Saturday, August 30, 2008

Contre le Montre Pour Deux

First some eye candy for the Katie groupies: Soulmate has a monkey puppet which Katie has fallen in love with. He appears whenever she is getting fussy (which is rare) or is losing interest in our activities (mostly because we are trying to do grown-up things instead of playing with her).

Here the monkey has been stroking her cheeks with its paw, and Katie has turned her head to plant a big wet one on the monkey's nose. She has taken to kissing Soulmate the same way, but every time I get the cellphone camera out to catch it on film, she stops kissing and lunges for the phone. (I'm doomed--already demanding a cell phone at age 14 months)

On to the title topic: time trial tea for two. Charles and I are the new GrandStay secret weapon going into the Henderson TT next Saturday. We both have gimp shoulders (he broke his right collar bone in June, and I had left rotator cuff surgery in late February). Both of us have only started to do intensity workouts on the bike in the past month or so. Given the myriad of excuses we will have to explain a poor showing, we've decided to pair up for the Masters 35+ two-man category at Henderson. We figured we should practice trading places while riding on the ragged edge, so we hit county road 8 for an out and back.

After a 15 minute warm-up, we drilled it for 15 minutes or so pretty much as hard as we could go, both taking 1 to 2 minute pulls at the front. Our hardest job was to figure out how to let the guy in back know that we'd had enough and it was his turn. We tried different things, but finally settled on a turn of the head and a loud "HUP!" When I said it while redlining in front, it sounded rather like the Como Zoo seal barking ("Good boy, Sparky, have a herring!").

We did pretty well, averaging 24mph into a stiff southerly wind on the way out, and a whopping 29.5mph on the tailwind section, giving us about 26.5mph average for the effort. That's a full 2mph faster than I did the same section by myself on Wednesday. On his best form, Charles can average that for 25 miles by himself (as he did in the state TT in June before his crash). So, I'm actually just a tag-along, but at least I'm not an anchor. We'll see what happens next week.

BTW, Katie is now officially an honorary Italian-American. The honor was bestowed by Ray Cook, full-blooded I-A and owner of Mi Famiglia restaurant. Ray and Jennifer have been friends for several years, and have followed our adoption journey with great interest (and encouragement). We ate at the restaurant Thursday night, and when Ray saw Katie polishing off a large serving of Risotto with garlic, he was impressed. Her breath reeked of garlic for hours, but boy was she happy!

OK, just one freebie, but only if you like watching Gallager or blowing stuff up or launching potato guns into Lake Jessie:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bedtime Story

Doc is concentrating on getting all the doggie sounds right from Sandra Boynton's "Doggies" bedtime book. "Woof!" "arf arf" "mmm...mmm...mmm" "yap! yap! yap! yap!" and so on up to ten doggies (and one cat). Or maybe he's just squinting because he left his reading glasses downstairs and is too tired after the State RR to schlep down after them.

Obviously, Katie is delighted with the story, or else she's happy to be dressed for bed in her favorite "little princess" pajamas. Either way, it's an expression we see frequently from our sunny little princess.

Fortunately, she does fuss from time to time: for instance when we forget to feed her anything for 5 or 6 hours because we forget she's a baby. As time goes on and senility sets in, she'll need to be able to fuss fairly assertively.

Katie and Soulmate went to the In-laws' in St. Paul for a family baby shower yesterday, then stayed overnight there. They scored a lot of cool toys, books, and clothes, but I was genuinely lonely at home. I fired up a movie and worked on the power setup of my TT bike, then channel surfed until the wee hours before panicking and diving in bed at 2am. Today was a good but long day in the clinic, and I'm beat right now.

Big Jim emailed to tell me that I should ride the Henderson two man TT with Charles instead of him. Chuck broke his right collarbone at the Stillwater crit in June (somebody slid into him around the final corner at the bottom of the big hill), and is finally back on the bike at the end of the season like me. So we'll have two gimps with bad shoulders (his right, my left) trading pulls in the TT. It's too bad we'll be leaning in opposite directions--we won't be as aero this way. Chuck is a blazing fast time trialist, so I'll either get the best workout of the year, or blow up spectacularly (probably both).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rocket 1

I did a basic setup on the Giant Trinity TT, and took it out for a test run today. It is just like getting on those crotchrocket motos: fast and uncomfortable. I kept a 20mph pace with level 1 heart rate for an hour or so on an out and back on Cty 8. I ramped up to 25mph in a pretty stiff headwind, and felt like I could hold that for a good long time.

On the other hand, my left gluteus cramped up after 30 minutes, without going hard at all. Most of that is left over from the effort I put out yesterday at the State RR, but some of it is the position on this TT bike. My back is a lot flatter than on my previous TT bike which was cobbled together from an old LeMond Zurich frame (which is now a sweet Fixie). I'm also a lot more forward over the front wheel, but the ride is very stable despite the short wheelbase.

