Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Training Camp

In response to those who doubt
Monday, January 29, 2007

Due to popular demand, I must tale the truth of that oh so perilous day. Unfortunately, the reality of the incident may upset the likes of those who beg for dirt.
My mates and I contested a hill of unusual proportions. It first escalates at 16-20% then flattens out as it rolls to the finish, which crosses a cattle guard before intersecting a highway: the finish. Initially I will clarify that my preference is not to be beat, however, if a beating is due, I fancy one owed to strength not error.
In this case we ascended the hill where I received a lead of ~20 seconds. On the flat section I slackened my pace feeling that indeed the race was over and I had won. With 30 meters to go the Pate triumphed as he came in hot on the outside. Certainly you may declare that such a state of mind is due to an arrogant, selfish approach, and I concede that. However, in such a predicament of events I find it difficult to compromise my finish with an “oh, I screwed up.” I admit that, but may I offer that by chance that is not good enough.
& in response to the doping allegation: I've been clean from the start and I'll be clean 'till the end, that goes for everyone on this team. Sometime in the near future Slipstream will unveil its new anti-doping mechanism which will effectively turn the page on the sport’s dark history of those who choose to churn the dirty water...

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 17
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today the rain came. Not all at once, but slowly… until it rivaled that found only in the Pacific Northwest. To elude the rain, I made a break for the desert under the rational that the rain does not fall in the desert. Following my arrival (a rather lengthy descent is required) the weather was so nice that I decided it must be passing. So I went up and over the Montezuma Pass. The weather held out until I arrived at the top, where everything went downhill. For the next 2.5 hours (all the way home) the sea seemed to rear up and walk across the mountains, for a moment did not pass when I was not entirely soaked to the bone. Another day of rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, fortunately an easy day is in store for me. It is possible to endure 1.5 hours in the rain; 5 hours however, may be adequate persuasion for a jaunt on the trainer.

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 16
Monday, January 29, 2007

As the camp approaches its closing stages an air of relief floats about. Deducing the cause for such an air is difficult to reason, for the raison d'être is abundant; could it be the isolation? The lack of clear water? No internet? No communication with the rest of the world? Indeed, I’d infer that a feeling of nostalgia for the world we used to know is aided by one of each.
Today we did something of a double day, though it was not of that which I’ve come to know. At the outset we rode our road bikes for 1.5 hours. Then we came back to the residence and swapped out onto the time trial bikes and did 3.5 hours with several solid 20 minute team time trial efforts. I was with Danny &… whew! I could tell he was the tt world champ… If you didn’t pick up the subtle difference between today and a traditional double day… the difference was the time in between, normally you do an AM ride, take a nap and do a PM ride. Today we did a hot swap- no time in between.

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 15
Sunday, January 28, 2007

I’ve recently speculated on the performance of the one under pressure verse the one free of such concern. In an environment full of tension and anxiety the body naturally becomes edgy and nervous, but wouldn’t this increase one’s performance? Fight or flight syndrome… Does that aid only those smitten by fiends as they rest within their caves, or does it hold the secret to “surprise performances?” Perhaps the answer lies in the individual’s ability to control the influence that the syndrome has prior to the start of the event & throughout its duration. I’d suggest that in such a circumstance, command of nature in this way would yield an individual a significant favor in any sporting event…
Nevertheless, today was not one of outstanding concern. In fact, it was a rather idle day, with little in the way of action. I rode the time trial bike for a languid hour and a half amongst the various woodland ranches. Upon my return I scoped out the various incongruities between the bikes position and I before finally setting the day aside for a quick nap and a drug test or two. Then I had to spear the swine for the feast tonight in respect to the Neanderthal and the diffusion of their genes.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Training Camp

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 14
Saturday, January 27, 2007

The dog that’s been beat too much… Perhaps this particular scenario applies to much more than just the canine, perhaps it applies to all walks of life? Maybe it better defines the ability of one to be in the possession of new knowledge as it relates to the individual’s capacity to learn? Is it not true that indeed you haven’t absolutely captured the entire truth of a matter until it’s been beaten into your head? AKA: Learning a lesson the hard way. Once a student of life has experience the trauma associated with the long road, it is often the case that once they finish the journey they’ve decided that indeed they will not take that particular path again.
Today I made one of those mistakes, not a real traumatic mistake, but one of those that you look back on with anger & self-pity. Forever the scenario and outcome will play through my mind, and as long as it is a burden upon my mind, I will use that error as a means to fuel the fire of the future.

