Tuesday, April 26, 2011

even a horrible day on the bike is a good day!

Oh my, did I ever suffer on Sunday. I made it out for an Easter morning ride with my friend Joe. It was a gorgeous day indeed. Although that didn't keep me from suffering, and man did I.

I had a completely off day. I previously road the Gravel Grinder and raved about how good I felt and how fun the ride was. It was something like 3100ft of climbing in 28 miles. The Easter ride was only 2400ft in 41 miles. Less climbing and more pain. As soon as we came to the first climb I was struggling. By the time we got to the second climb I had nothing in the legs and limped up in first gear. I knew that this wasn't going to be easy.

I stuck to it and despite the suffering, I had a great time. Although I knew when I had enough and luckily that was near the end of our ride. I got home and I was cooked. My legs hurt like they did when I did the VT50 last year. That was a 9:14 ride with tons of climbing. I was definitely off! That same day, my wife ran 11 miles. After dinner she suggested that we go walk the dogs around Indian Brook Reservoir. I reluctantly accepted and in the end I agreed that it was a good idea. It loosened my legs up completely.

Yesterday I did my bike commute and it proved that I was just off. I can't believe the experience but I had it. Now I have to focus on why and try to avoid that in the future. Especially this weekend. I don't want my 300k brevet to be a death march.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

catching up

Hello all, if there are any "all" out there. Work has really put a tight grip on me. I didn't ride any after the Gravel Grinder until the following weekend when Mike and I headed out for a stroll in the wet and chilly morning last Sunday. We rolled out headed north on the bike path and headed up into Colchester. We rode the causeway to the end.

Mike calling for the ferry! Where is that ferry? 
It wasn't the best of days but it was nice to get out, as always. We chatted up some strategy and such. Good time. Mike wasn't feeling the best and I was fighting with my inner demons on my motivations to stay on the bike. Like I said, work has taken a serious mental beat down on me.

my beloved bike on break on Lake Champlain

my facial expressions rarely match my feelings
 I ended up with ~30 miles of riding on that day and was glad that I did. My wife has been supporting me and encouraging me to stay focused and keep up the riding. I switched up a few things. One of them was to commute on a completely different route. It was very rejuvenating to do that and I will continue to adjust my departure time to get more saddle time before my day starts.

Men at Work!
This is one of the reasons that I switched up my commute. My normal route is completely destroyed from a harsh winter. It has become ridiculous to ride a bike on this road. Not to even mention how punishing it is even in a car. They are doing what they can to restore the road and I will soon revisit this route from time to time. For now, I am so happy that I switched it up.

I have some more recent thoughts on my Tour Divide coming up. I will do another post to tackle this subject. I still have quite a bit that I am chewing on. Stay tuned and thank you for reading.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gravel Grinder

Over 3100' of climbing in 28 miles. That was an awesome ride! Mostly dirt (mud) and lots of climbing. There was tons of climbing too! With all of that climbing, there is magnificent downhills. It was easy to hit around 35mph and at some point I recorded a top speed of 47.25 mph. It was 100% adrenaline. I felt great and we had the most excellent weather. I felt extremely good on all the climbs, powerful on all the flats and I never have a problem falling like a brick on the downhills. All I did for this ride is pull the commuter tires off, mounted up the Maxxis MudWrestlers and dropped the fenders. All the rest is the way its been.

We did a neutral roll out for a bit and then the first climb (what a bitch) comes up with a big slap in the face. Once you get to the top of that climb, you get some breather time as well as some great views of the Green Mountains. (Sorry no pics. I find it getting harder to want to stop to shoot photos). Lots of elevation change on this ride. We rolled into the second aid station (which is also the first aid station, just from a different direction) and they had the usual helpful foods. I asked to fill my bottle, NO WATER! But wait, who cares, they had whiskey. That's right, there is water in that stuff if you didn't know. With only 8 miles to go and one more climb I decided to take a shot of each of the three brands of whiskey that was being offered. It was very surprising to me how little negative effect that had on me. Hell, I think in someway it loosened up my muscles if not doing anything else. The last climb was gradual but damn was it long. We got to the top, turned on a dirt road and dropped in (the 47mph part) for a fast descent and up the other side. The climbing was done! It was rolling for the 4 miles.

