Monday, February 28, 2005

My own slice of heaven


This is a little alcove in our garage. I am often out here in a big jacket, mechanix gloves, and ear muffs working on the bikes. I need a real heater, not this little 5" ceramic POS that only puts out enough heat to warm your hands after 2 mins in front of it.

This is heaven on earth

Got a whole half of a basement unfinished with a wood shop down there that is heated. But I can't deal with hauling the bikes up and down the stairs over and over. Last house had tire marks all over the wall. So I'll deal with the cold for now. That and saw dust and bikes really don't go together


3x10 mins today on the trainer. Still feeling sick, now I've got a soar throat. Did first two at 260W. Real doable, not even that hard, did last one at 270W. That one hurt a little.

Unlike the short intervals these ones leave me with a huge appetite afterwards. Got 6" of snow last night. Kids were out in it at 7am this morning.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Feeling it

Went to the pond today on the mtb. Skipped the single track and rode the highway over Gap mountain and hit the fire road then took some Gap Mtn single track. Some hikers have been bitching about mtn bikes rutting up the trails and riding around mud puddles. And even though the trails looked ok, I didn't want to add fodder to their crusade.

Just trying to get some blood flowing in the legs before 10min intervals tomorrow. My legs felt awesome. You know that feeling when you are holding back, and you know you can rage, but your sort of reigning in the horses. It's the exact feeling I love to have the day before a race when doing a pre-ride or warm up.

It was fun, I was feeling sick again today, and last night I was wiped out by 7pm, I practically had my son put himself to bed, I was worthless. So I was cold all day even though it really isnt to bad out there. But on the trail and fire rode, I felt fine.

Just marvelling at how poor my technical skills have become and marvelling at how much I just LOVE riding my bike. Even just crusing the fire road, I was having a ball bunny hopping puddles and sticks. There is one big flat rock that I practiced wheeling the front wheel onto and then hopping the rear to ride over it. For some reason I've lost the timing and sequence of steps to wheely the front and end up with the front wheel on an obstacle and ending with your strong foot forward ready to bunny hop. Or as Hans Rey calls it, your chocolate foot

Regardless I was just in my element. I know it may sound sometimes like I'm an automoton with the training in the basement and power levels and intervals. But deep down, I've got the cycling soul. You know if when you see it. Most mountain bikers have it, many road riders have it, though some don't. Most triathelets DON'T. Soul that you only get from doing trail side repairs to finish a ride, or pacelining at 25mph etc.

Not sure how to explain it. For most triatheletes, cycling is just one of the three things they are training for, or doing a brick. But road riders and mountain bikers actually RIDE in addition to train. Balance, grace, power, subtlety, finesse, supplese, wrenching...etc..soul

The sorrow of a pin head

Oh the sorrow. I have a pin head. Small head.
Gabba gabba we accept you we accept you one of us
Gabba gabba we accept you we accept you one of us

I don't wanna be a pinhead no more I just met a nurse that I could go for

kind of pin head. Hats do not fit me unless they are for kids. Sunglasses do not fit me unless they are pin head specific.

Normally I can get through life day to day dealing with this malady. But when I see things like this the true reality of my condition hits home

One size fits all. Yeah right!

I want that hat. This may require some jury rigging. Buy the hat, cut the patch out, sew onto hat that fits. I remember having my grandma sew a patch of a skull onto a white hat for me once. She never had a problem with the skull, but she was from the old country.

Stupid bike tricks

Was just tinkering around on Saturday, and would have forgotten about riding till my wife asked me if I was going on a short ride like I said I was. Thank's for reminding me honey!!

Just tooled around on the mountain bike around the neighborhood for 1/2 an hour. Tried to do some wheelies. Over 15years of trying and I still can't do it. I need to pay some 8 year old to show me how to do it.

Then I practiced track stands. I used to do track stands and little miny trials moves for hours and hours. Never like the real trial riders, but little sideways hops or hops in place, one handed and no handed track stands. I could only do it with clipless pedals which can be the kiss of death if you fall the wrong direction or can't clip out. There are stairs a many office buildings that are like half the height of regular stairs in a house . These are great fun to sideways hop up.

Rule # 1, always fall to the uphill side!!!!

Definitely need to get back on the trails. Just to get my muscles used to the impulse power needed to work the bike. My lats are soar this morning. Sheesh. And there is just this inate timing that only comes from saddle time in the singletrack. Timing and awareness. When you follow someone who is really good, you see these subtle moves, small unweights, little mini bunny hops that put their rear wheel in a better position, or the slight rotation of the cranks so they clear a rock, etc.

The best guys know exactly where their pedal is and where their rear wheel is, and make mini adjustments in a blink of an eye. It is all about conservation of momentum. There is a skill I call the "Art of the little hop". It is tiny little bunny hop that you do to move your rear wheeel over or around dips, rocks, pebbles, etc. Or to turn slightly in mid air to prepare for an upcoming curve in the track.

Pretty small and insignificant in the moment, but when you add up the speed conservation over and over during the course of a ride it becomes significant. Sort of like training or parenting. It is never that one ride, or that one thing you said or did as a parent, it is the culmination of hundereds and thousands of discrete events that make the whole.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Every day...look in da mirror.....I da bes'

First crack at those intervals with work:rest 2:1 rather than 1:1. 3 sets 4min on2 off, did at 280W. When I did 4on 4 off I had done them at 290. Wasn't half bad. Not that kind of pukaramo feeling, but more burn/ache.

Kept cadence around 90s, tried to keep HR stable. Alternated standing and sitting towards the end. Hard to stand on a trainer, I prefer the feeling of the bike rocking underneath you. I probably should have tried them at 290, but didn't want to fail. There is like a line drawn in the sand, and you're either on one side or the other. And at 10W increments, I think 290 would have put me on the other side of the line today. Maybe next time.

