Monday, January 30, 2006

Feedback Sports Scale - Got me one

Ever see Independence Day with Will Smith? You know the scene where he is flying the alien space craft and he hits the gas on it...I got to get me one of these!!!

That is the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard that my man Dan put in a good word to me about my Weight Weenie articles (part 1 and Part 2)to the makers of that so sweet scale I mentioned.

Feedback Sports makes this most awesome product.

This thing is SO wicked. It has a rubberized shell to protect it and it measures in .1 and .01 of a pound. Only a bicycling weight weenie scale measures in 10ths and hundreths of a pound. The other scale I've got measures in Pounds and Ounces. Which does nothing from a weight weenie perspective as everything is either grams or X.Y lbs.

I hung it from one of my garage door supports and did a quick check on my FS and road bike. Oh the horror! I am such a total poser. I can talk the talk just like any fool with enough time on their hands to lurk in the forums. But I certainly am not walking the walk. My FS was 27.78 lbs, and my road bike in all it's Ti glory was 18.85 lbs. I've got to get that roadie down sub 18 if I am going to maintain any sense of a rep. The only option in a FS is the IF Tungsten electrode because it is the only DW link bike that is light enough to warrant being hung up on this jewel of a scale.

This thing is about the polar opposite of a 12 step program, it is more like the guy on the street corner giving out free samples. I LOVE it. Look for it in any future product reviews and when I weigh kids. It has a 55lb limit and they are not up to that yet.

Thanks very much to the pusher Doug at Feedback Sports.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

PRQ#8: Heather Mosely

This is #8 in the PRQ (Pro Racer Questionnaire) series.

Heather Mosely


In her signature pink, Heather Mosely is a hard one to miss on the ever growing endurance circuit. She's been racking up some serious podiums including 24Hrs of Big Bear, 24 Hours of Burn, and 24 Hours of Old Pueblo. Heather also has a streak going for fastest female lap times. When you've got people racing on teams doing rotations it's pretty impressive to have the fastest female lap as a solo rider.

Heather has a BLOG that provides a great insite into her training. Blogs like this are great resources for the endurance world because it is a fairly new subdiscipline and there isn't as much training knowledge as other forms of bike racing. For a pro athelete she is extremely accessible offering her email AND phone number for questions. I guess she must get a lot of sales calls too?

She also does her part for her sponsors which is key to any successful pro.

I thank Heather for her time and wish her luck for the 2006 Campaign.

The questionnaire:


-Who are your sponsors that you’d like to recognize?
Specialized Bicycles
Tifosi Optics
Editor's Note: Great optics, great price.
Speedplay Pedals
Niterider Lighting Systems
Hayes Disc Brakes
Fox Forks
Pactimo Jerseys
Schwalbe Tires
Gravity Dropper Seatposts
Editor's Note: Ever since I saw Gene Hamilton use one of these, I've wanted to try one. It is amazing how much an XC height seatpost gets in the way, especially when bunny hopping. The weight weenie in me scoffs at it, but I think the time savings on the downhill and tech sections would more than make up for any extra time lost due to the weight.
Hells Divas
Ecaps/Hammer Nutrition

-What makes an athlete a 'good investment' for a sponsor?
A fun personality, an abitlity to influence the growth of cycling, active in all aspects of cycling, and good looks. Oh, if you win a couple races that is always a good thing!

-How long have you been racing mountain bikes, how long as a pro?
I have been racing since 1997, my dad introduced me to the sport. I have been riding Professional for Specialized since 2003, and love the 24 hour scene.

-What are your goals for 2006?
I would like to keep up my win streak, and fastest solo female lap streak I was on in 2005. I have wanted to qualify for RAAM for some years, and last year tried but failed, so this year I will try again in the spring and fall. I would also never like to get mono again!
Editor's Note: Tinker just qualified for RAAM. Maybe we will start seeing some off road crossover to the road endurance insanity.

Bike Geek Stuff.

-What bikes do you race on? What other bikes do you own?
I race on a 2006 Specialized Epic 06EpicMarathon_Blk_d , and a S Works Epic 06SWorksEpicCarbon_d. I have two bikes in case one gets a mechanical. I also have a specialized Roubaix Pro 06RoubaixPro_Blk_d, I use for long distance road events. I have another Specialized Roubaix I train on, and then I have a Specilized Langster single speed 06Langster_Cbn_d, to keep it real. I have a Giant Tempo Spin Bike that I use Indoors...I have attached big "S" Stickers to the Giant bike to continue to support my sponsor!
Editor's Note: My Gosh there is more Specialized going on here than Ned Overend convention! Note that the Roubaix is a great geometry for the off road crowd that prefers a more upright position. Fast w/o being a -gag- hybrid.

-How do you see XC technology changing over the next 5 years?
I married a bike mechanic, and if I could get him to answer this for me I would, I am not too mechanical...but I would say lighter....bolder colors!
Editor's Note: I'm not sure a pink bike would make it on the showroom floor at most LBS's!

