Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Back on the mtn bike

Finally got the mountain bike running again. Got the Stans no tubes going and my new wheels put on.

I felt SO awkward the first day out. Just an hour on the trails in the 20s. I hate wearing those thick gloves. My hands hurt anyway when braking and with those gloves and not being on the bike for so long it was tough.

I went again after Xmas. Getting better ,but still feel like a rookie. My timing is all off, balance, where to put my weight, etc. Where to look. All those things that come with time spent in the saddle off road.

For me it comes slowly, so I hope I can maintain some level of consistency to stay on the mtb at least once a week before getting into the race season.

The wheels are still round. The do feel light. $100 1530 gram wheelset. Not bad.

XMAS was awesome. first time in ever we haven't travelled somewhere or someone has not come to see us. Everyone was healthy. Very relaxing.

This week is lot of work, late nights. I am going to take some time off to ride and hang out after Wed.

Got one more lifting session in the power phase, then it is 3 weeks(if I can do it) in the Endurance phase
long rides combined with sprints and muscle endurance intervals.

Hopefully the weather is supposed to warm up.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Another trip on the vomitron

Did some sprints again at the gym on the spin cycle

4 sets, of 4reps of 15seconds on 60sec off. 5min recovery between sets

while seated chose hard gear difficult to pedal but allows to spin up to as fast as possible during sprint.

Again, I didn't think I was going that hard, but god I was hurting. By the 3rd set I had to get off and sit down for second. I finished with 4 set and felt so queasy. I sat down on the mat upstairs for almost 10 mins before going home.

I had this real sour look on my face. Kind of a funny scene, walking around the gym in bike shorts, shoes and a jersey with a I'm about the throw up all over the place look.

Gonna try and get out for an hour or so outside today.

Finally got to work on the mountain bike last night in the garage. Got a lot to do still.
-Gotta try out my budget weight weenie wheels that I built many months ago, and get the Stans and tires mounted on them, get the headset adjusted, etc.
Front der cable, new rear cable/housings.

Gotta get on it this weekend.

Got Yak rack parts coming to get the roof rack back on the Scooby. Lots to do.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The transformation begins

You know those nature documentaries. With the guy with a british accent narrating....

The sad ugly caterpillar has entered its chrysalis and is begining its transformation. In short order this being with emerge from its tomb and enter the world as a beautiful butterfly, stretching its wings and flying into the world.....

Well this caterpillar is on its way. This past week I was off the bike for a little bit, with only that puke o rama half assed sprint intervals and some power phase lifting.

But on Friday I got on the bike outside. Was supposed to get 2hrs in, but work, home, watching the kids, etc. curtailed that to 40mins. But it was just SOOO awesome that day. Not to cold, sunny, and my legs just felt alive again.

The first phases of strength training leave my legs feeling wooden and dead. And the riding is all really easy. Makes me wonder if I will ever be 'fast' (relative here folks) again.

But during this phase is when you take strength gains from the gym and start converting them to CYCLING SPECIFIC strengths.

If you didn't do this than power lifters would be really good cyclists.

So the sprint intervals help get the conversion going, as does the lifting of lighter weights but at high speeds.

For the first time this past Friday, my legs felt alive again. Sat, I rode for about 2hrs on the cross bike on the road and some fire roads. TOTALLY underdressed again. But again, legs felt nice, spinning away.

Now I am starting to pine for my mtb. I dropped it off at the shop to have them remove my BB cups and chase the threads. I'm surprised they haven't called yet.

One more week of the power phase of lifting than it is into a 3week block of endurance. Not sure how successful it is going to be with the weather starting to get colder. luckily according to plan I did some endurance work in conjunction with the strength training.

Cold front moved in for a day. 0 degrees this morning, high of 20 or less. with wind

I have to work outside sometime soon, but my equipment hasn't gotten here. Glad that it isn't here now!!!

It is supposed to warm up a little tomorrow.

