Friday, October 4, 2013


Maybe I should start blogging again...
If I do, it surely won't be much about cycling it seems.
Maybe I start a new one(s) about my new hobby and one about some poems (if you want to call it that) I have been writing.

I may look into something this weekend.....

Monday, July 16, 2012

Biting off more than I can chew. :)

So, I have been complaining a bit to my friend Martin (Skiffrun) that I was kinda tired of "training" and tired of all the extremely fast rides, although I haven't really done any really fast rides of late, and that I'd like to try something different. I still like to ride fast, but the Hammer Guys seem to have kinda fallen apart since the fall of 2010 (coincidentally when I began to help with my Dad & not ride as much? Dunno), though Dallas and some of the guys do ride the usually Tu/Th & some weekends (it's just not as organized or so it seems as it used to be). But, I digress....Martin's suggestion was to join RUSA and maybe try the 200km rides.

He suggested that I could possibly earn the R-12 by doing 12 consecutive 200k rides in a year. I thought,'s definitely different and it's probably something I am capable of doing, once I get some more miles in my legs. So, what do I do? I join RUSA and talk with Martin a bit via email - I decide to do a ride, which he is the route-organizer, this past Saturday. Even though he did mention that the route was 221km, I don't think it actually sunk in to my brain. More on the distance later.

The route for Saturday was from N Raleigh to Warrenton and back, which had quite a bit of climbing, but I really didn't think anything of it...oh sure, I can climb...but I am not a natural climber and rolling terrain is not my favorite at this time because I've not done much mountain climbing since 2009. But, just because I'm not a natural, doesn't mean that I don't like to climb (except that damn Easter Egg!), I just don't have the opportunities I did several years ago.

I am up at 4:45am and eat some breakfast around 5-5:15am of a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter & honey. I also drink almost 20oz of h2o. I packed all my food (rolleyes) and a change of clothing in a plastic bag the night before, took this to the car and loaded the bike. I also took an extra bottle of frozen water to carry in the middle jersey pocket.

I left the house around 5:55am and arrive at the start point around 6:30am. I park and then decide I better try and use the restroom - across the street at the BP, where I also purchase a bottle of water. Back to my car, and I see that someone else has arrived - Bob, whom Martin has ridden with a lot - we introduce ourselves and get our stuff ready.

I have no idea what I should take, food-wise or really mechanical-wise, since I had never done such a ride without support (rest stops & SAG) and I labor over these things, up until the ride. Food, I had way too much in the plastic grocery bag (more in a bit). The mechanical stuff (tubes, co2, tire levers, etc) was put into my saddle bag, but I thought I should take a quick test ride, because when I did AoMM on the BMC, my fat thighs seemed to rub the bag (thus, wearing the $120 shorts way sooner) and I ditched it on that pre-AoMM ride. The same thing occurred on the test ride. OK. So what to do??

I took everything out of the saddle bag and put it into a spare sock, which went into the right jersey pocket (along with a little bag that had DL, debit card, cash, cue sheets, & control card). The middle pocket was for the frozen water bottle. The left pocket held too much food...a pb&j, clif shot bloks (2), 2 snack size baggies of trail mix, 2 bananas. Way too much stuff and too much weight. I'd rather have that kind of stuff ON the bike instead of ON ME.

Martin arrives around 6:55am (by bike) and we head off at 7:03am. I actually feel pretty good for the first hour or so, but the pace is just a smidge high (IMO), if I'm going to complete 125mi (more later). :) I take a few pulls, but the times that I do, it seems that the road is either flat or has a slight downslope, so I'm really not working all that hard. And, I was afraid when I took the couple of pulls, that I was going to go too fast and get yelled at by Martin (he had already told me he was going to leave me in a ditch if I cramped later because I had went too hard!).

The route...had a detour due to NCDOT working on replacing a bridge over the Tar River (I think) and the detour resulted in the actual distance being 221km or 137mi (is this right Martin?). I don't think anything of this change in route. Yet. There was a nice little 7% climb around 35mi (+/-) that was a surprise and the guys waited on me at the top, where we had a short break.

