Friday, March 20, 2015

Harvest Toadie

By now, many of you have seen the Harvest Racing Team's new duds. Designed by our own Lucas Marshall, in a word, they're smashing.


It takes a lot to get a new team together. I wouldn't pretend to know how much because all the grunt work was done before I ever joined the team. 

Putting together a team kit is one such task. Designing it is only half of the battle. Getting team members to complete the order and getting it to the manufacturer with enough time to have for the first race takes some advanced planning.

Anyway, Kudos to Lucas and Paul for getting it done.

The only problem I have with our kits is our Bontrager Velocis helmets. Let me first qualify that there is nothing wrong with the helmet. At only 249g, it is very light. It is also airy with stylish vents. It fits my head well with plenty of cushy padding. In short: it's the most comfortable helmet I've ever worn. 

Yet I still have a problem with the helmet. Actually, the problem is all me. You see, I have a big ol' melon for head. So much so, that the first time I looked in the mirror while wearing my new helmet, I saw this:
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing more noble than Toad helping Mario and Luigi save Princess Peach from Bowser in Super Mario World. It's just not what I had in mind when I envisioned saddling up with my teammates to vie for cycling glory.

Speaking of that, our first race is this weekend's Tour De Husker. Hopefully by then, the Mario Theme Song will have run its course in my brain. But if not, then you count on me humming along in the peloton while I play the part of the Harvest Toadie :)

♫ Do do do, 
do DO dah-do, 
do do do DO,
dah do-do... ♫

That's all I've got for today. 

 ♫ .. dah do do! ♫

Happy Friday and Thanks for Reading.

♫ ...dah dah dah,
dah-dah de dah-dah,
de dah! 



Friday, March 13, 2015

It Begins Again: Wednesday Night Worlds

I joined up with about six other riders to kick of the 2015 edition of Wednesday Night Worlds this past Wednesday evening.


Everything about this past Wednesday night was very similar to previous WNW group rides, including the pre-ride vapid stares into space. See for yourself, the side-by-side comparison to the first WNW of the 2010 season:


If I had a picture for the start of every single WNW, they'd all look like this.

As a veteran of this ride for several years now, I am quite familiar with the pre-ride space out ritual. It's at that time when we riders can savour our last moments where our heart rates are below 165 bpms. It's then when our glycogen levels are topped off, and lactic acid is merely potential in our legs. It's only at that moment, there's still enough breath for some small talk. And then, just before shoving off, we allow ourselves a moment to drift. Applying copious amounts of pressure to the pedals will have to wait until we roll down the road a short time later.

Come join in the fun. Yes, it's hard work. But oh golly, it's a good time.

Wednesday Night Worlds
Trek Store Midtown (Jones/NFM)
Wednedays, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM *

*6:00PM -8:30 PM when daylight permits.

Come ready. Be prepared with food, hydration and tools. Although this is spirited (drop ride), we do regroup, and are trying out a B group for newcomers and Cat 4-5 riders.

Hope to see you there.

Happy Friday and thanks for reading.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Shimstagram

This past week I attended Harvest Racing Team's meeting. It was a good. We covered typical stuff like team roles, race calendar, race tactics, budget, and Shim's favorite topic: having a social media presence.

For those who don't know, my buddy Shim does not have a Facebook account. The same goes for Instagram and Twitter, too. However, there is a "fakeshim" account on Twitter that is remarkably good at capturing the essence of Shim. So much so that even he buys into it.


But rest assured, Rafal will confirm for you that fakeshim is not Shim.

Some at the team meeting were actively encouraging Shim to open a Facebook or Instagram account. If you know my friend Shim, that's laughable. It's just not his style to be sharing pictures of his dog or cat. He doesn't have a dog or cat, so there's that, too.

Shim countered that in addition to fakeshim on Twitter, he is already saturated in social media by this blog. He may have a point. He gets more attention here than just about anyone else.

My personal opinion is that Shim should skip Facebook, but open an Instagram account. He'd be a laugh-a-minute. That is, if you understand his random sense of humor. Like, you'll be talking about one thing when he'll suddenly blurt out one of his random "funny" off-topic thoughts that bears almost no connection to the context of discussion.

Take the team meeting the other night. While Jordan was talking about the race calendar, Shim suddenly interjects, "Paul (Webb) looks like Opie."

The first thought that popped in my brain was: what the hell does that have to do with Snake Alley, or Tulsa Tough?

The next thought that popped into my brain was this:


The third thought was that Paul looks nothing like an '80s comic strip penguin wearing a fruit hat.

While I was thinking of that, Matt Tillinghast takes the bait and replies, "Opie was bludgeoned to death in prison."

Sidebar: I read Berkely Breathed's Bloom County comic strip every day when I was a kid, but like so many others, I failed on Outland. I think Outland was too political for me to latch on to. As a result, I couldn't tell you what Opus' fate was in Outland. Being bludgeoned in prison just didn't seem to make sense. Bill The Cat? Phtttt Aaacck!!! I could see that, Just not Opus.

