Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Vortex is Back!

I just got word from Aurora Cycle’s that my vortex had just arrived back from its flight to Tennessee! Thank you Litespeed!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Race Strategy

Today, as Ben and I pounded out another training ride, we discussed our thoughts on RAO. We are both really excited about RAO, more for the huge adventure that RAO represents and the elevation that RAO is in our cycling then for anything else. I feel so fortunate to have the knowledge that my crew chief has ridden thousands of training miles with me and the RAO course. There are many aspects of Ultra’s I find appealing, I like the competition, but I also like the friendly nature of the competition. For me, just finishing RAO will be huge.

A number of us have had the wonderful opportunity to preview the RAO course either as part of one of the race camps or on our own. Unfortunately, not everyone will have the opportunity to do this. So, in the eye’s of fairness, Ben and I thought it would be only just for us to share some of our thoughts on the RAO course. As Lon Haldeman said in the Quotable Cyclist, "Machine's don't break records. Muscles do."

The early miles are where it counts...
Yes. RAO is a long race - 538 miles. When those wimps at Fireweed have fallen off their bikes and started to quiver, we will still have another 138 miles left to travel. By the time the desert riders down at Furnace Creek are well off their bikes in the shower, we still have another 30 miles to go - mostly uphill. When it comes to climbing, only RAAM has more. But we all knew all this, that’s why where here. You’re not going to RAO because it’s easy. You do it because it's HARD!

So back to the strategy. If you have ridden the RAO course, or even looked at the course profile online, you will see that RAO is a very front loaded competition when it comes to the climbing. The first 200 miles or so of RAO has more then half of the total climbing. Like any bike race, the mountains are what will separate the field. If you want to open a gap, a big gap, it must be done in these early miles. Climbing Hood, at 12.5 MPH instead of 10 MPH, equates to going 25% faster, where on a flat doing 20 MPH going 25% faster equates to going 25 MPH.

Last year while helping officiate RAO I timed splits of the racers at Service Creek, just shy of the half way point. At this point, the lead riders had opened up well over hour gaps. Think about it. The larger your gap, the more time you have to do whatever you want before there is any chance you will see your competition. Just remember, the rules do forbid dancing naked, so no matter how much time you have you must keep your shorts on. After Service Creek, the course in general will flatten out which greatly reduces the opportunity to open/close large gaps.

The other advantage of riding hard in the early hills is the bonus recovery time which is offered in this portion of the course. It's not uncommon for some riders to do better on hilly time trails, then on flat ones. On a flat TT your position and muscle groups never change, where hilly TT’s introduce more opportunities to change positions and recover. On the flats there is never any chance change muscle groups and recover.

Good luck to everyone,

Its Tartan Time!

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Thursday -- Riding

Did some riding thursday. How long? I'm not telling.. But did some.. How hard? I'm also not telling. Plan for this weekend some more riding. Dinner last night - Pasta, Bread, and Salad.

Ordered Ben his Amtrak ticket today. He will be on a 7:30AM train out of Seattle and should arrive in Portland ~11:00 AM on the 3rd.

Weekend plans: see friends I've neglected due to training, do some riding, discuss race plans.

Yesterday, or maybe it was the day before I reserved space at the hotel in Portland.

My RAAM editition of Velonews arrived yesterday. George has a article in it. Mark my words, one of these years I too am going to be in the RAAM edittion of Velonews.

Its Tartan Time..

Cycling shoes in Germany! Posted by Hello

Ben and Wade discuss the finer points of PAC Tour. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

In the Beginning.

Two wheeled vehicles that were pushed along ala Fred Flintson were invented previously, but the actual wheel-propelled bicycle that we know and love was invented in1839 by Kirkpatrick MacMillan of Scotland. He was a blacksmith at Courthill Smithy of Keir Mill, Dumfriesshire. Since he never patented his invention, his bicycle was rapidly and widely copied.
Macmillan was born at Keir in 1812.

