Thursday, January 31, 2008

Visit from Denmark, vol. 2: Pro Bro Pete

So after a little dose of solitude, most of it spend sleeping, it's about time to pick up my younger brother Peter Bech. I have an almost 10 years headstart on Peter, so although he's turned 31 years, I still consider him my very young brother. Funny, how well established roles are so hard to get rid of, like when I meet some of my former teachers as colleagues now or have my former students as partners or teachers. 
Peter has hopefully gotten rid of his nagging knee injury (happened at work - another reason not to work) and his training log and work ethics seems as good as ever before.
Peter, cleverly, avoided the mandatory soccermania in Denmark (it seems that every fathers wet dream is to see their sons achieve what they couldn't themselves on the soccer field... or simply  because it's arguably one of the best sports ever - even better for your health than running...(see studies from University of Copenhagen by Peter Krustrup for the full story)) and started doing sports gymnastics at the age of 12. When he was about 13 we were able to jog together and it soon became evident that he's blessed with an endurance talent far greater than mine, thanks Mom... Running 36.10 in his first 10 km road race at the age of 15 gave an indication of things to come. He picked up swimming and cycling pretty easy and represented the Danish National Triathlon Team in European/World Championships in triathlon as a junior. Denmark had a great mass of young talent at the time and one of the late bloomers is a guy called Torbjoern Sindballe,, who's developed his skilled continuously for years now, ending up being one of the strongest cyclists in the elite triathlon field.
Anyway, Peter gave up running, swimming and multisports at the Milennium and turned into a mountain biker. Despite its small size, Denmark has had a proud history in the relatively short history of MTB, four WC victories: Henrik Djernis(3 consecutive years!), Michael Rasmussen    (recently wearer of the yellow jersey in TdF) and most recently Jacob Fuglsang who won the U23 WC last year - hopefully a sign of things to come.
But perhaps the most admirable aspect of Danish MTB is the unique commaraderie at the elite level. Being a kind of TT effort, the outcome of race is more determined by individual performance than a roadrace, where you'll have drafting tactics playing a major role and affecting the inter personel relationships in a negative way, I think.
I've never witnessed a greater deal of sharing knowledge, facilities and friendship than in the 8 years I've followed Peter's carreer in mountainbiking and that's probably a great reason why he's stuck with this sport for such a long time. (perhaps the orienteering community offers even more sharing, but that's a weird sport and I don't know it very well at the elite level!!!
Peter has been been a part of the Danish MTB team "Rivette" for a few years. In spring 2006 he had a long term winter training camp in Spain and Tucson and I had the pleasure of joining him in the latter. I ran a few times, besides the daily cycling training, and he kind of got hooked on running again. Running offers you a great workout for a limited time, compared to cycling that's very time consuming. So he decided to start up his running very carefully, by running twice a week for 20 minutes at a time. After a year of gradual build up he's now up to 60 km/week in addition to his bike training. He's following a training program is made by Michael Kruger, Danish Triathlon Head Coach, and the long term goal is podium finishes at WC, PowerMan Series or the Zofingen Duathlon - an ambitious goal indeed . Peter finished 6th in PowerMan Belgium (10km run-60km bike-10km run) last year, so with a bit faster running on the first 10 km he should be in contention. 
So, after this brief introduction, I'll look forward to some great bike rides and a lot of talking in the next couple of weeks.
One of the truly greatest joys of my life is the opportunity to share these experiences with other people and most of all my beloved brother - catch up later.
Hey man, later has gone and now is here and things have been going on.
My supposedly short post run recovery turned into a internet galore and it was almost 2 pm before I sat on my bike. I had no motivation at all and I just wanted to turn around for the first hour. Then I turned on AC/DC on the Ipod and the world changed colours, birds were singing, legs started spinning and smiles were a plenty - well and so was the labored breathing.
I then powered along for a good 45 minutes at 145-160 bpm and PowerCranking felt strong and fluid. I ended up doing 3.15/96km of fluid PowerCranking and a good lesson learned: push through that lethargic parasympathetic daze and kick it into sympathetic drive with a few hard surges to open up the engine.
Oh, this morning I lost my Ichat virginity to Skiles, whose uncombed/shaved face turned up live on my computer screen. Him and Curtis are in California doing some Missing Saddle stuff. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Musical recommendations from Scandinavia

Okay, while I'm at it I'd like to recommend a few Scandinavian bands worth listening to.
From Norway there's Skambankt, Turbonegro and Kaizers Orchestra - the lyrics of the latter is in original Norwegian and probably doesn't make sense to most people outside of Scandinavia, but it's good stuff. 

From Sweden we have Bob Hund they actually owe the world a new album soon.
Out of Finland came 22 Pistepirkko and of course the band that won the European Music Grand Prix - I've luckily forgotten their name, but they probably deserved the win.
Denmark... Well, I guess Kashmir or Spleen United could deserve some world wide recognition.
So, turn up the volume, drink your coffee and run like crazy, see Ya


For the last 10 days I've had Elke staying and we've had a good time; talking, cooking, hiking, shopping and so on. She came here as a good friend and left as a good friend. Hopefully she'll be able to relax on the long Eastbound flight, as she has some intense days in front of her. She agreed to bring home a bag full of stuff that I brought over here but never use, ahh, and the cooler unit for the Kurt Kinetic, a Marvel Encyclopedia, some books, shoes and... argh, I'm a pretty bad product of consumerism and a hypocritical one as well, but I'll get over it... (Bought "Vineland" by Thomas Pynchon today! That's a challenge) 
When it comes to relationships, I've been pretty disappointed with myself a few times. I'm a guy who's very reluctant to give up freedom and solitude and not willing to make the kind of compromises that a relationship requires. The difference between solitude and loneliness, from my pow, is that solitude is something you choose yourself. Like Thoreau, who set off into the woods, to learn more about himself and life. Loneliness, on the other hand, is often a product of longing for something - maybe something that's eluded you or you've lost. Like friends, family, your girlfriend or just human relationships. The scary thing is that a lot of people are lonely, while being surrounded by people. But being physically close to one another doesn't necessarily mean you're connected to one another. Think of how many people in the cities who have TV or the internet as their primary human connections. I consider myself one of them, thinking that I often need a non socio-demanding time off, as my job requires communicating and facilitating a lot of people everyday. Being a strong believer in "selected memories", I bought the monumental triple recording by The Clash: Sandinista. It brings back very vivid memories from the past and can be as mood enhancing as most drugs, I guess... Remember songs like "Washington Bullets", "Hitsville UK" and "The Call Up". Or the kid (trying to) singing "Guns of Brixton" in the end of "Broadway". What a strange and sublime journey through as different genres as reggae, dub, folk music, punk, political messages and simply joy of playing music! 
Anyway, I've got 36 hrs by myself, before picking up my brother Peter at the airport and I'm gonna enjoy with a nice long bike ride tomorrow morning. 
Todays training was 10km in 41 min., feeling very energetic.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Feeling tired!

Got up at 7am, had coffee and headed for the Tuesday hill work out at Swan/Sunrise.

