Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quarq power vs Cyclops PowerTap

Let me begin....this is not a technical review!  If you want the hard core review check out this review

If you want my ahead.  So let me digress....4 years ago when I was training for my first 70.3 (O'side) by the way, I did not even know what a powertap was.  I race O'side blindly..great bike split and blew to pieces on the run.  Similar race at Vineman 70.3.  Soon thereafter I found KP and he introduced me to power and explained the reasons why many choose to train and race with power.  For me it was not so much about using the power to nail hard workouts, it was quite the opposite it was the governor- the voice of reason.  Most of what I get from KP is DO NOT go over x watts.  It is a great measure of fitness and essential for me in racing.  KP lays out my target power for the race on flats, caps on power for the climbs....etc.  Takes a lot of the stress out of the race (unless I cannot maintain the power guideline and then well the race is not going too well- but that is another issue all together)

I soon invested in a PowerTap built into a cheap and heavy training wheel and we (well KP) began to collect data. A power meter is a device on the bike that allows measuring of the power output of the rider.  The PowerTap is a free hub power meter that uses a strain gauge that is located in the rear wheel hub to measure the power via the drive train.  Because the unit is built into the rear wheel you are stuck with that wheel if you want to use power. I soon relied heavily on power and realized that I needed/wanted power for my next race.  So....time for a set of new race wheel (with a powertap)  So that set me back a mortgage payment but I was dialed in and happy to be training and racing with power.

Well happy until....I realized I had one wheel option when racing- Zipp 808's which are NOT the wheel of choice in Kona.  Not for me anyway with the wicked cross winds coming down from Havi.  Too deep for such big winds.  Soon I realized I was stuck rolling 808's or faced with renting wheels with power ($$$) or not racing with power (potential blowup). 

Hmmmm so I began reading and researching other options.  The SRM is the crank based power meter of choice and will set you back 2 mortgage payments- not an option! Soon I found the Quarq option .  Crank based (measures the torque applied to both pedals via strain gauges position within the crank.  The calculation of power is derived from the deflection the strain gauges and pedaling cadence) power means you can swap wheels all day long.... If not for the awesome sponsorship of Nytro and  Reynolds wheels I would be faced with having to buy new wheels as well without a power meter.  But thanks to their generosity I have sweet wheels for racing so could buy the Quarq. 

This has gotten much longer than planned....bottom line, Quarq arrived and was installed - thank you again Nytro.  I was dialed in to ride.  But then it hit me- what if the power is different? How will I know?  Thanks to my genius buddy Brian who suggested I keep the PowerMeter + the Quarq to compare the data as they are measured differently.  Since they communicate to separate computers I decided to give it a go.

4 hour ride on Friday with both running. The data is 5 watts off- Quarq measure 5 watts higher.  Hmmmm- 5 watts is a lot when it comes to race.  So now what?   Well I will roll both meters for a few more rides and perhaps have to adjust my power guidelines based on the data.  The Colnago Flight is looking a bit odd right now with the Reynolds in front and the old heavy PowerTap in the back- but hey data is more important than looks.

When I rolled up on Friday- Beth looks at the bike and says interesting set up!  Right.....
Anyone looking for a Zipp 400 front wheel or a Zipp 808 clincher rear whell with PowerTap let me know....they are for sale- seperately or as a package.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why does my dog lick his butt?

Got your attention now....  So I may have stooped to my lowest ever with this one...but well Zen has a particular fascination with that portion of his anatomy- more so than our other dog.  And at times, well all the time. it is disgusting. I do find it amusing that one of the most popular sayings in our house is "Zen stop licking your butt" 

In the last few weeks he his frequency has escalated and it was time to take action.  So what do you do when you need to figure out it!  Clearly I am not the first dog owner with such a predicament- amusingly enough there is an entire page of inquiries and responses.  Either your dog has worms -which I had already ruled out or there is another issue.

Now here is where it gets really gross and I will not elaborate too much- but we have since learned that a unique physiological attribute to the canine species are anal glands.  This speciality is generally not an issue unless they become impacted. You get the picture here (or not) but enough said.  It gets better....while most recommend a trip to the vet there are numerous people who have blogged and taped "how to video's" in case you would like to remedy this yourself and save money.  For me this is clearly a time, no question, when I will gladly pay the vet.  But you see I am married to a very frugal man who likes to play Vet at times.  So how can I allow him this opportunity.....

