Thursday, December 15, 2011
Coming home last night (on the scenic road) traffic goes from a stately 20mph to nearly a stop for no particular reason. Oh, but there was one. See someone on a bicycle with really great gear (nice fenders, commuting tires and really bright lights) was riding on the shoulder of the road. That in and of itself wasn't really an issue. But the cars with their headlights coming up the hill were blinding the drivers going down the hill and because of the really bright bicycle lights they knew someone was on their right.
The only major problem is that person was traveling against traffic. But wait there's more. There was another cyclist going with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road also trying to get past the wrong way cyclist thus causing traffic to slow.
It only took a couple of seconds for everything to work out, but the issue remained because of one person and a whole lot of people had to make a lot of right decisions and that one person was riding a bike which caused the little spark of hatred motorists have with cyclists flare just a little bit, when by riding on the proper side of the road everything would have been fine.
I felt bad for the person doing the right thing because the cars that had to wait for everything to get sorted out took out their frustrations by passing them closely as they were accelerating. LEARN THE RULES OF THE ROAD.
Now the smart. It was a cop. I have a lot of respect for law enforcement, but probably underestimate exactly how knowledgeable they really are.
My late night route takes me past one of the Everett stations. On my way by I saw a cruiser pull out, but it's a station so I didn't think anything of it.
Just past the station is a short section of MUT and other the other side was a cruiser. The timing was too coincidental. I checked the plate cruiser number. Another street and the cruiser rolled past then another section of trail. At the end I saw the cruiser roll by again. Another section of trail and the same cruiser. You would have to be very familiar with the area to know all the twists and turns the trail takes in order to be at the end and you would have to be moving quickly to beat a cyclist on them.
Finally there is a long section of road that goes slightly downhill and two sections of path that are downhill as well. I pushed hard and lost the car. For a little bit.
I swing back up to a road-only return and shortly after I did the cruiser rolled past me again. I felt better seeing them. It was fun to play the hide and seek game with them through the trails and road, but they not only knew the trail intimately enough to keep up with me most of the time, when they figured out I hadn't back-tracked up the trail they went to the most likely route back for a cyclist and found me. Smart.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The first part of the ride followed that forecast and while I wasn't moving fast I did ok. Going back up to Lake Stevens there is some climbing to get into Everett but the brutal hill comes going into Lake Stevens. 20th Ave is about 3/4 of a mile with an average grade of 15% and an upper grade of over 18%. That combined with a sketchy cross of through traffic moving at 50mph or more made it fun.
The ride back was wet. It never really rained, but the roads were wet and leaving Lake Stevens is a lot of high speed downhill. My feet were soaked through before Everett. Good thing for wool socks.
I had to stop for food before we got back to Edmonds. With a breakfast of about 300 calories and 150 calories in my bottle I was running a huge deficit and was probably on the edge of stellar bonk, but Starbucks came to the rescue with a rice krispie bar. The return trip included a good climb from the Snohomish valley to Everett and then again over 164th.
All told for the day I covered 62 miles and close to 4500 feet of climbing. Speed wasn't really high but considering amount of additional clothing gear, weather and the fact that I"m very out of "bike-shape" I count it as a win. I wasn't even sore the next day. One of things I need to do beside clean my bike is check my seat height; my left knee was twitchy on the front which generally means that my seat is too low.
Of course the ride wouldn't have been possible without the continued support of my wonderful wife, who made sure I had the time to ride and my FIL for keeping me company.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
I have been tracking and for the week I'm down nearly 2700 calories, which is about right for my pound and a bit of weight lost. I haven't been as far under as I could, because I'm not burning it. I have been eating consistently and with a good balance. For the week I have a perfect 50/18/32 split in my food with my protein being nearly 1 gram per pound of weight. My water intake is up and I don't feel like I'm starving.
The down side...very little riding. The weather hasn't been horrible, cool but dry. A lot of is simply a lack of time. I was able to get out and do my long Mukilteo loop today though there is a major discrepancy between my computer reading for climbing (1130') and the website's that I use (2600'). So I will have to look at that coming up. It was nice to get a little ride in at 25 miles and gave a 1000 calorie boost to my numbers. Riding makes all the difference!
I also had good news this weekend. I will be opening a bike shop!!!! Not tomorrow, not the day after but in the next couple of years. The agreement is that once I finish school I begin the work to open my own store. I am very VERY excited by this prospect. Lots to do between now and then and my time is already at a premium so home, school, work and training first.
