Saturday, February 28, 2009

did you hear THAT?!

If you play guitar you know what I mean. It's cool yet frustrating to play. I'm self taught(ongoing) and it surely takes longer to learn than if I was schooled. So every so often I get an awakening. It happened yesterday. Sure I've played an upstroke when picking but yesterday opened up a whole new sound when I did it a certain way. It was exciting! The one thing about that thing is changing or should I say, learning different techniques can really change the sound you get out of it. It's not just press down the frets and play, finger touch, the way you hold your pic, where you pic on the guitar, the type of string, and most recently different picking techniques, They all add to the musical arsenal. Yo EDWARD!! Wonder if we'll ever see ChemicalButter on stage? LOL

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'....

Well I haven't cancelled the hotel etc for April but I have pulled out the Paris Roubaix DVDs - which can only mean one thing. It's time to ride... So the entertainment this week has been messing with saddle fore aft and bar height on the new bike. Thing that sucks is its on the rollers which doesn't really tell me how it will feel on the roads. Its EARLY and it's base riding so if it's not dialed in on the first few outdoor rides it won't be the end of the world. I'm a stickler for good position though, so the sooner I can put the stamp of approval the better. One thing thats bothering me now that the marathon is pretty much a wash, is I NEED to have some training goals -MOTIVATION. I don't like it when I've got nothing planned. It makes going to Buffalo Wild Wings WAY to easy. LOL

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

there goes the neighborhood

So a reliable source has informed me that Ernesto is moving into Bedford Park. How cool is THAT?!

on the fence but LEANING...

As all of you blog followeres have read LOL I injured my left foot on January 31st while training for a marathon. It cost me a good solid 3 weeks of no activity. (Note to self, you feel out of shape at 3 weeks.) :( So I no longer have a brace, doctor appointments, or forced rest, and I need to decide what to do. Origonally my plan was to train thru the winter for the April 11th marathon, then get on the bike and ride - taking advantage of zero trainer burnout, no possibility of being a winter star, and the aerobic and weight benefits of training via long distance running. Brilliant plan until now. I redesigned a training plan with zero flexibility as far as the long runs go. I either do the long ones as scheduled or blow the training. I've been on the rollers a couple times this past week, and yesterday went out for a 3 mile run. I still feel a slight (I HOPE its not just a mental thing) pain in the heel of my foot. A riding friend (SEEGS) reiterated what a number of people already told me - "Ray, you belong on 2 wheels..." So it's either attempt the running and risk injury to an already agravated foot or ditch it and jump on the bike and don't look back. Personally and you can call me crazy, I think the cycling gods were mad and unleashed their wrath when my new road bike was close to being finished... Now that the weather is just about to break, and I can hit the roads it's becoming pretty clear what I should do. The thing of it is, as an athlete you don't like to fail at something, BUT as a smart athlete, you adjust and move on. I think I just answered my own question LOL So as Freddie Mercury would say - "Get on your Bikes and RIDE"
So now I need to figure out WHO I'm going to ride with, and reach out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

we HAVE arrived....

After watching a LOT of coverage of this years Tour of California (had to stay off an injured foot ;) ), there's a couple of things that are very clear.
The United States has finally come up to the big leauges with this race. I really hope to go there on vacation and catch some stages in the future. The amount of people at the Solvang Time Trial, and even the stages with temps in the 40s, and raining was simply awesome. FINALLY we're there...
Speaking of the time trial, watching ALL THOSE people running along with the racers was WAY cool. I can only imagine what a rush it must have been for those riders to be cheered on like that. Levi's intensity on the start ramp defines our passion for the sport, and he TOTALLY deserved to win it. Just imagine a pro tour doing a time trial on a course you normally ride. Nuff said.
It's cool to see that Lance has attacted such an interest, and it's equally cool to see the current day pros showing him they are the real deal, and you don't come back and automatically win based on your name, or your past. That statement doesn't count for me. :)
Congrats to Rock Racing for continuing their uphill battle to be taken seriously by the cycling world.Anybody else hear Liggett and Sherwin's somewhat jaded comments toward RR? MAN I hope they get it together and become a pro tour team. It would be such a shame to see Tyler Hamilton, and Fast Freddie Rodriguez stuck in the states or worse... and WHERE THE HELL is Cipollini??

