I’ve decided to add a little to my Manscaping 101 beginner’s course with some advanced techniques. If you follow the beginner’s course, you’ll absolutely be presentable – if you want to go extra awesome, I’ve got some more intricate pointers…
I covered the uni-brow and the bushy eyebrow in 101. For 202, we get a little more detailed. This only takes a matter of an additional 20-30 seconds per eyebrow, but makes a huge impact in overall fit and finish. Once you’ve hacked off the uni-brow, you’re left with two bushy tufts right at the bridge of your nose. Those tufts should be carefully be brought into submission. This isn’t quite brain surgery, but it’s a delicate operation – this is no place for a nervous person. If you happen to be a perpetual shaker, skip this step, you’re liable to poke a hole in your brain. The goal is to neatly bring down said tufts to a managable length. Do NOT snip too close! You don’t want to look like you gave your eyebrows a flat-top. Though you may have been a Marine, your eyebrows are just eyebrows. High and tight won’t make you look good when it comes to the brows, bro. Let’s look at an example of what’s bad:
To clean the rough patches just takes a couple of carefully placed snips. They don’t have to be perfect either, because we’re men, but don’t be like Jude.
Brad will take us home with the proper trimmage:
We’ll give Mr. Pitt a pass on the fact that he missed his chin when shaving on this particular morning – that shit happens to the best of us Brad (not really brother, but whatever). Technically, zoom in… His left eye (on the right side of the picture) is borderline – his right eye (on the left of the photo) is correct.
Ok, so that takes care of the eyes. Now let’s look at sideburns. Sideburns can get wild in a hurry and should always be kept at a managable length – if they get the least bit bushy they’ll make you look like you don’t give a shit in a hurry. For length I have one simple rule: If married, defer to the wife for sideburn length. The idea is that you would like for her to grab a hold of those bad boys like she means it (if they weren’t trimmed too short of course) – so make ’em a length she likes. My wife likes mine long (just above the bottom of the ear lobe), so that’s what she gets. I like them a little shorter personally, but my wife’s gotta look at me and love me through all of my real faults, so I might as well make it as easy as possible for her. To keep the actual hair short enough that it doesn’t get bushy, I use my clippers with a #3 guard setting – just be careful to fade it as you get lose to the ear – you don’t want a ridge from your head of hair to your sideburn. Try to keep the sideburns classy fellas, there’s nothing technically wrong with looking like a human cartoon character, if that’s what you want, but let’s keep it to a minimum unless you draw a seven figure salary, eh? If you want a laugh, Google sideburns under “images”. WOOF!
For now that’ll do. I’ll put together a 303 later on – any recommendations from the ladies on this matter would be helpful…
Tour de Lance – 2004
This shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, but I’m a huge Lance fan… I’ll tell you, seeing all of the pictures that Matt took at the 2004 TdF, I wouldn’t mind putting this on the vacation list for when the girls are teenagers (or maybe Mrs. BgddyJim and I fly solo and send the kids up to Grandma’s house – Now there’s an idea).
Surprisingly Wise… Don’t Tell Anybody
I had something very odd happen today. I had every intention of putting in 25 miles this afternoon – even as of clipping in my second shoe!
Alas, my legs were feeling absolutely wrecked after a quarter of a mile. This is normally about the time I start mashing the pedals, miles (and legs) be damned…but that just didn’t feel like the bright thing to do. The wind had picked up considerably, contrasted with this morning where you could have thrown up dandilion fluff and had it come straight down. When taking both factors into account, balanced against yesterday’s effort, going hard again tonight just didn’t seem wise.
I held my speed way down – 16.8 mph to be exact and cut my route down to 16 miles. Come to think about it, that’s the slowest I’ve ever ridden that bike.
I took it really easy and just enjoyed the sweet spring smells… Of cow poo fertilizer, dear God, the farmers were out spraying the fields and it was all kinds of gnarly for a couple of miles – ahh, the sweet smell of home (one of my friends from grade school lived on a dairy farm, we used to ride the three miles to his house and play in the hay barn and help milk the cows).
In any event, I had a nice, slow ride and arrived home with fresher legs than when I left (thank you fast cadence).
So I’ll have to see how that affects my standing in my cycling challenge – I have a solid 7th place in points and I’ve got tomorrow, but I just didn’t have that extra nine in me today.
