Monday, March 31, 2008

Last night and this morning.

Was only a difference of 3-ish hours for me. I went to bed about 2am, and was at various stages of waking up by 5am. I do not do well with little sleep. I know Bryan is a master at such feats, being that his job forces him to be, and he handles it amazingly well. When I'm on my 6:30am - 3:30pm shift at work, I do best when going to bed around 10:30pm. I went just slightly past that last night.

It started off with me cleaning my bike, which some of you know, I'm just a little finicky about. I started the cleaning process at 7pm and was done at oh, about 9:30pm. Everything is sparkly again, just the way I like. Seriously, if I can't look at my crankset and see it as a potential stainless steel plate ready to eat off of, it's not clean. So I put everything away and remembered I hadn't eaten dinner yet. Oops. I pop in a Kashi frozen pizza since it was quick and easy. Yummy....cardboard crust....

So I scarf down the pizza, watch the weather on the 10 o'clock news and discover that there's no way I'm riding to work in the morning. Especially not on my clean-enough-to-eat-off-of bike. Unless they were wrong about the rain, which has happened a couple times in recent memory. But it seemed like they were pretty certain, so I figured I should drive to work and therefore had a whole half hour more to sleep in, a very nice thing for Monday morning. I flip around the channels and find the World Series of Poker '07 championships on ESPN (8 - the Ocho, I love that channel...can't get enough of it). They were running back to back episodes (each an hour long) of this progression of elimination. This is a tournament where a ton of people start, but eventually, all the chips remain with a final selection of great/lucky players. It was interesting because the guy who is credited with making Texas Holdem poker popular in 2003, Chris Moneymaker, was knocked out early in the tournament. Mr. Moneymaker made the "sport" well known because he, as a 25 year old, got into a poker tournament with $50 and made it all the way to the end to win something like $1.5 mill. I remember watching that and thinking, "Wow, that's like hitting the jackpot, but you increase your chances exponentially by being a great player." Anyway, I watched a few hours of this tournament, so this put me at about 1:30am. My late dinner finally settled and I was ready for bed. Waaaaaaaaaay past my bed time.

Our condo loft has a skylight that sits right above our bed. It's a good thing to have when it's cold out cause the sun shines through and heats the place well. However, since it's right above our bed, when it rains it is LOUD!! I guess some people sleep well when there's a droning sound like that, but with the rain we get, it's quiet for a little while, then comes down in buckets, then quiets down, then pours again. So it's not constant. I sleep much better in silence anyway. So the rain started around 4am and I had my alarm set for 5:30am. There's nothing worse than being woken up before you really want to get up. Especially when you haven't had much sleep to begin with. Very frustrating cause all you want to do is sleep, but you got this rain coming in waves, then your cat notices you're stirring so it must be time for canned food, so she jumps all over you. I angrily drifted in and out of slumber till 6am, got up, got dressed, (lightly) kicked the cat out of my way since I was too groggy and would step on her if she did her normal clingy thing. I got in my car, drove slowly to work, parked in the neighborhood just South of UNMC (free parking is the right price, just not very convenient), and got very wet walking the 5 blocks before reaching the cover of a building. What a great way to start a Monday.

So needless to say, I'm on a lot of coffee this morning. Luckily work is light, but that means I have to do something otherwise I'm going to fall over and start snoring. And now, after proofing this post for the 4th time to catch all my grogginess-induced mistakes, I'm done.

How do you fair with very little sleep and a crappy Monday morning?

Edit: Oh yeah, and a weekend report. Saturday; 3.5 hours with evil headwind/lovely tailwind ride with Brady. Thanks Brady, for sticking it out with me and I hope your position issues are solved so bike practicing is more fun. Sunday; first 3rd of the Bike Masters Century. It was wet at the start, but got pretty nice, Bryan and I broke off early since we both had stuff to do and I found out the meaning of pain as we rode Bryan's work-to-home commute route. Being he rode that route on a single speed, I can see why it was just a little hard on the training. Rollercoasters have less ups and downs than that route. So overall, 3-ish hours each day, not a bad weekend. Man I love riding my bike. I can't imagine doing anything else. Yes, I'm that tired that I'm getting mushy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ryan F and Roxy saw me while riding yesterday.

See how I made it look like all 3 of us were riding. Well we were.

