Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Need to Ride

I don't know how it happened but lately I've been logging more miles running than I have riding a bike. In fact, I haven't even been on my bike in two weeks. Thank goodness it's not because of an injury, but still....TWO WEEKS!!
It's no wonder that for the last few days I've felt as though I'm losing my mind a little......I'm in need of some singletrack therapy.

I'll see you later, I'm going for a ride.
C'mon, get your bike skoryd!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

8 Hours of Labor Recap

8 weeks ago I started a training program to get myself ready for the 8 Hours of Labor mtb race. At the same time Andrea and I started a little weight loss competition with each other. So far, said competition has no clear winner because we have both surpassed our original goal....Wait a minute, I guess that makes us both winners, right? On the morning of the race, exactly 8 weeks from the start of this thing, I'm down by 20lbs and because of this post from Bendoeslife I can't help but think of what the next 8 weeks will bring if I can manage to keep this momentum going.

So I decided to ride the race on the same three person team as the last two years instead of trying to do it solo this time, maybe next year. Largely because when your doing a team race, hanging out with friends and fueling up with good food between laps is a major part of the fun. Plus once I found out that the course this year had 4 new grass covered, energy sucking climbs over previous years I was glad I was on a team.

This race always has a lemans style start, where the first lap is started with a run to your bike. Since I've been learning to enjoy running so much lately I was really looking forward to doing the first lap, plus I enjoy the competition of all the traffic on that first lap. When I made it to my bike I jumped on and quickly did a survey of who was around one I know, maybe I'll run into some friends out there. On the bike and hammering up the first grassy climb, that grass by the way will redline your heart rate in a hurry if your not careful, still I was passing a lot of people. Was I going to hard from the start? Still feeling ok so I don't think so. Before I knew it, a few miles into lap one, I seemed to be hanging on to a group of "the fast guys" and suddenly I realized there was no one behind me. Wow, "don't let yourself blow up", I kept telling myself, especially on the first lap. But it didn't happen. I finished that first 10 mile lap in 52.73min/11.27mph. Until recently I've barely been able to manage a 10mph average on those same trails, so I was pretty excited about the lap. But I was worried about being able to back it up on my next one.

I headed out on lap two with very little traffic, which had me a little concerned. Sometimes when I'm feeling slow it helps me with my pace if I can keep a faster rider or two within sight. Eventually I started coming up on riders and began easily passing them, trying to converse a little with each of them as I go around. No need to be rude to people out there, and a few nice words can go a long way to someone who is struggling to keep going. A little more than half way I started feeling kinda cooked and started easing up a little. Suddenly a couple of riders seemingly came out of nowhere and passed me on a climb, that got me working hard again the rest of the way back to camp. When I came in Andrea said she wasn't sure but she thought my time was close to 58min and I was immediately disappointed in myself, that's more like the times I've turned in past years on an easier course. Bummed, well at least I was able to do one fast lap....Then they posted a race update and my time was actually 52.78/11.26mph, .02 slower than my first lap. Oh yeah, feeling better now!

I started my third and final lap of the day I was surprised at how well I was feeling and wishing that I would be able to get in another lap later, but there was no way that we would make the cut off time for three more team laps. This lap was pretty uneventful with the exception of a couple of slower riders creating a bit of a traffic jam during a section of singletrack that's pretty much impossible to pass on. I was fine slowing and recovering a little, knowing that I'd have that much more gas once the trail opened up a little. Eventually the complaints from some of the traffic behind me started getting louder and I saw a spot wide enough to get by on a corner so I floored it. I finished that lap in 53.69/11.08mph, I guess the time difference could have been from the traffic jam.

We just barely missed getting a rider out for one extra lap, because of a flat tire our last rider missed getting back in before the cutoff by 2 minutes. I had a great time visiting with friends and meeting a few new ones like Karlos who's team was, according to his post, here, was having a pretty close battle with my team (590). They edged us out for the win this time, but I'll be on the lookout next time!

I rested last week so for now it's back to training. I'm going to try to find some sort of event, either biking or running, around 8 weeks from now so I can keep this momentum going.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cycling Tip

Just a little tip......
If the grips on your ride look like this and have 230hrs/2000miles of off-road use like these do:

And the weather is near 100 degrees with all of the Florida humidity.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave your gloves at home if you are planning on riding any kind of singletrack, double track, lime rock road.....heck, anything that isn't as smooth as your local sidewalk. It makes for a very slippery ride once the sweat starts, and I don't care how tight your Kung Fu grip is, in fact I think that makes it worse!

Just a little cycling tip from me to you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My son and I were out at The Rock trails last weekend. He was having a blast on the dirt jump sections, while I was having fun snapping pictures of him.

He couldn't stop laughing at my facial expressions in some of the shots that he took of me.
It's been fun watching him ride my old Schwinn lately, since he has out grown his Jamis recently. I guess it's especially cool to him since he found out it's about as old as he is, I suppose it's kinda like driving dad's old hot rod.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Next Sunday is the 8 Hours of Labor race at San Felasco, I'm pretty excited about it. I feel like I'm in better shape for it right now than I was in the last two years that I've done this race. Eight weeks ago I sure wouldn't have said that, but that was 16.4 lbs ago. It's not just loosing the weight that's got me feeling good, but I put together a training plan for myself that worked without interfering with my family and work too much. Putting the plan together was the easy part though, I managed to stick to it for 8 weeks, that's the hard part. For me anyway. This week is an easy recovery week with one decent mtb ride planed, then the 8 hour race on Sunday.

