Levi wins again.

I was happy to see Levi win the Tour of California again, especially after hearing the news about Team Astana being left out of the Tour de France. If you think he should be allowed to ride, you can go to www.letleviride.com and sign his petition. So far he has over 40,000 signatures. I was number 17,000 something.

How about that ride by Tom Zirbel on stage 7? That was impressive, even though Hincappie tore Zirbel's lead apart in a matter of seconds on the final lap. Staying out front for as long as he did was incredible, but what was even more impressive was how he managed to hang with Hincappie's group after being caught. I was sure he was done when they caught him, but he hung on and stayed with them through the finish line. I was really hoping he could mount another attack and take the stage win because he definitely deserved it, but it was a stellar ride nonetheless. Here's a pic:

Watching the Tour of California last week has me fired up for spring and cycling and warm weather and training outside and it couldn't come at a better time because this is a heavy week of training. Lots of long rides on the trainer so it's definitely a week when I'm going to need some motivation. Plus, I've got a tough ride planned for Wednesday...it's Spinervals Time Trialapalooza day again. Gotta get ready for the final indoor TT March 8.

I can't wait to ride outside, but I've accepted that it's going to be a while. We still have a ton of snow that needs to melt, but even if that were to go away overnight (which we all know it won't) the roads still won't be safe. There is a ton of sand and salt on the roads and I've never seen so many potholes. It's amazing how torn up the roads are this year from all the plowing and cold temps. It's like a mine field. I'm gonna have to play it safe and stay indoors for a while, which isn't the worst thing because the trainer definitely makes doing intervals easier. That's one good thing about it.

While I'm on the subject of cycling, what's the deal with the mustaches at the Tour of California?



Levi's ride at the Solvang TT was inspiring. Check out the look of determination on his face. He was focused and he showed that killer instinct I thought he lacked a little last year. You could tell he really wanted that win. Hopefully, they'll let Team Astana back in the Tour and Levi can ride this momentum to a Tour victory.

Yesterday, was the 3rd indoor TT at SBR. I've been putting in a lot of time on the trainer the past 5 weeks, but I haven't tested myself at all so I didn't feel like I gained much fitness. I knew my endurance had gotten better, but it didn't feel like my power had increased. In fact, I've felt like I've been in a bit of a rut lately, just going through the motions without making gains.

I did the first TT in 16:36 and the second in 16:20 so I was really hoping to break the 16 minute mark yesterday. If I couldn't crack 16 minutes, I figured if I could come close then maybe I could beat that mark in the final TT in 2 weeks.

I showed up pretty early and got in a really good warm up. Then I hopped off my trainer for about 5 - 10 minutes while the first heat finished up so I could cool down a bit. SBR isn't very big so it can get pretty hot when you have a group of cyclists on trainers. When they got my group set up on the computrainers, they entered my weight wrong in the system. They didn't get all of my previous weight deleted so I was in the system at just over 2000 lbs. Once the heat started, I was barely working and doing more than 30 mph. Then the trainer added a ton of pressure and I came to a dead stop. They stopped the TT, figured out the problem and got us ready for another go. It didn't really affect me, but the guy next to me didn't realize they stopped the race right away so he put in a good 2 or 3 minutes of work before stopping. After the race, he told me he thinks that may have affected him a bit because he didn't beat his previous time. That sucks that his race was affected by a false start, but he still rode very well and won the heat with a time of 15:31.

I tried to keep my power really steady and my cadence higher than last time. I was at 85 in the second TT and I wanted a cadence of closer to 90 on this one to see how that might affect my ride and fatigue level. I think the higher cadence worked because I never felt a serious burn or fatigue in my legs. It turned out to be a good ride for me and I finished in 15:39, 40 seconds better than the last race. I'm happy with that time, but I'll need to repeat it before I believe it. That's a pretty big increase and I'm not convinced the trainer was calibrated correctly. Typically, my powertap shows my average watts and average speed a little higher than the computrainer. This time, the average speed was higher, but the watts was lower. I think my time may be correct, but I think the computrainer was giving me the wrong wattage info (I'm hoping anyway because I'm quite happy with that time). The computrainer had me finish with an average of 327, up from 292 last time. There is no way I made that big of an increase. My powertap showed 310, up from 295 so that's believable. There's another one in 2 weeks so I'll have to try and repeat this performance and then I'll know the time was correct.

After the TT, Cheri and I went for a run on the bike path. It's still covered in snow and ice, but it was 30 degrees and sunny so it was a nice day to run (yeah, that's how freaking cold it's been this winter). The birds were chirping and people were walking dogs. It almost felt like spring....almost. We did 4.5 miles and Cheri ran really well. Overall, her average pace was faster than last time and we ran further this time. It looks like her base training is paying off. Once spring comes and she steps up her training, I think she's going to make some good gains and have a good year.

Here's a picture of one of the Team Jelly Belly riders from the Solvang TT:


Dealer Expo

I just returned from a trade show in Indianapolis. It was a very long weekend, but I'm back and ready for things to get back to normal. I hate trade shows so I was pretty eager to get this over with.

