Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Iceman Registration

I have a link to my blog that shows me what brings people here. As it turns out, almost all my views are accidental hits from people googling "biker girl tattoos." Still, I feel obligated to post a reminder that registration for Iceman opens on March 1st. Depending on how many times the Iceman site crashes, it will likely fill up quickly. This year you must create an account with USA Cycling first.

It really is a cool race and worth all the hassle, even if you have to drive all the way from Bloomington, Cincinnati, or Medina. Just say'n.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Race Schedule

Fat Tuesday came and went and I didn't touch one paczki; partially because I am neither Polish nor Catholic, and partially because I got fat this winter somehow. I know how, I rode less and ate more. Just good math really. Well technically I did “touch” a paczki; when no one was looking I picked one up. They weigh like 6 pounds. I had to fight the urge to shot-put it across the garage.

My weight is the only thing in my life I have control over so I'm just going to move forward with a sensible plan to get back down to my racing weight before May. I had a quinoa salad for lunch; not quite good but totally eatable. That will be the extent of my complaining about my weight.

I just pre-registered for a race. This always helps move me from thinking about racing hypothetically to actually considering what I need to do this season.

My schedule will likely be:

4/29 Pontiac
5/5 Mud, Sweat, and Beers
6/10 Ft Custer
7/3 Hanson Hills
7/14 (or whenever) Log splitter
7/28 Tree Farm
8/5 Brighton
8/18 Maybury
10/6 Grambian Challenge
11/3 Iceman

I don’t have unrealistic expectations this season; in fact, I am only racing because I’m afraid as soon as I stop, I will start getting old. Yep, that’s realistic.

Friday, February 17, 2012


2/26/12 has been highlighted on my calendar for a while. That’s 10 weeks before my fist race; the point where I need to get serious about training. Clearly I am in trouble so I just signed up for a spinning class membership at H.E.A.T 4 Athletes. I did a 2 hour class there a few weeks ago; it’s fine for a spinning class. They use the Real Ryder bikes that can lean side to side, similar to a real bicycle. The building is stark, nestled between other small buildings in an industrial park, no mistaking it for a pretty fitness center. The bikes are lined up in front of a huge screen where videos of group rides are projected. The music is good, by spinning standards. The spin instructor races. Tri, but still, that’s something.

Last week I rode a stationary bike in Traverse City, a very clever set up. They use stationary bikes made by Cyclopes where you can program target wattage and the computer adjusts resistance based on your cadence. The coach uses the classic method where the intensity of training progresses for a few weeks, then rest, then another progression that ends higher than the previous cycle. Each rider has different wattage and heart rate targets based on their individual power test. The coach downloads the data from each bike and later that day emails the riders advice or praise based on the data. This is clearly the way to go if you take racing seriously. I don’t but I left impressed.

The class is held in a room of a decommissioned mental institution surrounded by other rooms that have been turned into doctor offices, coffee shops, and even a single speed store. The architecture of the mental institution is striking. It is a very old building, stunning but spooky. I thought about the patients that would have been in that room 50 years ago. I believe most mental institutions have been decommissioned. I imagine institutionalizing mental illness wasn’t a good solution. Most people that suffer mental illness can be helped to some degree and integrated into society; the ones that can’t apparently move to San Francisco. I have been trying to introduce Em to classic 80’s movies; we recently watched Fatal Attraction. I thought about Glenn Close’s character. She seems more believable to me now than she did in 1987.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Want it Wednesdays: Kestrel RT1000

Three of my last four posts were Want it Wednesdays, where I post about something I want, or have, that is much nicer than it needs to be. Some people, obviously narcissistic and void of any real character, start to think their wants are needs and that right there is the problem with American consumerism. Silly, that’s all.

I need a Kestrel RT1000 with full Ultegra. Ultegra components rock. Sure, all the hip kids these days seem to be going over to SRAM Red. Whatever. The RT1000 modular monocoque frame set uses Kestrel's component integration design where each size is custom tuned. Kestrel frames are ultra stiff in the head tube and bottom bracket area but still offer a comfortable ride. More importantly, the RT1000 is Kawasaki Green and I have wanted a Kawasaki Green bike for a long time. I bought a carbon fiber Kestrel back in 1995 when carbon fiber was heavy, and Kawasaki Green bicycles weren’t invented yet.

I started thinking about a road bike with gears towards the end of a hard ride last summer. I spent most of that ride above 172 BPM. My legs started feeling like cement and, just as I was about to sit up, the person I was riding with looked at their watch and said, very relaxed-like, it was getting late so we better push it a little. This fall she got a coach. I will be screwed in spring. I told her I was looking at a new road bike. She said she would just ride slower.

I have been eyeing a Kestrel RT1000 all winter but a $4,149 bicycle is a bit much. Colorado Cyclist just dropped the price down to $2,099. I saw this as a sign from god I should buy it. God’s will is ambiguous at best. The only way I could pull off buying this high-end road bike was if I sold my Kona and Inglis. The thing is, I really like those bikes too. I was torn, like a spoiled child crying in the cereal isle of Kroger’s because he can’t choose between sugar frosted coco puffs or chocolate covered sugar puffs. I was agonizing over my dilemma last week when the transmission failed in my truck, 839 miles out of warranty.

It just so happens that a remanufactured transmission costs about the same as a Kestrel RT1000 with Ultegra components, another example of how life sometimes hands us fate wrapped in less than ridiculous packaging. I’m not bitter; dollar per pound, a transmission is a better value, I suppose.