Hertz Donut

Today I figured I'd better do something (fitness-wise, that is) so I decided to take a 1/2 hour run after I got out of work (4pm).
The way I look at it, I've got about 1/2 hour of decent daylight right now to do something outdoors and 1/2 hour of running is probably a better workout than 1/2 hour of cycling. Although now as I write that I realize I could just up the intensity of the cycling.

Anyhow, there's less prep for me to just strap on my heart-rate monitor and run out the door (and change my shirt, and setup my gps, sigh.)

I could run longer than the daylight holds out too since I feel more comfortable running facing traffic than riding a bike with traffic in the dark (I need a new blinky-light for the bike too, my current one goes off during use).

I walked 5 minutes as a warm-up, then ran for 20 and then cooled down for another 5.

I intended to take it easy but boy after two weeks of doing nothing (my last significant sore-makin' activity was one day of skiing on the 16th) my quads are killing me!

So I'm quite pleased with today's activity. I ran for 2.25 miles in 30 minutes (includes 10min of walking) with an average heart rate of 125.

Tomorrow, I may just walk to recover. If I'm feeling this sore now, it should be a killer tomorrow. Now that I mention it, I'm starting to feel my calves too. Better do some stretching before going to bed or I may wake up with a massive charlie horse!

Now that hurts, don' it?

Here's the route I took, it's on gpsed.com:

run 12-28-2009 | Author Ghalbedel | free Mobile GPS Tracking Service

A New Pain

I've said it before, I like pain. Lest you refer me to counseling or even intervention, I must elaborate.

The kind of pain I like is that well earned pain obtained from exercise to the point of muscle failure. In this case, the pain is desirable in that it indicates athletic progress is being made. Torn muscle fibers will repair themselves and overcompensate so that they are stronger than before.

So, I like the pain for that reason, i.e. I know I'm getting stronger.

The kind of pain you don't want is injury pain, joint or cartilage damage. That indicates a problem that must be remedied.

Since I went skiing on Wednesday my hamstrings have been killing me. The left leg in particular feels like it want to cramp up although it hasn't. I've never felt this after skiing or biking before. Usually it's the quads.

I wonder if it's because of the falls I took Wednesday or perhaps doing a too challenging run before I was properly warmed up. I was really exhausted after my second run of the day and had to take a break before I could continue.

So this is a new one. But an additional reason that I like proper skiing soreness is that it reminds me of the pleasure of the activity, a "euphoric recall" if you will.

I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to generate some "pain".

Why Johnny can't ski ...

More precisely, why is MTBMan1 a train wreck on skis the first day of the season?

I've got to find a good way to warm up on the slope within the first couple of runs.

Today was our first day of the season and we went to Windham, a friendly little hill we are fond of in the Catskill Mountains of New York, about 50 minutes away from our home.

We first went on a green trail to warm up and even there I was not feeling stable on the skis. Nothing was groomed but they were making a lot of snow so you had soft stuff piled up here and there and icy patches around too.

For the second run, we intended to do another green but got on the wrong lift by mistake and had to take a blue down. That was tough. Again soft stuff and icy patches ... unpredictable. On the plus side, I got lots of practice getting up from falls. It exhausted me and I had to take a fifteen minute break in an Adirondack chair before I could continue.

After that things improved. They kept making snow and it was windy so it got blown around and seemed to make a more even layer of packed powder over all. Sherbert snow I call it. Creamy. mmmmmm. Plus they groomed one of the green runs and it held up the rest of the day.

So I wound up having fun finally.

But here's the kicker. Mrs. MTBMan1 had no problem at all. After the third run she says "I got my ski legs back". ("Shut up!") And she's still faster than me no matter what I do. Here were my rationalizations:
1. I'm fat
2. I'm old
3. My skis are too long.
4. she has better skis.
5. I'm heavier than she is

Maybe she's just a better natural skier, hmmm?

This happens every ski day, though. I'm just terrible on the first couple of runs,i.e. NOT HAVING FUN! Of course I continue 'cause I know from experience that it will get better.

Maybe this will be the impetus I need to get back in the gym.

Anyway I've GOT to find a better way to warm up.

Cold

OK. I've got to get back with the program. Since daylight savings, I have dropped closer and closer to zero miles per week of riding. The weekend is the only time I get a ride in, if that.

I may have to get to the gym at 5:45AM. Ugh!

Today, at any rate, I did get a ride in. It was a bit on the cool side and I think I overdid it on the layers. I was sweating but cold on the skin, if that makes any sense.

I rode the Trek MTB mainly so I could wear regular hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks, my thin ski socks and then a pair of "SmartWools" over that (the Trek has regular pedals so I don't have to wear the bike shoes with cleats).

The Trek is problematic because the seat post keeps slipping down making pedaling more difficult. I got an extended length seat post for it because the frame is small for me but my LBS guy couldn't find me a post of the right diameter so we had to go with a shim. I think the metal of the shim is too slippery or something. It just won't stay extended and it really kills my quads as the post gets shorter and shorter during the ride. I've got the clamp as tight as I can get it. I may try going back to the regular post. It's shorter but at least it stays put (I think).

And let's not talk about my weight!

But on the bright side .... we're going skiing next Wednesday! :-) Maybe I'll have pics.

I love winter!

... and not just because of skiing. I like it when bike riding or just "being". What is it I like about it? I 'm not sure. Maybe there's something of solitude in it. Few people are out and about although it doesn't stop people in cars. It's one of those melancholy things for me. Something about death and ending. Not to be morbid but there is a time to die, as in, rest from our labors and be quiet, doing nothing.

I rode my bike today, first time in a week at least. It was in the 40s, overcast, threatening rain. In other words, a yummy late fall day. Starting to get a little windy but not bad. I suited up appropriately (long sleeve jersey, windbreaker, full-finger gloves, smartwool socks, shoe covers and Buff headgear) and it was only an hour ride so no problem there with comfort.

Did one of my 2 favorite 1 hours loops, up orchard hill onto Bullock road and back via New Scotland South Rd.

Scenic and quiet.

The one problem with this loop is that there are 3 active railroad crossings and you can get stuck waiting for a long, slow train to pass. Once, I even had to turn around because the train was broken down in the crossing.

But this time, no trains. I didn't even hear any. You can hear them at any point on this entire route but sometimes you hear them but miss them crossing. Usually a good thing. Although rarely I don't mind taking the rest!

It was good to get out and I certainly felt more alert and alive afterwards. My legs made me go!

Here is today's route:

Waiting on Ski season ...

Well the Mrs. and I are all ready and primed for the coming ski season. We're starting to line up our freebies, Mrs. MTBMan1 got new ski boots and we've got our skis tuned up and ready to go.

Most of the local resorts had planned Thanksgiving day openings or before but they've been put off by the warm temps. Not cold enough to make snow.

Last year we had a promising start but it kind of fizzled later. Maybe this year we have a weak start but get hammered the rest of the season. Yes! The Farmer's Almanac predicts a cold snowy winter! :-)

We've already got 2 freebies each from the warren miller flick and mrs. mtbman1 won 2 tickets to Whiteface in Lake Placid and one ticket to Bromley, VT at the annual Ski Expo here in Albany. We also have numerous 2-for-1s and we count on $25 tickets at Butternut in Great Barrinton, MA.

So bring it on!!!

Ride 4 Love

Today I rode 50 miles (53.6 to be exact) to raise money for an organization called Love146.
Riding buddies Charles and Brad rode with me and we all drove up to the start in Ballston Spa, NY together.

This is the 2nd year for this event and twice the riders (120) turned out for it this year than last year. I heard that $30,000 was raised.

Starting temperature was in the chilly 40s but it warmed up to 65 later and was a sunny day with no wind. Perfect.

Well first thing out of the gate I dropped my chain off my small cog. This was probably because my rear wheel was not seated in the dropouts properly but I didn't realize it at the time. I had problems shifting on to the big cog until I figured out what was wrong.

