Never Give Up

May 9th, 2012 Kevin Posted in Training 2 Comments »

From a friend on DailyMile:

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Carmichael Leadville 100 training camp

February 15th, 2010 Kevin Posted in Mountain Bike Racing, Training 2 Comments »

I called a few times to get into one of the Carmichael Leadville 100 training camps.  No luck – the phone lines were busy every time I called.  It turned out the camps were filled in fairly short order.  I checked the Carmichael website a little after noon today and the “Sold Out” banner was already spread across the image linking to registration info.

I’m not really disappointed.  This secondary option for getting a spot in the 2010 Leadville 100 didn’t sit well with me in the first place.  I understand that Carmichael is a sponsor of the race, and his prodigy, Lance, won the race last year.  But, dangling this $1250.00 carrot in front of mountain bikers who didn’t get a spot in the race doesn’t exactly emit a “plays well with others” vibe.

The race can’t grow due to the limited infrastructure of Leadville, CO.  As “insurance” in case I did receive a race entry, I reserved what I believe was the last available hotel room in vicinity of the old mining town.  I did this in mid-January, weeks before the results of the lottery were announced.  Naturally, with this kind of demand, the event is ripe for someone to profit.  The area hotels have gotten their cut, now enter Carmichael Training Systems.

For the lucky folks that made it through the “second round phone lottery” with CTS, they will enjoy a day and half with CTS staff.  One lunch and one dinner included.  No lodging, no transportation, no beer.  Let me know how it goes!

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Lance Armstrong and Kona Ironman

January 15th, 2010 Kevin Posted in Race recap, Road Biking, Training, running 1 Comment »

“I will be in Kona 15 months after the final Tour,” Lance Armstrong told Australian Associated Press on Friday. “If it’s 2010, then it will be Kona 2011. If it’s 2011, it will be Kona 2012.”

So… let the predictions begin.

First off, when will he declare his final Tour? Will this year be his last if he and the Radio Shack team put in a dismal performance? Or, what if Contador is right and the Radio Shack team is strong, will Lance want to lead the team again in 2011?  What if he finds himself on the podium in Paris with a 9th career Tour victory in 2011?  Will he go for a nice, round 10 in 2012?

But, the man said he’ll be there and he usually follows through.  Then, perhaps the more lively predictions will involve his Kona Ironman finish time and place.

Armstrong has three sub-3-hour marathons under his belt.  His best time was 2:46:43 at the 2007 New York City MarathonCraig Alexander ran to victory at the 2009 Ironman World Championships in Kona with a 2:48:05 marathon.

Stage 6 of the 2009 Tour de France, Gérone – Barcelone, was flat and about 113 miles in length – comparable to Kona minus the wind factor.  The peloton finished in 4:21:33.  Alexander pedaled the 112-mile 2009 Kona Ironman cycling stage in 4:37:33.

With these results, plus reasonable times for the swim and transitions, Lance can capture 1st place in Kona with a time on par with Luc Van Lierde’s record setting finish of 8:04:08 in 1996.  But we all know it’s neither as simple nor as easy as that.  The Ironman is not a month long stage race.  Lance has to put together his top performances in multiple disciplines in one LONG day.

Armstrong’s own predictions?  “I don’t know I could be top three, top five or top 10, but anyway, I want to come and finish.”

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Stationary cycling through Google Street View

November 12th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Road Biking, Training 1 Comment »

Oh my gosh, this is brilliant! Why didn’t I think of this? Aki Mimoto, a coder and self-described “just another geek,” is developing a way to connect a stationary bike to Google Street View so that a cyclist on an indoor trainer can pedal through any place Google has digitally captured.

Never been to Venice? How about pedaling through the City of Canals from your basement? Sounds enticing when an excursion to Italy doesn’t fit into your immediate travel plans. Want to ride the entire distance of US Route 66 in one hour increments? With this invention, you could.

Now, Aki is still developing the interface and he is approaching it from the angle of making it a virtual reality (VR) experience – complete with a head mounted display (HMD). He gives it the buzzworthy title, VR environment for stationary cycling. The VR environment takes advantage of Google Street View’s 360 degree photography of streets. Turn your head left or right while pedaling and you can see what’s happening along the side of the roadway. However, once he successfully creates the interface, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use your television. The experience just wouldn’t be as technologically fancy.

I’m not sure how smooth the experience will be, but perhaps Aki is working on solving that problem. His website whets our appetite for what may come to be. It appears as if Aki is open to someone reviewing his progress so far and offering any assistance. Hopefully by Aki publicizing his progress, the worldwide community of coders and makers will help bring this exciting idea into reality.

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GPS lawn mowing with the Garmin Forerunner 405CX

May 4th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Training 3 Comments »

Just to have a little fun with my Garmin Forerunner 405CX I decided to use it while mowing my lawn. It worked well. I mowed 1.80 miles of grass in 50 minutes. My top speed was 4.3 mph, my average heart rate was 124 bpm, and I burned 723 calories. It turns out that lawn mowing with a push mower is a pretty good workout.

