Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cycling videos - IT band

Backdated from 8/31/09 to keep off the front page. If you come across this through an RSS feed or random searching and you have no idea why I'm riding my bike in my driveway on a perfectly nice day, just ignore it and move along.

Tri bike rear

Tri bike front

Road bike rear, front, side

It doesn't look like there's much if any play in my foot on the down-stroke on either my road or tri bike, in either my new (tri bike) or older (road bike) shoes. It does look to me that my right knee is coming in towards the top tube. I've noticed that while I'm riding as well.

I have no idea if my road bike position is good or not. I've been on the road bike more the last few weeks as my tri bike was in the shop.

Notes: Apparently my driveway isn't level side to side, so the trainer is rocking a bit more than normal in the tri bike videos. I fixed that for the road bike video.

More notes: It also seems that going from iPhoto to iMovie to Blogger makes the video super small.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I've been a little down lately and a tiny bit stressed. That's mostly due to people constantly asking if I'm stressed about the wedding. The answer: "No, I'm not." The thought-but-not-spoken next sentence: "But you people constantly asking me is bugging the heck out of me." I've mentally been ready for my life with Hannah for a while now, the wedding is just a formality (albeit a very nice one, with God confirming what we already talked about).

With my brain a little out of whack, I keep flip flopping between extremes of what I should be doing right now. For example:

"I should get rid of my TV" vs. "I should add more movies to have at one time to my Netflix queue."

"I should buy a whole bunch of swimming stuff since I'm going to start swimming again" vs. "I should stick with the same beat up speedos I've had for the last few years... if you put enough of them on at once, they're not that sheer."

"I should buy a new bike" vs. "I should strip down my road bike to make it as simple as possible."

The true path that I'll take is, of course, the same that I've taken for the last few years: the most balanced one.

"I'll keep the TV, but continue to watch less and less of it."

"I'll replace my beat up swimsuits but hold off on any supercool stuff until I need it."

"I'll buy Hannah a bike."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Saved by China

Like many people, I've been watching oodles of Olympics. In addition to the random sports that I'd catch like table tennis and weightlifting, I was seeking out a few key sports: last week was swimming and rowing, the weekend into early this week was triathlon, and the last two nights have been open water swimming.

With all that swimming, I'm sure you noticed the super swim suits from Speedo (how could you not?). What you may not have noticed is the few other suits from other brands: TYR, Blue Seventy, Finis, and -- I think -- Arena. The Blue Seventy suit is the interesting one of the also-rans.

Blue Seventy started as a triathlon wetsuit company. Recently, they branched into "swimskins" -- a wetsuit-like suit that isn't anywhere near as buoyant and is designed for "non-wetsuit" events. It's FINA (the swimming governing body)-approved, and, as such, it's in the Olympics for those athletes that seemingly either couldn't get their hands on a Speedo LZR, or wanted to try something different to stand out.

In open water swimming (Olympic debut this year!), the race is a 10k. Blue Seventy, with their roots in triathlon, is the industry leader here, not Speedo.

One of the other wetsuit companies that also makes a swimskin is Xterra. I think there's a few of that companies' suits in the open water race. Since Blue Seventy is the Speedo of open water swimming, that makes Xterra the Blue Seventy in the sport. Ummm... yeah, that sort of makes sense.

To make a long story even longer, Xterra is offering a 50% discount on their entire product line, including their swimskin. It's a cool suit, and, with all the Olympians looking and going super fast, my gear lust (which I usually can keep under control) started to get the best of me.

I had the "purchase" screen up on my computer. My mouse was hovering over the button. Never mind that the Xterra suit is only designed for open water swimming -- it's so rigid and tight in the back that you can't bend over (that means no pool swimming: flip turns and dives are out) -- it's super cool and could genuinely give me a speed boost in those few events I do that don't allow a wetsuit. Never mind that I probably wouldn't use it for over a year. Never mind that, even at 50% off, it's still well over $100.