I had to push it to catch up with Charles and Brad cause there was a long hill right at the start . I don't like to warm up that way.

Then, after the first rest stop Charles disappeared. We didn't see him the rest of the ride. Turns out he took off ahead of us with another group and they took a wrong turn!

It was at this first rest stop that I fixed my rear wheel. The bike was perfectly fine after that.

Brad and I stuck together for the rest of the ride and that made the time go by quickly.

I'm pleased by my performance this year. Last year, I was not only last on the 75 mile ride but ride organizers didn't know I was still out there and shut down all the rest stops. On that ride and the Tour de Cure 100K before it, I deliberately did not push myself because I was concerned about finishing. I think my average speed was only 10 or 11 mph.

This year I was more confident and rode with a 14.4 mph average for the entire ride. I was not last and passed lots of people.

I did push it, although not to the max, and the last 5 miles seemed to be the hardest, in part because it was mostly uphill! All rides should start and finish at the bottom don't you think? ;-)

The ride was better organized this year with well marked turns and a volunteer that checked everybody off the sign up list as they came in to the finish. Made for a less stressful ride for me.

So yeah, I pushed it and I'm feeling it already, not 2 days later as I usually do. I'm going to try not to take any Vitamin "I" (ibuprofen) because I heard from Dr. Mirkin that it delays healing.

I also wound up taking a hike afterwards. 'Cause Mrs. MTBMan1's sister was up visiting from Maryland and we wanted to show her Indian Ladders Trail on the Helderberg Escarpment. We've been there zillions of times but it's fun to show it to someone who has never been. Lot's cool rock formations, caves, cliffs, waterfalls, geology and history.

At first I didn't want to go because I had just ridden 50 miles but I told myself "Walk it out, you weenie!" ;-)

Here's the map of the ride:

new world land speed record!

for the bike that is. personal, that is.

Today I rode with Charles, a wonderful peaceful, low-traffic ride through southern Albany County, dipping into Greene county for just a bit.

Toward the end of the ride we rode down Blodgett Rd., a long steep hill and my 'puter said 47.2 mph at one point. That's my new personal fastest ever. Previously I had done 45.0 down that hill and one other.

I did tap my brakes at that point but it surprised me ... it didn't really seem too scary. Maybe I'm getting used to it.

Whatever it was, it was fun.

That was a super ride. It was a nice 74 °, overcast, a few moments of light rain.
A new stretch of road to me, Newry Rd., very little traffic, scenic, winding, rolling, good pavement ... sweet.

It was a good workout too. I'm trying to be more conscious of any gaps opening up between me and Charles and working to keep them closed up. It gives me a good workout. I also try, on occasion, to spin up the rollers at a relatively good cadence, keeping my speed up.

I know I'm going to be sore and I'm happy about it.

I'll try to take it easy for the rest of the week, easy rides. Need to rest up for the Ride4Love benefit ride for Love146.

Here's today's route:



Some new stuff!

I am a subscriber to the roadbikerider.com premium site. There is a feature called "What's on" that is a list of items that the site's principals, Ed Pavelka and Fred Matheny are trying out.

Based on my review of that list, I bought 3 items recently and I am pleased with all of them.

The first is the Halo II head band.

I have a "Buff" headgear

which is great for cold weather and you can make a head band out of it but it's then too thick and too tight and it gives me a headache. The Halo II also has a plastic channel that shunts sweat out the sides so that it doesn't get into your eyes.

Another item I got was the Crank Brothers Speed Lever.
This is a tire lever that telescopes and snaps on to the axle and helps with getting the tire on and off.

The last thing and the most exciting is the OPTX 20/20 Stick-On Bifocals.

These are plastic lenses that adhere to my biking glasses by molecular attraction. They solve one of my most annoying cycling problems, the inability to see my computer numbers or my heart rate monitor while riding. They work great. Hey, bifocal sun lenses for $7!? How can you beat that?

Wrenchin'!

I been doin' some wrenchin' these days.

That is, bike mechanics.

I had a couple of concerns on my road bike.

  1. I had been dropping my chain off the small chain ring more frequently and
  2. I started noticing a pronounced wobble in my front wheel.
Also, I picked up an older mountain bike
being given away after a garage sale by the side of the road (plus 2 pairs of road bike shoes, my size!)


I thought the mountain bike would make a good comfort bike for Mrs. MTBMan1. The frame was large, our size. The Trek she is currently using is too small, although a nice entry level bike.

First priority was the road bike, 'cause I have a 50 mile charity ride coming up in 2 weeks.

My strategy for the chain was to totally degrease and relube the drive train and then adjust the derailleur if needed. Done. However, while cleaning everything up I noticed that when I installed the new rear shifter cable recently I missed running it through the guide under the bottom bracket. So I partly pulled the cable out to rethread. I had some difficulty 'cause I had almost screwed up this cable when I originally installed it. After I clipped the nipple off one end, it started to unravel making it impossible to thread through the guides. I wound up salvaging it by soldering the end and a place a little ways back from the end where I clipped a strand that was also coming apart. The solder enlarged the cable diameter a bit making it a little hard to get through the holes but I managed it.

Similarly, this time I had trouble because of the soldered areas. I clipped off a little of the end with my cable cutters but they still deform the cable from true round and it has to be finessed back into shape.

Then I tackled the wobble. I thought this was just a matter of spoke tension but I found that a spoke had broken off at the hub. This was the original Raleigh labeled wheel (circa early '80s). I replaced the rear last year after breaking 3 spokes on it at the start of the Tour de Cure 100k (I finished!)

My LBS, Mad Dog Bicycles, won't be open until tomorrow and I know he doesn't stock the 27" wheel that I need so in order to keep in training, I decided to take a spoke from my old rear wheel (even though the spokes are shorter and thicker) and install it on my front.

I got a lot of practice removing and installing my tube on this one. After replacing the spoke, tube and tire I broke another one while tightening it up, so back off with the tire and tube and replace another spoke. I think I broke 2 additional to the original broken one!

After that, I didn't bother trying to tune up the spokes, I just made the replacements "tight enough".

Then a 9 mile easy test ride. Everything seems good.

I got a Crank Brothers speed lever which helps some on the tube/tire removal/replacement.

As for the mountain bike, the shifting was a little sluggish so I decided to replace the rear shifter cable. In trying to remove the old one, I sheared the nut off the shifter top (the cover was already missing). This is an old Shimano Deore XT 5 speed indexed/friction hybrid. Not likely to find a replacement for that so I just ordered a friction shifter.

Also ordered and extended stem and I will put some riser handlebars on it and we should be good to go.

OK, NOW I'm sore! The "second day" effect.

Last post I wrote of my concern that I didn't feel any soreness the day after a very hard ride.

I should have known better.

Commonly, I don't feel sore until the 2nd day.

Such is the case now: I am VERY sore.

Unfortunately, I also took a moderately hard ride with a steep hill on Saturday before noticing any soreness. I wondered then, why I felt so sore immediately after that ride.

Of course! It's the "second day" effect!

Mo' Pain, Please!

I've been thinking about this for awhile and it really disturbs me.

As I said in yesterday's post, yesterday's club ride was probably the hardest I have ridden in a long while, if ever, although not a particularly long ride (18 miles).

Yet, today, I'm not sore at all! Some of you, not knowing, might say, "Well, that's good, isn't it?"

No, not at all. If the goal of training is to tear muscle fibers, thereby making them sore, and then recovering until they are no longer sore, meaning that they've healed and gotten stronger, then, no that's not good. At least it's not good considering that I want to get better, fitter, stronger and faster!

Now, as I said, "I gave it all I had." Well, maybe I gave it all I was willing to give. From a pain perspective it was uncomfortable. Pain is a negative. You don't want it when it's occurring; you want it to stop.

You look at the people that compete in the "Tour de France". Sure, they are among the fittest men in the world. You might say "It's easy for them, being such superior athletes." But that's only part of the equation. Perhaps equally important is their ability and willingness to endure pain we can't imagine. In fact, that's how they got to their present level of fitness, genetics notwithstanding.

