Thursday, February 28, 2008

And so it begins again.

Plans for rides: Today I'll be able to get in a couple hours, tomorrow I can ride as long as I want after getting off work at 4:30 and will probably finish in the dark, Saturday I think we'll get a big group together and pummel eachother on some long miles, Sunday is still up in the air weather-wise, but I'll probably ride anyway. So after not riding Monday and Tuesday, then doing my interval session thing yesterday, I'm up for 4 or 5 days of many miles. It's gonna be fun.

What say you all on the blog change? My last one was rather drab, but I didn't want to go way overboard just yet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

California Dreamin.

I read the Pezcyclingnews.com website pretty often. They have weekly training tips, and some laid-back journalism that is fun to read. The website editor has been enjoying the California experience recently and reporting on his rides along the routes the Tour of Cali takes. He's done the major climbs that the tour went over including Stage 6 as reported here. This was part of a route that Jonny, Poolboy, and I rode around a few times on our Cali trip a couple years ago. Here's one of the routes we took that went up Grimes Canyon road.


The Tour, and Pez's editor did Balcom Canyon Rd, but we never got around to experiencing that climb. Although some other climbs we did were just as tough. Here's the Tour's/Pez's route:

Now as you can see, we did a lot of the same roads. And let me tell you, they were amazing roads. To smell those orange groves while riding and have warm humid air in December and January was surreal. I really miss it and would love to live there. Again, I need to win that Powerball...

Another interesting thing on Pez's report was that apparently, this guy rides a bike:

And apparently he rides it well, being he's a cat 2 racer in frickin California. Oh and he also looks like this now:

So that explains a lot. I guess when you work on a show for a few months during a shows' season, then have all kinds of free time to train between seasons, you can do what he did.

Maybe I should pick up acting instead of holding out for that Powerball?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Training on the bike can be so weird.

Here was my schedule the last 4 days:
Thursday: Short intensity session with four 2.5 minute VO2(probably more like upper LT since I'm just starting intensity) intervals on the trainer, followed by 3 bouts of circuit training. It's a tough workout that only takes an hour, but leaves you in a quivering mess afterward.

Friday: I was able to get off early so I left work at 2:30, headed South for Plattesmouth, rode up that great hill to the toll bridge, turned around and headed home. Total time a little over 3 hours with some good hill climbing on my heavy commuter and too much clothing on.

Saturday: Rode South to Shims (48th and hwy 370), did a group gravel ride out to Elkhorn river, came back on the old High Gear Wednesday night group ride route. About 3.5 hours with painful gravel road climbing and a strong group of guys who dropped me more than once. The pain in my legs this ride was intense. I haven't felt that weak, leg wise, in a few years. I was worried about Sunday's long road ride.

Sunday(today): 3.5 hour ride with Brady and Bryan. We left Crane Coffee at 1pm, headed downtown, rode South on 13th to Bellevue blvd, across the river into Iowa, up that long climb into Glenwood springs, North at Pacific Juncion, then back to the Keystone as quick as we could since the guys were running late. I felt awesome on this ride for some reason. Well, at least my legs did. My lungs didn't want to open up enough to take in max oxygen. I don't know if it was my winter padding stuffed inside my summer-weight cycling gear, or what, but it was weird. On the way up the Glennwood climb, we saw heading in the opposite direction, Shim, Kev, Ryan and those guys. Also on the trail close to home I talked to Syd and Marc who were in town picking up some goods from their sponsors. It was an awesome ride and I have no idea why I felt so good. Well, now that I think about it....

I was on my on my racing machine so that dropped at least 10 pounds in bike weight. I didn't wear my Lake boots, and instead went with road shoes and covers. That probably dropped another pound or so (those boots were made for stomping). I also didn't wear wool. Now don't get me wrong, wool is awesome if it's uber cold out. But in the upper 30s and 40s I think it's too much. Sure if you sweat, you'll keep warm while wearing wool, but that heavy fabric is going to make you sweat. A lot. And that's more weight dragging you down and depleting your fluids. I also ate pretty consistently and drank almost enough. Food and fluid intake make a huge difference in performance when biking hard. I keep thinking back to something Aaron's coach from Belgium said. "Americans don't eat enough while riding and then eat too much while not riding." Or something to that affect. Also with a Belgian accent. So I'm making sure to eat a bunch while riding and try to cut down while not riding.

