20150417

Red-rockin'

I missed most of tonight's game; DVR didn't record, and I have no idea why.  And we went out to dinner.  Got them to put NHL Network on a TV there, so saw a tiny bit of coverage near beginning.  But Caps were down 2-0 by the time we left, and I was definitely not feeling good about things.

Forgot to check on DVR upon arriving home, so when I finally turned it on (after getting kids in bed), there were only a few minutes left, and Caps were up 4-3.  Spent a couple of shifts just playing defense (looked like a PK, except with five men on ice), then OV came on and jump-started offense.  Had a nice shift-and-a-bit in the offensive zone before finally clearing in and missing the glass.

From there, they did a nice job killing off the remaining time.

The biggest news of the game was that Gru was in net; Holtby was apparently too sick to go.  Hope he feels better by Sunday.  But Gru's not bad, and held down the fort well enough, I guess.

The other thing that my twitter feed informed me of is that the Caps were completely dominant through two periods on shot attempts.  No way the game should have been as close as it was, it seems.  I'll need to watch highlights.  Either Isles got some really lucky bounces, or Gru did much worse than I'd expect from him.

Still, the important thing is that they won.  They're still not in a good position, as NY still has home ice advantage for the series, but if the dominant play came as a result of strategic changes, then they're in great shape.  If not, well, at least it doesn't look hopeless.

And remember, Sunday's game is at 1230, and is on NBC (not a fan of Doc, so not thrilled with that, but we're stuck with it).

Oh, and if you're tracking such things, Riley Barber left Miami and signed his ELC.  Looking forward to seeing him in red next year, although he'll be spending most of the year in Hershey, I imagine.

Go Caps! (and if you're not on a ketogenic diet, remember Papa John's code CAPS50 for tomorrow.)

Keeping rolling

I was pretty tired, last night, so I got to bed pretty early (though not as early as the night before).  Hence, I ended up waking up to use the bathroom about twenty minutes before my alarm (already set earlier than usual) went off.

Going to bed, there were indications of rain coming, so I got things ready with that (and the temperature in the high 50s) in mind.  Once I was up, though, there was no sign of that at all.  So I dug out a different jersey (one with a zippered pocket; with a jacket, I could just use its pocket), got dressed, topped off the tire (still hadn't fixed the tube), and got on the road.

For the first minute or so, I was wondering if I should have done something more to deal with water, as the roads were still a bit wet, but I stopped thinking about that after only a couple of minutes.

I had planned on doing my long loop that heads down into Old Town, but ended up doing something like my other long loop (Shirlington -> Braddock -> Del Ray -> Crystal City -> Mt Vernon trail -> Courthouse -> Ballston -> home).  Basically, I did that, except that I turned left, on the way back, from George Mason Dr onto Washington Blvd, and took that down to Orland to Powhatan, so as to add a few more miles.

It ended up being 28.4 miles, 1300' elevation, and just over two hours.  Per Cyclemeter, it was just over 14mph, which made me very happy, although Strava knocked that down to 13.8mph.

I did more time above 125bpm, just in the first mile, than all of yesterday, so there was some movement in the wrong direction.  But it was still less than a minute over (and a peak of just 127), so that's not really anything to worry about.

All in all, I was very happy with the ride.  And to make matters even better, I did time it so I got home in plenty of time to get the kids out of bed and ready to go.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping for a group ride; if not, I'll probably do a long ride on my own.  I'm not sure whether it'll be a hard one or not.  The weather's supposed to be fantastic, at mid-50s and dry (Sunday's forecast is a few degrees cooler, but still dry), same as today.  I'm looking forward to it either way.


20150416

Not a good start

I don't have a lot to say about last night's Caps game, but I do have a few thoughts.

One, the shot totals would seem to indicate that the game was much more even than it felt like.

Two, I think the shot totals are misleading; now looking, and the Isles had many more missed shots.

Three, the power play needs to adapt a bit to NY's aggressiveness.

Four, tape-to-tape passes are critical.  It did get better as the game went on, but there were way too many giveaways.  The Isles are too good to be giving them the puck for free.

Five, there is no world in which Beagle should be playing over Bura.  No excuse for that.  Heck, I'd rather have Galiev up there over Beagle.  Possibly over Chimmer, too.

Six, the Caps miss Wilson's ability to draw (even matching) penalties.

Seven, MarJo had a hell of a game.

Eight, OV didn't seem like he was accomplishing much (outside of hitting), but his Corsi and Fenwick numbers were very good.  And his 11 shot attempts were also quite good.  Not sure what was going on, there.

Nine, the young Islanders having very little playoff experience didn't seem to hurt them in any way.  They got a little bit lucky, but they still solidly outplayed the Caps.

