Monday, December 22, 2008

Hard Days

As hard as the hard days are, it's so much easier than regular days.

It's easy to go when no one is out. When temps are -1F. When wind chill is -20 or less. It's easy to suit up.

It's easy to go on days when you can claim to be the crazy one. Even if it's only to yourself.

If I can go today, I can go any day. This is more or less true. But it can be much harder to go every mundane, non-extreme, "get your workout in" day. That is where my challenges lie this year.

First Fixed Roller Ride

Yesterday, I was a bit tentative about hooking up the ol' Milwaukee fixed gear to my rollers and seeing what happens. I even considered the likelihood that video could make me famous on youtube.

Alas, such was not to be. It was a smooth, comfortable, uneventful ride.

One thing for future first time subscribers to the fixed roller rides. Note the difference on the rollers. When you stop pedaling, everything stops. This is wildly different than the road, where you are reminded immediately you may not stop pedaling.

It's -1 F, I'm considering a run outside. Better go.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

-5 ? Really?

Or that made up wind chill number of -24.

It's looking an awful lot like a roller ride kind of day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Day


She didn't have to shovel.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Moles and Trolls

"Nobody has any fun around here anymore. Last week there were no entrants to the M. Curie lookalike contest. Well, there was one. But he was later disqualified." -- a movie ( I probably paraphrased it )

Anyway, last week my job was like the IT equivalent of ER. We'll maybe half ER and half cosmetic surgery. I came out slightly better than I have in the past. I didn't quite make the whole "rollers everyday" thing. I'm doing core and I'm itching to run. Sure last night before I hit the hay, it was 45 degrees out. This morning when I awoke, it was 4 degrees. But it's a dry 4 degrees.

Somehow, when it was 17 degrees coming home, it seemed not so bad.

I'm looking forward to a couple of (hopefully) non-70 hour weeks. I'm ready to roll. I'm ready to run.

So, anyone recall the movie? "Ice is nice!"

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Speaking of a Roller Derby

I ran into a few headed to last week's roller derby. I read of even more who were there.

Then I read about an entirely different kind of roller derby on the other side of the world.

The first type roller derby I've seen on TV or heard about all my life. The second one, not so much.

I have been trying to hook up my old, semi unreliable cyclo-computer to my road bike. I want the cadence function only. I now know I've been going about my cadence-o-meter all wrong. I will be needing the plans for that huge pie plate on their wall. (though I don't need one that says 400 on it).

Time to hit the basement and see if I can get to 122 RPMs on my rollers.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's All True

One day I wrote this.

The next day I read this.

Internet advice is funny, most of it is true for someone at some point. It's up to the reader to figure out which advice is applies now.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Limiters from the Back of Pack

I often have my own internal conversations about what easy, low hanging fruit I can pick off with regards to my endurance performance. I am writing this list for myself to read in the future. If anyone else can gain perspective off it, great!

  1. Consistency. How many times do you have 2-5 great weeks followed by the flu, work, family, or other commitments? And do those other commitments (never, sometimes, often) build into multi-(day, week, month) lapses in your workouts? Fix: get in a workout. Figure out your minimum levels. For me, a 3 mile run is still a run. Or more recently 20-30 minutes on the rollers is very doable daily.
  2. Repeatable. Yep, this is the corollary to rule #1. But if you're doing stuff that will leave you sleeping in the next day and missing your workout. You blew it. Once is OK. But if you don't write it down and learn from it you will be here again and again.
  3. Weight. I should put this much farther down the list. Not because it's not important, but it's the known factor. Everyone knows the less you have to haul, the faster you will go given the same amount of power. If you spend $5000 for a 1lb lighter bike, great. But look at that 10, 15, or 20 pounds of cushion covering your six pack and ask what it's costing you first.
  4. Genetics. I'm only listing this to mention you can't do anything about it. Cross it off your list and stop using it as an excuse you're not better. Have you fixed everything else?
  5. Diet. Never mind your weight. Do you notice how you feel after drinking tons of soda and burgers/fries vs. fruits/vegetables/lean protein?
  6. Core. How much difference does this make? After two weeks of fit-ball exercises, I perceive a fairly significant difference in my running stability. One might argue there are much faster folks who don't do these exercises, but we haven't sat down and tested their base against your base core strength.
  7. Flexibility. Much like core. One will hear "I don't stretch." Or even read articles on why stretching is bad. Touch your toes (or try).. How do you think your range of motion compares to mid-pack or faster folks?
  8. Leg turnover / cadence. While it's clear one can look at different cyclist and runners and find that there is no one cadence that works. How much time have you spent pushing your envelopes to see what works? (do you even know what you run/ride at?) If you plod around at 60 cycles per second normally, 110 is going to blow you up but quick. If you toss a few accelerations here and there, you can gradually bring up your cadence. After giving yourself a bit of a range, you can then better determine which is more efficient for you.
  9. Form. Here we're getting to level 2 stuff. Doesn't form come from core, flexibility, and practice? If you think you have all the level one stuff and you're still slow, how's your form?
  10. Focus. How many 1, 3, or 6 hour trainer rides have you done watching Lord of the Rings movies or what not? Are you anywhere near riding a bike, or just turning pedals and keeping your heart rate in a particular zone? I'm combating this on rollers where I have to at least focus enough to stay on them. Ditto with running and i-Pods. I dig the the music too. There is a time for it. Spend time focusing on form, pedal stroke, and just plain being in the moment. On race day (especially endurance ones), you will do much better by staying focused. This doesn't happen by trying it for the first time while racing.
  11. Don't spread it too thin. If you've spent years not improving at skiing, swimming, biking, running and underwater chess, knock it back a bit. I pared back to just cycling recently, only to add in running finally. I'm going to stay away from the pool for a while and focus on improving what I'm doing now.
  12. Sleep. It's shocking how much I perceive sleep/diet/training all hinge on each other. Is your case of the "training Mondays" because you stayed up later Friday and Saturday than the rest of the week?
  13. Work harder. Caveat, this can't be in conflict with rule #1 or #11.
  14. Water? Do you drink enough? OK, I'm out on a limb here. Yes, you need water.
The bigger point is, there are a large number of variables for general health. Many seem to effect endurance performance. Which one could really be keeping you down? Is it obvious? Grab the easiest one or five and knock them out. See what happens. My personal experience is it's hard to keep all the balls in the air at once. Then again, when I work on consistency and core, my diet likes to fall in line.

Feedback welcome.

Disclaimer, I'm not a coach and I just peel this stuff off once in a while to see if it sticks.

See you out there!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stuffed

I started the morning giving myself hope for my cadence. I did rollers workout #1 again. I may do it yet one more time in the name of "one hour on rollers". Then I'll see what happens when I build into the plan.

Turkey, potatoes, several cran-* dishes and rolls. That was some good eats. Then pie. Tomorrow, I may have to crank up the iPod extra loud to drown out the blubbering on my run.

I hope everyone else had as good of Thanksgiving as I did.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pre-Turkey Day Burn

I don't really want to be a "workout blogger". Having not posted in some time, I should update from the "Life" post. I did have a fortnight totally off of workouts due to fatigue and illness. I hopped back on when I was sure I was ready. The first roller workout was pretty steady compared to starting up last month. And here I am this week...

Sunday, two hours on the single speed outside in 40 degrees. Someone remind me to put it back to fixed so I can work the cadence. I felt I could push the low end but topped out quick.

Monday, gasp! I ran. I had to crank up the nano something fierce to drowned out the sound of my pleas and wailing.

Today, I'm really happy with today's workout. Sixty minutes on rollers doing Ron Rogers interval workout #1. First time I ever attempted these on rollers. I have some feed back for how to improve getting it done next time.. but basically I'm on my way.

The current go forward plan will be: Run M/W/F. Interval program T/R. And a nice outdoor ride on the weekend. As for swimming, I have to remember to cancel my membership before I'm stuck swimming another year.

While I'm at it, IT security stuff has been buggin' me more lately.. Tip of the day, "Turn off autorun". Especially if you take your thumb drive and/or memory stick to photo kiosks.

See you out there.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Life...

Here is where the rubber hits the road.