I tried to stick with my training schedule, which isn't easy when working a trade show. I found a pool near my hotel, which I thought was going to be really nice. It's the Indiana University Natatorium, which has several pools and has a 50 meter competition pool where 11 world records have been set. It turns out they put a temporary wall in the competition pool and break it up into 2 25 yard pools, which is kind of nice because it opens up a lot of lap lanes and I had a lane to myself the whole time. But the pool was old and kind of nasty. Not what I expected.

Then I ran around the river, which was nice because they don't really have any snow down there so I was running on concrete for a change. I forgot how much easier it is to run when you're not slipping the whole time. I'm not looking forward to running in the snow again.

Apparently, I missed a nasty ice storm, but I didn't miss the frigid temps. I got home just in time for yet another cold front to come through (blame Canada) and drop the temps into the single digits. This is getting really old. I've had enough winter for one year. It's time for spring.

The Tour of California started Sunday, and I'm hoping Levi pulls through with another victory especially since it looks like he may not be allowed to ride the Tour de France.

Let Levi Ride.



Last night they were hyping up this winter storm we were having on the local news. I figured the schools would be closed today so I set my alarm an hour later than usual. The extra hour of sleep was fantastic, and I was right. The schools were closed so I wouldn't have been able to swim this morning even if I had gotten up early. Good call.

When I got up, I turned on the news and now they
were talking about the Super Storm. Super Storm? What happened while I was asleep? How much snow did we get? I looked outside and saw we only got about 3 inches. This winter, that's par for the course and hardly enough to constitute calling it a Super Storm. I knew we were supposed to get more snow during the day, but I thought the bulk of the snow was supposed to hit last night. How wrong I was.

I had a lunch run planned, and I was determined not to let a little snow stop me from running. I knew it had been snowing all morning, but I didn't notice how much snow had accumulated. I didn't really care. We've had so much snow this winter I figured this snowfall would be no different from the others. Right before heading out for my run, an e-mail went out telling everyone the office is closing at 3 due to the
snow. I debated skipping lunch to get some more work done and then running at 3. Heather talked me into running at lunch because she thought that if I ran at 3 I would be the only left in the parking lot when I got back and I would be screwed if I had trouble getting out. Good point. So I suited up and headed out for a 45 minute run in what could now rightfully be called a Super Storm (although I still think that's being a little dramatic, it definitely qualifies as a blizzard....and not of the DQ variety).

Walking across the parking lot to the bike path, I wondered how I was g
oing to run through this stuff. It was about a foot deep with drifts several feet deep. I thought this might be a good day to test out those snow shoes Dean wants me to try. I had to climb through a few very deep drifts to get to the bike path, and I started second guessing my decision to run. Maybe this wasn't a good idea afterall. But at this point I felt committed. I was in my running gear. I couldn't turn back now and admit defeat.

So I hit the start button on my watch and started across the bridge. The snow was pretty deep, and I wondering if the people driving on the beltline below could see me and if they thought I was crazy for running in this stuff. As soon as I got across the bridge, I could see the path had been recently plowed. There was already about 2 inches of snow covering the path, but it was a lot better. I was able to pick up the pace a bit, and I thought I might be in for a really fun run. The last time I ran in a heavy snow storm it was really fun. But I quickly realized this run was going to be a little different.

The snow turned into a mix of snow and freezing rain and the wind was blowing and my face was getting so cold it stung. I considered turning back, but that would be admitting defeat. I convinced myself I was only cold because I hadn't run long enough yet to work up enough body heat. Then it turned into ice pellets. Yes, ice pellets. Trust me on this one, running while getting pelted with ice sucks.

Luckily that didn't last long. It turned into snow again, but now the snow started freezing to my eyelashes. It was building up and I was having a hard time seeing. Plus the ice was building up pretty thick on my eyebrows and it got heavy enough to be a distraction. I tried pulling it off, but it felt like my whole eyebrow would come off with the ice so I left it.

I usually see a few runners on the path, even on the bad days, but today I had the path to myself until the 20 minute mark when I saw someone coming toward me. It was good to
see another runner. It gave me motivation. I wasn't the only one fighting the conditions to get a few miles in. Then I realized it wasn't a runner. It was someone cross country skiing on the bike path.

I reached the turnaround point...finally. Since I had been running into a headwind the whole time, I figured the way back would be much better. This clearly wasn't the fun snow run I had hoped it would be. Sure enough, the way back wasn't as cold since I had a tailwind and the chunks of ice on my eyebrows eventually thawed and fell off like icicles dropping from the roof.

Yesterday was the slipperiest run of the winter, until today. Yest
erday the path was covered in ice, slush and puddles. Today, all of that froze and was covered in fresh snow. The way out was fine, but the way back is uphill and the snow was accumulating fast. I slipped and almost fell for the first time this winter. Then I started slipping a little with every step. I was losing a lot of traction, and this run was starting to become a lot of work. I could no longer see my footprints from the way out and with the wind blowing the path needed to be plowed again...already. I thought about the spikes runners get for their shoes and how they don't seem so unnecessary anymore.

