Sunday, November 16, 2014


     Meaningless on lots of levels.  Many participants are just in it for the good work-out it gives them on the weekend.  The organizers divide the categories by age, gender, and projected speed, putting the fast guys separate from us duffers.  I my case, I was in a category of one, and only three guys in the whole race were older than me.  Therefore, this is just a spreadsheet exercise for me and not to be taken seriously, except for the last stat.
     In the Individual Time Trial, as posted by the organizers, there were 184 men and 34 women racing.  I thought they capped it at 250, so cannot explain the discrepancy.  Anyhow:

No one older than me finished faster
Against all men, I finished in the 43rd percentile
Against the Merckx (no aero equipment) men, I finished in the 77th percentile
Against aero men, I was in the 26th percentile.
Against the women my time was faster than 27 of the 34.

     So, what does that tell me?  Not much, especially since I projected an average speed of 21.5 mph and ended up at 19.2 mph.  But, looking at my power output, I can see I only pushed hard once even though there are three steep climbs and several less steep but long ascents.  Could I have pushed harder.  Maybe.
     To me, the most telling statistic was my heart-rate.  I have a maximum HR of 165, which gives me a 90% reading of 148.5.  For this race, my average HR was 148.  True, my warm-up left a lot to be desired, but I spent 41 of 48 minutes right at my AT.  Being able to hold that high a heart-rate for that long a time tells me my cardio health is very good.  And that's why even though my main focus is cycling vacations, I train for and participate in races.  Ride a bike, it's good for your health.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


     It is time I faced the facts.  A review of my race-blogs reveals what is quite evident.  I am always leaving something out.  Usually it is computer-related; I never get in a proper warm-up.  Several years ago I was setting up the bike and trainer when I realized the quick-release didn't fit; I had forgotten to change it out.  Once I brought the wrong shoes.  That was early on and only happened once.  You might ask how that occurred:  My road bike transition to racing consists of switching out wheels and pedals (which also means going from SPDs to Sidi shoes).  I brought the SPD shoes.
     Last week-end's Individual Time Trial in Gruene brought my lack of pre-race comprehension clearly into focus.  Being cognizant of my speed is more or less a security blanket, since as far as I can tell, I'm working as hard as I can.  But I like to see if I can squeeze just a little bit more speed by moving to a bigger gear.  Forgetting to turn on the GPS and not realizing it was a wake-up call.  I didn't have the right electrolyte; I forgot the pickle juice.  None of these were a big detriment, and in the grand scheme of things, didn't matter at all because there were no other racers in my category.
      I have until February to compile two lists: one for packing and one for pre-race activity.  No more leaving it up to my leaky-sieve memory.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


           I am a health nut.  My physical activity of choice is cycling.  But exercise is such an easy habit to break.  Fun, friends, variety and goals are keys to keeping you involved.  This book recounts my cycling adventures and tips with the intention of encouraging as many as I can to take their bike with them on vacation.  I've cycled all over the United States, plus the renowned End-to-End across Great Britain and some of the famous climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees.  In my new book Gotta Go! Cycling Vacations in Fantastic Locations I describe easy Rail Trails and strenuous mountain ascents and thrilling descents.
            Casual riders will have a blueprint to getting better and more involved.  Competitive riders should see these as cycling-camps, and they, too, will get better.  Scheduling a vacation gives you a goal.  Going either with a paid tour or a group of friends puts a little pressure not to back out, plus is almost always fun.  Different places each year provide the variety.  Once you start, there is an urgency to continue year after year; you just Gotta Go!

            Toodle on over to  for additional information.  Gotta Go! is available as an E-book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, with the added feature of links to my Flickr page which has over 1,000 pictures arranged by chapter.  For those who prefer a printed copy, that is also available at Amazon, or if you would like a signed, dedicated copy, purchase from me (  
            I'm happy to correspond with anyone wanting more information.

Monday, November 10, 2014


     This year is so similar to last year, I could almost copy/paste.  Even my thinking the start line was 30 minutes from the hotel instead of 45 (same thought as last year).  That cost me cheering on LJ Stephens at her start on Saturday.
     Let's be clear, I had a fun time and, being the only person in my category, had no pressure to perform at my optimum.  Thank goodness, because niggling problems persisted throughout the week-end, most of which were of my own doing.  But first, the weather: Saturday was perfect, if a tad windy going up the final stretch of hills.  Sunday had a chilly 42 degree warm-up temperature, but perfect by race time.  Of course, I had two layers on my chest, a long-sleeved skin suit, and tights.  Just right!
     Saturday the 15 minute extra on the road cost me in warm-up time.  I warmed-up on the trainer, didn't need the GPS so turned it off.  Switched bikes and forgot to turn it on.  Thus no speed registered on my computer.  Neither did the cadence, but that was a different problem.
     Sunday I didn't switch off the GPS, but didn't do a proper warm-up either, preferring to sit in my warm car until the sun hit the field.  This course demands a lot of gear changes.  I had to do more than most, because in putting together my cogs I managed to get the 13 and 14 out of order.  At first I thought the derailleur was skipping, eventually catching on and managing the situation.
     The Sunday two-man time trial is advertised as 26.8 miles.  I registered 24.2.  I also showed an average mph of 17.7 but am pretty sure we did 19 or better.  My partner had a max of 41.1 but right on his wheel my best was only 38.5.  This will take some investigation.
     Saturday I aired my tires, 90 lbs on the front, 95 lbs on the back (might have been 100).  This was my first race with latex tubes, known for losing air faster than butyl.  Fine.  Sunday, I aired the front again, but the back was not taking any.  Too late for anything, so I had a nice, soft ride with about 80 lbs in the back.  Fortunately there were no tight turns so I didn't fear rolling the tire off the rim.  Back to the bike shop this week for the expensive extenders.
     I have no comment on whether or not the two beers I had at LJ's after Saturday's race had a deletorious effect on my performance Sunday.  I know I enjoyed visiting, so my mental attitude was improved.
     I've known my partner for ten years, spending the first seven watching him beat me handily in the Senior Games events.  But the last few years he's gotten slower.  I am faster on the hills, but he still has it on the flats and downhills, plus is quite competitive.  He really gets it moving on that stretch into Sattler.  We all know that the worn area where cars ride is smoother and faster than the shoulder, especially on this stretch.  He jumped onto the road and passed several teams that had just passed us going up, but stayed on the shoulder.  It was fun trying to keep on his wheel.
     Right after the race Sunday I packed up, returned to the hotel for a shower, then hit the road to San Marcos for lunch and an afternoon tagging along after Marilane as she shopped.  For the record, among other items purchased, two pair of New Balance shoes (for her).