Showing posts from 2018


Putin. Trump. Clinton. Election. Meddling. Special Counsel. Dossier. Boogers. ________________________________________________________________________
Lately I've been seeing some Russian traffic for this blog. I seriously doubt there's any interest in that country of a mere 144 million souls, even among what would be my target demographic- old, untalented, and overweight road bike racing idiots. Then again, my entire knowledge of their racing scene is centered around my belief that Belov from American Flyers and Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds were separated at birth.
...but I digress.

The infrequent-but-rhythmic nature of the Russian hits indicate they are from bots triggering off something I said. I'd be interested to see what that was. Then again, I'd also be interested in seeing what attracted and maintains the interest of my faithful French porn bots. Wait... maybe not. At any rate, I'd be remiss if I didn't welcome these new consumers of my garbage and work t…

Big, Empty Boxes.

Our Sears is closing down, and by now they're getting down to a lot of stuff that nobody wants (most of their clothing lines) or is otherwise not an impulse buy (appliances). I went early on and picked up a bunch of Craftsman tools and stuff that I didn't really need but could see a viable use for in the future. The little 3/8" sockets sets were cheaper than buying the ratchet alone, and I'm always losing sockets. I spent more than I should have, but I rarely regret buying tools. We bought a bunch of other stuff while we were there- far more than we ever have before. Might as well take advantage of it while it lasts, because soon we won't have the option.

Our Sams Club closed down a little while back. They went fast. The locusts cleaned them out in short order. We weren't members, so it was no great loss for us (we've always shopped at Costco). Still, another option gone.

Last year our Sports Authority stores closed, and that was a bigger hit for the family.…

Building A Casket.

The other day the Fairbanks Cycle Club March newsletter popped up in my FaceSpace feed. In particular, this caught my eye:

We have had a lot of inquiries about the 2018 Tour of Fairbanks 5 Stage Race. The FCC Board has set tentative dates in June; however, we have yet to secure a race director for this event. Without a race director, the event will be cancelled for a second year. How can you help?
Spread the word that we are still recruiting. FCC is offering a $2,000 stipend for a person or team willing to coordinate all 5 stages. This includes determining the courses for a Prologue, 2 Road Races, a Criterium, and a Time Trial; acquiring permitting, promotion, and updating existing race information. Specific terms are available in the TOF Contract, which you can download here.
Time commitments vary through out the process. Early in the process it may take only a few hours per week, with more hours required as race day approaches. Much of this depends on the efficiency of the race directo…


After overdoing it a bit a couple days ago, I figured I'd pay for it. I did yesterday, and hoped with poor nutrition and inadequate sleep I would bounce back to my normal level of mediocracy.

Yeah, and no.

I managed to get a couple 30 day PRs on segments I hadn't really tried all that hard on recently. Everything was ticking along fine until I got to the halfway point, when my legs switched from "pretty good" to "flat". It wasn't like I was bonking or otherwise drained, but I just didn't have the same energy as I did initially. I backed off a bit to see if they would recover, but it was soon pretty obvious that "all ahead meh" was about the best I was going to get out of them.

I finished out the workout with a conflicted sense of accomplishment. There were some good efforts in there, but it showed I'm in no shape to do a stage race at the moment. I'm just not recovering from hard efforts quickly enough. Good thing I have a couple mont…

Very Likely A Bad Idea.

The other day I had to cut a workout planned for an hour to 35 minutes because of time constraints. This trend has to stop, so I got on the bike after work to make up the time and put a little more in the bank in case it happened again.

The 35 minute workout had gone well enough, as I was already rattled by the clock, so I poured everything I had into the time I had. Even if I hadn't gotten back on in the afternoon, the Intensity Factor and Training Stress Score were high enough that my Chronic Training Load wouldn't have been affected. That's a fancy-pants way of saying I hammered the piss out of it. Still, I was 25 minutes short, and my obsessive compulsive side just wouldn't let that stand.

My workout after work was delayed a bit. My wife had class, so dinner was early. A heavy meal of pot roast and potatoes isn't exactly what you want in the gut before a workout, but I figured I'd just ride easy-ish for a while and then call it quits. Any moderate effort was …

The Itch.

Earlier this winter, it was looking like it would be an early spring. We just hadn't gotten a lot of snow, and what we did get was relatively compacted by warm spells. A warm March would have killed the piles enough to get me back on the road early.