-What component or cycling gear would you pay full retail for if you had to?
Up until a couple years ago I had to buy everything I needed, then I started to write the companies whose products I used, these companies are now my sponsors. I have been with the same sponsors really since the beginning in 2003...I do not pay anymore, but I would if I had to.


-How many hours a week do you train (min, max, average)?
I train anywhere from 7-35 depending on what is up that week. Sometimes I take whole weeks off for serious muscle repair, and other times, I ride 24 hours straight in my living room, to pretend like I am out in a race...I have a crazy brain..
Editor's Note: These endurance freaks!

-Do you have a coach? dad likes to yell at me and try to get me to go over big scary logs...

-Do you follow a scientific periodized cycling specific training program or ‘just ride’?
I follow my own program, that I have been tweaking over the years..I keep allot of very detailed training logs and compare the past years, to this year, and am very crazy about that heart rate monitor though..I listen to my breathing.

-Do you strength train?
Very light in the winter, and pushups, situps...not too much, I favor time in the saddle.

-Do you do specific technical skills training, if so what?
Yes I do. My dad and I head out to the harder trails, and then he will make me session a section over and over till I am a bloody pulp. Seriously, people gather on the trail and watch this. It is fun after it is over, and I kicked it's ass.
Editor's Note: Heather's Dad is old school. Us new school parents are trying not to push our kids too much for fear of emotional scarring. You can see the evidence in Ms. Mosely case.

-How do you recover after a hard ride or workout?
I like to stretch out, and then have sex. Wine is good too.
Editor's Note: HONEY!!! Come read this quick!! I bet that this entry will be requested reading for every cyclist's spouse in America.

-What is your nutrition protocol during a 12-24hr endurance race?
I have had great sucess with ecaps and hammer supplements. I use these along with Peanut butter , and burritos , every race is different, and it depends on what the craving is. I use Hammer Heed, and Hammer Soy, and other drinks. I take so many different pills during a race, that each pill is allready sorted out into a plastic cup that I down real fast each lap. We are very detailed with this part too.

-What is your pacing strategy for a 12-24hr endurance race?
Ideally I like to get out in front on the first lap, and then keep up as best I can. It really helps mentally not to have to do the chasing..


-How do you balance the stresses of regular life with training and recovery?
I keep everything in check. Everyone around me understands how big a part of my life cycling is, and that helps. I can easily say that I am very lucky with my job, and friends, and it is easy to make time for more training, or cut back a bit.

-Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Mmmm...can I have more than one? I can narrow it to three...Tequila, good red wine, and my husband.

-What advice do you have for those of us with families, and full time jobs who want to race our best?
Get your family, or boss involved, the more others understand what it is thet your doing, the more they want to be a part of it.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Leg warmer comparison review

Leg Warmers like arm warmers are one of those things that roadies know about but a lot of mtn bikers don't. The warmers are the perfect tool for cool weather riding. They allow you to remove them or roll them down (arm warmers) to adjust for heating up or warming conditions. I love them.

I've been using leg warmers a lot lately. They are the first choice if the temperature drops below 55-60degrees on the road. I know sounds pretty warm, but I want to protect my knees.

And I'll also layer them under my tights to get an additional 10 degrees out of my tights. Only one pair of my tights has some extra knee protection so even with mid-heavy tights I like the additional protection on the knees.

The one bane of knee warmers is when they fall down. Typically I put the knee warmers on before my shorts. (A sight that my wife said is funny. Preserve your sanity and don't even try and picture the sight) Then I'll put the shorts on over them. Ideally the elastic of the leg warmer uppers combined with the compression from the lycra shorts will keep them up while you ride. But often they slip down, which I hate.

Here are two brands I've been using lately. One I hate which prompted me to try the other which I like.

Pearl Izumi Leg Warmers
Pearl Izumi or PI in cycling circles is legendary for making incredible technical cycling clothing. But these leg warmers suck. I even got the XS size.


They have elastic grippers similar to cycling shorts

When pulled up mid thigh they creep down very quickly. The only way I can get them to stay up is to put them on WAY WAY up if you know what I mean. Then they will stay up, but the problem is that the gripper now hits part of my saddle when pedaling and the other day caused some serious chaffing.

The material is fairly thin so they layer easily under tights. But I was so upset with this last chaffing incident that I went out to buy some others.

De Feet Kneekers

The Kneekers are interesting. They are not sized, it's a one size fits all.

Which I have found usually means way to big. The material isn't as space age looking as the PI but it is coolmax which is a proven cycling product. They have two different materials on the front and the back

They don't have elastic grippers like most warmers. I don't know how they stay up.

I put them on and within a few minutes they had fallen down. I readjusted them up a little higher, and BAM. They stayed up the entire time on a 2hr mountain bike ride. Moutain biking usually makes knee warmers fall down in no time due to the constant, up/down changes in position. I was impressed. The height at which they were place was several inches below where the Pi's had to be go in order to stay up. The back of my thigh didn't chafe on the saddle.

