March 23, 2011

Washing your bike shoes

As most of you triathletes out there and just plain old cyclist will attest, bike shoes become a little raunchy after several months and/or seasons of racing in them. And as my roommate or anyone else who recently came within about a mile from my bike shoes in the recent months, they know that mine are no exception.

So a few weeks ago, I put up a post, half jokingly, on Facebook stating that anyone that knows how to wash a paid or cycling shoes without having them clang around in the washing machine or become sudsy anytime that it rains in the future, please let me know. I got some interesting suggestions that ranged from “just go buy new ones” to “put them in the dishwasher on the top rack”.

Now, good cycling shoes cost around $200+ per pair and I really wasn’t willing to shell out that kind of cash when I just got these shoes at the beginning of last year, so I inquired with the person that said to use the dishwasher. He said it really worked, but don’t do it all the time as I’m sure it’s not too good for the shoes integrity. I figured I would give it a whirl (and make sure that the “drying heat” button was turned off as to not burn or melt the shoes)  Turns out, this was a good idea, and after scrubbing the insoles in the sink and washing another pair, my shoes came out the other side really hot, but remarkably - un-stinkylike.  It was a miracle!

Above is a shot of them "smoking" in my windowsill after being removed from the top rack.  I had concerns about the carbon melting on them, but then I thought that if a thin tupperware can withstand the top rack in my dishwasher, my bike shoes should be able to do the same.  So this will be how I clean my shoes after IM this year as I'm sure more bodily fluids than I care to admit will end up on them during the long race.  Just thought I would share a tidbit I learned after many years of long course racing and having to deal with smelly shoes.  Hopefully this new snow melts and we can all get out on the roads soonish. Train hard friends and see you all out there.  Cheers!

March 18, 2011

First outdoor ride of the year!

Last night I was able to go for my first outdoor ride of the year.  Had a nice 35+mile ride outside as the sun was setting.  Didn't move an inch, but it was nice to get out in the fresh air and have a breeze and a little change of pace. 
It became pitch black by the time I got finished with the ride, but honestly that’s no different than when the lights turn off after about 15 minutes in the basement when I’m riding. So it was a good ride and I only got a few weird stares from motorists passing by (I was right next to the parking lot) and it was a good ride. Normally when I’m riding in the basement and the lights are on, this is the view that I have:
Yesterday, I took advantage of the weather though and brought the entire set up outside and got my ride in outside :o) That was partly because I was lacking the time to get my entire ride in and also partly because I still have to get a new helmet after some moron decided he would walk out of the transition area with mine at Musselman last year.  I’ll be picking one up this evening on my way home from work, don’t you worry!  

So with that, get outside, enjoy this unseasonably warm weather and train my friends.  The spring is right around the corner (actually this weekend) and I expect to see you all on the roads and trails, training hard.  Cheers!

March 15, 2011

More ramblings...

Well I have a little bit of extra time at work here today and I thought I would add on to the post from yesterday with a few new tidbits of stuff going on in the land of Keep Moving Forward.  Things are still going okay and I'm getting back into the big training once more and getting back into the groove once more. 

This past block of training was good, I was beat afterwards, which tells me I need to focus a little longer on rest, recovery and nutrition between key workouts and thru the day (so maybe giving up the Dew isn't a bad idea after all) The only thing that was different about this last block is that I didn't race and I think I missed that.  Maybe it's the fact that I didn't race last weekend that has made my mood quite melancholy, but it's something.  I enjoy racing and I know I have a lot of it coming up on the horizon, but I've been missing seeing the gains from all the labor that I've been putting in this year.  (and that's been a lot over the last few weeks) But after this new block of training (3-4 weeks) I'll be racing a lot, so that will hopefully scratch the itch.

I didn't give up coffee this year and I vowed to never again after that Chicago race report (as Tim pointed out) so hopefully the above hyper caffienated situation will not apply.  :o) That was a totally random picture and thought to put down here, but I really just wanted to add the picture to the blog.

