Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Early AM

Up in the morning with the Virginia sun,
Gonna run, run, run 'til the runnin's done.
1 mile, no sweat
2 miles, gettin' better
3 miles, oh yea

I had to monitor physical training this morning. Fortunately for me, it was raining so we went inside the gym. I allowed the Marines, about 70 of them, to choose between a few different activities. 1. Work on a weakness ie. run, or strength training. 2. Play organized athletics like basketball. Of course those that have less than average scores, they were highly encouraged to do the first choice.

My theory about improving things goes something like this:
1. If you want to improve your run...RUN. (Sprinting is best)
2 If you want to improve your pull pull ups.
3. If you want to improve your run without running...swings and snatches will help to a point.
4. If you want to improve the number of crunches you can do in 2 hanging leg raises (very effective). Practicing crunches only serves to tighten the hip flexors and cause back pain!

In summary, specificity is the best medicine for improvement. Not really a secret is it? You probably didn't want to hear this either. What you might want to hear is something like this...if you want to improve running, run for a couple times before your event, followed by a set of pull ups! Then a shower and a 6 pack of 12oz curls. I know hundreds of people that train this way; OOHRAH. Heck, I might have done it for a few years. By the way, they never improve.

Back to the gym. The bonus part of the gym is that I can get some constructive training in as well. I was able to work on some barbell lifts for the first time this year. It was a nice change.

Deadlift: 185: 5x5 (this was very easy!)
Bench Press: 175: 5x5 (squaked it all out) Not my favorite lift.
Pull up: 12,10,8,6,4 (40)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Under the rainbow

Let me start by getting the negative out of the way. The morning ride was rather miserable. Not because it was cold or windy or any other uncontrollable factor. I was miserable simply because I haven't had enough consistency or frequency on the bike. --- Very simple.

I was heading north on Shore Drive when I looked up and saw the perfect arch. The rainbow stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to Broad Bay. I probably took up the entire lane looking at this sight. Of course when I left the house this morning I didn't grab my camera. After all, I wouldn't need it. Murphy got me again; this was one of those moments that only happen every once in a while. When I turned west, I actually rode under the rainbow.

29 miles

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kettlebell Workshop Feb 9 - Virginia Beach

There are still some seats available for this workshop. If you are interested, please contact me.

Back on the Chuckwagon

It's time to get back on the chuckwagon. In other words, it is time to drop the winter weight. I've allegedly followed my diet plan half a$$ed during the past 3 weeks. This coupled with minimal training may have resulted in allegedly adding a couple extra pounds to my frame.

I'm not talking about the new randonneuse either. Added weight to me + heavier bike = lower avg speed. I need to be lighter me(stronger me) + heavier bike = power and higer avg. speed.

My nutrition plan says cheat only 10% of the time. It doesn't call for that really, it just assumes that it will happen. It is probably a good assumption. The key is to limit sugar and starch consumption. Note, I didn't say remove!

This morning, I made a menu for every day of the coming week and drafted the grocery list. At some point tonight I have to chop veggies and prep some entrees and snacks. The most important part of keeping on the plan without cheating is preparation. If everything is ready before the week begins, it is easy to grab a few crack bags (zip lock) of chow and go. FAST FOOD!

Tomorrow, I will grab the crack baggies of chow and eat every 3 hours of so. Come and Git It!

Stay tuned for some food specifics in another post.

swing 32K 2x50, 24K 10/10x3
Double front squat: 2x24k: 5x5 - (fast - 30 sec rest)

5 sets of:
Bear push ups x 10, pull up x 5, evil wheel x 5

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Regardless of the good intentions and goals you may have, sometimes it takes a little spark to ignite the kindling and really get things going. You know exactly who you are. You want to drop 10 - 15 lbs., run a 5k, or even a marathon. Perhaps you want to learn to play an instrument like the guitar. Maybe your goal is as simple as getting up to watch the sun rise every morning.

I have some goals too. This year I would like to complete a randonneur series of 200k, 300k, 400k and 600k and become a Super Randonneur. This will lead to other goals. I would like to press the BullDog for reps. I would like to do Pistols with the Bull Dog. I haven't set a time limit for these two goals yet but the next 2 years sounds good. I'm working towards doing 20 pull ups (been stuck on 17 for more than a year). Before I can accomplish most of these goals, I have to work on just moving my body correctly. There are others but I'm not sharing!

