Thursday, March 28, 2013

Learning how to eat

It takes me a long time to learn anything.  I think I’ve always been this way.  It’s part of the overanalysis, I guess.

I am a natural at nothing (except golf.  It is what I was born to do, but that ship has sailed).

When I was 16, I started working at Wendy’s.  The first thing they taught me was the grill.  I think they wanted me to master the grill before I moved on to anything else.  I was on the grill for a long time.  Roughly 3 or 4 times longer than anyone else before I really caught on. 

But then after that really steep learning curve, it turns out I was the best damn grillman they ever had.  Not that that means anything.  I was literally flipping burgers.  But damn, I was good at it.

Say that reminds me. I used to take a slice of cheese and set it on the wooden counter we leaned on as we worked the grill.  I’d take the spatula and while I was singing “Dun, da-dun, da du-na-na …” (the MTV theme song) I’d cut 2 narrow triangular slivers from the bottom of the cheese slice and one wide triangle from the top to make the cheese look like a big “M”.  Then I’d use the 2 pieces from the bottom (still singing the MTV song) to make the little “T” and the wide triangle from the top for the “V”.

The sandwich girls swooned.

Anyway, I think part of my problem learning from people is that I tend to take them literally.  When I hear words, I first consider the literal meaning of them.  If that doesn’t make sense, I evaluate the environment and try to get the true meaning of the words.  Since I usually guess wrong, if I can’t make any sense at all out of what I’ve heard, I’ll repeat the words, emphasizing the part that has me confused.  Turns out, that sort of thing is universally received as being a “smart-ass”.  Usually, I just roll with it, because as the wise man once said (actually, it was a sandwich girl.  Another time.), “It’s better than being a dumbass.” 

And if the person calling me a smartass really saw that I honestly did not understand the sentence, he would most certainly consider me a dumbass. 

Oh that reminds me.  One time, I was in a mostly empty warehouse.  In the middle of the room was a card table.  Next to the card table was another card table with a boom box and a stack of cds of rock and roll music from the 80s and 90s.   Around the first card table were about 6 or 7 chairs.  I was in one of the chairs.  My friend Todd (A.K.A. Mike) was in another.  I didn’t know the rest of the guys.  Two of them were these gay guys that lived across the street from Mike.  They were amazing to me because they were these totally flaming heavy metal rocker types.  One of them had on a Megadeth t-shirt and a thick leather biker’s jacket.  He was fat and didn’t look very clean.  His boyfriend was just this loser gamer guy.  Totally changed my view of heavy metal rocker guys. I mean, Judas Priest!

Maybe it was because these guys lived in LaVista that they didn’t feel the need to conform to “Big City Gay” behavior.  I don’t know.  I just found it fascinating. 

Also at the warehouse that night was Chris.  He is my friend Mike’s BFF.  He’s a pretty funny guy.
Then there was this one guy.  I don’t remember where he was from, but he might have been a friend or relative of Mike’s ex-wife.  He’s the one I just thought of up there when I typed the word “dumbass”

We were all there to play poker.  One of the things that I’ve spent way too much time thinking about is poker.  It took me a long time to learn, but now I’m so good at it, that nobody better ever play cards with me because I will win all of your money.  Why do you think they call me “Fredcube” anyway?

Ok so, we’re all sitting there playing some poker, having a good time, when Dumbass points at me.  He says, “You’re a whisky drinker, aren’t you?”  But because of the way he kind of sloshed his words around it sounds more like “… wish-key”

I was confused.  I hadn’t seen this move in poker for a long time, and I knew this kid didn’t know it, so I decided against my better judgment to take him literally.  “No, not really, I …”

“You can’t kid me.  I know a wish-key drinker when I shee one,”  Nudging my buddy Mike with his elbow, Einstein asks, “Hey Mikey, you know thish guy.  Ish he a big whish-key drinker?”

Mike just kind of covers his mouth with his cards, suppressing his laughter.  Ahh that’s why this guy was invited.  For the immense entertainment value he brings to the table.  Now I’m trying to keep a straight face (particularly with the gay rockers across the table).

