Saturday, July 30, 2005

Our Track Meet

We had our own little track meet on the school track this morning, just for fun. Names have been slightly altered to protect those publicity-shy individuals among us wary of the paparazzi. :-)

Catherine Toby: 40.37

Web Sphinx: 21.04, 21.93
Runbig: 23.00, 24.76
Goshawk: 23.45, 28.72
Chocoliq: 24.60, 30.73
Track Zygote: 25.66, 28.44

Web Sphinx: 43.43
Runbig: 50.75
Track Zygote: 58.20
Chocoliq: 1:07.42

Web Sphinx: 1:42
Runbig: 2:05
Track Zygote: 2:23

Catherine was the star runner of the meet and received the most applause from the crowds and also had the most fun, so she won.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The weather transplant was a success!

Suddenly we got new weather! Yay! What a nice surprise compared to the last two days of living inside a steam bath!

So Ellie and I went out for a long run (12 miler) early this morning in my lovely old neighborhood by the Miles River while Dianne was kind enough to watch my girls. We were so spooked by the hot weather that we went out at around 5:30 AM, but it really would have been cool enough today to run any time. Since I usually train alone, it was wonderful having a running buddy along to make those miles fly by!

That left us enough time in the middle of the day to pack up the girls and take them to the pool at the Yacht Club, which was deserted today. They had enormous fun getting spoiled and played with by their two aunties, and became exhausted enough to be sleeping now like little angels. :-)

Tonight is seafood in the open-air restaurant next to the harbor. Yum yum yum! They may go for the Maryland crab cakes, but (traitor that I am) I prefer the Alaskan king crab variety. Mmm, yeah, dripping with butter. I burned off those calories earlier, didn't I? Oops, maybe I "spent" those already on those superb Bernard Callebaut chocolates that Dianne brought here with her.

Dianne, true to her word, has STRIPPED my garden of weeds. It's a world-class weeding performance. She's like an Olympian of weeding. It's like poetry in motion - truly amazing to watch. From inside. Through the windows.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

En fuego!

Normally that means good things.

This week it means we've had 2 days of 105*F+ heat indices and are basically huddling inside and hoping that we don't have another 2-hour power failure!

We did some walking and running yesterday and went to the pool this morning, but I didn't get much accomplished since I forgot my goggles.

But tomorrow is another day - and it's supposed to drop about 20 degrees overnight, which will put it right down into the "merely hot outside" realm. THAT I can do!!!

IF we can get up at 5:00 AM tomorrow we're doing a nice long run while it's nice and cool. And 100% humidity, but one can't have everything....

Monday, July 25, 2005

Fun week ahead!

We're having a fun Girls' Week at my place this week. My husband has gone up to NH again to deal with finishing up the sale of his sister's house, and I'm partying here with my girlfriends. Yay!

In an hour I'm going to pick up Dianne. *jeanne* was kind enough to pick her up at the airport yesterday, and now I get her! I'll give her a quick driving tour of the DC sights and then we're heading over to St. Michaels with my two girls. Then tonight Ellie will join us, and later in the week *jeanne* and Holly will be there too.

We're going to walk and run and cycle and swim and grill on the deck and drink wine and laugh our heads off. Then we'll cap off the weekend with the Blackwater Duathlon next Sunday.

I'll see if I can get the St. Michaels computer fixed up to post photos during the week. If not, I'll still try to blog a bit while they're here, just to keep my eye on the run/bike/swim part of this week. I've been trying to convince Ellie to start blogging, since she travels a lot and does some great photography, so maybe we'll get her set up and going with a blog this week.

Doesn't this sound like FUN!?!?

Links to here

Here's a nice little tool for finding out which blogs have linked back to your own, or commented: is how I use it for this blog, but you can just enter your own blog URL and do the same. Cool, huh!?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

My cuties

I bought these denim outfits at the Columbia Triathlon (they have a logo on the right side), but we think they look like prison inmate uniforms or what the poorhouse orphans would wear. ;-)


What more can anyone possibly say about this amazing guy? I was surprised that he still has the power to get me choked up when I see him on the podium with his kids around him.

From Martin Dugard's blog:
"Armstrong also stated that he is an athlete, and will still compete to keep himself fit. He specifically mentioned doing a few running and biking events in his hometown. Then he joked about maybe doing an Ironman in a couple years. He quickly brushed that one aside, but I thought it interesting that he’d been thinking about it."