It was 30 degrees when we started and I was comfy the entire time. But most of the time we were on trails which is much warmer than the road. But it was a 15min road ride to the trail head and I was fine. They also make a set that is Merino wool that look to be warmer.

I really like the lighter material on the back of the leg. This is similar to high end jackets like the Assos Airblock where they put wind block on the chest and front of the arms and put breathable mesh everywhere else. There is so much heat created by your body that you need to vent it out, yet you want protection on the front since in cycling you are moving forward (at least I hope you are). I think the breathable material on the back contributes a lot to their comfort and making them feel warm w/o being too warm.

The coolmax has a wonderful Next to skin (N2S) that all DeFeet products are known for. But it doesn't wick super fast like other materials which is actually a good thing really fast wicking=cooling, and these feel warm.

They are thicker than the Pi's but they layer with my tights fine.

I've only got one ride on them, but I so far I am pretty impressed with them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Just getting out the door

Today was a real victory for me. The plan called for sprints+3hrs on the bike. I did the 3hrs but not the sprints.

It never got above 32 degrees. We had wind advisories. It is always somewhat windy here, so when the weather service says wind advisories they are talking 20-30mph winds. The winds were so bad last night that the kids were scared at 3am and came to sleep in our bed.

I got up in the morning with the singular goal of just getting out the door on the bike. My wife thought I was crazy. I thought about grabbing the mountain bike as weather (except rain and deep snow)really isn't a factor because the trees block any wind, and the speeds are typically much slower than roadbiking and the heat generation is higher.

But I nixed that because around here it is really hard to do long easy rides on the mountain bike. The other reason is that I don't want to do long easy rides on the mountain bike. When I get on the mountain bike I want to raging. I want to be fast and quick, and powerful. I don't want to just piddle around.

On the road bike I can go easy AND I can go hard, and I don't mind going easy.

I was just saying over and over in my head, "Just get out the door" And I did.

Cloudy, windy, light snow showers (blowing horizontal), then a little sunshine then it was gone. I headed out Mt Tabor road to the Sandy Ridge turn back on Harding. The wind was at my back, and it lulled me into a complacency.

Oh, Virginia is so beautiful
Wow! I am riding great for this time of year.
yada, yada, yada

Then I made the turn. And the wind hit me like a hammer, just pummeling me. And who else was there, but Mr. T. Right where he's been the whole time, Right behind me.

Stop your Jiba Jaba Foo.
Welcome to Virginia

I was riding sections that I've done at 22+mph alone and 30+in a paceline at 13mph. It was rough. I came to a cutoff point where I could have been home in another 1/2hr, but I turned and got another 1hr in.

The hardest part was the last few miles to my house, the wind was just howling into me.

A victory even though I didn't do my sprints. Mentally, there was just no way I could do sprints and then do this ride. Sprints require their own mental focus and motivation, and I was already focused on just trying to get out the door. Sometimes I just can't do more than one thing at a time.

Tomorrow calls for a slightly shorter ride but then some Muscle Endurance intervals at the end. Those I can do with a longer ride. But not sprints.

What I think I need to do is add another day into my cycle where I just do the sprints on the trainer and that's it. Then the next day do my long ride, and the next do the long ride+ME intervals, then to the rest block.

It's funny. This is actually the first year that I'm doing the endurance phase pretty close to the plan. The past few years I've really skimped on it due to the weather and not being able to sit on the trainer for long easy rides. An organized planned interval session goes by fast, but just sitting and spinning is agony. So I really half assed the endurance phase and then went right into the SMSP and MSP phases.

This year with new found motivation from the other bloggers out there, I've made more of a commitment to just get out there. There are obvious benefits to working on my aerobic engine. But another benefit I am realizing is that doing this sort of stuff makes you tough.

You know that hardness that you see in the pro riders, anyone Cat2 or higher. The mental and physical toughness that comes from being out in the elements. I'm getting a small taste of it. I remember reading in Davis Phinney's book that some of their training was just to put themselves into hard weather to toughen themselves up, so that in a race if the conditions worsen than they will be better off then their competitors.

Oh, a side note on how I can ride during the week. I've been saving personal vacation time up specifically for this phase of training. It just won't fly family wise to do too many long rides on the weekend, so I try to get most done during the week. I'm very luck that I'm my own manager. The phase only lasts 3 weeks and after that volume drops drastically as intensity skyrockets. These rides are done mostly on the trainer and are short enough that anyone with work/family can fit them in.

During the main season, the time has changed so there is more daylight to get out earlier on the weekends. Even though there is more light in the evening I will only do 1 ride/week at those times because when you have a family those are the Witching hours (between 4pm and 6pm)

My heart goes out to people with jobs that are really restrictive.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New post at Biking Hub

Check out part 1 of my article on being a weight weenie. Part two goes up in a few days.

This is one of those subject areas that I've wasted an inordinate amount of time obsessing into. Which means spending hours filtering through forum posts to find the hidden truth among all the junk.

