A Fresh Local Bike Shop Experience

Finding a good local bike shop can be challenging. You hear too many stories where customer service isn’t good, prices are outrageous, or they have a poor selection of cycling gear. I see it here too and that lead me to look around when shopping for tires last weekend. The bike shop I normally frequent is convenient. They have two stores in the area and both are close by car. I’ve experienced good customer service with them and gotten help with some mechanical issues on my bike. Everytime I go in there though I get frustrated with the equipment selection. They sell basically one brand – Bontrager. Personally, I have nothing against Bontrager but I’d like to be able to have other options and you really can’t do that in these shops. So, after experiencing another pre-ride flat and finding some cuts on my tires last Saturday, I decided to invest in some new tires before starting my Tour de Cure training plan. I already knew the selection at the shop I normally frequented so I decided to shake things up and try another shop. Boy was I glad I did. Journey Into the Unknown As my wife and I were driving out towards the beach where this ‘other’ shop was, she was asking questions about my tires and why I was getting flats. You see, about three months ago she bought me a new back tire at the store I normally go to and it was a hard case tire meant to reduce flats. So you can understand her questions. We talked about tires, cuts, and so on....

The Cycling 360 Podcast

Podcasting is one of the fastest growing areas of online media and cycling isn’t with out its share of them. This week saw the launch of a new one and it’s called Cycling 360. Some of you will recognize the guys behind it as they each are active in the world of cycling both on and off the Internet. The three hosts of Cycling 360 are Darryl Kotyk of Loving the Bike, Victor Jiminez of Bicycle Lab and Rob Grissom of Positive Performance Coaching. Each of them brings years of on-the-bike experience to the podcast. Their first podcast, Trainers and Rollers, is up and it’s great. At 50 minutes in length it’s loaded with info, humor, and great cycling tips for all cyclists. The thing I liked the most though was the round table discussion format where each of them chimed in with different perspectives drawing on their experience. Really cool. Be sure to check out Cycling...

Tour de Cure Training Plan

I’ve been absent as of late but I have been busy. Most importantly, I’ve begun my training for the Tour de Cure in earnest as of this past Monday. See, I should have written this post on Monday but now it’s Wednesday. Busy I tell you. That’s right, on Monday I started my 12-week Tour de Cure Century Training Plan as provided to me by Darryl over at Loving the Bike. Over the next 12 weeks I’ll be riding per that plan or as close as I can get. It’s setup as a six days on and one day off cycle. Monday’s are typically an easy pace ride, with Wednesdays a brisk pace, and Thursdays designated as the day off for rest. Mileage during the weeks and on the weekends will slowly build throughout the 12 weeks so I build up my endurance. In order to make it easy on myself to look up what I’m supposed to do when, I created a Training Calendar page. Click on over there to check it out so you can see what I’ll be doing over the next 12 weeks. The Training Calendar page gives me a visual aid to reinforce what I’m doing and why. I really felt like I’ve been missing that in my cycling and my lack of progress last year is a great example. I rode, off and on, but with no plan or vision I didn’t make any gains or lose any weight. Big surprise. Anyway, I’m hoping the Training Calendar page will help. Coincidentally, this Saturday is the first training group ride for the Tour de...

The Big Four Zero

I don’t write this post for the Happy Birthday comments. Instead, I’m going to ramble a bit about turning the big four zero and what it really means to me. Turning 40 is, apparently, a big deal with a lot of people. Kinda like when you turn 13, 18, 21, and so on. At 13 you’re officially a teenager. At 18 you can vote. At 21 you can drink legally. What do you get at 40? Besides a dose of reality and tacky birthday cards? I guess it’s not much of a coincidence that I just heard on the TV that by the age of 40 we could look like a road map of pain. I resemble that statement. Over the last 20 years I’ve treated my body like a virtual amusement park. It might be a better description to say that I treated it like I was on the roller coaster to hell and it was a one-way trip. Binge eating, little to no exercise except when I was forced to by the military, steadily rising body fat, weight, and blood pressure. Shortness of breath at even the slightest amount of exertion and so on. A wonderful recipe for somebody wanting to push daisies at an early age. Today I turned 40 and, like many people my age, reality has set in. It actually set in a while ago but turning 40 just reinforces it. Aches and pains aren’t going away, I’m not in very good shape, my diet is terrible, I’m overweight, and I’m on the exact road that my dad was on when he had his...

