Saturday, July 31, 2010


567 miles. South. Eight hours. One tank of gas (I'm in a rental car). Very little to report from I-5. Blew thru Washington and Oregon, NorCal. Hit Shasta at 4pm, checked in with the RD for tomorrow's 138 miler, got a room, logged on.

Had some time to think with cruise control engaged. Thought about why I do this. About the toll it takes. About the ROI, the cost per hour. About ways we can improve, refine, adjust, tweak. About next month in New Hampshire, Norway. About Hawaii. About my place in all of it. The big picture. The grand scheme. Dots left unconnected. I thought about how many times I have run up and done this highway. My first trip up, the last down. Tales of the road. I chuckled a few times playing back the tapes. I first gazed upon Mt. Shasta in 1974, and had the same feeling then that I did today. Wow. So incredibly humbling. Powerful. Mystic. Another perfect combination of earth and sky in magnificent alignment. I love mountains. I love Shasta, Hood, St. Helens, Rainier, Baker. In a couple of weeks I get to film Mt. Washington. Highest recorded wind speed on Earth. Over 300 MPH.

Cyclists revers mountains the way John Muir did. Because they are there is reason enough to climb, shoot, camp, ski, gawk or ride. Pick one. Go and do. Tomorrow we do 138 miles, over 14,000 feet of total elevation gain. My assignment is to film from the car as others do the fun part. We create indoor training videos so that people who don't have the opportunity to ride for one reason or another can see, ride and feel the same dynamic that those riding tomorrow will feel. Indoors, when the snow is deep, the rain cold, or the traffic unbearable.

That's something good. Something of value. Something to be proud of, I reassure myself.

I run into one of the musicians who played on 2000's Northwest Triathlon The Curse of Pele this afternoon. The how is a long story. Ten years have passed. Michael is now an accomplished drummer and student of the percussive arts. He lives in Shasta. I am Sherpa for some musician friends back home. It was a great pleasure talking about the water that has rushed past our huts over the last decade. The family of musicians is a tight one. Kinda like cyclists. We have talked about this before; Bikes, music, cyclists, musicians.

It's all connected. The road, the miles, the thoughts, the mountains, the musicians, the cyclists, the dynamic.

Tomorrow we climb.

Shasta form the I-5 vista point just before Weed. Michael the Drummer. Both are made of rock.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dos Mas

Out this afternoon for another exciting RCV road trip. Heading the 500 plus miles down to spectacular Mt. Shasta for the appropriately named Mt. Shasta Century Summit ride. 700 riders, 15,000 feet to the top. Check out their website and give this one some serious thought for your 2011 ride schedule. Should be fun and, as always, I will be blogging LIVE from the Siskiyou's Sat & Sun.

We have added anther cool event to the schedule, this one the Las Vegas Gran Fondo scheduled for a comfortable Oct. 2 date. The folks at Planet Ultra organize several endurance rides, doubles and other events of extreme saddle nature. Please check out their comprehensive site and give some thought to joining the Vegas ride. It is a piece of cake from just about anywhere and makes for a truly adventurous destination getaway.

As a reminder we released two new RCVs last week, the infamous Wildflower Long Course, including cheerleaders and the Energizer Bunny at the top of the Nasty Grade, and the USAT Age Group Nationals Course shot last year in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

They say that knowledge is power. if you have never raced either of these courses and are planning to, for less than the price do a new Italian saddle you can see, feel and ride all 56 miles of Wildflower and 40K of Tuscaloosa. Or I suppose you could spend a grand and go out there and mix it up with local traffic on a non race day. CompuTrainer Real Course Video, knowledge AND power. Order yours here.

The Mt. Shasta Century (left) and the Las Vegas Gran Fondo. Coming soon.


That is enough for today, gotta point it South. Happy Friday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


There are a couple of topics from yesterdays post that I would like to further explore. With your kind permission. Or I could talk about all the other cool stuff that is going on in RCV land. OK, one at a time.

Please talk a close, or closer, look at the results from yesterday post on the long term effects of long term sitting. It mentions 'leisure time' sitting as the primary culprit, I guess assuming that most people are going to be sitting for up to eight hours anyway, so it's the 'time after work' that is the isolated test. I can tell you that nearly 100% my 'leisure' time is spent in motion. Working on the cabin, chopping wood, running in the park, hauling things to and from various stores. I haven't watched TV in twenty years. As I spend much of my morning on the computer and editing video, I am keenly aware of the toll it takes on my back, core and spine. When I sit on a plane or in a rental car for hundreds of miles, it becomes acute. Conversely, I spend a lot of time spinning, biking, running, walking, and sometimes even swimming. I have done my share of martial arts and yoga. I appreciate this ambulatory device we call the body. I also like going fast, meaning that there are a series of steps necessary to prepare for the onset (and sustainability) of speed. We call this training. Speed is a relative term. What is fast for me is slow for ten thousand Kenyans, Alberto Contador, Emily Silver or Lindsey Corbin. But I am faster than Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Point is, that it is health and longevity that we are taking about here, not winning races. Unless, of course, you consider your life a race.

I consider it a race to happiness and one of the key components of that event is good health. Someone once suggested that good health is 90% of happiness. Let's use all the tools. Make every second count. Work your body. Go hard. Rest and recover. Repeat. Spent 90% on happiness and you'll find yourself moving a lot.

Please make sure that your leisure time activities include some movement. Have you considered the marketing genius behind Wii? Balance it out. If you must spend all day at the computer, commute to and from work on a bike, do some yoga in the morning when it's quiet and take a stroll in the evening. If you are going to race, please raise the intensity of your efforts on a regular basis. We used to call wind sprints 'gassers'. Guess why? Run HARD for forty yards, stop jog back, repeat. Gassers. Do ten today and report your efforts and metabolic response back. Gassers, yeah. Tank up.

Creates High Octane blood flow.

Gets you from point A to point B fast.

Zero to Sixty in flash.

No knocks, no pings.

