Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Kicked out of the house
When I got off work on Tuesday afternoon I was having my doubts about going on this ride because I’ve never been comfortable with just showing up to any group function not knowing anyone and trying to somehow fit in. This is where being married for a long time really pays off. When I told Jenny I was having my doubts about going on the ride she told me it wasn’t an option and at 4:45 she was going to kick me out of the house with my bike and lock the doors. There you go, my mind was made up, I was going on the ride after all whether I liked it or not. Jenny even went so far as to sneak out to the garage and put my bike on the back of the car when I wasn’t looking. What a great wife. I bet the rest of you guys out there are jealous now aren’t you?
Kicked to the curb
When I got to the bike shop there were a number of cars already in the parking lot and people were milling around in their spandex. I spotted the cyclist who originally invited me to the ride and reintroduced myself to him. When I asked him how the ride worked he told me there were three groups going out (fast, medium, and slow) and that being that it was my first time I should go with the slow group. I inquired about the medium ride and he asked how much riding I did. I told him that I did a fair amount of riding and I thought I could keep up with the medium group. He then went into an unabridged monologue about how much riding he had done in the last week. It sounded a little something like this “Last Saturday I rode 70 miles and then the next day a buddy called and we rode 80 more and the next day, blah, blah, blah…..”. After a minute of listening to him it started sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher talking to him. At that point I was convinced that I would do the slower ride just because I didn’t want to hear any more of the monologue. I’m still convinced that I could have put the hurt on the medium group or at least hung with them but that will have to wait for another week.
Will someone please be my friend?
Now that I wasn’t riding with the one guy that I sort of knew I was in search of a new set of cycling buddies. I scanned the crowd of cyclists trying to figure out which group was the slow group. After eavesdropping on some conversations I figured it out and made my way over for some introductions. As I wandered up and introduced myself everyone in the group seemed happy to have another rider with them and went out of their way to make me feel welcome. What a relief! There was a definite theme to the group as at least half of the riders were either from England or Scotland. As I was standing there getting to know everyone a neighbor of mine pulled up and got out of his car. I had briefly met him before but he didn’t remember me so this was also going to be a great opportunity to get to know him. He also fit into the group very well because he is from England as well.
Bridging the gap
As we headed out I fit myself in toward the rear of the group because I wasn’t sure what to expect. After a mile or so I could see that there was a group of three riders that had gone off the front quite a ways so I decided to catch up with them. I thought it would easy to bridge the gap between the groups but that proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. It took me a good 5 miles or so of averaging 22 mph before I could catch up with them. So much for them being part of the slow group. Just as I caught up with them 2 of the 3 riders decided to head back to the other group and ride with them. Since I was feeling pretty cooked by then I elected to stay with the lone rider in the front for a while.
Riding with Don
As the two of us rode along we headed into a pretty terrible head wind but I didn’t mind because we were able to ride side by side and visit. We talked about our kids and where each of us worked. It was really nice. After a while we came to a parking lot which was a traditional regrouping spot and Don waited with me until the rest of the group caught up with us. Once they were all there Don headed off to his home and the rest of us finished up the ride. I was able to ride with the shop owner for the remainder of the ride and we swapped stories about our bikes and what we liked and didn’t like.
When it was all said and done I was really glad I chose to ride with the group that I rode with the other night. Cycling isn’t always about how fast or far you can ride because after all the best rider is the one with the biggest smile on their face. I'm really hoping Jenny kicks me out of the house next week too.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
5:40 - Started the first episode of 24 and climbed on the bikes.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I had originally planned on sleeping in a little since it is Saturday and starting some time around 8. Last Sunday I was asked to speak at a Baptism for some great kids that I taught a Sunday School class to years ago. This meeting is at 2PM on Saturday. So, my plans of sleeping have been flushed. The new plan is to get up between 5 and 5:30 (depending on my motivation) have a bowl of granola then climb on the bike. I'm hoping to get started no later than 6:00. Getting up at 5 on a Saturday isn't my idea of fun but this will give me enough time to finish up my ride in plenty of time for the Baptism.
