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. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

RAGE



I was feeling old last week. The unidentified energy zapping ailment that caused my visit to the ER had told us what is wasn't (a heart related incident) but was sadly negligent as to diagnosing what it was. The good news is that the two cuts on my finger that coincidentally 'occurred' the same day, have healed so quickly and completely that I am without a bandage. I don't know, but to me three weeks from a deep bone revealing gash to complete cellular rejuvenation seems pretty miraculous. I am deeply grateful to all parties responsible, even the folks at Harrison who submitted the initial bill for emergency services yesterday. I suppose an EKG, blood test, X-Ray and hands-on evaluation to prescribe rest is worth $3,200. 

Maybe those feelings of age were misinterpreted. Maybe what I was feeling was actually the woe of indigence. Maybe the pain was emulating more from my pocket than from my pancreas. Thirty-two hun. Ouch. Let's see, that works out to be eighty spin classes. Leading my average of three per week, I will have this bill paid by about October. Maybe by then we can find out what the real culprit is. 

We do know a few things. One, staying fit helps. Two, staying consistent helps. Three, finding something you are, or can become, passionate about helps. Four, managing stress helps. Five, eating right helps. Six, getting enough rest and recovery time helps. Seven: Laughing helps. Eight: Being grateful helps. Nine: Giving helps. Ten: Loving helps. 

Here are a few examples. First is a clever way to, ahem, balance training and eating (embedded video above) Then a microscopic look at some muscle differences between aging triathletes and aging sedentaries. I was particularly pleased with the authors term "chronic disuse." I do NOT want any of THAT shit, that you very much. Then, we see that intensity is not the cause of injury. Here is a look at some key elements for successful training for the aging athlete containing this question answering gem: Fast Twitch muscle fibers don't turn into slow twitch muscle fibers. Without adequate training, fast twitch muscle fibers simply atrophy. It is vital for an older athlete to maintain proper training to keep from losing fast twitch muscle. Here is a great, detailed article on training master athletes. And lastly, to let you know how I intend to tackle the next block of periodization, a poem by Dylan Thomas. I think you know the one.

I might be feeling slow. I might be feeling unfairly pressured by inflation. But I will NOT go gentle into that good night. 

Pic: The chairs of retirement will have to wait. Please notice Trixie in the stand awaiting tune-up. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Spice


In this timely article the author (carrying the load of leading the Training Peaks Education Department no less) makes the case for a mojo reset. She calls it the Holiday Hangover.  I am very familiar with its symptoms. I might even run for another couple of Tums before I finish this post. 

One of the ways she suggests we can keep our motivation trending to the positive is to SPICE IT UP. Do some things different. Cross train. Get outside the box of your cushy comfort zone. Watch a motivational movie or create your personal set list of rousing high performance tunes. I also particularly appreciate her isolation of the 'post it' element, one's goal zone, where the GOAL, "A" race or event is posted for all of civilization to see (and judge). It is one thing to say you are going to do something, and another altogether to commit to the training necessary and then actually DO THAT THING. 

Another is the routine of the ritual. We have talked about this in the past yet I think coupled with the TP article it warrants another visit. 

I  have made the claim that we are what we repeatedly do. If you get up every morning and head to the gym to stimulate your physical side, after a time, it becomes habit. You don't question the reasons, you simply perform. You do. The doing becomes your routine and your routine shapes your persona, your character and your spirit. With your good health, vital energy and joyous fitness, everything else nicely settles into place. Most of the time anyway. 

There is another POV that states, rather interestingly, that you are NOT the things you do but the way you are being. As in right now. You are either being loving or being fearful. The quality and the essence of the energy you are sharing this very instant. Is it love or is it fear? You know from empirical experience that when you find that elusive groove-zone-sweet-spot one of its most compelling characteristics is the absolute love level attained. Quite simply there is nothing else like it. Another way to see it is as NO FEAR.

How miraculous is that? That we can be what we decide to be. We talked about this yesterday, about loving what you do and doing what you love. Same energy. Same flow. I wish I could keep that flow all the time. I try very hard to accomplish this, day in, day out. 