So he continued, “It’sh your nose gave you away.  Your nose ish all red.  That’sh a wish-key drinker if I ever shaw one.  That’sh how you can tell if shomeone drinksh wish-key.”

Now I have had whisky before.  I don’t really care for it.  I like beer.  As a matter of fact, I was sitting there at this warehouse card table tossing back a few beers.  I was not drinking whisky. 

In response to dumbass, I kind of pursed my lips, raised my eyebrows, lowered my chin and glanced over at my buddy Mike.  His jerking shoulders betraying his suppressed giggling.   I looked back at dumbass and shrugged.  “I knew it!”  He shouted triumphantly, “I can always tell.  Raise.”

I’m not sure what was so important to him about whisky drinkers.  Actually, that’s not quite true.  It wasn’t about whisky drinkers.  He was testing a theory of his built from “knowing someone who drank whisky who had a red nose.”

Oh yeah – and I was sunburned, so I called his bluff.

But anyway – it takes me a long time to learn stuff.

Recently, I’ve been learning to eat.  I know a lot about what I’m supposed to eat.  I’ve heard over and over again about the recovery window and the importance of hydration and how terrible it is to bonk and so on and so forth.  Yawn. 

Up until say, 3 or 4 weeks ago, I considered eating “whatever the hell I damn well pleased whenever the hell I damn well wanted,” one of the many perks of 10-15 hours of intense training a week on the bike.  It is true that if I workout hard and regularly, I can eat whatever I want and I won’t gain weight.  Unfortunately, that becomes about the only benefit.  Performance on the bike is severely limited.  I say this having only learned it, um, yesterday.

About 7 years ago, I was training pretty regularly.  I was eating whatever the hell I wanted.  I was working at the U.P.  My weight was a little high but I figured I’d drop those pounds with more bike hours.  

Every morning I would go to the U.P. Cafeteria and get one of their super-duper deluxe omelettes with every damn thing they could fit on it.  One morning I was standing at the register when Shim walked by and saw the plate, “That’s not on your diet plan,” he said.

“Yes it is,” I countered for no particular reason, other than I didn’t have a diet plan.  That’s when Shim paused to take a closer look at what I was eating.  He said, “Well maybe so, but not with all that cheese,” and he walked away.

That was when I first actually looked at the pool of yellow grease covering the eggs and veggies.  Wow.  It just took a little comment.  Of course it was a ridiculous amount of cheese.  That’s where the delicious comes from.

Then about 7 years later (slow learner) I was on a Saturday group ride.  We’d gone to Arlington and were stopped at a gas station.  Brady held up his full water bottle with the realization that he had yet to drink anything on the ride.  “Uh-oh,” he said.  What, I wondered, was the problem.  I hadn’t had any water either.  Is that somehow important?  Don’t get me wrong.  I normally drink water on rides.  But this was a cold ride and you don’t feel thirsty very often.  But if elite Brady thinks he should have, he’s probably right.  I decided to investigate this “hydration” thing another time.

A couple of weeks after that, Brady wrote about bonking on that very ride.  I rode that ride home alone, but had a much more difficult time than I normally would have for such a short ride.

Thinking about it, the only time I drink water is on the bike.  Otherwise I drink coffee, soda, or beer.

Maybe it’s time to change that.  I went and got a water bottle to drink from at my desk.  Now I go through 3 or 4 of those a day since it’s just sitting there.  The first week or so, I had to pee about every 15 minutes or so, but now, somehow, even though I still drink as much water, I pee a lot less.  So that’s some information for you to visualize.  You’re welcome.  Usually, I place my right hand on the wall above the urinal*.  Just sayin’.

