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'.

Monday, July 21, 2008

An Epicly Epic ride.

Well it was epic for my current fitness level. I guess I shouldn't even say that. My body just isn't used to the miles. My aerobic system was ok, my muscles made it till about the last 10 miles or so. But today if feels like someone took away my neck muscles. I can barely hold up my head. See I've been riding my Bianchi just for commuting for a couple months now. It has way more of an upright position than my lightweight racey Lemond. But I needed all the help I could get to last the 90 hilly miles on tap. So by then end of the ride, after my neck muscles got more of a workout than they ever had, I was more than a little sore. Harlan, the finish town, had a nice massage tent setup. So I got a good working over for 15 minutes with a focus on my neck. So that was nice. But today, I'm still feeling it. Time for some vitamin I - as in Ibuprofin.

So the ride itself was quite fun. Bryan rode 10 miles from his place to get to mine, then we headed downtown after dropping off a couple bags of change-of-clothes at my parents place. We ventured over the 480 bridge pretty uneventfully. The shoulder was just one bike width, so we single filed it, but there was barely any traffic at 6:30am on Sunday. The shoulder was also very rocky/glassy. But we made it across without incident. After moseying through downtown Council Bluffs, we headed North on the very fun Old Lincoln Highway towards Missouri Valley to join the first day of RAGBRAI. This road is not as hilly as I remember. We were taking it rather easy so maybe that was the reason. There were plenty of hills, though, once we got onto the RAGBRAI course. We met up with Matt Pavlovich with a great group of friends that had their own little motif going. It was the running of the bulls deal where one bigger guy was painted red and had these huge bull horns attached to his helmet. The rest of the people in the group wore white garments and had red saches on. They were basically imitating this. Quite hilarious. Also along the ride were many different bike-boom-boxes. Some were little seatpacks, others were full-on trailers, but everyone got to listen to music ranging from C & C Music Factory to Johnny Cash. Again, good times. The many different costumes and bikes kept the otherwise boring Iowa backdrop interesting. There were many a cornfield we passed while riding up and down hills. There was only a couple flat sections. It was funny because as soon as there was about a mile or so of flatness, pace lines would pick up and motor through. But these broke down with any hills since congestion of slower riders made it dangerous.

It was quite an experience, but I'm not sure I'd want to do the whole week of RAGBRAI. I'd have to be trained for it, that's for sure, but after about the 4th or 5th day, I think I'd be pretty tired of pork chops and goofy dressed people. Not that those things are bad, but moderation is always good.

So that lovely/painful 90 mile ride started a new training schedule. This next month is just a break in period so I'm only doing 10-14 hour weeks. That's not hard to do when you start a week with a 5 hour ride. Today is an off day, minus the commute, then Tuesday and Thursday I'll do an hour easy each, Wedsnesday will be a couple hours on the Wed night group ride, Friday will be another off day, then Saturday will be 2-3 hours of whatever. I'm not really assigning intensity yet. I'll go hard when I feel like it, but mainly I just need to build up my aerobic base and get my body used to riding lots again. Also, riding more will hopefully get me back down into the 150s lb range. I'm publishing my training log here. I'll update it hopefully after most rides. This published log will keep me motivated and accountable to all who read it. So if you check on it and there's a few days missing, remind me to either keep training, or to update my rides.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sunday is the beginning of the end.

I'm tired of wasting away. My quads and calves are thinning down and my waistline is growing. I'm kinda scared about the 80-90 mile ride this Sunday because I haven't ridden that long for at least 6 months. The longest ride in recent memory was riding over to Lake Manawa, doing TT intervals a couple times, then riding home. The total riding time was about 3.5 hours and I was a big wet spaghetti noodle the rest of the day. So this Sunday will be interesting. I hope Bryan will be patient as I can some drifting off the back on a few hills in my future.

