In the eyes of others

Ive been thinking lately about the need to get my riding back on track, if for no other reason than I’m turning into a large mammal. As significant as that is, it’s really secondary to my bigger concern, it’s mostly for my mental health. I’ve definitely felt the impact of not riding in my state of mind. I haven’t had the lows I get in a big training cycle when I miss a ride, but I have been kind of “meh” about everything else. So no highs either, you know.

I did 20 minutes on the trainer the other night and it felt like a stage of Le tour when I was done, but it broke the ice, now is the time to get out there on the roads, and go like a real boy. I think I’ll do an hour or so today, nothing crazy and nothing off road other than the trails to get through places.

I read an essay yesterday where the author was discussing how he felt that real life begins after fifty. He made many cases for his stance, but a few things stuck with me over the others.

  1. You care less what other people think. This is one of the most concrete facts for me that I wish I could get my kids to understand and believe.
  2. There isn’t a point a where the tap turns off. Society would have us believe that we’re just done with life at 40 or whatever, and that after that you’re just waiting to die.

I’m 45 and from the neck up at least I feel better than I ever did. I understand things so much better now than I did when I was younger. The trick is to bring the body into line with the head, and then keep it there as long as possible. Certainly there is an inevitable decline, but as I’m not competing with anyone else (see 1. above), I only have to answer to myself. If I feel I’m working hard enough, and seeing the results I want, then I’m happy. It’s that simple.

My new boss is over 50, he made sure we all knew that on his first day. While he’s certainly kind of a knucklehead, he’s also a smart, vibrant guy. He seems very different from those were accustomed to, and I know that some of the younger leaner guys see him as out of touch and less “aggressive” than they think he should be, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s very much aware of what’s going on around him, he is simply unconcerned with their opinions. I’ve seen this several times before with leaders I’ve worked with, and I’ve come to realize that most of the time, they just don’t care what you think of their style. They’ve found what works for them, and as you don’t write their performance reviews, your opinion of their style is pretty low on the list of things they care about that day.

More than Zero

I finally got back on the bike after the hip freak out a few weeks ago. I absolutely felt the weight of not riding for so long, but as the title says, it was more than zero.

I took advantage of the chill training to sort my power meter and sync my new HRM.

I picked up a new TICKR run and passed my old TICKR to my son.

I’m hoping to slowly get him enthused about riding for more than transportation, and keep him riding even after he starts driving next year. (Fingers crossed)

More than Zero

Power and Weight

That title might lead you to believe that this will be some post about how much difference my newly lost weight has made in my riding, but that would be untrue, as to the best of my knowledge, I’ve not lost an ounce off my fat ass post surgery. I’ve been doing physical therapy and strengthening work, and I’m way better, but that’s another story. This one is more of a bike tech geeky tale about how things change over time. So the weeks I’ve spent riding my KICKR have convinced me that I want to ride with a power meter which is something I’ve resisited for years, using various rationales to justify. They are expensive, they are finicky, they are heavy, I just like to ride, I don’t want to be a slave to the computer, and the most common, I’m just not that much of a data geek. So while some of those were true at some point, they were expensive (I paid 200.00 with free shipping for this stages though), these blue tooth and ant meters just work, no finickiness at all, this one weighs 38 grams, though there might be some validity to the freedom argument. Despite all those arguments back and forth the last he was reason was the most decidedly untrue, I’m definitely a data geek through and through. So I had to weigh some stuff out, I ride Campy on my road bike, and an Ultegra/105 mix on the cross bike. I have every intention of switching to Ultegra for my road bike, but probably not until I buy a new bike next year, so I was looking for something “cross platform compatible”. I ended up going with an FSA 386evo crank in 50/34 on the road bike which just happens to be the exact same crank albeit in 46/36 on my cross bike. So if you’ve been keeping up til now, you may have put together that with about 45 seconds and a hex head wrench, I can use my power meter on both bikes. See, yeah, method.

“But Dave” you say, “why would you take that beautiful and light Record crank off to put that boat anchor of an FSA on?” Well, I was somewhat worried about that too, but allow me assuage your concerns the same way I did my own. First, no one makes a crank based power meter for older alloy Campy. Simple fact. Sure there are other options, pedal based, hub based, etc, but then we’re right back into the above problems. So the Campy was out no mater what, so I was stuck with the “heavy” FSA alloy, that also conveniently worked with my cross bike. Out of curiosity and at the prompting of my youngest son, we weighed both cranks complete, including their respective bottom brackets before I installed the new one, and quite surprisingly, the FSA was exactly 2 grams heavier than the Campy, and that is with the power meter strain gauge installed. So if I am to believe the literature from stages, the FSA is actually 38 grams lighter than the Record. Now I will say that there is an elegance to the polished alloy of my old cranks lacking in the new one, but never fear, the Campy will find a new home, on my old Pinarello, where they will be most appropriate. The FSAs are a simple polished black that kind of disappears into the bike, which is just fine aesthetically. They are undoubtedly significantly stiffer, and this should also do away with an annoying square taper creak I’ve had for about 4 years as well.

Lost one of my KOMs

I’ve never cared before, but post surgery, I’m recovering very slowly, and I know it will be a long while before I’m that fast again. ☹️.

But, I find it strangely motivating. I guess that’s why people get so worked up about it huh?

Surgery day

I’ve been putting this off for months, actually for over a year, but I’ve finally gotten it scheduled and today is the day. It’s not a big procedure, but the injury itself and subsequent secondary injuries have had a huge impact on my core strength, to the point of having basically zero core specific training for over a year.

