How to get started biking to work

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Bike to Work Day is coming up, and many people are inspired to participate. Surprisingly, the first step is NOT looking for a bike.  Buying a bike isn’t going to guarantee that you’re going to bike to work!  Planning the details will prepare yourself and to get the correct bike for the job.  Also, unlike driving, you are responsible for the time that it takes you to get to work on the bike… there’s no excuse of traffic, or accident on 805.

Biking to work is completely well-rounded method of transport that avoids bottlenecks of traffic, and it starts the day off with an accountable success.

  1. Find the Route: Google Maps provides Bike and Walk directions to pick from elevation and number of intersections. Once you have a turn by turn route planned, FIRST drive the route.  If at all possible, rent a bike on a weekend to give the RIDE a try.  While Google Maps time estimates are not accurate, don’t underestimate how long some street lights take.
  2. Practice Getting Ready out of a Backpack: Unless your route is under 5 miles away, you may not want to wear your work clothes or shoes on the bike.  If you take your work clothes in a backpack, and wear spandex on the bike, you’ll feel fresh all day.  So the reality check becomes, how long will it take me to get ready from a backpack? (Learning to get ready from a backpack is also the first part of learning to do triathlon hehe)  If there are things that can be left at work like makeup, toiletries, flat shoes, take advantage of the backpack weight and space savings.  I’ve rarely had a workplace that I could leave personal belongings in, so I just had to buy the travel sizes for a separate biking baglette.  Once you have your outfit and toiletries, FIRST practice getting ready at work.  Drive to work in your pajamas, or after a morning workout and only using the contents of your backpack, time yourself at getting ready.  This part is very important to your confidence getting to work by bike.  When you get to your desk, you need to be On Time & feeling ready for the day; regardless what your position is.  PREPARE everything you need, and PACK it in the backpack the night before.
  3. Determine your morning schedule: Using the data from Step #1 and Step #2, determine what time you’d need to leave HOME to arrive at work, with enough time to get ready.  I like to give myself at least 10 minutes cushion time added to this so I can exhale at least once on the bike ride.
  4. Buy a bike, helmet, lights: Only after those 3 previous steps, is it appropriate to look for a bike. Your budget is only a portion of the decision on which bike to get. Is your route to work hilly? You will need to get a bike that has gears, with a light frame, and road tires to handle debris.  Where will you park your bike when you get to work, is there indoor security or will it be on the street?  If you can bring it into the office, that’s ideal since you won’t need to carry the weight of a huge lock! If it’s on the street, I don’t care if the area “looks” safe, don’t buy a brand new $700 bike or it won’t be there when you get back.  The beach cruisers or triathlon aero-style bicycles are niche for certain types of rides… neither being city commuting to work.  The road/cross bicycle will give you agility up hills due to the seat position, and narrow handlebars in order to offer better control to weave through lights and traffic.
  5. Accessories: HOLD OFF ON ACCESSORIES.  The city commuter cycling rule I agree is fare is “don’t embellish your bike until you’ve ridden one mile per dollar that you spent on it.”  A bicycle doesn’t have to be expensive, just get a flat kit, lights and a helmet and a lock.  Leave the gloves, bike shoes, mileage computer, and all these other gadgets for when you actually ride and then you’ll know what you need.

Any other questions? With a can-do attitude, anything is possible.


OC Marathon pacing 3:10 (fastest pace group as a couple!)

finished pacing

We paced the OC 26.2 @ 3:10 to get out of our comfort zone this past weekend. I got the call 5 days before the race to do the gig.  Luckily I average about 70mpw (and 210 bike, 7km swim) when not marathon training to stay in shape.  I felt like this was a try out for snails pace team, and we made it! This IS the team that helped me achieve my first BQ. They have been around for a long time so it is an honor to give back.

Victor and Chris paced 3:05, lots of speed from November Project SD.

My last pacer gig (fastest 3:15 at Carlsbad) didn’t fare so well, as I wanted. In Carlsbad you split the marathon… someone for the first half then another takes over. I decided to keep going and try to negative split to sub 3:10 old man BQ. Didn’t work out, as I had bronchitis/flu that day, yet still crossed in 10s under 3:15 … on a course of 26.5 miles. (they moved turn around cone further out @ Palomar Rd). But we are instructed to go 5s per mile faster in case this happens.

So besides this shadow of stress for OC full, I thought, sure, why not lets get it this time, plus it would be a great workout for my wife who is co-pacing. After I sign-up, I read the pacer list on website, and see “follow your pacer and they will get you 2 minutes under your goal for BQ time”. I’m saying Oh shit what did I sign up for… thought it was an easier cruise at 3:10 with good weather. I research the course looking at last year Strava results, and also use this great site to make a pacer band based on GRADE effort: (plug in 3:08)


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5k season that wasn’t

It’s been a tough year. While battling flu and food poisoning, my training suffered with me being 10lb under weight after pacing Carlsbad marathon (3:15).  Ready or not, I have signed up for multiple 5k races a year ago.