Hopefully I can keep up some large mileage days along with some intensity so I can be ready to, uh, not race. Seriously, I need to win that $133 mil powerball or something. I would be so full on into racing this year if I could afford it. Guess I gotta look forward to dominating the masters fields after I pay off my debt in about 10 years. Ugh.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Strange phenomenon

Since putting in another 3.5 hrs today, I've felt some weird affects. The sore muscles are normal, but why is the back of my neck itchy? And why is my nose reddish? And my cheeks too? I think I got a friggen sunburn today!!!!!

Not a bad one, but just enough to notice. I was scratching the back of my neck wondering, "Man this is a familiar uncomfortableness. Like a hot itchiness. Almost like a rash." As there's no poison ivy for me to be rolling around in, I figured out that I got a little sun poisoning. I'm ok with that though. If I can build up a base of small sunburns, maybe I won't go through the lobster cycle I seem to do once a year. Usually, there's always one early spring ride where it's crazy nice and I haven't thought about sunscreen in 6 months. So I go out for 3 or 4 hours and end up being miserable for 3 or 4 days. I get as red as a lobster, I can't be in the sun since it feels like someones holding a heated iron to my flesh, and any water warmer than ice-cold on the sunburnt skin feels like liquid sandpaper. It sucks. I know a little sun is good, but more than that is bad, mkay? My dad had a itsy bit of the cancer removed from his nose, so I know my genes don't take kindly to UV rays. If only they made highly breathable long sleeve jerseys (or just arm warmers) that were UV repellent for us fair skinned peoples. Come on scientists, why hasn't this happened yet? Get on it!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sunday Ride Plzkthx.

Shabbos + 1!!!!!!!
Meet: Crane Coffee at 78th and Cass!!!!!!!
Time: 1pm!!!!!!
Bikes: road/commuters - all pavement - no gravel!!!!!
Speed: as mellow as we can stand considering it's going to be......

Forecast:ALMOST 50 DEGREES AND SUNNY!!!!!



Be there, or miss out on 4 hours of extremely missed warmth.
Post comments if you're joining and if you have a suggestion for a Saturday ride.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

There was a cool breeze this morning.

I knew it was gonna be cold. I bundled up well. What I didn't know was that the wind was coming straight from the NW. That makes it a headwind the whole way to work. It didn't help that it was -8 degrees and the wind was 15mph or so. So apparently it felt like -29 or something? I dunno, I was too busy cursing the wind for not letting me ride faster.

I'm not sure how long I could have stayed out there. If I had a better balaclava, and some ski goggles, I coulda gone for maybe 45 minutes. The balaclava I used was one of those with a mesh over where your mouth is supposed to go with the openning for just your eye area. The thing was big enough for Andre the Giants head, so on me, there was way too much open space for my eye area. I tucked my cycling glasses inside the balaclava and that was probably a mistake. The wind was able to travel down to my left ear. I noticed this the most when my ride was done. My ear felt like it was going to fall off. I didn't notice on the ride, again because of the cursing of the wind.

Other than that, I felt ok. I will try to make it out to the trainer ride tonight, but I'm not making any promises. My car may not feel like starting up, which is why I rode. This weekend it's supposed to get up to 40 degrees!!! So hopefully we can get out on another 3-5 hour ride. Let's try to communicate better on this one so plans get made earlier and no one gets left out.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oh yeah, that's what a 5 hour ride feels like...Ouch.

On Saturday, I met up with Ryan and Roxy around 12:15 and rode the Keystone down to West Papio, then out to Kevin L's place at 163rd and Harrison-ish. That took about an hour and 45 minutes. We rendezvoused at Kevin's ride and headed West on gravel roads all the way out to about 240th St. We went as close to the Elkhorn river as we could. We then ventured back east on Q st, then Harrison.

After dropping off the guys we picked up at Kevin's, Ryan, Roxy, Kev, and I headed back toward the West Papio trail. Kevin, who rode with us for a little more bike time, turned back after a good 3 hours or so for his total. I'd say the gravel part of the ride was about 2.5 hrs. By the time we were on the paved trails, we were at about 4 hrs riding.