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 13
Friday, January 26, 2007

And the beat goes on… it seems that each day holds something new, it’s singular and unique in its own little way. Could it be that indeed you hold the power which decides what becomes of your day, or is your day at the mercy of nature as the world swirls around amongst the decisions of many? Is it possible that your actions are so unique that they exclusively shape each new day in a way that can not be repeated?
Certainly there are weeks so monotonous that you could’ve sworn that each day was a repeat of the day before. I believe that an individual would have to be an absolute creature of habit to replace a day exactly with one lived prior. & even then it would be almost impossible to exercise a control over your mind so resolute that you could live in a world of complete physical and mental precision.
It seems to me that this week has been the same thing over and over again. Sure, if I think carefully I can recall the week’s activities, but they seem to churn around in an obscure, blurry fashion. At once, they don’t proliferate into something fathomable; as time passes they all turn from a time passed to training camp 2007…

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 12
Thursday, January 25, 2007

I don’t deny that the days of ease are those that I identify the most satisfaction with. Today was one of those, a day marked by splendor and fulfillment. I woke up to a warm sunny day and a quaint 1.5 hour ride. What more could one ask in a day? Sure, sure, there’s no TV or internet or café or pool or catering or… But come on, how can one yearn for such eloquent indulgence when the meadow and absolute state of nature lies within a step out the door? The gluttons of greed and those who want more must look no farther, for here at the Ritz-Julian the world is offered on an “intrinsic-platter…”

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 11
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

We went deep into the desert today. It hasn’t changed much since I was last there; still warm and sandy with a range of brown mountains off in the distance. Most of the inhabitants in the area hang out at the local rv park, & work for either the border patrol or the state patrol.
I suppose that after all the fresh mountain air riding we’ve done it’s nice to be down at 0 feet feeling a little heat and doing a bit more of the power/speed workouts. Not to mention that after being sprayed by the arid breeze and getting a swift burn from the “naked sun,” it may have been difficult to convince the border patrollers that despite the abundance of French, Australian, Dutch, Danish & Canadian passports that we were indeed not trespassing and quite legal. In the end the car did get pulled over by the California State patrol for existing… perhaps they’ve taken a page out of the Mexican book of law for some of their law enforcement. Maybe they just wanted burritos wrapped in argyle.

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 10
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The name of the game today was speed work and sprinting. I didn’t fair badly, although it’s terribly difficult to coordinate our team sprinting efforts with the local terrain and drivers… both of which are hostile to sprint work- steep and aggressive. I’m quite sure that within every ride we’ve done in the region at least one of us have had a run in with a vehicle passing hot ‘n handy… The nerve of the drivers ‘round here is incomparable, it just doesn’t happen anywhere else. One of these days we’ll be in the same place at the very same time, and when that goes down they’ll end up dining on the bullet…
Of course a day would not be a day here in Julian without the event of some obscure trailer park type problem… Today our water ran amuck. It turned from its pale yellowish (perfectly drinkable) color to a milky state of rusty brown. I was gonna keep drinking it in heed of the sign over the sink that reads “Ignore the color of our water. It is yellowish due to the exceptional mineral content of our ground and quite drinkable. We have it tested quarterly and it always passes with flying colors.” But then I decided to just go drink from the mud puddle out front…

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 9
Monday, January 22, 2007

The day dedicated to team “functions” was today. It is often the case that days such as these are harder on the mind than those considered hard on the bicycle. The day rolls by at a snails pace as you wait for whatever is scheduled to happen to happen. Despite meticulous planning by the staff to get the sponsors on the premises simultaneously, something always goes wrong. Today it was the arrival of the new team shorts, which were supposed to arrive at noon via DHL. The shorts turned out to be vests… triggering a series of problems for our painstakingly methodical day and rolling it over onto the next as conference calls and clustered groups of staff scattered about talking in hushed whispers in a final attempt to thwart further confusion... I think perhaps a more calm approach would have been in line here… “Okay, okay- we’ll move the pictures back until the shorts arrive and we’ll take the casual pictures over here. Then everyone goes on their ride & when they get back we rotate through the sponsors as we’d planned.” But no, I suppose that’s too complicated between the 10+ staff on the scene… Now we’ve pushed today’s adventures on to tomorrow and nudged the ride scheduled for tomorrow out by an hour and a half.
Nevertheless, days like these are exceptionally complex as everyone attempts to merge their schedules to be in the same place at the same time, thus a little confusion is imminent.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Training Camp

