Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Anticipation vs trepidation

I used to stand at the top of the basement stairs before these interval sessions and just give myself a pep talk before going down. Lately I've been approaching them with more anticiaption rather than fear. Anticipation to see what can I accomplish today. Plus the weather is so cold, that it doesn't bother me at all to be in the basement.

I upped the quantity of intervals by 1 per set from last year's workout. So today I did 4 sets of 7x1on 1 off 5mins off per set. Man 28 1-bys is a lot. Ok I was scared of that.

Took some Sportlegs again this morning. I dunno, but I'm starting to think there is something there. Need a lot more testing and eval, but could be on to something. It's not like they make me superman, but they do seem to cut down on the burn.

Did all the intervals at 320W in Tacx Ergo mode. This felt too easy the first sets, but started to catch up the latter ones. Cadences usually around 100rpm sometimes dropping down to 75-80 usually accompanied with grabbing a smaller cog. I might have been able to do some at higher intensities, but just wanted to make it all the way through in one piece today. Though the very last one I decided to ramp it up till the legs bogged. With a good spin/cadence going in the Tacx Ergo mode it is easier to ramp up so it is sort of like cheating. If I was at 70rpm then ramped up they'd bog for sure very quickly, but I was at 110rpm or so. Every 10 seconds up by 10W. 350, 360, 370, 380W. Like I said, unrealistic that I could really turn that much but when done starting with the high RPM it is doable.

I also brought some energy drink down with me too. I haven't been using too much besides water in the past. Last year I downed a gel one day during an interval session and about fell over from a wave of dizziness. A few weeks ago I was trying a custom concoction of pure sugar and salt, but it left too sticky a feeling in the mouth. Back to the Power Bar endurance drink. It's been one of my favorite drinks because it is so light tasting.

Also had a muffin with PBJ right after. Decided it is pointless to skip breakfast for the sake of weight. I'm so hungry all day with these interval sessions. As much if not more when compared to 4hr easy rides. The weight will come off slowly over the course of the year if I am just consistent with a good balanced diet. I hope.

It is interesting how 1hr of riding can work you. I imagine my weekly totals are under 5hrs. Tomorrow is the last thing then a 5 day recovery period. Basically commute easy to work, then one day in there with 5x1min on 2 off, some days completely off the bike.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Training front

Fri - commute. Felt good in morning, terrible in afternoon. Cold windy, feeling sick
Sat - 45 mins easy road bike. Felt ok, dressed warm
Sun - 45 mins trainer av 200W (in regular mode not ergo mode) Opted for inside as it was cold and windy, and the cold has been aggravating this sinus congestion.

Mon - 2 sets 5 reps 3min on 3 off
Started at 270, then 280, then 290, 290, 290
300, 300, 290, 290, 290

I tried some samples of Sport Legs

this morning prior to the workout. The real reason I am trying them is because of the glowing testimonials. I love those kinds of endorsements where they hold up a bottle and smile.

No idea if they did anything. I 'guess' my legs didn't burn as much, but I don't think I rode like superman either. But then again, I did 3min intervals today at 290+ and the other day I was doing 2 min at similar outputs.

Now I can't stress enough that the numbers listed don't mean jack. But what is important is that the trainer is repeatable enough and the environment is similar (tire pressure, position, etc) that it is safe to say that 290 is has hard as 290 from one day to the next.

And the way I'm doing these intervals is I'm 'trying' to set the highest power setting where I can complete the entire workout. So it is promising that I did 3 mins at similar output that I was doing two mins at last week. How much of that is Sport Legs and how much of that is trainin effect is unknown. Though I've become a little skeptical of magic pilss, though I will try anything.

Interesting Juicy 7 setup tip:

On the mtbr forums, there is a post on the J7 with an interesting setup tip.
Read the whole post as there is more info than I am just copying here. I am unsure and have asked if this tip is only applicable to the 05 Polygon rotor or if it is used for the cleansweep or other aftermarket rotor like the galfer.
I am going to copy/paste it here:
By whangen
******** New to forum.... maybe this will help ********

Crucial Avid Juicy Seven Setup Tips.

Good thread everybody! Thanks for all the research and efforts by all those involved, even those who hate Juicy Sevens and love to pound me.

Topic: Most everyone is installing their Juicy Sevens wrong.

Avid doesn't help cuz their instructions leave out several important setup issues. One is a manufacturing pre-condition which I'll discuss first. The second in an almost universal setup blunder, even by a lot of LBS's... and they should know better. 'Castle'... pay attention, this will be on the test!

Avid mistakenly designed the '05 - 160mm rotor rim to be an 1/8" too far from the axle. The 185mm rotor is about 1/16" off depending on the fork or bosses. This causes the pads to rub the top of the rotor arms and produce the famous 'turkey gobble' . It's not necessarily accompanied by a squeal - that's usually a separate setup problem, discussed last. Avid is fixing the rotor designs and that is why the last year's models are selling for $129 or less a wheel.

Our objective is to move the calipers outboard from the axle a tiny bit. The easy fix for the 160mm rotor is to slip TWO .04" thick washers (each a little thinner than a dime) on each bolt BETWEEN the supplied adaptor and the inner ball and cone combo. Four washers total.

Usually the 185mm rotor takes one washer for each bolt depending on the fork or bosses. Follow Avids instruction for the rest of the setup (plus my extra setup technique below). Don't squeeze the levers with no disc or spacer in the caliper. The hard fix is to grind off an 1/8" or aforesaid bottom of the pad.. some do this, but why bother with each new set of pads you put in ?!?

The second setup issue. When you go to tighten down the loose cone and ball parts, spin the wheel VERY slowly WITH THE CRANKS --- NOT BY ROTATING THE WHEEL BACKWARDS. Slowly apply a little more force to the lever and very gently stop the wheel rotating, making sure you used the cranks for this! This slow rotation of the wheel/rotor in the correct direction the wheel naturally travels helps wiggle out the spaces in the ball and cones and align the parts correctly. Don't go too fast. While keeping the lever moderately engaged, go to each of the two bolts and tighten one a little, then the other and so on back and forth. It's kinda like the early XT linear V-brakes and the toe-in issues regarding squealing. Fractions of a millimeter make all the difference.

Okay here's the bad news, if you initially did the setup the wrong way or the way Avid advises and then rode your bike for a month or two, figuring to 'break 'em in and work out the squeals' you probably wore the pads unevenly. If so, toss 'em and start fresh cuz your old ones will make setup harder. Also, that's why your old setup sucked and you had bad modulation and noise. Constant squealing and grabbing tell me (when I'm on the trail) that someone did a bad setup on their Avids. I guarantee you'll love the results if you follow my simple tips. By the way, if it's wet, all disc brake squeal and squawk a little.

