75 mile benefit ride - Done!

Well it's over. My last scheduled benefit ride for the year. Actually it was 72 miles but I put in almost 74 because I made a wrong turn.
The weather worked out pretty good. There was some question of high humidity, heat and violent storms for Saturday but it wasn't too bad. In the morning it was actually quite comfortable. A lot of the time it was overcast or I was on shaded country roads where the sun hadn't yet risen above the trees.
This was a first ever effort for this organization so there weren't a lot of riders. Only 49. Quite a different experience from the Tour de Cure with over 1000 riders. Of course, the American Diabetes Association are a well known national organization with something like 15 years doing this.
There were only 6 or 7 of us starting for the 75 miler. I don't think anyone besides me was over 40. Most of them with Cannondales and Serottas, sublimated team jerseys and shaved legs. They immediately dropped me and never looked back. I wouldn't even attempt to keep up with them for 75 miles. That was the last I saw of any rider for the duration! Which is what I expected. After Tour de Cure I planned on treating this as any other solitary ride.
The first couple of hours were quite pleasant. The temp was moderate. As I said, the sun rarely came out. I don't think one car went by me in the first 2 hours! 1 hour at least, for sure.
There was a rest stop at 5 miles, then one at 18. After that, nothing until mile 57. The organizer said he would have a sag wagon on the route but I never saw it. At least no one ever stopped and asked if I needed anything. That kind of amazed and annoyed me. But I was prepared for it. I filled up my Camelbak and spare bottle at the last rest stop and I had plenty of Clif bars and shots with me.
When I got to mile 57, the scheduled rest stop had shut down and gone home. Again, I wasn't surprised after the promised sag wagon had never appeared. Fortunately, the very last rest stop was at a pizza joint, the only commercial establishment on the entire route, so even though the event people had gone home, I at least was able to buy a couple bottles of water.
Finally, about 5 miles from the end, a car came out looking for me.
So, I not only came in last, I came in so much after the last finisher that everyone went home and almost forgot about me. Nice!
The organizers were very profuse in their apologies. The ride was no big deal effort wise but I was just thinking about what if I broke down or blew up early on. I had no phone # to call and when would someone have come by? It would have been several hours. I was satisfied with their apologies and told them I was "over it" and please pass the pasta!
My second least favorite thing about the ride was that 90 percent of the roads had no street signs. Thank God for the cue sheet. I printed an extra large copy of it so I could see it easily and made a holder for it with a plastic zip-lock bag and some velcro cable ties that I fastened to my handlebars. That was a life saver.
On the positive side, it was a beautiful route. I suppose I could have ridden harder and finished sooner but I'm just cautious and not that sure of myself yet. I'm still afraid of getting heat stroke or just a stroke or blowing up in some other way. I averaged a little over 12 mph. But hey, I finished. I was thinking, I'll put a sign on my back that says "Retro-Man" and the motto "Just Finish". What do you think?

Ride prep!

Tomorrow is the Ride 4 Love, 75 mile benefit for Love146.
It will be held in Ballston Spa, NY, near Saratoga Springs.
Here's how I am prepping for it tonight: I threw out my back (to save weight, ha, ha).
No, seriously, I got up from the couch and I had a severe back spasm which I haven't had for months since I started riding 25 mile and longer rides. I couldn't straighten up. Eventually I was able to do some stretches and it is better but still sore. I haven't ridden for 2 days. I really wanted to rest up for the 75 miles on Saturday. If past experience holds true, I should be fine once I get on the bike tomorrow and that should be that.

The ride organizers are going to provide water and snacks at rest stops but no electrolyte drink or anything like that. At the Tour de Cure 20 days ago, they provided Nuun, a sugar-free electrolyte replacement that comes in an effervescent tab like a Fizzie (remember those?) That was the first I'd heard of anything like that and I think it's pretty cool. They said EMS carries them around here and they were out but they did have Elixir which is distributed by CamelBak so I bought those.

Of course, they are sugar (carb) free so I bought a bunch of Clif shots, double-espresso, my favorite. The mocha is also good but they didn't have any of those at EMS. And I am bringing a few Clif MOJO bars to boot.

I made up one bottle of elixir and put in in my Camelbak and put it in the freezer for tomorrow and I put another bottle in the fridge to top off the Camelbak in the morning so everything will be nice and cold.

