Friday, October 31, 2008


As we continue our series about my comical life, we find ourselves at a fine weekend in September where me and the wife actually got to go away as adults and be in the company of other adults for 2.5 days in Newport. Yes, we love our children, but if you have kids, you get it. Hell, if you've ever been to a store and seen one of the little monkeys throwing a tantrum about a 49 cent pencil you get it... anyways... I digress. So being in the throes of this fancy training plan and planning to have lots of free time I bring both running shoes and my bike. Saturday I get out for a very nice run that got capped off with some sprints up a nasty grass hill (think NoHo runup, but in good condition on grass). Sunday I had it planned that I'd head out for 3 hours in the greater Newport area. I got a tip from the local shop that the best bet was to troll the farmlands over in Tiverton so I bummed a ride over and got in a very very nice loop over there. Everything's good right? So far, right. Monday morning we drag out of bed and pack up to head home. We had to give the minivan to the weekend nanny so we're in the Civic with the bike on the roof. We drive home, yada yada, nothing exciting. We stopped off near home to get some food then finally get to our road. I pull in the driveway and as I get about half way up the driveway, there's just noise and chaos that shouldn't be happening when driving in your driveway. "WTF" I say, to which my wife replies "Oh my God... your bike". By this point I was at a dead stop and I look out the passenger side to see what looks like the corner of the basketball backboard out through the corner of the windshield. It then registered and I was horrified to get out of the car. Turns out that I was in a haze when I drove in and forgot the basketball hoop was lowered down for the boys. I drove right under it, hooked the right brake hood on the net, and... well use your imagination from there. The only saving grace was that I think I stopped at EXACTLY the critical moment before the weakest link broke, but the bad news was that the weakest link was stronger than the amount of force it takes to twist the legs and dropouts of a steel fork around. I just stood there in the driveway dumfounded and didn't know whether to laugh or cry... I think I did a little of both...

And yes, the story continues...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I had to open my big mouth

All this talk about the training and what happens... it goes to hell. It's a good thing last week and the weekend went well because this week is turning out to be a joke. Dammit. That's all... just dammit.

Monday, October 27, 2008


First off, photo credit for that last set goes exclusively to Rob... nice work dude. Now...

As a continuation of our series, let's explore a possible reason for recent success... You know how all these coaches are these days... they're all about their science and their fancy training methods. It's amazing how easily they brainwash you and how easily we cyclists give in to shiny stuff. Well, I am sad to say (ok, not real sad) that I in fact washed down the red pill by drinking the Koolaid and I bought myself a PowerTap. Some people are probably going to be sorely disappointed in me, but tis true. Fortunately, the greatest LBS on the planet hooked me up big time and lessened the impact on the wallet as much as possible. And hey, call me a sellout, but I think it's working.

Let's see... fancy testing, a coach, a little yellow buddy... what the hell else could be going on (I think the media industry calls that a tease... here in tall freak blogger land, we call that a 3 year old who needs the oreo crumbs washed off his face)...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to win a cross race, a story in pictures

Get front row lineup and put on your game face

Take the hole shot

Fall into a group and catch breath from fast start

Put on ugly pain face and drop the hammer

Slow down to make teammate ride another lap

Salute the crowd

So long Cat 4... you've been good to me, but it's time to move on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Coach would not be pleased

Wednesdays just straight up suck. My typical Wednesday is an 18 hour day and somehow it is extremely difficult to find a time to work out in those 18 hours without some serious level of scheduling gymnastics. Short of sitting in meetings or class in sweaty clothes or somehow doing dismount practice in the car (hell, I'm in sitting in traffic, I might as well do something) it's very difficult to work something in. Very very very annoying. Speaking of annoying, more reading to cram in before class...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Not the Epic Post, Part II

So what does one do once they've quantified their fitness and aspire to be better? Well you could keep doing more of the same, but I believe that phrase quickly leads to the definition of insanity. Or, you can take the red pill and retain the services of the coach who tested you. So yes, since around Great Glenn I've been slave to the training plans of my coach. Ha ha... that'd be pretty funny. For real though, this guy is a damn fine cycling coach. I've always said that my cycling training to date consisted of riding my bike whenever I could and sometimes riding it faster than usual so I figured a little know-how and structure would be good for me. Seems to be helping a bit so far, that is if I could stop having stupid mechanical issues that are my own fault. It's actually a really solid plan that'd probably be more effective if I didn't have to keep missing stuff due to grad school/youth football/work/life and taking the realistic view of things, I'm definitely getting out what I'm putting in.

