Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December Rides

12/30/08 - BrewCrew Winter Paced Ride
I conserved more energy this ride sitting mid pack for the first half and then went up front for some good long pulls on the second half. At the end I felt fresh.

MotionBased Ride Data

12/27/08 - Easy Spin
While visiting family in Kentucky I took the opportunity to slip out for a short spin. The weather temperature was great and I was able to wear cycling shorts and short sleeve jersey, but the wind was intense going out. Coming back was the sweet reward of a good tail wind.

MotionBased Ride Data

12/24/08 - Christmas Eve Ride
Due to training my legs on Monday and it turns out that my wheel slipped out of alignment, I struggled the last 20 miles of this winter paced ride. There is no doubt that my legs were extremely fatigued before this ride and when the intensity of the group pace increased the second half it would be too much for me to handle. I dropped out of the pack with Diane dropping back to provide some encouragement and shield me from the hard winds.

MotionBased Ride Data

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Ride With The Brew Crew

Me & Diane before the chilly start

MotionBased Ride Data

Diane was back on the bike to lead the Brew Crew out for a nice winter ride. It has been a number of weeks since I have been able to ride with the crew and today I would guess close to 20 riders and most of Team B mixing in. It was good to see some of the friendly faces that I have not seen in weeks and especially good to ride with them again. I believe the starting temperature was close to 28 degrees Fahrenheit and it must have been in the 40's and very pleasant toward the end. Good thing because I forgot my winter cycling jacket and had to wear a thin wind shell.

The ride was mostly flat with one pretty good climb at the 30 mile mark. I didn't fair too well on the climb nor the last miles going in, but I was expecting to fall off. My legs were tight all week with using the cycling trainer through the week and with training my legs with weights on Monday. Cramps on the last 10 miles of the ride were a good indication as well of the fatigue. Earlier the group had split with a number going back to ride with Bill. I was in the front so I didn't realize the group had split and those that came up to the front were starting to put on a good pace. I held on the best I could until the cramps started. At that point I dropped off and finished the remaining miles alone at a milder pace.

No matter how it ended for me the ride was still great and it was a good day out with the crew. The sun was out and the weather pretty pleasant for this time of the year. A pretty good way to finish out the year with the crew and maybe I will get to squeeze in one more ride with the Brew Crew for 2008.

Except for Jamie, she is a slacker wasting away on some tropical beach. Yeah like that is more fun than riding with the Brew Crew. Just kidding Jamie!! We hope you're having fun.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hope and Faith

This is a time when many will be tested in their hope and their faith. For me I was very fortunate that in 1996 my focus of hope and faith was changed for ever. At the age of 32 the Lord Jesus Christ showed me who He is and from that time until present my perspectives have changed. Now I see many around me wonder not only about a few weeks from now, but they wonder about the day to come. Many around me are losing their jobs and the stress of how to provide for their families is their main concern when only a few years ago many seemed to only have the stress of which brand of large screen TV to get. Many of us have enjoyed great times of prosperity, but in that prosperity we all too often get caught up in self absorption and materialism. Now the focus has changed and many do not know where to turn.

There is a place to turn and it my solid faith and belief that Jesus Christ is the place to turn. The opportunity to turn to the One that can help in a time where we need hope for tomorrow. Perhaps those who read this may not believe, but the change of heart that I had in 1996 from a very hopeless time of my life gave me a new hope in tough times like now. I am not sure about my job, but I do not rest in that. I will rest in Him who has provided for me for the past 12 years.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Strength Training - Part 2


The first of the series was the principle of progressive overload and as I was thinking of the 2nd part this morning training at my gym I had assurance as to why I should write about range of motion. Thinking through the many mistakes I made during my early days as a newbie to the weights I witnessed a personal trainer working with her client just a few feet away. I have seen this far too often by those who are new to weight training, but for a person who is supposed to be qualified as a trainer leading their client in the wrong methods is unsettling. What I witnessed was the client being directed in one-legged squats using only her own body weight. That part is perfectly fine, but what I saw was the client only squatting about 2-inches in travel distance.

Think about it. I mean really meditate on that with the most basic knowledge of physiology. Does that make sense? How much muscle stimulation is involved?

One of my most distinctive memories regarding this subject is like a mental monument and greatest lessons I was blessed to receive as I started my lifting career. Like many I was caught up in being able to squat big poundage, but my focus was only on how the weight bar looked to the gym crowd (if I am to be honest-vanity and ego were involved). The day that changed me forever concerning lifting I had warmed up doing squats and had weight far greater on the bar than I could handle. My range of motion like many that do squats was only a few inches (some call half squats). A more experienced lifter came over and without talking to me started unloading the plates from the bar. At first I was angry because I thought he was attempting to take over the bar and squat rack, but then he looked at me and said, "You are not doing any more squats until you do them the right way." Since the guy have very impressive leg musculature my anger subsided quickly and my attention was on every word he spoke. He had me work on technique for several weeks with an empty Olympic bar until my form was near perfect with my back upright and slightly arched, the point on my hip traveling below the pivot point on my knees. From that point forward I worked on progressive overload and my strength increased throughout the range of motion. Over the years my legs became one of my strongest assets because I was willing to let go of ego and listen to a person about using full range of motion. This applies to training all muscles groups.

