Saturday, May 31, 2008

Trained 23 days out of 30 in May

That is a new record for me. I feel pretty good about that. I hope it translates to a good experience next weekend.

Friday, May 30, 2008

My Last Brick...

sort of sucked.

The water in Hagg Lake was freaking cold. It took my breath away at first, and that was with the wet suit and water socks on. I also had on an insulated cap, but it sucked. It was nice at first because part of my head was spared some of the shock from the water temp. Once I started swimming (and that took some time because I was breathing way too fast until I started to get used to the water) the cap started to fill with water around my ears when I would exhale. Somehow the bubbles would interrupt the seal around my face and allow water to pass through. And the water would go straight into my ear and cap would help to force it into my inner ear. The cap has a chin strap so there is no way to avoid the cap going over my ears. I swam back to the shore and took it off and swam with just a regular swim cap. There is no seal around my ears and despite the water going into my ears it felt fine. At least it could drain out when my head was out of water unlike with the insulated cap. I ended up swimming for about 20 minutes, but I didn't cover much ground. I probably swam 800 yards is all. I spent most of the time trying not to freak out. I mean I could swim fine once I got used to the temp, but every time I got about 50 to 100 yards away from shore I started to panic just a bit. There could be various reasons for this: I was alone, it was cold, I was afraid of getting ran over by a boat (despite a brightly colored cap), and just a weak mental state. Anyway, I swam a final long stretch parallel to the shore. then I got on the bike. That went fine, except that my legs felt sort of dead. I am sure that this was from yesterday's hard run, but it took a while for them to loosen up. After one lap around Hagg lake I transferred to the run. My calves were tight for the first mile but after that I was fine.

Back at home I took a shower and noticed that my shoulders got burned. Pretty darn burned actually. My shoulders were exposed for about 1hr and 20 min. That was enough when I didn't put on sunblock. I am going to have to put on a jersey with sleeves at least for the bike. Oregon has not been good to me for getting any sort of sun exposure this Spring and so this was my first effort in a sleeveless jersey of any sort. Ouch. I am going to have to break out the SPF 100 for my shoulders and upper arms during the run.

Right now it is about 3.5 hours after the end of my brick. I am feeling toasted. This does not make me feel good about Vikingman especially. Recovery better work really well this next week.

Bike Toss

Mr. Millar, if you don't want your bike, can I have it? I will even pay for the new chain, since you broke the old one.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Last One Hour Run Before Vikingman

Ran for an hour today. From here on out I am only running in 30 minute segments until Vikingman. I ran around our hilly neighborhood for about 35 minutes and then ran at the track at Catlin Gable School. I ran 2 miles at the track. The first I ran about the same pace I had been running during the run around the neighborhood and my time was 10:19. Then I ran a mile at a pace that put my heart rate in the mid to upper 160's to see what sort of time the effort would give me. My time was 9:11. This time was near the end of my hour run and so I feel pretty good about it and my ability to hold a decent pace. There is no way that I am going to be able to do either pace during the Vikingman, but I am pretty sure that a 12 minute mile pace is a good conservative estimate, assuming nothing goes horribly wrong.

Everyone tells me to relax about Vikingman. Bridget says my training has been great and that I should have no problem finishing. My swimming during class is great. My running is relatively painfree. The bike seems to be dialed. So I am going to do fine at the Vikingman. I am going to do fine at the Vikingman. I am going to do fine at the Vikingman......I will find an chalkboard and write this over and over a la Bart Simpson.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Taper is On

I never got the chance to do my final long ride before Vikingman. Oh well, I will survive. The bike is dialed in so at least I am not too worried about that part. I had hoped to have gotten in the long ride today, but I got rained out. I have mentioned before that I won't do long rides in the rain and I am not going to start now. I did do a long swim today. 2200 yards and 2000 of it was timed. Including stopping once because to talk briefly to Bridget and another time to fix my new earplugs (which rock, by the way), I swam 2000 yards in just over 44 minutes, or about 2 minutes 12 seconds for each 100. That will do for such a long distance. This is about 12 seconds slower than I do in swim class, but we do shorter distance and get breaks.

I always seem to hate the first 500 to 1000 yards on these long swims. I flip out or I get too winded...something happens that messes with my mental state. Sometimes I even get a claustrophobic feeling in the water for a while. But then once I am in for a bit I can get a handle on things and I do better. I seriously need to figure out how to fix my mind when I am in the water, because I am strong enough to swim Vikingman without much problem, but I get all freaked out when I swim without breaks for a long time.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


For some reason I use the word "dude" quite a bit. I think it comes as a result of growing up in Southern California during the 80's. My oldest son, who is 5, has picked this up and uses often as well. In honor of our frequent usage of this word I am going to focus on some "dudes" that amused or annoyed me from this past week.

We all have some streaks of bad luck but how about this in one day for my buddy Fish: Break a chain while riding. Go to shop and buy new chain. Notice that carbon aerobars had a little crack perhaps from overtightening. Ride anyway. Cross railroad at 25 mph and aerobar fails and the $300 dollar Garmin falls to the ground and shatters as a result. Bummer man. That is enough to pack it in for the day. At least you were OK. Better now than at the Vikingman. Despite all of that you still rode 60+ miles, nice work.

Today at church we were having a discussion. Everything was fine and dandy except about halfway this guy decides to drop into the adversarial mode for some reason. He just moved into the area from London and he works at the snootiest law firm in town. Admittedly I have sort of a bias against him for a couple of reasons, he has a job at any law firm and he sometimes breaks out a hint of an English accent. He only lived there for a short time, there is no need to have acquired any accent. I don't know why this accent bit bugs me but it does. It is like he is showing off that he is cool or something. Anyway, I don't mind the adversarial mode at all, but church is not law school and while playing the Devil's Advocate is cool, it should not be used to show your supposed uber-intellectual-ness. And please, to everyone that wanted to argue with him, when it is time to go let's just go and let it be. I am hungry and just want to go home and get some food by the time church is over . At this point I don't care who is wrong or right. I stopped caring (and I was one of the ones engaged in the debate) at about 1:55 PM and church is over at 2PM. Lets wrap it up so I can feed the beast within.

