Thursday, August 27, 2009

Suffering at Cross Practice = 193.2 lbs.

I showed up the Brianero's cross practice last night. About a dozen folks showed up and I was the slowest overall. At one point I pulled over and had to take a drink because I felt like I was either going to pass out of puke. Or both. Jimbo was faster. Marcelo was faster--that guy can haul butt when he gets the handling think down there is no way I will even come close. The others were B racers or better and the fact that I didn't compete isn't that big of a deal. At least it isn't right now.

We did a couple of laps, then 4 laps, and then 3 laps. It was during the 3 lapper that I had to stop for a drink. But I did finish the workout. I realized that sucking it up is OK, as long as I keep getting after it. I will just keep at it, going to my limit and that will be enough. The course really seems like it is all up hill. There really isn't much of a place to rest while going up and down and through the trees.

Nevertheless, I got on the scale this morning and I weighed 193.2 lbs. Nice. 8 More pounds to hit goal weight. Almost halfway there.

While dropping about 7 pounds since I crested 200 a bit ago hasn't been easy, it hasn't been too bad. The lowest I hit last year was 187 and change I think. So perhaps I will hit a wall in the near future and the weight will be harder to drop.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cernitz Update

Things are progressing nicely!

Click HERE!


The descent continues...

Finally back under 195 as of this morning. 9.2 lbs to go to hit goal weight.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Racing to Work

For my morning commute to work I decided to see if I could break a long standing mark, 40 minutes. Actually I had never broken 41 minutes to work in reality. Nevertheless, I thought I would see if I could push it the entire way to see if with a concentrated effort I could make it in less than 40 minutes of ride time--not total time. My cyclometer is set to auto-start so that it only keeps track of the time when a front wheel is moving.

It is not a particular hard commute to work, there are only a few hills and if I want to I can take it easy getting there. Coming back is much more work. Anyway, I was huffing and puffing trying to keep my speed and momentum up. I hawked up some phlegm a few times along the way, which is normal for me under hard efforts. One time I noticed that spittle was pink. That freaked me out. I tried to cough a bit to see if I was spitting up blood. Nope, thank goodness. It turned out that my nose was dry and a bit cracked on the inside and this was the source of the blood. No biggie. I rode on with just an occasional taste of saltiness as blood somehow made its way to my mouth. Kinda gross, but I was making good time I didn't want to ruin the effort I had put in to take care of something that wasn't really bothering me that much. Not when compared to the discomfort of trying to maintain a 19 mph pace, which was what I figured I would have to do it make it there in under the 40 minute mark.

I rolled to the shop in 39:34. Sweet, busted a new best by almost 2 minutes over the old best time. Average speed 18.9, which I felt good about. Normally, the only way I would hit that sort of average speed is with aerobars, which I don't have on the Specialized.

My lungs still have some issues--they feel tight at times. But overall I am hopeful that I can punish myself enough this pre-season to have a good cross season.

In other news, I ordered a second wheelset for the Curtlo, which is set up with Campy. They are '09 Mavic Ksyrium Elites. Good wheels I think. I went with Clinchers since I could use a wheel that I can swap between road and cross tires easily. So for the Curtlo I will have the Neuvation C50 carbon tubulars and the Ksyriums. On the Cernitz SS cross bike I will be using the Easton EC90SLX wheels. Of course I could use the Eastons on the Curtlo if I wanted to, I have both a campy and shimano freehub body for it.

Equipment-wise, I am set this year. Fitness-wise I need to keep at it. My mood is good and I think that my diet has me feeling pretty good. Still heavier than I like, but I'll get there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

If the weight doesn't drop off quick then...

I am going to be pissed.

Just sayin'...

I have been an all star on my calorie counter app, Lose It. My stomach seems to have shrunk, so I don't seem to want to eat as much. Except for right now, so I am going to bed instead.

I hope to be under 195 in the next day or two.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bridget's Birthday

Thanks to those that gave advice regarding places to take Bridget on her birthday. I was going to take her to Serratto, which Brianero recommended. The menu looked great. It is not a traditional sort of Italian place. It sort of reminded me a bit of Fratelli's in the Pearl District, which we ate at for her birthday a prior year. I remember that she liked it, but that she didn't rave about it. Hmmm....was my recollection correct? This morning I asked her about that restaurant, "Hey, we aren't going here for your birthday, but what did you think about Fratelli's?" To which she responded, "It was OK. Sort of pretentious, but not too bad." I made a judgment call to nix Serratto because it was a little too close to the Fratelli genre.

