Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ready for the Weekend (I Hope)

I decided to get both my wheels re-spoked (I hope that's a word). Not cheap but cheaper than a new bike. I donated blood today so I can't ride tomorrow but I'm all set for Friday. The plan is a long ride Friday, hill workout in daylight on Saturday (before doing them in the dark on Wednesdays), and 34-ish miles on Sunday. If my wheels stay intact, I will be a happy guy.

Oh, I also picked up some tools so now I can actually use my new truing stand.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

iPhones Don't Work If Nobody Answers

It was about 40 degrees when I took off at 6:30 this morning for a planned 29-mile ride. I had my new lights and was all bundled up so I was looking forward to this. All was going well until about mile 7 when I went/jumped over a pothole/rut. I heard a "bonk" and my rear wheel, which was already out of true, started really wobbling. I pulled over and not only did I break a spoke, I broke two (though I wonder if the second was already broken). I was hoping I could ride home SLOWLY. Nope.

No problem. I carry my iPhone with me on rides (with a protective case, of course) so I'll just call home and get picked up. Well, it turns out that yesterday's wealth of Wii games overloaded the senses of my son and, though he was awake, he ignored my phone calls. All but the last one. He ignored the 13 messages on the answering machine. He ignored the calls I would make just to ring the phone. Grrr.

Okay, my wife or daughter would have to wake up at some point, right? I'll just play video games between phone calls until one of those two wakes up. So I did. Funny thing about my winter riding gear: it keeps me pretty warm when I'm moving by trapping my heat. Not so much when I'm standing still. Soon the warm glow of my ride started to fade and there I was, in 40-50 degree weather with the wind picking up, and I'm standing there wearing shorts and a windbreaker. For two hours.

By the time I get ahold of my wife the shivers are getting harder and harder to control. She shows up with the van, I toss the bike in the back, and we head home. We were planning on a trip downtown so I had to take a quick shower which, as hot as it was, was surprisingly not very warming. However, a trip into the kitchen for some emergency ramen did help a lot. Note to self: pick up more ramen for post-ride warming.

That's three spokes in three weeks. What am I going to do? I can't really buy sturdy new wheels for my bike because it is so old and I don't want to spend more on wheels than I did for the whole bike. New bike? The bike shops I have gone to have been heavy into Specialized bikes but I wanted another opinion so headed over to Velo Pasadena because they showed a wider selection on their site. I got there and oh my goodness. Big shop and you can actually walk around in it. I got some help and was shown a Felt F55, which is on sale because it is an '08. What to do, what to do...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Let There Be Light

Santa was very good to me in the cycling department. First up is a truing stand, which I very much need as the combination of my weight and the old wheels on my second hand bike are adding up to wheels that go out of true in just a few weeks. Next we have Blackburn Flea lights (front and rear), which is going to allow me to wake up early Wednesday mornings and do a hill workout before getting ready for work. Last, we have another light set but I'm going to return that and get some tools so I can not only perform bike maintenance but actually use the aforementioned truing stand.

Did you know that Lance Armstrong has a twitter page? It's true. Poor guy went out for a three-hour ride today. That's one of the things that separates champions from the rest of the pack. As for me, Christmas at home with the kiddies and rain made the decision to stay home an easy one.

Speaking of Lance Armstrong, the Amegen Tour of California will have a stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena and, if you take a look at "Races and Events" on the right, you will see that I have volunteered to work it. Don't know what I'll be doing until a week or two beforehand but it should be quite the experience.

The family will be having a dim sum adventure tomorrow, which means taking trains to Chinatown for some yummy dim sum. Because of that I'll only get to ride 29 miles tomorrow. I'm thinking 29 tomorrow, practice on my hill Saturday because I want to do it in the light before having to do it in the dark on Wednesday, then a longer ride on Sunday (I'm not sure how long but I know what the route will be). Oh, and get some tubes and exchange the lights tomorrow. Then, when I have gotten the tools, I can true my back wheel because it is messed up.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snug As A Bug

I pretty much have all my winter gear now (though I might try wool socks) so my rides this weekend were warmer than before. I wouldn't call them "warm" or even "not painfully cold" but they were definitely warmer. Got the toe covers, the arm warmers, and even wore the rain jacket, which makes a nice windbreaker.

First up was a 34-mile ride on Saturday. This was awesome. I felt good and even did a few intervals going up the big hill ("Okay, at least 60 rpm to the next light."). With just a few miles left I saw a couple of riders going the other way but then they made a U-turn and were behind me. For the rest of the ride I made a game of making sure I kept ahead of them. They even caught up with me at a stoplight but I pulled away on the green. Probably a stupid ego thing but games like that can make a ride more interesting. Finishing the ride I felt great and not even all that tired.

Contrast that with this morning's ride. Before starting a ride I do a quick check of the bike and this time I found a flat front tire. Sigh. It took me quite a while to pop the tire over the rim (I'm not a weak guy but I just have a problem with that) and then I had to use water to find the very slow leak. Patched that put the tire back together (I have a tool to help me get the tire back over the rim) and I was on the road 40-minutes late (which tells me I need to practice tire fixing if I ever hope to do this correctly during a race). Things were going well until the wind kicked up out of the north. That didn't mean it was colder. It meant that my 3-mile uphill was going to be done with a headwind. Sigh. It was blowing so hard that when I finally went over the peak and was heading downhill, I needed to pedal because the wind was slowing me down so much. That hill really wiped me out today. After it, small hills that I zoomed up yesterday were granny-geared slowly today. At least the last part of the ride had the wind to my back. A fun thing happened when I tried to outrun a stoplight. As I was crossing the intersection I noticed that I was at 26+ mph. Cool! Tried another sprint interval and went over 26 again. Not bad, even with a tailwind (which wasn't blowing nearly as hard as the one blowing during my uphill). I came home wiped out. I think I might not have been eating properly yesterday, either. I was more concerned with not eating too much and, in the process, I might have eaten too little.

Funny story (to me): I picked up my front wheel from the bike shop on Wednesday (it was getting trued and having a spoke replaced). I asked about sturdier wheels and the guy said he's show me some. First up was a nice little number by Bontrager. It was $800. I think if I had brought in the 15-year-old bike that goes with my wheel he wouldn't have shown me that one, given that that wheel is three times what I paid for my bike (used). And the Montrose Bike Shop isn't even what I'd call a snooty shop. The Bontrager site shows that they do have less expensive wheels but did I really need to be shown the $800 variety? I think he showed me another one that was only $400...

