Category Archives: Uncategorized

Contador punches back in the Tour (literally, not figuratively)

After yesterday’s disappointing performance, Alberto Contador “attacked” today trying to “punch” back at the Schleck brothers and Cadel Evans. However, the only “blow” Contador was able to deliver was to this fan dressed as a doctor running up the famed climb of Alpe d’Huez. Authorities have yet to confirm if Contador was enraged over tainted beef.

 

 

New Cervelo S5 aero road bike

Cervelo has just launched a new aero road bike (just in time for the Tour de France) and it looks pretty amazing. It’s called the Cervelo S5 (previous code name for the bike was FM70) and here are the stats:

  • Frame weight is only 990 grams. That’s very light for an aero road frame and about 80 grams lighter than a Cervelo S3.
  • Frameset is $3,800
  • A complete bike with Dura Ace Di2 is $9,000
  • A complete bike with Ultegra Di2 is $6,000!

$6,000 may sound like a lot of money for a bike (it is), but for this frame, with electronic shifting . . . it’s a pretty incredible package.

 

According to Cervelo’s wind tunnel testing, the S5 will save a rider 32 watts at ~25 mph over a conventional road bike. That’s a huge savings, which increase as your speed increases.  Grab a S5 with some Zipp 808 wheels and you have the ultimate wind-cheating-road-machine.  Let’s hope the Gamin-Cervelo Team can give the bike a good showing at the Tour – only 3 more days till TdF goodness!

Signs of improvement . . . Strava motivation

My road to recovery showed some signs of improvement this weekend. I rode with my PowerTap for the first time in months (first time post-surgery). I did a pretty easy ride, but decided to “open up the legs” on two separate, one minute climbs in Fort Worth. According to Strava, I set new personal bests on both climbs (averaging about 530 watts).  More importantly, I took back the Strava KOM on Rogers Rd. (see above), from my good friend Anthony.  Strava is a great motivational tool and I plan to use it that way as I ride my way back in shape.

 

 

 

I’m still alive . . . literally! Appendectomy, recovery, rehab, cycling and Paleo eating

I haven’t posted to this blog in over two months. Many of you might be thinking, “is he still alive?” I am, but it could have easily gone the other way. Let me take you back 8 weeks . . .

I was at a company offsite meeting and started to feel some stomach cramps. Nothing major, more uncomfortable than anything else. I went to bed early that night only to wake up the next day with worse cramps and headaches. I still had no fever, so I assumed it was a stomach bug. I had a white glove service send a nurse to the house and she agreed with my prognosis. I didn’t show any of the signs of appendicitis (no fever, no pain on the right side, no vomiting or nausea, etc.). However, that night was horrible. My stomach pains become more violent and I had crazy, migrane-type headaches. I didn’t sleep a wink.

Early the next morning my wife woke-up and asked me how I was feeling. When I told her how I felt, she suggested we go to the hospital to have me checked out (she’s a rock star occupational therapist, so I generally trust her medical advice/judgement). However, that day was my son’s birthday party. I told her I would “gut it out” another day and if I still felt bad the next day, I’d go to the ER. This was at 6 a.m. and she made a very convincing argument that we should go immediately, it was early in the morning and the ER wouldn’t be very busy. I went with her better judgement . . . and thank goodness I did.

Upon arrival at the ER we learned:

  1. I did have appendicitis and it had ruptured already.
  2. I might have been walking around with it ruptured for a couple of days.
  3. It was a “very bad” rupture – it actually blew a hole in my colon.
Within 30 minutes I was in surgery.  I was blessed to have an amazing surgeon and it went very well, all things considered. The doctor said I had the worst rupture he’s ever seen. His exact words were, “it looked like a grenade went off in your abdomen.” The headaches I had were due to all the septic from the rupture that was flowing through my blood stream. I was told if I had waited another day to come in, I probably would not have survived. 
I was in the hospital for 5 days and then recovery moved to home.  My rehab started with walks in our backyard. First 10 laps, then 20. After a couple of days I started to venture outside for walks – first half a mile, then a mile, etc. For the first 5 weeks the doc said no cycling, weights, nothing . . . only walking. So that’s what I did for 5 weeks (thank you Pandora for keeping my walks enjoyable).
My diet was also limited  (little fiber, etc.). However, I was able to eat mostly Paleo. Lots of omelets with guacamole, some protein shakes, etc. At my 1-month check-up the doctor said my recovery was truly amazing. I credit a couple of things:
  • Paleo eating. I’ve been Paleo for about a year now and I’m convinced the low-inflammatory nature of a Paleo diet helped speed my recovery.
  • My general physical fitness. Being healthy means healing faster.
  • My amazing and supportive wife/nurse and the positive motivation of being able to pick up my kids again (couldn’t lift over 10 pounds for the first month).
I’ll now add a cautionary note. The staff said I must have an incredible pain tolerance because I should not have been able to even stand up with the amount of damage I had in my abdomen. I credit high-intensity cycling and becoming “comfortable” in pain. Fellow cyclists:
ignore pain on the bike = good
ignore pain off the bike = bad
I’ve now been back on the bike for one week. It feels great to ride again and in general I’m pretty much back to 100%.  Like I tell everyone, the good news with an appendectomy is that you never have to do it again (you only have one appendix). However, a close call like this definitely makes you re-evaluate what is important in life and being thankful for family and friends.
So since I’m “alive” expect more regular updates to the blog.