More background. Bridget loves Italian cooking. She spent well over a year in Northern Italy and grew to love traditional cooking from that area. Well, from all over Italy, because the cuisine is very regional. Some areas specialize in specific things that we kind of just assign to all of Italy. I could give you examples except that I don't really pay attention to that sort of thing. I am one of those stupid Americans.

Anyway, so I searched for ideas on authentic Italian and I came up with Ristorante Roma in Downtown PDX. She didn't know where we were going and I know, because she told me, that it was a pleasant surprise.

It is a little restaurant run by people originally from Italy. The Chef was trained there. It was supposed to be very authentic and Bridget affirmed this. We had a couple of salads and then a couple of pasta dishes. I couldn't finish mine, but that may be because I have trained my stomach recently to be a puss. It doesn't seem to have the capacity that it once had--thank goodness. We both had dessert, and it was great.

I told her what I had planned and showed her the Serratto's website. After looking at it and the menu she affirmed that I had done very well, this was exactly what she would have chosen. Sweet! Bonus points for the husband of 9+ years!

And finally I just want to again tell my wife--or rather write to my wife--that I am very lucky to have her around. At 34--CRAP!, I mean at 29 she is still as hot, or really hotter than she was at, um, 29...or something like that.

Love you Bridget

My Boy can Whack It!

Ryan, who is 6 years old and entering 1st grade this Fall has been in a juniors golf program this summer at my father's-in-law golf club. It is once per week and he has been at it for about 6 weeks this summer, he missed about 4 weeks because of Black Butte and traveling to California. I don't go with him to these lessons, that is Bridget's domain. She was the collegiate golfer, not me.

She tells me that he regularly hits his fairway wood over 100 yards. He doesn't hit it this way every time, but a decent percentage of the time. That seems pretty remarkable to me. He has a hard time putting at times, but has really picked up the other areas of the game quickly. Truth be told, he has had golf clubs since he was 2, although he hadn't played with them anywhere near as much as his bike for instance.

The coach told her that he is a very good student who usually gets what he tells him the first time. He is very competitive too. Awesome. I am especially glad that he is into something besides video games.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thoughts of Mortality and Living up to Expectations.

First off, let me write that parts continue to arrive for the Neil frame. An EC90 crankset and EC90 fork came in today. Neil received the last of the frame pieces yesterday. I think that all there is left is to pick up is the headset (back ordered) and tires (also back ordered)

Tonight, I went to the grocery store to pick up some stuff to make Bridget breakfast. It is her birthday tomorrow and I would like to start it off by making her a little more plump--she has been losing far too much weight lately and it is making me feel guilty.

Anyway, on the way home I heard a commercial for some calcium supplement or another. My Dad was big on various supplements, i.e. calcium, fish oil, and a host of other things. That sent my mind on a spiral down to deeper subjects and memories. It has been a little more than a month and a half since he passed on. It feels odd. There is just sort of a void now. A little sadness for sure, but an emptiness is more like it. Sure, talking to Dad could be tiresome at times, but he was a font of information about lots of things. And now that font is, of course, gone.

I was reading a fictional book that had a character in it that recorded history, memorized it for future generations to use so that it would not be lost. Much of my father's history is lost. He never kept journals or anything of the sort. Often it was difficult to get him talk much beyond the surface of what his childhood was like. He kept certain things very close to the vest. Other things were drilled into my head to such a degree that even if I get Alzheimer's Disease I doubt I will forget them.

I don't have too many physical possessions from my Dad either. Most of what I have has to be sold off. Those that I will keep are not things that I would call precious. Maybe I don't get to into those sorts of things that he liked. Sure, I like stuff, but I don't really relate Dad's stuff to him. It doesn't really do much for me. It is just sort of stuff that Dad had and that is about it. There isn't too much there sentimentally for me, which sort of surprises me. Maybe that will change in future years.

But, it is cool that I am having a blast riding Dad's road bike--it fit me better than my own. And I am using the aftermarket Specialized saddle he purchased to make the road bike more bearable (I am loving the original saddle on the S-Works Roubaix which he disdained and too narrow and unpadded) on my GT. I can't remember which specific model it is, but it's super comfy, a perfect mtb saddle. Those things are cool, but I don't feel any closer to Dad when I am using them.

No, losing a parent is just weird. I am sure that losing a spouse is much worse. Likely I won't have to go through that--Bridget has better longevity genes than I do and she is a few years younger. Sucks to be her I guess... ;)

Stuff is great and all but there is more to leaving part of you around than leaving cool stuff for people to inherit. I need to make sure to remember this with my boys.