I had originally planned on watching a couple of movies and some other DVDs during my ride but now I'm leaning more toward renting a TV series that I've never seen before. Of course this would be after watching the daily stage of the Giro D'Italia (can't miss that). Since I'm not much of a TV watcher there are a lot of TV shows I've never seen that could be interesting. Here are some that I've heard of but never seen: Lost, 24, ER, Band of Brothers and the list goes on. Since I've only heard of these shows I'm not sure which ones are good. This is where you come in. I need a recommendation of a good TV series that would hold my attention while pounding through some major trainer miles. Know of any good ones? No Mr. Ed or the Barnaby Jones won't cut it this time as my sanity could seriously hinge on this.
One of the items that you get for participating in this event is a tube of DZNuts chamois crème. If you've done much cycling you know that chamois crème is one of the essentials to a comfortable ride. As of yesterday I haven't received my ride package in the mail yet which isn't a big deal except for the chamois crème because we are running SERIOUSLY low on our supply. If the DZNuts doesn't come by Friday I'll be making a trip to the LBS for my own supply. Friction really isn't my friend.
Since I will be doing this ride in the house I plan on setting up my laptop on the table next to the bike. That way I can provide live updates of just how nuts and painful this event turns out to be. I'm thinking that the first couple of hours won't be a problem but after that I'm really not sure what to expect. If you're interested in what it's like to ride a trainer for 100 miles tune in on Saturday morning to live the torture with me. I might even do some typing as I ride along but we'll see. If my updates get really strange and incoherent you'll know that 100 miles on a trainer just isn't healthy.
I'm actually pretty darn excited to do this ride as I'm sure many of you are as well. Bring on the adventure!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Lately, I've felt the need to get rid of the camo's for rides longer than 15 miles and "get my cycling geek on" by wearing my cycling shorts with pride. I am a cyclist after all. I own 3 bikes, use bike bottles for around the house chores, love cycling jerseys and wish all shirts had pockets in the back, when I'm not cycling, I read about other people cycling, and I write a blog about cycling. OK, I am a cyclist so I should probably look like one right? So last Friday when Jenny and I went for a training ride, I left the camo's at home and sported the full cycling look. For the friends and family who read this blog who aren't into cycling you might want to shield your eyes before you scroll down the page. Here's a picture from Friday.
I must admit it wasn't that bad at all. In fact, it was actually quite nice to just wear the cycling shorts while we were out. Jenny on the other hand was having a harder time with them than I was. I guess she has stared at the camo shorts for longer than I have. While we were taking turns pulling she commented that she was having a hard time getting used to the idea of me wearing just the cycling shorts, but would eventually get used to it. Wait a minute here, I thought I was the one that had the issues here! I guess Jenny needs some time to get used to them too.
Well, this season one of my goals is to get rid of the camo's and wear cycling shorts. I swear they ought to have some kind of class for letting your inner cyclist out because I could really use some pointers. I think I can do it, but you can count me out on the whole shave your legs thing. It's not going to happen!
Monday, May 18, 2009
The City of Marysville has a small celebration ride every year to commemorate Bike to Work Day which I've never done so I thought I'd give it a try. I left the house at 7:15 and rode down to the library where the ride was to start. When I arrived there were 3 police cars and about 20 cyclists in the parking lot. I thought to myself this must be either the makings of a standoff (Spandex and Lycra Gang vs. The Cops) or the ride must have a police escort. As I got a little closer I noticed that the Mayor of Marysville was in the parking lot and he was on a bike too. This confirmed my suspicion that we would have a police escort for the ride but didn't erase the vision in my head of the geeky cyclist taking on the police. I'm kind of thinking that just one of the police officers could have taken all of us while simultaneously eating a donut but we would have certainly out ridden him if he was on a bike.
As we neared our final destination the only obstacle left was a 4 way stop. For some reason we didn't have a police escort at the intersection but not to worry the Mayor blew right through it like it wasn't there. He didn't even attempt the slow and go technique that I've been working on for years; it was simply the go technique. I was both impressed and scared all at the same time.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
years ago and how things have changed since then. I thought I'd share
it with you because it still kind of cracks me up.
Back in 2003 Jenny's sister was in town and they decided to spend the
day in Seattle with the kids doing the tourist thing. Since Jenny
wanted to hang out with her sister I got the pass not to go with them.
