Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 is winding down and looking forward to 2014

Just over a week left in 2013.  It time to look back on what was accomplished this year both out on the course in and my personal life.  Much has changed as I look forward to moving forward on some new set goals for my self.  In 2014 I look to set out on my first solo 12 hour mountain bike endurance race as well as take on training and running in another marathon.  Both of these events are a good 6 months away so many hours of training and preparation are in store.  I am fully healed from previous injuries from 2013.  Raise your glass and celebrate what 2013 was and here is to a great and even better 2014.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Heat for relief

About ten years ago I received a corn filled heating pad to help relieve aches and pains.  It works great.  Last summer it had a rip in it and had to throw it away.  A few weeks back, I picked up some jean type fabric and rice and had my wife sew me up a new one, well actually four of them.  This time we used rice inside the pad instead of the corn.  We throw them in the microwave for up to three minutes and there you have it.  The heat stays good for about 10 to 15 minutes sometime longer.
Now what is a pad used for you may ask. It can help relieve pain from muscle strain. It dilates the blood vessels around the are of pain increasing blood flow providing oxygen and nutrients to help heal the damaged muscle. It can be used all over the body, feet, neck, lower back, knees, you get the picture. 
I like to use them to warm my cold toes after a bike ride or run out in the cold.  My kids love to use them under their pillows in the their beds to keep warm with on cold winter nights. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The RumbleRoller Beastie

Over the past year I have been using the RumbleRoller foam roller to get me back on the road after an IT band injury.  After using and seeing how it worked, I started using the RumbleRoller for self-myofascial release or SMR on different muscle groups and areas to increase my flexibility, relieve stiffness and decrease my recovery time from workouts and/or training sessions. 
I started using the RumbleRoller Beastie just recently and am benefiting from the numerous ways they can be used and set up. To begin with, you may ask what is a Beastie. The Beastie is like a spiked dog toy, yet made specially for SMR. It's a deep tissue massage ball. Some people have used tennis balls or golf balls to do similar types of SMR but what these items lack is flexible bumps that are needed to reach into tough areas. Beasties come in two varieties. The clear one, what is called the Original Beastie, has 30 bumps that will dig deep into your muscle tissue and target those trigger points or problem areas. The green one, called the X-Firm Beastie, has the same amount of bumps yet like its name says, is more firm. Caution needs to be used when starting any kind of session with any of these items. If used the wrong way or too aggressive they can cause bruising or lingering pain and you should stop.
The Beasties can be used freely or a base is also available.  The base holds the 
Beastie for more controlled use.  With the Beastie in the base, it now can be attached to the Beastie Wall System.  The ball can be adjusted to any height allowing now for you to now lean into the Beastie from the side depending on where on the body you are focusing on treating. 
As if the Beasties on their own were not good enough, there is also a Beastie Bar available. This is a rolling stick type of massage tool with two X-Firm Beasties permanently attached to the center of the bar. It comes with stands allowing for hands free use by setting on the ground or attaching to the Beastie Wall System.  With the bar attached to the wall you can now focus on areas of the back, legs or arms.       