This is well short of the time to panic, but things definitely do not look good.  Hopefully, Barry can come up with some effective counters to the Islanders' tactics (Bruce never managing that was the biggest reason for the Caps not doing well in the playoffs under him.  And why I don't expect him to make it out of the second round (maybe not even first) this year).

Short note on socks

I recently mentioned how much I like my Thorlo hiking socks.  Well, the existence of another high-end sock maker recently became known to me; Darn Tough (I do love that name) makes wool socks that are guaranteed not to wear out.  That guarantee is pretty freaking awesome, so I've been curious to try them since.

Well, over the weekend, I took my daughter to ballet, and wandered over to REI while she was dancing (REI is a few doors down from the dance studio).  While browsing, I ran across Darn Tough socks, and decided to get a pair to try them out.

So, the next morning, I wore them on my bike ride.  The guarantee is nice, but I wasn't thrilled with the comfort of the socks.  The fit was fine, but they're not nearly as soft as my Thorlo's.  Plus, they're 20-30% more expensive (actually, the discounted price I got on that pair was almost 30% more than what I paid for my last purchase of Thorlos).

I might buy a couple more pairs if I find them at a huge discount (that guarantee IS quite nice), but otherwise, I'll stick to my Thorlos.

Getting moving

I woke up a little early this morning, to try to knock out a few extra miles.  I got up when the alarm went off, and was about set to get out at my projected time (despite forgetting to put the new battery in the power meter last night) when I noticed that my heart rate meter was showing nothing.  Since I had the batteries close at hand, I turned around to change that one, also.

I quickly realized I didn't have anything to open the meter, but then tried using the battery itself.  That actually worked well enough that I'll probably keep using it for that purpose.

After that, I got out the door a couple minutes late, but got on the road.  Things didn't start off great, as my heart rate was pushing a little higher than I wanted at first.  Not too high, but pushing it closer than I'd prefer.  Then, after a couple minutes, I noticed there was a weird noise that sounded akin to something rubbing the wheel.

I stopped to look, but couldn't find any sign of what it was.  For certain, both brakes were ok, so I got back moving.  After that, things went very smoothly.  I did my normal, 15 mile loop, except added the three miles that I often do in Shirlington.  And since I was still a few minutes early, I also added a mile or two on the end that pushed me onto a bit more in the way of hills.

Factor all of that in, and I did 20.5 miles and 1200' of elevation.  Again, cyclemeter and strava disagreed severely on the time; cyclemeter indicating 91 minutes and strava insisting on 97.  Still, hit all my goals; heart rate maxed at 126, and was only there for two seconds.  Went about as well as last night's Caps game didn't.

Get off your Assos

Just ordered a few jerseys and (summer) base layers from the Assos Factory Outlet yesterday.  Good prices to start with, and found code 'bean10' to knock an additional 10% off.  Very cool.

Shipping from the UK, but says it'll arrive tomorrow, somehow (ordered last night).  Color me skeptical on that (I can't remember if I paid for slightly expedited shipping, but I definitely didn't pay for their fastest shipping.  I have philosophical objections to paying extra for shipping, and almost never do).

Update: Color me both impressed and confused.  Ended up with two orders, placed within minutes of each other.  Put a comment in on the second one to combine them; no luck (tracking numbers were less 100 apart).  Still, one did arrive today, as predicted.  The other seems to've gotten stuck in customs in Newark.

Gore-fest

Quick note as follow-up to my post about shaving, the other day.

Yesterday, tried again shaving the "right" way, this time with a new blade.  Man, I must have been pushing too hard or something, because I tore up my face something fierce.

No, I don't mean disfigurement, or any such, but I had so many nicks and cuts that I walked out of the bathroom (to get a paper towel) looking like an extra from a horror movie.  Seriously, my face was about covered in blood.  I did note that the blade I had been using was almost two years old, so it was quite a change to a new one.

Anyway, it certainly wasn't the first time I'd nicked myself, but was, by far, the worst.

20150415

Quiet, then not

Yesterday, I did manage to wake up early enough to get out and get my long loop done, even though my daughter needed to wake up early.  I didn't make it by a lot (I had to inhale my breakfast, and didn't have time to get a shower before taking my daughter in), but we made it.

And I did do something a little different, yesterday, on that loop.  I normally dodge over to the trail to get down into Shirlington, which adds a mile or two, but I decided to instead go straight down on George Mason Dr.  I figured that, if I had time, I could add distance on at the end pretty easily.

So I went through a gentle ride of 25 miles, which did end up including a couple extra miles at the back end.  And I stretched out the last mile or two as well, to make sure that I had the ride over two hours (cyclemeter said 2:00:15, while Strava said 2:05:10.  Given that they're working from the same data, I wonder about that discrepancy.  I'm sure some of it is stopped time vs moving time, but I have a hard time imagining five minutes of maybe-moving.  One of the big advantages of riding when I do).

