Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Primary Task

"The situation facilitates concentration, the primary task is the only thing happening. so there is nothing else to prevent you from immersing yourself in it. This condition is manifest to some degree in virtually every running race or challenging workout. Seldom are we distracted from out efforts to concentrate on running by things like trying to solve math problems or wondering how we look to the others running around us. Less obvious distractions, however, such as performance relate fears and doubts, are common spoilers of concentration, hence flow, during running."

Matt Fitzgerald, Brain Training for Runners, page 161.

Matt nails this one with the big hammer. This is a crucial point. One might even call it pivotal (an adjective I used TWICE this morning to illustrate). The zone is where everything comes together, your training, your motivation, your heart rate, your octane rating, your focus and your cause. It is a magical blend of mind, body and spirit. You are in the flow and it's GOOD TO GO. 

This doesn't happen all the time. It doesn't happen every time you head outside for a run or ride. It does not accompany every workout. Most often, matter of factly, we struggle with the load, happy to simply get through. There is no flow, not a lot of go and very little synergistic harmony. 

As far as why this is, I wish I had the answer, but I can only guess. And here is my take:

We lose focus fast. We get bored with the routine and our heads start their diabolical and destructive game of convincing us that it would be in our best interest to cease the current activity, or at the very least back off the throttle to a more manageable level. And POOF, the flow is gone, the magic fades and what started out as a quality session downshifts with double-clutch deterioration into survival mode. You are walking or watching your effort provide barely enough power to sustain the vitals. Your heart beats and your lungs bleat, but you move nowhere fast. In the realms of time and space, you are lost. 

All because you have failed to train the most important component, your brain. When the going got tough, you got going (home). You went scurrying for the cover, protection and safety of the understood commodity of normal. Back in the box. Whew, that was close. 

Every session, every ride, every run we have a unique opportunity to challenge ourselves to this duel. To take one more step, to keep the output high one more minute, to maintain our focus one more mile. To practice the flow. Feel the power of the triad. Keep it here. Live in the now. Fully. Completely. Totally. 

The Olympics are just around the corner. The Tour de France prologue is today. There will be many graphic examples of this practice in the weeks to come. Please pay attention to how the best in the world address this function. We can learn from them. They are Pros at this. It is the singular skill separating the Pros from the rest of us. 

The ability to maintain focus. No matter what. A primary task.

Pic: Tim O'Donnell of The US Naval Academy, keeps his focus during the last mile of 140.6 last week in CdA. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

More fanfare

Can you hear the refrain of ABC's dramatic trumpet opening fanfare for the Olympic Games? Da da, da da da duh-da. Can you recall a Jim MaKay or Al Michaels commentary?  Does the thought of watching the absolute best in the world compete every four years get your motor runnin? Have you ever wondered how you would matchup with a gold medalist? 

Now is your chance. The games are about to begin. On August 1, in London the top time trialists on this planet will compete on a 44km course to decide who has the most efficient combination of power, speed, endurance, aerodynamics and mental dexterity. It will be exciting. And so will this:

We have secured the necessary components to do a virtual time trial in the infamous House of Mirth at the Bainbridge Athletic Club. We have created the course from actual GPS data captured live on the streets of London. We have enough course video to create a challenging representation of the actual event. We have the technology to put YOU in the middle of all this drama. Here is the format:

We'll seed four person teams using our most recent FTP data. Teams will consist of two males and two females. We will create a seeding committee to (best) ensure the competitive fairness of the process. Once teams are established, each team will have one practice stage, to view the course profile, see the video and practice riding with the CompuTrainer drafting feature enabled. Just like a team TT! After the practice run, you're live, each team with a single shot at best average team time. Pretty simple from there, the squad with the fastest average team time gets the gold. 

There will be prizes and awards and of course the official viewing of the live event from London on the very same course on August 1st. 

You don't want to miss this one folks. It has gold written all over it. 

But we need to act fast to get all the heats in by August, so PLEASE respond to the invite so we can establish the committee and align the teams. There is no cost to participate. We do, however, strictly adhere to the CT MR @ BAC code of racing ethics:


Please respond today. If you are interested in a spot on the seeding committee please let me know asap.  Da da da da da duh-da.

More fanfare. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Dots

I hypothesize that cyclists with this degree of training increase the proportion of their power that comes from fatty acids from body and food fats. In the normal person who exercises seldom, fatty acids largely fuel the constant power load of normal activity, whereas glucose largely fuels the extra power required for unusual activity. (There are exceptions. Glucose is the only fuel for the brain and the heart, which operate all the time.) I hypothesize that if the body can be convinced that damn hard riding is normal activity, then it will adjust to a higher average rate of fatty acid consumption, thus freeing glucose for an even higher level of physical activity. Again, body fat is an emergency reserve that should not be touched until an emergency (such as famine) occurs, so the body is loath to burn body fat unless conditions are critical. John Forester.