Stacked snow storms piled up a decent amount of late-season snow. The snow plows are running out of room on my road to store it. What this means is that the freeze-thaw cycles of early spring will be take a while to clear away those piles. Runoff will create skating rinks across the roads as the piles melt. Until the sewer drains clear, the puddles will pool and freeze, thaw, and re-freeze in areas. There isn't a huge amount of dark sand in those snow piles, which will also slow the melting process. In other words, it's going to take a while.

Meanwhile, my enthusiasm for the trainer is at its seasonal low. I would much rather be on the road bike, searing my lungs out in the cold air, over- or under-dressed for conditions and…

Shifting Gears.

I was talking to Richard about this or that Sunday at the Dome before we got rolling. My bike was leaning against me, and as I shifted to emphasize some meaningful point it fell to the floor, bumping against Richard's very expensive carbon wheels. This was my TSA-proof ti bike, so I was more worried about Richard's TT machine. It wasn't untilYrjö noticed that my brake lever was sticking out funny that I realized that something was wrong with my own bike. One of the tabs that the right brake lever pivots on broke when it hit the concrete. I jammed it back in place as best I could, confirmed it would still shift, and started riding loops. I wasn't going to let a small bit of plastic ruin the fun.

After a few laps of warmup, I jumped behind a small pace-line on the inside lane. The guy in front was on a disc brake bike, then came Yrjö on his brakeless fixie, and then was me. The guy up front would brake slightly for some reason in the turns, Yrjö  would apply a little back…

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Zwift is a funny "place" sometimes.

Like the real world, everyone has their own interests and goals. Some people are doing structured workouts alone. Some people are doing group rides. Others are doing group workouts. Some people ride informally with small groups.

...and then there's me. I just sorta do whatever.

I tried the structured workouts when they were first introduced, but I never took to them. Part of it was the irresistible urge to go chase squirrels instead of sticking to the plan. Part of it was the frustrations that ANT+ and other data dropouts bring when you're trying to stay in a specific power range. However, if I'm completely honest (which rarely happens), I just don't want to.

I tried the group rides and races, but (again being totally honest) I got shelled in a Cat C race when they held over 4 w/kg for the first lap and then started to really crank it up. Since Cat C is supposed to average under 3.2 w/kg FTP (with surges above that), I found t…


I've never been the most flexible person. People who have witnessed my argumentative side would certainly agree with that statement, but I'm not talking about mentally. I'm talking about physical flexibility.

The physical therapist that worked me over a month ago said he had never seen hamstrings as tight as mine. He should have seen them before I stretched them out. I've made some effort over the years to try to increase my flexibility, and in some cases it's worked out well. For instance, I have a lot of hip flexibility, probably developed to overcome my overwound hamstrings. Targeted stretching does make small improvements, but if I slack off or get sick everything gets all bound up again.

The other day I was listening to NPR and this lady was talking about how western society bends over to pick up things. Other cultures do it with a flat back, but we arch our backs and place ourselves into a position that compromises our spines. Interesting point, but I don't…

Not Me.

So recently a bike racing frenemy of mine, Clint Hodges, finished 2nd in the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 fat bike race. That's some accomplishment.

Clint's team and mine are actually sponsored by the same bike shop, and we've talked about linking up tactically in races, but it never happens because:
We've never actually had a race where there's been enough of us to influence tactics in any meaningful way. We get swamped more often than not.Rarely are we close enough in fitness for a given race to provide assistance in any meaningful way. We're mainly trying to survive.We just end up chasing each other down, because that's what no-talent hack racers do.Still, it's a nice thought.

My Facebook feed last week during the 3 days, 10 hours, and 4 minutes he was on the trail was filled with pictures of him riding along barren, snow-covered tracts or at checkpoints, his majestic, paper towel advertisement-worthy beard a solid mass of ice. Just looking at the pi…


This week I haven't been able to finish a single workout. If I plan for an hour, I'll probably get in around 45 minutes. It isn't for lack of energy. The legs are there, and the numbers I'm seeing are all pretty good (by my low standards). Rather, I haven't been able to get moving in the mornings, which results in me having to cut everything short.

My alarm goes off at 4:30AM, but I'm rarely truly awake and kitted up before 5:30AM. I have to leave at 7:00AM to drop off the kids at school and get to work. A little delay here or there and suddenly I don't have time to do a full hour. I've tried to get up earlier, but that rarely results in anything but more groggy time.