I guess what I'm saying is, maybe I'm NOT giving it all I've got. Maybe I have to ratchet it up a notch. It's hard. It's not pleasant. It's not "fun". But there is a reward! Can I do it? More to the point, WILL I do it?

I don't know

.....stay tuned

up the down staircase

Today I finally rode with the local bike club. The first time this year and it was perfect.
I only rode once with them last year.

There were about 23 riders and this was billed as a 13-14mph casual ride.

It started from a local school, basically went downhill the first half of the ride and then back uphill for the rest of it. Hence the ride name "up the down staircase".

This could have been a pretty easy ride as most of the pack was way behind. I decided to try keeping up with the leaders and it took everything I had to do so. My weight was an advantage on the downhills but, I assume, equally a disadvantage going back up! ;-)

It was a good workout. I did my best average speed to date, 15.8 mph and my average HR was a whopping 148bpm!

It's good to know that I could have done it as a recovery ride without being totally left behind. It was also gratifying to see one pretty good rider with a vintage bike like mine.

Next week's ride is called "Wine Country Casual" and it is billed as "hilly". I hope to do that one especially as it's the last one for the year for this series because it's starting to get too dark to start at 5:30 or 6PM.

Here's the route!

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Free bike!

I picked up a bike from a post-garage sale giveaway.

I was almost home from an early morning ride when I saw it next to a "free" sign with a lot of other stuff.

I called Mrs. MTBMan1 and asked her to come over with a car and bike rack and we took it home.

Here it is:


The shifting seemed a little sluggish so I thought I would replace the rear shifter cable. When trying to take the shifter cover off, the nut sheared, like so:


It's an odd little item. There is a slider on it that if you turn it one way you get indexed shifting and the other way it's old-style friction shifting! It's Shimano Deore XT but certainly a very old model. There are only 5 cogs in the rear. I suppose I could replace it with a friction type shifter.

There is no brand to be seen on the bike as it has been painted.

The nice thing about it is that it's a large size good for either Mrs. MTBMan1 or myself. My idea is to make it as much a comfort bike as possible for Mrs. MTBMan1 as she is having neck problems with the high seat-low handlebar arrangement on the Trek.

Also, no quick-releases on the wheels:


What I would like to do is either see if the stem will extend or get a longer one and get high rise handlebars. Then maybe a shock mounted seat and some shocks for the front. All free of course! :-)

But wait, there's more!

They were also giving away 2 sets of biking shoes that fit me!


How 'bout that!? The only problem is, they are Look style and I have spd pedals. With my luck, maybe I'll find a free set of Look pedals before my current ones give out. ;-)

Remember, MTBMan1 says "You can't have too many bikes!"

sore .... and lovin' it!

Today i was a little bit sore from yesterday's ride and I intended to take it easy.

Additionally, Mrs. MTBMan1 and I had a full day planned so I really only had 1/2 hour to spare.

What I should have done, had I behaved responsibly, would have been to ride out 15 minutes and then ride back along precisely the same route; the only way to guarantee getting back as promised barring any mishaps.

Well, that was too boring and unadventurous, of course, so I set out on a new route (although in very familiar territory) that I guesstimated would bring me back in plenty of time, if not under.

So at about the 2/3rds point, I realized I needed to cut things short so I started taking what I thought would be shortcuts. Naturally I got a bit disoriented and lost although not hopelessly so but it was clear that I was not going to make my cutoff.

So I sprinted back.

I didn't do too bad. I was under 10 minutes late but boy are my legs sore now! (8PM)
That's OK. I'll take some Vitamin "I" so I can sleep.

But I like having sore legs from a hard ride.

Right after that I hit the lawn (mowing that is). Then we went down to the rel's and did some sailing. While docking at the end of the sail, I jumped for the dock to hold the boat from banging against the dock, slipped and landed on my right side on the dock. I'm a little banged up here and there but everything's OK otherwise.

A very physical day. I like that.

nnnn.... don't think so!

A few rides ago my bike computer registered a max speed of 44.5mph. On that ride, it the fastest speed would have been obtained on a small hill that I usually do in the low to mid 30s.

Next ride I tried to repeat the performance. It's a dip down and then a short but steep hill up to Meads Lane. Which is sort of the plateau.

I will usually hammer it on the way down in my highest gear getting my cadence well over 100. Then eventually shifting down to low gear on the upside but trying to keep my cadence above 80.

Yep, this time, as hard as I went, top speed was only 37.8mph. Another case of the computer crazies.

Usually though, when the computer goes bonkers with the max speed, it says 77mph so I KNOW that ain't right!

The fastest I've ever gone on the bike is 45 and that's fast enough for me. I would hate to have a flat on the front tire at that speed! Hey, it happens!

I've been having a great couple of weeks, though, riding the LeTour Challenge from MapMyRide.

I usually ride the "Dunkin' Donut" cause that's just about an hour and that's all the time I have either before or after work during the week.

I'll sprint the sections between intersections and rest in between. It works out pretty well and I'm pushing 15mph average on the hard days.

Today I used the BlackBerry GPS app and it actually worked! Although it shorted me a mile as usual cause it doesn't follow the roads when I get really twisty and turny but kind of goes as the crow flies.

The key, I think, is to pull the battery to do a hard reset before using it.

Two more days left of the Tour de France!

Right shoulder pain ...

NOT!!

Ha, ha! I think I've finally got over 1 chronic problem. That is, whenever pedaling out of the saddle, especially on a steep climb, I pull my right shoulder out. I don't mean actually out of joint but I do something to it that it hurts and continues to hurt for days unless I don't ride at all.

I've finally learned how to pull on the handlebars without pulling on my shoulder. The ride up to Pinnacle was proof of that and I just realized it on my ride this morning to my great joy.

By the way, this morning was a great ride. I didn't sleep particularly well and wasn't looking forward to going out at "oh dark 30" but I didn't want to miss a day of riding when the Tour de France was going to be riding and it was more likely to rain in the afternoon after work than in the morning (it did).

MapMyRide is running a LeTour Challenge where you ride every day that the real Tour rides and they rank you and you get entered for prizes. But the best part of it is the motivation to ride every day (Monday is usually a rest day). I currently rank in 889th place out of 14,006 riders.

You can only get ranked for "verified" rides, that's if you use a GPS device and I gave up on my BlackBerry GPS app that MapMyRide provided. It usually doesn't work right and it's too much trouble. I don't need the aggravation when I'm just trying to enjoy the ride.

Only minutes into the ride I felt great. It's a great way to wake up. I'd already had 2 cups of coffee too. That's good for performance and helps to burn fat.

So it didn't rain on me, I averaged 14.7 mph on the ride which is pretty good for this loop and my derailleur cable seemed to loosen up toward the last 3rd of the ride. I'll have to take it apart and lube it soon. It seems to be sticking on the upshifts since I replaced it. I feel more confident about redoing the cable now that I've done it once (watch me screw it up!).

I call this ride "Dunkin' Donut" because it's a loop with a little spur where I go out Game Farm Rd. as far as the railroad tracks and back to the loop so it looks like the "handle" on the original Dunkin' Donut. The reason I don't cross the tracks is I don't want to get stuck on the other side if a train comes through. Time is limited 'cause I have to go to work. There WAS a train going through today too.

See, here it is:

The "Dread" Pinnacle!

I did it! I climbed Pinnacle!

To me, the route up to Thatcher park and then to Camp Pinnacle via Beaver Dam Road and Pinnacle Road was the ultimate symbol of climbing hurt on a bicycle.

Today we took that route, Charles, his friend Mike and I.

It was tough but I did it. It's a real milestone for me.

One more "DREAD" scratched off the list.

My quads are going to kill me. I'm feeling it already.

