Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Hard Lesson to Learn

Folks, even pro riders can display poor form. Leading up to the sprint in the final 1km of the Tour of Qatar today, the Slipstream train was coming up on the outside with Millar laying down a hard TT effort. Just after 1km to go you see Millar peel off (thanks for the overhead heli shot), and Maggie takes over.

As Maggie pulls Sutton and team to the front of the pack you can tell he's just burying himself and doing a great job. However, from the overhead shot it looks like he's got his head down and isn't paying attention to the lead Quick-Step rider at the front. The Quick-Step rider pulls off, and mind you it wasn't a hard swing to the right, and Maggie rear ends him. Down he goes and early word from the press says he's got a broken collarbone.

I'll just say this...keep your head up and have your eyes down the road. From the replay it looks like this should have been avoidable. Bummer since I really wanted to see Maggie at ToC and the Spring Classics.

More details can be found here:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Today's SJBC Winter Series ITT

The radar showed no rain and thus the ITT was on for this morning. I dragged my daughter and my own father out to the race to watch the mundane event. Come on you say...yeah, I should have taken them to a more exciting event like the squirley birds (aka early bird crits), but my plans to head up that way were cancelled. An ITT was on the agenda and that's what they enjoyed.

My dad took a few photos so enjoy:

The headwinds down Santa Teresa were no fun and the 417 watts I lay down during the last 2 minutes didn't feel too great either, but it was fun busting out the skinsuit and the belgium knee warmers.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Long & Flat

Tomorrow's route...a ride around the reservoirs just to see how full they are while staying out of the colder, and potentially snowy, roads in the Santa Cruz mountains:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Man-crush +1: 2007 Quick-Step Team Launch

Cranking up the man-crush (see previous blog post) and sharing the love for the whole team. This is last year's team launch, not 2008:

Online Videos by

Monday, January 21, 2008 don't say?!?

Before I got back into cycling a few years ago I was educated enough about cycling to hold a conversation around Lance Armstrong and his dominance, but I didn't really know anything else about other teams riding in the peleton. After the racing bug bit me I found myself reading up on teams learning more about the diverse and interesting history of races from the spring classics through the grand tours and the world championships.

For some reason I found my attention as a fan being drawn to the Quickstep team. Don't really know why or how it happened, but they turned out to be the team I follow the closest (outside of my own SJBC race team). It's a mix of their riders, teamwork and results that drew in my attention. And out of this, what happened?

I'm happily married, but I'll admit to my man-crush: Tom Boonen. He just seems to bring it to his competition every time he gets on his bike (ok, maybe not in the hills of the TdF). If I could emulate just a bit of his strength, determination and skill I'd be pretty darn satisfied.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Slave to the plan

Tomorrow and Sunday are big days. Lots of endurance/tempo miles to be put on the Parlee. Here's tomorrows route:
Pretty excited about this since I haven't ridden Hwy 236 around Big Basin and never have climbed up Bear Creek out of Boulder Creek. Since I'm riding solo mio I decided to geek up and bring the extra big saddle bag for my 3 spare tubes and to carry my hand pump just in case I've got to beat down any mountain lions...grrr!
At least I won't be taking vodka shots before riding and having traces of mary jane in my system like these guys and their encounter with with the tiger at the SF Zoo.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Q-rings Observation

I've been running Rotor Q-rings on my bikes for the past 10 months and like them a lot. However, today was the first time that I really, and I mean really, felt the elliptical nature of the rings. Over the past week I've been riding the Serotta with the aerobars in preparation for the SJBC 2TT Winter Series event.

Most of my riding has been in the big ring for the past week. I haven't, nor not really ever noticed, the elliptical rings, but today was different. On my recovery ride I was trying to keep my cadence pretty high. At one point I was on a very slight rise heading out to Calero reservoir and downshifted into my small ring. Immediately I could sense the non-roundness of the rings. From the 10 to 1 o'clock positions it felt like my stroke had a little turbo boost! I could really feel the crank turning over quicker as my stroke went through.

Just to make sure I wasn't crazy I repeated this a few times on the way back; big ring to small ring. Same feeling every time. Hmm, I wonder how long this will last. It's not a bad thing, just something that feels different.

So any of you Q-ring guys out there, have you experienced this?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mavericks is ON!

