Monday, March 30, 2009

New Bike Ordered

Pretty darned excited about the new bike I just ordered. I had my rider interview with the guys from Seven the other day. Talked directly with the folks making my that was a totally new experience! The amount of attention they already have paid to the minor details makes me think I'm going to be overwhelmed with the new ride. I can't wait.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Taking it in Stride

Today I ran the Heart Mini. Leading up to it I toyed with the thought of running with someone else and just running at their pace. Just have fun. About a week and a half prior I really practiced hills up at Red Bird Hollow. I destroyed myself anticipating the Heart Mini's climb up Torrence Avenue.

So during the race I once again thought about running with someone. I forgot my Nike + which serves as my speedometer. I saw an acquaintance early but realized that (after hearing their breathing) that I best be on my own. Like one does in a bike race, I targeted someone performing aggressively that I felt I could match their tempo even if it is above my comfortable range. I did this most of the race. I am very happy to say I dropped them as we climbed Torrence. I was so happy I felt so good. I crossed the finish with an average pace of 8:02 per mile! I never trained that hard, but then it was winter. Also, I had that weird sensation where my legs did not want to stop running — I walked awkwardly across Fountain Square.

To sum up, I feel like just when I began to loath running the Heart Mini provided me with such a great experience I have to say that I have fallen in love again. To accomplish your goal, and to perform better than imagined, I'm running on air!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How to Dismount a Mountain Bike

Man, Tuesday night I tried my hand at mountain biking for the first time since last Summer. I am hoping to get into some races this year. Also, I hope to improve my handling skills for a more successful season at cyclocross.

Unfortunately I think work has me a bit stressed out. I intended to go out easy and just get a sense of cornering. But then I wanted to keep up with the group — so I kept pushing my skills to my limits (which are low...). I made it through the first two trails at East Fork without difficulty.

But then the last trail is a bit more technical. Rolling out I immediately (like in the first ten feet!) flipped over the handle bars. I was making a sweeping downhill turn as my front wheel went wide and ran into a sapling. I went over the handle bars and my elbow smashed into my ribs as I hit the ground, knocking the wind out of me. Ugh. But I dusted myself off and got back to it.

Then I did it again rolling onto a bridge... This time I found myself lying on the bridge as my bike was clipped into one leg hanging off the side. As I remounted I realized my brake was rubbing against my new wobbly front wheel. I realized I left my tools back at the car. So I kept on.

After riding a few logs well in the first couple trails I thought I was better than I was. This time there was a downed limb hanging just off the ground. I can bunny hop it right? Wrong. This time I hurt my pride.

I became a crab and began to doubt my abilities as a cyclist. "I don't belong here. I am a hack. You have trained so hard for nothing. You're not even a road cyclist. Just go back to riding the bike path. That's all you can hack."

So I officially had a meltdown in front of everyone when they stopped to wait for me. I AM SO SORRY. I need to channel some CHI or ZEN or LOVE. My hopes were dashed back there... But Joe and Kurt and the others eventually dusted off my shattered ego and once on the easier trail I did my best to crush it. THANK YOU HOMIES! I look forward to riding behind you again soon!

Monday, March 23, 2009

This Week in Review

For the second week in a row I put in over 200 miles. I'm starting on a block of LT intervals. Legs were sore and slow prior to this weekends 7 hours on the bike. Yesterday hurt. The husband and I started hungry, not planning well for a ride with friends. The previous day was 4 hours + work which also left me feeling pretty whipped. Without a lot of good choices in Xenia, OH it was either McD's or nothing. I choose nothing. 1 package of clif blocks between the two of us, 50 miles, 3 hours = one hungry couple. Anyhow, it was great to ride with our fav. couple friends, the Bellante's and the Noble' well as some new buds from the Biowheels crew.