I see people all the time with all sorts of lifts that use a very limited range of motion. I would say that better than 50% of the less experienced lifters make this mistake and I even see some very experienced lifters make this mistake. I have known national level bodybuilders use partial range of motion, not because they are working on a weak point (I will clarify in a moment), but because they find that particular exercise discomforting. I believe that is the reason many use a partial range of motion and why this particular trainer this morning allowed the client to use a limited range. Because most people find training properly to be discomforting (or in their words "painful"). If you are a cyclist that has progressed with training in zones L4 and above you can relate to this. You know that those zones and above are very discomforting. I am careful to use the word discomforting and start using that phrase yourself because discomfort is not the same as pain. Pain is a signal from your nervous system warning you that something is wrong. It could be tendinitis flare up, muscle cramp, muscle strain or something that lets you know you need to stop. Discomfort is only that, but discomfort is that progress area or to me that working zone. The more you train the less discomforting it will become, but that is adaptation and in order to keep progressing you may want to keep the pressure on until you reach a point of periodization or a time to back off for a short period and let the body relax a little before starting the next period.

I mentioned that I would clarify my statement about using partial range of motion to work on weak areas. I see this more often among competitive power lifters than I do of any other group training with weights. In the case where a power lifter may use a partial range of motion might be due to a sticking point. For instance many lifters have a sticking point on their bench press when it comes to competitive lifts. Some have a sticking point at the bottom of the range or it may be near the lock out position just before completing the lift. In those cases the lifter may set aside a set or more with focus on that sticking point and work on a limited range of motion to potentially strengthen the muscle group at that point, but for the most part these lifters will still maintain full range on most sets because a full range of motion is expected as the judges watch the lift and determine if it was a "legal lift" or not.

Sometimes I see new lifters go too far on some exercises. Again this is something one only needs to meditate with the basics of physiology and determine when the range goes too far. The best example I can give is the barbell curl. I see people swing the weight up to their chest until the bar is touching their chest. In that position the biceps, which is the group they are working is not involved at this point. This position is actually a resting point for the biceps. The other resting point is with the arms fully extended at the bottom. At the bottom your forearms and hands are only involved from gripping the bar, but the biceps are not involved. So the full range of motion for the barbell curl in this case at the bottom is just before the arms are fully extended down to the point on the upper range just before the bar becomes unweighted on the biceps. This is something you will have to judge for yourself as you perform the lift and as you perform any lift.

Working on technique and concentrating on the stress load of the muscle through a full range of motion will help in increasing real strength through the full range, whereas, partial range of motion does not fully stimulate the muscle group quite as well. You may need to reduce your working weight for a while like I had to do with proper squatting form, but as you work your way back up the results in true strength will be very satisfying.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Strength Training Principles for the Cyclist

From The Cycling Addiction

Over 25 years of weight and strength training experience as well as 10 years competing in the NPC Bodybuilding organization. Below are some of the highlights through the years.

NPC Georgia Bodybuilding Championship 1st Lightweight Class (pictured above before competition)
NPC Coastal USA 1st Lightweight Class
AAU Southern Kentucky Bodybuilding Championship 1st & Overall winner


First, let me be clear to say that strength training is not necessary for the competitive cyclist and this has been proven by many top sports physiologist and coaches. Look at the most successful professional cyclists and you will see a physique that looks fit, but somewhat frail and anemic in comparison to strength related athletes. Having a reduced frontal area and less body mass will help in the overall scheme of tour racing, where sprinters are typically a little more muscular than the lighter weight climbers they are still not as massive as most pure strength athletes. I don't not profess to know enough about the specifics of training for cycling events, but I do know that in most sporting events training with specificity is crucial to success. In other words there is the old phrase, "If you want to be a better cyclist than ride your bike." That seems like such a simple phrase and yet it is the nature of a competitor and some coaches to experiment with other types of training in order to gain an edge over the competition.

Is strength in the sense of strength like a power lifter crucial to a cyclist? The answer is no, but do not confuse strength with power. Cyclists need to be powerful and those that work on pushing their threshold are working on improving power, which is why using a power meter can be such a useful tool to the cyclist in measuring improvements and training within certain zones.

If you are like me and maybe you see yourself as a recreational cyclist or if you are a competitive cyclist that would still like to train for strength despite what is stated above concerning training specificity, then I will include over a period of time a few general principles that may be helpful. I will not go into specific details like describe a training routine because even then the goals are specific to the goals of that person. For example among strength athletes, power lifters do not train like Olympic lifters and bodybuilders do not train like football players. Each has a specific program that include some form of strength training for that specific goal.

The first principle of strength training is compared to most other types of training in a sense that it is progressive. If you are a cyclist and you are familiar with threshold training you will know about the different training zones. Use that knowledge and apply it to strength training. You know that training in different power zones equates to a certain percentage of the functional threshold. A power lifter getting ready for a power meet may train 80 to 90% of their maximum lift during their last few weeks of preparation. If you are not familiar with that type of training I use the simple phrase, "If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting."

For example if a guy tells me he is going to start strength training at home and he has a set of 25 pound dumbbells and plans to set up a program centered around those dumbbells will he be successful. Only if he is starting from an untrained state will he be successful until his body has adapted to those dumbbells. After that he will not progress without adding more resistance (progressive overload). Another example of progressive training using cycling would be a guy who has been sedentary most of his life and just started cycling and wants to ride with his friends on an organized century so he rides once a week and no greater than 15 miles. Will he be ready to ride 100 miles with his friends who are all veteran cyclist that train over a 100 miles a week? You know that guy will probably not be successful without being a little more progressive each week with incremental expanded training miles. For true strength one will set up a training program that will be progressive in nature by adding more repetitions and more resistance.