Even the folks at the local 76 station know it. Stretch whenever possible.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sitting Bull

40% ladies. That is the mysterious difference between the damage done to sitting men (sitting bull) and women who sit. Too long, too much. We have kinda suspected this for a long time, but now comes these rather startling results from the lab that indicate, once again, that it is worse than we thought. Here are three takes on the latest news on the effects of sitting too much.

Womens Health
Health Mad

So why is the bad news 40% worse for women? Even the scientists admit they don't know, but the evidence, in the from of test data suggests that it is. Take a close look and read a little between the lines. Interesting to me were two points,

1) That even vigorous exercise on a daily basis was not enough to overcome the damage done through daily doses of caboose parking. All this time we thought we had the cure, or at least the antidote.

2) The quickness with which the body begins to break down when parked. Cholesterol begins to coagulate, heart rate slows, plaque begins to form. Worse, we lose core strength, flexibility and blood flow as we sit, stare and survey.

As you know, for the month of July I have been doing two a day 5K runs, this because of my work schedule and because I wanted to test the metabolism theory of keeping the motor warm and ready. I liked the results, until now. Just when you thought you had it figured out.....

More change is necessary. I sit at my desk a lot. In the past I have used the CompuTrainer while reviewing video and during long renders. With the results of this latest news, I think I will dial that up a touch, keep the two a days, and schedule some yoga, core work and stretching between. We used to call this cross-training, now I suppose it's cross-working.

That should keep me going for a while longer. But that 40% scares me a little. I don't want to be the last man standing unless there's some cute gals around to play with.

So let's move it ladies. Lot's at stake.

Pix from yesterdays visit to the Winslow Marina. Rock sculpture, expensive sailboats and canoeists all in one shot. No sitting.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Oh Boy, the top fifty countdown is finally here! I am liking this lots spin kids. If if weren't for severe legal ramfications, I would compile, burn and get these to you as set lists for your spinning accompaniment, but, alas, even my team of lawyers suggests that I refrain from this musical sharing activity. Could you imagine Uncle Neil (or in this case Trey) tweeting me and requesting that I cease and desist from using Down by the River in the House of Pain?


Under the letter of the law, then, The RCVman Top 100 Spin Songs of ALL-TIME, numbers 50-41. Time to heat it up.

50, Africa, Toto
49, Funeral for a Friend, Elton John
48, Abracadabra, Steve Miller
47, Runnin Down a Dream, Tom Petty
46, China Grove, Doobie Brothers
45, Make Me Smile, Chicago
44, And She Was, Talking Heads
43, One of These Days, Ten Years After
42, Down By the River, Neil Young
41, Tennessee Jed, Grateful Dead

Monday, July 26, 2010

Code Red

You want change? YOU CAN'T HANDLE CHANGE.

With all due respect to Col. Jussep, and juxtaposing truth for change (!) I continuously feel that the need to explore this idea is important. It is for this jar-head anyway.

My training storyboard (pictured) indicates the extent of my recent minimalist approach to race preparation. Any self respecting Ironman (and that includes Ironwomen) would look at this log and immediately ask, where are your long rides and open water swims, dude?

In defense, I will plead the busy card. And while that may get me a lighter, reduced or suspended sentence, it certainly won't get me any faster come race day. And that is where we all find redemption. If judged by a jury of my peers, this log would get me life without parole. Except of course from those in my AG, who wholeheartedly approve and recommend more of the same.

Which brings us full circle. NOT MORE OF THE SAME. CHANGE NEEDED ASAP!!!

I have been doing my little two-a-day 5Ks because they fit into my work schedule, keep my metabolism boiling and maintain a level of fitness that I feel I can use to advantage when dialing up for events. As exhibit B, I respectfully introduce the fact that after my last two road trips I returned carrying an additional 5 pounds of lipids. Don't ask how I got them past TSA in San Diego. But there they were, in the usual hiding places.

Faced with the prospects of having little time to go long I devised the aforementioned plan adding our Wednesday HIT spin session and a weekend event whenever possible. You know the results of THAT work in progress!

The red lights came on last week, as in listening to the body, as blinking neon beckoned, CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE. A metabolic code red.

Go longer, go faster, go harder. Do SOMETHING different. Could have been diet. Could have been yoga. Could have been a trail run. I decided to run long for the change of it. Logged over 4.5 hours yesterday. It hurt a little last night but a easy mtn bike ride in the park at sunset washed out remaining lactate and a couple of icy cold ones eased the joint and muscle pain. Change. A long way from 5Ks.

Here is the good news: I was totally recovered this morning, and just reeled off a pain free 5 miler. So what happened: Consistency won the day. The specificity element missing in the shorter, yet more frequent runs, provided a number of beneficial side effects. Base fitness was maintained and the topic du jour, change, provided a very welcomed bit of empirical evidence. That over distance training make the shorter distances seem shorter. Please don't knee jerk a 'no duh' here as anyone who has done a fast 10K will tell you that at times it seems like a full on mary. Anyone who has done a 112 IM TT will tell you that there are massive amounts of pain in the final clicks. If I was to do all my runs at 15K, a simple 10, perhaps on race day, will seem like a walk in the park. Ride a double century and your next 56 will feel like your atop a Gold Wing instead of a Cannondale.

Change. Shake it up. See what you got, and in many cases it will show you what you need. And just so you know, that initial change to do what worked (2X5K) resulted in the elimination of the added, stored and unwanted fat.

You want me up on that wall.

Do something different today. Dismissed.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Couple of new entries to the RCVman record book today.

1) Longest time spent with one continual run, and two,
2) Additional proof that specificity is crucial in training and racing.

As you may know from yesterdays post, I wanted to run the 26 miles along Highway 305 from the ferry terminal on Bainbridge island to Poulsbo and back. All this because the road sign has a 13 on it and that seemed both ominous and beckoning to me. 13 being one to the numbers in 70.3. You may ask me why, but I'll be up front with you (as I always am) and say I haven't a clue other than the half Ironman connection. It just is, and it's just there. So am I.

