Sunday, October 10, 2010

Faster Time Trial Tips

If you're a podium-prancing, trophy-winning bike racer, you don't need to read any of these "tips" on how to race a faster time trial. Go wash down a layer cake with a case of beer before your next race so us slower guys get a chance at a stitch of glory. If you're a slow bike racer like me, you're probably still searching for tips on how to get faster. Since I just scored a new PR (personal record) of 29:06 over a 20-kilometer race this morning in the Fiesta Island Time Trial Series (run by SDBC and sponsored by Moment Cycle Sport), I thought I'd share my tips while I'm feeling pumped up about my modest accomplishment at age 52.

I don't care if you use these tips to beat me. This "race of truth" is between me and the clock. As long as other guys in the 50+ age group continue to scorch me by a couple minutes, I don't need to worry about approaching the podium any time soon.

Here we go…the list of time-tweaking tips below is in order "perceived impact" on my new result.

  1. Training & Tapering – I took notice last year when my 71-year-old riding buddy improved his TT results by a couple minutes. All he did was step up the TT-specific training then REALLY, DRAMATICALLY tapered. He stayed off the bike for a couple weeks, which you won't see in any coach's training manual. Five weeks before this race, I started two weeks of intense, TT-specific training with lots of intervals. I also rode the High Sierra Century, but that wasn't really part of the training plan. Then I barely rode for the week before the race. I find it's easier to "barely ride" by training on the stationary bike when tapering. That way I don't get tempted to "kill it" in my training like I do out on the road. Last spring I did a TT when I thought I was in decent shape. I was in decent hill-climbing shape but not decent TT shape. (It was my second-worst TT result ever. The only worse time was my first TT which I did without aero bars.) Given the different position and different muscles used, it's worth doing lots of training in the aero position if you want to improve your TT result. The full week of tapering helped my legs feel really fresh even after the first lap on the TT course.
  2. Reverse Splits – I've tried and tried to do a reverse split in previous TT attempts. (This TT is 3 laps; a reverse split means I would do the 3rd lap faster than the first one.) Today I used a bike about 25 meters in front of me as a "governor" of my first-lap effort. Instead of following my old instincts to attack and pass them (it was a tandem), I told myself to chill and stay fresh on the first lap. I got nervous towards the end of the first lap that I was losing precious time by not attacking, but based upon my final result I now know that the self-restraint really paid off on laps 2 and 3. I've read about reverse splits so many times but I don't think I ever got it right before today.
  3. Focus & "Rabbits" – I've always known that a "rabbit" (a closely matched racer 10 or 20 bike lengths ahead of me) works really well to motivate me to go faster. That competitive killer instinct blocks the pain when in pursuit, potentially sending my heart rate way into the anaerobic zone but also helping me go faster. I'm not always lucky enough to have rabbits on the race course. I had a few rabbits on the course on laps 2 & 3 today. I reeled them in slowly, not noticing the pain in my legs and lungs while I stayed focused on the hunt. You can't draft in a TT so you need to steer to the side of them when you get to about 5 bike lengths, but the motivation to catch them helps you focus and go faster if you don't go too far into your red zone in the process. If you don't feel like you're about to throw up at some point during the race you're probably not focusing and pushing as much as you could. If you don't have rabbits ahead of you, pick a point on the course (e.g. a post or sign) and reel it in like a finish line, then find another similar focal point ahead of you again.
  4. Warm-Up – Of course we all know we need to warm up before a race. Previously, I warmed up on the TT bike out on the road. The change today was that I had a stationary bike inside my humongous Sprinter van so I could warm up at a pace that that felt just right without any coasting, stopping or road distractions. I did two very short, intense bursts (enough to really feel it!) during my fairly gentle 50-minute warm-up so the legs could do their complaining before I started the race rather than during the race. This is typical protocol, but it felt better not having to focus on the road. I could just focus on my pedal strokes and breathing.
  5. Equipment – OK, I switched from an aluminum TT bike to a carbon one. Maybe that helped, but since it's a flat course, I'm not too sure that was a big factor. There are two other changes that I think had a bigger impact on my speed:
    1. Carbon wheels with tubular "sew up" tires. I've been into bikes since I was a teenager, so obviously I've known about sew-ups for a long time. The inconvenience of dealing with flats on tubular tires has steered me toward clinchers for decades. Well, when I bought my new bike I took the plunge to all-carbon, tubular wheels. I LOVE them!!!!! I feel like an electric train on smooth rails. And since I've never had a flat on Fiesta Island, I figured I'd deal with the potential hassles of tire repair for my TT bike. Despite the flat course, my GPS record shows notable variations in speed. Lighter wheels/tires makes any acceleration easier. The biggest motivation for my wheel change was that I didn't want to catch another cat in my HED tri-spoke wheels. That freak accident was years ago, but I don't want to be the guy who amazingly had such bad luck twice.
    2. "Straight block" cassette. This is a biggie for a flat TT!! Everyone doing Fiesta Island at any decent speed should run a rear cassette with gears that are just one tooth apart from each other (or as close as possible to this). This may be a special order item (Shimano only has the Dura Ace with this gearing). It is SO nice to have such slight adjustments of your cadence available when you hit a slight headwind or change gradients slightly. When you succumb to downshifting as your legs burn, you won't be giving up as much speed if it's only a SLIGHTLY lower gear. It took me a long time to discover this slight advantage, and now you know, too. Of course, if you do hilly time trials, you'll need to put a standard cluster back on your bike.
  6. Nutritional Supplements – I'm an old fart. Some mornings I feel like I can barely stand up, much less race a bicycle. I'm sleepy before my first cup of coffee and my legs don't feel very athletic. I've found three things that I think really help me get pumped up for a race while I warm up on the stationary bike/trainer:
    1. T-minus 45 minutes: Sportlegs. They do seem to take the sting out of the lactic acid burn early in the race. Maybe it's my imagination. If so, these are better-than-average placebos!
    2. T-minus 30 minutes: Ibuprofen (any brand). Between my deteriorating disks, spinal stenosis, burning thigh muscles and general decrepitness, I can find all kinds of pain in competitive and long-distance cycling. This takes the edge off the pain to help me stay focused.
    3. T-minus 15 minutes: Nodoz (caffeine pill). Caffeine is the most widely used legal stimulant in sports. (There are NCAA and Olympic limits on how much can be in the bloodstream.) I take one tablet to take advantage of any sports performance-enhancing benefits and to make sure I'm fully awake and alert. According to Lance Armstrong (the famous supplement expert) this is the best thing you can do to help your race or century finish faster.
  7. Sleep – I finally went to bed really early so I'd get a full night's sleep before the race. Yea! It feels nice to prepare for a race without the strong desire to crawl back into bed. As you may know, sleep is the greatest legal means of getting faster. You produce human growth hormone while sleeping and naps really help in this regard. Maybe if I can get myself into a napping habit I'll be even faster next season. Maybe not.
  8. No Pressure – With such a horrible TT result last spring, I wasn't thinking in terms of setting a new PR. I was thinking it would be easy to beat my last result. So I wasn't feeling any pressure. I knew that my recent training (back to item #1 above) would improve upon that result. You'll naturally have enough adrenaline at race time. I think extra anxiety doesn't make me go any faster. It just takes away from the positive energy that needs to find its way to the pedals.
  9. Mustache – I'm five years older than I was when I raced my first time trial. But at that time I didn't have a TT bike or a mustache. Dave Zabriskie has demonstrated the importance of having the most aerodynamic facial hair possible. (It must have the same effect that those "dimples" have on golf balls and overpriced Zipp wheels.) Once in a while Z shaves off his mustache and his times get worse. His wife probably complained…like mine has recently. My mustache has been growing for only about 4 weeks. With a new PR under my belt it's going to take a LOT of complaining to get me to shave this "Lucky Caterpillar" off my face.
Despite all this "expertise," I'm still not one of the fastest guys out there. I'm not one of the slowest, but I sure would like to improve. One thing I need to do this winter is weight training. I simply need to get more power into these old legs. (Do I hear Father Time whispering, "Not a chance"?) All I can do is try…and get feedback from my friends in cycling.