Thursday, February 19, 2009

the foot and how to run with it

WELL, the foot doctor has cleared the way for me to "cautiously" return to running. SOOOO, of course I went out for a 2 miler to see how things are today. I didn't experience any pain, but it got me to thinking. I did put together a modified training plan in the event I jump back into marathon training, but I would be pushing it. I'm also just about (99%) done with my new road bike. I actually was on the rollers with it today adjusting the saddle. What got me thinking the most was driving down 95th street. I was driving up a hill and it dawned on me. How cool it would be to be climbing right now. I NEVER think of running but I ALWAYS think of riding. I don't want to minimize the amount of riding I do this year. If I run then it's back to lots of running, and minimal riding til April. OR I can get out on the roads sooner than later. Still not sure, and I am not cancelling the hotel reservation for the marathon yet....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nokon cable install Shimano derailleurs

Part 2 of my Nokon cable install tips. This time it focuses on the derailleur setup. I just want to mention that these cables have begun to get a bad reputation on the internet for being too hard to install. NOT TRUE, spend a bit of time and you can do it. It's not as brainless as regular STI cables etc, but come on! look at these things, they're really nice looking...
The big change for Shimano users is you form a loop about 5 cm from the lever, which is VERY different then what your used to seeing with STI. As shown near the lever in this picture. Put a piece of electrical tape around the bar/nokon assembly after you form the loop. The smaller loop doesn't interfere with your hands :)
I had to take off the adjustable cable guides on the frame for the deraillers, and using a small drill bit, opened the hole up a very small amount to feed the black inner housing thru. The black inner housing runs all the way down the frame and thru the cable guide under the bottom bracket to the rear derailleur as shown.

The rear Nokon cable should have the black plastic housing fed thru the rear derailleur frame guide and the 2 should be connected together with the clear tube as shown.
What I did was run the cable from the front of the bike down thru the cable guide on the rear chain stay, then I slid the clear tube onto the section I just pulled thru the frame. Then, run the silver braided derailleur cable thru the housing. I fed the rear NOKON rear derailleur cables black plastic tubing to meet the other end and slid the clear plastic tube over both ends to seal the inner cable. Next, feed or remove the colored Nokon pices until you have the length you want on the rear derailleur NOKON cable . Remember, the end of the black inner housing should be just short of the ends (the black cable should NOT stick out of the Nokon colored cable) Remember to add a small silver piece followed by a silver end piece to each end.
Look to see where the Nokon cable would touch the frame, and slide off the colored NOKONS at that point. With a bit of spit (it will evaporate), slide the rubber protective tube onto the NOKON pieces. Then feed the NOKON pieces back onto the cable, sliding them into the rubber tube as shown. MUCH EASIER than sliding the rubber tube all theway along the completed cable

The front derailleur. Feed the black inner housing thru the guide under the bottom bracket and up toward the front derailleur. Slide the inner silver braided cable thru the housing, and let it hang. The black housing should be carefully cut (about an inch up from where it comes up from the bottom bracket cable guide to allow you to slip the gray sheath over the end of the black housing to keep water etc out as shown. (The smaller end of the grey sheath point toward the front derailleur...

You will have about an inch or 2 of exposed silver braided derailleur cable that leads up to your front derailleur. Get on your bikes and RIDE!

Nokon cable install Shimano brakes

Since the Nokon cables are so damn cool, and there is a lack of info on how to install them I have put together some notes and photos to assist those in need. Call it good cycling Karma!
When installing the brake cables on Shimano brakes/shift levers, the inner plastic black housing that comes with the colored pieces on it should be long enough to go almost to the end of the flexible silver cable and attached to the brake lever as the following photo shows. The end closest to the brake can have the colored pieces added and the end should have that small silver bell, and silver aluminum end piece. The length of the black inner plastic housing should be almost to the end also

The rear brake -should be connected to the lever the same way as the front. The difference is the black inner housing should be long enough to go thru the frames cable guide as shown I had to work the inner housing thru the frames cable guide with a bit of effort. Run the actual silver braided brake cable thru the housing and let it hang thru both pieces as you continue on to connecting the two pieces of inner housing together and move on to the rear brake cable...
You will see that the inner housing is connected together from front to back with a clear plastic tube. Done to keep water etc out of the cabling. The rear brake cable pieced together with colored pieces and each end is finished with the small silver ball and then the silver end piece. What I did is figure out where the aluminum would touch the frame, and pulled off a number of colored pieces up to that spot. I then used a bit of spit (it will dry out) to pull the fatter rubber tube over the colored pieces, then I fed the pieces I just pulled off back onto the cable and pushed them into the rubber hose. The end result was the protective rubber piece was positioned to protect the frame as shown.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

it's getting better all the time

Good news, my assumption that I no longer needed the softcast/boot was not stubbornness! It was confirmed by the doctor this morning. I spent the long weekend glued to the coverage of the Tour of Calfornia (read that as off the foot), and I stopped wearing the boot Sunday. It feels good. The doctor sees good results on the ultrasound, and as long as I promised I would not over due it or run this week I don't need the boot. I'm in a elastic brace and have been given the green light to get on the bike, still can't run.... If all goes well this week I can return to running next week. So I redesigned the marathon training plan to see if this is still doaable. It is a schedule that is tight, and really doesn't allow for anymore injury. I think I may be able to pull this off with a reduced load, but time will tell. So a number of significant changes have occured, and in all honesty I do have a lot to do with the sucess of this. I'm laying low to see how this goes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

