Monday, February 25, 2008

Health Check

When was the last time you had a complete physical? I had one last year for the first time in years. All was good but it was nice to have my mind put at ease.

I did a home test of my cholesterol this morning. The kits cost $20 at the drugstore. The tests claim to be as good as the doctor's office (97 percent accurate), require no fasting- although I did mine after waking up this morning. I'll do another one (the kit included two tests) tomorrow, see if they correlate, and then do one at the doctor's office just to see if the advertised accuracy is true for me or not... the only thing they don't do is tell you HDL/LDL ratios. I'll get that from the Doc but I think it's not that critical if your overall is really low anyway. Still, better is better.

The hardest part was popping my finger to get a blood sample. I broke both of the kit lancets (bad design I think... ;-) and ended up using my pointy river knife, old-school Rambo-fashion.

It was significantly lower than one I did 4 years ago, right after I left a job in the Pentagon. It was decent then. Before I declare victory, I'll test again and see how it goes.

Blood pressure-- my BP without coffee is excellent. If I have even one cup in the AM, my BP at the end of the day is still very high. One cup. How does it affect you???

You should check yours soon too.

So where do you find a frozen pirate??

In the arrrrrghctic!

Have a great day!


Training for Endurance Racing in the Real World

I'm feeling like I'm starting to turn the corner in understanding my body better than ever. Here are a few of the things that have helped...

I like all of the articles below. I've used a Suunto T6 for nearly 3 years now and the system (EPOC) flat out works if you learn and use it. The trick is learning to manipulate training volume, intensity and rest periods to get more from the work you do. The other issue is getting the most for a limited time budget-- also known as living in the real world...

An article on the Suunto T6 and the basic science behind it: Here

An article that adds more discussion about the value of intervals: Here

An thought-provoking article on negative split racing by Joe Friel: Here

I would submit my performance in the 2007 Horribly Hilly Hundreds 200K (at least top 5), 24 Hours of 9-Mile (25th in Open division despite 3 hours fixing my bike), and the 2008 Arrowhead (5th, one of only 7 to ever finish sub-24 hours) as proof that intervals work for endurance athletes. My longest rides all year last year were 4-5 hours, and they all included hill repeats or intervals. Two of those races were 24 hours long, one was 8 hours long. In each case, the limiting factor was my ability to manage my early pace and nutrition rather than being fit. I am absolutely convinced that my late-race performance was only limited by the earlier mistakes (include fighting the snow conditions in Arrowhead with wrong tire pressures as well).

I know in my heart that the people who believe you have to go long to be ready to go long are wrong. It's about getting yourself to a fitness level where you have a higher horsepower reserve to draw from, having the horsepower to race at a lower overall percentage of your max, and managing your effort, nutrition, and equipment choice/setup to give you the best long-term performance.

Perhaps the hardest lesson to learn, one I continue to wrestle with, is that saving a few minutes early by going hard in a long event can cost many times the savings on the other end. The second-most difficult lesson is calorie and water intake. I continue to learn more about that every race. Here's another great Joe Friel article on eating: Here

Navenka and I watched an amazing program on eating on Discovery Health last night. Everyone should be required to watch the program. It was called 'The Truth About Food' and dealt with critical nutritional questions like the impact of high-carb vs high-protein or high-fat diets and weight management, and so many other truly amazing issues like the impact of portion size on consumption... fascinating and useful. We're very nutrition-conscious yet learned even more and resolved to do even better based on what we saw. Their web site has lots of great stuff. Here's the Discovery Health Web Site (Brings up the TV sked, look around for more)

Here's the real secret to endurance racing-- Balance. Consistency. Focus. Preparation. Connecting the dots between actions and impact over time.

I hope this is useful and interesting.



Friday, February 22, 2008

Is it about the bike?

Proof that cycling is as much about fashion as anything... and that riders matter FAR more than gear...

Next time you debate how much faster that new gadget or frame will really make you, consider this:

Take note of the number of people competing at a World-Class level with 'clearly' second-tier equipment.

Guess I'd better get back on my TdF-quality (circa 2000) titanium framed, carbon forked wonder rocket and turn the pedals a little harder and longer. Maybe it's me after all...

And maybe those chocolate chip cookies after lunch weren't such a great idea.

But man were they good! Raw dough. Yummmm.

Best to all... I'm getting ready for Trans-Iowa IV in April. 300+ miles on gravel roads. Should be great training for this year's 24-hour nationals in August. And the 200K in June...


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Updated Arrowhead Video

To watch the video, click on the triangle at the lower left corner of the video screen below text!!

I want to express my sincere admiration for all my compadres in the Arrowhead, and my gratitude for all those who support our habit-- families, friends, volunteers, and sponsors, too of course.

In my attempts to explain this race to others, hard as it may be to believe, I come up short for words. So this year, I decided to try a new way...

The video below was pulled together from the photos and videos that Rick Mangan took (and a small few I did) during the race-- I hope it brings back some quality memories for all and represents the spirit of this awesome event!! It took at least 12 hours to assemble it. We ALL owe Rick HUGE props for his commitment to taking nearly 400 photos during the event. I used around half of them here I think. That's actually a really good success ratio in photography. I did the 'fly-throughs' in Google Earth using a special controller (a Contour ShuttlePRO) that I programmed to make it easier to 'maneuver.' The hills are slightly exaggerated to make them easier to see, and the course isn't exact but you get the idea which is the point.

I have so many things that I've learned from both years-- too many to put into words frankly. I'm trying to follow through with something that didn't pan out last year and publish something special that's (hopefully) worth reading. I have two pieces that I'm working, one is on the experience of racing ultra-distance events, and the other is about preparing for them.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the video! -d2g

TO play the video, click on the screen below:

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Freezin' For No Reason

The 2008 Arrowhead Winter Ultra has concluded and was a spectacular event as always. I managed to finish 5th overall, in 23 hours and 52 minutes, with no sleep, and learned as much as I did last year. It is among my favorite events I have ever done, and I've met some truly incredible people out there. Thanks to so many who supported me both spiritually and otherwise... especially my family, who were dealing with a sick 10-month old while I was out "Freezin' for No Reason..." Greg Pattison and I rode the second half of the course to the finish together, and I know that his camaraderie (and pump!) made a HUGE difference.

I owe a VERY special thanks to my brother, Todd, for helping me out with a new winter-specific bike this year, and for his incredible trail support out there. He logged over 400 miles on a snowmobile in two days while watching over and rescuing racers. Thanks as well to his good friend Ron for his support too! That Surly Pugsley made an incredible difference in my results. John Haines at Marinette Cycle was also amazingly helpful, as were all our local Marinette cycling friends who are like family to Navenka and me...

More to follow soon here, including a short video full of pictures from the race and my story of how it all unfolded...