Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Moving sale

More good news for those of you that wish to continue down the indoor training path with us. We have moved!!!! Uptown. We have a new site and now offer an exciting Video on Demand opportunity so you can get our latest instructional videos (the highly entertaining ones) instantly. No DVD, no mail, no wait, no hassle.

If you are in the market for this type of training accompaniment, and what self-respecting athlete isn't?, if you want to take your power game to its next plateau, if your winter motivation sometimes freezes, check us out. We offer a synergistic solution for mind-body training. As your workout partner we will never say no.

For a limited time we are offering free downloads to check out our outrageous claims and promises. The first 20 folks who migrate over to CycleVidz.com (and like us) will qualify for a free video. A quid pro quo is ever there was one.

Hope to hear from you soon as the offer expires Dec. 25, ho-ho.

I am also officially moving this blog, its been fun, over to the CycleVidz.com site as well. Thanks to everyone who has visited, engaged and participated over the 2K posts and five years of our interaction.

You can also go direct to the VOD page for the best indoor cycling video downloads here: Cycle Training Videos 

Enjoy the ride. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I have

As is the case most often the news is mixed. There is some good, along with the obligatory, not-so-good. Even a little of the downright bad. So here we go.

The seriously not so good is that the mysterious heart/lung ailment that has yet to be professionally diagnosed has returned. Just when I thought it might be history and I could feel my lost fitness slowly start to return, I have a relapse that has yet to subside. We are now in day five of me feeling like the next heartbeat might be with the operatic accompaniment of the Wagner's fat lady. Putting an alliterative spin on it: Shit seriously sucks. I barely made i through Monday's mild set of hill climbs in spin class, needing a two hour nap immediately following to simply sit and finish my trip preparations. Self diagnosed as idiopathic pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac surrounding the aorta, caused by black mold bacteria in the cabin, now it appears that the plan of waiting till affordable health care allows expensive cardiology testing, just won't wait. Cause the big gal is warming up backstage.

Which got me to thinking on the flight from damp Seattle to blistering Phoenix this morning. Let's say that the script calls for the ending without a curtain call. The hero goes down. Stopped in his prime like a fullback on the one. Denied. Stuffed. The end and over. What would I do deferent? Where is that dang bucket list? What is left undone?

And to my surprise - and this is the good news - I was at a loss to come up with anything. There is nothing that I have always wanted to do left on that list. Nothing. Sure it would have been nice to have a 160 ft yacht and a Ferrari. A summer place in Sicily and a big screen TV the size of Montana, but those are toys. Material and meaningless.

I have traveled.
I have loved.
I have competed.
I have created.
I have helped, coached, taught others.
I have played in a rock band.
I have worked.
I have experimented.
I have sang, laughed, danced and cried.
I have built.
I have meditated.
I have read.
I have tried to leave a small footprint.
I have won some, lost some and tied a few.
I have been rained out, too.

In other words, I have lived a little. I made a conscious decision to follow the bliss that filled my sails with the wind of passion. I made some mistakes. There are a few choices I wish I could make again. Passes tossed I wish back. Directions that could have been followed with a dab more precision. But, oh well. Maybe I'll get another chance in another lifetime. Maybe there will be a miracle cure, or at least a professional assessment. Maybe all this will go away and I can get back to Ironman training and cleaning up the mess from my lack of design and roofing skills.

Either way - standing ovation or the simple close of curtain -  the fat lady will sing one day. If it is to be tomorrow, that is OK.

I have lived.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gone Phishin'

Since 2007 I have attempted to make a post every day. On the good days, on the bad, on the ones between. For the record there were 1761 of them. It has been fun. It has also been a monumental challenge. Things are again in flux. I need some time to sort "things" out. I feel like I owe an explanation of sorts. My body is hurt. My soul is wounded and my mind struggling simply to keep somewhere near the here. I have no idea as to the time. It may be later than I thought.

So I plead for your forgiveness and understanding as I embark on a sabbatical to re-set the spiritual. There was a time when I thought I had this fine tapestry under control. There was a time when I felt in control of the dynamic fluctuations of life's complexity. That rug seems pulled from under my feet. I seek a safe harbor from which to temporarily set a new tact.

I need some time in the sun. I need some peace. Priorities need to be addressed. I need a new game plan and I refuse to whine about how close the last one came to both fruition, validation and smashing success.

Life goes on. I lost. So what. Who cares?

I guess I do. I still feel a responsibility to me. To my spirit and soul. I just need this time to rally and heal up. Nurse some wounds. R & R. Chill. I may be back. Maui for five short days should tell.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the exchange. I hope we can do it again someday soon. Peace.

RCVman, out for now.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Itsa WRAP



Once again, congratulations to everyone who participated in this year's tournament. It was fun.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3.26 video



The Big Match is set. Friday @ 1800.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

K&C Racing are IN!



And they become the first to get to the championship match!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Down 2-4



To the Round of Four we go!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tour de Dung II



Saturday in Sequim.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Money



Keep your hands offa my stash!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

M18



Monday night video.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Freezing to Volcanic


My sincere congrats to Lucas & Lydia (shown in bottom pic below in the HoM) who both earned top-ten results at the Tour de Dung Road Race in Sequim over the weekend. Not to rest on laurels, Lucas broke our indoor ten mile TT course record yesterday and sister Lydia goes tonight at 1930. 

Milam to San Remo today (top pic) got a touch chilly. 

Glad we had the opportunity this fine morning to do some indoor work.  

After the MiM I am taking three days off in Maui to film the Haleakela climb. 


