Thursday, January 28, 2010

"The case against the iPad" - what I think, only more eloquent

I was an apple fan for a long time, but the relationship started to go sour after disappointing iTunes interactions and now I gotta say I'm in agreement with Lee, whose article linked below represents my views quite well.

Read the whole article:
My second problem with the iPad is more fundamental: The iPad appears to be Steve Jobs’s attempt to roll back the multi-decade trend toward more open computing platforms. Jobs’s vision of the future is one that revolves around a series of proprietary “stores” — for music, movies, books, and so forth — controlled by Apple. And rather than running the applications of our choice, he wants to limit users to running Apple-approved software from the Apple “app store.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What would your data look like?

Janeen McCrae over in Facebook group, SpecializedWMN, created a poster of her first year in cycling. It's pretty cool. 2010 just started. What will your poster look like in December?

Monday, January 25, 2010

So you wanna be a bike racer -- Nancy Brown

Nancy Brown
Category 4, Masters 65-70
Years racing: 3

It was never my intention to race a bicycle when I asked for a bike for my 65th birthday 3 winters ago.  I just wanted something pretty nice to ride to Wal-Mart 8 miles away and use my basket to carry home a few purchases.  Riding to see some of my farm wife friends with-in a 10 mile radius and just enjoy the nice summer days.  Yes, that was my intention.

It was my daughter, Sydney, who first suggested that I  should try racing in a couple of CX races that first fall.  At first I thought she was really out of her mind. An old lady racing?  How could that be? And when I mentioned racing to my friends there was not a single one that didn’t roll her eyes heaven ward and ask me if I really wanted to do that sort of thing. Well, I did half-heartedly train and won a National Championship Jersey in CX at Kansas City that December. I was the only one in my class, but I still had to ride/walk the course.

With renewed interest and my competitive spirit fired up I started 2008 with more determination. Since then I have raced enough to get a large handful of medals and now have 3 bikes.  A personal trainer, two new pairs of shoes, new saddle, Power tap, etc, etc have now invaded my chef cook and bottle washer/housekeeper/babysitter/
play the organ for church/gardening life. Doing my workout is one of the top 3 things I try to do each day.

There is something magical about riding a bike.  I no longer get speeding tickets, because I can get the same thrill by screaming down hill on my bike. I really enjoy the sweat running off during a good hard work out.   The satisfaction you get when you finish a race or a work out  knowing that you gave it everything you had in the tank is completely unexplainable.  
I do not necessarily race to beat anyone except myself. Can I focus the whole time?  Will I remember the game plan? When it begins to hurt will I have the “quitzies” or will I fight through to the finish?  Will I finish well? 
I want to finish well.  Not just in a bike race, but in this race of life. I helped bury my dear brother, Glenn in December of 09. Cancer took his life, but through it all he finished well. When he was young and wrestling with his brothers he would never say “give”.  He was a fighter to the finish.  This is my goal when I race.  Fight to the finish, never say “I give“.  And oh, the exhilaration when the race is over! The satisfaction. It is all worth it.  Give it a try!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So, you wanna be a bike racer?

From Chris Roettger, Mesa Cycling Team, racer for 5 years, Photo by lynn lamoureux

So, you wanna be a bike racer?

You want to go fast and think you can dig deeper than you ever have before. You want to see what your guts are made of (and you just might).

Have you ever ridden so fast for so long you collapsed at the end? So hard that when you finished you thought you’d never want to ride a bike that hard again? That you lost your lunch or power-ade or whatever the contents of your stomach? That you wondered how your heart stayed in your chest while it frantically pounded? That all you could hear in your head was blood pumping so heavy it sounds like hard rain on a tin roof? And your lungs couldn’t get enough air for the burning?

Have you ever?

Have you ever ridden down a hill so fast that you had to completely turn off the logic of what might happen if you crashed? So fast your skinny wheels vibrated? So fast you were afraid to take your eyes off the pavement quickly flying under you just to look at your speedometer? So fast you knew there was no stopping with brakes. Your eyes water as you strain to focus on what will keep you upright. Have you ever done that twelve inches behind another rider? With riders on both sides and behind you?

I have. I love it. And do it as much as I can.