Part of it is the occasional melatonin I take to shut my brain down at night. Sometimes my brain gets wrapped around something so tightly that I can't sleep, even with all of the sleep tricks I've picked up over the years. I'll be wide awake at 3:00AM worked up over something I c…

How This All Ends.

A couple days ago I published my 800th entry for this blog.

That's a pretty big number.

It got me thinking, though. How long am I going to keep doing this thing? When will I call it quits and just let it die the death it should have died years ago?

Writing five posts a week (give or take) 52 weeks a year comes to about 260 posts. Sometimes I have piles of scheduled posts stacked up, sometimes I struggle to get them out, and sometimes I fail completely. I have no idea how many words are in an average post, because I've never counted. That exercise always seemed too much like the term pages I do for the college degree I don't care about. How many words do I have left before I can turn this half-hearted piece of crap in? The syllabus didn't specify how many words have to be in each blog post, so I'm going to write as many or as few as I feel like on a given day. However long they are, they could probably all be edited down to "tired/old/fat bicycle guy." Maybe …

Virtual City Limit Sprints.

Zwift's Watopia Island course only has a couple designated sprints. One's longer than the other and they're in more or less the same location in opposite directions. One takes me a little less than 11 seconds to finish, the other takes me about 25 seconds. A pretty good  loop of the island takes me about 15 minutes, give or take. So, if I only went for the established sprints during a loop of the island, I'd be sprinting about 4 times an hour.

The problem with this is that is doesn't help to develop a faster recovery from hard efforts. Chugging around at Zone 3, sprinting, then chugging around at more Zone 3 just isn't a great way to train for crits. It's more like a good way to train to get dropped. I don't need to train for that, because I'm already performing at an elite level when it comes to not being able to keep up. As I get older, it becomes harder and harder to bounce back from a big effort. By "big effort", I mean a lot of flailin…

Can't Place The Face.

After three weeks of illness and other conflicts keeping me away, I showed up to the Dome on Sunday morning. I arrived just as they were opening, and quickly hustled getting my bike off the rack, out of the 5F temperatures, and into a warmer environment.

I have to say the staff is nicer and more efficient since they re-opened. Big improvement. Also nice was that the walkers are no longer on the track with the bikes, meaning there are fewer conflicts and scary moments. We can run three-wide packs with room on either side to pass or be passed. It's nice.

When I first got there, I didn't recognize anyone. There were already several people on the track and suiting up, but none of them I could place. It was like traveling and showing up to a group ride or race- lots of people but you're the odd man out. Don't get me wrong, this is a very very good thing. More people means this thing is more sustainable and makes it more likely the Dome management will be more likely to contin…

I Wish I Could Say That.

I wish I could say I jump out of bed every day and rush to the trainer to knock out a structured workout.

I can't.

I hit the snooze button a bunch of times, pausing tiny fragments of '80s hits that may or may not end up as the day's earworm. I play games and surf bike blogs on my phone. Eventually I get up and get kitted up, but then I just sit mindlessly at my computer until the last possible second. Sometimes I go a few minutes over the last possible second, proving Einstein was right- time is relative.

When inspiration strikes, I get on the bike. I have the workout planned, but they're not the structured 5 x pukervals Janice used to schedule for me. No, it's more of a loose suggestion, like "ride relatively easy and then sprint occasionally" or "ride pretty hard until you don't want to anymore." Even with this low bar to clear, I generally don't follow the plan. Some days I'm not inspired to sprint, and end up grinding out a TT worko…

Past The Deadline.

Little late on this entry, so feel free to dock my blog pay.

Since I cut the cord and have gone to streaming TV, I watch a lot less of it. Part of it is that some of the streaming providers are slower than others, and that makes it hard to channel surf. Therefore, if I don't immediately see something I want to watch or the service is running a bit slow, I just bail.

My wife, on the other hand, is fully engaged with the binge-watching potential of our various streaming providers. She'll watch anything, and is currently going through the first few seasons of ER. Yeah, it's a problem. I'm not immune, and am currently going through the first season of "Westworld", but once I'm done with that I'll probably wait until "The Walking Dead" or "Game of Thrones" comes back on. For the most part, I'd rather just take a nap these days instead of watching hours of mindless TV. It may be that I'm getting old.

I also don't have much acces…


On Tuesday I heard the NCAA ruled that theLouisville Cardinals would vacate the 2013 National Championship, because an investigation uncovered members of the coaching staff hired prostitutes and strippers for players and recruits. I always thought that was standard stuff.