One note of concern: long, steep climbs are really hard on my lower back. I have some degeneration there and it's usually kept in check by bike riding with the exception of rides with a lot of climbing, that is, more than a 5 or 10 minute hill per ride.

I hope I can find some way to deal with this. Bike fit, maybe?

Here's today's route for you locals:

Pleasure or ....?

I am reading the book by Lance Armstrong "It's not about the Bike".

Here's a great quote from the book that says it all:

"Cycling is so hard, the suffering is so intense, that it's absolutely cleansing. You can go out there with the weight of the world on your shoulders, and after a six-hour ride at a high pain threshold, you feel at peace. The pain is so deep and strong that a curtain descends over your brain. At least for awhile you have a kind of hall pass, and don't have to brood on your problems; you can shut everything else out, because the effort and subsequent fatigue are absolute."

And another:

"Once, someone asked me what pleasure I took in riding for so long. 'Pleasure' I said. 'I don't understand the question.' I didn't do it for pleasure. I did it for pain."

That explains to me why I have such a hard time doing an easy recovery ride like you are supposed to do between hard workouts. Not that I ride as hard as Lance Armstrong. But a large part of the attraction of cycling for me is that euphoria that comes during and immediately after a hard ride.

cable broke!

I had to cut short my ride this afternoon after work.

As I started climbing a short roller on Van Dyke I threw the rear derailleur into 1st and the cable let go ... no shift.

I did ignore the warning signs. A frayed piece of cable kept poking me in the finger when I shifted on the last ride. I just clipped the offending strand short with my wire cutters!

So I was stuck in 6th on the rear derailleur. Too hard of a gear for me to climb Orchard Hill. So I headed straight back to Matt's Mad Dog Bicycles and bought a piece of cable.

I botched it right away by not tinning the end with solder when I clipped the end off it. It unravelled pretty badly a couple of inches in from end. But I saved the day by 1. tinning the end. 2. tinning 2 inches back to stop the unravelling from getting worse and 3. Clipping out the unravelled strand from between the 2 tinned points so I could get the cable through all the holes.

It didn't matter strength wise because the end of the cable that was frayed was beyond the binding screw on the derailleur.

Whew!

That was 5 bucks saved!

Oh, by the way, I'm now in 727th place out of 12,151 total riders in MapMyRide Le Tour Challenge! No prizes though. :-(

I COULD use a head sweat or a water bottle! :-)

How easy should a recovery ride be?

I know how hard the hard ride should be ... as hard as you can. Not really any limit. As hard as you have the tolerance for pain.

But the recovery rides ... should it be easy as you can make it, say just spin over 80 rpm but not hard enough to "feel" it?

Or should you just ride not as hard as you can but still sweat and breathe hard and feel it?

Well this morning's ride was definitely on the easy side. I needed to take it easy one more day. I was still feeling sore from the previous 8 days straight of riding every day. Monday I didn't ride at all but did an upper body workout at the gym, the first since April!

By the way, my ranking in the MapMyRide LeTour Challenge is 865th out of 11,427 riders!

The GPS worked OK this morning but I think it's shorting me a mile each ride. On the map it created I notice that instead of following the road per my actual ride, it just drew a straight line across non-road areas as the crow flies for certain twisty-turny sections.

In some ways it's a convenience, in some ways it's just another hassle.

GPS Woes!

OK. I gave it another shot.

This time I did a hard reset on my Berry by pulling the battery. When it came up the GPS was working. Great.

When I went out for a ride it was not working. So I did the GPS reset option from the software and it came on. Great.

I checked it at the turnaround point in the ride and it was still working and the time and mileage seemed accurate. Great.

I checked it when we got home at the end of the ride and it was not picking up a signal. What th...!!??

The bike computer said we did 6.98 miles but the gps had stopped logging at 5.6 or something.

Technology is wonderful when it works but when it doesn't it just adds complexity and aggravation to something that is supposed to be simple and relaxing.

I should just wait until I can get a "real" GPS. Then I'll be happy. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Give up!!!

On my GPS, that is. It's not even a real GPS. It's a GPS enabled phone.

I couldn't get the GPS to go on for today's ride. I tried the 'reset GPS' option in the software but it didn't do anything.

I don't need the frustration.

After I got back, I reset the berry by pulling out the battery and now the GPS works.

OK, one more time.

On another note, I'm now up to 926th place (out of 10,211) in the LeTour Challenge.

I really should have taken the day off 'cause I'm kind of sore. I rode every day since last Sunday. I rode for 2-1/2 hours today, 31 miles. I told myself I would take it easy. I kind of did but there were are few hills. Can't help that!

It was pretty nice, mostly quiet. Big T-storms promised for later.

At one point I happened to look up and saw a puff of smoke in the sky and then a silver thing falling straight down out of the smoke. Uh-oh, that can't be good. I was hoping it was some model rocket or something cause it was right over South Bethlehem airport.

A little later I saw these jets flying around pretty low and realized it was an airshow. Then I saw 2 of the jets crash into each other! ....

Pieces flying all over the place .... and fluttering to the ground! They were models! I never knew they had such a thing as model jets. They even sounded like the real thing. Incredible! The things you see on a bike ride!

I stopped for a Clif bar break about 1/2 way and hooked my sun glasses under my saddle, telling myself "don't forget them, now". HA! I forgot them, of course. Until about 5 miles down the line. Of course they were long gone.

I did this once before. Boy was I mad (at myself). You should have heard me. (Well, maybe it's better that you didn't).

Anyhow after the ride I went back with the car 'cause I knew where I stopped and they were right there. That was good cause I didn't have to do a lot of looking and they were off the road where no car could run over them or it was unlikely that someone would see them and pick them up.

Next time they go in the jersey or you can kick me!

Here's the route:

I'm in 1282nd place!

In the LeTour Challenge (mapmyride) that is. Out of 9,425.

Not bad!

I used my Blackberry's GPS to automatically log the ride. Mapmyride provides iMapMyRide software which works with the BB's built-in GPS.

Pretty cool when it works ... which hasn't been often.

Sometimes it blows up with an "unhandled exception". Today it worked. I wiped the BB and reprovisioned it 'cause it was acting up. Also, I found that if the GPS doesn't work, there is an option in the software to restart it.

Anyhow, it worked swimmingly today and it's very convenient. Automatically enters you in the LeTour Challenge too. So far, I haven't missed riding a day of the tour. See how long I can keep it up!

It's not for physical exertion but just for time and weather and things like that.

Today I rode after work and before supper. A great ride with great weather. I rode up Orchard Hill ... it seemed easy so I pushed a little harder. Then on top, on Bullock road was just gorgeous. Totally tree-lined in the shade. Beautiful.

I'm feeling really charged up. I'm sure it has to do with riding every day! There's something to it.

Here's today's route for interested locals (15 miles):


LeTour Challenge!

MapMyRide website is running an event "LeTour Challenge" to coincide with The Tour de France.

The idea is that you ride each day of the tour de france that you can. Submit your route and time to the website and be ranked as if you rode with the real tour and be entered to win prizes given out after each stage.

The prizes range from a couple of high-end bikes to water bottles. But it's really mostly fun to be motivated to ride every day. So far I have and my current ranking is 1,024! A nice computer science kind of number!

We've had unsettled weather with some real heavy downpours every day for the last couple of weeks but I've done pretty well avoiding them.

Tonight's ride was terrific. It had just rained and the roads were wet but the sun was out and it was cool. I usually ride just about 1 hour before supper but today I rode 20 miles in 1-1/2 hours after supper.

Just what the doctor ordered! :-)

I should know better!

This morning I was feeling really groggy. Didn't sleep any worse than usual (which hasn't been great)so I don't know why.

So I bagged my morning ride. I was going to take a recovery ride 'cause I rode pretty hard on Sunday and was feeling sore. Too bad because it turned out to be a beautiful, cool morning.

I felt pretty groggy all day as it turned out. Put away quite a bit of coffee but it didn't really help.