Now I just need to mount the bike carrier on my car and set the alarm for 5 and I should be set to go!

Weather forecast for tomorrow: 84, humid, chance of t-storms!

Orchard Hill? .... HA! ... I snap my feengers at you!

To think I used to look at the ride up Orchard Hill Road with dread! That is before I even tried it.
Now I have made it part of my regular riding 2 times a week. Today I took a cue from riding buddy Charles and started out taking it real easy. I didn't even crack 160 bpm heart rate and never got out of breath. The first time I did it at Charles' urging, I saw my highest HR ever, 171bpm, about 97% of my calculated max.
I'd like to go back and try Copeland Hill Road which we did on Sunday but I started it out too fast so it was really a killer but I finished it.

But you know, most of this is really mental for me. I'm not saying there aren't physical limitations. There certainly are. And there are orders of magnitude greater climbs than what I've attempted (see June's Bicycling Magazine article The Toughest Climbs in America). But the biggest obstacle for me was wondering if I could do it. Wondering if I would blow up and hurt myself. Now that I've done these climbs, I have the confidence and that's 75% of it for me.

I'm ready for the next challenge. Charles says it's the dread Pinnacle Road!

Sunday AM Hill Ride with Charles

I met my friend and riding partner Charles at 6:30AM this morning in front of the Feura Bush post office. The weather forecast was for rain and thunderstorms all day as it has been for the past week and will be for the week to come apparently. Our only goal was to get back to my house by 9AM so we could get to church by 10.

Again, I let Charles lead the way on this one as this is his turf and he has been riding these roads far longer than I have.

This is a great time for riding. At 6:30 any day of the week there aren't too many people out and about but especially Sunday.

Most of our ride was on scenic but small and little traveled country roads with gently rolling hills. Farms, fields and historic houses. Panoramic views of the hills surrounding the area.

At one point we rode up Copeland Hill Road, not too steep but fairly long for me. I thought Charles was right behind me on this one but when I looked back he had dropped far behind. I thought, oh,oh, he probably knows something I don't. Sure enough I hadn't paced myself or held anything back. I made it up over the crest but the last couple hundred feet were an extreme effort for me. But from the confidence I gained from our last ride and subsequent climbs it wasn't as much of a mental challenge for me. However, I'm feeling this ride now as I write this like I haven't felt one for awhile. ;-)

I had a mechanical problem on this ride. The rear wheel moved forward out of the drop out on the right side. I have a habit of checking the rear wheel occasionally because of the problem I had with the old wheel breaking spokes. I looked down and the wheel was almost touching the left chainstay. The axle had moved down the drop out on the chain side. I reset the wheel, tightened up the skewer a little bit more and rode on. This is the second time this has happened. I hope the tightening did the trick. I thought I had tightened it up enough the last time.

The sky was dark and the air was still. Sort of ominous but I liked it. It was peaceful. Very quiet. We heard a few peals of thunder and it started to rain at one point but the rain never really materialized. A few hours later while we were in church, it really let loose. We dodged that one.

I plan on laying off the bike entirely tomorrow and taking it fairly easy the rest of the week in preparation for the 75 mile fund-raiser "Ride 4 Love" this Saturday.

Here's the route:

Today I rode 29 miles backwards!

Today I rode 29 miles backwards. I mean I rode one of my usual routes in the opposite direction from the way I usually ride it. Ha, ha!
The reason I haven't ridden it in this direction before is the "DREAD" Orchard Hill!
I have ridden Orchard Hill DOWN at the END of the ride but not UP at the BEGINNING of the ride.
Last year, when I first started riding with my Ross MTB, I rode up Orchard Hill a little way but stopped, not because I blew up but because of fear of FUTURE PAIN! I thought, well I'll ride a little more up Orchard Hill each time and it will be a good fitness test as well as a way of getting fitter. Except, I never did ride up it again. Until my friend Charles encouraged me to ride it one time this year. I did it. It was hard and I saw my highest heart rate ever on that climb 171bpm about 97% of my supposed maximum. Now mind you I'm not afraid of pain and I'm not a quitter and I don't make excuses for my age just for the sake of it but I am trying to be responsible. The thought that I AM 60 and I could pop a vessel or something is something I should take seriously .... or not. Well anyhow, I am riding up it now and yeah, it's hard but it's not that bad. I kind of enjoy it. And my HR only gets up to about 162bpm now. My daughter Steph asked for some pics and here they are. I don't like to stop to take pictures but I do like to have them. I need a convenient way to take them without stopping the ride. In the winter I put the camera in my jacket's side pocket but now I have it in my fanny pack and it's not that convenient to take it out while riding. Jeff Kerkove does a good job taking pics while riding.
Anyhow, for what it's worth, here they are:
Corner of Van Dyke and Meads, a couple of miles in

