Monday, February 25, 2008

More car stuff

I've been thinking about my next car. On Saturday at the Frostbite bike ride I saw a Honda Fit with two bikes mounted on a roof rack. They had their from wheels ff which isn't exactly what I am looking for but I was both interested and excited to see a car that I am looking at an event that I'd like to take it to. I mentioned this siting to DH when I called him to let him know when I'd be home and he asked what kind of rack (Yakima). I had my camera with me so I took a picture to show him.

Yesterday, DH suggested that we swing by the Honda dealer to pick up literature on the Fit and the Element. The dealer was closed but we looked at both the Fit and the Element. The Fit seemed more me but I worry that I'd miss some of the good things about the Element (camping, bike inside). On the other hand, do you buy a car for the few times of the year that you go camping? Seriously, we could take two cars if that was an issue. In fact, in some ways that might be preferable since DH could go whitewater kayaking seperately.

Fitness Assessment

I recently had a fitness assessment done at the Human Performance Lab at Meredith College in Raleigh. It was a fairly interesting procedure and I think that it will be beneficial. It started off with an interesting questionnaire that was sent the week before the testing. They asked about perceived lactate threshold before doing the testing. They assessment can be done for biking or running. Obviously, I did the biking one.

How it worked

You bring your own bike and they put it on a trainer and set you up with an oxygen mask and heart rate monitor. After a ten minute warm up, they set the trainer up for 100 watts with you going at a constant cadence (no shifting allowed) for three minutes. At the end of three minutes they get your pulse and a small blood sample from your ear and increase the wattage. In my case, they want to 130 for three minutes and then 160, 190, 220 and finally 250. I completed the three minutes at 250 watts.

What were the results

While I changed back to street cloths, they calculated the results and then we discussed them. From there, I send them to Maya the Virtual Coach and we'll use them in conjunction with perceived exhertion chart to better tune my training. The thing that I probably found most interesting is what I'll call the "junk zone." Basically, the T1 zone for me is 165-176 bpm where I am neither efficient nor working hard enough to improve. That means that generally I should be below 165 bpm or above 176.

The other result was more or less expected. A small weight loss would move me towards ideal body composition for endurance sports. I kind of expected that but it still kind of sucks. I'm going to see a sports nutritionist a few times to help with that.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Frostbite 100k

I participated in a bike ride called the Frostbite Tour yesterday. The temperature was decent -- in the 50s for most of the ride -- but when we started the ride there was a heavy mist which was with us for the first 30-40 miles. The sun didn't manage to break through until an hour or so after we finished! I rode most of the ride with a group that I've been doing shop rides with and we had a nice time. I also ran into a coworker several times during the ride! The route was nice and the organizers were really pleasant. I hope to make this an annual event!

So far this year, I covered a total of just over 690 miles on road bike. Last February I rode 37.5 miles. This February, I covered 411 miles. What a difference a year makes

Friday, February 22, 2008

Training and perceived exertion

Earlier this week a friend of mine mentioned using perceived exertion in training. He hadn't thought much about it and we talked about it for a minute. I know that I sometimes fall into the cardio queen category so I thought that this was worth revisiting for my own benefit. More is not always better and on my easy days, I need to work on actually taking it easy.

The consensus is that athletes make more progress over the long term if they do not work at the same intensity during each workout. One or two workouts per week should be more difficult and the remaining sessions should be light or moderate.

Maya the Virtual Coach described exertion levels as follows:
  • Easy (E) - Used mainly for warm-upon as a main part of a long session. This pace is very comfortable.
  • Steady (S) - Steady pace is one gear up. This is a pace where you can still have a conversation but you are slightly out of breath.
  • Moderate (M) - A bit harder than steady. This is a pace where a conversation becomes difficult and breathy
  • Moderately hard (MH) - This pace requires concentration to maintain the intensity - though when you are very fit you can keep this up for a longer period of time.
  • Hard (H) - Above the lactic threshold and very much out of the comfort zone. It is quite uncomfortable to maintain this pace.
Training zones are very individual so the formulas that are tossed about for Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) aren't likely to work for most people. In fact, Anaerobic Threshold (AT) differs not just from person to person but also from sport to sport. This makes perceived exertion levels particularly useful. Even once you know your MHR and AT, a heart rate monitor is best used in conjunction with perceived effort or exertion.

overload + recovery = adaptation

Progressive Overload
Challenging the body by applying stresses in the form of training loads. The more you do, the more you are capable of doing. With an adequate training load, both overall fitness and performance can be improved. Frequency, duration and intensity are all factors that effect the training load. Training loads should be gradually increased.

Rest allows the biomotor systems to recover and become stronger. Not quite like the Six Million Dollar Man, "Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster."

The body's response to the training load.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Giant cookies! Oh my!

This weekend I tried out the Super Small Batch Extra Large Chunk Cookies posted in Cookie Madness. They were huge and very yummy! I've never made cookies before where cookies were one of the ingredients! I've never had Selma's cookies so I don't know how these compare but they were a hit at our house. I made them on Saturday afternoon when I got back from my regular bike ride and we ate them at the Carolina Hurricanes game on Saturday night.

