Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Done- and a new start for 2010

R-12 goal- accomplished. I rode a 200k on Dec 29 with my buddy Bruce and completed my R-12. I am still not fast and have lots of work to do but I will order my medal as soon as my results are posted! Yeah. Bruce even said if I didn't buy the medal he would. He was great company for much of the latter part of the season. I am looking forward to sharing more time on the road with him as the first 200k of the new season is this coming Saturday. I know it doesn't seem cold, but I am hoping that we are above freezing for the start. Happy New Year all. May 2010 be the best yet. eb

Monday, October 19, 2009

Seconds from Disaster

Well, my 200k in September was so unexpectedly hard that it has taken me 3 weeks to even write about it. The same day Graeme was going through the VT50 I went to Melbourne FL to do a 200k. It should have been fine but somehow so many little things added up to a 125 mile day of suffering starting at mile 20.

We started on Wickham Parkway in Melbourne on a route that looked like a bow tie and mainly went North South . . . with a good breeze from the west. We had a tail wind for the first 1.25 miles and then turned south. It was a noticeable cross wind for the three of us starting out. Then there was the 20 miles of A1A- uggghhh. Now I know why everyone down there fights about it- bicyclists against motorists. Anyway, it was getting pretty warm by mile 28 and we stopped at a convenience store. It was a longer stop than I cared for but both the guys I was with seemed chatty. Oh well, 20 minute stop. At mile 50 we had checkpoint 3 with a headwind in between. Another 20 minutes plus of a stop waiting for one guy who was suffering. Turned out he dropped off and headed for the start shortly after we took off.

We faced a long, straight, hot road with no shade and nothing for 13 miles after that stop- at midday, humidity and heat that made it feel like 105 degrees. At one point I said to my riding buddy "well we are halfway done!". If we had been lesser individuals with less desire to reach our goals I think both of us would have called a cab right there.

From there the rest of the day is a blur of wind, heat, and pain. On the way to the northern turnaround it rained a little. Even with the respite from the heat and sun, we were hard pressed to ride above 16 mph.

If you have ever seen the show Seconds from Disaster that was the story of that day. There is almost never one single thing that contributes to some catastrophe, but a series of events that aligns to create a disaster. This was not a disaster as the two of us finished, but it was one of the absolute hardest rides I have ever done.

The night before I had to run errands and when I got home I was busy. I realized that it was 9:30pm and I had not eaten. I thought "Oh well, I will eat in the morning". I didn't eat before the drive out there, ate a souffle from Panera Bread right before leaving, and could not have planned to mess up my nutrition any better.

I also could not sleep the night before. I got a couple of hours but when I woke at 1:30am I never really went back to sleep. I had been caring for a very sick little puppy and I was worried about her. Mental Fatigue and stress. As evidenced by the fact that my period was late and chose that day to start. Sigh.

As the 9th of my 200k's en route to my R-12 I thought I had it all down and could just roll out of bed and knock out a long ride. Yeah, maybe a little more prep time and effort, especially mental would have been better.

Another lesson learned about taking thing for granted. The weather has gotten cooler here in Florida so hopefully the next one will really be a beautiful ride. I expect I will be able to write about that one right away instead of having to wait for the experience to fade a little before reliving it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

134 miles in Florida in August

Only mad dogs and Englishmen and a small band of randonneurs were out on Saturday. The group chose the longest available permanent route to do in the hottest month in Florida! We started at 6 am with lights on for a short time until the sun came up. We did fairly well up to the lunch stop with a nice convenience store with a Subway. I was happy it was before 11 am and I got a breakfast sandwich. Yum.

It was getting pretty hot and humid with limited shade for a couple of hours after lunch. We got a reprieve because it rained- mixed blessing. It got overcast and a lot cooler but I do dislike riding for several hours with wet feet. I guess that just made taking my socks off at the finish that much better. I felt really strong on the way back. I tried Anti Fatigue caps from Hammer again and they seemed to help.

We got back right at 4:30pm and I treated myself again to a nice tall gelati at the Italian Ice shop down the street. I had a steak thawed in the fridge for dinner but couldn't work up either the appetite or energy to cook Saturday night. Steak and eggs for Sunday brunch sure hit the spot! Funny how everything turns to thoughts of food after a big ride, especially one where I felt good.