Was doing the pep talk as I crawled out of bed to get ready to go down to the basement. Reminded me of this guy I had met years and years ago up in DC. Some friends worked at one of those huge mega-lo-mart bicycle stores (Bicycle Exchange) and every year theyd have a huge warehouse supersale, and they hired part timers to help. I went up one year and worked it.

They had this guru mechanic. Real tough 30+ year old from Thailand. He was like a regional or national kick boxing champion from there. If you know anything about Thailand you know that kickboxing is like football, basketball, soccer, and nascar to them. Little kids are punching tree trunks and taking 2x4s inthe stomach. Needless to say this dude was a bad dude.

We are not talking cardio kick at the gym.

After each long day we'd hang out at the warehouse drinking beers, and he was getting pretty lit. For whatever reason he liked me and was talking to me, and getting more and more animated. I was worried that he was gonna pound on me randomly. But he was telling me about kickboxing and how he used to train. Like any sport the mental aspect was just as important,and he was telling me about how he'd keep his confidence up.

In his accented english, he'd say.
Every day, (when) I get up.. I look in the mirror..(say) 'You da bes'. When I get in the car, I look in the (rear view) mirror, 'I da bes'. That's what you do. You have to be the bes. Otherwise you get killed.

OoooooKKKKk. How bout some sparring just for old time's sake......

Sort of like the Stuart Smalley of Thailand.

Remember....You da bes.

Another thing I learned from him...."Everyting for sale"......After working for years at bike shops, he had amassed a small fortune in bike parts. Forks, hubs, etc... This was before Chris King and all, but stuff that was coveted as much or more. And he was always trading and selling stuff. And I couldn't believe that he'd want to sell some of the stuff. I mean stuff I'd just die to own, Like back then Mavic stuff was the shit and there was this wheelset he was selling.

"How can you sell that? That is an awesome wheelset!"

Everyting for sale

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Handmade bikes

Custom frames, or handmade whatever you want to call them. I LOVE them. There is some serious cycling love coming out of these guys/gals.


Custom frames are sort of like many other high end niche products like custom fly rods, cigars, high end Whiskeys, or custom geetars, or custom banjos, or pimping out your ride, or audiophile equipment, hiring a coach and on and on that are just a testament to the amount of disposable income that we have now as compared to 10 or 20 years ago.

It's nice to know that there are thousands and thousands of people with these small little businesses making enough to survive and are happy because they are making a living doing what they love. And we (the world with disposable income) can support them.

Anyway, I've had custom frames for some time because of long legs/short torso syndrome. So I've got a soft spot for them.

velo news just listed a buyers guide, which is nice because you don't usually see custom frames mentioned too much in the bigger cycling press, outside of those tiny adds in the back of velo news or dirt rag
velo news custom buyers guide

I love my hardtail custom steel MTB. But honestly, I have deliberately stayed away from full suspension bikes because I am worried that I am going to want one. The older I get and the slower I get sometimes I think that going that route will make everything better.

but for now steel baby.

One of these days. I am going to make my own, someday

Music to Motivate

Screeching Weasel

Fun punk, poppy in a way but not too bubble gum pop. Ramonesque. Real good to do these longer intervals to, just seems that a drum or bass beat seems to coincide with a downstroke of the pedal.

I have Anthem for a New Tomorrow and it is really good.

Almost every song rules, and there is even an instrumental on there that I love to ride to. A fun tribute song to Peter Brady as well. Touches my heart, as I am a product of the TV generation back then and at one time could name every Brady Bunch episode. Yes I know, I'm bragging, but it is good to have goals in life.

I-magic upgrade

I have the Tacx Flow ergo trainer. there has been some discussion at road bike review about the Tacx and accuracy. One guy was saying that when you upgrade to the Tacx I magic which controls the resitance unit from a PC computer that the FLOW seems easier at the same wattage. I have read that elsewhere in other forum discussions and that the Imagic control seems more accurate.

What really intrigued me with the Imagic and the Cadence software wasn't so much the video game aspect and graphics that it can do, but the fact that you can program your own rides. Which means that I could forget about those sticky notes and losing my place in the intervals, and just program it all in, save it and run it. Would make these kind of ergo intervals a snap.


The chills and aches subsided last night. This cold is definitely not your run of the mill cold. My wife has gotten hit really hard by it and she hardly ever gets sick. I can't imagine what my 4year old felt, no wonder he has been a royal PIA lately.

Quite glad I did that ride yesterday, as today wasn't too bad. 3x8min MSP with 4 off. I did them at 270W, which is what I sort of think my MSPO is. 2nd one I dropped to 260 for a little bit, but the third one I went back to 270 and was able to finish it.

These are harder to 'cheat' on because you can't go grabbing a high cadence for very long before my heart rate starts to catch up. It was interesting to observe, I'd start the interval around 100-110rpm and the cadence would slowly come down to 90s then in the 80s, and my HR would drop, but my legs were fine. In the past when my cadence started to drop my legs would lug under the power and it would be over. but this time my legs were fine and were just turning over at the slower cadence.

There is an old adage, if your legs hurt raise cadence, if your heart hurts lower cadence. How knows but it sort of works. My chest/heart are still not where they should me and I was clearing my throat, and hacking away. I have enough respect for my basement to no spit all over the place, but I sure wish I had a spitoon.

Now tomorrow I am scared. Tomorrow is my first attempt at a SMSP interval where the work:rest is not 1:1 This time it will be 4 on 2 off. This recreates the kind of efforts you see in mtb racing where you have a hard effort then have to do it again before you have a chance to fully recover.

This is what puts hair on your chest, and I've always been afraid to do them. But it's on the plan so suck it up and do it. Just wish I wasn't getting over this cold.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Garage mechanic tip: Cheap, colorful cable ends

I never seem to have any of those crimp on cable ends when I need them. And sooner or later the cables start to unravel. I can't remember where I got this idea from, but it works great and adds a touch of color to the bike.

