Monday, July 25, 2016

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER....

     Another case whereby one should never ASSume.  In retrospect, while the bottom line may have turned out the same, I failed to completely explore all possible scenarios.  This post is about why I have a new HRM (and my third strap).  Chronologically in order:
     On June 23rd I did a thirty-mile loop, and the HRM performed perfectly, as it has for several years, after I had managed to lose my first one (following Garmin suggestion of removing the HRM from the strap so as to save battery power, I think I dropped it in a parking lot.  Anyway, that's another story, but I no longer separate the two unless washing the strap).
     On June 29 I started out on the first 3-gap loop in Georgia and immediately noticed the lack of heart-rate showing on the computer.  I re-wet the connections but nothing happened.  Not to worry, I always take it easy on the first ride in the mountains.  Ride finished and body showered, I calmly sat down with a glass of red to contemplate what to do next.  More fiddling with the computer and strap netted zero changes.  I still had cadence, distance, grades, etc. so my focus was on the HRM.  Garmin suggests a maximum of 4.5 years at one hour a day average.  I do at least twice that, so determined that a new battery would fix the deficiency.  The nearest store is down the mountain, a half hour away.  Besides, look at those teeny-tiny Phillips screws on the HRM.  I needed a tool to even consider replacement.  My ever-resourceful wife managed to produce (after going down to Dahlonega the next day) batteries and tool (not a Phillips, but a small eyeglass screwdriver).
     I did the three-gap ride in the opposite direction, showered, and sat down with a glass of red (my daughter-in-law supplied me with four bottles, so just about every sitting down included a glass) to replace the dead battery.  Didn't happen.  Those screws were in so tight, I didn't have the strength to turn that really, really thin screwdriver.  Ever resourceful wife called equally resourceful daughter (who was arriving the next day) to include a pair of pliers (remember, we are in a cabin in the mountains, on holiday).
     July 1, another three gaps without a heart-rate read-out.  But to shorten the story, I got the screws out, installed the new battery, replaced the cover, and put on the strap.  Nothing happened.  No, I put the battery right-side up.  Nothing happened.  I was doing well climbing the gaps, including the obnoxious Hog Pen, and even tackled Brasstown Bald for the first time in five years.  But I had no heart-rate data.
     When I got home, I Googled the problem and saw some suggestions.  But in replacing the HRM cover, I apparently was too enthusiastic in making sure it was water-tight.  Two screws wouldn't budge.  Damn.  Time to call in some experts.
     July 17, after the BSS Sunday ride, I discussed my options with Todd (ride leader).  His experience was they (HRMs) just stop, and suggested a new one.  Well, I was already 80% leaning toward that, so I ordered a new one (I love BSS, but their price was $20 higher than Amazon).
     July 23, with new HRM and "improved" strap in place, I attempted to "pair" the computer.  It didn't "pair."  I pulled up the instructions on-line, just in case I wasn't doing it right.  Nope, it just didn't recognize the HRM.  Pook!  Ding-fu!!  The July 24 ride in the hills done without HR data.
     July 25, today, I took the time-trial bike out to Old Settlers Park.  Since my fit on the road bike raised my saddle over an inch, I raised the tt saddle also and wanted to see how that worked.  On a whim, I took the HRM.  To my surprise, when I switched over to Bike 2, HRM sensor was detected!  I had good data for the whole work-out.  Back home, I switched to Bike 1, and lost HR read-out.
A head-scratcher.  Again I attempted to "pair" the HRM in Bike 1 mode.  Nothing.  Switch to Bike 2, a good read-out.  Switch to Bike 1, nothing.  Switch to Bike 2- read-out.  Switch to Bike 1- read-out.
     I stopped trying to understand computers a long time ago. And I won't dwell on the possibility I didn't need a new HRM.   I'll wait to see what I get tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

