Friday, December 19, 2008

*Sigh*

This weekend......

Trainer time....

Unless you got skis, snowshoes, mountainbikes with huge tires, or just want to go sledding, the only road bike activity is going to happen indoors.

Bryan mentioned to me that he's heading to Bike Masters on Saturday to put in some time at their morning trainer session.  My plan is to head over to Jon Randells place, guts through an hour or so on the trainer, then have fun playing Xbox.  hurrah.  The same will probably also happen on Sunday, with the addition of Bryan.  Let me know in the comments if anyone wants to join us this weekend.  Trainer, Xbox, or otherwise.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Didn't have to twist my arm much.

Originally, my big bro and I were planning on meeting at the parents house after work to wrap presents and have a family dinner.  Well then the snow happened.  I was back and forth about whether I wanted to ride home at 3:30pm then drive to the parents house.  Well both my dad and my brother convinced me to catch a ride home with my dad in his truck and wait to do the family thing another (safer travel) night.  

On the ride, watching how some people drove confirmed that it was probably a wise decision.  Every year, we all have to re-learn how to drive in the snow.  Some remember better/faster than others.  If you were brave enough to face the crazy drivers out there for the trip home by bike, then you have earned my respect and admirition.  I'd like to be that fearless some day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fingers slammed in a car door.

That's what my index and pinky finger on my right hand only feel like after riding to work.  Everything else is just fine, but my index and pinky finger.  I was even sweaty by the time I got there.  Good cycling clothes are amazing.

About halfway there, I realized I couldn't feel my pinky on my right hand, and shifting was getting really difficult.  I had my bike in the house overnight, so I'm thinking the warmth to freeze factor might have caused some icing of parts.  Any shift I did took quite a bit of force.  I think this is what caused my index finger to get angry.  Cause after getting inside, it hurt like crazy.

But I made it anyway.  I actually would have taken the bus, but I didn't have any money.  I should have had money, but my change jar had been raided by Michelle. *scowls*  So I need to build that back up for the next time when it's probably wiser to travel protected from the elements.

Friday, December 12, 2008

And the Forecast Sayssss.....

More wind.

Saturday, high of 40, cloudy, 20mph South winds.  

Sunday, temp of 30 in the morning, down to 10 degrees by the afternoon, which means an evil cold front brung in by lots of blustery North wind.  I think this would be a good trainer day.

Oh wait!  That crazy 6/12 hour trainer thing is this weekend at Bike Masters right?  Bryan, are you hitting the trainer all weekend?  

Anyone else have any ride ideas?  I'm up for whatever.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I forgot, did Spence ride with us?

Ok, my legs hurt as if I just went on a Spence Pain Train ride.  Seriously, I have the angry legs.  I think the main reason is this was my 3rd crazy windy cold ride in a row.  Thursday was my failed attempt to ride in 25 degree, 20+ mph wind weather.  It was still an hour of way-too-cold at any rate.  Then yesterday, I got off work at 3:30 and decided to do my usual Southern loop down Bellevue Blvd to Old Towne Bellevue, then decide whether I wanted to loop all the way around Offutt on the trail, or just take 370 straight to 25th and the trail.  It was already getting dim when I hit Old Towne and I forgot to wear my booties, so my toes were already frozen pretty good.  I headed straight home instead of adding an extra 10 miles or so.  I'm very glad I did since the wind had decided to shift more to the West by that point.  This meant that even though I had been going into the wind most of the ride, at the "turn around" I was still going into the wind.  I didn't get a real tailwind till about Harrison St which is all of 5 miles away from my house.  So that sucked.

Today the plan was to meet with a few gents at Crane about 11:40, then catch Bryan by his place, then figure out a route.  At Crane was Brady and the Big Puma(aka Brandon Fenster).  We didn't know, but Shim caught up to us after TTing for about an hour from his house in Bellevue.  He was pretty pooped when he caught us, but he obliged whenever Brady was feeling his Steel Cut Oats.  Brady, I love ya, but man your cruising speed is too much sometimes.  I think I went into this ride not wanting to really do it, so the speed and pain of the blustery cold wind didn't help my attitude.  I gutsed through it with being dropped only 5 or 6 times.  Now I'm ready to move to someplace that has no wind.

I'm just fine with cold cold temps.  It's the 15-20mph winds which just beats down on my enjoyment of riding.   Anyway, we headed North for a while, Brady and Shim had things to do, so they turned around early (man, I wish I would've joined you guys).  Bryan, Puma and I headed more North to almost hwy 30.  

A weird thing, turning around really didn't help much.  Sure it was not as hard to pedal, but all the sweat I was accumulating started to freeze really bad.  I got COLD.  Plus, I was running on fumes.  I ate a couple bars, so that helped, but still, every hill just took it out of me.

On a positive note, I rode 50 some miles, so I added another dollar to my Plus 3 Network charity deal.  Tomorrow, I think we're riding trainers and there's no money for riding my bike no where.  Oh well.  At least it won't be windy.  Sheesh, with all my complaining, I don't think I could be considered a Flahute.  I would beg for more if I really was one.  Oh well.  I think I can live with that.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Late post for Saturday Plans!!

Brady and Joe(and whoever else wants to join us for a 3 hour easy ride), meet me at the 78th st Crane coffee shop by 11:40am.  From there, we head out to meet Bryan at 120th and Fort by about 12:15.

The route we pick will drop Brady off near his house by 2:30pm or so.  That route has yet to be determined.  See you guys mid day so we can sure as shikahkah roll on Shabbos.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ouch, that was a bad idea.

I brought to work Brady's lobster gloves that I so thankfully borrowed from him on this last weekends Flahute ride.  I had a great plan to make a big loop up North and hit his house on the way home so I could deliver his gloves to him.  Well, things didn't go as planned.  I made my way toward the airport and it just got worse and worse as I started to turn directly into the wind.  So I followed my childhood hero's advice.



My nose told me, "Turn around now, or you're going to lose me!"  So, I turned around right at the last downtown exit.  I then snaked through town to get to Brady's abode and dropped his gloves off in his mailbox.  On my return trip home, I passed MOD on his sweet Fisher Simple City.  His studded tires made a sound like he was riding on gravel.  Come to think of it, he looked a lot like this fellow:



So anyway, I got home and man was I cold.  I didn't dress right for the 20 degrees and wind weather.  Oh well.  It's nice and toasty inside so that's where I'm stayin!

Well, at least it won't be raining.

So this weekend looks pretty wintery, weather wise.  Snow is possible for Sunday, but Saturday just looks cloudy.  I know it won't be a barrel of laughs, but does anyone want to head out for 2-5 hours either day?  Post a comment if you have a plan.  Cause I don't have a riding problem.  I'm just a social rider.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Yay MAT bus!

Being that I heard some sliding tires behind me on my Tuesday morning bike commute and there was no precipitation, I figured I'd let the dumb drivers get into fender benders with vehicles that have fenders, not a rear wheel.   So I went all Brady like and took the MAT bus.

Here's some stats for Brady:
I took the first #55, but I have no idea what kind of bus it was.  I'm not as OCD as Brady.  
~32 blocks of travel
Picked up 8 people besides me and another guy who got on when I did.
That's one person per 4 blocks!!  Or about 3 people per mile!
5 people besides me got off at UNMC.

And that's all I got.  I don't think there was a bike rack on the front of the bus, but I don't think I could get all my bike stuff together, then not ride.  It would feel really weird.  Although, that would have been a better plan than how I rolled yesterday.  It was 22 in the morning, so I had 3 layers up top and lots of extras to keep warm.  Then, when I got out at 3:30, it was fricken 50 degrees.  So all my layers had to be either crammed into the handlebar bag, or worn.  I got plenty warm on my ride.  But it was a nice change from last Saturday's ride.

On the ride, which was down the Keystone then over to HighGear and back, I did some one-legged drills.  Those are TOUGH!!  But I can tell it's a good thing.  It worked my core and my leg muscles.  So this month, I think I'm going to do a couple of those sessions a week, do some weight lifting/core workouts, and whatever longer rides I can fit in.  Then next month, I might try to do some intervals just so I can keep up with Bryan next summer.  Having people refer to me as a cat 2, then promptly getting dropped....often...does not sit well with me.  I'm not planning on racing since I can't afford it, but I'd like to help people suffer on their group rides.  You know, cause that's what friends are for, to help you suffer.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thank you sir, may I have another!!

Ok, not really.  It was a fun ride, but painful also.  Peter, it's very wise that you didn't go.  Without amfibs and many layers, we all woulda died out there.

Start time, and my only bike put together was my Lemond.  Sean texts and asks if he could use my bike.  I didn't have one for him.  He was going to use Bryan's Bianchi, but again asked if he could borrow some lightweight gloves from me.  All he had were some Pearl Izumi Inferno gloves.  I was going to need all the gloves I had (liners and some wind resistant medium weight gloves), so I let him know that he should definitely use his Infernos.  I think he was glad he did.

I stopped by the shop and got some Planet Bike strap on fenders for my Lemond.  They worked quite well.  

