April 7, 2010

riding the Malaysia F1 GP

Despite a sunny Saturday, and a dry Sunday morning, I opted not to go out to ride this weekend. My failure to wake up at a reasonable hour compounded by long list of things to do forced me to stay home for most of the weekend. However, this weekend Malaysia played host to the Formula 1 race, and this meant that I was going to invest at least 5 hours this weekend watching the qualifying, pre-race, and race sessions. Maybe some multitasking is in order?

The Malaysia circuit is 5.54km(3.44miles) long and over race distance drivers on the lead lap rack up over 190 miles in 56 laps. I however only racked up 111 miles this weekend-on my trainer. And while I barely rode over half the race distance, I went farther than both the king (Michael Schumacher) and the killer (Vitaly Petrov) did in the race.

Yes, I had previously claimed that sitting on the trainer is pure torture, but if you watch something engaging on the TV, the minutes/miles do tick by. Compared to going out for a real ride, the trainer will always feel like torture, but if you have plans to park yourself on the sofa for a few hours over the weekend, you might as well get a workout from it. For me, I also got a lot of stretching done before, during, and after the rides. And to reiterate, yes I spent 6 hours on the trainer this weekend.

PS: As a bonus, workouts on the trainer produce awesome cadence graphs. Proof, proof, and more proof.
PPS: Watching Man VS. Food on the trainer is motivating.


March 25, 2010

PV Field Workout: Going up and coming down + Dosa

We had another clinic this Saturday – for climbing and descending. I’ll briefly summarize what we went over:


  • Keep cadence above 70rpm minimum
  • Alternate between sitting and standing
  • While seated: hands on tops, use hamstrings, open chest for better breathing
  • While standing: rpm above 70rpm, hands on hoods, do not stick out butt, head and shoulders up high-not hunched over, arms should be mostly straight, bike can “dance” a bit, on the down stroke, keep feet flat instead of toe pointed downward


  • Look ahead, eye on apex and exit.
  • Hands on drops, tucked very low for more weight on front wheel and control of front wheel.
  • Exaggerate knee leaning.

We rode over to Canada College for our clinic and the backside has a surprisingly nice and short climb and descent. We started with 4 climbs from the bottom, near Canada rd. to the parking lot at the top. The first climb, we climbed mostly seated and stood up once when we were told. On the second climb, we stood up twice when instructed to do so. On the third climb, we went together as a group and this hurt me the most trying to keep up with Dexter and Peter. Finally, for the last climb we went up at our own individual pace. We focused mostly on technique and posture. Some of the advice is obvious, but you hear the advice differently when you have someone shouting at you when you are doing something wrong. Anyone who got caught standing and pedaling with toes pointed downward was deemed a ballerina.

We planned on practicing the descents on the Southern most side of Canada College, but because the inside of that turn had loose gravel, we practiced on the same road as the climb. We went over technique, but my main problem was my cornering speed. I have known that my cornering speed is slow and because I am not very fearless, so I will have to slowly work up my confidence and comfort to increase my speed through corners. We ran through the corner about 16 or so times.

After the clinic, we rode as a group back to HWY92 and from there, I did a solo aerobic ride to SF to meet up with Nyanko for lunch. My route was tracked by Mr. Garmin. Since we were in the area, we headed over the Mission to grab lunch. For some reason, I thought Ike’s Sandwiches were in the Mission, but they obviously weren’t (ok ok, it isn’t that far from the Mission, but we had a really good meter free parking spot on Valencia!) so we ate at Dosa instead. We have walked past Dosa more than a few times, both on Fillmore and also on Valencia, so today we decided to give it a try.

We assumed their dosa and uttapam would be different from the traditional type (not that we really know anything about traditional Indian food), so we ordered a chaat, dosa, and uttapam.

Dahi Batata Puri Small hollow crispy breads filled with Strauss organic yogurt, potatoes & mint & tamarind chutneys

Honestly, I had no idea what this would be like, but key words that made me order this were small, crispy, potatoes, and puri. Yes Puri, which apparently is not pronounced “pu ri” like Japanese, but “purr ee”, like an American trying to read furigana. That was how the waitress pronounced it, but she could be wrong! When they arrived, we were told the best way to eat them was with your bare hands because, as I soon found out, they sort of crumble and implode into themselves. They were very hollowed little pastries that were filled with all sorts of yogurt, potatoe, and chutney flavor. I liked the idea and the pastry, but I thought there was a bit too much filling, and a bit too many flavors. More potato could have helped too.

Paper Masala A thin, pliable and crispy variation, served with spiced Indian potatoes, onions and cashew nuts

I really liked their dosa. As advertised, it was very thin and crispy and came in one long rolled sheet. The potato filling was on the side and tasted fairly standard, but the dosa tasted great with the coconut chutney and sambar.

Sunny Side or Over Easy Uttapam Tomato, onion & chile uttapam topped with two organic eggs, sunny side up or over easy

The uttapam that we have had in the past was more like a stuffed thicker dosa, but this one had a texture similar to an chinese potato pancake. Although in general it was good, the spiciness was not mixed out well and some pieces were much spicier than others, so much so that it overwhelmed some flavors. It did however go nice with the egg.

