Friday, January 30, 2009

Cyclocross Worlds Air for FREE In USA!

Wow, I was pretty happy to hear this. NBC/Universal Sports will be providing free live coverage of the UCI Cyclocross World Championships this weekend - Elite Mens AND Womens!

It doesn't really affect me directly, since I ponied up for the 3-month UCI package on - which includes world championships. Something about doing my trainer workouts on my TT bike while watching 'Cross world cups is as close to perfect as indoor cycling gets for me. It's the perfect length (an hour is about all I can stand on the trainer) but also great distraction. Other than the Cyclo-CLUB's excellent, Live Online Cyclo-SPIN streaming trainer classes, 'cross races are just about all I watch on the bike.

None of that's the point, though. I'll be watching via Universal Sports. I think it's awesome that they're providing coverage to this "fringe" sport and the more viewers they get, the more likely coverage will continue - or maybe even expand. Check it out here, time still listed as TBA:
LIVE Cyclocross World Championships Coverage.

If you click on Previous Season, you'll find some amazing other stuff that I'm sure will keep me occupied for the rest of the winter... like coverage of the world championships TT (ummm... 3.5 hours of coverage!?), World Championship RR, USA Crit Final, Tour de Nez... etc. SWEET!

Photo via flickr by optimieron

The Drip: Nutrition to Train Harder, Recover Faster, AND Lose Weight!?

I know, I know - sounds like a super-hyped marketing scheme to tantalize you with getting svelte while also encouraging you to open up that wallet. Actually the Drip is a nutrition technique that elite cyclists have been using for years, in one form or another. It's ideal for athletes in large volume base or build periods of their training (i.e. typically right about now).

I've been on and off the Drip for about a month+ and have had excellent results myself. I'm bringing on lots of calories, recovering really well, training hard on back-to-back days, and slowly leaning down.

Here's an excerpt from an article and interview of Alec Donahue I did for Cyclo-CLUB, with a link to the whole thing at the bottom:

Like many cyclists, coming out of the holidays this winter I was faced with perhaps the most common dilemma: I had excess weight to lose, but also wanted to get going with my training. Those two issues don't have the same solution, although they might seem to at first blush. Old school training philosophy would tell me to go out and ride tons and tons of base miles in the form of Long Slow Distance (LSD).

The LSD approach doesn't work for me for two main reasons. #1 -- I work! I just don't have the time to ride 5 to 6 hours a day or 30+ hours a week. #2 -- I'm a firm believer in the theory that the best way to build "base" is by pushing a decent, hard tempo for prolonged Chunks during a ride.

Athletes can't push their bodies very hard when on much of a calorie deficit -- yet that's how one loses weight. Enter the Drip…

The Mechanics: You're constantly bringing on (or "dripping") calories all day long in liquid form and eating small meals every couple hours (2-300 calories each) on top of that. The liquid mix consists of a good quality protein and some form of sugar. The carb-to-protein ration should be between 3:1 and 6:1. Although I'll experiment with home-remedies for variety's sake (more on that later), I personally predominantly rely on the Clif-Shot recovery mix. It's a high-quality organic product, tastes good, and takes away the guess work and measuring.

The Theory: The goal is to keep your metabolism constantly fired up with a continual influx of carbs and protein. Insulin spikes and subsequent crashes become non-existent, energy levels go up, recovery from workouts improve, WHILE you get leaner and drop weight!

start quoteI used to drip more when I had an office job. It is awesome. You don't get super hungry and then crave fried chicken for lunch. I would eat the chicken then get so tired that I was barely working after eating. The drip levels blood sugar and helped me make better decisions.end quote
-- Alec Donahue

I've heard various pros whisper about cycling on-and-off the Drip for years, but never had more than a vague understanding of the tactic. It was originally conceived by Rick Crawford, famous for coaching the Fort Lewis College cycling team and Tom Danielson, and one of the main forces behind the Colorado Premier Training program and their new wind tunnel. Crawford even had a "Drip" product on the market several years back -- which gave the technique its name -- although online information about the now defunct offering is scant at best.

My own coach referred me to Cycle-Smart's Alec Donahue, a racer who has relied on the Drip throughout his racing career and has coached his athletes in its implementation. He agreed to an interview to walk me through the process for my own benefit and allowed me to share the info with Cyclo-CLUB.

