Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Outside vs inside

I had fully planned to ride outside today for a few hours. On my way home from work I stopped to get gas and while standing there fueling up I started to get chilled. It wasn't even that cold, around 30 or so but for some reason it went right through me. Once I got home I debated about going back out but decided that I would hit the trainer and Compex instead. I would rather sweat than freeze. I know I'll regret those words later.

It's about time to turn up the intensity a notch or two and add intervals back into the plan. It sucks doing 20-30 minute intervals on the trainer, shorter ones are sometimes easier to control on the trainer though. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for the longer rides and intervals outside.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's the time, not the miles

I always get a kick out bikers that compare the number of miles they've ridden. To me it's more important to track my time on the bike, not the miles. Good thing too, on today's ride there was an hour where I was lucky to average more than 7 mph.

I got out early this morning while the temps were low, 12 degrees at the start, which meant the roads and trails would be frozen. That turned out to be both good and bad as some of the roads had some ice and so did the trails, expecially the heavily travelled ones. I managed to do a lap at Addison Oaks where no one had ridden but it was slow riding since there was still snow in the woods and lots of branches down forcing dismounts.

Another problem with the cold was that after about 2.5 hours my camelbak tube had frozen and my remaining bottle of energy drink was turning to slush. I use Polar bottles which help keep the bottles from freezing as fast as normal bottles. I changed my route to ride to a Subway where I had them throw my partially frozen bottle in the microwave to thaw and filled my empty bottle with very hot water. Having nutrition and hydration meant I could keep riding so I as able to put in another 1.5 hours for a four hour total ride today.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


No, not the movie. I mean what you have to do to your training schedule when you live in Michigan. The forecast had called for below freezing temps this morning but windy. I planned on getting up early to get out at first light for a long ride but I could hear the wind howling when I woke up, the weather station was reporting gusts over 45 mph. Plus I was surprised to find that it was above freezing, meaning the dirt roads and trails would be muddy.

I ended up on the trainer for 3.5 hours instead, riding at a steady pace while also doing some simulated hill intervals. My legs felt pretty good, I ran the Compex recovery program twice yesterday which seemed to help get rid of some of the soreness. They are calling for temps in the teens tonight so maybe I can get out on the roads tomorrow before it warms up.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sore today

My legs are more sore than normal after yesterday's workout. I think it must have been the lunges. It feels like I hadn't been using some muscles that got worked over yesterday. Today was an easier spin before hooking up to the Compex and watching my muscles contract for an hour. Thank goodness for the recovery program on the unit, it's like getting a massage and helps to get rid of some of the soreness. I use it for that even on the days off the bike.

The weather is acting up again with snow showers one minute and clear skies the next. Colder temperatures coming over the weekend mean the trails and back roads should be in good shape for riding. I'm shooting for some longer rides both days.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Big gear workout

I occasionally use a Spinervals DVD in my workout routine and borrowed a couple from some friends. Today I tried number 11.0 Big Gear Strength for the first time. It is exactly as described, every interval was in the big ring, small cog. Even the single legged pedaling. And then they have you get off the bike during the video and do lunges. By the time I was done with the workout my legs were a little shaky. I think it gave a good simulated hill workout without leaving my basement. Tomorrow it's the Compex endurance plus some easy spinning.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Change in plans

I decided to switch around my weight training and bike training days during the week for now. I'm also switching from doing the spinning class after work to more specific workouts on the bike instead. Today I concentrated on one leg drills as well as high cadence. Later in the week will be big gear and strength workouts. I'm still doing the Compex endurance workouts for at least another week or two plus anytime I can't ride for as long as I need to as a supplement.

I think I might switch my race schedule around some too. I will probably drop the NORBA races from the schedule for now and do fewer races overall and save some money. Maybe do one or two because most are local to me or as a tuneup for some other races of more importance. I was going to try and win the NORBA series for a free entry to Iceman but then I thought it would cost me WAY more to race the NORBA races than just pony up the cash for the Iceman entry. Assuming I could buy one later this year of course.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Lack of motivation

I couldn't get motivated to race today. I didn't feel it yesterday during the preride and after doing an early preride this morning while setting up the course I didn't have that feeling of anticipation for the race. I don't know if it was the cold or I just didn't want to suffer yet. I've ridden in colder temperatures so maybe it's just age. I got on the trainer for 2.5 hours this evening instead. This is the first year I've not done a Paul Bunyan race since I started racing in '99. In fact a Paul Bunyan race was the first race I ever did.