Adding repetitions alone will not work. If the guy above wanting to increase his bench press by 100 pounds can he do it with just adding more repetitions using the 25 pound dumbbells? The answer again is no. More likely he will just increase his endurance level with adding more repetitions, but it would be unlikely he would be able to step up to the rack and successfully use those 100 pound dumbbells. If the guy were incrementally going up the rack over a period of weeks or months and were then able to handle the 100 pound dumbbells for 3 reps his strength now has increased enough to the point his warm up weight will no longer be the 25 pound dumbbells, but perhaps his starting warm up weight may be 50 pound dumbbells. This is the obvious measure of gained strength over a period of time, much in the manner a cyclist will use a power meter to determine if he or she has improved their functional threshold.

This first blog entry was based on my experience with those asking my advice in the manner described above. I have had more than a handful tell me they are going to add strength training to their off season and then describe their plan. Just because you pick up some weights now and then doesn't mean that you are going to gain strength. For those that train in that manner it would be better to say I am weight training and not say I am strength training unless the goal is to be incrementally progressive with adding more resistance as the body adapts over a period of time.

One mistake I have seen in general among the majority of people starting to train with weights is the assumption they will look like a very muscular bodybuilder. Muscular size does not necessarily equate to muscular strength. I have witnessed power lifters that looked as skinny as some cyclist and be pound for pound the strongest guy in their weight class. Getting muscular like a bodybuilder takes a lot of dedicated effort, proper nutrition and good genetics. So do not be too scared of becoming overly muscular. If you feel as if you are gaining too much size you can either stop lifting or stay with the same or less resistance and your body will sieze in gaining size.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Summer of Fun 2008 - By Quellet Cycling

This is footage with the main guys from our Group B taken through the summer of 2008 and what a great year it has been riding with the gang and with the larger group known as the "BrewCrew."

Camera Guy and cycling bud - Quellet Cycling

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold Rain & High Winds

MotionBased Ride Data

Only 4 out of our regular group showed up to ride on this cold, windy and rainy day. Before we started the ride the forecast was 25+ mph winds, cooling temps and clearing rain. When Gary and me met Derek and Keith at the Budweiser Plant the air was cold, damp and breezy, but after a few miles and gusty winds the rain also started up again. We forged ahead pushing against the wind. At the end of this tough ride the average speed was lower than our usual, but I could immediately feel the effort as muscle soreness set in on the ride home and for the next day.

Did we do this to help toughen up mentally or is it that we just hate sitting on the trainer? I thought maybe I was tougher than the absent group members, but I think I will go to great lengths to avoid the trainer when possible. I suppose if I were a tough athlete I may embrace the discomfort of the trainer more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

3 State Falls Colors Ride

Just a few of the crew (L to R: Gary, Chick, Corrine, me & Derek)

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Motion Based Ride Data

Ride Pictures by Quellet Cycling

This ride starting from the old train depot in Mineral Bluff, Georgia goes into North Carolina into Tennessee and back to Mineral Bluff was no doubt one of the best rides I have done all year. It was an opportunity to do a somewhat scenic ride with less attention to my normal high intensity style of riding. Flat sections were extremely rare. We were either climbing or descending and when we found the rare near flat section we did have a few fun bouts of racing each other. We had at least 12+ riders and everyone was able to hold their own and no one really dropped off the back. We pretty much kept the pace somewhat casual until the end a few of us did separate with a little faster pace.

With the substantial rolling hills, small mountain climbs (Candy Mountain & Pack Mountain) and a couple steep short climbs we racked up about 6,000 feet of climbing. The traffic in general was low and we did keep a single file line during a couple of longer highway sections. As we entered into North Carolina the leaves on the trees were just what we had hoped. They were changing color and it made the 1 1/2 hour drive up well worth the trip and the cold start. As the weather warmed up from the frigid early morning temperature to a very nice 70 degrees it just made the day that much better. At one point Derek and I agreed that this was the kind of day and the kind of ride you just didn't want to end. I could have stayed on some of those back roads a few more hours.

A great day on the bike, awesome route and a great day to share with friends.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time Off The Bike

This was my second Saturday in a row to miss riding with my group. Last weekend I spent the day with Cindi because it was her birthday and today I spent the day with my church group as we helped a young widow with 4 children. At the end of the day I feel just about as wiped out as I would have riding with the gang, but it was well worth the opportunity to stop and help someone in need once in a while. Really it was a blessing for us to help as we were able to witness how hard it is for this mother of 4 and one with down syndrome. My part in helping today was clearing thick brush and thorny weeds and I did get to handle some bikes so there was something bike related. As I cut through the thick brush with my weed trimmer equipped with steel blades I found at least 4 old cheap department store bikes rusted and forgotten. There were at least 5 more bikes stacked against the trailer with rusted chains and nearly flat tires. One of my friends yelled at me and asked if I found a Surly single speed mountain bike in there. I yelled back and told him I was really hoping to find a nice carbon Look frame in new condition.