I really need to find my next event so that I can keep this momentum going. I find it's so much easier to stick to a training plan if I have an event coming up.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

8 Weeks

I know, I'm terrible about updating this blog. I'll try and be better about it.....really, I will.

My weight loss plan has been working pretty well for me over the last 8 weeks, still, I could do better if I focused a little harder on the nutrition side of it though. In the first 3 weeks I focused a lot of my attention on nutrition and dropped 9 lbs right away. Over the next 2 weeks I managed to gain a pound of that back while eating more of what I wanted and stepping up my weight training at the gym a little. During the last 3 weeks I'm down another 8.4. I've been eating pretty well during the whole 8 weeks but it was only the first three that I was so into it that I was weighing all of my portion sizes (very important in my opinion). If I can continue to train like I've been doing and get a little more serious about my nutrition I don't see any reason I can't get rid of another 7 or 8 lbs over the next month.
So far that's 16.4 lbs down and feeling pretty good. Oh and the little competition my wife and I have been having, yeah, it's still on. We are running neck and neck, both of us are right at our goals for the moment. The deal is though that once the goal is met, you have to maintain it until the next weigh in.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Uh Oh!

The little competition that my wife and I have going just got my attention. During our weekly weigh in yesterday realized that she is within 1.5 lbs of her goal and I still have 7 lbs to go to get to our original deal. You know, the deal we had before I got all cocky and said I was gonna lose an extra 5 just to keep it fair.

It's all good though, she's loosing what she wanted to lose and so far I'm down by 8.5 lbs. So needless to say our competitive nature with each other is working out for the both of us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Training for Labor Day

I must have known that I'd be getting way to comfortable and not doing any kind of structured training because sometime last year I set up this alert on my phone:

Eight weeks to go until the 8 Hours of Labor mtb race at San Felasco. I was thinking that I may try it solo this year instead of the three man team that I usually do. It would be the longest event I've ever done solo by a few hours so it's kind of intriguing to me.

Typically I would wait until two weeks before the race and start panicking because I haven't prepared myself at all. Then desperately start trying to squeeze in as much training as possible in the way of intervals and a couple of long rides. The problem is that I'm a least 15 lbs over what I like to call my race weight. I get the feeling that what I call "race weight" is higher than what most people consider race weight to be though. Most likely I would start a training program, stick to it for a week or two, stop training, and then panic in the week before the race.

Not this time though, you see the day before the calendar on my phone popped up with that friendly little reminder, my wonderful wife, Andrea decided to help me out.
She bet me that she could get to her goal weight before me. We are both certain that we can win this little contest, I'm so positive that I've got it in the bag that I think I'll lose an extra five just to make sure it's fair and all. No, we aren't competitive at all around here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Road Bike Friday

  Decided to take the road bike out today and glad I did. I had a great time doing this solo ride. I left Gainesville on the GHT, turned around in Hawthorne and headed back to 234 and headed towards Micanopy, then back into Gainesville. I keep hearing about alligator sightings on the GHT but the only wildlife I saw today was a few dear, a fox (which was a treat to see) and of course an abundance of squirrels.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Plan

It's been a long time since I've followed any kind of structured training plan on a regular basis. Oh sure, over the last several months I've been riding my bike and lifting weights at the gym once in a while. I've gone on some really fun, all day long (some would say epic) MTB rides, and even took the road bike out and let all of the roadies whoop me in my first TT. In my defense though, I think that there's a learning curve associated with doing time trials, and I'm pretty sure I picked up a lesson or two on that first attempt.

In other words, I've been having a lot of fun riding my bike and playing at the gym on my lunch break during the week. But no real structure, no training regimen at all. Which is ok for a while or to just maintain your current state of fitness, but if you want to see real improvements than you have to have a plan.

The plan is set. The workouts are loaded on the Garmin and the bike will be back on the trainer tonight. I'm starting out using a 7 week plan designed by Chris Carmichael. I've done these workouts before with excellent results, so I'm sticking to what I know. Two reasons why I'm using the indoor trainer for this. First, I have much more control over my efforts on the trainer than I do out on the road. And second, probably the main reason, is the time of day. Most of these workouts will be done early in the morning before work and before I wake the kids up for school. The other side of the plan is a training circuit two to three times a week consisting of weights and machines at the gym.

I will also try and do a better job at keeping this blog updated with my (hopefully) progress.....we'll see how that goes!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tour De Felasco 2011

I found this video on youtube from the tour last weekend. As I was watching it I was thinking, hey, check out that guys tat on his calf....wait a minute....thats me! I believe this is on Conquistador. As you can see I  can hold my own pretty well on fast technical descents, but I quickly slow to a crawl when the trail goes up. Thats how it goes when your carrying around too much extra weight!
If I knew the guy behind me was recording a video I may have ignored the stick in my rear derailleur and kept going! Probably good that I stopped though...haha.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tour de Felasco 2011

  January 8th turned out to be a very nice day to be out on the mtb, with temperatures around 55-60 degrees and sunny all day. Probably a little cool and breezy for some of the volunteers that were posted at sag stops throughout the forest I'm sure, but it was just about perfect for riding.