So this morning at 0600 I parked the Exploder and headed out. Things were peaceful for about 45 minutes and then it started to get annoying. Even on a summer Sunday morning there was enough vehicular traffic for me to get annoyed. My tolerance may be a bit low in this area. By the time I got to close to Poulsbo I changed the route to get off the highway and run past Liberty Bay. So I added to the already dangerous distance. Took the same route home and hit the wall at 23 miles and 3:45. At my makeshift aid station I packed it in and opted to run home and get a ride to the truck. Knees were filled with fluid and I perhaps severely aggravated a nagging hernia. Time to call it a day. Under the heat and competition of a race I would have surely slugged it out, but today, a distance seven times what I have been doing, it was enough.

4:49 from the start I was in the shower.

Then I had some pie.

Balloons on 305 at mile 4. The Northbound sidewalk at the Agate Pass Bridge. Sluys Bakery detour. THAT sign, and my turn time, slow and didactic.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Run 4 Pie

Quick one today as summer sun is shining and we have six tons of work to get done before it starts to snow.

Ever caught yourself saying, "I have ALWAYS wanted to do that?"

Something I have been considering for a while now will get tested tomorrow. Conversely and ironically it is under the heading of, "I have NEVER wanted to do that."

Somewhere between those extremes comes this (perhaps a first):

As the sign indicates, we are 13 miles from Poulsbo (and the nearest Home Depot).
That sign kills me every time I pass. It screams, "HALFWAY."

You may know where I am going with this.

You may also know that I love pie. Sluys Bakery in Poulsbo bakes 'em the old fashioned Norwegian way. So I stopped by on my way home this morning to get a strawberry-rhubarb sugar mountain as motivation and reward for:

Running from the ferry terminal in Winslow to this sign and back. The old 305 out 'n back. I am not concerned about the .2. 26 tomorrow will be enough to warrant a slice or two of this delicious local pastry.

Start time is 0600 at the cop shop. Should be little traffic and I will put out one of my big Gatorade jugs at North side of the bridge for H2o. All comers are welcome. No fee, no timer, no t-shirt.

Pie is on me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Could Happen

It COULD happen….

One of the many reasons we (according to i) find so much drama, entertainment, solace and inspiration in sports is that nothing is guaranteed. Be they team or individual. You still have to go out and prove it. It being one game, a season, one race or one hard workout.

There exists, not matter what Vegas says, or perhaps because of it, the possibility that on any given day, a serious long-shot underdog will emerge from the toils of the event, victorious.

It could happen.

Joe Willie's NY Jets, the Miracle Mets did it.
The Seahawks could win the Super Bowl.
I could win anther triathlon before I die.
The Huskies could win another Rose Bowl.
Tiger Woods could go into acting or politics.
Lindsey Corbin could comment on my blog.
Could happen.

Every one of those "coulds" are pretty much out of our individual control. Even the one regarding Ms Corbin. Why don't we simply focus on the things that we can control and let the oddsmakers set the over-under? For instance….

I will enter an event (as motivation).
I will train consistently and diligently to be as ready as I can for said event.
I will eat properly and recover sufficiently.
I will manage my stress.
I will enjoy the process.
I will use the results from the aforementioned event as further motivation to continually improve in every area.
And repeat the process.
I will commit to this healthy life style and do what needs to be done.
I will not let the odds against detour my focus.

And I will respond back to the winner of IM CdA if she writes with Big Montana congratulations. Photo is of Lindsey from Wildflower, her favorite course (and mine) and the latest RCV release from CompuTrainer.


All of it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In case you aren't on their mailing list, does about everything possible to keep you, the athlete, informed, updated, ready, and well, active. It's a great service, continually expanding to offer the cyclist, runner, triathlete or recreational century rider, all they need to saddle up.

Here is an example of the scope of their work, listing everything from eight "must-do" 100 milers for advanced riders to answering the age-old gloves-or-no gloves question.

We have added the Shasta and Las Vegas Century rides to the RCV list, effective today. Active.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wish Tree

Multi-Tasking keeps you from critical focus where and when most necessary. This overt fact was revealed to me once again over the weekend as I tried to juggle several pins at once. It is the building season and I need to build. Get stuff done round here so I don't have to spend another winter moving buckets and splitting green wood. The creative pins are of many colors and shapes. There needs to be a priority, a sequence, some order from chaos. In biz parlance this is known as work flow. The training pin goes up but won't come down where I expect it to. I am reconciling this with several shorter sessions per day. The finance pin is up there somewhere, I think. And then there are the emotional, soul and spiritual. Those pins, which at times glow, sparkle and sing, seems to be heavy and dull, timid even.

And I think it is because of this juggling act. Too many things at once. All the pins are whirling like a tornado around my head. Some are moving fast and others sputtering. To escape this comical cosmic vortex I usually run. As in run, not run-away. That way I am doing one thing. It has never surprised me that my best conceits come while putting one foot in front of the other in as rapid succession as possible. One thing.

Not several.

I also think that this is one of the reasons why our super high intensity maximum SHIMPB) power bursts in spin class are so effective. When getting to-and keeping it for the 12 seconds, you don't have time or energy to do much else. You can focus on the 12. Go as hard as you can for 12 seconds at ANYTHING and see for yourself.

No time for math, finance, drama, neurosis, anxiety, or where you got to be at noon.

Multi tasking. BLAH. Ya don't spin when you swim, you don't run when you ride and you can't do all three at once, so whatever you are doing right now do it the best you can with as much awareness as you can muster,

Oh, yeah, and be happy in your work.

On another altogether tangental note, on my ritual after dinner ride around the duck pond tonight, a spectacular summer evening in the PNW, I spotted this: A wish tree. I had noticed some commotion near it the last few days, but chose to allow space, until tonight. There are a hundred "wish tags" on the wish tree. Some of them made me wince, others cry. I wish that all the wishes come to pass for the wishers of the wish tree. Further along my ride I went to investigate the swatch of dirt neighboring the water. Hadn't been down there for a while and was instantly reminded of why waterfront property remains a premium. Wow. The sun was shimmering gold across the Sound, foreground to the stately evergreens across and the majestic Olympics behind. A trawler sliced the water leaving equal parts of wake to port and starboard. An osprey charted a horizontal course at eye level, legs dragging like landing gears in position. Jeeze, more magic. All I have to do is watch.

