Monday, April 23, 2007

Share the Road Y'All

from Texas DOT

Recovery ride -- not so much

So, you know after you do those long hard rides you're supposed to take a nice easy ride to make sure your legs don't bind up. But its supposed to be an easy ride. just something to keep the legs moving.

Well it turned out I didn't quite get a recover ride on Sunday but I did get a fun stomping ride where I made sure I kept my heart pumping at its max for a good portion of the ride (I had my heart rate monitor on so I know the lub dubs were coming fast and furious.)

I rode out of the Hill with Tim and we stomped it up to beach drive and then Andy rans us ragged all over NW DC and Montgomery county. I looked up at one point and saw the Mormon Temple. I'm not exactly sure how we got there but I know we had alot of fun doing it and put a bunch of miles under the tires doing it. It felt great to get back to the car crank up some music and get a nice cold chocolate milk. Yum.

Hitting 70

So this weekend I finally got to put some miles in. We had a 66 mile ride scheduled and because of my seeming inability to keep an eye on the road signs and the cue sheets turned into a 70 mile ride. No worries. 75 is pretty much the point where you know you are ready for the century. And while I felt a little ragged as I rolled into the parking lot, if I had to I think I could have done another 30. I do think though that I am going to start wearing my camelback again, I just don't seem to be hydrating enough on these rides and it can't be helpful.

The ride itself was beautiful -- cows again made their presence known. Knowing how much beef we eat its a wonder there are any cows out there, but I guess with all the cheese I eat, they have to keep some of them out there.

The ride itself was good. I think the biggest take away that I had from the ride was that we have a real esprit de corp developing among the team members. This is the first time that the weather has really been biking weather and I think everyone really felt their bikes under them and felt like a huge part of a team. I know I did and it was good. There were a couple mechanicals along the route, but I think everyone had alot of fun and enjoyed the team bonding -- the BBQ and chips at the end were a nice touch. I missed who exactly took care of that for the team, but a BIG thank you.

Anyway, we've got some longer rides coming up and things should be good. The map and elevation charts are below.

Weather plays tricks on my garmin


if you look at the elevation chart it shows a declining elevation. The funny thing is though that I was doing laps at the same spot which is roughly at sea level -- sometimes below if the tide and winds are right. The garmin uses a barometric altimeter which uses air pressure to calculate altitude --- there must have been a front or something moving thought when I did this ride because it thinks I was going downhill. funny.

You call that a Mountain!!

So I'm catching up on blogging on the recent training rides. One of the most recent rides was a little trip we took out of Poolesville High School in Montgomery County. The area is pretty scenic and is the starting point for alot of the local rides. I wouldn't be surprised if we cribbed the cue sheet from one of the local clubs.

Anyway, I would say this is was all in all a pretty good ride. We started out of poolesville for what I think was a total of 45 mile ride with at somewhere around mile thirty a climb up Sugarloaf Mountain. Now I think I have some readers who hail from the parts of the country where "mountains" are large rock things that divide the continent and entail altitude sickness. And while the view from the top of sugarloaf was certainly beautiful, the only sickness I got was being sick of the stupid front chainring on my bike throwing every time I decided to change gears. If you look at the elevation chat, Sugarloaf is the big point about 3/4 of the way across.

The ride was actually alot of fun and like alot of the good longer bike training rides was located in farm country. Living in/near the district its surprising to find that in a half an hour drive there are alot of pastural lands in the surrounding areas. Cows they are a plentiful!!

As seems to be the pattern this year, I added on a few extra miles by accident. Silly me I thought that when the road sign said "Sugarloaf Mt Rd" that it went to the top of the mountain. 2 to 3 miles into the adventure on unpaved dirt roads I learned that it just goes by sugarloaf mountain, not actually up it. Oh well -- builds character - puts hair on your chest as my mom used to say.

I had a good time and everyone seemed to really enjoy the ride. The maps are below and give a good idea of where we were. I would give it a 3 out of 5. Good work out and alot of fun being out there. Would do it again for sure.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I've been delinquent

Hey everyone I've been a bit delinquent in my writing lately. I've been riding a good bit. I've got about ~700 miles on my bike this year. Not as many as I would like by a decent amount for this time of year.

I've got about 6 rides in the queue that I want to update folks on. I had a couple good team training rides, particularly out at poolesville/sugarloaf mountain and out and another out at berryville and a fun "recovery" ride this morning with Tim from the DeMint's office and Andy from the Senate Conference. I will make every effort to get these up in the next day or so. I would like though to show everyone that riding season is back in its full glory evidenced by the photo. That's the biker suntan on my left arm after riding this weekend.

A New Project

Ok -- so I've found myself a new little project to work on -- I'm going to invest a whole bunch of time -- and hopefully not a whole lot of money - on converting an old - at least 20 year old - beater bike into a single speed bike.