In case you're a fan of the Fiesta Island Series, I have one final tip for you. Stick around for the awards ceremonies. One racer broke the course record this morning, but because he didn't stick around after the race, he didn't get the $150 cash prize awarded to new record-setters. (The good news is he's racing for SDBC in 2011!) Also, since we're sponsored by Karl Strauss, even slackers like me can walk off with tasty prizes. Jon Benson had a couple six-packs left over at the end of the awards ceremony, so my proximity to the prize table paid off even more than my racing efforts did.

Footnote: Sometimes the race of truth seems like it's between me and the wind. Fortunately it was calm this morning, which probably helped a few people achieve a new PR today. I didn't bother including "race on a calm day" to my list of tips above since you don't have control over mother nature.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Calculating Gradients without a GPS

As you've probably figured out by now, us old cyclists have a trick or two to teach newcomers (those under the age of 50) about cycling. All the new kids—at least the ones with jobs—have cool bikes and amazing electronics to get them where they want to go and determine the precise salinity of their sweat.

But what happens when something breaks down? God forbid you forget to charge your GPS between rides, but what if that happened? Not only would you get lost on the way out of your driveway, but you would not know just how steep that hill you're climbing really is. Is that a 9% grade or an 11% grade? If it's over 14% you'll definitely want to brag about it over smoothies at the coffee shop (or maybe over coffee at the smoothie shop).

I can't teach you how to replace all the amazing functionality of your GPS in one short blog posting, but I've got the gradient calculator part covered. Just print this blog and cut out the table below. Tape it to your handlebars just in case your GPS goes on the fritz. If you haven't properly warmed up, subtract 2 from the positive gradients shown for the actual figure.

You've decided to ride a century for giggles today instead of the usual 30 miles.
0% (flat road)
You're wondering if (a) you've over-trained, (b) you haven't trained enough, or (c) you really might be a fat load [rather than a cycling hero] after all.
You're convinced your brakes are rubbing but you can't find where.
Cycling is overrated and you want to call your friend or spouse for a ride home. You're thinking of selling your bike and taking up golf.
Somebody poisoned your food and put rocks into your saddle bag.
The time-space continuum has been swallowed by the gravity continuum and you are getting sucked into a black hole.
Those intoxicated construction workers have put a wall where there should be a road.
Cycling is overrated. You most certainly will give your bike to the next person you see after you ride back down this wall disguised as a hill.
Cycling rocks. You are faster than you've ever been before. Nobody can catch you, ever.
<0% (downhill)
We came across this sign on our way to the Alpe de Siusi climb
during the 2009 Giro d'Italia. Fortunately we were going down it rather than up it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cycling Checklist Sans Café

Before I begin I'll confess that I'm often struggling with a particular question. The gravity of this question rivals that of other big questions like "Why is there air?" and "If there is a god, why is she so pissed at us?" The particular question I struggle with is, "Was this brain fart due to my age, stupidity, a lack of coffee, or all the concussions I've suffered due to cycling & skiing head-bangs?"

Last night I updated my cycling checklist. [Click here for your own copy.] I've updated this list over the last few years to make sure there is no opportunity for me to forget anything when I'm going on a cycling trip, to a bike race, or just out for a casual bicycle ride. I generally don't need the list if I'm riding from home because I discover what I'm missing by the time I straddle the bike. But when I'm throwing everything in the car to start my ride from somewhere else the list becomes very important…especially if I haven't had any coffee yet.

This morning I drove over to Fiesta Island to do some time trial training. I go to the island by car, which theoretically means I'll double-check the simplified "daily basics" cycling checklist (on page 3 of the PDF file linked above). But of course I did NOT consult my newly-revised checklist before leaving the house. Fortunately I did remember my bicycle (forgotten once upon a time, but didn't get far from the house before realizing it), shoes, helmet, sunglasses and gloves. Ironically, what I did forget was the one thing I added to the list last night: My bike's GPS computer, which was still at home recharging. Not that I needed navigation help on a closed-loop course, but I do like checking my speed and heart rate from time to time. I noticed the missing GPS unit when I got on the bike, but didn't think to take the heart rate monitor off my chest until I was on lap 2 or 3, so it broadcast my racing heart's activity into endless ether.

On this particular morning I blamed the lack of coffee [for what proved to be a steady stream of brain farts] when I took my cycling shoes off after my ride. That's because I found a cherry pie-flavored LÄRABAR® squished in my left shoe. I didn't even notice it when I put my shoe on, but after about 20 miles it felt like my left sock was slipping down into my shoe. I looked down as I rode and the sock looked normal, so I was puzzled until I took the shoe off and found the energy bar…safely sealed within its flattened wrapper. If I had a couple cups of coffee before putting my shoes on I'm sure I would have felt the bar under my foot when I put the shoe on. Wouldn't I? Maybe?