Monday, December 15, 2008

What Chrissie Wellington and I Have in Common

I ended up riding 54 miles this weekend instead of 50. See, my 25-mile ride on Saturday took even less time than the weekend before. Since I want to emphasize fat burning, coming in under two hours is not what I want to do. So on Sunday I took a 29-mile route. I learned a few things. First, those nice ventilated socks and shoes I wear become refrigerators in the winter (I am looking into shoe/toe covers). I learned what breaking a spoke sounds like (guy in bike shop: "You broke a spoke." Me: "So that's what that sound was.'). I learned that I should do my longer ride on Saturday instead of Sunday (I was planning on buying a new saddle in January but I don't know if my butt can wait that long), so I'm thinking I'll do a 35-mile ride on Saturday and a 25-miler on Sunday. I used a heart rate monitor for the first time and was impressed that I kept myself in zone 3 (the one that's supposed to be best for fat burning) most of the time without even looking at my heart rate until after the ride.

I watched NBC's coverage of Kona over the weekend. My favorite part was after Chrissie Wellington fixed her flat and got back on her bike, she fumbled a few times trying to clip in. The next time I do that in an intersection after a green light, I'll think of her and not feel so bad.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I swam at the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks pool and what a difference! I could stop swimming because I was tired rather than because I was nauseous from overheating. I am so not going back to the Y. The worst part is that the pool is only a few minutes farther drive than the Y. I feel like an idiot for not at least trying the drive to be sure rather than just eyeballing it on a map. The bad news is that they are closing for winter maintenance and won't be open again until January. The good news is that my left shoulder is still sore from the last workout so I would be taking at least next week off anyway. Good stuff.

The Pasadena Marathon has been re-scheduled for March 22, which is a canny choice because that's around when the Los Angeles Marathon used to be. Since that has been changed to May, people unhappy with running a marathon in May now have the Pasadena Marathon as an alternative. As for me, I'm just in it for the bike tour.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Going Crazy From the Heat

I think I am officially sick of swimming in a pool that is too warm. On Thursday I am driving to Van Nuys to swim at the pool there. Have I mentioned that the swimming book I am reading says pools 84 degrees and up are unhealthy? The Y's pool is 86 degrees.

Needless to say, today's workout sucked. After warmup I could only go 100 yards before having to stop because I felt so awful from the heat. And to add injury to insult my left shoulder was getting sore from the new stroke. It could be that I'm doing it wrong so I'm going to play it safe and go back to my usual stroke until I can get some instruction. The new pool has that capability, if it works out for me. If it doesn't, I don't know what I'm going to do because I can't go on swimming in a pool that's too hot.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My First 50-Mile Weekend

As I wound up my 25-mile ride yesterday, it occurred to me that that was quite a ride but it was still shorter than a marathon. I really can't imagine running that far. I would like to run a marathon someday but it is a long, long way.

So the plan was to do another 25-mile ride on the same route today. After yesterday's ride, which was a bit chilly, I headed over to REI to pick up a goodie and while I was there I got a pair of gloves and some socks. I was hoping that the gloves, besides providing some palm relief and crash protection, would warm up my hands and that that would spread up to my arms (like magic). Looks like I was right. I think seeing arm warmers for $30 helped me think warm, too. Anyway, I set out this morning at 6:40, warmer than yesterday. I was feeling pretty good and I started off a bit faster than yesterday, but not too fast (I peaked on one of the downhills at 27mph--coasting, of course). The thing with having the goodie, though, is that I did some calculation and realized that I could come in under two hours for the whole ride if I just hustled a bit where I could. I did and, sure enough, came in under two hours on the same route that took me 2:20 (including picture taking) yesterday. I'm not sure that was the smartest thing to do for fat burning but it was kind of fun.

Still getting better on clipping in and I am now getting better at timing stoplights. I do wish I was much better at clipping in when doing left turns. I'm still pretty much a goof doing those. Today's lesson: I can clip out of just one pedal if that foot is going to be stepping on a curb. However, if that foot is going to be standing on flat ground, both feet have to clip out.

The plan for next weekend is to do the same thing, then do a 30/25 the following weekend.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Northeast San Fernando Valley 25-Mile Tour

I took my iPhone on my ride this morning so I could share the trip. I will be heading out on the same route tomorrow morning. Click on the little cameras to see the pictures:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elbows High

I have been doing some reading about swimming and this whole "keeping your elbows high" thing is finally making sense. I had been hearing and reading about elbows high but had no idea what it was referring to (I did my competitive swimming back in the seventies, you see). More reading, watching some videos, and chatting with my friend John and I was ready to give it a try during today's workout. It turns out that my stroke wasn't all that far off (you don't really know your stroke unless you're in the water). It seems to make things easier and it sure doesn't slow things down. Next workout I'll compare stroke counts between this new way with my previous way. Anyway, I had to take last week off because of my cold, and when you add that to a too-warm pool, no long swim today. I could only manage about 1200 yards but that's okay because today was technique day.

Came across the IronBruin Triathlon for next March. 400 pool yards, 13.5mi bike, and 5k run. The pool swim is especially attractive because I don't want to buy a least not this season. Could be a good "C" workout and my first tri. It would be just one week after the 100k Gran Fondo San Diego but I guess that will make things even more interesting.

I was listening to an Endurance Planet podcast and got an idea for training. I could go out Wednesday mornings and do a quick hill workout. I'm not so keen on riding in the darkness around here because of the rough roads but this route is do-able. It's about 1.5 miles to the start of the hill and it's not huge but powering up it would be quite the workout. I could even go up and down more than once. The cool part is that I would make it back in time to do my usual morning routine (shower, wake the kids, make them breakfast, etc.). Now I just need some lights for my bike...and maybe a pair of arm warmers because I'll be out there at 5:30. Sounds like a job for Santa Claus.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ah Do Nod Hab A Code

Okay, my cold isn't that bad but it's bad enough that I skipped swimming today and I'm not taking the bike on our Thanksgiving trip. Hopefully I can take a nice, leisurely 10-mile ride here on Sunday. Gotta get better, though.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Nice Ride, For a Change

What a weekend! First off, Thursday's workout was harder than I thought as it seems to have triggered an, as I call it, exercise-induced cold. That's when you exercise so hard that if there is a cold bug within a 30-mile radius, it will find you. Add to that the fact that I didn't bring enough food to work on Friday (hey, if my kids want to get into my banana stash, I'm not going to discourage that!) and you have the makings of, at least, a mild cold. I went to bed early Friday night because I wanted to wake up at 5:30 Saturday morning for a 20-mile ride at 6:30.

