Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bike Update (kinda)

I made the jump and purchased a new (used) bike and frame.  This week I am having Chuck at Pacific Coast Cyclery transfer the components from the bike to the frame.  Hopefully I can race it this weekend.

Here are some photos from where we started.

p.s. it looks like it will be wicked light!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A new Bike?

I like Audrey, actually who am I kidding, I love her.  Vertically compliant yet latterly stiff and all that.  But there is one problem with her, as classic as she is, she can't fully compete in the modern races, especially crits.  So I have been looking, and well maybe I found something...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Saturday Ride

Ride - Celo Pacific Club Ride
Route - Inland Route

Starting this ride my goal was to stay with the group up the main climb, and let the chips fall as they may after that.  As we started the ride it looked like I would be able to accomplish that because the pace was pretty slow, however as we hit the hill my quads started to burn.  I was dropped climbing to Deer Springs Road, but was able to hang during the run towards Circle R Dr.  I was unable to stay with the lead group during the main climb, I just did not have the power.  That I understood, but the annoying thing was that I was completely dropped on the run towards the school house which is a rolling downhill run.  I definitely need to work on my burst accelerations, top speed, and cornering.

After the regroup I was able to pull myself together and did a couple of strong pulls during the run in to Oceanside.  In all it was a good ride that provided some valuable feedback.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Nice Casual Ride

Tonight was supposed to be a nice easy going ride. After 6 months off I finally got my friend on a bicycle. And i was easily cruising at about 18 mph.

But then...

I almost ran over a skunk and got sprayed.

Then to make matters worse I fell at the train tracks trying to move backwards away from the tracks as a train came through.

Let's see what happens tomorrow.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Painfully Obviuos

Please file this under painfully obvious:

Friday, March 14, 2008


I bought some rollers tonight.  I am a excited to try them out, but also a little scared.   I will report about what happens.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tour de Murrieta Circuit Race

Last Sunday I raced in the Tour de Murrieta and had a wake up call.  This was my first circuit race, and with the laps at 3 miles I thought that Audrey would be able to keep up.  Unfortunately, due to me getting tired I started to get lazy on my shifting, which of course slowed me down.  That was not the wake up call though, due to the Cat V's inability to go smoothly through the turns there was A LOT of surges.  After three laps my legs were fried and I was dropped.  All my training focussed on endurance and hill climbing had not prepared me for this.

End result, I finished the race and I was not last.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

History of the Tour de France

I was going to post about how I did at the Tour de Murrieta circuit race, but I was sidetracked by this on youtube.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cycling Clubs

I have been thinking of joining a cycling club, not only so that I can have someone to talk to (my wife is a little sick of it), but really so I could have some training partners.  Looking around the internet I found that Celo Pacific was my local club and I went on a couple of rides with them and had a blast.  As there training rides start only a mile away from my house I was ready to send in my membership info, until the Boulevard Road Race.

At the race I was dissapointed to only see two guys from the club entered (actually there were two more that I did not see) and that they did not prepare together for the race.  On the other hand, I saw a nice tent for San Diego Bike Club, and they had a lot of guys entered that all lined up together at the start.  After doing some research on them it appeared that they put a lot of effort into their bike teams.  The Cat IV / V guys even do a mini training camp, have a designated coach, and the club rides work on specific goals.  The downside would be that I would have to drive to La Jolla for them.

So I was in a quandary, choose the local club, or go for the more "team" atmosphere.  While I was trying to make this decision I chose to stay away from the Celo Pacific group rides.  I feel bad using a club without any intention of joining them. But the other day, when I went to go do my time trial I saw ended up passing them on the road and was recognized instantly (Riding a classic Bianchi might have helped).  That has helped me make my decision.  Due to the fact that I would have to drive to ride with SDBC, and the size (I think I would get lost in the shuffle) I have decided to Join Celo Pacific.  Now I just need to save some money for the member's dues.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bulldog Bike Race

March 1st found me at my second road race.  It was a hard decision to make, the Baker to Death Valley race and the Bulldog race were the same day, but in the end the logistics for Baker were too hard, so I raced local.

Arriving at the race I was very impressed by the size of it, if you ever have a chance to race at Camp Pendleton do it.  They know had to run a smooth event.  In fact I am almost tempted to sign up for the duathlon even though I don't like running anymore.

