Monday, December 22, 2008

Holy Cow, it's Christmahanakwanzakah already!

Winter cycling blog update

This cake pretty much says it all - kinda poo brown, with the value-neutral sentiment: "Winter"


Bushwhacked by some job responsibilities that I thought I would have cleared by now but can't quite seem to shake free of, getting sick here or there and doing the requisite holiday party hop.

I'll be a cyclist again at some point, I know it

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fastsqautch Monthly Update

My adoring fanbase demands yet more updates, so here you go. (thanks, both of you, by the way)

Mike's average weekly time allocation in November:

60-70 hours work at Tacit Knowledge (finance and infrastructure stuff)
56 or so hours sleeping
20 or so hours eating taking care of self etc
4-10 or so hours riding my bicycle
2-5 or so hours on finance education and personal finance
2-4 or so hours watching movies
1-2 or so hours work for Merritt's estate
.5 or so hours work for Teresa's web design company

Reeks of glamour, dunnit? Yeah, I'm not sure what happened to the pie slices I imagined growing up that were supposed to be at least 5 hours of fighting fires and operating earth-moving machines, or the one labelled "spacewalks for zero-g science experimentation" etc.

Can't really complain though, there's also no "5 hours, cleaning prison lavatories" or anything.

I do feel as though I need to justify my complete failure to either post interesting material, appear on group rides, or cause any suffering on said group rides. So there you go.

I will say that I went for a fan-tas-tic ride just now though. Lacked motivation the whole day but with just enough time before sunset on the last gorgeous day of the last weekend before "they" warn wet winter storms will start rolling in, I pulled my head out and climbned around the East Bay hills. Glorious - not sure why I didn't get out sooner. Something they call motivation I suppose. I recognize that I've never been one to train for no reason, and that reason is usually a race. I'm going to have to commit to some races next year to get the motivation up, and get back on the road again.

I'm not going to take credit for this picture, but this is pretty much the treat for pedaling up the hill behind my house at sunset:

Who wouldn't want to do that more often?

Surely carving 5 hours out of that bloated pie slice at work wouldn't result in the ruin of the company? Nah...

Unless something more interesting happens I'm probably not going to post again before Turkey Day, so happy thanksgiving everyone, with a wish that you have things to be thankful for and realize it in time to enjoy it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Updates, people want updates

Here's some Frankfurt airport fun for people, apropos of my ride last

People appear to be saddened at my lack of updates, but not nearly as
saddened as I am at my lack of fitness!

Unbelievably painful for me last night, and humbling. I appear to have
taught my legs that they only need to store enough energy for an hour
because I didn't just blow up (though I *did* blow up), I also bonked.

Now, seriously.

Here's hoping there's enough time between now and Spring for some real
training or I'm definitely on the downgrade path :-)

Great to see everyone as always though. I do love that port ride...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

where's mike?

started in san francisco

stopped in chisinau, moldova

played for a bit in istanbul, turkey

flew on to manhattan in new york

just about to head back to oakland

will continue to guadalajara on thursday


lots of work, some fun - good to see the world a bit

I miss my bikes though, hopefully I can make it to the POO on tuesday

cheers, all

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bike Art and some randoms

Thursday evenings are usually reserved for my honey, but recently I've been working about 482% too much. You can't ever really make up for that, but trying to is fun, you know?

(firepit burns *wood* which is the purported theme of 5th anniversaries for traditional gift giving. Copper is also good for the 7th anniverary, so hey, if this firepit lasts long enough I'm all set. Obligatory bicycle - Hillary, if you were wondering - in the background and I'm sure if you look closely enough there'll be a cat in the house looking out)

Teresa and I just redid the backyard last year with something like 50 cents and a lot of elbow grease, plus a couple special assists from Sean Smith (thanks Sean :-) ). And we haven't gotten to enjoy it much this summer, but this is definitely nice. Obligatory two-wheeled machine in the background (that's "Scout" if you were wondering)


I pass this bicycle graffiti every day, and I have to admit, it's not bad:

A visual feast. Shouts to all the guys and gals racing this weekend - good luck to everyone and keep the rubber side down (unlike that graffit)

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bike Against The Odds

I don't do charity rides usually because I don't like hitting other people up for money, I just donate myself if I'm into something.

But my cycling team (Kaiser Permanente / Team Oakland) *is* sponsored by a health care provider, there's a charity ride that starts at Lake Merritt and rides all over my normal stomping grounds, and it's supporting research into breast cancer which hits a surprising number of my friends.

So I end up supporting the Bike Against The Odds every year, and even though I haven't been riding much this year I gave it a shot.

Here's the crew (3 Jeff/Geoffs, 2 Mikes, a Tom and a Mel) about to depart at 6:30AM on a Saturday (sacrifice, people!) for an overcast romp around the hills of the East Bay.

