Monday, February 27, 2006

at least it's not my job...

It's tough to keep up w/ these posts on the races. A lot of crap to cover so 'ere goes!

ToC (as it's affectionately known) provided no new suprises since the last post. Well maybe that the T-Mobile men decided to get themselves on the board w/ 2 wins by Olaf Pollack, several days after the ladies opened their account for the season. May have been some harsh words on the bus before the starts on those days. Floyd showed us all that he has the cojones to lead a team and not crack like Jan when someone attacks him. Levi gave it his all but came up a little short in the end results. We still love you Levi, you're named after jeans. Then again it would've sucked if you were named "Husky"…

The true cycling season has started in Belgium w/ the arrival of Omloop Het Volk, and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, the 2 semi-classics. Het Volk is a small race in comparison to it father the Tour of Flanders, and it's mother Paris-Roubaix, but nevertheless provides some exciting early season racing. You can count on the race to provide the worst weather Belgium has to offer; and the Belgian racers wouldn't have it any other way.

Omloop Het Volk saw Phillipe Gilbert (Francaise Des Jeux) solo to a magnificent win in front of World Champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and a couple thousand of his closest Belgian friends. Tom rode a strong race but was a marked man. Wearing the rainbow jersey will have that affect; you're hard to miss.

Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne bore witness to another strong Boonen ride, but yet again to no avail. The Belgian was instead a super-domestique to one Nick Nuyens (Quick Step), winner of last year's Omloop. Nick was the opportunist of several attempts to get away from the lead group that itself was only 30 seconds in front of a hard charging peleton. Nick's final dig was the clincher as no one wanted to work w/ the possibility of bringing the World Champion and one hell of a sprinter to the line w/ them. Boonen doggedly sat on their wheels as Nuyens continued towards victory. A late dash gave Leif Hoste of the Discovery Channel claim to second place on the day while Boonen cruised in to win the sprint easily for third.

The season has officially started. The big ones are coming!

Photo courtesy of Cyclingnews and Luc Claessen

Saturday, February 25, 2006

ride data: 2/25/06 prevailing winds prevailed!

No reply yet from Polar on the USB problems, but, I did however find my damn serial version! It goes a little slower but since I probably couldn't outrun it I won't complain; I'll simply take another sip of coffee waiting for it to upload.

Quick rundown on the interface: red curve w/ white fill is HR, red line w/ grey fill is altitude, green curve is RPM, and blue is MPH. Essential data is along the bottom. Data directly under graph is pinpoint data, which I haven't highlighted. This is where you can see all monitor data during a selected moment of your ride. In the future I'll highlight this when I'm doing something other than keeping from passing out and staying upright. I give myself too much credit; 700c training wheels are my domestiques of choice! Get me water bitches!

I wish I could show you the windspeed average, since I was fighting it for most of the ride. I wasn't going to cry about this one as I was visualizing I was riding Het Volk (ran today!) in the same dramatic, crappy weather conditions. You can see some of the data I've been giving you, but it doesn't give you everything unfortunately. Interesting to note that the distance and time were nearly the same but the effort was completely different. You can see the effect the wind had on the entire ride. I imagine that on a calm day I could've shaved off a ton of time.

For everyone's knowledge, the altimeter is based off of a barometric sensor, so the altitude of my start/end point can vary every once in awhile. Here you can see it was a little lower than when I started; or it may be that my apartment is sinking...

Friday, February 24, 2006

tour everyday, posts are not...

I guess Floyd (Phonak) is gonna take it. Word is, barring an accident, the course doesn't promote itself to lead changes from here on out. Something to think about in the future when planning stages. It's not too much fun to have the race decided less than half way through. Quick run-down of how we got here:

Stage 2- George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) won the sprint and the time bonus to take over the GC from Levi (Gerolsteiner) by 4 seconds. Jorge opened his account this year a couple of weeks before he did last year at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Stage 3- The Flying Mennonite takes a big one! Floyd Landis shows us how Big Mig (Miguel Indurain) did it w/ a new tunnel-tested position, destroying the field in the process. It's impressive to see the Americans really stepping it up and showing that there's definitely more to us than simply Lance (and Greg for those that still love him!).

Stage 4- Haedo (Toyata-United Pro) has a double shot! JJH beat out Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) and the rest of the field for his second win of the tour and the season. GC remained the same as Floyd came in w/ the pack and the same time.

Stage 5- Live action as of 3:00pm EST shows a break of at least 5 w/ just under 100K to go. Results to follow.

