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!