Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rezston, Snorkels, BBQ, Research

Last year, if you remember, big Nick Sachanda soloed off the front to win at Reston. This year, DVR's Justin Reznick won in similar fashion.

I didn't go to Reston because I went instead to the DC BBQ contest down on Pennsylvania. I paid twelve dollars, all of which went to fund the slaughtering, killing, butchering, firing, and embuing with smoke of former living beings. An animal rights group set up neatly outside the entrance offered to pay attendees $1 to watch a 4-minute video showing, I presume, scenes of farm animals being treated atrociously. I ran right on by, and was promptly greated by a free sample of chipped beef smothered in Stubb's BBQ sauce; I stood there in a puddle of congealed animal fat, inhaling the roast flesh of a thousand incarcerated beasts, and watched the swearing-in of the judges. I ate brisket, ribs, chicken wings, turkey, hot dogs, pork (a free sample from the pork industry), beef (courtesy of Safeway Select), and two deep-fried Oreas (they'd run out of Twinkies).

The BBQ was nice, but it wasn't the only reason I skipped out on Reston; frankly, I'm sick of crits. I've been in two accidents this year, both in the last month, and both in crits. Nothing too serious, but enough to make me want to take up a more stately, age-appropriate sport. Say, time trialing.

It's a shame time trialing is about as miserable a thing to do as shopping for window dressing, with its taping over holes, its conversations about 21mm vs. 23 mm tires, its plethora of carbon do-dads aplenty, enough to fill the truck you have to rent and drive, by yourself, to a race you'll do, by yourself. Where's the fun in that?

In my quest to avoid the TT alternative, I happened upon an innovative format now emerging in the Pacific Northwest's Tour of the Unattended. As the site states, it is a "5-day SOLO cycling challenge taking place on familiar routes in greater-Seattle where riders complete five unique stages, exclusively solo, report their data, and receive a ranking." Organizers go on to warn that there will absolutely be no drafting (what they call "Group Doping") allowed. Also disallowed: aero bars or disk wheels ("Aero doping"), although optimizing weather conditions ("Weather doping") is allowable.

I assume weather doping involves rain dances, holding the planet Earth on its axis through black magic, or installing various massive fans of the kind found on the back of boats in the bayou. Or maybe it involves just looking outside your window and waiting till the rain stops.

In any case, it sounds like a hoot, doesn't it? Five straight days of riding by yourself or being thrust along by perfectly legal weather doping in the form of a swamp boat fan being driven behind you. Lonely participants comfort themselves with the thought that other lonely individuals are out there, also by themselves, striving to put down a faster time.

And what a name, too: Tour of the Unattended. Sounds like it's a tour for children left alone in parking lots.

In other news, there's a lot of great research going on, and I thought it might be helpful to give to you, my competitors, because you don't already kick my ass enough.

(1) Creatine does not improve sprinting at the end of a two-hour race, but beta alanine seems to lead to some improvement (source), and fish oil seems to lower heart rate (source).
(2) In a 5-minute TT, those who sprinted all-out (rather than started reasonbly fast) from the gun recorded faster times (source)
(3) Training with a snorkel yields no positive results, although it turns the ladies heads, no doubt (source).
(4) Altering clocks alters performance in athletes. Slow-running clocks, displayed next to athletes, led them to achieve higher wattage, while fast running clocks led them to perform more poorly (source). Not sure how to use this information, but it is helpful to hear that sometimes, it's our brains, not our legs, that hold us back.
(5) All-day attendance at BBQs tend to cause one to gain weight and lose fitness.

There you have it. Get out there on your snorkels and hit up some BBQs.


Pete said...

I was hoping this would have to do with another kind of snorkeling...


Nick said...

sometimes i want to take up rowing if you're interested in that.

it's not crits.

Anonymous said...


me no like critz.

critz is skarree!

Anonymous said...

that doesn't sound like racing - a concept that implies strategy and gamesmanship - it sounds like trying to be the best at exercising.