Naturally, training in three months what I normally train in two weeks didn't work out to well for me, and I'll just say this picture is a metaphor for my fitness:

I started getting the tell-tale twitches that said "do you *want* to cramp before you get home, or shouldn't you just ride home now, buddy?" so I pulled the plug at mile 50 and retreated to a comfortable napping area to lick my wounds.

I'll do the full thing again next year. But hey, we raised a ton of money! And it's for the boobies, I think everyone can get behind that. Seriously, good work to all that helped the cause or have battled through it.


I ride a bike sometimes

Lots of stuff separating me and my beloved stable of fillies (Hilary, War Admiral, and Angeleria, if you were curious. You name your bikes, don't you?)

But I have still been riding to work when I can - BART in the morning, Ferry at night

One of the things I love about bike commuting is that it puts me in the urban parklands and urban core, where there is always incidental art hanging around. Bike commuting in, say, Wichita, Kansas just wouldn't be the same.

Right now there is this exhibit of globes on the beach (I forget which one, by the marina) in San Francisco. It looks like they've asked a bunch of artists to do whatever they want so long as it's this size globe and has the continents on it. This one is my current favorite - it's a fully "green" globe, but really looks like a welcome mat. Bonus points for having the bridge behind it :-). I'll be sad to see the globes go - I'll see if I can scope out another couple for posts.

And yeah, sunsets are cliche, but come on. You had a hard day at work, you're on your way home, and there it is. Ahhh.

Sam's Getting Married

Bachelor party last weekend, and folks, take note - this is a good itinerary (good work, James):

- karting (of *course* I won, I mean, come on)

- guns (I'm not that into guns, but if you've ever gone to a range you have to admit it's fun - those paper targets never knew what hit them!)

- cocktails

- dinner (Espetus - more meat than you can shake a stick at, or fit on a stick, or whatever, just meat, man)

- out on the town

Honestly, a great day.

Best of luck, Sam and Jen.

FormulaGrub and a Track Day

While this is a cycling blog mostly, I'll admit I'm generally
interested in most things that go really fast. Nascar doesn't do it
for me because turning one direction the whole time is a bit dull, but
Formula 1 and MotoGP are both great fun to watch.

Just about everything is better if you enjoy it with friends though,
so we've got a little dinner club going we call "FormulaGrub" where we
try to cook food related to the location of the Formula 1 race, then
we eat it up while we watch the race. Good friends, new food, and
fantastic engineering, what's not to like?

Here's Clan Gilbert cooking up some Indian food before the Hungarian
Grand Prix (note Lindsay criticizing us because while Hungarians may
eat Indian food a lot, it's not really Hungarian)

And of course, even better than watching MotoGP is acting out your
fantasy that you may actually have a little Valentino Rossi in you, so
I took Jimbei up on his offer for a track day and headed out to
Thunderhill for some moto-madness. Honestly, Jay Rossi (long-time
friend from FormulaGrub) talked me into it, so it's all his fault.

For an idea how much fun that is, my leathers are new so their a bit
tight, and they rubbed some friction blisters all over my shins. I
didn't notice that *at all* while I was on the track - that much speed
on that little machinery is definitely a form of crack. Jimbei, thanks
for the bike loan, and Sean, thanks for the truck loan.

Look at the smile on Jay's face, it tells the tale :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

two wheels, but faster

hey, if I'm not training enough to go fast on a bicycle, why not get an engine involved?

Thanks to Jimbei for letting me borrow one of his babys for the day, and to Teresa for being nervous but understanding

pics of the full stormtrooper/dork leather suit later

rubber side down!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Merritt Futter, 1936-2008

Pictures do say a thousand words.

We're still working through all the details, and probably will be for
quite some time, but Merritt passed away last Thursday. It wasn't easy,
but answering the call to help Merritt these last few months was an honor.

He was genuine guy, and a good one at that.

Teresa loved him dearly, and having spent the time I did with him, I
could see why.

Rest in peace, Merritt

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Superweek tales from the White brothers

Russ and Greg White (Kovarus, and frequent Port Riders) are up in
SuperWeek racing in the cat 3 peloton, trying to show them a thing or two.

Looks like they need to be shown the way to some skills clinics...

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Superweek
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2008 21:38:23 -0700 (PDT)

Hey Mike,

It was really cool watching Karla kick ass and represent the Port Ride.
Here is update on what we've been up to.