There is no such thing as reality. There is only ‘your’ version of it which is essentially your perception. Remember that what you believe to be true is only as true as your worldly experience and it doesn’t go any further than that. Even many scientific theories are just that; they are theories! It doesn’t make them so. Unlimited Choice. Org

Aight, fasten z chin strap, mates, we're gonna hoist anchor once again to do the dash of dots. Connect some seemingly random abstract ideas into something of value, defined as something we can, you know, use. Or, as they say in among the ranks of the racing elite, put it into play. Here are the dots:

D1: What we know is most likely wrong.
D2: Perception is reality. 

Let's frame the experiment in the context of your training (and racing), because that can have a measurable result, as in your finish times. And, to be fair, for those of you that don't race (Lord only knows why) we can measure in other areas such as percent of body fat, cholerestrol levels, and my favorite subjective acronym QOL, your quality of life. So here, today, we find ourselves in the midst of a plan, we have launched the offensive, strategy and tactics designed to accomplish the objective. We are on the road. We understand the importance of consistent training, rest and recovery, stress management and optimal fueling. We are disciplined and daring. There is excitement, drama, paradox and humor along the way. We feel the tug of life's accompaniment when the winds blow and the vultures show. All systems are go. 

One would naturally think that this is all well and good. And it is. BUT, at a certain point in this personal melodrama, you need to make yet another strategic tweak, BECAUSE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING, WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN THINKING AND WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN FEELING needs to change. You need to dial it up sweetcakes. What you thought was hard, long, fast, challenging, demanding was just phase I. What you thought about what you are was wrong. Sorry. You can now (and only now) shift into the high gear of your soul (and run like an antelope outta control*). As John Forester notes above, when this dot on the timeline is marked, you can convince yourself that an extremely high degree of efficient power output is normal activity. And the neuromuscular adaptation process ratchets up another notch. The only thing holding you back has been time (to allow the process) and attitude (your awareness of the process). 

Which links us to D2. Is the reality of your current physical capability real? Or, are you limited by the perception of your reality? I am constantly amazed at how we 'govern' ourselves and fail to attain results due to this. Don't hold back. Go for it. Give it up. Sell the farm. Have no fear. What have you got to lose? I (nor I trust your friends and family) will not disown you because you had the courage to walk (or run) down that path and fail. THAT is the victory. THAT is the reward. I will say it again, IF you have done everything right in preparation (the process we call the road) all you can do is go out and play the game. Your perception will become your NEW reality. Experience will take you higher. You must embrace this paradox. Your very QOL depends upon it.

You are right when you're wrong.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CDA2012 Video

Every time I work an Ironman I walk away inspired. Over the course of 140.6 miles there are countless opportunities to witness many of the traits that separate the bland from the brilliant, the average from the outstanding and the meaningless from the meaningful. My faith in humanity is usually restored by T2. By the finish all my petty problems, fears and anxieties dissipate under the awesome power of the success, courage, will and achievement of others. Sometimes I wonder how it felt to be a war correspondent in one of the WWs. How do you put these emotions, uniquely personal, into a string of words? Today, THIS is life and death. There is great meaning here, every time I watch, film or participate, I must redefine my definition of success and failure. Surely they are the same. The same road. 140.6 miles. There will be pain. There will be joy. There is suffering and there is an endorphin buzz that mirrors the purest love. Highs and lows. Heavens and Hells. All of these available to the brave, to the starters as they enter the gray water, as they find a cadence-power groove on the highway and as they slug out a marathon in the afternoon sun and heat, and to us, who watch. 

I find all this fascinating. Why we do what we do. How we do it. Art and science. The dance. 

Here is my four minute piece on Sunday's 10th annual running of Ironman Coeur d' Alene. Congratulations to champions Victor Zyemtsev and Meredith Kessler. Congratulations to all the finishers. Thank you once again for being such an inspiration. 

Click on the title CDA2012 to watch in Full HD on the RCVman YouTube site. 

Monday, June 25, 2012


My return was 0-dark thirty hours form the whirlwind CDA trip. You will recall that this one started towards Montreal but was diverted due to, ahem, shall we say, 'political technicalities'. There will be more (probably MUCH more) on this in the next few weeks. You know I love Warren Zevon, so maybe Send Lawyers, Guns & Money is the applicable inclusion to the post soundtrack. 