HOTTER'N HELL TIPS

     Everyone should do the Hotter'N Hell Hundred at least once.  I did it ten years in a row about twenty years ago, and last year, just to see if things changed.  Here are the things you should consider:
     1.  Within 50 miles of Wichita Falls, motels fill up rapidly, many in town have a two night minimum and are expensive.
     2.  When driving to WF, within 50 miles, do not exceed the speed limit on Friday.
     3.  Enjoy the Expo Friday afternoon and evening.
     4.  Get to the start line as soon as you can, like an hour before the start if possible.  Don't be shy about being in the front, you want to get in a decent paceline asap.
     5.  Be prepared to dodge folks who should have started at the back because they lack cycling skills, for the first five (ten) miles.
     6.  Find a (pace) paceline that you are comfortable with, slightly less than a club ride.  Because you will be passing others you can drop off if you get tired, or if being passed, hop on if that one suits you better.  You should be behind someone for at least 60 miles, 40 on a bad day.
     7.  Be prepared to make the 40 mile rest stop your first one, 50 if you can.  Only take two water bottles.  After the first stop, stop at each of the others.  Don't exceed 5 minutes per stop until at least 80 miles.  You should (must) consume a bottle of liquid (electrolytes), minimum, between stops (after your first one).
     8.  In a paceline, or later an individual, do not stay behind a person who yo-yo's their cadence, braking then speeding up.  That is a fast way to tire your muscles.  Pick a base-cadence, but occasionally increase or decrease for a short period to give yourself a break.
     9.  Wear sunblock.  The rest stops have some, feel free to re-apply.
     10. If, for any reason, 100 miles becomes too much of a reach, make the decision at Hell's Gate to shorten the ride.  The other option is to SAG in.  The HHH is well-supported and their goal is to get you safely in.  Don't make it harder on them by getting heat stroke.
     11. Have fun.
This list may have additions later on.
   

Saturday, July 16, 2016

CYCLING THE SIX GAPS, BUT....

   ....Not the century.  You can read about that in my September 3, 2011 blog.  Every year since 2005 we've been coming to the North Georgia Mountains on vacation.  I bring my bike and ride the gaps, three at a time.  Every year in July I post a blog about it.  Mostly, not much changes.  This year, there were some minor changes, plus I didn't get rained out on my rides.
     I was looking forward to this year, in that with my new bike fit allowing more muscles to turn the pedals, I hoped to make a better ascent of Hogpen Gap and maybe tackle Brasstown Bald.  Last year I didn't have the oomph for Hogpen, and it has been at least three years since I tried the beast of Brasstown.
     My first ride is always Woody Gap, Neels Gap, Wolfpen Gap.  This thirty-five mile loop eases me into mountain cycling, in that Woody (from Suches) is a short (two miles), gentle climb (6-8% grade) and the transition to Neels is rolling.  Traditionally, it takes me two hours, forty-five minutes.  I started my Garmin and rolled out from the cabin.  In the past I'd wait until leaving the premises before beginning to time the ride.  As I glanced down, I noticed the HRM was not giving me a reading.  Mentally I checked that the strap was in place (yes, it has been forgotten in the past) and when I got to the road I stopped and re-wet it.  Still no read-out.  This was poor timing for the battery to go out.  As it turns out, even replacing the battery didn't get it going, and I'm finding blogs advising what to do, but now I have other issues with it.  That's another story, but suffice to say none of my rides have heart-rate information.
     The ride itself was uneventful.  The five-mile descent down Woody is always fun and I had no traffic.  There was a slight wind in my face, so to maintain the mid-twenties speed, I did some easy pedaling.  The transition to Turner's Corner felt good.  After a short stop to ingest a Clif Bar, I began the eight miles (which historically, and incorrectly, have reported as nine) to the top.  I recorded mostly 7-8% with a few short 10% ramps, with about a mile of flat-downhill about the half-way spot, and arrived at the top feeling good.  Another short stop for a nature break, then it was off down the mountain.