Woke up Saturday and still had a trace of the cold. So what did I do? I rode, of course. It was a pretty good ride, my first longer ride with the new clipless pedals. All went well and I went straight from the bike ride to a shower and shave (with a quick detour to my training log at because I had to take my daughter to a concert in downtown L.A. I did manage to eat my post-workout food and drink, though. After the concert, we went to the L.A. Auto Show because my girl likes to sit in vans and Hummers. I could feel my body wanting food and liquids the whole time so I kept fueling up the whole day. Definitely went to bed early Saturday night...

...because I had a 25-mile ride to do on Sunday! This was on a brand new route and it was just going to be an easy ride. It started out well, except I thought it was a bad sign that the street that had been marked as having a bike route on the L.A. Bike Map had its bike route lines removed. Oh well, it was early on a Sunday morning, which meant few cars on the road and few people pulling away from the curb. After a while, a bike route with lines showed up just in time for a short hill that seemed to go straight up. I actually had to stand in the pedals because that was the only way to keep the bike moving (I now see what they mean about non-clipped pedals possibly causing injuries when your foot slips off going up a hill). Even then it was very slow going. Like I said, short hill and there was a very long downhill on the other side. That was the only hill where I lost my breath; on the others I just downshifted and took my time. As I was heading up Balboa, past an area damaged in one of the recent fires, listening to a woodpecker whacking a tree, it occurred to me that this was the first bike ride I have taken since I started this triathlon training that I could actually enjoy. Usually I'm trying to see how fast I can go or working on not being such a wuss up hills. This ride was all about taking it easy. I can get used to that. After I order a heavy duty case for my iPhone I will add some pictures to this route's map and post it here.

Heading up to my parents' house for Thanksgiving this year (first time in several years I'm not making Thanksgiving dinner!). I have a route planned for the visit up there. However, going out in this morning's bit of cold has me wondering about that decision, since it's several degrees colder there and I don't have much cold-weather gear. I'll probably just dig out my gloves and add an undershirt to my clothing and it will be fine.

Oh, it looks like I will be doing the Merced Triathlon next October. A friend from high school told me he'd enter it if I did. He wants to do what they're calling the short course sprint (400y pool swim, 6mi ride, 2 mi run). I can do that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Water Makes Me Tired

Had quite the tiring workout in the pool today. I could tell during the warm-up that the distance swim wasn't going to happen today and I was right. I did manage to get in 2 200s, though. I did that last, hard 50 before the warm-down in 37 seconds, which is my fastest time so far. Put me on a block and if I managed a flip-turn I bet I could break 30 seconds (again, great for an 11-year-old). Still, I'd like to do it from within the pool. Gimme another month. Managed to squeeze in 1600 yards altogether; 100 more than usual. Was very tired at the end. Makes me wonder if I should be pushing myself so hard. Tonight I will be starting a new book I bought on swimming so I hope I will find out.

FWIW, here was today's workout. It is pretty typical:

2x50 warm-up
4x50 on the 1:30
1x100 on the 2:30
4x50 on the 1:30
4x50 on the 1:30
1x100 on the 2:30
4x50 on the 1:30
Fast 50
50 warm-down

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Burn, Baby, Burn

I have built up a decent level of fitness by cycling and swimming the past few months. Not great, but okay. However, I have a few months to go before I start jogging in February. The main reason for holding off until February was so I could drop some weight to make running less stressful on my joints. The weight is starting to come off but not fast enough. It occurred to me today that I really need to up the fat-burning now before February gets here. I don't know how much fat is being burned from swimming--I'm guessing a bit but because the workouts are only 40 minutes, it probably is not much. That leaves cycling. Fortunately I live in Southern California, which means I can cycle outdoor year-round. Working with the Los Angeles Bike Map and the Map Maker I now have, in theory, 10-, 20-, 25-, 30-, and 35-mile rides all mapped out. That should do for the next few days :-). I'm thinking I have to be doing over 2-hour rides to really get the fat-burning going. I will be getting some hill work in, enough for the race courses I am preparing for, at least. I can always do more hill work later but I have to work on the weight reduction now before I start running.

As I ride the new routes and make any adjustments I will post the maps here. They might even have pictures with them, who knows?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To Flip Or Not To Flip?

Had a great swimming workout (1500 yards) in a lane by myself, finally. My long swim went 400 yards (with more left in the tank), which was the goal for December so swimming is looking great. Even did a 200 later in the workout. My fast swim at the end was practically a sprint. I'm thinking about trying flip turns again. Maybe Thursday's workout will be mainly turn work. I just know I'm going to be a dizzy mess, which I am definitely not looking forward to.

I've been playing with's route mapping tool. I have some fun routes in store. Did you know it is theoretically possible to ride a bike from Bakersfield to Madera, CA in a day? Something to file away for another year.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Out of the Fire and Onto the Sidewalk

The Pasadena Marathon was cancelled this morning due to the poor air quality caused by all the fires in the area. I woke up at 4am, didn't see any email (it wouldn't arrive for another nine minutes), took a shower and shaved, then checked the email again and saw the announcement. Bummer. What to do with my day now?

Time to get some clipless pedals.

I was going to get them at Bicycle John's but they're not open on Sundays so it was off to Montrose Bike Shop. The fellow waiting on me was very helpful, explaining about the shoes and figuring out that I really wasn't looking for high-end stuff. He even hooked the bike up to the trainer so I could get used to working with the pedals and shoes. Good thing, too, because as soon as I got out of my front gate I managed to fall down :-). Like I tell my children, though, mistakes are one of the ways we learn so I got back up and continued on my short shakedown cruise: pedal a bit, un-clip, clip-in, other leg, repeat. No more crashes. Things are looking good for next week's rides.

