Monday, August 31, 2009

Saddle Therapy

Tough day today. The kind of day that reminds me that working for pay does not equal making a living. This was not the day to go out and push myself. The heart and will just weren't there. That said... riding the couch wasn't an option either. Instead of taking the night off and wallowing in my day; I rode. No training plan. No goals. I put the PowerTap head away into my pocket.

Days like today remind me why I cycle. What did I do before? Sometimes it feels like there are two parts to my life. BC- before cycling and AC- after cycling.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Good Luck!

Wednesday I traveled to Aransas Pass for the christening ceremony for the hull I've been working on for the last few years. It's almost impossible to capture the scale of this thing. That photo is taken from almost a mile away. Here are some pictures I took in August of 2007...

We've come a long way. The champagne bottle broke and we all wish the hull the best of luck.

I have my own story of good luck from today's ride. Meet the Topeak Mirco Rocket.

This is a tiny air pump, that about the diameter of lipstick and not very long. I don't typically carry a pump on in-town rides. But it was laying in my helmet, so I picked it up and tossed it into my jersey pocket, rather than put it up. Good thing.

About an hour into today's ride I have a flat. Quickly I have the new tube in. Hitting it with the CO2 only results in a *KAPPOW*. Uhoh. I carry patches. But if you've ever tried to find a hole in a deflated tube... it's umm... hard! But. After hitting it with the tiny air pump, it's really easy! Patch on. Take off and back to work!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sensory Saturation

Yesterday's long road ride gave my mind some time to drift. One thing that bounced around my noggin are the diffrerences between road riding and mountain biking. What makes them so different?

Having time to have wandering thoughts is the main difference. Going down the trail there ton's of things happening that keep the mind filled. Picking a line, reacting to the bike, looking ahead as far as possible. There's so much stimulation flying toward you, you don't even think about them. There is no think on good singletrack -- only do. The senses saturate and all the tensions, stress, problems all fall away. They have no space in the mind crowded by fun.

The road experience is nearly the opposite. It's solitary. Hours in the saddle are lonely. An iPod, my shadow, and a loooong straight line are my only companions. My mind has time to wander. There's time to think: "doG dammit it's hot. Or "is my saddle too high?". "is that brake dragging?". "need to get XYZ done when I get back.". "did I leave the oven on?". "*yawn* how can I yawn while on a training ride?". "what's for dinner?". "how long can I stay on the lane stripe?". The physical act of riding is only a tertiary part of the experience. It's a more cerebral experience.

I suppose I could say that mountain biking is about absorbing stimuli. Road biking is more about how I manage my thoughts, and an unending search for stimuli from the music in my ears, the scenery, or if I'm luck enough a riding partner.

... just some rambling thoughts for a rest day! I need some singletrack!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Made A List and Yet...

I left something critical at home this morning. I check my list twice and set out for Waller County for a long country road ride. As I arrive at my parking location, I realize I forgot my cell phone. Meh, no need for it unless something goes wrong with the new bike.

As I take my key off the ring and go to put in the my seat bag... it's not there. I haven't put it back on after the build. That means no spare toob, no CO2 carts, no tools. Hmmm. No phone. No spares. Nearly deserted roads in the middle of nowhere. The prospect of any mechanical issue morphing into a 10-mile walk... in bike shoes... doesn't seem appealing, even if odds are remote. So back to the house, grab the bag, and back to the parking location! I forget the phone. Again. But I've got my tool, spares, and should be AOK.

This is a new route for me. This photo pretty much sums up the back roads of Waller County. Flat. Free of traffic. Some nice countryside. Reminds me of where I grew up!

I try to draft the hay-hauler, but he is just a leeeetttle bit too fast!

The late start equates to heat. Lots of heat! The sun is beaming. The blast coming off the tarmac is stunning. Like a slap in the face. Even the cows are smart enough to seek shade! Are they mocking me?

The heat hurts my performance. The power's down and not to my target. Even carrying an extra water bottle to splash on the head, there's not much I can do in heat-of-the-day. This heat would take the fight out of Muhammad Ali. It's not the workout I wanted. I get the volume at least. At completion, a bad discovery...

Some bassterd would-be thief tried to break into my truck last night. This is not a surprise. My model of truck is the most burglarized vehicle in America. For good reason. It's real easy to get into. What I hadn't noticed... is that the key won't operate the lock because of the damage. Same on the driver's side from a previous break-in. I'm locked out. I didn't realize this, because I'd been using the keyless entry fob. The fob, that I don't carry when I ride. I take the key off. Uh-oh. No cell phone either!

Lucky, lucky me went back to fetch his bike tool! With much foolery, swearing, and brute force I complete the would-be thief's job! A Topeak bike tool isn't too good for burglarizing cars. But can work in a pinch. Good to konw. Time to fix some doors.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


This frameset followed me home.

Can I keep it? Yup. Techincally, I have not bought another bike. This frame is replacing my current rhode bike. It's a little nicer than what I've got, but more importantly it's a size smaller. I'm a tweener on a road bike. I finished up the build on Friday. A long ride tomorrow will tell whether I'm satisfied with the fit. If so, I'll sell the larger frame. Or not.

Got out for a couple of rounds of disc golf at TC Jester with my friend TC. Been a loooong time since I've thrown and it felt good. Could this count as crosstraining? Nah.

