Monday, February 27, 2012

The Kids... in cartoon

Just finished my illustrations of the family, so I figured I would share. Just another side of the singlespeed moron that most of you dont know about; the artsy fartsy illustrator moron. You can see them in all of there glory a bit larger by clicking on them.
They arent always this colorful!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Great Ride with the AFC guys

Today marked the 2nd time out on the Superfly SS with the Niner fork. I would like to say that all is well and I didnt spend 54 minutes in the parking lot with the help of Double Matts and Jay trying to remedy the perpetual knocking headset, or spending a ridiculous amount of time on our hands and knees trying to locate the spring that holds the compression pieces together on the plug...but I cant. Soooo, I rode 18 miles with a loose headset. Other than that, the ride was great. Riding with those guys is a great time. Not too serious and just the right amount of suffering. I did take my first digger in a long, long time; busted up the left knee-yeah, the one with the click. Bike is good, so I am good. I did ride harder than I was supposed to (in zone 5 for 28 minutes), but Mr. Lins seemed to enjoy that. It is a tad bit harder to be as efficient on the SS than the geared thing for sure. That would have been a better choice for todays ride, I think-WHAT! Did he say what I thought he said? I did. Hey, the Superfly 100 has 112 miles on it and my other SS combined have 2500, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. I have always wanted to use that expression and now...probably wasnt worth the wait. So go out and ride and keep those shorts up.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Looking forward to a great ride with the AFC team on the morrow

Tomorrow looks to be like another great time with the AFC team on the trail. Should have about 7-9 of us out there. Most of the guys live right there around the park-lucky indeed. It is always a very fast paced ride-usually 10-12 mph with 3,000+ feet of climbing. It is always great to be on the trails with people that really enjoy riding. Most of the guys put in 120-200 miles per week. We meet at the park and ride around 7 am, so come out and join the sufferfest! See you in the a.m.!

The Little Kangaroos Rock it Again!

Today marked yet another win for the mighty Little Kangaroos; defeating the Bears 20-16. The Bears "were" the best team until today, both 3-1 with a tie coming in. The team has been working on defensive skills during practice this week and it showed. The team played as a unit for the first time this year-from calling plays to taking control of the ball. Alex had another fine performance with 14 pts and 5 assists. That brings his total to 80 pts in 6 games-You rock Boi! Two more games left in the season and on to baseball.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blowin' Out the Pipes at Patapsco

Today...well this week was supposed to be a rest week for me. So averaging 11 mph and get the HR above 185 wasnt the smartest thing to do. Eh, I was feeling good and OH, forgot to mention; have a Niner carbon fork on the Supafly and today was the first ride. In a nut shell, it is a full one pound lighter (532 g's)than my Switchblade (955 g's)-bringing the total weight to...17lbs. 12 oz., my Fisher road bike was heavier than that! Anyway, I attacked some climbs at Patapsco that I would not normally put huge efforts into this time of year, but new toy requires testing. It tracks very well and is surprisingly forgiving. Not going to go into alot of details, but the only thing that was an issue was the headset loosing up due to the compression plug-all fixed now.

It Lives up to its Name
Soapstone-aka little heart attack is one of the steepest climbs at the park-some parts are 17-23% with roots and 200ft of elevation in 1/4 mile. I wasnt going to go full out, but the fork was beckoning me to thrust my 182lb frame into the bowels of the beast...nevermind. Out of the saddle, it did not stray off line. No torsional flex whatsoever. I will give a more detailed review later on, but for now, if you are riding a rigid fork and want the best, this could be it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Time for a ReBuild

Yes, that is french "ReBuild". Some long hours in the saddle this past week-216 to be exact. Time to focus on some easy rides and rest-maybe and then go into the build phase! You have to sing it like Ethel Merman; come on, you can do it-ready...into the build phaaaaaaaaase! That was ok, moving on.

I have put in close to 1340 miles so far this year. Most of this is geared towards the longer 9 and 12 hour stuff later on in the year. March 3rd will be the most insane day ever for me. Why? I will tell you-4 hours on the trainer. I can think of a lot of things I would rather be doing; being castrated, colonoscopy, picking dead skin from a 90 year old womans feet...ok the last one is worse than seeing said woman in the buff. Anyway, it is for Cystic Fibrosis, so I guess I better stop being negative. It will be a true test of my dedication or a false sense of accomplishment. Ethel, you are the greatest...I cant get you outta my haiiiiiiirrrrrrr! Over and out.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Feeling Really Good Now and Another Fine Performance from Alex

I know it is too early to tell, but I feel really good right now. I have lost 5 lbs. down to 182-my normal weight, still no lightweight by any means, but I feel very strong. I am able to maintain good power on climbs, even on the early stuff. The wind has been really bad, but even with headwinds, I can still maintain 18+.

