Monday, June 29, 2009
Now to the nerdiness of my cycling goals
Last July when we decided to do the STP I drew up a plan of how many miles I would need to ride each week in order to enjoy the ride and be ready when the event came around. Being the cycling nerd that I am I set up a spreadsheet to track my progress to the goal. After the first 3 weeks I fell behind my goal and in November and December my cycling grew almost nonexistent due to the holiday season level of slacktitude that I achieved. For those of you not familiar with the term Slacktitude here is the definition because I’m sure you’ll want to incorporate this into your everyday vocabulary.
Slacktitude, [slak-ti-tood] – A sedentary state caused by excessive sleep and massive consumption of pie, cookies, and cheese cake.
Because of the high level of stacktitude that I obtained during the holidays I generated myself an almost insurmountable cycling goal deficit. I thought about just deleting my goofy spreadsheet but I kept at it. Over the last 4 months I really kicked it in gear and have clawed my way out of the slacktitude hole that I dug and have surpassed my STP goal.
So, the STP is less than two weeks away and all that’s left are some dress rehearsal rides this week and some recovery next week. I’m planning on taking a lot of pictures of the ride. More to come.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
A couple of times a year I go through my seat bag and clear out the weird things that I end up carrying around with me on my bike. I usually do this before the winter riding starts and then in the spring. Since I'll be riding back to back centuries in a couple of weeks I was curious what I had in my seat bag. Above is what I found.
* Spare Tube, I haven't had a flat in over 2 years. I hope this tube still holds air but I really don't want to find out.
* Multipurpose Tool
* Tire Levers
* 87 Cents, not sure where this came from and why I'm carrying around pennies.
* Tylenol and Ibuprofen, I don't ride anywhere without some Vitamin I and T. I don't use it very often but when I do it works like a champ
* Powerbar, I really hate these things. I'm not sure why I'm carrying it with me because even if I was bonking I might not even eat it. As you can tell it's been smashed in the back of my bag for quite some time.
* Black Cherry Almond Clif Bar, I saw this at the grocery store and it sounded great. When Jenny saw it she turned her nose up at it. So it's all mine. I'll probably eat it this Friday. Already looking forward to it.
* Glass Cleaners, I don't use these very often but they come in handy in getting road grime off of your sunglasses.
* Surgical Glove, I use this to change tires or put on dropped chains. That way you don't have to ride with a grease covered hand the rest of the ride. I love these things.
Well, that's it. I going to get rid of that power bar and replace it with a Gel and when I do the double century a couple of chamious creme packets will also be added. See anything I'm missing?
Monday, June 22, 2009
Last week my neighbor told me about a group ride in Snohomish on Saturday morning so I decided to check it out. On Friday I also got a call from my buddy Dan at work asking me if I had any riding plans for Saturday morning so I invited him to the group ride (that I had never been on). Last week Dan finished one of the toughest centuries in the state in 5 hours so I knew that he would want to ride with the fast group which was fine with me since I wanted to give the fast group a try also. On Saturday morning we both showed up at the start of the group ride and headed out with the fast group.
The 1st Commandment of Group Riding
As we headed out on the group ride I heard a honking noise 3 or 4 times. At first I didn't pay much attention to it but after a while I put two and two together and realized that the rider in front of me was clearing his nose unannounced. GROSS!!! I can't say I know everything about group riding but I do know the first commandment.
"Thou shalt not launch snot rockets on a group ride if thy colleagues are in the general vicinity"
Once I figured out what was going on I quickly passed the offender but every time we stopped or slowed down he would ride passed me so it became a game of pass the snot launcher. To be honest this really isn't my favorite game even though there was element of danger involved.
I also noticed as we rode along that the fast group was only maintaining a pace of ~15 MPH. I'm really not a speed demon but as we rode along both Dan and I were looking at each other like "This is the pace of the fast group"? To make matters worse after about 5 miles we stopped for a rest break and as we stood around staring at each other I started telling Dan of another route I knew in the area. Sensing that neither one of us wanted to continue at the current pace or dodge any more mucus missiles we agreed to abandon the group ride and explore the other route.
As we headed out on the alternative route we kept a really fast pace which actually felt good. As we started into the first of many rolling hills I noticed that Dan didn't slow much from his fast pace at all. At that point I knew I could be in trouble because there was just no way that I could maintain that speed up the hills too. I was able to catch Dan at the top of the hill but not without much leg and lung burning occurring first. Lucky for me, Dan didn't seem to have a problem with me drafting in order to catch my breath. Well, the momentary drafting turned into long term drafting as I found that this was going to be the only way to keep up with him. To be honest, it was a ton of fun to ride this route so fast. In fact, at one point we came upon a pace line of 4 riders and before we knew it we had blown passed them like they were standing still. After a while we were able to ride side by side as my legs recovered a little bit. Toward the end of the ride I took a pull or two but they didn't last for more than a minute at a time as I just didn't have much left in the tank at that point.