My warm-up for this race was better than my last, but once again I had a bad start position.  This time it was because I was at the wrong entrance to the start chutes.  As the race started moving, I felt pretty comfortable because this is a course that I had ridden before.  Things were going pretty great until we hit the first big hill.  I dropped my big ring perfectly, but I was not as successful with the rear cassette.  As the hill ramped up I over shifted and the chain dropped between the cassette and the spokes.  I was stuck and came to a stop.   Luckily I did not take anyone down and I got my feet off the pedals in time.  

I quickly reached back, got my chain free and started pedaling as hard as I could.  I quickly started to pass people, but some were from the heat before, and some from my heat.  As I went around the round-about and started back down hill I saw a pack ahead of me, and made my big tactical mistake.  I should have continued to push and bridged the gap back on;  I then could have sat and recovered.  Instead I let them go and I never saw them again.  

I then switched to time trial mode and tried to minimize my lost time.  After a couple of miles I was caught by two riders.  I sat on them for a while, but when I tried to get them to start taking turns pulling I killed what I had left in me and was dropped.  The next two guys that came buy I hooked on to the back of, but this time I just sat.  Although I did not say anything, in my mind I made the decision to not contest the sprint  in exchange of not pulling.

The results:

In my age group - 12th out of 23
In my heat - 31st out of 81
Time to complete - 1:17
Avg. Speed - 21.3 MPH

What I learned:

- I need to work on my shifting!!
- I set a new high heart rate of 191 from 185.
- Always bridge the gap, sitting exposed is death.
- There is some serious strength in my legs, and the weight loss has helped, which makes me feel better about the technical problem.

Boulevard Road Race

I know it was over a month ago, but I am finally getting around to do a write up for the Boulevard Road Race (.pdf).  This was my first road race and it definitely hooked me on the sport.

As this was my first race I was pretty nervous about arriving on time and getting ready, so I arrived a couple hours early.  After watching the collegiate I learned that bike races are pretty boring to watch, at least on a downhill.  The different groups would just blow by and disappear.  Now watching the racers struggle up the hills, that might have been more exciting.

Eventually I started my warm-up, which was pretty pitiful,  I need to buy a trainer, and almost missed the start of my race because I can't read a clock.

My starting position was pretty poor, but as we started to roll I slowly started to push up.  The race consisted of two laps, the first half of the lap being downhill, and the second making up the altitude.  The peloton was flowing pretty nicely down the hill, and riding in a pack like that was exciting.  There was a moment of excitement when a man jumped in front of the peloton, luckily no one went down.

All this enjoyment soon came to the end when we hooked a right turn and started to climb.  I was completely unprepared for the first climb and was in the wrong gear.  Although it only lasted a couple hundred feet, my heart rate jumped and I did not have enough time for it to recover before the long climbs started.  As we started up those I tried my best to stay on, but quickly realized that if i tried to keep the pace up and was going to end up on the side of the road.

I decided to back off, save myself, and hope to catch people that had blown up.   From this point on the race was just climbing, the downhill portion again, and then more climbing to the finish.  I was able to pass some people, and I was passed by a couple of guys.

The end result, I placed 37th out of 47.

What I learned:

I need a hear rate monitor (which I have since purchased) so that I can monitor my heart better.

I need to lose weight so that I can climb better.

I need to practice my turning.

I need to pay attention on what is coming up so that I am in the correct gear.

Next race, Bulldog Road Race at Camp Pendleton.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Although Audrey is my favorite girl, Bridget is the one that got me into cycling.  I bought her at a silent auction while I attended Cal Poly.  If people locked there bikes to objects other than bike racks (i.e. trees) the campus police would cut the lock and confiscate the bike for the owner's "protection."

Unfortunately, after I bought her and the initial tune-up performed by Pacific Coast Cyclery she sat around for a couple of years unused.  That is until the spring of last year when I moved back to Carlsbad and was able to start bike commuting to work.  What started as a commuter quickly became my full time bike until I was given Audrey.

After spending the winter driving to work, I have finally started to bike commute again.  A thousand miles ago I did not really understand the differences between Audrey and Bridget, but now I do, especially when it comes to gearing.  Hills that I power up on the Bianchi I now spin up, and the handling is different to.  But that could be due to the Bridgestone not being fit to me.

What does the future hold for her.  I am not sure, but I think I need to at least fit her to me so that my commute time is more comfortable.

P.S. thank you to Sheldon Brown for the catalog cut.  You can find it at here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend Workouts


I have come to the conclusion that I need to start quantifying my training so that I can get the most out of the road races that I am entering.  My hear rate monitor was the first step, the next step is time trials.  I decided on two courses, a long course of 14 miles which is an out and back along the San Luis Rey River, and a short course that has a hill (to be disclosed later).