You really need to stop trying to see how quickly you can go in your Ferrari from 0 to 30 mph in the 24Hour Fitness/Performance Bike parking lot. How many times do you have to do this? I keep waiting for you to plow into some pedestrian/bike rider. You are an idiot. I don't know how you got your money, but seriously are you this immature that you must continually show off whenever you come to workout? Does your music have to be 120 db while doing these repetitious loser parking lot drag races? Geesh. I know that the fitness club can be a place to pick up chicks, but you are ridiculous.

There is a guy at work who seems to only sweat from his butt crack. He went to lunch via his bike and when he arrived back at the shop he was only sweaty on his back side. Not even his T-shirt was damp, but his shorts had sweat mark the shape of an hourglass. Gross. And Hilarious! We were all utterly amazed. He said that it had been always been that way, mostly just sweating out his back side. Nevertheless, I am glad he doesn't sit on my furniture. It was a great laugh and we all enjoy having him around despite the butt sweat.

ESPN Commentator-cum-Cyclist-Dude

Tonight was fun. A lawyer-friend I know from church, Stuart, has a brother that does color commentator stuff for ESPN's college football coverage. He is in town to buy a boat which he will be driving back to his place in Utah. Stuart has gotten into road biking and for some reason he thinks of me as an expert, which is sort of fun. I can spout out my biases and someone actually pays attention for once. It is nice that Stuart bugs me about cycling questions so I don't feel too bad about bugging him for job info regarding my attempts to get on with a Portland law firm.

Stuart rode over to our place and had his brother, Mr. ESPN, in tow. Mr. ESPN was pretty funny. He had bought a Trek 5500 used from some older guy in Utah. It is in good shape, but it is really too big for him. At the very least he needs a shorter stem and perhaps a non-offset seatpost. The dude is way stretched out, it is to the point where is arms are close to being locked while he is on the hoods. He also has no idea how to shift. He doesn't seem to quite get the trim feature of the left shifter. Yet, when I or Stuart get on it everything is fine. He also revealed that his junk falls asleep after less than an hour of riding. That always makes for humorous conversations especially when the brothers start making fun of each other. Anyway, Mr. ESPN-cum-Cyclist-Dude is a cycling neophyte, but he knows it and revels in it, if that is possible. And he has a great since of humor about this. I like talking bikes to anyone, but it was fun to talk to these guys about biking and other related topics. For a TV guy, he was really down to earth. Fun stuff, it made an otherwise boring evening pretty enjoyable.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Shaving the Legs

I struggle a bit with this.

Smooth legs are PRO, but is it warranted all the time? And particularly, is it at all warranted by me?

So far this year I have shaved the legs once, about 6 weeks ago. I think I decided to do so in order to put me in a better mental mindset for training. You sometimes if you don't feel like are the part, by faking it you actually come to a point when the faking it transitions to a time when you are what you were faking is real--that probably makes little sense, but hey this is a blog and the standards are low for publication.

Anyhow, I shaved the legs and they were lily-white a while back. They are still sort of white, but they are definitely darker on the tops of my knees and the backs of my calves from riding. Sunlight seems to be spotty lately so getting a tan has been difficult. I have not reshaved my legs because for some reason I started feeling like a poser. I don't know why, but I thought that shaving my legs when I still have a bit of a gut is silly. A gut is not PRO so why try to maintain an image of PRO-ness when I am not really feeling it nor do I feel I look the part. I mean I have been riding and running more miles than ever in my life but I don't really feel PRO. I feel...ho hum.

What is PRO? Belgium Knee Warmers blog is all about PRO and HERE is what they say about PRO. There definition of PRO is more inclusive than what mine has been. Maybe I am at least "pro" if not "PRO." Maybe it is time to get the razor out again. Maybe.

Should I do it when I start competing in road races? Never done a road race before. Should I do for the Vikingman? Should I do it after I complete my first century? Should I do it so that everyone thinks I am a PRO sort of guy? meh.

I think I will do it so that my increasingly defined legs look sexy. Yeah. Nothing better than shaved legs with long baggy shorts and black wool ankle socks and checkered vans. Is it PRO? I don't know. Am I PRO or even "pro"? Am I a goof-ball cyclist? You bet. Maybe that is enough.

I know this is Oregon, but seriously...

I am S I C K of this weather. It was supposed to have been sunny for most of today according the the weather report as late as last night. I wake up this morning to a forecast that calls for rain all day. What use is a weather report if this is how reliable they are. This is not the first time either. It is often the case the weather report is wrong here. I don't care what the excuses are, it sucks when the days activities get messed up because of the weather.

I guess one could say that I should put on my big boy pants and ride anyway, but that is not me. I am only going to ride in miserable weather one time of year and that is during cyclocross season. This is not cyclocross season. I am not going to ride for 4 hours in the rain just to train. So I decided to go for a run instead. I lollygagged around today so that all I had time to do was a 2 hour run instead of a 2.5 hour run. To make up for this I ran harder than my 2 hour run last week. I did this partially because I didn't bring my iPod with me for fear that it would get rained on. If I am running at a faster pace I don't seem to get as bored for some reason.

I ran a little over 10 miles in 2 hours. You might think that this 5 mph pace is kind of slow but when the elevation change of the route is taken into account I don't think it is too bad when you consider that there was over 1000 feet of climbing involved. Yeah, not fast but good enough.

By the way, I will never eat Panda Express prior to running again. I burped up some stuff about 10 times during the run. Nasty.

Despite my faster pace today I am sticking to my forecast of a 5 mph pace during the Vikingman. I will be happy with that after all that swimming and biking.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Swim Class 5/21: More "No Breaths"

No workouts yesterday. I had stuff to do for a job prospect before I went to the bike shop for the remainder of the day. So, I got an unplanned day off. It was only going to be an hour bike ride, and I am not going to worry about it.

Today's Workout:

5 - 50's with a 10 second rest after each

Main Workout

4 - 100's @ 2:30 each including rest
3 - 100's @ 2:20 " " "
2 - 100's @ 2:10 " " "
1 - 100 @ 2:00

10 - 25's no breathing on each, 15 to 20 seconds rest in between each one.