There are other things I’m doing diet-wise that are more out of aversion than knowing better.  Normally, I take my lunch to work.  This is a good way to get a quality meal.  I usually don’t take my lunch on Fridays.  I like to take a day off each week.  Also, I like to go to lunch with the co-workers once a week.  But two Fridays ago, I was meeting the U.P. gang after work for a group ride.  I still didn’t take my lunch, but when the co-workers said they were going to Pepper Jax (which I love), I honestly couldn’t stomach the idea of eating all of that grease and then trying to go for a potentially spirited ride a few hours later.  See, I’m learning.  Oh, so slowly.

My newest thing is taking the “recovery window” seriously.  For my weight, that means almost 700 calories (Kcal) in carbs within 30 minutes of the end of a long hard ride.  We’ll see how that goes, but I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks now and I feel like I have more strength and energy for longer and more often.  That could just be placebo effect though.  I still haven’t dropped Savery enough times to be sure my new methods are foolproof.

*I’m sinister.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


From some of the bike related books I've read, I've learned there's a thing the French say about a rider who is going very well.  Too well.  They say he is supernatural.  I guess this implies the suspicion that he is necessarily doping.

I think it is possible to just have a good day.  A day where for reasons you don't understand, you ride way better than you normally could.  Writing these ill-planned little blog posts is much like that.  Last week, I blogged about a Wednesday ride.  Thanks to Rafal for linking it on Facebook and Bryan for linking it to Gamjams-midwest, the number of visitors went from roughly about 15 during the week, to well over 100.

I heard a lot of positive feedback from the post, which is nice.  I never know when I write these things if they make any sense.  I'm pretty sure there are less than 5 of them in the history of me posting that I'm really proud of.  So this one (below) will most likely be typical of what I spill out here on a weekly basis and nowhere near as fun to read as last week's.  All is not lost, though.  For your tear-jerking, reading pleasure, I'm going to link my all time favorite post.  It's the one about the pain of raising my daughter as a divorced person (me divorced - not my daughter).  Read that one if you haven't already (It's here).  Then when you get done crying and if you feel like it, read this one.  It won't be as good, but I'll make fun of at least one person.  I will be using a device known as "sarcasm, irony's evil twin."   I won't tell you when the sarcasm is happening.  I will leave that as an exercise for the reader.

So by way of no further introduction, here's tonight's entry:

It has been pointed out to me that some people are not fond of the Trek Store’s, Wednesday night ride’s, nickname’s, TLA.

The Trek Store’s, Wednesday night ride’s, nickname is “Wednesday Night Worlds” and its TLA (3 letter acronym) is WNW.

Since my driving motivation for anything I do is to appease (not please) people in hopes that they will just shut their mouths for another sweet moment, I will henceforth no longer refer to the ride as “WNW”

You’re welcome Shim and Barry.

I am going to now call it WNFW.

I can guess what you’re thinking and you’re right.  It stands for “Wednesday Night's Furry Wall”

I’m pretty sure it is completely clear why, but I have nothing better to do so I’ll explain.

I went on the WNFW ride last night (Wednesday).  There were about a dozen or so people there.  I don’t know all of their names, but the ones I do know or learned were called: Kyle, Shim, Spence, Jordan, Noah, John (Lehman) of back-to-back cat V victory last weekend, Rafal, Mod, Jonathan Wait (I only know this because of Strava) and others.

First of all, I want to get something out of the way. Shim was looking for an awesome lead-out from me toward the end of the ride ( I think he was joking).  I was done at that point and was unable to contribute.  Sorry about that Shim.  I am currently going over the numbers, looking at the pie charts and even throwing together some venn diagrams in the hope of remedying the issue by next week.  So far, my research is pointing to the potential need for everyone to not be in such a big hurry up the hill.  But I’ll get back to you when the lab results return and either confirm or verify my suspicion.  Again, you’re welcome.

One more thing needs to be mentioned before I return to the good natured ribbing stuff.  It is important.  If you take nothing else away from this post, I want you to hear what I’m about to say.  It is a matter of safety.  We travel at fairly high speeds sometimes and there can often be some confusion which I could see potentially leading to tragic results.  Because of that, I have a request.  Ignore me if you want, but do so at your own peril.

