Thursday, November 30, 2006

Buy T-Bird's Bike

T-Bird is selling his "training bike" for an outrageously cheap price. You can check out the details here but in summary it's a 57 cm Colnago Dream HP with a Star carbon fork built with a mix of Campy Chorus and Record. Competitive Cyclist lists this frame (with the heavier Street carbon fork) for $2,500. T-Bird is selling the complete bike for $2,650 and including a bunch of extra stuff. I was seriously tempted to pick it up for myself as I've been dreaming (no pun intended) about owning an Italian frame with Campy components since I was a kid. Unfortunately it's a bit too small.

In terms of riding, I did another 45 minute session on the trainer this morning that included a 30 minute effort at an average hr of 163. I really should do 2x20's but once I get into it I just want the ride to be over and end up extending the duration of the first interval. I noticed some unused fans at work today so I may borrow one for the next few months. With a little air circulation I should be more comfortable and, hopefully, able to ride longer. Anybody up for an early training camp to St. George? Looks like sun and highs in the low 50's next week!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Misc. Stuff

The last couple of days have found me on the trainer. I'll be the first to admit that I am a total wimp when it comes to riding indoors. For some reason it feels so much more difficult regardless of where my heart rate happens to be. I could be doing a recovery spin at 120 bpm inside and it feels harder than rolling in the 150's outside. Why is that? Anyway, I did manage to complete 45 minutes yesterday and today which I figure is better than nothing. Once I find a fan (hopefully Team Rico will post some info when he locates a good one) I should be able to bring it up to 60 minutes which is about my threshold. Last year I did 90 minutes in my parent's garage over the Christmas break with my friend Nathan. However, that is, and probably will always be, my longest indoor ride. Turbo B said that he only rode the trainer 3 or 4 times last winter. Maybe I need to follow suit and do more lunch rides. The thing that sucks is spending 15 minutes getting dressed & undressed (total time ~30 minutes) in winter gear for a 60 minute ride. Maybe I just need to learn how to change clothes quicker...

Neil@ROAD mentioned that so far Discovery, CSC, Predictor-Lotto, Saunier Duval and T-Mobile will be sending teams to the Tour of California. Should be a fun race and I'd love to swing a trip to watch/ride for a few days. The problem is that my family connections in northern CA moved to Seattle so I would need to throw down some $ for a hotel. Maybe RB knows of a good bridge I could camp under...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Need some new pedals?

So I've been playing Cyclingnews' fantasy cycling games for a couple of years now and finally put together a competitive team for the 2006 Vuelta where I placed 3rd. As a result I won a pair of Speedplay Zero Stainless pedals and Maxxis Courchevel tires. The Speedplays arrived today and I'm still waiting for the tires. Unfortunately, my wife and I ride Time pedals and have no need for the Speedplays. I've listed them on eBay but if you're local we can arrange to meet which will save you the shipping costs. For $150 which includes the cleat covers I think it's a killer deal.

You can buy the pedals here.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Yes, it seems like winter has finally arrived even if it's not official until December 21st. Temps this week will be downright chilly and if all goes as forecast we'll awake to the first valley snow of the season tomorrow morning.

Unfortunately this means that my riding this week will be spent predominantly on the trainer. My wife wanted to be included in the fun this year so I borrowed a second trainer from a friend and set her bike up next to mine in the basement office. So now we can "ride" together. Should be loads of fun. Good thing Sandros has mixed up several hours of quality tunes to help pass the time.

About this time of year Arizona starts to look really appealing. Conveniently my brother lives in Phoenix and I'll be spending a week with the family at his place in January. I'm also planning a solo trip in February to work & ride for a week. I'm lucky that everything I need to be productive at work is available online so with my laptop and my brother's high speed wireless connection I'm in business.

If anybody has St. George connections that they want to share let me know... :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Can you believe it?!

Amazing game. I thought BYU was done when they all but disappeared in the 2nd and 3rd quarters but somehow they pulled it together and stole the game. 33-31 BYU. Incredible.

The last two days have been good on the bike. After my near bonk on Thursday I wasn't sure how I would feel but both days the legs were good. I rode 90 minutes each day which brings my weekly total to 8.5 hours. That may not seem like much but it's more than I've ridden in a week for at least 2 months. I've been riding the rural roads northeast of Boise, heading to Caldwell yesterday and a loop through Star today. My cousin Brian tagged along today and rode strong seeing as it was his first time on the bike in more than a month. Of course, this is the same guy who ran a 3:13 marathon 2 years ago after training for a week! Needless to say he is gifted physically.

