Friday, May 31, 2013

May ride #13

Today is the last day of May.  I had hoped to get in 23 rides this month, but sadly my number is only 13.  Of course if I compare where I am this year versus last year it looks a bit better or not. :)  Last May I got in 20 rides for a grand total of 176 miles.  This may my 13 rides total only 104 miles.  What has improved is my total mileage for the year which is at 347 miles this year and only 286 miles through May of last year.

Today's ride was a short one as a check and adjustment of seat position in preparation for the 100 Miles of Nowhere I am riding tomorrow.  As such it was a successful ride as I believe I have the new seat dialed in and the bike is ready to go.  Now let's hope that I am ready for it.

If all goes according to plan, and let's face it when it comes to these things that is a rare occurrence, I should start about 4:00 AM and finish up between 2:00 and 3:00 pm.  I am being very conservative with my speed estimates and generous with rest stops - about 10 minutes every hour.

Look for an update either tomorrow afternoon or on Sunday.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May Ride #12

I had been planning a longer ride this morning and I actually got to execute the plan.  I got the bike ready and rolled away at 8:40 or so.  There was little wind, bright sunshine and temps in the 70's - a glorious day for a ride.

I headed out Blue Diamond road with a slight tailwind.  I was feeling fairly strong and I just spun away.  I made it out to the Gypsum mine in 35 minutes.  Made it to Bonnie Springs in just under an hour.  I continued on to Spring Mountain ranch.  It was a hair over 10 miles from my house to here.  I stopped and drank some powerade and decided that was far enough for the day.

Truth be told, I was feeling a bit saddle sore and decided it as prudent to head home.  I turned and started back down towards home.  The effort of riding uphill on the way out was rewarded with the lovely downhill ride on the way home.

I was coasting and floating down the road towards home and it was wonderful.

When I got home I uploaded the data from my Garmin to the various sites including Strava, where I learned I had set a personal best.  I hadn't been trying, but having everything working well and not mechanical issues allowed this to happen.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Where did the wind come from???

My plan this morning was to get up at 4:00 and ride my usual 10 miles or so before work.  I had the alarm set, went to bed by 10:30 and was prepared to do just that.  The only issue was that the wind was a steady 26 mph with gusts in the 40's.  According to Accuweather this was supposed to subside and only be a 10 to 15 mph wind by morning.

Accuweather was a bit off on the timing.  The 40+ gusts lasted all night.  In fact there were a few well over 50 mph.  I made the executive decision at 3:18 am, after waking up for the 3rd time due to the wind and checking the current conditions, that I wasn't riding this morning.  In order to make my goal, I'll do a quick ride this evening and then a long ride tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May Ride #11

So I got up at 4:00 am,got into my cycling clothes, got my piece of gum, pumped up the tires and was on the road by 4:20.  I noticed right away that there was a Southwest wind again this morning.  This meant extra resistance on the uphill part of my lap around the block. Checking out the official weather after my ride it shows 20 mph with gusts to 26. Just another spring morning in Las Vegas!

I was feeling pretty good the first few laps, but about lap 6 It was getting tough to make the pedals turn.  No sure why, but I powered through.  One thing I like about the laps around the block is I generally  get to coast for about 20 to 30 seconds each lap.  I use that as recovery time.  Its almost like doing interval training.

After powering through 3 or 4 tough laps, its like my body decided to quit protesting and just get it done.  It never really became easier, but it wasn't as hard either.  I suspect the wind and my mental state towards it was as much to blame.  Once I accepted that it wasn't changing and that I was just going to do it, it felt easier.

Somewhere along the way I must have lost count and skipped a lap number since I finished at 9.97 miles and not the 10.47 I had thought.  That means I did 21 and not 22 laps.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May Ride #10

Got up, got out and rode this morning.  It was nice and cool with just a bit of wind, but it was an annoying wind, about 10 mph in my face on the tougher half of the block. I could feel it slowing me down, but it was all good!  I was out riding and not making excuses and not in bed.

Due to my lack of rides over the weekend, I'm not going to hit my goal for the month for the number of days rode, but that doesn't mean its time to quit.  My new goal is to ride every day for the rest of the month to bring my monthly total # of rides to 20.  Not a bad month at all.

Keep riding!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Ride #9

Got up and got out there for the 4th morning in a row and it felt good.  I'm finally getting into a groove.  No mechanical issues, no weather issues, just getting out there and putting in a few miles every morning.

