Monday, March 31, 2008

woof, what a week

Phew, glad that week is over. On Wednesday we got a call from our realtor asking us to show our house on Saturday, a full month before we were going to be ready to show it because of various projects we were trying to tie up around the house. We didn't want to miss a potential buyer though so I took Thursday and Friday off from work and put in 13-14 hours each day working on all of our projects. I expected to be able to squeeze in a short-ish ride (1:30) each day but that soooooo didn't happen. Saturday afternoon I did get a ride in but after the stress of the week I just couldn't get myself into an interval workout so I decided to just cruise and enjoy the nice weather. This week was supposed to be my rest week so I decided to switch the two weeks and do last weeks workouts this week. This might not be exactly what Lynda had in mind but I've got to roll with the punches if we hope to sell the place.

That's it for now. Time to get back to work and my regular ride routine!

Monday, March 24, 2008

sunday, sunday, sunday!

Home today watching the spud. Another mystery fever. So I'm "working" from home today as much as possible and getting some quality time in with the fruit of my loins.

Anyway, yesterday I was blessed (thanks Marcy!) with a few hour window to get in a hilly road ride. I headed out just after lunch and was greeted with 35 degree temps (not bad this time of year), sunny skies and 30 mph gusts. Very enjoyable conditions when the wind was quiet. I proceeded to head towards the best hills we have in the area. They're not exactly nut busters but they'll do.

About 2 hrs into the ride I started to feel a bit peakid. Not a full on bonk but energy reserves were getting low so I headed to the nearest store (down a mile long hill) and nearly wept in despair when I discovered that they closed early because it was Easter. I would have given anything for a Coke. So I was looking at another 1.5-ish hours with nothing but water (I finished my perpetuem and clif bar earlier). I managed to slog my way back home but that last 20 miles really sucked the average speed of my ride down from a respectible 18 mph to a somewhat dismal 16 mph. If I had known the store would be closed I would have carried more with me. Oh well, live and learn I guess. It was still nice to get 3:35 in the books to finish off the week with a touch over 9 hours and some tired, worked over legs.

Rolling with the full-on Bikeman whore kit. Right down to the bikeman underoos.

I call this one "Bike geek and silos".
Windswept tundra. Immediately after taking this pic I had to hold on for dear life as a huge wind hit me from the side.

Speaking of underoos, I had a coworker buzz me at work on Friday to help the peeps downstairs settle an argument. They were trying to decide if I rode commando under my spandex! Thankfully, I'm a pretty open guy and will talk about ANYTHING so I wasn't too disturbed about the question and at least two of the people debating were women so it wasn't all bad.
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Friday, March 21, 2008

the new house takes shape

not much to write about riding wise right now, just following Lynda's training regimen as closely as possible but because of a marketing onslaught I have been able to use some of the office's resources to push the design of the new house. Here is an early rendering. I'm sure much will change but it's a start.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

who knew or how the weather man screwed me

Who knew that you need to warm up well before starting a serious interval session? I've only been racing for 5-6 years so you'd think that I would know that I need more than a 15 minute warmup the day after a hard time trial effort before starting a series of 9 intervals ranging from 1-3 minutes in lenght. Well, guess what, I didn't know any better yesterday. I launched into my intervals and wondered why my legs felt like lead pipes. I was even dumb enough to actually think that I might already be overtrained. What an idiot. After I thought about it for a few minutes I realized that I simply wasn't warmed up properly so I dialed it back for a bit and then hit it big time. It ended up being a great workout and I ended up barely being able to finish the last interval. Totally toast. Good times.

My only real problem on the ride was that before heading out for my morning commute yesterday I had thrown my leg warmers into my pack for the ride home (and intervals) but at the last second took them out since the weather dude said that the temps wouldn't get above 37 all day and it was likely to be close to freezing by quitting time. Wouldn't you know it, when I left the office it was 49 degrees. 49 frickin degrees. Normally I would be psyched to have those temps but when you have heavy gloves and most importantly, heavy tights on with a scheduled interval session those warmer temps are death. I was a messy sweaty pig when I got home. Stupid weather people suck. I can't wait til summer when you can wear the same thing every day and not think about it. Good times.

Monday, March 17, 2008

hypothetically speaking

If one were to be heading out for a hypothetical mountain bike ride with his hypothetical dog who just had a huge growth removed from his hypothetical ass and while backing out of his hypothetical garage he hypothetically forgot to look behind him and hypothetically backed into his hypothetic wife's hypothetic car, how would one tell his hypothetic wife? One could, hypothetically of course, come right out and tell her or one could take the wimps way out and post it here.

