We make holes in teeth!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Don't Mess with Texas

Today's useless factoid:

The phrases "Don't mess with Texas" and the Southwest Airlines catch-phrase "You are now free to move about the country" were both created by Roy Spence, who has now joined the Clinton Machine. So what quirky phrases can we expect to hear from the Clinton campaign in the coming months? If this were a political blog I would rant on and on about what silly expressions might now emanate from that side. But it's not, so I won't.

I decided to take today, Friday, off the bike. This morning I feel good, so I would have gotten a good workout in this morning. I think. But until I try a solid 4 day, blow-it-out block, I won't really know if I can keep that up on the 4th day. So let's see what we can do this week. I hope this rain clears up though because this is all dependent on my getting 2 good road rides in this weekend. Sunday is also up in the air because Verizon is coming to install FIOS, which basically means we're under house arrest until they decide to stroll in and do the work they quoted us.

I'm well into The Skeptical Environmentalist and while it's an interesting book I'm ready to move on. Problem with that is that I'm still about 160 pages from the end which is a lot when all you can reasonably read is 10-15 a day. I'm blazing through the smaller books, having finished Life After God, Wyrd Sisters, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, Three to Get Deadly, and one before that I don't remember. Also just picked up Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut, which was the next one on the stack. I've read it before but not in a long time. A brilliant book if memory serves.

Also really getting into blogs again which takes some time to collect. There are hundreds of gems out there. The problem is finding them among the millions of junkers. I've pared down my list of bike blogs because frankly the bike blogosphere is pretty inane. My current blog mix ranges across bikes, sports, science, history, environment, the general blogosphere, and what I would call general interest. Damn Interesting would fit that last category. The general blogosphere is also what I would call the current 20-40 year old generation's musings on life in general, which currently has a lot to do with politics, for better or worse.

Not much else to talk about today. It's dark out and the cold is rolling in. Next week looks like a chilly one.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Times Is Calling

As I told Walter yesterday I think the Times may be calling soon to ask me to write a piece for them. I base this on the fact that my prose lately is so riveting. As a non-biking factoid, did you know that the Exxon Valdez was only the 20th biggest oil spill ever? So with that, more bike rivets!!!


"I'm very familiar with Ross (you're not surprised, I assume) so I just wanted to hear if that was what you were doing. And it does make sense, certainly. You also state a key element that in order to make gains, you'll have to suck it up. That's for sure, no matter what plan you're on. I did a Ross-style 4 days myself this week, as I did nearly 2 hours each day on the mtb Monday and Tuesday, following 5 hours on the bike over the weekend. Boy, was I hungry last night. Being a "traditionalist" training-wise, Monday is usually a day off or a very easy active recovery day for me, but the weather has been too nice to pass up, and college teaching (on Monday) doesn't start until 1/28."

Good to hear someone is out enjoying the weather. Rain or shine, warm or cold, this cubicle monkey gets no benefit out of the January warmth. So nothing changes for me. By the weekend it looks like temps will drop back down to where road riding means cold toes but not cold enough to freeze things up on the trails. This is the winter. So it goes.

I'm not surprised you know Ross but I wouldn't have been surprised if you hadn't read him. He's definitely not traditional and a lot of people say it's the only new training philosophy in the last 30 years. Most of the books are really new ways to say the same things people have been saying for years. Ross takes a different perspective.

At the same time, at the end of the day he's also saying that you need to work hard to make gains. The one big difference is that he advocates working harder and resting more. Very few people suggest 3 days off a week. I think only Ross and David Morris do. Blocks blocks blocks.

So yesterday I felt more rested but by early afternoon I was dead tired and by night I was shot. Expected for sure. So far today I feel pretty good but we'll see how it goes. I'm still assessing whether or not to ride Friday and right now I'm leaning against it. You need to suck it up sometimes but I don't think it makes sense to be going through the motions at 5:05 am on a Tuesday morning. I probably should take Friday off for the sake of experimentation. Will my Tuesday session be lackluster whether or not I ride Friday? Only 1 way to find out.


"almost one year ago: i picked 3 of your final 4 as running mates for the '08 ticket Obama/Lieberman McCain/Giuliani"

Things remain interesting on the Dems side with Hillary's win in NH. Technically she lost, oddly, since they split the delegates 9-9 and for whatever reason Obama gets more "super delegates" than she does, 4-3. But Clinton won popular vote and keeps it an interesting race nonetheless. For me, all I care about is seeing an interesting game. I can say at this stage of my life that I just don't care who wins the election. I'll vote, but it won't bother me much who wins unless it's some second coming of Hitler candidate.

I'm happy to see Giuliani getting plowed so far because quite frankly I think he's a fucking Fascists. The crime statistics in NYC more or less follow that national trends of lessened violent crime which just so happens to coincide with the removal of lead from gas and paint. Yet somehow he gets credited with this. If 9-11 had never happened, he would not have the legacy he does. His approval rating in NYC was not so hot before.

But anyway, McCain with a big win makes it yet more interesting. Boy, things are WFO right now on both sides of the political coin. It's almost like UFC. Almost.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Wednesday morning, so bright and full of vigor. The sun rising out the right side of the train. Here are 2 pictures from my cell phone:

Going to start off with a bike comment.


"Why are Monday and Tuesday the 4th and 5th days of your block if you're pooped from the weekend? Particularly at this point of the year?"

Let me just say now that you asked for it. So here goes. This is a layered answer so I need to start from the beginning.

