Finally a good number

I finally got a decent 20′ power number. 400 watts today, boo yeah. And there were another 10 watts in me that I never got out! A Garmin guy going down Lemmon on the other side of the road dropped his mouth in complete shock as he saw me flying up the mountain with a trail of other’s broken bike parts drenched in the blood of my helpless victims that were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actually he just waved. But I imagined he dropped his jaw and bulged his eyes, which made me go harder.

I don’t know if any of you agonize about intervals like I do sometimes. The pain, the fear, the worry about not reaching your expected numbers. Today was one of those days. As I rode to the base of Mt. Lemmon, which has an ideal 5% grade for doing threshold intervals, I argued with myself. “I feel good, no. I don’t feel good. I feel OK. No I feel like crap and I’m just going to do tempo instead. No you’re not you wimp!!” My better side won like it usually does, and I began the interval, tricking my weak self by saying, “don’t worry, we’ll just do 10 minutes and see how we feel. If we’re too tired, then we’ll just do tempo for the next couple of hours and call it even, OK? How does that sound, champ?” Little did my weak self know, I was going to do the full interval if it meant falling off my bike into a cacti.

I finished the interval with too much left but was still pleased, and rode up the rest of the way to 9 miles. Then it was all the way down and back to town to get water at the McDonalds, then back up to 9 miles again averaging 338 watts for the 45′ climb. I love days like this. By the way, who actually goes to McDonalds? Every time I go in there (twice today) it’s packed inside and the drive-through stretches way out into the parking lot. Why? Why????? If you want fast food, especially in Tucson, there are hundreds if not hundreds of millions of taco shops that are infinitely better than the crap they have at McDonalds. Does advertising really work this well? Are you people (not you) that influenced by TV? Next time I walk into that McDonalds to get water, it had better not be packed full of you idiots. Or else I’m going to vomit all over the floor, customers, employees, and cash register in my disgust of a failed governmental system that awards outright lying, monopolies, and war that leave Americans fat, wasteful, and stupid and the rest of the resentful world poor and running for cover (possibly to a McDonalds) to escape the raining barrage of Haliburton bombs. Hum…where did that come from?

Bike components on their last leg. No, stump.

After my first set of isolated leg intervals up A mountain today, I began noticing a grinding skip in my rear derailleur.  I ignored it and finished my intervals while it grew louder and more clunkier.  Plus on the way down, while I coasted, my chain kept derailing and going slack.  On the way home, I attempted to solve the problems by screwing with the barrel adjuster, which did nothing.  I knew that if I went to the bike shop, they would find something wrong and it would cost a fortune.  If I went home, there was a good chance that it might go away on its own.  I used my worst judgment and went to the shop for some stupid reason, and was told that my chain, cassette, and free-hub body were all ready for the dump.  Plus my derailleur hanger was bent.  And that I was ugly.  Wait, no.  That last part only happens at Life Cycle.

I rode home, cursing at the ever-worsening clanking as my bike continued to moan.  I set the bike in its corner and forgot about it for a few hours.  Then I decided that I would fix the problem myself.  So I bent the derailleur hanger back straight and, though I haven’t test ridden it yet, I assume that by fixing that one problem, everything else has been solved.

Another one of my problems will soon be solved as well: being bored all day by myself.  I’ve decided to return to Oregon in the next week or two and get a job and start saving a little money for the races I plan on doing in the spring.  I’ve survived 22 other Oregon winters in the past, and this one’s already half way over so I guess I’ll be able to manage one more.  The weather here is great, obviously, but the rest of the time while I’m not on the bike I’m extremely bored.  So it’s back to Oregon, where I plan on inflicting some pain on the CSC, UofO, Team O, and Life Cycle rides.  And no, Will.  I am not going to slow down on the hills for you.

Last week’s creation…BEHOLD: PECAN SANDI!!!!!



Crafted by Sir Galen and Chef Kennett.  Ingredients:

crushed pecans
all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves
clam chowda
Boston baked beans
jeggar bombs
fish chowda
lemon zest
more jeggar bombs
lemon juice
baking powder and baking soda

cream cheese
lemon zest and juice
humpback hhhhwhale chowda
Boston Lagger
a pawkd caw
powdered sugar

Boston scientists proclaim “chowda, the new soopa food.”