If you are wondering why my articles on the Biking Hub read better than my posts here it's because I have a great editor in Cory. He takes my shoot from the hip, write like I'm talking after a few beers and makes it read smoothly.

This is a really good site and a nice one stop shop for mtb related reviews, and general info.

Plus you get my good stuff.

The problem with being a focused person

I like being able to focus on one thing at at time. My training program goes along those lines as there are blocks of days where I train and blocks where I don't. I had a business trip the past few days to DC and was totally off the bike, and the diet, and any excercise. Before that I was riding regularly and was in need of little break anyway so it works out.

But while on the trip I was really in work mode, and cycling wasn't the focus. Back home now, and there is a problem with the block mentality. It's hard to just go right back into the training. Even though I want to and need to, it takes some concentrated focus and effort to hop back on.

The weather is going to be in the 30s with wind advisories so that means windchills in the teens most likely. My bike is sweet but in the wind it gets a little twitchy. Even harder to mentally get back in to training mode.

Hmm maybe I should do base on the mtb tomorrow. The only problem with that is at Brush mtn, you just can't do a whole lot of easy riding, maybe 1.5hrs then the rest is hard enough that if you want to make it through the trail it takes some work. But maybe I can make it work.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Afternoon Delight

My wife and I were planning on meeting for lunch today and she suggested a rendevouz of another kind. I know what you're thinking. And if you're thinking what I'm thinking than your thinking the wrong thing. For those of you who are married with children you know that what I mean.

We went for a ride.

65 degrees F today. It was sub 30 only a few days ago. Sunny, warm. and muddy.

She is fit. I'm all into my training plan Morris this Morris that, and she was riding away. We hit Brush mtn, the usual haunt and found some nicely thawed muckity muck in some places and dry trail elsewhere.

Here she is coming down one of those steeper than it looks trails

This picture is cool.

And finally, a batman-esqu tilted picture because the roof of my car is not totally flat.

The next time an afternoon rendevouz is scheduled I am going to make sure that I've trained for it.

Long term test of Extreme Simple Green

If you read my preliminary review of Extreme Simple Green several weeks ago, you'll recall that I started soaking a chain in the stuff on December 17th. It was my wife's chain and she wanted to go on a ride today, so I had to remember where it was.

I opened up the secret testing chamber and here are the results:

This is the side of the chain that was facing the top. Not all the chain was completely submerged.

There were a few spots with some rust staining. It was intersting to note that the rust stained portions were above the surface of the soaking solution.

This is a picture of the side of the chain that was on the bottom of the container and had been completely submerged in the solution .

It was spotless.
I stuck the chain under some running water and washed away any grit/residue, then hit it with the air gun and put the chain back on. Re-lubed it, wiped away the excess and away she went. There is nothing like the feel of a newly cleaned chain.

Here is a picture of what was left in the container:

Contrast that to the shot taken when the chain was first put in it.

Recall that I had first dilluted the solution with some water then changed my mind and dumped it and redid it with 100% Extreme Simple Green. There might have been some water still on the sides of the container, I don't know. But the rust stains only occured on portions of the chain that were above the surface, and nothing at all happened on the bottom part that had been submerged for more than 4 weeks.

So my advice is if you are going to forget about a chain is to make sure that it is completely covered.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Feel the power

The other day in the cold I was doing some ME (muscle endurance) intervals.
Low cadence, high gear work up a hill.

It is amazing how big a gear I was able to turn w/o falling over. Hopefully this will help unlock the power just waiting to get out in the old legs. After doing the big gears, going back to regular gears feels so effortless.

On an easy ride today, it also amazing how going outside the comfort zone skyrockets the breathing and the heartrate in an instant. I guess that is what the SMSP and the MSP intervals are going to be for in the next phases.

This week I did some 2 hr rides. Rest week next week. Then up to some 3 hr rides, and topping out with a 4hr in the last week of endurance. I'll still do some sprint work and ME work during those rides as well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More character building

Sub 30s
30mph wind gusts
some sleet

My feet still froze. This time I had some Windetex booties then some toe covers on top of those

and some small chemical warmers. These warmers aren't that great and I've got some others waiting to be tested.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New post at biking hub

My weekly entry just went up at the Biking Hub

Weight loss article

So far it is working. I was 139 a few weeks ago and am down to 134-135. Who knows how much of that is water/etc.. but slowly but surely it's coming off.

But Wednesday is kids night at the IHOP so if we go I am going to scarf.

Toughness training

35 and rainy this morning.

I had to try it. Days like today are not for training aerobic or anaerobic pathways, etc. It's about mental toughness training in just getting out the door. I can't remember the last time I started riding while it was raining.

35-40 and wet is argueably the worst conditions to be in. I've heard plenty of people say they'd rather it be 30 below and dry.

It actually wasn't too bad except for my feet. I was pretty lame in what I did.

-liner socks
-gortex socks
-toe covers with chemical warmer packs placed underneath them.