XMas is coming. The kids are getting ultra excited. We are cutting back on some gifts just because they get so much stuff from grandparents/aunts/uncles, etc. They sort of lose sight and just get overwhelmed with stuff that they don't appreciate it anymore, just looking for the next gift.

Sort of like we adults can do. It's hard cause I just want to go buy them all this cool stuff that I know they'd love. But I don't want to contribute too much to their demise into the American Way.

But we will have some fun. I love sharing in their excitement. That is until it is 3am in the morning of Xmas eve and I am trying to put something together and we don't have any batteries!

My insomnia seems to have gotten better. I still am a restless sleeper but seem to be back to where I was several months ago. I have an appointment with a sleep specialist in January, and my Ambien prescription is over and gone.

I started wearing one of those masks to block out all light which actually seems to be helping.

Anyway, hope everyone has a great Xmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My #1 fan

This is from the wolf gap race, where I was sick. My son met me at the line

That's what it's all about.

#1 fan

I totally forgot about this picture until I was arranging the photo files. Lance ain't got nothing on me when you talk to my kids.


Ok, come home, eat pizza with the kids, drink a beer, or go down in teh basement and ride on the trainer??

hmm. Bet yo figured out what I chose.

tomorrow, lifing light phower phase, followed by riding the next 2 days.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

One way ticket on the vomit train

Yesterday was the sprint intervals. Went to the gym and used one of the heavy Spin cycles with SPD pedals.

Warmed up, then while completely seated, chose a gear that was hard to turn at first, but allowed me to spin it out at a high rpm.

God it hurt. legs were burning, heart racing, lungs burning.

15seconds on 60 seconds off X4 5mins easy between sets

I was supposed to do 4 sets of these. I made it to 3 sets before I had to stop and get off.

I was dizzy and nauseous to the point that I had to go lay down on one of the sit-up mats for like 10 minutes. I was almost curled up in a ball in the fetal position. My middle name isn't earl for nothing. I thought I was going to hurl.

The comical thing is that I really didn't go that hard. Or at least it didn't seem that fast. It was towards the end of the day after work and I was probably pretty low on energy. Should have popped a gel or something before hand.

Oh well gotta start somewhere. The great thing about it, is that the more I improve over the season the more rewarding it is. Think how sad it must be to be an elite level rider where they are already at the highest level of fitness and they only improve in small increments. Yeah, really a sob story!!

Well, if your face doesn't hurt from contorting it into funny faces, than you aren't going hard enough, I always say.

It's in the 20s with wind chills in the teens this morning with a high in the 30s. I think I'll be doing some easy riding on the trainer in the basement today.

I've got a Tacx Flow ergo trainer. It works fairly well for the intervals at set power levels. It doesn't work so well for low cadence work though.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Power to Maurice...

I can't remember what movie this line was from, but it dominated my college conversations for many years.

Vaguely remember some guy doing something and saying "Power to the People!!"...."Fuck the people...Power to Maurice!"

Well did a power phase of lifting the other day. It went well, pretty easy but I could feel it later. It is kind of fun, doing a squat then going up so fast that your feet leave the ground. I'm only doing Squat and hamstring curl in the power phase for lower body, and still doing some dead lift for the lower back, but not fast.

Stopped leg press. and am just doing some more strength work for upper body.

I've backed off some on the riding, and lifting, splitting up my upper and lower body lifting into separate days.

Took Sun off to help out at a Cyclocross race that one of our team guys put on. He worked his tail off and got a really low turnout, but you have to start somewhere. I wish I rode it now after watching it. It looked brutal, but fun.

Man it was cold. Our vacation is over here, and winter is here to stay. Windy and in the 30s. I rode some of the course. Wish I had better cross tires, I've got some $10 Cheng Shit on there now.

Riding in grass is really demoralizing. You think you should be going faster but you just get sucked into it.

Today, I'm going to the gym to do some sprint intervals on one of the Spin Cycles. I like to do it on those bikes because I can totally focus on the interval, and not worry about clipping out, or running into a car or the ditch, or my gears skipping.

Plus it is going to be dropping into the 20s through the day, and the wind is howling.

