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A Lunatic Narrowly Misses a Large Group of Cyclists on Old La Honda (Unprompted Road Rage)

Today, I saw the scariest road rage incident of my life: some lunatic in a silver late model Ford F150 Raptor pickup (“white male” according to one witness) giving a group of cyclists the finger in foaming at the mouth rage while racing by at 40+ mph at the bottom area of Old La Honda (single lane road), his pickup lurching violently this way and that, just past the bridge off Portola Road. Accelerator floored from what my ears told me.

I didn’t see him so much as be startled by screeching tires and a silver blur. It’s not like anyone held him up; he was ready to kill (“accident”) whatever was unlucky enough to be in his path—and anyone coming down would have surely been killed instantly. Had a car been coming down, it would have been a head-on collision or wipe out at least 10 cyclists.

The good news is that the advance tire screeching gave enough warning for a large group of cyclists (30-50 perhaps) to be alerted just in time. And apparently no one was unlucky enough to be coming down (By sheer good luck, I had just pulled over prior, at the bottom and safely off the road).

This mentally ill driver had just done the same to other cyclists just off Portola Road, in some kind of (drug induced?) furor and rage. I called the county sheriff, but I don’t know if they caught up with him (and he was moving so fast that id'ing the guy or getting his plate was impossible). He needs about 10 years in prison; a small swerve and many cyclists would have been seriously hurt or killed. It was all quite unbelievable. Where is a phaser when you need one.

Meanwhile, the San Mateo County Sherrif’s office has the manpower to regularly harrass cyclists over on Canada Rd at a “T” intersection.

Nine Ascents of Old La Honda

I’m ready for the Everest Challenge. It’s a shame to have experienced that 2+ month gastrointestinal disturbance in April/May/June. Because one pound in theory is about 6 minutes for the Everest Challenge, and I should be 5 pounds lighter (less body fat). But I seem to be strong, so perhaps there is some compensation.

To put things into perspective, 9 ascents of Old La Honda (about 11,400 vertical feet in total) is a wimp ride in comparison to the Everest Challenge: it’s like doing a bit more than the first two climbs of the first day (Bishop Creek / South Lake and Pine Creek), leaving out the monster 3rd leg: lower Rock Creek and upper Rock Creek. That’s why for me, the Rock Creek sections always are an effort of will (though I am rarely if ever passed on the final leg). I am 'toast' by the end, and that is only the first day, hence recovery is critical.

2014-09-13

Today, I saw one of the scariest road rage incidents of my life: some lunatic in a silver Ford F150 Raptor pickup giving a group of cyclists the finger in sheer rage while racing by at 40+ mph at the bottom area of Old La Honda (single lane road), his pickup lurching violently this way and that, just past the bridge off Portola Road. I didn’t see him so much as be started by screeching tires and a silver blur.

He had just done the same to other cyclists just off Portola Road, in some kind of (drug induced?) furor and rage. I called the county sheriff, but I don’t know if they caught up with him (and he was moving so fast that id'ing the guy or getting his plate was not possible). This public menace needs about 10 years in prison; a small swerve and 10 cyclists would have been seriously hurt or killed. It was all unbelievable.

My legs concur with my body: 9 ascents is definitely a workout.

Averages: 308.4 watts, ascent time 21:32.

Now if only I had lost that extra 5 pounds of body fat, these times would be right around 21:00.

Click for larger graph.

Nine ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-09-13)
Nine ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-09-13)

2014-09-06

See notes.

Click for larger graph.

Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-09-06)
Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-09-06)

2014-08-30

See notes.

Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)
Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)

Eight Ascents of Old La Honda (again, a week later)

See also the one-week-later effort.

I previously analyzed six ascents of Old La Honda for power/weight/time and power meter consistency precision).

I haven’t yet analyzed this 8-ascent workout in depth, but I am pleased with the effort on a hot and more humid than usual day. I made one mistake though: I should have taken Endurolytes as I was feeling funky by the 8th ascent and it was not simple fatigue.

To put things into perspective, 8 ascents of Old La Honda (about 10,200 vertical feet in total) is a wimp ride in comparison to the Everest Challenge: it’s like doing only the first two climbs of the first day (Bishop Creek / South Lake and Pine Creek), leaving out the monster 3rd leg: lower Rock Creek and upper Rock Creek. That’s why for me, the Rock Creek sections always are an effort of will (though I am rarely if ever passed on the final leg; I usually pass a few dozen people). I am toast by the end, and that is only the first day, hence recovery is critical.

2014-09-06

Starting weight was identical to within a few tenths of a pound to the week earlier effort, but I lost ~3 pounds less fluid due to cooler conditions.

I felt more rested and temperatures were cooler. The average ascent time of 21:40 was 16 seconds faster than the week earlier effort at 21:56, which is a very nice improvement. This effort was definitely pushing into the limits of my anaerobic power zone, which was my goal: stress that system and force it to become stronger.

This was not an easy workout for me. Starting around ascent 5, even as the legs continued to sullenly make power just fine, the pyschological aspects begin. Resolve wavers with each ascent, and I have to make a conscious effort to spin up faster when the road flattens slight (not back off by 100 watts as 99% of the riders always do!).

Then there is dealing with Nitwit Cyclist Day (every Saturday)—people incompetent to ride up or down OLH riding in the middle of the road on blind corners, or even all the way on the wrong side. The need to stay entirely alert is critical, particularly when decending.

Click for larger graph.

Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)
Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)

2014-08-30

See notes.

Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)
Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)

Eight Ascents of Old La Honda

I previously analyzed six ascents of Old La Honda for power/weight/time and power meter consistency precision).

I haven’t yet analyzed this 8-ascent workout in depth, but I am pleased with the effort on a hot and more humid than usual day. I made one mistake though: I should have taken Endurolytes as I was feeling funky by the 8th ascent and it was not simple fatigue.