I live in my tumbledown shack, fifteen pedal rotations from Paradise.

Just Wow.

The RCVman water-less solar-powered self-composting toilet tower taking shape. Across the street from the Wish Tree.

Monday, July 19, 2010

More Magic

More Magic

You don't need to be the Sorcerer's Apprentice to get some magic into your life. Look around. Trees. Sunshine. Kids laughing, dogs chasing tennis balls in the park. Wind power. Sustainability. Tolerance. Peace.

All magic.

Improving your 5K time. Converting fat to muscle. Fixing a flat on the fly. Changing your BMI. Eating better. Recovering smarter. Dreaming in color (with Dolby 5.1 surround sound). Dissecting one of Jerry's blistering guitar solos (and there were many). Haruki Murakami by a fire.

All magic.

The smell of the pre-dawn forest. The hiss of waves at the shore. Peaches. Your heart at max. Endorphins. Successful communication. Kindness. Grandma.

Here with us. Always. I am happy with my suffering. Bring it. It is our nature to suffer. There will be pain. There will be blood. It will hurt. For a time.

Then we get accustomed to it and everything changes. Don't hurt no mo. Because you are stronger. Adaptation. Reality. Improvement. Growth.


The dotgov doesn't care much for the rank and file seeing what is so close. New Cabin entryway. Wake up your China Doll.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just WOW

Was thinking about what separates the magic from the mundane early this morning as I circled the park for the first of two 5Ks. This, as a result of a series of rather trying days where nothing seemed quite in its proper place. That feeling when you are about two steps into lost and don't know it yet. Imbalance. Longitude is here but the Lat is MIA. Making matters worse was the return of my old nemesis, lower left side disk pain. Nagging, constant, annoying. One would think that after thirty years of doing this I would be used to it, but every time it flares, I run the gamut of analysis and blame. Should stretch more, get up and do Yoga, use the foam roller, get a new bike, swim more, get a massage. Go back to school and get a MBA. Stop whining and accept what Cassidy told you several years ago (that if you are going to do long course triathlon-accept the fact that you WILL have back pain). Cultivate the Zen. And on it goes.

But the magic thing. Why so seldom? Cause we are distracted most of the time and numb the rest? The reason I write, race and create video is to get closer, more often, to the magic. If it happens once every twenty four hours, I wanna be there. I wanna bask in that light and absorb that energy. I want those good vibrations. So I stay with it, keep at it, endure. Much like a miners head lamp looking for something that glows or sparkles. A lot of the time it IS the mundane. But that moment. WOW (Just WOW). Keep seeking the gold grasshopper. Keep running. The pain will subside. Keep racing, there are victories on the horizon if you show up, none if you don't, and hold dear the creative imperative, don't let go. You will never please all the people. That is not your job. Keep the fire burning. Change. Grow. Learn.

Between runs, I went over to RG's to help trim and hang his screen door, and on the way back got blindsided by a Garage Sale sign. Gold. Head lamp scanning Oriental art and Ming Vase. China Doll in lacquered case. Bob Dylan poster, cool hand made jewelry. I am $100 poorer but found some magic. Believe, flow, relax.

Hoped in the Exploder to get back to work holding one of the vases in my lap for safety and spotted a gal thumbing by the side of the road. Don't see THAT much anymore. Doctor My Eyes was on KJR. I stopped and she gave me a good look before climbing in. I guess wackos don't cruise carrying Oriental vases. She had a red guitar in one hand and a pint box of strawberries in the other, hello dark eyes. We talked. I was a mile from the cabin, but ended up taking her to Indianola. We had a beautiful chat. There was electrical current. I would have driven her to Miami had she asked. She does Reiki. Her card says, "Moving to the YES! of Life" and "Wanting What's True for You". Wants to barter for the ride.

Just WOW.

Friday, July 16, 2010


1) What we want.
2) How to get it.
3) Have the strength to go after it.

It's like how we used to talk about getting things done. There is a combination that needs to be present in the proper ratio. Time, the money to purchase the materials and or professional expertise, and the inspiration or creative imperative to put them together to accomplish the task. Applicable to art, music, building, training, a picnic in the park, social interaction, whatever.

If you want to do a triathlon, you had better swim some, bike lots and run a little. If you want to add a DIY wing to your house you had better learn some carpentry, electric and plumbing skills. If you want to journey a thousand miles, take the first step. If you want to lose ten pounds, eat more grapes and less steak, more water, less beer. Take the time to move your body more, buy a mountain bike, choose to create a new you.

1) Time.
2) Money (or a skill to barter)
3) Inspiration.

In other words, we need to know what, how and then (most importantly) have the gumption and guts to go get it. Will power, fortitude, focus, dedication, desire, commitment, courage, endurance, motivation. They all play a part. Some folks are more motivated than others, some more courageous, others have the ability to stay focused when the goal gets blurry.

Sometimes we get frustrated and angry. Sometimes we opt to numb the pain. Sometimes we take shortcuts. Sometimes we quit, give up, seek something easier. Dummy down.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the scope of a project? When the task appears impossible or unobtainable? Too much to do. Too big a job. Too hard. Where to start? When? How?

Here are a couple of heavy hitters that I like a lot. Brian Johnson's Philosophers Notes leans on some of the ideas of David K. Reynolds and in the video William Glasser. And Byron Katie has helped thousands (including the RCVman) with difficult personal situations.

Is it true?
You sure?
So what?
What now?

I have been feeling pretty backed-up the last few days. There is a ton of work piled high on my plate and I have allowed the fuse to burn shorter and shorter. There have been detours, potholes, setbacks and negativity. Recalibration is in order.

What do I want?
How do I get it?
Do I have the power?
Is it true?
Then what?
Turn it around.
What needs to be done NOW?

Thank you. Gotta go.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Big Move: New Space

Big move today. Out of the converted closet and into the new studio. It has taken awhile. A quick search revels that we were framing wayyyy back in December of 2008. I might be getting slow. But it is all paid for, and I owe no contractor or craftsman interest inflated payments. And know what? I kinda like the space. Brother Michael, a superb carpenter with a keen eye for perfection, says it's my best work to date. I consider this to be a huge compliment, and while I had to struggle to cover the usual mistakes, I think this will make all the RCV editing and subsequent video production a lot more tolerable.

