Friday, May 30, 2008
I'm now resigned to my fate at the Vikingman. It's time to focus on the positive. The positive is that the day after the Vikingman I'll be touching down to Honolulu. There are several things I'm looking forward to that are definitely positive. These include: The ocean. You can't keep me out of it when it's in sight. Not even the frigid temperatures of the Pacific in Oregon can dissuade me. I'm looking forward to the smell of it. Swimming in it. Just bobbing in it a few hundred yards off shore. Seafood. Big Eye Tuna - sashimi style, poke, seared. Hamachi - sashimi style. Garlic truck shrimp. Grilled Mahi. More poke. Fresh fruit. Pineapples. Mangos. Apple bananas. Strawberry guava. Papaya. Whatever else local, fresh, and tasty that I can get my hands on. Plate lunch. I love the local dives. Katsu, lau lau, poi, more poke, more garlic shrimp, teri chicken, Kalbi short ribs, Rice, mac salad. Pearl Harbor. I'm a huge WWII history buff. My grandpa was working at the harbor when it was bombed. I'm also a big baby at places like that. I hope I can keep it together. The PCC. I can't wait to see my kids react to the whole experience. Visiting my Dad's old stomping grounds with my Dad. This is kind of the point of this trip. His original home. The house now. Grandparents' graves. Meeting an uncle I've never met. Getting it all on tape. Hanging with Racer. It's always fun to hang with Racer when the stress of running the shop is off. Just be sure he has a map as soon as he lands, and it'll be okay. This trip has really snuck up on me. And as you can tell, there are a lot of things about the trip that are exciting to me.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Stu was fond of saying, "Don't sweat the small [stuff]. And then you'll realize it's all just small [stuff]" But I can't help myself. Unfortunately, I've seen small details derail someone's race.
I know I'm not fast, so winning isn't really the point. I just want to keep Devin within a reasonable amount of time. More than anything, I want to keep my suffering limited to the type of suffering that always comes with endurance events. So I'm sweating the details of how to avoid the other types of suffering.
First and foremost is the dreaded bonk. I've never trained with the stuff they have on course, so I'm trying something new for me: I'm bringing my own. The plan is Carbo Rocket concentrate in a bottle on the frame. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I bought what has to be the single geekest piece of equipment available:
Man, that thing is ugly. What's worse, I actually put that thing on my bike.
Next, my aerobar setup has got me in a lather. I can't seem to get them to stick and they always twist. They did this to me in Hawaii and I ended up torquing one of them so tightly it collapsed. So, I've got a new pair of extensions coming as well as a torque wrench and some assembly compound. Here's to hoping.
Sunscreen. Last year in Hawaii I sweated off my sunscreen and got a sunchar so bad that the marks are still on my arms. The problem with sunscreen is that once I sweat it off, it's next to impossible to get it back into my skin. I'm hoping a quick towel off after the bike and spray sunscreen will keep the blisters away this year.
The rest of the stuff doesn't have me as worried, which means it's inevitably going to be one of those things that goes wrong. Hey, I can't just admit that I'm fat and slow, now can I? It's got to be something else that made me have a crappy day, right?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I've always been a magpie. I love shiny new part and spend a lot of time, effort, and money accumulating them. That's not what I'm referring to as quirky. I'm talking about how I tend to go most of the way and then fall short on the final details. For example, I just put a shiny new SRAM rear derailleur on my TT bike, then balked at putting a high end SRAM chain on the bike, opting instead for a 105 chain. I've got carbon aerobar extensions, but have been too cheap to buy a good torque wrench. I've had no problem buying Zipp wheels, but then quibble over $20-30 difference in tubular tires. I'm working on it, but I don't see progress coming any time soon. Last Saturday I put in 62, leaving me with 858 to go.
