Base Training – Fact Or Fiction? (GCN Video)

Long and slow base miles, shorter, quicker miles, Periodization, HIIT and now HIIT-tabata style. There are many ways to ‘train’ or condition the body for endurance rides, sportives, spirited club riding or racing.

What I have ascertained from all of these different methods, articles and real world experiences is that there is no single method that can really lay claim to being the ‘best’ or the be all
to end all method. Because everyone who engages in aerobic conditioning responds differently to the varied methods of training.

Bottom line is that they all work, it’s just that some of the tried and true methods may yield better results than other methods. And the end result depends on the varied physiological factors of each individual utilizing a particular method. So, whatever works for you…go with it!

2014 WP in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

13 in ’14 (Freewheel Burning)

“Look before you leap- has never been the way to keep, our road that’s Free”

 

Ride with GPS Segment Leaderboard for 2014


Man+Machine (The Antagonist)

Top Descent Segments – 2014

Schooleys Sweeping Swoop  – 1.2 Avg Spd. 39.1 Ranked #1 with 4 efforts
Descenso Caliente Combs  – 0.5 Avg Spd. 25.9 Ranked #1 with 3 efforts
Spencer Sweepers  – 0.5 Avg Spd. 26.9 Ranked #1 with 2 efforts
The Pond Hill Esses  – 0.3 Avg Spd. 29.7 Ranked #1 with 8 efforts
Blacksmith Descent  – 1.3 Avg Spd. 29.3 Ranked #1 with 2 efforts
Wertman Plunge  – 1.0 Avg Spd. 22.1 Ranked #1 with 2 efforts
Union Mills – 0.4 Avg Spd. 32.1 Ranked #1 with 20 efforts
King George Drop  – 0.6 Avg Spd. 39 Ranked #1 with 11 efforts
Willow Bridge Bends  – 0.5 Avg Spd. 28.6 Ranked #1 with 28 efforts
Hunter-Killer (Blood in the Water) 0.7 Avg Spd. 32 Ranked #1 with 8 efforts
Alstede-Gristmill 1K – 0.6 Avg Spd. 35.2 Ranked #1 with 4 efforts
Mill Rd Mambo  – 0.6 Avg Spd. 29.5 Ranked #1 with 4 efforts
Somerville Downs  – 0.7 Avg Spd. 36.4 Ranked #1 with 16 efforts

A Climber too slow, a Sprinter no not so-

But give me a descent- where the road twists and bends
Man, I’ll slice every curve in sight and go head long into any dare…

 

There was a point earlier in the year, somewhere in the June-July period where (for which I have no real tangible explanation) I started to lose my nerve on quick descents. That edge, my one strength, ‘my thing’ as it were on the road was slipping away…I was being cautious, too hesitant.

I had started to have doubts and allowed my fears to dictate my decisions. So, rather than just give in I forced myself to plunge into fast, technical descents, I would watch clips of Grand Tour Descents, the TT and the Ulster GP on YouTube, which provided inspriation and gradually my confidence returned.

Like Chopper say’s sometimes you just gotta…Harden the Fuck up 😉

 

In my view, we are living in an age with anti-liberty statists who consider “danger” and “risk” to be a pejorative. To that I say aye, fook ’em all. We are still relatively free men and women (but who knows for how long). How dare anyone else decide what is safe and what is not for the rest of us- if it’s a clear cut choice.

After all choice is, the crux of Freedom. And Risk, like Fear is no more or no less than that of our own perceptions. Some may have more aversion to risk than others, which is fine. But I would tell those who are trying to ‘save me from myself’ don’t dare decide the amount of risk that is deemed ‘acceptable’ for me, based on your own fears, your own limitations.

Taking risks is a part of life, mostly because we can, well, at least for the moment.
It is Passion, it is drive and the challenge that light the spark.

The quest for speed and excitement becomes a marked determination for some, those moments to test skill and suppress the always present mind-killer, fear. The elements of risk and danger versus the desire to push our own abilities, our own Mortal limitations….

To me, there is nothing like pressing the boundaries of risk and fear, to make one feel alive. Passion, Ferocity, Risk and Fear are part of the essence of ones spark…the spark that is the very essence of life

Addio 2014…addio

 

Tested & Ridden | Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slicks

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( In total, I put over 3300 miles on this set of Vittoria Zaffiro’s before changing to a new set)

Earlier this year in June, when I first reviewed the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick 700×25 clinchers, I did so after putting only about 342 miles on the set. Since then my initial impressions have changed a bit. To date I have what I consider is an unbelievable 2,503 miles on the set of Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slicks. Even after 2500 miles, these tires are performing very well. Not a cut or a tear to be found and I have had not one flat (so far!)