I've heard Lance mention the word "triathlon" more than once in the last couple of weeks. Everyone knows about his start in triathlon. I'd be willing to bet that he's got an Ironman in the back of his mind for some time in the next year or two.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I love my workout log

I keep my workout records on my own little Excel file - no fancy calculations, just columns for running, biking, swimming, and body weight, plus some comments. I've got the last 2 year's worth on this computer, but some of my older files were lost in the massive crash of the last computer.

Today was my long slow distance (LSD) run day, which I've unfortunately managed to miss for a week or two. I was dithering about how far to go - I wanted to do 10 or 12 miles, but it was hot, and one of my advisors was telling me to do 12km (7.5 miles). So I compromised a bit and did 9.0 (or 9.5 if you count some walking distance too). I went along my usual W&OD rail-trail, which has mile markers conveniently posted every 0.5 mile, except for the first couple miles right near my house where the markers are buggered up.

I was feeling a bit discouraged, thinking that I hadn't made much progress in my fitness in the last year, since my mile run times haven't improved very much. But I jogged along and recorded my splits every half mile, stopped for water, kept jogging, repeat, repeat, repeat.

What encouraged me today was when I logged my splits on my spreadsheet after I got back home. My average time per mile was slow, with some walk breaks in there - 12:56 min/mile outbound, 13:48 min/mile returning. HOWEVER, I was able to compare the splits to a similar longer LSD workout from a hotter day last July and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that my times were 2 to 4 minutes per mile faster this year. It may be that I was taking fewer walk breaks on a milder day, but if that's documented progress, I'll take it!

I have some girlfriends visiting with me next week and we may do a mini track meet among ourselves just for fun. I'll report on that later, since I'll have lots of extra time on my hands now that the Tour de France is finishing up! Maybe I'll even be able to get in the pool and do some laps again if they watch my girls for me, too!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Near my house

I just found this photo from 3 years ago that was taken from the street about a block from our current house in St. Michaels, Maryland. Right now there's a 1/5-acre residential building lot a few feet from where this photo was taken on the market for $800,000 - certainly out of our price range!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Invention idea

This is a "Baby Vise". According to the listing: "This is a great item to have around the house or shop. The body is made from a high grade cast iron. The bottom of the vice is a clamp that will attach to any flat surface. The jaws have been polished and they open up to 1". Small enough to fit in your back pocket!"

I thought this would be a great idea for giving Catherine haircuts, clipping Elisabeth's nails, changing diapers, etc.

My main concern is that the 1 inch version wouldn't be quite big enough for them, and I'd probably need 3 or 4 strategically placed Baby Vises to secure all the arms and legs. Let's see, $3.99 each, plus $4.75 shipping....

Hey, it's not like I'm making a Bonsai Baby out of them or anything.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

IRONM4N Shelley rocks!

Here's her profile for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

We are ALL going to be cheering for you!!!

Shelley is "paying it forward" by raising funds for the Make A Wish Foundation. See her donation page and give what you can.

Here and here are a couple of other stories to inspire you.

Another jogstroller day

Back out again with the girls for 3.3 miles on most of the roads that we were on yesterday. I looked carefully at each object on the roadsides on the way - including lots of empty beer cans, cigarette packs, and a whole case of Miller High Life empties that somebody kindly dumped at the end of a driveway along Million-Dollar Riverview Drive, but no sign of the errant sandal. Oh well. I originally bought them on eBay for almost nothing - why pay $$$ for kids' shoes that they'll grow out of before they're worn out?

Another anecdote I told to Tri-Daddy earlier: Whenever Catherine sees a man, she yells out, "Daddy! Hi Daddy!" She will yell this at *any* man she spots. It's kind of embarrassing when we go past the construction workers at the building site.

Today we finished up with a little walk around the school track, just to give the girls a little exercise too. I let them both out of the jogstroller and we started on our way around. It was like herding cats. They want to wander off and pick clover flowers and shake the fence and go the wrong way and fall down and Catherine will go off running some other direction and they'll do everything except walk in the same direction that Mom is walking. We only got about a third of the way around before they started getting too hot. Sheesh! Only 93*F heat index today, girls! We headed back across the infield for the jogstroller. Elisabeth had quite enough and stopped in the middle of the grass in the infield and stood there and started crying, so I had to wheel the jogstroller back to fetch her and load her in before we could head home. Awww, the poor little thing only started walking in early April, three months ago.