We got done and quickly made our way into the line for some nice authentic chicken tacos, beans, salsa, the works. It was catered again this year by a local eatery that makes great food. What a blast it was. This was my third year doing the Gravel Grinder and by far it was my best one yet. All of it was enjoyable, even the lung burning climbs!

We are now into some Spring weather and we will be getting some good rain to clean things up and wash all the yuck of winter away. I was waiting until after this ride to switch out my drivetrain. I put a hurting on the front ring and the chain over the winter. The rear cog on the Alfine is steel and wears really good. Right now it is 38/20 and I will be replacing that with a 42/18 and a brand spanking new chain. I will also try to find some nice 28c or maybe even 25c tires to run for the commuting.

April 30th is our 300k  Brevet. I want this thing rolling better than it was on the 200k. That one was an eye opener. I will enjoy it knowing that others are out on route with me, unlike the pre-ride that was solo.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My first ever Brevet

I pre rode the VT 200k brevet on 4/3/11. 130 miles that belong to me and only me. Solo ride! Only two weeks after my last century. I hesitate to say that I finished with only 10 minutes to spare on the the time cutoff. But, with that said, I have to add that I had a head wind for the last 90 miles of the ride. It slowly wore away at me until I had nothing more but the ability to just keep cranking the pedals until I made it to the finish. I have a lot to learn about on bike nutrition and fueling and at the same time this ride gave me a crash course on the subject.

I rode and rode. Some parts were just amazing and the rest were definitely worth doing. I didn't take a single picture. At one point I even vividly remember that I was going to keep the whole experience to myself. After all, I worked for the whole thing, right? Any ways, I have to admit that it was harder than the first two centuries that I did in the dead of winter. I will absolutely stand behind the fact that the wind played a huge part in the outcome of the ride. Bottom line, I stuck with it and never gave up. That is all that I can ask of myself. Commit and complete!

Monday, April 4, 2011

check out this sweetness

Mike made this and sent it over to me to throw up here. Is that not sweet as hell? He is onto something here, isn't he? Tour Divide is definitely worthy of the Periodic Table. It is an "Element" all of it's own.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

forecast for my 200km Brevet

Partly sunny, high of 45*

I am not going to be able to do the 200km Brevet on 4/9 because I am supporting my wife at her second half marathon. By the way, her last one was just a few weeks ago. Go getem' mama!

I regress, I am pre riding the Brevet which is a great opportunity to still do it and mark it down towards completing a full Brevet series. I am going to attempt to do them all and then see how I feel about attempting the 1200km BMB. What an experience that will be.

Date: August 11-14, 2011
Distance: 750 miles, 1200 km
Time Limit: 90 hours

Friday, April 1, 2011

better late than never (plus a century)

With only two days till my first brevet (200K pre-ride), I'm just getting to posting a bit about my ride two weeks ago. Mike and I did an out and back to Hero's Welcome:

Picture jacked from Mike's blog!
 We did ~80 slightly chilly, wind blown miles along the lake. It was a great time. I had to thank Mike for such an awesome route. He has quite a knack for that which leads me to believe that the VT Brevet series is going to be a blast. I particularly look forward to the Fall Classic. Lot's of dirt. That is my thing. I love the roads of Vermont. You can enjoy all the dirt you want with a little planning.

On the return trip we hit a dirt road section that brought us along the lake and guess what I found?

The offspring of "Champ" the Lake Champlain sea monster. Its amazing how secure it was in getting its picture taking. I guess its waiting for the ice on the lake to melt like we all are.

After a short roadside break, we pedaled back to the start. I would have about 20 miles to cover in order to hit my century for the month. When I got to the start, I rode on for 10 miles and turned back. It was the hardest part of the ride. I put a strong effort in and would have been very content with the 80 but I pushed on to get it all. Saddle time is important for my ultimate goal.

On a completely separate subject. Look what my friend Joe did when he returned home to his house and pulled into the garage. OUCH!

A new frame geometry Joe is working on!
The bike was in the tray on the roof facing rearward. The rear tire and basket hit the face of the garage and just folded the front. That is a carbon fork and it survived. Says a lot for carbon technology.

Thanks for reading.