Monday, December 31, 2007

Odd Ride

Spent my afternoon on the bike, enjoying the weather. Had a wierd thing going on with my heart rate. I couldn't keep my HR in Zone 3 at all. If I slowed to Zone 2, then accelerated up, it would shoot up to Zone 4. Slow just a bit - down to Zone 2 - accelerate - Zone 4. So, I rode in zone 4 today! Curiously I had no problem keeping up that tempo. I really need to do a new Lactate Threshold (LT) test and reset my zones.

I made a decent dinner tonight. Started with fresh grated ginger, onion, red bell pepper, sea salt, black pepper, and cubed chicken in a pan with a touch of sesame oil. Oh, I marinated the chicken in rum. Yum.

Then when it was almost done, I added in a diced mango.

Took some rice and mixed in some cilantro and lemon zest...

Then I served the chicken over the rice with some cucumber and tomato salad.

The salad is just halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, with a mixture of EVOO, balsamic vinegar (mostly), and a touch of honey. I put some feta on top (too much).

Fresh brewed iced tea w/lemon was a great competement for this meal.

Makes a flavorful, yet low fat meal. High in protein too!

Scientific Evidence Suggests I'm a Wimp

I've written several times about my desire to acclimate to cold weather. I ran across this paper:

Prevention of Cold Injuries during Exercise - American College of Sports Medicine

It provided some interesting background on the physical responses to activity in cold temperatures. Here's what I found most interesting:

  • Cold exposure causes an increase in metabolic heat production (burns more calories), but only through shivering. The reviewed evidence does not show a nonshivering thermogenesis (production of heat) in humans. Meaning, unless you are shivering, exercising in the cold does not consume any additional calories.

  • "Athletes exposed to cold weather may acclimatize but the physiologic adjustments are very modest..." In other words, it does not get PHYSICALLY easier to withstand the cold with exposure. Mental aspects of cold tolerance are not discussed in the paper. But, I suspect that my lack of cold weather tolerance is mostly (if not completely) mental. Confirmed, I'm a sissy when it comes to cold.

  • Table 2 shows hypothermia symptoms begin at a core body temperature of 95*F. This is where maximal shivering occurs. By the time your core temperature reaches 89.6*F you are in a stupor. Despite my discomfort and feelings of being cold, I've never even reached the point of shivering during a ride. So why I may have felt cold - my body has not shown even a minor response. I'm not physically cold.

  • "Exposure to cold air ... may also increase urine flow rate, the so-called cold-induced diuresis (CID). This response is likely caused by a redistribution of body fluids from the periphery to the central circulation as peripheral vascoconstriction occurs." I've observed this, but attributed it to lack of sweating.

  • "Lastly, even healhty persons can experience an increase in respiratory passage secretions and decreased mucociliary clearance when breathing very cold air during exercise." I've certainly noticed this condition!

Summary, I need to focus mind-over-body on the next cold weather training ride! I'm actually looking forward to see how I handle it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday Malaise & Sunday Hoorays

It isn't too often you'll find me spending an entire day sedatentary. Saturday was one of those days. It was cold, damp, cloudy, and gloomy. A great day to curl up on the couch with a movie. It was not a planned Rest & Restore day, but I made it into one anyway. It felt great!

Luckily, Sunday was a BEAUTIFUL day. Almost 70°F, clear, and not too windy. Great day for an afternoon ride. I rode the Hieghts loop...

And took the obligatory shadow picture. Atleast it didn't scare me like last time! *click*

And I rode down the White Oak Bayou trail. The Bayou was really clear. You could see tons of fish swimming around. I'm not sure I've ever seen it that clear. Neat!

My nutrition hasnt' been good lately! Hey, its the holidays! I have to be very careful with my nutrition and timing of meals because I'm running a small calorie defecit. Still trying to drop about 10-lbs before the middle of the spring season. Next week I'm focusing on getting better food into my engine!

