Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I love riding the trainer... least that is what I've been telling myself lately. Monday I did a single set of 3x5 minute transition intervals (up, up, up, down, down) followed by a period of recovery and then one 10 minute interval of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. Tuesday I just spun easy and today I did 2x15 minute intervals at an average heart rate of 161 and 164 bpm.

On the subject of real riding, today I received the green light to spend the week of Feb. 19th working remotely in Phoenix. I'm planning on 2-3 hours each day. Of riding that is. Work should be normal hours. :)

For some reason I have a very strong urge to purchase a pair of Arundel Dave-O bottle cages. I'd never heard of them before today, but now that I'm aware of their existance the blue color option is calling my name. I decided to order another pair of Time Impact cleats to use with my new shoes, so with the money I saved (by not buying new pedals) I could pick some up... Cyclingnews gave them 4.5 yellow jerseys so there's a bit of function mixed in with their good looks.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Yellow Fork

Hiked up the Yellow Fork trail in Herriman this afternoon with the family. It was good to get out of the inversion as, in the words of my wife, "it's nice to see a blue sky." We hiked up on the singletrack and returned on the doubletrack. The trail had seen quite a lot of foot and horse traffic. I may need to check it out on the bike this week...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Owned by a Frozen Hog

I rode 3 laps of the Frozen Hog race course this morning and got worked over. Thanks to Kris, Yamabiker, Warren, Steve and company for their patience! My legs felt great and I rode the doubletrack climb well but everything else was weak, weak, weak. Of course, I don't think my strength will ever be frozen, rutted mud with a nice layer of ice in the tracks but still, I should be able to ride faster than a hiker don't you think?! Out of the 3 laps I don't believe I rode any cleanly, but luckily I only went down once thanks to a slippery patch of ice on a left hand corner. Overall it was a fun ride and after 3 weeks indoors on the trainer the fresh - albeit polluted - air felt great. My main goal for 2007 is to ride with groups (both on the road and dirt) so that I can learn from their experience. It's amazing how significant of a gap good technical skills can open up over the course of a 2-3 mile lap.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I've about had it with the trainer...

The weather is driving me absolutely nuts. I looked at my riding log for last January and through the 24th I'd ridden outside 11 times. If I hadn't spent a week in Phoenix this year I'd have logged 0 rides outside so far in January. That sucks. Big time. I think it goes without saying that I'm getting sick of the trainer. Right now our air quality is unhealthy and we're lucky if we reach 30 for a high. The situation is forecast to improve on Saturday so cross your fingers...

This morning I incorporated two 10 minute intervals of 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off into my workout with 10 minutes of recovery in between sets. I felt ok during the first and not so great during the second. I think the problem was a WebEx demo I had scheduled this afternoon with some folks in Argentina and Chile. For me it's hard to feel good on the bike when I'm preoccupied with work. However, the demo went well and it turns out that I have another scheduled with Columbia and Ecuador early tomorrow morning. That means I'll probably be riding in the evening.

The shoes finally arrived at Bingham's today so I picked them up on my way home from work. Those are some sweet shoes. Be warned: Don't try on a pair unless you're willing to throw down the cash because once you put them on you won't want to take them off. They are amazing. Now I need to decide if I'm going to buy a new pair of pedals or just pick up another set of cleats for my Impact Mags.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Misc. Stuff

I called Bingham's on Friday to get an ETA for the shoes. They shipped from the distribution center Thursday and should arrive in the store Monday. It still seems funny to me that it takes a few days for items to travel 15 miles. The FSA reimbursement I faxed in Wednesday hit my account yesterday so the shoes are paid for before I've even had a chance to use them! This is our first year with National Benefit Services and so far I'm impressed. Now I'm debating whether or not to get a new pair of pedals. My Time Impact Mags are a couple of years old and the new RXS Carbons look nice for not too much $. I probably should have kept the Speedplay's I won and given them a try. However, during my bike fit with Dr. Testa I asked what pedals were the best for knees and he said that his choice was Look followed by Time. He likes the large contact area and ability to limit (or eliminate) float that Look and Time offer. In his opinion, the rounded shape of Speedplays facilitates side-to-side rocking on the pedal when you ride hard. This isn't a problem for rec riders he said, but it could cause problems for those who race. Given that, Speedplays have been around for a long time and are used by all types of riders with no reported issues. Max did say that he's worked with Looks more than any other pedal so it may be a case of personal preference and familiarity with a particular product. Me, I'll probably stick with Time for the same reason.

In terms of riding, I've been trying to mix up the trainer sessions a bit by emphasizing higher cadence and intensity this week. Uhl mentioned that he did two 10 minute intervals consisting of 15 seconds high intensity followed by 15 seconds of recovery. I tweaked it a bit on Wednesday and did a single 15 minute interval of 30 seconds high intensity followed by 30 seconds recovery. Today I did 8x1 minute intervals at high intensity with 30 seconds of recovery between each effort. This one hurt pretty bad and I only did 1 set!