The cross theme contined. We ventured over to Stude Park to check out the CX course. Here's a shot across White Oak Bayou...

From here it looks innocent enough. But upclose, it's a long climb that also steeeep. This course is gonna hurt. In a good way! Mostly it looks to be hella fun! I. am. excited.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New CX Bike

Meet the new bike. This is what I'm using to experiment with cyclocross this season. While not a pure cross bike, I like that this bike has great secondary use potential outside of cross season. It's going to see a lot of use. Better pics coming soon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two for the Road, Zero for the Bike

A notable weekend. I watched a movie. This is notable because I rarely watch movies. Like maybe three or four a year. Most of the time movies bore me to tears. I just end up falling asleep. My friend EG calls it cinematic narcolepcy.

Anyway... Two for the Road was the cinematic selection. the film stars Audrey Hepburn and a very young William Daniels. Audrey Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses. I've seen all of here movies now, except Breakfast at Tiffanys. Sabrina is one of my top-10 all-time favorite movies. Two for the Road is also excellent. Cars are featured prominently in the movie. But most of all, the movie is not what I expected. This one's in my top-10 favorite now, but I'm not sure how good it will be watching a second time.

Unfortunatly, I was stricken with a painful throbbing headache. I rode, but only a short junk-mile ride. The heart, soul and legs just weren't up to the aggressive program I had set out to do.

Sunday hasn't been much better. The headache returned and I slept in. Missed my opportunity to get out in the "cool" temps. The motivation to set out at the peak temps of the day for a 4-5hr endurance ride approached ZERO.

I'm in a bit of a funk. Bad timing too. Only 4wks until the fall season kicks off for me. I've got a bad feeling this upcoming week's going to be a bit of a struggle. One I'll get through but not easily.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Juggling the Schedule and Plan

More rain today. Acutally a pretty good storm. As soon as the lightening passes... I'm out the door, much later than I wanted. It's still raining, but it's cool. It feels greeeat. I depart with an alternate plan in mind. Originally tonight was to be a lactate threshold ride. But after the last two days of intervals the legs aren't capable of the duration. I can do the intensity, but not the duration. I take an alternate path. I go out for race start practice.

This works great. I get some great intensity. I get some threshold work in... though in short doses. Tomorrow and Friday are light days. Then some long mileage for the weekend.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Respite

An overcast cloudy day, made for some nice temps. In the 80s! Out I went for some VO2 and LT intervals. Ran down 11th/12th street areas. I've always admired this Schill Steel sign. Old school.

Sorting out the new camera.

But I still need an SLR sometimes... stopped to watch Reagan High's football team doing passing drills. A reminder that fall's around the corner!

And I whipped up some homeade jambalaya. I finally found a recepie I like. Until now, I usually mixed fresh veggies with Louisiana Brand's mix. Not any more. I'll post the recepie on a slow day...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Riddle

If you get a new camera because your old one died. How do you post a picture of it?

My old point-and-shoot died this week. No pics makes little motivation to post. Sometimes I think I have a blog as an excuse to take photos. This was the first time I've been in a camera shop in years. Oh my. Back when I was shooting news I lusted for a Nikon F4. They were like $3,000. I was a college student. Now, unmolested F4's are $300! I was tempted. But what would I do with a film camera? I miss the smell of fixer.

This week's mostly been recovery. This was sort of planned. I try to work-in my recovery by staying off the bike, until I get restless. Then return. Today... I returned. With the new camera...

A good day at HSV. I was fighting a headache for the first two laps...

Took some Aleve... and noticed the thinned blood!

A good day.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lake Bryan Bust

I set out at early-thirty for Lake Bryan. Two goals for the day. Five hours riding. Work on my turning skills. If you've been there you are certainly laughing at that last goal. Oh my I had no idea what I was in for. The sign forbode my fate...

I've heard people complain about this place. But the folks I heard the complaints from are... well... to be delicate... whiners. Not about this place! It blows. It's turn-after-turn-after-turn. It's turn pedal twice turn. Repeat for miles. I undertand that my intestines are like 30-feet or something when stretched out. These trails are like intestines. Folded back and curled back and forth on itself.

There are tons of sharp 90° turns that dead into a tree. The trail's laid out with a tree on just about every apex, and one on the exit overshoot. So, you can't cut the turns. You can't late apex 'em either. You just have to go slooow. This is the first time in looonng time I come away from a ride with a single-digit average speed. Ugh.

It's just like Memorial Park. With LESS flow. I didn't think that was possible. It is. Like MemPk, tons of trail routed up/down the fall lines. Complete with the erosion that comes from that poor routing...

Ugh. I could stay in town and ride trails like this. Might be an OK place if it were local. But no way worth the drive.

To be fair. Someone's spent a lot of time cutting these trails. I appreciate that. But some of the routing just makes me scratch my head. WTF? And I don't know diddly about trail building. But even I can recognize some really stupid stuff. I ride my bike because I like to go fast. There's just no way to go fast on these trails. I can't imagine "racing" out here.

After two-and-a-half hours of frustration I realized that I wasn't getting any real fitness benefit. My HR was barely elevated. I'm just turning, turning, turning. I headed home. Writing the day off as a bust.