Totally unrelated house note: After coming down with a severe case of Storage Envy gazing at Commodore's photos, I scheduled a professional closet service to come over and give us an estimate on whipping our storage situation into shape in the utility/laundry room. In our tiny house, we need to optimize storage. They offer a free computer design and estimate, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Today the girls and I did 5.0 miles around the neighborhood with the double jogstroller. I managed to get outside about an hour earlier than yesterday, but it was still 97*F heat index. Fortunately that high reading was mostly due to a very high humidity, since the real temperature was still only in the upper eighties. It was nearly comfortable in the shade of the trees.

I checked on the girls about every twenty minutes and gave them drinks of water and squirted them every so often to stay cool, but they were getting a little cranky towards the end.

With about a mile to go I realized that Catherine had decided to take off one of her shoes somewhere along the way. Perhaps that was her way of getting a little revenge against Mom. It's a white sandal - perhaps I can spot it if I go drive our course later today. Maybe on the way to the swimming pool, after naptime. Then again, the shrieking and raucous giggling I'm hearing from the bedroom doesn't sound like napping is a big success either....

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm in trouble

This morning after breakfast I was catching up on my email. I hear clunks coming from the kitchen. Clunks are always a bad sign. I go out there to investigate.

Catherine has learned to climb up on the kitchen table. She was sitting amid a pile of newspapers and salt, playing with the glass oil and vinegar cruets. Salt was everywhere, deep in piles and layers all over the table. Fortunately I had recently neglected to fill the cruets, or she would have been marinating the newspapers in a fine vinaigrette.

I think it's time to put the glass cruets somewhere safe, along with the salt and pepper. Catherine has not yet learned to be responsible with her condiments.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Upcoming events update

Thanks, everyone, for your very helpful advice and perspectives on my training and event plans. Your comments have given me lots of food for thought. Don't you hate it when you give a lot of personal feedback on a blog and then never hear what happens? I try not to do that and leave my loyal readers hanging!!! This is the current update, subject to revision, naturally!

Last week I entered the St. Michaels Historic Century on September 10th (although I may opt to ride the metric century of 62 miles), and the full 100 miler at the Seagull Century on October 8th. That's in addition to the 2 or 3 marathons that I'll be doing between October 1st and November 6th.

I don't have any triathlons on the "confirmed" list at all right now. I'm still thinking. I have done very little swimming since Eagleman, either, so I'll need to get up to speed in the water first before I take on any more triathlons immediately.

I think the long rides and the marathons in the fall should tell the tale for me and will help me decide whether I should attempt a full ironman-distance triathlon in 2006, or instead continue next year just doing shorter triathlons and other running and cycling events. If I can't get myself within striking distance of some of my running and cycling performance benchmarks this fall, it seems prudent to postpone entering a full ironman-distance triathlon until I get a little faster and thereby closer to knowing with confidence that I can actually finish an ironman by the cutoff times. I don't worry at all about my mental toughness, or endurance - I'm confident in those, I've only DNFd two (running) races, and those only after 12 miles when I was actually getting injured. My total concern is my speed (or lack thereof).

A friend of mine on the other side of the world is helping me work out a triathlon training plan for the next four months, when we will have the 2006 Florida Ironman drop-dead entry date. Stay tuned and we'll see what he comes up with, and what kind of progress I make. Then again, there are several good prospects for non-m-dot ironman-distance triathlons out there that I could tackle in the fall of 2006 without having the expense and long-term advance commitment of IMFL06. But they wouldn't be as fun as doing IMFL06 with my fellow tri-bloggers, it's true. Ahhh, trade-offs.

Sauna cycling

Instead of watching the Most Decisive Day of the 2005 Tour de France this morning, I took Buttercup out for a ride before it got too unbearably hot. It was steamy, no wind and full sun, but a mild 90-95*F heat index instead of the 100*F+ heat index we will have this afternoon. I still had sweat dripping off the front of my helmet!

Our total distance was 23 miles. I did a 20.1-mile time trial, again in preparation for the Blackwater Duathlon coming up in a couple of weeks. My personal rule for my time trials is that I time myself for a loop and return to the same spot, stop and then check the gauges, so I don't gain any undue advantage of tailwinds or downhills. Today without any wind I was faster than my last time trial of two weeks ago: I managed a 16.7 mph average. That still won't get me to the finish line of the bike leg of my duathlon within one hour, for which I need an 18.6 mph average. That would still only put me in the middle of the pack, judging by last year's results. Oh well, I don't think I'll gain nearly 2 mph before race day even with a big effort - but I'll do my best, nevertheless!