Thanks Jeff & What’s a PDC?

I started this blog 3.5 years ago with few expectations. I was a writer in high school and college and thought this blog would be a good outlet to “exercise” my prose and also share my journey as a new cyclist. The blog has grown more popular than I ever imagined based on the success of posts like my SRAM Red review, VO2 max testing, comparing top speeds on a bicycle and the now infamous Little Known Facts About Jens Voigt.

The blog has actually gotten so big that I regularly have 10,000+ readers a month and often exceed 25,000 readers/month during the Tour de France. However, you might have noticed that the posts lately have been few and far between. I’ve been pretty busy lately with work, family, etc. I haven’t had a lot of inspiration to post either since I’ve only ridden 3 times in all of 2011 (3, 1-hour rides on the single speed cross bike to be more specific).   I took a shorter break this summer, but this time it’s been 2+ months, which is big for me considering that I rode 10,000+ miles in each of the last 2 years. So is this the beginning of a “Dear John” letter where I’m announcing that I won’t be blogging anymore?

No. Quite the contrary.

I received a great email this weekend from a regular reader named Jeff. His story is much like mine and other PDCs (Professional-Daddy-Cyclists) out there. Jeff caught the cycling bug a couple of years ago but is about to attempt a “comeback” after a layoff due to work, a new baby, etc. Reading my posts reminded Jeff that other PDCs have been through the same thing before and that it’s OK to not ride, because the “C” in PDC is last for a reason – despite being “professionals” . . . none of us get paid to ride a bike.

Jeff reminded me that the visitor numbers I see on the WordPress traffic dashboard aren’t just numbers, they’re people, likely PDCs, looking for answers to questions, inspiration or a laugh.

So I promise to post more often and share the journey of this PDC.

Thanks Jeff

Tecmo Bowl in Real Life

So my beloved New Orleans Saints lost their playoff game this weekend – largely due to an amazing run by Marshawn Lynch.  I was watching the game with my dad and agreed that it was the most amazing run we’ve seen in the 35 years we’ve watched Saints football together. In fact, it instantly reminded me of some of the runs I used to bust-off on some of my homies in Oregon playing Tecmo Bowl on the NES  back in the late-80’s. I guess I wasn’t the only spectator that through Lynch’s run was “Tecmo-esque” based on the clip above.

BONUS: For the other Tecmo fans out there, here is a special tribute run capturing the greatness of Bo Jackson.

Cycling Mt. Scott and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The "Pain Train" crew @ the top of Mt. Scott

Last month we had our 3rd Annual Think Finance “Pain Train” Cycling Camp.

This year’s camp was dubbed “Pain Train III: Stomach Full of Anger” in honor of Andy Schleck. Instead of our usual camp at Lake Texoma, we headed across the border into Oklahoma and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

Medicine Park, OK

We headed up to Medicine Park, OK on Friday afternoon. Medicine Park is situated in the Wichita Mountains near the entrance to the 60,000-acre (240 km2) Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Medicine Park has a long history as a vintage cobblestone resort town. The town was also just a couple miles from the focus of our trip – the 2.7 mile climb that is Mt. Scott (the biggest climb within a 3 hour drive of DFW).

The riding in the refuge is SPECTACULAR! It was much prettier than I expected and had some nice change in elevation. However, the best part might be the glassy smooth pavement with almost no car traffic – it was fantastic.

Mt. Scott

On Saturday morning we headed out on a 50 mile loop through the refuge before doing a “Gentlemen’s Race” up Mt. Scott. The Mt. Scott climb is about 2.7 miles long at 7.5%. It’s very consistent since there are no switchbacks; instead, the climb literally corkscrews up the mountain.

Everyone put in a great performance considering the considerable wind and the fact that we already had 50 miles of “spirited” riding in our legs. I made it up in 14:27 at an average power of 311 watts (~4.7w/kg).

The Narrows

After  the ride Kevin D. took us on a hike to see some of his favorite climbing routes. If someone dropped you in that location blindfolded, by helicopter, you would have no idea you’re in Oklahoma.

Meers Store and Restaurant

For dinner we headed over to the world-famous Meers Store and Restaurant.  Pulling up to the restaurant is like traveling back in time to when the area was part of the wild frontier and the Wichitas were supposedly rich with gold.  Meers began as a gold mining town which boomed to 500+ people , but now the only residents are the owners of the famous store.

They’re famous for their longhorn burgers (which are huge and very tasty). Everything at Meers is big, including desert – my “bowl” of ice cream was probably half a gallon.

Sunday we got up early for a short loop and one more time up Mt. Scott before heading home. I can’t believe it took me this long to “discover” the Wichitas, I’m already planning my next weekend trip to Medicine Park.

