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Jacksonville, FL, United States
In Life as well as in running the secret is Pace.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A change of "Pace"

I loved running…  and I miss running…  I miss the brain in neutral, legs on autopilot, quiet solitude, it was a balm to my soul.
But those days have passed…  it's time to add to the list of things I can still do but that I should probably avoid:
1.      Tackle Football…  it was the first to go back in my mid-twenties..  I’m not sure why I was still doing that in the first place
2.      Basketball…  the first knee related stoppage
3.      Ultimate Frisbee – oh how I loved this sport in my 30s and I played like a 10 month old Lab puppy
4.      And now running – I can still do it…  can still do a 22 minute 5k…  but it hurts…  for days
This was 2014
Yes…  the transformation is complete.
The great news is that I have found another sport to enjoy...  But... I think it might be time to change the name of the blog.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Power weekend

"Power is a quality which enables one to reach one's goals.... Yet a preoccupation with power distracts us from paying attention to what is at the foundation of the world."
          Kurt Godel, 1906 - 1978
I subscribe to a "Quote of the Day" newsletter.  The QOTD for Saturday was the above… 
Started off by oversleeping.  Had planned to be out the door by 0630 and when I awoke at 0610…  well that wasn't going to happen.  I had arranged to ride for an hour with one of my friends from 0700 to 0800 then meet my wife at 1015 for the final two hours.
Waking late basically set me up for 3 hours solo to start.  Not the end of the world.  It was cold…  37F at the start
The Plan:
4xEPDs in the first and last hour.
one 10-15' tempo interval during each of the middle 3 hours. (225-250W, no higher!)
So… my first intervals were only 5' into the day.  I broke no records but gave them a go.
I noticed soon after my first intervals that I seemed to be both working pretty hard, and going pretty fast, to maintain some underwhelming numbers.  Tailwind, I thought, it must be a tailwind…  so on I rode.  Feeling okay but working.
After finishing the first hour I settled into some endurance riding. Endurance (END) power range for me is 160-200 Watts…. I was working pretty hard to hold the lower end.
I started the first "tempo Interval"… tried to get the power up to 235ish…  heart rate climbs over 145…  this conversation happens (Goofus and Gallant are the voices in my head":
Goofus: "dude you suck"
Gallant: "we're going pretty fast"
Goofus: "3 minutes into this interval and you can't even hold tempo pace?"
Gallant:  "Maybe it's the power meter"
Goofus: "maybe you suck…  why do you even do this..  you are a grandpa…. Why don't we smoke a pipe and sit by the fireplace"
Gallant: "this is making us better"
Goofus:  "you are an idiot"
Gallant: "let's stop and see if I can fix this thing"
Goofus: "stopping sounds good.  Best idea you have had all day"
So I stopped at the store with the idea that if I rebooted my Garmin and re-synched the PM all might be better.
I tried a few times both on and of the bike.  No change so on I rode. I did another Tempo by heat rate this time.
Then I eased up a bit because I was getting tired.  My average heartrate after 3ish hours was 126 (basically what I'd describe as tempo)
I stopped again to meet my wife…  refuel…  peel off a few layers.  I also rebooted my Garmin one more time..  and didn't touch my bike while it recalibrated.  I knew as soon as we started off again that my reading were normal again.  My final tempo was 225 watts at a 126 average HR…  spot on to what I would expect.  The interval ended abruptly when we came upon the scene of a crash.  3 triathletes in a paceline..  a touch of wheels and one of the riders went down.  We stopped checked him over etc…  I think he eventually got back on his bike.
The EPDs in the last hour were hard but satisfying.
<![if !supportLists]>1.       <![endif]>No pedaling during calibration
<![if !supportLists]>2.       <![endif]>Don't kill yourself over the numbers.  I started to…  and dug a bit of a hole
<![if !supportLists]>3.       <![endif]>I knew that I was 20 minutes short on my workout.  Under the conditions I was fine with that
The Rx:
10' warmup
5' @ FTP
3' easy spin
5' @ FTP
3' easy spin
5' @ FTP
9' easy spin
low SST=260
After doing the SST interval jump right into 60-75' END riding. Vary cadence and vary position on bike during this time.
Got on the trainer…  didn't feel great…  the FTPS kicked my butt…  I struggled through them…  missing target power on all three.
I could not hold 260W for the SST…  basically just aimed for an average 130 HR.  for the last hour I just tried to keep my HR and cadence up.
Super tired after
needless to say the Saturday quote holds special meaning to me...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Riding the Trainer (I guess I'm that guy…)

