August 31, 2002Today was a day for learning all of the rules. We went over everything from the background of each team member and why they are here, to what our days might be expected to be like, to logistical items like how meals or laundry are handled, etc. It is like the first day of Summer camp, or maybe like the first day of kindergarten. Either way it is all about knowing what is expected of you and what you can expect of others. Today was also the day that everyone got to do a final assembly of their bikes. Most of us got to go for a short ride to make sure that everything is indeed as it should be, which in my case it was. Tomorrow is another day like today, with the possible exception of being able to go for a little bit longer ride during the day.
From a personal perspective, I am quite amused at the lilting sound of the Minnesota accents most of the people we meet have. If I respond in the exact same accent, they don't even notice the difference, mostly because they don't hear it as being an accent. But I (and a few other team members who notice what I am up to) have fun with it all the same. I have also learned that at times my humour is such that I need to stop and tell other team members that I had made a joke, so that they have a clue what I meant when I said something I thought was funny. What is funnier yet is that the Minnesotans I make jokes to all seem to get them. Hmmm, I don't know if that has a deeper meaning, but maybe it's just a simple case of "You can take the boy out of Minnesota, but you can't take the Minnesota out of the boy!"?
This training log has been a lot of fun to do and it has also helped me maintain focus as I worked my way up to the beginning of this magnificent adventure. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed being able to share insights into my training. Tomorrow begins a new log, that being my personal Ride Log. Take a read of it as the ride progresses, and here's hoping you enjoy what you read!
August 30, 2002Today was the first day to meet the rest of the team, along with the support crew and associated staff. Let's just say this is a fairly high energy bunch, and they all seem fairly easy to get along with. We had a very long drive to get here, and finally got to International Falls around 8:00 PM. Shortly thereafter we had our first "team building" exercise, that being to maneuver our trailer into position between some trees in a VERY tight parking space. Jason (Jason Millard was to be one of the team riders, but due to a back problem was not able to ride, and has become one of our drivers for the entire route) gets kudos for his driving abilities on that one!
I did manage to capture some more photos along the way today, and the route that we drove (some of which will also be the same route that we will ride back on over the next few days) to get here was very beautiful in some parts. Just 2 more days until we get underway. We do have quite the entourage of vehicles, and have caught at least a bit of notice so far in our journey. FPoL Caravan
Just as a note, tomorrow's training log entry will be my last. At that point I will switch over and start putting my entries into my Ride Log.
August 29, 2002Today's little talk will be about nutrition. Not that the last few days have been anything I could use as an example of what you should do, but it was fun all the same. Like the other day when I was hungry and driving around downtown Minneapolis. Well, why not stop in at the White Castle for a couple of "Double Sliders with Raincoats" (Double Cheeseburgers)? Yum! And then again today I led myself down a pleasurable culinary path, albeit one that most people would not recommend so close before a ride of this caliber.
Maybe I should explain... You see, I was at "Great Minnesota Get Together", aka the Minnesota State Fair. And it was a case of "When in Rome...", so I had some foods that were familiar and the stuff that I remember fondly from days gone by. Maybe it was the "Cup O' French Fries" for breakfast at 10:30 AM, or the Milk Shake at 11:00 AM, or the "Walleye on a Stick" at noon, or maybe the "Cup O' Cookies" around 2:00 PM, but it was a day for at least what you have to call "fun" food.
Of course tonight I mended my ways and had pasta and vegetables, and only had a small amount of a birthday cake while visiting with my brother and his family. I am sure that I will be "back on the good nutrition wagon" again once I meet up with the team tomorrow, but for today it was just good fun food that I know agrees with me.
August 28, 2002Minneapolis is indeed a beautiful city. Lots of the "Urban Struggle" going on, but lots of civility and that urbane grace that only a truly large metropolitan area with a secure sense of it's own style can have. And maybe I know it better than most visitors, but it also has a pretty unique sense of humour as well. Kind of a dry type of humour that I love but also get ribbed for on occasion.
I greatly enjoyed driving down along the "Mighty Mississippi" (You can never just say the Mississippi River, but instead are required (I think by law?) to recognize it as "The Mighty Mississippi") and seeing some very serene marsh areas, complete with nature trails and all of what you would never expect only minutes away from several million people.
My day started with an early morning run on a course that I have run many times when I lived here. Somehow it seemed harsher, more rushed and crowded with traffic. But to be fair, that may have also been the rush of the 7:30 AM traffic as much as it was my perception. And for those of you that have made all of those humourous comments regarding how cold it would be here, I have an update for you. It did get over 80° here today. Add in some humidity and some sun (At least it wasn't that oppressive Florida sunshine I am now very used to!) and it made for a warm and sticky day, even for a Florida boy like me.
August 27, 20027:30 AM - Early morning rain...
The kind of day that could be like anywhere, and not like the familiar Florida mornings. Maybe that makes for a good transition to being in a place where morning rain is not an unfamiliar item. Some place like Minnesota perhaps?
7:30 PM - Notes from the plane...
The Sushi that I packed in my carry on bag was a great idea for the first flight out of Gainesville. Nothing like some comfortable and familiar food from the local Publix Supermarket to make the miles go by easier. So far the travel has been rather uneventful, but I guess that is the way most everyone likes air travel these days. I didn't get selected for the "random security screening", so that also was a blessing. So far I have taken about a dozen digital photos, so as to capture this adventure as best I can. I have a friend that keeps joking that my dialogue about life and training and certainly this grand adventure of a cross-country trip would make for a good book. So who knows, I may need the photos for my entry into the hallowed halls of literary greatness. (I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen if I were you!) :-)
August 26, 2002
One more day to go. I delivered my bike (and bike luggage) to LifeSouth late this afternoon, so that it got loaded into the bike trailer for transport to Minneapolis, where the team will meet in person for the first time on Friday. I hit the friendly skies tomorrow afternoon, flying through Atlanta on my way to Minneapolis.
Kellie took this "before" photo of me this evening, to finally have a photo of me with my new bike. I really like this shot, because it shows me as I usually am, in blue jeans and my trademark cowboy boots, not all dressed in bright colours and spandex (aka as a bike nerd), which is how all of my cycling friends always see me. 'Before' Photo
I am going up a few days early to visit with friends and family, go to the Minnesota State Fair, eat some familiar foods, and just spend some time decompressing before the ride starts. I think the hectic pace of the past few weeks, along with not having more than one day a month off from my training gives me due reason to kick back for a bit.
August 25, 2002Although my birthday is not for another 8 days, Kellie and I went out for my birthday dinner tonight. The food was wonderful, the atmosphere was excellent, Kellie was radiantly beautiful as always, and we had a very nice evening out. The reason we celebrated early is that my actual birthday is on the first day that the Five Points of Life Ride Team pedals off towards our destination, that being Monday, September 2nd (which also happens to be Labor Day this year).
Earlier in the day we had spent time working on household tasks that needed tending to before I leave, and we also went for a nice leisurely bike ride on my standard early morning training loop. Towards the end Kellie got to experience the draft effect from being behind me into a headwind. Although we haven't ridden together much this Summer, the times we have gone out have been very nice. Sigh... I think I'm getting homesick already, and I haven't even left yet...
August 24, 2002If you are going to do it, you have to do it in a big way. Solidly clipped into my trusty new steed, I went out for a group ride today, earning some kudos for my riding strength, and getting a lot of "Nice Bike!" comments along the way. Everyone I talk to says that I am fully ready for this ride. Oh, and did I mention this was a century training ride over the Santa Fe Century course? Yep, the first real ride on my new bike was a distance of 100.7 miles (Including the last 3 miles at 26-27 mph!). Not a bad way to break things in. :-)
The only part of the ride that was not as easy as I would like was that at 90 miles my butt was sore from being on a brand new leather saddle. It will break in with time (The saddle that is), and it is certainly a nicer saddle than my old one. I just need a half dozen long distance rides to fully acclimate to it. For now I just have to stand up and stretch a bit every so often, at which point I am fine again.
Oh, and my "unusual" eating habits were in force again today. For breakfast (6:30 AM) I had corn souffle, at the second rest stop (50 miles) I had my traditional chicken salad sandwich (on wheat), at the last rest stop (75 miles) I had a banana and a bottle of banana flavoured milk. Of course I had plenty of (diluted) Gatorade as well along the way. It just seems that nobody else eats like I do...