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 8
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Today Allen Lim, the team’s sports physiology guru and resident “Ask Jeeves” was absent due to a conference thing he lead for Saris. The problem with having Allen absent is that we are forced to make choices for ourselves, and this often culminates problematic circumstances. In today’s case, we decided to do a massive climb… on a dirt road!? I’ve no idea why we would do this when there’s a perfectly good road going over the mountain that’s not dirt… not to mention the fact that the bmw is by no means equipped to handle any rough back road forest service type road. So this sets the scene perfectly for a problematic situation in which our combined intellect is far too low for a logical decision on the best substitute route. We decided to go ahead and go around the mountain instead, on what turned out to be perhaps the busiest highway in the state of California… In which case we were forced to do an out ‘n back 5.5 hour ride… not to mention that we’ve already done this particular out ‘n back… so monotonous would accurately describe the mindset for the ride. Unfortunately, this was the longest ride at 5 hours 22 minutes, 107 miles & a 210 watt average. 3797 kj’s.

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 7
Saturday, January 20, 2007

Indeed the weather turned quite swell today. The snow fell a bit more during the night, but nothing substantial- certainly not comparable to that characterized by the storms of Colorado… nonetheless, California has been declared a “state of emergency.”
For our ride today, we decided at the last moment to forgo the planned high climb for some lower elevation riding in the interest of avoiding the snow. The lower elevation ride included a short climb on a forest type road up to the Mount Laguna area, finishing with a couple loops around town. Even around Laguna there were multiple patches of snow, which wasn’t so bad on the way up, but on the way down when the tires pick it up and spit it out in your face the story changes. It’s like having slurpy thrown on your face on a nice cold day, with a little sand and dirt... The total ride time was ~4.5 hours…

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 6
Friday, January 19, 2007

The second recovery day of the camp was that of today. After conferring with a team mate I decided that the short 1-2 hour ride was a brilliant opportunity for the virtuoso (yours truly) to roll out on the time trial bike. Unfortunately, today the storm that has so mercilessly struck the west struck once more as we ate breakfast- first just a little snow, then a whole bucket of it. I guess that’s what you get here in “tank-top country…” It’s probably good it hit today on a short easy ride (tt bike or not) instead of an epic 5+ hour one; we’d have had to stop in one of those cliff dwellings to take shelter or something.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Training Camp

Julian, CA
Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another day of grandeur and exceptional excitement… Today we trespassed deep into the Anazi Desert where the weather was brilliant, before pull’n a Ritchie and goin’ straight up this hilly mountainous region. It was an immense climb, perhaps the largest we’ve done of late. I don’t know how long it was, but it took me ~45 minutes; and I’m sure we gained a lot of elevation ‘cause by the time we got to the top it was frigid… not to mention the view, the terrain was similar to what you’d see on the NASA website after typing in Mars.
I think this is about the hardest ride we’ve done yet, we did a lot of intensity on the climbs and the wind obstructed our path around each turn. I’ve never figured it out, but sometimes the wind’ll blow straight at you no matter which way you go. In Seattle it doesn’t make sense, but here the explanation is evident with the UFO’s fly’n ‘round all over the place.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Training Camp

Julian, CA
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Today was a rather splendid one. We rolled out at 10 for a hard ~5 hour ride. We took a new route that had us on a lesser road for a change. Your guess is as good as mine as to the reason for building a little winding road through little valleys and over HUGE mountains. It was more a “system of roads” than just one road, ‘cause each little road led to a handful of the same. Allen, of course, was sporting a gps in the team’s argyle BMW (yes, the team will have argyle uniforms this year), making the going quite simplistic. Half the time we were quite sure that the little road was going to turn to dirt, but no… It hit this climb up the backside of Mount Laguna, and pitched up ~20-25%...! It was possibly the hardest stretch of sustained steepness that I’ve ever ascended, and I didn’t feel exceptionally worthy at the time.
The ride culminated at 4.5 hours and, for me, 3110 kjs.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Training Camp

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 3
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The game here is two days hard followed by one easy. Since this is the beginning of the camp we haven’t actually seen a truly hard day yet. The word’s that the hard ones ‘ll have a lot of motor pacing and a lot of hard climbing all jammed into a 5-6.5 hour death march. The waltz starts tomorrow and I’m sure it’ll be a day to remember.
In the meantime, today was an easy recovery day. It was nice to get out and just spin easy for an hour. It wasn’t as cold today either, I’ve deduced from what the owner’s of the rehab unit here say about normal weather that there’s a cold front moving across the west. So from here on out I’m looking forward to a traditional San Diego climate.