X-factor levers? Who cares. If the Sevens are setup right you don't have to be ham-fisted with the levers; one forefinger will do the trick, even in the most dire circumstance. If you prefer, scratch up the smooth blade area under your fingerpad a little with rough sandpaper.

You'll love the results if you follow my simple tips. Good modulation and powerful one-finger stops can be yours. Now, go grab some of those dirt cheap '05 Juicy Sevens before everyone figures this out.

Little known fact: Behind the lever blade, up near the brake body, is a small indentation --- your travel coffee mug's handle will hang there quite nicely while riding to the coffee shop

I am curious to try this out. The setup tip about rotating the wheel in the proper direction is something that I don't right.

If he is right about 05 Juicy's selling for $129 a wheel. Grab em. Don't buy them if you don't know how to bed in properly, and aren't willing to do a little tinkering as above. Or aren't willing to request a warranty replacement for Clean Sweep rotors.

Notice how I'm not miffed at all at Avid. It's funny, I love this sort of stuff sometimes. Finding some obscure tinkering that someone has tried and seeing what the affect is.

Actually my J7s don't have too many problems anyway. But it's fun to play around.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Always on the verge of something

Every time a micro block ends, I feel like I am going to get sick with a cold. Chills, the creeping crud.

I got some antibiotics a few weeks ago for some upper level congestion, but they did nothing. My workouts are going pretty well and I feel somewhat strong during them, but after a 3 day block I just feel something coming again. This has happened several times. Thankfully it passes.

Seems that I have got something in the wings just waiting to pounce. I finished 3 days of intervals on Thursday. Friday I dropped a car off for service and rode to work then rode back to pick it up. I felt horrible on the bike. That night just felt so cold. Today was easy spin, didn't feel too bad, but am feeling a cold again.

I'm training well, I believe. But it is hard when it is so easy to compare yourself to someone else and the kind of training that they are doing. Next week I am only going to do 2 days of intervals than take a 5 day rest period
There will be some intensity in there and some short days but basically a vastly reduced schedule in order to supercompensate for the past work.

Then the trip.

Big travel plans

It is our 10'th anniversary this year in July. My wife and I had been going back and forth about what to do. We wanted it to be special. And we wanted to make a decision soon to avoid the Oh well let's just go to a dinner and movie syndrome. We were going back and forth about doing something totally uncharactertistic for us like a cruise or warm-beach vacation vs cycling oriented like travelling to Italy or France.

Beach/cruise would be fine for a day or so, then we'd be bored out of our minds. Italy was just so expensive to fly to. I could take or leave Europe but my wife did want to go someplace cool. We finally decided on this trip. And booked it quickly.

Copper Canyon - Mexico

We leave next Saturday. Bikes have been shipped out. Passports in hand. Plane tickets bought. Plane tickets for Mother In Law set...

I've been reluctant to post about it because it just didn't seem real. We didn't even have our passports or birth certificates in hand when we booked the trip.

The closer it gets the more nervous we get. Not so muchh because of the riding, as I think we can handle it. Though the last ride on my mtn. bike I rolled the tire off the rim on a turn onto a bike path so that doesn't do a lot for one's confidence. We're really nervous about leaving the kids. The longest we have been away has been 3 days. But they are good kids, and old enough and my Mother in Law is good with them.

The other funny thing is that we are going to have to re-learn how to relax. These days everything is always so hectic. I do not know how to do a proper group ride anymore. The last one I went on, I couldn't stand because of all the waiting around. How are we supposed to sit down to dinner for hours? It is supposed to be up to 80degrees at the Canyon floor. Cooler up top. 7500' elevation. Huffing/puffing.

We are really excited about it. We've never done anything this big before.

Mountain Bike Bill has some great pictures, movie, and description of his trip there. I don't think ours is as hardcore as his was, but it will be similar.

Friday, February 24, 2006

PRQ #9: Marla Streb

This instalment #9 of the PRQ (Pro Racer Questionnaire) Series.

Marla Streb

*from Bikesutra.com

Marla Streb has got to be one of the most recognizable personalities in mountain biking. She is one of those athletes that has transcended a cubby hole and branched out in several different disciplines all at the highest level of the sport. First in downhill and now in the single speed and endurance events. She has a reputation of being highly analytical in her approach to racing which I something I can identify with.

From her advanced degrees and former career as a research scientist, to footage of her running into a tree before races. She is one of a kind. She has a Blog over at Mountain Zone that is a fun read. It is very personable, and one of the things that strikes me is Marla's accessibility and friendships with so many 'regular joes' in the mountain bike world. This is but one aspect of her incredible awareness of marketing and promotion of her sponsors and cycling.

I'm quite honored that she has taken the time to answer the PRQ. To read more about Marla there are tons of interviews and articles on her. Here are a few.
Blue Collar MTB *incidentally, I had requested that Tim as the question on tips for descending faster.

Cycling news

Marla has a new book coming out soon as well. Bicycling Magazine's Century Training Book . Marla is also having a baby this year!! Now she can join our club.

The questionnaire:


-Who are your sponsors that you’d like to recognize?
Red Bull

-What makes an athlete a 'good investment' for a sponsor?
The whole package- a racer who not only can go fast, but is articulate and can convey the sponsor's message to the press and people. A racer who enjoys many types of cycling (from BMX to road crits), not just one event. I think it's also important to be very accessible, and to stay in constant contact with the industry.

-How long have you been racing mountain bikes, how long as a pro?
I've been racing bikes for about 14 years, 12 as a pro.

-What are your goals for 2006?
I'd like to win the national downhill championships, a few Super-D's, and the single speed worlds.

Bike Geek Stuff.

-What bikes do you race on? What other bikes do you own?
I have raced on Santa Cruz's juliana_large, but now we're switching to Orbea for '06 main_Alma_XTR. I haven't ridden one yet, but I hear they're nice. I own several Santa Cruz's, a couple Yeti's , a Marin, and a Foes

-How do you see XC technology changing over the next 5 years?
I see the full-suspension xc bikes getting even lighter, with longer travel that locks out easily

What component or cycling gear would you pay full retail for if you had to?


-How many hours a week do you train (min, max, average)?
min 8 hr, max 18 hr

-Do you have a coach?
No. I've gone through a few in the past, but now I feel like I know what I'm doing now and I don't need any extra motivation to train

-Do you follow a scientific periodized cycling specific training program or ‘just ride’
I follow my own periodized training program, which is a little of both. But I time all workouts and they have to be in at least 30 minute increments.

