Thursday, December 21, 2006

Getting Ready for Tahoe 2007

Just wanted to kick up a quick post. I'm getting ready for a Tahoe 2007. Things are going well. the riding is going great. Had a little over 2000 miles on the bike last year ... not as many as I wanted, but I still have a week left.

I should be out of the office most of the week next so I figure I will be able to get a good week in of riding. Finding time to ride has been a bit difficult. With the nights being short and the schedule being a bit hectic, but with it being the winter solstice today, the days are only getting longer and that just means more time to ride the bike.

Other than that life is good. Hopefully there will be a link on the left of this page in case you want to read the blogs I am reading.

I'll start the fundraising off in a few weeks, so if you're reading this please get your checkbook out. Noel and I will be fundraising together this year so it should be about $9000 total we should be have to raise, but if we keep our eyes on it and bug everyone we know, it shouldn't be a problem.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Amazing challenging, totally fulfilling and a great team effort

Tahoe Photos 043

First off I want to apologize for taking so long to post this. I've been swamped at work recently and I just haven't had time to write the wrap on my ride. I'll try to run through the weekend to give you a bit of a feel for what the ride was like.

The flight out was uneventful, other than having to get to the airport at 4:30 in the morning. Fortunately I was able to catch some zzz's on the way out to Houston and Reno. The flight was a little delayed out of Houston but we arrived in Reno on time. I was a bit troubling when the pilot on the second leg said "anything under 15 minutes late isn't a DOT late." I kinda suspect he really hammered things on the way out. Had there been red lights in the sky, I suspect he would have run them. I think Continental has the same guy overseeing their late arrival policy that used to oversee Domino's 30 min or less policy. We all arrived safely though.

The rest of Friday was relatively uneventful. We just hung out, settled in to our room at the Horizon and vegged out a bit.

Tahoe Photos 006 Saturday was great, we woke up relatively early and headed out for an warm up/acclimation ride. We also posed for a Team photo, which would later be popped into the frame with the first team photo as a thank you for our coach Dave.

After the photo we all rolled out for a short warm up ride down Pioneer Trail. I have to say, this year, I felt the altitude alot more than I did last year. Maybe last year I was just so pumped up on adrenaline or something, but this year I noticed the lack of air ALOT more. About 4 miles in we started hitting some decent hills and I felt like my heart was about to explode. I got a sudden mild panic of "Oh shit, I've been off my bike for a while and I'm not ready for tomorrow." Well after about 8 miles into the ride I felt alot better and warmed up alot more and felt pretty much normal. The way back on the warm-up ride was much better than the way out. I felt a little sigh of relief when I rolled back into the hotel and felt like I belonged on a bike.

Tahoe Photos 013Later on Saturday we headed over to the ride registration to pick up Noel's packet for the ride. Since she wasn't technically riding with Team she registered for the ride on her own. The rider registration was a bit of a mess. It took about ~2 hours for her to get her packet. AMBBR needs to rethink how the hand out packets to non-Team riders. Way too long.

We had the Team dinner that night which was very inspiring. We all got extremely pumped up and headed out to plop into bed stuffed to the gills with pasta that would be our glycogen fuel the next day.

Sunday morning was great. We got to watch our Team staffer do a cheer which made getting up so early all worth the while. We were the first group rolling out across the start line that morning, so we had to be on the start line at 6 am. That wasn't too early. Everyone got there on time and we rolled across the line super pumped.

The first big issue was the climb on the switchbacks at mile 13. I did those pretty well. Felt alot stronger going up than I did last year, but I know if there is a place I need to work on my cycling skills it is hill climbing. I think this winter I will spend alot of hours on a trainer with spinervals hill climbing video.

First Rest StopAfter finishing the switchbacks I hit the first rest stop and shed some of my clothes. I rolled out in 45 degree weather with a shirt underneath my jersey and leg warmers on my legs. By the first rest stop the sun had come up and it was warm enough to drop the warm clothes. Noel didn't hit the rest stop so she was ahead of me for quite a bit of the ride.

After this rest stop it was relatively flat for a while. We took the trail out to Truckee and the road out to the 46 mile rest stop. This was a bit downhill and there was a little tail wind, so I made a good bit of time here. I hit the rest stop feeling pretty good and a bit antsy to get back out. I lingered for a short while, and then got rolling out on the road.

I should mention though that this was the rest stop where I discovered the par boiled potatoes. There must be something about an endurance event that make otherwise dull food taste better (GU almost tastes good at mile 65). There were cold par boiled potatoes at the rest stops that you would sprinkle salt on and toss back. For some reason they tasted super yummy. You'd probably have to pay me big sums of money to eat one of these on a normal day, but during the ride they tasted great.

The ride out of Truckee was a bit of a challenge. It was a slight uphill grade and there was a bit of a headwind. This made it challenging enough, but since I was chomping at the bit to get out, I didn't roll out with the Team and enjoy the benefits of pacelining. I also got a flat at mile 48. This wasn't the end of the world. I got a flat last year, and am fine at changing them, but it was still a drag. But I totally lucked out because another Team rider had a flat a few hundred feet in front of me and their SAG wagon driver came back and brought me a floor pump. Tossed a nice 120 pounds of air into my tire and I was back on my way. Would have never gotten that much air in my tire with my little hand pump!!!

The next stop was the lunch stop. This is a bit of a mob scene with tons of bikes, a huge line for the port-a-pots, and lots of food. It was a nice time to rest, but I think everyone knew that right down the road was the biggest climb of the ride, Spooner Junction.

I certainly didn't make it up spooner like I had a gas motor, but I did better than I did last year, and felt good about my riding. I only threw my chain twice on the climb. My bike, was and is, having a problem going from middle chain ring to granny. I still need to wrench the front derailuer. The climb was hard, but it was over when I got to the top. It kicked my butt more than I kicked its, but as you can see from the photo at the top of this page I was happy to get up there. I was also pleased to find out that Noel got there before I did...we both left the lunch stop together and she really pounded it. Very impressive. She's a very strong climber.

