Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cold Cranking

It seems like this has been the coldest fall in recent memory. Temperatures have been consistently in the low twenties in the morning for about two weeks.

With the sun going down early and other commitments restricting ride time, Sunday seems like the only time to ride.

Since it was pretty cold and windy out, the group decided to roll around 1:00pm to take advantage of the slightly warming temperature. There were only three other riders, including my son, who hasn't been on the bike in about two months.

We started North first, to take advantage of the wind direction on the return, heading out Tallant, McDonald, Brock and Alabama. By the time we turned out of the face of the wind, I was ready to be home. We returned by way of Old Tunnel Hill, California, Blair, McDonald, Short-Cut, Apison pike.

Several, very welcome, pulls were taken by the other riders which gave me some respite from the wind.

Coming back in was the usual rush to the finish, and the final slog home.

Not much joy to be found in this ride.

Ride Stats:
Distance (mi ) 27.37
Moving Speed (mph) 16.1 avg. 37.1 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +3,009 / -3,013
Temperature (°F) 30.9°F avg.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cool, and mostly tame

Over the last couple of weeks it has been hard for me to get out and ride. I don't know if the desire has gone out of the ride, or other intervening circumstances like family, but I haven't been able to put many miles on my bicycle.

Most of all the time change has had the biggest effect, so I'm looking at options to light up the road so I can ride in the dark.

This fall the cold has had a bigger effect than any other year on my willingness to get out and ride, so Saturday night I decided that whatever the weather was, I was going to ride regardless.

Seven regular riders met at the Village Market at 8:00 AM. It was pretty cold, 36°F. With a stiff wind coming from the North-West, we headed north, moving slowly, trying to warm up and decide on a route. Eventually the decision to cross over Mahan Gap from Ooltewah-Georgetown road was made, and executed.

I have been having shifting issues with my triple crank and had locked out the lowest gear, putting off fixing the problem. Climbing to the summit was essentially a bunch of 200lb leg presses, leaving me gassed and gasping at the top.

Another of our group, a certain college chap, lost his breakfast at the top of the gap as well. The rush of lactic acid winning out over the desire to keep the stomach contents intact.

Continuing on and meandering over the hills we returned with about 36 miles as a group. Not wanting to end the ride I continued on and reached home with about 52 miles.

It was still cold and windy outside but with the sun trying to show itself, overall a good ride.

Ride Data:

Friday, November 14, 2008


Looking over my motionbased account I discovered a few things:

Total Distance 2859.58
Total Time (Hrs) 167.21
Total Average Speed 17.10
Max Avg 22.20
Min Avg 9.90 (when I crashed on my MTB)

Total Elevation Gain 246015 ft (Miles 46.59)

Number of Rides 98

Ride Length
Min 6.21 (MTB Crash Ride)
Max 100.48
Average 29.18

Just a few more miles to break 3K for the year.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Following the Trail

Yesterday the Sunday Group was split into two as a few of the regular riders rode a fundraising route.

The rest of us decided to ride the same route the 50k fundraisers were riding (but without the cue sheet) and departed about 30 minutes early.

Without really good turn markings on the pavement we overshot a few of the turns. The route was a poor choice for beginners taking in quite a few of the harder climbs in the area.

The weather was very cold. Without full fingered gloves it was an exercise to try to keep the fingers thawed.

About half-way through the ride the first and only Fundrider we would see, caught up and rode with us the rest of the way home.

Next time I take better precautions for the fingers and toes.

Welcome to winter.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I wanted to go out hard yesterday, Chris wanted to go slow, so we compromised.

We went slow then fast then slow.

Riding from home, we enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon. I especially like riding in the fall for a number of reasons. Fitness levels are usually up, the weather is cooler, and cruising down the road is just a lot of fun.

Taking a ride through Collegedale we went left across the railroad tracks and up Jackson, taking a right on Edgeman, and left on McDonald we crossed over to Old Alabama on Brock. On Old Alabama we rode hard south never dropping below 20mph till we reached Bates where we slowed down and proceeded to enjoy the rest of the ride home.

We saw a few riders out, including the Masher.

Another great ride, ending with an average of 17mph for about 20 miles.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apison Time Trial

With the season winding down, I decided it was time to do a fitness evaluation in the form of a short 3 mile mostly uphill time trial out of Apison.

This time my son served as the rabbit, setting out 30 seconds in front of me. Having done this a couple times in the past, I decided to try to save some reserves for the steepest course section and the end section which is a long false flat.

