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


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.

05:00 Warmup spin

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

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.