To put things into perspective, 8 ascents of Old La Honda (about 10,200 vertical feet in total) is a wimp ride in comparison to the Everest Challenge: it’s like doing only the first two climbs of the first day (Bishop Creek / South Lake and Pine Creek), leaving out the monster 3rd leg: lower Rock Creek and upper Rock Creek. That’s why for me, the Rock Creek sections always are an effort of will (though I am rarely if ever passed on the final leg; I usually pass a few dozen people). I am toast by the end, and that is only the first day, hence recovery is critical.

Click for larger graph.

Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)
Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)

First Look: Stages Cycling Power Meter Crank on Mountain Bike

The Stages Cycling left-side crank solution is a simple and quick swap-out of the left crank arm (so right side crankset can be a double or triple or whatever no change needed). I installed it on my Moots Mooto X YBB mountain bike.

Below is a first look at the power (watts) recorded from the Stages Cycling power meter crank (using the Garmin Edge 500). It’s terrific to finally have power readings for my mountain biking adventures.

I’ve long enjoyed power meter feedback on my road bike. Power measurements are an objective metric independent of heart rate, wind, slope, etc, and thus a valuable training aid over time. See Training with a Power Meter.

The main issue I ran into does not involve the Stages Cycling power meter crank at all. Rather, it is the flaky Garmin Edge 500, which notched the data recording numerous times as I was outputting 300 - 400 watts up steep pitches under tree cover: it loses the GPS signal and thus stops recording even as it is receiving these high power readings. This and similar brain dead behavior has existed for years. How can it make sense to stop recording when power readings are being received? It makes no sense. But this does point out that a power meter solution requires both the measurement device and a good “head unit”.

So I look forward to the SRM Power Control 8, which is due out this fall, and which I’m told (by SRM) will support the Stages Cycling power meter crank. My SRM PC7 has been bulletproof reliable with ultra long battery life and highly consistent elevation and ascent readings (altimeter).

Click for larger graph.

Power (watts) as recorded by Garmin Edge 500 from Stages Cycling XTR MTB power meter crank
Power (watts) as recorded by Garmin Edge 500 from Stages Cycling XTR MTB power meter crank

Stages Replaces Damaged Crank Overnight

See my damage report. Bad luck with a rock high in the White Mountains.

The replacement crank showed up overnight as promised (at no charge), is now on the bike and I’m heading out to make a nice “recording” of my power on an MTB route I used to ride a lot.

I didn’t ask for a replacement and of course user-inflicted rock damage is hardly something a company should have to cover, so Stages Cycling went way beyond what my expectations. See the discussion on the Power Meter Protection plan.

Stages Cycling crank as whacked by a rock
Stages Cycling crank as whacked by a rock

Stages Cycling Power Meter: Mechanical Damage on 2nd Ride from Rock Slam (bummer)

Update: Stages has gone above and beyond my expectations, see customer support experience comments that follow towards the end of this piece.

The one all-day extreme ride for which I really wanted power meter readings (White Mountain Peak) could not be recorded, due to near immediate mechanical damage to the Stages Cycling crankarm.

Shown below is a Stages Cycling power meter crankarm as 'hit': the cap and battery are missing, lying among rocks somewhere high in the White Mountains. This is a Shimano XTR mountain bike crankarm. The cap and battery went missing on the 2nd ride; those rocks near the summit of White Mountain Peak are very unfriendly to bikes.

The tape at bottom is some gaffer’s tape I wrapped over the exposed innards to protect it. Once repaired, I think I’ll wrap tape semi-permanently over the protruding assembly so that the cap and battery cannot be popped off and get lost again. It points to what I feel is a flawed design for mountain biking: it is to be expected that when mountain biking, rocks and what-not can bounce up and hit just about anything, particularly the protruding Stages “wart” no the crankarm. Perhaps the design should anticipate that, such as with an extra strength metal surround, or a plastic sheath around the unit—whatever it takes—the user should not have to invent a protection solution.On the other hand, this might be a little harsh: it looks like the unit took a good hit from a rock and I suppose any piece of gear can suffer from such things: bad luck here.

While I know that anything can get 'knocked' while mountain biking, it shows that the design can suffer from from impacts. I like my gear to be bulletproof (like SRM power meters), but of course I’ve never hit my SRM crankset with rocks (on the road), and maybe its calibration would then be affected too. I’m just frustrated that the one ride for which I wanted power readings had none; it’s an all-day effort that I have time to do only once or twice a year.

Stages Cycling crank as whacked by a rock Stages Cycling crank as whacked by a rock

Stages Cycling customer support

I value customer support and lightning-fast turnaround which is why I rely on SRM for my road bike power meter data . In this case, I submitted a support request on the Stages Cycling web site at 10:30 AM California time, as well as leaving a voice message; no one answered the phone at support or sales (recorded message). I suppose Monday can be extra busy.

Late in the day (5:33 PM PST) I did get a phone call from the Stages Cycling Colorado facility (7:33 PM for them), which I appreciate since that’s after closing hours. Stages promised to send me two replacement caps/covers.

The next morning, Stages Cycling called me again, this time to explain that the damage probably would not be fixed by replacement covers, and offered to replace the crankarm, which is way above and beyond, since it is clearly damage, not a product defect.

Stages had this to say (highlighting added by WIND):

Very sorry to see that it took a rock hit and failed on you. We're sending a replacement. We did notice that this experience shook your faith in our design, so we wanted to offer a bit of insight/opinion.

The Stages Power meter has been in use in the world cup, both XC and DH, as well as the EWS circuit for the last two seasons, and yes, we've seen a limited number of failures due to rock hits or other unforeseen trail encounters, but the fallout has been very small.

We should point out that if you simply tap a chainring of the favored SRM on a rock or log, there is a good chance you will throw the calibration off. Far from bullet proof. The real issue here, is that a rider will then continue along thinking they've got good data, but it's really bad data due to the hit, and they'll really never know it. Far from the accuracy claims made. Of course checking chainring bolt torques and changing rings all requires a recalibration too, and this user recalibration introduces another chance for inaccuracy. And finally we've seen off adjusted magnets wear through SRM cases on their sponsored pros bikes.