-Craft windbloc base
-Short sleeve jersey
-light jacket
-sauna plastic clear rain jacket

-craft glove liners
-thick goretex gloves

Hands got cold at first then warmed up
Needed another layer on the knees

Feet got wet and cold. Water ran down the inside of the goretex socks and made for a cold soak in ice-water. Those stupid socks are waterproof alright. They were holding like a cup of water when I took them off.

That was stupid. If I was going to do it, I should have swapped pedals and put on my Lake winter shoes . At least those wouldn't have gotten so wet so soon.

It got worse when the rain stopped. Then the wind picked up a little.

Those clear rain jackets are such a crock too
They look so-pro but whatever rain they keep off you they make up for in keeping the sweat in. I was warm, but felt like I was in a sauna.

Made it 2 hrs. If my feet were warmer I could have gone longer.

-Wear knee warmers under tights
-Get a decent rain jacket that 'breathes' at least a little
-Wear dedicated winter shoes or more layers on the shoes. Maybe wool socks

I've heard that if you ride in the rain you are going to get wet and you should just resign to that and focus on being wet and warm. I don't know if I'll do this again, but I just might since I did it once already.

Lots of people say that fenders make the biggest difference in keeping your feet dry. But I'm not sure if it rains enough around here to go to all that trouble

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Power phase done

Finished the last lifting session today. Good thing cause it is in the 30s with 30+mph winds.

Now its down to riding. Which is going to be hard with the weather and work.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Comparing Black 80 SPV to Black 100 Super Air on the Hollowpoint

I've been trying a different fork on my Hollowpoint Here's comparison. Though I regret that this isn't an apples to apples comparison as one fork is SPV and one is TPC.

Note that the trails I ride are XC but not buffed at all. Rocks roots but not huge drops or anything.

I've had an Answer Manitou Black 80 SPV on my hardtail for a while. I liked it well enough, but hadn't really embraced the SPV and was on the fence as to whether it was better for XC. At the time I wasn't sure if the compromise in small bump compliance was a drawback. When I got my Hollowpoint I had a choice between a SPV fork or a TPC fork. I decided to try out a 100mm Black Super Air with TPC lockout

100mm Black Super Air
*note this picture shows it with a longer stem than I settled on
This is a super cush fork. The first thing I realized is that 100mm is a lot more than 80mm. Well it certainly feels like more than 20mm. A lot of racers love their remote lockouts and say that they use them as much as they shift. I found that I didn't care for the remote lockout much. The body of my grip shift got in the way of the lever so I had to move my hand slightly to engage it which meant that I didn't do it all the time. The remote lockout was slightly finicky so it didn't engage every time either.

What bothered me the most was that the fork was just too cushy when unlocked. There was no additional compression damping adjustment with the remote lockout. On bomber downhills it ruled. But everywhere else it was just too cush.

Answer sent me a TPC lockout damper to replace the remote lockout.
BTW in all my years of riding Answer has provided the best customer service hands down.

The TPC lockout damper goes on the right leg and provides some additional compression damping adjustability. The lockout was more reliable than the remote. I only used the lockout on long extended climbs.

For general riding this fork is great. Especially bombing downhills. But when trying to hoss it on short climbs and pedalling sections I felt that some energy was being lost.

Trying out a Black 80 SPV
The HP seems to be designed around a 100mm fork at the minimum. Trail riders go as high as 130mm+. I was most concerned about pedal strikes with a lower BB, but Iron Horse spec'ed a Race Lite version of the Hollowpoint that was shipped with an 80mm Rock Shox. The head angle of the HP is listed as 71, but I'm not sure with what fork that was measured. So going to a 80mm fork was going to drop the front end and increase the head angle slightly.

The Black 80mm has a taller axle-to-crown measurement than the Skareb 80 which would help some wrt to lowering the BB too much.

I set it up with the minimum SPV pressure of 30-35 psi and the SPV volume all the way open.

I was fully expecting to hate the 80mm on the Hollowpoint and immediately go back to the 100mm. You'd expect that more travel is better and that it would blow the 80 out of the water on the downhills.

However the 80 SPV rode really well. I felt even more dialed in than the 100. I knew it would climb better by virtue of the lower height, tighter feel, and SPV platform. But I was shocked that it downhilled pretty well. Sure I couldn't land on the front off drops like with the 100, and I couldn't totally bomb like the 100. But the 80 rode real well. And on turns. It just CARVED. The SPV fork didn't dive as much as the TPC, and seemed to stay level in the turns. The lower Axle/crown height makes for a more agile bike and the bike leaned much quicker. I was surprised how much more I could lean the bike and still feel stable.

Another area I liked better was slow speed picking through rock gardens. When the front tire would bury in some crevices, the 80SPV would get out of it easier, where the 100mm TPC would dive more and pitch me more.

The SPV forks have a lot of adjustability. You can decrease the volume of the SPV chamber to make the fork ramp up more in its travel. I heard you can do the same with the TPC by putting more oil on top of the air piston which in effect accomplishes the same thing.