Friday, May 23, 2008
I'll switch between drama/action and comedy as my media of choice from time to time. Right now I'm more into the funny stuff. Off the top of my head, these are the five or so I've found the funniest: 1. The Office, "Goodbye, Toby." Memorable lines, as best I can remember: "Of all the idiots, in all the idiot villages, in all the idiot worlds, you stand alone my friend." "You have 75 cents, so you can have anything on the top row." "Suck on this." 2. Ze Frank, May 19, 2006. Memorable lines: "I love your wife's cooking. Would you mind sending over the recipe? I'd like to do the same thing only with bigger portions and more cheese." "Mom . . . Dad . . . I'm dating me a monkey." 3. The Chappelle's Show: True Hollywood Stories featuring Rick James. Memorable line: "Come on have some sense. I didn't just do things to do them. Yeah, I remember stomping my boots on Eddy's couch." 4. The Big Lebowski. It's a love it or hate it kind of a film. I happen to love it. I love the scene where The Dude tries to flick his joint out of the window to have it bounce back in and the final scene where The Dude is covered with ashes. Brilliant. 5. Dug's Blog. No disrespect is intended to my other friends' blogs. Each is special to me in their own way. But Dug's posts on driving and bathroom etiquette strike a chord with me and my commuting/office bound existence. Thanks, Dug.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I'm going to take up this challenge with Brent and append the mileages (if I remember) at the end of my posts. Brent started on May 14th and so will I. I spend a lot of time on the trainer, but those don't count. These are actual wheel-to-ground relative miles. On Thursday, I logged 21 miles and on Saturday I put in another 59 for a nice round 80 miles. 920 left to go.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
My little girls, like most little girls, love Mary Poppins. As a result, I've seen (or at least heard) that movie more times than I can count. As Mary is found of pointing out, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down in a most delightful way. I'm going to be taking my medicine in a couple of weeks, so I'd better start getting my sugar ready. Last week's training made clear that I'm slow. It's also made me think about what I've bought myself with all the LSD (long, slow distance). Every one is pretty sure than can go easy for several hours. Jared's little brother Butch's display on Saturday showed me that most people can go easy for several hours, they're just going to suffer while they do it. I have been going easy for several hours each weekend, which I'd hoped would help me at the Vikingman. I realized today that all that this LSD has earned me is the ability to go slow for a long time without suffering or to go slow for a really long time while suffering. Notice how none of that included going fast for any amount of time. So, I'm pretty sure Devin is going to hammer me at the Vikingman. So here's how I'm getting myself ready to take my medicine. I'm going to guess at my Vikingman times, omitting transition times since I have no idea how it's set up. The bad news is that these are my optimistic predictions. Swim - 0:40-0:45. This is a down river swim, with middle of the pack folk swimming in the low to mid thirties. It'll be faster than other swims, but not that much faster. Bike - 3:00-3:15. I'm guessing I'll do just slower than 18 m.p.h with all the corners and the setup of the course. It's flat, but that hasn't seemed to matter on my training rides. Run - 2:30-2:40. 11 min/mile average would put me at 2:23. I've been doing a 10:1 Jeff Galloway protocol and it puts me at about that 11 min pace. Heat and exhaustion will inevitably slow me down. That puts me at between 6:10 and 6:40 before transitions. The 6:10 is a pipe dream. The 6:40 is more realistic. I'd really, really love to be wrong about this, but so far my training hasn't born it out. I once read somewhere that your training pace is a good indication of your race pace, and I've been training at these paces. My only hope is that somehow my aero package gets me 3-4 m.p.h., but I'm not enough of a tri-geek to actually believe that the gear makes me any faster. I just buy it because it looks cool. So where's the medicine? Devin's self proclaimed love of the 'heat check' is going to have him going full-bore to beat me down. He won't be able to hide his glee in doing so, either. That beat down is the medicine. I just hope I can take my medicine like a man.