From the Boston Herald:


Boston, MA–   A group of scientists at the Boston Institute of Medical Science issued a statement Monday morning claiming that newly discovered enzymes in clam chowder may have healing properties for the sick and dying.  According to their press release, the group of scientists, lead by Franky Stilson and Boby Hendricks, has been studying the chemical make-up of clam and other seafood chowders for over four years.  According to the group, enzymes in chowder have successfully beaten an array of cancers, brain abnormalities, and AIDS in multiple orangutan test subjects.  “We was pretty astonished at foist when Mr. Banana Hands’ white blood cell count began dropping with only three treatments of clam chowda,” says Hendricks.  “But what really made ouwa pencil’s stiff was when he came out of the 33-year comma he’d been in after getting hit by an out of control steam rolla back in 1994.”

Other results have been consistent with those of Mr. Banana Hands.  In a controversial study done with hammer-less hammerhead sharks, the Chowda Heads, as the group goes by, have shown that the beneficial enzymes in chowder not only affect mammals, but all other animals as well.  “The hamma heads began growing new hammas after approximately 11 days on the chowda supplement.  It was simply amazing,” says Stilson.  One day they was just sitting theay in the wata not doin nothin, feelin all sad because they didn’t have no hammas, then bout ten days lata, they was hammerin like real pro capenters for houwas with they new hammas.  Who woulda guessed that feedin hamma head chowda soup to hamma head shawks would make ’em grow new hammas?  Not me, that’s foaw showa.”

The formerly docile hammerheads were released into the wild two weeks ago off the coast of Maine after being fed a farewell lobster chowder bowl at Sammy’s Fish N’ Lobster Shack.  None of the hammer heads survived the frigid winter waters, but their hammers remained in tact.  “I warned Hendricks and Stilson that releasing them in a frozen Maine harbor would certainly kill them,” says Boston University student and lab hand Brian Wilkinson.  “But they didn’t listen to me.  They said that a hot bowl of chowda and a pat on the back was all the hammer heads needed.”  The scientist’s poor judgment lead to three lab assistants losing their hands, and eight-hundred and seventy-five dead hammerhead sharks that ended up tangled in fishing nets all along the Main coastline.  “Fortunately, me Sarah, and Gilbert all regenerated new hands after eating a piping hot bowl of chowda back at the lab,” says Wilkinson.  “There’s nothin like a pipin hot hot bowl of chowda with oysta crackas and a bit a Tobasco!”

The chowder enzymes that the group found have been named enzyme C, enzyme H, enzyme O, enzyme W, and co-enzymes D and A.  “When chowda is cooked just right,” says Hendricks, “the enzymes come togetha and form a strong bond that enters into your DNA and re-structas damaged cells.  Chowda is the new soopa food.  And it’s also part of this complete breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says Hendricks.

The group’s article, The Natural Properties of Chowda, will be published in the Science of Soup journal in February.  The Chowda Hounds’ findings are under scrutiny of an outside group, which claims that the Chowda Head project was funded solely by The Boston Chowda Company.  “I find it hard to believe that chowda is all these guys are crackin it up to be.  Sure it’s tasty, but just the other day I ate me a bowl of chowda and I aint no different than I was before I ate it.  I still got gout,” says Gary Graymondson, spokesperson for the watchdog group BBB.  The BBB (Boston Baked Beans organization) itself has a shady background, according to Hendricks.  “Everyone knows those baked bean guys have been after us from the start.  Ever since Bostonians started eatin chowda way back in 1349, the baked bean corporations have crafted these ‘watch dog’ groups to run chowda into the ground.  It’s a never-ending battle.  Why can’t we all just pock ouwa caws at a downtown pub and just have a yegga bomb or two and drop this issue, eh?”


First cannonball chowder bowl given to Mr. Banana Hands.


Mr. Banana Hands enjoying a specially designed banana-shaped bowl of chowder.


A dead hammerhead got tangled in the nets of these Main fishermen after dying on a a thick sheet of harbor ice.  Note the length of the hammer.

Shootout videos

What the Shootout’s all about.

The Shootout

Last year there was a little problem with a police car:

Shootout police crash

The majority of drivers down here are fine, but the bad ones seem to be extra crazy.  An example: last week one of my roommates, TJ, was riding his bike home from class and a car sped by him on a residential street going 50 miles an hour.  It happened right in front of our house.  A couple people playing frizbee saw what happened and yelled at the guy in the car, as did TJ.  The car screeched to a stop, and went into reverse screaming back towards TJ at 40 mph.  TJ got out of the way, and began riding off cutting across front lawns to escape the maniac.  The car chased him down and hit him, knocking him to the ground.  Then it took off speeding through stop signs.  Luckily the police showed up.  8 hours later.

Body….tired. must….rest.

