Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mountain Bike Ride

Don't really know how long I rode for today because it was just therapy:). Not that I'm upset or needed to clear my mind, but the fact is that I haven't ridden the mtb very much since the race a couple weekends ago and just needed to get out there. Just enjoyed being in the woods and tried not to slip on the leaves too much. If there's one thing that I hate riding on it's leaves. There's no telling what's underneath, not to mention being slippery as ice in some spots. Makes for a much slower and cautious ride-especially when you just wanna enjoy things.

Though my major focus is still tri at the moment-and by tri I'm meaning XTERRA, I'm beginning to wonder if that's where my true goals for the next season lie. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love swimming, biking, and running (well not so much the swimming, but what the hell), but I'm just wondering if I'd like to focus more on cycling this coming year. I've really fallen in love with the sport and have enjoyed venturing out into mtb and 'cross races. I found that I enjoyed the 6 hour race more than any other race I've ever done, and really fancy doing some of the longer marathon and endurance mtb races. Even the stage races look awesome to me! Then again, I saw a tri today that made my mouth water and made me want to break out the tri bike and power meter all over again.

I guess my biggest worry is that I CAN'T do everything. I don't want to race just to race, I want to race to do the best that I possibly can. I'm not one of those 'experience' guys, and even if it's ridiculously unlikely, I like to race for the win. What I mean is that I want a definite focus on ONE thing. I don't want to be average at everything, I want to be great at ONE thing. It's all just a bit fuzzy in my head right now, but that's what I've been thinking about recently.

Anyway, tomorrow is gonna be a great day to practice some 'cross again before the second race in the series this weekend. It's gonna be rainy and windy all day-perfect 'cross weather! I even heard there's a possibility, thought slight, that it'll snow on race day! How great would that be!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I've been 'Crossed!!!!

Holy crap that was fun! Did my first 'cross race ever today and smiled from start to finish. It was hard, and I still haven't stopped coughing from the cold, but I have to say that I know see what all the fuss is about. In the end I finished 8th overall, and learned quite a lot. First and foremost, it's not wise to ride an 11-23 set up:). I was a little lax in setting up my bike for this race and just threw on whatever cassette I had at the time. Probably made things a little harder than they needed to be!
The course was awesome, and the fact that it was on the site of an abandoned psychiatric center was ever cooler! Mountain biking has given me a real good hold of technical skills on the bike, and I found that the technical sections were one of my strengths today. Need to work on starting strong from the beginning though. All my training thus far has been devoted to settling in and pacing my effort evenly. This race was a shot in the arm. 'Cross is definitely not something to "settle in to". It'll be fun to improve my 'cross racing tactics in the coming weeks as this series still has another two races to go. Here are some pics from today. The pics are of the psych center. I had a really cool vid of the entrance of the park, with Pantera playing in the background, but it won't upload. As soon as it does I'll share:) Oh and the last pic is what I'm enjoying right now (Great South Bay IPA) in a glass I got from the 6 hour mtb race-gotta love the skulls!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More 6 Hour Race Pics

I'm cheap so this is about as close as these pics will ever get to being purchased:).

Mtb: 1:30

Good ride today. Discovered that I'm not quite as recovered as I thought I was from last week's race. Never having done something so brutal I've realized that I definitely need to chill for a bit more. Today was the first time back on the trails in a week and I felt a bit sluggish and not all there. I'll come around of course, but after not taking too much time to rest properly since last weekend, it was definitely rough today.

On another note, after talking to one of my buddies who races mountain bikes pro, I tried going with a harder tire today. Previously, I'd been running my tires pretty low-around 35psi in the rear and 30psi in the front. I'd never really thought to play with it much since things were working just fine I thought. Certainly I didn't consider going higher, as anyone who rides on the east coast knows how bumpy things can get with all the rocks and roots we have. After talking to him at length about it, though, I decided to give it a try. I went with 48psi in the rear and 45psi in the front. For sure I thought that it was too high for a hardtail, but I was pleasantly suprised today when I found how much easier my ride was. Pedaling was much more efficient, and the ride wasn't rough at all. Of course when you hit something under the leaves that you didn't see there was quite a jolt, but that would happen either way. Also, the rooty and rocky descents I thought would have me jumping all over the place were actually easier to take because there was less of a "delay" from the rear wheel. Overall, handling (particularly in the corners) was improved, and speed was faster. I liked, too, the fact that I was much more connected to the trail. I didn't realize how much of a "numbing" feeling lower pressure gives you. The bike was more responsive, and I felt that every pedal stroke went directly into the dirt instead of being sucked up by a slower, mushy, softer tire. I'm not saying that it'll be best in all conditions, but for now I'm happy that I've found higher pressure.