Oh I'm such a wuss, One day this week, I'll get out into that cold and see how it goes.

I made a plea to my wife to try and simplify things this Xmas. I haven't been having fun lately, and I so much want to enjoy this time of year because the kids are just SOOO excited about everything, that it is a shame to be a buzz kill for them. My job is stressful now, and the wife's job is hectic and childcare get's turned upside down this time of year, and our little one is being a pain in the ass behavior wise. And the wife is upset over the digital picture to us for Xmas cards, is out of focus a little and doesn't look good when printed on the color printer..etc.etc..

So I just asked if we could back off a little on the little crap like that, that just adds up like pin pricks over and over to the dark side.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Incurring the wrath of minivan/SUV moms

Another night of bad sleep. That's it gotta make an appointment with a sleep specialist.

Sleep, dream, wake up, look at clock, it's 1hr later. Sleep, dream, wake up, 1 hr later.

I dread waking up now, and wondering how little time has passed since I last woke up. thinking, worrying, obsessing. Plus being a light sleeper, the cat, the neighbors heater, son's coughing.


Of course got into a deep sleep around 5am and had to get up with the kids at 6 or 7.

This Dad can make the $$ to support the family and break down a bicycle and put it back together, but I can't put my son's shoes on the right foot, get my other son to the bus on time, or show up to pre-school at the right time. Mom works early on Fri, and I gotta get em out the door.

We missed the bus this morning, I know my son will chalk this up there with the time I burned the microwave popcorn which shall never be forgotten till the end of time.

Dropped him off at school. I was actually a little worried as I hadn't done it before and didn't know the right procedure and was worried that the mini-van / suv mom's would chew me out. It worked out ok.

Then dropped the younger one at pre-school, but I was actually early, and they hate it when you drop off early because they are busy setting up.

Well at least I got his shoes on the right foot this time.

Reality check time folks.

I am thinking I better back off on training a little. The crap part is that I really am not doing all that much training. But the sad fact is that given my current fitness, combined with the stresses of daily life (work, wife, family, other obsessions, etc) I seem to be just running on the ragged edge lately.

Esp. with Xmas coming on, and some serious pressure at work something has to give.

So Reality check-
-As much as I wish, I am not an elite level rider
-I do not have energy/time to train as much as I think I should
-I have to accept that I must just do the best that I can
-I'm just anotha brotha tryin' to get by.
-trying to make my mark on the local MTB scene and not make it into the NORBA nationals
-It's more important to be a better father and husband than a bike racer
-It sucks living life just trying to make it to the next day.

Not sure why I'm so stressed. Even though it's Xmas and most people get worried about $, that doesn't seem to be the issue. Thankfully, we are not extravagant in our spending, and combined we make enough that we can go to the grocery store and not worry what goes into the cart, and I can buy bike stuff almost at will (within reason)

Maybe it is work. I am 100% soft money, and my current projects are all short term ones, so even though I gotta paycheck you can never breathe easy cause your always figuring out how to scramble for when the next project runs out.

Ah well, just like the Mother In Law saga this too shall pass

Will do some lower body power phase lifting today. It's fun, low weight done at high speeds. Totally launch the bar on squats Need to put the pads on, get some stares from the other people.

Jeff Kerkove, endurance racer extra-ordinaire put my blog on his links at his popular blog. Let the comments roll in!! Well it's just nice to know that someone out there is listening. Even though this is pretty fun and theraputic just talking to the ether (net).

It's funny, I kept a journal from highschool to college would have been devastated if someone found it and read it but here I am opening my life to the world, and bummed because I don't know if anyone is listening.

It's funny shit, real life. When's my movie deal/reality show coming!!


Thursday, December 09, 2004

The unbearable light-headness of being

Yesterday evening, I was just run down. Tired, cold, walking around with my hands in my pockets, mumbling about why there is never and chocolate or never any cookies around.

