Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Time to get to work.

It's the last week of February.

I'll let that sink in for a moment for those of you like me.

Holy crap, it seems like racing season just ended and now you're telling me I'm just over a month away from my first big race of 2014? It always sneaks up on me, and of course now it has me questioning whether or not I've been straight and true to the training path, or whether I've let myself get soft. Time to pour over some data and try to find some light at the end of this tunnel.

The first and most pressing issue is my run. Since the Knoxville Half Marathon is the first "A" race on the schedule (I hate that term but it gets the point across) it means the run is what's most important. Here's a spread from last Sunday's run (4x5' at tempo) which ended up pretty well. The week before I had a longer (80') run at mostly tempo (with an easy mile in the middle and cooldown) where I got 11 miles in. Those are both pretty promising runs for what I'm hoping is a better than 1:30 race. Considering this time last year I was not running due to injury and managed to get a 1:31:xx out of the deal, I expect that my goal is within grasp, considering I have an ok day.

A not-as embarrassing as most- run.

Of course then it's moving on to actual Triathlons (and at the end of the season an Aquabike) so it's not all about running.

As for the swim I've been putting in my time, although not quite as much as last year this time (due to the lack of running I was doing.) I did a benchmark 10x200 (30" rest) last week and I'm holding ~10" a set faster times across the sets. That's nothing amazing, but it's definitely a tangible upgrade. I was fairly happy with how my swim had developed by the end of last season, and I'm 100% sure I'm faster than I was then, so I'm still pretty pleased. There's certainly still a lot of room to grow, but I am able to have a slight sigh of relief when I look at my swim lately... I'm not going to be on the back foot from the start.

Unfortunately that leaves the bike. Last Thursday was my first power test since around October. As you may remember I was doing a LOT of cycling specific races last year and I was just riding a lot in general. Lately I've been riding 2x/week in Sufferfest classes with my LBS. You can probably guess how that turned out.

For reference, my last test had a 20' peak power of 303w.

Uhgg... That's not good. (sorry if it's too small... 20' - 278w)
Around 25 watts dropped off. Now don't get me wrong, I think that's probably better than it could have been considering the amount of actual cycling I have been doing... I mean it's hard to imagine holding steady going from ~10 hours a week to 2... but nonetheless it means it's time to start getting back on the bike and hurting more often. Fortunately that is something I'm looking forward to! (I'm admittedly also looking forward to making the 45minute commute to the pool a little less frequently.)

So all in all I think things are moving on in a positive direction. With any luck I'll be able to put up some good results and NOT embarrass the Cobb Mobb. Speaking of which, check out the sweet running top and t-shirt.

Sweet Swag!
So it's time to get back to some serious training. I'm excited, it's always this way before the first big race. I hope all of you guys are ready (or like me, getting ready) for race season. Maybe we'll get some nice weather for a change to ramp up the motivation!

Thanks as always for reading! I really Appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The WANT list.

2014 is turning out to be the gear fanboys dream. There's so much cool stuff right around the corner (or on shelves) that it makes my head spin (and bank account cringe in fear.) So, I thought I'd take a little time to share my wish list...

I can't even look at this without chuckling... well played somebody out in cyberspace... well played.

- Cobb 5mm Top Caps ($15.99)

How many times over the years has finding a low stack top cap been a pain in my butt. I've went so far as to create my own out of carbon fiber AND in one case just go without a top cap for a race. Veloflyte and SlamthatStem have both produced a low stack cap in the past, but neither are readily available. (and certainly not for $16) This is one of those items I'm going to have a bag full of, just so I have one ready when needed.
Space saver!

- Specialized Turbo S ($5900.00)

This thing is almost certainly useless and impractical for me to own... I don't do much commuting, I don't live in the city, heck I don't even really enjoy "just for funsies" riding. So why do I think this thing is so awesome?  45km/h electronic speed perhaps? Maybe it's the fact that it's SO impractical for so many people and yet Specialized built it anyways? If I ever catch a steal of a deal on one of these things you can expect to see me cruising down the beach on it!

It's like a bike! For people who don't like pedaling...

