Tuesday, April 28, 2009

28 April 2009

I don't like it when work has to get in the way of biking. I wish someone would pay me to ride a bike. I am too old and fat to win races but I could ride everyday. I am open to sponsorship, even ("This fat guy rides our bike and you can too!"). Unfortunately, that is not the case and I must remain gainfully employed. Which, in today's economic milieu, that's a good thing.
But working keeps me off my bike. I bought a new bike this year that I love, it rides like a dream, I don't even mind mountain climbing on it. I just can't ride it enough! That's been the case for over a week. I have worked nearly every day, and any riding I am doing is on the trainer, 30 minutes at a time.
I'll have to take what I can get, though. The 2009 Assault on Mt. Mitchell is in 20 days and I will finish it. Over 100 miles, around 11,000 feet total accumulated climbing, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 hours on the bike; I have my work cut out for me. By God's grace I will make it.
Be blessed, be safe.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

22 April 2009

So, today is Earth Day and all the world wants to focus on the environment and political issues; I think I'll throw my two cents in.
I agree, to a point. I DO, in fact, think we should do more to protect and restore the environment. I think government policies should support the environment and should be strongly enforced when infractions are committed.
But, I disagree with all this as a focus. I think what we should focus on while we are protecting and restoring the environment, is the earth's Creator. To think that all of the beauty and majesty we drink in when we gaze at nature happened by chance is a mistake. It was a loving and providential God (big G) that gave all this to us.
On Earth Day, let's thank and honor the Artist, not just the painting.
Be blessed, be safe.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

18 April 2009

What a glorious day! Went back to White Oak Mountain (outside of Tryon, NC) and climbed over it! Well, okay, I walked for a quarter-mile or so; I climbed MOST of it! What a tough hill. Even while walking, my heart rate was in the upper 140's! But, we made it to the top, and even with walking, I was only 15 minutes behind my brother (who's a MUCH better, MUCH lighter cyclist than I), and enjoyed one of the most majestic views I have ever seen in the Appalachians. Unfortunately, I left my phone in the car, so I had to post with a photo I actually took last trip, and it falls way short. I'll make it up in the near future. The trip down was a hang-on hoot, but it didn't last. We rode the river valley to Saluda, NC and there was a good bit of climbing involved there, as well. Stopped in Saluda for water and headed back to Tryon at a wonderful downhill speed. I am not a good climber, heck, I am not a good cyclist, but I always, always enjoy riding in the hills, checking out the Lord's art work. We stood on the mountain overlooking I-26 and thought about how many times we had passed this way on the interstate and never knew what all was off the highway and just up the hill. Amazing.
Be blessed, be safe.

My rednblack riding rig.

Friday, April 17, 2009

17 April 2009

My April work schedule has kept me from getting the miles in like I have been this year, but I am still managing some good rides. Went to the beach Wednesday evening and got up Thursday to do 42+ miles around Litchfield and Pawleys Island. What a beautiful day it was; sunshine, light breeze, minimal traffic. I'll rest today (sort of, working around the house) and tomorrow will head back to the mountains with my brother to do some climbing. Right outside of Tryon, NC is White Oak Mountain, a real butt kicker. That's where I blew a tire out two weeks ago; I will have a spare this time. Up and over!
Be blessed, be safe.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

9 April 2009

Think I'll ramble a little today...
I blew a tire Saturday on White Oak Mountain, shredded it, really. No spares to be had, but I knew I was headed to the beach on Sunday. Grand Strand Bicycles is open on Monday, so I could stop by and grab a couple, while bending Tim's ear about tires and gearing. Decided to go with the Michelin Lithion 700x25, I tire I had been using and was pleased with. The tires on my bike at purchase were Specialized Pro All Condition, heavy and with tread. I came home Tuesday night and mounted both tires with the hopes of hitting the road on Wednesday before work. Wednesday was really windy and I thought my ride would not mean much numerically but would otherwise be a good workout; I couldn't believe it! Between recovering from Saturday's mountain ride and the new tires, my average speed increased from 16.7mph to 18.3mph on a very similar route. These are numbers akin to what I was approaching before the weather chilled last year and brought me inside. So, with new rubber between me and the pavement, I am ready to cover some ground, that is, until it starts pointing straight up!
That's where today's ride comes in: on workdays, I am keeping it in the garage (though it's getting a bit warm for that) and "slogging." That's my word for hopping on the trainer and doing intervals where for 5 minutes I pedal in a gear where I can hold my cadence in the low 80's, then for 5 minutes I throw it into the hardest gear and I "slog." Cadence drops to the 40's but man, what a workout!
Only 39 days till the '09 AOMM. Training harder than ever and still trying to drop a few pounds. I think I have my "on-bike" nutrition figured out and I am looking forward to going for it.
Be blessed, be safe.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