I know I was still tired when I got home after setting up and tearing down at the race. Must be from being outside in freezing weather for six hours. It actually was kind of nice out by the time the race ended. About 50 racers made it out including some of my friends who did battle for the entire race on their single speeds, Chris Werth and Jay Jones. They took turns leading each other but Chris got Jay by a wheel at the finish. Good race guys.

Chris hoofs it while Jay rides up the sledding hill. Chris beat Jay at the finish though.

Some of the corners were a little slick and caused problems for Beginners and Experts alike.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Heat wave coming

I prerode the race course this afternoon for tomorrow's Paul Bunyan mountain bike race. Temperature was around 10 and tonight it will be around zero or below. At least tomorrow it is supposed to be around 26 or so. That may actually cause problems if the sun comes out.

The course has a lot of frozen open ground but also some snow and icy patches, enough that you need to be careful or you will be on your ear before you know it. Those of us riding today were debating running studded tires for the small sections of ice but felt that the weight penalty was too high. Normal knobs seemed to be the preference for most of us, until we are looking at the ground up close and personal. If the sun come out tomorrow it may soften the top layer and cause it to become slick on top or freeze to the bike, then knobby tires would help.

I'm not sure if I'm racing or what bike to use, geared or SS. Riding today I just couldn't get excited about racing tomorrow, I don't know if was the temps or I wasn't ready to suffer yet. I'll take my bike to the race since I'm helping the promoter butI don't know if it will make it out of the Jeep.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

If you have ever taken a spinning class

Those who have taken a spin class can probably relate to this article by Bob Mina. I read it a few years ago on xtri.com and nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Reprinted by permission and originally published here: http://www.xtri.com/article.asp?id=820

This is part two of the Hurricane Bob Thanksgiving Weekend Double Header. If you missed part one, follow the link in the sidebar. After a tough time in the fitness assessment, Bob has just found out that his new gym has spinning classes.

I ask a staff member, “Can I bring my own pedals?” He seems surprised: “Sure! You’d be the first to do that, but that’s allowed.” Excellent. I unscrew the pedals from Phoenicia that night, and pack a bag like a kid going to camp for the first time. This is going to be great – better then riding alone, good music, and it’ll break up the day nicely. Great!

The next day I was the big dork that showed up for class first. I had my bike set up, and in true tri-geek form, I also had a measuring tape to get the saddle, bars, and pedal-seat lineup close to my road bike (scoring an 11 out of 10 on the Stableford Fredness Chart). I filled my bottle, got on the saddle, and waited for everyone else to show up.

The first thing I noticed as they came in was that most of the class was women. Actually, I was the only guy. I was also the only one wearing Lycra shorts and a sleeveless jersey. I was definitely the only one with loud yellow shoes, Look cleats, and no clue how to ride a spin bike. For those of you that don’t know, a spin-bike is a special stationary bike with a 45-pound (~20 kilo) flywheel and a resistance knob. You can turn the tension up or down to simulate climbing, sprinting, and anything else. The classes are usually led by aerobics-type instructors with enough energy to tell you what to do, ride out what they’re telling you, AND yell at you all at the same time.

As our resident instructor told us, “Okay, lets get going…” I clipped in. Her eyes spun my way and looked really closely at my feet. “First class?” She asked me. I nodded. “Great! Enjoy it!” After 30 seconds of easy spinning, she nailed us: “Ready guys – SPRINT! GO! GO! GO!

”BOOM! Just like a crit from my roadie days, we’re off like a cow nailed on the @ss by a bottle rocket. I have no resistance on my wheel yet, so I sit and spin like Marty Nothstein would (okay, about 40 RPM slower). I’m listening to her tell us to go, trying to catch up with the music, and wondering just how hard these next 30 minutes are going to be…

“STOP! Good sprint – we’re off!” She says. Like a good roadie finishing a sprint, I set the cranks to 3 and 9 and mock-throw the bike to end the interval……

which is a remarkably stupid thing to do with a 45-pound flywheel hurtling around at 29 miles per hour.

My left foot snapped out first as the pedal simply whipped out from the cleat, leaving my foot dangling in space like Wile E. Coyote when he’s missed the turn.

My right foot was driven upwards, and without anything holding back from the left, I began the usual slow-motion thought process that only comes out for the very big crashes. My body slammed forward and downward onto the handlebars, causing the bike to lift its rear-end about 10” off the floor. Did I mention that on the front of these bikes there are little rollers to help you move them into place before class?

For the first time in recorded history, these rollers now took an active part DURING a class as I performed an unrehearsed, one-legged-nose-wheelie forwards, thinking to myself, “So help me God, I’m really going to crash a stationary bike.”