In the past I have gone very hard from the start and faded significantly towards the end. This time I went hard but not all out, sprinted up the middle hill, conserved on the backside and hammered the finish.

The result? 11 seconds off the pace of my son, and a second best personal performance to date. Even at 200+ I was able to maintain contact to my 135 lb climber of a son! Just trying to keep him honest...

The rest of the ride was supposed to be total recovery and easy spin, which worked out pretty well until we were coming into Apison and noticed a guy up the road on a time trial machine. How could I tell it was a guy? (he was not wearing a shirt).

On the run in to Collegedale we passed him, and then made it stick all the way home.

Instead of one very hard 8 minute interval, we had two.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Time Trial Time = 0:8:55 for 3 miles = 20.19 mph

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Early Fall

It's been unseasonably cool the last few days and I took advantage last night to get some much needed training in.

The wind was blowing pretty good out of the north, so I went south knowing that I should have gone north.

My intention was to ride easy through the halfway point and then turn the screws until I didn't have anything left when I got back home.

Everything worked out perfectly, with the wind joining in and punishing my efforts.

On the last leg, 2 miles from home, we (my son was riding with me) saw a carrot riding about 1/4 mile in front of us.

This part of the ride can be excruciating starting with a long false flat, kicking up, and then up hard. As we approached the rider I was suffering intently trying to measure my pace to be able to latch on if the rider decided to accelerate. I paused near the back of his wheel and then pulled up along side to chat and said something like "This is a nasty climb". Imagine my surprise, he said something unintelligible, and I noticed him wheezing and sucking air trying to find more oxygen (Serious Oxygen debt). Of course I didn't let on that I was pretty much trashed at that point too pulled ahead to ratchet up the pace some more.

We were able to hold the lead and finish hard.

A good workout on a gorgeous evening.

Ride details

Summary Data
Total Time (h:m:s) 1:04:49 3:11 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s) 1:03:41 3:07 pace
Distance (mi ) 20.33
Moving Speed (mph) 19.2 avg. 40.6 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +1,769 / -1,781

Temperature (°F) 78.8°F avg. 78.8°F high
Wind Speed ( mph) SSW 10.3 avg. SSW 11.5 max.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Big Hike

Not satisfied with the infrequent mountain bike excursions into the woods, I took advantage of the Labor Day vacation and went for an eleven mile walk in the woods.

The adventure was supposed to be 14 miles into the black bear and wild boar country of North Georgia, some even say Sasquatch country. Fortunately the guy I was going to catch a ride with, discovered an error in my math, and vetoed the planned route in favor of a different one. This route would be five miles shorter than my planned route.

We got on the road by 5:30am to make the two hour trek by truck to the Tearbritches trail head in the Cohutta wilderness. Following the trail over Bald Mtn, we descended into the wilderness paradise over 1200 feet down to the Conasauga river. From there we headed south following the river upstream, making about 10 river crossings and stopping twice to refuel and get water. Leaving the Conasauga, we followed the Chestnut Lead trail back to the road and then another mile to the parking lot where we started.

Yesterday and so-far today have been difficult. The pain of getting out of chairs and going up and down stairs have been a continuous reminder of how out of shape I am.

Which means that I need to do more and more often.

>Hiking Data/Trail Location

Monday, August 18, 2008


I looked at the last post and realized that almost a month had transpired.

A lot has happened since then.

I was in the woods almost two weeks ago. I had a spectacular crash that gave me a gash and 10 stitches in my right fore-arm. The doctors office that sewed me up, courteously, gave me a bill for $1365.

That's $1000 more than my bike was worth brand new.

I'm a little bit peeved, both at my stupidity for riding like I did, and my ignorance in thinking it would be cheaper to go to a doctors office instead of an emergency room.

I'm also a bit down on myself for my fitness level.

Yesterday I went on a group road ride, and got dropped, hard.

-Yes, I just finished a long antibiotic course.
-Yes, I hadn't been riding much since the crash (2 rides for less than 40 miles total).
-Yes, I am 39 lbs overweight in a skinny man's sport.
-No, I'm not going to stop riding.

Due to my performance issues, I did some calculations on body mass. I need to lose exactly 10.5 quarts of fat (136,500 calories) to reach the "not obese" side of the fatness index.

At a pound of fat loss a week, it would take nine months to reach the magic threshold. Almost like having a 39 pound baby.

