Friday, February 29, 2008

More excuses ahead

Well, what a crappy week for riding. Monday, we have horrible weather and get out of school by 11:00. Rain, then snow equals too much ice to want to ride! Wednesday and Thursday I put in 14 hour days = no riding. Yesterday morning I had awesome plans for a ride down by Winterset to do some recon work for the GRAID, but at 9:15 am I get a call from a parent at school and her husband had just tragically had a heart attack and passed away. Her two sons left for school that morning with their loving father at home. Two hours later they get called into my office to have their mother give them the news. What a tragedy!

So, last night my plans went out the window. I am now home (day off!) with my 15 year old daughter while my wife is at work. Yes, I could be riding today, but you know, today is a pretty darn good day just to spend some time with my kid. I may get out for a little tonight after the ice starts melting. We will see.

Family first.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nothing long

I took off for another short ride to see how my achilles was feeling. I spend the morning cleaning my bike (which I had to do again!) and I also threw on a new Salsa 36 chain ring and put on a 16 tooth cog in the back. I was running 32 X 17 and felt like it was about right. Well, the first few pedal revolutions I was already in love with the tougher and faster gearing. On the flats it was perfect. I was riding at 14.5-16 mph over the slight peanut butter and the bike just wanted to go. It was a very fun feeling. I am still picking the sand out of my teeth! %^) Now, I have a very long ways to go to ride this gear over a long ride, but I will be giving it a shot very soon. I did have to stand on most every climb, but I could also climb faster as well. I loved it! Against the wind I was able to go just a bit faster than with 32 X 17, but I don't know if I really was having to work all that much harder. I rode 18.5 miles in 1:25 which is 13 mph. I felt good about that given the muddy conditions and the hills I rode today. I can't wait to ride it again.

Most of all, I feel my achilles is 99%. No pain what so ever. So, more riding this week.

Happy training!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday ride

Well, my plans got a bit of an ax today. I was hoping for around 50 miles or so starting at 11:00 with Alex and hopefully a couple more guys, but Tammy told me of her shopping plans in Des Moines around 9:30 so I had to cut the ride short. Tammy was leaving for shopping with her friends at 1:00 so I had to get back so that my daughter Paula (15 years old) wasn't home alone. Her boyfriend of over a year lives about 3 blocks away and the last thing I want is for her to be home alone knowing Tammy is in Des Moines and I am in the middle of no where on a ride. So, we had to make it short.

I took off from the house around 10:15 to meet up with Alex at Ada Hayden at 10:30. We chatted for a bit and then took off. Within 3-4 minutes I was getting text message after text message from my daughter about afternoon plans. I was seemly stopping every tenth of a mile to get my message and text back. I had these thoughts of, "Dad, can RJ come over?" and if I didn't reply she would just assume it was ok! If you have a teenage daughter you know the feeling! Then my wife called. I am sure Alex was quite thrilled with our incredible pace of stopping every tenth of a mile to get my messages or phone calls!

Finally we made it to a gravel road I wanted to show Alex as it is a great road just outside of Ames. Unfortunately, it was covered in ice. On an earlier gravel road I took a minor spill, but on this skating rink I took another minor spill and then a third, harder, wipe out sliding down the road a bit. Nice. Talk about grace! Well, we finally got out of Ames and took off east and then north creating a loop back to Gilbert.

Riding with Alex is always a blast. I really enjoy talking with him about his job and bike parts. Being a mechanical engineer he looks at parts in a different, very interesting way. Being a bit of a nerd I get into that for some reason. Also, Alex is a strong rider, riding a 44 X 20 single speed Cross Check. He obviously doesn't have to work at all while riding with my fat tire, 32 X 17, mountain bike being ridden by a weakling. But, I think we did ok. We rode roughly 25 miles in 2 hours with a bunch of stops for my text messages and phone calls. We must have averaged around 14 which is pretty decent for my current conditioning. I was happy that my achilles didn't seem to bother. I could feel it, but it didn't really effect me at all. I will try to get into another similar ride tomorrow and keep building up my biking fitness.