Normally I wouldn't care about corruption and malfeasance in some bouncy-ball sport. Cycling has enough of that sort of thing to saturate my interest in such things. However, this particular instance is different.

This time it's Luke.

Luke is my cousin, my father's brother's kid. Because of the twisted nature of families and marital relationships and generations and military careers keeping me on the other side of the continent for the vast majority of his life, I think I've talked to him three or four times, and from what I can tell, he's pretty tall. I like to say I've had a profound impact on his life. I'm much closer to his younger brother, who skis and rides bikes.

So, when it turned …

A Little Hippy.

The other day I was walking down the hall with a co-worker. Someone came up and mentioned we were limping on the opposite sides.

"She completes me," was my reply.

It's worst on Mondays, after a Sunday full of Mighty Mite adventures. Standing up from a seated position is a two-part process. The first part gets me 90% upright, and then a quick wheezy grunt takes the rest of the way. This, of course, requires a good amount of pre-loading with pills to accomplish. There. I said it. I dope so I can competitively stand.

Most of the time the trainer helps loosen things up. Unless I overdo it. I overdo it a lot. However, if I don't ride, I stiffen up to the point that people veer away to avoid catching whatever it is that's making me walk in that manner.

Today I'll go back to Physical Therapy to get beat down. I'll probably feel it for days, mainly because I haven't been doing all the exercises they've given me. Part of that was that I got out of the habit wh…

Nothing I Can Say.

I started to write a post about gun control, but erased it.

I mean, what's the point? Positions are so entrenched that no blog, even one as supremely influential as this one, will change a single mind. Everyone seems to have already decided, so therefore nothing will change. All that happens is that we move a little further apart, so that any points we can agree on are lost behind our respective walls.

For the record, I don't own a gun now, but I have in the past (and very well could in the future). My abilities with a firearm are surpassed by my bike-handling skills, which is to say they suck. Thanks to horrible eyesight and general impatience, I am a terrible shot. Well, not terrible, since I qualified for years on the M-16, but bad enough that let's just say that a slot never opened for me on the US Biathlon Team. It's just as well, because dedicated target plinking never really floated my boat. Neither did hunting, although I did find I enjoyed the camping part. That…

Yeah, Should Have Known.

Two days after the rapid weight loss I jumped on the trainer ready to continue my dramatic recovery.

It didn't work out that way.

My legs, depleted from a lack of fuel and the previous day's workout, just sorta flopped around for an hour. There was no short duration power. There was no long duration power. There wasn't any power at all.

I wasn't disappointed in this lack of performance. It was only logical, and given how quickly (relatively speaking) the whole unpleasant experience was over, I was almost thankful.

The next day I bounced back, thanks to plenty of sleep and food. Glorious food. Food that stayed where it should be and absorbed into my starved muscles. That was exactly what I needed, and it was nice to know I could recover and continue. These days it's something I no longer take for granted. I'm more accepting of my limitations, both of the temporary kind and those that are with me for the long haul. The list of the latter seems to grow larger every da…

Dusting Myself Off (Again).

The day after I lost a bunch of weight in a rapid and completely unhealthy manner, I woke up, kitted up, and jumper on the trainer. I wasn't expecting much, and from what I can tell, I delivered.

Actually, given how little glycogen (or anything else) was left in my body, I was pretty happy with what I did manage to put out there. A couple sprint efforts, a couple longer pulls, and a whole lot of 'meh' was about all I had in the tank. All things considered, not too bad.

Sooner or later, I'm going to stop having to get up, dust myself off, and get back into the game. Either I'm going to stop falling down and getting sick, or I'm going to admit the obvious and add this to the long list of activities that I am unsuited for. As I am not particularly intuitive or intelligent, it will probably take me a long time to come to the latter realization. I'll just keep hammering my head against this here brick wall. It may not be particularly comfortable, but it is familia…


Somewhere in the midst of depositing seven pounds of body weight in my bathroom the other day, it occurred to me that my health is much more fragile than it once was.

When I was young, I never got sick. Sure, I pretended to be sick to get out of school for a day or two, but actual sick wasn't something I did a whole lot of. The only times I saw the inside of the hospital was when I broke my thumb jumping my bike (the front wheel came off mid-air, so not much I could have done about that), the occasional twisted ankle in soccer, and that time my appendix blew up.

As I got older (and fatter), I'd throw out my back or something stupid like that, but that was about it. My health wasn't good in my late 20s and early 30s, but I wasn't sick.