The rider I met last night who is called Kyle was wearing what can only be described as the YKSA.  If you know your Velominati lexicon, you know what the "Yellow Jacket of Authority", or YJA is.  Well – I learned last night that they ALSO make those in knee sock/shoe cover things.  Oh my gosh.  They were the same neon green as those safety jackets, but they went from toe to over the calf! 

For safety reasons, everyone must get a pair of those knee socks right now.  End of discussion.  Ok I lied.  I am going to tell you after all.  That was the sarcastic part.  Do not really go get socks like that.  Please.

Back Up!  Get my matching socks in the shot!

Ok so now.  The ride.  I don’t want to just detail what happened since I did that last week.  I noticed some weird thoughts in my head during last night’s ride.  I thought I’d share those.  They may be important.

Because we were trying to beat the night (remember, only Kyle had the socks), we took the same relatively short route as last week. This ride is supposed to be hard.  That's the point.  Apart from an actual race, this is about as hard as you will ever go.  Sometimes, particularly early in the season, a hard ride like this causes a sort of out-of-body experience.  Which is good.  Because there's nothing but a whole lot of pain going on in the body.

So last night after about 15 minutes into the hard riding, I become aware that there's been a single song stuck in my head from the time it first started getting tough.  I wonder why it is this particular song, but am at a loss.  The song doesn't leave my head until we finally ease up once we're back in town in North Omaha.  Of course I'm talking about Infant Sorrow's smash hit "Furry Walls" from the movie "Get Him to the Greek."

We were riding pretty hard, doing the double paceline thing, but since there was a whole bunch of guys there, it was a little crazier.  Because of the wind configuration, the right line was moving forward and the left line was about 3 feet from the right edge of the road.  It was a little scary for me because I don’t have a lot of experience in that sort of close proximity riding.  I pulled through for a while, then got tired and so just sat in on the back, trying not to lose the group.

I was sitting in pretty good, just thinking over and over again, “Furry walls, don’t bring me down.  Furry walls please stay around …”

I’m gritting my teeth and laughing at the same time.  I want to ask around if anyone there knows the movie or the song, but I can’t think of how to form the question with one quick exhale.  Also, someone might have said something like, “Maybe – tell me about it …”  So I decided to just keep my mouth shut (figuratively) and stick to breathing.  The Furry Walls story could wait until after the WNFW ride.

Then something I still don't understand happened at the front.  There was an acceleration.  Ok, fine.  Protected by the group I was able to stay on. Except that whenever I got to where I thought I was supposed to be, they were farther up the road.  This acceleration stopped for me at around 33 MPH.  Then I let them go.  Looking up, I saw a couple others get dropped.  No matter.  We were about a mile from Ft Calhoun.  I almost guttered Rafal at one point, unaware he was sitting to my right and slightly behind me.  My fault, but he kept a cool head.  I felt bad but then I had this in my head, “When the World slips you a Jeffrey, stroke the furry wall.  Stroke the furry wall.”  Really.  I did.

Thinking about that stupid song today, I think it was because in the movie, a Jeffrey is this narcotic they all smoke at this club.  It makes everyone feel really uneasy.  Panicky.  Sweaty.  Short of breath.  I felt like the Wednesday Night Worlds slipped me a Jeffrey.

After we were through Ft Calhoun, I found myself in a very good mood.  I could tell I was exhausted and would have trouble with the last climb, but I didn't care.  I was welcoming the hard work.  It was there that I learned that the deadly combo of Mark Savery and Shim was the reason for all that ungodly speed at the front earlier.  My reaction surprised me.  I was genuinely impressed and not at all bummed out my not being able to hang.  I now realized that I was being comforted by the furry walls.

Finally we got to the last climb of the evening.  At this point we'd been going pretty hard with the wind and I had one of those out of body experiences.  I suddenly looked down and saw a bunch of ridiculous adult men pedaling bicycles really fast on a cold and windy night, just because.  I lost all understanding of why anyone would do this.  I thought of the sweetness of the golf club and how glorious golfing is.  The pain of cycling is stupid.

