On my Commute today… wool!

I get a lot of grief from my co-workers because I go against the grain in most things.  I work in a high end bike shop.  We have the latest and greatest of everything.  Now don’t get me wrong I embrace technology.  But sometimes WOOL AND STEEL can’t be beat.  So “On my Commute today”  I wore Wool socks from ASSOS, Wool shorts from WOOLISTIC (which are freakin’ fantastic!), Wool arm and knee warmers from DEFEET.  Wool short sleeve jersey from BROOKS, and a WOOL cycling cap from CASTELLI (which now my kids want one).  I rode my STEEL FIXED GEAR made by Waterford under the Milwaukee Bicycle Co. badge. 

I also get grief for my DETOUR BAG and my reflective vest from NATHAN SPORTS.  But I don’t care.  As you can see I have a change of clothes, my lunch (mmmm Penne and chicken) cell phone, flat repair, spare batteries for my tail light, cleat covers for walking at the train station and I still have plenty of room left over for my arm and leg warmers when it warms up.  Get a Detour Bag so much less cumbersome than a backpack or courier bag for just a few items.  And why have something on your body causing discomfort when you can put it on your bike and let the bike “carry” it for you?
As the Florida freeway signs used to say “Arrive Alive”.  My modification to that is I’d rather arrive alive and ride again tomorrow.  Don’t let peer pressure keep you from being safe and visible to cars.  Wear reflective gear and put lights on your bike– yes even your “race bike”.  Oh yeah you might not look “cool” to your friends but you’ll be alive to come home to your family.  Now what’s more important?  Go against the grain every now and then—be yourself!


Where have I been for the last couple of years?  Have I been living under a rock?  Why didn’t I know what Sharrows were until just yesterday?  I’ve seen the chevron looking markings on the road in one section of my commute but until yesterday I had no idea what they meant.  I’m a dunce!  In my defense, the markings I have seen in Oceanside haven’t been there for two years but at least 6 months!

So what are Sharrows?  Below is an image of one.  What are they used for?  Here are some examples.

The stated purposes of the shared-lane markings used in California were to:

  • Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle;

  • Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane;

  • Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way;

  • Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists; and

  • Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.


So this morning “On my Commute”  I decided to pay more attention to them as to where exactly they were located, and record a little video.  Interesting commute– It appears I’m not alone at not knowing what the chevron markings mean.  Cars honked and made nasty gestures as they passed me.  All the while I was just below the posted speed limit of 25mph going about 23mph.  Two miles/hr would be imperceptible to a motorist driving behind me at above the speed limit.
Look at this short video where I am traveling 25 mph in a 25 mph zone and the car behind me is going 34 mph (notice the flashing speed limit sign).  He then passes me and makes angry gestures pointing to the yeild to him and to get over to the right of the lane.  Oh by the way, I was loving my Fixed Gear bike this morning until this butthead.
(cue Mission Impossible theme) Your mission, shall you choose to accept it is to tell just one motorist (coworker, friend, relative) what Sharrow markings mean.  Do it as an “Oh by the way, did you know…?” Don’t bother doing it on the road — you’ll never get through to them!  I have completed my Mission — you do the same.

The video below features Tony Cruz, professional bike racer, talking about Sharrows in Long Beach!

On my commute– reflective gear

I did a partial commute this morning. Partial commute means I take the train part of the way and ride part of the way. It almost splits up perfectly 35 miles on the train and 30 miles on the bike. It was just getting light out as I pulled into a Starbucks. Once in side a gentleman approaches me and says “Your reflective stuff works. Man I can really see you a mile away” That’s good to know since I leave the house before 5am on my commuting days.

Thank you Nathan Sports for the gear.

I really like the terry cloth ankle bands from Nathan. They are really comfy and very reflective!!

My wheels have reflective tape on them. I don’t worry about the “uncool” factor of having reflective tape on my wheels or my bike. I have a family and I need to get home to them. My I present to you Chloe, my Cervelo Carbon Soloist.


In the last two weeks my 4 1/2 year old son has been asking for me to play Time when we are in the car. Often he will suggest “AGAIN!”. LOL! I think maybe he likes the alarm clocks at the beginning but I also catch him mouthing the words. I decided to look them up and study the lyrics and interpret them for me. It is interesting what they meant to me. For years I have heard this song but never really listened. Take a look now at the lyrics and see if they have any special meaning for you.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home
to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but youre older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the english way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought Id something more to say

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
And when I come home cold and tired
Its good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

Lyrics by Pink Floyd ((Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour)

20 min peak power on my commute this morning…

^^SCREEN SHOT JUNE 11, 2009^^

20 minute Peak Power from my morning commute. Weight 152 lbs or 69 kg

Average Power 244 watts / 69 kg 3.53 w/kg

Normalized Power 254 watts / 69 kg 3.68 w/kg

Look at my wattage from last night’s commute. What I would like for you to notice is that my Average Power was up a whopping 24 watts but my Normalized Power was only up 5 watts from 249 to 254 watts. Why is that?

