Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Good, The bad and the Ugly

Well, its been a few, so I will get right to it. Thanks to Irene, Fountainhead was postponed until 9/11. Charm City Cross is the following weekend-AAArgghhh!

Ok, now the good. My house did not flood from the Irene's liquid offerings. The bad;The trails are a complete mess. The ugly; thanks to Irene, I now have on half less of a tree than I had on friday. Like someone sliced it right down the middle. All told I was pretty lucky compared to some I suppose.

Training has been going well. I logged 658 miles in august, but have been a little uninspired as of late. Dont know what to make of it. Maybe the end of the season is here and I am not looking forward to another cold one here-yeah, I will go with that one.

The Madone has been a blessing to ride. It has really aided in my training. will I convert it to a Single...! Really excited about cross season this year. I think I will be pretty competitive, or I could completely impload like a white dwarf and create a black hole which would envelope my competition and leave me as the only one That was really stupid. Anyway, I have a 50 miler planned for tomorrow to get me ready for Fountainhead. Over and Out.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tally Ho!

Well, my year for mileage totals has come to an end today. I cant believe how much training and mileage I have put on the bike this past year. All told, I logged 4,594.44 miles since last august 21st. My actual elevation gain was around 412,000 ft due to using another computer when my Garmin 500 took a dive.

I had some pretty long road rides this year as well. Quite a few 50+ milers and a few 60+ miles on the SS. Last year I had around 1,400 miles total, nothing to write home about.

With only 2 mountain bike races left, it is time to start switching gears - eh, I always wanted to use that in a sentence in conjunction with a cycling blog-to cyclocross season; meaning more intervals and less endurance, sounds like work to me, uughhhh.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Very Nice road ride from Forest Hill to Pennsylvania

Just a nice, but difficult ride to Pa. today. New route for me and wanted to get some good climbing in before Fountainhead. Sit and Spin...I dont think so. 53/21 all the way, except short Walters Mill climb, which registered a leg blistering 21% grade for 550 feet. There are a few 1+ milers that are 10-15% grades in spots as well. Still able to lock down a pretty fast 19.4 for the total. Legs felt a little heavy near the end, but not to bad. Was able to crank out of the saddle and maintain 20+ mph on some of the climbs.

Bike is handling great. It did get a little twitchy on some of the 40 mph descents, but there was a bit of a cross wind to contend with.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I feel ashamed

Yes, I am ashamed to admit this, but...I have sinned. It is true; I have been on the mountain bike only once this month; and that was a race in which I saw a 6:43 overall improvement from my 2010 time. 185 miles on the road and 20 on the trail.

I would have never guessed it would end up like this. Does this mean that I am giving in to the dark side? I should say not! I am seeing the benefits of hitting the road, though. Plus it has finally opened up and rained a bit, so the trails aren't an option right now.

Today my lower level welcomed the rains a bit. So much for that new laminate floor. Anyway, I am feeling pretty fit right now. I am looking forward to Fountainhead and Cross season coming up. Did spend some time with the kids roller blading as well, today.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Random acts of goofiness-A reflection of interacting with customers

I have just decided to post some random acts of random goofy remarks that I have encountered working in a bike store. I realize that people screw up-I am at the top of this list, but these go beyond even my capacity (Charo, too) to completely destroy the english language. So if you are one of the few that have been guilty of these faux pa's, please read this and educate yourselves before entering a bike store. These are all real accounts.

