Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Just a bit.

On Monday and tonight I rode repeats on the exercise bike at the gym (it sucks but the legs still burn) for 30 minutes after a 30 minute run and then followed that up with weights. I hope to get out on the bike tomorrow. Work has been crazy busy lately so we will have to see.

I definitely will be riding on Saturday so if you would like to join in the fun let me know. More plans to come.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

13 weeks and counting

I went out for a 2.5 hour ride and it felt great. I wish I would have went for the century! Maybe next weekend!

It is time to really start getting after it. We only have 13 weeks now until Trans Iowa. I need to get my butt riding in the morning to get some miles in. My running and lifting are going ok, but I need to be on the bike more. I am going to write out some goals and see what happens. It sure is easy to make goals, but I need to actually follow through with them. So, here are a few goals:

1. Ride 8 hours this week and continue to ramp it up as we get closer to TI.
2. Continue lifting and running 3 days a week. Ramp up the mileage. Instead of running for 30 minutes I am going to run 40 minutes this week and shoot for around 5 miles give or take a tenth or two.
3. Continue this week with sets of 15 reps while lifting but then for all of February drop down to 6-8 reps.
4. Get my rims purchased as I still have a few more items to buy before Trans Iowa.

I guess we will see how this goes.

Happy training.

As my dad would say, "Darn it anyhow!".

On Saturday Paula had to work, we had errands to run, my work was piling up, at night Paula had a winter formal and Tammy and I had a date planned. I decided Friday night not to ride and be responsible for getting my stuff done. Sunday was to be a warmer day anyway. Tammy and I went to the gym around 9 to run and lift. So, I did that, but after getting home my back hurt "like the dickens". It must be that reverse crunch machine. So, I hobbled around most of the afternoon. We went to go see a movie and I had to get up and walk around a few times as my back was killing me. So, here it is Sunday morning and I am not riding. I may go for just a bit, but I am still pretty sore. Damn it. I guess there will be other days.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Back at it.

Work has been relentless as our school is going through a Dept. of Ed visit this week so everyone is on edge. I have know clue why, we have one of the best schools in the state. Not to toot my own horn, but we do have a great school.

Anyway, after driving to Des Moines and picking up a winter formal dress for my daughter I made it home in time to get to the gym. Can you believe we actually got her dress for 15 bucks at Jordan Creek Mall!??! I can't believe it. And she loves it!

I lifted weights and ran my 4 miles. Nothing to big. I need to work on my bike and replace my gear.

I would love to get down to Squirrel's place for his Hilly Hundy this weekend, but having just one car puts a kink in plans like that! So, I maybe be doing a Hundy of my own. If you would like to join me for a bit of it let me know. I will admit, I will be leaving very early.

Here is the route I am considering. It would be from Gilbert to Adel and back. This would be a portion of the across the state ride coming in March!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What an amazing experience!

Wow! What a race! Here are a few facts. Approximately 60 miles of snowmobile trails and drifted in bike path from Dubuque to Dyerville and back. I believe the high of the day was -6 with windchills between 20-30 below. At the race meeting Lance Andre, the race director, tells everyone that no one will finish as the conditions are just too bad. Lance is a pretty darn good rider so I felt like the chances of finishing must be about nil. The prerace meeting goes a bit longer than I had planned and I had to rush to get dressed and out the door. The race began three blocks away and before I even got to the start my difficulties with my first winter race began!

I got to the start and realized in my haste I hadn't blown the Gatorade out of my Camelbak hose back into the bladder and in less than five minutes the hose was COMPLETELY full of ice. Here I was, I hadn't even started the race and my hose was ice. Off went the start and we rode down city streets at about 10 mph. I was blowing, sucking and holding onto the hose to try to work the ice loose to know avail. I decided to stop and to see what I could do. I worked on it for a few minutes and then decided to put the whole hose into the compartment next to the warm bladder to try to thaw it out. I drank 1/2 of a Boost can for some liquids as I didn't know how long it was going to be before I could drink again. Here I was already five minutes behind and then a guy comes up on me who had missed the start as he had forgotten something at the hotel and had to go back. We entered the first snow section and this was the worst part of the whole day. The snow was probably 5-6 inches on top of a very rutted out layer of ice. I think this one mile or so section took me about 20-30 minutes at least. I ended up walking quite a bit of it as my chain kept coming off. You see, I decided that 32 X 20 would probably be too tough as when I asked Lance about gearing he had told me he was running 1 X 1 much of the time two nights before the race. I went into the bike shop on Friday and picked up a 24 tooth cog, but it had ramps on it as it was from a cog set. Well, wouldn't you know it my chain fell off at least 10 times during that rough section (sometimes every 30-40 feet). What I later figured out was that as long as I kept pedaling it would stay on, and it did for most of the race. My inexperience is showing I now!.