I used to do soooo many projects after the kids went to bed, to the dismay of my wife usually. Woodworking, working on bikes, etc. But lately I am just too drained to do anything but surf the computer or watch TV. Lately she's been asking me when I am, gonna fix or make a new plant stand, or when I am going to make the Kid's window box seats. And we've been talking about putting in a gas fireplace too.

Man, why can't we just sit here and watch reality tv. I'll have to admit that I have some guilty pleasures when it comes to reality shows. Most of them I hate with a passion, but I love Pimp my ride and some real stooopid ones like The Club and Blow Off. Pimp my ride is like those makeover shows or home improvement shows but for men. I SO want to send an entry in for me and my Scooby wagon.

The Club and Blow off are just fun for me, because a nightclub in Vegas and a Hair Salon in Beverly Hills are just about as far removed from my life as you can get.

Well the Cable is getting cancelled pretty soon. My wife gets it for me every year for the Tour, and this year we kept it through the Olympics and then kept it on when the inlaws were in town, and now we've got it on through Virginia Tech football season. But for the most part we haven't had cable for years. Just rent movies.

This time of year is hard. I'm lifting but also riding more than I had in the past. Combine that with work that is hectic to the point that we probably won't be able to go on a little 2 day vaca, and then add in the extra stress fo Christmas and two boys who are bouncing off the walls already for Xmas and you get the makings for a rough roller coaster.

My mountain bike is STILL in pieces. got a tool to help with the BB removal but need a big ass Mr. Precision crescent wrench to turn it. This is gonna suck big time for my skills. Over the years, my speed threshold has dropped considerably to where downhilling is probably my biggest weakness. Where years ago I actually was able to hold my own a little.

This skill ONLY comes with time on the bike for me. And it's been since Oct since I've been on the mountain bike.

This morning I went to the gym, and did some upper body work. I was light headed the whole time. I think it is because I took some Ambien again last night. doing that stuff more than 2 days in a row messes me up a little. I am gonna stick to just doing it once or twice a week.

I think I strained something in my upper back. Turning my head left or right is really tight,and looking up and down I can feel it at the top of my back/bottom of my neck. Heating pad tonight.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

amazing what sleep and rest can do

Got a good nights sleep finally. felt great this morning. Was even a good dad to my kids and nice to the wife.

Took yesterday off totally.

Did 2:15 on the cross bike on the road today, felt great. Though let's be real here, I go slow. Like a tank slow.

But it is fun. Love that bike. Just wish I'd known that I prefer the flat bar over the drop bar and got a frame with a longer top tube.

Strength phase is over, no comes power phase.

Day Date Lower Body Upper Body
Mon Heavy Heavy
Tue 1hr easy ride
Wed Sprint Intervals 4 sets x 4 reps x 15on, 60off, 5 mins between sets

Thur 1 hr easy ride / off
Fri Light Light
Sat 2hr easy ride
Sun 1.5hr easy ride
Mon Heavy Heavy
Tue 1hr easy ride
Wed Sprint Intervals 4 sets x 4 reps x 15on, 60off, 5 mins between sets

Thur 1 hr easy ride / off
Fri Light Light
Sat 2hr easy ride
Sun 1.5hr easy ride

I'll try an up the presribed length of rides, since I've already been doing some 2-3 hr rides.

I HATE sprints, but gotta do them.

In the next phase I get to do the Muscle Endurance intervals (high gear low cadence), and I LOVE those

On the Subaru seat issue, got 1/2 my $ back and found a salvage yard that has that part for the exact same $ of the refund, so I am waiting on that part till I can get the seats in

Found a local feller who is a hot shot with Subarus, so I am going to get him to change the timing belt and tune it up, and find out,just for dreamers sake what it costs to swap a WRX engine into there.

But I am going to get swaybar, struts, and short throw shifter.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

No sleep till Belfast

Well another freaking bad night's sleep. Other night was allergies this time it was just worrying about this and that. Work stuff, obsessing over car stuff. Same shit. Why can't I just let things go and get to sleep.

taking a pill for sure tonight and going to bed right after the kids go to bed.

got to sleep again right around 5am, right when the Kids wake up for the first time, then are up for good around 6:30-7.

