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.  



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 newsletter:


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 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.