An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug.

Dire Straits sang that back in 1991 (from the song The Bug, on the On Every Street CD).

Yep, some days you wear the cape, some days it wraps around you and becomes a burden. Some days You're the hero, some days the damsel in distress.

Some days you've got it, some days it's got you.

Most of my training lately has been my "daily" lunchtime rides from work. An hour plus, varying in the 19-24 mile neighborhood (depending on whether there are meetings scheduled around lunch -- WHY do they do that?). They've been going well, average speed slowly climbing. I've had a few that have hit north of 20mph, including all the slow-downs and speed ups from intersections that maddeningly drop the average speed. And that's on the road bike. I've had the tri bike out a few times, and since I don't have a computer on that one, I fly blind until I'm done and can take a look at Strava. No number in front of my eyes egging me on to push harder.

Those days I come back to my desk tired but feeling good. That cape is flapping in the wind behind me.

Today, not so much. Tired, mentally dull, cloudy weather and cool temperatures (that I would have seemed so warm just a few months ago), and I'm just not into it this go-around. It happens. On those days it's often better to just chill, take the day off. Rule #5 doesn't apply here.

There are times when I tell myself that I'll just start the workout, and re-evaluate in 15 minutes. Usually by then I'm into it and feeling better, and can roll through with no problem. But there are the rare times when I know it won't go well, so it's just better to hang it up for the day, recharge the batteries, and take after it again the following day.

If I were going by some real training plan, I'd likely have rest days scheduled in...

This one is hopefully timed just right for the event I'll be doing in 9 days.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Where has the summer gone?

It's hard to believe that we're staring at the middle of August already. Where has the summer gone? Where has the YEAR gone?

There's talk of school, of cyclocross season (a fall/winter cycling psychosis), an end-of-the-season race and party for the youth triathlon team I help coach, all the signals that point toward cooler (and wetter) months coming all too soon. But we've still got another month (I hope!) of good weather coming.

This has been a roller-coaster week, though. Good and bad happening all around. On the good side:

* Last Thursday I dropped off my wife's bike frame and fork at the powder coater. It should be finished today. Pics will be posted.

* Monday was my younger daughter's first birthday. She's just taking her first steps, soon to be walking.

On the bad side:

* Tuesday was my father's birthday, the first since he passed away earlier this year.

* The suicide of Robin Williams has weighed on me, for several reasons.

I scheduled a ride on September 20th, the day after I hit 51. It's a repeat of a ride that Steve Hampsten (Hampsten Cycles) put on last summer, and I wanted to do the course again this year. With Steve being very busy, I decided to just throw it together myself. Should be fun, 60 miles, mostly on gravel, with a two-mile tunnel just past the half-way point.

I'm also realizing that I may not be able to get the frame for the tri team completed by the end-of-season party. I was hoping to have it there to display/show off. I may be able to get it assembled (the frame), but I wouldn't want to hang parts on it before it's been prepped (bottom bracket faced/threads chased, head tube reamed and faced) and painted. Some busy build time ahead.

So hopefully things are going well in your camp. Be sure to hit the back-to-school sales and check your supplies lists...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Looking at the mountain -- RAMROD thoughts.

I took a nice ride yesterday at about mid-day, just under 30 miles, nothing too strenuous or long, no big hills. A sunny early-afternoon jaunt.

Several points afforded me great, clear views of Mt Rainier. It was one of those days with very little haze, and you could see from the 14,400 ft summit all the way down to the lower foothills.

It made me think of the route that the riders of RAMROD will be taking in just three short days. 150+ miles, and a good 10K ft of climbing in one day of glorious (and grueling, on some stretches) riding.

I'm doing a favor for an online acquaintance -- his wife was drawn in the RAMROD lottery, and they had to ship her bike out from Massachusetts. I volunteered to put her bike together for her (and also disassemble it for return shipping). It arrived on Friday, and it's ready for her arrival in town today. As I took it out of the shipping box, I was impressed -- custom titanium Spectrum with SRAM Red. Tasty. And very light. It should be a steed for making the circumnavigation of Washington's tallest peak.

I'm not sorry that I'm not doing the ride this year. Quite frankly I think I'm done with it. It's a great ride, and who knows I may change my mind at some point, but I've done it three times, and I know my fastest time is well behind me.

Good luck to all the RAMRODers. It looks to be a nice, sunny, warm day. Drink lots -- you'll want that on board come the Cayuse Pass climb.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's getting warm in here...

There's nothing like that feeling when everything is running smoothly, the joints are all lubed up, and the speed just seems to pile on.

Back when I was bike racing a lot (almost full-time), I found that the better shape I was in, the longer it took me to warm up. An hour of riding building to sprint speeds was common for a criterium. Only on the longest of road stages would I do very little, allowing myself the first several miles of the race to warm me up.

Lately I find myself warming up slowly again. It takes me a good 20 minutes to feel like I'm firing on all cylinders and can push the pace. Most of my lunchtime rides find me averaging about 17mph for the first 15 minutes or more, and finishing with an overall average approaching 20. As my riding goes over 12 hours a week of time in the saddle, it seems that my body has adapted to the longer rides, and says "wait" when it comes to meting out the energy to push the pedals.

I'd love to say that my speed and endurance are approaching that of my peak racing years again, that this is just a symptom of my return to the fitness I had in my late 20's and early 30's. And that I could drop into a race again and not have my posterior handed to me on a platter along side my dignity.

Alas, it's more likely just that I'm getting older, and it just takes longer to get percolating.

That's okay, though. I'll take it. That just means I'm full of surprises for any one who sizes me up in the first 20 minutes.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Life has been pretty busy in the brider home.

Little one at 11 months and counting means that plans for a big first-birthday are in the works, along with all the normal house projects that get chipped-away-at like a lazy woodpecker, carving out a moment of two for getting the in-process bike frames built (one almost done, and shuffling three more around to get to varying states of semi-assembly), and working a full-time job...

But in all of this, we recently bought a smoker. Not a high-end thing, but it is gas or briquette fired. My wife has been having a lot of fun with it. And I can't say as I'm at all disappointed.

It's been used a good twice a week since we got it. Pork and chicken have been the proteins of choice mostly, and let me tell you, the results have been DELICIOUS.

Last night was her first foray into cow. Beef brisket. And yes, it was good. I've got a couple slabs for lunch today.

Yes, it takes more time than a barbeque. But the results are SO much better.