Sunday, May 23, 2010

Big Ride

Getting the Miles up...  Got in a 4+ hour ride Saturday.

Why is it that signing up for some silly "Epic" bike-thing is SO much easier than getting ready for and/or participating in such epics?    Devils Backbone-BlueSky-Horsetooth was the ride.

John joined me for part of it,  Coughing up huge balls of Chinese "air" most of the day.   Jonathan did the full monty.  Not sure Jonathan will ever forgive me for the suggestion to do the Horsetooth service road climb...

More of these rides on tap for me.  Gotta be a hard man by the end of July.  So far my Butt is not with THAT program.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Selling Out?

So,  like many a famous Blogger gone before me,  the lure of riches and commercial exploitation has reared it's ugly head for your author here.   What with the massive success,  and literally Five's of loyal readers,  you knew that such a hard hitting,  cutting edge Blog would not escape the attention of the "Mainstream Media" for long.

The other day I got an E-Mail from the good folks at Cyclocross Magazine,  making me an offer that can't be refused.   They must have noticed the interweb slowing to it's knees from the massive traffic hitting this site each time a new post went up,  as they invited me as a "Cyclocross Blogger" to join their new "Blogger Partner" program.  In exchange for me putting an ad on the blog for them,  and linking to their site from here a set number of times, they offered me free trips anywhere on the planet via their Gulfstream G550,  with dancing girls,  champagne,  all the usual perks for a writer of my new found stature.  Multiple free bikes,  dedicated RVs for my race use,  full pit crew support at all races,  and.....Or wait,   was it a free subscription...  hmm.  kinda fuzzy about the exact terms now.

After a long and painful evaluation of my feelings toward trading my journalistic integrity out for a free magazine subscription and some trinkets,  versus maintaining my non-commercial and totally unbiased integrity,  I've decided to follow the lead of several ex cycling greats,  go the Floyd route,  sell out my integrity. 

Expect to see an advert appearing for CX Mag soon.  And do go visit/subscribe.  It's a bunch of OBVIOUS 'Cross Dorks putting a lot of love into the magazine.  Web site is good too.

Weekend coming up looks to FINALLY break that 80 Degree mark.  LONG ride on Tap for Saturday.  Ya'll get out there,   ya hear?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Lunch Ride

Up here in Not-Boulder,  we have a few lunch group rides about the area,  including one that departs from my own employer every day at lunch time.    With the return to spring (sort of..) and the need to ride on the pavement more than I would like to,  I have been reminded of what a group of road riders packed into a small space each day can end up being.  This little ride runs the gamut from a pleasant chatting ride to a flat out unsanctioned road race.  Everything from 3-4 easygoing folks to 15-20 frothing,  testosterone charged maniacs can show up,  depending on the season,  mood,  phase of the moon,  and cast of characters.  Every outcome from smiles and "Wow,  great ride!" to angry words and scathing post ride E-Mails,  complete with accusations of various infractions of both written & unwritten rules of the road.  The post ride mood seems to depend on the number of "group ride rule" infractions and the work stress level of the participants.  Not totally sure what it is about riding around at 25 mph three inches from someone else's wheel,  with the prospect of hitting the ground hard from another riders mistake that can bring generally friendly people to the boiling point over such perceived wrongs,  but boy can it ever.
THE ride - Photo by Ben W.

Like every standing group ride in the world,  we have the usual cast of players,  such as the following folks.......

Frothing,  manic riding new racer Guy  -  25 MPH out of the lot (warm-ups are a waste of training time...),  200 RPM pedaling,  can almost ride in a straight line.

"Serious" recreational rider,  sit on never pull Guy - He'll crash you,  track stand,  spin circles in the parking lot or road,  you name it,  anything to not pull.   You can tell him by the quizzical looking around if he ever ends up on the front (Purely by accident,  of course...).

Clueless ride in traffic any chance he can Guy  -  What is the right side of the road,  or that silly shoulder there for,  anyway?  The pavement must be better over on the yellow line.

Grumpy old MTB/cross Guy  - Would much rather be somewhere else,  but uses the ride for motivation & training,  while usually bitching about it the whole time.

"Cagey" old Guy -  Motto:  "old age & treachery beat youth & skill every time".  You can find him at the back,  sitting on the second half of every ride,  then unleashes a sprint to finish (with or without anyone else contesting said sprint...)

Retro-Grouch Guy - Old bike,  old clothes,  serious fitness.  You can rub knuckles for MILES with this guy in complete safely.  Rides more miles in a week than you do in a month.

The Nice Guy - pretends not to engage in the drama or tactics,  but secretly enjoys the whole show.