Sometimes we think we have it tough, but helping this family today was a reminder there are plenty of people with greater struggles in life. Many of us spend our day cycling in the tranquility of the country side and there are those who struggle every minute of every day. Why not stop to help once in a while?

I am pretty much wiped out, but I hope to get out for a short 2 hour training ride tomorrow and try to keep a little fitness as we have a tough ride lined up for next weekend. Well at least tough for me since it involves 6,000 feet of climbing and I will be dragging my butt up those hills maybe for the last time in 2008.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New PowerTap Wheel Build

Like many I never really considered a set of custom built wheels simply because I imagined the price was out of my range, but after using my first set of hand built wheels I realized that they are well within the price range of a set of popular boutique (brand name) wheels. Not only are they within the price range, but there are other things to consider about hand built wheels. A good builder will often ask how you ride, how much you weigh and other questions that may lead to a particular set of build components and lacing patterns based on the answers to those questions. They are often times just as light even with a higher spoke count than many of the highly marketed mass produced wheelsets. Some of the new brand name wheels that have some unique looking lacing pattern, ultra low weight and/or low spoke count may prove to be a real pain if a spoke breaks miles away from home or the car as I have witnessed numerous times with Ksyrium SL wheels.

Be aware that the builder may need to order the components and will go through a process to build the wheel. It may take two weeks or longer to complete a set, but when you receive that set my bet is you will really appreciate the solid build and ride compared to many high brand name wheels. Often times the components for a custom wheel build are overall a much better quality and will prove to be more dependable and last longer than a higher priced set of brand name wheels. In my opinion ordering from a good wheel builder is well worth the wait.

The new rear wheel that I purchased from Johnson Wheelworks was built using Kinlin XR-300 Niobium Rim (32 hole count), Sapim CX-Ray spokes, Powertap SL hub and Veloplugs instead of rim tape.

I ordered a matching front wheel from Johnson Wheelworks that will arrive in a few weeks with the same setup, but the hub will be a White Industries H2 hub.

Kent Johnson
Johnson Wheelworks
www.johnsonwheelworks.com (coming soon!)
Email: kent@johnsonwheelworks.com
113 Ofria Drive
Folsom, CA 95630

Data from the first L3/SST training ride with the new wheel.
Everything seems to be working great.

I will post pictures once I have the wheels mounted on the bike.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Carole's Birthday & Sunflower Ride

I wonder how the ride was named?

I wonder who named the ride?

Who is really in charge of this adventure?
Shout out to Jamie and Diane!!

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

All photos were contributed by Quellet Cycling

Friday, October 10, 2008


After writing the first blog entry for the 6 Gap Century accident I’m still thinking about Daniella Izquierdo perhaps because I spent a lot of time reflecting on my accident September 9, 2007 and how I believe the Lord gave me solace in the time of distress and discouragement.

I set out that morning with complete confidence and perhaps a little too much to be honest to face Burnt Mountain. After the 10 mile climb up to the top of the mountain our group normally regroups and to make sure everyone is okay and so that we will not get too far ahead of each other. This day I pushed the envelope a little more racing a couple of friends and I had just passed one friend as I approached a turn at 43 miles per hour. I was thinking ahead as I was setting up to take a certain line around the curve. I thought I had the right line of approach, but at the speed that I was going there is only so much a bike with highly inflated 23 mm tires is able to turn. The surface of a tire touching the roadway is small and only fractions of an inch of rubber are actually guiding that bike and rider around the turn. If you commit to the wrong line at too great a speed there is little you can do about it and that was my case. Using your brakes this late can be just as catastrophic. If one is going to feather their brakes it is to slow the bike down before getting to the curve and not use the brakes in the curve. All of the thinking and commitment for making the right decision comes before the turn. As I came around the turn the road switched back the other direction rather than being a sweeping turn that I had thought. My bike was committed to a straight line and the only choice I had to keep from hitting a tree at 40 mph was to lock up my brakes and intentionally throw myself. The result was going head over the bars. First, the back of my helmet hit the pavement, which was good in one perspective because it was at the thickest part of the helmet. Then the back of my left shoulder hit ripping out a chunk skin and separating my shoulder. From that point forward the pavement ground off skin from my backside, arms and hands. The bike was mostly in tact, but the rear wheel was badly damaged. My cycling clothes were ripped apart and my helmet was split.

Shaken up pretty bad my adrenaline masked most of the pain while my friends tried to fix the bike enough that I could get back to the top of the mountain and wait for one of them to pick me up. As they left me to go back for the car, I struggled back to the top of the summit with the back of my shorts torn out and my bleeding rump exposed to the traffic. The pain was starting to set in, but here is the crux of this message. I started feeling extreme guilt and discouragement. My mind was racing on one side thinking about what went wrong and then there was the guilt of being so reckless with the body God has given me to use in this life. As I sat on the side of the road I started praying and asking God to forgive me for being so stupid. There was so much going on in my mind at that moment it just made the whole situation worse, but in the midst of all this and praying I felt a peace and comfort as if God was there with me. I felt this in my inner heart of perhaps the Lord pressing on me relief from the guilt. Yes it was a mistake, but we make mistakes in life. God is not surprised by these choices nor is He surprised if the mistake takes us into eternity. The peace that came over me at that moment gave me the feeling that He was sitting there with me on the side of the road until Edgar showed up. The physical pain was starting to become more prevalent, but the spiritual and mental pressure was relieved by what I felt that God was with me providing me with solace. To me the Lord is my peace that passes all understanding. He is the solace in any situation when we ask Him to be with us. He is the one who gives us faith to continue on facing the challenges on the road ahead.

