Friday, September 30, 2016

September Summary

Well September flew by! A big start to month with the Everesting rode followed by a recovery week and then three weeks on the TrainerRoad CX plan. Nothing else much to say other than that really. Not the biggest month and not the smallest. Just another 750 miles in the bank!

I am trailing on the 10,000 mile year by about a 1000 miles overall, it was only ever a B goal and would happen if the training plans etc. would allow so we will have to see what happens between now and the end of the year if it shakes out that way!


October should be fun month, one maybe two CX races and the Death Valley Century are on the schedule!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review; Rocket Pure, Sunscreen, Balm, Friction Therapy & Shoe Deodorizer

So summer is behind us, well you know for Southern California! With the mercury hitting 100f last week September proved to be the usual toasty month that everyone kind of expects but hopes that won’t arrive!

The good folks over at Rocket Pure sent me a host of samples to try during the summer and now is the time to write them all up. I have to confess that I shared the box with Becca and so some of the comments are hers and are noted as such below. Additionally some things I haven’t gotten to yet either so I will have to circle back on those!


From Rocket Pure’s website;

“At Rocket Pure, we believe that nature has it correct, so why add non-natural and harsh chemicals to products that go on our skin? Athletes want to take care of their bodies to keep them doing what they love best: moving. So why put something on your body that goes against all of this. That’s why we’ve created our products from nature, for natural athletes. You won’t find harsh toxins or chemicals in our products. That’s right, no:

  • Parabens
  • Sulphates
  • Synthetic Fragrances
  • Dyes
  • GMOs

In some of our products you will find preservatives. But some preservatives are ok, and here’s why:

All products are prone to bacteria growth, which would make our products ineffective. Fortunately there are preservatives derived from natural sources and so we use those in our products.”

So here is a summary of everything that we have put to the test over the preceding months

All Natural Sunscreen SPF30; the first thing I grabbed was the Sunscreen. Despite cultivating my tan lines Sunscreen is important! No this is not your usual rub on and forget to reapply and then burn. This stuff goes on and stays on and keeps working. I wore one application for up to 6 hours without any issues. I was warned that it was thick and it was not your “put some on for a walk to the coffeeshop” cream and it’s not. It lasts and leaves white zinc oxide schmear when applied. But it works!

Hand & Foot Balm; Becca grabbed this! She applied is post run and post shower. She applied it and wore socks, so as not to wipe it off on the carpet. It does a great job of moisturizing “dry, tough runner’s feet” her words and feet not mine! It smells nice; clean and lemony and herbal (not floral) and you done’t smell like food or shower cleaner!

Rugged Rescue Skin Balm; Becca went for this too and again used on her feet! Again post run and shower using the sock method. This defiantly made my feet feel “cool, almost soothing”. It wasn’t thick of greasy and was easily absorbed. A pleasant smell it’s a bit more rustic than the hand balm but doesn’t smell like furniture polish!

All Natural Chap Stick; once on this was great. The challenge was getting it on, it’s pretty thick and tended to crumble some. Felt really nice though, didn’t disappear in 30 minutes! No funny taste either. Probably really good for skiing or really windy or dry days when you are more exposed to the elements

Friction Therapy Anti Chafe Balm; I typically don’t use a chamois crème. On the whole I have no real need but I tried this several times. It goes on pretty thick but soon breaks down to an almost frictionless gel. Given where it goes you want this to be as issue less as possible and this did the exactly as described. It washed out pretty easily too. No nasty leftovers. It has a mild smell mostly from the Tea Tree oil.

Friction Terapy Anti Chafe Balm Stick; this was “wind up deodorant” stick type of the Balm. You apply it by rubbing in on the skin, as opposed to the Balm which is applied to the chamois. In a similar way it broke down into a frictionless gel and just did the job of not letting anything chafe!

Peppermint Shoe Deodorizer; I really wish I had this for when I was Ironman training, my Tri shoes were horrible and many is the time they had to sleep outside the night before race day! I had no worries about critters running off with them…they were pungent! Now my cycling shoes are a lot less so thanks to socks but after 5500 miles…yes I track mileage on my shoes they are not a bed of roses. I quick spritz of this did the job and my shoes smelt like they had been given a Tic-Tac each…minty fresh!

So that leaves the Cooling and Reviving foot and shoe powders to try! I’ll being writing those up in that in the coming weeks.

