Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Now, this is some great science

In the current issue of Wine Spectator.

"Red wines made from Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz make for potent bacteria killers, according to recent research."

"Not all varieties were found to be helpful, but those that were did not destroy useful probiotic bacteria, such as those that aid in digestion"

"the drier the wines, the higher the acidity and levels of polyphenols"

"These polyphenols are believed to be the main compounds responsible for killing the pathogens"

WWJVD: After today, I'd tell him to go F'himself

Over the past couple of weeks, other bloggers have posted their comments on "what would Jen Voight Do (WWJVD?) when questioned about how hard to train, where to train, in what conditions to train in... etc.

Well, after today's ride in the rain, in 40F temps, I'd tell JV to go F' himself. Today's ride was the coldest, harshest conditions I've ever experienced. I'd take dry temps below 20F any day after riding for an hour in the rain. Plus, JV gets paid big bucks for riding in all conditions. What do I get?

OK, granted I was not dressed for rain since our esteemed weatherchannel.com wasn't calling for ran until after 2pm today. So, I dressed for dry temps in the 40's. I don't know if I would've been warmer in my winter windx jacket, kick ass Assos winter tights and winter lobster claw gloves. But, I'm sure it didn't help wearing knee warmers, bibs, long sleeve jersey, wind vest, wind breaker and two pairs of cotton gloves. Dry temps in the 40's I would have been perfectly protected and ventilated. But, with the downpour we rode in today, I was an igloo.

After the ride I sent out the following email to my fellow riders; Randy, Paul and Harry.

"Ok, now that I'm thawed out and can use my fingers again. Why is it that we road today in 40F and rain? Oh, yeah, that's right our motto is "What would Jens Voight do?"
Well, here's what I have to say about that "F... Jens, he's get paid big bucks to ride"

But, I should have really read a previous email from a couple weeks ago, I had sent out to the Thrasher riders;

"We don't take any performance enhancement substances."
"We get strong cuz we train hard.
We train in all weather conditions.
We train all year round.
We don't take vacations because this would ruin our fitness.
You'll never hear us say it's "too cold" or "too wet" or "there's snow on the ground".
We train because we can."

OK, I'll take my skirt off now and I won't complain again of being cold and wet

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good Weekend of Tempo

Sat 7am Ride.
For once, I was up early and ready for the 7am ride, although getting up at 5:15am is way too early. Since I was really early, I rode Mass twice and then caught the ride coming down Sangamore. Clara Barton wasn't too bad, but once we got back onto MacArthur Agent Hulk (AKA Agent PromoNight Party Guy) and Josh set a pretty wicked pace of 27-18 MPH before we started up Anglers. Lots of folks were commenting on the up tempo set before the climb. Any how, I just missed the main group breaking away about halfway up Anglers and I was in a the second group of about 5 riders. I was thinking about trying to bridge up, but I'm not really ready yet this time of year to but in major efforts. Our little group stayed together going down GF Park, and we were maybe 15 seconds behind the lead group. We stayed together almost the entire way out of the park, I was trying to maintain a constant output. I attacked near the VFW Bldg, and went hard up the last section coming out of the park and was first. The rest of the ride was at a good tempo.

Sun (Missed the BP Shop Ride)
My nephew, Jess, was down from NJ for for hockey games on Sat and Sun. I got up at 6:50 to go to his 7am game at Rockville. Got there around 7:25. Game was about halfway through. Got to see Jess score a goal (althought, puck never completely crossed the goal line, I was right behind the goal, and had the perfect view).
I was finally able to get out on the road about 1pm. My plan was to do some 4-8m intervals at threshold, but was undecided about going to HP or GF Park. I decided on GF Park since its closer and I can get some good hill intervals in. My plan was to the following intervals: up Mass Ave, two intervals on MacArthur, up Anglers and then several intervlas up GF Park. The intervals along MacArthur hurt since these were into a stiff headwind. I also saw a bunch of teams out riding south of MacArthur. And, I think I saw Jessie on his new bike. I wound up doing 5 intervals on GF Park and two intervals on Mnt Gate. I did these in my small ring and tried spinning as high a cadence as I could. My speed wasn't as high as I know I can go, but because I was spinning, they really hurt.

On the way home, I stopped at the gym for a quick core workout.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where's Randy?

Did the Thrasher ride today, sans Randy. Where were you today?

It was a pretty large group, maybe about 12 riders. Shout out to some local talent that braved the cold and joined us; Greg Vadas and the Wrob. Good to see you guys on the ride.

I lost track of time cleaning up and re-0rganizing my basement this morning and almost missed the ride. At 12:17, I quickly changed into my cold weather gear, which includes my bad-ass Assos winter tights, and I was out the door by 12:29. I headed straight out Burning Tree and a right on to Bradley until I saw the group coming the other way.