The point isn't to single out SRM, but to illustrate that these are all delicate and precise measuring devices and all susceptible to possible issues, especially on a mountain bike. Realizing this, we have a plan in place to give peace-of-mind to those investing in and using power off-road.

What we absolutely recommend is our Power Meter Protection plan for off-road, downhill and cyclo-cross enthusiasts using our meter in the most extreme cases. This gives a rider 2 years of no questions asked replacement in the case of damage, for a nominal cost. Furthermore, even with the added protection package, you'll find the Stages Power meter costs about 1/3 of the cost of an SRM.

I know your help request was answered by our Tech Support team, but I'm not sure they were aware it was due to a rock hit. I'm pretty sure, by looking at the housing, that the doors alone won't fix your problem. So that's why we want to replace it and have you continue your review.

WIND will definitely be reporting on the power meter with more experience. It’s nice to have power readings on MTB finally.

More on the Stages PMP (Power Meter Protection) plan

Stages Cycling mechanical failure on 2nd mountain bike ride

I also learned that Stages offers a power meter protection plan.

In my view the PMP plan is a no-brainer, greatly increasing the value of the total product offering over time. Kudos to Stages Cycling for offering this plan, which I now enjoy.

Summary details

Purchase the PMP plan and enjoy the additional peace of mind when using your Stages Power meter in any/all cycling disciplines, even those with the most severe conditions, from muddy 'cross to rock strewn DH. Stages Cycling will protect your valuable investment from the unforeseen and often unavoidable risks.

Program Benefits:

Comprehensive warranty coverage including accidental damage for a period of 2-years from the date of purchase.

Accidental damage is product failure due to items such as: water damage, impact damage due to rocks or crashes, essentially any failure of the product brought on by reasonable use.

Program Limitations:

Stages Power meter must have been purchased from an authorized dealer or from Stages Cycling direct

PMP must be purchased within 14-days of original product purchase

A Stages Cycling Representative will contact you by email to collect: proof of purchase, the power meter model/serial # information and activate program coverage

- Does not cover loss or theft of the covered product
- Does not cover deliberate damage, or damage associated with improper installation

About 13,500' elevation near summit of White Mountain Peak — relatively smooth section!
About 13,500' elevation near summit of White Mountain Peak — relatively smooth section!

As usual, the Garmin Edge 500 had large errors. It is off by 1860 feet (finish elevation should match start elevation, and summit elevation is wrong).

Click for larger image.

Elevation profile round trip from camp to Owens River to White Mtn Peak summit and back
Elevation profile round trip from camp to Owens River to White Mtn Peak summit and back

Glycogen Releases Water, Delaying Dehydration

An interesting physiological point of reckoning for those analyzing their training, including fluid needs: How Much Water is Released by Glycogen 'Burning'.

Analysis of Six Ascents of Old La Honda

I analyze six ascents of Old La Honda for power/weight/time and power meter consistency precision).

Six ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-03)
Six ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-03)
Six ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-03)
Six ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-03)

Truck Runs Me Off the Road on Old La Honda, Autobahn VR Damage

Coming down Old La Honda, I rounded a very blind corner to be confronted with an easy decision: leave the road, or engage in “truck sampling”. I left the road, which had a steep side dropoff, and plopped down on my leg and hip and ankle. The ankle got the worst of it (sock ripped right through), but it’s OK.

The driver stopped up the road a bit (did not get out of truck), but as soon as he saw me dust off, he continued on up. Never did check on me.

It was the Town of Woodside tree-trimming crew, and I probably should have made an issue of it, but I did not. This particular idiot thought it was a good idea to round a very blind corner way too wide, thus completely blocking the road to a few inches of the opposite side (my side). About 1/4 mile further down, his buddy did something even more stupid by deciding to pass two other cyclists who were ascending. This time, time I had just enough road to clear. You can’t make this stuff up—two morons in one day. But I praised my luck for not being seriously hurt.

It’s simple: if you can’t see around the corner, don’t pass. Drivers like that should have their driving license revoked.

Anyway my Lightweight Autobahn VR was damaged. I’m investigating repair and/or maybe Lightweight will honor the replacement guarantee. It seems to be non-structural (fairing) but with carbon fiber better safe than sorry, so in it goes to Palo Alto Bicycles to assess.

UPDATE: Palo Alto Bicycles contacted Lightweight for me: the damage is cosmetic not structural as I had guessed. The only issue is sealing the gash against ingress of water or various, which I have done with gaffer’s tape. I’m going to ride it through September, then have it repaired (about a month turnaround).

Damage to Lightweight Autobahn VR rim
Damage to Lightweight Autobahn VR rim

Strong Again

My strength has returned (though my gut is still not entirely happy).

Actually, I’ve been riding at very high sustained levels hardly seen even in 2012, though my peak power is still well below the best 2012 levels—different energy systems.

Many thanks to the persistence of Kevin over at 3DBikeFit.com with this fit. It clearly is letting me generate 10-15% higher sustained long term power than my peak year of 2012.

The workout below follows a demanding prior week. For me 243 watts on this standard workout is quite a high power level. Clearly my gluteus muscles are engaged because this did not even feel hard—and note the heart rate of 131 bpm at 243 watts, solidly aerobic.

My standard length workout showing strong sustained power levels (243 watts)
My standard length workout showing strong sustained power levels (243 watts)

This ride below was much harder and shows a clear need to train the high end (peak power). The disappointing 296 watts up Tunitas Creek felt very hard—I should be doing 340 watts for that perceived effort. It took a few days to recover properly.

Long workout (3100 calories) over 4 hours with hard climb towards end
Long workout (3100 calories) over 4 hours with hard climb towards end

Back Training Again, Recovered From Illness — well, not so fast: Contaminated Turkish Apricots?