Only 5 weeks until the GRAID. Not much time that is for sure! I am praying for a north wind at 15 that day!

I really missed out on the Des Moines guys ride. I have been getting emails from these guys and they seem like a blast to be around. Hopefully I can join in on their fun soon.

Happy training.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Went to the gym on Tuesday morning for an hour ride on the exercise bike set on hills. I took it pretty easy. The main goal was to get some time pedaling. I will back tomorrow morning for another hour. It has been crazy, my achilles, while burning a bit during the last hour or so of last Saturday's ride, has been fine EXCEPT while driving. For whatever reason, pushing the gas pedal down and pushing on the brake it gets to be sore again. I will decide on my riding plans for the weekend depending on how tomorrow's ride goes.

The Des Moines crew is planning another hundy this weekend. And I think only one of them, Dennis Grelk (who isn't actually from DM) is signed up for Trans Iowa.

I did order a derailleur hanger for the Flight so I can put gears on it. Also, a friend is giving me a free mtb cassette. I will probably take the derailleur and shifters off of my other mountain bike for just a bit. I want to set up the Flight as a 1 X 9 to see how I like that for my long rides.

I also just ordered some Kenda Small Block 8 700c X 35 cross tires. With those tires and my new rims I will be losing over a pound per wheel. I would think that would help!

Has anyone ever tried these attachments onto their mtb handle bars? On my Flight I sit up more than I would like and am wondering how these would work on the long gravel rides I do. Any experience with these?

Happy training.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Feeling Great!

I woke up Sunday morning to a little soreness, but not too bad. The weather sucked and the roads were in horrible shape so I stayed home all day. I plan on getting up butt crack early to get to the gym to ride for an hour or so on the exercise bike (what fun!) as these cold temps just suck too much for me to have any fun at all. I can't believe it isn't warming up yet. Maybe next week!

I am considering a bit of GRAID recon this weekend. I haven't decided 100% what I will be doing yet, but if we have favorable conditions then it should be a good day!

After this past Saturday's ride I am feeling good about TI even though my training has sucked. We still have a ways to go. As far as I see it, in an event like TI, if you can train your body to ride for a very long time it doesn't matter if you can average 15 on the gravel or not. My goal is to finish whether that is within the time limit or not. My big mistake last year was the mistake in thinking I was outside of the pace to finish on time. What I didn't realize at the time was the guys that finished around 32 hours where only about 8-9 miles ahead of me when I called it a day at the 200 mile mark. I will take this knowledge with me on TI V.4!

Happy training!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday Ride

Got out for a little ride today. It actually was a BEAUTIFUL day with temps around 30, sunny skies, and about a 15 mph wind from the SSE. I took off to do just a bit of the GRAID route south of Gilbert.

I left Gilbert at 1:00 in the afternoon after volunteering in the morning at a middle school basketball tournament. I got to a co-workers house around 2:00 as they wanted me to stop by to see their new kitchen. Well, that turned into an hour and a half as we watched the UNI vs. Drake game. I was on the road again by 3:30 (this stop actually was good as it stopped me from going for a century ride as it turns out would have been a bit far). I headed south of Ledges State Park where I crossed the Des Moines river valley. I continued to K Ave where the GRAID route would continue south, but instead I went north into Ogden. I stopped and had some pizza just before 6:00.

From Ogden I continued north (loving the wind at my back!) and made my way to Frasier and then the infamous Y Camp hill. I will admit, by achilles was starting to ache a bit and I had to do the climb with a few stops. For me, the gearing, the tired legs and the 10% grade on muddy gravel was too much. I continued home with my right achilles burning which wasn't much fun, but I made it home without a bonk and had plenty left in the tank (even though this picture makes me took like death!).

So 8 hours after I left (with 2 hours off the bike) I made it about 70 miles back home. Here is the route via mapmyride. I do question the accuracy of the map as gps had me at 70 and change. I wonder if mapmyride is able to get in all the inclines and declines that would certainly add a little distance.