August 23, 2002It's All About The Bike?
OK, so I know that it really isn't all about the bike, but tonight it was. That is because I finally got to bring that bad boy home. Not to say it's fast, but without trying too hard, I did manage to hit 28 mph riding with traffic on the way home. Fully loaded (Spare tube, CO2 inflater, tools, first aid kit) it weighs in at 22 pounds, making it 5 pounds less than my trusty Schwinn.
To top it all off, when I was done at my local bike shop (The Bike Route) and I went to pay the bill for the changes I had them make, they simply handed me a yellow envelope. I had this perplexed look on my face, and the girl behind the counter had a big grin on her face. I open the envelope, and inside is a birthday card. The inscription? "Love, Kellie" What a surprise! Kellie told me when I got home that she did it so that she would be with me in some way through all of those miles over all of those weeks when we are apart. Isn't that just about the sweetest thing you can imagine?
August 22, 2002Lows and Highs...
I was pretty bummed yesterday when I found out my new bike was still not ready. The mechanic working on it did a great job getting it assembled and making some changes to it, but there are still a few things left to go. I needed to change the handlebars, which created a domino effect on a number of other parts, which take time to deal with. I just want my new bike, and it seems like some days it is a moving target, one that I am always one or two days away from...
But I did get to spend about an hour last night sitting on my new bike in the bike shop, while working out basic details on how things need to be adjusted. (My final fitting is scheduled for Friday) It is indeed going to be a very sweet riding bike, and will be a huge change from my trusty old Schwinn. The high stress level I felt before I got to the bike shop was gone by the time I had left. It was as if sitting on the bike was all I needed, to realize that this ride will indeed happen as it should, and in it's own very unique and not always as I might expect it to be way.
However one aspect to not having my bike is that I was also supposed to have my new bike for a photo shoot for the Gainesville Sun at 8:00 AM this morning. They wanted to see that spiffy Red, White & Blue, Stars & Stripes themed bike on my shoulder to go with an article they are working on. But alas, no bike...
The high side of this was that they went ahead with the shoot anyway, and the photographer was very easy to work with and got some great shots. And it was good for the ego to be the subject of a high profile photo. I am always the one behind the viewfinder, so this was indeed a change of place. And to combine two of my favourite passions (photography & bicycling) made for a good start to my day. Riding With The Wind
August 20, 2002Some days I hate really good writing. Today I read Alison Colavecchia's latest bit of writing about her Ironman USA adventures. It is so well written that it hits me right to the core. Strong, shy, introspective, humbled, proud. And those were just the emotions that *I* felt while reading it. Incredible tidbits of insight can be found in that one page full of words...
August 18, 2002100.2 Miles...
That was the distance I rode today. During the group ride I even pulled one continuous stretch of 12+ miles. And although I felt somewhat tired during rest stops on the ride, I still had plenty of strength to bike. Go figure!
August 17, 2002T minus 10 days until I fly to Minneapolis...
Things are going very well, and a lot of the details are falling into place. We got a list of the hotels we are staying in along the route, and I have all of my flight arrangements made. One of the major details left to take care of is that I still don't have my team bike.
My bike was to have been delivered to my local bike shop yesterday, but FedEx messed up on the delivery. Now it isn't scheduled to be delivered until Tuesday. (In case anyone is keeping track, this makes FedEx Ground (Which by the way is a different company than the FedEx Air service) zero for six on ever getting a package to me correctly on their first delivery attempt. What I find most amazing is that those people are still in business!) With a Tuesday delivery of my bike to my local bike shop, I should finally get it late on Wednesday or during the day on Thursday. This will give me about 3-4 days to ride it before it has to be loaded into a trailer to be taken to the ride start point in Minnesota...
August 16, 2002This morning I got the celebrity excitement of being interviewed by Gary Kirkland from the Gainesville Sun, my local newspaper. Gary is a cyclist himself, and is even a member of the Gainesville Cycling Club. The interview went well, and I don't think I made too much of a fool of myself, although I won't know until I read what Gary has written about me! Yikes!
As soon as my team bike arrives I may even get a photo taken to go with the article. But that will require a bike, which has not arrived yet. :-(
August 15, 2002"Where did all of this traffic come from?"
Maybe it's because we are now starting our morning rides at 7:00 AM instead of 6:30 AM? (It's too dark to ride any earlier at this point) Regardless of the reason, today's traffic karma (Get it, Karma? "Car"ma? Car, as in traffic? Oh, never mind...) was hectic. Not that it was perilous, just that it took forever to cross roads that on some days we don't even see cars on.
The one advantage it did give us on the ride home was when a big truck would go by and sweep us along with a huge gust of air as a tailwind. At one point we were doing 27 mph in dead air ("Dead Air" is when you are riding at the same speed and in the same direction as the air around you is moving) thanks to a gust of wind from a truck.
August 13, 2002Number 75 is officially on the books. My 75th Platelet Apheresis donation (A triple donation like usual) went off without a hitch last night. They hooked me up to the machine, I watched a rather good movie (Ocean's Eleven), ate my popcorn, and laughed out loud enough times that they commented on it. What more could a guy ask for out of his day?
August 12, 2002So many details to take care of, and so few days left. (Only 16 days before I fly off to Minnesota!) I still have about 20 items on my household list to take care of before I leave, I still have a few (rather hard to find) items on my shopping list, I still don't have my team bike yet (Although I hope to have it by Thursday or Friday of this week), and people are still expecting me to put in a 40 hour work week. Like I have time for having 3 lives (Home, Work & FPoL Team Rider) at this point!
Kellie did manage to get a small window of my time last night for us to go for a nice dinner and then a sunset scooter ride. We went to a nature area and saw a lot of gators floating around (It was near sunset, which is their feeding time, so they were very visible), along with some beautiful herons. The sunset was spectacular, along with several deer Kellie spotted in the woods along the road. Kellie gets a pretty small amount of my time lately, so my hectic schedule is not only hard on just me, but her as well.
But we are working on plans to hopefully have her riding with the team for at least the one day that we ride into Gainesville, and she did do some serious training towards her Disney marathon goal while I was riding yesterday morning, and there are still a ton of wedding details to work on, so maybe she won't miss me too much? At least she won't have to watch all of those cooking shows I always gravitate towards whenever I get to hold the remote! :-)
August 10, 2002This was a mentally tough day. I had two flat front tires (on two completely separate wheels from two completely separate bikes) before 7:30 AM to start the day (One before my early ride, and one at the end of that same ride before I was to meet my group ride at 8:00 AM). By the time I had a front wheel that I could ride, I had about 2 minutes to get to the ride start point 3 minutes away. I made it there just as they were pulling out to start the ride. That also means I missed getting to eat anything for breakfast, or even having time to put on sunscreen. Not a big deal, except that I found out when I met the group that today was to be a 73 mile ride day (I had already ridden 17 miles on my early morning ride). So I just pedaled along and tried to regroup from my frazzled start to the day. However I was soon out of fluids 5-10 miles before the first rest stop (at just over 30 miles), as in my morning rush I didn't get a chance to refill one of my bottles, thus starting a longer than usual day with less fluid than I normally carry.
It ended up being an OK day, although my stomach was a bit upset from having no solid food in it, and the sugar content in my water bottle Gatorade mix was a bit higher than I cared for today. I am not much of a sugar person as it is, so my tolerance for anything overly sweet is already pretty low. But I finished the day with 90+ miles added to the training log, and I had plenty of strength left at the end (As in I didn't even take a nap after the ride), so it was a good day, even with getting a bit of sunburn on my shoulders...
August 9, 2002"You bike more than I drive!"
This was the comment from a coworker today when we were discussing how my ride training is going. And what made me stop cold in mid sentence about 4 seconds after hearing that comment was that I realized I ride more miles on my bike in a week than I drive my scooter. I am not sure what that says, or if that is a good or bad thing. Maybe I need to ride my scooter more?