Something needs to change...and soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Still Riding!

It's been awhile since my last post resigning from the Larry Schwartz challenge, but I'm still riding.

Yesterday was another fun Sunday ride with the RideMore group. There were two new riders, one local and one from Houston, both were active contributors to the animated ride that ensued.

Going over two big local hills, we managed to stay together for the most part, and ended with a +20mph average for the group ride.

Some of the riders will be attempting the feared Bridge to Bridge century in North Carolina, so I expect the tempo will continue to be high in preparation for the event.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Say Uncle!


Ok, this post is just a notification that I've decided to end my quest for the Larry Schwartz award.

I could justify my decision many different ways, but it would not make any difference in the outcome.

I did enjoy the three long rides we did, and I don't plan on ending my long rides. I just don't plan on doing them EVERY month.

It was an optimistic but unrealistic adventure.

I did learn that on any given day I can ride over 100 miles. Anytime. Anywhere.

I learned also that there is a large time commitment involved, putting big holes in days that would otherwise be taken up by other responsibilities.

For the near-term, I'm going to focus on the short ride (20-40 miles) and try to increase my speed and strength in climbing.


PS: The best exercises to tone the body quickly are squats, bench presses and chin ups (a rowing movement can be just as effective as chins) performed together in the same workout.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 100 - with a little help from my friends

In the quest for the Larry Schwartz award it was time to hit the road for another century.

The previous two centuries went outside of our normal riding area, so I designed a course that would stay within the boundaries of our shorter distance training rides. I thought by doing this it would allow for some more accompaniment along the way.

I was not disappointed. I had company for at least 60 miles of the century, with various riders joining and leaving off at points along the route. Thanks guys, it was good to have some help to pass the miles!

Starting off I was joined by two riders at 6:40 am, these two were just back from riding the Blue Ridge Parkway. The first hour was spent listening to the stories of the adventure, sounded like lots of fun! After 20 miles we were joined by another rider and we proceeded north, calling up yet another BRP participant (but he was not awake yet). Turning south we met up with two more riders that joined us at 35 miles. From there we headed south to Sbike to fill up our water bottles. Sbike has been laying off a bit this year, and not expecting us, greeted us in his bathrobe, this was too much for him, so he suited up and joined the ride spending the next 20 miles with us.

At mile 49 the early riders split off for home, needing to get back.

By 11:30, with no more company, our stomachs were getting pretty empty and we were close to Red Clay State park, so my wife met us with some Pizza and Strawberry Shortcake. After filling up on the food it really felt time for a nap. The temperatures and breeze were just perfect for an afternoon snooze, but one of my neighbors was moving across town and I had committed to helping them so we headed back home.

We spent the next hour and thirty-five minutes trying to get under 6:00 total ride time, covering 27 miles in 1:35 minutes. It was a strong finish for my son, doing several strong pulls of 20+mph (the two previous centuries shellacked him towards the end).

At the end of this ride I felt good, this was the fastest century yet for me.

With the huge time commitment involved, I'm questioning the sanity of doing a century every month. I haven't dropped any pounds but I seem to be getting stronger. Stronger for what? I haven't figured that out yet.

Splits: Distance - Average Mph- Climbing (ft)
5m - 17.0 - 468'
10m - 18.4 - 228'
15m - 16.3 - 486'
20m - 17.1 - 199'
25m - 16.4 - 390'
30m - 18.2 - 236'
35m - 18.5 - 350'
40m - 14.8 - 483'
45m - 15.6 - 272'
50m - 14.9 - 265'
55m - 17.1 - 349'
60m - 16.8 - 417'
65m - 14.7 - 357'
70m - 14.9 - 450'
75m - 16.9 - 338'
80m - 20.5 - 304'
85m - 21.3 - 216'
90m - 16.9 - 381'
95m - 18.0 - 283'
100m - 12.82 - 420'

Total Time (h:m:s) 8:10:12 4:54 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s) 5:55:56 3:33 pace
Stop Time = 2:14:16 ( 5 minutes for a flat tire at mile 45.51, 1:28:05 for lunch at Mile 73)
Distance (mi ) 99.99
Moving Speed (mph) 16.9 avg. 40.6 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +6,948 / -6,954

Temperature (°F)
70.9°F avg.
82.4°F high

Data taken with a Garmin Etrex Vista HCx, using auto trackpoint recording set on Most points.

For recorded data see Motionbased

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fatty's Fight

I just wanted to draw attention to a friend of mine, someone I've never met but feel like I've known for years.