Update: how crazy. Less than 24 hours after I wrote the text that follows below the logs, terrible abdominal bloating, extremely uncomfortable left side chest ache/pain, right side localized pain, feeling hot as if feverish. Same deal as what I fought for 6 weeks so I'm quite concerned.

Terrible flatulence night of 7/12, so something 7/12 kicked off a strong reaction all over again, the one I fought for weeks. Food reaction or infectious? Is it the food or is it something else like a certain type of wheat?

Scared that the problem is gonna persist as before.

UPDATE: the apricots that I suspect as the root cause are from Turkey, which is signficant, see quote and link to scientific paper below.

UPDATE 2 July 20: stomach isn’t right yet and the localized right side pain persists on and off (I call it RSG = “right side gurgle” because of highly localized air bubbles; I can massage the area and make gurling noises there, something ain't right in that spot). But my training has not been interrupted in spite of my abdomen remainins unsettled and carrying water weight. To be clear, this is something very different from conventional food poisoning (no diarrhea).

daily food log

See comments that follow.

daily food log

Organic turkish-style dried apricots suspicious: have caused severe gas before. I am an idiot or eating them. Could they be contaminated (who could test them?) or some kind of food reaction? Or could it be a certain type of whole grain wheat as per 7/13 diet? Or the pecans or nut bar? Had not eaten pecans in July until 7/11 (35g).

Update: the apricots I strongly suspect as the cause are from Turkey, which dovetails neatly with the mite contamination theory that follows.

The apricots are not too far-fetched, as this article makes clear (mite contamination including mycotoxin- producing fungi). I will have to find their source. As an organic product, this seems even more possible than treated apricots (presumably no multispectral fumigant methyl-bromide). So it’s a long shot, but as this article states, the question of intestinal acariasis or other issue has a real scientific basis for considering it:

The introduction of live insects into human food is rare in developed countries. However we report, for the first time, an emerging risk that exists from dried fruit in Central Europe.

Recently, massive and frequent infestation of dried fruit imported from the Mediterranean region by the mite Carpoglpyhus lactis L. (Acarina: Carpoglyphidae) has been found. In 180 samples taken from supermarkets, 13% were contaminated; the contamination levels ranged from 0 to 660 mites per g of dried fruit. The contamination was found in dried apricots, figs, plums and raisins.

...

Because mites are well-known allergen producers (Colloff 2009), house dust mites are a primary concern because of their proximity to humans. However, recently, there has been an increasing number of reports describing the sensitization of humans not only to Dermatophagoides mites but also to stored-product mites (Fernandez-Caldas 1997).

The consumption of pest mites may cause allergic reaction and also direct infestation in the form of intestinal acariasis (Li et al. 2003). Allergy risk is heightened by the limited options available for effective mite chemical control using traditional pesticides (Hubert et al. 2007).

The second risk is associated with the vectoring of mycotoxin-producing fungi. The association of mites and mycotoxin-producing fungi such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp. has been reported (Aucamp 1969; Franzolin et al. 1999; Hubert et al. 2004). The contamination of dried fruit by aflatoxins and ochratoxin is a common event (Trucksess and Scott 2008). During their migration, mites can disseminate the fungal spores. The risks associated with C. lactis are possible allergen production and vectoring of mycotoxin-producing fungi. Although there is no evidence of this for C. lactis, evidence does exist for related species of mites. The contamination of dried fruit is directly correlated with the risk of direct consumption of hazardous mites.

Or they could be radioactive (see nih.gov Chernobyl's radioactive contamination of food and people or this piece realizing that reality and fear-mongering are often two different things). I do not have a geiger counter to test for radioactive contamination or even know if it could test for Cesium-137:

In many European countries levels of I-131, Cs-134/137, Sr-90, and other radionuclides in milk, dairy products, vegetables, grains, meat, and fish increased drastically (sometimes as much as 1,000-fold) immediately after the catastrophe. Up until 1991 the United States imported food products with measurable amounts of Chernobyl radioactive contamination, mostly from Turkey, Italy, Austria, West Germany, Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Sweden, and Denmark. These products included juices, cheeses, pasta, mushrooms, hazelnuts, sage, figs, tea, thyme, juniper, caraway seeds, and apricots.

Generally felt OK in morning through about 13:00, but then mild symptoms start to build steadily to considerable discomfort at 17:00.

The following was written about 24 hours prior to the above

Two months shot from an unknown 'bug', which I suspect was an internal infection, hard to kill, perhaps something E. Coli like. I was able to ride over that period with varying success, generally (in June) rides at 1/3 and 1/2 distance at low power, and skipping some days.

After nearly two weeks of a course of Clarithromycin antibiotic and continuing internal left-chest and right-abdominal pain, and a show-nothing ultrasound and X-ray, I inadvertantly took 3 antibiotic pills on the 29th of June day instead of two.

The very next day the fatigue vaporized, the pain retreated, and I had a good hard ride. I repeated that dosage the next day. Over the next ~5 days the pains steadily diminished and then disappeared. I think I had a pernicious hard-to-kill bug internally. All it took was a higher dose. It could have been a wild coincidence, but that’s sure the way it looks to me.

I've had good strong workouts now since June 30, so I think the bug is finally killed off. While it made me miss all my planned late April through late June events, I am elated to be back to normal again.

LOOK 595 Ultra with DuraAce Di2 For Sale

The LOOK 595 Ultra is a fantastic bike— see my review of the LOOK 595 Ultra including build details and image gallery.

This is the 'Ultra' which is more stiff than the regular version, but actually a more comfortable ride due to the carbon used for the frame—highly recommended versus monocoque “dead wood” carbon frames.

But I am selling the 595 Ultra because its role was that of a spare, and I find that I just always ride my Moots Vamoots RSL. In fact this bike is all but brand-new. It has a minor scratch on the frame (as it did when I bought). Of course, never crashed or abused in any way.

