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This blog is written in plain, fly-over country English. The Author reserves the right to forego nonsensical, feel-good gibberish.

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Two more Godforsaken Days of Cold…

Today and tomorrow, that’s all that’s left…  My new tires should be at the shop along with a new chain and a new cassette for the 5200 (technically last year’s tires from the Venge are going onto the Trek).  New cables this year, as I replace them every two years whether they’re needed or not, will finish out the tuneup and have me ready for the Spring. We should be riding this Saturday or Sunday (or both) with temps reaching 40 degrees for the first time since November.

No more of this:

Much more of this (with a vest, arm and leg warmers of course):

I almost can’t contain myself I’m so giddy.  While I truly dislike winter, it does have one redeeming quality…  Absence makes the heart grow fonder – and other than our week down in Florida riding leisure bikes, real, good, old-fashioned fresh air blowing through the hair (by way of the vents in my dome protector) has been entirely too absent.

I won’t, of course, ride the Venge right out of the gate.  For Venge Day I have a particular set of criteria that the weather need meet before I’ll put that rubber to road:

  1. After the first long rain of the spring.
  2. Temps 45 and rising (though I am definitely willing to relax that down).
  3. Less than 20% chance of rain with a clear radar though I prefer the sun to be shining for that momentous occasion.
  4. Generally speaking, I like for Venge day to be a medium to easy ride so I can take my time enjoying the feel of the bike again before I absolutely tear ass on her.

The reasoning is simple:  My Trek is a terrific bike.  It’s not the Venge, but it’s nice and this Spring I’ve got her dialed in quite a bit better than last year – it’ll be a much more enjoyable ride starting out.  The Venge also cost me five times more than the Trek, better to let that bike take the early-season dirt, rain and other road junk left after a long winter.

So, after a long, hard winter season, let the outdoor cycling begin!

I Took the Lead and Led the Pack.  That said, did you know pros fill their bikes with Lead?

Every now and again, even though my writing is amateurish at the best of times, I like to pick apart problem writing errors I often come across.  Not necessarily the punctuation issues I so often massacre…  Why concentrate on the 2×4 in my eye.  Ahem.  I digress, this particular item I’ve tortured myself in the past, long ago:

Lead, lead or led.

You can lead an industry.

Conversely, once you’ve fallen from top, you once led the industry.

Not related in the least, lead is a heavy, malleable metal that you would never build a bike frame with, though many pros will use lead tape or lead shot to make their bikes meet UCI weight restrictions.  Seriously.

Thankfully, no lead needed:  100% Unleaded Awesome

The weight limit for a UCI legal bike is 6.8 kg or 14.991 pounds.  Now my bike, at just over 17 pounds (total weight, cages, pedals and computer) has no problem making weight.  On the other hand, you take my bike, throw on a $3,000 set of wheels and tubular tires, upgrade my Shimano 105 components to SRAM Red, add a $300 set of pedals and I’m easily under weight.  Which, where pros are concerned, presents a problem.  In fact, for another $5,000 ($15,000 total) I could have picked up a top of the line Trek Emonda that comes four pounds under UCI weight restrictions.

The rule limiting bike weight to 6.8 kg was introduced in 2000 when composites were still relatively new and there was a fear that manufacturers would throw safety under the proverbial bus to come up with the lightest bike.  First, let’s give the UCI their props for understanding how some industries work.  Two-points boys and girls, nice work.

That’s not the end of this discussion though.  Not by a long lead shot.  Technology moved on without the UCI, to a point where sub-14.5 pound bikes are commonplace at the high-end.  This means pros have to use everything from lead tape to fishing sinkers in their bikes to bring them up to weight.

Now far be it from me to criticize, but an article about the whole crusade to maintain 14.991 pounds explains the UCI’s position well but that position had me slack-jawed:

“The rule 1.3.019 has been introduced and has been created as many other rules of the UCI Technical Regulation by an ergonomist expert in cycling. This specialist, with the advice of other experts, has defined that 6,8Kg is the minimum weight acceptable for a bicycle, for an essential reason that is the manoeuvrability of the bicycle. Of course, technical risks related to composites materials have also been considered, but the primary reason of this rule is the manoeuvrability. We therefore believe that bicycles of 5 Kg (for example) pose significant risks of manoeuvrability.”