It’s ridiculous and illogical. It’s breath-taking and admirable. It’s going beyond what you think your body is incapable of. And doing it over and over and over again. A constant game of chicken against your own will and your competitors. You say, “I will go faster, harder, longer in the wind, downhill and around corners. I will leave you if you can’t keep up. I will win this battle of wills over muscles and heart and lungs. I will win not just because I train my body, but because I train my mind and my mind tells me I can beat you.”

I have done this. I am one of the masochists. I will train; in rain, in traffic, in snow and cold and wind, on hills, in basements, gyms for hours that add up to days and weeks. I will train early in the morning or late into the night on top of running households, raising children, studying, working, living.

So, then, it’s your turn in the adrenalin-loaded game of chess. Train, race, suffer, and have the hardest, best time of your life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ought to roll it out for this one

And just a reminder that the 16-0 Nebraska Women’s Basketball team are off to their best start in school history and have soared to their highest national ranking ever at No. 7 in Monday’s Associated Press Top 25. Their next home game is Saturday, Jan. 23 at 11 a.m. at the Devaney Center and it’s “PEPSI PACK THE HOUSE DAY” and general admission tickets and 24 oz. Pepsi products are only $1 each.

My favorite

Monday, January 11, 2010

So, you wanna be a bike racer?

I'm getting ready to start my 4th road season and reflecting on how I got here, which got me to thinking about what different people told me when I expressed an interest in the sport. Knowing what I know now, I marvel at the gamut of responses and what all they could have said and what they ended up choosing. What follows is what I think I'd say now and I'd love to hear what you have to say. It doesn't matter whether you've done one race or a thousand. In 500 words or less, what do you think you'd say? (It'd be cool if you'd send it to me direct so I can post it properly labeled and attributed, but feel free to use the comments as well.


So, you wanna be a bike racer?

You won't regret it. Fantastic people to hang out with, but it's really hard. It hurts, a lot. At some point in nearly every race there's a split moment where I think, "this is ridiculous," and then it's gone, replaced by the thrill, pain, resolve or whatever else is required to survive the engagement intact and on target for what I wanted to get out of it.

You'll get to know yourself -- your strengths, definitely, but perhaps weaknesses even more so, and you'll either quit, or begin to address them and become a better person for having done so. In my own case, facing up to a streak of quitter if the going got too tough was no picnic, but racing provided the means to address it, kind of like having the right tools to control bind weed.

Discipline, determination, commitment and optimism are must-haves, or must-develop, characteristics if you're going to do this thing. Even the most fun-loving, beer-quaffing, I-just-do-it-for-funners consistently put in hundreds of hours each year on their bikes.

All that being said, if you're still interested, I'd be delighted to show you the ropes and help you get started.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Finally... the alien has been named.. "Eliptigo"

Thanks to BSNYC, I finally have a name for this alien thing my mom and I saw speeding through an intersection when we were at the Senior Olympics last summer.

I don't know what else to say other than the dude we saw was flying and must have been commuting home from work given his dress.

I wanna be like her someday....from

"... In India her main problem was gangs of young cyclists who jeered, jabbed at her, pulled her hair and grabbed the handlebars. Sensing mounting hysteria one day outside a school, she looked in panic to two adult cyclists who had dismounted to watch but clearly intended to do nothing. The crisis brought out the headmistress of old: "I glared around with a steely eye, and controlling the pitch of my voice with great effort, said slowly and authoritatively, 'Will you kindly step back and let me pass through?' It worked a charm. Whether or not they understood what I said, they recognised the magisterial tone. They quietened instantly and stepped back. 'Thank you,' I said coolly, pushing my bicycle forward and pedalling off with a confident air."..."

Read about Anne Musto who gave up a headmistress job to cycle around the world.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

What's important about Google's phone

Here's why I did a small celebratory dance on the 5th. Google came out with its own phone and it has a degree of carrier independence previously unseen. I have long been angry at the lack of separation between communication pipes (carriers) and hardware devices. In a competitive consumer-driven market, they should be separate.

