Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tour of Richland County or I want to be the Governor of New York

Before I announce my candidacy for the NY governor’s office, I want to let you know I thought I was prepared for saturday’s race at Malabar (see photo above). Who knew there would be no snow this week, after having the last 4 races canceled due to the white stuff, I was prepared with my new snow-bike-mobile.

Being locked in the house for the past 4 weeks must have been the reason for the big turnout at the parking lot. Besides Rudy Guliani’s new comb-over/no comb-over, I saw (for our team) Rea-Rea 2.o, the Woodman, Iowa-J, Mansfield-J, Mansfield Mark, Man-of-Gawd, the Y&TR, Cadillac George (whose new racing getup is all black) and Pascalinator and her mom. We’re thinking of starting a whole new blog just to cover Pascale’s mother as a Dr. Ruth look-alike.

Tym gives me a race number “709” as in “client #9 and I’m beginning to feel a little Elliot Spitzer. Couple that with temps at 40 degrees and wind gusts at 25+ mph and sports fans, who doesn’t like their action kinda rough and dangerous?

We were scheduled for 30 miles on the up-and-down of Richland county (notice: I didn’t say in-and-out) with it’s share of dogs and locals who hate bikers with Confederate flags proudly displayed. Not dogs with flags but dogs in pickups with flags. The county road crews conveniently spread lotsa gravel on the climbs and in the turns just to give the locals (I mean dogs) the advantage.

I’m told, there are some things even Cinnamon wouldn’t do.

I’m in the masters race with everyone from ex-pros like Greg Lemond to the guy wearing gym shorts and a “I heart NY” t-shirt, maybe he’ll vote for me! To my left is Cadillac George and his 20 excuses, Woodman - “That’s Dr. Woodman, son,” the Mansfield Mark, and Rea-Rea 2.o. The neutral rollout up and up nears my lactate threshold. So I squeeze my new GU viagras and we are off. The first lap of three is quite civil, as we view the turkey vultures making a nice meal of veal McRibs just off the road. The second climb up and we have lost a few of the faithful. Halfway through the second lap and the steep steep roller, I, as they say, ‘popped’. Goodbye Rea-Rea and the bunch. The old joke “Do you smoke after sex?” comes to mind, and yes, the punch line is “I don’t know, I’ve never looked.” My man-on-man masters action is over for the day, all I have to do is finish this race without getting caught by the the big black olive oil biodiesel cadillac that is chasing me.

Just like Elliott Spitzer, my dangerous action would probably be solo for the remainder of the race. Past the dogs, and rednecks and the vultures I rode.

I finished sixth, alone, no Cinnamon, no limo, no problem. The ex-governor might have paid $4800/yr for his master's action . Mine was $25 for an hour and a half, same as ‘in the city.’

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Another Canceled Race - Saturday

Snow, snow snow. Another weekend INSIDE and on the trainer! But to quote Walter Sobchak, "Dude, you cannot take this negative energy into the tournament."

So we do our intervals indoors, a kind of abiding....

Saturday, March 8, 2008

WINTER - Training Test Part 1.

In a clinical study, performed under scientific parameters this past weekend, American Taliban – Andy Will attempted to accomplish his normal interval workout under the controlled conditions of the aptly named “Chick Flick Training Test.” The results are detailed below. First, allow me to explain the proposal for this study and the possible ramifications of DVD viewing on both VO2 Max and suicidal thoughts/actions.

The task of winter training has been helped immensely by Netflix and three little letters W-C-P. World Cycling Productions packages last years professional cycling race videos for purchase. These include the three grand tours – Giro d’Italia, the Spanish Vuelta, Tour de France, and the spring classics (my favorites). This year they also released an 8-hour version of the 2007 Tour of California where you can play the game ‘find Mel’ by looking for my wife on certain climbs along the route. Note: that’s not her wearing the Grim Reaper costume. You might find that trainer riding while watching a cyclist suffer along side of you to be as entertaining as my dog fat Louie watching the squirrels in the back yard. Or if you are like me, the rhythms of the peloton are one great “OM” or hypnotic inducing trance.

Unfortunately, once you are through the 30 or so hours of race videos it is still December. There is the option of watching the 1999 TDF again, you know the only one where Lance Armstrong says or does something unscripted. We started looking for other choices.

Alternatives to race videos are television, but sorry, I can’t take the commercials and the NFL, NBA, NASCAR (not a sport), WNBA, NHL, NCAA Basketball, and ultimate fighting have been banned in my house. That leaves us with DVD rentals on Netflix. What a godsend! 3 DVDs to my door, and three more on the way anytime I say so. Pop a flick in, and 2 hours later you are wiping sweat off your bike, trainer and floor. Easy as pie.

Andy and I have found certain videos have yielded better workouts, harder efforts, and less opportunities to be distracted by housework, homework, or significant spouses. Thus, less chance one will ride off the sides of your rollers and into the Emergency room. Top films for indoor training would certainly fail the UCI’s allowable testosterone levels. This years top films include:

1. Shoot ‘em Up - hundreds of dead bodies and plenty of guns
2. Transformers - kid's toys attack
3. Live Free or Die Hard - God bless Bruce Willis
4. Casino Royale - Finally Bond gets pissed off
5. The Bourne Ultimatum - Doing to the CIA - what it does to us.
6. American Gangster - a Denzel your mom would hate
7. 28 Days Later - Zombies that can sprint
8. MotoGP 2004 - Better than the cycling crash video
9. Eastern Promises - Naked guys knife fighting
10. Superbad - Somebody on the team is gonna be tagged as “McLovin” real soon

I’ve also found loud, I mean LOUD concert videos have really benefited me during tough intervals, favorites include:

1. The Pixies Sellout - Anybody else think A. Burns resembles Flank Black?
2. Rage Against The Machine Battle of Mexico City - Zack de la Rocha really puts it to the man, wait a minute, I’m the man! (got to cover this with my shrink next session)

But what would happen if you trained while viewing a testosterone-free movie? No car chases, no guns, no smirking Bruce Willis? Cat. 2 road racer Andy Will, accepted this challenge. Actually, he said he would take my test IF we weren’t riding outside by the first of March. Who knew winter would refuse to leave? Saddle up guinea pig.

Because my grant from the National Institute of Sports Science was turned down we didn’t obtain the oxygen mask and blood hemocrit tester and since Andy doesn’t use a power meter, heart rate monitor, or a freakin’ speedometer, this test has morphed into a purely subjective evaluation. His test movie choices, either Fried Green Tomatoes or Bridget Jones Diary were to be played during the actual interval session. “Blaaat” is the sound of one cyclist throwing up – but my observations would remain purely objective.

Andy was allowed one bottle of water every hour. Rollers were chosen because if he attempted to close his eyes during the test he would ride off the sides of the rollers and break a collarbone. At no time was he allowed to adjust the volume of the video or switch to the McNeil/Lehrer Report. He was to be given a two minute bathroom break every hour for a total ride of three hours. For the first hour warm-up, he was shown movie trailers from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, several Jane Austin novels, and a sampling of movies by Hugh Grant, Dame Judy Dentch, and Kevin Costner.

Look for Part 2 - the Chick Flick Training Test

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Testa Della Corsa

A wise man once told me, "It's not what you accomplish in life, but what you overcome."