This morning it was another 22 laps around the block for a total of 10.48 miles.  I even did it faster than yesterday by 37 seconds!  That actually gave me an average speed of 14.8 mph!  It also got me over the 300 mile mark so far for the year.

As with yesterday's ride, I could have gone farther, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't too late to upload the data and put up my post this morning.

Hope everyone has a great day and is able to get out and enjoy the outdoors in some way!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May rides #7 & #8 and Weigh in

May ride #7 was a nice little 6 mile ride yesterday after the sun was up.  I started a bit after 8:00 am and it was already in the 80's. In fact our overnight low was only 80.  My objective was to get in a nice little work out and sweat out a bit more weight before my weigh in.  Mission accomplished.  I would have ridden a bit longer, but all of the parents were coming out to get their kids to school and the bus and frankly it didn't feel safe!  It really is a winder there aren't a lot more accidents at that time of the morning.

More on the weigh in in a moment.

May ride #8 was this morning and it felt really good!  I felt strong, the weather was perfect and there was little wind.  The bike performed flawlessly and I was getting back some of the confidence on the cornering.  It was a good morning to be on the bike.  I did the 22 laps I had planned on Monday and netted 10.47 miles.  My average speed was a good 14.6 mph and that was with actually taking a couple of cool down laps.  I didn't push all out, but I did push and it felt awesome.  I actually did most of rht laps staying in my highest gear.  That means I'm getting stronger and I am getting more confident in m ability to accomplish the 100 Miles of Nowhere in 2 1/2 weeks.

Now for the weigh in.  The good news is I lost an average of 1.8 lbs. per week for the last 10 weeks which makes a total of 18 lbs. for the Biggest Winner contest.  The bad news is I think my off the rails eating over the last week probably cost me 4 or 5 lbs. on the contest.  I feel bad because it feels like I let my teammates down.  But it is what it is and its time to move forward.  Now I want to concentrate on eating healthy and riding my bike and let the weight fall where it will.  I'm not under the pressure of a contest, I know what I need to do and I'm just going to do it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

May Ride #6

YAY!!! I did a ride with no problems.  It felt good.  I still don't quite trust the tires and tubes on the corners, but that will come in time.

This morning I decided to really start the training for the 100 Miles Of Nowhere, so I rode around and around the block.  I must have miscounted the laps as I thought I had 22 laps done and it turned out to be only 21.  Therefore I rode 9.97 miles instead of the 10+ I was shooting for.

It felt good, though.  Temperatures was 74 degrees, very light wind from the west and obviously no sun as it was 0 dark 30 when I was riding.

Thinking ahead to June 1st, I am going to have to start pretty early to get in a good number of miles before things really start heating up.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May ride #5

Just wanted to do a quick post to say I just did my fifth ride for the month in 10 days.  That means I need to do 18 rides in the remaining 21 days of May.  Of course in order to have done the ride, that would mean I have a bike with 2 good tires and tubes on it which I do.  I'm really hoping that I have the whole tube thing figured out.  Only time will tell.

By the Way, I looked at the rear tire I had issues with and part f the bead was missing.  I'm not sure if this was before, during or after the issue on Wednesday, but the tire was not reusable so I got a new one.  Let's hope the Michelin man knows as much about bicycle tires as he does about car tires.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May ride #3 & #4

May ride number 3 was a fun little roam around the bock with the grandson's.  Nick made it once around and Dillon made it twice.  I continued a couple more laps to get in the self-imposed minimum of 3 miles for the ride to count.  It was very enjoyable.  I do have to get both Nick and Dillon bigger bikes, though, as they have quickly outgrown their Christmas presents from Last year.

May ride number 4 was this morning.  It started with a real struggle to convince myself that yes I was going riding this morning.  Once I did get up and ready, I went out and aired up the tires.  It sure seems like the pressure just won't stay up for more than a day in this weather with the dry air.

Once I was ready I headed out.  There are signs along my normal one mile loop that Quarterhorse is closed to through traffic.  I decided to see if it really was closed. Yes there were barriers up, but no reason for the closure other than ease of access for the construction equipment for the new houses they are putting in.  I made my way through and on up to Pebble.  I headed east on Pebble and decided to switch it up this morning and the the longer route down to Durango.

The surface of Pebble between El Capian and Durango is fairly rough.  I was feeling all of the gouges, grooves and bumps in the road.  Once I hit Durango I felt something not right in the rear wheel and started braking.  Before I got to a full stop it seems the rear tire came off the rim and the tube popped.  There I was almost a mile from home with a flat tire.