The bike has about 1500 miles on it. Seriously— I keep detailed records for every ride and that’s what it adds up to.

  • Size large (see chart below).
  • Includes ZIPP 404 rear tubular wheel with DuraAce cassette (no front wheel).
  • Shimano DuraAce Di2 electronic shifting with battery and charger.
  • Includes brand-new Shimano DuraAce 53 X 39 crank (10 speed). Optional: SRM DuraAce 50 X 34 crankset for +$1400.
  • Can include saddle (several options).
  • Serious local buyers welcome to come see the bike.
  • Can ship at extra cost of $100 for partial disassembly, boxing, shipping.
  • Includes Shimano Vibe Pro handlebar with nice fresh double bar wrap (comfort).
  • Does NOT include pedals.

See the build notes for build details, though it now has the Shimano Vibe Pro handlebar on it.

This is a superb ride in superb condition. Low mileage (lightly used spare bike), never crashed, never abused.

Contact me to inquire. Asking $3300.

FOR SALE: Look 595 Ultra size large
FOR SALE: Look 595 Ultra size large
FOR SALE: Look 595 Ultra size large, size chart
FOR SALE: Look 595 Ultra size large, size chart

As I had built it below:

FOR SALE: Look 595 Ultra size large, size charge
FOR SALE: Look 595 Ultra size large

FOR SALE: Moots Frosti FAT Bike (snow, sand, beach)

It’s a gorgeous one-of-a-kind FAT bike essentially brand new (less than 50 miles). I just am not going to get up in the snow as envisioned.

This FrostTi has a custom Shimano XT triple for its drive train—rare indeed. Sale includes bike as shown with an extra set of tires and tubes.

Review of the the Moots FrosTi, including gallery images.

Contact me to inquire. Asking $9100.

Moots Frosti for sale
Moots Frosti for sale

The Fatigue Clears, At Least for a Day

Whatever was weakening me, even as recent as yesterday has granted me a reprieve from a month of frustration with the strongest best ride in a month, one approaching the best efforts of the year (subjectively and objective power in watts).

Being me and noticing the radical difference today, I stomped on it hard, feeling that it’s better to have one great feeling day to savor than play it safe. So I rode hard, loved it, and no fatigue. Tomorrow... well we’ll see but my wife and kids have a drippy-noise virus, so I’m hoping not to be next even as my nose feels a little itchy.

So thrilling to think the fatigue might be passing, though it’s clear that something continues to rile my digestive system at regular intervals (atypical stuff very hard to pin down). So that’s an ongoing study project, now having avoided wheat and peanuts for some days. as what I though were the most likely offenders.

But maybe the issue has reallly been sinusitus and the Amoxicillin is finally killing it, including the inadvertant double-dose 48 hours ago. My sinuses are more clear. Or maybe the extra chocolate or the 15,000 IU Vitamin D 72 hours ago. Or Inscrutable Stuff, the Biological Tax Code.

This is a strong ride for me as shown below, averaging 253 watts for 77 minutes, half of it into a strong headwind.

Graph showing heart rate and power (watts) when finally stronger
Graph showing heart rate and power (watts) when finally stronger

Power Meter Shows Weakness Clearly

Whatever is weakening me, here is what a near worst case ride looks like for me; power output about 50 watts low—starts out OK, then steady decline until last 20 minutes just dragging. Heart rate commensurate with effort level; not showing signs of illness. I can have influenza and ride about as strong as this.

After 10 days of Amoxicillin, I am deeply skeptical that sinusitus is the cause, chest xray and CBC are all normal. As I steadily detrain from near all time best levels in March, I am unsure what the 'lemonade' might be. Going on a strict diet now of gluten-free oatmeal, whey protein powder and similar innocuous (had another bloating episode).

Graph showing heart rate and power (watts) when ill

Graph showing heart rate and power (watts) when ill

Wear a Helmet or Not?

The article is addressed at commuter-style riding (no concept of fast descents, racing, or even an inkling of mountain biking), but worth a read. I’m going to keep wearing my helmet.

Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets

Helmet or not for a 6000' descent?

Right Maxillary Sinusitus the Cause of Fatigue?

Referring to the previous Bloating/Fatigue: Diet or Infection?, the oscillating “almost strong then back to very weak” symptoms—a CT scan of sinuses came back as “right maxillary sinusitus”. I am advised to continue antiobiotics for a few weeks.

A key month of training has been mostly marginalized, so I hope that this is the answer, and that it starts to clear. I remain skeptical that it could be caused entirely by sinusitis and I just had another bloating episode which is how it all started—checking my food log for clues. Peanuts are suspicious.

I don’t have the viewer software to view this series properly (PC based, I use Apple OS X), nor do I know how to interpret the images. But it’s sort of interesting I think.

Click for larger.

CT scan of sinuses

Bloating/Fatigue: Diet or Infection?

I’ve been suffering from bloating and fatigue for almost 3 weeks. I’ve been trying to pin it down to diet or infection, but so far I am stymied. It’s damaging my training, as I am pretty wiped out trying to do even a standard ride; I was forced to skip the Devil Mountain Double Century this year; it was hopeless. It’s really frustrating being in peak condition but unable to train much at all.

I’ve tracked my food intake for years (to the gram), and yet I can’t seem to pin down any specific cause. At present I have eliminated wheat, peanuts, licorice and red wine (for sulfites) but as that does not seem to help. I suspect an infectious cause, presumably viral. My doctor had little to add to my own analysis.

While bloating and fluid gain are clearly involved, so is fatigue and there is nothing unusual to note (stool or otherwise, including poster-child perfect lab results on every metric for an annual physical). A little stuffiness (seasonal allergies, seems minor), slightly headache at times, and just generally fatigue, generally setting in around 3PM. Adequate sleep too. I am just hoping it goes away soon and doesn’t cost me any more training time at a key part of the season.

