DIY Rocker Plate – V2

In January 2019 I had built a rocker plate and documented the build process here: DIY Rocker Plate.

At the time, I had a Tacx Vortex, an on-wheel trainer. I recently upgraded to an Elite Suito and so I needed to cut new holes to help mount the trainer to the rocker plate. Since I would have needed to take it apart to do this, I decided to upgrade the finish and graphics. Nothing within the mechanism has changed.

My first decision I had to make was how to attach the trainer. For the Tacx Vortex, I had used split hangers. These worked well as the Tacx had round legs. The Elite Suito has square legs. The best options I found was to use velcro straps that I found on Amazon. They come in various widths, but I figured the 2″ width would be nice and sturdy. I ended up using 5 of them. I simply cut slots in the board to run the straps through. Here are the slots

The next decision was on the color and graphics. I decided to put the ELITE logo on the rocker plate so painting id red made the most sense. It matches the Elite logo colors and my bike is also black/red so it matches that too.

For the logos, I used a Cricut to cut permanent stickers. I also added my blog logo and an inspirational quote I came across from Greg LeMond.

I topped off the board with a thin layer of epoxy. This served mutliple purposes:

  • It protected the stickers so they don’t peel or get destroyed from being stepped on
  • It added a layer of protected to the rocker plate from sweat
  • It gave it a great glass-like finish

The bottom of the rocker plate got painted white with some of it’s own graphics that would just peek through on the edges when assembled

The bottom of the rocker plate got painted white with some of it’s own graphics that would just peek through on the edges when assembled

Here is the final result all assembled:

The last enhancement I wanted to make was to make my rocker plate smart. I want to add LED lighting whose color is changed based on my current power output. For this, I added a Raspberry Pi and LED lighting. This part of the project isn’t fully completed, but here is the control box and an example video of how the LED lights will eventually change:

Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Race Report

Today was another race, a 15K this time. The event had both a 5K and a 15K race.

The day started off pretty early. I wasn’t sure what time to try and get to the event. The 5K had a start time of 7:30am and the 15K a start time of 8:15am. When I looked at the parking map, they had the participants on the opposite end of Fair Park. Quite a walk away. It was also cold. I decided to try and get there for 6:30-6:45am. I figured the 5K would have the most participants and I didn’t want to end up getting there after them and having to park far.

It turns out that they opened up an additional parking lot right by the start and since I got there early enough, I was able to park there. I was about 25m from the start line and just about 50m from the finish line. It was great.

I got there early and it was cold so I hung out in my car and watched as the 5K folks arrived. The 5K race was huge. Looking at the 5K results afterwards showed 7,945 finishers. It took about 30 mins for them to get all the 5K runners over the start line. BTW, the 15K was no slough either. The final tally showed 4,329 finishers.

Once they were gone, I lined up in my coral and looked for the pacers. My coral had 10:00, 10:30, and 11:00 min/mile pacers. I hung around the 10:30 pacer. Once the race started I was a bit ahead but by the end of the first 2 miles, I was near that pacer. Unfortunately I then started to take walking breaks and eventually the 11:00 min pacer caught me and hung with her for a while. Based on my watch and my mile splits, the pacers were both a bit fast. Eventually I fell behind the 11:00 pacer and ended up just running my own race.

While the weather was cold at the start, but the end, it was rather warm. I almost wore my tights, but I’m glads I stuck to shorts. I wore two shirts, but I could have gotten away with a short-sleeved shirt at the end.

Like my last race, the half-marathon, this 15K course had quite a number of hills.

I ended up finishing the race in 1 hr 45 mins. Here are my results:

Overall, I enjoyed the race and I will definitely consider doing it again. The only downside is that for packet pickup, I had to pay for parking. I wish I didn’t especially since I was only there for 15 mins.

Mansfield Run With Heart Half-Marathon Race Report

As I build up for my marathon in March and Comrades (fingers crossed) in June, I have to do longer and longer runs. I started to try and find races that were of the equivalent time or distance I needed to run. Today called for a 2 hr 40 min run, so I signed up for the Mansfield Run With Heart Half-Marathon.

This is probably the most convenient race I would even find to do including shorter distances. It takes place just a 5-10 min drive from my home.