Go to Home Despot, or Lowes or whereever and find that Plastidip stuff for coating tool handles. It comes in several colors: red, blue, white, clear, yellow...

A tip, don't store it in your cold garage, keep in inside the house somewhere. And stir it now and then.

Using an old piece of cable housing or random small stick, paint it onto a cable end, let it dry.

Once dried, it keeps the cable from unravelling. When you need to remove the cable, just peel it off. Works like a charm.

Elephant sat on my chest!

Did a 1:20 ride today on the cross bike. I decided to put the drop bars / bar cons back on because the flat bar even with that dildo length stem was still to cramped.

For whatever reason I just can't get this bike setup to reach nirvana, like I have with my road and mountain bike. I think part of the reason is that it is a cross bike intended for a certain use, and I compare it to my other bikes.

When on the road with it, I wish it was more like my road bike. The slack geometry keeps it from rocking back and forth like my road bike when I get out of the saddle, and the taller tires raise the BB height. My knees hit the barcons sometimes.

And when I take it off road, how can you compare a rigid cross to a mountain bike with front suspension. Our trails out here are for the most part pretty technical.

The only place where this bike has shone is on fire roads. But honestly, I just don't ride a whole lot of fire roads.

Regardless, it was a pretty good ride. Though I have the bars set too low becase my lower back is screaming at me. My legs felt really good the first hour. Like nothing, just ticking over the pedals. But god, my chest and heart. I am still getting over this cold, and could hardly breathe. My chest felt like an elephant slept on it. Today was supposed to be zone 2 to get my legs ready for the MSP intervals tomorrow.

I think I over did it a little, as my legs are hurting now, and I feel like I've got the chills. That is bunk, that I can't even handle a 1hr ride. But I have to remember that I am coming off something like 4 days of inactivity, and am still getting over this cold.

Patience grasshopper. This isn't a convenience store, and we are so used to our convenience. I have to remember that the real goal is April and onwards.

Tomorrow, MSP

Monday, February 21, 2005

sick....legs of wood

Sat started a week of recovery,, which is basically nothing or ride easy with a day of 5x1 thrown in there, and an hour at Zone 2 before starting into the MSP (longer, lower intensity intervals)

My youngest son had been sick, and I as hoping that going into the rest week, I'd be able to stay healthy. No such luck. I think as a parent is is a foregone conclusion that you are going to get sick if your kids are sick regardless of the amount of handwashing you do.

Plus, I think I am just like those Tour riders, who get all messed up from their rest day. Sat/Sun did nothing. Today I got on the trainer for one set of 1 mins. Did them at 320-330.

Man my legs were wood. Dead, ache legs, no power. Good thing I did this intervals. To help keep some blood going to the legs. That is the problem with my rest, once I lose momemntum from training and take off, it is hard to get back into it. Plus I'm frustrated with something at work, so I'm putting a lot of energy in that. I hate it when things don't work, so I have to stick to it till it works.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Ain't nothing but a thang

Last SMSP intervals before a rest week. Just rolled through them without any problems, I was stoked. 4 reps of 5x1 at 320watts. I was worried beacuse of yesterday's hard workout but it went real well.

I was stoked.

Ya know when you have a family, job (other than cycling) kids, etc... Life usually gets in the way of training. I tried to hang onto cycling/racing when we first had kids, and it causes So much stress with my wife. The right thing to do was just let it go, which I did.

And now that I'm getting back into it, racing/training is definitely lower on the food chain behind my wife/kids, and job (requirement for providing for mentioned wife/kids). And quite often, training is shoot from the hip, and gets cancelled a lot.

But in the past 3 weeks I have not missed ONE workout, not one. Part of that is my commitment to it, but also the way it's structured, I can bang it out in the morning, and in under an hour usually, and it's done.

Duh, of course sweating in the basement is not as fun as riding the road or hammering the trails, but for now it is an acceptable solution to meeting the needs of my family with my needs to train.

I'll be riding outside more over the coming months, but again, those too will be more higher intensity and lower volume. Now and then I'll get in the 3hr ride, but for the most part I bet I'll have time for 2hr or less range. Again, not happy happy joy joy, and the only travelling I'll be doing will most likely be to a few races or a rare out of town close by (<1hr) trip. But necessary evils to avoid family stress.

But this kind of training has sort of been a savior to me to be able to put my family first while still getting in some of the best shape I've ever been in.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Starvin' Like Marvin'

I'm only riding 50mins to 1hr here and there, but I'm famished all the time. Made a run for the Border for lunch today:

Then for dinner we got KFC, cause my younger son is pretty sick (poor kid) and mom has been sitting with him all day, and had to pick up the older one from spanish, and the KFC is right there....yada yada.

And I just scarfed. My weight is stable if not going down and I feel like I'm eating all the time and if I'm not eating I'm hungry. If I actually did some dieting, like cutting out more sodas, or creamer in my coffee

, or Reese's

I think I'd could actually get close to what those experts/pros look like.

Almost done with SMSP

One more day of the SMSP intervals, then a well deserved rest week. This morning the total ON time was 27 minutes. I couldn't complete two of them, and helped my way through a couple with a tall gear. But you gotta do what you gotta do. After that it starts to transition into the MSP intervals. This is a case where you always think the grass is greener on the other side but it never is.

While almost puking through these short intervals, I'm wishing for the longer intervals at lower power setting. But when doing those I am wishing for shorter intervals. These MSP intervals are way more mental than the are physical. One the second or third day of a block I'll do some of them as hill climbs on the road or mountain bike.

Gonna make me a mean, lean, fighting machine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

DIY light ideas


Below are some ideas for some Do It Yourself lights. No, these are probably not what you should build for your bid at the solo 24hr Championships, nor will they fare well when stacked up against $400+ HID units. But these are hell-of-cheap and fun to build, and can give you something to go niteriding with when you got squat.

basic info:
Go to MTBR and spend some time searching the archives for DIY lights. There is a wealth of info there with pictures, sources, etc.