Nice try, golf demons.  Luckily a few seconds later, the current residents of my soul, the hordes of cycling demons woke up to do furious battle, beating back the golf threat yet again.

As I blissfully let the group of riders climb the hill while I rode within myself, Aldous Snow was crooning,  “Maybe I'm in heaven with the furry skies above, All around are furry clouds, look, here's a furry dove …”
This is absolutely true, by the way.  I laughed my ass up the hill considering what a furry dove is.

After the downhill, down the road about a half mile ahead, I could barely make out a bright green spinning motion.  I knew what that meant.  Time to bridge.

I was able to get a good tailwind spin going and hold about 25-26 miles per hour.  I couldn't be sure, but the bright green spinny beacon off in the distance seemed to be getting closer, "Furry walls, furry walls, furry walls ..."

Eventually I latched on to Kyle's wheel.  Rafal was with him, but I hadn't known that because Rafal didn't have on the YKSA.

They were cruising at around 23, so after my little rest I went around to pull.  Back up to 25 and up the little rise by the water treatment place.  I looked back to let the other 2 know they could come around any time, and saw green socks had fallen off.  Rafal informed me he was still there, then gave me a pat on the back as he went around.  He told me - and I agree - we'll be riding together a lot this year.  Finally, Brady's dream that group riders do some sort of buddy system will be realized!  I hope Feagan doesn't get too jealous.

For me the best part of the ride was knowing I went as hard as I could and felt pretty good at the end of it.  In years past, I would mope around for days at having been dropped.  I truly didn't care this time.  Shit happens.  So what?  It might be part of the HTFU philosophy taking hold.  Or it might be the comfort I find in a good furry wall.  Either way, I'm cool with it.
So if you're ever riding with me and happen to wonder what's going through my mind, here you go.

Actually it's more like this.

The Relevant scene

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ride. Lots. – Eddy Merckx

Note:  I was going to write about my 5 favorite flavors of Bundt Cake*, but that will have to wait.  Last night, I was invited on a training ride.  At the end of it, Rafal requested that I blog about the experience on the condition that I overanalyze the shit out of it.  Since I know no other way, I’m happy to oblige. 

Background on this year’s training strategy

In the past I’ve tried all sorts of training regimens.  This year, I decided they were generally too complicated for me to follow through on.  I decided to go with Eddy Merckx’ famous training advice:  Ride.  Lots.

Not to say that there is anything wrong with structured training.  I believe if you want to reach your absolute best, there must be structure.  But I think if you want to simply hang in local group rides, “Ride.  Lots.”  is more than sufficient.

Race – Er, um  – training ride report

Last night (Wednesday) was the “2013 Wednesday Night Worlds Prologue - Route Scout Edition” (working title).  Shim – as director of the Trek Store Wednesday night rides is working on a slightly different route from the previous years.  The hope is to avoid the busy area of 72nd and Jones.

This ride started at the Park Services building near the BK Bridge.  Rafal, Jordan, Shim and Leah were there, but Leah was pressed for time so she just rode with us to about Ponca and turned back.

Let Me Explain why I was happy to be invited at all

A few weeks ago, I noticed the Saturday group rides I’ve been attending had slowed down considerably.  Where I’d been hanging on for dear life for the entirety of the ride, now I could actually get out and contribute from time to time.  This has opened up a whole new area of learning for me.  Honestly, for as long as I’ve been riding, I have never been in a position to do anything other than wheel suck, so I’m relatively ignorant of the finer points of group riding.  Particularly when it comes to any of the myriad ways to paceline.