Google's biggest announcement was not a phone, but a URL
In short, what Google announced today [jan 5] wasn't just the Nexus One, but America's first carrier-independent smartphone store; the Google store is now the only smartphone store in the US where, for every phone on offer, you first pick which phone you want, and then you pick a network and a plan on that network, choosing from among every network on the platform. So you can comparison shop among networks based purely on plan price and network quality, because you already have your phone picked out.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Cheap-Oh-Chic from PezCycling News

PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling
Plastic Bag
PezReader, Nick H., sent this in a while ago and I’ve tested it and confirmed that A Plastic Bag is Cheap-Oh Chic. Here are his words:

For the best part of twenty years, I have ridden with a good quality plastic bag in my rear pocket. The sides of the bag have been opened and an oval has been cut in the bottom big enough to put your head through. Voila!

When it is cold you can use the bag doubled as a chest protector under a non windproof jersey. It is as good as any gillet, breathes perfectly (there are no sides), folds up very small, and is incredibly easy to take off during a race (place your hand up your jersey, grab the bag and pull).

But wait there is more. If it is raining, remove your short sleeve jersey, place the bag over your head (through the cleverly designed hole), and replace the short sleeve jersey. Encore voila!

Simple, yet effective.

A rain mac, 100% waterproof (on the front and back) and breathes through the open sides. What is more, because the bag goes under your jersey, you do not reduce your aerodynamics and your team mates assume that you are Belgian because you are riding in the rain wearing only short sleeve jersey. Plus, it folds up incredibly small, so you will always take it with you, so it is more practical than an expensive, fully waterproof jacket.

Price? Cost free (assuming you own a pair of scissors to cut the hole).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

That would explain it... knowledge is power

I've been frustrated at times when unable to get as lean as I desire. A common problem, I know, but I couldn't figure it out. I mean, I track everything (xmas vacation excepted) and couldn't understand why I wasn't getting the results I wanted.

This morning I was reading Joe Friel's "The Cyclist's Training Bible" (4th ed., p. 251) while Erik was out with the driving examiner and came across the effects of insulin in the nutrition section. Lo and behold, though I think I've been told/read this in different ways, today is the first day it really sunk in and I understood how it might be impacting me.

To make it rather simple, when I eat something high-carb, the insulin level in my blood rises for a couple of hours. During this time the insulin prevents my body from using stored fat and focuses my system on moving fat in the bloodstream to storage locations. Additionally, because there's a surplus of energy, my body starts working to turn those extra carbs and proteins into fat. When I do this routinely, my body develops a distinct preference for carbs over fats and the net result may be an inability to lose the fat.

As an athlete I work to eat in a healthy manner and don't let my body run on empty very often, in fact, I often have a little bite to eat every couple/three hours. Thus, it could very well be that I maintained a high enough carb intake that my body didn't have to tap the fat stores much. Thus, I'm going to switch things up and see what happens. Supposedly, high carb diets often yield cravings and hunger... I know a bit about those.

That's not to say that high glycemic foods have no place in your diet. They do -- right after your workout to optimize the restocking of carbohydrate levels in your liver and muscles. But in general, aim for lower glycemic-index foods.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Pedaling efficiency - what of it?

PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling
"The really interesting thing that this study found was that, independent of things like body mass, age, or cycling specialty, there was a very strong inverse relationship between VO2max and cycling efficiency in this group. This is similar to the results from another study on the same thing in world-class runners. The riders with the relatively low aerobic capacity were able to compensate for this handicap by being much more efficient, resulting in their requiring less energy to generate a particular power output. One of the subjects was the just-retired Abraham Olano, and he is an excellent example of somebody overcoming “average” genetics to garner an incredible palmares that included two Worlds titles, a Vuelta, a 2nd in the Giro and a 4th in Le Tour. Unbelievably, he actually had a ludicrously low VO2max compared to the other subjects and even many amateurs, but he compensated for it by having the second highest efficiency rating."

"So what does all this mean? First, don’t get too hung up on your “genetic” potential or comparing your test results to anybody else. Smart and dedicated training can help you to exceed your perceived limits."

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Fat burning

Official Blog of TrainingPeaks » Blog Archives » Maximize your ability to burn fat as fuel, by Hunter Allen
If your goal is to maximize your body’s ability to burn fat as a fuel, then I would give you a couple of suggestions. Zone 2 is definitely the fat burning zone in which your body relies most heavily on fat as its primary source of energy. That being said, it doesn’t necessary mean that by spending more time in Zone 2 you will increase that ability.