During the workout I tried to swim the first couple of set slower than what I felt was normal. I was leading the workout today in my lane, so even though I wanted to swim slow to save up for the last couple of sets of 100 I didn't want to be passed by the guy in my lane who is slightly faster than I. I kept coming in just under 2:00 for most of the time, although I was successful at coming in slightly over 2:00 a few times. When I say that swimming slower was a success, this is not as odd as it sounds. I am really trying to work on pacing myself so that I have plenty of energy for all of the sets. There have been times in the past where I have felt like the water was starting to boil because I am getting overheated. I was successful in maintaining a fairly comfortable pace the whole time. By the last 100 that we were supposed to swim I had enough in the tank to swim it in 1:47 or so. That is about as fast as I have ever swam a 100. I figure that my 500 time would be around 9:40 to 9:50 right now. This is slower than my individual 100 times today but of course I wouldn't have any breaks with the 500. My a couple months ago my 500time was around 10:25 I think. So yeah, I am faster. My wife got under 9 minutes I think before she stopped training, so it is not like I am super fast or anything.

Nevertheless, I still have anxiety over the open water swim. I actually can lose sleep over it if I happen to obsess about it before I go to bed. I am pretty close to pulling the trigger on the following item: The Tri-Aids SwimSafe. This may provide me with a mental edge since I would not have the constant battle that I have had in the past trying to fight down the panic that comes from being out in the middle of the river and having no wall nearby. Every time I have swam in the open water (4 times, but not in the past 6 months) I have freaked out a bit. Maybe I won't this time since I am a better swimmer, but I doubt it. It is becoming a phobia I think.

I am still going to complete this Vikingman, but that swim is going to suck. The water is going to be cold too. Ugh. Hopefully this Friday I will be able to get out and swim at Hagg Lake. A good open water swim would go a long way to putting an end to this anxiety.

As far as the "No Breaths" I made it 3 of the 10 times we did it. Unlike the last time we did it I didn't destroy my stroke to make it to the other side as fast a possible. Instead, our coach said that we should be just doing long strokes that stretch us out. We shouldn't have to freak out to make it. So that is what I tried to do. The 7 times that I didn't make it without breathing I made it with only one breath. Still not too bad. It takes practice to try and be as efficient as possible the whole way over to the other side. Efficiency is necessary because otherwise I am burning my oxygen too fast and I pop. The three times I did make I was pretty smooth, but I also was making the most powerful pulls that I could without flailing. I kept my legs from moving too much as well. I concentrated on being streamlined, so that my legs were not dragging low in the water behind me. Anyway, the no breath thing is starting to make more sense to me. In the past I have thought that this was a foolish exercise. But, I see that I was doing it wrong before, and so it wasn't really doing me any good. I still hate it even if I see the point.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Bought a Fat Cyclist Jersey

Go Here NOW to buy your 2008 Fat Cyclist Jersey. I picked up a pink one, but they also have some sweet orange ones. Seriously, buy one now. They profit from them goes to help Fatty's wife and her battle with cancer.

I also want this jersey from Twin Six. Go HERE

Category 6...yeah that sounds perfect for me. Seriously, I need one of those.

Swim class 5/19

Today's workout:

Warm up:
Two sets of the following
-3 x 25yds free easy pace
-1 x 25yds kick on side, arm at side

Main workout
-100 yds, 10 second rest on finish
-200 yds, 10 second " " "
-300 yds, 15 second " " "
-200 yds, 10 second " " "
-100 yds, 10 second " " "
-8 x 50 yds @ 1:05 (including rest)

Breathing Exercise/Recovery
12 x 25yds, alternating breathing patterns. The first 25yds you do with your regular breathing cycle, for me this is every other stroke. The next 25 is every 4th stroke. The next 25 is every 6th stroke. Then you start over again so that that you cycle through a four times.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weekend Off

Other than working for about 10 hours yesterday, I get the weekend off. No training, nothing until Monday. Aaaahhhhhh, my body thanks me. Next week will be harder, with a 2.5 hour run and a 4 hour bike ride scheduled. At least it is supposed to be cooler.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Heavy Training Day / Scattante CFR Elite Review

The morning started with a swim of 2100 yards. I only stopped twice, both times because I had a bunch of phlegm in my throat. This was my longest swim of the year. Honestly, I felt a little nauseated afterwards. I figured that it was because I had not eaten much before the swim, but the feeling lasted for a good 90 minutes afterwards or more.

After running a couple of errands I started my road ride at 11:30. I had hoped to have left by 10 AM, but it just didn't happen for a variety of reasons and I won't go into them here. I rode a bike from the shop that the manager loaned me, or rather he requested that I try out. The bike is a 2008 Scattante CFR Elite.

A Brief Review of the Scattante CFR Elite

It is a full carbon frameset, although the fork has an aluminum steerer tube. To my initial displeasure it had a triple crankset. I have always disliked the road triple. I like the shifting of a double crankset instead. I have not always been able to push a double, but for the past 3 or 4 years I have done very well without it. However, up until recently my rides have been shorter than my current long rides to get ready for the Vikingman Tri.

The bike feels pretty good. I believe it is made in the same factory that the Fuji frames are made--at least the carbon Scat's all come in boxes that say both Scattante and Fuji on them. But I have come to find out that some little outfit called Pedal Force also has this exact frameset available from there website for $800. So if you are looking for this as frameset that is your source because Performance Bike only offer the carbon Scat's as a complete bike (unlike their aluminum or aluminum carbon frames).

Climbing is pretty good on the CFR. Not the best and I am not sure why. The chainstays are pretty darn short and they look beefy. However, compared to my Lapierre or my Fuji carbon, it just doesn't seem to get up and go from a dead stop as quickly. The frame has just a bit of flex in it, but so does the Fuji. Like I said, not sure why or if it was all just in my head.

I am not saying it was horrible, I liked it quite a bit in actuality. This climbing critique was about the only negative I could come up with regarding the frameset. The parts are all very good; Ultegra shifters and derailleurs, a surprisingly nice spec with the FSA SLK Light crankset (again a triple, but you can also get this bike with a double), and a host of Forte parts (Performance's in-house brand of components).

There is one Forte part in particular I would like to address. It is the Forte Pro SLX Saddle.

This is a good 2hour saddle. After that it seems to spontaneously combust underneath you. From about the 2 hour point of today's ride and beyond the saddle felt like it was heating up and causing At the end of the ride it hurt to sit on the thing. Maybe it will break in, maybe it won't. My Aspide saddles have never done this to me, even when new. It is not like I was biased against it either. For the first hour I was loving it. I was thinking that I was going to have to pick one up from the shop with my discount. But then like the gremlins that eat after midnight in that 1980's movie, if you ride it over 2 hours it transforms into something evil and vicious and then it ramps it up further when it got beyond 3 hours of ride time.