Update May 13

Saw two internists and an allergist. Allergist says turbinates swollen, so nasal spray and steroid sinus rinse applied for 4-5 days. A little clearer up there, no change in energy, but head seems clearer (sense of pressure mostly gone). Taking Amoxicillin for 5-6 days now from internist as precaution. Energy remains low, cannot handle average ride without pooping out. Riding every 3rd day, weaker than after a double century finish.

Physical exam with blood work makes me out as a poster child for perfect health in spite of all this. EKG normal, blood pressure normal, HR normal resting as low as 41, though +10 beats or so higher on “high fatigue days”. So no metrics to point to anything.

I’ve cut wheat, peanuts and licorice out of my diet (to rule out any suspects in the bloating thing). Ironically now that I’m not training more than fractionally, my weight is hitting new lows. Something seasonal there every year I guess.

The chest ache— about a decade ago, my left lung was damaged (maybe scarred) from pneumonia (I still remember doctor’s words were “a big ball of puss”). To this day, bugs like to camp out there. My main symptom now aside from the fatigue is a dull general ache at left of chest, right in that troubled area, with pain extending all the way up to my left collarbone at times. Not too overt, but steady and unrelenting. I suspect a low level infection down there, even if my lung function tests as normal (tested), since I sense a slight crunchiness down there under full exhalation. Might have to get an X-Ray or CT scan, but wouldn’t a lung infection be more prominent? Dunno. Just about out of hope of doing Four Horsemen of the Solstice as the detraining continues.

Update May 16

See Right Maxillary Sinusitus.

Beware Ebay Scams

Andrew F writes:

I am about to buy a 2011 Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL off of eBay from a seller who is claiming to be you.

The pictures that are posted are the same shots you have of the bike on your blog. I am sending this email to confirm that the seller I have been communicating with on eBay is in fact you.

I apologize if this email inconveniences you in any way but this is the safest way for me to know.

WIND: This site (Lloyd Chambers) does not sell on ebay. Nor did I ever own a 2011 Trek Top Fuel SSL—that was a bike on loan from Trek USA for the Trek to the Summit of White Mountain Peak.

This particular ebay seller sold a bike using copyrighted images from this site, thus showing a bike he clearly could not be in posession of, thus committing both copyright theft and fraud (misrepresenting the item, if it exists at all).

Moreover, the seller was representing himself as me—yet more fraud.

ebay.com is scammer habitat—like a dog has fleas. Buy only from trusted sellers with long positive histories.

After some digging, I found ebay’s intellectual property infringement page (VeRO) and I reported the infringement.

Lupine Betty R 4500-lumen Cycling Light (or Headlamp)

Is it a bike light or is it a Xenon car headlamp?

So bright that high speed descents are as fast as daylight. But also highly programmable for lower light output.

On the bar or on the helmet or on a headband.

My review of the 4500-lumen Lupine Betty R is now published.

Lupine Lighting Systems Betty R lamphead (with helmet mount)
Lupine Lighting Systems Betty R lamphead
(shown with helmet mount)

Rancilio Coffee Grinder Repaired

Sometime I like coffee before a ride, it perks me up a bit and allegedly can enhance performance.

My Rancilio Rocky Doserless Coffee Grinder grinds the beans to a consistency that makes a very smooth and very rich brew one cup at a time.

http://greatinfusions.com
GreatInfusions.com

But it never was quite right in its grinder adjustment (I just left it stuck in one position), and after less than a year the grinding mechanism went bad.

I had trouble finding a repair place, but finally sent it in to Great Infusions in Santa Cruz, CA. The staff there determined that a part was warped, and agreed that it was a defect (not wear). They contacted Rancilio and the part was replaced at no charge for the part itself.

Of course this took some labor (time) and so it did cost me something to repair , but I was happy to pay for the responsive service at Great Infusions, especially considering I did not buy it there. So I now have a working grinder again.

* I do think that Rancilio should have stepped up to the plate on the repair cost since it was an original defect that I never should have had to deal with.

Coffee...

Kona Cloud Coffee
Kona Cloud Coffee

Kona discount for readers

Kona Cloud Coffee Estates is offering 10% off for site readers, via a discount code.

View the coffee choices at Kona Cloud Coffee Estates.

When checking out, use diglloyd logo to get your discount (type in those eight letters).

Younger Skin Through Exercise?

Does exercising keep skin more youthful?

Exercise not only appears to keep skin younger, it may also even reverse skin aging in people who start exercising late in life, according to surprising new research.

...

Training with a Power Meter

I discuss Training with a Power Meter.

Spring Training: 4X Ascents over Distance

To the Workouts section is added Multi-Climb Workout.

In it, I discuss a 3.5 hour workout involving four ascents of increasing length, such a workout mimicking the demands of the Everest Challenge or a century or double century (ascent following by recovery on descent and flat ground).

Morning body weight over 3+ years
Entire workout: heart rate, power (watts), elevation
Alpine, Old La Honda, Kings Mtn, Tunitas Creek on 2014-04-13

Analyzing 2014 Training Weight Loss Efforts: Calories, Weight, Body Fat

In this discussion, “losing body weight” means losing fat while retaining muscle, a challenge often bypassed in “weight loss” discussions. Loss of muscle is self-defeating and leads to a nasty rebound effect.

See also How Fat Loss Actually Goes in Practice. Six weeks ago I postulated a breakthrough below my typical set point* of 175 pounds; instead appetite increased and weight stayed stubbornly right around 175. OTOH, I feel noticeably leaner (as per pinch tests) and I am considerably stronger, so I think fat has been traded for muscle, a sort of periodic annual resculpturing of body tissue typical in training at certain stages.

My goal remains to hit ~170 or so in time for the Four Horsemen of the Solstice and Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge Double leaned-out. Carrying even one more pound up 30,000 or 20,500 feet really does matter, to the tune of 5-6 minutes, although for Four Horsemen I’ll have to carry 4-5 pounds of gear for weather, flats, etc.