-Do you strength train?
yes, I'm a big fan of it during the winter. I like watching the boys grunt

-How do you recover after a hard ride or workout?
An easy spin, usually running errands, but never a day off

-What is your nutrition protocol during a 2-2.5hr XC race?
water bottles full of Clif Shot green apple, some Clif Shots , and a Red Bull for the final lap

-What is your pacing strategy for an 2-2.5hr XC race?
I stay as close to anaerobic threshold as possible.


-How do you balance the stresses of regular life with training and recovery? Training and racing usually take priority over my husband, family, and friends. Although now I hear that may change now that I'm going to have a baby this spring!

-Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Yes. I've gotten away with racing mountain bikes and traveling the world full time for 12 years. And I have absolutely no talent whatsoever.

-What advice do you have for those of us with families, and full time jobs who want to race our best?
When you can ride, ride extremely hard with people that are faster. On days where you can't really train, ride to work or run your errands on your bike at a recovery ride pace (HR 60% max).

Pants shopping

I think I should open up an internet store that specializes in pants for cyclists. My legs are so big that a lot of pants feel like '70s disco pants. Relaxed fit only.

But then everywhere else like waist, hips, etc. relaxed fiit pants are baggy.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

One dojo philosophy

I just posted about a new book about power training. Yet I am not sure I'm going to get it.

Lately, I've been trying to limit my extracurricular activities. Family, work, training, skills work, keeping 5 bikes operational, and writing for this and the Biking Hub is about all I can handle. I've got this sickness where if I get into something new, I obsess about it and focus a lot of energy on it. I am trying hard to just keep the flow going now, and not get all into something.

My training plan is working well right now. I believe it is providing a good return on investment and seems to be working with my avaiable time and mentality. So far I've been able to keep focus and motivation day to day. Basically I am happy with my dojo.

In the past I've followed a Sponge type of philosophy. Basically read everything you can get your hands on, then filter from there. This thinking allows you to keep an open mind and see what is out there. But it lacks focus and concentration. I'm learning that improvement comes very slowly over the course of months and months, year to year. When you bounce back and forth from one thing to another, there is no continuity to build upon. I think this is one of the reasons I never really improved much early on in my cycling.

Reading too many books right now would instill a second guessing mentality which is very detrimental to any training program. It's not like I am blindly following something. I do understand the rationale behind it and Dave answers all my questions. But it is so easy to read or hear about new stuff and start questioning the current plan.

It's just like golf. You can go from one school/pro to another and keep changing to the new dojo. But every time you sort of start over.

Regardless of your dojo, the most important thing is to find a philosophy/coach/plan, that you believe in and understand. With belief comes commitment. With commitment comes focus. Once you find it stick with it, for a while. 6 months a year maybe. Yes I know, a lifetime to the modern internet generation. The second you start to second guess you either need to get some answers to your questions or you need to find a new dojo.

Training with the constant questions like "What about this?" or "Maybe I should be doing this because such and such pro is doing it" etc... is going to kill you.

Training with power

There is a new book on the market:

Training and Racing with a Power Meter

Both authors are widely recognized as being at the forefront of training with power, especially Andy Coggan. I've met Hunter Allen before as he spoke at a local bike shop. He lives only an hour from here.

One of the newest power meters is the Ergomo bottom bracket system.

A friend tipped me on a great manual that they have for how to use the Ergomo that is located here.

Power meters are still fairly expensive in the grand scheme of things, but it is amazing how pervasive they have become to the cycling world. I imagine every pro team is using them by now. I have some power measurement through my Taxc ergo, but it would be cool to see what is really going on during a ride, especially a mtn bike ride. I wonder how much it would help me figure out the right pacing strategy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Anthem review at cyclingnews

Cycling news just published a review of Giant's new Anthem

I'm interested in this because of the similarity in the Maestro suspension to the DW Link . There is talk on the forums about patent infringement on the DW-link which is currently in the patent process. It's not my place to discuss that and we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

The Anthem linkage design looks similar to my current Hollowpoint


There are some design features I like about the Anthem that I wish Iron Horse had done with their new XC bike the Azure

-I like the longer top tubes of the Anthem compared to the Azure
-The weight is lighter on the Anthem. That being said, the Azure is designed for more all around aggressive XC/enduro while the Anthem is heavily targeted at the go fast XC-only crowd

I am not sure yet which geometry I'd prefer. The Anthem has a 72 degree head tube with an 80mm fork and 71 with a 100mm fork. Around here I think 100mm fork is probably becoming the standard for XC. and 71 is a good balanced geometry. 72 is definitely too steep for around here. On the tight twisty county park courses it might be perfect though.

The Azure has a 70.5 headtube with a 100mm fork. This creates a slightly more stable albeight slower steering bike. Which is probably fine from an enduro and really aggressive XC position. I'm sure it is splitting hairs as anyone can adapt to a given geometry. I just know that when my hardtail was 71.5 it became a handful around here, and after I put a slightly longer fork on it, it became more manageable.

It is interesting that the review was not totally glowing. Specifically his description of the seated climbing. Yet the final rating was 5 yellow jerseys which is the maximum. I've heard nothing but glowing remarks about the seated climbing ability of the Azure. Standing climbing just doesn't work for me off road, so I'm very concerned about this.

I'm trying to not think too much about a new bike this year. Unless an opportunity presents itself, I'm just going to save for next year. Maybe slowly upgrade a part here or there to create the ultimate build kit. But it is hard with these sorts of reviews coming out.

Block training for the mind

There is no doubt to me that block training is an efficient way to improve fitness. One thing that it also helps out is in your head and your confidence.

After yesterday I was wondering if I'd be able to do my workout out today.
I did it and was stronger than I expected. Which gives me confidence for tomorrows workout.

If you have ever done a team relay of a 24hr race, or ride several days in a row, then you might have experienced this phenomena. Where you get stronger before you get weaker.

If you never ride two days in a row hard, try it sometime. Just keep in mind that the second day you'll need to decrease the duration of the workout in order to keep the intensity high

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Back from rest is hard

3days off the bike in Myrtle Beach.

1st day back 45mins at Zone 2. Zone 2 sounds low, as there are 5 Zones. So you'd think Zone 2 would be easy. But it doesn't feel like it. It burns some. Enough to be uncomfortable. That's what happens when you take a lot of time completely off the bike. It's a little shock to the system when you come back.

The rest is very beneficial but it's just another example of how you have to be patient to reap the rewards.

2nd day back 2 sets of 7x2min on 2 off. This time I started at 300w. A couple I had to do at 290w. I am pretty sure that test I did for MSPO gave me a higher reading than what my MSPO is. Cause that test said 280w. You'd think that for 2 min interval that I'd be able to do more than 300w?