August 8, 2002Yesterday morning it was 79° at 6:00 AM when I went for a run. This morning it was 59° in the middle of our 7:00 AM bike ride. Not like I am complaining about the crisp cool weather and that certain wet morning smell that tells you there is nature in abundance all around you. No, my only comment (Notice I did NOT say complaint!) is just at the extreme difference you can get in only 24 hours time, and with no major weather patterns at play. All told it was still a great morning for a ride, although my training partner was a bit on the chilly side, having not checked the temperature before he headed out for the ride start...
August 7, 2002In looking back at my training log for the months of June and July, it became apparent that I had only one day off from my training in each of those months. I know that the day I missed in July was due to a torrential rain all day, and the day in June was probably because I was being a ne'er-do-well that day. :-)
So I look forward with a bit of glee to the last week of August, when not only will I finally get to meet all of my fellow riders, but I get to take several days off from my training schedule. Only 500 miles of training between now and then...
August 6, 2002Today while driving my GoldWing motorcycle, I made a surprising realization. I noticed while turning onto a busy highway that I almost came to a complete stop in the safety area between lanes, but not fully. I also didn't put my feet down as I usually do, but just did the motorcycle equivalent of a bicycle track stand. (See my July 31 log entry for further details on track stands)
So all of my bicycle training has improved my motorcycle riding? This is pretty cool, since I have driven my scooter for thousands of miles over the past decade without any difficulty, even with it's large size. And to now find out that I have either better balance, or more strength, or better timing (or all of the above?) to allow me to drive it with less effort? Well that rocks!
August 4, 2002It seems that I don't go on many rides lately where someone doesn't discover that I am much larger than they are, and thus realize that I pull a huge draft. ("Drafting" is when you ride directly behind another rider so that they have to push all of the air out of the way, and you can ride in that draft of air only having to do about 50% of the amount of work you might have to do otherwise.) I was told that I should charge people for getting to ride in my draft. At one point I think the bidding has gotten up to 10¢ a mile. While it's tempting, at that rate it's barely enough to cover the cost of the Krispy Kreme doughnut I bought at today's store stop. :-)
August 3, 200282 miles today. And at the end I still had enough left to crank the last 3 miles at 27 mph. On some rides it just seems easy to be a ride leader, whereas I have also had days when I simply want to shut up and pedal and not have to think. Today I was one of two ride leaders of a group that started out at about 20 riders. I spent most of my time setting the pace and making sure no one got dropped, while the other ride leader gave us directions on a new course for most of us. So during today's ride I spent a lot of time at the front of the pack trying to keep people together and pulling quite a few miles.
One of the harder tasks is to keep a rider just coming up to the front to take their turn at pulling from speeding up and going too fast, at the expense of those riders at the back of the pack who are working to hang on as it is. When I sit at the front, while it is more work for me, I can also keep the pace down to what we have set it to be (This ride had a 20 mph limit on flat roads), which also keeps us in one pack versus breaking up into a bunch of smaller groups. I also have the ability to pull a steady pace, which keeps the pack from surging and compressing, which can cause accidents for non-attentive riders. The only exception to the speed limit rule is when we get to the final stretch before the ride finish, at which point riders who want to kick it up can go in at whatever pace they care to, hence my 27 mph finish.
August 1, 2002August 1st already. Only one month to go before we are all in International Falls, MN preparing to start the 2002 Five Points of Life Ride. The team members are starting to interact via email and starting to learn more about each other. Our team bikes are getting closer to being in our possession for at least a few weeks of riding them prior to the start of the ride. There are so many details to take care of, but still lots of training to do as well...
July 31, 2002July Results? Track Stands and a Higher Cadence...
As yet another month rolls by, I have to say my riding "quality" has greatly improved since last month. The top thing I have gotten much better at, is to be able to do a solid "Track Stand". This term refers to being able to come to an almost complete stop without taking your feet out of the pedals (And hopefully without tipping over!). This is most useful when you are at a traffic crossing waiting for a car to go by, or when you are waiting for the light to change as you get to an intersection.
The "Higher Cadence" part of my training this month refers to having noticed in the past few weeks that I am pedaling at a faster cadence than most of those around me. Whereas they might be spinning their pedals at 80 rpm, I am more likely in the 90-100 rpm range. This increases your consistency greatly, and also can give you some incredible speed when need be (Such as some hills that previously I could go up at 16-17 mph, which I can now climb at 20-21 mph). I also stand up to pedal a lot less on hills, which saves a LOT of energy overall, and thus allows me to go the extra miles, and still feel better at the end.
My goals for August are to increase my mileage on the weekends, take care of the 1001 details I need to take care of for the ride (Buying things like phone cards, and deciding on what camera I am going to take, and buying lots of film, and ...), get some time in on my new bike (Which I may not get until the week before it gets loaded in the truck to head for Minnesota!), hopefully including a group training century ride the Sunday before I leave for the start of the Five Points of Life Ride.
July 30, 2002Tonight's ride was one of the better ride's lately. 33.1 miles in just over 96 minutes, which is an average pace of around 20.6 mph, at an average heart rate of 142 bpm. Woof! And if it had not been 93° at 7:00 PM with a heat index of 103°, I wonder how much faster we could have gone? Of course we did start out with 7 riders, and we ended with only 3 in the lead pack (Including 1 female rider that could drop both of the guys off the back in a heartbeat), but it was still a big dog ride. (Don't forget that I also rode a training ride of 17.2 miles at 19.6 mph pace at 6:30 this morning!)
Every now and again you need to go out and give it a little extra, just to see how much is left in the tank at the end. Tonight there was plenty left, which lasted until about 2 hours later when my body was ready to fall asleep, regardless of what my brain might have foolishly thought. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.....
July 29, 2002A huge congratulations goes out to Alison Colavecchia, who yesterday managed to complete the Ironman USA in Lake Placid, California. And she did it in a VERY respectable time of 13:07! That is a time that I don't know that I could ever do, so she was flying on the course. How would you like to ride 112 miles on your bike at an average speed of 17.1 mph, and then finish the day off by running a 26.2 mile marathon? Oh, did I mention there was a 2.4 mile swim to start the day out? (Alison was 2nd in her age group in the swim!)
As a triathlete I do have some idea of just how hard a race like that is to complete. Imagine doing anything for 13 plus hours straight, and at a high level of exertion. Most people get fatigued just sitting at their desk for that long, let alone swimming and biking and running (don't forget having to eat and drink along the way without stopping as well) for that long. Way to go Alison, I knew you could do it!!!
July 28, 2002For the 4th year in a row, Lance Armstrong wins the Tour de France, arriving in Paris today. A pretty amazing feat, one accomplished by very few people in the Tour's 89 year history. Way to go Lance! As a little bit of Five Points of Life Ride trivia, Lance rode along as a guest rider for the first day of the 1997 Five Points of Life Ride in California!
July 27, 2002I had an early wedding to photograph today, so I had to get my workout in earlier than the group ride usually starts if I was to ride at all. So as I commonly do, I sent out an email notice to the cycling club list, inviting others to join me. The one funny thing was that of the people that showed up, while they are members of the cycling club, I know all of them far better from having been fellow runners for a number of years. Not a big deal, but I just thought it was rather interesting for all of the runners to go for a bike ride together...
p.s. While I won't see the results of photographing the wedding until I get everything back from the lab on Thursday, the wedding and the reception did go well, so I am pretty sure it was a success! :-)
July 26, 2002(Just so you know, today's log entry is not training related in any way)
Today's Topic #1: Maybe it's that the law of doing good deeds (aka Karma) pays off eventually, but today luck was on my side. Last night at some point during the night someone attempted to steal my Jeep Wrangler, that was parked all of about 40 feet from my front door. The key word is attempted, as in all they managed to do was break off the "Rabbit Ears" on the ignition column. (Yeah, like I really needed to spend a hundred bucks to get that fixed.)
But it could certainly be worse, in that they could have succeeded, at which point I would be having a really bad morning. You have to love people that are so stupid that they almost left me a note (I knew something was up at 5:30 this morning when I got up to work out, and the vandals had left the Jeep's 4-way flashers on, letting me know VERY quickly that something was up). Just kind of makes you shake your head...