  • I've got 3 flat tires in the basement.
  • Some kind of virus is going through the family.
  • Two birthday parties canceled today.
  • Wifi users now have to worry that not only is WEP a flimsy substitute for encryption, but WPA is on it's way to the "do not use" list.
  • SP3 is out, when to install these "fixes"?
  • Boxes in the basement need to go to the attic.
  • Whitefish Bay schools looks caught up on the wrong side of financial leverage.
  • Update your Adobe Acrobat.
  • Winter is coming.
Reboot

I hope there is some tail kicking going on at ICEMAN.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kettles South

Man was my ride ever sweet on Sunday. I got up at the crack of re-un-adjusted CST 6AM and headed off to Kettles Southern Unit. I pounded out two smoother than ever before laps. I "cleared" many of those previously mental block, put my foot down, obstacles.

I've still got a bone to pick with the incline at mile 9.1-ish. I feel there is hope for me.

I do not yet know if I can learn to ride fast over this terrain (or any!). Every ride is and will be a learning experience.

I forgot to hit the lap button on lap 2, but it seemed like I negative split it. I was pretty beat, but much less worse for wear than my last excursion. I cleared 20 miles steady/smooth vs. bonking at 15 of 17.

See you out there!

In other news, I had to wait behind one person to vote today after work. All I have to say about the morning voters is "Suckers!" I mean, "Great job for getting out and voting!"

Monday, November 03, 2008

Help Fat Cyclist (and get new gear)

I've been waiting for the Fat Cyclist jersey to come back out ever since I realized it's availability was "pre-order only", a bit too late. Luckily, November rolled around. And Twin Six was true to it's word and re-released it.

Not only did they re-release it, but they juiced it up by sending half the cash to the Fat Cyclist family (if you're big like me). See twinsix.com for details (this week).

Win Susan!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Game Day Decision

I'm taking my extra hour to Kettle South. Set your clocks back. See ya!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Blip.

October is done. I took the day off to celebrate Halloween, last day of October, and our anniversary. It worked out beautifully for me.

News of flames at the Milwaukee CX scene made it all the way out to New York City.

Yesterday was beautiful. I put in some recon at Estabrook. Afterward I ran into Tosa Crosser. His used his keen senses to point out that all my "recon" was for the local cross country race, and probably not the CX course. Then he showed me around today's Kletch Park CX course. A great course, and today would be a great day for it. But I wimped on it for the prospects of a slightly flatter Estabrook.

Get in your last "nice" rides of the season, because I'll bet old man winter is a knockin' on our doors (at least in Wisconsin).

Last night, we headed out on the town for our anniversary. We caught a showing of "The Pool" at Downer Ave Theater. Director Chris Smith was there for Q&A afterward. It was a marvelous movie and overall a great experience.

Just a perfect fall day.

As for "the numbers", October is the most consistent I've been in some time. The LFM marathon was head clearing. It made me remember what I want. I took 4 days off post marathon, then it was cycling every day but two for the rest of the month. Rollers have me sturdy if not strong. It's a base/steady feel. I will be out gunned yet again at CX tomorrow. But it's fun to go "all threshold" for 4-7 minutes of a 30 minute race !

See you out there!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Small Victories

I took the day off yesterday. I was cashed. I slept in unintentionally. I tossed the wee ones into their classroom and headed off to work.

Today was another thirty minutes on the rollers. It was "nice". I need to hook up that crusty old cadence-o-meter if I'm going to do Ron's Interval Workouts on it.

Today, once I got going, I was feeling pretty sturdy. Sure I had the errant 2-4" waggle on my rollers. So, I watched some TV. Turns out TV kinda sucks, and I'm not good enough to watch movies yet. So onto other "wins". I went for the water bottle. I got it to my mouth and had to grab the bar. Undeterred. I did it again and got a decent drink while riding.

Yes, it's a tiny victory. But it's also a new personal best.

Will it help me while I'm seeing stars at Estabrook?? Doubtful.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bring On The Pain!!!

OH! No! Wait! Did I ask for the pain???

Yep. In the form of Halloween CX race.

How hard could a little ole 30 minute, cat4 race be after a season with a 70.3 mile triathlon, 40 mile mountain bike race and a marathon? These questions can only be answered about ten minutes into said race when you're just trying to hang on to the wheel of "Mr. Third to last". Maybe I wasn't fit enough going in, but I never felt like tossing my cookies.

As per usual, I saw a guy behind me early on. He must have dropped from the race when he noticed he couldn't even stay ahead of "that guy" (me).

I held off 2nd place (a.k.a. getting lapped) until I crossed into lap 3. After that it was all over. I'm sure I felt like I was running and look like I was walking any of the hills/obstacles/tall grass.

As for the coffin jump.. It went down like this. I swore to myself I'd give it a go. I was seeing spots on lap one and just wimped on it. Lap 2, they gave me a by, due to construction. By lap three, it was on fire.. My words were something like "Oh NO Way!". I'll have to practice for next year.

I stand by the fact that it's good, clean (more or less), laugh out loud, bike racin' fun! If you haven't tried it, at least go watch the craziness.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

I got my 38 tooth, rocket chain ring back on the Milwaukee Orange One.. (rockets are fast)

I reinstalled the Cross Blaster tires.

I put the wheel singlespeed cog on the drivetrain side.

The chain is lubed.

Who's up for Halloween CX? Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Consistent and Repeatable

Day 14. Short in the context of a month, year or lifetime. But this is day 14 of consistent workouts. Of them, 13 involve bike riding. There is one run, and core workouts to fill it in.

I'm so lucky.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's Right? (and other random updates)

There is knowing what's right. Then there is doing what's right.

What's right? Consistent, repeatable training stresses. Once I have that we can talk about building.

What I do every year? Add in random acts of on-call, sick, vacation, and various other excuses. I know it is by far my largest limiter. So I'm starting early and easy.

This year I'm starting early. I've got the rollers already setup and I'm doing 30 minutes per day without excuse (unless I ride outside).

I'm looking forward to Ron's Winter Interval program. I've been recklessly eyeballing it for some time now. I have never attempted it on rollers. I'll need to hook up a large view timer, and a big cue sheet. And I'll have to put a cadence-o-meter on my road/roller bike.

Tonight I threw in my first run post LF Marathon. It went fine. I took it easy. My knee is still there, but no real pain.

I'm four workouts into my favorite core workouts.

Also, Zentri has been talking about focusing on one sport and how great that is. I'm all in (at least that's the plan). Minus the fact that he's running and I'm biking. Maybe once we hit the "who cares what the ***** windchill is! it's cold" weather, we can talk about a run focus.

And I'm sending my good vibes to the fat cyclist and his family this week. I missed my chance to pre-order, but I'm watching out for one of these.

And finally, I'm coming out of hiding for the annual Halloween CX race. Riding or hiding? I can nearly guarantee that if you race cat4, you won't be last. (at Estabrook, I'll have my sights on 2-5th to last).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Halloween


A.K.A. Fun with GIMP.
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Just Ride

I did some exploring (trail riding) out at Muir today.

Looks like they're doing some logging out there.


A quick stop. Here is where I came from.


Here is where I'm going.


Get out there while you still can. It was a beautiful day!

All in all, I hit a blue loop and a green loop.. I took the blue loop like I had two kids and not enough insurance. I started the green loop like I had some insurance and did pretty well. About 15 miles in, I ran out of gas. Mucho fun the whole way!

If I can shake that "getting feet wet" first 6-10 miles, and not run out of gas at mile 15, I'll be rockin'!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rollin' Again

I went back and read my prayers from before LFM. Last night, I got my bike and rollers all ready to go. This morning I managed a mere 25 minutes. My knee is still ginger. Clipping my left foot out is quite painful.

On the plus side, this is my first roller ride of the post season. I managed to do a one-handed sweat wipe several times. I've got my forearm lean on the treadmill down already. In a week or so, maybe I will be able to drink while riding. I don't dare put a time on being able to watch TV while riding.

As of today, I don't see CX or WORS shevegas happening this weekend. But as always, my favorite things about these races are the ability to make a game day call. (now that I look CX is next weekend). No excuses.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Salvation

I did what I said I would. Now I will think twice on signing up and not training for a marathon.

Notes about my "if you only get me through this I will shape up really" thoughts before the race. (before I forget):

  • I want to run 2-3 times per week. One 90 minute run, to keep me honest. Later build to a tempo run too.
  • I want to bike 3-7 times per week. As much as I enjoy riding outdoors, I will setup the rollers and ride them tons this winter. You can't argue with the time it takes to dress for indoor riding.
  • Swimming is for suckers. (not really, but I want to back off so I can really focus on biking).
With that out of the way, here's how it went yesterday.