I was watching my heartrate too and it was showing around the high 180s-190s which is what that MSPO test settled at. I would think that I'd be edging up to the mid 190s and higher by the end of a 2minute interval. Doesn't really matter it is what it is. But I am thinking of pulling out the HRM for races and rides again just to see what it says. It will only be accurate during the early part of a ride that is in the beginning of a block of rides. But I am hoping I can use it to help gauge my race pace better. I used to use it a lot.

What really matters is that I did the entire workout at a set intensity.

7 is a hard # of intervals to do. It seems to go on forever.
2x7x2=28 minutes at a high intensity. That's pretty good.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Not as bad

I apologize for the whininess of the last post. I was just bummed at having to miss Douthat this year. I have to present at a conference at 5pm that evening in Philedelphia. Let's see. Race starts at noon. 2.5hr race. Collect prize money. Drive to airport.....

Thanks for the suggestions for races. I've thought about road a little. I wouldn't mind just going out to help the team and just ride myself into the ground. But I worry a lot about either being that guy and crashing out the field, or getting crashed out by someone else. Rocks, roots, singletrack with drop offs I can handle. Wheel to wheel with someone I don't know is another story.

But the WV races have some dates/locations that look like they might work. I'm just trying to have at least 1 event to work towards each month. Possibly two. Any more than that and it becomes too much of a strain on the family.

March 26 - mock race hopefully
May 28 There is a race in South Charleston, WV
*June 4 Hoo Ha
*July 16 Commonwealth games
July 30 WV little beaver race
Aug 26 Danville (sat)
Aug 27 Ace River Center Race -WV
Sept 23 - Bedford sat
Sept 24 Black Bear Race - WV
*Oct 1 Hill climb
*Oct ? Rowdy Dawg

*= priority race

Oh well busy summer. But there is a lot more choice there than I first thought.

Racing calendar going down the drain

Racing around here is terrible. Other parts of the country have multiple series going on. Choices of 2-3 races every week all within 2hrs driving.

There are some precious few races around here that I can get to. I start filling them in on my calendar only to find several conflicts with work related conferences that I have to go to. A real bummer.

I'm on the plan. Riding in the cold. Sweating in the basement. Gritting teeth, head down working it hard. Only for a handful of races a year. It's a tough sell sometimes mentally. I try to think long term and not just focus on one year only. Hard work is cummulative that will pay dividends two and three years out. But it still tough when I might miss the biggest race of the year.

What can you do? Racing/riding has its place in the pecking order, and it's behind family and work. I am thankful for a flexible schedule that allows me to train like I do now so I guess I'd rather take that and give up a race here and there.

Races I know about

May 7 Middle Mountain Momma-Douthat * conflict with work
June 4 - Hoo Ha *conflict with Better Ride Advanced camp, will probably race don't know yet
July 16 VA Commonwealth games. *Not sure of mtn bike events yet
Aug 13 - VA Derailer series Rocky mnt. * potential work conflict
Aug 26 - VA Derailer Danville *Long drive, not sure if I'll go.
Sept 10 - VA Derailer Peaks View *another long drive
Sept 23 - VA Bedford * I missed this last year. Hope I can make it
Oct 1 Poor mtn hill climb
Oct 8 Rowdy Dawg * No date set yet, just guessing. Home town race.

2min intervals

Did some 2 min smsp intervals today

Started at 310W. 10w less than what I did the 1min intervals at. Only made 3 at that level. Had to drop to 300W. Then only made 3 more. Then had to drop to 290W for the rest

2 reps
6x2min on 2 off
24min total work.

It pays to start conservative sometimes. If I'd started at 300W maybe I could have done the whole thing at that level. It is so wild how there is just this line in the sand that is like a brick wall. I just hit it and the legs bog and then come to a stop. But 10w less and I can roll it through.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Road Rash treatment kit

When I got home I did the typical, Hydrogren Peroxide and Bacitracin cream treatment. But thought it wise to search the good ol' net to see what the latest and greatest treatment for road rash is.

This site and this one both suggested some good treatment options.

So I went to the drug store and bought supplies for a road rash treatment kit:

-0.9% pressurized saline spray to clean it out
-sterile pads to pat it dry
-New fangled bandages to keep a moist environment but keep out bacteria and let it breathe
-Reese's for comfort
-Beer for comfort (1st beer in more than a month, hadn't really been missing it but wanted one tonight)
-Not pictured - naproxen

The knee doesn't hurt too much. Picking hair out did. A case for shaving legs. I believe that the nerve endings in this knee are dulled from crashing on it so much. I've done a number on it several times over the years.

Stacked it - on the bike path no less

Should have stayed in the basement today.
New Image

Took the mtn bike to work with me. Rode around the parking lot a little, track stands, etc. Then figured I'd take a short spin on the bike path for recovery from the past day's intervals.

Downhill left hand turn from road to the bike path. I took the sharper than expected and cut the turn and hit a soft patch of dirt at the intersection of the bike path and the road. I pulled up on the front wheel hoping to coaster wheelie over the dirt. Not sure what happend but I go down.

When I picked myself up, I looked at the bike and the front tire had rolled off the rim. No clue what happened. Maybe I timed the front end loft wrong and landed right in the soft mud and hit the lip of the bike path while leaned over. Or maybe I had too little air in the front tire, or the fork was too soft. But I've NEVER rolled the tire off. I've been running Stans NO tubes for more than a year. I've burbed air before on big rocks. And it has been low enough to feel squishy before. But never rolled it off.

Embarassing. So much for the skills practicing. I've been bombing some trails lately too. I guess it's probably a good thing to crash here then there.

I haven't crashed in a while. Maybe I got it out of the system.
I wore tights too even though it was really warm. Good thing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Brand Loyalties

I was thinking today of my brand loyalties in the bicycle world. I can be a finicky consumer, and one little interaction can sway my loyalty for years to come. It can be a simple as an email or a phonecall to a question or problem, or sponsoring our team years ago. My loyalty can be swayed by seeing a company post on a forum or a blog. One bad experience and a company may be on my black list. Interestingly enough, one good experience will often overcome any future bad experiences.

Here are some of my current Loyalties and boycotts in the bicycle world.

Answer - Manitou

I've been on a Manitou fork since 1994 with a Manitou 3 fork. Since then I've owned 6 or so forks. I tried a Marzocchi once, never again. The only fork I'd even remotely consider is the Reba given how many good things I've heard about it.

I'm not sure why I am so fiercely loyal. For many years they sponsored our race team. They have always been so easy to maintain, anad tinker with.

Have I had problems with the forks? Sure. But that doesn't bother me. Because I have had problems with or broken almost everything on a bike at one time or another. What really sets Answer apart is how they deal with customer service.

Bar none, the best customer service in the bicycle industry that I have dealt with in the 16+ years I've been riding.