I've been experimenting with the Drip myself for the past month and am really excited by my performance and day-to-day recovery. I went straight from the 7-Day Fat Loss into Drip-mode. Weight loss has been modest so far -- about 5 pounds -- but I've definitely gotten leaner, lost fat (waist has shrunk), and am gaining fitness every week!

Read the whole darned thing, including nutrition specifics, HERE!

Photo via flickr by by enggul

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Old School Wheel-Spinning Madness...

I readily admit that I have little idea what's going on here...

But I like it:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Falling by the Wayside

The past few weeks have been a bit of a grind – I'm emerging from them a bit hazy and groggy. We've been going through a huge site re-org @ Without going into gory detail, all of the videos that we offer are now available as on-demand streams rather than downloads... and, while we were at it, we decided to change the whole look and feel of the website to boot.

Since I work from home, I was able to maintain some training during this work-deluge. Although there were days where I pretty much went from bed to computer (all day) then back to bed late at night, I could usually squeeze in at least some indoor trainer time. Getting out on the road for release felt amazing and, when work flow allowed it, I somehow had the energy to go hammer myself for 2 or 3 hours before coming back to slog away.

The weather here in Portland has been amazing and I felt obligated to push the training volume while I could. Stress levels up, cortisol levels up, sleep volume down, quality of food choices down, weight loss on hold (hopefully not u-turning). As soon as the work-schedule subsided a bit, I compensated (read: put more nails in my coffin!) by putting in some huge, hard rides this past weekend. Now, I'm officially toast. Mentally and physically. Before I push straight into illness, it's time to shut down, recover, and catch up on all the things that I've allowed to fall by the wayside... which is everything other than work and training.

So, here's my placemarker of a blog-entry. Now's the time to do things like pay overdue taxes, buy groceries so I can stop eating like crap, get my dog some quality walks, talk to and maybe even see friends, the list goes on...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Excited by a Water Bottle? Better Believe It!

Water bottles aren't typically the most exciting bike accessory. They serve a crucial function (lugging your liquids), but “exciting?” Not so much.

The director of my road team came across BioGreen Bottles at Interbike, the bicycle industry's tradeshow. I subsequently contacted the company to demo some of their bottles to see what all of the hub-bub was about. The bottles come in a variety of shapes and sizes and look pretty much identical to the industry's benchmark standard: the Specialized Big Mouth.

BioGreen and Specialized share a nice, wide screw-top that allows for easy cleaning and plenty of room to add scoops of drink mix. The style, form, function, and price of the two offerings are all very similar. So, what's the big deal? BioBatch.

California Springs, the parent company of BioGreen, has developed a proprietary additive, BioBatch, which when combine with regular old #4 plastic makes their bottles 100% biodegradable. When placed in compost or a landfill, the bottles start breaking down in about six weeks and completely biodegrade in as little as 18 months. According to company spokesperson Mary Bielemeyer, “With the addition of BioBatch, the end products are non-toxic and do not leach into water. There's no BPA or DHEA, and the broken down components are actually beneficial to a landfill.” [emphasis added]

The bottles will last just as long as a traditional bottle. But, when disposed of at the end of its life-cycle, nutrient-rich humus and methane gas are the sole remaining components. Although methane can be a greenhouse gas, it can also be harnessed for power production in intelligently setup landfills.

The company manufacturers their bottles right here in the U.S. - Santa Fe Springs, California. Most of the bottles contain 20% recycled content, but they're experimenting with a 90% recycled bottle currently available in black (I tried one of these – function was identical to the other offerings).

According to Bielemeyer, the #4 plastic used in these bottles is easy to recycle, often via curbside pickup. Recycling is still a better alternative to throwing the bottle away but, inevitably, some will end up in the trash. It's nice to know that, unlike the vast majority of our plastic world, any traces of these used-up bottles will soon vanish.

As you can imagine, water bottles are just the beginning for BioBatch. As consumers become more eco-savvy, plastics have taken on an increasingly bad rap. Reducing the use of plastic of any type is a plus for the planet, but some items – bike water bottles being a prime example – work best when made from a reusable plastic. Look for more BioBatch products to hit the shelves soon.

So, yeah... I'm excited by these water bottles – and really glad that my team will be working with BioGreen for 2009 and supporting their cause.

BioGreen in Summary...