I didn't ride Thursday because I had a dermatofibroma removed from my right calf. The doctor told me it was really nothing to worry about but if I wanted it taken out it was easy to do. I said sure, why not and had it cut out. Bart will probably laugh that I had the area numbed as part of the procedure since he would have probably done everything himself in his living room with no pain killers! Yes, I'll admit to being somewhat of a wimp when it comes to knives and stitches.

Since I've already admitted to being a wimp I suppose it isn't a big surprise to learn that I'm not a huge fan of the current weather pattern in SLC. I envy all of you that are headed south (or west in the case of RB) to escape the cold. Me, I'll be back in Phoenix sometime next month. I can't wait...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New road shoes

I went to Bingham's in Salt Lake at lunch today to pick up a pair of the 2007 S-Works road shoes. I'm digging my S-Works mountain shoes so much that I had to get a pair for the road bike. Of course, the main reason I went with Specialized is because of the varus wedge which brings my right knee into alignment. Check out the picture and tell me what color you would have purchased. Me, I went with the black which, surprisingly, was a special order. All the local dealers had was white. Since they are being "delivered" from Specialized's Distribution Center that also happens to be in Salt Lake, I'm hoping it doesn't take too long. Maybe Team Rico can facilitate an exchange at a convenient, neutral location like... La Hacienda? Of course lunch would be on me! These suckers cost big $ so I submitted the FSA claim this afternoon. If all goes well I should be reimbursed by the end of the week.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Killer deal on tubes

Just bought 10 and it appears they are backordered but seeing as it's currently 12 degrees outside I'm not too worried...

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Today's weather forecast called for a HIGH temperature of 17 so this morning I found myself back on the trainer. I rode for 60 minutes and the session was spent doing 4x5 minute intervals at an average heart rate of 169, 165, 165 and 168 bpm. My intention was to keep my heart rate around 165 so I was pleased with the averages. Last winter it was a rare Saturday that found me on the trainer but this year it has been just the opposite. Hopefully we can return to normal temperatures and I can start riding with the PROvo group out of Racer's Cycles. Those guys are hard core but I'd be surprised if they ventured outdoors today.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I am a pig

Yes, it is true. I eat a lot. If it weren't for riding I would be fat. I know this because 4 years ago, before I starting riding again, I was approaching 220 pounds. Luckily, my body has adjusted to my overindulgence so that my weight remains relatively constant at 165 pounds, give or take a few. Not bad for a guy who's 6'1".

Just now I returned from lunch at La Hacienda (in the strip mall near Redwood & California Ave) where I consumed way too much food. Chips & salsa aside, my chicken soft taco smothered in chile verde sauce with rice and beans was HUGE yet I somehow managed to eat it all. I considered ordering a slice of flan for dessert but chose to pass on this occasion. I say on this occasion because I have eaten there twice this week (so far) and normally go at least once a week. For those of you who like Mexican food La Hacienda serves it up right.

Unfortunately, my eating too much is not limited to restaurants...

As many of you know, I spent the past week in Phoenix, AZ. During that time I had the pleasure of eating dinner at the home of my brother's mother-in-law. She served up her famous tacos of which I consumed eight. Now, these are not your average, run of the mill tacos, but rather a corn tortilla stuffed with beef and cheese that is fried in olive oil. Yes, you read that correctly. The tacos are fried and if you are lucky enough to try one (or two, or three, or...) you would agree that it could be done no other way. At the table you then add lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa and ranch dressing. After polishing off eight of the bad boys I had two servings of brownies with Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. Like I said earlier, I am a pig.

My family is well known for good, old fashioned home cooking. When visiting my folks in Boise, ID I inevitably eat too much. This past year, over the course of the Thanksgiving weekend, I consumed at least one piece of pumpkin, cherry, pecan, apple and chocolate cream pie not to mention some fudge, apple crisp and pear tart. All of this was homemade, incredibly delicious and in addition to the vast quantities of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, etc. I also ate. Yes, I do tend to eat a lot.

To those readers who may be feeling a bit quesy at this point in my narrative I apologize. However, I share this with you for a reason so please stay with me. My point is this: If I can eat as much as I do without gaining weight while riding a mere 8-10 hours a week (and even less during the winter months), why are professional cyclists who train 20+ hours a week so worried about what they consume? Why can't they have a piece of cake now and then? Why is ice cream avoided like it's the plague? In my opinion such behavior is ridiculous and for a recreational rider to do the same is absolutely crazy. Eating too much is one of the benefits that riding provides. If you don't take advantage of that fact you're missing out.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On the Trainer Again

After 3 days off the bike I hit the trainer this morning for a session of building intervals. I completed 2 sets (9x3) with no recovery in between. In a nutshell the workout looks like this: Warm up for 10 minutes then shift into the big ring and go for 3 minutes, shift up a gear and go for 3 minutes, shift up again and go for 3 minutes, shift down and go for 3 minutes, shift down and go for 3 minutes then repeat and cool down. My average heart rates for the nine 3 minutes intervals looked like this: 144, 155, 169, 164, 154, 161, 176, 168 and 162. Total trainer time was 45 minutes. I still can't figure out how guys like Team Rico can handle 4.5 hours inside. Guess that's why he's fast and I'm not...