The ride was pretty tame along Bradley, although Harry took his obligatory hard pull and upped the pace as we neared Seven Locks. My legs were feeling really good after taking a rest day on Sunday so I set a good tempo up the short steep section on Kentsdale. The rest of the ride was at a good tempo through Potomac and along Oaklyn. I went hard on the last uphill before Falls Rd and then kept tempo until the stop sign. Legs felt really good.

I was pretty tapped out along Clara Barton, just never felt like I was getting a good recovery after my pull. I drafted in the back for the last section before making our left hand turn to get back on to MacArthur. My legs were just feeling pretty heavy, and hard to turn them over.

Greg Vadas and I did another lap, although at a slower pace, and we also made a trip down and up GF Park.

Even though the temps were in the 20's, if you wear the right stuff, it's not that cold.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Rare Day Off

I took a rare day off the bike on Sunday and went hiking with Justina and friends at Sky Meadows State Park (VA). And, of course, we stopped off at some of the regional wineries for some tastings.

Sky Meadows State Park

After parking, we were standing around, the wind was howling and with the temps in the 20's, it was really cold. I was all bundled up in my down parka and kept warm.

We took the North Ridge Trail up and to the right from the parking area. The hike up through the meadow was steep, and exposed to the wind. After about 5 minutes I was heating up and took my parka off. Key to winter hiking is modulating your body temp so that you dont' start sweating. Getting wet is your enemy. I was able to stay warm just by hiking up this steeper section. In about 20 minutes, we stopped at these benches for a quick group photo.

We continued hiking along the North Ridge Trail up and down through the woods for another maybe 1.5 miles. We connected onto the South Ridge Trail for our return trip, which was mostly downhill. What a great place to hike, and if you love running trails, this would be a great place to run.

Fox Meadow Winery

After our hike, we headed to Fox Meadow Winery and tasted their wines. Lots of fun tasting and eating cheese and crackers over our favorite bottle. Wines were good. There was a loud, drunk group of 50+ers, and they were really annoying.

I took this pic from their balcony patio.

Linden Vineyards
"Linden Vineyards is a reflection of this… simple, tranquil, and thoughtful. Linden is a place where people can taste and learn about wines, and engage in conversation in a quiet, beautiful setting."

Our last stop was Linden Vineyards, one of our favorites. They have the best view and some of the best wines. We have many older vintages dating back to the early 90's in our cellar. And, we've always been impressed with their tasting room, wines and overall ambiance. Unfortunately, we've not been their in a while, and they've posted some rules, which I'm really glad they did in order to maintain the small, quaint, relaxing atmosphere. Not sure how many of you have gone to wineries for a tasting and there are huge bus loads, lots of noisy drunks. Not a lot of fun.

I'm really glad they've posted these rules in order to maintain the "zen like" atmosphere:

What we do not do at Linden:

In order to keep Linden small, focused, peaceful and in harmony with farming and our community, we have limited activities that are commonly associated with other wineries. I hope that you understand and respect our reasons for this. We are unable to accommodate:

  • any groups larger than six people
  • limousines or buses
  • parties (weddings, birthdays, showers)
In keeping with our “quiet and calm” philosophy, beginning in 2008, on the weekends, our deck and grounds will only be available to members of our case club. We would be happy to recommend other neighboring wineries that have an open policy on their deck and grounds.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Turning 45

Today is my BDay. Happy BDay to me. Hurray for me. I turned 45. Shit, seems like yesterday I was in my 20's living large backpacking throughout Europe. I really need to convert my old 35mm slides to digital so I can post them.

It was really cool seeing all the snow today.

My wife cooked a great Italian dinner and my friend, Bob came over. We had a great time, and Bob gave us a slide show of his Croatia and Greece sailing trips.

Enough life stuff, what have I been doing training wise?

Yesterday, the Hill Ride kicked my ass. I felt good until about half way coming out of GF Park. My legs just never loosened up and I finally popped trying to stay with the group led by NickB and Simon. I still had a lot of fatigue in my legs after my heavy leg workout on Monday. I'm hoping all these winter leg workouts improve my strength later in the season, because right now, I really feel the after affects for up to 3 days, and they sure make my legs feel heavy when I ride.

Today: I went to the gym, rode the trainer and then a high rep/med weight leg workout.

10 min warmup
5 min @ 205W
4 min easy spin
5 min interval (2min @ 315W, 3 min @ 205)
5 min easy spin
5 min interval (1min @ 425W, 1 min @ 325, 3 min @ 245)
3 min easy spin

Legs Extensions
2x 30 reps @ 50 lbs
2x 25 reps @ 70 lbs

Leg Curls
2x 30 reps @ 40lbs
2x 25 reps @ 60 lbs

Leg Presses
30 reps @ 170lbs
25 reps @ 210lbs
20 reps @ 250 lbs

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What I was

This is was taken during a company awards trip to Jamaica in 2004. Definitely before I started cycling. I probably weighed about 148.


