Friday, March 18, 2011

Sony Walkman giveaway

Yeah, that's right. Sony Walkman, But not this one...

There's a new breed...

Want to win one? Visit Jamie at Swim Bike Run Live for a chance. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Commuting is a Joy

It's really been a while, hasn't it. That's apparently going to be standard fare for the next 4.5 weeks.

Recently I've had the opportunity to get to know a neighbor. Tom lives a few houses down and commutes to work everyday by bike. Well, until he crashed in a race and recently had surgery on his leg. We had a nice chat on the bus the other day. At one point I asked him what he does in the rain. He basically said, there's nothing you can do. You will get wet. Just get out and ride.

So I have. Well, twice. Two weeks ago I rode into work, and got a flat two blocks from the office. That put me off until yesterday when I finally changed the tire and cleaned up the drivetrain a bit and rode this morning. What a treat! Beautiful view of house lights on the lake. 52 degrees and no rain. Very few cars on the road. It was great.

I did take a different route this morning which took me up a short but steep hill (not unlike most hills in the area), about 75 feet vertical in one tenth of a mile (~20% grade). Near the top of the hill was a fresh(ish) spattering of vomit. Rough hill, too much breakfast. I hope they're okay.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 goals

It's that time of year! I forget how much I like new years, and the clean slate they provide. 2009 was a great year. I'm in better shape than I've been in over a decade (that feels weird to say given that my 28th birthday is around the corner), and I've accomplished a lot of firsts and milestones in 2009. I completed my first triathlon. I've run and biked farther than ever before (run - 16.3 miles; bike 100 miles).

I've been thinking about some things I want to accomplish in 2010. I've always wanted to do a half IronMan triathlon, but that will need to wait. If 2009 taught me anything, it's that patience is key in endurance sports. So this year I want to spend getting faster at shorter distances and building up a better base. I also want to try out a few cycling races.

Without further adieu, here are my goals for 2010:

  1. Complete 2 sprint triathlons
  2. Complete a sprint in 1h10m (that will be a 10 minute PR)
  3. Race in 2 crits
  4. Workout in some way for 20 minutes each day Mon-Sat for the year. Sunday is my rest day, always, but I should be able to find a way to do something each day.
  5. Go for at least a 50 mile bike ride once a month.
  6. Climb the zoo hill road once a month from April to September
Happy 2010 to you all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Understanding body composition

Let me start off by saying that I don't really understand body composition. It's a complex system we possess and making the most of it is a very individual process. The same advice for two people will likely yield different results.

According to, body composition is the percentage of fat, muscle and bone in the body. Usually it is expressed as a ratio of lean mass to fatty mass. Lean mass being bones, muscle, skin, organs, and body water. Fatty mass being fat (subcutaneous and the fat surrounding internal organs).

OK, still what does it mean? Well that depends on who you are and your body type. I'm not going to be the one to tell anyone they need to have a certain body fat percentage. That's personal and we all have different bodies. What we can do is learn about our personal body composition, and design workouts to help fine tune that composition.

How does one measure body composition, or body fat percentage (as that is the common measure that most of us will see)? We recently purchased a scale that measures weight, body fat percentage, body water percentage, and muscle mass. Our first thought - what does one do with all of this information? For the most part we've just watched and tried to understand how the pieces fit together. It's interesting when one day you discover 2 extra pounds hanging around, but then you notice a jump in your body water percentage. Bloating, no big deal.

Since I still really don't understand how all these items fit together, I'm going to do an experiment this month. Each day, I'm going to record all the measurements and graph them out for your viewing pleasure. And what better time to do it then during the holidays, right?! You'll be able to see what happens when I eat too many cookies (notice I used 'when' and not 'if', it's going to happen).

If anyone has anything of more substance to add on the matter, let me know. I'm trying to grasp it all.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gym workouts continue

Yesterday and today I got in two good gym workouts. I'm finally getting a feel for how much my muscles can take without going too far and the progress has been good. Yesterday was legs and a 25 minute spin. Today, arms and a 25 minute run on the treadmill. Tomorrow, chest and back, then another spin. Should be fun.

Lolo left a great comment on Sunday's post about cyclist/car interaction. It will be excellent subject matter for an upcoming post. Any other comments, suggestions, or questions you have are welcome.

Monday, November 30, 2009

What a ride it's been

Well NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) is coming to a close. It's been a month full of posts, that's for sure. Has it been bad or good? I'd say a little bit of both.

The stats have been good:
Site visitors: 59 in November compared to 19 in October
Number of subscribers: 21 on November 29th, compared to 13 on October 31st
Ad revenue: $0.10 in November! I'll try not to spend it all in one place :)
But I would say overall the content was a bit bland and maybe a little forced. It's been a good experience though. And I will definitely continue, but a bit differently.  I have two other blogs that were neglected this month and I'd really like to get back to writing on those blogs as well. So here is the goal for December:
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will be writing about Microsoft Excel and other tech subjects at
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday you can find content here at
Sundays will be my miscellaneous ramblings on miscellaneous topics at
Thanks for having visited over the past month. Training is slow and boring this time of year, so let me know in the comments (here or on the other blogs) what you would like to hear about.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Anatomy of my STP '09 Wreck (and a bit of soapboxing)

I've already mentioned that I crashed and you can see the full ride report here.

At the time of the crash, I was going 27 mph. There was a car on my left. I was in a paceline that was passing another group of cyclists. The white line was also a rumble strip, which made lane changing interesting. As you can see in the diagram below, a cyclist in the line I was passing, decided to jump into my line. He didn't look (or stop afterward, for that matter), just moved abruptly over into me due to the rumble strip.

As there was a car on my left the only option I had was to attempt to brake just enough to open a gap without getting rear ended by the guy behind me. I hit the brakes too hard, and our bikes locked. Justin, the guy following me, hit the road. We were the only two involved in the crash, luckily enough, but both bikes were trashed.

I will fully admit that I am partly at fault here. I was pushing way too hard and didn't have my wits about me. I didn't leave myself a way out in case something like this happened. I hit the brakes too hard. I assumed the leader of the paceline was alerting the folks on our right that we were passing. And the list goes on.

After being picked up, I saw the remains of at least four other accidents on that stretch of road. One of them was being attended to by a fire truck and an ambulance as the rider appeared to have broken a collarbone. 

The Seattle to Portland ride, has had 30 years of history. The Cascade Bicycle Club hosts a great event that both serves a local charity, and gets riders on the road and helps drivers know that cyclists belong on the road as much as cars. But I have to wonder if 10,000 cyclists is too many. I posed this question, along with what happened to me on the ride, on the Cascade Bicycle Club forums. (leave a comment below if you would like a link to the discussion). I received a lot of feedback on what I could have done differently and people's opinions of the event.

I concluded that the STP might not be the best ride for me. I've been thinking about whether it would be more fun to do the ride by myself or with a small group of people. I have family in Portland, and could meet my wife along the way for support. I've also thought about making sure I'm riding with a group of people that I know and have ridden with before so we have certain protocols established going into the ride (i.e. hand signals, pull time, general feel for what people are going to do).

I still don't know if I'll ever do the ride again. I had a blast up to that point. But there is still a bit of bitterness from the crash. I've since searched for and learned a lot about bicycle safety, and group riding as a way to help myself become a better rider. I hope to share some of those items with you all in the coming months. Please leave a comment on any safety related questions, or you thoughts on what I've written here and I'll try to get to them in future posts.