'Cross tomorrow so the rest of the day is gonna be pretty chill. I've got some cleaning to get done, but then I'll be sipping some South Bay IPA and reading. Somehow the freezing weather outside makes me wanna get all comfy inside:).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Turkey Day Run

Yesterday was not a great day for me. Not because I ate too much or didn't spend time with loved ones-I did both-but because I felt like crap all day. Whatever the reason (I believe it may have to do with a certain "controlled substance" I was subjected to-not that I, in this case, smoked it because I don't do that, but because I was merely subjected to the smoke it produces. I've only tried such substance a handful of times in college, so for the last 10 years I haven't been around it. Basically I'm allergic!) I was dizzy and light-headed for the majority of the day. Anyway, I slept well last night after getting home and hoped to be in much better shape today.

I woke up feeling a little bit like I did yesterday, but luckily it wasn't too bad. Managed to get to see my few clients that were feeling guilty after indulging yesterday, and got in a short, but good run.

My goal for today's run was just to go by feel. I was scheduled for a much longer run, but decided to keep things conservative. Not only was I feeling a bit rough this morning, but I'm still actually recovering from the race this past Saturday. I haven't been on the mountain bike at all since, and it's not because I haven't wanted to, but because I'm still a little beat up. Before the 6 hour race I had never been on a mountain bike for more than about 3 hours. I'd done some longer rides, but not on rough ground and certainly not without stopping to chat. This is something I'll be sure to address before my next endurance mtb race:).

Anyway, today's run brought me back to the fact that I actually like to run. Mountain biking has moved first into my love of things endurance based, but running holds a close second. I find that I enjoy moving to my own pace and taking things as they come. I can be a fast runner when I want/need to be, but for the most part I enjoy keeping things longer and aerobic. I think one of the reasons (besides getting injured every two weeks) this past year for my burnout, dealt with the fact that my running was so numbers based. Numbers are good for coaches and those that have the ability to separate their emotions from their runs, but for me, just being out and enjoying the actual "act" of running is where the pleasure lies. I'll have to speak with my coach to address this in the future.

Tomorrow will most likely be the first time back on the trails for me since last Saturday. Rides this week have been on the road and taken a more than easy tone, but I'm ready to have some fun in the dirt again. Nothing crazy, as I'll be racing my first 'cross race on Sunday, but at least a solid 90 minutes. That should give me my mtb fill, but preserve my legs enough for the thrashing they'll take on Sunday.

On another note I got a new toy today and will be uploading some cool vids and pics regularly. It cost a pretty penny, but in the end it was something I needed and will benefit not only this blog, but my work life as well. Not to mention the fact that every once in a while you need to splurge on something that isn't bike/run related:).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I didn't mean it!

So today was suppossed to be another day off from training. Maybe some stretching and foam rolling, but that's it. What happened was something entirely different. Somhow I managed to ride my bike for 3 hours an run somewhere in the neighborhood of an hour. Not an epic day by any means, but for sure not exactly a "rest" day. However, I've got to say that I feel terriffic. Almost all the effects of Saturday's race have gone away, and my legs feel fitter and stronger. Even the run today, though it was more of a jog, felt suprisingly easy. Maybe tomorrow I'll rest? Or run, or bike, or swim:).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

6 Hour Mountain Bike Race Report

This was by far the hardest thing I've ever done. The 6 Hours of Something Wicked at Cathedral Pines Endurance Mountain Bike Race (that's a mouthful!) was yesterday and I'm just now getting up enough energy to write this. Ok, that's not totally true, but I've never been so wasted after a race!

I've never done any type of stand alone bike race. I've done running races and triathlons, but that's it. Moreso, I'd never ridden a mountain bike for more than 4 hours at a time, so this was bound to be a treat. The only previous mtb racing experience I'd had was in the only XTERRA race I've done a few months ago. I wasn't quite sure what to expect and I was nervous before the race, but in the end just decided to "grip it and rip it". What else would I do? Just put it all out there and see what happens.

