We make holes in teeth!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Drinking is for the Birds

It's Saturday and I'm still feeling crappy from going out Thursday night. How can 4 beers really knock me out that bad? I don't know. I'm still not right today. Had a good trainer session today and a good time at Orion's for dinner. But man, I'm really looking forward to sleep. No more beer. You too Walter.


Friday, February 29, 2008

My Girl Likes to Party All the Time

The Eddie Murphy song listed above was released in the late 1980s I think, roughly 20 years ago. I was in high school, and growing up I saw Murphy as an absolute legend, someone who epitomized the excellence that human beings could attain if they really tried. I would never call him a hero, but man, Eddie was the funniest shit out there.

Then this song came out. If nothing else, this showed that he was not, despite his previous work, infallible. In fact, this showed that no matter how cool you are, you can make that all come crumbling down with 1 absurdly bad song riding on the coattails of your previous success. Alternately, this was a sign of things to come in life. This isn't the exception in show business, it's the rule. Any public figure is subject to it. And really, when you look at how tragically today's stars come crashing to Earth (Brittany Spears, Roger Clemens), releasing a crappy pop-dance song is a pretty painless road to take.

I heard that song on the radio today, being played as a joke on the Boomer-Cartin radio show. Thus the thought.

No bike today as I went out drinking with a few people from work last night. Had 4 beers and got home at 10. Waking up at 6:00 was tough enough. 4:30 wasn't even an option. In response to my abusing my body last night, I now weight closer to 190 than 180. Abusing your body as such never has positive consequences.

Cupcake Steve

"i was a little apprehensive about the lack of resistance settings on the trainer, as well. supposedly the fly wheel mechanism has something called infinite resistance, which i still do not understand. i had some issues with lack of resistance when the I used the MTB (2x9) on the trainer for most of last season. However, it has never been an issue with the road bike. let me know if you want to try it out."

Thanks! I think the infinite resistance claim is that the resistance isn't linear, it's exponential. On a bike "in the field" it takes something like twice as much power to go from 15 mph to 19 mph - I don't know the actual numbers but it's along those lines. So if you go from 19 to a 20 average, you've made big power gains. As I understand it, the CycleOps is the same sort of thing. So if you're in a 52x13 spinning at 120 rpm, you probably need to be putting out over 1000 watts which is astoundingly high. So in theory you could get into truly inhuman power realms if you can spin 150 rpm in that scenario. That's my understanding at least.

Given that the Performance trainer lasted a season and is now acting goofy, I should probably try out another model and the CycleOps is the other model. Really I'd love the Kurt Kinetic with power reading but they don't carry that unfortunately. I could get a refund and then buy the KK somewhere else. It's slightly more inconvenient but only a bit. But then I don't know what the price options are on that. I have until next week to take care of that.

Not too bad this morning. But abusing your body is never good. It could be a long day for any number of reasons. The Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle hit the Bargaining phase recently so I think the next step is Depression then Acceptance, though I wouldn't be surprised to see a regression to Anger.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Egg Yolks

Today's blog title brought to you by the People Who Don't Know What to Title Their Blog Posts.

Back "on" again today. Once again last night Julia was coughing and puking until past 11:00. Funny thing, she's fine 23 hours a day now, but at 10 her congestion tries to drain and she coughs and sometimes vomits, sometimes not. Anyway that limits me to 5.5 hours of sleep and this morning I don't feel any worse for it, surprisingly. Yesterday's brief scratchy throat didn't turn into anything, thankfully.

I think I'm about ready for nothing but high-end work on the trainer now. Today was the following:

8 x 1 minute on, 30 seconds off
Rest 5 minutes
Rest 5 minutes

Total work time was 24 minutes. Resistance was 5
Gearing 52x20 (ish)
Cadence about 80

This is a workout from the Ross book. My timing is screwy here because, well, you know, I'm leaving the country in 9 days and this is usually a 4-6 week ramp of HIT training. You basically work at Critical Power, which is found through a test but equates to a level you can maintain for roughly 2 minutes or so. I didn't formally test myself to get to this stage on the new bike. I don't see the point with the new bike on a trainer that's going to get exchanged. Then I'll be on whatever in Taiwan. Then I'll come back to a new trainer. Basically I'm going at a level I know to be roughly accurate from experience. Is my experience enough? GIGO?

