Thursday, March 31, 2005

Leadouts--not today

tried to do some leadout intervals on the trainer today.
start in a high gear. low enough to pedal slowly, but high enough that I can't totally spin out

:20 on, :20 off.

Had the Tacx in the slope mode so it just showed whatever power I was putting out. The most I got up to was 500w.

supposed to do 5 sets of 6. Only made it to 2 sets. Torn between the, suck it up and push through vs the just screw it mindset. Just not feeling all there.

Still hemming and hawing about racing on Sunday. The forcast is calling for rain through Sat. A few days ago it was calling for sunny and in the 50s, now it is showing chance of snow/rain showers and a high of 39.

Personal Massage Therapist

Lance's program has over 50 support staff. My program has 0. Well take that back. 3. My kids and my wife indulge my passion and cheer when they can which counts as super support. But you know how it is, I had to let my seigneur and personal chef go because we just weren't meshing together.

So there are no massages here. Like many cyclists my upper back knots up something fierce. And deep pressure massage is like nirvana. But if you think after working part time and taking care of two kids that my wife is gonna do anything more than scratch my back for a sec you're in the wrong house. I sometimes try to get my kids to walk on my back, ala George Jefferson

or to stick their chin or elbow into there but it doesn't work too often.

Other tricks are to roll on top of a tennis ball or use the corner of a wall. But here is my personal massage therapist that works the best.

This is a Therecane and it kicks ass. It has several small balls on the ends of it that can be placed near anywhere on the body. The levers allow you to put some serious pressure at the end points.

Getting deep pressure right at those problems spots in the upper back. Ahhh. I really only use it for my upper back, sometimes for hamstrings, and lower back.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fugly fit

Been trying to dial in my road bike after my Serotta fit. My account at flickr is full for the month so I can't post pictures till after the 1st.

I've got this fugly 130mm stem 5degree rise on there. Still not totally comfortable yet. I do not like how it looks at all. Just doesn't look right w/o a -17degree stem. Buy if I can ride more powerful doesn't matter. I've got ZERO cycling fashion sense anyway so it's not like a stem is going to make any more difference.

The stem is from Interloc. Closeout $20. I mean who wants a 130 quill stem with +5 deg rise these days? Reminds me of back in the day back in 1988, I got my first real good mountain bike. A KHS Montana XT. XT thumbshifters..So nice.. Didn't matter that it was a size too big, cause I didn't know any better. There was an IRD stem at the bike shop. Really pretty, black with white Interloc logo and green leaves. I just fell in love with it and got it for a birthday present. Didn't matter that I had no clue what the point of a stem was or what reach to the bars meant.

Rode my bike to the library a few nights later. Came back out to ride home. Someone had cut all the cables, and undid the quill and pulled the who handle bar/stem off. Stem, shifters, bar, the works.

I was bumming.

65 degrees, sunny. tan lines are on their way

Tried to do some tempo intervals today. With some tag the bully thrown in there. 10 min intervals with tags at minute 1, 4, and 7. Was riding ok till I tried a hill climb. Legs just didn't want to turn over. Not sure if I'm just tired from the ride on Sat still or if I'm just tired from adapting to the new fit.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Framebuilding BLOG

came on this after skimming the framebuilding listserv
Miles Bicycles

A framebuilding BLOG. wicked.

Tagging the bully

Sun - Intervals.
Interesting workout: 3x8min at sustainable power (MSPO-270W) with high intensity 1min(320W) intervals at 2nd minute and 5th minute. It was quite hard, but I made it except for stalling out on the very last 1 min interval, but turned the power down till I could spin back up to the 270 and finished the 8th minute.

This type of workout reminds me of an article in MBA many years ago about Julie Furtado's coach. He described something called Tagging the Bully. Where you ride beyond your reach for an interval, than come back to under your redline. Just like a race. Where you are at your redline, but then you have to go through a hard technical climb and your in the netherworld, and have to recover and go back to race pace.

It's like running up to a big bad bully, and punching them in the arm, and running away. You can do it. Without getting hit back. But hang out there too long, or try it when you tired, and you're gonna get punched back. And it is gonna be bad.

Was worked. Ate way too much all day Sunday. Candy, potluck, Easter dinner.

Training wrapup: The Backside Sopro

M-Thurs Nada except for 30mins spin on trainer

Fri - 40 mins on cross bike to get the legs going again


Drove to Newport and rode to the Backside of Mountain Lake, then clover hollow loop back to the car. This ride takes you up one of the legendary climbs in this area: 613, the Backside of Mountain Lake. This is the CAT1 climb that Lance rode away from the field in the last Tour DuPont. The kind of climb that you find bodies in the road during hot days, where if you stall while pedaling you fall over. The front side, route 700 is 7miles long, and the back side is 4 miles long with the same elevation gain. This climb is what is at the end of the Mountains of Misery challenge century. See the course profile with the climb at the end here: MOM course profile

I rode with Sam, he is a freshman at Tech and on the cycling team. His older sister is our babysitter. We were Sopro. Misty rainy, the kind of weather that makes you think you're Belgian for getting on your bike. We wore our clear $6 rain jackets instead of our technical cycling jackets.

It's fun riding with him, cause he isn't old enough to have that self preservation reflex kick in, so rather than lollygag on a climb or roller, he's out of the saddle honking over it. Works my ass. Took me 39mins to climb 613. I think this is like 2mins off my time from last year. Sam was several mins faster than that.

Whenever I do that climb, I have to tell someone. Sort of like name dropping: Yeah, I rode with the third cousin, of the garbageman of the accountant for Lance Armstrong.

Yeah, I rode the backside today.

It only has an affect on someone who is a cyclist, anyone else just nods their head. Yeah whatever.

We turned onto the Clover Hollow loop which goes through some of the most incredible Virginia Countryside there is. Rode 2feet away from a cow that had gotten on the other side of the fencing. Think if that guy had decided to play like a dog. Funny image, trying to spray it with a water bottle and shouting NO, NO, GO Home, as you hit it like a brick wall.

Quite glad I did that ride. Nice to get it under the belt and know that it is doable, and that I am getting faster on it.

mini vacation


We rented a cabin at Pipestem State Park this past Wed-Fri. After May you can only rent cabins for a full week at a time, but in the off season you can get them daily.