To sum up, the bike handles well, it is pretty quick and nimble and is enjoyable to ride. In an effort to be completely honest, I wasn't feeling my best today anyway, so there is a chance that the whole climbing thing is all in my mind. But, after talking to the store manager he noticed something similar as well when climbing.

Today's Ride
A long time ago back in Utah it was a very hot summer day and I was walking into a grocery store. At the same time an older gentleman, probably at least 60 years old, was walking out into the sizzling air. He looked like a typical grandpa sort of guy, he had a baseball cap and a button down short sleeved shirt and looked like just another older Mormon in the Provo-Orem area. Then he said not loudly, but loud enough that I could hear him clearly, "F--- its hot." Yeah, really he said that. Surprised the heck out of me, too. It was the last thing I expected a sweet old Grandpa to say.

Today felt like one of those type of days. Part of it is that I am not used to the heat at all. I am used to riding in 50 and 60 degree weather. Today the temp is sitting at somewhere close to 95 degrees according to the thermometer in the backyard. And I was riding in it for 3 hours and 20 minutes. Yep, it sucked. When I was about an hour in to my ride I knew that without more than two 24 oz. bottles water it was going to be a short day. Luckily, there is a little convenience/auto part store near the intersection of Cornelius Pass and Skyline which was on my route. The first time passing it I bought a 24 ounce bottle of Gatorade. I continued on Skyline road until I hit Dixie Mountain Road and turned around. When I was back at the same store for a second time I bought a 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade and a 16 ounce bottle of water. I downed the water right there and filled up my water bottles with the Gatorade. During my ride I drank almost 120 ounces of water and 3 Clif Shots. I had a hard time stomaching the gels for some reason, although it was probably the heat.

An out and back on Skyline was the route I chose because much of the route is shaded. But the down side is that there are very few sections that are flat, especially when you get past Cornelius Pass and on toward Rocky Point and Dixie Mountain. The outbound section of that section pretty much sucks, especially when you don't have much in the tank. After all, this boy here ran 10 miles yesterday and swam around 1.25 miles this morning.

Here is where I will make the most embarrassing revelation possible regarding my riding shape today. I used the inner chainring. Liberally. I took up a residency there for much of the long uphill sections between Cornelius Pass and Dixie Mtn. If I wasn't so close to popping out there today I would have been embarrassed, but instead I was just grateful. That inner ring saved my ride, my back and made it possible to ride all the way out to Dixie Mountain Rd. According to I climbed a nearly 2500 feet during my 44 mile ride. On a hot day that is about all I can take apparently, with the assist of my new friend the triple crankset. I still won't be putting one on my bike though. This is the first time I have wanted one during the past several years. I will do this ride again with a double, but it just will be under different circumstances.

I also found out that my computer has been about 5% off for the past year or so. I noticed that the milage was under reporting consistently at each milage marker. So this evein I did the rollout method of measuring the wheel circumference and it was indeed off. So my ride last weekend was about 63 miles instead of 60. Nice. I have been riding faster and farther than I thought for a long time now.

Important Side Note!
Beware of riding with your jersey zipper down while flying downhill at breakneck speed. A bee found his way into my jersey and ended up stinging me on my back. Talk about a surprise. I stopped as fast as possible and practically tore off my jersey with my helmet and glasses still on--multitool, phone and gels going everywhere on the ground so that I could find out what the heck was going on. Sure enough, big ol' bee falls out on to the ground. I have never been stung before in my life so I was a bit worried about whether I was allergic to bee stings. Apparently I am not. After about 15 minutes the pain was gone. Fun stuff out there today, fun stuff.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2 hour run: Check!

I earned this glass of my super secret recovery drink.
I am now about an hour past the end of my first 2 hour run of the year. I felt great until I had to climb the hills that oscillate ever higher on my way back to the house for the last 30 to 40 minutes of the run.

No significant pain, just some minor discomfort in the knees every know and then. But truth be told, I ran slow. But then, I am guessing that by the third leg of the triathlon that will be my only speed, slow. But no matter, I just want to finish and do it with out having to walk other than to swap water bottles.

I actually ran with my iPod for the first time in over a month. It was nice. I listened to a couple of nerdy NPR podcasts and then yesterday's episode of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. They were all entertaining and helped to take my mind of the long run along Cornell Road.

Tomorrow I am still on track for the hour swim and the 3.5 hour bike ride. Joel at work requested that I take out one of our Scattante carbon road bikes to see what I think. Darn, I guess I will have to do that. Look for a post ride review soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tired/Rescheduling Workouts

I am just tired. Not sure what the deal is.

Anyway, due to things beyond my control I have to adjust my schedule this week so that I can still fit in the long run and the long bike ride on consecutive days.

Yesterday I did a short run instead my hour bike ride. Today I am not going to ride in an effort to rest for a 2 hour run before work tomorrow, which is why I only ran for a little more than 30 minutes yesterday. It ought to suck. Hopefully not, but I am feeling negative today. Friday is still a 1 hour swim and then a 3.5 hour bike ride. Saturday will be a rest day and Sunday just a short run again.

Also, the new Triathlete magazine does have an article about chocolate milk being a very good recovery drink. Oh Yeah!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Riding buddies

Sorry for this long rambling and disorganized post. But what else are blogs for but to lower the standard of what is publishable and the english language as a whole.

I have long realized that I am a solitary sort of fellow. Big parties aren't my thing unless I know most of the people there. I don't mind going to movies by myself, although I never do so anymore since I have a spouse. I ride a bunch by myself. I run by myself. I actually do occasionally ride with DTP, which this year means that I am riding by myself even if he started with me (Sorry, man sometimes kicking the dead horse can be fun).

Despite my comfort with solitude, I really like being around friends and family. I just usually find that my life doesn't work with riding with others around here lately. Sunday is church day for me and the family, so I don't get out unless it is cross season. I get about 6 or 7 Sundays a year where I can pull the cycling card out and I won't push my luck with the wife to miss church just to go on a group ride or to some road or mtb race. Cross rocks too much to lose any good will built up during the year on these other activities.