Gosh. Bike shorts, jerseys, and clipless pedals. I almost feel like a real cyclist. 20 mph average on the loop, here I come!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Ride Before the Ride

The Pasadena Bike Tour starts at 6am so I woke up early this morning to do a 6am ride, just to see what the weather's like then. Fortunately we're having a heat wave so the weather was perfect. Unfortunately, my quick 10-mile ride turned into a 15-mile ride because of a fire in nearby Sylmar which, once again, closed off part of my route so I had to turn around. Oh well:

Another reason to do a short ride was to check out my bike after its tune up at Izzy Cycles. Good thing I did. One of the things I asked was that they look into problems I was having shifting down into a couple of gears in back (sorry, I'm still a noob at these things). They fixed that but did they have to maladjust the front derailleur to do it? When I picked up my bike I also picked up a Crank Brothers M-10 multi-tool for the bike. Good thing I did. Right off the bat I found the chain rubbing up against the derailleur and I couldn't shift enough to fix it. Hop off the bike, break out the M-10, adjust the derailleur (I knew those screws adjusted it somehow but I forgot exactly what), then hop back on. All was well until I went down my first hill and shifted up to the big chainring and found that that rubbed the derailleur, too. Hop off the bike, adjust the other screw (now I know what they both do), then hop back on. Maybe it's not that big a deal but I have to wonder if it's like Van Halen and brown M&Ms: if they actually made the derailleur adjustment worse, what else did they do or not do?

Picked up my packet for the bike tour. I even geeked out and bought a special jersey and socks for the event. Sorry, couldn't help myself. However, the fires in the area have people concerned so we received an email from race officials saying that the race is still on but that they will send out email in the morning with the latest status. I'm making sure I have everything ready before I head off to bed early for my 4am wake-up.

I am going to try and take pictures with my iPhone during the ride, which means live updating. If I do, you will be able to find them here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Pasadena Triathlon

After thinking about it, I have decided not to enter the Pasadena Triathlon. Do I really want my first triathlon to be a reverse, meaning I won't learn anything from the transitions or pacing or anything? The answer is "no". Maybe in 2010 for fun.

Still riding the Pasadena Marathon Bike Tour this Sunday, though. My volunteering was moved to handing out medals at the finish line. It might change again since it's supposed to be really warm on Sunday.

I couldn't swim on Tuesday because of work but I did today and my workout sucked. 1200 yards. Managed 2 200s. Maybe there is something to more frequent swim workouts after all. Wish I could do them. Can't, though.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gran Fondo San Diego

Had a good swim today. 1400 yards with a 350 thrown in. Did my 50s on the 1:30, meaning only 45 seconds of rest. Whew.

Came across the Gran Fondo San Diego. Its a 100mi or 100k fun ride (there's also a 40k family ride) and it does look like fun. March 1, 2009. I haven't registered yet but I am definitely keeping my eye on it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

20 Down, Heading Towards 30

Did my first 20-mile ride on Sunday and it turned out to be pretty easy. I bet I could have gone 30 miles but I need to go up gradually. I went up my two hills and when I got out of the saddle I only had to sit down once each time. That's progress. I even did a warm-down by riding a couple of miles with my daughter after I finished the ride. Looks like I'm definitely ready for the Pasadena Marathon Bike Tour. It's starts at 6am on the 16th, then I join other volunteers at 10am handing out medals at the finish line of the marathon itself.

Bicyling Magazine has this neat route map creator where you can easily map out a run, bike, hike or whatever. Once you're done it calculates distance, elevation gains and losses, and you can share your route with the world. Here is my usual route:

Later that day I went to Izzy Cycles in Sunland. They've been there for about a year but I haven't needed to get into bike gear until recently so I never went in. It's a nice little shop. Not too much to shop for, though I did buy a copy of Road Bike Action Magazine, which I hadn't seen before, and I did see a little toolthing for later. I'm thinking it could be the place to go for repairs. John recommended a twentysomething-mile route that I may just try in a few weeks. It has an incline that is much bigger than what I am used to so it should be quite an pain. Look for a report in the future.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Change of Plans

The plan has been to do my first triathlon in August. However, I recently came across the Pasadena Triathlon, which is a reverse mini-sprint: 5k run (around the Rose Bowl) / 15k Bike (around the Rose Bowl) / 150m pool swim (in a 50m pool). It is scheduled for next March and I think it looks like a fun "C" race. Looks like that will be my first. The swim is in the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, which looks like a great facility. However, it is a bit too far to go for a lunch swim and day passes are $10! That's way too much for a 45-60 minute workout. If I could fit it into my schedule, though, monthly plans are much more reasonable. How I long for a cool pool to workout in.

Had a wonderful day in the pool, today. I was planning on doing a 250 for my long swim but I felt good enough to keep going to 300. I think the key is to not control breathing so much early on. I was starting off with my normal 50 breathing (breathing every other stroke). Today I tried starting off with more breathing (breathe, breathe, hold) and that seemed to do the trick. I did try a 200 later but I was overheating so it was just a 150. Gotta do that long swim first thing. At the end of my swim I finish with a fast (not a sprint, but fast) 50, then a cool down 50. I broke 40 for the first time on that 50. Granted, that's a good time for an 11-year-old but I'm working on it. ;-)

The calves seemed to settle down today. Still doing just a 20-mile ride this weekend.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Too Sexy For My Suit

Sooner than I would have liked but that's the way it goes sometimes: I bought a new swimsuit. The trunks were getting annoying so I needed an upgrade. What to do? Putting me in a small Speedo worked in high school but I don't want to do the kind of environmental damage that my middle-aged body in a small Speedo would do (Keep America Beautiful, folks ;-). After some searching on the net and chatting with my still-in-high school-shape best friend (he really has no concept of what kind of shape a 29-year layoff puts you in :-), I settled on what they're calling jammers. Black, of course.

The suit made its debut at the pool today. I'm at least 20 pounds heavier than I'd like to be with it on but, like I told the lifeguard, "As long as I don't see myself in the mirror, I'm okay." Funny thing is that it actually did knock 4-5 seconds off my 50 free time. Fluid dynamics, what a concept.

Had a 1400-yard workout today. Skipped last Thursday because of pool maintenance so I expected my arms to be fresh. They didn't feel so fresh, though. Managed to do a 200 before air sucking combined with that awful water-too-warm feeling stopped me. I wasn't feeling so productive today but I got in 200 more yards than usual.