I'm not entirely certain but I believe everyone says, "SOME DAY I'M GONNA...(fill in your goal here)." Does the shoe fit?

Heck, I'm human too. Sometimes I get distracted by the couch. I like to sit on it, eat ice cream and watch the tube. I have to be working towards something all the time. Last year I set some lofty goals and I achieved some. Others? Well, I failed but I made progress and I still work towards them. I realized that the time frame for some of my goals should be more flexible because things do happen in life. Oh, I think this is called perseverance.

Wynton Marsalis playing Sparks

About the required spark? Well, the spark can come from anywhere and at any time. Today, my spark came during lunch. I looked out the window at the pull up bars. There was someone out there doing my thing. He was lifting kettlebells and doing pull ups. HMMM, I should be out there with him. Working towards my goals.

Tonight I picked up some kettlebells and got to work. Time to make some money!
pull up 5x5, 2x10
Swing: 32K - 1x10l,10r, 1x30
Clean and Press: 32K - 5x5
Front Squat 24K: 5x5
Bear push ups: 2x10

Notes: Press - I don't remember doing this. Perhaps a PR! It would be really weird because I haven't really worked on this in months. I will attribute it to the bear push ups I've been working on this year.

What is your spark?
What makes you tick?
Just go do it and quit talking and dreaming!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Under the weather

I've been off the grid for a few days. Off the bike and no training at all. I considered training through the illness but common sense got the best of me. I actually beat my daughter to bed a few days. She hits the rack early!

At least my training partner got in some riding.

I think I've recovered for the most part. This morning I hit the kettlebells then a quick spin on the trainer. I should have productive training now.

Pull up 10
Swing 24k 2x50
front squat 24k x 2 - 5x5 + 1leg DL 16k x 5
bear push up - 5 x 10 + pull up 10

Ride: 30 min trainer

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Self Improvement

Today, Dr. Corne Bekker's blog lists 10 Steps to be Miserable. I have to share. All of these are plain common sense. They are all plain common in many people. I see them every day at work. I probably resemble them often as well. In my own inner reflection and quest for self improvement, I will keep these in mind.

Here are a few of the steps toward misery:
  • Grab - make sure that, always and in every place, you come first.

  • Scowl - there is nothing to smile about, and you should let everyone know it.

Weakness = cold weather

This is so sad. Yesterday it started snowing so I gave in and set up the trainer. This is exactly what I vowed not to do this year. I guess it is better than the alternative of no riding. I probably wouldn't get on the bike during the week at all- - weak. This way I get the opportunity to crank for a little while thus the shock on the CNS from the long weekend rides won't be quite as bad.

32 min indoor ride - working technique

Pull up 5x10 +
Clean and Press 24k: 5x123 ladder
Front squat 2x24k: 5x5

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mason-Dixon 200K

All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time"--Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

I thought of Chesty’s quote on an ascent of a long hill on the return. The hills were around us and all we could do is climb. The Maxon-Dixon 200K is history. The route began in Bethesda, MD, twisted and pitched through the northern DC ‘burbs to Littlestown, PA near Gettysburg, PA. I completed the 128 mile route in about 13 hours. I wish I could say I was messing around at the controls but I wasn’t.

This is a difficult ride, especially for the first brevet of the year. In the December Newsletter, DC Randonneurs RBA Matt Settle said, “I’ve been informed that it is deceptively difficult with more climbing than most of our brevets. So come prepared.” I had disregard for this warning.

A small hill.

In the pre-ride information on the DC Randonneurs Blog Mark Vinnette writes, “I had no intent of making it hard, but my feeble understanding of the terrain and the desire to keep the route direct had its impact. I’ve clocked ~ 7800′ elevation…which always reads lower than others.” My thought, “what a great way to train.”

Does the route live up to the hipe?

The simple answer is yes, it lives up to the hipe. The hills begin immediately and do not relent except for the 10 – 15 miles of rollers.

A sign of things to come.

About 15 miles outside Littlestown, PA, the real fun begins. The hills start to become longer and steeper. There is a small section on Arters Mill RD that has some very steep roads. I actually witnessed people get off their bikes and walk. Upon completion of that section of the route I had a revolting thought. It occurs to me that I have to do the section again in about an hour.

