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Monday, December 26, 2011

Clipless a bust (for non-winter shoes)

As mentioned more than a few times, I've been trying to ride clipless this a non-specific (i.e. cheapo) winter shoe.  I had a "theory" that a generic shoe would work given a arge enough size.  Here's why it doesn't (below -10):  

A) Metal hardware without enough insulation and insuffucient sole.  Theoretically, a large enough shoe could layer enough insulation without compromising foot circulation.  While this may be generally true, the metal conducts cold much too well in these shoes.   

B) The plastic(y) sole also conducts cold much too well.  
 The plastic that makes up the sole becomes too stiff at around > -10 and feels practically like metal. 

C) The thin leather outer provides no wind protection.  Even with goretex covers the wind and cold find a way in after an hour or two. 

Overall, I still believe a clipless shoe can be a good winter product if the sole were better insulated with a softer rubber, like vibram.  I wonder about carbon for clipping, metal just sucks in cold.  Of course, to have the room needed in these I would need to go up about ohhhh 100 more sizes.  Lakes are basically the only winter shoes I've heard stand up to the cold but it looks more like a hiking boot which means xtra weight. Hiking or pushing a bike many miles in my ultralight lobbens versus a hiking boot is much easier on the old body (I've done both).      

I am in platforms now since the temps are getting lower than -10 and using the lobbens.  While they are comfortable I definitely miss the clipless.  Clipless certainly feels more balanced in the legs (pulling up and pushing down) and seems to add more horsepower as a result.    

Thursday, December 22, 2011


How about speed work on a snow bike?

Tonight I went out on the snow bike on a firm-ish snow machine trail and did intervals for an hour.  Why? I don't know, I was a little bored and had only an hour. On my HR agenda I'm apparently also "supposed" to do intervals now a few times a week.  My top speed was a wild and crazy 12 mph... downhill.  My slowest speed and highest HR was an uphill 3 mph.  The temp are back down to a reasonable -5. It was painful and a few times I was kind of nauseous. It felt weird and oxymoron-ish on a snow bike but having a short intense ride helped me feel better in the end.

This picture has nothing to do with what I wrote but I didn't take a camera this evening.  I love the endearing banana pet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Clean Sweep

For some reason Joe just wouldn't let go of the broom tonight,  I thought the picture was hilarious- better without my head at least.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

HR, VB, NA+ Follow up

Some follow up reviews from previous posts:

HR obsession:

I have been "training" (obsessing) so to speak, using heart rate since September.  Now that winter is here and lots of snow, wind and cold the ability to measure improvement is hard.  My mileage of running and riding have gone down but the time out there has increased.  Amazing how snow biking and winter running is, comparatively, incredibly slow... or I'm turning into a slug with HR. I use the Movescount program to monitor all my activity and it is depressing to see mileages go down.  However, one nice thing using HR as an objective, as opposed to distance, I can maintain the measure regardless of the variables.  Even while sick my HR increased about 10-15 beats from my usual average and as long as I stay around the 145 mark I can still train without much adverse effect.

Things I've noticed using the HR monitor daily:

1. Sickness increases my HR by about 10-15 beats.
2. I start sweating at 120-130 beats per minute.
3. At extreme cold (-15 and lower) to get blood warm to my extremities I have to get above 145 at least.  Once I fall below I seem to get numb fingers and toes (unless I put on puffy gear).
4. According to the Suunto watch and HR at 145 BPM I burn almost exactly 1000 kcal an hour.

Vapor barriers.

This has turned into an interesting experiment and may have much value if used correctly.  What's revealing, though, is that there really is no ideal solution.  When dealing with serious cold and ultra's it's just plain hard to get it right. Experiment with what works is the only way.  I tried the VB "shirt" recently and while I was warm all the sweat leaked down into my pants. My pants and legs have most recently just been dialed in with an awesome soft shell by Mountain Hardwear so this is a step back.  I've also noticed at below -15 F one can't skimp on layers just because there is a VB.  Once your foot or body is wet you *need* the insulation to protect it. Although I am doing less laundry with VB's, which is a plus.
One additional observation about VB's-- I can't get over how much I sweat thus reiterating hydration and electrolyte replenishment.


The Fatcyclist had a fantastic entry on nutrition with Dr. Lim,  an exercise physiologist who works with pro cyclists.  I couldn't help but read the comment on how important salt was in the article.  The way it was stated as general knowledge verifies my "duh" moment in that I was not providing enough sodium in my ultra's leading to hypoanatremia.   That article will be bookmarked and definitely worth the read and possibly buying the cook book.

Clipless versus platform for snow bike

The verdict is still out.  It's getting more intuitive but I still crash a lot. During the week riding to work I stick with platforms and when I make the switch to clipless for longer rides the "feel" of them (before I crash) is markedly improved when grinding through snow.  The problem? My standard shimano shoes are insufficient at below zero temps even with a VB and Goretex cover.  Back to the drawing board, Lakes are hard to come by cheap but I if I want clipless I think it's the only way.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Storm Series, part 3

It's no secret. Nome has lots of storms and I maaaay be a little redundant posting windy video but they are just so much fun.  I can't help it.  This is storm number 3 in the past week with lots of snow- apparently close to record amounts.  I went for a run this evening and took a little video.  I even put my favorite songwriter, *Sarah C Hanson* music on it for a nice contrast.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hardshell Day

Always hard to capture interesting photos doing the same ole thing.

Blizzards are some of my favorite outings.  They are great to check gear in real conditions rather than ideal ones. Not the best for a real workout but it was really fun.  Wonder how many times I can say real?

In an hour and a half I covered a whopping 4 miles of pushing on tundra and a few miles of road crosswind.  Those frame bags do make good sails at 40 mph crosswinds.