So I’m sticking with wise, in lieu of a little lazy, with my course selection and pace this evening.
Big Daddy Bumps It Up A Notch – Living Pain Free (Relatively Speaking)
Please forgive the title of this post – I believe that everyone should refer to themselves in the third person at least once every three months to make sure the ego is still working correctly. If one refers to oneself in the third person,using a nickname, we’ll that’s bonus points right there. That said, once every three sentences is too much – even if you’re Deion Sanders or Terrell Owens. I just threw that last quip in for context.
I’ve written before about the bite splint that I wear at night. It aids in recovery from soreness, rest, and my overall enjoyment of physical fitness because I just don’t have a need for down-time that I did prior to using it. I literally recover from a workout as I did when I was half my age. I can remember the first day I woke up after wearing it through the night for the first time – I actually got a little misty. I went from a life of battling back pain, muscle pain and general soreness to being completely pain-free in one night. I felt as if someone had taken an oil-can and lubed every one of my joints. The remarkable thing, at least to me, is that I still feel great (herculean jumps in running mileage and a slight dabble in the fore-foot strike notwithstanding). I had assumed that, with the bulk of my pain gone, my perception would change – my tolerance for pain would diminish. That hasn’t happened.
At the dentist’s office yesterday afternoon I updated him on how I’ve been doing with the splint and how well everything is going. After which, he asked me to meet with the executives of a major athletic outfitter to plug his bite splint (one of the big four) in a “testimonial” nature. Now granted, I’d be giving him a plug – without compensation, that will add weight to the value of his product, but in all honesty, it’s worth it – my bite splint is worth its weight in gold and I think everyone should have one. If my plug helps someone go from a painful life to pain free, it’s worth it – my splint is that good.
If you suffer from lower or upper back pain or neck pain, I cannot recommend this product highly enough. If you’re interested, my dentist can be reached here… If you click on the testimonials page – the written one is mine.
Full disclosure: I paid for mine.
Taking My Own Advice On Group Rides
Generally when I make a statement, as I did in my last post, I find myself in a spot to eat crow – once in that spot it’s quite normal to wind up chewing vigorously. That was not the case last evening. It was a sucky ride for everybody. The wind was just brutal – 20 mph sustained with gusts only God knows how strong. Fortunately all of the headwind and cross headwind miles were on the first half of the ride. The only problem I had with this occurred during the cross headwind stretches. Everybody assumes that having a sleek, tight, awesome body is all fun and games… Well it is for the most part, except when you’re perched atop a 19 pound bike getting hammered by a crosswind. I had an absolute miserable time trying to hold a line.
So miserable was I that I dropped on purpose. Full disclosure, I was semi-gassed and I really wasn’t looking forward to continuing the competition for space while being buffeted by a cross-tailwind at 30 mph (I managed to wind up next to the biggest @$$hole in the group who was quite content with pushing me left out of the draft so he could suck a little more protection – he almost caused a wreck two weeks ago with someone else doing the same thing).
I’m also finding that I actually like lone wolf riding a lot more. I can push when I want and rest when I want, sit up when I want. Again, I was one of the last to drop, somewhere around 15 miles out. We started with what had to be 25-30 riders and I was in the lead group of 15. We broke off from the slower riders in the first three miles (the wind was that bad, the slow pack is usually good for at least ten miles). I took my fair share of turns pulling at the front and all pulls were short – 1/2 to 3/4 mile because, according to the cycle computer which maxed out, each pull required an average of greater than 500 watts for the length of the pull – it was some REALLY tough riding just to maintain an 18-20 mph average.
I dropped early enough that I could have taken the shortcut back, opting for a 26 mile ride in lieu of the normal 33, but I did that two weeks ago and I really felt like I’d short-changed myself and I was none too pleased with the feeling that I’d cheated myself out of seven miles for the sake of comfort. At the 17 mile mark I noticed a rider behind me, about 1/4 mile back, who must have dropped just before I did so I coasted down the hills and soft pedaled to give her a chance to catch up. We spoke for a mile or two and I offered her some shelter from the cross-tailwind, but she opted for the shorter route so we parted ways.
On finishing the ride I did notice one very important difference when I contrasted this ride with previous jaunts – the extra miles I’ve been riding on my normal daily ride have really helped. I had to rush over to the meeting place because of a dentist’s appointment (more on that in my next post) so my warmup was greatly shortened – normally five miles, I could only fit in 2-1/2. On top of the shortened warmup, I started out hungry and I didn’t have any food with me. Even so I finished a lot stronger and I was a lot more comfortable than before two weeks ago.
