Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year-end Totals

With no significant bike riding on the calendar for the rest of the year it's time to reflect. I'll keep this short and sweet:
  • 8,754 miles
  • 417,435 kJ burned
  • 532 hours in the saddle
Sitting on my butt and having an extra serving of food seems in order.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Old La Honda...my new friend

Yesterday was the first of a 3-day training camp. Our ride took us around the Woodside area and north along Canada Road for about 2 hours. Then it was time to do some repeat climbs up Old La Honda (OLH). Those of you in the area know it's pretty much the baseline climb used by folks in this area to test their climbing ability.

The goal yesterday was to ride OLH three times, with each successive climb being faster than the previous attempt. This sounded easy, but it takes focus to restrain yourself at times when climbing. The first time up I stuck it in the 25t and managed to make it up in 25:47 (average HR was 152). After descending on Hwy 84 and toodling back to OLH, I hit it again. This time I did it in the 23t and proceeded to clock in at 23:40. Now on to the real fun...

I don't usually do repeats on the same climb during my training rides, but now I was becoming much more familiar with the climb since I had done it twice in the past hour. I knew that I could easily go faster on my third attempt as I remembered areas where I could downshift and gain some valuable time/speed.

On the third and final attempt I stuck it in the 21t and proceeded to hammer away. After about five minutes the HR settled in around 172 and I was averaging 390 watts. Things were hurting but I figured since I had never climbed OLH for time I might as well trudge on and see what would happen.

As I neared the top my HR was around 181 and the finish line was in sight. One of my goals for 2009 is to break 20 minutes on this climb. I clocked in at 19:17! A victory for all tall and lanky cyclists who can't climb. Scary to think this was with my heavy training wheels, a saddle bag full of stuff and it being my third time up the climb.

With the San Brutal (Bruno) hill climb coming up on New Years Day I'd say I'm ready for this race. Not that I'll be winning because that's probably unrealistic, but I should be able to set a new personal best on that climb which will be a personal win in its' own right for myself.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Getting Twitter-faced

After a pretty long absence in doing anything on my Twitter page I decided that I needed to put some of my new techno-gadgets to use and see if some better solution was out there. Indeed, there's plenty out there.

A few minutes later after my deep, deep dive into the research articles and materials around Twitter products, I ended up putting Twitterific on my iPhone. Playing around with it is easy and I really like the photo capabilities. Now if I can get my Facebook account to get sync'd up properly I'll be in cyberspace nirvana.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time Trials on the 2009 NorCal Calendar

I'm pretty excited to see the upcoming NorCal schedule of races. Last year the time trail bug bit me but it wasn't until the end of the season that I actually did something about it. Looking around the garage it was apparent that enough spare parts were sitting around and gathering dust. Spare parts must live on somehow, so putting them together on a TT frame made the most sense.

Now with the dedicated TT bike in the garage it's time to look forward. I rode the Exeter TT in Visalia last year and really enjoyed that race. However, it's not on the 2009 calendar. I really wanted to see how I would do this year on a TT bike versus the road bike in 2008 with the clip-on aerobars. Hopefully it will come back on the calendar in 2010 (man, that sounds like a long way away...).

Some of the other events on the calendar look interesting. The Altamont team TT should be a blast. Take one part Wente RR and two parts Patterson Pass RR and you've got the makings of a fun day of threshold riding on Altamont Road. It will be an out'n'back on the road, and when I road back from the in-laws in Discovery Bay to San Jose via Altamont Road I was caught off guard. On both the RR's it's so nice because the wind is usually at your back and it makes the climb and descents pretty easy. However, coming from the Tracy side back towards Livermore with the wind in your face will make for a harder death march for the TT teams. After riding the road I think Santa needs to deliver me a 55t large chainring.

Most of the other TT's look to be the same from last year. Hopefully these events continue to stay on the calendar going forward because I want to eventually chart progress from year to year as I continue to do more TT's.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Party Space Invaders

'Tis the season of finding your weekend evenings being completely booked with parties. Sure, the economy has put a damper on those corporate parties. But that's fine with me as I never really found them to be too much fun, except for people watching as you see the drunk intern hooking up with the recently divorced Director of Operations. However, I will give credit to a former employer for allowing me to win a Playstation 2 at a holiday party.

With this change in the holiday party landscape, it's still with a sigh of "Ok, I guess I'll come along" that there are still individuals throwing their own parties. Don't get me wrong, some are great and I really look forward to them, but others are dull to the point I'd rather just sit in the corner and play with my iPhone. And to those hosts of the boring parties, trust me, your "interesting" guests don't really get more interesting if you pump more booze into them. I'll still think their boring and bordering on the edge of stupid as they zoom past the 0.08 blood alcohol limit.

Maybe you've encountered this species of people at parties. For some reason they like to come out most during this time of year. They are the Space Invaders. This type of human form of the classic Atari game aren't easily detected when they walk in the room. They look just like any other party-goer; however, you quickly will learn young Jedi. As you engage them in conversation they slowly move closer, closer, and closer into your own personal space. Next thing you know you start to feel uncomfortable for no apparent reason other than this space invader who's now ten inches away from your face.

I don't know about you, but I need my space. Good thing I'm tall and it's usually not an issue, but when you're sitting on a bar stool the playing field gets leveled in a hurry. Those space invaders zoom right in and don't even give me room to stand up.

There has to be some common characteristics for people like this. At least I've got plenty of holiday opportunities at parties to try and find the genetic defect that causes humans to mutate into these space invaders.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Recovery and the Fish Ladder

There are times when I ride the same route and discover something new. These discoveries are great! The changing color of the leaves, smell of new rain in the air, sounds of birds and darting ground rodents.

Yesterday I discovered something new. I routinely ride Hicks Road and most of the time I'm not paying too much attention to the surroundings. Yesterday was the plan was to do an easy recovery ride up Hicks. Mind you, I turn around before any tough climbing.

I decided to ride really, really slow. Upon doing this I discovered a newly installed fish ladder. I grew up near Portland and would routinely visit Bonneville dam. The fish ladder there is an engineering marvel. I'd post a picture of it, but it probably would crash your browser. Anyway, this new fish ladder was spanking new. No algae or other obstacles yet on the ladder. But where are the fish?

I remember overhearing a conversation a few weeks ago from somebody in the know about the local fish scene. Apparently fish were going to be making a comeback to some of the local streams. Don't know the specifics, but here's my social theory spin on it...since all the 'cougars' are hanging out at bars in Los Gatos and not catching fish in real streams, the fish have a chance to make a roaring comeback. Fish are no longer 'cougar' bait.

That was a stretch, but it made me laugh. And that matters a hell of a lot more than if you laughed or not.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bleeding Edge

Just got the good news that my new Edge fork is at the shop and ready for me. So long you heavy old Alpha Q fork! This should drop almost a quarter pound off the bike and from what I've heard it will improve all handling aspects of the ride. Ride reports to follow...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

These don't fit

Being tall has some advantages, but shopping for clothes is not one of them. In fact, it's become harder over the past several years as I've lost weight. Many folks think that if you produce a line of clothing for "big & tall" clients that these two terms are inter-connected. In fact, these need to be re-examined.

It needs to be understood that "Tall" crosses many waistband boundaries. Some tall people are thin, some are fat. But here's the crux...I apparently needs to have a 36" waist to be sized in many tall cuts of pants. The problem is I have a 34" waist, so I have to hunt around to find what I need.

I recently found that the Gap brands (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy) have smaller waist sizes with a 36" inseam on the pant. This length will do, but a 38" would be perfect. So I have to do the next best thing which is to be diligent and not shrink the pants in the dryer. Hanging drying baby, right next to all the cycling gear.