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 2
Monday, January 15, 2007

Julian’s in the desert, a very arid place great for UFO sightings and various other outdoor adventures… including, of course, riding your bicycle. However, when the wind blows and the humidity dips well below zero the two wheeled circus stops telling jokes. So if you’re in the area and you’re on tenterhooks for a special performance, I recommend going straight for the UFO’s instead.
Today we did 5 of the most monotonous hours I’ve ever done. There was plenty of terrain, but the combination of wind and cold gave way to an exceptional desire to be done with the ride. It was like riding across the baring straight or something, without the mountaineering gear. I suppose it’s a good way to set the foundation for the necessarily steadfast mental disposition of the rest of the year.

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 1
Sunday, January 14, 2007

Welcome to rehab day 1. No cookies or cake. No internet or TV either. No reason to complicate things, let’s keep it simple.
Today we took out the new bikes for 3.5 hours. We understood that it was gonna be a nice easy ride to make adjustments and get used to the new stuff. So Will ‘n I stopped after 20 minutes to make some minor adjustments, then look up only to find that everyone’s gone. After making some lucky guesses on the route we came into contact with the car and a couple of the guys. Still there was no sign of the rest of the team so we began doing a modified team chase, and finally we got the motor pace the rest of the way up to the team… Nothing like a few efforts to ease into the new bike.
Everything else aside (sub-zero weather, housing arrangement etc.), the riding ‘round here’s pretty good. The terrain is consistently undulating, the roads are pretty good, traffic’s not too heavy and the routes seem endless. So, in all, the next three weeks should be a good start to the season.

Julian, CA- Team Slipstream training camp day 0
Saturday, January 13, 2007

The season’s officially about to begin. I took the flight down from Seattle today in route to first LA then San Diego. After a brief hour long drive we’d arrived in Julian, practically a precise replica of Silver City, NM… except worse. There we stayed at the Holiday Inn, which had a variety of modern resources; here we’re staying at the Angel’s Landing Country Inn. I guess someone heard from someone that it was a resort… which is of course, far from the truth- depending on your definition of resort. It’s an “inn” on a forested hillside that consists of about five different buildings scattered spontaneously about. Of course it wouldn’t be a “country inn” if it wasn’t lacking basic amenities such as… uhh… running water. I won’t even mention internet, not that most hotels have that anyway. & of course, it wouldn’t be a training camp if it wasn’t at 4000 feet at least. Why was it in San Diego again? Ohh, because it’s warm there! Do you think it’s warm at 4000 feet? No! It’s like living on top of Mount Rainier, there’s ice everywhere. And we’re here for 3 weeks, I wonder if they brought any trainers?
I’ve read about this kind of thing in books, but usually it involves drug addicts: rehab is what they call it. Confusion is rife at the moment.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The sovereign breakfast

North Bend, WA
Friday, January 12, 2007
So I was scanning the front page on yahoo news and this article on dieting caught my eye. I read a bit and discovered that it was digressing onto the significance of breakfast (remember the little medieval phrase; eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch & a pauper for dinner). Of course the problem with most people is that they have no appetite for breakfast, not even Lucy Danziger, the author of the honorable article. This has been something of a conundrum for Lucy in the past, but she’s found a solution… Eat dinner food for breakfast… “Avoid rice and pasta, which don't typically reheat well, and dig into dishes like chili and casseroles instead.” Voila, problem solved. I was thinking I’d maybe do the green bean casserole for the king’s meal tomorrow…

I also found this of interest:

Business 2.0 magazine has its own list of the top five "bubble-proof" markets -- areas where annual appreciation outpaces the national average by at least 30 percent. These perennially healthy markets will come as no surprise to anyone:
1 San Francisco
2 Los Angeles
3 Seattle
4 Boston
5 New York
Where's Denver? Who stole Denver?

Eggs & noodles

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Fair sailing

North Bend, WA
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Today the weather finally gave in and the rays briefly made a visit to the northwest. It was enough to get me out the door and onto the road for a reunion with the world. I can’t believe how relaxing it is to get back on the bike free of the trainer; you can actually turn the wheel ‘n stuff… unbelievable! It looks like this’ll be just a brief lapse though, as tomorrow it is actually set to snow- again. Apparently it’s gonna get cold and icy, & of course they’re not too motivated to get out them snow blowers, so, well, you know how it goes…

Monday, January 08, 2007

Passing the time

North Bend, WA
Monday, January 08, 2007

I'm not sure how to phrase this, but I’ve noticed that time has different dimensions… so to speak. For instance, if you do an interval at 450 watts, you’ll notice that 5 seconds take about 5 minutes. Yesterday when I was doing a series of intervals I was glancing between my stopwatch and my power meter trying to keep an eye on the amount of power I was putting out and the amount of time left in the interval when I made a startling discovery… As I switched my focus from my stopwatch to my power meter, I jumped into a different dimension of time… Seriously, I think most people notice this, but never realize it. In each 5 seconds of any given high intensity interval, your level of concentration is at least 10 times that of your normal state of mind. In the time it took to glance from my stopwatch to my power meter and back I had processed the same amount of information and deliberated upon it as I would have in 10 minutes. I mean really, how many times have you jogged for ten minutes and thought “wow, I could’ve sworn I’ve been jogging for two hours!” Of course that’s not quite the same because with each level of exertion your body requires an additional level of concentration. But now, think about this, how many times have you sat down to watch TV at 5:00pm and ten minutes later realized it’s almost 12:00pm? So here’s the quantum theory part, what if you could go into TV mode while you’re doing that 450 watt interval???

