New Cycling Term: The Option

The Option: (noun) the pace at which one rides when followed by an unknown rider. This pace is calculated to:

  • Prevent the trailing rider from making the catch thus crushing his spirit
  • or, force the trailing rider to prove his worthiness if able to catch and demonstrating one’s “casual power”, one may then agree to ride with the rider making the catch
  • or, appear sufficiently casual to be plausibly a recovery or cruising pace thus saving face when the local pro smokes by you.
  • The actual pace may be adjusted as the above category becomes apparent by surreptitious observation of the chasing rider. It is important that the chasing rider is not aware that one has observed his/ her approach.

    Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

    #Bookclub Help a brother out, need something different to read.

    Please no cycling books, I’ve read almost all of them and need a break.

    So far I have:

    • Jo Nesbo’s Murder Mysteries (thanks to @gerdubin)
    • 10 Points by Bill Strictland (thanks to @BloomingCyclist even if it violates the no cycling rule, #cyclesluts do what they want)
    • Olive Kitteridge By Elizabeth Strout & Slam by Nick Hornby (thanks to @Debamundo)
    • Steve Larsen Trilogy “The Girls with…” (thanks to @cycletard)

    I’ll add more as they arrive.

    Posted in Books | 3 Comments

    Week’s Plan

    CZ 8min Power x2
    30min HIT#1
    CZ Stretch (15min)

    1.5hr ride

    CZ FTB
    CZ Stretch

    2.5hr ride
    CZ Stretch

    CC Resistance Training 1-3
    30min HIT #2
    CZ Stretch

    2.5hr ride
    CZ Stretch

    Sunday (Starting Spring Break @ Beach)
    CZ FTB
    CZ Stretch

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

    Radios in Sport

    [Rant On] 

    Lord knows I hate being on the side of our incompetent, bumbling UCI but I’m in favor of banning radios. I don’t like them in any sport. Back to pit boards for motorsports, screaming coaches & hand signals for ball sports and cycling the old fashioned way.

    Sport should played within specified rules and boundaries. The beauty of sport is that, unlike nearly every other aspect of life, we have the choice to keep it pure and simple. Obviously in a sport like road cycling that is played outside in the public it is harder to insulate, but it’s worth trying. Understandingly in a sport that is increasingly obsessed with what they like to call technology, the temptation is even greater to incorporate every new thing you can stuff a battery in. I thought it was about pedaling hard.  

    The safety argument is mostly posturing by the directors and crusty old riders who want to be directors. I get why they want radios, they want more control and they want more info. If my job was to lead a team, I’d want more control and info. I’m not sure that equates to better racing. We need rules to restain these urges to take our sport out of the realm of competition.

    The radio/safety argument is just a cheap “why do you hate the riders Mr. McQuaid?” kind of trick. Vaughter and especially Voigt should be ashamed of themselves. Despite that, rider (and spectator) safety is a significant concern. Course selection, preparation and marshalling are the primary methods for maintaining race safety. If those things are taken care of, radios add very little. (Yes, I’m ok with the marshals having radios)

    What coach/DS wouldn’t want to chase their athletes around screaming at them? Imagine the joy of the boxing coach who has the rare fighter that can both listen and respond to instructions while having his face re-arranged. Tough, coaches are supposed to be angry and frustrated, it’s the job.

    Imagine the rider who can think and react, read the peloton and sniff out the good moves. It’s certainly a more appealing image than the DS telling people when to attack based on watching the TV feed (or a HRM/Powermeter feed for that matter). It’s what the more knowledgeable fans live to spot. It’s one of the reasons we watch.  

    We want to understand why rider X decided to go at that moment and why it either worked or didn’t. Do we want the answer to be “JV told me to go, but Riis told his zombies to chase so it didn’t work”? Do we want JV or Riis to get up on the podium? I don’t.

    What do we, the fans, gain with the use of radios, a few sound bites? Is it worth complicating the sport even further? Is it worth compromising the beauty and excitement of perhaps the greatest, most difficult sport?

    We the fans want great racing and we ultimately drive the economy of the sport. If we don’t watch, read or care about the sport, you can bet the sponsors won’t either. The fans really own any professional sport, not the UCI, not the riders, not the directors and not the promoters. If we don’t care, they have to go get jobs and become amateurs too.

    The question is: How can the fans’ wishes be heard over the current bickering?


    [Lest you think I’m just a luddite (and I’ve been accused), I dig helmetcams (they report, not pollute) and think that they can only add to the fans’ understanding and enjoyment but I like them most in amateur races like those found at:]

    [Rant Off]

    Posted in Cycling, Gear, Racing, Rant | 2 Comments

    Flying Aborted – Alternator Failure

    I’ve been flying for 15+ years and have never had any in-flight failure other that baulky radios, fussy door latches and broken sun-visors. I’ve had military pilots try to run into me w/ a B1 and a Chinook (they were in the wrong) but neither was really that close.  Other than that and a little aerobatics, my flying has been just exciting enough for me, which is not very.