I'll be around here too...I promise
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I rode this evening however. A short hard 10 miles in the dark, in the wind and rain and it felt good. My numbers were so-so but it felt good.
I did better with food today. Less cravings, less hunger feeling and good numbers there as well.
I had a deficit of over 500 calories with 40%carb / 18%fat / 42%protein (nearly a gram per pound of body weigh).
I'm going to take another try at riding tomorrow morning...
Monday, November 28, 2011
I had a great day food-wise. At least I mostly did. I was WAY under coming into my last meal of the day, which really isn't good, because it means that I either have to eat a big meal to get my calories up, messing with my metabolism or not eat enough, messing with my metabolism.
The worst thing you can do is eat a big meal and make it mostly fat and carbs. Especially if when I haven't done any riding that day. So here is how my day ended:
1924 calories (1204 previous to the "crap"; more on that in a second)
50% carb/ 24%!!! fat/26% protein
So my wonderful Trisha has been on a dairy free diet while nursing to make it easier on the baby. During her visit to the doctor, it was suggested she try dairy at this point. Trisha really wanted it to be the right thing after her hiatus, especially if the baby was still sensitive. Knowing this I planned on bringing her a treat and probably because I was so hungry got one for myself.
Yup a Dairy Queen, Peanut Buster Parfait has 720 calories!!! I would like to say there was horrible guilt, but honestly it was good. Not something to do everyday, but definitely a good treat to share with my wife.
I will be riding in the morning...
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Amazing what job loss and new baby will do to your ride time and motivation to ride. Here are the up-sides as of today:
I've ridden consistently 3 days in a row. Short but hard and more importantly IN-A-ROW! I haven't had hard rides back to back like that for a number of months.
I'm not sore. This is a pro and con. It means I haven't completely lost my conditioning, it also means I'm not riding hard enough or far enough for now.
Family is healthy and stable. This is important to my continued riding.
I have a job. This is also important to my continued riding and motivation to ride.
I have a wind trainer. This is also pro and con. Pro because it was free and because I can ride regardless of weather. Con because it is noisy and boring and not the same as riding outside.
Now the downsides:
I'm fat. 20lbs over what I should be. Not changing my eating habits and not riding was not good.
My job is great and...only 4 miles from home. This is a pro and con, it means that I can to and from work quickly to do riding but it also means that I don't have a required daily commute by bicycle.
It's winter in the Pacific Northwest. Enough said.
I am coming into this winter with far less fitness then I should.
As the Pros outnumber the Cons, I now know what I need to work on. The other great thing about recent news is the announcement of the "Coup de Cascades". It is a RAAM qualifier for our area and while I'm not in a position to have to worry about qualifying at this point it is very exciting to know that I will be able to race against some of the strongest ultra-cyclists in the world in a local race and see how I stack up.
Don't get me wrong. I hope to be within a 20% time gap of the leaders, not challenging them. Riders like Chris Ragsdale, Mick Walsh, and Ian Fillanger to name a few. Will they race? Probably. It will still be exciting even if they don't.
The route starts in Redmond and goes out to Hwy 20, catches up to Hwy 2 and back to Redmond. Its about 420 miles and 15,000' of climbing. It's a test and a challenge and I anticipate that I will need to finish within about 33 hours to be remotely competitive. With 2 hours sleep that is an average speed of nearly 14mph. Ya I need to get some training. The good part is I have nearly 10 months before the race to get into shape, work out my on bike diet and make sure it's bulletproof and figure out how to coordinate a crew. Plus learn a new work place, go to school, be a good dad and most importantly a great husband. PIE!
First things first. Get some training miles in and get my weight down so I'm ready to go hard core in the spring. I will work on posting at least the ugly stats here everyday so I have a record of it somewhere for some reason.
Here's the ugly:
30 minutes/8 miles/302 calories on the trainer
1416 calories/795 carb/158 fat/442 protein
650 calorie deficit
I have used a combination of this specific diet and training before to drop nearly 20lbs so I know it will work. I just need to stick with it. I'll be around to let you know how it turns out.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I caught up with HOWC (Hills of the West Coast) a ride that I have caught a few times (I'm too lazy to track down the links to my previous posts on this) and enjoyed. It is generally a non-race group of people that like to ride hard and safely and Tom Meloy is excellent at making sure this happens. He moved the ride this year with a start point in Issaquah as opposed to Seattle and because of that I don't envision riding as much with this group as I would like. It is nearly 2 additional hours in travel time for this event.