Despite the severity of my crash I believe God also gave me a peace about continuing to cycle. Hearing about Daniella or anyone that has such a severe cycling injury does impact me greatly because I experienced such a severe accident myself. My friends and family that don’t participate in cycling did not and still do not always comprehend making such choices, but most have come to accept that it is a pleasure for me that they would not want to take away.

It must have been a great pleasure for Daniella to be a cyclist. It is for many of us.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

2008 Raisin Hope Foundation Ride

2008 DATA

2007 DATA

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com
MotionBased Ride Data

This was my 2nd year to participate in the Raisin Hope Foundation ride supporting brain injuries and we need these events (see the previous blog regarding the 6 Gap Crash) and it was good to see Saul Raisin putting on the fund raiser/cycling event for the 2nd year.

With gas prices, gas availability in Georgia and a summer of long hard rides it was perhaps less motivating for many to attend this year. I'm not sure why most my friends did not come, but I knew Gary was going and I was happy to ride with him up to the event to keep him company, support the event with my entry fee and to participate to see if I have improved since last year. The 1st year event was my first time doing any substantial climb and it was a struggle for me. So I thought it would be a good to see a comparison. However, it is a controlled event so for the first number of miles today we were all holding in a mass group being led out by patrol cars, Saul Raisin and 3 other pro cyclists. That did hold back my performance test, but this is a charity event and not a race or a time to set personal bests so I was content to sit back until the climb started.

As we started the 8+ mile climb Gary, Derek, Dick and me were starting to split apart as each of us went into our own climbing pace. I think I was the last up as usual, but compared to last year I could definitely perceive an improved difference compared to last year. I know I could have went even harder, but I figured it is a charity event so I didn't want to look like an idiot trying to establish new personal records.

Descending the mountain was fun, but I was again being cautious and was thinking about Daniella on the way down. I pray God be with her. I did not hit the downhill speed that I did last year at this event due to being a bit more apprehensive, but still with the switchbacks my downhill skills are starting to come back to me. Once we were down to the base me and the guys regrouped and settled into a steady pace line holding around 20 mph. We were trading off on the pulls when I hear a strange voice coming up fast on my left saying, "I'll pull for a while." I don't know who this guy was dressed in his Team Cycleworks/HDR kit and Pinararello bike, but he was strong as he passed me quickly. I had to sprint to catch him, but once on his wheel I settled into a mid to high 20's pace. He looked back and said that we dropped the group. So we eased up a bit and when they caught us he took off again. I stayed with him every time he pushed the pace and each time we were getting out ahead of mine and his group. Finally we eased off again until we caught another larger group with some that also were wearing HDR kits. I hear this guy say we are in a good spot to set a pace so I take off from the near the back of this new group thinking he and my guys were coming with me, but as I look back I am a half a mile ahead of a whole group not chasing me or wanting to come out on this pace. I ease up and go all the way back to my guys and sit in the back of my group with contentment.

At 62 miles we see a sag stop, but I am bewildered since the ride is only supposed to be 62 miles and I was out of water. I had to make a stop just to be safe and I asked one of the volunteers. He says that we probably missed a turn and that we have another 5 miles to go with a couple of substantial climbs. That really messed with my head. I think my body was ready to shut it down at 62 miles since that is what I expected and now I need to get my mind right to finish. Sure enough it was a mental struggle reluctantly facing two more good climbs before getting back on to the final stretch. Thankfully Gary dropped back with me at the sag stop so it was pleasant to have him just in front of me as I was dealing with my mental attitude.

All in all it was a good ride with Gary, Derek and Dick.
More importantly I hope the ride was a successful fund raiser. I wished more people had attended, but it was good day with friends.

Friday, October 3, 2008

6 Gap Century - Accident

October 6th Update

From Everglades Bicycle Club

For the last several days I have seen a lot of action on my blog with people from around the nation searching for Daniella Izquierdo. Perhaps to get an update about her condition. Perhaps many like me were praying for her diligently throughout the day for the last several days, but as it goes the Lord had different plans for Daniella today.

As I descended down Fort Mountain on Saturday the thought of Daniella (a complete stranger to me, but a fellow cyclist) was going through my mind as I confronted each turn in the fast descent. As the folks on the Everglades Bicycle blog pointed out Daniella confronted the opportunity and the challenge of 6 gap not settling for the 3 gap version. As cyclists we know the dangers (I even anticipate the possibility by wearing a RoadID braclet) and many of us have been very fortunate to have walked away from some of the worst accidents and yet we mount that bike and confront the next one again because we choose not to hide away in the house for self preservation. We get out there in life and face the challenges. That is just what Daniella did.

What is this life if we don't live it and how can we live it if we fear everything in front of us.

My thoughts and prayers for her family and friends


October 3rd
Each year people from around the nation participate in what is probably the toughest organized ride in Georgia, which is the Six Gap Century. It is no doubt a pinnacle of achievement to many and one that I have yet to attempt full out. I have done portions of the north Georgia gaps with friends, but not on this organized ride. My last ride was the following blog entry as I described my apprehension of descending on some of the gaps and descending Hog Pen was something I couldn't wait to get done because of my crash last year coming off of Burnt Mountain, which was a 40 mile per hour crash and I was extremely fortunate that I did not have a brain injury. It did split my Bell helmet in half, separated my shoulder and did extensive road rash, but I was very blessed indeed to have walked (limped) away from it.

