Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Sick-mas

These are two sweet books I got for Christmas: Mom, Have You Seen My Leather Pants?: The Tale of a Teen Rock Wannabe Who Almost Was

This dude was in a band in the early 90's that played the Sunset Strip clubs and they were only 16. He has no hesitations at poking fun of himself and his aspirations. It's a good read so far.

This one is the history of Campagnolo, both the company and the man. Good so far as well, w/ a lot of pictures.

Yeah, I spent most of Christmas on my parent's bathroom floor. As John Smith put it "sounds like a great New Years Day, but a bad Christmas."
Not sure what happened. I slept for only about 2hrs Christmas eve, decided around 2am to go to the couch, where I watched Adult Swim cartoons all night (Aqua Teen, Robot Chicken, etc), then fell back asleep from around 6am-7:30am. Then everyone else got up, we did our present routine, I went and ran for ~30min then relaxed for about an hour until food time. Directly after eating, I started not feeling too well and went and laid down. An hour or two later, I was throwing up everything I had eaten. The I laid back down for awhile, and threw up again once we decided to leave. Lindsay had to drive us home and I slept the whole way. I went to bed as soon as we got home, slept about 14hrs, then went to work. I felt really tired, but not sick anymore. I feel normal today. What a drag though. I did loose ~4lbs when most people gain a bunch, so that's something I guess.
I also got a set of T-handle allen wrenches that will make certain jobs on bikes easier and my Dad got me a new Dremel tool. the one I have is old and the battery 1) has no power and 2) lasts ~5minutes; that just won't do.
Oh, I also got the 2003 Ghent-Wevelgem/2003 Het Volk DVD (both races in one package) to watch while on trainer AND the 2007 Giro d'Italia, which saw the peloton on 20% unpaved grades. Nice.
Today is sunny and going to be in the 40's. I'm riding outside.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

X mas eve eve

This is the first thing I came up w/ for "Santa Riding a Bike." It is of course not a bike at all, but a trike (you know, one of them three wheeled bikes, as the Rubes call it).
Lindsay got back from her parents house fine on Monday. She wasn't feeling great and for a minute thought about delaying until Tuesday, which as it turns out would have been a terrible idea w/ yesterday's weather.

So because we're going to my parent's tonight (xmas eve), we had our 'Christmas' last night. Her parents sent me back some local OK goodies, amongst other things and Lindsay got me a couple cans of Jittery Joe's coffee.Not only is JJs good, but it goes directly to supporting the JJ's cycling team. Plus it's expensive enough that I never buy it for myself, so I'm pumped to get it.

Weather looks okay for travel today and I thought I may be able to get out for a couple hours before we leave. It's close to 50*, but it's pouring rain. I guess it'll be inside. Speaking of inside I got my first 3+hr inside day on for the year this past Sunday, you know, the day it was 11* for the high and 1 low.

I had the brilliant idea to break up the day into 3 sessions. I did a 1hr 15min trainer sess while my laundry dried, then stopped and folded it. Then did another (but different) 1hr 15min trainer sess, then jumped right on a 45min roller sess. It went by pretty fast that way.I figure the 20 or so min break I took is probably roughly equal to time spend at stop lights, peeing, general coasting/softing, etc, so it worked out pretty good.

So for my 'monster' training week (yeah right), I put in 12hrs. I also, however, worked 40. I worked out every morning and every evening except Thursday, and that night I made a steak dinner for myself. The beauty of the week, while not a total crusher hour wise, was that I started my lifting and resumed my running regime, and while sore all-to-hell, I grimaced through it for additional sessions, rather than "resting up from being sore."

And I should say that by Friday night's roller ride, which was my 11th session of the week, I cut it short due to mental fry. I think I spun for 20 of the scheduled 42min. Whatever.

In the look ahead, this Sunday is looking to be outside rideable.

Well a Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This one goes to 11

The EXPENSIVE 11 speed chain tool.

The peened chain pin, courtesy of EXPENSIVE chain tool.

Record RD. Ceramic.

The shifter. Looks weird, rides nice.

The new cable routing. This is the 90* bend the cable must make to enter the housing.