The faint red dots below are all around April 1st of each year, showing that 2014 is on track to match 2012 (2013 was an injury and surgery year). My 2012 season was a personal best year, and all metrics now point to beating 2012, the primary goal being finishing at or near the top in the Everest Challenge.

* A body weight set point is a weight below which body strongly resists going and seeks to reestablish—by increasing appetite.

Click for larger graph.

Morning body weight over 3+ years
Morning body weight over 3+ years

I track my body weight (weighing consistently) on a medical-grade scale and I track my food intake for accurate caloric intake to the gram , and I get kilojoule (kilocalorie) figures from my SRM power meter.

A body weight “set point” of around 175 is my personal challenge every year. The multi-year graph above shows a consistent and prolonged clustering around that 175 level, which is about 10% body fat. Moreover, my body always seeks to get back up to that 175 level each fall, a physiological cycle that never fails, and is insistently demanding (appetite). Each spring the biology relents a little and I am able to force body weight down below that level, though with considerable discipline and effort. My supposition is that it is a seasonal hormonal reaction to sunlight / day length or similar.

In the graph below from Dec 2013 thru April 2014, the 175 body weight resistance is emphasized by the rise in calories and flattening of the weight decline trend around March. That’s my physiology making me hungry in an attempt to forestall further weight loss (“you idiot you’re gonna starve to death” sort of thing I suppose).

Tremendous self discipline is required to overcome this physiological push-back. In March, the best I could do was to maintain a slight caloric deficit. Of course, the body does have demands for more calories to repair and rebuild muscle, so even a net neutral can mean body weight reductions as fat is lost and muscle replaces it.

The task in April/May is to apply relentless daily pressure to get down to ~171 or so by June. It won’t be easy, but once a breakthrough of ~2 pounds past the set point is achieved, my physiology tends to relent (just a little), and allow me to go to ~170 pounds without the demanding increase in appetite.

Once at a desired body weight / body fat, eating to caloric parity is far easier than running a daily deficit.

Weight loss chart trend: caloric deficit vs body weight
Weight loss chart trend: caloric deficit vs body weight

Spring Training the Lactate Threshold (repeats on Old La Honda Road)

In Raising Lactate Threshold in Early Season I discuss the importance of lactate threshold training and how I go about it.

All my metrics including this surprisingly strong workout (for April) along with my strong Solvang Spring Double effort give me considerable confidence that this season might be even stronger than my previous best season (2012).

Panda Licorice Powers Me Through the Solvang Double Century

I discussed Panda Licorice back in October 2012 as a possible caloric source for long events, also making the point that it tastes a lot better than Perpetuem or Hammer Gel or GU or other stuff like that.

Licorice, the cyclist’s secret weapon™.

During the 2014 Solvang Spring Double, I consumed about 900 calories from Panda licorice and about 500 calories from Hammer gel and ~300 calories from Perpetuem other things (total “burn” of 7628 calories as per my SRM power meter). I used the convenient 100-calories individually-wrapped Panda licorice sticks; this makes it easy to remember how much one has eaten per hour (2 per hour is about right, with some Hammer gel thrown in too or vice versa).

My proven (for my body) conclusion over many long events is that a pure glucose source alone (e.g. Hammer Gel, e.g. maltodextrin) is not optimal by itself for 6+ hour rides for carbs. It works better to have mostly glucose, but also sucrose and even some fructose because part of those molecules go go the liver for processing, giving it a job to do and feeding in another source of glucose at a slower but steady rate (the liver converting half that sucrose molecule to glucose). It’s why a Mountain Dew or Coke 10 hours in works so well (if not too dehydrated); it gives the liver something to do when it is wholly depleted of glucose. Of course, some protein is warranted too (Perpetuem has some).

Nutrition

The Panda brand is a not very common in stores (try Amazon, and the 6 oz bags of licorice chews are excellent). The ingredients in Panda licorice are of good quality for what they are, not like Twizzlers or the truly awful Red Vines corn syrup crap (though I can eat either when pressed or tempted).

The first ingredient in the Panda licorice that I eat is molasses, which includes calcium, iron and magneisum at fairly high levels, and likely other trace minerals too. So it’s a far cry from high fructose corn syrup.

Sugar breakdown is ~53% sucrose, 21% glucose, 23% fructose. But my understanding is that half the sucrose molecule immediately splits into glucose and fructose via the sucralase enzyme, yielding ~47% glucose and ~53% fructose, the fructose heading to the liver to be converted into glucose (and giving it a job to do rather than running on empty). There is also wheat flour in Panda licorice, which AFAIK turns mainly into glucose and a small amount of protein. So it seems that the the total nutritional profile for long distance events really is fairly appropriate.

Seriously, on a long ride, the stuff tastes so good that as long as you don’t overdo it on intake, what tastes good and goes down the hatch is the Right Choice. The Hammer gel approach loses its appeal after 5-6 hours; it just doesn’t work very well on that basis (appeal) for the long events, not as the only caloric source. (Each to his/her own of course). For an 11-hour or 14-hour or 24-hour ride, anything that tastes good, goes down easy, stays down and doesn’t upset the stomach is the right answer.

Panda Licorice nutritional info
Panda Licorice nutritional info

Black licorice

My favorite is black licorice (the only thing that honors the term), but the red is really good too. Or blueberry. But black is the only real licorice.

The inferior licorices (in name only) out there (most) just don’t cut it compared to the Panda stuff, which I’ll buy in preference over any other brand. Except that it's hard to find in most stores, though Amazon has it.

Another excellent black licorice is the Black Finnish Licorice at nuts.com (where I also buy my black walnuts and pistachios). It has a strong licorice flavor without the nasty ammonia taste of the Norwegian stuff.

Nutrition

It’s candy.

The PandaLicorice.com web site uses Flash and so it doesn't work in any of my browsers (not very good marketing to be useless), but maybe it will work for some.