Damn, Tony and I are both beat from this week. My Shootout kind of sucked this morning. I was in the breakaway, but couldn’t hold on during the hill, which is usually where I feel strongest. But for consolation, I won the pack sprint up the final climb again. After looking at my power data when I got home, I could see some serious proof that I’m ready for a rest week.  *Update* I was just reading Garmin/Chipotle’s blog (like I do every day) and I found out that one of the Garmin guys in the shootout today was Svein Tuft, 2nd place World TT Champion this year despite flatting in the last 5K.  Uhhhh, yeah.  I was drafting off him.  Pretty cool.


Tony before the ride, waiting on campus while everyone showed up.  It was super cold this morning, but warmed up to a nice 67 degrees later on.


Tony during the slow part of the ride before things got heated up.


One of my favorite meals.  Whole wheat tortillas, two fried eggs with lots of olive oil, sweet potatoes with peppers, and beans.  Smothered in a healthy dose of Valentino’s hot sauce, which comes in a liter bottle for only $3.00.


A. Guisto carrying five pounds of oranges in a plastic bag back pack.  Uncomfortable for distances over 25 miles.  But we couldn’t pass up the unbeatable price of $5 for 10 pounds at a road-side stand.


I had oranges too, and some chilies stuffed in my jersey.


The Tucson Treat.  Quinoa, refried beans, olives, sweet potatoes, onions, a bit of hamburger meat, and seasoning.


The Tony in it’s cave.  It rarely moves from this location, and only to ride, eat, poop, and ride.


Aaron left his cookies when he went off to Bishop for a climbing trip.  Bad mistake.



TJ’s rock art.

Wednesday and Thursday

Kennett woke up at 7 on Wednesday.  He was feeling a bit tired, but the thought of food quickly got him on his feet and into the kitchen.  Tony was fast asleep, farting and snoring on the couch in the living room.  Kennett tiptoed around the kitchen so as not to waken the slumbering beast.  

After pounding down two eggs and toast, Kennett slipped back into bed for another couple hours of sleep, which came quickly to him because of his high training stress score over the last week.  

A shrill beeping had Kennett fumbling and cursing at his phone at 9 O’clock.  It was somewhere on the ground next to his mattress, lost in a jumble of computer wires, dirty dishes, apple cores, and bike magazines.  The tired cyclists, eyes still closed, blindly searched for the phone as he swept his hand across the cluttered ground until he found it.  The beeping ceased as he silenced the alarm.  

Five minutes later the beeping woke him up again as the second alarm went off.  He turned the phone off once more, reseting the alarm for 15 more minutes of sleep.  15 more minutes will do it, he thought.  

15 minutes passed and the reoccurring beeping startled him from a dream about a red bald eagle soaring peacefully above his house with a scarlet macaw.  Two different species of bird enjoying a good flight without any racial prejudices against the other.  The birds were interrupted by a pair of low flying bombers, like the ones that thunder across the sky of Tucson day and night on their way to the military base.  But the dream ended as the beeping started.  The damn phone need to be silenced again.  Kennett turned his phone off for good and went back to sleep.  

Finally, an hour later than he planned on waking, I got out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen where Tony was pouring himself a cup of coffee.  
“I made 8 cups this morning.  You know, in case you want some too,” Tony cheerfully said as he began his third mug.  
I poured a cup for myself and put a bowl of oats in the microwave.  
“I’m tired,” said Kennett.
“Yeah me too,” said Tony. “I thought you were supposed to be riding by now.”
“I’m getting there,” I replied.

Kennett got geared up and emptied his large intestine a couple of times before heading out the door. I switched my ipod on as I rode down the street, hoping to vitalize my legs with some The Who. It worked, but not to the degree that I needed, for today was interval day.

I arrived at the base of Mt. Lemmon, where Kennett decided to ramp up the tunes with some Rob Zombie before starting the first 20 minute interval. Rob Zombie began screaming and Kennett was off. A few minutes later, his legs and body began screaming at him to stop. But of course he told them to be quiet. And they obeyed.

At mile post four, Kennett began ramping his speed back up again. I had let it drop a bit after 11 minutes. Not on purpose, but it dropped nonetheless. Two minutes to go. One and a half minutes to go. 40 seconds to go. 4 seconds to go. Done. Kennett stopped pedaling, drooped his head, and decided today was not a good day for doing intervals. His watts were low and he was tired. I decided to ride up to mile post seven, then head down back home. But Kennett began second guessing himself about how tired he was two miles later. Maybe he would just try one more interval and see how he felt. He had only planned on doing two 20 minute pieces anyways. He made a compromise and I decided to just do one more 10 minute piece. A few minutes later at seven miles, Kennett brought a potato out of his pocket and began chowing down on the dry, leathery skin of the old tuber. He finished the over-sized root, turned around, and rode down the hill to conquer one more interval and see if he was really that tired. Kennett wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a problem with motivation, he knows that it can never be about motivation. Never.