New bike love – Litespeed Archon C1 Carbon Aero Bike

The kiddos approve of the new frame

Just got my new frame in this weekend – a Litespeed Archon C1. Litespeed is well-known for their titanium bikes, but this is their first foray into carbon. This bike is all about aerodynamics:

  • Aero fork
  • Aero down tube and seat tube
  • Aero fairing for the water bottle mount
  • Aero seat and chain stays
  • Internal cable routing
  • Pinched head tube.

I’m building it up this week, so expect a full review in a month or two.

Cycling (training and racing) on a Paleo Diet

I’ve already talked a little about my “experiment” with a Primal/Paleo Diet. It was easy to do at the time since I was taking a break from the bike.  However, now I’m riding 200+ miles per week again and preparing for the 2011 season – so is the diet hard? Easy? Did I fall off the wagon?  I’m proud to say I’m still eating Paleo and it has been much easier than I expected.

I won’t go into a lot of detail about the Paleo Diet (or the Primal Blueprint diet, which is closer to what I’m doing), but I will summarize it for you:

  • Fruits and veggies are OK
  • All meat is OK
  • Eggs are OK
  • Nuts are OK
  • Dairy is OK in moderation
  • NO grains (including corn)
  • NO legumes (including peanuts & soy)
  • NO processed food
  • NO processed sugars

This diet may seem impossible for a cyclist (or any endurance athlete). No pasta? No bread? No Clif Bars? For me, it’s actually been pretty easy.  I’ll break it down to two categories – regular eating and pre/during/post ride eating.

Regular Eating

What’s a typical day look like?

Breakfast:

  • 4 egg omelette (including the yolks)
  • half an avocado
  • coffee with cream
  • 1 large apple

Morning Snack

  • Pack of almonds (1.5 handfuls)

Lunch

  • Big ass salad. Example big ass salad above includes:    
    • Mixed Greens
    • Green Peppers
    • Orange slices
    • Red Grapes
    • Avocado
    • Sliced Turkey Burger (leftovers)
    • Pecans
    • Feta Cheese
    • Olive Oil
    • Balsamic Vinegar

Afternoon Snack

  • Apple or Orange

Dinner

  • Grilled meat (chicken, steak, hamburgers, etc.)
  • Grilled Veggies
  • Fruit

Late Night Snack

  • Whey protein shake, frozen to have an ice cream consistency

Eating Out

Eating out on the Paleo Diet has been very easy. Most restaurants have “gluten free” options, which are basically Paleo. You can also do salads or breakfast joints. One of my favorite things about going Paleo is rediscovering my love of bacon.

On the Bike Eating

The biggest change I’ve made here is switching from Clif products to LARABARs.

I used to exclusively eat Clif Bars and Clif Shot Bloks on the bike. Now I eat LARABARS, which are all Paleo as long as you get a flavor without peanuts. I’ve actually found I like the taste and texture of the LARABARs much more then the Clif Bars, so this change has been pretty easy too.

Hydration is a little more complicated. Pre-Paleo I would fill my water bottles up with Accelerade for any ride over an hour. Now I’ll go with just water (or water with nuun hydration tabs) & LARABARs for any ride up to 3 hours. If I know I’m going for more than 3 hours, I’ll go ahead and top off the bottles with Accelerade. I’m not a Paleo-Nazi. I don’t mind “cheating” here and there, so I would rather go with calories in the bottle rather than the dreaded bonk.

I’ll admit that after a 4+ hour ride it sure would be nice to have a big bowl of pasta or my old favorite –  GoLean crunch cereal with bananas and chocolate milk. However, the Paleo Diet has forced me to eat better post-ride. Previously I would get back from a long ride and eat whatever (typically lots of grains and sugary stuff). Now when I get back from a ride I have a recovery smoothie consisting of frozen berries and some whey protein mix. Then I shower up and fix a sensible lunch.

Results

So how has the Paleo Diet impacted my riding/training?

  • I’ve leaned up. I’ve been blessed with good genes. I’ve never struggled with my weight and most people would consider me “skinny”. However, I’ve lost about 5 lbs of body fat (taking me down sub 7%) since I started eating Paleo.
  • Soreness. I have less post-ride soreness and general inflammation since I started the diet. I’ve had chronic shoulder issues over the last 10+ years that have been noticeably reduced.
  • More energy. I have more energy, consistently through the day now. No more 2:30 crash (I sound like a 5 hour energy commercial).

So far the Paleo experiment has been a big success and I’m moving it from “experiment” to “lifestyle”.

Setting goals – 5w/kg

I’m on week 2 of my cycling comeback, been riding the Power Cranks for all my weekday rides. Still working on my goals for 2011, but I know one is going to be The Fort Davis Hammerfest race in April. For those of you that don’t troll the TXBRA.org message board, Fort Davis is the only race (it’s a stage race) where climbing is a deciding factor. That being said, my goal is to be able to produce 5 watts per kilogram for a 20 minute effort in time for Fort Davis. That level would make me more than competitive on the climbs.  I think my previous best is 4.8 w/kg, so I’ve got some work to do.