Monday, January 26, 2009

Overpass Repeats

Here in the flatlands we don't do hill repeats. We get overpass repeats by the light of the moon! A strong headwind helped the effect and made for a good workout.

Curiously, Two mechanicals last night. I dropped a chain for no apparent reason starting a 'climb'. There I was spinning away, slowing down, downshifting to no avail. It took a few momement for my hypoxic brain to comprehend what was going on. Had a flat later, too.

After riding I made some enchiladas. Cooked up some chicken with some mexican spices.

In the blender went fat free sour cream, cilantro, jalapeno salsa, and some green chilis. Grilled some onions and put them with the chicken. Rolled 'em and baked 'em.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Yearly Flu

I contracted the flu this week. A touch of fever kept me off the bike for a few days. Notably, I was sick almost exactly the same time last year... Hot tea, vitamin C, and asprin have been my buddies.

Today I was able to get out for a subdued pace ride. First time since Tuesday.

During the week I made some stuffed pitas. Pretty good. And served well as comfort food.

Next week will be a delicate balance between trying to reintroduce some structured intensity and not driving the sickness into a chest cold. The temptation is to come back full blast. But there's no way to 'make up' the lost time. The time is simply gone...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bad Day on the BIke?

Is a bad day on the trail possible? Nah. But it could have been better. I headed out during my lunch for some Memorial Park trail riding. I was anxious to trail test the new bars. The setup wasn't too good. Too much weight on the front wheel and the reach felt too far.

Back to the drawing board. Luckily, I keep measurements. Yes... I am a nerd. I learned from motorsports - always keep track of what you changed!

Looking over the setup sheets it was obvious. I increased the reach by over an inch-and-a-half by going to a straight bar. Those spec bars had a lot of sweep! Tonight...a shorter stem and another trail-trial tomorrow.

Setting up a bike is somewhat more difficult than a race car. There's not as much adjustability, and the bike seems to be very sensitive to very small changes. Part of the problem is that I don't understand the dynamics very well. Hmmm... learning.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Just Call Me Goldilocks...

Took a short endurance (easy) ride today. I had two goals. First, not to go too hard. This was a ride just to open up the throttle a touch. I tend to go too hard after a break. Fresh legs feel great. Hard to hold back. I was determined to keep this ride easy. I did.

Second mission was to check the fit on the new handlebar. As expected, it was too low. Getting the right fit took me a while. I'm really sensitive to bar height. I mean REALLY sensitive, like ±1/4" makes a discernible difference. I couldn't get it right. Too tall or too short by trying different stem angles. Then it dawned on me... I have spacers I can move above/below the stem on the steerer tube. DOH! After several trials, I nailed it! It's perfect!

I looking forward to next week's intensity!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Fine Art of Recovering

This week has me wondering what I'd do without cycling. On the face, rest and recovery should be simple, eh? But sometimes NOT doing something is harder than actually doing what you're passionate about. The body has different ideas. It needs the recovery time. I've slept a ton this week. I was more fatigued than I thought. Training fatigue can be very deceptive.

I often get the blues during rest periods. I attribute it to a lack of endorphins and hormonal changes. It can really mess with your head if you are unprepared. My friend likens it to what women go through monthly. I'm sure that's much more dramatic. It explains a lot! Gotta respect that.

I have found some things to do other than riding. On my last ride the front derailler started acting up on the Addicks levee. It wouldn't drop from the big ring to mid-ring. I didn't stop to fix it, instead forcing the shift with a swift kick. Well, I hoisted the Stumpy into the stand to find this...

A little rock trapped into the linkage. Luckily I didn't break anything with my percussive shifting method. It was an easy fix.

A friend recently broke a crank spindle. It was very rusty. It's a good idea to grease these every once in a while to keep corrosion at bay. I removed the crank arm...

cleaned and greased it up...

I also replaced my bottle holder. This is an Arundel side loader. It's asymettrical, so the bottle comes out of the side. A bottle fits with a regular holder in the Stumpjumper frame, but just barely. And it's ackward getting it in an out. I hope this works better. I'm a bit skeptical it will hold securely enough on rough terrain.

I replaced my bars too. The spec bars didn't never me fit very well. I cut them down a while back. That helped. Still, the bars didn't fall across my knuckles very well. Hard on my wrists. Too much upsweep and backsweep. I wanted to lower the bars just a bit more, too.

A flat bar with 3° backsweep was the solution. This bar is perfect. It was the same width as my cut bars, so I didn't have to cut them. They fall on my knuckles perfectly. They are indeed lower. Dramatically. Maybe too low. But that's fine, because I can ditch the negative rise stem I have on there now. I hate the way neg rise stems look.

