Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Ride

MH, MR, and I took a nice bike ride this morning. I had driven a loop last Friday that turned out to be right around 57 miles. MH was supposed to be home by 11:30 AM so the loop was out of the question, especially since MR only picked me up when we were supposed to meet at the designated parking spot, taking 30 minutes out of our rideable time. Oh well. It was still a great ride, overall, mostly flat with good sized rollers that were just big enough that you had to work to push over them, but not too much that you really killed yourself. I think it would be a fun road to ride on with a good group that likes to do pace line riding, the 3 of us averaged 19 mph for the whole ride. I did most of the leading, but that's normal. MR did his own thing, when he wasn't drafting. That's okay it doesn't bother me that much, at least when we don't set an expectations before hand, which we didn't. We made it 18 mph up the road before we decided we should turn around to get MH back in time.

When we got back, MR took a quick transition run, I stretched, and MH got ready to leave. After MR got back, I decided I wanted to go climb Peters mountain (on my bike of course) since the decent down the south side, the same side I would be climbing, looked like it would be a blast. Didn't do to bad, I thought, averaged 8mph on the way up from 3B's ice cream place to the top, with an average ascent of 53 feet/minute. Climbing Millers gap, my best time has me averaging 64 feet/minute, but that climb is only 1.3 miles long, where as Peters mountain is 2.1, so pacing is important. I also just finished 36 miles of rollers before Peters mountain, I do Millers gap mostly fresh. I don't know how the ascent speed compares to most other people, but I would like to think I can hold my own against most. Motionbased is being slow again, so I can't grab the links to post directly to the activities, but they are named well enough that you can figure out which they are should you visit my digest (see links in previous posts).

After all was said and done, and I got back, I had a wonderful bowl of Teaberry ice cream at 3B's. Talk about tasting wonderful. I hadn't had that flavor in a long time, and it was quite satisfying. Its quite a nice ice cream stand I think, lots of flavor choices, good prices for the portions, and an excellent product. I'll be going back there again to do my 57 mile loop some day. Hopefully sooner than later.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

No, I am not there yet.

So yesterday, I went for another Saturday morning ride with the folks over at World Cup Ski & Cycle. There were a lot more people there than there was the week before. I imagine mostly because the weather was a lot nicer. I think there were about 16 total. The beginning of the ride was uneventful, and was riding at what seemed to me, to be a pretty easy pace, at least when you are in the middle of the pack. About 12-14 miles into it though, the group splintered, into what I believe ended up being 3 different groups. Maybe 2, but as we arrived back at the shop, it seems they came in, in 2 other packs after the group I came in with. Anyway, when the group split, I think I let my ego get the best of me, and I decided to stay up with the lead pack. It was mostly a mistake, but I sure learned a lot. There were I think 6 people including myself in the 'breakaway' and as long as I was in the middle of the paceline, I seemed to do alright, though I was working quite a bit to stay there. Which is good, I need the exercise. Then the rotation came and I was in the lead, Which was hard, I figured I wouldn't be able to put much time in it, but I should at list give it a strong concerted effort, so I went with it for a few miles. A turn came up that I wasn't sure of, the person behind me told me about it, so I had decided to fall back to the rear. That was my downfall. These folks were powering around turns and quickly getting back into a swift cadence. I didn't setup for the turn right and didn't push hard enough to get back with the pack, and fell off the rear. Never caught back on. As hard as a tried, I just couldn't get myself hooked back on.

The waited for me at the next turn to make sure I didn't miss it, when I had told them, that they should just keep going, and not wait for me. They deserve a ride at the pace they wanted to go, and not worry about dropping me. I even explained to them that I had a GPS on my bike, and could find my way home. (While My Garmin 305 doesn't show me roads, I could see where I was relative to where I am, and can just follow roads till I hit something familiar) They then explained to me that their Saturday rides have a no drop policy. That's cool. Good bunch of people.