And to rest, relax, detox and chill. Right now I am VERY CRISPY. 

SPD

SAINT PADDY'S DAY ACTION IN THE 'O MIRTH



Two more matches tonight, stay tuned.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chapter Four

Chapter Four (Match 4) in the 2013 Madness in March CompuTrainer Multi-Rider @ Bainbridge Athletic Club. Saturday night action with Chris setting a new course record (24:22) and Karin, besting the Life is Good squad of Greg and Laura. The wiggle is a reference to a scene from Kill Bill Vol II which I borrowed from Q. The score is the down-tempo tune Finn McCool, from Deep Sea Dust,  a great collection of electronic tone-poems from one of the many former tri-vid collaborators, Kevin Clark. Happy St. Patrick's Day McCool. And congratulations to all. Life is Good and wiggle your toes.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fear or Respect


No wonder you can't do it, you acquiesce to defeat before you even begin. It is the other way around, the wood should fear you (your hand). 

I juxtaposed the wood for hills and we went to work. The imagery was of the mountain, the challenge was the climb. The strategy was focus and the tactic was enduring execution. One begun, better finish. Take Kill Bill for another spin. 

I remembered D.T. Suzuki and his Zen poem. I heard Donovan and I felt a familiar low-level power in my core. There was resolve. Today, this ninety minutes might avenge yesterday's sloth. Or the imbalance of the past month. Or the fear of all the, 'what would happen if' anxieties. I could use this climb as a fresh start, put the failures of the past in the rear view mirror and ride away from them. Go further, faster, longer. With more presence and grater awareness. 

I am not interested in power over people to manipulate or control. I am interested in personal power. I am not interested in revenge. Those that have wronged me in the past are forgiven, as I trust I will be forgiven by those that I have wronged. I seek no revenge. I am more interested in gaining the respect of my peers than their fear of me. Further, I would much rather laugh than fight. Nothing, NOTHING is that serious. We are talking about riding a bike up a hill. Not life or death. 

THERE IS NOTHING IN LIFE THAT YOU SHOULD FEAR. It you fear it, face it. Get in fear's face. RIDE UP THAT HILL. 

Our little ride up the metaphorical mountain this morning was an attempt to face one fear. To practice the art of facing it, overcoming, doing what once we could not, or would not. The master wears white. He practices his art until it is perfect. He shares his wisdom when the student appears. He loves and laughs. Should he be provoked, however, he commands the fury of hell. 

And then there is a mountain. And the mountain will fear you. Not the other way around. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

WTG



From Freud to Fun. The latest video from our annual celebration of indoor cycling. On how you can get involved locally, contact the BAC at www.Bainbridgeathleticclub.com, or for more info on the fabulous training tools from RacerMate, go to www.Racermateinc.com

AFT


For the second consecutive morning I woke feeling like that sound from outside was an 18 wheeler in overdrive escape gear that had just ran over my dozing arse. With today's exception that forward wasn't enough, so I got reversed over as well. The equivalent of some poor raccoon meeting head on with steel-belted radicals at 45mph. Bed kill. 

I am taking this medication called omeprazole to treat the gastric reflux issue that they think might cause the heart/respiratory issue. So that might have something to do with it. But it feels more like, plain and simple, I am not recovering well from evening sessions in the HoM. The last two nights we have gone hard later than usual, which pushes back the recovery clock. But this? Ouch.

The Provider called this morning to say she had a chat with the X-Ray specialist and they think, agree and recommend a cardiologist as a result of what now indicates an enlarged heart. I though that was good, "He had a heart the size of Montana" has a nice ring. Used to anyway. 

Maybe it is because of the dreams. OMG, another round of REMs that would make Tarantino wince. I dunno. 

Making matters even more paradoxical this morning was the quote I ran across as I settled into work at a ridiculously late hour, hands cupped around a steaming mug of two day old microwaved coffee. The quote was this:

The Buddha brought suffering onto himself, to look into the face of it, to see who he then was. Jesus allowed himself to be crucified, to demonstrate who he was. And what do you think YOU are doing here? Why bother with this relative world if not to know yourself in your own experience? And how else to do that except through the encountering of that which you are not?

I set the coffee down, dipped my heavy eyes into my warm palms and played back the tapes. I saw the data chart indicating red-line effort on the bike, I saw the church being built with bricks and adobe clay that looked like a giant pizza oven, I saw a graph of magazine sales from Baltimore, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Atlanta, I saw a bowl of blue ice and a bowl of dry ice. The Fed guy asked me how I wanted to die and I looked around for an escape route as the five other big, tough guys in frumpy brown suits and stained ties watched my every move, anticipating that very attempt. I saw a giant red snapper with mouth agog. Teeth and nothing else. 

Alright then. The truck is gone and so is the coffee. The dream lingers, blacks crushed in a sinister shadow. There is work to be done. More details to refine, rough edges to polish. I could encounter what I am not today. 

What I am not is somebody who takes getting rolled by a semi laying down. I even have a partial on the license plate: AFT.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

HIGHlights



A couple of night's worth of video highlights from the 2013 Madness in March Indoor Cycling Tournament in the HoM @ BAC. You should know all the acronyms by now.

Why Not?


We get busy. The in-box fills and non-essentials slide towards the back burner. In managerial response we take care of the immediate. Today. Now. Crisis mode. Stress raises cortisol levels until we seek relief. Sometimes a couple of deep breaths suffice, other times a short run or zone 2 ride. At critical mass it might call for a week somewhere in the sun doing little more than work on a tan. 