And another interesting thing to note. You can't buy these tall sizes in the store. Online only.

Gap must have waistband amnesia. I received a pair of 34" waist khaki's that fit great. The next pair of pants in the shipment was also a 34", but a different type of pant and cut. These didn't fit; in fact, I think they were sized to fit 32" waist (the tag said 34"). I wear enough tight fitting cycling gear to feel comfortable in my own skin, but these pants were way too tight. They're getting returned the next time I get back to a Gap store.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prop 8 - What about love?!?

I don't watch Keith Olbermann much (used to when he was on ESPN's Sportcenter), but a friend of mine sent this my way. Take your opinions, set them aside, and watch with an open mind and soul:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sierra Road in the Fall

It has been over six months since I climbed up this hill. The day was so beautiful I thought I'd share some pictures from the ride:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Engine Work

After enough time around cycling you realized that there's no further purpose to trying to find the latest and greatest to put on your bike. Shaving weight can only go so far...go too far and you're riding around on a fragile death rocket. Luckily I've stayed away from these temptations (mostly) and have a garage of bikes that are durable enough for my size.

I feel like I've reached an almost nirvana-like place. No more do I feel the need to read through the latest catalogs that show up in the mail, looking for the latest and greatest component to purchase. Let's be realistic, will I really get a 30 second improvement riding up Highway 9 if I shave off 30 grams from the stem and seatpost? Probably not, but my checking account would certainly be lighter.

In this state of bliss I find myself thinking long and hard about what's next. The goals for 2009 are done, written and communicated to those who need to know. So where does one go next? Well, I'm going to the garage to work on the engine.

My "garage" are those roads that we commonly travel and train upon. There's a lot of work that's going to be done in the garage over the winter. The engine cylinders will be larger, intake manifolds doubled and perhaps a turbo thrown in for the hell of it. The garage door will be open and the engine will have to battle with whatever storms, wind and rain blows through. But when this engine is done and it's brought out into the late spring/early summer sun, I think it will be purring just like the Ferrari F1 engine pictured above.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oprah Grills Marion Jones

Today is the airing of the Oprah show where she sits down with Marion Jones who just got out of jail after serving a six month prison sentence. Here's my play-by-play calls of the interview as they happen. I've got it on Tivo so I can pause it while I spout off...

  • First off, where's the audience? It looks like they did this on a closed set. Marion, are you too scared to face the questions in front of others?
  • Geez, ladies, enough of the "You smell good...yes, you smell good too" comments!
  • Jones, you said you had days in prison where you felt "empowered". Empowered to clean laundry and make license plates? Your explanation of being in prison for "a reason" is interesting...do tell more.
  • I can tell you why you're in prison...you got caught doping and you lied.
  • Hmm, interesting to find out she can't vote. McCain, heads up, the corporate felons of America can't rally to save your election.
  • Marion didn't know what "the clear" was. Apparently it wasn't "introduced" to her as such. How was it introduced to you? Marion, try this new moisturizer, it has a nice fresh scent to it that will also make you run faster.
  • At the split second she decided to lie, Marion had a million thoughts running through her mind. Apparently none of them were causing her inner voice to say, "Hmm, telling the truth is probably the best option you've got lady."
  • "Infor-way-tion" - not familiar with this term Marion. Inform me, provide me more information.
  • You've got to be kidding me. Marion can't remember exactly what her coach called "the clear" when she received it. She knew it was a supplement, but doesn't remember the name of it.
  • Oh wait, Oprah, thanks for lending a hand and reminding Marion. Apparently it was flaxseed oil.
  • You take the pill containing "the clear" and put it under your tongue, leave it there, then swallow after a while.

  • The story of how Victor Conte saw Marion take the drug is different from Marion's version of the happenings
  • "Knowingly" - interesting to see how Marion hides behind this word to somehow justify her own actions.
  • 31 minutes into the interview and we have it...the first tears
  • So who are the lucky people who got the bronze medals from those events...those athletes who came in 4th?
  • Ouch, her teammates had to give up their medals too. I'd be pissed if I were one of them.
  • ...and Marion didn't specifically apologize to those teammates. The least she could have done was to say "I'm sorry" to them.
  • Ok, Oprah is giving Marion a chance to speak to the camera and apologize. Hmm, I'm not too impressed by Marion's lack of effort.
  • Lowest points - missing the birthdays of her children. I can sympathize with her on this point...it would be hard.
  • Apparently her stay at prison wasn't too harsh; she didn't have to watch her back for the lady with the home-made knife.
  • I'm perplexed. Marion says that when you took away the facade of "Marion Jones the athlete" she was ashamed, not as self-confident. She was having a hard time living up to the persona of who people thought she was.
  • So Marion, if you're energized by this "next chapter" of your life, I'm interested to see where this takes you. Do you know what it will be?
  • I actually take Marion's side while she's ready her letter. Pretty heart-felt stuff that brought a tear to my eye. Not as an athlete, but as a parent and knowing that you're missing out on watching your children grow.
  • Yo MC, Marion's a rapper, "I'm happy with the skin that I'm in." Throw in the human beat box!

So it's done. Interview complete. Interesting enough, but only time will tell what will happen next.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hard Roller

While I was rolling up to Henry Coe Park for the SJBC Winter Series hill climb, I missed Taylor rolling over for her first time. And so goes the innocence of her being stuck in one place and not moving. Life is about to get more interesting as her mobility catches up to that of her older sister and brother.

As for the bike ride I shaved 2+ minutes off my previous best. I only do this climb once a year (I really should do it more) and it happens that each year I improve by about the same margin. Like they say, you get faster but it still hurts. I'm sure this will be the case next year too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sightings of the Day

There must have been a convention of domestic pros over in Los Gatos today. On my way over to my weekly flogging up Hwy 9 I came across somebody from the Bissell team (and yes, they did have their Pinarello too) and BMC. Not sure exactly who they were but you could tell they were enjoying the nice day. My best guess to their identity would be Ben Jaques-Maynes and Jackson Stewart. Had we all been riding in the same direction I'm sure they would have liked staying on my wheel in my vortex draft coming off my sweet big-guy rouleur profile.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Being Thin

Over the past three years my body has gone through a pretty big transformation from being a basketball player to a cyclist. I've lost 40 pounds and most of my muscle from the upper regions of my body has trimmed way down. Plus I lost a bunch of fat and leaned up too. I actually weigh less than my collegiate playing days (better endurance too).

But I thought this picture was interesting to see. Amazing how thin a pro cyclist is when you strip away the jersey. I'm sure not everybody is like this on the pro tour. So to my friends out there who worry that I'm "wasting away", don't fret. I don't look like this.

Acts of Random Happiness

Taylor is almost four months old and she's crossed over from being a docile infant to the realm of unexplained happiness. It used to take a bit of work to get her to smile, but now she's throwing out smiles like a politician wanting to shake every hand at a rally. It's a nice change as now I don't have to work hard making high-pitched baby sounds to get a reaction.

She also has the kung-fu leg kicks going too. Poor Tate and Logan may get one of these kicks straight to their heads if they're not paying attention. I fully expect this to happen to Tate as his luck with his head has been pretty low of late. First he accidentally closed the car door on his head (how does anybody do this?!? ... don't worry, the door was closing very slowly) then he ran into a chair at my in-laws dinner table. He takes life "head-on" apparently...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pet Peeve - Earbuds

I own one and I'm sure you probably do to. They're great to have and make things so, so much more convenient. Yeah, I'm talking about the iPod. Whether you've got the Nano, the iPod or the iPhone I do marvel in how it makes my library of 400+ CD's all come together so seamlessly.

But enough about my man-crush on this device. I'm peeved and here's why.
I'm not a fan of these things being used by cyclists.

