Friday, January 29, 2010

Hard to keep motivated

Most of my riding this month has been in the basement on my Velodyne. I am really lucky to have that to ride on instead of just a regular trainer. If the sun is shining through the window you can ALMOST pretend you are riding on the road. Climbing up and down the hills makes it seem more realistic and the work out is great. My monthly totals will be about 800 miles with only about 340 outside.

To help lighten the mood, and since I don't have much to post about I am going to add some links to some entertaining You-tubes videos along with some statistics from riders who really are crazy. When you look at there riding it makes me seem normal.

Pre-ride conversation
Another pre-ride
Post ride conversation
Another post die conversation
There are many You-Tubes videos you can see once you bring up one of these.

Roller Tricks

The Ultra Marathon Cycling Association has an indoor challenge each year from December 1 to March 1. You get points for riding indoors based on how many hours you ride. A ride must be at least 2 hours long to earn points. Additional points are awarded only for full hour increments as follows:
First full two hours in a session 2 points
next full hour (3rd hr) 2 points
next full hour (4th hr) 3 points
next full hour (5th hr) 4 points
next full hour and subsequent full hours 5 points each hour

The leader has 951 point with 396 hours of indoor riding since December 1st. I think he needs to get a life. Follow the link to the rules and standings.

I have been logging my miles with on the Big Dog web page for the last two years. Each year more and more riders are logging insane miles. Paul Carpenter, the top "dog" will be over 1500 miles outside for this month. You would think that he lives in a warm place but he is from the Chicago Suburb of Batavia and commutes to work 31 miles each way. Click on the link on his name to read his post for this month. I am not sure how/why he rides that much in the cold.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Old Man Winter Keeps Coming

Another week of Iowa winter weather. Last week's bitter cold temperatures and wind chills forced me to ride inside 5 out of 7 days. I kept looking at the long range forecast without any satisfaction. Finally towards the end of the week the long range started to look a little brighter with above freezing temperatures forecasted for this week. If it hits 40 it will feel like a heat wave.

When deciding whether to ride inside or out there are a couple factors that push me to my basement other then the obvious cold:

1. How slick are the roads? Laying on the pavement is not as much fun as it used to be even if it is covered with snow. Just ask Doyley how much fun it is after he went down three times a few Sunday's ago. At our age we don't seem to bounce as much as we used to. Going down a couple times in mid December has me a little gun shy.
2. How windy is it? A 10 mph wind is really awful in the winter. What you are wearing is completely different for the head/cross wind then the tail wind. I usually am overdressed and just sweat with the wind. The problem is being sweaty makes you colder so you have to make sure it is a tail wind home.
3. Daylight hours. I have quite a few different light set ups for both my mountain bike and my road bike. I don't mind riding in the dark but with the snow covered roads you have to watch out for the slick spots. These spots are hard enough to see during the daylight let alone at night.
4. How long will it take to get dressed and undressed? Within 5 minutes of walking in the door I can be downstairs riding the trainer. I have a dedicated bike on the trainer that has not seem outside since 1994. To ride outside will take 20-30 minutes of clothing preparation ahead of time plus 10 minutes after. That does not include the time after the ride in the shower to get the chill chased out of my body. More on Winter clothing in my next post.
5. How much "crud" will I get on my bike? The gravel roads are usually pretty dry but the paved roads and city streets can get a little slushy. For this purpose I do have an old mountain bike with fenders and street slicks. That bike is great if there is no snow or ice on the roads. I don't clean my bike very often but the slushy conditions are really hard on them.
6. Do I want to get a specific workout? During the winter I find it hard to get a hard workout outside. Most the time if the roads are snow covered your mission is to keep the rubber side down and the skin side up. Doing intervals, hill repeats or sprints is out of the question. If you do try to push the pace a little at various intervals you just get sweaty which leads to getting colder. Any hard efforts have to be at the end of the head wind or close to home. On my trainer I can do workouts by percent grade or watts. Everything is controlled and I get a great workout.

If the weather is pretty decent and the sun is shining I will decide at work if I will ride outside or in. Once I decide to ride outside I have to head out as soon as I get home and try not to think of all the reasons to ride inside. Now that the Big Dogs mileage mania does not count indoor miles there is some peer pressure to ride outside when possible.

As we head to the downhill side of winter (January 17th the almanac says the average high goes from 29 to 30 degrees) and the days get longer there will be more opportunities to ride outside. Last year was my highest total mileage year with my lowest indoor miles. Hopefully I can break both those marks this year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Year in Review

Well 2009 in is the bag. It is time to look back and see what went right and what can be improved. It is also time to set goals for the new year and plan key events.

2009 in Review: 13,000 miles total. 11,328 road bike, 1083 indoors, 589 mountain bike. Average week was 249.3 miles, average per day was 35.6 miles, 50.6 miles per day for the 256 day I rode.

What went right: The 24 hours of Sebring had a few bright spots. It was the first race I used Succeed by E-caps. I cramped at the 150 mile mark because of sporadic use of the pills but once I got on a schedule of one every 20 minutes I felt great and came back to finish strong. This helped me establish the need for 3 an hour in the hot conditions. I also discovered that the new shoes I was trying were not going to work for ultra rides. They were too tight. I had a good training plan leading up to RAW. My mileage increased gradually peaking with three 200+ Saturday's in a row. The last one being the Balltown Classic that featured 11,000 feet of climbing. I finished feeling real good and confident that my spring training was solid and my nutrition plan was going to work well. A first place at the 200 mile Metamora in August was my best race of the year. The heat and headwind shattered the group but once again my nutrition and hydration was right on and I finished feeling like I could have kept riding.

What went wrong: During Sebring along with the foot issues I had seat issues. This set in motion me changing seats, shorts, and chamois cream. I thought I had it all dialed in but RAW showed me otherwise. I should have had at least on 24 hour ride in May for the final tryout before RAW. There are some issues that just don't surface in a 12-15 hour ride. Not finishing RAW was the biggest disappointment of the year. I kick myself all the time for quitting.

What to improve: More core and strength training. Early in the spring my weekend rides need to be longer. Not so much focus on miles during the week but focus on the long rides. I had 109 days off the bike in 2009 and that needs to be less. August was my lowest mileage month which is just way wrong. I need to have a 200 mile day on RAGBRAI.

2010 Goals and Key Events: Yearly goal is 13,000 miles. My key events will be: Trans Iowa IV on April 24-25th. This is an unsupported 300+ mile gravel road race in central Iowa. HooDoo 500 at the end of August in south west Utah. This is also an unsupported ride.