Note: I hope to never type hypothetic ever again.

enough of the bad juju

Phew, as Marcy told me yesterday, my posts from last week were really depressing and I have to admit, I was in kind of a funk but I woke up this morning feeling good and ready to attack the week! Too bad B is still sick. I won't let that stop me from being more positive though.

One good thing about being stuck in the house over the weekend was that I was able to finally finish the work on the downstairs "bike" room. It's been fixed up enough now that I'm not allowed to work on my bikes in there but it is a much better environment for the trainer and for B to master her artistic abilities.

From this:

To this:

I'll miss that 60's fake wood paneling though. (note: that is Marcy's bike on the trainer in both photos)

Last weeks training plan ended up in the shitter towards the end of the week so this week I'm going to concentrate on quality, quality, quality. Nothing but good stuff for me this week.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

ride (and everything else) aborted

Well, this weekend is shaping up to be a real kick to the junk. For starters, we're getting yet more snow. Not a ton but enough to mess the roads up yet again and delay the onset of spring one more miserable day. Despite the crap-ass weather I decided to go ahead and go for the ride with the pooch as planned. So, I got geared up, loaded the mutt, drove to the trail head, realized there was no place to park because of giant snow banks, continued down the dirt, unplowed road, found a place to pull off, took this pick;

found out snowmobiles hadn't been out on the trails recently, slogged along for 10 minutes, turned around, back at the car 10 mintues later and drove home. I was bummed about turning back but I had to walk most of the 20 minutes I had been out on the "ride" so I figured it wasn't much of a loss anyway, plus, I figured the whole fam could go out snowshoeing in the afternoon. WRONG! Around lunch time Brynna started vomiting every few minutes and I started to feel sick myself. Drat! So not only were my ride/snowshoe plans aborted but I also made the call to cancel the ski plans for tomorrow.

Damn, life is good.
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Friday, March 14, 2008


I'm sitting here thinking about many things for the upcoming season. For once, I feel like I have a handle on my training for the season (thanky Lynda!). It may not be a perfectly tailored plan but so far it seems pretty spot on for me, plus it's pretty flexible. Unfortunately, while I feel my training will finally be focused enough to train right I think my professional and personal life will be trowing giant wrenches into the whole plan. I shouldn't say "unfortunately" really because its all good. Who can complain when they have a wife who loves you and more importantly, puts up with your crap (and I fling lots of crap), a great kid who is a blast to be around and spend time with, the opportunity to design and build a house exactly the way you want it (within our meager budget at least) and a career that it moving along nicely? Somebody should really flog me for being such a winey little bitch but it's the American way to bitch about everything so I'm waving the flag high and proud!

Anyway, I'm looking ahead to the upcoming race season and realizing some changes need to be made. First of all, I think I'm going to have to nix any race further than New Hampster for this year. Mostly because I can't afford to be away as much this year with all that is going on but also because of these stinking gas prices. Typically, I go out of my way to try not to be a wasteful consumer and traveling 16 hours each way for a 9-10 hour race seems a bit wasteful when there are other good alternatives so much closer. As a result, I'm officially taking the W101 off my schedule. I have another race the same weekend that is 45 minutes from my house on some kick ass trails so that turns out to be a pretty easy decision in the end. It is a bummer to skip that race though since it's my one chance to meet up with some of my blogging buddies. (Ick, I can't believe I just said that!) So, with having to keep things close to home this year it means that I'll be focusing more on xc type races instead of the enduro format like last year. I still have a 6 hr and 12 hr race on the schedule but that's about it.

The dollars are going to be tight this year as well. I suspect that once we start to build the new house things are going to get really tight money wise. I had very small plans for new purchases this year to begin with (1 new set of pedals, 1 handlebar for the dos and a set of tires) but I'll probably nix all but the tires since there is no way I'll get through the season on my worn Ignitors. I just hope nothing breaks!

Ok, enough bummer talk. The weekend is looking good, I'm going skiing for the first (and probably only) time this year on Sunday and now that Chance has healed from his ass surgery, we might try to sneak out for some dirt/snow time tomorrow while the wee one naps. If I do make it out tomorrow it'll be my first time out for a mountain bike ride in a couple of weeks. Where does the time go?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The cold

can bite me! I know I always preach about how much I like winter riding, how fun and challenging it can be and yada, yada, yada but I'm officially sick of it. This morning's commute was fairly cold at 20 degrees but not even remotely as cold as it has been on occasion this winter but I still felt like I was freezing to death. I know that it was 99% psychological though since I didn't really get cold (my hands and feet stayed fairly warm) but apparently my brain has had enough. Usually by mid-March I'd be enjoying rides in the 40's and 50's. Ma Nature can kiss my chaffed taint right now. To top it off, the cold weather is already messing with my training plan which is less that one week old at this point. I had hoped to be able to switch over to my road bike by now so that I'd have better control of my efforts on rides but with the crappy road conditions and the fact that my road shifters don't engage well in the cold (this has happened to me on two bikes now. they work fine when warm but don't engage when its cold) I guess because they're getting worn or something.
Got this graphic from Marcy this morning. Notice the amount of snow we have here in Maine still! The Syracuse area of New York which is notorious for getting dumped on by lake effect snow has next to nothing while we still have tons here. Even on the coast, where we are (on our new property at least) there is still a solid foot of snow. Frig.

