Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Little Train That Could

That is me. 

I had to take care of some family things in Valdese yesterday and upon finishing, I drove on up to Marion.  I had hoped to leave my car at the campground and to have Hank come get me and then I stay in Greenville overnight.  That just didn't work out - I ended up staying in Marion.

While there for the evening and after a light dinner, I had wanted to ride my bike some, but the weather up on the mountains looked rainy and I really didn't want to get caught out in that.  So, instead of riding, I drove.  From Hwy70/80 all the way up to the BRP.  As I drove, I tried to visualize myself actually riding, where I'd be on the bike as I went around the twisty/curvy last 3.5 miles of Hwy80.  As I drove up 80, I felt confident because I have climbed that section at least 4 times, and I kept repeating out loud - "I CAN DO IT!". 

I can do this.  Yes, it's going to be a bitchin' hard day for me, especially since the forecast is now for rain, but somehow, someway, I have to dig down deep, keep the eye on the prize - The Patch.  I want this thing very bad.  I've told my Dad what I'm doing and I want to get this & show it to him.  I want a picture of me crossing the finish line to give to him.  I want it.  And, I want it bad enough to endure 27 miles of rain soaked roads to get it.  There.  I said it.  I want it bad enough that I'm willing to ride in the pouring rains to get it.

I'm not really sure what it is going to take to prevent me from giving it everything to get to the top.  I just don't know.  I do know that I have to stay focused and keep all the rain soaked negative mental thoughts out of my head.  Must stay positive.  Cause, once you check out of the ride mentally, it's really hard to keep going, even if you still have it physically.....

I can do this.  I will give it all I have plus some to finish this ride.  Pray to the cycling gods to keep my legs strong and cramp-free!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It will be epic, one way or another.

What the hell am I talking about, you ask?  I'm talking about Assault on Mt Mitchell.  I have decided, after all, to take on the challenge.  The challenge of riding my bike 103 miles & over 11,000 feet of climbing.  The worst climbing to come in the last 27mi or so.  The worst climbing from Marion, up brutal Hwy 80 (the last 3 miles are the hardest) to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The brutal climb up Hwy 128 to the top of Mt Mitchell.

No one would save me from this - no one wanted to buy my ticket this year.  I bought the full kit (bibs & jersey) and had already mapped out & started my training plan when I registered on 2/15.  Ah...but Life.  Life has it's way of changing your best laid plans.  That's ok...I still have my Dad here, he's not pushing the daisies up.  

So, since I couldn't get anyone to buy the ticket (and there are takers posting on Facebook who want a ticket) I just decided to go on and do the ride.  I won't plan on breaking my time in 2009, I won't plan on a specific time to complete.  All I wish to do IS complete the ride.  I have a dozen or more rides under my belt since the middle of February, I'm riding well now (early/mid May) and I guess the one big thing I have going for me - I have done this ride before.  I know what to expect.  I might know what to expect, but it's sure as hell going to hurt worse than it did in 2009.

Epic.  This is what it will be.  And, make it to the top or not, I will know that I gave everything I had to do this ride with no training what-so-ever when I am done.  I know, that if my Dad really truly understood what I was trying to do, he would be so very proud of me.  And, he'd tell me what a crazy fool I was for attempting and/or doing such a ride!

Oh bugger....the forecast for Sunday & Monday (5/15-16) is calling for rain.  60% showers.  Great.  Do I let that get into my head and deter me?  I can't.  I have to have the proper clothing and perhaps embrace the showers.  I guess it beats the hell out of 90+ temps and humidity.  And, the forecast is 7 days could change by then, but if not.  So be it.

So, that's it.  I'm going to see how far my legs can take me.  Use anyone and everyone to get me to Marion without expending all of my energy.  I need all the energy left to climb a Mountain. :)

Wish me luck and on Monday, May 16, send all the strong climbing vibes my way!!  

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's Just Not Going to Happen

AoMM, Caesars Head, Roan Moan, and if I can't start riding with regularity, The Blue Ridge Breakaway, aren't going to be ridden by me.  A month ago, I was encouraged to go on and give AoMM a shot, but since that time, I've ridden all of once a week, on average.  That kind of riding wont' get me to Marion, let alone up Mt Mitchell.  Oh well...the mountain will be there tomorrow.  Will I?

So, this year, just like last year, I'm going to be "Enjoy the Ride, Ride for the Enjoyment" until I gain some of my fitness back.  It sucks.  But, instead of letting it keep getting me down, I'm trying to stay positive and do what I can, when I can.....

