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!


"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!!