Don’t Get Caught Without A Rubber

I had some great plans this weekend and I was excited. I posted a pic on Dailymile of the five-day forecast and the great weather we were going to have. It made for a great opportunity to get out and work up a sweat. Then, on Saturday, I was given a dose of reality as I violated one of those unwritten rules every dude should know. I got caught without a rubber. Sorry about that but I just couldn’t resist that post title. The rubber I’m referring to is, of course, a tube for my road bike. The weather this weekend has been perfect here in North Florida and I was super excited about a nice two-hour early morning ride on Saturday. Fate, on the other hand, had different plans. I got up, went through my whole morning routine of getting kitted up, drinking 4 oz of water mixed with 4 oz of juice, and eating half a banana. I even had about half a cup of coffee. What was even better was that I was going to be able to ride without tights and arm warmers. That alone had me totally jacked to ride. Ah, ignorance is bliss. Once down in the garage I immediately noticed my back tire was flat. If I was going to have one I’d rather it be now than out on the road so I set about changing it. I had one spare tube in my seat bag so I pulled it out and quickly swapped it out with the bad one. Before putting the new one in, an inspection of the tire...

Pro Cycling Is Not My Cycling

The news of the Spanish Cycling Federation not banning Contador for his positive drug test has spread all across the world. I tweeted yesterday that I had considered writing a blog post about the ruling but decided I wouldn’t because it would be a complete waste of time. My opinion hasn’t changed and I’m not going to write about Contador. Instead, I’ve decided that he and pro cycling deserve each other and that pro cycling isn’t my cycling. As a kid I remember watching the Tour de France on Wide World of Sports. They would devote a few minutes to the race summarizing the stages of the prior week. It wasn’t much but I loved it. Many years later, as the sports popularity grew and Americans started winning, other networks picked it up culminating in the current stage-by-stage cover on Versus. With this increased popularity and coverage came more scrutiny and the drug talk started. I’ll admit, I was blind to the rampant use of drugs in the sport until the past 7 or 8 years when it started to get a lot of news. Riders, and entire teams, getting banned were commonplace. Meausures were put in place to monitor riders more with increased testing, better tests, zero-tolerance contracts, and stiffer penalties. Even after all that the sport of professional cycling still remains a cesspool of drugs, lies, and miscreants. It sounds like a reality show. And I guess it is. After this latest fiasco with Pistolero, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that pro cycling isn’t my cycling. The pro riders can have their contracts, money, recognition, trophies,...

Chain Cleaning and Racking Up the Miles

Last week saw me only able to get two rides in due to some nasty, rainy weather almost all week. Plus, on Saturday, I woke up with some serious sinus issues that kept me from riding. I’m actually quite lucky I haven’t gotten real sick with my wife and two of my daughters under the weather. Luckily, I’ve dodged that bullet. Like I said, only about 24 miles on the bike last week which, honestly, stinks. Not much I can do about it though except start this week off right and that’s what I did this morning. I was up at 5 AM and rolling by 5:20. Aside from being about 40F outside, the weather was perfect – crystal clear and no wind. I felt like I pushed it hard this morning but know in spots I let the pace slack off some as I’m just not conditioned yet to maintain a high pace for my full hour ride. I’m getting 16-17 mph comfortably for some parts of the ride so I’m hoping that before long I’ll see my pace for these morning rides increase to the upper 14 mph range and start pushing 15 mph plus. That 15 mph pace is kind of a barrier for me and I’m not sure if it’s physical or mental. Probably a little of both but likely more physical than mental. Anyway, the numbers for today’s ride are: 13.1 miles in 57 min at a 13.8 mph pace. I really thought I was faster than that. Tested out the Chain Cleaner If you follow the Biking To Live Facebook Page you know...