But today we celebrate the 10th anniversary of IM Coeur d' Alene. I have some history there, having completed the inaugural event waaaaay back in 2002 and subsequently filming all three courses. Yesterday marked the initial running of the third course (CDAIII)  and despite the usual suspects (wing and rain) it played well. Gone is the Centennial Trail, Dogtrack and I-90 crossing of the first course, as well as Hayden Lake and the rural country feel of the second. CDAIII puts you on the freeway (95) and says see-ya!!!! To be fair, the new course maintains the marquee out 'n back along Lake Dr and the infamous turnaround at Higginspoint cul de sac as well as two high-speed-go-fast with your race day face on jaunts through downtown. The new section has its share of intrigue with a series of 2-5% long-rollers and a "no-passing" section that can bottleneck and frustrate. 

I would like to pass along a couple of special thanks, If I might. 
To Jessica at Ironman for her 'above and beyond' work on our behalf. Remember she didn't even know we we coming until Friday. 
To my Honda pilot Ken for a superb three hours of safe and successful navigation of the challenging course. And for beating cancer.
To RD Mac Casavar for being the first race director in my twenty years of working IMs to get the pecking order nailed. The volunteers, security and staff WORK IN HARMONY with the media. We are not the enemy. We do this together. 

Thanks Mac, Jessica and Ken, you were terrific. 

I am processing the video and, again, despite some raindrops, it looks great. Way back in 2008 we released our first CompuTrainer Real Course Video, Ironman Coeur d' Alene. In the subsequent  four years it has sold thousands of copies and prepared hundreds of thousands of triathletes for the demands of the North Idaho 112. You know I love BTO, so this simply gives me anther chance to spin the lyric: CDAIII:

A few pix from the day: A choppy swim, cold bike and hot run. Welcome to CDA. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Made it to CDA in record time, even with the nightmare drive around caused by the idiots who designed the Rock N Roll Marathon route. Or, to be fair, the idiots at who allowed it. And you know how much it hurts me to say that. Regardless, skies are beginning the clear for tomorrow's Ironman Coeur d' Alene. I was here for the inaugural event WAY back in 2002, and here we are once more to film the third bike course change for Real Course Video. If anyone ever asks, after tomorrow's successful shoot I will have 112 (2007) +112 (2009) +112 (2012) available for your training and viewing enjoyment. Who knows maybe someone out there REALLY likes CDA and wants to ride all 336 miles, (soon to be boxed as the collectors set).

There is the backstory. Here are a few shots I grabbed while flying around getting credentialed and set for tomorrow.

Kurt and fiancee Katie at the CT booth (Wildflower RCV playing in the background)
My old buddy, IMC Champion Bryan Rhodes with Aussie Pro Christie Sym.
My old buddy Cid Carduso Sr, of Inside-Out Sports, helping a customer (as always).
My old buddy, IM Champion, Rini Carfrae solo,
and Rini with Kurt.
The PowerBar Rig. Nice.
The Ironman trailer. Real nice.
Mural of Gandhi, Peace (out)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Get up, get out

Subitize the heuristic. Go ahead. Try. Mix your understanding and analysis of a situation instantly at puree and drink. How does it taste? Is it refreshing? Does it satisfy? Is it nourishing? Or, is it harmful, bitter, limpidic? 

With the protein smoothie as metaphor, we know the menu contains endless combinations, possibilities and flavors. Such is the straw of life through which we suck. And sometimes it does.

All too often projected outcomes, dreams, plans, the goals we establish in good faith, realistically and energetically, fail to mature. They get crushed, snapped from our grasp at the very moment we initiate the celebration. Life seems to be saying, "You can't have this." And we start to wonder why.

Am I not deserving?
Did I do something wrong?
Am I unworthy?
Not rich enough?
Not bright enough?
Without proper documentation?
Wrong color?
Too old?

Disappointment cripples our motivation. It can wipe away years of honest effort  like a tsunami. Everything washed to sea beneath a single, powerful hissing wave. Making matters worse, since you have made the choice to surf in a treacherous, dangerous, shark infested no lifeguard on duty beach, you are now, unequivocally, on your own. Yet, disappointment is good.

You are the only person that can save you. It is more heart to heart than mouth to mouth. There is a lesson available to you, now - with saline and sand about to violently enter your lungs, here - caught between the silicone and amber, that you have to bust a move and choose one:


Metaphorically and literally, the former indicates growth. There will be challenge. There will be set-back, there will be disappointments and heartaches by the numbers. You will be swept under the waves with an immense undertow of awesome power. You will be tested on a daily basis. You will be asked to look at things differently in order to see them clearer. You may win or you may lose. THAT makes no difference. Winners understand that getting to the beach on time, creating the need for additional protein, accepting defeat, loss of down, the unexpected roadblock, a right-hook from some silly bureaucracy, financial ruin, a nightmare on Main Street is all part of the process of winning. IT IS THE VERY ROAD TO SUCCESS. It is imperative that you tread this trodden trail. You must endure. You must revisit your bias. You must study more, work smarter, learn the lessons that the cosmos spent so much time and energy choreographing JUST FOR YOU. 

