Wednesday, January 31, 2007

And so ends the training for the 300k.

Had to get out today as I have been fighting a sore throat for the past couple of days. Today since I was officially supposed to be tapering I made a point of spinning in. It was a good commute if not a bit warm due to underestimating how warm that cloudy evening had kept it. All in all it still wasn't bad. So far the weather is looking good for the 300k this year. It was good last year too actually but the year before we had rain, I will not call it epic, as the 400k last year pretty much redefined my definition of epic rain. Here is a picture taken on Pioneer Parkway from last year.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back to back to back

Well, my usual routine is ride into work, get a ride home. This week everything is all goofed up though. I didn't get a ride in on Monday (felt tired) and Tuesday is a work at home day and I slept in (late night). wednesdayI got a ride in but was able to ride home. Anyway, that leaves today and Saturday to get riding in as I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and will have to drive. So, I am commuting in to work and home today which will make for 3X25 mile rides in 26 hours. Hopefully that equates to a longer ride in my physiology. If not, well, It's what I could do this week. Since getting back into riding it was interesting that I initialy lost a bunch of weight but now I am gaining again. Must be muscle as I am not eating enough to increase fat.
The ride in this morning was warmer than usual due to a late start. It was a beautiful morning. I altered my route slightly and found I got honked at (hasn't happened in awhile) so I waved all friendly like to play with their mind and went on my merry way. It wasn't my fastest commute but it definitely was not my slowest either. I will be very happy if I can maintain that speed over the 300k route.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Paul's Psychadelic Journey