With one of his superpowers being the ability to consume large quantities of food, he has entertained us with stories of trying to become physically fit and riding Epic Cycling Century's.

Over time he has given us vignettes of his home life.

Right now (and over the past couple of years) his wife is fighting for life, which he has written about eloquently.

I invite you to read about their latest setback, and pray for the recovery of Susan.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Larry Schwartz - April - 100+miles

I waited, once again, till the last possible day to ride my year-rounder century, and I paid for it in bad weather.

Since riding my first one in freezing temps, I decided to wait until there was a really nice day. There were a few that I let slide, so I had to ride in the rain.

While getting ready to go I realized that one of my water bottle cages was still laying beside my bike waiting to be fixed. I had 15 minutes to eat breakfast and get everything else ready, but now I had to fix my bike.

After fixing my bottle cage, indeed having more than one water bottle is a necessity for a long ride, I crammed a bowl of Wheaties down, splashed some water into my bottles and took off.

On the way to the designated meeting point it felt a little cool. With rain on the way, and the skies looking somewhat ominous I asked my son if we should go back and get long sleeve jerseys. His reply? "It's too late now" (we're 3/4 miles from home heading out on a 100 mile ride). So we set off, 56°F degrees with rain on the way, in shorts and short sleeve shirts.

I didn't expect anyone to show up to ride with us but I went by the start point just to make sure. Sure enough, there was someone that showed up, but not who I was suspecting. This particular rider is someone who I've ridden with infrequently in the past. Infrequently because every time I try to keep up with him it's at least six months before I'm recovered enough to forget how painful it was the last time. So these thoughts are racing through my head, wondering if I can keep a lid on the speed, long enough to survive the ride.

So we commenced the exercise, heading south to Beaverdale and following the River Rd to cross 411 and head for the big climb. As we turned onto the River Rd, it began to rain, 25 miles had been covered.

Arriving at the Fort Mt climb, I bid goodbye to our racer friend and started the long grind to the top. Almost as soon as I got on the climb my lower back muscles started cramping up making the ascent extremely uncomfortable. After about an hour of that torture, we were close to the summit and found our friend already to making his descent. There was heavy cloud cover and fog so the scenery wasn't as spectacular as it could have been. After spending a few minutes at the top, wishing for better weather, we carefully made our descent on the wet twisty roads. When your body fat is less than 15% and you're in a cold weather rain, hypothermia is a concern (not a concern for myself as I'm 30% body fat). My son was shivering and covered with goosebumps at the bottom, after coasting for 20 minutes through the fog and the rain. It was 58°F.

We headed for a food stop at Subway, hoping for a warm retreat from the rain. When we stepped through the door we knew we were in trouble. The lady behind the counter apologized for the meat locker temperatures, she had been baking the bread and had cranked the air-conditioner because the ovens were vented into the room and she had gotten too hot. It was actually warmer outside, so we went back out to eat.

I told my son to sit close to me so he could get benefit from some of my body heat. Picture this, two fully(mostly) grown men dressed in spandex sitting close together on the ground outside of a Subway in a (mostly) redneck town. It's survival time.

C warmed up a little, the rain slowed a little, and we took off for home, 45 miles to go.

The rest of the ride was uneventful with the weather gradually warming and the rain eventually ending. By the time we reached home the roads were dry and it was 63°F with the sun trying to peak through the clouds.

It was good to have the extra company. Thanks RH for coming out with us and showing us a different route to the mountain.

I predict the next Year-Rounder to be much warmer, if not dry.

Route and Ride details:

Length: 100.48 miles
Duration: 6:29 (moving) 7:42 (total) (see motionbased player for stopped locations)
Elevation: +9400'

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wheelset Dreaming

No, I don't want an ultra-lightweight wheelset for weight weenies. I need a superstrong reliable set for a 200+lb rough roads rider.

I've had fun building 4 sets of wheels with each one getting a little better. The last set I built was for my father (who is 77 years young today). A car pulled out in front of him and he taco'ed the front into the car, bounced up and over the hood and bent the rear as the bike landed (just bruised him up a little). I rebuilt his wheels using WTB cross rims and Wheelsmith spokes.

I learned how to build a wheel by reading This Manual by Roger Musson. Using this guide I even built my own wheel stand out of some 2 x 2 oak and a couple of digital dial indicators. Works real well for me and gets the wheels true to within 0.01 mm plus or minus (I usually shoot for .05 mm).

