Monday, December 31, 2007

For Congressman, Life in Bike Lane Comes Naturally -

You may have seen this recent article in the Wall Street Journal....if you read that kind of publication. ;-)

For Congressman, Life in Bike Lane Comes Naturally -

Mr. Blumenauer's "obsession with bicycling borders on the interesting," sniffed TV satirist Stephen Colbert.

"Bikeman," a House colleague from Oregon calls him. Mr. Blumenauer owns seven bikes. His congressional office is one of the few -- if not the only one -- that didn't even apply for a parking permit. On occasion, Mr. Blumenauer has cycled to the White House. On Mr. Blumenauer's first visit, the Secret Service, more accustomed to limousines, was flummoxed at the sight of his bike.

"I leaned it up against the portico," Mr. Blumenauer says.

I don't know that I'm terribly enthused about Rep. Blumenauer's cycling tax deduction bill. Instead of putting in more deductions, I'd prefer folks work to simplify the tax code so that I don't have to spend a bunch of bucks filing my taxes and wondering whether I've gotten all the deductions the byzantine code entitles me to and/or if I've slipped up and done something wrong and am going to get a nice visit from the fun folks at the IRS.

In spite of Rep. Blumenauer being in the other party and GASP even worse, being a member of the lower body, he strikes me as one of the nicest and most genuine members of the House. He seems like an authentically good human being and by all accounts serves his constituents very well.

I haven't had a chance to ride with him but maybe I'll luck out and cross paths with him on the hill one day.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Good Rides and Bad Rides

Well as with most things in life without the bad the good doesn't seem quite so good. Biking isn't really any different.

I have a nice little circuit (see below) that I ride out of my house up the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail and down through Crownsville. Its a just under 35 mile circuit. Its a pretty good training ride - especially this time of year when the B&A trail is next to empty.

I rolled out on this route a week and a half ago on a Saturday afternoon. It was relatively cold (mid to upper 30's) and a slight bit windy. I did the ride and in spite of being appropriately attired (leg warmers, balaclava, gloves, wool sweater) I felt horrible. I couldn't get my legs moving, I couldn't really get the engine running. It was just a plain bad ride. And my computer showed. I rolled in with a 15.3 mph pace. And then I got in the house and I couldn't shake the cold off of me. Froze my butt off for a couple hours after the ride. After the ride I figured that the lack of regular riding in the winter had caused my fitness to go to pot.

Well I rode yesterday and it wasn't one of those bad rides. In fact it was one of those really good rides. Immediately out of the house I could feel that my legs were up for the ride. My legs were strong, my stamina felt pretty good and I was able to focus and keep the speed up. The biggest down side of the ride was that I haven't been giving my bike the TLC it deserves. My chain needs some white lightning of tri-flow becuase it was screaming when I rolled out. But all in all I was in the zone. I rolled in at the end of the ride with a 17.2 mph pace. Much closer to what I was expecting to be riding. The ride felt great - I am sure it was partially becuase I was riding well, but I think alot of it was becuase I had such a crappy - mildly demoralizing - ride a few days earlier. I am glad I decided to do the same ride yesterday instead of heading off in a different direction. I was pleased to discover that my fitness hasn't gone to pot and that once the weather warms up and I have enough time to put in 100 mile weeks, that I'll have a good base to build off of.

The course for the ride is below.

On an unrelated note, I am going to be a Team Captain for the National Capital Chapter of Team in Training. I'm signed up to help folks get across the finish line at Tahoe this year. My ticker seems to be behaving well, so it shouldn't be a problem fo me to get across the finish line this year. If you're interested in joining me at Tahoe, my contact info is at the right so drop me a line and we can make it happen.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not quite this fast