     This is a four-lane highway that is very lightly traveled.  Generally, if I start without a vehicle in front of me and get a few seconds headstart on any behind me, since my speed is close to the speed limit (35 mph), I can use both lanes of traffic to carve the curves.  I'm constantly monitoring my rear view mirrors to be sure of not impeding any cars, but mostly I have the road to myself.  All too soon the left turn onto route 180 and Wolfpen Gap comes up.
     Wolfpen is a three-mile climb, with a lot of cambered, tight turns.  It is a favorite of motorcycles and there are always guys enjoying it.  It is also my favorite, although five out of the six gaps can be catagorized as favorites (I'm unenamoured with Jack's Gap), for different reasons.  Once at the top, there is a two mile exhilerating descent, some standard descent, and then rolling back to the cabin.
This year, I did this loop, in one direction or the other, four times.
     My other loop starts at the top of Jack's Gap (driving to that point), and is a boring five-mile descent and right turn up to Unicoi Gap.  This is another easy ascent of about two and a half miles at 5-8%, followed by a great downhill.  Again, four lanes most of the time, with sweeping curves that mostly can be taken at speed.  I noticed some cracks developing in strategic places on the curves, which had me slowing slightly.  You get a couple of fast miles, then more moderate.  Soon enough another right turn puts you on the transition to Hogpen.  Don't get the wrong idea, this transition has 8% grades.
     One more right turn puts you on the Russell Scenic Highway.  It is not scenic.  Rather, it is shaded.  There are trees on both sides.  The asphalt is newish and smooth.  It is a long climb, with a nice downhill in the middle.  But my Garmin showed a lot of 10-12% grades.  The killer comes after a long 12% that turns a curve and presents you with 16% (according to my Garmin, which may not be accurate at this point since it showed 20%).  It doesn't matter, the climb is tough.  Through the sweating and panting, I smiled.  I was going up and although working hard, not struggling.  The downhill had me wishing for the road I'd just come up.  Rough as a cob.  Scary long straights, allowing speeds in excess of 50mph, if you are so inclined.  I kept mine around 39mph this year (I see that previously I'd gone up to 47).  More rolling transition gets you back to route 180, a left turn, ride a mile, another left turn, ride two miles, turn right and go up Wolfpen.  Mileage came in at forty-five, climbing 5462 feet.
     One other route I do is the Skeenah Gap ride.  This is fifty-one miles, and has as much altitude (4782) as the shorter ones.  Where the three gap starting with Woody (going south) is counter-clockwise, Skeenah is clockwise, thus starts with going down the north side of Woody.  It is another great descent.  Super weather, mostly by myself without vehicles, until I got to a couple miles of moderate traffic.  Last year, I had to stop after thirty-eight miles and call for a ride home, I was so pooped.  This year I just carried on, topping Wolfpen once again.
     I rested the next day in preparation for Brasstown Bald.  Originally I thought I had a three year hiatus from climbing Brasstown, but in going through my records I find my last climb to have been in 2011.  Also, I didn't set a new record on the decent, but tied my best time of 4:55.  You can read about it in my July 2011 post, with pictures.  Anyhow, I was pleased as punch to once again be able to make the ascent.  For those not reading the 2011 account, the climb starts off at 12%, goes to 16%, drops to 12%, then a short break in the 6-8% range.  You get another 16%, maybe 18%, followed immediately by the 24% wall.  After that, the 16% and 12% ramps don't seem so bad, and the single digits downright flat.
     This year's foray into Georgia was a cycling success, with 260 miles and 29,841feet of climbing.
   