Go to these links:
mike bentley
fat hippy
dan's workshop
nice design
battery charger
battery packs
tnr technical
Tony Reynolds lights

Lowes, Home Despot, lighting store, online, whatever. DC voltage track lighting is a good place to start

Plumbing section of hardware store

Scavange an old Vista Light setup and adapt it, or use two hose clamps set up perpendicular to each other. One goes around your bar and one goes around your light.

Switches, connectors..etc.
Rat Shack

Other sources of fun stuff
All Electronics
This is where I got this Red Xenon strobe that I made a tail light out of.






Almost as good as being there

Whew. Got butterflys and knots in my stomach from this sight:


It's got lots of videos shot by helmet cam. The XC MTB race ones were making me nervous, just thinking about the first race and being on the start line, and chasing people and being chased.

ARrrgh, never get used to that nervousness.

I am worthy again!

I am worthy of being a cyclist again. I commuted this morning for the first time in months. I used to do it quite often. But lately, been into working on the car, the weather, having to need the car for work, etc.. Not one of them a real viable excuse. Plus I just wasn't into it, and for me, if I'm not into it, I'm just not into it.

But this morning I got it into my head that I am going to commute. It almost never happened though. One kid wasn't feeling well, the other didn't want to go to school, wife is scrambling to take care of them, while I am trying to dig out all the stuff to ride in.

It took FOREVER to get ready to ride in. Up and down the stairs several times trying to find stuff. I'd forgotten where my commuter bag was:
(This is a very special bag. I won it with my teammates at the 1997 24 hrs of Canaan. We got 2nd in the Open category against 100+ teams. And we weren't a stacked team like a lot of the other contendors. This event was one of the best moments of my life wrt to racing. Every lap became like my best race ever. The 1st place team had a manager and was even watching our team closely. We went to him for updates on how we were doing. They actually ran their woman racer for the minimum amount according to the rules, but we ran ours (MY WIFE!!!) through full rotation. Anyway, I digress)

I wanted to take my commuter bike. It has a 2x9 setup on it, but the only 9 speed cassete I've got is on my mtn bike, so I had to swap cassetes, pump tires, find the tools and tubes, etc.

This is a cross bike, but I changed over to a flat bar. It has an ebay 150mm stem on it, and it is still too short, but it is fun to ride. First bike frame I make is going to be a road/cross bike built with a longer top tube to accomodate flat bars.

This one has a Surly SS dropout that also has a rear der. hanger:

It was really fun riding in. I am not even close to being one of those aggressive cyclists that cuts in/out of traffic, or has to hold the middle of the lane, etc. But I definitely change my mindset. Where you get this hypervigilance, and awareness, and this sphere of confidence around you. Forcing eye contact with drivers, holding your realestate of the road. Muttering comments under your breath when you have to ride around some dumb driver stopped where they shouldn't be.

And I'm allowed to be hypocritcal... dumb drivers in their steel coffins, with their good morning smoke and cup of coffee and cell phone. Who the hell do you need to be talking to now? And those crazy students in their $30-$40k cars that mom bought them driving the 1 mile to campus in order to spend the next 1/2 and hour looking for a parking space...

Of course I have been driving in for the last few months and probably will tomorrow.. Oh well, at least for today I was part of the good fight.

One Day off, that's it!!!

Was looking at my training schedule for the next couple of days. Normally after a 2day block ON, there is a 2 day block OFF. But this time I only get one day off, before a serious block of more intervals. This time it gets bumped up to 27mins on.

First reaction was..One day...Mother F****r. Just like Eddie Murphy describes being shot. First words out of your mouth, Mutha....F...

No way in hell I'm gonna take this rest day on the couch. Gotta keep the blood going and the legs primed for more intervals, So I am gonna commute. First time in months.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Another day, another trip to the torture chamber

This is like a broken record: Today was tough to motivate. Two minute intervals. I seem to have an issue at the 2min mark. 1min, 3, and 4 haven't been too bad, but when I try these 2 min ones I don't seem to nail them as well. It could be because they are always on the 2nd day.

I tried them at 310W, and couldn't get through 2 so dropped to 300. It wasn't that puke-o-rama feeling of pain, but more a dull ache. That last several I half assed and bagged with like 10-20secs left in the interval. Also tried to play some games on the trainer to try and get through it rather than bag the rest of the session.

The whole idea of an ERGO trainer is that you can't cheat. Power is supposed to be power regardless of cadence. But I think on this one you can 'help' yourself a little by grabbing a tall gear and getting the momentum up before you set the Power to the final level. I did this on a couple and was able to roll through them.

Regardless of the true 'accuracy' of the trainer, the bottom line is that I was at the ragged edge, and could either just barely finish them or just could't do it. So it really doesn't matter about the actual power output.

The more I do these the more I realize that while building my MSPO is the most important thing, just learning how to find my place in the pain is just as important. This is one thing for me that has to be LEARNED. It's not natural for me like others I know. It is going to takes courage for me to train like this and when it comes to the races it is going to take courage to break out from the 'safe' riding mode, and push through sections into the redline hopefully with the confidence that I'll be able to recover w/o blowing sky high.

Interesting concept of Courage with regards to sport. To me it is someone like Voeckler last year in the Tour, and what he did to stay with the group time after time to hang onto the Yellow Jersey even though he knew he'd lose it sooner or later.

Good and Evil on Valentine's Day

My wife rules. She got me the latest issue of Cyclesport and some Reeses. If any of you have read this BLOG you know that I've got some issues with Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. They call to me in the grocery store, and while I sleep. There is a conspiracy of monumental proportions somewhere in the highest echelon's of the Candy world and the government, I'm telling you.