On a recent ride, I made some error in group ride etiquette (riding 3 abreast at the front).  I was completely oblivious.  That’s when a more experienced rider charged up to the front and told me to back off.  I am fine with that and willing to learn.  But then this rider, sitting at the front spent roughly 5 minutes complaining about people and their fucking egos putting everyone else in danger, disrupting the group dynamic or whatever.  And on and on it went as I sat right behind getting very very sad.  Like this à L

It wasn’t ego.  It was ignorance.  I’d never (or rarely) been up there before.  I just felt really good that day and was thinking I’d put in some time at the front since I’d been sitting in for months.  I was thinking I kind of owed the group for doing all the work all winter.  Maybe they’d be thankful.  Maybe they’d like me.  At least until the weather warms up and they see my hairy legs.

When the rider (who is my hero, by the way) started attributing motives (ego) to my actions, he wasn't talking about me anymore.  He knows what goes on in his head, not mine.  I understand that now, but at the time I was upset.  I had screwed up.  People (or person) were (or was) mad about it.  Would I be unwelcome in the group?  And just when I was starting to feel the form to contribute.   Damn.

Luckily for me, a careful rereading of the rules reminded me to “Harden the Fuck Up” and I instantly felt better.

I don’t pretend to know what the hell is going on up there in elite-local-group-ride-ville.  It would do no good to tell me, “Hey Cube, if it ever happens that you’re strong enough to hang with us, this is how it will go.”

But now that I’m back in shape, the next step is to learn.  I like learning.  I don’t dislike it.  Last night I got a good tip or two from the others that really helped the ride go smoothly. 

As we got to the first climb, Jordan got a good rhythm going and was immediately about 10 or fifteen yards (meters, or is it metres) in front of us.  I felt ok, so I figured I’d get up there and grab his wheel before it was too late.  Without too much effort, I was on.  This is where I intended to stay for as long as I could.  I certainly wasn’t going to be going around him.  This is an average grade of 4.5% for 7/10th of a mile.  We were going 15 MPH already and it seemed steady enough. 

Then there was this loud whirring noise to my left.  Oh it was Shim flying by.  Then Rafal.  Well, that’s it.  I’m done.  As Jordan picked up his pace to grab Shim’s Wheel (Rafal was now in front) I realized something I really couldn’t believe.  We were basically pacelining up this hill.  And the speed was increasing!  And I was still there.   And I didn’t feel too bad.  In fact, I was feeling pretty damn froggy, so I accelerated to the front and we continued this hill climbing rotation thing all the way to the top.  Unbelievable.  A glance down at the computer showed we were going 17.6 MPH as we crested the hill.

To Redemske’s credit, we did have a bit of a tailwind (and the questionable working together thing) when Rafal and I together shattered his lame-ass KOM by an astounding 1 second.  Jordan was penalized by 2 seconds for starting the climb before everyone else (and for having a beard).  You know what?  Strava’s not perfect, but that’s what we find so damn cute about it.

So that was new.  Fit cyclists pull each other up hills.  Hmm.  Interesting.  I never knew that.

Overanalyzing what had just happened, I knew I wasn’t good enough to do what I’d just done (there goes that ego again) but I had.  Sometimes people say, “All you need is a little confidence in your ability.”  I guess that’s true.  But last night I noticed that my confidence had nothing to do with my ability.  I was willing to try (like always) but in the past, it always resulted in a tremendous explosion of nothingness, followed by a painful standing on stubborn, heavy pedals.

The next part of the ride that was at all interesting was an uphill to tiny little rollers on Northern Hills Drive from Hwy 75 to 72nd street.  Here again, Jordan took off.  I knew better than to try to catch him at the pace he was going.  Shim followed and caught him.  Rafal and I traded pulls to keep them in sight so we could pretend like we were there all the time when we got to 72nd street.  “Dropped” is probably too strong a word here.  Good times.

Section 3 was the Wednesday Night Worlds section called “Ft Calhoun sprint on Omaha Trace”.  We didn’t go anywhere near the insane pace I’ve seen in the past on WNWs, but we went along pretty well.  Here’s where I was gently given instruction on a couple of things to do differently in the pulling rotation thing. I was appreciative for the instruction and the fellas were sure to throw me a biscuit each time I didn’t fuck it up too bad.  So that was cool.

