Category Archives: cycling

Stuff about cycling

I am the Numb Cock Guy.

It’s not like it’s a secret I ride a lot. I wear a really ugly jacket most of the year. It’s not like I’m inconspicuous. People tell me all the time “Hey, I saw you riding yesterday”. There are enough people here in Fairbanks to allow for anonymity, just so long as you’re blending in.
Evidently, I don’t do that very well.

Allow me to give you a synopsis of a conversation from tonight:
Setting the scene, there are seven people sitting around talking when the topic of bikes comes up. I mention that I ride.

Girl 1: “You ride? That’s cool. Do you know John Doe and Jim Smith?”

Me: “Yeah, those guys are faster than I am, but I ride with them on their longer rides. I tend to do endurance riding–100 miles is an average summertime afternoon.”

Girl 1: “Jesus, how long does that take?”

Me: “Depends on where we go, I guess, anywhere between 5 and 7 hours”

Girl 2: “So I heard about this guy like two years ago that did this crazy super long race. Took like 12 hours or something. Anyway, his….um, manparts went numb and he didn’t feel anything down there for like two weeks. That seems just…..bad.”

Girl 1: “ohmigod, seriously? that’s stupid!”

Me: “Heh. Is that stupid or just dedicated?”

Girl 2: “That’s stupid! I mean, like, why would he do that? How would he use it? Lame, lame, lame.”

Me: “Maybe it didn’t matter. Perhaps it was functional, but numb?”

(insert uncomfortable silence here)

Girl 2: “oh. It was you, wasn’t it?”

Me: “uh-huh.”

Girl2: “Yeah, so I’m embarrassed, now, so I’ll be backing away now.”
Girl1 gets up and goes away with Girl 2.

Guy friend that was sitting with me: “Nice move, Woods.”

Admittedly, when this happened, I had no problem telling the story. I thought it was funny. Evidently, a full two YEARS later, it’s remembered well enough to be the topic of a random conversation. I knew the feeling would come back. It took about two weeks, and I fully recovered. All systems go. (Well, honestly, it was a little disconcerting, but, whatever, the point is it wasn’t lasting damage)

So, I’ve got two nicknames in Fairbanks.
“The Chainsaw Guy”, which I earned by running a chainsaw from *inside* a brush pile. At a party. In the dark.

The other one, I guess, is “Numb Cock Guy” It’s really no fucking wonder I’m single.


What the hell are all those numbers? Are you making shit up?

One of the things I’m going to try to do this year is post stats every time I go out for a ride.

Here is what today looked like for instance. Let’s look at what it says, because I’ll bet some/a lot/most of you don’t have a clue what any of it means and looked at it and went “Yeah, WTF. Nerd.”

Ride w/Rocky&Gail Goldstream Valley trails.1h40 Avg 94W TSS=73.7 IF=.663 12.3 miles. Still very much recovering. Graph:

Ride w/Rocky&;Gail Goldstream Valley trails.
Pretty self explanatory, I think. Who and where.

Again, pretty easy, how long I was out.

Avg 94W
First WTF! number. Watts are a measurement of work. Wiki says you use about 125 watts to climb a flight of stairs, although I think that number is a little bit high. Back to cycling: a 30 second long very hard sprint for short time might be 1000 watts. A 12 hour long ride might be 145 watts. Today my average production of power was 94 watts. That’s very low. Zip it. I had my knee scoped 17 days ago. Early in the season, I can put down about 250 watts for 20 minutes. Pro cyclists can do 250 watts for 6 hours. Yes, I suck much.

Yeah, another WTF! number. Intensity Factor. Intensity Factor is a percentage of how hard I’m able to ride. It’s impossible for me to have an hour long ride with an IF of more than 1.00 (100%).

Yup.  WTF number. Training Stress Score. This number is a result of a formula that takes into account intensity, mileage, time, and the power produced during the ride. This is they key number for figuring out and relating a ride to another ride, or another rider.

