Friday, January 25, 2008

Trying To Be Optimistic

So tonight it's snowing but I guess instead of using that as a reason to be upset that I won't get in a road ride tomorrow I'm trying to turn that around and think of it as a good reason to go snowshoeing. I'll go snowshoeing right away in the morning and then get back and warm up with some espresso before I either hit the mtb outside or hit the trainer. I hope to do at least 90 minutes of snowshoeing followed by at least 2.5-3 hours on the mtb if the weather permits otherwise I'll do 2.5 hours on the trainer. Either way I'll get in an all-around good workout and be happy with what I do regardless of the weather, at least that's the attitude I'm going to have anyways whether I'm happy with it or not. After getting in my exercise I'll be doing some work around the house and then I think the tentative plans are to hit up Delafield Brewhaus tomorrow night for some brew (obviously) and their sausage and peppers, mmmm, delicious. So that's it for now, more to follow tomorrow afternoon or Sunday morning. Until next time.......

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This sucks

It's 5 degrees right now, supposed to be -10 tonight and a high of 9 tomorrow. Cycling is the furthest thing from my mind right now. Blah.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Whatever, dumb-ass playcalling.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Customize Your Ride

Quick info on the training tonight - 2 hours on the trainer, no frills ride, tomorrow is weight work and another 2 hour ride with Muscle Tension intervals.

I'm cutting it very short on time as it's getting late already and I need to get to bed so I didn't finish my first longer review on my new Avid SS brake setup but I'll publish that later this week. In the interest of time (my sleep time) you're getting the short review tonight of something that adds a little flair to your ride. After a while everyone in the pack starts to have the same look - same wheels, same frames, same tires, etc. so if you want to stand out a little bit and make a statement then you should visit and check out their selection of pre-fabricated headset caps, handlebar plugs, stem spacers, bash guards, roof rack accessories and much more. If you don't like their expansive choices then you can make your own design or have your own text engraved on a headset cap. The prices are very reasonable and the work was done pretty quickly. I had a custom red headset cap made with the "Team Wheaton" text and I had it on my doorstep in about a week. I also ordered some handlebar plugs and an existing design from their selection for another headset cap. None of these parts are going to make you faster or lighter but they jazz up your ride a bit and set you apart from the crowd. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the custom Team Wheaton cap right now as it's still in the bag and will be put on in the Spring, but here is the other cap I have on and the handlebar plugs. Like I said, keeping this one short, check out and maybe you'll find something you like, they have everything from beer mug logos to perrrrty little flowers, for those who like that sort of thing.

I'm No Bill Gates

This weekend didn't turn out exactly as planned as I had some family issues, namely money arguments that I'm sure most married couples have on occasion. I won't delve too much in to it but basically the gist of it is that cycling is tough for those that are even considered middle class if you want to have a good bike and keep necessary components on hand. Think about the things you need to have and replenish almost every year - Energy drink @ 20-30 bucks a jar that lasts about a month or maybe two, Energy bars and gels @ 20-25 dollars a box and again that's about a month or two supply, training tires at 20-30 dollars each that last about 3 months if you do 7000-8000 miles a year, so you need to buy two sets at least, racing tires at 50-75 dollars a piece that if you only use for racing can maybe last a season, but you always need a spare set, you need to replace your chain every year, I replace mine twice a year @ 45 dollars each, then you need bottles of chain lube, heavy grease, brake and shift cables stretch so you need to replace them every year or two, clothing is a big expense, race entry fees, traveling to races, especially the gas cost now a days. Last year I estimate that cycling cost me $1600 between team clothes, energy drinks, bars, and gels, tires, parts, entry fees, travel costs, tools and lubes, and a few other minor miscellaneous things. Those are just the things that I needed, not luxury items, in order to ride and race last year. Now, for me that $1600 was absolutely worth it for the entertainment value and that is probably no different than people who go out to concerts or the theater or other vacations. So anyways, I'm getting off course here a bit, but sometimes cycling can bring up money issues and lead to arguments and then it becomes time to prioritize things a bit, so instead of cycling on Saturday, that is what I did with my wife, cleared the air a bit so to speak. So basically in spite of the fact that my wife is working only part time as she is in her last year of nursing school and we are short on money, she really pushed me to keep up the biking and said we'll find a way to make it all work. I'm not sure how, but at least now I don't have to get another job, which was my plan, so that's a bonus. It's great to have her support in spite of our rough times so I'm very thankful for that. My blog is titled "My year as a bicycle racer" and certainly these kinds of things are a part of being a racer - money, family, time, priorities - so I had to include that in this posting.
Aside from that, after we figured out our money problems on Saturday, I did get in a ride on Sunday and I also did 2 hours on the trainer yesterday on my normal day off to make up for missing Saturday's ride. I did weights last night as well after work and I'm feeling better than I have in a long while on the bike. The weather looks like crap for the next few weekends, super cold and definitely not riding weather so it appears there will be a lot of trainer riding. Well, that's it for now, more to follow tonight when I do my weekly review of one of my cycling products. Until next time.....