I also feel self-conscious about sucking or being an idiot. I have never ridden on a group road ride of more than 3 or 4 people. Usually it is just two of us. I wouldn't know what to do in a large group. If there is anything that will keep me out of an activity it is when I don't know what I am doing in front of strangers. Occasionally, with friends I don't mind acting like an idiot for some reason. Last year's Rick James Super Freak Karaoke solo at a party with some good friends out here is a good example of that. Sorry, it is legendary and those lucky enough to have been there know this to be true. Well there was also a Bee Gee's lip sync last year that I led that sort of rocked too. Anyway, such things rarely ever happen with me. I am way too anxious to do such things normally. And since I don't drink, I have a hard time breaking down my walls to act out my inner idiot freely in front of strangers.

Anyway, back to the subject of cycling.

I really wish I had some more good buddies to ride with here in Oregon. In Utah, Fish was my gateway to a great bunch of guys. Before Fish, there was Rob Pyne and Craig Nebeker who were not only fun to hang with but great to ride with. And with all these people, my wife got along them and their spouses equally well too, bonus. Here, I ride with DTP. And once I went on a ride with guys from the Beaverton Performance at Brown's Camp. I get along with everyone great that I meet at the shop, but the bond is not really deep. But I don't hang with any of them after hours. I miss that sort of stuff. The people I do hang with don't bike. This sucks.

I still cling to Fish a bit in Utah, because I think I get what makes him tick and I think he gets me too. Riding is important and so are friends that you can share experiences with. Riding an epic ride is great when there are people who were right there with you sharing the same hell. Reading his blog brought to a head some of what I have been thinking about for months. This year more than any other has been devoid of this comraderie. Which is probably one reason why this blog exists, it is an attempt to share some of my love for the sport. I miss sharing experiences with friends regarding cycling. My wife is pregnant, DTP has gone off the wagon, and others who I could ride with that I know have totally different schedules than I. Plus this whole half ironman triathlon traing thing means I have to be somewhat rigid in my training/riding compared to what I prefer. I can ride long on Friday and that is about it. Mornings are usually good too, at least until 11AM because I have to get ready to work Tuesday - Thursday and then Saturday. Monday, I watch our kids and I have already written about my Sunday issues.

I mean I have time to ride, I just get to go alone becuase most of the guys I know have real jobs and work during the day. This is usually OK--riding alone. But reading blogs like Fish's and some others make me realize I am missing out on the fraternity of cycling.

I need to find a group to train with occasionally. A group that won't require a huge amount of time becuase of family, church and job responsibilities, but with whom I can feel I have a common bond with. That last part takes time to develop.

In law school there were a group of guys that rode together, a couple are on the Gentle Lovers team. I never rode with them because I felt slow, some what like a poser, and fat. Also, I often felt like with my family, I was being selfish if I did much more than ride to school. My kids and wife hardly saw me during long stretches of time. It was hard on them, so why make it harder by being selfish? Hanging with those guys seemed like the wrong thing to do, too much like playing while my family suffered. Summers have been golden for riding except for this last one when I was studying for the Oregon Bar Exam.

This is not the case now--feeling guilty about riding. I see my family lots and I just need to find time to ride with others that have a weird schedule too. This is why DTP was good to ride with. He has his own company and he can get away pretty much anytime he is motivated to do so. But his refusal to suck it up and do the Vikingman means that we are not on the same page anymore. At least not until after June 7th when I can devote more time to mtb and Brown's Camp. I still like riding with him because his constant bitching is sort of entertaining for some reason. Not sure why this is so, but there it is.

I have some prospects for riding partners. My friend Marcus is buying a singlespeed 29er this week and if he can get his asthma under control it won't be long until he is passing me up. That would be cool. There are a few guys at my shop and at one of the other Performance shops that I would like to ride with again. I get along well with another nice fellow, Mr. Spears, and since I helped him get his latest cross machine, I think he might slum it with me sometime on a ride. I don't mind riding with faster people as long as they don't mind riding with someone a bit slower than they are. I don't mind suffering.

The key is that I need to put myself out there. It is sort of like dating or something. Trying to find people to ride with that I can relate to and wouldn't mind doing things with other than cycling. Yeah, that would be cool. I would love return to the days when friends come over and we have some thick meats grillin' in the backyard as we joke about some ride or another. Yep, good times await, I just gotta integrate.

Monday Swim Workout / Schedule for the week

Today's swim workout was as follows:

Warm up
-Three 50's free
-One 50 no free (any stroke but freestyle)
Main workout
-Ten 50's @ 1:15
-Eight 50's @ 1:10
-Five 50's @ 1:05
-Three 50's @ 1:00
Cool Down
-Ten 25's with low stroke count. 5 seconds rest in between each 25.

I was swimming too fast at the beginning of the workout. 55 second 50's for the first ten 50's and probably most if not all of next set of eight 50's. Then the wheels started to come off. I have come to know when my doom is close when the pool temperature seems to rise to nearly the level of a hot tub. I didn't seem to be able to get enough air and the wall couldn't have come soon enough. Still, I was swimming each 50 during the set of five 50's at either a minute or better. Then we were at the last set of three 50's when I blew up trying to stay at the one minute pace. I did the first one under the time allotted, but the second one was a couple of ticks slower and then before the last 50 I had to stop and catch my breath. I was nauseated and a bit dizzy. I was overheated--basically my radiator cap blew. After that last lap I rested for a minute or two before starting the cool down portion of the workout.

Still, I have progressed--or at least he is working up harder judging by a previous blog post on a couple of weeks ago.

Training schedule for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: bike one hour
Wednesday: Swim class and run 45 minutes
Thursday: Day Off
Friday: Lap Swim 1 hour and Bike 3.5 hours
Saturday: Run 2 hours.
Sunday: Rest Day

Total time for the week: 9:45

Really there are just a bunch of easy days in preparation of two days of hell, Friday and Saturday. Friday I have off and Saturday I have to go to work after I run. If Bridget works on Saturday, the run will have to be on Sunday.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reality: TT is not so bad

...when this is your tt bike. Comfy.


Yesterday I somewhat grumpily got on my Fuji and set out for a 3+ hour tour of Central Oregon. In my jersey pockets were CO2 tire inflator, tube, 3 Clif Shot gels, cell phone, a small multi tool, and a credit card. It was just warm enough that I decided to wear the bib shorts instead of the bib knickers. I did put on some Elite Ozone Thermogel (which rocks for cooler weather) just in case the weather stayed cool or turned bad. I started with arm warmers but about a third of the way through they were also jammed into the rear pockets of my jersey.