what a difference a day makes

Tour of California, yesterday when they FINALLY got to interviewing a Rock Racing rider, Tyler Hamilton basically tells all of us he's out of shape right now, ughh. Well today sees "the Rock Racing show" when the cameras finally get footage on to the big screen, it was all Rock and we got the opportunity to see their new bikes from Kestrel, and another good looking team kit.(Sux they are no longer on them killer lookin Derosa's though. At any rate A great finish for Francisco Mancebo. Congrats!! I also ordered my Cipollini Rock Racing shirt from their relaunched (last night) web site. Rock Racing kicks...

So the other interesting news is Astana was robbed of some bikes last night, including Lance's timetrial bike. Good luck to the fool thinking they can sell the most famous bike in the US cycling scene - knuclehead... I will buy the crankset off it if contacted though LOL

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I can count them on one hand

bad birthdays....
I've always put great importance on birthdays, it's the reason I'm off for my families b days. To make them feel special, because it's their special day. It's also why I always take mine off. I don't want to ruin my day with a bad day at work, why risk it right??
So as far as I can remember, I've had 4 bad birthdays
1 - I woke up on my birthday with pnemonia back in grammar school, I remember I was devastated because I was supposed to go to a speed skating meet, and was bummed because I missed it, and because I had pnemonia...
2 - for whatever reason my mom had me drive her to the vet and had our dog euthanised on my birthday when I was in highschool or maybe shortly after highschool. Didn't see that one coming....
3 - The day I turned 21 - snowstorm, and nobody wanted to go out. I was on a mission being 21 and all and it culminated with drinking at somebodys apartment. A complete bust...
4 - Yesterday 2-11-2009, fresh off the news that an injury has shelved my plans to run a marathon, dealing with walking around in an aircast, and feeling completely completely DOWN. Driving rain and wind mirrored the sadness I felt inside. Aside from the last minute attempted damage control by family,and the fact I was off work, I REALLY want to erase yesterday...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the problem with being an athlete

Yesterday I was put in a softcast/stabilizing boot, and told I can not run for up to 4 weeks. So over the last day, I've had to scrap the plans to run the Illinois marathon on April 11th. The months of training and the GREAT shape I got myself in have come to a halt. A hurdle I face is I hold high importance on my athletic performances. My training and performance defines me to a point, but a big point it is. I don't think I'm much different from other athletes that strive for greatness. The problem becomes, what do you do when all the training etc is taken away? It does not make for a good headspace. It opens a large void. YES my long term goals were to be in great shape as the riding season begins, but the goal of completing the marathon in the time I was projecting was a BIG goal as well. 4 weeks off, thats gonna be a problem for SO MANY reasons. Like I said, the problem with being an athlete - injury....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

comfort or the lack there of

On an unrelated note how often does one fight to escape but will not do what's recommended to eliminate the need to do so? People are aprehensive to take medicine to make them feel better, but will do so many other things to unsucessfully relieve their burdens and stresses. Concern that certain medications will change their headspace, when in reality they change it anyway with endless other options that prove unsucessful. If they don't like where they are at, then maybe change is necessary, especially if they've gone around and around with the same struggles, and are stuck. Maybe they should throw caution to the wind and get unstuck. I read "If nothing changes, then nothing changes" Sometimes athletes see things like medicines as a sign of weakness, of failure to conquer and overcome. That kind of thinking can really throw a wrench in the road to improvement in ones overall health...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

the quad returns

Still plan on a different saddle, SE Racing padset, and some white pedals, but at this point this flashback to the coolest ride I had back in the day is done. Biggest difference is we both kinda grew up. Cant WAIT to cruise this thing over to the local skatepark with the boys to drop the jaws of the "younger generation" with "The Quad"

what to do with downtime

It takes some time to put these on but Nokon cables make a majestic bike even sweeter. It is almost done!