Fellow villagers thought him 'mad' for dreaming up an idea such as the first pedal-driven velocipede. But, although known locally as 'Daft Pate', he became in 1839 the inventor of the pedal-driven bicycle, used by millions today.

He rode his cumbersome machine 68 miles over rough roads from his tiny smithy home (still intact today) to Glasgow, visiting his two school teacher brothers in the city. In June 1842 the inventor was fined 5 Scots shillings for speeding at 8 mph into the Gorbals and knocking down a little girl in the crush that awaited this 'Devil on Wheels'. The magistrate at the Gorbals Public Bar was sufficiently impressed to ask Macmillan for a figure-of-eight demonstration in the courtyard, and is said to have slipped him the money for the fine.

Having raced the stage coach on his return to Dumfriesshire, Macmillan went back to the quiet life, but his invention was copied and an English firm put it on sale at seven pounds. Macmillan's early machine, still seen in reproduction at the Transport museum in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, met demand for easier travel. It had wooden wheels and iron-band tyres, and was so heavy (57lbs) that he pushed off by striking the ground with his feet, protected by iron-spiked boots.

Besides inventing the self-propelled bicycle, Scots also invented the raincoat (Charles Macintosh of Glasgow), the modern road (John Macadam of Ayr), tyres (John Boyd Dunlop of Dreghorn), adhesive stamps (John Chalmers of Dundee), the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell born in Edinburgh).

Its Tartan Time

Where do you park your airplane in AZ? Anywhere you want. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Somewhere maybe it was on one of those great PAC tour roads. My Litespeed Vortex frame cracked. I noticed the crack just as I was cleaning my bike frame and heading off to the three day camp. On finishing the three day I took the bike into the local shop, just by chance the local Litespeed rep was in. I asked the rep if I could take the bike down to Camp 2. And the response was a firm no. With RAO so close I had the shop overnight the frame. This isn’t cheap, and I almost could have flown to Tennessee myself for the cost of getting my frame there. But arrive it did and from what I understand Litespeed knows about RAO and is working their buts off to get the frame back to me ASAP. Lifetime warrantees are a wonderful thing; just make sure you save your receipt.

In the mean time, for camp 2 I put my other bike my “Classic” Litespeed back together, it was going to be my alternate bike for RAO anyway and took it on the 4 day.

Its Tartan Time!

Final Pre-RAO Doctors visit..

Went in today to see Dr Pitt, one last time before RAO. We talked about hmm, well that’s sort of confidential, then we talked about some race strategy, and then dog sledding in Alaska. It turns out Dr Pitt, was a doctor in the army stationed in Alaska for a number of years, and that it’s possible to take a vacation to Alaska and go on a mushing trip. Some day I'm going to do this.

Its Tartan Time!

More Rider Info from the 4 day Camp..

Mark Newsome (Team Total Carnage) - 4 Man Team
During the 4 day event while riding with Ski and Mark, Ski remarked that Mark and he had most likely pedaled more miles of the RAO course then nearly anyone else. This kind of experience pays dividends on Race Day. Mark took the 4 days only slightly more relaxed but I'm expecting big things from the team total carnage on race day. Between his experiences at multiple camps, multiple RAO's, this seasoned veteran is a force to be reckoned with. I'm looking forward to being passed by the Carnage crew; Mark's always up beat personality was a real lifter during the 4 day camps ran squalls.

In the thank God they are not raceing solo at RAO catagory:

Urs Koenig (RAAM Solo)
I can't begin to express honestly how glad I am that Urs, is going for RAAM and not RAO. This Swiss steam engine, is faster, has more cruising power, and was unstoppable on the 4 day camp. The 4 day camp wasn't going to be enough miles for Urs, so what did he do? Ride to camp, yes, Urs a Seattleite, road his soft ride from Seattle to Portland, and then did the 4 day. Then on the 4 day Urs would add 30 - 40 bonus miles each day finishing with the rest of us. On the final day of the camp, Urs cracked the beam on his softride, even this couldn’t stop him! He just climbed up on George's co-motion and finished the day in style! I can't wait to watch Urs clean up at RAAM.