Coho Randonneuse

It was a great day on the Randonneuse. It was a dream to ride in all areas of terrain. There were many compliments given to the Randonneuse. Often people ride just behind me to take in the beauty of Chuck’s craftsmanship.

Completion of this ride brings pride and satisfaction. It was a difficult ride and most importantly, it was FUN!

The start.
Control in Littlestown, PA.

Lessons Learned:
Listen to the wisdom of Veloccio. "Eat before you get hungry."
Training is ok right now. Need some long rides in the coming weeks. More time on the bike will aid fitness.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I took yesterday and today to prepare for tomorrow's Mason Dixon 200K. I tightened the stuff that needs tightening and made adjustments to the places requiring adjustment. I packed my bags and I'm headin' north to Bethesda shortly.

Loading the bicycle in the car has proven to be a chore. Because of the front fender, the randonneuse will not fit on my roof top carrier. To get it home when I received it, I had to remove the wheels and put it in the car upside down. I was able to get it in the car without removing the wheels tonight. This should work as a temporary fix until I upgrade the rack.

Stay tuned for the write up of tomorrow's ride from Bethesda, MD across the Mason Dixon line and back.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Everyone has an excuse for not doing something they should. You know something crazy is coming when it begins with, "Well you see...."

David Whitley shared this video from Alwyn Cosgrove's blog. I thought it fitting for this blog about Getting Off the Couch!

I would like to take it a step further and post this music video by Afroman. I think this song is hilarious! This is not censored, use caution. This dude was gonna do all kinds of stuff but... you will have to listen.

Note: I don't condone this type of illegal activity.

Knight Rider--on the bike

There is a new Night Rider TV show soon to be released. The preview looks cool. This show will be another in a long line of shows that are being remade. Others include: Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman, Land of the Lost, and Kung Fu. Not to mention several older shows made into movies.

While this isn't the most creative thing, it certainly is innovative to bring story lines that worked and modernizing them. Perhaps they can get Jan Michael Vincent out of retirement for another Air Wolf!

Really I want to talk about my NIGHT RIDING:
I was up at 0330 so I could ride to work and supervise physical training. This early morning provided the perfect opportunity to play with the randonneuse's lighting. I used 1 lamp until I rounded to the area of Shore Drive that separates Fort Story and First Landing State Park.

This is a nice dark road providing significant tree cover. During the daytime, it is a beautiful area smack-dab in the urban sprawl. The urban sprawl is stopped only by the Norfolk in the west, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, the Chesapeake Bay in the north and we can't forget the south and the North Carolina border. This is a large city.

I reached down and turned the bezel to the secondary Schmidt E6 lamp. This is a cool thing. It is like hitting the brights on an automobile. The light blazed forward and light the entire lane I was occupying. The peripheral coverage provided by both lamps lighted, lit trees not unlike a tunnel.

This is the highlight of this morning's commute. I have some adjustments to make to the rear derailleur. There was a very steady head wind this morning. At points, I had problems maintaining even 10mph. I required some middle gearing and the randonneuse denied me!

Ride: 17 Miles
Pull up - 10x5
hanging leg raise - 10x5
windshield wipers - 2x5
Iranian Push up - 5x5

Tuesday's ride: 32 miles

Monday, January 7, 2008

More trials

Today I completed more trials on the randonneuse. Of course there was more technical problems but nothing catastrophic. It is all part of learning. Hands on experience with the machine.

Wisdom gained: inspect and tighten everything.

On the way home, I took a detour and hit some of the VB hills. The result is the need for more hills. These hills are more like speed bumps. I will work with what I have available. On another note, the coastal weather provides some serious wind. The coastal wind has a tendency to change velocity and direction as the day progresses.

Ride: 32
Z hips

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Her maiden voyage: "sea trials"

This afternoon I took advantage of the temps in the 60s and took the new Randonneuse on her maiden voyage. UMMM, Chuck, I hope you broke a bottle over the fresh powder coat before I picked her up! Actually, today and the next 3 or 4 rides are sea trials. Before a new vessel is certified mission ready, the Navy conducts extensive tests on all ship systems as well as crew readiness. Today's ride serves as day 1 of sea trials as I get the bike all dialed in prior to her first brevet.