It's all for you. Reap the benefit. Take the lesson and toss the gift-wrapping. Play the game with more √©lan. Wise up. It might feel like you are beat up, bruised and bloodied, but that is life. Like hits hard. It pulls no punches. It will break your nose as well as your heart. Be brave, have no fear. It is still 50/50. If you don't flip the coin it can never be ahead. 

If you are to win, if you sip of the smoothie, surf where others fear to go, have the courage to enter the ring, get knocked down, and deeply examine your motivational values and spirit, Life demands but one action from you here and now, today, with puffy eyes, runny nose and empty pockets:

Get up. Get out. Go. With this, you cannot fail. 

Pic: As Bob and I found out last year at Lake Stevens, some potholes are bigger than others. Go around them. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Au revoir

About ten minutes from starting the next adventure. Shuttle to Ferry, walk three blocks for light rail to Sea-Tac. Meet up with old HS pall at Alaska baggage for coffee, and then off to Van-groovy for connection flight to Montreal. Get in at 0100, taxi to Econo Lodge, a few winks and then off to the Expo for the Mt. Treblant 70.3. I have been assured that there is free WiFi at the resort hotel where I will be for four days, meaning, of course, that YOU will get nightly updates on the Canadian goings-on until my return next Tuesday. SO then, without further adieu, I bid you a most humble and sincere au revoir.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Yo World!

So many roads…so little time. We knocked out a terrific 60 minute spin session this morning, working on breathing, balance and focus. All in the attempt to manage the sometimes seemingly unmanageable. To create some order out of complete chaos. To do what we can to add to the positive. To fill our receptacle with the values we deem appropriate to counter the obvious global negatives. To stand in the light and face the fight.

All this done by 0630. Now we can, as agreed, take this energy and apply it to making good choices the remainder of the day. A practice we will repeat tomorrow and again on Thursday. So many roads, so many choices. Let's' make 'em count. It can be said that every successful pedal rotation adds a positive dynamic to the room, that the room is a catalyst for the change we would like to offer to our community and that our community has the power to change the world. Those 360s with constant pressure to pedals at 130bpm in the groove zone sweet spot are far more important than you once thought!!!!

In keeping with this stream, here is the local latest. And please be advises that it is not intended for our group only. This is a world class event. That it happens to be in our backyard merely provides us with the opportunity to share the bounty, host an incredible experience and share the alpine biking love. Therefore: YO WORLD: Come ride Hurricane Ridge with us!!!!

Here is the rough outline: Those intrepid cycling adventurers amongst us will depart Bainbridge Island at 0800 Thursday, July 12th. We will ride the 80 or so miles to Port Angeles AND THEN summit the 5,800 ft of Hurricane Ridge. The descent back into PA is hyper fast and once down well make camp at a no-star Motel for the night. Next day, we'll reverse the route STARTING with the climb to the summit and then riding back to B.I. I have the one way at about 125 miles. You are invited to ride all of it or a part, opt for just one summit or both. However it best challenges you. 

Here is a sample video we shot three years ago to illustrate the HR up and down.

Put this epic two days on your calendar folks. The clock is running. 

Off to our 1000 Training by Power session at the club. Ride Happy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Darren & Aileen

As many of you know, we recently ended our epic Tour of California in Santa Barbara at the wedding of my nephew. I wanted to get something out before the Montreal trip and thought I'd Kung Fu a little trailer, as the Canada gig starts in about 72 hours. This chore provided a legit excuse for not going to the pool today.  Maybe not legit, but certainly fun anyway. To view in full HD and 16:9 aspect ratio, simply click on the title (Darren & Aileen) and you will be magically whisked to the RCVman YouTube site. Hope you like the teaser as much as we all liked the wedding weekend. Congratulations to the newlyweds and thanks to everyone for joyously lighting up this spectacular local with dazzling smiles and dynamite karmic energy. That's amore.

Think Kona

"All that we are is a result of what we have thought."