   

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

TEXAS STATE TIME TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, 2016

     I wasn't looking forward to the time trials this year, mainly because I knew my form to be 'way off.  But then again, I like competing no matter what the outcome.  Besides my form, several fast riders turned 70 and entered the 70+ category.  When I looked at the roster I estimated I'd be fighting for sixth place (out of twelve).
     The individual time trial took place Saturday morning and the team time trial on Sunday morning.  Fortunately, us old guys had an early morning start time, 7:40am for me.  Our course began south, 10k out and back, for a total of 20k.  The temperature moved into the lower 80's with heavy humidity.  I took my normal twenty-five minute warm-up and joined the other guys at the start line.
     I eschewed the starting ramp, not needing the extra couple of seconds since fighting for a podium spot seemed very much out of range.  The speed moved up to 23mph range, something I thought I could hold, and two mph higher than my target, based on lack of training.  Of more interest to me was the heart-rate.  The last two years I couldn't get enough power to the pedals without the muscles tiring with a heart-rate in the 130's.  I was anxious to see what I could do in this race.  As it turned out, I was quite comfortable at 144/147, and quite pleased.  This wasn't a 100% effort and wasn't supposed to be.  What it did was give me the confidence to up my training (more on that later).
 
 My team partners were Dean Wilkerson (77) and Tom Cole (72).  Tom came in second in the individual, two minutes-plus faster than me.  Dean, in the 75+ category, beat me by three seconds.  None of the other 70+ riders formed a team, so we won by default.  That didn't stop us from going hard on Sunday morning.  We left at 8:18am, a little cooler and a lot less humid than Saturday.  Tom led out and he traveled in the 27mph range, which I had no problem following.  Since Tom was clearly faster and in better shape, he took longer pulls.  Our goal was to not get passed by the younger teams that followed at two minute intervals.  No one passed us.  I cannot find the team results, but I'm pretty sure we were faster than some of the teams.
     I have no problem touting that once again this year I'm a state time trial champion.  Of course, my tongue is firmly in my cheek.  But if you want to beat our team, you have to sign up and race.
     A professional bike fit (road bike) had been scheduled for Monday and I looked forward to seeing how far off my body/bike was.  Well, it seems my saddle had slipped, like almost an inch low.  We also moved it forward.  I purchased new handle bars and lowered them an inch, and moved the hoods up a bit.  We also inserted a couple of varus wedges in each foot and got Specialized inserts.  Let me tell you now, my thirty-mile ride Monday evening was an eye-opener.  If my leg muscles could talk, they would have said something like "Finally, you are using us."  While I anticipated some soreness from unused muscles, everything was great.  I could easily keep up with the group.  My confidence level is quite high that I can regain the speed I had two years ago.
     Check back in a few weeks to see what progress has been made.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

CYCLING SANTA FE AND TAOS WITH VELO VIEW

     Last year while regaling someone with tales of my exploits all over the United States and parts of England and France, I counted up the number of states (I have pins on a map of all the places I've ridden).  It came to thirty-seven.  Then I realized I'd not ridden in any of the states that border Texas.  Truly, I don't mind not cycling in Rhode Island, Connecticut,  or Florida but omitting New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana seems like a lot of good cycling going to waste.  Those states have now become my focus, and the first one to get a pin was New Mexico.
     In a previous post I extolled the virtues of Velo View Bike Tours and they conveniently have an annual tour out of Santa Fe and Taos.  I signed up early since this tour fills quickly.  My eight hundred mile May helped in my preparation, although cycling in the mountains really requires practice in the mountains.
     Velo View's modus operandi is a three-day long weekend tour, with an optional ride if you arrive early on Thursday.  I saw no reason to drive that far for three days, so stopped overnight in Lubbock and was at the very nice Inn and Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe by 11:00am, plenty of time before our afternoon ride.  The plan was drive up to the starting parking lot then ride eight miles up to the Santa Fe Ski Basin followed by a thrilling descent back to the van.

     Interestingly enough, I had met all of my companions previously.  Six of us piled into the van for the short drive to our start.  While the others prepared to depart, I removed my 12-32 cassette because for some reason (since remedied) it didn't fit properly and replaced it with my 11-28 (brought along for just this reason).  Therefore, they all had a headstart.  Anyhow, wanting to get started, I got on the bike and began pedaling.  For about two seconds.  This was an all-incline climb, about 4% at this juncture.  I forgot to move the chain out of the 53-12.  Stop, adjust to proper gear, get moving.
     One basic maxim when cycling at altitude is never go into the red, because recovery becomes practically impossible.  My heart-rate was pretty high from the start.  I managed three miles or so before pulling the plug.  In all likelihood, I could have rested five minutes and chugged on, but I opted to coast back (like hitting speeds in the mid-30's and braking a lot) to the van.  After sitting around awhile, I got back on the bike and did about twenty quarter-mile loops up and down the road.
About that time Sherri came back, having received a disturbing email about her dad (her story not mine; but she left the next morning).  Eventually, the others returned, regaling us with the thrilling descent.
     We returned to the inn, cleaned up, had a beer by the pool, and walked downtown to Pasquals for dinner.  The chef and waitress at Pasquals teamed up to keep me on my plant-based diet with an excellent meal.  I was impressed.
     Friday we loaded the van for a drive to the Santuario de Chimayo, about a half an hour north of Santa Fe.  After a brief visit, with drove some more to begin our forty-mile ride to Taos.  One of the things Shannon does is repeat himself many times with our instructions for the day.  This is necessary because people invariably forget or don't hear him or whatever and will not stay on script.  I mention this because I heard the instructions quite clearly, at the top of the monster ascent we will meet up then descend into Taos.  Well, I focused on the term "monster ascent" and when arriving at an overlook, got off and took pictures, then got back on and started cycling.  The ride profile showed a dip and a climb, so I figured the monster ascent was right after the short downhill.  Well, by the time I realized that the overlook was the top, I was in full descent speed.  Ooops!  In retrospect, I could have screeched to a halt and turned around for some bonus climbing.  I didn't.  About eight miles later, I pulled over to await the van and the others.  We still had more miles on a sketchy back road to our destination: El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa.  This place is quite impressive.  We had a late lunch, and I was able to get a vegan entree.
     Saturday was the big, fifty-nine mile, two pass, endeavor on the "Enchanted Circle."  In our case, it was a semi-circle.  Between the passes would be a lunch break in Eagle Nest.  Once again I didn't really need the 32 tooth gear and motored steadily up the first climb, Bobcat Pass (9,820').
Here we met the other Velo View group (who were doing a gravel/mountain bike tour), had a short regrouping and obligatory photo op in front of the Bobcat Pass sign, then bombed down to Eagle Nest.  This is where the wheels came off, figuratively speaking.  Our combined group overwhelmed the eating establishment (Eagle Nest is a spot in the road).  I wasn't the last meal served, but it took over an hour for me.  My energy level dropped considerably.  The instructions were easy enough, get on the road and go, no turns, until you get to the hotel.  We were also given permission to go whenever we finished lunch.  So off I went.
 
