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.