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Saving Them All.

Every time I see a road bike on Craigslist, I have an almost irresistible urge to buy it, build it up with components that are far above the level of the frame, and then sell it for a loss. It's my own version of the tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. "I never thought it was such a bad little bike. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love."

Problem is, I don't have the resources or even the storage space to follow this impulse. Actually, maybe that's a good thing. I like riding all sorts of different bikes and figuring out what works and doesn't work for me. I like building up bikes for friends who wouldn't otherwise have the resources to take up road cycling. I like acquiring bikes that add new capabilities to my own collection, even if the differences are minimal.

For the most part, the bikes I'm most compelled to jump on and smother with love are the inexpensive, entry-level bikes, which means any scant return on investment …

It's The Real Thing?

Internet forums have been dying a slow death, painful in the age of Facebook and other social media platforms (much like blogs), but there are still a few of us that frequent them. As with all things internet, any attempt to apply reasoned logic is immediately attacked.

Case in point was a thread on an internet bike forum about how racing on Zwift is becoming a big deal. It certainly seems to be a big deal, given the number of races happening on any given day, as well as the 3rd party ranking and validation systems that have popped up to attempt to curb virtual cheating. While I don't participate in races on Zwift and therefore don't use these services, I think they're pretty good things for those that swing that way. Anything to gets people inspired to move. Maybe they'll ride more when the weather is good. Maybe they'll pin on a number and jump into a real race.

That last bit is a sticking point. Some claim that Zwift races are "real" racing. Some tend to…

Quantify "Ouch".

When I first started doing sprint intervals, I used to go back and look at them via WKO. I'd see how the power spiked, what the max power was, and what the average power was for the interval. Then I'd dutifully record each one in the notes, commenting on why this one was likely higher or that one was lower. I'd obsess over a shift outside the "normal" that couldn't be explained. Why wasn't I hitting the numbers?

Now I don't worry about it too much. If I am gasping and barely able to pedal after an interval, I call that "good enough". I play around with the timing, the ramp-up to the sprint, cadence... I'll jump far before the line and see how long I can go before I blow up. Comparing one sprint interval to the next when I'm constantly shifting the parameters is pointless, except in a general sense. In a dynamic sport like bike racing, all that matters is that you're the first one across the finish line.

I try to figure out where I…

Happy Camper.

Back when I was simply a horrible alpine ski racer, I used to spend a lot of money going to ski camps at various resorts. Package deals that included lodging, coaching, dedicated hill-space for courses...  it's kinda the only real option for intense, focused training. At a certain point, the best training for running gates is... running gates. That's how you develop and refine the specific timing and techniques. It's not like you can set a practice giant slalom race around an office park every Tuesday night, so you are left with ski clubs and other programs to gather enough of you nut-jobs together to make the price only slightly astronomical. It's not a sport for the 99%. When you want to get even more deranged, you travel to ski camps where a whole 'nother set of elite-level coaches resist the urge to tell you how much you suck.

With the expenses that accompany a family of six, I don't have that sort of free cash floating around these days. My jet-set, ski rac…

Yeah, That's a Bit Much.

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Even I wouldn't go this far:
The "Db" is the logo of the bike bag manufacturer- douchebags. I don't think much of the Sky pro cycling team as an organization, although I like some of the riders. 

I kinda like the idea of Sir Dave Brailsford jet setting around the world pimping the brand. Seems like a natural fit, since he's been doing it for years.

So What You're Saying Is...

Like most bike-racer wannabes with more enthusiasm and money invested than actual potential, I am interested in diet and its impact on athletic performance. The problem is, they can't seem to make up their mind about what is and isn't the best way to fuel the flailing.

Every day you see a new diet or Superfood® or general trend that will increase your FTP by 500 watts or cause your virility to revert to how it was in your mid-20s. As someone who stuffs all sorts of faddish snake oil down his gullet, I can report that I'm a non-responder to these sorts of methods. At best, I can look forward to uncontrollable projectile vomiting being the only side effect (beetroot juice). The following week, all of the research confirms the last diet fad was completely wrong. The result is at any given moment I don't know what I should be eating. Not that it would matter what I should eat, because whatever it is probably tastes like cardboard and old gym socks. Some people probably dig …

Nostalgia.

Last Friday my FaceSpace feed reminded me of a post I made on that same day four years before.
When you get this email from your coach:
"Hard to believe, but racing starts in a little over a month. Time to start getting your game face on!"
...you know it's going to hurt. I thought I had my game face on, but looking at the schedule she has planned, I think she means a contorted mask of pain.The thing is, it was probably my most successful season. Probably the highlight of that year was the GC win at the Tour of Fairbanks, but I remember riding pretty well that entire season. I didn't win an excessive amount or even podium, but I was more or less in the mix. This was before I learned how to be a douchebag, so I spent my fair share of time out in the wind, pulling everyone around.

It's kinda hard to pin a good year down solely to fitness, because so many factors play into it. Janice Tower set me up well fitness-wise. I was light (for me) and motivated. I had goals.

Ho…