I decided that if the weather held out (tstorms predicted for later in the afternoon) I would take my 1 hour recovery ride on a mostly flat (for around here) course. I really felt like taking a nap when i got home but i didn't think an easy ride would hurt and i could always knap later.

So I rode about 4. And I felt great, of course! Never did need the nap. If I had gone for the morning ride I probably wouldn't have had to suffer through the day! I should know that by now!

I'm cool

OK. My goals for Monday's ride were modest:keep cadence above 80, keep HR in zone 3 (70-80%MHR) as much as possible. Zone 3 is supposedly where you burn the most fat. Of course, any exertion uses calories so that's good, right? I'm trying to get my weight back down after it crept up a bit over the winter.

While I had trouble keeping my HR up there, I did average 83RPMs. Out of 55 minutes, only 9 were in zone 3. I felt I was working fairly hard. I didn't sleep very well the previous night. Maybe that was it.

On the other hand, my average speed was 14.3MPH so I'm happy about that. I'm trying to work that up a bit this year.

Overall, I was satisfied with that ride. While I do want to get faster and be able to climb better, my primary goals are general health and energy. So if I can aim to ride as near to every day as possible, that would be cool with me.

Last night I didn't get enough sleep again so even though it's a beautiful morning I'm going to skip the ride and try to rest. I have a day of training at work and I need to stay awake!

Glad to be sore

Finally, I'm sore.

I've been frustrated that I haven't been having good, hard rides that leave me feeling sore in the calves and quads right away.

Today was one such ride.

I rode with Charles as I am wont to do on Sunday afternoons.

It's always good riding with Charles cause he usually picks a good hill which I might avoid on my own and the friendly "co-optition" gets me hammering. Either from me trying to keep up with him or me trying to blast past him or ride as hard as I can when I am "pulling" in front. Also, trying to keep as high a cadence as possible, even on the upgrades, helps.

We rode from my house down to Feura Bush and then out to the cell phone towers ("it ain't over 'till the fat lady sings", I mean, "you go by the cell towers")on route 312, the Clarksville road. This was the hill that I was cursing Charles out last year for taking me on but it wasn't at all bad this year either because I knew what was coming and paced myself or I'm in much better shape (or experienced enough to know that "pain is the name of the game") or all of the above. But it was oh so much fun going down the other side especially when you've earned it!

'Nuff said. Here's da root!

Shut up and ride!

I really wanted to get a decent ride in today (Sunday)but the forecast was for thunderstorms.

Now you know how thunderstorms are. Very localized. Sometimes they just don't happen.

It was looking kind of dark and in fact, it was raining a bit when I set out.

But I just set myself to do it and I'm so glad I did. It turned out to be a beautiful day, almost perfect, in fact.

It start to rain a little heavier and I thought I was in for it.

Last year I got in the habit of carrying a ziplock bag to put my wallet and cell phone into if it rained but I haven't done that yet this year. However I have started carrying disposable latex gloves in case my chain comes off (it did) so I just stuffed my wallet and phone into them.

But the rain never amounted to anything and I didn't get any more for the rest of the ride even though it did get dark and threatening at times.

I didn't see a single other rider until 2 hours into the ride. Then I saw lots. I don't know if everybody started out later or what.

I had a little friendly competition. 2 guys came up behind me and one of them passed me. I picked up my pace so the 2nd guy didn't get by and I passed the 1st one. We leapfrogged one more time and then I didn't see them again but this really got me going and I hammered it the rest of the way home. Felt great, of course.

The moral of the story is: when in doubt, ride on out!

Oh, here's my route. It was almost 39 miles and took me three hours.

Chest Pains!

Thursday, while putting makeup on my zits in front of the bathroom mirror, I had a sudden sharp chest pain.

I have had these pains before and since I have survived them and had EKGs and stress tests in the course of normal checkups with no negative indications, I usually don't do anything about them. Notice I didn't say I didn't worry about them.

This one worried me more for some reason. Maybe because I was starting my workday out with it (usually they occur later in the day or at night after going to bed).

It hurts more at the top of a full breath than anything.

In any event, I went to work and it didn't go away so at 2PM I called my doctor and while he didn't think it likely that it was heart related (my checkups have always been good)he thought it was best if I check into the emergency room.

The town's major hospital is quite literally across the street from where I work. So I took a leisurely stroll down to the ER.

Long story short, I'm perfectly fine, it's non-cardiac chest pain, probably something muscular like a cramp (isn't the heart a muscle?) but I'm glad I went. So now I know.

Because of my age (61) they still want me to do a full cardiac workup, echo, stress test, etc. I'm hoping I can wrangle a free maximum heart rate determination out of it! ;-)

One of the doctors who talked to me asked if I exercised and when I mentioned cycling, it turns out he rides in my area and wanted to know where I rode and what hills I ride and how recently did I ride them. Since I rode a pretty good hill just a few days ago without chest pain he thought it unlikely that I was having heart pain now. I thought that was kind of cool.

My only regret is that I didn't get a nap out of the whole affair. They just don't leave you alone in the ER plus it's noisier than the greyhound bus station downtown!
(Cost me 50 bucks too!)

Hey! I took a nice ride today with buddy Charles. 30 miles up into Thatcher Park and the Helderberg Escarpment. Beautiful day (Memorial Day): low traffic, 70-ish, no wind, gorgeous scenery (sorry, no pics). We went up to the dread "Pinnacle" but took the easy way, my choice. Next time ... Beaver Dam Road ... mwah-hah-hah-hah! Oh the pain!

Here's the route!

A Trying Ride!

Yesterday, I rode 32 miles of rollers. It was possibly one of the most difficult rides I have ever done, mentally at least.
It was unseasonably warm, 85°. I don't know if that had anything to do with it.

Also, I'm having a lot of discomfort with my seat. Perhaps I need a new pair of shorts!

I have never had a ride, including the 100K and 75 milers where I have seriously considered stopping to take a nap! This I wanted to do very badly on this ride.

A couple of riders stopped me and asked to borrow my multi-tool. One of them had a loose cleat plate on his shoe that needed tightening. I was glad I could help. (and glad for the rest!)

We went separate ways but they overtook me again later in the ride. I thought about having a shirt made with the following on the back "You have just been passed by or you have just overtaken Retro Man. Either way it's nothing to be proud of."

In any event, I made it without a nap. It concerns me a bit. I hope I get over this.

The Wonderful World of Hurt!

I hurt.

Ain't it wonderful?

Specifically, my quads.

Today was workout number 2 week 5 of the "Power to the Pedals" program from roadbikerider.com.

I worked hard but not too hard. Hard enough to hurt afterwards.

I'm glad they specified that in the instructions for the program. You're not supposed to do an all-out effort like in a race but you are supposed to do a hard workout.

I'm learning what constitutes "hard enough" for me.

It's great that I can do a workout at the gym on the stationary bike that leaves me feeling like I do after a long ride.

Quads are buzzin'!

It's a good feeling!

How hard is TOO hard?

"Power to the Pedals" workout at the gym today.

1st week after the "recovery" week which still had some intervals but just fewer and shorter.

Today I did 5 one minute independent leg intervals and 6 thirty second seated sprints.

I think I've mentioned previously that my left leg is much weaker than my right when doing the ILT intervals. I'm handling that by not worrying about keeping up the 90RPM cadence on the left leg as specified in the program.

Oddly, I found that on the last interval with the left leg I actually hit 90 without even thinking about it. Maybe it's more about my form than strength?

The seated sprints were the hardest. I go 30 seconds trying to keep to 100RPM at a resistance level of 16 on the trainer. This gets my heart rate up to 90% and I get a little short of breath by the last couple of intervals.

I found that I was a little light headed after this workout and just a touch, just a touch mind you, nauseous.

I'm a "follow-the-instructions" kind of guy and I'm trying to follow the program but I have to remember that the program is not specifically geared to "masters" (old people).

I don't like to make excuses but on the other hand, not overdoing it and/or burning out is wisdom.

This is a line to walk.

