Sunday, January 28, 2007

The wheels on the trainer go round and round.

First things first...Ladies please don't go crazy over that pasty, dead sexy leg above, I'm a taken man. I'm the only biker that would actually INCREASE his wind drag by shaving his legs. I was trying to get a cool, blurred motion shot of me on the trainer, but after a couple attempts I had to resort to popping the flash and having my chicken legs clearly visible. Oh well, I need a pic to post so it wasn't another lame "I rode the trainer, here's my heart rate profile" post that I've been doing non-stop since it turned into the Arctic Circle here. At least it got the cool see-through effect.

Back on track with a strong finish for January, I closed out my hardest week of training thus far. Legs felt pretty good, even after the ski day and intervals yesterday. I'm a long way from where I need to be ultimately, but right now I am very pleased with where I am.

I've noticed that my cadence just continues to increase. I used to have a cadence in the low 90s, then it started to creep up to the mid 90s, and now I often find myself spinning in the 100 rpm range. I guess its a good thing, especially since I'll be finding myself on a singlespeed that will require some fast spinning on the flats if I'm running a "climbing" gear.

The big news for this blog......

Helmet cam.

My sister, Sarah, bought me a helmet camera that uses flash memory for Christmas, so expect this space to be filled with countless videos this year. It shoots 640x480 video and I've got a 2GB card so it should have plenty of capacity to record all the antics. Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Typical Saturday

In the immortal words of Nick Martin..."Safety First, kids."

We came up on this nasty looking accident today on our way to Winter Park, as we were descending Floyd Hill. The good part was that the passengers were all moving about and it appeared no one was hurt.

Sarah, Jill and I hit up Winter Park. We woke up to 2-3" of fresh now in Longmont with more falling (its a weekend, of course it snowed!), and we had thoughts of fresh powder dancing in our heads. Well it wasn't really to be, as the snow tapered off the further west we got.

So no new powder at Winter Park, and it was a bit chilly at 12k feet on Vasque Cirque, but we still managed to make some turns and have a good time. Grabbed some food on the way back to the Front Range and home in time for the Pokes game tonight (more on that later).

So after 25ish miles on the slopes today, I'm off to the trainer while the Pokes play. After a Friday off, its another round of max exertion intervals tonight. Ouch.

One thing I had to post up is TDF Winner (I won't say TDF Champion since thats up in the air) Floyd Landis' new custom bike, stark white but full of Jack Handy quotes like:

"Where does a forest ranger go to get away from it all?"

"A bus stops at a bus station. A train stops at a train station. At my desk I have a work station".

and lastly "If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?"

Pure brilliance.

Photo from

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hard Days

I recently made comments that I felt my training plan was "too easy" and that I wasn't getting the hard rides that mimicked real riding conditions that push you to the brink. Well the past two nights, those comments seemed downright foolish. Tonight's workout was a leg busting interval fest right on the heels of intervals last night.

Tonight's ride was 1:20 with 4 intervals of 3 minutes at max exertion with 3 minutes rest between each set. The difference between last night's 6 3 minute intervals and tonight's was the recommended cadence last night was 110 and tonight it was 80-90.

Translation - masher.

I did 30 minutes of warmup in Zone 2, which felt pretty good, then it was time to suffer. To get the desired cadence and heart rate, I decided I'd max out the resistance on my trainer and big ring it to simulate a nasty hill, like climbing Sunshine Canyon west of Boulder.

I suffered. Greatly.

As I hung my head to try and keep the sweat from stinging my eyes, staring at the pool of sweat below me I started thinking about the proverbial "other guy". Is the "other guy" riding this hard right now?

I'm realistic and realize I'm not a racer, and likely won't ever be. I then that I realized that the "other guy" isn't someone else at all, but just an early version of me. I've never started training this early, and I've never stayed this dedicated to a plan. This week has been tough on the legs, and tough on the mind to keep pushing myself.