There’s more:

“Manoeuvrability is the property of the bicycle has to be driven properly, correctly. We all know that different bicycles offer different performance, particularly in terms of manoeuvrability, and we believe that a bicycle of 5Kg would be very bad even dangerous to manoeuvre, to drive. The weight has a role in manoeuvrability of a bicycle because it mainly brings stability to the bicycle. The UCI is therefore concerned about it because the safety of the riders would be directly affected.”

Okay, got that?  Now this, and you’ll see why my jaw dropped:

“We are aware that technology and materials evolve, and it would be comprehensible to think today that from a technical point of view, this weight limit could be lowered. But we have no assurance that bicycles of 6Kg (for example) are safe. We have in our Equipment Commission an engineer specialist of cycling, who worked for many manufacturers and who have designed several bicycles that are still in the peloton. This engineer expert in composite materials is not completely convinced of the reliability and strength of the bicycles weighing about 6Kg. We know that some bicycles of less than 6,8 Kg are commercialized and that some manufacturers think they are safe. We also have feedbacks from many other manufacturers who don’t think the same thing, and who advise us to leave this 6,8Kg weight limit, because this limit is very accurate and that it prevents an unreasonable race to the minimum weight.”

If you can’t smell the fishy twang in that statement, you need to read that whole mess again…  We know lighter bikes can withstand the rigors of modern-day racing because they already do!  Pros have to use lead in their bikes to make them comply with the weight requirement!  Now, if you want to see rats scurry, let’s start talking about the nature of lead and lead poisoning.  Or better, let’s start talking about the compromises to composite frame integrity due to having a pound of freaking lead shot sloshing around in there.

That last point is the capper for me.  They go to the length of considering the maneuverability of a 6.8 kg bike over a 6 kg bike but they miss the fact that these guys have to ride around with lead shot in their frame and/or handlebar to make weight!  How about the top-heavy nature of having lead sinkers in handlebars?  Certainly that would affect maneuverability, no?

And that’s where I have trouble.  On one hand, I get it.  The rules already state 6.8 kg, it’s simple, we’re all used to it, let’s just keep it there.  On the other hand, having to put a pound or more of lead into a bike to make weight is just seems silly.  

Interesting stuff for sure.

The Fit Recovery F.U. Diet: As the Fat Melts Away…

Everyone is different so I won’t claim the way I do things is the end-all, be-all, but done correctly, my diet works – and on something much more important than scale readings…  My diet works where it counts, in the mirror.  Also, and most important, I don’t shoot for perfection.  I want to look good and I want to be healthy.  I don’t spend hours on end trying to sculpt my body and I definitely don’t eat boiled chicken and broccoli every day for years on end.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that for those who choose a life of food celibacy, if what you desire is 4% body fat, go for it!  On the other hand, if you’re like me and want to play the field a little bit (food-wise, of course) and twigs and leaves just won’t get it, then something must be done to balance the equation.  Balance is the only way I know to keep from ending up looking like Goodyear sponsors me.

That said, the diet industry is just that, a multi-Billion Dollar a year Industry.  The idea behind the industry is to get you, or us, to keep buying stuff.  We buy stationary bikes, treadmills, organically modified food, non-organically modified food, we forego meat or eat only meat and veggies…  Running shoes, cycling shoes, the list is seemingly endless and often sounds like more like torture than staying healthy.  We join programs, count calories, count points, count sheep.

Hey, let’s go to the extreme:  There’s the cocaine diet, and for those less fortunate, the crack diet, the meth diet (which pretty much rots your face so you can’t eat) too.  There’s the whiskey diet (hey, it’s corn) or the beer diet too.  Of course, several of those are illegal even if they do keep you skinny – the idea of a diet is to free one from bondage and the prison diet isn’t technically a diet we here at Fit Recovery could recommend.

I’ve got a better idea and I like to call it the Fed Up Diet or FU Diet for short (I know, you were thinking something else a little less appropriate).  The truth is, I didn’t sober up to live by a strict set of rules on how I’m going to live life – and fuel it.  I’m simply fed up with agendas, whether it’s the Veganazis or the Low Carb crowd or the No Fast Food crowd or the No Gluten crowd…  I’m tired of the “do this, don’t do that” nature of the diet industry.  Of course, if that works for you, enjoy it!  Live your semblance of free!  Just please, don’t expect that I’ll join up because I’m going to live my semblance of free and that includes bacon – whether you like it or not.