The start line was pretty relaxed. The race sold out at 250 participants, but it felt more like 500 standing there in the early morning cold getting ready to suffer on a 10 mile loop for the next 6+ hours. The only plan I really had, other than riding as much as possible, was to get out in front to avoid the sure bottleneck that was to come when we hit the singletrack. Lucky for me, I'm a good sprinter and had a great start. I lined up in front with the "big boys" and hit it right away. Still, I was a little tentative, and held back from getting to the absolute front of the pack which I'm sure I could have. There was about a mile of tarmac and dirt road before we hit the singletrack. I managed to be somewhere in the top 15 when we got in, and that was more than fine with me. All I really cared about was getting in cleanly.

Once in the woods it was fast. The beginning of the loop was probably the most technical, with some rooty and snarly decents mixed with sharp uphills. Furthermore, in the early laps, the trail was entirely covered with fallen leaves making it difficult to see the roots and rocks that made climbing and descending difficult. It was bumpy to say the least. After that little techy section, it flattened for the next few miles, but you were still greated with roots that made your brain rattle. Finally, the last part of the loop greated you with another uphill section, short downhill, and then gradual uphill back to the dirt road where you rode along for about a quater mile before hitting the woods again.

The first two laps for me were a blur. I was riding in the second pack and we were moving. It wasn't until the third lap that I really found myself alone. I can't say that it was a bad thing, though, as for the first time I was able to concentrate on nutrition. The first two laps were so fast I really didn't get much of an opportunity to hydrate and fuel. Also, being that I was still getting a feeling for the course, I really didn't know where I would have an opportunity to grab a bottle before things got hairy on the trail again. Anyhow, lap 3 was where I finally got into my own little zone and raced my own race.

After this things were tough. Adreniline was beginning to wear off, and the fact that I'd be out there for quite a while longer began to settle in. I began passing some riders, and started to worry that I was going too hard. I'd worn my HR monitor and things were staying relatively aerobic, so I felt I was in a good way. Then the fifth lap came. For the next two laps I was in the biggest pain cave I've ever been in. This wasn't bonking. This wasn't cramping. This was all out hurt! I could feel my stomach starting to turn, and every muscle in my body ached. My eyes were burning and even my toenails hurt. I starting cramping to the point where I was terrified to get off the bike. I did whatever it took and eventually things got back on track. By the Seventh lap I was euphoric. Things were getting faster and felt smoother (though I'm sure they weren't), and I was moving well again. I wound up coming in before the time limit and set out for another lap. In the end I compiled approximately 81 miles and won my category (and technically the category above mine as well). Then subsequently spilled beer on myself at the finish:).

This was one of the best things I've ever done. It was painful in a way I've never experienced, and I'm very proud of what I was able to accomplish. Realizing that I have some potential is also something that is very satisfying as well as motivating. This certainly will be the first of many mountain bike races for me.

Things I learned yesterday:

1)Mountain biking is very fun, especially when you can suffer along friendly people for 6 hours and then drink some great beer afterward.

2)Specialized makes a damn fine shoe! I got a pair of the Pro mtb Specialized shoes two days before the race and thought it would be a great idea to wear them for the first time at the race (read: sarcasm). I can honestly say I don't have one complaint. Not one blister. Not one sore spot. I didn't even know they were there. Easily the best shoe I've ever worn-on the road or the trails.

3)Nutrition is king! I know that's obvious, but I had a plan, I stuck to it, and it worked. I don't think I could have done any better, and training for long distance triathlon was my secret weapon. Without the knowledge I've gained in that area, I'd have no clue on how man cals/hour I needed to keep my body moving.

4)Know the rules! As I came in from what I thought was my final lap, the clock was under 6 hours, and therefore I was allowed back out for another lap. Had I read the rules I would have been better prepared for the final lap, and could possibly have turned in a better time. In the end it didn't mean much this time around, but in the future that might mean more.

5)And finally, I'm tougher than I thought. I know everyone says this when the do something hard, but I found a new level of suffering yesterday and I'm elated. Hurt that bad builds you, not only as an athlete but as a person. I'm stronger in every way for the pain I endured yesterday.

And that's it! Can't wait to do more of this endurance mtb'ing!!! Leadville anyone!!!???

6 Hour Mountain Bike Race Report

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back on the bike

Great day today. I've been a bit under the weather the past couple days and seemed to have turned a corner today. I woke up still feeling kinda "eh", but after a little ride today I'm feeling back to normal.