This is the road about 5 miles in.

No signals, just one stop sign on my out and back. This is about as close to a real TT or Tri condition as I will ever get without racing.

Here is another part of my route, this time in Black Butte Ranch.

I rode a total of 63.2 miles and my pace was 19.4 mph. The first 5 to 8 miles where not comfortable at all. Everything just felt weird. My legs weren't working and to put it bluntly, my junk was feeling a bit like it was being mangled by the saddle. Then oddly enough from about the 10 mile mark on the junk was just a non issue--at least as far as comfort goes. From mile 10 through 45 everything was great. I realized that I didn't bring enough gels with me. I ended up buying some Shot Bloks at Eurosport in Sisters. Water was fine--I had some Gu electrolyte orange flavored stuff that tasted nasty, but worked well. I was able ration the 48 oz of water I had with me pretty easily. The wind picked up for the last 10 or so miles when I was heading back to Black Butte Ranch. This also happened to be the same time that my lower back started to really give out. Those last 10 miles pretty much sucked; a head wind and a lower back that would not allow me to put much power into my pedalling. Every couple of miles I had to get out of the aero position either to climb a hill or to relieve pain.

This is Black Butte and seeing this means I am almost there.

This was not a part of my route, just a couple of miles further west on Route 20. Weird, snow on the side of road in May

So, I was on the bike for over 3 hours and that is a long time to be alone with ones thoughts. Maybe not as long as some poor sap in prison, but still TT is a very solitary activity. My legs were just endless doing revolutions and my head looking about 30 to 50 feet down the road except for about every 30 seconds when I would glance further down the road for obstructions. Oh yeah, and the constant looking at my aero bar where my computer is located. It is like that stupid cateye was a magnet and my eyes were made of iron.

Some of my thoughts delved into such deep subjects as:

"Why did they decided to make the chainrings 39 and 53? [Seemingly random numbers. One is a prime number and one is not. Is that the perfect ratio when mated with an 11/23 or 12/25 cassette? Why not a 39T and 54T? At least then they are both divisible by the number 3 (53 is a prime number and not divisible by anything other than itself and one)]

How long would it take me to learn the ins and outs of ERISA? [I have a lead on a job where they are looking for someone to deal with a significant amount of ERISA work]

Should I sell this bike and get a normal road bike? [I swear this is my first AND last half-ironman distance triathlon. Would I enjoy another bike more? Should I sell one of my two cross bikes instead?, was a closely related question. I ended up in the negative on these bike questions. I have nice bikes and don't have a desire for any of the bikes I could afford or get any deals on.]

How long is it going to take me to finish the Vikingman? [I figure 6 hours 15 minutes is realistic]

What are we going to name this latest boy we have coming at the end of summer? [We have no idea and I couldn't come up with anything on the ride either]

Anyway, there were lots of other thoughts. I passed a wreck involving a guy and a motorcycle. There were paramedics working on him on a stretcher. I was sort of afraid to look because I get a little ill when I see gore that is real. Luckily for both of us he appeared to be whole and pretty much unscathed.

I am pretty good at finding things to think about. At least until the pain starts--which is why those last 10 miles sucked so bad, I couldn't think about much else by that time.

I will try and get in at least another long ride on the Fuji before the Vikingman. One of my two remaining long road rides before the Vikingman (friday is a 3.5 hour ride and the following friday is a 4 hour ride) will be on the Fuji again. The other may be on the Lapierre if I can figure out how to bring enough water on a bike that has no bottle mounts (hey, it is a cyclocross race bike, what does it need bottle mounts for?).

I think I will be ready for Vikingman. I realize this is not the most positive attitude. I should say, "I know I will be ready." But that wouldn't be honest. I have bad memories of my last triathlon in Idaho. I was truly miserable for that one last summer. I am just not real excited about 6+ hours out there in Idaho being either miserable or almost miserable. Yeah, but when I am done I will always be able to say I did it. That is something, surely.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Coming Soon: Why I hate TT

Tonight we head to Black Butte Ranch for two days of childless fun. The boys are staying with Grandma. Well, at least the ones that are not still connected and residing within my wife.

Tomorrow--3 hours of hell trying to stay in the aero position for around 50 miles. I am expecting it to suck. If it doesn't that will be a bonus. I have done all I can to get the Fuji to feel as comfortable as possible. It just isn't as comfy as I had hoped. For a while it should be fine. I am expecting it to suck from for hours 2 and 3. I would love to be wrong.

Sunday--Either a long swim or long run depending upon how I feel.

Inbetween those times I plan on making a pig of myself. Oh, and I will be sitting in the hot tub at the house for as long as I can take it.

See ya next week.

Singlespeed--aaaahhhh yeah

I got up pretty early and went out the door before 6am and picked up a friend on our way to do a little singlespeed riding in Forest Park. Why so early? He still needed to work and doing the ride so early in the morning means that my family wouldn't miss me.

I went with Marcus and it was his first ride on a singlespeed and also on a 29er. Oh yeah, and we were both riding without any suspension. Other than his difficulty with the cold morning air and asthma, it was a great time. We started at the bottom of Germantown and climbed up to where Leif Erikson meets Germantown. He wasn't really ready for that climb. Still he was a trooper and we were soon finished with the 3/4 mile climb. Leif Erikson was a pleasant break.

Then came Springville Road. That is a fairly difficult road when you only have one gear. He just walked up most of it. The stock gearing on the bike he was riding was not the best for a SS newbie. 32/18 with 29 inch wheels is a pretty difficult set up when you haven't done much biking lately. While Marcus is in pretty good shape, he doesn't ride a bike much at all. That combined with some odd lung difficulty from asthma or bronchitis it made was already a difficult set up, impossible. Still, there was no complaining from him at all.

We headed down Firelane 7 and then branched off onto 7A. The trail was nice and clear--thanks to all those who must have spent some significant time clearing it--and we blistered the trail with our suspensionless bikes. I hit 37 mph--which ain't so bad I don't think for any kind of bike really, suspension or not. Marcus was not too far behind either.