I didn't negelect the chi-chi bike. The dang seat post has always squawked. Loudly. It sounds like someone practicing with a goose call! I've finally had enough. Since you can't grease a carbon post, I used some Tacx carbon assembly paste. Supposedly this stuff helps. If not I'm ditching the seat post...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Some dirt, sorta

A late start coupled with a closure of I45 placed a spanner in today's plan. The planned 5-hours at Huntsville wasn't going to happen. I contemplated riding loops around Memorial Park for about 3-seconds. No. I ended up cobbeling together a route using mapmyride that had some dirt, a lot of distance, and not too much traffic.

The ride got off to a rough start. First, I bent the spring clip on my rear brake pad when I swapped out wheels. Ugg. Fixed that. I departed and quickly discvoered that arm warmers weren't going to be enough. I returned and grabbed my heavier riding jacket and lead out again. Too much! I returned yet again and left with the mid-weight jacket. I'm 36-years old and still can't dress myself sometimes!

The route took me past the overcrowded Memorial Park and under the 610-loop...

This is no way to keep a driveway a secret!

I meandered my way through Hedwig Village and Hunter's Creek in an effort to avoid traffic. Remember you can't ride on the roads in this area...

I made my way to the Beltway and jumped on the Terry Hershey Park trail. I rode the paved side to stay out of the wind...

I made my way all the way down to the Highway 6 spillway...

Then onto the top of the levee that lines George Bush Park. I followed the southward loop...

and then turned northbound across the middle of the park. Let me tell you riding northbound today absolutely sucked. Winds were 18-knots and gusting 24+. Nothing else to do but grind it out.

An inspirational sign!

By the time I picked up the eastbound Addicks Reservoir levee at Barker Cypress and I-10 it was dark. My light is a "be seen" light not a "seeing" light. Luckily, it was a full moon and the clouds were clearing.

It's neat how your primal instincts take over. As the darkness closed in I kept reducing volume on the iPod. I wasn't eskeerd of anything, but the sound grew increasingly annoying. This has never happend to me in well-lit areas. Neat. No loup garous were spotted.

The levee turns to the north before intersecting Clay Road. That northbound run was a total grind. I couldn't see. I was cold. And the wind was beating me up. A full on threshold attack yielded 9-mph into the wind. Ugg. I was veeery happy to see Clay Road to keep the wind off my nose. From there it was a simple ride back to White Oak Bayou trail and home. The wind was quartered just enough off my back to give a little boost to get me home.

Total for the ride, just over 5-hours. I'm cooked. Some 'overpass' repeats tomorrow, then an active recovery week...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Trainer h#ll

Three straight workouts on the trainer. PFFFFT! The weather hasn't driven me to the trainer, but my schedule has. I'm in the middle of negotiating a large contract. This has kept me at the office late the last couple of days. Should put pen-to-paper on that today.

The trainer workouts aren't very interesting. Just some tightly focused intervals to keep the mind and body engaged.

Today, its off the trainer for a theshold ride at lunch under beautiful skies and perfect temps. That's followed by this afternoon's intervals session. Those will be fun! Three maximal efforts for 2-minutes, three maximal efforts at 1-minute and three maximal efforts at 30-seconds. Five minutes of rest between sets.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Crackle, Fizzle, POOF!

Tempo ride today. Scheduled for 3-hours. It took forever for the legs to warm up. They never did feel better than overcooked noodles. After a bit over an hour I meowed and headed home. I don't know what my effort was yesterday. With no powertap or HRM, I just rode... hard. Perhaps, it was harder than I thought? Meh.

Came home, thoroughly cleaned both bikes, and readied myself for a rest day tomorrow...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Weatherman Lied!

Give the weathercaster the benefit of a doubt, and say he was mistaken, not a liar. Nonetheless, the 10pm forcaster said to expect to be woken by thunder in the morning. Instead, it was bright and sunny. If it rained at all, it was undetectable. This was good news. No trainer! Off to Double Lake I went...

I chose Lake-Lake today because I had anaerobic intervals on the schedule. Since Lake-Lake is so smoooth it's possible to ride flat-out intervals with a rest period. There's nothing techy to take the pace down. This worked out well. The legs are really cooked after today's effort.

Lots of hiccups with hardware today. My rear hub is one step from imploding. It's clunky. Not sure if I can take out the clunk by adjusting the cones or not. My front hub is also clunky, but nearly as bad. The fork stanchions are dry as a bone, leading me to worry about the foam rings. And my cadence sender battery died about halfway through todays ride. Time for a full maintenance day next week.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Triplex of Rides

Year 2009 A.D. began beautifully. My training plan called for a relaxed 3.5-hour endurance ride. This is exactly what I did. Like New Year's Eve, I did it on dirt. And it was glorious!

A check of the weather forecast this morning caused a change in plans. My plan called for anaerobic intervals for today. But... the forecast shows rain tomorrow, monday, tuesday, and possibly more. You gotta ride dirt when you can this time of year, so I spent another 3.5-hour ride on the dirt of Memorial Park. And it was glorious again!

I'll move the interval work to the trainer tomorrow. If I have to be on the trainer, I might as well be suffering! This works OK because Sunday's plan is another endurance ride. That backs up against the intervals OK.