Archive for October, 2008

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Lessons in Cyclocross: Canton Cup Race Report

October 20, 2008

I finally did my first cyclocross race this weekend and it was freak’n awesome.

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(If you are viewing this in a feed reader, click through for some video I shot at the race)

On Friday night before the race I went over to the local baseball field and rode around in circles for about a half an hour, just doing circles in the dark by myself, practicing my running dismounts/carrys/remounts. I was actually staring to get a handle of it. Big confidence booster.

Sunday morning, I headed down to Canton bright and early, and threw on a few extra layers to shake off the morning chill while I headed to the registration tent and did two laps around the course to actually start to build some confidence that I can handle this thing.

My new tires are awesome. They make my bike feel completely differently, but it still haven’t gotten used to the fact that I can power through tight dirt/gravel/grass corners without worrying about going down. I’m a little heavy on the brake into corners because of it, but hopefully that will pass.

Now on to the race…

I didn’t have very high expectations for my first race, but given that 40 minutes of all-out riding, switching up positions and gears often, sounds a whole lot like spinning class (something I’m very familiar with) I didn’t expect to be too awful. I’m a solid MOPer in triathlon, and sort of expected the same here.

I settled in to the middle/back of the pack at the starting line knowing full well that I had no business in sprinting for position in the beginning. I never even heard a gun or bell go off. People just started going. I followed.

People were going nuts and exploding up a short paved hill and about two or three went down and clogged up the whole works. I didn’t think that I was lagging that bad, until I looked back and saw only one or two people behind me. Damn…

Once we got into the first dirt/grass section, I was able to pass a few people and hold a decent pace to close some gaps. I was able to get over the first set of barriers pretty easily, and was in a good mood.

Slowly (very slowly) I was able to pass a few more handfuls of people to climb my way up the field. But for every guy that I passed, either some 14 year old (no exageration) punk kid or tiny little girl would come up and fly past me. I’ve heard of getting chicked before, but getting babied? These kids weighed like 80 pounds. WTF? I was at least able to have a little confidence boost when I was able to hold off one of the kids on lap 3 of 4.

Sad. Right? I know.

Now that my ego was sufficiently checked, I just settled in, stopped focusing on place and made sure I had a nice consistent effort level and kept the rubber side down.

My three goals for the race were:

  1. Don’t be DFL
  2. Don’t fall on my face
  3. Have a kick-ass time

All were done pretty well. I definitely wasn’t DFL, but it was pretty lonely in the BOP where I was for the entire 47 something minutes. I don’t have an official time/place, but hopefuly they’ll post it online soon. I’ll update this post if they do.

I definitely have a lot to learn, and my bike handling isn’t awful, but definitely needs some work. Most of all the things that I learned today is that cyclocross racing is COMPLETELY different from triathlon racing. But, I love learning new things, so I will definitely be trying my hand at another cyclocross race in the near future.

UPDATE:

The results are in. But they say that I DNF’d! WTF IS THAT!?! I may have slogged my way through slowly, but I didn’t get lapped and I sure as hell didn’t DNF! I don’t care as much if my time isn’t right, or my place is wrong, but to not even pay attention when I cross the line and say I didn’t finish is a whole different story.

BOO Canton Cup! Boo to you.

According to my bike computer, I finished around 47 minutes. That only puts two other non-DNFers behind me.

Next time, even if I am dead last, I’ll just have to throw my hands up in the air and start making such a ruckus that everyone has to notice me and take down my finishing time. ๐Ÿ™‚

UPDATE 2:

Results are updated and I’m no longer a NDFer! Apparently I placed it says i was 47:19 (which sounds about right) and beat 5 people. Wooho! I guess the bar is set pretty low to PR my next race! HAHA.

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Flexibility Project, Pt. 3: Bikram Yoga

October 17, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

On my way to becoming a flexible noodle of a triathlete, I found one new tool in my arsenal. Bikram Yoga.

After hearing KT talk about it a few times, and most recently LG, I decided I should up my Yoga game from just taking the regular vanilla basics class and do some HOT yoga. LG was gracious enough to let me join her and mooch off of her hidden gem of a yoga studio. It also helped that the studio happens to be right around the corner of my apartment.

Once LG and I walked in to the room, the heat immediately hit me like I was walking into a sauna. She warned me to bring a towel, but I guess I didn’t realize that I would need a whole beach towel, not a little hand towel like I usually bring to spinning. Once my mat became completely covered in sweat, and I mean every single inch, I definitely decided that I needed a bigger towel next time.

After the first few minutes of relaxing, breathing and moving through a few different poses, I stopped noticing the heat at all. It was just there. I only noticed how hot I was when I tried doing certain poses where I had to clasp hands, or rest one leg on the other to stay balanced like the tree pose (below).

I was so covered in sweat that I just kep slipping all over myself. It was a mess. Thankfully LG let me know after that you eventually sweat less once you do it a while. Good thing, because I really don’t think I could have sweat any more than I did. Honestly, I felt like I had just walked out of a big sweaty shower by the end of the class. That is how soaked I was. Gross, I know, but in a really cool way.