The ride out of sponner is a bit sketchy. You head past Zephyr cove where the winds are whipping around as you bomb down a 15% grade. Its a bit harrowing, but you've just done a bunch of climbing so you enjoy the way down. On the map it only looks like there are two more small hills. After 90+ miles of riding any hills get big. I knocked out these last two reluctantly after throwing my chain one more time.

Finally at mile 99 I rolled into Bart's Liquors and grabbed me a Guinness Pub Draft can for the ride into the finish line (they fit perfectly into a bicycle bottle cage!). It was without question the best tasting beer I have ever had!!! Noel and I crossed the finish line together feeling great with huge smiles.

We wrapped up a great weekend with a victory party with our teammates. The food was yummy and it was great to see how much everyone had improved and how proud all my teammates were of their huge accomplishments. We had a great team with a ton of people who worked really hard this year to do the ride. They all did impressively well and had a great time I think.

Most importantly we raised $8 Million at the ride. The ride was a huge success, we had alot of fun and I am looking forward to next year. The stats were, 6 hours 55 minutes riding. 14.4 mph pace. 100 miles.

Thanks so much for your support.

See you on the road.

Also if you'd like to see more ride photos click here

Please leave some comments as well!

Monday, May 22, 2006

And I'm ready to Go!!!!!

Training is complete for the season.  If I'm not ready now, I'm never going to be ready!  (I'M READY!!)

I've turned my bike in .....  it'll get on a truck on Friday and head off to Tahoe. 

I'm feeling super good about it.  I've also raised a decent amount of money for TNT to help the LLS find a cure for blood cancers.  I don't know the exact figure but with I am guessing that the Baltimore Tahoe Team raised somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000 to help find a cure for blood cancers!

Thank you so much for your support and interest in my ride.   It keeps me going on the road knowing I am spinning for a good cause and that I have the support of a bunch of folks. 

Next post from TAHOE!!!!!

I've been hugely delinquent on posting.

I've had a couple good rides since I last posted.  I apologize for the sometimes slow posting.  My voicemail has been full with messages asking me when I am going to get the next post online.  I'll give a quick rundown of the recent rides.

The most notable was a ride two Saturdays ago out in B-more county.  It was a pretty rigourous ride hitting some dreadfull hilly roads.  I was happy to say though, at the end of Corbett Road I felt pretty decent.  The workout was hard, but I only had moderate use of my granny gear.  I will say though that the road seemed like it would never end.  The cue sheet schedule called for a right off of York and a left on Old York.  I kinda a assumed Old York was near new york.  The road kept on going so far that I actually stopped at one point and turned around .... fortunately I caught up with ken who I had been riding with and since he had done the road last week, I was pretty confident following him.

I was pleased to hear that during that ride we did more climbing than we will do out in Tahoe.  I was particularly pleased when I noticed my final pace was 14.6 mph, and my pace for Tahoe last year was 13.4.  Its good to see I am improving and my legs and heart are getting stronger.  It was a rigourous ride and I feel good about completing it well.  While I wasn't really interested in doing another 30 miles right then and there, if I had to I certainly could have.

This weekend was a good ride.  I was out on the eastern shore of Maryland with my folks for the weekend, so I missed the weekly ride with the Team, but I was able to get in my own little 75 mile ride.  All in all also a very good ride.  A few problems here and there with my right foot getting a hot spot and my left calf getting a little sore.  The hot spot went away when I took my shoes off at lunch time and the left calf just seemed to work itself out after about a ten mile spot in the 50 to 60 mile area where it bothered me.   I also wore my heart rate monitor and it was nice to notice that I was in the low 160 bps range which is ~84 % of HRM (heart rate max) and is a pretty decent work out zone for me. 

I've has a good few rides during the week just keeping me in shape.  Training went really well this year and I feel good about things. 

I'll be reporting back from Tahoe soon!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Less than month to go!!!!

Well it has been way too long since I've written. I have a bunch of things I want to update everyone on.

We're closing in on the ride here. Less than a month to go -- 3 and 1/2 weeks in fact. Its getting very exciting though. I am still feeling pretty good with my training and am riding very regularly. Things are going well.  We'll see when I hit those first switchbacks, how my training has gone!

Since we last spoke though, I have had to replace my rear rim. As you may recall from previous posts I have been having a bit of trouble with spokes breaking. I had a second spoke repaired, at which point the local bike shop wrench told me it was a pain to true and (his words) was "on its last legs." Well he wasn't lying. Two rides later when I was rolling down Independence Avenue, which is like riding on an asphalt shapei, and I heard the familar metal "CLANK" of another spoke breaking. Anyway, I got the rim replaced and have been broken spoke free since then.

The rides have been going well. We're coming up to the last two of our group rides. I will be riding 70 miles with the group this week and then probably another 75 ish miles the next week, although for scheduling reasons I might not be riding with the group again for the last ride.

All in all things are going well prepping for the ride. The evening rides have been around Haines Point, on the Mount Vernon Trail and I have hit a couple up in the Annpolis area. I was pleased to discover that the Edgewater community has a nice bike lane on the new Sections of Solomon's Island road. The bike lane can be ~3 foot wide in some parts but it was good of them to put it there when they repaved the road. Since the asphalt is new it is a really nice ride.

I expect it will be part of my buddy rides for the Seagull Century, which I will be mentoring for during the fall season. If all goes well I will put back three centuries this year, Tahoe, Seagull and hopefully the Reston Century...which I still need to sign up for. --note to self --

Other than that I am getting pumped for the ride. Riding this weekend will be fun and if the Weather Service goofs the forecast I might actually get to ride outside tonight...otherwise its a night on the trainer.