There's no way to work it out except by doing it and learning your body as you go.

I think that's cool.

Black Arm Band

I'm telling everybody that I'm going to wear a black arm band until next ski season!

This was my third year skiing but I feel like I really skied this year.

I got to that place of "flow" that you seek in all skilled activities. Rather than being concerned about whether I could handle a run or about being able to slow myself down sufficiently to be comfortable with a particular trail, I sought speed and steeps and more challenging terrain.

I "attacked" the slopes rather than crept up on them.

I commented to Mrs. MTBMan1 how much we laughed this year. Partly from the exhilaration and partly from the craziness of this 60 something guy pushing his limits when some people are pushing their walkers!

Of course, I have yet to catch Mrs. MTBMan1 on the slopes! ;-)

It's her birthday today but I'm not going to reveal how young she is!

Her birthday wish was to ski today but it's not to be. Our local and affordable slopes are all closed now and it's raining. Boo-hoo!

So I'll go dig out my black arm band and try not to dream about next season!

The Amazing Power of Exercise!

Yesterday AM was not a good time. I was feeling some despair over my current job situation, actually over my prospects for the future.

I was scheduled to take a relatively longer ride as I had just done an interval workout the day before, however, I opted to wait until the afternoon as it was predicted to warm up and clear up.

I really didn't want to do anything to tell you the truth. You know how depression is.

But I know enough by now to do the ride because no matter how things look, I will feel better after.

So about 12, I set out. I was planning on doing a 2-1/2 hour ride, I'm ramping up gradually after the off-season, but it wound up being about 3 hours and I WAS tired!

But it had the intended effect of mood and outlook transformation.

I usually ride and exercise first thing in the morning partly because it works out best schedule wise but also because it tends to set the tone for the day.

Today I did a short warm up at the gym on the elliptical and then did a moderate/hard upper body workout and I feel great even though my situation hasn't changed.

There is tremendous power in being able to upgrade your mood at will!

Is speed your friend?

Yesterday I went skiing at Butternut with my friend Scott.
It looked like the best day of the week to go and I think it was.

It was perfectly clear.

Monday they were closed because of rain and today is kind of gloomy.

They are expecting to be closed Thurday and Friday because of rain.

Mrs. MTBMan1 didn't want to go because she feels she needs 2 weeks of recovery.

The snow was mostly soft and got softer as the day progressed. It required a different approach for me in that you couldn't really "push" a lot of snow because of the heaviness of it on account of the water content/density.

So, if you are comfortable with speed, you can go down the hill reasonably well with moderate turns.

I think I will work on this technique if I get to go again this season because I am more comfortable with speed as I mentioned in my previous ski post.

Speed is your friend!

*****************************

Today, I went to the gym and did my second workout for the recovery week of the "Power to the Pedals" program from roadbikerider.com.

Saturday Bike Ride Video

Today was THE day for riding!

Sunny and warm, 68°!

Boo-hoo for skiing but great for cycling.

I look forward to getting back in shape and losing some weight! ;-)

I rode from my home near Albany, through the city and down to the Hudson River where the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Path begins. I rode the path to the parking lot in Menands then turned around and headed back home. Just over 2 hours and 24 miles.

Here's the vid kids!

Power to the pedals recovery day and ski forever!

Now I begin a week of "recovery" in the "Power to the Pedals" program from roadbikerider.com.

This means 2 workouts this week (as always) at the same intensity but a reduced amount.

So for example, I had worked up to five, 1 minute independent leg intervals and five 20 second seated sprints but this time I only did 3 of each and then spun easy to fill out an hour of riding.

I'm still feeling it. It's been 2 days since I skied so I thought it would be OK since it's a reduced workload but at my age I guess it's better to be safe than sorry. Not that I would get hurt necessarily but the older you get, the longer it may take to recover from a hard workout. And recovery is really where you get stronger so you don't want to short-circuit this.

On another front, I have a fantasy. This fantasy is to ski year 'round. As the resorts close in early to mid-April around here I would go further and further north. To Jay Peak near the Canadian border and then maybe even to Mt. Tremblant in Quebec.

After that, there's Mammoth Mt. in California. Their last day is July 4th and the only reason they close after that is because people don't come out. They won't stay open for less than 4000.

Then, I would spend the summer skiing in Australia. Then, it's back to the East and do it all again.

Of course, you can't ski EVERY day so in between there's biking.

Hey, I can dream can't I? ;-)

I know I won't lose much weight skiing ...

... but the endorphin flood has got to be good for you! :-)

I mean it's not like it's a huge aerobic, fat-burning-zone activity.

Plus you are sitting in a lift chair for 5 to 10 minutes between runs.

But you do get high from the speed, the centrifugal force and the rhythmic, twisting and turning, bobbing and weaving. I certainly was beaming after each great run and later in the evening as I was just sitting in a chair, I felt that great somatic buzz in my quads just radiating out to my whole body. Still high! And it's good for you too!

It's a stress reliever for sure and I don't think anyone would argue that stress is a major contributing factor for illness. That's one reason the old canard "Laughter is the best medicine" is literally true.

Anyhow, we went skiing yesterday at Butternut.

I mentioned in a previous post that our last time at Butternut was the best of my 3 year skiing career but yesterday was the new best!

We really beat up the mountain.

I feel like I'm really skiing now. Why? Because rather than approaching steep runs with some caution and trepidation, I am seeking them out and going faster and faster while still able to work on keeping a good form and rhythm.

I'm not jumping or getting air but I am enjoying the feeling of loft, a weightless sub-second moment when going over a hump (that's between a hill and a bump, I guess) at speed. Sweet!

And Mrs. MTBMan1 and I had a lot of laughs; over our "senior moments", getting so absorbed in the skiing that we missed our pre-planned routes and over our aches and pains yet still drawn to do "one more run" because of the high of it. A true definition of addiction, eh?

We were hoping to run into brother-in-law Mike and nephew Jeremiah as they have season passes and ski Butternut 4 days a week but they were not around. We did however ride the lift with Mike's friend Chuck who is over 80 and still skis every week during the season. Something to aspire to, no?

I don't like the wind!

Strangely I am not sore after yesterday's upper body workout. I worked fairly hard although not as hard as I could have because of my right shoulder and not as completely as I wanted to because of time restraints.

I guess the extreme soreness that I had experienced was because I hadn't worked those muscles in a long time at all.

Today I rode outside for 1 hour, 30 minutes out and back. It was still a bit chilly but not terrible, 32°, but there was a bit of a wind. It wasn't much but I guess because of the temperature it seemed particularly annoying.

I don't mind cold, I don't mind rain and snow but there's something about the wind I just don't like.

It is an OPPONENT, almost like it has a will and it is relentless, merciless. It doesn't get tired (but I do!)

My intention was an easy ride, I averaged a heart rate of 123, that's just about 70%MHR for me. Tuesday, I intend to do my interval workout from "Power to the Pedals" at the gym. Might get another "easy" ride in tomorrow. Sunday I won't get to ride 'cause we are going to the rels.

Here's the route:


Here's a little video (before my batteries died):

Strength training day and shoulder problem

I opted to do upper body strength training today. It was rainy out this AM but that really had nothing to do with it.
I have really felt the weakness in my arms and shoulders when climbing hills on the bike. I have been weak in that area all my life.

So, although it's my least favorite thing, I went to the gym and did my warm up on the stationary bike and then upper body workout.

I have this problem with my right shoulder which I didn't have all winter but resurfaced after my bike ride last Sunday with Brad and Charles.

I have to watch it when climbing that I don't put undue stress on the shoulder joint but keep it below that. Also, when mountain biking, I don't do front wheel hops properly by using the pedals but do it all with a sudden jerk of the arms. That'll do it to my shoulder too.

So now on the upper body workout I have to be careful that my right shoulder doesn't hurt. The biggest problem I have is with the bench press. I have to take it easy and maybe back off on the weight. I want to work that shoulder as much as I can but don't want to exacerbate the problem.