I've always had a close attachment to my Serotta mountain bike, Bessy. She made the transition to single speed a few years ago, but my fitness didn't have me wanting to ride her much in that condition. So she hung as a frame after I pilfered the rear SS hub for use on the Rig. Then, Zeus brought out his dork bike and Ben switched his IF to a 69er. Interesting enough, but that didn't get me that excited - Maggy has been the primary MTB, and we've got a good thing going. Then, I decided to send Maggy down to visit Jon for the summer. The plan has been, and still is, to ride Keono as a primary mountain bike. I reckon that'll work for rides under 2 hours or so. Well, with Jared back in town and Danilo expressing his interest in long ATB rides, I've got to have something geared. I'd also like Cindy to be able to ride with a geary bike as well, so I'll need two. I've got one in Hillary, who's now doing MTB duty, but I still need another. Enter Bessy. I've picked up parts here and there to put her back together as a 26er, and then it occurred to me: I could keep Bessy's angles as intended AND run her as a 29er if I ran her with a rigid 26er suspension corrected fork, disc brakes, and a 29er front. And so that's the plan for her. I'm actually pretty excited about trying it. I'm also excited about bringing Bessy back into the game.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I saw a bumper sticker this morning that made me shake my head in disbelief. I'm not very handy with pagemaking, so it's down at the bottom. See it? Okay. It was the sentiment or the point. It's the car it was on and what it was doing. A single passenger automobile, driving into work in down town SLC. That it's on a single-passenger commuter would be enough. But it was on a massive SUV. Either that lady was some kind of comic, or she's clueless about what her bumper sticker actually means.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The Provo River Trail is a favorite of many different groups, including runners and cyclists. With that many groups doing vastly different things, user conflicts are bound to emerge. The City of Provo in its wisdom has divided the trail into three lanes - one for runners, one for faster people going up (like cyclists) and one for faster people going down. They even have easy to understand signs for those challenged with illiteracy or inattentiveness. Apparently, a significant number of long boarders are completely devoid of the basic skills needed to understand the signs. Either that or they just suck. Before I completely let loose on this rant, you should know that I do know that there are responsible long boarders and that the statements I make below are gross over generalizations. Brent and his crew are fine. So, BH, don't be too offended by what's about to follow. So, with that out of the way, last weekend cemented my hatred for the Slacker Long Boarder. The slacker long boarder (SLB) spends most of his time in a marijuana and/or alcohol induced haze that seems to prevent him from finding pants that fit. His pants are either too skinny to fit over his butt or else too baggy to stay over his butt. That same haze makes it hard for him to attend to personal hygiene. As a result, he looks like he's in stage 1 of a homeless lifestyle, which is the stage where they start to look dirty. Just so you know, stage 2 begins with a powerful odor and stage 3 begins when the homeless person is carrying more than 10 plastic grocery bags, which act as a sort of portable chest of drawers. There are five basic types of SLBs. These include the solo upright hammer, the dream weaver, the sheep, the luger, and the skeleton. In addition to poorly fitting pants, each of these types share an utter disregard for any type of signage. And for basic decency. And for common sense. Maybe they share the feeling that they own the entire trail. Or maybe it's some combination of these. I just don't understand those people, but I can describe them. The solo upright hammer hasn't figured out how to turn very well, so he just points the board down hill and hopes the board around corners. He aims for the dead center of the trail and he's not going to move for anybody. If there's a pedestrian in the right lane and a cyclist in the middle, they damn well better work out between the two of them how they're going to make room, because that SLB ain't changing his line for nobody. The dream weaver has figured out how to turn, but he's still afraid of speed. He weaves back and forth across the path in a dream-like trance. I dream that he's awakened from his slumber by running wide, catching a wheel, and falling into the river. But I digress. Then there are the sheep. Or are they cattle. In either case, they move in a large, compressed group and break from the group only reluctantly. Like sheep, they spread out across the road and take their own sweet time while traffic stops to let them by. And like sheep, they're a bunch of dumb animals. At least sheep provide something useful. The luge SLB has decided that it's entirely too much work to just stand on a board. Yes, this guy has reached a level of laziness that he even lays down during outdoor recreation. At least he's smart enough to lead with his feet. The skeleton SLB is the biggest idiot of all. These guys head down hill, in an aero tuck, with no breaks, on a winding trail next to a river that is chock-a-block full of boy scouts, dogs, and little kids while leading with their head. What's more, like their upright cousins, these guys think they own the trail. It's only a question of time before one of those guys puts his brilliant head into some rocks either on the hill side or in the river. Anyway, I'm sick of all of them. Good thing I never bother anybody while I'm on the trail.
