Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A beautiful ride.

Took off with Paul Varnum this morning and rode a total of 30 miles. It had been two weeks since I had rode so it was a very welcome ride. I took my very muddy bike out of the garage to look over things since my muddy ride with Stephen Carney. Now I know why I was hurting so bad during that ride. My cranks were all but locked up with all the sludge. So, I will probably be looking at a bottom bracket overhaul!

Today's ride went very well. Now to just keep plugging along!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Break

During the break I ran 3-4 miles every other day on a old treadmill of my mother-in-laws. It pretty much sucked, but it was something. I continued with my push ups, sit ups, pull ups, and squats. Today, I weighed the most I every have. This was after supper and drinking about 20 ounces and was fully clothed, but it still sucked. I need to lose a bit of weight.

Today was a 5.8 mile run. I did a nice warm up of .5 miles then ran 4.9 miles in 40 minutes. This consisted of running 8:30 pace for .5 miles then 7:15-7:30 pace for .5 miles and going back to the 8:30 pace. I did this for 4.9 miles then did a .4 mile cool down. I do all my runs on the random mode so it is completely up hill for the entire run, but nothing very steep. Just four years ago I run a half marathon (13.1 miles) at 7:20 pace. I have a ways to go to get in that kind of shape again.

Paul Varnum and I are going for a ride tomorrow. I am also looking at a ride on Saturday and hope to do the BRR ride this year!

Breckenridge is under four weeks away! I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It should be easy!

I have some choices to make and it surprising how greedy I can be sometimes. Here is my dilemma: I really want to get the bike below, and I think I can get a pretty darn good deal on it, but I also want to refinance on my house. If I refinance I would more than likely go to a 15 year mortgage at less than 5%! In order to get that I will have to put a bit of money down (closing costs and to get a bit more equity in my house) so there goes the bike (I think!). Of course, I want both, and maybe that can happen, but this has been the problem with our society of late. We want everything. I am trying to be smart here. It should be so easy, but I also want the bike. I sound stupid don't it?!!? So, I have decided, I have to get the refi done and then see where I stand. If we get refi to workout then I deserve that bike right? %^)


It is still a lot of money!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Training

Nothing outside today! Is -3 with -25 to-30 windchills. Not for this cat!

I went to the gym and ran 7.2 miles in 60 minutes and then road the stationary bike for 30 minutes at an easy pace. Another tempo or repeat run on Tuesday and then easy for the rest of the week. This has been a good couple of weeks of running and I am feeling pretty decent.

What I really want right now:



Happy training.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sunday Ride

Anyone up for a Sunday ride? Not far, maybe 30-40 miles? Let me know.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Training

I still haven't been biking consistently, but that will come. I have been running about 15-20 miles a week. Yesterday I ran 2.5 miles as a warm up at about 9 minute pace. Then did 4 X .25 mile at 5:45-6:00 pace with .25 mile cool down at 10 minute pace. I then did a mile cool down. One Sunday I did 6 miles at 7:30-8:00 pace and I think it was this past Friday I did 5-6 miles at with every other mile at 7:15-30. My running has continued to improve. The biking will come later.

I still have been doing my pull ups for the challenge the PE teacher gave me. I have decided to try for the Presidential Fitness Award as an 18 year old. It should be interesting. I need to crank out 55 situps in a minute, 13 pull ups, a 5:55 mile, a sit and reach of I don't know what, and pretty damn fast shuttle run. It should be interesting!

Happy training!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sweet Ride

Stephen Carney and I took off for a wonderful ride today. It was about 40 degrees or so and the gravel was very soupy as it was covered in ice for the past week. Poor Stephan was on an old Fuji road bike set up fixed with platform pedals! Of course, the guy is an animal so he had no problems. He tried to make me feel better as our closing miles were into the 20-25 mph winds telling me he was tired. Yeah right, he also said his pulse was 140! I am sure mine was at least 165-170 and I had an easier gear than him!

We ended up riding 32 miles, unless of course, Stephen went out for another lap!

I can't wait for another ride! Christmas break (two weeks this year!) is going to be amazing!

I can't decide if I should run tomorrow or not. I will let you know.

Happy training.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Facebook

A few weeks ago now I joined Facebook. It has been fun, but is pretty addictive. You should join in the fun. I resisted for years, but am glad I finally did it and am glad I did.

I will be going for a ride with Stephen Carney on Saturday morning at 10:30. Let me know if you want to go. I am sure it will be 30-40 miles or so.

Happy training.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sunday night ride?

Anyone up for a 30-35 or so mile ride leaving from my house? 6:00 pm?
Leave a comment if you want to go along.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What a beautiful morning

I am sitting here at my inlaws and I woke up before the sun rose. To see these beautiful mornings like this morning makes me wondering why and the heck I don't ride in the morning more often. Crisp and cool. I love it.

Well, I have been thinking about a new bike and really do I deserve to buy myself a new bike if I am not riding as much as I should be? Absolutely not. I am just in that stage of fitness where it is hard to get into a rythem. Once there I will be fine, but I need to get into the groove. I bet you readers are tired of hearing this from me. I guess I am human.

Happy training.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The snow is fun!

Went out for little jaunt today. I rode the Monocog Flight with 32 X 16 gearing. This is about perfect for me right now in my current fitness, which is very little! I did a clockwise loop out of Gilbert. Things were going well until the last 5-6 miles against the wind and I lost all power it seemed. I was rolling at maybe 8mph pushing against the 25 plus mph winds. My legs had had enough. I am really out of shape right now, but hopefully it should come back if I can stay consistent. Key word... consistent.

Happy training.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ride Announcement

Saturday morning I will be going on a 40-50 mile ride and am wondering if anyone out there would like to go. I have two possible routes in mind. We would leave between 8-9 in the morning and get back about 4-5 hours later. Let me know if you are interested.

Paul

Monday, November 17, 2008

How did I get so lucky?

Hopefully I haven't jinxed myself!

Tammy and I finally feel that we are starting to get a handle on everything. What a relief. The last several months have been pretty stressful in some ways. I don't know if it was the election, the economy, our debts, or our income, but I was getting into just a little bit of a funk. Saying that, if you had asked I would have said everything was perfect, but underlying that I had just this little bit of uneasiness. Now that the election is over, I know what my paycheck will be each month (it was unclear in September as Gov. Culver helped out the educators in Iowa!), and we have some very clear goals. I know exactly where I am going now.

This all might sound crazy as I would probably say I have always felt this way, but now I am cranked up to 11. Tammy and I have been monitoring our spending habits very closely the last few months. We have looked at our investments, retirement accounts, debts, and goals. What became astonishingly clear was that we needed to tweak a couple of things to make our goals happen. Like a lot of people we live paycheck to paycheck. That tends to happen a bit more when you only get paid once a month! Goal one was to rid ourselves of all small debts (small credit card balances), two, save more in liquid savings, three, refinance to 15 or 20 year mortgages. If I want to retire in 18 years this must happen.