With everyone gone I packed up my Costco mountain bike complete with
full knobby tires on the bike rack and headed to the centennial trail.
I think this bike weighed 3 times what my current bike weighs but it
sure was steady in wind storms. In the past I had ridden this trail on
family bike rides but the farthest we ever got was 3 or 4 miles up the
trail before heading back to the car. Of course back then I would pull
a bike trailer full of kids who didn't know how to ride a bike.
This time was going to be different though. There were no kids to pull
and no time constraints so I was going to find out just how long this
trail really was and where it ended up. I was totally prepared for
whatever would came my way because I packed a fanny pack chalk full of
one entire water bottle! Yep, that was it and away I went no spare
tube, pump, or food, I was ready to go.
As I rode along I was having a heck of a good time because I was heading
into the great unknown. This trail could have gone all the way to
Oregon for all I knew. As I was riding along I could see in my mirror
(it was a big fat bulky one) another rider who was slowly approaching
me. We were heading up a slight incline and no matter how hard I
pedaled he kept gaining on me. Eventually, he passed me and I shook my
head in disgust. How could a road bike pass me going up a hill? I was
on a mountain bike for heaven sakes shouldn't I be faster on hills? I'm
normally not much of a competitive guy but that day I found out that
getting passed brings out the competition in me. It was like someone
was challenging me to a dual or something.
I ended up making it to the end of the trail which happened to be in
Snohomish. As I looked at my speedometer it said 18 miles which was a
personal best and I still had to ride back to the car. I celebrated by
sitting down on a bench, digging in my fanny pack and drinking my one
bottle of water which of course I hadn't touched yet. After I polished
off the bottle of water I headed back feeling fully hydrated. On the
way back I spotted another cyclist up ahead of me and I was bound and
determined that I was going to pass him. I put my legs in overdrive and
spun those knobby tires as fast as they would go until I crept up and
slowly passed him. I have to admit I felt quite a sense of satisfaction
to have passed him even if it was really slow. What I didn't realize is
he would be following me for the rest of the way so if I didn't want him
passing me back I would have to maintain the same blazing speed. I'm
sure my blazing speed was all of 14 MPH but having never ridden that far
before and lugging a heavy mountain bike equipped with knobby tires I
was really hitting my personal red line for cycling.
There was no way I was going to be passed though so I pushed it for the
rest of the trip back to the car. As I arrived I couldn't believe I had
just ridden 36 miles. At the time it seemed like I had ridden the
equivalent of a marathon and as I hopped in the car I wondered what all
of the white powdery crystals were that were all over my face. They
even had a salty taste to them.
On the way home I picked up a salad at the store to eat for lunch
because since I had ridden so far I must have turned over a new healthy
guy leaf. When I got home I polished off the salad in no time flat and
then began to eat everything else in site that I could get my hands on.
I had a hunger that just wouldn't quit and to make matters worse I was
super thirsty. Wasn't one water bottle good enough for a 36 mile ride?
Over the years I've learned a lot about cycling that I didn't know then.
I still occasionally ride the centennial trail but that 36 miles doesn't
seem nearly long enough these days. I bring a lot more things with me
like a spare tube and I actually drink which I'm riding. I even
occasionally let people pass without it bothering me (occasionally).
Even though things are a little different today it's hard to match the
feeling of accomplishment I felt that day. 36 miles in one day!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Anyway, since I know some things about cycling I was asked to talk to the 10 – 13 year old boys this Wednesday night about cycling at our church. Today I sat down and developed an outline of what I wanted to talk about.
I seriously considered devoting some time to the importance and advantages of Snot Rockets. Just think of the debate I could have with this group of boys on the form and delivery of a proper snot rocket launch. Of course the activity at the end of the night would include a snot rocket launching contest. I’m thinking it would be the funnest and grossest youth night activity of the year. After thinking about this a little longer I decided to scratch the idea from the agenda for the night due to the number of phone calls I’d get from irate parents after the event. I guess I’ll just let them find out about the wonders of a good snot rocket delivery all on their own.
So here’s my agenda for the night.