The Madone is still as amazing as when I first got it. It is a great blend of comfort and performance. If you are in the market for a new road bike, look at the 4 series. It is a great deal. Of course you can come into the Bike Doctor of Linthicum and check them out as well. MIne is over the top with Sram Red stuff, but the insurance check paid for most, so who cares.

Anyway, Alexs' team had a hard victory today against the team that couldnt differentiate between basketball and football. If this were a pro game, the other team would have fouled out most of its players within the first 20 minutes. They won 18-12 and Alex had a different game today. He only scored 8 points in 8 shots, but had 9 assists 5 rebounds and 5 steals and really focused on passing and taking charge of the offense. 64 points on the year with a 77% avg, not bad for 8. The team is now 3-2. The team played very well as a whole. The defense was great considering who they played. He is a great leader and a super cool kid-as are all of my kids!

Friday, February 17, 2012

No going back

Well, I am now officially recognized as a cat 1 XC racer singlespeeder man...guy...human; at least by USA Cycling. I emailed my resume and somehow they saw fit to accept my upgrade to cat 1.

Seems as though a few races this year are sanctioned by USA Cycling. In order to race Cat 1 SS, your license must reflect that. Last year I raced all expert/ss open cat, but none of the races required me to have a license. I feel all giddy inside. So...44, racing against guys half my age...doesnt get any better than that! Sure I will get snuffed by a few of the youngins, but they will feel the wrath of "Pops, the Monocog Wonder"!

Eh, I still have the ability to progress and get faster, at least for the foreseeable future. I was a little worried earlier this year. Yesterday I did my first hill repeats of the year which consisted of 4 x 3 (4 sets of 3 minutes each with 3 minutes rest) 53/19 @ 70 rpms on a .6 mile 3.8% avg grade, so not to bad. I did a 74 mile road ride on wednesday, so I wasnt even sure that was smart-but it is me we are talking about here, so anything on the side of stupidy always trumps practicality and common sense-I guess that means you are in the same boat, or you wouldnt be reading this...right? Anyway, I didnt push full on, but got the HR in low 180's, which is about 4-6 bpm above LTHR. I felt really good during and afterwards. In fact, I got faster while maintaining the same HR and cadence increased, so I was able to maintain power, which is a good thing.

First race is a month a way, and it is my favorite and toughest. 31 registered for SS class with some very fast people. I am just going to keep my head down and push it... ah push it...da do da do da...dadadadada...babe babe...ew babe babe. Thats enough-over and out!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hints of spring and a sore butt

Today was one of those days that you should be on the bike; unless of course you were working-sorry. Started off a bit chilly, but slowly warmed up to the high 50's. The wind of course seems to always save the best for my day off on wednesdays. 20 mph gusts in all of the directions that hindered my efforts, even descents were not "rest" spots. I have to admit, It really grates me. Especially if you have set aside time to do a 70 miler, as I did today and you are pushing much harder than your training schedule allows.

Anyway, 74.5 miles and 18.2 avg. speed, but felt very battered and without power. My biggest concern was about 4 miles in, my rear end was already uncomfortable, I mean to the point that I was picking, maneuvering, wiggling and everything in between to find a comfortable position-it never happened. For 70+ miles, I had the gusts and an arse that was not willing to compromise.

This was my longest road ride in about 10 years. I did the Chesapeake Bay Bike Tour for 6 years straight and rode 100 miles on saturday and 45 on sunday. Oddly enough, my longest rides since then have been 24 and 12 hour solo races on the SS, now that's an oxymoron.

The first race of the year is the AFC Patapsco sufferfest. I have gotten better each year since they have been running it. This year I will be racing for the AFC team and competing against some of my own. Jon Houghton, who is a great guy and great rider will be there and hopefully I will be able to "avenge" my 3rd place finish last year. It will be strange racing against your own team mate. Either way, it will be a great time!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Alex was on Fire!

videoWell today Alex broke out and the team did great as a whole. This is their 4th game and again, playing against a taller team, they managed to end the game in a tie at 32-32. Alex was dominating! 24 points and 5 assists. That brings his total to 56 points for the year for a 14 ppg. avg. The team was slow to start and fell behind 14-6, but Alex had a drive of 6 baskets in a row! All in all it was a great all around effort by all. 2-2 on the season so far... good job guys!

Alex is really starting to show some real potential. He carries himself well on and off the court and is a true team player. He passes the ball when needed at takes command on the court controlling the speed of the game and shows real leadership skills. He is a super cool little kid and I love him dearly! Yeah, mushy, but I am a proud Dad.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Time for a Break

Nice 26.2 mile ride on the Superfly SS (which had yet to see dirt this year) at Patapsco today with 3k of climbing. Legs are a bit tired, so I think I will lay low for a day or two. I pushed hard on the climbs, but HR didnt get above 188, legs wouldnt allow me to. My mind said go! Legs said, are you listening to us, we are tired and sore. Legs win.