I just had no energy, from the first hill my legs felt dead. I think it´s something to do with yesterdays long run that was a little more taxing than I wanted it to be. Got back after 90km, had some instant recovery food and then took Elke to Frank´s for lunch. Frank´s is a typical American breakfast place, that´ll serve you good basic wholehearted food. The waitress was very friendly and my hamburger and hash browns tasted good. Elke had a little trouble finishing her Italian Omelette... Went to Barnes & Nobles to look for some books - I found great interest in Thoreau´s "Walden", but I´ll try and find it in Bookmans first. Elke wanted to go and see the University and we got a good impression of campus life. Elke bought a couple of shoes, trousers and a shirt and is getting ready to fly back home to Denmark tomorrow.

Stella invited us over for dinner and I picked up my latest Apple gadget, now I just gotta learn how to work it...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Occasional nudity

I send a link to this blog the other day, to Michael Aisner, warning him about occasional nudity. He pointed out, very correctly indeed, that there weren´t that many obscene pictures or excessive nakedness. Often disappointment is a product of wrong expectations and I might have promised to much. Well, we can´t have that, can we?

Am training: 1.46 hrs running/24 km, very controlled and very fluctuation in HR,between 135-142. With my infrequent running and shallow base training I feel that my upper limit is around 1.40 hrs of continuous running as I start to loose form from there. I´d rather do 3 X 1.35 hrs a week than one time 2.00 hrs as they seem to prolong the recovery phase.

Pm training: rode 1.01.37 on the hometrainer, from 6-7pm, enjoying the beautiful sunset (the last 1.37 min. were naked and a bit cold (PC-riding is hard without shoes!)).

I´m not sure if the world would be a more peaceful place if everybody rode naked, but it wouldn´t hurt to try... I mean, cyclist are as close to nakedness as one can be wearing clothes - this lycra stuff is what, 0,00005 mm thick, so why not take yourself in the step (bad translation, sorry) and strip down. No more badly ventilated crotches and artistic, time consuming performance when you need to relieve yourself during a ride. The helmets should stay though, we might be naked, but we´re not stupid.

If my mom, or some Animal Protection Organization protest wildly, I´ll do some photo editing and add some bodypaint, so enjoy for a while...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hey rain! - Take a hike

Tucson woke up to a thick cloud cover this morning and during the night the chance/risk of rain had gone up from 80% to 100%. No road riding today on wet roads – I´m already spoiled from being here for four weeks, back home in Denmark todays drizzle and 18 C would be considered fairly good riding conditions.
After a pancake dominated breakfast, Elke and me drove to Pima Canyon Trailhead and went into this gorgeous valley guarded by huge sheer faces of rock on both sides. We geared up as if hiking in the Norwegian mountains, including backpack, map, compass, water, extra clothes and so on. It was a bit overkill, but better safe than sorry. We only met six other persons for the three hour out and back hike, but saw about a million spiny subjects closely surrounding the narrow path. At one point we both hit a “prickly pear” and instantly we had a bunch of inch long needles buried in our flesh – ouch!
The hike was approx. 12 km long, took 2.40 hrs. and was a brilliant recovery session for mind an body.
We had, Curtis, Stella, Oscar, Sebastian and Skiles over for dinner – make your own tortillas.
This week was a designated rest week of some sort, but it ended up being solid anyway.

This weeks numbers:
Running: 53 km – 3.56 hrs
Cycling: 500 km – 16.20 hrs
Total: 553 km – 20.16 hrs

Walking: 12 km – 2.40 hrs

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Shootout 3

Todays Shootout started out a lot warmer than the other, meaning no need for polar suits. The group by the bridge was 30-40 guys and stayed that way till the "sprint hill". Either the pace was slower than normal or there was a lot more fitness present, I don´t know, it didn´t seem ridiculously fast. Skiles was third on the hill, I think, in his new "missing saddle" team kit, displaying an unmistakable zebra-look - a zebra is a fascinating animal... Curtis wore it as well and they kind of stood out, in a nice way. Have a look at todays picture to get an idea...

There was a guy escorting the group all the way up to Madera Canyon and it turned out to be Neil Stewart. Neil was the first guy Peter and me met here in Tucson, 10 years ago. He hooked us up with Jon Roberts/Aquila Manor, Gordon Fraser, Jimmi Riccitello, Cameron Willams and many others. Aquila Manor, on Dodge Blvd. had a lot of cyclists staying, among them, the Finnish road and TT Champion: Miika, The Peltonen Brothers, Victor, , Mr. McRub, Mr. Bunselmeier, Pauly Burky, Cannondales Curtis Davis and many more. So, after moving to Maryland for some time, Caroline, Neil and their two daughters are back in Tucson. Neil is apparently helping some guys out with training advice and so on. It was great to talk to him again and hopefully we´ll meet again.

I almost didn´t make till the end of Madera Canyon (actually I didn´t for sure, as there´s a little loop that finish it off) cause I only had one thing on my mind: making it to the restroom for an urgent #2. There was a line waiting for the mens restroom, but I didn´t have the privilege of choice, so I opted for the ladies restroom, as I was the first woman to reach the top...

At the shop at Sahurita we went over Helmet Peak Rd with a nice steady pace and then the speedy reverse Shootout on nasty bumpy asphalt back to town. I wanted 6.30 today so I had to go up to Oro Valley and turn around.

Todays total was 211 km/131 miles in 6.40 and 1910 meters of elevation. I had plenty of energy left at the end, with instant HR response and acceleration, but just killing time seemed futile at that moment. A perverse goal could be to outride the Polar HR monitors 5 sec. memory storage capacity of 8.55 hrs...

Tomorrows weather forecast says 80% chance/risk of rain and as they´re saying here in Tucson: "No training when it´s raining"!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Women glow

Friday comes before Saturday over here, so it´s time to rest up for tomorrows shootout...

I started out with a 50 min. easy morning run and asked Elke if she wanted to go and hang out at AJ`s. We got some extrordinary good muffins and coffee and sat and soaked the warm sun on the outside terrasse. My total daily coffee intake had now exceeded 2 liters/half a gallon and I wasn´t able to sit still for much longer. Rode up towards Oracle (again!!!); PC out and fixed 100+ rpm´s back. We had turkey for dinner and watched "Deja vu" with Denzel Washington. Tony Scott is one of my favourite directors, but what seemed promising for a while, turned into a love thing - a big disappointment. I don´t handle emotions very well at the moment and tend to be cynical, when they pull the love handle and destroy a good drama.
Oh, talking about drama and sudden turnovers, I found Elke running around on the nearby roads, without musical accompagnement and seemingly without any other motive than sweating profusely and glowing.
"Women glow, men perspire and horses sweat", I don´t remember who said it, but it´s a quote from the history a the introduction of females in marathon running in the US. (Boston)

Catching up and 15 minutes of fame

The last couple of days has been relatively hectic and I´m constantly behind the updating schedule, so I´ll try and cath up.

Yesterday I ran for 96 minutes am and felt better and faster the whole way. Talked to Michael Aisner on the phone for some advice regarding my thoughts of turning Mac user. He totally encouraged me to switch and beware of "the dark side" - that is XP/Vista/viruses. Spun the PC´s on the hometrainer for half an hour, feeling as smooth and effortless as ever. That´s never happened after a strenous run before, so I might be getting stronger.

Jumped in the car and went to the Roberts for happy hour. I blatantly underestimated the driving time and we were 20 minutes late... Elke got the "tour de casa" and we seriously snacked - actually both Elke and I were pretty stuffed as we headed out towards dinner. The choice felt upon a mexican restaurant and Jon guided us through the menu: enchiladas, burritos, tacos, fajitas, chimichanga, tostadas, asado and so on. Not known for taking risks, I chose the chicken burrito as it was the only dish I knew. Elke got chicken fajitas and that serving could have fed a whole hungry army, so she had to leave with a 2 lbs doggy bag!

