Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Capt. Vasili Borodin: I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck... maybe even a "recreational vehicle." And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Captain Ramius: I suppose.
Capt. Vasili Borodin: No papers?
Captain Ramius: No papers, state to state.
Capt. Vasili Borodin: Well then, in winter I will live in... Arizona. Actually, I think I will need two wives.
Captain Ramius: Oh, at least.
This scene reminded me of something that I am very thankful for. I am thankful for the freedom to roam. I have the freedom to go just about where ever I want and no one asks me for papers. What a great thing. I could get on my bike tomorrow and ride all the way across the country and no one would care because I have the freedom to do just that. Granted they might think I’m a little nuts because it is November but I could do it just the same. Don’t worry Jenny, I’m not planning on any cross country trips.
Of course I’m thankful for a lot of other things, but right now I’m thankful for the freedom to roam.
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Remember, you’re going to need those extra calories that you’ll consume tomorrow come springtime when you’re out on an epic ride.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
A majority of the useful information that found was taken from the Cycling Performance Tips website at the following URL http://www.cptips.com/intervl.htm. This is a great website. There’s nothing flashy about it at all. Just a bunch of information about cycling and the science behind it. If you’ve got a minute you should check it out.
Anyway, back to intervals.
So, why the heck would anyone in their right mind subject themselves to intervals.
Here’s the reason.
When you train to your maximum by doing intervals changes occur which will allow you to push even farther into your anaerobic zone the next time out. This is because:
- Your muscle metabolism changes to extract more oxygen from every milliliter of blood flowing through the muscle capillaries
- More capillaries develop in the muscles
- Your heart adapts to pump more blood for any specific time interval
- You learn to mentally deal with the pain and exercise through it
How often should you do intervals?
Intervals are most effective when:
- They are limited to twice a week during the peak training season
- The interval sessions are separated by at least 48 hours to allow adequate recovery.
What’s more important the intensity of the interval or the duration?
The answer is the intensity not the frequency or duration of interval training.
A study of interval training for 10 weeks found the following in a group of cyclists (all groups started off with a base of 40 minutes of intervals 6 times a week):
One group maintained exercise intensity, but decreased the duration of each session by 66%. The second group maintained exercise intensity, but decreased the frequency to 2 times a week. And the third maintained the frequency and duration, but decreased the intensity of the sessions.
The conclusion was the VO2max of the first two groups held constant, while that of the third decreased. So, intensity is more important than either the duration of the intervals or the frequency per week in maximizing the benefit of intervals on performance.
So I think it’s pretty clear that intervals are important but not the only type of training you should do during these horrible winter months.
As I stare out the window while I’m typing I’m really glad that I’m not out in the rain that has been coming down for days. I think I’ll just ride my trainer tonight while watching 24.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
This was our first introduction to the world of intervals and it wasn’t pretty. Honestly, this was probably the closest I’ve ever come to throwing up while riding but the funny thing is we kept riding to this DVD. Why? Beats me. My dad tells a story of a guy who was hitting himself in the head with a hammer over and over again and when someone approached him to ask why he replied because it feels so good when I quit. I’m thinking we used this same logic for riding to this DVD over and over again.
The thing is once we got used to doing intervals I noticed that I could climb better and ride faster. At that point I realized that the pain and torture of intervals was worth every second.
In my self prescribed training plan I’m planning on incorporating intervals into my rides beginning next month. I have mixed emotions about this. I’m not looking forward to the pain of adapting to them but on the other hand I’m looking forward to riding stronger.
If you’re not familiar with intervals here’s the how my typical interval session works.
20 minutes of warm up riding
5 minutes of the hardest riding I can stand without throwing up
5 minutes of light recovery riding
5 minutes of the hardest riding I can stand without my head exploding
5 minutes of light recovery riding
5 minutes of the hardest riding I can stand without my legs cramping into a giant knot
5 minutes of light recovery riding
5 minutes of the hardest riding I can stand without crying like a little school girl
5 minutes of cool down riding
30 minutes of pass out on the couch and reflection time to wonder what the heck I just did to myself.