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another Crappy Weekend

Training has been going well the last few days, I did weights and 2 hours on the trainers/rollers on Wednesday and 1 hour 45 minutes last night on the rollers. Wednesday was one hour on the rollers to get warmed up and then I moved over to the trainer and did my hour of Muscle Tension intervals. Last night was just a regular paced ride on the rollers, nothing special. I watched the movie "3:10 To Yuma", pretty darn good as far as westerns go. Tonight I'll be doing weights here at work and then I'll do one hour on the rollers just to loosen up the legs after doing the weight work. Soooo, on to the weekend, and I have to say I really am not sure what I'm doing at this point but it looks like I'll be able to get outside. The forecast is calling for 30% chance of flurries and temps around 34, so almost a carbon copy of last Saturday's weather. The roads are wet today and I can't imagine they will dry out any time in the next 24 hours so it looks like it'll be another wet, muddy SS ride. I can't imagine the weather will hold me back from riding outside so if that's the case then I'll be doing 3.75 hours to 4 hours both days although Sunday looks to be the worse of the two days with a 60% chance of snow. Anyways, after riding the trainer this week I'm looking forward to get back outside and having as much fun as I did last weekend.
Tomorrow afternoon is the Packer playoff game and I'll be at my friend Jason's house for the festivities so I'm sure we'll consume vast quantities of beer and that will make for a rough ride on Sunday. I'll alternate beer and water probably, hahahaha, that was a good one hey? Either way, I'll probably be hungover but I'll be out there riding Sunday, I'm just lovin' the bike right now. My motivation is super high right now, I'm really itchin for time to fly by and get to that first race, only like 85 days away. Damn, that seems long. Other than that, my weight is dropping, I've cut out all the extra bad foods, the holidays are over so there are no temptations, I've upped the water intake, and the increased riding is burning those extra calories. My goal this year is to be at 173-174 for the races, that's about as low as I can go without losing power. So that leaves me with about 17lbs to lose, yeah, I got that fat in the offseason. Just like Der Kaiser though, I will lose the weight and be ready to race. That's it for now, back to work, I'll update Sunday with some pictures from Saturday's festivities, until next time..............

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Something New

I will update my training log tomorrow morning as I've yet to ride tonight, I'll be doing a couple of hours in about 15 minutes, but for now I'm going to do something new - a product review. This is something that I've decided to add to my blog on a regular basis to spice things up a bit, because, well, porn would just be weird. So here is my first product review, nothing too exciting but they are my most recent purchase so that's where I'll start. I wasn't all that happy with the support of the standard Sidi insoles that came with my Ergo 2s that I purchased at this time last year but have kept them in the shoes just because it hasn't been a priority to look for insoles this year and I'd rather spend the money on something else. I got a gift card for x-mas this year and with all my components pretty much up to date I decided it was time for some new insoles. I went out and looked at a few different varieties last week and ended up getting the Sole Heat Moldable custom insoles. Here is the description off of their website:

SOLE Custom Footbeds are heat moldable, so they fit your unique foot perfectly. The generic insoles that are supplied with your footwear are designed to fit the lowest common denominator foot shape. They simply cannot offer the same level of arch support, control and comfort that heat moldable SOLE Custom Footbeds do.