We went by Curtis and Stella on our way home, but despite light in the whole house, nobody was home. Skiles shed was a lit, so we went over to find Curtis and Skiles in the mid of a enormous set up of floodlights, microphones, soft discolights, a beer drinking professional cameraman, Jeff and a giant "missing saddle" poster above the couch. They were shooting a very informal weekly recap pod cast. It was very entertaining to watch, untill I got to sit in the hot seat/couch and Skiles hand held me through a weird kind of interview. Afterwards we drove home Corinne, the babysitter and another eventful day had ended.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The weight issue

I could name a few a places where weight is an issue, bringing bicycles on airplanes, the average American/western guy and of course the ever so small differences in a bike riders body weight or his/hers bike. Coming from a country, Denmark, that´s pretty flat, it probably won´t make any difference if I´m 160 lbs or 155 lbs, but you still wanna slim down. Maybe because of seeming fit, somewhat in control of a basic part of your life or just that nice tactile feeling of the tight lycra caressing your bony ass.

Anyway, most studies show that increasing your energy expenditure won´t make you loose weight in the long run - you´ll get fitter but maintain bodyweight. So a sustainable weightloss is best obtained through regular and increased energy expenditure, but most importantly a change of diet meaning a change of lifestyle for most people, which is always hard.

So to maintain equilibrium, I decided to counter the added weight of my 5 lbs beloved PowerCranks with a little bit of goal oriented dietary finetuning in order to loose some weight. Just moving to the US for a while is kind of an eye opener, as you´ll see all these obese people driving around in their cars, constantly snacking and trying to look for some kind of medication to cure the symptom (overweight) instead of addressing the real problem: not enough daily life exercise (walking, mowing the lawn, washing the dishes) and eating a lot poor quality food. Being reminded of the consequences of this lifestyle on a daily basis, makes you more conscious about your health and behavior.

Well, take a look at the jeans on the flight over here, something has definitely changed...
I should´ve made a betwith someone about loosing half a size.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The boredom of stretching and shaving

Stretching is for ladies and so is shaving your legs.

Well, I must admit I have some male cyclists suspected of shaving their legs once in a while. Funny to think of a group like "The Dogs" up here on the North side of Tucson; they´re probably averaging 55-60 years of age, lots of power and not a single hair below their cycling shorts!

Personally I like to tear mine off with an epilator, the severe pain is numbed surprisingly fast and even the bravest of long dark leg hairs, will think twice before growing back out.

Decided to shave my head instead this morning, but found out how tedious an effort that is and stopped halfway, now flashing a nice "ring of fire".
Since there´s no way I can grow a decent moustace before next months Moustache-Party, I might as well accentuate my monk-like appearance (not to mention my behavior).
Believe it or not, some girls are actually attracted to "the bald eagle" look, like my mom, who got reeled in by my nearly hairless father... Thanks for this cool heritage, Dad!

Trainingwise this overcast day offered a nice 105km ride up to Oracle and back.

Elke and I went strolling down 4th Ave. looking at shops and the occasional hippie. Elke tried on some nice dresses, but ended up buying yet another hat and a blue bag - both very nice.

Lunch were had at BisonWitches. I had the sandwich/breadbowl with chili mix and had almost forgotten how big the US serving sizes are! We skipped dinner and I snacked constantly for four hours instead...

Okay, stop stretching your precious legs and limbs out there, you don´t believe in Santa Claus either, do you...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lazy days

It´s actually quite nice to wake and have no appointments at all. Well, yesterday I´d commited myself to make pancakes. There were no paleo recepies to be found on the internet, so I just went with the directions on the back of the pancake mix box. I had a few too many and didn´t eat anything untill dinner again! We went for a nice evening run in the sunset, had some good tasting burritos and watched Pulp Fiction. I got really tired from drinking half a bottle of wine...

Today I went for a morning run, had breakfast and a powernap/sleep. Then went up Oracle, ate a banana and coasted back down - 3 hrs of nice PowerCranking.

Elke has started her preparatory phase by reading a lot of stuff and she´s narrowing in on her final subject. She sat in the sun most of the morning till she started smelling burned...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Visit from Denmark!

A week that started a little weak ended really solid. Last night i duplicated the succesful fish and raw vegetables-dinner, and felt relatively well rested when I woke up at 7 am. Headed towards Mt Lemmon at 8.45 and was a bit surprised to find out it was 20 miles/1.05hrs. Rode up and down Catalina Hwy till I met the Gunn & Zajicek group. My legs were a bit toast from yesterdays 6.30 hrs ride, but then Phil Z,, told me he had ridden 155 miles/250km, with 2.30 hrs motorpacing behind his dad Mark! Motorpacing takes place at 30-50 mph and serves to mimmick a racelike situation as the rider will have to keep really close (inches) to the guy in front, not to get dropped. It takes great skills and communication from both guys, but Phil´s ridden behind his father for years now, so they´re diving like on fluid organism. He mentioned a ridiculous number of kilojoules - a number I won´t even dare to type here, afraid of being accused of exagerating. His going back to freezing Boulder, CO, tomorrow and wanted to get as much mileage as possible, while down here in the sun. He´s aiming at 22 hrs in three days, with lots of intensity, while here in Tucson! Back in Boulder he´s riding two times a day: one of them a hometrainer session and an outdoor session if the weather allows it - typically on his cross bike in the snow. He´s riding his TT-bike 10 hrs a week to get used to the different position - that´s a lot of hours on a hometrainer, on what most cyclists would consider an uncomfortable position. He´s satisfied to get at least one +5 hour ride a week and the rest on the trainer. Next week his team,, is on a training camp in Solvang, CA, as preparation for the upcoming event: Tour of California. Tour of California is by far the greatest stage race in the US and has all the Pro Tour Teams participating, plus of course, the best ranked US teams, as Slipstream. Ed: PZ rode for Navigators last season.

Anyway, I said goodbye to the group at mile zero as I knew their easy tempo would be way to hard for me. Curtis Gunn started out in "power mode", churning the 53/11 up the mountain at 40 rpm!!! He disappeared from my view by the first switchback. I focused on my own thing and let Z, Sheldon and the young studs go instantly. I was doing all 9 miles under 5min/mile/HR cap 150, but they just flew away... I stopped at mile 9, ate a banana, put some clothes on and enjoyed the beautiful mountain vistas and the warm sun (20C). I spun up through the shady/chilly Bear Canyon till mile 12, before I turned around - saving the nearby Windy Point till later. Snow and ice at the roadside made it interesting crossing the thawing water across the road - would there be ice underneath? Met Skiles on my way back to Curtis and Stella. I picked up their VW Jetta, with stick shifting, and put my bike in the trunk. I have borrowed their car for ten days, which will completely change my lifestyle and experince - I am now mobile! This country is made for auto transportation (doesn´t include human powered vehicles!) as everything is so spread out. I wanted to fill the car up with gas and to my big surprise 20 USD half filled the gas tank!!! that would have been triple the price in tax ridden Denmark - which makes sense btw.

I got 145km/5.05hrs/1550 vertical m. of riding and had 29.29 hrs of training for the week - temptingly close to the 30 hr/week barrier... So I donned my running shoes and went for a wobbly 9km/41 min run and ended up with 30.10... And feeling great, by the way!

