Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Keeping the Fun in It

Today's training plan called for some neuromuscular intervals. But today the weather was perfect, and the Memorial Park trails were...

I needed some fun on the dirt more than intervals. It's important to refresh the fun side of things. It's keeps the perspective correct.

Being on the trail felt grrrrrreat! Honestly, riding on the road bores me to tears. I love being on the trail, though! Much more mentally engaging.

Perhaps some more dirt time tomorrow?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Heatwave!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I received the best present ever. Warm weather. T'was warm enough to be out in shorts and not even a base layer. Here I sit the day after Christmas, with the A/C on. It's almost 80F outside. Glorious!

My Christmas day ride was a 3-1/2 hour tempo ride. I'm a bit sore from my previous core work. It actually felt good; that 'good' type of pain.

Today's plan: a 2-hour recovery ride, or a relaxed dirt ride if it's dry enough. Then some holiday travels...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Don't Call It a Comeback

Today's attempt: pickup where I left off.

The plan: 5-minutes @ 118% FTP, 5-minutes recovery, then six 2-minute intevals @ 135% FTP with 3-minute rest in between.

The result: success. This felt great!

I also did some core work on the physioball. Sarah Hoffman has an excellent guide for core exercises on the ball-o-pain, located >HERE<. Also spent about an hour stretching.

I'm ready for a Christmas-Day ride tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Hamstrung Mystery

I've been sidelined for almost a week with a tweaked hamstring. Don't know how I sprained it, but I did... Today's plan started out with 10X 1-minute high-cadence intervals to jumpstart the legs. I banged on with a 15-minute inteval just above my threshold power. Followed this with a 5-minute recovery and repeated the interval two more times.

The legs felt sluggish at first, but by the end of the ride were feeling closer to 'normal'. Most importantly - no hamstring twinges. Tomorrow, I try to pick up my training plan where I left off.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Will It Go Round In Circles?

Loop-Repeat-Loop-Repeat... During the second lap I started singing Billy Preston's Will It Go Round In Circles in my head. All-in-all a good day. Overcast weather and judging by the sound of the treetops quite windy. Temperatures approached 80F. Hard to belive it snowed Wednesday! Hardly anyone else on the trails made for uninterrupted cruising.

The legs worked fine. The lungs have some fluid. I may be getting sick, or it may be alergies. The newly fork needs to be adjusted. Too much air/not enough sag, but otherwise the rebuild worked out great. Almost five hours of endurance level work, and ready for a rest day on Monday...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's wrong wiff this picture?

The dangers of rebuilding on your fork during the wee hours of the morning...

Here's another pic to help you guess what's wrong here.

Tired, but I got it finished. More pics >HERE<.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Do Not Stare Directly At The Picture

Sun's back! After snowfall on Wednesday, Friday brought sun and warmer temps. After five straight days on the trainer, it felt strange to be moving on the bike for the first 5-minutes. Much respect for folks in more northern climes...

A beautiful sunset with a lonely contrail closed out the day. Today's ride was just 2-hours of light tempo work. Just tune-up for five hours of fast-paced dirt tomorrow!! Yeehaw!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great Blizzard of 2008!


No, that's not bugs flying around in the video! It's SNOW! Houston got it's first snow since 2004 last night. Got some sleet earlier in the day, too. BBBBRRRRR!! Thank doG for the indoor trainer! The best part, forecast shows 70's by the weekend!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Setting the Table

Now that the holiday binge-laze-fest is over, an honest assessment is due. A fitness test conducted tells a tale of subtle progress. My FTP is up - significantly. My left leg is getting close to parity with my (dominant) right leg. My leg speed (maximum cadences) are up as well. All of this indicates improved sub-threshold condtioning.

Over-threshold (anaerobic) capacity lacks still. Little gain in 10-, 30-, 60-second maximal power. I am both frustrated and excited. What? Frustrated at the lack of progress, but excited because I like anaerobic workouts. Don't get me wrong, they hurt when doing them. But about an hour afterwards... the legs are all warm... and you get that quiet fatigue you can get no other way. They are also a lot shorter, which is a positive when you are relegated to the trainer.

I've experimented with several workouts. Here's an example:

10:00 light spinning to warm up.
2:00 @ 130% of FTP / 2:00 Recovery / Repeat 5X
1:00 @ 150% of FTP / 1:00 Recovery / Repeat until you can't hold 120% of FTP
10:00 light spin to cool down

That'll get your heart rate up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fall Perfection

BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEP the alarm went. It took monumental effort to peel myself out from under the covers. The house was perfect temperature for sleeping, and I didn't have to go for a ride. But peel out I did. And there were no regrets.