I keep thinking about that previous version of me who would come out of winter 10lbs heavier than he should be, and I think about being able to grab another gear headed up the climb and drop that guy for good.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

If the day ever comes, I'll be ready

Another weekend, another 4-5 inches of snow. Its just gonna be a way of life here on the Front Range this year. Normally we'll get a strange run of 60 degree days and you'll see everyone hitting the trails in long sleeves and shorts, but this year the trails are getting a well deserved break.

So per the usual, I climbed on to the Roubaix thats been mounted in the trainer for the last 2 months for some indoor saddle time. Since having my week plus hiatus from the head cold, I had been worried about getting that snap in my legs back. This weekend gave me hope that a 1.5 week break won't be any problem come spring.

Saturday I did an endurance building 1:30 minute Zone 2 (60ish percent of max) ride while I watched the Pokes lay an egg on the road versus Texas A&M. Figured after the gut wrenching win over Texas a win at A&M would be tough, so I dealt with it pretty well. Ride clicked along pretty easily, with the only problem being keeping my heart rate from dropping below the lower range of my zone. Knowing what I had in store for me today, I didn't worry too much about grabbing another gear to get my HR higher in the zone.

Today I had a long ride (long for a trainer ride at least) with a couple intervals in it. Schedule for 2:10, with the intervals having 10 minutes of Zone 4 work followed by 5 minutes of recovery. I haven't done any work above Zone 3 in a long time, so I was anxious to see how all this "base" work I had done would translate to higher HR stamina. I knocked out an hour of Zone 2, then started the intervals which went by pretty quickly as I watched some NFL on the tube.

I felt pretty good during the intervals, pushing a 53/15 gear at a cadence of about 100 rpms, which translates to somewhere in the range of 28mphs. I did notice in the data evaluation that my cadence appeared to drop a bit on the second interval, but I won't worry too much about that right now.

So for the weekend I pounded out 3:35 minutes on the trainer, turning the cranks over around 20,000 times and putting in 65-70 miles (estimating based on gearing and cadence). I'd really love to get out on the trail/road, but I am coping pretty well indoors. I'm really, really glad that I had the road bike and trainer this winter otherwise I'd be 215lbs and sorely out of shape come Spring.

Here's the Polar data from Sundays ride.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cardio Training via Cardiac Cowboys

Oh my.

Day 2 back in the saddle had me riding during the first half of the Big 12 battle between Oklahoma State and Texas. Both ranked teams, both sporting big time stars and Oklahoma State desperately needing a win after taking a serious shellacking on the road at KU last week.

At halftime, I finished up my 1:20 minute ride and showered up. I probably should have waited to shower till after the game though. The 2nd half of the game was a slugfest. Texas Freshman Kevin Durant is a freak. He hit tough shot after tough shot, but it is already frustrating to see him getting calls he shouldn't in his 3rd game in the league. He's a ridiculously good player who needs no help.

The game was back and forth and upside down then inside out. Byron Eaton hit a 45 foot falling out of bounds shot as the shot clock expired, JamesOn Curry hit many big threes and knocked down lots of crucial freethrows down the stretch. And Mario Bogan is sick. 37 points and 20 boards, and as clutch as they come.

I was up and down, screaming, heart pounding as the game ended deadlocked and headed into OT. The first OT the Pokes got up by 5 only to have Texas fight back and force a 2nd OT. OState was down to 5 players for all purposes, and the longer the game wore on the less the chances they'd pull out a win. The 2nd OT also had OState jumping out to a 5pt lead, and once again failing to hold on.

A 3rd Overtime. I wasn't sure my heart could take it. The losing team was going to be exhausted and have a frustrating loss. I thought I was done with cardio after the bike ride, but that was just the warmup as my heart raced for the 3 hours of the game.

In the 3rd OT, OSU again got out to a lead, and then squandered it again. UT took a 1 point lead with less than 5 seconds, which I thought was pretty much the nail in the coffin for the Cowboys. In very un-OSU fashion, Super Mario hit a running 20 footer. UT grabbed the ball, forced it up court and tried to get a shot off but they turned the ball over.

Holy cow, I'm exhausted. I thought I had learned to cope with OState sports, but I was on the edge tonight.

