Why I’ll be a Team Radio Shack Fan

If you’re a cycling fan, and not living under a rock, you’ve probably heard by now that Lance Armstrong’s new cycling team will be Team Radio Shack (@teamradioshack). I for one was very surprised to hear that it was someone other than Oracle or Nike. Now that we know it’s Radio Shack I can honestly say I’m a fan but probably not for the reason you expect. Sure, Lance is going to be on the team and that’s a great reason to be a fan. Radio Shack will partner with the LAF and LiveStrong in the fight against cancer which is another great reason to be a fan. The real reason I’ll be a fan though is because of my Dad. My Dad was an electronics genius. He learned the trade at an early age and held several jobs that saw him develop his skills including installing electrical systems on airplanes and performing electronics work on Minuteman Missiles. When I was a kid he had his own business installing satellite tv systems. As a hobby he was a Citizens Band (CB) and Ham Radio expert. He rarely bought new radios but choose instead to either build his own or repair broken ones he would find at flea markets or garage sales. So, what does my Dad and Team Radio Shack have in common? My Dad was a loyal Radio Shack customer. If he needed parts or tools for a radio or CB he would go to our local Radio Shack store. When Radio Shack would receive returned electronics that were broken, and not covered by warranty, who did they...

Century Training Series: Day 18

For some reason I was thinking all day that today was just a one hour endurance ride but upon checking the century training plan in the June 2009 issue of Bicycling, I found out it was 1.5 hours. No big deal. The weather was near perfect again with cloudy skies, temps in the low 90s and just a touch of sprinkles a few times. It didn’t even sprinkle enough to get the roads wet. I think the threat of rain kept most of the other cyclists at home because there weren’t many down at White Rock Lake today. As always I started with my 15 minute warm up and reset my computer when I was done with it so I could keep track of my 1.5 hours. My legs felt tired today so I didn’t try to push it and stayed close to my endurance pace of 15 mph. I stayed in the small chain ring the entire time in order to concentrate on my cadence as well. During my warm up I did a quick calculation of my cadence by counting the number of revolutions in 15 seconds and multiplying by four. It turned out to be 92 which is right in the window you want to be in so I was happy with that. The ride itself was pretty uneventful. I was worried about the rain at one point because I could see some major rain off to the west but it never made it to White Rock Lake. I noticed again today an inordinate number of riders with clip-on aero bars. Not sure what I’m missing...

Century Training Series: Day 17

Day 17 brings me to Tuesday’s ride of Week 1 of the Bicycling Century Training Plan which is a 1.5 hour overall endurance ride with 4×8 intervals. The weather was near perfect today with a temperature of 90F, partly cloudy and only a slight wind. I did a 15 minute warm up and decided I would do this entire ride in the small chain ring to see how it felt vice doing it in the big ring. At the end of the warm up I reset my computer and started on the first eight minute interval. This first interval was setup so it was on a relatively flat section of the White Rock Lake loop. I was moving along really good at a speed of 18-20 mph with no problems. After eight minutes I backed off the speed and took it easy for eight minutes to recover. The second interval contained some hills and was into a slight headwind that made it a little more difficult but was still able to maintain 17+ mph. The remaining two intervals were done in almost the same spots as the first two which was nice for consistency. After finishing the second interval I still had almost half an hour to ride at endurance pace so I started another loop of the lake and turned around after 15 minutes and then continued onto my car for a cool down. Overall I felt pretty good during the entire ride and was able to push it pretty hard during the intervals. I think riding in the smaller chain ring was easier on me and I...

Century Training Series: Day 16

Ok, now that I’ve gotten the first two weeks under my belt I’m re-starting at week 1 of the 10 week Century Training Plan. Yesterday was a rest day and today called for a one hour endurance pace ride. The pace I’ve set for myself for my century is 15 mph. I arrived at the tennis center off of Fair Oaks Avenue at about 6:15 and put my bike together. The weather was actually very nice. Not too hot, a few clouds and a little breeze. A great day to ride. After getting everything ready I headed on out to do my 15 minute warm up. Once the warm up was complete I was cruising along at 15 mph in the big ring and rest my computer so I could get a good, accurate, reading on my one hour endurance ride. After about 10 minutes I noticed that I was cruising along at 16.5 mph with no problem. I backed off some but noticed again a few minutes later that I was back up over 16 mph. At that point I decided not to fight it and just fell into a comfortable rhythm. There are four hills around the White Rock Lake loop that I ride that vary from long and steady to short and steep. I attacked each one riding as hard as I could and keeping my pace above 15, sometimes 17 mph. The short steep hill I was unable to maintain the high pace but pushed up it as hard as I could. I would continue this pace for just about two full laps of White...

Century Training Series: Day 15 (week 2 re-cap)

Ok, today is Monday which brings us to a rest day and Day 15 of my Century Training Plan. Now that I’ve completed two weeks I’m ready to start the 10-week plan as set forth in Bicycling Magazine. If you’ll remember, I started my century training plan two weeks early so I could get used to it before officially starting the 10-week plan. This week I’ll re-start at week 1, day 1, and continue on until my century on September 26. Overall I think my week of cycling last week was excellent. I had a couple of hard days but for the most part I believe I stayed true to the week 2 plan and rode very well. Looking at my total mileage last week, I was kind of shocked to see I had ridden over 130 miles but at the same time very happy. I didn’t do anything extra to boost my mileage so I think the 130 miles is very close to what you should have if you have a targeted century endurance pace of 15 mph like I do. On the other hand, if you’re reading this blog and expect to jump straight into week 1 and haven’t ridden for a while I think you may be in for a rude awakening. I had been riding anywhere from 50-75 miles per week for a couple of months before starting my plan which means I had at least a small base fitness. If I had tried to start my plan from cold turkey I’m not sure I could do it. I’ll go back and check the article...

