Friday, March 28, 2008

March 28th and it snowed.

I had grand plans of riding for a couple of hours and swimming for an hour. That was what was on the training schedule. But then I woke up and there was an inch of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. That sealed the deal--I was taking the day off from training. Screw it, I was feeling pretty worn down, still fighting just a tiniest bit of a cold, and I needed to do our taxes, and several other excuses that were handy to help me rationalize my way to the easy chair.

Do I feel guilty? Maybe a little, but I did get the taxes done (nice refund, thanks feds), I built a train track with the boys, we made spaghetti with italian sausage and garlic bread, and then watched Bee Movie.

So on the whole, it was good it snowed. By the way, currently watching Dan in Real Life, like it so far.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bike Trainers

I hate them. well, sort of. I have a strong aversion to putting the bike in the trainer even when the weather is poor.

Even though I can watch TV while riding, it just doesn't do it for me at all. I get so bored. There is no wind, no change of scenery, and there is no change of speed--it is always zero.

I guess I should be glad that I could ride for a bit without having to be out in the snow....yes, it snowed briefly this morning. It is the end of March and the weather blows. The past few times I have been able to sneak a ride in during a non-rainy window of time during the day. No so today.

I was supposed to ride for an hour according to the plan, but after 40 minutes I was done riding the trainer. Tomorrow is supposed to be a long day anyway, hopefully the weather is a bit better.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My body is like a...

Fiat; it runs well for a few days and then it seems like it needs to go into the shop again. Man, is it age that does this or am I really this out of shape? I ache a bit and my hip is acting up and I feel like I am getting a cold again. But I suspect that it is mainly my body just feeling worn down for some reason.

Check this out

Someone on OBRA mailing list linked to this video today. Interesting. It is from the UK.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Update: 75 days to go + late night meanderings

With less than 11 weeks before the big race I am feeling like my body is starting to get stronger. This doesn't mean that the race won't be one of the worst experiences of my life, it just means that I think I am starting to turn the corner.

For the longest time this winter I have just felt like I have been in the doldrums. I haven't been able to get into a rhythm, parts of my were breaking down and when combined with my mental issues (December and January my head just wasn't in the game at all) those bad months had resulted in my training lagging behind where it should be for such an event as the Vikingman.

Today was my day with the boys and we had lots of fun while the wife worked. Normally, on Mondays I go to the rec center and drop the boys off in the daycare there. But because it is spring break there is no daycare this week. This kind of threw me off a bit, but the wife was willing to let me go when she got off work.

I ran on the treadmill for 70 minutes. About 25 minutes into the workout a friend from church came in and starting running next to me. He is training for a half marathon the weekend after Vikingman. [I wish that is all I was training for.] He starts up right off the bat at 7.2 mph. Damn, he must be in pretty good shape I am thinking. He doesn't have a HRM, so I have no idea what his heart rate is, but after about 20 minutes his body language is not a smooth as it was when he started. I am just keeping my HR around the low 150's with an occasional hop up to 160 just for kicks and then back down to the upper 140's to low 150's again. This goes on until I hit 55 minutes, when I am still feeling pretty good, but my pace has only been 5.5 to 6.0 most of the time to keep my heart rate where I want it. Dude next to me, his name is Mike by the way, is pumping it up to 7.5 now and he has been running for 30 minutes. I had thought that he would back it down a notch after a bit because he hasn't been training for very long and I didn't think he was this type of runner. However, I am thinking that I was wrong about him. I am feeling a bit like a weenie here doing my heart rate training stuff. While he is thinner than I, I have been training for longer. And I am in my uber-competitive mood at that point. So what to do....

I kick it up to 8.0 mph and turn the iPod on to something that will get me going. Oh yeah, I am flying...or at least it seems that way to me after running over 2 mph slower for almost an hour. I can see both of our reflections in the windows in front of us. I work on keeping my form looking good and not like Magilla Gorilla. Compared to Mike, I think I am looking a little smoother--but that might have just been me in my workout haze instead of reality. I ran at 8 mph for almost a mile. Then I backed it down so that I could have time to cool down properly by the 70 minute mark. My HR got up to 185 at the very end, which is my max according to my rough calculations.

We both finished at nearly the same time. Although he had run at a faster pace during his run on average, I felt like I had done well enough. I ran 2 miles further and ran my fastest at the very end. I really should not have cared what he was running, but I have this competitive problem at times. If I have no shot at competing with someone, I don't care what they do, but if for some reason I think I should be in the same fitness category as some particular friend or associate I have to start a pissing match. Or at least one is going on in my head, not verbally.

I do this every time I go out to Utah to see Fish. I love going out there, but I have to get a little competitive with Fish. It only takes one ride usually--sort of a heat check to see who is going to rule the roost that weekend. DTP is always there too, but he is content to wallow in the back for some reason. One year Fish was en fuego, we could not touch him (I remember him listening to the Shins on his iPod riding up the road to Benny Creek like it was nothing while I was near my limit on my singlespeed try to stay at his pace), but the last couple years I have felt pretty good, or good enough anyway. I don't brag about beating Fish if I do, although I am sometimes merciless with DTP. It is important to me to have a good showing when Fish is around for some reason.

After thinking on this for a bit, I think that with Fish, I goes back to when he rode with me when I was fat and horribly out of shape some years back. I mean I was on the road to an early death. I hadn't done much of anything in 4 or 5 years. I hadn't touched a bike in 3. Regardless, he stayed with on numerous rides and never, ever, gave me a hard time about being so damn slow. I owe him a lot. Nevertheless, it was a goal to actually be able to ride as fast as Fish in those days, and then to ride faster than Fish. I felt that if I could do so then I was probably doing OK physically, and getting healthier. I remember like it was yesterday the time that we were going up near Timpanogos Caves that he asked me what the hell I was doing setting a pace like that when I was at the front. My inner self was beaming, it was the first time that had happened on the road. He had owned me on when riding on the road up to that point. I think it was probably sort of like when a kid finally can outrun is father or something. I know, that is weird, but it is probably true.