My inaugural time trial results were:

Time - 42:10 minutes
Dist - 14.54 miles
Avg. Spd. - 20.6
Max Spd.- 26.7
Misc. Notes - My legs were still a bit sore from my run on Tuesday, and the trail had some wet spots in the run-in / run-out that slowed me down.


Saturday night I watched "Super Bad", very hilarious, well at least 'till I passed out.  My ability to drink has dropped, and I was out at 8:30.  I think it might be due to the weight lost.  I am down to 169 from 183!  Unfortunately, two days later my head is still hurting.  I decided to take it easy and did leg isolation drills at the gym.  Another new workout for me and something I need to do more of.

Tour of California, re-cap

The Tour of California has come to a close, and with it my work day is a little more boring.  While some people may think that professional cycling is dead, as a newbie every race is still exciting to me.  After the tedium that the riders faced during the Seaside to San Luis Obispo race, the final three stages kept me on the edge of my seat.  Levi destroyed the time trial, and the criterium style finishes were awe inspiring.

Next year I definitely want to make plans to see a stage in person.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tour of California day 4

Today I was not able to watch the tour =(  but I did subscribe to the rss updates on my iPhone =).  Watching the Versus recap it looks like I just missed a lot of suffering as the guys slogged through 7 hours of riding in the rain.  No change to the GC but a for once a rider in the break away actually one.

Thursday Workout

Today I did my typical Thursday night spin class.  However I did it with a new angle by bringing my heart monitor.  My goal was to channel the energy of the spin class, but be a little more scientific.  What I found was that the class easily pushed me into VO2Max, but the recovery was not there if I had just followed the leader.  So I didn't.  

In the end I modified the workout so that I could recover in the cardio zone, but overload myself in the "sprints."  

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I consider myself in decent shape.  In the last 6 months I have lost 10 pounds and am slowly but surly moving toward my goal weight of 160.  Also, a couple of weekends ago I rode 80 miles and was fine.

Yesterday, to help my wife out, we went on a run instead of dealing with the chaos of the gym.  This was probably the first run that I have been on in 6 months as I have been focusing on getting stronger on a bicycle.  Together we did a 2 mile jog and from there I did four .8 mile loops around the neighborhood with one solid hill at he beginning of each hill.  My goal was to take it up to my LT threshold (by feel, I use to run track and cross country) and recover.

The laps felt great and I was happy to get my workout in, but today I could not walk.  I guess my legs are not used to gravity.

Hopefully my workout I did tonight will help ease that pain.  60 minutes in zone 2 on the stationary bike at the gym to help get some blood in the muscles.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Amgen Tour of California

I am not known for my interest in watching sports.  While I definitely enjoy going to see a game in person, that is more to hang with my friends than to watch.  But since I watched "le Tour de France" last year, wow,  I can't get enough of it.  I even enjoy watching the complete 4-6 hour feeds and watching the race develop from the start to finish.  Most lunches I tune into, but this week I have been all over the Tour of California.  What I really like is the tour webpage.  Watching the race live, with the bonus stats and map location (even with the GPS problems) is way beyond a straight TV broadcast.  Hopefully as the the internet bandwidths continue to increase I will be able to see more events like this.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Gear Ratios

Audrey, is an older bike, a classic, but an older bike.  She has downtube shifters controlling a 12 speed transmission.  The gearing of the bike was set-up prior to cadence became the holy grail of cycling.  So I knew I was pushing some big gears, but not how big.  When I competed at the Boulevard road race I was a little jealous of everyone spinning up the hills and when I mentioned it to Chuck he told me, once again, that he could give me some more low end.  But for some reason I am resisting.

Now I have actually counted the teeth on my gears and I am running a 52 / 42 up front and a 13-21 in the back.  What does that mean?  I don't know, but I hope I am not destroying my knees.

Who is Audrey?

Audrey is my 1985 Bianchi Nuova Racing bike.  It was given to me by my father-in-law by way of my wife for my 31st birthday.  We had recently moved from San Francisco down to San Diego and I had started to ride my Bridgestone 500 to work.  What started out as a way to start getting in shape quickly became an obsession.  I started talking about getting a new bike for my weekend rides, but when I heard about my father-in-law having an "Italian Steed" in his storage I was intrigued.  For the next month I kept on dropping the hint that I wanted her, and finally, on my birthday I did.  A little bit of TLC and the generous help from Chuck at Pacific Coast Cyclery she was up and running.

How far will I take her?  I don't know.  I rode her at my first road race and did 80 miles on her last weekend....