This being the case (according to the Buddha), it seems to make senses that we should think in positive terms, eh? That we undertake endeavors that provide us with confidence, courage and compassion. Can you imagine spending even a day at something that fails at this? If we are what we think, let's think ourselves into (pick one) winners, champions, leaders, healers, teachers, artists, poets, craftsmen, designers, volunteers, story tellers. Or whatever it is that lifts your spirit and creates harmony and joy. At the very least, let's think ourselves into being happy. THAT is the starting point from which everything else falls into place. Then, with a pinch of gratitude, we think, "I am so grateful for being able to do this." Whatever the subject matter. Running, riding, swimming, singing, travel, touch. 

After an incredible weekend of wanderlust and adventure, I returned to the relative security (familiarity?) of my cabin Saturday night, turbo charged with a new octane mix. Our 100 mile ride on the same course on which we will race come IM Canada on August 26, produced an interesting mental response. It wasn't that we rode fast, and it wasn't that we rode hard. It was that we rode with great confidence. I have never felt stronger, more at ease with the demands, more in control. I was thinking as the day wound down, near the apex of Yellow Lake, that I might have finally reached the next level, the one I have been working towards for a long time now. And that singular thought was like a jolt of caffeine, suddenly my cadence increased, my heart pumped more blood, my legs felt light and tight, ready to rock. All as a result of one thought. I was playing out, riding up, standing down the results of my thought process. It was a marvelous and magical moment and, naturally, my NEXT thought was to wonder if the same results are available with this technique all the time, any time. 

And another round of testing in training begins. To what degree does this work? Can it, through practice, be enhanced, used as a race day tool, much like a solid nutrition plan? If indeed, I am what I think I am, can I think myself to the top? Over the top?

Confidence is an important factor to success. Confidence comes with proper preparation and consistent training. All of these create feelings of readiness, anticipation, balance. This has, of course, other, not so kind, aliases: Cockiness, bravado, swagger. You see them manifest in champions, before during and after the battle. There is confidence. It may be subtle and quiet or it may be brash and loud. But it all comes about as a result of thoughts about self. I can do this. I will do this. I do this. How we share this power is simply us on the world's stage, scope and style being the major difference between Shakespeare and Seinfield

Think you can and you're right, think you can't and your right too. 

Think yourself happy.
Think yourself grateful,
Think yourself capable,
Think yourself powerful. 

Pix: Bob uses the power of light to climb Yellow Lake. My goals are public, they are even worn on my jersey as a constant reminder: Think Kona. Jersey compliments of BI Cycles of Bainbridge Island, WA. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012


This just in: The World Triathlon Corporation, our partners in the CompuTrainer Real Course Video line of training products, announced today the latest event in the Ironman series, Ironman Lake Tahoe. I wanterd to pass this along as quickly as possible for one solid reason: ON LINE REGISTRATION OPENS AT NOON TOMORROW. My guess is that it will close about ten minutes later, or 12:10 PDT. 2K x 675 entry fee + 25 fee = 1.4 for the WTC to invest in our partnership between tomorrow and Sept. 22, 2013 @ 0700 when the cannon well sound for the inaugural LT140.6. I hope to be there WELL BEFORE that day to provide you (the lucky you) with a RCV to train with all those long and lonely days leading up to the big (and maybe cold) day. Stay tuned for that. 

We are also plotting the same detail with the Las Vegas 70.3 Championship course. I might even do them both on the same whirlwind trip in the next few weeks. 

Lest you think we have a best coast bias, please remember that on Wednesday I depart for Montreal and the inaugural Mt. Tremblant 70.3, followed in August by Ironman USA Championship,New York. Heck we even do flyover states, as reminded last week as we were hammering out 2x20 sets @ 85% of FTP while watching Michael Lovato put on a bike clinic at the Branson (MO) 70.3

In closing today, I would like to ceremoniously thank my father, George H. pictured above in, I believe, 1954, with me trying to adjust his mug for the shot, at what I also believe is Lake Elsinore, CA., for almost 60 years of encouragement and support. The road has been rocky at times, but we're still here, still racin' and still smilin'. Happy Father's Day to RG and to all you Dads out there, we'll see ya at the races!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

IMC 102

A few semi-random (?) pix from yesterday's epic 102 miler. As you may know the game plan called for a recon preview of the course that we will be riding on August 26th, in, and around Penticton, BC, Canada. I have done it before. Several times. But for Bob and Chris it was their first. And what a first! Beautiful day, blue skies, nary a drop of rain and altogether perfect conditions. We cut the flat start along Main St. (hence the ten short miles) and even subjected ourselves to the notoriously demoralizing Cawston out 'n back. It was a terrific ride, with light traffic and wind only on the last leg past Yellow Lake. Campsite was cool (free showers), drive out a breeze and the trip another great and mirthy success. Thanks and congratulations  to Bob and Chris for their teamwork, company and support. I think we brought back several valuable race lessons, and for me, another important confidence builder. We are very close to ready. 

