Thursday, March 30, 2006

I heart food

What an awesome day outside. I managed to put in another good ride. 2:30hrs of fun. The weather definitely helps the motivation. I did a threshold test so that I can start basing my training on actual numbers instead of JRA. More on that in the next few days. I need to give my data to The Legend so he can decipher it and give me some direction. I ordered Training and Racing With a Power Meter today. I’m sure that will clear up what all these numbers mean.

The Wifey will be home tonight after being gone since Sunday. No phone calls please.

I need to clean a bit around the house so she doesn’t freak out. Really the place isn’t too bad all things considered. Some crumbs to vacuum and some dishes to load in the dishwasher but not much else.

I need to do a better job of feeding myself on longer rides. I’ve done 3 rides in the past week of 2:30hrs in length with nothing more than a 100 calorie Clif Shot. I’m getting done with these rides absolutely famished. I want to start stretching these rides out a little closer to 3hrs when we get into the season more. Bars, gels, drinks, I need to figure out the best way for me to take on calories as I ride. Bars taste great but are tough to get down without a boat load of water. I’ve tried Accelerade/Endurox without success. They taste great but I just can’t digest the drinks during rides. Afterwards no problems. I’m thinking gels might be my best option but at 100 calories a pop I’d need to carry 4 or 5. Any thoughts?

On that note. After my ride today I immediately went to the store to load up on grub. People always say don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. My ass. That’s the best time to go.

Soon time to bust out the hammock. I love that thing. I missed it dearly over the winter. Erin wouldn’t let me set it up down in the basement. It totally would have worked down there in front of the ol double nickel. No luck. Many times last summer I’d get out for a ride before work and leave enough time to lounge on the hammock. I’d then call everyone I knew who was sitting in their office cubicle and tell them how nice it was outside. Soon.

No mas.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Slap Boxing the One-Eyed Champ

Got out for another good ride today. Mother Nature played a cruel trick on me but it was still a nice ride. 20 miles into the wind so the theory goes I’d have 20 miles of clear sailing home. Right? My ass. Try 20 miles of bend-over-and-grab-your-ankles blustery headwinds. Somewhere around Braggtown the sun went away the clouds moved in and the winds shifted. What can you do? Grin and bear it.

I finished up being more hungry than I can remember in quite some time. I made a pizza and ate it. I had visions of Louie’s but Cape May was last week.

The Wifey has just shipped off on a Teacher testing type business trip until Thursday eve. She hates those trips. I won’t know what to do with myself until then. At least I can fall asleep with the radio on for a few nights. I suppose I have to try and figure out the washing machine. Either that or smell like hell all week. Looks like I’m watching The Sopranos alone tonight. Hopefully she can watch at her hotel in Philly.

Our last week of closing at 7pm at Holmes. Starting in April we go to 8pm. Sucks, but at least we get an hour back in the evenings starting next Sunday. Might make the transition a little more bearable.

Speaking of next Monday. Baseball is back. Go Sillies!

Miles on my 1996 Ford Ranger STX pick-up redneck truck since January 23rd - 158. Miles on my Lemond Tete in the last 10 days - 190. Sweetness.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I got out for a real nice ride today. Totally JRA. So far I love my new toy. Understanding it will definitely take some time. Here is just a small sample of all the feedback I gathered from today’s ride.
· Duration - 2:22:37hrs
· Work – 1576kJ (calories)
· TSS – 10.9 (don’t know what this means)
· Norm Power – 215 (don’t know what this means)
· Distance – 42.118 miles
· Power – max-948 watts, avg power-184 watts
· Heart Rate – max-181, avg HR-157
· Cadence – min-30rpm, max-141(!), avg-88
· Torque – max-457, avg-78 lb-in (don’t know what this means)

This is just a small amount of the info I have available for dissecting. There is also peak power in 5, 10, 20, and 30 seconds and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 60 minutes. Graphs, charts, a diary to keep notes. For a stats/numbers geek like myself this is beautiful. Now if I can just figure it out a little more. I’ll have to have a pow-wow with my good buddy Coach Hebe.

XM Radio is awesome. Channel 44. Fred. I just heard a Hoodoo Gurus song I haven’t heard in probably 10 years. The Cult, X, Talking Heads, Talk Talk, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Call, Janes, old REM (before they turned fag). There is no end.