Got up at 5:30. Made my self a double espresso with a bit of milk, oatmeal with some organic brown sugar (it's what we had, I'm not claiming the high road). I did some dishes so the dogs wouldn't do them while we were gone. Hit the rain box, and got dressed.

I chose to over dress. I wore some Pearl Izumi tights that seem to hold my legs together a bit more than normal (I had contemplated the CX compression tights at the expo, but the CFO gave me the "eye of disapproval". Never mind that she was right.) Then I used my crucible tri shirt under another Mizuno long sleeve, half-zip, super wicking top. Between the two, I had two pockets. Livestrong socks and Saucony Hurricane 10 shoes, if you must know.

We (T, Pete and I), headed down to the lake around 6:20 am. We caught a bus up to the start in Grafton. Our bus driver was a lead-foot, so we passed a good three buses on the way up. I noted it would be the only time that day I'd pass 100 people so easily.

At the start, I ran into many others that I knew. The neighbors, my coworker, TriWisconsin peeps and many others were everywhere I went. It was nice to see familiar faces.

...

The singing of the anthem is always a great reminder of how lucky we are to be running/walking/limping/participating.

...

Gun goes off. There we go.

Aside from the usual race start stuff.. I had to convince my wife and bro-in-law not to wait for me. I would have gone too fast if they stuck around.

I started a bit tight. Otherwise the run went really well. I planned a 9:30/:30 run/walk. The first two miles I couldn't convince myself to walk. By three miles I figured if I didn't start now it would get tougher later. I felt great. I ended up running near Linda from Oconomowoc for a while. Her husband had a video camera, and we passed her supporters a shocking number of times.

I stayed slow and steady. At the half way point, I was pretty much dead on 2:30. With no training, a 5:00 marathon would be superb. One minor problem, around mile 11 my knee started a small twinge. I stayed upright. I kept my form even. I held off the inevitable as long as I could. Then about mile 15.5, I stopped to stretch it out. After that I couldn't forcibly bend my knee. I was stuck walking the rest. I couldn't complain on no training, but I was frustrated that I felt so good and just couldn't bend my knee.

I sent Linda on to her finish. Before I knew it I was walking with Joe. He had been pushing for a 4:45 BQ and had some severe leg cramping very early in his race. He was a great pacer and I'll wish him luck in the softball tourneys in Phoenix in two weeks. He had superb support also, but they didn't show until mile 24.5.

That last mile in LFM is killer. There is tons of winding around. I had no idea that I couldn't manage a curb until I hit Bradford Beach. The grass was also suprisingly tough. T and Pete were waiting at the end. They were in about 4:30 and did great. Good thing they had a change of clothes with them, because I had the car keys. I grabbed some quick food, then we all hobbled back to the car.

Yep. I'm going to be sore for a few days. I'll spend the time greasing my rollers. I heard winter was coming.

Dinner was at Hector's. I didn't short on the taquitos, BBQ chicken burritos, or the tequila.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Some Days

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Some days you rush out the door and end up with a Newfie on your table.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Killing Time

Here are a few things I listened to in the car this week. (maybe it will keep you off your cell phone)

See you out there.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

All In?

I'm not one to go around quoting Hemingway, but I like this particular quote.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

In that vein, I'm going to do a marathon that I didn't train for. No, I wasn't drinking when I signed up. Here is some of what I've gone through.

Pros:

  • My wife, brother-in-law, neighbors across the street are all doing it. (see also, If your friends jumped in the lake....) (note, I haven't done the polar plunge, yet).
  • I did Ironman for land sakes. This won't be easy, but I know how to suck it up and get through something.
  • Last time I signed up for Lakefront marathon, I got mono. This would be the second "no show" for me, with much less of an excuse.
  • Today, I ran 90 minutes just to see how it's gonna feel. I won't be breaking any land speed records. I feel there is a good chance I'll lumber through it just fine.
  • I signed up. Period.
Cons:
  • I do not want to appear to disrespect the distance or those who really trained for it.
  • There is a possibility this is stupid and I could hurt something (me).
  • I didn't want to just "do" a marathon and walk it in. This is also a very possible outcome.
  • WEMS Muir is Saturday. What can I say, that race is calling me. I even have a wild hair temptation to try to do both. And, yeah, I know how that sounds.

What happened? I was all starry-eyed for Chequamegon. I didn't run much. Sure, normal life got in the way too. I'm starting to think October is a bad month for me and marathons. August - October is when I most feel like biking. If I want to run it's when the weather goes south.

See you out there Sunday!!

Welcome..

This guy is responsible for getting me to do more "fun" stuff on a bike than I can list. Stuff I would done, but maybe not talked myself into. Stuff that had I known, I wouldn't have done, but then later he said "when I say 'easy', you knew to double it and add 30, right?". But now I look back (alive) and smile about all of it.

Need I say more.

Welcome to the blog-o-sphere TmonT.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Random Bike Links

How many of these did you click on today?

Yehuda Moon

Fat Cyclist

Interbike Blog

Milwaukee 29er Bike Builds

Some people even post pictures of bike riders

Riding the Vuelta with Astana - I'm afraid to read most of this. If I do, I might end up riding around Europe some time over the next few years.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Catching Back up Since Fat Tire

I'm signed up for this marathon. I talked my wife and brother-in-law into it. My neighbors are doing it. It's a party. Hard to argue with that kind of fun.

Now, recall for a minute that I have been doing last minute cramming for some mountain bike race that was last Saturday.

When I singed up for all this, "everything looked so easy after the Ironman" (in the tone of Smitty talking about the K2 in Better Off Dead). Yet, here I am having not run a lick in what seems like weeks (OK, is weeks and seems like months). I guess a marathon three weeks after fat tire 40 is harder than it looks. Or it'd be more fair to say, more than I could commit to in this carefree post-ironman training year.

I'm hearing a good bit of, "but JWM you can muster up and do this." Which, of course, I can. The question is, at what price? Never mind that I'm just digging biking right now.

Add to this, I'm sure I have some kind of virus since fat tire. No not the psychosomatic kind. The sinus infection, sore muscle kind. I've also been dropping weight like no tomorrow this week. My guess is not from the virus, but a decompression from my week of "free, good food in Chicago" otherwise known as "how much weight can JWM gain in five days?"

(insert JWM weight tip of the week.. oatmeal for breakfast. oatmeal for lunch (not cause you like oatmeal, but it's laying around work and you're out of pocket cash), then a "reasonable" dinner) By Wednesday you're pretty ready for some Oakland Gyros or other protein infused meal.

I told my loyal fans and now you, if I drop silly weight without getting sick by the marathon then I'm in. If I have to kill 200+ lbs on my knees then I'm thinking "see you at the cyclocross races." One "loyal fan" has already promised me a list of runner's maladies which can only be cured by cycling.

Pretty well caught up.. I didn't mention oncall at work, because it's been pretty good so far. Minus the page I was working on a few minutes ago.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two of My Favorite Things


Mix up Linux and cycling and what do you get?


Did I mention my 305 frizted after recording my 77mph downhill at Chequamegon?

No new toys for a while now.  And data certainly not first on my list.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Empirical Analysis of Fun


Graphs are just numbers on a chart. This one is elevation (in green) and speed (in blue) vs distance in my race (x-axis). Here we see my elevation and speed between mile 5 and 6 of the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40.

Notes :

  • At point A, my elevation is at an all time low while my speed is about 33 mph on a grassy trail.
  • At point B, my recorded speed is 77 mph. I do not know how my Garmin could have known that I felt like I was going 77 mph. I certainly wasn't traveling 77 mph.
  • The elevation around C should not be represented by a flat line. There was clearly a 27" hole in the ground here. I know the hole was 27" because if I'd had a 29er, I'm certain my fear of front wheel magnet syndrome would have been unfounded. Also, I'm not sure, but did I see the Gary Fisher marketing department out there digging that 27" hole so I'd be more encouraged to get a 29er? Probably not. It's more likely I just imagined that.
  • I did clear the hole and probably rubbed the rear wheel on my shorts in the process. I managed to keep the shorts clean, miraculously. Perhaps it was all in my imagination.
But still 77 mph??

Cheers.

Chequamegon - From a Beginner's View

The overall was, "Wow!" I had a great time.