Following are my thoughts on Campgnolo's new 11 speed group. It is long and may bore non-tech types:

11 speed:
The most noticeable difference is the lever shape. 11 has a more ergo look and feel to it. Standard hood riding feels the same, but riding "on top of the hoods" is where the 11 shines. It has a support for the part of your hand between the index finger and thumb which offers a more stable and comfy feel when in this position.
Plus the brake lever is 1) longer and 2) has a different pivot point. This requires that the sifter be placed in slightly lower position on the bar than the 10speed lever for the same hand position, but allows for better braking when operating the lever form the "on top of the hoods" position.
It should be noted that I have not ridden this group w/out thick-ass gloves on yet, so I don’t have a totally accurate feel for all of this (I usually ride w/out gloves at all, but it’s been so cold).
Crank and FD are pretty much the same, so far as I can tell. They work great. I think I remember reading the FD and chain rings are all new for quicker shifting, but I can’t tell; Campy always shifts pretty darn fast up front, so whatever.
I subbed out the Chorus rear derailer in favor of a Record to get pulleys that operate on ceramic. It was a ~$60 (wholesale) upgrade, and you can’t buy ceramic pulleys for double that alone, so I figured it’d be worth it. I don’t know if it’s just that the whole drive train is smoother or what, but I ‘think’ I can feel the ceramic smoothness under pedaling. Probably not, but it seems to be noticeable.
On Chorus (this may not be true of Record or Super Record) the shifting action is softer feeling than 10spd. It is not a light as the ’Escape’ shifting introduced a year or two ago on the lower end groups, but still lighter than I’m used to and would prefer. I’ll get used to it once I’m riding that bike all the time, but when I’m riding it sparsely due to crappy weather, it’s a noticeable difference.
I do have two official gripes about the new stuff. 1 the shift cable routing. In order to remove the "bulge" under the bar tape created from the housing meeting the shifter, Campy changed the way the cable routes form the gear mech to the housing. While it does make a seamless transition under the tape (which, for the record, I never really minded the little bulge anyway), the cable has to make an almost 90* bend in the shifter body. There is an insert in the shifter where this bend takes place to smooth the operation, but installing the cable is difficult. I had to use a flat-head jewelers-sized screwdriver to route the cable into place (coax the cable into place may be more appropriate wordage). As far as I can see, there is no other way to route this cable. The days of just pushing it into the gear mech, through the shifter body and into the housing are over for now. My second gripe is w/ the chain installation. While it’s a really cool system, and seems like it will work very effectively, it’s costly. In a nutshell, the chain installs like a Shimano chain w/ the long pin fed through then broken off, but the similarities stop there. The Campy chain is then peened where it was broken off to add strength at the vulnerable "pinned link." Like I said, this is a good system and makes sense, but there exists one tool on the market w/ which to do this. It’s made by Campy and wholesales for $140. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful handmade in Italy tool, but you CANNOT install an 11spd chain w/out it and it’s $140! And it’s not like the old ‘perma-link’ tool they used to have which was a Italian pair of vice grips, this tool is necessary.
All in all I give it high marks. I think it has some better qualities than 10spd, and is evolution. I do think the differences are more subtle though in contrast to Dura Ace 7900, which in my opinion is a major improvement over 7800.
So that’s my take on it. Go w/ the flow, live in the now and change w/ the times. Everyone will be 11 speed soon enough (I predict Sram to ‘make the leap’ first, then Shimano to follow the year after Sram.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

quick little WTF?

Today it's 58* w/ sun. I went out for a run this a.m., in tights, put one foot outside and had to come back in and change into shorts (my pastie legs look wicked in running shorts right now).
The clouds are moving across the sky faster than I can ever remember having seen them move.
There are single digit lows forecasted in the following days.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's no wonder...