But, again as the author suggests, occasionally we slip. We wake up with a headache, cotton-mouthed with a fuzzy recollection of what happened after the second bottle of pinot noir (or mid-Feb, whichever comes first). And we need some help. BUT, we are not in this alone. That is the value of the team. That is the strength of a training partner. You are accountable to the group and your weakness becomes the focal point of the collective energy flow. We will pull you until you are ready to take a pull again. We will support you when the imbalance tilts the meridians towards the shadows. When you are down the pack picks you up. WE GOT YOUR BACK JACK.

So when the author cites joining a CompuTrainer class as one way to spice it up I say: PASS THE CRUSHED PEPPER PLEASE!

Bon appetitio. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Through My Tears






Start with the backstory

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Exactly WHO says that I am not sure, but, imagine for one minute what I might have been thinking upon the initial viewing of this commercial from Verizon. Nice guess!

I will admit that the initial spark of inspiration was a brilliant one. Love will inspire greatness, no doubt. And, for the record, I have no problem with the creative folks doing a high-tech remake. To sell phones. Whatever. You publish it without copyright and it is in the public domain. If somebody thinks so highly of your idea that they toss, I am guessing here, $500,000 to create a sixty second spot using your Valentine Card as shooting script, then drag out the heavy artillery and spend thousands renting downtown city streets for the shoot, there isn't much you can do but close the gate, because the cows are gone! You can cry, but the milk is spoiled. 

I suppose you could hire a lawyer and scream plagiarism, but you have too much class to grovel. 

I am still laughing. Take a look at that camera rig. OMG. Take a look at the footage they captured with it (above). Then look at the sixty second Seattle Urban Time Trial video below. I wrote that script, shot it, STARRED IN IT, and produced if for fifty bucks. 

I am still laughing.

Through my tears.

Happy Valentine's Day!


What you do



"Any decline in muscle performance with muscle activity at the original intensity."

This juicy little quote is the intro to a fascinating article on the effects of physical activity (and inactivity) on fatigue. The entire article here

I bring this up today because in another article someone actually did a study on the benefits of enhanced physical fitness for lovemaking. Seems the better shape the test subjects were in the better (sometimes) the activity that we (coincidental) celebrate today. There are a LOT of variables here, so let's isolate the ones we can control.

One of the main goals of our training, especially indoor cycle training, is to delay the onset of fatigue. We want to maintain power longer. We want to sustain the output, to endure. How we do that is the centuries old question, and in today's break-neck - mach 3 - double caffeinated - merry-go-round the hamster wheel world, we want the results NOW. Maybe even yesterday. 

But that is not the way our bodies work. These things take time. You must START and you must CONTINUE, happy with incremental increases and daily improvement, however seemingly insignificant. Because, over time, they add up. Consistency is crucial. You must turn the pedals A MILLION TIMES, take a million deep breaths, land successfully a thousand times on each forefront and learn the feel of the water over countless laps in the pool. Should you desire to tri, of course. 

You cannot do all of the above at once. 

You need faith. You need motivation and you need a goal. Something to keep you coming back for more of the same day after day. Eventually it must become ritual. Starting any day without a workout, for me, would be like doing same without a cup of coffee. After a while (YMMV) it is not only what we do, it is who we are. 

Making it an act of love. We do what we love. And we love what we do. 

So we work towards increasing our fitness, extending our power, building resistance to fatigue on a consistent basis, adding increased loads and intensities, supported by our group in a holistic environment. The latter meaning we also are attentive to the periphery elements of overall balance; rest and recovery, fuel, stress management and, my favorite today, the sharing of love. Let us share. 

After my TWO HOUR body work massage yesterday, I felt 100000% better. A few of the benefits of deep tissue sports massage:

Increased flexibility
Increase circulation
Pain reduction
Muscular release
Injury prevention
Better deep sleep
Deep relaxation

And those are just for starters, folks. I highly recommend a massage for all you who are cycling, running, swimming, lifting down the path of optimum fitness and good health. It is probably not too late to schedule one today.

You will both be glad you did. 

Happy Valentine's Day. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oh-Man



He is at it again. We watched first hand last year as 22 year old Peter Sagan dominated the Tour of California. Displays of power, speed, charisma, courage and skill are rare enough alone, combine them all in the same package and you are (as spectator or competitor) in for a show.