Out of the package the insoles were very rigid from the heel to the arch support and the toe area was a flexible foam. The instructions said to heat the soles up to 200 degrees and then put them in your shoe and stand on them for 2 minutes. I wanted to make sure I'd feel the difference before and after, so before heating the Soles I put them in my cycling shoe to see how they would feel before they were "custom molded" to my foot. They were very supportive in the arch area as I expected but my right arch must be a little on the flat side because there was a bit of pain there from the arch support pushing upward on it. So, I had my baseline and was ready to heat and install the insoles. After letting them sit in the oven for approximately 5 minutes to reach the desired temp (as designated by the color-changing sticker on the sole) I was ready to put them in my shoes. I did feel the right arch give a little bit after a few minutes of standing in the shoes and it was noticeably more comfortable than my test before heating the insole. I took the insoles out after about 5 minutes and did notice the change in shape from before they were molded to my foot shape. Now, the big test was riding for an extended period of time with them and I did that this weekend, riding about 7 and a half hours between Saturday and Sunday. My first thought was that they were definitely more comfortable than my original Sidi insoles except that the right insole was a little tight in the toe box. The arch support was fantastic, the heel cup supported my heel quite a bit more than the Sidis and my foot as a whole was better aligned in the shoe. After the long rides of the weekend I'd have to say that for the price, $49.95, that these insoles were definitely worth the benefit of the comfort that they provided. I think we all would just tend to stick with whatever comes in our shoes because it's something most of us don't think about, but if you are having any trouble at all with foot comfort I would recommend the Sole insoles. The only change I did make to them is the aforementioned toe box issue with the right shoe. I must have a fatter right foot or something but I had to take a bench grinder and take off some of the padding on the base of the insole and then trim off a very small amount of the length of the insole. Other than that I had no problems. So, that's it for my first product review, I'll have at least one a week, if not more. I've included some pictures of the insoles below. Until next time.....

Sole Heat Moldable Footbeds

High arch support and great heel cup

Had to use the grinder to thin down the toe and heel areas a bit

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Another Day In Paradise

Today was another fun day outside with the singlespeed and it was even more wet and muddy than yesterday, big time fun. Well, not really. I’ve had to wash down the bike twice now this weekend and I guess that was the least fun part of each of the rides, but the rest was all good. I did pretty much the same route I did yesterday but did quite a bit of it in reverse so that made it a little more exciting. Again, I chose it because it’s a route I knew wouldn’t kill my legs with the option of only one gear up the hills. I felt really good today and there were actually a few more cyclists out today than yesterday, which wasn’t hard to beat since I saw none yesterday. Oddly enough the 4 or 5 I saw were very casual rec cyclists, no one that was out for some obvious training which is very surprising, where are the rest of you racing types??? I know this guy was out this weekend, how about the rest of you? Anyways, all in all it was a good weekend of riding, 7hrs and 25 minutes total, about 35 minutes short of my goal but I also got in 1hr 10 minutes of snow shoeing as well this weekend so that easily makes up for it. I’m feeling good about where I am this time of year, but I can’t say for sure if I’m behind or ahead of where I was last year, I’m feeling strong though and confident with the training I’m doing so that’s all that matters. This week starts my Preparation Period so I’ll be incorporating more Muscle Tension work in to the rides, 3 days a week instead of 1 and I’ll also start some Tempo riding 1 day a week, increasing that to 3 days a week in about 3 weeks when I cut down on the muscle work. This period will also be the start of Steady State intervals and near the end of it will be lots of Climbing Repeats. So, that’s it for now, time for some much needed rest….I’ve attached some pictures of today’s ride, way muddier than yesterday, enjoy! Until next time…….