We dumped out onto Leif again and headed back to where there is a bit of singletrack that leads back down to where we parked the car at the bottom of Germantown Rd. I was just feeling pumped. I railed and nailed everything. All of the little drops and off-cambers where no match for the Curtlo and I. There was one time in particular where I just had to trust her. I put us in the right direction and the bike just went down the rooty drop as if it were nothing. And the steering at speed is perfect. Stable but agile. There wasn't much of a learning curve to know how to push it. Many thanks to Doug Curtiss at Curtlo.

Marcus was a little timid going down the more difficult parts, but did fine. He said he had a blast and loved the way the GT Peace 9r rode. I think he is a convert to both SS and the Church of the Twentynine.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Swim Class: Technique Workouts

I love them, usually. I am getting good enough that they don't confuse me and feel like an idiot in the water. Early on I felt totally uncoordinated when doing these sometimes odd things in the water. Usually the technique exercises involve fins. Sometimes it is just finding neutral body positions. Other times we turn from side to side without using our arms. And often we have to stroke with just one arm and then turn on our side, repeated over and over again switching arms each length. There are others we do as well, and some are difficult to describe. Anyway, it is a nice break from our usual workouts. For the last 10 minutes or so of class we did 6 50's @ 1:10 including rest and then 2 100's at 2:20 including rest. I did the 50's in 55 seconds and the 100's in 1:55.

29ER Proselytizing

A friend of ours was interested in a going singlespeed. I talked him into trying a 29er. Actually I didn't have to try that hard. He seemed pretty excited. The shop let me borrow a GT Peace 9r and he is giving it a spin.

His wife would rather he buys a road bike to ride with her, but he seems to have little interest in road bikes. When she first heard he wanted to buy a bike she was all excited that they would be able to bike together while she trains for tri's. When he said it was a mountain bike she was totally deflated. She wasn't really excited about him getting a mountain bike, and he responded by saying, "So I am supposed to support you when you are spending a $1000 on a road bike and you won't support me when I want to buy a $300-$400 mountain bike?"

She responded, "Yes!"

Monday, May 5, 2008

Lance is a swell guy no matter what the French say

A friend of some friends of mine is having a rough go right now. He is known on the web as the Fat Cyclist. Check out a recent post here. Lance Armstrong sent him a photo message that he posted on his blog. He is a good guy regardless of what the cycling world says (and forgetting that he had a lapse of reason when he was with one of the Olsen twins)

The blog over the past few days has been mostly about his wife's cancer. Fight on Susan! We all know people that have been affected by cancer and other similar illnesses. Please do what you can to help others fight the battles that are going on out there.

My sister has a daughter with Tuberous Sclerosis and her husband is a carrier. He has had about had to have one kidney removed and part of another because of it.

There are lots of good causes out there. Try to find one.

Swimming and Racing: not so much

I have come to the conclusion that I just should not ever race while swimming. I just need to swim. There is a difference. When I am trying to race or not get passed by someone I get all anxious. By breathing goes to hell and I start flipping out for some reason. I came to this truism today during swim class.

I have been doing great swimming recently. I have gotten either as fast or faster than the fellow in my lane that has been faster than me this term. [We have two lanes and 4 to 5 swimmers in each lane. I am in the slower of the two groups and I am the 2nd fastest of the 5 of us.] I have been comfortable letting him lead, because he has the fastest 500 time (that was about 3 weeks ago) out of our group. However, he has recently missed some classes, and my stroke has recently gotten better. He realized this too and suggested I go first. Fine, whatever. No biggie. At least not for awhile. Then I realize that I am going faster than what I should be swimming for the workout we are doing. So I slow it down. He starts 10 seconds back of me at each interval and he never came close to catching up, yet I have to race every time for some freaking reason. I am doing 50's in 50 seconds and so forth. For class I usually like to keep them just under a minute so that I don't go anaerobic during the later laps. 5 of 10 seconds faster at that length is a big deal. And the thing is I don't have to swim that fast to keep him off me.

Anyway, during the middle of the workout we are supposed to be doing a couple of 150 yard lengths, each one at 2:20 or so, including rests. During the first one I flip out and have a mini-panic attack. I had started thinking negative thoughts about swimming in open water. I was feeling tired and so I was thinking thoughts along the lines of,"if I am tired already, how am I going to survive the open water swim where I won't have a wall to hold on to like in the pool for 30+ minutes?" My breathing became accelerated and when I was done with that 150 length I told the guy to go ahead and start ahead of me. I started 10 seconds after him and I decided that I didn't care how slow I went I was just going to swim the lengths at moderately easy pace.

Wow, what a difference it made.

I was swimming at good pace--sub 1 minute 50's-- but my stroke was more relaxed. My breathing was calm. I wasn't that much slower, but my mental perspective was changed. I was just swimming. Not that swimming is my favorite thing to do. In fact, of the three parts to a triathlon it is by far my least favorite. I think it is because I still feel like I might die while doing it. But there are times when the water and I have at least a cordial relationship. I need to practice zen or something, because if I feel I have to race in the water, soon it is all over. I flip out. I must be mentally weak or something.

Oh and the guy I let pass me--he wasn't swimming faster then me. I would start to catch him on every interval. What a spaz I am.

Today's Run:

I ran on the treadmill today. I am trying to avoid injuring further my meniscus so I am doing as I am told: running only on the straight and flats. For this reason, treadmills are the way to go. I started off running at about a 5.7 to 5.9 mph pace. I would occasionally bump it up to 6.2 to 6.4 mph followed by dropping it down to 5.5 mph to get me heart rate down. After about 30 minutes I noticed that my HR was not going back down much. Crap. "What the heck is up with this", I thought. I learned from last year that training at too high a HR is bad, or at least not good for training for a tri. I just started dropping the pace until I got it down to an acceptable area. At the end of my planned run--6.7 miles--I was only able to run at a 5.2 mph pace without going above my target HR. Weird. Maybe I was tired from the swim class, or just worn out generally.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

One more sucka...

linked to the blog:

Hey, and she even rides a 29er!

Current position on the Fuji

Comments (no bagging on the gut either, thank you)? What do you think Fish?

I realize that most people would say that the hump in my back needs to go.