Conclusion: Dosa is very flavorful, but it is a bit on the spicy and pricey side.
Post ride satisfaction:  6/10

March 22, 2010

PV Field Workout: Sprint till you’re sick

On Saturday(two Saturdays ago), Clark held a short sprint clinic with the Performance Team. I woke up later than I intended to, so I drove to 92 x Canada to be on time. Since the WRX was getting fixed, I drove the corolla and somehow tetris’d the bike into the backseat. I had originally planned to ride there, but there were plenty of miles to come that day… After a quick chat, we headed South on Canada. Since a few of us drove there, we did a nice long warm up – a proper long warm up is very important for sprint drills.

After our warm up, we stopped just a few meters north of the Edgewood x Canada intersection. This is where we started rolling. The course was simple. From the start, we headed northbound cruising at around 20mph. Once we got to the bicycle Sunday sign, we started our (uphill) 250m sprints. How do you know when you’ve reached 250m? On the shoulder, the ground was marked at 100m, 150m, 200m, 250m, and 300m in small white text. When you hit the 250m, shift to your small ring and keep pedaling.

The goal was to aim to sprint to 250m, but minimally sprint to the 200m. A few things I remember us discussing were:

  • When standing for your jump, your hands should be near the end of the drops so that your pinky sticks out to get maximum leverage.
  • Use your jump to accelerate and when you spin out, sit down and increase rpms to continue accelerating.
  • Try to stay aero when you sit down, obviously.
  • Find the right gear for the course. It may take a few tries for you to find the right gear. Too low and you will spin out, but too high and you won’t have enough power to push it.
  • Never sprint on your hoods. If you Clark catches you sprinting on your hoods or tops, you owe him $100, seriously! (and not in girl scout cookies)

We planned on doing sets of 4 sprint efforts with 4 minutes of rest in between each. At the end of the set, we rested for 10 minutes and did a second set. Clark had some comments about our sprints. For Martin and me, we had “zero jump”- Ouch. For others, the jump was too wild (front wheel moving around too much). My average top speed for the 6 out of 8 runs was 29.2 mph and my fastest sprint to 30.9mph occurred on the sprint immediately after the 10 minute break. By the 6th run, I was not far from wanting to throw up. On the last run, we did a group sprint with Clark leading us out… except he sort of just took off and dragged us along. Overall, it was a potentially vomit inducing drill, but I felt like I was holding back a bit since I had to ride to Novato after.  To properly do the drill however,  you shouldn’t be holding back so maybe a bit being of sick is inevitable.

Route is of course uploaded.

March 10, 2010

Riding Eastbayway to Mountain view with angry clouds

I was in Alameda on Sunday and I wanted to ride into work on Monday. Instead of wasting an hour BARTing back to Millbrae, I decided to just ride directly from Alameda to Mountain View. The ride distance was surprisingly short (38 miles versus 32 miles from Millbrae) so I wasn’t too worried about the ride. I WAS however worried about surviving both Oakland and EPA solo.  I headed out at 7:30AM and was annoyed to find that my Garmin was out of batteries, depriving me both the ability to monitor my heart rate and to upload my route post ride. Fortunate for me, I had been staring at my HRs all week long and therefore had a rough idea what zone I was in based on my perceived effort.

To minimize getting lost, I made myself a cue sheet:

and taped it to my stem.

Not having ridden in this area at all and having no expectations of the route, I was pleasantly surprised by how bike friendly the route was… up until Hesperian. Bay Farm Island in Alameda was very bike friendly and had plenty of bike lanes and off street paths. In fact, most of the time I was in a bike lane or shoulder until I got to Hesperian.  Hesperian did have some sections of bike lane, but a majority of the street was similar to el Camino – three lane wide with a 35-45mph speed limit.  I would definitely avoid that next time. If I was riding with someone else, I would have been open to do some bay trail exploring.

Before I got to the bridge, I stopped to blow my nose and take some pictures. I thought I was pretty much at the bridge and on my way to Mountain View. Little did I know! Going down Paseo Padre seemed a lot longer then it looked on the map and going up Marsh Rd. to the Bike/Pedestrian walkway seemed to take forever. The road was very bumpy and Marsh Rd. turned West, right into a strong headwind.

Those clouds were sprinkled in the sky all morning long, but the weather the getting warmer and the sun was coming out… until I got to Dumbarton Bridge. When I started climbing up the bridge, the sun disappeared behind the clouds. While the sun was gone, a single angry rain cloud decided try and stop me from crossing the bridge. So it pelted me with raindrops-icicle cold and sharp raindrops. The thick rain created standing water on the road and blurred my glasses and soaked my jacket. It wasn’t supposed to rain today! I tucked myself in and hammered to get off the bridge, and when I finally started descending, the rain let up. By the time I was off the bridge, it had stopped raining.

The rest of the route was the normal Bayway and since I took it easy most of the way, I wasn’t feeling fatigued or sore. Dumbarton was not fun, but I would do it again-rerouting around Hersperian.

