Thank You, Al!

schwinn sting ray

Al Fritz, the creator of the Schwinn Sting-Ray, passed away last week.

The Sting-Ray was my first two-wheeler.  Mine was metallic blue with sparkle grips and banana seat.  I rode it everywhere.  Sometimes it was a horse when I was cowboy, sometimes a Jeep when I was in the Army. Sometimes it was just a bike that I raced with my friends in the neighborhood.  The Sting-Ray started my lifelong love affair with bicycles.

So thank you, Al!


It Must Be Ladies’ Night…

kick wax fail

…with high heels like these.

Spring skiing at Rikert under warming conditions and fresh snow.

Wax: an unholy concoction of Rode Rosso Fast, Start RF and Swix 65.

Maybe a little too thick…

Amazing kick. Glide…not applicable.

New Sleds

fischer carbonlite skate classic hole ski

My new race skis arrived, thanks to Caldwell Sport.

  • Fischer CarbonLite Classic 202cm
  • Fischer CarbonLite Skate 192cm

The last pair of skis that Zach picked for me were like rocketships.  These should be even better since they were hand selected from the race room at Fischer in Austria.

These skis were stoneground for cold/universal conditions. My previous race skis were redone with a warm grind.  I can’t claim that I fully understand all the nuances of grinds, waxes, topcoats and rill patterns, but I’ve managed to have pretty fast skis some of the time.  My extended fleet will give me more precision in selecting the right ski for the day’s conditions…and a better chance to screw it up if I get it wrong

Now all I need is some snow…

Hot Mess


I’ve gone back to my cycling roots and started using what some may refer to as “old man cream”.  I prefer the term “embrocation”.  It’s particulary useful for these colder weather workouts where a vigorous rub down stimulates the muscles and breaks up some of the knots and tension that seems to get worse year after year.

I’ve been using Sportique Get Going Cream and D.Z. Nuts In Heat (high heat).

I can only use a little of the High Heat stuff.  It’s pretty powerful.  I put some on my knees, hips and lower back.  As you workout and sweat, the moisture activates the heat and helps fight the tightness.  Just make sure to take your last pee before you start messing around with the hot cream.  You should also pay attention if you wear contacts.

I shared this approach, a ‘secret weapon’ of sorts, with a friend.  He told me a story of the uphill rollerski races in Germany.  All the old men would show up lubricated with Sixtus oil and the younger guys would wonder what the smell was all about.

To me, it will always smell like bike racing.

30 Minutes In Heaven

Salomon speecross 3 trail running

Running workout tonight on the trails.  30 minutes of sustained threshold pace with surges every 5 minutes.  It was my first time on these trails.  They were rooted and rocky and slick.  In the humid air and fecund ground, I had trouble with my footing.  Rolled my right foot at least 5 or 6 times.  Maybe something to do with the aggrives ‘conta-grip’ soles on my shoes which were covered with mud by the end of the run.

Running through the woods in the humidity of late June beneath threatening skies felt primal.  Even with the heart rate monitor beeping away.  Even with the fancy shoes and sweat wicking fabrics.  I considered how this effort would translate to the ski track.  Cold. Snow. Gliding.  No rocks or roots to trip over (hopefully, not at least…last year there were more of those than was desirable).  With each successive minute at or over threshold, I could push harder into the red zone.  The ski season, still far off, was looking good.   By the end my legs were rubbery — especially with all those surges — and I was covered with sweat, dirt and an unknown amount of poison ivy.

The Fleet: Grandis SL

grandis campagnolo vintage

Part of my ‘fleet’ is this vintage Grandis SL from 1986.  This was the first real racing bike I owned.  It wasn’t a Colnago.  It wasn’t a Pinarello,  Eddy Merckx, De Rosa or any of the luscious frames I lusted for.  It was a sturdy, Columbus SL steel-tubed bike.  A few years ago, I recovered what was left of this bike — the frameset, a seat post binder bolt, the front derailleur, one shift lever — in a basement, and set about restoring it.

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Early Ercolina Workout

polar RCX5 ercolina dryland nordic

Ercolina workout at the crack of dawn.  I woke up to a perfect clear morning despite predicted rain, then sadly realized that I didn’t have time to get out on the bike.  Still half asleep, empty stomach, and no coffee, I made my way to the basement to do the Ercolina instead.

Ten minutes warm up.  By minute 8, I was warm and awake. Then, 10 strength-endurance intervals of 1 minute each, with 1 minute recovery.  Cool-down.  The intervals are getting easier.  I can crank up the resistance a little bit more or go hard and faster.

I’ve been using the Polar RCX5 for this workout, though it’s not a heart-rate based session.  I can create an interval session on Polar Personal Trainer which is then transferred to the watch.  This let’s me concentrate on the effort and not worry about keeping count of the number of intervals or whether I’m on a recovery or effort.  It might however be a good idea to pay a little more attention to the counts:   last year, I missed the sprint in a nordic ski race because I lost count of  the number of laps we had left.