Definitely targeted at the athlete who training regimen is taking its toll on the body these go above and beyond your typical drug store options. They are the heavy hitters of prevention and recovery.

The products are available through their own online store or various other online outlets as well as selected store around the country. Things vary in price and start at $13.99 for the Rescue Balms. These are perfect little treats for yourself and would make great stocking stuffers for the upcoming holidays!

This Product was free of charge by the good folks at Rocket Pure. See previous gear reviews on the tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Monday, September 26, 2016

CX Training Week 2

Week 2 was much a rinse and repeat of Week 1. I had to juggle some days around due to work! Yeah but it pays the bills!

Monday Mist +2. Mist +2 is 3 sets of 3x3.5-minute VO2max repeats at 118% FTP with 2.5-minute recoveries between intervals and 5-minute recoveries between sets.


Tuesday Townsend. 1.5 hours of Aerobic Endurance spent between 60-70% FTP.


Wednesday easy 30 minute’s spin/TSS filler.


Thursday The Priest+4. The Priest +4 is a tougher version of the standard 5x4-minute Big Gear Start intervals workout and still kicks off each interval with a 30-second wind-up way up at 150% FTP in the biggest gear you can turn. These hard starts are then followed closely by 3 minutes of Threshold work that start at 95% FTP in a gear that allows you to spin at a more reasonable cadence, but these closing minutes slowly climb to 105% FTP.Each recovery between intervals is 4 minutes long.


Friday Pettit. Pettit is an hour of aerobic Endurance work spent between 60-70% FTP.


Saturday Lincoln This pyramid-style RAB (Reduced Amplitude Billats) workout grows the number of 15/15 repeats (15s @ 125% FTP/15s @ 88% FTP) as high as 16 repeats before stepping back down to where it started at 9 Billats. Occasional 88% FTP floats last as long as 30 seconds and relatively short recoveries between sets last from 2.5-4.0 minutes. Total possible time at pVO2max is a huge 22 minutes.


Sunday Warren 1:50 of endurance ride (cut short from 2:15).


I also dusted off the rowing machine on Tuesday and Thursday. I would like to add 2-3 sessions a week on doing this and it is only 10 minutes each session.

So a solid week and the mileage is creeping up with 10:45 an 177 miles (including 3 miles rowing). First race is in a couple of weeks and the gear is slowly rolling in. To match the bike I went with Orange!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Review; NeoCell Move Matrix & Collagen Sport

Recovery is important. Getting those calories into you asap after a big workout or race is important. You know that so I am not going to bore you with all the reasons why. For the far the past few months I have been using a different regimen for recovery and injury prevention. A combination of two products provided by NeoCell for review; Collagen Sport and Move Matrix.


Both products contain and focus on the fact that they contain Collagen. From the web;

NeoCell - Move Matrix Advanced Joint Hydrator;

NeoCell Move Matrix Advanced Joint Hydrator provides scientifically advanced ingredients that work synergistically in the body to promote healthy joints. This premium formula supports joint flexibility, range of motion, and a healthy inflammatory response. Like all NeoCell products, Move Matrix is standardized to be bioactive for potent absorption and efficacy.

  • Bioactive neocell collagen type 2 - The key structural protein of joint cartilage. 60% of joint cartilage is made of collagen type 2.
  • Hyaluronic Acid - A water loving molecule that provides joint cushioning and lubrication, due to its ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water.
  • Glucosamine, Chondrotin & MSM - A combination of building block nutrients that contribute to the formation of healthy connective tissue.
  • Move Matric Blend - A blend of antioxidants and herbal extracts that support a healthy inflammatory response in the joints.

NeoCell Collagen Sport;

The Rundown:

  • 15 grams Pure Ion-Exchange Whey Protein Isolate
  • 15 grams Super Collagen™ Bioavailable Peptides
  • Rich in BCAAs
  • Good source of L-Glutamine
  • Enhanced with Exogenous Amino Acids
  • Multi-vitamin Fortification

Doctor Formulated, What’s NOT in Collagen Sport™

  • Gluten, Wheat, Sugar & Lactose Free
  • No Artificial Sweeteners or Flavors
  • No Fillers or Synthetic Ingredients

For obvious reasons I can’t comment on the contents or ingredients and only really on my perception of the efficacy.