Feels like I could handle this training load for week in and week out, right now, but I´ll step back a bit in the following week, to allow for some recovery and hopefully come back stronger and fresher in week 5, when Dan and Peter comes to town to have their butts kicked!

I won´t even mention the catastrophe of Greenbay being sent out of Play Offs by Giants!

But I guess it´s appropriate to mention the arrival of a special guest from Denmark; my dear friend and ex-colleague Elke Brøns! She´s gonna be here for ten days and I´ll try and be a good host. I´ve got a feeling she doesn´t mind hanging out at coffee shops and doing some power shopping, so that should go along nicely with a rest week... She was a little groggy from the long flight but we stopped by La Salsa to grab a Gande Burrito. I had a quarter gallon mango chutney - love it. We had a nice go to bed beer, while watching one of our mutually favourite movies: Magnolia by PT Anderson - FROGS!

This weeks numbers:
  • Running: 56,5 km - 4.19 hrs

  • Cycling: 744 km - 25.50 hrs

  • Total: 799 km - 30.09 hrs

Future goal for this stay: riding +1000 km in a week (cycling, that is...)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Shootout 2

I went to bed feeling a bit worn out and hoped a good nights sleep would do some miracles. At 3.45 am two loud beeps signalled that a text message was received and since I was now awake I might as well check it out. It turned out to be a dear friend, so the Trans Atlantic conversations went on for a while. When the alarm sounded, at 5.55 am, I felt like I had just closed my eyes...
Seeing the beautiful starry sky outside while putting on my cycling kit seemed a bit surreal.
After coffee and oatmeal I felt more human and took off with litterally all my cycling clothes on!
On the warm up I met with Jimmi Riccitello and had some advice on swim training here in Tucson as well as discussing drafting rules in Ironman races. Jimmi is the head referee at The Ironman Corporation and is a strong believer in enforcing the draft rules to make races more fair for the stronger cyclists/everybody.
Jimmi´s only training at the moment is the weekly Saturday Shootout and he´s riding it smart.
I definitely didn´t...
I started out a bit further to the front and slowly made my way up through the field, that was actually moving at a relatively slow pace. 2 miles before the bridge I wanted to move up to Jimmi, but as I surged, the front guys slowed drastically and suddenly I found myself 100m ahead of the front, I palce I had absolutely no interest in being in! Fortunately there was another guy further up the road so it didn´t look like a failed break away, but more a poor try at closing a gap. Anyway, I was a bit toasted when we hit the bridge and got dropped immediately when the front guys upped the speed – didn´t even have energy to cheer on Skiles when he went flying by. The second group never really cooperated and when we hit Duvall Mining Rd, the front guys had already finished their pee break and we didn´t catched them till halfway down Continental.
My second mistake was turning to PowerCrank mode at the pee break at the approach to Madera Canyon.
I had some problems disengaging the locking collar and was left with a nice gap to close. Skiles waited for me as I struggled to adapt to the new pattern of motion. The 21 miles to the turnaround ascends 800 m up in the air and I really focused on being smooth, but my hip flexors were tender from the first revolution.
I rode to the base with ????? and just before the Coronado sign I ended up with Curtis Gunn at the front, knowing that the shit would soon hit the fan. I needed to peel off some clothes, get back to fixed cranks and short break, cause my heart rate was going above 160 and that means heavy fuel comsumption –so I basically turned of at the nearest parking lot and wished the boys a happy hurt.
I teamed up with a local triathlete to the water fountain, where I slipped on the ice, filling my waterbottle.
At the turnaround, the group stood waiting and started the descent the moment we arrived.
Going back to the store on Sahurita I sat next to ?????? from Slipstream/USA U23 that I talked to a week ago, a real friendly. Over here cycling is a much more shared experience across the levels, in contrast to Denmark, where you would have a hard time finding A, B and C riders training together without knowing each other. Another good old face in the crowd was Phil Zajicek, who´s now riding for Healthnet. He´s getting ready for Tour of California in about four weeks from now, so he´s putting in some serious mileage and intensity to get race ready. His father waited for him, on a scooter, at the store on Nogales/Sahurita and they went motorpacing out East on Sahurita.
I had oatmeal for breakfast and a pre mixed CHO bottle, a Cliff bar and two gels for the ride: 6.30hrs/195km/1550 vertical meters-roughly a mile.
I wonder how this fuel efficiency compares to a petrol fueled car???

Friday, January 18, 2008

Unusually cold

It´s unusually cold here in Tucson: below freezing in the morning and only to 13 C in the afternoon. I want to run more frequently, but shorter runs, to have a more balanced profile between cycling and running, but I seem to be carried away...

Running to the intrsection of Campbell and Sunrise takes 19.30 minutes and is mostly downhill, which most often makes it a 40 minutes roundtrip - good time for a routine jog. The legs felt great and I just had to keep going up and down Skyline until dehydration forced me to head home with numb hands, stiff face a blurred vision. Ended up getting 1.20 and appr. 18,5 km and a strong reminder to bring water for the next run - it might be extended beyond plans, due to feeling great. I knew the sacrifice was a reduced bikeride and since it was pretty cold, I decided to try the Kurt Kinetic out. Got delayed a bit as I got caught up seeing "Everything is illuminated", which is not so clever, considering I have just started to read the book! Anyway, the movie was pretty melancholic, taking place in Ukraine and with a plot including some Nazi-killing of Jews and a some sad lovestory - not recommendable, hope the book is totally different!

Didn´t have the strength to turn the PowerCranks for more than 10 min., so I went the last hour spinning along at 95+ rpm´s to the enjoyable tones of Frank Black. Made dinner, fish and raw vegetables, and watched the hilariously funny "Borat", that gives a very harsh and sarcastic view of USA. Gotta go to bed soon as the alarm will sound at 5.55 am tomorrow...

Next week is planned as a cycling rest week and with more focus on running frequency and mileage.

I love the feeling of being beaten up from the pounding of running and coming back and feeling really relaxed and peaceful. I guess it all boils down to bodily experiences. Gordo Byrne lists a few terms for the wanted feeling/state:

Peace has a lot of different names and levels of experience. Some other names... The Zone, Flow, Exhaustion, Satisfaction, The Pump, Whole Body Experience, Zen, Endorphins, Open, Harmony, Relaxation, Well Being, Health...