the mental game of injury

A game I seem to be losing currently. It's interesting, the more time I'm grounded from workouts, the more I have idle time to think. It's the recent idle thinking time that seems to be getting the better of me. What I thought was plantar faciitis may turn out to be either tendonitis or worse yet a fracture. I was at the hospital for xrays friday afternoon, and was origonally told I'd get the rrsults Saturday afternoon. No such luck I have to wait till Monday. GRRRR Note to those of you that are not athletes - I know you mean well, but DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT ever tell me I need to realize how old I am and can't be doing things like this because my body isn't as young as it used to be and cant handle it. A note to athletes out there - your mom's mean well, but hardly EVER can say the right things when their middle aged kids are injured. My mom is a case in point. I love her imensely, but do not want to hear she doesn't think I should be doing this race for WHATEVER reason. Bottom line is I'm in a mind funk, foot hurts, playing the waiting game, and the temperature was close to 60 YES 60 this weekend. I probably would have melted or internally combusted since ALL my training has been in the record cold weather so far. I'm going to take advantage of the downtime today and work on completing my new ride. I pretty much finished my ultra WAYYY cool Quad angle last night.I still want a different saddle and pedals though. Pictures are coming probably today - A classic exhibit of BMX porn :)
So I really wonder if the Cycling Gods are frustrated and want me back on the bike where I belong, and did this to me(running injury)? Call me crazy, but some things are stranager than fiction...

Friday, February 6, 2009

nice to see the master has decided to take things into his own hands! I wonder if this is one of Obama's doings?! LOL

time for the doctor

I am wreathing in pain. My left foot is hurting big time. It feels different after a number of days aggressively icing it, but something is wrong. I'm off to the doctors today for some professional advice and more importantly pain alleviation. It's times like this that I need to keep my focus in today. It is easy for me to jump ahead of myself and shift gears (literally) and go right to the bike, cancel the marathon etc. SEE?! That's why I am staying in today. I've worked very hard to get where I'm at right now.Brutal cold, too much snow, complete dedication.... I've been flying, and now this. Wish me luck

Thursday, February 5, 2009

interplanetary f....

I believe I figured out what type of injury I have to my left foot. It didn't take long to diagnose thanks to the marvels the net. I have Plantar Faciitis, or an inflamation to the outside bottom of my foot from heal to toes. OUCH KILLS me to walk. My stomach has been bothering me because I'm trying to minmimize the walking pain with some 800mg IBUprofins I had from a while ago. Needless to say lots of icing, stretching and self massage is underway. GOOD NEWS flash - I was able to get on the rollers last night without issue so looks like the cycling gods are smiling upon me and reminding me where I belong :) Nevertheless, I reserved a room for a hotel down in Champaign for Marathon weekend, and as far as I'm concerned it's still on. Temps are going to be warm the rest of the week - figures!?! BUT I may get a ride in to make up for no long run -single speed road ride zone 2 ala base mileage....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Well the injury to my left foot has become a problem. I'm at the point now where it hurts IN A BIG WAY to walk on it. My plan was to switch gears (literally) to riding the rollers, but I'm questioning if that is doable. It's been ice, self kneading/massage, and 800 yes 800mg ibuprofins a couple times a day... Then there's the mental chater that started -Do I even want to continue the training in what has been L'enfer of a winter. Is my new ride calling me to it knowing that my time on it will be mininmal until April (yeah that one's a stretch...) WHAT is really wrong with the foot and how can I get it mended quickly. UGHHH Injury sucks!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the irony of injury

It's stranger than fiction. My plans were to begin adding more cycling workouts into my training regimen come February. Particularly to take the place of the 3 mile runs I schedule a couple days during the week. Lo-and-behold going into the begining of the month I've come to develop a pain in the outside of my right foot in which I'm currently having pain when I walk. Not good but no time to freak. As of this week (and right on schedule) I will be on the rollers until the pain subsides. The good news is I'm up to 17 miles for the long runs,and quite honestly the runs have been good quality and I have been feeling great, so I have some breathing room. Like I said "stranger than fiction"....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

the road so far as of 2/1/09

I've tried to refrain from complaining about my winter training for Aprils marathon because last time I checked it was I who decided to run in the midwest winter climate. HOWEVER, I've recently seen stories that this years winter has been the snowiest coldest in the last 15+ years! I guess the inner complaints are justifiable :) This weekend we've been blessed with mild weather. Sun shining and temperatures in the mid to upper 30s. The plans called for 17 miles and I did it yesterday on the hilliest course I could. It was actually on a portion of my killer loop time trial course. I finished quicker than anticipated, and this morning I'm feeling good. Real good actually. I've made it a habit of having a MET-RX shake within an hour of finishing the long runs, and that seems to be working very well in recovery. I had a group of riders (some were triathletes) on the Archer climb, and a shout out of ALLEZ brought a wave. YEAH, I would have prefered to be out on the ride (as always) but nevertheless. Glad I didn't make a deal with the devil to gain the fitness I am feeling, cuz I would be going straight to hell if that were the case LOL. Like I said I'm feeling real good physically. Weight is down to about 169, and I can tell.

Sunday morning art

for your (and my) viewing pleasure on a fine sunny Sunday morning...