One of the beautiful suggestions I received early in recovery is K.I.S.S. or, if you’re not familiar:  Keep It Simple, Stupid.  I have no problem with the “stupid” part either – if you do, you may want to try the twig and leaf diet.  Where this gets tricky for me is that I like to eat.  I like burgers and pizza, tacos and nachos, hot dogs (don’t judge me) and chili, steaks and risotto, ham, turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes…  I like it all.  Unfortunately a diet that consists largely of that stuff tends to put on the weight if one is not careful, so I add a lot of exercise into the mix so I can enjoy eating what I wish (not as much as I wish, what I wish).  While it is fair to say that you can’t outrun (or in my case outride) a bad diet, you can outrun or outride a good diet.  The shape that the cow takes, in other words, does not matter so much as how much of said cow is eaten at one time.  So I live by a very simple guide:  My conscience.  Now this takes some practice but it works.

First, there is no “pre-exercise” rewards.  I never got an “A” in school based on a paper that I was going to hand in next week.  If I want a piece of cake, I’d better have worked for it or skimped my diet elsewhere to have it.

Second, there’s an “in-season diet” and an “out-of-season” diet.  In cycling season (April thru November where I live), it’s pretty much anything I want within reason.  I’m not on the bike enough to mimic the Michael Phelps diet but I can get close enough to enjoy every mile on my bike.  Those Last three or four months are tricky but simple:  Cut the portions back a little to account for the fact that I can only put up with an hour a day on the trainer.  If I notice the jeans fitting a little tighter, I simply look in the mirror – I know if I’m gaining weight.  If I put on a few and have to get ready for cycling season (as I did this year, maybe an extra 7-10 pounds), I go on a very simple diet:

Two cups of coffee when I wake up, before my shower.  One or two cups when I get to the office (depending on my mood).

This is my breakfast:
IMG_6736

Then I ride for 30 minutes to an hour in my office (the 30 minute workout is interval training and it’s a lot harder than the hour-long ride).

Then this is my lunch:
IMG_6737

Just one mind you.

Then I eat a sensible dinner.  A couple of small-ish homemade burgers and a salad or chicken nachos or spaghetti and meat sauce…  I eat until just before I’m full.  Here’s how I gauge dinner:  I know it takes five minutes for the brain to catch up to the stomach.  If I eat until I’m full, I will end up uncomfortably full.  If I cut myself off before I’m full, by the time my melon catches up I’ll be just right.

If, at any point during the day, I find myself hungry, I’ll drink some water.  If that doesn’t work, a handful of nuts or another banana will do the trick every time.  Then, for desert it’s either another cup of coffee or a reasonable desert.

Now deserts can be tricky, especially for the fitness-minded.  We go through all of that work, surely we can afford a desert from time to time, right?  Well yes but no.  If I want to have a tough time climbing hills and keeping up with my friends and I want to stay on that stupid diet a little bit longer, then yes I can afford a big desert from time to time.  If I want to stay lean and mean then I have to be very judicious with how I blow through the calories.  For instance, last night was my wife’s birthday so we were having a desert.  I didn’t buy a whole cake so the four of us would either A) Hammer it in one night or B) Eat cake over the next two nights.  Instead we went to Culver’s and got the Mini size custard Concrete Mixer with two toppings (I got chocolate with double Oreos).  I knew this was coming so I worked extra-hard on the bike and all was well.  This evening, instead of desert I’ll have a cup of coffee after dinner (for some reason that really works for me and I don’t have a problem falling asleep afterwards as long as I get to the coffee before 8 pm).

Now, if I had a theme, it’s that this won’t work for everyone but it works great for me.  I should be down to cycling weight by next week or maybe the week after at the longest and I’ve only been doing this for two full weeks now.  So, if you’re fed up with the complications of dieting, try this.  Just remember, it’s just like anything else:  You’ll get out of it what you put into it.  It’s not rocket science, even if some would like to make it seem so.  Find out what works and stick with it.  Run, ride, swim (or all three), play basketball, play baseball, soccer or softball, rollerblade if you have the coordination, play hockey…  Get active and eat sensibly.  It won’t give you the perfect body, but it’ll get you close enough for government work and with “close enough” you get to enjoy everything.

Stoked!!! With A Capital “S”

bgddyjim:

Fantasy Cycling is here. There’s quite a list of teams already. I’m reblogging this post for you, my friends, not because I’m going to partake – I most certainly am not, but because you might.