My heart rate averaged 141. That's 20 to 30 beats/min less than running, but you're only using about half as many active muscle groups on the bike, so heart rates are generally much lower. My limiting factor still seems to be my position on the bike - after 15 miles or so my back starts getting achy, plus my crotch gets uncomfortable, and I have to sit up to stretch or stand in the pedals for a while, both of which slow me down. I know, I know, the solution is simply more miles in the saddle.

I was hoping to watch today's stage of the Tour this afternoon, but no, I'm doomed. They're not re-broadcasting it until tonight, which probably means I'll have to endure Al Trautwig and Kristin Gum. UGH. I've already peeked at the results, and it looks like it will be worth watching, nevertheless!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Sauna training

Sometimes when I get hot and slow down in the heat I think I'm "just slacking" and being lazy. On today's track workout I wore my heart rate meter for the first time in a long time and it convinced me that it's not mental, it's really physiological! Not that I don't slack at times, but today my perceptions of exertion level corresponded exactly with my heart rates.

I had intended to do five miles on the track (including 1 mile of walking), but I didn't get there.

The numbers tell the tale:

Environment: 87*F, 75%RH, 0 mph wind, full hazy sun, 100*F heat index (I didn't look at this until I got home, or I might not have even gone out there).

Begin: Quarter mile walk warmup.

First track mile (I'm trying to take it very easy, just warming up):
11:16 min/mile, 154 beats/min average

Quarter mile walk recovery.

Second track mile (I'm still just jogging, but starting to get HOT):
12:03 min/mile, 166 beats/min average

Ugh. Half mile walking, trying to cool down, searching for a breeze.

Third track mile (It's absolutely frigging sweltering):
12:45 min/mile, 172 beats/min average

Once I get to the point I can barely maintain a jog and I'm still going into the red zone, it's time to call it a day. End of workout, four miles total.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I just got my results for the Women's Distance Festival 5K that I did last weekend and I finished in 133rd position out of 259 women. Two more spots up and I would have finished in the top half! Jeez, if I had known that I might have run just that little bit harder! :-) Well, it's nice to have a solid middle-of-the-pack finish instead of always being the one holding the Lanterne Rouge, bringing up the rear. Yeah, if they had let the men in I would have been considerably further back in the placements, but anyway.... I'm not so interested in my placement, actually, as I am using it as an indicator of how well I did on a hot day on a hilly course. Knowing that my relative performance times are improving means that my fitness is improving too. Yay!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Help! I'm having trouble deciding!

I'm having a very hard time deciding whether I should enter Ironman Florida for November, 2006. I have about 4 months until entries open to decide if I'm going to go for it or not. Now I'm tempted to say, what the heck, just enter and see how things go, but that would probably be exceedingly foolish and perhaps a waste of money.

Now keep in mind also that I'm fatter and slower than most and old (48) and I'd be hard up against the cutoffs, even if I trained hard for the next 16 months. I sure don't want to take this on and end up with a DNF, especially considering that I did an Olympic and a half ironman in the last 2 months and ended up past the cutoffs for both of them.

So I think maybe I should have some objective performance standards that I should meet beforehand before I stick that needle in. What do you think they should be, for someone taking on their first IM with still a year of training left to complete?

I was thinking of something like these - some combination of these, perhaps complete at least 2 from the list before I make that plunge:
  • Finish a marathon under 5:15
  • Finish a century under 6:30 riding time
  • Finish a 2-mile pool swim under 1:40
  • Finish a 1500-m open water swim under 40:00
  • Finish an Olympic distance under 3:30
  • Finish a half IM distance under 7:00

What would YOU plug in for numbers there? What would you recommend?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Cool link of the day

Here's a map of countries that I've been to. (I didn't count Japan, where I only changed planes once. And I couldn't take out Alaska, where I likewise have only changed planes, but I've been to the other 49 US states. And not the Northwest Territory, Yukon, Nunavut, or Labrador either, but all the other Canadian provinces.) How about creating your own? Tag, you're it!

Create your own visited countries map.

There's also one for states visited HERE, which I may use instead of my own old race states map.

Transition tip

Try this flying mount technique, as demonstrated coming out of T1 by awesome triathlete Steve Smith of Reston, Virginia:

If that's what it takes to get into the sub-two-minute range for T1, I have a feeling I'm never going to get there. I can hardly get my leg over the bottles in the rack behind my seat.