Meads Lane, straight 2 miles, farm country

This is one of the hazards of this route. Fortunately this was the tail end of the train

This is the beginning of Orchard Hill Road. Doesn't look too bad does it? Well, hey I'm not going to stop in the middle to take a picture!

Nice view at the top on Bullock Road if you don't mind high tension lines

The Helderberg Escarpment

The long and winding road!

Almost home. You can see the tall buildings of Albany just to the right of that barn. From Krumkill Road.

Hazards of Weight Loss #2,943

Geezer Neck!

Low-end product review of the month - Camelbak Hydrobak

I got a gift card from Dick's Sporting Goods for my 60th birthday and this is what I got.
Dick's lists it for $29.99 and manufacturer's MSRP is $30 so not much of a deal although I think I might have paid $24.95. Can't remember.

This unit is the smallest capacity they make at 50 oz except for the kid's models. Great entry level hydration pack for a beginner like me! ;-)
Overall I am completely satisfied with the Hydrobak. It works great and looks great. The mouthpiece is easy to drink from.
The capacity is good for a 1 to 1-1/2 hour ride depending on the person, intensity and temperature of course.
Now that my rides are running 2-7 hours I find that carrying an extra 20 oz on my bike and maybe stashing a bottle of G2 in my fanny pack is a good workaround until I get to a store.
The only storage on the unit is a zipper pocket on one side maybe big enough for a set of keys or a cell phone.
The black handle around the reservoir cap makes refilling the reservoir easy.
The only negative I found with the unit's design is the reservoir cap itself. It can get very tight and therefore very difficult to remove. I have pretty strong hands and it can take me a lot of exertion with both hands to remove it. I can't imagine what a person with weaker hands would have to do. I find that you don't have to tighten it all the way to have a water proof seal and that helps with removal.
The other thing was that the cap is fastened to the handle by a thin strip of plastic. I assumed it was more durable than it actually was and didn't pay much attention to keeping twists out of it. It eventually broke on me. The main purpose of it, I suppose, is to avoiding losing the cap when it is removed for drying the reservoir. I find that if I stuff the detached cap in the zipper pocket, that serves the purpose pretty well. So be careful with the cap. Don't let the plastic strip twist and it should last.
Okay, I've saved my biggest gripe for last. And that is, as it frequently is with me, with the documentation or lack thereof. Especially since this is marketed as an entry level/beginner's product you would think they would be especially concerned with instructions. In a day when even a can of soup has instructions (open can, pour into pan, heat) I think this is inexcusable. It was a source of a lot of frustration for me initially. First of all I didn't know whether or not you were supposed to remove the reservoir from the pack to fill it. You don't. This may seem obvious to more seasoned cyclists but it certainly wasn't to me and I didn't have anyone more experienced to ask about it. Then, the first time I used it on a ride, it stopped flowing on me. It was in the winter but the temperature was just at 32 degrees so I really didn't expect it to freeze up. I kept fooling with it and sometimes it would work a little and then quit. I eventually gave up very frustrated. Later, I figured out what that little yellow plastic thing is near the mouthpiece. It's a shutoff valve! Apparently with me fiddling with the mouthpiece it had got partly shut off and sometimes it worked and sometimes by handling it, it got turned on again. How is a rank beginner supposed to know about this? They don't even list it as a feature on the packaging! Incomprehensible!
Having got that out of the way, I love this thing. It's a great buy and the quality is great. If you're just starting out and are going to doing rides under 2 hours and/or you're short on cash, I can't recommend the Hydrobak highly enough. If you're sure you're going to be riding longer and you have the bucks, get one of the 70 or 100 oz capacity ones.