Here’s my problem: To really enjoy the fullness of cycling, there are two things that make a fantasy sport impossible. One, I’d rather ride than spend my time on my fantasy team. Second, cycling is not cheap, my friends. If I’m going to enjoy it, I have a couple of other businesses to keep my eye on.

That said, if you have the time, enjoy.

Originally posted on A Girl, Her Bike, and Their Journey:

 cyclemoti

I’m so excited. I’m a bit of a nerd(good thing) and I’m very analytical. I have fantasy teams in other sports that I absolutely love. You learn so much about the inner working of each sport you choose to manage. You begin to realize all the screaming and yelling at your favorite team for the dud of a draft pick they picked up in the off-season wasn’t so unwarranted. You see the restraints of a salary cap, or the position you drew in the draft was unfavorable. Fun stuff!!! I know you are wonder big time now why I’m so stoked. So without further ado…… Here it is:  http://www.velo-manager.net/index.php?page=office

Velo Manager 

Yes you guessed or maybe you didn’t, it’s okay. I never dreamed they would come up with a free management game where you can own your own cycling team. So far it has been awesome. I’ve learn more about…

View original 68 more words

Me, Not to Put too Fine a Point on It: Why I dropped Thousands of Dollars on a Bicycle

Somebody searched, and I quote, “what kind of a person spends thousands of dollars for a bicycle” and landed on one of my posts.  God only knows which but let’s face it, they got the right blog (humorously, I googled the same thing and my post is first on the list).  This is the face of a happy cyclist on a semi-ridiculously expensive bicycle (it costs more than a decent, used Ducati.  That’s the motorcycle Ducati – on the plus-side, my bike probably weighs less than a Ducati’s rear tire):

IMG_4655

Not only did I shell out two veritable shit-tons of cash for that bike, I would again should the need or desire arise.  In fact, after I spent thousands on my bike I went out and spent another shit-ton more on my wife’s:

IMG_6023

If that wasn’t crazy enough for ya, I decided to store them in the house so they won’t ever rust and be less susceptible to theft.  Not that I’m short of outdoor storage space, I’m not, but who would store that kind of awesome outside?  Certainly not I!

In any event, there are dozens of reasons to spend crazy money on a bicycle, here are some of mine:

  • Cycling is my answer to the midlife crisis hobby (and I should still have a good forty years before I’ll have to trade my road bike in for a leisure cruiser).
  • I wanted something I would love to own maintain meticulously.  I won’t maintain something I can easily replace every few years.
  • I was originally planning on going the two-seater sports car route for the impending midlife crisis – I have a 1986 Mazda RX-7 with the rotary motor in the garage, but they’re really expensive to fix up and I couldn’t possibly feel good about sinking the $15,000 it will take to make that car right…  I bought five bikes, wait, eight bikes, pedals, clothing, helmets and everything my whole family could possibly need for cycling and I’m still way under the cost of just fixing that car up… and we’re not even into fuel, insurance and maintenance costs after it’s fixed.  Which leads to…
  • A car runs on my wallet.  My $4,000 bike runs on fat.  ‘Nough said.
  • That last point is reason enough.
  • I ride between 5,500 and 6,000 miles a year.  Cheaper aluminum bikes aren’t near as comfortable on anything but glass-smooth roads – something that does not exist in my State.  Some are into the whole “fitness should be tantamount to torture” thing.  Not me.
  • That last point is reason enough again.
  • With that many miles and at the speeds I ride, I need competent (read that “slightly expensive”) components on my bike – stuff that won’t wear out with a fair amount of stress.  The 105 line that came on my bike is Shimano’s workhorse.
  • Finally, when I sobered up, a friend of my wife’s father showed me his brand new car that he’d just paid cash for…  He was in his early sixties and had sobered up decades earlier… At the time and I was making about $27,000 a year – not much by American standards, but not bad for a 25 year-old with only a high school diploma and a couple of years of college.  Well that old fella promised me right there, if I stayed sober and worked hard, one day I’d be in a position to pay cash for niceties.  My Venge was the first big nice thing that I didn’t have to finance.  When I picked the bike up, I put the cash on the counter and walked out with my new bike.  

So that about sums it up.  I would never recommend someone go to the length of being a bike snob (or snot, take your pick) either for or against nice bikes.  At the end of the day, it’s always about how a cyclist rides and takes care of what they have anyway.  The only thing I would recommend shelling out some major cash for would be your cycling shorts (or get them on sale).  Cheap cycling shorts suck and they feel like you’re riding on barbed wire after twenty miles, trust me – I’ve been there.