Well, not having a nifty car like Batman's that comes to you when you call, I had to leave the house this morning to pick up my car from my Brother in-law who had been borrowing it who lived in Arizona city. So, I saddled up the brevetmobile and headed off into the predawn darkness around 5:30 AM. I had 65 miles ahead of me. Weatherman had said the showers were supposed be slacking off towards morning so I figured there would not be too much rain but threw the Rain Pants into the seatbag just in case. Good thing I did.
I put a rather interesting mix of music on my mp3 player yesterday, I didn't realize I had leaned so much to the Psychadelic when I had downloaded them but I had quite the collection of Pink Floyd and the Doors queued up to play (I had some other tunes too but the randomizer seemed to pick those two for some reason). Anyway, the musical selection made for an interesting ride. Both times I was approaching known "dog" locations the mp3 player by a strange coincidence played the song "Dogs" from the Pink Floyd Animals album. Kind of wierd. Anyway, I was trying a few things on this ride to get ready for the 300k the week after next. I had my Princetontec EOS on my helmet to be used as my backup light and standing light when stopped. It worked out really well on it's lowest setting.
Heading south it wasn't too long before I suspected a headwind. Also my Heart rate monitor was not letting me get very far into zone 3 as apparently I was not completely recovered from Tuesdays ride even today! Anyway, it was a beautiful misty morning and turning onto Ellsworth road I was very pleased to see the road construction was done and a new smooth shoulder with plenty of room was there now. There was surprisingly little traffic heading through Queen Creek. I didn't really run into too much traffic until grabbing the Hunt Highway. That is about when the rain started. At first it was light but not too far past Johnson Ranch it started raining hard enough to justify breaking out the rainpants. Glad I had them as I went through a pretty good little rainstorm for the next 10 miles or so.
Pretty soon I was passing the new Anthem. I can't quite figure out how they make money with gas prices going up. I would think the gas cost would more than compensate for cheap house savings over a few years. Anyway, I guess I just used to enjoy the stretch through the hills here and now there is a little city sprouting up in the middle of nowhere it is kind of annoying. I will climb off my soapbox now.
It was slightly foggy heading down into the Gila River bottoms but it cleared out pretty quick. I felt like a steam engine for awhile though as my breath would smokescreen my face as I exhaled. Further down Attaway I saw a large cloud heading my way at a good speed. As it got closer I noticed it was an Orange Semi spraying water all over the place. I prepared to get sprayed and as it passed I was bathed in spray. Then I smelled it. This must have been a manure truck and I was just sprayed with a fine manure mist. Hope I lose the stench before I get to my in-laws.
Around here my MP3 player went into a rather interesting mix of Dark side of the Moon and the Doors. Much like a peanut butter and chocolate argument in a Reeses Peanut Butter cup commercial they went together quite well. It was interesting turning on Coolidge Ave and heading west as usually I am heading east (and will do so in two weeks) on the 300k route. I was a bit behind on time but I figure I wasn't in top form and the wind and rain account for a bit too.
Heading south on 87 I soon ran into Randolph. Those of you who don't know what Randolph is, let me tell you. If you ever wondered where those that are so Mentally Challenged that they can't live alone go, well, many of them go to Randolph. It is a small community of people who can't live by themselves and are wards of the state. We went and helped there one Sunday with our church's youth. I was amazed that many of the houses had big screen TVs and other stuff. I think how thankful I am that I can be cruising south on Highway 87 this morning feeling the wind in my face and seeing Picacho Peak shrouded in mysterious mist in the distance.
Just down the street from Randolph is the Gothamesque Metropolis of La Palma. This was the first time I had been through here in the morning. Usually I don't see this until long after sunset. It looks a little bigger in daylight, not much but a little.
After hearing "Dogs" and real dogs mixed in one more time (which was kind of Surrealistic to hear synthesized dogs and real dogs going at it on either side of my head) I turned on Bataglia road. I was pleasantly surprised with the road surface on Bataglia and approaching Eloy noticed a rather dilapidated old house that was boarded up on the side of the road. "Well", you may say that is to be expected out in rural areas. Yeah, but this one had a Dish Network antenna on the roof which looked really funny on that old house I wondered if the fees contributed to the abandonment of the house.
I have decided that the mayor of Eloy must have gotten elected under the Slogan of "A chicken in every pot! and a dog in every yard" as I went through a mile where there was in fact, a dog in every yard. Fortunately none of them were at liberty to chase me. Just after that I crossed Jimmie Kerr blvd and the 400k and 600k route. Climbing the hill over the freeway the "Great Gig in the Sky" song from Dark Side came on and I found it rather odd looking down on the endless stream of Semis passing beneath me as though I was in the sky so to speak. I coasted down the other side of the hill having a good Cycling Zen moment.
Just past there I ran into a dog who was in fact at liberty to chase me and kept up on the other side of the road at 18 mph. I figured I better yell at him before he decides to cross the road to get to the other side (and ME). So I called him a stupid dog and told him to get lost which he did. Around here I started to notice a similarity between people who live in New York New York and Arizona Arizona. Neither had much patience. Twice in this stretch I was passed by a car who was also being passed by another car! Don't these guys have any patience? I would think with all the driving practice they get driving into Tucson or Phoenix every day they might develop some. Anyway, drivers are crazy around Arizona City, you are warned. From here I quickly found my Brother Inlaws and loaded up the Brevet Mobile into my Jeep. Good ride. Now to tune the radio to something else to cleanse the pallate.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Still Recovering

I am still getting my legs back after Tuesday night's workout. This morning the legs were sluggish. I am planning on carpooling both ways tomorrow so I can rest up a bit before Saturday
's ride. Incidentally having charted the route it will share some roads with the 300k brevet route. I plan on leaving the house at 5 am to simulate the start in 2 weeks. Hopefully it will not be too cold or rainy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Good Evening Workout

Rode home last night. Had a really good ride with the heartrate up in zone 4 much of the way and even peeking into zone 5. My Heartrate high was 93% of Max and I averaged a heartrate of 81%. I ended up averaging 18 mph which would have been faster had my tires been pumped up all the way (they were around 80lbs). Still based on the fact that the land slopes upward towards my house I don't think 18 is a bad average. Had some guy flash his brights at me in an intersection as my dynohub light wasn't lit. Probably should think about wearing my headlamp to give me a solid light as it occured to me it was kind of dangerous not having a front light in that situation. Wouldn't be bad practice for Brevets either as that is going to be my backup light. Anyway, I took it easy this morning after last nights workout. Thinking about riding down to Arizona City on Saturday to pickup my Jeep that I loaned to my sister inlaw since their car went down last weekend but is fixed now. Nice not being dependent on a car, bikes are so much more reliable!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A time to rest.