I was taking pictures of the kids at my grandparents in Caldwell yesterday and had to take a few of the bike too.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day Bonk

Why are distances always shorter in memory than real life? I set out this morning at 9 am with the intention of riding to Little Freezeout hill in Emmett, a ride I planned on taking about 2 hours. For some reason I thought the hill was a lot closer than it turned out to be... I enjoyed the ride out and decided to turn onto Little Freezeout instead of continuing on the highway into town. I descended to the bottom and immediately turned around to start the ride home. I soon realized that what I had thought would be an easy descent back to Beacon Light turned out to require a little more effort due to a strong sidewind. Since I had originally planned to only ride 2 hours I hadn't taken any food with me and had only water in my bottle. After 2 hours and with another 30 minutes ahead of me I knew that I would need to stop and buy something to eat. Unfortunately, the closest convenience store was in Eagle so the next 20 minutes saw my perceived extertion constantly increase while my heart rate started to drop. It's a funny thing looking back, seeing your heart rate at 115 yet feeling like you're giving it full gas. My speed started to decline from 20 to 19 to 18, 17, 16, 15 until I finally turned off of Beacon Light and started the descent down the hill into Eagle. Stopping at the first gas station, I bought a chocolate milk and package of mini donuts. Five minutes later I was on the road again and this time, instead of continuing to drop, my speed gradually increased. Not the best pre-Thanksgiving dinner meal I know but at least it got me home.

Tomorrow I'll remember to pack something to eat just in case my memory fails me again...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Managed to get a solid 2 hours in this morning. The weather was perfect and my legs felt good. I rode a loop out Redwood to Camp Williams then east to Thanksgiving Point and back home via 14600 S and 1300 W. I hate the 1/2 mile section of road south of Camp Williams before the turnoff to TGP. For the number of vehicles on the road and the high speed limit (50?) it really needs to be widened.

We're driving to Boise, ID this afternoon to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I'm taking the bike and trainer but hope the weather cooperates so I don't need to use the latter. The quantity and quality of home cooked food is really quite ridiculous so I'll need to exercise some serious self control to avoid putting on 5 pounds this weekend.

Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'll Take It

As far as my riding is concerned today was noteworthy for two reasons:

1) I was on the road at 8am wearing only leg & arm warmers, toe booties, sleeveless base, summer jersey and wind vest. Originally I had planned to ride in the early afternoon but when I checked the temp at 7:45am and saw it was 52 (according to KSL) I decided to do it early. Pretty incredible for Nov. 20 in Salt Lake City.

2) Towards the end of my ride I did the steep 1 mile climb up Bangerter to the Chevron on Highland in Draper. Since I'm still not completely recovered from my cold I didn't want to go into the red so stayed in the saddle and didn't give it full gas. This necessitated riding at a lower cadence than normal but my knee felt fine both during and after the ride. My fingers are crossed that it is (finally!) starting to heal. Shows what a good bike fitting can do. If you don't believe me check out what RB had to say on the subject.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The trouble with knees

I've had some issues with my right knee since Nov '06 that I can trace to an evening of sit ups followed by a lunch run the following day. To be honest I'm not sure if either of those events has any bearing on my current condition but the pain started a few hours after the run so they at least seem to be related. So I haven't run since which honestly hasn't been a problem since I didn't enjoy it much to begin with. What has been a nuisance is the fact that my knee aches following hard rides. So last month I decided to see an Ortho and met with Dr. Eric Heiden at TOSH. He took some x-rays and quickly determined that I was experiencing patella-femoral pain probably due to a slight misalignment of my upper and lower leg bones. In addition to consistent stretching he felt that my position on the bike should be looked at so walked me upstairs to meet Dr. Max Testa. I won't go into details but needless to say these two really know their stuff. I scheduled a bike fitting for the following week with Dr. Testa where he later shimmed my cleats to bring my right knee into proper alignment and correct for a slight leg-length discrepancy. After a year of Ibuprofen and Naproxen I am finally starting to ride without anti-inflammatories.

So what I really wanted to touch on is Glucosamine Chondroitin supplements. Drs. Heiden and Testa recommended that I give it a try for a month. So I picked up a bottle from Costco on Monday and have been taking one pill with breakfast and dinner. It's still too early to tell if it is helping but I wondered if anybody else is using it and, if so, has it helped? Coincidentally, Coach C touched on this exact subject in his weekly newsletter. Hopefully my experience will be as good as his.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Feeling Better

Many thanks to The Mop and Sleevie for the kind words on my first post.

The weather today was fantastic: Mid 50's and sunny with a slight wind out of the south. I woke up still feeling a bit down so when I left the house at 10 am I decided to limit myself to a mellow hour. I wore my bib tights with a sleeveless base layer and long sleeve winter jersey topped with a wind vest. That turned out to be a little too much and after 10 minutes I was opening zippers to allow for a bit of circulation. I did a quick loop out by the prison which, for those not familiar with the south end of the valley, looked like this: North on 1300 W to 10400 S then south on the frontage road until 14600 S where you hang a right. Continue west on 14600 S and 14400 S then return on 2700 W. Ended up being just under 19 miles and 70 minutes. I was tired when I got home so I'm glad I didn't go any longer. Average heart rate was 141 so the pace was about right.