Yesterday morning was race day. I woke up a bit before 8 a.m. Wasn't much feeling like breakfast. Also, I felt like my week of "not enough sleep" was catching up with me. I'm sure I was getting a cold. I had half a free organic bar and some Advil / Sudafed (this would be incredibly abnormal for me). I drank a bunch of water and just sat there for a while. Not long after I grabbed my bike and headed down to the start line. I tossed my "post race" bag in the pile and lined up in the back. I was next to Rick, Bubba and a couple of other dudes that wanted to stay out of the press for security reasons. Also, there was some guy that clearly had escaped from somewhere. He was riding what appeared to be the next wave in mountain biking, a 36er. That thing looked like it would kill on the downhills!

Before I knew it, the canon went of and we were rollin'. I got a few unsolicited pushes from the geared dudes. I was cold at the start line so I spun out something serious gettin' warmed up. Turns out that we hit the grass with 38 miles to go and I was gonna need some of that energy if I was to make the rest of the way. Blown up, I wavered back and forth between "uphill mode" and "recovery mode". It all evened sometime later.

Here are the (low)/highlights (in no particular order):

  • Yeah there were some bad mamajama downhills. One of which I gave in and just rolled at max velocity. The bad news is I notice that crater at the bottom kinda late-ish. I did my best beginner's butt-scrapes back tire impersonation. Miraculously, I lived.
  • Another proud moment was when I cleared a downhill that many were walking down. I followed some obviously capable women down a rocky, eroded decent. Picture said same newbie butt scrapes tire move. If you really want to be in the moment, my back brakes were squealing like no tomorrow. I made it all the way to the sand at the bottom. (the lost the battle to the sand).
  • I cleared some uphills that I didn't think I would on my single speed.
  • I walked some I thought I would make. Note, I was gaining on / keeping up with the bikes on these uphills.
  • I made it through all but one mud puddle.
  • My downhill mud slide really had a chance to improve significantly.
  • All the "really scary" stuff is well marked. And "really scary" isn't that bad. But the first time you go through, you don't really know what you're in for.
  • My back ached, but I had my 50 oz of water and a bunch of clothing in case my drugs didn't work and I ended up on the side of the trail shivering in the fetal position.
  • With 5 miles to go, it DUMPED rain. The road opened up and the rain didn't effect me too much at this point.
  • With 2 miles to go, it was back on the grass. This was ugly in the rain. Even on the non-existent flats, I couldn't move well. Lots of hopping off and running/walking.
  • At some point, I could smell the brats and I knew I was there.
  • Woohoo!
  • My unoffiical donut hole number is 10.. +/- 2%. For those not there, I'd hate to see the donuts these came from.. They were rather large.
Post race it was still dumping rain. I had a hard time finding my family and my core temp was going south quick. I ran into the monTs and stayed warm in the lodge for a bit. Then I knew I had to make an effort to look for the car/kids/wife. I found 'em. They got me a piece of pie from the Norske Nook. MMMMMMMM!! Good!

Later it was pizza at Coop's. Though I didn't see Coop. We hit the pool back at the hotel. I think hot tub/cold pool variations on the legs did some good. But I'm still sore today.

See y'all out there!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Last Night

One last night in the windy city. I don't think I can call Cheesecake Factory carbo-loading. But I had a nice walk up there and back.

See you all at the Fat Tire Fest. Anyone want to take a stab at the over/under on LA showing up, fresh out of retirement? Oops. I guess I'll take the under.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chequamegon Checklist

When I get home, I'll need to grab my stuff and head north. I thought I might take today to pre-think this up. I like to hit the ground running or I will forget my shoes.

  • Bike - Pre-lubed and set to go.
  • Helmet - ANSI/DOT/whatnot certified.
  • Shoes - the pedals are on the bike, no shoes would be bad.
  • All the bike clothes I own. Why not? Who knows what the weather could be? See: arm warmers, gloves, jacket, shorts, jersey, etc.
  • Eye wear - especially important when 1699 others might kick up some dirt on you.
  • C-back.. OK, I'm going to severely modify how I load it up. But I'm thinking I will still bring the m.u.l.e.
  • Tools - one must have a tremendous set of tools when they are 7 hours from home racing participating in a mountain bike festival.
  • Other clothes.. Freeing myself from the shackles of work clothes and taking some comfy after race attire will be the highlight of my packing experience. (maybe not, but comfortable attire sounds great right now)
  • I could not pick up any brown bike shorts for hiding my decent fear output.. Black will have to suffice.
Maybe I will bring a spotted cow. After this weekend, work sounds like it's going to get a bit ugly. I might as well relax to the fullest with a beer.

See you all out there. Good luck, and if you see Mr Brown shorts.. Go easy on him.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More Fat Tire Prep

No. No prep really. Just a walk up around Navy Pier, and stopped off for some pizza at Giordano's.

I'd have some neat-o pics of some sails, but my camera/laptop interface seems to be back home.

As for prep, I should spend some time meditating on what's going to go down when it all goes down. It will be a quick, late ride up. One day working in the windy city, the next barreling down some big hill I've never seen with 1699 other crazy folks.

Perhaps Thursday I will setup for some reflection here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Gearing up for Chequamegon

With few resources pre-fat tire 40, I set off for a run up to Navy Pier and back, last night. Today, I had a great Guinness and a shepherd's pie.

I miss having not brought my bike with me. It will be crazy enough getting back north by race time.

Given a few minutes, I may seek a local bike shop and peruse.

I'm doing my best to stay hydrated and get good sleep.

I nearly ran into McCain today, but beaucoup security prevented me from doing so. I did hear the cheering though.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Greased, Lubed, Doped. Ready.

I adjusted the bike. I cleaned and lubed the chain. I re-adjusted the brakes. I took apart the bottom bracket and copper dope lubed it. It's gonna hang wet and ready to leave for Chequamegon this week while I work my fingers to the bones. When I grab her Friday and head North, she'll be ready.

I did my best to find some brown bike shorts for the harrowing descents, black will have to suffice.

See you out there!

Side note: Ironman Wisconsin is tomorrow. Good luck to all you participants. I hope you have a great day out there!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Post WEMS, Pre-Chequamegon

Getting the kids ready for school. The boy got his first bee sting today. He was a trooper.

Since WEMS Stump farm, I haven't given in. On the road every day since, and hard down at night sleeping. I'll ease up significantly next week. But I'm going to make it hurt this week. (It already does).

Sunday, August 31, 2008

WEMS Stump Farm

I missed out on a good number of decent posts here recently.. The secret mountain bike trail I found on vacation.. My train ride home where I had to climb over an engine to make the train (this was authorized in case you're with the rail system). All the newbie rail riders whining about a late train.. Anyway, the stump farm deserves a few minutes to hammer out.

After an abnormally rough night's sleep, I woke up late (about 8:00 am). I brewed an espresso drink, and made some oatmeal. Around 9, I headed north to Suamico. I'm used to 7am starts and getting up at some ungodly hour.. This is nice. Oh wait, the morning temps were good, but by 1pm (race start time) it was sunny and somewhat warmish. Thanks to the trees, it wasn't too bad out there.

For those not in the know, WEMS is a race series where you are given an allotted time and you complete as many laps as you can. I chose the six hour race. I just wanted an excuse to ride as long as I could (which would certainly not be more than 6 hours on a mountain bike). I wanted to try out my nutrition plan for Chequamegon. I wanted to see how I felt.

There were some great riders out there. I'm such a newbie. I think I did a good job of staying out of the fast guys/gals way and they were all appreciative and nice about it.

Here are some of the questions I wanted to answered before that fabulous September day:

I have some new Camelback Elixer, which seems a grand idea. Scant on calories and it's got the electrolytes. Camelback may not be able to say it, but seems similar to Nuun. I'm in the very beginning phase of trying these two products out. I tossed 100 oz of water in my c-back M.U.L.E. and 3 (24oz water per tab) tablets of Elixer and left it in the fridge. OK, in hindsight this may have been a heavy decision, but I was trying it out. The Camelback itself was a trial run for Chequamegon.

How far can JWM go on a mountain bike without extreme soreness of back, shoulders, or whatnot parts? While Stump Farm ain't Chequamegon, it's a question I have.

And I wanted to say, "Hey" to my peeps. This is not a question. But I thought I'd toss it here.