Tom

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Getting up there on the mileage

Well I've been a bit delinquent in my blogging lately. Which if anyone has noticed will be remarkable in itself. (LEAVE COMMENTS PLEASE!!!)

Anyway, what exactly is it that I have been doing? Well I have been riding my bike quite a bit. I am a bit ahead of schedule on my training regime. We're currently supposed to be at 50 miles in our training and I banged out a nice 60 miler Friday morning. I'll go over relatively quickly the most recent rides.

I've done a few rides here and there during the week. Noel has been really good about pushing the miles a bit so that we get in a bit harder work out than prescribed by my training schedule. I've had three significant rides since my last blogging entry so let me attempt to update folks on them.

The first ride was the "Don't be crabby, get crabs ride." Joel sachs from my team organized this and it was basically a 45 mile ride with a trip to Cantler's crab house at mile 40. We rolled out of the Navy-Marine Corp stadium in Annapolis and followed this route. The route took us up through millersvile across through severna park down the B&A trail and out to the Bay and then back to 'nap town. The visit to the bay was really nice. We visited one of the old piers on the south side of the bay bridge, shot over route 50 and then made a quick jaunt over to Sandy Point State Park, which Noel remembered because it was where we took the kids New Years Eve to observe the Christmas lights. All in all it was an excellent ride. I would caution fellow rides to not make the lunchtime pit stop at the bottom of a hill. The lactic acid had settled in my legs during lunch and my thighs felts like two bags of wet concrete trying to bike back up to the roadway.

The second big ride was two weeks ago when we headed down to my parents house over the Easter weekend to hang out and do a little flat land bike riding. The ride was alot of fun for the most part. The eastern shore is pretty slat...in fact according to scientists, it is flatter than a pancake. Noel and I did about 55 miles with the halfway point being the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. Apparently there are endanged squirells out there, something which shocks me having always lived in a city where they're in abundent supply. My folks recently had installed a new hot tub, so it was nice to soak my legs in some warm bubbles after a long ride. Was great to hang with my folks and do some bike riding in the same weekend!

Finally I knocked out a metric on Friday. I guess technically it wasn't a metric since it was actually only a 60 mile ride...I think there are .62 kilometers per mile so technically it wasn't a metric century..oh well it was a good ride regardless.

I headed out of my apartment roughly 9:30 a.m. and headed towards downtown Annapolis. I realized within about a half mile that I hadn't put my gloves on. Turned around grabbed the gloves and headed back out. I was planning to head right to the B&A trail, but I got lost and ended up putting a few extra miles in before I got to the trail. No big deal though and it actually helped me get to the nice round 60 I was aiming for. Once on the B&A I shot up to the BWI Trail, which is basicly a loop around the BWI Airport. Turns out that right when I hit the airport trail, 29 miles into my 60 mile ride it begins to rain. I guess it was G-d telling me there is no way you're bailing on this ride, by sticking the rain right smack in the middle of the ride. Turns out the rain didn't last too long and wasn't too hard. The biggest issue was being able to see. I had to take my glasses off so that I could see. For a while between miles 45 and 55 my legs decided to express their lack of enthusiasm about this part of the ride. I think part of it was that I was about 3 1/2 hours into the ride and I had only eaten one GU and didn't have a huge b-fast. I think my legs were looking for fuel. I will pack more GU next time.

I was very pleased with this ride though. I stopped only for ten minutes to refill my water bottles and kept up a moderately respectable 15.5 mph pace considering all the stops on the B&A and the BWI trail. I was pretty pleased with it and my legs aren't really complaining about it two days after. It did lack much in the way of hills, but I did attempt to hammer it for most of the ride to make myself work.

I'm feeling pretty good with my training. Going to have to focus on making more times for riding now that the training schedule has picked up a bit. Fortunately my last hearing for a while at work is this week!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pacelining

So this week's group ride was a training session more than a work out. This week we were learning how to "paceline." Those of you who are NASCAR aficionado (such as Joe in SH227) you will recognize pacelining. Pacelining is basically the process where riders line up behind one another and ride in another bicyclists slipstream. The effect is that the lead rider encounters most of the air/wind resistance and reduces the effort that the trailing rider has to expend. This is the equivalent of NASCAR "drafting." It also can save the trailing riders anywhere between 20 and 30 %.

Unlike NASCAR though, if you goof and "swap paint" or more likely bump a tire, someone or possible everyone following you is going to end up on the asphalt. Going 20 mph and hitting the asphalt and having 4 of your buddies pile up on top of you is no fun. That's why we learned this skill at a slow speed this weekend out on a quiet road.

The training seminar was relatively uneventful. Jen (another mentor) and I headed out with a group of about 6 people. We got out to a relatively flat area of Baltimore County and started doing laps on the road. Each lap, the riders became increasingly comfortable with the pacelining and got their bikes increasingly closer to the rider in front of them. There are a few flat stretches out in Tahoe where we will be pacelining and there should be some significant energy savings. Everyone did a nice pull and we all shared some of the air/wind burden.

All in all it was a great ride. I really enjoyed it.

One thing I forgot to mention in my post about Saturday was the great response I had to my TNT jersey. I was wearing my TNT jersey from last year and I got two big "GOT TEAM" shouts. One from somebody on the Capital Cresent Trail and one from a group of girls in a car near Dupont Circle. I thought it was great that teammates were out there yelling positive things for me! Felt great! Hugely awesome to be part of a TEAM!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Lost Blossoms Tour

Saturday's ride was great. If you live in the district, you know its time for the annual cherry blossoms. Its also time for the annual migration of the tourists to the district. We'll be innnudated (although not as bad as this weekend) with the fanny pack crew for the next six months. Oh well I guess it's their capital too.

Anyway, we decided to do a ride that took in some of the cherry blossoms that aren't on the traditional tour. Turns out there are a couple groves around town that folks aren't familiar with. The bike washington website has a route that we followed called the "Lost Blossom Tour".