Still freaking out over my calves. I can't tell if I can feel them due to normal wear and tear or if they're ready to seize up on me. I'm thinking one day with a 20-mile ride this weekend and that's it. Then one day with a 10-mile ride the following weekend and that's it. That should leave me nice and rested for the 26-mile ride in Pasadena the following weekend. Maybe on one of the days off I can slip off to a real pool for a cool workout.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Ups and the Downs

The plan is to do an 18-mile ride this weekend, a 20 next weekend, do a restful 10 (maybe just one, maybe both days) the following weekend, and then the 26-mile ride in Pasadena the following weekend. The rest days are to settle my calves down a bit. I can tell that I'm right on the edge of their recovery capability but I want to get that 20 in before Pasadena so I figure do the 20, then rest.

Yesterday's 18 was fun-ish. It was a tough ride at times. To make the route I do my 10-mile loop and then go for another loop but I turn around after 4 miles. It's humbling to go back the way you came and find out that the flat you were flying on one way was actually a gradual decline, meaning it's now a gradual incline and you're not flying anymore--far from it, in fact. It's times like that that I get discouraged but I keep reminding myself that ten months (almost nine, really) is long time to train. When I compare where I am now with where I was a year ago, or even back in August, I get less discouraged.

Had a bit of a mishap coming back on a bridge. It's under construction but a plywood sidewalk has been built so pedestrians/joggers/cyclists will not get run over while the bridge is temporarily narrowed. I ride on the bridge itself going one way but the other way is busier so I have been taking the sidewalk. This time I came in a bit to fast and ran into the concrete barrier. Ended up with a bit of a smashed pedal but no injuries. Good thing I just have rat traps on. The plan is to go clipless after Pasadena.

Sunday's ride was funner. Just the 10-mile loop. I thought it went really well and I was able to stay out of the saddle longer than usual on the hills. I decided that on the big (for me) downhill I'm just going to bite the bullet and stay in the right car lane until it gets flat. The problem is that on the downhill there is a cross-street and a few houses. If a car doesn't see me and pulls out while I'm on the far right, I'm dead. By being in the car lane I'll have more time to react. The road isn't heavily traveled so I'm hoping any cars behind me won't mind. So far, so good.

I'll be back in the water on Tuesday. I'm hoping to have something newsworthy to report.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Sunday in November

I have signed up for the Pasadena Marathon Bike Tour in November and then to be a volunteer after that is done. Should be a fun way to spend a Sunday. I've never been to a marathon before, much less volunteered for one. I think it might be interesting to volunteer for the California 70.3 in Oceanside in April. I definitely want to work a triathlon before I compete in one so I can have a better idea of what goes on. I'm especially interested in the swim and the transitions. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Great Weekend on the Bike

Saturday's ride was great. I decided to go 16 miles instead of 20 because I want to increase gradually and not get ahead of myself before I'm ready (always thinking about the calves). It went well. I did it in 1:10. I remember when I started riding last year and it took me over an hour to do 10 miles. After last week's attempt at doing the hills out of the saddle, I tried it again this week but at a higher gear. It was still very tiring but at least the gear was right. Felt a bit uncomfortable on the seat all that time but that's just something to get used to and, thanks to the shorts, there was no soreness for Sunday's ride.

Later on Saturday I went and bought a bike rack for my car. I'm not planning on doing many (any, actually) training rides out of the area but it will allow me to use my car to take my bike to the shop or marathon fun rides instead of the van.

Sunday's ride was just the 10-mile loop but I did it in just 40 minutes (see above). Did the hill thing but this time I would pedal standing for five revolutions, then sit for about eight, then back up for five, etc. Still tiring but at least I could make it up the steepest hill without stopping (I had to stop and take a break yesterday). Progress, progress.

I would like to mention that I am keeping a close eye on my calves. Basically, whenever I can feel them, I get paranoidly worried. They seem to be recovering fine but I am feeling fatigue in them during the week. Part of this was the added strain of having them in boots so I have cut back on that. So far so good, though.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Too Sexy For My Shorts

(Computer problems delayed this)

After Saturday's ride, I decided to bite the bullet: I needed bike shorts.

I headed over to Bicycle John's and started shopping. One of the guys there gave me a few pointers and then left me to do some trying on. The Pearl Izumi pair that I tried on first ended up being the ones I went with. As for the others, I guess it's a bad sign when the XL pair won't even go past my thighs. In any event, I found my comfy pair and took them out on Sunday morning's ride. What a difference! For the ignorant out there (like I was until a few months ago), cycling shorts aren't just tight, they have padding for sitting on the saddle. While it wasn't like sitting on a couch, the new shorts definitely made the ride more comfy, and I needed it.

Sunday was the start of what they called the Marek Fire and 8 miles into what was to be my first 12 mile ride I encountered a police roadblock. The fire command post and staging area was down the road and they didn't need cars mingling with all the fire equipment. I asked one of the officers if bikes were okay and he basically said give it a try but come back if they send me back. I went a little ways down the road but it soon became obvious that there was a lot of equpment there and they didn't need me in the middle of it so I turned around and my 12 mile ride turned into an almost 16 mile ride. I am happy to report that all went well. Maybe I'll try a 20 mile ride this weekend.

I haven't been able to ride too many weeends on both days yet but it seems to me that the Sunday ride is easier than the Saturday ride. Maybe I'm imagining things but that's the impression I have. Weird, eh? I will be paying close attention to this.

In Tuesday's swim workout I did my first 200. Still struggling with a warm pool but at least I did it. Did some 50s on the 1:45 instead of the 2:00, too. My triceps felt really tired during the workout. I remember my high school swim coach having us emphasize triceps in our weight workouts but I haven't really thought about why. They're use in extending the arms, which means on the reach forward as well as pushing the water down. I guess I never thought that was much work. Looks like I was wrong.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pasadena in November?

Just came across the Pasadena Marathon, which is being held next month. They have a bike tour, too. Hmm. I could do the bike tour first and then volunteer after I'm finished. Hmm. That might be a good way to spend a Sunday and I'd still get in my Sunday ride.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Swimming and Other Stuff

Swimming today. Did two 150s. Couldn't do another so I did a 100. Padded them with 50s but I was doing them at a good pace, though. Very tired at the end and finished after 1100 yards. I'm getting kinda tired of the pool being at 86 degrees. It's getting too hot towards the end. I'm sure winter isn't going to help, either. Stupid water aerobics wimps and their need for warm water.