On Black Friday I did a 3 hour training ride on the indoor trainer.
To which I got this response:
3hrs on the trainer? Wow!  Those are hard rides.   I have about 5-6 of those in me in a season, be careful not to use those all up unless you really need to.    Sort of like timeouts in a football game, keep them close to your chest and use them wisely!   Unless you're one of those strange breeds that has no problem sitting on the trainer for 3hrs!
I guess I'm that guy…
Thought process:
Okay, 3 hours steady endurance zone.  I can't ride from home…  too many red lights, stop signs, cars.  So…  I need to get all of my gear together, plan a route, plan a stop for more water etc.  Load everything up, Drive at least 10 miles.  
Ride by myself on the same dang road.  It is pretty out there…
but I digress.
Load the bike up, get out of that wet chamois…  drive home.   Unload, put everything away.
The 3 hour ride just took up half of my day.
Cue up a steady workout on Trainerroad, put the bike on the trainer, find a movie or two. 
No commute, no redlights, no idiot drivers, no layering of clothing
I'd generally prefer riding with my friends but often the trainer trumps riding alone.  J

Friday, September 5, 2014

RAID Alpine Day 3 - The Queen Stage

so… to sum up our cycling adventure…  so far I have managed to ride myself into the ground… just in time for the longest stage.
Meanwhile Judi had been riding smart and dosing her effort.  
Since the stage was so long and hard, our guides had us start slowest first and fastest last in order to help them keep up with us better with the support van.
Judi and I were the first to roll.  I had no idea how long Judi would hang on…  or me either to be honest.  I just knew that in order to have a chance at finishing one must begin.  So we did the first off at 0800….  and this turned out to be the best 2.5 hours of the whole tour…  the I'seran was spectacularly beautiful..  
Judi and I were basically alone all the way up the climb…  taking our time…  soaking up the morning…  the bike…  our effort…  each other's company.
although we were quite happy to finish the climb…  the top was 3 degrees C…  and a light rain quickly turned to sleet.  
I did not really expect Judi to attempt the descent…  but she decided to….  and in our haste to get back to lower elevations and warmer temps we did not gear up as well as we should have…  
By the way…  did I mention that I lost my knee warmers?  Yep…  the day before I really needed them...
After a long descent with a massive headwind and a bite of lunch we hit our second iconic climb of the day
It was 12ish K but very constant at about 8%.
This was followed up by the Galibier…  steep…  monstrous…  and unrelenting.  Judi was already tired when we started but in a show of determination climbed to the top.
The road seen in the valley below is the beginning of the climb. It is about 5 k at 4%-6%...  it looks flat-ish in the picture and pretty much so on the road but it burns the legs…
Next up…  the ramps and switchbacks…
the ramp on the right 13% ouch!

