Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tsali Mtb Ride

So, today's weather dictated that we (Andy and I) would be in the woods instead of on the road...gusts up to 25mph or so and temps in the upper 30's to low 40's meant the road would be pretty cold. It was great temps for riding in the woods. I've never been to Tsali riding so I was looking forward to the ride - also just something different to do. Everyone I've talked to had told me how great the riding was there. Right on. It was great! I think I might have to get back up there and ride Tsali again - and, I think I know where I can borrow a mtb.

I no longer have a mtb (sold it 3mo or so ago), so I was borrowing Andy's wife's FS mtb. OMG. I would ride the mtb trails back home if I had a bike such as that!! Maybe I can sneak it into my car and take it back home with me. What an awesome riding bike!! The trails were great, some mud holes that I went through to try and get dirty, some climbs had to be walked, and near the end, a fall. I was trying to go up a climb and lost all momentum...tried to get unclipped, but not possible. Just fell over to the left.

Anyways...great riding today. Think we rode something like 12mi.

Andy at the ride start..

Fontana Lake

>>Comments from Andy at one of the forums...."Well, WP probably got a bit spoiled today riding my wife's Stumpy Pro mtb. LOL. She kept saying how great it was while I just tried to keep the rubber side down. I'm not much of a singletrack rider and it shows. But we had fun and I would have made a few more climbs had WP not stopped in front of me! Though I did dismount for the mudholes much more than she did. My tires just can't do anything in mud. Luckily most of the trail was very firm with the usual roots and rocks. It is mtbing after all."

>>Comments from Andy on another forum - "We saw just 2 other riders on the loop and for a while I wondered if we would see anyone. There were only 5 cars in the parking lot. Really, it was a perfect day to ride out there today."

Clingman's Dome Ride

Well, I'm up in Western NC spending, pretty much the whole week with my friend Andy. We got out Tuesday afternoon and drove over to Clingman's Dome to ride the 7.5 miles up to the observatory tower.....below is the report for the ride...

So...everyone that knows me, knows I've been just itchin' to get back up to WNC and get some riding in...went into work yesterday and "told" the boss that I'd like to take the 30th off in addition to the 31st & 1st, which I already had approval for. Got the ok for that, so this morning I left the house around 7:30 headed west.....

The plan for today was to drive over to the entrance to Clingman's Dome and ride the 7mi to the parking lot and then the 0.5mi on the paved pathway up to the observatory tower. Andy was riding his mtb (for who know's why??) and I on my trusty Fuji. He was all loaded up with a backpack as well that contained some more clothes in it for the return trip down the mtn.

It was a beautiful day near 50F to start though the temps really differed depending on whether we rode in the sun or shade. The icy rock walls made for a chilly refrigerator effect. The climb is a pretty steady 5-6% until the last half mile up to the tower which tops out at 6700'. This is the highest point one can ride a bike to in Eastern N.A. The grade up the paved trail is over 20% in 3 separate pitches with breaks to 10-12% between. It's a tough climb and Andy was smart to have mtb gearing today. It was a great ride though.

I felt absolutely great today. It was almost an effortless climb until the pathway. And, this is the first ride EVAH that I was able to ride ahead of Andy and pull away (only because he was riding a heavy mtb). Any other ride/time, and I am the one bringing up the rear! That pathway was a bitch and a half. I had to stop 2x and walk a bit, rest and find a lung. I don't think I've ridden anything that hard in a long time or ever. After stopping for the 2nd time, there was one more section to get up...Andy had just breezed by me on this pathway. I think he was sandbagging on the other 7mi. So, back on the bike and trying to get up to the top w/o stopping again. Couldn't stop anyways cause I knew he was gonna be waitng with the camera to get that pic of me suffering....

So, here are the pics from the ride....

