Yesterday, with the temperature near 40 and a 15+ mph wind, I decided to venture out and see if my winter training efforts had made a difference.
Normally, at this time of year I’m doing short, flat rides at a slow pace as I try to build up some endurance. I also normally avoid any hills and stiff winds. Primarily, that’s because I’ve sat on my butt all winter. Butt-sitting has not been the case this year so I decided to head out of town and ride 20 miles, knowing that I’d have to deal with a couple of hills, some rolling roads, and more than half of the ride would be directly or almost directly into the wind. Continue reading
We’re six days into March and I moved the better part of 9 in. of snow yesterday. My first planned ride is the St. Patrick’s Day ride on March 17, organized by the Wheeling Wheelmen club. The piles of snow along my driveway and my plan to ride 30 miles outside on the 17th are not working in concert. Temperatures are supposed to be well into the 40s this weekend, meaning much melting, which is good. The weather forecast suggests above-freezing temperatures all of next week, so there’s a good chance that roads will be in good enough condition for the ride. But will I? Continue reading
A big part of my winter training camp effort has been to improve my pedal stroke. The first indication I had that something was amiss was when I attended a CompuTrainer class at a local bike store. When the coach had us do single-leg pedaling, I discovered two things: I was generating power through only a very small part of the stroke and my left leg was not “pulling its weight.”
As I’ve worked on my technique through the winter and worked at a regular program of weight lifting, it’s not only become clear to me that my left leg needs to get its act together but that, in all of my exercises, the right side of my body was doing the bulk of the work. I find that discovery interesting in that I’m left handed. Makes me wonder if that’s a left-brain/right-brain thing. Continue reading
It’s going to be painful as I resume my winter training after a three-week layoff.
No, I didn’t crash my bike. It’s nothing that bad. But it is frustrating.
My job requires me to travel with some frequency, particularly in the first five months of the year and in the fall. Most of these trips are trade shows that require me to walk upward of 5 miles a day (I’ve measured it.) on thinly carpeted concrete floor. If I’m not walking, I’m usually standing. Trade shows make me tired.
The past three weeks I encountered a perfect trade-show storm. I had to attend three trade shows in three weeks. While at the first trade show, I got extremely sick and spent a day/night flat on my back in a hotel room. I got well enough to fly home, had two days to recover, then left for a 7-day trip, only to come home for two days and leave again. Continue reading
My RoadID bracelet is one of three identification devices I will carry when I ride on the road this year.
Cyclists, as a rule don’t carry anything on their bikes that they don’t absolutely need and many spend small fortunes to own and ride the lightest bikes possible. I’m as guilty as many. Other than the fat on my body, I don’t carry anything I don’t need on my carbon-fiber bike. Continue reading
No doubt, this bike was available in the Sears catalog, which offered everything on the planet.
While visiting friends in Houston recently we had lunch at a boutique sandwich shop that is part of Martha’s Bloomers
, a home decor/nursery in Navasota, TX. After lunch, shopping occurred and I used the opportunity to tour the grounds looking for photo opportunities. This is the off-season, so the business didn’t have any live plants for sale and all that there was to see was the “decorations.” I’m sure that when the place is filled with plants and flowers, it’s quite beautiful. Though the grounds were a bit desolate, there were plenty of subjects to photograph.
Three of those subjects were old bicycles of the single-speed hardware-store variety. That means big, wide tires; heavy steel frames, wide seats with actual springs; and standard rubber pedals. In other words, the very type of bike on which I learned to ride and from which I fell more than once. The bikes also brought back memories of more than one patch of road rash on my legs.
Now the bikes are just rusty hunks of steel with dry-rotted tires, so photos of the entire bicycles were not of any interest. We’ve all seen rusty bikes. What was interesting photographically, and from a cyclist’s point of view, were the head-tube badges. The first one I saw was a Sears bike. Seeing that bike reminded me of the days long ago when Sears sold everything and looking through one of their catalogs could kill several hours. I’m sure, at one point or another, I saw a similar model in a catalog and “encouraged” my parents to buy one for me. Continue reading
So, throughout the 2013 bicycle-racing season, according to what they tell us, we’ll see drug-free competition. Pardon me if I’m a bit skeptical.
I’m also curious. I’m not a racer and have never even pretended to race. But I have watched plenty of hours of racing, primarily, as we’ve come to learn, during cycling’s drug era. What I’m curious about is whether the action will look different to someone who has never raced in a peloton.
I first started paying attention to racing at a time, as I recall, when the only riders who doped were those who were trying to hang on at the ends of careers or simply didn’t have what it took to ride at the front of the pack. The top riders were talented, strong, and able to suffer better and more than anyone else.
I remember during that time that the mountain stages were always the most exciting portions of stage races because there was potential for any one of the leaders, on any given day, to crack and lose significant time, if not the overall race. Continue reading
My trainer and weights at the fitness center are my primary winter training-camp tools
Winter, for me, has traditionally been a time to cut back on the weekly miles, pretend I’m working out regularly, gain weight, and lose fitness. When spring arrives, I find myself frustrated because I’m back to struggling to finish a 20-mile ride and having to work to build up endurance to go out on a Saturday morning and knock off 50 miles without needing a long nap in the afternoon. The result is it’s June before I’m able to comfortably ride any serious distance.
Not this winter.
I’m on a mission to not only maintain what I built in 2012, but to increase my strength, boost my overall fitness, and improve my riding technique. The real test will be in the coming weeks when I have to do some business travel. For the first time ever, I plan to make use of the hotel fitness room that I usually walk by every morning on my way to breakfast. Continue reading
I was once a big Lance fan and just as much a fan of professional racing. I even subscribed to the print version of Velonews to keep up with the racing world. I followed Lance’s races on the Velonews website when they reported the action with text updates. When the races became available on TV, I watched them live, recorded them on tape, and watched them again.
Not any more. Continue reading
It’s been the better part of 30 years since I rode my first century but, because of my lack of knowledge, I won’t forget it because of the 100-mile accomplishment. The process began when I bought what I thought was a “real road bike” the year after I discovered it was possible to ride outside of the city limits.
I was incredibly naive about cycling at the time, at the mercy of bike-store sales people, and dealing with limited cash. I bought a Giant 10-speed bike that, once I gained some knowledge, wasn’t an “entry-level road bike” but was nothing more than a heavy-steel department-store bike with cheap box rims that would never stay true, brake “safety” levers kind of controlling brakes that never stayed centered, and clunky friction shifting.
At the time, I didn’t know any different, I liked the bike and I rode it a lot. I bought a “computer,” some toe clips, a decent saddle, cycling gloves, and cycling shorts. Though I initially wasn’t comfortable wearing lycra, after a couple of hours of riding I discovered that they actually made a difference.
While visiting a bike shop I saw brochures for these things called centuries. The thought of riding 100 miles in a day seemed like a tremendous challenge and accomplishment. I set my sights on a fall century ride and began the training process. Continue reading