  And in case I didn't tell you while I was out there riding, all of you volunteers deserve a huge thank you!! This event wouldn't be possible with out your help.

  I nearly sabotaged this perfect day right from the start however. In the past two years that I've done this ride I've been much better prepared. Usually in the two to three months leading up to the event nearly every ride has a specific training purpose and I pay much closer attention to my diet. Not this year!

  I made sure I was up at 6am and had my credit card ready at the computer when registration opened back in October, the event sold out within hours so I was glad to get in, I told everyone that I got in and I was doing the metric century this year. Then I put it away, in the back of my mind. Didn't train for it, didn't eat right. Gained my traditional weight over the holidays. Then, with two weeks to go I decided I had better do something and started doing intervals on the trainer, actually got outside for one or two good rides and started eating a little better. On the day of the event I knew that I was going to need a plan if I wanted to finish the full distance.

  I knew that I wouldn't be able to remember where they were, so I found out the distance to each sag stop and wrote them down on a piece of paper along with the cut off time at sag 4 for the century. I also wrote down, a little something to think about when I wanted to give up.
"That pain is weakness leaving your body".
  My plan was to start the morning slowly, skip sag 1, brief stop at 2, then lunch. Hopefully after lunch I'd be able to pick up the pace a little, skip 3, stop at 4, then finish the metric century. Ha!! That plan was history when 7.5 miles into the ride I was redlining my heart rate. I knew that if I was even going to make it past lunch I needed to get myself under control, but I was in the middle of two of the hardest trails out there, Tung Nut and Conquistador. So I slowed down and allowed myself to get passed by a few other riders and tried to not get caught up in their pace. Once I made it to sag 1 I stopped just long enough to remove my jacket and take a few shots of water from a dixie cup. By the time sag 2 came up my heart rate was back to normal but my legs were so tired, from my zone 5 efforts earlier, that I was doubting that I'd make it past lunch.

   Lunch was great! Hot vegetarian chili and great company, I was able to sit back and rest for a little while with my family who were there volunteering. Once I was rested I said my goodbyes and got back on the trail, feeling good. I even did a wheelie while leaving, you know for the kids!

   I was feeling pretty good coming into sag 3 when I spotted some friends headed the opposite direction and suddenly when I tried to get off of the bike my legs cramped so bad I nearly hit the ground! Uh oh I thought, this can't be good. Thankfully they saved me with some electrolyte tabs, so after taking in some more calories in the way of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and a few more shots from a dixie cup I was back on my way. I must not have been paying a lot of attention to the milage because sag 4 seemed to show up pretty quick. I had plenty if time before the cut off so I rested for a few minutes and took in some more PB&J while I was trying to decide if I was going to ride the last 6 miles back and complete the 50 mile tour or was I riding the 18.5 more miles to complete the metric century, which includes doing Tung Nut and Conquistador again. In the opposite direction. I got out my cell phone and called my wife to see if they were still at the lunch stop or back at the trail head waiting for me to come out of the woods. They were still at the lunch stop.....thats it then, I'm doing the century. That last section, which ended up being more like 21 miles, was hard. Those trails are hard enough when you haven't already been pedaling most of the day. But I did it, and I'm so glad that I didn't give into the pain and stop.
At the end of the day I completed over 5800 ft of climbing and 65 miles of single track and jeep roads in 7:40. Slow but completed!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Photo testing

Pay no attention to this, ha ha. I'm just learning how to post photos from my phone.


I was reminiscing through the last few years worth of my cycling journal and realized that I rode 508 less miles in 2010 than I did in 2009. I know what your thinking...cycling journal?

Yes, I get kind of caught up in all of the data that I collect on my rides and then I log all of it....for every ride. I track everything from distance and time to my weight and heart rate. Somewhere around 20 different things i said, for every ride.

Sort of a data geek I suppose. I can't help it, it motivates me, pushes me to do a little more than before, makes me want to do more.

It's fun to look back at the notes that you write after a ride and remember a crash that happened two years ago from going to fast on an unfamiliar trail. It can also be very motivating to go over the data and see how much you've improved. Or, in my case for 2010, it can also be helpful to look back and see how relaxed you've become with your training compared to other years, months, weeks, or even days.

I've kept a food journal before and been just as detailed about it. I collected all of the data on the nutrition label for everything I ate. I weighed and measured nearly every meal, every day. Extreme I know, but I learned a lot about what I was eating and it worked for me.

Back to my original thought at the beginning of this post. I've ridden my bike 508 miles less than last year. That's really not that much, less than 10 miles per week difference. But I'm also 9 lbs. heavier than I was this time last year. I know this because of my journal.


I can do something about that, I've got the data. I'll just go farther, and I'll push harder.