Some of the riders from my TNT group met up with me before the ride at my office parking lot and we headed down to the tidal basin to meet up with the rest of the group to head out on the ride. After meeting up at the tidal basin, we rolled down to Haines Point and did a lap around the park. The trees were in full bloom and this a really beautiful part of the ride.

After that we headed over to the 14th street bridge to head up the Mount Vernon trail to catch the CCT. Unfortunately one of my friends was running a bit late, so I broke off from the group and went and found her. It turned out to be a nice excuse to go a bit faster than usual and to ride between the parked cars on Independence avenue for a few mins.

After we sped up the MVT we were able to catch up with everyone at the transition to the CCT. We took the CCT up to a neighborhood called Harwood. I was magnificent. All the streets in the neighborhood were lined with cherry blossoms so you were able to ride through a canopy of trees in full bloom. I highly recommend it next year!

After that we headed to Panera for a steak sandwich. It was yummy and kept me running. After that we headed down mass ave, past the White House, under the arch in Chinatown, and back to the Capitol.

All in all it was a great ride. Put in a nice round thirty miles. And felt really good. Didn't really notice that I was getting a tan (and when I say tan I mean on the road to lobster), but could tell quite clearly from the different tan colors on my arms on Sunday that I was catching some sun on Saturday.

For all who would like to look there are pictures here and
here and
here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

95 Mile week

Well I'm sitting here blogging as a wrap up for the week. I put in 95 miles this week, which is not too bad. Had three good rides this week and still feel pretty good about how the training is going. The weather has been beautiful lately, so I have been about to get out alot. Unfortunately the sun has been out alot so I am not sitting on Noel's couch with a two-tone tan. I went out and rode yesterday and today but I wore different jerseys. Yesterday's had shorter sleeves than today's, to there is a good two inches at the top of my arms where I only have yesterday's tan and then the rest of my arms is covered with a party good two days worth of tan.

Anyway the rides. I had a good hearing at work and I scooted out after work to catch a couple laps at Haines Point. I got down there about 5:30 that night and did about five laps. There were tons of folks down at Haines Point. Even more so there were a ton of folks on Independence Ave on the way down to Haines Point. I scooted most of the way down there on the white lines between the cars. Since traffic wasn't really moving it wasn't much of a hassle. Once I got down there though it was a great time. I would say the blooms were about 90% in bloom and since the road around Haines point is lined with cherry blossoms it was almost like riding through a cloud.

On Saturday we did the lost blossom's tour and Sunday I did a training ride with Team . I am feeling a bit pooped right now so I think I will finish up the blogging tomorrow.

Check out the photos on flick (link to the left) to see some pictures from the rides.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Good ride, nice day, occasional tailwind

Did another one of our biweekly training rides this Sunday. It turned out to be a really nice ride. The weather was nice, the route was good and the team was in a groove. The ride was out of Dave's house and through some of the local hills. Check out the map.

The ride started out a bit sketchy. As we headed out to roll out, I went to top off my tires and as I topped off the back tire, I heard it start leaking. I think something happened with the valve stem, but I still haven't had a chance to check the tube. Regardless, I had to do a quick tire change outside of Dave's house. That meant I ended up rolling out a little late. Not the end of the world though, since I was able to catch up with the team by the next traffic light. Also about 5 miles into the ride, the stupid spealized blinker I have attached to the back of my bike shook loose and spewed its innards all over Beaver Dam Road. Fortunately I saw it happened and was able to roll back get them and catch up with the crew.

The ride was scheduled to be a 35 mile ride but we decided to throw in another 4 ish miles. It was a good stretch of road, roughly mimicking the 8 mile run up to Spooner mountain, even if it was only 2 miles long. Felt good on the stretch though. Everyone knocked it out really well.

Other than that there were some winds out on the road. Not too oppressive though, and I was able to catch a tail wind on a bit of the ride and really stomp on the pedals for a while. I ended up finishing the ride with a 14.5 MPH pace total over 40 miles. Not too bad. I should be able to push that up as the season moves along. I can feel it getting warmer though!!

Did a recovery spin for about 30 mins last night at 70% of maximum heart rate. Just couldn't get in the groove to spin. Oh well. I'll ride again in the next couple days. Maybe I'll sneak a ride in Friday...hhmmm...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Thursday night ride

As you hopefully read earlier, I had some mechanical issues earlier this week. Broke that spoke and all. The upside was it was easily repaired and I had a working bike Thursday night.

Since my hearing at work went well, albeit it a bit short, I was in a pretty good mood and totally stoked for some riding. So I zipped home, dragged Noel out of bed from her nap and we headed out for an evening ride. The ride route was out Wisconsin Avenue, down the CCT and back up Wisconsin through Georgetown.

The part out to the CCT was pretty uneventful. There was still some residual rush hour traffic so the was alot of stop and go and stupid car people not paying attention to what they were doing.

Southbound on the CCT a night can be a bit harrowing. Between the darkness on the trail and the periodic blinding from lights of the bike commuters heading out of town northbound you can't really get going too fast....unless of course you want to take an improvised detour onto river road via the side of a hill. After finishing the CCT we headed up Wisconsin Avenue out of Georgetown. This is a good 3 mile stretch of almost constant uphill. Its a good ride because it hits you with good hills...gives you breaks....hits you with hills again .... and I like it because there are alot of places where you can set goals...ok..I want to get to the next intersection, I want to make it to the top of the hill and traffic light. I want to make it though the cloud of sizzling beef wafting out of the Ruth's Chris...things like that.

The big downside to the ride was that I got a stitch during the hill section out of G-town. I don't really know what the cause was..the internets say it has something to do with breathing, but that doesn't seem to make any sense. I just kinda peddled through it and made it up to Wisconsin and Mass. If for no other reason than I didn't want my girlfriend to see me stop and get off my bike. Hey whatever motivates you.