Ray Basso Bensenville Criterium - Day 1: 7/15

The course was a very much like a cyclocross course and not every
interesting. A break of the 3 went up the road with a buddy of ours from
Nor Cal, Matt Talbot the clean racer. So, we chilled in the pack and did
a bit of blocking. Then, I lead out Greg for the field sprint. I railed
the inside of the first turn and kept the gas on. I pulled off on the
backside of the course and Greg was second wheel into the last turn.
There was a crash and he took off a easily won the sprint for 4^th .
Russ DNF

Humbolt Park Criterium : 7/17

This course had a steady climb and a curving decent toward the finish.
Early in the race I'm a break and there was a miss communication with a
rider pulling through. The guy who flicked his elbow clipped and took
out the front wheel of the rider pulling through. I was right behind it
and we were going 35 mph, so I smacked the pavement really hard. The
SRAM neutral support guys couldn't repair my headset and they didn't
have a neutral bike for me, so I was done early on. I did bruise my
right hip badly.

Without me in the race, Greg had to cover more moves. Someone attacked
with 5 laps to go and he soloed for the win. Greg was 10^th wheel into
the last turn and the guy in front of him hit a cone it popped up and
almost nailed him in the head. The cone tagged the guy behind Greg and
he went down. The guy who hit the cone jumped on the inside, which was
wind protected. Greg followed and then unleashed his sprint to crush the
field sprint for 2^nd . Our host mom has a sweet video of Greg showing a
clean set of wheels to the field.

Ripon Red Hawk Criterium : 7/18

The course went endlessly up hill but in reality you would climb up a
hill then bomb down into the turn to go up the next hill. So it was a
funky 4 corner & 4 hill criterium. I felt too injured to race and took
an off day. The race stayed together until 2 to go when a tire blew out
in turn 3 and 10 guys and Greg got a gap on the field. After moving up
on the backside of the course, Greg was 6^th wheel into the last turn.
Greg jumped to start his sprint, his rear wheel skipped once and before
he knew it he was upside down and still clipped in. Greg landed on his
back and helmet and the bike flew 10 feet in the air. The helmet was
toasted and everyone was amazed that Greg was able to walk away with a
few minor scrapes.

Carl Zach Cycling Classic : 7/19

Today's course looked like staircase and the pavement was very poor. It
had 8 turns and they were tight. The pace was high and I had a poor
start, I was annoyed with the way that riders were allowed to start
clipped in since you're supposed to have a foot down when the whistle is
blown. The cat 3 peloton was having trouble around turn 1 where there
were two crashes that saw guys hitting the mattresses covering the
parking meters. It was very sketchy and I rode at the back playing the
train conductor collecting tickets, chillin' as the the last man. Greg
was riding well in the pack and it was strung out. With 5 laps to go
Greg came back to check on me and I took his wheel. Then going around
turn 6, some douchebag in a gay ass pink kit dove the corner inside me
and took out my front wheel. WTF, he was fighting for my teammates'
wheel at the back of the peloton. I tumble and superman over the bars
and I scraped up my elbow. Greg didn't contest the sprint and finished
24th, Russ DNF

Right now the morale is kinda low. We are wearing quite a bit of
surgical netting because guys can't handle their bikes. But there is a
race tomorrow and we are hoping that out luck has turned.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

I am not a smoker

getting a bit sick of wildfires...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Good to be back!

Even my wife is getting into the act and sending me funny pictures, so
I'll grace you with this fine product from these fine people:

As many of you know - I've been up in the far North Bay (Lakeport, to be
precise) doing what I can to help a family member that needs a hand. If
you didn't know, that's why I've been so MIA the last month or so.

Got back in town this week just in time for the port ride though, and
boy do I miss when it I'm not here. It's great to see everyone, even if
it's hard to talk while pushing so hard :-)

Missed a few though, where are the girls for instance? No Morgan, Karla
or Alice. Shouldn't Alice be getting close to healed now? I hope so. No
Justin either but Ryan was laying into people in his place. I'll give a
shout to Russ and Greg too - they're headed to SuperWeek next week and
it'd be cool to have some NorCal representin' up there.

Hopefully I'll be back to a semi-regular racing schedule in the near
future, but no guarantees.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One goal met, but a thorough spanking

I beat the entire BPG team at Pescadero

I know, I know, it's practically cheating as there were only two there
and one of them (the guy from BPG that was in the winning breakaway
move, actually) flatted out.

But I didn't say what qualified, did I? Just that I thought it would be
funny to beat the whole BPG team at a race. This of course conclusively
proves I'm single-handedly better than all of them, of course.

More honestly though, I got my ass handed to me at Pescadero. I blew up
a bit on the main climb each time up the hill but chased back on the
first two times. The third of four times up the small hills I blew off
the back when Paul Mach hit the front to stretch his legs or something
and was unable to chase back on despite a real effort with a couple
other guys.

After that I just rolled it around for the rest of the 103 miles and
finished - not quite last, but really close. Total mileage to the car
for the drive home was 113 miles, and my nifty power meter told me it
was about 3 days worth of training stress in 5 hours. Made for a great
nap when I got back anyway.