Well played Pokes, nice win.

Post Sickness Circling of the Wagons

Had a nasty head cold that took me down to a stuffed up mess, rendering any sort of physical activity on the shelf for a bit. Heck I felt too bad to even play games on the Wii. I made the conscious decision to just take time off the training program and try to get healed up rather than let this linger on for weeks.

So I was off from Friday 1/5 till last night, and I could sure feel it. I'm sure I've still got some side effects from pumping mass quantities of Dayquil/Nyquil into my system, but it was the only relief I could find and it wasn't much relief. So last night I hit the trainer for an easy 45 minute Zone 2 spin while I watched some mindless dribble on the TV. I got through it, and my legs actually felt OK but my heart rate numbers where higher than they normally would be on such a short ride. Oh well, I've got a considerable amount of time before the real season, so a 1.5 week setback isn't a big deal to me at this point.

On a cycling related front, Jill and I decided after watching Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, that we should try to do more to recycle and conserve. Well one of the things we are going to start doing when the spring hits is ride our bikes across town to dinner or small errands instead of getting in the car and driving. We get so many nice days here (although not that many lately...), that its more a treat than a concession.

Of course, I can't exactly chain up the custom Yeti 575 or the all carbon Roubaix and not worry about them getting stolen, so I somehow have convinced Jill to let me get a "budget" bike to do these sorts of things on. I'm thinking I'll go steel frame and rigid fork to keep the costs down, plus it should take some of the edge off bumps when I take it to the trails. I've got my eye on a couple frames, but I won't give away my pick just yet as I still have to track down a test ride or two. I've got quite a few spare parts laying around from upgrades that should keep the build costs to a minimum (or else I'll probably be sleeping in the basement with the bikes!).

Now that I'm well, we'll probably think about hitting the ski slopes or the snow shoe trail again this weekend. I'm sure we'll get our usual Friday snowstorm, its getting easy to predict. All in all the cold pattern we've been in hasn't been that bad, but I keep expecting its going to break and it just never seems to. Then again it is January in Colorado...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple does it again.

Apple is evidently not content. Yesterday I posted about the possibility of the new iTV (which looks cool) and the Apple iPhone, but I don't think any tech geek was prepared for what the actual details of the iPhone would be. I was shocked and amazed several times during the keynote speech. Its a touch screen (literally one button) phone, widescreen video Ipod, internet device (nervous Blackberry?) with a 2 megapixel camera thrown in for good measure all in a device that is less than .5 thick.

Its not cheap, and it looks complicated but its definitely something I'll be considering in June. has all the details, but somehow Apple has been able to revolutionize an existing product all over again. This time I won't be so slow to convert like I was on the Ipod. Resistance is futile...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Technology Winds of Change

When you go to the Apple Store and see this message, good things are about to happen. This means that cool new stuff is about to be announced at Steve Jobs Keynote speech that will happen this morning. My favorite thing about Apple is that instead of announcing a product then making people wait 6 months for the product, they announce it and usually have it immediately available for sale on their website.

Big rumors seem to be an Apple/Cingular Itunes phone and iTV, but I'm hoping that the much rumored but never seen touchscreen video Ipod will finally come to fruition. I don't really need a video Ipod, but my old 2nd Generation could certainly stand to be put out to pasture.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A good weekend to be sick?!

Its never a fun time to be sick, but sometimes fate comes at you in strange ways. This time of year we spend a lot of days on the ski slopes, which 95% of the time translates to Winter Park. After a tumultuous Friday at work that had me in the office till nearly 6:30 chasing down a small problem that grew into a VERY BIG problem in a hurry, I came home exhausted and feeling pretty punk.

So after grabbing some dinner Friday night, I decided Saturday would be an easy non-ski day. Of course when I woke up Saturday morning the head cold went from minor to full blown, which meant it would be a lazy recovery weekend. While we were lounging around on Saturday, a breaking news story started streaming across the bottom of the TV.