I'm seriously considering doing the bike tour held before the L.A. Marathon. It will be on President's Day this year so I will be ready for 26 miles by then. They also have a 5k afterwards, which would be a nice brick but I will have just started running in February so I don't think I'll be up for it. Should be fun riding through Los Angeles with the streets closed off.

Stopped by Bicycle John's in Burbank on the way back to work from swimming. Not this is a bike shop. They even have a little triathlon section upstairs in a corner. When it comes time to start upgrading myself (bike shorts, pedals, etc.), this may be the place to go.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Goals, Goals, and More Goals

The nice thing about having a year training plan is that your progress can be slow and you will still make your goals, as long as your goals are do-able. I didn't want to just have end-goals, though. I wanted a plan for each month so I would now how I was doing. Here are my mini-goals for each month, leading up to my big goals in time for my races:
Sat Bike1010202020203030303030
Sun Bike1010101020202020303030
Bike/Run Brick 10/3.510/3.520/3.520/3.5

Each month's increase is not going to happen overnight. For instance, on the first of October I did not jump up to a 200-yard swim. I did a 150 and the following week I'll do a 200. Same for the bike. I am not going to have my last ride of November be 10 miles and my first ride of December be 20 miles. I will have worked my way up to 20 by December.

I think this is a pretty conservative schedule and I may have to adjust things along the way. For instance, if I am progressing really well I might want to turn my Sunday rides into specialized workouts (e.g. hills, one-leg pedalling, etc.). This is a good start, though, and it looks very do-able while still giving me flexibility.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Did my first sets of 150s in the pool today. After a warmup I did my first. I was way too tired to do them back-to-back so I did three 50s, then a 150, then three 50s, then the last 150, then the rest were 50s until it added up to 1200 yards. Because of the 150s the 1200 yards took five or six minutes less than usual. Woo hoo! I've noticed that in the last two workouts my 50s have been slowish so I tried to pick up the pace on some of them. I'm hoping that will help.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Frustrating Bike Day

Rain was in the forecast and I was going to be doing something with my daughter this morning so I woke up at six to get ready for my bike ride. The rain hadn't begun yet so I started my ride around seven. After almost three miles my front tire started acting up and me still being nervous about how light the bike is (relatively speaking) got me worried. I looked down, though, and saw that the front tire had gone flat. *Sigh*. On my third ride. Well, I was expecting to have to buy new tire stuff this weekend so no postponing that.

On the way back from our concert, we headed to Cycle World. After waiting way too long for help (I am beginning to loathe bike shops), we bailed and went home. Then I headed over to Montrose Bike Shop, where help was much faster in coming. I told the guy I had a 22 - 622 tire and he pretty much didn't believe me. Good thing I had the tire in the trunk. I showed it to him and he still kept saying that wasn't a real size, which is odd considering proof to the contrary was right in front of him. After a while and some measuring I left with sturdier tires and some tubes (they didn't have a frame/mini-pump with the features I wanted). Got back home and went to work. Jeez are these tires hard to get on the rims. Despite all the warnings I've read, I had no choice but to use the levers to get the tires back on the rims. The result: two out of three tubes with pinch flats, of course. Sigh. I'm going to something tomorrow that will keep me from visiting the bike shop but, in the meantime, I have ordered The Bike Tool which, allegedly, will help me with getting my tire on the rim. I hope it arrives next weekend because this weekend's bike workout is a complete bust.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Bike Day!

I made the drive to Huntington Beach this morning and picked up my new (used) bike. I didn't get back until after noon and it's 90-ish outside so, of course, I took it for a spin (because I'm an idiot). Here is me right after its shakedown cruise:

It's a Centurion Diamond Back somethingorother. The bike guy, Mike, estimates that it is from the early 90s, which lines up with what I could find out about it on the net. It is much lighter than the bike I have been using, which is nice and disconcerting at the same time. It is a 14-speed with Shimano 105 shifting and the levers on the downtube, which isn't nearly as nice as those STI setups but it is better than the straight friction shifting that I had been using and for $280, I'm not complaining.

If you're looking for a used, not high-end bike in Southern California, drop Mike a line and see what he has in stock.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Flipper, I'm Not

Started the day off tired but went to swim anyway because it was Flip Turn Day! Turned out to be a total disaster. I didn't count on how much effort it would take to flip my much heavier legs over. Then I actually got dizzy (!) doing them, and dizzy, for me, is bad news. After 100 yards of warmup I did half a dozen flip turns (which, despite being a bit disoriented, I actually pulled off correctly) when I threw in the towel. I swam 400 more yards but I was feeling pretty funky from the dizziness and the fatigue so I wussed out and left early. I'm still kinda feeling it (like I said, bad news).

No more flip turns for quite a while and I may not swim next Tuesday. Depends on how tired I'm feeling. I hope to pick up a bike on Saturday, which means a bike ride on Sunday (at least) so we'll see.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Four Hundreds

Swimming workout of 1100 yards. I did four 100s in a row (with another one a couple hundred yards after that). That means this Thursday I will be trying flip turns (again, for the first time since 1979). Hope I don't drown.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Training Goals

Way back when I read a book on running by Jeff Galloway. In his training programs for marathons he said that people hit "the wall" at 20 miles because that's usually the farthest they trained so he had his long runs end up at 26 miles or longer to prevent hitting that wall. I don't know if that works or not but it struck me as making a lot of sense so I am going to put his idea to the test in my triathlon training.

The first triathlon I am training for is the Hansen Dam Triathlon. It isn't scheduled yet but I assume it will again be held in August 2009. The swim is 500 yards in a man-made lake, an 9mi bike ride, almost all of which I cover during my 10mi weekend loop (the page says the course is 11 miles but it isn't), and a 3mi run. A few weeks after that should be the Los Angeles Triathlon. The sprint consists of a 700-yard ocean swim, a 20mi bike ride, and a 5k run. I want to do both.

With those distances in mind, here are my training goals:


1000 yards non-stop in a pool with flip turns.
1/2 mile ocean swim.


30 mile rides.


No running until February so I can lose weight.
3.5 mile run with hill training (because of the CECS I can't go more than this).

Those 12-week triathlon training programs you see out there are to get you to finish. I actually want to finish strong. Not place or anything but do better than stagger through the finish line. Actually, I do have a goal of beating the winner of the 70-year-old category--don't laugh, that's actually a pretty healthy goal.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cheaper But Still...