What did I learn? I can't climb with the P12 pack yet. I'm a little too
heavy, and not quite strong enough. I'm close...but close isn't quite
good enough. So I need to work on that.

For the power junkies out there the main climb was something around 7:30
each time, which was 310W average for me, and I was 144lbs for the race.

Had I been able to hang with the pack I think it would have been 7:00 to
7:15, and while I was with them I was doing ~380W steady for 2 minutes.
Those are great numbers for me, just not quite good enough.

5lbs (to my racing weight last season, basically) and 5% more power and
I think I'd be there. That's attainable...


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I don't understand my body at all

Sometimes I think it's ironic that I'm viewed as someone that's always going by the numbers and is totally scientific. While I do use various numbers a lot in my training and attempt to be as scientific as possible there are two sides to the coin, and just as I am my own exercise scientist, I am also sometimes just Mike the guinea pig athlete.

Sunday and Monday, for instance, were a couple days where it's clear that sometimes no matter how methodical I am, my body knows more than I do and sometimes I just can't explain it.

For a quick bit of context:
- Tuesday was the Port Ride to round out a nearly 100mile day, and it was predictably hard but felt good
- Wednesday was easy (just about an hour toodling along)
- Thursday I felt great, so I went full gas on the short-end - 1minute intervals and sprints. Set a new PR here
- Friday, recovery toodling
- Saturday I go to my Father-in-law's house and move furniture until I'm dead-tired
- Sunday I try to race the 2-wheel crit and DNF a race for only the second time *ever* since racing from 1995

Sunday was awful. Splitting headache, foaming at the mouth, couldn't put power down, pulled myself an hour into a 75-minute crit.

So I figure the furniture-moving was bad. And maybe I was dehydrated, I dunno.

I wake up Monday, I'm pretty sore all over from moving still, but I go for a spin on the trainer anyway, and this happens:

WTF? I mean, basically I had planned to just ride easy and was riding what felt easy when I looked down and realized I'd been zipping along at my previous FTP (270W) for around 5 minutes with no heart rate movement at all, even as I put more load on a few times.

While I'm doing this, I'm thinking it is very, very strange. Like, maybe my heart has a problem and I need a doctor strange.

So I figure I'll round it out for a 20-minute FTP test and with 10 minutes to go I ratchet it up pretty big - to 320W. A couple months ago I could do that for 4 minutes and I'd pretty much hurl at 4:01, so trying it for 10 minutes is unrealistic at best. Now my heart finally edged up to threshold levels, and even then only after bumping up to 330W a couple times.

I still felt low perceived exertion though, so with two minutes left I figured I'd go for 380W. Why not? it's all impossible anyway. I was able to stick that and when I was done I felt recovered in about two minutes.

This just doesn't happen! That's a 50W improvement on both FTP and 5-minute efforts! Who sets a 5-minute PR at the end of a 20-minute test? On any other day, not me.

I checked this morning on a different bike (with a different power unit), and much of that power is still present so I know my Ergomo isn't f'ing with me.

I have never had that happen before, ever. I'm Mr.Slow-and-steady progress if I'm anything.

The athlete guinea pig in me is ecstatic at the numbers (more math tells me I'd do 27.7mph in a TT at that power!), but the scientist in me is completely puzzled.

I'm going to have to do some more testing surrounding fuel (maybe it was Bob's Red Mill Oats on Monday?), warmup (maybe it was just easing into it?), amount of rest (two days no cycling, one day hard ride, then something I care about?) and any other variables I can think of that may have resulted in blowing the doors off like that.

If I can make this happen in a race...

Anyway, I know there's some number-geeks out there, so I thought I'd share. Has anyone else had something like this happen? Total crap day followed by blowing the doors off? Any tricks you know?

And what's on tap for the Pescadero Suffer-fest on Saturday? Is my body going to be Dr.Jekyll, or Mr.Hyde?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bay Area Summer = Suffer City

ah, bay area in the summer

it's cold

it's crazy windy (check out that windsock from the port ride last night!)

we were struggling to do 21mph as a pack into the headwind last night

without Joel and John out there attacking it never blew apart, but Nate English (soon-to-be-pro phenom) was trying his hardest.

Sean pulled him back, of course ;-)

inadvertently set Haydn up for the longest sprint of his POO career

Even had a MaryMaroon guest appearance. Good times

Saturday, May 31, 2008

First real ride with the Pros

So, today was the first "real" race I've done with the P/1/2 crowd.

I say that because the two Modesto races I did, while they were fun, apparently weren't typical of a real race because there weren't enough strong folks there.