Yes I could ride (and probably will at some point in a couple of years) to the start and add in the extra eighty miles or so, but I will need to be in a LOT better shape. This group rides hard like I mentioned.
This morning after arriving at the new starting point, I had a few minutes to muck with my bike and generally make sure I had everything ready. I was probably over loaded for equipment, but with the problems that have plaqued me this year and a desire to not have to have Trisha rescue me from 2 hours away, I went on the side of caution. I was also testing out the "no food" part of my diet for this ride; more on that later.
As the rest of the riders showed up, I saw some I had ridden with before and some that I had never seen. As everyone was standing around chatting, I heard some of the conversations revolving around races they had done recently. Oh oh!
I listened closer and heard things like "we had to ride at over 30mph for a few minutes just to catch up, I don't think I'm ready to race as a Cat1 [next level is pro]" and "sponsors changed us to these other bikes [small race teams don't buy bikes generally]". Crap!
Tom got there and laid out the rules. Nice pacing, keep it to a 20-22mph effort, ride safe, tell each other what's happening, etc. Ok then. We are on the pace I expected to be on. There are two brand new people and I'm always curious if they have any idea what they are getting into. After discussing route plans that mostly go over my head we roll out.
Right off the bat we are uphill (2-4%) and into the wind (3-5mph). No big deal right, because we are on a 20-22mph pace effort. Wrong. Not only are we above that pace effort, which in this instance would have been 16-18mph but we are rolling along around 24-26mph. As I was back of one of the racers, it didn't appear he was having much issue so all I could do was grit my teeth, let my legs burn and hope to hold on.
One of the new guys rotated up front and all of a sudden we are trying to hold 25mph up a 4% grade. He actually pulled for a solid two minutes like that. Even in the draft I was well over 400 watts. He seemed to drop off quickly and I later learned that he shelled off the back, tuck tail and went home. The pace backed off a bit, but instead of nice short one minute pulls, everyone seemed to be pulling for three or four instead.
Finally it was my turn. On a two percent grade, into the wind I kept my effort to the groups pace and held at about 22mph or in this case nearly 475 watts. That lasted for about three minutes before I rolled off. The next person took a hard pull and it occurred to me I could roll off the end and go home. Instead I welcomed the burn/pain in my legs and held the wheel ahead of me. I figured that I was the only one hurting at this point.
This is said whenever there is a break in the paceline and lets the front person know to slow up until everyone is "all on". I was never so happy to hear those words. First it wasn't me and second I got a break. Then again a few minutes later and every few minutes for the next half hour..."gap".
At the first stop about an hour in, Tom reiterated the pace of the ride. Really, the three racers were the ones pushing up the pace so Tom asked them to ease back, just to take a longer turn at the front. As we rolled on, this worked great. We were at pace and there were some monster pulls at the front. I pulled twice more for a couple of minutes, but didn't want to push it too hard and end up getting dropped. We had a couple of terrific climbs.
The day ended around 65ish miles, 3400' of climbing with an average speed of 22mph or three hours. I know I rode hard, but my food went great, my supplements are working and I didn't have a mechanical on the ride.
Things I learned: I need to drop weight and work on power. I realized at one point during a great point in the ride (smooth pavement, no traffic, great weather, competent riders) that I would have had an easier time of it with a little more power and a little less weight. I was about 10lbs lighter last year when I rode with this group and it shows. I will go back to work at dropping my weight to about 160.
Also the racers were doing well because they rode short, hard rides and did other training. I can do that. In fact it works great for my upgraded goals for this year. With a shortened time schedule and more chaotic riding I need to develop a training plan. There is a ton of information on how to do it, I just need to get the plan in place. Then even without the mega-miles I will be doing quality miles.
Although they will have the advantage of having ridden most of the summer with very competitive people they slow down in the fall; which is probably when I will ride with them next. I will work to get into the shape that I want to be in and maybe I can ride at the front of the pack the next time instead of being one of the "old" guys in the middle.
Tom's take on the ride.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Mind any errors as this is getting posted from my phone. Never again will I tempt the gods of cycling. Getting ready for my first big ride of the year I commented to Trisha that I had enough equipment to handle anything other than a broken spoke.