No rides planned for now except The Blue Ridge Breakaway in August.  I've started walking too and will continue to do that - need to build the legs up for hiking later on this month and next month.  It's been almost a year since I went to South Mountains and hiked in 4 long, steep, hard miles to the campsite.  I don't know if I'll go to South Mountains this time, but I'd like to go somewhere to get in a 4-6mi hike to campsite and then back out in the next day or so.  I might look about taking the dog, but not sure on that one yet....

For now...that's all. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's back ON

Assault on Mt Mitchell.  I've been encouraged to go on and do the ride, someone special in my life has confidence in me, it's paid for, and I DO want to do it.  So, with only 2 very short months left, I'm going to ride as much as I can and get to the mtns about 4 times between now & May 7.  Hopefully, having done the Marion part twice, I will be able to remember how to ride smart and get to Marion as quickly as possible with the least amount of work on my part. :)

My real ride won't start until mile 76.  Then, it's 20+ miles to the top of Mt Mitchell.  Oh boy.  I can do it...Start Slow to Finish Fast.  Control the desire to hammer with everyone else from Spartanburg to Marion.  Find a good rider that can help me get to Bill's Hill (about 45mi) and I can get the other 35mi in without burning too many matches.

Oh....a side note - my Dad is doing better, he's been in rehab for 3 weeks (Wednesday) and has one more week to go.  Hopefully, he will have progressed enough to be able to transfer to the assisted living facility and will continue to get stronger.  The mental part won't really get any better, but hopefully, his health will not decline much.  It was a scary week or so in the hospital with him and I'm very glad that he made it through all of that without too much set back.

Time has changed and there's more ride time in the evenings now - lots of fixed gear riding on the agenda during the week and longer 3-4 hour rides on Saturday/Sundays. 

Later! :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bad Valentine's Week

I managed to get all my training rides in for last week, except my tempo ride for Saturday.  Reason?  My Dad fell on Wednesday morning and broke his right hip.  He had surgery that night to replace the ball.  He's still in the hospital today due to acute confusion & hallucinations.  Initially, he was going to be discharged this past weekend, but his blood platelets were low and they wanted to keep him to make sure they started to go back up.  That got better, but there were still more problems.

His blood pressure was also high and not responding very well to the medication.  That's not all.  He ripped all his iv's out Friday night, he's not eating and at times, refusing to even drink.  He's back on iv's for hydration and more medication for the high blood pressure.  The acute confusion and hallucinations are, from what the doctor's tell me, the surgery in general, pain medications, unfamiliar location.  He's just really in his own little world.  But, fortunately, he does recognize me, can tell you his name & birthday.

I really just think, giving him a few more days in the hospital, to make sure he's starting to eat again and the confusion stuff goes away, he'll be fine later this week.  At least I really hope so.  

I didn't do too well on the rides after Wednesday - I had a recovery ride Thursday and VO2 max intervals for Friday.  Those intervals didn't go well because I hadn't been eating very much and not getting enough rest.  I had to stop doing those negative things over the weekend because I won't be any good to my Dad if I don't take care of me, nor will I be able to ride.

That's about all for last week.  Zone 4 intervals this evening and all were pretty good.

#1: 188/185
#2: 188/188
#3: 188/185

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 1, Week 1

Day 1 in the books for my AoMM training.  On the table this evening were 4x6min zone 4 intervals. I think I have learned how to do them without going out too hard at the beginning and then faltering at the end.  Lots of wind this evening (head/crosswind) and for once, that wasn't all that bad, maybe helped somewhat.  It was a bit hard to keep the average on the lower end of my zone, but I did manage to do that as well as increase them 10+/- watts each time.

I did get all of them done and I don't believe I could have done another one that would have been better than the last one.  Great job!  Rode back to the car, then picked Taylor up at doggy daycare and on home.  I even got the after workout nutrition correct!  1 serving of Recoverite, then a shower, and lastly a 1c serving of pasta/sauce, 1 slice of spinach/feta pizza, and a Sweet Water 420 Extra Pale Ale. :)

My legs are definitely feeling the effects of this workout right now.  I will be going to bed in about an hour or so too - Andy's old sayings & training are still remembered - "Rest, Recover, Get Stronger".  Early to bed so that I can get up at 5:20am to take Taylor for a 20-30 min walk (with a few stints of running) before breakfast & going to work.

Tomorrow will be a nice 1 hour recovery ride.  I'm so glad I have a schedule to follow!  Structure & organization I do like!!!

Interval session (181-211w=zone 4):
#1 188/187/89 (normal power/avg power/rpm)
#2 191/191/93
#3 205/204/90
#4 218/217/88

Hmmmm...cadence needs to be 95+.  I'll have to work on just spinning at 95+ tomorrow and the high cadence drills later this week should help get me back into more spinning.  Better for the knees.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I have a Plan

Yes, yes, I do.  I have a plan for the remainder of this month and through the first full week of March.  I really haven't had anything written down and I've just been doing zone 4 (threshold) rides every other day.  Mainly on the trainer due to weather or not having time after work.