Here is one of the above photos with some lines to help critique my position:

This is the best feeling position I have been able to try. It has been a fairly prolonged process. While the wife and I are in Black Butte this next weekend, I will try and throw down about 40 miles and see how it goes.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Still getting the kinks out

I rode today just for a bit. I haven't been getting a lot of sleep lately for a variety of reasons and I have been feeling worn out. Especially yesterday. Today I slept in and then just rode to work. I took the Fuji out as I am still trying to get it dialed in.

I have found that if I just don't look too far down the road my neck feels OK. But that is hard not to do when I am riding in traffic. If I just tilt my head at about a 45 degree angle so that I see only about 25 feet down the road I am fine. During the Vikingman this should be acceptable. Still I would like to dial it in further. Compared to yesterday's ride, I put in the spacers under the arm rests and tilted the aero bars slightly up and slid them closer to me. This was a big help. I am thinking I would like to be just a bit higher at the armrest, but in order to do this I need to get another stem. So I will probably see if I can find one somewhere that will work.

In reality I would rather just ride a regular road bike with regular ol' dropbars. This TT stuff is a pain in the butt to get right. Small little changes are a bit deal. I tilted my saddle down just a bit too, and all of a sudden amazing how much more comfortable that area was down there. The whole thing is foreign, set-up wise at least. I know I have the bike in the right ballpark at least. I am just not sure about riding in that aero position for 50+ miles. My arms and shoulders just not used to carrying the load this way. I wish I had some exercises or something to help. In the absense of this I am just planning on riding the Fuji until the Vikingman, and doing it in the aero position for as much of that time as possible. This way, I can get used to it and continue to fine time the bike.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fuji Pics and TRP Euro X Review

Behold the new handlebar set up. With the 17 degree stem I am up about an inch or more higher than I was previously. In about an hour I am going out to ride it. Hopefully I can get it fine tuned today.

UPDATE: The bike still needs some work. I get a kink in my neck after about 15 minutes in the aero position. I must not be very flexible at all in my back. It needs come up about at least a half inch, if not a whole inch where the arm rests are. We must have stopped about 10 times so I could make little adjustments along the way. But since it was DTP with me and he isn't training for anything I didn't feel bad. Nevertheless, it was an improvement or the last set up.

Product review: TRP Euro X Brakes

I really like these brakes. They stop well, they are easy to set up and they squeal very little. In addition, it is important to note that the brakes have not caused my fork to shudder at all. Whether this is due to the fork--a Ritchey WCS carbon--or to the brakes, or both I am not sure. I have to toe-in the front brakes on my Curtlo cross bike quite a bit to make it so the Pauls Neo Retro brakes don't cause my Alpha Q CX fork to shudder in a scary way.

The brakes come with carbon pads as well as regular pads for those who have more money to burn on cross wheels than I do. The pads are probably not the best wet weather pads out there but the work well enough that I won't install a salmon or some other wet weather pad until these wear out.

Set up was pretty easy to figure out. This means I didn't have to read the instructions to install them and get them working well. I did play around with the height of the yoke, but nothing difficult.

The brake arms ca be set really wide so that with many tires I don't have to even bother releasing the straddle cable to get the wheels out. This is a huge plus.

Negative stuff. The only bad stuff is that the set screws tended to back out at first. I put a little loctite on them and all is well. I ended up losing one of the set screws on the yoke but it doesn't affect the performance of the brake at all. The set screws there just hold the straddle cable in place and so having two of them is sort of redundant anyway. Sometimes the brake rattles just a bit. This only is evident when I just barely have the brake hitting the rim. The brake moves on the brake posts on the frame and fork just a bit no matter how much I tighten them. I could put a little washer in between the brake and the brake bolt that holds each arm on, but it hasn't affected the performance at all that I can tell and I usually can't hear it rattling at all on any rides, so I haven't bothered.

Overall this is a very well done brake.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Have Hit the Big Time

I am on the blog roll at K-Man's blog. Whoo-hoo! Someone that is not an immediate family relation has linked to RCMT! Amazing! Maybe I should quit now, I no longer have any goals for this blog. It has been noticed, so I'm out. GOODNIGHT NOW!
OK, OK, OK,...I will keep it going for all the little people out there. It is a difficult burden to carry, but somehow I will find a way to go on...

Meniscus Pain and Mashing

I have done it again. This time no illness though. I have some somewhat serious pain that is located on the left side of my knee cap. It was fairly painful while riding today. In fact it is why my ride was only for 1 hour and 45 minutes instead of my planned 2.5 hour ride. I had been out for around 45 minutes when I noticed some discomfort in my right knee. Then it got progressively worse. I had to back way off my power and sat in my small ring on the Lapierre most of the time. Spinning at a higher cadence without much stress was better, but not perfect. Hills were no fun at all.

My personal PT (who happens to be my mother-in-law) says it is probably just a strain of the Meniscus in the knee. If it were an actual tear it would be much more painful. Right now the only time it hurts is when I am riding. Walking or running so far hasn't aggravated it. The pain is from the swelling she says. For now I am supposed to take it easy and not overload it. Running is OK if it does not involve any hills or turning (which means that I am limited to the treadmill since there is not a single stretch of flat and straight roads within 10 miles of here). For the bike, I need to move away from my normal Jan Ulrich Style of riding. I am not sure that my mashing of the pedals is what caused the injury, but it won't make it better.

Speaking of the Jan Ulrich style of riding--which is basically pedal mashing with a low cadence--I just had a flashback. I remember a day when Fish and I first started riding together. I was fat and out of shape still (we were riding mountain bikes up the Alpine Loop and my granny gear was hardly low enough for me to climb it back then) and he asked if I was a spinner or a masher. Frankly, at that point I was just trying to be a survivor, but I think I answered "spinner." I reasoned that since I was stuck in the granny gear at the moment and the cranks were indeed spinning that this was the appropriate answer. I was in no shape to mash anything with those legs back then. I felt like a "Poseur" even answering that question then.

Then came my single speeding days--which I am still in--and I have grown way too comfortable just mashing in whatever gear to get up a hill. This has become a habit for road as well. I consistently pedal around 80 to 85 revolution per minute. Sometimes less. Joel at work spins at over a 100 and sometimes 120. But he is light enough that a strong wind would blow him off his bike probably. Pedalling that fast just feels spastic.

Anyway, perhaps this is a sign of things to come? Are my mashing days over? Will I have to give up the my precious singlespeed? Please no. P-l-e-a-s-e!