Dan putting the hammer down
Slow Ride Home
Toward the end of the ride Dan and I parted ways as we live in opposite directions. At this point I had 10 more miles to ride to get home and I felt like I had been thoroughly baked at 350 degrees until golden brown. So my game plan for the rest of the ride was to not have a full body muscle cramp and to keep my tires on the ground.
As I walked in the door of the house I was tired but still had a smile on my face because it was a great ride.
2501ft elevation gain
Snot rockets dodged countless
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Last Friday Jenny and I did a 67 mile training ride. This is one of our favorite routes because it's mainly rural roads that are lined with thick forest on either side. The first 40 miles of this route are full of rolling hills which get your legs and lungs burning on the way up and your heart pounding on the way down because of the speed. The last 27 miles are fairly flat which used to be my favorite section but last Friday things were different.
I must have eaten my Wheaties on Friday because the hills didn't really bother me that much and when it came to the descents it was the most fun I have had on a bike in a long time. Every time we got to a descent I would tuck down into the drops and get as aerodynamic as I could. Occasionally, I was able to go the speed limit or above so naturally I pulled into the middle of my lane because if I was going the same speed as a car I think I deserve more of the road. In addition, there just weren't that many cars on the road anyway.
This ride got me thinking about life and how sometimes it feels a lot like a long section of rolling hills. We all have hills in our lives where things just don't go our way or things are hard. While suffering up hills on a bike I often question why I like to ride and why I put myself through the torture. I've found if I just keep spinning my legs, put my head down, and tell myself "you can do it, you can do it" before I know it I'm cresting the hill and looking over at the descent that I get to enjoy. At that moment I remember why I like to ride bikes. It's the sense of accomplishment and thrill of the descent.
I guess in life sometimes we just need to put our heads down, keep our legs spinning, tell ourselves we can do it and eventually we'll get to the top of the hill we're fighting through. In the end everyone deserves a good descent now and then.
Enjoy the ride!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I own tall ones, short ones, skinny ones and even some fat bike bottles but I've never owned an official Camelbak Podium bike bottle before now. When I completed the 100 miles of nowhere trainer ride a couple of the items that I received in my goodie bag from the fat cyclist himself were a couple of Camelbak Podium bottles. Other than the t-shirt this was the product that I was the most excited to try out because of the new design, it had a cool argyle print, and of course it was a bike bottle.
Official New Design Description
To give them a fair shake, here is what the Camelbak website has to say about their bottles.
* 100% BPA-Free
* Jet Valve(tm): Lets you sip from any direction, or squirt to cool off on long rides. Eliminates the "bite open, hip-slap shut" steps.
* No Sticky Frame: Made from medical-grade silicone, the Jet Valve eliminates splatter on your frame or jersey.
* Leak-Proof: Positive shut-off for leak-proof transport. At base of valve, turn bar 90 degrees to stop water flow.
* High Flow Rate: Squeezable bottle offers more water when you needs it.
* Better Taste: Made from custom-blended TruTaste(tm), which lets you taste your water, not your bottle. Also lined with HydroGuard(tm) to prevent bacteria build-up.
My Explanation of the New Design
The bottle itself is your basic run of the mill plastic bike bottle. The holy cow super cool new design is all in the cap of the bottle.
First of all the bottle has a dial on the top of the lid which opens and closes the flow of liquid. It's basically an on/off switch for your bike bottle. The other new feature is the valve device. Here's how it works, if the bottle is switched to open and you tip your bottle upside down no liquid will flow out of it. This could really come in handy if you have a problem spilling liquid all over the place while getting the bottle from your bottle cage to your mouth. I must be the Bob Roll of recreational cyclists with a talking with my hands problem because I always seem to be cleaning a sticky mess off of my top tube. This being the case you would think this would be the prefect bottle for me. Although the bottle won't spill even if it's in the open position once you squeeze it liquid will squirt out. Not rocket science but this is a pretty cool feature. For a bike bottle I guess this is pretty high tech.