The Move Matrix tablets require that you have 5 a day, there is enough in the jar for 30 days. They not massive or particularly small. Easily washed down with a morning cup of coffee which is when I have been taken them. I found them easier to take with breakfast rather than on an empty stomach. Given that my training all year has been on the bike it has been very low impact, pretty much zero impact in fact. However it has been super repetitive. I am no spring chicken and anything I can do to be preventative in terms of avoiding injury is a good idea. My knees ache at time as do various other parts. I took these in the run up to my September Everesting and I have found that with the higher mileage weeks I could get train through them without any issues other than the general fatigue you would expect. I was definitely without niggling issues that I experienced last year during the height of my training.

The Recovery Sport drink was taken post ride. I was warned not to take everything at the same time as it probably wouldn’t sit very well. Mixed with a ½ and ½ or water and milk the chocolate mix is smooth and not overly sweet. Without wanting to sound like an advertisement for Swiss chocolate there was a rich silkiness to it that made it very drinkable. On very big days I added a scope of vanilla ice cream to it and that turned it into melted chocolate ice cream drink. Again from an efficacy standpoint having a recovery drink (or something) with 30 minutes of finishing a big workout is crucial in being able to recover and continue training and taking the Collagen Sport certainly allowed me to do that. I rarely take a rest day as from experience having an easy spin on the rest day allows me to come back at it pretty hard and taking the Collagen Sport certainly assisted me in doing this.

So overall both of these products were easy to take and I found them to work. There is no silver bullet when it comes to recovery or injury prevention and it’s usually a combination of several factors that combined allow you to avoid injury and consistently training at a higher amplitude. Taking both of these products certainly allowed me to do that.

Available online Recovery Sport retails for $30 for 15 servings so enough to last a month or so of heavy training. The Move Matrix is $20 for a 30 day supply.

This Product was free of charge by the good folks at NeoCell See previous gear reviews on the tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SoCal CX Prestige Skills Clinic

So on Sunday I headed across Los Angeles to Fullerton to attend the SoCal CX Prestige Skills Clinic. I was definitely a part of town I had never been to so I was interested to see what trails and the like were available. We were to meet at the Fullerton Bike Shop and would be riding the Fullerton Loop which was a well-known local ride.

After a quick sign in we were off. We stopped a local parking lot which had to grassy medians and had our first lesson. Mounting and Dismounting; the key to this is to maintain forward momentum. The purpose is several-fold to allow you to navigate your way out of trouble i.e. sand or to allow you to jump over the hurdles that are found on course. I did pretty well, managing to not fall over or crash and the worst thing that happened was my phone fell out of my pocket. It was retrieved and then stashed in my saddle bag hence the lack of photos.


After perfecting these we set off again on the loop until we reached the next little park where we practiced Cornering; here the key is to actually steer with balance rather than by simply turning your handlebars. So for 15 minutes we serpentined across the park while looking like we wanted to be excused for the bathroom!


The final practice was on the Run Ups. These are basically hills that you can’t or fail to ride. They key is to minimize any lost momentum. Oh and not fall over. There is definetly some skill to the dismount, pick and shoulder your bike. We found a short sharp hill, maybe 40 yards long but a nice steep grade.

So after that these practices it was an easy ride back to the start where we peppered the RD with questions for another 30 minutes before the 90 minute drive home.


All in all a great experience, lots of new things learned and practiced. My first race is in a couple of weeks and until then it’s all trainer riding with lots of intervals! I have a few bits and bobs arriving between now and then including some nice bright orange bar tape! The bike will need a quick look over by the local Service Course; Wins Wheels and then I’ll be racing myself fit through the end of the year!

Monday, September 19, 2016

CX Training Week 1

As I have done with much of my training I opted for a TrainerRoad plan to prepare me for CX Season. I decided to jump straight in with the Specialty Plan. I based this on the fact that;

  • My base is pretty gosh darn thick at this point
  • I had limited time and I would in fact complete the plan during the race season itself

So with that said I was off. I decided to do the High Volume plan, my body can take the 10+ hour weeks and I feel like I am slacking off I am not putting in 150+ miles per week

So Week 1 shook out like this

Monday; Matthes +2 Well that was a rude awakening back to interval work, 3 4 mins @120% x 3 sets. Didn't dial it back and as a result couldn't reach the highs. I am sure my FTP has dropped since the last test...hoping I can ride myself back up to it in the coming weeks!