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Garmin Forerunner 405CX first impressions

May 4th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Training 9 Comments »

So far, so good with my new “do-everything” GPS watch. I ordered the Garmin Forerunner 405CX a few weeks ago and have since had several opportunities to get to know it better.Garmine Forerunner 405CX

My first activity using the watch was a group bike ride only an hour after receiving my new watch.  I gave the battery a partial charge and headed off for the ride.

Unfortunately, I had not read the instructions and recording the ride was not successful.  I did manage to record 4 seconds of waiting at a traffic light, however.

No hard feelings though.  I didn’t expect a quick glance at the instructions to be enough to understand how to use this device. The 405CX is Garmin’s latest GPS enabled watch. It is very similar to the 405 except that the CX model features a more sophisticated heart-rate based calorie computation.  By the way, a heart rate monitor is included with the watch. Other accessories, such as a bicycle cadence sensor, are available through Garmin retailers.

Loading workout data onto your computer is mostly effortless. After creating an account with Garmin Connect, you are instructed to bring your watch to within 9 feet of your computer (with the USB Ant stick plugged in) to transfer data.  I haven’t found the sweet spot yet and have to either press a few buttons or move the watch to get the transfer to start.  But once the data is loaded, the Garmin Connect web site does a fantastic job of displaying all of the information in a very easy to read format.

The internal rechargeable lithium battery does not last as long as I’d like.  If I do two 2-hour rides in a week, I need to recharge it to be sure it will last for the next workout.  Garmin advertises the battery life at 8 hours in training mode.  That seems like a stretch.  However, Garmin wisely programmed the 405CX to save the current workout in the event of power loss.

I’m eager to explore other features of the watch and to check out the GPS receiver reception quality while riding MTB trails in the woods. Otherwise, it’s working well and I’m mostly pleased with my purchase.

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Garmin Forerunner 405CX vs. Apple iPhone apps vs. Garmin Edge 705

April 21st, 2009 Kevin Posted in Road Biking, Training, running 4 Comments »

The first bike computer I ever had was a CatEye Vectra I bought used from my brother sometime around 1990.  That device was pretty tough.  It slid into position from the front, and in particular crashes it became a lauched projectile.  Like the time I ran into a parked car – in my own driveway.  That same CatEye is now attached to my mother’s bicycle.  It’s been working for over 20 years now.

I hope to find something as durable when I pick out a new bike computer this month.  Wireless speed and position via GPS seems to be the leading technology.  The new units also store data which can be downloaded/uploaded into mapping and plotting software at home.  This will be very useful in saving and reviewing my riding and running excursions.  I’ve also begun to train with a heart rate monitor, so having that functionality would be ideal.

In my research for a new bike computer, I’ve narrowed my search to three devices that are unlike anything I’ve used before.  In fact, none of the three even resemble a typical bicycle computer.  The Garmin Forerunner 405CX is a wristwatch, the Apple iPhone is a phone, and the Garmin Edge 705 closely resembles a handheld GPS device.  The two Garmin devices come complete with all the typical stats like speed, trip mileage, odometer, and options to include heart rate, cadence, and power.  The iPhone doesn’t report those metrics out of the box, but can easily be loaded with an application like iRPM+ from smheartlink.com.

Below is a table that summarizes my comparison of the three devices.

 
  Garmin 405CX iPhone 3G w/apps Garmin Edge 705
Setup Wrist Watch Phone Handheld Device
Display (pixels) 124 x 95 320 x 480 color 176 x 220 color
Perceived Durability Best Good Better
Versatility Good Best Better
Weight 60g 133g 104.9g
Battery Life (using GPS) 8 hours 5 hours 15 hours
Camera to capture friend’s crash Ha, no Yes No
HRM strap included Yes No Yes
Suggested Retail Price $369.99 $199.00 (8Gb) $499.99
Monthly fee None $69.99* None
Cost after two years $369.99 $1878.76* $499.99
*I may be able to run the apps on an iPod Touch which does not carry monthly fees, but then I’d kick myself later for not buying the iPhone.

Now, I could buy all three.  I’d use the 405CX for running, the 705 for cycling, and the iPhone for, well, a phone.  But, I’m a big fan of keeping life simple.  And quite frankly, for a couple thousand dollars I’d rather buy a new bike.

My choice is the Garmin Forerunner 405CX.  It appears to be the most versatile and durable for my needs.  It is also the device I feel I will make the most use of.  The 405CX lacks a screen capable of displaying a map, but in the deeps woods where I would need a map most, satellite signals are weak.  I already wear a stopwatch on my wrist for all my runs and most of my rides.  With the included heart rate monitor strap I can now save and review the cardio portion of my workouts.  The speed and cadence sensor, available separately for $60.00, will be a nice addition to my cycling metrics.

The Garmin Edge 705 comes in a close second place.  I like that I could use it as a handheld GPS device and possibly in a car (though I’d want to be parked before fixing my eyes on the 1.37″ x 1.71″ screen).  If all I intended to use it for was for biking, the Edge 705 would be my choice.  But the thought of a $500 piece of plastic bouncing in my pocket on a run is not very appealing.

