Doing it all the hard way...

Sunday, March 11, 2018


If you only knew.....
Four plus hours on the road with the boys yesterday.  Nothing epic, but my biggest effort this year.  A solid, if uneventful, ride. After that some work at the house as we finish off our downstairs.  Again, nothing crazy, just more of the same. 

Last night as I fell into bed, my body was feeling the toll of the big ride.  I felt as if I was sinking deeper into the mattress.  I was tired.  I smiled.  Glad to be where I am.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Less than zero

The best way to be fit is not let yourself get unfit.  I apologize for how this makes a hard thing sound simple.  It is rough when you have to rebuild your fitness.  As much as I might lament starting with less-than-stellar form it is better than starting from zero.  Sadly, as difficult as it is starting from zero, there are times when just getting to zero is the goal. 
Hottie had a string of injuries that set her back so far she had to patiently train just to get strong enough to start training.  If that sounds like an exaggeration, it is not.  One of my good friends is anxious to lay down some training miles in preparation for this summer but he can’t even touch a bike at this time.  He would be delighted if he could start from zero right now.
There may be a time when I lower my ultimate objectives to better align with a lower starting point; however, now is not that time. I am willing to accept that a lower starting point just makes the journey longer.   What matters perhaps more than the destination, is the satisfaction that comes from the journey itself.  Many of us have long journeys so you had better enjoy the ride.
Fuck it. I'm going for it!

For those around me who are fighting to get to zero, my heart goes out to you.  Don’t give up.  For the many who are always working to get better; keep up the good fight.  Take solace in the process now, and find joy in the results later.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Myth # 8 Shoe flex is bad

We have all heard shoe manufacturers trying to convince us we need stiff shoes for power transfer.  If that is true; then here is a simple question: why don’t marathon runners wear stiff soled shoes? 

The truth is shoe manufacturers just want to sell us shoes.  They can sell us flip flops for $4 or carbon soled shoes for $400.  Guess which is in their best interest!

The answer is simple; runners (and cyclists too, for that matter) need to use all of the muscles in their legs and feet to get the maximum efficiency from their effort.  Once you lock your puppies into rigid shoes you reduce the number of muscles that can help propel you forward.
Looking at the picture above you might think as I do; thank goodness short shorts made a comeback on pretty women. The second thing you notice is that her long supple leg isn’t flexing and straining as she pedals.  This is because she is using all of her muscles.  No one group of muscles has to strain, the legs and foot are able to work in harmony.
If you look at this picture you might second guess the habit of male cyclists shaving their legs because you can’t tell is this leg belongs to a to a guy wearing a skirt of a woman who had a few too many supplements (if you know what I mean by supplements).  If, however, you could manage to stay on topic, you would also notice a leg working well without a rigid shoe.  You might also question the pink on red combination.  Yep, most likely a guy.

Once again I gathered my group of wool clad preppers and asked them about rigid shoes.  Most admitted they only wore shoes in order to hide their malformed feet.  Frank, said his toes were as knotted as tree roots and started to take off his shoes to display his freakishness but I stopped him before he grossed me out.  I think I made my point.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Myth # 7 Skinny riders are better climbers

We have all heard the so-called smart people repeat the importance of power to weight ratio.  The result of these monologues is that everyone needs to lose weight and we should all be skinny.  This simply isn’t true. 

I should clarify something here.  If the rider is skinny and is riding a carbon bike with normal tires and the bike lacks the aerodynamic benefits of fenders, then there may be a sliver of truth, depending on the circumstances. However, in almost every real world situation, the heavier rider is faster.

When was the last time you saw a father who could not keep up with their toddler children.  The father is much heavier than the child, yet he is faster.

Let’s assume a chunky rider, clad in a sagging wool jersey on a flexible noodle of a steel bike with a basket on the front the size of an ice chest and fenders made from platinum or hammered gold leaf.  

As the rider goes along on the flats, where we all agree the rider’s weight does not matter, the flex of the steel frame stores a portion of the pedaling effort for later use.  Even on a hilly route with two thousand meters of climbing on a hundred and twenty kilometer route the vast majority of the ride is flat.  Just imagine all of the energy that can be stored up as the rider pedals on the flats, let along on the downhills! 

Then when the road turns uphill the rider by maintaining a smooth cadence and employing the benefits of the stored frame flex the heavy rider can sail up the hills.

To test this theory I gathered three of my friends from the flat earth society and we all rode up a hill together and after employing group think we decided our level of effort was an eight.  We then stopped and ate donuts.  The donut is the food of choice for the fat rider.  We then rode up the same hill and we all felt it was easier with the donuts in our bellies.  I had a watch that had stopped functioning, but I am sure that if we had measured the time it would have confirmed what we already knew. 

Some would argue that we should have employed fancy power meters and the like but like so many biking products, they just tell you what you already know.  If you pedal harder you go faster, you don’t need some expensive gizmo to tell you that!

Let’s look at the pro cyclists.  Chris Froome is skinny and he had to use a bucket of asthma medicine to do well in the Tour Day France.  Who typically has asthma? Fat kids.  Perhaps I stereotype, but, whatever…  What this really means is that Chris Froome had to try and be fat to win the Tour Day France.