This probably sounds stupid to y'all. Overall, on a happiness scale of 1 to 100 I normally am about a 99. Right now, I am pushing 99.9.

Now onto stranger things. Being on the list for Trans Iowa is really going to help me set some fitness goals so I can get out there and get training. I plan on reporting back to this blog on a very regular basis now so I can keep you all informed.

Now.... keep me accountable to my goals! %^)

Happy training.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time to get going!

Well, I am now on the Trans Iowa roster so I better get my rear in gear. I started with a run this morning and then hit up a local bar to watch football with the guys. That counts right?

I hope to get back to making many more updates in my goal towards completing the nearly impossible Trans Iowa bike ride! I hope to be posting about some upcoming rides so hopefully some of us can get together soon!

Happy training.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I don't know about you guys but,

I just don't know what is going on. For some reason, I just don't have much passion about riding. I was doing pretty good this past spring and summer and then..... nothing. I have been running, but I am not even jazzed about that. Work? Yeah that is going well, but am I ridiculously obsessed about it? No. I probably have more passion about paying off my debt than ever before. This economy business and the election sucks. What is wrong with our country when we are constantly being so negative. Don't we learn in elementary school to be respectful and to treat others the way we want to be treated? Where is the character in our leaders?

All I know is that I need to get out on the bike. Obviously!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where I have been and what I have been doing.

I don't know if anybody ever checks this thing anymore, but I thought I would write up a quick note on what has been going on.

After bruising my ribs in Vail I didn't ride for a month. Looking back, I was a wuss. I could have rode some, especially on the road and not on the gravel or single track, but it was sore breathing harder than at rest so I didn't do it. Then, I decided to ride on a team at the 12 hours of Iowa at Seven Oaks. I am very familiar with the trails so I felt pretty good about TRYING it out. My first lap was pretty slow as I was all of a sudden scared to crash with my sore ribs. After the first lap was done I then was feeling much better, but also was very out of shape. I had NO power at all and was riding a good 5-10 minutes slower per lap than normal. BUT, I was riding nearly pain free.

After the race I was tender for a few days after putting in the 5 laps (someday I will be in shape for this race!). School has begun and I am working my ass off. I have a secretary this year, the first time ever, so I am loving it as I am more productive, but it does take some time to prepare and train her too. Fortunately, I absolutely love my job and I have been extremely dedicated to that, going to my daughter's volleyball game, organizing my Students Against Destructive Decisions weekend bashes, and RUNNING! Yes, I am actually back running and am currently much more excited about that than getting back on the bike (at the moment).

During the times I am grilling I have converted my Monocog Flight back into a single speed and put my Ibex back together. I also sold two of my old bikes. One was a Park Pre from the mid nineties, and my old Panasonic from 1985. I sold the Panasonic for 25 dollars less than what I paid for it!

Anyway, things are going very well, I just haven't felt like riding or writing. I am still checking people's blogs and everything. I just haven't had much to say on the blog lately.

Happy training.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I am it.

I got tagged by Andrew and Cory so I better step up!

Where was I ten years ago?

I was just starting my second year as a high school guidance counselor at Colo-NESCO High School in Colo, Iowa. I was 27 years old and loving life. I was an avid rock climber and had just climbed some great routes at Devils Tower, Wyoming. At the time I was living in Nevada, Iowa. My daughter, Paula, was entering the 1st grade and I was thinking that she would be in high school in no time as it was seeming that time was flying! She is currently a sophomore!

What are 5 non work related items on your list today?
1. Walk 3-4 miles with my wife.
2. Pack for camping trip for Friday night.
3. Check blogs.
4. Check on my fantasy football team.
5. Go to my daughter's volleyball game.


Snacks I enjoy.


1. Mixed nuts
2. Movie popcorn
3. Reese's PB Cup Blizzards
4. Fat Tire
5. Fruit
6. Chips sometimes.

Things I would do if I was a billionaire:

1. I would take care of all of my extended family so that they would never have to worry about money again unless they wasted what I gave them.

2. I would set up a scholarship fund for all students from Forest City High School (my alma mater), Colo-NESCO High School (my first guidance counselor job was here) and Gilbert High School. My current employer. I ensure that at least half of the tuition was paid for for every year a student wanted to go to college. This is one of the easiest ways to make a huge impact in the future of our kids in my opinion.

3. I would have the high school hire at least another counselor and I would see what I could do to have a flexible schedule so I could take a vacation whenever I wanted, but I would keep my same job. I feel like I have won the lottery with my job anyway.

4. I would buy homes throughout the world and I would let all of my friends and family stay there as much as they wanted.

5. I would set up a training school for all students that dropped out of high school who truly realized that they need to make a change in their life. I would do everything I could to make this happen.

6. I would make my money work for me so that I could help even more people out.

Places I have lived

Forest City, Iowa
Mason City, Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Nevada, Iowa
Colo, Iowa
Gilbert, Iowa

Places I have worked
Growing up I had three different paper routes. Two of them at the same time for a six year period.
I walked beans and rode a bean bar for many years as a child.
I detasselled corn for 14 years in a row.
I made pizza and delivered pizza.
I worked at a gas station for two weeks and got fired when I disagreed with the owner on how they were taxing people for food they were not suppose to.
I worked in food service at college for 6 months before getting a job as a youth counselor at a children's psychiatric hospital. I did this for a year and a half before moving to Cedar Falls.
I worked at UPS in Cedar Falls.
I taught seventh grade science, taught chemistry and physics labs and was an at risk teacher for four years.
I have been a high school guidance counselor for 10 years. I just started on my 11th year.
But, job number one is being a husband and father.

Steve and Mark, you are it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Feeling a bit better.

I woke up with very little pain and rolled out of bed MUCH better than I have since hurting my ribs. I actually rode the 3 blocks to work today and felt 100%. I will continue to ride just a bit around town through this week and then go from there. Phew!

Huge congrats goes out to my pals Jim McGuire and Gary Cale on their VERY successful rides at the Leadville 100! Great job guys!

Happy training.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sore Ribs Suck

It has now been a week and a half since my little crash. My ribs are still hurting pretty bad. As of this past Monday, they were doing a little better until I watched a Robin Williams DVD and then I was pretty sore the next morning from all the laughing (if you have had bruised or broken ribs you know exactly what I am talking about). Then on Wednesday I mowed the lawn. BIG mistake. I ended up mowing the second half of it with one hand and the jarring from the handle was rattling my ribs like crazy. Since then I have been very sore. I don't sleep well at all and getting in and out of bed is horrible. I hope to be back riding in a couple of weeks, but as of right now things are not looking good for the Seven Oaks 12 hour. I certainly will not be in good shape even if I am pain free. This sucks.