First was Carlsbad 5000 which I upgraded to the All Day 20k last minute. I wasn’t feeling a PR but thought I can hold an ok pace for the four 5k’s.  It’s more a social day as Bessy and her friends were doing it.  The first one went as planned under 20, but I got an asthma attack. I then toned it down for the 2nd race to slip in at half marathon pace.  Thinking I was recovered for the 3rd race… I felt my heartbeat jump way too high and had to shut it down for a minute.  This lead to race 4 which was just a victory lap jog.  I chalk this off as good training.


Next is Triton 5k the following weekend. Since the race starts at 9am, we decided to bike to the race to hit up the awesome post-race bike-discount brunches (Galaxy Taco).  I learned an important race rule… never look back! On the ride up, I lost Bessy a bit so  was looking back constantly. And then BAM, I slam right into a iron fence post, where it sliced my knuckle, blood pouring out badly as if I made a donation onto my handlebars.  In addition feels like I was stabbed in my collar bone, likely bone bruise. I continued on to make it to race medics who bandaged me up.  I was more mentally shot than physically for the race. Somehow I overcame pain and demons in my head to sneak in under 20min with Bessy.  It sucks because I was well-prepped for this one, doing the classic 4x1mile at goal pace workout few days before.

17966762_10105102275820233_6045822355675847881_oRound 3, a week passes, ACT 5k: Last year I won this race, probably because it was long and I had some in the tank.  This year, I previewed the course beforehand, and once again long (3.3 mi). Time goals out the window, this is a position race. I had a good start leading a pack for 1.5 miles. Then just backed off a bit to save a final kick for that extra  400m. I let the guys take the lead, but then see Bessy blow by me hard near the finish, and knew she was much stronger, and they all gapped me too good that my plan failed.  I jogged in the rest knowing it was over. Bessy ended up storming forward to get 2nd overall of all genders. Amazing considering she joined this race 15 min before the start! At the awards ceremony… the most sexist thing happened. They assumed the top 3 would be male. So they didn’t even look at Overall Results, or call Bessy up! I had to go to the announcer to correct him and Bessy got what she earned.

Yes my run form isn’t that great but I am working on it.  Also, perhaps too much racing, as I am getting mentally burned out to go hard… but I still show up for the social aspect.  What I am really learning, to be a good runner you don’t need to sign-up for races while training alone. Just run with some good company and you can work with each other to push your best.

How can official race photos make you a better runner?


(Us this past weekend at this trail race)

Official race photos have lost a bit of value for some since camera phones are small enough to carry along during an event for impromptu selfies. But, does a selfie really void the race photo?

A selfie is an outlet to share how we perceive ourselves, a beautiful scenery, or as proof should dispute a performance!  However the official race photos are much more valuable, to an athlete, than just documentation of the accomplishment itself.  Only the official race photos clarify what even friends or coaches don’t always catch.

The following 2 KEYS have helped me increase my performance overall in the 5k to marathon, and build confidence in myself!

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All odds against us (per chance Friday the 13th weekend)

This year we decided to repeat pace the Carlsbad Marathon 26.2, upping the challenge from 3:25 to 3:15. All the training and prep for this was set in the books, till 2 days before the race:

  • A/C in our car shatters metal pieces into the timing belt. Not a quick fix.
  • SANDAG decides to shutdown the rail services for the weekend to work on the track.
  • Work week was tough, I (Roger) had to bike in cold rain that I got sick with mild bronchitis.

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Stabbed on my run today

A week ago, I had my bike stolen from me when I went to swim after work (Hilton Bay Front San Diego).  The thief followed me in, and cut the lock 2 minutes later. Here is the video:

I had a hunch, I would see the bike again as it is a rare production bike and had distinct markings. This is the bike. the thief took the aero bars off:


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World Championships?

So my last post I stated how I was awarded a slot to that Age Group (AG) world championships in Canada. This is at least a $1500 round plane trip with AirBnB to be budget.  USAT was pressuring the athletes 2 weeks after to immediately deposit $50 for a secured slot.  I questioned, what does this deposit go to?  Not the combined extra $600 for registration and team uniform…  but rather for USAT “support staff” (none which will benefit me) to fly out there.  The deadline approached, stressing me out to pay the same price of an ironman race; yet this race was just going to be a 1k swim and 5k run.  I turned it down, looking at it two ways. Continue reading