Went to another bike store, this one aimed at the average person rather than the enthusiast. I eventually got to the Mongoose Sabrosa which, I must admit, is a pretty cool bike. More of a serious urban bike than a road racing bike, it was great. It was $735, which is cheaper than the Roubaix but still more than I want to spend now (a lesson I learned from trying to start a business: if you want to spend a bunch of money on something, you probably haven't thought hard enough about how to spend less money on it). There are a couple of interesting bikes on Craigslist that I want to check out next weekend (things aligned to prevent me from going this weekend) so I am hoping to be back on a bike by next Sunday.


A few years ago I had my first bad case of bronchitis. I was coughing so much and so hard that blood vessels were bursting in my eyes and I was not able to sleep for days in a row. Strong drugs let me sleep that time but the next time it happened I could not get in to see a doctor before it had run its course (and I had already lost sleep). Some internet research turned up that exercise can help turn a common cold into bronchitis. Thinking about it, I realized that this bronchitis did not show up until I had started jogging. So, the next time I had a cold I cut out jogging and no bronchitis...well, at least it wasn't as bad. So far so good until earlier this year when I caught another cold. I was cycling instead of jogging so I cut that out. The cold did turn into bronchitis (not so violent, though) but it stayed around for months. Sigh.

This is the other thing about my training that I worry about: that bronchitis will sideline me for two or even three months. A year is a long time to train and I should be able to absorb even a delay like that but my plan involves a lot of small increases in volume, which a long layoff would really mess with. We shall see.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

The first time I took up running after college was around 1990. I bought a book by Jeff Galloway and was trying to follow its training program (which included long runs on the weekends). Things were going well for a while but then I had to stop. My calves were not recovering from the workouts. They weren't just sore, I couldn't flex them. It was like something had taken all the fuel out of my calves and they couldn't push anymore. I had to walk funny for a few weeks (stepping up onto a curb while not pushing off sure felt funny) and then they recovered. I ran again but the non-recovery happened again. This time I stopped working out for a few months but the same thing happened again. At the time (I was in my late twenties), I figured that I just could not jog anymore.

Fast forward to 2002 or 2003 and I decide to take up jogging again. I weigh more and am a lot slower but things go well. I can only jog once a week (due to my aforementioned time constraints) but I notice improvement each week. Excellent! I jog on the big street I live on, which includes a good hill at the turnaround for a 3.5 mile jog. I do that for some months and all is well; no problem with the calves (though sometimes I get what I call "floppy foot", which is a weird thing where one of my tibialis muscles wears out and I cannot lift my foot up so well). Then I decide that I am feeling good enough to push past 3.5 miles. As soon as I go past 4 miles, my calf problem comes back. I take a few weeks off and go back down to 3.5 miles and the problem goes away. Hmm. I try a 5k on my birthday in 2006 and, while my calves are just fine, I got floppy foot 2/3 of the way through. Sigh.

This time I do some research on the net and it looks like I have a name for my pain: Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome. In a nutshell, the fascia surrounding my calves is not as flexible as it should be, so when my calves try to fill up with blood during exercise the fascia keeps my calves from expanding, which restricts the blood flow to my calves, which keeps nutrients out and waste products in. Treatment? Surgery that slices open the fascia to relieve the pressure. I have not found much information on the downsides to such a surgery but my sister, who used to coach volleyball, said one of her athletes had the surgery done and it helped so much. We'll see.

A bit more digging told me that jogging was particularly hard on calves and that bicyling might be a better exercise. It seems to be so far, though I have yet to go bicycling much past 60 minutes (which was how long 3.5 miles was taking me--I said "a lot slower", remember?) so I don't know how far I can push myself yet (hence my hesitancy to lay out big $$ for a new bike). Now the episode in the nineties made sense because it wasn't until I started doing the much longer runs on weekends that this problem showed up.

In my training schedule for the upcoming year, I want to both bike and swim farther in training than I will in my races. I won't be able to do that with running, though, until I have surgery and I am not planning on looking into that until after the races to see if I am dedicated enough to make it worthwhile. So for now I am just going to deal with it the best I can. That means no running until February, when I have dropped a bit of weight (knock on wood). Then only running once or twice a month and no longer than 3.5 miles. Hopefully putting some hill training in there will make up for the lack of mileage. I do worry how a bike ride followed by a run will affect my calves but I won't be able to find out until I actually do it.

This thing with my calves is the most worrisome part of my training. I really have to monitor them carefully or my training will make them hit the wall. I hate hitting walls.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Swimming workout today was 1200 yards (I actually kept track this time--makes me wonder how much I under-counted my last workout). The big news, though, is that I did my first 100s! Two, back-to-back. Did them on the four minutes and the rest were 50s on the two minutes. Next time I need to remember to rest an extra minute when I'm done with my 100s because they really took a lot of breath out of me. I didn't take an extra minute until I was done with 800 yards and it made a big difference. If I can do four 100s next workout then I will start working on flip turns.

Went to a third bike shop after work. They recommended the exact same bike: a 58cm Specialized Roubaix. Nice bike and all but do I really want to be plunking down $1300 for a bike right now?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Second Swimming Workout

Had my second swimming workout today. Went about 800 yards (I keep forgetting to keep track). Almost all of it was 50s on the 2 minutes. Still sucking air but not as bad as last Thursday. I even went faster without trying (45 seconds instead of 50 seconds). I still seem to be the fastest person in the pool, which is so wrong, but today there were people with more endurance--flip turns, even. Give me another few months :-).

This Thursday I'm going to try a 75 or 100 without stopping. Once I reach 100, it's time to start the flip turns.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bike Shopping

Went bike shopping for the first time ever. Went to two shops and they both agreed that a grand is the price range I'm looking at for a bike that will handle my size on bumpy roads. Yikes. One more shop to go to but I doubt that figure will be changing. Hmm. I need to look around the house and see what I can sell...

What Am I Doing Here?

I will be heading out to check a couple bike shops later today. Window shopping for now but we'll see what I can find. Since I won't be doing my ride today, I thought I would write about me and my decision to train for a triathlon (or two).

Back in my youth, I was quite the active fellow. Not all-star material but average or above average in the sports I played (except basketball--I sucked at basketball). Sports that I played from Jr. High through High School included football, basketball, baseball, swimming, track, cross country, water polo, and volleyball. Active guy. I tried to stay active in college but I soon had to work to put myself through so that pretty much eliminated exercise...and the pounds started to slowly creep up.