But, I did see that there will be a Trans Iowa V.5! Sweet!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Vail, CO

This past week I was at Vail, Colorado. I brought my Redline 29er (geared!) and I borrowed a Cannondale Rush from Skunk River Cycles. We arrived on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning I was off for my first ride up Meadow Mountain. This was a 9 mile mile ride that became 18 after I got off course a bit near the end. It began with a 2000 foot climb in just under 5 miles. We don't find climbs like that in Iowa! It took me an hour!


On top with the big wheels.



Now for the ride down. Riding a 29er fully rigid beat the hell out of me, but it sure was fun.



Why ride in Colorado? This is why!



Near the end of the trail the trail literally fell into someone's future basement. I crawled up to the road and rode another 8 miles trying to find the right way back. After over an hour of exploring strange single track I rode into a town and took the highway back to my car. Strange. I actually had a cute girl ride up to me in town, rode to my car with me and then asked me to ride Meadow Mountain with her. I declined. In 18 years of marriage (as of July 28th) I think that was the first time I have ever been hit on. Tammy seems to be hit on weekly if not daily. I guess I am the lucky one huh!??! %^)

On Sunday, I rode with the fellow Mobsters, Andrew and Stephan Carney up Vail Mountain via the gravel rode. I think this was something like 3000 in 7 miles. It didn't seem steep, but we nearly granny geared it all the way. Of course, I was holding those two super freak of natures back!



Once on top we rode the Grand Traverse. This was a 4-5 mile climb of about 1000 or so feet. Then we turned around and rode the most incredible single track of my life. I was smiling ear to ear and couldn't stop. There is nothing like riding waving single track for miles. It was incredible. We only stopped to take pictures. If you are ever in the Vail area you must ride this. It is not hard at all, just pure perfection. Here are some photos.















Once we topped out we rode some single track about half way down the mountain until it started raining. We got completely soaked and it was a cold ride down, but still tons of fun! Once on bottom they even had hoses to wash off the bikes.



On Monday, it was rest day. Tammy, Paula, and my brother and sister in law, Tim and Angie, along with their kids went shopping in Lionshead and Vail Village. Vail is pretty cool to hang out in. We ate some great food and just chilled. We also took the gondola up the mountain and had a ball. I then called Paragliding Adventures out of Glenwood Springs so Paula could have the trip of a lifetime.

Paula about to take off. Her instructions were to run as fast as she could TOWARDS the edge of the mountain.



Making the leap of her life!



And they are off!




Enjoying a tour of Glenwood Springs


A picture from the ground



Paula right after she landed. She had a ball.



We then headed back towards Vail and saw a sign for Hanging Lake. We decided to pull off and to check it out. It was one of the highlights of the trip. If you ever are near Glenwood Springs make sure you stop. After a 1.2 mile hike...




You get to this


And this. This is a picture of my brother and sister in law and their kids, but in the background you can see two waterfalls that come shooting out holes in the cliff. Pretty awesome.


What a great day.

The plan for Wednesday was to ride down Vail Pass. Our time share unit has all kinds of activities each day and on Wednesday they would drive you 16 miles up the road to ride the bike path back to Vail. This was all down hill!





On Thursday I had planned on driving over to Breckenridge to ride Loop 2 of the B 68
route as my good friend Jim McGuire had ridden it just the week before and had a blast, also Andrew Carney was raving about the course.


But...... on Wednesday afternoon, my brother in law, Tim and I decided to go for a ride. We rode up the rode on Vail Mountain for a ways until we saw some single track. We rode just a bit until we realized that we were going the wrong way. Since both Tim and I love Aspens we decided to take some pictures. I broke cardinal rule number one and asked Tim to take a picture of me riding the single track. Well, first off, we were on a black diamond (downhill protection highly recommended) route that I didn't realize until it was too late, but then I also had Tim taking pictures of me going down steep single track while standing on the trail. I ran the bike up the hill, rode down just fine, but then had to stop. Obviously, going over large rocks and roots galore and then stopping on a steep downhill wasn't smart. I endoed at about 4-5 mph, but in doing so, I drove the end of the handlebar into my ribs. I was fine at the time except I felt like a redneck telling my brother in law, "Hey, watch this!". Dumbass of the month award for me. We rode home (still having fun, but feeling like a showoff that deserved what he got). After getting home my chest really started hurting and I wondered if I broke a rib or two. I pretty much knew my riding was over for the week at this point. I woke up on Thursday morning in a lot of pain and took it easy the whole day. I was REALLY upset that I couldn't ride more, but was also happy that I wasn't in the hospital. At this point (on Sunday) I am feeling much better. I think I just bruised my ribs. They hurt, but are a lot better than yesterday when I thought my riding will be delayed a few weeks. I should be riding this week now!

Tim took some great pictures of my endo so stay tuned!

On Thursday we took some time to drive up to Piney Lake. This was about 45 minutes up a dirt road from Vail. There are tons riding opportunities up here and someday I hope to be back!



Now let's see if I can get some racing in in the next month or so!

Happy training.

The endo in pictures!












So far, so good, until I need to stop as Tim in on the trail. I probably am watching Tim more than I am watching ahead of me and as I slow down (those hydraulics sure have some power!).....









And my ribs still hurt! I was feeling really good until I watched a Robin Williams stand up routine tonight and now they are hurting again. Hopefully they will be better tomorrow!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Grand Traverse

Met up with Andrew and Stephen Carney this morning for a ride. We took the gravel road up Vail Mountain to ride the Grand Traverse (see video below). We climbed about 4000 feet to get to the top, but it certainly was worth it. The Grand Traverse was the best single track of my life. While Meadow Mountain had the aspen trees the Grand Traverse had several miles of very fast single track. The trail was the perfect angle as we barely had to touch our breaks and flew down 6 inch wide, buff single track. We made a stop and I felt like I had a smile on my face that just wouldn't stop. I was chuckling like a school girl I was so happy. I have had so much fun riding.... ever.

Once Andrew, Stephen and I finished up the Grand Traverse we then had nearly a 3000 foot decend into the Vail Valley. We took the road for parts of it, but also rode some great single track on the way down. We ended up getting rained on with about 4 miles or so to go to get back to the condo. It was a cold and muddy ride, but we were still feeling great about the ride!

Pics to come next week.

Happy training.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vail, CO!