Sunday's Pics

Saturday, January 05, 2008

This Is Definitely Different

And by "this", I mean riding a Singlespeed. Today was my first day out on the mostly complete buildup of the singlespeed 26" mtb. I have to say that my muscles definitely feel sore in places I haven't felt sore in a while. It's not much different than riding a road bike when you are on the flats, and my gearing of 42x18 was well suited to cruising along on the flat roads, but as soon as I got to a hill I was habitually trying to shift but there was nothing there so I stayed seated and just kept grinding it out. I tried to avoid going down roads where I knew there were really steep hills but I tried to search out the roads where I knew there were long, gradual climbs because those types of climbs are perfect to help work on building some muscle, and I'm pretty sure today's ride will help with that. Downhills are pretty fun too because although I could obviously just coast down them, I wanted to work on some leg speed as well, so I was spinning out the 42x18 as fast as I could on some of the hills, probably in the 130-140rpm range. The only unfortunate part about today's ride was the really wet, somewhat muddy roads and I came back with my feet soaked and most of my body was wet and mud-splattered. So, how long did I make my first SS ride? Well, I wanted to really go for a while on it just to take on all sorts of roads with it and I tried to find some trails to ride as well but there was too much snow on those so I went from New Berlin to Waukesha, around the west side of Waukesha and then back to Muskego and then back to New Berlin for a grand total of 3 hours, 45 minutes. I wanted to do 4 hours but I was bonking at the end and I took a shortcut home and I'm glad I did because I was spinning pretty slow at the end there and I got back right before sunset. So that's a good workout hey, well, that's not even all I did today! This morning before the ride I managed to get Melissa to go snowshoeing as well before the snow goes away with this impending rain and warm weather. We went and did some local cross-country trails for an hour and 10 minutes and worked up a good sweat doing that as well before I hit the bike. So the exercise total for today is a pretty nice 4 hours and 55 minutes worth of work and tonight I'll be eating a good dinner, having some hot green tea (and maybe a beer), and then hitting the bed early-ish, maybe 11:00 or so. Tomorrow is iffy as far as the weather right now, only a 40% chance of rain and a high about 44 degrees, definitely warm enough for a ride so hopefully the rain holds off. If it does I'm tempted to take out the road bike but we'll see, I really don't want to go through the crappy roads with it so it may be another day on the SS. If it rains then it'll be 4 hours on the trainer/rollers, kinda like last weekend, 2 hours or so on the rollers, then an hour of muscle work on the trainer and then another hour on the rollers. Let's hope it doesn't rain. Well, that's it for now, I've posted pics below of me after my ride. Until next time.......

Saturday's Pics

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Short Post

Sorry, no pictures of my SS or headset press as promised, I went to bed early yesterday, didn't get around to the pictures. Skipped weights yesterday, got home, ate right away and then jumped on the bike for a low intensity spin. 90 minutes on the rollers, and then I had some Nightime Theraflu and went to bed early. I was actually able to breathe last night so I managed to get more than the 2 hours of sleep I got the night before. Feeling a little better this morning but still have that detached cold-medicine feeling and I'm staring at the wall a lot today at work....Hopefully I'll be 100% by this weekend....that's it for now....until next time......

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Cycling and Sickness

The last few days have been good training days as I didn't overindulge during the New Year's festivities, I was actually asleep by about 10:45 on New Year's Eve. Weak, I know. I did my weight work Monday here at work and then went home and had a nice dinner of steak and Alaskan King crab legs, and only a couple of adult beverages with dinner, namely Sprecher's Pipers Scotch Ale. Tuesday I did some work around the house and then did the roller/trainer combo for 4 hours. I went through 6 water bottles in that time, and I only had to get off to pee twice, not too bad. I started with 2 hours on the rollers, then jumped over to the trainer to do my Muscle Tension intervals for an hour, and then I went back to the rollers for another hour to cool down. I watched a lot of football, unfortunately neither of the games I watched were all that interesting but there wasn't much else on so I stuck with it and if anything it kept me from getting too bored. Yesterday was easily my longest ride in quite a while and hopefully that carries over to this weekend if the rain holds off as temps are supposed to be mid-30s on Saturday and low 50s on Sunday. I'd like to get in 4 hours each day if possible but we'll see depending on the rain, as there is no need to get sick trying to ride outside in January and ruin the following week of training. If I have to ride inside I'd probably be fine with that, but man, it sure would be nice to be outside again. Last year at this time I had at least 2, if not 3, 4 hour outdoor rides in December and the beginning of January, I had none this December because of the weather. Time is flying by and I think I'm about 95 days or less from the first race of the year, yikes. I actually get to kick it up a notch starting next week as I move in to the Preparation Period of my training and start working on Tempo work and get in to Steady State Intervals in addition to my Muscle Tension stuff. That will help break up the monotony of the normal endurance pace rides that I have been doing so that should make it more interesting. Other than that, I have swapped out some parts on my SS and now have a pretty decent rig, which I'll hopefully be able to take out this weekend. I'll also be posting some pics tonight of the headset press that I made for only $4.67 to put in the new headset for the SS, it was cheap and it worked very well, a way better option than getting a name brand tool to use once or twice every few years. Anyways, tonight is weight work and then I'll hit the rollers for about 90 minutes. I've caught a bit of a cold yesterday and am really feeling it this morning. I think I only slept about 2 hours total last night as I was constantly blowing my nose and my body aches made it difficult to get comfortable. I drank some coffee this morning and took some pills so I'm good for about the next 3 hours or so before I have to take another dose. It's a mid-major cold right now, hopefully it doesn't turn in to anything more than that and ruin what could be a good weekend of riding. Well, that's it for now, until next time................