Met up with Bryan and Sean on the Keystone and the plan was to go NorthEast to Fort Calhoun then play around Ponca hills till we got close to 4 hours.  Brady and his Bro John were going to meet us by Boyers Chute since they had stuff to do earlier.  It wasn't bad at first with no rain and 36 degrees.  We got to Fort Calhoun and it started to rain again.  That was bad.  It all went downhill from there....even though we did many uphills.  Met Brady and John right before the climb by Neal Woods.  Bryan we feeling fiesty for some reason, so the hills hurt a bit.  

After getting to the Ponca/NP Dodge area, we did some laps.  I was good on the first couple of hills, but we hit the 2:30 ride time mark, and I putzed out.  So I got a hard ride barrier to break through again.  I remember when I was a cat 3, riding with Randell and I would always hit a barrier at about 3 hours.  I got over that with lots of training.  So looks like I gotta start all over again.  

Anyway, after a couple laps, Brady wanted to stop by their car (parked at NP Dodge) and get some dry gloves since his were soaked.  I was in the exact same boat.  I couldn't shift at all since I had no blood going to my fingers.  It was more than a little uncomfortable.  But once I got some dry gloves on, Oh man, that was sweet.  

We did one final lap and started to head home.  We could tell the cold front was coming in since the wind changed and our faces all froze.  Sean, who was using Bryan's heavy (27 lb) Bianchi commuter, was dragging behind since the bike was too big and too heavy.  I've done the bike switch and long ride deal before so I know how painful it is.  You just can't be yourself on someone else's bike.  Sorry we left you behind so many times, Sean.  Way to tough it out.

So, overall, we survived, but barely.  Peeling my shoes and socks off, my toes looked like the chicken I pulled out of the freezer this morning: white, and dead looking.   Every time I do one of these rides, that's what happens to my toes.  If only I had fat feet.  Alas, my non-padded meta tarsels don't work well for heat.  Such is life.

Who knows if we're going out again tomorrow.  It's supposed to be kinda like today, but oh yeah, 20-30 mph winds.  Eh, maybe not.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Final Weekend Plans

Ok.  Wowt says the flurries are for Sunday. Sunday does seem like a really bad weather day. NW wind in the upper teens with clouds and maybe 38 for a high. Add in the flurries and I don't know if a 4 hour day sounds all that appealing. Unless we want to make it a ride to remember??

So Saturday:
Time: 12:30pm at Crane coffee at 78th and cass.
Ride time: 4 hours or so
Route: cross the river, up to Mo. Valley, back west to Blair, then South somehow.
Forecast: 40's with clouds, not much wind unless THE FRONT comes early.

There's a cold front on the way which is why Sunday looks really menacing. If the front stays away till night time like the forecasters say it will, I think Saturday will be a great ride.

Brady called and said he and his bro are out because he forgot he had a previous engagement planned a long time ago. So, TWO MEN DOWN, TWO MEN DOWN!!!

Everyone else, let's make this thing happen!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Making plans NOW!!

Thanksgiving weekend.  Let's ride.  Lots.

Bryan is supposed to do 4 hours each day - Saturday and Sunday.  I believe the Peter is supposed to be in town for this momentous occasion.  It's going to be cold as the ass of death.  

Readyyyyyyyyyyy?

MAKE PLANS NOW!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm completely baffled by this.



If this is real, I'm so super impressed.

Edit: found that it's not really real. But still very impressed by the idea and how real it looks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

To Brady, et all

Brady's post about fixies stirred up some evil Munson dialogue on my part.  I apologize for coming off rather harsh, but I've read many things in recent years about how old training methods are just that...Old.  Most don't want to come right out and say it, but Friel is somewhat part of that old ideaology.  His basic premise is: tons of base mileage at low intensity for the first few months of the off season with weight lifting peppered in, then ramp up the intensity starting a few months before the racing season.  I really don't know how well this system has worked for people, but I followed it and found that I was never fully recovered for really important events.  Some of that may have been my own fault for over doing time during race season, but I figured if I did easy miles, I'd be increasing my aerobic ability (which I thought was always a good idea) but no hurting my high end. I didn't figure out till later, that for me, at least, a good 10 days of no long rides and no interval sessions was what I needed to be properly rested for an event.  So it got me wondering how far I could have pushed myself if I had recovered even more between interval sessions during the build or power blocks of training (whatever they were called).  I was generally doing at least 1 if not 2 days of intervals, then sometimes riding with really fast guys for long rides on the weekend (aka the Spence pain train).  

I know Friel recommends listening to your body and adjusting your workouts accordingly.  But it's tough to have a schedule laid out and not follow it.

So anyway, I came upon yet another debunking of old training/racing myths from my weekly RoadbikeRider.com newsletter:

3. SCOTT'S SPIN

College of Cycling Knowledge, Pt. 3

 

Begin your season with small-chainring base miles . . . pedal in smooth circles . . . lactic acid is what makes you sore the day after a hard ride . . .

 

Cycling is full of truisms that ain't necessarily true, according toStephen McGregor, Ph.D., of Eastern Michigan University's Applied Physiology Laboratory.

 

At the USA Cycling Coaching Summit I attended last month and have been writing about, McGregor, who's also a licensed cycling coach, busted 3 of the most common -- and persistent -- misconceptions.

 

Myth 1: The Acid Truth

The day after winning the 2008 Tour of California prologue, Fabian Cancellara told a reporter his legs were still full of lactic acid from the 2-mile time trial. Nope, says McGregor. Research shows that blood lactate is largely gone within 40 minutes after a hard effort. Something might be making you sore the next day, but it's not lactic acid.

 

Myth 2: Mash It Up

Every cyclist's goal should be a silky spin, right? Wrong. A study of elite racers revealed they actually pushed down hard, then let up on the upstroke. "They pedaled squares," McGregor says. Lower-level racers, by contrast, didn't push down as hard and didn't let up as much. They pedaled "relative circles," he explains. So should we all try to pedal squares? Short answer: No, pedaling efficiency depends primarily on muscle-fiber composition. In other words, we're kind of stuck with what we've got.

 

Myth 3: Intense, Man

You should start your season with a low-intensity base period or you'll ruin your aerobic fitness, correct? Sorry. Actually, some high-intensity workouts -- even anaerobic efforts -- will improve aerobic fitness, according to McGregor. In fact, he says if you don't push yourself you're actually de-training.

 

Bonus myth buster:  It's unlikely that intense exercise causes capillaries to "blow up."




So there's some interesting findings.  I have read a few times where coaches say letting up on intensity during any part of the year is basically equivalent to sitting on the couch for that period of "base" or whatever.  I kinda doubt I could do intensity year round.  Hell, I'm pretty much not doing any intensity since I'm too poor to race next year.  But I think I'll have to rethink my training strategy once I hop back into it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

If you forget or don't have a windblock vest,

Look for someplace like this:


For the trip to BikeMasters on Saturday for the Cranksgiving celebration(congratulations again to all who participated in that joyous event), I wore a wool baselayer and a wool loose shirt.  Wool keeps you plenty warm while standing still, but seems to have a less tight weave than technical fabrics, so wind cuts through too easy.  My tummy was getting pretty chilly heading into the wind on Saturday.  I found a plastic bag along the Keystone trail and tucked it in between the 2 layers.  

The amount of warmth from doing this simple act was amazing.  Now I see why the pro peloton nabs newspapers from the sidelines before descending from the top of a mountain pass.

So from now on, I will always have a plastic bag with me on any cool weather ride.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shabbos + 1

Forecast for Sunday: 50 and sunny by noon.

Plan: meet at Crane at 78th and Cass at 1pm.
Time: 3 hours
Pace: easy

Be there.  Do it.  Seriously.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More from Wabash.

The Bob has pictures.

Couple of comfort issues. I went against the grain with all traditional long ride adventure practice. I changed my saddle a week before and my shoes 1 day before.

The saddle? I had been using a well worn WTB Silverado for at least a month, but had always had creaking problems. I decided to check out the whole setup a week before our trip. It was probably a good thing I did, because I found the actual seatpost was causing the creak. The top metal piece had a good sized crack half way through it. So that could have been a bad catastrophe for the trip - broken seatpost. I decided then to switch to the wider WTB Devo saddle I had used previously. The Devo is rather wide so I figured it would allow me plenty of room to shift around to find comfy positions over the hours of riding. The main problem is the padding is quite minimal on this saddle. And even though I slathered on the butt butter, I still got a couple good saddle sores. Oh well, such is life.

The Shoes? It was averaging 70s for highs till 2 days before our trip. So it was not conducive to wear the boots I was planning on using. The boots were nice, but I should have plopped some sort of insole in since I have weird feet. I did, of course, use 3 sets of chemical toe warmers over the weekend. That helped for warmth.

But the weird shoes and the different saddle did not play well with my knees. Half way through the 2nd day, my knees were sort of sore and Monday at work was really bad. But it went away after a day. So I think the joints just weren't used to the change in position. No biggie, but still annoying.