Today, as part of my grand eating plan, I visited Canino's on Airline. This place is the BOMB for produce. After visiting here, you'll never buy from a regular grocery store, except under duress. Everything is so much fresher. Cheaper too. I ended up with an enitre shopping cart full of fruits and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, and trail mix for less than $30.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thursday Night Fun

Thursday's evening began with a short trainer ride. With the cold and clouds, it was good day to be indoors! The ride went like this :

  • 0:30 E2, endurance pace, mostly as a warmup
  • 0:45 S1, spin-ups. Spin as fast as possible without bouncing holding cadence for 30-sec, then 5-min recovery.
  • 0:?? Isolated legs. Spin using one leg only until fatigued. Switch sides, repeat 5X
  • 0:45 M1 muscular enduance pace

Let me tell you those isolated leg spins are taxing! And this workout is definately deceptively harder than it appears. I learned both the Spin-ups and iso-legs are best done on the trainer.

After a quick shower me and a couple of friends headed out to see Mingo Fishtrap over at Warehouse Live. As always, they were good, but the crowd was pretty dead. Not a suprise for Houston on a Thursday night. They were opening for Bob Schneider, so it was an early night. I can't stand Bob Schneider.

I snuck out of work early on Friday to take a ride before dark. I set out with plan in hand, but the legs were mushy from Thrusday's trainer bout. I kept going, but just rode for fun, and didn't bother with anything serious. It was still a two hour ride at or above base endurance pace. Took a cruise down the White Oak Bayou trail. It was mostly abandoned because of the cold.

Came home when it got too cold and too dark, and did some stretching.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Working It Off

Spent Chistmas Eve and Day at my folks in Northeast TX. Naturally the eating was good! But I did manage to get in a ride on Christmas morning. A couple of observations from that ride. First, hills are hard! Second, I'm not good at climbing hills. Third, almost everyone up there has dogs that like to chase bikers. It was very cold and a bit breezy, so I kept the ride short. Forgot the camera at home, DOH!

Today, back home, I did another Base ride. The plan for the day:

  • 30-min E2, endurance pace
  • 1-minute long all out sprints / 3-minute recovery / repeat 5X
  • 1-hour M1, muscular endurance pace
  • 1-minute long all out sprints / 3-minute recovery / repeat 5X
  • Remainder M1 pace, for a total of 3-hours.
It was a good ride. The 22+mph wind made things interesting, and a bit challenging. Going upwind felt really slow. I kept wanting to push harder than my plan calls for. So I did because it felt good and was fun!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

C'était une magnifique journée - troisièmement!

Yet another good weather day to cherish - and ride. Today's plan was a simple 1h30m E1 active recovery ride. Good thing, the legs felt like concrete. Talk about slow going upwind in the 21 mph blow!

Tomorrow is rest day, as well as travel day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Great Day Numero Deux

Todays ride plan:
30 min E2 (Zone 3, endurance)
10X Spin-ups. Ride at maximum cadence as long as possible with 1 minute rest between
20 min E2 endurance pace
30 sec maximum (race start) efforts followed by 3 min rest. Repeat 5X
Finish at E2 endurance pace
Total time: 2h30m

For the second time this week I had to stop short. Tonight, by 15-minutes. Just too hungy! My muscles were too far used up. I'm going to have to take a hard look at my nutrition, especially pre-ride. I ate 6 Clif Shot Bloks, and 2 Clif Shot Gels during the ride. But I started out hungry. Bad idea.

My legs were really tight after my ride. When my legs are this tight, its a good sign that I will be sore the next day. I want to get some hours in this weekend without soreness. So, it was time for my post-ride treatment technique.

I made my usual recovery drink of whey protien and OJ, and went in to the bath tub. Then I ran straight cold water into the tub until it covered my legs and hung out shivering, shriveling, and shinking for about 15 minutes. This really makes hte legs stiff, but refreshed. This is followed by a quick warm shower.

The cold water treatement really helps! It sucks while you are sitting in the cold water. But it's worth it, and the shrinkage is reversable!

Looking to get in a few miles tomorrow before the holiday travels begin!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Couldn't Be Better!

Five days until Christmas, and I was riding in shorts and a short sleeved jersey! Man, I love the Gulf Coast! One of the things I like about blogging is that it gives me a reason to shoot pictures. I once worked as a photographer, and I miss it sometimes. I tried some self-portraits on the bike. These are not easy!

This eve's ride was muscular endurance ride. My particular goals were to keep a steady cadance, no stopping and consistant heart rate. Goal time 2h30m. Of course, I did squeeze in some fun. I did the King Biscuit drop 3 times. This is one of my favorite places along White Oak Bayou. It's pretty steep, and I can get some pretty respectable speed on the downside.

Why do we call it the "King Biscuit Drop"? Because that's the King Biscuit restaurant at the top!

