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Showing posts from February, 2011

Squeezed by a lumber truck

There are several big things to report from last Saturday's ride out of Collettesville, into rather remote areas west of Lenoir.  Getting chased by dogs always raises one's adrenaline level.  By nothing spikes the excitement meter quite like getting squeezed off the road by an oncoming lumber truck.

We were nearing the end of a 46-miler, threading our way down a winding two lane road.  As we drafted down a sharp right hander, we came upon a lumber truck.  The truck wasn't holding its line in the oncoming lane and was drifting to center, closing onto the apex of the turn.

The first few riders had clearance room, but as the last few riders came past (me included) the door was slamming shut.  I was watching the rear axles come upon me as I hugged the shoulderless asphalt to far right.   It was like riding through a small gate at speed...a gate that was closing.

I maybe had two feet or so from the truck to the ditch and in a second it was all over, we were safely past.  We reg…

Modeling St. Francis of Assisi

I was taking some quiet time at church this morning.  Always enjoy going to the service 30 minutes early and letting my mind focus on God.  Came across the "Peace Prayer" by St. Francis of's an excerpt:

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

As an addendum to my "E" for encouragement, I need to think more about how to frame life in a mindset of giving, not getting.  This act of contrition many times flies in the face of human nature, but it's a valid approach to my days that remain.

In the context of master competitor activities, it bears some thought as to how we can represent the good that comes from endurance sport.  Many folks our age have had the hope sucked out of their sails.  It's hard at times to embrace the upside of life. …

Racing on "E" and other motivators

Had a nice amount of feedback re: my post on Dirt Dawg's running on "E"...for emotion.  There are several other motivators out there and I'm sure more are to come.  Master Competitor readers are motivated by:

Sean = "E" for enjoyment and excitement

Scott = "U" for unknown

Jennifer = "P" for perception

I'd like to add another "E" and for me it's encouragement.  That's what this blog is all about.  Whether I'm training or at  race, promoting Brooks Sports or speaking at the Appalachian State running club, it's about the opportunity to encourage others.

Determine what letter represents your motivator and leave a comment.   I'd like to chat more but I'm packing for an epic 50 mile ride tomorrow, on roads that lead to places I have never been.  Stay tuned.

Tree fall on Price Lake

Took a short hike around Price Lake, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, on Sunday.  The 2.3 mile loop was quiet and still on this overcast day; not exactly a draw for tourists in mid February.

What was interesting was the handiwork of little furry creatures over the winter.  We found more than a dozen trees toppled over the trail, thanks to the work of beavers that need materials for dams.

The labor invested in topping a tree is quite amazing.  I sometimes struggle with carrots or a crisp apple and can't imagine chomping through a tree trunk.

We may exist in a material world, but in some specific area nature remains supreme.  I love to think about about the ways in which animals work within their environment to succeed.  Makes me wonder what the world would look like, if I had the tenacity to work through the tree trunks in my life.

So when times seem tough, let's make like a beaver and chomp our way to success.

Running on "E"

Here's master man at work, looking quite serious in case anyone walks by. Actually, I'm messing with my email while getting ready to post this blog. It's that or a cluster analysis of ultradistance athletes for a conference I'm presenting at.  For this time and moment, I'm going with the blog.

What stage of endurance sport are you experiencing?  Fully engaged, or barely hanging on to the identity?  It does seem to ebb and tide over the years.  Heard a great podcast on Dirt Dawg's Running Diatribe, where he discussed "Running on E", where E = emotion.  That's what has driven him over the past 20+ years, channeling emotion into the effort.

Can you think of another athlete who has done well with "Running on E?"  I'd call out Lance Armstrong, who had a rough childhood with numerous step-dads.  Lance many times dealt with the "E" of anger and pushed it through his body to top performances.

I emailed Mike (aka Dirt Dawg) and expr…

Hurricane Quick Shot C02 inflator

When I prepped out my new Specialized Roubaix Comp, thought it was time to upgrade my accessories.  For years, I ran a small hand pump clipped under my front water bottle cage.  Of course, that made my a member of the goon patrol.  So this time around I went with the crowd and slipped a Quick Shot C02 inflator and cartridges into my seat bag.

I realize that compressed gas is the new way to inflate while riding but I'm paranoid about these little air machines.  Several years ago, a group of riders were huddled over a bike along the roadside in Florida, helping one of our club members with her flat.  The tire inflator exploded.

Plastic shards shot everywhere, one with enough velocity to knock the read flasher off another bike over 10 feet away.  The man who was holding the inflator stood there incredulous that his hand was still in one piece.  We talked about that incident for several rides following.

So what's the moral of this story?  Take advantage of new technology, but rema…

Specialized Roubaix Comp: Locked, loaded and launched

Not the most flattering photo, but here's a look at master man's new ride.  This is the bike I bought off a guy near DC.  He purchased it in 2010, never rode it, and eventually sold it to me.

What I learned from this endeavor is to shop used...if you spend some time at it, you'll locate rides that never really saw road time; bikes that are waiting for riders like you and me.