My wife and I won some SRAM shifters at a grass roots small race in 1994. We've been on them ever since.

Maybe it was the anti-Shimano sentiment, and the David- Goliath imagery of SRAM vs Shimano. Maybe it was the fact that with Grip shift you didn't need super strong hands/thumbs to shift.

One of their tech reps - Edmund used to post on mtbr. I still have some of those posts saved. Pure gold. Tips on dialing in the drivetrains and how to open a quick link.

Iron Horse / DW-link

This has been a recently developed loyalty. After my very first FS bike, I researched a ton for the next. The DW-link promised a lot and it seems to be delivering. Again I'm not sure why I'm in the cult.
-Good value. Made in Taiwan, sold at an affordable price but with top level suspension
-Posting on the forums. Both DW and the product managers at IH post on the public forums. This just seems to carry a lot of weight with me.

There are so many FS bikes out there,a lot are to drool for but honestly there is only one I have my eye on. I'll probably wait another year for a design iteration though.

Again not sure why. Maybe it just that I know it works, and don't feel like trying out others.

Honorable mentions.
Companies I like a lot.
-LH Thomson
Odds and Endoes-Stan-BREW Racing Frames I've actually had some issues with frames over the years. But they are just such nice people it doesn't bother me. I'd like a new hardtail soon. I've been thinking Ti but I'd still give Steve a shot to build me a steel one too.


When my wife had a Terry before we got married. She crashed it into cutout in the road that wasn't marked well. The down tube folded. Everything else was fine on the bike, just the frame was wrecked. The bike fit her well, and it had one of those funky designs with different wheel sizes between the front/rear. So she already had an investment in the components that worked on it.

Terry flat out refused to just sell her a frame alone. This wasn't a warranty JRA issue. This was just a situation where they would not sell a frame alone and would only sell the complete bike, and they wouldn't make any compromise.

Never again purchased any Terry component. Never will.

Another painful one

Today was another hard one.

Again just an hour in the basement, but I was worked. Sometimes it's hard to grasp that this stuff is going to make me stronger. When others are doing 2-3-4hrs on the bike or trail and my volume has dropped through the floor.

At the same time, it is also easy to question, Why do these have to be so hard? Wouldn't I rather be doing a 2hr mtn bike ride. A ride that I THINK is hard but really isn't as hard as these things. Well yeah, but this is what is making me strong, and if I would approach some of my 'race sim' training rides with as much gusto, I wouldn't be cramping out as much.

You can also never really escape. On the trail or road, there is always that guilty twinge that you're leaving your family. So you train at home hoping to be more time efficient. Head down. eyes closed, last couple of intervals and I hear "Daddy! Daddy! Fix my game." My son needed help with his Game Boy Game.

Go ask your mother.

I just need two more minutes of pure concentrated effort. Can you just give me that much.

Daddy! Fix this please! Well he did say please.

I actually screwed up my schedule. I was supposed to start this stuff on Sunday and we are leaving for out of town this Fri, Sat, Sun.
The original plan was:
Sun On
Mon On
Tues Off
Wed On
Thurs On
Mon 1hr zone 2

But everything got shifted a day because I started on Monday.

Now I'm not sure if I should rest tomorrow or try to do the workout.
I don't know if I could do the workout if I tried it tomorrow. I could try and just see what happens. But I don't want to take Thur, Fri, Sat and Sun totally off.

This is a classic case of the thinking that is going to get me sick. Discretion should be the better part of valor, and I should rest Wed, then do Thursday and then just suck up the forced rest.

Cable lubing tip

Just posted a good tip on taking care of your cables at
The biking hub.

Cable tip

Take care of your bike. It takes care of you.

The art of the Block training

Block Training is a fundamental philosophy in the training I am doing. I credit it for making me stronger on less time.

Even if you don't do intervals and 'just ride' you can apply it. The keys are
A.maintain intensity from 1 day to the 2nd day and possibly the third day
B.decrease volume so that you can do part A.

Here is how it is applied from an interval perspective.

Day 1:
3 sets of
6reps of 1 minute ON at 320W 1 minute OFF
3 mins rest between sets

Day 2:
2 sets
8reps of 1 ON at 320W 2 off
3 mins rest between sets.

So I was worked from day 1. But was able (just barely) to complete day 2 at the same power output as day 1. The key was getting an addition minute rest after each rep. In addition my total work volume on day 1 was 18minutes, my total work volume on day two was 16minutes. So I had more rest, and I wasn't doing as much work. Yet I was able to work at the same power output from day 1 to day 2.

This is a reason why power meters are great and heart rate monitors are suspect. Power doesn't lie. Either you can do it or not. Typically on consequtive days of training, HR will start to drop from one day to the next. The inability to get your HR up to a certain threshold has been considered a tell-tale sign that you need rest.

But Dave's work has shown that you CAN work back to back days at the same power output, even though the HR data is showing that you need rest.

How many days you work back to back and how you do it is very individual. For me, I have to either have more rest intervals and/or lower volume over the consequtive days. 2 days seems to work best for me. Sometimes 3 and rarely 4 when I am really working it to peak for something in 2 weeks.

Rest is key after blocks. 2 on , 1 off, 2 on 2 off. Whatever your protocol. Work hard, rest harder.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Local Heroes

One of my local heroes just started a blog

We all look up to the pros. But I get as much if not more inspiration from the local expert/semi pros. These guys are just fast. But you can talk to them, ride with them, learn from them.

It's good to see Todd back on the bike. I wish him the best.

VA derailer series dates announced

VA Derailer series

Fun series. Great for those new to cycling. Good atmosphere. Also some very very fast riders there.

It's not Dragon's Back but it's fun.

Welcome back Kotter

First day of SMSP Intervals.

The first day is usally a slightly rude awakening, but it wasn't too bad this morning. Cup of coffee, then down to the basement. This will be my third year doing these and the feeling when you are done is getting to be a comfortable place. Nauseous, dizzy, 1000 yard stare. Sitting at the kitchen drinking recovery drink.
Welcome back.

I did:
6 x 1 min ON 1 min 0FF
3 mins rest between sets.

The way to do intervals is at a set intensity that you can maintain for the entire workout. Typically it will feel too easy the first set, but if you went too high than you can't finish the last set at the same intensity.

I started at 320W today. Being the first day into it, it's also good for me to ease into it somewhat.

1min ON goes so slow. 1 min off goes so fast
3mins rest goes by in a heartbeat.

I cheat sometimes. If I start with a high gear/cadence and then increase the ERGO power I can usually take that momentum and hold it longer than if I started from a low cadence. If I do that my legs bog. Towards the end of some of them my cadence starts to slowly drop. Sometimes, if cadence falls below 70 or 60 then I just hit a wall and practically come to a stand still.