In other news, the prelimiary rankings came out for the One Hour Postal Swim that I did back in January and it was some fierce competition with places 1-10 getting medals in each age group.  After busting my hump and swimming faster than I ever have before and covering 4800yards, I ended up 15th overall in my age group.  Not too shabby and I'll take it.  Realistically, next year I'd love to be in and around that 5k mark as I think that is a solid barrier to be around.  Preliminary rankings can be found: HERE

I also know that I owe you all the "seasonal" listing of my beer offerings from the top ten list and here is a solid picture to depict that from my buddy who comments on this blog so much, Tim.
Tim, your comments and squirrelly pictures amuse me much, so thank you so much for making my day brighter.  (I'm just actually glad you gave up the ribbing about pulling out of Cast-A-Shadow several years ago!) But in the light of the picture above, I will NOT be adding Budweiser to my list of seasonals, and will put a solid focus on Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter beers that make my "top 3 seasonal" lists each year.  So when those seasons come along, you all can enjoy like I do, if you prefer.  Or just try some new and exciting tastes.

So with that, I'll close this post.  I feel a lot better about how "up-to-date" the blog is now and I got a chance to use two funny photos to boot! :o) See you all in the dungeon, on the trainer, on the roads and hopefully on the trails soon after the snow melt friends.  Train hard and cheers!

March 14, 2011

Earl(e)y season BIG training

So it's been another solid block of training and I just came off a rest week last week feeling okay. (note - not feeling fantastic, just okay) But that might have something to do with the fact that I've been pushing some hours that I didn't quite know I was capable of in mid February/early March.  You see, the last three week build that I did went (in total hours) 16 hours, 17.5 hours and then a whopping 18 hour week before I kind of broke down and went onto a rest week.  (and only 30 minutes of those were core work - abs, pushups, etc...the rest was good old fashioned S/B/R)

I woke up on that Monday of the rest week and felt like my body had been broken. I ended the 3 week build with a solid 3 hour ride and it had some intense tempo efforts in it in an effort to increase FTP and also muscular endurance.  I'e been ending all of my long trainer rides with tempo at the very end to "finish strong" and I can feel it's going well.  But I know that the hours took their toll and I was teetering on that fine line of just overdoing it and getting sick for the beginning part of the week.  So sleep, liquids and OJ were on the dockett and I felt quasi-normal by mid week.

This block though I am concentrating on more "strength" type work on the bike and will be breaking my muscles down a lot more than they have been in the past, so I don't expect to see my weekly hour totals go up as high as they were in that last block.  This will be more quality work that will tax me physically and I'll need more protein to rebuild and recover to go after the next workout. 

On that note though, the Garmin that I got is pretty swanky.  I'm a big fan of the charts and graphs and seeing the power lines and #'s mid ride is a definite bonus.  It's taught me to let go of the speed #'s that I chased after for years and to focus on staying within my wattage (and riding within myself) It's also pretty slick for runs too, not having to guess at how long I ran or anything.  Good stuff that makes my mileage and logs much more accurate. 
So on a side note, I gave up Mountain Dew for Lent.  This might not seem like a big deal, but that was one of the perks that I looked forward to slamming when I was low on energy.  Now this wasn't by any means a daily thing, but I would often have one maybe 2x per week and it would be a special treat for me.  It's gonna be a long haul until Easter, but I think I can manage.  I might just have to replace one vice with another...we'll see how it works out. 

Other than that, things have been going well here in the land of Keep Moving Forward.  The next race on the horizon for me is Spring Forward 15K and that will be a fun way to blast the rust out of my legs as a start to the season.  It's gonna come at the end of this 3 week block for me, so we'll see how it pans out. That's really all I got going over here, nothing new, just training lots and getting stuff ready for this years season.  See you out on the roads, the trails (when they melt) and in the pool friends.  Cheers.