Could It BE?

 Arriving at a group ride yesterday, it didn’t take me long to see a very tall individual that I hadn’t seen before. He was astride a matte-black S-Works and had the appearance that he could ride. It took me even less time to notice his jersey. Could it be? Could Secondratecyclist and Thedrunkencyclist finally meet? This ride will be epic! We can talk about riding in France, bikes, Oh My God, and he could tell me how my French is progressing. I did notice that the name on the front of the jersey wasn’t exactly spelling the same, but . . . this would take closer inspection. Not to appear as a nut job, moving straight through the crowd to the man, I spoke to several people as I made my way there.

By the time I got to the man, his back was to me. It was then that I noticed the back.  In the center jersey pocket there was an image of a bottle of wine sticking out! This was too perfect. I introduced myself to the man and wasted no time jumping to the subject of his jersey. He said that he had received it as a gift from his boss and had no idea what it meant. Of course, I had to snap some pictures and post it. He turned out to be good guy anyway, and we all had a nice ride (92 miles) to Bueva Vista, Georgia and back. Oh well, maybe one day I’ll be able to turn the pedals with DC . . . either in France or wherever. :)

Cutting the Hype: Being a Male or a Man

Anyone born with certain anatomy is deemed a male, and at a certain age the male is deemed a man. Not so fast, my friend. There are many old males that never reached manhood, as well as many young boys who became men before they should have been forced to be. For years society has displayed manhood in the wrong light. Allow me to clarify:

  • Being a man is not how much cash you carry or the cool car you drive, it is placing your financial needs last and your family’s needs first.
  • Being a man is not how many women you can bed, it understanding the real measurement is not at your penis but your heart.
  • Being a man is not how fast you can ride a bike or sprint a 5k, it is the ability and willingness to run to the aid of those who need you and being there day or night for your family.
  • Being a man is not berating your children in sports when they mess up or don’t perform well, it is loving and supporting them and showing them how to get over the slumps.
  • Being a man is not displayed by how vulgar your mouth can be, but it is using words as a vehicle of precise understanding that encourages and builds and explains.
  • Being a man is not finding a way out of work, but it is embracing work as a means to accomplish important things in life and demonstrate a strong work ethic to your children.
  • Being a man is noticing the beauty in life and being man enough to point it out to someone.
  • Being a man is not being devoid of emotion, but it is displaying the correct emotion at the appropriate time to improve or calm a situation.
  • Being a man is demonstrating such love and devotion to your family that their sense of protection is secure by your actions and words.
  • Being a man is staying mentally, physically, and spiritually sharp so that you can accomplish your given duties without placing the burden on others.
  • Being a man is not whining when things don’t go your way and definitely not placing the blame on others.
  • Being a man is not talking about what you accomplished in high school sports. It is about what you are accomplishing today.

It is not easy being a real man. Any idiot can father a child. Any idiot can buy a “cool” car. Any idiot can intimidate his family with brutality and degrading remarks. But it takes dedication and focus to be a man. Rudyard Kipling wrote it best:

If—

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Little Things in Life (Cycling)

Most of us get so consumed in what we are riding or wearing that we forget the tiny things that make cycling so enjoyable. It was Sir Authur Conan Doyle who wrote, in the Memoirs of Sherlock Homles, “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Here is a list of little things that I enjoy:

  1. Walking my bike by the saddle
  2. The first post-winter ride with just bibs and a jersey
  3. The flick of my elbow
  4. Circling at the top of the hill, waiting on the others
  5. The coldest beer after the hardest ride
  6. “Nice pull, man.”
  7. Kids stopping what they’re doing to wave at the group ride
  8. Brand new bar tape
  9. That “zone” of the perfect gear when pulling
  10. Riding toward a perfect sunset or sunrise

As our season cranks up, we must not forget to see these things. Life is too short not to enjoy every second of it. Are there any you could add to my list?

An Old Man Changed My Day (and maybe my life) Tonight

secondratecyclist:

This is a great story and another beautiful connection of cycling.

Originally posted on THE SKY RUNNER:

🚴🌾

“Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

This evening, during my training ride, I came upon an old man sitting next to his bike on the side of the trail. The paved trails of Houston are quite popular during this hour, especially on a beautiful day like today, so I pass by tons of people on this trail and think nothing of it. But today, something told me to stop and ask if he was okay.

