Let’s see if I can even make it a week on a diet like this:

  • 2000 calories per day
  • 30-35% protein from whole food sources (no shakes!)
  • 10-15% carbs like spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, cauliflower, different color peppers, carrots, tomatoes
  • 55-60% fat with an even mixture of saturates, polyunsaturates, and monounsaturates
  • Roughly: 200 lbs, 2000kcal, 150g protein, 50g carbs, 132g fat
  • Four meals a day, even split of macronutrients
  • Supplements:
    • 5g of BCAAs and 2.5g creatine 4x day
    • Greens+ 1x day
    • Multi-vitamin 1x day
    • ZMA 1x day
    • 3g fish oil 3x day
    • 3 Hot Rox 3x day
    • Power Drive 2x day

The biggest issue I see here is creating the proper meals four times a day. It will probably take 1.5 hours per day in prep and cooking so this is definitely a strong commitment. I should probably just go to the store once a week and have a huge veggie chopping session. I could then portion it all out then so I don’t have to think before each meal.

Chicken satay? That worked. Chocolate-covered cherries? Also worked. Curried rice pilaf? Fine. Persian kabobs? Not so good! I cannot make a tender beef recipe to save my life. They tasted fine, especially since I marinaded them for 48 hours in yogurt, onion and mint, but they were tough again. Does anyone have tips for tenderizing meat? I know it’s not just the cut of meat I used as I have tendency to do this to every cut of beef. The pieces were grilled to a medium, medium-well state, so I’m sure that hurts it. I bet if I had a grill and a good marinade, I could do it right.

Introducing the OMGWTFestiva.

I figured I should start discussing my impending doom at the hands of an econobox racecar. As previously announced, I’m partaking in the 24 Hours of LeMons in a little over a month. We picked up a Festiva in track form for $350. The car spent the last two season dirt track racing down in Monroe and while being a little more than beat up, the decals also had to go:

Putting a roll cage into any other car would have cost about $1,000 minimum so we saved quite a bit of cash right there. The chassis, cage, engine and transmission were solid. The suspension, brakes, wheels, tires, seat, harness…. not so much. Here is the list of what we have done and will do:

  1. Strip decals
  2. Install seat mount
  3. Install seat
  4. Install harness
  5. Replace brakes
  6. Replace radiator
  7. Install drain plug in radiator
  8. Replace suspension
  9. Install something in place of windshield
  10. Replace wheels
  11. Replace tires
  12. Remount battery
  13. Replace all fluids
  14. Paint?

The suspension is halfway done, I believe. One of the other team members is doing most of this work and I do believe he has replaced the rear beam. The fact that the car was in “working” condition from the start was a huge benefit. It was obviously trailered home when purchased, but here is a video of it firing up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWNj6SeC9g8. Push button start what.

Another requirement is that every team member must have a proper helmet and race suit. I have the helmet (three seasons of autocrossing, thanks) and I’m pretty sure of which suit I want: G-Force 545, in blue of course. Clare calls this the moonsuit and strikes off into endless giggles anytime it is mentioned. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to clean pee off the carpet when she actually sees me in it.

We should be finishing up most of the car this weekend. I’ll try to get a large number of pictures but those will wait until after paint if we decide to do that. Look back here in about six weeks for a huge trip report; I’m psyched!

Vancouver trip report! Laura, Erin, Brian, Adam and I tried to plan a weekend trip to Vancouver for months but couldn’t find a time slot where everyone was available. We just assumed that something would be going on for Memorial Day so we didn’t even consider it. Luckily, we were all free and thus it had to be done.

Our first stop was Sequim as Erin just had to go back to the “petting zoo” that she visited with Jon previously. Turns out, it’s called the Olympic Wild Game Farm and allows you to drive into the park with deer, bison and yak. They’re so accustomed to people feeding them that they will swarm your car, like so and so:

By the end of this little adventure, the car windows were completely coated in yak slobber. The only sad portion of this little excursion was the “Wild” part of Wild Game Farm. They had lions, tigers and other wild cats in impossibly small cages in the middle of the park. None of them looked healthy and none even felt like standing up. Small-time operations simply should not be allowed to place animals in such poor conditions.

I cannot recall who brought it up, but somehow we started discussing Ponderosa and the fact that you got access to an all-you-can eat buffet AND a full meal, usually of steak, a baked potato and Texas toast. None of us had eaten there since we were a kid and all had fond memories. Of course, reality would probably state that the culinary experience would be less than memorable, but we still joked about it throughout the whole trip. Because of this, we ended up going to a buffet when we stopped in Bellingham for dinner. If you like grease, you’ll love Izzy’s!