Every time I do intervals there is a strange break in the space time continuum that occurs. While I’m doing my 5 minutes of interval torture, time actually slows down to what feels like one hour per 5 minutes. I know this because when I look down at my watch after what feels like 5 minutes only a couple of seconds have expired. Then, when I’m riding my 5 minutes of heavenly light recovery riding, time miraculously speeds up to warp speed of 10 seconds per every 5 minutes. I guess this is one of the benefits of interval training that not everyone gets to experience. This is quite the strange phenomenon.
I did a little research about the scientific benefits of interval training but this post is getting kind of long for my short attention span so I’ll save that for tomorrow.
In the mean time, happy interval training.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Increasing my cadence isn’t going so well. Here’s the rub. I can increase my cadence in an easy gear no problem but when I do this my heart rate climbs at least 10 bpm or more. In my mind this seems strange. If I pedal in a tougher gear with lower cadence thus using a lot more leg muscles my heart rate remains fairly low but once I shift into an easier gear taking the load off of my legs my heart rate shoots up. Is my heart confused or something? Come on figure things out heart. Low resistance = beat slow. More resistance = beat faster. Got it?
Since my heart isn’t listening to my logic I did a little research and found:
A lot of people have a lack of neuromuscular coordination when it comes to increasing pedal cadence. So basically my nerves aren’t firing the correct muscles in the correct order to make my legs go around quickly and effortlessly without an increase of heart rate.
Could this be what is happening to me? Am I really that big of a spaz? Really? I’m uncoordinated? I’ve ridden thousands of miles so I’m thinking my legs know what to do by now.
Well, I also found out that if I continue with the high cadence training that my heart rate will eventually come down to a reasonable level.
We’ll see if it works but I’m still a little ticked that my heart isn’t listening to my logic. More to come.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Do you recognize this opening line?
It’s the opening line for the TV series 24. I’m not much of a TV watcher so the most I knew about it was that it was on Fox. That was until last May. Last May when I rode the 100 miles of Nowhere trainer century I watched the first 6 episodes of the first season in a row. This show is so captivating that it really helped to get my mind off of the fact that I was riding 100 miles on a trainer in my family room at 5am on a Saturday morning.
I ended up never watching the rest of the series that we borrowed because Jenny didn’t like the show. That was until this winter. Over the weekend we found ourselves in Half Price Books and I spotted a used copy of the first season of 24 at a very reasonable price. Well, I own the DVDs now so I’m going to watch the rest of the series but only while doing trainer rides.
Here’s the plan, on the nights that Jenny doesn’t join me for a trainer session I’m planning on watching an episode or two. On the nights where she does join me we’ll watch some of the movies that we picked on VHS tape for .25 a piece.
I’m actually pretty darn excited to get up there and ride which is a good thing because my plan is to integrate intervals into my trainer rides again by the end of the month. Intervals certainly aren’t my favorites but they pay off in the long run.
The following takes place between 8:00PM and 10:00PM in our bike room with multiple fans going in the dead of winter. Events occur in real time (but don’t really feel like it).
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I know that 95% of my goals are cycling related but the one that isn't is to be a better husband by working on home improvement projects. Yesterday the project was to paint the living room with Jenny. I'd like to think that it was some good cross training but after 10 hours of painting the only thing that got worked out were my shoulders and arms. Not really cycling related muscles but they are killing me nonetheless.
Anyhow, the room looks great and in the long run if I get a bunch of home improvement projects finished during the horrible weather when the sun decides to come out I'll be out on the bike tearing things up.
So painting didn't turn out to be very good cross training but it is a very good investment for cycling in the future.
Although if I don't get to training I'm going to end up looking like this.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
When I went out to get the mail there was a package addressed to me and I knew what was in it. I refrained from dancing around and singing out loud but in my head all the way to the house I was singing "The Fat Cyclist Jerseys are here, The Fat Cyclist Jerseys are here"!!!!!!
This year Jenny and I are giving each other Fat Cyclist Jerseys for Christmas. I know that my mother is reading this right now and shaking her head in disgust that I even opened the package before Christmas but in this case it's imperative that we check to see if they fit or not. And, of course I needed to check them out. Hey, I'm an adult I'm allowed to peak at Christmas presents aren't I? Here are a couple of shots for your viewing pleasure.
It's going to be hard to wrap these babies up for the next month and a half but I can do it. After all I wouldn't want to disappoint my mother any more than I already have.