The reps hurt, to be sure. My heart rate zooms up to the 180 realm by the end of the minute. And the 30 seconds of rest go quite fast. But I don't have a problem completing the sets and after I'm done I don't feel that spent. There are a few different things to take away from that.

First is to note that I have done some high-end work in the past few weeks, but not too much. Second is what Coggan says, that these high-end sessions aren't really all that much overall stress on your body. Yes they're very hard, pointed workouts on a very specific power output level. But even seasoned riders are only "supposed" to do 30 minutes of these. Point being you can't physically do much more than that and can't tally up a boat load of stress in 1 session. Third is that these are 50% of your max duration by design, not full duration. This is what Ross suggests to help you build most efficiently. Fourth, the higher end stuff is highly trainable, so gains and adaption will happen very fast. Thus what might have been brutally painful 4 weeks ago might not be nearly so tough now.

Anyway that's my take. The long and slow 20 minute sessions seem to take their toll on my legs more than these. But then, I'm also more careful about eating and drinking enough when I do the higher-end work. When I'm in the 3x20 sessions I only drink water and that may be a mistake. That may help explain why I'm crazy hungry every day this week. Today I went a bit heavier on the calories and feel better. Maybe it's as simple as that.

Steve aka Cupcake

"still reading, bitch. my run-on sentences are as bad as glenn's from BS-US. no other nickname - cupcake stuck... BTW - the cyclops is a great trainer."

I'm torn on the trainer. I like the adjustable resistance but I also know the quality of the CycleOps is better. Plus the word CycleOps is cool because it's almost Cyclops. It would be more pertinent to the title of this if it were EggYolks but you know. Also, the TravelTrac/Performance brand isn't consistent. It seems to get easier and harder in spots. Some days it gets harder after 20 minutes. Some days it gets easier after 45. For the sake of consistency that's certainly not good.

Oh by the way the dude who sent me the email was a little vague and it turns out he's from the International Affairs Department, which means little to nothing to me. I Googled his email and came up with 2 matches, both on the Taiwan Cyclist Federation web page. So as opposed to being reported to the government it appears I was reported to Taiwanese bikers. Still trying to work out something though. His English name is Million. Really it is.

My reading has stalled. The Taiwan book is a guide book so it's not riveting. Every time I ask Nat what she wants to do she says, "I don't know." When I asked if we were going to be able to do anything she said the same. This explains some of my desperation to find a bike, lest I be stuck in a house full of crazy Asians for 12 days straight. Anyway, the book is of minimal excitement because every time I find something I might want to do I have to temper that with the fact this may be an expensive foray into another person's living room, accented with a LOT of eating. I'm also reading Pyramids by Pratchett which is interesting and entertaining but Pratchett is not an author you can sink your teeth into, so to speak. It's pretty thin in its depth, even if it is enjoyable to read.

I'm also at a loss on the jerseys. Nothing could possibly make this any more painful than it is right now. Seriously, I don't think a single thing has gone right. I'm very frustrated and on the brink of giving up entirely.

After all this blathering, my legs do hurt a fair amount going up and down the subway steps after all. And when I had to run up the last 12 steps 2 at a time to catch the E before the doors closed, my heart rate skyrocketed and legs burned like a bitch. So much for instant assessment of today's workout.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Marked Man

I'm a marked man now. I got an email from the Internal Affairs Department of the Taiwanese government inquiring about my trip in 2 weeks. Apparently one of my emails to the bike shops was forwarded to the government. I guess renting a bike is synonymous with terrorism to some people. I can give them a pass on this one, as there is a national election there within a month. Last time there was an election the incumbent Chen Shui Bien was shot while making an appearance somewhere. He wasn't killed and that ended up propelling him to be reelected. Currently his approval numbers make Bush look popular so this year we'll see a new president for Taiwan.

As predicted Julia's cold caught up to me. Slightly under the weather today but not bad. Still tired as I didn't get to sleep again until 11:30. My wife yells at me for not playing with Julia enough when I get home but these days I am so beyond exhausted that it's all I can do to sit upright after dinner. As I woke up this morning I couldn't help but think that 4:30 tomorrow is going to be a tall order. Plus a buddy from work wants to go have some beers after, so I may be struggling by the end of tomorrow in a big way.