Then it was motor on. We reached the first control, got some water & Gatorade and headed on. I think the next control was around 60-61mi, and then another 10mi to Warrenton, where we would have lunch. Again, there was climbing from 40mi to 60mi and the guys waited on me at the control. We finally made it into Warrenton after 5hr total and around 4:15-4:20hr of moving time. I was not feeling all that great. I was not feeling great at 43mi (first control) nor the 60/61mi control. I didn't really say anything cause what could I say? That I bit off more than I could chew? I did, but heck, I couldn't quit. Not willingly anyways. :)

So, in Warrenton, the control is Hardee's and I buy mine & Martin's lunch and we take a nice break. I was really concerned that I might start to cramp while sitting in the restaurant, as it was quite chilly and I knew I was at or beyond my limit at this time. I ate a cheeseburger & fries, drank some ice tea. Refilled the bottles with ice tea and water before leaving. The food eaten did not affect me adversely later on except to maybe make me feel full, along with the fluids I tried to consume. Feeling full results in me to eventually stop drinking....

Once finished, we head on out and immediately hit a small grade. I had nothing. I was so slow on this little short grade, that I then was certain I was going to have a hard time finishing the 125mi. More later...:) So, in my mind, we were at 71-75mi and we had, right at 50mi to the finish. OK. I will try. I have to.

But, it became quite the struggle to turn the pedals over from 75 to 80 miles. I don't remember if there was a control at 80mi or not. I do know that from 80 to 90 miles, I was sure I couldn't finish 125mi. Remember this number - 125mi. I stopped several times on whatever road it was leading back to Epsom (& store/control). The last time I stopped, it was under a nice big oak tree and a little old lady had just arrived home. She stepped out of her car, looked at me (leaning over the bike) and said it was awfully hot today and was I ok & would I like some water. I replied to her that yes, it was awfully hot and I would love some water to pour over my head. It was too hot for me - I don't do heat well and was becoming overheated.

I got on the bike and rode up her drive to the carport. She couldn't walk very well and I helped her up the steps to the inside and helped her with the very large bag of cukes she had. She returned with a Red Solo cup (song) and I proceeded to fill it from the spigot and pour over my head and back. I thanked her and proceeded to get the last 1.5mi done and reach the Epsom store. Upon reaching the store (90mi), I went inside and purchased a Coke and a bottle of water. Martin & Bob were inside (and looking quite fresh & chipper) in the cool, but it was freezing to me, so I went back outside and sat on a bench.

I took my shoes off to let my feet get some air and drank the Coke. It is at this point that I really, really begin to doubt that I can do another 37mi. (Remember this number) Martin comes out and asks if I want to come inside or maybe he asked while in the store, don't remember. Anyways, he's outside and the comment is made that it's only 47 more miles to go. Huh????? WTF???? Huh???? 47mi???? NO. It's only 37 and I think I can make that. Uh oh. I remember telling Martin at this time that maybe he just needs to take my car keys, ride on/finish, and come back and get me. He says no, you can do it!! :)

I say, ok, let's go. I struggle a whole hell of a lot this next 5 to 10 miles. I had already started to cramp, somewhere between 75-90 miles, but this last distance, I was cramping more and had no energy in my legs. There was one little hill, I tried to get up it, but my legs said no. No matter that I told them to Shut Up (like Jens), they said FU. I stopped about half way up and walked the bike up.

During this walk, both quads cramped. My left ankle/top of foot cramped. My right abs cramped. WTF? My abs cramped??? I made it to the top and I think by the look on my face, Martin was just about convinced I was done. I knew I was done, but continued to try. I have no idea where I was or what road I was head was down, watching my feet make circles. I wandered over the roadway, looking up occasionally to see if they were still in sight. I looked up once to see a car coming in the distance and thought,
"gee...maybe I should move over towards the right side of the road instead of riding in the middle."

Martin fell back to ride with me at some point and I was barely going 6-7mph on a flat section of roadway. He said that's enough, let's get you to a store. So, we made a detour into Kittrell.

Choose my poison...the new c'store or the older looking one across Hwy 1. I chose the newer one after seeing the Dollar General right beside it. My thoughts were, if I have to wait 3-4hr for Martin to return to get me, I surely don't want to be waiting in wet, yucky cycling clothing.

I made it 105 miles, 4000' climbing (around 4pm). I could not do any more. I could not make it the last 35-40 miles. Or maybe I could have. It would have been extremely slow and I don't know that I would have made the time limit. I went to the Dollar General and purchased a pair of shorts & shirt. Changed in the restroom of DG and then went to the c'store for something to drink.