This place kicks ass. Didn't even bring a bike, and they have some fun trails here. There is even a race here next week: Pipestem Challenge I'm in that waffle stage right now about racing.
-I'm not ready
-It's too muddy
-la la la

There is just so much stuff to do that little kids can get a kick out of. Weather was for crap but we made the most of it. Hiking, nature center, indoor (HEATED!!) pool, game room, mini golf. Even for you golfers there is an 18hole course, and a par 3 course. During spring/summer they have an aerial tram that takes you down to the river, There are horse stables, a good restaurant, and even paddle boats.

Of course, the 4 1/2 year old was in total whine mode. The kind of sing songy whine that goes to the base of your skull and then resonantes down your spine. That kind of whine that turns a normal sane, educated adult, into a made-for-tv, redneck - "Don't make me whoop you, boy!" father from hell. Like a vampire it just sucks the fun away from a situation.

While the 6year old was hiking like 2+miles up some serious terrain, I am literally running away from my own child to get him to walk all the while his cries for Mommy and to be picked up are heard miles way down by the lake. My wife reminded me about a few years ago how our older one was the same way. Oh?? He was? Totally forgot about that. Fatherhood is like mountain biking. You always seem to forget about how hard or how rocky that one ride was.

The cabin was sweet. 2 bedrooms, fireplace, cable TV. Yes, I watched TV while at a pristeen outdoor resort. I don't have cable. Only time we get cable is for 1 month in July. I grew up on TV. I am out of touch with popular culture. It bugged me a lot and I always used it for fodder for picking a fight with my wife. Truth is I'm quite glad I don't have TV. Other than Battlestar Galactica, Pimp my Ride, and the few and far between cycling races on OLN. There is absolute crap on TV.

But for a few days during a rainy cold vacation I am gonna watch some TV.

Got to watch one of my favorite inspirational sports movies:
Rocky III

Unparalleled for sheer entertainment value and one liners. Worthy to be called up for motivating one to their best performances:

How can you not just get goosebumps from lines like this:
"Lights out Meatball" - Hulk Hogan as Thunder Lips
"You ain't so bad - My mother hits harder than that"
"I thought you said be cool..That was cool"
"Hey woman, come on down to my apartment, I'll show you what a real man is like"
"What's your predication for the fight. Clubber"...PAIN
"I live with a fighter"
"There is no tomorrow"
"Eye of the Tiger, Rock, eye of the tiger"
"I don't sweat you"
"Can he swim?", "With a name like Rock?"

Squeezing blood from a stone: cheapskate tips

You know when you come to the end of a tube of grease, and you roll it up and keep trying to squeeze the last dregs of it out. Usually you end up squeezing more than you want in your zeal to roll the tube to its maximum. But you eventually reach a point where no amount of rolling/squeezing is going to release any more grease.

Of course it is Fri or Sat night, and you've got a big ride the next day or god forbid a race (What in the world are you doing repacking grease in anything the day before a race!!!) The bike shop is closed, and the auto parts store is closed and even if it was open you probably want to use some bike specific grease (meaning the grease is inside packaging that says it is meant for bicycles) rather than the marine grease at the auto parts store even though they might be exactly the same thing.

Here is a trick to eeek out all that a tube of grease is willing to give up and then some: Take some scissors and cut it open. I am always surprised at how much grease is still left inside those tubes, even though I've rolled and squeezed this thing to 10tons of pressure on an arbor press.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Tank you Easter Bunny


Apologies for the lack of insightful and witty posts. M-W work was non stop, then Wed-Fri we went to Pipestem State Park in WV. Last night the kids were bouncing off the walls because of Easter. 7pm the year old is asking to go to bed. 5:30am he is up, can only be contained until 6am.

Easter egg and easter basket hunts started immediately. Bioncle building started within 1/2 hr. Easter bunny did not make coffee, Bad Easter Bunny. Easter Bunny left me some Reese's, good Easter Bunny.

Pictures of fun stuff to follow. Because everyone knows that unless you are gwadzilla your BLOG becomes yesterday's old news without daily updates and lots of cool pictures.

Tank you Easter Bunny

Monday, March 21, 2005

Tough (but good) weekend

Finally a spring like weekend. Sunny 50s. Was supposed to be end of rest week, so just easy of off planned. But upcoming week is a total wash so figured I'd hit it hard then start over after next week.

Trail Maint. Sat at 10. Torn between going riding or giving some back. Hardly ever have chance to ride outside for real esp. with nice weather, but decided to do my share and helped out. Glad I did. Always nice to help a little. But oh my traps are sore from raking and picking.

Was able to get out for 1hr mtn bike ride, up my nemisis singletrack climb. It's the only trail I ever time. Lived here for 10+years and I've never felt like I've conquered it. Each time it wins. But I am getting closer. Two strikes against me on that ride
1) coming off extended rest. Legs sluggish
2) very little time on MTB, so technical climbing skills, timing, all the other little off road nuances you need for your A game are not there yet

Result. I was raging it. Even went too hard on the lower section. Didn't fully clean it dabbed plenty, but the final time. Only 10 secs off my Record pace. And I'm not even into my inseason training yet. I was SOOOO stoked. A few more weeks and some time on the mtb and I am hoping to shave 30sec to a minute. Even going down, I felt halfway confident and fast. It was good for overall confidence, esp. after training so much in a vacuum on the trainer.

Sunday, busy with church. Got out with friend John on the road bikes. He is on the Morris plan too, but several months behind me. I convinced him to do the H5. Blacksburg is blessed with many climbs in and around the town limits. Not super long between 5-15mins. But some pretty steep pitches. This route includes 4points + two 1/2 point climbs to total 5....The H5...the Hilly 5. At any point in the ride you are less than 5 miles from home, but it takes 2hrs+ to complete.

And I was raging. Felt awesome. Until the end. Been messing around with position after my fit. Still waiting on some parts to complete it, but what I changed so far seemed to help. Only made it to H4 before ran out of time. Wife wanted to get a ride in. But I was cooked by then anyway. The 4th climb has some pitches that are Cat0 level, and had to high tail it home in a headwind. Man it was hard. Rolled into the driveway with that whipped feeling that we so crave.

