Day 12 – Canterbury tales

Ride stats today

  • Cambridge to Canterbury
  • 80 miles
  • Not much elevation gain
  • Even fewer animals
  • 20 mile an hour headwind
  • 2 sore bums, 4 strong legs, 2 dirty bikes

Today was our last day on the saddle for a while. This last circuit brought us within distance of the gorgeous white cliffs of Dover. From here our swim across the English Channel will begin.

Another mechanical failure… My Speedplay pedal broke in the same exact spot that Adam’s broke. These Speedplay pedals are sure lightweight, but I think the company needs to work on reliability. It is unreasonable to assume riders will replace these $300 pedals every 800 miles. We are now both riding non-Speedplay pedals because there are ZERO local bike dealers that stock Speedplay. Boo.

Cadence Cycling & MultisportA shout-out to Cadence Cycling & Multisport, especially Matt (founder), Woody (tech), Brady (coach), Luke (sales) and Mike (coach). These guys run shops in Philadelphia and NYC — and there are rumors of California expansion soon. They replace guesswork with science, and are definitely the Lexus of bike shops. Thank you guys!

Two upcoming open water swims

house.jpgSorry for the radio/blog silence. I was driving cross-country in my Jeep & Trailer. What a gorgeous drive!

I moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco. I’m new here, and one of the big parts of moving for me is finding a new place to workout. I know about the Dolphin Swim Club in San Francisco, so I went there to check on their latest activities. While I was at the Dolphin Club I heard about two upcoming open water swims.

Both swims are open water swims. Both are relatively short (1-2 miles). And I’ll be doing both with my friend Paul who works at Facebook. I’m super stoked about both! It will be a fun way for us to mix-up workouts, and a good way for me to get in the race mindset prior to the English Channel, which is coming up SOON!

Sunday, June 1 2008
Tri Valley Masters
Lake Del Valle

Livermore, CA
.75 mile (8:00AM)
1.5 mile (9:00AM)

Saturday, June 7 2008
Davis Aquatic Masters
Lake Berryessa
Napa, CA
2 mile (9:30AM)
1 mile (11:25AM)

Cadence Cycle & Multisport discount

Holy mackerel. Our biggest sponsor is now sponsoring all of Penn! From now until May 31 2008 Penn Students and faculty get a discount at Cadence.

10% discount All gear except new bikes
15% discount Fitness diagnostics, conditioning programs, and bike fits

Cadence Cycling was founded in 2004 by a Penn graduate, so I think what they’re doing for Penn is pretty cool. I got my road bike at Cadence and it’s sweet. They are the Lexus of bike dealers. They are all about the science of athletics. Go check them out, on Saturday’s (I think) they have free in-house coffee and sweets.

Some marketing copy about these guys: Cadence Cycling & Multisport is not a bike shop. Sure, the world’s most exclusive bike frames line the floor. But world-renowned coaches also train all levels of cyclists and triathletes on state-of-the-art CompuTrainers and Endless Pools®. And athletes with visions of Kona or the Tour undergo VO2 Max and lactate threshold tests. When you walk in, we’re not trying to sell you a bike. We’d rather talk to you about your goals and how we can help you achieve them. Whether that means a new Italian frame, a specialized fitting of your current bike, an individualized coaching program, an on-site strength and conditioning program or one of our other unique services, Cadence will help you evolve as an athlete.

Here’s the discount coupon…


The Schuylkill is Rippin’

I’m back in Philly for finals this week, and it has been a perfect opportunity to get back in my favorite river for a few good workouts. I took a sunset swim for about an hour on Tuesday sans Neal. He was busy trying to figure out why his Jeep can’t go over 35 mph without violently shaking as if it were about to come from together…an important detail to take care of before he attempts to haul a trailer and all he owns from Philadelphia to San Francisco. The swim was beautiful, although it was by far the most awkward workout of the season. Apparently this section of the river is quite busy on Tuesday evenings. Everyone from collegiate rowers in high-end shells to corporate outings on 8-person flat-bottomed canoes stopped to gawk at me like I was nuts. My only hope was to just keep swimming and pretend that they weren’t staring at me and talking. One husband and wife stopped within five feet of me and just watched for several minutes. I was listening to music, so I couldn’t hear their conversation, but I couldn’t help but crack a smile. They just laughed and paddled on. I was happy to be finished with the workout until, as I was climbing up the river bank, I was greeted by a friendly bicycle cop who hassled me about the safety of swimming in the river because of the unpredictable currents. Apparently when it is about to rain, the current shifts and runs in the opposite direction. I just said ok. Though I would have loved to hear his explanation as to how this shift affects the water falls that lie about 1 mile down stream, I was tired and wanted to go home.

s_river.jpgYesterday Neal and I jumped in for a 2 hour swim. We were a little disconcerted to look down at the Suunto and see that the water temperature had risen to a balmy 63 degrees over the last week! Aakk! We’re getting coddled here in the states! Mark Robson and the rest of the gang over in the UK will have some ammo to lob at us now that they’ve been organizing Dover swims that are still in the 50’s. In our favor, though, is the fact that we were swimming up stream against a mighty current. The stone bridge supports pictured are about 10-15 yards in width. Without exaggeration, it took 2 1/2 minutes to pass the supports. I think I was moving backwards at times. I literally felt as if I was working out in one of those endless pools. Every breath I took, I was looking at the same stone as the breath before. Take that, Brits! (Disclaimer: There are no head currents during the Channel swim so this workout actually gives us no describable advantage).

Incidentally there have been several conversations across both swimming and multi-sport messasuunto.jpgge boards regarding watches. My 2 cents: I love the Suunto. I have the T6. If you are looking for a simple, no-nonsense watch this is probably not the watch for you. The T6 is good because I can use it with everything. Temperature is great for the water. It syncs with an HR belt to keep track of my heart rate and can be set to keep me in zone. It syncs with my bike and measures speed/distance etc. It syncs with my GPS and can track speed/distance/altitude etc. This feature is more useful for mapping out hikes or mountain bike trips. It also syncs with a “Foot Pod” and tracks speed and distance of the run workouts. All workouts are saved to the watch and can be uploaded to a computer in seconds with a maneuverable and graphical output for easy analysis. I’ll try to put a full review together in the near future.

Biking in Valley Forge National Park

bike_trails.jpgBiked in Valley Forge National Park today. This beautiful park is 25 miles north of Philadelphia. The bike ride was fast and beautiful and I had to share some pictures.

[Special section for history nerds] Valley Forge was the site where General Washington stationed 12,000 soldiers during the winter of 1777. The Confederates had already captured Philadelphia and the soldiers were there to protect the rest of Pennsylvania. The winter of 1777 was reportedly wicked cold, and 2,000 soldiers died of exposure and pneumonia that winter. The park service lets the fields grow fallow so we can imagine all the tents and the thousands of men who were stationed there. Seeing it now is beautiful, but I’m guessing (based on the number of deaths) that back then it probably was a real crummy place to be.


Summertime biking

Here are the first pictures of our new carbon bikes from Willier. In June these beautiful bikes will take us 1000 miles from northern Scotland to Paris. They will not be coming on our 24-mile swim of the English Channel, although Willier are almost light enough for that!

For our training here in Philadelphia these bikes have been seeing a lot more action now that the weather is sunny and warm. The river in the background is the same river that we swim.

[UPDATE] Friday April 25, At day break today we took the bikes out for a 50-mile ride. On the way back we watched a guy get struck by a car on his Kuota carbon. The guy’s shoulder and his anodized Fulcrum wheelset bore the brunt of the impact. We helped him collect his stuff and check his wheel. He was OK and biked away from the accident. Close call that one.