4 hours is now my "dipping into the reserves" time on the bike at my current fitness level. That's the point where you hurt all over, no amount of stretching helps, and the only thing you look forward to is a shower, some food, and a place to lay down. I remember a few years ago, that point was after about 5 hours. It takes many painful 4 hour rides to reach that point, but your fitness skyrockets at that point. 2 hour rides feel like nothing and you still have all your power after 3 hours of race pace. Those were the days. The days when it took quite a bit of intensity to get me panting. Alas, that is no more. Some day, when I can afford to race consistently again, I will be back at it. For now, I'm just enjoying the ride and sleeping a ton after the occasional 5 hour ride. Feels good! But still hurts.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another "You know it's cold when.."

You know it's cold when, while picking up your bike with your bare hands, you touch the aluminum stem and it feels like getting a chemical burn.

I think it was 0 degrees (do I say degrees, or degree?) when I rode in today. I've figured out that riding in with a full gut is not fun. I ate a big breakfast and had to...um...go to the bathroom, but ran out of time. So I rode in with very full guts. It made me much slower and uncomfortable. The cold didn't bother me one bit. I guess I could say I thought about that saying, "keep a stiff upper lip," as my upper lip (and nose I guess), being my only skin exposed to the elements, was indeed quite stiff.

Congrabulations to Troy for completing his 2nd full week of bike commuting. Hopefully this is a growing trend in Omaha. The more that commuters are visible, and the more that gasoline goes up in price, the more people will consider bike commuting as an option. It's just too bad there isn't a more friendly(non hilly) route from West to East. I notice a significant difference between my commute route that has one big hill compared to the flat one. And I only ride 3 miles!! I guess that's why more people commute in Lincoln. Evil are the hills of Omaha.

Shabbos ride!?!?!?! It's supposed to be near 40 tomorrow so outside riding should definitely happen. I'm going to be riding the heavy bike with complete fenders anyway, just because I really don't want to spend an hour or so cleaning my race machine again. Sunday will be warm in the morning, then another evil Northern front comes in with chilly North winds, so Shabbos + 1 may be inside only. Suggestions are welcome!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A reason to not overdress in the cold.

I got off work at 4:30, but was running late and didn't get on the bike till 4:40. I wanted to pick up my Sigur Ros cds from the Borders at 130th and Maple. So I rode. Quickly.

I had to pick up Michelle from work by 6:30 so I knew I was gonna cut it close regardless. The leg out from UNMC was tough since it was into a wind. I took the Keystone to Boyd street, then the neighborhood route onto Old Military rd to hit 120th. I then hopped onto the shoulder of Maple and took that to Borders. I was HOT by the time I got there. I was wearing winterized helmet, balaclava, wool longsleeve baselayer, Voler themal longsleeve jersey, lobster gloves, bike shorts, Amfib bib-tights, knickers, wool socks and my clod-hopper Lake cycling boots. I was a sweaty mess, which was not smart since any collecting sweat froze rather quickly. I had an especially annoying glob of frozen sweat on the edge my cycling glasses, right on the edge of sight, so it was always there, haunting me.

I got to Borders, got my cds and was back on my way. The wind was mostly at my back, but now the sun was going down and the temp was dropping from a balmy 20 to the mid teens. All the sweat I had accumulated inside my Thermal jersey was starting to freeze also. So anytime I stopped at a light and moved around a little, it felt like I was wearing cardboard or something. Weird.

I made it home with 15 minutes to spare of having to leave to pick up Michelle. I didn't get a drink of water the whole ride since my bottle froze pretty much within 2 blocks of leaving work. Doh.

So the moral of the story is, I need to somehow dress warm enough for the single digit ride to work, but then not quite as warm for the 20 degree ride after work. Or MAMA NATURE COULD FINALLY TELL JACK FROST TO GO AWAY FOR ANOTHER YEAR!!!! grrr....

Tomorrow, I should be able to finally make the trainer night since Michelle doesn't work. Yay, more suffering on the bike.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sigur Ros

Their music and videos are amazing. Enjoy.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Some videos of the funny and informative.

Uncle Jay is quite hilarious.


video

Watch some of the "Most-Requested Episodes" for the best ones.



In other news, I'd really love to have one of these on my commuter:



It would be heavy as a brick, but really nice to always have the perfect gear without cassette/derailleur problems or internal gear hub inefficiency.