You may recall a few days ago I mentioned my friend Joe. I feel the need to expand his character a bit and offer him a larger role in this production. Mostly because he is an interesting guy. Joe has spent a lot of time in DC working The Hill. His politics are as interesting to me as his persona. One day last week, as I was struggling to develop a viewpoint that validated my opinion on the sequester issue, I asked Joe, innocently and honestly, 'who is to blame for this farce, is it the Prez or the congressional republicans?' As much as I was hoping his answer would be the latter (which would validate my bias) he smiled, clasped his is hands behind his back, contemplated his response, looked at me and provided a one word reply.

Both. 

Please remember that this is the same guy who commented last week that the answer to every 'why' question is 'because'.

Two concise examples of minimalistic character development that I am sure Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout and Philip Jose Farmer, who ended Venus on the Half Shell,  by asking 'why not?' would all approve. 

Two words. Both and because. 

Both meaning the two sides in every story and because because asking why is worthless unless you are a homicide detective. 

Asking why is asking for sympathy. Playing the part of the victim. Why me? Poor poor pitiful me. Why now? Why here? Why this or why that? Or, in using the metaphorical vernacular of the training world, why so hard? why so long? why so hilly, windy, long, demanding or challenging? 

The correct question is what. 

What do I need to do right now, this instant, to impact my performance, approach or attitude to accomplish the directive? What is the discipline? What are the elements of success? What must I do to transition from the victim to the first responder? What is the secret? What is more important, asking why or answering with what?

As Joe might say. Both and because. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

38 and laughing


I guess it could be worse. I could have couch potato heart syndrome. Or something I heard yesterday when a person described herself as a competition survivor. What could be worse than competition survivor's heart syndrome? Truth be known, I kinda wish they would have diagnosed this lingering condition as lovers heart syndrome. But they are now saying it might be Athletic Heart Syndrome

You are just going to have to cut back on the intensity of your lovemaking. 

This AHS is about the same. For three decades I have been aggressively in pursuit of a combination of advanced muscular performance and minimal cardio effort. That means more horsepower with less work to deliver it. The muscles go and the heart stays low. That is the whole idea. That is also one way we rate fitness. We call it RHR. Resting heart rate. Mine was measured yesterday for the second time in 60 days by EKG. My morning analog method has shown it to be 44bpm for almost ten years now. I prescribe it religiously to the folks that I train. It can be a predictor of fitness as well as illness. Twice now the technology has beat me. Twice the EKG measured me at 38. Who am I to argue? 

Too low, they all said. You have athletic bradycardia and maybe a lot of other bad stuff as a result. You should go back to school, get another job, take a long vacation, quit all this rigorous exercise, sleep more and take medication to correct the issue. They seem non-plussed when I relay data indicating Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong both had RHRs less than 30. Nobody told THEM to slow down. Except the guys on the other teams. 

You are just going to have to cut back the duration of your lovemaking. 

Going long isn't something you do on a lark. You work towards it. You allow physical adaption. You work hard, rest and recover harder. You enjoy the process. You use the right fuel and insure proper hydration. Over time, and my dues are paid in full, your ability to sustain a performance standard is mastered. You may go long. See ya. 

After yesterday's second visit, and second round of Provider - Patient Q&A, I found out something else. I cannot talk about myself without it turning to comedy. Seriously, the cute doctor asks me a simple question about my stress and how I manage it and before you can say Horatio Hornblower, I have covered drugs, sex, rock 'n roll, Little Miss Mirthy, my collection of guitars, communism, capitalism, the 1099 long form, Real Course Videos, blue-fin tuna, Robert A. Heinlein, Australia, nirvana, hell and a girl named Clementine. 

You are going to have to cut back on these explosive blasts of power. 

Have you ever seen a doctor blush? I could see her taking mental notes:

Ask him yes or no questions from this point forward.

Do you smoke? No
Do you have a family history of heart disease? No
Do you use drugs? No
Do you have any allergies? No
Are you sexually active? Why do you ask?

More blush. Trying to hide smile. 

Answer the question please.

Not today. 

I feel better already. Knowing that I still have the ability to laugh at myself. I cannot talk about me without going full sand-up. It would be sad I guess.

If it wasn't so funny. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I might be doomed

This is a streak, of sorts. I set out six years ago to create a(nother) journal. This a natural progression of the writing begun in the early seventies after college and on the road in America in search of God knows what. In many ways it is therapeutic. It is a discipline. I like the process. When a sentence fits together like hand in glove, I smile. I need smiles these days. All I can get.

I went back to the clinic today disgusted with my lingering malady. All my friends told me I was being dumb, stubborn, proud. I didn't want to go because of the cost. I am broke. In debt. I work way too hard for way too little. One of my pals called me a communist the other day. I said, thanks comrade. I love my friends. I love my neighbors. I love my community. But there is something out of balance, My lungs and heart have hurt for almost three months. In Feb I called a dear friend, I said, please can you drive me to the ER? There, after the ECG, X-ray and blood tests, they said, go home and rest. That cost me another 3.5K.

And then I hoped and prayed time would heal all. It didn't. My friends said, you have pneumonia, you have bronchitis, you have an allergy, you have this virus or that bacteria. Go get some antibiotics. Don't be a fool.

Sure, for another $500 that I don't have.

So finally I went. The sliding-scale clinic. The receptionist remembered me from five years ago. We laughed, she from boredom, me from anxiety. Seemed there were two demographics in the waiting area: The obese or the addicted to meth. I guess those in the middle have health insurance, of some sort.