Here is a picture of Good in harmony with Evil:

I love Cycle sport. Like I said I'm a mtn bike racer all the way, but I love the writing and photography in this magazine. These guys just inspire me to push harder. There hasn't been a good Mtn bike mag since the early early days of MBA and Mountain Bike. The Quarterly issue of Mountain bike is actually pretty good though. I like DirtRag a lot too, but I'm just not into the singlespeed, bike courier, Mountain bike lifestyle 'scene' like I used to . Bike is lame IMHO, it's just pictures of guys hucking off cliffs, or riding stunts in BC. Ohh yeah, like I'm gonna be doing that anytime soon.

My kids gave this:

My oldest wrote almost the whole thing.

Ahh just doesn't get any better than this people.

Monday, February 14, 2005

another cycling quote

Posted some cycling quotes early on in this BLOG. came across one at fatmarc's blog.

Hope it's ok to 'steal' it:

From Peter Winnen Two time Alpe D'Huez winner.

"The moment you get rational in a bike race is the moment you lose your power. I also think that to achieve something,some destruction is necessary. Either you must destroy ideas or the barriers of your own body. Achievement rarely occurs without some destruction. In a bike race you destroy what you think you can do, and discover that you can do more."

How to build a (almost) 1500g wheelset for (almost) $100

So I admit it. I am a weight weenie. There, that's the start of the 12 step process for this affliction. I'll also admit that I am cheap about stuff. Amusingly so, I will spend money at the drop of a hat sometimes, but other times, I'll agonize for weeks with hours of research on spending relatively small amounts of $.

Anyway, normally being a weight weenie and being cheap don't go hand in hand. There is a special place in my heart for Budget Weight weenie parts. Those rare jewels that are light, but don't cost an arm and a leg.

Here is a tutorial on how to build up a 1518g ( not including skewers or rim strips) XC wheelset for around $110 (not including shipping costs)

This assumes you know how to build a wheel. I use the instructions from the bicycle wheel. I also used a Park Tension meter to make sure I did it right. This particular wheel had mixed lacing on the rear, something I will never do again. Took 4 times lacing to get it right. If you do mixed lacing, just PLEASE do this: Do one side completely, then the other side.

In the world of XC lightweight hubs, you see several vendors come up a lot. Chris King, Hugi, Tune, etc.. All nice hubs that also carry a hefty pricetag. You get lots of flash with these hubs, but hey, anyone can pay credit we are talking about VALUE here people.

GT/Hadley rear hub:
-This is the epitome of value. This hub was OEMed by GT from Hadley. Hadley makes some of the sweetest hubs ever, and are pretty popular now for their disc hubs. This hub is built very very well, with incredible engagement and nice loud clicks ala the Hugi.

HOWEVER, and a big HOWEVER, it gets a real bad rap because many of them were shipped from the factory with thick grease in the pawls. This caused the pawls to stick and eventually self destruct. The easy fix is to take it apart, degrease the thick crap and put in some light lube. This is so easy it isn't funny. Two 5mm allen wrenches and you can take off the freebody.

This hub is easily found on ebay and elsewhere. I paid all of $19 for a new one, and it weight 284 grams. It has been measured down to 274 grams by others.

Other budget options include the Sworks wheelsets that were actually made by Hugi and have mavic 317 rims.

Front hub:
Ringle SOB hub. Got it ebay new for $22. Mike at
Odds and Endos sells it as well
122 grams

-The mavic x517 is a standard among XC light wheels, but it isn't made anymore and usually isn't the cheapest when you can find it. I used a blast from the past for the front wheel:
Araya RM-395 Team, $10 bucks at ebay shops, 405 grams. It has a concave profile so braking isn't the best.

For the rear wheel I used a sun CR-17a from ebay shops $15 and I think it was 405 grams or something like that. It doesn't have the best weld interface, but we're on a budget here.

You can scrounge here and find some decent ones for a huge savings, but I opted to spend full price and got Wheelsmith XL14s for the front, and XL14/DB15 (drive side) for the rear from Odds and Endos.

Front was laced radially, and rear was laced 2x non drive, 3x drive. All with alloy nipples

Rear Wheel total weight:863 grams

Front wheel total weight: 655grams

And my wheel building setup: A 1 armed PURE cycleworks stand combined with a cheapo Harbor Fright dial indicator and mag stand.

And there you have it: Almost 1500 grams for almost $100. So far they are riding great. Haven't folded them yet, but I haven't ridden on them very long. They are HELLLL of light. Especially since I'm running Stans No tubes (I'll be doing a full review of the no tubes sometime)

So you can be one of the masses and get your Chris Kings, or you can waste hours and hours scrounging for similar parts to the above, and build your own and spend some more countless hours maintaining them when you should have probably spent the $ once and had some one professionally build you up some Chris Kings.. blah blah blah.. Just kidding. The bottom line is that this wheelset when properly tensioned and maintained will perform just as well as anything costing 3-4x.

Damn POS knock off post it notes

What a sad world we live in when knock off Post it Notes don't stick! I put a little sticky on my top tube with the day's interval workout so that I don't forget what I'm supposed to be doing between these eye popping intervals.

This POS sticky didn't work well so I had to put it in my jersey pocket, and sure enough I forgot what I was doing. Workout called for 2sets of 3reps of 4 on 4 off. I thought I had to do 3 sets of 4 reps. So I tried a 4th one and couldn't do it, and started to feel sorry for myself, that is until I checked the note again. Then I got all inspired again and said, Ohh...2 sets. I can do that mother fu***. Was totally cycling through songs on the mp3 player during the last one, till I found one that would kick me up a notch to make it through the last one.

Did the 4 mins at 290W. First couple were cake. Last few were tough. Quite glad there were only 2 sets. It was doable.

And to celebrate a wonderful Valentine's day my wife and I had an appointment with a Lawyer to talk about a will. Not the most romantic thing to do, but I'm, glad we finally got our act together to get this the ball rolling on this.