So we have made the world a little better today. We also took advantage of the move to upgrade my OS. Now running with Leopards. There are tons of details left but the Phase I move has been accomplished.

As I sit and upgrade report to you I am looking at the photo of the roughed in window taken back in the 12.08 post and now looking out the finished portal listening to some sweet Charlie Hunter jazz. It is a summer afternoon, the sun shimmering a reflective green off the maples and giant ferns.

Through Frankies rhododendrons I can still see the sun dance on the sound.

Big move made and life is grand.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

88 RPE

As we know, and have proven on many occasions, music and bikes go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Like Malbec and smoked Edam, like pesto and sun dried tomatoes. Personally I think it is in the beat. The rhythm. The time signature. It is tribal, wild and hypnotic. You can add whatever you like atop a solid back-beat, be it baroque, classical, jazzical, rockabilly or punk. You can do it in 4/4 time or try to cram in sixteenths or thirty-seconds into every measure. You can syncopate or you can para-diddle, you can use a bongo or a djimbe, you can bang with sticks, your hands or mallets. Just mirror the heart. Beat, pause, beat, pause, beat-beat, pause. 1-2-3-4.

Work harder, beat faster. Drama? Add intensity. Hills? Whoa baby. Thumpa thumpa. Any wonder why the drum has been the instrument of choice for eons when leading the charge into battle? Or as Kurt Vonnegut gave as answer to the Army WWI billeting solution, they rented a tent, rented a tent, rented a rented a rented a tent.

Ah, the drum. And its percussive counterpart in melody, the piano. The 88s. Beautiful, heavenly, unlimited. And hefty. Hammers and strings. Wood. Big. Not the instrument of choice for marching bands.

But where there is a will there is a way. Check out this article on Mr. B. His joy-box rig weighs in at over 350 pounds. Try taking that tune up a 12% grade. He says you just have to slow down and relax. "You just have to gear way down, be really patient, and work through it". You will get there. Where have we learned THAT before?

I like his attitude.

I would play drums for this guy to help him up the hill.

Nice effort, Mr. B.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

70-61 Good Times

Another Tuesday, another list. Today is the RCVman Top Spinning Tunes of ALL-TIME, numbers 70-61. Without additional exposition (although a one sentence pithy comment on each tune, and its subliminal merit, meaning or metric could be included in the next version), here are the day's do-wah ditties:

70. Galvanize, Chemical Brothers.
69. Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day.
68. Urgent, Foreigner.
67. No Sugar Tonight, Guess Who.
66. Suspicious Minds, Elvis.
65. What's Up? 4 Non Blonds.
64. Take Your Mama, Scissor Sisters.
63. Steady as She Goes, The Racounteurs.
62. Middle of the Road, The Pretenders.
61. US Blues, Grateful Dead.

I feel like Casey Kasem on a Schwinn. Good times.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gimme Five I'm Still Alive

Good Monday, time for the news.....

In a group of 70 year-old individuals who had resistance trained since age 50, their cross-sectional area and strength were were equivalent to a group of 28 year-old students. Such findings clearly indicate an impressive plasticity in physiologic, structural and performance characteristics among elderly individuals and that marked and rapid improvement can be achieved with vigorous training into the ninth decade of life.*

The ninth decade. Yeah, baby.

Lance was involved in three crashes in Morzine, France during the 2010 TdF Stage 8, the first stage in the French Alps. The day's misfortune basically ended both his hopes for a unprecedented eighth title and his racing days at the worlds most celebrated grand tour of cycling.

I would have loved seeing him take another win, but at 38, his dominating days at this level appear to be over. By comparison the stage was won by 25 year-old Andy Schleck of the Saxo Bank squad.

Thanks Lance, you're still the best.

Local swimmers take to the pool to raise money to benefit friends fighting cancer. My pal and monster swimmer Heather Burger will again join others to "embrace the challenges within our island family as we swim to raise money for a friend or neighbor who faces the financial obstacles that accompany medical treatment."

By comparison, Saturday I swam 1,500 meters in 30 minutes. These community minded and generous folks are swimming 30 miles. This is the ultra marathon of fund raising, the 24 hours of spinning. The aquatic BIG TIME. Not to be limited by cement, they also do a relay swim around the island the day before. For additional information and to donate or volunteer, please freestyle here.

Go get 'em H.

The passive-solar self-compositing toilet project is coming along slowly and steadily With a little luck I might even have the lid on today. Before it really starts to rain.

Hope you all had a nice summer.

Video upgrades and progress with the new formats all proceeding encouragingly, albeit some areas frustratingly slow. Hey, these things take time when you have no budget. Hope to have the Nature Valley Grand Prix highlight vid up by the end of the week.

RCVman Top 100 Spinning Tunes of ALL-TIME numbers 70-61 up tomorrow. Could this be the week of the Dead?

Red and White, blue suede shoes.

Time for the morning run.

I'm Uncle Sam,

Let's have a good week, shall we?

How do ya do?

Fab foto by Pete Saloutos. More of his stuff here.

*Exercise Physiology, Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance. McArdle, Katch, Katch. Fourth Edition, Page 639.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Maybe this is becoming a trend. Writing my race report from the perspective of the time that I finished behind whomever I choose to compare. You will recall that only a month ago the world was astounded by the fact that one Mr. Craig (Crowie) Alexander, two time Ironman World Champion, cleaned my 70.3 clock in Boise by two hours, his 4 to my 6. (Minutes and seconds being semantics). Many of you wrote consolingly to say that he is:

A) Twenty years your junior,
B) A professional triathlete,
C) Australian.

And while greatly appreciated, none of that helped much. To this day I find it incredible that he could travel the same course, the same distance and under the same conditions, TWO HOURS FASTER than the humble i.

Correspondingly, you will recall that all my "return to action" racing comes after a three year hiatus as a result of RCV scheduling. It was (and is) more important then (as now) to capture the courses on film than to race them, meaning that my racing fitness suffered severely as the camera, capture and RCV creation became priority one. You know, a paycheck.

