Monday, 5 April 2010

Pot Belge

Belgian night was a rousing success last night. My arteries will be in rehab for weeks. Croque Monsieurs, Frites and beer. Waffles for dessert. What was the occasion? Those of you who have VS might have noticed a little ass kicking going on last night say around 5pm. That was a pretty sick race. Anti-climactic for the last however long, at least in retrospect, but still riveting. It always amazes me how far out these successful moves start, especially in Flanders. It's also astonishing how much more fun it is to watch the race when you have no idea who won, so I'll be avoiding any cycling news whenever a good race like that's going to be on.

Apart from getting to spend lots of quality time working this weekend (this schedule is getting seriously f-ing old, it was supposed to have mellowed out a long time ago but design on the fly has ensured that it hasn't, and won't), I got to spend some quality time on bicycles this weekend. Fountainhead Saturday afternoon, where the missus took the piss out of me the whole time except on climbs. Last week's cavalcade of riding too hard too often left me in a pretty sorry state, compounding by pretty massive sleep deprivation. My internal clock is all wronged up. Anyhow, wife = fast, I = slow. Conditions on trail = nearly perfect, even to almost just a bit overly dry. Two weekends ago it was perfectly tacky, this weekend it was a little dusty in places. This is like complaining that the strawberries were too fresh and red.

Sunday was two rides. Ride 1 was with the team. As much fun as it was to rock out in the AC/DC kits, the new stuff is awesome. Mike just absolutely killed the design. The pieces seem pretty nice, but time will have to tell. There's a strange thing that goes on with the bibs for the first few times you wear them. Say that they're somewhat restrictive in the junkular region and leave it there. But the jersey materials are wicked pissah, and the whole thing looks really pro. I don't capitalize pro.

So there was talk of us all keeping it mellow during Sunday's ride, but when the reason for keeping it mellow didn't happen, all bets were off and it became something of a fart-lighting extravaganza. I was still hurting badly (my hip flexors needed to be hospitalized by that point) but tried to animate things as well as I could. At one point I was accused of being a sandbagger in light of my protestations of what a leaky bag of poo I felt like, and very honestly replied that I was subjecting myself to the mental training of riding hard when I feel like ass. And I was, because I did. Mike has all the charts and graphs (please note the blogger link thing seems to be somewhat semi-permanently f'd up, and it won't let you fix the mistakes it makes, so the link she don't work - the site is Mine looks a little different from his as we did some different efforts in various places.

Speaking of charts and graphs, the new PowerAgent software is a huge improvement. If you use a PowerTap and haven't yet gotten the update, get it. No, I don't use WKO or Golden Cheetah. I have a Mac and I'm just not into dorking out on numbers enough to go there. The only thing that really seems missing on this is the whole chronic stress thingamadoo. I'm not sweating the lack of that.

Sunday's second ride was with the missus and Drew. We chilled. Then we stopped for coffee. It was cool. Wife's new bike suits her down to the ground. Thanks Jen.

Armageddon in the housing markets, round whatever. The housing market has been so artificially stimulated for so long that as the layers of stimulus get peeled back, the market will catch junkie sickness. Interest rates will be under cataclysmic upward pressure. The homebuyer tax credit will go bye-bye. The Fed will do whatever it can to keep interest rates low. Foreclosures will still rise to eye-popping levels. Local markets could stay strong, but the ripple effects of some markets getting ULTRA cheap may undermine the fundamentals of some of the markets that remain strong. Demand in strong places may shift to those places that are weaker. Equilibrium, it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

Some good stuff upcoming on the old GJ site. Stay tuned.


Jim said...

Three things.

1) The "successful moves" in the cobbled classics start about 100 km into the race. The supporting cast of the weaker teams gets worn out and ejected early on in a series of moves that are decisive for anybody who loses the thread or who has to repeatedly bear the whiplash at the end of the pack. Every turn onto a tiny lane that forces the pack to slow then speed up, every cobbled hill, every little crash and every wet tarmac road covered with poo beats up the back markers. Work very hard to ride at the front, or die. Then maybe if you're excellent, and very lucky on the day, you might be in or somewhat near to the final "decisive" move out of 100 of them.

2) WKO - dude, the only reason to ride with a powertap, other than to gauge effort level while riding, is to keep track of chronic training load and fatigue. Seriously. The rest of the shit on that thing is a waste of time. But if you aren't using WKO, your PT is at least a 50% waste of money. The whole point of WKO is you don't geek on the numbers, you eyeball a single graph.

3) Mortgage markets - the discussion about the market failure, articles like this: and the Tapper interview of Greenspan: add up to one thing.

Friedrich Hayek was f***ing right about easy money =>boom=>crash, and about the inherent limits of our ability to know and manage the economy! Hayek was right!* Say it with me, brother!

"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

*Hayek was right about this because, as he noted, the principle mode of learning of man is not implementing new systems by design, but by learning from mistakes. He had lived through a couple boom/bust cycles when he made that comment about economics.

Chuck Wagon said...

1. Absolutely. The conversation so often goes that "that hill (or whatever feature it is that may split a race) isn't enough to make a selection." What people fail to account is the time bombs that get placed into riders legs going over those "not enough" features time and time again. It might not be enough for Mr. Climber to shake Mr. Sprinter, for example, but it might leave Mr. Sprinter so waxed that he becomes Mr. Roll It In. Even with that, I was surprised with the stunning finality of that thing. Cancellara was getting a bike change about 45 seconds before it happened. No one had any answer at all, even Boonen looked to be just hanging on while he was there.

2. I find tremendous benefit in having seen that increments that were highlighted in the old PowerAgent were all marked by PRs that happened in training. When PA gained the functionality of showing so many different increments, I found that there were a lot of increments where PRs were just stacked up in races. I'm now able to replicate racing intervals more closely in training. There are other things that it does that I find very useful. On the "one graph" thing, I'm too subject to garbage in, garbage out. Plus, spending more and more time on mountain bike without a Powertap.

3. Yup. The whole fallacy of "stabilizing housing prices" is complete lunacy. "Cushioning blows" is a lot like "permanent Methadone addiction." I think we need something more akin to ripping the f-ing Band Aid off.