David Sowers and Mark Dooley - Southern Pride!
David and Mark were just a hoot to ride with, these guys are fast, and have great stories to tell, which makes it real difficult because it’s hard to listen to them when you’re going ANAROBIC just trying to keep up! I'm convinced that at some point David and ex army ranger got a leg graft from a Columbian climber. Wow, can this guy climb. Everyone at camp was just blown away by David’s speed. One second I would be riding up by myself and then the next second David would pass, and then I would get lots of time to watch David chill at the top as I made the summit. Mark an industrial baker, was a total power house in his own right too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

RAO Rumor

On the 2nd Day of the 4 day camp I heard a rumor that rider #122 Allen Larson, might be bowing out of RAO this year. I personally won't believe anything though till I'm well into the race. If this guy’s head is in the race, its game over, thanks for playing try again some other time. Allen’s spooky, as we will really never know if he’s racing or not. He could always say, sleep in on race day, eat a relaxed breakfast of biscuits and gravy, and then decide to himself, "hey, I want to win RAO today". Leave hours after all of us, and still go on to set a course record. He’s just that DAM GOOD!

Team Tartan - Cathey (Mom), Crew Chief Ben Larson, Kenneth, Uncle Larry, David (Dad) Posted by Hello

Isabel Baker and Ben at PAC Tour Desert Camp, Isabel is a total Hammer head. While crewing for Wade at the 508 last year, Isabel came down with a bad case of the flue, and ended up eating nothing and loosening 4 - 5 lbs. Watch out Ladies, at the 4 - Day camp Isabel mumbled something about a two woman team at the 508. Unfortunately for Wade Isabel won't be at RAO, as she's going on a "8 Woman Ladies Only" trip to Vegas that weekend! Watch out Wayne Newton, Isabel's coming! Posted by Hello

#119 - RAO Soloist Wade Baker, At PAC Desert Camp Posted by Hello

Team Tartan In Tombstone, AZ Posted by Hello

Master Crew Chief Ben "Hammer Head" Larson in Mexico. Posted by Hello

While on PAC Desert Camp, I crossed the border into Mexico. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Who’s Who from the four day camp!


Scott – The Cannibal – Youngren
What is with these guys from Mount Vernon? Is there something in the water up there? Like, Tom at the three day camp, Scott is fast, consistent and determined to lay down one seriously impressive performance at RAO. While not yet RQ, Scot will be returning to RAO with his seasoned S2S crew, knows the course like the back of his hand, he’s going to be one serious contender and wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he walked away from RAO highest honors.

Super – Luigi Barisone

When you think cycling, there is one country, more then any other that comes to mind. Italia, the moment I saw Luigi’s name on the roster I knew we were all in for a serious challenge. This guy has experience. He’s crewed RAAM at least twice. He’s slammed BMB. On the first day of camp, Luigi’s queue sheet was misplaced but this hardly stopped this Italian power house, no queue sheet, no problem! Lugigi followed the signs towards Hood, logging an extra 30+ miles in the process. If he can do this on his own with a crew he is going to be unstoppable.

Wade Baker – “Wade’s World, Party Time, Excellent, Woohohohoo!”
Wade first caught my attention down at the PAC tour desert camp, where he logged more miles and climbed more hills then anyone else. This guy is serious about “On the Bike Time”, and gets off for nothing, passes through stops faster then you can fill a bottle with heed. On the four day camp, Wade was an absolute animal. He logged the fastest times each day and walked away with camp bragging rights each day as the first one in. Man, can this boy climb, weighting in 50, yes five zero pounds less then “chubby beef cake lard ass”, yours truly, Wade is one serious climbing machine. I expect to see Wade just rock the RAO! 40,000 ft of climbing is not going to be a problem. I truly expect to see Wade twice at RAO, once at the start, and then on the podium.