It's no wonder fat people don't like riding bikes; it's hard! (photo 'borrowed' from Thomson, maker of the finest [alloy] seat posts available. I guess it's a real guy and Thomson was the only post he couldn't break)(and a side note: Thomson makes a poster of this picture, which they were giving out at Interbike. My roomies got one and hung it over my bed while I was out, thanks guys!)
Anywho, I rode home tonight w/ a 40 pound bag of salt and two 1/2 gallons of liquid (OJ and milk) in the milk crate I have on the rack of my winter commuter. It was tough. If I weighed ~50lbs more, I'd be ~185lbs, and that would not be fun to carry around. I guess I'd probably graduate from having "chicken legs" to maybe "turkey legs," but still. And w/ these icy roads, it's tough getting around. I got the salt to salt my driveway, which I can barely get to the end of w/out crashing.
I have had a week of high quality workouts. I had a really good trainer ride this a.m., and took tonight off. I'll do the am/pm tomorrow and it looks like Sunday will be and insider too. In fact, the 10-day forecast looks like sh!t, so it's going to be inside, inside, inside. Just remember, self, resistance training makes us stronger.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I'm not sure what program is on, but Bloomington NPR (WFIU) just played "A Fifth of Beethoven" in its entirety. This song totally and completely rules. Not that it's my favorite Saturday Night Fever song, (that's "How Deep Is Your Love") but man-o-man is 'A Fifth" good stuff.
It's only Tuesday and I'm tired and sore enough for it to be Thursday or Friday.
I lifted weights yesterday morning then rode roller yesterday night.
Today I rode rollers, ran outside, then rode rollers again this morning, then did a hard hour on trainer tonight.
It's two days into the week and I'm feeling it. I'm motivated to have a hard week though, so bring it!
The roads were sheets of ice tonight on my ride home form work and I as worried about getting run onto by a car. I don't normally worry about this kind of stuff, but I was having problem keeping my wheels under me, and I saw cars sliding. I made it, but I was tense the whole way and went very slow.
Wish me luck for the rest of this week...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Belgium Sunday

...maybe Cannondale didn't invent the Lefty fork after all...

Today was #1 in the Bloomington Underground Cross Series. It was a very Belgium day, from what I hear of Belgium. It was forecasted to be in the mid 50's, sunny and windy. It was in the high 30's, super cloudy and super windy. With a little rain spitting here and there for good measure. The course was pretty good and pretty hard. I rode well for having not ridden for a whole week. There was a very big turnout too. I didn't count how many, but I think there was more than I've ever seen show up for one of these. The course had two playground run throughs, which meant running through 4" deep pea gravel. It was like running through quick sand, and it clogged up my cleats on almost every lap, forcing me to have to bang my shoes on my bike to get the gravel out to clip back in; kind of a pain, whatever.
Josh came down and he, Ryan/Sara and I all hung out afterwards. It was a pretty good day.
Lindsay is out of town for the week so I'm planning to train non stop. It's time to start in w/ lifting/core and more running/riding and basically, I figured that if I'm not training I'll just get bored, so I might as well train in the mornings and evenings both until she gets back. I'm planning a big week and hope to feel totally destroyed by Saturday.
I had a good week off, but as always it went fast. I fell somewhat refreshed, and I made sure and ate plenty during the week to restore/rebuild.
So here goes: lifting 2x/week, run 2x/week, ride 5x/week and core everyday except Saturday.
I'll keeps you's updated!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


This is a pic of some of the course at Brookside. You can see the icy road on the far left and the crappy conditions. It's funny, people think of cross as 'mud, wet, cold, etc,' but around here anyway, all the racers I know would rather have it dry and moderate. I guess it makes for less fun spectating, you know like NASCAR, which drivers want to get in crashes? Probably none, but the fans love it!

Somewhere on course. Looks to be pre-crash because my leg warmers were all dirty post.

I believe this was a run up w/ a "natural barrier" (a down tree). This was difficult because the ground was mostly ice where you had to dismount making footing very poor.
So, year-to-date (YTD).
Since this is my official week off training, it's really the end of my year. Here are some numbers (all from 1/1/08-12/8/08):
mileage: 5,975.4.
hours training: 418hr 20min.
kcal burned training: 62,121
My magic number for hours trained is 520. That's av 10hrs/week for 52 weeks. I was short, but better than last year (which was closer to 400).
My mileage comes to 127av/week. I'd like to see that closer to 160, but again, close.
Loosing 1 pound requires 3,000 calories burned. So if I'd not eaten this year I would have lost around 21lbs training (not including base metabolism).
Factoring in 2500/day bmr added to 62,121 training, I burned ~974,621 kcals. So if I'd not eaten and factoring in bmr, I'd have lost ~324 lbs, which would be at ~-189lbs. Man I could float up hills at negative 190lbs!
Anywho, 6,000 miles for the year is pretty good for a working stiff like me. I'll take it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

IN State CX Champion!

