27 March 2009

I Like Dirt

In an effort to include as many RHCP song titles as I can this week ... the boards are saying Palos is mostly ridable. Can anyone confirm? Rain is supposed to hold off until afternoon tomorrow ... I haven't been on dirt in nearly 2 months ...

Breaking the seal

First VO2s for the season this morning. Yee-ouch. Went out too hard on the first two, meaning the last two were absolute suffer-fests. But the wattage is good, especially for where I am weight-wise right now. Perception of improvement is confirmed in numbers.

Things are good now, crazy-busy. Brendan is fabbing bikes -- check Stephen's blog for photos soon. Su-weet. The green screen shot is HOT. Brad and I are a few weeks out for our new rides since we don't need them quite yet, but I have to say I'm getting super-excited about them.

Looks like the rain/snow will hold off until tomorrow afternoon, so it's early to bed tonight and early to rise tomorrow to get in the ride before it gets really nasty and winter returns. I have a to-do list of bike stuff longer than my arm, and with 2-1/2 weekends at home in a row, I will be making a good crack at checking some stuff off. First up is finishing the rebuild on the Rush only to tear it down and ship it to my dad's house in Reno, and then I get to work on the race build for the Song ...

26 March 2009

Coiled

More signs of spring:

No. 6: Break time is over. After a few days of great recovery (including one day completely off the bike!), I am dreading tomorrow's workout. My body doesn't like rest weeks, and it reminds me of this every time I have a hard workout at the end of one. And tomorrow marks the start of "real" training -- up until now, it's been all tea time with cake and ice cream; now it's time to break out the hot sauce. One month to go until Cohutta!

No. 7: Playlists. One thing rest weeks are good for is to get the mental engine up and running again. Thoughts flow more freely after 4 or 5 days of easy rides, and with race season upon us, today's mental playlist features "road trip" songs:
  • America, Simon & Garfunkel
  • Lodi, Creedence
  • Road Trippin', RHCP
  • Route 66 (remake), Depeche Mode
  • The Weight, The Band
  • She's Leaving Home, The Beatles
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia (cover), Blues Traveler [any live version]
  • Roll Me Away, Seger
  • Lost in the Supermarket, Clash
  • American Pie, Don McLean
  • Cold Day in the Sun, Foo
  • Chasing Blue Sky, Queensryche
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads, John Denver
  • What You Own, Rent
  • Me & Bobbie McGee, Janis
  • Runnin' Down a Dream, Petty
  • Gimme Shelter, Stones
  • Gimme the Car, Violent Femmes
  • Glad Tidings, Van Morrison

    ... and to finish:
  • Lookin' Out My Back Door, Creedence

OK, so there are some obvious ones, but not all of them ... more?

25 March 2009

Spring

Sign of spring #1: They're pulling down the salt pile from Montrose. YEAH!

Sign of spring #2: Arrival of team kit.

Sign of spring #3: Parts order from distributor(s).

Sign of spring #4: Parts order from downstairs.

Sign of spring #5: Race entry fees are coming due.

Dang, it's going to be a great year.

24 March 2009

Totally crazy

Stolen ambulance crashes in Evanston

There are ambulances parked outside a nursing home there all the time, I ride past it every day on my way to/from work. Sounds like Lou got a front-row seat to the accident? Yikes!

Happy Tuesday!


WJJO -- Madison

My inner metalhead is crushed ... just got word that the WJJO (Madison, Wisco) air staff this morning was discussing how they taunt cyclists. Crap. JJO was my beacon as I drove through central Wisconsin. Putting my money where my mouth is, I just wrote an email to the station owners, and will hit the advertisers later ... and won't be listening in the future.

May seem like overkill, but I'm pretty sensitive when it comes to this type of thing, cycling-related or not.

23 March 2009

Just re-reading my post from earlier today, realizing that I sound like "that guy." Sorry, head is still a bit fuzzy -- I'm not trying to show off, I was just that tired on Saturday night. But it was a good tired. Mea culpa!

D - O - N - E

Check. So finished by Saturday night that I had to use a calculator to figure out how much riding I've been doing. Just couldn't do the math in my head. But that was the plan -- easy spin with an amazing sunrise yesterday, a ton of family time, and then easy, easy, easy this week. Ahhhh ...