Rode Meadow Mountain this morning. After a 4.9 mile 2000 foot climb ( I granny geared it nearly the whole way! Coming from 1000 feet of elevation sucks!). I made it to the cabin in an hour or so. Took some pics and then took off. Suddenly, riding my fully rigid Monocog Flight wasn't the brightest idea. I got the crap kicked out of me on the way down, but was grinning ear to ear. This is one amazing trail!

Over all, this was one sweet ride!

And yes.... the aspens were awesome! Everything I dream about while back in Iowa!

Pics to come once I get home.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Colorado.... here I come!

Will be in Vail for the next week. The great guys at Skunk River Cycles have let me take a $2500 Cannondale Rush. Thanks guys!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Graid route is complete.

Yesterday was the day to finish up with the GRAID. The GRAID was this idea I conceived up this past spring. It was a 270 route across Iowa in a day. Dennis Grelk, Steve Fuller, Matt Maxwell, and I started in Lamoni, Iowa on the southern border and made it to Ames around 10 at night, roughly 14 hours and 157 miles total. Dennis and I left Ames around 12:30 after eating and chilling (mistake!) and when we rolled within a block of my house in Gilbert it was just too easy to quit so we called it a night.

Yesterday was the day to finish up the last 113 miles. I took off from Gilbert at 6:00 AM sharp and made it to Belmond at mile 62 at 10:30. There was NO wind at all so it was easy going. I made it to Garner at mile 83 around 12:00 where I took a 45 minute break to rest up and eat a big ol' burger at Hardees. I continued on and made it to Emmons, Mn. at 3:25. Nine hours and 25 minutes for 115 miles (took a wrong turn and went an extra 2 miles. That certainly is the fastest I have ever gone that distance. Why can't Trans Iowa have conditions like that? I think my average speed while on the bike was 14.3 which is very good for me on the gravel. I will admit, for the last couple of hours I did have a 10 mile per hour tail wind.

Once in Emmons, I turned around and head back southwest to Forest City for a 28 mile ride to my parents house. I will admit, I took this very easy and did not push at all. It was more of a tour of unridden roads. I stopped in Lake Mills for a chocolate malt (there is nothing better when it is 90 degrees and humid!) and some down time. I stopped at my mom's place in Leland and then continued on to my dad's house about 4 miles down the road. I was home by 6:30 pm. So, 143.6 miles in 12.5 hours. Not too bad for me.

I hope to get some more riding in before heading to Vail. Hopefully I can get some riding in there. I can't wait.

Happy training.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Been riding

I have been riding, but not tons. Several 30-50 milers with a metric century thrown in. Will be going to Vail in another week. Finishing up the last 113 miles of the GRAID route tomorrow along with riding back to my parents for roughly 150 mile trip.

I hope to be doing some of this very, very soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Time for an update

I have been back from vacation now for about a week and a half so I will try for a bit of a recap.

On Thursday the 19th I took my brother in law up to Maplelag in northwestern Minnesota. It was about an hour from our cabin on Ottertail Lake so it wasn't too far. If you ever get a chance to go to Maplelag it is AMAZING. Their single track is good, but the resort is what is a amazing. If I liked to cross country ski it would be worth the 8 hour drive to stay there for a long weekend. It was voted the best cross country ski resort in the country and I can believe it. It is beautiful! There cabins are awesome and their meeting center and dining hall has room to feed well over a 1000 and they have a professional kitchen that would make any restaurant owner drool. Next year when we are "Up North" I will take off for Maplelag again for sure.

Check out Doug Swanson ripping it up at Maplelag:


When the weekend came I was still game for going to Levis Trow. But, then on Monday I got word that a couple of the guys I was trying to recruit were not going to be able to go. Plus, my daughter was leaving for Challenge 08 in Salt Lake City on Saturday, the day of the race. I just couldn't see myself not saying good bye and being selfish being way at a race. Also, being over 5 hours away I decided not to make the trip by myself. I only biked maybe 30 miles during the week. I was bummed, but relieved at the same time.

After this weekend I talked with my friend Jim McGuire and with all the training he is doing for Leadville and possibly the B-63 at Breckenridge I decided to get my butt going again. So, I have been a commuting like a mad man lately. So far this week I have been putting in 30+ mile days. In the next couple of weeks I hope to make the trip up to the border of Minnesota to finish off the GRAID route. I hope to do a race or two in August, but man the calendar is full!


One July 24th I will be leaving for Vail, Co. and I the bike, and MAYBE a rented Cannondale Rush will be making the trip! I can't wait to hit up some serious single track!

We will see what happens in the coming weeks. I am off work for 3 weeks starting July 12. I can't wait!

Happy training.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vacation Time

We are up at Ottertail Lake in northwestern Minnesota this week. On Sunday I rode a metric century to Inspiration Point and back. This is Minnesota's second highest point and was a great ride. Ottertail County literally has a 1000 lakes and so there is hardly a straight road any where so it was a ton of fun. Yesterday I rode some new singletrack just outside of Wadena. This single track was ok, but is pretty new so there is a lot of branches that need to be trimmed and weeds to be mowed, but it has potential. There must have been about 6 miles worth. Hopefully I will be going to Maplelag tomorrow, but we will have to see. I am with 80 of my inlaws so getting away isn't always easy.

Happy training.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One the best in months!

A friend of Dennis Grelk's, named Steve Jones, emailed me last week about getting together for a ride as he was in town for a class. I called up OP and Alex to see if they could come, but Paul was working on his basement (I completely understand as that was me two summers ago!), but Alex could get away. We took off shortly after 6:00 pm on Tuesday and planned on a route a little over 30 or so miles. We took off at a fast pace that I didn't know if I could hold, but I thought I would be willing to suffer the consequences of going out too hard. We were trucking down the gravel at 15-18 or so. Through some hills and on perfect gravel we were having a ball riding with the wind in perfect conditions. We continued the "fast" pace and knew that we were having to turn against the wind up ahead. We started heading south and low and behold, the wind must have died. At this point we had covered something like 23 miles in about an hour and 20 minutes so we were flying (for me!). We continued south and we kind of started letting up a bit. As we headed up the hill by Varnum's house the legs could start to feel the now nearly 30 mile push. We got into McFarland Park to some very wet grass so now we were down to about 6-7 so that we didn't get coated with mud. We left McFarland to hit the two rollers outside of Peterson Pits and I decided, since I had rode all of the ride (but about 30 feet) in 32 X 16 or higher that I would push up these hills in 32 X 16. These hills are probably 8 percent grade so I had to keep the cadence up which was pretty tough at that angle, but it worked out. We made it home safely spinning in at a nice and easy pace. I finished with an average of 15.3 on the computer which is very good for me. I remember last year, before the 29er, that if I could average 13.4 I was doing good. What a difference a bike can make. Don't let anyone tell you that it isn't about the bike because last year I was riding a nearly 30 pound hardtail that just didn't want to go!