The other day I was climbing up Hwy 9 out of Saratoga and came passed a cyclist. As usual I gave him some words of encouragement and kept motoring along. Next up was another cyclist about 300 yards ahead.

Upon reaching her I gave her some encouragement as well, but it fell on deaf ears. Ok, not deaf, but ears that were being occupied by the iPod earbuds. So my kind words were not heard, and then when I passed, I get this incredulous look from the rider as if to say, "At least you could have said you were passing me?!?"

Come on! You had your iPod blasting who-knows-what into your cranium and you decide to give me that look and attitude?!?

So that's just my most recent experience. I actually have had teammates tell me of stories where people listening to music have turned into traffic and/or other cyclists passing from behind because they can't hear what's happening around them.

But hey, who am I to tell people what to do. You just go ahead and get that love tap from the Ford F150 next time...just let me know if it "snuck" up on you and pounced unexpectedly from behind.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not Surprised

Read this little news bit this morning. For some reason I'm not surprised. Seeing guys come out of nowhere is a pretty clear sign that something might be in their blood. I'm just glad CERA is getting detected and actions are being swift.

Maybe Kohl and our California governor can get together and swap dopping stories...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SJBC Winter Series is Here

Once again the cooler morning temperatures is about to bring out those hardy souls for some Fall and Winter racing at the Winter Series (http://www.teamsanjose.org/ws/2008/). The past two years I've done these events I used them as major training rides to build up the old engine. This year I'll have none of that. Ok, maybe a little, but I'm not going to be putting my nose out there for the sake of trying to peak again in February. I'd rather peak later in 2009.

I'll still be doing most of the events, but might just hang out with some of the new riders and do some mentoring. That might be exactly what I need.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting back on the bike

Last year I was coming off my L4/L5 back injury and was itching to put in hard rides and get my fitness back. This year it's a completely different story.

I hit my goals and have pretty much sat on my butt enjoying some time over the past month doing stuff around the house. It's amazing how much you can get done when you're not racing. I did do one great ride that was new to me during this time. We spent a weekend down in Cambria for a wedding. Upon the recommendation of a teammate I decided to ride up Santa Rosa Creek Drive and explore the canyon. Nice little road until you hit the 'wall'. Yes, the road literally jacks up from a nice meandering ride and points skyward. Boy, that was a gut check. Those extra pounds on me reared their ugly head.

Looking forward I'm pretty excited about next season. I've taken delivery of a TT bike and I'm hoping to focus on TT events in 2009. Between the SJBC Winter Series, Beat the Clock and those events on the NCNCA calendar I'm hoping to spend quite a bit of time doing these.

I'm also tossing the idea around of getting a coach. This is a hard call for me to make. I do enough research to arm myself with information to be a pretty well-informed self-coached athlete. But on the other hand, I'm sure working with a coach would help me. It will be interesting to note which voice in my head wins. In the meantime I'll be easing back into the bike and taking it easy during the Winter Series.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Palin - I can't wait for SNL

Saturday Night Live is going to be great. How do I know? Sarah Palin is dropping some great sound bytes during the debate. So far this is what I've seen:

  • Winking at the camera
  • Calling out Joe Sixpack and Hockey Moms
  • Her north-of-the-border accent gets accentuated when she's under pressure and trying to answer a hard question

And this was in the first 5 minutes of the debate. I might actually pay attention to this election due to the fact that so much comedic material is forthcoming.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Call me Crazy

I happen to have a job where I telecommute from home almost all the time, drop into the office when it's prudent to make those face-to-face connections and rarely have to travel. So am I crazy to enjoying the times I actually do get to board on a plane and fly around the country?

Nah, not crazy if you ask me. More like mildly blessed. I enjoy traveling whether it's for work or pleasure. This morning I'm heading back to Denver for a quick one night stay. While there I'll be meeting with the folks at Jabber and working on getting this acquisition integrated. Little trips like this are fun, and in an odd way, it reinforces with me how important my family is to me. Yeah, sappy teary eye stuff, but being away does make coming back all the more fun. At least for now when all the kids are under 6 years old and they're stoked to see their dad walk in the door.

This will be a fun little trip. I'm going to hit up a bike shop run by Ron Kiefel (yes, from the old pro 7-11 team in the 80's) and then have the pleasure of being able to walk over to the Denver flagship REI store from my hotel. Man, business travel is really hard.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Going to Denver...help me find something to do!

I'm going to be in Denver next week for 1 evening...anybody have suggestions on what I can do on a Wednesday night?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I saw this on another blog and had to share. It's an amazing story. It hit me on several different levels because as a kid I did a lot of work with cutting firewood and playing with tools. Reader be warned, the link will contain some medically graphic pictures:


Dad, you're a retired doc...enjoy!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sticking to the Plan

Over the past couple of years I've climbed Highway 9 out of Saratoga enough to almost have the route burned to memory. In fact, I probably could draw it out on a napkin and have my representation be pretty close to what you'd find on Google maps.

Yesterday before my ride I was reviewing my old powermeter data. Specifically I was looking at my efforts over 20 minutes, i.e. my 20 minute max. I take pride in the fact that I can hold a pretty big number of watts for 20 minutes; however, this doesn't really help much on climbs considering I weigh 200 pounds. The watts/kilo calculation puts me out of the range of being a super-strong climber.

The first thing I noted around my max 20 minutes efforts were the fact that none of them were on Highway 9. I swear this had to be wrong because I knew for a fact that this climb had been the source of some painful rides in the past. Time to right this wrong and get on the climb to clock in a hard effort.

But before heading out the door I decided to look at my data from my best ride up the climb. It showed that my effort up the climb was around 40 watts below my threshold. Upon further inspection it was easy to see that I hit the bottom portion of the climb (up to around Redwood Gulch) pretty hard and then my watts consistently drifted downward. Hmm, interesting...

I decided to put a brain cell or two to use before heading out. If I could manage to not go too hard in the beginning of the climb I should have a better shot of besting my record. I decided that I my upper limit was 400 watts and the lower limit was 350. This lower limit was going to hurt especially after passing Redwood Gulch.

On the ride over from my house I got the anticipation butterflies. I hadn't tried to put this much thought into how to tackle a climb...ever. I didn't know how I would respond but I was excited to see.

I started out and it actually was difficult for me to temper back the watts. I wanted to hit the climb hard but I had to remind myself to stick with the plan and ease back a bit. This proved to be immediately beneficial because there are a few areas below Saratoga Springs where I always see my watts drop off. This time it didn't happen...I felt like I was managing my effort and it was showing me some immediate benefits.

As I approached Redwood Gulch I clicked through my computer display to see some other relevant numbers. My HR as high, but in my usual range for hard efforts. Cadence looked really good (I really, really like my compact crank). And now for the most interesting...my average watts for the climb. 369!


369. It wasn't a mistake. Immediately I knew that I would either blow up pretty big in a few minutes or that I would need to increase my faith in the plans I had laid before the climb. Being brought up in a religious household and still being religious I decided to have a little faith.

Faith must be a strong thing. Over the course of the next 3 remaining miles I had 2 side aches show up that really, really hurt. I don't think I've ever had two on a climb. One, yes, but that doesn't happen too often. But this was new territory, so I had to have faith.

The summit was getting closer and I pulled up the timer on the computer. It seemed like my plan was working! I was going to beat my previous best. I crossed my "finish line" and had shaved, let me rephrase that, CRUSHED, my old record by one minute and nine seconds!

It ended up that my average watts for the entire climb was 368. I only lost 1 watt of power over the last 3 miles and put out my highest averages over the last five minutes of the climb. Talk about ramping it up at the end...

