Cycling around Barcelona: Col de Parpers; Turo de l’Home

A short blog summarizing three nice road-bike rides last week around Barcelona–mostly for those who may visit in the future.  (I like to find good rides when I am in a new area but it was fairly difficult to Google something in English…)  Ride 1 and 3 were very similar 3hr rides that left straight from our hotel in the city (near Diagonal del Mar).  Ride 2 was the queen stage: 40min train ride and a 6hr big ride with two big climbs.  Wonderful!

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Fitness five months after laparoscopic surgery (appendectomy)

It’s been 5 months and 12 days since my surgery. Time for a short update, since March blog. Fitness is fine and I feel no different from before surgery–so all is good from that most important perspective. What about the little stuff?

1. Weight is back to two years ago. That’s higher than what I hoped for and about 5lbs above last year (when I was training hard for the Haute Route Alps–this relates to the next point):

2. What about strength? My last FTP test last week was 10W above the previous one in March, which is further progress. Yet I am still about 10% below my usual numbers. (Yes, I was easier on myself in my assessment last March when I stated the same.) How much can I blame on illness 5-6 months ago? Not sure…

Surgery surely gave me am easy excuse until a wake-up call two days ago. When I told my cycling buddy James after a spirited group ride that I still wasn’t up to regular levels he replied “off course you’re not!” Asking why he said that, I got an unexpected response: “you haven’t been training as you used to.”

Humm, that did get me thinking… So I decided to do 4 x 8min LT this morning which confirmed my suspicion: I indeed haven’t been training as I used to and it shows.

Moral of the story: I wanted to track my improvement path since surgery and the gradient is positive (yet falling, as expected) but there are indeed two confounding effects that I cannot disentangle: time since surgery (easy) and training intensity during that time. (I could add a third excuse: getting older.) Controlled scientific experiments are difficult!

(For those readers who stumble on this blog after googling “fitness after laparoscopic surgery”, do share your progress in the comments.)

Next test will be on Ventoux in a few weeks–hopefully with Gerry. Stay tuned…

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Time to put something on the roof!

I love the three weeks of the TdF–it’s the height of summer to me and this first week certainly has been interesting and entertaining (which is, after all, the purpose of pro sport, isn’t it? Bread and games…). Time to put something on the roof–painted by Shannon: can you see the polka dots if the pics’ resolution is sufficiently high?

My personal interest is to see how long Jurgen VandenBroeck will remain in the race; and if so, how competitive he will be. Today’s stage to Gerardmer will give a first indication…
Which rider are you following (aside from the usual suspects)? Surely there will be more huge upsets; much better than a predictable outcome! Vive Le Velo!


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Operations behind a Tour de France team

The best three weeks of the year have started!  Just wrote a blog on our professional blog that focuses on the operations management behind a world-tour pro team.


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Gravel Metric DeKalb 2014


This Memorial Day weekend marked our first, and hopefully not last, participation in the Gravel Metric in DeKalb, IL: a 109km ride over the non-paved rural roads of the American heartland. Continue reading

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La Philippe Gilbert: 150km around Liège

A priceless conclusion of my one-week Europe trip: Can one dream up a better start of a 150km cyclo-sportive than this?

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Solo ride of the Ronde van Vlaanderen finale

Yesterday I arrived back in my hometown, Meerbeke, where I’m visiting my mom for three days.  It’s been 370 days since my last visit, which is my longest absence in 20 years, and I hope not to repeat such absence during the next 20 years… Continue reading

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Cycling around Tulum, Mexico

After a frigid winter in Chicago, a welcome spring break in Tulum. Third time I bring my bike to Mexico: Here’s a little scenery from my Ritchey Break-Away (best travel bike!):

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Fitness two months after laparoscopic surgery (appendectomy)

Quick update on recovery since my laparoscopic surgery (appendectomy) on January 31, 2014: how much has my weight and power improved?  Some quantitative sample points:


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Custom Manufacturing for the trainer

Finally implemented a little project I had on my list all winter: Kiki’s easel is now laptop proof (and I can watch Vuelta a Catalunia from my trainer).
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