Other than that, I was just fine on the ride.

This weekend, Cranksgiving will be in full effect despite the horrid weather forecast. I know Bryan could use the help, so I'm volunteering my efforts at the start/finish so his weekend isn't so stressful. Then on Sunday I believe Joe, Bryan, and whoever else wants to join, will be doing 3 hours from Crane at 8am. Right guys?

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Great Wabash Trace Adventure.

To summarize, (in case you don't want to read the many paragraphs which will surely follow) riding in the cold was just fine, stops were chilly, only one minor mechanical issue, I almost froze to death overnight, overall it was a fun weekend.

The plans: about a month ago, Bob jokingly posted (or mentioned during a ride, I can't remember) that we should do a huge bike trip to Kearney and back.  Some plans were made, overnight stays were scheduled, families were informed of absenses, and training was supposed to start.  Well, being that was a little over a month ago, neither Bob nor I were ready to ride 180 miles each day of a weekend.  And, being the original plan was to do that this last weekend, I'm glad we changed our plans.  Bob did clear that weekend, and I had nothing else going, so we decided to try something else.  

We came up with the grand idea to ride from Omaha, to the Wabash Trace, ride to the end, camp over night, then come home the next day.  Bob found that camping in Coin, just 5 miles from the trail's end, was available, along with a bar/grill that would be open most of the day.  10am to 2am to be precise.  So we again made arrangements with families, but then had to figure out bike setups.  The Kearney trip was going to be on the road with an overnight stay at a person's house.  This trip involved camping.  I had gear and bike rack, Bob had family camping gear and no bike rack.  So with enough donations from friends/family, we got Bob's bike fitted with a rack and panniers, and my bike setup also.  Brady and Bryan both generously offered me sleeping bags since I don't have one.  I took Brady up on his offer and he also had a nice Moutain Hardwear tent which, as you'll read later, I really should have accepted.  I was busy most of the week prior to the trip, except for Friday, and that's when Bryan was going to be out of town.  Oh, and I also didn't want Redemske cooties from his sleeping bag.  Just kidding Bryan.

So the morning of the adventure arrived, and I was all set to go.  I was right on time, ready to hit the Keystone at 8:30 and meet Bob along the way so we could head across the bridge to be at the trailhead by 10am.  See, Bob posted a meeting time and place just in case others wanted to join.  Well, I get a call from Bob at 8:30 saying he's still getting ready and just needs to eat something.  I was just fine with that because I wanted to get some coffee to start the day off right.  Coffee was injected, met the Bob on the trail and off we went.  We decided to take the easy route to avoid traffic and hit all the trails to get to the Wabash.  This involved some extra mileage since it wasn't a direct route.  This made us just miss the meeting time at the trail head.....by an hour.  Oh well, I don't think anyone else was crazy enough to join our excursion.  

We were on the trail and on our way.  2 things of note so far: 1. riding in the cold was fine since we were both layered properly.  Stops, like for food at Mineola since it was lunch time, did result in very chilly restarts, but were soon forgotten within a half hour.  2. riding with camping gear/extra winter weight clothing SUCKS!!  The Wabash is rails to trails route.  Being so meant that there were no steep hills.  But basically, you were either going uphill or downhill at 1 or 2%.  FOR MILES.   So you're lugging what was once a 25 pound bike, now 55 pounds most of which is in the rear, up these slow steady false flats for an hour at a time.  Needless to say, our average speed was not what I'm used to.   10mph was about it for uphills and 12, maybe 13mph for the "downhills."  

Since we were not riding very fast, we got to Coin at 4:30pm.  We had originally planned on getting to the end of the trail to hit the Missouri State line on the first day(another 5 miles past Coin), but decided we had better setup our camping stuff first and do that trip the next morning.  After we visited the Golden Coin Bar/Grill to change into dry warm clothes, we set up camp.  Bob had a brand new tent that seemed pretty decent, whereas I had my trusty one man minimalist tent.  Very similar to this tent, great for summer, not so smart at 27 degrees.  This thing is nice and light, but I sorely regreted not having another 3 pounds of windblock overnight.  I tied down the vestibule as best I could, but by the middle of the night, I was ferr-rreeeezing.  The wind was very strong and snuck right in to my sleeping place.  If I had not used Brady's mummy sleeping bag that was rated down to 20 degrees F(Thanks Brady!!!), I might have gone the way of Peter's post.  The worst part about the camping experience, aside from waking up at least 7 times, was my first dream.  We were entirely too tired to stay awake at the diner by 9pm.  So we attempted to go to bed right then.  My mind was not having it.  My body was tired, but my mind focused too much on the wind and cold.  So, when I did figure out how to curl up in a mummy sleeping bag to gain some warmth, I drifted off to sleep.  All of a sudden, I'm riding down the trail and it's sunny and 70 degrees.  Then 20 minutes later, I'm in Omaha, where the sun's blazing, and I'm hanging out with Bob and some of my other friends.  I then realize that something doesn't seem right.  I start asking around why our ride home went by so fast.  I couldn't even remember riding back through Council Bluffs.  *Snort* I wake up and the wind's still howling and I'm freezing again.  This was going to be a long night.

Finally, it was light out when I awoke for the 8th time.  Time to get back on it.  I bundled up with basically every peice of clothing I had since it was probably around 27 degrees.  I had packed a tupperware full of cereal and dried milk for breakfast.  That went down fast.  I packed up my stuff, and helped Bob get his stuff done too.  We headed South to Blanchard, the official end of the trail.  We rode through town (3 blocks) and crossed the Missouri State line, just to say we hit 3 states in one day.  We were both sore and not very awake.  Our average again was a measly 10-12 mph.  If my Garmin GPS device is somewhat accurate (which it sometimes isn't since some downhills were showing up as 4% uphills) then getting from Council Bluffs to Coin is mostly uphill.   So our ride home felt like downhill a majority of the time.  Which was very welcome.  We stopped at Shenandoah for brunch.  The restaurant was the Train Depot or something like that?  Very good food and reasonably priced compared to the 11$ dinner at Coin the night before.  About 3pm, it got warm out.  The sun had been shining all day (another very welcome situation), and so we peeled off some layers.  One hour later, the layers all went back on since the cold came back fast.  By this point, after finding out that the Mineola Steakhouse was closed on Sundays, we decided to eat at the BBQ place at the Wabash trailhead in Coucil Bluffs.  We figured it would be an hour to ride from there to cross the river if we took the trails again.  Bob was having his wife meet him by the Quest Center since he lives by Lake Cunningham and had no rear light to help in the 5:30pm darkness.  I decided to trudge on home after I parted ways with my Great Adventure compadre.  

I have some afterthoughts to bring up, but I'm too tired from this write-up.  I may or may not post more later.  That's just how I roll.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Break out your wool britches.

This weekend, Bob and I are going on a wee adventure.  And it's gonna be cold.  Crazy cold.  Remember all those posts on Brady and Scott's blogs about Amfib tights and such.  We'll all my cold weather gear's getting broken out for this weekend.  High's of mid 40s with lows in the upper 20s?!?  Yeesh.  I was going to rent a 3 season sleeping bag for the weekend, but maybe I need to consider doing a winter weight one?  That might be hard to carry on the bike though.  I guess we'll see.


Friday, October 31, 2008

The Bob has a Plan

Make sure to check out Bob's blog about weekend after this one. It'll be some great fun. We also might have some extra gear or rental places in mind that will allow the less gear havin people to join in.

This weekend: I'm on call Saturday morn. Would love to do an afternoon ride if anyone is interested. It's supposed to get up to 70!!!

Sunday, no plans, but if I do go, I'd like to be done early. So the normal meeting time/place would be fine by me. Or we could meet somewhere else, whateva.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Change to an oldie but goodie.

If you don't remember the old Waassssssuuuuup commercials from the super bowl a few (more than a few apparently) years ago, then this update will jog your memory and hopefully, uh, give you hope.  Watch to the end.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Ok, Mister 11 to Downtown MAT bus driver.

If you have ever headed east bound on Leavenworth in the 7am to 9am hours between Saddlecreek and 42nd street, you'd know that there is supposed to be no parking along that section.  I'd like to think this was an early attempt to allow cyclists some passage, though it's more likely that it just allows more space for heavy traffic flow.  Regardless, this section has proved to be great most the times and annoying other times.  

It's great when the weather is nice and people move all the way over so I basically have my own bike lane for 5 blocks or so.   However, when it gets rainy, or when large vehicle drivers use the right lane, it get's annoying.  Last week when it rained for a month (at least that's what it felt like), I was on my way into work when this person came way too close to me so they could avoid spray from the cars in the left lane.  Does that make sense?  Risk running over a guy on a bike instead of getting your car sprayed?