But that will be it. That ride will mark the start to a new life for me. Michelle is driving now so I have no commitments after work. I can put in some good training after work to eventually get back to my I am mapping out a training regiment that will involve upping my aerobic rides for the last part of the summer so I can handle 90 mile rides easy. Then, over the winter, I will work on strength and dropping weight. I'm not sure if I can be in tip top shape by the beginning of next race season, but I think I'll be close fairly competitive form.

I thought about the money situation and realized it's possible to make money while racing. You just have to plan better to save money on traveling, eating, etc. and/or finish in the top 5. If I get back to my former strength (or maybe even stronger) I know I can be up there. I've learned from Bryan that you don't have to spend money on the latest and greatest stuff to get strong. It's the training that matters, not the equipment. Granted, when it comes to TT's, aero stuff always helps, but I can hopefully borrow equipment to shave away seconds. I just have to train so my motor isn't holding me back.

So this is it. I am making a declaration that next summer will be my return to racing. I really miss it. I miss the feeling of putting others in the hurt lockers when on an attack. I miss the weekends spent putting in 4-6 hour rides so the intense long races don't hurt that much. I really miss riding my bike.

If anyone wants to go on easy or hard training rides, let me know. There'll only be a couple times a year where I'll have to work late for a month, but other than that, I should be on the road most days by 5pm. It will be fun.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My ears are on fire.

Or...I have ear cancer. Sunday I worked the wheel pit for my officiating duty at the Babcook memorial crit downtown. I put on sunscreen most places, but forgot my ears, temples, and backs of my arms. So those places got pretty red. "Backs of your arms??" you say? I slathered on the screen on the already kinda burnt tops of my arms (forearms, hands), however, did not think that I would be crossing my arms behind me for a few hours out in the sun. Which is exactly what I did. Therefore, the backs of my arms, which never get any sun exposure, got a little burnt. I wore a hat most of the day so that's why my ears and temples got burnt.

So enough skin cancer talk. The Omaha cycling weekend was fun but labor intensive. This was my first official race being I did a couple practice crits early in the season, but they were not, officially official. On Saturday, I was out at Mt Michael (216th and North of Maple) by 7:45am for the time trial. That race went ok with only a few communication issues. All was said and done by about noon so I had an hour to eat and get down to Papillion for the afternoon crits. I was a tad late, but all was still getting setup when I arrived. The different crits went well, but scoring(keeping track of who's 1st through last in the race) was difficult/stressful. These sets of races were all done by 9pm. So that was a long day.

Then Sunday I got wheelpit duty. I was just fine with that since scoring is not so fun, but it involved me standing in the sun most of the day. Hence the sun burn opener. This race also went most of the day. There by 8am, leaving by 5pm. After this weekend, I have a whole new respect for organizers, officials, and volunteers. They make races happen, otherwise it'd just be a bunch of glorified group rides. If you've never scored a race (or have ever protested a result) I'd suggest trying it once. Cause keeping track of 20-40 people going by 25-50 times at different intervals is no easy task.

As an official, I'm supposed to stay neutral, so I just want to congratulate all of the racers who came out gave it their all and (hopefully) had a good time. I do however want to mention that, on Saturday night, it was fun watching Alex Boyd hold his own against 4 other breakaway companions who were all from the same team. I've been in a similar situation before where it's you alone against 3 or so others conspiring to drop you. In my situation, I got dropped. Alex did not. In fact he won the race. Quite impressive, sir. My hat's off to you. There were many other amazing feats of strength throughout the weekend, so congratulations to all who participated. Thanks for keeping racing in Nebraska alive and well.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Warning: Political Content ahead.

Here's another good reason to vote for Obama in November. Having a presidential candidate who's already talking to the bike industry is a great start. Granted, if (hopefully when) he gets elected, bike lanes won't just pop up over night. But if he can get the wheel rolling, so to speak, then I believe change for the better can happen.

Also, here's a bike that I would love to ride someday, just to see how weird it is. Talk about an ultimate grocery getter.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Rough couple of weeks

So I'm officially back from my 2 week vacation. I was actually back on Thursday afternoon. I was definitely not back in cycling shape though, let alone any other shape. Here's the skinny(or should I say squirty?).