There was only one negative to the whole experience and it was around the packet pickup. Their website indicated that packet pickup could be done on Thursday at Academy Sports from 11 am. I got there around 11:45am and no one was there. The store employees mentioned that other runners had also come by to try and get their packets. It turns out that they had wrong information on their website, or perhaps they originally planned to have a packet pickup on Thursday but changed their mind. I was able to get my packet on the Friday.

On race morning, I had a decision to make…what to wear. The temperature was around 40F. I was originally going to go with tights, but I decided last minute to go with shorts and just two layers on top. A short sleeved t-short and a long-sleeved over it. I think this was the right decision. I was a bit cold while waiting for the race to start and for the first mile or so, but after that I was dressed perfectly.

As I’m accustomed on my long runs, I carried all my fluids, SOS Hydration, so I didn’t need to depend on any water stops.

My race started well. I was very concerned about going out too fast. I wanted to run this like a normal training run so I focused on that for the first two miles ensuring my pace was where I wanted it to be.

I was in for a shock after the first mile. I had two overpasses to go over. I ended up walking to them and taking advantage of the downhill on the other side. I ended up averaging right around 11 min miles for the first 8-9 miles. It seemed that I was constantly going up hill. Who would have thought that Mansfield had so many hills?

Around mile 9 I had to start taking walking breaks….the first since the initial overpasses I had to go over.

Once I got to the two hour mark, I realized I could finish within 2:30. I ended up finishing in 2:29.

In the end, I was glad I use this as one of my long runs. It was much more enjoyable, and it seemed easier to do the long run with other people around. They provided good pacers once I found folks that were going at my pace, I just hung back and followed them. Towards the end, the folks up ahead provided great motivation to try and either keep up or even pass them. I managed to pas 2 people within the last 100m.

If I find myself needing (or wanting) to do a half-marathon in January 2021, I wouldn’t hesitate to do this one again.

Addendum – Jan 27, 7:15amWell, in looking at the results for the race, it appears that I have a second complaint about the race. They show me as not having actually done the race. I wore my bib on the front of my t-shirt. The back had the timing chip

I have reached out to the race organizer to try and figure out what is going on. It’s strange….this is not a race I tried to get a PR and it was only a training run, but not seeing my name amoung the list of participants with an official time is quite distressing.

Addendum – Jan 29 – My race results eventually got posted

28-Day Vegan Experiment

A while back I came across a documentary on Netflix called The Game Changers. At the time, I added it to My List so I can watch it at some point in the future. It languished in my list for a few weeks until I eventually watched it after some prodding by a co-worker.

It was interesting. Basically, the documentary was about the benefits of eating a vegan diet especially for endurance and high-performance athletes. I am a die-hard meat eater. It is not uncommon for me to have a 16 oz Rib Eye steak for dinner….and nothing else. Just the steak! So the thought of eating a vegan diet seemed like an impossibility. Despite that, I decided to do my own research.

I read a few books like Finding Ultra by Rich Roll and Eat & Run by Scott Jurek, both of whom are endurance athletes that eat only vegan. I also explored what kinds of foods I currently eat that are vegan and what kinds of foods I can start to eat. After a couple months, I decided to try it for 28 days. One of the books I read was the Engine 2 Diet which is encourages you to try it for 28 days. Also, when I decided to try this, I had exactly 28 days before my next trip to FL and I figured it’ll be easier to eat vegan while at home and not have to try and find vegan food while traveling.

Most folks that are vegan choose to do for ethical reasons. They will not even wear leather or use products based on leather. That is not me. I will still wear leather belts and shoes. My car seats are leather. I am choosing to try a vegan diet with two purposes in mind:

1) To see it helps with recovery. One of the benefits is to supposedly help with recovery after training sessions

2) To see if can lose weight

It has now been 9 days and I have managed to stick to a vegan diet. While not al that healthy, I have discovered that many things I ate in the past are in fact vegan, for example Lays Original Potato chips, chips and salsa, french fries etc. Pasta with a vegetable pasta sauce has been a main go-to dinner.

I am making one exception that vegans avoid and that is honey. I’m not eating much and it is only in some honey roasted peanuts I bought.

I am a bit worried about my protein intake but we’ll see how it goes. I am taking a multivitamin and another supplement that provides my Iron and B12 needs.

I don’t think I’m losing weight but that is because while my diet is vegan, it still isn’t as healthy as it can be. I’m not going to stress too much about that aspect as yet though.