Steve and I hit up Brewers in Ames and talked until nearly mid night. Unfortunately, I was up at 4:15 to bake egg bake for the Lions Club meeting this morning. Yes, I was a hurting unit today as I had a hard time staying awake.

I really appreciate Steve emailing me. We had a blast and he is a great guy. This is what riding is all about.

I may have Matt and Alex talked into Levis Trow. Anyone else?

Happy training.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Commuting is getting to be fun.

On Saturaday I rode about 30 some miles around Gilbert and into Ames, but man was it humid! Just crazy humid! Heck, I don't know if you could even see two miles way it was so bad! I took Sunday off and did all kinds of work around the house and then went over to my friend Benji's house and took out his kitchen cabinets. What an adventure!

This afternoon I rode into Ames again to Biolife and what a beautiful night it was! Low humidity, cool temps, beautiful sunset! Amazing. After "donating" I rode around Ames exploring some of the side streets that I never drive on. I made some loops around Moore Park since I hadn't ever ridden those trails before and then headed over to Ada Hayden for a loop. Rode back into Ames a bit and then home. Just over 30 miles total.

Got a call from a friend of Dennis Grelk named Steve Jones. Steve is taking a class all week in Ames and wants to go for a ride tomorrow night. Any friend of Dennis's is a friend of mine so a tour of the local gravel is what he will get. Hopefully that will mean another 30 plus tomorrow. Things are coming together! Now if it would only dry up!

God Bless all the Iowans that are being flooded right now. What a disaster!

Levis Trow anyone? June 28th. I am driving and can take three other riders?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Commuting and stuff

Rode over 20 miles yesterday commuting. It was extremely humid yesterday so I am sure I didn't smell the best once I got to the plasma center, but why spend 5 bucks in gas to make 20 bucks when I can just ride there for free and have fun doing it. Heck, it only takes me about 35-40 minutes to ride and about 20 minutes to drive so it is worth it to me.

Anyone up for a Saturday morning gravel grinder? I am thinking of riding 40-50 starting at 8:00. How about Gilbert to Zearing and back? Click for an optional route.

On Saturday, June 28 I am planning on racing the Levis Trow Mound 50. This is in central Wisconsin about 5 hours away. Would anyone want to go? I have room for four bikes. I am planning, as of right now, going up on Friday morning to camp and then racing from 1pm to 7pm and then coming home that night. Let me know if you are interested. Here is the info on the race. They have a 25 mile version and a 100 mile version if the 50 isn't for you. Leave a comment if interested.

Happy training.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Grind and the City

The last couple of days I have been riding about 10 miles a day just cruising around Gilbert and a few of the gravel roads just around town. Tonight I decided to try a mash session for fun. This probably isn't a good form of training, but it is riding. I ran 32 X 11 and mashed away. This was a lot of fun as it did force me to stand quite a bit which was fun to go fast while standing. I am not a roadie and have ridden a road bike twice since 2001 so I don't get a lot of fast mashing going on. I put in two hours and about 20-25 miles riding to Ames, around campus, down through Main Street, down to Target, back through campus and back to Gilbert. What fun. If it isn't raining tomorrow I will be riding to Ames for my plasma appointment. Hopefully this time I won't bonk! %^)

Monday, June 2, 2008

A brief ride report.

I learned a good lesson on Saturday and here is the tale.

To fund my hobbies I "donate" plasma at Biolife in Ames. This gives me approximately 20-60 dollars a week for fun. Well, I paid the piper this time. You see, your plasma is largely electrolytes. What I found out is it probably isn't a good idea to rid your body of 690 millileters of electrolytes before going on a 50 miles ride.

Paul V and I took off for what was to be a 50 mile ride or so. We rode to Colo, about 25 miles from Gilbert, so I could check on the duplex I own since we have been seriously flooded in this part of the state. We made the 21 mile trip (from Paul's house) in about an hour and 15 minutes so we were doing well. Of course, we did have about a 5 mph wind pushing us. I could tell, once we got to Colo that things weren't quite right. I had just ridden 25 miles with the wind and I was feeling it. I thought it was because I hadn't eat much at all. We went to Casey's and I ate a huge Snickers ice cream bar and a Dr. Pepper (damn caffeine addiction). We were on our way and I was feeling better, but still just didn't have the snap I like to have.

We rolled into Nevada after about 9 miles or so and I was wanting to stop. I drank a bunch of my fluids that I had and then bought a 32 ounce Gatorade. Nothing I could do was giving me any energy. We left Nevada and I was about 2 miles per hour slower than I should have. I just couldn't push the gear. Heck, we only had about 12 miles to go to Paul's house and I was hoping to get there soon! We were bucking the now 10-15 mph wind and I was toast. With 3.5 or so miles to go some dogs came out of their yard and I pushed hard on the pedals to end up in a heap of cramps so bad I could barely move. I unclipped my right leg and pedaled with one leg to get away from the dogs at about 8 mph. It sucked. I was in pain for the next mile and ended up having to get off my bike. This meant putting my full body weight onto my legs and I was locked up worse than ever. If I even tried to walk my steps would have only been an inch or two. Total melt down. After resting for a few minutes (Paul was up the road being incredibly patient!) I got back on, but that only lasted a mile or so until I had to go through the whole process again. Total lock up. I finally pedaled into Paul's house at about 4-6 mph and in incredible pain. Paul ended up driving me the 4.5 miles to my house I was in such bad shape.

This was one of those humbling experiences that makes you realize how a person can die riding out in the desert or any place in the wilderness. No matter what my desire was, I was not moving. After eating and resting later in the day I was a lot better. I even went down to Des Moines just an hour after getting home and went with my buddies to a Barnstormers game. I felt 100 percent again.

Sunday, I rode for about 10 miles and today again about 10 miles just to stretch out the legs. They are still a bit sore.

Reminder. Do not donate plasma before a long ride!

Thanks Paul for being there. I appreciate it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Whoa! Double post today! I guess it is vacation!

After going out for a late lunch with some friends for a B-Day party I decided to hit up Seven Oaks. My goal was three laps in three hours. I started my first lap at 3:35. It wasn't long (the first 100 feet of trail!) I realized that it was going to be a slimy day at Seven Oaks. If you have ever ridden at Seven Oaks when it is wet you know exactly what I am talking about. Your tires feel like they are on glass covered with vaseline, especially on the clay portions of the trail. I rode slow and cautious and still has having some troubles in the off camber parts. I was having fun, but it was slow. I finished the first lap in 59 minutes (only one crash! GT, remember that somersault last year? Yeah, I got a 10 at least in the same spot!). I called the wife and to let her know I was still alive and going for lap two. After working out some dish network issues on the phone and then fixing a flat I was off for lap two.