Tuesday; Tuesday 90 minutes endurance riding. No problems with this.


Wednesday; Off

Thursday; The Owl +4 Rest day yesterday albeit a long one with a one day round trip to Palo Alto. Felt good for this left hip a little tight. 15 MWU. Big Gear Start intervals workout with a 30-second wind-up at 140% FTP in the biggest gear you can turn then 3 minutes of Threshold work follow at 95% FTP and ramping up to 105% FTP at a more reasonable cadence. 4 minute recoveries in between.


Friday; Pettit Pettit is an hour of aerobic Endurance work spent between 60-70% FTP.


Saturday; OMG! This pyramid-style RAB's (Reduced Amplitude Billats) workout grows the number of 15s at 125% FTP/15s at 88% FTP repeats as high as 12 per set efore stepping back down to where it started at 6 repeats. Occasional 88% FTP floats last as long as 45 seconds and recovery between sets lasts only half as long as the set preceding it.


Sunday; I went to a CX Clinic held by the organization that puts on the racing season in Southern California, you can read all about that here.


So Week 1 in the bag. There is a definite pattern to the training, alternating between intervals and endurance. I am sure it will be much the same for the coming weeks!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review; Wind-Blox Pro

So the good folks at Wind Blox sent me over two packs of their Wind Blox Pro to try. I was keen to try them, as anyone knows on those long descents the wind whooshing in your ears often blocks out the sound of cars and other traffic coming up behind you. This can be especially disconcerting when it’s another cyclist who thinks he or she can descend like Vincenzo Nabali and swoops past you at 55mph when you’re doing your best to rail the apex of the corner doing 40+! Trust me it’s happened!

I received two packs of the Pro Version; one in Black and one in Silver. There are two versions; Pro which is 10cm long the Classic which is 6cm long. Length is driven by how long the strap is on the side of your face. Fitting them was easy enough. Velcro closures with the newer less scratchy small looped Velcro allows you to wrap them around the straps on your helmet. I had to lower the little plastic clasp that joins the straps that come from in front of and behind your ears. Some other wiggling was needed to get my sunglasses to sit comfortably. They felt noticeable against my skin when I thought about them, but other than that were pretty easily forgotten about. They were also pretty missable when you look at them, they sit close on your cheek underneath the strap so other than the small bulge and the text on the outside you would never know they where there. This makes them signifcantly less noticable than their competitors and don’t draw any real attention.

With them installed I took to the roads. It seemed best to head out on some hilly rides to maximize the potential for wind noise. I used the last couple of rides from the Santa Monica Challenge and for my Birthday ride.


These rides ranged in duration from 2:30 to just under 7:00 and had up to 7500’ of gain (and descent), plenty of wind in the ears.


The temperatures on the rides maxed out at in the mid 80s. I mention this as at this kind of temperature and when you’re sweating anything rubbing on your skin feels at best annoying and at worst will chafe!

I am unable to quantify the actual reduction and so I have to use qualitative interpretation. I think my expectation was a bit high as I was expecting there to be the “eye of the storm” with all the noise being reduced. Wind Blox claim up to a 80.2% reduction in wind noise. This combined with the impact of the “Hawthorne effect”; that is the behavior of something changes in response to it being observed may have skewed my interpretation. So while I do listen for traffic coming from behind I am more focused on the road ahead and while wearing these I was focussed on listening.

So with that all said the bottom line was that during the descents there was a decrease the overall whooshing air noise, this in turn makes them safer and that’s a good thing.

The reduction in noise make these an easy solution to a problem that all cyclists face. They are simple to fit and work. Simple and effective is always a good combination but something that so many products miss the mark on.  Add to that they cost less than $20 and it’s almost a no brainer!

Although it’s a bit early these are the perfect stocker stuffing for the upcoming Holidays!

This Product was free of charge by the good folks at Wind Blox. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Wind-Blox Pro for free from Wind-Blox Pro in consideration for a gear review.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Everesting #2

So Yeah! I kinda ninja Everested! That is I did it mostly while no one was looking! The plan was to go for it and if it worked it worked and if it didn’t I would see how far I could get! Somewhere around the half-way point I let the cat out the bag and then gritted my teeth to the end.

It was on my mind and then on the cards after DNFing the HRS back in July. I had found a hill nearby which looked pretty good but there was a gate and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be locked at night and I couldn’t take the risk. So at the last minute I changed it to another hill.