Rick E Martin “Liven Lavida Loca”
Where did this dude come from? All of a sudden on day 4, Prinevill – Timberline, I rounded a corner starting the climb up towards the casino, and there was George and Rick just chilling on the side of the road. There are fast riders out there then there are super mutant smoking fast riders. Ricky falls into the latter category. For the brief segments that I rode with Rickey, I could tell he was thinking to himself, “Tartan Boy, is this all you got?, cause if it is I’m going to smoke ya!”. If Rick a veteran of the ultra mountain bike scene has a weakness it can only be one thing. The dude used to paint his toe nails to match his mountain bike. A serious warning to all other solo’s this guy isn’t RAAM qualified yet, but mumbled something about course records being weak. Sheeze man, I just want to finish! The qualifying window is going to be very tight this year.

Mixed Two Person
Team Escargot Speedwaggon (Anne Schneider)

This Davis Diva, is going to give the llama’s a serious challenge. Anne road each day with a purpose and in the process lay the smack down on many of the boyz at camp. Climbing’s no problem for her, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this lady finds her resurrection up Ochico

Four Man
HeadHunters - Bill Nicolai
Four man team’s watch out; Bill’s Head Hunters are coming to RAO with one thing in mind, bringing trophies home. Bill’s ride of choice, beam soft ride, seemed to glide almost effortlessly over the course. On day four Bill got truly serious, was the first camper to the TIMBERLINE even beating Wade! Over the course of the camp Bill bounced race ideas off of George and now has his team’s strategy down pat. I just hope I can keep my head when the head hunters catch me!


Back from camp. ~1000 miles in 10 days.. Wow I’m hungry. For breakfast today I just couldn’t eat enough. Usually I just eat ¾ a cup of oats but today was a little different..

At camp the woman in Long Creek and I had a disagreement over the correct way to make oat meal.

Here’s how I like it:
Combine: 3/4 - 1 cup regular quaker oats, 1.5 - 2 cups water, raisins and nuts in a pot
Turn the heat on Hi,
When the pot just starts to boil reduce heat to low, simmer for a few minutes.
Let cool, add milk and eat.

After the Oatmeal, I ate an apple (fuji) and made a three egg omelet, with spinage, mushrooms, cheese, and tomatoes and on the way to work stopped off and got a berry muffin.

Lunch: Ham Sandwich + Yogurt

Its Tartan Time..

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Off To Camp Again!

Today I’m heading off to the 4 day RAO Race camp.. Expect a update Monday night after I return..

Its Tartan Time! Posted by Hello

Down at PAC Tour, when our return flight was delayed 12 hrs.. We decided to have some fun climbing MT Lemon a second time the easy way.. Posted by Hello

Jonathan and Melissa, two new friends from Australia I met while on PAC Tour.

Melissa was on staff for PAC Tour and is a vegetarian, and works as a nurse down under.

Jonathan is a doctor and amazing rider, having completed numerous PAC Tour elite crossings and helped crew for ski on his RAAM crossing.

Both great people, a real highlight of the trip was eating with them at a Outback Steakhouse in Sierra Vista, AZ on Easter.. Yes Melissa is a vegetarian..
 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Team Tartan shows a little leg! (Cathey, Ben, Kenneth, Larry, David) Posted by Hello

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Team Tartan "Master" Crew Chief, Fireweed 400 Two Man Team Member, Ben Larson! Posted by Hello

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Team Tartan Crew Member, 10 Time STP Veteran, David Philbrick (Dad)
 Posted by Hello

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Team Tartan Crew Member, two time LA Marathoner, Cathey Philbrick (Mom) Posted by Hello

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Team Tartan Crew member and Nationally ranked masters swimmer, Larry Philbrick (Uncle Larry)!  Posted by Hello

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Kenneth and Ben at the end of PAC Tour desert camp! (800 miles / 8 days) With one of my hero's Lon Haldeman! Posted by Hello

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Inside Scoop – Notes from 3 – Day RAO Camp

RAO camp is pure cycling nirvana. Three days of riding with the best people around, a great chance to see the course of course and meet the other riders, and hang with the coolest promoters on the planet. As a solo, during the race you can only ride with another rider for 15 min. It’s great to be able to meet people at camp so you know what you want to talk about for your 15 min .