Then this morning, it was perfectly fine out, weather-wise, but again along that section, a MAT bus (specifically a 2002 version, number 11 to Downtown, that hit 42nd and Leavenworth at about 7:15am) came way too close to me as I was in the "parking" lane.  Had there been a parked car there, he would have been running over it.  Yes, that's a large vehicle, but I'd think he'd fit in the right lane without needing to spill over into the "parking" lane.  But he did anyway.  This has also happened with school buses and large delivery trucks.  Hopefully, the plan is to paint some bike lanes along this route so people will know that I'm SUPPOSED to be there and will give me some room.  But that is probably more wishful thinking. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Anyone want to ride this weekend?

My big bro is in the hospital again, so we won't be doing any b-day stuff for him on Saturday.  I'm not sure how much I'll be able to visit him there and after the crazy week I've had, I think I need a couple good bike rides.

I'm up for suggestions for either days.  Yes Sunday will be windy and 40 degrees, but if it's SUNNY that's all I care about.  This weather is really getting to me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My commute to work this AM

After a "wee excursion" of 105 miles on Sunday, my 2.5 mile ride into work this morning was almost unbearable.  I was quite sad.  If this is the case now, then 3 weekends from now, when I'm supposed to be starting the 2nd half of 360 miles, it will be much, much worse.  

So maybe we jumped the gun on the whole Omaha to Kearney and back trip.  If I had another month or so to train for it, I think my body could build up tolerances enough to make it.  By the end of the ride yesterday, my legs were just kinda tired, but my bum, hands and feet were not doing well at all.  My hands were getting tingly from my nerves/muscles wearing down.  Shifting was very difficult by the end.  Then, there was one point where I was a few blocks from home waiting at a stop light.  It turned green and I stood to pedal, but when I sat down again, I almost yelped out loud.  My rear did not want to be on a saddle anymore.  I was beyond ready to be done.

The ride itself, up till the end, was great.  Bryan had a good report of the ride (the Sunday one, not the pepper spray threatened one), but I had wanted to put in more miles for 2 reasons.  One, I wanted to see what a century felt like since I was going to be doing a couple 180 mile days in a few weeks.  Two, I had a Challenge on the www.plus3network.com website where I would win a pair of SRAM socks if I was one of the first 300 people to get 300 miles in.  I wanted those socks and I wasn't going to waste any time getting them.  So 105 miles had to be done.  One thing Bryan did forget to mention was a fun little climb we did in the middle of the ride.  After you head North from Pacific Junction and cross hwy 34, there's a road that heads straight up into the bluffs to someone's house.  The road is gravel for the flat part, but then is nicely paved when the grade increases.  My Garmin read 17% at one point.  Granted, the whole climb was probably a block long, it was still STEEP but fun.

Riding back to Bryan's house was aided by a very welcome tailwind.  We got there and I was feeling ok with 75 miles.  I needed another 30 to reach my goal, and it was about 12 miles from Bryan's to my place.  So I headed NorthWest toward Elk City.  That of course, meant more headwind for the ride home, but I was ok with that.  After mile 70, it's generally about just surviving anyway.  So I headed out, turned around and was impressed that the wind didn't seem that bad.  I think it had shifted to a more SSW wind by that point, so anytime I was heading East, I was getting a little bit of help.  But again, by the time I was a couple miles from home, I was definitely feeling it.

So that really raises questions about the likelyhood of the big trip in 3 weeks.  I'm thinking we should train for it over the winter and make it a big spring fling.  Something to start the season off with a big bang.  Plus then, maybe more people will be willing to join us?  Maybe?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tour de Trainer

With the announcement of the 2009 Le tour de France next week I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into my mundane trainer training.

For me to set and on a trainer for more that about 5 seconds is a major accomplishment. So in a attempt to add a little excitement to an other wise boring task I came up with "Tour de Trainer"

What is this you may ask? Simple! Every week you will ride a stage of the 2009 Le tour de France.

21ish stages with a prologue (or not) and 2 rest days. When the route is announced on Wednesday then we will have the total mileage.

The idea is,

Ride one stage a week 21 stages, 21 weeks. Divide them up however you want. If the weather is suitable for riding outside DO IT! We are not keeping score.

If you miss a day, you can make it up somewhere during the week or not, again we are not keeping score.

The point of this is at the start of nice weather you will have a head start on next years riding.

For those who do not need any encouragement, good for you. For the rest of us... Its a thought!

Peace and grease.

Grump

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tonight's ride had a little bit of everything.

From, "I almost died," to "I am Superman," my Thursday evening adventure was quite...uh...adventurous.  I left work at 4:30pm with a desination of taco's in Mineola.  One of the first situations of note was a guy standing beside his stalled car at a red light on Leavenworth.  All the traffic was using the left lane to get around him, but I just slowly passed on his right.  While waiting for the light to turn green, the guy asked me if I had a cigarette he could bum.(?) I said, "Sorry, sure don't," and he mentioned that he ran out of gas.  So that was interesting.

I crossed the trusty BK Bridge, and then made my way across the very flat town of Council Bluffs.  Funny, with bluffs in the name, you'd figure it would resemble Omaha.  I took this route out to Mineola, just so I could get in some more miles and also see what that climb toward Glenwood looks like on an elevation graph.  That climb's not as bad as I thought it would be.  I think it maxed out at a grade of 6 or 7 percent.  On the Barrus road I took toward Mineola, there was a couple of 8% grades.  My one, "I almost died" moment happened near the top of one of those hills.  I was struggling to get to the top and noticed a couple cars coming up behind me.  I had forgotten this road had no shoulder, so I tried to hustle on up just in case a car was coming over in the opposite direction.  Well, there was in fact a car coming over in the opposite direction and I was hoping the cars behind me would wait.  My hope was in vain as Mr. big huge red truck flies by me doing at least 40mph with inches to spare so he could squeeze in between me and the oncoming car.  This happened about a mile out of Mineola and I thought for sure that was where he was heading.  I thought to myself what I would do if I came into contact with him and/or his truck.  I had thoughts of keying or letting all the air out of his tires, but I kept my evil Munson side at bay.  Then I thought a good thing to do would be to approach the guy and ask him very nicely for an apology.  Basically, "Sir, you came really close to running me over. It sure would be nice to have an apology for that."  I roll into town and there are 3 red trucks near the taco house.  I see an older couple just entering the place after they had walked from a red trucks direction.  I thought long and hard about stopping, and sincerely demanding an apology from the guy, but I decided to avoid the whole thing all together.  I didn't even stop for a taco.  If you can believe that.  Would you guys have done anything about it?

So with that in my past, I headed North-ish on the trail very surprised not to see many people.  It was now about 6pm and since it got dark at 6:45, I'd figure people would be at least starting the ride.  It was only about half way back to the trailhead that a lot of people were seen.  The next situation of interest was a group of 3 guys who were trying to fix a bike.  I asked if they had everything they needed and they replied, "Not really."  I took a look at the upside down bike that was in need of help and found that the rear derailleur had somehow got bent over into his spokes.  He might have got a stick caught in there while he was shifting to an easier gear or something.  I gave the derailleur a couple of tweaks, but the hanger, which was the worst bent part, was actually a very solid bolted on peice of metal.  It's hard to explain.  But anyway, right as I was about to give up on getting that thing straightened, a couple passerbys asked if we had everything we needed.  I said, "We could use a crescent wrench."  Little had I known, that was about the only tool these guys had brought.  So I fitted the wrench to the derailleur hanger and torqued just a little bit.  Somehow, the whole darn thing came out nearly perfectly straight.  They pedaled it and it worked great on the middle cog it was shifted to.  They asked if he should try shifting out of that gear and I recommended that he just use the front shifter to go to big,middle, or small chainring.  They were quite grateful and said I saved them from a huge headache of needing someone to come pick them up and such.  I was quite happy after that.  That was my superman moment.  Nothing makes me happier than hearing someone say, "Oh you just saved the day," or "What would we do without you."  I get that a lot at my job and it's usually after I just turned the power on the PC that, for some reason, "wasn't working at all." Getting paid to be peoples' hero, however little the disaster averted is, makes it all worth while.

Last item of note was running into Mark and Anne.  They asked if I wanted to join, but I had the woman cooking dinner, so I was on a mission not to be too late home.  Wish I could have joined you guys.  Next time fo sho.

I took a couple of pics on the way home with my camera phone.  One of them was too large to send, which was of some turning leaves.  Very Fall like.

So here are a couple pics from the return trip:

Here's the trail with some leaves turning.


Here's Omaha's downtown skyline from next to Harrahs

Here's the BK Bridge with lights.

And that's it for me kiddies.  I have 104-ish miles to make my 300 mile SRAM Road Challenge happen and get me some socks.  I will accomplish that on Sunday.  Who's with me??  Bryan, my guess is that 100 just doesn't make sense for you at this point in training.  But I'd be happy to put in a few hours with you then top off my total solo if need be.  I'm on call on Saturday, so there's no Shabbosie goodness for me.  Should we say 7:30am at Crane on Sunday??  Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To my Plus3Network buddies.

Hey guys, I goofed and put the .org version up.  If you are trying to load up your Garmin device, make sure to use www.plus3network.com.  I will update the blog to make things go better.

I double dog dare ya!!!