Today's Topic #2: Today is officially System Administrators Day. You know, time to thank all of those nerds in your life that do so much stuff that you tend to forget about. The people that make sure you get your email from your distant friends, and that you can get to the Internet to read your Foxtrot cartoon every day, and that your phone works to make personal phone calls on company time, and that you can print all of your personal photos to the company's new colour laser printer, etc, etc. Like I said, the nerds that nobody remembers except when stuff gets broken.
I technically still fall somewhere in that realm, although I would like to think that I have risen somewhere towards the upper levels of the ranks of nerds. (Hey, at least let me pretend that I am more than just your average nerd?) But when it all comes down to it, I know a lot more about things behind the scenes on a network than I care to admit when not in the company of fellow coworkers. But it could always be worse. At least I don't have tape on my glasses, and I have never owned a pocket protector! :-)
July 23, 2002With all of the excitement lately, I have completely forgotten that I now know exactly what bike the team members will be riding! We will each be issued a specially built Cannondale R-700 bicycle, painted in a limited edition Red, White & Blue "USA" theme. It is a very nice looking bike, and has a really superb quality frame. Before the ride I do plan to upgrade a few of the drivetrain components and possibly the seat to be of a bit higher quality than the bike ships with, but nothing too major. Oh, and I expect to receive my new bike in about 3 weeks or so. Just enough time to get it tweaked to fit me well, and have a few weeks to get in a few longer training rides on it. It could make for a long 49 days if I started out on a completely new bike on day 1 of the ride!
The ironic thing is that after replacing the wheels and drive train parts on my trusty old Red 1989 Schwinn LeTour, it is once again a very nice ride, albeit a bit on the heavier side for serious distance riding and/or climbing any major hills. I had joked at the beginning of the season about how if I simply changed out the wheels and a few parts, my old Schwinn would be good for many more years. So now that I have done that, AND am getting a brand new Cannondale to boot, it looks like I will have my pick when it comes time to go out for training rides in the future. (Hmmm, maybe I should look into getting my Schwinn repainted, to look like a new bike since that is the only part not all shiny and new looking?) :-)
July 22, 2002I am really tired today, but other than that I am pretty much back to normal. The weekend rides went OK, although I only did two rides (versus the usual 2 per day that I have been doing recently), and I only got in around 100 miles total for the weekend. But I still was able to hammer up a few hills, so I know that all is not lost. Who knows, maybe the extra rest I have been getting is all for the better in the long run?
July 19, 2002Yesterday I got the ultimate in fun. I got to go for my very first ride in an ambulance...
I was sitting at my desk at home about 8:00 AM, just about ready to leave for work, when I got this incredible gripping pain in my left side, just above my hip. I tried stretching, moving into different positions, etc, but it was definately not a muscle pain. I had no clue as to what it was, although I was certain it wasn't heart or stomach related. After about 20 minutes the pain was so intense I had no option but to call 911 and have them come and get me.
20 minutes later I arrive at North Florida Hospital in the ambulance, and meet all sorts of people. Lots of fuss and lots of questions and X-Rays and an IV. All along the way I keep getting asked "Are you a runner?", as my heart beat is pretty slow compared to most people. (I also think the running shoes and Timex Ironman Triathlon watch might have given me away) After a while the pain subsides and I am just sitting there feeling like I was hit by a truck. They decide to do a CT scan to check me out thoroughly.
The long and short of it all is that I got the great pleasure of passing a kidney stone. Last night I did a little research on WebMD and found that Kidney Stones are considered to be one of the most painful moments one can get to experience. I will fully agree with that statement. On a scale of 1 to 10, this was an 11.
I have to say that I am very impressed with just how professional and thorough everyone was, from the EMS staff, to the nurses, and all of the various techs that I saw. They get a huge Thank You from me, and from Kellie as well. (She was there by my side the entire time, arriving at the ER shortly after I arrived in the ambulance) Oh, and Thank You Kellie for being there for me. I hope I can make it up to you for scaring the heck out of you.
I also learned that as these things go, I had it really easy compared to how some people get hit with a kidney stone. Mine took all of about 4 hours to go through, versus some people that have to suffer for days or even weeks to find relief. And while everything that happened yesterday made for a rough day, at least today I feel pretty much normal, or at least as normal as I can. I would not say it felt like getting hit by a bus. Instead I put it more in the realm of just having the bus come to a halt while parked on top of me.
July 15, 2002Today there is a totally updated Ride Calendar on line. Some of the exact daily locations have changed slightly, and the overall mileage is now more accurate. The currently estimated total distance for the ride is now between 2900 and 3000 miles. That's a LOT of miles on a bicycle. Yikes!
Today I also have my official "press" photo that will be used in all of the press kits and publicity stuff. I didn't realize how hard it was to come up with a photo of myself that is fairly recent. Indeed one of the disadvantages of being the photographer all of the time, is that you very rarely ever have photos of yourself. Oh, this also happens to be a self portrait taken with a very inexpensive digital camera. Yes, I know some of you diehards are wondering what is up that has me giving up my film ways for digital? It was because I was in a hurry, and this was the only way to get it done in time for the printing schedule. Press Kit Photo
July 14, 2002This was not nearly the riding day it should have been, but it was still a good day. Kellie loved the fact that the rain kept me home all day yesterday, as she has not gotten to spend a lot of quality time with me lately due to my training schedule. And even though I spent 5 hours at work on this beautiful Sunday morning (I at least rode my bike out to work and back), we did find the time tonight to go for a ride. Just the two of us on a beautiful early evening ride. A bit of a breeze to make it pleasant, and very little traffic to hassle us. For me it was especially nice to go for a ride that wasn't a training ride. Of course for Kellie it rounded out her day that started with her going for a morning run, and then swimming a mile in the pool. My 44 miles for the day seems easy compared to that kind of a training schedule! :-)
July 13, 2002So far no ride today. Between working until 4:00 AM installing a large piece of networking equipment, and then having it rain after I did wake up, it seems that I am not destined to ride today. Perhaps later I might get a chance to shake out my legs and give the pedals a spin? Oh well, on the good side, I did thoroughly enjoy watching the live coverage of the Tour de France on Outdoor Life TV this morning.
July 12, 2002This morning after I finished lifting weights, I discovered I have lost in the range of 8-10 pounds because of my training so far. That sounds like good news to all of you, except Kellie has given me strict orders that I am not allowed to lose any more weight and thus turn into a 198 pound weakling. My workout schedule is only going to get harder for at least the next month, let alone what things will be like during the ride, so I am really close to getting sand kicked at me by the bullies at the beach when I lose even more weight.
So now I have to eat more. Can somebody pass the cheese fries? No wait, I can't eat those, because I was told that my cholesterol level, while being very low (as in the 140's) needs to have more of the good cholesterol in it. So I can't just eat high calorie junk food. And salads aren't going to give me the calories I need for my workouts. Man, this food stuff is really starting to be work. I think that my secret weapons may have to come in the form of an old style food, and one that runners have known about for a long time. The old style one is the food that I grew up on. You know, meat and potatoes and vegetables. And the runners secret weapon for energy is any kind of pasta. I guess it's meatloaf and spaghetti again tonight? :-)
July 11, 2002My old bike computer died. I thus had to go through the ordeal of buying a new one. The hard part was selecting one from the 800 different models they list in the mail order catalogues. The local stores don't carry much in stock, so that didn't help me out at all. So I picked one that almost gives me information overload, but I think I may get used to. I can now know that I am going 21.3 mph, which is higher than my average pace of 19.6 mph, and I have been riding for exactly 16.93 miles so far. Oh, and the temperature is 81°, and the time of day is... (I told you it could give you information overload!)
July 10, 2002Have you checked out my updated photo gallery lately? I have added a few new sets of photos, as part of my ongoing project to add photos bit by bit over time. That way I (hopefully) never get too far behind on keeping it up to date.
Lately one of the ride details that I have been trying to figure out, is exactly what to take along on the ride photographically. You know, what camera(s) to bring, and how will I carry them, etc. The biggest concern is that if I carry it with me, then I have to be prepared to always have it on the bike, and the issue of weight and how to carry it is important. The other issue is that I plan to buy a digital camera for this ride, so as to update my Ride Log along the way. However all of the digital cameras have absolutely no tolerance for environmental conditions that involve any water. (Rain, mist, heavy fog, and certainly sweat!) This project is an ongoing one, so I will update more as I figure some of this stuff out...