- Power Meter Overload! (Wildly varying prices)

Measuring Power has got to be where it's at right now... everyone is trying to get on the train. Exciting documents from Shimano and the much nicer looking Pioneer - now sans zip ties... (I had one of their tape decks back in my first car!) head the list of cool stuff in the works. The Pioneer is even 'reasonably' priced ($1,600.00 but including an Ultegra crank)  although it is still around $400 more than a Stages setup. Whether it's worth the upcheck in price or not we'll have to wait and see.

Shimano's setup
Personally I'm holding out for the PREMIER edition... sounds better right?

- Jagwire road links ($79-$89.00)

It's no secret I am a fan of link style cables. In fact, most of my bikes are running on either Alligator's or Nokons. Jagwire decided they were missing out on that part of the market and they have remedied that with their road links. With the imminent rebuild of the CR-1 on the horizon (forgot about that fella didn't you... understandable, it's been collecting dust waiting on a paint job for a while.) it seems like the perfect opportunity to try the newest links on the block.

Hopefully unlike the Nokons the instruction manual is written in English... or at least broken English.

- Conti GP 4000s II (hopefully cheap on

The greatest tire ever... in color. From what I've heard, this tire lives up to the expectations (fast, reliable, fast.) set by it's unassuming predecessor. It almost breaks my heart that I have still got over a years worth of 4000s' sitting in my garage. Almost.

So do I match my tire to my kit, my saddle or my handlebar tape? So many rules to follow...

- Oakley Heritage Collection Eyeshade ($200.00)

Yes! Oakley has some sense. Take some classics (Eyeshade, Razerblade and Frogskin) price them competitively with Ebay and sell the crap out of them. The only thing missing is some of the silly 80's paint schemes (although seafoam is close) If I wasn't already the proud owner of my sweet Red Eyeshades I'd be all over this. (In all honesty I am still digging on the razerblades)

All the nostalgia of the 80's... except the price. The price is definitely modern.

So for the first quarter of 2014 that's what I'd like to have. And speaking of goodies... here's the perfect opportunity to show off what I scored for V-Day.

A bike chain coffee mug, super strong "death wish" coffee, and Evil Dead! I think she knows me pretty well!
A pretty nice haul if I do say so myself. Death Wish coffee is actually pretty aptly named... that stuff is "woah" strong (I made espresso out of it the other morning... holy crap I nearly had a stroke.)

Anyways, thanks for reading everyone. It's getting down to crunch time for the Knoxville 1/2 Marathon. I had a long'ish run last weekend at tempo and it was encouraging... so hopefully with no hiccups I'll be able to meet my goals! Happy training!

- Christopher Morelock

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love is in the air (tonight)

*Sorry this is coming to you Thursday instead of Wednesday... I was without power (and freezing) yesterday due to snowmageddon - Knoxville edition.

Phil Collins reference aside... it's either time to go out and celebrate that someone special... or time to be reminded that freedom is a wonderful thing. Any way you look at it... Happy Valentines Day.

//Incest Joke cut to salvage the integrity of this blog\\ 

For me, it's the first time in a LONG time that I'll actually be celebrating with someone (Other than Jack Daniels...) so a gigantic shoutout to Jenny, who despite her terrible taste in men is the greatest girl I've ever had the pleasure of being seen out with. What she finds attractive about a mediocre triathlete who generally smells like chlorine and does laundry every day I may never know, but I can be glad of it regardless.

This post is going to be short and sweet (yeah... and maybe full of puns) since I'm getting assaulted with actual work to do (Tax time is the right time to be a car salesman!) but hopefully we'll be able to get back to some real substance in the upcoming weeks and you won't just have to read through my muddled thoughts to find a couple of tidbits of useful chatter.

So yeah, the Zipp. As promised, here's the before/after from the upgrades.

Before. A cool bike without question
After. Now we're talking! The cables missing from the front are a huge contrast.
Being in the big ring looks a lot cooler too :)
Putting them side by side it's really amazing how tight you can make the routing on a bike with a little work and the right stuff (in this case the Tririg stem and Nokon cables.) I've only been out on one short test ride, but I'm very happy with the way the bike stops now, especially the rear. I may end up wielding this little weapon at a few races this year, especially if I can find a nice rear wheel.