SPV is a compromise just like everything in XC. But the new evolve damper is smoother than the the original and the transition point with low SPV pressure isn't too bad. So I think it makes for a good compromise between platform and small bump compliance.


With all the bikes these days going bigger and longer it's seems funny to be going down in travel. Lots of XC specific bikes are coming with 100mm forks, and this partiicular bike seems to have been designed around a 100 at the minimum. However, so far I really like it. From the perspective of go-go-fast racer boy it's better than the 100mm TPC. The carving in the turns makes it more fun in the single track. And the lack of cush hasn't been as much of a detriment as I was expecting.

I wish though I had a 100mm SPV fork like a 2005 Minute 2 or 2006 Minute 3 with 100mm dedicated travel. As I'm not sure how much of the difference bewteen the 100mm TPC and the 80mm SPV is in the travel difference or in the damper difference.


I've got one more lifting session and I've been riding some more. Not long, not hard. But it's a fair amount more than over the past few weeks. And I'm feeling a little run down. It's bunk to feel tired from riding so little.

I think it's just the transitions that are a slight shock to my body.

A rest week is reccommended between the major periods. A rest week being drastically reduced volume but the same types of rides normally depending on what phase you are in. But I've got some work related travel coming in a few weeks, and some days where I know there will be no riding so I might try and push through and take rest during that down time.

Though historically this is the kind of thing that gets me sick. But what can you do. If I take rest week next week, then the following week will be another dead week cause of work.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Interesting story

I wish I had legs like this guy:

Pez cycling story

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Winter Clothing Shootout: Part 1: Base Layers

I've read mountain bike action since the early nineties. I loved their shootout articles. Time for my own.

Winter Clothing Shootouts:
Part 1: Base Layers

Layering is one of those cold weather dressing strategies you hear about often. Some like at icebike favor a more one shot deal. Regardless you I've collected several different 'base' layers over the years and thought I'd share my thoughts on them with you.

The ratings criteria is as follows:
Wicking capability
Chillability - some wicking stuff chills me when exposed to air which is fine in summer not fine in winter.
Pose-ability (How well these clothes show off your muscles in the event that you have to have a pose off in front of the mirror or on the trail head)

1) The old standby Polypro
I've had some of these Polypro base layers for more than 15 years.

You can find polypro stuff for under $10 and sometimes for under $5

Wicking - OK
Not the greatest at wicking but when they get damp they don't suck the life out of you like cotton

Chillability- I have some mid weight stuff that is really warm. One thing I like is that if I warm up some and have to take my jacket off that having polypro on my arms exposed to the airs doesn't make them super chilly like the underarmour type stuff

Pose-ability- OK. Usually they are not cut tight around the arms so you can't show off the guns as much. Thin ones though have good pose-off potential.

You can never go wrong with polypro, but there's been a lot of advancement in clothing technology over the years and you can probably do better. They do have that static electricity buildup that can knock you across the room when you take them off so be careful. And some have that stank factor of holding in smells.

2)Duofold Varitherm

*note this is the VARITHERM product. I got it here. I also got another duofold product that has the IDENTICAL tag but feels different. It is reviewed next. I think the main difference is the varitherm has some hollowfibers which trap air.

Cost- Good $9 or less on sale

Wicking - Good

Chillability- These feel fine when exposed to the air/wind.

Pose-ability - Decent. These have 4 way stretch whatever that means. But they are not cut tight in the arms.

Overall I am really impressed with the Varitherm. For the money it is a great value.

3) Duofold stretch Crewneck
Bought this here

This has the same exact tag with same % poly and % lycra
as the varitherm but it sucks compared to the varitherm

Cost- Good

Wicking- Bad. Just felt clammy in slimy in this

Chillability - I feel chillier than the Varitherm when it is exposed to air

Poseability -Good these have some stretch to them, but aren't cut too tight


Tk3 is a clone of the underarmour stuff. Cut really tight with that compression type fabric. Put them on and you immediately want to play football or other varsity sport. My wife got these at a local running store and the cost is up there compared to polypro but you can find them on ebay for $10.

These ones are their winter weight which is like a midweight fabric.

Cost - Ok unless you find them on ebay then good

Wicking - Great. These do not get damp

Chillability - High. At first I didn't know how to use this stuff. I'd put it on and then have a short sleeve jersey on and go out and my arms would freeze. If there is the slightest bit of air flow across these they cool you down. Keep that in mind with how you layer with them. But they keep me pretty warm when fully covered up.

Poseability - High. One of the selling points of underarmour type clothes is that they show off your muscles. Don't wear these alone if you have a gut. I spend an extra 5 minutes in front of the mirror when I wear these.

One thing to keep in mind is that these compression style fabrics always create a little bit of muscle tension when you are in the cycling position. And I've noticed some slight fatigue over a long ride.

5) Craft Sleeveless crew
Craft is the stuff of cycling legend. Guys like Jeff Kerkove and Mags swear by this stuff. It is clear that these are cycling specific clothing. With longer tails so that they don't untuck when you are leaned over on the bike.