This time the trail was slowly drying, but it was still slick. It was muddy enough that your tires were filling my chain stays so it certainly wasn't DRY that is for sure, but getting better. I realized that I may need to throw on a front derailler for my 1 X 8 set up as going over the bumps my chain would come off (only about 5 times per lap! %^( I finished this lap in 55 minutes. Another call home and I was off.

The third lap was getting quite a bit drier. I was able to make some of the climbs and turns I couldn't in the previous laps. I finished the third lap, once again, after a pretty good crash on a turn I normally make, in 55 minutes. So, 2:49 total so I met my goal. Kinda! It actually took me almost 4 hours total. It is strange, I don't feel like I stopped for an hour and 10 minutes, but those phone calls, stopping to put my chain back on, etc. really took up more time than I thought it would.

Wednesday night will be a trip to the Center trail in Des Moines (more than likely, unless the weather is bad!). We will leave Gilbert around 5:00 unless someone needs to leave a little after that to be able to come with us. Leave a comment if you are game.

Happy training.

Finally

Well, we had the whole gang at our place on Saturday and now my wife is a bit more sane! We finished with all the honey do's and graduation was on Sunday so hopefully I can get back on the bike a bit more now! It looks like rain this afternoon, but maybe tonight I can get in some miles.

With gas very near $4.00 I have been commuting more than ever into Ames. It usually is a 15-20 mile round trip so it has been great. Now I just need to keep it up!

I am hoping for a Wednesday ride down to the center trails in Des Moines leaving around 5:00. Leave a comment if you want to come.

Race on Saturday in Council Bluffs? We will have to see.

Happy training.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Repeats

I did a bit of a rare workout tonight. I am normally the time of guy that just rides. I don't necessarily ride hard unless I have to due to the wind or the terrain, but tonight was a bit different. My wife has had more honey does the past few weeks I practically have a new house now so riding has been pretty sporadic, plus, I have been running in the morning so I haven't been riding much. At least I will pretty much be done with my students on June 3rd so I should get some more riding in!

Tonight I went over to Soper's Mill outside of Gilbert and did some repeats on a .67 mile section of the trail that has one hill on it and then some tight twisty trail leading to a downhill. I did this in three repeats of 4:24, 4:25, 4:25, and 4:18. Now I just need to get out there once a week to try to get that down to 4:00 or so. That should be doable.

More riding to come... I hope.

Happy training.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Seven Oaks

Alex, Matt, Ian, Sal and I headed out to Seven Oaks today. The weather was perfect and the trails were in GREAT shape. There were a few muddy spots, but nothing horrible. I was loving the new rims and the geared set up. I think I may change it to a 30 up front and a 11-34 in the back. I can spin a bit more with that set up than the 32 X 11-32. I hope to either single speed it or to take out the Ibex next time to try something different! We will have to see!

Here are a few pics.




video

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ok. Back at it!

I haven't ridden since this past Monday and I am going nuts! My wife and I are working diligently on our kitchen. We should be done tomorrow. We removed everything from our living room and had Lowes put in new carpet on Thursday. I should have everything (stereo, tv, etc.) back in order tomorrow. I started painting our shed tonight and hope to get that finished up by Sunday. We are driving to Forest City tomorrow morning at 7:00 to pick up a car we bought and then I have about 10 graduation parties to hit up on Saturday and another 10 on Sunday. It has been crazy.

Worst of all I have been way too lazy in the morning. Tammy gets up before 5:00 and puts in her 5-6 miles of running while I lay in bed. She gets back around 6 and I just sit around pushing snooze. What a waste of time.

One of these days I will become a real rider!

Attention!!!!! Sunday morning there will be a bunch of guys going out to Seven Oaks just outside of Boone. We are leaving Ames at 9:00 so you can could on us being there between 9:30-9:45. It looks like a bunch of guys from Des Moines will be there between 7-9 as well! The trail should be well ridden by noon!

Happy not so much training.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wednesday is out for me!

Sorry guys. I am sanding and painting our kitchen cabinets and if I want any chance of racing this weekend I have to get these things painted.

Paul

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ok. I am getting to it. %^)



On Sunday, Paul Varnum and I headed to the Ingawanis mountain race just outside of Waverly. We got there almost two hours early so we had time to ride a lap before the race got started. I loved the trail. It was the perfect difficulty for me as it wasn't overly technical, it had great flow and I could really keep moving. There were only a couple of climbs that really worked you over so it wasn't bad. Much easier than Seven Oaks in my opinion.



Anyway, there were sixty plus riders so that was good. There was almost always someone out in front or behind you that you could see once in a while so that was fun.

I decided to ride single speed and it was obvious after the race that I have a long ways to go in the strength department before I can compete in a cross country race on a single speed. I ended up getting 8th out of 9 riders and the guy I beat has won several races so I guess it was tough competition. At least it felt that way to me. Now I know to enter into my age group as they don't automatically give out age group awards like running races do. Being my first xc race I have a lot to learn that is for sure. I felt like I had the right gear for the course at 32 X 18. I would have died with 32 X 16. I wonder now though if I would have been faster with 32 X 20. I know I would have been faster with my new rims and 8 more gears. Next time.

Here is how it played out. I started very close to the back of the pack which was a mistake. I think this cost me at least a minute. In small town Iowa running races I love to start in the back and pick people off. I just love doing that. This doesn't work in a cross country race. We had a 1/4 of a mile climb up a gravel road and I was probably about 30th place, but I am guessing. Right way I passed a couple of riders that must not have ridden much single track as they couldn't make the first switch back turn. This would suck as I am sure everyone and their grandma tried to pass them before they were able to get back on their bikes! Within another 100 yards or so I passed another guy and then I joined into a group of four riders or so. The guys in front of me now were long gone, other than the four, and we were losing the group behind us. During this first lap I passed the four people ahead of me. It wasn't until I was about a quarter of the way into the 2nd of the 3 laps that I caught up to the next couple of riders. I got by them and then continued on my way. I then caught another group of four riders. About 2/3 of the way through the 2nd lap I passed fellow MOBster Chris Hansen. I continued on my way keeping Chris behind me. Chris was running 32 X 16 which would be a pretty tall gear on a 29er for most folks. I know I walked a few hills on my 32 X 18. The third lap sucked. I was tired and I started hearing people coming up on me like I was standing still. Luckily, they were in the expert class so I didn't feel so bad! In the end, I didn't get passed by anyone, except for the starting gravel hill so I am very happy with that. I was able to make up some good ground throughout the race. Now, I just need to start off faster so that I am not trapped in a slow bottle neck. This makes me very excited for the next race!