The plan had been to do about 150 miles today with about 9000 feet of climbing. I made 20.
I was having a good ride on a clearly marked course. I had only been riding for a little over an hour in beautiful riding weather (not too warm or cold) when the course took me down a hill. Is was a nice long, smooth drop and I was hitting about 45mph. A came around a long corner and shifted my weight to the back or my bike in anticipation of an upcoming stop, when my front wheel started clicking and jerking. I brake as hard as I dares with my rear brake and managed to stay both upright and get stopped.
Yup, broken spoke. WTF!!!!
There had been nothing to indicate that was going to happen. So here I sit at a little after 8 in the morning once again waiting for my wonderful wife to rescue my ass while I watch streams of bikes going by.
Hey at least I get to try out my handy new app.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Why am I grumbling about it? Because I took my winter bike to work two days running when there was a 90% chance of rain on all three sites I check, only to get up and find there not only isn't any rain, but the roads are dry. I guess I shouldn't be greedy, it could be snowing or have hurricane like winds, but I need to get some miles in.
I have about 9 weeks of training before my big ride of the year and that means the Ibis and that means mostly dry roads (I won't hold out for sunshine). Patience Scott. Even with a very eventful May, I'm aiming to get in around 1200 miles (that plus some cool prizes from Cascade) or more. I wouldn't mind being closer to 1500, then some more miles in the beginning of June before a week of rest preceding my ride. Of course I will take as many miles now...as soon as the weather clears up!
Other quick notes: I've gotta learn to leave the damn rabbits alone, I shaved most of the hair off my head, I don't understand why vehicles feel the need to pull into the bike lane when they are stopping in traffic and I want some sun!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I was able to use those days and get some miles in. Depending on how the weather goes for the rest of the month, I should be close to 700 miles for the month and 1500 for the year. I know repetitive, too bad!
I have some things to work on, but overall my jump into summer training has gone well. I have been averaging around 19mph, 90rpm and 250 watts for my rides. I started fine tuning my pedal stroke a bit and while it is going to take some new muscle memory to perfect, it should keep down fatigue as well as pick up my power.
The other thing I am still needing to work on is pacing myself and not chasing down the rabbits. Part of that is the sudden increase in traffic levels. You wouldn't know that gas prices are rising based on the volume of cars out wandering around. Must be the economy getting better. The increase in traffic means more aggressive drivers and means that I end up exerting myself to stay safer.
Oh who am I kidding! The little human rabbits are my weakness. I see the flashing red lights (or better yet none-meaning they are too worried about weight to put one one) ahead of me and it calls to me to chase it down. The non-commuters are the worst. They are probably home from work and doing a quick 8-10 mile loop of some hills. They might have a phone and spare tube, but I am packing half my life with me and still I am driven to catch them.
I really need to get over it. I need to ride my ride at my pace for my benefit and allow them to run away from me...even if they have a team kit on.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
It is a once per rotation sound that is fairly quiet and only happens when the wheel is loaded. Initially I had thought maybe a bearing and asked my LBS to look at it. Initially they were unable to find it, but when we tried again in a quieter area with the wheel under load they heard it.
My LBS is great! They tried a number of things but were unable to correct the issue. My biggest concern was that it was a bearing that would suddenly seize, probably when I was doing 50 mph down a hill in traffic. I have been assured that this won't happen...probably. Without any charge for an hour of tinkering (or solution) I was assured that it would be fine unless it got worse.
I posted the question to the couple of boards that I keep up with and had a whole range of possibilities that were suggested, many that I was able to quickly discard or didn't apply because of the type of spokes and nipples that I have. There were four that I found possible: an un-round bearing about to seize, a crack in the rim weld, a loose skewer or a spoke nipple slipping. I added a fifth myself after some extensive research which could be a crack in the plastic bearing shield.
I hope its the simple skewer. If it's the bearing or rim; ACK!! That would be bad on the downhill-fast scenario. If I can't correct this with the skewer then I will have to get the wheel in to be rebuilt. FUN! The worst part is we are back to the Seattle drip, so I won't be able to test it anytime soon, and I fear that once it clears up I will be without my bike while I'm getting this dealt with.
The up-side is, once corrected I should be good to roll another 15,000 miles on these wheels.
Oh and the other up-side is, I got a chance to ride it (thus discovering the click). It was very, very nice to be back on my race bike!