Lap by lap analysis:

Lap 1: Just getting a feel for "will I die on this course". The answer was a definitive "you could, but it's not the course's fault".. I felt I was always on manageable ground, minus the steep sand downhill. Aside from this, I had all kinds of new problems like my back hurt VERY early on. I was even getting leg cramps. I won't say I never get them, but I'd imagine they are so infrequent I could say never and it would be close enough to the truth.

Lap 2: I tied the gut strap on my c-back to help alleviate my back pain and carried on. Wow, "I can do this". I wasn't fast, but I was the slow version of "Woohoo I'm the king of the world! I'm gonna make it!" from Simpsons just before Homer doesn't make it. I didn't crash my skateboard though.

Lap 3: A slightly slower version of lap two. Things hurt but I was still there.

T1.. I decided to eat my post race sandwich.

Lap 4: I'm not going to use the sandwich as an excuse, but I'm certain my metabolic efficiencies all went to my gut. I dragged through and this was it for me.. I was happy to have cleared 32+ miles for the day. And I was at least 2-3 out of lantern rouge.

Analysis:

Were the cramps due to the Elixer? Maybe I need to back off the mix, or go with the Gatorade that I know works. I had Gu too. So there were calories (maybe not enough).

Back pain definitely could have been all the extra weight of the c-back + 100 oz water. I will be thinking hard on this one before the big day.

Last word:

Training for Chequamegon or not, WEMS is a great, super relaxed, low volume, event series. Everyone there is super cool. Not to mention there are some monster bikers out there. Thanks to Bill for putting on a fun event.

I will aspire to one day do this race and keep up with the slow guys.

Special thanks to Toolshed for the T-shirt and coke, Rick for granting me the power to stop, TmonT for telling me not to (and the cookies), and a few other monTs for general support, and Liz for just being nice to me in spite of losing sleep so I could watch my first Madison race. Also, the seemingly 1000's of racers that asked "Are you OK?" on my 4th lap. I'm happy to report, I'm OK (until someone proves otherwise).

Extra special thanks to my family for finding all their last minute school supplies on their own. They took one for the team and saw Kung Fu Panda (again) at the budget cinema.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No Phone

No Internet
No phone
No cell coverage

A trip to town got this message out.

Ahhhhhhhh, vacation.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trail Ridin'

A couple locals named Rick and Bubba pulled me around some trail at about 1/3 speed last night. It was definitely good for me. By the 3rd lap, I mostly knew my way, and had gained enough confidence to only lean on a tree or two. I was given some expert advice to "go around said trees". After that it went a lot better.

Post ride I made a snap decision to be seen eating pizza in public. Coop, Anne, Rick and Liz all can all vouch for my existence. This will no doubt call into question my elusive status. I figured I was safe as long as there were no Olympic tool guys there.

Don't worry. Now, I'll go into full hiding mode until Chequamegon.

See you out there.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

And they're off!

Well almost.

Good luck at Ore to Shore today all!

Update on the push ups: I actually read the plan. It's pretty aggressive to be starting a month out from Chequamegon Fat Tire 40. I'll use it as inspiration to do a few here and there, but a plan like that is for the off season. Oops, what off season?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Need Something New To Do?

How about one hundred push-ups?

jwm's Initial test: 19

Monday, August 04, 2008

Bad News

Bad news. Not mine, mind you. My life is great. Sure, it's a bit hectic. All in all, I have very little to mope about. And without enumerating specifics on woes of those I know.

Every time I turn around, I hear new cancer news. Bad news.
Divorce is on the up.
Folks are selling/losing houses.

I'm glad that last post is there to keep things in some perspective. Man, woman, child if you're out there in the thick of it. Please, keep your chin up.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Remember These Days?



Enough said.

Downer Ave Superweek


Weekend update: The Saturday Night Version

Wow! Thrills! Speed! Corners! Every lap the excitement changes. We walked around the circuit at least one full turn to see action at each stretch of the road. It's really fun to see the speed of the backside straightaway. Watching the south end double corner was something else. And the overall death defying tightness of the pack. I can imagine myself doing lots of things in the name of fun, but hats off to these guys.

Admittedly, I missed out on the all Belgian Beer Festival aspect of it. We had the wee tots with us and I had to keep my wits about me. Then again, after a few juice boxes in them, I'm not sure a beer or two wouldn't have helped me a bit.

Never a dull moment (ok the introductions aren't whiz bang). All in all, great fun. Big crowds. A must see.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Product Review: Eurostyle Chamois Butt'r

Last week I stopped in the LBS looking for chamois cream. The salesman pointed me to the Eurostyle Chamois Butt'r.

Sunday I broke the cardinal rule of racing. "Never try anything for the first time while racing." I broke this rule at the Spirit of Racine 1/2 Iron distance triathlon. The night before my race, I lathered up the chamois with a fair bit of this Euro butt'r to let it soak in. The morning of the race, upon final suit up, I followed the direction and applied it liberally to the shorts and to me.

After a mile or so in the lake, I hopped on my bike. Right away I could tell the difference. I've done this race six years in a row. This was the first time I didn't feel the much less comfortable on the bike. If you don't swim first, it's not as bad. But as soon as you apply water to your bike shorts, the difference is significant. After one use, I'm sold.

This product may be the secret that everyone knows about. If you didn't already know, consider this your notice.

** review disclaimer - I purchased this product on my own will, with money out of my own pocket. I think what I think and wasn't influenced by the company that produces and sells the product.

SoRT 2008 Race Report

Gearing up for this race I was relaxed, but I didn't hold much hope in the PR I claimed to want back in January. My "on" weeks have been good. My "off" weeks have been plenty. And the two weeks prior to the race, I was choosing mostly sleep over workouts. This left a big gap after two good, hard weeks.

Having not done much in two weeks, I relied on the fact that I have done this race every year and just know it. I saw zero evidence of any speed in the workouts I had done. I was concerned about a bust year. As a result, the end goal was "to just have fun".

On the good side, I think I know what I'm doing in transition now. I'm completely relaxed and handle setup from a semi minimalist perspective. I had bags in case it rained, but got rid of them last minute as it appeared to be clearing up. I was calm entirely up to the gun.

During setup everyone was talking about the water temperature. It was reported at 55F (official USAT reading in three spots). That's "numb your feet" cold, folks. Looking out at the lake, I wondered "am I the only one who sees the fog and not the lake?" Shortly after, they announced a rolling delay in the race. Long story short, it was pushed from 7am to 8am to wait for the fog to clear.

About 7:00, I headed down the beach to the start. I got in the water to get acclimated a few times. Yep, it was cold. Though, I discussed with another entrant, "It's going to be a good day."

At 8:15 the horn for my wave goes off. I hit my watch. We were out of there.

It was cold getting in. It was cold on the hands and face. I'm not sure it was worth all the whining I heard. But it's fun to be miserable about something. I'm not small. If I was smaller, maybe it would have felt a lot colder.

I lost count of buoys and wasn't sure how many there were in the first place. The next thing I knew I was going for that final yellow buoy. Whoops, there is another yellow one to go way around out in the lake. I wasn't too far in before I noticed this. A few minutes later I was walking the sandbar and pulling off my stuff. Getting out of the water I glanced at my watch. I see "about 40 minutes" and smile, then I realize the swim was probably short.

Nothing eventful in transition. I'll have to wait for official results. I'll guess "about 2-3 minutes". Maybe 7.

Out on the bike, I took it stupid slow for a while. In the past, I have done this with some success. I break the bike into thirds and follow a slow, medium, harder strategy. And it's much nicer to be passing folks at the end of the bike. I didn't really follow a rigid eating strategy on the bike, and this may have contributed to my pace on the run.

I kept an eye on my likelihood to break three hours. My bladder and my "PR" were fighting each other. Finally at mile 45, I figured it would be a shame to lose on both accounts. I stopped at the aid station. Some guy went by me on the right, just before I went to turn in. He apologized and I was happy to narrowly miss a crash. Right after that I pulled up to the port-o-let and promptly set my foot down on what must have been ice. Next thing I knew I was picking me and my bike up. No big deal, but I don't want to be "one of those guys". Too late. I have a small knee road rash to prove it.

The last miles of the bike are nice and smooth, mostly downhill, and one of the more fun parts of the race. I cruised in somewhere around 3:05 - 3:10.

T2 was also uneventful. Grabbed my shoes, shirt, race number and took off. Hopefully I PR'd that one.

The run. Who turned up the temperature. I think it was warm, but I was overheating. The first loop I broke it down and it didn't even seem that long. That second loop I was falling apart. I was really over heating. My knee started complaining about mile 8-9. In lieu of tweaking it further I opted for more walking than I want to admit. I never completely gave up on running, but my run/walk ratio went way down.