 Meanwhile, the afternoon wind had come up, straight in my face.  I geared down and was making a steady 11mph on the flat road.  As I got closer to the next pass, I could see the precipitation.  I had anticipated some rain and had my rain jacket in my pocket.  A quick stop allowed me to put it on and continue.  Just two miles from the climb, the rain/sleet increased, the temperature dropped like a stone, and the wind continued to buffet my face.  After a few minutes of this, the Velo View van (mountain bikers) came by and I gave the signal I'd had enough.  They were kind enough (Rick from Bicycle Sport Shop and David Boone who had just completed a 24 hour ride) to give me shelter until the other van came.
     The weather wasn't so bad that I couldn't have carried on.  I just didn't.  It goes back to energy.  Energy is different from strength.  It is connected to, but not the same as, will power.  I'm convinced that had I had the energy from the first half of the ride, I would have continued on.  But the long break cost me.  Once over the pass, the wind subsided or was now at the riders backs, and the rain disappeared.  I missed an exciting downhill.  I wasn't the only rider to sag in.  Once back at the hotel we discussed that perhaps the best solution for Eagle Nest might be a box lunch that could be consumed quickly.
     We walked to another fine dinner (the name escapes me).  Tapas.  Tapas is more difficult on a plant-based diet.  With so many great items from which to choose, hardly anyone wants what I was eating (Gary, the other vegan, had the same plate), blue corn vegan tortillas.  Shannon broke down and had half a tortilla (he is such a good host!).  I also had artichokes, but had to scrape off the cheese.  The restaurant also had live music, quite good.  We sat outside, quite pleasant.
     We began Saturday in the van, driving through the Rio Grande Gorge.  Truly, I don't understand how this river became "grande."  But watching the slash in the ground (I had to look it up, the river actually follows a tectonic chasm formed when the North American and Pacific plates scraped against each other) as it snaked its way across the landscape had me mesmorized.
     The day included a short, twenty-nine mile ride, and lunch and time at Ojo Caliente Spa.  When I look at the ride profile, I don't really count the downhill miles.  Therefore I counted a sixteen mile ride, and thirteen miles of downhill.  As it turned out, the mileage was twenty-five and included one really nice, several-mile downhill.
     As regular readers know, I don't "do" water.  But, I brought my bathing suit and prepared to relax in the warm mineral pools.  Also, many cyclists end their rides with a refreshing malted beverage.  I had several with lunch.  The pool temperature exceeded warm.  It didn't take long before the combination had me feeling as though my blood pressure was dropping, so I made my way out and back to our chairs.  Returning to normal, I sought out a different, cooler pool and found a space along the wall to relax.  Hey, I don't really relax in water.  All too soon, I was back in the chair and actually relaxing.  I did notice Joe with an arm-lock on an older gentleman gently guiding him from pool-side to inside.  The thought ran through my mind, it could have been me had I stayed in the pool much longer.
     Well, a cycling tour doesn't have to be perfect to be successful.  While I didn't get in all the riding I came for, I got in sufficient.  Scenery was great.  I really like that Shannon restricts the number of riders to eight and that each rider is individually catered to.  We shall see what I can squeeze into my already fast filling calendar for 2017.  And I think Crater Lake is on tap for 2018.
     If you read this on Tuesday, come back again later, as I will add more pictures from my GoPro.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