It's pretty cool to see that you can approach a climb armed with some data and execute a plan to climb a hill with new success. Not sure if I like getting the double-barrel side aches, but maybe if I keep up these kind of efforts these will be a thing of the past.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gone Hairy

It's official...the race season for me is over. The calendar for September filled up faster than a bunch of Republicans looking to hop on the next big thing. And as the leaves turn golden colors, so do other things become a priority.

I'm looking forward to helping Logan with learning the game of volleyball this fall and her league. Since this is new to me, will a bunch of 7-9 year olds play volleyball any better than when they play soccer and run around in a big clump?!? This is yet to be seen but I'll let you know.

Also happy to retire the Wahl/razor combo for 2008. The legs are going to hibernate for the winter behind some hair. I'm sure there will be some new vein surprises in 2009 when they get shorn again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Twitter and the Touchdown

It's been over a week that I've gone without receiving updates from Twitter. I decided to go cold-turkey and shut it down since I kept receiving updates from people that I didn't really care about. Sure, the problems lies with me and my pattern of following too many meaningless tweets; I guess I need to re-evaluate where I see this service being of value to me going forward. I do think it's useful but for the right purposes. I was seeing my iPhone battery draining due to all the traffic, however, Apple does plan to drop a new firmware upgrade for the phone tomorrow that should help with battery life (fingers are definitely crossed for this patch).

Football season is here and Taylor knows it. She follows the tradition of her older siblings with the classic touchdown pose while sleeping. Nice to know that the kidlets all have the same DNA. Lisa and I celebrate when we see the pose. It usually means we're golden for the next couple of hours and Taylor will be out solid.

Friday, September 5, 2008

2 Nights in a Row

I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come (and continue for that fact). Taylor has slept through the night for the past two evenings. Both times for at least 8 hours. I would have been just as refreshed as she had it not been for some a case of the 4am foot cramps. Damn those are irritating!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

First Ride Feedback - Edge Clinchers

Just back from my first ride and here are some thoughts...

The combination of the latex tubes and the Vittoria Open Corsa CX's sure do feel good. I had been trying out the latex tubes on another set of wheels with some Rubino Pro's and those were real nice. With the Corsa's the feel is pretty darn close to tubular in my opinion.

The sound of the wheels while rolling are a bit mutted from the tubular Zipps. But they sound fast which counts for nothing, but it does make you at least feel fast.

On my 6.8 mile climb (avg grade around 6.5%) the depth of these wheels didn't affect my climbing. I was 4 seconds from my own PR on the climb and didn't realize this until I got home and checked the data. I usually climb in the saddle and only get out of the saddle when I need a little extra blood flow to the numb parts. The front wheel is stiffer than my old 404 front and it responds better when I'm standing.

On the descent back down there's a section I coast through and use as a speed trap to capture my top speed. My best previously was 44.9mph; today I hit 47.7. Not sure if this is due to the lower CRR of the latex tubes w/ the Corsa's or the ceramic bearings in the wheels, but it's probably a combination of both that helped. This is nice as descending is one of my strengths since most pure climbers will beat me to the top of a hill during races, but my 200 pounds can usually catch them on a descent.

On the way home I put in some 1400+ watt sprint efforts to feel out the rear wheel. It felt stiffer than the old Zipp 808. Sure, feel is subjective, but I felt the difference. One other thing to note with the rear hub is that on previous wheels I've always used the PT SL hub with the alloy axle. This time I went with the PT Pro since the steel axle is stiffer (albeit with a weight penalty).

As for the brakes I slipped on a set of SwissStop yellow pads. Both the Nimble's and the Zipp's were very squealy/squeaky when stopping. I expected to hear the same thing from the Edge's, but they were silent. Not bad, just unexpected.

Overall I'm really pleased as I feel the aero properties of the deeper wheel will suit my racing strengths and not be too much of an impact to climbing. I also think the wheel might get a tad faster as the bearings break in and get more miles (this happened to my other set of ceramic bearings too in the past).

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bling that goes round and around

A month ago I decided to ditch the tubulars due to too many problems. I'm not going to go into all the details, but rather put some time and energy sharing the details of the new set that showed up this afternoon.

Here are the details...
  • Front - Edge 68 clincher rim, 20 hole, Sapim cx-ray spokes, White Industries hub
  • Rear - Edge 68 clincher rim, 24 hole, Sapim cx-ray spokes, Powertap hub
  • Weight details - 1,039g for the rear, 689g front = 1,728g (I don't have individual part weights)
This is the first set of carbon clinchers I've owned, so tomorrow's initial ride will be insightful. Several pictures can be found here:


I'll post updates to this thread as I ride these more.

Visiting Google

It was like coming home to visit my old friends. Ok, maybe not, but Google did buy Postini; I used to work there before the acquisition and I have a few friends still working at Google after this deal closed.

But today wasn't about visiting any of them...sorry folks if you're on of my Postini friends. I'll hook up with you next time I visit Google Giew (I mean Mountain View). I knew it was going to be an interesting visit when my 3G iPhone picked up the Google network about a mile away from their HQ while i was driving north on 101.

Upon reaching the lobby you first notice a random scrolling of projected words on the wall. Come to find out it's a real-time stream of searches on the Google site. Filtered of course, but entertaining to see. My guest ushered me in and took me upstairs. We soon made it to the break room as I needed a coffee fix.

Talk about being overwhelmed! You name it, this break room had it. Ok, maybe Aunt Jemima wasn't cooking up pancakes (at least not in this building), but Juan Valdez and his coffee-carrying mule were in full effect. Too many choices...next thing I know my host hands me a freshly made latte. Time flies when you try to take it all in. Nice to see the tasty beverage in my hand.

We head back to his office, I crack open the laptop and hop onto the guest network and get some work done. Next up, lunch! Hmm, a recurring theme is happening and it's all about food and beverages (do they have a scotch bar there too?!?).

The plan was to hit up two cafes. At the first I load up on different types of sushi and plenty of wasabi. Gotta say they know how to do this cuisine. Next up was the sandwich deli. Kudos there too.

And like a visit to any place where there are a ton of people milling about (shopping malls, athletic events, etc.), I was probably bound to run into somebody I knew. Come to find out I ran into an old acquaintance from back in my Stanford days...and now she's married to a guy I actually have raced with/against on the Los Gatos team. Small world indeed.

Up next will be a return visit to conquer more of the cafes. Two down, seventeen more to go!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peet's or Starbucks? Starbucks or Peet's?

I'm not one to get up on a soapbox and lay claim to which provider of caffeine is better...I'll let others with more time for soapboxy-ness take on this battle. But here's an interesting observation.

My local Safeway has implemented an interesting sales strategy. I don't know if this is on purpose, but it's really handy in serving my coffee needs. Every week I usually end up going and buying groceries for the family; and without fail, it always turns out that either Peet's or Starbucks whole bean coffee is always on sale. It's nice since the discount is pretty good.

Then again, maybe Safeway, Peet's and Starbucks aren't aware of all this and I'm just lucky with my own shopping patterns.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

San Attack-O Race Report

This was my last race in the 4's and it was funny how many guys came up to me before the race and during the first lap and said something like, "Hey, I thought you would have upgraded by now...are you going to pull us around the course?" Nothing like being a marked man even before the race has started.

The plan was to protect Chris and see what we could do for him. Given such, Chris and I spent all of lap #1 and #2 in the back of the pack. My power data confirms that it was way too easy of a ride sitting back there and doing absolutely nothing. It was easy for me to see the front of the pack and there were never any attacks that rolled off more than 10 yards off the front. A friend of mine who rides unattached knew something was afoot. He came back and said, "I know something's not right when you're sitting at the back for this long."