You see where this is going....sure enough he is planted in front of the big screen watching how to videos. Although he is frustrated that he cannot really see what needs to be done- well gee, sort of hard to put the camera up "there" any case he continues to study.  I am fascinated that the warning does not deter him.

Warning: The fluid has an exquisite smell (some think it’s worse than skunk stink), so it’s best done before bath.

So I leave you all hanging....did John really do it?????? 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

4 girls go riding.....

So we made our weekly trek out the East County for the GWL + Honey Springs special but today we had 2 bonus chicks- Beth and Tati joining Noko and I.   It was chilly...40ish but the sun was out and it looked sensational.  We rolled out chatting it up and had an uneventful climb to the beekeeper and around we went.  Coming to Honey Springs we gulped and headed down the 8 miles to the stop sign only to turn around and begin climbing out.  Surprisingly  it was warm- Noko and I have frozen our hynies off the last 3 weeks on Honey Springs and we found out selves here is where the rides goes to pieces.

We deiced we 1- have to pee (no big bushes for a pit stop so we find a place that is relatively flat so we can actually get started again 2- it is hot so we have to strip some clothes.  As I am camouflaged by a tiny bush relieving myself, Beth is 1/2 naked, stripping down and belts out Honey Springs is my stripper name....the giggling begins and I turn to see tati stripped down taking off her base layer - what a sight for some car cruisin by - 2 bare butts and a 1/2 naked girl on a bike.  Alas, no visitors and off we go.

I begin whining about my legs, maybe just maybe I pushed the first climb a tad, and I see Tati poppin pills. What the heck???? Extreme Endurance- sure I'll try them and Beth rolls up eager to know what we are ingesting.  Tati says pills and Beth lays our the #2 line of the day "I've never met a pill I didn't like"  We are just hysterical and then we settle in for the last 6 miles. Oh right Beth launched a bottle on purpose so she would circle back and slow us all down- nice delay tactic.

We crest the summit and are elated....only a few small climbs and we are cruisin down. We have enough chatter to get up Skyline Truck trail and the fun begins.   The rippin descent....We are spread out nicely near the right side of the road but I am gaining speed and start to go around Noko and all of a sudden a black pick up is honking and they are yelling to get the F out of the road, " we hate cyclists, you guys make our life miserable" they are honking and swerve around us and before we know it they cut in front of Tati and I and slam on the brakes, screaming at us.  Holy cow- I slam on my brakes, skid to the side, Tati does the same and then they take off.  Scariest incident ever on my bike.  It was seriously close to a dangerous incident.  Adrenaline soared in us all, we all stop completely freaked out.  All I could think of was the Dr in LA that did the same thing and the cyclists went through his back windshield. 

Talk about a downer.....very quite for a while and then we pepped up again at Jamul Drive and cruised back to the car.  Starbucks!!!!

Great (well mostly) ride, good fun and the best company. Thanks girls for playing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Solid training and fun along the way....

Okay so after all my winging (as they say in AU) the weather was really not a factor.  Terrific GWL + Honey Springs ride with Nooko and KP on Thursday-  solid efforts and laid it on the line for the final push up Honey Springs (ouch) but just knowing Starbucks is a few miles away is serious incentive to get up the hill.  There were some serious roadies making the climb who blew past us one at a time. It was if they were on freaking electric bikes spinning past so quickly it caused wind.  Amazing and ah hem quite humbling.  

Friday was a great morning of training with glad she is willing to work around my schedule :)  we swam at UCSD and then had a great ride (even though it was supposed to be pouring and it was bright and sunny) and followed that with a nice run.  

Saturday I was up at 5 to take JB to the airport and then lay down my long run- nice long is 1:45... right oh, no Ironman on the schedule (yet) The rain was coming so I hit my run early.  Solid run with 3xTPines repeats inside.  Time to pick up the running pace now that the base is in place- The pace was nothing to blog about but considering the terrain I was please.  Doing repeats you see a lot of the same people who are walking and on my 3rd time up these 2 funny ladies stop with hand on their hips in shock....I hold up 3 fingers and am on my way- could not really chat at that moment- breathing was an effort.   Run was done at 8:45!  As much as I did not enjoy getting up at 5, I was psyched to be ordering my post run Carmel Macchatio before 9 and ready to enjoy the day.