Well, it snowed 7" or so last night, and that managed to both kill my power and my mood. Fortunately it heated up this morning and I was for some silly reason excited to dust off my mountain bike and go play in the ice and sludge.

The Airborne is getting ready for action! 

I'm like a ninja popcicle of awesomeness! Or something like that.
So I got out there and tore up the mostly deserted streets, rode to Jenny's house to say hi, and then rode back home to the comfort of working heat (and my computer) Fortunately everyone was pretty prepared in our area, so as I'm typing this even my road is pretty cleared off. So now it's time to warm up some cider (and maybe a little whiskey) and relax. So, if you're crushed by winter (who isn't?) currently... go out and have some fun :) Just be safe.

Once again, happy Valentines Day, Singles Awareness Day, Friday, whatever you want to call it. I'll leave you with one more sweet card.

who was I kidding... this blog doesn't have any integrity...

Thanks so much for checking out the blog!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I come from the land of the ice and snow (and rain... and mugginess)

More winter.


Actually, Sunday I ran in shorts and a tank top as it was almost 60° in good old East TN. Of course Monday morning it was 32° and raining... so yeah. If only the weather would make up it's dumb mind I'd be able to adjust and 'dig in" instead of waking up to a guessing game every morning. Like last week for example, when I look outside the house and am greeted by this... road is out there :)
And of course being the super prepared fellow that I am, I then had to traverse the tundra to get THE LAST EGGS EVER at the grocery store (which was out of banana's... so unlucky for me)

Driving in the snow in TN... you'd think it was serious business by the fact
that it took me an hour to travel a mile in the bumper to bumper traffic.
Of course every time the weather does a 180 like that it really makes getting in a solid training session tough. I try to mitigate the damage by having my rollers and treadmill in the house ready to go... but you really can't do any "fast" running on a sears home treadmill (a $10 one at that) and I can only take so much time (usually an hour) on the rollers before I start losing focus... and of course swimming is unfortunately out since a 30 minute commute in the above is not on my list of things to do.

Swimming has actually been going well overall however. I've been fine tuning my stroke and despite having a little bit more back/shoulder soreness (a good kind) the times are going down. I'm still not in the 1:15/100 range on my longer sets, but I'm hopeful once I start adding more volume back in.

As for the Zipp, It's finally fully together again (although it's dirty and in need of some final tuning on the cockpit positioning.) so next week I should have some good before // after pictures. There was a minor snag in the rear brake installation... mainly... it's a giant pain in the butt. It's not the Omega's fault (although some of the things that make installing it easy on most bikes make it a real pain on the 2001.) but I'm not sure how you get this thing even remotely well setup without a friend to help you out. Also, unfortunately I will also have to live with the fact that the pads are "toed" just a slight bit too much and no amount of adjustment was able to get them flush. I could have shaved part of the pads, but I'm not terribly worried about it... The thing actually stops now, which is a huge upgrade from the original Zipp brake.

Hey the bike actually stops! Hurray!
Of course as soon as one thing is near completion, another thing comes up. Last night in our spin class I managed to do something to my bottom bracket (all those watts I am pumping out I guess...hahaha) so now the Cannondale has to have some repair work done. Hopefully some re-greasing will be the fix, but I won't know until I get it apart. Sigh. It's always something.

Besides that, my Corvette is sitting in a couple of pieces as well, waiting on a new intake, air box and headers... The intake and air box shouldn't be much of a project, but I may end up letting someone with a bit more experience do the headers ;) I won't bore you all with my car nerdiness though.

Anyways, a little under two months until the Knoxville 1/2 marathon, where I'll get a good idea of where my run fitness is compared to last year. That's goal #1. Considering I've had a couple of good 140-160mi months and no injuries (fingers crossed) I'm hoping this will be a really good year for my run...but we'll see.

As always, thanks for reading. I know I'm a jumbled mess of thoughts, so I appreciate you taking the time to sort through it for any nuggets of insight I might have.

-Christopher Morelock