I got a great sleep last night, thanks to my friend Mr. Nyquil, and it showed on the bike today. I've had a lot of trouble sleeping (which may be one of the major issues I've been having with feeling well), so I'm happy to have gotten in a solid 8 or 9 hours last night.

The actual ride went very well. After a pretty crap warmup, I was able to put together a pretty solid session on the road. Originally we had decided to do some course recon today, but my schedule didn't allow for it. Tomorrow will wind up being the day I get to the race course and check things out on two wheels.

As the weekend draws closer, I'm getting more and more excited for the opportunity to race again. Like I've said, this is something totally new to me, so it'll be nice to see what I can do. I really don't have any expectations because I really just don't know what to expect! The only thing I can say is that I'm gonna "play to win the game" as Herman Edwards once said. Why else bother showing up?:)

The rest of today will be dedicated, again, to resting and recouping. I'm gonna get some healthy food in, do some yoga, read, and hopefully turn in early again. Tomorrow isn't too demanding of a day work-wise, so that should be nice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No riding = not fun

Been forced off the bike and generally from exercise the past couple days. Being sick sucks, but being sick for a race sucks more. I started feeling a little sick on friday, and trudged through the weekend, probably not making things better. By yesterday I was really feeling it. Luckily most, actually all, of the symptoms are above the neck, so I'm thinking it's nothing serious. Still, I prefer to be rested and healthy heading into this weekend, so I'm sitting on my bum for the last two days.

In a lot of ways this two days of imposed rest is long overdue. Since the tri season concluded by all means and purposes for me after my last XTERRA race at the end of August, I've been training daily. I don't think I took a complete day off, even though I should have. I did the same thing at the conclusion of last year and it wound up biting me in the arse with a string of injuries that plagued me this season-all running related by the way:(. So, while it's incredibly boring to sit back with your feet up all afternoon, it's needed in every way.

For the race, I know I've mentioned this before, but I super excited. It's a kind of nervous energy that I haven't had since before my first tri. The element of heading into unknown waters is really intoxicating. Though you never know what to expect from any race, heading into a new discipline is exciting and freightening at the same time. It's gonna be awesome and I can't wait to suit up and get out there on Saturday!


Was able to put together some strong weeks of training-stongest on the bike probably-but now I'm a bit wasted. I'm tired, feeling on the verge of still being sick, and generally just...blah. Time to listen to the body a bit and chill out for the time. With the big 6 hour mtb race this weekend, I want to be anything but over-tired when I toe the line. Speaking of which, this is going to be an interesting start to my mountain bike racing career. As this is my first race, I'll be with the cat 3's. This isn't a bad thing, but the fact that we're starting in the last of 3 waves, I'll really have to hit it from the start and try to get into the singletrack first. Obviously this is what you want to do, but I'll also have to fight through the cat 2's that will certainly create a bottle-neck of their own. To remedy this situation, my buddy Brian who will be in the first wave with the rest of the pros, suggested that I get off the bike 'cross style and run alongside the trail to pass people. Good plan and I'm gonna stick to it. Anything to get to the front!

Otherwise today is just going to be an easy swim. I was hoping to get out on the mtb for a hot 60 minute lap of my fav trail, but I think it's better just to stick to the plan and swim. Even the swim will likely be cut down a bit to keep my body and mind fresh for this weekend. I'm just at the point of either getting sicker or totally healthy, so there's no need to push it now.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Race That Wasn't

First 'cross race was yesterday and I didn't even make the start line. As a matter of fact, I didn't even make it to the race venue. I woke up feeling like crap yesterday and thought it best to play the rest of the day by ear. The race wasn't until 2pm, so I had some time to come to an intelligent decision-which is kinda like an oxymoron for me:O). Anyway, after spending the early morning at work, I, and my coach, came to the decision that it wasn't a good thing to race all out when I was feeling less than good.

I think the sicky feeling I had yesterday was a culmination of doing too much on too little sleep and not enough food. I have to admit that when I don't actively think about it, I forget to eat. It's not that I'm not hungry, I just get so busy and occupied with what I'm doing that I forget to fuel the fire. I'll work on it, but it was certainly evident in the fact that I felt like garbage yesterday and got a double migrane in the middle of the week. Gotta remember that it's not just training, but recovery as well that's important.