I found out that the Henderson TT on Sept. 6 has an option for a two-man TT. I'm trying to convince Big Jim to ride it with me, since he is trying to talk me into riding home 80 miles from Henderson after the race. I think he was planning on doing a tempo ride on his stock bike during the TT just to warm up for the big ride home. I, on the other hand, will put heart and soul into the TT, so an 80 mile cool down is pretty much overkill no matter how you look at it, and the inherent mismatch between our TT ability will increase my suffering exponentially on the way home.

A two-man TT with Jim would be fun, though once he ramps it up, I'm not sure I'll be swapping pulls with him much. Then there's my problem of being a lead weight on all the climbs. Still, I would like to be there when he gets to lactate threshold and holds it for half an hour, since he's usually in level 1 or just above on our training rides. I keep telling him he'd be a great time trialist if he put his mind to it. There is one small hitch to the plan: he doesn't even own a TT bike. Hopefully he can borrow Bauerly's or Bagley's and get used to it a little. We'll see.

Spy photos of the Trinity may be coming.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

State RR

Had a great time, went a lap longer than I thought I would (but still a lap shorter than I needed to finish with the group), saw a bunch of friends that I've missed all year, and helped my guy Ray Coyle to win. Downside: my sweet carbon Easton wheels never got in the race, because I couldn't get the rear tubular pumped up, and it deflated instantly when I got any air at all in it. It might be the valve extender that's leaking. Hopefully we'll get it worked out for the Henderson TT.

Speaking of which, the rocket TT bike arrived, and it is sweet. Carbon on top for a smooth ride, alu below for stiffness. I haven't gotten it set up fully yet, that's in the works for tomorrow afternoon while Katie is napping. I bought the newest version of the iBike power meter, called the iAero, so I'll fit that to the TT bike as well. In addition to virtual power numbers, you can get up to speed, then coast for 10 seconds after pushing a button, and it will calculate your CdA frontal surface area. It's a virtual wind tunnel on wheels!

Hopefully I can dial in an aero position on the TT bike that is also reasonably comfortable. I had enough gluteus cramps today going up tower hill 5 times at full power, not to mention spending 15 minutes well above my lactate threshold trying to bridge back up after getting dropped the 4th time up. I got within 50 yards of the group, but couldn't make the bridge, so I ended up doing the whole 4th lap by myself, which was both boring and very painful.

Anyway, I'm officially back. Now, we'll see if cyclo-cross is in the cards. My left shoulder ached pretty badly all day after the race today, and weirdly enough, my left tricep (not the repaired bicep) spasmed for the last lap and a half of the race. What's that about? I'm a little afraid that I'll mess up my shoulder if I do CX, but I guess if I line up at the back of the B race and take it really carefully, I can't do too much wrong, can I?

It's late and Katie is fussy and waking up every hour, so I suspect I'll be having another sleepover in her room tonight. Soulmate had the duty last night, though I was awake several times listening to them in the next room. Last Sunday we accidentally slept through church because we were up most of the night "playing". Tonight we're all business.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

She's Walking! Sort Of...

Saturday morning I line it up at the State Road Race with the best Masters riders Minnesota has to offer. My training regimen this week has been:
Saturday: 3 hour leg buster with Big Jim, Lanny, Ray, and Luke to preview the course and map out our strategy.
Sunday: play with Katie, on call, no time to train.
Monday: play with Katie, too tired from call weekend to train.
Tuesday: play with Katie, sleepover in Katie's room because she wants to. "Sleepover" is a misnomer since very little sleep is actually achieved.
Wednesday: too busy to even play with Katie, business meeting at the clinic lasts until 9:30pm, too tired to train.
Thursday: errands after work, then play with Katie until she goes to bed; catch up on blogging.
Friday: play with Katie, commute to and from work, get fabulous massage from The Fix, and grease the chain.
Saturday: play with Katie, pump up the tires, and line up.

I feel ready; I admit it's not the optimal taper for the big race, but hey, it finishes on a steep hill, so I don't have a snowball's chance to contest the sprint anyway. All I need is about 20 minutes of above-lactate efforts, which I'm sure to get if I chase attacks or drill it on the front for a while, to get ready for Henderson.

The rocket TT bike still hasn't arrived, or at least Luke is holding out on me if it has. I'm ready to mount the secret weapon and get going on dialing in my TT position ASAP, but it can wait until next week I guess. I'm back on call for the Labor Day weekend (Thursday through Monday), so I'll only have time to ride the TT bike for an hour a day, max. That should be enough to get my position right using the secret weapon.