For more of Gordo´s wisdom:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Javalina scoundrels

Woke up to an unpleasant surprise this morning, as I discovered a naughty (perhaps hungry, too) gang of javalinas had tilted the trash bin and torn and shattered all the contents around the property... The last thing Heidi told me was to make sure nothing smelly was left in the trash bin, as the above mentioned scenario was likely to happen.
I bagged all the garbage again and moved the bin to a, hopefully, javalina safe place. I´m not mad at the javalinas, I mean, they´re just doing their "javalina-thing". But I would really have liked to see some of these fascinating creatures, as I´ve never seen one "live". Last Spring, Dan and I had the great experience of seeing a real big boar crossing the road near Girona, Spain. Right there it became one of my favourite animals and being a close relative, so is the javalina - the desert boar.
This morning I felt a little congested (could be the fan running at night) and had some trouble breathing deeply. It could be some mild URTI (upper respiratoy tract infection) or due the fact that I´m surrounded by thousands of cars daily, all emitting their poisonous petrol fumes. Combined with the dry air of the desert, I´m sure the upper respiratory immune system is working overtime. I´ve never ever snivelled so much in my entire life - my cycling kit is full of white stripes of nasal mucus after each ride. It´s probably not salubrious in anyway, but sitting in your couch all day isn´t either.
Anyway, decide to take an easy day and go grocery shopping in Trader Joe´s up on Oracle. Yesterday I´d underestimated the cool weather an so I did today... Mostly because I felt really good on the PowerCranks and rode 22 miles out (400m up), which wasn´t really the plan, carrying my backpack the whole ride. I went in the ditch and grabbed one of the ubiquitous plastic bags from the bushes and used that for extra protection against the cold wind. Riding the PowerCranks was so easy today and I ended up riding 75km/2.30 hrs, which is a relatively long ride for grocery shopping - good thing I don´t have a suspicious wife sitting back home! Noticed that running before riding the PowerCranks really impairs your ability to ride them smoothly, which goes to show the connection between PC´s and the running gait, I assume.
I´ll follow up on yesterdays topic about seeking the limits and bring a few examples of how much the human body and mind is capable of handling - pretty awesome stuff.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

POMS and the art of overreaching!

Some of my friends from back home are a little concerned I might be overreaching a bit for the moment and I totally agree!
As mentioned earlier in this blog, I have no particular and narrow goals with the training performed during this stay in Tucson. Other than having a great time, enjoy the scenery, meeting new people and discovering the limits of my poor mid-life physique.
I might be curious, but I´m not a clear cut risk and border seeking personality. Most people that know me would probably find me a bit boring/monotonous and unwilling to take risk and steps into the unknown. As annoyingly unorganized I may appear to people who have to work and live with me for an extended period, I also have a few areas where I´m pretty obsessive and goal oriented.
One of my favourites obsessions is navigating in the deep waters of overtraining:

  • The rewarding satisfaction of a great achievement, if you get out unharmed...

  • The dangers can be deep fatigue, a feeling of depression and a general negative view on life!

I´ve put myself in this situation before, with great satisfaction, in my most training intense period of my early encounter with triathlon. Of all endurance sports, triathlon probably has the greatest potentiale for overtraining and that could explain why a lot of persons with Obsessive Compulsory Disease or other lighter abuse problems end up doing/abusing endurance sports.

I don´t consider myself immun to overreaching or overtraing, just because I´ve been there occasionally and seen others doing the deathmarch, but I have one great advantage: I don´t have to do this if I don´t think it´s fun, rewarding or character developing.

Back home I´ve dreamt about indulging myself in heavy training, just for the purpose of doing it. Feel how life feels on the edge and sail the unchartered waters of my personel physique and ability to handle fatigue and unpleasantness.

On of the methods of measuring your mood is the POMS test: Profile Of Mood States.

The POMS test assesses six mood states: TENSION, DEPRESSION, ANGER, VIGOUR, FATIGUE and CONFUSION.

You score (or self assess, in my case) the six moods and, hopefully, come out with below average scores for the five negative moods and above average for the Vigour - thereby producing an "Iceberg profile". If, on the other hand, you produce a inverted iceberg profile, scoring high on negative emotions and low on vigour, it´s time to adjust your training, nutrition, rest, daily chores or get rid of your wife/husband/job!

Unfortunately, you´re probably the most incompetent person to assess your own situation and that´s why there´s a test protocol, that your trainer will have you go through every week or so. I´ll just try to be self assessing an honest to myself untill burn out is a reality!

So, this morning I woke up after a near full sleep (poor sleep is an early warning) and just felt stiff legged and moderately tired. Some lurking around the house, coffee and some left over haricot verts got me ready for the 9 am run up and down Skyline. 15 km/1.07 later I was back, somehow invigorated - probably the endorphins. Ate some food, took a nap and told Skiles I wanted to ride alone today as I was tired and wanted to ride at my own pace.

After a nap and some loud early The Clash, I headed North to Oracle. It´s a major false flat for 30 miles and 500m of vertical elevation. Turned around after 2 hrs and cruised back with + 25 mph and HR not above 100 bpm. I made a poor choice of a shortcut and ended up doing 101km/3.40.

Tomorrow I should certainly have a rest day and pick up the pace again for a great lon weekend, but we´ll see how I feel...

BTW, Brett Sutton said " There´s no such thing as overtraining. If people can´t handle the training regime, they´re just not ready for it yet.".

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Big Square

After a night of restless sleep (woke up at 3.30 am, had a banana, wrote a few emails and read a magazine, all the while I was pondering if illness had finally caught up with me.

Got up again at 7.00 am, had oatmeal, dropped the hilly Tuesday Groupride and went back to snooze... Skiles called at 9 am and said they went at 10 am from Curtis house. Thought we were gonna do Mt. Lemmon, so I dressed warm (i.e. put my hat in my back pocket).

But surprisingly the plan was to do The Big Square out West of Tucson Mts./Sandario, where there´s hardly anybody living...

We had company by Matt Shriver from Jittery Joe´s Cycling Team and Curtis Zimmerman. Curtis turned around at the bottom of Gates Pass and the three of us went over Gates Pass to Sandario, Manville Rd, Anway and after 2.30, we stopped for brownies at the store on Avra Valley Rd. After the pitstop I fixed the PowerCranks and we rode back on Silverbell. Once we got back to 1st Ave. I could we wern´t gonna get the planned 5 hours so I went into PC-mode again and headed up Oracle by myself. I was a little lightheaded when I got back after 154km/5.10hrs., but it was quite a nice turn out, considering I thought I had fallen sick for a while.
Skiles called at 7.30 pm and asked if I wanted to join "The Night Ride" aka "The Critical Mass", a fun ride around down town on Tuesday nights. People ride all kinds of bikes and come dressed in jeans, jackets or whatever they find appropriate! I thanked no, as I was in the middle of dinner and didn´t feel like anymore riding today.

The weather forecast says it gets cooler the next few days, so I´ll leave the arm warmers and vest on and stay low.

A mellow Monday

I could definitely feel the long hours of this weekend on my body and slept till 8 am, had a small breakfast, went back to bed again for some reading and a little more napping. At 11 am I ran 14 km along Skyline Rd. It´s a pretty busy road, you´ll get your RDA of lead and heavy metals, but you won´t be bored. Stella invited me over for dinner and I thought I might as well have a small recovery ride as an appetizer. On my way through town I met an anti-Iraq/Bush/Guantanamo happening in an intersection. You were supposed to honk your horn if you agreed in the messages and there was a lot of honking going on! As I don´t have a horn or a bell on my bike, I stopped and had a chat with some of the protesters.

Being from Europe, they thought I wasa natural opponent of the war in Iraq, Guantanamo and so on. As a matter of fact I strongly agree with these people, but I would have to admit the sad truth, that our government in charge (recently reelected by the Danish people) is actually supporting every single action taken by the Bush administration - or at least they don´t critizise even blatantly violations of the human rights, as for instance the horrible situation in Guantanamo, where people are being held prisoners on their 3rd year, without a trial!!!!!!!!!!!

It didn´t surprise me to find out that our Prime Minister is supposed to meet with George Bush on his private farm in Texas, as they have developed a relationship beyond that of official means. Well, it ain´t the first time in history that Denmark has joined up with "the big guy", regardless of morale and democratic principles.