I can't wait to get out there and ride at Ingawanis again! Thanks to Jeremy Bidwell and Casey Dean for a great race! I can't wait to do it all again!

As for a Wednesday ride this week. We are going to have to watch the weather. I will plan on being at Peterson Pits beach at 6:00, but again, if it is rainy then we will not ride the single track. If it has rained, but isn't at night we can always go on a gravel grinder. Leave a comment if you are interested.

Say hi to my brother Mark here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Luckiest Guy in the World.

Sometimes we need a reminder of just how fortunate we are. While there are times that I am a very positive, happy-go-lucky guy that feels he has life figured out, then there are certainly times that I feel like things just don't workout like they should and that life is tough. Today, I watched Into the Wild for the third time. Each time I watch it I am reminded of some very, very important things.

From my days as a college student going on climbing adventures with my wife and brother I have always wanted to just quit my job and be a climbing bum in Yosemite. I have gone on many climbing trips with my great friend Jim McGuire. Each time we go to Colorado we talk about it for weeks or months and count down the days until we leave. We almost always plan on a weeks worth of climbing. We call our wives and talk with our daughters daily. Nearly every time we are on the road back to Iowa by the fifth day dying to see our family again.

In watching Into the Wild I get this HUGE urge to realize yet again the importance of family and friendships, that life doesn't always have to be an adventure, the unimportance and unsatisfaction money and things bring us, and that everyday we need to love doing what we are doing or what is the purpose of it all.

I have been blessed. Very blessed. I have a wonderful, wonderful wife and daughter.
I have great parents and great brothers. I have a job where I can help teenagers make the most of their high school years and to help parents be the best parents they can be. I am VERY lucky. I have a good income, a nice house, and stuff, but...... what really makes me happy everyday is having my wife and daughter with me. Hearing from my brother Mark, spending time with my dad, having my mom call me everyday (twice by noon today!) and spending time with my friends.

I was given some excellent advice by a teacher I was replacing when I got my first teaching job. He had just gone through a nasty divorce and I really looked up to him as he had a heart for kids and was an excellent teacher. He told me on the first day of school, "Paul, you can be married to your job or you can be married to your wife. You need to decide right now." This REALLY hit home to me and I will never forget it. I also heard this comment a long time ago, but I don't remember where, "You don't ever hear someone on their death bed wish they had put in more hours at work."

If you haven't seen Into the Wild yet you should check it out. It is an amazing movie. I can relate with Chris McCandless pretty well, and am fortunate that I didn't have to learn the hard way to appreciate the fact that good times are much, much better when shared with other people.

Thank you guys for being good friends.

Paul

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wednesday single track

I would love to go down to the Center Trails in DM on Wednesday? I can leave by 5:00. Anyone interested in going. I can take four bikes (including my own) and I will drive?

Leave a comment if interested. We can leave from my place or we can meet in Ames.

Paul

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What to say? Sappy post ahead.

On any given day I love spending time reading blogs and writing my thoughts and feelings into this journal. All day I have put it off because I am speechless. Really... I really don't know what to say. What I do know is that I am a more appreciative, patient, and wise person than I was on Friday. I hope these feelings continue and will not go away.

Like I tell my students at school; going after goals, reaching towards goals that seem unsurmountable, whether the goals are attained or not, make you a better person. This year's Trans Iowa pretty much sums up this experience for me.

I had many feelings towards Trans Iowa: Anger, frustration, excitement, despair, regret and on and on. While about three weeks or so ago these feelings were really peaking and it soon became apparent what I could control and what I couldn't. This made me just feel appreciation for having the opportunity of riding Trans Iowa and to have a good time doing so!

Here is the report: This year I decided to take Friday and Monday (tomorrow) off from work so I could get to Decorah early and I could sleep on Monday if I had stayed up all night on Saturday. On Friday morning Steve Fuller picked up Cory and I and we were off for Decorah by 10:00. We got there early in the afternoon and rode around and were at T Bocks by 3:00. We talked with GT and just chilled. Before we knew it it was 5:30 and the prerace meeting was getting started. Seriously, meeting up with the Yazoo guys, Ken Y., the Lincoln crew, among many others, was a blast. I couldn't stop laughing! We headed back to the hotel and got prepared to ride.

I walked around the room in a complete daze. I couldn't seem to get things together. For whatever reason, I just wasn't thinking straight. This continued on through out Saturday as well, but that is another story told a bit later.

At three in the morning we were up and at them and ready to go. Once at the start we tried to stay warm in the 30 degree temps with wind chill being much colder in the 25-30 mph winds. We took off and I was literally between two groups. I believe (I couldn't see them!) the lead group had 15 or so riders, then there were small groups of 2-3 people that I could see ahead, and then what must have been a group of 20 riders behind me. I was making good time and reeling in pairs of riders. This was until I continued straight ahead at mile 13 or so instead of turning left. I cranked up a huge hill to all of a sudden be at a T intersection on HWY 9. I looked behind me and the pair of riders that were about 1/4 of a mile behind me just a couple of miles ago were gone and I didn't see anyone around me. I figured I messed up and I turned around. When I got back to the correct intersection I had found the group of 20 or so riders. I joined in the fun finding my friends Gary and Jim. I rode to the front and pulled away bringing with me a few people. I continued pulling away until all of a sudden Joe Frost Jr. (TI V.3 finisher) came up on me out of no where pulling 4-5 riders with him. I joined in on the fun, but it wasn't for a couple of miles until they stopped for some food. I continued on my way (remember, my goal was to stay on the bike!) and rode alone much of the time. I was happy to have caught the pairs of riders that I had around miles 6-10 so I had gained my time back more than likely by not stopping and just going fast enough to try to make the checkpoint in time. I got to Cresco just before 8 I believe to find Cory waiting for me. He waited for me for about 15 minutes! What a guy! I took a bit longer than I wanted refilling my bottles, putting gray tape on my shoes to protect my now numb toes, and throwing some bags over my feet. No need for frostbite! Cory and I took off with a young lady named Kristin.

We rode to the south edge of Cresco and hit a T intersection and the cue sheets were not very clear here. We made a wrong turn and lost about 10 minutes. This would be the second time I went the wrong way! Wait, just a few miles later would come the third wrong turn. While watching for the reroute we completely missed it and went 2-3 miles too far and then were stopped by a group coming up from the flooded road. We turned around and finally found the reroute flags. We continued riding in a group and I was having a blast. There were at least three TI finishers in this group so I was feeling good. Tired, but I really was having fun. We continued on our way being blasted by the wind. It was around mile 68 where we stopped at a shelter in a small town. Half the group took off. My friend Jim talked with our friend Gary on the phone. Gary had been riding with a friend that had gotten sick so he was about an hour behind us and suffering by himself. After the conversation Jim, Cory, Dwight Beavers (the 71 year old guy that I bailed with last year)and I took off. We ended up getting off route again and went another 2 miles out of the way! But, wait! There is one more! Just before West Union we missed another turn and ended up riding into the south side of West Union to get back on course. Yes, I was in a daze and I am sure the other guys were as well as we all missed the turns!