The goal behind these intervals is to get my body capable of producing higher power than my MSPO. I did 3x6 minutes (18 minutes) at an intensity that I wouldn't have been able to do for 18 minutes straight. I hope to build my total WORK up to 25+mins.

The next steps are do do the same thing but with 2min and 3 and 4 min intervals. The intensity of these intervals will be less than the 1min intensity but still will be more than my sustainable power MSPO.

The next phase is to switch over to longer intervals in the 8, 10, 12-->20 min range.

The entire goal of both phases is to take that MSPO that I determined the other day and increase it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Pre-Intervals MSPO test

It is snowing today. Would have been a good ride most likely, but I didn't want to deal with the cleanup. Used to be I'd clean my bike after every ride. These days there isn't the time, so it would sit there for weeks.

So I decided to do a MSPO (Maximum Sustainable Power Output)benchmark test on the trainer. This is a protocol out of the Morris book that I follow. Usually I will do this early in the year to see where I am at and get an estimate on what the power levels I should shoot for in the next phase intervals. I will also do this towards to end of the season to get an indication of how I am finishing up.

The protocol might not be the most scientific, but it is easy to do in my basement alone without any tools other than a HRM and my Tacx Flow ergo trainer. It is as follows:

-Put trainer in Ergo mode
-Make sure to calibrate trainer after 5 mins
-Warm up 20 mins or so
-Bump up power to a decent level
-Every 3 minutes bump up power by 20W
-Until you reach an intensity that is difficult but that you think you can maintain for a significant amount of time.
-Sustain for 3 more minutes
-Record HR
-Ride for 3 more minutes
-Record HR at end of Min 4, min 5 and min 6

If you HR at Min 6 is more than 8bpm than it was a min 3 then you have probably over shot MSPO.

***NOTE*** I really didn't do the below tests properly. Specifically, I was at a much higher power than I could realistically sustain for a long time when I started the ramp up documenting HR. I don't think the HR rose above that 8bpm because I don't think I had 8bpm to spare. So the estimate of MSPO power is really high. I'd imagine that it probably 20-40watts lower.

The results of last years early season MSPO was 270W

The results of last years end of season test was 290W

This year's early season test came out to 280W
mspo 2-06

The HR was higher for today's test than the end of season on last year. I wasn't totally fresh for today's test. But I think it was a good one, and I think I am in a great place right now.

I still have the SMSP phase and MSP phase to do. The ENTIRE goal of these two phases is to increase MSPO. I've also got a week long bike trip in there that will be like a sweet training camp.

I will redo this test sometime in April to see what the results of the SMSP, MSP and the trip have been. I am hopeful for a significant jump. Combine that with the desire to lose a couple pounds (of which I am not doing that great at) and we have the makings for something good.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Full Circle on Forks

I had a Black Super 80 SPV fork.

-Sent it in for warranty because the damper had worn a ledge on the inside of the leg causing stiction point

-They sent me a brand new 2005 Black 80 SPVevolve.

-I was in the process of setting up the Hollowpoint, and was thinking that even though they had sold some HPs with 80mm forks that it seemed that it was designed around a 100mm

-So I asked Manitou since it was a brand new fork if I could swap it for a 100mm

-They were cool and said sure. Do you want to stay with SPV or not?

-At the time I wasn't really sure about SPV. It did cut into the small bump sensitivity and I just wasn't sure if losing the small bump compliance hurt or helped? My concern was when the shock wouldn't activate on small stuff and if that was zapping momentum due to the bouncing into/off the obstacle.

-So I said no, let me try the Black Super TPC.

-They sent me the Black Super 100 with Remote lockout

-Soo cushy.

-What a bomber fork. Point and shoot and go down anything

-But something just wasn't right on any other pedaling.

-Just felt like I was being robbed of energy. Wasn't sure if it was the rear suspension, front or what.

-I'd put a rigid fork on my hardtail in the meantime but the steerer tube wasn't long enough to get the position I needed.

-Saw a Black 80 SPV on ebay and got that for the hardtail

-Had been meaning to test it out on the HP and did that a few week ago

-Feels like a different bike.

-Lower fork, steepens head tube

-Makes it a single track carver

-SPV really helps hold it up on climbs, and pedaling sections, and in corners, it doesnt dive.

-Downhilling not compromised too much. I miss the 100 sometimes

-I like SPV again.

-Same fork I had in my hands that I sent back.

-Full circle. In hindsight I should have stuck with 100mm in SPV

-Now I need to figure out what to do about the hardtail. It has no fork.

-Get another Black 80 SPV?

-Get a skareb 80? Go back to rigid?

-look for a Skareb 100SPV to try on the HP. Rare oem only, hard to find.

-Minute 2 SPV is the only 100mm SPV sold. But the Axle to Crown is fairly tall.

-This will slacken the headtube and I'll lose that singletrack carving.

-I'd like to see if a 100mm SPV would keep it riding/climbing well and still carve too?

-Maybe R7. But pricey, and I'd only want the one with snap valve. R7 100 with Snap Valve 1st choice. Skareb 100 SPV if I can find one, 2nd choice. Another Black 80 SPV or Minute 2 100mm toss up for third choice

Got some antiobiotics

Went to the doctor today to get some antibiotics. I'm pretty sure I've got a sinus infection. I've been congested all my life with allergies, deviated septum, etc. So I know what regular congestion is. This is way up high in the sinuses, the kind that makes me whistle through my nose. It's not getting any better after almost 2 weeks.

It used to be I'd just sit it out and wait. But I've got no qualms in getting some antibiotics these days. Hopefully it will clear up and I get back to not breathing like I normally do.

Winter is back here. Good timing as I'm going to be starting the interval phase next week. Today I tried to do some leadout intervals on the trainer. I'm just tired, so I only did a few sets of :20 on :20 off X6 with 2 minutes rest between sets. I tried to get to 130rpm.

I also changed my rear tire on the road bike in order to save my good rubber. Trainers will eat up a rear tire in no time.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A better winter jacket: Review New Foxwear Evap Winter Jacket

For road cycling in the winter, a good jacket is essential. On the road your speeds are typically much higher than the mountain bike so you are creating your own wind chill that. In addition, if your off road riding is in the forrest, the trees tend to block the wind where on the road you are at it's mercy. Finally for the most part off road, around here at least, makes you work hard on almost every section, so you are generating a lot of heat at a low velocity.

The qualities of a good road jacket include
-tight fit
so no flapping of materials, and that euro cool look

Rear pockets. I can't believe how many expensive jackets don't have rear pockets, at least 3. A single zippered pocket is useless. Typically in the winter people are doing base. That means long rides requiring lots of food. And usually wearing winter gloves. You need open pockets, lots of them, for food, wrappers, phones, etc.

