Sunday, May 23, 2010


As posted earlier, it is obvious that I need to be faster in the time trials if I want to be competitive. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing tt's no matter the outcome, and I really don't enjoy beating anybody. But I like having the time and trouble I put into racing provide positive results, i.e. being as fast as I can be, usually resulting in a high placing.
I THINK I can be faster if I work on a faster cadence. Don't "duh" me, of course if you pedal faster you go faster. But there is a trade-off. If you drop to a lower gear, then you need to know how much faster to pedal in order to meet or exceed the speed of the higher gear. Up until now, I was guessing.
Tomorrow I install a Garmin cadence counter on my tt bike. I have one on the road bike but it is too much trouble to keep switching back and forth. Then I'll head out to my tt practice place and do some laps at various rpms. I'm hoping: 1) My information is accurate; and 2) I can adjust my practice to achieve the improvement necessary.
For those who are not familiar with gears and rpm, visit Sheldon Brown's Calculator. Sheldon passed away last year, but his website has invaluable information.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I love cycling the Georgia mountains. Woody, Wolfpen, Neel's, and Jack's are no strangers to me. This year I intend to include Hogpen and Unicoi to complete the six gaps. Perhaps I'll return in the fall and do the famous Six Gap Century. It would be good training for Das Hugel. But the notorious Brasstown Bald is my conversation-starter. If you are not familiar, it is almost three miles of climb with several ramps of 16-18%, and the biggie at 22-24%.
My first attempts were with the standard 53-39 double. The first year I had to walk the 50 yards or so up the "wall." The second year, I had to stop to let my heart recover, but didn't have to walk. Then I moved to a compact 50-34. Last year I installed a triple, but with a 25 cog. I made it up, still needing a short lactic-acid break. Today I replaced the 30 tooth inner chain ring, with one having 28 teeth, resulting in a lower gear.
With the improving weather, I should have enough hill practice before going to Georgia that this modification will be sufficient to insure a clean climb. We shall see.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Each week the 360 loop ride presents a different challenge. Two weeks ago, strong winds from the north, last week no wind, yesterday, strong winds from the southeast. My start-time backed up to 6:20am, so traffic was less. At the halfway mark I had gained 10 minutes on the average, turned into the wind and gave it all back. Having to pedal down hills and going up to Steiner Ranch with the wind in my face resigned me to finishing with a good, hard workout but not exceptionally fast.
Training is making me stronger. Even with the wind, I didn't suffer up the climbs. But the clue I'm waiting for is when I start attacking them. The pros describe the legs as "having good sensations." Each week is better, so let's see when the legs have the energy to aggressively push the climbs.

Friday, May 7, 2010


One of the few phrases I still remember from high school French, perhaps because Sr. Mary Michael directed it at me so much.
Even though I am a firm believer in "signs" I need to be reminded occasionally. Yesterday, not wanting to feel guilty, or wimpy, I ignored the 30mph wind gust forecast and started out cycling. This was to be an abbreviated ride anyhow, because I got a late start and the heat already jumped past 80 and fast approached 90. A little looseness in my water bottle holder attracted my attention. The faux-carbon fiber had split. I bungied it together around the bottle and commenced. Ten minutes into the ride, 4 lanes, no shoulder, a cable dump eschewed changing lanes (even though he was the only one on the road) and buzzed my ear. That woke me up a bit. A mile later I had a nice shoulder, but the gusts were strong and from my right side. A panel truck left a stop sign, causing me to take an avoidance maneuver. Needing both hands on the handlebars, I couldn't give him a sign of approbation (ok, it would NOT have been approbation). However, he never saw me before or after. Approaching the toll road, a car from the right blew through a stop sign (didn't roll through, accelerated without stopping), and came quite close while looking over his shoulder at the traffic he was trying to beat. What with the wind and the drivers, I gave up and turned around. Shortly thereafter I narrowly missed a rattlesnake sunning itself on the hot asphalt.
Got home without further incident.
Windy this morning. Set up the trainer and rode in the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I've pencilled in the second week-end of November on my calendar. If unfamiliar to you, by all means, Google Hugel. I have not done it yet, but putting it on the calendar makes it more likely to happen. Generally, I do a hill-ride once a week. This ride is 19 miles, 7 climbs, and includes Rain Creek, Courtyard, Jester, and Bluegrass. So far, none of my friends have accompanied me more than once. Really don't blame them.
However, Hugel is 100+ miles and 14,000 or so feet of climbing. Fortunately, it is arranged in two loops, so you can opt out after the first one. For that matter, you can opt out anytime if you have a sag wagon and cell phone.
Last week I couldn't even attempt Jester. This week I felt stronger and slowly reeled myself up the hill. I'm sure next week will be even better. Once I no longer struggle, I'll add some additional climbs to the circuit.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Last month's bike log showed 639 miles. I had hoped for 700+ but took the last couple of days off to recover. 442 miles of the total came in the six days of riding the Natchez Trace at tourist speed. That took a lot more out of me than expected. I also had to recover mentally from again struggling to keep up with Evelyn last Sunday, and still only posting 2 hr and 55 minutes for the 42 mile, hilly ride.
Evelyn is out of town this week, so I reverted to doing the ride by myself. A brief history: I used this course to train for my coast-to-coast ride and really like it, although took a two year sabbatical when they resurfaced RR620. It has either 18 or 22 climbs, depending on what you call a climb. For instance, going from the dam to the top of Steiner Ranch is either one climb or three. Same thing for Loop 360 from the river past River Bend Church. I know that early in the year, I should expect 2hrs 45 minutes and later that should drop 10 minutes. The last two rides were 2:57 and 2:55. Given the number of miles in my legs, and the suffering done while riding, my results should have been faster.
The reason I usually do this ride solo is because my start time is 10 minutes before sunrise. Today that meant 6:30am. Not too many of my cycling friends are willing to get out this early. Unlike the high winds of last week, this morning had no wind, a few sprinkles, and 60-65 degrees. I tried to keep a high rpm and had good energy the whole way. 2 hrs, 33 min 3 sec.
Recovery worked!