The whole family was waiting down by the lake to see me run in. They are real troopers.

After I finished, I hobbled back to them to tell them I was going to eat. I was very hungry.

I grabbed a few sandwiches, some fruit, beans (the beans guy loaded me up like he was afraid he was going to have leftovers), and a soda pop. Sitting down to eat, I ended up chatting with Ron Ottaway, the reigning world champion at Ironman Hawaii in the 70-74 division. It sounded like he put down a 5:3x at Racine. Wow.

All in all a great day.

Post-OP. I am more sore than I thought I would be.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Last Minute Prep (aka First tri since September)

I figured out sleeveless was the way to go last year at IronMan. Sunday's water is going to be somewhat chillier (last hear 56F). So where exactly did I put my full sleeved wetsuit?

Otherwise I'm pretty much set for Sunday morning. Goals you say? My current favorite goal is to nail the transition time. I would have a sub-3 bike goal, but I'm really not feeling it. As always, my goal is to put my toes in the sand, wait for the gun to go off, and have fun.

Who knows, if I start to dig on mountain biking this could be my last tri for a while. I commit to nothing on this though.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spirit of Racine - T minus 1 Week

Who's in?

It's been windy, bring your full aero gear!

See you out there!


In other news, my taper today consisted of the following. 17.5 miles of SS mountain bike riding on my own. Then strap a kid on a trail-a-bike with a kite and we headed down to the lake for some kite flying. Whee! If you haven't done that it a while, I highly recommend it. Then back home. Tack on a few extra miles logged there and call it a day.

Cheers. Next week we start trail riding, no?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Dazed

Ten hours 2 weeks ago.

Twelve hours last week.

Work has been hectic. Workouts are going well. I'm behind for the season, but it's all fine.

Swim this AM. Run this PM.

Mid-run. I wasn't feeling it. Shins were tight. Pace was slow. I was breathing too hard. The sky was looming. I had a dog walk to put in yet. I cashed it. It's no time to play hero and wear myself out.

Got the dog walked in lightning and rain. T-storms are a comin'.

I call myself lucky to call a two mile run and a dog walk a bad evening.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Better Late...

Not sure why I waited so long this year. But, I'm heading out to commute by bicycle.

More later, maybe. Don't run me over, please.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Great Week Part II

Well, I put on another 10 miles of run. I'm not sure it's good to double your weekly run milage in one day. I went slow and my knee felt fine. I'm a bit late to be where I am in the season, but I'm very happy to be here none the less.

Thanks to the latest Podrunner podcast "Run in the Sun" for helping out.

Week's totals review: 1.5 miles or so, 90 miles or so, 20 miles or so.. 10 hours or so.

Now, where's my mountain bike?

Two-a-Day Workouts

I thought one 3 hour ride was good yesterday. Yet, it seemed like the day was missing something after Tee ball.

So, we headed over to Ben's on 10th. To pick up trail-a-bikes at a great price. I felt like we were getting the "twin discount" we used to get at all the car seat, baby stroller stores. OK we had to endure some screaming and carrying on whilst the kids revolted. (I tell ya kids these days don't know what's good for 'em.)

Once home, the instructions were simple from the store "just install the pedals". Well sure, and seat, handle bars, zip ties and protective cardboard... luckily in addition to a pedal wrench, I already owned Allen wrenches. I had to decide if I should leave the cardboard advertisement in the wheel for aerodynamic effect or not. (I took it out). Attaching to bikes went pretty smoothly... This was all done pretty speedily, due to the help of my 5 year old boy handing me tools.

Cutting to the real story. One was scared. One was excited. Once we got rollin' they were all similes. We rode down to the lake and out to a point where we could see back at the city. It was fun, fun, fun all the way. "Are you both glad we went to the bike store now?" "YAAAA!!!"

Opening up new roads is great.

A side note, I was recently listening to the latest Zentri podcast about "The Art of Letting Go". I find there is plenty I can and need to let go of. Yet at the same time, choosing the right new item wisely can open up a wonderful new experience. (Yes it was hard to go to Ben's and not ask about Rita)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What a Great Week

Taking right off from the momentum of the WORS race at Suamico, I had a great week. Man, I really felt good after Suamico. I put in some good miles and good hours this week. I think I even managed a perfect LSD bike today, though only 2:40 in duration. I got home hit the rainbox. Then we were all off to the boy's tee ball game.

If everyone is good maybe we will see Wall-E later.

Numbers: ~8 hours, 2500 yards, 81 miles, 10 miles. Unless I squeeze in a long slow run in the morning.

See you out there.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Looking Back: Trek100 Ride Report '08 Version

The Setup

Last minute I signed up, avoided missing my daughter's first ballet recital, got some great donations, and decent ride weather.

Who?

I rode with a couple pals. We all kept an eye on each other. We hadn't bike together much (once), but we mustered through it.

Why?

To raise cash to fight childhood cancer.

What?

100km (63 miles for the metric challenged) bicycle ride on the road.

The Good

Aside from the obvious fund raising/helping aspect, it was a beautiful if not slightly hot day. I got to hang with some peeps and say "Hey!" to some other peeps. Win/win. Automobile traffic was 99 to 1 wonderful. Thanks. That one guy, we'll give him a pass and just hope he thought better of it once he got home.

The Bad

This wasn't really my year for traffic (bicycle) negotiation. I'd heard plenty of "oh be safe around those 'century riders'" and such. Whilst I think, "hey, I'm one of them you're giving the business". Yet, I was in the wrong place and time for much of the ride this year. Riders blowing by unmanned stop signs were the norm from were I sat. Even some weirdness at the end where 3-4 riders would fly past us then all but stop in front of us.. Just plain silliness. I hope in future years I don't run into these folks, as normally I'm not around them. I just got my share this year. I trust the folks reading this are not the ones that need to be told. But, please don't act like "I'm out here for a sponsored event, so I can do what I want". It's going to ruin someone's Christmas one day. Enough of my rant pedestal.

The Ugly

Some time after my ride, after all the free ice cream, mocha's, food, massages and such. The storm of the decade rolled in. You've seen the "Midwest Floods" headlines. I hope no one got stuck out there at mile 75 of the 100. It was nasty. By this time, I was at home watching the end of my road go under 4 feet of water.

What I Can't Say Enough

It's easy for me to ride, thanks for donating.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Race Report: WORS The Reforestation Ramble

At the last minute urging from a few more or less local, would be troublemakers gone mountain bikers. I showed up to WORS numero 5 Suamico Reforestation Ramble. "It's a good pre-Chequamegon ride", they said.

So, I threw the results of my daughter's pre-op tests to get her out of surgery at the last minute on Friday (read "threw" as "answered truthfully"). We had to wait out the effects of the pre-op "I care about nothing" juice. Awful fun to watch on a 5 year old. Once we got out of there, I was cleared for Sunday racin'.

I watched the weather all day Saturday with a nervous eye. I had a hunch I was going to get to drive up north just to get to watch a thunderstorm. As fate would have it, I wasn't going to get off so easy.

It was odd shoving off at 8am for a race 2 hours away. I felt like I slept in. An odd feeling for race days. To boot, I had yet to sign up. I didn't spend a week prepping for it. I didn't even spend a week knowing about it. I love that about WORS races.

I arrived a short bit after 10:00 AM and headed for registration. I got the gory details out of the way quick. Before I knew it, I was all stamped and ready for my first Sport SS race.

For the technical details on my bike. I used 2x1 gear ratio and some continental 1.95 width tires. I've got a Surley singulator on a spacer style converted Giant ATX 780 from 10+ years ago with a mag21 on the front. A.K.A. "what I own".

On to the race. I lined up about where I thought I should (read "at the back of sport men"). Early on I passed a few riders at the back. Then we headed into the singletrack section. This is where my experience (one trail ride this year) started to show. I had a blast and just tried to relax and flow with it, but I need more practice. At some point fairly early on, an invisible tree stump grabbed my right pedal and sent me down. My front broke loose at the headset a bit. I tightened it up and carried on. Unfortunately, I didn't get quite as battle scar muddy as I had hoped. Better luck next time.

I hit a few dark spots in the middle. "Why am I here?" But I was listening to the Conrad Stolz interview from SimplyStu on my way up. He talked about keeping your mental picture good and just enough rubbed off. I got in a slow groove and my spirits rose shortly.