I was just creeping home from a jaunt to the Northwest into some abslowtively reconculous wind. I would like wind a lot more, or rather hate it a lot less, if my eyes didn't feel like burning during/after a ride where I cry almost the whole time. I have this problem where my tears are mostly oil so my eyes are usually dry and itchy to begin with. Add some wind and I get the nice 40-grit sandpaper effect right to the retinal area. I tried contacts once, very unsuccessfully.

So I was riding home around the Aksarben area when I saw R and R probably just heading out to face the fun. Hope you guys enjoyed almost being knocked over a couple times. I sure did. Not.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mounted, pumped up and ready to roll

Interpret that in any manner you wish. But here's the end result.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My own response to Random Thoughts

Topic 1: Well, there's a couple things that Safari fails at.  1. I went into options and selected, "Open links in new tab," not "Open links in new window," however, many pages open up in new windows.  I like tabbed browsing.  I like having one window to work it all.  2. I use google docs and have a couple spreadsheets.  On other browsers, you can navigate web-based spreadsheets normally with tab and arrow keys and such.  Not so with Safari.  O well, time to go back to the regular browsers.  Some pages do load up faster though. most notably.

Topic 2: I'm getting in shape, but not in shape.  Well maybe.  I did the Wed night ride and couldn't hang too well.  There's 3 possible reasons why.  Number one would be not enough food/drink.  I was semi-strong at the beginning of the group ride, but rode solo for 1.5 hours before.  I didn't have an energy drink or food till I got to the shop to start the group ride.  I ate a pouch of Cliff Shot Blocks and filled a bottle with Gu2O.  So I had some fuel to start out with the group.  I really should have heeded my own advice and had more to eat/drink though.  After an hour or so, I was struuuugling up the climbs and getting dropped bad.  The droppers were: Kevin Limpach, Greg Shimonek, and Ryan Legg - all really strong guys.  But in past years, I was always able to keep up or drop them.  Reason number 2 was the intervals I did the day before.  This is not as good of a reason since Ryan said he did pretty much the exact same thing the day before and was still riding away from me on the hills.  The final reason is I'm just not as strong as them......yet.  I guess the past 2 days have been about the only time going really really hard this season so I have some time to make up some ground.  I do need to drop about 5-10 pounds to really fly up the hills again.  I'm probably going to have to give up pop and cut back proportions to accomplish that, though.  Probably a healthy choice in any event.

So my plans for the next few days are: Today, easy ride, we're talking 15mph average tops.  Friday, maybe another easy ride since I'll be giving blood at lunch time.  Saturday, a trip down to Lincoln to help out with the Training race our team is hosting.  Sunday is up in the air.  It's not looking to be great weather, but I don't care anymore.  As long as it's above 15 degrees, I'm just fine with riding.  Last Sunday, Bryan and I started at 8am and it was a brisk 20 at the start.  That was just fine as we had a great ride.  So if you have suggestions for a route/time/meeting place, I'm open to ideas.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Random thoughts

Topic 1: Apple must be trying to take on Microsoft or something.  Now, if you ever updated your Quicktime Player, or downloaded iTunes, Apple asks if you want to do an automatic download thingy of updates.  On some PCs I do, on others I don't.  I usually update iTunes when it prompts me, but I was surprised when the updater asked me if I wanted to install the Safari web browser.  Since I rarely use a Mac, I've never used the Safari Browser, so I figured I'd give it a try.  It reminds me a lot of Netscape(which I haven't used in years), but has all the nice features I like in a browser; auto-spell check, tabbed browsing, unobtrusive nav/settings bar, and simple layout.  I'm using it now to post this, and I may be using it quite a bit more in the future.  Firefox is fine, but it has a bunch of plug-in problems with Active-X, Flash player, and such.  If Safari works better with these things, I will probably make the switch.  Not that anyone out there cares, except for maybe you Mac users, but Apple did pretty good here.  I guess that would be one way to take over the computer industry, slowly make people rely on Apple products until getting a Mac just makes sense.  Apple owns the personal music player industry with the iPod and iTunes has always been the easiest to use of the online music purchase stores.  If they turn enough people on to the web browser and photo management software, I think many people would fork over a little more money for a Mac.  Now if Macs would come down in price......that would be a huge industry shift.  And I don't think Supreme-Master Gates would like it.