Interval Guy - Only joins the group occasionally.  Usually out doing "structure".  Shows up,  rips legs off.

Triathlon Guy - Used to bike race "seriously" now does the odd triathlon.  Watch out when he goes to the front on those damn bars....

Even a few "normal" people who just ride bikes

You can have fun guessing which one of these guys your blog-host here is.  Maybe I missed one or 2,  but I'm sure these folks are on YOUR group road ride too.   So here is at least a partial list of "commandments" for you to to follow on your group ride,  courtesy of the Good folks up at the Church of the Big Ring.  Happy Riding.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


May 13th.

SHOULD be out in shorts & short sleves,  shredding the trails.
Instead,  was busy checking the temperature to see if it was above 40 Degrees,  and if I brought enough clothes to not freeze to death if I go ride at lunch.

OK,  I'm officially sick of winter now.  Make it stop.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting going....

25 Miles,  3 Hrs 7 min,  3100 feet of climbing today.  All that needs to happen is tie 3 of those together back to back at a much higher speed and I'm all ready for the Laramie Enduro.   Even feel good after the ride tonight.  Good start to the longer rides.

Great day out,  shorts & short sleeves.  ALMOST makes one think spring was here.  then you see this...

Insert heavy sigh (or string of profanity...  your choice...)  here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My racing season starts (or not...)

This week was supposed to be the triumphant return to bike racing for my semi-worthless carcass this year.

So as I had managed to be one of the "lucky" few to get a slot in the Laramie Enduro for this year (Which seemed more like getting Hannah Montana tickets than registering for a bike race...),  I then thought,  "well,  111K in July,  better get in some longer rides & races",  so I then immediately signed up for "multi lap tour of suburban parks death march",  otherwise known as the Front range 50.  after having done that race 2 years ago,  I really  was not that hot on the mental anguish that the 5 laps down at Bear Creek Lake Park would dish out,  but figured it would be "good" for me.

Been trying to get out and really ride in the last few weeks,  but between the rain,  snow and an endless,  recurring Bronchitis episode,  things were not going to plan.  Seems like as you get older,  it takes a bit more time than in the past to get the engine running at a decent pace.  It's been  more like I'm running on 4 cylinders (of a V-6) in the last couple of weeks.  Even as the lung butter finally melted out,   the legs still hurt,  the heart rates don't come up,  and I sound like an asthmatic couch potato on the slightest uphill,  you know,  all the things that make you feel FAST on the bike.   So at almost 50 years old,  I get the hint.  Do NOT take several months off the bike,  then expect to come back on form in a couple of weeks.  Obviously need the "Base Miles/Threshold" treatment here,  so have been trying that.
So far,  All I feel is weak.  Decent leg strength from the weight lifting it seems,  but NO motor.  Oh well,  I tell myself cross season is a LONG way off,  and to be patient.  Guess I'll just keep the faith that I will come around,  and that the miles will bring the fitness.  (Insert various references to "build phase", "base miles",  and proper rest in training "plans" here...)

SO,  after a novel approach to off season bike race training,  consisting of not even LOOKING at a bike,  much less riding one since Cross Nationals for the duration of the winter season,  it seems that I am really not all that ready to RIDE 50 miles on a mountain bike,  much less race one for even a few hundred yards.   Even the crash course in riding every day from the Utah trip,  and some reasonable attempts at riding the road bike more than I want as we continue to get precipitated on and the trails get more & more muddy seemed to not be enough to get me going at a level that would support any kind of race pace effort.   Couldn't see spending the day down there riding around again and again real slow either.   Pretty much leaves me with one choice.  Bag it.

Best wishes to those who go (Matt...) and you all have fun.  I'll be licking my wounds.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Carbon Weenies

WHAT the hell is with the bike geeks and Carbon fiber? You'd think the stuff was some magic potion that only Harry Potter could possibly make a Bicycle frame out of.......

so Far,  it's at least that you........

Do these dorks REALLY think that building a carbon fiber BICYCLE frame is THAT much more complex and a bigger engineering challenge than say a Transport-category Jet aircraft?   Formula 1 race cars?  Spacecraft?

MAYBE,  Just MAYBE modern bicycle manufacturers use Finite-element modeling software to design frames.  MAYBE,  they just MIGHT do failure & fatigue life testing on actual frames under controlled conditions.  Maybe the 25% of an Airbus A380 that is Carbon is in a slightly worse temperature cycle environment than your sunny car & cold garage.   MAYBE you really can't "detect the change in stiffness" of your Trek over the winter,  and MAYBE you just gained 15 pounds instead.

MAYBE these guys should buy aluminum frames or find something else to obsess over.