Speaking of playing with Katie:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This and That

I've been pretty lax in posting lately. I guess it's not really lax if all your time is taken up doing something else. A one-year-old provides all the something else required to take up all my time right now. Any Olympics I've seen has been after the fact on, and there hasn't been much of that. Katie really liked the track bicycle racing for some odd reason, especially the Keiren where the moped drives around in front of the racers for a couple of laps, then dives into the infield while the sprinters go crazy for 2 laps.

I got out yesterday with Big Jim, Lanny, Ray, and Luke for a preview of the State road race course north of Avon. It's not my cup of tea, with a 150 foot high climb to the finish up a fairly steep hill. I seem to gas out after about 50 feet vertical (which is basically a power climb for me). Anyway, Ray and Big Jim flew up both of the hills in the race, and then we went back and did the finishing climb 2 more times just for laughs.

I've decided to line it up at the State RR next Saturday, even though my shoulder is only about 75% at this point. I'll try really hard to stay out of trouble, which for me is usually just the last 200 meters during the sprint. With the finish line at the top of a climb, I'll be out of the mix long before anyone starts sprinting. I'll probably go hard the first 2 laps to chase down attacks or whatever, then cruise in.

I'm really training for the last time trial of the year in Henderson on September 6. I'm not that great at TTs, but they're really hard, so I'm highly motivated to train well going into the fall. I've found that I have to trick myself into working out hard, or else I end up just pedaling around without sweating much, or worse yet, I don't get on the bike at all. The first and still most important reason I took up bike racing was to keep my training motivation high through the winter. There's nothing like fear of getting dropped in the first race of the spring to keep you riding and lifting all winter long.

With Katie home, I've been riding with the guys on Saturday mornings, which usually provides me with plenty of hard efforts on the bike, and then I've been riding 2 or 3 nights a week on the trainer after Katie goes to bed. That way I maximize time with her (and earn points with Soulmate), and also get to watch a little of the Olympics "live". It's actually nice to just sit around in this beautiful weather for once, instead of fretting about how I'm going to get a ride in.
Here are some photos from around the house:

This is Katie with her 4 month old cousin Noah. He outweighs her by 5 pounds or so (she is 13 months old now).
Here we are in our love seat swing--lotta luv here!
Katie loves this swing--I have the shoulder bursitis to prove it.
Three generations of July birthdays: Soulmate (July 20), Katie (the 1st), Grandpa (the 28th), and Soulmate's sister Sue (the 5th).

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm Feeling Guilty...

I haven't posted in I don't know how long. I'm right in the middle of the rush to see the ENT doc to get the tonsils out before school starts, and at the same time 4 of my 5 partners decided to take a week or two vacation, so I've been either on call, hospital rounds, or in the clinic for the past 2 weeks straight. I know, waa waa waa.

The rest of the time I've been hanging out with Katie and Soulmate. Katie is growing fast: she still has the gooshy sprinter thighs, but she's a lot taller than when we first got her. We've had to adjust the height of the shoulder harnesses in the carseat and the stroller to the next notch up. Same with the Baby Einstein Bouncer Seat.

She is standing with barely any assistance, and taking a few steps while grimly gripping my thumbs like her life depended on it. She still has no interest in crawling, and why should she? The princess gives her royal call and her loyal subjects come running to help her, carrying her wherever she pleases (or at least wherever they please). You have to admit, she's got it pretty good around here.

When Soulmate puts her on her tummy to strengthen her neck and back, and to practice crawling, it goes like this: on her tummy she goes; Soulmate steps back, holds out her arms, and calls "Katie, come here"; Katie then breaks into wails of anguish while pulling herself lamely forward with her elbows. Pippin the hairball stands next to her and licks her on the head. making her cry even harder, and finally, both dogs come and lay down on each side of her and look at Soulmate with the most baleful expressions, as if to say "can't you do something about all this racket? Don't you hear her? You're the one with opposable thumbs--do something!"

I did get out for a spirited 4 hour ride with Matt and Big Jim. I did a hard pull for 10 minutes or so trying to get motivated to do the Henderson TT on September 6. I have my new secret weapon coming, so I'm sure I'll be rocket-fast out there. Meanwhile, I've tentatively decided to line it up at the State Road Race a week from Saturday. It's a course I know well (I rode it on Saturday with Matt and Big Jim), and I figure I'll either drill it for 2 laps chasing attacks for the team, or sit in and wait for the finish and see if I'm ready to duke it out in the sprint yet.

Or maybe I'll just shoot out the back the first time up Tower hill and wander back to the Start/Finish and harrass everyone when they come by each lap. That sounds most likely (and the most fun). With Bagley sightings and Charles out of the sling and back on the bike, we may see the whole GS Masters team together yet this year. See you M35ers at the line.