From what I remember of "The Jerk" right after Steve Martin got his beloved phone book someone started shooting at him. In this case I hope no shooting occurs at our house.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
For today's post I need for you to do something for me. Please put all of your books under your desk and take out a number two pencil. Does that last statement simultaneously take you back to high school and strike fear in your heart? Pop quizzes were never my favorite but if you're a cyclist I'm thinking that you'll like this quiz. Most cyclists have adopted a vocabulary which allows them to communicate efficiently with other cyclists and baffle eavesdroppers all at the same time. They do this by using strange terms related to their beloved sport which are familiar to other cyclists but mean absolutely nothing to others. So today I've got a quiz to test your cycling speech impediment. Feel free to take your time but please do not look on your neighbors computer during the test. That would be cheating! Ready Begin.
1. Granny Gear
a. Clothes that compliment hair which has a blue tint.
b. The third cog on a front chain ring.
c. A designer cycling clothing line designed for the active retired women.
a. A valve stem designed to fit a narrow wheel.
b. Brand name for bottled spaghetti sauce.
c. A shirt that has recently been ironed.
d. An Italian term meaning to race like your hair is on fire coined by Mario Cipollini.
3. Lactate Threshold
a. The amount of Chocolate milk a cyclist can drink after a tough ride without throwing up.
b. The point at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the blood stream.
c. The proximity a cyclist can maintain to a cow without being chased.
4. Bonk (American Version)
a. The act of running into another cyclist while gawking at their bike.
b. A condition where depletion of glycogen stores results in sudden and severe fatigue.
c. The sound made by a cyclist falling over while stopped at an intersection and still connected to both pedals.
a. The number of revolutions of the crankset per minute.
b. A chant sung by cyclists while riding together in a paceline.
c. The invisible zipper found in most cycling jerseys.
a. The name of a famous cycling clown who frequents mountain stages in the Tour de France.
b. The act of getting a bug out of your eye at high speeds.
c. A small red flashing light attached to the back of a bike to attract the attention of passing cars.
a. A Dutch term which means to ride in rain storms of biblical proportions.
b. Nickname of cycling and hand talking legend Bob Roll
c. A person who has the latest cycling gear but no cycling skills.
a. A pedal which connects to a cleat on the sole of a shoe thus holding the shoe firmly to the pedal.
b. The act of wearing a bike helmet without buckling the chin strap.
c. A cyclist with long hair not put into a pony tail
a. The maximum amount of money a cyclist is able to spend on cycling equipment without the threat of divorce.
b. The number of days a cyclist can ride in a row without doing yard work.
c. The maximum capacity of an cyclist to transport and utilize oxygen during intense exercise.
10. Chamois Cream
a. A cream used by cyclists to reduce friction in sensitive areas.
b. A favorite cream used to top lattes after a tough ride.
c. Hair gel worn by many flamboyant cyclists.
OK, please put your number 2 pencils down. This test will be self scored so you're on the cyclists honor system. If there is such a thing.
1. B, 2. A, 3. B, 4. A, 5. A, 6. C, 7. B, 8. A, 9. C, 10. A
Here's the grading scale
10 - 9 correct, Excellent work, you've earned yourself an extra ride this week.
8 - 7 correct, You're getting there, spend a couple of hours at your local bike shop to sharpen your skills this week.
6 and below, if you own a bike please return it to the nearest bike shop immediately.
Thanks for taking the quiz. Feel free to report your score in the comments section and forward this test to fellow cyclists to test their knowledge.
Now that I’m a year or two older I realize the reason I had a hard time making sense of the economic indicators was because I was missing the most critical indicator of all. So, today I’d like to introduce you to the newest economic indicator which will surely be at the top of Timothy Geithner list the next time he briefs the president on the state of the economy.
*** The Mecca Price Index ***
A little under a year ago I wrote a post about the making trips to Mecca in our town. For those of you who haven’t been to Marysville, WA Mecca is the nickname of the local Coke bottling plant. In the parking lot there are 4 coke machines and last December a 12oz can of coke could be purchased for 25 cents. Times were good back then and everyone enjoyed social trips to Mecca for a refreshing beverage. Then in August of this year the Coke bottling plant placed signs on the Mecca machines stating that the price of soda would be increasing to 40 cents. I remember at the time thinking that the economy had really taken a turn for the worst and it would be a while before we bounced back. Since then the unemployment rate has gone above 10% for the first time since 1983. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Last night we heard a rumor that the price of a Mecca soda had dropped back down to 25 cents again. Could it be true? Could the economy be on it’s way up again? We made a family outing out of the rumor and confirmed that indeed the price of a 12 oz Coke is once again a mere 25 cents. Halleluiah!!!
