Saturday, January 23, 2010

My First Ride of 2010

(A few of the group before the ride start)

Garmin Connect Data

I was really excited to get back out for my first ride in 2010 with the gang despite the weather conditions. Gray overcast skies and consistent wind blowing in from the east and southeast between 10 to 15 mph based on the weather report. Before the ride Rick emailed me that he would like to go out to Fairmont and Covington Bridge area with about 55 miles. I was a little nervous about the miles because I had barely started training indoors after a bout of flu and respiratory issue, but I figured I might as well get my training started and I desperately needed to get some time in on the saddle.

The Group: I suppose we had about 13 or so. Many of the regulars and a few new faces. Tiffany and a couple of her friends joined us. The regulars were Edgar, Gary, Bill, Peter, Joe, Tim, Jack was back, Rod, Mike, Rick Nielsen and Rick Cheatam. I hope I did not leave off a name or two. Gary had to turn back early for a mechanical issue with his bike.

The Ride: We had planned a 55 mile route, but that was changed at the 25 mile mark and store stop. Going out the pace was a bit faster and though I felt at times we were pushing against the wind I could see the grass blowing over the direction we were headed and knew the ride back was going to be the head wind. The group stayed together until the store stop, but after that I am not sure what happened. I dropped off the group to ride back with Rod, who had brought an older cruiser type bike and the pace picked up more than what I was wanting to do as well. The 25 miles back were mostly in head winds just as I expected. Not only was my fitness level down, but to also contend with the wind was about as much fun as a kick in the groin. Well maybe not that bad, but pretty exhausting. It only took a few minutes after the ride before my legs and hips started to tighten up. I have a long way to go just to get back to my pre-illness fitness level, much less, start building for the cycling event coming up in a few months.

Messin' With Rick: I always like it when Rick shows up. He is great to ride with and has been a great encourager to me. I also like to mess with him at least once a ride. The conditions have to be right like a slight downhill, Rick is in the front of the group and not boxed in and then I come up out of nowhere and blast past him at a high rate of speed. I don't know why I do this other than just messin' with Rick. However, this really is the equivalent of a wounded gazelle tempting the cheetah. It is a short lived form of entertainment before it is over.

Route Description: flat to small rolling hills.

Weather: Cloudy, high humidity, winds up to 15 mph from the east to southeast

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: (1 1/2)24oz. bottles with Hammer Heed/10grams Glutamine and BCAA's, (1)Cliff Bar, (1) Accel gels, (1)Post Ride 30gram whey protein drink

Power Data: I am too embarrassed to post it here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

2010 Cycling Season

How great it is to have cycling friends. There are many who are content to be alone and I have to admit on occasion it is nice to just get out by myself and spin on a country road. I spend a lot of time training during the week alone so I have no problem with that, but what I am grateful for as I start to look ahead for the 2010 season is the opportunity to spend time training for events with some of my cycling buddies.

I would not dare to list names because there are so many that I enjoy being out with on the road. There are some who I feel are integral to the group ride. Those who I miss when they are off doing other things and there are those who I seldom speak with during the entire ride, but just seeing their faces at the start brings a smile to my face. One thing that I have learned as I have trained for events like 3 State 3 Mountain and other events is that it is not just about the event itself and overcoming the goal that it set, but it is the journey getting there that creates the memories. One can reflect on the amount of hours spent cycling with each other as you go toward a common goal and sometimes one can be there as support as another trains for a specific goal. You are there in the rain at times or the cold. You endure the elements and the geography together over the span of weeks. You are there for each other during hardships of mechanical breakdowns, injury recovery, or fitness buildup.

Another joy is sitting in a pack of friends who without a word form a chemistry that takes little speech or guidance. You ride at fast speeds with tires nearly touching and without much of a word or just a slight hand gesture you move in and out of the pack without a hitch. I have been so fortunate the past few seasons to be part of such groups. Sometimes we can have 40 or more in our group and some days it may be just a couple, but it is a joy to share time together training for a common goal or just cycling out on the open road. It is not such a selfish goal, though we all want to have personal improvements, there is a joy when sitting in the pack and seeing someone else having an exceptional day. There were many days last season that I struggled and felt frustration, but there was also joy looking ahead and seeing someone up front having a great day. We collect at the end of the ride; put away our gear and bikes and group together in the parking area again before leaving to reflect on the ride. There is usually someone who gets the praise for being the strong rider of the day and there is sometimes consolation to the one who had a rough day, but there at the end is a quick reflection of the ride, the route and the group.

The days have been cold lately and I have been recovering from an illness, but I am starting to look forward to the day our group gets back together for the first time in this New Year. Once again I have 3 State 3 Mountain as my first training goal and I think there will be others who will be there training with me for the same goal or just there to enjoy cycling in the group. Either way there is a pleasure knowing that this group enjoys being together and enjoys time out on the road. So it is not the goal itself that is my focus. It is the journey getting there with my friends as I look forward to the 2010 season.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Light Spinning - Coming Back

This has been my longest break from cycling training since starting and it certainly was not something I had planned or wanted, but after dealing with the flu it is nice to get back on the bike this morning. I am at the tail end of this illness and was put antibiotics because I potentially had pneumonia. Last week I could hear the fluid in my lungs with each breath and was told by the doctor to lay off training for at least a week to give my body all the energy it needed to fight this illness. After laying in bed shivering with chills and fever the last week in December, I was more than willing to listen to the doctor's advice. The illness started about December 29th and I just now as of today, January 9th, feel as if I am okay to get on the bike again.

The first few minutes I had some coughing, but after that I seemed to feel fine and did an hour of light spinning between 100 to 150 watts. I can tell I will have to slowly work my way back up to doing high intensity intervals over the next weeks, but I do plan on starting real slow as not to have a relapse of this illness. I want to make sure I am over it for good before I put my body through the physical stress.

Even if I were feeling good all my training would be indoors for a while. We have really had some cold weather as of late. The temperature this morning was 13 degrees making a good day to just stay inside, relax and recover.

I am sure many would agee with me about looking forward to late spring and summer.