Friday, November 23, 2007

The Turkinator Meets The Heinous Hills

Umm, there like used to be a lake here. I guess we have to call it Canyon Canyon now.

Good people of townsville! At this very minute, the good citizens of our fair metropolis are held within the caloric clutches of the turkinator. He struck yesterday afternoon on what would otherwise be a pleasant day off of work. Mild mannered Paul, caught unawares, ate and ate, and so fell into the influence of the evil turkinator! All was not lost however, Mild Mannered Paul's alter ego, "must get out and train man", planned ahead. Knowing the devious mind of the turkinator and his creepy caloric sidekicks Pie and Ice Cream, he had devised a scheme which would send the turkinator packing. A workout so taxing, so brutal, so tough, that not even the turkinator with his evil force of cellulite enhancing side dishes could withstand the fury. Only one route could be so brutal, so tough, so taxing. Yes, ladies and gentlemen "must get out and train man" had deemed that the dire circumstances demanded a trip to the end of the pavement.

"The end of the pavement" you say (in a voice completely unimpressed)? Well, those of you who may have a lemon shaped mountain in your back yard, perhaps do not fear the turkinator, but a ride capable of killing the turkinator within cycling distance of east Mesa is the trip to the end of the pavement. Those of you who have ridden the legends, superstitions and ruins permanent will be familiar with part of this, with the exception of the 1200 foot hill behind Tortilla Flat. Yes, as you see on the chart below, "must get out and train man" determined that only the hill up to the end of pavement could stem the evil tide of the turkinator.

In the predawn hours, a chill was in the air and "must get out and train man" was shivering in the cold. He had his mighty k2 light on and the mighty cateye el500 blasting photons into the night. The special arm and leg warmers our hero had drawn from his secret stash of super hero clothing was barely adequate. Traffic was busier than usual at 5:30 as the unsuspecting victims of the turkinator languished behind the wheels of their automobiles.
The climbing started in earnest when our hero turned onto the Apache Trail and started up the first of the big hills, although compared to the two larger hills this one would soon be over, but not before Mr. Stuffing had met his Demise. No matter how hard our hero tried though his fingers were still numb though he climbed and burned off the evil turkinator's evil henchman. Descending into canyon lake our here started to shiver and shake as he sped to the canyon where once there was a lake. The lake has been drained for the dam to get some work done on it.
Upon reaching the lake our hero met up with another enemy of the evil calory cretins. He was a racer looking for his group he was riding with. Truth be known, he beat our hero to the end of the pavement, but I think our man in spandex may have a few pounds up on him and well, I don't think he succombed to the Turkinator's foul plan as seriously as mild mannered Paul had. After a medium sized hill, "must get out and train man" was sizing up his task. The final hill, the doozy, the one people raise an eyebrow at if you mention it. Yes, it was time to make the 1200 foot climb to the end of the pavement. 5 miles and 1 hour of pain later, would our here triumph? Would the evil Turkinator meet his demise? and what of the despicable pie and ice cream?

What hill can repel "must get out and train man"? Surely he was not to be beaten back and defeated? No, our hero had a trick up his sleave, it was the secret triple chainring of Shimano. Sent from far across the see from our friend Professor Suzuki who had been so helpfull in ridding the world of Mothra, and helping Godzilla and Gamera. Yes, "must get out and train man" had his full arsenal of tools and boldy shifted to his secret weapon, the 30 tooth chainring. Slowly but surely he gnawed away at the hill piece by piece. Destroying the evil pie and ice cream, slice by slice, and scoop by scoop. On he climbed as if up to the very sky. The turkinator could not withstand the onslaught and by the top of the hill an hour later, had been crippled. A brief rest was enjoyed by our hero as he shot down the mountain at 40 miles an hour despite sitting upright and trying to be un-aerodynamic. Then, at the bottom of the hill, a scent sent a shiver up our heros spine and he looked on in horror.

The restaurant at Tortilla flat had a smoke cloud hovering over it and out into the road. Someone was grilling something. Something tasty, something that smelled good. Something that would sit well on an empty stomache that had just been to the end of the pavement. Yes, it smelled like the evil steak and eggsinator. Our hero sped up, not only was he strapped for cash but his duel with the turkinator had left him weak and an encounter with the steak and eggsinator would leave him weak and helpless. So on he sped, desperately trying to free himself of the deadly aroma of the steak and eggs. Steak and eggs....... mmmmmm.

Leaving Canyon lake, the turkinator met his last dieing blows. Our hero had climbed 5700 feet and burned thousands of calories and smashed the evil turkinator in his anaerobic fury. Mild mannered Paul was once again safe to journey into the kitchen, no more to fear the evil turkinator until next year.