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be good. Maybe I'll take a light spin on the bike around the neighborhood for an hour or so.

recovery spin

I could have done a "real" bike ride today. It was about 38°, doable, and dry although they were predicting rain after 8.
I opted to go to the gym, though, I'm not sure why. I was thinking about watching a movie on the AMC channel which is on the TV near the bikes. Usually, they have a good western or some action movie which can be engaging although I can't really pay attention to it when I'm trying to do intervals. "Great White Hope" was on. Kind of a depressing movie.

I should have ridden outside. When I left the gym at 9 it was really warm and partly sunny. Would have been a great ride.

Watching TV is really a terrible reason to go to the gym. Don't let me do that again!

I felt good about the spin. Kept up a high cadence and tried to maintain good pedaling form throughout. My average cadence was 92 and I was frequently over 100.

My quads are not hurting like I thought they would be from yesterdays intervals. Sometimes I feel them more on the 2nd day after a hard workout. I do want to work hard enough to be sore. See what happens tomorrow.

Power to the pedals!

Today, even though it was nice out, I opted to go the gym and do my "Power to the Pedals" program workout from roadbikerider.com.

This program can be done on the road but I feel it's easier to concentrate on the workout parameters on a stationary bike in the gym than on the road where you have to accommodate to the terrain as well as watch out for traffic and obstacles. Especially around here where it is hard to find long, straight and flat stretches without intersections and stop signs on which to train.

Today was week 3, workout #2 of the program and it was the hardest yet. After warming up, it consisted of 3 5 minute form intervals and 6 30/30 intervals.

Form intervals require you to work hard but not maximum while paying attention to good form especially pedaling with equal force around the circle and not just on the downstroke. These are 5 minutes each with 2-1/2 minutes easy spinning in between

30/30s are a hard effort for 30 seconds where you do about 100RPMs but then are forced down to 90 (through fatigue) in the last 5 seconds. Then rest with easy spinning for 30 seconds. Then do it over again. Your heart rate doesn't come down very much in those 30 seconds of rest especially on the last intervals.

Warm up was 10 minutes of steadily increasing resistance and then 5 - 15 second intervals of hard effort (not max)interspersed with 1 minute of rest between.

After the intervals, I spin easy until 55 minutes are up, then cool down, spinning slower and easier for the remaining 5 minutes to make a 1 hour workout.

I almost averaged 15mph on this one and my average cadence was 88. Pretty good for me. I'm already feelin' it. That means I'll be hurtin' tomorrow! :-)

"group" ride ...

i don't know, group ride implies a larger group. Maybe this was just a "buddy" ride.
Sunday, Charles, Brad and I got together for a road ride.

If you recall, Brad and I did a first ride together back in the fall up near his house right after the big ice storm. I got great pictures and video from that ride.

This is the first time Brad rode with Charles and me.

It was really a great ride. I worked pretty hard keeping up with the guys and I think I did alright although Brad smoked both of us on the hills until toward the end when he got fatigued ... he hasn't ridden since that ride last November.

As I said, I worked hard, my average HR was 139, thats almost 80% MHR for me. My average speed was only 12.9 but that's taking into account Copeland hill which is a moderately long and hard hill. I tried to keep my cadence up on the rollers especially towards the end.

I'm pleased with myself and I definitely worked harder with the group just trying to keep up plus a little friendly competition passing the other guys on occasion.

Here's the route! There's video after the route.


Here's the video!

Light Saturday ...

I thought I might take a 2+ hour ride yesterday since it was nice but I got caught up raking the lawn. We have a lot of pine detritus from an ice storm back in the fall.
So that was some exercise although not the kind I would like.

Also took an easy 5 mile ride with Mrs. MTBMan along the suburban streets (flat) later in the afternoon.

Today I hope to get my longer ride in, perhaps with Charles or if not, solo.

Don't have to kill it today 'cause I am doing my hard interval workouts at the gym during the week.

Independent Leg Training

Today's workout was at the gym (baby it's cold outside!).
I am following "Power to the Pedals" from Roadbikerider.com and twice a week I do a hard training workout from the program.

Today was Week 3 workout 1: ILT(that's Independent Leg Training) and Seated Sprints.

I did 5 sets of 1 minute each with each leg. You detach one foot at a time from the toe clips and pedal with the other leg exclusively. The idea is to train your legs to form smooth circles when you pedal, evenly exerting force all around the rotation.

Today I found that my left leg is much weaker than my right. I was supposed to try to maintain a cadence of 90 and while that was easy with my right side, I gave up on my left after 4 sets.

After doing the intervals you are supposed to fill out the hour with easy spinning but I only had 45 minutes this time.

One more hard session and then comes a recovery week!

Hands froze!

I guess it was colder than I thought. It was 25° this AM and predicted to get up to 36 later in the day so I thought I'd wait until then to ride.
For some reason I thought 36 was warm so I went out with just my fingerless cycling gloves. It was windy too. My hands really froze.

I finally cut the ride short and I think it was a wise thing to do 'cause my hands were in bad shape when I got back. Dropped my computer too. It didn't break though. Just reset it. I had to enter the wheel factor and all that back in.

Just rode under 6 miles.

Great Day Skiing at Butternut!

Went skiing at Butternut in the Massachusetts Berkshires on Tuesday. The best day in between 2 really crappy ones.
Got on the hill about 9:30 and it was pretty good.
The grooming held up for a couple of hours and there weren't too many people out.
I was really pleased with our skill level. I think we're ready for the black diamonds if the conditions are good.
Knocked off about 1:30 cause it just got too slushy.
One funny moment on our last run: I cut across what I thought was a patch of ice (why would it be ice, it was 50°? ... duh) but was really wet slush. Instead of flying across ice I stopped dead and clicked out of the bindings with both feet. Wish we had video of that. Good thing I wasn't going too fast!
Here's a quick video of the day starting with a ride on the triple:

1st ride of the season with Charles!

Sunday I got a good 2-1/2 hour ride with Charles. Funny how I always get a better workout riding with him. There's always that need to catch up or even a little competitive "let's see if I can pass him on this hill" not that we're racing or anything.

I definitely worked harder than I have in a long time and we didn't even hit any big hills.

Bonus: I mentioned last post that my cadence counter on the computer stopped working. Well it's working now!! When I set out from the house to meet Charles, it still read zero. But while waiting for him to get ready I fiddled with the adjustment of the sensor and magnet a little bit and ran my fingers along the wire looking for an obvious kink or break and when we started riding it was working!

I don't know if there's an intermittent break in the wiring that i jiggled just right or that the alignment is that fussy. Usually if the alignment is off it will read wacky numbers but not just stay frozen on one.

Oh well, I'm happy. Even though I do like to spend money on the bike I didn't really want to have to buy and install an new computer.

It was kind of warm, probably in the high 40s even 50s. I got to wear my new jersey with pockets in the back which I got for $19 on closeout from Bike Nashbar (oh, yeah!). Now I don't have to wear a fanny pack.

Hey, here's some video from that ride. It was about 32 miles. Check out the route:


Shoulda, shoulda ....

Today I rode for an hour. I shoulda had my camera with me.
Twice a herd of deer crossed the road right in front of me.
I'm not talkin' one or 2 I AM talkin' a HERD!

I could've shot 2 full minutes of video the first time. They crossed in front of me on the road and few laggards hesitated until I was right up to them.

Then the whole bunch ran off across the field, white tails bobbing until they got to the edge of the woods, then they all turned and stood looking back. Just like "Wild Kingdom" or whatever nature shows they have these days (I don't watch TV).

Oh, by the way, did I tell you my cadence thingy stopped working on the computer?

The other day I revved it up really high for no good reason and it got stuck. After I zeroed it out, it stayed at zero! Bummer! Have to do something about that. I guess I'll check to see if the wire is broken. Not sure how I'm going to do that. There are no exposed terminals to check for continuity.