I've not been on a scale in a couple of weeks and I was thinking I'd be about 138. But tonight, after awesome sushi, a couple small bottles of sake, a bath drinking prosecco, I jumped on the scale and I was 133. I'm pretty psyched since I've not really started working the diet yet. You know watching what you you eat. So far, I've been eating cake/cookies and drinking wine or Gin N Tonics every night.

I was shooting for 130 for the season, which is what I raced at last year, but now I'm thinking I could go sub 130. Although probably not as low as 125.

So, there's no excuse for not doing MntGate tomorrow.

10AM Ride: Am I hallucinating?

I was going to do the 7am ride this morning but when my alarm went off at 6am, my head went back to sleep until 8am. Change in plans, looks like I'm doing the 10am ride.

Got the cats fed, got some food in me, got dressed and out of the house by 9:45. I started riding towards the corner of Old Georgetown and Tuckerman. Reverse the route until the 10am ride comes through. Around 10:15 a group of 15 riders comes by and I'm thinking this is the 10am ride, but didn't see the usually riders, so I kept going. Eventually, about 40 riders decked out in team kits (Harley, Rt1, Artemis, etc) comes through and I circle around and get in the pack along Beech Drive.

I'm feeling good, but this was to be short lived. The pace wasn't too bad along Tuckerman, but towards the end I was working too hard on the downhill sections, and I wasn't getting any recovery time. My heart was high and not coming down. By the time we turned onto Glen, I was feeling my legs. At this point a major break in the pack had occurred and the usually suspects up front were hammering it (Harley boys, Russ, NickB etc). All of a sudden there were now three groups, I wound up in the third group with a whole squad of Rt1 boys. We tried chasing down BryanV and a couple others along Esworthy, but we just didn't have enough firepower. My legs were also screaming at this point, and my HR was super high. After making the left onto Rt28 (?, at the top of Esworthy), we came upon Ad, who had some kind of mechanical, and a couple others helping Ad out. NickB had also turned around to help his old man out. NickB went hard, BryanV and Ad jumped on his wheel, Rt1 boys just let them go. I was late to react and stayed with the Rt1 boys. Cliff, another Rt1 guy and I were able to bridge up to BryanV, Ad, and some others before the left turn onto River Rd. There were maybe about 10 of us at this point, I was really tired and my legs were really feeling it. I think the rest of the way along River Rd was pretty much a blur, not sure if I started hallucinating, but I sure was hurting. I was basically in survival mode. At some pt, I was sitting #2 and #1 wanted me to pull through, and I didn't even have enough energy to say "I'm gassed, and I can't pull through". I just needed to try and recovery some energy. Eventually I did, and was able to take some pulls. BryanV and Ad pushed a really hard pace and at some pt they got a big gap on us and were eventually out of sight. I got to find out what Artemis is feeding their team. We eventually picked MikeEsmonde up along RiverRd after he dropped out of the front pack. His comment was "this is the hardest 10am ride I've been on".

The ride along Glen and Tuckerman was hard, and my legs were super spent.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Day Off

Took the day off from riding today.
Spent some time this evening figuring out how to add a music widget onto my blog. So, let me know if you like listening to music while reading my blog.
I now need to figure out how I can create my own play lists from my iTunes library files. I've got some killer tunes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Went down to Haines Pt instead of Randy's ride today for a change of pace. Wanted to get some longer intervals in and thought this would also be a good assessment of my conditioning. I was really happy with my strength and cardio. Never felt winded and my legs felt great. I tried staying in the front and was able to stay with the front group leading into the sprint on most laps. On one lap I started my sprint well before the first yellow sign and was able to maintain my speed to the second yellow sign. All in all, I was really pleased with my conditioning.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Flying Zebra

What a day makes. Its amazing how only two days ago my legs felt like shit. Every pedaling rotation was painful, and I couldn't generate any power. I couldn't sustain any power, and I just felt like cement.

Well, today I would say the complete opposite was true. I felt like I had no chain. Not sure if it was the 60 weather or not having to wear winter clothes, but my legs felt great. I had good power and was able to sustain it.

A week ago, I told Randy that if it's in the 60's, I would wear my Zebra TT suit. I wore it today, and man, it's amazing how much faster you go. I felt like I was going 2-3 MPH faster than normal. Turning over the pedals felt effortless.