“And I don’t have a helmet!”

In a blink the back of the bike slammed downward, and the skidding stopped. I’d only moved about a foot forward, but I was sitting there still pedaling with my right leg while my left leg was just stuck out into space. The instructors eyes were wide open, and she’d spun her head so fast towards my personal train wreck that she’d wrapped her headset 2 ½ times around her neck. The woman directly across from me opened her eyes a few seconds later, thankful that she wouldn’t have to explain a head-on collision that involved two non-moving bicycles to her insurance company.

I clipped back in, pedaled up to speed, and made a mental note about the important safety tip: N-E-V-E-R stop while at speed on one of these things. I thought to myself, “What would Lance do if he’d screwed up like this? I know – he’d take a drink and act cool.”

I reached for my bottle. Pity that the launch and landing had popped the top about halfway off. As I went to open the nozzle with my teeth I proceeded to dump most of my water down my face, cascading down my torso, and then all over my bike. I created an instant lake on the floor, but at least instead of looking cool? I WAS cool.

I waved at everyone still staring and said, “Hi. How are ya? I used to race bikes, you know.” The water dripping down and warping the hardwood floor quietly underscored my coolness. The class was 3 minutes old and I’d already had a near wreck, a flood, and blasted through my AT. Not too bad, really. I’d gotten all the mistakes over and done in the first class.

Following the dramatics of my debut, things got a lot better. After my second class, I’d learned to ride the bike without being a danger to myself or others. By the third the instructors started to let me go in early (and stay late) to get in more mileage. I’ve even become known as, “That triathlon guy” because I’ve started to sign up for back-to-back classes when they have them so I can get in 90 minutes. They think that’s insane. They don’t know me yet.

Speaking of insane, there’s a new Pilates class next week I’m thinking about trying. Yes, I’ve heard that it’s like a cross between Yoga and Medieval Torture, but at least there aren’t any moving parts involved to start with, right? Even I can’t crash a Yoga mat…I think.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I am now "batching it" until Sunday night. My wife is out of town visiting her sister until then. My younger son is home but between work and school he's not here much. The two of us tried a Chinese buffet tonight, and not a very good one compared to others I've been to. It's amazing how many of these things there are around here and the prices are cheap, $6.99 dinners including beverage. This one had a Mongolian grill but we didn't try it. Now what I'll be eating over the next 4 days will be a mystery, I guess it's whatever I can find or order.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

I was a good boy and got a card for my wife earlier in the week. I laughed when I walked into Hallmark, the section with cards for husbands was about 5 cards wide and the ones for the wives was about 10 times that. Guess we know who this holiday is for.

Jason flew back home early this morning and still worked in the afternoon at Hammer. I know he must be tired since he got up at 3:00 am our time and there is a 2 hour difference to Montana.

I got in some decent warmup time before spinning class at work. Good thing too, the instructor had us climbing almost the entire class. The only time we weren't climbing we were doing jumps. I don't mind climbing, I have a harder time when we do sprints. It was kind of funny today though, in one of the longest climbs near the end of class we were supposed to keep increasing tension on commands until we had to stand to keep the pedals turning. Being the macho guy I am I kept turning the knob until it wouldn't turn anymore but as I got out of the saddle I lost the momentum and couldn't turn the pedals anymore. I was stuck and had to back it off until I could turn them again. I'm such a putz some times.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Almost back to normal

Most of the boxes of Hammer products are out of the kitchen now, either the product was sold or the extras moved to the basement for future events. Jason is wrapping up his stay with one more seminar at Oakland University tonght and flys out early tomorrow morning.

My legs were tired today so I just did an easy ride on the trainer. I think it might have been from standing on the concrete for 8 hours yesterday. Tomorrow it's back to spinning class at work.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

MMBA Annual Meeting

Spent the day at the MMBA Annual Meeting working the Hammer tent with my son. Also picked up my series champion award. The annual meeting includes a swap meet and featured speakers as well as series awards and recognition for all the volunteers that put in 10 or more hours of trail work during the previous year. This year we had two speakers, Jef Mallet, the creator of the Frazz comic strip and also Chris Eatough, the endurance racer.

We had Danielle and the Slingshot booth directly next to us but they put up a big banner so we couldn't see them. We made sure to bother them anyway. Especially since Danielle is using another company's endurance products :-)

Jason working the Hammer tent.

Some of our team's series award winners.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Busy day

Today was a fairly busy one. It started by Jason and I getting out on the back roads for about 3 hours but we got a late start meaning the roads were getting soft or down right muddy in spots. The bikes just got heavier as the ride went on as the mud and slush froze to the bikes. By the end I only had the smallest three cogs since the others had iced up. That and the soft conditions made the ride harder than it should have been for the distance travelled.