As I had remarked back in June, the durability was a bit of  an unknown factor at the time and although I did read some reviews which stated they were a long lasting tyre, one never knows until one actually puts the miles on. Well, I can now state without any bias, that the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slicks are one of the most durable road bike tire brands I have ever ridden and they are also some of the best all around tires I have ever ridden on.

Set up and peel off into a fast corner, the Zaffiro’s provide stable grip all the way through to the edge of the tyre. Transitioning from right-to-left and left-to-right in quick esses, they never miss a beat. Compared to my previous set of Ultrasports and Maxxis, the Vittoria’s don’t exhibit that sometimes ‘vague’ feeling, especially in the front tyre as some other brands tend to do at higher speeds. Shoulder to edge grip is high and consistent, providing a secure feeling when carving through the corners.

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For 60 TPI tire, the Vittoria’s have a high-level of side and edge grip and provide very predictable feedback, as well as having lasting durability. And to be sure, I have put these tyres to the test in many high speed sweeping and technical corners, in which I have claimed a half dozen top segment spots. In both dry and wet conditions they have simply performed exceptional while remaining markedly consistent.

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Compared to some of the previous brands I have ridden on; Hutchinson, Maxxis, Kenda and Continental, the Vittoria’s stand well above the rest (though the Conti Ultrasports are nearly as good imo). The Zaffiro Pro Slicks mounted on my R-002 Supersport machine have been through all types of terrain and all types of road conditions and have performed exceptional in all instances during the 2014 riding season. This includes many varying types of surfaces from gravel and dirt to rough and smooth pavement as well as a wide range of cool to hot summer temperatures.

Though billed as a ‘training’ tyre, with a ‘tread’ I would absolutely recommend the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slicks for anyone wanting an all-around tire for touring, club riding- both casual and aggressive and training races as well. Typically, I run about 100-102 psi in the rear and 95-96 psi in front. Bottom line is that I have a lot of praise for these tires which upon initially purchasing them, is something I did not think I necessarily would have said.

Given what I had purchased the Zaffiro Pro Slick set for, $31.00 on sale and additional $6.00 for s/h and considering the performance-to-price ratio (or Benefit-to-Cost ratio) the Zaffiro Pro Slicks earn 4 and half stars in my book.

Size: 700c x 25mm
Bead: Kevlar-Folding
Weight: 250g
TPI: 60

(as with all reviews, the opinions expressed are dependent on a variety of factors derived directly from my experiences)

The STATIST quo…

Without doubt, this post will ruffle the feathers of some, if not many. As you might guess, that does not matter to me. What does matter, is that I opine a dissenting, opposing view to the popular beliefs in society (bike related or not) I was prompted to write this impromptu post after watching today’s Giro d’Italia and the crashes that took place near the end of the stage.

Statism is a form of a mild mental disorder. Which can be a short-term or a long-term affliction.

Statism not only applies to those who just blindly support the ‘State’ but who also blindly and without critical question or thinking, support popular but often false narratives.

Statists, often buy in to what are just falsities, notions that are illogical when critically analyzed, but are not given much thought, because they are a ‘popular’ belief. Sadly, most of these inaccuracies are perpetuated from when we are born. The collective are conditioned to believe almost everything we are taught or instructed to do so. Often by the media, schools and the masses of like-minded drones. Critical dissent and critical agitation are a must for the truth to survive and triumph.

Trust, laziness and apathy are at the heart of the propagation of such falsities and misunderstandings in all societies. In cycling, as in any form of moving transportation, the CAUSATION of any accident, crash or mishap is ALWAYS, always the fault of the operator(s). Let that sink in and either make you nod yes, maybe or pull down your undergarments from your backside- as I am sure they have may have wedged up there just a bit.

We have devolved in to a world of blaming anything and everything on someone or something else. To that, I say bullshit.

The Causation of a bike  pileup is NOT due to road furniture. Not due to slick roads. Not due to the rain, snow, ice, etc. But rather it is down to the operator(s) Which includes big packs of riders or drivers. That said, the above mentioned hazards do play a significant role. They are ancillary factors. Obstacles can be avoided. When they are not, excuses are at the forefront. This is somewhat normal human behavior, although when analyzed, not the truth.

The ice storms of this past winter in the northeast were NOT the causation of the multitude of wrecks and accidents. Certainly, the ice was a contributing factor- but not the Causation. The ice in fact was a Correlation. The pileups in bike races do not happen because OF an obstacle, or the roads were narrow or it was raining, etc. No, sorry to burst the statist bubble.