Each time one of these type of events occurs regardless of whether we are involved or not it seems like we hope to hear that no one has any catastrophic accidents. This year we were not fortunate to hear that all went well. I heard from a good friend that participated in the event that he personally witnessed several accidents, but told me of one very severe accident. The following blog entry from Everglades Bicycle Club may be information regarding the individual. I hope to keep Daniella Izquierdo in my prayers that the Lord will watch over her as I have heard the crash and resulting injuries were very severe.

Tomorrow Gary, me and many other cyclists will be riding in the 2nd Annual Raisin Hope Foundation ride, which involves climbing and descending Fort Mountain. Last year, like many others I let it all loose as if I were racing downhill to win a big financial prize at the bottom and it seems that many others were racing as well. That was before my crash humbled me a bit. With me being a recreational level rider and my wife depending on being a team member for financial income to our household it makes sense for me to be a bit more careful descending tomorrow. My last crash cost me financially and physically with permanent scars and separated shoulder. It could have been much worse and I feel very blessed that it was not. If you are fortunate after the first severe crash it is good to reflect on these things and with road rash healing at a slow pace it is a constant reminder for weeks to keep reflecting on the risks and put things in perspective. The Raisin Hope Foundation ride is all about raising money for those with brain injuries just as former professional cyclist Saul Raisin is determined to accomplish through this event, but let's hope that tomorrow everyone participating will be safe tomorrow as they descend Ft. Mountain and keep things in perspective. Hearing about the Six Gap crash has definately made me reflect on this for the last couple of days.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's my first steps

I'm starting to log some time on the Kurt Kenetic trainer using the Powertap Pro, but not near the amount of time that I would like to log due to my work schedule. During the week I am getting 30 to 45 minutes a few week day evenings and then a long ride on Saturday and sometimes I get to slip out for a ride on Sunday.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brewcrew - North Adairsville Loop

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

MotionBased Ride Data Link

With all the cycling groups around Atlanta and various group rides held around the city each weekend, I can honestly say that I feel like the NARC "Brewcrew" is the best group for me. This group is a mix of guys and gals with a variety of ages above 38 years, but they all have a commpetitive spirit and each seem willing to push themselves just a bit more on each ride.

This past Saturday was no exception. My goal before the ride was to be consistent with my effort and to minimize coasting and drafting more than my past rides. The route changed as we forged ahead, but the speed seemed to keep climbing upward and that was right on with my training plan. Normally I struggle to hold on to the group, but I believe that consistency during the week on the trainer using the power meter is starting to pay off. There were points in the ride when we had a structured paceline and other times there were moments of break aways and I was able to parcipate in both the break aways and with a good amount of time up front pulling, but it seemed that almost every person in the group had their share of working and creating excitement during the ride. For a route that was not fully planned it turned out to be a good combination of flats and hills. At the end Diane stated that she planned to go back on Busch Drive just for me so I wanted to make it worth while. Rather than falling off the back of the group like in weeks past, this time we raced the last miles on Busch Drive reaching and holding 30 miles per hour for a short section. That evening my legs definately felt the effort as they began to hurt almost immediately following the ride. Sunday I went to Blanket's Creek to do a loop on the mountain bike to get a little bit of the soreness out. I only did one loop and called it a day. Monday morning I was supposed to train legs, but after a brief workout I opted to spend the rest of the time stretching. Tonight it is back to the trainer.

This coming Saturday I hope to go up to Dalton and participate in the 2nd Annual Raisin Hope Foundation ride.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2008 Beautiful Backroads - Metric Route

Metric Route Map View

MotionBased Ride Data - Metric Route

I have to start this blog entry with appreciation to my fellow NARC leaders for putting together another great ride, with good sag stops and even better festivities following the ride with a small buffet of food available and tents available for us tired and hungry cyclists. Thanks to all of those who were unselfish with their time and served us at the sags stops, for the sheriff department controlling traffic at certain intersections and helping us stay safe and thanks for putting together a new route for 2008 that was really great with little traffic for the most part and had great stretches of road to get a good pace going. It seemed flat, but I still ended up with more than 3,500 feet of elevation gain for the 66 mile route. Thanks to the Budweiser Cartersville plant for hosting the event and for letting us use their parking lot on weekends as well. I wouldn't be able to guess as to how many riders signed up, but it did seem that more cars were in the parking lot than in past years.

I was excited about riding the metric this year. I have done enough centuries for 2008 so my goals was to set a good pace early and see how long I could keep it. We started before the mass start at 7:30 and our group was Jack Shippee, A friend of his (sorry - bad with names), David Marion, Gary Quellet, Mike Quick, Edgar Lebron, Keith Bolton* and me. I was just grateful to be hanging on Keith's wheel for about 39 miles. He looked like he was a man on a mission.

