Monday, April 30, 2012

Dreams Of Last September

The last few days it has finally really hit me - no Cycle Oregon this year for me. Sigh...

Sitting here thinking about this sad fact - I decided to relive a few of the old times - knowing that yes I will make it again in the future.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Again the Big Apples Win

Nothing like a nice HOT (70's) day in Portland to wheel out the cycle for several loop rides. Decided to take the Downtube out and give it a spin on identical loops containing sections of flats and some nice rolling hills, with a few steep grades but nothing really that requires me to git the largest or smallest cog. The first loop was performed with the Duranos and then again with the Big Apples.

Of course, first things first - my conclusion is that the bike just looks better with the Big Apples:

Ready to ROLL!

The results are pretty clear here. Loop number one returned an average speed of 15.4 MPH. After a swap to the Big Apples, the same routs returned an average speed of 15.7 MPH. Hmmm. And before you think about it - each time I set the computer after a careful roll out of the tires to account for the different widths.

Just like on my recumbents, it appears that hard and skinny tires are not necessarily faster than their wider counterparts. Not only that, but the comfort level on loop number 2 was improved significantly over the Duranos. In addition, cornering was smoother and the overall ride was just better. The Big Apples are just so buttery smooth the bike just seems to roll forever with less effort.

A final observation that follows from my recumbent experience with these wider tires relates to safety. Inevitably there is that one pothole you are going to hit. Most of us after all ride 99% of the time on the streets and not groomed tracks. On the Duranos I never quite felt completely at ease rolling into unknown territory. With the Big Apples obstacles are less a mental burden and hitting that pothole is not near as frightening of an experience.

Looks like again I will be sticking with the "wider is better" mantra even on two wheels.

So there you have it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chocolate Covered Bacon FTW!

We Paleo eaters seem to have a love of the bacon. Indeed, it is hard to ignore the allure of a plate of just cooked just-right-crisp-yet-chewy bacon.

How to improve upon this wonderful food?


After spending a long time wondering about this strange and oddly alluring combination, and reading online about its ultra-yum goodness, I decided to whip up a small batch of my own. Quick and easy baked up the bacon and melted a bit of semi-sweet chocolate to plop on top.

Sorry there are not very many pieces in the picture - a handful of the bacon slices never made it before the chocolate arrived - they were snatched by other family members and a few may have flew into my own mouth suddenly.

I got chocolate on my bacon... and bacon on my chocolate!

However, once the remaining pieces cooled - it was time for a taste test. Simply put: salty/sweet heaven here folks.

DO try!

Coffee... With Butter Please.

OK I decided I have to share this and spread the word. Want to feel incredible all morning like you have enough fuel to tackle anything? Add some BUTTER to your coffee. Yes you heard it. Simply this has been some of the best tasting coffee and as far as firing up my day - it WORKS.

At first mention the thought of mixing some unsalted butter with your morning Joe sounds a bit awful. That is until you give it a try - which I highly recommend you do. Get some grass fed unsalted butter, a small hand held blender, some strong black coffee and give it a go. I have to wonder how long it is until an enterprising coffee chain catches on to this.

Further details about this powerhouse drink can be found at the awesome BulletProof Executive site!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Folder in the House!

New steed deserves a new post. Particularly since this is not a recumbent. I have gone to the dark old upright side for this ride - something I would not have believed I would do a handful of years ago.

Less than $150 (good old Craigslist) netted me a used Downtube 9FS. After adding a few upgrades and swapping out a few parts from the 'ol bin, this is one sweet upright ride. And as a bonus it folds down to something I can toss in the back of a small trunk.

So far so good - getting used to riding a small wedgie seat has taken a while, and there is no way this ride will be replacing the comfort of a recumbent for any type of distance ride. But this is a nice bike to pop in and out of town, weave around the 'hood, and... well for the price it is hard to resist.

Front and rear suspension = smooth ride (for an upright folder) and disc brakes = STOP NOW!
The drivetrain of this bike needed a full upgrade - and luckily the parts bin had enough stuff in it to make (nearly) the entire swap - SRAM X9 read DR, X9 trigger shifter, BB7 disc brakes, and a new bar/tape, etc. Upped the chainring to an FSA 50T with a Driveline chain bashguard (bling!) and this baby pedals smooth.

Nothing beats some chainring and pedal bling. When they make the ride smoother thats a bonus! :)
One change that I found necessary was removing the flimsy folding pedals. They were just too slippery. I thought of adding some good old eggbeaters, but decided on nice sticky platforms to retain the "hop on and GO" utility. The package is still compact enough when folded even with these pedals so all is good.

SRAM X9 is crisp and Duranos keep the rubber side down.
Going with Duranos was also an out of character choice here, as I really prefer the cush of wider tires like Big Apples. Short time will tell if the Duranos work, and I plan on a handful of same-route rides with these and then with a swap to Big Apples. Given it has the front and rear suspension, maybe that will be enough.

Origin 8 Pro Uno saddle looks cool and rides nice.
Now, being a recumbent rider I am the last person who should be commenting on the ride qualities of an upright bike, but this thing if pretty comfortable for short to medium distances. I am not quite used to the wedgie seat but the Origin 8 I slapped on seems to do the trick while looking pretty cool.

All folded and ready to go!
So my first foray back into an upright goes well so far. Not as svelte and teeny as a folding Brompton, but for the price of something like that I could have had 7 of these bikes. Not bad at all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fat, Fat, Fat!!!!!!

No... that is not what I have become since January when I last posted. Rather, it has been a main part of my diet and I have emerged now in the spring - stronger than ever both on the bike and off and feeling better than ever!

This is it folks - the results, as anecdotal as they are in my case, can not be refuted. For months now I have been getting just about half of my daily calories from fat. All metrics are improved: CrossFit performance UP, cycling performance UP, libido UP, sleep BETTER, metal acuity UP, weight DOWN.

Heck, even my last DENTAL cleaning appointment was the best and shortest I have ever had. The dentist commented "You must really have upped your brushing!" Negative. I have not changed my brush/floss habits. I have only changed my type of caloric intake - going Paleo nearly 85%-90% of the time and otherwise avoiding refined sugars, breads, "heathy whole grains" of any sorts and partaking in the fats, nuts, seeds, and veggies. Bam.

I have to offer up a real kudos to Tom Naughton over at FatHead for the real inspiration, as well as a bunch of books shedding the light on the USDA/ConAgra/FDA/Government/HeartHealthy baloney out there.

Before you tune out completely on this "Eat Fat" thing my last measure tells the real tale - Blood-work. Best I have ever had. Cholesterol RATIO (the important part) is the best I have ever had. Triglycerides (the real enemy) are my lowest EVER.

So, the mantra is indeed true - eat fat, get fit!