A break didn't stick until the end of the second lap. Four guys got away and had a nice gap. Finally the pack decided to slowly reel them back in over the course of the next couple of miles. As we were getting closer to the break in the rollers after the start of our final lap, Jonathan attacks and tries to bridge across. Good move seeing we didn't have anybody in the break. Some matches were burnt by Jonathan on this effort, but you can tell his fitness is getting better as he's now able to be a factor at the end of a long race (did I say I really like longer distance RR's?).

Back to the action...Jonathan got about halfway across and then the pack decided to pick up the pace. During this time Chris was working himself up the left side and I on the right. Just as we're about to catch Jonathan and the break, I attack. It was on a slight rise before a downhill section where I had to ride on my brakes for the past 2 laps. I got about 200 yards off the front and averaged 442 watts for the next 5 minutes. Eventually two guys were able to bridge across and we worked together 5 minutes but they were dying and the pack decided they didn't want us to take off.

As we got caught, Joseph and Jonathan attacked again. It was nice to see how we saved all our attacking for the last 15 miles of the race. Yes, there was a definite plan starting to unfold. This 2-man effort didn't stick for long and we were back together leading up to the small hill on the backside of the course leading back to San Ardo. Jonathan and Raj were 1-2 up front and I rolled up slotting behind Jonathan. He hit the gas and strung folks out to the base of the climb. From there I attacked again and tried to see who would come with me. I slowly pulled away at the top of the climb and kept on the gas. One guy came across and asked me, "Do you want to work together?" Hmm, let me think about this...of course dude!

Next thing I know Chris had bridged across and joined us. Now this was a break that looked good. 8 miles to go, 3 strong riders and a pack that had 50+ miles in their legs. However, Third Pillar with their 10+ guys decided to put some big guys on the front to track us down. When we got caught I worked hard to stay up in the top 15 guys. There was not enough selection across this flat course to weed out many folks and it was getting tense.

A surge here and there was all that happened for the next 5 miles until Kevin Threm (my unattached buddy noted earlier) attacked. He went hard and got a good gap; however, Third Pillar pulled him back. I must have ADD and have forgotten about my previous two attacks. Four miles to go and I attacked again. This one really hurt and continued to hurt as nobody came with me. Coming into the town of San Ardo I had probably 150 yards on the pack, but someone got pissed off and the group decided to hammer across the final bridge. I was caught at the base of the climb hoping that my teammates were in good position to jump up the slight climb to the finish.

I was toasted like a french oak barrel ready for fermenting of cabernet grapes. The whole pack, yes, the whole pack swarmed around me as went zooming by. I stood to climb and both legs cramped. I rolled up to the finish line knowing I had put in several hard attacks and excited to open the next chapter of my cycling journey in the 3's.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rob Anderson - I guess you never received a bike as a kid

I found out about this guy from another blog and got pulled into the WSJ article and Rob Anderson's own blog. As you should know by now I'm on the side of the cyclists. Being hit by an AT&T service van on my commute to work several years ago cemented my position on this argument pretty well. So if you've got a few minutes, go check out Rob's blog and the comments. Interesting banter:


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cycling Jersey = Towel

Man, there are some days where you're on your game and others where you feel behind the 8-ball from the moment your feet hit the ground in the morning.

I decided to head into the office today to break up the week...and I had a teammate from RTP (Research Triangle Park, NC) in town so it was good to catch up in person with somebody I constantly IM with on a daily basis. At Cisco HQ we've got a nice noontime ride on Tuesdays/Thursdays. I've missed most of this summer rides due to the amount of telecommuting I've done. However, I decided to make the effort to get out there today.

The ride was nice as it was only one guy besides myself. We decided not to hammer since I had San Ardo on Saturday. I got back, hit the showers and realized that given my absence in these noontime rides I had forgotten one key thing: my towel. What to do?!? Use my undershirt? Nah, needed that article of clothing.

My next best option was my cycling jersey. Thank goodness for taking the ride easy and ending up with a nearly dry jersey. Not proud of the fact that it worked, but good to know the next time I forget. Luckily I did bring the deorderant!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First the Look Keo...now the Cervelo fork


Yup, another recall. This time it's Cervelo with their in-house premium fork.

Place your bets now on the next cycling product that will get a recall...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

No No for Lolo

Man, that sucked. But I've got to hand it to her. A positive attitude during the post-race interview won me over as a fan. I'm not to sure if she'll get another chance to ever go for gold, but I'm hoping she does.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Want More Bela!

The Olympic coverage this year has been pretty good across the multiple channels (NBC, USA, CNBC, MSNBC). But for me one of the surprises of the games is not an athlete. It's Bela Karolyi.

Gymnastics is cool as they do stuff I could never dream of, but when the coverage cut to the color commentary of Bela, that was a defining moment for me. The passion this guy brings to his sport is unquestionably high.

I found a quote from him that seems pretty appropriate, "“My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never.” The same can be said for his Olympic on-camera commentary. Bravo Bela!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Falling in Love Again

As I'm watching the Olympic USA v. China men's basketball game this morning I'm falling in love again with the game of basketball all over again. Call me old-school, but I love it when you see a group of great individuals play true team ball. It's nice to see it from the boys in the stars and bars. This makes me want to go out and shoot some hoops at halftime.

Patterson Pass RR M35+ 4/5

Having secured my upgrade at Fort Ord last week and wanting to give back to my fellow M35+ 4/5 teammates I lined up for this race and had one thing in mind. I wanted to push myself hard on the front and make sure Allen and Joseph stayed protected in the wind behind me.

I led our group up the first two-thirds of the climb and put in a very, very hard pace. Finally when I pulled off the guy behind me said, "Is somebody paying you to do this?!?". All I could do was smile and let him know there was more of where that came from. I stayed in the top 10 going over the top of the hill. The power data shows I was going about 7-8% above my threshold max for the 23 minutes of the climb. The wind was howling and it seemed that we didn't drop many folks on this first climb of Patterson.

On the descent I got back to the front and picked some fast lines. 38+mph for a few miles was fun, but then we turned right and headed up Flynn. I stayed at the front and pushed the pace again. At this point I was hoping that my teammates were finding good wheels to hide behind because this was starting to hurt. Near the top a group of climbers attacked and as we crested we were down to about 30 riders. I think this climb caught a lot of folks off guard and they were dropped.

The 90* left hand turn just past the top of Flynn caught quite a few guys off guard. Our lead group was ok, but from the stories and photos I've seen online it looks like it was tricky. On across and over Hwy 580 and down Carroll to Altamont.

I decided to get back to the front going down Carroll and when I hit Altamont the tailwind was a nice change. Good thing I thought about gearing as I dropped my chain into my 11t in the back and started to motor up the slight grade at 30+mph. With the wind on your back it's amazing how fast you can climb up the slight rise on Altamont before the long gradual descent.

I traded a few pulls with others at the front and as we came up to the right turn onto Midway, the pace slowed. Not wanting to take my finger off the "pain" button, I decided to get back to the front. As I moved forward I said to myself, "Here comes the pain!". Not sure if anybody else heard me say that, but if they did I'm sure they would have like to have slapped me silly.

The rollers on Midway hurt and I was not really looking forward to the second lap. As we came through the start/finish, I looked back and Allen was still with our group of about 15 guys. I rolled back to Allen and let him know that I was pretty spent and that I would just be following wheels on the second ascent of Patterson. The pace this time was a bit more realistic (only a 322 watt average, lap #1 was a 381 watt average).

Our group crested and we had only lost one guy on the climb. By this point my work on lap #1 had caught up to me and I was feeling pretty spent. On the last ascent of Flynn there was a slight acceleration near the bottom of the climb and I wasn't able to respond. Nothing left in the legs as they were about to cramp, the HR didn't want to respond either. My body had shut down. In looking over the data it's not too surprising. I had been on the front for almost an hour and a half going at 95% of my threshold with a ton of climbing.