Pix:m T2B

Campsite at Burberry Green, west Lake Skaha.
Chris and Bob on Hwy 97. Remember the Geronimo!
View from the start of Richer Pass looking East. 
Long stretch just before Sumac.
I took some editorial liberties with this shot of Chris on the seven sisters road. 
Bob at the summit of Yellow Lake, mile 90
Post ride training table. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Tomorrow's assignment: 112 miles of the Ironman Canada course. Bob, Chris, myself and probably a hundred others will set sail early for the adventure. Saturday we run. But today we drive. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


We are out tomorrow for a trip to one of my favorite places on this beautiful planet of ours. Not that I have seen everything or been everywhere, mind you, but of the places I have had the good fortune to visit, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada is at the very top of the list. Right up there with Venice, Kauai, The Canary Islands, Cabo. The idea is to ride the IM course on Friday and then do half of the run course Saturday morning before heading back to Seattle Saturday night. Bob and Chris are Dads and expected to be present for Sunday's Fathers Day festivities at home. Plan is to take it out via North Cascades Highway and back I-90. I have yet to decide if I will ride Phoenix Red (tri bike) or Little Miss Mirthy (road). Trixie (fixed) will have to stay home this trip, much to her chagrin. 

In homework planning for this journey and the next, Ironman 70.3 Mt. Tremblant, I have come across some interesting side notes. For your entertainment and motivational consideration, here are links to some way cool stuff about some very fast and successful triathletes.

Hillary Biscay, Tri-Queen
TJ Tollakson, Tri-Beast
Jenny Fletcher, Tri-Model
Migali Tisseyre, Tri-Pixie
Matt Sheeks, Tri-Apostle
Angela Naeth, Tri-Star

Because I have two tons of video work to do, packing and three more workout sessions left prior to departure, I must leave you with this little gem I found on Angela's site:

One day I will no longer be able to do this. 

Pix: (Top) I am a science experiment from Angela. (Center) Mighty Magali. (Bottom) Jenny the Tri-Model. Bravo!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


From Popular Science to the The Montreal Gazette we travel today in search of relevant training news you can use. 

First stop is this data in regard to longevity of cyclists who competed in the Tour de France. A little back story will quickly show that just to get to this lofty stage required some awfully serious training. For the sake of an average lets put the miles rode per week value at 500. At a 20mph average, this works out to be 25 hours, or almost 4 per day for a week. I know I have never done that type of volume in training. If one is a more pedestrian cyclist averaging a mortal 15 per hour it jumps to 33 hours of weekly training, adding 3/4 of an hour to the daily total. We are talking about the ability to manage suffering and adapt to psychological and physical demand. There has been noise lately about too much training (exercise) actually being harmful. As far as I know, the scientific community has yet to put a number of any type to that ridiculous blanket statement. Here is the RCVman disclaimer: When you have cranked out a 500 mile week, gimme a call and we'll talk. Until then, more is better. Just ask the families of the participants in the study who added 11% in average years to their lives as a result of this 'overtraining'. 

But what about the heart attacks we hear about from marathons? Good reporting from Canada on that one. Keep running is the key take-away. 

To challenge Fox News in the fair & balanced division, I offer this from Mark Sisson,  it is the best overview of the overtraining phenomena I have found to date and isolates a number of the variables in a coherent and structured manner. As long as my resting heart rate stays within acceptable perimeters (+/- 5bpm) I will keep on keeping on. 

But, you might rightfully inquire, isn't there a law of diminishing returns in effect with all of this? Sure there is. If you get hurt, get sick, lose fitness or see your performance decrease, SOMETHING is going on and not for the best. That is why we cross train, fuel right, rest and recover properly, hydrate, test, test and test some more. Because YOU are unique. YOU are one-of-a-kind. Because YOU are special (contrary to several commencement messages), but you need to find out where those return begin to diminish. Are they at 50 miles? 75? 100? That is the specialness of you. You gotta want the answers. There are a lot of folks that simply don't care. 

Andy Potts is one of our most celebrated athletes. He is an Olympian, World Champion and the poster boy for indoor training. He spends more time on his CompuTrainer that I do. Check out this fascinating article about training with power, science and all the data you care to crunch.

Dede Griesbauer is another CompuTrainer user who has seen great success as a result. Here is a short video of her training in Southern California.

Power racing analysis is becoming routine. For your comparison, review and consideration here are some power numbers by two professional Triathletes, see how hay match up to your power numbers (or read 'em and weep):

Mark Twelsiek @ Ironman St. George: 5:10, 275 avg watts @ 76 ave rpm.
TJ Tollakson @ 70.3 Eagleman, MD: 2:02, 320 avg watts @ 97 avg rpm.