I may have switch to a 32/18 or 32/19, not sure yet. Too early in the season to make that call, but the clicking in my knee is a bit of a concern.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just a wee test for today

HR Example from Previous Months on the same Steep Climb
I decided today that I was just going to go out an hammer some areas around work and see how I felt. My max got to 190, which is 10 shy of my max of 200. I was able to sustain 185+ for a good period as well. I was looking back on similar rides and my HR was the same, but the avg. speed was up by 2 mph in some instances; not to shabby-you have to say that like Adam Sandler in Lunch Lady.

Still a far cry from top shape, but intervals arent for a while yet. I do feel good, though. Funny thing is, even when you are feeling good and you push yourself hard, you still feel the pain, but the pain is at a more tolerant level than before.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Finally...a test I want to take

Well, since joining the AFC team, I will be getting a V02 max and LT test within the next few weeks. The team gets a crazy discount on the test. It will be interesting to see how close "my" LT test was. I think I was a bit low; I am guessing mine to be 180, instead of 176-178. This will really put my training in a new perspective. This could be the one thing that sends me into the SS stratosphere! Ok, at least the 2nd floor of my domicile.

Although I had a real good year last year, I am certainly not ready to let go of the reigns as of yet. My goals this year are podium appearances at all races. I podiumed in 10 of 13 last year. I would like to get a few more top spots as well; 1 a month? Sounds good to me.

Sneak Peak at the 2012 Bontrager Line and a shameless plug

Our rep and super cool human, Jon Rogers stopped by the store today and we got a chance to see some of the new offerings from the "B" man. The clothing line is superb this year. Far better offerings from previous years. They revamped the line and it shows. Great price points and they look great. Jon said they stepped up there game to be a serious contender in the clothing market; I think they will do very well. There is a price point for everyone; so there is no excuse to not get into some great cycling apparel from Trek/Bontrager. Get down to your local shop and get some more info or visit Trekbikes.com or Bontrager.com.

If you are in the Baltimore area, hit the Bike Doctor of Linthicum; not just a bike store, but a place to go and feel like you are amongst other cyclists that care about you and your needs as a...well a cyclist! A full service Trek/ Bontrager/ Mirraco/ Cannondale/ Gunnar/ Waterford/ Niner and GT dealer. From custom wheel builds professional fittings to full frame build ups all to your specs. Group rides are on saturday mornings at 8:15am. All are welcome; usually 12-20 riders for a 30 mile jaunt around BWI.
Thanks again to Mr. Rogers for the cool stuff!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Painting a Picture with Words

I will start off by saying this simple truth; Pink Floyd are not only one of the all time great bands, but they are the masters of painting imagery with song. I mean, it is like you are reading a novel and you can envision exactly what they are trying to portray.

If you havent seen "The Wall", dont. Listen to the album first and then go rent it; you will see exactly what I mean. The Wall isnt the only Floyd ear satisfaction in their repertoire either. Listen to any Floyd offering and you can submerse yourself into a mind trip without the drug induced part. Dark Side is another example. The complete mastery of background noise and atmospheric mood. I simetimes have to be careful when Im driving, too. I will find myself "looking" at the imagery and not the road-Yikes! There are a few songs that are dedicated or written about the founder Syd Barrett; Shine on you Crazy Diamond, Brain Damage, etc.

Syd did a little too much acid and eventually sent him over the edge mentally. You can almost see him and what he was going through by just listening to the hypnotic beats and Wright's piano/organ playing and Glamour's haunting yet purposeful leads. Unfortunately, like all of the really great bands, ego's get in the way and thats that. I mean not since the days of Mozart, Vivaldi and the likes of Tchaikovsky has there been a group that can do it so well all of the time. Amazing-my hat goes off to you a great gig in the sky!

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Build"ing the foundation; and not just cycling

Yeah, its almost time to start getting into the build phase of this dang program. The problem with MTB season is that it starts early. Most road races arent into full swing until springtime. Early march makes for a more condensed program. Sure, you cant label every race as an "A" race, but there are too many good races to not do so.

The build phase gets a little more intense so you arent spending most of the time wondering when your E1 ride will be over. The click in my left knee has come back, and I attribute it to running, so no more running, Forest. This week is a nice east week and next week will start introducing some tempo work, but still focusing mainly on E1/E2 crap.

On another note, I was fortunate enough to witness 125 5th graders show off their ballroom dancing skills today. My youngest daughter, Cassy was dressed in a 1930's flapper dress and looked MA-VILOUS! Samba, Tango flip floppin Mango they did it all. At the end the parents got to dance the Rhumba with them. I have to admit, I have a bit of Danny Kay in me, but it is hard to dance with someone 51" when your 72".

These are such great times, and I am lucky enough that I get to be a part of it all. I have yet to miss a field trip, recital...anything for any of my 3 kids. It is a shame that there are some parents that put other things ahead of the one thing that your kids will remember forever; time with them. I wouldnt miss it for anything.