Funny thing is, I feel pretty good. Saturday was solid, with a straight-up tempo block followed by catching Judson on the way home. Then, in a stroke of serendipity, ran into Brad on the LFP as he was headed to Highland Park -- a couple of hills and a Starbuck's stop later, and the crosswind didn't feel so bad ...

I tend to keep pretty quiet with the amount of training I've been doing, but I will say this: holy crap. Thanks to the weather and some fortuitous timing that had Kate and Kim traveling and doing "girl" things with family and friends, I've spent the better part of the last 3 weeks on my bike. Now things settle down quite a bit, as my workouts become more focused and less far-reaching. And Cohutta is just 33 short days away ...

20 March 2009

Isolation is the gift

Bicycle Retailer has this thing they call the "5th Spot" every day -- usually something goofy, a lighthearted quote, story, etc. Today's quote was just perfect as I close out this block of training:

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs. And maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And you'll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is."

—Henry Chinaski in "Factotum" (2005)

19 March 2009

Tick tock

Someone once asked Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all time, how to get faster. "Ride lots," he replied.

A friend of mine was talking to one of the members of a certain very fast Wisco clan who never "practices" how he trains. "You'd be fast too if you had the time to ride 4-5 hours a day," was the gist of what he said.

So how do I drag my body through the biggest week of my career? One hour at a time.

This week marks the last of the stupid-big mileage building for the season -- I'm one hour away from finishing a 7-day block of saddle time that will be my largest ever, then tomorrow is a nice, easy Friday, then a long ride Saturday with some tempo and then rest. Plenty and plenty of rest.

And then I start to hurt myself.

Funny thing is, I feel really good (knock on wood!). These haven't been unfocused miles by any stretch -- there has been plenty of tempo and more than a few variable power sessions, but with enough recovery built in that I'm not completely fried. Close -- I'm on the edge, and I know it -- but I've certainly felt a lot worse at this point in past seasons. Just don't touch my quads, please -- this morning's breakaway efforts were just painful.

Remember how a couple of weeks back we got solicited by a crack whore on the lunch ride one day and then I got stared down by bangers at a stop sign on my commute home? Well, this week's action happened on today's lunch ride:

North Ave. was under construction, so I detoured down Larrabee, right into the heart of what used to be/is Cabrini Green. Just as I was admiring the awesome new pavement, I blew a stop sign to the right of a grey sedan and a red Grand Am. Next thing I knew, there was a siren behind me ... oh, sh!t ... look back, look back, don't look back, look back ... four BIG white cops getting out of the sedan and walking toward ... whew! the Grand Am. Driver has his hands up, cops aren't looking at me at all ... c'mon light, change ... change ...

(Shout out to Rebecca -- good call on Grohl. Took me a couple of days to come around, and I stuck with fighting some Foo, but it was a great choice for today's endurance work. Thanks!)

18 March 2009

Scar tissue

I think I've worked my way through Californication, at least for now. Back to Indestructible, which I picked up a couple of weeks back. It's mellower than 10,000 Fists, and has some sort of weird immortal/undead theme going on, but I like it.

I think my obsession with Californication stems from forgetting to play RHCP on our trip to Arizona. That's the one time I do listen to an iPod while riding since the sight lines are so good and the trail traffic so light, and this year I just completely forgot to throw on Stadium or BSSM or Mother's Milk -- all just sitting unused in my player. Milk would have been the obvious choice, since it was our first trip with Kate!

Anyway, speaking of RHCP, it's that time of year again: my scars are coming to the surface. I read somewhere a while back that the appearance of scar tissue is minimized by your subcutaneous layer of fat, and each year as I work back into shape and the fat gets burned, various scars start to look larger or make their appearance. It's kind of freaky when I find marks from injuries I didn't remember had happened. It's all good though -- chicks dig scars, right?

In the meantime, we've got family in town through the weekend, Kate isn't digging DST too much yet but is still the happiest kid I've ever seen, and I feel like I haven't seen Kim in like 2 weeks due to her travel and my riding. Oh, yeah -- riding. That's what I've been doing.

16 March 2009

To-do II

My list of to-dos in the cycling world isn't very long. Downer's Grove, Alpe D'Huez, Moab ... check, check, check. There are still a few out there, but only really one close to home: Lake Geneva.