Anyway, back to the title of this post.

If I were going to replace my wheelset with another self built set, this is what I want.

Hubs: Chris King Classic 32 hole Red, 268g rear ~$320, Front 113g ~$150

Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray 64 spokes, 278g ~$192

Brass nipples: Original Sapim

Rims: Mavic Open Pro 32 hole black 435g ~$100

Front 687g - $296
Rear 842g - $466
Total 1529g - $762

Anyone have some spare pocket change?

Well, so much for dreaming.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Apison TT - April

It was 5:00pm Tuesday evening and I was anxious to ride.

My son said "the wind is blowing from the west, let's do the time trial course".

So we get ready and ride out. On the way over to the course our ride intersects with one of our riding buddies, TW, who is riding home from work. It didn't take much to talk him into going with us.

We go nice and easy over to the starting line in Apison.

I go first. Within a few seconds I'm sprinting over 26 mph, got to dial it back a bit, I can't keep that pace up. Okay, I'm on the first climb, feeling good, trying to keep it close to 20, I crest the first riser, not feeling too bad. Heading across the stair step for the steep part of the course (Howardsville Rd.) , this one always gets into my head, trying not to push too hard, trying to save some for the hard part of the hill.

Looking back, CRB is coming, I'm giving it all I've got, over the top of the mean little rise, now it's mostly up and down to the finish, legs are like jelly, breathing is hard and ragged. Looking down I see I'm under 6 minutes for 2 to push harder! I'm still holding on to my gap, another half mile to go, empty yourself man, is that all you've got? Faster! Faster!

Finish line...stop the clock, see what I've got.


Now I feel better, a personal best!

8:22 / 21.54mph (WWVF)

My son comes in 3 seconds faster, GREAT RIDE!

TW had a great time as well, only 25 seconds off the fastest time.

We cool down and ride along enjoying our small victory. Isn't riding great?

We finished with 33 miles and rode with 3 of our friends in great weather.

For a look a the ride go to: Motion Based # 5294525

Monday, March 24, 2008

Larry Schwartz - March - 93 miles

Who is Larry Schwartz? He was a retired engineer who decided to start riding long distances .

I have decided to try and earn the Larry Schwartz Award.

This is a chronicle of my first attempt.

Saturday night I went over the course possibilities with my son C. Since the wind was coming out of the north, and would be present all day, we determined to head out into the wind. Our plan was to start an hour before dawn and try for under 6 1/2 hours. Plans are made to be broken.

We got started at 7:15 and rode north on Ooltewah-Georgtown. It was a cold morning dropping down to a low of 33°F before the sun rose above the ridge line. I had made a batch of energy bars the night before and the plan was to stop every hour, take a break and eat a bar to keep the energy levels up.

Our first stop came at 17 miles, just after Smith road. We sat and chatted and tried to warm up. C had chosen not to wear any booties and was experiencing cold toes, I was feeling the cold in my hands. Continuing on, we started heading East at Brittsville on the Lower River Rd. We took our second rest stop on the corner of the Lower River Rd and Eureka, the sun was shining strong and the temp had risen to about 40°F. Easter Sunday Traffic started to pick up but was not bothersome.

Resuming our journey we crossed some ridges, got passed by a nice looking black Dodge Viper, and went through some bottom lands, smelled the foul odours coming from Bowater's paper mill, and headed for the hills that are between Calhoun and Benton.

After spending an inordinate amount of time on Rt 163 we decided to take a more rural approach to Benton and started down 959, which is Pine Knot Rd., with C saying something about gun toting red-necks. (Doing this over again I would come out of Calhoun on 950, then continue on 956 which runs into Athens-Benton Rd.) This was actually a beautiful road and probably our most enjoyable stretch of the ride though it was somewhat rough and had a non-paved section that was about a mile in length.

It was time to eat something other than the energy bars so I did a food search on my GPS for a Subway, sure enough there was none in Benton, and little else to draw from. After checking the menu on the Sonic Drive In, we went next door to the Kangaroo gas station and bought four Krispy Kreeme donuts, crossed the road, sat on the court house steps and ate "lunch". It was beginning to feel more comfortable out with the temperature approaching 52°F.

With over 50 miles under our wheels for the day, we were feeling up to the task of finishing. We struck out towards Cleveland, crossing ridge after ridge, enjoying the remote roads we were fortunate to find. One that comes to mind is Chestuee Rd, near Hickory road, which has some farm bottom land and a couple of places where the water was just inches from the side of the road, beautiful and peaceful.