I happen to own an Xterra wetsuit that I bought in a similar sale this past spring. For reasons I can't explain, I went and put it on (I've yet to actually swim in it -- Texas is a little hot and the Passaic is a little gross in an illness-via-bacteria/virus/pollution-sort-of-way). After almost passing out (who stands around in a fully enclosed suit of neoprene in the middle of the summer inside a not particularly well-ventilated apartment? Me, of course.), I took the suit off and admired it's coolness.

It was then that I noticed where Xterra has their suits produced and that was the final push I needed to realize it was a bad purchase for me. So, thank you China for saving me $125+ on something I'd probably never wear and want a new version of in a year anyway.

It's still cool though.

Friday, August 15, 2008

You've got to be kidding me

Hannah and I raced in the Wool Capital Triathlon in San Angelo last weekend. We both did pretty well.

Now, I've lost races on the run. I've lost races on the bike. But I don't think I've ever placed well in a triathlon based on my swim performance. As luck would have it, after swimming less than three hours over the last 12 months, I finished 20th overall and third in my age group. 8th overall in the swim.

We started in the last wave, ten minutes behind the first wave. Since the bike is on an out and back course, I was able to count how many people were ahead of me. I counted 30. That means I passed about 100 people in the swim.

There are two ways to look at that. Either I'm a phenominal talent who just hasn't had my crack at the Olympic Trials or most people really can't swim well. There was one dude in one of those super expensive "swim skins" plodding along swimming breastroke.

Maybe -- instead of spending $300 on a suit -- the money would have been better spent on some swim lessons and a pair of these.

I dunno, I'm just sayin'...

Monday, August 11, 2008


You always hear about how trapped everyone feels in small or remote towns, especially the angsty high school kids (actually, I think every angsty high school kid feels trapped, whether they’re in a small town or not). It’s always complaints about how there’s nothing to do, or no way to get out to where the excitement is.

But I feel trapped in the New York metro area. There’s excitement aplenty, but I’d trade it all to be able to ride my bike out my front door without the overwhelming fear of death by automobile or without having to stop every eighth of a mile at a traffic light. I don’t even live that close to the city. I couldn’t imagine trying to run or ride in New York. Maybe that’s why all the NYC triathletes I meet seem so surly.

I don’t know if it’s claustrophobia or what. In any event, I’ve taken to going to work earlier and earlier – not so that I can necessarily get more work done (which I do) – but so I can avoid the crowds. I walk two sides of a triangle so I can avoid Times Square (the hypotenuse route would take me right through it). I love my job, but unless they develop a way for me to teleport to work and then teleport home to Alaska, I’ll probably always feel cornered.

I’ve written this while stuck in Newark airport on a Friday evening. Technically I'm not actually trapped here -- I could always walk out -- but where could I go without missing my flight? My flight’s delayed, which means I’ll miss my connection, which means it’s another night in a hotel in Dallas before an early wake up for the earliest flight to San Angelo. All because the NYC area is too crowded. Even the skies are too crowded.

Clearly, I’ve become a grumpy crank well before my time. If I had a lawn, I’d be yelling at you to stay off it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

My moment of glory... missed

I raced in the Brigantine sprint tri on Saturday and did really well, especially as I felt I didn't run to my potential (of course, I might have been overestimating my potential).

It turns out I got third in my age group (of 33) and 52 overall (of about 450). Naturally, I missed my moment of triumph as I was sitting on my friend's front lawn drinking a beer. We decided to stroll over to the awards ceremony to get the free food they always offer and clap for the people who won things. When we arrived they were on the 35-39 age group (they count up in awards ceremonies).

I only realized I got an age group podium place when I was looking at the results taped on a nearby van. I read my time and overall place and then figured I'd see how many people in my age group beat me. I counted to two over and over again, before I gave up and asked the race director the names of the top three guys in my age group.

I then got to rummage around in a box for my medal. Ahhh, the glory of placing.