Very Steep near the top.
But we made it


Sunday, August 31, 2014

RAID Alpine Day 2

Day 2

pretty scary profile, no?
Well it scared me…  and after a night of cramping I was less than my normal enthusiastic self… but there was really nothing to do but get on and pedal…  that's what we came to France to do.  I did lower my seat.. I found that I spent an awful big part of the previous day way back on the saddle and felt a bit stretched…  this really helped.  
Judi and I, once again started last…  then fell further behind "getting ourselves sorted" as the Brits say.  We just turned the pedals and were soon atop the first climb and had even caught the back half of the group.
After a nice coffee stop we hit the Cormet de Roseland…  our route was a bit different than the profile above.  we skipped a couple of the minor peaks and just went straight up.  Lunch was about 5 km short of the summit.  
Judi had enough by this point and decided to ride it in the van.  
After a quick lunch I set off with the group.  The upper pat of the climb was crawling with people…  I know not what they were doing but they and their cars were everywhere.  The summit was windy and cold so after a quick photo or two we were off for a fast and twisty descent.   
Tom, Lester, and Me

We had a quick stop in the next village…  then set off for the final climb of the day…  10 hot and steep Kilometers up the Col de l'Iseran…  this climb is freakin huge…  we were stopping not quite halfway up.  Once again I probably rode too hard and went a little deep on the final climb.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

RAID Alpine Day 1

We left pretty close to on time..  and rode out of town in a nice double pace line.  we were short three rider, however, one (Martin) had yet to arrive and two others who waited the delivery of their bikes.
Our first alpine climb started soon after we left the city…  the Col de Cru.  We started the climb last after stopping to remove layers then climbed strong.
Natural Fountaiin

After a bit more rolling we hit the Col de Ramaz…  which was to be our first big test a proper Cat 1 climb.  We caught and passed a few other riders on the lower slopes and about half-way up I pulled ahead of Judi to climb a bit at my own pace…  after a few kilometers we came to a flatter part of the climb and I decided to go back a bit for Judi.  She was quickly found and we continued to the top.  Unbeknownst to us there was some kind of cycle sportive going on.. and the finish was on top of the climb.  I tried to get a decent shot of Judi "winning the KOM"

Lunch - we arrived late…  and during lunch judi decided to take the shortcut to the hotel and I decided to climb the Col de Joux Plane.  the only problem…  pretty much everyone had already left while we were eating lunch… oh, did I mention that I was navigating via the printed directions?  I did not have my Garmin loaded with the course…  for a while I thought I was following Route 50…  until I realized 50 was the speed limit…  I rode probably a bit harder than I should have but I did begin to catch our group on the Joux Plane…  and by the top I was with everyone else..  and they all had Garmins with directions…  I was getting the hang of the descending too and had a great time flying down the mountain with a couple of the guys.  
Mont Blanc in the background

We got a bit turned around in the valley…  but were soon sorted out again and hammering along the flats.  Although I was hanging okay with Tom and we had dropped everyone else the efforts of the day were catching up with me.  Our route ended with an unnamed 10 Km climb @ About a 6% average gradient and it kicked my ass… stayed close to Tom most of the  way up digging deep to do so…  With about 5 km to go I got a cramp…  I tried to stretch it out but in the end I kind of had to ride through it.  Tom was nice enough to wait for me a couple of times at intersections to insure that I knew the way.  Thankfully the last 1.5 Km was downhill…  I was ever so happy to see the hotel, Judi, and drink a well deserved beer.
When I went to bed that first night…  I was wrecked physically…  still cramping…  aching back…  and pretty sure that I would not be able to complete the full course the next day which featured even more climbing.
Well earned


Friday, August 15, 2014

Easy Days

Now that we are here in Thonon-les-Bains, France…  We don't really have much to do.

We planned on arriving a bit early… and due to finding much cheaper flights another day early… we find ourselves in this lovely lakeside village in France…

doing Yoga

Running - there is nothing like exploring a new place like afoot at 6 miles per hour

Drinking wine

and eating at fine restaurants

at long last I will finally get to turn a pedal tomorrow…  and on Sunday we will hit the Alps in earnest.

The Longest Day 12-13 August 2014

here I will chronicle our trip to France to partake in the Raid Alpine cycling tour

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Bike:  Went nowhere really
Did an hour and a half on the trainer…  Judi Ran 5 miles or so

Car: I didn't drive mine but was involved in an accident anyway…  parked on the street where my neighbor backed into it… smashed rear bumper…. then Judi drove us to the airport.

