Friday, March 24, 2006

Pics from Iraq

Not sure how many people actually read this, but I thought I would share some interesting pictures that my brother-in-law has taken while he is deployed in Iraq.

I have to say, those Iraqis have some pretty sweet commuter bikes over there! Super knobby tires, with front and rear fenders, headlights, pannier mounts, and a horn. To top it all off, its sporting a trunk as well, fits smaller children perfectly! I'm not trying to make fun of them, I just think its a great shot, that has a lot of character in it.

Other shots of Saddam's palaces are in there too. Pretty impressive, I'm not sure what I think about such extravagant government buildings when the rest of the country is not doing so well. I think we have a little bit of that here in America as well, though probably not to the same extent. Perhaps the Iraqi's will be able to turn them around and use them as tourist attractions if they can ever get themselves into a position where people would actually want to visit their country. Here's a suggestion folks: Plant some Trees!

I can't believe how barron that place looks. To think it was once a fertile land that had so much to offer. I'm told it is the way it is now because all the trees where cut down. Good luck getting them to grow now though, I guess you'd have to start somewhere near a body of water where irrigation could be consistent, and slowly grow outward.

On another note, I actually brought my bike to work with me today, so I could ride, but I'm feeling lazy and I don't have anyone to ride with today, so I guess the bike is staying in the car... That's fine go ahead and ridicule me. I also hope soon to post a little personal review on my thoughts of Garmin's Edge 305 CAD/HR unit. I've been using it for about a month now I guess. I think its a great tool. More to come later.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Up and Over, times 4

So today 3 of us went out on a bike ride we like to call the quadruple bypass. There's a nice ridge near here that has some steep roads on it, with a 4 way intersection right at the top. Its always rewarding to get to go down the hill you just struggled to go up, but I have to say, it was a little cold today. I also decided to try wearing my HR strap on my back this time too. I think it works a lot better, normally with conditions like today, I would have gotten lots of false readings, but I don't see any this time.

I have to say, doing this ride already this early in the season, I'm pretty surprised with myself. It didn't feel nearly as bad as I remember it being last year. Maybe that's because I went up Millers Gap road twice already, and its grade makes this thing seem like a speed bump. I've decided Millers gap is as bad as I can handle right now, and these hills (sterrets gap) are just annoying. I probably could have gotten a better workout than I did, but I held back a little, mostly because I wasn't certain how the other legs of the climbs were going to be.

Mark couldn't make it out to ride with us because of a meeting, so he went out and rode our little TT course that we made up. I'm proud to announce that he didn't beat me (he's all bark anyway, Dog owners are like that). Granted, he was only slower by about 30 seconds, so I'll have to work to keep the title. I look forward to the friendly challenge this season. Especially when its warmer and the wind dies down. Good job Mark, not get that GPS unit working so we can dot race on motion based!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday afternoon prologue of sorts

So after talking with Mark, and trying to come up with a nice little course we can time trial on, we came up with a nice short little 10 mile course, that is pretty much a subsection of our default lunch ride. It kind of is like a little proglogue ride that they have at the beginning of those big fancy European races. I managed to get an 18.4 mph average speed, as per my Garmin Edge 305, though the data upload to motion based says its only 18.3 mph. I think it might have to do with the way auto pause works on the unit, as well is the distance discrepancy. Software says 10.57 miles, where as MB says 10.55. Either way I'm mostly happy with the results. I was aiming for a 19mph average... hopefully I can obtain at least that by this fall.

Yesterday, we also went up Millers gap again. That was also a good ride, I took my cyclocross bike though, since it has the triple chainring up front. I wouldn't say it was any less tiring on than my road bike, but it was nice to not have to do those little mini switchbacks. I felt like I was cheating though. Not sure why.

The weather is being wacky here too... in the high 70's on monday, now the mid 40's and super windy. Quite annoying. I wish it would just make up its mind. Or at least not be windy. I think the wind is my least favorite part about biking... give me hills any day over wind.

Monday, March 13, 2006

3 rides

Well, the weather has been really nice lately, and I have taken 3 bike rides since I have last posted. The first was last Friday, where I took a quick lunch ride around what I thought would be a short course. Turned out it was longer than I expected, but that's okay. Details here.

