When was your last Awesome ride?

Saturday saw me return to the local shop I’ve been riding with for group rides. I hadn’t given the ride too much thought throughout the week but it turned out being Awesome with a capital A. That’s why I capitalized it if you didn’t notice. At the start of the ride we rolled out with about 15 folks. A group of about five took off pretty quickly so we’ll call them the A group. The rest of us kind of fell into a group of our own, at a slower pace, so we’ll call ourselves the B group. There were a few people in the group I hadn’t seen before so I don’t know if they were brand new or just hadn’t been out with us in a while. We had two ladies in the group. One who is a very experienced rider while the other is relatively new. We also had two riders from the shop – one of the mechanics and the shop owner. Both great guys. All-in-all a pretty diverse group. After leaving the shop, getting past a stoplight, and then a stop sign, we got onto the main route and settled into a paceline at about 18-19 mph. I pulled for the first three or four miles before letting one of the ladies pull a bit. We stayed together like this for the next ten miles or so with each person in the group sharing the pulling although the pulls I took were quite a bit longer than most which I was happy to do. We eventually upped the pace to the 20-21 mph range....

New Phase of Training Started

With my century attempt behind me, I took about a week off the bike to rest up but it’s time to get started again. This gives me the perfect opportunity to start a interval training program I’ve been wanting to do for a while that’s specifically put together to help people, like me, who need to lose a lot of weight. Summer is starting to settle in here in North Florida with it getting into the mid-to-upper 90s everyday. That means it’s hot which makes me happy I do my riding in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still sticky as a sticky bun at 5:30 AM but it beats sweltering heat. Speaking of riding in the morning, with the school year drawing to a close daughter #2 is done with high school except for graduating which means I can sleep in until 5 AM before getting up to ride. I may hit the snooze once, or twice, but I don’t have to be rolling now until about 5:30 AM. That’s a great time of morning as the eastern horizon is just starting to get light this time of year and by the time I’m done with an hour ride it’s getting downright bright out. Makes me not feel like a vampire so much. With a full six or seven months of great cycling left I decided to get started on a 15-week interval training program I’ve been wanting to do. It comes from Selene Yeagers book Ride Your Way Lean: The Ultimate Plan for Burning Fat and Getting Fit on a Bike (review coming soon) and is...

What does Biking To Live Mean?

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve slightly changed the look of Biking To Live over the last couple of weeks. Nothing major – still using the same theme, same colors, and stuff like that. I have tweaked some of the visual elements though and they are most evident on the homepage. First off I switched out the logo. The one I had up sucked and I know this one isn’t a huge improvement but I think it’s better for now. It’ll work until I pay someone to design me a professional logo. Second, you can see that the layout of the homepage is totally different. It’s more of a landing page split into areas including the featured article slider, an About section, and a widget showing posts from the blog. All of the blog posts are still available from the homepage by clicking on the Blog link in the menu. Another minor tweak I made was to get rid of the shadow on the font that was used. I always thought it was hard to read the text in the articles because of the shadow so I got rid of it. While talking with an online buddy recently, I was asked the following question: Does the image [About and/or Logo] make you think about Biking To Live? That’s a tough question and I believe the answer for both images (the logo and the About images) is a resounding ‘No.’ I asked the same question to my followers on Facebook and got these two responses (now would be a good time to ‘Like’ the Biking To Live page on Facebook if...

Tour de Cure Ride Report

Saturday saw me attempt my first century ride. While I wasn’t able to complete the full 101 mile route I did manage a decent 80 miles. Having had a day to think back on the event, I wanted to tell you about the ride. My wife and I showed up at the starting point around 6 AM and it was already starting to get hot. I got ready to ride while my wife went to check-in at the volunteers table. She worked the first aid station at the start/finish line from 7 AM until 4 PM. The ride started promptly at 7 AM for those riding the 101 and 71 mile routes. I’m guessing there were a couple hundred riders doing the two routes. I was a little worried about the mass start but it ended up being fine with nobody doing stupid stuff that would cause problems. The route was marked pretty good with signage along the road and we had police support at all the major intersections along the entire route which was great. The first rest stop was only about 10 miles into the ride so I decided to bypass it. It turns out they had rest stops about every 15 miles which was awesome. I would really rely on those later in the day. I can’t say enough about the volunteers at the rest stops. They were all very helpful and accommodating. Each of the stops was well stocked with food and liquids. I rode the first 50 miles at about a 16 mph pace into a head wind coming out of the South. I...