At the end of Benton Pike is the intersection of Waterlevel Hwy. We stopped at a U-haul rental store and sat on one of their car haulers for 15 minutes, discussing the next leg of the trip. We wanted to do a full century (100 miles) but the remaining road between us and home didn't have enough length. We talked about adding some distance by going further south and returning towards home but we were approaching some other time commitments so I decided to head straight home. (The Larry Schwartz Award calls for rides between 90 and 150, and I knew we'd get at least 90, so I was satisfied, having previously done 100+ mile rides I wasn't driven just to tack miles on to achieve the golden century)

My Father, who is approaching 77 years of age, still rides his bike regularly. We were going to pass by his house so I called to see if he wanted to finish the last 20 with us. He was excited to go so we made plans to meet him, and he even pulled for us a bit of the way. We went to see Freddy the mule feeding him some of the left over energy bars which he was grateful for, crossed a few more significant ridges bringing us within the Collegedale city limits, and the last slogging stair step 300' climb up to home.

We were tired, but the ride was fun and free of insurmountable difficulties, in a word successful.

Reviewing the ride I would have done this route in reverse, saving the long flat sections of the Ooltewah-Georgetown road for the end and climbing the continuous ridges that we saw towards the middle and end of the ride first while we were fresh. I would not want to ride this route from home with a significant source of wind coming from the South.

Also according to Motionbased the wind was coming from the WSW, it actually ranged from the N to WNW.

Ride Data:

Ride Summary :
Moving Time: 6:17:59
Distance: 93.70
Average: 14.9
Elevation Gain(ft): 7,377

Grimace or Grin 03-18

Well it was actually some of the former and a lot of the latter.

C & I met T.W. at the Village Market to go for 20. The weather was very windy, blowing hard from the south. The course was briefly discussed and it was decided that we would head south from Apison down Bill Jones, Left on London, continue on Keith and head back on Keith-Salem.

Not wanting to show my weakness I opted to let T lead out, and he did a marvelous job. Straight away I began wondering if I could maintain his pace setting, but the wind did it's job of tempering his speed and I just sat on appreciating the work being done for me. As we crested the rise past mt Vernon we looked ahead and saw 2 riders up and decided to give chase. For 3 miles we chased and closed the gap that had been almost a mile in length. Turning the corner onto Keith-Salem rd we realized an average speed of 18.5 mph, that was the grimace.

The grin began after we turned the corner and began to head North. The wind was blowing between 20 and 25mph with gusts going to 30. Already tired from the effort we cruised along recovering until we ascended the short steep climb on Salem Valey road just past the right hand turn from Keith-Salem.

Then the real fun began. For the next 6.7 miles we averaged over 26 MPH! completing the ride with my first +20 mph average for the year.

Thanks T & C for all the hard work, it was a fun ride.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Finally - Back to riding

Well, that's not exactly true because I have gotten a few rides in, but my work life is beginning to slow down a bit and this gives me more disposable time.

I spent 2 hours in the morning running around like a fool, chasing a Frisbee (The Ultimate Game), spent 3 hours chasing daffodils (didn't see many), and returned home just in time to get a 2 hour ride in.

I heard about the east ridge group ride, but I couldn't start with them so I tried to intersect their course. This is a difficult thing to do if you don't know where they were riding. So I cast about in different directions, getting about 17-18 miles in before I actually saw any of the riders.

I stopped back by the start area about 1 1/2 hours after they had left, the fast ones had returned, and talked to one of the riders. They had gone completely in a different direction than I had assumed.

Leaving that area I rode against the stream (trickle) of returning riders that had been dropped and left to fend for themselves, a number of which looked fairly tired.

From there I went to find one of my friends who is training for a Marathon on an 18 mile run. I pulled in to a church to get my water bottle filled up and saw him pass by. I spent about 15 minutes waiting for my wife who was in choir practice and then headed for home. I was sure I would see my runner buddy, and even went about 3 miles out of my way, but I never caught up to him. This might be an indication of my fitness level (can't even catch up with a guy who is running 18 miles).

Anyway, it was good to get out and ride 32 miles, the weather was good, the wind provided some good added resistance, in all a Great Ride!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Group Ride - 2008-02-10

It was another beautiful morning, although a bit on the cool side to start with.