This evening, I was supposed to do another zone 4 interval set, but my mind just was not into it this evening.  I even got dressed but just did not feel like doing them.  Frustrated really.  Frustrated because I honestly didn't really know what to do.  I had no real plan.  I thrive on structure, especially in cycling, and I NEEDED to know what I was going to be doing in preparation for AoMM.  I have the makings of a plan for part of that.

Once I get to March, I will go back to my 2009 Google Calendar and do the workouts I posted for all of March & April.  Hopefully, those along with a few mountain training rides, I will be ready come May 16, 2011.

I have a solid 3 weeks of intervals, a recovery week and I will do my FTP test on March 18.  Will be interesting to see what I get during an actual test - see if I'm close to what I have been using.  I hope so.  Even if I come out and the test results are indicative of a lower FTP, I'm going to continue using what I have used for the 3 weeks on.  I might even bump it up, if I can do those wattages....

Damn.  I do feel better after spending the last hour or so figuring out the training plan.  The next 3 days will be intervals, tempo, recovery and then it starts!!!  Yay!! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Training Week

Well, it's been a week since I started my AoMM training.  I have managed to get the interval & zone 3 rides done, but the recovery rides haven't been as easy to do.  A zone 2 recovery ride for an hour on the trainer???  I just can't seem to do those.  But, I will do my intervals on the trainer.  Someone once told me - "Never skip your intervals" and I really have and will try to not skip them.

This past Sunday, I managed to get out for 2 hours and do a zone 3 tempo ride out in the county.  It was a very nice day and I really enjoyed the ride.  My only concern was that I may have under-estimated my power zones.  I decided to use the zones calculated from December 2007, but after the tempo ride and the first interval session, I think I'm a tad low.

Thinking I was a tad low on the power zones, I upped them and did the zone 4 intervals at the new level.  I think I'm close.  I was expecting company yesterday evening and just did not have time to get all 6 intervals done before 7pm (expected arrival).  I did squeek out 5x3min zone 4 intervals and the last one was really becoming hard (202w avg).  Therefore, since the 5th one was becoming a bit difficult towards the end and thinking that had I been able to do a 6th one, it would have really been more difficult.  Just the way they're supposed to be. :)

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 10, I have a zone 3 tempo ride scheduled.  The weather probably isn't going to be conducive to outdoor riding plus, I won't have enough daylight, so it looks like it's another trainer ride.  Oh Yay. 

Half day Friday - I may do another zone 4 interval session and the weekend looks fabulous, so I'll definitely be riding outside over the weekend.  Very much looking forward to the outside rides!!!  Next week looks very promising too! :)

Guess that's all for now....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First "real" training session

I want to do AoMM, as I stated in the previous post.  15 weeks....I know if I don't get my ass in gear and start doing SOMETHING, I won't make it past Marion.  So, I went back and looked over my training rides from 2008 & 2009 and have sorta figured out what I need to do.  I hope.

Tonight, despite the unanswered calls from my Dad, a dog that needed some Mommy time, and a cat that was pestering me, I managed to do my first interval session.  It was a very good one...I have learned from years past.  I did 6x3min zone 4 (powertap) intervals this evening.  I did them correctly too. :)  I worked from the low end of zone 4 up to the high end for the last two intervals.  Damn!!!  I love intervals!!!

I can't download my data, as I have a new computer (Macbook Pro) and do not have the thing configured to run any of my Windows programs.  Will take it tomorrow and see if I can get that fixed.  I will also have to do a good recovery ride on the trainer tomorrow.

I'm excited!!!  I just need to keep it up and not let the family/life issues derail me.  I know I can do AoMM, I know how to do the ride, from Spartanburg to Marion, and from Marion to Mitchell.  I know.  And, I know I can do it.

Now, it's time for bed.  Rest, Recover, Get Stronger.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thinking & Pondering

That is what I am doing this evening.  Anyone reading this knows I pretty much took last year off from any kind of serious riding.  2.5yrs of some (for me) serious training and no fun-ride riding just left me feeling burnt out and not enjoying cycling anymore.  I did one organized ride last year, thought about doing a few others, but never did.

I made a post on my Facebook page - wondering whether 3.5 (actually 15 weeks) months would be enough time to prepare for Assault on Mt Mitchell??  I sorta felt like it wasn't, so I also posted this and that I would do Caesars Head Challenge in June.  Sorta gave up on the idea until an acquaintance from work posted and told me, basically, "so what if you only have 3.5 months?  Train & prepare for it.  You could do the ride and have a PR, but will never know if you don't do the ride.  Some days you are the Hammer.  And some days the Nail".