Anyway it was a really good ride and the first time I had been on the bike since I got my eyelids chopped up.

35 Miles tomorrow with the team. Should be a good ride.

I'll write soon.

Urban Biking Tips - For riders and motorists alike.

I was just browsing my blogs and wanted to pass along a recent post I read detailing some suggested strategies for better urban riding. I think the post is helpful for both my cycling buddies and my motorized buddies. It provided good tips for riding safely on the streets of the Big City and also provides a good perspective on what bikes are encountering out there, for those of you how might be ensconced in 2000 lbs of steel and glass.

In short the 8 tips on Biking Toronto are:
Briefly, the 8 are:
1. Knowing that drivers don't want to kill you will give you confidence in traffic;
2. Ride in a straight line;
3. Play by the rules;
4. Avoid the "stoplight squeeze;" don't move all the way to the right to rest your foot on the curb, or lean against a utility pole;
5. Signal sensibly;
6. Take that lane;
7. Make them think you're unpredictable: if you look over your left shoulder, many drivers will think you're going to swerve that way;
8. Ride with others.

Pretty helpful 'eh.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mechanical failure

So I've encountered the first mechanical failure on my new bike. As you may recall I bought the Marin Last year. I was rolling the bike out this morning to strap it to the back of the car for an afterwork ride. Well as I was rolling out I noticed that the rim was rubbing on the brake .... I also then heard what sounded like a clanky spoke. Took me a while to find it, but it turned out that one of my spokes broke off at the nipple. My guess is that its a combination of the wheels being machine built, me being a relatively big guy and the spokes being a bit cheap. I only had 600 miles on the wheel so I was a little annoyed at the failure.

The upside is that I got some great service on the bike at Capitol Hill bikes. I rolled in there on my lunch break, they had the wheel repaired and in my hand and out the door in about 20 mins. Trued the rim and tossed in some new rim tape for me. The rubber band they threw around the rim at the factor was garbage.

Anyway, all in all it was a good experience. I was pleased with the work they did and the speed they did it with. The downside is that I think that I am going to start encountering alot of minor things that start croaking because Marin was hoping to save a couple bucks at the factory. Because I got such a MONEY deal on the ride, I guess I can't complain too much. The guy at the bike shop tried to sell me on a new wheelset. I'm going to give it serious consideration. I am real happy with the frame, am a little iffy on the gearing...might think of upgrading that to something a little nicer....its a bit chunky and I wouldn't mind something a bit smoother...oh well. we'll just have to see what shakes out...would be nice to have some nicer wheels under me though...anyway, I'll see what shakes out....oh if I only had tons of money to feed my gear addiction.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Recent riding and off line for a few days

Those of you who live in teh DC/Baltimore area know that spring has sprung, to repeat and oft heard cliche. The beautiful weather did allow for my first outdoor after work ride. I rolled out of the office with Noel Thursday night and did the ride down to Haines Point, 4 laps around the loop and then back up to the office. An excellent ride. There was nothing really exciting to report. COnsidering how nice the weather was, there were very few people at Haines Point. There were a couple guys who blew past us like we were standing still while we were doing 15MPH. Anyway it was good to get out and do some outdoor spinning. 19 miles total.

I had some minor surgery on Friday so I have been off the bike for a few days, but I expect that I will be back up and riding pretty soon. I'm figuring that I will be riding on Wednesday and Thursday of this week if the weather holds. Hopefully it will, otherwise its buckets of sweat on the trainer.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The 30 + mile training ride

Well first things first. Those of you who are avid readers for 528K are obviously eagerly awaiting the report on how the zucchini bread went over. I am pleased to report that after our 30 (more than 30 for some) mile ride, that the bread/cake went over extraordinarily well! When everyone got back from their ride, Noel told them to get back inside and by the time I got in there there was nothing left of the double loaf of bread that I dropped off. By the time I left the second double loaf had pieces missing. I am very pleased that everyone liked it. Many a squash was sacrificed to create it.

As for the ride it went really well. Unfortunately, no one told me that one of our riders was bailing from the ride. I saw her pull over, but after waiting a few minutes I went back to find here. After doubling back about three miles I couldn't find her and headed out back on the road. It was all good and it gave me a good reason to throw in a few extra miles.

The ride was pretty solid. some hills in the beginning, some hills at the end and a little flat stretch in the middle. The big downside of the ride was about 10 mile per hour wind that kept gusting around during the ride, and seemed to be in your face most of the time.

I had a pretty good time during the ride. I did pretty much all of it by myself. There was a nice bit of solitude for me during the ride. Got to clear my head a bit and have some good high intensity spins for a bit of the ride. It was all in all alot of fun.

pace was 13.5 MPH. Not too bad considering all the hills and winds. HR was pretty much always in the 80% range.

Funny thing happened while I was making dinner at Noel's. I heard a loud hissing and thought that Noel was doing something in the other room. Turns out the valve on my rear tire finally gave up the ghost. Ironic considering that the morning's pre-ride clinic was on changing a tire.

Next Sunday's ride will probably be somewhere in the Annapolis area. Won't be joining the team for this ride, but it will be a fun ride with Noel and me.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

I love the stick!! or Let them Eat Zucchini Cake!!


So as I mentioned in my last post, the spinning thing wasn't such a hit. Long and short of it was that it left my thighs a bit sore for a couple days. The upside was that I did discover an amazing new tool. Now as I might have said earlier, I am a big supporter of traditionally medicine, and with that I mean lots of chemicals designed by pharmaceutical companies (making crazy delicious profits), tested in clinical trials and all that good stuff. So I was a little leary of the promises of a piece of hard nylon with what looked like pieces of PVC tubing wrapped around it. I have to say (make a note, because you won't hear it often) my initial preconceptions were wrong. The Stick is awesome.