The crashes, the pileups, the accidents, all happen because the rider or driver did NOT keep control of his or her vehicle. Plain and simple. When conditions are not dry or impose a non-typical setting or surrounding, one must adapt to these changing and hazardous conditions. Not only adapt, but adapt well. Bike handling skills and vehicle control under duress and hazardous conditions are THE most important ability and understanding to have in any moving vehicle, 2 or 4 or more wheeled.

A crash or an accident reveals one and one thing only about the operator. Careless or reckless behavior. Yes, reckless. But mostly just careless actions. Now, can careless actions be a result of fatigue? Absolutely. How about because of someone else’s mistake? Again, absolutely. But no matter what the contributing or ancillary factors that were in play, the bottom line is…operator error. Operator fault. Crashes, accidents and mishaps expose ones lack of ability. Mine, yours, and everyone’s at some point in time.

Careless:

1.not paying enough attention to what one does-

Reckless:

  1. utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless
    (usually followed by of ): to be reckless of danger.

2.characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

Without control, one is at the mercy of external forces (variable and changing conditions) and when in a pack of bicycles and riders,  one is also at the mercy of everyone around him or her. No amount of excuses will alter this truth, although many will try. Truth does not care about ones feelings, truth does not discriminate, Truth simply, is.

 

Vagando…

 

The tick of cogs, passing links of chain to lower gears…amidst the sound of a spinning
hub and whirling carbon wheels

The rhythm of the road;
my flesh, all of my blood and bone…together in harmony- this mortal man and
refined machine

Atop high-tech composites, molded and shaped  into swooping, aero-lines,
I sometimes wander and too, I do often wonder. The Ride, like Life is fleeting,
always…

 

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“Country Roads explored on a Sunny Spring Day…”

 

 

 

R002 – SS | Rollout and Shakedown Run

The official rollout and shakedown run of the Black Blade R002 Supersport took place
on Wednesday, March 26th at Valley Park circuit. First ride, though short provided a
limited amount of feedback, but the 2014 machines chassis setup and geometry seem
decent enough to work with going forward. This was the first time that the bike had
turned it’s wheels in any significant way. As expected, there were the obligatory teething problems. Again, this was anticipated but that is what testing is all about.

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My saddle, brake lever/hood  settings were loosely based off of my previous bike, so
I knew that dialing these settings in would take a bit of time. First few pedal turns I could
tell that the saddle height was nearly perfect, but the fore/aft setting was a bit too close to the center of the bars. That perception was confirmed up once I measured my knee to the ball of my foot ratio with a plumb bob. So, after moving the saddle slightly rearward about 1mm from the center of the seatpost and aligning the brake hoods to my liking I put a few more miles on the bike.

The range of adjustments with the saddle fore and aft, saddle height, stem length
and rise, though limited will all play a significant part in getting the setup as close to correct as possible. While balancing  the overall ‘fit’ and ‘feel’ of the machine. Initially, the steering feels twitchy, not sharper but ‘nervous’ and certainly not as comfortable as my previous Pro-Lite Galileo, which is extremely stable on high-speed descents. It will take some time to sort out this issue and get used to the feel of the R002 – SS chassis.

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I am confident that I will be able to improve upon the inherent performance of the
R002 – SS and find a good compromise with the setup over the next few weeks.
Another longer test ride is planned for the following week.

Beware the Ides of Mud…

A short Saturday ride, with lots of drama and action…

Base Miles sure don’t come easy…as this was a ride to forget.
The roads were in bad shape, salt and water everywhere.  Then I sank my
right foot in the mud up to my ankle. Oh nice… (in my best Brit accent)

Then while at the local airport for a quick pit-stop….I was chased by an angry Rottweiler.
My quick thinking and memory of reading about how to fend off the pooches had me
fencing the 4-legged chap with my carbon steed. At first, I just tried to discourage him,
but he kept coming at me. So then, I attacked him, using the pedal to try and hit him in
the snout. But he was relentless.

Finally what seemed much longer but probably after about two minutes, an
elderly gent thankfully came running over and restrained the stout mongrel. Whew,
that dog Wanted a piece of me in the worst way…I remounted, bid farewell to the man
and the ambitious dog then sprinted out of the airport lot!

Another stop for a scenery pic and the bike fell over. Result? Scratched the carbon fork,
the rear stays and broke both bottle cages and that were not bad enough, I was almost T-boned a block from home. Aye, bugger me…


A T-6 Texan…(trainer) on display and ready for guest rides at George Walker Field
in Bedminster NJ