Thursday, January 31, 2008

Roll Over

I've found my wheelset!
Wait ... Before you let the $5,995 price put you off, please note: It includes not only the skewers, but also a wheel bag.
Plus, the 850-gram wheelset weight is GUARANTEED! (says so in all caps right there on the website). If some Vegas hillbilly from Lew's 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, top-secret Defense Department certified plant ships me 864-gram wheelset and laughs about it over a beer with his buddies, Paul Lew will not let him get away with it.
But the pluses don't end there. If I buy, I will be able to visit the Lew message boards without feeling like an unwashed interloper, a mere weekend renter in the Hamptons.
There on those boards I can find such treasures as:
* Reviews from real authorities, such as the guy who claims to "own several high end sets of wheels. Including Zipp 404's, Zipp 606's, X-treme Nano Elites, Mavic Ksyrium ES's & SL's, Easton Orion 2's, Reynolds KOM's, Zipp CSC Clinchers, American Classic 350's & 420's, & Easton Tempest 2 Carbon Tubulars." You will not believe this, but the reviews on the company-controlled website are all good!
* Two (not one) "Show Me Your Bike" threads and get the answers to important questions, like whether the Tufo tape will hurt the carbon. (Dude: You bought $6K wheels and you're going to run the tubular-tire equivalent of Wrangler jeans on them?)
* A fine gent who posted a suggestion for a new product line for Lew that has to do with fishing rods.
Try getting that kind of stuff with your pair of Neuvations.
Gotta go now. I'm trying to reach Lew to see if they have 16-inch wheels for my daughter's bike.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Escaping the Basement

I gotta hand it to you guys who are disciplined enough to sit on a trainer watching TV and doing a vigorous workout. You inspired me to try it again today.
It produced great results, which I'll get to later.
First, I want to thank Craig Griffin, the little Aussie on the CTS "Sprinting" video. The box champions this traitor as a USA Cycling coach. (Coincidentally, I'm sure, his wife was the head of USA Cycling ...)
Griffin walks around among the Riding Dead looking like a GED-test monitor with a stopwatch. He murmurs in Oz-drawl in the kind of monotone you'd expect to hear on a PBS show about how to paint miniature toy soldiers. The hapless riders around him look as frozen-faced and expressionless as the peloton from a charity ride for Bell's palsy. "Pick up your cadence a little there, Jim," Griffin said. I was taken aback until I realized he was talking to a guy on the video and not me.
Then I want to thank Performance Bike, which designed a fluid trainer that maximizes my results uniquely: by sitting lopsided on the floor, creeping toward its folded-up position when I sprint, moving enough to actually nudge my front wheel off its block in mid-interval and filling my basement with the acrid aroma of Akron. This one puts the "fluid" in fluid trainer, but not in the right way. I didn't realize staying upright on a trainer was supposed to give me a core workout, but riding mine could be an X-Games sport.
All of these factors helped produce the leaden weariness in my legs that today's killer workout produced. That's because 27 minutes into this latest foray into trainer riding, I got off the stupid thing, put on some dry clothes and my ski goggles, and went outside on my other bike.
It was 10 degrees with a wind chill of -14. But I did my workout on a six-block (.93-mile) circuit around my house -- never rode more than half a mile or so from my front door.
I did the same sprint-interval workout on the Carmichael video, but did it without the wheels slipping or the bike lurching. Ah! Intensity! Wound up riding outside for almost 40 minutes, and I did not get cold. Not at all.
But I did get my arse busted, in a good way. And I nearly got to that point where I was just about at the threshold of almost puking.
That might be possible to achieve on your trainer. Not on mine. Mine is Ex-TREEM! (or maybe I'm just putting out 2,000 watts.)
This encourages me to put my trainer to more use. I'm thinking of using it, for instance, to smash my computer screen so I no longer have to see photos on my teammates' blogs of them playing Rock Band. (If I hate you, please see this. But beware: It just may be the last thing you see before your eyeballs voluntarily and eagerly self-immolate.)
By the time I was done riding, my cloud of surliness and depression had started to lift. (Obviously, it started to, but didn't finish.) My legs are now as rubbery as my gut. And I have achieved spiritual wholeness. I'm already 5% of the way toward being ready for the Frosty Toes Classic!