It is a good thing too, I had a couple bolts come loose. No worries, I brought some wrenches just for that purpose. Some quick adjusting and back to peddling.

The Randonneuse is a pleasure to ride. It takes little effort to cruise along at a comfortable pace even in the wind. I had to find some hills. In Virginia Beach is FLAT but, there are bridges over the inlets. I took the Randonneuse back and forth over a couple bridges...I mean hills. She seems to glide up and down the hills easily.

Hills in VB look like this.

I keep saying easy. This bike is very easy to ride compared to my Motobeceane. The MB was like dragging a chunk of metal everywhere; a constant fight. The Randonneuse feels completely opposite. I always thought there was something 'wrong' with the MB and now it is confirmed.

Next, I headed for the ocean front and home after a couple of shots.

Beach Cruiser????

This photo sums it all up!

Ride: 19 miles

Z - hips, knees
Pull up - 5x10
Evil Wheel - 5x5
Iranian Push ups - 5x5

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My new ride: COHO Randonneuse

Today we zipped out to pick up my new COHO Randonneuse built by Chuck Lathe.
It is comfy and looks very cool. I can't wait to sit on it for about 10 hours. That's my plan to do exactly that next weekend riding the Mason-Dixon 200K beginning in Bethesda, MD.

The Randonneuse was built with:
  • Brooks saddle
  • Nitto bars, stems, seat post
  • Paul Racer brakes
  • Honjo Fenders
  • Berthoud bag,
  • (2) E6 lamps yes, two and Chuck says they are bright! I hate not being able to see at night. Especially when medium size animals are thinking about jumping in front of you.
  • Schmidt Dynohub from Peter White,
  • Synergy rims
  • Tires: Grand Bios 700x30
  • Ultegra rear hub/drive train with 9speed cassette
Thanks Chuck!

The photo shows my Ultegra SPDr pedals but I plan to use SPD pedals soon.

More photos to follow along with a review of The Ride.

Yesterday's practice:
Z 20min
Iranian Push ups

I'm starting to feel pretty good and loose. I am a little sore from the RIS esp. in the hip flexors. The trade off is my back didn't bother me today.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Strength Training: no need for innovation -- Part 2

Another thought on programs. A continuation of my last post.

There is a principle that states your body adapts to training. Your body gets used to the routine you are doing. Does that mean that the weight you are using is too easy? At this point, most people change what they are doing to the latest program in a health magazine. The solution isn't switching to another program or routine. The solution is adding more weight and sticking to what works!

When you adapt to the new weight, add more weight.

When you adapt to this, add more. And when this happens get the picture.

All of this added weight and adaptation is you getting stronger.

It is so simple that you probably won't do it. I will!

Maxwell bear squat-dive through push up 2x5 + pull up 2 x 10
LC Clean & Jerk 2x24K: 1 min on, 1 min off for 10 min (5 sets) I didn't count reps.

3 rounds
Pull up x 10
Evil wheel x 5
windmill 16K x 5/5

Strength Training: no need for innovation

If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. Thomas Edison.

As an MBA student, I spent the past 4 months learning about foresight, creativity and innovation and attempting to develop these skills. They are certainly the most important skills to develop for successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organizations. They are the skills used by people like Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Fred Smith, Sam Walton, and Ray Croc.

These are NOT skills necessary for successful training. There is no need to innovate new exercises or routines. There are hundreds of exercise plans and routines that are very effective. Most of them improve strength and hypertrophy or both. The guys that set records don't change routines for years.

Unfortunately most people see a routine with a specific purpose and proven results. They change it to “suit their needs.” The results are not the same and they wonder why. Most of these routines are very specific and provide the exact exercise for a number of sets and reps or specific time. Changing the program is NOT doing the program.

Let me provide you with some tips:
  • Choose a couple exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. (dead lift, pull-ups and bench press) or (snatch and clean and jerk)
  • Work them for many sets with medium repetitions. (5 – 10 sets with 5 repetitions)
  • Don’t work to failure; leave a couple reps in the bank.
  • You are stuck in a rut? Keep working! Most people get stuck in a rut or think they are and change their routine. A better method is to back off the weight and build back up. Take the guessing out of the equation and back off every time there is a holiday.
Stick with the routine for 6 months to a year or several years. You will get results.