70 mile ride

Yesterday I did my "long" ride. I usually do it on the weekend but I thought Friday would be preferable since we are going to the in-laws for father's day on Sunday and Saturday we have a church picnic at about 4 and I didn't want to be hurried on the ride to have to get back for anything. It turned out to be the better day weatherwise as the temperature and humidity were reasonable. Today is more humid and there are thunderstorms going through.
I found this route on mapmyride.com and was apparently developed by the Mohawk-Hudson Cycling Club here in the area. It starts in my town just to the west of Albany and travels through all of what we call the "hill towns" in the Helderbergs, a hilly plateau just to the west. I don't think there is anything called a mountain there. This route avoids the Helderberg escarpment which contains the really leg busting hills. There is about 1600 feet of climbing.
I started out with my 50 oz Camelbak full and one bottle of water. I finished the bottle by Altamont, the last town I would be going through for many miles and bought a Gatorade G2 and an energy bar at a convenience store. Most of the climbing started after this point as I went up into the hills.
My biggest concern on this ride was running out of fluids as it was my first time on this particular route and I didn't know when I would be passing any stores past Altamont, if at all.
I was determined to have more fun on this ride than last Sunday's at the Tour de Cure by taking more frequent stops as needed. As it worked out, I stopped quite frequently just to check out my cue sheet plus I actually stopped and sat down for lunch and to call my wife to let her know I was OK. That's why I wanted to have plenty of time with no commitment to get back for. It worked out pretty well. I forgot to bring a camera as usual and it was too bad. There was lots of gorgeous scenery, views of the Catskills, Schoharie valley, etc.
As to fluids, I finally came to a town that had a deli and got a Snickers and another 2 bottles of G2 so I was set for the rest of the ride.
I did pretty well on this ride physically. I felt my knees a little bit from time to time but nothing that I couldn't manage by changing position or pedaling style. Just a passing tweak. As to the excruciating pain in my toes that I experienced on last week's 100K, I didn't get that until the last 10 miles probably because I stopped so often to check the cue sheet. It didn't get as bad as last week so I just kept going till the end anyway.
So the distance doesn't bother me but I am concerned about the heat. In 2 weeks I am scheduled to ride 75 miles in the Ride4Love. If it is really hot and humid I am contemplating backing off to the 50 or maybe even the 30. I don't know how well supported this ride is going to be as it is a first time effort for them. I'm the kind of person who hates to back off from a commitment but I don't want to blow up as I am 60 and currently have no medical insurance. Something I've been thinking about.
Anyhoo, here are the stats: Total riding time about 5-1/2 hours. Add 1 hr 15 min off the bike. Average HR 125 bpm that's about 72%MHR for me. Calories burned 2,898.
Here's the route:

Luck o' the Irish ... except, I'm not Irish

But my wife is. I'll take that, I guess. In my last post I mentioned buying a new rear wheel to replace the one with the broken spokes. When I took the old wheel off the bike I noticed that the tube was bulging out of a hole in the sidewall of the tire! Now, mind you, I haven't ridden the bike since the 100K on Sunday so this was waiting to happen but it didn't on my ride or at least I didn't get a flat or blowout from it. How cool is that! That tire is shot!
Yesterday I went down to the bike shop and had Matt spin the cogs off with his lock ring tool and sell me a new tire and tube. I should have let the air out of the tube when I saw the bubble but I didn't think of it and now it has a hole in it. I patched the tube but I thought it best to use a new one. I'll keep the patched tube as a second spare.
I rode the Ross MTB again yesterday morning. It was beautiful, around 68 degrees. Perfect for some intervals. I went up to Meads Lane which is a flat, 2 mile stretch of road with a couple of farms on it and little traffic. I did my intervals there. 3 sets of 10 minutes @ 60-70%MHR, 5 minutes @ 70-80% and 5 minutes @ 80-90%. It's interesting riding the Ross with it's lower gearing. I'm able to keep my HR very low on the warm-up and cool-down portions of the ride. In fact, starting out on the warm-up, I was below Zone 1. Shocking! :-)