Coming next week, "Must get out and train man" meets the evil and mysterious Hon e. Bakedham and the second helpings.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beautiful Butt Hugging Brooks Bliss

Old fat lazy sun holds no claim upon me. I speed off into the night, free of care following the gleam of the mighty k2. I enjoy the dark hours of the morning as the world is a quieter place and the breeze is like an overture to the great opera that will unfold as the day progresses with its villains, heros, and fat ladies singing. This particular morning I was out early as I intended to do a 50 mile feeler ride on the way to work. I am riding a 300k with Bruce and Steve in a few weeks and I wanted to see if I was up to riding it recumbentless. First thing I noticed was the pearl izumi gloves that I had worn while building the the 100' long 4 foot high block wall in the back now had numerous holes and the breeze blew right through (not to mention the leather was much less supple and was not comfortable on the hands). The other thing I noticed was that my light setup, although very ghetto, was extremely bright. I had a few refinements to make as far as wire routing but it was quite acceptable at 20 mph.
I basically headed down Guadalupe to head west to the 202 frontage road which I would take south to Price until it hooked up with Dobson which I would take east and then jog over to Alma School to Riggs, Riggs out to beltline road (Bruce and Steve will be familiar with this one as it is part of the around South Mountain route), I headed down Beltline to the first curve, turned around and then headed north up past Firebird raceway, over I-10 and then a few nameless back streets, under the freeway and I am at work. It was a good route and I found with periodic back stretches my back didn't have too many problems so I think this may be a go for the 300k next month as long as Bruce and Steve' idea of a moderate pace is between 15-18 mph or less. It was very nice to be out and riding again on a fairly longish ride after all this silly triathlon and marathon training (although the marathon training continues).

Below are some changes to my setup I have made lately that I think bear mentioning.

I recently modified the might K2 for use on my roadbike (with batteries instead of the generator) which I have been riding lately. A dual pack of 4 AA cells (I picked these as a power source as they are readily available at any convenience store and that means not having to tote batteries everywhere or put up with the drag of a generator) pumping 12v into it provides ample light. I found 20mph quite comfortable with the light being thrown out and so far it looks like the light goes for at least 4 hours on a set of batteries, will keep you posted as I continue to drain them on the next ride (I am thinking of selling this setup as it costs a third as much as the equivalent high end lighting system, just need to find a pretty way of packaging it without increasing cost). Another mod I was trying out was my foam I had stuffed into my shifter hoods to create a wider and better supporting platform for my hands. I am happy to report not even a tingle from ye old hands. I think those shifters are designed to fit a japanese hand which is a little smaller (either that or one of those little roadie types that make up the peleton). Being a clydesdale, my hands tend to be bigger so I find that the hood contacts the front of my hand and the back where the ulnar nerve is but the middle of my hand supports no weight at all. So, yesterday I think that it is a real pity you can't distribute more weight onto the middle of the hand. 10 minutes later and a few pieces of bar wrap I have a nice formed to my hand fitting hood to put my hands on. Night and Day fair readers, Night and Day.
Then of course, last but not lest I have reattached that beautiful behind hammock that is known as the Brooks. Yes it is not as pretty as the racing saddles of the peleton, but I am here to tell you Brothers and Sisters, it is not your eyes which press into that seat. Do I hear an hallelujah? Can I hear a Praise the Brooks? I have seen the light, I have sat on the leather of heaven. I have cast off my evil butt biting saddle of the tormenting triathlon. I have thrown off the bonds of barely broad butt wedges! Amazing grace, how sweet it is my Brothers and Sisters! Hallelujah.
Hmm, maybe I got a little carried away, but I do like my brooks.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Just Another Mad Dog, and a sore and tired Paul

A report on the "Just Another Mad Dog" 25k/50k running race put on by Arizona Road Racers