So my report to Timothy Geithner is that the Mecca Price Index is down. Thus, by year end the economy will start its grand recovery.
I think I’ll enjoy a Coke right now in celebration. Now, if I just had an opportunity to do that term paper again maybe I would get an A this time.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I had the trail pretty much all to myself. I only saw 2 other cyclists out and they were really pounding away and looking like they were having a great time sprinting for fictitious sprint points.
Once I got used to the rain and my body acclimated to the colder weather the ride was great. I'm looking forward to some more early morning liquid sunshine rides in the future.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Once you have made your decision on what type of trainer to buy here are some other things to look for in a trainer
- Make sure it’s sturdy and stable. The last thing in the world you want to do is lean over while riding and fall to the ground causing untold injury. You would never want to tell your cycling buddies that the gnarly gash on your leg was caused while riding on a bike trainer. That’s where unforgiving nicknames come from.
- Make sure it’s easy to install and remove your bike on the trainer. Since no one is ever motivated to ride on their trainer if it’s a long or tough process to put your bike on your trainer there’s a good chance you’ll find a lame excuse not to ride. Most trainers are designed to quickly install your bike. If it takes longer than a minute to install your bike flunk the trainer.
- Most bike shops carry really nice bike trainers and they will help you find one that will work for you. New trainers also come with a warranty. The only downside to this is you’re going to pay full price for a trainer. Unless you’ve got piles of extra cash laying around that you are dieing to get rid of this isn’t the best place to go.
- There are literally thousands of bike trainers that have been ridden only a couple of times if at all and then tucked away in a closet for a couple of years that are on the market at incredibly reduced prices. These are the ones to look for
- www.Craigslist.org is a great resource of people who want to get rid of their trainers. I just looked at Craigslist in our area and in under a minute I found a great trainer. http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/bik/1449198823.html
- You can also find trainers on huge sales that have been returned. We picked one up at REI in Seattle that someone returned because they couldn’t figure out how to assemble it. We assembled it at the store, made sure it worked then bought it before someone else picked it up. We got it for half price.
So there you have it. Now you have no excuse for sitting around this winter. And if you get started training now you’ll be ready for the 3rd annual 100 Miles of Nowhere. Happy training.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This was the first trainer that I ever owned and I completely wore it out after a couple of seasons. The advantages of a wind trainer are they are the cheapest of all trainers and the faster you ride the more resistance you get so I guess you could say it replicates real riding situations. Now for the disadvantages. Wind trainers are incredibly NOISEY! If you plan on riding while you watch TV don’t plan on listening to any sound unless you have a huge surround sound system and your neighbors don’t mind 120 decibels of Phil Liggett pumping out of your house. When I had a wind trainer I would turn on the closed caption while I rode. It wasn’t an optimal solution but it increased my speed reading skills. My advice: if you can afford a more expensive trainer bypass a wind trainer because of the sound and they normally aren’t built very well.
We own one of these trainers and it works really well. The advantages are they are really quiet so you’ll be able to watch TV or talk to others without the being required to know sign language. Fluid trainers also give you a smooth ride that is the most comparable to real live outside riding. One the downside, fluid trainers are incredibly expensive ranging into the $300 arena. They are also prone to spring leaks which could make a huge permanent mess all over your carpet. If your significant other isn’t a cyclist this could get you a lifetime banishment to the garage for trainer rides. Not a good thing.
I don’t have much experience with rollers because I’m just not coordinated enough to stay up on them. I borrowed a set once and after a couple of attempts that was all for me. Every time I got on I envisioned myself sliding off of the rollers while still on my bike and hurling helplessly into the wall. Not my cup of tea but a lot of people say once you get the hang of rollers they are great for increasing your balancing skills. I also hear that rollers don’t provide much resistance so if you’re looking for some good resistance training rollers probably aren’t for you.
This is what I currently use and I like it a lot. Mag trainers are quiet and are in the mid range of the price spectrum. Most of them have a control which allows you to adjust the resistance which comes in really handy if you want to do some really hard interval type training. The only disadvantage of the mag trainer is that the resistance is constant no matter what speed you’re riding at. Personally, this isn’t a big deal to me so for my training purposes and budget a mag trainer suits me just fine.