Blah blah blah, down the hill into Ft Calhoun, over by Boyer chute, yawn.  We’re still taking our turns.  I am getting the feeling Rafal is starting to get tired, but I can’t be sure.  I figure it’s somehow my fault (ego). 

Then I make an inadvertent mistake, but am quickly corrected.  See, we’re heading closer to that one hill, called “Over Boyer Chute” on Strava, and I’m anticipating our little paceline will break up at any moment, and it will be every man for himself.  I imagine that it (the working together) has ended and ease up.  At this, Rafal looks back because I’ve let a gap form between me and Shim.  Understanding my error, I speed up to get to the front and pull as I should.  Shim, upon sensing the speed up, shouts something like “Calm down you whipper snapper,” and I fall to the place I belong.  This is the first time I realize we are all going to work as a group up the hill.  I’m amazed.  Once it turns upward, my suspicion that Rafal is having an off day is confirmed.  Jordan, Shim and I go up the hill together. 

The second time the hill gets steep I find myself in front.  I don’t feel those two coming around, so I then remember a story Brady told me about Shim wanting a lead out up a hill from the year before at the Spring Classic “Tour De Husker”.  So I bury myself for a little while until Shim and Jordan zip by to the top.  I still would say “dropped” is a bit strong.  Besides, I prefer to be alone on the ensuing descent.  I always have before.  No reason to stop now.

We all regroup and see Joe Savoie ahead.  We try to chase him down, but it’s no use because he’s too much of a stud.  Or well, his tires are too studded, I guess.

*I will say that Blueberry has to be in any Bundt cake discussion.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

You're Crazy

So the big challenge on Strava this month is the “Train like Tyler” challenge.  For 16 days, you have to put in a certain number of hours on the bike.  These have to be outdoors.  No trainer rides.  No manual entries.  Three days before the end of the challenge (3/17/2013) you have to fail a drug test and then you have the remaining time to convince Strava that the test is flawed.  The crazier the reason, the better chance you will have of winning.  You are not allowed to use any of Tyler Hamilton’s excuses (i.e.: I absorbed a twin in the womb who is with me to this day).

So pretty simple really.  Get out and ride.  Dope.  Get caught.  Deny.  Hang on a minute, someone is yelling at me.  What!?!  It’s What?  Who?  Oh – you mean Phinney?  Oh alright.

Sorry about that.  It’s actually called the “Train Like Tayler” Challenge.  It’s something about how some famous pioneering American cyclists had a baby and now he “rides bikes”.  He’s on Strava, sharing all of his training with the world.  The contest goes like this:

Hey Everybody!  Do you have what it takes to train like a pro!  Put in 2 hours a day for a couple of weeks and we’ll call it square.  How about them apples, you lucky sonofagun!  And to sweeten the pot, the company Taylor Phinney works for will throw in 5 pair o’ shoes.  That’s right!  Ride for 2 hours a day, for 16 days and you could get some shoes. 

This will be the second “challenge” from Strava that I’ve participated in.  So far it’s going pretty well.  All the people who finish 31 hours and 51 minutes between Mar 2 and Mar 17 2013 will be eligible for the drawing to win a pair of some ugly-ass black and orange GIRO cycling shoes.  There will be 5 winners.  I really would like to win, but with the whole Sears Bike fiasco from 41 years ago still fresh in my memory, I’m not getting my hopes up.

I didn’t even think I’d try to do this challenge at all since I’ve been getting about 9 hours in a week, including roller rides.  No way I can ramp to 14 a week.  Then I figured if I do my long commute thing (34 miles or so round trip), I could get just under 2 and a half hours a day in.  With the long Saturday rides, this could even leave me a day off.  I likes me a day off each week.  Yes I do.