Even though today's flat four-corner office park crit (typical) was a P/1/2/3 field, so we had a ton of cat 3 riders in there, there were also some domestic pros (Roman Kilun from HealthNet and Kevin Klein from Rock&Republic Racing) as well as many other strong characters from the local scene including the ever-present wrecking crew of Joel Robertson and Brian Bosch from SPOC as well as lots of stoners and strawberries (BPG and CalGiant). And the field was full, with 120 (!) people ripping around the course.

I'll admit, when it started, I was a little worried - within 5 minutes there was a lot of pressure at the front, and for the next 10 minutes it was on. You can see in the chart how spiky the power demand was fighting for position in such a big field, and how far over my threshold heart rate it took me, but I was unwilling to get too far from the front as I thought a big break might go or a pack split might happened, and I didn't want to miss it like I did at Modesto.

All for naught though - the wind was pretty vicious, and the pack wasn't willing to let anything go, so I concentrated on saving the rest of my bullets for the sprint.

And oh, what a sprint. I learned something today (which I've already told several people, but it is still a revelation to me). In the P/1/2 races it's not "a" sprint. There are multiple sprints. Now, in the cat 3 races, there's sort of a last lap surge where you need to be in the top 5 or so, then everyone sprints. But there aren't that many people that can legitimately sprint or even last in that surge, so it isn't that big a deal.

In the P/1/2 though, there's a big surge around the last lap just to get anywhere near the front, then you have to deal with people literally pushing you hard to get you out of their way and bumping you, and then - if you're lucky and you've made it that far with good position - you have earned the right to have a big sprint way too early, something like 600 meters to go, where the sprinters are merely separating themselves from the rest of the pack as the last of the lead-out men are doing their job. Now! Now, is where the action happens - if you are still in the draft bubble up with the lead group, you've got the chance for one last burst of speed, and if you can accelerate enough you'll hit the line with a good placing, or maybe a win.

Not sure why, but I didn't think it through before, and didn't realize the last part of the lead-out was so strong that it was basically a full sprint. So when some (not all) of the sprinters stood up and jumped with 600 meters to go I thought they were crazy, and I did not go. My mistake. I came in 15th out of 120, but next time, I'm going to give that first sprint most of what I've got and even if I don't have a great burst after that I bet I do better. We'll see.

So there you go, P12 sprint tactics in a nutshell.

I'll take a moment to give Joel Robertson some credit here. I've been razzing him here and in person about how I've beat him twice, but he crushed me today *after* doing a leadout for Bosch (who got second by a whisker). And the times I've beat him he was working for teammates too. At any rate, he followed that performance up with a race-long break in the 35+ 123, and I gotta say, I can fight for position with the front of the group, and I can sprint, but I certainly don't have that power. All I've got is heckling, man, I can't help it ;-)

Other random thoughts. Does anyone else feel like a big ol' fred when they're riding next to either a domestic pro or someone they know is super-fast? It can't just be me. I see the Rock&Republic kit rolling around next to me and I think "better not squirrel out now Mr Wizard, don't want to crash out a guy that's actually good at this". I even skeezed a bit with Bosch next to me. Joel'd do it but I ride with him too much. Yeah, I should probably get over that. But I thought I'd own up to it.

Anyway, here's the chart. Geek away. And the result sheet, because, well because I took the picture and what else am I going to do with it? Almost beat Roman! Could've bagged me a pro if I had known about that multi-sprint deal. Next time!

Oh, final thought - MechaAlice (Alice-or?) was on her trainer "glowing" away, while cheering for Brian in the crit. She gets the "Mecha" tag because she had an articulated full arm brace and her elbow was still all swole up and green from surgery after her crit crash a few weeks back. That's core. Keep getting better, and we'll see you at the port, Alice.

Alright, enough blah blah. It was great seeing everyone out there today. Rubber side down...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

OMG ponies

could also be titled "why I didn't race last weekend" since my friend Stu, who got me in to this silly sport in 1997 was in town and I hung out with him, his wife, his new daughter Claire (starring in the pictures) and others all weekend instead of hitting the start line.

I'm in the strange position of being a little overtrained and tired while also jonesing for a race

so this week I've been resting, taking care of business, and looking forward to the ICCCCCC dash for cash on saturday

hope to see a big crew out there for that one now that the TO 3s team is so deep. Seriously - Mike Fee, Brian, Kieran, Toby, Stephen, Maury, Sean. That's crazy! if we got Ian, Scott and Chris Kovash out there we'd have 11. Why not :-)?

See everyone Saturday

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

recovery day randoms

Here's the art shot of the day - Statue of what I take to be a mother
and daughter. It looks to me like the mother is protecting the daughter
and they are both happy, which I like. The daughter has four eyes
though, which I can't interpret all though.

And then I saw this old Chinese guy puffing up the hill with two
amazingly fluffy pomeranians chasing after him, and with the euphoria of
the clear bright sunshine of the morning, I couldn't resist snapping a
pic of him too.