Visited Huntsville State Park today for some trail riding. It was a beautiful crisp fall day. Started out a bit chilly, but warmed to perfection. It's striking how much the trails changed with the reduced foliage and seasonal colors in only a few weeks time.

I started my training year with a goal in mind for a lap time at Huntsville. I reached it today! That's a good feeling. Now, it's time to lower the goal time!

I got caught by the old branch in the cassette trick!

And as I was packing up the Stumpy, I noticed it's about time for a lower fork service. I'll be ordering seals on Monday...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Noontime Escapes

I office just a few blocks from Memorial Park. For the past week, I've used my lunch time to ride the trails. Great way to spend lunch. I'm not pressed for daylight. The usually overcrowded trails are virtually empty. These midday rides are real low-stress. Meditative perhaps. A nice break to the workday. I ride slow, focus on picking good lines, being smooth and maintaining good flow. These rides are about becoming a better rider, rather than a fitter rider.

I leave the fitness part for the evening. Tonight's job: VO2max intervals. The plan's simple, (6X) 6- minute intervals @ 110% FTP / Recover 6-8- min. Treat them as time-trials. They provide a good assessment of fitness plus a good workload. A fun ride!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mystery Weight Changes

For the last three weeks I've been on a downward weight trend. I track my weight and calories very closely. By the numbers, and by the scale for the last three weeks I've been losing about 1/2 to 1 pound per week. Suddenly, I've managed to gain almost 4 pounds in 5 days with no changes to my calorie intake or exercise levels. Normally, I'd just chalk it up to daily variability, or changes in hydration. But the trend is completely linear, almost exactly the same gain per day. Four pounds would be (4x3500)=14,000 excess calories. I haven't consumed a total of 14,000 calories in the last week.

Maybe I've gone exothermic. Or is it endothermic? I can't remember. If I do a metabolism calculation on the last two weeks, it's negative! So, I'm gaining weight from calories I haven't eaten. Nice.

Monday's ride was a nice 2-hour tempo ride, with some elevated effort intervals thrown in for fun. Today brought a neuromuscular ride with some fun spinning intervals:

(6X) From a roll, accelerate your spin for 50- yards in gear that has you finishing at 120- rpm. Rest 2- min.
(3X) Repeat above, but after winding out the first gear, shift and wind out that gear, Rest 3- min.
(3X) Repeat above, but after wind out two gears, Rest 3- min.

Power isn't relevant for this workout. Speed, acceleration, and smooth spin are the focus.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dirt Sunday

Sunday brought a cool crisp fall day. Ideal weather for being outdoors. I dressed and headed for Memorial Park. Spend 2.5 hours riding the trails at an easy going endurance (Zone 2) pace. Tomorrow is a rest day, then some strong work next week.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Flagpole Bending Day

Saturday winds were howling! Blowing with a northerly chill 22-knots and gusting to near 30-mph. Yeeha!

Riding to the north was a real challange. 225 watts yeilded a measly 14-mph! Riding with a cross wind, also a challange! But adventures require challanges and the day turned out pretty fun.

The ride today was just under threshold power, with a hard sprint for 10-seconds once every three minutes. Tomorrow - DIRT!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Double Duty

I'm fast growing tired of riding in the dark. Tough getting riding hours in with the shortened days. Then a realization struck: I work less than a mile from Memorial Park. DUH! Today, I rode during my lunch time to get some midday work in. Off to the Fruit Loop for anaerobic intervals, comme ca:

5:00 100-110% of threshold power / recover 5:00
2:00 140-150% of threshold power / recover 3:00
Repeat 6X or until can't maintain 120% of FTP

That hurt! I barely made it through the last interval. But wait there's more! Tonight I'm doing threshold intervals:

10X Spinups, 1:00 each
15:00 100-110% of threshold power
Repeat 2X

Bookend each session with 15-minute warmup and cool downs and it comes to almost 3.5 hours of riding; almost completely in daylight. Not a bad deal at all!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Full Moon and Threshold Ride

Beautiful full moon rose during this eve's ride. Here's the recepie, short and sweet:

45:00 85-95% of threshold watts / 10:00 rest
10:00 110-120% threshold watts / 10:00 rest
10:00 110-120% threshold watts

Supposedly it's going to get cold. I made chicken soup in anticipation. Roughly followed this recepie. But added a ton of cilantro and more spices. Resisted the urge to put ginger in, but that may be a good addition.