Parting shot: the girls and I went shopping at the mall, and here's the result: cuteness cubed (as in cubic zirc). We had it done at Claire's, where Soulmate had hers pierced a few years back (quite a few years, actually). It's probably not the last time we'll shop at Claire's (and everywhere else in the mall for that matter). My VISA card is beginning to throb again...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Feelin' Groovy Fashion Show!

A package arrived from Houston yesterday filled with fashions for Katie. Duchess described the creation of the tie-dyed clothes in her Hobby post from last month. Here they are modeled by the Princess herself. She is enthusiastic about all of them, and actually enjoyed the process of dressing and undressing for each photo. I suppose I should be worried about that somehow.

The non-psychedelic outfits are gifts from my Mom who unfortunately doesn't have access to internet, so I'll print this out and send it to her. Thanks to Duchess, Kooza, Scout, and Pops for the tie-dyes, and to Mom for the cute outfits.

This onesie has a dog and "all-American cutie" on the front. The dog is telling the truth.

Here is a tank top so Katie can fire her guns for us. Impressive pipes for this future Olympian.

Katie's doing aerobics in her jazzy gym shorts.

The hat is cute as heck, but only stayed on for about 5 seconds. This one will take some work I think.

The Country Club requires shirts with collars, but I don't know if the clubbers could tolerate this polo shirt.

Mom's first item is a onesie that says "Lil Sparkler".

This one is all about Monkey Business:

Silly Monkey!

Oh how well this fits the Princess.

Purple shorts: she's always wanted a pair, and she already owns a shirt that coordinates. An outfit--what more could a girl want?

A frilly summer dress, how like Grandma to pick it!

Pooh says "let's go pick something yummy for our picnic". How about tasteless green bean mush? Yum yum!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Bicycle Built for Three and a Party

I finally got the Burley Paso Doble freshened up enough to ride. I put brand new tires on it last fall but we never got out to ride it. Since my shoulder surgery in February, I didn't feel confident wrestling with the bike until recently. It really is like driving a semi with no power steering, and a weak shoulder is a real detriment. So, after installing the attachment for Katie's Chariot (for real--that's what her trailer is called) to the rear axle of the tandem, we set out for our first cycling triple threat.

Katie loves cycling (whew! my prayers were answered), so we set her up with her Camelbak (see my previous post with video footage) and some teething rings (3 down, only 17 to go! at least as far as baby teeth are concerned) and set off down the road. Soulmate looked back after a few minutes, and sure enough, Katie was fast asleep, head bobbing side to side with every bump.

We should have turned back after 30 minutes, but she looked so comfortable (if that's possible while sleeping in a semi-seated position with no neck support to speak of) that we pressed on to certain tragedy. Or at least that's what Katie wanted it to sound like when she woke up suddenly after an hour and a half and started crying inconsolably. We still had 30 minutes to go before we got home, so I decided to change my plans.

I had planned to ride leisurely with the family, which I had done up to this point in the ride, then I was going to go back out on my road bike and do 2 short time trial intervals as part of my training for my first (and last) race of the season, a time trial in early September. I finally got the OK from Bones, my orthopod, to race, and I thought I'd ease in with a time trial, which doesn't require riding in the peloton where crashes happen most often.

Back to the tragedy at hand: with Katie in full-throated cry in the Chariot, I worried that the County Child Protection Services people would follow us home and bust us, so I decided to combine my two 5-minute TT intervals into one long one, and get us home ASAP so I didn't lose my hearing and Katie didn't lose her voice. I got in a very good quality 10 minute interval well above my lactate threshold due to the very high motivation I had to finish the ride. Katie and my legs both survived the ordeal, and to celebrate, we attended the first birthday party of Yasmin, the daughter of one of my partners at the clinic.

As an aside, Yasmin's daddy is several years older than me, though her mommy is somewhat younger than Soulmate. As our daughters grow up together, they'll be able to trade stories about how senile their old man is getting. Neither one of us can retire, since the girls will still be in high school when we reach age 65. For all of you at my office who are already sick of me, good luck--you'll be seeing me around for a long, long time.

Anyway, the party was at Lake George's new community center and splash pad, so it was really fun. Katie loves having other kids around, and she really loves Yasmin. They were kissing and hugging each other like they've been girlfriends forever. Here are a couple of photos, more to come:

The "Hello Kitty" party hat is the first head covering of any kind that Katie has allowed on her head for more than 5 seconds. She left it on for the entire party, and looked disappointed when we took it off her head at home. I'm a little worried, because Hello Kitty is not one of my personal favorites as far as designer labels are concerned. I'm absolutely certain that Soulmate doesn't own a single item in that line. Oh well, we didn't have anything in purple or pink for 25 years, and those are the only colors Katie has in her extensive wardrobe. Change is good...