They did another ECG. Blood pressure, HR, questions like Columbo.

The Provider (I guess that is what they call Docs these days) was curious as to my 38 BPM HR. See looked again at the ECG and cited the low return rate called QT. Might be Bradycardia. She recommended an Echo test and a stress test. As well as giving a prescription for omeprazole. Because it could be as simple as gastric reflux. Or not.

So the streak continues. I write (almost) every day. My heart is on the page. This sucks. I cannot train to the degree to which I desire. The ONE thing in which I take pride, my health and fitness, is now in question. I feel like a zombie in slum circus.

The streak continues, I write, I will lead my fearless group tomorrow, pre-dawn in a spirited 60 minute spin and life will go on.

My friend Joe said the other day that the answer to every questions is....

Because.

Fearing I already knew the answer, I didn't even ask why.

Why the streak should continue.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Perfect Problem


It is not perfect.

It is flawed.

There is a better way.

Somewhere. 

But for today, for this purpose, there is a solution. 

It is a problem solved.


A part of the whole indenting to change the whole. One single part. An o-ring perhaps. A dew drop on a rose petal. A single note reverberating on a baby grand. Your awareness of the power in your core. One breath. 

You see the need, identify the goal, put pencil to paper. Something happens. The creative doodles the logical, the scientific, the mathematical. You deftly flip the pencil to use its opposite and erase the first draft, replacing it with a better one. You add another element of design and feel a rush of energy and sit higher in your chair. 

You pause. Breathe. Contemplate. Smile.

It doesn't need to be perfect.

It just needs to satisfy a problem. It simply needs to bridge the chasm between the stagnant and rigid and the continuing flow of movement and energy. The inertia, once begin, must grow. 

We have explored the challenge. We have the facts and an objective. Ideas are generated, reviewed. We prepare for action. We will do the thing needing to be done. We will measure the results. We will surely tweak again. 

It is not perfect. But it is.

Something we can use. 

And it will due for perfect until perfect comes along. 

Pic: Yesterday shooting the Mason Lake road race in the rain. Soon the Cat 3's would come roaring down this slippery hill. In perfect imperfection. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

WAY better



The copy: Filler. Everybody knows this.

The real story: Riding Indoors is better than you think, because your riding outdoors is worse than you thought.

The RCVman spin: Since it is my job to ride indoors I will admit that a certain bias exists. Maybe even a large bias. Here in the Pacific Northwest we celebrate way more than fifty shades of gray, we have well over a hundred distinctly different hues, textures, combinations, tones, temperatures, styles and blends of gray. We are, indeed, a farrago of filtered bleakness. Add rain, sleet, occasional snow and long dark, dreary, damp days and if you are going to maintain or improve your cycling fitness you had better come to grips with indoor training. And not simply because it is a scientific, advanced, effective and time saving routine, but because it is SAFE. If you want to morph into a tough man so race day conditions on a 150 mile stage are like a stroll in the park, have at it. Really. Way to go. I wish I was tougher than a Mini-Cooper. Folks, hear me: There is nothing on this planet quite as scary as a teenager on a droid in Daddy's Dodge. The last time I got buzzed my first thought was, I could be holding 285 watts on the CompuTrainer watching video from Spain. What the %gh** am I doing out here in the rain? 

Safe, supportive. effective, reliable, repeatable, inspiring (if done with awareness) entertaining (always) accurate, convenient and (dare me) FUN.

Yes folks, I guess I should fees up. I find indoor training fun. I like doing this. I like the feel of power. I like the challenge and I like the excuses that quickly become irrelevant. Can't use darkness anymore. Can't use rain. Can't play the I'm busy card.  I guarantee that an additional 50 watts of functional power will make you a better rider outdoors. Think what 100 would do. Control the variables and get to work. 

Indoor training MAKES YOU STAY HERE & NOW. Focused yet relaxed. Aware yet flowing. Effective and efficient. With your pals. As a team. Accountable. Responsible. On a mission. With a goal. Seeing the target. Moving relentlessly towards it. The downside? It isn't outside. I actually had a roadie tell me once at an expo that the reason he didn't like to ride indoors was due to the fact that it just wasn't like riding outside. OK, ya got me on that one!

And please don't worry about your handing skills, when the sun decides to return, you can hone them rather quickly with a few outdoor sessions. It is, after all, just like riding a bike. 

Yes riding indoors IS better than you think. It is WAY better than you think. 

Thanks for the article. 

Pic: Jamie gives Gretch and Jeff the post workout thumbs up. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday MiM



No commentary necessary!

Mr Lee


It was so staggeringly real a dream it could have been directed by Ang Lee. Vivid, bright, erotic colors and textures, a sensation of well-being bordering on nirvana. Everything bold and beautiful. I was standing in a snow field beside the bluest fresh water run-off imaginable. The sun was a giant gold lens-flare casting rays over the 3D scene which included mountains to my right and another range across the river to my left. On the right slopes every type of recreational activity was taking place, there were riders on horseback, on mountain bikes, on foot humping it up the trails. I watched. On the snow covered left range skiers were gleefully cutting the giant slalom adding a familiar woosh to the invigorating ambiance. I could smell the clean, fresh air. 

I looked at all this activity, all the energy and emotion, every bit of joy, and I supposed a touch overwhelmed by the options, sat down in the snow (it was not wet and felt more like a cotton blanket), leaned back on my elbows to allow the sun to warm my face with its vitamin D laced radiance. I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep in the dream. 