                   RumbleRoller® and RR Beastie®

Saturday, October 19, 2013

RACE REPORT: Mesa Sprint Triathlon

It was a week ago today I took part in the Mesa Sprint Triathlon at Skyline High school. The morning started off pretty cold, with the temperature at 58 degrees.  I got to the site early to set up my bike and warm up.  I ran a few laps around the school's track to get warm and stretched a little.  When I returned to the transition area I found everyone racked their bike on the same side of the rack instead of alternating on both sides of the rack.  It made for a very crowded area.  Off to the start, they had athletes line up by cones according to when they projected they would finish the 400 yard swim.  I had been swimming the distance over the summer in about 10 minutes, yet I lined up in the 13 minute projected finish line.  Swimmers were started every 7 seconds swimming a serpentine course in the pool.  I started by watch when I jumped in.  The swim was great.  I quickly got into a groove using good breathing and technique. After the first 200 yards, I was passing a lot of swimmers.  When I got out of the water I looked at my watch and finished in under 9 minutes.
Onto the bike where I knew I would be cold for the first few miles until I dried off in the air.  The bike course was a four mile loop in which I would do three times.  The first loop was fast, I drank some fluids and focused on maintaining a fast average speed.  With a corner every mile, I needed to slow down just a little.  At one point I looked down at my bike computer and found out I hit a max speed of 26 MPH and averaging a little over 20 MPH.  On the start of my last of three laps my race almost came to an abrupt end. The roads were being controlled by police officers and volunteers.  It was there a volunteer waived a van across the course, not seeing I was headed their way. The driver nor the volunteer seen me as I had to grab the brakes and slide coming very very close to hitting the side of the van.  Needless to say I did not crash into the van. I did however lose a lot of speed and time having to get back up to my race pace. A little shook up, I focused on relaxing and started preparing my mind for the run ahead.  The run was a course around the school and in and around the surrounding neighborhood.  After getting off the bike, I got my legs moving fast and got into a steady pace. I was feeling strong besides have a side stitch off and on.  Everything I did in training was falling into place.  I had projected a finish time of under an hour and 20 minutes. I finished 9th in my age group of 40 to 44.  My swim time 8:42 in my age group had me placed in 9th coming out of the water. My bike time of 37:57 had me at the 5th fasted in my age group. My run time of 31:18 gave me a total time on the course of 1:17:57.  I was very happy with my performance and training put into this race.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Aero Jacket from

First off you may note, "Dang, that looks fast" and you would be right, it is fast. I have installed for this weekend's race a AeroJacket by  This converts your everyday wheels or wheels you may train on into a disc at smaller price then buying a real disc wheel.  Simply fill out the order form on their website to have them custom cut to fit most wheels.  There are some wheels in which they won't fit, so check out their list first.  Their customer service folks can help answer any questions and help you out to get exactly what you need. They are simple to install, with the only speciality tool needed is a sprocket remover/ chain whip tool.  I have tested them on and off over the past few weeks leading up to my race. My tests, not very scientific, are based off of my average speed and feel while using AeroJacket disc covers show they increase my average speed up to 4 MPH.  Cheat the wind increasing your aerodynamics with an AeroJacket without taking a huge chunk out of your wallet. 
Check them out at

Monday, October 7, 2013

Race week is here

Training is almost done and I am looking forward to getting out on the course Saturday.  I have made a few mechanical adjustments to my bike and just need to start getting my transition bag put together.  The weather should be a little cool at the start, especially after getting out of the water an onto the bike.  A few more training runs and rides and Saturday will be here. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Udderly Smooth....the best way to fight dry skin

The summer heat and the constant getting in and out of the pool, dry skin is bound to happen.  The harsh chlorine in the public pool where I have been swimming this summer is pretty strong, as it should be to help keep the pool clean.  The chlorine is not so friendly with your skin.  The product line of Udderly Smooth's is where I turned adding hydration to my feet and all over my body.   From the lotion, body cream and the foot cream you are "totally covered", pun intended.  The greaseless Udderly Smooth products are great.  I am not sure how many out there follow my blog locally here in Arizona, but if you do, listen up.  I will bring a bunch of chamois cream samples to the Mesa Sprint that I am entered in next month. Swing by, introduce yourself and ask me for a sample, I would love to share.  I know too, nothing new on race day, so I am not saying you need to use it right then and there, but take it home and use during your training. It will be pretty easy to "spot" me, just look for the tall guy with the aero helmet with cow spots on it.  It's a sample, I mean, it's as simple as that. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

X-1 Audio Waterproof Cases

I have been using X-1 by H2O Audio waterproof headphone systems for years now. A great way to enjoy music without having to worry about sweat or water damaging your electronics.  I was using Surge headphones attached to a swim belt in which my iPod 3rd generation Nano was safely inside a case providing me numerous hour of enjoyable quality workouts in the pool. With wanting to do flip turns, the cord which ran along my back, I was afraid would get in the way.  So I decided to get another waterproof case from X-1. 

The case I got was the Interval 4G system which holds the 4th generation iPod shuffle and attaches to the goggles strap.  Out of the way from swinging arms while swimming.  I now use the other case I have for running on the treadmill or riding my bike on the indoor rollers.