(Of course I ate the bar. What are you, nuts?)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Best Bicycle Chain Lubricants: Comparison & Conclusion

What is the best lubrication to use on your bike chain? You can find lots of facts, opinions and fiction about the "best way" to lubricate and care for your bicycle chain in books and on the Internet. It's pretty difficult to find tests that go beyond anecdotal observations.* After years of experimenting and over a hundred thousand miles of riding, I will now present my own opinion as immutable fact. (As a parent, I'm quite accustomed to this approach.)

Let's start with a True/False quiz to kick things off. We'll see how much the masters of marketing have lubricated our brains.

  • Oil additives like Slick 50 help extend your car's engine life.
    (Answer: False. They make things worse by clogging up your oil filter with loose, particulate Teflon that will never adhere to the inside of your cylinders. This impedes the flow of oil. Don't worry…well-established facts like this won't stop anyone from selling it to people who buy the marketing hype.)
  • You should take your bicycle chain off the bike to clean it.
    (Answer: False. Unless you have a VERY old bike with a 5-speed cog, removing your chain every time you want to clean it will dramatically improve your chances of breaking your chain. Manufacturers provide such warnings, but not everybody is listening. Even if your 10-speed chain has a master link, opening and closing it will weaken your chain. If you regularly lube and wipe your chain with an appropriate oil mix, you won't ever need to attack your chain with solvents. Sure, it will look brighter, but that's about it.)
  • "Self-cleaning" wax-based lubricants like White Lightening, Squirt, and Dupont's Chain Saver work as well as oils but also help your chain stay clean because any old residue will just "fly off" your chain.
    (Answer: False. Well-respected author and mechanic Lennard Zinn is very blunt about how you can expect fewer miles out of your chain if you use this type of lube. Yes, lots of residue will fly off, but in the process it will also get dirty and find a way to stick to other parts critical to smooth shifting like derailleur jockey wheels. I've had lots of black gunk on my bikes from using this "self-cleaning" solution. )
Now let's move on to my opinion the facts regarding bicycle chain maintenance.

  • This information is based upon generally dry, clean road-riding conditions that are quite common here in San Diego. If you live elsewhere, you need to move here first. (If the weather sucks where you ride your bike, you have a more pressing problem than what chain lube to use.)
  • The general principle here is that we need to give our chains some TLC on a regular basis for the best results, i.e. smooth-shifting, low-friction, long-lasting bicycle chains. Depending upon how big your rides are you should consider lubing your chain for every other ride if not every ride. This frequent lubrication scheme allows you to use thinner/lighter oils that will not attract quite as much dirt. If you want a lube that "really lasts" you're going to lean toward tackier oils that gather dirt…and you may quite possibly be a little bit lazy.
  • If you're using the right lube and wiping off excess with a rag, you won't get too much buildup on your chain. Ideally, allow some time between initial oil application (with spinning of the crank to work the oil to interior parts) and wiping the chain exterior clean with a rag.
  • Yes, you'll still want to check/clean your jockey wheels, cog and chain rings so that buildup of little dirt+oil chunks doesn't cause problems.
  • The idea of minimizing lubrication to avoid attracting dirt to the chain doesn't apply here. Just be sure to use an old terry cloth rag to help get oil out of the nooks and crannies. With the relatively thin oils recommended here, your oil is also part of the cleaning solution, helping to flush out dirt that has worked its way into the chain.
  • If you're trying to keep your chain so dry that no dust or dirt sticks to it, you're probably not getting enough lube to the interior parts of the chain that you actually need to be concerned about. This frequent TLC lubrication approach does not work well with the thicker wax lubricants
Best choices for bicycle chain lubrication:

  • THE BEST: Park Tool CL-1 Synthetic Blend Chain Lube with PTFE (Teflon). The "blue" bike tool company from St. Paul, MN knows a thing or two about servicing bikes. Their CL-1 lube has a perfect viscosity for the dual role the lube should play: flush out old dirt and lube when applying new lubrication. You can find this for as low as $4.29 for a 4-ounce bottle (August 2010), so don't pay twice that much just to be nice to your LBS (local bike shop). My chain stays much brighter and cleaner since I switched from ProGold to Park’s lube. 
  • BEST BUYS: DuPont™ Teflon™ Multi-Use Lubricant and Giant Liquid Silk LPD-9. I don't have as much experience with these, but some people swear by them. These are thin and light, but the DuPont product is tough enough to use on motorcycle chains, too. Both brands are available in aerosol and small squirt bottle containers to satisfy your personal preference. Giant's lube sells for as little as $1.98 for a 4.45 oz bottle. Dupont can be found for as little as $4.99 for an 11-ounce can. All sorts of experts will tell you to avoid "general purpose" lubricants…especially the experts who have something more expensive to sell you. This has the right characteristics for use on a smooth-shifting, frequently lubed-and-wiped bike chain. Note: This is NOT Dupont's "chain saver," which is the thicker, waxier spray similar to some other motorcycle chain lubricants.
  • Finish Line Teflon-Plus Lubricant is cleaner than Tri-Flow [below] but costlier than the two mentioned above.
  • Tri-Flow "Superior Lubricant with Teflon" is a bit wetter and tackier, which invites more dirt to stay on the chain. It also costs a little more than the two favorites mentioned above. If you have this in your tool box, consider using it for cable housings, jockey wheels, and other parts that you might not think of lubricating as often. It will "stick around" longer.
  • ProGold "ProLink" typically costs twice as much as the ones mentioned above. I used this for years but sadly it ultimately has nothing to offer over the two favorites mentioned above other than a really strong chemical odor. Higher pricing and cycling-specific marketing makes many cyclists feel they're getting a better product. ProGold is very popular which probably explains why they can charge so much for a 4-ounce bottle in your local bike shop.
I hope better lubricants and radical new improvements in drivetrain technology will cause this article to be completely outdated soon. But as things stand, we're still using the same principals in chain construction and lubrication that we were when I first learned to ride a bike almost 50 years ago. Until those radical new improvements come along, I hope this article is helpful to those who don't want to experiment quite as much as I have.