On the second lap the elite and comp folks started coming by. Man, they are beyond fast. All were incredibly courteous. I was admittedly a bit nervous about being in they way. In short order, I was pretty good at getting out of the way and getting back going.

Well, long story short, I made it around twice. Nothing speedy, but I got to the line. I had fun and didn't break anything important. I'm slightly more confident that after the RickW prescribed North Ave. hills "until you cramp, then 4 more repeats" I should be ready for this Fat tire 40 thing.

Recovery was good. I felt great the rest of the day and today too. I had a good swim this morning, and a much better run tonight. My knee has stopped bugging me. WORS must be just what I needed! Magic elixir!

Speaking of magic elixir, I hit up the mobile Muddy Cup Cafe post race for some coffee.. After yukking it up with the regulars, the caffeine got me home.

Thanks to TmonT and crew, RickW, Liz, R. Tool man, Bubba, Coop, and those others that were all cool to me but I didn't list here. Special thanks to Gretchen for not running over me when I crashed.

See you out there.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Praying for No Rain

Yep, I'm way behind on my blogging. More on that later.

I've got as much of a green light as a guy is going to get. Please no rain. See you at Suamico! Don't forget the new start times.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Me-Me-Me Meme?

I got tagged.

Rules:

See bottom of post.

If you’re tagged, you will find your name at the end of this post. You should then copy the rules (or your version of them), and the set of questions onto your blog post, provide your own answers, and then tag 5 new people.

Just to be sure that everyone tagged knows they have been invited to play, go to their blogs and leave them a special comment letting them know, and refer them to your blog for details.

Once the chosen have answered the questions on their own blog, they should come back to yours to tell you.


1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?

Following my wife around on 40 minutes runs to and from the lake. Interspersed with in-line skating, bicycling, and just plain whatever. Those were the days. Get up in the morning. How about a 5 mile skate around the lake. Let's eat. How about a run? Want to walk downtown to a nice restaurant? It was like Ironman dating.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?

Worst : A bad day of racing, it's still better than.... Racine 1/2 in 2005. It was the first hot day of the year. I was used to training in 60's/70's with shorts and not to much heat. By the end of race day, we were looking at 99-102 depending on the thermometer you were looking at. When my wife and kids were heading toward the lake and I was in T2, it was a close one. But I carried on to the run. If it hadn't been for a many residents with hoses, I'm not sure I would have made it.

Best : Hard to pick just one. But my run at devil's lake sprint tri. I squeaked under 9's/mile and finished with nothing left. Quite memorable.

3. Why do you run?


What day is it? To offset Kopps intake. To free myself. For meditation. To de-stress. And any other myriad of reasons.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?

Best
: Run frequently.

Worst: Something about Guatemalan Insanity Peppers, I can't remember.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.

My brother and I set off a pink smoke bomb in my Mom's yellow Le Car when we were kids. Driving home there was still pink smoke coming out from under the front hood. We were safety minded kids that thought the ashtray was a good place for fire. Pink smoke billowing out of a parked car on hwy 20 isn't something one soon forgets.


Tagging

I'm not a big tagger type. If you want to be tagged, you are tagged. Comment here and let me know. If you don't want to be tagged, then I ended the great pyramid scheme meme right here. Up to you.

Happy Father's Day


Way behind on the blogging. I thought I'd better start with this one.

Happy Father's Day. Pass it up.
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Thursday, June 05, 2008

PSA: Kettle South

A not so close look at this trail map makes me think it won't bug any of you kettle riders. But if you're heading to Muir this weekend or kettle south in general, please take a look at the 100 mile endurance run map.

Carry on.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Saturday, I Ride

I have been riding the Trek 100 for the last several years, I am riding again this year. Admittedly, this year was put together very last minute. There was the promise of my daughter's first ballet recital scheduling conflict (which was resolved). There were work commitments creeping in. Though it seems I may be squeezing it in as the years come around. I'm happy to announce I'm riding in the Trek 100 this year to raise money for MACC fund.

In interest of full disclosure. I love to ride. This is not a chore to be frank. I do find myself surprised each year by how much perspective the ride provides me. It's not my everyday Saturday ride.

While I love to ride, on Saturday I ride for:

  • The names I know.
  • The morning of the ride, I will hear stories of the many children who have battled cancer. I ride for them.
  • I ride with the memory of Dad.
  • I ride for my (former) babysitter.
  • I ride for coworker's friend.
  • I ride for another coworker's band mate.
  • I ride for my neighbors.
  • I ride for those I meet at many a turn who've been brave in the face of cancer.
I'm not a high pressure fund raiser kind of guy. If you read this and feel moved to donate. Or just if you enjoy my blog. If there is someone you'd like to ride for but can't get out there to do it. Please donate here.

Thank you from those I ride for. Of course, thank you from me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ouch!

I thought I really needed that run. (I did)
I didn't need it in the sense of making numbers.
I didn't have to go 8 miles.
I didn't have to push the pace.
I didn't have to really do anything but run.

When it all started, I figured I'd run 4-10 miles.
I thought maybe 10 if I just felt it.
I thought maybe 4 if I didn't.
Once I started, I paced myself as if I was betting on less than 6. Maybe much less.

Things got tight. Nothing was too out of hand.
I just kept doing little extra loops, avoiding going home.
I just kept adding on, before taking that final direct route home.
I wasn't avoiding home, I just felt the run.

It's probably harder or longer than I should have run, but not both.

Everything was cool. Until I walked. Ouch. My knee has a new pain.

Maybe it's as simple as reading too many fast Madison race reports. I hope I'm not that vain. But certainly the Garmin does not lie.

My run, I'll take it. See you out there.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brrrr-ick

I got in a short windy bike followed by a 4 mile run yesterday. All before the temps dropped to "cold". It was quite windy, and toasty out there. It was my first brick(bike-run workout) in some time.

I'm happy to report, I still think I run better off the bike. Unfortunately, I still think 75 degrees is HOT for running.

See you all out there.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Running Scared

Might be a slight exaggeration, but this is what happens when I have an on-call week.

It's a beautiful day out. I wanted to get a quick run in. My job needs me close by "just in case".

I decided to do two or three fast loops of the neighborhood. If I got buzzed, I'd be able to "fly" home.

The week's stress had me at a "blowing off steam" pace. I was probably going too fast for not having run in nearly a week, but it was worth it.

I'm along way off from that marathon, but it's time I start putting it on the radar.

See you out there.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another Episode of Bike Lust

I mere hour spent on the local trails,
I find myself thinking of sales.
What penance could I perform,
to put me on the path of reform.

Oh, I made it through kettles.
I mustered up an over moraines.
All the while, grinning.
All the while, suffering.

My fork was not to keen,
Anytime I went to lean.
Every rock I hit, I heard a creak or a chime.
I worried it was past it's prime.

After days of all this bike lust,
I decided to blow off the dust.
Hours of surgery on my mag twenty-one.
All clean, now I'm done.

Was the penance right?
I cleaned with all my might.
I don't know if it can be saved.
For one more day, I can ride trails unpaved.

Oh Rita, you put your wiles on display
At a price I might hastily pay.
I can't say what will arise.
I'm relieved I took measures to compromise.


(Apologies if you made it this far. I can't go on.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weekend Recap..

Le Patron (the work not the home one) got on my case for working too hard.. So, I took Friday off and did a few things around the house.. I hit up a 9 mile run (long / slow emphasized here). Later we took the kids out to Kopps for dinner.

Saturday, I went out to help a friend out and do some rides pre-Trek100. We managed 20 miles or so on mucho hills and in some pretty stiff breezes. It was good for me. Then we headed for the flatland.. Shortly thereafter I pop'd a spoke. I'm pretty near sure that's a first for me (minus the north ave hill story - ask me some time).. Anyway, I walked it back while helpful locals tried to coax me into their vehicles.

Being Saturday's ride was shortened up significantly, I needed to get out on Sunday.. but I'm getting ahead of myself..

Grandma agreed it'd be fun to have the kids stop over for the night.. So the missus and I hit up a movie (Ironman, of course) and dinner at the local pasta joint. We won't mention the numerous calls from work I got which kept me from relishing a perfect slumber (can't complain having been off Friday).. Anywho, the dog let us sleep in much longer than I expected.. So a nice dog walk, and I says, "Hon, how about we hit the trails on bikes before we head to pick up the kids".. A positive response later and were off to John Muir trails..