I still like to bike

Sometimes I get bummed about not having a job or money. I mean, I do have money it's just that without a job I have to watch every penny (yeah, I know, you fiscal conservatives will tell me I should always watch every penny). When things start breaking, I have to agonize over whether I can really afford to get it fixed or get a new one. Of course I'm talking about my bike right now but the air conditioner is making noise (or I'm just paranoid) and the Camry is overdue for a lube and filter and needs the snow tires switched out.
I bought a new rear wheel for the Raleigh to replace the one that keeps breaking spokes. I thought I had the right tool to remove the cogs but apparently I don't and the Raleigh is so old that I can't even find info on the web as to what tools I might need. Have to wait until Wednesday and have Matt at Mad Dog either sell me the tool or do it for me. Bigdave suggested that I get a more modern bike rather than continue to pour money into an old obsolete one. I heartily concur but there's just no way I can justify that right now.
Anyhow, the point of this post is that as bummed as I am about being unemployed and other issues, I'm still excited about being a cyclist. I rode the Ross MTB today cause the Raleigh is indisposed, an easy 18 miles through some rollers. I was a little cranky because of the heat and I'm fiddling with my helmet mirror trying to get the alignment right but it was still good to be riding again after a break on Monday. I am glad to have done the 100K for the Tour de Cure on Sunday and I'm glad to back in training for the 75 miler later this month for Love146. At the end of Tour de Cure I was so relieved to get off the bike but now after a day of recovery I am happy that I accomplished that milestone and am psyched about doing the next one. Only another 11 miles. Even if it's hot and humid I can stop and rest and drink more often. Who cares if it takes me an hour longer to finish as long as I finish.
The bottom line is, I still like to bike!

Tour de Cure 2008

Sunday I rode in the Tour de Cure, a charity ride to support diabetes research via the American Diabetes Association. It was predicted to be hot and humid and it was, although starting out at 7:30 it didn't get too bad until near the end. The ride choices were 10, 30, 50, 62.5 and 100 miles. I chose to ride the 100K (62.5 miles, 63.9 by my computer) as I thought that would be a good challenge since I have recently ridden 50 and 60 miles (mostly flat) OK.
The first thing I observed (not that I didn't already know it) is that cycling is largely an affluent sport. I felt a little isolated and out of place with my beater '95 GEO and "vintage" stem shifter Raleigh. I'm sure there were others there but I suppose the 100K and century riders were the more "serious" cyclists.
The 100K group started at 7:30. After a few miles I noticed some odd noises which I thought might be my rider number which I had pinned to my Camelback flapping in the wind. At mile 7, a rider passed me and said "Do you know your rear wheel is wobbling really bad?" I immediately knew what had happened. Broken spokes. I had 3 broken spokes on the rear wheel replaced about 2 weeks ago and Matt at Mad Dog warned me that others might break but I had hoped the wheel would hold up through the 2 benefit rides I had scheduled for June. I guess not.
Rider after rider passed me telling me that my rear wheel was wobbling. "Yes, I know. Thank you," I said, trying to keep the cynicism and irritation out of my voice. Of course what I was upset most about was the possibility of not being able to finish the ride. Replacing spokes or even the whole wheel was trivial but it wasn't likely to happen here. I had been checking the wheel too, and it was fine on my last ride so I thought it a cruel twist that they should break right at the beginning of the first important ride of my biking "career". I'm thinking that people are going to think "yeah, retro-man is out of his class and he just made up an excuse to quit." I determined to ride to the first rest stop and maybe seek out a mechanic to see if he could possibly do anything that would allow me to continue riding. I knew there was little chance they were going to have spare spokes or a 27" wheel or even the time to change either out.
At the rest stop they told me the mechanic's wagon would be a half hour yet. The wheel was rubbing on the brake pads with every rotation so I just disconnected the rear brake. I decided to keep going. I remembered that I had ridden the bike before with broken spokes so I thought with luck, I could go a few more miles. What's the worst that could happen? The wheel could suddenly collapse while going fast downhill and I could crash although it would probably be less likely or serious if it did happen than if something happened to the front wheel. It would be at most a minute before somebody would come by plus you had all the EMTs around and other support vehicles cruising the route so it's the best situation for something like that to happen. More likely, more spokes would break and I would just stop from the wheel being unridable. So, I kept going.
Believe me, it seemed like EVERYBODY was passing me. Once I got over the ignominy of that and I was mostly alone, I enjoyed the ride. What I like most about cycling is the time alone in the outdoors enjoying the sights, sounds and fragrances of nature, the smooth, rhythmic activity of pedaling and constant breeze of motion in my face. There was a long, flat, shady section with virtually no car traffic along the Hudson River. Heavenly!
I stopped at every rest stop. They were serving Nuun, a sugar-free electrolyte replacement drink. There was lots of ice, water, bananas, oranges, pretzels, etc.
After 20 miles or so I began to think maybe I can finish this thing even with the bad wheel. At about the halfway point the route headed east into some hilly farm country, very beautiful but more challenging especially as the day got warmer. At the 42 mile rest stop there was a mechanic who offered help. At this point my wheel was hitting the chain stay. He tightened up a few spokes and managed to straighten the wheel enough for me to continue in a little better shape.
The only physical problem I encountered on the ride was between this rest stop and the last, about 13 miles. The smaller 3 toes on each foot started to hurt really bad, almost unbearable but I was determined to not get off the bike until the last rest stop. At the rest stop the pain went away almost immediately when I clipped out and took a few steps on the ground. It was probably dumb to suffer like that when a minutes rest would have helped but I am stubborn that way.
The rest of the ride, another 10 miles, was uneventful but I was glad to see the end. I would like to say I was jubilant but it was hard to muster a smile for the crowd at the finish and my wife's camera. I suppose I was spent. I weighed 4 pounds less than when I started out that morning even though I tried to drink as often as I could. I found that toward the end, I had to make a conscious effort to grab that bottle of Nuun and drink. Even that little extra effort was too much. I felt much better after lunch, ice cream and a nap! My first stop was not home but the bike shop to buy a new wheel. I told Matt that once I got home I would not be getting off the couch before he closed at 5PM! ;-)
Here I am at the finish:

Tour de Cure is here!

Tomorrow is the Tour de Cure, the ride to benefit diabetes research. I am planning on riding 100K (62.5 miles). 90+ degree heat, high humidity and thunderstorms are predicted. I was worried about having to wear or carry rain gear in that heat but why bother? Getting soaked would be welcomed wouldn't it? I can deal with squishy shoes for 60 miles.
I'm really looking forward to this. I haven't had a long ride for 2 weeks. Been keeping them to 20 miles.
I intended to take it completely easy today but I wound up mowing the lawn. Probably not the best idea (it's in the 90s today) but I hated the idea of sitting around all day doing nothing but reading and sleeping. I didn't sleep well last night. Combination of the heat and my left hand was bothering me. This is the hand that I hurt and wrote about here when trying out my bike from the bike shop before I bought it. It's definitely better but the pain comes and goes. Especially at night. I will take some "vitamin I" before bed tonight and run the A/C at least initially.
Pushing a lawn mower really bothers my upper back. Next one I buy will be a self-propelled type so I can walk upright behind it and not push it. I drank lots of water, took a break half way and had a coke and had some salty party mix snack afterwards. Tonight .... pasta for dinner! Then pack up for tomorrow. I have to be at the Tour start to register by 6:45AM on Sunday, one hour away.

Group Ride

Last night I participated in a group ride sponsored by the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club. I'd been wanting to do one of these for a long time and it finally worked out. The ride started at 6PM from a local park'n'ride only a few miles from my house so I rode over. There was quite a crowd. I would say about 40 riders. There was also another group starting from that location but it was a faster ride. As the ride organizer, Bill, told me when I asked how I would identify his ride, he said look for the older, heavier group. Sounds like my kind of ride! It was billed as a 13-14mph 18 mile ride but they changed the route at the last minute for variety. It wound up being just about 20 miles. The ride went south along familiar territory for me. Then at the turn around point it went through some roads and an area that was new to me. A quiet, beautiful country road with easy and picturesque rollers called Bushendorf. I wound up hanging with a group of 4 or 5 riders and it was just what I was looking for. It didn't kill me but pushed me a little beyond my usual average effort. I was trying to keep it easy leading up to my 100K Tour de Cure on Sunday. I'm debating whether to keep to the 100K or ratchet it down to the 1/2 century 'cause they are predicting upper 90s and high humidity for Sunday. Also, my riding team, the Bethlehem Stars, wants me to be there for the team photo at 8AM but the 100K is supposed to start at 7:30. If I do wind up doing the 100K I want to get as early a start as possible so I can take a few breaks in the heat and still finish with a reasonable time.
I was surprised to see my heart rate kind of high initially. On one of the first moderate climbs I saw my HR at 97%MHR! And I didn't feel like I was working that hard either! I had just eaten a big dinner and that was sitting kind of heavy plus I usually ride first thing in the AM not 6 at night. I was wondering if that was it. Then I was riding in the 80%s where I would usually be 70-75%MHR. On the return leg my HR was more normal so I wasn't concerned. Plus, I just felt fine. Comfortable.
This was a lot of fun. Got to meet a few people, found a new fun route and pushed myself a little. I would like to join the bike club and get one of their cool club jerseys too! ;-)
Here's the route from MapMyRide.com:

Will work for chain lube!