12.3 miles.
Yay! Not a WTF number! Distance. Duh.

Still very much recovering.
Another easily decipherable item, just a comment on the ride.

This is a total WTF! I’m sure.
It’s just a graph, don’t panic.
Time along the X axis.

Heartrate is in red. My max heart rate is roughly 190bpm. The highest I’ll ever really see on the bike is 186-187. I can’t go much harder than that or I start to black out.
Or puke.

Speed is in blue. Pretty easy. This is how fast I’m going.  Fastest I’ve ever gone on a bike is 61MPH.  Don’t try to do that.  It’s stupid. You’ll combust. You’ll burn up. You’ll die. Or…not. Regardless, it’s not bright. (Where?)

Cadence is in this ugly yellowish color. Cadence is how fast I’m spinning the pedals.  Supposedly, the body is most efficient at somewhere between 80 and 100 RPM.  I’m normally in the 60-80 range. Ish.

Which leaves us with this pretty pink for power, expressed in watts. Again, watts is a measurement of how much power I’m putting out.  The more you push the gas pedal down, the more power you create. Basically.

So, if you’re not already, follow me on twitter and watch for those updates. You’ll also be able to read about how to prepare for the inevitable Zompoc, too.

I hope this helped you understand a bit more of my world, me, life, and the universe in general.
Or not. Whatever. The point is you learned something.

Pictures from the 2009 Fireweed 200

I forgot to post a message here after I uploaded these.

2009 Fireweed 200. 9th place overall, 4th in my age, 1st in my age & weight.


So there it is.
Yellow is power, blue is speed, red is heart rate. 10 minute smoothing.

I’m very happy with my results. 11:28 is 22 minutes faster than last year.

                            2008         2009
First 15 miles:    0:49          0:53 (4 mins slower in 2009)
First 75 miles:    3:48          3:49 (1 min slower in 2009)
First 100 miles:   5:20          5:11 (9 mins faster in 2009)
First 125 miles:   7:00          6:47 (13 mins faster in 2009)
First 140 miles:   7:55          7:32 (23 mins faster in 2009)
First 163.75 miles: 10:16         9:52  (24 mins faster in 2009)
Finish (192 miles): 11:50         11:28 (22 mins faster in 2009)

The headwind in Keystone Canyon was pretty killer, as were the winds before Thompson Pass. Jeff said they were the worst he’d raced in all of the times he’s gone to Valdez.
Regardless, let’s suffice to say that I pretty much kicked ass and I’m happy with my results.

Entire workout (137 watts):
Duration:  	11:27:45 (11:31:12)
Work:      	5656 kJ
TSS:       	482.8 (intensity factor 0.649)
Norm Power:	153
VI:        	1.11
Pw:HR:      	16.13%
Pa:HR:      	11.56%
Distance:  	193.571 mi
       	        Min	Max	Avg
Power:       	0	510	137 	watts
Heart Rate:  	61	172	147 	bpm
Cadence:     	30	231	73 	rpm
Speed:       	2.2	46.2	16.9 	mph
Pace         	1:18	26:49	3:33 	min/mi
Crank Torque:	0	827	162 	lb-in

You twitter folk have said you were expecting more updates–I should have appointed one of you to call and check in with the crew to post updates. Lesson learned, will do that next year!

Conconi Test results

Well, except it’s not much of a result.

Here’s the WKO file and a CSV file if anybody out there would like to see and/or interpret for me, becuase I don’t see a break……which basically means I went thru all that for nothing.

At some point, I want a lacate meter so that I can figure out my true anaerobic threshold.

Edit: (So, after talking with Rocky, and looking at the numbers from the 20 minute test last week, I’m going with HR of 172, and power of 217)

350 miles through the middle of Alaska. In winter.