From time to time you’ll find someone, usually not very intelligent, who will give people a tough time about not having nice enough equipment or having too nice a bike.  You could very well choose to take offense at that, just as long as you understand that’s your choice to give someone else’s opinion weight.  On second thought, never mind.  You’d never do something like that, now would you?

 

All of My 2015 Eggs in One Basket – My Eyes are on DALMAC

For the first three years of this blog I kept track of my goals on a separate page for each year, heck I actually had goals:  Finish ‘X’ distance in ‘Y’ time, etc..  Last year’s goals started getting a little weak because I was already doing everything I wanted to do and beating all of my best attempt at goals handily.  I was faster than I imagined possible, I was in better shape than I could have hoped, I could ride farther than I would have dreamed to, comfortably; only elitist snobs can do better (That’s supposed to be a laugh-line)…  My 2014 “goals” ended up amounting to “do a little better than last year”, which meant this year’s goals would be do better than that…  It was getting stale.

There was one exception, one ride that my wife asked me to wait on until such a time as my eldest daughter could be responsible enough to keep and eye on her younger sister while my wife knocked out her own bike ride.  This is the year.  The DALMAC.  409 miles in four consecutive days, from Lansing, Michigan to Mackinaw City with the first and the last days being the fastest (my buddy Mike says the last day turns into a race).  My goal is 20 hours.

This will mark the first time I’ve ever ridden consecutive centuries, let alone four in a row, so training this summer will be intense – especially on the weekends.  The plans so far will be 70-80 mile rides each weekend morning, at least as my brother in chainrings, Mike has alluded to.

I will participate in my normal rides, the Dawn Farm Ride for Recovery with my wife, the Assenmacher 100, the Fahrrad Tour 100k, amongst others and my wife and I are adding the Horsey Hundred in Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend (105 miles on Saturday and 35-55 on Sunday) with several of my cycling buds.  In the end, all of the rides I participate in will be for the prize: DALMAC.  I want to absolutely kill that ride this year.

Now, if the first two months are any indication, this year should be a banner year for sales so I think rather than do the camping tour, I might go for the hotel tour, staying in a hotel each night rather than a tent.  We’ll have to see.

So that’s the dealio, that’ll be my goal for this year:  400+ miles in under 20 hours over four days.

Training for spring has been going excellently between overall hours and working in my intervals once or twice a week.  My confidence is up, I feel stronger and I’m up in the 120-130 miles per week range already (even if it is only on the trainer, I’m working a lot harder at it than I ever have).  I’m sure I’ll have quite a bit of a rude awakening as soon as we start riding outside, I always do, but I should be in a little better shape than in previous years.  And on a really positive note, we could be riding outdoors again as soon as this coming weekend – so far the weather man is calling for mid-30’s and partly cloudy skies.  We’ll see what happens come Friday though – this is Michigan.

 

Specialized Stop Sale on Carbon and Alloy Aerobars – Not Carbon Aerofly Handlebars…

A concerned friend commented on one of my recent posts that Specialized has issued a stop sale order on their carbon and alloy aerobars…  She remembered that I recently upgraded my handlebar from the alloy Tarmac bar to the carbon Aerofly bar…  First, the fact that I met somebody over the Internet who has enough give-a-shit to warn me about something like this is simply amazing to me, thank you Sandra.  That said, if you have the SHIV’s aerobars (carbon or alloy), you’ve got an issue:



If, like me, you have the Aerofly handlebar, you’re all good:





By the way, yes that bar does look awesome on my bike.  Yes it does.  It’s also exceptionally comfortable and transfers less road chatter than an alloy handlebar.  Style points + greater comfort = awesome.  Bicycle mathematics.

In any event, the affected models are 2012-2015 and is due to a defective bolt that can snap while riding.  If you have the aerobars shown above on your Triathlon Bike (aftermarket or on the Tri bike – not the Time Trial bike), best take it to your local Specialized shop to get it looked at.  If you have the Aerofly drop bar on your road bike, ride on great one.

Actually, here’s the actual statement from Specialized as it was sent to me (because some bars are not included and it can be confusing).  Specialized is coming out with a new statement on March 2, 2015 so stay tuned.  If you want more, there’s a discussion on Slow Twitch here.



Assenmacher 100

100 MileAugust 17th, 2014

July 2013 Lake Burton, Tiger, GA

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