As strategy, and missing the drama of the battlefield, we added the Bill Edwards theories of training intensity. From once a week to a max of three times per week, we added 12 second maximum power bursts to our existing high-intensity spin sessions. The theory being that explosive power can (under certain circumstances) replace traditional high volume training. In this case pretty much because the time necessary for HV no longer existed. What we found in Boise didn't further the cause.

Or did it?

We learned that distance is a factor. Explosive power assists endurance only so far. You still need to stretch it out on the weekends. Yesterday in Forest Grove we wanted to see if the theory held up over the Olympic Distance. A mere 1500 met in the water, 24.8 miles on the bike and a manageable 10K run.

And it did.

Instead of losing two hours to Crowie over 70.3 we missed wining the coveted AG crown by a measly two minutes over the shorter Oly distance.

The historians among you will quickly note, and rightfully so, that my time yesterday of 2:41 was 11 minutes slower than the last time we tested on this grueling course, back in 2002, but look what happened to place of finish: from sixth to second. Another hummmmm. Only my friend Stuart Lee (pictured) is still around and racing from the good-old-days. Longevity, time, distance, speed.

The warmth of the sun made for great racing yesterday in Forest Grove. Over the course of the five hour drive home I gave a lot of thought to the theory, the testing, the training, the racing, the goal, and the passage of time. The two minutes and yes, the two hours. Can I tweak the system even more, are the tangent details the true secret, can I commit to the challenge? Is the suffering worth it? Here is what I came up with:

You are never too old to try.

Pix: My friend Bob after his first Oly, a 2:44, good for a top ten finish. M55-59 Winner Don Geddes (right) and Stuart Lee. Photo by second place finisher, RCVman, and the silver medal as a result.

 MALES: 55 TO 59 YEARS OF AGE        

1. Donald Geddes 225 56 M 2:39:47 1 0:28:31 79 2:44 1:16:01 61 1:19 58 0:51:11 69 Portland, OR
2. Kevin Lynch 185 57 M 2:41:14 2 0:31:56 143 3:36 1:14:35 46 1:43 69 0:49:24 55 Bainbridge Island, WA
3. Stuart Lee 137 55 M 2:43:23 3 0:30:30 119 3:21 1:15:16 50 1:29 63 0:52:47 80 Seattle, WA
4. John Letts 186 57 M 2:56:06 4 0:28:49 86 3:15 1:26:20 145 1:43 125 0:55:59 111 Troutdale, OR
5. Jeremy Coachedby 21 58 M 2:57:04 5 0:29:01 87 3:51 1:22:18 117 1:32 113 1:00:22 152 Portland, OR
6. Mike Lehman 177 55 M 3:07:58 6 0:34:10 173 3:39 1:28:27 163 1:46 164 0:59:55 146 West Linn, OR
7. Ron Sklar 101 57 M 3:18:39 7 0:35:20 180 2:53 1:35:18 187 2:14 186 1:02:54 169 Portland, OR
8. Tom Phipps 47 56 M 3:19:50 8 0:35:58 184 3:28 1:33:59 183 1:53 184 1:04:31 177 West Linn, OR

Complete results here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

RCVman Sentcha

Dateline: Forest Grove, Oregon.

Heya Howdy VBA, we made it to Forest Grove about an hour ago, five long and hot hours from RCV HQ. 230 miles to the South. This for tomorrow's Hagg Lake Olympic distance triathlon. Not too many events can claim 30 years of history as this one can. It was one of the infamous races on the 1983 Bud Light Series which also included stops on Washington Islands Mercer and Bainbridge. What were YOU doing in 1983 (when I was building houses on the aforementioned island of Bainbridge)???

So we have some history here. I have raced this venue enough to know its nuance. I have filmed it several times as well, and respect the shadow to light ratio as well as power to weight. It is a tough shoot and a tough race. Hills in the forest will do that to you. I am doing both tomorrow. We'll test the new bike cam configuration (a spring loaded stabilizer to diffuse road vibrations the latest upgrade), and re-test the intensity vs quantity theories you know so well.

All this means, simply, that I need to steady the camera more and run faster. Piece of cake.

That is tomorrow.

Today's news is that the much anticipated CompuTrainer summer sale is officially on. And it includes RCVs as well. BIG NEWS!!!!

Not only can you get $100 off a new CT but the complimentary RCVs are deeply discounted as well. It's kinda like having your cake and eating it too. More accurately, it's like shooting perfect racing video and winning your age group to boot.

More on cakes, video, training, racing and RCVs later. I promise.

Photos from the drive down. The RCV Exploder in Oregon looking back at Washington. And the worlds best indoor power meter now on sale. Just tell 'em RCVman sentcha!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Turbo Studio

Slow news day. Got in a nice little ride in Seattle on the BG and then a smoking hot 5K in the park. The last two workouts leading up to Saturday's Oly Tri down at Hagg Lake. I am officially into taper, sad because I was looking forward to Tony's spin class tomorrow morning. Just for the sake of drama, my PR at Hagg Lake is 2:25 set way back in 1997 when I was a real triathlete (as compared to the super-geezer class AG hacker that I am today). So I have a bogey of sorts with which to contend. Oh yeah, it's me vs me. One would think that I would have learned that lesson with the old-timers baseball dressing down. But nooooooo, back for more self inflicted ego abuse. And ya know what? It's OK. Sure I like the training and testing component, the challenge, the competition and the camaraderie, but more that anything, I like the thrill. I like to race. It is as simple as that. I like getting answers the hard way. I like proving to my delicate and hyper-sensitive ego what my body already knows.

It knows that I am not going to get any faster. Not no how and not no way. It also knows that I am working twice as hard to keep what I once had. My body knows the utter futility of trying to beat my PR on that difficult course. A mark set when some of the VBA weren't even with us. Or at least legal to drink with us.

That should be motivation enough to give best efforts every time out there. You may not get another chance. Go for it . Go hard. Give all you got. Suffer a little. In twenty years you will thank yourself for the memories.