Looking forward now, the missing of the race isn't the biggest deal in the world. There are about 4 more cross races localy in which I plan to compete, as well as my first 6 hour mtb race this coming Saturday. Honestly I'm most excited for the mtb race, but cross should be fun as well. The mtb race will be a good test of where I am against other riders, and cross will be fun to just crush myself and give an excuse for drinking good Belgian beer:).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Band of Hell

...And I'm not talkin about some death metal band. My shoulders and lats are WORN OUT thanks to some evil work in the pool today. The source of which, you ask??? A blown out bicycle tube tied in a knot around my ankles. Holy crap did that hurt! All a good hurt though, and one that will hopefully put me to bed somewhat early tonight!

Speaking of sleep, since Anne's gone home and the clocks have switched, I've not been sleeping all that well. I can't seem to fall asleep easily, and when I do it's two hours after I originally laid down. Add to that the fact that I wake up super early every day (usually around 4:30am), and you have a recipie for trouble. My body let me know yesterday as I had two migranes, back to back, before I even got home from my afternoon clients. Not good, but it just lets me know I need to take better care of myself.

Tomorrow is another swim, though I don't know when I'll manage to get it in, and perhaps a bike. I'm suppossed to run, but the urge just isn't there. I think it has something to do with all the injury problems I've had of late. It seems like every time I run, it's just another issue. My feet seem to be giving up on me, and I'm scared with every step I take. I've tried support shoes, neutral shoes, and even no shoes (vibram's), and don't seem to be having any success. Though I do have to say that the less shoe I wear (on the trails at least), the more resiliant I seem to be. It might be that I'm running for less time wearing the minimal shoes, or it could be that it just forces correct form and function of the foot. Whatever the case, I'll get it back, but at the same time I'll be weary of my feet and take the proper precautions. For now it'll be all dirt, all the time. No roads until I can get a handle on running on the softer surfaces without issues.

On another note, I'm very close to purchasing a camera so that I can include some picture and video updates. Most of the "cooler", more read blogs include them, and it's only natural that people want to see pics of what they're reading about. Now I'm not desperate for readership (I only write this blog for my own record of what I'm doing, though I do enjoy knowing that people are interested in what I'm doing-Thank you!!!), I just want to add some entertainment for the people that DO read this blog. I have a ridiculously awesome life and it would be great to share the things I do in video/picture form.

Basically I'm looking for something that can record video as well as take still shots. I'd love to get some sort of a helmet cam for my rides, but at the same time need said cam to have the ability to take some quality still shots. I'd say that the priority is video over still pic, but I want the most bang for my buck because I don't have a lot of bucks to spend! If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Little cheating...

Cheated a little today and rode my mtb instead of taking a rest day as instructed. My excuse is this: There really aren't very many beautiful days left for riding before the snow comes, and today was one of those great, sunny, and crisp fall days that are great for riding. So I suited up, grabbed my bike, and set off.

I actually wound up having one of the greatest rides I've ever had. The weather, like I said, was perfect, and I wore my HR monitor to keep me in check. Average HR was 144, and with over 2000 feet of climbing (I know it doesn't sound much but all the climbing is short and sharp. We're talking like 45 degree inclines and such) that's not too shabby. I had to be concious enough to keep it down, but the fact that I was able to actually ride on a trail that is considered to be the toughest around here is a tribute to my technical skills advancing. I've seen my effeciency on the road increase over time, but nowhere is it more important than on the mtb. Becoming effecient has been a process, but I'm amazed at just how efficient I know am. It's gonna be one hell of a season coming up for sure!

This weekend is the first 'cross race of the season for me, not to mention my first 'cross race EVER!:) In all honesty, I'm not overly geeked out about it, but I'm sure I'll get into 'race mode' as the day approaches. I don't quite know what to expect so maybe that's part of my lack of enthusiasm. I'll get up for it I'm sure-I have a knack for getting psyched at the startline.

Otherwise things are just moving along. I'm literally counting the days until I see Anne again. Still more than a month off, but if things go as planned it'll be around Christmas time. In the meantime it's just work, training, sleep, work, traing, sleep, repeat. I'm hoping for a late winter this year as I'm not quite ready to give up my trails to the snow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ride! Ride! Ride!