It was a beautiful moment. From research, almost all of the objects had strong representational meaning. The snow can indicate a need to take advantage of opportunities on the rise, mountains can be a symbol of obstacles to overcome or they may designate that a higher realm of consciousness, knowledge or spiritual truth is close. Sunshine indicates a breakthrough experience in the emotional or spiritual. Horses, hiking and the other outdoor sports can symbolize progress and achievement signaling that with strong-will and perseverance, one will make it far in life. Who could that one be? 

It was a dream to remember. So peaceful, happy, calm and warm. I was enjoying just playing a part in it. I needed to do nothing more than appreciate it, let go and smile in the moment. 

But when I woke up they told me Alvin Lee had died. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Monday Indoor Cycling Racing Action

Power in Play


It was almost like a Little Leaguer asking, "what is a bat?", or a swimmer wondering where the goggles go. I was stunned for an instant at the question.  Up to this point I had taken pretty much for granted that a cyclist heading to the CompuTrainer for a ten mile time trail had SOME experience with the sport of cycling, or at very least a casual familiarity with its recreational aspects. It was an innocent question and I needed a few seconds to cache my thoughts and craft a response comparative to the level of the inquirer. 

WHAT IS POWER? Was the question.

I don't even remember my answer. But as it was our third round of time trailing and I was grumpy, hungry and convalescing a lingering viral malady, I caught myself mid-sentence maneuvering a curt response into something resembling compassion and utility. Let me try to recreate, for your consideration.

For our purposes power represents work. How hard your muscles, primarily those often referred to as 'the big muscle groups', perform during the creation of force applied to the pedals. This is measured in watts and combines time, RPM frequency and distance. It is your total (already I was digressing into the mental) capability to generate energy and move the pedals efficiently and effectively over a predetermined distance and time. 

She looked at me with huge open eyes and pursed lips. I remembered that look from my first trip to Italy when I was just learning the language and asked a innocent local where the train station was. Same look. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

I tried again. 

Think of it as your ability to control your output. I asked her to empirically demonstrate the addition of 25 watts as she turned the pedals, her running shoes locked securely into the cages. This change displayed in real time on the CompuTrainer big screen, and I tried to make the correlation between what she was seeing and how her motor responded to the challenge. 

Ooooh, she said, that's hard. 

Yes, I quipped, and the measurement of that 'ooooh'  is what we call watts, and that rate or amount of difference is what we measure and subsequently manage. That number is your power. Real time, averaged or peak. You have just generated an additional 25 watts of power. Congratulations. 

The harder it is to turn the pedals the more power I have?

Precisely. Or accurately enough for now. 

She went at it again, joyous at the peak, crestfallen at the inevitable drop-off. 

I can't keep it very long.

That is why we train.

To get strong?

Yes, more powerful. More full of power. 

When I have more power and am stronger…will (gasp) it (hunker over bars) get (return to saddle and wipe forehead) easier?

No. 

Because I cannot help being a cynic, here are three excellent articles from people that tell the power story from varying points-of-view. My final response, was, of course, another subject altogether. 

Competitive Cyclist (history of training by power)
Flammerouge (the bridge between science and literature)
And Cyclistrules (very clever and a excellent intro)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Purgatory

Had this idea while on my recovery 5K run in the park. It looked better in my mind, but you get the general idea. I think it applies to endeavors broader than indoor cycling as well. Maybe I'll do a series. If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment.

The Grip


I was feeling the old and familiar. A little bit too much work coupled with a little bit not enough rest. In the old days, under similar circumstances, I used to self-motivate by asking myself,  "What would Mark Allen do"? The Grip, for those of you that don't know, won seven Ironman World Championships from 1989-1995. He was given the nickname, as legend goes, by Scott Tinley after a long day of training which, typically, included a few thousand meters in the pool, a longish ride and a ridiculously fast run. As happens when serious teammates train together, more often than not, these bricks would turn into flat-out contests. Scott commented one sunny San Diego afternoon that there was little hope of besting Mark when he was in the groove, because he had you, firmly, in his grip. And would, simply, not let go. Like those dogs with the clenching, locking jaws, Mark would chomp onto his prey and drag them along at break-neck speed until they cried uncle and collapsed to the pavement, spent, exhausted and thoroughly beaten. 

So I would ask of myself, are you the anti-Grip, so weak and frail that even a minor challenge outside the contort zone will send you scurrying for cover? You cannot muster the energy or awareness to complete the task at hand? HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING?

The grip is about will. It is about focus. It is about courage under fire. It is about finding the presence in your mind/soul that allows your body to take you over the hill. You have to keep it together. Independently they are nowhere near as powerful, the old divide and conquer concept, but united, well, now we're onto something. Something BIG. TOGETHER we can do this. You & Me. Us. We. Head, heart and heaven. 

WWTGD. Would would The Grip do? He would endure, outlast, outsmart and outrun you. He set all this up with an impeccable training regimen, a solid (vegetable based) diet and a deep meditation practice that rivaled that of Kwai Chang-Caine. Mind, body and spirit. In the grip.

I don't think we can afford to be one dimensional anymore. The stakes are too high, the cover charge lofty and the penalties severe. 

The Grip would breathe, focus, relax and do what must be done. 

And there was my answer. 