My bike build is coming together really nicely at this point. I could have the bike before I go but I don't know if that buys me anything. It gives Jason more time to put it together if I want until after I come back. I'm going to need to convince him to hook up with me on Easter day so I can ride it when I get back. I almost have all the pieces together and on paper it should come in around 24 pounds, which in reality means it should come in at less than 25 which works for me.

I'm still torn on what to do with the Stumpjumper. Part of me wants to build it up with scrap and keep it as a FS bike. The other part of me wants to just sell it to help cover the cost of this bike. Between the frame and shock plus suspension fork and some wheels I should be able to get $1000 for it which would make this build a lot cheaper than planned.

Not much more to add at this point. We're almost out of the tunnel so it's about time to call it a wrap for the day. But the train has stopped because there's not an open platform for us to park at. After all these years and all these trains they still can't get the morning rush hour stuff right. I don't complain much about the trains but I would guess 1 in 5 mornings we're on time and every 2 weeks there is a major problem coming home. The efficiency of NJ Transit is hindered massively by Amtrak, because I never see any of these issues when I go in and out of Hoboken. Once the weather warms up I may switch back to that line for a little to change things up again. Routine is always a call for change.

Next and final stop, New York Penn Station.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sleep Is For Suckers


"That all looks like a good use of trainer time. As the cadence/resistance/duration varies, do you find that your "limiter" moves between your legs blowing up vs. losing control of your breathing? Right now, the majority of my painful trainer work has my legs engulfed in pain before the labored gasping kicks in. A shitload of fun, I tell you."

I find starting with the higher cadence stuff it's my cardio that goes first. As the gearing gets harder and cadence drops, my heart rate and breathing seem to stabilize and my legs feel the slow creep of pain come in. Aside from making the workout more varied while still targeting the high end area, I think working different resistances is better for the sake of variation of training. It can't hurt to be able to go top shelf at different pedal speeds, or at least be used to it.

No reply from the 2 Taiwanese shops I emailed. I'm going to ask my brother-in-law to look into renting a bike for me if I don't hear from them soon. I'm now thinking that anything with 2 wheels will suffice just so long the basket in front doesn't have a dog in it. I'm also thinking a Walmart-style bike would do the job in a pinch, and I'm sure something like that can be had for $100. Maurice suggested I bring a bike with me but it doesn't really work from a luggage and transportation aspect on either end. If I can find a real beater bike to buy for $200 I'll take it and go from there. When I'm done I'll give it away or take it apart and send it home. One of the shops has hartdail mountain bikes for $25 a day so if I go the Walmart route and drop $100 and ride it 5 times it's already a bargain. Given than 85% of the bike industry is already in Taiwan you would imagine this should be easy.

Got Performance on the phone yesterday and they were all sugar and spice. Couldn't have been a better experience as far as I'm concerned. Not only will they replace it no questions asked, they're going to credit my card with whatever it costs to ship it back to them. I'm considering an upgrade but unfortunately they don't have one with a power meter. My plan is to stick this one out until we leave then send it off the day we fly out. If all goes well it will be back when I return from Taiwan. I will more than likely upgrade in some way, but at the same time I like the variable resistance as it gives me a lot of options. Maybe I should just go with the CycleOps because it gets good reviews.

The evidence is mounting that I'm digging myself a much deeper hole right now than I think. I am tired as I can recall and I'm eating like there's no tomorrow. I suppose I was in the saddle for a stretch 8 days out of 10 up until yesterday, which adds up. Take 2 off, go 4 more, then 2 off, then 4 and we're out the door to the airport and what happens after that is anyone's guess. Hopefully I can blog here and there but I'm not sure if I'll be able to post pics.

Oh hey look at this.


"now that sarah is turning 2, my wife has been getting those nurturing feelings. not that she wants to be pregnant and go through the baby stuff all over again,it seems like a biological need to nurture something. so in a moment of weakness while my father-in-law was in the hospital, i responded "yes" to, "dan and kim just got another puppy and it may not work out with the dog they have now. can we take the (older) dog if it doesn't work out?" i played the odds that someone would not give away their family pet of three years for a new puppy, and it would all work out. so 2 weeks ago, i "lost". meghan came home with a 7 pound turd with legs named "cupcake". however, it seems to have satisfied her need to nurture..."