Noel was kind enough to rub my legs down with it and for some unknown reason the thing totally worked. It made my muscles feel pretty much normal and made it much easier to walk. The relief lasted roughly til the next morning, but it really did sooth my muscles. If you see one at a sporting goods store I would highly recommend purchasing one. Or click on the green link above and buy one online.

Other than that the week has been pretty good. Made a triple batch of chocolate chip yellow zucchini bread last night (yellow zucchini Tom? Something must be amiss. Yes something is in fact amiss, its the fact that the Giant on Wisconsin Ave has all the floor space of a broom closet and all the produce stock of a Soviet era supermarket. They were out of zucchini, so I made the executive decision to substitute squash -seen here on your right- for zucchini, but per Noel's suggestion we're going to call it yellow zucchini). Noel took a loaf of it to her 20 mile run with TNT alums and all reports were that it was a HUGE hit. I have two double loaves that I am going to take to the ride tomorrow, and I promise to report back on its reception. For those of you who are interested, the recipe (original format) is below. (THANKS MOM) It makes a yummy moist, thick, but not dense, chocolatey cake that is sure to please, and will hopefully hit the spot post ride tomorrow.

Finally at roughly 12:30 PM last night I did a spin in the trainer, nothing too exciting, but it was pretty intense (I had some GRRRR I needed to get out) ... I don't have exact stats on heart rate, because I left the HRM in that car and wasn't schleping out at 12;30 to fetch it. Anyway I rode for 40 mins listening to Lords of Acid and the Clash.

MAD PROPS to Mom for sharing the Recipe. It follows:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
2 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 &1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup butter or margarine;softened(I used butter..tastes better)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups zucchini coarsely grated,unpeeled
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips



Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
With a mixer beat the butter and sugar until smooth.
Add eggs and beat well.
With a spoon stir in vanilla,orange peel and zucchini.
Alternately stir in dry ingredients and the milk.
Add nuts and chocolate chips in at the last.
Pour into 10 inch tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
You may also bake in small or medium loaf pans.
Drizzle with sugar glaze or sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Freezes well.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Spinning PFT...Biking Yeah!

Well I did my first spin class on Sunday, and I can say without hesitation that if I have any control over things, it will be my last spin class. Its not that the class was too hard or too demanding or anything like that. It was that spinning on the stationary bike wasn't like riding a bicycle. The input I got back from the stationary bike was completely different from the input I get back from the road or the trainer. The stationary bike puts a lot more momentum back into the upstroke of my spin, much different than the road, where I tend to focus a lot more on making the spin round. Also I wasn't so enthused about all the time that the spin class had us out of the saddle. This isn't a good habit to get into. Unless its absolutely necessary, you should keep your butt in the saddle. So other than that, spinning glass was great. Made me sweat a lot.

As some of you might remember it was approximately 35 degrees and about 20 mph winds on Sunday. The wind and cold were the two factors that combined to have the group ride switched to a spinning class.

But since I had been spending FAR too much time inside spinning my wheels and not outside getting some asphalt under my tires I decided that I wanted to do a short ride outside after the spinning glass. I wasn't able to get much in the way of takers from the folks on my team, but I was able to persuade Jenn and gene, two of the other mentors and my GF Noel, to do a ride. We only did about 9 miles but they were pretty good miles. Gene led us on the ride since he was most familiar with the area. We did one pretty good long hill into the headwind. It was a really good ride and getting out on the road felt really good. Also as an added plus, I set my new top speed on one of the downhills, 44MPH. Bombing down the hills was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Its early. I want to go back to bed. I don't want to ride.

Dragged myself out of bed and up early this morning for a recovery spin. It was a completely uneventful spin this morning. I did watch the West Wing DVD though. I watched "The Supremes" episode , where among other things President Bartlett gets to put two justices on the Supreme Court and Josh gets to wheel adn deal with the Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who also used to be on The Wire on HBO.

Other than it taking me a while to get my heart rate up, it was a good spin but nothing really noteworth to report. Decent episode of WW though.

Noel also pointed out that I was reading Bicycling Magazine last night and got myself all excited, and then hooked my bike up so that I wouldn't be able to talk myself out of riding when I woke up and was tired. Noel and I agree that one of the best parts of the cycling & running magazines, (aside from the gear porn) is that they get you all pumped up to ride/run. April's Bicycling is the buyer's guide issue, so it was super heavy on the bike porn. Still got me pumped!

WE6-1212

"Current Baltimore temperature, 21, Current BWI temperature, 16." That's what greated me when I called weather at 7 a.m. Sunday morning checking to see just exactly how cold it was that morning. I was pretty sure that it was going to be cold that morning, but not that cold. And oh yeah, the kicker, its pretty much always colder than the city temperatures where we ride. Now if you live in Alaska, or canada, or heck even Boston, this isn't an issue. But I live in Balwmer. 2 inches of snow closes schools and I think Sunday the thermometer was only slighhtly north of absolute zero. I swear I saw two hydrogen molucles huddling for warm. (look physics humor...I so didn't deserve that D in 9th grade physics!) Turned out though that the weather by and large, wasn't really an issue.

I rolled out of the apartment at roughly 8:30 and stopped at the local 7-11 to grab a cup of coffee, an energy bar and a pair of gloves. For some mysterious reason, I have misplaced my winter riding gloves. There's nothing great about them just a $8 pair of fleece gloves, but I am sure they will turn up now that I have bought a new pair. While at the 7-11 I grabbed a Snickers Marathon bar with Protein, which turned out to be quite tasty. I'm not sure it was actually good for me, but boy was half of it yummy. Finished the other half on the ride home as a post ride refuel. Until I learn that they're bad for you, I'm going to continue to reccomend them!

