Monday, September 30, 2013

Tough Mudder 2013

I did the Tough Mudder in Tahoe this past weekend. And it was awesome. I actually did a lot of preparation for it, and i wanted to keep a note of all the things that worked and all the things that would be good for the next time.

First, a quick summary of the weekend. We drove from San Francisco on Friday, and the drive was about 3.5 hours. We actually first had dinner at Dennis's house and ate a delicious spaghetti dinner to carb load, and to avoid the traffic. We left the house at 7:50, hit minor traffic through Oakland but nothing at a standstill, and grabbed more food at Chik-fil-a along the way. We got in between 11 and 11:30.

Our start time was 8 AM, and in the morning it was about 25 degrees F. We decided to do a late start time, and a quick look indicates that nobody cares if people are on their start time or not. We ended up getting to the registration around 10, and probably started at 11 after all the bag checks, bathroom breaks, and just getting the team together. By then, it was warm enough to not have a large layer over the dryfit stuff.

We finished around 4 pm, which is a surprisingly long amount of time. Probably due to having a larger group, we had longer waits for the team, and also there were significant waits at each obstacle. The course was supposedly 12 miles long, with about 12 obstacles. There were water, banana and clif bloks stations every once in a while. At the end, there is a water/clif bar/beer station, space blankets, and a rinse station.

So my preparation list todo for the weekend:

Hydrate. Before the race, before the race day. During practice runs, I got headaches, probably from being tired and dehydrated. I hydrated by drinking a good amount of water the night before, and also brought a water pack, so I was drinking a bit between the stations. My teammates who were very hydrated actually had to run into the woods for breaks a lot, and I didn't get to that point. I'm sure the cramps would have been way worse if I hadn't.

Poop. My big fear was having to hold it in for 5 miles, so I tried my hardest to get rid of everything inside me the morning of. Unfortunately that wasn't super easy, but it was done. The night after the race, we ate about 2 lbs of steak each, and a ton of potatoes and ice cream. And beer and whiskey. And I had no trouble for the next two days.

Bananas. I brought two bananas with me to the trip but left one in the cabin. I could have carried them in my pack without feeling it. I ended up eating three bananas on the run from the food stations. I could have had a lot more. There are plenty of signs at the hydration stations that say "hydrate. when you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated." I think it's the same with bananas and potassium and cramping.

Gatorade in the water pack. Actually my gatorade spilled out after the first refill of water. And the trip is so long that unless you have small individual gatorade powder packs, it's not really going to do you any good.

Things that my teammates brought that ended up really useful:

Sunscreen. My lips were chapped and a bit burnt at the end. Fortunately my face wasn't.

Ibuprofen. I took two before the race, and I'm pretty sure that kept a lot of soreness and knee pain away. I don't think taking more would hurt.

Woolen stuff. Along with dry fit tops, I think real woolen socks would have been useful. I had some thick wintery socks that took in water and held on to it. I had to wring them out several times. And it wasn't too cold later on, but I think having some sort of woolen shirt would have been good.

My gear that really worked:

Long leggings. My teammates got leg muscle cramps from the cold. Especially since swim trucks stayed wet and cold over the thighs. Having leggings helped the legs stay a bit warmer, but would also dry. It also hurt less when crawling over mud and rocks.

Patella bands for the knees. They kept my knees together. Also, acted as knee guards while crawling over mud and rocks.

Two dryfit tops. I could switch between the wet one and slightly less wet one. I'd wear the wet one on my waist to let it dry while i ran. Also, the black one absorbed sun a lot better.

Running bag. I carried gels, a water pack, dryish clothes in them. I put the tag on the bag so I could easily switch shirts. The bag also kept the contents somewhat dry, because my back would be right above the water line most of the time. But nothing inside should be not waterproof.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bottom Bracket Retool

I recently got a year membership to Bike Kitchen in San Francisco. That basically means I can work three hours a night for one or two nights a week on my bike. I also purchased digging rights, which means I can build a complete bike from their spare bike parts. All costs are already included. The folks there are pretty helpful, some more so than others, but overall, once you start to understand the layout of the tools and what you're allowed to do, and a little bit of etiquette, and also once you have an idea of what the hell you're doing, it's the same as settling down and just getting work on the bike done for hours.

After I chose a nice 52" Bridgestone bike frame from their spare project frames, I decided the first thing I could do was to fix the bottom bracket. (Actually I spent some time last week messing with getting wheels and playing with the handlebars, but nothing real got done.) The frame I chose had the crank and pedals removed already, and only the bottom bracket with the nuts were still on.

1. Remove the bottom bracket. There should either be places for a wrench, or little notches on the sides. One side should have a lock ring. Also see Sheldon Brown's website, although I found it much easier to understand after actually working on one.

2. Clean off the grease, and remove the bearings. There were 11 bearings in each of my cups but i'm not sure if that was the original number, but they fit fine. The grease came out with a lot of simple green and scrubbing, then i dried it off and sprayed some silicone lubricant over it (wd-40 would work too.)

3. One of the volunteer mechanics told me, you can never have too much grease. So I filled the cup with grease. Also grease up the threads in the bracket.

4. Thread the cup back in. One side is fixed and threads all the way in until it is flush. The other side will thread in after the axle is inserted, and can be adjustable so the bearings aren't too tight and the axle doesn't wiggle.

5. Put the axle in, and thread the other cup in. The drive side (right pedal) of the axle should be longer than the other side. 

6. The other side is adjustable. The lock ring goes over the left side (non drive side). The cup is adjusted so that the axle still turns smoothly, but doesn't have any wiggle room side to side.

7. Here is the tool used to adjust it.

8. Here is the lock ring that prevents further turning of the cup.

9. The crank took is used to tighten the nuts of the cranks. The cranks will have square holes for this setup, and some have splines instead. To remove the crank, a crank puller is needed because the crank is pushed really tightly onto the axle.

10. The final result. Cleaned bottom bracket, new grease for old bearings, and attached cranks.

Leg day

I'm on a quest to increase my vertical. After a few weeks of on and off leg work plus taekwondo training, I'm going to try to start being more methodical about it. Mainly, I want to measure my vertical every Monday. My 3 month goal is to gain 6 inches, to hit 24 inches on Aug 13. (Not sure if those are realistic numbers.)

My routine, which I've been doing once a week:

1:30 continuous, 30 seconds rest, 2 sets
Box squats with bar (20 lbs on either side, 25 lbs on either side)
Lunges with bar (20 lbs on either side, 25 lbs on either side)
Single leg deadlift with bar (10 lbs on either side, 10 lbs)
Kneeups with bar on shoulder (just the bar)

Band jump
Platform step up with dumbells (20 lb dumbells)
Single leg squat with dumbells (20 lb dumbells)

Vertical Measurements
5/13/2013 19"