Topic 2: Intervals.  I forgot how great it feels to be in shape.  At work, I can leap up a couple flights of stairs and not even breath hard if I've been doing intervals and long rides.  Yesterday, I decided to head up North and do long hill repeats up the steady grinder of hwy 36 (between 680 and 72nd street ).  I start the interval of what I'd say was on the upper end of LT, and got to the top of the climb within 6 minutes or so.  I was feeling pretty good, so I figured, "Hey, why not head out to Omaha Trace to make it a 10 minute interval instead of doing hill repeats."  So I finish that interval going into the wind.  It was pretty tough since I was going against 15mph of chilly norther air.  The 2nd 10 minute interval was along the hilly/curvy section of Omaha Trace with more of that great headwind.  Since I have no HRM or Power meter, I was using perceived exertion.  The first interval was rather tough for my lungs whereas the 2nd was harder on my leg muscles.  I got to the turnaround right before heading down the hill into Ft. Calhoun and did my last interval with a tailwind.  Now that was fun.  I had a hard time getting up into higher LT territory because I was running out of cogs.  Flying at 30-ish mph on that road is a blast.  Some of the hills bogged down my legs, but I still kept the speed up there with the aid of the wind.  I had a nice spin home and felt good about putting in a solid workout.

The Trek Store is officially starting up the Wed. night ride again, so I will probably hit that tonight.  I'll probably do what Jon Randell and I used as training in the early season and leave work at 3:30, put in some time, maybe a few hill climbs then meet up with the group for some more serious abuse.  I'm gonna be one sore pup tomorrow, but it's going to feel great.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tubeless win a Classic!

I'm sure that Bryan has read this. If not it came from

After racing the final 22 kilometers alone, off the front, Francaise des Jeux rider Philippe Gilbert crossed the finish of Omloop Het Volk last week in victory. It was the second Het Volk win for the Belgian; his first came in 2006. The 2008 win was special to two of his sponsors and was a milestone for road technology, because Gilbert crossed the line on a tubeless wheel and tire.

Over four years ago prototype tubeless road tires started popping up in the pro peloton, but it wasn’t until two years ago that Shimano and Hutchinson presented their tubeless system to the public. The technology is well received and should considered by those looking for a happy medium between tubulars and clinchers, including both Lennard Zinn and me here at VeloNews. The technology hasn’t exactly been wholeheartedly embraced, in part because the only manufacturers pushing it are Shimano and Hutchinson.

Het had the perfect roads — cobblestones, wet surfaces and short steep climbs — to capitalize on the advantages the tubeless system offers: Grip and puncture resistance. The week before the race Gilbert and his FDJ teammates reconnoitered the crux sections using the system. After the test Gilbert and three teammates chose to race the system, which is comprised of Shimano’s new WH-7850-SL scandium-rimmed wheels and Hutchinson’s Fusion 2 tires.

The FDJ riders have been training with the wheels since January. But a new sealant clinched the deal. With it, the team was confident the system is even less flat-prone than tubulars, said Frederic Vanoli, chief of technical affairs for Francaise des Jeux.

Even so, Gilbert did suffer a rear flat during the race, which is more likely attributed to chance than a fault of the system. The Belgian’s rear flat didn’t seem to dampen the team’s enthusiasm for continued use of the system through out this spring’s races.

Puncture protection was key, especially considering the rather high pressures Gilbert used (7 bar or 102 psi in the front and 7.5 bar or 109 psi in the rear). Het Volk has only 16km of cobbles, but on rougher course, the system’s ability to run lower pressures would be an advantage.

Despite the successes of the tubeless system on the battlefields of the spring classics and semi-classics, FDJ has no plan to bring the technology to the Grand Tours. There the lightweight of carbon wheels and tubulars outweigh the advantages of the tubeless system’s durability.

“In team Francaise des Jeux [we only use tubeless] in Belgium and the north of France with cobblestones,” said Vanoli, “not in stage races.”

For the rest of us, not racing at the head of a ProTour peloton, the advantages of comfort, grip and puncture resistance make road tubeless a viable technology that’s still worth a look.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The wind is evil.

I forgot how much it takes out of you to ride against a >15 mph wind. Yesterday I got in a little more than a couple hours. I rode into the wind for and hour and 20 min, then made it home in something like 50 minutes. Now today, it's warm out, but even more windy than yesterday. I also didn't get very good sleep last night, so instead of getting sick like everyone else is, I'm going to take the day off.

Who knows when the next time it'll be near 60 degrees, but I'm too pooped to enjoy it now anyway. Yay recovery day.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Sorry post

Here's some apologies I have to make after todays happenings. I'll go anti-alphabetical.