I had the custom ear molds made at Gold Canyon Hearing, helping to make sure the ear phones stay in place.  The smallest bit of water still gets in my ears, but the custom molds totally help with ear issues with water in the ear. The set up is awesome. I fire up a good playlist and away I go.  Swim workouts are very enjoyable and the music helps me stay focused.  Really the only drawback is losing track of time and laps.  Summer has unofficially come to an end with Labor Day and so has my season pass to the local pool.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Respro® Sportsta™ Mask

Here in Arizona there are huge dust storms that will be arriving soon this summer.  The literal walls of dust are picked up and carried all over.  It makes driving and seeing very difficult. Visibility is drastically reduced.   It is in these dust storms, or "haboobs" ,a fungal disease known as Valley Fever is carried.  I try not ride or run when these types of storms are present. I have been packing along just in case a Respro® Sportsta™ Mask, to help keep my lungs and respiratory system healthy while out training.  Whether running, road or mountain bike riding. I have used it several times while out mountain bike riding, as the dust off of the wheel of the person in front of you and sometimes your own tires kick up this dust. The device simply covers your mouth and nose filtering the air while allowing you to breathe normally.  The soft neoprene is attached behind your neck with a Velcro enclosure.  The devices are made in the U.K.  Of course drinking while out training while wearing this device is impossible.  However, I suggest if you need to take a drink while wearing it, simply stop remove the mask, drink, and carry on.   Around the nose there is a metal clip, keeping the mask securely tight around your nose. You will notice on the mask there are two valves in the front, these are where exhales air escapes from, however as you inhale, the air you bring into your lungs is totally filtered.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Using the Tech Paddle to increase my EVF

I am making good progress in the pool.  Getting faster and more comfortable every time I'm at the pool.  At the beginning of the summer I started using the Tech Paddle device to help my muscle memory on keeping a good EVF (Early Vertical Form).  Your hand and arm pulling back during the freestyle stroke will only move you forward in the water when it is vertical.  Using the Tech Paddle helps you create getting your arm in that position and your muscle memory.

The paddles are hand specific (right and left) are are easily worn with the Velcro strap. I have been incorporating them into my swim workouts for about 50 percent of the time.  A little awkward to get used to or maybe it's just my stroke it so messed up, but I have noticed that after only swimming two weeks with them I am getting faster in the water.  When I am wearing them in the water I focus on good hand and arm position.  Here is a short video of myself using them.  They are now part of my swim bag of tools.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Podium Cycling's Foam Rollers

 Podium Cycling makes foam rollers to help stretch tight muscles from the legs to the back.
I have used both the Level 1 Roller,  18 inches long, spiral shaped, as well as the Level 2 Roller,  13 inches long, with more ridges to roll deeper into muscle tissue.  The Level 2 roller is better suited for traveling due to its size while both rollers are 5 inches in diameter.  Both rollers help with stretching and recovery while massaging your muscles. I recommend for first time users to gradually ease into a recovery or any program using them.  I look forward after a hard workout using the rollers to aid in my recovery.  The foam roller works on removing trigger points, or small knots in your muscles along with flushing away lactic acid.  I use the roller on my lower body (hamstrings, calves and quads) then move onto working it on my upper and lower back. All this is done while laying on the ground either on the carpet or a matt.  Those with sensitive backs may find it uncomfortable and should take caution, as the devices are made to help you, not hurt you. The rollers help increase your flexibility while also improving your core strength. The Podium Cycling foam roller can also help with the redevelopment of muscles and restore the motion to joints in the body.  The foam rollers are designed to not break down which will give you many sessions of muscle recovery.

