82 Miles On The Bike This Week

Boy it felt great to get off my big butt and start riding again this week. I started last Tuesday just by riding from the house I’m staying at down to White Rock Lake and back. Total round trip is about 16.5 miles and I have several options to easily lengthen that distance. Since I’m only going to be in Dallas for two more weeks I’ll continue this route and probably lengthen it to 20 miles so I can build up some more base miles before starting in on my training plan. A Windy, Wet Ride Today Today’s ride was interesting in that even though the weather stunk (wind, rain, chili, mist, road grime, etc.) I decided that I needed the miles and that I wasn’t going to get skinnier by sitting at home. Sure, I could have ridden the trainer but the weather wasn’t that bad. A long sleeve jersey instead of short and I was good to go. I thought about wearing a rain jacket but decided against it. I took my normal route down to the lake and got sprinkled on a few times but nothing serious. It had rained pretty good overnight so the roads were wet and grimy. I could see the dirt/grime building up on the bike but didn’t worry about it too much. Nothing a quick cleaning won’t fix when I return home. Down at the lake there weren’t many people. That’s to say that there weren’t many dedicated people like myself. Or stupid people like me. Take your pick. I did see 2 or 3 other cyclists and quite a few...

Cycling After Being Sick

I spent most of last week being sick with sinus and allergy problems. So much so that I missed almost two full days from work and spent a lot of time in bed on meds. Because of that I didn’t get any time on the bike during the week. About Thursday I started to feel human again and was looking forward to getting a Saturday ride in. Saturday morning finally rolled around and I did get a ride in. The conditions weren’t ideal (see pic below), I was still a little weak from being sick, but I couldn’t resist the urge any longer. Out the door I went. Surprise, Surprise, it was Windy Looking at the weather report on Friday I knew I would face some wind no matter what time I rode. I’ve gotten used to it after being here in Dallas for just over a year now but it still makes me shake my head when I see weather reports like the one below. Maybe you can see the problem (it’s spelled WINDY): The wind would actually get worse later in the evening and I saw one report of gusts up to 41 mph. Ridiculous. It was probably gusting to 20 mph when I rode. The problem though is that even though I’m riding a loop down at White Rock Lake, the wind swirls due to surrounding hills and you end up facing a headwind on most of the ride. So much fun. Almost Bought the Farm I was only about a half-mile from the house and came to a four-way stop intersection. As always I slowed...

It’s Great To Ride Again

All my regular readers know that I went without a bike for about five months after my old one gave up the ghost. I bought a used bike in January and got on a borrowed trainer until the weather started to improve. On Saturday, I was able to get my first bike ride outside in over five months. Getting Ready I was in no hurry to get out first thing in the morning because it was cold (around 35F) but was due to warm up to around 60F during the afternoon. I targeted a ride time of around 10:00 AM to let it warm up some. I spent most of the morning making sure everything was ready – moving gear from my old seat bag to my new one, oiling the chain, putting air in the tires, making sure cleat bolts were tight, and so on. It took longer than I thought but I wanted to make sure everything was good. The only thing I didn’t find was my favorite water bottle that Cliff gave me. I had a backup but will need to go pick up a couple better ones. The Ride Back in October 2009 I moved to a place that now lets me ride straight from the front door and cut through some neighborhoods to get to White Rock Lake here in Dallas. I had mapped the route out on Google Maps and driven it once. I have to cross a couple of semi-major roads but the traffic isn’t bad at all. The route spits me out at Flagpole Hill and then I just cross Northwest...

Five Ways to Measure Cycling Success

As we ride our bicycles we need to know how we’re doing, if we’re getting better, and if we’re on track to meet goals we’ve set for ourselves. The way to do that is to take measurements to see if we’re on track to success. Five Ways to Measure Cycling Success Keep a log. This can be as elaborate or simple as you want it. It can also be free or available for a price. I’ve used both Excel and online tools and it’s a matter of personal preference and requirements as to which method you choose. Use a cyclocomputer. You don’t need anything fancy but if you’re a numbers nut there’s high-tech computers available. Some of the nice cyclocomputers have options to download data into logs for convenience. Bike Noob recently wrote a good article on What’s the Best Cyclocomputer? Note how your clothes are fitting. I found out last year that one of my best indicators that I was making progress was how my clothes were fitting. Because I was riding so much, and building some muscle, I wasn’t losing a ton of weight but my clothes were fitting so much better. I was even able to get into clothes I previously couldn’t wear. Listen to people. Are co-workers asking if you’ve lost weight? Is your family asking if you’re still riding all those miles? If people are taking an interest then they’re more than likely noting change. It also means they care. Listen to your body. I think this is huge. Only you know your body and only you can tell how you’re feeling. I can...

Century Training Series: Day 11

Yesterday was Day 11 of my Century Training Plan and consisted of the same workout as Day 10 which was 1.5 hours overall endurance with 4×8 intervals stuck in there. I was looking forward to trying the intervals again since Day 10s intervals were interrupted with road side assistance. I was thrilled to find no flat when I opened my trunk. I did patch the tube I took from Fernando after I helped him so I would have a spare. I still need to pick up some more CO2 when I get a chance. Since I wasn’t starting until 6:30 PM I shortened my warm up to 15 minutes and then rolled right into the first eight minute interval. I started it on what I consider one of the toughest portions of the White Rock Lake loop which probably wasn’t a smart idea and probably should have waited a few minutes until I was passed it. Why this one section is tough on me I’m not sure. It is slightly uphill but I think it may be steeper/longer than it looks. I pushed through it and finished the first interval but a little slower than I wanted. Eight minutes of spinning at a lower speed followed with another eight minute interval on its heals. I repeated this cycle until I had completed four eight minute (4×8) intervals. For the third and fourth intervals I actually picked my speed up quite a bit because I felt like I could. I didn’t have any problems maintaining 18-19.5 mph on those intervals. It wasn’t easy though. By the fourth interval I was...

Century Training Series: Day 7

Today marks the end of my first week of training for my first century and I’m glad tomorrow is a rest day. I’ve ridden more miles this week than I have in over 15 years (I’ll post my week 1 mileage tomorrow). Today was a 1.5 hour endurance pace ride and I waited until this evening to do it because tomorrow is a rest day. I arrived at White Rock Lake at about 6 PM but ended up having to fix a flat on my front wheel before I could even start. Very frustrating. The tube was one that I had patched before so I should have expected it. I put in my last new tube which means I need to hit the bike shop tomorrow to pick up a couple. Another good reason it’s a rest day tomorrow. By the time I got rolling, after having problems with my pump, I wasn’t in the best of moods and in the interest of time shortened my warm up to 15 minutes vice the normal 30. After the warm up I picked it up to 15 mph and did my best to hold it steady. After 30 minutes I didn’t feel too good and thought it could be contributed to either not hydrating enough, the bad start or the shortened warm up. I eventually settled down and kept the pace up for the next 30 minutes until I stopped to refill my water bottle. It was a short stop but I think I may have drank too much water too fast because for the next 10 minutes or so I...
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