Johnny - Sorry about the hilly route and dropping you on said hilly route. I think we were all feeling pretty frisky so the speed was un-Shabbos like up those hills. Glad you came out and suffered with us while you could.

Chris (Bryan's wife) - sorry about hi-jacking your hubby for an over-extended amount of time. The route we planned took a bit longer than presumed and we didn't realize this till we were way out there.

Bryan - Sorry for planning a route that made you late. We should have turned around when Johnny did and skipped the Blair Climb. It was fun though.

Brady - Sorry for putting you through the wringer when we discovered how late we were. And also not being able to fix the rear hanger issue. It makes sense that it's bent inwards being that shifting it all the way up can throw the chain into the spokes. Getting it straightened will remedy all the issues you experience today. Well except for the destroyed knee and damaged spirits with having a hard time at the end of the ride. But hey, didn't you get a new PR for distance? Got that going for ya.

Aaron - Sorry that you have to leave for Belgium where you'll get to experience amazing bike races and live a dream that most of us will never realize. Ok, I'm not sorry about that. I'm extremely jealous. Have fun kid.

I had a great time this weekend. On Friday I did absolutely nothing after my commute home from work. Then Saturday, Michelle and I cleaned like maids on crack so the place is much more comfy and clean now. In the afternoon, Michelle's mom and sister came over and we played video games, ate pizza and then topped it off with Stone Cold Ice Cream. Plenty of fun, not conducive to training, but absolutely necessary.

Then today, I get in 83 miles just under 5 hours and felt just fine - fitness wise the whole time. Even at the end I still had some power to fight traffic through construction areas. Some of the hills did take it out of me, but I think if I do some hill repeats at Hummel or where ever, I'll be just fine. Man I wish I could race a bunch this year. I guess I shouldn't feel so confident until I do my first race of the year. That will let me know if feeling good after an 80 mile moderately paced ride constitutes being competitive with other cat 2s. Probably not, but hey, 90% of sport is 100% mental.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Bike There Feature on Google Maps

Check it out sigh or not. I think it's a cool feature for Google to have.


This has been an off week.

For the bike at least. I got plenty of stuff done around the house. But that doesn't help keep me in shape. Oh well.

Sunday: 12:30pm
Place: Crane Coffee - 78th and Cass
Route: Head NW on trails/streets to hit either Bryan's Bennington route, or the Bike Masters route to get to hwy 31 then 30. Take hwy 30 East-ish to Blair. Once in Blair, ride through town and conquer one doosy of a climb on the NW side of town. After a break at one of many gas stops, we'll head SE to Ft. Calhoun. From there I figure the guys who want/can go longer can head to Boyers Chute, downtown, to where ever while the others who need to jet home can take the Omaha Trace to the trail, or head out West (Bryan's and others case).

Sorry to post suggestions so late, but hopefully this works out. I'm up for counter-suggestions if need be. My only constraints are that I will be ready to ride from my place at 12:20-ish and I have to be home about 6pm. So many miles are possible for me. Come join the fun!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Who's doing what this weekend?

The weekend's weather is not looking wonderful, but still ok. Saturday is my main issue. I'd like to have my afternoon free so a morning ride would be the way to go. Unfortunately, the morning is going to start out with a temp of 9 degrees. That's just a smidge too chilly to put a few hours in outside, but I might brave it anyway.

Sunday is where it'll be at, though. I can start riding at 12:30 and go till 6pm if I want. I'm tempted too since it'll be nice weather, and an early season century is always a good idea. I may not make the full 100, but I'd like to put in a 5 hour ride. Anyone up for the challenge??

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Weekend update.

Well I didn't quite get in a mega-mileage weekend, but it was still a great time. So here is the report of such times of greatness.