Going to need the fuel, tomorrow will be a double!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Payin' the Cost

Joss Stone

I've had a lot of non-training fun the last couple of weeks. First was a tip to New Orleans for Voodoo fest. The pictures are from the trip. More can be found *HERE* if you're interested. Certainly, a weekend of eating, imbibing, and staying up very late did no favors to my body. But doG damm it was fun! I ran into a friend that... well... I figured I'd never see again. But in a huge crowd we made contact! Luck was on my side for once. That alone made the entire weekend worthwhile!

My legs, lungs, and heart have felt the lingering effect of my self-induced abuse. The legs especially felt like crap all week. They are coming around though. Still a ways to go. Will I feel good enough for the RHR race? I donno. I will be traveling this week and that's not helping. But it is my last opportunity to race until the spring... On the fence, for now.

Big Sam's Funky Nation

Leo Nocentelli!!


Ivan Neville

Thursday, October 23, 2008

First Front!

Where were you when the first cool front of the year passed? I was out riding my bike! At first things were nice. A little rain, and nice breeze. Then came the lightening! Lotsa lightening. Hightailed it home quickly ... the evening was eerie with the low-hanging clouds and an odd hue to the sky...

Perfect setting for Halloween! In keeping with the fall theme, I had pumpkin beer. It's actually pretty good. Not very pumpkin-y, which is probably a good thing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Changing Seasons

The days are getting shorter. Time to look back and reveiw the waning season.

Recent fitness test results... normalized FTP power- UP. Cool! 30-sec, 1- and 5-min maximal efforts almost identical to last year. Bummer. If you're familiar with a mean maximal curve; mine is pretty hilarious. It's just about flat! It's no wonder I'm not happy with my climbing ability. Should I become a track racer? NO! Am I a genetic freak devoid of the ability to sprint? Perhaps. More likely, the fault lies in my training.

Last year built a solid base. I neglected to include enough over-reaching efforts in my training. My training philosophy is evolving too. OUT- for this year are long multi-week periods of exclusively base miles. IN- base miles integrated with more above-threshold efforts. My sub-treshold work is to maintain more than develop.

I'm super excited about he upcoming year. I'm developing a cohesive training philosophy for myself. I started out blindly following Joe Friels' Mountain Bike Training Bible. While an excellent guide, I found some things simply do not work FOR ME. That's the trick to this whole training thing - find what works FOR YOU.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Excellent Weekend!

Could not have asked for better weather this weekend. Even managed to squeeze in some dirt time today.

As a result of last weekend's testing, a new training program started. I like it, though it's got me hurting a bit right now. I'll try to provide more details next week.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Layzee Stir-Fry

Takes about 6-minutes to cook. A tablespoon of oil, add ton of grated ginger. A lot of grated ginger. Then cook the chicken, add a bag of frozen veggies.

Mandarin orange syrup adds a nice flavor that complements the ginger. I love orange/ginger combination. I've been using it a lot lately.

...garnished with the mandarin oranges...

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Picture of a Puncture

Eventually, it happens to everyone...Caught out with a flat tire. Three miles from home and I get a flat. A spare toob I had, a spare toob I installed. Hit it with the CO2, and behold! A leak! Not dead yet. I carry patches just for this situation. What I didn't have was a spare CO2. An assessment of the conditon of my rear tire, and lack of desire to walk lead me to conclude my ride on a flat tire - very slowly! It was time for a new tire anyway. Upon my return I added another cartridge to the seat bag!

I'm off for some fitness testing at a secret location this weekend. Secret because a friend is doing it gratis. Hoping to gain some insight as to why I'm so slow and the path to improvement.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I haz powa! Big thanks to the guys from Baltimore Gas & Electric for hookin' a brotha up!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Diaster of a Storm

Posting from the Blackberry... 13 days (so far) without electricity is no fun. I weathered Ike, well. Only damage was losing part of the roof off my garage. The aftermath has proven to be the real diaster.

My first thought, what a great training opportunity! With atleast a week off of work I wanted to do a mini-camp. However, I quckly found out it wasn't so simple. Without electricity, no refrigerated food, air cobditioning, or hot water makes proper nutrition and recovery almost unpossible. Without a/c it's near 3am before the house is cool enough to sleep. Sleeping late isn't an option either, because you have to get tasks done in the daylight. Those hours between nightfall and sleep are mentally taxing. Boredom isn't something I do well. And cold showers suck!

Fall racing is pretty wrecked. The Dave Boyd Huntsville Classic was cancled. Without power, I'm not prepared, to travel to Palo Duro. When power comes on there a lot to do domestically. I feel like I need to be here when the lights come on.

