Power Squash, 3 Parts, dig it.

Three excellent links to the Power Squash, instructional videos:

Power Squash, Part I: The Basics

Power Squash, Part II: Defending

Power Squash, Part III: Attacking

This may not change your game. In fact, tonight, I played pickup with a young woman on the courts who very nearly whacked me in the head several times with her wild backhand, and prior to that I played a Frenchman, who was most certainly still developing his backhand, so if you take away one thing from these videos, it’s this: cocked wrist in the ready position, and ‘eye on the ball’ matey.

Ready Set Go

Getting ready for the trip to Alaska. We spent two nights on the summit of Mt. Whitney in the little stone hut. It wasn’t too cold. The second night I felt a bit better with the altitude with some hot ramen noodles.  The Koflach Arctis Expe boots will have to do.  My VBL socks should work, my mittens are solid.  I may need a new pair of glove liners, which I probably should’ve bought in Colorado.

Houdini Guccini

Me & Houdini

Me & Houdini

I recently bought the Patagonia R1 Hoody and the Houdini windshirt. This past week I tested the Houdini in cold wet, icy and snowy conditions in upstate New York.

I was skeptical of this “piece”. Many reviewers claim ecstatically that it’s the single best windshirt out there. Bold indeed. The Marmot Ion née Trail Wind Hoody is certainly less expensive and the DriClime Windshirt a bit heavier. Oh, but the cut? Most Patagonia stuff I wear in size small, but sometimes I find small feels constricting or medium feels a bit loose. With the Houdini and R1 Hoody I ordered size small and the fit is athletic but not tight and you can wear a thick baselayer underneath, while the hood fits nicely over a hat or the R1 Hoody.

The first of many runs I took wearing the Houdini was in the rain and melting snow. So far so good, it kept me warm and dry, much unlike my feet. Next up were two hours of snowshoeing. Uphill I was hot, but simply flick off the hood, pull up sleeves, unzip, and go. How about running in a snow storm @ 18°F? Perfect again, the DWR works well and the cut of the shell is really well done for movement. The final test were two bouts of classic Nordic skiing. One afternoon it was almost 32°F out! I was on fire. Nonetheless with the wind I kept the Houdini on, though I did take off the gloves and hat! It was too hot on the snow.

The next morning proved a better test, 10°F on icy XC tracks. I kept the hood on over my hat and wore my goto Black Diamond MidWeight gloves. Once moving I was warm and stayed warm, never getting clammy as I have in other windshirts. My older thin Pearl Izumi cycling jacket I ran in frequently this winter would often become clammy within 30 minutes of running, whereas the Houdini breathes well and keeps the precipitation off.

I certainly haven’t tried every windshirt on the market, but I can tell time was spent getting the Houdini dialed in. At approximately 4oz, folded into its own pocket, it’s a no brainer to bring it traveling or zip it on for a cold early morning run. It’s on my “go list” for Alaska.

Not Making Any Small Plans

Went up North. The first two days involved cold wet feet on iced, melting snow and snowshoe tracks. The next day we awoke colder to a fresh 8 inches and still falling. We ran in the snow on the roads. The following morning we ran again, faster and longer, on the icy shoulder. I Nordic skied in the sunny afternoon. Next we awoke early again and skied, it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. I took the train south. It was good seeing friends.

Hudson River North

Hudson River North

California Plate Tectonics

Day 0: Arrive SFO. C and I drink some beers with E overlooking the city, go pickup M, drop off E, go to bed.

Day 1: Wake up, it’s sunny in West Berkeley, get an espresso at Cafe Trieste, hike 8 miles with M on Sea View and Quarry trails in Tilden Regional Park. Call GTO. Run with GTO and his roommate up Strawberry Canyon trail up to MSRI, sunset over the bay, dusky redwood single track.  Roasted root vegetables.

Day 2: Wake up, sunny again, get an espresso at Trieste, M takes bus to the city. Run with GTO down past Berkeley Marina, past Golden Fields, out to the East Shore State Park with cool sculptures by the water, loop back via Cesar Chavez State Park. Dinner and drinks with E in the Mission. M doesn’t like Pirates, who does? He enjoys the ambiance of Latin American Club.