After this I ran over to Heights Blvd to do some loops. Naturally, it turned dark, but the riding went well. The legs were downright snappy tonight!

The only difficulty was not letting the heart rate creep up too high. I did play some games with passing cars though.

Riding laps on a single street can be boring. So, I play a little goofey game. Every time a car turns from the neutral ground and parallel beside me, I accelerate with the car and try to keep up with them as long as I can! When they pull away, I go back to my base miles.

After a recovery drink, I made some pita pizzas for dinner. Now, I'm sipping on a beer.

This is the epitome of a great day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some Quotes, Because I'm Bored.

Your "Ha-Ha" friends will talk with you about people. Your good friends will talk with you about things. Your best friends will talk with you about IDEAS!

- Mark Worthington

Certainly grief is the price we all pay for love.
-Gretchen Jackson, co-owner Barbaro

I want to surround myself with people who help me stretch my vision and not choke my dreams.
-Chuck Amato

Those that have abandoned their dreams will discourage yours.

Like most aspects of biking, and life, as soon as you think about the odds of making it through or over an obstacle your doom is sealed.

Never confuse activity with acheivement.

Interesting Invoice

I received this invoice today. Check out the third item. (Click image to enlarge)!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What a Difference!

This evening was 21° warmer than last night. Tonight's ride went a similar amount better. Looking at my ride log, last night was 50°F, I didn't finish it, and I had a PE (perceived exertion) of 9. Tonight, same ride plan, 71°F. I finished it and ended up with a PE of 7.

Because I made Beef and Veggie stew. I have no idea on the origin of my beef and veggie stew method. I can't remember what possessed me to put squash and zucchini in a stew. But I've cooked stew this way since my early days at LSU. It's really simple. First brown about 2-lbs of stew meat in bit of oil.

When its brown, drain off the liquids and put the meat in a pot. I add 1 can of beef broth, 1 can of chicken broth, about 1/2 packet Au Jus gravy mix, and a can of tomato paste. Add whatever spices you want. Then add lots of veggies. I use yellow squash, zucchini, and red potatoes.

Don't worry about how you chop up the squash. It will just turn to mush anyway. But that's the secret to my stew! The squash makes it thick without adding cornstarch or flour. Just chop it up and drop it into the pot...

Simmer until the meat is tender. Presto!



Last night's ride was supposed to go like this 1-hr E2 (Zone 2-Endurance), 1-hr M1 (Zone 3-Muscular Endurance), 1-hr S1 (Speed workout), and finally 30-min E2 (Zone 2-Endurance). But things didn't quite go that way! First, it was cold. Then about one hour in, I needed to pee really bad. However, I knew if I stopped and went into a nice warm indoor situation I'd not want to leave. I also tend to cramp up when going warm-to-cold conditions. I thought about peeing outside, but peeing in public has never been high on my list. I don't even have uramicitisis (Seinfeld reference). I endeavored on and completed the E2 and M1 workouts. I did exactly one spin-up on the S1 program and my left leg seized up. It wasn't going to happen. I cut the ride short and headed home feeling a bit disappointed and defeated by the cold.

I need to acclimate. I know it can be done. People ride in much colder weather. I'm wondering how much of my difficulty is mental and how much is physical... Certainly I can there is a difference in physiological response in the colder environment. I've noticed if I stop, for instance, that getting moving again is very difficult. I don't have that problem in warmer temps. I'm also wondering if you expend more calories in the cold maintaining body temperature? Some quality time with Google may be in order.

While perusing Handlebar Sandwich I ran across this: TeamBaconStrip. Fellow baconeer's enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Art Ride

Today's ride is about checking out some outdoor art, and beautiful scenery. Won't you come along?

First up is Bayland Street - probably the most beautiful street in Houston...

Then across I-10 at Taylor Street., and an overlook of White Oak Bayou.

Surprisingly, there were people playing baseball! I don't even want think about getting an aluminum bat zap in this cold!

Then it's down Taylor/Sawyer Street to Memorial, the follow the trail to the Buffalo Bayou Art Park. I'd heard they added some new projects, so I went to check them out.

One of the projects out here are the buried shopping carts... they rise out of the ground on the other side of the trail.

Here's one of the new peices. A lamp shade, by Emily Sloan. Yes, that's me being goofy with the self-timer.