After watching the Flyers dismantle the Rangers last night I briefly turned the remote over to The Wifey. She immediately went for AI. Just as that chicken little tool got the ‘ol heave ho. I almost shot iced tea out my nose when the word karaoke was used to descibe one of the singer losers. That, fleeting as it was, was major entertainment!

When we were down in Cape May last weekend we both were jonesin for some ice cream. We hit the local Wawa and found a stash of Ben & Jerry’s. I haven’t had any of that stuff since I recovered from my bout of fat-assed-ness. I discovered that have some low fat frozen yogurt goodies now. I picked up a pint of Half Baked. It had some cookie dough and some brownie chunks in it but it was super good and ridiculously low in fat for ice cream. I may have a new addiction. That stuff ain’t cheap either.

Has anyone noticed it’s officially spring? Couldn’t tell by sticking your nose outside. This is our payback for a warm January. Sonzabitches! Until we meet again.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


The Wifey and I made it back from South Jersey unscathed. I hadn’t been down there since xmas ’04 so it was cool to hang out for a couple days. We ate some good food and did a bunch of relaxing. For all the times I walked by The Mad Batter and wondered how their food might be we finally stopped in for breakfast Saturday. Good stuff. We also visited Cabana’s, The Ugly Mug, Uncle Bill’s(shitty), Morrow’s Nut House(chocolate!!!), and twice we had pizza from Louie’s. I love their pizza. One slice is approx one quarter of a large pie. Yum.

Erin did some shopping all around town. I got 5hrs of riding in. riding down there is just short of brutal in more than one way. Flat. Dead freakin flat. Also windy. All the time. Especially the past couple days. Today I left Cape May at 9:15am on my bike and Erin left at 10am in her car so that I could get a little ride in. I check out the Weather Channel for a quick update on conditions. 35. 20-30mph winds out of the west northwest. Beauty. My general direction was north northwest. So, for 90 minutes I rode into a pretty stiff and unforgiving headwind. It was fun. She caught me 27 miles up the road. I was using my new Powertap SL system. Pretty interesting stuff. I know I was working WAY too hard for this time of year. Partly due to headwinds and partly due to my own curiosity about what this power measurement is all about. Now I will tone it down and start some base mileage. Still curious about how a dead flat ride will compare to a hilly ride. I’m figuring about the same but this is all new to me so it will take a little time to get it figured out. Coach Hebe has recommended CyclingPeaks software for the best in power measurement diagnostic type stuff. I also bounced the question off Matt while up at the Serotta thing. He has used a Powertap the previous 3 years and also said there is no better way to go than CyclingPeaks. He’s bound by sponsor commitment to use an SRM this year which is probably a pretty sweet tool in its own right. A small fortune but hell, if someone wants to throw one my way.

Last but certainly not least. Two of my most favorite people in all the land also happen to be married to each other. And today happens to mark the 12th year they’ve been married. I owe a lot to Mike and Amy. Without them there would most likely not be a Mrs Erin Kessel. They took me under their wing when I was a no-date-getting putz. They saved me from far too many weekends on my own. They are the only two people I know on earth that would ever place a single hunk of cheese between two slices of bread and without heating it up call it edible. Mike has bought way too many first rounds when there was not a second round. Amy has provided far too much entertainment with the feet and Dicky Martin and bingo and most importantly, as mentioned earlier, gave her blessing when I started dating and eventually married her cousin. Two great people and wouldn’t you know it, one phone number will reach ‘em both. Happy Anniversary Mike & Amy. Hey, you two are almost a teenager. Anyway, here’s to 12 more.

Gotta go, Napoleon Dynamite is on HBO. Riot. Sopranos tonight. F yeah!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The Wifey and I finally caught the first episode of The Sopranos tonight. Worth the wait. Not an episode loaded with action, until Uncle June shot T in the gut, but some good story lines should make this the best season yet.

Damn! Did we ever get busy at Holmes. It didn’t help that VisitPARay and I were away for 4 straight days during the warmest days of the year so far. Young KHam is going to start full time next week. Should be good to have him around. He’s good with customers and knows his stuff with bikes. Plus he has a friendly little rivalry with VisitPARay on the MTN bike. They’re both fast skinny little suckers so the smack has been flying from all angles ever since Kyle started part-time. Hebe comes in and throws matches at the gas can when he can.