It is not ours to judge...Only to make fun of

In this world we live in, it's so easy to pass judgements on people. From cycling to where one might pass judgement on the kind of bike their riding or how they are dressed to parenting and passing judgement on someone's parenting style or they kids, etc... to driving SUVs to whatever.

The way I see it, we're all just brutha's trying to get by. Your problems and stresses and dreams are as important as mine regardless of how they might compare to each other.

That being said. I'm not going to judge you but I sure as hell might make fun of you. I expect you to do the same to me...

In that vein, here is a cool link I saw at jason sager


Check out the submission page and this video here: movie

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Chillin' Weekend

Just relaxed this weekend. Finished off my son's window box seat.


Went hiking with the boys, had some friends over for dinner Sat. Nothing spectacular. But it is NEVER boring. I feel sorry for people w/o kids, because they actually have to work at fighting boredom. With kids, it's taken care of. Just wait a few seconds and something will happen.

Sunday I headed out to the Pond to just mountain bike for an hour. It felt nice to just ride along and feel the bike moving underneath me. The ground was thawing out and muddy as heck. I decided to walk several climbs rather than slog it out. I could have done it ya know, but decided that it didn't fall under the classification of recovery.

Though I did ride one muddy grunt when there was a hiker coming down. I do have some pride. Skipped a lot of single track and just rode the fire road and took the highway back to the car. Sure it wasn't sweet single track but it was fun. You know how there are those people that aren't having fun unless they are riding on single track? But anything on the bike is cool to me. I got back to the car sooner than I expected so I rode around practicing some psuedo trials moves on the landscape timbers, and working on track stands. I used to do that stuff all the time, even sideways hopping up flights of stairs. (Really short steps on those stairs btw)

I'm such a fair weather rider. Mainly because I don't have time to clean my bike anymore. And I hate stiction in the cables. It's funny training the way I am. I get in such a focused mindset that sometimes I would just rather ride on the trainer. It's wierd I know, but Ive got tunnel vision. It can be a little counter productive to train in vacuum like this, and I need to make sure that I get out with some groups, especially some fast groups just to put me back into a good reference. Cause it's easy to be the fastest in my mind when I'm on the trainer.


Friday, February 11, 2005

PRO the Movie: review

I had ordered PRO the movie direct from Native Productions, and it came yesterday:

I have the Hard Road. The Hard Road was pretty good just because there are NO movies about cycling in the US. I think Hard Road could have been much better. But regardless, it motivates me to see these guys sacrificing so much for cycling.

I didn't like the narrator in that one. The PRO narrator wasn't much better IMHO. PRO flowed much better than the HR. I was enthralled by the interviews with some of the racers. Like Saunders, Julich, Horner, Freddie. I'd forgotten what the race outcome was and I literally was on the edge of my seat as the movie unfolded through each lap of the philly race.

Mountain biking is my passion. I am a mountain biker through and through. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my road bike and road riding, but MTB is where it is at for me as far as racing. But there are NO good mountain bike movies that can compare to road footage for inspiring me. I'm waiting for Off Road to Athens to go on sale, but movies about jumping and hucking are cool, but they do nothing to inspire me like seeing the Tour guys ride out of their minds with grimaces on their face.

PRO did a good job of showing how freaking hard these guys work. Man seeing Pate and the other Healthnet guys work it for 3hrs+ on the breakaway was amazing. And just the sheer power of some of those guys. Amazing. When Horner made the move on the wall I got goose bumps.

I wish he'd shown some more of the hardcore training these guys must do to be able to surge and then recover. Sort of like the Rocky training scenes. I always loved those parts.

So while it may not be a perfect movie, it is perfect for cyclists. Inspiring, motivating. Definitely something I can watch many times over.

I really liked Saunders talking about winning and not winning. Christ, if it was about winning I never would have made it past my first race.

It's ON now!

Whew, survived another session the torture chamber. 24 freaking minutes in the ON. 4 sets of 6 reps of 1 bys at 320W. I was raging through the first two sets. The third set I could feel the fatigue taking its toll, and the 1 min off was starting to not be enough.

The last set, I was talking to myself to get me through it. Come on, one more, one more. I kept changing to a new song on the MP3 player looking for the one that would get me through the next interval.

I gotta take a picture of the sticky note that I have on my top tube. I write down the workout, and then I was making tick marks for each interval I do. It is SO easy to forget which on you are on. The pen dropped out of my jersey pocket after the first two on the last set. So it was ok, # 3 this is 3, or 4 we are on 4 now, 5, just this and one more. ok last one.

I could feel the coffee coming up on the last one, I think if I had tried to burp it out I woulda hurled.

GOD please let this be worth it. It's hard to train in a vacuum like this. Just one ride in the real world with some real people and I'm sure I'll be back to reality. But I've NEVER trained this hard. Every race has been a reality check and it always hurts way more than training and every time I'm never prepared enough. Maybe not this time.

Stage 13 from the 2003 Tour was on the tape. This is the stage where Lance crashed when his bar grabbed that Musette bag. The anger and the agony and the pain on his face. And the rider that got caught Sylvan, Ullrich, Vinnie. All of them, workin' it.

Well, another workout checked off. Day by day man, keep working it keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Take on Me

Remember that song from Ah-ha
Take on Me.

It's a good song to interval too. Especially when it's covered by Reel Big Fish. This song gets me going like few can. When it came on I rolled through this interval like nothing.

I can still remember when this video came out on MTV. It struck a chord with me. Cycling is one way where I sometimes enter the battlefield against personal demons, and music like this helps get it on.!!!

3 Min intervals

Today was back on the trainer. It didn't go the best. 2 sets of 4reps of 3min on 3 off. I opted to do them at 290 W with the hopes of bumping up if I could handle the first set.

Legs were not fully there. But I made it through the entire set with just one where I failed before the end. Wrong song in the IPOD to get me through it!