I'm trying to be unhappy. Really, I am. I mean, being unemployed after 19 years is a serious business. I certainly should be concerned and not out and about on a bike enjoying life!
I'm just trying to maintain my routine while I'm looking for a job and I usually ride early in the morning before going to work so that's what I did. Actually, it was raining a bit yesterday AM, so I got to try out my O2 rain pants for the first time and I tied plastic bread bags around my shoes to keep them dry, the height of cycling fashion. I decided to try a new route and I am supposed to be taking it easy in preparation for the 100K Tour de Cure on Sunday so I avoided the big hill country and headed south.
I love being out in the rain. Always have. Some of my friends know this. There's a kind of dreamy melancholy to it. Certainly solitude. No one else will be out. The leaves and plants seem to be more succulent and emit a fluorescent green as they drink in the water. I find it comforting and peaceful.
So I tried to think of the dire consequences of being without income for the last few days and I was successful initially but it was a struggle. Eventually I gave up and gave in to the joy of being alive and free on a bicycle, in the rain, in southern Albany county.
Oh, I did my duty that day. I got back to the house, maybe a little later than usual. Did my prep for a job interview today. Got a haircut, bought a new suit. I think I'm being responsible. I have images of myself on a busy intersection in the city with my bike holding a sign that says "Will work for chain lube." My former colleagues pass by shaking their heads that such a promising and bright star in the IT industry has come to this.
Anyway, here's the route. It was actually about 21 miles cause I did a little backtracking trying to make decisions about where to go next.

Hip, hip, HOORAY! ....... NOT!

My right hip started bothering me yesterday. A sudden but momentary sharp pain in the front of the hip and I lose all strength there for a millisecond. Pinched nerve? The pain is not that bad but it's like the wires have been cut. I have to immediately take all the weight off that side or I'll go down. Like I said it's for less than a second. I rode the bike for 2 hours today. An easy, slow ride just under 25 miles. A few hills. Really enjoyed it. Another beautiful So Cali day (in the northeast), ho hum. My hip did bother me a bit but it was manageable. If I concentrated on good technique it seemed ok. Don't know exactly what kind of position or movement causes it but I was OK when using the heels down, butt back, back straight form that I have started to employ. Also, pedaling out of the saddle was mostly OK. My right shoulder bothered me a bit on this ride. I remarked to my wife just the other day that the shoulder hasn't been bothering me on the road bike but only on the Ross MTB. Guess I'll have to pay a little more attention to it next time out. Maybe with more time out of the saddle, I'm pulling up on the handlebars more. Have to consciously relax the arms and shoulders when doing that. I only did 12.6 mph average speed on this ride. I am trying to take it easy this week in preparation for the Tour de Cure 100K on Sunday.

TMI! Keeping perspective

I read a lot about training and cycling. Currently I am reading for the second time, Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100 by Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky and also The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Outdoor and Indoor Cyclists by Sally Edwards and Sally Reed while also working my way through The Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel. The problem with that is that I can get overwhelmed with information. It's not that they contradict each other it's just that there are as many different approaches to training and fitness as there are people on the planet! Also, as is the case with the Wallack and Katovsky book, there are many interviews and case studies of actual athletes who are extraordinary. I guess it's intended to be inspiring, and it is, but for me it can be discouraging too. I get feeling pretty good about myself for hitting 20 mph at 85% MHR on Meads Lane and then read about an over 90 guy, John Sinibaldi, who can still hit 35mph on the flats and sustain it for miles and miles.
The other day I was looking for local races and found a club site that listed some. One race was 75 miles. That's 75 miles racing, as in, ALL-OUT-EFFORT. I'm just hoping to get through 62.5 miles next Sunday at the Tour de Cure without being pulled from the course for exceeding the cutoff time.
My expectation is to ride with the big boys and I'm certainly not there yet. The perspective I'm trying to keep, while staying motivated to set ambitious goals, is, even if I finish dead last with everyone drumming their fingers waiting for me to come in, that's better than the ones that could have finished but didn't enter out of fear or lack of motivation or those that aren't even getting up off the couch.