I was hoping Allen was hanging on with the rest of the lead pack as they went out of sight. I held my place and rolled across the line looking dead (felt dead too). Given the effort and the course, this was the toughest race I've had this season. It was good to put in an effort like this as I think it will be the kind of work I'll need to do for my M35+ 1/2/3 teammates when I upgrade.

Friday, August 8, 2008

On the Mend

So my heavy week of 300 miles of training a week or so ago caught up to me after Fort Ord. I've come to learn over the past year that when my body is getting super fatigued I get head colds. On Sunday I felt the cold hit me like a brick while at a kids birthday party. Five days later and now it's finally passed. After a few kilos of Vitamin C/E and some meds, I'll be getting back on the bike.

At least this time I felt it come on, shut things down and didn't try to ride it out. Last time this happened I rode through it and eventually developed a sinus infections. The legs haven't felt this fresh in over a month so who knows what's going to happen at Patterson Pass RR tomorrow. Hopefully something better than green snoggers.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Long & Lean

6-week checkup for Taylor reveals the obvious: 50% percentile for weight 95% for height Hmm, go figure...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One serious turnaround

If you thought the turnarounds at Cantua RR might have been tight, check out this picture from Fort Ord on the second out and back turnaround. No way to carry speed through this corner...a good place to practice your track stands. Photo credits to Steve Anderson...thanks for sending this my way.

NCNCA (Fort Ord) RR M35+ 4/5 Race Report

Distance: 41 miles (each lap was ~10.2 miles)
Teammates: Allen Wulczynski, Jonathan Racine, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Farnsworth, Chris Soukup
Conditions: Perfect with 5-7mph wind from the WNW
Result: 2nd of 35?

I was on the hunt for my last remaining upgrade points after a near miss at Watsonville a few weeks ago. We had a very strong team of guys put together for this race and with the small field I had a hunch that we could tactically dominate this race. Since I hadn't done this race before the more experienced guys from the race team gave some great advice leading up to the event. This course is full of rollers which you can easily power over and one big climb that jacks up for the first 0.2 miles, then backs off a bit for the next 0.1 mile before jacking up again for the remaining 0.2 miles. This climb takes a little bit over 3 minutes in total to ascend. Jeff put in a nice little dig at the front to lead us up through a portion of the hill. A few guys burned a match or two responding to his attack.

The goal was to protect Chris and I with others attacking where possible. The first lap started out pretty slow. We had full road to race on except for the two out-and-back sections (which only encompassed about 3 miles of each lap). As the course was new to most racers, lap one was more like a recon ride...just seeing where the potholes were on the road. However, there was one incident on the descent from the big climb. A BBC rider (I think) somehow got tangled up near the front with somebody and hit the deck hard. Too bad for him, but lucky for me and a few others, he bounced to the left and everybody got around him safely to the right. Amazingly, he was able to get up, brush himself off and re-attach a few miles later.

All along this first lap, and subsequently on laps two and three, I kept a keen eye out for potential rollers where an attack might succeed. But I got a sense that the final climb would decide the race. Back to the action...

On lap two Allen and Jeff went to work attacking off the front, but we lost Doug to a flat. From my viewpoint at the back of a slowly attrition'ing lead group (we had lost Jonathan too along the way, but he was a trooper to stick it out with his injuries from yesterday's training ride) we were able to put in attack after attack with success. It was an SJBC yo-yo at the front! Our attackers never got too far out of reach, but those that bridged up definitely spent themselves and when Allen and Jeff would be caught, the did just enough work to make others riders spend themselves and those chasing in the lead group work hard to catch them.

At some point during the third lap I rolled up to Chris and he said he wasn't feeling too good. That put a bit of pressure on me, but I was starting to feel better as the race got longer. We climbed the hill again and somehow a Webcor guy rolled off the front. I didn't realize it, but he did have about 30-40 seconds on our group. SJBC didn't put in any effort to catch him which raised the frustration of one rider in particular. (I'll let Chris add more about this...).

Our lead group was now down to around 15 guys, and we were getting neutralized by different groups as we were descending to the big climb. We hit the climb, still not having caught the Webcor rider, but he was only 50 yards up the road. Our pace was definitely the hardest this time up and the race was on! I was in the top 5 and determined to hold that position. Out of nowhere around halfway up the climb I saw Chris coming up on my left. So much for him not feeling good. I let him roll by and allowed Russ (Family Center Cycling) to latch on. Chris was on fire and you could tell he wanted to catch the Webcor guy before the top of the hill. We poured on the watts and hammered up the remaining 0.2 miles of the climb. Webcor was caught just before the peak and he was toast.

As we crested and rode across a windy exposed false flat plateau before our downhill plunge back to the rollers, I put in my attack. I hadn't looked back on the climb to see what was happening behind, but I knew that if I took out my little hammer and went hard it might cause some chaos. With hammer in hand, I threw it down. A small group followed: Russ (who I had been marking the whole race), Jeremy from Eden Cycles who is very strong and Chris. I let up just a bit to let them latch on, then glanced back. We had separated ourselves and now were were going to kill it on the descent.

This was a fun descent as we had the whole road and the turns could be taken at full speed. I actually spun out my gearing (50 front, 12t in the rear...138rpm) going down the hill, but the damage was done. We had 4 very motivated guys and only 3 miles to go. We all worked hard over the remaining rollers to extend our break.

With 1km to go, we eased up a bit. Chris was pretty spent and I was just happy to be in the winning break since I knew just rolling across the line would give me my upgrade points. I let Jeremy and Russ lead us into the small climb at 200m to go. Jeremy jumped, and Russ looked back at me. I didn't respond, but when I saw that Russ wasn't going to go, I jumped. At this point Jeremy was too far up to be caught, but I was able to secure second without any issue. Chris rolled across in fourth.

The four of us congratulated each other after the race and debriefed. Apparently we just pulled away from folks on the climb. Nice to know I can lug my large frame up with some of these climbers.

Now for some power data:

Overall: Average power - 251 watts, Norm power - 325 watts

Lap 1/Lap 2/Lap 3/Lap 4
  • Average power (watts) - 235/249/241/281
  • Norm power (watts) - 323/323/308/344
  • Big climb watts (average, not norm) - 464/444/452/473
  • Big climb w/kg - 5.04/4.83/4.91/5.14
  • The final climb was 10 seconds faster than our previous best up that hill

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Santa Cruz Mtn Ride

This past Saturday I ponied up with a few SJBC teammates who weren't up at the District races to do the Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge. I was pretty excited to do this 100 mile ride. Sure, 11k of climbing might sound painful to some, but I was amped to ride on some new roads and climbs. What follows is just a few points of a great day on the road:
  • Mtn Charlie - For some reason I thought this road was a nicely paved meandering climb up to Summit Road. It was, but the pavement was mediocre and inconsistent. But with no traffic I liked it.
  • Big Basin descent - This rocks as always...though I've only done it once before. The only thing I forgot, but learned the hard way, was how the first hard hairpin turn on the descent from China Grade in the park near the park HQ has a tight decreasing radius turn. I took it pretty fast and made it through barely. The two random riders on my tail weren't as 'aware' of the corner, but they made it through safely.
  • Jamison Creek - WOW. Double WOW. The bottom portion of this climb isn't anything too special, but the last two thirds just shot you up to the heavens at an alarming rate. I was in my 36-29t combo and averaged around 360 watts for the climb (mid-23 minutes to complete). Standard gearing would have really hurt.
  • Felton-Empire descent - Great pavement. Too bad there were cars that made me slow down and wear out a set of brake pads.
  • Zayante - Hot as always in that canyon. I know this climb, so it was bearable
  • Granite Creek - The map shows this as a little blip of a climb, but when it shows up at mile 98 it's a bit tougher than when the legs are fresh. By this point my feet were on fire, but the legs and butt could have ridden a few more miles.
Thank goodness this is my rest week and I can recover. This ride capped my biggest training week of 290 miles, so sitting back for a few days with easy spins and telecommuting from home is on the agenda.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blondie Part II

This afternoon I got the wild idea while grocery shopping with Logan that I'd do something with my hair. Go figure that I made this decision just a few days before heading back to work, but since I telecommute 95% of the time I think this won't be a problem.