Photo courtesy of Cyclingnews and Jonathan Devich. So nice to visit!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ride data: 2/21/06

I felt decent for most of the ride today, but that may be from the fact that I was stopping repeatedly so I can provide you people w/ something to look at other than my numbers. Yes, I took some pictures of my glorious time on the path today. Hopefully you'll appreciate all the trouble I went to…

31 miles/ 2 hours 47minutes/ 13.6 mph average/

84rpm/ 1491 kcal/160 bpm avg/ 188 bpm max.

Very similar to the last ride. I'm still having too many days in between rides to really start to change quickly. My legs are feeling better though, and my recovery was great. I'm usually a BITCH after my rides, but it seems that I did things right today.

The first shot above is out past Alexandria on wooden bridge that was deformed by the last hurricane to pass through. As corny as it may sound I like to envision myself riding in Paris-Roubaix, pretending that the weathered boards are the cobbles of the northern classic. I know this is smooth in comparison, but you can really get the feeling of having to push a "massive gear" (Paul Sherwen) so you can float over effortlessly.

The second shot is of the back straightaway of Haines Point in DC. This is the perfect place to do any kind of interval training or virtually uninterrupted riding for at least a 3 mile loop.

See you next ride.

levi is still golden!

Yesterday's stage ended in a sprint w/ the Toyota-United Pro team taking its first ever win as Juan Jose Haedo outmuscled the big boys of Europe. Stuart O'Grady of CSC showed well taking third while big George Hincapie managed fifth showing that his sprinting form still is there despite being the much heralded climber that he's now become. Levi came across 22nd inside the peleton giving him the same time as the winner and allowing him to keep the golden fleece another day.
1 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Toyota-United Pro         3.14.13 (39.88km/h)
2 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC
4 Charles Bradley Huff (USA) Team TIAA-CREF
5 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel
Photo courtesy of Seng Chen and Cyclingnews.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

inaugural tour of california!

An American 1-2-3 in the prologue kicks off the first Tour of California! Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) won the 3 kilometer assault of SanFransico w/ a time of 4:53. The rest of the podium was filled by Bobby Julich (CSC), and my man George Hincapie (Discovery Channel). Floyd Landis and David Zabriske rounded out the top five giving us a possible glimpse (minus Ivan Basso) of a July Tour battle. I can't wait to see how all these guys push themselves to take Lance's throne. 7 more stages and we'll know.

The bike choices varied by rider as they decided what would be best for the course. Most time-trials are ridden on flat courses but for this prologue they decided to add Telegraph Hill at the end which is a brutal climb. Time-trial bikes are designed for straight, FLAT speed, so many riders opted for their traditional road bikes outfitted w/ clip-on aero bars. That being said, Levi won on a true time-trial bike. Moot point I guess.

On an interesting note the tour's title sponsor, Amgen, is a major producer of the drug EPO (erythropoietin) which is also the blood booster of choice for those trying to get an edge in cycling. I'm siding w/ Amgen in that their sponsorship is in effort to bring light onto EPO's true medical use for anemic patients. Funny enough, if you dig through their website, you'll find that they also produce Aranesp which has been implicated in the doping scandal involving Johan Museeuw. I'll leave that one alone. That's sorta like when you start to figure out that Santa isn't real...

Photos courtesy of AbbiOrca by way of CyclingNews. Check 'em out!

Friday, February 17, 2006

ride data: 2/17/06

I still haven't resolved the USB problem so still no pretty screenshot of my pathetic fitness. I think that I should take a camera along so I can at least have something to show on the blog instead of a mass of words. Maybe I'll make a cute graphic to put the monitor info in, however today I'm going to just throw some numbers up on the screen and you can deal w/ it.

I added a little more to the ride yesterday, totalling 31 miles. The average temp for the ride was a tropical 65°. Unfortunately along w/ that came some ridiculous winds, and that just flat out sucked. Here's a quick rundown:
31 miles/ 2 hours 16 minutes/ 13.5 mph average/
87 rpm/ 1304 kcal/163 bpm avg/ 181 bpm max.

Once again, another piano ride. I bring up the piano term because Bob Roll kept talking about it during the 2004 Giro on OLN. The Giro stages are typically started in a piano state, w/ everyone going ballistic in the end. The only thing going ballistic on my ride was my thighs on the hill getting to my apartment. I was almost on the verge of cramping. I hate getting back into shape. It has only been a couple of months layoff of distance riding and even though I was riding to work, the muscles really do atrophy quickly.