The 5K that wasn't

A couple of people asked me about my second 5K of last weekend. Well, I didn't run it. No excuses, I simply fell back asleep after the alarm went off and suddenly it was three hours later. I had all my stuff ready to go, the race information and map printed out, but I just didn't manage to get myself there. Sometimes that happens when I don't pre-register for races, which is one reason that I always sign up early and pay my entry $$ for the big ones!

Instead I watched a good chunk of the first real mountain stage of the Tour de France. I've been watching it carefully each day, taking notes, and spending a lot of time doing research for my new Tour de France Lanterne Rouge blog, so that's why my commentary on this one has been a little slim lately. It's only three weeks each year.

The workout I did instead was nearly the same as a 5K. At midday, when it had gotten up to about 92 degrees, I went over to my 3/4-mile hilly path and did four repeats. It's a winding path on the Four Mile Run Trail with two major dips into gullies and a fair-sized hill, so usually I'm comparatively slow along it. Yesterday I did it my repeats in 9:01, 8:55, 8:40, and then I told myself I could quit and go home if I beat 8:40 - and then I forced out a 7:49! That was enough, the moral equivalent of a 5K without the t-shirt, so I called it a day and headed for the showers.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

My own imaginary mascot

I love the Hank commercial for Starbucks doubleshot which is being broadcast on OLN during the Tour de France. HERE is a link where you can see it yourself - it's hard to find much about this on the Internet. The real name for the commercial is "Bleachers".

I thought about it during my 5K yesterday. I love the concept of taking along a personal internal cheering section wherever you go. I think I should have my own personal mascot cheering for me from the sidelines! I guess it will have to be imaginary, but as long as it does the trick....

I see a lot of blogs and race reports that have a lot of negativity in them about people's own training and performances. "I'm slow.... my times are awful.... I did terrible...." etc. When it's coming from people that are racing in the middle or front of the pack, I sometimes wonder if they have a seriously damaged self-image, if they're disconnected from reality and really don't believe how well they're doing, or if they're just fishing for compliments. When it comes from people in the back of the pack like me, I wonder why they can't be proud of their own striving and accomplishments. I can almost hear Dr. Phil asking, "What are you getting out of it?"

Yesterday outside an elementary school I saw a sign that I loved: "NO PUT DOWN ZONE". Some of us need to keep that sign posted inside our own heads. Negative self-talk is defeatist and self-flagellation and guilt do little to enhance performance until it's turned around into positive energy.

Why not be positive? It's a deliberate choice that each one of us makes. It sure beats the alternative!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Women's Distance Festival

This morning for a little workout I ran a local 5K: the Women's Distance Festival in Annapolis, Maryland. It was on a lovely, but hilly 2-loop course not far from the Naval Academy, through a residential neighborhood bordering the Severn River. I pushed hard most of the way but the heat forced me to walk a bit on the second loop. I ended up with my second-fastest 5K time and came in at 31:49 watch time with progressively slowing splits of 9:58, 10:16, 10:29, and 1:05 for the final 0.1 mile. And I also had the fun of hanging out with *jeanne* for a few minutes!

I'm considering doing another one tomorrow morning! One or two road races per month is good for me to keep my speedwork up (such as it is!).

Hmm, I see that the 2006 Florida Half Ironman, scheduled for May 21, 2006 in Orlando has just opened their entries. Do I want to tackle this race or take on the Eagleman "Ironman 70.3" course again? Decisions, decisions! I do like the idea of a non-wetsuit lake swim better than tackling the Choptank currents again. Plus a flat bike and run course.... and I see that they were generous with their finishing times last year, recording finishers up into the nine-hour range - just like me! Maybe I will go for it - and try to beat that eight-hour thing this time around. Of course it will be hot and humid, but that's okay with me. Anyone else considering this one?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

TriBlog Tag Fever

Chris tagged me to name my food addiction. Then he changed his blog address, too, so I have to update my bookmarks. Sheesh!

I'm pretty much addicted to everything food. Let me put it like this: it's easier for me to name the foods I don't like than the entire universe of foods that I like. I don't like... hmm... lamb. Liver. I think that's it. Everything else is fair game, and will usually disappear quickly when put in front of me. Being a picky eater is a totally foreign and slightly suspicious concept to me.

