Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Nice Day for a Good Ride

It was beautiful out today. I headed out around 11 a.m. for a short ride and it was roughly 50 degrees out no wind. The biggest hastle was the traffic. I ran up Wisconsin and actually got to ride the CCT. Unlike my ride last weekend, there was very little ice on the trail. Most just leaves, wetness and old folk. Nothing I couldn't handle.

The big positive of the ride was that there was tangible evidence that while it might be slow I am actually getting back in shape. I did this ride a few weeks back (same day as the marine corp marathon) and the climb up Wisconsin out of Georgetown had me stopping a few times. Now granted that ride was one of my first back in a while, it was good not to have to stop on the up hill at all this time! Felt good not to know my legs are getting back to where they need to be. A couple good rides on Cuba and Priceville and I will be ready to kick spooners ass....ok maybe not, but I will be feeling better.

Anyway, I am going to try to get a ride or two in before I head off for some work related travel and am bike less for a week and a half.

14 miles. 14MPH Pace (hey, I had a bunch of hills!.) One Hour in the saddle.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Starting Training Rides.

I'm back on the road training again. Things are going well.

I would like to note I have gotten a really enthusiastic responce from my email to everyone about the ride. I'm ~10% of the way to my fundraising minimum. Being that it was sent right before Christmas and folks were otherwise busy and hectic, I'm very pleased with the responce that I got from everyone. I'll send another mailing out after the new year and I am sure I will get a good response!

I've done two really short training rides both about 16 miles. The first one I did through NW DC. This ride was last Sunday, and it was really COLD. I was hoping to ride from the cathedral up to the Bethesda entrance to the Capital Cresent Trail down to Georgetown back up to the cathedral area. I got up to Bethesda fine, but when I got onto the CCT about 50 yards into the ride, I found a 10 ft patch of ice totally across the trail. I decided that unless I wanted to brain myself I needed to get off the trail. I jumped onto bradley road and started heading toward connectiucut avenue. I discovered that conn. ave didn't look like te best place to ride in the morning (lots of traffic). Now this would be the point where I give you the ins and outs of where I went in the city..but frankly, I got lost. I did discover some new places in DC, including beach drive (which is closed on the weekends and was a great ride) and the smithsonian veternian center ... which is at the top of a very tall hill. (an aside, I do not reccomend climbing hills in your largest gear, unless you have thighs the size of tree trunks.)

I also did a ride yesterday morning at 0-dark-thirty (actually 8:30, but for me that's SUPRE early). I did five laps at haines point. Nothing too exciting, and my legs were feeling decent. I didn't need to use my brakes much which was good becuase I discovered on my previous ride that the brake pads needed replacing. Nothing complicated, but will require me to make a trip to HTO for provisions. I'll wait until after x-mas to do that that though.

Otherwise riding is going well. I need to do some longer rides. I'm going to see if I can scare up a crew for a ride down the MTV when I return from Hawaii.

That's about it for now. More details as I ride more.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Back at it Again

I just re-signed up for Tahoe!.

As I mentioned before it was a spectacular experience and I was truly proud of the effort of everyone that participated.

Although the weather is a bit of a drag in DC right now, I will be getting back into serious training post-haste. I hope to do 20 - 30 miles this weekend. I am confident that the hardest part of the ride will be from my warm bed to the saddle of my bike.

Also I have a decent digital camera this year, so I will be keeping a photo record of the rides...hopefully. Check out the flikr thing to the right to see some cute photos of the kids.

Finally, I will have a fundraising page up shortly. I hope you can help out, we raised a ton of cash last year for leukemia research and I hope we can do it again this year.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Training Again - Still

Well, I'm not sure anyone is actually out there reading the blog anymore, but the absence of an audience has never been a good reason not to write.

So lets see. Since I last wrote, I bought a new bike. Got a sweet deal at REI on a closeout on a 2004 Marin Venezia. I've been very pleased with it. It has a few hiccups here and there, but I expect the maintainence tune-up will iron those out. Very pleased with the bike, and it weighs next to nothing compared to what I was riding before.

Also I am going to ride the Seagull Century October 8th. Should be a good ride. A fair number of my friends from Tahoe will be riding as well. Have no idea where I am going to stay. Since there are no hotels available with 20 miles of Salisbury, I think I may just have to resort to camping at Assateague. Unfortunately that's a 45 minute ride from teh start line so that means we may have to roll out hour and half before the start time to make sure everything is cool...but what are you to do.

Training has been going well. Have been trying to be good about getting a ride in every Monday and Tuesday night. Also did 40 up and down the Mt. Vernon trail with Katie and Andrea from Tahoe and did a metric with Katie and Sami out on the Eastern Shore a couple weekends ago that went pretty well. I pettered out a bit near the end but otherwise I think I'm going to be O.K. by October. Hopefully the heat has finally broken and hydration won't be an issue so much any more.

Did a training ride with a new TNT rider monday. Carenfrom the National Capital team. She's doing really well and is going to kick the shit out of Seagull.

Other than that, I just need to focus on keeping getting rides in and on getting my self up to 75 soon. I should be able to do it. I think I might ride tomorrow morning. We'll see if I can get myself out of bed early enough.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Holy Cow, I Did It!