I've had a pretty decent recovery and most of the muscles used to hold myself upright aren't huting today so that's a good sign. I still find this funny since I was doing mostly 50 and 60 mile rides during the summer w/ significantly lower HR and higher average speeds. I even completed my first century. I rode to the end of the W&OD (Washington and Old Dominion). That's a long damn time to be on a bike. I'm not looking to do that again for a while.

We'll see how the weather holds out for the next few days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Look like the weather dudes got it right this time! I guess if I was into snow sports I'd be more amped, but now all I see is crap everywhere. The last time I snowboarded, it was the 80's, and the boards had pointed noses and flat tails! XTREME!! Now we begin the wait until the sun takes care of clearing the paths. 50's prescribed by Wednesday; soon my sweet, soon!

Friday, February 10, 2006

first sub 40 ride in a long time

A little history first…

I’ve just started getting back in the saddle (distance rides) again after nearly a 2 month layoff. I was commuting to work everyday by bike, and while there were some below freezing rides, they were only for a mile. I used to have a commute of over 5 miles, and I did that rain, sleet or snow. But after moving out of DC and only a couple blocks from work, I definitely softened a bit (we’ve since moved again). I’ve repeatedly slacked off during the winter, only to get started w/ the fat loss at the end of March. A little repetitive. Last year was no different, but I started the training at a healthy 220 pounds! In an effort to not look like pigs in our wedding photos we began shedding as much as we could. In June I was at 190! By August I had reached 172! I know that you’re not supposed to lose that much weight that fast but w/ riding upwards of 200 miles a week, cutting out all simple sugars (high-fructose corn syrup the main one), and all trans-fats (partially-hydrogenated oils), then upping my intake of unrefined whole wheat products, and unrefined anything, it naturally fell off w/out problem. I’ll get into the nutrition later, muy importante!

So a couple of days ago (2/08) I threw on the layers (yet another future post) and set out into a 37° degree sunny afternoon. I’ve been riding at least 2 days a week for the past 2 weeks, but they were all above 50°. I knew I was ready to start hammering again when I wanted to do a sub forty ride. The rides are more about getting the muscles used to being on the bike again for an extended period than anything else. I’m doing them piano (ask Bob Roll), only 20 miles, and not chasing any passing hybrid commuters.

The numbers are funny compared to what they were in the summer:

20 miles/ 1 hour 27 minutes/ 14 mph average/
88 rpm/ 844 kcal/167 bpm avg/ 194 bpm max.

Not so fast, but I’m happy I’m just getting out in that crap. I hate cold weather; plain and simple. Once I figure out the Polar thing, I’ll finalize how I’m going to post the numbers in the future. By the way, I’m starting the season at 180 pounds. We’ll see if I can match the little Italian climbers this year.

grand opening takes a twist...

For some reason I now see fit in a span of just a couple of weeks to start what is my third freakin' blog. Well this one, as the title suggests will be about nothing but the miracle of the CPU clock cycle, and our need as powergeeks to overclock them...sorry, wrong blog.

So as many others before me I’ll be sharing my training, experiences, as well as some noteworthy cycling news links. But, I’m also going to tap into my wealth of cycle industry insider knowledge and give you plenty of unbiased (hopefully) reviews and opinions on everything cycling related.

I was going to start off showing you my latest ride by way of the data collected by my Polar s720i, but this is where things took a twist. If you read my blog Coffee Induced Stupor, you’d know I recently built a new computer. As w/ all things computer related, new doesn’t always mean perfect, especially w/ existing peripherals like the Polar infra-red USB device. Polar to their credit does have info and downloads for problems installing the sensor, but it doesn’t seem to be working for me this time. One of the reasons for building another computer is that my previous C: drive decided to start talking to me just before it died! Yes, all my files from the past 2 years of riding were on there, and NO I didn’t back them up…

This isn’t a dig at Polar, as their watches are great, but like many other companies that have great tech in the signature product, the accessories and software included usually suck, are overly complicated, or hopelessly outdated. Case in point for outdated: the Specialized Speed Zone P.Brain Cyclometer and HR monitor generously include the PC download module and software but the computer connection is serial, and the software is on a floppy! Granted the model is on closeout, but even in the past 4 years USB has been a standard as well as CD-ROMS. It’s just disconcerting, that’s all.

So somewhere in my vast array of junk, I DO have a serial connect Polar sensor, but of course I can’t find it when I need it. I’ll keep you updated w/ any changes. We’ll see how Polar does in support as well.