Riley had a friend from Baltimore in town so we had some fun that day and the girls ended up the Birch Aquarium.  Dinner at Ki's yuuummm!!  I have never done dinner there and it was so worth it- every bit as good as their breakfast and lunches.  We met up with Jay from PacWest Athletics who was down here for some recon for his camp in March, Marion and Riley and her friend.  It is going to be a kick ass camp based in La La Jolla Shores with 4 days of solid training!  So how did I get hooked up? This is the coolest gig I have had in a while...a mutual friend connected us. He needed someone to help find a hotel and negotiate the contract- thus I come into the picture since that is my real job with HPN Global.  And once the hotel portion was done I offered to help work out logistics with the pool, track, rides etc. It has been so much fun and I am excited to join the camp March 3-6.  He is offering a great deal for locals- $400 for 4 days of serious training with 3 long rides, runs, track workout, boot camp, 2x swim session in the pool, 1 OW swim (chilly), 2 dinners, lots of sponsor giveaways and the chance to meet some cool peeps from N Ca.  

Sunday was chilly......39 when I got up and we had a ride on tap.  Scattered clouds and ominous sky.  I took Zen out for a walk in my cycling gear and about 10 minutes in the skies opened up.  So much for that outfit...quick change, more clothes, jacket and I was off to meet KP and Jay for a ride up the coast and through Elfin. Sensational day- not another drop of rain but chilly indeed.   Good fun and conversation and that great feeling of exercising when it is cold.

And that my friends is the weekend.... relaxing Sunday as the kids prep to go back to school.  Holidays are fun for us all... no stress of homework and more family time in the evenings. Watched Social Network - great flic!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Ok not real weather compared to massive snow, sleet and sub zero temperatures but weather for us San Diego kids.  Living in San Diego we have the sunshine tax- what is that- well the average home price is somewhere around $500,000 ( and that really does not buy you much), gas in now close to $4/ gallon and I know we pay a premium for other things but I cannot place them right now .... bottom line is we pay more to live in paradise and in turn we have some of the best weather in the country.  Yes we know that and appreciate that but when the weather is not so nice, we get cranky and I mean really cranky. And for the record the weather is not nice today!   (yes one day, but still I'm just sayin)

Now I realize I will get few sympathizers on this one...see I had to cancel my ride today because it was raining!  I know, I am lucky to have flexible schedule so I can ride on a Wednesday, I know I am lucky to be riding outside this time of year...yada, yada, yada.

Nevertheless it is rainy and cold and I don't like it!  I swam in the rain- not a biggie, except when Coach Terry's umbrella landed on my head literally- it took off in flight and pummeled me- scared me to death.  It cleared nicely at the end of swim and I was very happy to run under the clouds on a chilly day.  Well until it started to biggie, it started to rain...minor inconvenience and then it poured.  Oh well- soaked and cold I finished the run and luckily had dry clothes in my car for a quick change. After that I DESERVED a Starbucks! 

And it seems tomorrow may be nice...well not raining anyway and the more rain for the weekend- so be prepared for more whining! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whose head are you in?

Here we are in mid February and those racing Oceanside 70.3 are realizing it is 6 weeks away, Wildflower around the corner.  For Oceanside that leaves 5 weeks of solid training and then a week to taper.  Holy much fitness can I add in 5 weeks.  People are  posting times, monster training blocks on Facebook and you can feel people's confidence coming back. The holiday weight most gained is slowly going away and everyone is starting to look faster and the ez rides and runs are fewer and fewer. This is not the off season!

So herein lies the question...whose head are you in?  I know I am easily sucked into whatever I read- OMG so and so just logged this workout or this time or the volume. I  need to be running further, faster and swimming more, riding more hills, losing weight, taking whatever supplement they are taking....AAAAHHHH!  Here is why I gladly send a check to my coach each month. He is the sound of reason, the one to remind me 1- how old I am 2- the great workouts I have posted 3- what my goals are and 4 - occasionally get firm with me on what needs to be done and when!

So I say.... stay in your own head, listen to your coach or stick to YOUR plan!  I am hearing the anxiousness all around - remember it is only February!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cross Training….Aspen Style