The trip up to Vancouver was surprisingly easy; the Blaine border crossing helped as we pulled up and were only ten or so cars away from the checkpoint. We were all feeling a little ill from the greasesplosion of Izzy’s, but pulled up to the hotel before 10 PM. A few showers and a complete change of clothes later, we descended upon the town for a little (a lot) of debauchery. With five people, getting a single taxi proved impossible. Instead of taking two, we tried walking. Half way there, we realized the error of our ways, grabbed two cabs, reconvened and observed how completely crazy the nightlife of Vancouver can be. There were at least eight clubs with a cover over $10 and a line that would have taken 30 minutes or more. Instead of going dancing as originally planned, we ended up at a smaller but still clean enough bar and went through three pitchers of beer. At this point, Erin was basically begging the group to go dancing and while I was up for it, the rest needed convincing. In the end, we conned Adam into joining us and danced until 3 AM or so. There were multiple bachelorette parties which always makes the club scene more interesting.

The next morning, we assembled the crew, had a little breakfast and headed out to the aquarium in Stanley Park. I didn’t go in my previous visit to Vancouver but frankly, aquatic creatures just aren’t my bag. After that, we walked through a sizable portion of the park and ended up at Granville Island for a little market shopping. We picked up breakfast for the next day and then washed up back at the hotel. Since my last epicurean experience at Chambar was so amazing, I dragged them all there for our nice dinner out. If you don’t get a bottle of wine and entrees are only $25, how can five people spend $370? One word: beer. Belgian beer to be specific. After cocktails, we ordered beer after beer at roughly $10 a pop including some contained within interesting glasses:

I was privy to a Piraat, a 21 proof ale! I could feel it rewiring my brain. Though the group was tired and it was a Sunday, somehow Erin and I convinced everyone to hit the clubs. When we pulled up to the concentration of clubs, Adam was about to piss himself so we went into the first place possible. We lucked out. Even though we just left dinner, Brian and I ordered a pound of the hottest wings this place made, went through two more pitchers of beer and ran into one of the funniest guys I’ve met in awhile. Calling himself the Brown Boy and using such quaint phrases as “Save a horse, ride a Brown Boy”, he didn’t charge us for the second pitcher and then got us into the club across the street for free. Though called The Buffalo Club, the only Western aspect was the mechanical bull. Another couple of pitchers later, we were good to go until 3 AM again. Brian tried to ride the bull, but they shut it down while he was in line. Unfortunately, we also saw a mildly overweight girl ride the bull with her shirt and bra pulled up to her neck. Of course I got a picture but of course I deleted it the next day.

It wasn’t until 11 AM that everyone arose from their beer-impaired slumber the next day. The Capilano Bridge was the last Vancouver destination and despite my timid warnings, we all dropped $27 CAD for the privilege of walking across a bridge and seeing a few exhibits. The suspension bridge freaked out Adam and Laura, making the payment that much more painful. The ride back was seemingly uneventful, mostly because I read most of an issue of the Economist and then slept the rest of the way.

A lovely little trip.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m sick of the current flavors I have for protein (dutch chocolate, fruit punch and strawberry) but at the rate I consume protein powder, I will be. Luckily, True Protein offered a sampler pack of some of their premium flavors. Unluckily,

As I work through them, I’ll give updates:

Lemonade: Faithful representation of powdered lemonade, doesn’t taste too well mixed with protein powder.
Orange: Stronger flavor than the Biotest orange I had when doing the Velocity Diet, a bit sweeter and more tangerine than straight-up orange. A contender.
Fruit Punch: Already have this, tastes just like kool-aid fruit punch and mixes surprisingly well with protein.
Strawberry: Already have this, the flavor doesn’t quite overcome the base taste of the protein so seems like watered-down strawberry Nesquik
Chocolate: Already have this, it’s chocolate! Need I say more? Actually, it’s dutch chocolate, so it’s slightly more earthy than your average chocolate powder.
Chocolate Banana:
Strawberry Banana:
Banana Cream:
Strawberry Cream
Orange Cream:

Never, I repeat: never, accidentally double-dose a powerful thermogenic. I’m currently bug-eyed, completely over-amped, jiggling in my chair and it feels like I’m generating enough heat to melt my desk.

The cause of my insane tire wear was pinpointed to be the fact that I was running THREE TIMES the recommended amount of toe-out in the front. “Toe” is the angle of the tires in relation to the direction of travel so my tires were pigeon-toed to an excessive amount. Since I also had a bit of negative camber (the inside edge of the tire is pressed down more than the outside edge), the inside edges of my tires were being eaten alive every mile I drove.

The Focus has a pretty easy toe adjustment bolt so I’m now back in spec. I really should pick up a camber kit if I want to do this properly, but here are my alignment details as of now:

Front Left:
Camber: -0.8
Caster: 2.5
Toe: -0.03

Front Right:
Camber: -0.7
Caster: 2.6
Toe: -0.03

Rear Left:
Camber: -1.0
Toe: 0.01

Rear Right:
Camber: -1.6
Toe: -0.01

With the proper equipment, I’d like to run -2.5 degrees of camber up front, -1.5 in the rear and zero toe in the rear. These values should be fine for now. I took the car out for a spin with the new tires and alignment with my road racing buddy and he was quite impressed, even though it’s a FWD car.

The horribly uneven wear on my tires I was talking about? See some pictures over at Facebook.