I have been doing more core work- I do love the variety that Graeme has to offer, never get bored with the same workout. I am just starting to think ahead to Sebring next February and think about a plan for that 24 hour race. I think I am laying the foundation work right now and once it starts to cool off down here I can really start making some progress. Let you know about the 200k in September!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Florida in July

Well, last weekend I got another 200k done- 5 more to go. This time there was a group of 10 doing the permanent route and it was great. I had riding companions and it made the day go much faster. Not in terms of total time out on the road- I had a faster average speed but more time off the bike- but the company was great.

The only thing was that there was no relief from the heat. By 2 pm I am sure the feels like temp was way over 100. So, the last 2 hours were tough to get through. I did and had a huge gelati as my reward when it was over. Yippee, I can see that R-12 award now!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ride Faster, Faster!

Just a quick update. I have been riding the latest 200k's by myself so in the heat here in Florida I have been spending about 8.5 hours on the bike, usually with an hour off the bike. I have been training my body to ride long but slow. To meet some of my longer term goals, I need to get faster. Last weekend I went out for a group ride with a faster group on the hills (we do have some small ones west of Orlando :-). It was foggy in the morning and the good news was that it seemed to really help climbing when I could not see the hills. I hung in until a couple of miles from the store stop and then dropped off again a couple of miles away from the place where they met.

It was tough but exactly what I need to do right now. The older advice to ride faster was to ride with a faster group. I do like the way that Graeme Street goes about it, I just did his Spin class #8 off the bike upper body work and on bike over-under intervals. Whew. I chose this specifically because I have to travel the next couple of days for work, so plenty of recovery!

I will do another 200k this month, maybe start really early or maybe start in the evening and do a night ride. I am on the downhill side of the R-12 and we will get to the nice part of the year after the heat breaks. Earlier this year, when I re-evaluated my goals and decided to do the R-12, I thought it was going to be fairly easy. I mean in comparison to a 400 or 600k this was an easy day. Well, it has been a little more difficult than I thought, mainly from the motivation side. Now, after halfway I am finding more positive thoughts and look forward to ticking them off. Of course, it is TDF time, so everyone wants to ride anyway. Vive le Tour!

Monday, June 29, 2009

halfway to R-12

Saturday I left at 6am for another 200k solo. Heat, humidity, wind, rain. Had it all and kept about my same 200k times and I am now halfway to the R-12. Too much invested, I can't stop now!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Getting Yours

OK, long time no posting. There has been just a little going on- I have moved into a new place and am going through major financial stuff. But I still have a job and there are lots of new beginnings and I am grateful.

I had targeted doing the Bike Across Florida ride on May 3- 170 miles. I felt that my training was spot on. The ride was to be on the Sunday before moving on Tuesday. The previous weekend I felt a cold coming on and finally by Friday before the ride I gave in that I was not going to make the ride as I stayed home from work with a fever.

I have been watching American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. (No judgements please and I am glad to have a DVR so I can just watch the performances and skip everything else). Anyway, on both shows I thought the unexpected person won. Adam Lambert- the guy I expected to win on Idol did not win. I thought everyone else was competing for second place. The same thing on Dancing with the Stars- of the two finalists, Gilles and Shawn- I thought Gilles would get it hands down. Instead it brought to mind one of the things that James Arthur Ray teaches- everyone gets what they need. I really think Adam did not need to win Idol, he is going to be a superstar. Kris Allen, the winner is not as charismatic as Adam, but now he is forever going to have the title of winner of American Idol which may turn out to be a bigger boost to him than it would have been for Adam. On Dancing with the Stars, Gilles has found a passion for dancing and says it will be a part of his life from now on. Shawn Johnson is only just graduating from high school and although she has an Olympic gold medal she is still very young and has been somewhat isolated in gymnastics. She says that she grew on the show and learned how to work as a team, not just compete for herself. I believe that winning that show will do wonders for her self confidence and this accomplishment may even be life changing for her.

So, did I get what I needed by getting sick and not doing the ride? I had more time to focus on packing and moving. I learned that the training plan I put together for myself worked. I have spent time with my two dogs to adjust to a new place and develop a solid and rewarding relationship. I will knock out another 200k next weekend to keep my R-12 going. I also have the beginnings of a really cool bike room. I took what would have been the master bedroom (the larger one of the two bedrooms) and have my weight machine, treadmill, trainer, workbench, and other fitness stuff almost set up. Tools and organization is making progress too. So, like my mother always said- when you don’t get that thing you really wanted, something else even better is going to come along.