I’m treating this as a reset time, with basically zero expectations beyond a hopefully steady improvement for the next few months. I’ve got a few lose goals if all goes well, recovery wise, something simple like finishing a 5k this spring (late spring), and maybe doing a 50 mile gravel ride late this summer.

More soon.

Everyone is sick

Tonight is a hot toddy night

Two winter spice tea bags,

2 Tablespoons of local honey (local is important for relief) but not essential for flavor

2 oz of whiskey (you can omit if you abstain- thoughts on alternatives?)

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Brew in a teapot for five minutes then separate into two tea cups and enjoy.

The liquor is traditional and has some effect for sure, but let’s be real, the local honey is the long game if you’re dealing with allergies, and if you’re in Texas, you’re dealing with allergies.

Third day of the year (or day 3 of my slow death)

My baby girl (actually my oldest daughter) got home from Germany last night, which put us all back here under the same roof for the first time in a while. It’s a great feeling, though everyone is still on different clocks, and since some of us are sick, it’s even more exacerbated. Myself and the wife both napped all afternoon today, and my oldest son, who was the only one as sick as I am, has yet to even rise and it’s pushing 3pm.

I had plans to spend this week rehabbing my cross bike for the coming weeks, and those aren’t out the window yet, but my time available has diminished. I renewed my bar tape with some black Supacaz, which I picked up at the Peddler Brushy Creek. I had wanted the blue stars, but sometimes you get what they’ve got. I’m a full on convert to this supcaz stuff, it’s fantastic. It’s replacing some lizard skins Dsp which cost the same but compacted quickly, and the surface finish tore within about two months. If you read the product descriptions for each, you’d think they were similar, but. The supacaz is much denser, and didn’t pack down on my road bike despite being almost a year old. That tape was still in such good condition that I wouldn’t even have replaced it if I hadn’t done some handlebar swapping. Say what you will about the product name, (super kush 😉🤙🏼) and some of the styles, it’s really good stuff that I have on all my wrapped bikes now.

I also picked up some 43c Panaracer Gravel King’s to replace the 32s I’d been running all year. I really waffled on this because I knew I wanted a wider tire on it since I’m not racing this season, but a few times I had wished for more bite when I was single-tracking it in loose stuff. I had considered the WTB Nanoraptors also in 43, but ultimately I decided to get the G’kings for the set of wheels I have and I’m going to grab a set of aksium 1’s to set up for more spirited off-roading.

Thinking out loud…Renew at YMCA?

I’m trying to decide right now whether to renew my YMCA membership here in the new year. I find I really just use it for the pool access, and on occasion my son and I use the weight room. Those are all valuable items on their own, but the membership for a family runs me almost 97.00 a month, and I have question whether we get that much value. While there is no way to put a dollar figure on all things, I suspect we use the facilities maybe ten times a month. I think possibly the most valuable thing is the time with my son, and now that he is 15, he can go on his own. He asks on the regular to go to the gym, but I’ve been putting together a lot of what we use there in the home setup. It’s just more convenient. We can now ride our bikes up there, which would be a plus when it isn’t bitterly cold outside…

In the end, I think the time with Jack makes it worth the cost.

It’s been a while.

I have too many pages that start that way. I’ve been keeping this all up to date. I’ve just been doing it in day one and medium instead of here. I’ll slowly bring those posts over to this blog to keep it as my “blog of record” 😀.

When last we left you, I had just been dealing with the trials and tribulations of being in the military during a domestic disaster response. Hurricane Harvey pretty much wrecked my winter training plans, with 58 straight days of steady operations. Immediately after that we rolled into dealing with the events in Puerto Rico, which we also established a response headquarters for. Now normally this would be a dreary post about how I had big plans and goals that were not met due to reasons, but this one is different. The statement I just made is true, my training plans WERE derailed by Mother Nature, but the silver lining is that I realized that I had to make some changes to get things back on track. There were some mindset switches, some (expensive) purchases, and some simple physical adjustments. Together they are putting me in a very nice position for this winter, and the subsequent spring training season.

My original intent had been to supplement my lost miles with commuting days, as I live about 15 miles door to door from my office. I did this most of the summer and it was the right answer at the time to keep my base up. I usually commute on the cross bike since it’s roadie enough to facilitate the ride in good time, but off roadie enough to keep that ride fun and give me options for areas that aren’t in the best of condition. Once winter weather set in, along with the time change, my willingness to get up and get rolling at 6 am when it’s 38 degrees outside pretty much dropped to not. I knew this was coming and in early December I bit the bullet and bought a smart trainer. Specifically I went with the wahoo KICKR, based on great reviews, and a strong testimonial from the Ironman in my office. He did a lot of his training in advance of the race on his KICKR and he had nothing but good to say about it. So combined with wahoo’s great winter sale, I went all in.

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e got another post setup with my thoughts on the KICKR itself, but suffice it to say here that it exceeded all my expectations. Depending on which companion app you're using, it's either an absolute blast to race with friends (Zwift), or a dead serious training tool (trainer road) that has already shown me improvements in my overall fitness. One unexpected benefit was resolution of a few nagging fit problems. Using the bike on a solid trainer for a while or me to identify and resolve a couple saddle and bar issues that have me super comfortable now.

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ed to renew my commitment to total body health with yoga four times a week added to my already minimum of 20 minutes daily spent in meditation. During the first few weeks of the new year, I will add about 5 miles a week of running with an eye on completing a 5k in March for my birthday. I don't have any lofty ambitions for my running, I'm taking that totally on a try it and see level, as I haven't run with any real intent since about 2012.

I have some detailed posts for each of these that I will put up over the next few days as time allows, and I'll link them from here should anyone be interested enough to take a look.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a good ride.