Friday, March 31, 2006

Spring Has Arrived?

Well, it looks like Spring has finally come to Michigan. The weather has been nice this week. I rode outside on Wednesday night for the first time in several weeks. I was very comfortable in a long-sleeved jersey and jacket; it got a little cool at the end when the sun started going down. I'm hoping that the weather stays decent so I can do a long ride outside tomorrow.

I'm nearing the end of the second week of the training block that was interrupted earlier this month by my Oklahoma trip. I got through two weeks before, and then was gone for a week; so I started over again. So, essentially, I'm now almost back to where I left off. There is a huge difference in the way I feel though. When I was at this same point a few weeks ago, I was worn out and very irritable (my wife can vouch for this!). This time through, I still have a lot of energy and my mood is generally good. Granted, it should be a little easier the second time around since I should have gotten some training effect from the first time. However, I think the big difference is that my stress level from work is much lower now than it was a few weeks ago. I'm not exactly sure what I should do with this information, but it's been interesting to see the difference.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Views from the Trainer

In the spirit of all of the great posts on Jeff Kerkove's blog showing the scenery of his rides. Here are some shots from one of my typical trainer rides:

Distraction, the most important ingredient for a successful trainer ride! I was watching Super Size Me on the day I took this picture. It was a strange movie to watch while riding. I felt a little queasy a few times.

From the movie...

It did pretty much make me never want to eat fast food again. But, I digress, on with the pictures!

Look, no hands!

Now folks, on your right, part of the famous Keith Fitness and Engineering center.

No shaved legs here! Nice socks!

Yeah, my rides are climate controlled.

Some extra snacks, just in case I get lost or something. The bonk bag currently contains a couple Oreos and some stale Swedish Fish. Yum!

Last, but certainly not least, Steve McQueen! (Long story about why this LeMans poster is in Japanese.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Back on Form

Because of my trip to Oklahoma last week, my rides felt a little funky over the weekend. Particularly on Sunday, my legs just felt dead and the ride seemed much harder than normal. I was starting to get concerned that 5 straight days of minimal exercise had screwed me up more than I had expected.

I took a scheduled day off from the bike on Monday and when I started up again on Tuesday, I was happy to find that I didn't need to worry. I've felt very good on and off the bike since Tuesday. I even (almost) enjoyed my speed workout last night!

I'm still doing almost all my riding on the trainer. It's been pretty cold since I've been back, and today we're getting snow! Still, decent spring weather shouldn't be too far off, I just have to be patient a little longer.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Kurt Kinetic Service

I've been having some issues with my Kurt Kinetic power computer. It would occasionally reset itself when I snapped it into it's mount, and sometimes reset itself for no apparant reason. As of Tuesday, it seems to have stopped working entirely.

So, I sent an email to Kurt Kinetic describing my problem, thinking they'd (eventually) tell me to try a new battery, do this, do that, etc. Nope! I got a response email within an hour telling me that the display unit was probably bad and to send them my address so that they could ship me a new one! Pretty impressive service.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Back from Oklahoma

I got back from a week long business trip to Oklahoma last night. It was a pretty decent trip, just a bit long and tiring. I had a full schedule every day except yesterday. The weather was nice the whole time I was down there, in the 60's and 70's and sunny. It was a bit of a shock to come back to 30 and 40 degree weather in Michigan. At least it wasn't snowing.

A girl sitting next to me on one of my flights home asked if I was skipping school to travel. Nice to know at 28 that I can still pass for a college student.

I managed to fit in a 30 minute workout every day I was gone. I don't know if that made up for all of the sitting around and massive dinners though, probably not. We went to a steak place one night (they literally only sold steak), and the smallest one was one and a half pounds. It was 1-3/4 inches thick! The German guys that we were entertaining were blown away (so was I) but also happy to have a big American steak. I probably ate more red meat this past week than I usually eat in a month.

I came home to find a DVD of Newsradio - Season 3 waiting for me. This is one of my favorite shows, and this particular season has some of the best episodes of the series.

