Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Training - Random Thoughts, Kittens

Last night I watched Parts 3 and 4 of Band of Brothers. Okay, technically I climbed off the bike just before the end of Part 4, but I spent a good amount of time on the bike. The night before I watched Parts 1 and 2. I've been doing some database collecting and will be reporting on some of my findings soon.

I've also been ignoring my power and heart rate numbers, focusing primarily on cadence. I want to spin better in 2009 so I want to get more coordinated on the bike. Focusing on "human" training I guess, rather than going by the (power) numbers.

A few random thoughts I've had over the last few days:

1. I read that Astana is "experimenting" with tall profile wheels, like over 80 mm tall.

With all of Bruyneel's experience in leading his racers, I always wonder how his team is a few years behind when it comes to equipment design. They didn't use taller profile wheels for forever and they had relatively ordinary frames. Compared to a CSC type team, they've seemed to be behind the curve. I know that as Discovery/USPS they won races, but it just seems like they've been stacking the deck against themselves.

Speaking of which, I've been doing some homework on the aero front. I don't expect any solid results for a while (probably months) but it'll be interesting learning.

2. Floyd is.. I dunno.

3. Riding hard is hard, hard mentally.

I ride easier because of that. But I don't get as fit doing "easier" rides.

4. In 2009 I will be using almost no new equipment.

Maybe a tire or two, probably a set of brake pads, but that's about it. My bike evolution will pause for a year while my fiscal flexibility becomes more flexible. Hopefully. My ultimate dream would be to have sub 1400 gram 58+ mm wheels but I think I'll have to get by with a 440 front rim (58mm) and the Reynolds rear (46 mm).

11 speed? That'll have to wait a bit.

5. I'm honing in on a California trip date.

I figure just over a week, hopefully two weekends, a trip long enough to exhaust myself, short enough to avoid getting sick. Getting the trip solidified is important for my motivation because as significant as Bethel is, the trip is the "first test" and therefore a "first goal". Without what had been a regular January trip to Florida, the California trip becomes a bit more significant. Contrary to my #3 above, I'm going to have to motivate myself to ride hard before California because the trip will be the honing of form, not the building of it.

6. Petacchi chose his leadout man over Danilo Hondo.

Of course he did. A sprinter needs his posse, not a rival sprinter. By keeping his leadout train together he builds their loyalty, and their loyalty will let them get through the tough spots. If Petacchi loses five wonderfully led out sprints in a row, a less loyal team could lose faith. His guys, though, will just think, "Next time, next time he'll do it."

And they'll kill themselves the next time to lead out the whole field.

7. In 2009, if I get some reasonable training in, I'd like to do a road race or two.

At the worst, if it's a circuit race, I can feed other racers after I drop out. At the best I can, well, hope to finish off the back (being realistic, based on about 15 years of doing road races). I think the 2-4 hour threshold riding (with a few deep anaerobic spikes) is critical towards building fitness, and I've skipped out on this for a long time.

8. I want to set up my workbench soon, maybe even today.

I haven't had an operational workbench since 1997, and I really miss it. It's actually the same bench so it'll be good to use it once again. It'll have a new vise, a much heavier one, but otherwise it'll be the same. Same tool board (although it may need some freshening up), same wood, same paint. There's a history to the bench which I'll have to write about one day.


And finally, onto smaller and furrier things. The kittens. I can't help but coo over the kittens since we've decided to keep them.

Admiring the missus's wreath and the "never smelled it in my life" pine scent.

Bella likes to warm her paws when the heat kicks on. It looks like she's playing piano when the heater is really hot.

So does, um, Riley. Or Hal. I think it's Riley.

Bella checking out Riley.

Bella will run to a baseboard when she hears the water start to flow, and wait until it's nice and warm. Then she'll stick her paws between the slats or just lay them on top of the heater. When the water stops flowing and the metal starts to cool, she'll jump on top to get as much heat as possible. She used to stand on the baseboard at first heat but the intense heat (about 150-160 degrees F) would make her hop around until her paws seemed like they should be smoking. Then she'd revert to the "sit at the bar" pose, a much easier way of regulating how much heat her paws receive.

Riley, it seems, learned from the more inquisitive Bella.

Relating to the kittens, we visited the vet last night with the four of them. They all checked out nicely, even taking their shots with just a narrowing of their eyes. I have to admit that I cringed more when they got their shots than anyone else did in the room, kitties included.

We also saw the quarantined cat, the one that bit me. To get the glue trap off they had to shave the poor thing (mineral oil helps but just won't do a 100% job), but otherwise it seems pretty healthy. Physically that is. It was hiding behind its litter box, tail curled up, eyes out of sight, so I think it's been traumatized by the whole experience.

My hand, too, is doing well. Antibiotics are an amazing thing. My wounds are healing so fast that if I'd observed this on another person, I'd swear they were using steroids or HGH. I guess fighting off infection slows down would healing, but that's just a guess. Whatever, a wound I received the week prior is still healing (but painless). In contrast, one of the four glue-trap-cat punctures is already gone, and the other three are only slightly uncomfortable when I apply a lot of pressure on them.

The kittens are officially ours now - they've been "entered in the database" at the vet's office. I guess in this computer age that's what makes something official. I think, though, that anyone who knows us knew that it would be official, long before anyone typed it into a computer.

For some things you don't need a computer to know it.


knitseashore said...

Floyd?! Call me clueless, but can't wait to see him on a road bike again.

Bella and Riley are my kind of girls. Love the paw-warming photos! They might enjoy Rosie, who pushes me out of the way to bake in front of the fireplace. Her fur is so hot you can't touch it.

Anonymous said...


The fact that you haven't posted in almost a week made it very hard for me to learn something while procrastinating over the finals season.

In case you were wondering: finals sucked.


-Young rider

Aki said...

I don't know why but I didn't post the picture of them paw-warming next to each other. That'll be for another slow bike day.

YR - lol I'll have to schedule posts for the spring's finals so you have good break material.