurts and he is still smiling....

Friday, November 2, 2007


my swimming generally blows. I don't exactly hate it but of the three parts to a triathlon it is a distant third. I swam a sprint this summer that was not current aided and it took me forever, around 25 minutes. Very slow. It wasn't the slowest time, but it was close. By comparison my bike times are near the top third and my run times put me about two-thirds back(kind of slow but my running has gotten better since then). The better swimmer finished around 8 minutes ahead of me. That is in just a half mile swim. Yep, I am slow.

Anyway, I figure that I can do nothing but improve in the swim. One of the main lures to doing the Vikingman 70.3 Triathlon in Burley, ID is that the current cuts the swim time nearly in half. Thus the 1.2 mile swim is probably more like a .75 mile swim. That I am sure I will be able to do that, I just hope to do it better than I did before. When I did the Burley Olympic Spudman this past summer I basically just did the backstroke the whole time. I totally freaked out because of the open water. At least during the sprint, which was later in the summer, I didn't flip out nearly as bad and I was able to actually swim like a normal competitor, even if I was slow.

I am going to pick up a book and maybe a video to help with my swim. The book is by Total Immersion. I will let you all know if it works for me. Many people I know swear by it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Review: Pearl Izumi Vagabond II

The lightweight jacket is a great addition to a guys fall and maybe winter cycling wardrobe. It works well as a shell, as it blocks wind very well. It also allows your body to breath because of the venting that it has. There is a mesh area on the back that is great for allowing body heat to escape. Then of course the best thing about it are the removable sleeves. The two sleeves can be removed from the vest easily and quickly. They don't come off separately, the sleeve come off in one piece. Once off the sleeved piece sort of looks like a shawl because it only covers the shoulders and arms. What is left is a vest that allows for wind resistance for your bodies core.

The Vagabond II is great for temps in the low 40's up to the 50's. Above that range and I wouldn't bother, and below I think that one would either have to layer quite a bit or the cold would get to you pretty quick.

The water resistance but it is quite good as well. Eventually the water will get inside. In Portland, Oregon during the winter the rain is not usually heavy, just consistant. If this jacket were worn for commuting an hour or so a day I think it would be great all winter except in the heavy rains. Of course, we don't get below freezing often and so the jacket is pretty ideal for around here.

On the downside, the sleeves don't vent that well. My arms got kind of sweaty and so when I took off the sleeves after riding for about 30 minutes they felt pretty cold as the cool air hit my long sleeved jersey I was wearing underneath. The temp at the time was in the mid 40s and the ride was at a good pace.

Grade: A-