8 April 2009

This is a photo I snapped with my cell phone near the top of White Oak Mountain.

It was a very busy weekend, that's why I am writing about it on a Tuesday night (or should I say, Wednesday morning?). We'll go back to Saturday and start there.
My brother and I went to Tigerville to participate in a training ride with the Spartanburg Freewheelers, ride known as "The Marquis de Sade." The only thing I know about the historical figure for whom this ride was named is he was into some torture; the ride was well-named. More hills (steep ones!) and climbing than I have ever desired to climb, all rolled into one ride. But, I went in with the attitude that this was for training, I'll give it all I've got, and we'll see what happens.
I was very pleased with what happened. About a mile into the ride the hills started. About a mile after that, I blew a shift on an 11% hill and had to walk the last 15-20 yards; once I got back on, though, I didn't stop for another 40 miles. I climbed Callahan mountain, a road I had to walk up last year. I didn't fly through the Watershed, but I rode it without stopping. In fact, I would pass places and think, "I remember stopping there last year to catch my breath!"
I rode over 40 miles without getting off the bike; I say that with a lot of pride because I can see the improvements I have made physically and mentally in the last year. I finally wore down near the top of White Oak Mountain because I am a much bigger guy than my bike is geared for on hill like these. I didn't give up, though. I got off and walked a little while, but I didn't give up. However, my bike did. At a little over 43 miles into the ride, I was back on the bike, and a shot rang out behind me and the ride was suddenly rough. Between my weight, 110psi, and an 11% incline, oh and something in the road, my back tire developed a sudden air allergy and sneezed. I pulled over to put a tube in it but the tire was shredded. My ride was done.
Fortunately for me, this was a well-sagged ride, so I made a quick phone call (I HATE cell phones, but will NOT ride without one!) and a van was on the way. Let me say this first: I am completely and utterly grateful for the young lady driving the van and the bike shop to whom said van belonged. Having said that, I'll now say I was close to jumping out of that van and carrying my bike back to my car. The back of a van is no place to be on mountain switchbacks! I was sure I was near to puking up something I'd need later!
Anyway, I made it back, with a little help, and waited for my brother to return. He soon rolled into the parking lot showing 83 miles on his computer; in my 43 miles I had climbed over 4300 feet, no telling how much climbing he had done! Three days later and he's still tired! I am proud of him though, he's a dadgum mountain goat!
Yep, I got my butt kicked in the hills, but give me two weeks and I am going back! Newer, stronger tires with a spare to boot, and an attitude that says, "Bring it!" I am going up and over, and in 40 days when I ride the AOMM, I WILL ride proudly across the finish line at the top. I WILL be ready!
Be blessed, be safe.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

1 April 2009

Wow, can you believe it's another month already? Amazing. Where does the time go?
Well, I had been concerned about making my goal for March, and it just so happened that I was able to leave work a little early yesterday; that put me home early, in the bed early, and up early, with time to get out and knock out the miles I needed to accomplish my goal, actually, several goals. I did my 510 miles for March, and then some; and, I finally got a 500 mile month. I know those sound redundant, but I am just happy and encouraged by my progress.
Now if I could just lose some more weight. Hard to do when you love food like I do. And then, when I hammer hard, I come home hungry and stay that way for a couple of days. I gotta get a handle on this.
Going to the upstate Saturday to ride with the Spartanburg Freewheelers, on one of their training rides called the Marquis de Sade (for obvious reasons- it is torture!) which is supposed to be the toughest of the lot. Lots of hard, steep hills, but that is where the growth is. We'll have a good time.
Be blessed, be safe.