Bring on the spring!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


As I mentioned yesterday, yesterday was my first day of my build/peak/race program from Lynda and I completed my interval sessions on my commute home. It was a bit tough to do on a single speed since it's hard to find sections around here where you can go all out for 3 minutes straight multiple times without spinning out but with a little creativity I was able to complete all of the intervals and only felt like vomiting a couple of times. Good stuff. Hopefully the weather and roads improve soon so that I'll be able to rock the road rig for these sessions since it will make it easier to keep in the specified zones.

There is no question in my mind that this plan will make me faster this summer. How much faster I don't know but this is definitely the type of stuff I've been missing for the last few years. When I lived in Camden I was surrounded by like minded folks and had no trouble finding frisky road and mountain bike rides where I got more than my share of intervals and hard efforts so real focused training wasn't necessary for me then. Fast forward a few year, job change, child and no riding buddies living nearby and focus is just a wee bit more important.
Saw this pic the other day from a dude near Portland who made toe warmers for his bike shoes out of old tubes. Pretty clever. Not sure about his stitching though.

Monday, March 10, 2008

begin week 1

Today is the start of my "pre-planned" training program from LWCoaching. I went with the time crunched expert plan since I'm a time crunched expert level racer. It wasn't a big mental task figuring out which plan to work with. I have to admit though, even Lynda's time crunched plan is pushing it hours wise for me. I should be able to get it to work though. If nothing else, I'll be able to use the specific workouts she prescribes and cut down on the total duration if needed but keep all of the quality stuff. I know life will still be throwing me lots of roadblocks along the way but at least the plan will give me some focus for once and focus is one thing I've been sorely lacking. Yesterday, to kick things off right, I did the lactate threshold test to set me heart rate zones and I have to admit, I've got a lot of work to do. Thankfully I still have two months to get into race shape before my first race.

One of the great things about Lynda's packaged programs is that while you aren't paying for a real one-on-one coach she is really good about helping you alter your plan via her on-line forum so if something comes up to throw you off schedule she can get you back on track. Pretty sweet if you ask me. Plus, if you're an idiot (like me) and screw up you plan on training peaks while trying to shift things around she'll come to your rescue. I had the plan for a total of 3 days and I had already totally screwed up the format. I e-mailed Lynda and within an hour she had me straighted out! How's that for service?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's ours!

We finally signed all the paperwork and handed over a fat check so that we can now call 17.5 acres of beautiful, varied terrain ours. Marcy has already gone about setting some rules on what I can and can't do with the property. First and foremost is that I can have one loop trail and one connector. I told her we'd have to discuss this issue further. To prepare for the discussion I did a couple of diagrams. Option 1 is what Marcy wants. Option 2 is what I want. I don't think we're too far apart here.

Option 1.

Option 2.

Holy shit!

You'd better look quick because it probably won't last long but somehow I've got the #1 bike blog post on right now. Check it. I'm so proud. Kind of makes you wonder how bad all the other stuff is out there today when I'm #1. Fat Cyclist and Bikesnob NYC must be taking the day off.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Winter XC 30 miler report

Ok. I'm finally going to sit down for a few minutes to get this sucker written before every last memory twitters away and you're left with "I raced in snow and finished." It may not be well written but at least this monkey will be off my back!

First, since it's been about 15 weeks since my day 1 post, it is probably best if you read the first two installments. Day 1, Day 2.

So, we rolled out Saturday morning shortly after 8 am. I was running one of only a handful of single speeds so I was quickly shuffled to mid pack on the quick parking lot loop around the VFW (the home base for the race festivities). Once we hit the first snow section, about two minutes in, I quickly picked most of those spots back up as people floundered in the mealy snow. It was no cake walk for me but with my snow experience and the combination of 29'er wheels with 2.35 Panaracer Rampages I was able to maintain a fairly straight line and pick off a few folks. It was at this point though that it became apparent that fat tire bikes (like the Pugsley's and Steve's Carver) and ski bikes were going to have a huge advantage because the snow conditions, at least at the begining, were not good.