Route via Garmin Google maps

February 17, 2010

SF2G style II, with a bit of testosterone

Filed under: cycling, ride report — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — nekoball @ 10:40 AM

Yesterday, I missed the SF2G group by just a few minutes (I was there 65mins after they started), so today I got there earlier (50mins after their start). I ended up waiting about 20 minutes for them to show. I’m still getting used to the meet up time, but it seems to vary based on the day and the group. Yesterday was very foggy and today seemed worse.

San Francisco Airport

Today was fast and I was barely hanging on for some segments. I was only able to catch up thanks to stop lights. On straights, it felt like we were doing 22-23mph. I don’t think I ever saw the speedometer drop under 19mph in the pack. Xton was at the front pretty much the entire ride. This pretty much summarizes the ride:

It was fun, but I’m pretty beat. On the way to work, we saw the plane crash in EPA, which apparently took out some power. We were hoping power would be out so we wouldn’t have to go to work…

Route via Garmin

February 15, 2010

brisbane crit reconnaissance

Filed under: cycling, ride report — Tags: , , , , , , , — nekoball @ 10:51 PM

I rode out to Sierra Point today to preride the course for the next weekend’s Ronde van Brisbeen criterium. I decided to do so after watching SWoo’s video from last year’s race and realizing this was not your typical four turn crit.

The course essentially loops around the Sierra Point cyclocross course. The start/finish straight is the same (but reverse direction) piece of pavement as the cyclocross race.

While I was figuring out the course, I saw two kids playing in the dirt on some mini dirt bike. This made me regret not riding the F1X!

The course itself is really short (0.6 miles), but there are only two straights where you can “rest”. The remainder of the course has turns, a single hairpin, and some sections that narrow. Unfortunately, I couldn’t ride the hairpin section at full speed because you ride on the wrong side of the road. It will be interesting riding the hairpin in a big group.

The course was still foggy at 11:30, and while it wasn’t bad enough to hamper visibility too much, we race at 8:00 next weekend.

This will be my first “real” race on an unusual course, so it will be interesting to see how the race goes. I’m hoping for a clean and safe race!

Pre-ride + South San Francisco trail exploration map via Garmin.

February 11, 2010

I’m done with winter. (or, No longer a SF2G virgin)

Filed under: cycling — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — nekoball @ 10:58 AM

After seeing all sorts of Epic rides to work that people have done, I finally made a signifigant (yes, significant) effort to wakeup early and meet up with a SF2G group.  The SF2g ride was riding the Skyline Way and meeting up at 6:30 at Peets in SF. I could meet them at Skyline x Hillcrest, but I did not know how long it would take them to ride the 18 miles to get there. Erring on the early side, I arrived at 7:35. About 7 of them arrived at 8:00.

The route was very familiar to me since I ride the reverse to get home very often. Overall, the pace was mellow, but at times: blasting through Sawyer Camp trail and Canada, the pace was high. The weather started off cold, but was nice after a decent warmup. I got into work around 10:00, the same time as I usually do when I take the train, and I don’t feel tired. Now, if only I can continue sleeping early and getting up early to ride to work! People who I met today: Jennifer, Yuko, Ted, Michael, Space.

Four left when we got to Page Mill: Space, Michael, Jennifer, and me.

And here is the route Garmin’D

January 28, 2010

s works can too

Filed under: cycling — Tags: , , , , , , , — nekoball @ 1:07 PM

It seems like weeks since we have had a dry weekday. Today there was going to be a break in the rain, so I decided to ditch work early on Wednesday to squeeze in a short post work ride with Slonie. The night before, we hashed out the details.

me: so, what kind of ride tomorrow and when and where
Lee: Road, wherever, whenever
me: cross?
Lee: Well I’ll have my road bike on me

Meh! I wanted to do a cross ride, but I guess I’ll just ride the S-Works. We met up at Bayshore x San Antonio and started wandering around paved sections of Shoreline baylands. We end up heading back toward Moffett Field, a bit too early in the ride. We loop back out to Palo Alto,  and make a turn to the south. I follow Slonie, down a path and toward what appears to be a dead end. Doesn’t the road end up ahead? I don’t get response because we hit the dirt and Slonie takes off! Wait, where are we going!? I brought my road bike, I didn’t sign up for this!

If feels sketchy enough for me offroad on a cross bike, so being on a road bike did not help to boost confidence. It was mostly flat, and mostly dry, but there were spots of muddiness and lots of rain puddles. As we start climbing a dry gravel path up the hill, I was thinking this isn’t so bad. Then Slonie points to the top of the hill. Pedal pedal pedal pedal. Unclip. Pickup bike. Walk up hill. I guess we got ourselves a cross ride after all! These little hills certainly do make a for a nice CX training course and its only 10minutes from my work! I think I just found my lunch ride. Riding the Sworks offroad was not as bad as I thought it would be, but I do have the cross bike so I should use it! Now I just need to clean the mud off all the bike, which I JUST cleaned this weekend. I never clean my bikes.

All pictures and route are from Slonie’s S90/Garmin

PS: Next morning, shortly after running out the door I realized I had a rear flat. I have never had a flat on the gatorskits and yes they were still a bitch to get off/on. Maybe S works can’t after all.

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