Another metric century for the Cup of Dirt.

Happy training.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Can you believe it!

I got my ass out of bed at 4:45 and went to the gym.

The last six weeks or so it hasn't been the getting out of bed that is the problem, it is not going to work instead of working out.

I may actually go to a spin class tonight or tomorrow. That would be scary!

Happy training!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


SWEET! I got an email from some guys in Des Moines that will be riding Squirrels Dirty Century on Sunday so I have committed myself (or I should be committed!) to riding on Sunday. It will put the hurt on me for sure, but that is okay! It will be good for my motivation!

Here is the route.

I plan on riding from Gilbert to Ogden to meet up with them at mile 40. I will then ride the 60 or so miles to Des Moines where Tammy will pick me up. It should be a great time!

Here is the route I will likely take to Ogden.

All of a sudden this is changing my attitude! Which obviously I need.

Happy training!

Monday, February 11, 2008

I have come to my senses!

Well, I have accepted that his winter is just going to be a lot colder than normal. Heck, in years past there have been golf courses opening within the next three weeks. We are at about -10 to -20 wind chills with at least a foot of snow on the ground with no sign of relief.

I have now come to the realization that I am just not going to be on the bike like I would like to be. And... after being frustrated to no end I have come to accept that there are much bigger problems in this world than having it be too cold to bike. I will live waiting a bit.

I hope to ride on Wednesday as it is suppose to be warmer outside and hopefully this weekend. I am thinking of leaving around 5 for a good three hour ride. If you are up for it let me know. Then there is squirrels ride this weekend?!!?

I did get 12 hours of skiing in on Saturday and woke up to being completely fresh. My brother in laws were hurting. So, the running and lifting seem to have helped there. I guess I will just keep at it.

If my friend Jon Billman can finish the GDR with only a few 30 mile rides as his longest rides before the race then I can probably get some rides in before TI and do okay. We will see. It is all mental anyway right!??! %^)

Happy training.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thanks GPickle

Well, after reading GPickle's comment from yesterday I saddled up and took off for a 45 minute ride. I am going skiing at Afton Alps up near the Twin Cities on Saturday. Hopefully it won't be too cold and windy this weekend!

Happy training.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A little bit again

On Monday and today I ran for 30-40 minutes plus weights. With all this snow and ice I haven't been on the bike again. This winter is the worst one I can remember in a decade.

I hope to get in a long ride on Sunday if anyone is up for it. It sounds cold! Paul V? Alex?

Happy training.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Ways To Go

Yesterday was quite the day. I woke up to horrible cramps in my right calf. I have been battling cramps now for two weeks! It all started with the Winter Survival Race in Dubuque when I started getting cramps at about mile 3-4. Then, I have gotten them off and on ever since, but yesterday morning I could barely walk for the first hour or so I was awake. I will admit, I have been taking creatine for the last two months so I am going to take a break from it as I think it must be the contributor as cramping is a side effect.

I didn't get to my ride until about 3:30 or so and I was feeling a lot better. I decided to go north towards highway 20 approximately 30 miles up the road and then ride back. It is part of the GRAID route so I decided I better check it out a bit. It wasn't even 10 miles or so into the ride that I started cramping again, and at the 15 mile mark, in Jewell, Iowa, I just about turned around for home. I continued to drink my Boost, PB sandwiches and Gatorade. I pushed on towards Blairsburg and once there I turned around and headed home. The last 15 miles weren't easy as I was a cramping mess and had to talk myself into going one mile at a time. I ended the day with 64 miles in 6 hours total.

Some things I learned:
1. I need to invest less time into running and lifting and ride more. I am not in good riding shape at all.


2. Take a break from the creatine and see if my cramping problems go away.

It was a good ride, but I also know I am in poor shape. When riding level ground and it looks like you are going up hill in both directions then you know your screwed.

Happy training.