Cross Training….Aspen StyleAfter a solid 10 day training block it was time for a recovery week and conveniently we were headed to Aspen.  My bro and family from Australia have a fine tradition of renting slope side accommodations in Snowmass for a few weeks each year.  They usually have one week with some extra space before their friends join them and this is when we snuck in a few  days of big fun 
Scott and Dad
 Unfortunately the dates did not coincide with the kids ski week so it was just John and me sneaking away for some fun. The added bonus was my Dad and Kathi joining us for a few days.  It has been 10+ years since I last skied with my Dad and it was such a treat.  We hopped on the bus and skied AJAX Mtn and had a sensational day. 2 days post big dump and it was sunny and cold with terrific conditions.  John, Scott, Dad and me headed out and did some nice runs together.  Dad entertained us with stories of the mountain from the 60’s and 70’s!  The best were about the Wine Jug stashed behind a tree and the ski poles that were hollowed out and filled with schnapps. We had a lot of fun and Scott and I took a few detours on the double blacks to ensure we got our fill.  Beautiful lunch and Dad called it a day and we found some good stuff late in the day.  Albeit day 1 my legs were anything but fresh…carrying Saturdays ride, Sunday’s run and GWL+ Honey Springs on Tuesday. I had enough by 3:00.
View of Highland Bowl from AJAX- headed there on Saturday
We went out to dinner in Aspen that night and what a great town. Twinkle lights on all the trees and similar amount of diamonds on most women.  Aspen=Money indeed.  Fur must have made a comeback, sadly, as many women and some men were decked out head to toe in precious animal coats.

Gotta love a close up on the lift
Friday Dad and K left for home and we rolled out the front door and skied Snowmass.  Huge mountain filled with memories of my childhood. After a few or maybe 1 warm up we were soon on the Cirque Poma taking us to the top of the mountain, followed by a  high mountain traverse, duck out of bounds –oops, in search of more skiing.  My favorite moment is Nancy saying “Scott, really on this massive mountain there are not any runs in bounds- really not any that are suitable for skiing?”  Apparently not or personally I think he likes the added adventure.  The option was a long drop out of bounds in snow that I was not too sure about so I opted for the inbounds double black and it was perfectly sweet- lots of trees, fresh snow and as steep as you can ask for.  Scott wanted to ski together so he agreed to stay legal for the run as well.  John was in all day lesson so he was having fun with his Aussie instructor while we found the sweet spots and called it day around 3.
This was very cool.....cannot imagine cruisin down on this
 I had great aspirations of a transition run each day – après ski style.  Let’s just say they remained great aspirations.  I was tired….my brother can kick my ass on the mountain and I decided to have fun, ski and take a real break from
Chillin with Taz and Jax
 Après ski hot tub with me niece and nephew.  Terrific dinner, good wine and family dinner!    Legs are tired, but not trashed, face is wind burned and we all were feeling good.
Highlands Bowl
 Saturday was the day for The Highlands Bowl!  Bus to Highlands and to the top of Highlands we go…really no warm up runs today.  This is an epic bowl in that you ski to a point, take off your skis and then jump on  a snow cat and ride another 100 feet up and then you strap on your ski’s and hike another 400 feet to the summit.  It is a bit like mountaineering in that you are hiking up a ride, drop off on one side and the wind is howling. Everyone’s head are down and slowly making the trek. I managed to pass a lot of people on the way up- just get me to the top- the blowing wind, icy steps and 12,000+ feet elevation confirmed that I have no desire to climb Everest.  
Just in case you are not sure....lots of signs
Map of the bowl 

We hiked up the ridge line- to the summit

I summited first- and the plan was for me to ski down and wait and capture Scott of video.  Seeing there are 10-12 ways down- with variations of 39-47% pitch it was hard to know which was to go.  The top was beautiful and out of the wind so I took my time and eventually slid off the top and started down.  It was steep, really steep and now was relatively deep.  Thankfully no one was videoing me, no one paying attention as everyone is worried about themselves- so I skied on down- it was not pretty but it was a lot of fun.  At the bottom of the bowl it was warm and sheltered from the wind so I laid in the snow, enjoyed the sun and waited for my subjects.  

I am a poor ski videographer but I tried….everyone made it down and huge kudu’s to John! Well done mate.  We started at 9 and were done with this adventure by 11:45- so early lunch was in order! Celebration at the Cloud 9 Austrian Restaurant.  Weak afternoon of skiing after that…Scott went back for one more bowl run- minus the hike, Nancy and I blindly took Kellsburgs (horrifically steep double black, monster moguls and icy) – really not all the fun. We both laughed wishing we could somehow blame Scott for the run but well he was not around.  Another few and we call called it a day with a cold beer at the bottom of the mountain in the sunshine.
Post Highlands Bowl Lunch

Very cool ice bar set up outside Cloud Nine Restaurant

Great skiing, lots of fun family time and more memories in the bank!  Sitting her in the airport waiting to go home I have that post Ironman feeling of hunger.  I have done nothing today but have eaten more my 10am than most days by dinner…oh well!  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Le Chat

A few weeks back I blogged on about the favorite mug.  I referenced my favorite mug as a child and went on about John's search to replicate the current favorite mug in the house.  Well he found a few more and we each happily have our mug of choice.

