March 30, 2010


My road bike, the Thundercougarfalconbird, is now five years old and has covered tens of thousands of miles. Up until yesterday it still had the original drivetrain, and probably even the original chain (which is pretty ridiculous). My cranks were falling apart. My chainrings were bent from an incident a few years ago when half of the chainring bolts fell out while I was riding (hard) up a steep hill. I tried to pound the rings flat with a hammer. It didn't work well enough to fix the problem, but it did work well enough to prevent me from replacing them immediately. Then time passed.

On top of that, between Melissa and me, we have seven bikes with 9-speed Shimano components, which are getting harder and harder to find. The world moved to 10-speed years ago and left me behind.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late), I replaced my old drivetrain last night with a 10-speed SRAM group. It took about five hours (way longer than I planned) to disassemble the bike, clean it, reassemble everything, then make the necessary adjustments. Tonight I finally got a chance to hop on the TCFB and test it out. It feels like a new bike. I think it will take a few rides to get used to the different ergonomics of the shifters. It's a little strange to have the shifter cables routed along the handlebars rather than sticking out (like all the other older Shimano bikes). This kind of makes the bike feel like it's missing something. I assume that feeling will go away with time.

Well, without further ado, here's the obligatory bike porn.

I'm seeing red

Red crank


Wild Card Cycling's training camp in southern Illinois was last weekend. I knew what I was getting into after the past two trips. I was a little concerned about my lack of miles this year, but I ended up riding a little better than I thought/feared I would.

Wednesday evening was our regular weekly fight ride. It was tough.

Thursday we left for camp, drove in the pouring rain, arrived in the pouring rain, unpacked in the pouring rain, and rode (you guessed it) in the pouring rain. It was slightly miserable, but not too bad. My legs were not fresh after Wednesday's ride. I actually felt like crap for about 20 miles. The good news was that I didn't feel any worse after the next 20. We rode from Giant City to the top of Bald Knob (the highest point in southern Illinois) and back. It was a very hilly 50 miles. Even though the speed wasn't super-fast, it was still tough.

Friday the sun was shining, but it was cold when we left for the ride. We had some logistical problems and ended up riding in two separate groups after the two groups apparently couldn't find each other at the predetermined ride start time. No matter, we still had a good ride (again) to the top of Bald Knob and back. After a few detours I ended the day with a (very hilly) 66 miles and a slight sunburn on my exposed left calf below my knee warmer.

Saturday the goal was 100 (very hilly) miles. My legs were toast at the start from the previous three days of riding. I started the ride with a comfortable 18 miles with just Martin. I ended the first 50 tagged on to the back of the fast group, which was too fast for me. I felt like crap and I was 50 miles from my cabin. I made a conscious decision to take it easy and things got better from there. I rode for a while with just Scott. Then we picked up a group who opted for a shorter loop. The last 18 miles I rode with just John S. At 90 miles I felt better than I had 50 miles earlier. That was the biggest surprise of the weekend, that despite never feeling great, I always ended the rides feeling as good as (if not better than) I did at the start. I guess it's taking me a while to warm up. Anyway, I got an even worse sunburn on Saturday on my left calf below my knee warmer.

The sun be a harsh mistress
The light red line is from Friday, the dark red line is from Saturday.

Saturday night was dinner at Giant City, which was good times as usual.

Sunday morning it was pouring down rain so everyone ended up leaving early rather than do a dangerous set of hill repeats in the pouring rain. It was very good to get home to see Melissa & Will after a few days away. We made the most of the afternoon with a trip to the park.

March 13, 2010

Earth, Wind, & Fire

This morning was the Earth, Wind, & Fire 5K on campus. This three year old race coincides with the Institute of Natural Resources Sustainability expo (which coincides with Engineering Open House). I ran this 5K two years ago when it when it was 13˚ with 25 mph winds. Today we only had to contend with the misty morning. I've been ridiculously busy at work lately. In fact, I didn't get much more than four hours sleep any night this week. 7:30 came way too soon this morning.

The start is less than a mile from home so I ran over, registered, stretched, and headed to starting line. There would be no practice start this year. One guy immediately shot off the front and built a huge lead in the first 100 meters.

Leaders after 100 meters

It took me a good ¼ mile to settle into a good rhythm, after which point I held the leader in my sights at roughly the same distance for about 1½ miles.

Just after start

Large pack

I slowed significantly in the second half of the race. The leader pulled away from me, but there was also quite a bit of space behind me. The gaps were large.

All by myself on the second lap

Despite fading at the end I still finished in a respectable time of 18:33 (5:59/mile pace). This isn't where I would want to be in August, but for March I'll take it. In order to keep things interesting I do mostly long distance training (with very little speed work) during the winter and I do mostly short/fast training (with very little distance) during the summer. Coming up with a little speed this early in the year is encouraging.


I finished 2nd overall and 1st in the 30-39 age group. The awards were a unique (for a race award) plaster cast of a Trilobite fossil.

Trilobite fossil casting race award

After the race I ran home with my Trilobite, gulped a bit of water, then headed back out for another 9 miles (14 total). You see, there's this marathon coming up, and running a short race doesn't get me off the hook for my weekly long run (though apparently a 108 mile bike ride does?).

Many thanks to Melissa and Will for coming out to cheer me on and take photos. The bright/distinctive shoes/gloves/shirt sure must make it easy for them to spot me out on the course.

March 1, 2010

February 2010 Stats

Photo of the Day

February 2010

Too many indoor shots here. I need to get out more.



After taking some time to recover from the Riddle Run, I actually got did pretty good running in February. I was quite happy to see my heart rate stay below 150 for several miles at 7:30 pace during medium and long runs. I'm actually feeling quite fit at the moment.

MonthDistance# WorkoutsAvg per Workout
January109.05 Mile1010.905 Mile
February76.18 Mile89.5225 Mile
Total185.23 Mile1810.2906 Mile


On the bright side, I got my first (and only) outdoor training ride of the year in last weekend.

February 2010

BikeDistance# RidesAvg per Ride
Bianchi18. Mile53.6 Mile
Pocket Rocket27.67 Mile127.67 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird95. Mile615.8333 Mile
Total140.67 Mile1211.7225 Mile

January - February 2010

BikeDistance# RidesAvg per Ride
Bianchi18. Mile53.6 Mile
El Fuego40.9 Mile113.71818 Mile
Pocket Rocket27.67 Mile127.67 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird220.35 Mile1514.69 Mile
Total306.92 Mile329.59125 Mile

MonthDistance# WorkoutsAvg per Workout
January166.25 Mile208.3125 Mile
February140.67 Mile1211.7225 Mile
Total306.92 Mile329.59125 Mile

Cross Country Skiing


Snow is good for one thing, I suppose.

MonthDistance# WorkoutsAvg per Workout
January6.07 Mile23.035 Mile
February19.73 Mile53.946 Mile
Total25.8 Mile73.68571 Mile



I'm still not quite sure what got into me here. I ended up walking to work more times than I biked to work last month. I guess I'll blame the weather for the frequently-unsuitable-for-riding conditions.

MonthDistance# WorkoutsAvg per Workout
January28.66 Mile93.18444 Mile
February51.45 Mile163.21563 Mile
Total80.11 Mile253.2044 Mile