Tuesday, July 31, 2007

RIP: GT zr 4000

Yesterday's ride was likely the last for the GT.

What prompted a visit to the Trek store was a problem with the rear shifter. The indexing stripped during a ride yesterday, rendering the entire rear shifting mechanism worthless. My triple-eight had effectively become a three speed: 53-42-30 chain rings. Hoping for the best, expecting the worst, I dropped if off at the shop last night.

The phone rang like a death knell this morning. At the other end, the bike mechanic is yelling in my ear, "Dude, you rode the piss out of this thing!"

Apparently, not only is the rear shifter hosed, but the chain is stretched beyond the capability of measurement and the teeth are stripped on the triple chain rings and cassette.

At first, I was proud of what my beastly side had accomplished. And then depression set in.

It was a nice bike! It was a joy to ride and it was cheerfully yellow. It brought me many places that I never dreamt of before. Well, Louisville, Nebraska is not much of a place to dream of, but it still got me there and back. And man, what a heroic sacrifice it made for me during its last race two days ago!

"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak, Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break." -- Shakespeare's Macbeth

Oh! The loss...the agony!! ***Gnashing-teeth sound***

I shall miss you, GT. Rest in Peace.

Monday, July 30, 2007

2007 Cornhusker State Games Triathlon Recap

Holmes Lake, Lincoln, NE
Conditions: heavy rain at the 7:30am start; overcast at the finish. 69F with 10mph winds. The last and only time I was here was at the 2007 Lincoln Marathon; it's the turnaround point for the second half of the race. Coincidentally, it was also raining on that race day.

1K Swim (13:17) Swim Rank:5
I wore a full wetsuit, and aside from my arms being fatigued due to its weight at the 750m mark, I can't really complain. Even the water tasted pretty good; could it have been the extra seasoning in the toxic green algae?

Transition #1: Swim to Bike
Struggled getting the wetsuit unzipped during the short run to the transition area. Finally, I got it unzipped by the time I reached the bike. Lost a little time running slowly and managing the near panic-attack of not getting the thing off on time. Whew! Didn't want to ride the bike with that thing on.

20K Bike (36:21) Bike Rank:25
The first loop was about getting the legs warmed up. On the second loop, I got passed by two people, but I was holding a steady pace. Katherine told me later that I was smiling way too much and that I didn't have a look of strain on my face like the other cyclists going by. In retrospect, I suppose that I could have pushed harder, but I wasn't sure how much I'd need for the run.

Transition #2:
This time, the transition was really bad. First, I locked up the brakes and nearly wiped out as I approached the dismounting area. Then, I racked the bike in the wrong spot and, after re-racking it in the correct location, I almost ran out of the transition area the wrong way. I got yelled at by the transition manager and heard a woman say, "Poor guy just did an extra lap in the parking lot." Needless to say, I was a running fool!

5K Run (18:50) Run Rank:5
The run was pretty steady~6:10 mile pace. When I was starting to feel miserable, I remember thinking, "why do I do this racing when it makes me feel so awful?" The things we do to ourselves for amusement. But, I forgot this feeling until now.

Here were the official splits:
Total time: 1:10:43 Overall Rank: 5
1K Swim: 13:17 (1:16/100 avg), Overall Rank 5
Transition #1 1:06
20K Bike 36:21 (20.5mph avg), Overall Rank 25
Transition #2 1:12 (ran the wrong way)
5K Run 18:50 (6:04 mi avg), Overall Rank 5

In summary, it was a great experience. I am definitely hooked on TRIs and now consider myself a "triathlete" instead of a "runner".

Congrats also to Dan, Jorge, Ryan, Andreas, Scott, Kelley, Russell and thanks to the many volunteers manning the race course.

Friday, July 27, 2007

John Mark Karr Reinstated to Tour

PARIS, France (AP) -- Tour Officials abandoned their case against schoolteacher John Mark Karr on Thursday, saying that both A and B test samples were negative, failing to prove Karr was guilty of doping.

The World Anti-Doping Agency vice president Jean-Francois Lamour suggested how the case against Karr was built -- and unraveled -- in a five-page motion asking tour officials to reinstate Karr.

Lamour said "no evidence has developed, other than Karr's own repeated admissions, to suggest that he is using banned substances in this year's tour."

Karr, who claims that Alexandre Vinokourov personally injected him in the buttocks on numerous occasions, was distressed at the motion and said that he would file an appeal.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I am also inspired by Fred, but I don't give a damn about his cycling.

Fred makes a mean sandwich, and that is something for which I owe great deal of respect.