Well, I know how to train for the ride.  I know the ride.  I can do this.  I can sit down and make out my training plan, stick to it and maybe have a PR.  Maybe I won't PR, but it's a dang fun ride and I will enjoy it.  Do I have to have rides upon rides in the mountains to be able to do this ride?  No.  I have friends from here in flatland that did the ride (pretty dang strong riders) with only training in flatland.  They may have occasionally done day trips or such for climbing rides, but it can be done without.

Just because I haven't been climbing in over a year, does not mean I have forgotten how to climb.  I can take a day trip to Marion and do the last 27 miles.  I can head out to the Hanging Rock/Pilot Mtn area for some training.  It can be done.

Damn.  Do I really have a goal now?  Yes.  Something to work towards - something to motivate me to ride and get back in the shape I was in 2009.  I'm actually excited about this!!  I remember  doing a post last year - talking about how I had signed up for AoMM and then bailing on it later on.  My mind, and more importantly, my heart wasn't in it last year.  I believe both are in it this year. :)

I guess I can use the next few weeks of lunchtime riding, to start building the endurance up, stop being a wussy with the weather & ride more on the weekends, and finally - when DST rolls around be ready to start my favorite part of training - intervals.

I can do it!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good Grief - It has been a long time!

Wow.  Here it is, a new year, January 15, 2011, and this is my first post since August 27, 2010.  But, I have a somewhat legitimate issues.

Damn.  I read my last entry - I was riding so well with the guys, riding really strong, looking forward to an exciting cyclocross season, working with Taylor on training, and BAM!!  It all came to a damn standstill Labor Day weekend.  

Long story - short.  My Dad has dementia/Alzheimers, his wife (my step-mom) couldn't deal with him anymore and she laid it all on me that weekend.  "Come get him.  Do something with him.  I don't want to live with him anymore."  And, so it began.

I managed to ride 10-12 times in September, but that was it, pretty much for the remainder of the year.  My Dad was doing all kinds of crazy things and I was being pulled in every which direction trying to make the right decisions concerning him & his well being (he's now in an assisted living facility here in Raleigh.  Things aren't great - he wants to move to Greenville, SC and I'm not letting him.  Otherwise doing well).  October came & went with me doing 2 rides.  November came & went with one ride under my belt.  December came & went with one ride.  So discouraged and depressed about cycling at that time - here I had 7 bikes in my house, I was a really strong rider and now, I'm not getting to ride any, I've been off the bike for 3 months - felt like giving up.

7 bikes?  Yep.  I bought a 2008 Specialized Era FSR the first of September and then a Quintana Roo Tequilio TT bike mid September.  Have yet had the pleasure of riding the mtb, but got to ride the TT bike quite a bit in September.  Looking forward to doing some TT's this spring/summer.

As for being off the bike for 3 months and feeling bad...I'm not a quitter.  Kept in touch with Dallas through all the Dad issues and I had decided, come January 1, 2011, I was going to get my ass in gear and do something.  Ride the trainer for at least 30-45min on Tuesday & Thursday and try to get out for an hour or so each day on the weekends.  I've not been exactly successful, but I'm definitely doing a lot better.

Dallas contacted me 12/31 and wanted to know if I wanted to get out for a New Year's Day ride??  Hell Yes. :) There were 6 of us total riding - Dallas, Randall, Grady, Ricky, Philip & myself.  OMG.  I knew I was in for a serious hurting cause these guys have been able to continue riding, hitting Umstead on the weekends or the mtb trails.  But, I was determined to do the best I could and despite only riding 3 times in the last 3 months - I did damn good. :)

33 miles in 1:50+ hr, a 17.5 avg.  The pace was a bit hot for the first 18mi - I didn't think I'd make it back if it continued that way and told Dallas.  Grady, Randall, & Philip went on ahead and finished up the ride with a 19+ avg.  19+ in the dead of winter.  Dallas & Ricky got me back at a decent pace.  Anyways...since then, I've tried to ride the trainer 2x/week and start a run/walk program.

Run/walk??  Yep.  I have decided to try a duathlon!  The first one is 3/5 down in Waxhaw, NC and it's 2mi/19mi/2mi.  I'm on week 3 of the program and should be able to do the 2mi by then.  The ride part should be fairly easy for me, at least I hope so!  

What else?  That's pretty much it, in a nutshell.  Keep getting some cycle time in my butt & legs via trainer & road and I'm going to be strong again!  Haven't really planned any rides like I had in  the past years - I might do 1 or 2 organized rides, but not sure.

Hope everyone that reads this is doing well and having a great start to the New Year!!