Gotta say the video feed is awesome and it makes me look at my quiver of boards in the garage wondering when I'll go out and catch some waves this winter.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hardmen of the North

Man, days like today are what I love! Cold, damp and roads still wet from the rains. Reminds me of my childhood growing up in Oregon. Plus, it makes you look like those riders from the Classics with mud and grime all over your bike and legs.

The dirt is a reminder of the work you put out on your bike, the efforts going over the hills and spinning down the hills. Drivers look at you like you're crazy; they get a reaction back from me giving them an indication that they really haven't lived live until they've pushed themselves on a bike hard enough to bring on myoptic vision and the deep bass beats of one's own heart into their ears.

some belgium knee warmers today. Much better than having cold wool or lycra knee warmers that just get you colder. The embrocation worked, but it wasn't as hot as I expected. Maybe I'll try the super hot stuff...but then again I've heard you've got to be very aware of where you put this on your legs. Too close to the chamois and you're bound to be in for some pain like you've never felt before!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Me & Maggy Backstedt

I always like to read up on Backstedt since he's a big powerful rider. Over on Cyclingnews they profiled some of his wind-tunnel work and in the photos I came across these chainrings. I've been using these same rings (Rotor Q-rings) for the past 9 months and have really enjoyed what they do. Once you get them dialed in, and for me that was most important on the small ring (still need to dial in the big ring), I feel like I'm flying much faster. Plus, with their shape it causes your opponents to fall into a hypnotic state as they stare at your bottom bracket. It's at this point when you throw the old hammer down to blow their legs off.

Mach 3

As a kid my family would drive down from Oregon to San Francisco pretty much every summer for a Bay Area vacation. Many of my early memories are burned into my head from these trips. One memory that recently got triggered was of an old SR-71 Blackbird jet poster I bought from the old Nut Tree. Yeah, the one out in Vacaville.

I remember they used to have a ton of posters with planes and jets, and the SR-71 was something I completely fascinated over. Now I can have my own:

Thanks Lego!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

One reason I love my wife

There's something, maybe karma, that bites me whenever I decide to ride in bad weather. Several months ago I was rolling down Santa Teresa toward Morgan Hill and had two flats. The first was in the middle of a hard interval and the second was a slow leak.

Well welcome to 2008 big fella 'cuz you're about to get another dose of love from Santa Teresa's shoulder!

These recent storms are nothing to mess around with, but the dopler radar showed a slight break, or at least that what Bokemeier had to say. Ok, he's a great teammate and I couldn't refuse getting out there and doing some flat-land intervals with some wet weather, but we ended up getting pounded for a bit.

After finishing our second 6' interval I realized I had a slow rear leak. Upon trying to fix it and pumping it up with a 16oz. CO2 can, I ended up blowing the tube. What was that you say? Eh, didn't catch that comment Boke. Yeah, our ears were ringing pretty damn loud. Gotta say it was somewhat funny to laugh, and watch your bud laugh when you can't hear anything at all.

Twenty minutes later we finally get rolling again, this time pretty cold and wet. And how do you get warm again?!? Do a hard 10' interval! This time with the wind at our back we're hustling at 27mph and slowly getting warm again. Back to Bailey and another flat. Oh well, out of tubes, no more CO2, what am I going to do? Call on the wife...

30 minutes later I'm picked up looking like a damp wet dog. Matt was able to make it home in one piece and it took me 45 minutes to warm up. This morning I rode the trainer, but it wasn't any more fun in retrospect...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bike Fitting

So December was a good month for some bike-related things. New Parlee, a few weight weenie components to slap on the beast and one last thing to dial in the ride. I had been asking around for several weeks about bike fit guru's and determined that it would be a good idea for me to dial in the fit on the Parlee (and the old Serotta too) since I didn't want to put myself in a position (both figurative and literally) that would impact my healing back. That being said I ended up making an appointment with Dario Fredrick at Whole Athlete.

I packed up the car, put the Serotta on top and the Parlee in the rear seat, gassed up, threw on my new
John Digweed mix CD and hit the road for San Anselmo up north in Marin county. Along the way I snapped a few photos. I soon made it up to the city and it was amazingly clear. You could see all the way out to Point Reyes as you drove up 19th Avenue. Across the bridge, through the tunnel and soon I was in San Anslemo.