I was a bit nervous being that it was my first time on real trails with only one gear.. but I more or less kept up with a reasonably fit woman that never bikes, but digs trail riding. I few more jaunts out there and I might almost be comfortable.. I won't say I didn't noodle some of the easy technical parts, but I also sucked it up on some inclines I might not have thought I could do.. Win a few, lose a few.. All in all, I'm feeling much better about riding that bike with only one gear on it.. (I know Muir isn't the toughest of trails by any stretch).

Well, we did get the kids back.. and it's time to crash.. Fun is over, oncall starts tomorrow. See you out there!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ooooops

Fifty one miles on a sore throat might not have been the best plan.. Afterward, I went to bed at 9:00 only cause I couldn't go to bed at 8:00..

Woke up at midnight to do a few (30) minutes of scheduled work. After that I noted some not insignificant inflammation style pain in the ol' right knee. I'm not one of those ibupro-candy people, but I had to make an exception here.

Back up at 6:00 am to check the work and let the dog out..

Oncall starts in another week. By then I'll need one of them recovery weeks.

In a few hours when the rest wake up, it will be Mom's day.. So if you are reading this and happen to be a Mom.. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Morning

I'm up.. No one else is.. So, I'm procrastinating banging the dishes around by watching some cartoons in the form of Strongbad Emails.

Then, a round or two of Pop-Tire with a 238 high score (it was a fluke).

Better do some dishes and brew up some espresso. Bean of the day.

Bike day. We won't talk about the raging flames in my throat. Seems what I haven't tried is ignoring them to see if they go away on their own.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Ride

Going out for a ride normally means a set minimum distance.. Last year that was at least 14-15 miles to me.

This year, via no willful action on my part, my new "ride" is 18-20 now. I'd like to say it's 20. I need an easy .75 to tack on the end for posterity. For now, I'll take "almost 19" as a ride.

See you out there.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Run I Needed

After a few weeks of tough runs and "just getting through it" at 10-12 minute mile paces, I really needed to push a bit.. Here's how it turned out.

4.26 miles

1. warm up 10:38.. Yeah, I was hit with the tired all day HR spike in spite of low output.
2. Two more slow minutes until getting past the light. Tie my shoe, then head up faster/harder then ease down into "easy but form/fast" 9:54
3. easier RPE / form 9:58.. gear up for faster mile.
4. faster, form, cadence, hard for longer than mile 2 then hang on the rest of the mile clinging to form.. 8:41
5. cool down (.26 miles at11:45 pace).. 3:04

total 42:16 / 4.26 miles / 9:55 avg pace / 7:06 max pace (probably some Garmin waggle in that max)

I needed that. There's still a long way to go before marathon day.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Fun With Cameras on Bikes

These are 2 clips from the Saturday ride.. Don't blink or you'll miss the rain.

Clip 1:



Clip 2:



I did these with the time lapse feature on my camera. I have to re-work the mount as it goes sideways quite alot.. Most of those indicate bumpy roads. One image is a corner.

Off to the pool.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Quick Weekend Recap

New longest ride for the year, the 41 miler on Saturday in a pretty good rain. (I know 41 miles isn't terribly far for a new longest ride, in May).

New longest run for the year, 7.5 miles on Sunday. I wore my arm warmers and gloves in spite of the temperate weather.. Once it's 85 out I want to be ready for the heat.

On top of that I worked, Sat 9-11pm, Sun 12:15 - 5:30am, 8:00-8:30 am and 11:12-11:13am. See if you can figure out my sleep pattern there.

Mad props to all those who hammered out at Iola!

I'm not gonna lie. This morning's ride was a bit tight and in the wind. I might need a nap.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Momentum Part II

Same thing today.. I was a bit shy about running. I'm really digging the bike as of late. But I figured the fix would be quicker if I ran. And I do have to get that mileage up there somehow.

Nothing to write home about, but I got 10km plus a bit more done and in the books. It was a slow, solid 10km. There is a long way to go, but I'm counting this week as a good and reasonable start. In the battle toward consistency, I'm 14-2 in the last 16 days.

Week in review:

2 short swims, totaling 1350 yards. Hardly notable, except I got in the pool
3 bike rides, about 100km for the week.
3 runs, 13 + miles.. again, I just want to get out there.. we can ramp the miles up as I go.

I was hoping to mountain bike today, but it doesn't appear in the cards. Hopefully we can revisit this next week.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Momentum

With a workout marked down the last 12 of 14 days, I had to get out.. The winds had me second guessing. Once I was out there it was a great day. My momentum is coming around.

Reminding myself, "consistence is key". And the key to consistency is doing repeatable, recoverable workouts. I'll leave the earth shattering workouts for June through September (hopefully).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Can't Stop Looking at This BIke


So, I decided to put it on my blog. Photo credits go to TmonT. I wish MK the best on it this season. That is one sweet looking ride. (Do the kids talk like that these days? Likely not.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wow! What a Weekend!

I got out for my first single speed mountain bike ride yesterday.. Wow, did we cheat the weatherman in my zip code? Yes!

As for the details on single speed. I have 2x1 gear ratio on the thing. It's easy on pavement. It's quite manageable on flat dirt and/or gravel. Once I try to do anything remotely uphill or technical.. Let's just say that needs tons of work. To be fair, my trail riding skills need mucho work. I'm anxious to do that this year!

Saturday was a two hour road ride. I was convinced I was going to get drenched. Alas, no! Beautiful, if not on the slightly cool side, weather.

I managed to get the kids squeaky clean. I may yet toss in a short run tonight.. Then the neighborhood folks are road riding at o'dark 500. At that rate, I could be back in time for a swim before work! It's either a great week, or I'm going a bit crazy... Could be both.

See you out there.

Update: went with the neighborhood guys for a good 20 miles or so.. 1 hr. Woo, better clean up for the pool. Beautiful morning.

PSA: Patch Your Computer

This is your friendly neighborhood reminder to patch your PC regularly. Unless you're really picky about what goes on your PC, you should probably just have auto update on. If you don't think this to be true, check out some recent thoughts at SANS.org.

Long story short, when a patch comes out, it takes the bad guys less time to reverse engineer it to make a hack than it does for you to fix your PC (or it's at least close).

While your at it, when is the last time you backed it all up?

Good luck, it's a tough world out there.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring Cleaning


Ah, the laundry is piling up with sweaty workout clothes. There are water bottles everywhere. The winds are out there kicking up. And the swing of things is soon to be back. I had a nice 25-30 mile ride today. It's time to shower up and think about putting the finishing touches on my mountain bike (like an intact front tire tube). Spring is in the air.

Anyone ride Hoyt or Harley between 6-8 AM on weekdays? I need a good (easy) before work trail to ride.
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where did they go?

I'm sure I was running well back in January/early February.. Where did those good runs go?

I will remain steadfast. I know if I keep at it. If I remain slow and steady, they will come back. Patience is easy in January. It's not so easy when the weather turns nice. Once the temps go upwards of 50's. Once the shorts go on.

It's nice to be back out there.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Check. Check. 1... 2... 3... Check

Just testing.. Is this thing on? Anyone want to run up and down the lake front today? (real slow)

Please bare with me while I flip switches in the blog template over the next few [insert time unit here]s.

Upper 30's, windy and high chance of precipitation.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Getting Back at It

Yesterday, I got out with bro-in-law for his first road ride. We did an easy 25 miles in say 1:45. It was my first ride back since pulling some unknown muscle. So far so good.

Today, I decided to chance it and run. Near six miles, I dragged bro-in-law past the beach to see if we could find him a girl. No such luck. But I got my run in.

As if this wasn't enough of a test "getting back at it", when bro-in-law took off the family and I walked the dogs another good 4.5 miles. Great test of the ol' pulled muscles..

See you all at the pool bright and early.

Learning Curve: Fun with Espresso



Left to my own devices, I had a little fun with my espresso tasting this morning. The past couple weeks I've been beside myself as to how to review some coffee. Daily practice with the new espresso maker has left me with the assurance any review would be about my coffee related skills, and not the coffee it's self.

In the spirit of this blog. I know what I like. And I like the new 53x11 coffee. The chain breaker has been heavily tested in my kitchen. I have been doing my best to compare it to my local favorite coffee. I've got some work to get the whole grind fine tuning and such down.. But it's been fun.