Normally my wife stays off the bike during the colder months but she couldn't resist the mild weather and went out for an hour herself. This was her second season riding and I'm still unsure if introducing her to the bike was a good or bad idea. For those of you with kids and a spouse who rides you know what I'm talking about. It takes a fair bit of compromise to satisfy two riding schedules when somebody needs to stay home with the kids. Once the oldest is able to watch his sister things will be much easier. Only 6 more years to go... It is cool, however, to ride the ULCER with your spouse on (or near) your wedding anniversary. We've done that for 2 years now and consider it a tradition. Plus, it makes our dinner date later that evening much more enjoyable since after riding for 5-6 hours the last thing we need to worry about is counting calories!

Next week the weather is forecast to be even warmer so I'm looking forward to getting in some good lunch miles on Monday and Tuesday. Working at a small software company certainly has its benefits with flexible hours and an extremely casual office at the top of the list. Once a week I may need to give the Specialized Lunch Ride a try after Thanksgiving to get in some high intensity work (at least for the 5-10 minutes I manage to hang onto the back of the group!). One of my goals for the 07 season is to ride with stronger guys on a regular basis. There's a good group in South Jordan that I hooked up with off and on over the summer. Last winter I did a couple of hours with the group out of Racer's in Provo each Saturday (we moved to Riverton from Payson in May) and need to find something similar in the area. Either that or start driving to Provo on Saturdays. I also need to get over my fear of racing and figure the best way to do it will be to become a regular at one of the weekly training crits. When I was a kid all of my speed (what little there was) came from the weekly Tuesday Nighter so I need to swallow my pride and start getting worked. Any other suggestions are welcome.

The more I ride with my SRAM stuff the more I like it. There's something about the Rival shifters and my new Easton EC70 bars that just works for my hands. Where before I needed to constantly change hand positions to keep my fingers from going numb now I can ride with no discomfort at all. The 11-26 is pretty cool too but I think it would be even better with a compact crankset. I'm thinking of picking up a Campy Chorus CT in the next few months to give it a try. I did ok climbing this year with a 39x27 but I still felt like I was grinding up the steeper climbs in the valley: LC, Suncrest (north side) and sections of Butterfield (but really, who doesn't grind up those switchbacks?) and the Nebo Loop. My right knee gave me grief after those efforts so I'm hoping a 34x26 helps. I just need to make a rule that the 26 is only an option for the aforementioned climbs so I don't get lazy!

Speaking of sweet upgrades, check this out:

My son wants a pair of the blue camo BMX tires for Christmas!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Let's get it started

So I suppose a little background information is in order given that this is my first post... I'm an accomplished blog reader but a complete novice when it comes to actually creating my own. Please be patient while I try and figure it out. I'm afraid this blog will mirror my riding: Full of good intentions and high expectations but never quite reaching its potential! Oh well, I suppose the reason riding is so addictive is because "getting fast" is such a puzzle. Perhaps the blog will shed some light on what I'm doing wrong.

I rode & raced as a kid growing up in Boise, ID but never really amounted to much. I started riding with my cousin Scott and friend Nathan in order to earn the Cycling merit badge for scouts. At the time my ride consisted of a BMX bike with a bag strapped to my bars that I used to carry a water bottle and snacks. 25 miles doesn't seem like much now but back then it was a major accomplishment. For the 50-miler I rented a 10 speed from the local shop and rode to-and-from Caldwell where we enjoyed a nice rest stop at my grandparent's for breakfast. Soon after I graduated to my Dad's old Raleigh that we "upgraded" with a pair of clincher wheels (to replace the long dead tubulars), a 6 speed freewheel and a new saddle (the original Brook's was a rock after years in the garage). The wheels were Mavic MA40's and Performance hubs if memory serves me. The Raleigh was replaced a year later with a Schwinn Circuit (anybody remember those sweet white & gray Shimano Sante components?!) and finally a Specialized Allez Epic with 105 two years after that. While I did a bit of racing as a Junior, my major accomplishments were riding the Tuesday Nighter with the "fast" group (this took about 3 years of suffering to accomplish!) and finishing the 1991 Ronald McDonald Century in 4:17. I always seemed to leave my legs at home when it came to actual races!

Once I started college the bike took a back seat to dating, a mission and marriage. After 12 years off the bike I talked my wife into letting me buy a Trek 5200 frame built with 105 components in the fall of 2003 so I could ride with a friend who had just purchased a road bike. Needless to say my promise that the extra weight would "melt off like butter" proved true (cheesy thing to say I know but it was the best argument I had at the time) and here I am, 15,000 miles and 50 pounds later, back at it trying to figure out how to ride faster just like when I was 16.

Anyway, for the past week I've been sick with a cold I picked up from my kids. Basically anytime my kids are sick I follow about a week later, no matter how meticulous I am about washing my hands, eating well, taking zinc lozenges, going to bed early, etc., etc., etc.. Frustrates me to no end, especially considering that my wife almost never picks up their colds. Oh well, at least it has given me another week of rest from the bike which will probably end up being a good thing down the road (no pun intended). However, after limiting myself to three 20 minute sessions of easy spinning on the trainer to prep my legs for some quality stretching I'm ready to give it a go on the road tomorrow. I'm shooting for 1-2 hours of easy riding before the BYU game assuming I wake up feeling ok. The weather looks prime next week so I don't want to go too hard tomorrow and setback my recovery.