Last year I went with a 5 day rotation. I rode both weekend days and Tuesday through Thursday. Being the city commuting monkey that I am, added on top of the standard dad duties, this basically became untenable. So at some point I dropped down to 4 days by dropping the Thursday and things got more sustainable.

Michael Ross in his book Maximum Performance for Cyclists suggests high-end stuff 4 days a week and taking 3 days off in a row. In reading some people's experience with this a lot of people seemed to do well with this, especially adding the 3 days off in a row to their routine. Many said the 4 day block and 3 day rest really helped them see gains. So I decided that in 2008 I want to do the 4 on/3 off approach, but not necessarily all high-end work because I'm not sure I can handle it but more importantly I don't want to spend my weekends in the basement doing precisely measured intervals.

OK I'm getting there. If you go with a 4 day block you have 3 options of what day to start. Ross says it's up to you but leans towards a Saturday start. The other options are Thursday and Friday. The reason it has to be 1 of these 3 days is because as a city monkey I need to include the weekend in there. So I need to have the weekend be part of the block. And in fact those 2 weekend days are the 2 most important days of the week.

Because of that I ruled out Thursday. Sure I would have killed workouts on those days with plenty of rest. But that would leave me flat come Saturday, which is a bad thing. Also, during race season you don't want to hit a Sunday race with 3 days stacked in front of it. Likewise you don't want to have 3 easy days before a race as you won't see gains in the long run. So out goes Thursday.

For the same general reason I knocked out Friday. Now I think Friday is possible and in the long run it may turn out that Friday through Monday works best for me. But using the Important Weekend theory, my mountain bike ride is usually Saturday and always means getting up at 6:00 and out the door by 6:30. If I'm up at 4:30 on Friday morning, topping a full week of work, that 6:00 wakeup time becomes harder and harder to hit. Then I've compromised my Important Weekend to ride Friday morning.

So add it all up and you get a 4 day block, starting on Friday, with a mountain bike ride Saturday, a longer tempo road ride Sunday, and then 2 days of high-end intervals during the season on Mon/Tue. Right now those Mon/Tue days are 2x20 at threshold.

So why am I riding Friday? Well this is Base Season so most of my miles are tempo and threshold. And in the effort to build that threshold power slowly but surely I've added a day on top, namely Friday. So far it's seemed to work, but like I said yesterday, it was a bit of a chore to get up and on the bike. Thus, I may be looking to bag the 5 days right now even though I'm looking to get as much saddle time in as possible right now.

Make sense? In my convoluted world it does. But as it seems to be panning out those 5 might be a bit much. But then, sometimes you gotta suck it up to see gains. On the other hand, what gains am I going to see if I'm dragging myself out of bed Tuesday morning and just going through the motions?

Wow, in NYC already so no more comments for today.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bike Politics

I'm starting to have the trainer blues already. I don't have the fire I had last year in the offseason which is understandable since I hit a lot of my weight goals and I didn't put on any weight over the holidays. In fact, I took off weight over Christmas, getting back 3 of the 5 pounds I put on over fall vacation and Thanksgiving. So I'm hovering in at 187 and motivated, but not motivated enough to embrace 3 more months of trainer pain.

Part of my problem is what I watch, which is right now ESPN's SportsCenter. I'm mildly interested in sports, and right now you have College Football, the NFL playoffs, and Roger Clemens. But you also have highlights of 94 dunks every morning which is tedious at best, mind-numbing at worst. I tried to watch Shrek 2 last week but that failed miserably. I need to reroute the stereo so I can play music and not have it too loud in the bedroom upstairs or something. Or something. Or...

I think I'm coming up on needing to drop to 4 days a week already. The plan was a long, slow, and steady offseason build but I find that I push pretty hard on weekends then hit Monday tired. That's fine, but Monday and Tuesday mark the 4th and 5th consecutive days in a row for the week and I don't have a lot of juice left, like this morning. It was all I could do to stay on for an hour plus. I'd probably be more productive to have 2 killer pre-work sessions than 3 average-to-decent pre-work sessions. Maybe just get up at 4:30 and sit in for an extra 15 minutes before and maybe 10 after to bump that total up to 90 minutes of hammering, then add in the weekends at 4-5 total hours.

My weekends are already pressing my limits which is good, but like I said leaves me a bit spent for the week. By tonight I'll be a walking zombie of little use to the family. But then today's session wasn't so hard so maybe I'll be so-so. I could tell I was fading yesterday because all I wanted to read was my simple book (Evanovich book #3 in the Plum series) instead of my Environment book.

I dislike national politics but I can't help but be mesmerized by Obama's potential explosion to the forefront of the ticket tonight when the NH primary goes down. This could be it for Clinton which a lot of people were writing about yesterday. It seems Edwards has jumped on the Obama side a hair and decided to stick the dagger in Clinton so she's on a bit of an island. It will be interesting to see if she falls off and if so, how fast she will throw in the towel. If the 2 championship games come down to Obama/Edwards and Guiliani/McCain it can't help but be a really interesting political Super Bowl. But Romney seems to be right there which is throwing things off. A Final Four as outlined above would be pretty progressive for this country, given that the religious vote put Bush back in office in 2004. Yeah, we're still missing a woman candidate but 2 months ago I would have bet my house that a black man would never win eiuther nomination. Now it seems clearly possible. Too bad Condoleeza Rice never threw her hat in since a black woman coming out of the Conservative camp would just be really juicy stuff.

Tuesday is as Tuesday does.

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