- The importance of wearing a helmet
- Proper hand signals
- How to fix a flat
- Brake adjustments
- Gear adjustments
- Importance of keeping your chain lubed
- Proper seat height
- Passing etiquette (the use of onyerleft)
- Proper gear selection
OK, now that I look at my list of things to talk about I’m going to have a bunch of bored boys on my hands. I obviously need to spice things up a bit. This is where you come in. Got any ideas of how I could talk to 10 to 13 year old boys about cycling without putting them to sleep and without getting any phone calls from parents?
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Anyway, since we were already in the area we drove into Seattle to hang out.
Once we found some parking we walked over to Pike Place Market. If you haven’t been there it’s a very old farmers market with every type of produce imaginable. There’s also a lot of sea food available there as well. Basically, it’s Seattle’s version of Fisherman’s wharf complete with street performers and strange sights.
After wandering around for awhile Jenny took me down a set of stairs to show me something amazing that I had never seen before. Honestly, she was surprised that I had never seen it because it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle. As I got to the bottom of the stairs and rounded the corner the sight took my breath away. What an amazing sight. How could I have lived by Seattle for so long and not seen this? But, wait this attraction could be in any city and I’m thinking should be in every city. Here is a shot of what I saw.
At first glance it looks like an incredible piece of popular art that could only be seen in a funky metropolitan art gallery. If this were the case misunderstood artists would probably gather around to analyze the meaning of the different color patterns. Yep, it’s that cool and hip. But….. if you stand back from it becomes abundantly clear what it really is.
It’s the Famous Seattle Gum wall! So here’s the scoop. The gum wall is located next to a theater. One of the policies of the theater is that no gum is allowed to be chewed by their patrons so people while standing in line to enter the theater would have to find a place to put their gum. Naturally, some teenagers started putting their gum on the wall before entering. The theater cleaned the wall repeatedly but at some point they just gave up and thus it became the famous Seattle Gum Wall. I wasn’t chewing gum at the time but if I had been I certainly would have added to the art. From what I understand this wall has been in existence for many years and people from all over the world have added gum to it. They say one man’s trash is another man’s art. I think this is really taking it to the extreme. Welcome to Seattle.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
longer and longer which has me grinning from ear to ear. Honestly, I've
been waiting for these rides for the last 6 months. These longer rides
require the intake of calories in order maintain your energy. As I was
packing my bike with goodies for my last ride I noticed that I had quite
the assortment of food in my bag. Some of them I really like and other
items we have just acquired one way or another but they aren't my
favorites. Here's my take on some of the cycling food that I've packed
with me over the years.
One of the big advantages of these bars are they are moldable into just
about any shape. Only have room for a powerbar in between your spare
tube and tire levers? Simply wrap your power bar around your tire
levers and your good to go. I seriously think Stretch Armstrong's were
filled with this substance in the late 70s. Yep, they are that
moldable. Have you ever worked out and woke up the next day swearing
that you have sore muscles you didn't even know you had. When I eat
powerbars muscles ache in my head I didn't even know I had. It's quite
the workout just get one of these down. On the bright side the cookies
and cream, chocolate, and peanut butter bars are pretty darn tasty and
if you're strong enough to get one down they will keep you going for a
couple hours. Warning, stay away from the vanilla flavored powerbars.
I'm not quite sure what the flavor of the vanilla bars are but they
certainly aren't vanilla.
These are as essential to pack on a long trip as a spare tube. I try to
keep a gel in my seat bag at all times just in case I run out of gas.
I'm not sure what is in a gel but they are the elixir of cycling life.
I've been out in the middle of nowhere on a ride feeling really run down
and once I power one of these gels down I feel good as new. They are a
great emergency energy boost. The only disadvantage to gels are the
mess. For some reason I just can't eat one without getting stickiness
on my fingers. Maybe it's something I never got over as a kid. Also,
if you put the empty wrapper in your bag it tends to make other things
sticky. The good thing about a gel is they taste like pudding in a
small pouch. You just can't go wrong there. I could eat these things
by the handful but I limit myself to one because they are expensive.