On to another subject. Or rather back to the one that has been my obsession for the past few weeks, The Cernitz SS Cross bike--Codenamed: Buttercup.

So Neil has come up with something to personalize the frame. On the bottom of the bottom bracket shell he is going to cut out an "FF". Richard Sachs does something like this on his frames, except that the cut out is of his emblem.

This cut out, this personalization is sort of a burden. In a good way though. The "FF" stands for "Fast Flynn." Umm, Fast? Not so much. Especially not right now. But even before I learned of this plan I was feeling some pressure. At the beginning of August I topped 200 lbs. That was the first time in more than a year that I had been over 2 bills. I didn't like it. I had been doing some riding and thus I wasn't in horrible shape, but my diet sucked. My time in California taking care of my Dad and his affairs didn't help help. I ate way too much and too often. At that weight I know that I couldn't have raced this cyclocross season the way I wanted and this bike's attributes of speed and lightness would have been compromised by "FF" as in Fatty Flynn, not Fast Flynn.

So, enough is enough. Time to do something about it. With a great recommendation from Dave I am on my way. I downloaded a great App on the iPhone called Lose It. It is basically a calorie counter. It has a pretty good database and allows you to enter in your own stuff as well. I typed in my weight, height and age and after putting in how much I wanted to lose per week and then my goal weight. It then spit out how many calories I should intake each day to lose the weight.

Here are some specifics: My weekly goal is to lose one pound per week. This can be accomplished by limiting my caloric intake to 2199 calories per day. Goal weight 185. Starting weight 199.4 (weighed in the morning before breakfast about 9 days ago). Current weight 195.2 (weighed this morning before breakfast). I have been on the plan for a week. I have more or less stuck to the program with the exception of a couple of workouts. Working out allows you to eat more on the plan. Only I didn't eat much more and so I have lost more weight.

I eat lots of veggies. I eat a decent amount of meat, but not as much as I had been eating. I eat some breads, but not as much as I had been eating. I snack when I need to, but I try to do it smartly so that I don't blow my calorie budget. Basically, I try to eat around 300 to 400 calories for breakfast, around 700 for lunch and then around 700 to 800 for dinner. That leaves around 300 to 400 for snacks. My choice of foods mainly revolves around quantity over quality. Given a choice between eating a candy bar and a huge freakin salad with the same amount of calories, I have no problem picking the salad. More bulk seems to help stave off the cravings. At least so far. Anyway, a 4 pound loss is not too shabby.

The simple act of keeping track of what I eat is the key. It allows me to plan ahead for the day. I like this program a lot.

Lose It App for iTunes: Grade A- (I wish it had a more extensive catalog of food, but hey the App is free so I shouldn't complain).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

McKenzie River Trail

Dave and I rode the McKenzie River Trail. It is increasingly apparent that Dave is still doing some significant training, despite his protests otherwise. He was hammering through stuff faster than I was. Part of this may be due to the fact that this trail is made for XC oriented full suspension bikes--he has one, I am on a hardtail. But the other part is that he has gotten faster than I. Not that I am slower, he is just faster. I also popped two tubes and bent the largest ring on my cassette, which sort of sucked. But stuff happens--whatever--it was a good ride for the most part.

I have done this trail twice and I have ridden around Clear Lake an additional 2 times. I am here to offer my quick and dirty review on this semi-famous trail by offering some advice: Stick to the top of the trail and don't bother with the lower half. And one more thing: Don't ride, or attempt to ride, around the eastern side of Clear Lake any more than twice. Once to see how bad it sucks and once more to realize that yes, that first time you weren't imagining how bad it sucked.

Regarding the latter bit of advice--perhaps I am a wuss, but I don't enjoy the east side of the Clear Lake with its constant barrage of technical lava rock riding. That stuff tears you up if and when you fall and you can't go particularly fast around the lake, so it takes forever. I have ridden it four times over the past half dozen years and I am done with it. I immediately ask myself when I get to the lava rock strewn portion, "What the hell was I thinking? No, I am not a better rider than I was the last time I was here, no it is not any easier, and damn that last fall frickin' hurt."

Today, we skipped that side of the lake. It was a very nice change.

The rest of the top half of MRT is great. It is rocky and challenging (but not impossible) to clear everything without dabbing. Some parts are nice and fast, some are technical and some sections have a nice rhythm to them that makes you say or at least think, "Whoopee!"

