Thursday, April 23, 2009

New 2009 Project

The project starts with.......

The parts list:

LOOK 585 Ultra Frame and HSC5 Fork
LOOK Keo Srint Pedals
SRAM RED components, compact crank, 11-28 cassette, white shifter hoods
Pro Vibe carbon bar, stem, seat post
Fizik Arione CX saddle
Deda White bar tape
Reynolds CF bottle cages
Kinlin 30mm rims, Powertap Hub rear, White Industries hub front, Sapim spokes

Saturday, April 18, 2009

White to Horn Mountain - 80 Miles

(click to enlarge images)

(click to enlarge images)

Garmin Connect Ride Data

The route today for some of us started at the brewery for the 80 mile course and for others it started in Adairsville. We met up with the Adairsville group a several miles into our warm up and from there we headed back toward Adairsville and then on up to do Horn Mountain. From there was the fast descent and fast pace in an area called the Pocket until we hit the store stop around the 51 mile marker. Soon after the store stop my legs had about enough of the fast pace so I dropped off the back. Gary, Mike and Edgar stopped for me, but I just had nothing left in my legs to push a descent pace so I sent them on ahead. From about mile 68 to the finish at 79.5 I was on my own so I can't say what or how the group did from that point forward, but I do know I was the last in so everyone made it back safely.

I dare say how many was in the group today, but we had a good turn out and everyone seemed strong except maybe me. I suppose my training during the week did it in for me as each day during the week my hips, hamstrings and quadriceps just kept getting tighter even though I was putting good effort to stretch. I knew I was going to struggle today, but to be honest I didn't care since I had the route and for a change we had great sunny weather.

I have come to the point of acceptance that training with the power meter during the week leaves me less than fresh for these spirited group rides, but I am still happy to complete an eighty mile route even with the fatigue and to boot I didn't cramp once even though I was coming very close to it at the end.

Sure the lower performance is a bummer, but what overshadows that is to look around and see that people in the group are enjoying themselves. There are smiles and there are friends in this group. Someone may ask me if I had a bad day and my answer would be definitely no.

Bad day or Good day is all about perspective.

I had a great day with my cycling my buddies, I completed the 80 miles under fatigue with some spirited pacing at times, the weather was fantastic, the route had variety and we all made it back safely. To me it was a great day for the cycling addiction.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Garmin - Customer Service

It doesn't take long after glancing through my blog that I am a data junky. When I competed in bodybuilding the only way that I could track my training at the time was to keep a hand written training log, but once I got into cycling there was the sweet feedback of the bike computer.

Along came the Garmin Edge 305, which has been one of my most valuable components on my bike. For several years I have tracked my data with the Edge through all sorts of conditions. When I started having some issues with the 305, despite its weathering the elements and me crashing, the computer has logged many miles and hours of training and has also helped me find my way back to the parking lot at times of getting dropped or helping me forge ahead if the pace was slow.

When I contacted Garmin about my trusty 305 they responded quickly and during the time that Garmin had my 305, I stepped up and purchased a 705 since I seem to be directing more group rides lately and the maps help me see the routes better. But I have been experiencing a small issue with the new 705 and though it may be user error or what ever, I have been really surprised by the level of customer service from Garmin to look at my last data file and try to determine why the file was corrupted.

I sent an email to Garmin Support on Monday and that afternoon I started getting emails from Cristin, who is a support representative. We have traded several emails, as well as, the corrupt data file and it appears that she and her team are looking into the matter to see if there is a reason for the corruption and come up with a solution.

So here is my appreciation to Cristin and the support team at Garmin that responded to me and to perhaps thousands of email questions a week with all the Garmin products available on the market. When I was looking into a solution myself and saw complaints on forums from people saying Garmin is non-responsive, I have to say that I am either very lucky, have some special unkown to me priviledge or Garmin is reponsive despite what one or two say and seem more than willing to support the products they put on the market.

Thank You Cristin and Garmin Support!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jasper to Fort Mountain

MotionBased Ride Data

The ride turned out just like I thought in some aspects, but the weather wasn't quite like I had hoped. We had a good strong group turn out for the 80 mile route and just as I expected there was an early break away. I was very happy though and grateful as I type this that I was fixed to my goals for this ride. Several of us did not chase the break away. My goal was to build up some lagging endurance and I knew full well that I could not finish this ride without sticking to this goal. As I watched Rick and others take off I cannot testify for their ride, but for those who were in my group we had a nice training ride. Gary, Mike, Edgar, Paula, David, Jack and me kept a solid pace for us until the store stop at the base of the climb. There we saw Alan, Glenn, Neal and Nancy for a few minutes.

On the climb I was sort of liking the cooler air as my core temperature started rising, but when I finally got to the top I was very surprised that a dense cloud, cold wind was there to greet us and to prevent us from enjoying the summit overlook. When I got there the others had already descended. I could understand why since it was very cold and most of us were not dressed for this, but I waited for David, Paula and Edgar just to make sure they were okay. On the descent it was brutally cold and we noticed that ice or sleet was lightly pelting our faces. I couldn't wait to get off this hill and I was certainly hoping that there was some semblance of sun peeking out below in the valley. Maybe there was a little, but for most of the day it was dark clouds above and some good head winds now and then.

On the big rollers after the descent we met up with Kit and Keith and from there we pretty much stayed together until we entered into Ellijay at our last store stop. By this time of day the traffic had picked up and it felt a little tight exiting Ellijay, but once we got back on Old Hwy. 5 Kit puts on a fast pace and pull. Kit pulls off and now it is Keith's turn at the helm. I was next and I tried to keep the fast theme going, but when I pulled off I realized I was there a bit long and dropped off the back of the group.