    Saturday I lost the alternator during a local flight. Fortunately it was an easy choice to do the smart thing and land immediately. It was easy because I was 10nm from home. I like to think that I’d have done the same if I was 100nm from home. I hope I learned a lesson that will ensure that.

    When I taxied in the G1000 avionics started flickering. The usual assumption is that your battery will keep it lit for 45+ minutes. Glad I didn’t find that out in flight. I recall starting was a bit difficult but it’s a new aircraft for me so I assumed it was my hot-start technique. I suppose the battery was in a marginal state at takeoff. The alternator passed the runup checks but after a few touch and goes and then leaving the pattern to do some maneauvering the “low volts” annunciator came up.

    Back to base Joe! Like I said, easy call when you can see home.

    No, losing the G1000 in flight is not going to kill you in VFR conditions and the system does have an emergency backup battery. The engines don’t care, they get spark from the magnetos. All that is more comforting to consider when on the ground than in the air. I’ll try to remember that.

    [for you non-aviators, the Garmin G1000 is a comprehensive avionics suite w/ dual computer screens and all kinds of gadgets & features. It’s pretty awesome but a G1000 equipped aircraft’s panel is pretty sparse when the G1000 takes the dirt nap.]

    Posted in Aviation | Leave a comment

    A Flat? On the rollers?

    Last night’s hour record tribute was a series of complications. I’d originally intended to use my track bike but I forgot it doesn’t have speedplays yet. My old shoes have Look cleats but who knows where the cleats are positioned. I was forced to compromise. I rode the road bike but intended to hold one gear once I’d settled in.

    My hour attempt was begun at roughly 11:30pm so I chose to omit the lengthy warmup. Up to about 24mph in less than a minute and held between 24-25mph for 20, 30, 40, 45 minutes at 95-100 rpm. Hard enough to be work and I’m not one for steady effort. I’m jumpy, ask anyone who rides with me. I get a wild hair and bolt occasionally. After a while it took concentration to keep the pace, not because of the effort as much as I craved a change of rhythm.

    At 45minutes it happened: A slow flat on the rollers. I was starting to think I was just pedaling choppy but gradually I started feeling bouncey up front. Then I realised the tire was going soft. Henri Desgrange was safe for now. It was about 12:15am and I wasn’t going to bust tires and start over. I averaged 23.6mph for 45minute and could’ve made the hour at that pace. My HR average was only 156bmp. Don’t tell the UCI that I used a HRM, cyclocomputer anda laptop playing videos and loud music.

    Ok my 320tpi Vittoria Corsas were at the end of their rope. I bought some replacement 220tpi Diamantes today. When I took them off they felt as thin as paper. I’m suprised I was able to get that much even wear.

    I’ll try again, perhaps after (or while) watching the Impossible Hour or The Final Hour. Maybe I’ll make it a recurring workout and see if I can climb up the recordbook to at least the 20th century. Even though the rollers are considerably easier than the road or track, I think Merckx is safe for a while.

    Posted in TrainingLog | Leave a comment

    Very Short Book Reviews: The Hour & Missing the Boat by @Doctor_Hutch @UCI_overlord

    Just finished The Hour in two evenings. I’m not sure a non-cyclist could fully enjoy it but they should all buy it anyway.

    As a birthday present, Brother#2 ordered two (all?) of Michael Hutchinson’s books for me off my wish list on Amazon.  Missing the Boat, came first so it was quickly consumed.

    Hutchinson is apparently only capable of writing about his failures, the bigger the better. Fortunately he’s a good writer (& cyclist & sailor) and can pull it off with humor and style.  Missing the Boat is about his attempt to recapture his childhood dreams of big-time sailboat racing and to do it right this time. The Hour tracks his failed attempts at breaking the only record that counts in cycling.

    I enjoyed and recommend both. As a tribute to The Hour (book & record) and as a way of getting back on track with my plans for world/local scene domination, I will now ride the rollers on my nearly record-legal track bike (steel & simple but w/ 30mm rims) for one hour at a pace that would at least better that of Henri Desgrange’s initial 1893 record of 35.325kph (22mph). I never really liked that bastard anyhow.

    Please don’t point out how much easier it is on the rollers, I’ve only been preparing for this attempt for a few minutes but already feel the pressure. Alert the media and @UCI_overlord.

    Posted in review, TrainingLog | Leave a comment