Day 3: Drive to Sugarloaf Ridge SP in Sonoma and hike for a few hours. Drive to Napa.  Buy a boat, I dare you.  Burgers & a bottle of Malbec at Gott’s Roadside. Ritual espresso from Oxbow Market  & a nice hand pour over Costa Rican single origin for M.

Day 4: Hike up to the Eucalyptus grove over the dirt track on Dwight with R&M.  Swung from the rope swing, hiked up then down from the insane house at the top overlooking Berkeley & the bay.  Colin Farrell is Crocket, living the dream.

Day 5: Pt. Reyes National Park with friends. Nice 10 mile hike down to the cliffs and shore overlooking the lighthouse. Drove to Marshall, drank Lagunitas, ate oysters, watched sunset. Land of milk and honey.

Day 6: Run with GTO on a nice big loop up Dwight up and over back below Sea View in Tilden, down Quarry, and back around. About a two hour run.  G Bombed down trails at the end onto the Berkeley dirt track. Vietnamese dinner with E; last night in SF.

Day 7: Fly to SD. Climb with L&B at a giant new gym.

Day 8: Hike Mt. Baldy via the “Baldy Bowl” (elev. 10,064′), about 8.4 miles roundtrip, about 3,900′ gain most of it in the last mile up the bowl. Crampons and ice piolets recommended and used. Took a bit more than 4 hours car to car.

Day 9: Run along coast south through La Jolla down to Wind & Sea beaches and back, about an hour. Drive to Joshua Tree & camp under a full moon; hear coyotes yipping.

Day 10: Start day climbing by 07:30 at Hemingway Buttress (east face, right) B leads a hard 5.9 to warm up (‘For Whom the Poodle Tolls’) & then ‘Head Over Heals’. I pull the bolt, sadly no heel hook for me.  Go to Lost Horse and climb three pitch ‘Bird on a Wire’. Walked to Jimmy Cliff & climb “The Harder They Fall”, easy 10a, then B solos the ‘Aiguille de Joshua Tree’.

Day 11: It rains in Southern California. Drive to Mammoth.  It’s snowing in Mammoth.

Day 12: Snowshoed big loop around Mammoth Nordic Trails, Inyo Forest welcome center. Deep powder. About 7-8 miles total.

Day 13: Drive to Lee Vining. Deep powder still being plowed, we have one pair of snowshoes &  poles for 4 people. Hike into Power Plant takes an hour. Hike to ice climbing takes another two hours. Ice climb on far right flow, traverse left above & top rope some WI 3 routes on the Chouinard Wall. Hike back. XL pizza in Bishop. Long drive back to SD.

Day 14: Run from Glider Port down Black’s Beach (aka Naked Man Beach), past Torrey Pines, back up through the preserve, down to the beach, back up final cliff staircase up to the Glider Port. Met with K, discussed logistics.

Day 15: Surf in LJ. Get up on small waves with a nice longboard.  The water is cold.  Climbing gym again in the evening.  Flight back east.

V1 Octalink? 105 or Dura Ace, you choose!

I found this awesome quote in rec.bicycles.tech while looking for setup tips on the old Dura-Ace 7700  Bottom Bracket:

The Octalink crank attachment, its feet of clay, has no preload
between the facets of the square spline and therefore frets (tiny
motion] elastically, even if it has no actual backlash in torque.
Aluminum parts against steel are a classic of this syndrome because
the softer aluminum frets on the steel, and instead of developing
rouge as steel-on-steel does, it makes (hard) aluminum oxide whose
repeated fracture often makes a sharp click.

I haven’t heard your BB, but I have heard such clicks.  This may be
your problem and the reason why Shimano gave up on Octalink.  Elastic
backlash (absence of press fit) is a phenomenon that escapes
recognition in various mechanical devices and gets passed over in
time, even when the reason is not recognized.

Jobst Brandt
So there you have it from JB himself – Octalinks may develop clicking due to their design.  We’ll see.  I’m not sure if the weight savings and extra $30 are worth it for the DA BB-7700 vs the BB-5500 but I’m partial to designs that allow rebuild and proper setup/adjustment, so I think I just might go for it paired with a Sugino Cospea compact crankset.  In my heart of hearts I want a triple with that 12-21 cassette I’m running, something like a 28-38-48 perhaps.  The current 34/44 setup is fine considering I don’t often find myself needing much bigger of a gear than 28+ mph but on downhills it is lacking.  The other issue being crossover gears where I often find myself running 34 x 12-13-14 and realize I need something slightly bigger.

