Cycling Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: July 2009

With July comes the biggest professional bike race of the season. The Tour de France. How could I not design a desktop wallpaper that doesn’t pay tribute to this great race. Instead of profiling pics/names of individual cyclists I decided to go with the classic images from past tours which includes fields of sunflowers and El Diablo. The size of the image is...

Finding an affordable sleeveless cycling jersey

With the heat really ramping up here in Texas I decided late last week that I should start investing in some sleeveless cycling jerseys to maximize the ventilation. The no-sleeve design would also help me get some sun on my pasty looking upper arms. So I set off Saturday to visit some local bike shops to see what I could find. Richardson Bike Mart was my first stop because I was up near it due to attending a WordPress conference on Saturday. I’m still totally blown away every time I walk into this place and Saturday was no different. They’ve got everything and the store is just huge. I headed over to the clothing section to check out the selection. In no time I found a sleeveless jersey that looked pretty good. It was pretty plain and red/gray in color. I don’t believe there were any designs on it. Just a plain jersey. My memory could be failing me though after the trauma I received from looking at the price tag. They wanted $100 for it. I just shook my head and moved on. Now I remember why I don’t come to this store. I did try on a few helmets since I’ll be needing one and found that I basically need a medium in any style which is good info if I find a good deal online. Alas, I couldn’t resist the temptation to have a look at the new bikes. I kept my sticker shock to a minimum and just casually browsed around looking at all the carbon fiber rigs. I pulled one or two out to...

June 26 Waterspout in Jacksonville, Florida (pics)

I first heard about this from @metamarshall via twitter and had a quick look at weather.com to check out the weather since my wife and kids still live in Jacksonville. There were several reports of a waterspout and I saw one pic on Friday that looked pretty amazing. Today, a friend of mine sent me four pics of the waterspout that are stunning. Being in the Navy for such a long time I’ve seen lots of waterspouts, including three at one time off the coast of Virginia on one stormy day, but these pictures simply blew me away. Maybe it’s because of its proximity to downtown. There’s a blog entry over on weather.com that talks about this particular waterspout (it also has links to videos). Here’s a local news story with more pics. I don’t know who the pics below were taken by so I can’t give proper credit. Check’em out. See that glass building on the left of the last pic? I used to work in...

Will politics ruin Astana’s Tour De France?

For those of you following professional cycling you know that teams are selecting their final nine-man rosters for next month’s Tour De France. The Cervelo Test Team and Team Milram released their squads on June 23 and Garmin-Slipstream released their team on June 24. Astana released their roster on June 25 but not without a little controversy. The final 2009 Tour de France roster for Astana includes Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Klöden, Yaroslav Popovych, Haimar Zubeldia, Dmitriy Muravyev, Sergio Paulinho and Gregory Rast. The one name not on that list is American Chris Horner who has trained significantly with Lance and Levi over the last couple of months which included racing together at the Tour of the Gila and at the Nevada City Classic. The events leading up to Chris’ dismissal are explained by Chris himself here. In short, it was politics that will cause him to miss the tour this year. Is the snubbing of Horner only the tip of the iceberg though? When Astana put together the team they did they assembled one of the most talented teams ever created that includes a combined seven eight tour wins and multiple podium finishes. Having that much talent on one team, especially with multiple tour winners on it, has created a pressure cooker that has potential to explode. Throw in the financial woes of the team during the Giro d’Italia, the potential team takeover by another sponsor and the rumors of Cantador going to Garmin-Slipstream and you have a good ole fashioned soap opera. Now that Horner has been left off the roster because Cantador wanted...

Is cycling nirvana possible?

I’ve watched cycling for as long as I can remember. It’s thrilling to me to watch men and women push themselves to feats of physical stamina that us mere mortals can only dream of. Though most of us can’t attain those heights of physical performance we still push ourselves to ride harder and lose that extra weight, lower the time on our favorite route by a few seconds or hang with the elite riders on the Saturday morning group ride. Those are our feats of physical stamina. When watching the pros ride their bicycles it’s amazing how effortlessly they propel themselves and how comfortable they look on their machines. They ride for hours at a time in what appears to be euphoric comfort while trashing their bodies in superhuman efforts. Is the ability to ride for hours at a time actually comfortable to them or do they suffer as much as I do? I’m not talking about suffering from a physical exertion stand point but rather suffering from actually being in the saddle and hunched over the bars for a significant period of time. For me, that period of time is limited to about an hour or so. After that I begin to feel discomfort and wonder if every cyclist feels what I’m feeling or is there something wrong with me or my equipment. You see, comfort in the saddle is bothering me. I’m certain my current bib shorts are part of the problem but I’m concerned that I may have other issues. I always thought that as cyclists, once we’re accustomed to riding, we should be able to...

Had a good hard ride last night

I’ve still been riding just about everyday as I near the twelve weeks to go point until my first century (July 4th is the 12-week point). Once I hit that twelve week point I’ll be following a training plan but until them I’m just trying to build base mileage, work on the hills and get acclimatized to the heat here in Texas. Tuesday was a day off the bike so I had planned on riding hard yesterday. That I did. The heat this week has been pretty bad with temps at or near 100F with heat indexes over 100F. Yesterday was no different. Knowing this, I’ve been very conscious to drink water throughout the day and have a bottle of G2 in the afternoon. I’ve also delayed my evening ride by about a half-hour so I’m starting around 6:30 PM and religiously doing a slow six mile warm up. This combination seems to be working for me right now as I’ve had no episodes like last week when I was obliterated after 15 miles. One good thing was that some later afternoon clouds moved in which helped with the heat some yesterday. I rolled away from my car and made it about 200 feet when I realized I forgot my sunglasses. I immediately pulled a u-turn and headed back to get them. It’s interesting to note that I’ve had these particular sunglasses for about seven years. They aren’t even ‘cycling’ sunglasses. They were given to me while I was still in the Navy and are actually safety glasses. You can buy them at Lowes or Home Depot and come...