The words "Massive Avalanche" and "Berthoud Pass" were all that I really need to see. Berthoud Pass is pretty much the only way in and and out of Winter Park from the Front Range, and we drive it several times a month. Last year Sarah & I narrowly avoided an avalanche that closed the road, being an estimated 10 minutes in front of it on our way home. The previous weekend our friend Scott had made mention that he didn't like to go to Winter Park due to the avalanches, the thought of which I scoffed at and made fun.

So as the story unfolded details emerged. 8 people, 2 cars buried in snow field that was about 15 feet deep and 200 - 300 feet wide. That's 2 stories tall for the length of a football field. If you weren't in a car, you would not survive and I'm sure in a car its a life changing experience regardless.

So I guess the head cold and choosing to stay home was a good thing in hindsight. True by the time the avalanche occurred we would have been in Winter Park for at least an hour or two, but we would have either had to stay overnight or drive a couple hours of detour over to Summit County to get home, which would have surely been a nightmare in itself. Hopefully I can shed the head cold and get back on the bike soon.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Will we ever see the grass again?

After two days in the upper 40s and some much needed melting (finally!), you guessed it more snow for Friday. Not a "major" storm by recent standards, but enough to bury the grass that had just barely peaked through in a couple spots.

Don't get me wrong, I love the snow for the mountains but having 40" inches since mid December is about enough for me for quite some time. I thought I'd finally get out for some sort of non-trainer, outdoor ride at some point this weekend but doesn't look like its going to happen after all.

Oh well, at least I have Wii Sports for "cross training" this weekend... :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I say hello, you say goodbye

So much for that 2006 fad, its 2007 time!

2007 is off to a great start. New job is great, Jill and I are having a great time living in Colorado and the puppies have been loving all the snow we've gotten recently. The snow has kept us a little closer to the house at times, but really only altered our plans for a couple days.

Random looks back at the last year...

1. I started this blog thing just about a year ago, with my first post being January 8th and showcasing the brand new Yeti 575 (still love that bike). 117 posts later and I think there are still a few people who read this dribble.

2. I keep adding hobbies. I already had too many hobbies, but in the last year I've added road biking and snow shoeing to an already large list. Both are good alternatives to the other stuff we do (mountain bike, hike, ski, etc).

3. Two good, action oriented vacations (Arizona trip and Grand Teton/Yellowstone). We bit off just about all we could chew a couple times on this trips, most notably the Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon and our camping in 8" of snow with sub 20 degree temps at 9,000 feet in Grand Teton.

But we sure got to see some gorgeous stuff

4. The good and bad of biking:
Good - Monarch Crest ride. 35 miles of mountain bike riding, topping out almost at 12,000 feet all on a day I should have been working. Now that is what I call good.

Bad - MS150 Ride. 8 hours of torrential rain and downright cold temps (for July) made the first day a miserable experience. Day 2 was better, but I still hadn't mentally recovered.

5. Favorite Rocky Mountain National Park Visits - Hiking up to Chasm Lake with Jill on Yack's birthday and the hike up to Cascade Falls.

6. The best decision - Switching jobs was a very good decision. Its good to be back in a Solarc/RightAngle related job, and its a nice switch to not be pounding out code daily. My stress level has decreased, which is a good thing for all involved.

And the early start on 2007

1. Darrent Williams getting shot really was a sad event. Although I had never met him, I felt somewhat connected as I've watched him play for the last 6 years. I really only follow the Broncos because they've got several OState players.

2. The Fiesta Bowl was ridiculous. I've never seen such a continuously up and down crazy ending to any game. If you missed it, you owe it to yourself to check out the highlights. And yeah I know the couple of Sooner fans that read this blog probably didn't like the outcome, but you've got to admit that Boise State was impressive when it counted.

3. Training continues - After taking lots of rest days in December, I'm back on track with the training, with intervals starting this week. Things are starting to come together. We skied December 31st, and I felt stronger as the day went on. Can't wait to get back on the trails, December has meant A LOT of time on the trainer. Can't remember the last time I actually got out.

Well thats enough ramblings for now, I've got 364 more days (leap year) to top my 117 posts of last year, so stay tuned.

Best wishes to all for a great 2007.