  • For the love of God, stop wearing underwear with lycra shorts-I have not done this, by the way.
  • His name is BONTRAGER, not: BUNTRANGER or BUTRANGER, nor is it BO-TRAGER.
  • No, bar ends are not meant to act as 10" riser bars.
  • What weight motor oil should I use on my chain? Can you find the word in that sentence that states the obvious?
  • We sell Madone's, not MAD-ONE's. Yes he really asked about that.
  • Kryptonite is a brand name, not the material in which the lock is made of.
  • "I would like to put an adjustable stem on my bike" (which happened to be a Serotta road bike) That is what hybrids are for.
  • "My water bottle wont stay in the cage" (cage was upside down) admitted to losing 5 bottles over a week period?
  • I heard dem Treks is fast bikes. Is dat true?
  • This is the best-I spent 15 minutes with a customer who layed out 10k on a Project One Madone. Bike weighed in at 14.5 lbs. "How light are these cages?" 17gms. "So if I put these on, it will make the bike lighter, right?" No, you will be adding 34 grams for two to the overall weight of the bike. "How do you figure?" I was puzzled by the response. Sir, you are adding 34 gms to the bike, which is a little over an ounce. "I guess I am not understanding what you are saying." Ok, keep in mind that he wasnt comparing other cages, he swore that the bike would be lighter because he was ADDING 2 carbonwater bottle cages. 15 minutes of this.
  • A customer brought in a wheel called the "Slow Wheel." It has a weight on the hub to make the wheel heavier for training for tri's or other cycling events. He paid 499.00 for it. I recommended Joel Friels Cycling Bible to him. His response-"Cycling books seem like a waste of money to me, anyway I'm not that serious of a cyclist." I see, you spent 499.00 on a contraption such as this, but 29.99 for the best cycling advice you can get is foolish? What did Jim Morrison say? "People are strange." 
  • This gentleman was a math teacher at a local school-no joke. Tell me why I should spend 600.00 on bike here when I have bought five, 139.00 "mountain bikes" from W-----T in the last 10 months? They gave me a new one when the others stopped functioning in various ways. Did you really just ask me that?
  • Finally; what is the difference between a 6, 7 and 8 speed gears on the back wheel? He wasnt a math teacher.
Ok, there are more, but these are the one's that really made an impact on me. This wasnt meant to poke fun at people, but sometimes you have to release the inner evil and just let it out. I just look at it as material for an entry into a blog that otherwise would have nothing. Over and out.

New GPS info

Came across this nifty little website that is much better and accurate than Garmin's.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Oh will be here before you know it

Just thought, if you are getting too comfortable with this whole summer thing, I would remind you of things yet to pass; just wait, the white, cold, icy concoction will be here, barking on your doorstep just begging for you to ride.

The Snow Miser says, "Go ahead, I'll be fine; after all it is me the Snow Miser and I'm in control, man...I'm in control and by the way Hey baby, I'm too much...too much."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just a snapshot of the last 3 months training

I havent ridden a road bike this long since...

Well I did a 60 miler today, probably not smart after a night of intervals, but still averaged 19.2 mph with 5500 ft of climbing-hoo rah! I used to do the Chesapeake Bay Bike Tour from 1995-2001, doing the century on saturday and 44 miles on sunday. So it has been some time for the long rides. With the new bike, I feel much faster and stronger. Of course, these are necessary ingredients for riding longer, duh.

The bike handled great, but the head wind back was horrible. It was a struggle to even go 20 mph downhill. All told, it was a great ride overall, and one that I really need to do.

The Sram Red stuff is just plain awesome. Perfect shifting every time. No need to ease past the click to actually shift, like that name that rhymes with piano or mano-a-mano, or, eh whatever.

Back is much better, now. No stiffness today.  Taking the day off tomorrow to recoup from the last 2 days.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting ready for Fountainhead and Cross Season

2 saturdays from today will be the final race of the Cranky Monkey series. I am leading with 75 points and looking good to maybe, but not certain, but a real good possibility to be the first time I win a series. As always, Fountainhead is a tough course. Very technical, as I found out last year, not water bottle friendly either.
I have already signed up for 3 cross races and the first is always the best-Charm City Cross. 688 registered so far. If you have never raced cross, think of it as climbing the steepest hill for 40 minutes at maximum effort, oh and through in some mud, sand, barriers and run ups. Last year I just did a few to stay in shape for winter, but I wasnt in the greatest shape at the time so it didnt work. I did place in the middle of the races, so not bad for not really going all out.

This year will certainly be different; goals are to finish top 10, which is great considering 120 people are in the group. So the Poprad is ready to go. I love this bike;cross, road or mountain, this is just a great riding ox II platinum steel bike. Comes in at 18 pounds 11 oz. Tonight are intervals and tomorrow, a 60+ mile road ride to get some endurance in. Over and out.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Just a cool pic

My wife shot this rain shadow image of someone's bike at the race. Just thought it was worth viewing.

Schaeffer Farms and landing in the 3rd spot...AGAIN!

Ok, I know I should be like, "Whoa, alright, this is great!" In a way I am, but this is the 5th race this year that I have managed to own the 3rd spot. Don't get me wrong, I am very pleased, but still a little bummed. Especially since I have been really puttin' down the training routine this year. I just have to remind myself that the competition is too.

