Saturday, August 8, 2009

Encouraged by my weaknesses.

Caught this reflection of myself after a humbling ride with an experienced group of riders. The course was ok at first and they weren't even trying hard. I felt a lot of nervous energy riding with strong riders and people I didn't know. One gentleman leads the beginners group ride. At around 8 miles, the road turns up sharply. and for some reason, my body just couldn't handle it. My heart and muscles were straining and I just had to struggle slowly as best as I could. I wouldn't say I bonked after such a short distance, but the hill in spots was 12 percent and then 5 percent and not very short. My body just shut down. One of the riders doubled back to check on me and they waited for me. The down hill was super fast and I approached 43 miles an hour. But regardless, I just couldn't recover from blowing out on the hills. It not only hurt to not be able to pick it up and shake it off, but I just couldn't ride even at the fast rate that I know I am able to maintain on a flat. I told them not to worry about me and I had to just let them go. It was a good lesson in humility, but also an eye opener to how stressed my body and emotions have been. The blood pressure medicine has affected my abilities, but that isn't all. I am over weight, and my bad cholesterol is a little too high. I can't seem to lose weight. So I turned around and used my Garmin to get me home. I climbed back up the hill, and if I needed to stop, I did and drank water. The wind was pretty strong in addition to the hills. My body started to recover at about 14 miles and I just went my own pace and slowly started to feel myself again. So, I decided to turn a negative and a smashed ego into a positive and see it as a goal to improve upon. I need to eat better, rest better, and work on my weight and climbing skills. My basic endurance is ok, but I need to work on strength and speed to keep up with the experienced group. Today was a disappointment, but I am resolved to do better. I thought about the book, "Heft on Wheels" and how he rode with the fast group regardless and kept at it. He eventually got to where he was able to climb and stay with the strong riders.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I have hit a wall

Been riding as much as possible and intensifying my efforts not only in distance, but rate. I have tried to stick to a plan of endurance principles along with climbing, and occassional all out speed, and it has caught up with me. It is time to rest a while and charge the batteries. The Tour De Cure for Diabeties is coming October 3rd and my body is tired and showing signs of fatique. So I best listen to it, see a doctor, and give it a break so I can ride strong later. I have been showing signs of overtraining. So it is best I listen when my body and emotions are talking. I'm pretty sure Nemo could use a rest too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nemo's sportin new fenders

Nemo is sportin new SKS Race Blade fenders. She put up a fuss at first, but now I think she likes them. I purchased the carbon looking fenders and they seemed to adjust relatively easily after I noticed how they were constructed. I did read the instructions briefly. I didn't use tape on the fork and it was far more difficult to get right. Nemo's tires are getting worn out, but still have several miles in them. The back tire is far more worn and cut up than the front tire, but I am waiting to get her all gussied up with the new tires and tape I have on the shelf for when it is dryer outside. After riding in the rain the other day, I decided I had to have something to keep my britches less wet and the bike less gritty. I am hoping this will help as it is the rainy season right now. I figured buying fenders was a great way to change the weather from wet to dry. I will have to wait to test my theory. Good luck to all the pros and non pros racing the Joe Martin Stage Race. It should be brutal.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Joy of Giving

