Thursday, March 30, 2006

me so giddy!

Good stuff coming. Good stuff happened. First what has happened:
Boonen is a beast. He took E3 Prijs again, for the third time. As well as using Dwars as a training ride; he was playing w/ the peleton the entire day. This is all after leading "Pipo" Pizzato out for the Quick-Step win of Milan-SanRemo. He is the obvious favorite for the Flanders/ Roubaix double again. I like him. My wife likes him more! What's more he's not an ass! No big Cipo or Simoni mouth. Just a strong rider talking w/ his legs and wins.

I've been VERY impressed w/ the Discovery Channel's riding this spring. They just took Driedaagse van De Panne w/ new recruit Leif Hoste claiming the blue ribbon of domination. To top this off, the final time trial saw non other than 3 Disco boys clogging the first three places! Leif, Hincapie, and Stijn Devolder blew everyone away in convincing fashion. This is the post-Lance effect. Everyone that rode w/ him have become exceptional all around riders themselves. It was either that or not make the team. Lance rode fast.

Former Postie and now Phonak team leader Floyd Landis (winner of recent Tour of California) won Paris-Nice! California was a good win, but this is a downright confirmation of his power. Landis has the blessing of his entire team as they all believe that he will be a major protagonist come this Tour de France, if not gracing the top podium step itself! This is very early in his season and he's not even peaking yet! He recently dropped the Giro as a prep race for le Tour hoping that he doesn't go into the red against the other prodigy w/ a Lance connection, Ivan Basso. An American has won the past 2 editions of the race as Bobby Julich took top honors last year.

Other things that make me happy and prove that the cycling world stars are aligning:
-3 time former World RR Champion and rainbow jersey curse victim Oscar Freire won Brabantse Pijl (don't you love these Belgian race names!). He's been suffering from one NASTY saddle sore that, well, we'll leave it at that. No we won't, that sucker abcessed! Ugh!
-another former RR Champion and curse victim Igor Astarloa has been showing his missed face in the top ten of nearly every race he's entered this year! This guy had a year like Boonen did when he won the RR title and then proceeded to not be heard of at all until now. He's riding for Pro Continental team Barloworld, so he's not in all the Pro Tour races, but given his results he should be able to sign w/ someone next year that is.
-Erik Dekker won a stage of the Criterium International. He's been a great rider in the past years but has suffered from major injuries for the last two.
-Ivan Basso hasn't been injured and is not a former World Champion, but he will be a major Tour winner this year. He just won the Criterium International well before his form is scheduled to peak in May for the Giro. Can he do the double this year?

As for what's coming, I'm tired of typing and I already said it earlier. Flanders and Roubaix. The height of the Classics for most. I can't wait.

Images courtesy of

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

study: multiple colds lead to low post count.

I'm working on nearly an entire month of this crap. I was coming onto some good form and... I actually tried to return about a week and a half ago, but I was rewarded w/ my wife's cold. She so nice! This one is in the chest; the kind that wake you up in the middle of the night trying to expectorate the inner lining of your lungs across the room. The ride sucked by the way. I'll get around to posting the data sometime.

I've done some writing on nutrition and my training, but I think that I have to pare it down so I don't sound like Chris Carmichael and the Surgeon General rolled into one. I guess this would mean more if someone was reading this, but nevertheless I like to see myself type.

I need to get Pinkey from Revo to help me w/ my bottom bracket since it's still talking to me. I'll never understand what my BB is trying to say, so I'd rather stuff a pillow over it's head and shut it up for good. Stuffing a pillow is another way of saying that I need to pull that f$#%@r out and fill the shell w/ some anti-sieze again. I have a stand, but no FSA BB tool, nor the knowledge of what I'm doing.

Maybe one day I'll write about what I'm riding. Maybe.