The first snow section was soon followed by a two mile stretch over Lake Memphrenmagog (once again, not joking). A very fast section that the race organizers had plowed the night before. During the first mile of the ice stretch I managed to dangle near the back of the lead pack of about 8 riders but being the only single speed in the group, I was quickly spinning like mad and maxxing out my heart rate. Wisely, I decided it was too early to cook myself so I dialed it back, let them go and hoped I would reel them back in once back on the snow. By the end of the ice the leaders had a sizeable gap, at least a few minutes, on me.

Once back on trail I tried to slowly bring back the guys and one woman (a trek pro) who had passed me on the lake. Once back on the trail though it became apparent that my gear choice was wrong, the 19t was just too difficult to push given the conditions. The snow was so meally that you needed lots of finesse to pick your way through, much more than I was able to atain with a steep-ish gear (for the conditions at least). Of course, instead of pulling over and changing to my 20t right there, I held out hope that the trail surface would improve (the race director warned us that the first few miles would likely be the worst conditions) so I stuck with the 19t and hoped things would get better.

Time to take a step back. During some long races last season I learned some tough lessons about not drinking/eating enough early in races and suffering mightily for it during the later hours. So my plan for this race was to start eating/drinking right from the start.

By the first aid station I had picked off another 3 or 4 riders and was now sitting somewhere around 5th or 6th. I skipped the first stop knowing I had a full insulated bottle of coffee/hot chocolate and a bladder in my Ergon BD1 pack full of Perpetuem but soon found I was in a bit of trouble. I had planned on keeping the bladder tube from freezing by blowing air back into the bladder each time after drinking to be sure all the liquid stayed in the slightly warmer pack but at some point some liquid had stayed in the tube and frozen solid. At first I thought I was totally screwed and destined for a day of eating snow and fighting off cramps but thankfully I was able to thaw the head by keeping it in my mouth for a few minutes (no jokes please!) which is really hard to do mid-race and then tucking it into my jacket after each drink.

Soon after leaving the first aid station I started to wonder if I should change my gear ratio, the snow wasn't improving and I was struggling to maintain enough momentum to keep plowing through the snow. Unfortunately, I found myself in a yo-yo struggle with two other riders with us regularly swapping the 3rd, 4th and 5th place spots and I was afraid that if I stopped to make the change I would never make contact again. It was a stupid thought process because I knew that it was better to make the change early giving me plenty of opportunity to make up the time but regardless, it kept me from making the gear change.

Over the next hour or so, we continued to yo-yo back and forth, me falling behind at the aid stations (since I would stay and stuff my face for a few minutes, remember I was hell bent on staying properly fueled) and catching back up on the trail only to fall behind again at the next aid station. Finally, after one hard struggle (probably about 2:30-3:00 into the race) where I caught up to the 3rd place rider I decided (finally!) to change my gear since I was no longer to climb any hills in the 19t. After a few minutes of fumbling around changing the chain length and adjusting the bb I was off and feeling better.

After the gear change I was able to catch back up to 3rd and 4th place fairly quickly (hmmm, maybe I should have made the change soon...) and we got back to our yo-yoing.

After the final aid station myself and the guy who had spend most of the day in 3rd were able to pull away. He was on a 29'er ski bike, a ski up front and a fatty 29'er tire in the rear, and was definitely able to negotiate the soft conditions better than I. I struggled to stay with him as my front tire would continually wash out and finally, in one particularly nasty section, watched him ride away.

From there to the finish I went into damage control. My legs were tired, I knew I wouldn't be able to bridge back up to 3rd and I had a sizeable gap back to the 5th place rider so I eased up a bit and tried to enjoy the last few miles of the race.

Finally, after about 4:15 on the trail I was back on Lake M. and in the final 2-ish miles of the race. When I first hit the lake I thought I'd be happy because it meant nice firm conditions and easy pedaling but after a long day in the saddle (for me this time of year at least) spinning 100+ rpm for the lake stretch really took its toll and I started to cramp. At this point all that I could imagine was me, less than two miles from the finish, being passed as I struggled to stay moving. Thankfully, I had enough of a gap that I was able to get across the lake unchallenged, struggled up the final wall of a climb and roll across the finish line. Boy was I glad to be done.

I finished 4th on the day behind two Pugsley's and the ski-bike dude but because one of the Pugsley dudes didn't race the Friday night crit I ended up 3rd overall for the weekend. Not bad considering I had no clue what I was getting into and that I'm an idiot for running too hard of a gear for so long. In hindsight, even riding the single speed was probably a mistake because there were many sections that I could have ridden if I had been able to shift to a lower gear to finess the nasty snow. That being said, when I go back next year, I'll probably still go ss but run a wiser gear and also see about running some even wider tires.