July 8, 2002In my July 5th training log, I made a reference to how close we all are to the Five Points of Life. Today while on the way to lunch with a Sales Engineer for a large national company, we got around to the subject of my participation in the 2002 Five Points of Life Ride. After a bit of discussion, he mentioned that he was not able to donate at all. He went on to mention that he had cancer at the age of 20 (14 years ago), and was a recipient of many of the Five Points of Life at that time. He was quiet about it, but his voice sounded very clear in how grateful he is to be alive today because of the exact thing this ride is raising awareness about. All I could do was think about how many other people I have met are the exact same way as he is. Quiet about how much the Five Points of Life mean to their lives, but yet very thankful for them in ways most people would never guess...
July 6, 2002Since yesterday was Kellie's birthday I did not want to be gone all day, so that I could spend more time with her on her "birthday weekend". I was out the door at 6:30 AM. I clipped into my bike pedals in front of the garage moments later. Pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal. Unclip from my bike in front of the garage 63.2 miles later. Not even 10:00 AM yet. It was another great non-stop ride, on some of the more rural roads in the surrounding area. A bit of fog at times, but the sunrise and the morning were of that wonderful kind that you only typically only read about. Since it was a solo ride it was also a quiet ride, but it was a nice change of pace from the group rides that I usually do on weekends.
July 5, 2002"5 Points of Life Hits Home"
This was the subject line of an email that was waiting in my inbox this morning when I arrived at work. One of the cyclists that I ride with in the morning and on weekends lately sent me an email letting me know that my mission to raise awareness for the Five Points of Life is now a much more personal matter to her. Her mother is not doing well, and has been getting not only blood transfusions, but also therapeutic plasma pheresis, along with platelets.
One of the things that I have noticed is that the Five Points of Life is never really very far away from each of us. In a manner similar to the Kevin Bacon game called the "Six Degrees of Separation" (The point of which is to show that any actor in any movie can be linked to Kevin Bacon in less than 6 steps), we are each very close to the Five Points of Life in some way. For me, my cycling friend's mother (Just 2 steps away) is yet another reminder of how important it is to get people to understand the Five Points of Life and what they can do to help.
July 4, 2002The 4th of July is the day when the Florida Track Club holds it's annual Melon Run 3 Mile race. It was a good day for running, and despite having very minimal running mileage over the past 6-8 weeks (due to spending all of my training time on the bike) I finished within a few seconds of the exact same time I have run this race in previous years. I also spent some time before and after the race taking photographs of FTC runners at the race. (Sorry, no photos of me, as I was the photographer) In the end I won a 3rd place prize in the 40-44 age group, for which I took home a prize of, you guessed it, a watermelon!
July 2, 2002"Organ Donor"
Two very simple words, but those two little words are now printed in red text on the bottom left corner of my driver's license. It only took 30 minutes from the time I arrived at the Driver's License Bureau until the time I was walking out the door with my new license. I even had the people behind the counter calling me back over to ask questions about my ride, how far it is, what the purpose of it is for, etc. I guess talking about all of this stuff comes pretty easy.
I had been meaning to do this for several months. However I really hate having to wait an hour for something that in the end only takes 5 minutes, thus I procrastinated a lot. But since I just got a nice spiffy haircut last night (Thanks to Kellie!), I figured I might as well make the best of it and go stand on line. (Actually you just sit in a chair and stare out the window at the driver's tests driving by until they call your number) Once they call your number, you fill out a simple form regarding your organ donation preferences: 1) All organs; 2) All but certain organs; or 3) Only certain organs. I chose all. Sign the form, and you are done. It doesn't cost a cent, and you now get those special red letters on the bottom of your license. It's so simple I don't know why everyone doesn't do it...
July 1, 2002Random thought #1: Some time back I was in a discussion with some fellow cyclists about driver versus bicyclist versus pedestrian etiquette. A discussion about who is most considerate towards others, etc. (Of course several of my cycling friends were the first to claim cyclists are by far the most considerate group, to which I certainly disagree, but I that is a different story...) However, whilst sitting in traffic on my motorcycle, I think I saw the exact opposite of what could be considered bicycle friendly traffic. I saw your typical beat up pick up truck with a bumper sticker in the rear window that said "One Less Bicycle". This took a moment to sink in, as I am so used to bikers wearing reflective vests that have a "One Less Car" slogan on them. So to have someone take offense to that bicyclist's creed, and go so far as to drive around proclaiming such, tells me that not everyone in the world is all that "bicycle friendly". Makes me want to quote a little Hill Street Blues, with the classic line "Let's be careful out there...".
Rambling thought #2: During one of this weekend's rides, while stopping at a convenience store to refuel and get more fluids, I bought a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I am not a big doughnut consumer, only having purchased a total of maybe a dozen doughnuts in the past two years. However Krispy Kreme doughnuts put the rest of the doughnut companies far behind this leader. While I know that my Canadian friends may laugh and tell me that only the revered Tim Hortons doughnuts are worthy of their time, I do know that if you have not had a hot Krispy Kreme doughnut, or been to one of their "assembly line" doughnut stores, you have not discovered what great things this country has to offer. No, it is not that truly unique slice of Americana that you find at the Waffle House, but Krispy Kreme does have a doughnut shop complete with the famous assembly line in a Las Vegas casino. And we all know that anything Las Vegas does fully authenticates the original as being an American icon! :-)
Odd Observation #3: Some days I wonder if I have been riding too much with the same group of riders when I don't recognize a rider ahead of me by their jersey or their bike, but instantly know who that person 3 bikes ahead of me is simply by looking at their calves. Which is made even that much more unusual when they are guys...
June 30, 2002The month may have started out fresh, but the end of the month left us feeling a bit flat. Literally! Out of 6 riders in today's group, there were 5 flats by the time the day ended. I was flat #4, with mine being a thumb tack that I caught with my front tire. It got to the point of being humourous to all of us, as there was not much else we could do but laugh. Thank goodness we were all prepared and had spare tubes and patches, along with one rider who carried a really good pump to get us all back on the road. And as practice for the team aspects of the Five Points of Life Ride, I assisted every other rider in changing their flats, just to be helpful. :-)
Today also marks the last day of June, and what a month it was. Total mileage for the month was just over 850 miles, which averages out to 28.5 miles per day. I went over my goal for the month, but I also had the advantage of having 5 full weekends in June, which most months do not have. My goal for July is to ride 900+ miles for the month, which will be a lot of work in those 4 weekends, as Saturdays and Sundays are when I do most of my longer rides.
June 28, 2002This week seems to be the week for morning only, and thus shorter training rides. Something about being at work late, or having large amounts of precipitation falling from the sky every night has kept me otherwise occupied. But the mornings have been very spectacular with their sunrises and serene fog, so it isn't as if I have missed too much in the way of the great outdoors. :-)
June 24, 2002At 6:30 this morning I was in the weight room, doing an upper body workout, along with a number of ab and back exercises. I haven't noticed any immediate obvious changes from the upper body workouts over the past few weeks, mostly because that takes time and is a slower build up. I have however noticed an immediate change in my midsection core strength from doing various abdominal exercises. Most of the exercises are fairly easy to do, even if they are fairly advanced exercises to master. (It took me quite a while when I first learned these exercises years ago to get them down to where I fully maintain proper form from start to finish) However, towards the end of any full set all of them are hard to complete with good form.
While I have never really had any back problems, my back would occasionally be a little stiffer or tighter than I cared for. This could almost always be cured with a few deep stretches. The benefit to getting back to doing ab and back exercises is that I now have virtually no awareness of my back at all. It never aches in any way, and even after long rides such as the one yesterday, it never complains in the least.
June 23, 2002Today's word is Hydration. As in H20, aka water, which is the secret to all life as we know it. And just to further clarify, I am not talking about the kind of hydration that fell from the sky in a deluge and kept me from riding yesterday. (Gainesville got 1.1" of rain yesterday, and even made the highlights on The Weather Channel)
No, today I am talking about the fact that by the time I had finished riding 71 miles, I had consumed 140 ounces of liquid. This consisted of Orange Juice (Florida Orange Juice of course!) with breakfast, 5 large water bottles (half Gatorade/half ice which melts before I finish drinking it), and one soda. Add to that the 5 glasses of water I had with a mid afternoon lunch, one more soda a while later, and the count is almost 200 ounces of fluid. And it wasn't killer hot today, although I did sweat a lot on the bike. Now granted, I didn't drink as much as I should have yesterday, so I might have been a little dehydrated to begin with. But if I was to stick to the "8 glasses of water a day" rule, it would take me all week to recover from just today's ride!