Fast forward a few decades and here I am. The 45-year-old, 250#, father of two who sits on his butt and programs a computer all day. I took up jogging once or twice along the way but had to stop for one reason or another (more on that in another post). The last time was a few years ago but that time I stopped because my hips were complaining. My hips? I really need to lose weight.

How about bicycling? I had it in the back of my mind a couple of years ago when a neighbor offered me his junky mountain bike for free. Last year I took it in for a tune-up and started riding. I had to take several months off from riding this year (more on that in another post, too) but I started back up again this summer. This past August I went out for my ride and noticed traffic cones on the other side of the street. We have an annual run pass in front of our house but that's not until February. After a bit of digging I found that it was the bike portion of the Hansen Dam Triathlon. That meant that the next one was a year away. Hey, even I can train for a triathlon in a year. So, I decided to do just that.

I looked around the net and found some sites devoted to triathlons but all their training schedules were 12- or 20-week plans that assumed you could train multiple times a day and could jog multiple times a week. I can't do either of those things so I was going to have to come up with my own schedule. Plus, I was reading some articles by not-so-active people who followed those schedules and they barely finished. I wanted to do better than barely finish. I will publish my plans in another post but first I want to discuss things that I have to take into account when coming up with a training schedule.

First up, my home life. As I mentioned, I am a daddy. I really enjoy being a daddy and I'm good at it. I am also the family cook (no, my wife doesn't work but...there you go). Between daddying and cooking and my day job, I am busy from 6am to 9pm Monday through Friday. That's just the way it is. I have managed to find a way to squeeze in some swimming workouts during lunch time one or two days-a-week, though, so that is helpful. No bike rides or jogging a lunch time, though; I sweat like a pig and there are no showers at work. No early-morning workouts, either. I don't know about you but when I wake up I have to wait for my stomach to settle down before heading out for a workout. If I don't, well, let's just say that looking for a bathroom at 5:30am, five miles from home is not what I want to do. I don't want to be riding my bike late at night, either. There is enough debris to avoid during the day, much less hoping my light catches it.

So there you go. Not much time to train during the week. There are two more issues that affect my training schedule but I will write about them in future posts.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's Not Me, It's the Bike

Went for my ride this morning. Went up the last big hill when I felt that familiar thunk, pedal, pedal, thunk, pedal, pedal, thunk. It wasn't a flat tire, it was the chain again. I stopped, checked and, sure enough, the chain had screwed up (bent and frozen) links like the one it replaced just last week. The only things I did differently this week were not to use the smallest gear in front (there are three) with the smallest gear in back, and I shifted more throughout the ride. Piece of crap bike. I can't complain about it, though, since i was a freebie from a neighbor a couple of years ago. Too bad, too, because I was really flying today.

Looks like I will have to move up my plan to buy a new bike in November.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I woke up this morning to no soreness. No sore arms. No sore chest. Still tired but not sore. Where's the soreness?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Taking the Plunge

Today I did lap swimming for the first time in over 25 years. Afterwards I felt pretty good...and by "pretty good" I mean "thought I was going to be sick". I've taken up jogging after long layoffs before, so I know what that feels like. Same for cycling. This is my first time getting back into swimming. Back when I joined the swim team when I was 11 or 12, I barely even knew how to swim. I left competitive swimming with my last water polo season in the fall of 1979. Except for a few laps in college, I haven't swum laps since. Now you have some context.

It's a low-pressure pool. I mean, I was the fastest swimmer in the far. Low pressure. I started off doing a 50 in 50. Then another and another. I started doing them on the 2 minutes, then the 3, then the 4. After that I did some 25s on the minute. One more 50 and I was done. I was too tired to keep track of how much I swam but it was probably 600 yards. Not bad but man, do I feel funky. I expect my arms and chest to be sore tomorrow.

I think this set-up will work well. Take off from work at 12:30, hit the pool around 20 minutes later, swim until 1:30, get back to work and grab a quick lunch. I'll just swim once next week (unless Tuesday's workout doesn't wipe me out) and then, hopefully, I can do Tuesdays and Thursdays after that.

Funny observation is that I need to buy a new combination lock. The one I used I can't read the numbers on anymore. Ah, middle age.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Year Is Just About Right

Today at lunch I sketched out a rough training plan that will, I hope, take me to the Hansen Dam Triathlon in August 2009 and the Los Angeles Triathlon the following month. For what I have in mind, a year will be just about right. More on specifics later. I'm pooped.

First lap swim workout tomorrow. Now if I can just keep my wife and daughter from giving me their colds.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ready to Take the Plunge

Last night I ordered Bicycling Magazine's New Cyclist Handbook from Amazon so that should be arriving in a few days.

I went to the North Hollywood YMCA at lunchtime. The pool is too warm, of course (86 degrees!), but it will do for what I have in mind. Looking at the people swimming while I was there, I don't have to be worried about being too slow (and I haven't swum laps in 25 years). That's good.

After work I went to Sport Chalet and bought my first pair of goggles since the seventies. They're Speedos and they're the only Speedos I'll be using for another forty pounds or so :-). I should weigh myself.

Monday, September 8, 2008


I was reading up on bike gearing when I stumbled on the fact that you're not supposed to be in the small gear in front while in the small gear in back. Being diagonal like that is inefficient and can mess up your chain. Looks like I found out the reason why I had to replace my chain last weekend. I think I need a book on bicycling.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Clydesdales Welcome

Hey there. I'll explain what I'm up to in later posts but, for now, I'm going to jump into it.

I wanted to ride my bike yesterday but my wife flaked on taking it to the shop for a new chain during the week so I did that after I went to the farmer's market. By the time I got back and out to ride it was Southern California. Hot ride but I needed to do it.

Woke up this morning and decided to check out the Los Angeles Tri Club site and saw that the Los Angeles Triathlon was today. Checked out that site and what do I see: a Clydesdale Class. That's a class for guys over 200lbs, which is me. Now, I don't know if I would enter that class (which would end up with 6'6" totally buff guys) but it's the thought that counts. Anyway, I was sufficiently motivated to head out and do another ride today. Not only did I not die but I actually rode faster than yesterday. Who knew? Assuming my calves hold out (more on them later) I can count on training both weekend days when I can.

Next up: checking out the North Hollywood YMCA's pool to see if it will do as a workout pool.