But, being a family man, sometimes the hardest part isn't the brutal ride, but the aftermath. You just can't vege, you gotta be ready to be Daddy and husband still. No pity here from wife or kids. Wife was really tired from lack of sleep and I am wasted from ride. Kids are like packs of wild dogs, they sense weakness and they get cross wired and feed on. Breaking down all day, 5pm wishing it was time for bed.

On top of it all, I knew I had to go to work after they got to bed to get stuff ready for some out of town visitors. Putting to sleep the 4 year old is an excercise in patience. He is obsessive neurotic, and has to have a certain toy before bedtime. This would be fine if it was always the same toy because then I would buy a case of them and stash it for when we lose it. But it's like Russian Roulette. You never know which toy it is that he wants this night. And if you can't find it....Look out....You get torn between putting your foot down and just making him suck it up and deal with it (which means locking the door and he crys himself to sleep), or you tear the house apart looking for it just to shut him up and move in with the night.

Last night it was this Bionicle. But not JUST the Bionicle. The Bionicle and his GREEN mask. NOT the blue mask, not the brown mask but the GREEN mask. Are you with me.. The GREEN mask and only the green mask.

Of course, being the super dad I am, we found it and all was good.

Sore all over this morning. Tired. whipped..... And feeling like a million bucks.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Sometimes rest is hard to figure out

With my training plan, there is often prolonged rest. Two or more days completely off the bike. This usually planned, but often times with work/family/etc. it just happens.

Rest is a good thing. You get stronger during the rest. Without it you'd just dig a hole you can't get out of. But it isn't that simple I'm finding. Just like you have to find that sweet spot in how hard you work I am also having to figure out how rest works.

Eddie B's classic book has an awesome section on peaking. And he compares the body to a factory in explaining the peaking strategy. Just like a factory that is shut down cannot immediately ramp up to full production, my body cannot go straight into the red zone after complete inactivity. It's hard to swallow sometimes, because I'm thinking that yeah, couple days off the bike, I should be rarin' to go. But the legs complain , heart complains, cannot push the power. a few days I'm flying.

We are such a convenience oriented, RIGHT NOW society. It's no wonder people aren't saving their money and are in debt to the hilt. Gotta have it now. Where's my magic bullet. I expect to see results immediately after hard work. And expect to see results immediately after rest.

Not so. Just like it takes at least 2 weeks for me to realize the benefit of some serious hard work, it takes me at least a few days to realize the benefit of rest.

Rest week right now. Busy with other things too. Did some 5x1min this morning. Not too bad, but not great. Only purpose is to keep the factory workers from getting too lazy. Will do some trail maintenance tomorrow and some fun riding on Sunday.

Work, oh yeah, that thing you have to do to support your lifestyle..will be hectic Mon-Wed so not sure what will happen, then Wed-Fri we are going to Pipestem State Park, WV, probably w/o bike. So Life is getting in the way of training, and I'll have to figure out something to keep the factory from going into mothballs.

Patience..must acknowledge that it will be at least 3-5 days after getting back into it before the legs are back.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Review-Reese's Fudge

As essential as any bike part. Reese's
Over the last few years, Reese's has not been satisfied with stealing a few souls here and there. They have branched out starting with the Reese's Pieces, and have been spreading their empire ever since. From the Fast Break, Reese's stix, to several variations of the traditional Reese's. Now their presence is felt even in the cereal aisle. The conspiracy continues to prosper under the nose of our government.

Recently I broke out of my boring existence and tried one of these special edition brandings of Reese's Peanut butter cups. The Fudge one.

I guess they had a Dark Chocolate version. Eww can't stand dark chocolate. Give me the cheap crap any day. This Fudge is kinda right in between. With all the popular press on the health benefits of chocolate, Hershey's had to do something to hop on that bandwagon while it was hot.

Slight bitter aftertaste but not as bad as dark chocolate. Overpowers the peanut butter.

Ehh, it's ok. I prefer the delicate balance in the original Reese's. Pure harmony between chocolate and peanut butter.
My soul has been sold to the Orange/Yellow and Brown

This dude likes his candy

OK, You think I like my candy? Check this dude out:
Candy Wrapper Page

Garage Mechanic Tip: How to Rejuvinate Braking

There are still a lot of us with V-brakes or canti or caliper brakes. Any ride in wet conditions is going to trash your braking surfaces. The pads and the rims. It is important to work on both and bring them back to life in order to keep your braking strong.

Scothbright pads or steel wool have been popular for removing the crud off your rims. But lately I have found the gold standard. Mavic makes a soft brake stone, that they would like to charge you $30 for. It is a rubber compound with grit impregnated in it. So it is like a sanding eraser. I bought a wheel from a guy that had used this Mavic stone on the rim, it was like brand freaknig new.

But hell if I am paying Mavic $30. Here's the secret. Klingspor distributes a sanding block called SANDFLEX. It comes in 3 grits, fine, medium, coarse. I believe that the Medium Sandflex block is identical to the Mavic Block. For those who live in England there is the Garryflex brand of sanding block that is the exact same thing.

You can get the Sandflex blocks for $3.95 at McFeeley's


This thing works much better than a scotch brite pad. It requires some elbow grease but the result is phenomenal:

I hope you can make out the shiny part of this road rim. That is where I used the Sandlex block. To the right and left you can see the darker area that hasn't been touched.

Brake pads.
After a muddy wet ride, your pads can end up looking like this:

A file works pretty well, but I like to use a 1x30 belt sander. I've had this tool for more than 10 years, and it gets used a lot between woodworking, metal working and bike stuff. A brand name one can be pricy but you can find them on ebay and knockoffs at Harbor Fright, Northern and other places for fairly cheap. They are awesome for cleaning up brake and der. cable housing after cutting them.

Some come with a disc sander that works wonders on pads too.
*(wear your eye and hearing protection of course)

If you have slotted cable guides, and slots in your brakes you can take off the entire brake arm, rather than undoing the brake cable and having to readjust the cable or removing just the pad which is a PIA to put back.