Well, I commuted twice this week and was week both days after Saturday's ride. Yesterday I was getting some pains in the tendons in the sides of my knees so I decided that perhaps the body needed a little more rest. So today is a rest day and I think tomorrow I will try and go in and back for a total of 50 miles and will spend Saturday with the family. It is tough to remember that rest is just as important as the excersize sometimes.

Monday, January 8, 2007

A little tired.

Well, after having the best 200k of my life so far on Saturday my legs were a little tired today so my speeds stayed around 16 -19 this morning. I did a lot of easy pedaling. Things worked out good on Saturday and my clothing estimate came out right on as I wasn't sweltering or freezing. I got a little behind on energy at the end but still finished with a fast time so I figure that is forgiveable (the other half of it is I was anarobic for a good portion of the last leg due to the thrill of riding up on the front). Anyway, this morning's commute was a nice easy and slow commute in taking and hour and a half. Little hills seemed a little larger but that is ok, I hung with the fast guys on Saturday, Monday is bound to be a little slow.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Welcome to fantasy island!

There are days when it all comes together and dreams come true I think. I have ridden fast centuries before but it was by myself and so telling people about it was kind of like the fish that got away stories. For the last two years I have always arrived at the final control with the fast riders already at home watching the 5 o'clock news. I have always really admired those fast guys (and still do actually, I hope I can gain their ability to do it time after time) so todays ride was a bit like a dream come true at several points as you will read.
Well it was a good ride all told. I got to the bike shop on time, I got setup and managed to get out of the parking lot nearly last as I was fiddling with my GPS that had a bum set of batteries in it anyway. So, with that in mind I latched on to the back of the group heading out. There were so many people at this brevet it was hard to work forward. The large group got up to a pretty good pace which I was able to keep up with until we got to McCartney but I figured they were pushing me out of my zone so I let them go. After we turned onto Pinal the group started to break up and I started to pass people. The funny thing is I kept passing people. I think the decision to hold back was a good one. The wind coming down pinal was really slowing a lot of people down. Climbing over the pass I pushed my heartrate a bit up into zone 4 and didn't feel too bad even though my Heart rate monitor was beeping at me. After topping the hill I really started to pass people as the recumbent really cruises down hills and I was able to keep a pretty good speed on Az87. The route to the ruins was a bit round about due to construction but we got there. I must apologize to the tandem that was leading a group I just passed as I cut the corner a little tight in all the confusion about figuring out what the cars behind us were going to do. The ruins turned out to be a really quick stop for me as I had plenty of fluids and energy so I took off my jacket, stuffed it in jersey and took off. It was a pretty quick trip back to Casa Grande. One thing of note was passing Gerry Goode. He is one of the people that always seems to be way ahead of me so I was surprised to see myself having caught up to him. Turns out the day would have other similar surprises. Turning onto Trekell was neat as the tailwind was pretty strong and I was able to fly down the road until I managed to hit every traffic light red.
At the bike shop I was pleasantly surprised to discover I had caught up with Alan Marmorstein. He is another person I am usually way behind. I guess I just was cruising today. It makes a big difference riding without broncitis like I had last year (training helps too actually, curiously enough). After moving my car to make the water man happy (I guess those parking spaces at the end of the lot are "HIS" spaces apparently) I was off. When my waterbottle fell out Alan and whoever he was riding with passed me up. I still had them in sight when Susan turned us around albeit they were pretty far ahead (visibility was good). I played recumbent tag with another rider much of this stretch as he would pass me going up a hill and then I would pass him on the downhills. We were flying through this section compared to last year. We were able to keep it over 20 for most of it and at times were up over 27 on some of the flat stretches.
The turn around is where things got interesting. Apparently the headwind helped us ride a little faster than Susan anticipated and all the riders from the guy behind me all the way up to the front rider overshot the control as Susan had not arrived there yet. Being the caring RBA that she is she came and told us to turn around. This was where I caught up with the lead group (there were only 5 people ahead of me!). Of course they were a few miles ahead of me down the road so I didn't really catch them but it was interesting seeing them this late in the ride nonetheless. I told Susan she must be Ricardo Montoban as it has always been my fantasy to catch up to Mike Sturgill. Of course, Mike (edit- it wasn't Mike Sturgill but I guess it helped me ride faster pretending it was, turns out the three I saw at the control were three different people as Susan had already signed the cards of Mike and the others) was still many virtual miles ahead of me having had to turn around but it was still kind of cool to get control cards signed with the guys at the front.
I had some chips and took off pretty quick. One person had left before me and I figured I would just ride and see how long it took all of the faster riders to catch up. Interestingly enough before we got back to the hills I saw a rider up ahead and I was gaining on him in the headwind (which was actually pretty strong). I had almost caught up to him when Steve and Bruce came the other direction and looked pretty surprised I was where I was (I was too actually) I managed to hang with the rider, or at least keep him in sight until around 8 or 9 miles out of Casa Grande when my last ten miles of overdoing it (well, I was pretty stoked to be riding a ft what I thought was the front, which will likely never happen again so I figured I would make it last) caught up with me and I hit a bad patch. My stomache was hurting and I just didn't have any juice left. Around here David Glasgow caught me and we talked for a bit before he pulled away. Not too long after this the drink I had taken started to give me a little energy and a paceline with a tandem and Alan pulled up and I grabbed on and pedaled hard to keep the back. After riding without a paceline for so long today I was pretty shot and was really glad to have a paceline to help me get in as my muscles were starting to hurt. Just as we hit the city limits I fell off the back but as that is where all turns and stop signs start I managed to catch them again before the stoplight going across florence and we rode back to the bike shop together. I ended up with a time of 7 hrs and 15 minutes which beats my time last year by an hour so I figure I'll take it. Even if I did sink back to the what was actually the third group to come in. Now all I have to do is figure out where Attoo is.
(Note: From looking at the results it looks like Gerry passed me up again. Still, it makes me feel good that I was only 5 minutes behind him)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Taper time.