Started my morning w/ a little Belgian breakfast consisting of coffee and a side of Dwars door Vlaandaren courtesy of

Check them out if you're looking for a little bike fix. You have to pay for the premium channels which usually have the best races live, but sometimes you'll get lucky to catch a race like this morning. Me happy to see some live racing!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

you're on the bike path bitches!

race face tells me...
so if you're like me and frequent the bike paths to lessen your contact w/ the idiots and their cars you may have experienced this phenomena...the race face! If you're completely unfamiliar w/ the term, you usually see race face on athletes getting ready for an event. They'll have their race face at the start as they're thinking about the upcoming effort or as they're dealing w/ whatever little demons surface mentally as you're about to compete. You'll remember race face on the Olympic swimmers on the blocks, or on the speed skaters skating up to the line their faces emotionless telling nothing of what they're feeling. Race face can also be called "game face", but to me that sounds like a bunch of screaming Neanderthal football players headbutting each other before running out onto the field. No, race face is reserved for racing. Point A to point B; an all out effort against the very person you're standing next to…

So what the f#@% place does it have on the Mt. Vernon Trail bike path? You're not racing. I'm riding the other direction so I'm not suddenly going to turn around and try to race you to the next whatever post proving who es mas macho. This always comes from my fellow roadies. You don't see anyone riding a 10 year old steel hybrid giving you race face. In fact they're usually the ones passing us in our professional euro-kits and thousand $ bikes! Is is because you spent a shitload of money on your ride and you couldn't possibly talk to someone who's bike would only retail for $5000 [ed.note- that's w/ everything calculated at the highest possible MSRP...I have issues]. Maybe it's because it's not custom. It can't be because it's blue, can it?

already bad p.r.
Roadies already have the worst reputation on the paths. We go to fast, we yell when you're in the way, we cut our passes WAY to close most of the times, and we're generally unfriendly asses. I worked in shops for the 5-6 years and sold a ton of hybrids, and these casual customers HATE roadies. They're wondering why we spend so much on our bikes when we're not racing. They can't understand our attraction to helmets, sunglasses and kits (clothing) that looks like we're going to "race Lance in France". At the suggestion of the good stuff they cower responding, "Oh no, I could never ride/wear that I'm not a racer." We use this stuff 'cuz we know it's good, and it's fun to have/use the good stuff. It enhances our experience as riders. Kumbayah moment aside, I feel the need to help foster a positive outlook upon us the elected elitists of the cycling world.

And what do we do, we perpetuate it. It's such a small thing to say hi on the path. But they decide not to. Not a wave, nor smile, or nod emanates from their steely gaze. I've been known to give the face but that's usually when I'm sucking wind trying to catch Grandpa on the hybrid w/ loaded panniers; I simply can't make another face, I'm in pain! This is where it gets fun for me. Macho elitist asses aside, the local team riders (NCVC, Squadra Coppi, Java Shack, etc.) are the ones that make me laugh the most. I've talked to their elite team members (Cats 3 to 1) and they'll say that they always smile or nod when riding. They actually feel the obligation as ambassadors of the sport to portray themselves as well, not asses. They then divulge that it's the 4/5 guys, the pack fodder, the newbies, the guys w/ the cleanest newest team kit that give the face. Since they don't have the results to fall back on, they give the face to make themselves feel superior to others. Here's another point to ponder: go out and find yourself some pro riders when the CSC Invitational (Clarendon/Arlington/VA) race is being held. I can guarantee that they will smile, nod or wave to you. If they don't let me know and I'll flame 'em on this blog! If you keep it short and sweet w/ the pros they'll usually respond pretty positively. They know that this sport is super small in the States regardless of who Lance is banging next.

All I'm getting at is that you're riding on the bike path. It is a privilege to have these great trails for everyone's use (meaning that there will be others sharing the blacktop w/ you), so what hurt can at least a nod do? There, I'm done.

Photos courtesy of CyclingNews and Fotoreporter Sirotti

ride data: 3/5/06 technical difficulties

ride so nice; recovery? what recovery?
I'm just going to be short w/ this one. This post is a week late 'cuz I got super-sick early Monday morning. Chicken or the egg; I'm guessing that I got ahold of some bad sushi first, then I got nailed by some type of virus that had my temp up over 100°. I wasn't able to eat anything substantial until Wednesday. Needless to say, I'm still recovering. I haven't been sick like that in a long time. My digestion is still suspect even today.

On the ride side, I had "good sensations" (as the pro's say) in the legs today. All climbs were finished a slight sprint effort just to see if they could react to the change of pace. The reactions were better than positive as they felt invigorated to be pushed! They're starting to feel like where I was when I started to slack. At least I know this is the earliest in the season I've ever felt my legs respond in this manner. Pretty stoked brah! I just have to get the rest of the engine in tune w/ the legs.