Eight riders showed up at the Village Market Parking lot to enjoy the morning sun, and departed just after 8:00 am to take in a 35 mile ride.

We headed south down university drive, up and over the first little climb, Groupe compact. Left on Prospect Church, then right on E-brainerd. It was here that the pace started to split the group although by the time we turned onto London lane it was all back together again.

Proceding up and over the London climb produced another split in the group. Deciding to just hammer the hills and regroup, everyone got back together before the climb on Keith (at the horse stables-Riding ring). Leading the group up that climb I proceeded to blow out every cobweb I could find, found a few, and the group split into pieces again.

Waiting for awhile on the backside for two that were missing (one of them being my son) I returned to see what happened. One of the riders had broken his chain on a missed shift and was calling for a ride home. We managed to get the chain fixed and called off the broom waggon.

By this time the rest of the group was long gone, headed towards Cohutta. The group had laid out a plan for the ride so the three of us rode to intersect their route and regroup. Sure enough, we came up the West side of the Lebanon Valley Church road climb as the rest of our party climbed the East side and were reunited at the top.

It was then, California Lane to Blair, Mcdonald to Short-Cut, and then the run down Apison Pike with the group getting stretched out by the time we went by Mckee plant #2.

A nice ride, nice weather.

Soon it will be warmer.

Monday, February 4, 2008

02-03 Sunday Group Ride

Well, it was cold again (31F) when my son and I started out.

The group consisted of 4 additional other riders. Strangely the group shrinks when it gets colder out, our other usual participants being either exceedingly smart or excessively week kneed.

Our pace was sufficiently slack at the beginning that someone suggested we go down the newly paved Johnston Rd. This provided some stimulus to the legs with some pretty steep rollers. It may have been an attempt to warm up, I don't know.

Alabama Rd provided a nice new smooth surface and the pace increased and another chance to build up some heat. After crossing the railroad tracks Nature called and was answered by a few.

Crossing the Blue Springs/Hungry Hollow railway we saw the headlights of an approaching train in the distance. No race today as we were traveling in opposite directions.

As we approached the Weatherly Switch climb, feeling pretty good, I watched everyone go as I contemplated an attack, nahhhh it just wasn't something I needed right then.

Coming back down Apison pike was another series of attacks and catches with the last stretch being ramped up to 28mph. This is a good section to be wide awake on.

It was a good ride, and the temperature was warming up rapidly. Even though it is the first weekend in February, spring doesn't seem that far away.

Rookie Questions:
Is it okay to let someone into the middle of a hammering pace line when there is a 3/4 gap formed in front of me and Car Back warning has been given? Yes, you should get the rider out of the line of cars into the shelter of the paceline.

Should I intentionally close the gap and let the rider hang out in front of the car even if I don't intend to take a pull on the front? No, why would you do that? he's been pulling for you on and off for the last 30 miles, let him in, he'll pull for you again.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jan 30 Trainer

200 watts at 20 mph for 24 minutes (8 miles). Heart rate was getting into the 180's near the end. Then I spent 8 more miles at 130-150 watts "cooling down" just trying to finish the ride. HR diddn't drop much below 160. And yes it's mindlessly boring to sit and cool down on a trainer. If I'm not hammering on the trainer why ride?

I had to get off the trainer a couple of times to adjust some things, that's why there are dips in the HR curve (see image).

I think I'm finally recovered from Sundays madness.

AM weight was 207. Seems to be going in the right direction.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday Rides

Yes, that's right "Rides"

For some reason I thought I needed to get more mileage in yesterday, and since it was going to warm up later and there was a group starting early, what better opportunity?

There was a lot of discussion about ride start time since the day was supposed to warm up, but one of the riders couldn't go later, so I decided to get a ride in early with the possibility of going out again later.

Since there was a possibility of going later, my son decided he'd sleep in.

It was a beautiful, and cold, morning with frost details on all the leaves and cars. The sunrise was spectacular promising warmth.

I met two other riders and proceeded out at 8:00 am from the Village Market(VM). Course and ride details for the first group ride. Doing my fair share of pulling I warmed up sufficiently until we turned back north, which put us in the shade in Mt Vernon Valley. As we rode up Stewart, my left foot turned to a brick of ice and two of my fingers went numb. We returned with a 17mph average.

Fast forward 4 hours:

After playing an hour of Ultimate, eating lunch, getting my daughter to a birthday party, I was ready for ride number two.