Without question this has to have been one of the greatest adventures I’ve done in a long time. As you might suspect, Sunday I finished America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (heretofore to be know as “the ride”). You may also have noticed that I haven’t blogged or written recently. That’s because as of my last ride, I wasn’t exactly sure if I was going to be able to do the 100 miles around Tahoe. My last training ride was a disaster. I got lost, my legs feel apart and it was an all around bad experience. Fortunately I went out last Friday and gave the ride a try. The training from my coaches and mentors paid off, and after 7 hours 26 minutes in the saddle and ten and a half hours after rolling across the starting line I crossed the finish line. Quite simply it was an amazing experience!

The ride started out a little inauspiciously. Four miles into the ride I found a pothole (**note to riders reading -- POINT OUT ROAD HAZARDS -- all it takes is a finger pointed at the ground to save a fellow rider a big hassle). Long story short, front wheel goes through pot hole back tire falls in --- HISSSSSSS. Anyway, Bob and Tim (who would later encourage a couple teammates to shave my chest hair post ride. Fortunately teammates declined…we’ll see if Tim is so lucky come Seagull) pulled over and quickly helped me get my new tube in. As an aside, the new wheel I bought two weeks ago had worn in and was loose. I ran it to the bike shop down the street for a quick repair Saturday night at 8 pm. The mechanic at the shop promptly repaired it. Since he was so kind and charged me next to nothing to fix the wheel, I figured I should pick up a tube. That tube is now in my back tire!

Anyway after getting on the road again, we did the first climb. If you look at the elevation chart it really doesn’t give you a good idea of how daunting these switchbacks were. Needless to say, I wish I had a granny gear. The climb was brutal and I had to stop once, but I slogged it up to the top and topped off my air and headed into the next rest stop. I successfully bombed down the hill at about 25 mph, unfortunately about an hour into the ride, the ambulance was already at work. Someone from the Nevada team took a spill on the way down Emerald Bay . There were a fair number of spills during the ride, not surprising considering we had 35 mph gusts which can very easily move a bike around the road. Fortunately no one from the Maryland team was hurt during their ride.

After Emerald Bay we had a moderate climb, some flats and then the spur out to Truckee. Apparently my gauging of elevation isn’t too terribly hot because I thought the ride out to Truckee was uphill. On the way back I learned it wasn’t. The 14 miles back out from Truckee sapped a bit of energy. At one point I felt my head getting a bit woozy and my legs feeling a bit odd. Fearing I was bonking, I downed one of the 12 “goo’s” I put back that day. Taste like poo but falling off your bike in Tahoe is no fun so I was happy they kept my energy level up.

Lets see…after the Truckee spur we were back on the Lake. Looking over your right shoulder was just amazing. Tahoe truly is G-d’s country. The scenery was just stunning. I will hopefully have pictures soon.

Somewhere around mile 76 or so I realized that I was going to finish this thing. I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to do the whole 100 miles under my own power. Simply, it felt good.

The next big event was the eight mile eight hundred foot climb up to Spooner’s junction. This kicked the snot out of me. I really needed that third chain-ring. I had to stop here and there, but finally I got on someone’s wheel, drafted a bit and slugged it up to the top.

Climbing the hills themselves aren’t so much scary as they are exhausting. Bombing down a 12% grade at 30 + MPH with a 30+ knot side wind, is well hairy. I enjoy riding fast, but on the way down I had to ride the breaks on the way down. The downhill from Spooner Junction was about 12 miles. A few hills here and there, but nothing I couldn’t handle. And between the GU, caffeine, and adrenaline, I was pretty stoked.

Before we left Spooner we all agreed that we would meet at the corner before the finish line. I was the second one out of Spooner, but I arrived at the corner first. For about ten minutes I couldn’t figure out where Tim was. Turns out, Tim stopped at the local package store and replaced his Gatorade with a Guinness. Apparently when you’ve finished three marathons, two tri’s and a century you can get away with a frosty beverage while biking. Anyway we all pulled into the finish area and there were probably about 500 TNT riders screaming for us. It was really amazing and truly heartwarming.

I can’t think of a bad thing about the ride. All in all it was a phenomenal experience. A couple things that need to be noted. There are some amazing riders on the course. I followed one guy who did the ride on a unicycle and a girl who is an above the knee amputee who completes the century every year. All of the folks out there were amazing. Every single rider from the first to the last. The support on the side of the road was great. TNT supporters were along the road everywhere. You can’t help but keep the pedals spinning when there are kids on the side of the road ringing cowbells yelling “GO TEAM” or “You’re doing great Maryland.” (* note : everyone knew where we were from because all the Maryland riders tied crabs to their helmets.) If there is ever a TNT event in your area, please go and cheer. It truly helps, and riders, runners, and tri-athletes really appreciate it.

I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support. I knew folks were out there cheering for me and wanting me to finish.

Most importantly though, we raised a shitload of money for the LLS! Combined the 1900 TNT riders at the ride raised over US$ 7,000,000 in this ride alone. 70K a mile. Through this event and other like it across the country, TNT has raised US$600,000,000 for research, support, and education for families and patients fighting blood cancers.

And before I finish I want to say a special thank you to Reagan Feld for being my honor patient. Knowing that I was helping such a tough little girl made the ride that much easier. When some of the hills got tough, I gave Sebastian the Bear’s head a rub and kept on pedaling. I think the two shirts I saw at the ride summed it up pretty well. “Cancer Sucks.” and “If you think riding a century is hard, try chemotherapy.”

Thank you all for your support, I hope to have some pictures posted soon.

With Warmest Regards,
I am,

Tom, a TNT Alumni

Monday, May 16, 2005

Getting up there

Well its been a while since I have blogged. Things are going really well. There is only one long ride left before we head off to Tahoe.

