Friday, July 31, 2009

Thresholds and Steak

A threshold ride provides today's challenge. There isn't much to say about this ride. I ramp it up, keep it pinned just a hair above threshold and keep it there for the 20min time. Repeat two more times. You know you've done threshold rides right when you start out saying "this is easy" and by the end you're wondering if you'll be able to finish.

I managed to cook a meal tonight. This started with some beef sirloin steaks...

I like sirloin, but I'm careful with selecting a good cut. It's pretty lean, but will stay tender if you're careful not to overcook it. I sliced some 'maters capped with a slice of jack and basil leafs from my garden. These went into the oven. BUT... don't put the basil on until they come out of the oven. They just turn black.

While the 'maters were cooking... I made a sauce by deglazing the pan with brandy. Then added some dijon mustard, a bit of heavy cream, chives, and blue cheese.

Just toss in and reduce. I'm terrible at reducing sauces. No patience! Here's how the roasted tomato turned out with replaced basil leafs...

Served with some roasted potatoes. The beef and sauce were tasty. The tomato, while ok, isn't a rawker. Some homegrown tomatoes probably would have been good. But my tomato growing is over for this season. Dommage.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some Favorites

One of my favorite ride plans tonight. The goals alternate between VO2max intervals and longer (but short for LT) just-over-threshold intervals. It's a full out assault on the upper regions of the effort zones. These are good efforts but not too painful because they are short. Lots of panting! I chose to do most of the effort on 12th Street...

This isn't a very scenic part of town. It's an industrial area, with some new homes mixed in. Only in Houston! Most importantly it's devoid of traffic, and has an uninterrupted stretch that just fits my longest interval of the day. Perfect.

Here's the postride meal. Chicken and shrooms. Pan fried chicken breasts. I used a sweet marsala wine to saute some shrooms.

Then added just a bit of heavy cream and reduced. Served up with some cut beans and some garden bowtie pasta for color...

Makes a simple, quick, and tasty meal.

Hypoxic Thoughts...

I practiced race starts for today's lunchtime ride. Simple plan. Come to complete stop, foot down. Take off. Full 1min maximal effort then settle into another 5min right at threshold. Recover. Repeat until you see stars. These hurt. But so do actual race starts. It's critical to be able to start fast, then throttle back and "recover" back to a sustainable pace. That strategy is faster overall than overcooking it at the start and then having to slooooww way down to recover. The trick is knowing how hard you can go before blowing up to an unrecoverable level. Thus, this workout is as much about learning pace as building fitness.

As my heart pounded, my legs burned, and my lungs singed... my thoughts turned to delayed gratification and it's necessity in training. It's not the physical pain that makes training so difficult. I've been hurt far worse than even the most difficult training days. The true pain of training falls to those days that it seems no matter how hard you've worked... the results aren't there. Those are the most difficult training days. That was my day yesterday. But...I've done this long enough to know the gains will come. Often all at once! Keeping the faith is something worth getting better at, I think. It's a new bullet point for me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Study In Contrasts

My friend REE once remarked that my personality is a study in contrasts. So is my cycling recently! After a long endurance ride on the road, the week was filled with LT, strength intervals, etc. Today brought more endurance. This time on the trail. The same, yet diffferent.

Today's goal... five hours on the trails at Huntsville. It takes determination today. I get a late start. Then as I approach Willis, I realize I've forgotten something... shoes. U-Turn and return. Upon reaching the house I'm faced with a choice. Try again, or sack it and do this ride tomorrow. I was determined so off I go!

The trail gnomes have been busy...

I have a staring contest with this young deer...

I'm not sure who was more curious.

It is a great day. The trails really benefited from recent rains. The sand is packed well for this time of year. The delayed start makes it much hotter. But being under the trees makes it tolerable. As I'm 5 minutes into my last lap, thunder is rumbling. I take the short cut and pack up.

Just in time. When I get to I-45 it's pouring. With copious lightening...eeek! Cue Eddie Rabbit...

Back-to-back comparison... I like both long road rides and long mountain bike rides. I can't say one is harder/easier. Just too different. Certainly requiring different mental skill sets. Both accomplish the goal of developing into a better cyclist and person.