I am enjoying restoring an old Bridgestone mountain bike type bike to functionality. I found it almost impossible to get the bottom bracket off. The bottom bracket was deteriorated inside and so I decided to go to a more modern cartridge bottom bracket which will fit the English treads of the frame. I measured the shaft and width of the bottom bracket threaded area and ordered the proper size bb. I also couldn't get the 5 speed freewheel off the rusted rim and decided to convert the old bike to a 7 speed which I have an old free hub that I can put on a new rim with a proper 7 speed hub. So basically, I ordered cheap rims and skewers, bottom bracket, cheap 7 speed shifters, and a specially modified back derailer which will fit the frame as it does not have a modern day drop out. I am not completely redoing the frame, but I am eliminating the rust spots and adding some hand painting over the sanded rust spots. The original cranks took a while to clean up, and I don't think they should cause a problem with the back gears, but if they do, I can easily replace the crank with an inexpensive hyperglide type mountain bike crank.
My friend will once again have the bike she so loved in her younger years. I will also purchase a good park tool kit as I realize that I enjoy working on old bikes and my assorted tools just aren't enough to do proper bike work. Regardless, the activity is very enjoyable on these cold cloudy days when I'm not out riding or working at the factory.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Rode a hard 31 miles today in 20 to 30 mile per hour winds with one hard climb. My body felt shocked at the first hard effort, but I just allowed myself to work through the difficult sections and soon, I felt like a switch had been turned on, and my energy and stanima returned. I could feel the power and connection with my bike cranks as I made each revolution propelling me forward. Once I passed the area where the wind was blowing full force into me, my ride began to be transformed into grace and speed. With a powerful side wind, I rode with traffic doing close to 40 miles an hour leaving Prairie Grove down into the valley. The ride back was fast with the wind aiding my way as I headed triumphantly homeward with the satisfaction of having made the effort to overcome the challenge of the wind and the steep and daunting traffic blind hill. I like to envision my route in my mind before I leave. I was afraid I would regret my choice once I hit the big hill out of town, but once I had reached the top, and the climb began to ease off, I knew I had gone past the point of giving up and then my body began to respond to my bike, Nemo's call for speed. What a great day. The words of a song rang in my ear, "and there's new grass in the field," as I watched the horses in the fields seeking out the new blades of spring grass popping out everywhere.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Over the rough spots

My training and overuse injury has come along well, but for the last three days I have been trying to survive the most horrid intestinal flu or stomach flu. I don't recall ever being so terribly ill. I am slowly being able to eat something again, though my esophagus is burnt from acid reflux and I can even feel it when I breath. I am much better than the first two days of extremely high fever, crippling headache, and the really distressing other symptoms which I won't go into detail. I will be forever grateful when I am past this. I am going to heal, but I will need to be gentle. I will be so glad when spring and nice weather gets here. Screw crappy, cold, windy weather. The high wind and moderate chill has gotten old. Bring on the sunshine, the green trees, the open windows, the spring time clothes the young ladies wear at the first hint of warm air, bring on the Love, the freedom, and the carefree spirit of youth.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sore right leg.

I rode 50.16 miles into the wind today and only on the last part was the wind friendly. My right fibular collateral ligament and my right peroneus longus muscle connecting the tibia and fibula to the foot which assist in moving the foot downward and supports the arch of the foot has been experiencing pain. I need to figure out what is wrong with my pedal cleat setup and what is causing this pain. I noticed the discomfort was lessened for a while by moving up on the seat. The muscle seems to be suffering from over use. It doesn't bother me standing and climbing. It comes and goes as far as pain is concerned. My left leg is fine and I don't have any problem with it. I don't know if I have strained it or torn something in the past. Frustrating. It could be as simple as bunched up socks constricting my foot movement. Or maybe I need shoe inserts. It could turn into an over use injury and I need to figure it out. Perhaps it is time to visit, Dr. Robert, kind of like the Beatle Song.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Old and New Friends

Nothing like old and new friends to make you feel loved. No matter how you feel, your successes or failures, they are always there to remind you how precious you really are and that your never truely alone.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Jersey

I love this new Swiss National Team Jersey. It seems everything Assos is a little smaller. They make very good products and this Jersey is like silk and very soft. It has a little zipper pocket in back in addition to the three normal bike pockets. I have never seen a Large Jersey by any company even when it is the same company measure the same. I also have a pair of XL shorts coming as my other half mille Large shorts are just between sizes. I find the size factor to also be the same for riding shorts too. I must admit, the assos products have been very good, but they do cost a great deal. It is the small attention to detail that counts over long mileage. In trying to maintain my fitness, I can definitely feel the extra weight I am carrying around. I could stand to lose 10 pounds. I had a massage today and it was the finest deep tissue massage I have every had. I do believe I will make it a part of my riding regimen.