- The real advantage of the PowerTap is it keeps you mellow, when you might otherwise be tempted to tweak up the effort level. I've noticed with the Hr monitor, that unless I throw a whole book of matches out at once, it takes a good three to 5 minutes of steadily increasing effort to move me up out of aerobic, and into a subthreshold (or higher) zone. As long as I don't start pounding on the pedals, it's gradual. Consequently, I work harder on zone 1 / zone 2 days than I should. Can't do that with the PowerTap, because it doesn't lie. Anything under 220 or 230, I'm cool in zone 1. Anything under 250-270, I'm rockin' in zone 2. (Corresponding more closely with .7 or .75 IF, I think). Above 300 - and I do like to cruise up hills pulling 350 or 390 - then it's Threshold City, baby, and the matches are getting burnt. It's going to be a while before I get calibrated to IF, but already I'm getting some benefits out of it. A couple of my workouts have involved doing accelerations, including one day doing them on hills. It's amazing how much fresher I am at the bottom of a hill, having ridden at a true zone 2 (.65 IF) level for ten minutes prior. Forcing me to cheat less is a wonderful thing. Of course it means my intensity work hurts a lot more, since I'm riding it that much harder... but that's the idea, right?
- Mad shoutouts to the guys who raced in the Cat IV at the Tour of Ephrata. John Larson and Sean Ross rode like Super Domestiques, forming a three-man team with James Hibbs, who placed tied for 4th (relegated to 5th on TT results, the tie-breaker). Sean and John also placed well, in spite of working like dawgs.
- Global warming... I got a nice comment a while back when I mentioned the carbon offset industry, and opined that it gave off a whiff of scam, a whiff of selling indulgences. A brainy and brave (anonymous) commenter called me retarded, and said I should give up deep thinking, just keep riding the bike. The insult may have been premature. It seems I'm not the only one with some reservations about the Offsets industry. The Financial Times - a respectable paper - announced recently that it has done an in-depth investigation of the industry. FT reports:
The FT investigation found:
■ Widespread instances of people and organisations buying worthless credits that do not yield any reductions in carbon emissions.
■ Industrial companies profiting from doing very little – or from gaining carbon credits on the basis of efficiency gains from which they have already benefited substantially.
■ Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.
■ A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.
■ Companies and individuals being charged over the odds for the private purchase of European Union carbon permits that have plummeted in value because they do not result in emissions cuts.
Francis Sullivan, environment adviser at HSBC, the UK’s biggest bank that went carbon-neutral in 2005, said he found “serious credibility concerns” in the offsetting market after evaluating it for several months.
“The police, the fraud squad and trading standards need to be looking into this. Otherwise people will lose faith in it,” he said.
A New York Times article from yesterday's edition adds (fossil?) fuel to the fire, noting that morons like me aren't the only people with reservations about the carbon offsets market, and the pseudo-religious tone the global warming / offsets debate has taken on:
On this, environmentalists aren’t neutral, and they don’t agree. Some believe it helps build support, but others argue that these purchases don’t accomplish anything meaningful — other than giving someone a slightly better feeling (or greener reputation) after buying a 6,000-square-foot house or passing the million-mile mark in a frequent-flier program. In fact, to many environmentalists, the carbon-neutral campaign is a sign of the times — easy on the sacrifice and big on the consumerism.
As long as the use of fossil fuels keeps climbing — which is happening relentlessly around the world — the emission of greenhouse gases will keep rising. . . . At this rate, environmentalists say, buying someone else’s squelched emissions is all but insignificant.
“The worst of the carbon-offset programs resemble the Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences back before the Reformation,” said Denis Hayes, the president of the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental grant-making group. “Instead of reducing their carbon footprints, people take private jets and stretch limos, and then think they can buy an indulgence to forgive their sins.”
“This whole game is badly in need of a modern Martin Luther,” Mr. Hayes added.
The NY Times even illustrated the article with a faux engraving of a yuppie handing over some cash to a 'green priest' in a fake confessional, buying a carbon offset indulgence. As the man says, "Damn. I mean, Daaaaamnnnn." I'm not one to crow about being right, but... oh, heck yes, I am. Cock-a-doodle-doo.
It doesn't mean I'm right about global warming (some skepticism about the degree and extent of anthropogenic warming), nor does it mean I'm wrong, just that perhaps I'm not as retarded or clueless at the thinking thing as that lovely commenter stated.
None of this is meant to bring any heat on DC Velo's excellent sponsor and its business, or on the good intentions of people who want to reduce carbon emissions. I worked in the environmental cleanup industry back in the days when I made an honest living, and can tell you that in that arena, for every thief, there's an honest man; for every con artist, a pious environmentalist with the soul of a saint. I know more than a few DC Velo-ites, and think highly of them and their intentions - I suspect they are on the side of the saints, or at least trying to be. But what I do reiterate and stand by, regardless of whose feelings it hurts, is that we should be slow to jump on any social movement that directs the re-ordering of society, especially where any resistance is met with argument not on the merits, but the irrelevant (and plain wrong, from a scientific method standpoint) ipse dixit that "everybody believes in this, you are an idiot if you don't."
So to that brave anonymous commenter, I'd point out the words of another guy who was skeptical about the beliefs of the masses:
The number of people that can reason well is much smaller than those that can reason badly. If reasoning were like hauling rocks, then several reasoners might be better than one. But reasoning isn't like hauling rocks, it's like, it's like racing, where a single, galloping Barbary steed easily outruns a hundred wagon-pulling horses.
Apparently, Galileo Galilei said that. I'm not in his class but when somebody lays an argument on me that is based on received wisdom, I usually call BS and ask for a better argument, this time on the merits. Sometimes I'm wrong, but usually I'm right: people typically only argue "consensus" (or "dogma" if you want a better term for it) when they aren't able to argue on the merits for some reason.
- Enough of that garbage. Sorry to go all petty and political, but "dude, you're a retard" crosses a line in the sand, and shall not stand. Besides, the proper term is "cognitive disabilities."