So, like Bob has mentioned on his blog, he and I will be taking a little jaunt out to Kearney from Omaha.  And then ride back again the next day.  This will be happening on the 8th and 9th of November with details to follow once times get finalized and such.

I'm seriously freaking out, man!!!  I have done a 130 mile ride and a 144 mile ride before, but both were at the height of my biking fitness.  Let's just say I'm not quite at that level anymore.

To all those who have the means, I'm double dog daring you to join us for a weekend of more than a couple turns of the bicycle cranks.  The destination in Kearney is free, but can hold, at most, 4 of us.  So claim one of the 2 remaining spots while there's one available!

I know most of the comments/replys are going to be "Are you $%^# insane?!?!?" But seriously, join us if you can.  It'll be a good time.  I promise.  There will be no pain, just pure joy.  Seriously.  I promise.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

125 miles = one quarter.

I tweaked my blog a wee bit.  I used to have a training schedule under "Progress Report" on the right side.  I have replaced that with my profile for a great new site, the Plus 3 Network.  This site lets you log your miles, by hand or by uploading your GPS device, to count toward donating to certain charities.  You pick a sponsor, such as Trek, who will donate money on your behalf to the charities they work with.  If you go under the "Causes + Sponsors" tab, you'll see what I'm talking about.

EDIT: Whoops, I figured out you can't do much on that site unless you're a member.  So now my link on the side just has the homepage since my profile is only viewable to members.  But you can still click on the Sponsors + Causes tab if you want to look into it

I have been looking for a reason to ride, and now I have one.  So many times, I've bailed out on a solo ride during the week because I wasn't motivated.  Now, I have a reason to get out there and put in some wicked miles.  There is some fine print with the donation rate though.  If you enter your miles by hand, each mile only qualifies for $0.0025.  One quarter penny per mile or one single penny per 4 miles.  I did a 60 mile ride with Bob on Saturday and did another solo 64 mile ride on Sunday(I'll talk more about those later).  All that effort (especially with the wind!!) equals a massive quarter.  Now if I had a GPS device, like this one, each mile would equal $0.02.  2 pennies per mile.  So my weekend would have netted me $2.50!!  That's a huge difference.  Now my goal is to donate to as many of those charities as possible.  So I ordered a GPS device like the one I linked to before.  It's gonna be awesome.  The way I figure it(hey, stop shaking your head at me...) is that the money I spent on the device will kind of be like me donating that money to those charities.  But I get a cool device and really, really good motivation to ride.  Plus there's little goals with rewards to achieve.  I'm hoping to be one of the first 300 people to make 300 miles so I can get a pair of socks.  There's other goals too, but I'll tackle them when I get the time.

So that's the new direction I'm taking.  I'm going to ride my bootay off for charity.  Hopefully this website will take off and a bunch of people will join.  Maybe more charities and sponsors will find this website useful.  Any of you that read my blog and have a GPS device should really consider signing up.  It's an easy way to donate to some worthy causes.

Now on to the rides.  Saturday: I met with Bob at 8:30am at Crane Coffee.  We both had our heavy commuters, so going was slow.  Bob had yet to venture over the Bob Kerry bridge, so we went that route.  He used his handy dandy camera to take a video of our ride over the bridge.  We took the trails SouthEast until we got to the Wabash Trace trailhead.  We were trying to figure out a way back and decided to pretty much go the same way, but stop at the Riverside Grill for lunch.  I highly recommend the place.  The food was quite good, service was great, and the price was about medium.  Would've been nice to spend less, but I rarely do lunch on a ride, so it was nice change of pace.  After we got back over the BK bridge, we headed North to hwy 36 so we could mosey back toward Bob's place.  He lives out by Lake Cunningham, which is a easy shot toward the trail.  Ooh!! When we were riding along 72nd, we saw a B2 Stealth Bomber making some rounds.  That was purdy sweet.  My guess is that Bob will eventually put the whole ride experience up on his blog if he hasn't already.  Oops, I typed too soon.  It's on there.  So that was Saturday.  60 miles with lots of wind for a total of 5 hours!!!  Yeah, that's how mellow it was.

Sunday: I woke up and was weary of 2 things.  1, the wind was about the same as yesterday AT 7am with ominous looking radars of rain, and B, scheduled ride buddy Bryan had just done an absolutely insane running race the day before.  But it was just about time to head to Crane, so I suited up, put on a little sunblock since I had gotten sunburned the day before, and was just about ready to roll.  Then Bryan calls to dash my dreams of witnessing the mighty Blue Rocket's return to glory.  I will eventually see him ride the stunning machine I helped him recreate, but it will not be it's uh....2nd maiden voyage.  (Enough guilt laid on there yet, Bryan?)  So the ride itself, aside from the wind, was great.  All those ominous clouds stayed to the NorthWest and the temp was a nice comfy 70-ish degrees.  I did the old standby of taking Bellevue blvd to cross the Bellevue bridge and climb the bluffs to reach Glennwood before looping around and coming back on that glorious flat tailwind section.  For some reason, I averaged 18mph by myself.  I'M POOPED!!  But I can now say after every ride, "It was for a good cause."  I'm well on my way (A whole quarter!!) towards donating $25.00 to the Rails to Trails Conservacy.  It's going to be an awesome time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ride suggestions?

I'm up for putting in some miles this weekend since all I've done during the week is ride to and from work.  Yeesh.  But it's been a crazy week, so that doesn't help.

Saturday: Taking requests now.. Please leave comments.

Sunday: I'm gonna leave the start/finish locations and timing up to Bryan since we have a deal worked out for some tendered services.  Again, comments are welcome.

Monday, October 06, 2008

One benefit from the $700 B bailout plan!!

If you read the MTBOmaha blog at all you'll have seen this.  I thank MOD for bringing it to my attention.  I'm going to bug my workplace about this possibility.  

Here's the copied post:

Bike commuter benefits is now USA law

President Bush signed the Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act into law today.Congressman Blumenauer of Oregon included a bike commuter benefit provision in the $700 billion Wall Street bailout package that passed both houses of Congress this week.“We are delighted that the bicycle commuter benefits act has passed after a lengthy and persistent campaign spearheaded by Congressman Blumenauer (D-OR),” said League President Andy Clarke. “Bicycle commuters will now be extended similar benefits to people who take transit and drive to work – it’s an equitable and sensible incentive to encourage greater energy independence, improve air quality and health, and even help tackle climate change. Thanks to everyone who has helped reach this milestone, especially Walter Finch and Mele Williams, our government relations staff over the years who have worked tirelessly with Congressman Blumenauer, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and many others in Congress.”The benefit allows employers to reimburse bike commuters up to $20 per month tax free for expenses related to their commute by bike. Bke commuters who receive other commuter benefits, such as a transit pass, are not eligible for further reimbursement.

SEC. 211. TRANSPORTATION FRINGE BENEFIT TO BICYCLE COMMUTERS.

(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘(D) Any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’

.(b) Limitation on Exclusion- Paragraph (2) of section 132(f) is amended by striking ‘and’ at the end of subparagraph (A), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting ‘, and’, and by adding at the end the following new subparagraph: ‘(C) the applicable annual limitation in the case of any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’

.(c) Definitions- Paragraph (5) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(F) DEFINITIONS RELATED TO BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT-

‘(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT- The term ‘qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement’ means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.

‘(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION- The term ‘applicable annual limitation’ means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.‘

(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH- The term ‘qualified bicycle commuting month’ means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee--

‘(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment, and

‘(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).’.

(d) Constructive Receipt of Benefit- Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting ‘(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)’ after ‘qualified transportation fringe’.

(e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Shabbos + 1

Sunday, bloody Sunday.

Meet: Crane Coffee at 78th and Cass
Time: 7:30am
Pace: Slow since we'll have non-fast bikes
Distance and route: TBD

Good?  Post responses if that's cool.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Why am I working right now????

73 degrees, sunny, no wind.  It's 1:30 now and I got another 3 hours to go.  Grrr.  Plus I told my dad I'd help out with a PC problem right after I get off work.  So there goes my riding on probably the best day of the year.  Seriously, could you ask for more perfect weather conditions?

So I haven't posted in a while.  I also haven't been riding much for a while.  I get about 3 rides in a week.  Yeesh.  The rides are fun as can be, but I'm definitely losing fitness.  I guess it's no biggie since the road season is done.  When I did try cyclocross a few years back, it was quite depressing.  I was always either dfl or in the bottom 3.  Getting lapped multiple times by the leader is never fun.  But the ride itself was ok.  So I'm just gonna ride fun terrain and call it good.

My last 2 rides were last Sunday and yesterday.  On Sunday, my dad and I rode from Carter Lake up to Ft. Calhoun for some lunch, and then back.  It was quite nice out, but we found that the wind, which was supposed to be Northish, switched to the south to give us a little harder time on the way home.  It was still a great ride though.  When we got back to downtown, we rode over the new Bob Kerry bridge.  Of course, since it was the first day it was open, it was swamped.  We rode at a walkers pace most of the time.  It was funny, because there was a trio of mtb-ers that rode past, dinging bells and announcing, "On your Left," and expected people to move over for them.  Many of the walkers also thought it was funny.  Yes, eventually that will be the norm to have faster moving people announcing their presence when passing, but when you have groups of 30 people moving in opposite directions, there's no reason to expect that they should get out of your way.  It's openning day!  Take in the sights and ride slower!  And that's all I gotta say bout that.