People sometimes wonder what we cyclists do on those really long rides.
Well, ask no more, this is the answer. Just replace "France" with "the
Central Valley" ;-)

Finally, I'll mention that last night's port ride was the hardest thing
I've done on a bike since the Everest Challenge last year. Immediately
after the ride I thought it was the hardest thing ever, but then I
remembered Everest and let's be honest, Everest was harder, just not by
much. So if you were hurting, I was right there with ya

I was shooting for 5-5.5 hours of riding yesterday. The tough part was
just that somewhere around hour 5 on the bike was when the port ride
started to really shatter, and I can't even describe how awful it felt
to have the draft stripped away, see the pack up ahead with a lot of
straightaway and headwind to go, and know that if I didn't get up there
it was all over.

Not that it would have really mattered but quitters never win, right? So
suffer I did. Unbearable agony. Such a brutal sport, gotta love it.

In the final chunk of randoms I'll mention that the things that went
through my head this morning on the ride into work were:

- how on earth do people ride 400 miles a week and still get their work
done and keep their families happy??
- Maury said I haven't been Mr.Chipper per usual lately. overtrained?
Just tired?
- Damn it's a beautiful morning
- Hey, the Polo Fields are open again after the Bay to Breakers, but the
Bay to Breakers runners trashed the hell out of it, just like they did
the rest of the park. Pigs.
- Huh, I can see my fingers through my gloves. Guess I should buy gloves
more than once every two years. Nah.
- If the POO was that hard after 85 miles, what's the finale at
Pescadero going to be like after 100? shit
- Look at those roses! Teresa loves roses

There were a few more, but if anything they were less interesting. If
you read this far, I should probably by you beer.



Sunday, May 18, 2008

Modesto RR - more fun in the heat

Back in lovely Modesto for the second day in a row this Sunday. Yesterday was a crit, and today is actually in Salida, CA, but it's near Modesto so they call it the Modesto crit. Did you know Modesto is only 1.5 hours from Oakland? Salida is only 1.25 hours from Oakland. They're not that far away, but they are a world apart, for sure.

It was 60 degrees in Oakland when I woke up but after Sean, Jeff Sobul, Brian Johnston, Ed Lai and I got to Modesto at 7am, I was feeling pretty stupid in my hoodie since it was already 80 degrees. Only got up to 100 though, not so bad, right? Neutral water feeds helped a lot - it really wasn't that bad. We were all wondering in the car how the VeloPromo B team (Cicarreli Enterprises) can set up a great neutral water station, but (for instance) the Berkeley Hills RR can't. Makes no sense.

Anyway, the ride up was good - the truck was packed in tight with 5 guys but everything fit

The race itself was not what I was expecting. Breakaways simply didn't work today because Daniel Holloway had a different workout in his I'm-a-national-champion schedule than we did, and he needed to ride really hard for a long time apparently, because he just sat on the front and towed everything back. Damned impressive really but it meant that my attempts to be more aggressive today (4 different breakaways!) were all for naught.

At least I learned the lesson from yesterday, go with the breaks! It was a lot more fun, and one of them could have made it - if it had I would have been there...

Coming into the sprint, we just caught the cat 4 field, and boy was that a mess. We somehow kept everything together, and though I had been on uber-sprinter John Wilk's wheel I lost it into the last corner. Then while I also mostly learned the sprinting lesson from yesterday and I sprinted much more aggressively I didn't quite unleash the best sprint at the right time, rolling across in 7th place out of the 28 folks that started. But you know what 7th place is? My first cat 1 upgrade point, in my first weekend! Score.

Not sure what I can take away from this race (besides the upgrade point) except that in the sprint I need to really push harder and earlier. The numbers weren't as big as I can go - 700W instead of 1000W (big difference!) and the duration was a bit shorter than I can do when I'm mentally on my game too. If I really get all that right, I think I can crack top 5.

At the risk of alienating one of my 4 readers, I'll pick on Joel again and mention he was not in the top 7 ;-). John W (his teammate) was 3rd though (great showing!) and Joel worked for him, so it's only good for laughs. Honestly it was a great weekend - I really enjoyed racing with the stronger field, and I was off in a couple breaks with Joel (who was both supportive and ribbing me at the same time) which was honestly a lot of fun. Then sprinting with John was great too. I ride with these guys every week but never get to see them turn the pedals in anger - now I do and it's great to watch.

Also, it was fun to do 71 miles in 2 hours and 40 minutes, and finally, frankly, it felt great to race in a new field and just not do anything stupid or dangerous despite the higher speeds. Safe and smooth is good, and being safe and smooth while being aggressive and mixing it up in the sprint is a bonus. Good stuff.

Not sure what's up with the Memorial Day weekend, I've got a great friend coming in to town so I may be MIA. But I'll be out at the port. See everyone there.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

One goal met, but some missed opportunities

Went to the Modesto crit and played with the big dogs in my first P12 race today.