We'll be riding 75 miles in the hills of Baltimore County next sunday. I'm feeling pretty prepared. I did 72 miles on the Eastern Shore this weekend. While it was pretty flat terrian, the winds were pretty high, and heading into the winds can really make you work hard and knocks down your speed real quick when you stop pedaling.

Last week I did 61 with the Annapolis team. We had some hills in teh Davidsonville area and felt pretty good about it. I've had other weekly rides in between and I feel good.

Other than that I got a tune up on the bike. I realized that the hard shifting that I had in my ride in Baltimore a few weeks back was becuase I broke the axle on the bike. Was nice to get that fixed.

Anyway, I want to say a big thank you to everyone. All your support has been so appreciated. Its helped me get through the rides and will help me cross the line at Tahoe. I'll have a write-up of this weekend's ride some early next week.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Four Falls and a Flat

Well the ride this weekend to Boring was anything but. It started out a bit sketchy with the folks at the Weather Service predicting rain and t-storms during the ride. The ride was to start at 8:30 am. Anyway we got a bit of light rain before the ride and alot later thatnight after the ride but during we were pretty dry.

This was the first ride I have actually done with the Annapolis team. Weekends have been pretty sketchy up until this point but I was glad I got to it yesterday. There were five of us on the ride, Dean the team Coach, Dave our mentor, Christine, Jim and myself. The ride was 44 miles long through the hills of northern baltimore county that I spoke of before. Yesterday was just alot more miles.

Anyway right out of the gate (within one mile) Dave notices that my back tire is low. So we stopped in a driveway to pump it up. Well unfortunately the driveway was gravel and as Christine came in, her wheels came out from under her and she took a spill (spill 1). It wasn't too bad and after we got air back in my tire we got moving again.

Anyway we biked for maybe another 15 miles and then came around a curve where we stopped to meet the local mangey dog. While we were stopped apparently Christine his some road patch that was wet and took a bit of a spill into a fence. (spill 2) Fortunately the fence gave a bit and she was able to get back on her bike.

While we were stopped I decided to shred a layer from underneath my jersey and lose the cap I had under my helmet. Well when I tossed my helmet on the ground for the moment the local mangey mutt decided that he wanted to make a run for it with my helmet. I didn't notice this at all. Fortunately Dean was on top of things and was able to chase down the helmet before doggie made off with it forever. This was odd.

Anyway back on the road, only to encounter a flat on my bike. (My bike had been misbehaving a bit today. The shifter was a bit loose and was jumping gears when under pressure.) We stopped just south of Boring Maryland and changed the tire. Fortunately Dean had an extra tube on him becuase I couldn't seem to find my patches. Could have been a real mess had he not been on top of things.

We got ourselve back on the road and about 2 miles down the road, completed spill 3 and 4. Dean lined up perfectly to cross the train tracks and for whatever reason, his wheel came out from under him and he went down. I happened to be trailing him by a couple yards and when I tried to ride around him my wheel jumped in teh groove in the train track I went down. Fortunately, it wasn't on Dean.

Dean took a pretty spill and probably had a nice bruise today. I didn't take too much of a hit, but my right ring finger feels a bit sore. Nothing consequental at all.

Anyway the next 25 miles were anti-climatic. We climbed up hills and coasted down. I topped out at 35 mph at one point. Quite a good time on a bike.

All-in-all though, and excellent ride!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hills Stink!

Well tonight's ride was very interesting. It started off with me rolling out of my office a bit early only to find out that there was an unattended package in my parking lot. That's a big deal around here obviously. So instead of getting on the road around 5:30 I got on the raod at 6:00 pm. Not too big deal.

It was a bit rainy and kinda grey out. ick. Anyway, it didn't pur...didn't even really rain much. Just kinda looked like it was going to. Anyway I didn 25 miles tonight.

I met Sami at her office and cruised up the CCT to a nice hill on MAcCarthur Blvd. I did the first up the hill ok, but the second and third were a real hassle. My gearing was all wrong and it was a really huge hill...getting up took about 10 minutes. Sami of course zoomed up and down the hill without any trouble and a heck of alot faster than me.

It was a good workout though, and I needed it, but boy are my legs going to kill tomorrow. I'm going to do some hill intervals more often. This one was a good one and I'll have to do it again.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bugs and Blossoms

Well tonight it was all bugs and blossoms down at Haines Point tonight. Weather was great...prob in the 80s next to no wind and very pleasant. Fun!

Anyway, not looking to spend most of my evening fighting traffic in route to g-town I decided I'd just run down Independence and head over to haines point. Its a pretty easy ride over. If it weren't for the lights every block (and the fact that they seem to be perpetually out of sync) you could really get some speed going after coming down Capitol Hill on the house side. Unfortunately, I just got to stand on my brakes and make sure I didn't end up coasting through an intersection.

Anyway, the ride was uneventful. I did just under 30 miles total ... most of that was from the seven or eight laps I did around Haines Point. The one downside to the ride was that the bugs are starting to come out and the cherry trees have just finished blooming. This meant that when I was zooming around the island mouth agap, I was not only taking in copious quantiies of air, I was also taking in mouthfuls of bugs and cherry tree blossoms. YUM! Really it wasn't that bad. And with the increased training schedule I need to increase protein intake anyway. UMM BUGS!

I was able to use my new watch to keep track of my lap speeds. This was great for alternating between fast laps and recovery laps. Thank you Reagan!

Finished the trip with a ride up the Hill on the House side. I'm my own Hill Climber!!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

50 Miles Today

I did 50 miles today! Very exciting.