My first couple of attempts at eating shot blocks were not a good
experience. We had received some free shot blocks at a bike expo but
the flavors were lemon lime and orange. Now I know why they were free
because both of these flavors were nasty. I had a hard time even
getting down one block of each of these flavors. That was last year and
I swore that shot blocks weren't for me. Last week I tried strawberry
shot blocks fully expecting to have a hard time getting through one
block but to my surprise they were really good. In fact, strawberry
shot blocks taste just like a big bite of jam. Bonus! I liked them so
much I polished off the entire bag at one rest stop. I would have eaten
more if I had packed more. I did resist digging into Jenny's shot
blocks but it was a struggle.
For some reason I haven't had many of these bars before but the ones
that I've had are really good. They are like eating a healthy cookie if
there is such a thing. I really need to get more of these.
I've seen recipes for these floating around but I've never tried one
out. I'm kind of intrigued by them just because I don't like paying for
energy bars. If you know of a recipe that is the best thing since
integrated shifters I'd love to try it out. Please share.
I know this isn't an energy bar but a couple of Ibuprofen have really
saved me from a painful ride home in the past. I always carry them in
my bag. Vitamin I, don't leave home without them.
of the items above. If you see me on the side of the road munching away
be sure to stop. I'll dig through my bag and find something for you.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
If you map out a 62 mile route make sure you follow your plan.
Before our ride I mapped out the route and downloaded it to my Garmin. A couple of miles into the ride I took a wrong turn and we ended up following the route backwards. About 20 miles into the ride I realized the error of my ways so we had to make a course correction which ended up adding some miles onto the route. By the end of the ride my 62 mile route turned into a 70 mile route. Not a really big deal but something to learn for next time.
If you feel something moving in you helmet take your helmet off immediately.
At our first rest stop I was filling up my water bottles in a sink at a convenience store and I felt something moving inside my helmet. I dug around in my helmet with my finger and I couldn’t find anything so I wrote it off as maybe some sweat rolling down my forehead. I finished up filling my bottles and walked out of the store. When we got out of the store I still felt something moving around in my helmet again. When I took it off this is what I found.
Personally, I don’t like freeloading bees. I think they should fly on their own power so I gave him a good flick and off he went. OK not really, he made me mad so I squashed the little bugger. Don’t tell my youngest daughter though because this could traumatize her.
If Jenny has a camera in her jersey and starts riding slower than every one else it doesn’t mean that she’s getting tired.
On more than a couple of occasions I looked over my shoulder as we were flying down the road and Jenny was lagging really far behind my son and I. It wasn’t until we got home and I looked at the scads of pictures she had taken that I realized she was riding at the back snapping tons of pictures of everything in sight. I like taking pictures when I ride but I think she took this to a new level. I’m thinking the term training ride means something completely different to Jenny and I. Another good lesson learned.
Not all dogs bite
At the last convenience store we stopped at there were 5 or 6 other cyclists hanging out in the parking lot. As I went into the store and asked the clerk if I could fill up my water bottles the guy behind the counter told me that I could fill up my bottles in the hose outside of the store but to beware of the Chow Dog laying by the hose. He told me this without even looking up from his newspaper. I think his exact words were “he doesn’t look like he’s a biter but I would be careful if I were you”. Dogs and I don’t exactly get along so I decided to forgo filling up my bottles. When I told Jenny about this cautionary tale of woe she being the brave one in the family walked right up the hose and filled up all of our bottles. The dog looked up at Jenny but other than that didn’t even move a muscle. I guess that dog knew that he was no match for the likes of Jenny. I don’t blame him.
Ice cream is my new recovery meal of choice
At the end of our 70 mile adventure we stood in line at Snowgoose Produce to get one of their ginormous waffle cone ice cream scoops. Seriously, ice cream has never tasted so good before. I got the fudgy wudgy which was a little uncomfortable to say when I placed my order but it was like a trip to heaven after 70 miles in the saddle. I’m thinking ice cream is now my favorite recovery meal.
I wonder what I’ll discover on our next training ride. You just never know.
Total Mileage = 70
Wrong turns made = 1
Miles added to original route = 8
Animals spotted = bald eagles, cows, buffalos, dogs, coyotes, sheep, and one vicious Chow Dog who was scared of Jenny.
School days skipped = 1