Then, one of the leaders of the group said he would ride me in, and let the rest of them go ahead. He was really cool about it. Turns out he is a cycling coach, and I believe at least Class III racer himself. He was giving me advice on what I can do to help me stay with the pack better (cornering techniques, and how to best position for drafts). He let me ride his wheel and we tried to catch back up with the pack, but it just wasn't working. I find that even being the 2nd man back in a paceline is significantly more difficult that 3rd or more, so the 2 man group we had going wasn't doing enough for me to give me the strength to go faster at this point. My HR was between 90-95% of my sustained max, and it wasn't getting any better. Anyway, we made it back, and close to the finish, I caught up to everyone because they got caught at a long red light. And we all ended up coming in together.

Overall, I ended up riding 40 miles in 2 hours and several seconds. Average speed ended up being 19.9 mph. That's my record fastest average speed yet, and even more over 40 miles... I believe my previous best was 19.3 mph average, over 10.5 miles, though that was by myself, and a TT course, I spent a lot of time in this ride cutting wind too, only because I fell out of the paceline :(

So the things I'm taking away from this are:
  • I need to be put in my place once and a while, it gives me something to strive for.
  • If I want to improve, I need to get serious about it, my occasional lunch rides, and a weekend "stroll" aren't going to put me in the league I want to be in.
  • I need to realize what my abilities are so that when I do ride with a group, I don't put a burden on them (I felt bad making them wait for me, and causing a leader to ride slower than he probably wanted to.)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

So that's how they do it in the Tour De France

So I've always wondered how can people cruise along at such fast speeds on a bike. Well, I finally got a taste of that yesterday. I went out on a group ride that leaves from a local bike shop. There were 11 of us there. So we all were cruising along somewhere between 18-22 mph (Normally speeds that fast by myself take everything I've got). As long as I was surrounded by people, the ride was so increddibly enjoyable. Easy to pedal along with, etc etc... I guess that's way people stay in a large peleton in the big professional races. I don't blame them. All I have to say is I feel bad for the guys in front. Once I was due for riding in front, it was completely different... Keeping up that pace and cutting the wind spiked my heart rate up there pretty good. Then by the time my turn up front finished, the organization of the pack started to subside a little, needless to say, I never really recovered, and the nice shelter of the group was now gone :(. Still an enjoyable ride, and I'll be riding with them again. Its a good excuse to get myself up on weekends, and the morning ride doesn't seem to break up my day like the afternoon rides do. You can view the details over here if you are interested.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Month Later....

Yeah, yeah, I know, its been a long time since I've posted here, and I apologize to those of you who stop by and see if I have posted anything recently. I don't have any excuses really, other than lack of creativity I suppose. I guess I figure my life is boring enough that its not worth posting about. Since my last post, I have ridding my bike several more miles. As of today, I have 637 miles recorded for the season on my bike. It seems weird to think that I've put on enough miles that I could have easily biked up to Rochester to see my Dad and back, and have miles to spare. I participated in the PA. State Police Metric Century ride last week, which put on 70+ miles. I've also been taking longer weekend rides to, which have involved going up and over the local ridge at least twice per ride. I'm actually really starting to like climbing hills on my bike. If you want to see where I've been riding, you can see my digest over at motionbased.

On another note, a few weeks ago, MR and I went down to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to do some hiking. I wanted to scope out some trails for group hike I'll be leading down there in June and check for some good camping spots. It was okay, Friday (the first day) was fun, and we saw some good stuff, and we made it to camp before it started raining, but then it rained all night and into the next day, and we got absolutely soaked. As usual I way overpacked, and had more stuff than I needed, which just absolutely destroyed my legs trying to keep up with MR's pace, who brought probably half as much as I did. Long story short, we hiked back to the car on Saturday, and went home, after stopping and eating a wonderful hot pizza.

Not much else is going on. Finally finished up Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University with our Small Group from church. Overall I'd have to say its a good program. Some of his stuff seems dated, but then again, I guess it is, as I think it was published around 2000. Its all good though. I'm really looking forwarding to paying off all my debt. I can't imagine what its going to be like not having any sort of "extra" payment. Its been a good wake up call, and I'm just glad that we (my wife and I) did something like this now, rather than later.

Not really planning much for the future either. I hope to make it back down to Shenandoah and finish what I had planned to do earlier. I think I can do it as a day hike, so hopefully I can take Jess and Geoffrey with me. Put Geoffrey on my back and we can hike it all. I think its about a 12 mile loop that's left, with one mountain climb in the middle. Should be doable for a day.