My Honest Opinion of the Bottle
I love the thought of not spilling any liquid while waving the bottle around wildly but once you get it to your mouth you have to squeeze pretty darn hard to get the liquid out. Thus, when the liquid finally does come out it's in a really wide stream and has a ton of force behind it. Maybe I'm just a spaz on a bike but every time I tried to squirt a drink into my mouth it ended up going everywhere. So in order to not look like I have a drinking problem I resorted to placing my lips tightly around the nozzle before squeezing. This works fine if you're just cruising along but once you start hammering away and breathing hard this technique just doesn't work unless you like passing out while riding due to lack of oxygen.
I think the design of the Camelbak Podium bottle is cool and I know a lot of people really like them but I think they are a pain to deal with while I'm riding. I guess they just aren't cool enough to come on rides with me mainly because of my own spaz factor. These bike bottles are probably great for people with a lot more coordination than me. So for me these bottles got cut from the Varsity Squad and got moved down to Junior Varsity. For now they are only invited to come along when I mow the lawn where it's safer.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
So before we headed out I gave my son the grand tour of a road bike including how to use the index shifters, where to put your hands on the hoods, and especially how to get out of the clipless pedals. We practiced a number of times with the clipless pedals before we pushed off just for good measure and then we were off.
It never occurred to me that there is a whole process of stopping on a road bike that might be different than what he was used to. So for the next couple minutes I showed him the process of stopping on a road bike.
I'm sure my son's club membership is coming but at least he wasn't inducted last night. I have to add of all of our kids he is the one who is the most theatrical so he loved the fact that his cycling shoes made a clicking sound as he walked. I've always been embarrassed by that sound but he loved the fact that cycling shoes could almost double as tap shoes. Kind of makes me shake my head. I hope we have plenty of rides in our future and years from now he will remember that I took it easy on him last night and he will return the favor when way faster than me.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
When I was a young lad, we used to play a word and memory game called: “My old mother went to market” it went a little something like this:
Little Bobby: “My old mother went to market and all she bought was: Tomatoes”
Little Jimmy: “My old mother went to market and all she bought was tomatoes… and some potatoes” until it had traversed the circle of children to me:
Little Fat Lad: “My old mother went to market and all she bought was tomatoes and some potatoes and some carrots and some lettuce and … ” already the witty one ” a rocket powered cyber ninja weasel”
So the meme proceeds as follows:
You nominate a blogger who you know will respond and ask them to add to the list of things they have bought only in June that are cycling related. Come the end of June Fat Lad is going to try and track it’s course and see what we’ve all purchased in June
1. Fat Lad went to the bike shop in June and all he bought was: A new PC971 Sram Chain and a Cassete Spanner and a chain wear tool.Hey 331, I know you just made some great purchases for your cycling adventures - you get to carry the meme forward.
2. TOB went to the bike shop in June and all she bought was: a new pair of ruby red Sidis and some X-Series Cleats (but it's only the 4th!).
3. Mike J went to the bike shop in June and he bought two Gel Flasks and some Handle Bar Grips.
Blame Fat Lad it's his fault.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A couple of weeks ago when I completed the grueling 100 Miles of Nowhere trainer ride my parents took a bet up with each other on whether I could really ride the entire 100 miles or not. Since my parents are really high stakes gamblers the bet was an entire dollar. At the time it kind of bugged me that one of my parents was actually betting against me but that eventually served to just motivate me.
After I finished the ride the first thing I did was to call my parents and proudly tell my dad that he owed my mom a buck. Honestly, it felt pretty darn good to make that phone call. It was like taking a step up on the podium at the end of a stage race minus the cute girls and stuffed lion.
Well, last week I got a letter in the mail from my parents with a short note stating that they were proud of me for completing the ride and that I deserved the winnings from the betting pool. As I looked inside the envelope it contained the two dollars that were bet on my ride. That put quite the grin on my face.
Now that I've accepted this money for riding in the 100 Miles of Nowhere challenge I'm left to wonder if this will affect my amateur status as a cyclist. If I ever enter a real race will I have to ride in the professional classification? What if I were ever to run for office, would I be accused of taking gambling money for sporting events or even worse throwing a charity ride?
The other thing that has come across my mind is if I got this huge sum of money for doing a charity event maybe I should donate it to LAF. Well, in the final analysis I'm going to use my two dollars as my own personal economic stimulus package. I plan on using it to buy a Gatorade for the training ride I'm planning for Saturday morning. I'm sure after I make my purchase on Saturday using my economic stimulus money that the economy will snap right back in line and the world will have my parents to thank.
Thanks Mom and Dad.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Duh, these strange marks on my hands were sun tan marks from my cycling gloves. This year the marks are coming back with a vengeance but now they just make me smile because they come from something that I love.
Here's to strange cycling tans!