We got all that and some last year and today I was reminded that the Sagan show is on the road once again. If you have the four minutes it takes to view the highlight clip (above) from the Tour of Oman, please do. It is well done, using many aerials to show the stunning desert scenery, as contrasted dramatically by the 'kitted to the max' pro peloton. Some history of Oman here.

I was thinking through the view about how impressed I was on my first live assessment of him. The 'tells' indicating pro pecking order are hard earned. There is rite and ritual. Only brash, young fools charge in and expect immediate reward. That respect is earned. And mostly the old fashioned way. You have to pay your dues, be a soldier, carry both the flag and the torch. You have to be patient. Mostly.

Sagan is the exception. He is the honey badger of pro cycling. He does wheelies, recklessly attacks, charges when he feels like it and demands that both the lieutenants as well as the captains allow passage. Make a hole. Doesn't have to be big. But I am coming through. You can follow if you like (can).

So let us assume that he is where he is because of good genetics. For starters. After that what? Ritual. I'll bet my Felt that he likes to ride and has logged enough miles in the last ten years (since age 12) that would stretch to Saturn and back. Goals? I think he has one in mind yes. Tools? He has access to the best, in and out of the saddle. Motivation? Easy. Desire? Check. What is left?

Enjoy the ride, my friend. We are rooting for you. Keep your focus. Watch closely the trail of breadcrumbs left by those that have ridden before you. There are snakes in the grass. Fame and fortune will call. You will be tested.

Keep at it. We"ll check in with you in May. Allez, dude.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 Tour of California





It is never to early to plan. The 2013 Amgen Tour of California route was officially announced this morning. It looks like a million bucks. I have been covering this grand event since 2007. It is the American version of the TdF. A major blast in every respect. 

The planning has begun. Here are my initial notes and thoughts:

May 12-19, 2013.
Ship bikes from Seattle to San Diego.
Fly Seattle to San Diego.
Pick up rental van and bikes.
Escondido motel.
Stage One. 103 miles (ride Mt. Palomar) Motel.
Stage Two. Murietta, 124 miles, 6,734 ft gain. Motel.
Stage Three: Palmdale to Santa Clarita. 110 miles, 6.236 miles. Motel.
Stage Four: Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara: 83 miles, 3,875. Motel.
Stage Five: SB to Avila Beach, 115 miles, 6.146. Motel.
Drive back to San Diego. 
Pack and ship bikes.
Fly San Diego to Seattle. 

Please note that we cherry pick the primo parts of the stages, riding the classic climbs and/or ultra scenic sections, NOT the entire route. We get an early start and ride four or five hours ahead of the pro peloton, leaving time to watch the finish. I film as much as possible of the course and the pros.

If we can put together a three person crew, my initial estimate is that we can pull it in for about a grand apiece, including air, flying with the official airlines of the HoM, Alaska Airlines, of course. 

They call this America's Greatest Race. And for good reason, It is NOT TO BE MISSED.

Pic: Eight Track and Big Red on the trail of the 2012 ToC. Mucho fun!

Monday, February 11, 2013

All of them



I don't know, this is a tough one. I could easily file it in the MEANS TO AN END folder, get started and crank it out. Or not. My heart has yet to catch fire on it. I am not convinced that this has the sustainability quotient necessary to keep my interest glowing at red-hot for the time it will surely demand. So why?

Because in the end, or nearer it,  it quite possibly could be IT. IT being that thing that provides the wherewithal for what the CFO likes to refer to as "the sluggish state of your cash flow". Oh, yeah that it. And IT is THAT. Sluggish. 

But before you roll your eyes and catch the next wave back to Facebook, hear me out. Because this would NOT be just another cookbook. Or just another weight loss book. Or just another exercise book. Nor would it be just another diet/exercise/weight loss book.

BECAUSE IT WOULD BE ALL OF THEM. Combined, in one place, easily accessible and upwardly mobile (as they say)

Really, you get recipes and healthy combinations of great nutrition with a side order of what is known in many circles as the WOD, workout of the day. Good food, multi-sport training every day of the year. 365 pages of good, clean nutrition paired with workouts guaranteed to fine-tune your present and kick-start your future. Closing each page (day) would be a motivational quote to complete the mind-body-spirit big three of quality, meaning, purpose. 