So what else could be going on other than this coaching thing? Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 18, 2008


A series of other commitments have me not participating in some of the better cross races of the season this weekend so what is one to do to fill the time and avoid sitting on the couch with a bag of chips (I'm quite partial to cheddar and sour cream)? Well one reverts to their other favorite sport - cross country running. Really it's the same as cyclocross, just without a crank arm banging into your back while you run. Today was my alumni XC race. It was so nice to see a huge crowd there even if most of my teammates from way back when bailed. We did have a guest appearance from one of the ladies from around my year who I believe (and don't call out the fact police on me for this) may hold the US record for fastest debut marathon by a woman (2:32). It was fun despite no running training. I still pulled off a 17:39 for 3.05 miles (I'm sure a 100% accurately measured distance). That's roughly 5:47's. It's too bad running hurts so much when you do it every day... turns out I'm still not too bad at it and it's still fun.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not the Epic Post, Part I

I've given up all hope of sitting down and creating the epic post that has been mentioned (well at least any time before Xmas). Therefore I've decided to break this down into a number of segments to make it manageable. You see I've been hauling around a bag of cats and it's time to let them out... Let's start at the beginning.

I made a passing mention to this way back when, but my lovely wife gave me one of the best anniversary gifts ever back in July. You got it, I got a VO2 Max and Lactate Threshold test :) Having never done this before I had no idea what to expect. My training to date had been a few steps above mediocre so I was pretty sure there wouldn't be an EMT team standing by, but I knew Guinness (the record people, not the beer) wouldn't be there either. To be honest, the whole experience was kinda cool in a I want to throw up in this mask sort of way. One of my sick friends had actually planned to come watch because he has some bizarre fascination with watching people push their bodies to total muscle failure. Fortunately he missed the fun.

So what'd I learn? Well I was labeled as follows:
LT Wattage = 320
LT HR = 169
LT Watts/kg = 3.66 (kinda sucky)
Max Watts = 450 (note, not absolute max I can do... this is where my legs said F U!)
Aerobic Threshold = HR<132 (pretty sucky)
Peak VO2 = 69.3 @ HR = 191bpm
VO2 @ AT = 53.7

So what does it all mean? Well I think it's not inaccurate to say that it means my training base really sucked, I was doing hard stuff sufficiently hard (but probably too much of it), I'm not quite an aerobic freak (but well above average), and I've got a long way to go. At least those were many of the layman's explanations I got. If you've never been tested, I recommend it. It can tell you a lot. I actually found the most interesting thing to be that the data told the guy I hadn't been doing much long easy base training without me ever having mentioned that to him. Isn't data great? For the record, that Armstrong guy supposedly had a W/kg of 6.75...

Well as I said, this is just the first chapter... where things went from here is to be continued...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Short stories

Because I'm trapped in MBA hell, here's the Clif Notes version:

- I still can't think for long about Saturday without flying into a rage. There was no way I was beating that guy who won, but I think I was on my way to the podium which I wanted bad.

- Sunday's result only sort of made up for it. Sure I'm pleased to get top 10 in any field at arguably the biggest race of the New England season, but I still think I can ride with a few of those guys who were ahead of me.

- I finally got to meet MIF. That was awesome.

- Sweeney is a rock star for offering me his bike while I was running even though he was having a good race. I think that's sort of illegal to get a bike from someone on the course, but the offer was unexpected and truly admirable.

