Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dueling Shockwaves

Anybody know how to control my embedded VeloNews video clips better than me? I'm at a loss right now. I'd like them to only play once somebody clicks on the play button. Here's what the source code looks like:

src='' flashVars='articleID=2035&fileTypeID=2&videoAdConDefID=27&videoAdObjectID=76' name='bcPlayerExt' wmode='transparent' width='509' height='409' allowScriptAccess='always' type='application/x-shockwave-flash' swLiveConnect='true' pluginspage=''>

I'll do some digging tonight, but if you know how to make a change to this embedded link to make it work like I want, leave me a comment.

It's the riders baby, part two

One of the perks about working from home is the chance to let my facial hair get a head start for the weekend. I guess somebody forgot to tell me that my head start long gone and that I've lapped the field. I've got enough facial hair to join

It's the riders baby

I like what these boys are saying. It's not the race that's hard, it's the racers that make the race hard. Amen to that brother!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Turn it down...

Just when I was feeling great in the mornings, and the effects of the back injury were all but a distant memory in my mind, my body decided to send back an RSVP just to let me know that getting older has some low points.

Saturday was an epic day...epic if you're the kind of Pacific Northwest guy who smiles at the rain, taunts the wind and walks taller when he's getting wet. I climbed Kings Mtn. then bombed down Hwy 84 before climbing back up the hills on Old La Honda. I was pretty stoked to see that I averaged 370 watts on both climbs (man, if I weighed 20 pounds less I might have a chance to win a hill climb with this power). But it was so cold and freezing at the top of Skyline that even the Gods were past the point of cursing. You know it's a teaser of a day when there's sleet getting slammed into you and there's a break in the clouds where you can barely see the outline of the sun. Talk about a teaser...

I was so cold that I had to warm up at the Saratoga Starbucks at the base of Hwy 9 on the way home. I think that was my downfall. I should have just come home. I think my body got semi-warm, then I froze again between Saratoga and home...and I pushed myself real hard just to stay warm. But the cherry on top was that I was too cold to stretch when I got home. I think that pushed my back into relapse mode.

Mind you, the back isn't that bad and I'm probably making it out to sound much worse than it is, but it's annoying. So back to the early morning routine of core exercises and stretching...and maybe a little Celebrex to help me out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I set a record yesterday commuting to work. Three flat tires on the way in. I've had two before on many training rides, but this is a new record. Not the sort of record that is fun to set if you know what I mean. Thank goodness I switched to my larger saddle bag a few weeks ago and actually carry 3 tubes.

So post a comment and let me know what's the maximum number of flats you've had on a ride.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cantua Creek Road Race

Yesterday I blogged about my latest 1 second max power, and luckily for me I didn't have to sprint towards any finish today...

Matt and I hit the road early around 4:15am to get down to the race. We found ourselves arriving way early so we went down another exit to Harris Ranch. No luck for finding an established coffee spot, so I had to get my coffee from McDonald's. It served it's purpose and got me on track for the rest of the morning. Upon getting back on the freeway the coffee forgot to trigger my GPS capabilities because I gave Matt the wrong directions and we continued too far north. Oh well, it was like doing a course recon from the freeway.

Upon arriving there were quite a few cars lined the road and it was easy to pick out Casa Farinha. Daniel's orange bike has a certain glow that I could see from a quarter mile away as we arrived. The pre-reg process was smooth, and I think Velo Promo has done themselves a tremendous service using a more automated online system. I was in and out of registration in just a couple of minutes.

Today's warm-up was liberating; liberating since I left the trainer at home. This was done on purpose since I felt the first few miles of the race would serve as my warm up. The highlight up to this point was seeing two things: 1) the largest rack on an Audi that I've ever seen. The women's Team High Road Audi station wagon must have had a rack that could carry a dozen bikes. Our sponsor Rack'n'Road would be jealous. 2) the large turnout of SJBC riders across different categories. I met a few guys for the first time and provided a bit of encouragement to others.

Our group was split into two groups, but luckily Matt, Chris and I were lumped into the first group of 50. I don't know why they didn't combine us, since the B group only had 6 riders. We were given our final instructions and sent on our way. After the half mile rollout to the finish line/turnaround cones, we started to speed downhill.

On the bike today I put on the 606's thinking that it would come in useful as there wasn't much climbing on this course. These kicked in and sped me down the hill almost too fast. I was on the brakes constantly and I started to smell something. Oh yeah, that was from the cows over the ridge at Harris Ranch.