Check them out at

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Officially signed up for my next race

I have officially entered the Mesa Sprint Triathlon happening on Oct. 12 of this year.
Training up to this point has been pretty unfocused.  Signing up makes it real.  The race is a sprint distance of a 400 yard swim, 12 mile bike and a 5k run. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Podium Legs Cold, speed up your recovery

After a leg straining workout on the bike or out running, one of the quickest ways to recover is an ice bath.  However, to take an ice bath you need to transfer a bunch of ice to the bathtub.  Some people have used plastic baggies filled with ice, then placing them on their legs only to result in a mess with the baggies leaking or dripping.  Getting enough ice in the tub to soak in is time consuming. A fast and easy way to perform an "ice bath" is by using Podium Cold for your legs.  Simply strap on the leg sleeves with their eight simple Velcro enclosures and sit back, prop your feet up and relax for the next five to 10 minutes. This is a great time to update your workout log, training app or look over your next workout.  (To tell you the truth, I am updating my blog with this post wearing these after a great run today.)
Now why would you be doing this you might ask?  The goal is to help the muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and all the different tissues used in your workout recover.
Lactic acid builds up in the body during exercise (training and racing) that can cause muscles to function poorly and over a long period of time. You start to feel fatigue, your legs get heavy and overall tiredness sets in.
After wearing the sleeves for five to 10 minutes, the icy cold packs inside start to cause your blood vessels to tighten draining the blood out of your legs. After 10 minutes your legs feel cold and numb. When the time is up your legs will begin to fill up with 'new' blood that invigorates the muscles with oxygen to help the cells function better.
Although I think it is really a first-aid term R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).  I tend to think when it comes to recovering from a hard workout or competition,  Podium Cold for your legs works.  They speed up your recovery time simple as that.
Before your workout, while your filling your water bottles or prepping your energy supplements, slip the Podium Cold Leg sleeves into the freezer so they will be ready to help your recovery when you return. Or better yet, store them in the freezer to grab anytime after a grueling workout session. 
Get a pair at

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Checking in....

I feel I am getting stronger in the pool going at least 3 times a week.  I have set aside for a week the paddles and fins, but will get them out next week to work on some drills in the pool.  My rides this weekend, which were a little longer in awhile, were very hot and sticky.  Even though I was drinking a lot of water, I still was feeling a little dehydrated.  I was thinking for the next few weeks of getting out of the house even earlier than I do now to avoid the sun. Training is going great as I look forward to October.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Who left the oven open?

Temperatures outside during the middle of the day are in the one teens (113-119) the last week.  Of course I am not out training during that time of day, but even the lows are staying in the high 80's.  The workouts have been moved to pre daylight hours, even the pool.  These temperatures are normal for this time of year her in Arizona, and with it you just learn to hydrate more (stay away from caffeine), wear protective clothing from the sun and stay in the shade or indoors.  Kind of a reverse of a winter hibernation. Training is going well for my mid October sprint triathlon.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

There is a day for everything

There is National Donut Day, Nation Running Day, National Coffee Day, Bike to Work Day you get the picture, there is a day for everything.  So you guessed it there is a National Flip Flop Day, which happens to be Friday, June 21, 2013 this year and I will be rocking my SOLE Sport Flips. (Well,  I always wear them, so the day really won't be that different for me.)

So while we are on the subject of flip flops and sandals, other sandals or flip flops may be comfortable for the first 20 minutes or so of wearing, but the SOLE Sport Flips are just what your feet and body are craving for.  I have enjoyed these arch supportive flip flops after long training rides or runs and of course wear them to and from the pool.  They mold to your foot, normally after wearing them for a few days. With the arch support and the contoured foot bed, you walk around in comfort.  I really like them after my feet have been cramped up in cycling shoes or just getting more air to my feet after running. Because SOLE Sport Flips are molded then to your feet, don't let others wear them.  The contour of the foot bed can help alleviate pain from plantar fasciitis.

Tropical Smoothie CafĂ©' honors those rocking flip flops with a FREE SMOOTHIE on June 21st, from 2pm - 7pm, by wearing your flip flops to one of our locations.  Look them up to see if they have a store near you.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Feed Zone Portables recipe book

Feed Zone Portables is a new book of recipes out by Chef Biju and Dr. Lim with 75 ideas for cyclists, runners, triathletes, mountain bikers, climbers, hikers, and backpackers. The simple recipes are made with real food. I have tired a few of these easy to make recipes bringing them on my longer rides and lately on the way out the door to the pool to swim laps. On their website they offer free sample of some of the recipes at 
My favorite recipe that I have made so far are Banana Waffles. I seem to get stuck in ruts of what I eat in the morning and out while on longer rides or runs. This book has helped open my eyes to what can be done.  Sure there are the energy bars and gels I take along but this is real food you prepare in your own kitchen. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Swimming is taking shape

