Race report: Prospect park cat4

Well, the race was off to an inauspicious start the night before.  I was over at Jose’s and we were talking about what to wear in the 29F morning chill: "base layer, thick shirt, giordana jacket, jersey on top, gore fleece tights… did I pack my gorefleece tights?  [checks bag] Crappola."
What could I do?  nothing of Jose’s would fit me, no one else in brooklyn was home or able to help, and going back to LI is a project.  Fortunately, I was able to reach fran (my aunt) who was at her parents house not far from home, and Ell and fran were so nice as to get my tights from the drawer, and meet me at Valley stream.  4 trains and three hours later, I was back at Jose’s, tights in hand.
The morning dawned clear and cold, and this time I was prepared for the weather, as opposed to last time.  The prerace was pretty much the hurry up plan–no time for warmup and barely enough time to take the all important prerace bathroom break.
The pack rolled out at fair speed, and I was in decent position for two laps, until I got pushed towards the back.  on the hill, which isn’t so steep or long as to cause major pain, I was maxing out my legs, at 250w.  that dreaded ‘i’m about to lose power’ aching feeling.  I was building up lactate, but shouldn’t have been.
Falling back in a race is death.  With 5 laps down (of 10), I fell off the pack by accordion effect, and was stuck in the wind.  There was no catching up.  I couldn’t push more than about 200w, which is pretty bad.  my cruise pace is about 180w indefinitely, and 200w for an hour+ on the trainer.  I wasn’t maxing out my cardiovascular system (of course the HRM was frozen and reading 0), but my legs just wouldn’t lay down more power.  I’m going to need some serious climbing work before bear mountain and Intercity!  I need to push about 250w sustainable.  That’s a big jump.  I didn’t break out the 303s, which are good for about 10w in aerodynamic advantage and in a climbing race are a substantial decrease in weight (1lb off the system), which translates to 1% faster.  1% is 1%–not enough to tip the scales here.  but every ounce counts.  And for today, the telemetry was worth it–this was practice.
Anyway, at the end of the race, Jose wasn’t looking so happy–he finished off the back, our plan to break off the front and time trial like crazies having failed becuase I was nowhere to be found, and we went back to the apartment for food.  What to do to make up for defeat and humiliation?  obviously ride more! 
we were feeling pretty warm, so I ditched the base layer, and jose traded to a thinner jacket, and out the door we went.  and after riding two blocks up 8th ave, turned around because of cold.  More clothing went back on and we tried again.  This time we made it all the wa to flatbush ave, and then called it in.
Me, being a glutton for punishment went out to run a lap or two of prospect (3.4mi laps)… and ended up doing about 12 miles.  Perhaps the triathlon/duathlon is the sport for me!

truth vs. happiness

well, perhaps it’s not the most authoritative source, but the article’s good: http://men.msn.com/articlees.aspx?cp-documentid=6564498&GT1=32001
Boiled down, you can either be truthful with yourself or happy.  I try to be on the level with myself, which occasionally means I’m stuck with some major dissonance issues.  No one is perfect, but until you really know someone, you’re really dealing with their polished "ambassador" alter ego.  And to complicate matters further, the fundamental attribution error, the attribution of situational effects on a person’s actions to internal causes, tends to make people think of people in the wrong way.
All of this has to be adaptive.  Otherwise, how would Elie Wiesel have written Night?  If he had assessed the situation properly, he probably would have grabbed the closest SS guard’s sturmgewehr 44, shot a few Nazis and gone down in a hail of gunfire.  Playing the probability game, that probably would have been a pretty wise course of action.  Certainly for his father, that might have been a better plan than dying of dysentery.
Anyway, I see humans major, and perhaps only, driving force being the search for truth (i.e. scientific truth), and as such would rather see the truth than be blissfully oblivious.  what say you to that?

Goals for cycling season 2008

well, last year I rode across the country and didn’t race much due to being injured in the spring and being away all summer.  Last fall I did a few races, with mixed results:

race in riverhead: 4th place
After catching the break, teaching them how to paceline effectively, getting dropped, and time-trialing it 9 miles to the finish (that’s a long time in the wind).  I had no telemetry, because the PowerTap was in for service, and the HRM was stolen from the GPs house.

Blueberry bicicletta (Jersey) with Alex Cheng:  finished off the back.
They cancelled bear mtn at the last minute, so Alex and I found a race in jersey to do.  it was flat (bad for us skinny climbers) and rather uninteresting for most of the race.  We had a fun weekend of it, but alex crashed (he’s still apparently a glutton for punishment), and I fell off the back when the people went nutty towards the finish and started knocking over barrels.  Call me a coward, but I’d rather keep the rubber to the road than try my chances in a field sprint that I’m not really meant for.