Recently, there hasn't been much in the way of exercise and training that gives me more joy than riding my bike. I think embracing the "turning of the pedals" has really got my engine going. I've always known that I enjoyed being on two wheels, but being able to explore the different disciplines within cycling has allowed me to see just how awesome and beautiful it ALL is! Mountian biking is of course my favorite, but being on the 'cross bike, the road bike, and even that wonderful and tourturous track bike is just something special. The whrrrr of the tires on the trails and roads, the fluidity of the pedal stroke (and actually having an efficient one!), the wind pushing you (or slowing you down, or making you go sideways:))...it all makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Enough with the "romanticism" stuff, but just had to get it out there. Yesterday was one of the best mountain bike rides I've ever had. The only thing that I'd say would beat it was riding in Wales with Anne. Road some pretty techy trails for only 3 hours, but it was pure bliss. Legs felt great, mind was clear, and things just flowed. I found that zone where everything else around you is just like a mist and the only focus in the world you have is on what is coming at you. It's like a heightened sense of awareness that just makes you react. I've never ridden so smoothly and could have just kept going forever.

As far as nutrition was concerned, I think I've finally got a hold on it. It's interesting when your on a mtb, particularly on all these rocky and rooty trails, to get your nutrition right. Obviously, as your skills become more sound and you learn the trails, you know when you can get away with taking a swig from your bottle or a gel from you pocket. Unlike the road, you can't just eat and drink when you need it. I can't tell if this is actual or not, but I'm starting to think that my body is adapting to going a bit longer without nutrition when I'm not able to provide it because of the ride. Whatever the case, I'm feeling more confident in the fact that I'll be ok for the 6 hour race when the time comes. The trails for the race are much less technical, so there will be plenty of opportunity for me to eat and drink.

Today is a road ride and it's coooold out there. I like that my coach has set up this ride the day after the longer mountain bike ride as I really feel like it helps me recover from the trails. No matter how you slice it, you're always gonna be beat up a bit more after a mountain bike ride, so getting out there on the smooth road and only worrying about pedaling and effeciency is a relief. It also serves to keep the trails and the mtb fresh for me. I would hate to be stuck in a burnout-rut because I overdid something that I like so much.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Out Gangstered

For the most part, I've lead a pretty honest life. I've never really stolen anything from anyone, save for some baseball cards from my buddies when I was a kid maybe. I don't make a habit of lying. And I'm definitely not the cheating type. I'd like to think of myself as loyal and honest. What happened today really pissed me off, but made me realize that for the few suspect things I've done in my life, Karma is a bitch!

I went to see the Leadville 100 race movie, Race Across the Sky, last night. When I went to use my debit card at the theater, it was denied. Now I'm not a rich man, but I knew for a fact that I'd just deposited $200 cash earlier that day, and that the $12 ticket should be covered no problem. Alas, the card was declined and my wallet had to get lighter by a couple bills. Thinking this was strange, I went to the bank this morning to find that my card had been stolen, and some little (or more likely BIG) shit went on a mini shopping spree to, of all places, Shopright and Pathmark with my card. Now nothing against those fine shopping outlets, but really? Shopright and Pathmark? At least get something good for your money! Go to the liquor store, Best Buy, or hell, even the adult store! Just get something for my money other than groceries!:) Simply put, someone had stolen my gangsta!

Anyway, I'll get the money back, and I have a new card, but it really made me wonder. After being inspired seeing all the good there is in the world through the Leadville 100 film, it was dashed after some punk scum stole my card. I guess that's the world we living in and the only thing you can do is continue to be good and honest. Be the bigger person, but don't get taken advantage of.

On another note, I got out and did some 'cross practice yesterday. I had a terrific swim in the morning and was dying to get out in the rain and mud to play on my bike. One thing I learned is that although all the pros and elites make dismounting and mounting look easy and fluid, the shit is hard! I'm great at the dismount, but running with the bike and remounting is tough stuff to do smoothly. Add that to the ground being less than perfectly flat (as it might be in the transition area at a tri), and you have the perfect recipie for a momentum suck, or better yet, a silly and embarrassing crash. After about a million reps, I finally started to get the hang of it. Dismounting, running over the barriers, and remounting started to get more fluid. I'm still a long way off of looking like I know what I'm doing, but I was still pretty psyched to actually "fly" through the air and land on my bike while finding the pedals and pedaling away. More work to get done, but it's a good start nonetheless.

Today is a swim and a run, though the swim won't be happening because the pool is closed. Disapointed really, but I'll get it done tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Back in the saddle

Back on the bike today. If there's one thing that I've realized this off-season (thought it's really been anything but and "off" season), it's that I LOVE riding my bike. I don't just mean love, I mean it's like my favorite thing to do! (unless of course you count spending time with Anne-nothing quite comes close to that:)). But it's really incredible how much I love spending time on two wheels and how much better at it I've become over the last few months.