First, BIG PROPS to Tom Price for loaning me his road bike for the ride. I used to joke that the hybrid didn't make a huge difference. Riding a road bike ais a world of difference. Its just phenominal. Tom is awesome and I owe him a big debt. (some of you who know me will recall that Tom was my boss 2 jobs ago at AAES. The raleigh will prob knock somethign like 2 hours off my ride. The person who told m that hybrid shave about 3mph off your speed was almost precisely right. I averages about 15.5 MPH today on what would have most likely normally been a 13MPH ride.

Anyway, today's ride was good up until about mile 40 at which point my left foot started screaming. I slogged through the rest of my ride, but it too about an hour after the ride before I could put any weight on my foot. I'm going to have to figure out what the story is before I head to Tahoe.

The ride route was pretty uneventful and flat (I need some hills). a lap around the BWI Trail up and back on teh B&A and a lap around the BWI again.

Finally I finished the evening off with the best chinese buffet around!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The CCT is Crowdeeeeedddd

the last two day's rides have been relativelty uneventful. The weather has been warm and the breezes light. Last night and tonight I ran up and down the CCT and then along Rock Creek Parkway for a while doing 25 last night and 29 tonight. The only really remarkable thing about the ride is that the folks who I share the trail wtih are clueless.

I've gotten used to the headphone folks. I figure about 75% of the people on the trail can't hear me when I alert that I am going to pass. I've just given up. But the really fun folks are the dog walkers. I almost killed a puppy tonight. I am coming up behind a dog walker and I shout out from quite a distance, "Passing on the left." Well dog walker (who is on the right hand side of the trail) gets deer-in-headlights .... and here's the fun part ... the little puppy darts completely across teh trail to teh grass on the other side ... I'm doing about 15mph and there is a doggie leash bisecting the trail ... well fortunately I was able to lock the brakes and come to a stop about 5 feet from the leash. No one was harmed but I think the dog walker felt dreadful and the puppy didn't look too happy.

Anyway, other than that a dull week. Off to the HILL in a few days!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Schwisshhhh ... Swoooshhhh

Well it was beautful out tonight. I think it was probably just a hair under 70 degrees when I headed out tonight. No wind. Not much in the way of clouds. I even had to wear sunglasses. Like I said. Beautiful.

So I headed up to the CCT for a ride. Right at the begining of the trail I knew things were going to be a bit hinky. Some bonehead was using the trail for sprints. Why I have no idea but there were a bunch of kids lurking about at the end and other kids running fast. I know DC schools stink and all, but you have to have some sort of track. Regardless the trail ain't the place to do it.

After that cleared up things were good for a while, but about six miles into the ride my legs started protesting loudly. I think I distinctly recall them saying "I don't know what you had in mind for tonight Jones, but we want nothing to do with a bicycle ride." Any way I slogged through that and kept plugging away. One leg over the other. Eventually my legs got up to speed **oh look its a pun** WOO HOO! Anyway it took me about 10 miles to warm up. Weird huh.

Once I warmed up it was about six-ish. Remember that "its beautiful" thing. Yeah everyone and their brother was on the trail. With their freaking dogs! Last thing I want is to roll through a pile of pooh and have my wheel...well anyway you get the picture. Note to dog walkers. Take them off the trail. And if I run one over, I'm going to feel kinda bad after I scrap myself off the pavement.

Anyway, back to this weather bringing everyone out thing. Apparently walking two abreast is really popular and needs to be done on the trail. Now I'm all for running two abreast. The runners are good. They understand yeilding to traffic overtaking them and are good trail citizens. But these damn walkers. Well you're walking. Use a damn side walk. Walk through a neighboorhood. Just get off the damn trail. Its not like you can't do your WALKING say absolutely anywhere else. So all these damn walkers on the trail means half my ride was consumed by "Passing on your left" ... "Coming up on the left" ... which is great, except when there is a bike with a nice big mercury vapor (yeah I know its a LED but it reminds me of the ones on the beamers -- oh look another pun. they're everywhere tonight) coming in the other direction. obviously the walkers are two abreast and you're lucky if the bonehead in the center doesn't step in front of your bike ... don't hold your breath waiting for him to drop behind their friend. Anyway I felt like Tommy Moe swooshing in and out of gates. Only mine move and are oblivous to their surroundings.

I have an itching feeling that when you combine DST starting next week and the weather getting nicer the population of WALKERS on the trails is going to increase. Wonder if I could outfit the bike with a cowcather.

Anyway the ride was really good. 24.5 miles in 1 hr. 52 mins. 13 MPH pace.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Today's Departure

Today I hit two new trails, the BWI Trail and the Baltimore and Annapolis (B&A Trail) Trails. I crawled out of bed a little later than I would have hoped and didn't get on the road until about 1:30 and didn't hit the trail until a bit after two. The conditions were pretty good for riding app. 55 degrees and not much in the way of wind. Was pretty grey and overcast.

As you can probably guess the BWI Trail is near the Baltimore Washington International Airport (which apparently may be renamed the Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport). The BWI trail is a roughly a lap around the perimeter of the airport with various ins and outs around the grounds. I parked at the Dixon Aircraft Observation Area on Dorsey Road. Its a great place to start and is right at the end of one of the runways. It seems that a fair number of my rides involve planes zooming overhead. Next time you fly into our out of BWI I would suggest a visit its a great place for the big and little kids and there is a playground to keep everyone occupied in between take-offs. Anyway I zoomed off on my ride. Its an unusual trail. A bit of a combination of industrail wasteland (riding over highways and past Lock-Mart offices) and then through a horsefarm and around wetlands. And of course the omnipresent sound of jet engines. On a less aestetic note, the trail is well maintained and was not at all crowded on a Saturday afternoon.