Three seconds into the next interval, Kennett got his answer. It wasn’t about motivation. The power was low and I was dead already. My legs screamed at me again, this time Kennett didn’t tell them to be quiet. He agreed with them as they cried like babies that needed to be burped. But I didn’t slow down for them. I kept pushing them harder, although my power meter would beg to differ.

Seven minutes in. Kennett reached into his back pocket and took out his ipod. He cranked up the volume. If he wanted his legs to keep going, a little hearing loss might be a necessary evil. Kid Rock agreed.

I gasped for air and hung my head down in exhaustion when the clock read 10:00. 377 watts. Ouch. Not great. Oh well, at least I did it, I thought. Now to ride up to seven miles once more and go home and rest. I soft pedaled for five or ten minutes as I regained my strength, and was startled as six riders passed me from behind. I increased my speed a bit and followed from a few meters back as I munched on some banana bread.

I rode up to them after eating, and found out that one of them was a triathlete business grad student from UofO, one was an ex pro rider from Tucson, one was a pro triathlete, and the other three were Olympic runners, doing their winter training on bikes. I talked with them for a while and decided to ride up to mile 14 with them instead of just going to mile seven.

I said adios to the group as me and one other of them spit off at mile 14. The descent was almost harder than going up. The wind was so bad, at times Kennett had to push more watts going down hill than he did ascending the mountain. But alas, Kennett and the triathlete got to the base and rode home to the city.

That night, Kennett helped cook two big chickens, sweet potatoes, and green beans for dinner. Tony, TJ, Betsey, and I spent the rest of the night lighting farts on fire (well not Betsey actually).

Today (Thursday) Tony and I went on a four hour ride that turned into a one and a half hour ride. I got two flats because my spoke holes in the rim of my wheel are being stupid. Then we realized we were too tired to do four hours at a quality speed, so we went back home and ate for the rest of the day, steeling cookies out of Aaron’s cabinet and wishing we had something else to eat other than oats, eggs, and apples. Oh and we also lit more farts on fire. It’s all the rage down here in Arizona. Good times.

Tomorrow I’ll lift weights and go on an easy ride with Tony to do some isolated leg intervals. Possibly drop off some more job applications, and just take it easy OK? Saturday is the Shootout. Sunday is weights and iso-leg. Monday is HARD HARD HARD. Then I’ll back off on the hours for the next week by order of Training Peaks. That was exactly 1,111 words. Oops, not any more.


I know a lot of you don’t care about my power numbers or even know what I’m talking about when I say I did X amount of watts today.  But for those of you who do find it interesting, I’ve got some good numbers for today’s ride that completely kick ass.  Tony and I rode out to Kitt Peak today.  The wind was gusting into us at 2o + mph on the way out.  Tony tucked behind me and made himself as small as possible while I did the same thing in the front.  Semi trucks rushed by us going the opposite direction, thrusting dump truck loads of wind at us, making our bikes shutter across the road.  At two hours in, Tony dropped back by himself.  He went on to the base of Kitt, then turned around.  I continued without him to the climb.  A half hour later I made the left turn off Ajo highway onto Kitt Peak.  Swirly, thick white clouds thickened the back drop behind the ominous, cold dark rock mountain.  I was now heading straight into the wind in my smallest gear, cranking up to the base of Kitt Peak as the grade gradually turned skyward.  The white astronomy observatory scopes clung to the top of the mountain, overlooking thousand-foot granite wall cliffs.  The scene reminded me of Dr. Frankenstein’s mansion, precariously perched seven thousand feet up in the cold mountain air.

My plan was to climb half way up, decsend, and then go half way up again to avoid the coldest section at the top.  But I ended up only doing one of these intervals.  The wind was keeping my speed at around five miles an hour, and my legs were starting to feel the hard miles of road behind them.  I made a U-ee (not sure how to spell that) and began screaming back to Tucson with the wind behind me.  

I blew by the border patrol screening gates ten miles later, thinking the cops were waving at me to go faster.  They yelled at me as I got up out of the saddle to sprint by their stop sign.  I screeched to a stop twenty meters later.  “HEY.  There’s a stop sign here for a reason!” one of them yelled.  “Yeah, what for?” I replied.  “Come back here please,” he said.  I turned around and rode up to them.  “Are you a US citizen?” he asked.  “Si, si si, mi amigo.  Vivo en Tucson.  Y no tengo drogas o imigrantes illegales en mi bosillos,” I said.  (Actually I just said ‘what do you think?  Of course.’  “OK, go ahead,” he angrily replied.  I snickered at him and rode off.  Good job there champ.  I’m glad to see you’re earning your pay check by doing a valuable service to the country.  NOT.