Preparing for the End

As I’m sure you already know, and are tired of me telling you, tomorrow is my first century and I’m super excited. I’ve spent the week tapering my mileage and gettin everything ready for my epic ride. Stuff like fuel, early check-in yesterday, cleaning the bike last night, and so on. Not until yesterday though did I realize there was one thing I hadn’t prepared for tomorrow. The end of the world. In all my preparation, training, and excitement I had forgotten that the world is supposed to meet its doom tomorrow. I’m not sure how I could forget something like that. I forgot an anniversary once and thought the world would end then. It didn’t so I was spared until tomorrow. Or at least that’s what some of the groups promoting our destruction tomorrow will tell you. While I have no plans to meet my maker tomorrow, I thought it prudent to take some preparations just in case. You know me, I like to be prepared. Here’s some additional items you can do to help prepare for tomorrow if you’re going to be out riding like me: Pack a Zombie Survival Kit. If the world is ending you know there will be zombies. I’m not sure what the fascination with zombies is but if we go by what all the movies suggest it’s a no-brainer. There will be zombies. Your Zombie Survival kit would include items such as a chainsaw, machete, shotgun, and perhaps a bazooka. You should be able to outrun them on your bike though because we all know zombies can’t move very fast. They basically...

The Week Before Your First Century Ride

Well, my training is wrapping up this week as my first century bicycle ride draws near. Today I wanted to share with you what I’ll be doing this last week before the big ride. Stuff like press conferences, sponsorship signings, and pics with perspective podium girls. Ha, ha! Just kidding. Lots of things have gone into me getting ready for this event. First and foremost has been the training. Lots of it. As of this morning I’ve ridden 1152 miles this year in preparation for this first century of my cycling career. I’ve changed the way I eat and worked hard on my hydration habits. I’ve learned how to fuel my body while on the bike in order to have the energy to complete the long training rides I did. I’ve managed to raise money for a great charity. I’ve worked with two very good people in Darryl and Kelli who have guided me through the last 12 weeks providing both inspiration and knowledge. It all leads up to these final five days before the Tour de Cure on May 21, 2011. Boy I’m excited! So, these final five days I have a lot of things to think about and do. They are: Continue tapering. The last two weeks of the training schedule taper down on the riding so my body can recover from some of the suffering I’ve put it through the last few weeks. Those long 60-70 mile rides took a lot out of my fat body so it’s been good to start recovering as the century ride draws near. Hydrate. Next to eating right, hydration has...

Cycling can be Dangerous

Yesterday we got a stark reminder of how dangerous the sport of cycling can be when Wouter Weylandt was killed during Stage 3 of the Giro de Italia. It’s always a sad day when a cyclist dies regardless if it’s a pro racing a grand tour or a local rider out training or commuting. You never want to see someone lose their life doing something they love. The events of yesterday did get me thinking while I was out riding this morning as I’m sure it did a lot of you too. The events surrounding Wouter Weylandt’s crash are still sketchy as there were apparently only one or two witnesses. It appears they were on a very technical descent and Wouter took his eyes off the road in order to assess the situation behind him. During this brief period he clipped a wall with his pedal or handlebar which caused the crash that lead to death. I haven’t read it in any of the reports but it appears his death was instantaneous which points towards a very gruesome and catastrophic crash. Unfortunately accidents like this do happen in pro cycling. I vividly remember watching the Tour de France in 1995 when Fabio Casartelli was also killed on a descent. While riding this morning I couldn’t help but reflect on yesterday’s events and it struck me that the cause of his crash, a glance backwards, seems so benign in the whole scheme of things. Sure, they were on a technical descent, going fast, but how many times do you think he, or other pros, have taken that look? They probably...