Monday, May 12, 2008
One of the things I liked most about my time in Provo was the bifurcation of the terrain: If you wanted something long and flat, it was easy to find. If you wanted something hilly and challenging, that was also just as easy to find. And you could do one without doing much, if any, of the other. There were great rides of all distances, from 20 miles on up. It's been a few years now since we moved to the north end of Happy Valley. Hilly terrain we have plenty of, especially with the Alpine Loop just up the road. Flat rides are available, but the routes have almost always included some combination of high-traffic, narrow or non-existent shoulders, or bad roads. I can take one of the three, but two or more and I'm out. What I've been looking for is a good short to medium flat, road ride. My initial explorations took me toward Eagle Mountain/Saratoga Springs. There are enough rednecks in compensation trucks out there that I've decided I'd rather ride the trainer than ride out there. In despair, I began riding down the Speedway that is Geneva road to get to my familiar grounds near Provo, even enduring the narrow shoulder and the garbage in the road. Last weekend Cindy and I ventured out and I found it. From the house we rode to the Timpanogos temple, turned south to the hospital, and then took 1oo E. to the AF Boat Harbor. We rode back toward the freeway and wound our back to the Lindon Boat Harbor and around the back side of Geneva road and into Vineyard. From Vineyard we crossed the freeway onto the frontage road that runs in front of UVSC and onto Sandhill road. Sandhill road led us to Grandview road and then down into Provo. A short stop at Racers and then up University Ave to the mouth of the Canyon. We took the Provo River Trail up to Vivian park and back and then took the back roads home. It was great. I've got a separate post about the River Trail. This is a happy post. The River Trail post is a rant.
Friday, May 09, 2008
To see Dan and I separately, you'd see few similarities apart from our balding heads. Dan's thin build reflect his fitness. I don't any think body has ever used the term 'thin' when talking about me. The disparities don't stop there - Dan's considerably more moderate (read liberal here in Utah) than I am. Yet Dan is one of my best friends. And it was cycling that brought us together.
Dan and I first met in a computer seminar during law school orientation. He had a screen saver with the profiles of the stages of the former race, currently a rolling disaster, known as the Tour. I struck up a conversation based on this. I found out that his carrel was near B's, and we've been hanging out since.
I have survived more epics with Dan than everybody else combined. I've tested his willingness to adhere to our riding motto of "dance with the one what brung ya" on nearly every occasion, and he's never let me down. Well, he did once, kind of, when he and either Bryan or Doug took off the front on a Timpanooke Loop. The two of them ended up riding a Tibble Fork loop while the rest of us waited at the car. For a long time, Dan and I rode together doing short to medium length rides. Each year we focused on making the most of the fall riding. Those were good times, that included Dan crashing on Tibble Fork and breaking a rib and the two of us giving a good wide berth to a big bull moose and his two cows during the rut on S. Fork.
And then we started getting our epic on. The first epic was the Trail of Tears part 1. It involved Dan, Doug (Larsen), Tom, and myself. It involved a late start, a forgotten map, tales of previous epics, dehydration, darkness, a long stumble, and salvation from a hunter on horseback named Beau Hunter. You can't make this stuff up.
We didn't learn our lesson and the next year started off on the Trail of Tears part 2. This time Yury came along and he should be credited with naming the ride. That ride involved an early start, the deepest bonk I've ever seen, peanut butter and jam burritos, a downhill hike-a-bike, and a well earned descent.