Fortunately, Shim stuck his phone in my face to show me the Opie he was referring to:


Oh, Sons of Anarchy Opie. I don't watch that show, but I was able to make an educated guess since Shim has mentioned binging on Sons of Anarchy during every ride over the past two weeks.

I have to admit: Shim's spot-on. Opie/Paul do bear a resemblance to one another. Here's the side-by-side. You be the judge:


All I can say is, stay away from prison, Paul!

Anyway, I think Shim would do just fine on Instagram. He already sends me pictures and stuffs like animated .gif files on our internal instant messenger at work. Mostly, his photos are a go-to set of poor quality photo-shopped (MsPaint edited) images of me riding a some sort of trick bicycle. Like the one where Jens was riding a junior yellow bike:


...or this one of me on a unicorn bicycle with the phrase, "Haters gonna hate":


One of his favorites is an animated .gif file of Will Ferrell playing a cowbell. I get that one a lot.

I call those treasured instant messengers at work "Shimstagrams". They make me smile every time I receive one.

Unfortunately, the handle Shimstagram is already taken on Instagram. Rats. Perhaps he could be Shimstagran -- that's available. If he doesn't open an account, FakeShimstagram is there to be taken.

Well get on with it, Shim. The world awaits.

Happy Friday and thanks for reading.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Omaha Masters Swimming

The Omaha Masters Swimming team is hosting a free month in March for those interested in coming to try it out.

Where and When:
College of St Mary/ Lied Fitness Center  (7000 Mercy Rd.)
  • Mornings: Tues/ Thurs 5-6 am
  • Evenings: Sun/ Wed/ Fri 5:30-6:30 pm

DiVentures – 4303 S. 121 Plz. 1 (120th and I Street.)
  • Evenings: Mon/ Wed/ Fri 6:15-7:15 am

These sessions are open to anyone regardless of swimming ability.

I started with Omaha Masters in 2008 with the intent on improving the swimming portion of triathlons. However, before doing a single triathlon, I became hooked on racing my road bike. Despite thinking that I was never going to do another triathlon, I stuck with Omaha Masters and have been a regular member ever since.

The reason I stuck around is because the Omaha Masters program is good. Really good. I have visited/swum with several other teams as a guest when traveling, and none have matched what our program offers right here in Omaha. The head coach, Todd Samland, also coaches the UNO Mavericks women's swimming team. With several years as a D1/D2 coach and more as a Masters Swimming coach, Todd has a ton of experience running swimming programs. He knows how to put a good workout together. In fact, in the seven years I've participated in Omaha Masters, I don't ever recall doing the same workout twice. That's something.

But the best thing this program has done for me was to help me rediscover the joy of swimming again.

There's a terrific mix of people -- from the very young (19), to the not so very young -- that show up to practice every day. The swimmers range in ability from being fast and knowing all of the strokes, to being not so very fast and only knowing one stroke.

What I also appreciate about swimming is that I can always bank on it. I swim at 5:30 AM. Other than being lazy, there's no reason why I can't get a workout in at that time. For cyclists, swimming's low impact makes it ideal for recovery workouts, or to get an extra hour of solid cardio in.

One more thing. After the workout, I feel amazing. It's something like a post-yoga workout, only better. It's a deeply gratifying feeling that combines the satisfaction of accomplishment with the physical sensation of being totally relaxed and warm all over. This feeling creates a feedback loop that motivates me to return again and again and again.

If you know someone who's interested, now is the time to try it out for free. There are no obligations. Nobody cares if you can swim fast. Nobody cares how you look in a bathing suit. Just come out and give it a try.

More info can be found on the Omaha Masters web page, and on Facebook

Happy Friday and Thanks for reading


Friday, February 20, 2015

Traces of Pico De Gallo in My Blood Work

As many of you know, the UP lunch group ride has a standing tradition every Thursdays to hit the Dos De Oros taco truck parked in the O'Reilly's Auto parts store on 24th Street, just south of Vinton.

If you follow my Strava feed, you'll be able to easily spot this activity simply by the map footprint:


From downtown we head across the Missouri river via Bob Kerry Pedestrian bridge, then south through a lovely stretch of casinos. From there we head east through a trailer park -- that's the distinguishing bootleg on the map above. After that, we head back west along Hwy 275 across the South 'O Bridge and through Spring Lake Park. From there, it's a short jaunt to 24th and Vinton where we pick up the tacos, then ride back to UP to chow down.

Anyway, we're regular customers. As stated, every Thursday. The tacos are that good. Just about everyone I know agrees on this point.

Last week, we brought some tacos back for the UP Fitness Center crew to try. The staff raved about them later that afternoon. Now, two of them are seriously talking about purchasing bicycles from the great Trek Bicycle Stores of Omaha. Was it because of the tacos? Probably not, but who knows?

It's funny. Those seemingly simple tacos are powerful little thingys. They're succulent. I'm not sure if it's the marinated meat, or the finely chopped pico de gallo that I like best. And don't forget the shredded cabbage, cucumber, radish and a twist of lime. Oh golly, they do wonders for one's motivation. I wasn't kidding about the fitness center's staff talking about purchasing bicycles. Or what about that time when Bryan Redemske joined us and later remarked that his cycling season -- maybe even his entire cycling career -- was vindicated by one Dos De Oros taco? I'm paraphrasing here so I might have misquoted him a smidgen. Regardless, he liked it.