Very few components matter as much as tires on a performance vehicle. Acceleration, braking, handling; anything involving a force exerted on or by the car is completely at the whim of the traction provided by the tires. “Traction” is but one characteristic of the performance of a tire; others will be discussed later.

The SVT Focus uses Continental ContiSports as the OEM tire. For an OEM tire, the Contis were an aggressive choice as numerous “performance” cars ship with sub-standard all-season tires. The best example of this would be the Bridgestone Potenza RE92s included on the Subaru Impreza WRX as the handling capability and 227 HP of the WRX completely overwhelm the tire. Considering the WRX is touted for its all-wheel drive and thus ability to drive in all sorts of conditions, shipping with an all-season is a satisfactory compromise. The Contis are purely a summer performance tire and perform abysmally at cold temperatures, let alone in the snow! I was able to crawl home when a freak hailstorm hit Redmond, but thankfully all roads between work and home were fairly level. If I had to get back to where I live in Seattle now, I highly doubt I would have been able to get up half the hills I would need to take. All summer tires act this way, so that aspect is not surprising, but the dry performance for a stock tire was quite competent. Moving from all-seasons to a summer tire is a dramatic jump so I was definitely happy moving to the Contis on my 2004 Focus in comparison to the all-seasons on my 2003 Focus.

Roughly 12k miles into the life of my car and tires, I developed a slow leak in the passenger rear (don’t you hate leaks from the rear of a passenger?). Instead of replacing that single tire like a normal person, I used this as an opportunity to upgrade the whole set. After careful research and deliberation, I decided upon Kumho Ecsta MXs. This was a compromise of price, dry performance, wet performance and durability. The performance improvement was noticeable, but nowhere near the jump from all-seasons. Traction was improved in the dry, the tire was more predictable at the limit, though there was less feedback as it reached that limit (the Contis howled like a bitch in heat before they broke from the leash). I never did autocross the Contis but I’m assuming I wouldn’t have been that much slower than on the MXs.

At least four months ago, I remember running over a HUGE pothole, expecting torn-off body work, a bent rim, a scraped tire and damaged suspension components. The car seemed to drive fine, so I figured there were no problems. At the last autocross of the 2006 season, I couldn’t seem to hook up, especially in the slaloms (or as Shawn calls them, shaloms!). At the first few autocrosses this season, the issue worsened and was absolutely impossible to overcome as I increased tire pressure. Instead of pulling the tires off for an inspection, I could tell just by looking at the outer edge that the MXs were toast. They survived 18k miles and probably 10 autocrosses, so durability was impressive.

The replacement tire research was less oriented toward wet performance and durability. I wanted to maximize performance (autocross season is in full swing) and there is a good reason why I don’t care about durability (Jan2008, Subaru something something). For $140/tire, shipped, installed and balanced, I picked up a set of Falken Azenis RT-615s! So far, the performance jump is closer to the all-seasons-to-summer jump than the Contis to MX jump. I have yet to find the adhesion limit of the tires; my traction control (which I keep forgetting to disable) jumps in before the tires even start to screech.

The reason why I was having such difficulty in the slaloms was made painfully apparent and is probably related to that huge pothole I hit. I’ll upload pictures tonight, but the inside edges of my front tires are completely bald! The outer edge is probably closer to 40% viable so I some how picked up some negative camber AND toe (not sure if it’s out or in). I have an alignment scheduled for Friday afternoon so if anything is damaged, I can hopefully pick up the parts before the autocross on Sunday. To say I have high expectations would be an understatement; if I don’t place at least in the top 10% of novices, I’ll be highly disappointed.

Third set of tires and I just hit 30k miles on the car; that is the sign of an enthusiast.

New stack time!

Before breakfast
300mg KA-R-Alpha-lipoic acid (Bulk)
1000mg Acetyl-L-Carintine (Jarrow)
225mg Ashwagandha (Jarrow)
500mg Rhodiola Rosea (Nature’s Way)
1000mg Piracetam (Bulk Nutrition)
50mg DHEA (Biochem)
3 Multivitamin (Jarrow)

2000mg Vitamin C (Costco)
5mcg Vitamin D (Costco)
500mg Calcium (Costco)
500mg Fish oil / 25mg GLA / 100mg CLA (Costco)
300mg Alpha GPC (Jarrow)
120mg Ginkgo Biloba (Jarrow)

Before lunch
300mg KA-R-Alpha-lipoic acid (Bulk)
500mg Acetyl-L-Carintine (Nature’s Way)
250mg Rhodiola Rosea (Nature’s Way)
500mg Piracetam (Bulk Nutrition)

2000mg Vitamin C (Costco)
5mcg Vitamin D (Costco)
500mg Calcium (Costco)
500mg Fish oil / 25mg GLA / 100mg CLA (Costco)
300mg Alpha GPC (Jarrow)
800mg Garlic (Jarrow)

Post workout
90g Custom mix (40% whey, 35% dextrose, 25% maltodextrin) (True Protein)