After shaking off my political uproar, I went by JCC (Jewish Community Center) to see what was going on. I met Stella at the entrance, as she was taking a rope jumping class. I kindly thanked no to the generous offer on joining the class, as I just wanted to know more about the swimming pool.

Curtis made some good food: asparagus in pasta with cheese and meat balls on the side. I got an invitation to their annual Moustache Party on the 23rd of February - I just might have enough time to grow a decent moustache...

When Curtis and Skiles drove me back home, we drove by Bookmans on Grant and I bought another book by Jonathan Safran Foer, "extremely loud and incredibly close".

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Paleo Diet

Being an athlete, the conventional wisdom tells you to eat lots of carbohydrate and avoid fatty foods, if you want reestablish your muscle glycogen after a workout and avoid getting fat.
Last year, I visited Tucson for 14 days in March. I had just read a very recommendable book by Loren Cordain: "Paleo Diet for Athletes". Basically the whole paleo concept revolves around the understanding of our digestive system as still being millions of years old and designed for a hunter-gather lifestyle. 10.000 years ago farming got organized and grains and dairy products was introduced to our diet. Since our digestive and hormonal system is designed for overcoming short periods of food shortage, we´re now living in a society where food is abundant, cheap and unfamiliar to what we were to designed to eat.
Carbohydrates wasn´t easy accesible to the gather-hunter and since the primary fuel for the brain is glucose, several ways of conserving and preserving this vital fuel has evolved.
But too much carbohydrate causes problems for the body as it has too get rid of this, somewhat toxic, glucose from the bloodstream. The key hormone is insulin, a storage hormone, that stores the glucose in muscle cells and converts any surplus as fat.
Besides getting fat, too much carbohydrate can also cause stress to the insulin receptors, resulting in diabetes 2, a disease that´s skyrocketing in the western societies, along with obesity.

If you wanna look further into this revolutionary way of living, have a look at:

or search for Loren Cordain, paleo diet, evolutionary fitness on the internet.
Now, changing your eating habit is not an easy thing to do, as it´s founded in psychologically, physiologically, sociologically and lots of other logical reasons. But moving to a different environment for a while, gives you a chance to to try and change your habits as the food you normally buy, cook and eat is not available.
Here in the US, there´s so many processed foods and products to buy and I find it safest to buy non processed food whenever I can. That includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish, beef, chicken, eggs and plant oils and then cook it at home. I´ll choose organic products if possible.
I´m not a fanatic in any way and my favourite "nutritional sin" is energy bars!
I can go through quite a lot of soft, mushy, delicious Cliff Bars in a day if I let myself have ´em, so I try and restrict them to rides and after rides as a weel deserved snack.
So enough about food for now.
This morning I met with The South West Hand Cycling Team, for their long Sunday ride out West.
Another chilly morning, as we met at 8 am and rode the first hour along the river.
25-30 riders showed up, including two tandems, and they were riding a very disciplined paceline, where you´d have 10-15 seconds in the wind, before peeling of and dropping down the line. I was in PowerCranks mode for the first two hours and switched to fixed cranks at the South end of Sandario, as I knew Ajo Rd would be bumpy.
Joel and Sandy Thompson orchestrated the paceline and the pace, so everything went smooth and easy. I had a 5 minute stretch on Valencia when I rode 150 HR/95+ rpm´s by myself and could tell that I wasn´t fully recovered from yesterdays ride.
I skipped the coffee downtown and headed home straightaway, to get some recovery starting from the 140 km/4.34 hr ride.
I regret that now, because sitting down and chatting is very beneficial for me as a foreigner and for the group as an adhesive component in the motivation of group riding. I won´t skip it next tme!

This week, running has sufffered due to moving to a new neighborhood and learning my way around and accumulated fatigue from the many hours on the bike. Hopefully things will get a little more balanced next week.

Running: 34 km - 2.27 hrs

Cycling: 676 km - 24.41 hrs

Total: 710 km - 27.08 hrs

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday Shootout

Charged my telephone last night (discovered a message sent from Denmark by Mr. Vittrup) and set the alarm at 5.55 am...

Oatmeal, coffee, dressing and putting lights on the bike as the sun was just rising as I took off at 7.00. It was 2 degrees C and going down 1st Ave. towards the Rillito River, I was shivering and wondering why I was doing this.

I met with Curtis and Skiles at Starbucks and was surprised to see how many riders had shown up at the start. The 14 km "warm up", to Valencia, was very cold lots of riders just kept joining the group. When we hit Valencia there must have been close to 150 riders and I found myself sitting in the last fourth of the strung out peloton. The 31 km false flat (400 m ascent) out on Mission Road has seen some, much needed, road repairs and you don´t have to constantly worry about hitting a big pothole or crack in the road. I had decided to stay in my little chainring for as long as possible and I ended up averaging 97 rpm´s for the 53 minutes.

I didn´t see the front at all but just spun along at a medium/hard effort, dodging the riders who dropped back, one by one. At the bridge people were opening big gaps and I could see the front guys upping the pace some 200 meters up the road - they were gone. We regrouped and made a paceline up the next rollercoaster section. We had people joining from the back and at the hill, that acts as the unofficial finish line, the pace eased off and we joined the front group.

There were lot of Team USA guys, riders that rides on and off for the American National U23 Team, in Europe and elsewhere.

I thought I might have seen some of them as ,in September 2007, Dan Olesen, Peter Bech and I went to Geel, Belgium for the PowerMan Duathlon (where took a surprisingly 6th place in a worl class field). The day before the PowerMan we watched the Team Time Trial in the stage race of Tour of Antwerpen? One guy, Sheldon, actually did it and we spoke a bit about racing abroad, Danish U23 riders and so on.

On the fast descent down Duvall Mining Rd, I almost forgot to turn right on Continental, to go to Madera Canyon.

Madera Canyon is a beautiful place, on the slopes of Mt. Wrightson. From Continental Rd, it´s 21 km, starting with a gradual climb, but when you enter the Coronado Natl. Park sign it gets downright brutal. I decided to mind my own business and set a HR limit of 160. That strategy had me dropped instantly, but some of guys that tried stay for as long as they could, soon came to a standstill. I turned around at 1560 m above sea level, with half a mile to the turn around point, as I wanted to descend by myself on the twisty, bumpy road.

Going back on Old Nogales, a guy asked me: "so, I´ve been staring at your butt for a while now and I was wondering what the zipper on your butt is doing?" The zipper is a key/creditcard pocket that Fusion puts in all their running/multisport tights, as I explained.

The guy turned out to be Curtis Gunn, who was at work, "at the office". He is currently the only professional cyclist living in Tucson, now Gordon Fraser has ended his long lasting carreer and Phil Zajicek has moved to Boulder, Colorado.

Gunn used to race on the track, but now races for the California based "Team Succesful Living".

Being the most succesful/most experienced/only pro cyclist in the 12 man group, Curtis is now the unofficial "Capitaine de Route", the guy that typically makes the calls, regarding speed, route and so on. Gordon Fraser used to be that guy and it´s actually really nice to have a leader of the pack, officiallyor not, as the pace is much more constant and disciplined, in contrast to a non disciplined group where lots of guys (including myself) will feel the need to show thir stuff and it tends to be a prolonged shootout!