Josh, that is. Not me. Josh killed it and brought the 'W.'
I had what I'm pretty sure was the worst bike race I've ever had.
I made mistake after mistake. Sure it was sub 20* and slick due to ice turning to mud (it snowed 2-3" last night), but everyone was riding the same course, so that's no excuse. I just rode like sh!t. I was having all kinds of trouble finding my pedals on re-mounts (true, my feet felt like blocks of ice w/ little to no feeling, but I'm sure everyones did) and my technical riding was for crap.
Plus I crashed. Huge. On pavement. We were transitioning from pavement to grass (mud) via a left hander. I had the inside and a dude rolled up on my right (outside). I think, 'no biggy, I have the inside, I'll be in the turn first.' Well, homeboy had a different plan for himself and cut inside taking out my bars/front wheel w/ his hip/rear wheel. I hit pavement as hard as I ever have and felt hurt. After getting up (and making any spectating sailors blush [I was super mad]) I sucked it up and got back in it. Nothing too severe, just big patch of road rash were the sun only shines on the French Riviera.
Whatever, can't win em all; it wasn't my day. I ended up 14th, which is much better than I tought I did, though not as good as I would have liked to have done.
I'm taking next week off of training to recover and heal up.
P.S. I hate it when people go into too much detail about a crash they had, so sorry. And big thanks to all who stood out in the tundra and cheered (Toby H, Messer, Knapp, Issac, Fred [the ultimate motivator], Lindsay, etc)
Curtains on OVCX 2008. Thanks.
Oh, and I may be short on posts w/no training this week. Watch porn on youtube or something, I''ll be back.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Yesterday and today have been busts weather wise.
Yesterday i suited up to head out for 1.5-2hrs. It was cold (22-24*), but dry w/ the sun peaking out. I got over the hill across from our house and noticed along the 3minute trek that there was that real thin "black ice" everywhere. I decided this would a dangerous ride and turned around. It was a killer ~5min workout! I did some things around the house I've been putting off, and went to work early; I don't want to get on the trainer for another week.
Today I knew it was gong to be too cold, so I planned a roller ride. It was 14.7* (but sunny??) so i got on the rollers for 47min and spun out.
So much stuff: tonight is the Detroit Cobras show in Indy. Then Sunday is the finale' of the OVCX Series in Indy. It's going to be cold for that one.
Then I'm taking next week off training, and starting in w/ strength work and two-a-days twice a week the following week (or I may not start two-a's till Jan. we'll see).
And the Bloomington Underground Cross Schedule was announced this week, so I have that to do too.
Oh well, one day at a time. Though, the first B-town UG CX is technically the last day of my week off, so I'll have 6 days off instead of the full seven. Whatever.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Humbled by the hill

Another post Storm the Greens pic.

Monday I stayed inside and rode rollers rather than spin the legs out in the windy cold. Plus I had some serious bike cleaning to do form the weekend's mud fest, so I spun for ~45mn, then got to it. I opted for dish gloves over work gloves to hose (wash) the bike so my hands would stay dry, but they did nothing for warmth and my thumbs ended up numb. Whatever, they came back, I got my cx bike all cleaned, lubed and adjusted.
So Tuesday's ride brings the title of the post. I decided to go out and ride the infamous (among those who ride it) McGowan Loop. This is a ~30mile loop, mostly on gravel roads, but with the nastiest climb around here, paved or un (for the record, McGowan is un[paved]). I have never made it up the climb on the bike. Actually, only two people I know have, and one was on a MTB, and the other had a 34tooth front ring. I have a 39, but I have been riding fairly well and was confident I could power over this wall, which gains almost 300' in just 2/10 of a mile. When I hit it, I just held a line w/out too much loose gravel and focused. I was off walking in about the same place I always have been, but this time I felt defeated. In past years I never expected to make it, this time I did. I didn't have the proper respect for the hill, it humbled me. Well, all that and I just couldn't turn my 39x26 gear over. Bitch!
Today I rode my new CX practice course at the tailgate field. 3x3's. I did three sets of three laps w/ 1 minute rest between. It was a good workout for both skills and cardio. I wish I had started this before I had just two races left in the season, but oh well. I guess there's next year.
I am planning to ride road tomorrow, but it's raining now (~10pm), so if it drys up enough and is not frozen, that's the plan.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Storm the Greens (lots o pics)

Josh and I post race. (pics didn't load in the order I intended them to).

Midcourse run up.

This is a sharp and super mudded-out right hander, downhill drop in to sand pit #1.

Muddy straight away.

Josh and I pre Race, stripping off the stay-dry warm up clothes.

It was more like Storm the Browns, brown being the color of mud.

My good friend Jake and his wife showed up for support on their way back to TN after T-giving in IN and he took all these pics.
I got 7th. Josh killed it for 4th.