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Build your low cost gravel and commuter bike

It's the saga of Craigslist. You have a great perfect condition road bicycle to market. You ask a fair price. A few calls come in, most often the caller throws out a low ball offer, maybe 50% of asking price.

You don't need to give the bike away. You may not need the cash.

Consider re-purposing. You already own an excellent commuter and gravel bike. Think your bike is too low end, not good for the purpose?

Wrong. In most cases less expensive bikes are build with heavier parts, which means they are stronger. Heavier wheels = better ability to absorb commuter bumps and gravel roads.

A few simple modifications and you'll be rolling for transportation or logging road expeditions.

Here's my 2011 model Specialized Roubaix. I rode it for several seasons as a serious piece of road equipment. A few buyers offered up a few hundred dollars, so I went in another direction.

1) Added 700 x 28 Continental Gatorskin tires. Gatorskin tires wear like iron and you can trust them in off …
Recent posts

Stay strong? Consistency is the key

Several years ago, I purchased a Total Gym. It's the entry level model, priced about $200 at big box retailers.

I purchased mine for $50 on Craigslist.

Small spend, big return using this machine.

Some have called Total Gym an infomercial scam, but I will tell you, that it is not.

The Total Gym allows to pull your own body weight on the slant board. More slant, greater resistance. You create a variety of exercises. My personal workout has nine (9) different variations, 30 reps for eight variations, then 45 reps for the abs.

I own several expensive bicycles. I enjoy them. But when it comes to health and fitness I'll vote for the Total Gym.

I'm not going to the gym, I don't push big plates low rep to exhaustion. I don't plan on circuit training, either.

As we age, strength training is key. That is, strength training and consistency.

That's where I advocate for Total Gym.

Fifteen minutes a day.

You'll regain balance, carry your body well, tighten up loose musc…

Bump start your running

If you've been running for a while, maybe 30+ years like me, there will be good stars and abrupt stops.

Being a consistent every day athlete isn't for everyone. When I formed the Master Competitor brand, it was about being inclusive and encouraging everyone to keep going, at any pace. No shame, only someone to come up alongside when you might need a friend.

I hit a dead stop a while back. Bailed on running completely, convinced myself I was old(er) and it was appropriate to be a walker. Nothing wrong in that, but it didn't keep my motivation engine pumping. I stalled out.

So as has happened so many times before, it was time to rebuild. I always need a jump start, and for me, that most times comes in the form of shoes. My body needs maximum cushion so I am Hoka all the way.

I purchased Stinson 3 ATR, Mafate and the new Bondi 5. You can check the models out here. To max to the highest level, I go with the Dr. Scholl's sport inserts. Now it's the new runner version. S…

Transfer addiction?

Running is beneficial.

Running can transition you into new social circles.

Running is (can be) an addiction.

Are you a transfer addict? Taking one addiction, setting it aside, then carrying your addictive psychology into running?

It can happen. And it's not always a bad thing. It's the next best substitute.

I was (am?) an ultrarunner, since the Vermont 100 mile in 1989. That's a long time. Through low points in my personal and business life. I remained an ultra marathon man. And as times grew even more challenging, my identity to ultra increased. It was my "safe place" where if I suffered enough, I could control the outcome.

There are many ex-drug addicts in ultra. I'd suggest a 30 hour trail run may be better than the heroin needle in one's arm, or cocaine up one's nose.

No addiction is a good addiction, but for many, it's a demon we can't always avoid. Running can be that oasis where you can regroup, reform, then face the next battles in lif…

Give it away. So there's nothing left.

Part of the Christian faith is framed in the message of Agape love. That is, to give as Christ gave, in the sense that you expect nothing in return.

It's not always easy. To me, that means leaving a little piece of yourself behind, every time you help or set an example for another.

Much of my motivation is to support and develop future leaders among university students. That may be in the form of listening and saying little in return. Or, making short prompting comments that lead a discussion - and learning opportunity - to a deeper level.

As Master Competitor, much of what I have left won't be age group wins, or a PR in ultras. It's modeling fitness and enjoyment of outdoor engagement. To be "my age" and knock out a 14 mile out and back on rugged trail can set a standard where "if he can do it, so can I!"

To stay aware that I must encourage all, to leave no one behind. To meet each student where they are, on that day in their maturity and development …

I quit, I'm back. What makes a runner?