“I’m tired,” he stated. “I outdid myself. I’ve done 12 miles already and this trail can get hilly.” I immediately offered him some of my water, another thing I would hardly think to do for a stranger. To my surprise, he gladly accepted.

I spent the next 30 minutes listening to this old man’s life story in awe. He is 85 years old, helped…

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Just Because*

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Sometimes people just stumble upon something. I think that has happened to me. What I have just discovered could save you hundreds in fuel costs over the life of your vehicle!

 

Recently, I noticed that when I loaded my Cervélo S5 VWD into the bed of my truck and drove to a ride, my truck mileage increased by 11%! The aerodynamics of the Cervélo have been studied and refined to the point where anything it touches becomes more aerodynamic. I passed this information to my friends, none of whom own a Cervélo (bless their heart), but I though I’d be a good friend by sharing; this lead to another discovery.

The new discovery happened when a friend of mine carried a magazine in the front seat of his car that had a picture of a Cervélo on the cover of the magazine. He saw an 8% increase in fuel savings by doing so! Grant it, it’s not the 11% that I had, but then again he doesn’t have the physical bike strapped to his car either. It was at this point where another friend spoke up and said that as long as he thought about a Cervélo when he was driving his car his fuel saving increased by 4%. I thought this was a bit reaching, but who am I to judge? Then I had an idea.

If we are all about being more green and doing what we can to help the environment by not driving as much or driving more fuel efficient cars, why not help everyone in the attempt? A local bike shop had some Cervélo bumper stickers, so I purchased a few for my experiment. After handing them out at a group ride, those who participated saw a increase in their fuel savings! I do what I can to help. The city itself is now considering putting the stickers on all city vehicles! I don’t know how far this will go, maybe it will become a national trend; all of this just because I notice something on the way to a bike ride.

*Of course, none of this is true. I just love my bike. A lot.

Though She be but Little . . .

26 Years

26 Years

Tammy and I just celebrated our 26th year of marriage. I am so blessed to have her in my life. Society often throws the word soulmate around, only to allow computers and/or dating services to find that one person on earth who is truly the one who completes them. I know, without a doubt, that God placed Tammy into my life. I have written about it before, and as long as I blog I will always write about it around this time of year. Please allow me to explain.

When I met Tammy in the hall way of our high school, I was an idiot in many ways. I cared about very little, mainly sports and date as many girls as I could find to prove something to everyone else. I came from a very good family and raised to do what is right. My parents loved me tremendously and supported me and my sister, but I had a lot of things I carried that caused me to struggle with anger and doubt; and, in truth, I was a scared punk trying to be tough. After I met Tammy I knew something was different. She was focused and driven and wanted more out of life than I thought was possible. All I knew was that she was unbelievably gorgeous and wanted something to do with me. She was shy and kept to herself, but don’t make the mistake of thinking she’s weak or easily manipulated. Do that, and you will quickly learn what William Shakespeare wrote about when he stated: Though she be but little, she is fierce!

Tammy is from a small speck of earth called Vigo, Alabama. She lived out in the country and took care of the house while both of her parents worked very hard to provide for the family. I was in awe of her, the first time I was invited to her house. Her grades were excellent. She managed to cook and clean and take care of her brother, all of this while practicing and competing in the high school marching band and keeping herself absolutely beautiful. What kind of girl is this? Being the teenager I was, all I knew was that is was the difference that I needed in my life. I had no idea why. But God did.

My parents had prayed for my and my sister’s partners every since we were children, just I do now for my children. I truly cannot wait until the day I know without a doubt that they have met their mate and tell that man or woman that it is finally nice to meet the person whom I have been praying for all of these years. But I digress. When Tammy and I talk about our past and the things that lead us to one another, I know without a doubt that she was and is the one. It is utterly amazing. Like I have written before, I am still in awe of her. She is brilliant, beautiful, and strong in spirit . . . and being a CrossFitter, she is strong physically as well. I look forward to our future. Many cannot say that, but I am genuinely excited. We have so many plans, and I would not want to complete any of them with anyone except her.

Dust in the Wind

Kites rise highest against the wind . . . not with it.