Sugino Cospea Cranks

Sugino Cospea Cranks

Hanka where are those SRAM Double Tap™ shifters?

So I got the 2009 Trek XO2 working with my old gear from the Salsa. I am still uncertain about keeping the Campy Chorus Carbon 10 levers, I mean I like them well enough, but as it stands I don’t see myself converting to a Campy drivetrain and if I upgrade to 10 speed I’d rather go SRAM or Shimano. And currently the 2009 SRAM Rival group looks like the best deal going. The only question that remains is one of gearing. I’m not hoping to make this bike a full time ‘cross racer, more of a light off road touring & dirt buddy if you will, so even in that context carbon shifters seem like a bad idea. I know, I know, bar-end shifters and aero brake levers are always an option. But so are flatbars and a set of cheap SRAM gripshifts.

The real crux of the build, besides which shifters to go with, is just how compact of a chainset I want. Alex Wetmore has a great page talking about the pros and cons of 110 vs 94 BCD cranksets and how compact doubles, especially when you go with something like 46/32 or a 44/31, can actually give you more reasonable chain crossover. When I was looking at gearing tables for 2 x 9 mountain bikes, I pretty much came to the same conclusion. It seems most 2 x 9 mountain drive trains run something like 44 x 29 up front and an 11-34 in the back. Some racers will bump that front chainring to a 46 I guess (or down to a 42) depending on the speed of the course. A 44 x 11 gear gives 104 inches development and a 29 x 34 gives 22 inches (on 26 x 2.1″ tires w/ 175mm cranks). I mean that’s a pretty good spread for off road I’d think.

SO, I’m leaning towards using the more common 110 BCD crankset with a 46/34 up front, unless I happen to win a set of sweet 8 year old Race Face square taper Turbine cranks in a 94 BCD double configuration (or vintage Ritchey Logics) I would say that the advantage of something like a 44/31 setup using an 11-28 cogset gives almost the same range. On my Jake the Snake when we rode across the US I ran a 50/40/30 triple with a 12-32 8 speed cassette in the back and Rivendell “Silver” friction barend shifters. That worked fine. I didn’t find myself fully loaded in 1st gear very often. I’d say I spent most of my time on that trip in the middle 40 tooth ring switching between 24 to 12 on the back (45-90″ development). And as I recall, the real problem was when I shifted up to the 50 tooth ring I really only got two more gears using 50×14 and 50×12 (96″ and 112″ respectively). We generally didn’t go over 18 mph, and as I recall there were only a couple of days when I remember us using having a tailwind and actually using those big rings.

And when Hanka and Katie battled it out for 1st at Pijnacker this past weekend? Well sadly the Rainbow Colors didn’t win it on SRAM Double Tap technology, but it was a good battle nonetheless.

Future computers, cyclo-cross and dreams

Apparently Apple is getting back into the Chip manufacturing game again.  We can only hope as x86 PC users go, that they don’t abandon Intel’s architecture completely in the near future so that we can still dual boot and run Virtual Machines like Parallels and boot alternatives like Ubuntu.  What is more likely, if we’re going to play the speculation game, utilizing PA Semi Apple plans to continue to push the envelope with mobile computing implementing low power parallel processors to the point where Intel chips are not relevant.  This seems possible.  If you consider the computing shift from massive mainframes, to workstations and now laptops, the future of computing is largely OS and processor agnostic.  The excitement over so called ‘Netbooks isn’t just that you can “hack” a $400 MSI Wind Laptop and make it run OS X Leopard it’s that the model is shifting from proprietary systems and dedicated hardware moving computing straight into the ether.  Which begs the point that the iPhone is only the beginning of Apple’s mobile computing strategy and that in 10 years time the current generation of MacBook’s with their svelte machined aluminum uni-body enclosures will seem elephantine.

For the record, I did get the 7200 RPM Seagate 320GB hard drive to fit the MBP and upgraded the Airport mini PCI card to 802.11n Extreme.   It goes  pretty well over the Time Capsule for backup with Leopard’s Time Machine.  Yes, I upgraded to Leopard too.  And it boots way way faster than Tiger ever did for whatever reason (not just the 7200 RPMs).  I slip-streamed XP Service Pack 3 and then did the whole Boot Camp installation on a 100 GB partition, SolidWorks Student Edition worked fine which was something of a relief for me.