So, if you think you saw a zebra on the road today, that was me.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Solo Training Weekend

Saturday: Late getting to the 10am ride, so I did it solo. Pretty painful when you know the normal speeds and you look down at your speed and see its about 5 MPH slower. But I guess I'm getting a better workout. My legs felt like cement, and they never really loosened up. Not sure if it was the cold or wearing winter leggings or what.

Sunday: with the rain overnight, I made an executive decision to wait for better weather in the afternoon. I headed down to Haines Pt to do 4 x 5-6min intervals at L4/L5. I'm finding holding a constant output difficult. When I get into a rhythm I can keep my speed constant but my power starts dropping off. It takes a lot of concentration to keep the power sort-of constant without big fluctuations. I'm either hammering too much power and then the power fades and then I hammer again to bring it back up. After these intervals, I did a couple of 10 min L3 intervals. Sure glad I waited to the afternoon to ride. What a beautiful day.

Almost forgot about my incident with the TonyHawk wannabes near the Awakening. I'm in the middle of my third interval and I'm busting a nut to stay in a zone. I'm rounding the bend and there are two retards trying to do tricks in the middle of the road. I'm yelling at them to get out of the road, and they couldn't hear me or I was coming on them too fast. Neither moved out of the way, so I flew in between them with a few choice Dick Cheney expressions. When I came around again, I was hoping they were still there and would say something to me. I was ready to drop the gloves. F'in a-holes.

On the home front. After our neighbors abandoned their cat when they moved out over a year ago, we took him in. He's pretty much an outdoor cat, but sleeps in my office at night. He goes crazy if we don't let him out during the day, so he pretty much comes and goes through my office window whenever he wants. About three months ago, he got into a fight and the puncture wounds developed some really bad infections. His face was all inflammed. He spent three days at the vets while his absesses drained. Our bill was about $700. A week ago he got into another scrap, and we had to take him back to the vets for the same treatments. And, another $700 bill. Man, at this rate, I'll never be able to buy a new bike.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fixed Gear Training on a 10 spd

Great ride today. About 10 minutes into the ride, my rear dr wasn't shifting so I pulled over to tighten it up. After some adjustments, I realized the cable had broken up in the break hoods. I tied it around the knobby thing on the front tube and continued on my way. Unfortunately, I was stuck in my 12 for the rest of the ride. Since we went pretty slow it wasn't too bad. Sure felt like I was lifting weights.

I complimented the ride with my new post-ride meal: two huge pieces of cake. Yes, I was flying around on a sugar buzz the rest of the day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cycling can be really dangerous

I frequently read Google's Wattage group and typically see the same folks posting messages. I'm not sure why I decided to go into Wattage Member Blogs today, maybe I wanted to check out other winter training regimes. I came upon this one, and it kinda disturbed me and made me really think about life, how fragile it can be and how we should embrace life as if each day is our last day. Life can be so precious.

The first one listed was "Alex's Cycle Blog - A journal covering my cycling exploits, training, racing and learnings, with a focus on training and racing with a power meter. More recently, I have been writing about my rehab from a serious injury." He responds to a lot of topics on the Wattage group, and is pretty knowledgeable about training with power. I started screening through his posting to learn more about his injury and if it were cycling related. And, here's what happened. Not sure what the lesson is, but we should all be more carefully out on the road. I totally cringe when I see my fellow cyclists run red lights, blast through stop signs, etc. I'm not sure how I'd react to an injury like this, but its really refreshing to read Alex's positive postings and to see that this is not derailing his cycling ambition.

Gettin’ Fat / What Happened?


"As I entered the car park, all was normal – quiet. I checked the traffic left and right on Fraters Ave. And Riverside Dr. and nothing was about. I’m usually pretty careful at this point as there are a number of potential hazards (speed humps, gravel, glass etc) on what looks a pretty straight little piece of road. I did nothing different today. I have been through here dozens and dozens of times over many years. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a boomgate, closed across the entrance to the car park appears right in front of me, and I mean with only a fraction of a second to spare. Crunch.

I hit it flush at speed, no time for braking or avoidance manoeuvres. The left leg, just below the knee took the full force and this impact caused all the damage. I wasn’t actually sure what part of my leg had broken at the time, I found out later in hospital: a fractured tibial plateau (the upper bulge section of the shin bone or tibia) – pretty well smashed into lots of fragments, a fractured fibula, a severed posterior tibial artery and severe damage to tissue and capiliaries of lower leg, leading to compartment syndrome and operations to graft in a new artery and a knee to ankle fasciotomy on both sides of my lower leg to deal with the severe nature of the inflammation. Multiple operations and many weeks of treatment later, the complications could not be resolved, too much flesh had died (almost all the lower leg muscle tissue bar the upper calf muscle) resulting in the need to amputate the now non-viable lower leg."