Airplanes: the flight to DC was uneventful… but crowded.  the flight from DC to Geneva was long…  made longer by delays leaving DC (an hour or so waiting for a storm to pass) then an 8 hour flight…  through the night…  we bought a bottle of wine in the DC airport and sipped on that while we Watched the in flight TV for a bit…  Judi is small enough to lie down and curl up on an airplane seat and a half…  I just dozed sitting up.

with aching ass and sleepy eyes we arrived in Geneva…  waited in line for 30 minutes or so to pass through customs…  that complete we entered the terminal to search for our checked bag…  the carousel was basically right in front of us and our bag was circling it waiting our arrival. I thought to myself "this international travel bit is a snap"

Train: We knew the train was free…  from the airport to the central station at least…  what we didn't know was if we needed a ticket or not.  I thought that we should just get on the train without a ticket…  After much discussion…  looking around…  asking around we ended up being given a free ticket (that we should have and could have gotten ourselves in baggage claim) and buying a ticket from a vending machine for 3 euro.  We were not asked for a ticket…

Geneva:  once we were in the city proper it was mid-morning.  We really had but two things on or to do list in Geneva which was good since we needed to arrange for and negotiate travel to Thonon-les-bains as well.  This is a good place to pause and reflect on how dependent we have brome on having the internet in our pocket..  and even more so when traveling with our 3G/4G iPads which we both have and take almost everywhere.  We sat in a cafe in Geneva unable to reach the internet and unsure where the bike shop and museum we wanted to visit were located.  I paid $5 for 30 minutes of WiFi so we could get our bearings temporarily then we struck out to find our first destination Bike Switzerland.  With my keen sense of direction we left the station on a heading that would intersect the road where the bike shop was… After 30 minutes or so walking arounf=d in the rain dragging our duffel bag Judi figured out that we were on the wrong side of the train station and as we passed back through we found a locker where we could stow our gear.  
we saw this sign in Geneva - Grover obviously got lost there too

Free of 50 pounds of gear we set off on the other side of the depot and within 10 minutes were standing in a tiny overcrowded bike shop run by and affable Brit.  We bought a couple of things and headed on our way.  We found and successfully ordered and paid for lunch…  Wait…  let me clarify something here… I was tired…  and without language skills…  and basically shut down.  Judi got us lunch then decided that the museum was more than we needed to bother with…  She then talked to the right people in the station, got itinerary and tickets for passage to Thonon while I just followed along.

Trains part Deux:  the next leg of our journey was to travel to Lausanne by train (about 30 miles away).  Judi had gotten our tickets so all there was to do was to await the 1342 train to Lausanne.  A train pulled in at about 1325 and we felt certain that ours would be along shortly…  we just sat and relaxed a bit…  and so it seems did the train.  At 1341 we had the epiphany that the train we had been waiting on and the one in front of us were the same… we quickly grabbed our gear and just barely made the train…

Subway:  once we reached Lausanne..  we needed to take the subway down to the Lake…  Finding it took a bit of looking around.. but…  once we got on we just basically rode it to the end of the line.
our reflection in the subway door

The Boat:  I cannot stress enough how important selecting the correct travel companion can be.

When we exited the Subway terminal the only thing to do was to aim ourselves towards Lake Geneva and search out Pier S2 where we were to board our craft.  Upon arrival we were informed by one of the gentlemen in the sailor type outfits, in clear but broken English, that our boat was not going to leave at 1503 as scheduled in fact the boat might not leave ever again.  We were told to check back at 1530 to see if the weather had cleared.  It was windy…  and storm clouds surrounded us… Not being an expert…  and really in no position to argue at all…  We turned and walked away seeking some shelter from the wind for an hour or so.  Despite the fact that we had now been traveling for 24 hours and were mentally and physically exhausted…  Neither of us were mad…  Nobody whined…  or cried…  we just sat in the tiny terminal and read for a while…  then had a brief discussion of how we might deal with a boat that never travelled across Lake Geneva to France again.
the wind and waves on Lake Geneva
at 1530 we walked up to and boarded a boat…  winds were still high and we could see storms in the mountains…  We were never asked for a ticket (or were we on the subway) and soon the boat tooted it's horn and left the dock…  before I dozed off I heard the word "Thonon" amidst an outburst of French over the PA system.