June 20, 2002"You have a runners heart"
Those were the words that I heard this morning while my doctor was listening to my heart. In preparation for the ride, I thought it would be prudent to get a routine physical, to be sure I truly am in the excellent health I believe I am in. Thus I got the cold stethoscope treatment of listening to my lungs and heart, along with all of the other pleasures of getting a routine physical.
When I asked what made my heart so clearly a "runner's heart", I was told that along with the slower heart rate, my heart has a unique signature to it. Rather more like a "southern drawl of a heartbeat", versus the more hurried heartbeat most people have. This is a good thing, but being a "Yankee" with a southern drawl to his heartbeat could take some getting used to...
June 19, 2002Today is math day. Being the impatient type I am about some things, I decided to calculate how many miles this entire ride will be. Ummm, what I meant is... "In order to best gauge my training program in comparison to the actual ride, I needed to know more details about the ride distances." Yeah, that sounds like the story I'm going to stick with. :-)
So, as I said, this was a day for math. The short and sweet? 2700 miles start to finish. (per estimates done using MapQuest Road Trip Planner) That averages out to just over 55 miles per day for 49 days. Longest ride day? Day 40: 120 miles from Ozark, AL to Tallahassee, FL.
For a better view of the estimated ride distances per day, check out my freshly updated Ride Calendar page!
June 18, 2002Irish Rain...
No, it's not a movie by the artist formerly known as Sean Kilpatrick. And very clearly Irish Rain is not Florida rain, which pours down in passionate floods of water for maybe an hour, and then hands the day over to the sun again. No, Irish rain is the grey day and the misting that makes you notice how green everything around you is. The kind of rain that slows the day down and makes you focus more on what is important, versus being distracted from it.
I guess it's a good thing I went out at 6:30 AM and at least got in a dozen and a half miles...
June 17, 2002Tonight was the night for Apheresis donation number 73. I am pretty sure it was a triple donation again. I have been there so many times that after a while they don't even have to ask. They already know I don't mind the little extra time it takes. I wish everything that is good in life was so easy to do. It truly is nice to have good intentions actually produce good results, versus paving the way to wherever it is the clich‚ refers to. :-)
June 16, 2002Yet another milestone has been crossed in my training. Today I was out early for a ride on a beautiful crisp clear Florida morning. One of those mornings when the overnight fog had some of the trees sleeping in, all snuggled in their fog blankets. Only those certain areas that were clear of their overnight wrappings (such as the roadways) were up and about so early. When the sunrise peeked it's light over the horizon, the sky lit up the clouds in that intense almost surreal way that can happen on certain mornings. (I am sure my good friend Kurt could do a much much better job of describing this type of morning, as he just seems to share the little details so much more poetically than I ever can) Well anyway, back to that milestone...
Just at the point when the sun crossed the horizon I looked down at my bike computer (aka speedometer) and noticed that I was 5 miles out into my ride. So what is significant about that? Well, it means that I have officially biked more logged miles this year than I ever have before. I have been keeping track of my running/biking/swimming mileage since 1991, and according to my RunLog software, that 5 mile mark was the point at which I went into a new benchmark for biking mileage in one year. This isn't such a significant number until you consider that between now and the start of the ride I will probably bike once again what I have biked so far this year. And that is before the Five Points of Life Ride ever starts. Yikes!
June 12, 2002It didn't cross my mind that training for such a worthy mission would make me have to lower my standards, but I just found out that I am up to new lows. And then to discover that I am way below my usual was somewhat of a surprise. I even checked several times over several days, but it would appear I am going to be down for some time to come. And things are only going to go lower until at least after the ride is complete! So I guess I will have to change what I always thought was normal for me and just move forward.
For the past "as long as I can remember", my average heart rate during the day has been in the mid to upper 60's. Something like 64 or 68 most days. But now I have come to discover that my normal heart rate is more like 56 or 60. And yesterday I checked my heart rate immediately after I finished my morning run, and it was only about 110-115, versus the 125-130 that I am more accustomed to. It felt the same to me, but I guess the old ticker is simply more efficient than before. Either way, it seems that I have a new set of numbers to get used to, as the new numbers "just don't add up" to what they used to...
June 9, 200279.1 miles today in just a minute over four hours time. And to top it off, I finished the ride and had the bike in the garage all of 5 minutes before the heavy rains landed. This is the longest "training" ride I have done. I have ridden longer distances, but those were always actual century rides. The best part was that while I was tired towards the end of the ride, I was still in good shape. A little time massaging my legs with a device called The Stick, and then a huge amount of Italian food (We ordered the "Family Feast", and Kellie had a little bit of it!) and it's back to normal.
Oh, and I have also added some new web pages to the site. There is now a Quotes page, a Photography page, and even a Bio page.
June 8, 2002At times in life it can be so easy to find yourself in with the wrong crowd. Today, by some fluke that had several "A" riders in our midst (or perhaps had a few of us slower riders in their midst) it made for a day spent with a fast crowd. I didn't spend much time pulling today, as my slow 23-24 mph speed at the front was not up to the 27-28 mph pace these guys wanted to ride. I was working my tail off just to stay in the thick of it, so I have no idea how those guys could stay at the front for miles at a time.
For those curious about my training progress, today's ride of 61.8 miles puts me at just over 285 miles so far for this month. (Which started just last weekend!)
June 6, 2002Into every training schedule a little rain must fall...
One of my favourite (original!) quotes is "It could be worse, it could be raining". So tonight's ride is one that I can look back on when I am not having my best ride for whatever reason, and I can at least take comfort in the fact that it could always be worse, it could be raining.
OK, in our case tonight it was a lot of rain, but the point is still the same. The hard part about a pace line in the rain is that I don't know which is worse, the rain or the spray coming off the rear wheel of the bike directly in front of you. Either way you get wet and dirty, but you can still have fun. (Just don't forget to wipe the dirt off the bike and lube the chain before you call it a night)
On the bright side, I did manage to get my new Shimano Dura-Ace shifters installed, along with my new Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur before tonight's training ride. (You have to be a bike nerd to totally appreciate how cool this stuff is) What is amazing is that there would be times when I would shift gears, and would have to look back at the rear wheel to see if it had actually shifted. Talk about smooth! Oh, and it is also whisper quiet, versus that quiet rattle of the old hardware. I still have more work to do (new front derailleur, new chain), but today I did order a new set of wheels/tires of my own. (I am sure Kellie would like her wheels back without me wearing them out!) All I would really need is a new saddle and a good wax job, and I could call this a new bike! OK, maybe it's not really considered new by anyone else, so I'm going to call it my "new" bike. :-)
June 4, 2002Remember that flat tire I got on Saturday? Well, as it turns out, that was just the beginning of the end for the original rear wheel that came with my bike. About 2 blocks from the end of this morning's ride, I went around a hard corner and the wheel started to give. I made it home, but the wheel had started to separate from the spokes, almost like someone had taken a can opener to it.
I spent a few hours before and after work borrowing the wheels and a few other items from Kellie's bike to at least allow me to make the evening training ride. Her wheels fit just fine, but my old 6 speed wheel took a wider chain that her spiffy new 9 speed wheel. So I also had to borrow her chain. And then I also had to borrow one of her front chain rings, to keep from wedging the narrower chain in between my wider spaced front chain rings. Oh, and I can't use all of the gears because her shorter bike also had a shorter chain. On the bright side, at least I have a bike to ride until I can get some parts ordered. Stay tuned for more updates on the rebuild project on my trusty old Schwinn!
June 3, 2002I am starting to learn there is a LOT more to this ride than just the riding. Thankfully it isn't myself that is doing the hard work at this point. I got an outline of the schedule for October 15th, which happens to be the day that we ride from Lake City, FL to Gainesville, FL. The staff that is coordinating all of the 2002 Five Points of Life Ride events have us scheduled for 3 events so far that day, and they have the timing and the overall events down to a science. I am lucky in that I only have to ride and train at this point, because the scheduling/organization of hundreds of events scattered across the country over seven full weeks has to be a LOT of work.