I arrived at Dave's shop a bit early and headed in to ask him whether I should bring my bike in or leave it atttached to the car. He said bring it in and I headed out to the car to grab it. Turns out I left the key to my bike lock back at the apartment with Noel and my bike was now locked to the bike rack on the car. Fortunately, I purchased the rack off of e-bay and it was not the of the highest quality and disassembled relatively easily. After taking the bike rack apart I was stuck wtih the lock still attached to the frame of my bike. As the photo shows, I had to tape it to my frame while I rode. Really didn't notice it though. Just bumped it every once in a while while peddaling.

-- Important, for those of you who ride, make sure you do your ABC's before riding - Air, Brakes and Chain. When I was in Dave's shop doing my ABCs, I squeezed the front brake and the cable slipped rendering my brake nearly useless. And since the front brake provides 75% of your stopping power I would have been in a bad spot if it happened during the ride. The fix was a 2 minute repair with a hex wrench and a pair of pliers, but definately not the type of thing you want to happen when you're flying down hill at 25 mph. ---

The ride itself was pretty uneventful. We headed out for a 20 mile ride through Lutherville, Timonium / Falls Road/ York road area.

The one issue through the ride was the downhills. Normally these are all fun and games kind of the candy of hill riding ... and since I get to use my size to my advantage they tend to be really fun, unfortunately, when its 20 degrees out and you are bombing down the hills at 30 miles an hour with your face uncovered you can feel every blood vessel in your face. I was assured by another rider that you could also see them.

All in all the ride was great. No acccidents and great riding by all. Had a blast. Looks like I will get to have a blast with the cold weather again this Sunday as the folks with the National Weather Service are calling for cold weather this Sunday.

Monday, February 06, 2006

And they're off .....

Yesterday was the first training ride of the season and we had a BLAST!

We rallied at Dave's house at 10 a.m. Which was fine, except that we rolled out from Noel's place in D.C. which meant we had to be on the road heading to Baltimore at 8:30 a.m., but we arrived there on time and even had a few minutes to spare to grab a cup of coffee.

Becuase this was the first meeting there was alot of the traditional introductory getting to know you type things. We have a great group of folks who are riding for a number of different reasons including a personal relationship with someone who has had cancer, wanting to challenge themselves, just wanting to get in shape, or a combination of all of these reasons. While these are all pretty traditional reasons for joining TNT, all the folks in Dave's living room have shown a tremendous level of committment (or have shown evidence of needing to being committed depending on who you ask!) and I'm really excited to be riding with them. Its a rock solid group of folkas and as the season goes on I'll be chatting about them.

We started off with the intros, and a brief overview of the training regime and ride schedule from Dave also followed by a breif overview of the ride. After we got through the preliminaries, we went on to a bicycling basics video, which had a ton of helpful tidbits in it, but also tended to feature different scenerios for cars running you off the road. But it was good for the new road riders to get a little flavor of how car riders might interact with them on the road. Better to learn via video than on the road.

Once we rolled out of Dave's we headed out for a short 13 mile ride. We rallied at Sparks Elementary School in , you guessed it, Sparks. The ride was pretty good and rolled out under the I-83 expressway and headed up our first decent hill. All the folks on the ride slogged up the hill really well and headed along the route. As I've commented before, the rides in Baltimore County have a climb and coast quaility to them. This is great training for Tahoe, but takes a bit of getting used to, but all in all folks did fabulous. The famed Priceville hill made an appearance again, and I performed much better this year. A combination of a better bike and pre-season training helped out alot.

All in all an excellent ride. I am extremely stoked for the upcoming rides and working with a great group of people. Everyone is out there really working to make a difference and kicking some butt!! A picture of the crew is below. (I'm the guy in teh purple and green TNT jersey)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Kicking Off

This morning was the kickoff for the summer TNT Season. The event kicked off at the Hard Rock Cafe in Baltimore.

There was a moment of panic this morning when I realized that I had just assumed that it was at the Hard Rock again this year, and it was entirely possible that they had staged the event at a different location. This occured as we crossed teh street in downtown baltimore .... I was reassured when I was greeted at the door to Hard Rock by a huge purple and green Team in Training banner.

It was a packed house this morninng! And the energy level of the folks in the room exceed their physical mass. We had runners, cyclers, triathelets, skaters and I think some hikers. Everyone was really pumped. I think if we had put everyone on the street this morning to ride they would have knocked out a ton of miles on pure energy!

We had some great speeches from the TNT staff, the founder of TNT, who is a local and is training for his 10th TNT event, the San Diego Marathon, and probably most moving a Leukemia surviuvor who is cured and is traing for San Diego with us this season.

Most importantly though we were joined by a number of the honor paitents for the various teams. The tough little kids like Reagan who are fighting this disease made it cleaer why we're all going to be slugging it out for the next four months to complete a really challenging endurance event.

Noel, sophie, bekah and I had a great time this morning and we meet some of the new TNTers on the Tahoe cycling team. It looks like we're going to have a great group of folks who are really commmitted to crossing the finish line at Tahoe and raising a bunch of money to beat blood cancer.

Afterwards the girls and noel and I went over the baltimore aquarium where we checked out the dolphins and the austraila exhibit. We were joined in our visit by the next Senator from Maryland.

Had a great day and now we're saying a small prayer that this cruddy grey rain we're having now runs its course before tomorrow morning's 10 am training ride.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Indoor Training

Noel's recently purchased indoor trainer arrived the other day, and since she is feeling a bit yicky and isn't even running I got to take the first spin on the trainer (pictured to the right.)

It was a different experience than road riding. First off, Noel got a super quiet trainer. The only sound was the sound of my chain. The machine itself was super quiet! Very nice. The ride was smooth and with my gears I could vary the resistance nicely. I had the heart rate monitor on, and cranked out an average of 168 bpm. Not too bad, I think that's somewhere around 80% of my maximum heart rate. The HRM gave me some outrageous number of calories conusmed but it was surely malfunctioning.