3 minutes is starting to get into that area where it is mentally harder to do the intervals so much as physically hard. It is excruciating for me to not look at the watch. And invariably, I look and there is way more time on the clock than I had anticipated.
Just wait till the MSP intervals, where they are like 8-12 mins.

Ash Wednesday = Ashwin's Day

Another Ash Wednesday come and gone. This year marked by a low key dinner and dessert with the family.

Why you wonder, am I marking Ash Wednesday? When most of the world uses Fat Tuesday as their major party day this time of year why would Ash Wednesday be special you might ask?

Years ago as a sophomore in College at UC Davis, I was sitting at my desk trying to do homework and just staring at the calendar that was in front of my face. Just so happened to be the month with Ash Wednesday in it. Almost every calendar printed has this day marked, and I was just looking at it saying it over and over in my mind

Ash Wednesday....AshWednesday...Ashwin..S..Day...Ashwin's Day
Ashwin's Day

My first name is Ashwin.

..My day.

Man you just can't get any better than that. And being a college student any excuse for a party was, well any excuse for a party. Rounded up some friends and had a few beers.

That was the start of a great tradition. It went from small dorm parties to 3 kegger full scale house parties. Where people I'd never seen before came up to me and rule...

Over the years the party has changed as I have grown up. When I got a girlfriend, the beer and chips party soon transformed in to HorsDVors.

And as I got married and had kids the party changed even more. The last couple years, we have bagged the whole party. With the kids and being on a Wednesday, well it was just more trouble than I wanted to deal with. Sad I am, yes to let something like this fall away. But times change.

Next year...Yes Next year I'm gonna do something more to mark this day.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My scooby

Well, I've been devoting a lot of time and $ to my subaru wagon. Here are the latest pictures.

Current Mods:
-Tune up/90k service
-IPD rear sway bar kit with endlinks
-KYB Gr2 Struts
-Whiteline control springs
-WRX stock wheels and RE-92 tires
-WRX front seats
-WRX pedal set
-Greddy Counterweight shift knob
-Kartboy Short Throw Shifter
-Kartboy shifter bushing
-Yakima rack with some jury rigged mounts
-Midnight Moose Eaglelite higher wattage headlight bulbs



Rest done right

Monday: nada
Tuesday- Threw mtn bike on roof of car, and rode for 40mins super easy on the bike path.
Wednesday- 1hr on trainer, at Zone2 or higher. If it wasn't for this prescribed workout, I'd probably have just vegged out and then tried to hit the intervals tomorrow and have dead legs and pretty much have a wasted workout. This way at least my legs will be somewhat ready for the intervals tomorrow morning.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

More music

Face to Face

Good solid punk. not as poppy, a little more serious than other stuff but it does the trick for me when on the trainer.

3rd day fatigue

3rd day of a block.

2x5reps of 1 on 2 off.

Amazingly it wasn't too bad. I was even questioning how easy it was, but I calibrated the trainer before each ride, and I was pushing 320W each time for 1 min intervals. But it didn't hurt me too bad.

Later that morning we took the kids to pandapas pond to hike, and I was a basket case. Almost bonking. Wife made PBJ for the kids and these sweet children wouldn't share with the old man. They guarded their half sandwiches like cavemen hoarding meat.

Later in the day I was so beat I just had to lay down. Day off tomorrow, and then an easy ride the next day followed by another SMSP block.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Sometimes you surprise yourself

Last night walking up stairs my legs were soar. I was getting nervous about today's workout. Today was 3sets of 7x1. I was dreading it 7 of them man.

But they weren't that bad. Well let me take that back, they were bad, but someohow I made it all the way through and found my place in the pain. Did them at 320 W on the Tacx. did some in ergo mode and some in slope mode.

Felt like puking sometimes. My legs almost felt like they were going to cramp. The fatigue is setting in. Today was 2nd day of a block, and tomorrow will be my first 3day. But it doesnt look too bad. I'm pretty wiped out by the end of the day lately.

I came upstairs and was just sitting at the kitchen table with the 1000yard stare. Saying to the powers that be, Please make all this worth it. A few more weeks of the SMSP then it's a shift of mindset to the MSP, which hurt just as much but in their own way. Those are longer intervals like 8-12 mins with half the rest, but at a lower power setting. Takes a lot of effort to not watch the clock constantly.

Busy weekend. nice weather. gonna go hiking with the kids, wash the cars, finish a window box I've been making for my son, maybe add some tweeters in the subauru, chores, vacuum, etc..


Friday, February 04, 2005

1 week down, 2 to go

Started the 2nd week of the SMSP interavals today

2 sets of 6reps of 2min on 2min off today. Again, I tried 310W. First set went pretty well. But the 2nd set I bogged down the last 3. I tried dropping power to 300 and still couldn't really finish the rep.

Had some Soy milk right afterwards, then a small bottle of Endurox after a shower. Couldn't stomach any food.

Tomorrow it's some more 1min intervals, then off Sat, then I'll try and get outside for and hour easy. Weather is supposed to be pretty nice, into the 50s.

Doing the intervals on the Tacx Flow has been really good.
I like the ergo mode of set and forget. However, I've been contemplating looking into a used Computrainer because those are supposed to be the standard. The Tacx is a great value but some stuff I read made me question it's accuracy in ergo mode at higher MPH.

Found some cool stuff on the net that some guys did in comparing a Tacx to an SRM. In Slope mode it looked like the Tacx tracked the SRM very closely:

But in ergo mode there was an error associated with higher speeds. This chart :


The guy that wrote this stuff explains the above graph with this:
The chart may be a bit hard to interpret so I should probably explain. The idea of an ergo is that you set the wattage you want (say, 250W) and off you go (Ron Popeil would say, "set it and forget it"); the ergo will match the load so that whatever speed you ride, you'll be generating 250 watts. So in an ideal world you'd want the percent error to be independent of your speed. The chart plots the error against kph (or, in this case, the ratio of the wattage setting to the speed), and if the ergo worked well
the pattern would have zero slope.