Sunday Video



More detail later, have a great Monday.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Saturday Video



As I ran a slow and short 10K this glorious morning, I had the opportunity to reflect on the difference between the 16K TT last night (all-out) and this leisurely recovery trot in the sunny park. They are like Venus and Mars, apples to watermelons, dusk to dawn. Further, I realized the opposition that many folk have to the all-out efforts. They are uncomfortable. They hurt some. That semi-precious sting is an acquired sensation. To be successful one must learn to like it. To be a champion, one must embrace it like a lover. There is simply no getting around the fact that if you want to be faster, stronger, more powerful or possess more balance and endurance, eventually you are going to have to slide from your current zone of comfort into the zone of the challenging. And then, of course, the object becomes staying there until THAT becomes warm and cozy until it's time to inch again outside and HOLD THAT HURT.

The people that can do this longer than others are the people that consistently preform at championship levels. You can train this. You can practice this. YOU CAN DO THIS.

Start today. Get out and go. Or come in and go. The people that I admire most are those that want the velocity, the high-speed adrenalin thrill of working towards that obscure and abstract place we call POTENTIAL. You must flirt with your current limitations. You must prove to yourself that the best is yet to come. You cannot lose unless you quit.

I love the all-out. I love the challenge. I love the feeling of danger and the tingle of nerve endings and endorphin flow. I love feeling my heart trying to beat its way out of my chest as my lungs scream for mercy. I like the finish. I like the resulting sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. One more day, one  more test. All out, like everything else.

I can't wait for tomorrow to do it again. But today is a recovery run.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

MiMII



Later that same time trial.....

Friday, March 1, 2013

CompuTrainer TT




If any of you CompuTrainer users, solo or Multi-Riders would like to compete in our little rite-of-spring indoor cycling tournament, just let me know and I'll e-mail you the .3dc or .mrc file so you can ride wherever you might be. Then, simply ride the course and send me your times (sole criteria). We'll include you in the standings AND you will qualify for some fabulous prizes!!!! We go again at 1630 & 1730 as well as four heats over the weekend. Here we go again!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Relativity in Theory


Great multi-media documentation of Team Sky's Joe Dombrowski's training ride in the picturesque hills above Nice. Please take note of his power profile. Looks to me like he kept his watts fairly close to a 250 average. Yes, it was a difficult 75 miler....... and yes, Joe is 21..... he is 6-2, 140..... and yes, he is a pro cyclist..... it is all relative, no?

Aesopean Tales


A literal plethora of info, tales and data today. I would like to begin with two stories. They are somewhat Aesopean, so please bear with me. 

In 1957 a Swiss social scientist wanted to do research on an interesting subject. He wanted to demonstrate, prove or somehow measure what we refer to as Hope. Here is the experiment:

He built a plexiglass tube measuring 18 inches tall by 6 inches wide. He filled the tube half-full with water. He dropped ten mice into the half filled plastic tube. In five minutes he (and I am assuming his assistants) plucked five of the mice from the frothy chaos and put a ID tag on their legs. The five tagged mice were returned to the tube. After an hour the five mice NOT removed and tagged had all drowned. The five rescued and returned mice went on for another twenty-four hours (average). Hope?

Ten baby frogs were scheduled to race up the notoriously steep Matterhorn. The news of this event had reached a large audience and thousands lined up at the start and the finish to witness. At the start many shouted, 'you cannot do this, it is impossible even for strong men, and you are foolish young frogs'. The race began and the frogs hopped off. They were met with more cries from the crowd, all trying to convince them to stop, give up, quit their foolish attempt. By the half way point five had succumbed to the mob's warnings. With one kilometer to the top only two frogs remained on the quest. The volume of advice rose with every hop, 'you'll never make it to the top, the hardest is yet to come, quit now and go home'. One frog made it to the summit. Turns out he was deaf and couldn't hear the nay-sayers telling him that he would never make it. 

The articles from Science of Running have kept me busy all morning. Fascinating stuff on many (if not all) of the reasons why we train and compete.

This video talks about what really matters. And it is not matter. It is energy. 

Have a great day folks. Have hope, believe in yourself and create more energy. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Epic

I was in the middle of the commute. I was mindful of cars around me, the slope of the road and the weather conditions. Beethoven's magnificent second movement of his ethereal ninth symphony was bouncing along con brio. I was mentally aligning the shot sequence necessary to capture the media for a series of How-To videos for the new RacerMate web site. It was three in the afternoon and I wanted to make it efficient. Get in, get it captured, get out, reverse the commute. 

I was also thinking about a concept I have labeled, "setting up the epic". It is a simple idea whose sole ruling tenant calls for doing those things necessary in preparation for the moment of truth. Much like homework, a course prerequisite, due diligence or basic research, it represents the acts necessary to create the potential for a leap of quanta. The big moment. Match point. Game on the line, ten seconds to play and it's your call. The final 50 meters of a 150K stage where you look for the hole and hit the gas. You had better have done your base building, pedal tweaking, power upping FTP busting work over the winter because all that is now being called upon as setup for the progressive segue into the zone of the EPIC.

And you do. Or you do not. THAT isn't the point. The point is in the journey to get there. Because if you fail to do the work, skip workouts, make excuses, do not allow proper rest and recovery or don't have the mentality to compete with yourself at this demanding level, you will never get to experience that moment when it all comes together in a primal unleashing of maximum controlled soul-thrilling magical output.

You can stay in the stands and watch. Or let someone else tell you that you will never be good enough. Or allow someone who claims to love you keep you from other things you love. Yes, one must love the challenge of the path, the road to epic. I have no desire to stay on the mundane highway. One needs no GPS on the climb to Mt. Epic. You cannot get lost. 