All of a sudden Gunn´s back tire exploded and we all stopped waiting for him to fix it, though he asked us all to keep on going if we wanted, but no one did - that´s a great example of how the mechanisms are working. I wouldn´t have expected nobody to wait for me, had I flatted, and I think most guys accepts this.

Well, I ended up riding 182 km in 6.10 and I felt I could´ve gone on for another couple of hours, had I had more food and water. I actually considered running for half an hour right of the bike, but turned on the TV to watch Greenbay crush Seahawks at Landbough Field in atrocious snow conditions. Well done Favre & Co, I really hope they´ll win the Superbowl this year.

Tomorrow is "the Sunday long ride", but I doubt it´s gonna be longer than today, but we´ll see!
PS: the Fusion 3/4 Multisport Knickers did a great job today, considering the thin chamois, I´m starting to grow some nice thick elephant skin in my sitting spot, as I didn´t feel sore at all.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rest day - kind of...

A designated run day and some errands. Took off at nine o´clock and ran for 90 seconds, before I had to stop! My legs felt heavy and my mind just couldn´t find the motivation. Stood at the roadside and listened to the discussion between the strong A-type-me and the weaker, "why do it now when you can wait"-me. Finally I made the decision to move on another 5 minutes before surrendering to the couch and selfblaim. Another reason for trucking on is the great motivational insight I´ve had from reading "lucho´s" great blog. If you´d ever had the occasional motivational problems, take a look at:
Surprisingly, my focus was suddenly back, endorphins kicked in and I grew stronger and more motivated step by step. Had to remind myself that this was a rest day. Ended up running for 1.03 hrs, 14 km and 300 vertical meters of ascent/descent. Pretty hilly place, if you want it to be...

After a nap I drove to Arizonacyclist and Myron and Patrick kindly looked after my bike while I went shopping at Trader Joe´s. Bought a lot of vegetables and had to use ALL of my Salomon 50L backpacks loading capacity. Unfortunately I had 200 vertical meters of ascent with my 25 pound backpack - so much for an easy spin.
Listened to a lot of music from the 80´es today. The Specials is one of my all time favourite bands, they have nice lyrics about racism, marriage, violence, James Bond and minority problems. Now, that´s accompagnied by some of the most energetic music ever played. Way better than the, somehow overrated, The Beatles, I think.
Had brown rice, broccoli, green peas, avocado, tuna, almonds and chili paste for dinner. Ate a little too much, zombied out on the lazyboy and watched "Die Hard 2", "Mission Impossible 3" and "From Dusk till Dawn"...
I dropped "The Good Shepherd" as it was a three hour movie and I need to get some sleep before tomorrows early bird: The Saturday Shootout - Goodnight.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Skiles, my man

Finally hooked with up with Skiles and we did an easy 100 km, spun up to mile 9 on Mt. Lemmon and he had his virgin ride on PC´s - he did surprisingly/annoyingly good.
Skiles is from Kentucky, rides on the Texas Roadhouse Team and runs the pro cycling website", together with Curtis Zimmerman.
Besides being very friendly, Skiles has a good sense of humour and gets along with people very well. He´s usually the guy who interviews the cyclists to podcast on the website.
Lots of nice conversation on such trivial stuff as, bicycling, litterature, marriage and the bachelor status we both hold at the moment. Talked about having breakfast at Frank´s tomorrow, I´m already salivating profusely, thinking of the buckwheat pancakes. Miss Kahn, who owns the house I am currently tending, has a BOSE Ipod player and told me to go ahead and use it. The problem was, that I had no Ipod (except the handy Shuffle), so I had to go and buy an 8 GB Nano and while I was at at I bought the Nike kit as well - might as well have another electronical gadget to put more unwanted geek weight on my already sore shoulders. Being an anti-gadget-guy, I´m actually doing pretty well on the electronical proliferation front...

Had myself a nice steak, while uploading music from my dark wild youth into the darn thing.

Tomorrow is an easy cycling day with focus on the run and then come back hard on cycling with the Saturday Shootout and Sundays long ride with SouthWestHandCyclingTeam.
BTW, no veggie stuff with the steak as a tribute to Mr. Vittrup back in Silkeborg, Denmark - the human being closest to being a full on carnivore, that I know of.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sandario revisited

Got a call from Skiles at 8.45 am and planned to meet by the University at 10 am. I was quite surprised to find out there was actually 10 miles, I was 10 minutes late and the group had left. It´s probably the third time I managed to miss an appointment with Skiles... So I was on my own and wanted to go west, after being riding solely on the eastside. I went over Gates Pass and enjoyed the marvellous nature at Saguaro Natl. Park. Hit Sandario and went north on the 20 mile long road that has two small bends - besides that you can see the whole stretch! Build for time trialing. After 3 hours I hit Ajo and switched from PowerCranks mode to fixed cranks. Went north on Kinney and made a seated, legbusting climb over Gates Pass (+13%). Didn´t really feel tired, but the heavy traffic on Speedway and First Ave. was getting on my nerves. Wouldn´t this country be blessed without the cars???

Couldn´t really figure out if I should run or not when I got home - but decided to go sit in the cooa l spa pool to let my legs cool down. The ride was 152 km/95 miles, 5.10 hrs and had 1100 m of vertical descent. I ate two energybars and drank a bottle of pre-made energy drink and a SOBE -shake the lizard! I wonder how my legs will feel tomorrow, as I´m going up Mt. Lemmon and I should try and sneak in a run.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Welcome to The Foothills

After a tough and very hilly morning workout on the steep roads of the Foothills, we had coffee at Starbucks, I went to Safeway to stock up on groceries and then off to my new home in the Foothils. I´m definitely gonna miss the Roberts family, but it´s also gonna be nice spending some time by myself. The house I´ve moved into is so nice, with beautiful vistas and great interior. I´ll try not to mess around to much as there´s serious potential for full days of cleaning, if I have to go through the whole house. I´ll probably stick to the kitchen, my bedroom and the livingroom that has the TV. I actually haven´t watched any TV over here, besides NFL, and Hopefully I´ll be able to keep it to a minimum. The satelite dish gives you close to 1000 channels to choose from! I not trying to be aschetic in any way, but most of my information I´ll get from the internet and if I had to get some news from the TV, I´d choose BBC or maybe PBS or CNN. Most of the other American news channels are very nationally oriented and if there´s international coverage, it´s surely related to some American involvement, like Iraq or the Middle East in general. Coming from a country where there´s no interrupting commercials in the programmes, only in between, it´s really annoying to have a 4:1 ratio of commercials.
Life´s good without too much electronically based entertainment and I´ll basically try and stay away from it as there´s a lot of interesting litterature to be read in this house.
I´ve gotta go and have a spoke in my rear wheel tightened - see Ya!

Monday, January 7, 2008

A day without cycling is a day...

Got up and went for a run at 9.00 am. Body felt weird and I just wanted to get half an hour. Body felt better and I ended up logging 12 miles and 1.25. Not a bad start after all.

As always I felt energetic after a run, with all the endorphins still in my body and I felt I could do this every morning. But sure enough, an hour later rigor mortis went by and stayed for most of the day. Cole had his first day at school after the holidays - from 8 am-3 pm.

Jon and I chased the big tumbleweeds, that was being blown around by the strong gusts. I soon found out that they´re full of small needles...