Looking in the rear view mirror of my power profile I see the fine print, "Caution, power numbers are further away than they appear."

Lastly today is this from Dr. Ferrari about some of the stats posted by a former National Junior Champion Triathlete by the name of Lance. Some very interesting reading. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Power On

Here is the buzz: Those sting a little. Like a swarm of angry bees. Ten second blasts of explosive power on the tens, once every ten minutes for an hour. Sweet as tupelo honey. 

We witnessed the effects that fatigue plays in this scenario as our power diminished with every blast. This is a good thing as it is the way that we improve, adapt and sweeten the pot.

I wish there was a faster and less stressful way to do this, but in searching for almost 40 years, I have yet to find it. You don't have to tell me that they induce suffering. It isn't necessary to mention the elevated heart rate and demand on muscular-skeleton system. And you would certainly be preaching to the choir by citing the effort necessary to obtain max after three or four. Yet therein lies the value. They are hard because that is what it takes to get better. In this case one might even say the harder the better. 

We talked about the difference between having six hours to train or only 90 minutes. If I had six per day to train it would be an entirely different structure. But I don't. Today, I am again swamped with media chores, I am three vids behind and people are getting anxious. Restless natives. The 'is the video done yet?' question is to video editing what the 'are we almost there?' question is to driving. These things take time. 

I think that today I will apply our morning protocol to my work. One hour, a few punchy climbs and then ten seconds of explosive video artistry. Or, as they are designed to play out on the road, three steady state hours of groove zone sweet spot high intensity application of speed, movement, color and sound. 

All of this rewarded with a 10K recovery run at dusk as completed capolavoro is in final render. 

This is going to be a big week. In a series of big weeks. There is lots to do and precious little time to get it all done. We had better adapt to the need for explosive power. And endurance. And focus. And power. 

Those ten seconds are the color of money, honey. Power on. 

Pic: Up the Bonny Doon KOM at the Tour of California. Take a close look at the faces. Power on. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The scope of things

Nice little article from the Seattle Times today on what we do, sorta. Perhaps in a kaleidoscopic way.

Sure we exercise. We get all that. We know of the bennies. We play cat and mouse with the aging process. We accept these physical truths to be self evident. We know about high intensity, core strength, endurance. We are the choir. For most of us it was a choice we made many years ago, today being the healthy manifestation of that singular, all encompassing decision. To be fit. To get there and to stay there. 

And then a funny thing happened. No longer muddled in the mediocre, we wondered how good we could get. What level we could obtain and if this fitness quest might lead us down the path of glory. Some type of victory, a win or two. The thrill of championship. The stuff we used to watch on TV.

And then another funny thing happened. We started to take the requisite baby steps in the direction of the answer to that question. Do I have what it takes? Will I make the myriad sacrifices necessary to obtain and achieve? Can I schedule the time, create the format and structure the work load as not to lose friends, family, social standing and career? Will this quest be all consuming as I have seen it be with others? 

One by one those questions were answered. All in the affirmative. All life changing. All empowering and all the time.

This is now what we do. It defines us. The synergy is complete. The big three dots are effectively connected and operating in a harmonious, dynamic, perpetual, efficiently powerful and joyous cycle. It is no longer work, it is play. It is no longer pain, it is pleasure. It is no longer something we dread but something we look forward to.

As we have been witnessing, along with all this transformation, the fact remains that as we adapt, the load increases with augmented challenge. We are asked to do more, lift more, go faster, go longer and maintain a razor sharp degree of success. A byproduct of all this adaptation is the need for progressive increase. The challenge of today prepares us for a bigger challenge tomorrow. It will NEVER get easier. We merely acknowledge, accept and execute.

I understand, this is not for everybody. I was also shocked at the figure cited in the article in regard to the percentage of people who were wired to prove their actual exercise, "In surveys, a consistent 30 to 35 percent of people report moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity. But in the past few years, researchers have begun to outfit study participants with devices that record movement, and the truth has come out: Fewer than 5 percent of adults are doing the recommended level of activity."

Five percent? That's it? OMG, we, the preachers, need to seriously add voices to the choir, folks. 

And I have an idea. Three parts:

PART ONE: Keep on keeping on, doing what we do. Leading by example.
PART TWO: Spread the love. Tell somebody else, drag them in. Bring a pal.
PART THREE: Inspire, educate, motivate, support, entertain and even bribe when absolutely necessary. 

All for today, off for a ride. 

Pic: Last year on the Queen K in Kona. Kaleidoscope effect added for emphasis. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Common cement

A lot of kids are graduating this weekend. I have always been fond of the animal known as the commencement address. There are good ones, not-so-good ones, mediocre ones and great ones. 