Friday night was the 29er Trifecta. I got there at about 6:15pm figuring I'd catch up with peeps I haven't talked to in a while. The roll-out time was supposed to be 6:30, but Lincoln peeps had to get there and Shim had to put flat pedals on his fixie. Both situations completely understandable. Right. The group of about 35 got going a little before 7pm. Within 6 blocks we had 2 flats. Yeah, that was fantabulous. After we got going, it was really interesting watching the reactions of drivers and passerbys. Some people asked from their cars, "What group are you with," or, "How far are you guys going?" Most drivers that were going in the opposite direction on a 2 way street stopped dead in their tracks. I guess it was kinda weird seeing a group of 30 some cyclists coming at you with insane headlights. Ryan Feagan had a home-made light that had to be the brightest thing I've ever seen. Basically it was like a car's highbeams. He had it on strobe most the night so we could do shadow puppets on the trees as we rode along. Other notes of interest: Nate Woodman and Matt Gersib are magicians on their bikes. Nate had a fixie, but rode the thing like it was 2nd nature to him with skids, bunny hops, and some strong climbing. Matt would put on mini-trials sessions any time we stopped. He can ride his 29er like a BMX bike. On the route, there was this huge climb that I didn't know even existed. Just West of 30th St on Belvedere blvd, it's a 3 or 4 block climb that snakes back and forth. It was murder on a single speed. That is, unless you're Eric Brunt (the guy in the middle) who was on a 46x19 fixed. He made it look easy, along with all the other climbs of the day. I think he lives on his bike though, so that makes sense. So that was about 30 miles in 3-4 hours. Nice easy pace with lots of stops. Plenty of time to socialize and enjoy the night.

Saturday was a group ride extravaganza. I had 6 other riders at my house before we took off to join the Bike Masters ride, Ryan Legg, Brady, Matt, Sean, Ryan and Roxy. I was kind enough to let Sean use my racing machine while I used my commuting tank. We had to hurry to the BM ride since we started late and there was just a couple good climbs getting there. Then we waited as others were more late than we were. I guess that's to be expected when the lot is full of 30-40 people! We took off and the nice weather must have fueled some people's rage as the first 45 minutes turned into a hammerfest. The group strung out for a good mile as some wanted a nice leisurely pace and others had to show their stuff. I was stuck in the middle not able to show my stuff on a 25-ish pound 1x9 geared noodle. Everyone came back together at the Elk City turn, however. We headed towards Waterloo and I was able to keep up as it was mostly downhill. A flat happened right before town, so the group had a long rest break at the convenience store. After significant resting, we got going, but had to split from the group since a few of us had to get going home. Bryan, John P, Ryan L, Brady, Sean, Matt, and I ventured home. It eventually became a death march for half our group as the weather and life schedules have not been kind to most. Overall a fun ride with some very welcomed warm weather.

Sunday was slightly different. I got up and was sore all over. I hadn't slept well or enough the last 2 nights so I was feeling it. The weather outside was nice and sunny, but the ground was a mess after thawing. I knew the weather was going to get miserable, but I had to take Michelle into work so my only option was waiting till after noon. I was just hoping that the weather would hold off it's fury until later. Alas, my hopes were dashed. I was ready to call the day a lazy recovery day until Ryan F. had to call and make me feel guilty. I didn't want him and a visiting out of towner, Larry, to battle the winds alone, so I joined in the fun. We met at Ryan's in mid-town, rode down to 19th, North toward Hummel, did the climb once, then over Ponca Rd and 47th st. to hwy 75 into Ft. Calhoun. The climbing was fun, but man, getting onto hwy 75 and facing the 25-35 mph wind head on was quite brutal. I had forgotten how much drafting matters though. As soon as you would tuck behind the guy in front, it was easy pedaling. But when taking a pull at the front, it was a battle just to keep the speed above 14mph. Once we turned South-ish, we were ok though. We got in about 2.5 hours with some intensity and hill climbing so it was a productive day.

So only about 9-ish hours on the bike for the weekend, but it was a blast all the same. I thought I solved the issue with being inefficient on my commuter bike by raising the saddle some. I don't know what it is, but I can't be "fast" on that bike. I don't know if it's the frame's geometry or design and material that makes it feel like a noodle everytime I stomp on the pedals. I know it's heavy, but 8-10 pounds can't make that much difference can it? My muscles just ache while trying to power up climbs or hit a headwind hard to keep up with a group. Any time I take my race machine out riding, I can really mash without feeling sore at all. So maybe it is my position on the bike or the Q-factor of the pedals (stance width) or something else that makes the 2 bikes completely different ride experiences. Well at least the weather is getting nicer to where I won't need to use the commuter for rides anymore.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Shabbos +1

Yeah, I know Shabbos just ended. But I want to go again. Here's my plan:

Depart from my house (or somewhere else) at 7 or 7:30 and head SW, though to a different place than Shabbos. Back by 10 at the latest, though 9:45 would be better. Short ride, yes, but it's supposed to be 40 by 7 a.m., with 5-10 mph winds from the SSW.