Erin and I are cruising down to Cape May tomorrow night for a long weekend. She was born and raised in those parts so I know she loves to get down there whenever she can. I’m going to take my Lemond so I can get out for a few rides. Riding down there sucks pretty bad but I’ll have two and a half days to get a few hours in and build up an appetite for some good grub. Louie’s Pizza. The Cape Orient(sushi!). I wonder if The Lemon Tree is open. Good breakfast goodies there. We’re going to try and find a nice fancy joint to eat one night but it’s all subject to what’s actually open this time of year. Hit or miss, I suppose.

In other news. Another karioke loser got booted off AI. Yawn. Snore. I know many love this dreck but after they weed out the nut jobs in the first few weeks I find the entertainment value totally lost. Other than the occasional eye candy I see zero reason to follow this crap. Mind-numbing. I would fork my eyeballs out if I didn’t have a pickle on the end of it. Now that I’ve offended everyone who reads this I offer this disclaimer. I watch hockey. I love hockey. I know, I know, me and about six other people. All I’m saying is; I don’t get it. Just like you don’t get hockey. So, make fun of me.

My Powertap SL showed up. Ahem. Minus spokes and a rim. Your dumbass narrator ordered the wrong freakin part number. Now I need to source a rim and some spokes and build it myself. Not that big of a deal. Just a PITA that’s all.

Speaking of baseball. We’re under three weeks to go until the Phillies kick off their season. Sometimes I don’t know why I bother. Name the last Philly sports team to win it all. Yes, it’s been a while. I still need to make it down there to see a game at the now two year old stadium. I hear it’s nice but it’s a shame you gotta drive to South Philly to get there. Serious dump. It’s always easier to catch ‘em play at Camden Yards. You can make a day of it down in Baltimore. Mmmmm, crab cakes.

More outdoor entertainment news. April 21st. Did you right that down? Haars Drive-in opens for bidness. Love it.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Back from Saratoga Springs. I had hoped to throw an update or two your way while I was up there but truth be told it was tough. The days started early(8am) and ended roughly 12 hours later. By the time I got a chance to power up the lapper all I wanted to do was check my email and find some food and pass out. Let me start from the beginning.

Thursday I picked up VisitPARay around 12:30pm and we hit the open road for the trip north. I’m a big OCC fan. I don’t care for motorcycles or anything like that. I just love watching the show. I knew they were in New York not far beyond the PA border so we checked our road map and found the town we needed (Montgomery) and took a slight detour to look for the OCC guys. We actually found the factory fairly quick but I thought they had built a new factory so I dismissed the one I was parked right in front of to search out a newer one. Didn’t find it. We did find their retail store but nothing else. I know the factory I was at is not where they film some of the more recent shows so it must be some top-secret place. It was cool to see it none-the-less. We stopped in New Paltz for some good Mexican food. Made it to Saratoga Springs by 6:30pm. We checked in and immediately had to find the conference room for a couple beers and a meet and greet sorta thing with our instructors for the weekend.

Shut up and do some work!

Day One. Outta bed at 6:15am to quickly grab some grub and do a tour of the Serotta factory. It was not what I expected but not in a bad way. I thought it would be larger than it was, but the place was very clean and well organized. A tight ship. After the tour it was time for classroom instruction. Translation: time to sit on my ass for 30+ hours in the next three days. Surprisingly I did ok. The information was very well presented and easy to stay focused on. Paul Levine ran the show. His big toe is Grant. Dr. Pam Wilson was on hand to dumb down some serious physiology for us idiots. The day went quick. Ray and I searched out a recommended Mexican joint. I ordered a couple steak tacos. Our waitress was puzzled by my order. We have ground beef, she said. Don’t get me started on mex food, just ask The Wifey. I ordered the pollo instead. Crap.