In tomorrows post I’ll share some thoughts that I have about what to look for in a trainer once you’ve made up your mind on what type to buy.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
When is the only time it’s appropriate to yell "I’ve got diarrhea" in public?
When you’re playing scrabble!
That joke really cracked me up but only got courtesy laughs from the rest of the family. I wonder why? By 6:30 pm I was the only one who was still awake in the house. For some reason I didn’t get the flu like the rest of the family. So, in celebration I brought my bike downstairs and rode on my trainer for an hour. It was like my own private Tour de Flu stage.
I recently checked out the documentary on the Civil War by Ken Burns from the library. I watched one of these DVDs while I rode. It was fascinating. I wish someone would do an in depth documentary on the Tour de France like Ken Burns has done on the Civil War or Baseball. I would buy that in a second.
I’m continuing to wash my hands whenever I think about it in an attempt to bypass this bug. Wish me luck. If I’m lucky stage 2 of the Tour de Flu could be tomorrow night.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Well, all of that has changed these days because now I really, really, really like food. I’m not quite sure when the transformation happened but it probably had something to do with marrying a great cook. I’ve been a “Good Eater” ever since.
My eating habits aren’t a problem when I’m in full out cycle training mode but we I hit the off season the “reserves” start to build up. Out of curiosity I decided to document what I ate yesterday and I’ve made a couple of conclusions about it. First of all here is my consumption list.
1 cup of homemade Granola
1 cup of skim milk
Eating pretty darn healthy so far – this could be a great eating day.
9:30am – really hungry but I don’t want to break into my lunch yet so I dig through my wallet to look for money to feed the candy machine. No money in my wallet so I dig through my pockets only to find one penny, seriously, ONE PENNY! I go back to work and count down the minutes until lunch time. I can feel the good eating habits slipping away.
10:45am – I can’t stand it anymore and head to the break room early to heat up my meatloaf sandwich in the microwave. Oh yeah, it was good. That hit the spot but I also remember that my coworkers have a cabinet full of chips that are free for the taking so I grab a bag of Fritos.
3pm - Leave work and drive home. Grab a hand full of Smarties on the way out the door to keep me awake on the way home. That works and I survive the drive.
4pm – walk in the door and have a couple fun size candy bars from the left over Halloween candy jar. Then I eat two pieces of cream cheese frosting covered pumpkin bars. I told you it was dangerous to have a good cook for a wife.
5:30pm – eat two Navajo tacos which if you haven’t had them before they are deep fried yummy goodness. I’m done eating for the day and feeling very satisfied.
I originally started counting calories for the day but by the time I got to the bag of Fritos I decided ignorance was bliss and stopped the counting madness.
Now there are a couple alternatives I could take here to stop the eating madness.
1. If you notice, my vegetable intake was next to nothing unless you count corn chips, pumpkin bars and salsa as a healthy dose of vegetables. Maybe I should replace some of the garbage that I eat with low calorie vegetables. Not really an option unless someone were to stage some kind of vegetable intervention on me.
2. I could eat smaller portions of sensible food more often during the day so I don’t get as hungry. Probably a good idea but I just don’t see that happening.
3. I could kick my cycling training back into gear and burn up most of the junk calories that I eat.
Looks like I’m going to hit the cycling training again real soon. But first I think I’ll have some pie.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Once the dust had settled we ended up with an empty bedroom right next to ours. It was empty for at least 15 minutes before all of the bikes moved in and made themselves comfortable. We also moved in a drum set, couch and a 13 inch TV/VCR combo. This is now one of my favorite rooms in the whole house.
Cable isn't connected to that room so we've been watching old movies that we have on VHS while we do trainer rides. Since it's been raining enough lately for us to consider building an ark we've had a lot of opportunities to do trainer rides. I love this room and have been enjoying watching movies that we haven't seen in years. Here is a list of some we've recently watched.
Return to me
The Italian Job
Finding Forester (My favorite so far, I love that movie)
I'm thinking about hitting the local thrift store to look for some cheap VHS movies. I bet I'll be able to pick up some classics for next to nothing.
We are calling our new room "The Bike Room" but I think we could do better. Got any ideas for a room name? I'm open for suggestions.