Last year at Schaeffer I rode my old Paragon, which is geared of course. Why, cause it was there I suppose. I turned in a 49:48 and 49:15 which landed me in the 4th spot. Last lap was faster than my first, but I struggled for the last 2 miles, got passed by Ben and that was that. This year's goal was, obviously to do better than last year in the SS class. I have to admit that I am a stats nut. So I look over past times of others as well as my own to see where improvements can be made to my training plan. There are a few guys that are just FAST as something you would not want to normally step in. Ethan Lindbloom, Shane Karr, Blake Bricker and my newfound friend Jonathan Houghton. So when I see these guys registered, I know I had better be on my game. I wish it were more like a game, say...hmmm...Trouble; that way if I land on them, they get sent back to start.

As usual, Ethan took off, never to be seen again until the end. That left everyone else racing for 2nd and whatever leftovers we could muster. Jonathan and I started off smokin' the first 5miles. I mean we averaged 16.1 mph...crazy. Jonathan is the reason I have finished 3rd 3 of the 5 times. He is a stronger 2nd half rider than myself. Schaeffer Farms is a fast, dusty, technical course, with a few steep climbs. I ran the Ferrous at 32/18, which proved to be great choice on my part-I don't have to many times that I can say that. Today would be a different story, though. I was determined to stay on his wheel the entire time; which meant riding a little out of my element, but that's what training is for, eh? First lap was a 46:08, which was almost 4 minutes faster than last years time, Jonathan had a 46:07-all good. Shane passed us a little ways up, and I was going to make a move, but my lower back was starting to tighten up, so I just stayed on course. I could tell Jon was getting tired, and I knew I had to make a move, but was a little slow to do so. So after the last steep climb at mile 8, he said he couldnt hold the pace anymore, so I took off. I wasnt sure if he was going to attack and pass, so I put out as much as I could get and finished at 1:32:56; 6 minutes faster than last years time, which was pretty close to my goal of 1:31ish. I ended up only 17 seconds from Shane and 2:30 from Evan, who beat me by 10 minutes last year.

My average HR for the race was 181, which is awesome. I was able to sustain the 190's quite a bit and still feel pretty strong. I guess all that road riding of late is paying off.

So another spot on the podium for the Crew and I am now leading in points with 75, so things are looking pretty good right now and the last race is Fountainhead...aaarrrggh!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Getting ready for Schaeffer Farms

Last workout before saturday's race. 2 sets of 6x1 standing hill repeats with 53x11 gearing and trainer set on high tension. 26 registered so far for ss class and it is packed with the fastest guys around so I need to stick to my game plan of not having a game plan until saturday after the horn sounds. Last year I finished 4th with a time of 1:38:49 for 19 miles. My goal is to shave 8 minutes off and finish with a 1:30 in order to finish in the top 5 with these guys. Funny thing is 17 of the 26 are over 40. Must be a 40 thing. I switched full time to SS when I turned 40. Now 43, I cant imagine riding a geared bike-though I do own one-ssshhhhhhhh.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New name, same moron

Short post, new name- Like duh, why didnt I think of that? Oh yeah, cause I'm a moron.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Been a good week so far

Tonight, just finishing up my first set of power intervals since going on vacation. I was a little concerned with my last interval session, which saw my HR only hit 173 and feeling really flat-flat as Kansas, baby. I hit 188 for may max which was a relief, albeit a painful one.

Schaeffer Farm Race #2 this saturday, so I feel a little better about it now. I have put 120 miles on the new Madone since last tuesday, so the longer road rides are paying off. Yet to decide what to ride this weekend, but leaning towards the Ferrous, due to the course being a little more technical. Finished 4th last year there. Last race gave me 35 points for the 3rd place finish.
Legs are feeling really good right now. All of the road rides have been in the 19.6 mph avg or above. Have yet to use the 39 tooth chainring or go above the 21 in the back. I hate to say the bike has made me stronger and faster, but it is my blog so...yes, the bike has a bit to do with my current level of fitness. I am down to 175, which is the lowest I have been since high school. I drink, maybe 2 sodas a week now; compared to last years 1 double big gulp a day.

Really excited to do the Shenandoah 100 this year as well. Dont know how I will fair, but the goal is to do a sub 10 hour race on the singlespeed.