Archive for June, 2010

It is hard to imagine a more difficult century than Blood, Sweat and Gears. I highly recommend actually training before riding this.  Hmmm – note to self.

My hat (helmet) goes off to everyone who has ever tackled this many headed hydra.  I am blessed to be associated with many seriously talented athletes as friends.   For a hot and windy day, there were some seriously fast times posted.

Personally, I didn’t have the day that I was hoping for, but I got what I deserved for not taking it seriously.  This won’t happen again and I will be back next year to offer a better showing.

Notes to first-timers:

1) actually train

2) study the map

3) plan your nutrition / hydration like you would a half ironman

4) DO NOT DRINK the day before

5) hang out with friends who are not so bloody fast

6) ride your own pace – no matter what kind of cajoling or peer pressure takes place

Life is challenging at times.  We go through periods where we forget what we are doing and why.

I love to ride my bike.  There is no other time when I totally forget all the rest of the world.  Riding is sacred.  Riding is art.  Riding is a completely immersive experience.

Teaching others to ride is about getting them past the mechanics such that they can enjoy the moment.  I wish these feelings upon everyone.

Enjoy your bike.

State of Mind

Posted: June 20, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

State of mind, I have recently rediscovered, is incredibly important to success, happiness and performance. All of us have lots of distractions and excuses for “not showing up.”

Every work morning I have a conference call at 8 am.  This truly makes no sense to me.  Forty people are on this.  The reason for it is our inability to otherwise communicate what each of us are doing.  This time slot screws up my ideal training time.  And, frankly, I think it’s ridiculous.  However, I  am also one of five people to present on this call each morning.  It is the only air time I have with my boss and 80% of my colleagues.  This is how they judge me.  Yet, every morning I show up in a crappy state of mind and fail to deliver my best.  This is also not smart.

As I have been reflecting on how to be mentally prepared for this each morning, it dawned on me that gaining the right state of mind is exactly what I attempt to do when training and racing.

Driving the race course, setting up transition, fussing about, going to the port a john are all the things I do in order to have that ten minutes of absolute clarity before the horn goes off.  I enter the swim start area with growing confidence, but still very anxious.  In that moment, before the start, I pause to reflect that racing is truly fun.  It is the pursuit of life itself.  It is a metaphor for how I want to live.

Then I visualize crossing the finish line of my ideal race.  I hear the noise of the announcer and the crowd.  I feel the pure pleasure of giving my best and accomplishing my goals.  Then, I push away all else but that feeling and the absolute concentration on the feeling of the water and my plan to reach the first buoy.  At this point the furrowed brow and pursed lips turn to a relaxed face and a smile.  My shoulders go back.  My chin goes up.  I nod my acceptance of the effort ahead and the pleasure of the moment overcomes most anxiety.  It is time to race.

My head has not been in the game of work, fun or training.  I have been every place and no place.  I am changing this.  I have a plan.  My shoulders are going back and my chin up.  It is time to race again.

Having just completed my thirtieth year of riding and racing bikes, many aspects of cycling culture are  so integrated with my life that it all feels perfectly normal and logical.  For example, I have been shaving my legs since college.  It would seem totally strange – in fact bizarre and twisted – for me to let it grow.

In 1983, my then new mother-in-law figured this out when she saw bleeding from a nick.  “Why would you do that?” she asked.  I stuttered something about massaging, cleaning out scrapes, blah blah.  The truth is I did it to be like the cool kids.  “Where do you stop?” she inquired, blushing when realizing what she just implied.  “At an appropriate place,” I quipped back.

Over the years I have tried practically every combination of hair removal system thought of.  That being said, I feel qualified to give advice to anyone bending to the social pressure to shave his or her legs.

Liquid hair removal, I am convinced, is made from battery acid.  This is tricky and dangerous stuff.  It does a lousy job of removing hair and you must NEVER let it touch unintended places.  Every brand/product, and I tried them all, realizes similar results.

Having a few minutes of not being prickly is just not achieved with an electric razor.  Electric razors are good for the ‘appearance’ of smoothly shaved legs, but anyone can look closely or touch and call you out.  There are just spots that an electric razor won’t do well and they do more yanking than shaving.  There is no outcome worse than patches of hair on otherwise hairless legs.

So, back to blades we go.  NASA has been working on advanced shaving technology for decades.  OK, maybe just Gillette, but they have come a long way.

Yes, Todd, what is the point?  Well, this is the process that currently works best for me. Like always, there are some secrets.  First of all I start a shower, shut the bathroom door and let the whole room come up to temperature before entering. Anything but warm temperatures makes for goose bumps – bad for knick-free shaving.  I wash all over and rinse – thus raising the temperature of my legs.  Then I apply a liberal dose of Moisturizing Dove Soap on my Fluffy and lather up my legs.

This part is the most scientific part of all…I always shave my lower left leg first, then my knee,and finally upper leg – applying more lathery Dove with my Fluffy to each section.  And, I always shave the outside first, then the inside – more on this logic soon.  Then I switch to the right leg, with the same soap/fluffy routine, except that I always speed up because this process takes fifteen minutes and I get bored and in a hurry.  Rushing and leg shaving are not good together.  So the right leg generally incurs more damage than the left.

The Venus Breeze is the best leg-shaving razor ever. And, the shave gel bars are infused with the fresh scent of white tea to soothe your senses.  If one simply takes their time and doesn’t press too hard and doesn’t seek utter perfection – in other words avoids all ADD and OCD tendencies – this razor is the best.

However, this baby is sharp and leaves the kind of wounds that bleed a lot.  So, the secret to any razor is let someone else break it in.  Always trick your significant other into using new razors, then stealing them as your own. Dull razors don’t work well either.  So, once broken in, don’t ever let anyone else use it.  Keep using it until it literally will no longer work or you drop it and it breaks.  Dull razors are better than new razors – to a point.

Finishing up a previous point.  I always start with the easy parts first so that the blades are less sharp when used on the more sensitive areas.  I might need to rethink this because I also get impatient and speed up as I go. Hmmm.

After rinsing and drying off, and assuming no serious wounds are found, I always liberally apply the greatest shave balm ever. Nivea After Shave Balm for Sensitive Skin will cool the skin and somewhat anesthetizes the damage.

Hey, it ain’t easy being part of the cool kids club.

The Ironmantini is Martini Perfection.  The elements are simple, and it’s all about the technique to make it great.

Ingredients:

  • Premium Vodka
  • White Cran-Peach Juice (Ocean Spray)
  • Fresh Lime

Store the vodka, shaker and glasses in the freezer until completely chilled.  Roll a fresh lime on the counter until soft and juicy, then slice in half.  Squeeze in 1/2 of the lime then drop it in the shaker.  Fill 1/3 of the shaker with Vodka and fill to the rim with the White Cran-Peach Juice.  DO NOT Shake it….Swirl gently for 2 or 3 seconds only and pour into chilled martini glasses.

Add a twist of lime for garnish and Enjoy!