So, last night, I watched a little Newsradio. I'll get back on the bike later today. It will be interesting to see how I feel after 5 days off the bike.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Speed Skills

I did my speed skill workout Thursday night. Single leg pedaling for this week. For some reason, I really dislike doing these workouts. I'm not sure why, it's easy work. I just get bored with it I think.

The weather is getting nicer around here. It's supposed to be in the 50's all weekend, but a little rainy. Still, this is a big improvement.

Some cool jerseys and shirts at TwinSix.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Silver Lining

I've had that Chet Baker song "Look for the Silver Lining" floating around in my head for the past couple days. (OK, I Googled it, Chet didn't write the song, but his is the only version that I know.) I've been playing my trumpet again lately, which is part of it. I've been frustrated by things in general lately too, which is also part of it.

Work has been pretty annoying lately. I feel like the project I'm on is being poorly managed, and my group is also poorly managed. It's resulted in me not being very happy with the effort I'm putting forth at work. Of course, next week, I'll be in Oklahoma for most of the week for work.

My dog has recently developed the habit of urinating on our living room carpet. I think it's an issue of her not getting enough exercise, so she doesn't sleep all the way through the night, which is when these accidents seem to happen. She's a miniature dachshund, so sometimes it's hard to find the spots (they're just not that big). But since it's been sunnier lately, you can definitely smell them. Or, at least, I can smell them, my wife can't.

My grandpa is in the hospital and not doing so well. I'm not sure how that will turn out.

I've also been frustrated lately that my wife's schedule and mine don't seem to be meshing very well. No real problems otherwise, but I'd like to see her once in a while. For example, tonight, she won't get home from coaching until around 8pm. I'll want to go to bed by 9:30 so I'm not a zombie all day tomorrow after waking up at 5:30.

But, it's not all bad stuff (see that's why the "silver lining" is so clever). Like I mentioned, I've been playing more horn again lately, which is always a good thing. I've been going at it long enough now that I can pretty much play what I want, no endurance though. I dug out a picture of me in marching band in college (this picture is going on 9 years old now!). I always thought it was cool to pull the front of my hat down low like that.

Things are going well with regard to the bike. My testing is showing that I'm making improvements, and I feel pretty good. I did a little skill work in the garage tonight, basically doing figure 8's in the spot where my wife parks. I was pretty pleased with myself that I could (eventually) do them and stay within that small area. I think spring is around the corner here, it's been warmer and rainy lately (thus, I was in the garage), so I should be able to start riding outside more pretty soon.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

FIFA 2004

In the spirit of "training hard, resting harder", I've been spending a good bit of my rest time playing FIFA 2004 on my Playstation. It's a surprisingly addictive game, and it's difficult enough that I keep coming back. It's also got a pretty cool soundtrack. The only thing that bugs me about this game (which seems common to most Playstation games) is that it seems to take a long time to load or save data, and you have to go through 2 or 3 screens to do it.

I'm also trying to teach my dog how to shake hands. I found a book that suggested you hold a piece of food in your (closed) hand at the dog's chest. They will go at it with their mouth, but then are supposed to eventually try to paw at it. Once they paw, you open your hand and give the dog the food. Well, my dog went at it with her mouth, then eventually got frustrated with me and sat down and gave me the old googly eyes. Eventually, I got her paw in my hand and then let her have the treat. I don't know that we're making much progress, aside from keeping my hand nice and wet.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Training Obstacle

I found out officially today that I'll be heading to Oklahoma for work in two weeks. I'll be gone for almost the full week. That week was supposed to be a relatively high volume training week for me, but I can't see that happening now. I'm sure I'll be able to squeeze in some exercise on the trip, but not nearly as much as my plan calls for.

I'm thinking I'll try to re-arrange my training plan a bit to make that week a rest week. Then it's just a matter of adjusting the following weeks accordingly. It's not really a big deal I suppose, just kind of a pain to do.

After this adjustment, it looks like I'll probably end up taking two extra weeks for base building. At my current level, a little extra time working on base is probably a good thing, just not very exciting.