This was much different from the ride last November. My Hill choice addressed some of the challenges I faced last time. This ride was;

  • Much closer to home so it would be easier for Becca to support me.
  • In a more residential area so there were some street lights.
  • Was a much shorter segment. This segment was a fraction under 2 miles up with the elevation gain of 500’.

So the math was 54 ascent/descents for the Everesting and if the door opened it would be another 8 more to roll up to the High Rouleurs 10,000 meters “Limit” ride.

The ride spanned the Sunday and Monday of Labor Day holiday. I started just before 7am on the Sunday. My Base camp was the minivan which was stocked with all the usual goodies. My plan was to ride with one bottle and 2 bars and go back to the van when I was empty, roughly every 90 minutes, to replen. This would be around every 5 round trips roughly 20 miles.


The weather was cool and cloudy and was pretty much as perfect as I could expect for the time of year, it warmed up to around 90f during the day but it was by no means blistering hot. At the other end of the spectrum the night got really cold I ended up having to shelter in the van with the engine on and the heater running a couple of times during the night just to warm up. This was despite having wrapped myself up in essentially what passes for winter clothing in Southern California. In the end I wore everything I had. Five layers on top and two on the bottom along with long fingered gloves and warmers etc.

Becca played her usual guardian angel, although I would argue that she is just an Angel with the amount of crazy shit she puts up with! She brought me three square meals during the day, mostly Del Taco French fries or burritos and coffee during the day and then breakfast the following morning.


She even brought her new steel gravel bike and rode with me for a little while and also stopped to grab some photos but fundamentally I was by myself for this one.



Now the thing with Everesting is that you just ride. It’s you, the bike and the road. Life moves on all around you but you are just riding up and down. In the middle of the segment was a parking lot for a trail head. I spent a fair amount of time watching hikers, bikers and runners come and go. I was riding past when they arrived and I was riding past when they left. I am pretty sure I was riding past when they came back the next day!

In the end the riding part took about the right time over 20 hours. What took much longer than expected and much longer than it should have was my stopping time. Even allowing for the warming up I ended up being stationary for 9 hours! I’ll be honest and say I have absolutely no idea how that accumulated so quickly and so much. My plan of stopping every 5 laps was reduced to every two during the night but even so it was a staggering amount of time to be still! It adds up to about being stationary for 30 minutes in every hour, this is an average, of course, but it’s a stark ratio.

With it being a couple of weeks post the event this still somewhat sours the achievement. As expected I slowed down during the night and my laps doubled in time when compared to my first lap of the day. Some of this is due to increased caution while riding in the dark and some of it is due to being tired and not wanting to do anything stupid! At the time they all felt pretty speedy! With all that said, it’s still a hell of a (daft) thing to do!

IMG_6794FullSizeRender (1)IMG_6908

A blank slate to a full bucket!

So that’s a pretty short write up on a pretty long event but I’ll spare you the lap by lap recount which, to be honest, is mostly forgotten!

You can read my recap from my first Everesting here and the DNF from the HRS here. Both of which have much more comprehensive lessons learned and some hints and tips for those of you considering this.

I wouldn’t say the HRS monkey is off my back but it’s back in the cage for now! I am sure in time it will get pissed and start throw shit at me to express its general displeasure!

In the meantime I am off to ride some cyclocross!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Everesting #2 Approved

My submission from last weeked’s ride was approved by Hells500. My report is still pending but that’s number 2 in the bank and was a somewhat facesaving event from the failed HRS from July!


Write up to follow…

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cross is Coming!

You may have seen that somewhere! People are getting excited about it and this year I am one of them! I have never ridden Cyclocross so this seemed like a great year to try it. I have a super deep base so it’s time to sharp the blade. I am using the TrainerRoad High Volume Cyclocross plan. It’s all about itervals…and lots of them!

I also picked up a used Raleigh RX 2.0 CX bike! I have the Lynskey from DK200 but I think it’s a bit too heavy and to be honest I don’t want to wreck it! The Raleigh is a great entry level bike with a solid spec and it’s ORANGE!!!


Bring on the kit doping!


I’ll start the plan next week and then on Sunday I have a SC Clinic put on by the RD of the Socal Prestige CX SeriesSocal Prestige CX Series!

In the meantime enjoy this…