—Winston Churchill

The wind is a constant consideration with cyclists. How aerodynamic can I make my helmet, my bike, or myself for that matter? Many bicycle manufactures use wind tunnels and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to understand their product in relation to fluidity of wind over bike and rider. Drag is the enemy. Recent tests at the San Diego Air and Space Technology Center Low Speed Wind Tunnel show where most of this drags ends up.

  • Handlebar           30%
  • Front Wheel        16%
  • Frame                   16%
  • Fork                        9%
  • Bottle                      9%
  • Powertrain            9%
  • Front Break           3%

All this aero talk is great on the flats. What about the hills? Most of us would immediately say that the light frames dominate the aero bikes when climbing is involved. But according to Tour Magazin, they might reply . . . Nicht so schnell, mein freund! Yes, when climbing ridiculous grades of 18% and up, the lighter frame is the way to go, but most of us don’t ride those grades on a regular basis. Most of us also do not have the advantage of waking up and thinking about the course we are riding and choosing the R5 over the S5 or the Venge over the Tarmac. So for the typical rider, testing shows some interesting results.

Between the very high grades and flat ground, there are the grades where light bikes and aero bikes equally fast. Where is this gray area? For a light bike with a professional rider on board, it is about 8% and below. For the average Joe on the same bike, the grade is about 5% and below. That means from those grades and below, speed is still involved and drag is still important. Sooooooo . . . when hills are very steep and speeds drop and drag is almost non-existent, it is obvious which bike is better. BUT for day-to-day riding on “typical” terrain, the results of Tour Magazin‘s test shows that the aero bike is a better all-around bike.

The Fastest Aero and Light Frames

Germany’s Tour Magazin recently conducted a test to see what was the fastest aero bike on the 2015 market. The test was conducted on a 100 km ride with 2000 feet of elevation gain. The results were interesting, separating some bikes within just micro-seconds of each other.

  • Cervélo S5 VWD DA Di2               4:17:11
  • Merida Reacto Evo CF Team              4:17:34
  • BMC TimeMachine TMR01                4:17:51
  • Giant Propel Advanced SLO               4:18:01
  • Specialized S-Works Venge                 4:18:02
  • Simplon Nexio                                       4:18:06
  • Scott Foil Team Issue                           4:18:18
  • Canyon Aeroad CF                                4:18:29
  • Neil Pryde Alize                                     4:18:45
  • Ridley Noah Fast                                   4:18:52
  • Rose Xeon CW-8800                            4:18:56
  • Storck Aernario                                      4:19:0

So what does all of this say? For the professional cyclist, it could be the difference between a win or second place. For me, it only means that there is not much difference in the high-end bikes. They are all very good bikes to ride . . . very good. Now here’s the kicker: the same test was done on the top light road frames on the market.

  • Cervélo R5 DA                                         4:18:25
  • Neil Pryde Bura S1                                 4:18:33
  • Scott Addict SL                                        4:18:37
  • Canyon Ultimate CF-SLX                    4:18:46
  • Giant TRC Advanced SL                       4:18:48
  • BMC TimeMachine SLR 01                 4:18:54
  • Simplon Pavo Red                                  4:18:57
  • Storck Fascenario 0.6                           4:19:04
  • Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4              4:19:07
  • Ridley Helium SL                                          4:19:12
  • Rose Xeon CR5 4400                                    4:19:27
  • Merida Scultura CF Team-E                        4:19:42

Isn’t it unusual that most of the light road frames were faster than the “slowest” aero? This begs the question: why did Second-rate Cyclist blog this test information? I really don’t know. I love cycling and bicycles, and I thought it was cool. So there.

Cycling Training : Use GPS To Improve Performance

Originally posted on Cycling Tips | Cycling Training | Cycle Coaching:

Employing GPS technology to boost cycling performance sounds futuristic. However, as Joe Beer clarifies, the application of GPS information technology to analyze, keep track of, as well as improve cycling training as well as racing is becoming popular and notably, can make your exercising far more effective.Cycling Training Program

We live in a time where cell phones have transformed into smartphones with incredible processing capacity. And this technology is discovering its way onto bicycle technologies, most of which can now appraise the rider’s heartbeat, strength, altitude and also located on the Earth’s surface.

The so-called Global positioning system uses a group of satellites to identify a sensing unit within a system to within a couple of meters. Bicyclists are now able to figure out not only where they are but additionally precisely how far they’ve been as well as need to go.

How Technology Will make you a much better Cyclist:

Right…

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