Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Historic Heat

Oh enough! This summer has been epic. We're breaking records from the summer of 1980. Though I was young... I remember that summer. I played outside constantly. But returned inside each day at lunch to watch the weather with Rob Robin on KPLC. to see if we'd broken a record. I remember him talking about the extensive drought in Texas, which seem so far away. This summer was the exact same weather pattern, exact same results.

I'm officially tired of it. Today I simply don't feel like fighting it. Just as well, as there is work to be done. The HighBall is filthy. Gritty. With the dry weather, comes dusty trails, leads to gritty bikes. It's been a while...


...there is Colorado dirt, Houston silty moon dust, and Texas hill country lime powder on there.

The cleaning goes well. With some additional steps. I've had the freehub not, errr, free a few times on the trail. Not consistantly, but every now and again I'd stop pedaling but the chain would keep going. Given that this rear (PowerTap) hub is a couple of years old, investigating is in order.

I'm a bit nervous about this. I generally avoid freehub internals. Throwback to childhood, when my dad once warned never to take that apart or I'd never get it back together. Naturally, I took it apart. And quickly discovered my father (like most things in life) was right.

Freehubs are much simpler today. So before I wrap a brand new XTR derailler around my spokes and take out a seat stay... I dig in. As I put the cone wrench on the axle... it's loose. Not even finger tight. Hmmm. It all comes apart easy. Here's the culprit...


Some cleaing, degritting, regreasing and all appears mostly well. The pawl seems to 'catch' a bit. Maybe replace soon? Reassembly is easy. Just crew on the axle flat, preload the bearings, ready to go. It's a lot quieter now too. We'll see how it holds together.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday on Trail

Sunday's plan is a 2-3:hour tempo ride out at WCP. I got some solid rest in on Saturday and an ready to go as I roll out. Things are great on trail...


Whether at night or by day, smiles are everywhere if you look closely...


It's unbearably hot. I can fell the heat of the air filling my lungs. No cooling even in the shade. I cut things off just shy of my time goal. The thermometer tells all...


Still a good day on trail. The end of my day, however...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And the Heat Goes On

Plan: 2:hour trail ride, tempo or better pace. Pin it for some short sprints.

What happened: Early, I did the missed interval ride from yesterday. Indoors. On the rollers. I really appreciate the intensity one gets from the rollers. And the cool environment.

The heat has been epic. Yesterday we broke the record for most days over 100°F. Previous record was 1980, and we've got almost an exact duplicate weather pattern this year. May break the all-time high temperature this weekend. Forecast is 106°F.

The planned trail ride wasn't possible. Last night's rain had the trails closed. So... it was an hour on the road bike with some sprints mixed in for fun.

A good day, but looking forward to some longer riding this weekend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Natures Disco Lights

Plan: Early session of 7'min intervals at 110%FTP. Afternoon tempo ride on the trail.

What happened: Early ride didn't happen. Work emergency. The afternoon ride is... errr. delayed. Nearby thunderstorm make the go/nogo decision tough. I watch the radar. The storm is intense. But isolated. And looks like it will pass just to the west of my route. Screw it... I'm goin'. I'll deal with whatever comes...

The wind is so strong, and so dry and dusty visibility is only about 3 blocks. Crazy. By the time I reach the trail head it is dark. Tons of lightening, but far enough away not be a bother. Into the trees. Let's go...


The lightning makes an eerie strobe effect. Like a highschool dance. Lightening. Dark. Alone. In the woods. Creepy yet relaxing after a hard day. This always look just a liiitle different at night...


I stay dry until the very end. Just light sprinkles, but as powdery as the trails are right now... I dont't want to get caught out. It will be soupy. The raindrops are cooling. Welcome this time of year. Home. Shower. Sleep.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Plan: Nothing. Just some QT with the foam roller.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Favorite Nut

Plan: Ride 2-3:hours. On trail. Tempo pace. Emphasis on technique.

Result: Walnut Bend was the trail of choice today. Before I begin... prepare for heat.


Essential cold for a hot day. Good shade out here, tho...


Bone dry. Luckily there is enough natural lime in the soil here to keep the dirt from turning into powder...


The creekbed.
I take a brake to fill bottles and my stomach.


Potato chips taste better during rides. Fact.

It's a great ride today. Good emphasis on technique. My main focus... using Keith Code's recommendation of completing turns in one move. No mid-course corrections. This is not easy. Have you tried it?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This is cool...

Our understanding of how something as (seemingly) simple as a bicycle, is actually quite poor...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Double Up

Plan: Another split ride today. Early session is short intense intervals. 5'min x 110%FP, 3'min recovery. Later session is trail ride at a medium pace about 90'minutes.

Result: I jump on the rollers to avoid the major heat of the day for the first session. The nice thing about rollers, is the ability to keep the pace absolutely consistant.


Even nicer is doing it in the living room when it's like a blast furnace outdoors. All is well. Routine.

The afternoon session is outdoors. There is no avoiding it. It's H-O-T!