First I started out with a little trim with the #3 clipper. Easy to do but I needed the wife to trim up the back.

Then it was time for some bleaching. I last did this 12 years ago to my goatee and it burned my skin pretty bad. Today's bleaching application didn't burn as bad as I remembered from the past. We'll see if I start getting monster dandruff flakes in the next couple of days (a sure sign that things have gone bad).

Now that I'm blond maybe I'll have a much fun as my blond-haired daughter.


I don't know if blonds have more fun, but we'll find out soon. Pictures to follow...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wet Pants

My son will hate me later in life after he learns how to read and realizes what I'm doing with this post but it's too funny not to share.

A few of his friends came over to the house to play. They ended up playing hide-and-go-seek. A classic game we all know. He just took it too the furthest extreme! He hid, ignored the fact that he needed to go to the bathroom and subsequently pee'd his pants. I had to laugh; however it wasn't funny too him. He was mad that he was found.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Watsonville Crit Race Report

Having never done this race I was excited to see what lay ahead for the race. There's a real small hill after the last corner that rises up to the finish line. It had been a couple of months since I had done a E4 race and I didn't know what to expect at the start. 24 laps were put on the board and off we went.

After a few easy laps where the field was feeling out the corners (which were pretty technical) folks were hitting the small hill harder. Surges would come up both sides and then you'd get pinched coming into the first corner if you were stuck in the middle. This happened a couple of times and for me it soon became easier to stay on the outside of the turn and take it a bit wider. Guys diving on the corner were easy to shut down because the wind would hit them first coming out of the corner and you'd regain your original position easily.

Halfway through the race I freaked some of the young guns out by locking up the rear brake (man those M5 brakes work well) as I was entering the corner. A gut reaction to the wheel in front of me falling back fast, but it woke up a few people on my tail. The pavement through some of the corners was a bit bumpy and on those turns where I was pedaling through I felt the rear bounce around a tad. Other than these incidents it was a pretty smooth race on a technical course.

With 2 laps to go I surged up the hill and made up quite a few positions by pedaling up and over the backside of the rise. I was surprised how many guys let off the gas at the peak. This gained me a few positions going into the first corner. It was easy to hold my position through the rest of the course.

With 1 lap to go I held my position and was hoping to see a few of the guys I had marked move up. Like clockwork up they came...however, their teammates weren't coming up with them. I was hoping that one of the better represented teams would wind up the pace and provide some sort of leadout. This would have suited me better, but it didn't happen.

We rounded the last corner and then burst up the hill. I was about 10th coming out of this corner. I had a ton of momentum and moved to the left to pass a few people, but then one of the Third Pillar riders in front of me moved left and shut the door in front of me. To make it worse, he was dying and falling back. I had to momentarily back off the gas and then jump back on. I was pulling 1,100+ watts, then 2 seconds later 91 watts and losing 2mph. I finally got around him and put down another 1,200 watt effort to cross the line. 7th was mine.

In retrospect I'm stoked with a top 10, but can only wonder how things might have turned out if I could have kept ramping up my sprint coming out of the final corner.

Nolan said what?!?

Race reports to follow, but this was humorous...

After fighting it out in the Cat 4 race I lined up for the M35+ open. I was in front of Larry Nolan when I heard this or something to the effect, "Wow, this race has been going on for 31 years. This is my first time."

Go figure, a race where Larry and I are rookies together. And that my friend was the end of the similarities between the two of us for the next 40 minutes as our race rocketed out of the gates...

BTW, I absolute loved watching Larry's effort today. Impressive to observe after I got pulled.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Way too long off the MTB

Yesterday a friend of mine convinced me to head out with him on a mountain bike ride. My poor mtb, it hasn't been ridden on the trails in over two years. I put a little TLC toward the bike and cleaned it up for a late evening ride on the trails.

What ensued was a 2-hour ride around the trails at Santa Teresa park in South San Jose. I forgot how mentally fatiguing climbing/descending a technical single track path can be. I must say, I'm such a wuss when I descend on the mtb. However, I can climb much better than I remembered on the fire trails.

I'm more tired than I thought I'd be this morning, but man, that was a fun diversion from the road bike. I'll have to do this more often.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shut up, sit down

I absolutely, and do mean absolutely, hate it when an athlete decides to run his mouth and speak his mind after they are out of the running for a win/championship/medal/result. And so it goes with Valverde. He's too far out of the race in my opinion to come back and finish on the podium. His butt was handed to him on Hautecam and he can't TT too well to take time back.

In my opinion he's gone over the line by bitching about how other teams are 'weak'. VeloNews has a good article on this. Alejandro, you better look in the mirror buddy, because your words seem to be a pretty good fit for the current Spanish national champ (i.e. you).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Looking Smart

On my through Los Gatos to climb Hwy 9 I ran into one of these. It was the first car in a long time that has passed me and I've thought, "Wow, getting hit by that car probably wouldn't do too much damage."

Actually it would, but let's put this into perspective. I rolled up to the car at the next light and given my height (6'9"), the top of the car was about equal in height to my hip. I felt physically bigger then the car.

Then I saw another one near Leigh HS on the way home. Maybe these cars are like rabbits...multiplying like crazy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Coyote Creek Finish Photo

Another one of Garrett Lau's excellent pictures from this season. The legs this morning are a bit fatigued from this final dig up the hill.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Coyote Creek Crit Race - M35+ 4/5

Category: M35+ 4/5
Teammates: Joseph Morales, Gary Broeder, Scott Riddle, Allen Wulzynski, Derrick Hemmingway, Raj Singh, Mike Rizzo
Length: 45 minutes
Place: 4th out of 60?

I missed participating in this race last year due to the back injury and I've been looking forward to this race ever since the Tuesday night crits started up. Given it's the same loop, we all know the pain the little hill can bring when people decide to hit it hard. We had a good number of guys racing today, but there were two teams with more riders (Alto Velo, Pen Velo). Our goal was to have half our team patrol the first half of the race and the other half to sit in and conserve for the final couple of laps.

After warming up and testing the tire pressure on turns #1 and #2, I headed back to the car to drop off a water bottle and to get some extra pins for the number. I flagged down Daryl Spano and borrowed his pins since he race just finished. I rolled through the parking lot toward the start area and noticed all the racers were bunched together and ready to roll. Just as I'm going under the locked gate I hear the "Go!" call. I noticed Raj looking my way and yelling at me to get my butt in gear. I almost missed the start, but hopped on and latched on to the back of the group. My HR was already up from the potential missed start, so going up the hill wasn't too difficult...my HR was already elevated and running hot.

Gary, Scott, Joseph and Mike were working the first part of the race toward the front. Allen, Raj, Derrick and I were sitting in trying to conserve for the last couple of laps. I found myself following Derrick for the first couple of laps. I noticed that we weren't going too fast since it was taking almost 5 minutes per lap. This works out to only 8 laps for the race. Not much when you compare it to the 20 laps we did last Tuesday.

Each time we descended through turns #1 and #2 it was very frustrating. Folks not familiar with the course were taking these corners way too slow and it caused me to wear out my brake pads (not really, but they did get a good workout). I did come through turn #2 once and decided to pedal. I clipped my inside pedal pretty good; I've done this a lot so I'm used to it, but it did spook a few riders around me. I was able to hold my line safely and not lose any positions.