I'd say that my desire to ride so much comes from the different disciplines of cycling that I've been exploring. When I was just riding on the road things became monotonous-boring to be more precise. It's not that I have anything against it-I've even seen a "rebirth" in my own desire to ride pavement in the last couple weeks-but it's just that there isn't quite the same feeling as riding on dirt. It's entirely a personal preference and I'm sure that many people feel exactly the opposite of how I do, but there's just something about having to use more balance and technique to stay upright that just gets me. Also, falling off the bike hurts much, much less than when you go SPLAT! on pavement.:)

Tomorrow it's back in the pool and out for a run that I was suppossed to do today. I'm hoping I can replicate the feeling on the bike I had today in the water tomorrow. The run might be a "bring a pup" run as I spent more time with my bike today than Lucky. Sorry puppy!

Whatever it is, I'm enjoying my time on the bike(s), and can't wait to compete in some stand alone bike races.

Today was a great afternoon on the bike. I was scheduled to ride about 90 mins with some interval sessions followed by easier efforts. I finished the 90 minutes and didn't want to get off the bike...so I didn't. Probably rode somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hours (including an errand I had to run), though I didn't keep track. Kinda pulled a Forest Gump out there today: "When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go...you know, I went." Just one of those days. I started out with one bottle of nutrition, and wound up stoping to fill it up with coke and water a couple times. Just spent time with me, the bike, and the road. And the best part is, I finished feeling like a little kid, grinning ear to ear.

The "errand" actually consisted of finalizing the sale of one of my old bikes. Being that I have WAY TOO MANY, I've been trying to unload as much as I can. This particular one was very gently used and had just been sitting in my workshop (read: kitchen) for over a year. I wound up selling it to a good guy just getting into cycling, thereby furthering the growth of the sport and securing some extra room in my workshop..er...kitchen. I have a ton more stuff to go from wheelsets, a tt carbon frame, and countless other bike-related things, so if you're on the lookout for anything bike, drop me an email and I'll see if I have it. If I do I'll give you a good price and we'll both be happy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rest Day

I hate rest days. Nothing to do makes me nuts. Sure there's work and "real life" stuff to get done, but not exercising in some way makes me crazy-like a caged animal....So I rode my mtb for an hour to get out and do something:).

Just an easy one today, probably around an hour, but it was nice to get out in the trails for a bit. I put together a couple days of good work, with a great swim session yesterday, so this was my "active" recovery session for the week.

It amazes me (and probably one of the biggest reasons I love to ride mountain bikes) how different the same trail can be from one day to the next. Today was only my second time riding the particular trail I rode, and it was just completely different than what I remembered it to be. Sure getting to know the trail intimately takes a bit of time, but with the leaves on the ground and the sunlight in a different way, it was a completely different riding experience. Good times.:)

Tomorrow I'm on the schedule for a trail run and a road ride. If the weather is nice, I might replace the road ride with a trail ride either on the mtb or the 'cross bike. We'll see. Actually, since there's rain in the forecast for later this week, it might be better to save the 'cross bike until then. Nothing like REAL 'cross conditions to practice in!

Speaking of 'cross, I've got some fun races coming up. On the 13th of this month, I'll have my first 'cross race ever! Looking forward to the experience and trying not to make a fool of myself. Got the 'cross bike dialed in (as of yesterday-still waiting for some new rubber though) and can't wait to get it dirty. The week after that is the Something Wicked Events 6 Hours of Cathedral Pines 6 hour mtb race. This will be my first ever stand alone mtb race. I can't say that I don't have high expectations, but I'll take it as it comes. It's not going to be all about speed (though that will certainly help), so it'll be interesting. Also, it's on a rather non-techy course. I'm very good on the technical stuff but I think that my road riding background will help here. Most importantly, I want my nutrition to be spot on. Coming from long distance tri gives me a leg up on a lot of the other "newbies" that will be there so I'll have that card to play. No matter what I'm sure it'll be a great experience and I'll learn a ton in 6 hours. After that there are some more 'cross races, as well as the local 'cross series here that I'm really looking forward to. All in all a lot of time on the bike this winter and I'm looking forward to it! Nothing like strengthening your strength!:)