Several teams were very well represented. We felt they would dictate most of the action on the first lap. Things were pretty darn boring during the first 4 miles, so I decided to attack. No, I didn't slap down 1,500 watts like yesterday, but just wanted to put in a couple seconds of attacking to see who would follow. The best represented team, Now Direct, had one guy hop on my wheel. However, this rider was overweight and had extremely hairy legs. Needless to say, I knew he wasn't the right guy to stick w/ me on any sort of effort. So back to the group I slowly retreated.

Chris attacked next and nobody wanted to mark or chase him down. So he just dangled out there for a while. It was pretty apparent to see that SJBC had come out with an aggressive mindset and were willing to mix it up. Matt then got to the front and put in some pulls (I later found out that he did so because he was getting cold riding behind folks...he needed to get his blood pumping).

No more excitement while rolling out to the turnaround. On the whole way out there was a slight headwind that was at our back on the way back to the start/finish. The pace didn't really pick up at all and I found myself in a paceline of 5 that was working on the front. We were only pulling around 240 watts which just happens to be pretty darn easy for me.

Everybody had the same idea about the upcoming climb. Folks were saving their energy for the climb, but as we started to climb the pace wasn't that hard. Probably around a 7.5 on a 10-point scale. Knowing that I didn't want to burn through my brake pads going down the hill again due to people afraid to 'ride' their bikes, I made my way to the front with 50 meters to go to the turnaround and was first around the cones.

I jumped out of the saddle and decided to hammer a bit to string things out. The rider behind me yelled, "Hey, slow down, we don't have enough people in our break!" What?!? Did I just hear that? I have a natural advantage going down hills and I wanted to put it to use. So what's a racer to must race!

I threw down the hammer and kept the pace high on the small rolling hills that broke up the hill as it dropped onto the valley floor. I was on the rivet and looked back; nobody was chasing and I was slowly pulling away. 23 miles to go and I throw out a half-brain solo attack off the front!

My heartrate was at threshold and so was my power. I was glad at this point to have the 606's on the bike. I was able to rest my forearms on my bars ala-TT mode and got aero. I kept looking back every 20 seconds and there was no action at the front of the chasers. In fact the group looked like one large blob, which I knew was good because nobody was stringing out the peleton to chase me down.

At this point I was hoping that Matt and Chris were doing what they could to discourage any chasing (found out all the details post-race, which were very interesting...). Just as I was starting to feel some pretty heavy lactic acid building up in the legs I saw stragglers from other categories were coming into site. Just like our Winter Series TT, these folks were like my carrots in front of me. One by one I would slowly gobble them up and pass.

Upon reaching the turnaround point for the second time, I felt that with the wind at my back I might get lucky. I quickly glanced at the chase group as I passed them and heard them yell something out in my direction, but who knows what it was. Probably like, "Ah, so now we know why he's got those wheels on today...".

Miles and miles passed under me and I focused less on looking back and more on what was ahead. Kept the cadence high and forged on. Upon reaching the base of the hill I looked back and knew I could make it to the top if I went into idiot mode. What's idiot mode you ask? It's how I describe my ability to turn off my pain receptors and just put out an effort that makes people think you're doing something completely idiotic.

The hill to the finish is stair-stepped. Up the first stair and upon glancing back, nobody in site. Out of site...out of mind. One stair down, two more to go. I went really hard on the second; there's a nice short downhill section after this crests and I was able to get my speed up to around 35mph. This launched me up onto the final climb. As I was halfway up the climb I looked back and realized nobody would catch me. With 200 meters to go I glanced back again and saw Matt killing people on the climb. Nobody was on his tail!!!

I let up with 150 meters to go and savored my attack. I think I was more stoked to see Matt coming up on me than my own win. I crossed the line and a flood of emotions came over me. The joy of winning, a feeling of accomplishment from recovering after my L4/5 back injury last summer and knowing that hard work really can pay off.

This was a great team win and the work Matt and Chris did were great. Their stories of how chaos ensued in the peleton are priceless (Racine would be proud)! By the way, the next road race I do I'm going to map out the route myself to double check the length. Velo Promo said this was 52 miles, but I clocked off 47.5 miles.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Sign of Things to Come?!?

Tomorrow is the Cantua Creek RR. Not an "A" race on my schedule, but it's the first road race of the year. There are several well represented teams and it should be interesting to see how things play out as I only have myself and two other teammates in the mix (...and yes, we'll be mixing it up...).

I decided to ride with Boke out to New Almaden just to keep the legs fresh. A jump here or there to see how the legs were feeling was all that was in store for the ride. After my second quick jump I felt pretty good. Spun out my gear, got the cadence up to around 135 and felt reasonably fresh.