All things considered, it turned out to be a really nice ride and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The sun was shining and the temp, at 75 degrees, was comfortable, even with the wind…
And yesterday’s ride catapulted me to 6th place of 434 riders for my local cycling challenge (top 1%) and I remain in the top 2-5% in the other three Endomondo challenges that I’m taking part in. The thing that pleases me the most, that spreads across all four challenges is my year over year mileage. Last July, August and September I completed 297, 348 and 386 overall miles, respectively. So far this year, with the season starting in March, I tracked 410 miles, 501 in April and 582 so far in May… and I’ve still got two more days left for the month (I’m figuring 25 slow miles today and 25 hard miles tomorrow) – I’ll be well over 600 miles for the month.
2011 Average Speed (Riding and Running): 12.94 mph
2012 Average Speed (Riding and Running): 17.42 mph
2011 Average Pace (Running): 9.22 mile/min.
2012 Average Pace (Running): 8:48 mile/min. *
2011 Average Speed (Cycling Sport): 15.98 mph
2012 Average Speed (Cycling Sport): 18.25 mph *includes all road cycling – hard efforts, leisure rides and recovery rides.
That’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby.
How To Get Dropped From The Group Ride – Really
I’ve seen over the WordPress blogosphere the often controversial topic of whether or not advanced cyclists should help new riders attain the speed and fitness it takes to keep up whether it be on beginner (15-18 mph avg), or advanced (22+ mph avg) rides by slowing the pace down so noobs don’t get dropped. I won’t pretend to be intelligent enough to provide the appropriate answer because my experience will vary from that of someone else and we all filter reality through our experience and that affects how we interpret reality. In addition, group attitude isn’t static the world over so to get drawn into a discussion about whether or not an individual has a legitimate beef about a group is just shy of lunacy imao.
What I can add to the discussion though, is the proper way to get dropped if you’re not fast enough. I do have some experience in this and again, imao it’s far better to add to the discussion than complain about it happening. Now the following list only applies if the ride you will be embarking on is with a group of riders of superior talent or speed.
First on the list know your ride! Know the route, know the short-cuts (if possible). I have my Tuesday ride programmed into Endomondo so I can ride the whole thing myself if I have to.
Talk to the higher-ups at your local bike shop about your aspirations. As long as you’re spending some money in there, they’ll more than likely be all kinds of friendly.
Find friendlies at the ride – here’s how that conversation works: “Hi, my name is Joe-Bob, can you point out a few of the slower riders that I can stick with”?
Next is don’t be dropped first unless you know where you are and how to get back. If you drop after other riders, all you have to do is soft pedal until they catch up… Or catch up to the next couple of riders that fall off the back (I’ve done both).
Learn who is strong and who is weak in the group. This takes a little time, but after a while you should be able to pick out the weaker folks. If you’re trying to keep with the main pack and you happen to fall back behind a weaker rider as he’s falling off the back, chances are you won’t be strong enough to bridge the gap to get back with the main group.
Don’t pull too often, too early. I was dropped behind weaker riders twice because I couldn’t bridge the gap (between 15 and 18 miles out if memory serves) – to make sure that didn’t happen again I fell in well before I got to the back after my turns up front – which meant I’d end up pulling before I was ready. This wore me out too fast so I had a hard time keeping up.
Watch the gutter! If an echelon forms because of a cross wind and you don’t fit in there, you’re done. Best I’ve ever done is held on for three miles in the gutter – it’s almost as tough there as it is floating out in the wind by yourself.
Watch what the front of the group is doing, not just the rider ahead of you. This takes a little practice, so be careful.
Finally, accept the idea that you might get dropped – that you might not be strong enough to keep up. Try your damnedest and hold on as long as you can, but if you do fall off, fall off with dignity and don’t whine about it. The absolute quickest way to be shunned from a group is whining because they’re fast – riding fast is the point, not to have a glorious conversation about needle point.
It is a fact, you will not get faster if people slow down for you. They’ll get slower. The only way to get faster is to try to keep up.
A Banner Week – And Month
Today’s couple of posts are going to be short – I’ve got a lot to pack into my day off. An average distance, slow ride, cutting some grass and getting in a swim (it’s going to be a hot one – 94 today – close to a record) in some exceptionally cold water to help heal up the muscles for tomorrow’s group ride.