After doing most of the loop I transitioned (poorly I would later discover -- no need to ride though neighboorhoods and across Crain Highway) onto the B&A trail. The B&A trail is relatively well maintained and pretty flat. Runs around a local mall and then roughly down to Annapolis. A couple notes on the trail though. I think its probably better for running. It crosses a number of roads, so when cycling you're clipping in and out alot. Other than that it was good. I did notice something really odd though. About 3/4 of the way down the trail, there was a big patch of bamboo planted along the side of the trail. I can't imagine how bamboo is indigineous to Maryland. I'm wondering why with all the invasive species causing mischief in our parks the park police haven't pulled this stuff out. Finally along the north end of the trail there is a great planetary science project and some really great scuplture!

Other highlights of the 40 miles this weekend include regular doses of energy gels. These provied a great boost of energy during your ride. They also taste like ass. I tried the apple-cinnamon and espresso Hammer Gels. The apple cinnamon sorta tasted like apple pie from McDonalds, but not too much. The espresso one looked dreadful. Looked alot like a gelatious version of motor oil that was about 3 months overdue for a changing. The strawberry-banana from Power Gel tasted ok. The Vanilla was just plain vile. And it didn't have caffeine. Ick. It worked though which I guess is good, but I think the apple ones were my favorite. Anyway they work well for what they're supposed to do and they're alot less trouble than a power bar, but don't expect too much in the way of taste.

All in all a good ride, capped off by watching The Unbearable Lightness of Being on video.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Things That Don't Go Blink in the Night

Monday night's ride was amazingly uneventful. I headed out with the full intention of doing something like 25 miles. At least 2 hours. I rolled out of the office at 5:15 ish, and it was app. 50 degrees. A good night for biking.

The ride went well. I zipped around town and jumped onto the CCT. About 2 miles into the CCT I realized that in my haste to get out of the office, I had forgotten to affix the little blinky light to the back of my bike. Considering that the front light on my bike is almost completely useless (although it does a great job at depleting batteries. and four at a time) I decided that I better be off the trail before it got really dark.

So long story short, I only did 16 miles at a 13 MPH pace. It was a bit windy heading up the trail but when I turned around I had a tail wind and made some good time. Woo Hoo!

On a related note, if there are any bikers, cyclers, triatheletes out there, I would HIGHLY suggest getting a Road ID. I keep my ID with me in the back of my camelback, but I could see a paramedic having trouble finding it. Especially for those of us who have to ride through the city, well we know the sum of the car + bike equation. Being unconcious or incommunacative when help arrives is not good. Especially those of you who have allergies (imagine getting sideswiped by a car, have a bunch of injuries and then being pumped full of penicillin which you are allergic too. ugh.) Fortunately I am allegry free, but this is one of the best $20 I've spent.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Weather Forecasts Stink

It was cold last night. Not sub zero Artic cold, but too cold to be wearing a t-shirt and an undershirt. Had I known how COLD it was going to be I would have dresses appropriately, but since I looked at my weather forecast thing in FireFox and it said 45 degrees I thought it was relatively warm out. It was not in fact warm out, it was actually REALLY REALLY COLD.

Anyway, my ride was relatively uneventful. I quick zip down 14th across the bridge (I highly recommend this walk when its not ... everyone now ... REALLY REALLY COLD) down the MVT, across the 4 Mile Run Trail, through some neighborhoods and back. The ride was completely uneventful. 15 Miles around and hour and back. What killed me was that I left my gloves at the office, and between the cold, the wind and the wind generated by my bike, my hands were frozen into claw position by the end of the ride. Took me a couple warm cup o' soups to thaw out! Upperbody was a bit cold too, but not as bad as hands.


Lesson learned is that next time I walk outside and test the weather myself pre-ride. I should have probably learned this in something like 3rd grade. oh well.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

100 Mile Week!

Ok, so technically, it was a 97 mile week. 33 on Monday, 20 Friday night and 44 today, but who's splitting hairs. I'm pretty pleased with the workout I got in. All good rides. Monday's ride was a good spin up the CCT and through the city. Friday night's ride was a quick zip up and down the MVT and today's ride was my longest yet at 44 Miles.

This morning I joined the Baltimore Bicycling Club for their weekly ride. Within a mile of the ride starting I had pretty much lost sight of everyone. This didn't really concern me. I wasn't looking towards speed more towards distance.

The hills along the route were pretty decent. Gave me a good workout. Some interesting things to note. I came within about 20 ft of getting in the middle of a herd (not sure this is the proper term of art) of deer. As you may know, deer can weight quite a bit and rarely cross the road in an orderly manner. Anway I was far enough away that I wasn't on the receiving end of 300 Lbs of bounding deer, but close enough to get a good view. Although I must say after camping in Maryland all my life the novelty of seeing a deer has worn off. It was more a "Hey if you land on me, you're going to maim or kill me." type experience. But it was neat.

All in all it was a good ride. I did 44 miles in 3 hrs 44 minutes. I hear that riding a hybrid adds 3mph. Maybe that's true. I'm not too concerned about it though. I'm feeling better about my ability to finish the ride in June. Putting on some good miles and slowly but surely getting there.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Sebastian Join Team Tahoe Jones

As some of you may know, Sebastian the Bear has joined Team Tahoe Jones. Sebastian is Reagan's Bear, and he is helping me navigate the roads and do those extra miles. There are rumors he may be augmented by a lobster but this has yet to be verified.

