Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July was good to me..........

Great weather, quality rides, fun organized events, and my return to running (or more specifically my commitment to Chicago 2007) have me wishing July would never end.

These days find me busy. Family and work pretty much make me a "weekend warrior" when it comes to cycling. So, logging 566 cycling miles is a big deal for me. The key for me has been making a commitment to get out early on the weekends. This allows me to get the cycling miles in and limit the time taken away from the family.

Running is a bit different as it generally takes less time. Marathon training will bring longer runs and require more time, but I am just entering this phase :) !!!

The July Stats:

Rides: 11
Total Time: 31:22:22
Avg. Speed: 18.1 MPH
Total Dist.: 566.6 Mi
Total Cal. Burned: 27286

Runs: 7
Total Time: 04:37:21
Avg. Mi Pace: 9:21
Total Dist.: 33.7 Mi
Total Cal. Burned: 4573

How was your July? Later.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How Did You Get Here............?

Making my way through all the Tour de France Doping post at Bikeforums.net I came across one titled; "How did you get into the sport?" For some reason I found myself laying out my response in a very thoughtful (for me) way. It just felt right to post it. Maybe it was, or is, too much information, but it just came out. So, I share it here, with you.

in grade school i had a pretty blue schwinn traveler that i would race around the neighborhood. it was a great getaway vehicle. i think riding was always in my blood, but didnt do any in high school or college or after that.....?

fast forward to full blown adulthood and 2004. married, trying to have a kid, and getting fat. i use to play a lot of basketball, but being fat and out of shape made that hard. my lower back and knees couldnt take the summer 3 on 3 tournaments anymore. through in some anger and drinking issues and i was a real miserable SOB.

a good friend of mine was just getting hardcore about triathlons and cycling. he did some sprint triathlons that involved mountain biking. so, in late 2004 i got a specialized hardrock sport. i really enjoyed riding singletrack, but found it hard on my body (neck and back). plus, i had to load the bike & gear up then drive to the singletrack and it all took too much time.

2005 the wife gets pregnant. i convince her i need a road bike. it will save me time. i can just jump on it and leave from the house. she could care less, but rubber stamps the purchase and in june i get a trek 1000. the pregnancy and subsequent birth is difficult and i dont really ride much in 2005.

i change my life in 2006. i embrace being a father and a husband. i change my diet, exercise, and drop 30 pounds by may (70ish for the year). i meet dudes on the internet who i ride centuries with. i get a new bike in august. i ride more centuries with said dudes. i cant ride enough. i log 2500 miles my first year.

now, i love my life and my bike. that is all. later.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Official Final RAIN Thought.....

The official 07 RAIN finish times are in. Here is how my two years of participation in this event compare.

2006: Total time of 12:22. Finished 595th out of 859 finishers. There were over 1000 riders who started, but mainly due to the heat numerous riders quit or didn't make the 14 hour time requirement.

2007: Total time of 8:32. Finished 200th (tied for 77th on time) out of 1001 finishers. Perfect weather conditions lead to a fast ride.

Since this post is official and all, I might as well mention I am now focusing on the 2007 Chicago Marathon. No more dilemma for me on this event. Later.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

RAIN. The Report.....

i like RAIN. its flat, its fast, and its well run. 07 had great weather and a great BF turnout. i travelled to the ride with Psi and Cy. much props to Psimet for organizing the logistics and all that jazz. much props to CyLowe for bringing the humor. i had a fantastic ride. it pretty much played out like i had wanted, except for a couple extra mph on my average at the end .

we arrived earlier then last year (my first was 06) and lined our group up at the front. we could have been on the front line, but opted for about 10 rows in. the ride starts out fast. its downhill into Terre Haute and everyone is hopped up on excitement.

miles 1 to 10 were nervous for me. speeding downhill into the sunrise and cold breeze in a large group had me searching for a sweet spot in the group.

miles 10 to 20 brought some more sun and some loose legs. i jumped up from the second group we were in to the main group. this was a large group and i was just hanging on the back. shider was right behind me, then right in front of me, then GONE. at mile 20 i got a text message from my legs; "hey dummy you have 140 to go and we dont like this current pace." needless to say i drifted back. at this point i wasnt sure if this was another Sudden Century style pop at mile 20 or just better cycling judgement.

miles 40 to 60 were fun. the entire BF group and maybe 15 others were pulled by shider. he did pull off once or twice. apparently cycling machines only need to float back 2 to 3 riders, wait 30 seconds, then charge back to the front and continue pulling. at the 60 mile SAG stop our pace was around 23 mph.

miles 60 to 90 were tough for me. the legs still didnt want to respond. the riders also start to spread out at this point and we were in a smaller group. shider had continued on at his breakneck pace while Psi, Cy & I eased up a bit, but only a bit. my legs still were unresponsive. i could ride in the pack with no issue, but pulling was putting me a in spot of bother.

mile 90ish was lunch. i ate. i tinkled. i drank. and i ate. i lead us out of the lunch stop in the wrong direction. appears there was a new route out of the lunch stop. luckily, last years marking were still on the ground and some other riders made the same mistake (or they followed us ?). one of the other riders was familar with the area and along with the 2006 markings we were back on route in no time.

after lunch i was giddy, energized, and ready to roll. clearly, it was powered by oreo cookies. ten of them to be exact. i think it was around mile 105, right after Psimet blew our group up, that we parted ways. i wasnt sprinting or putting myself out. i just spun it at a comfortable pace.