*If you know of a test that is focused on bicycle chains (which pose challenges that are different from motorcycle chains and any other mechanical or environmental scenario), please feel free to post that here.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010 Tour de France Live!

A week ago today we were at the Tour de France's individual time trial in Bordeaux, France. We had been in the Pyrénées for days before that, climbing famous "cols" (mountain passes) like the Col du Tourmalet and roads to dead-ends in beautiful ski areas like Superbagnères and Pla d'Adet. We stayed in Luchon-Bagnères to watch the end of one stage and the start of another. But it wasn't until that day in Bordeaux of NOT climbing the hills that I finally stopped to fully appreciate one thing: We were in France, at the Tour de France! It took me over 50 years to get to the Tour, and I may never experience it "live" again, but there we were.

I've always liked riding my bike, but it wasn't until five years ago–the summer of 2005–when I really got into bike racing as a spectator. The timing was strange, since American Lance Armstrong had just retired after winning his seventh Tour de France. Lance didn't get me into bike racing. My wife did. When I came home one night after riding up Torrey Pines hill 50 times in one day (just to see if I could; 162 miles, over 20,000 vertical feet of climbing), she said to me with a concerned look on her face, "Why don't you try racing OTHER people?" With that, I joined the San Diego Bicycle Club (SDBC) and dabbled in some bike racing. I've raced "track" at the velodrome, I still race time trials, and I will try some road/crit racing again someday. I'm not very good at it, but I love it.

By experiencing bike racing personally, I got a dose of the incredible adrenaline that comes with the sport. That personal racing experience turned a potentially boring spectator sport into something I really enjoy watching. (Having played football and soccer made those sports more interesting to watch, too. This formula didn't work on me for baseball because I thought it was pretty boring even when I played it.)

This doesn't explain WHY I'm so passionate about cycling now, but I am. I'm glad of it.

  • I'm glad I have a passion to follow.
  • I'm glad it can burn 7,000 calories in a day.
  • I'm glad there are a few million other people "into it" enough to make the Tour de France the incredible event that it is.
  • I'm glad we went to see the Tour de France live.

We finally made it to Cycling Mecca. We were at the Super Bowl of bike racing. And I'm so glad it sunk in before it was all over.
Vive le Tour de France!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

America’s Lower-Left City

In early July of this year I began exploring routes away from San Diego's coast in an effort to find some sunshine. The weeks of "May Gray" and "June Gloom" went way overboard this year. Almost every day, the forecast was "increasing cloudiness," which seemed comical long after the sky was filled with nothing but clouds.

This exploration allowed me to see more of San Diego County, both within and outside San Diego's city limits. One day my friend Dennis and I decided to put a hundred miles on our bikes. We passed the city limits more than once. At one point during our long ride, Dennis pointed out how embarrassing San Diego's new "tag line" is. I thought we were still "America's Finest City," but Dennis pointed out how someone in our finest city's government decided it was time to change that tag line to "A City Worthy of Our Affection." I had never noticed this before, and when I realized he wasn't kidding, I suddenly felt very embarrassed for San Diego. This was a bone-headed move at so many levels…

  • "America's Finest City" was a great tag line. Why would we change that? Did someone else steal the honor from us? Was it because of the horrible maintenance of the roads? I will admit that most cities (and unincorporated communities) around San Diego have smoother roads than San Diego does. Dropping this tag line is a horrible admission that—for some reason unannounced to the constituents—we aren't even going to claim that we're the finest. Very sad.
  • Worth of our AFFECTION? Since when does one think of cities as something to get affectionate about? This new phrase sounds like something a committee of undereducated bureaucrats came up with. From what I've gathered, it's actually borrowed from one of Mayor Sanders' "state of the city" address several years ago. How misguided is that? Dump a great tagline and replace it with an awkward phrase in an uninspired political speech? Clearly the city doesn't employ a good marketing person…at least not one with any pull. Very embarrassing.
  • San Diego has been in financial trouble for quite a few years. Can you imagine somebody at city hall signing the purchase order to replace all those city limit signs just so this lame tagline can replace the good one? Way to go, SD. Don't spend that money on fixing our roads, maintaining our parks, or beautifying major tourist routes like Torrey Pines Road heading into La Jolla. Spend it on a bad tagline. Very wasteful.

So there we have it: Very sad, embarrassing, and wasteful. If we have an interim tagline before we become "America's Finest City" again, how about making it, "San Diego, the City's Management is Worthy of our Attention." Let's not let this sort of nonsense continue on our watch, using our tax dollars.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pass the Baton

On July 11th 2010 we witnessed the end of the third major round of Lance Armstrong's bike racing career. His bike racing career was preceded—and may be followed again--by an impressive triathlon racing experience.

Round 1: Before he won a single Tour de France—and before most Americans heard his name—Lance was a very strong cyclist. He was the US National Champion and World Champion in 1993. Unfortunately, most people who don't follow cycling closely have no idea who the national or world champions of the sport are. Round 1 ended after Lance discovered that he had cancer that had spread throughout his body in 1996.

Round 2: After fighting for his life against cancer, Lance won 7 consecutive Tours de France (1999-2005) and became the most famous cyclist in the world. Bicycle manufacturers and bike shop owners rejoiced as America rediscovered the bicycle. American bike racing fans rejoiced that the sparse smattering of victories by Americans in European road bike racing was replaced by American dominance of the biggest bike race in the world. Unfortunately, Lance grew bored of winning the Tour de France and "retired" in 2005. Granted, it's a lot of very hard work, and he already had enough fame and fortune for a few lifetimes.

Round 3: After getting inspired to race again through his Leadville 100 racing experience, Lance decided to return to the pinnacle of the sport to race the Tour de France in 2009. It's a tall order after leaving the professional peloton for a few years, but Lance did well and finished 3rd in 2009. For 2010, Lance had a year of racing under his belt and a full schedule of "warm-up" races leading up to the Tour. When he finished 2nd in the Tour of Switzerland, I started to think he might really have the form to be a real threat to the other top Tour contenders. But after multiple crashes and perhaps a bonk on the final climb yesterday, we'll never know how well he could have done in this year's Tour. This is Lance, not SuperLance. Getting those 12 minutes back is not in the cards.