The result:

Almost good as new! Reinstall arms, put back cable through slots in cable guides and brake arms, and your back in business w/o having to readjust pads or cable tension. Unless you wore your pads down in the wet gritty ride and you couldn't brake the last 1/2 hr of the ride because your levers went all they way to the bars...


Enough already


Another 3" of snow, schools cancelled again. They do not call this place Bleaksburg for nothing. Actually, this year I have handled the winter better than ANY in the past. Mostly because I've been so into my training plan.

I can hold it up like a beacon to ward off the dark shadows. In my zeal I've even stuck to the plan with intervals in the basement before breakfast even when the weather was going to be rideable that day. Now that is truly blasphemy for a true cyclist. But it has kept my mood pretty stable throughout this longer than normal winter weather. Just doesn't bug me enough when I've checked off another hard workout before heading out the door.

But my wife isn't dealing so well. Kids cooped up too much, can't get outside. Very little outdoor riding for her. All the neighboors and friends get to go to Florida for vacations, but not us. So it hasn't been fun the last few months. There is a saying around here:

If Momma ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy.

But as the off-season portion of my plan is coming to a close, I want to be outside, getting the real cycling legs back. Climbing some hills, getting my lower back and hips some real workout. Sweating outside, feeling warm, carving the trails. And of course, I want the general mood at my house to improve. Kids definitely track off the emotions of the parents, so if one of us is off, they are too.

Ahh well, It's ALWAYS greener on the other side. In a few months I'll be bitching at the heat/humidity and my awful muscle cramping, yada yada yada

Now that's my boy

In my older son's kindergarten class they make a 'book' every week. Where a question is asked and they draw a picture with their answer. The question this week:

If I were President, I would:

His Answer:
Make Bike Roads.

Now that is a kid with his head on str8.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Ever see that Sat night live skit, or was it an Eddie Murphy routine, about that Japanese guy and his camera..FOCUS...FOCUS...

Yesterday the dreaded 3on 1 off intervals. Did first set at 300W. Felt so easy I would have thought the calibration was off. But last rep of first set just bogged with :20 sec to go. Dropped down to 290W and same thing happened. Purely mental. Just not focused at all. Thinking of this and that, thinking of what I'll be writing about here. Kiss of death. Lose focus, then your bodies built in defense mechanism kicks in and it's over.

Same thing used to happen to me in races a lot over the years. I'd be thinking about the kind of training I should have done, and what training I'm going to do next week or next year so that the next time I'm racing I'll ride stronger. Or think about the race report that will be written or what I'd tell someone when they asked about the race... Rather than stay in the moment and find the sweet spot in the pain. As soon as focus is lost the body ratchets down rather then damage itself.

One of the hardest things is keeping focus. Worked better this past year with keeping a few lines of a song going through my head over and over.

The VA state series out here in Western VA is not going to happen this year. There will be some races, but not a whole series like years past. There is a race on Apr 3 in Pipestem, WV but it is so hard to go to something alone, not knowing anyone there. There is a low key series starting in Aug at VA parks in this area that looks like fun.

Hope to keep some motivation going and keep making it through these workouts even though I'm not sure why I'm doing them for the moment.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Roadie oxymoron

Yesterday: 4 inches of snow. Making snowmen, and dead lifting huge heavy snowballs. ALL melted away by 2pm. Sore lower back.

Today: 50+ sunny. Hit the road bike for an hour to stretch the legs after playing in the snow for 3 hrs with the kids yesterday. First time on the road bike outside in 2 mos. Such a fun machine. Lugged steel, decent mix of parts but no lightweight compared to what a lot of people are riding.

But smooth as butter, and nimble and responsive. After being on the mtb and cross it feels super fast. Legs felt great. Still have a week of intervals left before next rest week. Moving up on the stair step of training. Seems to be going according to plan. But will definitely need to transition into riding outside from inside. No matter how much you push it indoors it just isn't the same as having a road or trail underneath you.

I am an oxy moron on the road bike: DMT euro style shoes, classic lugged steel frame, hairy legs, helmet with visor, full finger gloves, sometimes camel bak. Any fashion from the shoes or the bike is totally negated by my lack of color coordination and mtb helmet/gloves/camel bak. Style Guy at Bicycling Magazine would crucify me. The only redemtion is when I catch up to some roadies and can hang or pass them. That is fun, but doesn't happen too often.

I'll be getting a Serotta bike fit later this week. Full writeup to follow. Should be really interesting. Been riding for many years, felt that my position is good, but am always speculating that something needs fixing. Noticed that I have been locking my elbows in the hoods, and that have chronic shoulder/neck tightness. Also noticed that with power intervals on the trainer when I move from the tops to the hoods or drops it seems harder to hold the interval.

But when actually climbing with the front wheel tilted up, I can ride on the hoods sometimes better than on the tops. My flexibility in my hams suck which I think has a real affect on my fit.


Saturday, March 12, 2005

under $300 Stereo makeover with floating IPOD integration

Here is a description of my recent stereo upgrade in my 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon

-Economical upgrade
-Upgraded Head Unit with aux input to hook IPOD too
-Simple coaxial front door speaker upgrade
-Simple small powered subwoofer
-straight forward installation w/o amp installs or complex wiring

Head Unit
-Alpine CDA 9825
-Ebay $100 (not including shipping)
-Any head unit with an AUX input will work with an IPOD, but the Alpines are known for putting out good power to coaxials. The 9825 is the lowest model that allow integration with Alpines KCA-420i IPOD interface that allows you to control the IPOD through the headunit. I opted to go with at least the CDA9825 in case I wanted to eventually go this route.
-Sold my old cd player for $30 so actual cost $70

Coaxial Door Speakers
-Alpine SPS 170a

-$55 shipped ebay
-Using the stock speaker mounting ring as a template I drilled holes into the spacer ring that came with these Aplines. They fit fine w/o hitting the window, but it was sort of a pain in the butt. If you went with the IAperformance spacers it would be really easy.
-I also bought from crutchfield some speaker connector adaptors, but the wires are on the short side so I should have cut off the ones from the stock speakers and made my own wires, but I wanted to be done with it right then and there.

