Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marriage problems?

This winter has been less than spectacular. I am not really a fan of winter....but I do like the season changes. I like the way the snow looks, but I dislike the cold. I really don't mind driving in the snow, but I worry about how other people drive in the snow. This year....we have gone from 12-15" of snow in two days back to high 40's and rain within the same week. This has happened three times this year as a matter of fact. I am looking out the window right now where there was a nice blanket of snow....and all I see is grass with some speckles of snow. So.....I have a conclusion.....

....Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are having marital problems. Think about it......Old Man winter only has to work for 3 or 4 months out of the year in our area....leaving the remainder of the year for Mother Nature to do her part. This year...winter came late. I don't think we even had snow on Christmas. Mother Nature clearly kicked the Old Man out of the greenhouse and into the dog house. Maybe his dog house is Antarctica or maybe Alaska (because they got some snow!!).

Mother Nature kicked him out.....and eventually he talked his way back home. Boom.....a foot of snow for Southwest Michigan residents. Then....he left the toilet seat up on his 6th night home and Mother Nature fell into the toilet at 3 in the morning......resulting in him getting outcast yet again. Temps in the 40's. Lets look at a time line....

December....hardly any snow.....Old Man kicked out.
January....snow storm....kids miss school......Old Man back home.
Mid-January.....temps in the 40's.....snow all gone.....Old Man kicked out again....
Mid-January (later)....temps in the single digits and more snow......Old Man apologizes and is back home.
End of January.....Old Man messes up again and gets kicked out one more time.....temps back into the 40's and all the snow is melting.

My conclusion.....Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are having marriage problems. Tell me I am wrong......

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What kind....

As I sat at the dinner table watching my son take off layer after layer of clothes I began wondering what kind of person it takes to put all those clothes on to go play in the snow. Seriously, he had on an under-shirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, coveralls, and a winter coat. 6 layers on top....jeans and only coveralls on bottom. Unbalanced maybe, but at least his body was warm. When he came in the door his face was red, and not from the cold....he was overheated.

So...what kind of KID does it take to load up on layers and go out into the snow. A kid that simply wants to have fun. So it relates to cyclists as well. I have had people ask me what is wrong with me after I tell them I raced 30 miles in 22 degree air. My story starts with the line "it was 22 degrees at the start, but the only problem I had was when my tears started to freeze". When I read that.....I start to wonder what is actually wrong with me.

But then I remember what my friend and teammate Pat said last year on a Barry Roubaix training ride. I was struggling up a monster climb.....heart rate peaking near max and totally out of oxygen. He looked at me and told me to slow my breathing and find a rhythm. Once I got settled in a bit he smiled at me. I told him I must be crazy. He smiled again and nodded his head yes stating : you're right....we are crazy. we are out here on a Sunday morning in the fresh air, getting exercise, and having fun. Think about the people that are just getting out of bed.....or eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast.....yeah....we are the crazy one's".

So what kind of person are you? Are you a person that will put on numerous layers and head out to play in the snow? Are you the kind of person that will put just enough layers on to be warm...and then race for a few hours while your water bottles are freezing? I am....but not all the time. Only when I need to be.

Today I stayed indoors on a cold Michigan day. I still managed 90 minutes on the stationary trainer, but all I had to put on was a pair of shorts and a jersey. No extra clothing. In fact....I turned a fan on. Funny thing is...I was watching a video from a race last November that I was unable to attend. Iceman. I got sucked in and felt like I was in the race....only warm and cozy in my house.

In the coming weeks I will turn into the other kind of rider. I will brush the snow off my car and load my bike onto the rack. I will take a pile of clothes and drape them on my body. Balaclava, shoe covers, wool socks, wool jersey, neoprene gloves. And I ride. Whatever the distance it is cold when we get done. First thing you do is start the car and crank the heat. Then all of the clothes come off and you try to warm up your toes and fingers.

On the drive home I think about the ride....and just how crazy I may be. I will tell you this much.....the asylum I am part of has a lot of people in it.....and the only medicine we take is our bikes....with a huge dose of motivation and support.

What kind of person are you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sweatin' to the oldies

Winter is the time of year when I hide indoors. I set up my trainer. I put a television in front of me. I pick out a movie. I spin. From talking with friends I know a lot of people that would rather poke their eyes out with a toothpick than spin on the trainer, or rollers, for an hour or more. I like it. I don't have to put on 4 layers of clothes, worry about my light being charged, and find thermal bottles so my water doesn't freeze. If I get too cold.....I turn off the fan.....or I pedal harder.

This year I am involved in two different accountability groups. One is focused on weight loss and general fitness. The other....well...these are the guys that want to punch me in the face when I eat Arby's for lunch. These two guys are both very fast racers and I am learning a lot from them. After talking to them for a few months the Rocky movies kept coming up. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the box set of all 6 movies. The first one was made when I was 3 years old. Ha!

Anyway, I have been watching the series from the beginning. I find it easy to get amped up during the training and fight scenes. This evening was Rocky III. Rocky was fighting a character played by Mr. T.....his name is "Clubber" a brutal fighter. He beats the living hell out of Rocky in the first fight. On the trainer....my legs were tired....and there is Rocky getting pounded. The next fight....Rocky finds his mojo and fights like the boxer we all love. He is down and out....ready to quit. He stands up and fights for what he wants.......just like I am doing. Thanks for the recommendation guys.....

