Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March....DONE

My mileage slipped a little bit in March...but that is normal for me. I still managed 285.25 miles in March...which is exactly 200 more than last March. The awesome news is that I am over 700 miles for the year already. A huge dent in my last years mileage. Now that I am working by Fort Custer I am able to ride two days a week on dirt. It is only 10 to 17 miles (right now) but dirt is much harder than pavement. If I can ride the dirt two times a week and sneak in a few road rides as well I will be fine in April. The scary thing is that Yankee Springs is only 18 days away. I am feeling pretty good and I can still lose a little weight...but I am on the right track.

Yesterday I had a sweet ride at Fort Custer. The only issue was that they were burning around Eagle Lake. I had to hold my breath for a while on the Green loop...but then it was fine. I cleared all of the hard hills on the Green and almost made the tough climb on the Red (the steep one). I shaved time off my last journey...but it didn't show because I was waiting for a guy I was riding with. I was only 20 seconds slower than last week on the same loop...but I know I stopped for well over 1 minute. So.....40 seconds faster?

I ROCK. Watch out Clydesdales....I am ready.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Barry-Roubaix and Yankee

I told Megan to grab the camera so we could take some pictures. She said it wasn't in the van...so no pictures. (later we found it).

Barry Roubaix:

Zack, Megan, and I headed out to the Aid station for our shift. We got to see a ton of people from the 35 mile course go flying by. We got there early enough to see how the aid station worked and got some pointers from the other volunteers. I have never volunteered before and it was a very fun time. Seeing the race from a different perspective is always good. I have always appreciated what the volunteers do for the events, and now my appreciation is even greater. Getting a simple thanks for helping gave us a good feeling. To see the suffering on some of the faces and the enjoyment on others was also interesting. One of the 65 mile riders stopped to refuel. He was totally out of gas. He took a little of everything we had to offer him. He hinted about bailing and catching a ride, but we filled his encouragement bottle and sent him on his way. After we were done cleaning up we headed back to the start/finish area. We passed this same rider and decided to stop at the campground and get out to cheer him on again. He had a huge smile and said thank you. It made the little bit of time we offered worth more than anything we could have been given. Congrats to all of the racers!


Yankee Springs:

We bought the kids new bikes on Thursday and Friday. I took them out to Yankee for a ride after the Barry race. After a crash 25 yards down the trail we were off. Zack sped ahead and stopped at the first shortcut, which offered him a long rest. Megan took her time and pedalled up all of the hills. I was very impressed with the way the kids handled themselves on this trail. It is the first time they have ridden out there (minus the 2 mile loop on the north side). We took the first shortcut at the top of the ditch climb and headed back. The only scare Megan really gave me was when she almost flew off the trail. There is a creek on the left and a decent drop to the water. She held on and tipped away from the water, thankfully. She was running out of gas towards the end but she gutted it out and kept going. We managed 5.5 miles of riding...but time was no object. It was a fun day of spectating and then riding.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The first at the Fort

Tuesday was awesome. I started a new job and then headed to Fort Custer for a loop in the sunshine. I took off down the trail and was immediately having fun.....until I tried to power up a climb and my chain slipped......then slipped again......and one last time before I changed into the big ring in front....and the skipping ended. Problem was....I don't ride in the big ring....unless I am on the road. I powered through it...but I was surprised by the difference in cadence and power output. I rode the red loop to where the green and red cross...and took off down the green loop. I never even saw another person on a bike while I was on the green....but I am okay with that. If felt like I had the woods to myself. I pushed until I was back to the parking lot.

The results were astounding.....fast average on an awesome trail. Actually....fast enough that I posted a 14% reduction in time over nearly a mile longer in distance.......if that works. Average speed increase was actually nearly 28% faster than my race time last year. Granted...I did have a flat....but I was still held a 20% faster average pace than I did at any time last year at the Fort.

Anyway....race season is coming and I am getting faster while trying to get less heavy....

Monday, March 22, 2010

1st dirt of the year

It felt really good to get on the Epic and ride on a ribbon of dirt. It felt even better to show an increase in speed from my fastest time at Yankee Springs last year. Some people don't think that a 2% reduction in time is good....but it is substantial. Along the same lines, a 1% drop in weight per week might not seem like much...but it is over 2 pounds.

Anyway, fast time on a bike with my new fit from Brian at Cross Country Cycle made my quads hurt. I have been riding a lot more this year and have been able to walk with little pain the next day. Saturday I woke up with some obvious 'good' pain in my legs. I know I worked them harder because I was on the dirt....and I loved it.

Yankee was in great shape. There are still a lot of leaves on the trail but as they dry out and the trail is ridden more they will disappear into the surrounding nature. Sand will always be an issue at Yankee but early in the season the sand is still not wanting to come out of hibernation. After the TT in a few weeks the trail will be super sandy, and still a ton of fun.

I figured out that I showed a reduction in time even though I am over 10 pounds heavier than this time last year. Now, I have about a month to drop more weight and keep my mileage up so I can sneak into a podium spot. Yes, I am gunning for the podium at Yankee Springs this year. Here we go...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

That old feeling....

Two local trails are ready to ride:

1. Fort Custer (which I am pleasantly surprised about)
2. Yankee Springs (which is always ready when the snow is gone)

So....I will get a fit from Brian at Cross Country on Friday and then I am hitting Yankee Springs. It is time to see if the work I have done on the trainer will do me any good. Until then I will pedal around home. 11 miles tonight in the dark was sorta fun. I have a long 33 mile ride planned for Wednesday and then my monster hill climbing route on Thursday. After a week like that I will be begging for singletrack.

A lap at Yankee is on tap.....if you wanna ride with a half-fast guy.....I will be out there....maybe around 3?