As an E book it could also contain the video component. Just open your Kindle and head to the kitchen. Pack your reader in your backpack and peddle to the gym. Fire up your iPad and prep for tomorrow because now is the time for rest and recovery.

You have expertly executed your 60 minutes of HIT spinning, enjoying a blueberry protein shake afterwards. You are money. 

"To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."  Buddha

Sunday, February 10, 2013

MS 34



Having revised my mission statement for the 33rd time, I set out for an easy run. Dreading the embarrassing pace and guaranteed to be humbling results, I didn't expect much. Just another cold two laps around the park. I bundled up with a jacket and hoodie, my favorite stocking cap and headed down the muddy road. 

There are no red circles on my calendar this year. No big dates with racing destiny. No "A" races and nothing in the way of training motivation. As vocalized so beautifully many years ago, Oh that magic feeling: Nowhere to go. 

It is strange that for the first time in over twenty years I am not counting backwards from the exact moment the starting gun will fire. I am not doing hill repeats, trail runs, LSD jaunts or fartleks. I am not working on a new nutrition strategy or worried about my latest pair of shoes making it trough the winter. Interestingly my lower back feels fine, as do knees, feet and all connective joints, ligaments and tendons. Even the doctor last week in the ER told me I was the healthiest person in the hospital. 


So why the consternation and un-ease? 

Verging on revision number 34, I considered the bigger picture. What is it that keeps me running? Why is THIS (taking a cold breath through my nose and feeling the chill expand in my belly) so compelling? 

Land on forefront buddy boy. Relax your arms. Wave at momma ferrying her two kids in the stroller. Smile at that Doberman. Embrace the grayness. 

As the foot-strikes, meters and breaths passed, a clarity began to overwhelm my internal fog. You are standing on the shoulders of giants, those that have gone before have left a few breadcrumbs, seek them. Intentionally or not, success leaves clues, even Clouseau caught an occasional bad guy. 

Chuckle, snort, grin. Not now Kato. 

Resolve this conflict (please). The only pressure put upon you to succeed is placed there by your own private Mr Ego. 

If the target is happiness (and it is) use the tools most likely to build it with joy, presence and lasting value. One of those tools is a fit body and clean energy to power it. These are intrinsic tools, we know this. But we allow rust, apathy and distraction to limit their use. The good habits created through repetition eventually shape the persona. Good habits (or bad) make you. I am what I repeatedly do. 

And today I ran. Not far or not fast. But I ran. For 28:13 today I was a runner. And a philosopher. And a social scientist. And an artist. And a humanitarian. 

I ran because I run. 

I need no other reason. 

Here are a few other stories to get you runnin; or ridden' or moving relentlessly towards whatever goals you have set for your fine self. 

Why we love to run from the UK Guardian.
A vintage running motivational video.
The essential PRE video.
An early NIKE courage video.
Inner Peace described by the Dalhi Llama.
Tony Robbins on the three pillars of success.

Pics: Two additional reasons: New shoes and cold beer. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Mess



After our tasty little ninety minute session in the HoM this fine morning, I have been diligently assembling media for the second AAB video. Arms Around Bainbridge video-spin II will be Thursday night at 6pm. There is still time to join us. It is a $150 donation for the eight week fundraiser. I blend up some video accompaniment (AAB II will feature all local rides and races) and we get in a dynamite hour spin. The inaugural session was a blast with eleven hardy and healthy folks burning serious Kcals for a terrific local, humanitarian cause.

My flirtation with mortality last week caused some rather deep and introspective thinking, some of which I shared this morning. Despite all the physical discomfort and anguish, one thought that I couldn't iron out was the most painful. 

If I was to die today, tomorrow or next week, I would leave behind a legitimate mess. I would be embarrassed to force someone, most likely my dear brother, to have to clean up the trail of carnage I have, however innocently, created. Everybody knows the reasons behind the mess, but the facts are these: It is still a mess, something that I am responsible for, and something that I need to address. And soon. 