I am now 5 minutes behind the second to last rider and not feeling very happy, but I also knew that it was a long day yet and a lot can happen. I continued on and up a nice one mile long 7% grade PAVED bike path. I actually enjoyed this climb as I could sit for the whole thing and got nice and warmed up. What do I see, riders ahead. Those damn Pugsley's must be pretty hard to climb with as I was now making ground.

It was now back into the ditches and following the snowmobile trails. What was strange is that we were riding right along side four lanes of traffic and a side walk, but no, we were riding the ditches with drifts and snowmobile trails! I stopped, pulled off the Camelbak and found the Gatorade thawed in the hose so I decided to give it another go. I made sure to blow the Gatorade back into the bladder (this has worked for two years!). With a quarter of a mile the hose was frozen again somehow. I stopped and tucked the hose back into the bladder compartment. I pulled out the 1/2 can of Boost and, it was frozen solid. I then pull all my gels and my other two cans of Boost out of my pockets and put them in with the bladder in the Camelbak. Finally, I was off again.

Within another mile I found myself catching several riders. The single speed really was a saving grace here as I was able to out climb (can you believe it!!!???!!!!) the gear bikes as they were spinning at 5 mph. It was about this time there was a group of riders (between 6-9 I would say) that decided to call it quits. I don't know how far we were into the race, but I would probably guess around mile 6-7 or so. Goes to show how tough and cold this race was!

I continued on riding a little pavement and a lot of snow mobile trails. The picture above pretty much sums it up. While it doesn't look bad you can see how the tire tracks are swerving around. That is pretty much how it went quite a bit of the time. We went through several alfalfa ? fields and there were some decent drifts and a lot of soft snow. There was no way people were riding all of this stuff. Think of riding in a ditch where your tires sink 4-5 inches into the snow. Tough going. It was around this time that I would see people coming back towards me that had decided to turn it around and not finish the race. I was feeling better and better, but knew I wasn't drinking enough.

It was about now that we had a couple of pretty darn steep climbs on the pavement that tested my fitness even with 32 X 24. I would guess one of those climbs to be around 11-12 percent for a little ways anyway. Then, we hit the mother of all B roads. This was the best B road I have ever been on and it was amazing. The whole thing was down hill and it had ruts galore. It was a picture of beauty as it was in a forest with cliffs off to one side. I loved this section. I would later find out I was the last one on in contention to finish.

Within another mile I hit the heritage trail and I was happy to be there! The going was easier, but I still only was able to go 7-8 miles per hour. On a geared bike I think I could have managed 9-10 (which isn't saying much!). This trail, while easier, was still slow going and the miles seemed to take forever. I think I had to take this trail for about 15-16 miles, but it felt like 40. I started cramping up and I tried to drink as much as I could. By this point in the race I had drank my other Boost and a frozen Snickers. I drank some more Gatorade and had some gels, but I think the damage was done. I continued on my way with about 80-90 percent confidence that I was going to finish. What was giving me problems at this point was my dehydration was setting in as I was cramping quite a bit and my rear hub was frozen as I would lose engagement every minute or two and find myself spinning as if I didn't have a chain on the bike at all. I felt that as long as I could keep moving forward I would keep shooting for the finish.

I was staying warm and even took off my arm warmers (I had three other layers over my arms and a coat above that!). My feet were getting a bit cold, but with a little walking I was keeping that in control. I finally made it to within 4 miles of Dyersville (the turn around) and here came the leader. I thought, "Damn! I am only an hour back!". With about 3 miles to go to Dyersville came second place. I got to thinking that I just might do ok!

I stopped here for a quick drink and found that my hose in my Camelbak was completely frozen as the air in the bladder now was freezing and the Gatorade was getting slushy. I still had nearly another 40 minutes to go now as the hub was really acting up. My legs weren't doing me any favors either. With about 2 miles to go into Dyersville here came 3rd, 4th, and 5th place. Within another few minutes here came 6th and then 7th place. I rolled onto the city streets of Dyersville and was cramping badly. I found the gas station check point with a little riding around and some guess work. I got off the bike and my hamstrings and quads seized up on me and that was it. I knew I had to call it a night. I walked into the gas station and found that I was number 8 (and the last!) to the check point. I think they had somewhere around 35 or so starters so I was happy. If this had been an A race, or even a race I was taking serious at all I MAY have just rested for 30-40 minutes and then pressed on as there were houses around if I had gotten into a dangerous situation, but taking nearly 6 hours to go 32 miles with another 25 to get back to the finish with temps only getting colder, being dehydrated, a frozen rear hub, and a beautiful wife ready to go to the post race party in four hours I decided to bag it.