Back on the Road

Well I couldn't have ordered up better weather than tonight's. It must have been 70 degrees when I headed out the door tonight. It was a wonderful ride tonight. My longest so far. Quick synopsis. Got riding at app. 5:30. Returned to office approximately 8:30. Total time in saddle: 2 hrs. 44 minutes. Miles: 33. Roughly a pace of 12mph. Not too bad considering alot of it was stop and go city traffic for a while.

The route was pretty good. Left my riding mate's office on K street, headed down K street onto the CCT. Road the CCT from Georgetown up to Rock Creek Parkway i think...and then I think we proceeded to head down rock creek parkway back towards town. But I must admit, I really wasnt' very sure where I was. I was basically just following the person in front of me. Anyway, we went through the twists and turns of Rock Creek Parkway back into town. This was mostly downhill and a pretty good ride, but even thought we were heading against traffic I doubt we made any friends on four wheels. Not alot of passing space on the parkway at night.

Anyway, it was a really good ride. As an aside....there are a number of little microclimates in DC. Periodically, we'd just get hit with bursts of warm air. A nice little treat. Anyway, my riding buddy and I parted ways in adams morgan, and I headed back downtown. I decided to head back down to Hains Point and do a couple laps. This was great except I'm continuing to have problems with my seat staying put. I tried again to tighten it down and this time succeeded and breaking the crappy bike tool I bought (see photo). This is going back to bike dr.

Anyway I was really pleased with my ride tonight. 33 Miles is good I'm building the base. I'll prob. do two 35 mile rides this weekend, weather permitting. I would like to ride tomorrow night, but if the National Weather Service is right (always a dicey proposition, we're going to have snain tomorrow night. Oh well

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Two Rides This Weekend

Well I did two rides this weekend. First ride was saturday night in Annapolis. Weather was decent app. 45 degrees and little wind. Second ride was this morning up in northern Baltimore County. Weather was also good if not a bit chillier, at 30 degrees and no wind.

Last nights ride was actually pretty uneventful. I left the apartment and headed down through Quiet Waters Park out into Hillsmere. After cycling through Hillsmere I headed down forest drive towards bayridge. This was probably the nicest part of the drive. I basically did the loop around Tali Point . It wasn't this bright out of course, but the area is beautiful and between the amazing houses and the view of the bay it was a lovely part of the ride. After finishing the loop through bay ridge I headed back up forest through a couple neighboorhoods to put some extra miles on and then back home.

All in all pretty uneventful, but I did discover that I had my shoes bound too tight. I had a massive cramp when I walked in the door. I did get a flat tonight, but it was kind enough to wait until I got in the house...its still unknown whether I ran over a tech deck part or it was just good luck that the flat waited until home. It was found pretty easily and the patch took well. Although while I inflated it fine in the warm confines of my home, the cold air I think reduced the pressure the next morning. 21 Miles in probably about 1:45 mins. Saturday night.

Sunday mornings ride was invigorating. I headed up to Oregon Ridge Park in Baltimore to ride with the Baltimore TNT crew again. It was nice and cold this morning, but I had a good set of layers on so I had no trouble with the cold. I don't imagine I'm going to ride if its any colder than it was this morning, so I'm pretty pleased that weather ... well tempature ... shouldn't be a problem.

Again the hills were back. Fortunately I managed to get up all of them without getting off my bike. Granted I was in granny gear and doing 6 mph up the hills, but I did them.

The recurring theme in this morning's ride was climb and coast. There were a number of sections where I'd teeter up the hill and a barely upright pace and then zoom down the hill at 20 + mph. This was good though, got a good workout on the legs and the zooming real fast down the hills is kinda fun., even if it was cold out and provided a nice windchill.

Other than that alot of scenic riding through Baltimore County's horse country. Finished the morning off with three pancakes, order of homefries, ET bagel with egg & cheese, a brownie, large class of water and three cups of coffee. $11 with tip at the Timonium Bagel Works. I don't know if they're a Bagels and ... but I was jonesing for pancakes and they really hit the spot.

Finally, Sebastian the Bear joined the team this ride. I will have a complete post on his duties in the near future. (I'd have one tonight, but a aforementioned cheapo digital camera, didn't deliver!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Test New Equipment During Normal Conditions

Well last night's ride was ... well not one of my best. I set out about 5:15 after meeting a weird new neighbor (ask me about her offline sometime) in pleasant weather ,app. 55 degrees, with no wind and mildly overcast. The mildly overcast part should have been a tip-off.

Well anyway it started raining about 3 miles into the ride. I figured that since it only drizzled for a little while when I came back from DC (and weather moves east), that this was the same storm I drove through earlier in the day that it would be a short storm. Well it was still raining when I went to bed around 10:30 last night. Riding in the rain is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

Anyway, I muddled through and got in 18 of the 30 miles I had hoped to ride last night. I did learn something new last night though. Don't try out new equipment in the rain. I purchased clipless pedals yesterday, and I must say they are great, but they definately take a bit of getting used to. I could feel that I was putting more power into the bike. I was expecting though that the getting out of the clips would be the hard part. Turns out getting into the clips is a bit of a issue. No fun when you're coming off the line at a stop light. But I'm imaging that I will get a bit more adept at it in the near future. I didn't have nearly as many pedal induced mishaps as I expected.