I am excited to say I ditched the gym pool and scored a great deal on the local aquatics facility.  The facility was used this last spring for Olympic trials.  Anyway, the pool at the gym I belong to is 14 meters long so just as I was getting up speed and getting into the groove the wall was there. The lanes here are set up for 25 yard lengths.  I get there for my early morning workout at 5am and am either the only one there or one of four others swimming at that time.  I plug into my X-1 audio underwater headphones on my workout is done before I know it.  I have been working on my form and arm position for now and will focus on speed in a couple of weeks.  Feels great to be working out in such a great facility.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A quick look at the LED's on the MIO Alpha chest strapless heart rate monitor

Here is a quick video showing how the MIO Alpha, chest strapless heart rate monitor,  LED's change color when  under, right on and over your target heart rate.

Skin Strong lubricant

I was given samples of the Skin Strong SLIK and SLATHER to try out and here is what I thought of them.  First off, SLIK is clear lubricant used to avoid chafing.  It is applied by a misting spray making it quick and convenient. The bottle says with the spray it is easy to apply in even the hardest reach places, which I had a difficult time with. Of course the bottle is turned upside down and the tube inside does not transfer any product out the spout. I used it on areas I know I get rubbing and chafing while both cycling and running. It worked great and did its job. I would have loved to try, yet have not so far, using it on the neck of my wetsuit where I always have issues with it rubbing and near the bottoms of my legs to easy removal of the wetsuit. The none greasy spray was pleasantly scented and the small 1 ounce bottle was convenient to slip in a gym bag, backpack or jersey pocket. Next was the SLATHER a chamois cream.  The smell was again pleasantly scented. I mainly used it on the chamois of my riding shorts and it stayed in place and helped avoid and rubbing. They suggest also using it for soothing chafing if you forgot to apply before hand.  I am looking forward to trying it out for soothing areas bothered when no anti-friction spray or cream was applied. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Training is going well

I know it has been awhile since my last post.  There have been some ups and downs, and I am glad to say I am back at the training.  The weather is great and the workouts getting longer.  I have been testing out some products and look to share my opinions about them shortly. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

SOLE Footbeds a cure for "hot feet"

 I use SOLE footbeds to replace, literally, "the liners" shoe companies put inside their shoes. The liners in both running shoes and everyday walking shoes really provide no support I have found.  However, replacing them with SOLE footbeds provides the comfort and support your foot needs.  I replace even my cycling shoes (both road and mountain bike) with SOLE footbeds.  I used to suffer from what cyclist call "hot foot".  It was a burning pain in the ball of my foot moving towards my toes. To me it occurred on long rides or rides with a lot of climbing. The burning is really not heat but rather pressure on nerves in the foot that create a burning like sensation. Dumping or squirting water on your feet will not put the "fire" out. The sensation is caused from wearing too tight of shoe. Here are a few tips of how you can remedy the "hot foot" burning pain.
    1. Use a Thin Sport SOLE custom footbeds and/or thinner socks such as the Lightweight Sport SOLE sock.  This will give your foot more room to swell with out restriction. 
    2. Adjust your shoe straps. Keep the straps closest to your toes (near the bottom of the shoe) the loosest for more room.
    3. Sometimes re-focusing the pressure helps.  Do this by moving your cleats to the rear by as much as 8 mm which sometimes means drilling new holes in the bottom of your cycling shoe. You will want to lower your saddle about the same distance you have moved the cleat back. 
    4. With shoes coming from European manufacturers, sometimes the toe box runs small.  Look for a pair with a wide toe box and a stiff sole.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How the MIO Alpha compares......