A 3 year old dog that weighs 7 pounds and is named Cupcake? I'm guessing, and I could be wrong, that you've come up with another nickname for this dog by now? Just a wild guess.

The reality is that I'm good with 1 child and I think right now Nat is too. Take this trip for example. If we add another child it just becomes financially burdensome to fly 4 people to Taiwan. In less than 2 months Julia is going to cost 75% and a child under 2 will cost roughly 25%. Add that up and your cost just to get there is like $4500. Now add in the fact that flying 20 hours with 2 children is just plain nuts and we'll never get back. Obviously there are other variables but right now the verdict is one and done.

That reply was a long time in coming. I wonder if you even read this thing anymore.

As an update, apparently there is an exercise bike that my brother-in-law bought a few years ago. This is down in Lotung where we'll be staying a fair amount of time. This is far from the ideal situation but at the very least I can get some time in on something that resembles a bike. Knowing my brother-in-law he wouldn't have bought a cheap one so hopefully this allows me a good fallback plan. It's also something to consider that it rains in Taiwan like every day in the late winter. I don't mean every other day, I mean every day. I looked at the forecast a week ago and it was rain in the forecast for 10 straight days.

Julia had another rough bit of it last night. Another cold which hasn't been too bad but around 11 she woke up and totally lost it. By the end of it she was hyperventilating she was so upset. We were expecting her to vomit the mucus out but it never happened, she just snowballed into oblivion and really was in a mess of a state. Hopefully this passes really soon. But then after that explosion she seemed to sleep well. But for me, my personal hole is still there as I laid down at 10, slept for 15 minutesn then was up again until 11:30. Sleep is for suckers.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

2 Work Weeks

I have 2 work weeks and then we're off to Taiwan. As coincidence would have it, Nelson is going to be in Taipei for 3-4 days while we're there. So we may get to hang out for a night or 2 or maybe even a day in there, if things work out. You know how details go though. On the trip, I picked up one of the Taiwan guide books today and will probably read about it for 2 weeks, so I can fill my head with a bunch of Taiwanese things we probably won't have any time to see.

I don't expect much out of this trip, other than hanging out and eating. The flight there will be enough of an adventure. After that I'll take what I can get. I'm trying to find a bike to rent so I don't turn into a big fat slob while I'm gone. It will also allow me to get out while Nat hangs out with her family. Not sure what I'm going to do if I can't find a rental. 2 weeks off the bike is an awfully long time. If I wasn't racing I could give 2 shits. But with the first race coming on the first weekend of May it could be tough to take 2 weeks off. Or maybe 2 weeks off would do me a world of good.

Another option would be to blow it out from now until next Saturday. The main problem with that is that I will be placing bike fitness above sanity, which isn't a great idea. In the end, if I have to take 2 weeks off then so be it. I'll come back and be ready to roll on Easter day, even if a step (or 3) slower then when I leave.

I've already concluded my 4 day block. Last week I was 4 on, 2 off. Then since I was home Friday because of the snow I hopped on the trainer and knocked out a trio of threshold sets. Saturday was crap weather so trainer again. Yesterday road, where I was sluggish. Then I tied up today with a 4:30 wakeup to the trainer again. Blah. But here's the real sucky thing. The trainer is shitting the bed. Well it still works but it just makes a lot of noise, clicking noise. It used to last for 3-4 minutes but today it was still on & off for 45 minutes. That's not acceptable and I need to bounce it back to Performance Bike to have them take care of it. When I bought it they said it was 100% satisfaction guaranteed, which the rep told me meant at any point while you owned it. It's been a winter and a half on it, and it's time to make that call. Well, to make it again. My first attempt resulted in a non-answered phone.

This week will also be 4/2 then another 4, which leaves the last day of that set on Saturday, the day we leave. So stacking it that way will maximize my saddle time before we leave.

Also in the next 2 weeks I have 2 Crank Brothers orders to nail down, the team jersey to help design, samples of the jersey to pass out for fittings, a bike to build, a castle to storm, a GPS to send to Garmin to fix, and the accountant stuff to work out. This on top of the Taiwan stuff. So basically, now is not a time to drag my feet and wait until the last minute. With that said, let me go nap under my desk now because I don't feel like dealing with reality.

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