I caught up to Tony as he was exiting a gas station with a cup of High Rev Mocha a few minutes later.  We went back in and I got one too.  Back on the road and full of sugar and caffeine, I hauled ass for another hour as Tony drafted.  I began tiring and Tony started taking pulls when we got into town.  We were both extremely tired when we had 20 minutes to go and we started taking 30 to 40 second all out pulls.  It felt like we were doing 600 watts, but we were barely pushing 350 into the wind.  The last ten minutes were pain.  At one point, Tony accelerated by me when we got to a tiny little rise and he dropped me.  I was standing up going all out and I couldn’t catch up.  I yelled at him over the wind and traffic to slow down and I got back on his wheel.

I had nothing left in me after I hammered by Tony one last time with a minute more to go.  Then at five hours, we began our cool down through campus.  We were completely done.  Done I say.  I averaged 284 watts for 5 hours ( 290 watts for 4.5 hours–I really started dying in that last 30 minutes).  Tony had a very hard ride too, averaging 216 watts for five hours which is a PR for him.  We congratulated each other and soft pedaled home in sheer exhaustion.

Time to go borrow some cookies from Aaron’s cabinet.

A little juice today

I rode hard yesterday.  5 hours of endurance pace at 253 watts average.  I got home and did my recovery routine, then took Aaron’s car to go pick Tony up from the airport.  His plane was an hour late, which was fine with me because I got there 45 minutes late.  Traffic is getting bad lately, with all the retirees migrating down here for the winter (like me).

We stopped off at Fry’s (a cheap gorccery store where I always end up getting into a fight about walking with my bike in the store) and got some fruit and eggs.  By now it was dark, and I quickly become lost.  What should have taken 20 minutes ended up taking an hour and a half.  I did a loop by accident and arrived back at the airport an hour after we left it.  

Finally home, we ate some pasta before going to sleep early for the Shootout the on saturday.

We woke up the next morning (today) at 5AM to eat breakfast.  Eggs, toast, oats.  Then went back to sleep and got up again at 6:45.  It was pretty warm out, which let us shed our arm and knee warmers within 15 minutes of our ride to campus to meet for the ride.

The race started at the last city light, and we began tearing into the headwind at 30 miles an hour.  I made my way to the front and helped pull for a few minutes.  Tony took a couple pulls too, which he probably shouldn’t have done, and then blew up and had to ride by himself for the next hour.  

I retreated to the to mid pack for a while, then broke away after the bridge with a BMC guy.  We quickly caught up to a small breakaway that had gone off a minute before us.  It contained another BMC guy,  Symmetrics, and a few others, but we didn’t work together and it broke apart as one guy didn’t pull through.  Three guys went up the road while the rest of us eventually got caught by the remainder of the peloton.  From there, I began pulling quite a bit, and we caught two of the guys at the top of the hill (which is more like a false flat).  The wind was tremendous, blowing us all over the place and keeping our speed low despite how hard we cranked the pedals.  

After the hill and flat section, I continued to help pull as we reached the rolling and slightly down hill area.  I pulled a bit too much, and ended up getting shot to the back as I struggled to hold wheels.  Gaps were opening up all over the place as the guys in the front sped up to catch the last BMC guy who was still off the front.  He had an amazing breakaway considering the wind.  Anyways, by the time I recovered, a break had gone up the road with 7 guys.  There was only a kilometer to go to the base of the final climb, but our group slowed down when they realized there was not catching them.  I got to the front and pulled up to the base of the hill.  No one came around me so I continued to pull, increasing the pace.  I looked back after a bit and only one guy was still on my wheel.  We sped up and caught three guys who were in the breakaway, and I managed to hold my wheel sucker off all the way to the top of the hill.  I feel like almost no one can beat me in a steep, 1K climb like that no matter how tired I am.

After the hill, the race was over so I went back to get Tony and we rode home with the tail wind, going 35 mph at times.  He beat me in both of the stop ahead signs.  My sprinting is pretty weak right now, but I felt OK today despite the hard ride yesterday.  Time to go to Costco and then the street fair.  By the way, it’s still sunny and warm down here.  For those of you in Oregon, you have my sympathy this week.  I saw the weather forecast.