Wife was at gym. just couldn't deal with it. Little one has been a royal pain in the ass for weeks. get upset because I gave his cup to the older one. I freaked, threw the glasses in the sink, sprayed milk all over the blinds.

Like a complete lunatic I run into the adjacent play room and am screaming at the top of my lungs and jumping up and down. Just microns away from picking toys up and hurling them through the window.

All in front of my kids

Funny now, yeah. Right out of a movie. Scary then. Me, normal regular joe nicest guy in the world freaking like a maniac.

gotta keep it together.

I'm just so out of it now, light headed from coffee. hands shaking. don't even want to ride or do anything. I've got to watch the kids tonight while wife goes out for Mom's Night out. joy.

Strength phase is down, now onto power

2 weeks, lift twice a week, and do sprints and easy riding.

Hate sprints

need to get work on my gears, always worried I'm going to really stand on it and the gears are going to slip and down I go.


Monday, December 06, 2004


Got out for 3 hrs on Sat. Rode with Sam, our babysitter's younger brother who is a freshman at Virginia Tech. He is a strong rider. I warned him I'd be going slow, and stopping a lot. I have to piss a lot, and am always stopping to take off jacket, put on jacket, take a gel, etc.

day before was crap, today was awesome. Upper 40s, sunny, I was overdressed with a jacket.

riding out Mt. Tabor road, felt so easy and so warm. Turning around on Harding, the headwind started. That was why it was so easy. Last climb just worked me and I was bonked. At the top I had to stop and eat a safety cliff bar I had in my camel back. Had enough to make it home and lay on the couch and watch the end of the VT/Miami game, where we won. !!!!!!

Sugar bowl here we come

I could not believe that on the whole ride, Sam only brought one bottle of accellerade, no water, and maybe one or two gels. That boy needs to get smarter about how he eats, but then again he had gearing much higher than I did and wasn't having any problems like me.

I had several gels and a camel bak of water. I should have had that cliff bar at around 1.5 hrs. I'm just on this kick of trying to eat small amount to lose weight. but it is backfiring on me by bonking.

Next day took the cross bike out, to tool around. went on the road and then around this park on grass/gravel road. legs were hurting.

Hooked up with this roadie I randomly met the other day. He was going much faster than I wanted to. So my 1.25 hour ride felt like 2hrs+.

Today, I need to motivate back into the gym for a light day of the 2nd week of Strength. It's raining anyway.

In other news I got bit hard on an ebay purchase. Bought some WRX front seats for $50+$150 shipping. Driver side seat has bent rails so it won't slide. I think it will work for my position but it won't move back or forth by more than 1/2".

I finally was able to remove the rails. Sheesh was like a puzzle. tried to put it in the vise to bend it but just started screwing it up more.

Waiting to here from the seller if I can get any $ back or what. His listing didn't say anything about bent rails or as is purchase. Pissed me off. Went to dealer to see about replacement part. $100 bucks/rail, 2 most likely needed.

Am calling local junk yard today to see if I can get a lower rail assembly or what they want for a seat.

Just par for the course for me. Sometimes you get a great deal other times you get bit.

Friday, December 03, 2004

getting colder

Did the first workout of the 2nd week of Strength phase yesterday
Only did upper body, wussed out on lower body. Hadn't had that much to eat and I started to get dizzy and light headed, not a good thing when doing sets of 5,4,3,2

Had some Endurox with me and took a Hammer gel, took a few minutes to kick in but then I felt better. Gotta get better about eating. I'm losing weight without even trying just cause I don't get around to making food or get some.

This is what I did yesterday
set#1 5reps 85% 165lbs
2 4 90% 175
3 3 95% 185
4 2 100% 195

Dead lift
1 8 75% 115
2 8 75% 115
3 8 75% 115
4 8 75% 115

Leg Press
1 5 85% 390
2 4 90% 410
3 3 95% 435
4 2 100% 455

Hamstring Curl
1 5 85% 85
2 4 90% 90
3 3 95% 95
4 2 100% 100

I am scared of squats, so my form isn't the greatest. doing those weights for me it feels like my intestines are going to explode out on to the mirror or my knee is going to shatter. I wear a weight belt. Even though that won't happen I just am scared of it.