-OEM 1998 Subaru Tweeter kit
-$19 (not including shipping) Ebay
-Wires were already there taped away under the door panel
-They pop right in place of the stock door sails

-Kenwood KSC WA62RC WOOX

$128 (not including shipping) Ebay
-I ran fused power direct to the battery, and then a remote turn on from the HU. The guy I bought it from had both of these wires connected into one single power wire at the wiring harness. I hooked it up like that to the ACC power at the Headunit and got a loud pop whenever the car or stereo was turned on. I re-did the harness to separate the main power and the remote turn on power and it worked fine.
-I velcroed the remote control right next to the Ebrake
-I have 2002 WRX seats in my Legacy which have lots of room under them. So I put the WOOX at an angle under the driver seat. I need to put some velcro to have it stick to the carpet better
-Rear passengers might kick it, but only my kids sit back there 99% of the time

Floating IPOD integration
-Using this web page I made a cable from the Belkin car kit that puts audio and power to the IPOD off one cable.
IPOD cable construction
-The Belkin cable cost under $10 at Ebay

-At the wiring harness I broke out a connection from the ACC power (red)and ground (black) to connect to the IPOD cable power
-Using the Alpine Ainet AUX KCA-121B cable I connected the RCAs into the headunit

-The IPOD cable was ran out an opening cut into the back of the DIN compartment.
-The mount is a 1998 Vehicle specific mount from Pro-clip.
You can get it from
Dension USA
-Basic velcro was put on the mount and the back of the Ipod case.

It is easy to store the Ipod in the DIN pocket, when leaving the car:


-Or go full stealth mode and take it with you or put glove box along with the HU face


-Overall cost for the make over was $300 +/- I forgot shipping and there were some wiring/connector accessories too. Some people spend more than that on each individual component!
-Sound is real good. I'm no audiophile and it is SOO much better than stock it isn't funny, so I am happy
-The WOOX rules. Very adjustable and puts out some fine base IMHO. It makes the rear view mirror shake
-Installation was pretty straight forward without too much headache.

Friday, March 11, 2005

And.... it was good.

This morning while taking my oldest to the bus stop it was snowing flakes as big as silver dollars. Melting upon impact. Later when I dropped my little one off at preschool the flakes were smaller and still just as wet.

The man and the plan said to do a hard mtn bike today. I wasn't going to disappoint, even if it meant giving up my fair weather rider status. Bike was loaded and I dropped off at preschool in tights, jersey and cycling jacket. Though these tights are cool, they are Canari loose tights, so you can walk in public places and not get gawked at for your huge quads. Mom's in sweats at preschool are not for the faint of heart. Dad's in cycling gear are cool.

When I got to the pond it was still snow/raining. 1/4 coverage on the trails.

And it was cold, but I figured I'd warm up quick. Full booties, and light windproof gloves and liners on the hands. Hand started to get really cold then warmed up fine. I hate wearing thick gloves off road, makes my hands ache. But then again I hate it when I can't feel my fingers.

Gentlemen...we have liftoff. I was rockin' and rollin' having a ball. The legs are there, the skills are not but it wasn't a total disaster. The snow was crunchy and traction was pretty good. And I was loving every minute of it until I started to get really cold and wet.


It was so much fun, sort of like a homecoming to how we used to ride in all sorts of crazy weather, and at the same time it was like a new experience, cause I am trying to figure out where my fitness, legs, and skills are after being on the trainer for so long and being off the trails.

Some sections I'd hoss up in middle ring thinking that this isn't right, and then other sections that are rideable I'd be in the wrong gear. So this was sort of a feeler ride to set a baseline.
Trying to figure out when to stand and how to stand. I'm so used to riding in survival mode rather than attacking.

And it was good.

The wet roots, leaves, and rocks were freaking me a little, and it was too easy to over-ride my skills and wet brakes. Climbed to the top of the ridge where the wind was howling, and the snow had turned to rain. The bike was working ok even with the snow packing the gears, though the brakes were fading. One of these days I'll go disc again, but still have bad memories from my first and only disc experience.


The downhill chilled me to the bone, and it was fully raining by this time. With pride I added a short little loop instead of heading straight for the car, but only made it 1:40 ride time instead of the planned 2:00. I'll take a Bonus :20 mins for passing go and riding in the cold/wet. I'll deal with the aftermath to my bike and brakes later.

So it wasn't an all out hammer fest, but I was breathing hard looking for that zone. I am learning that it's ok to breathe hard and that it isn't the same as all out gasping. Which I did a little of as well, and was pleasantly surprised to see that I could recover and go back to baseline.

There are So many subtleties in mountain biking that make it so wonderful.
-How to keep your front wheel from floating on climbs
-how to stand up and honk w/o riding off the trail or spining out
-letting the front float over roots, and then being comfortabe with the rear sliding out
-when to shift, how to shift
-when to brake, how to brake
-when to lean the bike and keep the body upright, when to keep the bike upright and lean the body, when to lean both
-timing the pedal stroke to get over logs/rocks
-and on and on

Fun stuff. Wad a country.
But I had to rip up my fair weather ID card.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Garage mechanic tip: brake lever grip tape

Brake levers and sweaty fingers don't mix. Even with full finger gloves, especially ones that have some age to them can't grip a smooth metal lever as well as they should.

Lizard skins made some neoprene covers years ago, and I've tried other kinds of grip tape to no avail. This is a good solution and very cheap. Go to Home Depot/lowes or other and in the electrical section look for LINERLESS MASTIC TAPE. It is used to waterproof exterior connections. For example when you connect two coaxial cables outside, you'll use a layer of regular electrical tape, a layer of this mastic, then more layers of electrical tape.

It comes in different thicknesses and widths. Go for the thin style with <1inch width. It looks like regular electrical tape but it is not adhesive and it is thicker. The cool thing is that it sticks to itself and over time sort of melts together.

Cut a length off and wrap it around you lever with small overlaps. You can use some regular electrical tape to keep it from unravelling or try to get it to really stick to itself at the end.

DSC00147 *a little out of focus sorry.

It has a tacky feel to it which helps a lot with lever grip, and lasts a couple of months. But a roll is only a few bucks so should last you all season.

angels and devils

MSP intervals this morning. 15on 7 off, 12 on 6 off 10on.
270W on my trainer is what I aim for for long intervals. 15 is on the longer side for me, so I did it at 260W.