My must-have daily ritual food item is my morning coffee, ~32 ounces, about 1/3 whole milk and with real sugar. If I don't have that, we might as well just cancel the whole day.

Ugh cotton t-shirts

Every time I forget and wear a cotton t-shirt during a hot-weather run, I get reminded very quickly why I really should avoid them. This morning I did a 10K workout on the paved trail and as the sun rose the humidity subsided to a mere 81%RH. My tshirt was literally dripping and by the end of the run it was flapping around me like a nasty wet shower curtain. How annoying! I need to dig out my Coolmax singlets NOW.

On a more somber note, our hearts go out to those in London affected by the terrorist attacks. It seems unimaginable, such tragedy coming so soon after the happy news of the plans for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quiet times

Enjoying a few quiet, uneventful days, not much new. Watching the Tour and setting up my new Lanterne Rouge blog.

Took the girls for their 2-year pediatrician appointment. They're really 25 months since birth now, but 22.5 months since their due date. Everything is fine, except for some delays due to their rough start. We're still waiting for Elisabeth to decide to say her first word, and we still have some questions about her hearing. And she gets hives at random times. Both girls have underbites, and Catherine will probably need glasses very early, and Elisabeth may possibly need another eye alignment surgery. But otherwise, they're perfect. They're little but they're feisty.
  • Catherine: 21 pounds 1 ounce; 30.5 inches tall
  • Elisabeth: 18 pounds 9 ounces; 29.75 inches tall
I'm working on my husband for a trip to the 2012 London Olympics. They'll be nine then, won't that be fun? Just the right time to get them inspired about each getting their own gold medal. ;-) I have to say I'm rather glad that DC-Baltimore was out of the running for hosting the Olympics rather early. Too much congestion and traffic here already!

But they're a lot of fun. Today they were running around the house and I looked up to find that they were both, the two of them, STANDING up in the baby swing. Which is about 2 feet off the ground. How they both got in there I'll never know.

Then later when I'm eating dinner Catherine (who ate earlier) keeps coming up and bugging me for a piece of rice cake, which I'd give her and she'd run away and (presumably) eat it. I realized after about ten rounds of this that she was taking one bite of the piece I gave her and putting the rest in the garbage can, then running back for more.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New Lanterne Rouge

Our new back-of-the-pack Tour de France rider who we are following is Iker Flores, who rides for the Euskaltel-Euskadi team led by Iban Mayo. He now assumes the position of the "Lanterne Rouge" of the great Tour de France train.

IkerAt the left is a photo of Iker from last year's Tour de France, serving as a good domestique for his team leader Iban Mayo by giving him his front wheel after a crash. Er, maybe both wheels.

According to the Daily Peleton, "his brother Igor was the Lanterne Rouge in Paris a few years back. Of course, Iker is an attacker who you can bet will be off the front in the mountains. Also interesting to note that all riders are still in the race... nobody has abandoned yet, which is a huge change from a year ago."

This morning's medical communique indicates that Iker has hip and right knee injuries, possibly accounting for a bad time in the team time trial.

Hmm, I like this! I just started a new blog dedicated to the Tour de France Lanterne Rouge....
I'll probably post most of my Tour de France stuff over there in the future, and stick more to triathlon-related stuff here.

What might have been

Poor Dave Zabriskie. I hope he doesn't feel too badly, and bounces back quickly. :-( And I hope this is not his last ride in the Maillot Jaune.

Leonardo Piepoli has pulled up significantly in the rankings, though! I'll have to introduce a new favorite last-man-in-the-peleton later today.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Go Big Z!

Dave Zabriskie rocks. Not because he's an American, wearing the Maillot Jaune on our Independence Day; not because he's the 3rd American ever to wear the Maillot Jaune, not because he's kept the Maillot Jaune for the 3rd day in a row. Congratulations, Dave! Not because he's cute in a young Jeff Daniels sort of way. And he doesn't rock because of his eloquence in interviews - in fact, he's kind of terse.

Dave Zabriskie rocks because he's an incredibly funny guy. Browse through his website, and particularly, take a look at his Main-taint-ance advice.

I fear that now that he's becoming famous after his incredible ride in the individual time trial, the public relations people will gobble him up and homogenize him and he'll have to censor funny stuff like that on his web page. Don't you hate it when that happens?