It know seems a touch odd today, but last week it was no joke. Even as I try to create some commerce via art, I probably should be on the roof, in the kitchen or near the pizza oven pushing progress or at the very least, a broom. 

Worse is the fact that now I must start all over again to rebuild my running base. As I was dealing with the frustration of ALL THAT, today, I went searching for some pictorial mojo, something that might ignite a spark,  get the juices flowing in the right direction and in the right measure. 

I found these three from IM CdA last year and assembled a little refrigerator flyer to prompt my enthusiasm for tomorrow's monster 5K. And it will be ugly. 

I will do it alone because I do not want to embarrass the entire triathlon community with my slug-like gait. I will seek flow, search for focus and stride towards relaxation, despite the excruciating pressure I feel to reel in some years. 

However, blessed with a second chance (it actually might be the third or fourth by now) I pledge as quickly as possible to return and embody the triumphant triathlete form my former running partner once thought me to portray. 

I will also clean my room. 

Have a great Sunday folks. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

IN ZONE tells


A couple of interesting reads this morning. What we call "tells" in cycling. Tells are defined as something 'telling' about another rider, the data gleaned is subsequently used as strategy in the heat of battle. As an example, a coach or captain may notice another rider looking tired, anxious or 'out of sorts' prior to a stage. He, or she, can used this intel to enact tactics that could greatly enhance their chances of success. We do this all the time in the civilian world. Size up an opponent, find a weakness, exploit a tendency. What capitalists call being bullish we call racing. In either world, dividends are returned in greater amounts, and with greater frequency when we pay attention to details. 

The first link is from Daniel Coyle's blog. Mr. Coyle has penned several best selling tomes, including a classic tale from the 2004 TdF, called Lance Armstrong's War. Here he expands a subject near and dear to us, that of focus. And how to do it in an advanced state. One of the many points of interest he makes is that of a expansive focus that includes everything (tells) yet does not limit awareness to a single item. This is big time stuff folks. At a very high level of efficiency our awareness needs to expand to match our capabilities. And the practice required to obtain that state is exactly why we dedicate so much time and energy to our craft. Or, in terms to which we can all relate, once you can cruise at 350 watts with a normal heart rate, you had better look around and see how others are reacting. That can be a big tell.

Second is a follow on-piece, this time from the musician's perspective. I have always considered athletes and musicians to be brothers/sisters in arms. We share so much and employ so many of the same skills. Think about breathing and tempo for a quick example. Here, the author talks about working hard in practice in order to relax during the recital or race. Absolutely brilliant grasp of concept. My manta has evolved into something very blue collar like. I believe that the harder, smarter, more focused I train, the more I can relax into a confident relaxation zone necessary for a stellar race day performance. This is why I feel that training is about science and racing about art. And we all know what type of practice makes perfect. The zone of the almost perfect. 

I am here to tell you folks, that rehearsing that zone (yes we have a name for it) in practice makes the invocation on race day as easy as powering up your mobile device. 

How you look, how you present yourself, your grace under fire and ability to maintain a relaxed state of flow will determine the quality of your efforts. Be them in the House of Mirth, in the boardroom, or on the battlefield.

Time IN ZONE tells. 

Pic: Laura in zone this morning in the HoM. With practice the walls all disappear.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

LOI

Coming on the heels of last week's Super Bowl debacle (oops, spectacle), we endured another red letter yesterday. It was the annual dog and pony letter of intent day (LOI), where phenomenally talented high school seniors fax (I guess it has to to with tradition) their "contracts" to the university who has offered enough extra circular schwag to entice them to play football for them for the next four, or sometimes three, or sometimes five, years. Thereby earning the institution of higher learning obscene amounts of television money. The kid gets his scholarship and the school gets the ratings, rankings and royalties. It is no wonder that LOI day, in many circles, gets more media play than, say, the philanthropy of rich and famous alumni.

We know that in today's economy, without five star recruits and a post season bowl game, women's soccer or rowing would suffer. Football pays for all of that and lots, LOTS more. Alums love to brag. And when they brag they donate. It keeps the ship sailing. I like college football. I like ONE team in the NCAA. I am an idiot savant of monumental proportions when it comes to Husky Football. That loyalty and passion remains my last team sport vice. The hypocrisy in all others I lost appetite for decades ago. Here is an interesting article from the WSJ, taking a look at recruiting rankings versus volunteerism. A stretch, I know, but indicative, perhaps of a trend.