Second Ride was a nice long ride with Mark on Saturday, all in all, it was 38 miles for me. Lots of climbing. Ended up not realizing where I was half way through, I guess I didn't memorize the route well enough, so we didn't go where I planned. That's okay though, it was still fun. Just have to do the planned route next time.

Third ride was today. Did the normal (Default) Lunch time ride by myself. My Co-workers are to lazy to actually want to work out during the lunch period lately I guess. They keep giving me excuses, but I think they are just lazy. I rode the loop a little more aggressive than usual just to push myself. Didn't do to bad. 17.7 mph average, and that's with hills, and stopping/slowing for traffic and stuff. Mark thinks he can beat it (and he probably can) but he insists on shortening the loop first... Well of course you can beat it then Mark! So can I. So I guess I'll just have to go out there with him when he tries to do it. Draft him, then beat him in a sprint at the end... :) I know its not that nice, but its probably the only way I can do it. He is just way more cardiovascularly fit that I am. I think I have more power out of the saddle though... time will tell. And yes Mark, if you are reading this, I AM taunting you.... perhaps a 2nd time even!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I think I can, I think I can

So yesterday, Mark and I took a mid afternoon bike ride. You can see his comments on the ride here. I figured we would just do a normal route and glide along and have some fun.... but nooooo, Mark decides he wants to go to the top of the "hill" on Miller's Gap road. A road I have yet to make it up without dismounting.... So I figured what the heck. Needless to say, I had blast. I made it all the way up this time. Had to use a little trick that Mark taught me, that involved switchbacks up the road, but it gives you that 2 second rest you need to go up another 5 feet. Its quite a good feeling to make it up there, despite the fact that you physically feel like your heart's going to explode.

Speaking of heart rate. I really need to find a way to make mine work consistently. At least in cold weather. It doesn't seem like cold skin or something. As you can see from the HR graph on the motionbased page, it was all over, and 240 bpm isn't exactly realistic. I believe that could be classified as some sort of fibrilation, in which case you better be getting the AED. Oh well.

The weather is supposed to be near 60 today, but I'm stuck at a customer sight doing an install today. :-( Oh well. The weather will be getting nice soon, and I won't have be sad about missing the good days that we are having now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Is it spring yet?

Since everyone else can't suck it up and ride in this slightly chilled weather, I ended up going out by myself today. Details here. I'm trying to get a handle on what's going on with my heart rate. It seems really easy to push it way up into the 170's. So I figured I would try and keep it right around 165 today, except for hill climbs. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be I guess. Anytime I felt like I was exerting any kind of energy to keep myself in a good exercise, fitness building pace, it would jump to 170+... If I relaxed it would drop to low 160's. Overall, I did okay, average HR of 167. But I don't feel like I really exerted myself. I could probably do that loop like that all day. Definitely, could have very easily held a conversation with someone. I guess the good thing though, is if you look at the HR graph it doesn't really have a negative sloping trend line this time (provided you ignore the sections where my heart should have exploded, I think caused by the cold air). I wonder if I set goals to high for myself sometime, but I'm a firm believer that if you aim low, you'll never push yourself to your fullest capability. I guess I'm also never satisfied with what I have either, always striving for better... Wonder if that's a healthy attitude. I think it gets me into trouble sometimes... Oh well.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Wind Sucks Part Deux

Finally was able to find someone to go riding with me on a weekend. It was really nice out, so I couldn't pass up the chance. I was afraid I was going to miss the opportunity, since Lower Allen had a fire that I was at, but we got out of there quick enough that I still had some time left. You can view my ride here. Overall the ride was really good. It wasn't as gusty as the last time I did that circuit, so I was able to keep my pace up. My heart rate is still way up in the high 170's low 180's most of the time. I wish I knew why... Am I that out of shape, or is that just me? It will be nice to compare that ride at the end of the season this fall I guess. Mark was drafting off of me a lot of the time, so I guess I'm going to have to make him lead next time. He has the excuse of not knowing where he's going though. I'll have to convince him to buy a Garmin 305 so he can load the courses in.

I probably should have had more to eat today too, got a nasty cramp in my right calf muscle, but with Church and the fire, I didn't get much of a chance to ingest salts and proteins like I should have. I was fine as long as I kept moving, but the moment I stopped using the muscle, it got pretty bad. I always get them on the same side too, when I do get them. Mark had mentioned cleat position, so maybe I'll mess with that to see if it helps.