I only fell over once. At the corner of Hilltop & Spa I stopped at the line took my right foot out and stopped. And then for some reason I can't quite figure out, I think I leaned to my left. Well noramlly I would have put my foot down to stop the fall, but foot .... wouldn't .... come ... out. This realization was at precisely the same time as I was falling. I think I flailed a bit before I hit the road. Fortunately there was no traffic on the road and I think there were only a few people behind me who got to watch this strange guy plop onto the ground with his foot still stuck to his pedal. Funny in hindsight....kinda funny at the time.

Anyway, I'm going to try to get some decent rides in this weekend. Will probably head up to Baltimore for one of their longer hilly rides.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tonight's Ride Brought to You By:

Reduced Visual Acuity

Departed the office app. 5:45pm. app. 55 degrees out, and a slight wind during the begining of the ride. Returned to the office app. 8pm.

Tonight's ride was a little slower that it should have been. First the stats. 25.5 Miles in two hours four minutes. How do I know this with such precision? I broke down and picked up a computer. Its great. Wasn't too hard to hook up and will hopefully last alot long than the piece of junk I bought from Target. That one's getting returned! I should have probably biked a bit longer tonight, but I saw the memorial bridge and decided to jump back into town. Next monday night, its 30 miles at least!

Anyway, I learned a couple things. When you can't see very well, you can't ride very well. A couple observations. The Mt. Vernon trail is not the best place to ride sounthbound during rush hour. This is becuase a significant portion of the trail is very close to the road and you get hit with headlights as you're moving down the trail. As your eyes adjust, it becomes difficult for you to see the trail ahead. Additionally, I was out shopping the other day and lost the lens to my glasses, so I was biking without my glasses tonight. That wouldn't have been such an issue, if I wasn't getting hit with headlights. On the upside, I did have a light on, but I think I could stand to toss some better batteries in it.

Anyway, all in all, a good ride tonight. I zipped from the office down to the 14th street bridge. * An aside...I would reccomend walking across the bridge one evening. Its a really exciting experience to have the river and the monuments on one side and a 737 zooming by 50 feet overhead. After crossing the bridge I jumped on the Mt. Vernon trail and headed down almost to Belle Haven. I finally decided that it was time to turn around when I was having trouble seeing the turns. At that point I turned around, rode back up, came under the bridge and then came across the memorial bridge and zoomed back to the office.

I'm going to crash out early tonight I think. There's a bird the was perched outside my window this morning who decided I needed to be up at 6am. Fortunately I'm farily confident that its not an endganged species, so if it should somehow meet an untimely demise, at least I won't have the folks from Fish & Wildlife hounding me.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Hills ... gasp ... Are ... wheeze ... Hard ...

Today was about quality, not quantity. While I had planned on a 30 mile ride this am, the 15 miles through the hills we're much tougher and much better for me!

I was on road at 10:15 am. app. 45 degrees. Little wind. Very sunny and an excellent day for a ride. Back into parking lot approximately noonish.

Well I did fifteen miles this morning in the scenic hills of northern Baltimore County. The Sparks neighboorhood I believe. We started out at Sparks Elementary and cruised through the back country. There were alot of hills. Which I knew going in but I discovered quite quickly that I am not prepared for the killer hills. The way my legs feel right now, I'm not even sure I could get my bike over a speed bump. Anyway, that hill might not look too daunting, but behind those trees it descents for what seemed like a mile. in fact if it was 1000 feet I'd be surprised. But it was pretty big and Iam pretty inexperienced.

Anyway, there were a fair number of hills in the 15 mile ride this morning. I did ok I think. Only pooped out a couple of times. There were two hills where I had to take a break and start again. I was pleased though that I rode the bike all the way up the hill without walking it. Next time no stopping though. The first time we hit the big hill, it was a surprise. I slogged my way up it (after finding out I hadn't gotten lost) and made it to the top. My legs were much fresher. But when I suddenly recognized the Gunpowder Friends Meeting HouseI realized I was on the cusp of hitting the hill again. Anyway I made it halfway. Going up that hill my legs felt like lead and it felt like I wasn't moving at all. I imagine this gets better. Anyway, I took a short breather and got going again and made it to the top and zoomed back the school parking lot. I think knowing the hill was coming psyched me out. Either that or I was tired and not in good shape yet. One or the other.

A couple lessons picked up today. One, while I'm new to this biking thing and not super up to speed on the appropriate nutrition, I have learned that, coffee and two power bars are not the best pre-ride breakfast. I was shocked that during the ride I didn't puke. Maybe that is saved for the longer more experienced rides.

I also learned that hills are hard, but they're good. I feel much more burn than I do from my longer flat rides. The folks in Baltimore are riding on Sundays which is much more convenient for me. I think I'll do more hill rides with Baltimore. Will have me in much better shape for Tahoe.

Also I must give a huge shout out thank you to Andrea the mentor for the Baltimore team (she's in the yellow top in the photo). As you might imagine, my butt was dragging at many points during this ride and her encouragement and pointers were much appreciated. She made hammering out those hills much more doable this morning.

Finally I realized that my idea for taking pictures while I am riding is a joke. I'll keep bringing my $30 cheapo kids digital camera, but I was having to work at keeping my face from meeting the asphalt on downhills and keeping up enough speed on uphills to keep the bike upright to worry about snapping a few shots. It sounded like a good idea though.