Though the iPhone is incredibly powerful and I could use it for much more than running and cycling, Steve Jobs didn’t have endurance sports in mind when he and Apple designed it.  Besides, I already have a cell phone contract and would rather not incur the additional monthly data fees.

As stated above, the 405CX retails for $369.99.  It is currently in production and for sale at a number of retailers.  I located and purchased from an eBay vendor selling the watch for $329.99.  I’m excited about my purchase and will post a glowing review in the next week.

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Winter core training: one hundred push ups

January 16th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Training 1 Comment »

It’s cold, dark, and you’re stuck indoors much more than you want to be. How do you stay motivated to train and prepare yourself for early Spring endurance racing? It’s time to set yourself some goals.  Since it’s the “off season” (at least in a good portion of the Northern Hemisphere) why not make those goals related to core training?  The one hundred push up training program may be just the mission you need.

Hundredpushups.com claims that if you’ve completed their six week program with no cheating and no short cuts, “experience has shown that you should be strong enough to perform one hundred consecutive push ups!”

Seems like a reasonable challenge and a worthwhile training goal.  The workouts are pretty quick – all you are doing is sets of push ups.  Plus, this may improve your motivation level as it is not related to some cardio goal like lowering your mph average on the treadmill.  So, consider the program, take the challenge, do the hundred, and then buy the t-shirt to show everyone what you did!

Then what?  It doesn’t end there.  When you’re finished with one hundred push ups, you need to move on to the two hundred sit ups challenge.  Just think how strong you’ll be when the birds come chirping again.

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Daily Mile

January 6th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Training, running 1 Comment »

I don’t have a MySpace, I’m not on Facebook, I’m not LinkedIn, and I never gave Friendster a second thought. I recently started hearing about Twitter and went to that site to learn more. I read the “What,” “Why,” and “How.” I even watched the video, but I still don’t get it. Why do I want to know what you are doing right now? Can I just call you if I need to know? No offense, really, but if you are on a computer and logged in to Twitter, what else can you be doing that would interest me?

Then I came across a widget on someone’s blog which noted his or her running mileage for that week.  It looked kinda cool so I followed the link that appeared in the widget, Dailymile.com.  I checked out the site and saw it’s usefulness right away.  I didn’t have to watch a video or read any “What,” “Why,” and “How.”  I didn’t sign up right away, but made a mental note to come back.

Later, after increasing my running mileage in December and committing to run the Carlsbad 1/2 marathon, I returned to Dailymile.  I registered, posted some workouts and even got a few “motivators” or brief messages from the Daily Mile community.  I dig it.  At the very least, Dailymile is a place to log your workouts.  It’s not entirely sophisticated, but I get the impression that the site will improve over time.  At most, it could replace your addiction to other social networking sites.

There are a few characters on Dailymile that seem to be “friend whores” or people that try to collect as many friends as possible.  Whenever I log in to post a workout, I see them logged in.  You know the type.  Luckily you can choose to ignore them.  As of now I only have one friend, Jason.  Jason, coincidentally, was the winner of the Gelrilla Grip giveaway that so many people participated in.

I am trying to determine how a Dailymile widget might fit here on Racedaynutrition.  I asked Ben Weiner, a Dailymile employee, to custom make me a widget.  He said his team will work on it.  In the mean time, check out the site, look me up, and if you join, send me a some motivation!

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Joined a gym

December 30th, 2008 Kevin Posted in Health Commentary, Training, running 3 Comments »

As cold and darkness crept into my evenings this fall, I couldn’t recall how just 12 months ago I was able to maintain and even build up my distance running outside. How did I navigate the puddles and snowdrifts and still pay attention to the suburban drivers? The way cars whiz by me I sometimes think that drivers, in their warm and comfortable seats, don’t realize that I’m a living thing and deserve a wider berth than they gave the deflated santa-flying-an-airplane decoration trailing from their antenna. In the warmer months some of my favorite drivers have enjoyed tossing expletives and garbage at me. When it’s below freezing, drivers don’t bother rolling down their windows, but will continue to express their feelings with creative hand gestures or by the proximity of their bumper to my kneecap.
My home town is like a patchwork of mismatched neighborhoods freshly sprouted from former farmland. Only very recently did town planners realize the value of negotiating for interconnecting paths or sidewalks. The result is a whole lot of sidewalks that lead to no where. In some cases the sidewalks terminate with an impressive drop into mud, gravel, and evil-looking construction scrap. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be quite comical.
So, after much consideration, I gave up risking my life on the roads and joined a gym this month. It’s a small gym roughly the size of the bathroom at some of the larger clubs. It has cardio equipment, universal weights, free weights, and some flat screen TVs. It also has drafty air, no room for stretching, and only one unisex bathroom. But it has what I need – an available treadmill to help keep my sanity until the snow melts and the sunlight returns in the evenings.

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