Probably wind up buying a new one. Think I could upgrade? ;-)

Road Ride

Today was my 2nd real "Road Ride" of the new year. 1 hour, 13.8 miles.
It was about 38°, bright and sunny.

Didn't worry too much about heart rate, I wasn't trying to keep it down (recovery) nor keep it at a certain level. I got up in the 150s at some point, standing in the saddle in a hard gear going up hills. It felt good but I'm feeling it a little in the calves and quads.

I might just take an easy spin tomorrow if it's not too messy. It's supposed to be freezing rain at some point.

My arms and pecs are still REALLYsore so I may lay off the upper body workout tomorrow too. Am I trying to avoid going to the gym?

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I do not like working out at the gym!
It's crowded, noisy and full of TVs! Just the opposite of what I like about cycling on back roads: it's solitary, quiet and has no electronic media.

Having said that, I'm grateful that I have it to use when the weather is absolutely impossible.

We are looking to go skiing at Butternut on Monday or Tuesday. Hope the weather doesn't screw it up. It's supposed to be warm and rainy before then.

soreness for seniors!

I can't get used to calling myself a "senior" (I'm 61). I just don't think of myself that way. Is it just me or do they bump up the definition of senior 5 years every time just before I reach the currently designated age to get the discount?

My mental image is that of a 30 year old or maybe 40 at worst (don't look in the mirror though!)

Anyhow, as I mentioned in the last post, I'm doing this training program called "Power to the Pedals" from roadbikerider.com.

Monday I did the program and then you're supposed to go easy or do something that uses other muscles in between so I did an upper body workout on Tuesday. It's been awhile since I did an upper body workout so, as usual, I probably overdid it. I was shaking like jelly after 15 minutes!

Yesterday I was pretty sore (arms, shoulders and pecs) and I did another interval routine for 1 hour from Power to the Pedals.

Today I'm REALLY sore which is typical. Dr. Gabe Mirkin says you should rest the sore muscles until the soreness goes away, not necessarily just after a set interval of day or 2 or whatever. The soreness is caused by the muscle damaged being repaired. If you exercise hard before the muscles are repaired you don't really get the full benefit of the exercise either the previous or the current if I understand him right.

Also, for us seniors (I prefer the term Masters!) recovery can take longer, up to a week.

So, having said all that, I guess, today I'll go for a real road bike ride this afternoon after it warms up to 30 or so. (It's about 15° right now).

According to Power to the Pedals, I'm only supposed to do 2 hard efforts a week and maybe a nice long ride on Saturday. The weather and roads are still iffy for that. We'll see what the weekend brings.

What am I doing?

I am following a program I found on Roadbikerider.com. It is an e-"article" entitled "Power to the Pedals".
It's a series of off-season workouts that's supposed to prepare you for the upcoming riding season by working on your form as well as power.

I am doing 2 "hard" workouts per the program per week with some easy pedaling or cross-training activity in between.

I have been doing the 2 workouts at the gym and sometimes the other recovery days at the gym too if the weather hasn't been right for anything else.

I did get to ride one day last week on the road.

So far, the workouts have been intervals of one type or another. One was ILT or independent leg training where you work on pedaling with one leg at a time for a specified interval.

I'm trying to do downhill skiing one day a week while the season lasts. The last day we did at Stratton Mtn. in VT was not exactly a "recovery" day. The ole quads were feelin' it but oh what a good time we had.

I like to cross-country ski in between hard workouts but the snow has been lacking the last month or so. Frustrating!

Today, I got on the treadmill at the gym for 1/2 hour and then did a 1/2 hour upper body workout. I'm thinking I'll do more running as there is some concern with osteoporosis for people that do cycling exclusively for exercise. So, the impact type of exercise helps with that.

Skiing at Stratton ... a review of some trails

Today Mrs. MTBMan1 and I went to Stratton Mountain in Vermont for a day of skiing.
First of all, this cost us nothing except the gas to get there, courtesy Warren Miller .
Warren Miller creates a ski movie every year and they have special showings around the country.
For the price of the movie ticket ($22) you get 4 or 5 free lift tickets plus other goodies like a subsciption to Ski Magazine.
This was a great day. Temps went up in to the 30s. Blue skies. Not too crowded. They've had a great snow season so the snow was superb.

We drove out to the area they call the Sun Bowl and wound up spending the whole day there. It's nice because you can park right by the lodge whereas in lots 1 and 2 you have to shuttle over to the main lodge area and then hike a considerable distance through the resort village.
Plus, it's sunny! :-)

We did 2 green trail runs to warm up on Lower Middlebrook (indicated by the yellow line over on the left)

This trail is OK if the snow is not too cruddy and heavy which it wasn't. It's mostly a series of rollers. The only downside is the long slow runout at the end. Eventually you are hoofin' it up to the liftline.

After that we tried Churchill Downs to Lower Kidderbrook which we had never done before.



This is a great run. Fast and the grooming was excellent all day. The only drawback, again, is that it eventually joins Middlebrook and you have that long runout and pole or hike back to the lift line.

After sufficient warmup, we hit the blues. When you get off the Sunrise Express lift, Sunriser Supertrail is just to the left.



Of course, being a blue, it's a much steeper trail. But it was very doable since the snow was still fairly soft and because weekday traffic is relatively light, the grooming held up.
Access to the new half-pipe



is on the lower part of this trail. We actually went through it at the end of the day but barely went up the sides! We're not freestyle ready!

The next trail we tried was Lower DownEaster.



This was our favorite. It was fast, groomed well and interesting in that it had a lot of variety, side-slanted slopes and steeps with a fast runout at the end that, thankfully, allowed us to coast right up to the lift line.

One other blue we tried today was Gentle Ben



which we were not too crazy about. The start is steep and very cruddy. Then it levels out for along ways and finally winds along a fairly narrow track with crud that wasn't too fast, so you wanted to go straight out but then your ski edge would tend to catch in the crud and go where you did not want it to go. Not too pleasant. It was a long run!

All in all, we tore up the day. Probably did more skiing in one day than we ever have done. Haven't been this sore since I started skiing 3 years ago! :-) Stratton has some great blue trails on Sun Bowl. We highly recommend them!

Here's some video from today:

Photo skiing at Butternut

Skiing at Butternut!

This Monday we went skiing at Butternut in the Berkshires, Mass.
They have $20 tickets Mon-Thurs. and we had $10 off coupons for each.
Oh, yeah!!!
It was a great, bluebird day. Not too cold but cold enough to keep the snow light.
I think we both did well. We skied a lot until our quads were really burning and it was quit before we got hurt!
Here's the video! Don't forget, click the YouTube logo twice, then select "watch in high quality" once you are redirected to the YouTube site!

XC skiing at Thatcher Park

Today was my fourth day in a row xc skiing. Each of the previous 3 days, I skied 35 to 50 minutes before work starting just before 1st light when the horizon was just starting to turn pink. Those times were at 5 Rivers Environmental Education center about 5 minutes from my house.

Today I went to Thatcher Park, about 1/2 hour away and skied for 1 hr 40 minutes. It was a decent day, sunny, in the 20s I think but with a bit of a wind, less of a problem in the woods.

I started out from the parking area called Paint Mine and followed the blue trail which is part of the "Long Path". A trail that runs from NYC north to Thatcher park.

Conditions were skiable, a little hard packed but not bare ice.

The first 45 minutes were almost all flat and uphill. When I turned around, it was on a fairly steep and bumpy section so I had a little trouble. I hadn't got my XC legs back yet. I've been used to downhill skiing with shaped skis. (Turn skis, turn!)

But before I got too far, I relearned my snow plow and step turns well enough that I got through just fine and had a great time.

Here's a map of the trails and some pics:

From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


My ski tips
From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


It's cell tower city up here!
From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


More cell towers
From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


Classic XC heaven!
From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


A ravine off the trail
From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


More trail
From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


This stretch wasn't too steep
From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher


From 2009_01_24 XC ski at Thatcher