Now, I've ridden around Lake Geneva before, many times. I've started from my parent's house, my sister-in-law's, Crystal Lake. But a couple of years back, I started to wonder just what it would take to ride around Lake Geneva -- starting in Evanston.

I didn't plan to check this one off yesterday. But as the Judson group fell apart heading back on Waukegan into Lake Forest, I decided I'd be better off on my own. So I turned right instead of left, and headed northwest, destination unknown. With Kim and Kate in Minnesota, I had time and sunshine on my side ...

By the time I hit the McHenry Starbucks, I knew it was the day. I was feeling great, it was beautiful, and there was little to no wind. I paid a quick surprise visit to K+K, and then set off in search of hills and cornfields ... with Anthony Kiedis in my head (no iPod on rides, just my thoughts ... and Chris Eatough: "I made a map and we rode to my sister's house on the beach, but it was 190 miles"), I made my way north and west first to Hebron, then to South Shore Drive, then into Lake Geneva itself ... quick stop at the convenience store and will it be back or around? ... gotta' be around, via Snake Road, man that climb from Fontana used to hurt a lot more ...

... A couple of hours later, back at Starbucks with just under 3 more to go ... mostly downhill, just a hint of a headwind, fantasizing about the Chipotle burrito and chips & guac that I would buy on my way home, not to mention the Starbucks chocolate chip-cookie ... quick 'hi' to Amy D on Sheridan -- bet you thought I was out for a late afternoon ride! -- and then it was into town, rolling home tired, hungry, and happy I was able to check another ride off the list! ... actually, two -- I passed 300km, the longest road ride I've done to date ...

Next up? If I can get in both my early AM and sneak in a lunch ride tomorrow, I'll hit 30+ hours for the past week -- I've done it before, but only when racing a 24, this time it'll be "for real" ... bring it on!

12 March 2009

To-do

Holy cow. My to-do list is huge. Four -- count 'em! -- four clothing orders going simultaneously. Public relations from the Pro Continental level to the local race level. Publicity from the national to the local. Contact Us. Newsletter. Expenses. Food. Web. Video.

And I'm blogging why? ;-)

10 March 2009

WBR-Siren Bicycles finalizes endurance roster, adds Wallenfels and Harris

TUCSON – (March 10, 2009) – Team World Bicycle Relief-Siren Bicycles is shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with in 2009, adding the powerhouse duo of Lynda Wallenfels and Dave Harris to its already strong roster of endurance mountain bike pros.

“Lynda and Dave represent what endurance mountain bike racing is all about,” according to Siren Bicycles founder Brendan Collier. “Their accomplishments on the dirt are only eclipsed by their considerable support of the sport and its athletes. We are very excited to welcome them to the team.”

“Coach Lynda” recently won the 24 Hours of the Old Pueblo, completing 16 laps on a single-speed, a result that put her on equal laps with the 4th-placed solo man. Together with Harris, in 2008 they became the first-ever open mixed team to finish Trans Rockies on single-speeds while riding to an astonishing 3rd place overall on GC.

“I’ve been riding a Siren for about a year,” Harris said, “so to be part of all this is pretty exciting. We’ve more or less taken the stance lately that we’d rather not actively pursue sponsorship because we just don’t like to promote stuff we don’t love.”

Their support of the endurance community extends beyond the race course, as Wallenfels is a premier endurance coach and owner of LWCoaching.com. The pair is passionate about self-supported endurance events, promoting the annual 370-mile Trans-Utah and holding men’s and women’s current course records for both single-speed and geared for the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail. Harris also holds the record for the 342-mile Grand Loop race (geared) and the Kaibab Monster Cross (both geared and single-speed).

Their activities will now also extend to include World Bicycle Relief, the non-profit founded by SRAM 4 years ago that provides bicycles in support of healthcare, education and economic development opportunities in underdeveloped regions of the world. The WBR-Siren Bicycles team is part of the organization’s “Grassroots” campaign, in which athletes and teams support its work by serving as ambassadors.

Wallenfels and Harris join Pro endurance racers Dan Brennan, Todd Carpenter, Brad Majors and Chris Strout, and amateurs Craig DeAmbrose and Stephen Janes on the team. For 2009, they will focus on the 24-Hour National Championships in Moab, Utah, in addition to several other geared and single-speed races throughout the year.