The bottom half is boring. Snoozeville. Especially after the top. It is the type of riding that one can experience in many other areas. Mostly flat and the endless parade of beautiful scenery becomes a blur of brown and green. I stopped caring about how pretty stuff was about 16 miles into the ride. If you are crunched for time skip it. If you aren't spend the time riding up and down the upper MRT. We shuttled the 26 or so miles, we wouldn't have had the time to ride up and down. I think it took us about 4.5 hours including a couple of breaks, and changing two flats.

Anyway, here are some pics from the top half of the MRT.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I still haven't lost any weight since I decided to get back on the wagon a while ago.

I may sell my Voodoo tomorrow to a fellow.

I may replace it with another bike (besides the Cernitz SS) that will be good for commuting.

I wanted to ride at lunch today, but could not get away from the shop long enough.

I only had one very small serving of soft serve ice milk--you really couldn't call what I had ice cream tonight.

I ate way too much though, but at least it was all veggies with a little bit of meat and just a touch of oil to cook it. No carbs.

I received an email from Kirk Pacenti that stated that he was on vacation and had no idea why it has been over two weeks since I paid for the bottom bracket lugs and I still haven't received them. And he won't be able to check on them until the end of this week at the earliest.

I am P.O.'d at this last item.

I will hopefully be able to ride the McKenzie River Trail in central Oregon Wednesday.

I also even more eager to leave work tomorrow and drive to Black Butte Ranch to spend time with my family. I had to come back to work while they stayed in played.

My cat is very needy and annoying at the present time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

GT Zaskar Pro 9r update

From RCMT: Road/Cyclocross/ Mountain/Triathlon

I have a couple of rides on this bike. I have some observations.

Regarding fit, the large size frame fits great. I am just close to 6'1" tall. Top tube length is longer than any other mountain bike I have owned by about 1/4" including my last bike a custom built Curtlo SS 29er, but it feels really good. I have done nothing to the set up other than change the saddle, everything else is exactly how it came out of the box.

The XT components are stellar. I have most had either singlespeed mountain bikes or bikes with XTR shifters over the past 5 or 6 years. XTs are great. They don't have quite the refinement that the XTR seem to have but these seem to shift just as accurately--except for the granny gear. But that is just a set up error by the person that built it. I need to adjust the limit a bit. I keep forgetting because I rarely use the granny gear. I tend to prefer to mash the pedals up a hill.

The Fox F29 fork is stellar so far. I don't notice it. The wheel stays on the ground. I thought I might have heard it making some noise at the end of last nights ride but it was just the cable housing clicking in the frame's cable stops. Travel is very smooth and controlled. The lockout is on the fork and hitting it while riding is not as easy as having it on the handlebar like the Reba I had awhile back. I messed with the rebound setting a couple of times and haven't messed with it since. It feels great.

The wheels are not light but they seem durable. The hubs are also XT and the rear is the new one that has a much quicker engagement than the Shimano hubs I have run before. The sound of the hub is akin to a DT240. Not quite the angry bee sound that a Chris King rear hub makes. But then, it doesn't have the drag that my last King rear hub had either.

I guess I did change one other thing out on the bike. I took off the tires. I installed a Panaracer Rampage on the front and then a Schwalbe 2.4 Racing Ralph. The rear was a bit too wide and when I would go into a hard corner the tire would buzz the frame just a bit. For last night's ride I put the original rear tire back on, a Kenda Nevegal 2.2. It worked out great. It climbed well, it had a good feel with 30 lbs. of pressure in it. I will probably go a bit lower next time. The tire may not roll quite as well as the Racing Ralph, but it is good enough. The Rampage is still my front tire of choice. There is about a 200 gram difference between the wider Racing Ralph and the Nevegal. The Nev' is the heavier one. I swear I could feel the weight, but it may have been just in my head.

Overall, this is a stellar bike. It is a great package deal. Smartly spec'd and no skimping on areas that many manufacturers skimp on to lower a bike's price or to save money. It is XT all the way through and the Fox fork was a smart choice I think. Bike weight is about 26.8 as it sits. Kinda porky for a hardtail, but the ride makes up for it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Browns Camp with Dave

Went riding again with Dave. I had a blast. We did a figure 8 version of Browns Camp since I was short on time. I have not done this route in over 2 years. We mainly stopped doing it because it felt too easy. But, so what! It was a blast, if I had the time we would have done it a couple of times.