All right so here’s the inside scoop on the racers and other notables who were at camp:
Bruce (Veteran), Gilberto, Tom, Kenneth (Me): RAO Soloists
Andreas: (Rider from Davis, out to see what RAO was all about)
Peter: Seattle
Randonneur training for the Cascade 1200
Ben: Crew Chief for Team Tartan (Kenneth’s Team)
Lisa & Ken: The Candy Ass llamas

The solo scene:
Bruce, (Bruce Almighty)
The lone 2 time veteran of RAO and 2003 Rookie of the year was back out in force. Bruce, a master ultra marathon cycling tactician, took camp at a slightly more relaxed pace, logging locations in his new GPS unit. The absolute detail and precision at which Bruce is planning his race this year is stunning, expect great things from Bruce this year.

Gilberto (Porto Rican Power House):
Ok fellow solos, if its hot, real hot, death valley hot, were all in trouble, and Gilberto’s going to rock the course. If its cool, we just might have a chance. Riding the course for the first time is always harder, and at the three day camp is hard to begin with and adding jet lag and a 11’o clock arrival doesn’t help either. Now that he has seen the course, I’m expecting a strong finish from this powerful Porto Rican. What’s Gilberto’s ride? A Trek Y frame, ala Allen Larson.. Hmm.. This could be real omen..

Tom the (Terminator)
Tom’s a fellow Washingtonian, heralds from the Mount Vernon area tulip capitol of Washington State. Solo’s watch out! Tom’s defiantly not a tulip. He is very, very strong and has been lying low, training in the mountains. Tom a total unknown to me before camp, lead the field each day cranking out very impressive performances. In June, on race day I expect tom to give a serious challenge to Allen, and Fabio, and is definitely a race favorite! Tom is going to make life very difficult for those of us who just want to get across the line alive.

The Teams:
Lisa & Ken (Freaking Fast Ass Llamas!)
Two person team’s WATCH OUT! The llamas proved at camp that it’s not their asses that are filled with candy but ours! Dam the Hershey bars I’ve been eating for lunch. I really need to watch my weight. I’m now convinced more then ever that their blog is just a front. The llamas are strong, real strong, highly tactical, and vicious. I really don’t think Ken Burger Boy Jr has been eating all those whoppers. Lisa llama really showed her stuff this weekend powering up the climbs riding in her T-MOBLE JESERY! George, you didn’t tell me that you had EX-PRO’s signing up to race this year! Thank god she isn’t racing solo, the llamas might just spank the whole field!

The Guys in Training:

Peter - (Tank Driver)
Peter was absolutely stunning form for camp, putting all of us to shame in more way then one. While not the first one across the line, Peter more then made up for it in spirit. At one point during camp to say it rained is really an understatement. I was huddled under a awning, attempting to slip into dryer clothing, when peter rolled in. Peter's first comment was "George this is just a great course!" I like the ride too, but honestly at that exact moment the van was looking good to me.. So do tell what your on, I want some too. The name Tank Driver comes from peters trusty steed, a Ti-Davidson, with more trunk space then a ford expedition.. And we all know the problem with trunk space, you fill it... Peter's looking to lay some serious smack down on the Cascade 1200 and other Brevets this summer!

Andreas (Fault Line - Mr. Gatorade)
Andreas claims he was just out to preview the course, but we all know better.. Sure, right, we all know he has something sneaky up his sleeve. Each morning and Andreas and Tom would lead the charge, conquer new ground. The sheer speed at which Andreas would summit the climbs made the rest of us just quake in fear. Could his speed be due to the Gatorade's, or maybe it was the magic pink powder, what ever it is let me know.