As of this writing, I have 12 hours and 12 minutes (6 days into it), so I’m currently slightly ahead of schedule (even after taking Sunday off).  There was a ride Sunday.  I saw it on Strava.  But Hey, Shim and Rafal gotta get them some alone time once in a while.  I’d like to get a little bit more ahead of schedule if I could.  This way if something comes up, I have a little buffer and remain eligible for the ugly-ass shoes.  If there ends up being a Saturday ride this week, I should get even more hours than usual because I plan a good 2+ hour ride tomorrow and my legs are very tired this week.  I’ll be so rapidly spit out the back of Saturday’s ride that I might get an extra hour in!  Sweet!  Thanks Tyler or Taylor or whatever your name is.

Now I’m just rambling.  What was I talking about?  Oh yeah.  Strava Challenges.

The thing about the Strava challenges is they seem to have a point.  I think that if they don’t really go against whatever you’re doing for training, they are great motivators.  In January, the challenge was what they called a “Base Mile” challenge.  See how many miles you can get in the calendar month.  This was the first time they decided to allow manual input and trainer rides.  I spent a lot of time on the rollers in January.  After getting the manflu in the middle of it and missing a few days, I decided I couldn’t reasonably get to 1000 miles.  I set a new goal of 800 miles.  They were awarding “badges” for each 200 completed up to 1000.

Having never done one of these, I didn’t know that the real competition is to see who can get the most miles.   Some of these people put in ridiculous amounts.  The winner was just over 4000 miles for the month of January.  That can’t be a part of any training, can it? 

The funny thing is all the complainers and whingers.  One guy said as much and a bunch of others, seeing the “typo” jumped in his shit saying something like, “What’s a whinger, dude?  I think you mean whiner or you’re just stupid.”

So I did what that guy should have done.  I googled “Whinger.”

There are dozens of cries of foul throughout the whole competition.  There are people saying trainer rides shouldn’t count.  People saying they’d put in 100 miles a day if they lived in Australia. And on and on. 
But it is understandable that people get so worked up over what is and isn’t fair in this competition.  The grand prize is something worth fighting for. 

Prize Information
For successfully making it through this Challenge, each participant will receive the gift of fitness. 
Please note...
The Challenge starts and ends based on each riders local time zone.
Manual entries or trainer rides will count towards your Challenge effort.
All activities logged during the Challenge period must be uploaded to Strava no later than 2/3/2013.

There was also a link to the “Official rules” that opened a window that said:

“Ride hard and be safe.”

So the new challenge isn’t about miles.  It’s about hours.  There’s still all kinds of bitching (whinging) about this and that.  But still, I’m amazed by the amount of time some people put in on a bike.  The current leader has 58 hours.  6 days.  58 hours.  Uhh.

Now everyone who gets 31 H 51 M, is entered for the drawing for the black and orange shoes.  But these people are in it to be the person in the world on his bike for the longest amount of time.  So effing what?  I’ve done that in just about every race I’ve been in.

One more thing about Strava.  Lance is gone.  So sad.  Someone found out he was on Strava and then it was in the newspaper and then there were a bunch of articles about whether he should be allowed on Strava.  Personally, I have no idea why he shouldn’t be allowed to be on Strava.  He was a premium member too. 

One day I logged into Strava and wondered how many times I’d typed the non-word “Strava” lately and noticed that the number of people I was following was not 23, but 22.  That’s weird I thought.  Who is missing?  I haven’t stopped following anyone on purpose (this was before last Saturday’s group ride).

Then I tried to go to Lance Armstrong’s page and saw this:

So yeah, I was kind of bummed out about it.  That was some fine entertainment.  I don't expect Lance to ever return to Strava, so I found myself wishing there could be some sort of runner up on Strava.  Well, I didn't have to wait long, because sure enough, Yesterday, Der Kaiser Signed up!

I'm not really surprised that I saw Lance on there first and Jan on there second.  Something just seemed right about it.  Well, I might as well do a little GPS snooping on him now.
Ok so there's no obvious palace around where he started, but this is in Spain, so I don't know.  Maybe he's renting or something.

In conclusion, if your vagina needs a good soaking, why not try gin?


Mmm.  Sounds tasty.  Thanks E*TRADE® !!!

The End?