It was a ton of fun though. The poses weren’t so hardcore that it made me feel incredibly inflexible, but they were still definitely challenging. This may have to become my new Wednesday thing, at least until tri season rolls back around….

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Cyclocross Conversion

October 15, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

 

I’ve finally gotten around to converting my road bike into a cyclocross bike, or at least something that closely enough resembles a cyclocross bike to get me through a few races this season.

Here is my regular triathlon race setup.

And here is the setup that I’ll be rocking at my first cyclocross race this weekend.

I basically just stripped off the bottle cages and saddle bag and put on some special cyclocross tires. Those big knobby tires make her look like she is ready to get MUDDY! I love it.

This is definitely a half-assed job since I would have liked to switch out to different brakes and better pedals, but this should work. The brakes I’m running now are not built to handle my new wide tires and I actually have to remove one brake pad every time either of the wheels off to squeeze the wider tires through. Annoying, but what can ya do? I’ll have to remember to bring a wrench with me if I do any long rides with these tires.

My back tire is a 34 and my front tire is a 32, in case anyone cares. I had to switch down to a 32 in the front since the bigger size was rubbing against the fork.

Now that I’ve stripped her down, and given her a good cleaning and lubing, I’m totally psyched for my first cyclocross race this weekend. I’m expecting nothing more than making a complete ass of myself, so anything more than that will be a good day.

Lets get MUDDY!

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Organic Baked Potato Pizza Recipe

October 10, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

While time isn’t as much of a crunch now that is is officially the “off season” I’ve been experimenting a lot with new recipes. I’m mainly just looking for something that isn’t Easy Mac that I can trow together quickly after work and still have time to digest and workout without forcing myself to put off actually sleeping until after midnight.

I’m a huge fan of randomly making up recipes on the fly. Usually they turn out pretty decent, but this one turned out really good so I feel the need to share. With that, I give you: Jamie’s Organic Baked Potato Pizza.

I was even able to get home from work at 5:30, make up this recipe, cook it up, shove it down my throat and still have time to digest and make it to spinning at 7:00.

I’ve been getting progressively more crunchy this year, and have been doing more and more shopping at Whole Foods, hence all the organic stuff. It doesn’t really impact the taste (or the price even) but it will make your heart feel a little better for supporting sustainable ethical foods while chowing down on some pizza.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium organic potato
  • 2 cups shredded organic mozzarella
  • Unfrozen organic white pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon Bacon Salt
  • fresh basil
  • 1 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • White Flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Using flower to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the counter, slowly stretch the dough into a circle, or square if you can’t figure out where your roommate put the pizza pan.
  3. Lightly drizzle the dough with olive oil
  4. Thinly slice the garlic and baked potato and evenly spread over the pizza.
  5. Go wild with the cheese
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until it looks delicious like this:

Just sprinkle with some chopped basil and you are good to go.

If you want to keep the organic kick going, try this beer with it: Peak Organic Amber Ale. Freakn’ delicous.

I’m still working on tweaking the recipe, and may try some more peppper, chives instead of basil, adding a little sour cream after baking, or using taco cheese instead of mozzarella.

Let me know if you guys try it out and what you think.

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Why I love biking to work

October 8, 2008

There are a lot of things that I love about my new job, one of them being that it is only 3 miles away and is actually faster to bike there rather than sit in traffic and drive.

The other thing is like mornings like today where it is a little cold, but bright and sunny and I head out through Harvard square and over the JFK bridge on the Charles river. It is one of my favorite, but alsoย  the most dangerous, parts of my commute.

As I head over the bridge I get to check out all the ivy league yuppie crew teams paddling their way down the river as the sun comes up on the other side of the bridge. It was such a peaceful sight this morning.

It was a really nice scene this morning. My crappy camera phone pictures don’t really do it justice. Being out in the open, outside of my car, is definitely a whole lot more dangerous, but you never realise how much cool stuff out there you miss when you are angrily staring at the license plate in front of you in traffic.

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Compression Sock Review

October 6, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

 

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After a few weeks of putting my compression sleeves through the ringer, I put together a little review of my reactions so far.

  1. Compression sleeves are way better than compression socks. You dont have to worry about snagging toe nails and you get to wear your favorite running socks all the time.
  2. I did have a little heat issue when running with them in the sun, but decided I liked wearing them more post-workout anyway. Still not that big of a deal.
  3. Awesome for post workout recovery. It has definitely had an impact on my ability to get back on the road after a hard workout.
  4. Perfect to wear while sleeping, doing yoga, and bumming around the house after a hard workout.
  5. Wearing nothing but boxers and compression sleeves is the new hot look this fall. Trust me. Very classy. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have any questions about them, let me know. Zensah isn’t paying me (although I wouldn’t be opposed to it) but I’m definitely a fan.

Excuse some shoddy editing and audio, I’m still working on some kinks here. Just play with that volume nob and it should be fine.

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Fall Blog Redesign

October 2, 2008

With the colder weather and the leaves around my apartment starting to change colors, I’ve been getting into the fall mood. Tonight I decided it was time for a little redesign and was getting tired of the old look of the blog. So if you normally check up on me in an RSS reader, come check it out.

New look, same ‘ol Jamie.

Enjoy.