Monday, October 27, 2008

aaahhhhhh, we are getting to the time of year when I really appreciate living in FL- the about 9 months when I look at the rest of the country and am grateful. I was just asked at work the other day about some training- seemed nice except it is in Wisconsin in Feb- umm, nope thanks, I'm good, think I will just stay here!

Saturday I did what I prefer to call cross training, others may call it shoveling dirt but I like cross training better. As I was moving stuff from one place to another I was pondering how many machines at the gym I would have to use. As I don't have a gym membership this kept me occupied for a while. So, I figured I did bent over rows, throw the medicine ball, leg press, and I don't know what translates to walking behind a fully loaded wheelbarrow and keeping it from tipping over until you want it to be empty and then it seems to all want to just stay in the bucket. Whatever, a good couple of hours of work accomplished.

Sunday all my buddies bailed- if you are reading this you know who you are- so I got a leisurely start and rolled out for just over 60 miles of rolling country. It was a beautiful day, stayed in the upper 70's with a steady wind out of the north, northwest. I headed north from home taking a new road I recently found and kept winding my way up to Eustis where I turned around and had a great trip home. After 3 hours I finally made a store stop and realized sadly that I am still going to have to figure out saddle issues.

I have several bikes, a carbon trek with a Terry Falcon saddle. This is the light bike and the one I will most likely use for my 24 hour event. I will install my aero bars soon to start to incorporate that position into training. I also have a Bianchi Volpe, a great steel touring bike that is my brevet/long distance bike. It has a triple and I have put on a Brooks leather saddle to give that a try. I also have a single speed with another Brooks to break in that I use for commuting, as well as a fixed gear that needs to have some things swapped out and right now is a short distance bike.

I attempted the grand daddy of all brevets last year, the 1200km Paris Brest Paris but I only did the PB part as I abandoned in Brest. I had a few problems- not enough training in the hills and not enough time in the saddle- but my biggest challenge is finding a saddle I can go more than 600k on. As soon as I can figure that out I will have solved my biggest limiting factor.

So, after the ride, though my butt was a little tired, I had a nice recovery session at home doing the Fix the Back stretching and myofacial release sessions. Felt good as after my cross training on Saturday I felt tight on the bike Sunday. Maybe I will schedule a massage for this week. I have to get ready for the Boys and Girls Club Century next Sunday!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Upping the mileage

Sunday was a great ride 80 miles, a little cooler, and a whacking great tailwind on the way back. I keep feeling better than I think I should as I rode strong. I need to do the core work as I feel my form slipping when I get longer into the ride. I think the commuting even though it has dropped off a little lately must be helping.

Saturday was a crazy day busy at home and running errands. We went down to Ft. Wilderness at Disneyworld with the family and I brought the single speed just to do a little riding- out to the cabin and around with the nephews. Today I had to get up early and drive out to the west coast of FL. I wound up having to stay overnight.

Traveling for work is tough and makes it challenging to stay on track fitness and eating-wise. I sat down to get a take out dinner and had a beer while I was waiting. I succumbed to the chips and salsa too. The beer put me about over the edge as I walked back with dinner. I decided that I had to do something and I put dinner in my room and did at least 15 minutes of stair climbing.

I have been thinking about how to make things simple. I love watching people people cruise the parking lot of the gym to get the closest parking spot so they can go in and use these expensive machines. I realized after I worked on a construction site and climbed stairs every day that my climbing stamina on the bike had gotten much better. That is why I like Graeme's workouts using body weight and challenging your own stability. So, I will keep looking for ways to do the simple things even on the road to keep active a little, if only to work off the beer at dinner! Salut.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Best Laid Plans

So, um on the commuting front. Not so much lately! I lost last week to stomach problems. I am still taking things a little gingerly with my stomach but there is great improvement. No, this time it is outside forces but I am still happy. My partner runs an animal rescue out of the house. One of the feral cats who does not let us touch her got pregnant. Last week she had 5 babies but is so shy that she has not been feeding them. We took over feedings every 2 hours round the clock but we have lost 3 of the litter of 5. Then while at another county animal shelter there were 3 more kittens, about the same age but much stronger that were going to be put down. So, if you are already feeding 3 or 4, what is the difference to add 3 more!