I am sweatin to the oldies.....how about you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

That New Bike Smell.....

So....it has been about 3 years since I got a new bike. I got my Epic Expert off the show room floor from Cross Country Cycle in Holland. Great bike, on the verge of being out-dated, but only because it has 26" wheels. Speaking of wheels...being a heavier rider I have burned through a few rear wheels in my day. I blew bearings out of one while I was riding it....wheels wobbled right under me like a shiatzu machine. I have rebuilt a few sets with little success. Maybe I should actually learn how to do it. Anyway, I bought a nice set of wheels and rode them into the ground before spokes started breaking. I finally had enough and put out some feelers. The result is a really nice set of Mavic Crossmax SL's. Thanks to Mr. Boese on my team I will be riding the dirt in style!

Mavic Crossmax SL tubeless ready!!

The next thing on my list for this season was a road bike. I have always wanted one and after the Holland 100 last year I was really really wanting one. I had it narrowed down to two different bikes from Custer Cyclery (my awesome shop that I ride for!!). It came down to the Defy 1 and the Defy Composite 2. Basically the same bikes, but one carbon and the other not. I was waffeling for a few weeks and talking it over with my wife (who for the most part seemed dis-interested). I was talking to Dan, my shop owner, on facebook when my wife got home.....with this in the back of the car!!!

Giant Defy Composite 2
She made up my mind for me and brought me home this beautiful Defy Composite 2. Now I have two less excuses for this year. I cannot wait until this crappy weather breaks so I can get outside!

My first race is in about 8 weeks....so training rides out there on Barry-Roubaix will start probably in February.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Long Road ahead

I started thinking about the 2012 racing season last night. I was spinning on the trainer at twenty-one miles per hour and watching Rocky II. I was not in a good mood. Not a good mood at all. The trainer was giving me the opportunity to blow some steam off. On a mountain bike...21 MPH is really fast for me. I generally average about15-16 on the trainer. So a full 5 mph faster is no joke. I was doing intervals of 5x2 max intensity with 2 minutes rest between them. So basically.....2 minutes full tilt....2 minutes rest.....2 minutes full tilt...ect. There are only 10 intervals total......so 20 minutes at MAX intensity. I watched as my average speed dropped off for each interval. I felt my power drop after each interval. I felt myself giving up.

Have you ever felt defeated? Have you ever just wanted to throw in the towel and give up? Have you ever felt like that and then decided to press on? I did that last night. I was ready to quit. Ready to get off the bike and go to bed. Ready to think about other things. I kept going......and all I was thinking about was the long road ahead....

I am on a very long journey. Sure, there are stops along the way....but if I stop for too long I might start missing where I came from. It would be easy to just turn around and head back to the safety and warm feeling of where we start from. The picture above shows a long and fairly flat road....but at the end of a long journey those small hills can fee like mountains. The further you are on your journey and the closer you are to your goal the easier these hills will be. You can see the end in sight, it's just over that next hill. Keep going. Keep moving. Some hills will kick your ass. Eventually you will be able to kick back. If you stop trying.....the hill will win and your journey will end. Just keep spinning.....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Motivation list

Some might call it a race schedule...but I am calling it my "Motivation List". This will be my tentative race listing. Look for Zack, the Family and Me at these venues this year!

March 24th      Barry Roubaix
April 22nd       Yankee Springs TT
May 6th           Fort Custer Stampede
June 10th         Fort Custer Trench Race
June 16th         Keweenaw Chain Drive (tentative)
June 23rd        State Games of Michigan
July 14th          Boyne Marathon
August 8th       Maybury TT
September 23  Pando Challenge
Nov...              Iceman

10 races is the goal for this year. Just be competitive and see what the Sport class is all about.

Mileage Goal 3000 miles.
Goal Weight 195 by end of the year. This is about 5.5 down per month......or 1.25 down a week from now until the end of the year. Done.


1. Complete 10 races in Sport
2. Ride 3000 miles.
3. Weigh 195 pounds.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another year begins

Time to start yet another chapter in this crazy book of life. It was a busy year for sure. Good times, bad times, happy times, sad times, and an injury on my knee....ha. However, the year did not end well...with the passing of  Michelle's dad on December 27th. He is in a better place now, watching us from Heaven.

What does the next chapter have in store for us? We don't really know....but we take each step in the same way we did before....never knowing what the future holds for us. One thing I know for sure....I am setting some goals. Here they are:

1. Lose weight (I know this a reoccurring theme but it is still my main goal)
2. CORE strength. This will help in my overall cycling abilities.
3. Love the hills. If I do the first two on this list....this one will be a lot easier.
4. Go baby go. Making the jump to Sport this year will be an interesting one....but I have to remember to just             KEEP GOING even though it hurts.

Nutshell. Happy New year everyone.

Edit: I went to the doctor for my knee and found out it is tendinitis. I have been stretching and the pain is gone! This may change when I start riding again, but I know how to counteract it.