This was a tough decision in a sense as the way home was completely on the bike path, with a slight decline and a tail wind. But, I made the right choice.

Amazingly, Lance had set up a sag wagon so I was able to get picked up at the gas station. Low and behold another rider had been picked up. In the car getting a ride was none other than David Pramann, the Arrowhead 135 course record holder (He did the Arrowhead 135 in 15 hours 45 minutes!). He was getting picked up after his Camelbak spilled inside of his jacket. It was great knowing that even super studs like Dave have races that don't go the way we would wish them to be (absolutely no offense to Dave).

So, I got back to the hotel with only cramps and some dehydration. The party at 10:00 was great and it was fun meeting new people. I was most of all happy to spend time with Tammy at the party as normally she doesn't go with me on these events and I was a very proud husband.

Could I have finished the race? I would like to think so. Would I have missed the party? Yes. Would I have had as much fun rolling into the hotel at midnight in pain with no one there to greet me? Absolutely no. I don't, and will not, regret for a second that I quit this race. Other than the winner, who was also on a single speed 29er!, the other 6 guys that made it to Dyersville were on Pugsley's (pretty sure anyway!). And man, are they cool bikes! I think there was a total of four finishers. I made the right choice!

Read the recap here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Phatom Pain

EVERY TIME I am registered for a race I all of a sudden start aching. It is like my body telling me to not do the race. I have done 6 marathons and for a couple of them I really was doubting whether I should do the race only to have a great race the next day. For Trans Iowa and Dirty Kanza I had the same issues. Now, my right knee has been sore all week and it is scaring me.... a little. I guess we will see how things go tomorrow.

Happy riding.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Time to see if I have some balls or some good sense. I am suppose to go to Dubuque this weekend to do a "Winter Survival Race" of 56 miles. It is on ungroomed bike trails through the woods. Everything was shaping up to be a great race until this new forecast shows 6-8 inches of snow, and 30-40 BELOW ZERO windchills!

I might leave the race with no balls left if I do this one... says the wife.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not the greatest of starts to a wonderful day.

I slept in to 9:00 and it was wonderful! I had plans of leaving the house at 9:40 to get to Ada Hayden about 5 minutes early. I hate being late. Well, I was dressed to go and I needed to decide what bike to ride. I went down stairs to the nice and clean Flight that I wanted to keep that way! Plus, it had a slick on it to ride on the trainer. So, I ran back up stairs to ride the Ibex. I put my boots back on and grabbed the bike! It was now 9:50 and I needed to get going. Then I noticed my pedals where still on the Flight. I called Paul Varnum up to (I was pissed by this point!) tell him that I was running late. Off came the boots ran back down stairs to take off the pedals and a tool to take my water bottle cage off another bike in the garage to put on the Ibex. Got the pedals on and then remembered the front tire was all but flat. Off came the boots, I was swearing up a storm and I ran down stairs to grab the pump. I pumped up the tires and called Paul. It was 10:10! He was very understanding and he said he was waiting. I trucked it full bore to Ada Hayden nearly shot from riding nearly 20 mph down the gravel to get to the park. I roll up to a group of five guys. I recognized a few of them as being some very good racers in the area. Great first impressions. For a guy that hates to be late I felt like the dumb ass of the month. They were all great guys and we were on the road within the minute.

All I can say is wow! It was obvious from the start that these guys had been chomping at the bit as they took off like guys that just had to wait in 13 degree weather for the dufus on an Ibex! So, I worked and worked to try not to get gapped to bad and my heart rate had to be near maxed out at times. There were times I would lose them and ride with the second group of guys that weren't in the mood to ride possessed. Then I would put it in the big ring and would bridge the gap (I won't say that they were waiting for us, but there were!). We got about 1/2 way into the ride and all of a sudden Alex, Andrew and I were pulling away from the group and we just had a blast. We got to Paul's house and all cracked open a WONDERFUL assortment of beers. What a treat.

Now, if per chance, any of the guys that rode today would read this they probably thought it was a very causal ride, but I got worked over today in a very good way! One, I was pushed for nearly 100% of the time. Two, it was just the right amount of work to make it fun and rewarding. Three, I couldn't have been with a group of better guys. This is what going for a ride should be like. I just wish it could have been longer! Not that I thought that while riding though! Also, this ride was confirmation that the work of running and lifting has helped my strength and endurance. I still have a long ways to go, but it was proof that I am going in the right direction.