Next came my first RAWROD. Poor equipment selection was the order of the day. I brought a greased carbon seatpost, drop bars, and 42C tires to the party while Dan showed up with soft-soled shoes.
Neither Dan nor I wanted to do it the nextyear, but Aaron talked me into it last year. Dan rejoined the fray this year. Dan was done 35 miles in, but mushed on past four rest stops. His display of mental energy to keep pushing for nearly six hours of saddle time after he was tapped comes only second in my first hand experience to Nails' finish at the LT100 last year. The pic above is Dan and I riding DFL down Murphy's Hogback.
We've suffered a lot on the saddle, and regroup every year for Fall Perfection. Hopefully this year, we can get in some epic riding in the fall that doesn't involve a rescue. Here's to hoping.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Right up front, I'll admit that I've been reading Bike Snob NYC's blog. I've made it through June and July of last year's posts. His universe of NYC and fixies might as well be a million miles away from our wide open spaces and accessible mountains. So, here are some of my pet peeves in the mountain biking realm: Skidders. If you don't know what a skidder is, you probably are one. A skidder is usually someone who hasn't figured out that the front brake provides a great deal of power and control. One type of skidder is a guy who's first and only helmet is full-faced and his bike is 'sick'. This particular type of skidder carries entirely too much speed into a corner. They don't actually have a sense of how fast they're going because their bikes are so squishy they can't feel the trail. This is the guy that comes in too hot and grabs a right-fistful of brakes. This is the guy who hasn't ridden long enough to know when he's over cooked it and yet doesn't seem to learn because he can skid through it and never feel it. Thanks for the wash boards. Learn how to brake next time. The Best Ambassadors. These are the guys who are so busy rippin' sick down hill that they forget that other people are on the trail and leave others diving for cover. The rules are that hard - yield to horses, hikers and up-hill riders. These guys often have skidding issues. The Ambush Specialists. I suspect these guys are equestrians, but I've never actually seen them doing it. These are the people that have had some contact with The Best Ambassadors and figure they'll take it out on all cyclists. Their favorite move is to drag trees over the trail or litter the trail with debris. Apparently, they feel justified in intentionally putting other people's lives at risk. Whenever I come on one of their traps, I start envisioning what it would be like to catch one of them in the act. If I dwell on the thought long enough, I get mad enough I start envision me hitting one of them with a water bottle or a pump, maybe even a rock in the trail. And then I remember that these people are almost guaranteed to packing a revolver (not a pistol), and the fantasy kind of falls apart for me. I don't feel like less of a man to admit that I'm scared of the Single Six. My biggest pet peeve, not getting out to ride. I'd better get back to it so I can do some pedalling this weekend and next.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I've substantially changed my training approach this year in anticipation of IMAZ. In years past, I've over-focused on the first race of the season, which left me burned out and flagging for the rest of the year. IMAZ is at the end of November, so I've adopted a different approach for this year. And thus the ambivalence. On one hand, I've significantly reduced my overall weekly training volume. I've done that by reducing the number of workouts I do per week. At the same time, I've increased the length of my long days. As a result, my long weeks are down in the 9-10 hour range, instead of the 13-14 hour range of the past. At the same time, my long swim is up to about 2500m (done continuously) at a comfortable 2:10-2:15/100m pace, my long bike is hovering around the 4-5 hour range (with the notable exception of RAWROD) and my long runs are in the 2-2:30 hour range. So, on one hand, I feel confident that I'll be comfortable on each of the legs because I regularly do longer distances and do so comfortably. The problem is, none of it's fast and I've not been doing much brick work. The vast majority of my bike time has been on a mountain bike. I'm still 1o lbs. heavier than my goal at this point. The good news is, I'm fresh mentally. So, what will win out - extra big long workouts or skipping all the volume? I've been stuck at work all week, barely taking enough time to sleep, so this doesn't much matter now. I've got long workouts slated for Friday and Saturday. I sure hope I haven't lost too much, but I'm afraid I have.