- Nearly the ENTIRE blogosphere was there. Well, except a few losers. And yes sir, I'm just busting your nuts, but dude... just shoot the car and be done with it.

- I learned that if you enter a port-o-john next to Solo, you do so at your own risk.

- I learned that even at the base of the runup of death for the 4th time (maybe it was third) CTodd still has a sense of humor

- To the race staff guy who picked me out of the thousand people who were discretely walking around with adult beverages and decided to bust my nuts: Thank you for putting on an awesome race again, but dude, lighten up.

There's more thoughts in here, but they're being beaten down by the ones trying to be some sort of smart(ass) business guy.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bad then Good (with some bad)

Not feeling all that wordy right now so here's the semi-short version of G'Ster. I'm bound to post more thoughts tomorrow (day off):

Saturday (Cat 4):
2nd row start, slotted right in behind Cookie who always starts fast. Hit the dirt maybe 10th wheel, started moving forward. Coming out of the litter box on lap 2 I had moved up to 4th and was still going forward. On the up and down behind the backstop my chain popped off and got horribly jammed. I have no idea how many places I lost while I yanked on it and finally got it unstuck. Took 2 or 3 pedal strokes on the pavement and found out that I must have yanked the chain too hard because it snapped. Proceeded to run (hop on and roll the downhills) all the way around to the pit. For anyone who doesn't know Gloucester that's really really really far. Got my pit bike and proceeded to half-assed race the rest of the way. Result = Epic Fail.

Sunday (3/4 35+):
2nd row again, but lined up way left next to T-Needham. So-So start, maybe 25th onto the dirt. I was (probably the only guy who was) really excited about the nasty runup today and it was total carnage when we got there as expected. Kept moving forward, but did have one mishap when I washed out on one of the loose corners. I think it was there that I lost my polar computer off my bike (but didn't notice until way later)... today's bad. Had a moment of fun when I got to heckle CTodd midrace as I made the pass. Thought I was reeling in the above mentioned Mr. Needham, but then he absolutely took off with 2 to go. Ended up 10th. Moderately satisfied I guess. Wasn't quite high enough up to make up for Saturday, but acceptable. I'll wait for the data to tell me how I really did.

Ramblings and semi-coherent thoughts from the weekend later...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Philosophy question

If a cross race happens on a farm and the results are never posted did it really happen?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Man this Interwebs thing was quiet today

No results from Eco Cross yet. No reports from Mr. Results, CCC, or Badass (ok, until just now). Hell, even G only put up one post today. What is up with you people? How am I supposed to be unmotivated and kill time reading about cross all day when there's nothing to read? There had better be some good shizz next Monday people... and lots of it ;)

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Fun day today. Kudos to the folks at Coonamessett Farm for letting us come down there a tear up their lovely facility. I'd type the long version of the story now, but frankly I'm beat. Here's the short version:

Cat 4 35+: Average nondescript start. Moved up about 8 places on lap one and another 6 over the next two (I think it was two). Was sitting in and riding in third at the bell and then dropped a chain coming out of the sand pit. He got away, I couldn't close, I stayed in third. Good and bad all at the same time.

Masters 1-4: LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG delay of standing around while they took someone out of the sand pit from the Cat 4 U35 race in an ambulance. Really not a terrible start considering I started in the next to last row, but still tons of traffic on the tight technical course. Had no real gas, but I just sort of motored along. As far as results we'll just leave it that it took quite a bit longer to get lapped than I expected. I think it was the top 5 or so that got me and better people than me have been lapped by Mark, Frank, Kevin Hines and those other fast type guys.

On to the big one next weekend. Lots of TLC for the bike this week...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Pit bike

I just finished converting the Surly from full commuter mode to full pit bike mode... well at least as close as it's going to get. Man I hope to God I don't have to ride that thing. It will be the equivalent of Art taking a lap at GG on Brad's POS. But of course now that I have built it and gone and said that, watch for me to soon be mooning the crowd on a tank of a bike that's sorta way too small...