  • Great function with wide screw-top

  • Competitive cost

  • Reusable, Recyclable, Biodegradable

  • Made in USA according to California's environmental standards

  • BHP/DHEA free

  • Buy them!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Team Press Release - Ten Speed Drive / Ellsworth Factory

Hot off the presses, my revamped team's announcement for 2009. I'm pretty excited about the direction that we're going and really looking forward to a fantastic season!

January 1, 2009

Ten Speed Drive Racing, Inc. is excited to announce the formation of the Ten Speed Drive / Ellsworth Factory Elite Cycling Team. Formerly known as Colavita New Mexico presented by JNF Enterprises, TSD/Ellsworth will further emphasize their commitment to the environment and “Go Green and Kick the CO2 Habit”. Central to the Team’s mission will be their efforts to minimize their environmental impact.

“We are dedicated to promoting cycling as a form of transportation and to further public awareness of everyday techniques – from transportation to energy consumption – the public can use to lessen their environmental footprints,” said team director, John Freisen. “The bicycle should be an important part of any environmental solution – yet bike racing is extremely resource intensive,” continued Freisen. “We’re hoping to bridge that gap.”

Team racers will commute by bike in their daily lives as often as practicable, minimize individuals’ miles traveled or flown, use carbon offsets, eat locally and sustainably when traveling, and use durable products created by responsible companies. “The team is working closely with its sponsors to build a low-impact model,” adds Freisen. “We’re also learning from conscientious programs who have come before us, like Ben Turner’s Clif Bar development cyclocross team.”

The team will be co-sponsored by Ellsworth Handcrafted Bicycles, whose products are made in the U.S. Ellsworth has a long tradition of environmental sustainability; the company utilizes solar power, insulating materials for their offices and warehouses that allow for no air conditioning and minimal heating, and they incorporate efficiency into their entire work stream.

“Eat a bowl of pasta and you can fuel a 100-mile bike ride. That’s efficiency,” said Tony Ellsworth, CEO of Ellsworth Handcrafted Bicycles. “We try to bring that thread of efficiency – and its direct correlations to environmental stewardship – into every aspect of our business model.” Ellsworth looks to further the company’s environmental connection and promote their road bike lineup by supporting Ten Speed Drive / Ellsworth. The team will be racing aboard the Ellsworth Scant scandium road frames and will be debuting the brand new Ellsworth carbon time trial bicycles this Spring.

The Ten Speed Drive / Ellsworth race calendar will feature many of the biggest, most prestigious events in North America, including events from the National Road Calendar (NRC) races in the U.S. as well as select UCI events in Mexico and Canada.

Other sponsors teaming up with Ten Speed Drive / Ellsworth and helping them achieve the mission – on and off the bike – include Voler Team Apparel, Clif Bar, BioGreen Bottle, Patagonia, Profile Design, Rudy Project, Luna Bar, Fair Wheel Bicycles, and York Allergy Clinic.

2009 Roster:

John Freisen, Director and General Manager

Josh Liberles, USA, Team Captain
Travis Burandt, USA
Adam Carr, USA
Leo Frayre, MEX
Brian Husen, HON
Emiliano Jordan, USA
Chris Keane, USA
Ronnie Strange, USA
Christian Velasquez, HON
Garrett White, USA
Jesus Zapata, MEX

Hawks, Dogs, Cricket Infestations... and Bike!

Ed Nolan, a fellow member of Cyclo-CLUB, started a thread about dog encounters on his blog. It morphed into an article on Cyclo-CLUB where I gave tips to handle the situation. Actually, here's that excerpt:
  • Be Large & In-Charge! Just like in dog training, assume control. Growl, bark, bare your teeth. I will literally go TOWARDS the chasing dog and get aggressive. Unless the dog is rabid and insane (1 time in 10,000) - this tactic works great!

  • Water in the Face. If the above fails, water bottle squirts, as Ed suggested, work great. They startled the animal out of chasing.

  • Physical Threats. Oftentimes obsessed chasing dogs are abused, sad as that may be. I DON'T advocate further abusing these animals! But, simply raising a fist or threatening with a frame pump will be a recognizable, threatening gesture such a dog is used to and will respect.

  • I don't recommend the American Flyers technique... But it is great, cheesy TV!

All of that led to a slew of bikes n' animals related stories... which, inevitably, meant the retelling of one of my personal faves. Now that I've bothered to retell it, might as well post it here too!