This week will be a busy one with Ladies Nite at the shop hosted by yours truly, a fitting for my Seven Mudhoney Cyclocross bike!!!!, and possibly my first race of the season. Phew. Looks like I'll be doing a 12 hour MTB race solo so the training begins now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My New Baby

I am so lucky. Most men have a tough time convincing their wives that a bike is a good investment. My wife sneaks the frame (that I should not have splurged on myself for Christmas) out of the house and builds it up behind my back! I am so psyched, this thing looks mean like a Farrari, all the Bontrager parts match the color of the frame. It nearly looks like a fixie with the attention to detail that Justin and Bridget put into it — down to the candy cane freakin bar tape.

I want to thank Justin at the Trek Store for doing a stellar job building up the frame and getting me some great components. Amanda for giving me a wonderful deal on her kickass frame. And of coarse Bridget for being the best wife ever. So now I can't get pissed you're getting a custom Seven for cross right? Oh how freakin smart you are!

Mile High Base Miles

Bridget and I had a wonderful time visiting with her Brothers and Sisters in Denver. Everyone has a baby now and it is so cool to see these little people forming their personalities. Bridget and I got a few rides in between awkward neck-craddling and card games with funny five-year-olds. The weather was perfect, the mid to upper-sixties and pretty sunny.

Actually the whole fam drove up to Fort Collins one day to visit a few breweries. We visited Coopersmith and New Belgium — a brewer who loves cycling so much they not only have a bike as their logo but named a beer Fat Tire Ale. Man, there were fixies everywhere. What I appreciate about fixie culture is the attention to detail with part selection on the bike. I really dig the old Peugeot and Bianchi track bikes. It was interesting to see bull horns versus mustache bars versus drops.

After the brewery we went to an awesome coffee shop to wait out the rush hour traffic. It was called The Bean Cycle and I could tell immediately that it was my kind of place. There was a sweet wooden frame and wheel bike from the 1890s hanging on the wall. There was a lot of very excited fixie kids milling about — seeming to get ready for some kind of group ride/bar hop. It turns out they were celebrating the publication of their Boneshaker Bicycling Almanac, a very cool little cycling journal. I bought a copy and it has kept me company on many sad and long nights since, the rain tapping at my bedroom windows while Bridget practices symmetric dancing to corporate jazz. There were also some eye-catching posters at the coffee shop that educated (in a fun exagerated manner) the public about bicycling safety.

The next day was also about 58 degrees. I prepared my sister and brother-in-laws' mountain bikes and we met up with my other brother-in-law Darin for a sweet ride. Denver has many bike paths running through it, some of these converted canal tow paths that wind through the suburbs. I believe we took the Cherry Creek north path — it became crowded as we approached downtown. Since this was Denver's first nice day in awhile riders were out and the trail was insane.

I was really put off by the amount of "race facing" and lack of safe etiquette. I am trying to teach myself to be a professional on the bike, respecting others' safety and acknowledging the right for the entire public to ride a bike path. However we were constantly dealing with riders passing us or riding our wheel without alerting us. And then snubbing us. People on mountain bikes with low saddles and cadences of 110 rpm — acting like a we were a pack of grandmas in Cadillacs with the tail lights signaling a left turn to be taken in the distant future.

Once Downtown there is a lovely canal with little locks. Very scenic. This canal eventually flows into a river — and at delta there is a REI with a Starbucks. I know it kills a good long ride but sometimes it's fun to take coffee break mid-ride. Darin, Bridget and I had a nice coffee and pastry refuel and headed home. At the end of the path we encountered a rider who obviously raced for a local shop. Denver's reputation was saved as we exchanged pleasantries and no one was trying to prove anything — just a few people getting in a good ride between races.

Over the next couple days Bridget and I had a couple of great rides together. One explored the High Line Canal Path for four hours where we took a small break in Cherry Creek at a hip little coffee shop. Our last ride was a fun jaunt down to the Cherry Creek reservoir south of the City. It was lovely to get out there and see the city under the orange sun as white capped mountains filled the horizon. It was also cute to see little prairie dogs along the way.

Sorry for the novel but the trip was such a great break! Thank you fam! Always incredible hosts. Much love!