>>Comments from Andy on another forum: "It was a beautiful day near 50F to start though the temps really differed depending on whether we rode in the sun or shade. The icy rock walls made for a chilly refrigerator effect. The climb is a pretty steady 5-6% until the last half mile up to the tower which tops out at 6700'. This is the highest point one can ride a bike to in Eastern N.A. The grade up the paved trail is over 20% in 3 separate pitches with breaks to 10-12% between. It's a tough climb and I was glad to have mtb gearing today. Great ride though."

The face of pain, near the top of the steep climb.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Reflections of 2008

Well, as the end of 2008 quickly approaches, I’ll try to make a post here and keep with the latest tradition of infrequent postings…

It’s been one crazy & hard year for me, one that I don’t wish to repeat, as far as the emotional toll I’ve had to deal with this year. I would repeat all the training and riding I’ve done this year though. That aspect of my life was great.

Reflecting back on 2008…the best & worst…the best things were the old friends who helped me through some tough times emotionally, who pushed me to my limits and past with cycling – without them, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the year. Cycling took my mind off of all the troubles or what-not I was going through at home. Other “bests” were planning, training, and completing some organized rides with certain goals attached to those rides. I think I did pretty darn good!

“Best” should also include the new friends made via Bikeforums and getting to meet some of these people from different parts of the country. SoCal trip was awesome. Meeting nyguy online over the summer and eventually meeting in person. We will continue to talk and see each other when possible and whatever develops, develops.

One more “best” – I’ve started riding with The Hammers during the week this month. I’m good enough now to be able to ride with them at a 20mph pace for 60+ miles. Of course, this is flatland riding and I doubt I could do that pace if you throw a lot of hills into it. But, L-Hammer keeps calling me back and the guys have accepted me into the group. I’ll keep riding with them until, for some reason, I can’t.

Some worst things…thankfully, not too many. Hmmm, I suppose the worst thing (depending on how one looks at it) was the separation that happened in July. Not going into details other than it was a long time coming and maybe should have happened sooner than it did. He and I remain friends and I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

Worst rides? Not too many, though Assault on Marion will rank up there with the worst. Very hot and did not ride well at all. Training was great for the ride, but it just didn’t happen. I missed my goal of 4.5hr by almost 30 minutes. Oh well. Next year, I hope to reach Marion in 4:15hr +/- and then complete the Assault on Mt Mitchell in another 4hr or so. Fabulous Fourth ride wasn’t too good either…failed to eat or drink properly and cramped really bad on the last climb. I think that’s pretty much it….

So, it's been a pretty good year for cycling and I guess for my personal life as well...I'm much happier here at the end of 2008 than I was this time last year. Hopefully, this upcoming year will be just as good or better!

Up next...cycling stuff for next year....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Week Before Christmas Review....

Well, this week is going to be somewhat interesting....I had to take my car to the mechanic for timing belt & water pump replacement. Scheduled an appointment for Monday and assumed that this meant the car would be worked on Monday. Wrong F'ing assumption. Dropped the car off Sunday evening and I have been without since then. Got a call from the mechanic this morning telling me that they area just now "tearing into it to see what parts might be needed". WTF????? So, if they don't have the parts, are they going to have them today and finish today???? Damnit. Not the freakin week for me to not have a car. GGGGGGRRRRRR

So, that means, I did not get to the gym on Monday. I suppose I could have ran/walked on my street, but I was not feeling very energetic and opted to rest more. I think I will need to do the run/walk this evening. Enough of this resting mess. I need my car back...I have things I need to get and stuff to mail and I just want my car back.

Here at work, we have a Christmas Luncheon on Friday. During the week, everyone usually brings things in to eat for snacks/breakfast and I'm going to be fixing a breakfast casserole for Thursday morning. Friday morning, I'll fix "pigs in a blanket" and wonton wrappers for early snack. My contribution to the lunch will be broccoli casserole. I don't think I'll be staying for the lunch this year. It's going to be low 70's for Friday afternoon and Jay wants to ride. So, I can't turn down an afternoon ride with him. Besides, I need to get all the riding in I close to 6000mi for the year...hopefully, I'll get some riding in this weekend between the rain....all for now....gotta get back to work!! :)

Another Day...