Now, don't spend too much time watching Uncle Jay or researching internal geared hubs....
.....
like I did.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'm making a forecast for this weekend

It's gonna be COLD(Saturday low of 19, high of 20, WHAT??) and probably still snow covered.
So, who wants to volunteer their abode for some trainer fun? My place could do about 3 people. I know Bike Masters does a full morning on Saturday of trainer madness, so that might be a good idea for that day. If the snow really stays around, I might venture off road and mtb over at Manawa.

Crap, I just remembered I'm on call Saturday AM from 7-noon. Sucks. Plus I'm gonna go vote in the middle of that. So no group trainer ride for me at Bike Masters. But Sunday is still anyone's call.

Ya know, I'm ready for warmer weather. Do you hear me, Ms. Nature??!!! Get to it!!!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

What a lost weekend

I got out and rode for 2.5 hrs on Friday evening. I thought it was a great start to a mileage filled weekend. Well Saturday was a bust since I woke up late, started cleaning a little, then all of a sudden, it was almost noon. I had the Officials clinic to attend which took the middle part of the day away. Got home at almost 5pm and figured I'd look toward Sunday for some miles. Well, we all know how that went. I had hopes at first that the "light dusting" of snow would end by 11am or so then the sun would come out and melt everything. So I cleaned some more, and waited. Plans changed. I was going to join Ryan and Roxy on a snow ride on the Wabash trace. Perfect!! That would be fun. Well right as Ryan stopped by to pick me up, Roxy, who had went ahead to get some more time on the trail, called and said it was a no go. Pretty much impossible to stay upright for more than 10 feet or so. So Ryan and I visited for a while(thanks for the coffee!), but decided it was in everyone's best interest to call it an inside day.

When Ryan left, it was 1:15-ish so I figured it was too late to join Bryan. Plus I really didn't want to ride a trainer. So I continued cleaning and getting other things in order before the Stupor Bowl. Every year I head to the parent's house to watch the Super Bowl(mostly for the commercials) and to eat orderves (yes I spelled it wrong, I'm not French) as a meal. It's not horrible food like fried wings and mini-weiners, but rather shrimps, veggies, compe'so(fancy bean dip) and other goodies. The game was fun at the beginning and end, but the middle was a snore-fest with the height of boredom being the half-time show. I remember thinking when Free Fallin came out in 1989, "Hey this song is ok because the video has a hot skateboarding chic, but that dude is old." That was almost 20 yeas ago. 20!!! I made the observation to my family that I think recently venues have started to pay "professional audience members" to act really interested, but still behave. Remember in the 90's, there were a couple incidents at major televised shows where the audience was either too rowdy or way too subdued? I believe, being that most of the 20-something audience members who were in diapers when Petty was kinda popular were more interested in actually being on camera looking excited and singing along with the telepromptered lyrics than looking up at the actual show on stage, that they were indeed paid to be there. It makes sense especially at the Super Bowl where they don't want any tomfoolery to happen on national TV so the poor little fragile children can grow up unscathed by images of boobies.

So anyway, some of the commercials were interesting, and the last quarter was fun. I'm glad I'm not a betting man that depends on stats. All I've heard from people is how there's probably guys out there who've lost their houses on that game. Kinda sad if it's true.

Hopefully next weekend will bring warmer temps and NO SNOW. I'm tired of it. Seriously. Bad Nature, bad.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sunday update

Weather: mid 30s by mid-day, SE wind 15-ish mph. They are saying that a light snow is possible around then also. So what do we do? Meet up at Crane Coffee at 78th and Cass around noon and decide from there? I was planning to be home by 4-ish so I'm up for 3 or so hours.

Post responses for ideas.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Weekend plans

Shabbos: If you'se guy's have a plan, I'm all ears(or eyes, as in the case of teh interwebs). Otherwise, if no outside plans are a go, I was thinking about joining this ride.

Shabbos +1: Cloudy and mid to upper 30s for a high at 2pm. I know afternoon is not a popular time, but I think it'll be too cold to go early.

EDIT: Sunday has conflicting weather forecasts. Local stations say upper 30s with snow in evening. Weatherchannel says mid 30s with snow, and Accuweather.com says upper 20s(!) with freezing rain?!? So I say any plans for Sunday are probably tentative. Unless they involve riding indoors.

Any ideas, let me know.