Well, I haven't got a lot of riding time in this week as I'm tapering (yeah, tapering that's it, the fact I have been up late playing online games and been a lazy butt in the morning has nothing to do with it). Even so I did the short commute this morning which involves hitching a ride with my father inlaw both ways and rding the 4 miles from his work to mine and back. I took it easy and would have driven in these last two days before the ride except I can't really afford the gas right now and I took my generator hub wheel off and I want to put a few miles in on the other wheel before the event to just make sure there are no surprises. Anyway, it was pretty cold this morning but I think I have my clothing estimate ready for Saturday morning. I think leg warmers will do it so I am going to leave the tights at home although with a high of 61 it might not be a bad idea to take them for the sun protection and forget the leg warmers. I'll have to see on Saturday morning. My windstopper jacket is a no brainer I think. It really does keep me a lot warmer than a normal windbreaker, it's only weakness is it doesn't convert into a windvest like my other windbreaker. Of course the mittens are coming along. I will likely leave my lighter gloves in the car for the trip out onto the rez and back. This will be the first year I will be trying my pure maltodextrin and endurolyte mix on a brevet. I have done a few 100 miles rides and find it does good and doesn't mind being mixed with solid foods now and then. It is much cheaper to bulk buy maltodextrin in this form too. I figure I have a 2 year supply from a 60 lbs bag I bought for $60. The endurolytes are there to provide electrolytes of course. The only thing that I need more on long rides is some protein once in awhile which Ronald is glad to furnish me with (or the queen of all dairies providing I can get to her before closing time).

This is a hill on the 200k route I will be passing this weekend.

My jeep and the brevetmobile at the round trip bikeshop parking lot last year.