Pedestrian:  Taking France by foot.

off the boat and into France…  no customs…  nothing…  the first thing we noticed was a Credit Agricole sign and I took out 80 Euro…  While I completed my transaction  Judi found an tourist information booth where she got directions.  Our hotel was just a half mile away…  up an 18 percent grade.  With my last bit of strength I hauled our junk up the hill.

Check-in at the hotel was a breeze…  finding a restaurant for dinner was not.  We went to two different places (many were closed) one informed us that it was Wednesday (leaving us to assume that they did not serve dinner on Wednesday) and the other place (where they served us a nice glass of wine) said that they only serve lunch.

After a bit of discussion we arrived at a plan..  We hit the Carrefour(supermarket) bought wine, cheese, bread, etc and returned to our room and enjoyed a nice feast…  oh so thankful to be immobile.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Mantra - "We are what we repeatedly do"

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." – Aristotle

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ocala Almost stage race

Well…  I love watching stage races on TV…  so I figured well..  doing one would be fun, right?
So up I signed (I signed up).
The race was a hundred or so miles away so we made a weekend of it…
So why "Almost"?  that was my first question too…  it was just because of the way USA Cycling does points differently for stage races and this one did not meet some kind of criteria.
Anyhoo…  no bigs.
Stage 1:
Rolling out for stage 1

Woke to the sound of thunder…  how far off I sat and wondered…  started humming a song from 1952…  wait!  I'm not Bob Seger…  this is not the song Night Moves" it's the story of a bike race.
It was raining on Saturday morning…  and it did rain on the race…  the course was 4 laps of a 12 mile circuit. Rolling hills with a decent rise at 1 KM to go.  I figured this would play in the result.  The first lap was pretty calm and the second calmer still.  A break of 2 got away on the 3rd lap.  I bridged to the break…  sat in and recovered for about 30 seconds and then started to work…  we were joined by one more and the four of us worked pretty well together around the back part of the course where the road is narrow and bumpy…  we got caught soon after we turned onto the highway.
Another break formed just at the end of the last lap…  led by the kid in the forground of the picture above (who went on to win the stage)…  we kept them in sight and finished 3 seconds adrift.  My teammate Kenny took 3rd and I came in 6th.
Stage 2:  Time Trial
On Saturday afternoon after the morning road race…  it was tough to try and rest, and eat, and sort out bike logistics, and recover, and warm-up all in 3 hours…
And… I expected to make a difference in the time trail…  normally my specialty….  I knew from the riders who finished before I started that ~10 minutes was where I wanted to be…
It was an out and back course…  and as you can see from the course profile above…  the hills took their toll…  and when I heard 5:21 at the turnaround I knew that I was not on a great ride.  6th place again….  When I was really expecting top 3.
The beer afterwards tasted just as good tho…
We basically got dinner and went straight to bed Saturday…. 
Sunday – Road Race
Stage 3 with extra water - it was HOT

They cut a lap off of Sunday's race to the disappointment of no one…  we started at 1100 and it was broiling hot…  after about a half a lap of jostling for position I drifted to the back…  the very back…  and just took it easy…  I was in 5th place overall…. And with my unsuccessful attempt at getting away on Saturday and the accumulated fatigue I found drifting along back there to be pretty nice.  I did try to get a break going midway through the last lap but we never got more than 10 seconds.  I made it about half-way up through the group for the final kilometer…  but not far enough not to get boxed in for the sprint…  8th was all I could muster.
In the end I was 5th overall…  not too bad but really I was never in contention despite the small gaps.
I'm not really sure how I feel about how I raced…  in a way I feel like I sat back and took what the race dictated instead of taking it by the horns…  something to think about until next time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Words for Wednesday

"He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Words for Wednesday

Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for. Mold your career around your lifestyle not your lifestyle around your career."
(via clubathletica)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tri This . . . . . . . . . . . . Fleck's Blog: Success in Sales. Parallels with Endurance Sports ...