Because so much these days is brought to us as spin. The media, politics and big business all having floats in the slime parade. When life, truth or reality hands you a clue (or diploma) you had best accept, and with as much humility and gratitude as you can muster, because if you don't, that same clue (or curriculum) will be offered to you again (and again), until you see that what you have been conditioned to accept as fact, is everything but. Two stand out for their overall quality and commitment to the reality of life:

Wear sunscreen. Mary Schmich.
You are not special. David McCullough.

Both these address' are radically motivating. They each talk about success found from within rather than from the outward image that society projects back upon us. 

Here are some other good address; from:

Let's take a closer look, shall we? What society would like us to do as perpetuated and replayed ad naseum by those that have mastered the model:

Go to school, graduate, get a degree, go to work, get married, stay upwardly mobile, procreate, invest, retire, watch TV, have a nice funeral. 

What we really need are people with the courage to break this mold. And someone to shoot that mold maker. Folks, there are almost 7 billion of us walking around these days. We don't need more of the same. We have plenty of bureaucrats, government workers, assistant managers and file clerks. There are enough white collar junior executives and more service industry gophers than we can inventory. The middle class has flunked out. They passed the 'be normal and don't make waves' test, but failed in everything else. Magna cum laude dull. 

We need crazy. We need outlandish. We need off-the-wall-over-the-top-off-the-charts wackos with fire in the belly marching to the indi drummer that fills their souls with passion. We need the graduates of today to get busy with this because my generation has failed miserably. Here is the gift society gives you to work with today: Debt. Our mess is yours to clean up. We partied like it has been 1999 for twenty years. The place is a mess and we're broke. 

So please wear sunscreen, find your unique attributes and embrace them, believe in yourself, laugh at yourself, work hard, take risks, stay hungry, stay foolish and love all you can. It's common cement.

Good luck. 

Pics: A party for Mirthiness is a good start. The common cement (see Ellen video for reference). Add some love.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

61 Candles

I was had.

Played like the five of hearts.

Set up.

My dear friends invited me over for pizza and beer. That is an easy one. What time? Earlier in the day I should have recognized the signs. Why was everyone wishing me Happy Birthday on June 7 when my birthday (even posted on FaceBook) is August 31? I am all for merry pranking but this one had me scratching under the cap. By the time 5:15 rolled around and I finished off a decent but demanding 10K in the park, I was very contentedly sitting on Bernie and Linda's beautiful deck sipping a delicious Red Hook ESB.

And then Cindy showed up claiming to need discussion about the Historical Society. And then Chris and then Stephanie. Then came Bob and Kathy, Ruthy and Vince. Before I know what (the heck) was going on EVERYBODY was in the kitchen with food, grog and big smiles. A banner was hung. There was laughter and commotion. Party on!

I keep asking, innocently, what is going on? 

It's your birthday party, silly. 

But it's not my birthday.

We couldn't wait till the end of August so we thought we'd celebrate early, do you have problem with that, Scrooge? 

Not hardly.

Then let's celebrate.

Roger to that.

And we did. Incredible selection of food talking me three plates to sample, enough exotic ales to last a month and a birthday cake with 61 (Babe Ruth is smiling somewhere with me at the irony) candles. I make a wish and listen gleefully to a monster version of HB to you. 

What a blast.

We go outside for a group picture and a tiny bike is brought out as a prop. This is fun I am thinking, all my wonderful friends hanging out in celebration of life.

I hear a chorus of oohs, and look  left in time to see Tom wheeling in a blindingly beautiful (and brand new) Felt F1SL (Dura Ace). 

I am still in fog. Dots remain random, unconnected. Tom hands me the bars and I am speechless, stunned. After a few minutes it finally registers on my radar that this is a birthday present, so I ask, making sure I finally get it.

Is this mine, to like, keep?

Eyes roll, laughter refills air with an encore of YES.

And now I get it. 

I have been blessed with an extraordinary group of friends. They plotted and schemed to make this special gift personal and poignant. OMG, my friends all chipped in to buy me a new bike. I still don't know what to say, so I mumble some thank yous and you shouldn't haves but cannot seem to find the rhetoric to express the warmth, joy, gratitude and camaraderie I am feeling. 

With as much sincerity as I can muster, I thank everyone for extreme generosity. And congratulations on what may have been the best surprise party ever, or at very least the last 61 years.

Now I get it.

Pic: The new Felt 54 SL might have come complete with nickname. Test ride this afternoon should confirm our suspicions about flying capabilities. Results shall be well documented. Thank you again.