Soon the lap cards came out and we had 4 to go. Joseph was doing a great job staying near the front. I told Allen that if we needed to move up we'd have to do it on the back straight and stick our noses in the wind to the left. Raj was next to Allen and we let him know that too.

Coming up the hill with 3 laps left I was on Allen's wheel. We were probably in the top 20 and coming up quickly on a rider who was fading back in the pack. Like a well executed pick'n'roll, Allen went left, I went right and we both didn't lose any momentum. I latched back on and yelled some words of encouragement up to Allen (I hope he heard me). With 2 laps to go Joe, Allen and I were in the top ten (somebody after the race said we were in the top 5) as we crested the hill. I can't remember the specifics, but I do remember sticking on my teammates wheels going down the hill. On the back straight there was a big surge on my left and I was boxed in as 25 guys went rolling by.

At this point I could have panicked, but I remembered some advice from Steven M. and Boke. Both told me to be patient. So I let the surge settle in and with about 300 yards to go before turn #3, I shot to the left and put in a short dig to get myself back in the top 10. It didn't hurt and I found myself getting back on Allen's wheel about 5 back. We hit the hill and once again Joseph and Allen were leading our charge.

On the final charge on the back straight I could feel the collective nerves of folks. We were near the front, but it was too far out to lay down a hard effort to string things out. A few moments later coming up the left was Gary; I think I saw Raj on this train too. He put in a monster effort to get to the front. I yelled up to Allen and Joseph to hop on Gary's wheel. Gary led us up to turn #3 and peeled off. His effort definitely kept some of the surging down to a minimum.

Into turn #3 it was getting hairy as I could feel a bunch of anxious people behind me. Joe pulled through and Allen got us through turn #4. Coming down the false flat Allen was first and I was third. At this point things start to get a little fuzzy. From what I remember I know Allen was dying and was about to blow. At this same time there were a few riders that were coming up on his left. I went around Allen's right side and glanced over. We were on the false flat leading to the base of the hill. A Pen Velo rider was about a bike length ahead of me in first and I was neck and neck with a Webcor guy. I was just about to get out of the saddle to sprint when I felt a guy coming up the gutter on my right. Damn!

I should have tried to take up more room when I went left, but I didn't. The gutter guy was too close for me to get out of the saddle and sprint. If I stood to sprint the sway of my bike probably would have taken him out. So it was head-down in the saddle effort to the line. I laid down some serious watts and rocketed up the hill around 30mph! My HR climbed up to the high 180's and crossed the line. I didn't know where I placed as it felt like a blur, but I knew it had to be top 5. I threw the bike out at the line for good measure; it does seem kind of funny to do this on an uphill finish, but what the heck it might have helped.

Afterwards the guys got back together to debrief and chat about how things played out. I was really please with how everybody rode and stayed safe and smart. It would have been nice to deliver a podium result for the team, but given the chaotic nature of the final laps I'm ecstatic with the results and how the team worked together.

I ended up finishing 4th and received some precious upgrade points. Now I'm only 4 points away from my upgrade and super motivated to get to the Cat 3's by the end of the season.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mo Watts!

I haven't done short hard efforts much lately, but for some reason I felt pretty good today. First race tomorrow since the birth of Taylor and the family is excited to see what the proud papa can do. A few months ago I talked about setting a new high-water wattage mark for my sprints.

Today I blew it up...by quite a bit.
My 1-second max nearly broke 1,600 and my 10-second peak was 1,363. I'm excited for tomorrow's Coyote Creek race.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

6AM Never Felt This Good

I've forgotten how nice it is to get a training ride done early in the morning before the heat sets in. Too bad my weekend race is scheduled for the middle of the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TT Observations

Other than the comical f-bomb from Vaughters, here are a few other things I noticed:
  • Cadel didn't wear any shoe covers. I'm sure he could have saved a few seconds of time if he did.
  • Lots of guys, like Valverde, had non-aero water bottles. Don't know if that hurt too much.
  • Giant's new TT frame looks fast, as does the new Dean frame from Ridley (although it isn't made in an XL size)
  • Feillu rode a ton of the second half in a weird aero position; he wasn't using the aero-elbow pads. For some reason he was resting his a bit wider on the handlebars

Vaughters & the F-bomb

Versus should have known that there's a bit of stress on the part of any director sportif trying to get his top TT rider through the course for a podium finish. Versus decided to put Robbie Ventura in the the follow car of David Millar to provide commentary with Jonathan Vaughters and Allen Lim.

Robbie turned to Jonathan and asked, "How's this going for you?" I don't think he was expecting this reply from Vaughters:

"Fuck man!"

Vaughters was stressed, Robbie had his best "O" face reaction, and Allen Lim was in the back seat grinning ear-to-ear.

Nothing like live TV and the Tour to bring out the true emotions of the situation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Darn Appliances

A garage door is not an appliance, but for this discussion just humor me and treat it as such. Taylor has been awesome, sleeping much better than either of the other kids at this point in their lives. Three to four hours of straight sleeping through the night; and it's amazing how the wife and I actually feel somewhat refreshed and not too tired.

The day before Taylor was born the garage door decided to bite the dust. The gearing mechanism wouldn't engage and the door didn't move. Then two days after Taylor's birth the washing machine goes out and won't work. The spin cycle does nada...un-spin more like it.

Luckily I found two local handymen who were able to get both these appliances up and running today. The plastic gear on the garage door that engages the chain was completely stripped. Not too surprising how it's been an original part for fourteen years. The washing machine had a busted coupler. Much cheaper to fix than having to buy a new appliance.

My fingers are crossed that nothing more will break around the house. I've got enough that I want to do with my three weeks of vacation.

Beaten down by the Heat

It's been a long time since I've done significant training rides in the heat of the summer. Last summer was occupied by twice weekly visits to the physical therapist office for work on the back injury. So it's been two years since I've ridden in the warmer months here in the Bay Area. Today I probably should have listened to the wife when she said, "Don't you want to go out later this evening when it's cooler?" Yeah, stubborn me thought that a 1:30pm start time from the house would be a good idea.

I was just going down to the end of Croy and back, a quick 44 mile jaunt that takes about two and a quarter hours to get done on a good day. Um, on a good day, not a blazing hot day!
I get within 2 miles of my turnaround point and realize I had sucked down both extra large water bottles. Not good, but not bad. At least I was staying hydrated though it was so hot I could feel the heat reflecting off the road and into my shoes. I've forgotten how much I hate having hot feet (anybody got recommendations for some shoes that cool better than my current pair of Sidi Ergo 2's?).

Back to the story...

I end up getting water at Uvas Canyon Park and it did the trick. Not the best tasting, but it was wet so I wasn't going to complain. After throwing some water on myself and getting completely soaked, I was headed home. Three miles later and I'm completely dry! So much for the cooling effect of the water.

The heat beat me down, but that wasn't the worst. The worst was how my HR wouldn't drop down below 160 even though I was barely putting out any watts. I think it was just so hot that my core temp had risen to a point where it effected my HR. It wasn't going to come down. Even at a few of the last stop lights I was only able to get it to drop into the low 150's. Usually my V-12 engine can get down to around 100 easily at a stop light. Not today.

Back at the safe confines of home, the A/C felt good and it took about 15 minutes to get back to normal. One good thing to take away from the ride was the fact that I actually was sweating once I got off the bike at home. If I had been dehydrated to the point where I wasn't sweating, then I'm sure I'd be in bigger trouble this evening. I think going forward I'll heed the advice of the wife and go out later (or at the break of dawn).