Then, in my mid to late 30s, just as I started to get in some kind of physical shape other than round, I had to go and introduce kids into my life. Young kids. Young, germ-infested kids. Kids on the cutting edge of weaponized illness technol…

Another One.

Yesterday the youngest gifted me with whatever bug he's been fighting for the last three days. To spare you the details, I lost seven pounds, but somehow I don't thing this is going to do much for performance. Fortunately, I bounced back quicker than he did, so I get to go back to work.

Um, yay?

Taking It Less Seriously.

The other night, as I waxed my daughter's skis for a Mighty Mite race, I reflected on how at one time this simple act was an obsessive ordeal. I used to take the tuning of skis very, very seriously. I dumped a lot of money into waxes, irons, files, guides, and all sorts of stuff nobody outside of the World Cup really needs. I spent hours upon hours honing edges until they were mirrors and would cut glass from across the street. At one time, my usual edge prep required the progressive use of eight different files and stones. Then came waxing, with all sorts of space age waxes and overlays designed to make them glide effortlessly. All of this was necessary, I told myself, to make myself as fast as possible on race day.

You know what? After all of that, I still sucked. A dog dragging its butt across the carpet was faster than I was in the gates, and that dog probably spent less time prepping than I did.

Eventually, I stopped caring. Waxing was something I did to protect the skis, not s…

Old Man.

I went to Physical Therapy last week, and they put me through all sorts of exercises designed to make me hurt worse. Fine, that's part of the game I guess. The next day I was more or less back to normal.

The next day, I moved all of my stuff to another office at work down the hall, which didn't amount to much real lifting. I did some minor re-arranging and cleaning. I was on par with what passes for "good" these days.  

The day after that I did more re-organizing in my new environment. Nothing heavy was moved and nothing strenuous was accomplished. I picked up the kids after work, drove home, and hung out with the youngest in the hammock. Two hours later I climbed out and was immediately struck by my inability to stand upright. My lower back, from my right hip to my spine, was locked up and looking for any excuse to make me cry.

I'm not sure the physical therapy is doing what it's supposed to do.

I crawled to bed and found a position that was stable and would hop…

Some Days.

Some days I think to myself, as I drive home from work, "you know, maybe I should get on the trainer and knock out a short workout."

You know what? I rarely ever do. 

I climb out of the car, and somewhere between the driveway and the front door all motivation leaves me. I just want a nap.

Today I had those thoughts, but that was after physical therapy. I should have known. Lots of core exercises and stretches to loosen up tendons that have never, ever responded in any meaningful way to stretching. By the time I got home, I had just about enough energy to make it to the hammock in the living room. 

Yes, the family has still refused to let me take down the hammock, and it seems to have become a permanent fixture, more popular than the expensive leather soda and chair that everyone used to fight over. Now, it's a cheap hammock that gets its load capacity tested each and every day.

I did my workout this morning, and didn't cut any corners. I warmed up on the bike at physical …

Nothing To See Here.

Apparently I scheduled two posts for yesterday, leaving today with nothing. Oh well.

I could quickly scrawl out a post about phlegm and old man problems, but I think I'll spare you that today.

It snowed a few inches yesterday. My fat-biking friends will be out playing and enjoying this latest addition to what we now call "winter". I hope some of it lasts until I can get to it on Sunday, instead of the scraped-off bits we've had lately. The good news is that the sun is out more, so the flat light of January will give way to the more reliable sun of February and March. The best skiing of the year is likely here, and I hope to have my little band of Chipmunks, or as I call them, "Monkeychunks", out on the steeper and more challenging terrain of Alyeska. Scare the hell out of them, then have them ask me to do it again.

However, right now I have to get on the trainer. Priorities...

Well, That Was Fun.

The other day I was almost involved in a VIP visit. Let me say right off the bat that I was not thrilled about the prospect. I normally hate people as a rule, and important people just are more trouble than they're worth. I'm sure they do very important things, but I just wish they would do them somewhere else.

In this case, the Vice President was dropping by for a visit on his way to the Olympics. A week of high-level planning with senior-level officers either trying desperately for face time or simply trying to ensure nobody screwed up and a contingent of Secret Service guys eventually filtered down to me. Non-essential personnel in the facility were sent home early, and I would have gladly gone with them. No such luck. My role was to let the Secret Service into the nooks and crannies of my building beforehand and then make myself scarce. Something would have to go very, very wrong for my role to be anything more than that.

I'm not huge on celebrities, so the thought of no…