Felt fine, just cruising along. It felt difficult but it is that difficult that is in your head. You body can tolerate it but you head just wants to stop and go easier. You've one angel on a shoulder telling you to push push, and you've got the devil on the other shoulder telling you to just back off and take it easy.

2nd interval pushed it up to 270. Still doable, but hard again. Third one I went for the gold and upped it to 280.

Made it about 7 mins until the legs bogged. cadence was getting slower and slower until just bogged down. took the tension all the way down then spun back up and brought the wattage to 270 and finished out the interval.

It is interesting that a 10w increment is like hitting a wall sometimes.

Tomorrow is the first litmus test to see how I ride off road without holding back. It is still a little bit fantasy because when you ride alone you are always the fastest one. But I hope I can find references such as what gear I usually ride certain sections in and general perceived exertion vs how fast I'm going.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Now this is teen spirit

Went to the 'team' meeting tonight. Just me and the guy who called the meeting. God I feel for him. I feel so bad for him. Here is someone with some passion some energy some drive to want to make something happen. And he gets stood up like a bad date.

Supposedly over 25 people interested, and just me, a throw back from the last team that has dried up and gone away, just coming to check out the new team and see what kind of involvement I want to have with 0 plans to road race.

I hope things work out, and he gets 4-5 core people with his enthusiasm and makes something happen. When others see the passion and energy they might have some more buy in and get committed. But this La-la yeah I'm interested just ends up going nowhere IMHO.

I am going to let others know when a mtn bike training ride is happening and when I'll hit some races, but I just don't have any additional energy to put into a team like I did in years past, especially when the efforts seem to go to the wind.

One of the original MTB blogs

Been remiss in not linking to this sight earlier. Lots of fun content, pictures, reviews, etc. VA local too.

Blue Collar MTB

review of Foxwear Evap Lite jacket


This is a review of a 'custom' jacket made by Fox wear. They are a small company that makes outdoor clothing pretty much one at a time. I heard about them off the icebike web page. If you ever want to read up on crazies who ride their bike in ANY weather, go there, lots of good reviews, and if they like it you know it will probably work for where and when you ride.

I'm a pretty fair weather rider, but wanted to get a warmer jacket for commuting more. Turns out I got the jacket then stopped commuting as much! Anyway, I've got a real short torso so almost all the men's jackets I've tried were way to long and ended up bunching up at the stomach when in riding position. I even tried some women's jackets but they did the same.
Called Foxwear up and talked to them. REALLLY nice people there. He sent me set of color and material swatches to look at and check out for wind/water resistance. He makes jackets with some of that brand new soft shell materials. Like Powershield, which is what those hip outdoor companies are making some jackets costing over $400. It is 98% windproof and breathes a little. Fabrics

He suggested trying to blow through the fabrics and holding them under water, etc. There aren't a whole lot of choices in color for the power shield, but his powder stretch and his regular windproof fleece comes in lots of colors.

I was looking at the Evap Lite jacket that seems really well suited to cycling. It has large under arm panels of venting material as well as the entire back. The arms/front can be any choice of fabric. From lightweight windproof to medium or heavy windproof or the new power-shield. I decided on power shield on front and lightweight power stretch under the arms and back. Cost was like $69 or $79 which is comparable to what you might find a decent jacket on closeout for. Take a look at what retail is on an Assos or high end PI jacket.

I sent my measurements but don't think he really looked at them, he seemed to know what I needed by talking on the phone. He made the jacket and mailed it WITHOUT any $. He said to send a check after I tried it out and was happy with it otherwise send it back.

It arrived in a week I think. Fit was good. Not too long, in fact because of the stretchiness in the back it rode up a little. But so much better than other jackets I've tried.
***Note the white marks are snot***


-construction seemed good, though you can tell that a human with a sewing machine made it and not a robot

-fit was excellent for my body, not long didn't bunch up. The rear was stretchy material and rides up a little though

-zipper works with one hand. Unlike every other jacket/vest I've got where the zipper hangs up and requires two ungloved hands to open. This nice for zipping and unzipping to help control ventilation.

-Works well when temps are 40 or less. Any warmer and it is too warm

-Only time it gets a little chilly is on long extended downhills. The under arm panels let in good ventilation, and if I'm not pedaling on a long downhill I get a little chilly.

-It does not roll up very well, so it won't just stow into a jersey pocket. Either has to be tied around waist or put up in to camel back. The powershield material is much thicker than thinner material laminates.

-It is NOT water proof. You will get soaked if it pours. But it is water resistant so light sprinkles just bead up.

-Feels very nice next to skin. Not like that clammy laminate goretex feel.

-There are no reflective strips or panels on it, and the colors are not exactly bright, so be aware or choose brighter colors.

-It keeps me pretty toasty on road rides, and more often than not it is too warm. Depending on how I layer it could easily go down to the 20's or lower, but for me my hands/feet are more of a problem. I don't usually take it mountain biking, cause I don't want to rip it, and the short grunts around here and being in the trees doesn't seem to require such a warm jacket.

-All in all, a nice option for jackets at a price that is pretty reasonable for such technical material. Comparable jackets from big names would be minumum $200 or more.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Sticking together

I was checking out some other cycling Blogs today at lunch and read something at SickBlog. I quite like his Blog but today took exception with something he said about the posers riding Pink/black team color Giant road bikes.

You know there are a lot of cyclists. Ranging from spinners at the gym to recreational bike pathers to racers to pros. But in the grand scheme of things we are all really still very much in the minority. Cars still want to crush us, hikers want us off the trails, the majority of America feels that we do not belong on the road and our "sport" is just for fun, and rodeo and fishing get more coverage on TV. There is more money in the other ball sports to make cycling look like a joke.

So being so isolated in this country I wish there was a little more solidarity amongst cyclists. So yeah, Joe lawyer has got a full Team kit Dura-ace Trek Madone and the full Nike matching jersey/shorts and the carbon soled shoes. And Miss business exec has got a Pink and Black Giant with matching shorts/jersey just like Kristin does. And you only see them out on sunny weekends.