Epic isn't for everyone. It takes hard work, desire, dedication and focus. It may take years. It may take decades. But if you set up the epic often enough, one day it will appear out of the fog and joyfully call your name. Because you have earned it. You have done the work. You are ready. 

Please be ready my friends.

The boys up in Van-groovy at the Peak Performance Center use the CompuTrainer for their indoor training. They use it very successfully as a set-up tool to prepare athletes for peak fitness over the winter so that when the snow melts and that fitness goes outside, the epic awaits.

They also use Real Course Videos for course recon and specific ride training. Also very epic in my book. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MADNESS in MARCH Invitational


The 2013 Madness in March Invitational starts Friday. At the CompuTrainer Multi-Rider Center at the Bainbridge Athletic Club. It is by invitation only. There is no fee. Format consists of a ten mile seeding time trial on an almost flat course. After your TT you will be paired with a rider who closest averages the group mean (fastest ride with slowest regardless of age, gender or bike) in a single elimination tournament. There are some great prizes and lots of indoor cycling fun for everyone. You do NOT have to be a member of the club to participate, and each of the current CompuTrainer Multi-Rider @ Bainbridge Athletic Club FB members may invite a guest to participate. Click on the jersey to the left of the home page for direct access to the site. Please let me know if you have any questions, and good luck.

Let the Madness begin!

INFECTION!



Some of you might recognize several of the actors in this five minute piece designed to augment a mid-term physical therapy prerequisite class exam. The subject matter is infection, and the video examines three stories as case histories. We had some fun with the production and I tried my best to keep a straight face in the editing suite. I hope that it is met with approval by the instructor and class. 

I feel it is important to note that there were no animals harmed during the course of production and that Elliott is fine, not actually swimming headfirst into a coral lined lake bed somewhere between Blue Lake, Oregon and Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Also Eric still has all his digits and Mr. Wheeler, although now running at the speed of a one-legged man, actually is supported by two. 

Thanks to everyone involved. The producers would like to leave you with the following message, should the video have failed to adequately deliver:

1) If you swim where fish and ducks live, please make sure any open woulds are covered and you shower immediately upon exit. For triathletes this may add ten seconds to your T1 time, but keep you from THE WAITING ROOM. 

2) When gardening, the slightest cut or scratch can lead to infection, especially if you use products designed to stimulate growth or kill insects. Let's go organic folks and always have brussels sprouts for dinner.

3) After you use a machine (or spin bike) at the Gym please take five seconds to wipe it down with a disinfectant in preparation for the next user. You wouldn't want to be the responsible party for the monopod freeze frame! Just ask poor Mr. Wheeler. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Now is the Time



If you are fairly thick-skinned and appreciate satire, here is an animated short that cracks me up. It is entitled 'If wild animals ate fast food' and needs no additional commentary. Watch it here

Congratulations again to Tom Kelly on the success of his latest work, 'Cold Crossover'. We listened to Tom talk about the local history that provided the backdrop for the mystery yesterday afternoon after our 33 mile ride on the Chilly Hilly course. 

After those events we shared a few cold ones and continued the on-going discussion on the meaning of what it is that we do. In every response there came a common gem, that mentioned the value of now, our awareness and our mission. 

I can say this in retrospect: The decisions we will make today, this 24-hour block, NOW, can shape the rest of our lives. 

If you succumb to the cravings for immediate gratification and inhale a bag of cheeseburgers, if you write the first sentence of your story, if you saddle up and tackle 3,000 feet of elevation gain on a cold Februrary morning, and if you take one minute of your day to share a little joy with others...

...you have made a courageous and powerful choice.

Giving now the opportunity to make it habitual. Life changing. Repeat. 

I am shooting for the happy. And yesterday helped a lot. 

Thank you all.

Pix: Top (left to right) Tony, Tom K. Bernie, Tom B and Charlie pose with the author. Tom Kelly talks about the research and character development necessary for an engaging mystery novel. Thanks to Eagle Harbor Books for hosting the event. And the Tree House Cafe for the post lecture speak easy. Cheers.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chilly Hilly 2013

Four minutes from this morning's ride.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom



Mom would have been 80 today. For fifteen years I have stewarded one of her favorite plants since we moved it north from Los Angeles to Seattle. I take it outside in the spring and bring it in for the cold fall and winter. It seems to respond well despite the temperature challenge. I think it is some type of Asiatic Lily. Whatever its genus, it bloomed today.

Happy Birthday Mom. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cannot Fail



You know that I am big on this subject. I talk about it a lot and try to illustrate its specific merit at least once per class. Sometimes I get carried away and talk about it for an hour non-stop. In fact you might be tired of hearing me talk about it. 

The subject is failure. And to be perfectly honest, it might be the single area in which I can truly label myself a professional. I am  PRO failer. I have failed at more things than there are things to fail at. I have failed at almost everything. Some of them I have failed at so well, that I have failed at them twice. Some of them I have failed at in ways that actually created additional things to fail at. I am a failure creator!

With that as the backstory, I found it interesting today when three completely different people were quoted on the subject. Three completely different people with three completely different spins on life. From three completely different walks of life. One, a golfer. Two, a writer and three a statesman. How odd. 

So I suppose to be diplomatic and conjugate something par for the course, I will give you their names, and their quotes -- but I won't tell you who said them. 

YOU FIGURE IT OUT. 

First the quotes.

"Success is going from failure to failure with lots of enthusiasm."
"The first draft of anything is shit."
"If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate."

Here are the quotees:


Not to worry about the test.