Ben (Master Crew Chief) Larson, (Slave Driver)
DAM! Don't ever take your crew chief to camp with you, all you hear is "Get your sorry ass to the top of hill!", "You call that a climb?", "What you think I'm your mom or something?” I'm convinced that Ben road each day with one thing on his mind, to make Kenneth suffer more then he has ever suffered before. On the final day, Ben had had enough and dropped the hammer and Kenneth, make up well over 15 minutes, easily catching Tom and Andreas on the climb to Timberline and was the first rider to finish camp. I'm so, so glad, Ben is crewing for me and not racing, if he were racing, we all might as well just hang up our hats, as we wouldn't have a chance. Nice work, Fireweeds going to be sweet.

As the lord of the dance, master rapper him self, M.C. Hammer, said “Its Tartan Time”

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tuesday/Wednesday Miles!

Tuesday Miles!

Road in to work today the short pansy way, just 6 miles to the bus and then road around the north end of the lake on my return home in the evening 1.5 hrs on the way home, after a quick dinner, I hopped on the rollers for a little spinning another 1.5 hrs.

I had wanted to pack for camp, but just didn’t get to it..

Wednesday Miles,

Road in to work today the short way, will do the computrainer this evening, and eat takeout, pack & clean the apartment. Camp fun starts tomorrow! Yippee! I’ve been waiting all year for this.

It’s Tartan Time!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

UPS Guy delivers another wheel set..

The second set of Zipp wheels arrived today and some more bags from Rudy Project. Still no word on my sponsor specs though. The wheel's look amazing and yet again are lighter then the box they came in. I just hope I can do the justice up Timberline. What are the wheels exactly? Hmm.... All I have to say is come out to government camp, and don't blink.

In other news, I'm going to start packing tonight! This weekend is more or less time to start the party! All the cool kids go to camp and three day race camp starts up Friday!

It's Tartan Time!


Saturday, Hill Repeats!

The plan for Saturday was to head out to the San Juans and cycle around Orcas Island with the focus of the day being hill repeats up Mt Constitution. Orca is a hilly, and Mt Constitution rises another 2,000+ ft from Moran State Park in the middle of Orcas.

The plan had been for me to pick Ben up from his place, at 7:45, but I was operating on “Kenneth time”, and was running a tad late. I was over at the Larsonator’s apartment 20 minutes late. Ben wasn’t too optimistic that we would make the ferry, but it was at least worth a shot. For the next hour and half, I tried as hard as I could to remove as much empty space between the bottom of the gas pedal and the floor of my VW Jetta. The ferry karma was flying high, as we arrived at the dock just as they were calling out the final boarding, and were the last car to squeeze on.

On the Island, we started out doing a relaxed warmup just toddling around the Island. There was a slight disagreement as to if golf courses were a waste of space. Ben said yes, I said, watch it, who’s ancestors invented the boring crappy game. Go Scotts!
The warm-up ended and we were at the base of Constitution. The game plan was 3 repeats of a 2,000+ foot climb. First time up, not bad, second time ugh, third time this hurts! On the final assent, right near the top I some how succeeded in blowing out a side wall of a perfectly good tire, tire booted, new inner tube in, and back at the ferry for a trip home..

Miles today, low 70 or so but the climbing - way good!

Sunday, Maple Valley + Cougar + south end of Lake Washington

The weather improved and Sunday was just amazing. Road out to Maple Valley, the legs were still a little sore from the climbing the day before but some how that didn’t stop us from constantly attacking one another. My wheels in front no my wheel’s in front. Ben had to come straight back due to job constraints so at the base of Cougar mountain we diverged, he headed back, and I headed up.. Wow Cougar hurt, I really need to get my compact crank on ASAP, my 39/25 just wasn’t big enough. I had a good decent down the other side and was heading back up north, when right near the end of my ride I ran into a friend out doing some running to train for her up coming Iron Man/Woman/Person. Rhea looked really good, and shared with me a new fuel source the pro Iron People are using, Gatorade Shakes, yeah, I hadn’t heard of them either. It a product very similar to ensure+ with a tad more carbs and runs about 360 calories per can.


On getting home, I did my customary whey, e-caps, and then got a massage.

Monday, - Lifted Weights – I hate the weights.. But I do think they are important..

It’s Tartan Time!