Yesterday, I left work, headed downtown, and crossed the BK bridge again to ride on some of the Council Bluffs trails I haven't ridden before.   I took the trail South all the way to Lake Manawa.  I wanted to see what the trip would take to get to the Wabash Trace.  That would be a long ride in the works: leave work, head over to the Wabash, and ride as far as the daylight would allow.  Which right now, is not much, but at least I have some more options for next year.

This weekend: I'm officiating the Omaha CX race on Saturday.  Cyclocross is a great spectator sport.  Cause you know.  It's always fun watching people pummel themselves.  Sunday, I might be helping Bryan put together his bike if it makes it to his shop in time.  If not, we will probably be doing a slow Shabbos + 1 ride.  I shall post more details when things get figured out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Need a McCoffee?

Michelle brought home a stack of coupons (PRONOUNCED COO-PONS!!!) that someone dropped off at her work for McDonalds Cafe dealie. They make mochas, cappucinnos(sp?) and such. The coupons are: buy a mocha or whatever and get a free sammich. The stuff's pretty good, but the coupons only last till 9/25 and only work at the 84th and Grover Micki-Ds. So if anyone wants one, let me know. Cause I'm not eating that much Mc-Cholesterol over the next 5 days.

Friday, September 19, 2008

We should ride bikes this weekend

I know some folks are running in the Corporate Cup 10K on Sunday, which is entertaining but ultimately features far fewer crashes than the cycling version.

But I'm not. Mike's not (right?).

So let's ride bikes. Let's pick a time and place and try to avoid the downtown horde. It's gonna be slow -- I'll be on the Bianchi. Ugh.

EDIT: This is the 300th post here. Shomer Shabbos!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shabbos+1: The Fall Century

Bike Masters has a planned Fall Century Ride ride this Sunday. While I'd like to go the full distance, time will permit about four hours. So join me for a spirited metric century or for the Bike Master's group's full American standard.

Plan to Meet
Where: Bike Masters
When: Sunday, September 14th at 7:45 AM

Alternative: meet earlier (7:00 AM) for coffee at Crane's on 76th and Cass and then catch up to the Bike Master's ride.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Crazy Idea.

I'm one of the officials for the NE State Road race tomorrow.  I had this crazy idea of riding my bike down to Branched Oak tonight, camping for cheap overnight, doing the race duties, then riding home after the race is over.  The reason for this, and ultimately the reason it's not happening, is the Husker football game in Lincoln at 11:30am.  I don't know if I've experienced traveling on the interstate on a game day, but I've heard lots of horror stories.  Granted, I'll be at Branched Oak by 8am, but I've heard people will be migrating toward Lincoln all morning also.  

The reason I'm not going to ride down is the journey home.  The race, and the game, will probably end around 2-3pm.  So that means, even though I'm riding along highways, there'll be a ton of traffic out there also trying to avoid the I-80 congestion.  I'm comfy riding in city traffic with drivers getting to work, but I'm not comfy riding on a highway (no matter how wide the shoulder is) with cars traveling at 50-60 mph containing possibly intoxicated operators.  So for safety's sake, I'm joining the car crowd.  Another reason to not like the Huskers - but that's just my own opinion.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Solo sloggin.

So since I've been under the weather, or under the allergens, whichever, I didn't want to hammer it with the organized group rides on Wednesday.  I decided to leave from work at 4:30 and ride as much as I could before it got dark.  With clouds on the horizon, that time would be about 8:10 or so.  I researched some routes and couldn't decide between a gravel ride or a road ride.  Granted, it would take me a while to get to the gravel roads, so it'd be half and half any way.  I decided to stick to the pavement.  I figured I could ride the Wed night Trek Store group ride in reverse, but that would only be about 2-ish hours.  I was going to make my choice once I got to Ft. Calhoun either to turn home or keep going.  I got there in about an hour.  So off to Blair I went.

I couldn't remember how far Blair was from Ft. Calhoun, but a friendly sign let me know only 9 miles.  Good enough.  Then I started thinking, if I'm keeping a 20mph average (which I wasn't anyway but dreaming I was) that would only give me maybe 3 hours for the ride.  Oh well, I could always tack on that jolly cimb just North of Blair.  

That 9 miles started to wear on me.  So by the time I got to the official turn around spot of the ride, I was ready to head home anyway.  My route home was hwy 133.  I hadn't been on this road for quite some time and the last time was probably on an un-busy weekend morning.  At this point, it was 5:30pm and all the live-in-Blair-work-in-Omaha crowd was all coming at me.  Since there were few cars going my direction to disrupt the air being pushed by the oncoming cars, I got a slight headwind. This, along with the mighty hills of hwy 133 plus the fact that I was running out of steam,  really took it's toll on me.  By the time I was to the Keystone trailhead, I was more cooked than when I had gone on tough group rides.  I guess shooting for the 20mph average on a solo ride was not the wisest choice.

What I had forgotten about training was the hurty leg period.  This is the time of year where the meat of training begins.  After you've taken some time off of the intensity of the racing season, you've maybe picked up some cross training, and ride when the weather permits over the winter.  If you can stand to labor through hours in the gym of weight training and hop on the trainer consistently for 3-hour rides to nowhere, you'll be way ahead of everyone else.  Then, from late February to early April you're cramming all the toughest rides in that you can so you'll be ready for the race season.  This includes centuries done with fast guys to work on sustained hard efforts, really intense intervals to open up your high-end aerobic system, and the start of racing if it's around.  This is the hurty leg period.  You're always tired, on the verge of getting sick, and your legs are in a constant state of soreness - hurty legs.

The problem is, I'm at that point right now, and I have quite a few months to go for the next road race season, unless I want to hop into some cross races.  Which is entirely possible with my new all-rounder bike.  But, we'll see about that.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Well that hurt a little.

Brady and I met up for a Labor day ride. After a quick cup of joe, we headed downtown then on to the Bellevue Blvd loop. We were hoping to save money by crossing the river at the South Omaha Bridge, but it is still under construction. So we rode through Bellevue with a destination of Glennwood, IA. After we made polite conversation with the bridge trolls(ok, that was mean, they were nice old ladies), we started to hit it hard on the highway in Iowa. We had a cross wind so we took turns on the front. Brady must have been feeling great because his pulls were always a little longer and a little faster than mine. His strength also became apparent on that climb toward Glennwood. I tried to keep pace, but I fell off a couple times. Then, either he'd sit up, or I'd recover a little only for me to pull through and go red-lining again. Not smart.

We crested the climb and maintained a quickish pace into Glennwood. I realized, at 1.5 hours into the ride, that I had only drank about half a bottle's worth of water. Oops. I didn't feel dehydrated. In fact, aside from running out of oomph on the climb, I was feeling pretty good. At the Glennwood convenient store stop, I downed a coke, a Nutrigrain bar, and some of Brady's Nut Roll then we were off. Word of warning to anyone doing the Glennwood loop; the road heading South West out of town is under construction. The bridge is gone, and the side road that we usually take to get to Pacific Junction, was heavily quartered off. Brady and I cyclocrossed our way around all the construction and were off again. I was all for taking it easy with the tailwind, but Brady was feeling his steel-cut oats apparently. We eventually got back to the Bellevue Bridge after some really hard work. We bipped over to the Keystone trail via 370 to 25th st. Another word of warning: they recently redid that bridge on 25th st which is good, but they completely blocked any sort direct path to the trail. So you have to stop, get off your bike, hop a guardrail, then get on the trail. I feel like emailing someone about this because it's horribly inconvenient to cyclists to have the route blocked, but more importantly it also takes away an entry point for emergency and maintenance vehicles onto the trail. Not cool.

Anyway, after the ride, I was feeling the effects of not hydrating properly. My legs started cramping up...BAD. I took a mini-nap and when I got up and walked down the stairs, I almost fell over. My muscles actually seemed to seize up. And this was even after drinking a tall glass of chocolate milk and eating cottage cheese and apple sauce. I guess since I hadn't really worked my legs in 4 days, they weren't ready for the hammer session. Oh well.

With regard to the cold I had, I'm questioning if it was a cold or some really bad allergies. On Friday, it felt like a real cold since I could barely wake up in the morning and slept most of the day after leaving work early. But now I'm sneezing a bunch and experiencing Bryan's symptoms of needing to blow my nose a bunch. So maybe I am growing into some allergies? I sure hope not, but it's entirely possible. I think I will lay off the intensity for a while anyway just to see if this stuff will go away.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ugh...I hab a code...

It's not that bad, but I'm definitely not riding much anytime soon. Which is great timing considering a 3-day weekend is on deck. I'm on call Saturday morning so that will give me some lounge around the house time. But Sunday and Monday would be nice to put in some miles. We'll see how I feel. If this cold goes like others I've had recently, I'll be in bed for a few days.