In a word this stuff ROCKS. And really does live up to what they say. First I'll discuss their typical fabric and then the gold standard their windblocking base layer.

The only knock on this sleeveless crew is that they must have taken the fabric from the sleeves and put it into the torso because it is LONG. I mean like hanging down to my knees long. I've got a short torso so it seems even longer.

Cost - You pay a premium but nowhere near Assos stuff. Got it on sale at sierra trading post.

Wicking - great

Chillability - not a problem

Poseability - For the sleeveless crew- OFF THE CHARTS Not so much for the body because it is not super tight and not super thin, but anything sleeveless just screams for a throwdown poseoff at anytime anywhere.

And the Craft logo on the around the neck just says so-Pro.

6) Craft S3 Turtleneck
I bought this on clearance direct from craft here

It is cut long in the back but overall the torso isn't as long as the sleeveless one. It has a layer of windproof fabric on the front. Put it on inside and it feels like someone turned on a heater. It is real easy to overdress with this on rides. Simply put AMAZING.

Cost - You can buy 5 Varitherms for the retail cost of this.

Wicking - Great

Chillability - none

Poseability - Not good. The windproof fabric hardly shows any body contour. The arms are tight but the black hides the definition.


Craft is the best by far. Worth the cost. Look for it on sale. The Duofold Varitherm is a great value but I don't understand how a similar Duofold product with the same matieral combinations feels so different. The T3K is good for warmth if it is totally covered up and is better for poseoffs.

Iron Horse 06 site up

The new Iron Horse Bicycles web site is up.

What I don't understand is that now that they have a truer XC / aggressive XC / enduro kind of bicycle with the Azure
Why aren't they stepping up to the plate and publicizing some higher profile sponsorships for XC or endurance racers? All their big names are downhillers which makes some sense since their primary market has been in the downhill/freeride genres. But they are trying to market the Azure to the XC and endurance racers. They either ought to sign a big name or publicize their current XC racers to get the word out.

The endurance world is growing so big and gets so much action on the net through blogs and forums that a few sightings of this bike at some races would put it on the map. Or get it underneath some XC racers and then SAY something about it on the web site would at least give the impression that the company has a commitment to XC.

I WANT one of these so bad.

My Hollowpoint P1010005 just got a little turbo boost by putting an 80mm fork on it, but it the Azure is bred to go fast.

Throwing in the towel and door threshold training

Yesterday I was doing sprints on the trainer in the morning. I'd been super congested all night and took an antihistamine around 3am. Got up at 7, got the kids breakfast, got my coffee and then tried my sprints.

I was so dizzy by the second set that I thought I was going to fall off the bike. That was that. On the bright side, my first sprint peaked out at a higher power than the previous session.

Now today calls for some easy riding. It's 45 degrees and raining hard. Hopefully it will taper down a little by afternoon. But I just have to get out the door and on the bike. I'll be spending a fair amount of time doing intervals in later weeks, and don't want to burn my limited tolerance for the trainer on easy rides. Mags does it in way worse conditions for 5x as long.

I can do this.

Come on sucka

Check out these top30 facts on Mr.T Christian Leask's site.

My favorites are:
There are only four horsemen of the apocalypse, because Mr. T is going to walk.

Mr. T's edition of the VH1 show 'Where Are They Now' was the shortest in the show's history. It was 10 seconds long, and consisted of a black screen with the words "Right Behind You" written on it.

Mr. T was fired from the Psychic Friends Network for always predicting pain.

Despite popular belief, if there is a fool in the woods, and nobody is around to hear his jibba jabba, Mr. T is still able to pity him.

*edit 2:30 sun came out, 50+ degrees. Imagine how disappointed I was.

Monday, January 09, 2006

PRQ #7: Lynda Wallenfels

This is number 7 of the Pro Racer Questionnaire (PRQ) Series

Lynda Wallenfels


Finally someone with a family! Most of the previous PRQ entries have been from decidely uncomplicated and straightforward lives. I'd been hoping for one with some more pazzaz and closer to my own life with kids, etc. Lynda answered my request that I posted to the mtbr forums for interviewees.

Lynda keeps a pretty low profile as a mom and ultra events don't generate as much publicity as some of the other 24hr or XC events. Amazingly, kids and all, she has some very impressive results:
• 2004 100 mile NORBA National Champion
• Two time cross-country National Team member
• Course record holder at E-100 and Brian Head Epic 100
• 2005 3rd Global 24-hour solo Championships
• Competitive cyclist since 1989

She also is a cycling coach. You can check out her site at She sells a really neat product in addition to regular coaching:
Prebuilt mountain bike plans for a variety of disciplines and levels. While I typically would suggest that someone have some 1on1 contact with a coach, these prebuilt plans look like a great idea for someone who just wants something to follow.

I'm a firm believer that anyone will improve if they follow a structured plan for at least 6-8 weeks. These plans seem great for those that want some structure and don't know how or don't have the energy or discipline to create their own. It is SOOOO much easier to have something infront of you that you can just follow day to day, than to put it together yourself, unless you are a very disciplined and experienced rider. These plans are definitely a great way to learn the basics of a cycling training program.