from 105 to 125 i rode solo and i rode it fast. the legs just did NOT want to stop and the wind was encouraging the effort. around mile 125 i passed smokinmiles. dispite hardly stopping, she was still flying down route 40. she mentioned shider was just up ahead. i looked up and sure enough there he was in his hard to miss bright yellow jersey. i put my head down and chased after him. not the smartest thing to do, but i was oreo cookie powered!

i caught him just before the 130 SAG stop. he was hurting a bit with some calf cramps. after a quick stop, we headed out for the finish together. we rode miles 130 to 160 fairly fast as we took our turns pulling towards the finish. the decent into Richmond was downhill, fast, and fun. we spun like crazy. like we had just started the ride. (oreo cookies GOOOOD!).

the numbers from my Garmin:

Total Time = 8:32:40
Ride Time = 7:35:00
Avg MPH = 21.2
Distance = 160.44

complete edge stats HERE

this is a four hour improvement over last year. yes there was a tailwind, but the all knowing Garmin has it at a SSW 9 mph avg with gust of 15. i do think there was a bit more wind then that, but definetly not a four hour wind. i think everyone in our group rode faster and better then they thought they would! a great effort by all.


** this is my write up from over at Bikeforums.net**

Friday, July 13, 2007

One Day, One Way, 160 Miles

Go time. The gang departs today, high noon. I am ready. I think. My easy ride yesterday was uneventful, if not, a bit more difficult then it should have been. Thank you Mr. 15mph Headwind.
Goal for RAIN? You know me, I love my goals. Last year the ride time was decent at 9 hours 22 minutes. The total time was brutal at over 12 hours. The breaks were too many and too long, but needed, so that's that.
Quick facts: I am 10 pounds lighter for this start. I have more miles under my butt. My fitness level is solid and I may be peaking (?). It should not be as HOT! The not so good: I have some minor left knee pain. My neck and back is tied up in knots. It could be hotter then I think.
Alrighty then, the goal is a Total Time of 10 hours. This means limited stops. My thoughts are ride a 18 mph avg for the 160 miles. This is around 9 hours of ride time and leaves me a buffer of an hour for breaks, mishaps, and general suffering that I love so much.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hammer Time....

As I previously posted I have been testing out some Hammer Nutrtion Products. I pulled the trigger last Friday (7/6) and ordered some product from their site. It came today. As a first time online customer they tossed in some extra goodies. Actually, a lot of extras. Not to mention they called me about an hour after I ordered to inform me that the ground shipping I selected would cause the order to ship Monday (7/9), which could put it at my door too late for RAIN. Of course, I upgraded to 3 day shipping. When FedEx delievered the package to the wrong house yesterday, Hammer tracked it down and had it at my door this afternoon. So, I like their product and the service is top notch too. Later.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

RAIN Prep....

Next weekend is RAIN. The 160 mile, one way, one day ride. I have been training for it specifically the last two weeks. Well, finding my legs after vacation (that included 10 days off the bike) and training for RAIN.

Fitness wise things are looking good. This week I have logged two 68 mile rides. The first on the 4th was a flat as a pancake organized Metric. I limited my stops and put in a very aggressive effort. I rode it solo, never drafting, and managed a nice 18.6 mph average. I stopped twice for only 13 minutes total to refill the water bottles. The hard effort didn't totally wipe me out either, which leads me to believe I had more to give, and that makes me happy.

Yesterday, it was another long solo effort. I headed out around 9am for 68 more miles. This was a slower ride at 17 mph average, but the route had some nice rolling hills and the legs responded positively again.

I have been testing out some new nutrition too. Hammer Nutrition products to be exact. First, HEED their sports drink is awesome. Not to sweet, in fact it's very subtle. It's easy to get down when the temps are rising and it has not produced any GI issues for me to date. Next, their GELs are all natural, meaning no HCFS, and very tasty. Espresso, Tropical, and Raspberry are the ones I have tried. Just like HEED they are easy to chug down when hot. This is key as it is July and HOT (duh)! Finally, the HAMMER BAR, both chocolate chip and almond raisin. They are decent, but nothing special. They remind me more a treat or dessert bar then anything else. While their sports drink and gels are worth the premium price the bars are not ($2.50 per). Nothing can beat the $1 Cliff Bar in my book.

The legs, mind, and nutrition are ready for RAIN. My neck and bike are dragging behind in their preparation. I need to focus this week on stretching out my neck every night. It is so tight that it very uncomfortable when I am on the bike. I blame the Hard Arse Mexico Resort bed for this. It always is an issue, but normally not at mile 10. I hope to work it loose this week.

Anyone know a good bike mechanic? (Psimet you out there?) My crank or bottom bracket is creaking like a cricket when under the slightest pressure. Very annoying for me and anyone else riding withing 100 feet!!!! Everything is function fine, just in a loud manner. I hope to get this looked at on Friday (hint hint).

Finally, I need to focus on my overall nutrition. With the holiday it has consisted of beer, barbecue, beer and ice cream. Well, not as bad as that may sound, but something I will be cleaning up starting today. Later today I plan a short run and tomorrow another ride. The goal for next week is two short and easy 30 milers and one run. Nothing to hard as I want the legs to be fresh for the 7am RAIN start a week from today. Later.