Let’s look at Normalized Power :

TrainingPeaks uses a special algorithm to calculate an adjusted or normalized power for each ride or segment of a ride (longer than 30 seconds) that you analyze. This algorithm is somewhat complicated, but importantly it incorporates two key pieces of information: 1) the physiological responses to rapid changes in exercise intensity are not instantaneous, but follow a predictable time course, and 2) many critical physiological responses (e.g., glycogen utilization, lactate production, stress hormone levels) are curvilinearly, rather than linearly, related to exercise intensity, By taking these factors into account, normalized power provides a better measure of the true physiological demands of a given training session – in essence, it is an estimate of the power that you could have maintained for the same physiological “cost” if your power output had been perfectly constant (e.g., as on a stationary cycle ergometer), rather than variable. Keeping track of normalized power is therefore a more accurate way of quantifying the actual intensity of training sessions, or even races.


In other words, when you apply power to the pedals it takes time for your body to react and when it does it reacts on a curve not in a straight line. Normalized Power takes this into account.

Or like my friend Sushi Joe says it “NP = the power you could have put out if you kept the effort as steady as possible. “

So back to my ride from last night. Notice how the POWER line is more erratic with rollers and traffic signals.

^^SCREEN SHOT JUNE 10, 2009^^

Compare it to this morning’s ride was not as variable the power was more consistent so the Normalized Power only increased by 5 watts from 249 watts to 254 watts.

20 minute number from my commute

On my commute tonight I did a 20 minute interval. My weight was 152lbs or 69 kg

Here is a screen shot from Training Peaks.

Heart Rate: RED
Speed: BLUE
Cadence: GREEN

My Average Power was 221 watts / 69 kg = 3.20 w/kg
My Normalized Power was 249 watts / 69 kg = 3.60 w/kg

I felt good during the interval but after it I was spent for nearly 10 minutes. The interval was through a section that had traffic signals and a couple of rollers hence the spikes in power.

Got a new jersey…

A quick shout-out to my friend in Omaha, Nebraska who hooked me up with a new jersey.

I commuted today. I’ve picked up a lot of new readers so for you that have been with me a while allow me to give the headlines about my commute to the new readers.

I commute 65 miles one way from Encinitas to Huntington Beach. Sometimes I take the train part of the way. sometimes I do both full commutes each way for 130 miles, 8 hours on the bike for the day broken up in the middle by an 8 hour work day. Sometimes on my night time commute I add extra loops to bring up the mileage to 69, or 86 miles.

I did only one leg of the commute today, the northbound one. I have been sick since getting back from Trans Iowa. My recovery was pitiful. Beginning with saying up all day Sunday (until 10ish pm) to disassemble Buckshot77’s bike, and then Monday I couldn’t get to bed early either. By Tuesday I was back to work dragging. Over the next few days I fought off a cold and it finally got me. I have been sick for three (3) weeks. IT SUCKS BIG TIME!!

Here is a picture of my new jersey. Thank you Sushijoe!!

San Diego Brevet Series 600km (375 miles)

Today is Wednesday the usual start day for my 3-day block of commuting/training. But I am changing up my routine. In the past, I have suffered from sleep deprivation on 600km events. Subsequently, my pace slows down during the event when I’m falling asleep. Yes, I said falling asleep and yes, on the bike. I consider it one of my biggest weaknesses in my pursuit of becoming a better Ultra Cyclist. Don’t forget these events are overnighters for the average cyclist. My best has been in the 33 hour range. As you can see that is an 11.36 Mph Avg speed. If I can just stay awake and keep the wheels rolling I might break 30 hours.

I climb…ok, I ride the flats… ok (drafting helps lol!) and I spend very little time off the bike. But the one thing that slows me down in longer events is fighting the Sandman. In 2005, I did the San Diego 600km I was about 160 miles into the event and I had to pull over. I was so tired and sleepy. Would you believe it was the middle of the afternoon? Also in 2005, two weeks later I did the San Luis Obispo 600km and also suffered from sleep deprivation issues early in the afternoon.

In both cases above I worked all week (who doesn’t?) and had real early starts to my day on the Thursday and Friday mornings leading into the event on Saturday. I have vowed to get at least 7 hours of sleep over the next couple of days. I rarely get more than 6 hours. To keep the legs loose I will try and ride the trainer (hate the trainer) or go for a short ride after work BUT NO commuting on the bike. When I commute I’m up by 4am and I think I can squeeze out 1-2 more hours of sleep and wake up at 530am or 6am. I’ll ride the rails instead of clogging the freeways with my car!