Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DIY PVC Bike Stand / Rack

In a sport where everything is god awful expensive it is nice to sometimes find a DIY project that is simple and will save you some money.  Here is a project I found on Instructables. com on how to make a PVC bike stand/rack.   It was interesting so I gave it a try.

The total cost for two separate bike racks was less than $14 and it took less than 30 minutes (per rack) to complete.  The end result was a great working bike stand.  I use them every day in the garage and I even use them at races.  They are small, light weight, cheap and the design can be easily changed to suit your differing needs.  I had someone at the Hammerhead race this weekend comment on how cool and simple the design was.  He really liked it and was going to go home and make one himself.

When I get sometime I want to modify the design some.  I would like to:
  • Make the upright bar about 1 inch longer.  I find it to be a little too short for my tires.
  • Make the tire resting area (back and bottom) about 1/4 - 1/2 inch wider.  
  • Make the upright bar removable or design a PVC hinge so that the stand will fold up and fit easier in the car.  It may be as easy as not gluing the uprights into place so I can just pull them apart when needed.
  • I would also like to make one for my step-son’s BMX bike so it does not get in the way in the garage.

Someone even created a stand that will accommodate two bikes.

Instructables even has designs for bike repair racks.  I may have to tackle this project in the future also.

PS: The credit for the design and images should be given to (imarunner2 & Amcain)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh please, No more spandex and speedos!!

There is no possible way to look good in triathlon clothing!!  I am a fairly slim guy and I am in decent shape and I still look like an idiot in spandex.  God forbid you are overweight then you just look completely ridiculous.  You either need to be an 18 year old girl with a body of a supermodel or have a chiseled body like Arnold Schwarzenegger to look good in triathlon clothing.

How do overweight people find sizes for them?  My triathlon shirt is an EXTRA LARGE and I am not a big guy!!   When I tried on a large shirt I felt like a baboon trying to get into a bra that was 3 sizes too small.  Seriously, I  almost  got stuck getting into and out of it.  Now, that would have been comical at the race store!  "Excuse me Miss, can you get a crowbar and get this shirt off me".

Now these outfits are suppose to be skin tight to help with aerodynamics and streamlining.  I do not care how tight you make these outfits; if you do not have the body like a supermodel, a chiseled chest  and/or you are not an elite athlete there is no streamlining you.  It's like streamlining a big yellow bus.  It just isn't going to happen.

 So why don't manufactures make outfits for “normal” people?  Outfits that don't make us look completely ridiculous.  If you walked into ANYWHERE with this outfit on you would get some pretty strange looks (unless it was a Village People reunion).

My only relief is that everyone else around me looks like idiots also.  Except for those perfect body types that I only see for about the first 5 seconds of the race and never see them again because they are so fast (and streamlined).  I think they are the lucky ones.  They are so fast that very few people actually get to see them in these ridiculous clothes.

The blog, Steve in a Speedo? Gross!, has taken this to a whole new level.  He purposely went out and bought the brightest speedo possible to make a joke of it. This post can be found here, and here. This is a great blog and I encourage you to follow it if you are interested in triathlons.  He has a weird sense of humor like me.

5th Annual Fall Triathlon Festival Olympic

My Results
SwimTm:     0:20:17.732
T0Tm:         0:00:32.995
T1Tm:         0:02:19.643
BikeTm:      1:13:15.845
T2Tm:         0:00:33.918
RunTm:       0:58:46.610
TotalTm:     2:35:46.743
Overall        69 / 107
M 30-34      7 / 8

5th Annual Fall Triathlon Festival Olympic 

So one more race in the books (defiantly not the record books).  On Sunday I completed the 5th Annual Fall Triathlon Festival Olympic.  Overall I think I did well (at least for me).  I placed 69th out of 107 participants.  Not great but not bad.

My swim was what I expected (which was average).  I swam 1500m in 22:17.732s.  That is darn good if you take into consideration I swam breast stroke the entire race.  That means my breast stroke is as fast as most peoples crawl (freestyle) for 1500m.  Not to bad.

I learned a great lesson during this swim, stop trying to race your swim.  I know I can not be at the head of the pack but I know I can be ahead of the middle if I stop racing and concentrate on my form.  On lap two I started to concentrate only on my form and then I started to pass people.

This race had some great cyclists.  My average was just over 20mph on the bike for 24 miles (not drafting). Not bad considering I have only been cycling for about 3 months now.   It’s always a pleasure passing someone who owns a $3K - $6K all carbon TT bike who does not know how to ride to it.  Unless you are an elite (or really dare good) cyclist you can hall butt on a normal road bike.  I have seen many A class cyclist ride 20+ mph on a normal inexpensive road bikes.  I think it is an ego thing sometimes.

My run was not my best.  I held a 10.29 min/miles pace for 5.6 miles.  The first 3 miles were horrible.  I could not get a steady pace going.  But this is normal for me.  I have been training most of the year for half marathons (13.1 miles) and I do not normally start to feel good till after the 3 mile mark.  The heat was also in the 90s so that did not help matters.  After mile 4 I felt pretty good and started to hold a more constant pace.

It’s been in the feels like 100s here in FL all summer so I have slacked on my running.  After Bernadette finishes Chicago she is going to have to kick my butt back into gear (if I can still keep up with her).