The Hawk Story. New Mexico, 2004-ish:
It ended up as a surreal, epic day. Three of us set out on a mountainous, 140-mile loop which only one had done before (and he has a taste for the crazy, epic rides). My longest day ever in the saddle, I do believe! We left from Taos, NM, climbed gradually across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and on up to Tres Piedras. From Tres Piedras to Tierra Amarilla averages almost 10,000 feet elevation and has some great, hard hills in between. And spectacular, change-your-life scenery. There's a race up there every June - the TP to TA road race - that I can't recommend enough (I used to promote it for a few years!).

Anyhow, it was on that stretch that we encountered Animal Planet. First came the hawk. we were flying down a long, straight descent at maybe 45 or 48mph when I spotted a red tail hawk cruising along to our left. It apparently had no idea we were there and started swooping in towards us. I yelled at it, enough to send it into evasive tactics... and straight into my friend Doug's front wheel! Doug's handling skills are world-class, and he proved it. I couldn't believe that he didn't crash and hardly changed his line!

The three of us eventually came to a stop and looked back uphill. The red tail was lying in the middle of the road on its back. We feared the worse as we made our way back up to it. Cellphone coverage was non-existent and we thought we might need to put the animal out of its misery. Not a great start to a "fun" ride. As we approached, the bird seemed to slowly come to and hobbled off the road into the bushes, where it took us a long time to finally spot. Much to our relief, it gathered its wits and flew into the tree for a minute, before sailing off along its (I hope merry) way!

About 10 miles later started the cricket infestation. It only lasted for a few miles but the roads were absolutely covered in insects in intermittent patches. Never seen anything like that either... but it all makes for a good "from the saddle" story. After Tierra Amarilla, we climbed up to Chama along the river and on into Colorado... over to San Antonito, looped back to Tres Piedras. Go to Taos and ask Doug (the owner of Taos Cyclery, by the way) for some advice and yarns of his own.

Photo via flickr by ehoyer.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Riding Ketchup

OK, time to play ketchup. I have some more interesting posts to come, promise. for now, just recording the workouts I'm doing and my early 2009 progress. In the works, though: an interview with Cycle-Smart coach Alec Donahue about how best to implement the mysterious, secretly-whispered-about-by-serious-racers technique called "The Drip" (and its bastard off-shoot we're calling "The Dreeze"); a series of reviews on multitasking options for those who need good sounding headphones/a cell phone/mp3 player/remote/etc... out on the road with them - my own obsessive personal quest of late; and more. Stay tuned.

Riding RECAP...

Saturday: I played "bike racer" today. Great 3hours 40 minutes, beautiful ride along the Columbia River out towards Multnomah Falls, ~2820kJ; Did some good stretching (Fix the Back, Stay in the Drops from Cyclo-CLUB); slid into my new favorite compression tights; and Drip/Dreezed all day long for nutrition. It's 10:20pm as I write this though... and I'm really craving that beer in the fridge. Mmmmm... maybe just one...

Friday night: I was so adept at delaying doing anything productive today that, while I may be an amateur when it comes to the bike, I'm officially coining this term and applying it to myself: Pro-Crastinator™. It was 'round about midnight when I finally mounted my trainer, popped in the classic Sunday in Hell 1974 Paris-Roubaix documentary, and tapped out 35 minutes-or-so. More ab-roller and medicine ball twists to keep working on that core strength, some jump-rope-action for extra credit kicks.

Thursday: involved 45 minutes on the trainer watching the UCI Cyclocross World Cup #4. Those guys killing themselves for an hour+ definitely inspires me to keep turning the pedals over for a little while inside. More ab-roller, medicine ball, jump rope, stretching, and the Drip/Dreeze. Good times.

Wednesday: Off!

Tuesday: A 2 hour ride (mapped below) that re-affirmed my love for Portland. It's got everything: A warm-up spin that takes me through downtown and to the hipster-laden Northwest 23rd; then starts the serious climbing to: Skyline - rolling along a fabulous ridge, as the name implies; down a sick twisty descent; onto a flattish tempo road; over St John's Bridge; and back home. 2 hours, a sick workout, BEAUTIFUL scenery. Me gusta mucho!

Spin that turntable
There's only maybe a 700 or 800' gain in elevation,
but it was more than enough to find where the snow
was still hiding...

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