Day Two. One of the things I loved about how the class was presented. Paul would discuss the methodology of a bike fit on Day One but start over on Day Two but add more to it. I found it easy to keep up. Which is not to say anyone could. There we 16 people in total attending the class with very different levels of experience and backround. We had numerous shop owners from Hawaii, Seattle, and Mass. Wisconsin, I think too. St Louis was in the house. We had Mike Cavaliere, Canada’s assistant National Cross Country Ski coach. We had Matt White, FiordaFruita pro AND most importantly a fellow ’crosser. All in all a great group of guys. Even Dr Pam is an accomplished stage racer. Anyway, back to the point I was going to make. It seemed that people were picking all the info up but at different levels of comprehension. Ultimately, I think everyone did get it. We had some good hands-on stuff going on which, in my opinion, help immensely.

Matt getting a TT fit. Doesn't that team kit look way better this year?

Ray and I cruised the mean streets of Saratoga looking for a place to watch some ‘Cuse bball. We found a cool sports bar and watched some tele with the locals. Saratoga is in close proximity to Syracuse so it was a very partisan crowd. The ‘Cuse had to win to ensure entry into March Madness. Good game. Down to the wire. It was cool to experience it with the locals and most importantly no riots ensued after the Orange won.

Day Three. We got into aerodynamics and Tri stuff. Some more hands-on stuff. A review. A test. A review of the test. Ben Serotta said some stuff. Paul wrapped it up. Handed out some diplomas. Bang! Out the door we went. Gassed up the Holmes bang bus and we were well on our way by 7pm. It got foggy as a mf’r somewhere after we got off the NY Thruway which meant some white-knuckle driving for a few hours but I dropped Ray off at his place at Midnight. I was in bed with my wonderful wife and snoring by 12:45am. That about does it. Thank me for leaving out all the technical stuff I am now armed with.

I really enjoyed the instruction from Paul and his crew. He is the #1 Serotta dealer in all the land. He’s got a very nice operation. He does fits and sells high-end. Simple but amazingly successful business model. Also a great staff. I was concerned for my own sanity about sitting on my ass for that long over the weekend but as I said earlier, I found the information very well presented and is a true testament to our instructors. Good show.

Now, I sit here as it’s 70 outside trying to figure out what I need to get done. Ride. Yes. Unpack. If I must. The Wifey didn’t leave me a Do list as she loves to do on my days off. I do need to buy a case of Spaten for Uncle Willie(Father of The Mrs Legend). He’s allowing us to stay at the condo in Cape May this weekend. All he asked for was some brew. Nice. So a short week at Holmes and then another long drive.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

I picked up my XM satellite radio system last night. So far, I have to say it’s pretty damn cool. There is so much variety in the music and talk I think it would be impossible not to find something to your liking. I had some gift certificates to use up so my $100 purchase was mostly covered. I would have no problem saying it’s well worth the money especially if you spend a lot of time in your car. I don’t so I bought the home kit also. Easy as pie to set up and a breeze to navigate. I recently heard XM was having some financial issues but you wouldn’t have known that by looking at the display at Best Buy. They were just about cleaned out. The sales monkey said there was nothing hotter in the whole store. My favorite channel so far is called Fred. Plays nothing but old school 80’s alt music. The Cure, PIL, Fishbone, Depeche Mode, The Clash, Simple Minds, Violent Femmes, Elvis Costello, Oingo Boingo. You get the picture. All the sports talk is there. FSR, SNR, ESPN. Even 5 or 6 country channels for The Wifey. Like I said, hard to be disappointed.

I made it out for 90 wind blown minutes of riding today. It warmed up nicely even if the wind was somewhat scattershot. Formal training starts in two weeks. The Legend called to ride today but I was already 20minutes into mine and I didn’t hear my cell ringing in the wind. At this point riding with Hebe would most likely be counterproductive for both of us. He’ll be flying at your local 1/2 race in just a few short weeks while I would have a tough time hanging onto the back of a C ‘cross race. Other than the daily commute which has kept my legs spinning I have zero fitness otherwise. A necessary evil I suppose. I feel good that I haven’t riding this winter near as much as last even though the weather tempted me all of January. I have to keep telling myself I’ll get my miles in, just not yet. It does amaze me reading all the blogs about the guys getting ready to hit the pavement/dirt ready to hammer, making it imperative they be out killing themselves in less than stellar weather. Good luck. I have much respect for you all.