Since 1927 Panda has been producing licorice renowned for its unique flavor and softness. Panda Licorice is made from natural ingredients without preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or white sugar.

New and delicious Panda Blueberry Licorice is made with Real Superfruit Blueberries to create a mouth watering blueberry taste sensation.

Ingredients: Molasses, wheat flour, licorice extract, natural flavor (aniseed oil).

Special diets: Does not contain animal products | Does not contain eggs | Does not contain lactose/milk | Does not contain gelatine/ingredients from pork | Does not contain peanuts | Does not contain soy | Does not contain nuts/almonds

Actually, the nutritional info isn’t half bad for candy— it even has about 3% protein.

Lightweight Autobahn VR Riding 1000 Miles Later: My All-Time Favorite Wheel

These pages updated, in particular the riding notes.

The Autobahn VR has not come off the bike because it has become my all-time favorite wheel. It performed brilliantly in the Solvang Spring Double.

Lightweight Aubobahn VR 8-spoke front wheel on Moots Vamoots RSL (crappy iPhone 5s photo)
Lightweight Aubobahn VR 8-spoke front wheel on Moots Vamoots RSL

Solvang Spring Double Century — Results

Prelude — the knee gets irritated

36 hours before the Solvang Spring Double I jogged up my driveway after taking the garbage out and irritated the rear of my knee (probably an old meniscus thing)... rushed down Friday at 11 AM to Health Logic, and by the time I was done at noon it was definitely feeling better (noon). It was not the first time the terrific staff there got me immediate relief for a sudden onset minor injury—highly recommended.

But one cannot expect a cure for an injury in an hour. I still could feel it, and no way did I want to miss Solvang, so I downed 1000mg of aspirin at noon Friday and another 1000 mg at 4pm Friday. By event day (Saturday) at 5:00 AM it was feeling under control and while it nagged a bit for 60 miles or so, it then just went away and I forgot about it. Still there two days later, but clearly healing up well.

The event

My goal was to solo the event: no drafting (none!) for the entire course, a goal I stuck to pointedly to the temporary confusion of Nick (a rider I met) who very politely wanted to pull, which I refused. Times on such events are apples vs oranges when compared to riders who aim for the shortest time by drafting (even two riders is a huge energy savings). Different goals, but my goal was personal best effort metrics.

My other goal was to ride relatively pain free and at that I was shocked and amazed to have no right knee pain, no right quad pain, no foot pain. Just a little sore butt and a mildly tired back—all to be expected. With my recent history, that result alone is cause for me to rejoice: my season is launched with hopes of my best year ever.

A flat slowed me down, stopping to use Stan’s No Tubes plugged it enough to ride, but a goodly number of miles were spent with a ~40 PSI rear tire between pumping; it’s always a tradeoff between peeling off a tubular and just riding one, but the beauty is that 40 PSI still works (just don’t hit any hard edges and damage the rim!).

I’ll be analyzing the ride in some detail, but here is the all-solo-no-drafting effort:

Clock time: ~ 10:28"47
Roll time:  ~ 9:52 (approx, exact splits were not recorded)

2014 Solvang Double Century Results

Conditions were quite different than 2012 (2012 wind was brutal, 2014 helpful) and the course was slightly shorter, but I did manage ~12 watts higher power in 2014 than 2012, a promising metric, since 2012 was my strongest season ever. Power did fade somewhat over the last 50 miles or so, as can be seen in the graph.

Bottom line is that the ride could not have gone better, and I look forward to a very strong season.

Click for larger graph.

2014 Solvang Spring Double Century power and heart rate with elevation profile
2014 Solvang Spring Double Century power and heart rate with elevation profile

Death Ride or Everest Challenge Not Hard Enough? Try the ’Four Horsemen of the Solstice’

I’ve applied and been accepted as a rider in the Four Horsemen of the Solstice, a 24-hour event covering ~250 miles and 30,000+ vertical feet.

Anyone who enjoys double centuries or the Death Ride or the Everest Challenge should take a look at the Four Horsemen of the Solstice on June 21, 2014.

Download the application for Four Horsemen of the Solstice.

Solvang Spring Double Century

As rigorous pre-flighting of the 2014 Everest Challenge my first double century in 2014 is the Solvang Spring Double Century this Saturday March 22.

The weather is looking very promising but I don’t rule out getting some unpleasant temperature and wind and a little precipitation, so I’ll be sure to take the Endura Helium jacket or if warmer the Capo Cycling LE Wind Vest, a wool cycling cap under my helmet to keep sweat out of my eyes and/or to add warmth, and perhaps mid-weight tights (or lighter version), depending on how the temperature looks in the morning. Always good to be prepared.

Lights

While I expect to start at daylight and finish before dark, I’ll at least mount the Lupine Piko and DiNotte 300R tail-light just in case a flat delays me. Reflective ankle bands are probably along for the ride too, but they can do double duty as straps for stuff perhaps.

Carrying stuff

For a double century a short-sleeve summer jersey under a long-sleeve jersey yields extra pockets to stash food, phone, tools, spare tire, sunglasses, etc. If the temperatures are not too warm, this works quite well and is nicer than carrying anything on back or hips (on a race bike a large saddlebag has few places to go, so I prefer pockets).

Bike and wheels

I’ll be riding my Moots Vamoots RSL road racing bike. The wheel plan barring high winds is the new Lightweight Autobahn VR because I expect it to save me 5 watts or so over the entire distance. But if windy conditions seem likely, the Lightweight VR8 might be pressed into service instead, for its reduced cross-section.

I considered mounting new Veloflex Roubaix tubular tires, but the there is good wear left on the Veloflex Sprinter tubulars on the planned wheels, so the Roubaix tires will have to get their testing in April.

Double training

As for the effort level, I am thinking of aiming for about 220 watts steady for the ride, roughly the same average as for the Death Valley Double.

Training levels
Training levels

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