Here is a quick comparison video of the MIO Alpha (No Cheststrap) tracking my heart rate along side with the MIO Energy Pro (Cheststrap) and MIO Quest (Cheststrap).  Like clockwork, right on the money.  Both the Energy Pro and Quest were getting heart rate info from a chest strap I was wearing.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lupine Lighting Wilma 2400 Lumen Kit

With the daylight hours being decreased due to winter, lights are a needed item when out training.  I am super impressed with the Lupine Lighting Wilma 2400 Lumen kit I have been using.  First off, the light produced by this small unit is similar to a car's headlamp in the terms of brightness.  When the German engineers produced this gem, they put a lot of thought and care in the design and function of this light.  The light comes with a headband mount, which is perfect for running, walking or trail hiking.
View a quick video on the great features of this powerful light.

  It throws off a 26 degree pattern, which after a quick adjustment can be directed out farther or directly down right in front of you.  I have both the headband and bike helmet mount and switching the lamp between the two is a quick "no tool needed" process.  The rechargeable 8.4 Ah battery lasts a long time.  There is a nicely thought out gauge on the battery to let you know how much power is left.  The button on the top of the lamp itself is used to turn it off and on, hitting the button once cuts the power of the light back by half, while pressing and holding the button turns the lamp off.  The kit comes with a 12-volt car charger.  Once again, very well thought out.  I could see this coming in handy for a quick charge on the way to meet a fellow group of riders, or to charge during a long race when a household outlet will be hard to find.
Winter rides are perfect now, being visible to others on the road, as well as being able to see what's in front of me out on the trails or roads, either running or biking. When the sun does begin to rise earlier in the summer months, you can bet I will be out even earlier to avoid the heat and sun getting my rides in.

My first look at the MIO Alpha

Here is my first look at the MIO Alpha.  I have been using it for just over two weeks.  I have the BLE  (bluetooth low energy) version and have yet to connect it to a smartphone to gather information into an app.  I have entered my heart rate zone I am wanting to workout in for now and its very accurate.  Keep in mind there is no chest strap involved gathering my heart rate.  I look forward to doing more updates on innovative heart rate monitor from MIO. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Take an UPSTAND to avoid scratching either of your rides (bike or car)

It's not a kickstand, it's and UPSTAND.  Ever want to just store your bike say in your garage or at the track while you get a run workout in?  Sure there are cars, posts, fences and walls you could lean it against but why. Leaning your bike on your car you run the risk of scratching your bike or even worse your car.  Garrett Blake, of the UPSTANDING Bicycle Company, invented just such a device to allow you to park your bike wherever.  The stand is easy to install in under a minute by just removing your quick release skewer on your back axle.  Simply slip the magnetic tab on the skewer, keeping in mind this is the only piece that stays with the bike while your riding.  The stand itself folds nicely allowing you to put it in your jersey pocket or seat bag.  The stand only weights a mere 15 grams, so those worried about weight have nothing to loose.   The stand can hold a bike weighting up to 32 pounds.  The different pieces of the stand are made of carbon fiber, aluminum, stainless steel. The folding pieces are held together with a shock cord and of course the foot is made of rubber.
Check out the quick video of myself installing the UPSTAND on my mountain bike. It's shot in realtime, just to show how easy and simple the installation is.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Plus3Network releases andriod app

My training workout schedule is in place.  The weather lately has had it all outdoors on the road. Of course, like always, it is very strict on using the HR monitor.  My 30 mile ride on Saturday included a three mile hill climb.  I had some trouble with inflating my tires, as when I would unscrew the valve adapter I have, the inside of the valve would come with it, letting all the air out very fast. Took three tries before it finally stayed in place.  No problems out on the road, the weather was perfect.

I am happy to say I'm using Plus3Network to help log my workouts.  Plus3Network released an Android app allowing you to raise money for non-profits and charities listed on their website.  It's a great way to keep your workouts logged and well, you're already working out.
 Workouts can by manually uploaded or based off GPS.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 is going

I started off the year with a 20.14 mile road ride, yes it was .01 over my projected 20.13, but I'm not complaining.  The New Year is off to a great start feeling healthy and injury free.  Not as much time for training as I had hoped for, but that will come along.  The first weekend into the year I was able to get out and ride with the tri group and log a 50 mile ride.  The weather was a little chilly even in the daylight sun.  I have put the slicks back on the mountain bike to get more indoor roller rides going.  2013 is going to be a great year both training and racing, I can tell.