We started off and the air was a little breezy and cool, but it didn't take long to warm up once the sun started coming up. At about 8 miles Edgar, Keith and me started putting on a little harder pace. Within a few minutes I looked back and the rest of the guys were not in sight, but later we heard that David had a spoke to break. For many miles the three of us keep up a very good pace. We caught up with a group of about 10 that were generous to let us mix in with them for a few miles, Keith and I kept going to the front of their group and pulling hard. We eventually pulled away from that group and the three us continued on our fast and furious pace. Around mile 30 another group comes by and we mix in with them until the 39 mile sag stop, which was our first stop of the day. I barely got down half a banana when the fast group blows by us and the guys were wanting to follow them. I never saw Keith again, but soon after I saw Edgar start to give up the chase for the ultra fast guys. Edgar and I stayed together trying to help each other because it seemed no matter where we turned we getting hit by a head wind. Now that I have the data uploaded I see that the general trend for the last half is in elevation gain. So I understand now by looking at the profile how we had such a good pace in the start and now my 19.5 mph average in the first 40 miles was in jepordary of dropping the last 26 miles.

At the last sag stop (56 miles) for the metric Gary, Mike, Jack Shippee and friend pull into the rest stop. Edgar and I joined back in with Gary and Mike to finish the last 16 miles. Jack had intention of doing the century so we parted ways and tried to keep a good pace back to the waiting festivities. Toward the end I was starting to believe my legs were cooked for the day, but in the final stretches I was able to muster up some speed for the pace line with a fellow cyclist joining in our group. Mike Quick put on an awesome display of power output in the final stages pulling away from us pretty easily. Gary and I were content roll in at a good finishing pace.

For me it was a good day. Except for the last miles I did the majority of the ride with Edgar and he dropped off in the last few miles to deal with sweat getting into his eyes, but we worked together for many miles and had a good performance for the day.

It was good at the end to get a plate of pasta and a couple pieces of baked chicken, sit under the tent and talk with my buddies about the ride.

What is next for the gang?
For me I look forward to continuing riding with the brew crew on the same roads, but October 4th there is the Raisin Hope Foundation Ride that I really enjoyed last year. The route will probably have Fort Mountain, which is a very nice climb if you like that sort of thing.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fairmont #2 - Brewcrew Cycling

MotionBased Ride Data

It was another fast and furious day on the bike with the BrewCrew. I am not sure how many were in the group today and I am not going to try recalling all the names at this point, but everyone seemed strong. I wanted to try something a bit different today because I have been spending too much time sitting in the back. Today I had a mission to do my work on the first half of the ride and since I had the route in the Garmin Edge I didn't mind if I fell off on the last few miles. I also brought my trainer bike (Felt F45 - 9 speed) since I wanted to measure the data with the power meter and today's route was pretty flat so that bike worked out okay.

After a few miles I went ahead and started my plan and put on a good pace and just as I expected the guys (Alan, Edgar, Blake, Keith, Mike & Rod) were on my plan and raising the bar even higher. We kept a good pace, but the pace kept creeping upward to the point I eventually fell off the back. Jamie, Diane & remaining riders caught up with me and we stayed together to the store stop. I had an 18.8 mph average by the time were at the store. Leaving the store a few other NARC members hooked up with us and started the ride back.

About 10 miles out I was content to fall off the back of that group. My legs were spent, but along comes Jamie and Diane, who had stopped to help some lost riders. Both Jamie and Diane were my tow trucks pulling my tired carcass the rest of the way in. I told them to go ahead, but they are always watching out for me and others so they kept encouraging me to get into their draft for the remaining miles. A great day with the BrewCrew!!

Jamie & Diane - True Champions and Motivators!!!
I told them I would say something nice on my blog and they deserve it

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gary's Birthday Ride

MotionBased Ride Data
I was traveling back from Kentucky when I got the news that Gary was picking a Ball Ground route for his birthday ride. I had this instinctive voice telling me not to go because of the hills, but I wanted to tough it out and ride with my good friends. Because I was out of town I had no idea how many guys would show up for the ride, but we had a good group with nine guys. Driving up to Ball Ground the sky was looking somewhat darker and the wind was picking up. I wondered if the outer bands of the hurricane Gustav were starting to make their presence and they were.

The route was good with more substantial rolling hills than we typically experience at the brewery, but no real sustained climbs like one would experience by traveling a few more miles north of Ball Ground into the base of the north Georgia mountains. Still I was struggling to keep up with the group and was frustrated with myself, but there was nothing that I could do except continue to pedal. No real stress of getting lost since I had the route in my Garmin 305. As I looked ahead the guys would get strung out a little, but for the most part they all stayed together with me and Dick lagging behind the group.

The most important aspect of today is that Gary enjoyed the day since it was his birthday ride. I believe he had a good day on the bike from what I could tell and looked strong on the climbs.

Happy Birthday Gary!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Birthday Ride with Brew Crew

MotionBased Ride Data

I was excited all week not because it was my 45th birthday, but another opportunity to ride with the greatest group of cyclists and friends that I have been fortunate to ride with each week. Things that make this group special like one of many examples Diane and Mike Ruhe stopping to help me with a flat last weekend when I sliced my finger open on glass that was inside the tire and was bleeding so much that it made it difficult to change the tube. They came back to see if I was okay and finished changing the tube for me. Diane even had a first aid available. Gary Quellet gave me some birthday bike goodies that were a timely replacement to carry for fixing a flat if necessary. Thanks Gary!! Nice looking Ultegra SL crank by the way. :-)

This week with a tropical storm moving across the panhandle of Florida creating heavy winds in our area the group was still scheduling a "birthday ride" for me and again some treats were prepared and shared with the group at the end.