Once, when my energy was nearly depleted at the end of a long ride, Fred says, "let me tell you about the sandwich I'm going to make: fresh deli turkey, onions, cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, mayo and sprouts on a baguette." For a moment, I forgot about the pain I was in during a full bonk as I hung on every word of that description. It was like Nirvana. So burning my last carb, I made a mental note to myself, "...if you can't be a great cyclist, you can at least strive to make an incredible sandwich."

After the ride that day, I went directly to Hy-Vee to begin practicing this noble art. That is to say, I showered first, then went to Hy-Vee.

As for Fred, it's the sprouts that make or break the deal. Once, he claims to have even eaten a sprouts-and-mayo sandwich, not even realizing until he finished it that the sandwich was meatless. It didn't matter, you see, for the sprouts and mayo were more than sufficient for my boy.

Now I like sprouts too, but that approach is too spartan for me. While Fred's a minimalist, I've never been a fan of modern or contemporary art. I prefer the classics. But I digress.

In regards to the sandwich, you just gotta have the rest of that stuff: crisp lettuce, red onions, sweet peppers, hot mustard, tomatoes, a touch of mayo, etc. to balance all of the tastes and textures.

And while the rest of the ingredients are very important, the bread is the lynchpin. It's like the canvas for a masterpiece.

Here are some tips on selecting bread. First, avoid grocery store bread in a plastic bag. There is absolutely no excuse for Wonder Bread® in your shopping cart. If you must buy plastic-bagged bread, choose a whole grained variety that is substantial in weight. This will not only withstand the tumbling in the backpack during the commute, but it will also absorb a good amount of fluid from crushed tomatoes.

A better choice is to go to the bakery/bakery aisle and select a loaf in a paper sack. A baguette is a good choice here: tough on the outside, chewy on the inside.

Lately, I've been buying whole loaves directly from Jimmy Johns®. Their bread has a nice balance of weight and texture. It tastes great and is baked fresh daily. Moreover, Jimmy John Liautaud agrees with my assessment that the bread is the key to a wonderful sandwich: "With a handful of cookbooks checked out from his local library, Jimmy perfected his award-winning bread." Now there's an artist with a passion.

After you've chosen your bread, make sure to get fresh deli meats, veggies and condiments of your choice. Pile it on liberally and carefully tuck it into a sealable plastic bag. I advise to make the sandwich the night before so as not to rush the richness of the experience before the mad commute to work. Add a bag of kettle chips and a piece of fruit and you're good to go.

Now I'm a rookie in both cycling and the art of sandwich making. That said, if I cared as much about cycling as I did the post-carb throwdown afterwards, I'd be a much better rider than I currently am.

Oh well, when's lunch?

Monday, July 23, 2007


I checked out the inventory at Olympia and Bike Masters today. Both stores told me that 51 cm top tube is going to be too small and that a 53-54 tri bike would fit me better. They're like, "Dude, I'm 5-9 and I ride a 56cm road bike and a 54 cm TT bike; 51's gonna be too small for you. Fortunately, we've got a few bikes in the 54cm size..."

But, the Serotta fitting strongly suggests that I'm a size 51 tri bike.

Is the Serotta fitting some sort of quasi-science quackery? While there were all kinds of measurements being taken during the fitting, I don't recall seeing an e-meter on the aerobars...

Heck! What to do?

I got to get that trash out of my head!! I paid good money for the Serotta fitting and it was a purely mechanical, ruler and tape measurement system. I can and will trust this system.

There. I feel better that I got that out. I'm sticking with the 51.

Wait 'till you see me spin on this little fella!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Big Wheels

I learned something new yesterday. My road bike is too big. Not only am I a newbie on the bike, but I'm not getting the best bang for the buck on this thing.

It was also pointed out to me by my fitter Jackie that my right foot points outward when I walk and I have a hump in my back when I'm in aero position.

Never knew about these issues. Now when I walk, I make a conscious effort to point that stubborn right toe forward. As for the other, I'm looking into a referral.

The fitting went quite well. It's funny how the power of suggestion works some times. While going to get the fit, I nearly ran down a biking Fredcube in my car. At a stop light, Fred says, "I know Jackie. She's really good at fittings, especially triathletes. She taught me how to swim. And she also bought me beers after the race last weekend." Later, when I mention to Jackie that I work at UP, she asks if I know Fred, that she taught him to swim and also fed him beers this past weekend. Golly, it's a small world.