Carpooled up with Tim Granshaw, TOSean and Joel. Fun chatter up and back, with a free anatomy lesson. Good times.

Modesto itself was only 95 degrees or something for the warm up and race. Don't get me wrong, that's hot (hot enough to melt my cat, as you can see), but it's not apocalyptic.

Mixed up a bit at the start, jumping across gaps, rotating a bit, but it was a bit too early and by the time the heavy hitters went for it I was taking a breather. We'd been doing 6 minutes at 28-29mph by that point and 10 over 27.5. Similar to the heat - not lightning fast but moving along. So I'm resting up 15th wheel or so and there go the stars-n-stripes of Hollaway up the road with a bunch of folks.

That meant I watched the break that stuck roll away - a little disappointing since I was in position and honestly had the gas but thought "it's a long race, that's a messy number of people, I'll fire it up in a couple more minutes". Lesson learned there. If you can get in a move, just do it already.

In the final sprint I had an opportunity to help Chris Turner (a nice guy, you'd help him too) for the win after he lapped but I had a cranio-rectal inversion and didn't realize he had a lap. Would have been nice to exercise some power (which I had - legs felt great) in the finale with Bosch there too. Another lesson learned. Pay attention to who is off the front, and chat more with folks you know instead of playing the hermit. Even though I don't have teammates, that'll make the racing more fun. At least I let Chris in the slipstream with no fuss when he asked.

At the same time, next time ask for a hand though, Chris! I had about 600-800m of warp speed in the tank, and with me and Bosch, you might have beaten the super-strong Rapinski and scored one for us underdogs...instead there was a lull and he attacked solo on the last lap, then got pipped.

Finally, in the real sprint I hesitated at my pre-determined sprint jump point (Suisun Crit repeat here...), stood up with the rest of the group, and didn't do as well in the pack sprint as I should have. Was still accelerating at the line which is always the sign of a bad sprint for me. Had a clear line and everything but something along the lines of a starstruck "wow I'm in a P12 sprint" was going through my mind instead of "go go go". Dang! Final lesson learned - they're just bike racers, and so am I. Jump already fer cryin' out loud ;-).

I'm not mad at myself though. My clearly stated goal at the start of the race was to finish with the pack or better. I got a 18th (out of 40ish?), I don't think I rode sketchy or lacked class, and hopefully folks in the group will start to get used to a hairy legged guy with carrot choppers (tri-spokes) in the group. Which would be good, because I'm going to remember these lessons, and I intend to be mixing it up in here for the rest of the season...

Oh, I should mention (to steal a Paul Mach line) that you can see here that I beat both Joel R and Brian Bosch, conclusively proving that I am better at all things bike-related than them. Guess they're just handing out cat 1 licenses to anybody nowadays, sheesh ;-)

You can see in the chart what the numbers look like. I put gridlines in at my LT power (270W currently), 30mph and 100rpm. And I smoothed it a bit so you're missing the peaks but you can see better. The heat made my heart rate skew pretty high - probably 5-10 beats. Otherwise that's normal for me.

Now I'll take a quick moment to say thanks to everyone that I chat with or ride with or that reads these bloggin's and encourages me in general and specifically when I moved up to the 2s. I love pushing myself but it isn't always easy - your support helps a lot.

Next up, the Modesto RR tomorrow. 72 miles of flat hot fun, weee...


Friday, May 16, 2008

The verdict is in

case closed

today was definitely the most beautiful commute ever

70 degrees, light breeze, early sun-up, and a recovery day so the pedaling was easy.

Even having the polo fields locked down and blocked off for the ING bay to ING breakers brought to you by ING didn't bug me since I didn't need to ride much.

Should be the perfect calm before the storm of my first P12 race

happy Friday all

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's a bike party!

Went for the long ride this morning

GG Park to the Great Highway and the Lake Merced loop (thanks Beth!) then up Foerster/Teresita, across Twin Peaks, then bombing down 7th back at the park

Then .... skidding to a stop at 7th and something because hey! It's Bike to Work day! Woohoo - there's maybe 20 people clustered around a table with free bagels, coffee, water, bags, and scones.

Cyclists are whizzing around everywhere on their way to work, dropping in like hummingbirds for vittles. I'm a scone-a-holic so I grabbed one of those.

Then I pedaled off through the park, headed out Arguello and out to the Presidio, bombed down towards Crissy Field and .... stopped short at a *huge* bike to work party in the Presidio.