Tour de Cure Training Catch Up

Sorry folks but I’m behind on my posting. Things have been a little crazy around the hacienda, work, and needing to devote time to the riding. All-in-all things are going great and I’m going to give you a quick update on the training as I prepare for the Jacksonville Tour de Cure on May 21, 2011. The mileage has been steadily increasing as I worked my way through the Tour de Cure training plan and two weeks ago I passed the 50% mark for my 2011 cycling goal of 2000 miles. Hard to imagine that but it’s only May and I’ve already ridden over 1100 miles this year. I’m totally blown away by that because I’ve got another six months of good outdoor riding left. Awesome! The last two Saturday rides I’ve ditched the shop ride so I could concentrate on getting in my long rides at my pace. If I did the shop rides I’d be totally gassed by mile ten and not want to ride another 50 or 60 miles. So I headed out to the local rail trail and did 60 and 73 miles the last two Saturdays. The weather couldn’t have been better for each but I think our Spring is officially over as of yesterday. I’m thinking the century ride on May 21 will be hot, hot, hot. Anyway, this past Saturday’s ride was probably my longest ride ever at 73 miles. I know back in 2009 I did a 63 mile ride but my bike broke soon thereafter and I went bikeless for several months and didn’t get to do the century I...

Wiping Away the Dirt and Reflecting on the Miles

It’s about 8:00 PM and I just finished what has become a semi-ritual for me. Giving the bike a wipe down in preparation for a new week of riding starting tomorrow. It’s kind of like therapy. I’m a neat-freak by nature but there’s something to be said for cleaning the trusty steed and reflecting back on the week’s riding. The temperature is starting to dip along with the sun. A few clouds are drifting across the darkening sky on a slight breeze. Great weather to wrap up a great week of riding. Baby wipes, five-gallon bucket seat, and Kronenbourg in hand, I set out cleaning the weeks road grime off the bike and reflected on the past week. It didn’t start out so well with me not feeling great on Monday. I only managed 26 miles total for the week by riding on Tuesday and Wednesday. Friday was a wash with some rain/wind that was still hanging around. So, not the best week for mileage. Saturday was a new day. It dawned cool at 58F without a cloud in the sky and no wind. I had a long ride on the training schedule and decided to forgo the shop ride in order to get the mileage I needed at my pace. I opted to go ride the Jacksonville to Baldwin Rail Trail. The last time I rode that trail was on May 3, 2008. Almost 3 years ago. I couldn’t have picked a better day to ride it. The trail is 15 miles out and back so I planned to ride it twice in order to get the miles...

A Helpful Hand to the Big Man

Last Saturday I went out to do a local shop ride again. Just like the previous Saturday, I was planning on starting out with the fast group and stay with them as long as possible. Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well and it turned out to be a pretty crappy ride. And it was my own fault. I arrived at the shop a little before 7 am so that I was ready for a 7:15 roll out. I’ve only been attending this ride for a couple of weeks but it looked like all the normal guys were there except for one or two. That made about ten total in the group. I actually only know the names of two guys in the group and they both work at the shop. The rest of the guys (no ladies in the group) pretty much keep to their own little group and talk amongst themselves. They’ve obviously been riding together for a long time. That may explain why none of them have ever say hi. Anyway, we roll out and fall into a double paceline with myself and one of the shop guys I know riding at the back. The group gradually builds up speed until we’re cruising around 19 mph and the lead riders of the pacelines begin taking pulls of a few minutes in length. Eventually, I’m at the front and dutifully take my turn cutting the wind. And it was windy that day. We make a right turn and ease up on the pace as we get ready to merge onto a higher trafficked road to cross a bridge....
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