Last year I struggled to fit in 100 miles a week. I usually came in around 90 – 95 with an occasional 105 or 106.
What a difference a year makes. Starting on March 12th-19th (the beginning of the season in Lower Michigan) my weekly average started at 105, then jumped to 115 in April and then again to 120 in May – and last week was my best week ever at 149 miles. Now there are certainly plenty of folks out there who are putting in more miles than I do, but I’m doing the best I possibly can with the time I’ve got… I simply don’t have any more time to drop into training without neglecting work or my family (and I’m not about to do either). This week will be more of the same, and with a cooling trend on the horizon this week will be a touch more comfortable.
There are a lot of really good things happening as a result – I’m very much used to the additional 9 miles that I added on to my daily ride two weeks ago. I’ll pass 30,000 calories burned for the month today and I’ve figured out my diet so that I can eat enough to support the effort – reversing an alarming weight loss trend (I had a tough time eating enough to support all of the miles).
My running is progressing fantastically and I’ll be in prime shape for my July Olympic Triathlons.
In maintenance notes, Mrs. BgddyJim and I took the time to take her mountain bike apart and give it a good cleaning yesterday – it was really neat taking the time together to work on her bike. I changed her tires to street tires while she handled the full cleaning. I helped out with the chain degreasing and after about an hour’s work we’ve got her steed sparkling clean. I can’t wait to see what happens to her average speed with the street tires on there. Mine jumped 1-1/2 mph when I used them last year.
It’s been a great weekend with a much needed rest from the daily grind…while we’ve been able to attend to some things around the house that really needed attention.
My Most Enjoyable Message
We all know how things work in the blog world but it’s one of those unspeakable evils – so I won’t dare write its name here. I received the opportunity to reject the following comment this morning on my post about Jelly Belly Sport Beans.
My particular favorite aspect of the comments, next to their general inneptitude, is their lack of coherence. Take this for example, “Almost all of the commentary on this particular webpage dont make sense”.
Glossing over the fact that the dope spelled “don’t” incorrectly (which actually makes sense when you think about it) for just a moment, I can understand why reading complete, structured sentences, in ENGLISH wouldn’t make sense to some people – especially after reading the comment.
Sometimes dopes are too ironic.
It Really Is A Small World
I’ve written about Matt Assenmacher quite a bit since I started this blog – he’s helped me out immensely with getting into cycling. He’s the one person I know who loves cycling more than I do (and he enjoys it more by an order of magnitude)… But there’s more to the story.
Before I’d gotten into cycling I passed by Matt’s shops on a fairly regular basis and I wondered if he was related to someone from my past – same last name. My grade school gym teacher. Mr. Assenmacher was pretty tough, he pushed us hard, but he was really good about it – he took the time to find the right buttons to push to get us moving. He made a huge impact on my physical fitness as a kid and that carried to adulthood. He was one of those grade school teachers whose lessons apply 30 years later.
When I finally met Matt at his shop after picking up cycling, I asked him if he was related to a gym teacher – sure enough, my grade school gym teacher was his brother.
So while I have and take the responsibility for my being physically fit, the Assenmacher family impacted my life in a huge way – first teaching me about fitness in the first place and then helping me to enjoy cycling (30 years later) more than I ever thought possible.
It really is a small world.
Part Awesome Part Lazy, If That’s Possible in 30 Miles… It is
If the title sounds a little odd, it should. I went out on my usual Saturday ride and run yesterday. I struck out for the running club on my bike shortly after a long stretch of rain. The pavement was still quite wet but I wasn’t about give up my long brick day for some wet pavement. The first four miles were uneventful and medium fast – it was the first four of 33 so I really didn’t find it necessary to push too hard. About 20 yards into my fifth mile the rain started up again. At first as sprinkles, then the clouds opened up… My second day in a row riding in the rain. I grinned and pushed on. My first leg was a little more than 12 miles at 17.5 mph… Quite slow by normal standards, but I was just going for distance yesterday, and for my second day in a row riding in the rain, I was getting a little tired of it to be truthful.