I kept trudging along and saw another cross country skier using the path. Then I sa
w a kid in a snowsuit running down the path hit a patch of ice and go down. That confirmed it wasn't just me. It was indeed slippery. Then I saw one last person, on a bike no less. As we crossed paths, he said, "enjoy."

Yes, I thought. Enjoy. My face was no longer cold and the ice on my
eyelashes and eyebrows had thawed. I was tired because the snow was getting deep and slippery and making running difficult, but other than that it wasn't that bad. In fact, it was kind of fun. It was like being a kid playing in the snow on a snow day. You know, minus the sled and friends and laughter plus a dose of fatigue and a touch of misery. Good times.

5.12 miles and 45 minutes later, I made it back to work. Now the real challenge began. I had to get in my car, make it down the road to Gino's to pick up lunch and make it back to work. It was a rough drive, especially since my windows fogged up from my body heat and I couldn't see. But I made it.
And then Heather told me our boss told us to go home while I was out running. So I ate my lunch, answered a few e-mails and headed home.

The forecast for the rest of the week: more snow. I've had enough. I'm hoping for a long, hot, dry summer. Here are a few pictures of the storm...


The Worst Kept Secret...

I don't normally blog about work, but I thought this was worth writing about. The worst kept secret in the bicycle industry was officially let out of the bag yesterday. Dorel, our parent company, bought Cannondale. We all saw it coming so it wasn't much of a surprise.

But what we didn't know was coming was the split. Pacific Cycle has split in half. Now there's Pacific Cycle which will handle all of the mass bikes and other brands such as Schwinn Motorsports, my division. A new company was created called Cannondale Sports Group which will sell only to the IBD (Independent Bike Dealers). It makes sense to split the company the way they did, and I'm curious to see how things are going to change. Right now it's too early to tell if this is going to be good for me or not. The motorsports division is very young, and we're now on the mass side of the business operating with a business model that mirrors the IBD side. But we're in motorsports, not bicycles so it makes sense. It should be interesting.

Since I'm planning on getting a tri bike, it looks like I'll be getting a Cannondale now. The Slice Ultimate would be a sweet ride, but the price tag on that one is a bit out of my range, even with an employee deal. I'm leaning toward the Slice 3, maybe the Slice 1 if I think I can afford it. It will all depend on the pricing. The nice thing about the Slice is that all of the models have the same frame, just the specs change. So I could always upgrade later if I wanted to.

As for training...I had a great swim workout yesterday. I've bumped all of my workouts up to 3000 yards, but since this is my recovery week I stepped it back down to 2500 yards this week. Monday, my main set was 3x450 yards. I finally broke the 7 minute mark and I'm pumped up. I swam the first set in 6:57, the second in 7:00 and the third in 7:11 (you can tell I was getting tired). I've been trying to break that 7 minute mark for quite a while and it feels great to finally get there. I feel like I'm starting to become a decent swimmer. All those drills are paying off. Hopefully I can keep this up and set some good swim times at sprint tris this summer.

We're supposed to get pounded with more snow tonight. I've heard anywhere from 5-13 inches. This could make my lunch run tomorrow interesting.


G-Hogs Day!

I hope everyone had a great G-hogs day. It's my favorite holiday because it's all about the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Warm sunshine, green grass. I can't wait.

Today was the end of my high volum
e week for month 2, so now I get an easy week to get a little rest and recovery. This was a good, hard week and I got in some good base training. Friday, I spent 2.5 hours on the trainer doing an endurance/tempo ride. I started with a 15 minute warm up, then alternated between 20 minute intervals in my endurance power zone and my tempo power zone and ended with a 15 minute cool down. You'd think 2.5 hours on the trainer would be absolute torture, but I've gotten used to 20 minute intervals so as long as I focus only on the interval I'm doing and don't think about the total time it's not so bad.

Then Saturday I did a similar endurance/tempo workout for 1 hour and 45 minutes. That's 4 hours and 15 minutes on the trainer in 24 hours. Definitely a record for me. It's not easy spending that much time on the trainer, but I'm confident it will pay off this spring.

Saturday, Cheri and I went for a 45 minute run that turned out to be a little tougher than Cheri thought it would be. This was her first time running while it was snowing, and we were running through an inch of slippery snow while getting pelted in the face with fresh snow. She was a trooper and kept pushing hard and kept her pace up (and steady the whole run which is a sign the base training she's doing on the treadmill is paying off), but she's paying the price a bit today with sore legs.

But her legs weren't too sore to go swimming with me this morning, which always makes swimming more fun because she likes to swim behind me and try to touch my toes. If it doesn't make me laugh, it makes me swim faster. Either way, it's more fun than swimming alone. Then I headed out for a one hour run, my longest run since returning from my knee injury (I figure my knee is about 95% right now so it's healing well).

Weekly Totals
Total Time: 15:33:19
Swim: 3:45 (9000 yards)
Bike: 8:02:43 (147.66 miles)
Run: 3:45:36 (24.01 miles)