-Wind proof material on the chest, front of arms, top of shoulders
When you are in the typical riding position on a road bike, you want to have your entire frontal area covered by wind proof fabric. But everywhere else (underside of the arms, side panels, mid-lower back, you want some breathable material. It is amazing the amount of heat your body generates when riding. If you had 100% wind blocking material, you would sweat too much inside then cool down regardless of how much wicking base layers you have.

A lot of jacket designers forget that when you are hunched over on the hoods, that the tops of your shoulders are also exposed to the wind. Very few jackets have windproof on the upper back, most just stop at the front panels.

Cut longer in the back
So it doesn't ride up when you hunch over

I have an older Foxwear Evap lite jacket. See my review from last year. I liked the jacket for the most part, but in this design, there is breathable material on the sides of the arms and underarm. So that when you are on the road bike on the hoods, there is a constant flow of air into the arms. This steady stream is good to keep from overheating, but I was finding myself getting chilled on windy days and in temps in the 30s and on downhills. And depending on which base layer I was wearing, if the wicking was quick then it chilled me down more.

Also it lacket pockets, didn't have wind blocking material on the shoulders, and I wanted it cut tighter in the neck and body.

I talked to Lou at Foxwear. Ok people, this guy rules. Where else in the world can you talk to the guy how runs the sewing machine, and tell them exactly what you want. His prices are simply amazing given the top shelf fabrics that he uses. I mean could you ever give Pi or Assos a call and get them to change anything. Could you EVER get anything from Assos for $79.00. Try $379 for a jacket from them. These are the exact same fabrics that the outdoor companies charge you $300+ for.

We discussed what I wanted to change and he made it for me. In a week. FOR me. Just FOR me. Custom rules.

The front, tops of the sleeves, and upper back is Power shield. This stuff is 98% wind proof, and water repellent. Why 98% and not 100%. Because 98% breathes better than 100% windbloc fleece yet still blocks enough wind to stop the chill.

It includes a wind flap on the zipper too.
There is a panel on the underside of the arms that is breathable material called power stretch. You can get power stretch in 3 thicknesses. I got the lightest one for the highest breathability. Some jackets like the Assos Airblock and the Bergamo have the entire back side of the arm breathable. This on has more wind blocking. But the underside of the arm does breathe to keep the arms from getting too sweaty which is easy to do.


One of the things I love about Power shield softshell fabric is that it feels good next-to-skin. So if I don't have a long sleeve on, or I take my arm warmers off it doesn't feel clammy

I got my rear pockets

I asked for the pocket material to be power shield so it would hold it's shape more. But if it was the breathable Powerstretch material that is in the mid back, sides and under arms I would get more breathabilty.

There are also two little pouches on the inside front of the jacket. But the motion of the legs tends to move whatever is in there like a cell phone or $.

The upper back is also Power shield. There is probably more than I needed to cover my upper shoulders, but if it rains it will keep me drier a little longer. Power shield is not waterproof, but water does bead up on it and it takes a little while before it soaks through.

The only problem with the upper back power shield is that it is a little stiffer than powerstretch and sticks up a little right behind the neck.

I can wear this jacket into the 20s and 30s easily. Underneath I wear a short sleeve base layer and either a long sleeve jersey, or short sleeve jersey with arm warmers. I've also worn a long sleeve base with SS jersey and arm warmers, and then removed the arm warmers if I got too warm. On climbs I can unzip the jacket to get some more air going.

It is easy to over dress with this. Because the entire frontal area is wind blocking you can dress much lighter underneath and be fine.

Price/Value - $74.95 custom sized. You will NOT find a jacket anywhere near this price using the fabrics like Power shield/powerstretch or wind bloc laminate unless you get one of the Bergamo's on ebay closeout.

It's Black - Yo! (See Jeff Kerkove's review of a the very nice and more than 2x as expensive Craft Jacket). There are many options in the breathable powerstretch material, and a few color options in the power shield. You can also go for the Windbloc fleece instead of the power shield and that comes in a ton of colors.

Custom sizing/features - Call Lou, talk to him, tell him the fit and features you are looking for and see what he says. Your choice of colors, and fabrics, and fabric weights.

Get some power shield tights while you are at it. Wind block on the front, breathable material on the back.

All the features I wanted - pockets, windblock where I wanted

Bunches up a little at top of back
Maybe a little too much wind block material on the upper back. Maybe a little too much wind bloc on the underside of the lower forearm. Not sure about this yet as it was fine on today's ride.

It can be too warm. Over 40 and this jacket probably is too much. Especially if it is sunny. Overcast and windy and 40 than maybe fine.

Craft makes a real nice jacket at $189. Assos makes a jacket with the wind block material on the front and breathable material on the rear for a hell of a lot of $. Bergamo makes a similar style. However, for the money and customization capability you will not find a better jacket for the money.

Ohh that's cold

Well it was cold to me. It's all relative I guess, check this guy out.

Sub 30 degrees to start. Windy. I was actually fairly comfortable except for my feet. I had thicker socks, windtex shoe covers and some chemical warmers. I even rubbed some antiperspirant cream on them. I survived ok, but I have some circulation problem at the toes that is for sure.
3 hrs 30 mins.

I did the Miller's Cove Ride . Though reverse of the directions at that link.

It is a freaky ride, cause you really go out into the back country of SW Virginia, even though you aren't really that far from the major roads, it SURE feels like it. I'd done it once before going the other direction so wasn't exactly sure how far the turns off were. The paved road turns to dirt, then back to paved, then dirt then paved. I kept waiting and waiting for the turn on to Miller's Cove. I was getting scared that I missed it.

You go past some serious trailers and abandoned farm houses. A fair amount of the Confederate Flags flying high. This road, Miller's Cove connects two main roads. It is super narrow, and starts off as dirt, then switches to paved at a county line. Going this direction it is a serious climb, though not too long. It's even got some Alpe d'Huez style switchbacks. Here is a shot that doesn't look as steep as it was.

There was no cell coverage out there. I was worried about mechanicals and flats, but once I made the turn onto Mt. Tabor road I wasn't too worried as there is civilization there. But the wind was something coming back. Wind chill must have been into the 20s

Almost done with the base phase. On one hand I've done better with it than ever before, on the other hand I haven't been doing the Sprints and leadout intervals Like Dave's plan calls for. Luckily it has been a relatively mild winter. I don't know what I would have done if we'd gotten more snow/ice like we usually do. But I am getting tired of it and am ready for the intervals. I don't know how some people do 3-4 months of base. I'd never make it as a roadie. Those guys are hard that is for sure.