I also tried Mark Bittman's Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread posted in the New York Times' Bitten blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

letting .mac go

I decided to let my .Mac account go. I basically used it to sync my iCal and Address Book on my home and work machines. To replace or improve upon .Mac, I wanted:
  • Synchronize calendars between two or more Macs
  • Share calendar with selected family members
  • Synchronize Address Book between two or more Macs
  • Mail is not an issue, I use my work account for work mail and Gmail for personal mail.
  • Web storage for files would be a plus
A co-worker suggested using to publish my calendar. (I understand that also has webDAV support but I haven't tried them.) I can use their webDAV to publish my calendar from one machine and view it on another. That works but I'd like to be able to write to the calendar as well. I'm looking for synchronization rather than replication. Additionally, it seems that Apple isn't all that into supporting the publish to private server feature in iCal since every time there is an OS update, I end up having to republish by selecting "Change Location" in iCal. That being said, is very nice and I like using webDAV for file copying via Filer's Go -> Connect to Server. Very handy.

I've tried Plaxo for this and it's only so-so. It grabs updates from both machines and puts it on the web but not onto iCal. It also seems to be bit flaky. Plaxo works fine for Address Book, it's just flaky on the calendar side.

GCALDameon - I tried this and I really really wanted it to work but I had not luck with it. I think that the problem has to do with the changes to iCal behavior when going from Tiger to Leopard. It may have worked fine under Tiger. It doesn't work fine under Leopard. iSynCal seems to be in the same boat.

Spanning Sync seems like a pricy solution at $65 for iCal <-> gCal. I downloaded the trial and give it a whirl. Not only was it very slow, I ended up with a ton of duplicate events on gCal -- so many that I deleted the test calendar that I used. I was very thankful that I had backed up iCal before starting!

gSync is $20 for up to two computers. I download the trial for this as well and it has worked really well. It was slow synching one of my large calendars the first time but since then, it's been great.

BusySync is a third option but a I'm not going there. It's more expensive that gSync and I don't see any value added for what I am trying to do. gSync seems to be working and I'm betting that Google will come out with CalDav support because if iPhone since it already has fairly robust CrackBerry support.

Google Tutor discusses setting up a one way "sync." Since I really wanted a two way sync involving two computers and multiple family members, that doesn't work for me.

30Boxes is very nice and I do think that it has it's place but it doesn't support what I want to do in this case.

I'd be interested in hearing about other tools that people are using.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Another day in the saddle!

Today was another good riding day. It was nice and sunny out and was in the high 40s when we started and about 60 degrees when we finished.

I rode just over 62 miles in preparation for the Frostbite Tour 100k in two weeks. I've been going to one of the local shop rides (btw, Emma stopped by to say, "Hi"). Today I wanted to add some miles so I went to and from the ride on my bike. I'm still loving the Madone.

I feel like I'm on track for my riding goals:
I'm happy. I wanted to share!

Note: The route is actually 51 miles. The mapping software does not seem to have the correct data for Horton's Pond Road.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Changing sentiment / Voldemort votes ???

I saw two interesting bumper stickers while I was at lunch today:
  • Voldemort votes Republican
  • The Patriot Act: Turning Citizens into Suspects Since 2001
  • This wouldn't be worth mentioning except until recently, the only thing that was seen around here were Bush-Cheney '04 stickers. There certainly seems to be a change in sentiment.

    Monday, February 4, 2008

    MS150 change of venue

    I've participated in the MS150 Breakaway to the Beach for the last three years and I've been looking forward to riding it it again this year. I love that ride.

    It used to go from Rockingham, NC to Darlington, SC and then end in Myrtle Beach. DH and I would have a celebratory meal after the ride and then have a vacation at the beach. It was great. Last year they made it so that both days were in Myrtle Beach and that wasn't quite as great but it all worked out. Now it seems that the whole ride is moving to Greenville, SC. I'm so sad and upset. I loved that ride so much that I planned my surgery in 2006 so that I would have about 50 weeks of recovery time before the 2007 ride.

    Sure, there are other options. I just am so disappointed. It has been a focus of my training and I've built some traditions around it. I'll build new ones in 2008.

    I could do the New Bern ride. Then I could still go to Myrtle Beach or else to the Outer Banks for vacation. The down side is that I'd still be three hours drive from vacation (or two and a half hours from home) after completing my ride. The up side is that I could ride with my Team CBC friends this year. When I mentioned the possible venue change to DH he said, "Kayaking!"

    Sunday, February 3, 2008

    Hannah's quilts

    Originally uploaded by j_m_k
    Hannah and Emma received dog quilts for Christmas. Hannah has claimed both quilts for herself and she uses them pretty much daily. One is in the bedroom and she curls up with it at night. The other is in my office and when I am in the office or DH is working from home, she gets comfy on her office quilt and I frequently find that it has migrated into the doorway!

    I've had a hard time "catching" her on the quilt when I have my camera. She always wants to get up to see what I have in my hand! I mean, seriously, it could be food, right?