Another Dolla.

Not much going on since the last post. I did ride into work on Friday, December 12...up at 5am not realizing or even thinking about when sunrise, I didn't leave the house until 7:45am. Had a headwind all the way into work, but I guess those can be good for training. The ride home was great. I didn't leave work until 2:30pm and because it was such a pretty day that afternoon, I couldn't just ride the 15mi home and be done. Ended up with a 30mi ride and 45mi total for the day.

I went to the gym 2x that week, working on upper body weights, core stuff, and trying to do some running. My legs were feeling the effect of the running by Friday evening. 3hr Hammer ride scheduled for Saturday. We started out into the wind, down Buffalo Rd and towards Wendell. I could tell immediately, that my legs did not have 3hrs in them. I made it for an hour and turned around. Another guy was only riding for 2hr, so we both rode back to the cars together. It was a nice ride back....nice tailwind. Didn't do much the rest of the afternoon....had a party to go to that evening.

Oyster Roast Party at my friend Margo's place in N Raleigh. Lots of my friends there, plus, met some new ones. The food was great - steamed oysters, shrimp, grilled venison sausage, chicken bog, beer & wine. And moonshine later...will say no more. :)

Sunday was a complete rest day...nyguy admonished me for wanting to go out and ride. Told me that the others weren't riding for a reason and it wasn't so much that they had a was required. So, I listened and didn't ride or go to the gym. And, by 9-9:30pm, I was feeling pretty tired and sleepy. Why does he have to be right all the time??

Now, it's the week before Christmas and I think I'll do another post for all that's going on for this week. Break it up a bit.....

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ummm...Monthly Update???'s been a just about a month since my last post...seems like I never have time or maybe I just don't take the time to make posts here. I should. It doesn't take that long really.

So...Took a trip to NY to visit a friend and ride with a couple of online friends from BikeForums. Rode with Peter & Andrew in NY on Thanksgiving Day - a 50mi ride of rolling terrain, similar to the terrain of North Raleigh, with 3 very short but killer steep climbs back up to Peter's house. The rest of my time was spent with my friend in NY - included a trip to Bear Mtn and an 1.5hr bike ride on Saturday.

Between my last post and this one, not much happening (except for the trip to NY). Rode 150mi this past week (Tu/Th & Sat). Tuesday was interval day - I did 4x5min zone 4 intervals during lunch and that turned out to be around 17mi and some numbers that are outside my zone 4. I think I might need to adjust the FTP number....maybe....

#1: 207/201/98; #2: 201/192/99; #3: 188/181/95; #4: 180/176/100 (np/ap/rpm).

My zone 4 is 168-195w. So, looks like the first two intervals were too hard and the last two were right in the zone. I guess I need to re-learn the concept of Starting Slow to Finish Fast, eh?

This past Thursday, I rode with The Hammer was supposed to be a "winter pace" ride of 17.5+/- pace....well, Lawrence didn't ride and the pace was not as advertised....ended up with 57mi at a 19.2 pace. Immediately after that ride, I went to Inside-Out Sports to do a night cx ride at Umstead...oh boy....not enough food eaten and I struggled on that ride. But, it was fun and I'll go back again this week.

Saturday, my friend Andy was down visiting friends in Chapel Hill and he came out to Clayton to ride with The Hammers. Lawrence rode this time and the pace was as advertised...55mi/17.5mph. Good ride. I didn't do anything else that legs were toast. Sunday - day.

This the gym tonight - dreadmill and some upper body weights & core stuff.

Probably do another ride this week with Hammers and the night cx ride. Boy - that cx ride at Umstead was super fun! I sorta hope that the Hammer ride & cx ride are not on the same days...that was pretty hard. And, to end up the week...going to an oyster roast at one of my cycling friends home on Saturday.