Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

From my family to you all,

Go easy on the turkey,

Or you'll need one more interval.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Beer, Wine & Training

On the heels of my review of the 2006 Cycles Gladiator Merlot I decided to review a restaurant and a beer. My wife and I were blessed a "parent's night out" event organized by our children's elementary school (thanks Bob) last Friday. So we took advantage by heading out to dinner at a local (Prince Frederick) place called Saphron. Saphron is a pseudo natural food restaurant which serves "comfort" food using locally grown/raised (sometimes organic) produce and meats. For our appetizer we order the hot crab dip, but what came to our table was a vat of crab dip with toast points. Seriously, this was huge. I thought we could never finish it but it was delicious and after we demolished the toast points we used the rolls provided with dinner. When the waiter saw that we had exhausted our supply of bread they brought more toast points. That spelled the end for the dip. For beverages, my wife ordered a local wine, the Solomons Island, MD winery Peregeax Merlot, whereas I ordered the Omeggang Witte beer ( based on the Unholy Rouler's CX Brewery Ommegang race report). We both ordered the Roast Pork Medallions in a plum reduction with mashed sweet potatoes. Everything was quite tasty. I was most satisfied with the meal, especially when my wife offered me the rest of her sweet potatoes because she was too full. Recommendation: Try it, you'll like it!

Onto the training, which is going well. I think I provided some details regarding the exercises I am doing within my lifting routine which I am doing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Saturdays I am riding the trainer (Realaxiom) for a 30 mile slightly uphill (0.5% slope) working in 2 x 20 minute intervals at FTP or Functional Threshold Power. My FTP was measured in my Realaxiom "Training Test" which I performed on the first Tuesday of my training plan. This training test, which is software driven, gives you a five minute warm-up and then, starting at 100 W, increases your wattage by 10 Watts every minute until you reach or exceed your threshold heart rate (instantaneous and average). Once you reach your threshold heart rate the program tracks your power output while maintaining your heart rate at the threshold rate. My results were as follows: Max. power - 435W, FTP - ~270 W. I am now in the fourth week of training and I can tell you that the first 2 x 20 workout was good. I felt even better during the second. The third workout was hard but I felt OK. The fourth was a struggle but I completed it. For the fifth, I decided to add an interval and lower the wattage slightly. It went OK but I think I really need to take a break this week. So I will do two easy recovery rides this week and see how I feel on Tuesday of next week. On Thursdays and Sundays I am doing cross training which for me is an hour on the elliptical trainer. Of course after the first four weeks the plan will change slightly, and I will document the changes then.

Product note: On a trip to Trader Joe's this weekend ostensibly to stock up on Three Buck Chuck for Thanksgiving Dinner (the inlaws are coming) I discovered some Yerba Mate tea bags. Hey Sue, you don't need a bong (gourd) to drink this Yerba Mate. Just hot water and a mug. TJ's also was selling bottles of Ommegang Abbey Ale. I picked one up to share with my father-in-law. Adieu!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cycles Gladiator

Fat Guy Racer has given me the incentive to post my review of a wine my spouse and I imbibed over the weekend. The wine is a California 2006 Merlot from Cycles Winery in Soledad. I picked it up for $8.99 at Nick's of Calvert in Prince Frederick. I usually don't like to pay that much (my favorite wine? - Three buck Chuck - actually Charles Shaw - from Trader Joe's) although my spouse imbibes most of the wine in the house. Here is a picture of the label.

If you can't make out the image, it is a winged bicycle being guided by a naked long-haired goddess. The image happens to be from a poster created by the French printer G. Massias during the "Golden Age of Cycling." You could read all about it if the image below was more clear.

OK, so I bet you want to know how it tasted. I felt it was full-bodied, with a hint of oak, not too strong though. In other words, I liked it! My wife, she liked it too. Of course, you can't trust her taste. After all, she likes Three Buck Chuck.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rock Burn Cross?

I would say that is a definite Yes! Today at the Twisted Tire MTB race in Ashland, VA, I crashed on a downhill "rock garden." Lucky for me, the first body part to make an impact with the rocks was my helmeted head. The point of impact can be seen in the photo below:
After my helmet hit the rock(s), of course the rest of my body needed to go some where. So the right side of my face got scrunched up against the rack that busted my helmet. I was wearing some safety glasses and heard a crack but could not feel any damage. I didn't notice anything until, of course, after the race, when my friends Mike Thompson and Rick Duncan pointed out that the lens was missing:
So the side of my face is swollen from the facial impact (I'll spare you photos of body parts). I've got a rock burn on my back on the right side (small one). My right elbow is sore but has no visible damage. And lastly, both knees were skinned. Funny thing was, I was so "cross" after I fell that I actually rode better.

The race consisted of two laps at Poor Farm Park for we Beginner Men 40+ (beginner geezers). I had no idea how or what I would do since I hadn't raced or ridden much since mid-September. I ended up fourth in my category. This race was the make up race for the one that was cancelled by tropical storm Hannah in September. It was also the grand finale of the VORS with the awards ceremony afterwords. Since I had a headache and various sore body parts I was allowed to take my schwag bag for finishing first in the beginner category for the series and go home before the awards. Thus ends my 2008 racing season.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Finally got the pics I took to where I could get at them for this post. Yes, the photo above is Clone Commander Cody holding pink Wonder Woman hostage. Later on Cody was assisted by a Stormtrooper as well as Clone Captain Rex (not to mention Indians Jones, the Cat in the Hat, and an unspecified jedi knight) in an effort to maintain control over pink Wonder Woman and gather enough candy to keep the family dentist living in the Obama tax increase zone for years to come.

Speaking of Obama, wow! Just beware, I can hear Rush Limbaugh's hate machine cranking out some massive rpm's in preparation for the unleashing of the fury. But congrat's to the President-elect and hope that he can do a better job than the current POTUS.

Regarding the photos of my winter training equipment, be prepared for here they are with some details. The first photos will be of the equipment I will use for the Joe Friel prescribed strength training days (three per week). For the Build 1 phase Mr. Friel calls for strength training in the anatomical adaptation mode which means light-ish weights with high reps. The eight exercises I use for this phase are squats, lat pull-downs, leg extensions, chest press, seated row, hamstring curls, upright row, and abdominals. For the squats, leg extensions, and seated row I use this Smith Machine:

For the lat pull-downs, chest press, hamstring curls, upright row, and abdominals I use my Nordicflex Ultralift which is pictured here:

Mr. Friel's program also calls for two days of cross training per week. For this purpose (and since my wife also likes them) we purchased an elliptical machine. The elliptical is much gentler on my knees and provides more of a full body workout than running (although I will probably also do some running). The elliptical we purchased is seen here:

For my indoor riding days I will use my old Univega Sportour-S on my Elite Real Axiom trainer (pictured below):

The Real Axiom trainer is much like a Computrainer (much less expensive) in that it allows you to create and ride "courses" using their software. The trainer adjusts its resistance to simulate uphills and downhills. You can also purchase famous TDF, Giro, Vuelta stages as well as some world championship's and classics routes and ride them. The only limitation is that he resistance unit tops out at around 6% so when you are riding Alp de Huez and you see the slope increase to 10.5% the difficulty is only in your head. However, 6% in my mind is adequate for the hills you will encounter in the MABRA region. Just don't tell my vicious 'irradiated eyes' coach (pictured below):

You may note that there is no one suffering on any of the equipment in the photos. While this is true, my wife will avow that they are being used, much to her dismay. Also, all these photos were taken in our recently finished basement. Bye!