“The hardest race to run is the one waged in your mind, and it is for this reason the Iditarod Trail Invitational is the hardest race in the world. Forget the distance of hundreds of miles, the brutal Alaska winds, the subzero cold, the bad trail, and the danger of avalanche and overflow. Those are the smallest of the challenges to be met. The bigger hurdle is the sheer desolation one finds from near Shell Lake in the foothills of the Alaska Range on through Rainy Pass to McGrath, and beyond across the vast tracks of nothingness and ever more nothingness to the Bering Sea coast and, eventually, for some, to Nome.”

From Craig Medred  of the Anchorage Daily News, on the Alaska Ultrasport race along the Iditarod Trail.
I know and ride with Jeff, who’s currently leading the race by (much?) more than 6 hours.  Updates to follow as the race gets closer to McGrath.

Kickass, Jeffy.

No, I’m not starving myself.

It’s one thing to stand next to the pregnant lady and joke about who looks more pregnant.
It’s totally another when she gives birth, the kid turns a year old, starts walking, and I still look pregnant.
I’ve reached my breaking point.

Some background: In the spring of 2001, I was in a motorcycle accident.  I came over the crest of a hill to find a truck parked at the bottom, turning left.  There was oncoming traffic, no shoulder, and I didn’t have the space needed to stop. I ended up hitting the back of the truck at somewhere between 40 and 50 mph, which lifted the truck into the air.  As luck would have it, I slid underneath the truck.  Gravity (a concept proved by many times before I came onto the scene) was illustrated by the truck landing on top of me……..and pretty much crushing everything on the left side of my body.

Yeah, um, ouch.  It sucked, a lot.  I no longer remember how long I was unconscious (we don’t say comatose) I do remember the morphine once I woke up, but only because the fucking machine they gave me didn’t work.  No matter how many times I smashed on that fucking button, it just didn’t work.   At least that’s what I thought at the time.

Anyway, before the bike accident, I was pretty active.  I’d recently gotten well informed about my allergy to gluten and was starting to deal with that.  I was pretty healthy.  However  after the bike accident I pretty much stopped doing any sort of exercise.  Partly physiological, partly psychological, and partly environmental.  I just stopped moving.  When you combine the lack of movement with beer, pain, and working from home, the outcome is weight gain.  I gained 20 pounds and never dropped it.

For whatever reason I’m now tired of carrying around this extra weight. My knees are mostly destroyed from hiking many, many, many miles while in my 20’s, but the stress added from the psuedo-baby-in-my-belly doesn’t help at all.  But mostly, I’m tired of carrying it on the bike.  It makes absolutely no sense to spend thousands of dollars to save 45 grams in rotational weight, while carrying around an extra 25 pounds of weight around my gut.

Remember when I mentioned that whole gravity thing? While I can’t really show you weak nuclear or electromagnetism by dropping an apple out of window, gravity’s pretty easy.

Let’s assume that I can produce 250 watts.  (Ignore the power test below.  It’s still winter.)
Let’s assume that I want to go climb Mount Ventoux.  (just for the hell of it.)
Let’s assume my bike was a UCI legal 6.8kg. (UCI can bite my ass.)
Let’s assume that this calculator is correct. (It is.)

At 185lbs, it would take me 1:45.46 to climb it.
At 160lbs, it would take me 1:33.53 to climb it.

Uh-huh.  So, I’m doing the diet thing.  Nothing fancy, no pills or crazy combination of acids and proteins or cutting out dairy and sugar, or whatever—I’m just simply eating less, keeping track of everything that I do eat,  and eating many small meals rather than just once a day.  (shutup, I know, I know) As of right now, at my current weight, I’m “allowed” roughly 1800 NET calories per day.  If I go out for a 3 hour ride and burn 1000 calories, then I can eat 2800 that day.  If I don’t do fuckall other than sit at my computer, then I can only have 1800.

It’s an ambitious plan, sure.  There haven’t been many things that I’ve ever been really dedicated to completing.  This is one of them.  By June, I’m going to be 25 pounds lighter.

And no, I’m not starving myself.