Maybe 50 folks and people are laying around taking it easier here - there's supposed to be a BBQ later, apparently but some of us do actually have to get to work at some point :-). So I grabbed an apple and waded out of the crowd back to the commute

Saw about double the bike traffic, all told - honestly I see quite a few bikes normally, so this meant that at any given point there were about 5-10 people on bikes cycling to work. That's a lot of people! A good showing

And all that hippie treehugger crap aside (because it's all about me, really) how cool is it when you're normal commute to work all the sudden has *feed zones*?? Very cool.

Apparently I get a free ride on the ferry tonight, and maybe another canvas tote bag. I have been warned that it is mayhem trying to get all the bikes *on* the ferry though with all the extra riders. We'll see :-)

At my office we had Gil, Dennis, Jon Belew (plus his daughter to school!), Nick and me. Go Tacit Knowledge

Hope everyone else riding around today has a good ride

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lion-based recovery day art

The early cat catches the...snake, I think

But what if the cat foolishly chose to eat nothing but a lot of heavily-frosted chocolate cake for breakfast?

outlook not so good

Perhaps a healthy choice of oatmeal or similar would have resulted in the strength of an Assyrian emperor instead

And then there's this

I'm really not sure what's going on here. I'm getting mixed signals.

On the data junkie side, I'll say that the port ride was fast last night, but not as fast as it first appeared. Rumors of 30mph averages were exaggerated. The fastest lap I could pull out of the data was 28.8mph. Now, that's quick, but we'll just have to all collectively do some intervals and work harder to hit a 30mph lap. Get to it, folks!

In other news, this post is brought to you by the number 285, which would be significantly larger than 255, and represents the 20-minute power I kicked out in my most recent test (Friday). The legs are coming around, just in time for some racing

Which makes me think...maybe this weekend it's time to give the P/1/2 field a shot, in beautiful Modesto. We'll see...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Teresa's b-day strikes back

so, we went to Chez Gilbert last night to watch the Istanbul F1 race for our usual formulagrub group, and we're unloading our cinco de mayo leftovers on everyone.

Turns out the cake we brought over still had candles and you can't *not* sing feliz cumpleanos when that happens, can you?

I do think 7 days of birthday celebration is either pushing it or something to shoot for though - can't decide which ;-)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why I didn't ride my bike on Sunday

This was just how the party *started*

(Karen, you're a beautiful Frida)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Isn't this a cycling blog? Where's the damned cycling?

Where's all the cycling babble? Good question!

The missus and I had a blowout 40th birthday party / Cinco de Mayo festival at our house last night (complete with bartendress and a banquet of made-to-order food, sweet!), so that's a large part of the story.

I also up and went to Texas a couple weekends ago which knocked a few days out of the schedule and took out a race weekend.

Believe it or not I do things other than ride (like, you know, running a small consulting business with my wife, and helping run a medium-sized one with a bunch of other friends) so missing a few days meant the following weekend after that was almost completely spent on catching up

Then last week, during the week, we took off for the North Bay to spend a couple days with Teresa's dad (pictured above) who is dealing with some serious health issues and just needs a hand. Lots of driving and gutter cleaning and lawn mowing and stuff later, we dropped back in to town to play catch up furiously for a couple days before afore-mentioned birthday bash

So it's been a few weeks of Real Life Stuff but not much cycling and definitely no racing, and that's okay. I always manage to take the early part of the summer off from racing for some reason or another and I think it makes me better in August. This year looks like it's no different

I do miss the weekly Tuesday World Championships down at the POO, and hanging with everyone at Los Cantaros though - hopefully I get back in the groove and make it out next week.

Until then I hope everyone else is having a good time and tearing the racing circuit up. Speaking of which - I have to give a quick shout to Maury (upgraded!), Mel and Kieran (Cat's Hill podium folks) for their recent success. Also a quick shout to Alice to get better quickly. I'll see everyone out there soon enough.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

International Teresa's Birthday Week

I can't tell what's brighter, the candle, your smile, or that mischievous twinkle in your eye

I've always loved that twinkle though...

Happy birthday

(I'll be back to bike-related babbling soon, I promise but priorities are priorities after all :-) )

Thursday, May 1, 2008

long morning rides / old house

Been "experimenting" with longer rides in the morning. In quotes because I know hat the result will be - going from 15 hours week to 20 will make me a stronger rider, but the question is whether I can actually get up at 5 every day.

No way I could do it if Teresa wasn't also on this crazy dawn patrol with me (she's doing boot camp @ the Oakland Y)

It does pose a challenge though. Where do you go in San Francisco when you have 2 hours to kill? The polo fields are just too monotonous for that duration. Today I went out to the zoo then by our old house in SF (pictured). They still have the Dr.Suess trees looking good but I forgot how steep those Miraloma Park roads were. No wonder I hated riding when I lived there.

Headed up twin peaks for the view, then hooked up the polo fields for the usual route.

I'm definitely going to have to bust the maps out and get some loops going though or I'm going to go nuts with boredom...