The inset is the split from the finish of the ride; it's the split from the middle of the ride you see in the main image. This is where you can see how your finish was. On the days that there's been wind, you can definitely see the differences. I did just noticed that the split has the a gradient percentage logged. That's available nowhere else in the program, and that's the first I've seen of it. I've always wanted to know that the gradient of some of the climbs in the area are like in comparison to races in Europe. I'll have to play w/ this one.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

ride data: 3/3/06 -leg warmers are for aerobics...

well that sucked!

For some reason I can't seem to figure out that when it says its windy on the computer before I go out that if I'm riding well going out, that means it's at my back! [ed. note-my wife says I don'ted writed this gooder. Long story short, I can't apply the info I read on the computer w/ the real-time conditions as I'm riding.] Which means that it's going to suck getting home. I've done it nearly every time. Today was no different, except that the starting temp was around 40° combined w/ wind speeds of up to 20mph so the wind chill was below freezing! That sucked! It was the kind of wind that when you take a drink while your nose is running it feels like you're drowning. Meanwhile your throat is coating itself to protect you from damage combining w/ the energy gel making another interesting concoction preventing you from breathing like you should as you're riding into oncoming wind… Other than that, the ride was awesome! Clear skies, and for at least half of the ride, NO WIND!

I was really concentrating on pedaling circles as much as I could remember to. The physical act is not hard, it's training your mind to remember to keep it up as you tire. It's not up to muscle memory yet. I'll talk about that another time.

30 miles but w/ a nice hill added into the mix at the midpoint. It's in this old development that's across the street (or parkway in this case) from the trail and it has multiple hills of varying degrees of steepness and length for repeats. I'm not doing repeats yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I was just happy to get over it for right now.

altitude courtesy of trial and error.

When I turned on my watch I noticed that it gave me a starting point of 130ft. I don't have a topo map, and I'm bloody well not going to pay for the access on the net ("bloody" courtesy of Chaahlee on Lost), since I live right near a great starting point: the Potomac River! I never start down there though, and I haven't calculated the elevation from there to where I live now like I did before. But considering what it came out to be on the ride above, I'm thinking that I'm roughly 200ft above sea level. I have to do a run just for the true number sometime.

rest of the blah, blah, blah…

My kCal was at 1200 I think. My data is at home and now I can't remember. I like that my HR is coming down even when I was fighting the wind. Starting to get stronger every ride.

Plus, I'm still rolling w/ just knee warmers, no damn leggings for me. I'm making it my mission to get through this winter w/ out having to resort to tights. I do have to say I'm using Sports Balm's Freddy's Choice Warm Up Xtra for the exposed parts. A little bit of oil to help block the wind, and some cayenne to warm you up. It's pretty cool feeling when your pores open up allowing the hot stuff to get in there. That sentence is kinda paradoxical isn't it? Anyway, you end up smelling like you're on the start line of an early spring classic. I'm such euro-trash it's unbelievable. Self-embrocation is illegal in some states...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

the same but different.

I'm still fighting something, the same something I've been fighting for the past month. I'm keeping it back w/ Air Defense immune booster, and Zicam zinc chews. These have been doing the job, but I keep running myself down after I start to get ahead. The rides are feeling good though. I feel stronger, but I'm wondering why I'm still putting in the same times. Not that averages are a great indicator of progress, but I'd expect a higher average MPH would equal a lower time. I did stop and check my phone for 5 minutes, but that's not a huge difference to hang onto.

I put in a pretty good effort on the final hill and didn't have a hint of fatigue, in fact it was pretty exhilarating. That's one thing that I'm truly looking forward to: launching up hills w/out a problem. The stronger you get, the steeper the hill you look for. It becomes an obsession. You start to see hairpin switchback and imagine that you're on Alpe d'Huez powering away from the peloton on your way to a solo win; you just have to get rid of Basso who's been shadowing you the entire day. Everybody wonders how I can go the same route every ride and not get tired; there's your answer. I've got a freaky imagination.

I'm sure that I'm going to see a change in the time pretty soon if today's ride is an indicator.