So on Saturday, Kathi (my step-mom) drops by and hands me a box from my father.  Wow a gift :) Who doesn't love a package.  But I am stumped- no discussion of anything I can think of-  well I open the box and to my great surprise it is the Le Chat mug that I so fondly remember!   Bless my Dad- he scoured the Internet and found the mug.   I was speechless and so incredibly touched.  While we all love's like these take the cake!  Thanks again Dad!!!

Sleeping Inidan

For all the riding I have done and do....there are a lot of cool routes I have yet to experience.  Saturday I checked one off my list- Sleeping Indian!!!t  John and I rolled out of here at a rational time of 8 and met up with Beth, James and Dirk and we rode up the coast to O'side then along the bike path and then to uncharted territory for John and I. What an amazing place to ride...I loved it!   Great hills, little traffic and a sensational day with great company. Riding with Dirk is topic is taboo and that keeps it fun.  Special thanks to James for allowing me to suck his wheel!  Have to say I felt great on the ride- and it was the longest ride I have done since September.  90 miles and the weather was great.  It almost makes me wish I was signed up for an Ironman.

No....surely we can do many more cool rides like this in prep for O'side and Wildflower.   Sunday's run in the PQ Canyon was another solid workout.  Trails were a bit busy with all the Mountain Bikers- not sure if they were extra busy because I was running so late 8:30 or because the South Trail is closed due to flooding- but the traffic kept me on my toes.  As I was finishing the run crossing the creek I slipped and rolled my ankle - but that is not what hurts it is the darn left foot that I cut- It felt like the same tendons I pulled in AZ stretched a bit too much again. Dang it!   They are not worse today but still am peeved-  Everything is working so well and I am feeling great- tired but great.  So have to watch this little injury-  I hope skiing does not aggravate it like it did in Mammoth.

And on that note....we are headed to Aspen early Wed.  Yeehaw.  Regardless of my ankle, it will be awesome.  Meeting my bro and family and my Dad and step mom in a sensational slope side house in Snowmass.   Perfect break in training....a recovery week is in order I cannot think of a better place to do so.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Out of Control Pantry

Okay so we have a 2 doored big pantry in our kitchen- not a walk in size, but one with a lot of deep shelves.  This is where we keep the snacks, canned food, flour, sugar, and the bags and cartons of carbo pro and numbers other training powdered drink mixes. On a good day it looks like an ad for the Container Store as 99% of our food is dumped into clear containers with tightly sealed lids.  On a bad day you cannot tell what is in there, what is old and stale and what is for the dog vs humans.

So Monday night I unloaded underthings... found an bag of Infinit (that had 100% solidified), raw almonds from 2009, 57 random bags of flour, sugar and rice that had not been put in the proper container and the list goes on.  Now that we are organized and tidy, we are eating the pantry down- really 11 bags of pasta?  6 of them open.  6 boxes of lasagna noodles.  15 cans of my favorite vegetable soup, 6 cans of Tuna ( I don't even think we eat canned tuna), organic tomatoes to feed 500... So the goal is to use up something every day in a meal. So how about tuna waffles?  Okay not really- but we are committed to eating what we have.   Next the refrigerator and freezer.  This becomes quite fun after a week or so- only rule is we still buy fresh produce and vegetables.

Training is stellar.....following my plan, not injured, not dead tired and feeling great.  Had a great GWL ride yesterday- did some serious work, added on Honey Springs (well 1/2 of it) and finished hard. Ran today and felt great.  It's all good....volume is down but intensity is up and that is fun.  Working through and 8 day training block and then we head to Aspen!  Tough life I know- but someone has to do it! My bro and sis-in-law rent a sensational slop-side house each year and we were invited to come and enjoy.  Hard to pass that John and I will sneak away and play for 4 days.  No go for the kids as they are in school- bummer for them.  
 Tough weekend around here in teenage land.....Riley had a big date to the Winter Formal and well let's just say it was not all she hoped..  she looked great!   She did have some fun and learned a few valuable lessons.  these late nights will kill me sooner or later...I actually went to bed at 9 and set my alarm for 11:15 to be up when she came home- only way to do it.