As far as heart rate, I think I did a good job except for a second or two of attempted track-stop at a road crossing.  I had a hard enough time staying there that I ended up pulling one cleat off, and that ended up spiking my heart rate by 10-15bpm (I was on a very slight uphill, which didn't help).  Total, though, I only had five minutes above 125bpm, which isn't bad.

The only irritation about the ride was when I stopped getting data from my power meter with a couple miles to go.  In fact, it was a situation I'd never seen before; I was getting readings, but they were all zero.

I felt pretty good when I finished, but my legs felt pretty tired for most of the rest of the day, which had me feeling a bit depressed (after two recovery days, my legs should not be tired, even if I did forty-five miles over those two days).  But I forced myself to do my stretches at night and got to bed early.  Plus, I didn't try to wake up early.

So I got on the road just before 0530 (my target), and aimed to do essentially the same course as yesterday.  My one big change was doing the big hill on Walter Reed Dr, near Shirlington, and killing it (PR by 14s; down to one minute, even.  Moved me up 22 spots).  I felt killed, at the end, too.  Still, I pushed again on the other side of Shirlington, setting a PR by four seconds on the 31st St South segment (moved up eight places on the leaderboard, there).  The latter especially surprised me, because I did blow up before the end; I probably would have been another 8-10 seconds faster without that.

Anyway, I kept up the fast pace without trying to set any records for most of the rest of the ride.  I was really happy (especially after those two big climbs) to hit 12.6 miles in the first forty minutes (nearly 19mph avg).

The two exceptions I made were when I got to the cemetary.  There's a long climb that goes from there, all the way to the courthouse, that I've been trying to improve on for quite a while.  Well, I killed that one too.  Not as much as the other two; I improved by eight seconds over nearly five minutes (previous PR was exactly 5:00).  But just to beat it felt like an accomplishment.

The one other place I tried to push was when I got back to Washington Blvd and George Mason.  I took the left there, and started pushing just before Greenbrier St.  Unfortunately, that was a segment where I didn't know where the end was.  But I did improve my PR by about 8%, which was enough to move me up to fifth, overall.

For the whole ride, I got 26.5 miles in 92 minutes (I stretched out the last three miles or so again, for the same reason as yesterday).  I have no idea how, but the elevation ended up a hair less than yesterday.  I had expected it to be more by 100-ish feet.  Regardless, it was a good continuation of my volume, and work on the challenges.

So, especially given how I felt when starting, it's hard to complain about the ride results.  My one complaint was that the power meter was out again, and reseating the battery (one mile in) did nothing to help that.  I'll put a new battery in, later.  Irritated that I need to, though, as that's less than a week with the current one.  At least the heart rate meter wasn't also dead, I guess.

Oh, and the great thing was that it was warm enough to get by with a summer jersey and bibs.  Very comfortable.  One conclusion I've come to about jerseys; I'm not buying any more (at least not summer ones) that don't have a zip-up pocket.  Too worried about dropping my phone.  That might well mean that the Assos ones get worn more than I would prefer; we'll see.

Tomorrow and Friday will both be gentle days; all other details TBD.

20150413

Resting on the move

I did get up early this morning, as planned, although a slightly upset stomach kept me from getting moving as quickly as I would have liked.  Also, I still haven't really fixed that flat, so I still have a latex inner tube in that tire, which necessitated a fill-up before leaving.  Still, I got on the road a few minutes after five, and felt pretty good.

The temperature was mid-high 40s (a couple degrees colder than forecast); I had debated wearing a jacket, and I'm glad I did (just a light windbreaker).  That jacket is quite comfortable, as I've previously noted, although the looseness of the fit is starting to bother me (even though it shouldn't).  I was never really cold, but I could definitely feel the cold on my hands and lower arms.

That was far from enough to ruin the ride, though; it was very pleasant, and I cranked out twenty miles in 90 minutes.  Not great speed, obviously, but then, that wasn't the priority.  Heart rate was, and that stayed pleasantly low.  In fact, it was almost perfect, as my max was 126.

And there were about 1100' of elevation to go with the mileage, so I'm keeping up with the challenges for the month.  I figured out that I'll need to average a bit more than 20 miles per day to finish the MTS challenge; even if I don't keep cranking out that many miles every day, keeping my average high enough should be simple.

In fact, next week I'll probably see about cranking out another 50-80 mile ride, which should make it downright easy.  Maybe I'll go out to Purcellville again; that's a nice ride.  Or maybe I'll do it piecemeal, as I did last week.  Plenty of time to contemplate that.

Regardless of how that ends up working out, tomorrow is the more immediate issue.  It'll be warm (60-ish), but probably wet.  I'll try to get out early again, maybe try to do 25 miles or so.  I'm really looking forward to another 60-ish day without the rain; rain doesn't ruin things, but it certainly doesn't improve them.