I dig the Simon Whitfield quote

 "The relentless pursuit of . . .".

Tri This . . . . . . . . . . . . Fleck's Blog: Success in Sales. Parallels with Endurance Sports ...: The poster above, from the National Sales Executives Association* has been circulating around on LinkedIn in the last week or so. As m...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Words for Wednesday

Bike racing teaches you to act with class. You work. You suffer. You learn a code. You almost always lose. You find honor in your effort.
-Peter Flax

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wilmington Grand Prix

in retrospect, doing a race withe the words "Grand Prix"in the title is really cool.  In prepose it is more than a little daunting.  So why you might ask, do I continue to do things on a bicycle that cause me so much fright, trepidation, anxiety, and unbridled fear?  The answer is simple…  it is for that moment, when the race starts and the fear fades to the background and is replaced by the most incredible focus that a man with adult onset ADD can muster.  The fear is still there but I have little brainpower to process it because the focus is on the wheel in front of me, the next corner, and the race itself.
but…  let me back up a little…  one of the worries I had about this race was the fact that I would be riding it on a brand new bike
that's right kids…  I would not be racing on my trusty, rusty, 2001 LeMond…  but on a brand new Pinarello.  Carbon Fiber, Ultegra, Asymetric frame, sweetness all around.  But…  new… and untested
Pinarello FP Quattro

Oh I'd ridden it home from the bike shop.. 8 miles…  but…  as proven by the fact that I asked the neutral support guys to adjust my saddle twice during my warm-up laps…  it was not quite as dialed in as I would like.
there were over 50 lined up for the 4/5 crit…  and the course layout while being kinda cool was challenging.  But not in the way that I thought.  
the gun goes off…  and so do we.  I was seeded about halfway back, on the outside of turn one.  Somewhat as expected the field came apart in the figure 8 (basically 4 turns in 200 meters).  Also unsurprisingly I cornered gingerly on my unfamiliar bike.  Bridging up to the back of the main group through dropped riders wasn't easy but attainable.  The extremely tight corner at the end of the back straight proved to be fun and fast when I had feared before the race that it would be where a crash was apt to occur.  I thought the finishing straight would be the place to make a move and I was not wrong about that…  and managed to move up.
the second lap was (as best I can remember) a carbon copy of the first but the third lap was my undoing.  On the downhill corner of the figure 8 while sitting in the back third of the bunch a guy passed me on the outside…  a good pass…  he even told me that he was there..  but it spooked me a little, i took a really bad line, lost a ton of speed and was overgeard for the uphill corner.  off the back again.  I managed to catch back on by the finish straight but found myself not on the back of the group but in a group of other shelled riders.  I pushed through them… and could see the back of the pack 20 meters ahead of me…  but I couldn't bridge again.
game over.
I stayed in the race…  dove through every corner…  stayed redlined… for another 15-20 minutes but then I was lapped and pulled.
day over.

so…  not a storybook maiden voyage for my new bike.  There were, however some positives and lessons learned.
1.  Once again I had a blast
2.  I overcame my fear
3.  sitting on the back is no way to race a bike
4.  I would do well to remember one on my mantras "it's hard to get dropped when you are on the front
5.  Racing in downtown Wilmington, DE was cool
6.  Racing the exact same course that the pros raced on later in the day was also pretty cool
We did the Gran Fondo on Sunday…  lots of hills but absolutely beautiful countryside
I really hadn't felt too well since I had a pretty intense asthma attack after the race on Saturday…  
And now
Yep…  but I've got some antibiotics so I should be back at it soon.