I hope to be on the bike tomorrow night, probably doing laps around Haines Point or maybe zipping up and down the CCT or the Mt. Vernon trail.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My Awakening

So at time of departure (5:15) it was approximately 63 degrees (farenheit of course.....even my nifty under armour would not have been able to keep me toasty at 63 kelvin. alright...I just made a joke that incorporated the kelvin scale....and I'm mining the depths of my brain to find a way to work absolute zero into a biking reference. UGH. I've worked for scientists too long.) Anyway, the weather was great. Zero in the way of wind and it stayed pretty darn warm.

Tonight's route was pretty good. Headed down 15th to Haines Point. Got lost. Was reminded of home when I got a good wiff of scaled fish and algae from the DC Waterfront. It was actually kinda nice. Anyway, made it to Haines Point after a short diversion and proceeded to do some laps. Six in total by the end of the evening.

The biking is really having an effect on me. Its really making a dent in my perception that DC has no redemening value not associated with being the seat of the greatest government in the history of man. Anyway, the sunset was beautiful tonight. Watched a couple planes take off and land across the river. And did six trips by the awakening sculpture. Really very impressive. Much more so than when I saw it in the Tom Clancy movie.

Anyway, I did about 20 - 25 miles tonight I think. The loop around Haines Point is about 3 to 3.5 mile. After I finished the six laps, I proceeded to get lost...well just made a wrong turn (not unlike my adolesent visits to DC which invariably included me crossing a bridge into Virginia) Anyway, I finished my loops went by the FDR memorial I think, in front of Lincoln, by Viet Nam Veterans Memorial, down Const. left at 17th, in front of the White House and back to the office. Arrival at office was approximately 7:30.

My butt hurts. My stubborness last night came back to bite me in the rear this evening. By not fixing my saddle last night I had the privledge of having the properly adjusted seat rub up against the spot where the inproperly adjusted seat was last night. The upside is that this is temporary, and there is nothing inherently defenctive about my saddle or my rear. A relief!

Taking a couple days off of riding. I think I'll be back in the saddle Sunday morning. Depending on any number of things, maybe I'll bang out 30 Miles!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Watch out roads

Well I was on the road tonight. Weather beautiful. ~55 degrees. Little breeze. I think I did about 15 miles tonight. Its hard to tell becuase the craptastic schwinn bicycle computer I bought died and the person I was riding with didn't have her computer.

Anyway we ran around town and ran up the Capital Crecent Trail from the begining in G-town up until the Dalecarlia Tunnel. Apprently there was a body found not too far from the trail tonight. I'm not too terribly enthused about that, but what am I too do. And I guess it is better than them not finding it. Anyway, when I riding buddy's husband mentioned that they found a body near the trail, I assumed it was past tense (like hey, did you hear that ages ago they found a body around here...neat huh), not an explanation of the flashing lights near the trail up ahead. Anyway it was not a significant part of the ride.

In the ongoing saga of DC Roads/Trails vs. Tom Jones, you'll be happy to know the score is roads/trails 2 : Tom 0. As some of you may recall a couple weeks ago, kenilworth avenue, left an impression (get it, bent my rim, left an impression...) on my front passengers tire. Thanks to the good folks at Lowry's in Annapolis, the rim was bent back into shape and tire remounted for free. Well tonight, I grabbed a good bump on the trail and my fat rear came down on the saddle and gave it a free adjustment. Not wanting to stop the ride I rode much of the trail with a seat at precisely the wrong angle. Anyway, in the --violence inflicted upon Tom's vehicles is cured by kinda sorta stranger's-- saga, my riding companion's husband was kind enough to readjust and tighten the mounting hardware for my seat. Thank you much! Made for a much more pleasent ride. Level - good. Saddle wedged in rear - bad. Tom learns bike lesson tonight. Expect this to be first of many. Hopefully few of them involve asphalt.

All in all though it was a very good ride I though. I went with the short sleeve shirt and the under armour and it servered me well once I got moving. The cold was even a bit envigourating. I like the Capital Cresent Trail. Sans bodies of course. Seems fairly well maintained, not much of grade (although I'm going to need to get friendly with some hills soon) and the commuter traffice wasn't too bad. Although at night, dogs on the trails need lights!

Also big props to riding companion for pointing out the stars. I think she was right that this might be the only place in the district where you can see the stars. There were plenty tonight and I feel good at the end of my ride. Planning on riding tomorrow night.

I rode tonight with the same person I rode with last Tuesday night. Last Tuesday we rode when it was COLD. I mean it wasn't super cold. App. 32 degrees. I was pretty well bundled up. under armour, wool socks, wicking undershirt, and windproof shell. It went well the trails were a little icy and we only did about 11 miles in an hour but was good to get out and get moving. I need to log time in the saddle and I'm not going to do it from behind a CRT!

528000 Feet

What's the deal you ask? Well, I have to get my not-so-in shape body into good enough shape to ride 100 Miles (5280/mile ... somewhere in middle school we all learned these conversions) by June 5th as part of America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride. Anyway I'm confident I can do it. I'm riding as part of Team in Training on behalf of Reagan Feld who was recently diagnose with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. You could help me help the Leukemia and Lymphomia Society find a cure for blood cancers by visiting my LLS webpage and donating to LLS. It would really be appreciated!

And what pray tell am I riding this race on. Well I'm riding a Trek Navigator 200. Ok so its not the lightest thing on two wheels, but frankly neither am I. The extra pounds on my rear are probably a bigger issue than the extra pounds on my frame. Anyway, when everything is performing as required, its a pretty comfortable and I'm confident I can do 100 miles on it.