Brady's Gi-Normous road bike
Oh yeah, back to the fitting. So, I find out that my road bike is like gi-normous on me. I should be riding a 54 cm, tops. (I'm on a 55). The tri bike, then gets fit smaller, so my numbers come out to a 51 on the TT/Tri. That excludes the 54 cm Cervelo Dual that the St Louis shop has. Rats. However, there is a 2007 51 cm Cervelo P2SL that just went on sale in the Highgear shop. While it's a outside of my price range, perhaps this black beauty is the way to go?

Oh yeah, back to the fitting. So, when I'm fit right, and in a somewhat aggressive position so as not to produce a wind-dragging, bulging-hump in my back, I feel good, but also like an adult riding kid's bike. It feels good, but it may take some getting used to. I'm pretty well convinced that the tri bike is going to be the way I go, but Jackie also was thorough enough to give me the numbers for a road fitting in the event that I should change my mind.

Needless to say, I can't wait to purchase my new bike and have it fine-tuned for me. In the meantime, this little monkey is still going to ride his big boy road bike, look at the local shops' inventory, and take his time to choose the right bike for him.

Kudos to Jackie, her detailed explanation and patience with this rookie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A horse! a horse! My kingdom for a horse!

Is it futile to drop a wad of dough on a new bike, knowing full well that its ultimately the rider, not the bike, that makes for a fast ride?

No. It's not futile. It's not only a great feeling to have new bike, but it will also provide extra motivatation to step up to the next level.

Indeed, it is time.

So, tomorrow I am taking the first step toward getting a new ride by being fit with the gold-standard Serotta fitting system performed by Highgear.

Yet the question remains: should I get fit for a TT/Tri-bike, or a dual purpose road/tri bike?

Ideally, a dual purpose bike with standard drops is the way to go. In the standard configuration, I could ride with the big boys Fred, Bryan and Mike without any additional scrutiny. For triathlons, I could clip-on an aerobar and flip the seat stem around for a tri bike. Best of both worlds, right? Maybe...

However, I can also be a bit of an non-conformist. In this case, maybe I should go purely with a Tri-setup: aerobar/flatbar with bar-end shifters. The Cervelo Dual fits this configuration nicely right off the rack. I also have an admitted weakness for a yellow bike.

Anyway, tomorrow's fitting is the first step. Then comes finding the right bike for me. I'm open to suggestions.

Check back later for an update.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Local Crit Seeks Observers and Volunteers

So I got this Dear John email from Shim today. Heck. I didn't want to race anyway, but thanks for the Golden Ticket, Mr. Wonka!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Greasy Italian Beef Sandwich on Legs

Last night, I met the big boys at UNO for 800 meter repeats. Unfortunately, the first two buses didn't show, which caused me to arrive at the track when the pack was finishing its last warmup lap.

Determined not to get left behind, I picked up the warm up pace (7:00 mile) and ran the next 1.75 miles alone while they did foot drills and the first interval. I jumped in on the next interval right from my last warmup lap and ran the first split at 2:44 (5:13 mile). Most of the pack was around 2:40ish, but Dave and Scott were freakishly under 2:25s.

I went 2:44 & 2:41 on the next two repeats. That's when the GI issues started.

Oh yeah. The Italian Beef sandwich from Bob's Grill and Cafe on 17th and Farnam that I had for lunch earlier that day...what a wonderful thing to do to your body before a speed workout! It was grande!
Rather than suppress the misery, I decided to verbalize it during the 400 meter active recovery interval. In doing so, I accomplished two things: 1) Therapeutic relief for me and 2) to serve as a warning to the others in case I barfed. For the record, I also claimed first dibs on any regurgitation, because at $5.35, I wanted to get my money's worth.

It was at that moment that Gerald suggested that I take the lead on the next 800 meter interval. I remember thinking that this could be one of my life's epic moments...one that was talked about for ages... a 1/2 mile of vivid Technicolor-Yawn! How I could I resist such a moment to shine?! So with that, I challenged the Italian Beef to do it's worst and started running like the wind blows.

The results
To my surprise, I snapped off a 2:31 split. Even more, I didn't blow chunks! In fact, I was cured! In retrospect, I am a little disappointed by the Italian Beef...is the best that it could do?

The moral of the story: when you feel like puking, sprint an anaerobic 1/2 mile. My guess is that, whether you toss cookies or not, you'll also feel better in the end.

Present: Gerald, Dave, Scott, Randy, Luke, John, Scott, Andrea, Ryan, Ron, Dan...
MIA: Mike B.(schedule conflict)

Temperature: Nice! 82 F with 29% humidity. 20mph gusts.