The trainer also gives you a nice work out, becuase you have to keep spinning, otherwise you're just sitting there. When you're on the road you can coast a bit and still think you're cycling. If you stop pedaling on the train, well your just sitting in your girlfriends living room, sweeting profusely, listening to your iPod. Not quite the vision of atheleticism there is it. Anyway I kept plugging away and got what I felt was a good workout.

Really pumped for the kickoff this weekend. Also hope to get one more training ride in before the weekend. First organized ride is this weekend. Woo Hoo!!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

If this is Global Warming errr... Climate Change ... gimme some mo'

Wasn't actually on the bike today but boy was it beautiful out today. I didn't quite make it into shorts today, but I did slip into my America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride long sleeve t-shirt and I couldn't help thinkinhg about how ampped I am for teh trainging and for the ride.

I took the girls to the playground at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis this afternoon and we had a ton of fun. There were tons of bikers in the park today and I so totally wished that I had a child trailer for the back fo the bike so I could throw the munchkins in an go riding. I'm thinking that needs to be one of my next acquisitions.

It was a great day today and I am looking forward to the ride in June. can't help but think we're going to get a huge storm soon. Going to be great fun!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Unacceptable at Tahoe

After a comprehensive and sometimes contentious discussion with the officals at America's Most Beautiful Bike ride, I have been informed that this bicycle is not approved for climbing Spooner Junction.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bambi Beware

Hit the capital Cresent Trail again Monday night. It was a pretty nice ride and good litle adventure.

Rolled out after work with with Noel (my GF) and headed out from her place in NW up to the Bethesda enterance of the CCT. Climbed on our bikes and headed out into the cold. As it was Sunday night it was pretty dark and relatively cold (low 40's with mild winds). I headed out on the trail leading the pace, but by the second intersection where the trail intersects Little Falls Parkway (the cross walk in the map) Noel took over the lead. (Also a note for riders & runners as you can see in the map, there is a left turn right near this intersection, this can be a bit of a blind corner, so make sure to stop -- safety notice completed --.)

Anyway after we got back underway Noel set the pace. It was good pace and kept me moving well. We were heading down hill towards g-town. I'm thinking about halfway down the inbound Noel said somethign about Bambi. Now she insists that she was no where near the furry creature, but I suspect that the headlamp on her bike wasn't bright enough to dazzle the deer and it scampered away before she could catch it. I do remember her mumbling something about venison in the car ride up before we rolled out of the parking lot.

Other than the little critter the ride was good. We rolled down to Water Street and turned around and headed back up the trail. As you might know, the CCT a rails to trails project and has a slight grade heading north. Its about a 1% grade. We did pretty good heading back up. Noel did great. I was following and she wasn't coasting at all...very impressive. She also had good climbs on the overpasses, not having to get out of her saddle, and she muscled up really strong.

The north-bound portion was uneventful. We rolled into the parking lot about an hour and some change after starting and headed out to panera. Noel had the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich and I had the Papperblue Steak Sandwich. Umm yum!

Milage and pace info is unavailable becuase we were both in such a hurry to get riding that we forgot to reset our computers. Won't happen again.

Monday, January 23, 2006

D - A - R - K

Did a short training ride last night, approximately 14 miles.

I rolled out at approximatelty 7:30 last night, headed up Wisconsin Avenue to Bethesda Road to the Capital Cresent Trail. That was a relatively uneventful stint. I then jumped on the CCT and quickly discovered that it was really dark. My halfway decent light threw out roughly 10 feet of usable light. It was enough to see ahead a little bit, but not enough to allow me to clearly see down the trail. Fortunately I am pretty familar with the trail so I knew what was coming up ahead. Additionally I had the trail all to myself, expect for one guy with an extremely bright light that cycled by me about halfway down the trail, so I could basically use the trail dividing line as a guide and know I was in the safe.

But after an undefined large woodland creature scampered off the path just in front of me, I decided the best call was going to be to bail off the trail. So when I came up on Fletcher's Boathouse I decided it would be wise to get some illumination and hit the roads. The darkness almost got me on the way out of the parking lot though, when I almost clipped a braided steel wire that was blocking enterance (and my exit from) the parking lot. Fortunately, my headlight saved me.

Other than that the rest of the ride was uneventful. Cycled down canal road for a bit, and then across M, and then up Wisconsin to the Cathedral. The highlight of the last portion was the aroma of sizzling burgers wafting across Wisc. Ave as I climbed out of G-town. If only there were someone standing on the curb handing out quaters of medium rare burgers to hungry cyclists (a combination of the supporters at rides who hand out goodies and the guy at teh mall who always gives you the free sample of bourbon chicken). Alas it was not to be.

Oh yeah and once I got off the trail it started to rain. Only a sprinkly though.

A good ride and a nice way to wrap up a nice weekend.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hawai'i not so bad. DC Cold.

Things are going pretty well with the training. I'm feeling better and stronger on my bike.

I was in Hawai'i last week for work and was able to get in about an hour on the stationary bike. I would have loved to have ridden more, but we were scheduled pretty tight and there weren't weight rooms at everywhere I stayed.

I got in another training ride yesterday in NW Washington. Pretty uneventful ride up until the end, where I threw in two hills. I was pleased that I was able to climb the first hill a lot stronger that I did the last time I climbed it a couple weeks back. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be able to muscle it out without having to climb out of the saddle. (for you Washingtonians, I'm referring to the hill that takes you from the Rock Creek Parkway Trail, up onto Calvert Street) I also powered up the second hill slowly but fairly easily.

All in all a good ride.

The downside to the recent trip to Hawai'i was that the co-workers who joined me on the trip all brought chocolate and other yummy stuff back from the trip and I have been snacking away all day. The upside is that I work with a bunch of guys who act like they've never seen a good meal, so all sight of chocolate should be gone by tomorrow morning. I am going to at least make an attempt at focusing on nutrition this year.

Hopefully I will get a ride or two in this week and am shopping for a trainer so I can ride when the weather's bad or time is tight.