I prefer leg press. I seem to be able to push a fair amount of weight for my body size (135 or less pounds). Racking 5 plates for the last set is kindof cool, but a PITA to put away.

Today I am supposed to do 3 hrs on the bike. But my god, my allergies are going ballistic. It is really windy outside and everything is getting blown around. I am pretty much allergic to anything that has grown or died. I took everything I've go today, Steroid nasal spray, Profen, Singulair

I was all set to drop my little one off at preschool than come home and bundle up and go ride. But every breath through my nose burned like fire. Just couldn't do it. I think I would have been ok once I got started but just getting the gumption up to doing it was a failure. I'll try getting out later this afternoon.

Well, got the truck back from the shop. A part of the exhaust was broken which was why it was running so loud. It is runnnig so sweet now. I am still torn about selling it. But I also just put a set of WRX wheels/tires on the subaru and it looks sweet too. Got a pair of WRX front seats that I'll drop in today. Once the Yakima rack goes back on it will be looking sharp.

But the reality is that I don't really partake in any SW Virginia passtimes like hunting, fishing, 4 wheeling, towing boats, hauling junk around, etc. While it is awesome for hauling bikes around, whenever I had a race farther than an hour, I took the subaru because of the gas mileage. The utility of a truck is unparalleled, and it has been wonderful when it was needed. But let's face it, that hasn't been that often.

I'm such a cheapskate, the fact that I can get $6grand more for the truck than the subaru, and the fact that the subaru is a wonderful car but just isn't worth that much on the used car market is driving me to selling the truck. That combined with the pain of $30 hit every time I filled up the truck.

Plus it has always been on the big side for me, I really do feel little in it and probably look a little funny. A Nissan Frontier Crew cab is probably the ideal for the family and our needs

On the other hand, though my need to be obsessed with things has found new fodder: modifications on subarus. I told myself that if I keep the subaru that I would mod it out some. Wife is all in a tizzy about how much I'm going to spend on that.

But as always the Internet and the user forums have sucked me in once again. To where I'm all set with a list of things to do to the Subaru. And god does it all play havoc with my sleep. I just lay awake thinking about this or that. Gotta take an ambien tonight to get a good nights sleep. I'll probably see a sleep specialist to get a long term prescription for it. I don't take it every night but maybe every 3rd just to keep on top of rest.

Already did some mods actually. got a set of stock WRX wheels/tires for get this $200 + $100 shipping. Made a HUGE difference. Makes this little granola hippy vehicle look much badder.

We used to have a yakima rack on there, till I ran the bikes into the garage (not once but TWICE). decided that I didn't have the intelligence to own a roof rack. But now that this vehicle is going to be parked outside, I am going to put the roof rack back on. It looks much cooler with a Yakima rack on top.

Also got some WRX front seats for $50 +$150 shipped. These are like $400 seats. Gonna put them in today or tomorrow. Black with dark blue accents. they supposedly sit 2-3" higher which is just fine with my short as torso.

So yes I will still sell the truck
Here is a picture if anyone is interested

truck side view

1999 Dodge Dakota 4x4 extended cab Sport trim
66k miles, but Dodge put a new engine in at 18k under warranty so there is only 40 some on the engine
V8 5.2L, 5 speed
Cat Back exhaust
Performance Mod Chip
Line X Spray in liner
Heavy Duty suspension
Tow Package
BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A Tires almost new
grill Gaurd
Fog Lights
sliding rear window
Alloy wheels
Center roof console
Larger RAM side mirrors

It's a nice truck and checked out by mechanic and running sweet
$10,900 Kelly Blue book is $10,450 without all the mods.

email me at ashwin@vtti.vt.edu if interested. It is going on Autotrader today.