Thanks to Fox I was able to get my new SRAM Rival compact crankset installed this afternoon. When he says that bikes are his life he's not joking. That dude knows how to get it done on and off the trail. It probably drove him crazy watching me slowly put things together but his patience and help were much appreciated. Sly, give me a call when you feel like pizza for dinner. Or, maybe I can bring some out to OP if I end up being in Arizona that weekend!

I stopped by Contender on my way home from work and picked up an SRAM PowerLock for my chain. This evening I removed 3 links from the chain, cleaned it, and put it back on using the PowerLock connector. Finished off the job with an application of Dumonde Tech lube which I'm trying for the first time on the road bike.

Say what you will about Armstrong...

...but when it comes to Cancer he is the real deal. Check out his OpEd piece currently on CNN's Health page.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Long, Sport and Technical Tracks

Rode the long, sport and technical tracks (in that order) at McDowell Mountain yesterday morning with my brother. Where it took Cami and I 1:20 to complete the long loop my brother and I hammered it out in 46:40. The technical track had two drops before each of the steep downhill sections. The first was probably 1.5 feet where we hit it which wasn't too bad. The second was bigger but you could take a narrow line around the perimeter to avoid the drop which is what we did. A narrow, rocky climb was the only other truly technical obstacle which didn't prove too difficult. Of all the trails I rode this week the long loop at McDowell was my favorite. It's going to be a tough transition to return home to the freezing temperatures and snow. However, my legs need a break after 6 consecutive days of riding. I can't imagine enjoying Arizona in the summer but as far as the winter goes it is the place to be.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Desert Classic

This morning my brother and I rode the Desert Classic trail at South Mountain. It was rolling singletrack that dropped in and out of several steep washes. The riding wasn't technical, though a bit rocky in sections, which allowed me to shift into the big ring for extended periods of time. I overshot a few corners into some loose sand which almost caused me to hit a bush but kept it upright and continued rolling.

Tomorrow I'll ride the competitive tracks at McDowell Mountain again. Of all the rides I've done this trip the long track is my favorite. My road bike is feeling neglected but when I'm back in February I'll show it more love.

This morning it rained during the drive to the trailhead but dried up quickly and now it's sunny and 60.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

McDowell Mountain Competive Short and Long Tracks

Cami and I rode the McDowell Mountain competitive sport (3 miles) and long (8 miles) tracks this morning. She did great on all of the technical sections that caught her by surprise and walked the others. :) Overall she did a great ride, especially considering that today was her first time on the dirt in 3 months. It was a good time made possible by my sister-in-law Erin watching our kids while we were away. Many thanks...

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Trail 100

Rode Trail 100 this afternoon with my brother as an out-and-back from the parking lot on Tatum Blvd. It was pretty mellow with the exception of a few steep, rocky sections that required some skills and a lot of leg. I have yet to develop the former and at this time of year am seriously lacking the latter! The nice thing about exposed rock is that it allows you to get out of the saddle and power up the climb without any rear wheel slippage. Going down I just hold on and let the wheels roll, thankful that I have a full suspension bike. I fell on one of the longer technical climbs and scraped up my left arm and chainstay a bit. This wouldn't have been a big deal if 1) My brother hadn't cleaned the climb and 2) I went down right in front of another rider who had stopped to catch his breath. My big problem on tricky climbs where I'm not familiar with the trail is that I tend to focus on what is immediately in front of my wheel. This inevitably results in my taking a bad line and getting into trouble. It's all good, however, and the more I ride on the dirt the more comfortable I feel. My only regret is waiting until '06 to start mountain biking...

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

2 Hours

I went for a nice 2 hour spin this morning between 9 and 11 am. At that time of day back home it would be COLD but here I was cruising in the 50's. For those familiar with the North Phoenix area I hit the following roads: Union Hills to Cave Creek to Dynamite to Pima to Jomax to Cave Creek to Union Hills.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Arizona Day 1

Rode the 15 mile Pemberton Trail this afternoon in McDowell Mountain State Park. The trail reminded me of the Bear Claw Poppy trail in St. George minus the big drops. Tomorrow I'll be on the road bike and return to the dirt on Wednesday. The weather is fantastic...