08 March 2009

Delusional

Flipping past Fox News yesterday, I learned some important facts about the current economy:
  • We're in an "alleged" recession
  • "Most experts" think the current problems will be over by summer
  • The very existence of 24-hour newsmedia is making it out to be worse than it really is
  • It's really not that bad, after all, 92% of Americans are employed

Holy crap what planet are these folks on?

06 March 2009

I heart Friday

Friday. Easy day. Sleep in a bit. Core exercises. Kate starts fussing. Kim feeds her, lays her back down. Breakfast. Extra honey today. Kate's in her room, talking to herself. Awake early. Close enough? Yes! Eyes wide open, HUGE smile. Quick kiss, then a shoulder snuggle -- not her favorite position, so I hold on just that much longer. Take her to our room, tummy time and raspberries on the bed while Kim gets ready for work. No place to be, no hurry at all, just me and my daughter, smiling, laughing. The moment goes on forever.

Quick change out of the pajamas, super-cute overalls outfit. Kim pulls Kate up, Kate can hold her head up! More smiles, more kisses, more laughs. A big smile when she sees me in my helmet. Daddy looks funny, doesn't he?

Outside, just barely overdressed, comfortably warm. No hat, knee warmers. No wind, water on the pavement, easy, easy roll. Getting passed by fixtie hipster chicks with too-tight jeans and guys with beards in their aerobars. Smile to the runners, exchange greetings with the dog walkers. Roll up to the back door, legs feeling great, elevator there, coffee awaits.

I heart Friday.

05 March 2009

Clarity of purpose

4:40 a.m. Alarm.
4:45 a.m. Muesli w/ honey, banana and an AeroPress doppio. Check email.
5:25 a.m. Ride.
7:00 a.m. Home to wake up Kate. All smiles and giggles, every day!
7:30 a.m. Kim and Kate to day care. Ride.
8:45 a.m. Work. Coffee. Coffee. More coffee.
Noon-"ish" Ride.
1:25 p.m. Lunch.
4:00 p.m. Snack.
5:25 p.m. Ride.
6:35 p.m. Home to play with Kate. More smiles and giggles!
7:00 p.m. Put Kate to bed.
7:30 p.m. Dinner.
8:30 p.m. Stretch. Check email.
8:45 p.m. Bed.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

04 March 2009

O.M.G.

Oh, yeah!

Def Leppard
with Poison
and special guest Cheap Trick
Friday, July 17
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Presale starts: Thu, Mar 5 at 10am
Presale ends: Fri, Mar 6 at 10pm

One. Week. Before. 24. 9. Crap.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ...

... ding!

03 March 2009

Perspective

I know I'm sometimes driven to do dumb things in the name of racing. But if I ever needed sobering up, here's a reminder of what it really means to keep it in perspective:

But I absolutely could have avoided frostbite, and now have to question whether the misguided hope that I could save my race led me to drive on when it was clearly not the smart move.
Jill in Alaska has had to quit Iditabike after falling into a pressure crack. Now she's contemplating the possibility of losing a toe. Yee-ouch. What a story.

(Thanks Danielle for the link ... now I'm hooked!)

Something in the water

Peeps in the blog-o-sphere seem cranky right now. I'm trying not to be one of them. I think Kate feels the vibe, although she seems to like her new crib.

Why are we paying a city worker to sit on the lakefront path at North Ave., idling his car, telling people that the path is closed and to turn around? Wouldn't it be cheaper to just clean up the mess from this weekend?

(And while we're at it, why is it that my 5-year-old neice can manage water while building sand castles better than the brain trust that is the Chicago Park District?)

Way too much to do to be blogging right now. My workout today is going to hurt.

02 March 2009

Hangin' in the crib


Quick update ... great weekend, rode out to Woodstock on Saturday, using Judson as a windshield as I headed north ... 3 hours to the McHenry Starbucks, landmarks are important ... especially when you flat just 15 minutes from finishing! ... then to the other P's to celebrate Kim's birthday a bit late with my bro and his family ... plenty of Yellow M&Ms on our "Saturdays" ... crazy, weird snow ride, dry ride, windy ride, sunny ride with Lou yesterday morning, then working in Kate's room before hitting the trainer, core exercises and yummy dinner ... haven't watched Without Limits in almost a year, good to catch up ... and BIG NEWS: Kate's first night in her own room, in her own crib! She's getting to be a big girl!