There was a shelter with 2 picnic tables at the c'store. I camped out there. Around 5pm, I was hungry and purchased 2 slices of pizza. I tried to lay on the tables, but it was difficult due to cramping. Any slight movement caused the quads to cramp. I waited. And waited. And waited. :)

It took Martin & Bob a bit to get back, as Bob began to cramp and they had to take care of that. Once they reached my car, there was some confusion as to how to get the thing started. :) I failed to tell Martin about the hidden key. :) Anyways, they got all that sorted out, Martin loaded his bike and made the 30-some mile trip up to get me.

Drove us back to Raleigh, dropped Martin at his car, and headed to Clayton. Arrived home around 10pm. What a long day. And, I felt bad because those guys could have finished a lot sooner than they did if I hadn't bit off more than I could chew. Sorry guys!!! :)

So, the aftermath.....I slept a lot on Sunday. My legs hurt. My legs hurt worse as the day wore on. My legs hurt a hell of a lot worse today. I think I now have tendonitis in my hamstrings on both sides. :( Hopefully, it will heal quickly.

I do want to do these rides, but I think I need to get a couple or 5 under my belt that are much flatter. I would like to try this route again, but after I'm more used to the distance, etc.

Martin told me that I should have learned a few lessons and if I did, then the ride was not a waste. So, my lessons learned are:

1. Do not attempt such rides with only a few metric rides as your longest rides.
2. Do not attempt such rides if you are not accustomed to this much climbing.
3. Do not try to carry all of your food. Figure out where the c'stores are and only carry enough to get you to those...then purchase whatever you may need at that time.
4. Find a way to carry mechanical stuff ON the bike, not on your person.
5. I can't think of anything else at the moment....

Hmmmm...I think this is all for tonight. I may think of more to add later or Martin can add (once I add him) some thoughts comments....

Strava and Garmin Connect data. Strava elevation is a tad lower than Garmin, so we'll just say 4000' of climbing. Look at that dang elevation chart!!! /rolleyes/ No wonder I had a heck of a hard time!

Also, as a side note: all of the local rides I've done that have been over 75-100mi, I typically take a break after 25mi or 1.5hr or so. It just breaks the ride up into segments, which is a little better (for me). I know that doing these 200k rides, there won't be a store stop every 25mi, but I think, for me, it would be good to just stop for 5min+/-. Eat a little, stretch, get butt off saddle.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Well, well...a new post! AoMM training ride

Well, here it is right at 2 weeks before Assault on Mt Mitchell. My riding is actually coming along quite well, though I haven't had anything near the amount of climbing training rides as I've had in the past. I did go one weekend to Mt. Airy and did part of the Tour de Gaps ride. Only did around 50mi of that because I burned all my matches on the first 4mi climb. Looking down at the PT and seeing your average watts only 9w off your threshhold wattage and not backing off...well, ones legs would be done for the day after that. So, with only that ride and a couple rides in Saluda, I wanted to get to Marion at least 2x before AoMM.

My Dad has been in the hospital lately and this has kinda messed up the ride schedule, as far as getting to the mountains to ride. He's doing much better and out of the hospital, so I decided to take this Saturday and go to Marion. I really wanted to see if I could even do the climbing on fresh legs because I know how very hard it's going to be on legs with 75mi in them. So, off I went Saturday morning! :)

Left the house around 645am (too late), stopped for gas & another bottle of water - didn't actually leave Clayton till right at 7am (too late). Looking at the weather forecast earlier in the week, it looked like it was going to be a great day for riding. As I got closer to Marion, though, clouds were rolling in and it started to rain. :( Arrived around 10:20am, parked across from Tom Johnson's (on Hwy 70) and waited for the rain to quit. Didn't take long. Temps came down from mid 70's to mid 60's and I started off with arm warmers. Stopped not long after starting because the saddle bag was rubbing my left inside leg and going to mess the shorts up. I stuffed it into a somewhat less filled jersey pocket. That didn't last long - it was pretty humid and even though the temp was around 66-67F, it wasn't at all chilly. I had to get the arm warmers off, so stopped to do that and I ditched the saddle bag, intending to get it on the way down...:)

The first 8mi weren't too bad, but I don't know - I just didn't seem to have a lot of energy and struggled slightly on the little bit of climbing around the lake. Not too bad, but just felt off. Finally reached the left turn sign, meaning the real climbing starts and one has about 3.5 miles of hard climbing to reach the BRP. I don't think I did too bad, all things considered, but I am slow. Slower than previous years, but I suppose that is to be expected since I've not been climbing and I'm carrying a few extra pounds. Reach the BRP, stop to rest for a few minutes and head on.