And why in the world did the USPS-Discovery cycling team ever let him (and Floyd Landis) go? According to one report, Dave's "quirky" sense of humor went unappreciated over there, and Floyd (now at Phonak) chafed at the authoritarian leadership style. Let's see how things play out in tomorrow's team time trial - CSC is going to give Discovery a run for their money! Hmm, if Discovery beats CSC by a mere 3 seconds tomorrow that puts Lance in the Maillot Jaune.

And very best wishes continue to go out to my little man Leonardo Piepoli of Italy, on the Saunier Duval team, bringing up the rear of the General Classification for the third consecutive day. YOU GO LEO! Just hold on until the mountains!

Too bad about that unfortunate choice of yellow shorts for the team attire - I nominate Saunier Duval for the Worst Team Kit Award for the 2005 Tour de France.

Oh, and here's my cool link of the day for up-to-the-minute images from the Tour: the ESPN cycling photo wire.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Tailwinds I win? Headwinds I lose

Today, in honor of yesterday's puny 19km individual time trial in the first stage of the 2005 Tour de France, and in preparation for my own individual 30km time trial coming up in 28 days (sandwiched between two 5K runs) I took Buttercup out for a little 30km time trial of our own.

I was hoping to get it in under an hour.

Ugh. That was not to be.

Going out was work, but I pushed hard for a 17.5 mph average. Not the 18.6+ mph I had hoped for. Coming back - where did that headwind come from? Even slower. MUCH slower at times. My loose left crank didn't help - time to get some work done on Buttercup.

Final time: 1:09:38 for 18.6 miles for a 16.0 mph average. That's my time to beat at Blackwater.

If I had ridden yesterday's 19km time trial in the Tour de France yesterday at that pace I would have finished in 44:12. That would be 18:41 behind the slowest finisher, Leonardo Piepoli of Italy on the Saunier Duval team, who finished in 25:31. Even he was 50 seconds behind the next slowest finisher. I'm going to be watching for Leonardo during the Tour. He's my man. :-)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Vive Le Tour!

Le TourYay! Le Tour de France begins today! Here's the entire course for the 3-week race.

Today's stage is a 19km time trial. 11.8 miles. Let's see, how fast could a normal human ride that course? Riding at 20 mph (32 kph) it would take any of us mortals about 35 minutes to complete the course. The Tour riders will do it in considerably less (top times will be ~20 min or 35 mph).

A few of my buddies on the TRI-DRS list have set up Fantasy Leagues along with me:
Bob Mina - Team Whodat
Todd Dole - Mr. Todd's Wild Ride
Chris Baucom - Tricyclist
Cathy Morgan - Lance Plus 8
Andrew Murdock - Mutton Cadet
Lee Crumbaugh - Gotta Ride
Mark Seale - MarkS
Michelle White - Michelle's Boys
Nancy Toby - Nancy Toby

What's your prediction for this stage? Lance has two choices: Go out hard, win the stage, and put his decisive stamp on his 7th and final winning Tour; or hang back and let someone else wear the Maillot Jaune for the beginning of the Tour. What will it be? He will be the last starter, so we'll have to wait for everyone to go before we witness his decision. You can bet Jan Ullrich will be killing himself to win the stage!

I won't give away any results right now, but you HAVE to watch this one! I was laughing out loud at the spanking that was delivered on international TV!

Friday, July 01, 2005


Oldman tagged me to list my favorite songs. I haven't reacted to being "tagged" before, just because I'm lazy, but this is fairly short and easy for me. I'm not terribly musical - I tend to be visual (a wannabe painter), but not very auditory. The only music-playing devices I own that I can run with still involve cassette tapes and lots of AA batteries, and I haven't used those for 5 years.

If I'm putting on background music in the house, usually it's something peaceful and classical. Vivaldi's Four Seasons, while over-used, is a good example of this.

I enjoy sing-along show tunes, especially the sentimental classics from the great musicals like Oklahoma, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Show Boat, West Side Story, Les Miserables, The King and I (we used I Have Dreamed in our wedding video). My favorite vocalists of all time are Judy Garland and Lea Salonga. Maybe we can get *jeanne* to sing us a few numbers....

I'd be hard-pressed to name a single song produced since ~1985, and most of the names I see on people's song lists mean nothing to me (like AB's and Tri-Daddy's entire lists both got a big glassy-eyed blank stare from me - but I did recognize a few of Oldman's picks).

And with that, I'll tag *jeanne* and Flatman and Vertical Man. Hmm, maybe I should also tag Linae, and see how much Jimmy Buffett she can fit into one blog post. ;-)