Bob had mentioned that, for Saturday, he would like to start an early AM, like 5:30 or 6, ride that would loop somewhere, then meet up with the Bike Masters group ride. Then Bryan started to give me instructions for a ride he was doing, but I cut him short by saying I was on call. So, sorry guys. I would love to be a part of some great rides this weekend, but it looks like I'll be in bed most of the time. Hope you guys have fun!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Aaaaah, Shabbos + 1 defined.

Start time 6:30am on a Sunday when the town's not yet awake. Streets are bare so riding around is nice and quiet. Pace is easy; hills are taken at talking speed. As in, you can still muster a conversation when going up a rather steep grade. And that's what Shabbos + 1 is all about, conversation while on the bike. Or off the bike. Sometimes the goal of the ride is to get to a coffee shop, sit down and chat for half hour- fourty five minutes, then mosey on home. When you get home, you still wish you could be out there riding the rest of the day like you just were. Good conversation, easy pace, riding bikes, loving life, good times. That's Shabbos + 1 defined.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shabbos, Shabbos +1

Shabbos: The aforementioned Mountain Goat ride at Bike Masters. 8:30, kind of quick, but without stopping every 20 minutes with the rest of the group.

Shabbos +1: 6:30 at Crane, with a relaxed pace to get the gunk out from the Mountain Goat ride.

OK? OK.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I've made a huge mistake.

That's what I kept telling myself when I discovered that the Bianchi I bought off of Craigslist from a nice guy was just not cutting it. The frame was a little big - top tube on my race machine is 56cm and this was 58. And it's a little heavy - like 10 pounds heavier than my race machine. Now, combine the weight with the "comfortable steel ride" (read: flexy) and I had a good bike for all day slow rides, not any sort of spirited group rides. I wanted a bike that could do most everything. The first fastish ride where the bike really failed me was a gravel road ride. I figured the flex wouldn't matter as much since gravel gives more than pavement. Well I show up to this ride out of shape anyway and it became very clear right away that the title of this post was quite true.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago and I was in the shop and re-re-re-browsing the bike selection. I studied this one bike very carefully and decided it would make a good all arounder. It's geometry, very much UNlike the Bianchi, was similar to my road race machine. So I asked one of the employees to check to see if I would qualify for the 12 month same as cash Trek card. I've made some progress on my credit debt, so I know my FICO score was coming up. Well I qualified and decided to pull the trigger.

I dinked around with it and put road bars, bar-end shifters, cyclo-cross v-brakes, standard road gearing on and had a good all-rounder bike. I could slap on some very large tires (44C is what I've tried so far) and do some great gravel road rides. Or, like tonights Wednesday night road ride, just run it with some stiff efficient tires/wheels and hang with the group. Which is exactly what I did tonight.

I showed up to the group ride on my Gary Fisher Wingra fully expecting to fall off after the 2nd or 3rd fast section. I stayed comfortably competitive the whole ride. We had a strong group, but were missing some of the really fast guys, such as Shim, Kent (who just happened to get 18th at the Leadville 100 mtb race recently), Steve Jarrett, and a couple other usual suspects. But we had a steady strong group which I could actually hang with. It felt great to be up there again. And when I stomped on my pedals, UNlike my Bianchi, the bike transferred my power to the pavement.

So needless to say, after feeling great the whole ride, I'm floating on a cloud of good-judgement/excitement. I haven't actually weighed the bike, but I figure it's around 20-22 pounds. If I would swap out the current setup with my bestest lightest stuff, I think I could get it down to 19 pounds. Now if I wanted to fork over more mullah, I could change out the cromoly fork for a carbon one and have a truly competitive race machine. I'd probably go with a fork that had disc brake mounts and be able to run full discs for my winter time commutes/rides when rim brakes get kinda scary.

This weekend I'm planning on practicing biking with my new toy on the ride mentioned at the end of this post. Rundown: Shabbos (that means Saturday), 8:30am, leave from Bike Masters, ride up to Ft. Calhoun then back with some good hills and a spirited tempo. Show up for some pain and a little fun. Sunday is still up in the air and then Monday is my b-day. Wish I could take the day off and celebrate, but it's also d-day at my work since it's the first day of classes and I'm in high demand. No hang-overs for me.

Edit: Oh yeah, I should add to this already long post with a weekend report.
Saturday's Tranquility Tire Tantrum mtb race: This was only my 3rd off-road ride in like 3 months, so I wasn't expecting much. The gun went off and I was left in the dust (literally since the trail was bone dry) at first. I kept my steady pace and followed some very experienced wheels (Thanks Samsam and Showen!) so I wouldn't blow myself up too soon. It proved to be a wise tactic as by my 3rd and final lap, I was ready to be done. I had a good cushion ahead and behind me till Samsam made a rally the last half of the lap. I gave it everything I had and just held him off by maybe 20 seconds. Talking to the first 2 across the line, they thought I might have made 3rd. WHAT?!?! That would have been crazy, but alas, there was another guy who was ahead of me by a mere 4 minutes. The top 2 beat me by 8 minutes. Sheesh, guess I need to ride my mtb more.
Sundays Omaha Corporate Cycling Challenge: The plan was to go fast from the gun and we did. It was Bob, Brady, Shim, me and 10 or so other guys who kept a steady 23mph average pace all the way out to Ft. Calhoun. After that turnaround point, Bob, Brady and I toned it down and had a more Shabbos + 1 like ride home. All around a great weekend of riding.

On a more serious note, I got a text from Sean K saying he would have joined, but his Grandmother had just passed away. Sean, I'm sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Places/times for this weekend.

I will be racing the Single speed category at the Tranquility Tire Tantrum this Saturday. Hopefully I will not die. This will be my 3rd off-road ride in 6 months and I forgot how easy it is to start running into trees when you're tired, but still riding. I like trees and all, I just don't want to have any high-speed hugging sessions with them during the race.

On Sunday, for the Corporate Cycling Challenge, I say us guys who are going to attempt an up-tempo ride should meet near the front of the pack before the start. All the usual suspects will be there including Shim, uh... other fast guys... yeah. I can't think of who else will attend right off hand, but you will probably see some familiar faces if you are within the top 50 people at the line-up. Which I highly recommend. Otherwise, if you start at the back, it'll be a half hour before you actually get out of downtown. Either that or you'll be crashed. Or both. So see ya'll at the line for some pain train fun!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just plugging away.

Not much new. I've been riding when I can, keeping up kinda with my schedule. Or not.

On Sunday, instead of a long ride, I did a short run. A little run called the Raven's Nest 5K. This is a trail run with many hills, sand pits, and much pain. Last year I did this run and placed 15th overall. Being it was my first running race ever, I was ecstatic. I ran it in 26:26. I have no idea what a fastish paved 5K is like, but the hills and such made it really interesting. This year, however, I was considerably slower. My time was 40 seconds longer and, being that most runners who also did the race last year had faster times, the course was shorter. Last year I hung with the main fast group for quite a while. This year, I was off the pace almost right away. I could just feel that my aerobic system is untrained. Ugh. But that's what I'm working on. So hopefully next year's race will be better.

I did a mountain bike ride on Friday after not touching that bike for a few months. It was a blast, but it too beats you up compared to just road riding. I'll be doing the Traquility mtb race this next weekend, so that should be fun. Then the next day is the Omaha Corporate Cycling Challenge. 42 miles with just a wee group of a couple thousand people. Should be fun. Can't decide if I want to hammer it with the fasties at the front, or wade around with the rec riders. Any input from my fellow bloggers as to how we should handle this? Spirited ride, or mellow Shabbos-ie tempo?

Friday, August 08, 2008

My B.O. is like the Borg

I sweat a lot. I wear some sort of bandana thing under my helmet. Otherwise I'd be crying on every ride above 70 degrees from sweat drenching my eyes.
Now where my sweatiness really becomes a problem, is under my armpits. As some of you may know, but don't readily admit in front of me, I get funky. Not the good kind of James Brown funky(RIP), but the bad kind of "I need to back away from this person" kind. Only a few of my really good friends have felt comfortable enough to tell me, "Jeez Mike, you stink." This usually happened during really long drives in a car where there was no escape.

I think I was the first kid in grade school to develop "body odors." I distinctly (HA!) remember a time in 5th grade where the teacher talked solemnly to us about growing up and how we "change." Little had I known, but I guess some of my fellow classmates told our teacher that I was stinky. So she very fairly told all of us that we need to talk to our parents about body odor. So that was the beginning for me.

I started off by using the strongest stuff available since I eventually figured out that not many others smelled as bad as me. On to the Extra strength antiperspirant deodorant. This stuff instantly made me smell like, well, whatever fragrance was labeled. Shower Mist, Cool Rain, Morning Dewdrops, etc were some of my choices of masking agent. At first, everything was fine. Eventually though, the bacteria under my pits "assimilated" the product I was using and within an hour of application, I was funky again. So I switched to the ever growing brands available. I had good luck with Old Spice for a while. Month or 2 later, YOU HAVE BEEN ASSIMILATED. Then I figured out that the too strong antiperspirant was possibly making my Borglike funk bacteria into superspores. They could handle anything I threw at them since they had beaten down the best.