Well, tonight I am sore, and my knees are not happy. I suppose that is what ibuprofen is for. In any case, I suppose I should share the events that led up to the sore muscles. Coming from a brevet/ultra cycling background I know a little something about feeding over a multi hour event. Energy was not a problem until the last mile or so but I figured that would be the case. Waking up Saturday morning before 5 AM I thought that I really had not prepared enough for this but it was too late now. It seems before brevets and so forth I go through a big routine to get everything ready. It felt kind of strange to get the shoes on, a shirt and shorts and head out the door. I had been sick most of the week so I wasn't too sure on how good I was going to run. Not that I am any speed demon anyway. I determined to take it easy at the start and enjoy the first few laps.
At the registration table I was pleased to find that not only was the t-shirt a synthetic sports type shirt, we got a running cap too (the kind that keeps your head cool). So, I took my shirt and cap back to the car where I tossed my cheapy hat with the first marathon symbol on it (I always felt like such a poseur wearing since I haven't actually ran a marathon yet but hey, a $3 cap is a good deal) and put on my knew supercool Mad Dog cap.
After walking around a bit to warm up we got started and I watched pretty much everyone head off into the predawn hours of the morning ahead. I determined to take it slow as 1- this was a training run for me (yeah right, I am a little sorer than I usually am after a training run) and 2 if brevets had taught me anything was it is better to start to slow than blow it in the first part of the race. So, doing a nice little jog down the sidewalk I went. Most of the people around me were older types but there were a few that were younger than me. I figured since I am not fast enough to slow down to anyones pace (I'd be walking if I did) I would take my mp3 player and have my own electronic running companion with me. The first lap I really enjoyed as I had determined to smell the roses so to speak and of course, I completed the first lap having been passed by a group of people with a guy wearing an Iron man shirt in it (I really respect those guys the more I run and swim). I would stay a minute or two back from them the rest of the race. I ended up running the first 5k in 38 minutes, which is slow even for me but it was my warm up lap I figured. It turned out to be my slowest lap interestingly enough. We basically went down by the lake heading south alongside a golf course toward Tempe Town Lake (all the parks were in indian bend wash) to a turnaround 1.1 miles out and then came back and ran around a few lakes before heading back to the start/finish line to start the next lap. The lakes and ducks were a nice distraction and made the morning downright pleasant for running (the fact the temperatures were colder was nice too).
On the second lap I started to notice that light colored shorts were a bad idea even in running circles as they led to goofy sweat patterns on the backside which black shorts would not show. For some reason it just seemed to be ladies that wore those light colored shorts. I guess they never get a chance to look at their backsides. It is funny I mention seeing the backends of people as a lot of people passed me when we got far enough into the race that they lapped me (some of those guys are fast but then again some of those guys are a lot lighter than me and have only developed muscles for running and not cycling and swimming as well). Anyway, I kept laps 2-5 at 35 minutes with lap 3 coming in at 34 and change.

This is the just started, my what a beautiful morning me.

Somewhere around lap 4 I started to notice mr. black nipples. I thought to myself about how he must have forgotten to put on anti-chaffing creme (a staple for us randonneurs) as he obviously was suffering from bleeding nipples (I hurt even thinking about it). When I saw him beginning lap 5 I still thought how he must have forgotten something when I started noticing that mine were starting to hurt a bit too. Fortunately I did not become a mr. bleeding nipples though, I just chaffed a bit.from laps 3-4 I started passing people and held onto it for lap 5. At the finish line I found out the lady I had last passed was 64 and was still running marathons each year (yes, that is plural). She had only thought this was going to be a 20k race and not 25 so that is pretty much why I passed her. I hope I am still that active at that age.

I'm smiling, but am I really smiling?

Getting a drink at the fountain just before the aid station a bunch of dogs in the dog play area started barking at me and of course being a cyclist my first thought was something about dumb dogs. My second thought (probably brought on by some sort of figment of exhaustion) was that they were saying Woof woof "Good Job! Only one lap left! get out there" which was encouraging so I thought better of the dogs and ran through the start line to start my last lap (then again, perhaps one of these was the "Mad Dog" for whom the race had been named?). I had started to get tired during the last section before the dogs and had told myself I would not walk until the last lap and then only the hills. I kept pretty close to that actually. I walked 2 and half hills and ran the rest of the way. I have to say I was hurting the last mile or so but I suppose that is to be expected. Ever since seeing the clock at the start reading 2:22 I had resolved to finish before 3 hours so I probably pushed the last lap a little harder than I had originally intended so I suppose that is why I am sore but I did finish at 2:58 minutes though so I suppose it was worth it.
After the finish I chugged gatorade and water and went over to get a hamburger and goodies over at the ramada (gotta love events with a full barbeque at the end, Arizona Road Racers is an A Class racing organization that keeps the entry fees absurdly low somehow without skimping on the benefits). It was here that I picked up my finishers medal, a jar of Mad Dog barbeque sauce. A pretty tasty reward for running almost 16 miles. I finished 48th out of 54 people, not counting those 9 hardy(psychotic) souls who selected the 50k option.

The Road Racermobile. We need to get one of these for Susan to run Brevets :) (although I can't really picture her driving one of these things around :) .