Friday, March 28, 2008

Brief Update

So, it's been a while since I've updated this blog. "Real life" has been very busy. I went to the hospital late Sunday night with my wife, and on Monday afternoon, our daughter was born. It's been wonderful so far, but very tiring. I'm still a little sick (due, in large part, to not sleeping anywhere close to enough) and I haven't thought much about riding.

I go back to work later next week, so maybe I'll be able to start re-establishing what is normal, and try to figure out how to fit cycling in with that. In the meantime, I'm trying to get healthy and I'm honing my diaper changing technique.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tire Lab

So, I'm still a little sick. I was feeling better yesterday and got on the trainer for about an hour for an easy ride; I think maybe that was a mistake. I felt worse this morning. So, I took things pretty easy today; even though I'm feeling better now, I decided not to ride at all. I did get out and shovel a little bit though... I can't believe it snowed again!

What I've spent most of the past couple days working on is getting my tires sealed up with the Stans Notubes system. I bought some new wheels from Stans: ZTR Olympic rims and Hope Pro II hubs. I'm using my Kenda Nevegal tires from last year. There are better race tires out there, but the Nevegal is a good tire, and, as it turns out, I think it was smart to start out with Stans on a used tire. I'm just using the yellow tape and sealant... no special rimstrip.

The first step in setting the tire up is to inflate it with just soapy water to help things seal. I spent about half an hour trying to figure this out with the first tire. This is where using a used tire helps, since the bead is already basically the right shape. The devil is in the details here; watching the video on Stans website really helped. I eventually got it (with a floor pump)... it was pretty cool when it finally sealed, you could hear the soap bubbles snapping and the tire actually held air for a little while. (Like I said, technique matters, I inflated the second tire on my first try.)

The next step is to add the Stans sealant and shake it around to seal any pinholes and around the bead. Again, used tires help here because most of the pinholes have already opened up. This is where Kenda's are a pain though, because their beads are notoriously hard to seal. It took me about two days to get them sealed, but I think I've got it now. Both tires held their air overnight last night, and the "soap test" doesn't show any foam. The picture below shows a soaped up tire during the sealing process, you can see the foam from a bead leak on the lower left.

I'll probably take the tires out for a little spin on the road before I hit the trail, but I expect everything to stay sealed up now. I was also originally concerned about the tires blowing off the rim on a tubeless setup, but now that I've worked with it a little, I feel pretty confident that the tire will stay on the rim.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


It looks like I'll suffer a little setback in training this week. I woke up this morning (actually, in the middle of the night) with a pretty bad sore throat. We'll see how it plays out, but I expect I'll get more sick before I get better. So, I'll try to follow my usual plan of sleeping a lot and not working out until I get better. It's hard on the ego, but I think I get better faster that way. (I also need to get feeling better before the baby comes!)

I don't even have to look back at my training log to know what happened. I strung together too many days of not sleeping enough, having stressful days at work, and following my training plan as-written. I can do that for a while, but eventually, my body decides it's time for some enforced rest.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Training Volume

Sunday was a good day for training volume. I went to the group ride at Indian Springs and rode for about 2.5 hours. It's normally a pretty boring loop, but if you've got 10 people or so to ride with, the time passes pretty fast. We kept the pace very relaxed... 15mph or so.

I played hockey again on Sunday night. I was much sharper this week than I was last week, but I ended up playing more defense than I'd prefer. I got my lone goal of the night on defense though... a piddly slapshot from the point that stayed on the ice and somehow found its way in. Only three more skates left and we're done for the season.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Base 2 Test

After sleeping in until 10am this morning (!), I did my LT field test on the trainer. It was a very good effort today, and I ended up averaging 256W. That's a nice improvement over the 243W I did last month, and, in fact, it's a new personal best!

So, the training has definitely gone well over the Winter. I still expect to be a little slow for the first few races of the season, but my focus is really on races in the Summer and Fall.

I've also gained a few pounds since last year, so my power to weight ratio isn't changing much, but absolute power is still heading up. For the races around here, I think that's just fine. I'm going to post more on that some other time though.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Riding Outside!

I've actually been riding outside for the past couple of days! It's still fairly cold (especially on a bike), but bearable if you're bundled up. The roads are mostly snow free; just a little bit on some of the rarely-frequented back roads. The worst of it was actually dodging all the potholes that have sprung up over the winter. Anyway, it's been nice to get outside.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Sunday Skate

I played hockey again Sunday night. I had missed the week before, and I could really tell last night. My skating and puck-handling weren't very good at first and my decision-making process was slow all night. I blew a couple beautiful chances in front of the net... hopefully next week will be better. Just about all of our "high-energy" players were there though, so the game was (relatively) fast the whole night, which is always good.

I spent some time this weekend working on my bikes. I'm just going through everything, making sure bolts are tight, parts aren't worn, etc. My fork came back from Push Industries. I haven't had a chance to ride it yet (or even put it back on the bike), but I'll be interested to see how it feels.

I've got some races coming up pretty soon. The Rhinos host a spring training (road race) series that I'll probably do (pending arrival of the baby), which starts March 29. Then, the first mountain bike race I had planned for the year (Pontiac Lake TT) is April 13. Given the winter we've had, I'm not convinced that the trail will be ready by the 13th though.

I'm not really going to be primed for any of these races; I'll be starting my Base 3 phase next week. I'll basically just treat the races as hard workouts; they're a good opportunity to remind the body what a race effort feels like after the off-season. I'll also get a chance to see what kind of shape my competitors are in. ;)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Trainer Burnout

I did some long trainer rides earlier this week. About an hour and 45 minutes both Tuesday and Wednesday. I was going to try to ride outside this weekend, but they're predicting a snowstorm for Saturday, so I'll likely be inside then too. My trainer rides this week were good rides, particularly my tempo ride on Wednesday, but I decided I couldn't take another trainer ride tonight.

So, I went out for a little run instead. It ended up being just OK. The roads were still a little snowy and icy; I decided to walk up one road that was completely ice-covered. It had been about 3 weeks since I'd run last time, so it was a little rough. Anyway, it was better than the trainer.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


I haven't posted much about the 2008 POTATOES challenge that me, my dad and my uncle are doing this year. We keep a log of trainer mileage on Google Docs; this year's "route" goes from Pentwater, MI to Murfreesboro, TN. I finally updated the spreadsheet with most of my February mileage tonight.

It looks like the field in the POTATOES challenge has been shattered! We're spread across 3 states! My uncle is still in Michigan... maybe he had a mechanical? Dad is crushing the field, he's just crossed into Kentucky. Looks like my detour to Rhode Island cost me, as I'm now floundering around in the middle, not quite to Indianapolis.

I don't think I'll be able to catch Dad. In fact, I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it to Mufreesboro by the end of the month... I've still got 360 miles to go.

No Ride

I went out to Stony Creek this morning for the ride. Yeah, it was a little cold, and yeah, we got some snow last night, but I figured the roads would be clear... I was wrong. Driving over, the roads weren't too bad (except in my neighborhood, of course), but the park roads were all snow covered. I decided that a ride would end badly, so I headed back home. I ran into Curt out there; he was thinking basically the same thing as me.

Anyway, I rode the trainer at home for a couple hours. Not too fun, but racing starts in a little over a month, so what can you do?