I HOPE we'll never know how well he would have done if those crashes hadn't happened. Because now, working as a "domestique" for his teammate Levi Leipheimer in the coming weeks, he should sacrifice his stage-by-stage finish times to help maximize Levi's chances of winning the Tour. This may mean pacing up hills right through his anaerobic zone, then peeling off and dropping back. It should mean taking pulls in front of Levi to help Levi stay as protected and rested as possible for the crucial moments. It should mean wearing himself out as a loyal teammate to the point where his own time trial performance in Bordeaux will be lackluster. I hope.

I've seen some journalists and readers guess that Lance may go for a stage win, like some sort of "farewell" performance now that the GC (overall win) is not in the cards for him. I'll be disappointed if this happens, because it will mean that he chose—even if only for one stage—to put his own need for more glory ahead of the need to help his team place well in the race. I'm optimistic. I don't know why Levi's web site still has the video of him and Lance talking about his broken wrist from last year's Tour on the home page. Maybe he thinks it's good karma. I'm not so sure about that, but Levi has been on the Tour podium before and I'd love to see Levi finally win in 2010.

Even by his own admission, Lance hasn't replaced "The Cannibal" Eddy Merckx as the greatest bike racer to have ever graced the planet. But he is currently the most popular, and continuing this race as a great teammate, racing in Ironman events, maybe even racing in US continental races will help perpetuate his popularity among generations of athletes. Wouldn't it be cool to hear about Lance racing in 60+ Masters categories a couple decades from now, after the battle with cancer and the Tour victories? Physically fit (and fearless!) athletes who race into their 70's, 80's and even 90's are the greatest sources of inspiration to me.

Here's to Rounds 4-15. Go Lance!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Meet the Waltons [on the road], Part 6

I took a quick ride up the Coast Highway this afternoon (from La Jolla to Moonlight Beach & back). I've given up on the gray skies breaking anytime soon, and I'm glad I wore a comfy merino wool base layer. Yes, in late June, in Southern California. Ugh!

Anyway, on the way back through Del Mar I see a very tall cyclist with a Grateful Dead jersey ahead of me. My first reaction was, "Man, I keep bumping into Bill Walton everywhere this year." I've seen him out on the road, at my daughter's fashion show fundraiser, at the Gran Fondo San Diego, at the start of the Mount Laguna Challenge, at the Tour of California TT in LA, and I rode with him a little bit as we escorted runners in San Diego's Rock & Roll Marathon. Bill obviously loves cycling.

But when I got closer to this rider, it was clear that he was younger than Bill and was not riding Bill's bike with the bright orange custom Grateful Dead paint job.

Me: "I only know one other tall guy in San Diego who loves cycling and the Grateful Dead, and that's Bill Walton."

Tall rider: "Yeah, I got this jersey from him."

Me: "Oh, cool. He's really into cycling. I've seen him everywhere anything 'cycling' was happening this year."

Tall rider: "I'm going to see him now."

Me: "Oh, so you know him?"

Tall rider: "Yeah, he's my dad."

I have three kids and I know kids aren't always super-quick to claim their parents in public, so I thought this was a pretty funny dialog. So I asked Nate Walton if he's as crazy about cycling as his dad is, and he said maybe, but his dad has a lot more time to put into it, riding a century practically every week. (Yikes…still has some sports drive!)

Tomorrow I better get a century under my belt. I need to get some serious "saddle time" before we take off to France next month. The Pyrénées aren't terribly forgiving hills for cyclesloths.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Breakaway Inspiration

Cycling fans know that perhaps 9 out of 10 breakaway efforts in pro bicycle racing get swallowed up by the field or "peloton." But as my favorite lottery slogan says, "You can't win if you don't play." (No, I don't throw money away on the lottery.)

This year's Giro d'Italia has been quite interesting so far, and the end of stage 5 was no exception. I've never seen this level of excitement + confusion as the field tries to catch these three riders so close to the line. Check out this short video on Universal Sports to watch the end.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Team Radio Shack Funding

I've always thought of Radio Shack as the handy, local stop for weird cable & adapter needs. As an engineer and lifetime nerd I've helped keep them alive over the years. Today I needed an HDMI to DVI cable to connect our new Blu-ray disc player to our old "HD ready" TV. I went to "the Shack" hoping that such an adapter exists, mostly because the Blu-ray player was a birthday present for my wife¹ and I wanted her to have the best possible picture.

Yes!…Radio Shack has it! I took it to the register without checking the price, thinking hmm... Maybe twelve bucks. Worst case, $19.99, right? No…a whopping sixty bucks!! You read that right. $60 for a lousy cable. That's almost half what I paid for the new Blu-ray disc player at Costco, which included an HDMI to HDMI cable. I should have put the "Shack" cable back on the shelf, but I didn't know how cheap it was elsewhere, I didn't want to wait for an Internet order and I didn't have time to go over to Fry's Electronics. (I always get lost in that place for at least half an hour anyway.)

While I'm in sticker shock there at the register in Radio Shack, the lady ringing me up was saying that the Monster brand version of the cable cost twice as much. (Is that supposed to make me feel better?) What a racket: Choose the insanely-overpriced Monster brand or the way-overpriced Auvio brand (Radio Shack's "premium" house brand for cables). With prices like these, it looks like Radio Shack should be able to support Lance Armstrong's team nicely for a few years. I guess this is the electronics world's equivalent to a $400 carbon fiber handlebar, but in this case there wasn't a cheap, alternative "alloy" handlebar at this store.

Next time I need a cable I'll go online to where I now know that their HDMI to DVI cable would have set me back only $10.99 (plus $2.99 for shipping but no sales tax). I like saving 76% when I buy stuff! As much as I love cycling and those who support cycling, I feel genuinely ripped off.

Oh well. I've made another donation to cycling,² just not voluntarily this time. I'd rather hand a nice bottle of wine to the hard-working domestiques³ like Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer on the team. You're welcome, Lance!