No meowing, I set off in the heat armed with four water bottles. The ride to the trail is the worst part. Concrete. 104 ° F. Treeless Houston. This was a welcomed site. Shade.


I must be crazy to be out in this heat... the normally crowded trails are almost empty. For some reason I'm in tune with the trail today. The human-machine-trail interface is all in tune and flowing (as best as possible at MP). The legs are bit tired from the earlier session. That's good, making what little elevation change MP offers into a challange. The roller work appears effective.

Only squeeze in about 40'minutes on trail, and I'm out of water. Four bottles in an hour. I divert to my nearby office, which luckily has this...


If it were big enough I would jump in. I settle for stuffing bottles with it. The respite from the heat was needed. It doesn't take long and I'm back to the house, and off for an evening of travel...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Plan: Do a variety of exercises for hips, abdominals and lower back muscles.

Result: Done. Good benefits for bike handling and injury prevention.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Had It With The Heat

Plan: Two rides today. A session of four five-minute long intervals at 110%FTP early in the day. In the afternoon a tempo paced trail ride.

Result: It was 102° today. Simply no way to do any intensity in this heat. So... it's the aluminum highway...

2011-0816- 002

The second ride was in the afternoon, on trail. During a "cooler" part of the day. It was only 96°. Luckily much of the trail is under tree cover. Helps. But shields the breeze.


It's all roots and powder today. We really could use some rain. Bad.

The split day worked well. Got the intensity, got the duration, avoided the heat. This is going to be the pattern for next few weeks.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seven Weeks

That's all I've got until the first fall race. Fall in seven weeks? One can only hope.

The races:

10/2Huntsville Classic, Huntsville TX
10/16Piney Hills Classic, Ruston LA
11/13The Tyler Race, Tyler TX

The next seven weeks will be pretty intense. My goal is to come away from the fall season satisfied that I've pushed my body, improved my skills, and honed my racecraft in some significant ways.

Monday, August 8, 2011

IM Boulder

Jane had a great race! I took a lot of pictures.

IM_BOCO- 211

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Colorado Riding, Day 2

Day starts out with a futile ride around Boulder. I get lost. While I could probably quickly relocate my destination, I enjoy a ramble around the city. I ride through the downtown area, the historic district (really nice), and out to Colorado University area. All nice and very different parts of town.

I finally arrive at my destination, a camera shop, only to find it is closed. Fun exploring anyway.

The altitude hasn't bothered me. Not a bit. And I'm surprised. Home elevation is 50 feet. Boulder is 5,300-ish. I run the numbers on density altitude. I'm surprised... despite the 5,000+ ft of elevation... because of the lack of humidity, the density altitude is actually lower than what I've been riding through in Houston.

But the day isn't over. I return to Valmont for another dose.


My technique starts getting sloppy. And I'm deadmanning the bars. I'm tired.

Only some minor riding tomorrow for photo ops during the IM70.3 race.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Colorado Riding

In Boulder Colorado supporting my lady for Ironman 70.3 Boulder. No self-respecting mountain biker would visit Colorado and not spend some time on the bike. My goal was to get out and ride some terrain that I don't get to in Texas, and perhaps expand my abilities on that terrain.

Boulder isn't known for it's singletrack. Poking around I discovered most of the singletrack is a good drive away. But I programmed the closest one that's barely bikeable to into the Garmin. Then a bit of fortunate luck struck.

I've been reading Lee McCormack's Lee Likes Bikes for years. Great blog that's been a great source of biking tips. I learn something every time I read it. Lee wrote the book on bike handling skills. No really, he wrote the book. I think every mountain biker buys this book at some point. Anyway... I was browsing my blog roll, and came across this post. Lee is offering skill clinics at Valmont Bike Park. The name "Valmont" struck a bell. Hey, isn't our hotel on Valmont Rd?

Sure enough, the park where Lee was teaching a clinic, lies just a mere quarter-mile away. Tally up another thing I've learned on Lee Likes Bikes.


I immediately email Lee to see if I can get into the clinic, and head over to the park to check it out. The park is amazing. HERE is the website. It doesn't do the place justice. The park ranges from the very basic skills loop, to a nice skills area called "Dirt 101", to some fun, swoopy single track ("The Glades"), to dirt jumps, to dual slalom downhilling. It's like an amusement park for dirt riders of any age, type, and skill level.

There are a good number of features, both small and large.




The loop format, gets repetitive. This does two things. First it gets a touch boring. And it builds confidence. That combo, leads to bravery. So I tried features I'd have never even attempted.

I even tried some jumps. Not these, but the smaller ones behind!


After a day of challanging my skills, I didn't do the clinic. Dearly wish I'd had a place like this to ride as I was learning. Well... I'm still learning, and I learned a lot today. Certainly fulfilled the goal of riding something we don't have in Houston, and improving my abilities.


One can forget this is just on the edge of town. With temperatures in the high 80s falling to the low 70s by dusk... I'm glowing and beaming!


Truly a beautiful place.