Well I bet they paid full price for them. Possibly from a LBS. So these people are paying retail for cycling stuff. This money goes into the system. LBS gets some. Manufacturers get some. Companies stay in business. Bike people have jobs. companies make cool things, better things which is good for all of us. Said companies sponsor races and riders. Amateur and pros get pro-deals on stuff or stuff for free, and those special few even get salaries......

...Because regular people are spending their hard earned cash on bike stuff.

Yeah they are posing. It's all relative. No one said you have to be friends with them, but come on, don't bag on them. Make fun of them, ok, but don't judge.

I remember years ago in Davis, CA hanging out with some girls on the cycling team. These were average C level riders and they were just bagging on some regular citizenry out with some Yellow jerseys. Put a bad taste in my mouth even then.

In the immortal words of Rodney, "can't we all get along?"

A pain in the nose

Been wanting some new riding glasses for the road. Something cool and hip like all those roadie pretty boys have. But I've got a super small head, so I just can go grab a pair of Rudy's and style. Been keeping my eye out for some Briko Prowlers cause they are designed for smaller faces.

Just got some a few weeks ago on ebay. This is so typical for me and ebay purchases. Within minutes of putting them on I get this sinus headache. That gets worse and worse. Couldn't figure it out till I realized that it only comes when I wear the glasses. PISSED me off.

Turns out the bridge is really small on these glasses, and pinches my nose bridge ever so slightly that they give me a headache. Compare the prowlers on the left with these crappy ass Angel's (yes they are women's glasses). Notice how much bigger the gap is on the Angel's. Oh well live an learn. Another ebay purchase bites me.

The voices in my head made me do it

On babysitting duty today. Went to Blockbuster with kids to get new movies. Which is right next door to the Rite Aid, which is where these were calling to me. The voices, oh please make them stop

somehow I don't think these are part of a pro cyclists diet. I guess that is why I am not a pro. I remember reading years ago that team 7-11 would go to Dairy Queen and get blizzards after training rides. I bet those rides were at least 5-7hrs long. But my buddy and I would start doing it after 1 and 2 hr rides so we could be like Bobke and the boys.

Extreme sports

It's the X-games in my basement:

bunch-a-huckers. They must read BIKE magazine

(I made that rocking horse 5 years ago)

Garage Mechanic tip: On the cheap bike Lube

There are so many lubes out there marketed to bicycles. You know the old standbys: Tri flow, Finish line, Pedros, White lightning and the newer ones: Pro Gold, Rock n Roll, etc.. and those with the hip names, something snot, etc...

I've tried a bunch, and haven't really done anything scientific, but honestly, can't really tell one from the other. Sometimes I can tell when one doesn't work worth a hoot, but between the others it is hard to say. Ride, chain gets dirty, clean, relube, etc. So the whole marketing behind the lubes of this is better, etc. seems pointless to me.

Mike T. over at the MTBR forums as a SWEET web page dedicated to chains. Mike T. Chain pages. This place is a treasure trove of info on chains, and has links to even more technical info on chain suck.

His web page has a home brew concoction for bike lube. I've been using it for over 8 months now, and love it. Cheap, does what it should, plain and simple. Not very complicated: basically 50/50 of Mineral Spirits and Synthetic motor oil.

Give it a shot, you might be surprised. Save an empty bottle of your other lube and put this mix in there.

Monday, March 07, 2005

In the CDplayer

I am no music critic. I just know what I like and what I don't like. Music has always played an integral part of my life growing up. When you sort of don't fit in anywhere, music can help fill some voids. I've got an easy way of analyzing music. If it ellicits some form of emotion from me, happiness, sadness, melancholy, anger, energy, etc. it works. If it just does nothing well, than it doesn't.

This metric holds no prejudices, and has produced favorite music across many genres. Though I just don't get jazz. And the current crop of R&B soul just goes in one ear and out the next. How in the world the WHO was classified as maximum R&B has got me. I bought a CD for the first time in over a year. Been outta music except for free downloads here and there. Had a gift cert at B&N.

I decided to get American Idiot by Green Day.

They have been one of my favorite bands since Dookie put them on the map. Regardless of what some say about being sellouts, their brand of punk works for me. There is something about this album that is different. Before I'd listen to their songs more on an individual basis and would skip through the CD or better yet scramble play on the MP3 player. But American Idiot I have listened to like 5 or 6 times all the way through end to end. I hardly ever do that unless i have to.

I really think it is an incredibily well put together album. And love it. Grammy Shmammy, it is just somegood straight up in your face music that flows together and creates emotions galore for me.

Not sure yet how the songs will work in random mode and under the stress of an interval. the only problem is I wish they didn't cuss so much. My kid loves american idiot, and it is bad enough to have him running around the house screaming the lyrics. But I just can't let him listen to the rest of the album. I remember when the whole parental lyrics thing came out and was all in arms about it. But now, I am quite glad. It is just like the day we had our first child, everyone started driving so damn fast.

You're in god's country now, so don't drive like hell!!!


Behind the 8 ball

more of the more work : less rest intervals. 3sets of 3on 1 off.

the 1 off was hardly enough time to get a drink of water, wipe some sweat and blow some snot. Did first at 290W, second set at 300W, third I tried at 300, but only made it 2mins then dropped to 290.

Sort of floundering a little, wondering if this is all worth it and why am I doing this. Still no idea if the VA state series is running this year. There is race at Piptestem WV on April 3, and there is a new small series running at VA parks but it starts in August and runs through October. If the VA state series doesn't pan out than I'll focus on this.

This Friday I've got my first real ride scheduled outdoors. It says Hard MTB or Road ride. This is going to be my first benchmark to see where I'm at. I already getting nervous. You ever get nervous for just a ride by yourself on your local trails? I just want to see if I can rage. I can compare what gearing I'm using and perceived speed, as well as whether I can attack sections or just ride to survive. It will be fun. I hope. Maybe give me a motivation boost.