YOU CANNOT FAIL. Unless you quit. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Super compensation



Supercompensation is that point on the training/racing timeline where all your hard work is about to pay off. You are cooking. Hot in the red zone. On fire. Deep in the power flow intensity of this output the central governor orders all systems at maximum performance. All hands are on deck at battle stations. In this incredible moment the wisdom of the body earns its pay in providing EVERYTHING NECESSARY to keep you from severe self-inflicted damage. It gives you blood volume, muscle force, chemical mix, adequate fuel, the ability to sustain a powerful stasis and situational awareness (without oxygen) to accomplish the objective. That can be ten seconds or ten miles. 

As long as you don't counter with a negative command. As long as you keep the faith and allow your body to over-achieve, it will. It will supercompensate. It will allow you to go above and beyond what you have previously called some version of max. As long as you believe. 

The very minute you start to question what the heck is taking place and consider that you are doing the impossible and nobody is supposed to be able to execute at the current rate, your body, acting on orders from above, will then revert to a more, shall we say, comfortable, output. Because you have added fear.

And now your body has to protect itself from whatever demons you have created. Remember that is its only job, to protect you from YOU. Heart rate at max? better slow down. Vo2 max? Better back-off Jack. Feeling the burn? Call 911. 

Don't feel bad. Everybody does this. Even thiose that are lucky, strong or disciplined enough to experience it. You have to earn the right to experience this and 99% (maybe 99.8) never get there. They back off well before finding themselves suddenly on the razor's edge of supercompensational output. 

Training is designed to get us there. We start, work, and then recover. The post recovery phase is called the supercompensation phase. After your adequate recovery you come back for more, stronger than before. Keep this up for a block of time (varies by degree) and you might be ready for that quantum leap into the supercompensational realms. 

I say might because this can take years. It can take 10,000 miles, ten years of high intensity intervals, or a decade of racing. You have to have deep faith, a relentless approach to achievement and an iron will. It is not for everybody.

But it could be for YOU. And to the best of my research and understanding there are only two ways to find out. 

Pic: Making funny looking ferocious finish-line faces helps to keep supercompensation in perspective. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Style and Drama



Here is the latest in the series for BAC. The Bainbridge Athletic Club. Which just so happens to house the universally recognized and notorious CompuTrainer Multi-Rider Center. We are heading into another round of testing, meaning that new results will be available for your review shortly. There will be more big numbers for you to digest.

Please remember folks (during your digestion) that the only way you are going to get faster, fitter or stronger is to do two things:

One: Break out of your comfort zone and,
Two: Stay out.

Nothing we do is easy. You have to get up early. You have to work your butt off. You have to be both a hero to others and a goat to yourself. You can never be satisfied. You must relentlessly want more. Always. More work, more challenge, more responsibility.

The day it becomes easy, the very instant it all comes together in one glorious moment of enlightenment, you have ONE BREATH to enjoy it, because you have now earned another rung on the ladder signaling that additional mileage is necessary between you and that zone.

Champions know this. The guys and gals that regularly visit the podium know this. Winners, leaders, captains and elites know it.

To become your best, to achieve your goals, to assist others as they work to achieve theirs, to succeed and to master your trade, you must BECOME MORE.

With plenty of style and little drama even.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Success?


I have no agenda here. On several occasions I have told of my respect for the positive elements of his career. I speak of Mr. Armstrong. He was an inspiration to many, the single most influential cyclist in history of compelling people to ride. He had charisma. He beat cancer. He raised millions for research. He won seven tours and married a rock star. That is all the good. Most of it anyway. 

You know the bad. He cheated, he lied, he bullied, he doped. All to be successful. And to be successful in the sports world means to win. Begging the age old question what would YOU do if in his Sidi's? 

If a magic but dangerous concoction was offered to get my rapidly deteriorating ass to a high-profile and profitable finish line and subsequently erode my health (or community standing) would I?

I don't know. That is as honest an answer as I can give. I just don't know. I might. How dangerous? I would hedge. What is the cost? Will it kill or just injure? Is it illegal because of political, medical, moral or sportsmanship reasons? Are there any alternatives? Can I take just a little and try it first? Is there a guarantee that it will work? What are the odds of getting caught? Are their nasty side-effects? Is everybody else doing it? How much does it cost? 

The list goes on. You might be a hard liner. Perhaps the UCI should have a zero tolerance policy. Maybe, just maybe we (the collective we) could get over ourselves and cut some of the hypocrisy that pervades almost all facets of professional sports. That is a maybe the size of Moby Dick. Lotsa blubber. 

Performance enhancing drugs have been used in sports and specifically pro cycling almost since inception. That famous grand tour in France every year has had volumes written about the riders and their favorite PED cocktails. It is told of many riders in the 'golden age' using a 50/50 combination of heroin and cocaine washed down with whatever local pinot noir happened to be available. Making today's scandals pale in comparison. Here is one story from my current read, Lance Armstrong's War by Daniel Coyle:

Tour champion Fausto Coppi said all riders took drugs, and anyone who claimed differently knew nothing of the sport. The interviewer asked if Coppi had used them. "Yes, when it is necessary," he replied. And when was it necessary? "Almost always." 

Badda bing. Like I said I have no agenda. Lance is going to get hammered because that is the world we live in. It is all about success. And when you succeed by breaking the rules, the litigation floodgates officially open with a new definition of it based upon how many zeros appear before the decimal point.

Let's please move on. Take the lesson, learn from the mistakes, improve. 

I will do it organically thank you. I want to be a lover and a storyteller. 

That is success in my book.