Also, I have a new 2009 Trek XO2 frame to ride off the pavement of New York.  There are a few more ‘cross races this season and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make them all as they tend to be 1-2 hours away in Jersey and it’s like $30 per race.  My hopes are to ride the Croatan Aqueduct trail, do the mountain bike loop in High Bridge Park in Harlem, and perhaps take Metro North and ride some of the trails in the Hudson River Valley.  There is a race weekend in the Hampton’s and with entry to a citizen’s race your number is entered to the raffle for a Richard Sachs’ custom cyclo-cross bicycle complete with full SRAM kit (so as to skip the 7 year waiting list and selling of kidney).

My new ride

My new ride the Trek XO2

Richard Sach's Cyclo-Cross

Richard Sachs - The best of handmade steel

Friday Night 3AM, Prostitutes on Clinton

I’ve spent what feels like the last two months working either splits or overnights. Last night was under the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan side, one of Olafur Eliasson’s waterfalls is fully visible, but at night the LEDs seem somewhat dim.

Riding up East Broadway to Clinton on my way to the W’burg Bridge I nearly ran over a hooker who had positioned herself in the bike lane presumably for callers in motorized transport. Granted, I am only speculating she was a woman of the night, but there was a man nearby who I believe was her pimp and he did holler some indecipherable at me as I passed.

As I climbed the bridge’s bikepath I had various thoughts, namely how many Johns actually solicit while riding their bicycles? Which led me to think about bearded potbellied men on recumbents, tandem recumbents more prcisely, trolling the LES and Chinatown late at night with an empty seat hoping to score. It’s a funny image I think. And surely a boon to the image of large bearded men on recumbents everywhere.

A final thought: riding my bicycle is faster than taking the subway. I supposed I knew this, and most nights my excuse has been that I was so tired, why would I want to ride home? But the best reply to this is twofold: 1) after a long night riding home is a good way to unwind 2) there is literally no traffic in NY city at 5am. Seriously, I had some beautiful rides home coming up through the damp verdant jungle that is the east side of Prospect Park Brooklyn, riding home from Church Ave. Also at 5am, if you are lucky, there will be passed out tight jeans fix’sters on the Williamsburg Bridge who just couldn’t quite make it home from a debaucherous night out in the LES.

So yes, commuting on bicycle has somehow renewed my faith in humanity, even if NY is still far too automobile-centric. My hope, and perhaps it’s closer than we realize is 1000$ per barrel oil and every road a bike lane.

Out of the way old man!

Maggie was in town briefly before heading to work at a clinic in Bolivia for a few weeks.  We were walking through Central Park near Umpire Rock and there is this a middle aged man time-trialing his Cervelo Carbon P3 with matching Zip 404 front and 808 disc (yes a disc! in Central Park!) wheels.  So of course he hits the corner with the intersection path that goes to Columbus Circle at top speed and expects everyone to get out of his way, because you know when you get to carriages and the smell of horse dung, that will really motivate him. He nearly ran over an old guy riding his huffy.  It was really an American Psycho moment.  I hope when he does race his triathlon that he is training for he gets run off the road by a pack of wild dogs.  That’s the least we can pray for really.

The Texans are coming!!

What happens to a cowboy when his hat accumulates too much snow? That’s the mix we’re seeing. More and more steel toed boots and wide brimmed hats are riding the metro these days. And the good lord almighty, our saviour, a proud american, decided to dump a few inches of the white stuff on us.

So what did we do? We ran. 40 minutes around the city. Asa met Mark and I at my house then we trucked along the progressive sidewalks of Mt. Pleasant, over hispanic laden Columbia Rd., and down the urban chic 18th St into the Dupont area where the Republicans were dressed to be seen and happy to sparkle.

We said bye to Asa at his office just off the circle then slid our way down a wooded path into Rock Creek Park. Yep, just me and Mark, running in mild darkness under the quiet, snow dressed archways of winter branches, following the cross country ski marks along the path wedged between creek and parkway.