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Rudy can't fail

3x12 at 270W
First one wasn't too bad. 12 mins is a long time. Glad i did that zone 2 yesterday. this seemed easier. well not really ,but sometimes it is easier to go hard than easy

2nd one started to burn

Third one 6 mins through I was acheing. Started to cycle through the songs on the mp3 player to find the right ones to get me through it. You need a special song for these kinds of intervals. Too fast isnt right, it needs the right rhythm. One that worked well was Rudy Can't Fail by the Clash. Just the right beat to keep it going through the end.

man it hurt

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Zone 2 is not supposed to hurt?

raining and cold this morning. Jumped on the trainer for some Zone 2 to get ready for tomorrows intervals. Zone 2 is like 200-230W for me. It actually hurt some. Legs just didn't like it. Sort of wish I was going harder.

Lame, zone2... not good for confidence.

Worked on the car stereo today, finished the upgrades. $300 total makeover and a stealth IPOD integration. Pretty decent upgrade for not too much cash. Almost all ebay. Sounds sweet. Pics to follow. Then did some hiking with Ansel my oldest. just me and him, looking for secret passages.

J. Bishop won the marathon race. 9 mins over Eatough. Damn. It was fun to read Jason Sager's BLOG about the race. First time in a long time I'm really getting into the whole national and NORBA scene, it's fun to know some names, and follow results. And see some pictures of the sufferfest.

That is the wonderful thing about cycling. They might be 100 times faster than me, but we all suffer.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The man purse


It's not a purse, it's a folio.

Went for an hour sping today on the cross bike. With this weather, never know what to wear, so my man purse is filled with hopefully whatever I need, 3 different types of gloves, jacket, vest, 2 different types of tights, helmet, road and mtn shoes, booties, balaclava, skull cap, gels, etc....

Got to ride through some small snow drifts where it had blown across the bike path. ooooh. so agro!

Perplexed on the state of mountain biking

I am perplexed at what actually is the state of mountain bike racing in my area and across the country. There are just so many mixed signals that I can't figure out what is up. And the fact that I live and train in a little vacuum with very little contact with other cyclists skews the real picture.

facts, figures, observations:
Mountain biking is not the darling it used to be. Sponsorship $, salaries, etc are way down from where they used to be. But the whole 24 scene, the solo scene, the endurance craze, off road stage races, etc. is growing like crazy. There seems to be no shortage of events in CO and other western states. Mid atlantic seems to be still going strong as does south, and north. NORBA races still draw big fields.

Racing in Western VA seems to be on the decline, yet some of the races last year had record turnouts. I don't even know yet if the VA state series is going to happen. The eastern part of the state and the northern part seem to still have a strong racing scenes. But around here XC seems to be almost dead. Maybe it is because I just don't know anyone anymore.

When you have a family sometimes you start to live pretty insular. And actually getting outside to ride is so shoot from the hip that it is impossible to actually schedule stuff sometimes. So I am just losing touch with who is actually riding. I think there is like one guy who I get out with on a regular basis.

We used to have a really active and energetic team. But over the last years we haven't brought in new blood, and the existing members grew older, moved away, had families, and cycling/racing moved down the food chain until the team ended up being just an email list serv.

This year the shop has revamped the team and brought back a ton of energy into it. With some key individuals bringing a lot of momentum, but it is all focused on the road scene and event riding. Event riding being organized centuries especially one we are famous for, the Mountains of Misery. I was all pumped again to be part of something energetic but alas, they said that there isn't a Mountain bike component to the team. Well I guess if no one is racing mtb than that explains that.

But it just sort of took the wind out of my sails. Off road racing is what I'm training my ass off for. It is my personal stage for battling my demons and pushing to the limit. Sure I like riding on the road, and I might even like racing on the road, but for now XC is where I am focused.

Just bums me out that I either don't know the right people to be hanging with or there just isn't the XC buzz here. It's perplexing, and I guess I'm just in the real minority here. Through the net I can still feel connected to the energy that still surrounds mtb racing. But I just wish there was more local support. I need to make an effort to seek out and find some more hardcores to ride with to drag me around the mountain. That is how you get better, by riding with people over your head and pushing to keep up. It is so easy to get complacent riding the same trails alone.

done ranting.


Date night last night. Dinner and hanging out at Barnes and Noble. Exciting, yes I know. But relaxing. I've been fairly jaded on cycling magazines of late.

Bicycling is so bad it is pitiful. The quarterly Mountain Bike is ok, but most often times follows the tail of Bicycling. BIKE is just pictures of huckers and hipsters.

Dirt Rag is good. Yes it is good, with features on small custom builders, which is real nice. But the whole single speed thing and cycling counter culture doesn't ring my bell too much anymore.

MBA is well, MBA. It used to be the bible back in the day, but now just seems so Southern Cali. I'll give them some credit that they do still cover some racing now and then.

Cycle Sport is by far my favorite lately. I LOVE the writing and photography, and the subjects motivate me. However, I am about as far removed from pro road cycling as you can get. I ride, but don't race road. So I am wishing for something similar but about XC racing.

Asphalt is pretty cool. Road only, with coverage of small custom builders. But again, I ride the road, but am not obsessed with it like these guys.

Totally forgot about Velonews
I love the website and usually go there along with cycling news to get a fix for what's new. I like it, but I don't know what it is but it just doesn't really get me going. Maybe because it has to spread itself so thin to cover all the aspects of cycling racing. I dunno, it is pretty good though.

But lately, there hasn't been too much print on the mountain bike XC scene. I don't even know how is hot and who is up and coming and who are my heroes supposed to be if I don't really know them. I came across a mag I hadn't seen last night called
Twenty Six.
h3 publications Though the website doesn't talk much about this particular mag only their other titles

It was pretty cool. Racing coverage, and articles on the endurance craze like Trans Alp and some other off road stage race. Real sweet interview with the godfather, Ned Overend

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens;

....Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens;
Brown paper packages tied up with strings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

My Crud catcher:

Someone left it in my truck more than 10 years ago. I don't think I have taken it off since. Even during the dryest times, you never know when you are going to go through some wet stuff. Keeps my face sparkly clean,and junk out of my eyes for the most part. I don't wear glasses offroad. Mainly because of fogging, and sweat in the eyes. I know I should for protection, but just can't do it.

I can't understand why more people don't ride with these. We used to make them out of old Gatorade bottles. THE has made them a little more popular, but good Ol Crud catcher keeps on ticking.