Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I can post my December mileage today because I won't be riding. My cycling year ended yesterday. I left home in tights, arm-warmers, and wind vest with the temperature quickly rising from 30 degrees when I woke up to 50 degrees when I started. I dropped the arm-warmers after 20 minutes and stopped for a short rest and divest myself of the tights, and vest. My Camelbak HAWG easily held these. I knew I was in trouble at the halfway mark, 31 miles, when I started wishing for a SAG wagon. Unfortunately, this 62 mile ride was out-and-back. With the sun out and temperature rising, the wind also increased, mainly in my face. Keep in mind I am in the middle of nowhere. So far, I saw two cyclists and four cars (after getting out of town). I adjusted my route to shave off four miles, and cut back to "survival pedaling." Actually, I didn't have a lot of push all day, so spinning in easy gears wasn't much of a change. I ended up at 58 miles in just over 4 saddle hours. I was sunburned, wind swept, and energy depleted. Today, with a cold north wind forecast, will be a recovery day, with stretching and abdominal work. Tomorrow at 10am is the annual Jingle Bell Ride and I need to be ready to start the year well. I ended December with 173.5 miles outside riding.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


What do you get for the cyclist who has "everything?" Of course, for you I recommend purchasing my book, but what do I receive? I really didn't have the gifts under my Christmoose tree, but positioned them for show & tell. You can never have too many socks, but in case you can't see the details, the green ones have Santa Clause riding a penny farthing. So, now I have appropriate socks for Christmas. The really cool blue things are shoe covers to help me go faster when I time trial. Hopefully, they will also inspire me to train harder so as to justify wearing them. I am debating whether or not to go whole hog and get a skin suit and aero helmet. Since I'm not really fast, this seems extravagant.


If you have read my book, you know that we spend a week or so in Suches, Georgia. From the cabin, I can cycle the Georgia mountains, including Brasstown Bald, in the morning or before the kids and grandkids arrive. Last year we had some adventures hiking the Appalachian Trail. This year for Christmas my son gifted us with a custom-made topo map, with our cabin as the center. I say "us" but usually I shout encouragement to Marilane from my recliner as I do anything other than work a puzzle. Anyhow, after everyone left, about 8pm, we cleaned up the kitchen a bit, then Marilane sat down to work on the puzzle, 400 pieces and no picture to give clues. A while later (probably two hours, maybe less), I wandered over to offer congratulations on completing the frame and saw some familiar names on the pieces, so sat down to put a few together. I lost track of time becoming engrossed in putting pieces together. Perhaps all those tiny squiggly red lines showing altitude mesmerized me. About 3am we called it quits. But at 6:15am I was awake and shortly thereafter so was Marilane, and we were back at it. Taking short breaks for breakfast and lunch, we completed the puzzle at 1:20pm.
Why is this story in my cycling blog? My lower back is soooooo stiff from sitting, standing, leaning that I can barely move, let alone contemplate riding. At least my knees stopped hurting.
Actually, this is all part of the plan. Not the knees and back part, but something always happens during the holidays, so I schedule no riding for the month of December. If I manage to get a ride in, so much the better, but not riding cause no stress (like it does in February and March) because that is what I am supposed to do (not ride).

Sunday, December 21, 2008


If you go to Ben's Dec 5 post, you will see a picture of feet on a scale. Also similar is the weight, and our goal weight is the same. Likewise, the reason for shedding 10 pounds is the same: racing a bicycle as fast as we can. The difference is length and speed. Since I have over 20 years on him and riding against guys in my 5-year age group (65-69), I don't have to be as fast, and the longest race is 40km and the time-trials are only 5km and 10km. So, keep up with the two of us as 2009 progresses. Another difference: Ben says he started weight management in early December, I won't even try until January 1. My first race is mid-March.


We had a cycling window of opportunity and seventeen of us started out on a 27 mile ride. A few wanted the 41 mile option, but relented. Even before starting, I cut that even shorter because I didn't want to take a long break at the halfway mark. With just a few pedal strokes, I realized something was different. I had shimmed my Sidis so I could be comfortable on my tt bike, but had forgotten to raise the seat on my road bike. My first thought was, it is a short ride, I'll attend to it when I get home. So I cycled with the group and stood more often to make sure the hamstrings were stretched properly. Eight miles into the ride I cut off from the group and finished out at 20 miles. Btw, not much wind, overcast (I had changed lenses to pink), and I thoroughly enjoyed pedaling noiselessly through the countryside, having only three cars pass me. With about 5 miles to go my knees started talking to me. I had forgotten about them! Three Advil immediately upon arriving at home, but here it is the next day and they still don't like me. Lesson learned: No bike ride is too short not to fix your seat height immediately. I carry the tools in my saddle pack and even taking my time, I estimate three minutes to make the correction. Of course, now I have an excuse to not ride today, and since the temperature is dropping quickly from 65 to 45 and will go to 30 before it stops, and the wind is bitterly cold, I am not putting a lot of effort to get out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Because I am a fair weather rider, plus this being the Christmas Season, I haven't been outside on the bike these past few days. I rode on my trainer in the kitchen, just puttering around until January and serious training. One of the things I did was put shims back on my shoes. I switched to Speedplay (skipping the long, sad story about my Campys) pedals and got confused in installation because Speedplay has a unique bolt head. I have two shims (because I fudged a centimeter on my tt bike) before getting to the Speedplay attaching cleat. Anyhow, I think I have everything properly engineered and had hoped to get out today to test them, but will wait until tomorrow and the fog and wet will have moved east.
I haven't changed anything but the pedals on my Roark since 2001. But my friend Ben really likes his Transition (click on over to his blog Dec 7 post). He buys top-of-the-line bikes and components, but I never get any of his hand-me-downs. I lost count of the number of bikes he has purchased since we rode across the USA in 2001. Of course, he is much faster than I (and a lot younger, but we don't mention that) and has more competition he has to keep up with. This paragraph may seem (or be) rambling, but, like JK Rowling, these topics will show up in later posts.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I'm back from a non-cycling vacation and putting in a quick word, since there has been a post inquiring about if I met my mileage goal (see previous post). Sadly, the answer is "no." In retrospect, I believe there was no reasonable way to get there this time. My calendar of events kept getting in the way. It's not like I wasn't riding. For instance, the Katy Trail on a mountain bike was a daily ride of 40-60 miles for a week and a good work-out, but no long rides. Same with riding in the Alps: seventeen miles up a mountain (and back) is only thirty-four miles, but really strenuous. But the goal will not change for next year, because I firmly believe I need that much riding to improve my racing/time trialing. I'll also work in some additional technique training. And, since I know what vacations do to my schedule, I can plan better. Better planning, and keeping to your plan, works in any goal-setting, not just cycling. We learned that in Management 101: Review plans and pick the best one; implement the activities necessary; review if you are on-course and don't be afraid to change if you aren't. Anyhow, I have my spreadsheet set up and will post the cycling monthly. Already in December, I am six days with zero miles. For those interested, we were cruising from Vienna to Nurnburg. I hope to complete that write-up in my magazine blog ( then click on mybudget travel)