My new blog: What it should NOT say

OK, I'm blogging. I feel the world getting happier as a result.
This will be mostly a bike blog. I don't plan to rip the scabs off the open sores of my psyche for your entertainment unless it scores me some kind of reality show during the writer's strike: "The BIGGER Biggest Loser!"
I'll write about bikes, tell you things about my kids that maybe only one of us will think are cute and ramble on other stuff from time to time. But it will mostly be about bike riding and racing.
However, please do everyone a favor and shoot me if I start blogging like the stuff below. I mean, this stuff would be OK, I guess -- it must be, because a quick blog search for cycling would turn up a few thousand blogs that read like this.
They're fine. But they're below my standards because I personally wouldn't be happy unless I used more exclamation marks and crappier spelling.

Jan. 28: WAY 2 COLD 2 RIDE, DUDE! Did (fill in the boring workout routine here) on the trainer. Hope it gets me closer to my plan to peak for the (fill in the"A" race here).
Jan. 27: Here's my sweet new brake-cable set! (photo) First time I've used titanium cables. They cost $113, but shave 1.4 grams off the weight of my bike. And I hear they won't stretch as much. They're gonna be so awesome! I just know they'll be the difference at least once at the Covered Bridge race. I'm gonna get you, Stark Velo!!! Gotta get out to Bike Authority tonight so they can put these cables on and show me how to change a tube.
Jan. 25: I'm totally bummin about the latest doper news about (fill in rider name) and (fill in team name). I'm never watching another ProTour event again. Fuck those guys. Our version of the sport is pure. Theirs is corrupt. Bummer.
Jan. 20: Got my new Conti Gatorskins. Can't wait to ride them!!! I hear they're as smooth as tubulars only FLAT-PROOF!!! Great reviews on RBR! And I got them for only $46 each!
Jan. 16: Just got back from the 'cross race in (fill in southern state or county). I got thrashed. Broke 10 spokes, a chain and a clavacle and came in 22nd out of 24 in the C field. It is SO AWESOME!!! I'm thinking about making 'cross season my A races for '08!!! (Note: 10,500-word race review omitted here, as a public service. - ed.)
Jan. 15: Saw Dick Head on the road on his new carbon X-Peter 6969. What a wicked bike! Betcha it's 15 LBs tops! And it's so stiff but vertically compliant!! Those guys on Team Erectile Function get all the coolest stuff. I really, really, really hope they ask me to join them! (I've asked and begged!) That should motivate me to do my new interval routine: 10 reps of 40 min x 105% max HR, with 2 min. recovery between.
Jan. 12: Here's my dog chasing me around the yard (obligatory dog photo). He's so crazy!!! I wish he would stop biting, though. I won't make the Mid-Ohio race unless I take these stitches out myself.
Jan. 10: Placed my order for my new beater bike -- a Trek Madone 5.2. Got such a sweet deal on it -- only $2K 'cause it's an '07 and the Madone redesign and all. It will be my rain bike. Except that I, like everyone else in NE Ohio, am too big a pussy to ride unless the sun is out and it's 40+ degrees. But at least I now will have something I can call my beater bike that everyone will be jealous of. Gotta get a PowerTap for it.
Jan. 9: Only 4 weeks til our first team training camp at Bowling Green, KY. Yeah, it's not really "south," per se. But we fought against them in the Civil War, I think (and we KICKED REBEL ASS LIKE I'M GONNA DO AT THE STATE CRITS!!!). Anyway, warm is a relative thing -- gotta be better than shitty C-TOWN!!! Hope the ice isn't there this year. Climbing sucked last year when the roads were covered with half an inch of it. I so hate sliding backwards down a 10% slope. And I mega-hated sleeping in Joe's uncle's garage. But hey -- our team had a southern training camp! F--- you, Stark Velo! Yours sucked 'cause N. Carolina wasn't even Confederate!!! It's f---ing NORTH Carolina, idiots -- DUH!
Jan. 8: Sure is good to be divorced and have no freeloading, dead-weight girlfriend to bitch at me about doing stuff. I can spend 14 hours a week training and the rest drinking import beer and reading cycling sites on line ... (Note: God dictates this arrangement to prevent such gene pools from being passed on. - ed.)