I made it down to the running club, changed and had a cup of coffee. With the rain I wouldn’t break in my new running shoes – I don’t do mud on the first day of a new pair of shoes – I don’t care, I’m not mucking up a brand new pair on the first day and I have a few miles left in last year’s model anyway (I got the Adizero Tempo’s again). We started off as a group of five – one guy walked the 5k, I ran it and the other three were headed out on 7.2 mile, or greater, runs. So here’s where the lazy part came in. I started out fast – 6:05 pace before I slowed down a bit after a quarter mile to a 7:35 pace. I finished off the first mile in 7:16. I kept the 7:30 pace going for the second mile to finish that mile (1/2 uphill, 1/4 flat, 1/4 downhill) at 7:33. My breathing was great, my stride was long and things were generally going really well but my legs were feeling a little heavy – it was a pretty hectic week by my standards, 124 miles in five days so I justified walking the rest of the way because I didn’t want to hurt myself. I would have been just fine, and I knew it, but I just didn’t feel like running the last mile so I enjoyed a brisk walk/jog back to the club.
I ate some lunch – heavenly pizza from Little Caesar’s, perpperoni and bacon for me – and relaxed for a minute waiting for some of the other guys to get back. It was a light crowd by normal standards because the Bay Shore 10k-1/2 marathon-marathon was yesterday and many of the guys from the club participate in that.
After a lively discussion or two I suited up and got ready to ride home – the long way around, an 18 mile trip. The first thing I noticed, after about 40 feet, is that the rain had finally taken its toll on my chain lube. It was a quiet ride down but my chain was squealing like a stuck pig after drying out. I started out slow again but was up to 22 mph by the time I was 2m:30s into the ride…a loud one at that, my $2,600 babied race bike sounded like a $120 Huffy that had been laying in the grass for a week. The protesting chain actually had a pretty huge impact on effort too. I noticed on several occasions that keeping my speed was a little tougher than normal. After a minute at the quicker pace I got to thinking I should slow it down a little bit because I didn’t want to wreck my legs after that heavy feeling on the run. My first four miles were right where I thought they should be considering the effort I wanted to put in: 3:23, 3:03, 3:12, 3:21. On the fifth mile I settled into a nice rhythm and shut the sound down on Endomondo so it wouldn’t give out my overall and mile times. I just kept rolling, the squeaks and squeals of the chain became a little hypnotic. I attacked the hills hard, standing on 1 gear higher (harder) than normal, and let gravity on the way down run my speed back up. My cadence was unusually high – approaching 100 rpm on a gear one easier than I use on a flat to maintain 20 mph and I just kept cruising, feeling great. My breathing was fairly relaxed and the temperature was perfect… Just over 70 degrees with cloudy skies. Into the 13th mile curiosity got the best of me and I kicked my stem mounted phone out of standby mode to see where I was time-wise.
Much to my surprise I’d made up most of the 58 seconds I’d lost in the first four miles to make a 20 mph average. I kept my cadence the same and wound up slightly faster than a 20 average when I turned right onto the home stretch road – directly into a head wind. I hadn’t even noticed the crosswind over the previous nine miles, I had been deep in the zone for eleven miles and didn’t even know it (I love it when that happens on purpose but it’s a rare treat when it sneaks up on me). The last three miles into that wind, a 20 mph pace on my own was impossible, I finished with a 19.3 average.
Overall, I had a fun time and while I could make the argument that I was a little lazy on a 33 mile day – why bother? I had a lot of fun.
On arriving home I left my bike outside to be washed later and went in for a shower and a nap. When I came out a couple of hours later I had a flat – two days in the rain and two flats in a row. I washed my bike and degreased my chain, dried it off and left with my wheel to pick up a couple of tubes… I took the wheel in just to make sure there was nothing structurally wrong and bought a couple of new tubes (one spare). The reason for first flat (on Friday) was obvious – most of my rides go past a construction zone and the General Contractor has been amazingly lax in keeping the cycling lane free of gravel – I picked up a small, sharp rock that punctured the kevlar layer and put a pin hole in the tube (it took till Saturday morning for the tire to deflate – it was a slow leak. The flat yesterday was a little more troubling – there were no visible imprefections in the tire – nothing. They couldn’t find anything at the shop either…for now it’s a mystery.
For today, it’s going to be really hot so I’ve got a few options, but I think I’ll keep it easy and simple and do the 25 mile route, recovery pace. I’ve got my Tuesday group ride on Tuesday so I want to ride but I want to have a lot in the tank for Tuesday.