As always, we had to go uphill to get back to 1745 Park Rd. The ingrediants of grade, cold air, and my lingering cough came together in another body wrenching, dry heaving seizure performance. Funny how the girl who walked by let out a giggle and not an offer of assistance or even a glance of empathy. Ah well, progressiveness takes many forms. I mean, at least it wasn’t a Texas snarl and contemptuous request for my quarantine.

Howard. Cold.

Howard track was locked down, presumably for the holidays or perhaps the winter. Cardozo is always the place to go, you just gotta sneak through the gate. The sun was shining today. The bitter cold didn’t bother me. Ran some laps threshold style. Oh, about 18 laps. Pretty fast like. Just a lil’ slower than 6 minute per mile pace. These kids on 14th ave. thought I was crazy to be running out in this cold. I feel crazy if I don’t. Go figure.
WU: 21′ (2400m: 89″, 90″, 90″, 92″, 92″, 92″: 9′:07″ avg: 91.2″) + (2400m: 92″, 94″, 93″, 94″, 96″, 92″: 9′:23″ avg: 93.8″) + (2400m: 92″, 93″, 93″, 94″, 94″, 93″: 9′:22″ avg: 93.7″) CD: 12′.
Total day: ~61′ w/ 28′ threshold

run or beer?

so Jared and I almost went for a Friday run. I had to move a car off of Park to avoid getting a ticket. Jared went to get his jacket. There was a communication break down though, I thought Jared was going to come down the hill and meet me, he did but we missed each other. 30 minutes later we meet at the top of Park and decide that it’s not worth trying to run on a Friday night. We go back to my house and drink some beer, Maggie and Liza come over and finish off the Amaretto chocolate chip cake w/ some decaf. Maggie doesn’t like Amaretto for some reason. I had dinner with Alex, Jonathan, and Claudia. Sleep at Zoe’s. That’s it. Except for the beginning of the day where I had to drive to Hagerstown, it ended up pretty nice.

Cathedral JROC

Jared and I were coming off the Sunday race pretty hard and in lieu of us both being sick our Wednesday per usual was changed to a fairly easy run up to the Cathedral and back. Jared mentioned that all the downhills hurt his legs as we were heading back into Adam’s Morgan. I think we mostly talked about Republicans, and how Republican girls are probably the randiest. Especially those UVA sorroity girls.

Total time: 39′

jesus long run

Georgetown. As you drive down the Rock Creek parkway southbound, look on the left after you cross underneath the Mass. Ave. and P/Q bridges. There’s this crazy dirt trail with wooden steps and dirt embankments that looks like homeless people, or perhaps Kevin Costner in his “The Postman” post apocolyptic phase, started to build this trail. Trail access is from the intersection of P St/23rd. where Florida Ave. becomes 23rd. Anyhow, check it out. It’s a crazy thing, flowing up and over the hillside above the creek in several tiers and drops out on M St. just in time for you to buy some sweet overpriced jeans.
(5 x 80m downhill strides, 5 different footwork drills), total run time: 70′


like ill. have a little head cold from the effort this past weekend with Matt’s going away party, where I didn’t drink any alcohol or caffeine, and yet still got sick. I’ve felt sick pretty much ever since running the mile yesterday. Which I think is a sign of a solid effort. There will be more.

Is 400m 380m?

We rode our bikes up a large hill known as Porter today all the way to American University to run in the fog, the wet, and the dark, to try a new track. It wasn’t a super track, and Jared had gone out with his sister and friends last night perhaps too late. Was the track slow? Is Cardozo track less than 400m? I don’t know. I think we did alright. We did 4x 1200m repeats at V02 max pace, which according to our progress is around 85 seconds per lap. American’s track wasn’t as soft, and not as gothic or ominous in the dark. Anyhow, it took about 25 minutes to get there, and back, which isn’t very time effective, but perhaps we’ll go to St. John’s college and check that one out.
Time: ~50 min bike w/u + c/d; WU 1200m (87.2″ short, 93.8″, 92.5″: 4′:23.5″), first 1200m (87.2″, 88.7″, 89.6″: 4″:25.5″, avg: 1′:28.5″) second 1200m (83.0″, 86.84″, 89.5″: 4′:19.3″ avg 1′:26.4″ ) third 1200m (80.5″, 87.9″, 85.0″: 4′:13.4″, avg 1′:24.5″) fourth 1200m (84.2″, 84.0″, 84.2″: 4′:12″, avg 1′:24.1″) Track run total: ~22′