Maybe I should try track next?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Late and Long

A late start tonight. Rain causes the delay. I'd ride in the rain. Lightening... nope. It passes and off I go, aboot 3-hours later than I wanted. Headed directly to White Oak Bayou Trail. Didn't feel like fooling with traffic after dark, and figured there would be few pedestrians. I'm right. It's a lactate threshold ride tonight. With a couple of VO2 intervals thrown in for fun. The cool air makes it easy. Only 77°F.

Though it doesn't rain, I find lots of puddles. Someone needs to invent a word for the stripe that you get on your back when riding through water.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some New Stuff

A mix of curiosity and excitement surrounds today's ride. After a century ride, and a rest day, how would my legs respond? At the start my legs feel dead. Not unexpected. I find that after any hard bout, it takes a while for the legs to come around and warm up. Today's no different. I'm regretting not doing a short recovery level ride yesterday. But after a set of VO2 intervals the legs feel grrreeaat! After the long day in the saddle an hour-and-a-half of intervals doesn't feel very tough!

I ate something new on this ride.

Homemade energy bars. The recipie can be found [HERE]. I intended to use these on the KFC ride. But the "don't mess around with new stuff on important rides" rule applied. These are good. Easy to make. The best thing about making your own is the ability to fine-tune them to your liking.

I tolerated them well. I feared I wouldn't. Beware they pack a wallop. Like 200 kCal for even a small piece.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Change of Pace

It was KFC on Sunday. No not the delictable tasty fried chicken treat, but the Katy Flatland Century ride! I'm in a base phase right now for the fall season. So, when my friend Jane suggested it, I jumped at the chance. Turned out to be the perfect idea.

I rode with Jane at what felt like a pretty relaxing pace. Then around 80miles Jane starts speeding up! Here she is riding away...

I did catch up... and she pulled me and another guy all the way to the next rest station. I think she spent the first 80 just warming up. Here's the after shot evidence...

I'm looking rather haggared, aren't I? Of course Jane's an IM triathelete, so this distance is just a good start for her! I have a world of respect for what she does.

I don't typically do rides this long. But I rather enjoyed it.The legs actually feel better ride/recover cycle than they did before. Which is making me wonder if I've neglected to do enough endurance work in my training? Hmm...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stall Mats

I bought a couple of horse stall mats from the local feed store. Yup, there's a feed store within the loop in Houston!

These mats are thick rubber. Tough, durable, easy to clean, and cheep.

Beware. They are very heavy. Ideal for work area flooring...

Simply cut them to size with a knife...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lumping Around

Managed to find a flower that hasn't dried up and sizzled in the recent heat. Just a short ride as a shakedown of the new parts. All is well with the bike and the body.

I'm in no-mans-land right now with training. The fall season's a ways off. But it's time to start getting ready. The heat is a demotivating factor. Keeping focused is a challange. And I think I need some change in direction. All fodder for a long ride tomorrow...

Protester Tie-Up

Traffic was snarled coming back from lunch. What could be going on?

Nationalized healthcare protesters. Senator Cornyn keeps an office in the building. There were two groups, for and against. I'm not about to get into the arguments for/against, but I did notice something unique each group.

The "Public Option" group looked run down, and all had angry scowls on their faces and angrily shaking their signs. The anti-public option group all seemed to be smiling and waving. Interesting.

Rest, Renewal, Repair

Finished with jury duty this afternoon. I dreaded this, but it wasn't so bad. The judge (Dale Gorczynski) made a lot of effort to make it palatable. Didn't get on a case, so I didn't get to hang anyone. ;-)

A good bit of maintenance on the ol' rhodie bike. The chainstay protector got knocked loose when the chain broke. Some 3M Trim Adhesive made the perfect repair. This stuff is great to keep around. It holds stuff solidly, but if you ever have to remove it, it's possible. It's also compatible with carbon resins, and matches the original adhesive closely.

Replaced the cassette and chain...

New tires...

Vittoria Corsa's. I hope I like them. I'm picky about tires. New bar tape...

And finally new cleats to replace the beat up set I've been struggling with...

Yup, I'm pigeon toed! This weekend brings a lot of options. Time to get on track for the Fall season. As hot as it is, it's hard to fathom it's only 10 weeks away.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nothing Special and Something Special

Nothing special= Today's ride. 2hrs @ active recovery pace.

Special= Roasted Gingered Salmon with Mango Salsa. I stumbled across this recipie on Velonews. Picked up some nice looking salmon at the market and cooked up potatoes...

Mango salsa...

And served with the salmon...

An instant favorite!