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.