  1. No, it wasn't for me. She watches a lot more TV and movies than I do.
  2. I provide substantial sponsorship & private donations to San Diego Bicycle Club, USA Cycling and several other cycling organizations.
  3. Chris and Levi know full well that—after the duel Lance and Alberto had last year—Lance is not going to say, "OK guys…you're faster than me, so let me support you any way I can so you might score a win in the Tour." They have their work cut out for them, so a little comfort food would come in handy.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Inspiration for My 2010 Tour de France Win

I just finished a research project last week, so now I can get back to reading Ask and It is Given and training for my 2010 Tour de France victory in July. I would be working on another project, but my "vibrational mismatch" is causing the business environment to remain weak. (See how well-trained I am by Abraham to blame my own vibrations rather than the economy!!) More importantly, I can get back to these diary entries that tell the story about how Esther & Jerry Hicks helped me win the mother of all bike races.
I believe in the existence of a "spiritual dimension" but I'm also a scientist of sorts. My undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering and I'm a market research professional. I appreciate how little we know and I'm quick to seek out alternative sources of information. So…
Today I read an interview with Esther & Jerry Hicks in The Independent rather than just reading another few chapters in the book. In this interview, the author (Robert Chalmers) obviously had the same brilliant idea I have, but fortunately he's more interested in football (soccer) than cycling. Here's the crucial excerpt from his 2007 interview as it relates to the certainty that I will win this year's Tour:
Chalmers: "You spoke yesterday about the way in which desire can make something happen, and that nothing is impossible. Isn't it important to realize that some things will never come to you? However much I still want to wear the number seven shirt for Manchester United, occupied [at the time of writing] by Cristiano Ronaldo, I've accepted that this isn't going to happen."
Esther/Abraham: "In cases like this, where there is not sincere desire..."
Chalmers: "Trust me, there is."
Esther/Abraham: "Well, if there is sincere desire, and you bring your belief into alignment with it, it can be. People say: could I grow back an arm that has been amputated... is this really possible? We say yes."
I don't know if when Manchester United recruited Chalmers or how many goals he has scored since this interview, but I'm guessing it's a very large and uncertain number, much like the number of former wives of former Amway salesman Jerry Hicks. But now you know: My desire to win this year's Tour de France is so sincere that I will most certainly beat Alberto Contador like a rented mule in this year's Tour de France!!. On the hills, he will look like he's riding backwards during that brief moment that Versus can catch us both in the same camera frame. If you are tired of hearing Phil Liggett (or was it Paul Sherwen...I'm not sure) talk about how Alberto is "dancing on the pedals," you'll be happy to know that instead, Mr. Liggett will be screaming in disbelief, "Dan Goese, the 51-year-old recreational rider from California is absolutely CRUSHING Contador!!"
On the training front, I had a great ride with a visitor from Australia yesterday after the heavy rains finally subsided. We both enjoyed our 60-mile coastal ride peppered with some climbs around San Elijo Hills. A couple more training rides like this–along with a "sincere desire" to win the Tour–should be enough to bag the big win. Yeeeehaa!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Every Desire is Given, Every Wish Is Granted

The Planet Ultra climbing camp in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains was great. It was fun to see George Hincapie again. Fellow campers surely thought it was strange that he actually knew my name. He seems happy with his new BMC Racing Team. It was also amusing to watch the camp's ladies put a capital "C" in "Cougar." Every time the BMC squad was in a conference room eating or stretching, the old (like, almost as old as I am) girls were buzzing around the lobby and hallways like locusts. Now we're all back at work and the BMC boys are racing in the Tour of Qatar. Ah, the joys of youth and superior genes + endless training.
It's been a long two weeks since the camp. On the Tuesday after I got back, I came down with a cold. The mystical spirit armada called "Abraham" (in Esther & Jerry Hicks' book Ask and It Is Given) would have you think that it was my own fault that I got sick. Abe would say that I was either NOT thinking enough about myself being healthy, or I was thinking too much about NOT catching a cold. So, through the Law of Attraction (made so famous in the book and movie called The Secret) I made myself sick. I stand accused of CHOOSING to get sick. Well, I was having none of those thoughts and I have a different theory about why I caught a cold, but I won't bother explaining it because Abe is so old he doesn't even know what a virus is.
When I pause between salvos of phlegm missiles fired out of my lungs, I'm thinking completely healthy thoughts. I'm dreaming of climbing like Contador and flying like Fabian in the time trials. Since I finished the first phase of a research project I'm working on, I also read a little more in Ask and It is Given. (Yes, this diary entry is one in a long series studying this book.) The book is getting really good now, but there is a phrase that may cause the Tour de France race officials some concern. Since they're French and I'm American, they may try to use it as an excuse to DQ me from this year's Tour de France. Chapter 8 in the book is titled, "You are a Vibrational Transmitter and Receiver." If you followed last year's race, you know the officials toyed with having a day or two where the teams could not use their race radios to communicate with the cyclists. I'll need to read up on what they're planning this year and get my attorney to work on this one.
"But wait, there's more!" Chapter 10 starts out super-juicy. Abraham finally gets to the complex steps in achieving the book title's claims: (1) You ask. (2) The answer is given. (3) You "allow" the answer to happen by letting it in. Psha! If I knew it was that easy, I would have asked for 8 Tour de France victories and not just one. Abe goes on to say that every prayer is answered, every wish is granted, and every desire is given, but most people screw up on the 3rd step because they don't tune the vibrational frequency of their being with the vibrational frequency of their desires.
Whatever. I didn't get greedy by asking for 8 tour victories quite yet. I decided to put Abraham's theory to the test on another short-term experiment like the poker game a couple weeks ago. This time I asked to have Eva Mendes come over to my house to cook a hot meal of Arroz congri, bringing along Keira Knightly Cameron Diaz, Scarlett Johannson, Jessica Biel, and Katherine Heigl to make appetizers, desert, and drinks. I wouldn't drink before they got here…I learned from the poker game spiral. But once they got here I figured it would be OK to share some drinks with the girls.
Well, wouldn't you know it? I screwed up step 3. I didn't let them in. I figure they must have come over and rang the doorbell right when I went out on the deck to turn up the heat in the Jacuzzi!! I didn't hear the damn doorbell. And I can't hear Abraham saying "I told you so," but I'm sure Esther Hicks can.
Ugh! I hope I don't find a rule like "you can't make the same wish twice" in a later chapter. This wish is worth trying again. I even think my wife and kids would get a kick out of having these famous ladies over for some good ol' rice and beans. I'd just get Abe's spiritual help working over any rough edges with the missus.
I've learned my lessons well: (1) Don't consume alcohol until your wish is granted, and (2) Make sure you're within earshot of the doorbell when your wish is being granted so you can "let it in."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Training for my 2010 Tour de France Victory

I'm richer now, thanks to my vibrational magic helping me win more than usual in the monthly poker game. No, I did not win every other hand. As the evening wore on, I amazed my friends less and less with my luck. (I was unbelievably lucky for a while. Just to be clear, I don't really have any skills in poker.) Maybe beer interferes with the Source Energy that Abraham speaks of [through Esther Hicks]. I haven't found a customer service link to Abe the [recovering alcoholic] spirit, but I'm guessing that's what the problem was with my fleeting luck. I'll try again next month without the beer. I'm the designated driver next month anyway.