I'm bummed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ready for Hurricane IKE

YEE-HAW! My first direct hurricane since Andrew in '92. I'll be posting pics and comments on my Flickr account HERE!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bar Lopping

I've been having troubles descending and making turns. I noticed that I was consistantly locking my elbows. That's bad ju-ju. I suspected I was locking them because my hands were too far apart. I tested the theory by holding my hands close to the stem and riding around. Much better. Tonight I lopped off 40mm per side of my bars to narrow them up.

I was worried about twitchiness, so I also added a longer stem...

The result... It's like I'm riding a new bike! Much better than being spread eagle on the front end. I can bend my elbows and it doesn't feel like I'm going to fall forward all the time.

Unfortunately there is approximately a zero percent chance of riding dirt this weekend.

I've never ridden with a 60mph tailwind...yet.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Beware of Tomato Basil Soup

La Madeline tomato basil soup is one of my favorites. I rarely make it to the restaurant, though. I saw this jar of the stuff at the market the other day. I was pretty excited, it tasted almost just like the soup at the restaurant. Not quite, but pretty close. Cool.

However, I looked at the label to put the nutrition into my training log. OMG! One serving is a whopping 32 grams of fat! One serving is less than a cup. That 2/3 of my fat goal for an entire day. Man, that stuff packs a wallop!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Movin' Like Tortoise; Full of Rigor Mortis

Apologies to Easy E Dr.Dre, but that’s exactly how I felt today. Interestingly, rigor mortis is caused by a buildup of lactic acid… which I didn’t know unitl I looked up how to spell “rigor mortis”.

Today I definitely had the burning ache of lactic acid. I was slooooow and the legs simply didn’t produce. I took it really easy through the trails of Memorial Park. Just as well, as my training plan called for a Tempo or below ride. I just love zooming over the roots and dirt though!

I’m not feeling too good. Lots of snot indicates either something’s making me allergic or I’m on my way to getting sick. Not sure which yet. I sneezed 16 times in a row this morning! Gotta be some kind of record...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fo' Shizzle Ma' Grizzle

Grill night at my place... started out with a nice fire...

Earlier I marinated these butterflied pork chops in orange juice, soy sauce, and a whole bunch of grated ginger...

I also grilled up a filet of salmon. Seasoned with salt, pepper, dill and a bit of lemon juice...

Served up with some cilantro potatoes...the pork chop was out of this world. That marinade made a great and flavorful pallete.

I'm not sure I've ever seen the GFS Ensemble this confused before. More than you ever wanted to know about tropical storm tracking models...HERE!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Desperate for Dirt

Five days of rain killed any hope of riding on dirt this weekend. Instead, I rode my new ITL route twice this weekend. *Click* the little pic, for a bigger one. This was better on the north end. The traffic on 43rd is eskeery so I took that part out. This route works pretty well. There's still traffic, but there are also some long stretches to extend the legs. I want to try one more addition, a stretch down Allen Pkwy. That should yield one more long uninterrupted stretch. As it stands this route is exactly 40 miles.

Some sights along the way... At the Memorial Park Nature Center they are teaching a mushroom identification seminar! Hmmm... I wonder if they will teach which ones are the "good" ones! HA!

The new ITL route takes us by the HPD horse stables on N.Post Oak... We stopped to pet them for a moment. Horses are so cool. Second only to dogs.

Hoping for things to dry out. Last week was supposed to focus on dirt riding.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

LA Weekend

Started my Friday and Sunday here. Highland Coffees - one of the best!

No better to start out the day... a rich cup of coffee and time to relax.

I came over to Baton Rouge to visit two old friends. Hmm... I don't mean they are old! Just that we've been friends for a very long time. T'was good to catch up, and enjoy some fun together. Friday/Saturday was a trip to NOLA for a show at the Maple Leaf and some cycling.

It's been a while since I've been back to BR. Some things remain wonderfully unchanged!

But others... well... I was pretty horrified to find this at the North Gates along Nicholson. *click* on the photo to get more pix...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Great Block

Yesterday wrapped up probably the best two weeks of training to date. Training gains aren't linear. It's hard sometimes to keep the faith through those times that feel futile. Then BAM! Instant improvements... Need more dirt time...

A simple meal tonight. First I pan-browned some chicken breasts. Then degalzed the skillet with a touch of white wine. Then sauteed some garilc and onions until just brown. Added some chipped cherry tomatoes. And some more white wine!

Right at the end added some kalamata olives and fresh parsley. Served up with some potatoes. For the potatoes I chopped some fresh-out-the-garden cilantro and steeped it in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about an hour. Then mixed with the cooked potatoes.