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hard at work

North Bend, WA
Friday, January 05, 2007

The implications of homework… In school they never taught the truth of it. I never realized the reality of what homework does for all walks of life until I became involved in sport. In school you went home and you had 50 problems to finish by the next day. How you chose to approach those problems ultimately determined how you’d do in the class. Some people had to do more to get the full benefit of those problems, others had to do less, &, of course, some chose not to do them at all. In school they didn’t push the significance of the homework; they just said “do it…” Some teachers didn’t even grade the stuff, you could just make it look like you did it and turn it in… Fortunately, in sport & in school, it becomes blatantly obvious when you’re doing something wrong in relation to what you do outside of class or competition (i.e. studying and training…). If you don’t train you suck, and if you don’t study you’re stupid. Pretty straight forward.
So when you look outside and wonder whether I’m gonna train or not, I guess you can assume that I’m a psychopath and I’ve probably just got done with a ride on the trainer in preparation for the afternoon ride in the rain.
This all should leave you pondering the teaching style of schools if they don’t preach to the youth that their work ethic today will lay the foundation of their future… Because what in life is actually more important? Isn’t that the point that is supposed to be taught somewhere along the way? I mean, they could teach different levels of fire building instead of different levels of calculus, yet if you don’t study you learn/achieve nothing! Awe… what’s the point, “unity is strength,” and that we are lacking…

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Another place and time

North Bend, WA
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Have you ever scrolled through the AM radio stations? I think that’s about as close to hearing aliens talk as I’ve ever been. Certainly there’s some sort of extraterrestrial jargon in there. I mean, it sounds just like the stuff coming out of my phone half the time, so imagine what it’d sound like from 500 billion miles away… Probably just like the AM.
Anyway, I’ve noticed that tomorrow’s weather prediction is a high of 40 and a low of 39 with rain and snow. They’ve dubbed it a “wintry mix” on Yahoo. Can it actually snow when it’s 39 degrees? I guess it can. Maybe the 86 percent humidity complicates things… maybe not. Of course the humidity will be much higher in the house after a couple of hours on the trainer. & if you're wondering about the mental state of someone who spends hours on end staring at the wall each day while riding a bicycle… wonder no farther than the various philosophical teachings of one Bernard (personal trainer). You see, after learning about the likes of Quantum theory and “out of body experiences” (aka mental utopia) an individual is able to totally remove his mind from his physical state of being & in doing so pass the moment(s) in another state of time… Yep, just like that. It’s weird, sometimes I wake up and I’m riding my bike…

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ice'd in

North Bend, WA
Monday, January 01, 2007

So it rained on Christmas and snowed two days later. They’ve decided that the best approach to clearing the roads is no approach at all… Not to say that we are the victims of East King County residents or anything. You’d think that living on the edge of the mountains would constitute the need for an overabundance of snow blowers, but I guess not. If I knew they weren’t spending the money on other stuff I’d be happy, but unfortunately that’s not the case. So if I die early from doing the last week of my endurance-ish rides on the trainer then the crime belongs at their door.
Not to say that the snow’s ever stopped me from riding out doors in the past. Back in the days when I was seemingly invulnerable I’d take the snow days in a stride, excited to head out on the fixed gear for a little icy action. Believe it or not, I never had any trouble… the pedal action worked superbly as a break on ice & with a little respect to the ruts the fixie was like a sleigh on snow. Surprisingly I never went down, and now that I look back on it that seems a bit remarkable.
Of course, I did once have a bad experience with ice. I was commuting to school one brisk morning, think’n little of the possible presence of ice. I should’ve thought of it ‘cause the frost was all along the road in places. But I didn’t, I got to the top of this hill where you turn abruptly onto another road at a very slow speed. I couldn’t have imagined that ice would be in this particular locale, but I hit that ice without a chance in the world. All the way to school I was pondering what’d caused me to crash, and finally, when I arrived, I realized that it must’ve been ice. Crashing with a 40 pound pack on your back could never’ve been more painful.