June 2, 20022 days into the month, and I have 128 riding miles in so far. Today was a beautiful day for riding, and I pulled the group for the first 20 miles of our ride. (Can you say Big Dog?) We did miss one turn at about 25 miles which added about 8 miles to our ride, but the stretch we had to "back track" was newly paved road with wide smooth bike lanes, so no one complained at all.
We did have one bad moment in our ride though. Shortly after a lead change at about 50 miles out, the last rider in the group touched his wheel to the rider in front of him. His bike therefore made a wild swerve left, at which point he over-corrected to the right, and thus crashed into the grass off the right side of the road. His pride was the only item seriously injured, along with a few scrapes on his knee and some dirt on his jersey. He will probably be a bit sore tomorrow, but he did comment several times about how very glad he was to have been wearing a helmet. (See my May 12th Training Log entry)
We finished the rest of the ride with no more excitement, save for the weather. It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot with a nice light breeze. A perfect Florida day in every respect. When I got home I checked the weather and found out it was 93° at the end of our ride. Maybe this Minnesota boy has acclimated to Florida after all, as it really didn't seem very hot to me.
June 1, 2002"Glass!" I was about a mile into leading a ride out, with 24-25 riders in tow, and this was what I yelled from the front of the pack. Most of the bike lane was covered with a large amount of small well ground up glass that resembled sugar sand more than glass. And with the shadows on this stretch of road at 8:15 AM, it was very hard to see it until we were almost riding over it.
Little did I know that 8.5 miles into this ride, I would be the guy exclaiming that other most painful word - "Flat!". At this point the ride split in half, with the faster riders going on, and two of us stopping for flats at the same time. This left a group of about 12 riders in my pack, and we had a great, albeit slower than usual ride. We picked up a few riders that "fell off the back" of the faster pack, along with one rider that flatted in their group.
All told it was a big day for flat repair. One or maybe two in a long ride is not uncommon. Today there were about 8-10 by the time the ride was finished. In my case, the glass also sliced the tire pretty well, so I guess I need to go "invest" some money at the local bike shop.
May 31, 2002This month was a good month for cycling. I managed to bike a total of 510 miles this month, and had a lot of fun along the way. I won some hardware in a race or two, regularly rode my butt off trying to not get dropped going up the hills, and learned some really cool stuff like riding in a "rotating paceline", which I had only seen on TV heretofore.
On a personal level it was also a very good month. I got engaged (Yes, I have heard from a few dozen of you that "it's about time!"), had some good results at several races, got to shoot some great photos (Did any of you know that I have a serious passion for photography?), and basically had a great month. I also did one thing purely as an honour to my dad, that being to upgrade my amateur radio license to the same level my dad had for many years. I know he would be proud of that.
Next month's training will be a step up from what I am currently doing. My goal for next month is to ride 650 miles during the month, and just generally get more time in the saddle getting accustomed to putting in the miles on a regular basis. If June goes anything like May did, it should be a great month!
May 25-27, 2002Talk about a busy weekend! Early Saturday morning I drove to Palatka, FL (a small town 45 minutes away) to run in the Floyd 4 run. My hill climbing skills on the bike were a great resource at the end of the run, just trying to hang in there at full pace and not let up. Because of my practice at just giving it my all to not get left behind on the home stretch on weeknight bike rides, I managed to take second place in the 40-44 age group, 8 seconds ahead of third place!
On Sunday I got to work on group dynamics. Sunday is typically the day of the week for the long training ride, and this Sunday saw a group of 11 going out. Some riders turned off for a ride of about 30 miles, but 8 of us rode on to make a 64 mile ride into a fun day. Only a few of us had ever ridden together before, so it was interesting to figure out how riding in a group is easier than riding solo. The answer to that question depends a lot upon the day and the group. More people means less work for each individual, but more time following the world. If you want to go faster or slower, you just make the best of it and pedal along. Riding solo means you go your own pace and do your own thing, but at considerably more effort. One other fun part about riding in a group is that the group interaction itself makes the miles roll by easy.
OK, so after 2 days of serious exercise, I should rest, right? Nope! On Monday we drove an hour away to run in the Memorial Day 5K in Green Cove Springs, FL. A good race and a good day, until it started raining. (At least it waited until after the race to start raining) Along the way driving home we had to stop at the Blue Crab Festival for Kellie to browse the festival (That I had seen on Saturday during the Floyd 4 race), and then we even managed to catch part of a Street Rod Show in Gainesville when we got home. Oh well, at least I get to relax (until tomorrow) before I have to get back on the bike again! :-)
May 23, 2002The word calories seems to be getting more frequent attention lately. As in I need to consume more of them. Despite the fact that I really do weigh 210 pounds (At a rather thin looking 6'-5" tall most people don't guess I weigh what I do), I really am not much of a food person. Some people live to eat, others eat to live. I put eating only slightly higher on my to do list than putting gas in the Jeep. Purely an item that I often overlook, as in forgetting to eat all day when I am preoccupied with some much more fun task.
With Kellie's excellent cooking you would think that I would be much more enamored with food. And while I will gladly admit that Kellie's meatloaf is ambrosia in every sense, food is still not my passion. However lately I find that I seem to have more of this odd craving referred to as "hunger". Just because I have been riding my bike for rather long distances at a fast pace more often lately, does that mean I need to eat more? Well, that kind of bites! (That was one of my better puns in that last line for those of you that missed the subtlety of my humour)
So now I have to add one more item to my list of things to do that I had not expected as part of the preparation for this ride. Add in that I also need more sleep lately because of my training (I would trade dinner for a nap almost any evening lately!) and life starts to get busy. I wonder what will happen when things really start to get busy in my training schedule in a month or two, when the mileage starts to increase even more and I start to add in things like weight lifting (to help out with posture on the bike for extended periods of time) to the regimen? I suppose I'll have to consume even more calories then? When I said that my training was going to be a piece of cake, I didn't mean it literally! :-)
May 19, 2002Somewhere along the course of my many years of running and cycling and doing triathlons I have learned when to push in a race and when to hang back. I guess you could call this "being on your game", however to me it is better described as "mental toughness". At 7:00 PM last night I ran the High Springs, FL Spirit Run 5K after a long day of traveling. Before the start of the race it was just another Saturday night. But when the gun went off, I went out hard, and just didn't let up. At the first mile I was stride for stride with a good friend and runner that is normally faster than I am. I asked how he was doing and we did some race talk. He started to fade at about 1.5 miles, so I told him to hang in there, relax, and stay with me. He ended up getting his second race wind and went on to finish 20 seconds ahead of me (and after the race he thanked me for helping him out). Even with the heat (77°) and humidity (90%) I just kept pushing to the finish, and ended up with a very good 5K finish time that I have not seen in a while. (19:15)
The reason I mention this is that today it came in very handy to be able to hang in there on a much tougher than usual day. A day when most other riders just stayed home. I was up at 6:00 AM to get ready for my days riding. I was planning to get in a quick 30 mile loop before meeting a group ride that was to meet at 9:00 AM. However when I got up it was raining, and the radar was showing that it would continue to rain for most of the morning. Finally at 11:30 I was able to get out and go riding, however it was to be a solo ride, with the temperature now around 60° under very dismal grey skies and a strong wind to keep me chilled. But I just started pedaling, and didn't stop riding until I had made a serious dent in my training log for the day. At a few points along the way it was a lot of work (going up serious hills into a serious headwind in my lowest gear), but if you just do the work in small segments, it all goes by in time. And what was unique about today's ride was that it ended up being 50.8 miles of non-stop riding. No stops for traffic, no stops for liquids, no stops for anything. Just several hours of cranking on the pedals to put in the miles and get back home. It was a great ride in a lot of ways, but it is still nice to be done with it...
May 16, 2002I realized today that I probably experience more sunrises and sunsets than a lot of people that I know. No, I don't live in a sci-fi movie or a Dexter's Laboratory episode with altered time. I just spend more of my life outside at those times of day.