Best of luck to Lynda for 2006. I think the kids are going to be joining mom on the podium some more.

The Questionnaire


-Who are your sponsors that you'd like to recognize?
I'm riding for Team HealthFx in 2006. These are our sponsors

Cottonwood Cycles
Durango Joe's Coffee
Dental Associates of The Southwest- Nicklas Groskopf
Trek Bikes
Louis Garneau
Chimera Communications, Inc
KristinCarpenterPublicRelations, Inc (KCPR, Inc)
Zia Taqueria
BrownWheeldonTafoya&Barrett PC
Fresh Paint
Editor's Note: Quite succesful at finding local sponsors outside the cycling industry. That is very hard to do.

-What makes an athlete a 'good investment' for a sponsor?
Sponsors are looking for advertising, product feedback, loyalty,
endorsement their product is awesome and sometimes they are giving back
to the sport in a philanthropic sense. So you have to figure out what
your sponsor wants and how you can deliver that.

-How long have you been racing mountain bikes, how long as a pro?

Since '89. I turned pro in '94 to race on the British National team at
the UCI World Cross Country Championships where I ended up 25th.

-What are your goals for 2006?
Win 24-hours of Old Pueblo solo. I need a support crew so any volunteers
are welcome!
Be the first ever female finisher at Kokopelli Trail Race
Win the mixed team category at TransRockies with HealthFX teammate Dave Harris
Repeat my win and set a new course record at the E-100
Win 24-hours of Moab solo

Bike Geek Stuff.

-What bikes do you race on? What other bikes do you own?
My hubby gets twitchy if I have more than 6 bikes. At the moment I have
a Specialized S-works Epic 05SWorksEpicRim_Blk_l

Cannondale Scalpel with an SRM scalpelteam
Specialized Ruby road bike with a Power-Tap SpecRubyCompCarbon
A full rigid mtb built up for pulling the bike trailer with an airmet
Arrow frame and Power-Tap.
An old hard tail and road bike which are both for sale to make room for
a new Gary Fisher Rig GFrig05 coming shortly :-) and perhaps a Trek Fuel trek-fuel-full late
spring, but don't tell my hubby I'm thinking about getting a Fuel. He
just agreed to the Rig.

-How do you see XC technology changing over the next 5 years?
More mountain bikes with a power meter on board. Power meters in general
are developing at a fast pace and the mtb power meter choices at the
moment are improving.

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

A power meter. I have and I do. It makes a huge difference.


-How many hours a week do you train (min, max, average)?
Min would be zero when I am on vacation with the family and max would be
about 35 hours when I am on vacation with my bike.

-Do you have a coach?
I am a coach myself. My site is No other coaches
want to coach me! I've asked a few :-) I trade power files, training
plans and ideas and chit-chat often with several coaches. I like to
collect lots of ideas and boil them down.

-Do you follow a scientific periodized cycling specific training program
or 'just ride'?

I am always on some specific training plan. I tend to use myself as a
guinea pig to try out new methods and ideas I learn about. I rarely give
my athletes a workout or sequence of training rides I have not done

-Do you strength train?
Yes, about 5 days per week for 10-20 mins a day. I'll step it up a bit
before a big event. All at home while the kids are sleeping using balls,
bands, body weight and dumb bells. Mostly functional stuff similar to
the program in Mark Verstegen's or Pilates
exercises. Occasionally I go to the Pilates Center and work on their
machines with a friend.

-Do you do specific technical skills training, if so what?
Nothing beats trying to keep up with the guys for me.

-How do you recover after a hard ride or workout?
Take my kids to the pool and sit motionless in the water while they go
crazy playing. The city doesn't heat the water real well and it is like
an ice bath on my legs!

-What is your nutrition protocol during a 2-2.5hr XC race?
Sip on a sports drink like Infinit and eat a ClifShot gel every 30 mins.
100 milers and 24-hr races are much more complex.

-What is your pacing strategy for a 2-2.5hr XC race?
Start just below redline and wind it up from there. I'm all slow twitch
so come on stronger in the second half.


-How do you balance the stresses of regular life with training and recovery?
Be creative. I have lots of small things I do daily to manage time and
stress. I keep everything low maintenance and simple.

-Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Paying a babysitter to look after my kids while I go out and have fun on
my bike.

-What advice do you have for those of us with families, and full time jobs who want to race our best?
Family has to come first, that is what is truly important. Biking is for
fun and balance is the key. If I spend too much time and energy away
from the family, riding it loses its appeal. If I don't ride enough I
get grumpy and life loses its spark.

I don't have any generic advice. It depends on whether your spouse is
into cycling or not and how old your kids are. Some folks do better to
insulate their family from bike stuff overload and do all their training
away from the family. In other situations it is all rolled into the
family philosophy and lifestyle. You see some families with the parents
and kids training and traveling to races together having a great time.