The next and last step was the mild three mile climb before entering Jasper. By this point we were kind of spread out along the last stretch, but just as I expected with the variety of level of cyclists it is hard to keep this group together, but then again each of us needs to train according to our own levels.

It wasn't the sunny day that I had hoped, but for an eighty mile ride, dark cloudy skies and cool air the ride seemed to go pretty fast considering all things. I am pretty sure that I am behind schedule on training for 3 State 3 Mountain.

Global Warming?? Where?? I sure have a hard time buying it at this point.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Anticipation of Fort Mountain

This is the first time I have written a blog entry in advance or anticipation of a ride, but I am excited as I have heard excitement from others regarding our ride tomorrow from the technical school in Jasper going out to Fort Mountain. Our Team B group has been looking for a good weather opportunity to fit in this 80 mile route for several weeks and now we have a representative of NARC also distributing an official ride notice for the same route. There should be a good group going tomorrow and a place for a number of level of riders even though all group leaders have stated that this is a drop ride, but the course is not that difficult to follow in direction. However, it will be a challenge for those like me that have built up some good top end speed on the shorter (50 to 60 mile rides), but because of the weather a bit lagging on the endurance training.

As the groups break apart or potentially start at different times there should be a place for most level of riders. There will be a slower group (not sure of their pace speed), there will be our Team B group and there will be some of the Team B members that may break out and go above our pace. I imagine in the course of time cyclists will break apart in different levels of ability and form various groups. I received an email yesterday from Rick Nielsen stating as if to call “eight ball in the corner pocket” that he intends to open up the throttle in the last twenty miles and I know that he will. He hopes this will challenge others with similar performance levels to raise the bar of their training and go after him. He is excited about the route and the day to come. I sure wished I had that level to take the challenge.

For me, Mike and Gary we will take a more subdue approach on this route. I will for a few reasons, but I have to be careful in building up my lagging endurance and I also have to be careful not to put myself in a recovery/training hole to the point I am unable to train on the following Monday. I will focus on building my endurance with extended time in the saddle preparing for 3 State 3 Mountain Century Challenge and my hope is the weather is great. I just want to savor the day if the weather is nice because this is one of my all time favorite routes. The route takes us out toward Carters Lake, around the dam, up an awesome six plus mile Fort Mountain climb to a nice summit overlook at the valley below. From there we hit some substantial rollers going into Ellijay to a nice fast stretch of road and finally a mildly climbing roadway back into Jasper that can be a bit stinging to the legs as we near the last of the 80 mile route.

I have received emails from some stating they are not sure about their current condition and ability to ride the 80 miles, but I believe those who I emailed have the ability to finish this ride if the right pace is used. Our group will have a minimum of 3 stops. We will stop at the store before climbing Fort Mountain, at the top of the summit and spend some time regrouping and then again just on the other side of Ellijay. I understand the concerns and each person has to really know their own ability, but for many of us lagging in endurance this is a step forward in building that extended endurance. It will not happen on its own and we have to endure the discomforts of training for endurance.

I hope that my follow up blog entry for this ride is that I witnessed some break aways from the stronger cyclists, that I saw nothing but smiles and that I heard all returned safely home. I prayed this morning that we all have a safe day, great weather and good times together tomorrow.

Last years blog entry for the first training ride and then the second training ride.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On Course, Of Course

(click to enlarge images)

(click to enlarge images)

Garmin Connect Data
Gary Quellet designed the course for this week and it was a good route. Stretching out the miles a little more and adding in one challenging climb. The route that also had some good rollers, some flatter road to stretch the legs as Rick Nielsen would say, but with the group we had today my goal was just to hang on the best I could. I also was in agreement with Gary that since we had been doing shorter routes because of a string of weeks with bad weather our endurance training is behind. I was willing to restrain the pace a little and make sure I could make it back to the parking lot.

We started early with a near 40 degree temperature, but I guessed my clothing just about right this time. I started off shivering, but after an hour of sunlight and riding at a good pace my core was pretty warm and I was grateful not be overdressed. Once again my training during the week had me a little fatigued. The first miles leading to Johnson Mountain I was thinking at the back of the pack that this is going to be a tough day hanging with the guys. When we turned on the road for Johnson Mountain it hit me that we were climbing the steeper side. Oh Man!! I was struggling on the steep gradient as the guys pulled away, but I was able to settle down a little and get into my own climbing mode rather than worrying about getting dropped. Over the top and down the hill, my confidence was up a little more today on the descent, but still well shy of careless downhill attitude I once had.

Somewhere between the descent and the climb I noticed Edgar broke off to do shorter miles as he is ramping up his training. At the store stop we enjoyed the time in the sun and the opportunity to replace fluids and carbohydrates. A few minutes into the return back we were about half done, but some of the guys looked determined to get back and we veered off course with the increased pace as I watched the route on the Garmin Edge 705. I was able to get us back on course, but the group broke apart again. I found myself too far off the guys in the back and unable to hold the pace with the guys in the front so I was content to follow the course as Gary had designed. My hope was to complete the training with no less than 70 miles. The course I followed crossed roads the other guys were on as Rick passed me twice, but instead of following Rick I stayed aligned with the gps. I was too weak to stay at their pace anyway and the last 10 miles I had to play it carefully because I could feel my legs were wanting to cramp. The plan from that point forward was to climb slow in a low gear to avoid the cramps, but when I was on the flats I geared up and put on a good pace.

At the end I think I heard most everyone talk about being behind on endurance, but thankfully with the better weather today we can all be happy with the training ride and the course Gary created. We are one step closer to getting the endurance for the up coming century rides in a few months. One step closer to getting ready for 3 State 3 Mountain, but still a lot of training remaining for the next 5 weeks.