I believe that Dave will shortly post something on youtube that will discredit my mtb'ing skills. It took me at least 30 attempts to clear a trouble section of the trail. Dave cleared it first, but it has been a couple of years since he has done it. And he has probably attempted it a hundred or two times in between. Dave made it look easy on his full suspension 29er. I looked like I was trying to pick my way through the rocks and rubble--which I was. It is interesting the riding styles that one picks up because of the bike one has. Dave rides a marshmallow--a very nice marshmallow--but he can just blast through stuff compared to me. I have a hardtail and I find that I have to have more finesse that he has to have to clear some sections, otherwise I get bounced off the trail. Nothing wrong with either way--one just adapts one's style to mold with the bike. Either that or you buy the bike that is your style. Sort of a chicken and the egg thing I suppose.

Anyway, once the embarrassment is up I will post it here, I am OK with being the butt of the joke sometimes.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Lugs arrived at my house today. Neil gets them tomorrow. Still waiting on the bottom bracket lug. I ordered that first and it will arrive last. The lugs were from Australia and still beat it here.

The lugs are no where near their finished state. Stuff has to get chopped and and smoothed over quite a bit.

I stole the picture below from the Cernitz Bike Blog

That is my frame and a close representation with the color I am thinking of going with. Not sure what to do with the fork. It sort of clashes with the paint scheme I am going with. I have time to ponder it though.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

(Small) Group Ride

I had a good time riding with Dave, formerly known as DTP, and Jim, aka Pack Fodder. I had not ridden with Jim before, other than at a cyclocross race and that doesn't really count. He expressed his excitement about riding with me finally after about 9 months of attempting to hook up. I was just happy that someone wanted to ride with me.

We met at a Starbucks near his place and I had Dave meet us there as well. Jim led out since I didn't know where we were going. After about 20-something miles of Jim fronting the ride, I don't remember if Jim asked me to take a pull or not, but I went to the front. I was more than willing to do so--I just didn't know where in the heck I was.

I apparently took a strong pull because after only 5 miles or so I was asked to step aside by Jim. I have a hard time knowing how hard to go--I want to make sure that the others are working and not just coasting, but I don't want to drop anyone. Apparently, I was going a bit too fast. I was tired but I figured I was supposed to suffer if I was the one doing the pulling. The others get to rest a bit while still going a good clip. At least that was my intention.

Later Dave got to take a turn at the front. Jim almost learned the hard way that you don't follow Dave too close when drafting. For one, he doesn't signal when there are potholes or glass. That is not a big deal, neither he nor I ride in groups much and he and both have started to catch on to this sort of etiquette. However, the main danger with Dave's riding style is such that he could easy take out a drafting rider. He rides like a fish down the road. As he pedals he moves his shoulders from side to side. This causes him to rock the handlebars just a bit with every motion of his shoulders. He front wheels moves back and forth about 3 to 5 inches with every revolution of his crankset when he is in his normal rhythm. The whole bike sort of swims like a fish down the road, moving a bit from side to side. Sometimes it was only a couple of inches but it was worse when he was putting more effort into the pedals. One time he swerved pretty good and just about took Jim out. Jim backed off a couple more feet after that. Dave, even after we talked about it, could not seem to hold a straight line. His body does this motion automatically.

Dave style doesn't bug me. I know to keep my distance for the most part. After Jim knew what to expect, I doubt it bugged him either. Still, Dave is a funny cat. We were riding past a point where he ran off the road once on to the soft shoulder and bailed at 20mph. After watching him swim up the road it is sort of understandable. Dave said that a car was involved, but I am suspicious.

At another point when Dave was leading I decided to be a jerk and do a little breakaway action. We going of a little incline and I sensed a lull in Dave and Jim and I dropped a couple of gears stood up and shouted "Breakaway!" and waited to see of anyone followed. Jim tried but I had way too good of a jump. Nothing better than beating up on friends that had no idea that there was any sort of competition going on. I don't know why I did it, I just thought it would be a fun sort of jerky thing to do. And it was.

At the end, it was a great ride. Jim pushed me to my limit one a few rollers and up one moderate hill/peak. It is hard to keep up when they both are 40 pounds lighter than I am. They will make excuses as to why there is not much difference between them and I, but the fact is that this fatty suffers when climbing and it is all weight related. If I dropped back down to what I was last September or October I would be feeling a bit better about things. That means I need to drop 10 pounds. Seems do-able.

P.S. I order more parts for the Cernitz today. I am lacking a chain, a rear ss cog, tires, seatpost and pedals. That is about it. I should also buy another set of wheels, but I could probably get away with out them. I also need to line a place to paint the bike when it is done. I have decided on colors though. No, I am not saying what they are yet.