Now I had a tube with me, but I realized it was the shorter valve and not one of the longer valved ones which arrived in the mail yesterday.  So I took the bike for a nice 8/10 mile walk home.

I'm really starting to think I must have pissed off the tire gods or something.  I have never had so many issues with tires and tubes in my life, with the possible exception of when we were about 10 and took the bikes to the gas station for air and popped the tubes.

Anyway, even though it was only a 2.1 mile "ride" this morning, walking is worth 3x the distance as riding so I call it long enough for my personal May challenge.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A sobering reminder

Today I got sad news.  A friend of mine I grew up with passed away.  His name was Mike.  He was only 51.  He was in New York City participating on the 5 Boro Bike Tour when he had a heart attack and couldn't be revived.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

I've known Mike since grade school.  We were in the boy scouts together and spent a lot of time doing various activities.  I remember camping and canoeing and hiking and riding our bikes everywhere we went back then.  There were football and volleyball games, hanging out in our friends basement and listening to some great music.

We went to different high schools but stayed in touch.  We had developed a group of friends that stayed together pretty much into our early twenties.  There were marriages and kids, jobs and careers and everything else life throws at you and we started drifting apart.

Believe it or not about 20 years ago, Mike and some other friends were going on a backpacking trip in Michigan's upper peninsula.  I went along as well.  Now I wasn't in very good shape, even then, but with their encouragement, especially Mike's, I made it through the long hikes to get to the campsites.  I remember the positive attitude and the support which got me through.

Just over 3 years ago, Mike had a heart attack and we very nearly lost him then.  He fought through and survived.  I believe this weekend's ride was to celebrate how far he'd come.

The fact that he is gone bolstering my resolve and making me more determined to progress along my journey toward a healthier and lighter version of myself.  It has brought home the fact that we do need to make better choices and be better to our bodies or we could be taken from this world way too soon.

Mike you will be missed.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May Ride #2

My plan had been to swap my old, larger tires from my old wheels to the new ones.  My thinking was that the wider, beefier tires would help to absorb any impact from road debris.  So Wednesday night after work I took the wheels off and dismounted the tires.  I then started putting it all back together and realized I had a problem.

My awesome new Chukker wheels are a deep V design which means I need longer than standard valves on the tubes in order to make it through the wider rim.  I tried to get the ones I had to work, but there was no way it was going to happen.

So Yesterday at lunch I made a trip to ProCyclery and was lucky enough to snag the last 2 700c x 35-42 mm 48 mm presta valve tubes in the shop.  I sure am glad they had 2 left.  For insurance, I ordered a couple of tubes online with 60 mm valves.

This morning I put the  tubes in and put it all back together.  It was time for my second ride in the month of May.

I started out with a couple of laps around the block just to see how the tires felt and to make sure there weren't any issues.  I could tell the difference between the Gatoskins and the comfort tires.  The Gatorskins felt like race tires.  The  new tires were able to absorb the the imperfections and debris on the road.

I then decided to take a nice easy ride out towards Blue Diamond.

The sun was shining, the temps in the 70's and the winds were fairly light.  I rode for about 30 minutes and then decided to turn around and head home.

I didn't set any speed records but enjoyed the ride.  The bottom line is that until i lose a bit more weight, I'll be riding the wider tires, with their increased rolling resistance.  Its worth it to have them be durable and reliable.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Ride #1

Since I assigned myself the challenge of riding 23 of 31 days in May, I knew it had to start today.  So with winds blowing, I got up and got out there this morning.  The winds were from the NNE at 18 gusting to 30.  This meant the steepest grade was into the wind.

I was actually feeling pretty good riding this morning.  It was a bit of a struggle on the one section of my route, but I was enjoying it.  That is until I ran over a small rock with my rear wheel and shortly thereafter was on a flat tire  Again.  Seems the place for my tires to go flat is around the fastest corner of my route.

Anyway, I ended up walking the bike the last 3/10 mile back to the house.  I made it over 3 miles so the ride does count for my personal May challenge, but I'm not too happy about it.  I love the lower rolling resistance of the Gatorskins, but the fact that they don't seem to handle the road debris as well as I need them too is an issue.  I think I'll be switching tires this evening so that I can have more confidence in their ability to handle the small debris which is invariably on my rides.