Thought I hit the threshold on running. I was simply tired. Running became more of a struggle than enjoyment. I was slipping...from 9 minute miles, to 10, then 12. I was ashamed.

I was running in my hometown in Wisconsin. A friend drove by in his truck and yelled "If that's all the faster you can go, better head straight to the hospital!" Maybe funny to him, but that narrative broke my psychological bank. I was done.

So, six months progressed. I became a walker. Still OK, did 4-6 miles a day and did Total Gym. Also cycling on the weekends, many times 50+ miles.

But, I was empty inside. I realized running drove everything else. My identity, my motivation to eat well, my desire to set goals.

I am a runner in my mind. So now, I am back.

Currently traveling in Greece. Went out for a shuffle in Santorini, 30 minutes out and back. Mostly down on the way up, climbing on the way back. One hour and 12.5 minutes a mile.

Sure it's not a stellar race pace. But I am 60 years old.…

10 day Total Gym: Optimize for every age

I've been posting on my Facebook feed, for the past 10 days. On these concluding remarks, I wanted to share across my Master Competitor blog platform. I had been reading recent research on how slow motion weight resistance is most beneficial. I applied that to my daily Total Gym workout and wrote about it.

Lessons to consider:

1) Do something, every day. My "secret" to fitness at 60 years old is to keep on, keeping on. Left foot, right foot, walk your journey every day. Not all of it will be stellar. Some is mundane. On those days when things aren't well or right, do a little bit. It's mental, emotional, to stay engaged.

2) Fight back. I had a couple of junk food days, bad decision making. Sure, I felt bad. But I focus my mind on resilience. I was also transitioning off a (bad idea for me) low carb diet. It just doesn't work well for vegetarians (I have been one for 17 years). If you look at the ketosis charts, many suggest less than 100 grams of carbs a day. I …

Health Care Scare: Americans can't shoot the gap to coverage

Two recent news reports indicate that most Americans will not be able to activate their health care coverage if a medical event occurs.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported that 90 percent of individuals buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) choose plans with $3000 deductibles or higher. Deductibles are the amount that the insured person must pay, before the health insurance policy starts to cover medical costs.

It's clear that high deductibles are a disaster for many. A recent study by indicates 63% of U.S. residents would not be able to cover a $500 unexpected expense.

High deductibles, no cash at home. Consider parents, who receive a call from their son's grade school. The boy took a fall on the playground and has broken his wrist. Once inside the door at the emergency room, most of the $3000 has already been spent. tells us first, you'll need an X-ray to confirm the bone break, for $150 to $220. Then a possible CT scan could b…

Lance vs. U.S. Postal: Show them the money

It's going to court, after all. The $100 million lawsuit against Lance Armstrong will proceed to trial. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled in favor of the federal government, which is suing on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service. U.S. Postal sponsored Lance from 2000 to 2004 and it is reported that $32.3 million was invested. The case states U.S. Postal would not have funded the Tour de France team, had it known there was a violation of the sponsorship contract based on performance enhancing drug use and blood transfusions. The federal government is attempting to have the damages related to sponsorship fees tripled, based on the False Claims Act. Armstrong could be held accountable for the entire amount.

Much of this case will focus on 1) terms of contract and purported breach and 2) sponsorship value to the United States Postal Service. Did the sponsor achieve a proportionate return on investment?
I won't be able to write on the terms of contract. I am not privy to th…

30 pound weight loss part 4: The blame game of "moderation"

Here comes the holiday season. You gather to share food and festivities. Grandma loves to prepare treats, so after dinner she sets out three pies, two cakes, and an assortment of cookies.

What's a weight loss advocate to do? According to many experts, it's about moderation. Don't buy into that, even for a moment. Here's why.

ABC News reported that there are currently 100 million dieters in the United States, investing $20 billion a year into the weight loss industry. Of that 100 million, how many do you believe consumed food in moderation?

It's noble to aspire to moderation, but let's get practical. A portion of meat the size of your fist; 8-10 almonds at one time; cereal in one half cup servings. That's not realistic and few will adhere to moderation over a period of time.

There's an old adage that states"some people live to eat; other people eat to live." Which are you?

I have known only a handful of "eat to live" consumers. In the…