Upon clicking through the Powertap (puss-o-tron to some), I came across a very big surprise to me. I had just set a new 1 second max wattage mark. Bested my previous by 25 watts!!!

So what does this mean for tomorrow? You'll have to tune in and find out over the next couple of days...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fork me

I'm all down for finding a better way to treat mother earth, but somebody must be smart enough to realize a couple of key things. First, the fork is a key part of the culinary experience for many western civilizations. It's part of our daily lives and language ("put a fork in it..."). Second, there's a structural balance to the fork. Some have three prongs, others have four; but if you've ever had a fork with a missing prong the utensil just doesn't feel balanced in your hand. Third, it's so, so easy to tell when one of the prongs is bent. A bent fork is a sure way to ruin a good meal.

Given my rant, they why oh why would somebody create a biodegradeable fork that quickly violates some of the key tenants of its use?!? I'm working through my glorious breakfast burrito this morning as part of my nutrition "loading" for my road race on Saturday. Upon cutting the burrito into smaller parts my knife hits the fork and promptly saws off one of the prongs! Come on engineers, but the fork and knife have got to work to together. The last thing I want to choke on is a fork prong that might accidentally get swallowed and then take 3 years to biodegrade in my stomach.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This doesn't feel familiar

Ever find yourself in a situation where it feels like you've reached uncharted territory? Gone too far down a dark alley and wondered what was lurking in the shadows around the next corner? The part of me that's type A hates when I get in a situation like this, and man, it's been like this at work this week. My type B alter-ego says chill out, learn from it. It's like dueling banjo's!!! Thank goodness for a boss that understands and is helping me through it...

Thursday, February 7, 2008


My wife was the first person to put this notion in my head and originally I had no basis for why she thought this way. Then another person mentioned the same thing to me a few months ago. Both were talking about how things happen in "3's".

What sucks is three people have passed away over the past week who lived on my street (one downthe way, another across the street and the last my next door neighbor whom I absolutely loved!). I'm praying that no other tragedies strike our quaint, quasi-close knit group (yeah, we have a street email group).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Stupidity Relapse

On with the details of my roof rack and garage accident. No reaction of horror when it happened, but one of utter laughter as I was in partial shock to the stupidity of my actions. My brother-in-laws have both 'garaged' their bikes before and I should have known better; but I guess a little bit of blissful ignorance never hurt anybody since laughing made me feel better (and knowing that all my friends would find this just as funny, or funnier, than me getting some belgium knee warmers on my face and having it get toasty for 20 minutes...yeah, don't try this at home, especially with that leg salsa stuff).

The rack tower above the driver side door was pulled back a good 8-10 inches and the bar itself was pulled off the tower. This caused the tray the bike is attached on to pull upward and twist just a bit. After I inspected the bike last night the only damage was to the saddle and seatpost. There was a small horizontal crack in the carbon seatpost where it took the most pressure. As for the saddle, this picture kinda sums it up:

Amazingly the rails are both pointing skywards and there was no slipping whatsoever from where the saddle and seatpost are mounted.

Many of you expressed concern that this was my Parlee, but luckily it wasn't. Just my steel Serotta that has taken a licken' and kept on tickin'. This frame is has survived being hit by the AT&T service vehicle, me high-siding it coming down Summit Road and taco-ing my set of Mavic Kysriums and now this. I put it back into duty this morning for the commute into work and noticed no indication of what it had gone through the day before.

On second thought, I think I'll check the handlebars. The hoods felt just a tad lower on the ride home tonight.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Learned My Lesson

Breaking news (literally)!

Car, meet parking garage. Parking garage say, 'Hi!', to saddle. Saddle, step to the side and defer yourself to the seatpost for a more engaging and thorough introduction to the parking garage. Seatpost, don't bend or break, just ease into the introduction with the garage as the car beneath you moves slowly at 3mph and the bike rack rips off from the top of my car...

More news at 11...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Belgium Knee Warmers Defined

This text below is taken from the BKW blog. Every now and then I read this definition for inspiration:

For many professional cyclists the Spring campaign is the toughest of the season; it means training from October until March in the worst, character-building weather conditions Europe can dish out. This weather and the suffering that is bicycle racing breed characters known as "hardmen".

Select cyclists tackle these conditions in shorts, long sleeve jerseys or short sleeve jerseys with arm warmers, wind vests, and shoe covers. A true hardman opts to forego the knee or leg warmers and instead chooses an embrocation to cover the knees. The liniment provides warmth for the legs and keeps the blood circulating and muscles supple. Embrocation and the sheen created is affectionately known as "Belgium knee warmers". The hardest of cyclists will sport bare legs in the most ruthless of conditions.