Jon bought us drive-in lunch at Filbertos, before we went to the rental house at 19th street to clean up some stuff. We then drove to the huge Landfill (losseplads in Danish), where they´ve first dug a big hole and then dumps in all the trash and cover it up with soil - much like in Denmark, with the exception of the billions of flying thin plasticbags over here, that covers every spiny existence for miles - strange scenery.

Jon made a great and tasty lasagne and garlic bread, accompagnied by a good Chianti.

This was my last dinner with the Roberts family for quite some time. It´s been such a great experience to be able to live with them as part of their wonderful family. Hopefully I´ll be able to return their kind favours if they go to Europe, as planned in the near future.
By the way, this was my first day without riding my bicycle... Good bye December resolutions.

Tomorrow starts with a hard hill workout on bikes, then some grocery shopping and settling in to my new domicile.

Gloomy day in Tucson

A big storm has hit the Northern Rockies and we´re getting a bit of it here in Tucson.

Yesterday started out real cloudy and I kind of got discouraged by the misty wet roads of Mt. Lemmon and decided to turn back down at mile 2. I cruised back and forth Catalina Highway, looking for Curtis & Skiles, but I never saw´em. I felt lethargic and decided to head home for a much needed rest day. So after a pretty uneventful sunday, I biked 2 hrs, slept 2 hrs, wathed NFL Playoffs for 3 hrs and fed my starving face for the rest.

This Weeks numbers:

Swimming: none (100 push ups)

Cycling: 406 km - 15.31 hrs

Running: 60 km - 4.25 hrs

Total time: 19.56 hrs

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Visiting my new home

Yesterday was supposed to be an easy day, so me and Jon went for a two hour spin around Collosal Cave and Vail - Jon needs to get back in the swing after his trip to Mexico.

Had dinner with at Pinnacle Peak, an old style western food place with a lot of athmosphere, cut of ties and impressive size steaks. I only had a "Wrangler Burger" as I wasn´t that hungry, but the steaks looked awesome. People go out for dinner and lunch much more here than back home; three to four times a week - that´s almost my yearly rate, but I´m kind of a non social introvert, tight type, that would rather cook some slow food back home at my house, so I guess I should be counted out...

Well then today started off with a very nice build up run: 10 miles in 1.04, with speed increasing from 6.34-6.03 pr. mile. Rhytm, leg turnover and breathing felt really good and heart rate responded well. I start to feel the claimed benefit of the PowerCranks on my running: my hip flexors were unfatiguable! That feeling only lasted 45 minutes though...

Then I went on my bike for an easy spin, I thought...

I was going through hell and back and almost stopped to lock out the cranks, but made a poor choice and continued.

Got back, exhausted, and went to Stellas place and I followed her and the kids by car to meet her mom and dad.

Eric and Heidi Kahn are retired doctors (specialty in gyneocology and anaestesia, respectively), living in the Foothills , the Northern slopes of town, ruht under the Catalina Mts.

They are travelling to Cape Town, South Africa, on Tuesday and they been so kind to let me live in the house for the next seven weeks. They both seemed very nice and friendly and I look very much forward to stay in their house, water the plants and read some of the litterature.

Okay, so Seahawks won the afternoon Play off game in NFL and we´re now watching Steelers vs Jaguars.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Celia Roberts

So today Jon´s mom, Celia Roberts, showed up and she´s an interesting lady.
She´s about my dad´s age, meaning she´ll turn 85 in a few months and if you think that´s not interesting enough, then try and imagine she drove all the way down from the City Centre of Phoenix to here, by herself!!! That´s a 125 miles ride without a break - I´m not sure my dad could still do that - even if he hadn´t been dead for 10 years now!

Celia Roberts has travelled all over the Globe, including sailing up and down The Amazon River, climbed Macchu Picchu in Peru, trekked in The Himalayas and even visited Denmark once.
She keeps her wits sharp by doing crosswords daily - the word addictive would come to mind - and riding her bike everyday keeps her physically fit; indeed an extraordinary lady.
She´ll be staying for the next couple of days and hopefully I´ll get more stories out of her. & Kurt Kinetic

Had breakfast and coffee, got dressed for riding, a little late as always, just to find out that my rear tire had flatted during the night!!!!! That´s three, repeat three, flats in less than 24 hours! More than I´ve had during my 4 stays here before.

Well, we met the group at the Catalina Highway and rode till mile 9 before we all turned around for Le Buzz. I took it easy the first mile and then picked up the speed/cadence +80 untill mile 4 when I was starting to struggle, as my hip flexors were screaming for a break. Being a merciless jerk I ploughed on, now with a goal of holding +70 cadence, which meant a higher gear or less speed/intensity - how would I know?!? My heart rate decreased abit but that´s probably because the riding got more muscular due to the larger gear. Anyway I averaged 5.15 min/mile and it would be interesting to try and see what would be the fastest (not necessarely the most comfortable); +80 or sub 70 rpm´s? But that means I would have to be able to actually ride 9 miles at +80 rpm without blowing up.

Got home and drove Jon´s car to the retail store out south of Ajo -that´s close to Mexico!

It´s a very impressive shop that covers literally all high end stuff a triathlete could ever think off. They´ve even got an indoor pool, so you can try out your new wetsuit before you buy or get a videotaped stroke analysis! I bought the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, that I´ve wanted for a long time. Now, what imbecile would even think of buying a hometrainer while staying in Tucson!?! Wellll, that´s a good question, but I just had to have it... Now, bringing it home to Jon´s house wasn´t a problem as it only weighs 34 lbs. But considering that I had already reached my maximum weight limit on my way over here, there could be a slight problem, returning to Hamburg...

I hope Dan has got plenty of room to bring home some of my stuff, cause he´s probably not gonna buy anything himself.

I ran for 35 minutes when I got back and then had the most deliciously honey broiled salmon I´ve ever had - and haricot verts - yummy!

Jon´s mom, Celia has just arrived from Phoenix, but I´ll write about her next.

Household vehicles...

Living in a society, so deeply dependant on automobility, you´ve got to have a car. I am very fortunate to be able to borrow the familys cars to go downtown or I would have been stuck with my bicycle for commuting and running errands. As much as I like riding my bike on the country roads, I don´t wanna use it for shopping; leaving it outside shops and so on.
So, I thought I´d give you a quick overview of the Roberts family household vehicle stock.
Let´s start with the two wheeler: a small motorbike Jon uses for driving around the property!
Then the small 4-wheel off roader - gotta have one!
The tractor with a nice front end fork, to serve the horses hay and stuff.
Jo´s Lexus ES 300, which she uses for her job as a Real Estate Agent, very comfortable - Jon calls it a couch!
The King of tthe Garage is a FORD F-250 Larial Powerstroke Diesel V8 Super duty -used for towing the horse carriers.
In the last photo you´ll see Jon´s car, a Mercury Mountaineer, the size of a Nissan Pajero.
At last there´s "Betty", Jon´s beautiful black Porsche, that you can take a look at further down this blog.
´WAIT! There´s more...
The family has a cabin up in Colorado, where they´ve got:
  • A Jeep
  • A huge tractor
  • A Suburban (gigantic car like the Ford F-250)
  • 2 snowmobiles

And to top it all of, Jon´s flying around in his private airplane, a Cessna 172 RG (retractable Gear), for business and going to the cabin.

Well, that´s about it...

A nice vehicle park for two grown ups and a ten year old kid!!! Would never have happened in Denmark, but over here it just doesn´t seem as weird, cause they use them all on a daily basis!