Riding Update and New Gear

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t been able to post at all so I apologize. Contrary to popular belief, I’m neither a full-time blogger. The 9-5 soaked up a ton of my time this week which makes me wonder why it’s called a 9-5. More like an 8-6 but I’m not complaining. Because I’ve neglected posting this week I’ve got a few things to cover in today’s post. Strap yourself in, squirt a gel, and grab a wheel. Moving in the Right Direction On the riding and weight loss front I’m seeing improvement which is great. I saw numbers on the weight scale this week that I haven’t seen in a long, long, long time. Good stuff. I can also tell my riding is getting stronger even though I’ve only managed two rides this week. The weather here has been terrible with today being the first day it hasn’t rained in a while. Today’s ride was particularly nice and I felt very, very comfy in the saddle today with no undercarriage issues. I tried to push today’s pace harder than normal and rode about 85% of the 13 miles in the big ring which is a change for me. I got over the big ring ego a long time ago and am happy to push the small ring until I get stronger. I’m now at the point where I can confidently ride a bigger gear and keep my cadence up. Today’s ride was for 13.12 miles in 54 minutes at 14.4 mph. I honestly thought my pace would have been better but I’ll take it. I did...

Interval Training For Cyclists

If you’ve been cycling for any length of time chances are that you’ve heard of Intervals. The word ‘interval’ or ‘intervals’ is usually tossed around while folks are talking about their training. For instance, you might see on DailyMile a cyclist describe their last ride as being 3×8 Intervals at RPE 7 with a 10 minute RBI. Makes perfect sense right? In this post I’m going to explain what Intervals are, the different types, and why they’re good for your riding. What is an Interval? If you define the word ‘Interval’ you get: A definite length of time marked off by two instants. So, an interval is a period of time that’s marked off by two instants (a start and a stop). Putting all that together we can further deduce that an Interval is a measured period of time marked by a start time and a stop time. The length of the period of time is the Interval. By that definition you could define any ride as an Interval – you know the time you started riding and the time you stopped riding. That would be one Interval. That’s not how we use them though. In cycling we use the word ‘Intervals’ to define short periods of time (30 seconds to several minutes) over the course of a ride. For instance, you might hear a cyclist say that she performed three eight minute intervals during her workout today. That means that she broke out 24 minutes (3×8=24) as measured periods of time from her overall ride duration. Why did she break out those 24 minutes and what did she...

Intervals Started This Week

As we move into week #3 of the Cycling for Optimum Weight mission, I began a new workout sent to me by Darryl of Loving the Bike. To recap the last two weeks, I’ve just been riding to get in a total of 5.5 hours in the saddle. Pace and distance weren’t as much a priority as getting the time in. This week though we move into more of a ‘training’ mode and start interval training. Saturday’s Ride Before we dive into intervals, I wanted to talk about Saturday’s ride. I slept in till about 9 AM on Saturday morning. I wasn’t worried about getting out real early because I wanted the temperature to climb some. It did and when I rolled out the temp was hovering around 55F. It would climb into the mid-70s in the afternoon. Awesome. I headed out to ride the same route I had ridden the previous Saturday. Traffic wasn’t bad at all because it was still early and my overall numbers for the ride were OK. I rode for 1h:26m for a distance of 20.47 miles and an average speed of 14.3 mph. The avg speed was 1.1 mph faster than the previous Saturday. More importantly though was how I felt on the bike. I felt AWESOME! Seriously, I haven’t had a ride where I felt like that in a long, long time. I’m sure the weather (good temps and no wind) helped but I know the plan Darryl and Kelli have put me on helped too. I felt like I could have ridden another ten miles easily. If you can’t tell, I...
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