This led me to switch to non-antiperspirant deodorant. At first it was difficult. I had to go into hiding and/or not exert myself at all. The hot and humid summers here in Nebraska were always a death sentence for me. But then the super mega B.O. lost a worthy adversary, so it got weaker. I also switched to the wonderful smelling - hippie made Tom's Natural of Maine Woodspice deodorant. I loved the non-fake smell of Woodspice since it made me smell like trees instead of Jr. High.

Alas, my armpit bacteria assimilated the hippie goodness of this new product also. So, I thought about going a completely different route. I used Gold Bond's Extra strength Triple Action Medicated powder. Whew! This stuff did the trick. I put it on before my commute into work, and even though it was a balmy 70 degrees with high humidity, my armpits remained under Gold Bonds control. I HAD DEFEATED THE B.O.rg!!

That is until recently. Now, like before, I apply the good smelly stuff, and within an hour or 2, I'm back to bad smelly again. I may try to switch to non-extra strength to see if I can weaken the B.O.rg's stranglehold on my "pit's of despair," but I'm not holding my breath. Others will just have to hold their nose.


Shabbos ride anyone?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ah, Shabbos +1 goodness.

Rolled out with Bryan and Bob this morning at 6:30am. Bob decided to run the single speed with a 52x20, so I joined his fun by keeping it in my 53x19 most of the ride. It's interesting how I felt fresh aerobically the whole ride by overgearing it. The only time I was breathing hard was on the climbs, but that happens anytime you stand to grind up a hill. I almost want a single speed again, however, I don't need anymore bikes and doing it on the cheap will result in a heavy bike that I don't want to ride. I've learned from my Bianchi commuter experience and will never travel down that road again. By the way, anyone want to purchase a couple year old, nicely maintained Bianchi Castro Valley, size 58? It's an awesome commuter, but not built for speed and nimbleness. It's made to handle all types of weather to get to work, which is exactly how I've been using it. I've made some mods, of course. It's got a shorter stem since the bike's biggish for me; which is the main reason I'm selling it. Okay, okay, okay, enough of my spamming.

I went for a run Friday afternoon and I'm comfortable with being prepared for the Raven's Nest 5K race next weekend. I'm not expecting big things, but I'm not going to keel over and die either, so that's a plus. This week of training was drastically different from last week. But I am now recovered and ready to steadily increase the time on the bike instead of going full bore. 10 hours is much more realistic than 15 at this point of my fitness.

One funny thing about riding more recently is that I've seen Spence a couple times on the trail. After our easy (but just enough of a workout) ride this morning, I saw the Spence pain train heading out on the trail as I was going home. Spence of course motioned to me that I should turn around and join them. I apologized and said I was just finishing up. Don't know how much they could have understood, being we were traveling in opposite directions rather quickly. So now I know that he hits the trail somewhere between 9am and 10am on the weekends. With the temp already upper 80's at 9am, I was glad to be done with the ride, and I pittied them for just heading out. Especially with how hard they were about to go. But eventually, I will be joining the pain train so I too can put the hurt on others. So look out! (In 6 months, that is...)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Great idea? Bad idea.

Ever since my first week back on the training bus (which included a 90 mile ride, 2 fast paced, long group rides, and a couple "recovery" rides), I think my body went into full recovery mode this week. I remember reading a couple places (ok, basically every training book out there) that you're only supposed to increase your training volume by 10%-15%. Well let's run the numbers. An average week for me, pre-training: Commute every day, 6 miles, 30 minutes tops; A couple group rides, 40-ish miles, 2-3 hours. So I was averaging at most 100 miles a week with a time of 8 hours. If I was lucky. So then I decide, "Hey, how about a week of 260 miles and 15 hours.!" Now, I'm no mathemetician (apparently not an english major either), but that training week had to be at least a little more than a 10%-15% increase.

I always wondered what would happen if you jumped leaps and bounds in the volume of your training. I had always been careful when I first got into racing, but still wondered. Well now I know. Every day this week around 3pm I would get crazy sleepy. Like no motivation to do anything. The nights I went straight home, that was it. I lounged on the couch all evening. I guess that's why it's damaging to your training if you increase volume by a bunch. Your body can't take it, so it takes it out of you.

New plan: after I recover this week, I'm going to ease back into it. Unfortunately, that probably means no competitive group rides for me. My body just can't take the intensity yet. I need to treat my training as if I've just come off the October recovery period after the racing season. So that means steady paced rides, low intensity, and GRADUAL increases in volume. I'll be up for some Shabbos (+1) rides, but only if they're fun/easy group rides.

Speaking of which. Shabbos ride anyone? 6:30am at Crane? 2, maybe 3 hours of easy riding? Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Still sleepy, feeling better.

I realized yesterday, when the radar looked like some evil storms were heading our way from Blair, that I should do a quick run instead of a ride where I could be stranded way out there. Also, I'm doing the Raven's Nest 5k on August 10th, so I should probably be in some sort of running shape by then. I rode home from work, changed into the running gear, then headed out. Of course the evil looking clouds that had been on the radar turned out to be nothing, but I needed the run anyway.

I ran a couple times 2 weeks ago and only once last week so I didn't know how I was going to feel. Those runs were no so great. I have been putting in time on the bike so I should be more aerobically fit. Which is exactly what happened. I could just run without struggling. It was great that I didn't have to suck wind just to make a mile. I think I'm getting my lungs back from cycling. That was the only reason I got 15th overall at Raven's nest last year. I had been training on the bike most of the season. This year, not so much. But now I have a plan, and am sorta sticking to it. I will be more fit. Oh yes, I will.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

O' Brother where Art Thou?

Two funny things in one article!!
from : The World Herald
It's an article about an attorney in Nebraska suing to block a casino in Iowa:

"... Bruning on Friday defended his lawsuit. He said the geographical oddity of Carter Lake - sandwiched between downtown Omaha and Omaha's Eppley Airfield - makes his case more complicated than simple state boundaries."

Not that that's too funny other than the phrase "geographical oddity" being lifted from 'O Brother where art thou'.

The real funny part was this line about the actions of the Ponca Tribe to get some tribal land approved for development:

"Bruning and Miller contend that the tribe deceived the government to get the land placed into trust."

Those Indians! Always tricking the government!

Anyway - what's that got to do with anything? Nothing. Other than the Coen's made the Big Lebowski and tomorrow is shabbos +1. Let me know if anyone is up for anything. I know it's late notice, but I'll check later and see. Ok. Thanks. Buy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I have been in the pain cave...

And I hope to muster up a flashlight.

I rode to the Bike Masters Wed night Group ride and felt pretty good. I recovered well from the 90 mile ride on Sunday. Funny thing, my legs never felt sore after that ride. The only thing was the back of my neck. It's still hurting right now. I guess I built up some good neck muscles when I was putting in many hours a week on the bike. And since, for the past year, I've basically only been commuting the whopping 6 mile round trip most days and occasionally getting a 3-ish hour ride in, those various long distance muscles have faded. Guess I gotta build them back up.

So the ride: The group looked to be pretty solid, but the legendary fasties weren't there. No Spence, Brackenbury, Ellis, or various others. So I had some high hopes for myself. At first Bryan and I pushed the pace a bit up some climbs. That felt good. Then we kept the pace high for a majority of the ride out. I started to fall off after a failed sprint with no goal. Bryan took that one even though we didn't know where we were sprinting to. I just gave up after a few seconds while he kept going = he won. After that, about 45 minutes into the group ride, I was pretty toasted. There weren't any bad hills after that, but we still had to turn around and ride into the 15-20mph headwind. All the way back. Then I had to ride home into that same headwind. Ugh.

After we turned around the group was together. For about a mile. Then Bryan picks up the pace and was pretty much just gone. The rest of us crawled home in various groups trying to rotate and work together to share some of the wind burden. Eventually, when we hit some good climbs, I was off on my own. I just couldn't stay with anyone anymore. So I putzed back to the shop and eventually JP caught up with me. He's got some wicked clunky sound going on with his bike so we checked it over at the shop. My bike is noisy too, but I just haven't really cleaned or relubed any part of it for most of the year. Oops.

After I refilled the bottles it was time for the slog home into the headwind. I had motivation along Fort St with traffic, but as soon as I hit the trail, I could barely maintain 13mph, even when I was shielded from the wind. I stopped by Chipotle for some awesome recovery food and called it a night. Again, I'm not sore today, other than the neck muscles. So that's a good sign. I just need to train those otherwise unused muscles to take multiple riding days again. Then I have to work on my upper end aerobic engine by doing group rides and steady climb intervals. Then, over the winter, I will hit the gym, do some gravel road rides, and rebuild my strength again. So I have about 6 months to muster up a flashlight for this pain cave. Better get musterin'.