We stopped at West Union with about 24 miles to the checkpoint. It was suppose to be mile 85 and I had 96.4 on my computer. Mistakes cost me any chance of making the cut off so we bailed at 1:00 in West Union. There is a very small part of me that thinks that if I hadn't missed those turns that we could have made the cut off, but I am very positive that I would have quit at the checkpoint and I was very cooked by West Union. We ate Hardees where I had a half pound burger and Cory, a vegetarian, ate a 1/3 pound burger in less than 30 seconds I swear!

We were able to get a ride to the check point where Steve was volunteering. We got there to see a bunch of guys laying around. We heard that something like 18-19 riders took off from the checkpoint, but it wasn't just 3 hours later and it seemed that there were only about 5 riders left in the race. We took off for the second check point and once there I decided to ride a bit more so I could turn in my century for the Cup of Dirt. With 96.4 miles on the computer I didn't have far to go. After riding 2 miles around the very small town of Spillville I headed west into the wind on a gravel road for a mile and then turned around to get back to the check point. I had told Cory not more than an hour earlier that I was done with TI and I wouldn't be back. I got back after that 4 mile ride with a smile on my face and was loving riding again! That didn't take much to change my mind! I will be back for TI V.5 if they have it. I know I have the bike dialed and am ready to go!

I learned to appreciate being able to ride my bike for long distances, the friendships that I have through riding, and to not get so bent out of shape about things. Sometimes life is tough and we just have to roll with the punches (or the wind in this case!).

Today, I feel about 98 percent. My legs feel perfect, but my upper back, near my shoulder blades, are somewhat sore. I guess that is from holding on for dear life to my handlebars so I wouldn't fly off the bike due to the wind. Seriously, I mean that!

Happy training.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Feeling ready to go for TI.

Wow. I just had one of those rides. Now hopefully I didn't over do it.

Paula had a track meet 15 miles up the route via the GRAID route in Jewell. I decided to ride there and was feeling good. I actually saw a biker a mile ahead of me and worked against the 10 mile per hour wind to catch him at mile 8. We then road together into Jewell. I was very happy to average 14.3 mph into the wind. After the meet and after dark I took off for home. It was perfectly calm and not a cloud in the sky. A perfect night to ride. I was flying (for me!) without having to work to hard even though I did push a bit up the hills to keep my speed up. Admittedly, I had 1 mile of pavement each way, but on the way home I averaged 17.3 on the gravel for the 15 miles. For the guy that usually is the slowest guy at TI that isn't bad. I finally feel that I have everything in order to complete TI if we have good conditions. Now it is time to take a ice bath and rest. Didn't I say that on Saturday?!!!? I mean it this time!

Happy training.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A little ride today.

I had noticed on Steve's blog that he had TWO group rides planned today. I met Steve when we did the GRAID ride and he is a great guy to ride with and we seem to have similar interests in riding. I do have to live vicariously through his awesome fleet of bikes though! Paula had to work this morning at Panera at 9:00, and Tammy had to be left off at a friends at 8:45 in order to go shopping in Iowa City (remember, we just have 1 car!). So I headed down to the Saturn dealership in order to get some service done to it. The Annual Mayor's Ride was starting at 10:00 and I was just not getting my girls out the door early enough to make it. I got down to Saturn at 9:30 and took off. I tried to find the riders, but didn't have a good idea of the route and I was guessing based on Steve's description of what he believed was the route. This ride had 100's of people, maybe even a 1000 people. It was crazy, there were bikers everywhere once I found the action. This really opened my eyes of why RAGBRAI is the way it is. This was more or less a "party" ride.

I met up with Steve at the finish and we chatted a bit before I headed off to the start of another group ride. This started a few miles away and it was at an east side bar. This ride was to be, I believe 10-15 miles in 5 hours with a lot of bar stops on the way. Clothing was optional. I rolled up and saw 50 dollar Walmart bikes to several thousand dollar trikes. I saw several bob trailers with coolers beer and coolers with built in car stereo's. Being a gravel endurance type of guy I really didn't feel like I fit in too well. I am kinda quiet so I didn't introduce myself to all the people that did seem to know each other. I guess that is the eccentric side of me. With a couple of beers I would have fit right in, but today wasn't the day. Within about a half an hour, I took off for the west side of Des Moines again to pick up my car. With out knowing the entrances to the trails and being blocked into neighborhoods due to railroad tracks and dead ends I put in quite a few miles that I didn't need to, but it sure was fun.

I think I totaled 40-50 miles easily, and maybe a bit more (odometer wasn't working! Gotta fix that!). I was at about 5.5 hours of riding and since a lot of this was on bike paths and being lost, but going in the right direction some of the time!, I certainly didn't take the quickest path. I sure had fun! I don't do urban riding ever so it was a totally new experience.

Time to rest up. TI is coming up!

Happy training!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Awesome!

I rode into Ames yesterday to Skunk River Cycles. I picked up a new product that I hadn't seen before. I have seen the Sports Beans before, but not the caffeinated version! So I had to pick up six packets for the upcoming Trans Iowa.
I then picked up two presta tubes for my Ignitors as my new rims are presta while the rims that came with my Flight are schrader. I then rode to Petersen Pits to ride the single track. I was to meet Paul Varnum there IF he could make it. While waiting for a few minutes along came Greg. I can be horrible with names and I even called Greg by the name of Jeff a couple of times. Once again, I am the idiot of the month! It was awesome that Greg came over.

He hit up the trails and within 20 minutes we ran into Alex on his Kona Kola 29 (SWEET!). We did a bit of riding and made our way over to Casa De Varnum's house. A nice cold one went down MIGHTY fine that is for sure! Thanks Paul!

While sitting at Paul's, Will from Skunk River rode up! It was getting dark so we headed back through the trails back to Petersen's. These guys smoked me while I was on the single speed! I was maxing out my heart rate just keeping up with these speed demons and I had a blast doing it! We decided that we need to start having a Wednesday night ride so keep watching the blogs for more info!

Just over a week until TI!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Awesome!

I just got the okay to go to the WEMS Levis Trow race on the weekend of June 28. I can't wait! It seems that they have a 25 mile, 50 mile and 100 mile race. I am sure I will be signing up for the 50 mile. I am not fast enough to ride 100 miles of single track in 12 hours so I think it will be the 50 mile!





Thanks Squidbuzz for the info!