This piece by Marty Joyce is one of my faborites. It's completely made of PVC pipe, and brings new meaning to cubism.

I snapped this on the Blue Sidewalk project. If I read the BBAP brochure right, that's John Runnels' work. I thought it was appropos, as I was listening to Jazz Mandolin Project for my ride today. Not technically bluegrass, but full of mandolin!

I continued onto the Buffalo Bayou Walk. This trail runs along both sides of the bayou; the west side all the way to UH-Downtown. It was really cold in the shade under the underpasses!

This is right next to UH-Downtown. This the Main St. bridge. It's acutally a nice design, complete with archway. I've been OVER it, and it's nothing special from above. But nicer than the regular pier and bent concrete bridge from below...

And here's the bridge that crosses over the Bayou connecting the east and west sides of the Bayou. I crossed over, rode the other side and turned around to head home.

This isn't art, unless you are a disc golfer! I was really wishing I had my disc's with me... Need to get out here more often...

To the right of this picture is Memorial. To the left is Memorial Way. The sidewalk is on the neutral ground in between. Nice oaks that make a mini-Bayland St!

One last piece of art... this is located in front of an otherwise unremarkable office building off of Sawyer St. I rode around the circular sidewalk around this peice several times. What's neat is that it changes shape as you ride around. Reminds me of a mobius strip.

Finally, back to the house to warm up!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tis the Season for Unwrapping

Tonight I unwrapped the MR2. Check out the dust under the masking! Hmm...

Here's the problem with dust. When it lands on the wet clear, it makes "nibs". They look like itzy bitzy craters. You can't see them in the pictures, but they are obvious in person. Here's a close up...

Luckily, they can be wet-sanded out. I was hoping not to wet sand, or atleast very minimally. I eneded up with very little orange peel, but too many nibs... so wet-sand and polish I shall!

I've got a big run to fix to on the trunk lid.

A quick comment about the color, here I'm pulling up tape. It's tough to tell where the factory paint ends and new begins. The match is excellent!

I'm glad I took the time to do the door jambs. These were about half red/half yellow before. Now all red!

A big pile of masking paper and tape. This is about half of it.

This was about the best pic I could get in the dark. I still haven't seen the paint in the sunlight. Maybe during the weekend?

Forecasted temps for the weekend are too cold to paint the bumpers.

Think I'll make some beef & veggie stew instead of working in the cold...

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Today started with a quick sanding of the "last chance" primer.

Tools for today... sanding sponge and 400-grit paper. The purpose here isn't to do any leveling. That should already be done. Today is just put down a smooth, scratch-free surface for the base coat. It went really fast, about only an hour.

But before I could spray, I cleaned all the primer residue out of the paint gun. K36 is great stuff. But is sure is hard to clean!

The I shot the base coat and almost hung up my gun! The base coat looked crappy. I was very disheartened. Let just say a more than a few swear words were shouted into the gas mask!

What to do? Start over? Bring it to someone to finish? YIKES! I decided to take a chance and put clear on one panel, then see how it went. Well, I put the clear on, and it was like someone turned on a switch! It looked great!!! On went four coats of clear. two runs, and lots of dust nibs... I'll know more tomorrow when I see it in the daylight... But for now here it is!

Almost There!

Saturday was final guide coat blocking. The weather could not have been better! I consider being able to roam around in t-shirt and shorts in December a gift from God. Notice my leaf blower in the photo...

When I shot this guide coat, I hit a pocket of dust with the paint gun and *POOOF* a huge cloud of dust was thrown into the air. Not a big deal in the primer, but not acceptable in the final coat. So a quick blast of all the nooks and crannies with the blower was in order. It worked great!

Also got all of the loose items blocked out, too. Here are the engine cover pieces and gas cap cover.

Then I shot one last chance coat of K36 primer.

Today, I will sand this coat then shoot the base coat (color) and clear coat (shine!).

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Time Crunch!

Who came up with the saying "save time"? Where do you put it? Between painting the car and trying to train there just isn't enough these days. Luckily, the car is one step closer to completion.

Tonight I feathered in the filler. Remember this low spot? It's not low anymore!

The back quarter floated out nicely.

Back into the bubble...

Ready to shoot...

And shot...

The body looks great. I've only got a few spots that will need further work. I should be able to get away with another guide coat only on partial panels. I actually like the painting process itself. Not so fond of sanding of course!