Arriving faster than I had expected I walked in and started chatting with the only guy in the shop. Come to find out we had chatted back and forth a few times on the weight weenie message board so we actually knew each other...small world. Dario soon arrived and we got into the nitty-gritty of the process.
We first started by addressing the fit from the pedals up. Come to find out my cleats were too far forward so we ended up moving them backwards considerably. This immediate change was quickly felt; I sensed less use of my calf muscles which was the desired effect and more engagement of the hammies/quads/gluts. It did feel quite a bit different in the pedal stroke, but it made sense. Dario also adjust one cleat to help my knee track better. Funny that he noticed it and I didn't. This is the one thing that drives me nuts when I watch other cyclists; I hate seeing their knees bobbing all over the place looking like they've just unmounted their horse. Now mine are like pistons firing up and down!

Moving up we next addressed the saddle position. I had thought that I needed to be stretched out (to within a reasonable amount) to ensure my back was comfortable. However, I was stretched to the point that I had difficulty reaching the hoods. We ended up moving th
e saddle a bit forward and dropping a half centimeter. As funny to me as I thought it would be, this change really made the back feel better. In bringing my saddle closer it caused my elbows to bend more and also flattened out my back a bit, removing some of the roundness that was evident in my previous position.

After all these changes there r
eally wasn't anything that we needed to do up front with the stem/handlebars. The only suggestion for additional relief was to leave the handlebars in the current position and rotate the hood up a centimeter or so. I might try that when I need to change my bar tape next time, but for now the new position felt pretty good.

Before & After:

With the changes I thanked Dario, said goodbye and decided to head by Bikenut in Cow Hollow to find some tasty new components. The nice thing about the fit was it allowed me to change from a seatpost with setback to a straight post. Ended up picking some stuff from M5, Tune, KCNC. This shop is pretty cool because they have a lot of the light stuff you normally only get to see online.

As the sun was setting I rushed home down 280 and started to get my NYE groove on for celebrating at 9pm PST with the kids! All in all it was a blast and I can't wait to see how the body adapts to the changes. Here are pictures of the entire day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

How to climb in your drops

Contrary to most people, I woke up this morning without a hangover and ready for a little devil of a climb up San Bruno Mountain for the first race of the year. Here are some random photos from the bottom and top.

My goal was to break my time from last year which was 18:56. After doing the recon ride two weeks ago I felt a good target would be 18:30. Today turned out to be clear, cool and breazy. Their was a pretty good tailwind blowing that would be nice on the first part of the climb.

I did a lengthy warm-up since I jacked my back moving Christmas stuff into boxes two days ago. The back loosened up and I was feeling pretty good. This year the race had two waves at the start; last year I remember them sending everybody off at the same time, so kudos for this improvement.

Most everybody was still wearing their old kits from 2007 except for the VOS guys. Much better uniform design than what I've seen in the past. We lined up, waited for Casey's (lead official) final instruction and then waited for the whistle. Immediately things went into turbo-mode. My peak 2 minute wattage was at the beginning of the race. At one point I looked down and saw myself pulling around 500 watts! I knew this was a bad sign, but one I'd have to live with...

The tailwind was nice but it negated the ability to draft up the hill. I was hoping to conserve some energy by getting on some fast wheels, but it didn't pan out. I kept jumping across from wheel to wheel as people began to burn out. As we approached the turn-off into the park, I came across two riders who I hoped to hang with. One guy dropped off the pace while the other was just a tad too fast for me to stick on his wheel.

Just as the road jacks skyward and turns up the mountain, the tailwind became a nasty quarterwind/headwind. One teammate passed me on this section, but there wasn't any relief from trying to stay on his wheel. A few turns left and then I quickly learned how to climb in the drops.

It's much like doing a TT. The wind is blowing in your face, sweat is flying off your chin and hitting the road fifty feet behind to your rear and you feel like you're killing it. However, climbing in the drops is all of this and then just a little bit less. You're only doing 8mph and crawling. Standing would have dropped my speed down to around 6mph. Why so slow? A teammate emailed me his graph of the wind speeds from his iBike and there were 30mph gusts at the top.

I think the timing wasn't correct for the posted results; I trust my Powertap more since I clicked off the intervals at the start and finish lines. I killed my goal and did 18:14! I finished 12th out of 40 in the open M35+ category.

Here are some tasty power numbers for you wattage geeks like me:

  • Average Watts - 393
  • Normalized Power - 402
These are both new highs for me. Time to adjust my training zones to these new marks. All in all I was really pleased with the effort for so early in the season.