I set this bike up with a dropped handlebar stem (4 position option), moved my Shimano pedals from the Felt to the Roubaix, transfered the Topeak seat bag, then adjusted the seat's height and angle to mimic my Felt.

Arrived at the start almost an hour early, as I thought several micro-adjustments would be needed to dial in the ride. I was on the thing for about two minutes and everything fit like a glove.  No modifications needed.  It was cold and sunny, so I sat in my vehicle and read a Met-RX propaganda magazine.

The ride was smooth and highly aerobic.  We had to evade a few dogs but most of the…

Cybex, weight resistance and vanity training

Since my right foot continues to be tender and semi-healed, I've been headed to the gym for more winter "vanity training."  Fun to look at the models on the cover of Men's Health magazine and see how close old master man can get.  Instead of pouting over injuries and lack of my primary sport (running) I have worked to embrace the advantages of what I can accomplish. 
So in no particular order (I roll at random each day) here's my gym workout:
Life Fitness elliptical trainer.  Thirty minutes set on the foothills workout, max 13 setting.  Watch the trail running graphic and can get somewhere past a 5K.30-pound barbell.  30 reps with a slow, deliberate motion both up and back down.Cybex lat pulldown.  Set on 60 pounds, 30 reps.Cybex chest press.  Set at 40 pounds, 15 reps in vertical hand position and 15 reps in horizontal hand position.Cybex cable cross-over.  I use one of the two stations and set at 60 pounds, use as a pull down device from head to waist, 30 reps.Cy…

Hurricane AfterShock shock pump: Tune up the rough stuff

One of my purchases over the past weekend was a tool that makes me feel liberated and mess with air pressure and adjust the RockShox Tora 318 fork on my Gary Fisher Cobia 29er.

I'm not running a plush top end front suspension, but the ability to regulate air pressure, compression and rebound does offer advantages. I've asked around and there doesn't seem to be any perfect formula for benchmarking the settings.  Rather, it's a personal preference game where one needs to consider rider skill, terrain and speed.

I attached the pump to the valve and noted I was set at 110 psi.  That's on the soft side for some, but I went even softer and decreased pressure to around 100. Compression is not restricted, the lock out dial is set to full release.  I then went to the bottom of the right fork leg and cranked the rebound screw way in, towards the "tortoise" icon.  So now I'm set at spongy on the way down with a restricted recoil.

Won't know if this…

DC weekend: Specialized, Nathan and Hurricane pumps

Several months ago, a master competitor friend (enemy?) posted a comment stating my blog was narcissistic and that I was self-absorbed.

I try not to be, but:

1) It is my blog
2) It focuses on my adventures as a "tool" for the master competitor lifestyle
3) It's hard to post almost every day if I don't include myself

So for those of you still hanging in there, here's master man just outside Georgetown enjoying a day of walking and sunshine.  It was a great weekend in DC; got two runs in, either on or near the Rock Creek Trail.  Saturday was misty and wet and I made it through all the slushy woods sections.  By Sunday, the melted ice had frozen to a sheet of crack-your-tail-bone consistency, so I took to the road that parallels the trail.  Made an out-and-back to the majestic Mormon temple high on a hill, then turned and ran back to Bethesda.

The weekend was busy with endurance sport generated purchases that will prompt this week's posts:

- a rundown on my new/…

Setting your "norm" with a world-class mindset

Photo at right is a blast from the past.  Taken near Simi Valley, CA in the mid 1980's.  That's Johnny O'Mara and David Bailey (far right) knocking out some trail miles.

Those were wonderful times in the world of endurance sport.  Top motocross racers like O'Mara and Bailey were bringing fitness into their sport and merging their training efforts with top triathletes and cyclists.  Jim Felt (founder of Felt bicycles) was O'Mara's Honda factory mechanic and on some occasions, I was allowed to participate in some of their anaerobic rituals.

It can be stated that Bailey and O'Mara were, without debate, two of the best motocross racers of their era.  Much of that success came through fitness.  They could simply outlive the efforts of many competitors, always strong and on top of their game.

I was never a world class athlete, never will be. Never even close.  But I did get up close and personal with world class athletes. It's the mindset of being the best yo…

Felt FC: It was almost mine

I've been on a wild roller coast ride of emotions the past few days, playing the Craig's List and eBay game, searching for a new ride.

Stumbled upon the rocket at left via a posting in Charlotte, which was actually from a student here in Boone.  The hard racing pedal pounder was getting ready to upgrade this Felt FC and wanted to sell frame only...but initially he considered selling the complete bike.

What's a Felt FC?  I had to Google it out and learned it's a not-for-sale-to-mortals race only frame, which is shipped direct to team issue riders.  Wow.  Carbon light and stiff and factory race.  Yum.

I saw the bike today and it's quite a handful.  Interesting part is that when I took it for a spin, it fit like a glove. Not too aggressive as I had expected.  And for the first time, I performed double-click shifting with the SRAM Red components.

Have to tell you this bike was ridden hard and put away wet.  Athlete who raced it competed in over 40 events, many of them …