Sunday, March 28, 2010

27 March 2010

Wow, what a ride! Today was the "Marquis de Sade," an AOMM training ride hosted by the Spartanburg Freewheelers. It (according to my trusty Garmin Edge 705) was just shy of 84 miles and just over 8400 feet of climbing! This is, without a doubt, the HARDEST ride I have ever completed. EVER. I tried to do this last year but had to SAG out when I shredded a tire on the way up White Oak Mountain. Had I actually made it up the mountain last year, I still don't think I could've finished the route; I was not yet half way and my body was screaming for mercy or death!
This year, things are different. This is my year. I have dropped over 40 pounds in the last six months, I have trained hard through the winter, and I am stronger and healthier than ever. Barring any injury or mechanical catastrophe, I will complete the 2010 Assault on Mt. Mitchell on May 24th!
Anyhoo, back to the MdS yesterday. The hardest part of the ride was getting started. It was like 40 degrees when we pulled out, brrr! We turned the heat on pretty quickly though, about 15 minutes into the ride we had started the climb up Pack's Mountain (part of the climb actually hits 17% incline!). Turns out Pack's would be the smallest thing we climbed all day. We would proceed over Callahand Mtn., up the Greenville Watershed (one of the prettiest routes I've ever ridden), over to Tryon to climb White Oak Mtn. (2000 feet in 5 miles!), through Green River Cove (yet another truly beautiful route), climbed out of the gorge to Saluda (~1000 feet in 4 miles) and made our way back to North Greenville University, from whence we came.
The weather eventually warmed a little (or did I?) and the whole day was bright sunshine. The climbing was hard, but my new speakers were a great distraction for me. The speakers also helped me reign in my competitive side so I could pace myself and go the distance. The one thing I don't get, and have to work on, is the cramping. I take electrolyte capsules and drink plenty of fluids, yet I still got cramps. I managed to work it all out before the end, but I'd love to avoid them altogether.
Now's not the time to back off though. I still have much work to do before May gets here. So, I'll keep hammering around Lexington County, and hopefully make another trip or two to the hills for some torturous climbing exercises. You get out of it what you put into it. Be blessed, be safe.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

23 March 2010

Took a road trip today to Murrells Inlet, to see my friends Tim and Mary at Grand Strand Bicycles. I needed some work done to my real wheel and I wanted to get my fit checked. Tim is a great wrench and just so happens to be trained by Specialized to do bike fits. They took great care of me, they always do.
After the work was done, it was time to play. It was a beautiful, but crazy windy, day on the coast. Jumped on the Roubaix and knocked out 38 miles. It's flat as a pancake there, but everywhere I turned it seemed I was riding in a headwind. I don't mind though, because that's as good a workout as any. Hope your day was a good as mine.
Be blessed, be safe.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

20 March 2010

Man, what an awesome day! Even though I had to work last night and didn't go to bed until 9am this morning, I was happy and excited to get out of bed at 1pm; the temp was predicted to hit 80 and my brother was coming over to go riding! Threw on my RBX bibs from Specialized and my new, never-before-sweated-in Grand Strand Bicycles jersey from Hincapie Sportswear and we took off through the countryside! Got in a good half-century plus and the weather was indeed beautiful!
As if the ride couldn't get any better, I added some MP3 speakers to my handlebars (not my actual bars shown!) which are a recent birthday gift from my bride. Now, of course they don't offer the thumpin' bass of a car stereo, but the sound is clear and the volume is plenty. It came with a cord that plugs into the computer to recharge and a short cord to connect to my MP3 player which is loaded with tunes! For all you weight-geeks who work to take a few grams off your bike here and there, I can lose enough weight off my butt and belly in a week to more than make up for it.
Speaking of which, I have to brag a little; my wife and I entered a weight-loss challenge at the gym where she works out, and I somehow managed to win both categories, "greatest amount of weight lost," (29 pounds!) and "greatest percentage of body fat lost," (nearly 14%!). Won a couple of sessions with a private trainer and a cash prize which I will soon send to Hammer Nutrition for some excellent products! I am quite excited, because regardless of the prize, I am carrying less and less weight and that is helping me slay some of those hills I encounter on my bike! Life is good!
Glad I got the ride in today, will try to spin some tomorrow to loosen up, then spin class on Monday evening. Then, I will taper down and take in some extra carbs to prepare for the Marquis de Sade next Saturday. I am looking forward to this ride but it won't be easy; 82 miles with (I think) over 8000 feet of climbing! Like its namesake, this ride is torturous, and if you actually love it you must be sick!
Hope y'all have a great week, keep hammering!
Be blessed, be safe!
p.s. Funny sidenote (at least I think so!): we stopped today at what I thought was a store, but was really an old country bar, so I could grab some more liquid; when I walked in wearing my bike kit, youda thunk I was naked and painted green! All these old guys sitting at a bar making romance with a beer can/bottle just staring in disbelief. It's a little eerie to walk into a place like that and everything just go silent, as if someone hit a "mute" button! I just laughed and felt a little sorry for them. It was the most beautiful day we'd had in months and they were all stuck inside this dark little joint, thinking I was the weird one.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

6 March 2010

Rocked the March on Caesar's Head today! This is a ride I attempted two years ago and did not even make it to the top of the mountain, let alone back to the school where we began the ride. Today, I made it to the top without getting off the bike and went all the way back to North Greenville University. I am hurting now, tired and sore, but very pleased with the progress I am making. Now I must prepare for the appropriately named "Marquis de Sade" in three weeks. It is 82 miles and who knows how much climbing?!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

3 March 2010

I can't believe it; it is March in South Carolina, and we actually got a dusting of snow/sleet last night! I know the folks up North have had a lot of the white stuff this year, but here in the Deep South we are not used to this. It's all relative, a matter of that to which one is accustomed, but this has just been a cold winter in general. I am so ready for warm weather, to leave the house at daybreak on the bike and watch the world come alive in the morning. Ah, it won't be long now, and we'll all be complaining about how hot it is and we can't wait for it to cool off.
Because it has been a cold winter (by our Southern standards), I have spent a lot of time on the trainer, rather than the road. So, if I am going to be inside and missing out on the joys of a ride through the country, I want it to be pleasant. I have spent the last few days working on my bike cave; new paint, bigger TV, etc. This is a picture so far, still needs another coat of red, a couple of touch-ups here and there, and a silver rail to separate the red from the white. Eventually, I will lay a black rubber floor to complete it. Colors were chosen based on my Specialized Roubaix, quite possibly the most excellent bike I could ever throw my leg across. This is my space and I spend a good deal of time out here, even when I'm not on the bike.
Still taking it easy this week, 'bout to go spin for a little bit just to stay loose, all part of learning to taper before an event. The "March on Caesar's Head" is Saturday and I want to rock this thing.
Be blessed, be safe.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2 March 2010

Went back to spin class last night, what a workout! Much harder than riding on the road. I like it, though, and think it's an awesome way to stress a few muscles.
Been working in my bike cave to make it a bit more homey; I spend a lot of time out there, so I want to make it a little nicer. Post some pics when I am finished.
Getting ready for the "March on Caesar's Head" this Saturday. It's the first of several organized training rides by the Spartanburg Freewheelers to get us ready for Mt. Mitchell; a sixty-miler from North Greenville University out to Caesar's Head and back, and includes about 3500 feet of climbing. That'll really tell the story as to how my winter training has gone. I know I'll do better than last time as I am probably 30 pounds lighter this time around. Let you know how it goes.
Be blessed, be safe.