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.


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?