I like riding and I feel pretty good, but I'm geting tired of the cold feet, the wind, the dogs, the cars, etc. I'll be leaving mother nature's torture chamber and entering my man made one. I'll be hurting for certain in the next phase, but it is really the most important phase for the goals I am trying to achieve.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Movie Review: The Collective

I've been wanting to get some mountain bike movies just to have on when I'm doing intervals on the trainer. I've been watching the same Tour De France footage for the past two years. I also have Off Road the Athens, the Hard Road and Pro The Movie. but I wanted something different along the lines of free riding and downhilling, mainly to just watch these guys positioning and just get into that mode of thought a little. To go along with my skills work.

I also wanted something that wasn't a lot of that loud Korn, Nickel Back music that seems so popular with the Rock radio stations and Ya Brah! Crowd. I saw the Collective suggested as a good visual movie with a good soundtrack with more riding than drunk punks screwing around.

Feed the Habit reviewed it as well as Single Track World

It's funny. This kind of riding is so far removed from what I do. The speeds and height, and drops are just beyond what I can imagine. Yet at the same time the essential movements and technique that these pro free riders/downhillers utilize can be applieid to XC. Little things, like how they don't just let gravity pull them passively down the hill, but how they attack it. Pedaling out of turns working the bike and the terrain.

Or how they just flow and let the bike move underneath them is fascinating.

This movie is good. The cinematography is spectacular. The music is great. Rather than in your face, it draws you in. And the riding is amazing. Ryan Leech displays some phenomenal grace, and the others show why they are the kings of the mountain bike world right now. There is no swearing (except in the music a little) or drinking partying, etc. Just sweet riding.

Like I said, most of the riding I'd never even attempt. But there is some single track that anyone could do to their ability. These guys just do it better.

One thing was interesting how they set their bodies/bikes up on some turns. It looked like they were squatting (sitting) down with their butts to the outside of the turn. I would expect them to push the bike down and lean to the outside more with their upperbody. These turns were more gradual turns and not banked, so I'm wondering if this technique helped them to keep from drifting too much. Or maybe they were putting their hips into it more which makes it look like they were sitting into the outside of the turn.

One skill that can be taken down to my level was the jump turn. These guys were skying big jumps and gaps and turning in midair in order to land in a turn. I've tried this a few times on some small turns on my local trails. Though we are talking 3" of air as opposed to 15'. A small unweight, and turn the rear wheel in the air to land facing the perfect direction.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Relationship between skills and fitness

I was just thinking that I've got two divergent focuses right now.

A few months ago, I took a skills clinic and I'm really committed to improving in that area. It's a very slow and deliberate process. Practice once a week, cones, parking lot, a set routine. Nothing happens overnight, but slowly ride by ride I feel that I'm improving.

Sometimes I rail a particular turn, or bunny hop a drop I used to roll off. Other times I feel like I am flailing because I am trying too hard. But little by little it's progression forward

In the same vein, I am also committed to improving my fitness. You've seen the training plan. Macro phase by macro phase, micro block by micro block, ride by ride, interval by interval, and rest day by rest day I get better. Slowly and deliberately. It's been really empowering the last two years to improve year to year.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. XC racing is the culmination of so many cycling disciplines and it's the balance and compromise between them. Both skills and fitness need to be worked on (though skewed more towards fitness). But the thing is that they are not totally divergent or separate. They are inter-related.

The fitter you are, the better technical rider you can be. The more you can work the bike and terrain rather then getting worked. Try riding a tech section totally fresh and in peak condition, vs riding it 3hrs into a race.

Similarly, the better technician you are the more efficient you can be and the more energy you can save. I've been on rides with people that can drill me into the ground on the road bike, yet I can waltz away on the rock gardens. They'll be totally out of breath and tired from fighting the bike and the trail.

Not sure where I'm going with this. Just thinking out loud I guess. If you only work on fitness, think about practicing some trackstands every now and then. And if you're a free rider, think about doing some road riding to get some fitness. Each one compliments the other.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

MMM Reese's

Someone beat me to it.

A Reese's themed paint job

See this ebay listing

Can't breathe through my nose

I am so stuffed up it isn't funny. I've been really congested for more than a week. At first I thought it was allergies but it's something worse. I hadn't been achey or feverish or had a runny nose or anything like a typical cold. Just congestion.

Had three days off then a 2hr ride, then the longest ride in over a year 4:15 on the Bradshaw loop. Then yesterday it was rainy, misty and wanted to get on the mountain bike. The gap mtn trails are the place to be when the rain comes because they don't get muddy. But they are really technicals with wet leaves, roots, and rockgardens.

Rode with CP who is just so much fun to ride with because his skills are just so fluid. Such presence of where his rear wheel and pedals are. Also dragged my neighbor out who I've been riding with a little. He's a former collegiate Cat 2 with family and tough work hours.

But he's also that kind of rider that can do on trainer ride a week and be right up there with me who's on the full program. So we push each other and I had to get him back from last weekend where he schooled me on all the climbs. I was on yesterday and that combined with the dually made for some good riding. He however was running WAY too much tire pressure and his AL stiff hardtail beat him up. So we are even now.

But I didn't sleep that great and I am even MORE stuffed up. I've tried all the meds I've got and nothing is working. I need some wasabi or some hot wings to open up my sinuses. Hope it clears up soons. Feeling some aches and chill a little. That combined with winter's return to VA makes me want to just crawl into bed.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Don't like the weather? Just wait a few minutes.

There is a saying around these parts. "Don't like the weather? Just wait a few minutes." This time of year things change quickly. We have been pretty lucky actually. Only one or two snow/ice storms and then just some cold-windy days and some jewels like today.

Though it is going to change rapidly this weekend.

Given the nice day I took some vacation time and got 4+hrs in. Really windy on the way back. Wasted me for the rest of the day. I think I said one time that given enough food long hours aren't too bad. I take that back. It wasn't easy.

Only a few more rides like this than it's into the torture chamber for the SMSP intervals. In Dave's book he talks about athletes questioning the drastic drop in volume when they go from the endurance phase to the SMSP intervals. I've got enough experience with them to not scoff at the lower volume. These are going hurt like anything.

This year I had uber motivation to get out and deal with the cold. Just doing that has been a real source of empowerment. I hope I can get as motivated for these intervals. My wife and I have a bike trip for our anniversary (I'll post more details later) in early March so I've got some focus to get fit.

Unfortunately the racing calender for me is totally up in the air with no VA sttate series to focus on. From last year I realized that I need at least one race every month or so to maintain focus. It is hard to answer the question, why am I working so hard w/o having a race to point to. I'm trying to nail down a calendar of races, but it's not the same as having a dedicated series to focus on.