So it is that I like to do these occasional heat checks, to see who is going to lead the pack that day. Admittedly, most of the time, I am off the back when riding with people of modest ability around here. Nevertheless, it is fun. I don't ever wish rub it in and make someone uncomfortable riding with me, and if I have, well, I am sorry. Except for DTP though. I mean to make him uncomfortable, mainly because I think he likes it that way.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


In an effort to keep myself humble, I post these three movies of my swimming a taken about a month ago. Hopefully I look better swimming than I did then. Geesh. My legs are all floppy, I don't rotate well on my non-breathing side, my right arm crosses over to far to the left while underneath the water, blah blah blah...

Anyway, to the folks out there, don't copy my stroke in these videos.

These videos were taken by the coach of our swim class. He was delayed by several weeks getting these to us because, well, he was hit by a car while running. His fault he says. Anyway he is doing fairly well, even if my stroke is not.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Finally, a sunny day

What a great day for a ride. When I left this morning it was pretty cold, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I rode for as long as I had time prior to work--an hour and 45 minutes. Training plan called for 2 hours plus an hour swim. However, there wasn't anywhere I could swim prior to work so I missed out. Frankly, it was probably a good thing. Swimming for an hour, riding for 2 hours and then working for 9 hours at the shop on a Saturday would have been a little much. It was pretty busy today there.

Anyway, I feel good. No significant back or hip pain, and while I am more tired than I should be, I feel good.

Also, I gotta write about the deal of the day. I had picked up a saddle for the Fuji a bit ago, a stupid Forte knock-off of the Selle San Marco Aspide, which is my current favorite saddle for regular riding. It is thin and light and, for some reason, it is more comfortable than other more padded saddles for me. Normally, this saddle has a retail of $149, but sells at our shop for around $110. Performance has a policy that they will match any ones price. I was cruising google at work for a customer for info on another saddle and I came across a site blowing out the Aspide for $75. As an employee I get an extra 10% off the best price that Performance will sell for, or 30% off retail whichever is less. So I got the saddle for $67.50. I also returned the Forte Aspide knock-off saddle (which was ridden once, but they also have a liberal return policy, especially on saddles) for $39.99 and so I only had to pay an extra 27 or so bucks to get a sweet saddle. Another employee saw what I did, and he bought the remaining two of those saddles that we had in stock himself. Sometimes, Performance is alright.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sick, but moving on

Got a cold, but after two days off from training to get better, I needed to get back to it. I feel pretty good--good enough to run for a bit anyway. Ran around the neighborhood. For some reason I seemed to pick all the hilly roads and trails. Still it was good to be outside and to be able to run without pain. Well almost without pain. I still have just the slightest twinge in my lower back right now, 15 minutes after I finished. But during the run, the only pain was from being out of shape.

I have an exact training plan now (too bad I missed 2 of the first four days of it because of the cold) and I have it set out 4 weeks. I could go longer, all the way to the Vikingman, but things happen so in a couple weeks I will see if I need to switch when I do certain workouts in order to do everything thing else I have going on right now.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Training Update: A Little Worried

I have been training a bit, but not as much as I need to be. I am not feeling the love today. I just feel tired and out of shape. I am way heavier than I should be, my eating habits are crap, I could go on and on...

But I am pretty sure I could do the swim as of right now. Other than the panic that will set in from being in open water. I need to be consistent with these next 10-12 weeks for sure with everything else. I have had a hard time fitting in long bike rides. Most of them have been about an hour. It seems like every time I want to go on a long one the weather turns to crap. I really don't do long rides in the rain. I will commute in the rain if I need to, but longer than that--nope.

My running is slow. I am trying to up the miles I can run at one time. Today I ran 5 miles plus a bit extra on cool down and warm up. I can't run much more than that without it hurting. It doesn't hurt aerobically, it hurts my hip and lower back. I am not sure what to do about it. I just have to take it easy and hope that I can keep it together for the next few months. It may be that during Vikingman I will just have to suffer durring the half-marathon portion. Probably a lot of suffering. I just hope it goes better than last years Spudman. That story has long been played out, but I don't have a bar exam this year, nor another appendix that could burst, so if I can stave off the broncitis I should be ok. I hope.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Post Ride Impressions: Lapierre


Freaking Awesome.

Frame fits like my custom Curtlo.

Tubular tires are all that they are cracked up to be. Truly if you ain't running them, you should for cyclocross. Better traction, softer ride, amazing.

SRAM Rival is all right. Not the best, but it will do just fine.

The frameset feel great. Stiff, light, and FAST.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

One friend leaves, another arrives

The Cannondale CAAD 9 is gone. In its place is this lovely Lapierre XLite cross bike. Amazingly light.

Ritchey WCS carbon fork
Ritchey Pro Logic headset
SRAM Rival Shifter/Brake levers
SRAM Rival Front derailleur
SRAM Rival Rear derailleur
Shimano Dura Ace 12-27 cassette
Ritchy WCS 4 Axis Stem
Ritchey WCS handlebar
Thomson Elite Seatpost
Selle San Marco Aspide (very old, very broken in saddle)
Mavic Ksyrium ES Special Edition Wheelset, Tubular
Tufo Flexus Tires
TRP Euro x brakes
Crank Bros. Eggbeater SL pedals
FSA SL-K Compact Carbon Crankset

I am going to go ride it today for the first time.