After the race I tried to cool down and could not.  I was not dehydrated but my body temperature would not cool down.  I could not stop sweating like a race horse even after waiting around for 30 minutes.  So I decided to jump into the lake for 30 minutes till my core temperature went down.  Finally it calmed down and I started to sweat at normal levels.

Overall I was happy with my performance.  I had no knee pains.  My current cycle training shown through on
the riding which I was really happy with. My swim was average and I learned a great lesson.  

Race Grade: C-
The event itself was just OK at best, I would give it a D grade.  But a typical Butter race. I had fun and that is all that matters.

1.    The Transition Area (Grade F):  No security whats-so-ever.  If you wanted to steal a $6K bike no one would have stopped you or noticed.  None riders walked freely though the transition area with no one stopping them.  The people taking down the bike rails were in such a hurry to leave one of them started to move people’s bikes till I said that would not be a smart idea.  The volunteer got the point when I told her she was moving a $6K bike and the owner would not be happy if they could not find it where they placed it.  Butter is known for splitting and running after races.  I had the same problem on a trail run earlier in the year.

2.    Judges (Grade F):  There was not a judge to be found.  People were wearing headphones during the cycling portion (very dangerous).  Many people were illegally drafting on the cycle.    

3.    The Swim (Grade B):  Nothing really wrong here.  Directions were clear and people went off in the correct waves.  The water was darker than coffee but they could not help that.

4.    The Cycling (Grade A):  The ride was very pleasant and there were plenty of people directing traffic and pointing out the turns.  Great job here.  Too many people were drafting though. 

5.    The Run (Grade D): Most people were just happy they did not run out of water like last year.    There were definitely not enough volunteers on the run.  Water placement was sparse over the run and the volunteers handing it out seemed like they could care less and wanted to go home.  The only sports drink to be found was that the transition area and it was warm.  No sports drinks, supplements or food to be found anywhere during the race.  Really?!?!  You paid good money for this race, it is feels like 100 degrees and you can only give out warm water.  Every water station during the run had only one volunteer so you were lucky if they handed you a drink.  It was also a trail run which I like but most do not.  It was slightly muddy in some areas but it was shaded and pretty.

6. Race Results (Grade B):  They were very fast and efficient at getting out the race times at the race.  Race results were posted online within a few hours. The photos are taking a few days to get up because of "technical issues."

Photos were done by Gray Quetti Photography (http://www.grayquettiphotography.com/)

Ronnie James Dio Pose (Every race must have one)
Not me but an awesome shot

Sunday, August 22, 2010

And in the beginning we discovered Kevin had a heart...

So here I go.  My first blog.  I wonder by the time I am done with this goal if anyone will actually follow this blog?  I doubt it but what the heck! It least along the way I will have a diary of my pain and suffering.  And just maybe someone will find some enjoyment from it.

So why am I writing this?  Late last year started it all.  I was having some fairly serious issues with my body.  I had some massive dizzy spells and I felt like I was going to faint all the time.  I was told by my doctor and close friend to go see a specialist.  That specialist ran all the tests (echo, stress, event monitor), poked prodded and told me he found nothing.  Then a month later I was told to come see him ASAP!  That is never good when a doctor tells you this especially when he is one of the best cardiologist in the country.  He said I might have a hole in my heart.  For some reason this always makes me sing this bad 80s song.  But it may not be anything.  I heard what he said but the look in his eye said this is serious. 

Well, I then had to go into the hospital for a TEE.  This means they gave me a ton of drugs to knock me out (thank god), shoved a tube the size of my thumb down my throat to listen to my heart.  The procedure took almost 2-3 times the normal time to complete (its good to have friends who are doctors because they go the extra mile for you).  Come to find out it there was no hole in my heart (stop the bad Extreme song in my head) but my heart does do some strange swirling motion in the upper chamber that is not normal but is harmless.  Good news is they proved I do have a heart so my significant other can no longer call me heartless.  :-)

The combination of this incident and my family history of heart conditions scared this thirty something to start doing something he dreaded, RUNNING!!!  My whole life I dreaded running with a passion.  Running was something that was only invented so the weak (people like me) could not be eaten by the creatures from Drastic Park.  It also gave me a chance to start running with Bonnie who had just started running. 

I fought through some 5Ks, some early morning runs and started to challenge myself to do a ½ marathon (13.1 miles) which I completed in January 2010.  Something clicked and I started to like running (minus the serious pain it caused my knees).  Within 4 months I was a Half Maniac (a club for really weird people who run way too many races).    A later post will be dedicated to these weird, running addicted people.

Then I bought a bike and decided to do a sprint triathlon, then an Olympic distance and then I was really addicted.  This was better than running! 

So then I guess I had a mid life crisis.  Since I finished my first goal of finishing college I have been stuck with no real challenges.  I was extremely lucky to have a successful career early in life and even before finishing college.  So what can I do that will be the next big goal?  How about the insane idea of a ½ Ironman?  No, not the comic book robot guy from the movies but the crazy triathlon that is 70.3 miles (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run).  So I signed up for the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida (Orlando) for May 15 2011.

So begins my adventure in pain, early morning exercises, sore butt from riding, bankruptcy from equipment purchases, bad unflattering pictures of me in  tri clothing (spandex) and this blog.  I hope you can fight through the bad grammar, spelling and my strange humor to enjoy my adventure...