The observed pattern doesn't have zero slope.
Instead, it says that in ergo mode the Flow's electronic braking system fails to increase the load by the appropriate amount to keep power constant as wheel speed increases. If you look only at the black dots (where the scale factor is set at 100), it says that if you set the ergo for a constant 250W, the Flow will only have zero error if you're riding at 23kph. At 28kph, the Flow is only able to produce enough braking force to generate an actual load of about 200W (about a 20% error). At 36kph, the Flow was actually producing about 40% less load than it should have. The scaling factor moves the curve up and down, but doesn't fix the basic underlying problem.

The good news is that the error is stable and predictable. The bad news is that the slope of the error is huge, which sort of defeats the entire intent of the ergo feature.

But hell, what really matters is that I'm pushing myself outside the comfort zone and if I am unable to complete the set, than that is a pretty good indicator that I'm not lolly-gagging around. I could start doing the intervals in slope mode where it just tells you what the power output is rather than holding at a set power level, but that requires constant monitoring and modifying pedaling rather than just put your head down and go.

I actually bought a Computrainer resistance unit on ebay last year, and have been waiting to put together a jury rigged system, but a computrainer stand alone costs $200. That was less than I got the Tacx for. An older computrainer with the old load generator will go for $400 or less on ebay, but it has no cadence function, and to upgrade to use the new load gen. that I have would cost a lot for a whole new handlebar controller.

The thing is that I only use the damn thing for intervals. Set a wattage and do the interval. I wouldn't use it for the graphics, or pedal scan, etc. So the computrainer is really overkill for what I'd want it for, but it's accuracy is what I'm looking at.

I know for many cyclists all this focus on intervals and training is over the top. But let's face my reality. Little time, no daylight, lots of other things/projects/hobbies, etc. W/o the races to focus on and these prescribed workouts I don't think I would do anything on the bike during winter except on the weekends provided I could get out. I want to race. I want to race well. I want to rage out there. In order to do that I have to train. For me, having a set plan helps me motivate and focus to train. Just riding along doesn't work for me. Just riding along fast, now that makes me happy. Of course know that the term fast is only relative .

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Riding from the garage in the sticks

Dropped off the car yesterday at my new favorite Service Center. It's in Longshop.

Longshop is one of this places in Virginia that is signified by a small green sign about 1-2' long and 4" high. According to some locals I work with they do good work, and cheap, and they fixed my truck right good.

It's funny though, I get the cold shoulder from some of the guys there. I try and sit a spell and talk to them, but sometimes you're never going to be local, if you know what I mean. Regardless, they treat my pocketbook and my car right. Well so far at least.Need top drive it some more to make sure they did it right. Had a ton of stuff done to it. Part of the 90K service that I couldn't do plus installing some new suspension parts and other junk.

For all the stuff below it took them less than a day and 1/2 and charged me $449:

-Install new timing belt (customer supplied)
-Install new oil pump seal (customer supplied)
-Inspect oil pump
-Inspect water pump
-Inspect Fuel system hoses, connections
-Flush Coolant
-Inspect transmission/differential (front/rear) gear oil
-Replace brake fluid
-inspect brake linings and rear drums
-Inspect Brake lines
-Inspect steering
-Install all 4 struts, strut mounts /springs (customer supplied)
-Front end alignment
-Inspect front/rear axle boots and axle shaft joint
-Install shifter bushing (customer supplied)
-Remove rear hitch

It drives pretty sweet. Gotta drive it a bunch to get the new feel for it, and still gotta get a 'clunk' noise out from the rear swaybar.

I dropped the car off and rode the mountain bike back home. It was chilly to start, but warmed up ok. Nice ride, super super easy. Legs turned over well, hurt a little on the hills. I wish I could have seen the look on their faces when I rode off. Hell that boy is riding his BI-CEE-CAL from here.

Missy, a local road rider caught up to me by my house. She 'might' be racing for the Fuji Women's team out of NC. That would be cool.

We got 4" of snow last night and this morning. By 2 this afternoon most of the roads were totally clear, and it's supposed to be in the 50s this weekend.

This morning I did about 45 mins on the trainer. The plan called for Zone 2, which I calculated to be like 200-250W. That seemed high actually for a recovery ride. but I did it no sweat. Probably a good thing actually, because I do better with intervals after a good riding day more so than after a day of complete rest.

Tomorrow it is back to the intervals. I've made it 1 week. And still going strong. Sure it's hard to motivate, but can't really get outside much anyway. They are hard. I am tired a lot but the light at the end of the tunnel is going to be riding strong.

One good byproduct of getting up and riding b4 breakfast is that I started to lose a little weight again w/o really trying. Getting up and then having a cup of coffee and then riding b4 breakfast seems to help me lose weight.

I'll buy that for a dollar.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Interval saving music

In intervals sometimes a good song can really help you get through the rep.

In today's workout MXPX helped me out on one of them.

good solid pop punk

A better interval day

Legs felt better today than yesterday.

Did SMSP 3sets of 6x1 on 1 off at 320 watts.

Bogged down partway into the second set. Just eased off until through the next rest period and finished the set. 3set was a little better.

One thing I found with this trainer, is that I have to be spun up into the 100s when I get to the Power level I want. I just can't stomp on the pedals at low cadenences and the high power.

Also if I am spinning pretty good and go to my hardest gear with a good spin, then I can do the interval pretty straightforward. Probably not the best thing for real world to be spining so fast, I should be more into the 90-100, but He said between 80-110. I know that I work better at higher cadences, I just hope it isn't going to be a hinderance when off road, in the rock gardens, where I need some more impulse power.

Felt like hurling again afterwards. It's a good sign. When my face hurts after a workout, then I now I did a good job.