Century Training Series: Days 12, 13 and 14

Day 12 This is the traditional easy cycling day that has 30 minutes of easy spinning scheduled. Due to having to drive out of town I had to skip it. Day 13 This was Saturday and I had a 3 hour endurance ride scheduled. Before heading out of town on Friday I mapped out a new route on MapMyRide to try. I was up at 6:00 AM on Saturday morning and rolling by 6:30. After 15 minutes I reset my computer and set out for 3 hours of riding. I headed due east on Highway 199 towards Dickson. This is a fairly trafficked two-lane road but has six foot wide shoulders that makes it pretty safe. It’s not too flat either with three very good size hills over the 9 miles from Ardmore to Dickson. I lived and went to school in Dickson and had only been back through there a few times in the past 20 years. Before turning off Highway 199 I rolled by my brother’s house and past the old house we used to live in before moving when I was 10. Once in Dickson I turned North on Highway 177. Highway 177 is also in good shape but there’ no shoulder. It wasn’t a big deal though since there wasn’t much traffic. What traffic there was gave me a wide berth and waved. Nearly everybody waved. Even the old guys mowing lawns on riding lawn mowers. There’s something to be said about that. At one point I crossed a bridge over the Washita River and stopped to take a couple of pictures with my phone....

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 10

What a wacky ride today. It all started when I opened my trunk to pull my bike out (I’d really like to get a roof rack some day). I immediately discovered my front tire flat. This is probably the third front flat in as many weeks so I was getting frustrated. Each time I carefully inspected the tire at the location of the hole to find nothing even though the hole seemed to be forming in the same spot each time. I took a look at the rim and discovered the rim tape worn in that area and now think that the tube may have gotten the hole from a spoke hole edge. I had some electrical tape in my trunk so I ran some around the inside of the rim over the existing tape. We’ll see how that goes. Next time I’m at the bike shop I’ll pick up some new rim tape. Remember the two new tubes I bought the other day? I just used one. After this delay I finally got started and everything went good for the warm up. It was hot again but didn’t seem too bad. The wind was blowing pretty good though which wasn’t cool. After the warm up I had a 1.5 overall endurance ride scheduled with 4×8 intervals. The plan was to ride 8 minutes at 17 mph followed by 8 minutes at 13 mph (15 mph average) and repeat four times. Everything went good until about halfway through my second interval. As I come around a corner I see a guy on the side of the road with his...

Century Training Series: Day 9

With Day 9 comes the second week of cycling in the century training plan. Yesterday was a rest day so I was chomping at the bits to get out and ride. I wasn’t looking forward to the heat and wind though. Yesterday’s ride is the same as Day 2 which is one hour at endurance pace (15 mph for me). Throw in my warm up and I was looking at about 1.5 hours on the bike which isn’t bad. I arrived at my normal parking area and put my bike together. As I was putting on my gear I realized I had forgotten my gloves. After Sunday evenings Day 7 ride I had hand washed them so they would dry over the rest day but forgot them when I left the house today. Normally I would have been upset but I looked at it as an opportunity to get some sun on the back of my hands. Right now I’ve got this tan oval on the back of my hand where the hole is on my gloves. I don’t remember the last time I had ridden without gloves so it took some getting used to. Can’t really say that I enjoyed it though. Gotta remember them today. I started out with my normal 30 minute warm up and took it kinda slow at first because it was hot out. The high for the day was 102F with the heat index a little higher. What made it worse though was the wind. Wow it was blowing hard at times. The weather channel said it was 10-20 mph and there were...

The Fleecing of Cyclists

This post has been brewing for a while and I’ve talked myself into writing it and not writing it several times. Am I bitter? Probably. Frustrated? Certainly. If you’re one of those cyclists that has bottomless pockets or an unlimited cycling budget you may want to skip this one. Any hobby has its expenses. If you like to knit then you have to pay for yarn and needles. If you enjoy scrapbooking then you have to pay for paper, stamps and stickers. Cycling is no different. If you want to enjoy the sport of cycling you have to maintain you bike which costs money. Cycling clothes cost money. Bicycles cost money. And so on. Cycling is just like any other hobby we have. It costs money. But does it cost too much? Road Bikes Let’s talk about bicycles first. Are there affordable bicycles out there? Sure, if you start with the low-end beginner road bikes, you can find a bike or two for right around $1000 that may suit your needs. On the other end of the spectrum you have the new Madone 6.9 that’ll set you back $8600 for the basic version. Throw in upgrades and custom paint and you can get it up to $14000 ($8600 sounds like a real bargain now). Custom road bikes can be even more. I don’t know about you but the planet I live on would call $1000 for a road bike expensive. Am I out of touch? Maybe but in my book $1000 is a lot of money. I couldn’t fathom paying $8600 for a bike. Who would actually go out...
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