I will tell you this. There have been several super cold Thursdays this winter that I probably would have made an excuse to not ride over lunch hour had there not been the Dos De Oros tacos waiting in that parking lot. That taco truck has kept fire in my belly for training on these frigid days. True story.


If you pay them a visit, bring cash. Two tacos for $3.50. Tell them the UP cyclists sent you. If they like you, they might throw some mints in your bag, gratis.

Well that's that. Happy Friday and thanks for reading.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Rollers

A colleague at work sent me the a YouTube clip featuring a young woman ("Siri) riding her rollers while making an omelette in her kitchen.


That's pretty good. I have rollers, but have never tried making my steel-cut oats while riding them. That'd probably be disasterous. Afterall, I once crashed into my living room's coffee table while watching The Italian Job. But he never asked if I've watched a high speed car chase, or made an omelette while riding them. He was just curious about the rollers.

Anyway, my colleague confided that he rarely used his because of a confidence issue.

I can remember having that feeling the first few times I rode my rollers. Mounting/dismounting, let alone riding on steel drums several inches above a concrete floor can be unnerving at first. It's not unlike learning how to ride a bicycle. But like riding a bike, confidence increases with repetition. Soon, you're not even thinking about how you're riding as much as you're enjoying the feeling of it.

This is why I like rollers. You're literally riding a bicycle, balancing and all. The action of the hips plays a big part of this, and in my opinion, is much more natural on a set of rollers than when on a bike that is anchored squarely into a stationary trainer.

I much prefer riding rollers over the trainer. I suppose I can get away with this because I do most of my winter riding outside. But when the weather is bad, or I'm in a time crunch, rollers are a great way to get a recovery spin in, or to work on cycling form/cadence.

If you're new to rollers, set them up in the middle of a door frame. That way, you can brace yourself until you've got your form dialed in properly and can ride with confidence.

When ready, consider giving one of my go to roller workouts a try.

Warmup
05:00 Warmup spin

Mainset
5 x 5 mins at high cadence with 3 mins of easy spinning in between each interval.

hint: spin up to where stroke becomes choppy, then back off about 5-15 RPMs &  hold that for the 5 min interval.

5 x 1 min at wobble cadence. Try to smooth out the stroke

Cooldown
10 mins easy spin

Happy Friday. Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Dashed Up

Last evening was the second annual Red Dress Dash. The Dash a half mile sprint in Downtown Omaha to raise awareness for Heart Disease.

Unfortunately, I couldn't participate in the Red Dress Dash this year. It's too bad, too, because I won the dash outright last year. Not that anyone was really counting or anything. But I did, and it was exhilarating.

I should also mention that I won the race wearing a red dress and matching boa. I got the red dress from Leah. So yeah, there's that.

So anyway, the best part of last year's Red Dress Dash wasn't wearing Leah's dress, nor was it winning the thing. And though I'd like to say that participating in a worthy cause was honorable and worthy in itself, it still wasn't the best. No, the best part of last year's race was taking a wrong turn and leading the entire throng of three hundred runners behind me off course. Oh boy, the pandemonium. I think what was funniest was seeing the cops jumping in their squad cars to chase me down with hundreds of others running behind me before I ran us into the river or something.

That's all I've got today. Happy Friday. Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Flummoxed

One of the big stories this past week was the flare up of a 21st century measles outbreak. I'd like to say that the measles would get people to reconsider their anti-vaccination stance. But who am I kidding? Lookout, the return of the plague is right around the corner.

Speaking of viruses, this past week, my friend John Wait lamented about the horror of coming down with the flu during a bicycle ride. During? Yes, that is what he wrote. It sounded awful, and I do feel bad for him. Still, I couldn't help but be bewildered at both the precision of identifying when he came down with the flu, as well as the circumstances surrounding it --  while riding a bicycle. How could those even be related? I've since come to accept that it's possible, that one could get the flu during a bike ride, but it seemed so weird to connect the two in the same thought.

I'd like to say that's the strangest flu story I've ever heard, but there's one even greater. A friend once told me that she got the flu from eating a hotdog. I'm not kidding. A hotdog. This wasn't the false food-poisoning, "barfy-flu", either. I would understand that a hotdog could cause barfing, because hotdogs are simply gross. But no, this flu was the real deal: a high fever, chills, body aches, etc. Anyway, I remember being utterly mystified by hearing that string of words fall from her mouth. So after gathering myself, I asked her to repeat it, just to make sure I didn't mishear her. Again she said, "I ate a hotdog earlier today and got the flu." Until that moment, I never knew that those words could be assembled in the same sentence. It was an astonishing claim. More so than saying they got the flu while on a bike ride.

I don't know about you, but these stories have left me flu-mmoxed.

To John Wait and anyone else suffering the calamity of hotdog-influenza: A hearty get well soon!

Happy Friday.Thanks for reading.

Tim Kazurinsky as SNL's Dr. Jack Badofsky c.1982