This morning I was out running at 6:30 AM, and as I rounded a turn I saw the edge of the sun coming over the horizon, slow and easy. Rather like me when I first get up in the morning - kind of quiet and slow, but then waking up fully to get the day going in short order. Tonight's bike ride was at sunset, with the sky orange and glowing.
Now I know that many other people may also see that same sunrise or sunset, but I take extra time to fully make it a part of my day. Kind of like stopping to smell the roses, except I am moving as I feel the sun shine on me...
May 14, 2002Hi, my name is Richard, and I eat pie for breakfast. Today it was Strawberry-Rhubarb, bought at my local Publix (A very good supermarket chain based in Florida). Often times it is (Dutch) Apple though. (Do you know how many carbohydrates are in Apple pie??) My co-workers still think I am a bit odd on this one, but they are getting used to my eating habits. If I don't eat pie, I usually have either a (Crunchy Peanut Butter) Clif Bar, or maybe a microwave Michelina's Chili-Mac or Macaroni & Cheese. While those may sound strange, if you do the math, those meals are very high in protein and carbohydrates, and low in fat. Just the perfect athletic food.
Yes, occasionally I will eat more traditional breakfast food like leftover pizza. But I do eat my breakfast pizza hot, as with most all foods that I enjoy most. The one exception of course is that I like my pie cold (as in refrigerated). Do I ever eat cold cereal? Sure do. Occasionally at night when I am not in the mood for a late supper. :-)
May 13, 2002I made my 72nd platelet apheresis donation tonight. I watched a movie of limited social impact (Legally Blonde), got some good Scooby Snacks, and did manage to do my usual "triple" (3 units of platelets) donation. Somebody in need of this particular aspect of the Five Points of Life will be having a good day this week because I showed up tonight, so that makes my time well worth it.
May 12, 2002This was a big day for lessons. Some just funny, and some much more serious.
I went on a group ride with the VetMed (University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine) group. A very sociable bunch, and it made for a great ride. However about 45 minutes into the ride we were once again reminded of just how precious life can be, when we came upon another group of riders stopped on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail. They had been riding along when one of their riders bumped the rear wheel of another rider, and the two of them went down. Hard. What we found out was that the rear rider took the hardest fall (Which is actually a pretty common truism about cycling), however he was not wearing a helmet. His resulting tumble put the side of his head onto the asphalt path pretty hard, and he was in serious shape. Fully conscious and talking, but there was a lot of blood lost. One of his fellow riders was talking to an ER doctor about his condition via a cell phone (I think we had 4 or 5 cell phones out of a group of 16-20 riders on the scene), and the ambulance was on it's way. (Keep in mind that this occurred on a trail in a state park, not on a road that is easy to locate and access) If only he had been wearing a helmet, he would have been MUCH better off. His time from fun to disaster was all of about 1-2 seconds in this case. After our group did what we could to help them out, we went on our way. A little quietly at first, but then slowly back to normal. So I guess the quote for this ride should be "There but for the grace of God go I..."?
On a far less serious note, we learned a lot about Love Bugs once again today. Keith, another rider, inhaled one on a sprint section of the ride. I knew instantly what had happened by the huge coughing attack he suddenly had alongside me. I almost swallowed one that had come to rest on the nozzle of one of my water bottles. (I went through 5 water bottles in this ride) At one point on the stretch coming back home, I was pulling the group, and was literally covered on the front of my jersey by the pests. They aren't harmful, just annoying. Lot's of riding while breathing through your nose. Sunglasses are a must, especially when we get to some stretches where they are very thick in front of us.
Oh, and for those taking note, today's ride was 67.8 miles at an 18.1 mph average.
May 11, 2002Morning/Afternoon - Today Kellie and I worked on a Habitat for Humanity house for the Alachua Habitat for Humanity affiliate. I don't know how it came to be, but we have become "the" cabinet installers for the past dozen houses. I guess if you watch about 4000 episodes of Hometime you actually do learn something? (I do have to admit that watching that program is where I actually learned those skills) Usually Kellie will go off and install the bath vanities (In this case there were two of them) by herself while I unpack and arrange the kitchen cabinets. By the time I am ready to go she is done with the bath cabinets, and we rock and roll our way through turning an empty room into a full blown kitchen.
I still have to say that my favourite part of Habitat for Humanity house construction is installing roof trusses. It's a big project to get them all up and properly spaced, but it is also a defining moment in any house. It is the moment when the house goes from just walls to become the actual shape of the full house.
5:00 PM - The local North Central Florida YMCA had a 5K run. The YMCA is such a good organization that how could I not show my support by participating? The turnout for the 5K portion of their day's festivities was lower than average (I think due to it being 91° and sunny at the time the race started!), but it was a fun race all the same. I managed to run a respectable race, finishing 3rd place overall, and the first master's (40+ years old) runner. After the race Kellie joined me for a great outdoor picnic at the Y, and a good time was had by all.
May 9, 2002On this ride I got to experience the concept of cumulative workload, or what it feels like to stack one hard workout on top of another the following day. Doing a 50 miler on Sunday, then following it up with a trio of hard 30+ mile rides after work on Tuesday, Wednesday (Which was a 33 mile solo ride at 20.4 mph average) & Thursday left me a little slower than usual on my response time in the group on Thursday's ride. On this ride when we got to the hills that I normally could chase up pretty well, I was behind the main pack. While I could catch up again on the backside of the hill, I fell off the pace when the next climb came along. I did finish with the lead pack however, so all is not lost, and I do have a few days off before Sunday's 60 mile ride.
Oh, and the memorable quote for this ride? "There's an advantage to 23 miles an hour!" This was in response to a pair of dogs that came at us out of nowhere. But even at the dogs full speed they could not even come close to being a threat to the group of riders going by at 23 mph.
May 4, 2002It's official! She said yes! In a grand manner that I am sure will be re-told for many years to come, I made that grandest of all romantic gestures and asked Kellie to marry me! And to top it all off, she said yes! OK, so I guess now I have to learn how to spell fiancée? :-)
What was the hardest part for me? Keeping it a surprise to her, which I actually did! (Usually she knows what I am thinking before even I do!) For those curious about that next question, no we have not set a specific date, but it does look like it will be next year, and the location looks to be Hawaii at this point. Aloha anyone?
April 28, 2002St Anthony's Triathlon is a huge national caliber event held in St Petersburg, FL every April. I had the ultimate pleasure of being there bright and early, standing in the water waiting for the race to start, being out on the run course, and of course enjoying the finish line. I had a great time, and would do it again in a heartbeat. Oh, I wasn't racing today. The race filled up about 4 months ago, so I was there as one of the professional photographers taking photos of all of the racers. :-)
April 25, 200214 miles out on a short evening training ride with the "A" riders (aka the fast guys) and my cell phone rings. It's Kellie..."Where are you?"I guess she has gotten used to those types of wise guy answers from me by now. :-)
"Riding in second position in a pace line at 22 miles an hour, about 9 miles from home"
"Oh... When are you going to be home?"
"In 9 miles at 22 miles an hour!"
April 14, 2002At the Beaches Fine Arts Series Duathlon in Jacksonville, FL I managed to beat out 20 other Clydesdale athletes (A Clydesdale is an athlete over 200 pounds) to win a first place award in my division and be the fastest overall Clydesdale! It was a beautiful day for a race, and I had a 21.7 mph average bike speed on a course with lots of twists and turns. Life is good!
April 7, 2002In the middle of the Great Clermont Duathlon (5K Run/40K Bike/5K Run) in Clermont, FL I hit a monumental high point in my cycling career. On a serious downhill towards the end of the bike section, I reached 50 MPH on my bicycle! (Yes, that same old Red 1989 Schwinn LeTour that everyone likes to tease me about) Talk about flying, this one part of the entire race made my whole day!
March 19, 2002This is the first day of the 2002 Five Points of Life Ride for me. This is the day that I finally got that phone call I have been waiting for. That call that it seems like I have been waiting for forever! The call where I finally find out that I have officially made it onto the team. Let me just say, this is a really good day! :-)
|Ride Log||Ride Calendar||Ride Sponsors||Press Coverage|
|The Five Points of Life||Why?||Training Log||Training Stuff|