It wasn't too bad, but I think I went too hard on the Hwy80 part (not as hard as the Mt Airy ride) and this of course would affect the rest of the climbing. Climb, climb, climb. I did pull into a couple of the overlooks to rest for a minute or two and even had to take a pee break. What's up with that? I hardly ever used to take those breaks. Anyways. After the pee break, it was a 2.5mi descent and then about 4-5 miles of more climbing before the entrance to Mt Mitchell. This climb is where the legs really started to protest & hurt. I mean, literally, hurt. There wasn't any cramping, but I would have to stop every so often to let them rest. And, when it got to the point of stopping, they hurt so bad when I stopped - just lean over the bike, grimace and wait for the pain to end. Then climb on....

Finally reached the entrance and I made one (wish it were) final stop before heading up Hwy 128. There were so many times on the climbing that I thought of quitting and turning around. But, I had to finish. Just had to. I didn't drive 3hr to quit and if I quit, how was I to get my mountain top picture, proof that I made it to the top? :) On I went. Initially, it wasn't too terribly bad, but the legs would just not stop hurting and I had to stop more frequently to rest. But, I finally made it to the Ranger Station and knew I had a false flat to ride and then only a small bit more of climbing.

One last stop at the drive to the restaurant and then the last push to the top. Finally!!! I made it!! But, damn, my legs hurt. Fortunately, the store was open at the top and I bought a Coke, drank it down, took my picture and started the journey back to Marion. I really wanted to go to the tip top, but there were lots of visitors and I didn't think I could ride my bike to the top like I did last time. Didn't want to waste energy pushing it to the top either. So, I headed back.

Very, very windy at the top and the descent down 128 wasn't all that fun. Wind blowing me over the road, the brakes were funny (front one has a bump or something and I didn't trust it), stopped to put on knee warmers and the rain jacket too. It was that chilly descending - but I was also soaked with sweat. Made it to the bottom of 128 and I could smell the brakes!!!!! Then it was a long & fast descent on the BRP, 2.5mi climb, descent, and one little climb to the Twin Tunnels and Hwy 80. I think all the descending would have been much more fun, if I had been trusting of the brakes....

Finally arrived back at the car at damn 6pm. Total time was 6:45hr which included all the stopping I had to do on the BRP and 128. Had to stop on the way back too - once to take off the warmers and stretch (getting cramp in right inner quad) and a couple times to just rest. Overall, I guess I'm pleased with the ride, but it was very hard. But, what should I expect when this is really the first major climbing I've done?? Everything else I've done recently has been miniscule (1800-2000' and 3500') compared to this ride. 7000' climbing (there and back).

The stats:
Marion to the 3.5mi climb
44min, 413kJ, 173/158, 8.84mi, 73rpm, 12mph

Hwy 80 climb
41min, 425kJ, 173/172, 3.56mi, 54rpm, 5.2mph

BRP to Mt Mitchell entrance
1:47hr, 812kJ, 142/129, 11.63mi, 52rpm, 6.5mph

Hwy 128 to top
1:00hr, 436kJ, 132/126, 4.65mi, 46rpm, 4.6mph

Top to Marion
1:41hr, 334kJ, 107/56, 28.61mi, 58rpm, 16.9mph

5:55hr, 2422kJ, 145/116, 57.3mi, 55rpm, 9.7mph

Depending on the weather and how I feel, I may make another trip to Marion next weekend...I'd like to try it again, making sure that I've eaten well the days leading up to Saturday and maybe make sure I've got more fuel with me on the ride. I had 2 bottles of perpetuem, a gel, and 3/4 of a Hammer bar. Probably only 7-800 calories, plus the Coke.

Now, I have a 2hr ride with 3x hill repeats to do sometime today. I wonder how I will feel going up Jordan-Narron today after all the climbing I did yesterday? :)

Picture at the top (parking lot) from yesterday:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One Month Almost Complete

Well, January is almost over and I've not got the miles in that I wanted to have, but as Martin said in a comment, maybe it's best that I don't put so much pressure on myself to get a certain amount of miles in per month...The pure enjoyment of cycling will be lost if I do - BTDT. :)

So, I had a 2.5hr ride to do today (Sunday) and an hour on Saturday.  I switched them up because it was so much more warmer yesterday and I'm not much on riding in coldish temps and wind.  Seems like the wind is always from the S-SSW and I should ride into the wind for the first part of the ride, but I'm not as familiar with those roads heading to the south of my house, so I suck it up and take the tailwind out and of course get the headwinds on my return trip.  