So Saturday I will have fun putting all this pre-test into play. The strategy is pretty much the same as with Boise with the exception that I will hammer a little harder on the bike (this surprises you?) and then try to keep a steady sub-threshold pace for the hilly 6.2. That will tell the tale. If I can go comfortably hard (another oxymoron) for the run, I will do fine. A this point it isn't so much about getting faster as it is about losing what you have slower. Most of the guys in my age group know this. It applies to hair and money too. I wonder how many of them that will be there Saturday were there in 1997?

On the international circuit, here is a beautiful website/service from NSW, OZ. I followed a link from one of the power user forums and found this. Imagine my surprise when I flipped through the pages and found no less than three of my videos on the site.
Yo Alex, I have a lot more recent and updated stuff from which you might get additional value.

Just let me know. Welcome to the family. Power onward.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ride of the HHH Valkyries

Taking full advantage of this rare mid-summer time off (I was supposed to be in France), here is the first of several short video teasers from the June Mid-West tour. The Horribly Hilly Hundreds are staggeringly popular rides in SW Wisconsin. They are staggeringly difficult too, as the climbing in the video attests. 10,000 feet over 100 miles was the original goal. A fabulous, well supported fun event. And please be sure to check out their cool jerseys, prominent in the video here.

Up next is the Nature Valley Grand Prix, to be followed by the Lake Tahoe X-Terra, Indoor Power RCV, the Coach Rob Bill Edwards trailer and lastly, because we have the much sought after but seldom enjoyed luxury of time, the Coach Rob & RCVman Mexico Cruise commercial. Was that a deep breath you just took?

On local notes of universal impact, the RCVman will once again take the laboratory onto the field Saturday at Hagg Lake, OR. We saw a few weeks back that the training substitution of volume for intensity works to a point. That point being distance. Over the long, hot and windy 70.3 miles of the Boise race, it was a stretch. Yes, we finished, but the 6:07 showing left a lot to be desired, and a 12th place AG finish was nothing worthy of a letter home, let alone a blog entry. So Saturday we'll test the theory again over the Olympic distance and see if we can draw some results. A quick check from the archival records revealed a 2:30 performance at that venue in 2002, a mere nine years ago. That was also two age groups ago. Yikes. Can the RCVman get within 10% of that? Is a 1:11 bike split followed by a 45 minute 10K remotely possible? Will the handlebar cam be a valid excuse if not? Can a one day a week HIT session (like this morning) satisfy the training requirements to crack a fast Oly time at an age when most rational people are concerned more with their 401K than their 40K?

Short answer: I don't know.

Short term goal: I am going to find out.

Maybe the Valkyries had it right.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SERIOUS Saddle Time

From the Columbia - HTC website. Each athlete trains and races nearly 275 days each year, logging 1,400 hours and 20,000km (12,000 miles) annually.

That is five hours a day for 275 days folks. Where are you going to live to be able to train at this volume for 275 of 365? Enter the concept of Indoor Training.

You can do this at home. Wherever you happen to live, work and play,


This, again, is the standard at the elite level. For the sake of comparison, let's take some other guidelines. The .gov tell us that to be fit we need to exercise 60 minutes a day. That is one fifth what pro riders do. So could we split-the-difference-hypothisize that if we put in 2.5 hours per day it would get us to the age group podium? Hummm.

Ouch, that is a lot of saddle time. Anybody wanna try with me and see?

First, we'd bite size it. Do a week of 2.5. That is 17.5 hours (at avg of 20mph) and gets us a robust 700 miles (697.5). Then we'd take three days off to recover and rebuild. Once we have adapted to THAT load we'll set our goals on a month. 70 hours, 2,800 miles. And on ya go. WOW. No wonder those guys can crank the speeds and distances they do. The work is in the bank.

And please do not say that the pee is in the lab. This has nothing to do with dope. It is all about training.

November 1, maybe?


RCVman Top 100 Spinning tunes of ALL-TIME. Part three. Numbers 80-71 (It's getting a little hot in here).

80, Saturday Night, Sir Elton John \

79, David Bowie, Phish
78, Psycho Killer, Talking Heads
77, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, The Police
76, Billie Jean, Michael Jackson
75, Money, Pink Floyd
74, Crumblin Down, JC Mellencamp
73, Me & Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin
72, Rock Steady, Aretha Franklin
71, Everything But the Girl, Missing

Monday, July 5, 2010

Life, liberty...

America has mortgaged its future to maintain the symbols of personal freedom (the house, the car, the big screen TV) at the expense of real freedom. We owe China almost one trillion dollars; our public education system is approaching collapse; and, we rank number one globally for our obesity rate, with more than a third of our adult population being technically obese. America's current understanding of freedom is unsustainable and raises the question, "Are we really free?"....We need to identify new enemies of freedom, create a new list of evidence, and make a new declaration that will guide us for the next 100 years.
Steve McCallion

Sometimes life's bigness can be overwhelming. There is so much to do. Wars to end. Greedy capitalists to bring down. Clean energy to pursue. People to feed. Laws to change. Bureaucrats to punish. Gardens to grow. Relationships to repair. Races to run.

Yesterday I opted to take care of some of the items on my voluminous list of things to do. This, instead of watching a baseball game, waving a plastic flag at the parade and creating a calorie imbalance.

So I chose two that are important to me and set out to improve the one thing that I can immediately and effectively control, my thoughts and actions. My freedom. My choices. At the most basic level I know, home.

I worked on my passive-solar, self-composting toilet. And in between the framing for this water-saving next step towards self sufficiency (steps I have been taking since 1974), I improved the other thing I can control, my health and fitness. So once in the morning I ran the hilly 4 miles surrounding the cabin and then again at noon. The plan was to do this three times, but by six, I was gassed. Wimp.

All day I thought about the connection of capitalism to democracy. Of how we have wandered so far off the path, with or without GPS. I thought about Mr. Obama and General (ret) McCrystal, about Bill Gates and Fidel Castro. About Rolling Stone and free speech. About light sweet crude, pelicans and FoMoCo. Terrance McKenna, Alan Watts, Noam Chompsky, Sarah Palin, Sam Walton and Allan Greenspan. About Thomas Jefferson and Dick Cheney. About Me & My Uncle.