Sunday the 22nd, my dad and I were off to Pennsylvania. First stop, South Bend, Indiana for a stay over at a hotel. We didn't have to be to Pittsburgh till afternoon on Monday, so we got up and took a ride around the Notre Dame Campus. Purdy cool. Many of the really old buildings were under construction as was the football field, so our ride was mainly just a pass through. We pack back up, and head off for P-burgh. Clark, my little bro who lives there and was hosting us, had a ton of old stuff at the parents house that we transported to him. After all that was unloaded, the vehicle had plenty of room for our stuff and bikes. The next day we headed out to Philadelphia to catch the 2nd part of the first day of the Tour of PA. The crit was fast and exciting. I talked with Pool a little and called it a day. The next couple days we stayed with some relatives and followed the race across the state at various points. Basically we would get to a spot (usually a sprint spot or KOM) watch them go by, then take a different route to get to the next spot. This was really difficult because the whole state is a tangled spiderweb of highways and interstates that really doesn't make much sense. Usually when we got to our next spot, they were just coming in. It was really cool to see a rolling enclosure in action. You'd have oncoming traffic that got pulled over by the cops, the race would go by, the caravan would go by, then the long line of vehicles trapped behind the race would creep by slowly. So that was a fun experience. Unfortunately, it was not in the cards for Pool or his team to achieve great glory. They did really well for the first half, but strong teams and a goof with traffic into Pittsburgh robbed them of coming out on top. Pool has a good race report on his website.

So after the race, my dad and I hung out with my little brother again. We went cave dwelling, fancy house touring, and we ate some great food. Well, it all tasted great, but apparently one of the many dishes had it out for me. On Tuesday, the 1st, we started to make our way back West. The plan was to stop along the way at various trails and ride our bikes often. Well my dad did, but I did a lot of reading while in a bathroom. I highly recommend NOT getting food poisoning. Ever. Only being able to eat 2 bites of any dish, then feeling full to point of bursting (almost literally) for most of the day was not a great way to travel across the country. We got back on Thursday and I was still not well after 2 days of heavy bathroom time. Friday, I spent some time at Michelle's mom's place since they always do a great 4th celebration. Again, not much food and that night was particularly unpleasant. So Saturday and Sunday I really did nothing but drink as much fluids as I could stomach and rested hardcore.

Today, Monday, I'm feeling better stomach-wise, but am way behind in strength and condition. The ride into work today was probably my worst ride ever. Worse than the -9 degree weather this winter. Worse than even the easiest rides back when I was training hard 20 hours a week. So, needless to say, it's going to be a while before I'm ready to do some intense training rides with you guys. I'm all for easy recovery rides, if anyone is interested, but that's about it. I'm thinking 2 hours tops for a while.

This weekend is the Omaha Race weekend and I'll be one of the officials, so you guys better be on your best behavior. Then the next weekend is the Cornhusker State Games TT where I will also be officiating. So it may be a month before I'm in for some Shabbos goodness. Sigh....

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Easy Sunday. Easy Monday. Easy ...

We'll I've decided to get back in the saddle again. I'm a cowboy - On a steel horse I ride. So tomorrow, I'm going to start earlyish (6:30-7:00) and most likely head south on the trail for a while.

Monday - I'm taking the day off and going to try to meet up with the U.P. lunch ride group (if it does not rain). The U.P. lunch ride is way more than I have the fitness for right now, but I need some humiliation for my fat-ass. It starts typically around 11:45 and goes for about 45 minutes. Meet me at the HQ and I'll ride with you for a few minutes until I mercilessly ride away off the back.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Ride more.

Saturday Bike Masters ride at 8:30 in the a.m. Gonna be probably 50 miles, pretty mellow. Just looking for smooth hours in the saddle. Come one, come all, etc.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Celebrate your independence ... from work

Here's a preliminary plan:

Shabbos -1, 6:30 a.m. from Bike Masters. Gonna be back by 10 or 10:30. Uptempo, but never angry, pace.