Enough already about the Source Energy test-drive on poker winnings. This weekend I'm getting down to the serious business of training for my Tour win. How ironic that the BMC Racing Team is here at the same hotel in Agoura Hills, training on the same hills I am. So we have–in one small space on the planet–the following amazing humans:

  • The current national champion (and friend) George Hincapie
  • The current world champion Cadel Evans
  • Last year's world champion Alessandro Ballan
  • The 2010 Tour de France winner Dan Goese

I guess I'm being set up by the Source Energy to be invited to join the team. Unfortunately, I don't know for sure that they are going to race in the Tour. Maybe if I wasn't putzing with my camera on the side of the road when they came up the hill, they would have been impressed with my current climbing speed. Perhaps not, since my current climbing speed is about half as fast as theirs. There's always tomorrow. (At least most of the time, and we don't hear much from those who don't have a tomorrow.)

I better get my sleep for some recuperation. Tomorrow's a longer day than today was, and I'll need to be a lot more impressive on the hills for BMC to ask me the big question.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Practice Winning Today!

I've read the first five chapters of Ask and It is Given and learned that "There is nothing that you cannot be, do, or have." Rather than waiting to put this wisdom into practice [when I win the Tour de France in July], I'm going to win every other hand of poker with my buddies tonight. If I win EVERY hand, they wouldn't let me come back and play again next month, so let's just make it every other hand. Tee hee. Won't they be surprised!!

I've already begun my quest to tap fully into the Source Energy that will allow me "create my own reality" in little ways. Yesterday when I rode my bike up to Carlsbad and back, there were two traffic lights that often turn red when I'm passing through. I kept them green by thinking "Not in my universe! In my universe this light will stay green." I voiced that thought in a powerful Terminator tone and sure enough, the lights stayed green. Well actually, the second light turned yellow and was organgish/red by the time I finished sprinting through the intersection. But what the heck…green enough for my universe. I need practice sprinting anyway.

I just changed the "adult content" option on this blog/diary to "yes," because I'm not always the most patient person. I just might start using some nasty language if Abraham (the Spirit that author Esther Hicks channels) doesn't cut to the chase soon. I'm asking to win the 2010 Tour de France. That's this year, Abe babe. I'm also asking to have my net worth boosted to over one billion dollars. Oh yes, and tonight I would like to win every other hand of poker. Why do I have to read 305 pages to figure out exactly how to ask? And when should I expect my Pro Tour team invitation?

I'm going to use my poker winnings to publish a "self-help" book for people who write self-help books. (I categorize Ask and It is Given as a self-help book.) My book will be one page long, including the forward, introduction, and appendix. It will be called How to Write Self-Help Books Without Including All the Unnecessary Crap and Unrelated Stories. Of course I'm going to have to self-publish this book because no publisher will take it to the shelves for me. They'll say, "People can photocopy your whole book in two seconds!! Why do you think we make all our other published authors make their books so thick? It's so everybody has to buy one. Nobody will take the time to photocopy anything over 200 pages."

Well all righty. Before leaving blogland for the day, I better jot down a couple notes on what I've learned in the first five chapters. If I don't take notes as I read I might screw things up and finish 3rd or 4th in the Tour.

  • In chapter 1, Abraham introduces himself. (What a polite spirit!)
  • In chapter 2, he/it/they say that "most people are feeling unhappy about [their] unfulfilled desires." He doesn't quote his data source. I'm a market research guy. Normally I like to see references to studies when broad claims like that are made. Since he's a Source Energy Spirit thingy, I guess we'll have to give him a special exemption. Personally, I don't let my "unfulfilled desires" put a damper on my happiness from one day to the next. I'm generally pretty happy. In fact, I think getting some of my desires fulfilled could make me a very unhappy guy. I don't think Tiger Woods is happier now that he's had all his desires fulfilled.
  • Chapter 2 also brought the first potential caveat to the cover's "ask and it is given" promise. Abraham says, "…this book is not being written to assist you in getting everything checked off your list, for we understand the impossible nature of that endeavor." Oh, great. Couldn't he have waited a few chapters before showing signs of mortal weakness? Spirits should at least be able to pretend that nothing is impossible. Ugh! I'm already glad I didn't pay for this book.
  • There's great news by the time we get to chapter 3. "You are here to experience outrageous joy. That is why you are here." I like that. When you see me on TV and in the papers–the relatively unknown billionaire standing on the top step of the Tour de France podium this July–you will see the smile of someone who is outrageously joyful.
  • OK, we're getting to the technical stuff in chapter 4. It says that I have not already gotten what I desire because I'm holding myself in a vibrational holding pattern that does not match the vibration of my desire. Having taken some quantum mechanics in engineering school, I have some appreciation of what Abraham might be getting at, but I guess I'll need to keep reading to get some specific help on how to fix my asynchronous vibration problem. He starts with a good simple tip: Resistant thoughts are the only disallowing factors involved. I'm resisting nothing. I may keep my wits about me, and I may not join any cults, but I'm WIDE OPEN to discovering the vibration of my desires.
  • Oops…another potential crack in the foundation. Abraham later says that it is his/their desire that I become happy with "that which I am" and "that which I have." This feels like I'm being set up for a shell game of some sort just so I'll later say, "Wow, look! I actually just asked for what I already have…minus the couple hundred bucks I could spend on an Abraham-Hicks seminar." I was already happy with that which I am, I just don't normally say it in such a retarded fashion. And I'm going to keep taking notes just in case I need to retrace my steps and figure out where in this journey I lost my mind.
  • In chapter 5, Abraham (Why do I feel like just calling him "The Dude?") says that by paying attention to the way we feel, we can fulfill our reason for being here. I'm pretty sure Abraham has never experienced a menstrual period. When a woman feels like killing someone at a certain time every month, Abraham shouldn't share his wisdom in such an irresponsible way. People could get seriously hurt.