Jake and I were heading to the Orioles game the other night and had to swing by the local Royal Farms to grab some cash before we headed by Ritas for a pre-game italian ice. While at the Royal Frams I noticed a discarded bike in the parking lot. I took a quick look at the bike and noticed that it was in a bit of bad shape -- a taco-ed front wheel, some missing break pads and a general start of ill-health. That all in mind the frame looked in good shape and it had the prized asset for the prospective fixed/single speed convert - semi-horizontal drop-outs. Drop outs are where the rear wheel attaches to the frame of the bike and the by being semi-horizontal this allows the wheel to be moved fore and aft, allowing the tension of the chain to be adjusted so that the chain doesn't either bind up or get thrown. So I figured this was bike was basically trash, but I decided just in case, I'd let it sit in the lot through the game and see if anyone took it home. Fortunately it was still sitting in the lot abandoned at midnight when we got back to the game.

Maybe a better question than all the technical mumbo jumbo is why would anyone want a bike without gears, when clearly gears provide an unquestionable mechanical advantage. Well there a couple reasons. First I like to take things apart -- I'm almost as enthusiastic about putting things back together (NOEL, I promise that the bike parts will not lay around in a pile of parts in the garage taking up space - it will become a bike.) Mechanical tinkering is challenging and exciting and if I don't screw it up very satisfying. Also single speed bikes are cool. All the hip kids have one. Really -- I'm hip. Honestly. It'll also give me an opportunity to spin around town to run to the grocery store on my bike -- and since I am planning to invest a minimum in this bike, if it got stolen it wouldn't be the end of the world. And finally by eliminating the mechanical advantage of gears, it makes the ride harder - and will hopefully help me improve some aspects of my riding, particularly hill riding.

I've posted some photos in this post to give you an idea of what I am doing. I'll keep folks up to speed on how the conversion goes.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


So I just got done spending some quality time with the bike downstairs. I was able to take about an hour and catch up on some of the mechanical stuff that I had been meaning to do for a while. I was able to re-wrap the drops, replace the front brakes and put on a new tire.

I was starting to see some thread on the sidewall of the tire so I figured it was probably time to replace it. Chappy recommended the tire, so we'll see how it shakes out. Its a hutchison Tour de France "special" tire -- I suspect its just one of their standard tires with a yellow sticker and a TDF logo slapped on it. But they make decent tires by all accounts and it was on sale at performance so what the heck.

The winter road crud had really chewed up my front brakes. Wore through the things like they were butter. I've had the brakes for a while and really should have put them on weeks ago but I just hadn't gotten around to it. Feels goof to have them on.

And six months after I got in a good wreck at hains point and chewed up my bar tape a bit (see photo) I finally re-wrapped my drops. They look good...I doubt they'll stay clean looking for long, but they look sweet now...even put on the decorative tape!

Anyway, I'll have to see if I can get on the trainer a bit tonight and ride for a while since I didn't ride this weekend.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Chag Pesach

So the last week or so have been quite hectic. As you may know, Passover (or Pesach) started at sundown on Monday, which really means that preparations started last Friday. I must say it all went really well. Jake, Sophie, Bekah and Noel and I had a wonderful seder. We had about 7 of our friends over to join us for the holiday. It was a wonderful seder and the meal was halfway decent. As I mentioned to our guest's passover is one of my favorite holidays, and serves as an important reminder to all of us that G-d gave us our freedom so that we could go out and serve our community in the spirit of tikkun olam repairing the world -- leaving it a better place than you found it. It was great that we could share this message of social responsibility with our friends and enjoy everyone's company. Sophie and Bekah looked adorable! Those of you who know Sophie will note with great surprise her appearance in a dress. She, and her sister, looked so lovely and were such a delight at the seder. It really was amazing. Even more exciting was that we were able to hand off the "four quesions" obligation during the seder (they relate to the difference of passover) to Sophie. Her reading has improved dramtically since she started kindergarten and it is really impressive!

I'm looking forward to next years seder and seeing if I can squeeze just a few more people into the room. We've got service for 16 and if the hosts transition onto nice paper plates we could pack in 20 people maybe!!!! (Noel isn't reading this right now so I can make these grand plans without her knowledge -- she was a huge help making this week work and I owe her BIG!!!)

So all in all its been a pretty hectic week here at casa Turner/Jones. I haven't really been able to get on the bike much, although I did put a good hour in on the trainer yesterday and am planning on two hours tomorrow morning. Team was supposed to have a ride this morning, but the expected snow, which from looking out my living room window never appeared, canceled the ride. I would have loved to have ridden but it was not meant to be.

Other than that I am plugging away at the fundraising. Noel and I will be doing a big "stuff and fold" tonight to get out some fundraising letters!

I hope to have a fair number of ride reports in this week. The kids are away at the beach so I hope to ride Monday and Tuesday night. I haven't been down the Mount Vernon trail lately, so maybe its time to take a spin and vist #1.

John McGinley's Team in Training video (Crazy!)

Take a few moments to check out this inspirational video from one of the TNT team members from the Mississippi chapter!