Later went to our team meeting for the 2006 racing season where Jason gave an overview of Hammer Nutrition products and our Cannondale rep, Jason Edinger, gave us an update on what Cannondale was doing for 2006 including a look at some pimping new Diadora shoes.

Jason from Hammer Nutrition

Jason from Cannondale

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Finally got some trail time

Jason and I got out on a ride early this evening and we were able to ride for a bit on the local trails. Most of the trail had been packed down by the snowmobiles with a few bare spots and ice. Other parts were a little soft but you could still get through them. We spent about another hour on the back roads using our lights.

It was nice having Jason home and a fun ride, we didn't push too hard but since I was on a SS and him on a 29'er with gears I did have to work some, especially on the downhills. The bigger tires seemed to pick up more momentum and carry him along farther than me. Of course I had studded tires and he didn't and I'm sure that had something to do with the rolling resistance as well.

Tomorrow is an off day for training but we will be attending a Hammer seminar Jason is giving at one of the local bike shops. I hope to get in some quality time on Saturday since I'll be tied up almost all day at the MMBA expo on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's Hammer time

I've got over 30 boxes of Hammer Nutrition products sitting in my kitchen right now. Not for me, although I wish they were, but for use over the next couple of days at seminars and the MMBA expo. My son Jason works for Hammer and is flying home tonight so that he can give lectures, seminars and man the Hammer tent at the expo. I ran the tent solo at the Iceman last year and never had a chance to sit down. Between the two of us we should have a chance to talk to everyone who stops by.

I don't work for Hammer but help them out when I can. Both my son and I were using their products before he went to work for them last summer. He's got a degree in exercise science and was working as a phys ed teacher in Spokane and was pitted near the Hammer tent at the Spokane 24 hour race. He got to talking to them and inquired about jobs and a month later he's working for them. Now he's living at the base of Big Mountain ski area in Whitefish, Montana where Hammer is located. And he's only 25 mile outside of Glacier National Park. We visited him last summer and it is as beautiful as you could imagine. You had better like winter sports though since with a town size of only 7,000 there isn't much else to do in the winter.

I rode the trainer tonight before using the Compex. Probably skipping spinning tomorrow to ride with Jason. I heard the snowmobiles didn't pack the trails well enough so we'll end up on the back roads. I hope to get a longer ride or two in on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Yesterday I mentioned the Compex unit I am using to supplement my training. This is an electronic muscle stimulator that has taken the place of doing weight workouts in the gym. For the past five years I've been lifting during the off season but this past fall I picked up the Compex unit from Hammer Nutrition and have been using it instead. http://www.e-caps.com/za/ECP?PAGE=PRODUCT&CAT=TRAIN&PROD.ID=4980 It's not cheap but it offers various programs including race warmups, strength, power, endurance and recovery modes. The recovery mode is sort of like a massage that really relaxes your tired muscles. You can find out more info about Compex here http://www.compextech.com/compexusa/

I started on the resistance mode and went through the strength program and now I'm working on the endurance mode. I have seen more muscle gain and definition than when I was just lifting weights. It will be interesting to see how this translates to gains on the bike. It seems to be helping, the first race in April will be the true test.

Monday, February 06, 2006

22 seconds......

22 seconds. That's how close I was to winning $200 in the first quarter of yesterday's Super Bowl until the Seahawks kicked that field goal. And then they go on to lose the game. Not that I liked Seattle but growing up a Cleveland Brown's fan you can't root for Pittsburgh. No way.

The temperatures are more like winter here and the trails and back roads should be ok for riding again. The trail just down the road had the snowmobiles on it yesterday and hopefully they packed the snow down just right. I probably won't get on them until this weekend though.

Today was an hour warmup on the trainer and then an endurance workout with the Compex. More about this device in a later update, suffice to say it can make you hurt.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

First post

This is the first blog post for me. I may be a manager of a system that is web based but that doesn't mean I know how to code. Lots of trial and error here and more changes to come as I figure it out.

I'm not sure what this blog will be used for but probably updates on training, races, and whatever.

Here in Michigan it rained and then turned to snow yesterday but I managed to get out and ride for about 3 hours in the rain, I didn't want to ride two days in a row on the trainer. This morning I did some xc skiing while my wife was finally able to use the snowshoes I got her for Christmas. I thought maybe I had found a way to prevent snow, sort of like washing your car would guarantee rain. I did get a few hours in later today on the trainer.