Saturday, May 16, 2009


As posted earlier, May has been a very productive month in terms of cycling miles. Yesterday I exceeded 400 miles for the month and looked forward to clocking in another 31 today. Had I slept well, gotten up at 5:30am and muddled through coffee and breakfast and been ready to ride at 7:00, no doubt that is what would have happened. But I didn't. When I was ready at 8:00, a study of the radar indicated a thunderstorm would hit Round Rock before I could get back. Generally, this decision is a no-brainer. But I found myself debating if I could maybe really get it in, or maybe cut it short a few miles, or maybe.... And the reason my thoughts ran in that direction is simply that I wanted to post more miles. How silly! Anyhow, I ended up riding in the kitchen and was halfway through when the sky opened up and dropped a bunch of rain. My Carmichael workout (in the kitchen) is an integral part of my time-trial training, so the trade-off was not a trade-down. Actually the workout allows me some great stretching in the living room immediately after. So, I'm happy with myself that I didn't let an arbitrary goal (850 miles/month) lure me into a poor decision. And that is today's lesson: be flexible (or, more precisely, don't be rigid) when it comes to paths that achieve your goals.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


It's been almost a year since I last rode the 360 Loop that used to be my Sunday morning staple when training to ride coast to coast. This is 360, Bee Cave, 620, and back to my car through Balcones for a total of 42 miles and seven significant climbs. I wanted to be home early so left at 6:20am and was riding by 6:45am. I'm still not pushing the heart rate, trying to stay in the 80% range, plus the stiff wind was in my face for the first hour, but when I turned onto Bee Cave Rd, my time matched my average. Now, with the wind helping, I began cranking the big ring. Apparently I went to sleep somewhere in the next half hour, because when I looked at the clock at Lake Travis HS, I had lost ten minutes. What should have taken 30 minutes took 40, and with the wind at my back, my only explanation is aliens abducted me, used my body for experimentation, then erased my memory. Riding 620 to the dam and up to Steiner Ranch didn't stress the heart rate, and I had two extra gears at the end, but I couldn't seem to generate the speed necessary to make up any time. At least I didn't lose any more. It was a fine workout but I'll pay more attention to low flying aircraft and/or vans parked by the side of the road.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Here it is the 5th of May and I have already surpassed last month's mileage. I keep reading Ben's blog (and all the others) and all the races he is doing, but all I do is train. I plan to get faster and to find some races, but right now I'm happy just putting in miles and enjoying getting out on the country roads. The wind is still stiff, but otherwise the weather is ok. On my ride this morning, my upper cogs really showed a dislike to my chain, so I took it in for a "second opinion" as to the reason. I was hoping it would just be a new chain, but the diagnosis was the chain was shot, and I needed a new set of cogs. I was destroying my compact rings. Well, as it happens, last month I purchased a new 9 cog Ultegra, with the intent of switching my Zipps from the tt bike when race time came around. Now I have a new chain and will install it and the cogs later this evening.
The reminder for this post is to pay attention to your chain. A stretched one can ruin cogs and chain rings as it rattles through.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


In the eight month hiatus of my cadence counter, my ability to perceive how fast I pedaled deteriorated. I know, all you really have to do is count for ten seconds and multiply by six. I do this all the time when riding in the kitchen and my internal counter matches just fine, and I run 90rpm like clockwork. On the bike this morning, my original goal was to stay between 130-135 bpm, or just under the 80% of max heart rate. But I was slightly alarmed that 80rpm felt like racing a time trial, so I made 80rpm my priority, with the heart rate goal secondary.

The multiple windows of the 305 allowed me to have a controlled ride, even in the face of another day of a stiff southwesterly wind. I ended up 31 miles in 15.3 mph and an average rpm of 79 and average heart rate of 122. Since this counted the rest stop of 90 seconds and some downhills against the wind, I felt all goals were met.

Apparently, I have been pounding a bigger gear with less cadence in my rides. While this type of riding has a place in training, spinning faster in a smaller gear is much more gentle to your knees, and what I need to be doing on my long rides. The 305 will help me stay on track.


The results for the month are unwanted but not unexpected. A ten day vacation and subsequent drop of mileage to 174 created the setback. Poor cycling weather was also a component. We shall see what adversities await in May, or shall we term that "opportunities to overcome."

The technological neanderthals have a few new toys in the household. Marilane (navigator par excellence) now has a Tomtom to assist her in guiding us (mainly me) on our journeys. It's maiden voyage was our drive to Maryland, and it received an A+ on our side-trip to New Orleans, putting us right at the motel.

Thursday I opened the box on a Garmin Edge 305 and slapped it on the bike. I now have more data than I know what to do with. I did my hill workout yesterday and was finally able to see the grades on the readout in addition to the heart rate. 22 and 23 flashed briefly on a couple of ramps, and I saw 20 for longer than I wanted. Being able to display so many windows is great!