Sunday, August 30, 2009


The picture shows 146.2 because the camera weighs 2 tenths of a pound. Therefore, as of this morning, I have met my goal weight. But, as we all know, keeping it off is the real challenge. My plan for September is to ride 1,000 miles and drop soft drinks from my diet. Since I usually only drink one a day, this is more of a health issue than weight. Check back in October for details of how my month went.
For my friends who completed the Hotter'n Hell 100, congratulations! I really don't miss doing that. It was fun and exciting and gave me an annual goal, but now I like 65 miles as my standard. I'll just display my 10 pins and sit back and reminisce.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Ok, you'll find out soon enough this post has nothing to do with Lance. I agreed to come to a booksigning at The Book Mine in Leadville, mainly so I could join in the excitement surrounding this year's bike race. At the time, both Lance and Levi were going to be there along with a humongous crowd of bicycle enthusiasts. This seemed like a great place for an author with a book about bicycling. And, the bookstore was at the corner of the start/finish line.
Plan A called for me to drop off my display stuff on Friday afternoon, then wander about town and have dinner and drop into a few drinking establishments to mingle. My booksigning was scheduled for noon to whenever-the-crowd-drops, so I could also absorb the excitment of the morning crowd. This seemed like way too much fun.
Plan B came into play when I couldn't find a room in Leadville and the closest I could get was in Buena Vista, about 35 miles south. Scratch the after-dinner beers. Matter of fact, scratch the dinner in Leadville. In truth, the only part of Plan A that moved to B was dropping off my display stuff. Check-in time in Buena Vista was 3pm. Leadville was cold and rainy and not too many folks were out-and-about, so I went down the mountain much earlier than planned. Once there, I stayed. It was about ten degrees warmer and no rain. I ate at Quincy's and had a beer with dinner.
I really hadn't planned to drive up and see the start, but I awoke early, dressed, and drove to Leadville. My mountain bike was in the Tribute, in case I had to park so far away from the bookstore that walking would be a chore. However, I found a spot about four blocks from the start. As I locked the car and started walking, I saw a rider frantically opening his car and dragging out a rain jacket. Due to his actions I asked how long to the start, and he said "five minutes." Oh! I upped my leisurely pace and ran a block, getting to the start line with a minute to spare. Just enough time to drag out my camera, get a photo spot (but behind two rows of folks), and snap as the leaders rolled out. Unfortunately, my camera focused on the back of the heads in the first row, so while Lance and Dave and the whole front line are in the picture, they are all blurred. Phooey.
Race started, we had about six hours to kill before an estimated return. It was 38 degrees and damp. After all 1400 riders had departed I wandered by the bookstore, which had opened early. Carol, the owner, had an urn of free coffee and some folks were taking advantage of it, as did I. Long story short: I sold three books before 7am.
Emboldened by this early success, I hung around inside the bookstore talking to patrons. Around 9am I went for breakfast and dawdled as much as I could. It was still cold and wet and I had minimal cold weather clothing (enough, as long as I didn't stay out too long). Around this time the racers were encountering a bit of sleet. Since I didn't have a motel room to return to, I went back to the book store, and just stayed for another five hours.
Early talk had been that with optimal weather and racing conditions, the winning time might beat six hours. With the rain, sleet, and cold I expected six and a quarter, but Lance came across in 6:28, about a half an hour ahead of six time winner Dave Wiens. I had a great view of the finish, if somewhat distant, right out of the bookstore front door. Again, I took a picture of Lance finishing, but even with the telephoto plus enlarging on the computer, all you see is the fuzzy microphone thrust in his face.
So, I can say I was there, I saw Lance, and the beginning and end of the race. If anyone is considering going next year here is your Plan: Reserve a room early; be at the top of the first rise so you can catch the leaders plus the long peloton of racers and the town in your picture; then get in your car and drive to the Columbine climb, or one of the other mid-race viewing spots;then drive back for the finish. All of the locals tell me bad weather and the Leadville races go together. Be prepared for the worst.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'll just hit the high spots, use your imagination to fill in details. Last month I signed up for the ITT (Individual Time Trial) in Castroville, a distance of 20km. At the time my training consisted of one (1) 10km practice. I was able to get in four practice runs at 20km distance. A week before the race, I was invited to join a team (of four) for the Team Time Trial. This is 40km. I prayed I could complete it, since practice was out of the question.
The ITT start time of 7:17am meant warming up in the dark, done mostly on the trainer. The course was out and back, generally flat, with 30 second intervals between riders. I was real pleased with my gear selection, feeling I maximized my speed by being in the proper gear. We had a wind coming back, but this early in the morning it didn't seem to hamper me. My perfect-fit Felt bike with the Zipp wheels ran smoothly and I managed second place in my age group, 4 seconds off earning a jersey. Average speed 23.0 with a max of 31.9.
In the afternoon we held a short team practice, just to get the feel of riding together. The next morning we had a late start, 9:47. The wind was stiff, mostly at our backs for the first 10km, then we did some turns and needed to eschelon, and at the turn-around our speed dropped considerably. With about 3km to go, I fell off the pace, but you only needed three to get a time. I was about 15 seconds back. We finished third, but second place didn't receive medals since 75% were from out of state. Average speed 22.1 with a max of 35.9.
We found a great place to eat, the Castroville Cafe, superior food and service. BYOB. Marilane wandered shops and found a pair of pants that previously had eluded her and some excellent cheese and fudge.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I'll be in Leadville for the mountain bike race of the year, mainly because Lance (and probably a few other notables) will be there. But the only cycling I'll do is from the parking spot to the Bookmine book store, for a Meet-the-Author and booksigning of Bicycle Journeys with Jerry. I'm taking my copy of Bobke II, in case Bob Roll comes by, and hopefully get his autograph. I can't find my Lance book, I think I lent it to someone.
You may have noticed I didn't do my monthly weigh-in picture last month (or this month for that matter). Remember, my goal was 2 pounds a month or 146 by October, whichever came first. In June, the end-of-month goal was 148.8 and I actually had reached it on June 10th. But then I went on our fabulous vacation to Georgia. The heavy exercise undertaken in Georgia was offset+ by good food and drink, and I had a lot going on, so skipped writing about the weight gain (three pounds). This morning I weighed in at 149.2. I have been catching grief about the monthly camera shot, so will only do one sometime in October.
I finally got around to cleaning the mountain bike, from the Mickelson Trail trip in May. Unlike the Katy Trail, when we got caught in a downpour on the last day and the bike got filthy, except for the chain, it really was more of a wipe-down. It took about a half-hour to release the quick-release link and take the chain off to give it a proper cleaning and relube.
Exciting activities are coming up, check back in 10 days.