I'll now begin today's affirmations: Win every other hand. Win every other hand. Act surprised. Win every other hand.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Starting my Tour de France Reading Regime

It's a quiet, cold Saturday morning outside. After several days of rain, it's also–finally–very sunny. Normally I would jump on the bike on a sunny Saturday morning, but this felt like the perfect time to brew a pot of coffee and finally start reading the book that is going to help me win this year's Tour de France (Ask and It is Given, by Esther and Jerry Hicks).

The book's forward is by a guy who's been on TV a lot. His name is Wayne Dyer. I read his book called Your Erroneous Zones when it was first published back in 1976. I was a senior in high school and I thought it had a lot of good thoughts on avoiding negative and useless thoughts, which high school kids have plenty of. High school kids also have pretty limited vocabularies, so some of my less-than-brilliant classmates assumed Wayne was talking about erogenous zones, so they would snicker when they saw my book. Anyway, Wayne wrote the forward to Ask and It is Given because Abraham asked him to. (Remember, Abraham is the spirit that Esther channels.)

My [generally irreverent] writing style may lead you to believe that I'm not expecting anything great out of this book. You would be wrong. I'm a big dreamer and a big believer in possibilities. I love cycling, and I dream of flying up hills faster than Alberto Contador can. I visualize riding again this fall with my buddy George Hincapie and dropping him on the climb up Paris Mountain. In the book's forward, Wayne Dyer gives me hope. He talks about Source Energy, which is apparently the highest/fastest energy in the universe. (When you see words like these capitalized, you know they must be important.) I really want to get out and ride today before the rain returns, but I need to stop writing, pause on the riding, and start reading again to figure out how to get some Source Energy into my water bottles and pumping in my veins.

I'll be REALLY bummed if WADA or the UCI adds "Source Energy" to their list of banned substances. I wonder how they'd test for it. I'm sure those clever French lab technicians will find a way, especially since I'm going to be yet another abominable American Tour de France winner.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winning the Tour by Asking (Part 2)

I'm a reasonable person, so I understand if someone might sneer at my claim that I'm going to win the 2010 Tour de France. They might say something like, "Dan, you're 52 years old, and you're not even a strong racer for your age." But I know those skeptics simply haven't opened their eyes to the possibilities that come through the "Teachings of Abraham." You see, the book Ask and It is Given may have been written by Esther and Jerry Hicks, but this couple is just channeling the infinite wisdom of a spirit named Abraham. If I understand this correctly (and I'm sure I'll learn more as I read the book), "Abraham" is not the familiar biblical character. This is the name given by Esther Hicks to the source of what Esther Hicks says in her seminars.

As a marketing guy, I think this Abraham shtick is pretty cool. Apparently thousands of other people do, too, and they keep coming back for more. (My friend Louise has read all of Esther and Jerry's books of Abraham's teachings several times.) Most people hungry for followers go for the jugular: God. Lots of people will listen to a complete lunatic like Pat Robertson when he says he's speaking the Word of the Lord. Esther has taken a more humble approach, making up a dude nobody has ever heard of before. But this guy is every bit as creative as God was in the Old Testament. When I asked Louise about Abraham's perspective on charity, she said that Abraham says that we are all created equal, with the same opportunities. When we give to another soul, we are basically saying that they are not as good as we are…that they are less than equal, and not as happy as we are. (I guess this is some sort of crime against the soul, maybe?)

I decided to give this philosophy another nudge in light of the massive earthquake in Haiti, the poorest country in our hemisphere. I asked, "So, this spirit is telling Esther that a 1-year-old Haitian child who is on the verge of starving to death is as happy as a toddler in a loving, wealthy family in La Jolla? That Haitian has the same opportunity?" Louise responded by saying that Abraham, Esther and Jerry say that the child chose that life in this world. That is the journey that the spirit in that child chose, so who are we to get in the way of their journey.

There you have it! I think that concept is a little far-fetched and very unconventional. (Frankly, I think that is the kind of thought that belongs to the kind of person who belongs in some kind of institution…and I don't mean a university or church.) But hell, what do I know? It's time for me to open my eyes and my mind and just read the book. I'm going into it with more of an open mind than this sarcastic writing might lead you to believe because I really want to win this year's Tour de France, and I won't do it using conventional thoughts and methods. "Ask and It is Given," the book says. I'm asking. And I'm telling Abraham to put his spandex shorts on because we should start riding just in case "asking" isn't enough.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010 Tour de France Winner!

Up until now, a lot of people–including me–thought Alberto Contador would win the 2010 Tour de France. Others thought Andy Schleck might get lucky–and leverage his stronger team–to beat the weightless Spanish climbing sensation. And those of us who like to believe that old mean really do "rule" were hoping Lance Armstrong would pull a miracle out of his bionic butt to clobber both the skinny Euroboys.

But now the truth is known. I am the winner of the 2010 Tour de France. I have my good friend Louise¹ to thank for this. Just a week or so ago, she gave me the book by Esther and Jerry Hicks called Ask and It is Given / Learning to Manifest Your Desires. Well, without having read the first page, I'm asking. Please, pretty-please, I'd like to win this year's Tour de France. Done!

Of course I'm going to read the book. And (stealing an idea from my friend Lisa²) I will use what I learn from this book for a hearty round of mostly cycling-related diary³ entries. I won't reveal everything I learn. That would be stupid, because if by some chance some other cyclist has the same desires, they could read my tips and also win the 2010 Tour de France. The race officials would get so confused with two winners. They'd have to build a new podium and change so many things. Ugh…how do you say "big inconvenience" in French?

This is going to be great!! Let the reading begin. I'll probably have to train a lot, too. That's OK. I like riding my bike even more than I like reading.



1. The names of some people have been changed to help keep me out of trouble.

2. The names of some other people have not been changed because they aren't the sort of people to give me any trouble.

3. Yes, this is a diary. Nobody reads my blog. A blog without readers is a diary. But someday after I'm dead and gone, someone will discover this on the Internet and turn it into a best-selling book and movie. (Go for it.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Feeling Good

My doctor won't just come out and say it, but I'm obviously going to die. At best, I only have another 51 years left to live. My brothers and sisters, I intend to live those years like I never have before. Do what you want to in 2010, but I'm going to stop pretending I'm not a superhero. I'm going to shake this little planet till the crust starts flaking off. [Yeaaahhhh... In other words, I feel pretty dang good after just 4 days back on the bike. :)]