The plan was to meet at the VM at 2:30 for an easy ride. 10 riders showed up and we departed at about 2:45, there were some of us that had more desire to stand around and talk than to ride. As the ride started I didn't feeling like pushing and the terrain dictated a comfortable pace. Comfortable for everyone except 2 or three of us. I helped bring the group back together a couple times (I think it was three total) and at mile 50(for the day) suddenly I didn't have any more legs. I looked around to see if there was some cannibal that had appeared and started removing bits and pieces of them but there was no relief to be had. Our average at this point was 19.2mph.

Fortunately, as I was moving forward with great difficulty, I caught up to one of the group that had a flat tire. This was a gift. After changing the tire and trying to get some calories back, we moved off towards home ending with an average of 16.7mph just off the pace of the morning ride.

After the ride I ate to replace. No Pizza for me! Just a great dish of Lasagna followed by a short nap, and then a great concert featuring 8 soloists.

5000' of climbing, what a great day!

207.9 lbs this morning

Friday, January 25, 2008

Returning to Ride

For a week I've been off the trainer trying to get over a cold.

I also spent some time this week rebuilding some wheels for my father who got struck by a car last week. Fortunately he just got bruised up, no broken bones, but he did pretzel his front wheel, which is fixed now.

After the last T-max episode, I went on a vacation, ate too much, gained 2 pounds, got sick, etc etc.

I think I learned a lesson though, if you don't feel good doing the T-max intervals don't do them. Intervals are hard enough to do when you're feeling good, listen to your body and if it's not responding it's better to take it easy than to push too hard.

I'm getting focused again and have been looking through some data, posted here. I've used a lot of info from Richard Sterns site on power. The numbers I like to look at are near the bottom that show power output as compared to top athletes. Gives me motivation to get the weight down near realistic levels which for me is at 165lbs, 47 lbs from where I am today.

Around here with all the ups and downs, a high Power/Weight ratio rules.

Now to actually do it.

Fat Cyclist just posted a letter on Cliff Shot blocks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Four T-Max

Well, not exactly four Full T-max intevals.

I had planned to do my T-max training this morning but couldn't drag myself out of bed early enough. So I did an evening session.

This was not good in many ways. In many ways this was good.

I acquired too much exercise Sunday and was not fully recovered. It is still difficult to get out of chairs and walk up stairs because my legs are so sore. After 2 hours of riding my son talked me into playing Ultimate Frisbee for another 2 hours. I haven't played that game for about 5 months. I payed for it.

What does not kill you will make you stronger.

I feel pretty weak right now.

My plan was to do four T-max Intervals. After the first one I knew I was not up to the task. I didn't want to give up so I went for 3/4 T-max intervals (400 watts for 1.5 minutes instead of 2 minutes). After the fourth I was feeling pretty sick.

Why am I doing these?

I've included screen shots from the trainer software.

Weight AM: 211 lbs

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

T-Max Intervals 01-08

After some much needed vacation, rest, (and lots of food) I've been needing some hard training. After 2-1/2 weeks off the bike it was good to get out for a group ride this last Sunday which always shows where your weaknesses are.

Nothing like self induced suffering though, so I decided to take up the dreaded T-Max again.

After waking to the alarm at 5:00am and falling back asleep, I finally dragged out of bed, got dressed and got on the trainer with the objective of completing 3 intervals of 400 watts each with 4 minutes rest in between.

I selected a flat course of 10 miles and proceeded to warm up slowly (4 miles @100 watts) while watching a DVD of the '06 Landis Solo Attack. This video seemed appropriate for the level of effort that was going to be required.

At 16 minutes I started the First Interval, no problem.

After the first rest I started the Second Interval, getting close to my maximum heart rate at the end of the interval but holding on for the duration. My HR monitor wasn't picking up real good and I only got decent readings while resting and spinning easily.

Feeling pretty good after the second rest I determined to make another full peg, and completed a third full interval without tapering. I'm pretty excited about that, although keeping in mind that the protocol has a goal of 8 intervals, I still have a looooong way to go.

During each rest phase my HR dropped below 135, which gave me the confidence to keep attacking. I would have attempted to ride a 4th interval but I ran out of course and decided to just cool down.

Friday I will have to lengthen the course a little bit, maybe to 12 miles, and see if I can get 4 intervals in.

I'm wondering, at what point do you retest for your PPO and T-Max and change your intervals? How much progress do you need, 6 intervals? 8?

Weight this AM 212lbs