Thanks Paul for a wonderful ride and thanks for waiting for me.

Yes, my legs are wiped out!

After I got back I made a pot of coffee and then Tammy and I watched Batman Begins and then we went and saw Dan in Real Life at the dollar theater. Right this second she is making me a great meal. Also, this afternoon she asked me if I would run the Whistle Stop Marathon with her in October.

Life is great.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kids, Don't Do This Either

Came home to a driveway full of screws today. Unfortunately, it was too late when we figured it out! And I am one of the good guys at the school. At least I don't have a hate group on Facebook like some of the other teachers.

And people wonder why people leave the teaching profession.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Don't do this as a parent please.

Today, I was gone from work for the day to some meetings at another school district (which happens two-three times a year) and a parent was so irrate that they couldn't get a hold of me that they called my wife at her place of work to find out where I was. Seriously people. Give your kids teachers and counselors a break!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sunday ride

Paul Varnum is planning a ride for Sunday so if you want to get out check out his blog and leave a comment there or here. I would assume we will meet up at Ada Haden in Ames.

On Saturday I went for a run on the treadmill, but my right knee started hurting and I only lasted about 15 minutes. I lifted as usual and that went great. My knee has been sore now, off and on for a week or so, but I think I need to watch my running a bit. Tonight I just ran 30 minutes at a very easy pace and just didn't want to push my luck. I didn't lift with the legs and just did the upper body and abs. I think I may take a break from leg extensions and leg curls as I think that might be the culprit. Any ideas? Single speeding doesn't seem to bother it.

Work has been killer lately. I have been completely overwhelmed even with 12+ hour days. Sometimes you just have to go home even though there is still a huge pile on your desk. I hate that feeling as I just get more and more behind it seems, but by the end of next week I should be caught up. Let's hope so anyway!

This has me thinking!

Happy training.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Wow! What an incredible day! Upper 30's at least if not in the lower forties, barely a breeze to be found. I rode the Ibex in one gear (44 X 16)today for 2.5 hours. I wore arm and leg warmers and the winter boots and was warm the whole ride. I just couldn't get enough. I will say, that riding the Ibex now being a 26 inch bike just isn't even close to riding my Flight 29er. Also, riding in one gear with the suspension sucks plus, the Ibex has 170 mm cranks and the Flight has 175. I now hate 170 mm cranks with a passion. I felt like I was turning tiny little circles. That's why I feel I don't have any power on that bike!

Well.... happy training.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I ran and lifted today. Since starting lifting I have gained 2-3 pounds and have had to use a nail to put in another hole in my belt as my pants are not wanting to stay up.

It is a good day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The last day of vacation

This morning I went into Skunk River Cycles in order to get a slick tire for the Ibex. I then put the Ibex on the trainer down in the basement. I pulled a Kerkove and watched some while spinning. This was my first time on a trainer in 18 years. They certainly have gotten a lot quieter. Thanks Paul for letting me use it.

After just a half an hour of spinning (man do the minutes go by slowly!) I went to the gym to run and lift. Here is what I did today.

10 minute warm up at 9:45 pace.
6 X 1/4 of a mile repeats at 6:00 pace with a 1:30 walk break between repeats (I still have a goal of breaking my 5K pr in the next couple of months! %^)
5 minute cool down

I then started my lifts. Now, I really should be doing more legs, but....
All of these are on machines:
1. Tricep extension
2. Bicep Curl
3. Leg extension
4. Leg curl (hamstrings)
5. Leg press
6. Bench Press
7. Shoulder Press
8. Pectorial Fly
9. Overhead Press (This is a &itch to say the least! I am so weak!) No wonder carrying my bike during TI V.2 was so hard!
10. Row
11. Lat pull down
12. Ab machine (crunch)
13. Lower ab crunch on a ball

Right now I am just doing one set of 15. When I can complete the 15 at least somewhat comfortably I go up to the next weight the next time. I just keep moving up until I have a very hard time finishing 15 or I come close. By the end of January I will move to something like, one set of 8 and another set of 3-4. I hope to be running for a longer time as well. Probably 45-60 minutes with a long run of 1.5-2 hours. I will be biking at least some until March when I will really start getting after it! Let's hope the temps are atleast reasonable!

Happy training!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


I must like my job a lot, because I am actually ready to get back to work and to leave vacation behind.

Just running and lifting. No biking for the last couple of days. It is way below 0 with the windchill so I am not too excited to get outside!

At least I will be getting a cup of mud for the new year!

And it has been killed again.

Happy training.