We started the ride prepared to use JoAnn's route from the brewery parking area out to Adairsville to Kingston and back, but because of the wind and rain the route was shortened a little and I didn't mind too much. I was unsure of the ride for myself because at the last moment I had to bring my trainer bike that has a 53/39 crank and a 11-23 cassette, which has no effect while I am using it on the trainer, but on the road I knew the hills would be a bit tougher. Diane was on a loaner bike and I am sure that made it difficult for her. If I counted heads correctly there were 12 in our group today that split off from the full NARC group. Within the first 5 miles we endured a light rain that was no more soaking than a hot day in the high 90's with sweat with the exception of getting wet socks. For the first half we seem to be in good position for the winds that buffeted us from the east, but I knew on the last half we might be riding into those winds. At first I broke out with Rick Neilson and then remembered I had a long ride ahead on a bike that I usually don't use on the road. I backed off the pace and went back to the group and stayed in or at the back of the group for the remainder of the ride. In the group we had good fun picking on each other. Good Friendly Fun!!!

We stopped at Barnsely Gardens for the rest stop and I heard the route was going to be shortened using CCC road, which has a small climb. With the 11-23 cassette and getting tired I knew I was going to be the last up the hill, but when we actually got to the climb it wasn't bad at all even though I was virtually last. The remaining miles back we met up with the other NARC group and mixed in with them, but I wanted to take a diversion and see what my power output would be on Busch Drive and Edgar joined me. When we lined up on the road and I was messing with the power meter to set in the interval mode Edgar was already putting on a good pace. The wind was hitting us pretty hard with gusts so I settled down on the drops as I watched Edgar continue to pull away from me. All I could think is, "dang - he keeps getting stronger", but I focused on the power output and speed trying to hold a consistent number. It was bouncing between 170 to 220 watts and the speed was holding steady at 21 mph. I normally can hold at least 24+ mph on this section, but it was either the hard wind, tired legs or both that kept me from getting up to and holding that speed today.

At the end Diane brought out the low fat brownies she made for my birthday, some grapes that Jamie brought and some nuts, but it turns out that it was also close to Gary's, Ray's and someone else's birthday that we could celebrate all those together. Despite rain and wind I really enjoyed the ride and most of all I really enjoyed riding with my friends today. Pretty awesome day in my book.

It will be interesting to see if a Youtube video doesn't show up of the ride and the antics with Gary Quellet working the camera. Despite all the fun we have I still ended up with enough effort to cause a nap and my normal uselessness after the ride.

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Training Schedule

I now have one week of training with the power meter behind me, but it is not just the power meter that is new. My training schedule is new and yes much had to be changed in order to make this commitment. During the week I am using the Felt road bike on the Kurt Kenetic trainer opposed to the spin bike. The fluid trainer is much harder and though I could turn up the resistance of the spin bike the resistance on the trainer is more realistic and variable.

Yesterday was my first day to take the Felt outside for a little trip down to the Silver Comet and try it out. Since I did a fairly hard ride on Saturday with the gang I was not expecting to be able to hold good power numbers, but once my legs warmed up a bit I was able to hold the speed at what I believed was my RPE (perception) for the lower range of the sweet spot. Until I actually do the test for Functional Threshold I will be using RPE.

I now have a brand new start for a whole new journey. I can tell that this is going to be a great tool and a good start for the next level of training. I imagine that I am going to be a bit worn out each Saturday when I ride with the group, but over a period of months and hopefully next summer I will be able to see a positive difference in my Functional Threshold. I have a lot to learn and a lot of training ahead.

The image below is from my first ride outdoors and was a moderate effort on a flat course and calm air. My goal was to go out for an hour, rest ten minutes and ride back at a sustained speed minus the multitude of stops at intersections and maneuvering around others.

MotionBased Ride Data

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chattooga Century 2008

The Chattooga Century is coming up soon. If you need information about the ride select the link on the right side and if you would like to register for the event online select Active.com.

I am considering the metric route this year as I did last year since I have completed several centuries this year and one last weekend. The metric should be fun and fast. The sag stops were good, the route is good and those hosting the ride were also great.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Power It Up!!

I'm real close to tracking data and hopefully setting up a new training plan for my weekdays and I was just this close to getting booted from the spin bikes at the gym. When I received the powermeter we had a little issue that turned out to be nothing more than dead batteries in the hub. I did a quick battery change this evening, mounted the wiring harness, set it up on the trainer and I will soon begin a new training schedule. And the best part I will get the truth about the zones that I am training in, which may be even more humbling once I start seeing numbers applied to effort.

Thanks to Dave Ryan, who helped me get into power training much earlier than I expected. I thought it would be at least another year with hopefully a year end bonus at work that would get me there, but I am very content with a used model that will be a great entry into tracking data.

Thanks to Josh at Outspokin for helping during my vacation especially with all that you have going on outside the shop. I am keeping you and your family in my prayers.

The only issue remaining is getting my computer to recognize the USB port for the PowerTap computer. I have seen the solution, but will need work through it later.

The corner of the basement my wife gave me to train in. The fan is pretty awesome. Loud but powerful. I just need a shower curtain to set under the bike.

I have a power reading. 39 watts!! - don't make fun of me.
I just wanted to show some folks that it works.

WKO+ software is now setup and able to download the Powertap computer data.