I suppose that is the life, the liberty and the pursuit of happiness we were all celebrating yesterday. Those are some big concepts. Sometimes in that bigness we can lose sight of the forest. Too many tall cedars and firs surrounding the happiness trail. We are guaranteed the attempt, not the prize. You can have the road, but not the goal. Silly us to think different. The 1975 Candy Apple Red Mercedes 450 SEL will help you get there, friend. Just sign here.

I have happiness. It is here and it is now. There is nothing to pursue, not a dream to chase or a symbol to buy. The road IS the goal. Is my water savings going to change the world? No. Is my fitness going to set a new world record? No.

But I think it helps. It's manageable and empowering. I can do it today and it makes me feel good. Like I am a part of Mr.Harris' solution, not a part of the problem.

But I sure like that car.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Fourth: Fit or Fat?

Can't even remember the last time I gnawed a hamburger. I have boycotted McDonalds for almost twenty years now and I once was a Guinea Pig for the DoD testing the thesis that an athlete (soldier/sailor) could get by on a vegetarian diet alone.

I do remember, however, the last time I had a sausage. It was in Vienna, 1992. It was December 23rd. I was Christmas shopping in the town square under the glow of festive lights. It was snowing lightly, and wafting through the crisp evening air was the unmistakable sizzling smell of chestnuts and sausage. As a string quartet plucked pizzicato, children skated and adults toasted life, I followed the smell, hypnotized. The internal debate lasted about 20 seconds, as right next to the sausage vendor was a beer garden. Giant steins of Bavarian beer were being hoisted with gusto.

Before I could say Merry Christmas I had a sausage in one hand and a stein in the other. The meal was simple, brat & beer, but the moment was magical, having more to do with my surroundings than the snack.

And that was the last time.

Admittedly, it is a stretch to jump from Austria in '92 to the 4th of July in Seattle, from a snowy European capitol to my semi-rural backyard in 2010, but the point is this: We create our own experiences. The truly memorable ones come not by accident, but by design. By our choices.

I choose to eat as healthy a diet as I can afford. I choose to put myself into the mix of a lifestyle that I appreciate, enjoy and that motivates me. As a result I am continually honored by being surrounded by incredibly talented and inspiring people. Most of them are athletes, many not.

You know when they say the beauty is in the eye of the beholder? I think there is beauty in the vitality of good health. I don't care if you can do a sub five hour 70.3, an 18 minute 5K, or ride a century in less time that it takes to drive from Vancouver to Portland, if you have good health, you have made some good choices. A beautiful thing.

Congratulations. I know it is tough. It takes discipline. It takes desire. And it takes dedication. We have talked about all this many, many times in class. You have to pay the price.

So tomorrow, as you stare at the beef burning on the barbie, try to balance yourself. Make this 4th of July a memorable one. ENJOY THAT BURGER. Taste the craftsmanship that went into the making of that micro brew. Toast to our freedoms and praise Lord for giving us the power of self awareness. Hug the kids and pet the dawgs.

Then get to work. You have a choice. Fit or fat. Simple as that.

Here are some interesting articles for your consideration:

The Vegetarian Diet.

About fish.

Veggie athletes.

In & Out.

Fuel for athletes.

How cheeseburgers cause cancer.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The need for SLOW

We talk a lot around here about the connection of high intensity training (HIT) to its yang counterpart of rest and recovery. Here is an small article to illustrate. For every high output session we need to take an equal and opposite break to allow the rebuilding process to complete the cycle.

You know and I know the addictive nature of endorphin flow. It's the crack of exercise and training. Have you ever heard yourself think along these lines:

"Well, if swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 and running 13.1 is good, then doing 2.4, 112 and 26.2 must be better." Right?

Sometimes and maybe.

If you do it smart, at a gradual pace and are not swayed by the romance, drama, power and allure of wanting all this NOW. 'Cause you can't have it now. It takes time. Twice as long because of the need for recovery. Sure you can take drugs, EPO, and blood dope to cut the recovery time, but do you really want to sacrifice the long term for instant gratification?

I know it's a tough one, but trust me, when you get to the last third and you still have your knees, liver, lower back, smile and self esteem, the trade out seems like pretty much a no-brainer.

There was a (semi) tongue-in-cheek poll taken a few years back by Triathlete Magazine, if I recall, that asked this single and telling question:


Need I tell you which response was 87%?

So please, folks, let's slow down a touch. Take the time necessary to do it right. Nobody likes to be sick, tired or hurt. And that is what you get when you don't slow down and properly rest and recover. That is why God invented sleep. That is why we do INTERVALS, and that is why we take time to recover after intense sessions, long rides and focused racing.

Another RCVman PSA. You may now resume your normal training activities.

Photo is Coach Rob's beautiful CompuTrainer set up in his studio. When you go, go hard, when you rest, rest well.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


A milestone of sorts. This is the 800th blog posting for the RCVman site. Not to be outdone by those hackers over at NFL properties, that would be DCCC in Roman Numeral Super Bowl speak.


So I though it would be appropriate to use this special occasion to provide you (the VBA) with a primer on the Super Bowl of Cycling, the 97th Tour De France, which begins in Rotterdam on Saturday. I know, I know, you are thinking, why aren't YOU there filming all this world-class cycling action Mr. Big Shot video guy?

Fact is, I am in Seattle (or an island suburb thereof), because I was painfully unsuccessful in compiling the proper combination of sponsorship, accreditation, financing, accommodation, and support. I tried. And will continue to do so until I get to the top of the Alp d'Huez on the day of that stage. But unless I get a call in the next 24 hours or so, that will not happen this year. Sorry to disappoint.

None the less, here is some background info on this little race for your enjoyment and reading entertainment.

Le Tour.

The Eight.

The Top 25 TdF Riders of All-Time.

The jersey colors.

Please note that only eight riders are Americans, and one, Tyler Farrar (photo) is a Washingtonian. Ya gotta like that.

All for today. DCCC, and counting.