Friday, March 12, 2010

2 good days on a bike

Thursday I decided to take the course less travelled. I plotted a course that included what I thought were two long tough climbs. Apparently I need to learn to do better recon....because there was a third long steep climb right between the two long tough climbs. I cleared the first hill and was planning on recovering until the last when I saw the middle hill looming in the distance. Knowing that there was no easy way around it I just kept spinning. I cleared the second hill and the third starts about 1/4 of the way down the the descent. I turned onto the road where the last major climb was knowing full well there were 6 miles of flat recovery type terrain on the other side. I did have to pause for a minute. Gather my wits and then I continued on. Much to my surprise there was a headwind once I cleared the last hill. So...recovery was a pipe dream unless I slowed down. I still managed 23 miles with a decent average speed. Now the bar is set and I can only get faster.

Today I headed out too. I was looking for a longer ride and I decided on a route that I have tried once before, but it ended when I realized my rim had broken spokes and was very wobbly. This course covers all types of terrain....and surfaces. The surfaces are all road....but they vary from chip and seal to brand new blacktop to gravel covered pavement from the rain. I managed 33.81 miles in just over two hours. Average speed of 15.15 mph.

It was a good couple of days. Now to rest while it rains!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An assault on the senseless

So....I am not a huge fan of hills.....well...uphills to be more exact. Gravity and I have had many conversations about this...and well.....I generally lose. So...in order to perhaps sway gravity and make a nice bike ride easier, I can do two things.

1. Lose more weight
2. Train in the hills and get stronger

#2 will help to drive #1. The more I train in the hills the easier they should get right? And, the more I train in the hills the bigger my muscles will get...which in turn will help to burn more fat and help me lose weight.

So why the title? Well...its like this. I live in Allegan and if you have ever been there you know that the only way out of Allegan is up. I do happen to live on top of a hill...but I still need to ride down a hill and then climb back up to get out of town. After a conversation with a riding friend I have started plotting a new course. A hill ride that will likely kill me. I still need to figure out how much elevation gain (or climbing) there will be as well as distance....but my aim is to not remember what my name is by the time I get done with the hills....wish me luck...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I think it is spring....

I start to think that spring is in the air and I get excited. The idea of blasting down singletrack is very appealing after a nearly five month hiatus. I get tingly. I start to imagine Fort Custer. I want to go climb the hills at Yankee Springs. I can feel the cool water from the creek crossing at Cannonsburg SGA..........then......





.....I see a weather forecast like this and I remember why I have a love-hate relationship with spring. I love the warm temperatures and sunshine. I like that the snow is melting making the possibility of riding singletrack that much closer. I get stoked that the singletrack is approaching. But...knowing that the trails are mud....I will settle for a road ride. I will ride on the roads and do my part to not destroy the trails. So....I will settle for roads....and then it rains. I have been riding outside for a week now and I was loving it. The warm air.....the rank smell of the farms....the sunshine....the hills.......the rain?
So....I guess I either suck it up and ride in the rain or I put the bike back on the trainer...because riding indoors is better than not riding at all. On the other hand....my bike does need to be washed......hmmm

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Keep it going

After riding in the hills with Ron on Friday, I realized that my trainer mileage has been very benificial. I couldnt hang with him in the hills...but I kept my speed up on the flats. Today was no different. I headed out to enjoy the 45 degree air again and was not disappointed. I was going to take a flatter route but decided to take a hilly route. Afterall, I need to get the hills in my legs. I know I can hammer on the flats....I need to get my legs used to hauling my mass up the inclines.

So....28 miles of good hills. Nearly two hours on my bike.....outside. I also ran/walked 1.8 miles with Megan tonight. Needless to say....I will be sleeping well tonight.

Friday, March 5, 2010

1st long ride of March....outside

I met with Ron and headed out for a road ride today. I have never ridden with him but I have been under the impression that he is way faster than me. I....was correct. He pulled his cross bike out of the stable and managed to dust me with little effort. The good thing was that he never left me behind. He just slowed down until I caught up and then we picked up the pace again. He stayed in his little ring....and I was pedalling my ass off to keep up...lol. Mountain gearing vs. road gearing.....Road wins every time.

I managed a 23 mile ride with headwinds, dead squirrels, and hills. I am glad that I pounded the trainer so much in February, because it would have been REAL ugly if I hadn't. My legs gave out on a long climb about 20.5 miles in......I thought I was just done. I kept going in an easier gear and then I was able to finish the ride strong (but the tailwind had nothing to do with it).

Anyway, I didn't have a good weight loss week....and I am running out of time. I have been doing a one mile run for the last two nights...and I am hoping that I receive benefits from it. Anyway, I am already close to passing last March's mileage......and I will be riding outside as much as I can next week.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It was cold...

I pulled the Schwinn off of the trainer and headed outside this morning for what was planned to be a 18 mile road ride. Problem was, my lungs cannot take the cold...and it was 22 degrees when I clipped in. I am also still fighting off the rest of a cold that I had a week ago. This combination did not fare well. My legs felt okay, but I was having trouble breathing. I cut my ride short and headed home. I managed 6.25 miles outside...off of the trainer.

I didn't feel like this was enough of a workout so I headed out on foot tonight. I need to get this weight off and I know running is an excellent way to shed pounds. I set out for a mile long jaunt. My goal was to not stop running for the entire time....no walking. I made it....but the cold was forcing it's way into my lungs on every step. I plan on riding outside on Thursday because it is supposed to be 40's again. This air might be a little easier on my lungs.

Monday, March 1, 2010

February mileage

My mileage and time for February is as follows:

Mileage: 320.72
Time: 19:57:32

Year to date
Mileage: 421.90
Time: 26:12:50

Now....to test the outside riding!!! The forecast has multiple 40 degree days. Hopefully this snow will melt and I can get out to Yankee Springs!!!