What does this have to do with my commuting? Well, in exchange for only having to get up once or so in the middle of the night I take the babies in to work and take the day shift. So, driving to work it is. I hope to negotiate maybe one day a week to ride to work, but hey- how often do you get to hand feed less than week old kittens and give them the best chance to thrive? I am grateful for the opportunity to help out so I have been doing some Quicong exercises and core work in the evenings. They should be weaned in about 3 more weeks, so I will give up a little commuting time for a short while. I am looking forward to riding this weekend and going up to Gainesville Sunday.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nice ride, stomach not nice still!

Sunday, up early again and felt good so I attempted a 62 mile ride with our Century Training Group. Everything seemed OK in the beginning though I could feel a little burn in my quads early on. I did my normal don't eat anything before the ride because I was up at 6am for a 7:30am start. Yes, it is Florida and it is still hot here so an early start. I felt OK as we did our first stop and mixed up more Sustained Energy and did the same at our second stop.

The ride was beautiful as we headed up to go around Lake Monroe. We took some of my favorite backroads where traffic is light and the few cars don't care if we are there. I noticed a couple of hours into the ride that my legs were tired- not a real suprise as I had just spent almost a week eating no protein. As we headed back in I found that my stomach was full and sloshing around but I was still really thirsty. My stomach was just not emptying. I am not sure if it was overload of SE, the hammer bar I ate at one of our stops, or the heat. Or something else entirely. I do know that I came home and spent the rest of the day in bed or not far from porcelain. I am grateful it is all coming out the rear end though! So, off to the grocery store for more yogurt and probiotics and try to get the digestion ironed out.

Next weekend is one of my favorite weekends, the Gainesville Cycling Festival. In 2004, 2005, and 2006 I did back to back centuries, Santa Fe on Saturday and Horse Farm Hundred on Sunday. I missed last year working up in CT. This year I am just going up for the 45 miles through the horse farms on Sunday with some of the Century Training Group. Ought to be a nice road trip. Next year though I want to do the double- what a fabulous weekend.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ahhhhh, it is so nice just to ride

Saturday I joined an event sponsored by Trek dealers for an Awareness for Breast Cancer Ride. The local ladies cycling clubs had a really nice turn out. I really enjoyed the 25 mile ride led by the teams sponsored by our local bike shop (LBS). I got to chat with several friends and make new ones. I had a blast rolling along inside a large peleton and the best was coming down the last road to the end with a ripping tailwind.

I would like to digress for a moment just to talk about your LBS. As cyclists we run the gamut just like folks everywhere regarding buying stuff. Some of us are such great mechanics we could buy everything on ebay and do all the work ourselves and that would be that. Others rely heavily on our LBS, even though you could get things online much cheaper. I fall somewhere in between where I can do basic mechanical stuff but don't know what I don't know so I try to find the mechanic I really trust. I also look online at any of the many sites to find the best price. IMO, supporting your shop when you can is a really good thing. They give back to the community like the event above and are great ambassadors for our sport- or should be.

Even though the media is bemoaning the economy right now, bicycles are selling well. No, not the mountain bikes from several years ago, and not the lightest sexiest "I am the next Lance" carbon bikes, but real bikes for real people. Bikes that will provide reliable transportation whether you are only riding down the block to the coffee shop or commuting day and night, winter and summer, rain or shine to work. Please always encourage folks to go to a LBS to buy a bike. There are many horror stories out there about the discount retailers and the high school kid paid minimum wage who really doesn't know what they are doing assembling that bicycle. There are other stories about that $200.00 bike that is made with substandard components and may even be dangerous. So, support your LBS and if you have more than one, find one that is friendly and welcoming to all customers and has a really great mechanic.

OK, stepping down off the soap box now, that's enough. I will fill you in on Sundays ride tomorrow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Staying on course

On the road again, well almost. I have lost commuting to work all this week but I am starting to feel better. I am hoping I can eat a real dinner tonight in prep for a Breast Cancer Awareness Ride of 25 miles tomorrow. Sunday will have to be a wait and see as the plan for the Century Training ladies is a 65 mile ride.