The trend being that there is more to football, more to college football, and more to life itself than merely outscoring your opponent.

Pic is from the 2001 Rose Bowl (a Dawg win vs Purdue) and the cap I wore that day in Pasadena. Hopefully, with the talented 2013 class signed yesterday we can get back soon.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who said it?


The quote was simply this:

1) "Adversity reveals genius while prosperity conceals it."

Who said it? And was he Greek or Roman?

And while we are playing "Who said it" games, how about this one:

2) "Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline; When you have both firmly under your belt, that's real power."

or this one:

3) "They must often change who would be constant in happiness and wisdom."

or:

4) "One has to question the wisdom of trying to improve what we don't understand."

and, lastly:

5) "I am what I do."

Here are the answers. Mixed to provide yet another challenge to your fine and wonderful self:


Have a great day - RCVman

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gamed



You know by now the levels of social hypocrisy I hang on the shoulders of pro sports*. You know that I do not subsidize them. I do not own a cable package. I do not have a fantasy team nor a vested interest in how the local teams fare. It cracks me up when people start wearing team colors (with somebody else's name on their back) after a win streak.  I understand the need to be part of the hubris, the winning, the drama. That is easy. Everybody wants to belong to a club. And every club has dirty little secrets. Why worry about brain trauma when we can drink beer, eat wings, ogle at sexy babes and cheer sporting mayhem on a big screen? 

It is entertainment. If you want to indulge, be my guest. But please keep in mind the management chess game is designed not so much to win games, but to win your heart and minds. They want you on their team because when your team wins YOU BUY MORE PRODUCT

Simple. Brilliant. Effective. Repeatable. 

Here is the list of advertisers and products that aired Sunday during whatever roman numeral'd game was "played" in NOLA. See if you can detect a pattern.

Car
Candy
Travel Agency
Junk Food
Junk Food
Go-Daddy porn
Car
Pepsi
Junk Food
Best Buy
Car
Junk Food
Underwear
Junk beverage
Go-Daddy porn
Cars
Cars
Coke
Milk
Beer
Junk Food
Shoes
Cars
Beer
Real Estate Agency
Junk Food
E*Trade
Car
Beer
Insurance (but don't drink and drive)
Space Camp ???
Insurance
Clothes
Deodorant 
Cars
Beer
Pistachio nuts
Beer
Mio Water
Mobile phone
Cars
Mobile phone
NFL Network
Car
Detergent
Car

It's just a game.

*I still cling to the sophomoric notion that college sports retain a shred of street cred. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Can't Refuse


I was sooooooo happy to rally this morning and saddle up. Nowhere near 100% and fighting every mile of the way just to stay upright, we endured what turned out to be a very challenging workout. 

I didn't even leave the cabin yesterday, laying low, drinking green tea, tending to domestic chores and stoking the fire. Had a nice dinner of curried noodles and slid Godfather II in the portable TV. I never tire of watching great artists at work. I was under the down by nine (trying to REM a video transition) and hoping that I would be able to answer the morning call. 

When it came RHR was below normal and I stood gently testing the equilibrium. Not even close to centered, balanced and level, yet much better than the day prior. I knew I needed to be careful and not create another relapse similar to last Thursday. It is going to be a long week, take Monday out slow, paisan. 

And it was good. There was flow. A gentle but moderately aggressive tempo with an interesting narrative. 

These numbers are descriptive not prescriptive.
You don't know what you got till it's gone, refrain. 
1-2-3-4-5-6-7 all good children go to Heaven. 

And so on. A steam sauna and shower, protein smoothie and another round of structure planning ended the morning set as the winter sun rose and yawned. 

Everything from the neck down passed the test. From the collar up it is still dicey. A cotton-ball like fog keeps focus far from sharp. Some mysterious band of radicals and rebels have taken the central governor hostage. Negotiations are underway. They will be made an offer.

You know the rest. 

Also, here is the post from four years ago to ensure that the history we now know, we will improve upon. As in learn from.