Much better ride last night

After the horrible ride I had on Monday evening I decided to make some changes to what I was doing and with the help and ideas of some of the commenters on that post I made several changes and had a great ride. Here’s what I did: I drank more during the day. I said that I have a bad habit of not drinking enough during the day so I took that to heart and ramped it up. I still don’t think I drank enough but what I did drink helped. I ate a cliff bar as I left work to get some food in my stomach and give it time to digest before getting in the saddle. This means I ate it about an hour and twenty minutes before riding. I delayed my ride a half hour. I did this to try and eliminate some of the heat problem and it seemed to help. A lot. Sure, it was hot for the first 45 minutes or so but it started to get much better as the sun started dropping. I think that was a huge improvement. I didn’t wear a cap under my helmet. I sweat really bad and have big problems with it getting in my eyes. I’ve been wearing a cycling cap under my helmet to solve this problem and that solution works great. With the heat though I don’t think that’s a viable option anymore. I noticed a big difference in air flow in my helmet (I need a new one with more vents) but I did deal with sweat in my eyes. I need...

Obliterated after 15 miles

Yesterday, instead of going to the group handling training I normally do, I opted for a longer ride because I need the mileage. In hindsight I probably should have just did the handling training because my ride sucked. I started off OK and wanted to ride something a little bit faster than my planned century pace of 15 mph. I targeted an average of 16 mph for the ride. Once I got down off the trail and on the loop around White Rock Lake the wind was blowing pretty good with gusts to 20 mph. I was still able to maintain a good speed but was frequently below 15 mph. About half-way through this first loop I really started to labor. I want to think it was the heat but it could be several issues. I wonder if I wasn’t hydrated enough. I’m bad about not drinking enough water throughout the day and I think this, combined with the heat yesterday, caused part of the problem. I carried a bottle of water and a bottle of gatorade with me but it didn’t seem to help. I may not have gotten enough food. I had a small romaine salad with a can of tuna and a few mushrooms for lunch. That was it. No dressing or anything. I also had some wheat pretzels in the afternoon but I basically didn’t have anything to eat several hours before my ride. That, combined with the heat, was probably a recipe for disaster. Carrying eight 10 pound bags of potatos while riding isn’t helping. Think about that statement. The next time you’re in...

Looking for a cycling partner at White Rock Lake

Ok, I’m officially tired of riding down at White Rock Lake by myself. I need somebody who wants to ride around the lake on a regular basis on weekdays and weekends. I ride there mainly because it’s convenient for me and it’s a nice ride. I’m trying to train for my first century ride in September so I’m putting in the mileage but still learning the whole nutrition side of the sport. I’m not a hammerhead so I’m not looking for the 20+ mph group rides that I see out there sometimes. I’m trying to average 15 mph for my century so that’s what I try to average when out riding. I’m very bad about trying to go all out on all rides so I need a partner who can help keep me under reign on rides we should take it easy. I need hill work so once a week I try to put in about a 15 mile ride plus 5-8 hill repeats. On weekdays I usually arrive at the tennis center off Fair Oaks at about 5:50 and then hit the road by 6 PM. From there I ride down to the lake and do one or two laps usually depending on how I feel. I’m hoping a riding partner will help keep me honest and instead of only doing one lap to always do two or three. For weekend rides I’m open for other areas to ride as long as they aren’t a long way away to get to. I’ve been riding 25-30 miles on Saturdays and recently did my longest ride ever which was 35...

ING DIRECT Chicago Café to Host Bike to Work Week Events

I received an email this past week asking if I’d like to write a post about ING DIRECT’s Bike to Work Week Events next week in Chicago. I’m not sure how many Chicago readers I have but perhaps I have a few. I’ll tweet this as well so hopefully it’ll see a bigger audience of Windy City folks. BIKE TO WORK WEEK OFFERS CHICAGO CYCLISTS OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE BOTH PHYSICAL AND FINANCIAL HEALTH ING DIRECT Café Provides Bike Tune-Ups and Savvy Savings Tips at Polonia Triangle Chicagoans looking to take the smart route towards improving their physical and financial health can start by celebrating Bike to Work Week with ING DIRECT’S Café Associates in Chicago from June 15- 19. All week, the ING DIRECT Café will support cyclists and savings by providing a bike service station, savvy savings tips and free coffee at the Polonia Triangle at Milwaukee Avenue. Riders participating in the Bike to Work Week challenge can stop by the station between 6:30 a.m. and 10: 00 a.m. CT. For more information, visit ingdirect.com/seminars. WHEN: June 15 – 19, 2009 WHERE: Bike Service Station Polonia Triangle at Milwaukee Avenue ING DIRECT Café 21 East Chestnut Street Chicago, IL 60611 The café is located between N. Wabash Ave. and N. State St. MEDIA/PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Visuals of the Chicago Café associates giving tune ups and savings tips to Chicago’s loyal bike commuters. CONTACT INFORMATION: Kendall Roy, 302-255-3619, kroy@ingdirect.com About ING DIRECT ING DIRECT, the nation’s largest direct bank and now the largest thrift, is dedicated to inspiring Americans to become a nation of savers. Since its inception in 2000,...
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