I was speaking with some friends on a teleconference the other night and they said I should have rephrased my previous title to 2 steps forward 3 steps in a slightly off course direction! My partner often uses the analogy of a sailboat or a rocket ship into space. They spend about 97% of the time off course, continually making adjustments to get to their destination. OK, so I am not sure I needed a break right now but I will keep making adjustments and stay on course! I will let you know how that goes after the weekend. Tailwinds.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

2 steps forward, 3 steps back

Sunday I had another good ride with the ladies and felt pretty good. I know I am still out of shape when I only ride 55 miles and have to go home and take a nap, but it was a good day. We had a small group of 8 and I even tried to get everyone doing a rotating paceline on a good safe road into a headwind. I think we all had fun learning a new skill.

I had a board meeting for my ladies cycling club Monday night and afterward I brought dinner home from the same place- just a couple of vegetarian wraps. Well, right after we ate we both felt sick. I even tried to go ahead and throw up Monday night but nothing came up, not until almost 5 pm on Tuesday (needless to say I called in sick to work). My partner runs an animal rescue out of the house so at minimum puppies had to be let out to potty etc. She dragged herself around somehow. My back was sore from neck to butt I guess from all the toxic stuff I needed to get rid of. Anyway, I felt a little better this morning but still only made it through a half a day at work today.

So, I keep hoping to get back into things but am still really wiped out- not caring to eat anything will do that. I have accepted that I will not ride in tomorrow either as I don't think I am up to it, but hopes are high for Thursday and Friday. I tell you what- I just don't bounce back as quickly now that I am in my mid 40's as I did a few years ago! Ce la vie- I hope I am smarter and I am sure I am happier.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Flats, abs, and centuries

Well, got a few things to catch up on. I rode in to work on Wednesday and had a flat a mile from home. I REALLY have to check them before I leave! When I was ready to leave to go home, it was flat again though I could not find the leak this time. So, I pumped it up and it was flat again by the time I got home. I am running Slime Liners in that wheel but I may have to put in Slime Tubes and get really serious about this. Maybe a problem in the rim as well. Whatever, I will figure it out.

Yesterday I drove so I could run some errands after work. I had just watched Graeme's Advanced Core in 5' so I stopped by a Play it Again Sports to look around. They had an ab bench for $9.99 and I almost went home with it but without prior discussion I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, so we will talk about it ;-)

I did do the On the Go light workout and Loose in 5' late last night, right before heading to bed. I am still having some pain in my hips so I am keeping things light for now and will ramp up later. I have been kicking over in my head about a training plan but since I have been challenged with my motivation lately I will keep it easy like this for a while. My goals are to ride to work 2 -3 days a week, do 2 core workouts a week, and for the next month work in the weekends with a group of women riders aiming for their first century. Yes, this is FL so we are just moving into our high century season. Boy I just love that!

Longer range than that there is an event in mid February here in FL at Sebring. It is flat and good for me and is usually the first event on the Ultracycling Calendar. It is a 12 and 24 hour race. I would love to RAAM qualify there but I am going to have to see how things go. I hope that 4 months is enough time to train properly. It just takes so much time, it requires a lot of support and understanding from my partner at home to be gone so much.

I do know my motivation is starting to come back when I start looking at events and planning into the future. I have started to do that in the last couple of days so I will pick some events and keep things rolling. I also may skip some of the organized centuries I have done around this area that I have already done and just find some good buddies to do them either the weekend before or after the regular ride.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Accountability Graeme is right on target

Small steps. I enjoyed my commute yesterday and even stretched when I got home. I also did the At your Desk energizer workout. I am not going to let my massage and steps on the path slide backwards. I am starting to feel motivation coming back, I just love riding- it is a self perpetuating cycle. It must be that endorphin addiction. Anyway, I find myself surfing commuter websites and other cycling stuff at work. All good signs if the past is any indication for me.

I think this all started a few weeks ago when I finally enrolled in the Hammer Nutrition auto-reorder program. So, between knowing that is coming so I better use it up, the Everyday Cyclist Challenge and commuting life is looking great. Next, I plan on a good core workout tonight.