Pink slipper:  2nd on handicap? (these things are rather unofficial)
Armed with speed weaponry, I was hoping to clinch the second most coveted trophy in cycling: the birkenstock.  Well, the young gun in a yellow slicker held together with duct tape got me on the climb up snyder.  Apparently he’d been training like a fiend all summer.  There are no certain things in life, or in racing.


This year, I tried my hand in one race so far, and due to bad planning, it went pretty south.  It was so cold I was forced to withdraw.  oh well.


So, the goals:

  1. keep the rubber side down.  I’m a chicken, I admit it.  I don’t particularly want to get nasty road rash or dislocate a clavicle again.  But if you want to do well in a race, that means staying in the appropriate spot in the pack and being somewhat aggressive.  Or time-trialing it off the front.  I prefer the second method, which maximizes the use of my talents.
  2. lay down some power.  I can put out 200w for an hour right now, at 70% output.  that’s 3.57 W/kg, sustainable.  I’d like to lay down 250w+ for 1hr (70%).  By May.
  3. Be more strategic in races.  Road racing is not a solo sport, and in cat4, people are pretty disorganized.  If I can get some people (jose, Brendan, Christophe), to band together, damage can be done.  Blasting off the front is often suicide, because no one comes with, or they can’t paceline, or they die.  Not useful.
  4. Enjoy riding hard.  I’ve been too easy too long.  there’s something about knowing you’ve worked hard that feels good.  ohh hurts so good.  Moving to the north shore and doing that hill in the 39×23 ought to increase muscle fiber density and increase VO2max.

central park race report – and notes on the cold

March 9th dawned cold and clear.  I had been worried that the rain the previous day had led to severe icing, but fortunately the roads had for the most part dried.  I couldn’t sleep and awoke at 4:30.  the disruption from changing to summer time wasn’t helpful either.
It was about 25F, windchill of 20F or below.  I have a good supply of technical clothing, so I decked myself out in what I thought would be appropriate
  • thick wicking shirt (Giordana long sleeve jersey)
  • Pertex (like Gore Tex) jacket
  • shortsleeve jersey (for pockets and looks
  • beanie hat (Garneau hat with windtex front)
  • ear warmer headband (Garneau windtex)
  • zipp shorts
  • Pearl Izumi windblocker fleece lined tights
  • neoprene fleece lined booties
  • double layer coolmax socks (WrightSock)
  • toe warmer chemical heat packs
  • Chiba magic comfortemp gloves

Getting to the start and check in, there were reports of ice on the hill at the north end of the park.  And it was cold out there.  I didn’t have enough insulation to stay warm out there and was shivering uncontrollably in the starting grid.  I suffer from Raynaud’s syndrme, so my hands freeze quite easily.  The chiba magic gloves weren’t enough and my hands were frozen and numb, and all the while the officials debated to shorten the couirse to avoid the ice.

The race started and I was in fair position.  My frozen hands made it impossible to use the brakes or shifters, or really hold on to the bars… so that made it hard to race effectively.  Coming through the decreasing road-width turn on the park traverse, I fell off the back of the pack.  Without a proper warmup, my legs refused to respond with enough power to bridge and I couldn’t catch up.  In the morning sun, I saw Peter and Julie’s building and then the 72nd street ramp.  Field discretion prevailed, and I bailed the race.

I’m a little disappointed in that poor planning led to the abandonment of the first race of the season.  I would have preferred a pack finish or anything to a DNF, but frostnip/frostbite is no laughing matter, and to keep going would have been an exercise in futility and humiliation.

P.S. my hands still hurt.

Talking about Was Moses high on Mount Sinai? – Science- msnbc.com

Was Moses high on Mount Sinai? – Science- msnbc.com

Well, that makes sense.  Either he was in an altered state, he was mentally ill, or he and his circle pulled off one of the most successful hoaxes in history.  Yes, I am a skeptic, and I think that’s healthy.  Faith is a dangerous thing.  The last line of that story is pretty alarming: "We have to fear not for the fate of the biblical Moses, but for the fate of science."  Science operates on the principle of facts, if you make a statement, it had better be backed up with evidence.

If someone came up to you and said "I am the messiah!" you would probably think "this guy just escaped from Bellvue", and not "this guy is the messiah".  As they say, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras (well, except in africa).

So, keep questioning, be glad Huckabee isn’t going to be president except under the most unusual circumstances (he gets the VP spot from McCain, who then goes down like in The Manchurian Candidate).