GOAL!! THE HARD WAY

     If you are retired, as I am, cycling 800 miles per month isn't really that difficult.  Years ago I determined that my racing is much better when I get in 800 miles.  Because most of my racing consists of short time trials, I do ok at 600 but below that things get iffy.  I was gone half of April, so May became a "must do" month.
     The first week was right on schedule, 200 miles.  Then a medical procedure set me back three days (or 3 1/2 since the first day back was light).  I wasn't too worried, since 200 miles per week is 28 days, and I had 31.  I worked hard and kept on schedule, arriving on the 27th with 670 miles.
     Dan Pedroza put together a 76 mile ride for Saturday, and even taking the "easy ride" on Sunday, I'd only have a short pedal Monday.  The best laid plans.........
     Saturday was hot and humid and after the first fifteen miles, I knew this would be a long day.  Of course starting off on Lime Creek is quite different from Chandler Road.  The second leg of the route was Hwy 620 out to Bee Cave, mainly flat until you hit the dam.  Even so, I got a head start and even with big Jim in front of me at an easy pace, I couldn't keep up.  The group caught me at the dam, but I eased my way up and over.  By the time we got to Bee Cave, I was on the verge of bonking.
     Actually, some might argue I had already bonked, but that depends on your definition.  Anyway, I determined I'd make my way back to the Parmer store at a reduced pace, turning left on 360 and cutting off ten miles.  Even though drafting saves lots of energy, you still need some to keep up.  I didn't have it, so I puttered along by myself the remaining twenty-plus miles and sat around to recover (eating lunch at Morelia's).
     No problem, I could do the long ride Sunday.  Sunday got rained out.  Sunday afternoon's weather was excellent, however I had other things to do.  No problem, I'd ride twenty miles Monday morning, then another thirty on Pedroza's Recovery Ride.  It wasn't until late Monday that I remembered Dan was doing the Velo View gravel ride (half gravel).  Grrrr!  I'd already put my feet up and had a beverage in hand when Becca posted a recovery possibility.  Double Grrrr!  Too late.
     That left Tuesday.  With rain in the forecast, I left early and did my thirty-nine mile route, and another six in Old Settlers Park.  Feeling quite proud of myself I returned home and plugged in the Garmin and pulled up my spread sheet.  Ooops!  Pook, ding-fu!  The total on the 30th showed 750.5, not 755.0.  A quick glance at the radar showed green and yellow heading toward Austin.  I unplugged the computer, pulled the bike out and rode the neighborhood for another five miles, finishing to the sound of thunder (but so far it hasn't rained here).
     I finished the month at 801.4 miles.  A review of my log revealed that while I planned on twenty-two and a half miles (three loops of Old Settler's Park) on Monday morning, I cut it off at fifteen because I figured I'd get in thirty that evening.
     What would I have done if the month were only thirty days?  I wouldn't have worried, since not achieving it isn't all that important.  Working toward it is the key.  While some goals are important, this one is merely a guideline.

Monday, May 30, 2016

BATTLE OF THE BULGE

      For the last two plus years I've had a minor weight problem.  I started my plant-based diet in November at 150 pounds and promptly lost ten.  Then, because of race-training, during the summer and fall lost another four.  I was pretty sure those four would jump back on once racing stopped.  Sure enough, they found their way back and I plateau'd at 140.  During the winter I gained the expected four and in the spring lost them back.  All as expected.
     The next racing season didn't have me losing any weight, but the following winter the annual four pounds showed up.  Not to worry.  I didn't worry in the spring, summer, or fall but the four pounds never melted away.  Then I gained four more.  And they didn't go away either.  Now I began to worry.  Fortunately, a third round of gain during the winter didn't occur.  But I was still stuck with eight pounds and an additional inch and a half waist (I purchased new pants at 140 and they stayed on their hanger for two years).
     Regular readers know that in addition to weight, I'm also much slower than previous.  To help rectify the speed, I decided I needed to put in more miles.  I had a good half April, but the second half was a trip to England and no cycling.  So May was targeted.  'Way back in my blog is a post where I expound on an optimum training program which works out to be 800 miles per month.  This isn't that hard: 2x65 miles; 2x30 miles at pace; 1 hill workout; 1 TT workout per week.   In theory.  I haven't hit 800 miles in a month since doing the Blue Ridge Parkway ride in 2014.
     The last three days in May were to be easy ones, but Sunday got rained out, and I forgot the Monday ride had been cancelled.  So Tuesday (tomorrow) I need to put in 50 miles.  This is not a chore, but will take longer than the 20 I planned.
     But, back to the weight.  Without trying (like dieting), the extra mileage has apparently upped my metabolism such that the eight pounds are gone.  They have been gone four days in a row, so I'm pretty sure I'm plateau'd.  This happened over the whole month, not like overnight.  I'm back into my pants.  We will see if this continues past June.