I headed out towards Archer Lodge and and made a nice little loop that included the hills on Covered Bridge (near Dallas' house), the climb up from the Neuse on Covered Bridge, O'Neil Street and then the nice little short climb by West Clayton Elem.  Ended up with 42 miles in 2:45hr.  Fairly slow for the overall average, but I don't suppose that really matters at this time.

Today I'll probably just do an easy trainer ride with a 10min TT effort somewhere in the middle and some core workout.  As for the rest of the day - I do need to clean the backyard up, fill in some trenches that Taylor has made trying to get the moles in the yard, and then spraying to kill grubs/bugs and weeds.  Hopefully, that will make the moles leave the yard and go to the neighbor's yard. :D

218 miles for the month so far.  I might be able to get to 250 miles total in by Tuesday, but we'll see.  Either way, 218 miles is far better than 0 miles any day! :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Feeling Better..

Meh...I didn't ride at all last week. :(  

1) I think I had the beginnings of an ingrown hair in my arm pit and I shaved and it became grossly infected.  Talk about a huge bump and extremely painful!  I NEVER want to have that happen again.  It left me feeling a bit sick over the weekend of 1/14 & 1/15.  So much so, that I really didn't feel like riding - I did pretty much nothing but sleep and lay around the house that weekend.

2) I moved my Dad back to Greenville, SC on Monday (1/16) and was down there until Wednesday of last week.

I didn't ride yesterday because it was rainy and I'm pretty much a fair-weather rider at this point.  I hope to get back to the point in my cycling where I won't let a little bit of rain or wet roads or winds stop me from cycling.  Maybe by the end of the year I will have reached that point. :)

But, I did put in my Tough Love Spinervals dvd before lunch today and managed to stick with it for an hour.  I felt well enough that I probably could have gone on for at least another 30min or maybe an hour, but the damn saddle on the Fuji has the nose up too high and it was really becoming a pain.  Eeked out 15mi in an hour.

I puttered around the house this afternoon - cleaning up the floors after the dogs, washed some clothes, watched a bit of the boob tube, fixed some supper and decided I would give the trainer another go-round.  Put in the easy Aerobase Builder IV, but the damn saddle was just making it very uncomfortable, so I only rode for 30min - 8 miles.

I need to fix the saddle position tomorrow and maybe do the Aerobase dvd again tomorrow, but we'll see how I'm feeling....


MTD: 175 miles. 

Plan on taking the bike with me to work on Tuesday and riding during lunch, not sure about Thursday as right now it looks rainy.  I'm going back to Greenville on Friday and I'm going to take the trainer and bike for riding on Saturday.  The one thing I'm not going to do any more is skip my rides on the weekends when I go to Greenville....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Not this week

I didn't make the 100mi for the week this week. :( A turn to cold weather and high winds caused me to wimp out.  I should have gotten out though - I went visit my Dad around 1pm and didn't leave till around 3pm...I realized that I should have sucked it up and saw my Dad earlier, as it was decent that afternoon - would have been good riding.

Oh well....and next week is going to be hard too - I'm moving my Dad back to SC on Monday, so I won't get to ride again after tomorrow until next Thursday.  Guess if I'm going to get 400 miles in January, I best get out tomorrow and put some miles in! :)

Otherwise, an uneventful day today...worked with Tucker and Tiger again and it is working little by little.  Tonight, Taylor is sleeping under a blanket on her pillow by the couch, Tiger is on a blanket on the chair, and Tucker has finally settled in his crate.  One day, maybe I'll be able to have all of them co-exist without having to crate anyone! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Week's Almost Up & There Are Miles to Be Ridden...

And, to top things off, it's cold and windy.  I may have to suck it up and ride the trainer 2 times sometime tomorrow.  Maybe once in the morning and then in the afternoon.

Thursday - I got out for an hour's worth of riding during my lunch - heading into the wind on the way out and getting a nice tailwind on the return trip.  Just the way I like it! :)  Rode from work out to Garner (Creech Road), took Old Garner to Jones Sausage/New Hope, then to Poole Road/back to work.  15 miles.

Today is a planned rest day.

So far this week, the miles are 21.5, 13, and 15 for 49.5 miles for the week.  50.5 miles left.  Damn.  That's going to be hard to get just riding on the trainer.  Maybe I can get bundled up and get some outside, but probably not.  I'd at least like to get close to 100mi this week...