The Wifey made some more choco chip/coconut cookies today. Unfreakinbelievably tastey. Then she outdid herself for dinner with some spinach stuffed pork chops with a side of asparagus. Yummy! BTW, why does my pee smell funny? In between she had the sewing machine out throwing together some pillows for our furniture in the basement. The best wife ever. Period.

BigBoyPulling aka Brother of The Legend aka Thotis aka Eric stopped in for a brief visit on his way home to West Chester. Picked up his Holmes bibs and a cookie. Coupled with his Holmes jersey I understand he is now obligated to do the Lower Allen ‘cross race this fall. No excuses.

I’ve added another link on the right for you to check out. My friend Mark, aka Crink aka Hink is a Linux rocket scientist. I’ve known Mark since I was 8yrs old. Mark now lives in North Carolina running a computer software company and a Linux magazine. Not shabby for an East Berlin boy, eh Mark? Anyway, some of you who read this might find Mark’s site fascinating. I’m a bit overwhelmed by most things computer related but the Linux thing seems pretty cool. Check it out.

I’ve got the drive to Saratoga Springs, NY and a visit to Serotta coming up on Thursday. I’m looking forward to being trained by the best in the biz on the science of proper bike fit but I’m not looking forward to the 30hrs+ of classroom time in just 3 days. That’s a lot of sitting for me and my ADD. Wish me luck. I’ll be taking the lapper to keep up to date and report in from NY.

One week for you. One week + a day for me.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Who needs pills-all you have to do is ride on a day like today
Wintry mix. Freezing rain mixed with and changing to rain. Highs in the low 30’s. At the beginning of the week today, my day off, was to be much more pleasant than it turned out. I haven’t been riding much on the road sled. Commuting to work everyday but that’s it. I was really looking forward to riding today so I stubbornly refused to let a little freezing drizzle and 31 degrees get in my way. I bundled up and hit the open roads for an hour. That’s all I wanted. There was enough wetness on the road and drizzle falling that I was pretty much drenched 30 minutes in. I didn’t care. I couldn’t feel my legs the last 10 minutes. I didn’t care. All I wanted was to ride my Tete outside on pavement. No indoor trainer bullpucus. I actually feel guilty selling those things at work. Those things suck. I mean I guess if you need to ride and outside is not an option then, yeah, go ahead. But, man do they suck.

So I get done with my ride. I peel off 10lbs of soaked clothing and notice my balls have disappeared. Holy missing marbles Batman! Today I set a new record for shrinkage. Shrinkage is really kinda funny. I only wish The Wonderful Mrs K was here to witness it. I think she gets as much entertainment out of shrinkage as I do. I could always bust out the digicam but that’s probably a little weird taking pics of my shrunken balls. Anyway, a nice warm shower and voila! The boys are back.

On to more important matters. I ordered a Powertap SL rear wheel with all the accompanying accoutrement. I should see that in roughly two more weeks. This will be my first foray into the world of training via power measurement. Seems to be the way to go. Makes sense. Using an HRM is cool but can give you a skewed view of your fitness if that’s all you’re using. This will give me a much more accurate idea of how I’m improving, where to make adjustments to my training, if I’m overtraining/undertaining, just an immense amount of info to aid and assist how to make me a faster ‘crosser. Good article click here.

I’m also working on building the lightest ‘cross sled I possibly can. No rules against giving myself every possible advantage when the green flag drops.

I’m sure you, my loyal readers, are as thrilled and as happy as I am to see hockey back in full swing. It was cool to watch Olympic hockey but it’s great to have the season underway again. If for no other reason than the simple fact that Fantasy Hockey also kicked in again. Love it. On an unfortunate side note. It occurred to me that playoff hockey will never be the same. In years past, it wasn’t uncommon to see an overtime playoff hockey game go two, three, even five overtimes to decide a winner. I guess if you aren’t into hockey the idea of watching a game go 5hrs is akin to Chinese torture. Now, with the new shootout rules this will all be done away with. The shootout is not without it’s own excitement but the contest is decided rather quickly with much less emotional build-up. Knowing a shootout will be over and done with in less than five minutes doesn’t stand up to the thought of knowing sudden death overtime could be two minutes or two hours.

The Wifey is home and desperate for my attention. Later friends.